I started thinking about blueberries after my 6th friend posted on Facebook that they were blueberry picking. No joke. Who knew that all the cool kids go blueberry picking in August? Actually, come to think of it, a few weeks ago when my sister watched my munchkins, she took them out to harvest some blueberries from a local farm. I totally should have though of doing that! Man! When did I become such an un-fun mom? Gotta work on that! It seems to me that with all this berry picking going on, folks might appreciate a recipe (or seven) to use up some of that abundant fruit. So here’s the great big Bakerlady’s Best of Blueberries post!
This recipe comes to you courtesy of Crisco. Funny story. Last week I was enjoying the cooling evening breeze wafting thru my open window with a beverage in my hand and my love by my side when I heard frantic calls of “Tonya! Tonya!” coming from over the fence. My adorable neighbor (and her daughter) were beckoning me to come over. “Quick! Baking emergency! Come over!” they hollered and then disappeared back into their house. So, off I darted to the house next door to see what was up. I’m embarrassed to say that I brought my drink with me. It was hot out, the drink was fresh and far be it from me to let a perfectly cold cocktail go to waste. “Baking emergency” could mean anything from a massive grease fire in the oven, to salt being used liberally as a seasoning in a batch of cookies. I had no idea what I was walking in to…but, with my beverage in hand I was ready for anything.
My kids discovered a new joke this week. I’ve heard it about 100 times in the past few days. It goes like this:
Just in case you didn’t catch that, here’s the dialogue.
Madison: What is Captain Hook’s favorite kind of breakfast?
Donovan: I dunno.
Madison: Peter Pan-cakes!
<insert hilarious laughter here>
I’m not sure if this is really a secret or not. Let me pretend that I’m the first person to ever tell you this anyway. You can make breadsticks that taste just like your favorite unlimited basket at the Olive Garden. It’s true. And, it is not hard. Really, it is too easy. Cause, I love love love the Olive Garden’s breadsticks. And now I can make them at home. Which I’ve done three times in the past week. Bad. Very bad.
I’m always on the lookout for ways to eat dessert for breakfast. These delightful little muffins have perfectly light flavor and a melt in your mouth oh-my-goodness-this-is-so-amazing texture that’s to die for. What would you call a dessert that you pass off as breakfast? I mean, besides the obvious…pie. Bressert? Deskfast?
This week I had the tremendous privilege of making the topper for a wedding tower. The bride and groom wanted a giant cupcake, so that’s what they got. I tested out several buttercream recipes and absolutely loved this one. It tastes delicious and crusts up beautifully but is still soft enough to cut thru.
Did you hear? It’s today! Whoever thought up such a holiday should be sainted. What a brilliant idea. I absolutely adore cheesecake. I usually reserve it for very special occasions because I cannot resist it. Can NOT. I’ll eat enough to make myself totally sick. It’s just too delicious. Maybe you don’t have the cheesecake sickness like I do and can make it more often without weighing 1000 pounds. I’m so jealous of your self control. I dug into the Bakerlady vault and found few of my favorite recipes to help you celebrate! Enjoy!
My favorite to make for Thanksgiving with my family. A perfect pumpkin pie-y taste with a cool creamy topping and a gingersnap crust.
The most delicious cheesecake ever. Straight out of Bon Appetit magazine (circa 1989). Light lemon cheesecake with a gorgeous lemon curd swirled thru the top!
A no bake cheesecake with a chocolate cookie crust and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups on top.
Perfect for parties, and having a little bite of my favorite dessert. Adorable mini cheesecakes with all your favorite flavor including a mini graham cracker crust, topped with your favorite pie filling.
I can honestly tell you that this recipe was a present for me. From God. No joke. Let me explain. Some lovely people I know just got married. A few days before the wedding I agreed to help out by making a giant cupcake for them to cut into for the smash-cake-in-your-face moment at the wedding. The bride wanted a strawberry cake, but every single recipe I could find used strawberry flavored Jello in it. I’m sure the Jello cakes would have been fine, but the color just seemed too fakey pink given that the bottom of the cake wasn’t going to be frosted.
I searched for several hours and couldn’t find anything that looked good enough for me to use. Frustrated, I went to bed. The next morning in my Twitter feed was a post from America’s Test Kitchen that said “Yes, strawberry cake without Jello is possible with our Strawberry Dream Cake”. (pick my jaw up off the floor) Are you kidding me? I made the recipe that day as a test. It was very good, but a little denser than I wanted. I decided I could make life a lot easier on myself by bumping up the strawberry portion and using a white boxed cake mix as the base. The result was a light deliciously strawberry cake that took only a little more effort than a basic boxed mix. I’ve included both recipes for you. The resulting color is very pale pink and lovely. Since I was taking this to a wedding, you only get photos of the outside.
The cake mix variety I turned into cupcakes to taste test before the wedding and thought I’d share a very important tip with you. Do not frost cupcakes when they are still warm. Do. Not. Do. Not! It does not matter how good you are at frosting techniques, you will fail if the cupcakes are even a little bit still warm. Blame it on the delicious smell, I couldn’t wait. I wanted to try them! I used a new crusting buttercream frosting, added the pressed out strawberry solids from the cake instead of the water called for & adjusted with powdered sugar to get the right consistency. It tasted like strawberry ice cream. Delicious. You can just add the pressed strawberry solids to your favorite buttercream (or cream cheese) frosting. Pat them dry first though, moisture and frosting don’t go well together. Warm cupcakes and frosting don’t go together either. See?
Strawberry Dream Cake
a Bakerlady Original
1 box of white (or vanilla, french vanilla) cake mix
3 cups frozen whole strawberries
eggs & oil called for on back of boxed mix
1/2 cup of whole milk
1. Transfer strawberries to bowl, cover, and microwave until strawberries are soft and have released their juice, about 5 minutes. Place in fine-mesh strainer set over small saucepan. Firmly press fruit dry (juice should measure at least 1 cup); reserve strawberry solids. Bring juice to boil over medium-high heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until syrupy and reduced to 1/2 cup, 6 to 8 minutes. Whisk milk into juice until combined.
2. Prepare cake mix as directed on box. Substitute milk and strawberry mixture for water called for. The boxed mix I used called for 1 cup of water. So I used 1/2 cup strawberry puree and 1/2 cup of milk. Adjust these amounts based on your box mix directions. Bake according to box directions and size of pan you’re using.
3. Top with your favorite buttercream (or cream cheese) frosting – add the reserved strawberry solids after patting them dry for an extra burst of strawberry.
Strawberry Dream Cake
from America’s Test Kitchen
- 10 ounces frozen whole strawberries (2 cups)
- 3/4 cup whole milk, room temperature
- 6 large egg whites, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 1/4 cups (9 ounces) cake flour
- 1 3/4 cups (12 1/4 ounces) granulated sugar
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 12 pieces and softened
1. For the cake: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 9-inch round cake pans, line bottoms with parchment, grease parchment, and flour.
2. Transfer strawberries to bowl, cover, and microwave until strawberries are soft and have released their juice, about 5 minutes. Place in fine-mesh strainer set over small saucepan. Firmly press fruit dry (juice should measure at least 3/4 cup); reserve strawberry solids. Bring juice to boil over medium-high heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until syrupy and reduced to 1/4 cup, 6 to 8 minutes. Whisk milk into juice until combined.
3. Whisk strawberry milk, egg whites, and vanilla in bowl. Using stand mixer fitted with paddle, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt on low speed until combined. Add butter, 1 piece at a time, and mix until only pea-size pieces remain, about 1 minute. Add half of milk mixture, increase speed to medium-high, and beat until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Reduce speed to medium-low, add remaining milk mixture, and beat until incorporated, about 30 seconds. Give batter final stir by hand.
4. Scrape equal amounts of batter into prepared pans and bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes, rotating pans halfway through baking. Cool cakes in pans on wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove cakes from pans, discarding parchment, and cool completely, about 2 hours. (Cooled cakes can be wrapped with plastic wrap and stored at room temperature for up to 2 days.)
A few years ago I went to Disneyland on a mission. That mission was food. Glorious, delicious food. You see, I’ve been enjoying Disneyland pretty much my whole life. I went several times as an adult with my sisters and cousin. No kids, just four 20-somethings having a blast. I took a trip after the birth of each of my children. A mommy break sometimes is absolutely essential to keeping your sanity. In all these trips however, I’d never truly realized the fabulousness of Disneyland food. Obviously there are things that are overpriced and a little bland (it is a theme park after all), but there are unexpected delights as well. I started reading Disneyland forums a few months before this particular trip. I was doing research (yes, it’s a sickness…I know) and compiling a list of all the great things people recommended consuming while at the Happiest Place on Earth. The list got very long very fast. Over 5 blissful days of appetite stretching, gluttonous eating I managed to taste everything on my list. Most items met or exceeded my expectations. One cookie blew me away. The forums just called it “the cookie”.
This cookie. A light sweet dough with white and chocolate chips swirled with raspberry. Bliss. Usually when something is overhyped as being simply divine, the real thing doesn’t measure up. I cannot express to you how excited I was when at first bite I realized Disneyland’s White Chocolate Raspberry Cookie was everything I wanted it to be and more. It is beyond delicious. You can find it at Pooh Corner and at some of the shops on Main Street. Can you sense my joy at finally having one in my hands??
I’d heard that Disneyland will give you the recipe for things if you ask. Not true. At least, not true with this cookie. Perhaps because they don’t actually make it in the park. It’s made by a company called Selma’s. And they aren’t about to hand out their recipe (I can’t really blame them). Thankfully, my cousin Shannon (also a baker and a Disney freak) managed to piece together a close copy using Selma’s snickerdoodle dough as a springboard. I tweaked her recipe a little, using almond extract instead of raspberry. I also used a trick I learned from America’s Test Kitchen and added an egg yolk for a super soft and chewy cookie. The result is pretty near a perfect match. Big and chewy, swirled with raspberry and the sweetness of two kinds of chocolate.
The only trick in making these is the swirl of raspberry. It is VERY easy to mix it too much and end up with a bright pink cookie instead of dancing raspberry swirls. Working 1/4 of the dough at a time is the key to getting the proper twirly action.
Dollup about 1 tablespoon of jam over the top of one quarter of the dough.
Then use a knife to sort of cut it in.
Don’t stir! There should still be clumps of obvious jam.
Then, using a cookie scoop, drop the dough on your prepared cookie sheet.
And flatten slightly.
Repeat with the remaining dough, working with one quarter of it at a time.
Depending on the size of your cookies, your bake time can vary from 8 minutes all the way to 17. I wanted mine to resemble the big bakery sized cookies they serve at the park. Only bake until the edges are faint golden and set. The middles will still be soft and puffy.
I can almost hear the faint screams of people going down Splash Mountain and the buzz of the pretend bees outside Pooh Corner as I eat these cookies. It was a vacation in my kitchen as the aroma of chocolate and raspberry started wafting out. At first bite I knew I was in deep trouble if I didn’t find someone to “gift” the batch to. They were so soft and chewy and the flavor of the dough and the mixed in jam & chocolate was exactly right!
If you’ve ever tried this treat in Disneyland and love it as I do, make sure you have people to help you eat these before making a batch. The temptation to sing Zip-a-dee-doo-dah while you consume the entire tray will probably be too great if you are by yourself with these. Partly because having another one isn’t going to cost you four bucks like it does at the Magic Kingdom! Without any monetary ramifications holding you back, there’s no telling what you might do. Seriously.
Disneyland’s White Chocolate Raspberry Cookie
adapted from Rumbly In My Tumbly
2 1/2 C Flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 C butter, room temperature
1/2 C granulated sugar
1/2 C brown sugar
1 egg + 1 egg yolk
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
Raspberry Jam (I used about 4 TBSP)
3/4 cup white chocolate chips
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1. Cream the butter & sugars until light and fluffy. Add egg/yolk, vanilla and almond extracts. Mix well. Add dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Add white & semi-sweet chocolate chips.
2. Scoop out about 1/4 of the dough into a smaller bowl. Add about 1 T of jam and cut it in using a butter knife. Be careful not to MIX it, or your dough will turn pink, you want more of a swirl.
3. Take the jam swirled dough and scoop by spoonfuls (I used a large melon baller/ice cream scoop) onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Flatten slightly with the back of a spoon or spatula and place in a 350° oven for 12-17 minutes. *Your bake time may be less depending on the size of cookie you make. I wanted mine big and bakery sized, so they took a little longer. Take them out when the edges are set but the center is still puffy and soft. Cool on baking sheet 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
4. Repeat steps 2 & 3 until all the dough is used.
My nieces came over unexpectedly today. My gluten/dairy free sweet lovelies. I had just pulled a Blueberries & Cream Pie out of the oven…which, (of course) they cannot eat. It’s absolutely unacceptable for my sweet girls to come over to Auntie’s house and not get a treat. But what to make?
I remembered seeing this recipe on Pinterest ages ago and thought I remembered it being gluten free. A couple quick keystrokes and I the recipe pulled up. A speedy scan of the confirmed I had all the ingredients and was gluten free as I remembered. Bonus, it got rid of some bananas that were rapidly heading towards a ripeness only enticing to fruit flies.
Do not be tempted to sub out the sugar for applesauce (as someone started suggesting on Pinterest to do). Applesauce will make these bars turn into a mushy mess. You can however sub out the milk for almond milk (or rice milk) to make these gluten & dairy free.
These are sweet enough to pass off on unsuspecting children as dessert and nutritious enough to eat yourself for breakfast. Top with extra peanut butter if desired. Or, if you are feeling wild and crazy, (and are a fan of chocolate hazelnut in general) give it a little dollup of Nutella. Hello delicious! It should be noted that Nutella is not a low calorie or “health” food. Shocking, I know. Enjoy!
Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Bars
adapted from Gingerbread Bagels
1 1/2 cups quick cooking oats
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar (I rounded my measuring cup just a bit)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 medium mashed bananas
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
Preheat the oven to 350°
Mix together the quick cooking oats, light brown sugar, baking powder, kosher salt and ground cinnamon.
Add in the vanilla extract, milk and egg. Mix the ingredients together.
Add in the mashed banana and peanut butter. Combine all of the ingredients.
Pour the mixture into a lightly greased 8 by 8 inch metal baking pan. Bake for 20 minutes.
Cool Completely. Cut into squares and enjoy!