Strawberry-Rhubarb Crumble

A rhubarb crumble quickly turned into strawberry-rhubarb when I realized that I needed two pounds of rhubarb and only had one piece. It was very easy to make, and I put it into the oven right before we sat down to dinner so it would be ready when we had finished eating. Serve with ice cream. The recipe is from Food Network Magazine.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup oats
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 6 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1/2 cupchopped hazelnuts
  • 2 pounds chopped rhubarb [I used two pounds of a mixture of rhubarb and strawberries]
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions

Combine 1 cup flour, 1/3 cup oats, 3/4 cup sugar and a pinch of salt in a bowl. Stir in 6 tablespoons melted butter and 1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts; squeeze into large crumbles and place in the freezer. Toss 2 pounds chopped rhubarb, 1/3 cup sugar, 1/4 cup flour, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1/2 teaspoon orange zest and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a 8-by-8-inch glass or ceramic baking dish. Scatter the crumble on top and bake in a preheated 375 degrees F oven until golden and bubbly, 45 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes; serve with whipped cream.

Pin It

Lemon Angel Food Cake

I had attempted to make an Angel Food Cake back in California in May, but not really thinking and in a bit of a rush, I bought a carton of egg whites. Little did I know, they were pasteurized and not going to whip. I whipped them as much as I could and thought that maybe that’s how they would just turn out, but the cake came out gooey, not airy and light. I was talking to a friend about it and we realized my mistake - of course pasteurized egg whites won’t whip, they’re already cooked. So this past weekend I did it the long way, separating 11 eggs. The results were much better this time. And thanks to my new mixer, my arm wasn’t hurting from whipping up the egg whites. It’s Ina Garten’s recipe for the cake I made this time, but Alton Brown also has a great recipe. I made homemade whipped cream for the topping.

 

Ingredients

  • 2 cups sifted superfine sugar, divided [if your grocery store does not carry this, put the sugar into your food processor and run until it becomes superfine, checking every 10 seconds]
  • 1 1/3 cups sifted cake flour (not self-rising)
  • 1 1/2 cups egg whites, at room temperature (10 to 12 eggs)
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (2 lemons)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine 1/2 cup of sugar with the flour and sift together 4 times. Set aside.

Place the egg whites, salt, and cream of tartar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and beat on high speed until the eggs make medium-firm peaks, about 1 minute. With the mixer on medium speed, add the remaining 1 1/2 cups of sugar by sprinkling it over the beaten egg whites. Whisk for a few minutes until thick and shiny. Whisk in the vanilla and lemon zest and continue to whisk until very thick, about 1 more minute. Sift about 1/4 of the flour mixture over the egg whites and fold it into the batter with a rubber spatula. Continue adding the flour by fourths by sifting and folding until it’s all incorporated.

Pour the batter into an ungreased 10-inch tube pan, smooth the top, and bake it for 35 to 40 minutes, until it springs back to the touch. Remove the cake from the oven and invert the pan on a cooling rack until cool.

 

Whipped Cream

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (1 pint) heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup sugar

Directions

Beat heavy cream on high until soft peaks are formed. Add vanilla and sugar and beat until firm.

Pin It

Savannah Cheesecake Cookies

I was looking for a simple dessert for Father’s Day that would not take too much prep or cook time. This Paula Deen recipe was just that. It hardly took ten minutes to make and just a little bit of time to set up with the mint leaves and blueberries before I served them.

Ingredients

Crust:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 stick butter, melted

Filling:

  • 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla or almond extract
  • Fresh berries and mint leaves, for garnish

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine flour, brown sugar, pecans, and butter in bowl. Press dough into an ungreased 13 by 9 by 2-inch pan. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned.

For filling, beat cream cheese and granulated sugar together in a bowl until smooth, using a handheld electric mixer; add eggs and extract; beat well. Pour over crust. Bake for 20 minutes. Cool completely. Cut into squares before serving. Decorate tops with berries and mint leaves.

Pin It

Easy Sorbet

I have always stayed away from making any sort of ice cream or ice dessert. They either require some sort of ice cream maker, which I don’t have and we have enough great ice cream in Cincinnati that I haven’t felt a need to buy one, or the ice desserts always turn out like an ice cube, never the shaved ice look in the picture. This summer, I am nannying for two girls that my sister has be a summer nanny for the past five years. They are our old neighbors who we have watched grow up from babies to now being 10 and 12 years old. I wanted to do something fun with them this summer and came up with the idea of having themed weeks. They love to cook with me and it’s a way for them to learn about different cultures in a way that is fun for them.

During our first week, we learned about Thailand and Singapore. It was a little difficult to find recipes that didn’t require too many ingredients that we would only use once and to find something that we would eat. Eventually we settled on Pad Thai and Mango Sorbet as our dessert. I don’t know how much I would consider it a sorbet, because it has dairy in it, but that was the name of the recipe. The recipe is extremely easy and a variety of different fruits can be used. The first day, we followed the recipe with mangoes, but on Thursday we decided to try it with strawberries. You could make pineapple, kiwi, raspberry, strawberry-raspberry, etc.

