Category Archives: Baking, Desserts & Sweets

Baking, cookies, cakes, pies and desserts of all types

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Cherry Pie

I thought I’d publish this Cherry Pie recipe in honor of our first President. It’s so juicy and full of flavor. A hit at any time of year !!

Cherry pie
Cherry pie

Ingredients;
Make my perfect pie crust recipe or buy pie crust rolls
4 cups fresh(pitted) or frozen tart cherries
1 cup sugar
4 TBLS cornstarch
1 TSP almond extract
Dash nutmeg
1 TBLS butter, to dot
1 TBLS coarse sugar, to sprinkle

Directions;
Preheat oven to 375.
In a medium saucepan place over med heat. Cover. After the cherries lose considerable juice, which may take a few minutes, remove from heat. In a small bowl, mix the sugar and cornstarch together. Pour this mixture into the hot cherries and mix well. Add the almond extract, nutmeg and mix. Return the mixture to the stove and cook over low heat until thickened, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat and let cool. If the filling is too thick, add a little water, too thin, add a little more cornstarch.
Prepare your crust. Divide in half. Roll out each piece large enough to fit into an 8 to 9-inch pan. Pour cooled cherry mixture into the crust. Dot with butter. Moisten edge of bottom crust. Place top crust on and flute the edge of the pie.
Make a slit in the middle of the crust for steam to escape.
OR
Cut lattice strips and place over pie. Sprinkle the crust with coarse sugar.
Cover the pie crust edge with strips of foil to keep them from browning too much.  Remove the foil strips after 30 minutes of baking.
Bake until crust is lightly browned, about 50 minutes.

Shortbread Cookies

This buttery shortbread will be a family favorite for sure.
Decorate Shortbread cookies for the season using candy decor, sparkling sugar or dip them in chocolate.

Shortbread cookies
Shortbread cookies

Ingredients;
3 sticks of unsalted butter, room temp
1 cup sugar plus more for decoration
1 TSP vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1/4 TSP salt
1 container Bakers milk/dark chocolate for dipping

Directions;
Preheat oven to 350.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix together the butter and 1 cup of sugar until they are just combined. Add the vanilla. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour and salt, then add them to the butter/sugar mixture. Mix on low speed until the dough starts to come together.
At this point you can press into a 9×9 pan, or a shortbread baking dish, you can sprinkle the top with sugar.
If you want to use cookie cutters then roll the dough 1/2-inch thick and cut with a cookie cutter. Place the cookies on an ungreased baking sheet lined with parchment paper and sprinkle with sugar if you like.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the edges begin to brown.
If pressed into a pan you’ll want to cut your cookie size before it cools. Allow to cool to room temperature before removing from the pan.
When the cookies are cool. Microwave the Bakers chocolate according to the container directions. Dip or brush half the cookie or drizzle the entire cookie with chocolate as you desire. Place the cookies back on the parchment lined sheet and let them sit until the chocolate is firm. You can refrigerate them for a few minutes to finish firming up the chocolate.

Blueberry Scones

These blueberry scones are delicious and freeze well. Great for a brunch gathering. You can easily change the flavor by using unsweetened dried fruit such as cranberries, fig pieces, cherries, etc…

Blueberry scones
Blueberry scones

Ingredients;
2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
3 TBLS sugar
1 TBLS course granulated sugar for sprinkling tops
1 TBLS baking powder
3/4 TSP salt
6 TBLS cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries or dried as stated above
1 TSP grated lemon zest
1/3 cup heavy cream, plus more for brushing tops
2 large eggs, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 400.
In a large bowl, sift together flour, 3 tablespoons sugar, baking powder, and salt. Using a pastry cutter or two knives or pulse a few times in a food processor, cut in butter until the largest pieces are the size of peas. Stir in blueberries and zest.
Using a fork, whisk together cream and egg in a small bowl. Make a well in the center of dry ingredients, and pour in cream mixture. Stir lightly with fork just until dough comes together. Place onto a lightly floured surface, and knead a few times to mix well.
Pat dough into a 6-inch square about 1 1/4 inches thick. Using a floured knife, cut into four 3-inch squares. Cut squares in half on the diagonal to form eight triangles. You can also use a large round biscuit cutter. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush tops with cream, and sprinkle with course sugar. Bake until golden brown, 20 to 22 minutes.

