Fruit Pizza

fruit pizzaYou may have noticed that I’ve been a little MIA from my blog for the last few months.  I didn’t mean to be gone for so long and I don’t have a really good excuse.  This year my oldest started high school and along with that, he started attending a church seminary class every morning before school at 6:00!  Between that, high school football and all of my other boys activities, I just felt like I needed to get things under control and focus on my family.

Last week I laid in bed, composing two different posts and I knew it was time to come back. 🙂  I decided to start with this amazing fruit pizza that I put together last week.  I was asked to bring one to an event at church so I experiment with it early in the week and found that I could not resist it!  I normally can stay away from a treat if I put it out of sight, but not this one!  I swear I was getting it out and cutting a slice every 5 minutes. (in semi related news, I’m pretty sure I’m going to lose my DietBet next week)  It seems like a dessert as irresistible as this is appropriate for my comeback. 🙂  Here’s the details I think you should know.

AnneOpinion

This recipe is made for a half sheet pan.  I have two reasons for this.  One is that everyone will want it and you need to have enough to go around and two, I find it impossible to find a pizza pan these days.

The limeade glaze is what really separates this from other Fruit Pizzas you may have eaten in the past.  It not only adds the delightful zip that only citrus can bring but it also enhances the flavor of all the other fruits.  The glaze is brushed onto the cream cheese frosting.  I like to do more dabbing than brushing so that they don’t start to mix together.  You then place the fruit on and then I like to dab the fruit with the limeade glaze.  Not required, but delicious!

I would put fruit that is in season on your pizza.  Blackberries were on sale here last week, so I used them instead of blueberries.  Canned mandarin oranges and fresh strawberries are always a must for me!  To try and minimize the fruit from staining the cream cheese frosting all around I always gently press the sliced fruit between two paper towels to get as much moisture out as possible.  This helps, but is not full proof, so put your fruit on as close to serving as possible, or put on enough fruit that you can’t see the cream cheese frosting.

I’m excited to be back!  Thanks for stopping by!!

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Fruit Pizza
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Fruit Pizza
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Ingredients
Crust
Glaze
Servings:
Recipe Notes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl, cream together the butter and 1 1/2 Cups sugar until smooth. Mix in eggs.  Add the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt; stir into the creamed mixture until just blended. Press dough into an ungreased half sheet pan.  Bake in preheated oven for 13-16 minutes, or until lightly browned. Cool.

In a bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the granulated and powdered sugar, vanilla, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Spread on the cooled pizza crust leaving an edge around the outside.

For the glaze: Combine the limeade, cornstarch, lime juice, and sugar in a small saucepan, whisk and cook over medium heat until clear and thick, about 2 minutes. Let cool. With a pasty brush, glaze the entire pizza. You will not use all of the glaze. Cut fruit and dry off excess juice on paper towels.  Arrange fruit on top of the pizza. You can add glaze to the top of the fruit, if desired.  Cover lightly with plastic wrap and chill until serving.

Recipe adapted from http://allrecipes.com/recipe/12604/fruit-pizza-i/ and http://www.melskitchencafe.com/fruit-pizza/ and http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/paula-deen/fresh-fruit-tart-recipe.html

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Morning Glory Muffins

Carrot-cake-muffinsWe’re going to be talking muffins this week.  With school starting and everyone being more “on the go,” I need to have some things on hand that are healthy and that everyone likes.  Those two things are the requirements for all three of the muffin recipes that I’ll be sharing this week.  My oldest is attending a church class at 6:00am before school and I am not getting up and making him a hot breakfast every day (sorry honey!), but I want to make sure that what he is eating is healthy, filling and most importantly, portable.  My solution has been muffins and so far they are being met with great applause.

AnneOpinion

If you’ve never had a Morning Glory muffin, they are kind of like a carrot cake in muffin form.  They’re very nutritious with carrots, apple, nuts and coconut.

These muffins are great right away, but even better the next day or after freezing.  The flavors get the chance to meld together and really complement each other.

