Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Key Lime Pie Ice Cream & Flavor of the Month

Bridget from Bake at 350 has started a new baking group and I’vebakeat350_flavor_small decided to throw my hat in.  In the past I’ve been leery of joining any of the groups.  There are so many talented bakers and bloggers I felt that I really wasn’t up to their standards.  It didn’t help that I also hate deadlines.  I tend to leave things to the last minute. Then of course life decides to throw me curveball and I’m scrambling to get done even later than I intended. Well, no more!  While I still have a waaays to go before I’d consider myself proficient  I am more confident in what skills I do have.  So with that said I’ve join The Flavor of the Month


This month’s flavor was pie.  The rules are simple make and blog about anything “pie”. Then post on the last or second to the last day of the month.  When I first saw that we were doing “pie” my thoughts were great the one thing I haven’t yet tried to make.  Knowing for my first “challenge” I didn’t want to go too far outside my comfort zone I racked my brain for something pie but not in the traditional sense.  Last week while catching up on my blog reads I was ecstatic to see Key Lime Pie Ice Cream on Erin’s blog, Erin’s Food Files. Yay, this was what I was making as my entry, Key Lime Pie Ice Cream!


Key Lime Pie Ice Cream
from Cooking Light
1 1/2 cups 2% reduced-fat milk
1/2 cup bottled Key lime juice (such as Nellie and Joe's)
1/2 cup whipping cream
Dash of salt
1 (14-ounce) can fat-free sweetened condensed milk
6 graham crackers (1 1/2 cookie sheets), coarsely crushed, divided (I didn’t crush mine but broke them into big pieces.)
Key lime wedges (optional)
Combine first 5 ingredients, stirring with a whisk. Pour mixture into freezer can of an ice-cream freezer, and freeze according to manufacturer's instructions. Stir 1/3 cup graham crackers into ice cream. (I gently added mine after I stopped churning it and spooned it out.) Spoon ice cream into a freezer-safe container, and cover and freeze for 1 hour or until firm. Sprinkle each serving with 1 teaspoon graham crackers. Garnish with lime wedges, if desired. (I broke up several more graham crackers and layered them on the bottom of my glass then topped ‘em with two big scoops of key lime pie ice cream.  Top the scoops with cool whip (which oddly enough tasted better to me than whipped cream with this).  Garnish with zest and lime slice and you have Key Lime Pie Ice Cream Sundae! )
Yield 6 servings (3/4 cup) Calories: 317; Fat: 9.5g (sat 5.3g,mono 2.7g,poly 0.3g); Protein: 8.8g; Carbohydrate: 50.3g; Fiber: 0.1g; Cholesterol: 36mg; Iron: 0.4mg; Sodium: 190mg; Calcium: 275mg


I’ve you like lime, like tart and tangy then this is for YOU!  This might be my new fave ice cream of the summer.  It’s so good I’ve kept quiet about it.  Thank goodness the Twins don’t read my blog (Though they do tell everyone about it!  They’re proud of their Mama!  :)) The only one who knows about it is Babygirl and she’s still up in the air about it.

DSC01987 Btw, I had every intention of making homemade graham crackers as seen here but time and other baking ventures yummily got in my way.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Disappearing Strawberry Shortcake Cake

DSC01833I first saw this lovely cake on the blog, The Kitchen Sink Recipes and then again on Monica’s blog, Lick the Bowl Good.  I don’t recall The Kitchen Sink Recipes mentioning any problems with her strawberries sinking but I know Monica said that some of her berries did.  I spent a lot of time arranging my strawberries in a pretty pattern and matching up like sizes.  My strawberries? They disappeared altogether.  So much so that when I took the cake out of the oven Babygirl exclaimed, “What happened to the strawberries? Ooooo, you messed up!”  Too funny.  She said it like I was in trouble. The reason she thought I messed up was because before baking my cake I showed Babygirl Monica’s photos of her cake. 


Despite the fact that my strawberries sunk the cake was a hit with all three of my children and the Twins’ friend, Deacon who happened to be spending  the night.  I had one slice and they gobbled up the rest leaving nary a crumb.  My favorite part was the crust that formed on top from theDSC01827 raw sugar.  I wasn’t crazy about the berry portion but that’s not surprising as warm mushy fruit usually doesn’t do it for me.  I prefer for the berries to be pureed and then added.  I have though recently made several yummy desserts with blackberries that Babygirl and Jalen picked and brought back to me from PopPop’s farm in NC.  I  really liked them so maybe it was just the strawberries this time.  I’ll be telling you more about them at a later time.


