Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Lemon Truffle Pie



While I don't consider myself a "pie person", I do occasionally like a slice. I prefer the cool and creamy pies as opposed to fruit pies.

This Lemon Truffle Pie has been in my family for quite a while. I think my dad found it in our local newspaper. When he was forced to take an early retirement, he tried to find ways to keep himself busy. He spent a lot of time in the kitchen, with soups and pies being his specialties. When he made this pie one weekend I came home from college (again, I said "quite a while") we all were immediately hooked.

This is easily my favorite pie. I love the sweet and creamy white chocolate cream cheese layer, and when paired with the tangy lemon curd layer, it really is a match made in heaven.

The recipe instructions may seem a bit tedious, but the extra work and the extra dirty dishes are so worth it. I promise!




Lemon Truffle Pie
Recipe loosely adapted from Pillsbury

1 graham cracker crust pie shell
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup water
2 egg yolks, beaten
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 cup chopped white chocolate bar or white chocolate chips
1 (8oz) package of cream cheese, softened

Prepare pie shell according to directions.

In a 2-quart saucepan, mix together the sugar, cornstarch and flour. Gradually stir in the water until smooth. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture boils. Reduce the heat to low and cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly.

Remove from the heat and stir in about 1/4 cup of the hot mixture into the beaten egg yolks until well blended. Stir egg yolk mixture into the mixture in the saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture boils. Cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly.

Remove from the heat. Stir in the butter, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Place 1/3 cup hot filling mixture in 1-quart saucepan; cool the remaining lemon mixture for 15 minutes. Next, stir in the white chocolate chips into the hot mixture; cook and stir over low heat just until the chips are melted. 

In a small bowl with an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese on medium speed until fluffy. Beat in melted white chocolate chip mixture until well blended. Spread in the bottom of cooled pie shell. Spoon lemon mixture evenly over the cream cheese layer. Refrigerate until set, which is about 2-3 hours.



 

Monday, July 7, 2014

Brown Sugar Cinnamon Biscotti



I love making food to give as gifts and this Brown Sugar Cinnamon Biscotti is perfect for giving. I made some for my mother and she went crazy over it. I meant to make her some for Mother's Day but never had the chance to make it. I've been promising her since then to make her a batch. (Yes, I know it's now July and I'm currently in the running for worst daughter ever)  :)

I love this recipe. The brown sugar is awesome and cinnamon is my favorite spice. While I'm not crazy about biscotti in general, I really liked this one. It's definitely a keeper.

Now if I can just find the time to make my mom a big batch.



Brown Sugar Cinnamon Biscotti
Recipe from The King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion

6 tablespoons unsalted butter
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 eggs, large
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup cinnamon chips
1 cup chopped walnuts, toasted (if you want)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium-sized bowl, beat the butter, brown sugar, salt, vanilla, and baking powder until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Beat in the eggs; the batter may look slightly curdled. Lower the mixer speed, add the flour and cinnamon and mix until smooth. Next, stir in the cinnamon chips and toasted walnuts. The dough will be quite soft and sticky, but should hold its shape when you drop it from a spoon. 

Transfer the dough to the prepared baking sheet, shaping it into a rough log about 14 inches long. It will be about 2 1/2 inches wide and about 3/4 inch thick.

Bake the dough for 25 minutes. Remove it from the oven and let cool on the pan anywhere from 5 to 25 minutes. Five minutes before cutting, use a spray bottle filled with room temperature water to lightly but thoroughly spritz the log, making sure to cover the sides as well as the top. Softening the crust helps make slicing the biscotti easier.

Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees. Wait another 5 minutes, then cut the biscotti into 1/2 to 3/4 inch slices. How thick you slice them depends on a number of factors. This recipe, without nuts or any add-ins, is easy to slice thin. Once you start adding chips, almonds, raisins, and other chunky ingredients, a 3/4 inch slice is more realistic. When you're slicing, be sure to cut straight up and down, if you cut at an angle, biscotti may be thicker at the top than the bottom, and they'll topple over during their second bake.

Set the biscotti upright on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and transfer them to a rack to cool.

Store the biscotti in an airtight container, to preserve their texture. If they aren't as crunchy as you'd like, store them uncovered, overnight, to continue drying. Biscotti can be stored at room temperature for 1 week; for longer storage, wrap airtight and freeze.





Monday, June 30, 2014

Patriotic Whoopie Pies



Want to whip something up super quick and super cute for the upcoming Fourth of July holiday?

These incredibly easy Patriotic Whoopie Pies are perfect. Made from a boxed cake mix, these babies are not only festive, but fast and easy. I found red & blue funfetti cake mix at Aldi and immediately grabbed two boxes. I mean, at $.99 a box, how could I pass that up? Now, I'm usually a Duncan Hines girl, always will be, but I wanted to try this patriotic themed cake mix and I was not disappointed. If you can't find the red & blue funfetti cake mix in your area, just get a regular white cake mix and add in red and blue jimmies/sprinkles, probably about 1- 1/2 cup.