I like to use coconut oil in these, but if that’s not your thing, melted butter or canola oil also work well.

If I’m making these for a brunch or a morning meeting, I put a dollop of frosting on them.  If they’re for my family, I just leave them plain.  They are bursting with so many flavors on their own I don’t feel like they need it and that would undermine the “healthy and nutritious” goal that I have for them.  With the nuts, and the coconut and the cinnamon and the orange, you don’t really need more; but if you add the frosting it’s like you’re eating a really good carrot cake for breakfast and nobody complains about cake for breakfast!

I love the little bit of orange that I added into these.  It’s a wonderful surprise background flavor that adds a fresh taste to the muffin. If you have any fans of carrot cake or spice cake around, you need to give this recipe a try!

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Morning Glory Muffins
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Morning Glory Muffins
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Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
Muffin Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease or place paper liners in 18 muffin cups. Toast pecans for 5-7 minutes. Let cool and chop. Toast coconut for 3-4 minutes; let cool. Peel and finely grate carrots and apple and set aside. In a medium bowl whisk together eggs, oil, orange juice and vanilla. Add carrots and apple and fold together. Add flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, orange zest, pecans, and coconut and mix together until just moistened. Evenly divided batter between muffin cups and bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes before removing to wire wrack. Let cool completely. Eat, freeze or frost. Whatever you do, they're going to be good!!
Frosting instructions
  1. Cream butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add powdered sugar and vanilla and beat until smooth. Add a dollop to each muffin.
Recipe Notes

AnneOpinion adapted from Joy of Baking

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Neapolitan Fudge

nea-fudge1I have a couple of friends that I would like to take goodies to this week.  I want to take something different than my normal cookies or brownies and so I have been searching the internet for ideas.  One of my new favorite blogs is I am Baker by Amanda.  If you’ve never visited, you are in for a treat.  Aside from being a brilliant baker, she is hilarious!  Seriously, one of my favorite people on Instagram. As I made my way through her sight I noticed that there is a whole category dedicated to Fudge,  and that is how you know she’s cool.  While browsing the fudge recipes I found one for Neapolitan Fudge that was so pretty, I decided it would be perfect to give away.  Amanda’s description of it left me wondering about the taste though. She mentioned that she got it from Taste of Home and I’ll be honest.  That’s not a positive in my house.  I used to get the magazine and every time I tried a new recipe and my husband didn’t like it, he would ask “Is this a Taste of Home recipe?”  Unfortunately he was right most of the time and so I quit trying them.  I decided that Amanda seems to enjoy her sweets as much as I do, so I trusted her.  Trust is a good thing.

AnneOpinion

nea-fudge2I took my first bite and I really wasn’t expecting to like it, but I knew as soon as I ate it, I needed another bite, and another.  The fudge is perfect.  It’s smooth, rich, and fudgy.  The chocolate, raspberry and vanilla layer worked together in perfect harmony.

Making the fudge is fairly simple.  Melting chocolate, whipping cream cheese and mixing all of the ingredients together.

nea-fudge3My tip of the day: When cutting the fudge, use a large knife so that you can cut through the whole side at once.  After making each cut, clean off the knife in the sink and wipe dry with a towel.  This will make eat piece look perfect! post-closer

Neapolitan Fudge
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Neapolitan Fudge
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Instructions
  1. Line a 9-in. x 9-in. baking pan with foil. Spray lightly with cooking spray and set aside. Beat 4 ounces cream cheese until fluffy. Gradually beat in powdered sugar and then add in the melted dark chocolate. Spread into prepared pan. Refrigerate for 10 minutes. Raspberry Layer-Beat the cream cheese until fluffy. Gradually beat in the powdered sugar. Beat in melted white chocolate, raspberry emulsion and food coloring. Spread over chocolate layer, making it as even as possible. Refrigerate for 10 minutes. Vanilla layer-Beat 4 ounces cream cheese until fluffy. Gradually beat in powdered sugar. Beat in melted white chocolate. Carefully spread over raspberry layer, trying to get layer as flat and even as possible. Refrigerate for 10 minutes. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight. Using foil, lift fudge out of pan. Cut fudge into 1-in. squares. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Recipe Notes