Disappearing Strawberry Shortcake Cake

  • 6 Tbs unsalted butter, softened, plus more for pie plate
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbs raw sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (I go the milk & vinegar route)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract (I used vanilla bean paste) 
  • 1 pound fresh strawberries, hulled and halved

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 10-inch pie plate. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together into a medium bowl.

Put butter and 1 cup sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to medium-low; mix in egg, buttermilk, and vanilla.

Reduce speed to low; gradually mix in flour mixture. Transfer batter to buttered pie plate. Arrange strawberries on top of batter, cut sides down and as close together as possible. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons raw or granulated sugar over berries.

Bake cake 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. Bake until cake is golden brown and firm to the touch, about 1 hour. Let cool in pie plate on a wire rack. Cut into wedges. Cake can be stored at room temperature, loosely covered, up to 2 days.


NOTE: You can use all strawberries (1 pound) or a combination of berries that you prefer. Use enough to cover the top of the batter and pray that your berries don’t disappear. If your berries should disappear flip it out of the pie plate and call it a upside down cake.   (Wish I would have thought of that BEFORE.)


Sunday, July 26, 2009

A New Favorite “Salted” Blondies


I really love this blondie recipe.  I saw the photo for it on Tastespotting, followed it over to The Delicious Life, and made the original recipe which was a very yummy Heath Bar Blondies.  Sarah is right in that this is the easiest dessert. 


The Heath Bar Blondies went so fast I didn’t get to take any photos.  (Monica, I stink!) Because they were so good I had no problems baking a second batch a day or two later so I could photos to share with you.  I did though decide to shake things up a bit.  The photos you see here are of the second batch made with Ghirardelli white chocolate chips and (half ) topped with macadamia nuts.   Next time the whole thing gets nuts!

DSC01780I think what made me fall in love with these blondies was the occasional hint of salty from the coarse sea salt I used.  I now realize what everyone was talking about last year when they were topping everything with a sprinkling of sea salt.   You guys know what you’re talking about.  Who am I to question!


DSC01783This just may be my new “go to” recipe for blondies.  (Nope!  This recipe won’t be used as the base of my beloved snickerdoodle blondies!  :)) I’m certain butterscotch chips would be a yummy addition but I’m thinking chopped PB cups next.

Heath Bar Blondies Recipe

Preheat oven to 350. Grease 9×9 baking pan. (You can use an 8×8; the blondies will just be slightly taller.)

Into a large mixing bowl, sift together: 1 c. all-purpose flour, ½ tsp baking powder, 1/8 tsp baking soda, and ½ tsp salt (I used coarse sea salt. For the second batch I wasn’t as careful to measure a 1/2 tsp which meant I added a granule or two more).

In a large bowl, beat together 1 c brown sugar with 1 stick melted butter. Add 1 large egg and ¼ tsp vanilla.

Stir the flour mixture into the butter mixture along with 1 c. coarsely chopped Heath bars(I used Heath baking pieces with the first batch & then white chocolate chips for the second.  On the second batch I also topped half the pan with a handful of chopped macadamia nuts.) Pour batter into pan.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool (if you have the patience, I didn’t which is why you see a missing piece!) before cutting into squares.


I know I posted a lot of photos but I couldn’t help it.  I just LOVED these blondies.  They were also delish nuked for about 1o seconds and topped with vanilla ice cream. :)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A Tale of Two (Mini) Cheesecakes.

The story starts off like this41NSB26523L__SL500_AA280_…. for Mother’s Day, Daddy, my father that  lives in New York sent me a Mother’s Day card along with a check to buy myself a gift.  With that no guilt money I bought this mini cheesecake pan which I had been lusting over for sometime.  (btw, it’s now even cheaper!)  I’m happy to say that I actually used it the very same day I received it in the mail.  Wondering what recipe to make and excitedly opening the package I found a cheesecake recipe printed right on the side box.  Not only was it a recipe made to use with this particular pan it turned out to be a very good recipe.  The recipe came together very quickly and with no trouble at all.  The most troublesome part is the waiting.  Wait for the cream cheese to soften.  Wait for the cheesecakes to chill. 


NorPro Mini Cheesecakes


  • 1 (12 oz) package of vanilla wafers or favorite cookie (I used oreos)
  • 2 (8 oz) packages of cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 C. white sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temp
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (I also added a splash of almond & didn’t quite add the full amt of vanilla)


Preheat oven to 35o.  Lightly grease tins.  Crush cookies (I added a couple of TB of melted butter to help in bind it together.) and even place crushed cookies into each tin.  In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, eggs and vanilla until light and fluffy.  Fill each tin with the cream cheese mixture, almost to the top.  Bake for 15 mins.  Cool.  (The recipe does not say anything about chilling it in the fridge for a few hours but that’s kind of a no brainer.) 