The recipe is from About.com

Ingredients

  • Makes 1 large yogurt container-size tub of delicious mango sorbet (SERVES 6 people)
  • 2 fresh ripe mangos (for more on fresh mango, see below)
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. coconut milk
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1 small container whipping cream (about 1 cup)

Directions

  1. Slice the mangos open and scoop out all of the fruit from the skins. Don’t forget to include fruit around the stone (a knife works well for this).
  2. Place the fruit in a food processor or blender. Add the sugar and blitz for 1 minute, or until the sugar has dissolved and you are left with a delicious mango puree.
  3. Add the coconut milk and lemon juice, and briefly blitz to combine (a few seconds). *At this point you can perform an optional step - see below.
  4. Pour the mango puree into a bowl or container while you continue to use your processor/blender. Scape down the sides and bottom with a rubber spatula to remove as much of the puree as possible.
  5. Now pour the whipping cream into the processor/blender. Blitz until the cream forms stiff peaks, or is quite stiff (not runny) when dipped into with your finger.
  6. Add the mango puree to the whipped cream and blitz 5-10 seconds, or until you get a good mango-cream consistency.
  7. Pour into a large yogurt container or similar size tub and place in the freezer. Allow to freeze at least 6 hours, preferably 8.
  8. Serve the mango sorbet in bowls, or scoop into ice cream cones for the kids. (To make scooping easier, take the sorbet out of the freezer 10 to 15 minutes ahead of time). Serving Tip: For an adult treat, try drizzling over a little coconut liqueur - great for serving at a dinner party!

*Optional Step*: Some people don’t want bits of mango pieces or mango fiber in their sorbet. I actually like it, as I find it enhances the taste of the sorbet, plus it’s healthy. But if you’d rather strain it out, here’s how: Between steps 3 and 4, pour the mango puree through a strainer placed over a bowl. Use a spatula or wooden spoon to press the pulp against the bottom of the strainer in order to “wring out” every ounce of mango juice. Continue on with steps 4/5.

Pin It

Chocolate Dirt Cupcakes

I wanted to make a fun cupcake and came across this. It reminded me of the days when my family would go to TGI Friday’s and I would beg my parents for “dirt” - chocolate pudding with oreo cookies and gummy worms. Even though I usually do not like chocolate cake, this cake was moist and although rich, not too heavy.

Ingredients

Cupcake:

  • 8 ounces sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup strong brewed coffee
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs

Chocolate Fudge Frosting:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 5 (1-ounce) squares unsweetened chocolate
  • 10 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar

Topping:

  • 30 to 40 chocolate sandwich cookies
  • 36 gummy worms

Directions

For the cupcake:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 3 cupcake pans with cupcake liners.

In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients. Beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Pour into cupcake liners about 2/3 full. Bake for 16 to 18 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool in pans for 10 minutes. Remove from pans, and let cool completely on wire racks.

For the frosting:

In a medium saucepan, combine sugar and cream. Bring to a boilover medium-high heat; reduce heat, and simmer for 6 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat; add chocolate and butter, stirring until melted and smooth. Let cool for 10 minutes. Whisk in confectioners’ sugar. Let mixture cool until it reaches a spreadable consistency, then top cooled cupcakes with frosting.

For the topping:

Place cookies into a resealable plastic bag. Crush cookies with hands to make a “dirt” consistency. Sprinkle frosting with cookiecrumbs, top with gummy worm and enjoy.

Pin It

Lemon Bars

Ina Garten’s Lemon Bars are an easy dessert - and you already have most of the ingredients in your pantry. My bars did not need the full time to bake, so keep an eye on them while they are in the oven.

Ingredients

For the crust:

  • 1/2 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

For the filling:

  • 6 extra-large eggs at room temperature
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons grated lemon zest (4 to 6 lemons)
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 cup flour
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

For the crust, cream the butter and sugar until light in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Combine the flour and salt and, with the mixer on low, add to the butter until just mixed. Dump the dough onto a well-floured board and gather into a ball. Flatten the dough with floured hands and press it into a 9 by 13 by 2-inch baking sheet, building up a 1/2-inch edge on all sides. Chill.

Bake the crust for 15 to 20 minutes, until very lightly browned. Let cool on a wire rack [or put in the refigerator to cool]. Leave the oven on.

For the filling, whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and flour. Pour over the crust and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the filling is set. Let cool to room temperature.

Cut into triangles and dust with confectioners’ sugar.

Pin It

Dried Cherry-Apple turnovers

After preparing a large dinner, I don’t always have the energy to make an elaborate dessert. I love Ina Garten’s Dried Cherry-Apple turnovers because they are homemade, but they are not time consuming. Serve them warm with ice cream.

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 1/4 pounds tart apples, such as Empire or Granny Smith (3 apples)
  • 3 tablespoons dried cherries
  • 3 tablespoons sugar, plus extra to sprinkle on top
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • 1 package (17.3 ounces, 2 sheets) frozen puff pastry, defrosted
  • 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Combine the orange zest and orange juice in a bowl. Peel, quarter, and core the apples and then cut them in 3/4-inch dice. Immediately toss the apples with the zest and juice to prevent them from turning brown. Add the cherries, sugar, flour, cinnamon,nutmeg, and salt.