AnneOpinon- slightly adapted from I Am Baker

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Cinnamon Roll Cake

cinnamon-roll-cakeMy friend, Vanessa, asked me to make a Cinnamon Roll Cake for her daughter’s birthday.  Her little girl is not a fan of cake, but adores cinnamon rolls.  Vanessa found this cake from Sally’s Baking Addiction on Pinterest and forwarded the pin to me.  I had seen it before but had never looked into making one.  I decided I’d better try it before the actual “birthday cake” was needed, so I tried making it a couple of times.  I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it is to make.  Sally had some great tips in her post and I discovered some things that helped me.

AnneOpinion

cinnamon-roll-cake2This is made just like a cinnamon roll until the assembly time begins.  When rolling the dough flat it is very important to use a ruler and measure a 12×15 rectangle.  You will also want to keep the ruler handy (warning: it will be food on it!) for measuring the 2 inch strips.  Having the strips the same size will help with the cinnamon roll looking uniform in height.  That said, I still have never had mine end up looking completely uniform on the top.  Sally suggests taking the cake out during the baking process and pressing raised areas down gently with a spactula to give the top uniformity.  I like the beauty of the imperfectness that mine has so I have not done that.

The first time I made one I left a two inch space at the top where I didn’t put any butter or cinnamon sugar, just like I would do with regular cinnamon rolls.  This turned out to not be necessary and I liked it better the next time when there weren’t spaces where there was less cinnamon sugar.

Sally says to loosely roll up the first strip and she means it.  I even rolled it loosely, then unrolled it and tried it again two more times, rolling it as loose as I could.  You want room for the roll to expand as it rises and if it is rolled too tightly it will rise up instead of out.  If you would like to see step by step pictures, click on this link.

I decided that I liked making this in a 9 inch spring form pan best.  That way you can take off the sides and have a beautiful giant cinnamon roll.  So fun!

I preferred a cream cheese icing on my cake.  I’m sure that the maple/vanilla glaze that Sally used would be amazing too.

I think the thing that I loved the most was the ratio of inner cinnamon roll yumminess to the crust.  On a regular cinnamon roll you have lots of edges (unless you’re the lucky dog that gets the center one) and with this cake there is only a little bit of edge on the outside.  Even better for me, 9 out of ten times when I’m having a piece, a kid will come and ask for some and I pawn the outer edge off on to them.  They’re happy that I gave them some and I’m happy because I only enjoyed the best part.  Don’t you love it when everyone is a winner?

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Cinnamon Roll Cake
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Servings
12 pieces
Servings
12 pieces
Cinnamon Roll Cake
Print Recipe
Servings
12 pieces
Servings
12 pieces
Ingredients
Dough
Filling
Cream Cheese Icing
Servings: pieces
Instructions
  1. In a mixing bowl, combine 2 and 1/2 cups flour, sugar, salt, and yeast together until evenly dispersed. Set aside. Heat the water, milk, and butter together in the microwave until the butter is melted and the mixture is hot to touch (30 seconds-1 minute.) About 115-120F degrees. Stir the butter mixture into the flour mixture. Add the egg and only enough of the reserved flour to make a soft dough. Dough will be ready when it gently pulls away from the side of the bowl and has an elastic consistency. On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough for about 3-4 minutes. Form a ball and place in a lightly greased bowl. Cover tightly and let rest for 30 minutes. The dough will slightly rise. After 30 minutes, roll the dough out in a 15x12 inch rectangle. Spread the softened butter on top. Mix together the cinnamon and sugar and sprinkle it all over the dough. Brush a 9-inch spring form pan with melted butter. Set aside. Using a knife or a pizza cutter, cut the dough into six 2-inch wide strips. Loosely roll up one strip and place it in the center of the pan. You're rolling it up loosely so the dough has some give as it rises. Coil the remaining 5 strips around the center roll, starting each strip at the end of the previous one to make one large rolled cake. Some of the filling may spill out as you pick up the strips, but I just sprinkled that on top of the cake after I was finished spiraling. Loosely cover the cake with plastic wrap or a damp teal towel and allow to rise in a warm, draft-free place for 60-90 minutes. (Mine only took 60 minutes, but I live in Arizona where a warm room is never a problem. 🙂 After the cake's dough has nearly doubled in size, preheat the oven to 350F. Bake for 30-35 minutes until lightly browned. Remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes. Remove the ring of the spring form pan. Cream the cream cheese, butter, vanilla and powdered sugar together. Add milk in small amounts until desired consistency is reached. Drizzle over the cake. Cake is best enjoyed the same day, but will remain fresh covered tightly for up to 4 days at room temperature or in the refrigerator.
Recipe Notes

