Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Glazed Lemon Blueberry Loaf

I can't believe it's already September? Really? 

It's the beginning of my favorite time of year. I love fall. LOVE IT! Football, cooler temps, pumpkin EVERYTHING, I could go on. Speaking of pumpkin, have you been to Bath & Body lately? Oh. Em. Gee. I went bonkers over all the pumpkin candles, pumpkin soaps, pumpkin room sprays, and pumpkin plug-ins (called wall-flowers, if you want to be technical).  Good-Bye paycheck! :)

Anyhoo - with all my obsessive behavior over all things pumpkin and fall, I still think it's slightly too early to bring it all out. Oh yes, I'm pinning all those wonderful pumpkin recipes I see on Pinterest and I've got my pumpkin candles in my hall closet ready to be lit. But I can't bring myself to bring them out yet. I mean, it's still 88 degrees outside. Yuck.

I'm still enjoying finishing up all the great summer fruits and goodies. A couple of weeks ago, my family and I were out and about and found a great deal on some local blueberries. While I'm not a huge blueberry fan, I couldn't pass them up. They were so juicy and flavorful, better than any blueberry I've ever had. We bought a lot, since I knew I wanted to bake with them. One of the things I made was this Glazed Lemon Blueberry Loaf. I cannot stress enough how well lemon and blueberry go together. It's like magic. This loaf (c'mon, it's cake) was super moist and the perfect blend of tart and sweet, especially with the lemon glaze.

So if you have blueberries to use up, make this. And then join me in pumpkin overload preparation, 'cause you know it's coming.

Glazed Lemon Blueberry Loaf 
Recipe barely adapted from Tina's Chic Corner

1 cup sour cream
1 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs
Zest of one lemon
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup oil
1 1/2 cup PLUS 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, divided
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries

For glaze:
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x5 loaf pan. Set aside.

In a small bowl, mix together the blueberries and the 1 tablespoon of flour. Make sure all the blueberries are coated with flour and set aside. (Coating the blueberries in flour helps to ensure that all the blueberries don't sink to the bottom)

In a large mixing bowl, combine the sour cream, sugar, eggs, lemon zest, lemon juice, vanilla extract, oil, and stir until combined. Set aside.

In another large mixing bowl, whisk together the remaining flour (1 1/2 cups), baking powder, and salt. Then, slowly add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and stir until smooth. 

Next, carefully stir in the blueberries until they are just mixed into the batter. Bake for 50-55 minutes or until a cake tester, or toothpick, inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. (I baked right at 50 minutes).

Let the loaf cool in the loaf pan for about 15-20 minutes, then place on wire rack to cool further. While it is cooling, you can make the glaze.

In a small bowl, add the powdered sugar and lemon juice and stir until combined and smooth. I like my glaze a little thicker, but if you like thinner, you may need to add more juice; it's totally your call here. Spoon the glaze over the top of the loaf. Remember to have some parchment paper or a baking sheet under your wire rack so you won't have glaze all over your counter tops! :)

I stored this loaf wrapped in plastic wrap on my counter for a few days, but you might want to store in an air tight container as the blueberries kind of leaked a little and left some stickiness on my counters. I haven't tried freezing this loaf, but I don't see why it wouldn't freeze well, just wrap tight in tin foil and place in a freezer bag. 


Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Ham & Cheese Scones

Well, school is starting up for a lot of people and everyone is getting back into their routines. We are going to have a kindergartener this year so I'm kinda freaking out about getting a routine down. We aren't nervous about school. Oh no! Lady H has been talking about it and asking me 18 times a day, "Do I go to school tomorrow?" She is actually going on Thursday. The elementary school she is going to attend is doing the kindergarten schedule in staggered days, meaning 5-6 kids go one day, another group goes on another day, and so forth. I think it's to off-set the overwhelmingness of starting school. She will start full-time on Monday. 

I have NO DOUBT Lady H will do just fine. Being an only child, she craves being around other kids and making friends. For the past five years, we've been blessed by the fact that my husband works from home and we didn't have to pay a dime for childcare. However, Lady H didn't have the much needed interaction with other children. But I can say that my husband deserves some kind of "father/husband/agent of the past five years award". So we know who is most excited about H starting school, right? LOL!

I know it is going to take all of us a couple of weeks to get a routine down. I'm really hoping that we can all adjust and stay sane (and friendly).  Hee-hee. 

I'm a huge believer that a good breakfast makes your day. These ham & cheese scones are perfect for a busy morning when you need a quick, grab-n-go breakfast. Make them the night before and just heat them up the next morning.

Happy Back to School everyone!!

Ham & Cheese Scones
Recipe slightly adapted from myrecipes

2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons cold butter, cut into cubes
3/4 cup sharp cheddar, shredded
3/4 cup ham, diced
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 large egg whites

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt.  Cut in the cold butter with a pastry blender or 2 forks until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in the cheese and ham. Combine the buttermilk and egg whites, stirring with a whisk. Add to the flour mixture and stir until just moist.
  2. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead lightly 4-5 times with floured hands. Pat the dough into an 8-inch circle and cut into 8 wedges. Place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until lightly browned. 
  4. Makes 8 scones.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Peanut Butter Cookies & Cream Ice Cream

I'm less than a week away from being a parent of a kindergartner!

Where did the time go?  For real.

I'm not overly emotional about it (yet). I am, however, overwhelmed. Making sure all the school supplies are bought, going to mandatory parent meetings, getting into a routine.....it stresses me out. And everyone knows a good cure for stress is ...... ICE CREAM.

So, the other day I finally gave in and bought the Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Oreos.

Oh my.

I wasn't going to give in because I've been a little perturbed with Oreo, lately. I mean, Watermelon Oreos? Seriously, Nabisco, what were you thinking? Fruit Punch Oreos? Um, no.  Were there five year old kids running the R&D department that week? I mean, really.

But, they totally redeemed themselves with these wonderfully peanut buttery Oreos. So, I thought I would take it up a notch and throw them into some homemade peanut butter ice cream. Best decision I've made in a while.

Peanut Butter Cookies & Cream Ice Cream
PB ice cream base from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz

3/4 cup smooth peanut butter
3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
2 2/3 cups half-and-half
Pinch of salt
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
10-12 Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Oreos, coarsely chopped

Puree the peanut butter, sugar, half-and-half, salt and vanilla extract in a blender or food processor until smooth.  Chill the mixture thoroughly in the fridge (I did overnight), then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions. With about 5 minutes left in the freezing process, add the chopped Oreos carefully. Next, transfer the mixture into a freezer safe container and finish freezing ice cream, about 2-4 hours.

Makes 1 quart.

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.


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. 


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