Tag Archives: dessert

Berry Cobbler

A few days ago, I saw a recipe for a quinoa pie crust.  I immediately decided I wanted to try it.  Then, while shopping the farmer’s market today, I saw the most beautiful fresh black berries.  I knew I had a few blueberries at home that needed using and I knew I had my pie filling.  When I got home, I was sadly not in the mood for pie.  But, berries make fantastic cobbler and that is exactly what I wanted.  Not an normal cobbler though, something a little healthier.  I scoured Pinterest and got some ideas, but nothing just right.  A little of this and a little of that later, this cobbler was born and boy am I glad I did.  You will be too.

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Start by placing your berries in a small baking dish.  Sprinkle with a tablespoon of tapioca starch and stir in a tablespoon of honey.

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Then mix up your topping.  The combination of coconut flour, tapioca starch, quinoa, flax meal and sunflower seeds gives this topping a light texture and a delightful nutty flavor.  Using coconut sugar helps keep the glycemic index down.

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Spread the topping gently over the berries.  Bake the whole thing at 350* for 30-35 minutes.  The top will get wonderfully brown and sightly cracked and the filling will bubble up around the edges.

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And, if that’s not enough guilt-free indulgence for you, top it with a scoop of ‘ice cream’ made from frozen bananas.  I promise you won’t regret it (unless, of course, you’re allergic to bananas, then go ahead and skip it).

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Recipe:

Filling:

3 cups fresh or frozen berries

1 Tablespoon tapioca starch

1 Tablespoon honey (if desired)

Topping:

1/4 cup coconut flour

1/4 cup tapioca starch

1/4 cup quinoa

2 Tablespoons flax meal

2 Tablespoons sunflower seed kernals (I used salted, if yours aren’t, add a pinch of salt)

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 cup coconut sugar (can reduce this if you choose)

1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

1 egg

2 Tablespoons melted butter (or coconut oil for dairy free)

Preheat oven to 350*.

Stir together berries, 1 Tablespoon tapioca starch and honey.  Place in baking dish.

Stir together coconut flour, 1/4 cup tapioca starch, quinoa, flax meal, sunflower seeds, baking powder, cinnamon and coconut sugar.  Beat together almond milk and egg.  Stir into dry ingredients.  Stir in melted butter.

Gently spread topping evenly over the top of the berries.  Bake at 350* for 30-35 minutes.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Cookies are my weakness.  I could eat this entire batch alone – that is IF they even made it to the oven before I ate all the dough.  I try to only make them if I am planning to take them somewhere.  That is about the only way I can avoid temptation.  This recipe yields a cookie that is crispy around the edges and chewy in the middle.  If you’re looking for a tall, soft cookie, this is NOT it.  It’s a matter of preference, really, and I just prefer these.

Creaming the butter and the sugar is really important in a good cookie.  I whip my butter until it is light and fluffy before I even add any sugar.

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After you add the sugar, be sure you let it go until it is light and fluffy again.  Then add the vanilla and one egg at a time and beat until they are completely incorporated.  Add your dry ingredients and as soon as the dough comes together add your chocolate chips.  I don’t stir mine in by hand.  Sure the paddle on my mixer breaks a few of them up, but not that many.  And, really, they’re going to melt when they bake anyway.  This recipe has a little chile powder in the mix.  Don’t be afraid.  It isn’t enough to make your cookies spicy, but it adds depth of flavor.  I rarely make chocolate chip cookies without it anymore. Scoop the dough onto your cookie sheets and bake.

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I baked half of this recipe on my countertop rotating oven and half in the conventional oven.  Here’s a halfway shot from the cookies baking on the countertop oven.

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After the cookies cooled, I put them all on one plate.  The countertop oven is on the left, the conventional oven is on the right.  If you only want to bake a few cookies, the countertop oven is definitely a time saver, but for a whole batch it just isn’t practical.  Of course, they do look prettier, so there’s that to consider.