AnneOpinion- from Sally's Baking Addiction with slight changes

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Crab Rangoon

crab-ragoonAs I established in my Ham Fried Rice post on Monday, I did not eat very much Chinese food growing up.  Lucky for me, I got a job my senior year working at a Chinese restaurant as a waitress.  At the end of each shift we were allowed to order whatever we wanted to take home.  I normally would get an entrée (garlic chicken was my favorite) and an order of Crab Rangoon.  This was something new to me and was an instant love.  Crab Rangoon is a fried Chinese dumpling filled with a cream cheese and crab mixture, served with a dipping sauce and is crazy good!  I’m afraid that I never really shared with anyone else, keeping the order of 4 to myself, and it’s something that never grows old to me.  I’m always excited to get to have it.  I’ve dreamed of making it for myself and I have tried a few times over the years, but none of the recipes were ever quit right.  My husband, who knows all too well of my love for this appetizer, saw a recipe in the local paper a couple of months back and brought it home for me to try.  It was good, but needed a little tweaking.  I think that you’ll enjoy the results!

AnneOpinion

The basics in all recipes that I’ve tried over the years include cream cheese, green onion, and crab.  While they were good, I always felt like they were missing something (including the base recipe I used).  After reading around I found what I was missing: sugar.  That is the secret ingredient missing in most homemade recipes and it makes a big difference.  It takes the edge off of the flavors which tend to come off too strong in most made at home recipes.  The sugar helps to soften the flavors so that they work together well. Normally you would deep fat fry these, but I didn’t feel like using that much oil so I pan fried them and that worked great!  Just make sure and turn them over so that they cook evenly. You can shape them into a triangle or into a flower shape (see picture above).  Both are fairly easy to do and it’s really personal preference.  I normally make the flower because that’s what they did at the Chinese restaurant that I worked at and that’s how my mind thinks that they should look. In a restaurant you are normally served sweet and sour sauce to dip them in.  At home, I like to use sweet chili sauce that comes in a bottle.  Sweet chili sauce is a condiment that I didn’t discover until a few years ago and now my home will never be without it.  It’s perfect for dipping most Asian appetizers in and it’s also tasty with plain chicken or veggies.  I feel like I’m always finding new ways that I want to use it. If you enjoy this appetizeer as much as I do, you’ll need to try making this version for yourself, and if you’ve never had it, first of all I’m sorry.  You really have been missing out in life, and you really need to try this! post-closer

Crab Rangoon
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Crab Rangoon
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Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Mix together cream cheese, crab, green onion, garlic and powdered sugar. Fold 1 teaspoon of the filling in the center of a wonton paper. Paint a line of water on the edges with your finger. Either fold paper into a triangle, pressing the edges together to seal or fold up the middle of each side and pinch together. Meanwhile, fill a wok or large skillet with several inches of canola oil and heat on high. The oil is ready when a stream of tiny bubbles rises from the tip of a chopstick dipped into the oil. Begin gently sliding the puff's into the oil, cooking not more than six at a time. Cook for several minutes, turning when the bottom turns golden brown. Remove when both sides are golden. Serve with sweet chili sauce or sweet and sour sauce.
Recipe Notes

AnneOpinion adapted from The Arizona Republic

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