You 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.
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.
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.
Is it just me or does that sound like it has to be a winning combination? I found this recipe on The First Year and I think that I tried pinning it at least a half a dozen times (I always get that little “oops! looks like you’ve already pinned this!”) I finally got around to making it and here’s what I thought.
This was good. It really was, but it wasn’t “I’m dying to have this again and need to think of an excuse to make it today” good. I think that if I were to make it again that I would use a regular chocolate cake mix and not a German chocolate cake mix. I wanted more chocolate flavor in the cake.
The chocolate chips add a rich chocolate taste and the crunch from the pecans add a nice texture to this rich dessert. The melted butter and cream cheese is good but I can’t decide if it’s worth the calories.
Raspberries or strawberries were a delicious addition, when serving, that complimented the flavors in the cake well.
This would be a great dessert to take to a potluck. It would go over well in a crowd and it looks like something that you just want to dive into.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly spray a 9 x 13 inch pan with non-stick cooking spray. Sprinkle the coconut, chocolate chips, and pecans on the bottom of the pan. Mix the German chocolate cake mix with the oil, eggs, and water using a spatula or hand mixer on low. Pour the cake mix on top of the coconut/chocolate chip/pecan layer. In a saucepan, melt the butter and cream cheese. Using a spatula or hand mixer on low, beat in 1 pound of powdered sugar until it's smooth to the butter/cream cheese. Spread this mixture on top of the uncooked chocolate cake in the pan, and swirl into the cake mix using a knife. Bake for 35-45 minutes. It is done when it doesn't wobble in the pan if you shake it. The toothpick test shouldn't work because the cake should be more gooey in nature. Enjoy! Store any left over cake in the fridge.
We’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.
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!
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!!
Cream butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add powdered sugar and vanilla and beat until smooth. Add a dollop to each muffin.
I 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.
I 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.
My 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!
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.
Let’s start with the graham cracker pancakes. These showed such promise. They had graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar and cinnamon. I thought they would knock it out of the park. They didn’t. Now, don’t get me wrong, they were good, but regular pancakes are good too and the don’t take nearly the effort or the amount of ingredients. Everyone liked them and ate all of them, but on one went crazy for them. Do what you will with that information.
The cheesecake topping was really good. I thinned it out by putting in more cool whip than was originally called for. When I ate it on the pancakes I felt like it overtook the whole thing. I ended up spreading it on very thin and it was perfect. It was a delicious filling and would work well as a frosting. I’m keeping this recipe tucked away to use on a cake or cupcakes in the future. It would be perfect with pumpkin cupcakes, or pumpkin bread, or gingerbread…you get the idea.
I’ve saved the best for last…the glazed fruit. The original recipe called for using blueberries. I’ve been buying raspberries like crazy this year (yeah for low prices!!) and so I had raspberries on hand. I love that the fruit is not cooked for this glaze. You simply make a lemon syrup and then toss the berries in it. The syrup gives them a wonderful sweet tang that would pair well on any breakfast or dessert that berries would be appropriate for.
So there you have it. The pancakes may not have been all that I was hoping that they would be, but the cheesecake and berries (great surprise!) made up for it.
Cheesecake Graham Cracker Pancakes with Raspberries
Cheesecake Graham Cracker Pancakes with Raspberries
For the pancakes, in a large mixing bowl, combine flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk eggs, buttermilk, whole milk, melted butter and vanilla extract. Gently stir egg mixture into the dry ingredients do not over mix, lumps are okay. Over medium heat, pour batter onto a hot griddle. Cook until bubbles form, flip pancake and continue to cook until done. Serve with cheesecake topping and glazed raspberries.
To make the cheesecake topping, beat cream cheese on medium speed with a handmixer until soft and fluffy. Add brown sugar, powdered sugar, vanilla and cinnamon continue to beat at medium speed until well combined. On low speed, add Cool Whip just until combined.
To make the glazed raspberries stir powdered sugar, water and lemon juice in a small sauce pan over medium-high heat until mixture boils vigorously, 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in berries.
My 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.
This 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?
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.