Winter Snow White Cupcakes

This snow white cake and icing cup cake recipe was popular when I was a little girl.

Winter Snow White Cupcakes
Winter Snow White Cupcakes

A friend mentioned that his Mom use to make Winter Snow White Cupcakes for his birthday.
So I thought I would make it and share with my pantry followers.
The icing is so fluffy and pleasant tasting. Not too sweet and very soft. Great for decorating with holiday sprinkles, coconut flakes or candied cherries. It makes for a stunning presentation.

Ingredients for the cake;
1 1/2 sticks of unsalted butter, room temp
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
2 TSP baking powder
1/4 TSP salt
3/4 cup egg whites, about 6 eggs
3/4 cup whole milk
2 TSP vanilla
12 cup cupcake pan, with liners

Directions;
Preheat oven to 350.
In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar for about 5 minutes, until light and fluffy. Stir together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside. Combine egg whites, milk and vanilla extract. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to butter mixture then add half the milk mixture. Continue to alternate beginning and ending with flour mixture. Scrape bowl and beater often. I use a large ice cream scoop to keep the portions consistent, measure the batter into each cupcake liner.
Bake for 20-25 minutes until toothpick comes our clean. Cool and frost.

Boiled Fluffy White Frosting
Ingredients;
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
1/4 TSP cream of tartar
2 large egg whites, at room temp
1 TSP vanilla
Your chosen decoration

Directions;
In a saucepan, stir together the sugar, water and cream of tartar. Cook over medium-high heat until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is bubbly.
In a medium mixing bowl, whip the egg whites and vanilla to soft peaks. Gradually add the sugar mixture while whipping constantly until stiff peaks form, about 7 to 10 minutes. Frost your cupcakes and decorate as desired.

Perfect Pie Crust

This Perfect Pie Crust recipe is easy and flaky tender.
Just be sure to not over work the dough.
It can be used for savory or sweet pies.

Perfect pie crust
Perfect pie crust

Ingredients;
12 TBLS (1 1/2 sticks) very cold unsalted butter
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 TSP kosher salt
1 TBLS sugar
1/3 cup very cold vegetable shortening,like Crisco
6 to 8 TBLS (about 1/2 cup) ice water

Sugar sprinkled on the top crust makes a nice shine

Directions;
Dice the butter and return it to the refrigerator while you prepare the flour mixture. Place the flour, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a food processor with a steel blade and pulse a few times to mix. Add the butter and shortening. Pulse 8 to 12 times, until the butter is the size of peas. With the machine running, pour the ice water down the feed tube and pulse the machine until the dough begins to form a ball. Empty out on a floured surface and roll into a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Cut the dough in half. Roll each piece on a well-floured surface into a circle, rolling from the center to the edge, turning and flouring the dough to make sure it doesn’t stick to the surface. Fold the dough in half, place in a pie pan, and unfold to fit the pan. Repeat with the top crust. Makes two 10″ pie crusts.

Cherry Cheesecake Brownies

Wow, talk about a flavor explosion!! The cherry, creamy cheesecake and rich chocolate flavors unite and explode in these cherry cheesecake brownies. So easy since part of the recipe is from a premixed box brownie. The 9×13 tray easily serves a crowd and freezes well.

Cherry cheesecake brownies
Cherry cheesecake brownies

Ingredients/Directions;

One 18oz-20oz boxed brownie mix
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup water
1 TSP instant espresso powder
1 TSP vanilla extract, I prefer vanilla paste
Mix the above together and beat for 2 minutes.
Spread the batter in a 9×13 greased baking pan and set aside.

Cherry cheesecake brownies raw
Cherry cheesecake brownies raw

One 8oz cream cheese, at room temp
5 TBLS unsalted butter, at room temp
1/4 cup sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 TBLS flour
1 TSP vanilla extract
One 21oz can of cherry pie filling
Preheat the oven to 350.
Mix the above except cherry filling, until fluffy. Drop tablespoons full into the pan of brownies and use a knife to gently cut through the batter to pull the cream cheese into a marbled pattern.
Spoon tablespoons of cherry filling on top of the cream cheese/brownie pan about 1 inch apart.
Bake 50-60 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Cool for an hour before cutting into squares.