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Recipe:

2 sticks room temperature unsalted butter

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 1/4 cup flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon red chile powder

2 cups dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350*

Beat butter until it is fluffy and light in color.  Cream butter with sugars.  Add vanilla and one egg at a time.  Beat until each egg is completely incorporated and scrape down sides of bowl between eggs.  With mixer on its lowest setting, add flour, baking soda, salt and chile powder.  When those are just incorporated, add chocolate chips and stir through (seriously I count to 3 or 4 is all).

Drop cookies by spoonful onto ungreased cookie sheets leaving 1″ between cookies.  Bake at 350* or 8-10 minutes.

German Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars

A while back, I tried making these.  The end result was absolutely decadent, but not at all what I was hoping for.  I posted that recipe as German Chocolate Brownies.  But, I didn’t give up on getting a german chocolate crust with a gooey pecan pie filling on top. I get a little obsessive whem I have an idea in my head and can’t seem to make it work. I searched and calculated and combined and tweaked and finally came up with this recipe.  I will never make these just for my family, because if I did, I would eat the entire 9×13 pan all by myself.  They’re THAT good.

Start by making the crust.  You’re making a shortbread here, so it should be crumbly.  You’ll have to press it into your pan. I certainly recommend lining your pan with parchment paper or buttered foil.  Use your fingers to make sure the crust goes into all corners and is even across the bottom.

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Bake and cool the crust.  Cooling helps the crust set so that your pie filling doesn’t just soak into the crust.  If you have a dish that can stand going from fridge to oven, even better.  The longer you let it cool and the colder the crust is, the more definition you will have between pie and crust.  When the crust is cool, top it with your pie filling and bake until golden brown and bubbly.

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Allow bars to cool completely. The smell is going to kill you, but you really should wait.  Hot boiling sugar is not good for your fingers or your mouth.  I learned this lesson so you don’t have to.  You’re welcome.  When they finally cool, lift the whole thing out of the pan carefully.  Place on a flat surface and cut. Use a serrated knife so that you can cut through the pecans without destroying the bars.  Try to resist eating the whole pan before your family even knows you made them.  I dare you.

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Recipe:

Crust:

4 ounces German’s Sweet Chocolate

1 Tablespoon buttermilk

1 cup butter – room temperature

1 cup powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 1/2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

Coconut Pecan Pie Filling:

2 Talbespoons melted butter

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup light corn syrup

3 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/2 cup pecans

1 1/2 cup shredded coconut.

Preheat oven to 350*. Line 13×9 baking pan with parchment paper or buttered foil.

Grate German chocolate into a microwave safe bowl. Add buttermilk.  Microwave for 30 seconds. Stir until chocolate is completely melted.

In a different bowl, cream 1 cup butter and powdered sugar until completely combined.  Add chocolate and vanilla and mix well.  Mix in flour and salt until just combined.

Press crust mixture evenly into prepared pan.  Bake at 350* for 15 minutes.  Allow to cool completely (2-3 hours in the refrigerator is ideal, but a half hour on the counter will work).

Combine melted butter, granulated sugar, corn syrup, eggs and vanilla in a bowl.  Stir in pecan and coconut.

Pour filling mixture over cooled crust.  Bake at 350* for 35 minutes or until filling is bubbly and golden brown.

Cool completely before slicing with serrated knife.

Pumpkin Pops

What I’m about to say to you will come as no surprise to my friends and family.  I LOVE pumpkin.  Pumpkin pie, pumpkin pasta, pumpkin soup, pumpkin pudding, pumpkin bread, pumpkin ice cream, pumpkin spice latte (ok, so that last one isn’t really pumpkin, but I like it all the same).  I’m always excited when fall comes around because suddenly it is ok to over-indulge in my pumpkin love.  No one thinks I’m crazy for putting pumpkin in almost anything.  My big weakness is a certain pumpkin pie ice cream confection from a nationally recognized member of dairy royalty.  And the fact that it only comes out once a year just kills me.  Plus, the calorie and sugar counts kill my waistline.  That is why I developed these pumpkin pops.  They satisfy that pumpkin dessert craving without destroying the health benefits of pumpkin by adding a bunch of cream and sugar.

I didn’t take pictures of the process, but it isn’t that hard.  I throw all the ingredients in a blender and whiz it up until it is completely smooth.  Since all of the ingredients are smooth to start with, this doesn’t take long.  Then, I pour it into my popsicle molds.  If you don’t have a popsicle mold (you really should get one) you can always use paper cups and popsicle sticks or and ice cube tray and toothpicks or just freeze it in a bowl and eat it with a spoon (though you’ll have to let this last one stand at room temperature for a bit to soften some). These take a while to freeze, so I’d make them early in the day or even the night before. Run a little warm water over the outside of your mold to help the pops release and enjoy all the flavor with almost none of the guilt. (Oh, and those missing pops, those are the ones I gave to my boys.  If they see these, they won’t leave me alone until they have one).

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Recipe:

1 can pumpkin puree

1 5.3 ounce container vanilla Greek yogurt

3/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

2 teaspoons real maple syrup.

Place all ingredients in blender.  Blend until mixed well and completely smooth.  Pour into popsicle molds.  Freeze at least 4 hours.

Whipped Cream

Sometimes you just need something simple.  And, adding a simple home-made element can transform even the most mundane dessert.  My husband loves chocolate pudding pie.  For me, it’s kinda eh.  If I’m going to spend all that time cooking and cooling a custard, I’d much rather have banana pudding or coconut cream pie.  So, a compromise.  I par-bake a store bought graham cracker crust and whip up some instant chocolate pudding.  Then, I top it with home-made whipped cream.  The result is a simple dessert that is far superior than the ones topped with frozen whipped topping and almost as simple.  We took this pie to a church potluck a couple of weeks ago and it was gone before I even made it to the dessert table (and there was plenty of competition).  This whipped cream subs nicely into any dessert calling for frozen whipped topping, just remember that it isn’t as stable.  After 3 or 4 days in the fridge it will start to loose it’s whip.  You can extend that a little by using powdered sugar as opposed to granulated, but I don’t like the mouth feel quite as much when I make that substitution.

First, chill your mixing bowl and whisk.  Everything comes together faster if the cream and tools are super cold.  I just toss mine in the freezer for about 5 minutes or so.  Then, pour the cold cream into the cold bowl and set your mixer on medium to medium high speed.  You don’t want it too high just yet or you’ll cover your kitchen in liquid cream.  Not fun, trust me.  When the cream starts to thicken and little bubbles show up, add the sugar and vanilla and kick up the speed. It took about 2 minutes for my mixer to get it to this point.

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Continue whipping on high speed until stiff peaks form.  I like my cream nice and stiff.  Some people will stop at soft peaks and that’s fine, just realize your whipped cream will fall flat even more quickly.  However, be careful to not whip too long.  If you do, the solids and liquids will separate and you’ll have some delicious sweetened butter.  I stop just when the cream starts to lose its shine.

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Use anywhere you’d normally use whipped topping.  This is only mildly sweet.  If you like your whipped cream sweeter, by all means, add some more sugar.

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Recipe:

2 cups heavy whipping cream

2 Tablespoons granulated sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

Chill a mixing bowl and whisk attachment in the freezer for 5 minutes.

Pour cream into chilled bowl and whip at medium speed until frothy but not set (about 2 minutes).

Sprinkle in granulated sugar and vanilla.  Increase mixer speed to high and whip until cream is set and just starts to lose its gloss.  Cream should hold its shape when you lift the whisk.

Sour Cream Cheesecake with Raspberries

I like the idea of cheesecake.  Sweet, creamy, indulgent.  Then I order it and it’s dense, thick and coats the inside of my mouth in a way that is very unpleasant to me.  I pay $6 for the slice and I’m done by the third or fourth bite.  A few years ago, I found the solution in Giada de Laurentiis’ cheesecake recipe.  Mascarpone cheese and a little lemon lightened the flavor and texture and I was in heaven.  That is, until the local grocery stores stopped carrying mascarpone cheese.  And thus, this recipe was born.  It’s light and fluffy but still rich and decadent.  And, it is oh so forgiving.  If you’re afraid of ruining a cheesecake by over baking, this is the recipe for you! I over baked my sample so badly it was cracked all the way across and almost all the way to the bottom of the filling.  After cooling and refrigerating, it was just as soft, moist and delicious as ever.  And, whatever you top it with will cover up any cracks you might have anyway.