Flour a board and lightly roll each sheet of puff pastry to a 12 by 12-inch square. Cut each sheet into 4 smaller squares and keep chilled until ready to use.

Brush the edges of each square with the egg wash and neatly place about 1/3 cup of the apple mixture on half of the square. Fold the pastry diagonally over the apple mixture and seal by pressing the edges with a fork. Transfer to a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Brush the top with egg wash, sprinkle with sugar, make 2 small slits, and bake for 20 minutes, until browned and puffed. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Pin It

Layered Pumpkin Cheesecake

One of my roommates came across this fantastic Betty Crocker recipe. At the time, we didn’t have a cheesecake pan - Malibu was all sold out around Thanksgiving. So we decided to make them mini. We followed the recipe exactly the same, except when we baked them. The change is noted in the recipe.

Ingredients

Crust:

  • 2 cups gingersnap cookie crumbs (about 32)
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted

I used this crust recipe:

Crust:

  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
  • 12 bite-size peanut butter cups

Filling:

  • 4 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Directions

 

Heat oven to 300°F. Grease 9-inch springform pan with shortening or cooking spray. Wrap foil around pan to catch drips. In small bowl, mix cookie crumbs and butter. Press crumb mixture in bottom and 1 inch up side of pan. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until set. Cool 5 minutes.

In large bowl, beat cream cheese with electric mixer on medium speed just until smooth and creamy; do not overbeat. On low speed, gradually beat in sugar. On low speed, beat in eggs, one at a time, just until blended. Spoon 3 cups of the cream cheese mixture into pan; spread evenly.

Stir pumpkin, ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg into remaining cream cheese mixture; mix with wire whisk until smooth. Spoon over mixture in pan.

Bake 1 hour 25 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes or until edges are set but center of cheesecake still jiggles slightly when moved.

Turn oven off; open oven door at least 4 inches. Leave cheesecake in oven 30 minutes longer. Remove from oven; place on cooling rack. Without releasing side of pan, run knife around edge of pan to loosen cheesecake. Cool in pan on cooling rack 30 minutes. Cover loosely; refrigerate at least 6 hours but no longer than 24 hours.

Run knife around edge of pan to loosen cheesecake again; carefully remove side of pan. Place cheesecake on serving plate. Store cheesecake covered in refrigerator.

Pin It

Jake’s Explosive Turtle Cheesecake

I had never made Turtle Cheesecake before, and I was having a friend over for dinner for his birthday, so I thought it would be the perfect time to make it. The recipe was easy to follow and the instructions were clear. Thanks to Emeril and Jacob Thomas, I will definitely keep this recipe and make it in the future. I loved the toppings they chose, how there is a layer of chocolate underneath the caramel topping.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups chocolate cookie crumbs (recommended: Oreo)
  • 1 cup sugar, plus 4 tablespoons
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus 3 tablespoons
  • 2 1/2 pounds cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips, plus 1 cup melted
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips, for topping
  • 1 cup caramel, for topping
  • 1 cup pecans, for topping

Directions

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Lightly grease the bottom and side of a 9-inch springform pan. In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine the cookie crumbs, 4 tablespoons of sugar, and the melted butter and mix together well. Pour the crumbs into the bottom of the pan and press them out evenly. Once completed, set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, the rest of the sugar, and vanilla. Beat together until light and creamy. Add the flour and blend until smooth. With the first cup of chocolate chips, fold into filling. Pour in a melted cup of the chocolate chips and sour cream and mix well. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, mixing each at low speed. Pour the filling into prepared pan, bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, until the center is almost set. Let cake cool for 10 minutes, then run a knife around the sides and remove rim of the pan. Refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.

In a small saucepan, melt 3 tablespoons of butter and pour in chocolate chips. Mix together on medium-low heat. Once chocolateand butter is combined, pour warm mixture onto chilled cake. Refrigerate for 10 to 15 minutes. In another small saucepan, pour in caramel and chopped pecans, bring to a boil. Let mixture boil for another 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Let mixture cool for 3 to 5 minutes, and pour onto cake. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve.

Pin It

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Paula Deen’s Pumpkin Cheesecake was the first cheesecake I ever made. After pouring all of the mix into the crust, I tasted a little bit to make sure I liked it. That’s when I realized I had forgotten to put in the sugar. After pouring it back into the mixing bowl and back into the pan, I was able to bake a “successful” cheesecake.

Ingredients

Crust:

  • 1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 stick melted salted butter

Filling:

  • 3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 (15-ounce) can pureed pumpkin
  • 3 eggs plus 1 egg yolk
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

For crust:

In medium bowl, combine crumbs, sugar and cinnamon. Add melted butter. Press down flat into a 9-inch springform pan. Set aside.

For filling:

Beat cream cheese until smooth. Add pumpkin puree, eggs, egg yolk, sour cream, sugar and the spices. Add flour and vanilla. Beat together until well combined.

Pour into crust. Spread out evenly and place oven for 1 hour. Remove from the oven and let sit for 15 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours.