I have three indelible memories of my Nanny (my mom’s mom) and cooking. The first two revolve around holidays. Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve I have always spent with my Mom’s side of the family in my Nanny’s home. Thanksgiving found my Nanny with a faded apron in the kitchen with the turkey and all the trimmings. Christmas Eve it was the same apron, but this time a ham occupied the oven and all the cousins ran thru the house with glee at the mounds of gifts awaiting us downstairs. My third memory is possibly my favorite. It involves weekend adventures at the cabin with just Nanny and my best childhood (and adulthood) friends. Also bananas, Nilla wafers and pudding. Isn’t my Nanny the most adorable 85-year-old you’ve ever seen?
I took my daughter back-to-school shopping last week. We had a grand old-time preparing for the big first day of school. It was all fun and games until I realized that new school clothes meant she was actually heading off to school. Gulp. She started Kindergarten yesterday. My baby. She even (gasp!) rode the bus! She was so stinkin’ excited for her first day. And, she looked adorable in her brand spankin’ new duds. Yes…Mommy got new clothes too.
Monkey bread is the devil. I cannot resist it. I especially enjoy a new spin on it, like adding some kind of new flavor to the delicious combo of cinnamon sugar and buttery goodness. I can more readily call it breakfast if it includes fruit which makes this blueberry filled bread perfect for supporting my delusion. So, breakfast it is. That’s when I served it to my family anyway. But, I also ate it for lunch and dessert so it’s really all-encompassing food. The oatmeal practically makes it a health food…so I figured it was ok to have it for more than one meal.
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.
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.
Are you a crust or filling person? Pie eaters (I’ve found) fall into one of these two distinct categories. Those who tolerate the crust as a means for getting gorgeous amazing delicious filling into their mouths. And those who believe a flaky light crust absolutely is the best thing about pie. That the filling is plays second fiddle and is really only there because you can’t just eat pie crust on its own.
The fact that you need something else to go with crust is one of the reasons I am a filling girl. You can totally gobble fruity (or custardy) filling with a spoon. It needs no other accoutrement to make it delicious. My husband is all about the crust.
Personally I’ll take a crumble or a cobbler any day over pie. More filling, less crust. Thankfully this blueberries and cream pie gives us both a little something we love. And that makes everyone happy.
On the bottom, a flaky buttery crust.
Filled with blueberries. You know what’s awesome about blueberries? No chopping, cutting seeds out, coring, or peeling. Give em’ a rinse and in they go. Perfect.
Topped with an amazing creamy custard.
The custard is just divine.
Finished with a crumb streusel.
Seriously delicious food here people. All those bright fresh berries swimming in sweet rich custard? Yeah. The crust is bomb too. But the filling…ooooooh the filling. It’s the perfect blend of a cream pie and a succulent fruity cobbler. Glorious summer goodness.
As a side note. When I served this up for dessert I discovered the mystery of genetics explained on my children’s plates. Madison ate her crust first and after a few bites of the filling declared she was full. Donovan devoured the fruity custard and left his crust untouched. When he proclaimed he was stuffed Madison lept at the opportunity to eat his abandoned crust. Go figure.
Blueberries and Cream Pie
adapted from Gingerbread Bagels
Pie Crust (from America’s Test Kitchen)
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling out the dough
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons vegetable shortening, cut into 1/4-inch
pieces and chilled
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
4-6 tablespoons ice water
1 large egg mixed with 1 Tablespoon water (for egg wash)
3 cups blueberries
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup all purpose flour
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 Tablespoons brown sugar
2 Tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch ground nutmeg (about 1/16th teaspoon)
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup plus 2 1/2 Tablespoons all purpose flour
Process flour, sugar, and salt in food processor until combined. Add chilled shortening and pulse until coarsely ground. Add chilled butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Transfer to large bowl.
Sprinkle 4 tablespoons water over flour mixture. Using rubber spatula, stir mixture until dough forms. If dough remains crumbly, add remaining 1 tablespoon water. Form dough into 4-inch disk, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 2 days. (Dough can be frozen, wrapped tightly in plastic and aluminum foil, for up to 2 months. Thaw completely at room temperature before using.)
Let chilled dough soften slightly at room temperature, about 10 minutes. Working on lightly floured work surface, roll dough into 12-inch circle. Transfer dough to pie plate. Trim, fold, and crimp edges. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and place in the freezer for 30 minutes.
While crust is firming up, work on the filling. In a bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, mix together the sugar and flour. Add in the sour cream, eggs and vanilla extract and mix until combined. Take the pie out of the freezer and put the blueberries on the bottom of the crust. Pour the filling over the blueberries and spread it out.
Now make the crumb topping. Mix together the sugar, brown sugar, ground cinnamon and ground nutmeg. Pour the melted unsalted butter into the bowl and mix everything together. Add in the flour and mix until the ingredients form a crumble topping. Crumble the crumb topping over the pie.
Mix together 1 large egg and a Tablespoon of water and brush over the edge of the crust.
Bake the pie at 350 degrees for 50-55 minutes. Let the pie cool before cutting into slices. Then enjoy!
Seattle Chocolates used to make an incredible white chocolate orange truffle. They had a gold wrapper with a creamy white chocolate truffle inside. When I was a teenager who didn’t have to worry about things like love handles, cellulite and flab, I would eat them by the handful. My first job was at a Hallmark shop (best job ever!) and we had a bin of loose Seattle’s Chocolates in various flavors. Those bins of golden wrapped deliciousness were one of my favorite things to restock because I’d sift thru them as I went, pulling out all the white chocolate orange flavored truffles.
As I searched online I discovered that the orange truffles are no longer made. Sad day. But all is not lost! They have a lemon version now. And I love love love all things lemon. So what did I do? I made some.
Teenage Tonya would have just purchased a bag. It’s only money right? Single income, two kids and bills to pay Tonya has too much frugality flowing thru her veins to spend $42 on truffles. I also would rather not figure out how to keep from eating two-and-a-half pounds of chocolate.
These truffles are exactly the same consistency I remember. A little firm, a little soft. Perfectly creamy and rich. The lemon flavor is just enough to give you a hint of tart flowing thru silken white chocolate. The dusting of lemony sugar on the outside makes these refreshing little truffles simply stunning.
White Chocolate Lemon Truffles
adapted from Wit & Whistle
1/3 cup plus 1 Tbsp. heavy cream
grated zest of 1 lemon
9 ounces good quality white chocolate, finely chopped
pinch of salt
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into thin slices
2 tsp. freshly-squeezed, strained lemon juice
superfine granulated Sugar, for coating
grated zest of 1 lemon, for coating
In small, heavy, non-aluminum saucepan, combine the heavy cream and lemon zest. Over low heat, heat until cream comes to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, cover tightly and let sit for 20 minutes.
Combine the white chocolate, salt, and butter in medium heatproof bowl. Remove the cover from the cream and reheat over low heat, stirring occasionally, until it reaches a simmer. Remove from heat. Strain through fine-meshed strainer into white chocolate mixture. Press down on the lemon zest left in the strainer to extract all the liquid from it.
Place white chocolate mixture over a pot of warm water on low heat* (water should not touch bottom of bowl). Stir the chocolate frequently just until almost melted. Remove the bowl from the warm pot. Stir until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Stir in lemon juice. Transfer the mixture to a small bowl. Chill at least 4 hours, covering tightly when cold. While truffle mixture is cooling, zest one lemon into 1/2 cup of superfine granulated sugar and cover.
To make truffles: Using a small cookie scoop or a spoon, form balls of about 1 inch diameter from the cold truffle base. Roll in lemon sugar until well-coated. Store truffles airtight in refrigerator for up to one week or freeze for longer storage. To serve, remove from refrigerator 15 to 20 minutes prior to serving time. Let stand at room temperature, covered, until serving time.
You heard that right. Trix. Krispies. No I am not kidding. Yes, they are as incredible as they sound.
Now, I have to admit, I have not tried the various other krispie recipes I’ve seen around lately. Making them anyway. I’ve certainly consumed my fair share. It is all the rage to do outrageous things to rice krispie treats and several of my friends have brought different batches around for me to taste. I haven’t gotten in on that action for two main reasons.
First, I love my recipe for the original rice krispie treats. They are incredibly gooey, perfectly rich and delicious. I cannot imagine a more perfectly easy treat. Second (and the “real” reason for not branching out), every alteration to the original seems to add gluten into the mix. Cake batter treats are delicious, but my Celiac sister and her gluten intolerant family cannot eat them. I’ve even seen a recipe for Lucky Charms treats that look very yummy, but again, it makes it hands-off for lots of my family members. With so many things already off-limits, I just didn’t feel right taking away the stand by good-for-everyone dessert.
Then I saw this genius idea for using Trix. Did you know that Trix are made from corn? Yes. Corn. Not wheat. Delicious, fruity corn. Non gluten, beautiful, colorful corn. Silly rabbit! These Trix are for everyone! I adapted this recipe to use a whole box of Trix and one bag of marshmallows. Why waste the little extra bits of either bag? Trust me, once they are combined into these amazing krispies not one little fruity ball will be left over.
I cannot begin to tell you the deliciousness of these. Truly. Like a bar version of fruit with a marshmallow dip. And, just looking at them makes you happy. That rainbow of colors winking out at your from beneath a layer of gooey butter marshmallow. Yuuuuuuuum.
adapted from Cravings of a Lunatic
1 (16 ounce) bag mini marshmallows
1 (10.7 ounce) box of Trix cereal (about 8 cups)
1/4 cup of butter
- Melt butter slowly in the microwave (I do this on half power). Once butter is just melted, add marshmallows and continue microwaving about 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently until mallows are melted.
- Stir well.
- Mix in your trix and stir.
- Pour into a large greased pan (9 x 13 or 11 x 11) and press down with a spoon.
- Cut into squares.
I use the empty butter wrapper to press my krispies into the pan. It’s already greased and won’t stick. You could also spray your spoon with non stick spray before using it.
In addition to being a bar version of one of my most favorite cookies, these are SUPER easy to make. Just slap it all in a pan, sprinkle with some cinnamon sugar and drop more dough on top.
I’ve decided Betty Crocker is an evil woman. That decision has been a long time coming – she’s been on my radar a while. Pure. Amazing. Evil. I love that lady.
As if ribbons of cinnamony delight weren’t enough, these blondies also have a drizzled glaze. Happiness is anything with a sweet sugar dribbling off the edges.
If you have a snickerdoodle lover in your life, make these immediately. If you don’t, go find one – they are the best kind of people and your life really isn’t complete until you know someone who goes ga-ga over cinnamon and sugar.
from Betty Crocker
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
- Heat oven to 350° F. Spray or grease bottom only of a 13×9-inch baking pan with cooking spray. In small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
- In large bowl, beat butter with electric mixer on high speed until creamy. Beat in sugars. Gradually beat in eggs and vanilla into sugar mixture until combined. On low speed, beat in dry ingredients until combined.
- Spoon half the batter into pan; spread evenly. Sprinkle cinnamon-sugar mixture evenly over batter.
- Dollop teaspoon size amounts of remaining batter evenly over cinnamon-sugar mixture.
- Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely, about 1 hour.
- In small bowl, stir glaze ingredients until smooth and thin enough to drizzle. Drizzle over bars. For bars, cut into 6 rows by 4 rows.