Start by crushing up some graham crackers (or take some help from the store and just by the box of crumbs).  Stir in some sugar, cinnamon and melted butter. Press into the bottom of a springform pan.  I press my crumbs slightly up the sides, but that is completely my preference.  I also use a glass to pack the crust in tight.  Then bake until crust is set and lightly brown.

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Mix together the cream cheese, sour cream, vanilla, lemon juice and sugar.  Add eggs one at a time and mix until smooth.  Make sure you scrape down the sides of your mixing bowl and mix it in.

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If you haven’t already, be sure to wrap the outside of your springform pan with several layers of aluminum foil. This will keep water from seeping into your springform pan while the cheesecake bakes.  Pour your cheese mixture over the pre-baked and cooled crust.  Place pan into a roasting pan half-full of hot water and bake until almost set.  Cake should jiggle just a bit when you shake the pan. Remove and cool for an hour before refrigerating.

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Once the cake is chilled, top with fresh raspberries and brush with melted jelly – just to make it look pretty.

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Recipe:

Crust:

1 2/3 cup graham cracker crumbs

3 Tablespoons sugar

½ teaspoon cinnamon

6 Tablespoons melted butter

Filling:

3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese (room temperature)

1 cup sour cream (room temperature)

1 ¼ cup sugar

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 eggs (room temperature)

Topping:

1 ½ cups fresh raspberries

2 Tablespoons raspberry or blackberry jelly, seedless

For the crust:

Preheat oven to 350*

Tightly wrap the outside of a 9-inch diameter springform pan with 2-3 layers of aluminum foil. Stir together graham cracker crumbs, sugar and cinnamon. Add melted butter and stir until all crumbs are moist. Press into the bottom and about 1/4-1/2” up the sides of springform pan. Use the bottom of a glass to lightly pack the crust into shape. Bake crust until set and lightly browned, about 12 minutes.

Remove crust from oven and lower oven temperature to 325* Place a large roasting pan ½ full of water into the oven.

For the filling:

Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and sour cream until well combined. Add sugar and beat until smooth, scraping sides occasionally. Beat in the lemon juice and vanilla. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended and scraping down sides after each addition.

Pour the cheese mixture over the prepared crust. Carefully place springform pan into the hot roasting pan and water. Bake until the center of the cheesecake moves slightly when the pan is gently shaken. Start checking at 1 hour (cake may take up to 1 ½ hours).

Remove from oven and cool on counter for 1 hour. Refrigerate until cold (at least 2 hours).

For topping:

Arrange raspberries in concentric circles on top of cold cheesecake. Microwave jam for 30 seconds, or until melted. Use a pastry brush to carefully brush raspberries with melted jam.

Store in refrigerator and serve cold.

A Few Days Off – Helping Out

Just a heads up to all my readers.  This is a busy weekend for me, so I won’t be posting any new recipes until Monday.  In addition to the usual football game and church, my husband’s birthday is tomorrow and I’ve got to clean the house up for company and cook for him.

Just as exciting as that, is the spaghetti dinner, silent auction and dessert auction I’m helping with on Saturday.  I’m making two desserts and helping before, during and after the dinner.  I am so thankful to be part of helping a loving family bring home two special-needs children, a girl and a boy.  International adoption is expensive, but watching God provide a way has been such a blessing.  If you’d like to read about the Bowling family’s adoption journey, you can do so here.  You can also find a link to their donation page on that blog. If you live near me, come out for the spaghetti dinner Saturday night.  If you don’t, you can still participate by bidding on silent auction items online.  They can be found here.    Online bidding ends on Saturday at noon MST.  Enter your email address and message in the box on the right side of the page to place your bid on one of these fabulous auction items.  All monies raised goes directly to bringing these beautiful children to their loving family.