Happy 4th Y'all!!!


Patriotic Whoopie Pies
Recipe adapted from Jenny Steffens Hobick

1 box white cake mix (I got Patriotic funfetti cake mix from Aldi)
3 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon almond extract

Buttercream filling:
1 stick butter, softened
4 cups powdered sugar
2-3 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon almond extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the cake mix, eggs, oil, water, and almond extract.  Mix together until well combined.

Scoop out the batter into rounded mounds onto the lined baking sheet using a small ice cream scoop. You can just use the back of the spoon to round out the batter into circles.

Bake for about 8 minutes. DO NOT over bake! The cakes will bounce back when you touch the tops. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.

Next, for the buttercream filling, cream the butter in a large mixing bowl for about 1 minute. Add the almond extract and then the powdered sugar one cup at a time. It may seem crumbly at first, but just keep mixing; it will come together. This is when I add some milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, getting the buttercream to a nice spreading/piping consistency.

Spread or pipe buttercream onto flat side of one cookie and then top with another.

This recipe made about 30 or so cookies, which resulted in around 15 whoopie pies.

Enjoy!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Rolo Gooey Bars



Getting older has some advantages. One of those advantages is finding candy you hid from yourself that you bought after Easter because it was 70% off. My mother is notorious for hiding things and then totally forgetting where she put them....or totally forgetting about them period. I'm turning into my mother!!!

I tell myself when I buy all this marked down holiday candy that I'm going to use it to make stuff for my blog. However, sometimes said candy doesn't make it to the kitchen. Rolos are one of those candies. Rolos are not safe in this house. I not only have to hide them from me, I have to hide them from the hubby. After he (um, ok maybe he had a little help) devoured a bag that he found, I immediately ran to the store and grabbed another bag. That's when these Rolo Gooey Bars came about. I knew if I didn't start baking with them, the Rolos would be gone.

Finding a good gooey bar recipe was not hard for me to do. I knew exactly where to go....Dorothy from Crazy for Crust has several delicious gooey bar recipes that look absolutely fabulous. These bars are an adaptation of her Caramel Apple Gooey Bars, which I'm totally already planning on making in the fall for our annual Halloween/Fall Bonfire party. I suggest you check out her blog for other gooey bar recipes, as well as a ton of other insanely delicious looking desserts.

Rolo Gooey Bars
Recipe slightly adapted from Crazy for Crust

1 box of yellow cake mix
1 large egg
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, softened
35 Rolo candies, unwrapped
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a 8x8 or 9x9 pan with foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray.

In a large mixing bowl, mix together the cake mix, egg, and butter. A dough ball will form.

Take about half of the dough and press into the foil-lined pan. Next, top with the Rolo candies and then pour the sweetened condensed milk over the top of the Rolos. Take the remaining dough, and in large pieces, top the milk/candy layer.

Bake the bars for about 30-33 minutes or until the top begins to turn a golden brown. Once removed from the oven, let cool completely before cutting. 

 


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Patriotic Chewy Sugar Cookies




A couple of weeks ago, I was scrolling down my Facebook feed and saw a post about Operation Cookie Takeover and was immediately intrigued. Over Memorial Day weekend, The History Channel was running all sorts of military and war documentaries and I was feeling extra patriotic after watching them. Did you happen to see the 10 part series WWII in HD? If not, I highly suggest it. I've never considered myself a history buff, but it's completely interesting. Whoever remastered those films did an excellent job. Next on my DVR is The World Wars and I can't wait to start on that. 

Okay, okay, so back to the cookies. 

So, feeling super extra patriotic like I said, I immediately signed up for Operation Cookie Takeover, which is basically just volunteering to bake and send cookies to a very deserving soldier who is deployed overseas. I was so excited to be a part of this and racked my brain for several days on what kind of cookie I was going to send. I didn't want to send something that would melt or that was too delicate to handle being tossed around in transit. I finally decided on sugar cookies because they aren't extremely delicate, they are versatile, and a traditional favorite. Sugar cookies are right up there with hugs from Grandma, especially when sprinkled heavily with sanding sugars!! :)

So I decided on these Chewy Sugar Cookies from Cook's Illustrated, and I'm SO glad I did. They are definitely going to be my go-to sugar cookie recipe from now on. They were the perfect amount of chewy to crispy and tasted fabulous. To make them festive, I just rolled the sugar cookie dough balls in red, white, and blue sanding sugars.

If you are interested in finding out more about Operation Cookie Takeover, whether it's baking cookies or submitting a solider to receive cookies, check out the website at 




Patriotic Chewy Sugar Cookies

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 ounces cream cheese, cut into cubes
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and still warm
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 large egg
1 tablespoon milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Red sanding sugar
White sanding sugar
Blue sanding sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mat. 

Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl and set aside.

Place sugar and cream cheese in a large mixing bowl and pour in the warm butter. Whisk to combine. Then, whisk in the oil until combined. Next, add the egg, milk, and vanilla extract and continue to whisk until smooth. Add the flour mixture and mix together with a rubber spatula until a soft, homogeneous dough forms.

On three different plates (I used paper plates), pour out about 1/4 cup of each color sanding sugar. (i.e, blue sugar goes on one plate, red on another plate.....) Working with 1 1/2-2 tablespoons of dough at a time, roll into balls and then roll the balls in desired color of sanding sugar, making sure the ball is completely coated in sugar.

Bake 1 sheet at a time until the edges of the cookies are set, 11 to 13 minutes (I did 11 minutes exactly). Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes and then transfer them to a wire rack to cool further.

This recipe will make about 2 dozen cookies. I, of course, made more to send off and this recipe was easily doubled. 

Enjoy!
 

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Strawberry Ice Cream




After all these months of being unemployed, I FINALLY found a job. I started mid-April. It's only part-time, but it gets me out of the house for a couple of hours a day (plus) and provides us with benefits (BIG PLUS). However, for the past couple of weeks I have been working full-time due to others taking their much needed time off for vacations and stuff. At first, I didn't mind full-time because, hello much needed extra money, but man if I didn't get use to my part-time hours....these full-time hours are killing me. This blows my mind! I didn't want to become that way, so in love with my part-time hours that a full 9 hour day would throw me off kilter. BUT IT DOES! And it definitely cuts into my baking/blogging time. When I saw this recipe for fresh Strawberry Ice Cream on Lady Behind The Curtain I knew that I would definitely make time for it.

This was my third venture into ice cream making and this ice cream is totally my favorite so far. The strawberry flavor is so good and its super creamy...its just completely yummy.

 
Strawberry Ice Cream
Recipe slightly adapted from Lady Behind The Curtain

3 heaping cups of fresh strawberries, stemmed and roughly chopped
4 tablespoons of water
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups whole milk
2 3/4 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Stir together the chopped strawberries, water, and sugar in a medium sized mixing bowl. Set aside and let the strawberries macerate for around 2 hours. (Honestly, I don't think I waited that long, I was so excited to make this. I think my strawberries sat for about an hour or so, but if you can wait the whole two hours, do it!)

Next, half the strawberry mixture, but try to leave as much juice in the remaining half as possible. Then mash the berries left in the juice.

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the milk, heavy cream, mashed strawberry juice mixture, and vanilla. 

Turn the ice cream machine on and pour the mixture into the freezer bowl and allow the mixture to thickened, which will probably take around 20-25 minutes. Before mixing is done, with about 5 minutes left, add the reserved strawberries and let that mix completely.

The ice cream will be really soft, so for a nice firm ice cream, freeze in an airtight container for around 2 hours. 

This makes around 2 quarts. 



Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Strawberry Cream Cheese Muffins



I'm loving this time of year. Most people love it because summer is coming up, but I love it because of the strawberries!! 

The local strawberries this year are completely insane. And by insane, I mean fantastic. We have these roadside stands where we can buy them from a local farm. They just started selling last week and I've been by the stand three times already. My first trip there I bought some strawberries with intentions of baking, but they were so darn good, we ate most all of them.

I saw these muffins on Squirrel Bakes several years ago and wanted to make them ever since. I made changes to the cream cheese filling, but kept everything else the same. The muffin batter seemed really thick to me so next time I make these, I may try increasing the milk amount to one cup. Either way, I love the combo of the fresh strawberries and the cream cheese.




Strawberry Cream Cheese Muffins
Recipe slightly adapted from Squirrel Bakes

For the streusel topping
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoon cold butter, cubed

For the muffin
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup strawberries, cleaned and cut into small chunks

For the filling
1 (8oz) pkg cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Line a muffin pan with baking cups or grease generously.

Make the streusel topping first by combining flour, sugar, and cinnamon in a small mixing bowl.  Then, using a pastry cutter or forks, cut in the butter until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Set aside.

Now for the cream cheese filling, in a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese, powdered sugar, and extract and mix until well combined. 

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the milk, oil, and egg. Next, add the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt and stir until just moistened. The mixture will be lumpy.

Spoon in about one tablespoon of muffin batter into each muffin cup and then top with half of the diced strawberries. Then top the strawberries with the cream cheese mixture (about a tablespoon). Spoon the remaining muffin batter into each cup and then top with the remaining strawberries and then sprinkle the streusel topping on top.

Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Let cool in the pan for about 3-5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool further. If you can't wait to sink your teeth into one of these babies, REMEMBER, the strawberries are hot, hot, HOT!!

This recipe made 12 muffins for me.
 

 
 

 
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