Jumping forward to few weeks ago, I saw these mini cookies and cream cheesecakes on DSC02911-1Bake or Break. Unknowingly at the very same time I spied them, Monica at Lick the Bowl Good had as well.  During the course of the week Monica and I found out that we each had intentions of baking said cheesecakes that coming weekend.  Without really verbalizing it we decided to bake these “together”.  She actually made hers earlier in the weekend and sent me along an email with some tips and I with her helpful tips in mind made my minis on Sunday night.  Please, go and hop over to check hers out.  Her photos are stellar and I know they’ll do the recipe justice.   Monica has also been very patiently waiting for me to get my butt in gear and post this!DSC02901-1

Cookies and Cream Mini Cheesecakes **

  • 42 Oreos, 30 left whole and 12 coarsely chopped
  • 2 pounds cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 275°. Line standard muffin pans with liners. Place 1 whole cookie in the bottom of each liner.

Beat cream cheese at medium speed using an electric mixer. Gradually sugar, beating until combined. Beat in vanilla.

Drizzle in eggs, a bit at a time. Beat in sour cream and salt. Stir in chopped cookies.

Divide batter among pans. Bake for about 22 minutes or until filling is set.

Cool completely on wire racks. Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight. Remove from pans just before serving.

Makes 30 cheesecakes

**The only change I made was to use my mini cheesecake pan along with my muffin pan.  With the smaller pan I adjusted the bake time and watched closely for that just set look. I ended up with twelve mini cheesecakes and six standard muffin size ones.  In an email to me Monica mentioned that her cheesecakes shrunk a bit and suggested filling the batter to the top as opposed to 3/4 of the way.  I filled mine to the tippy tippy top and had no incidents of shrinkage with either pan.

This tale isn’t over as I foresee more mini cheesecakes in my future and I’m going to try using my pan for other desserts as well. 

*Note>>>Miss Karolyn took the photos of my oreo cheesecakes.

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Sunday, July 12, 2009

Just the Ganache Please

DSC01805 This isn’t about the brownies though they were very good.  This is about the ganache that I topped the brownies with.  Now this isn’t any ordinary ganache.  Not your run of the mill ganache.  No, ma’am! This is a finger licking, last drop getting peanut butter chocolate ganache!  Do you see where I’m going with this?  It was insanely good. 


For me the ganache was the perfect balance of peanut butter and chocolate.  It was so silky and smooth when I poured it over the brownies.  I don’t know if it was because the brownies were not long out of the oven but the wonderful aroma of chocolate and peanut butter was intoxicating.  I know I’m going on and on but think about it. I don’t even really like peanut butter or chocolate.  I generally avoid the two unless they’re together.  Together they’re better, good even and sometimes like with this ganache, they’re magical!


Peanut Butter Chocolate Ganache Recipe

Ingredients You Will Need: (I only made half the recipe)
1 cup heavy cream
1 ½ cups chocolate chip morsels (I used a combination of Ghirardelli semi-sweet & dark)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
¾ cup powdered sugar
½ cup smooth peanut butter

In a small saucepan, combine the cream, powdered sugar, chocolate chip morsels and butter over low heat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and add the peanut butter at the same time. Stir until smooth.

Ganache will be too hot to spread or pour. Set in the refrigerator for several minutes. Then place the ganache on the counter and stir once or twice over the next ten minutes until it has reached the desired consistency.  (I was in a hurry so I didn’t follow this step completely.)DSC01823

The brownies were for a BBQ that my neighbor across the street was having.  They started with a box mix.  I’m not certain which but I added some Reese’s mini baking cups.  From the photo you can see how they sunk to the bottom.  I hate that.  Luckily I had the peanut butter chocolate ganache to consol myself with.

* Here are some photos of the Twins playing baseball at Cooperstown.  These were my faves!  Jalen’s pitching and Devon’s batting.