 

 

Zucchini Bread/Muffins

This Zucchini bread or muffin recipe is so moist and flavorful. This time of year we have an abundance of squash and this is a perfect way to use them. This bread freezes well too.

Zucchini bread
Zucchini bread

Ingredients;
3 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 cup canola oil, can be part olive oil
2 cups grated raw zucchini, with skin
3 TSP vanilla
3 cups unbleached flour
1 TSP salt
1 TSP baking soda
1/2 TSP baking powder
3 TSP ground cinnamon
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

Preheat the oven to 350.
Beat the eggs until light and fluffy. Add the sugar, oil, zucchini and vanilla, mix for 1 minute. Combine the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon. Add to the egg mixture and mix until combined.  Add the nuts.
Pour mixture into two greased 9x5x3″ loaf pans.
Bake for 50-60 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.

Strawberry Blueberry Trifle

This Strawberry blueberry trifle can be made so many ways and flavors. I did this one with a July 4th theme in mind. You can use pudding, sweet cream cheese filling or heavy whipped cream for the filling layers. You can make my sour cream pound cake to use or get store bought pound cake or angel food cake. Decorate the trifle for your specific occasion.

Strawberry- blueberry trifle
Strawberry blueberry trifle

If you buy a trifle bowl it does have other uses.  I use it for green tossed salads, fruit salad or any other kind of layered dessert.
If you don’t have a trifle bowl use a parfait glass or dessert cups.
So many possibilities.

trifle bowl
trifle bowl
trifle top view
trifle top view

Ingredients;
2 loaves of sour cream pound cake or any pound cake or an angel food cake ring
One pint  heavy cream, whipped with 1/2 cup confectioners sugar and 1 TSP vanilla
** Choose one of the below**
**3 cups of vanilla pudding, cooked according to the 4.6oz box directions
**2 x 8oz cream cheese blended with 1/2 cup confectioners sugar,           2TBLS milk and 1 TSP vanilla

2 LBS fresh strawberries
2 pints fresh blueberries
1/2 cup water mixed with 1/4 cup sugar and 2 TSP rum flavoring
OR 1/4 cup Grand Marnier liqueur
1 trifle bowl or 12 nine ounce clear cups, plastic or glass
5 mint leaves for decoration, optional
Directions;
Whip the cream and refrigerate. Make your chosen filling. If you decide to use cooked pudding make it a few hours before so it can chill. If you use the water syrup boil the water and add the sugar stirring until the water is clear then add the rum flavoring, set aside. Cube the pound cake or angel food cake, set aside. Wash the berries and slice the strawberries into thick slices.
In the trifle bowl or cups place a layer of cake. Brush it with the rum sugar syrup or liqueur. Place a layer of blueberries. Place a layer of filling. Place a layer of strawberries placing some flat against the glass sides. Place another layer of cake brushed with liqueur or syrup. Repeat until the bowl/glass is nearly full, Top with a layer of whipped cream and an assortment of fruit, decorate with the mint leaves. Chill for a few hours before serving.

Tiramisu

The translation of Tiramisu from Italian means “pick me up”.  I guess with the espresso and sugar it does just that. This Tiramisu dessert has been around in Europe for decades but only in the last 20 years or so very popular in the USA. It’s easy to make once you find the mascarpone cheese. Mascarpone is like the Italian version of cream cheese, but make no mistake they are not interchangeable.

Tiramisu
Tiramisu

Depending on where you live you can find this cheese in supermarkets near the imported cheese area, or specialty food stores.
This dessert can be frozen for future use if you like.

Ingredients;
24 crisp Italian lady fingers(savoiardi)
3/4 cup espresso coffee, cooled
6 eggs, separated
6 TBLS sugar
4 x 4oz packages Mascarpone cheese
2 TBLS brandy(you can omit if you need to)
8oz semi sweet chocolate shavings
1/4 cup cocoa powder

Directions;
In a **2-3 QT serving dish arrange half the lady fingers. Brush them lightly with the espresso.
In a small bowl beat the egg yolks and sugar until pale yellow. Add the mascarpone and brandy stirring gently. Set aside.
In a large bowl beat the egg whites until stiff. Gently fold into the mascarpone mixture. Spread half the mixture on top of the lady fingers in the dish. Sprinkle with half the chocolate shavings and dust with cocoa. Repeat the lady finger layer and brush with espresso. Cover with remaining mascarpone mixture and top with a dusting of cocoa and the remaining chocolate shavings. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours before serving or you can wrap the dish for freezing. Thaw before serving.

**you can also make this in individual small cups with a peel away liner.

Sour Cream Pound Cake

This Sour Cream Pound Cake recipe is flavorful and moist.
I served it topped with whipped cream, strawberry sauce and fresh mixed berries. Ice cream works well too.

Sour cream pound cake
Sour cream pound cake

Ingredients;
1 cup sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sour cream
3 eggs
1/2 TSP vanilla
2 cups all purpose flour, I use unbleached
1 TSP baking powder
1 TSP baking soda
1/2 TSP salt

Directions;
Heat oven to 350. Cream the sugar and butter. Add the sour cream, eggs and vanilla and mix well. Mix together the dry ingredients and add slowly to the creamed mixture and blend until smooth. Grease and flour a 12 cup bundt pan and bake for 50-60 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean or bake in a loaf pan, pictured.
Adjust the baking time accordingly by testing the loaves with a toothpick.

What to do with leftover sweets…

I’ve had a lot of company lately, baking sweets for them. Cannoli cream, peach cobbler, sour cream pound cake… A few leftover sweets from each.

leftover sweets
leftover sweets

I made a Sunday brunch dessert. Cubed the pound cake, topped it with cannolii cream and the peaches from the cobbler. Looks good and I didn’t have to waste the leftovers….

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

This chocolate strawberry recipe is so easy to put together and makes a great presentation to any event. Get artistic and sprinkle whatever you want on the Chocolate covered strawberries. Pictured is coconut, mini semi sweet chips and just plain milk chocolate dipped.

Chocolate covered strawberries
Chocolate covered strawberries

Ingredients:
16oz package fresh strawberries, washed and dried
7oz container of Baker’s dipping chocolate, milk or dark
Baking pan lined with waxed paper
Whatever other topping you want to add

Directions;
Have the strawberries at room temperature. Melt the chocolate according to the container directions. Dip the strawberries and hold them over the container a few seconds to drain off the excess chocolate. Place them on the waxed paper pan. Let them sit a few minutes before adding other toppings so they don’t slide off. Once complete leave them at room temperature for about 30 minutes and then refrigerate them.

Valentine Butter Cookies

Make my Spritz (German Butter Cookie) recipe and use the press disk for a heart. Press them onto a baking sheet and gently press the tops to flatten them a little. Sprinkle the Valentine Butter Cookies with red sugar and bake. Once cooled leave them as is or make a sandwich cookie with heated raspberry jam in the middle or melted chocolate.
So yummy and buttery !!

Valentines German butter cookies
Valentines butter cookies

Linzer Tart Cookies

The Linzer Tart Cookies origin is Austrian. This cookie is derived from the tart recipe.  The cut out filled with raspberry jam is colorful and shines through like a rich pastry window. I’m cutting them into heart shapes for a Valentines treat, but any round or square shape will do. You will need two cookie cutters (as pictured). One for the base and one smaller for the cut out window.

Linzer tart cookies
Linzer tart cookies

Ingredients;
2 1/3 cups all purpose unbleached flour
2/3 cup finely chopped hazelnuts or almonds
1/8 TSP salt
1/2 TSP lemon zest
a dash of cinnamon
1 cup unsalted butter at room temp
1 cup confectioner’s sugar + 1 cup for coating
2  X-large egg yolks at room temp
1 TSP vanilla
1 cup seedless raspberry jam is traditional, use strawberry or apricot if you like
Parchment paper

heart shaped cookie cutters
heart shaped cookie cutters

Directions;
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. In a mixing bowl combine flour, nuts, salt, cinnamon and set aside. Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy.  Add the egg yolk, vanilla, lemon and mix another minute. Slowly add the dry ingredients and mix until combined.  Divide the dough in half and flatten like a disk, wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1/2 hour.
Preheat the oven to 325. On a lightly floured surface roll out one disk to about 1/8″ thick. Dip your cookie cutter into flour and cut you shapes using a smaller cutter for the middle window cut out on half of them. Place on parchment liner baking sheet and place in the refrigerator for about 5 minutes, this helps firm up the shape for baking.
Bake for 12-15 minutes until firm but still pale in color. Cool on a cookie rack. Slightly heat the jam and brush a TSP size onto each cookie bottom. Then place the cookie with the cut out on top and press gently. Coat with confectioner’s sugar and then fill the assembled cookie window with a little more jam.
Let them set for 1.5-2 hours before storing them in an air tight container with waxed paper in between layers, refrigerated.

 

 

 

Ice Box Cake

You would probably need to be 50+ years old to remember this pudding creation!
Ice Box Cake is fun to do with children since it does not require baking. The traditional flavor was chocolate but you can be creative and use any flavor of cook n serve pudding you like. Please do NOT use instant pudding. It doesn’t hold up well and doesn’t taste the same.

Ice box cake
Ice box cake

Ingredients;
2 boxes chocolate cook n serve pudding(3.4oz each)
1 box original graham crackers
Whipped cream for garnish

Directions;
Cook the pudding according to the box directions using a sauce pan or the microwave directions.
When cooked pour a layer of pudding into an 8×8 covered dish. Place a layer of graham cracker on top, break some of the pieces to cover the top completely. Repeat the layering, ending with pudding on the top. If you have an extra piece of graham cracker crumble it and sprinkle it on the top. Let stand for about an hour then cover and refrigerate. Serve cold with whipped cream.

Apple Pie

When making an apple pie you want to enhance the apple flavor not overpower them. This recipe is easy and comes out perfect every time. You’ll be surprised how good the store bought crust tastes.
If you would like to make the crust from scratch see the “Perfect Pie Crust” recipe listed in the pantry.

apple pie sliced
apple pie

Ingredients;
8 baking apples; pipin, winesap or granny smith are the most common
1 box of refrigerated rolled pie crusts (I prefer the Immaculate brand), room temp
1 TBLS flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 dashes of ground nutmeg
2 TSP ground cinnamon
a splash of vanilla
1 TBLS large crystal sugar for topping
1 egg white, whisked
10″ pie pan

apple pie raw
apple pie raw

Directions;

Preheat oven to 350.
Roll out slightly one of the pie crusts in between two pieces of waxed paper. Press the crust into the pie pan. Peel and core the apples and slice them into 1/4″ slices, placed in a large mixing bowl. Add all the ingredients except the large crystal sugar and the egg white. Mix thoroughly. Place the apple mixture in the pie pan and layer it mounding in the middle. Roll out the other crust and make a few cuts in the top to vent the pie shell top. Place the top on the apples and seal the crusts together pressing them together and rolling them under to the pie pan rim. Pinch the crust edge all around the pie pan. Brush the crust with the beaten egg white and sprinkle the large crystal sugar on the top. Bake at 350 for about 45 minutes.

Italian Biscotti Cookies

This Italian Biscotti Cookies recipe is versatile. Although the classic was made with Anise flavoring you can change the flavor and nuts to anything you like. Maple, pecan, lemon, almond, chocolate , dip them or glaze the edge..

Biscotti
Biscotti

Ingredients;
2 cups all purpose flour, I use unbleached
1 TSP baking powder
1/4 TSP salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed firm
2 eggs
1 TSP almond extract or any kind you  like
3/4 cup almonds or any nuts you like or omit them
**If you want to  make these chocolate, add 3 heaping TBLS unsweetened cocoa and a 1/4 cup mini semi sweet chips to the flour mixture.
**Bakers makes chocolate chips in a microwavable cup. It’s great for dipping.

GLAZE;
Mix togther…..
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 TBLS melted butter
1/2 TSP almond extract or any kind you like
4-5 TSP milk

Heat the oven to 350. Combine the dry ingredients and set aside.   Cream the butter, sugars, then add the extract and eggs. Mix until well combined.  Add the nuts and mix until just combined.
Divide the dough in 1/2 and on a floured surface roll into 1.5 ” thick and about 12″ long logs.  Place on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper is best.  Bake for about 20-25 mins until lightly brown and the logs have cracks in them.  Let cool for about 15 minutes before slicing them with a serrated knife on a slight angle about 1/2 ” thick.  If you want to toast them lay them on the side in a sheet pan and bake at 375 for about 5 minutes turning them once.  Let them cool and then glaze the edge, dip them in nuts, chocolate or whatever you like.

Jan Hagel

This Jan Hagel cookie originates from Holland. They are crisp and buttery rich strips with a baked- on nut glaze. These also store for weeks in a tin in a cool place.

Jan Hagel
Jan Hagel

Ingredients;
1 cup unsalted butter at room temp
1 cup sugar
1 egg, separated
2 cups all purpose flour, I use unbleached
1/2 TSP cinnamon
1 TBLS water
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped very fine

Directions;
Heat oven to 350. Mix the butter, sugar and egg yolk. Add the flour and cinnamon until dough comes into a ball. Press dough evenly into a 15x10x1″ pan. Beat the egg white and water until frothy. Brush on dough and sprinkle the walnuts evenly. Bake for 20-25 minutes until very lightly brown. Cool just 5 minutes and slice into 2×2″ strips.

Raspberry Shortbread Cookies

This Raspberry shortbread cookie is a take on the Scottish shortbread. They are so buttery and easy to make. Very festive for the holidays too. They can be stored in a tin in a cool place for weeks.

Raspberry shortbread cookies
Raspberry shortbread cookies

Ingredients;
2/3 cup sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, room temp
1/2 TSP vanilla
2 cups all purpose flour, I use unbleached
Raspberry jam, seedless if you like

Directions;
Heat oven to 350. Mix all but the flour. Add the flour slowly. Roll into 1″ balls, indent the middle and add raspberry jam to the indent. Place them 2′ apart. Baked on parchment paper is best for about 14-16 minutes until they are slight brown on the edge.
Once cooled, you can leave them plain or drizzle melted chocolate or white chocolate over them as pictured.

Pumpkin Pie

This pumpkin pie recipe is extra easy if you use a refrigerated rolled pie crust.

pumpkin pie slice
pumpkin pie slice

It comes out perfect every time.

Pumpkin pie
Pumpkin pie

Ingredients;
Two 15oz cans of pure plain pumpkin
1 1/2 cups of sugar
1 TSP salt
2 Tsp ground cinnamon
1 TSP ground ginger
1/2 TSP ground cloves
4 large eggs
Two 12oz cans of whole evaporated milk
1 refrigerated rolled pie crust
3 strips of foil

Directions;
Have the pie crust at room temperature. Mix all ingredients together until blended. Roll the pie crust out slightly. Press the pie crust into a 10″ pie plate and form the edges by pinching the crust between your fingers. Pour the mixture into the pie crust filling just below the crust edge. Place on a cookie sheet. Bake at 425 for 15 minutes then reduce the temp to 350 and bake for 40-50 minutes more until the center is puffed and a knife comes out clean. Cool and serve with fresh whipped heavy cream.

Baked Fresh Fig and Goat Cheese Tart

This Fig tart is so yummy and easy to make. Just be sure to use fresh figs.
I brought this to a party and it was gone in 10 minutes.  Be sure to make extra !!

Fig tart
Fig tart

Ingredients;
10 fresh figs cut in half
4oz-6oz pkg of plain goat cheese
1 prepared rolled pie crust from the box
1 TBLS sugar
Salt & pepper
Lemon thyme sprigs

Directions;
Preheat oven to 425.
Flatten out the pie crust. (If you have a tart pan it will work very well). Spread the goat cheese leaving about 2 inches on the sides.
Lay fig slices cut side facing up on top of goat cheese in a single layer. Season with a pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon white sugar. Fold the sides up making a pleat around the tart.
Bake until cheese is bubbling and figs are glazed, about 25 minutes. Garnish with sprigs of lemon thyme. Serve slightly warm.

Peach Cake

This peach cake is so easy and moist. See other variations under my “Tips and Tricks” category.

peach cake
peach cake

Ingredients;
One boxed yellow cake mix
3 XLRG eggs
One 21oz can of peach pie filling

Directions;
Beat all together for a few minutes until blended. Pour into a greased and floured tube pan. Bake at 350 for 25-35 minutes until tester comes out clean. Cool and serve with a dollop of fresh whipped cream.

Lady Finger Ricotta Cups

This Lady Finger Ricotta Cups recipe is another take on the popular Italian dessert Tiramisu.
I used ricotta instead of mascarpone cheese. If you like to experiment try using a dusting of cocoa in between the layers or stir into the ricotta some candied minced fruit.

Lady Finger Ricotta Cups
Lady Finger Ricotta Cups

Ingredients;
2 cups whole milk ricotta cheese
3/4 cup confectioner’s sugar (or more if you like it sweeter)
1 TSP vanilla
2 dashes cinnamon
1/2 cup mini semi sweet chocolate chips
one package plain Italian lady fingers
1/2 cup espresso coffee ( you can buy the instant powder)
2 TBLS Amaretto liquor is optional
6 paper bakeware dessert cups or you can use glass dessert cups

Directions;
Mix thoroughly the ricotta with the sugar, vanilla, cinnamon. Stir in most of the chips leaving a few to sprinkle on the top. Break the lady fingers into pieces and line the bottom of the dessert cups. Spoon a teaspoon of espresso over each cup. Add a 1/2 inch layer of the ricotta. Add another layer of the lady fingers and brush with the optional Amaretto. Repeat another layer of ricotta.
Dip the ends of two lady finger pieces into the espresso and place on top standing up. Sprinkle with a few mini chips. Refrigerate and serve cold.

Cinnamon Nut Swirl Cups

This Cinnamon Nut Swirl cup is great to take along to a party.
Top with the vanilla icing noted below or with a small scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Cinnamon nut swirl cups
Cinnamon nut swirl cups

Ingredients;
1 refrigerated pie crust roll, room temperature
2 TBLS melted butter
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
1/4 cup raisins, golden or the traditional red
1 TSP cinnamon
1 TSP vanilla, paste is best if you have it
9 foil cupcake cups

Directions;
Preheat oven to 350.
Place the foil cups into a cupcake pan.
Unroll the pie crust and place it between two pieces of waxed paper. Roll out the pie crust just slightly, maybe 1 inch. Remove the top piece of waxed paper. Combine the butter and vanilla and brush the crust heavily with the mixture. Sprinkle the sugar, nuts, cinnamon and raisins evenly over the entire crust. Roll the crust into a log using the waxed paper for support. Slice with a sharp knife into 2 inch rolls. Place the slices cut side down into the foil cupcake cups. Bake for 20-25 minutes until they start to bubble and are very lightly brown. Allow them to cool before icing them.

Vanilla Icing;
Mix together until smooth; 1 TBLS melted butter, 1/2 cup confectioners sugar, a few drops of vanilla and just enough milk or cream to make the icing loose enough to drizzle.

Raspberry Crumble Shortbread Bars

Raspberry crumble bars
Raspberry crumble bars

Raspberry crumble bars Ingredients:
½ LB (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup sugar
1 TSP pure vanilla extract
2 1/3 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
½ TSP salt
10 to 12 ounces good raspberry jam or any flavor you prefer
1/3 cup plain instant oats or one envelope
2 TBLS brown sugar
1/4 cup sliced almonds
Confectioners’ sugar for sprinkling

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment and mix on medium speed just until combined. With the mixer on low, add the vanilla.

Sift the flour and salt together and with the mixer on low, slowly add to the butter mixture, mixing until it comes together in a ball. Separate two-thirds of the dough and pat lightly – evenly on the bottom of a 9-inch square baking pan and about ¼ inch up the sides. Spread with the jam, leaving a ¼-inch border. Mix the oats, almonds and brown sugar into the remaining one third dough with your hands. Break the dough into small bits and distribute it on top of the jam, covering most of the surface. Bake the bars for 45 minutes, until lightly browned.

Cool for about 15 mins and cut into 12 or 16 bars or whatever size you like. But don’t remove from pan until completely cool. Sprinkle lightly with confectioners’ sugar.