IMG_0679 IMG_0681 IMG_0682 IMG_0683 IMG_0684 IMG_0685 IMG_0686

IMG_0595 IMG_0596 IMG_0597 IMG_0598IMG_0599 

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Easy Oreo Cake

I saw this easy Oreo Cake a couple of months ago on Dine and Dish and immediately thought of my Dad, Larry.  DSC01749I baked and served it to him the Friday my parents came into town for Father’s Day from NC.  My Dad loved it all but the rest of us had varying opinions.  I personally loved the filling and thought the ganache went well with the cake.  The cake itself while extremely moist and tender was chocolate and as most of you know I’m not a fan nor are my children.  My Mom on the other hand said the cake and filling were great but didn’t care for the ganache which she thought was not sweet enough.


Now I have  to tell you a funny story.  The following day on the request of my mom I took the left over cake to my aunt’s house where a bunch of us were meeting for an impromptu luncheon.  On the way there I had to pick up  the Twins from my brother’s house. Well, when Devon hopped into the car and saw the left over cake he was appalled.  He right away asked me, “Mom, what are you thinking?!  You can’t bring a half eaten cake to a “party”!”  I explained that it was okay but he still thought it odd. He’s a funny kid.


Let me tell you, that half eaten cake was quickly gobbled down and the only negative comment said was that there wasn’t enough for (everyone to have) seconds. My Aunt Toni whose house I was visiting doesn’t generally like sweets and she requested a second slice so she could save it for later! 

Chocolate Covered Oreo Cookie Cake

*This is the recipe as found on Dine and Dish but I’ll be honest, the ingredient list doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.  You see in step #1 it says to “Prepare and bake cake mix in two (9-inch) round cake pans as directed on package”.   I read the backs of both Betty Crocker’s and Duncan Hines’ mixes and the amount of eggs, oil, and water called for on the packages are not the same as the amounts listed in the recipe. Or is it just me that doesn’t get it? If it is me you’re gonna have to break it down for me ‘cause I’ve read and re-read this several times.  My alterations are noted in (red).

1½ hours | 20 min prep


  • 1 (18 ounce) package devil’s food cake mix
  • 1/4 cup oil (1/2 C. which was the amt the box called for)
  • 2 eggs (3 eggs which was the amt the box called for)
  • (1/3 C. of water, the recipe did not call for any water but the box did)
  • (1 C. of buttermilk, the box actually called for 1 1/3 C. of water but I substituted the buttermilk for part of it)
  • 4 Baker’s semi-sweet chocolate baking squares
  • 1/4 cup butter, cut up
  • 1 (8 ounce) package Philadelphia cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 cups thawed Cool Whip
  • 12 Oreo cookies, coarsely crushed
  1. PREHEAT oven to 350°F Prepare and bake cake mix in two (9-inch) round cake pans as directed on package. Cool in pans 5 minute Invert onto wire racks; remove pans. Cool layers completely.
  2. PLACE chocolate and butter in small microwaveable bowl. Microwave on HIGH 2 minute or until butter is melted. Stir until chocolate is completely melted. Cool 5 minute
  3. BEAT cream cheese and sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add the whipped topping and cookie crumbs; mix lightly. Place 1 of the cake layers, top-side down, on serving plate; spread with the cream cheese mixture. Cover with the remaining cake layer, top-side up. Spoon glaze over top of cake. Let stand until set. Store in refrigerator.


Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy 4th of July!

I hope everyone has a Happy and Safe Independence Day!


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Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Raspberry Cream Cheese Buns

I made these the weekend of Mother's Day for my raspberry lovin' Mom who was visiting that weekend from NC. Whenever I see raspberries they make me think of my mom.  So it was a given that these would make an appearance during her visit home after I had seen them on Bake or Break.


Both my Mom and Dad loved these!  I thought they were very good as well but I might have gone a little overboard with the jam, dolloping a few more times than the recipe stated to.  :)

Raspberry Cream Cheese Buns

Recipe from The Buttercup Bake Shop Cookbook.

  • 1 cup + 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup raspberry preserves

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease and flour a large (1-cup capacity) 12-cup muffin tin.*

Combine 1 cup flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

Beat cream cheese, butter, and sugar on low speed of an electric mixer until fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Mix in vanilla. Add dry ingredients, alternating with milk. Add remaining 3/4 cup flour and mix until combined.

Spoon batter into muffin cups. Top with 3 small dollops of preserves and swirl into the batter using a small knife.

Bake for 20-25 minutes,* or until a pick inserted into the center comes out clean. Do not overbake.

Makes 12 buns.*

*For regular sized muffin tins, decrease baking time by 2-3 minutes. Makes about 20 buns. (I made 18 and had just a wee bit of batter left over.)


Don’t ask me why I didn’t pop out one of the buns and take a photo of it and its yummy jam filled belly.  :(

Katie from Salt and Chocolate made a blueberry version of these.

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