This pie is something that came to me in a blaze of glorious inspiration and I fantasized about and dreamed that it would be as good as I hoped. I love strawberry and lime together. In fact I frequently pay extra to get a Strawberry-Lime slushie at Sonic instead of a Lemon-Berry. Why it costs more to get lime instead of lemon, I don’t understand, but for me it’s worth it. I have a serious obsession with lime. Even if you don’t, there’s a good chance that you’ll love this pie too.
This pie is a graham cracker crust with a lime custard-like layer on the bottom, a strawberry gelation layer on the top and is served with a coconut whipped cream that is so over the top good I can hardly stand it. (I’m not kidding, it took all the willpower I had to not get a spoon and just eat all of the coconut whipped cream that was left.)
I have tried the pie with both key lime and lime juice. I liked them both; my husband thought the key lime was a little bit too sharp. If you don’t have a lime obsession like me, you should probably stick with regular lime juice. My favorite brand of lemon and lime juice is Italia Garden. (I’ve included a picture; completely my opinion, not sponsored!) It has the freshest taste of any that I’ve tried. I also have tried adding a drop of green food coloring to the lime so it was green and not yellow. I personally decided I like the natural look better; I thought it looked like a Christmas pie with the green and red.
Make sure and use a nine inch pie plate. As it is, you will have extra of the strawberry mixture. I couldn’t figure out how to reduce it so just have a bowl or glass handy to put the extra in and you can serve it with whipped cream, keep it hidden for yourself to eat later. 🙂
The first time I made this pie I gave my kids the option of coconut or regular whipped cream. All of my kids chose regular. The next time I covered the whole pie with the coconut whipped cream and they all loved it. Boy 1 commented that it was way better with the coconut. Go figure, Mom knows what she’s talking about. If you’ve never used an emulsion, they are used in place of extracts by professional bakers and contain no alcohol. This enables the flavor stay more intense and true when exposed to high heat. I used to have to go to a cake decorating store to find them but they are becoming more popular and most Wal Marts and Hobby Lobbys are now carrying a selection of them.
The lime, strawberry and coconut come together to make this pie a tropical dream. So if you can’t be in paradise, just eat this pie, close your eyes and you’re almost there.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Put the graham crackers in a blender or food processer and grind down to crumbs the texture of sand. Pour into 9 inch pie plate and add 1/4 cup sugar. Mix together; add melted butter and combine until evenly incorporated. Press the mixture onto the sides and bottom of the pie plate. Set aside. In a mixing bowl place the egg yolks, sweetened condensed milk and lime juice. Whisk together and pour into pie plate. Cook in oven for 12-14 minutes. Take out and allow to cool. After lime layer has cooled, combine water, corn starch and sugar in a pot. Turn on heat to medium high and stir until boiling and the mixture is clear. Add jello and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes. Turn off oven and allow mixture to cool for 20-30 minutes. Cut strawberries and place them on top of the lime layer. Pour cooled strawberry mixture over the pie until pie is full (there will be extra). Pour extra strawberry mixture into a small bowl and put in the refrigerator; this is extra that you can use however you would like. Put pie in the refrigerator for 4-6 hours.
Just before serving pour whipped cream into a mixing bowl. Whip until soft peaks form. Add the sugar, coconut, and vanilla and whip until hard peaks form. Whipped cream can be served on individual pieces, spread over the top of the entire pie, or scooped into a piping bag with a large star tip and piped onto the top of the pie. Enjoy your taste of the tropics!!
As 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!
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!
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.
Mardi Gras is underway right now in New Orleans and will be culminating next week with Fat Tuesday. We love any excuse to celebrate in our house by trying out new foods and traditions. A number of years ago we started celebrating Fat Tuesday. I’ve made red beans and rice, gumbo, and jambalaya over the years. I think this year I’m going to make Creamy Cajun Pasta with Peppers and Smoked Sausage from Our Best Bites (it’s a family favorite). Most years I have also attempted to make a King Cake to go along with it. King Cake is a favorite in New Orleans during Mardi Gras. It is a bread that has been rolled out and filled with various fillings and then rolled up and connected into a ring. After baking, it is iced and receives the traditional colors of the festival: green, yellow and purple. Inside the King Cake is a little plastic baby that one lucky person gets. Some times I have a prize for the person who gets the baby and sometimes my kids think just getting the baby is enough of a prize. I’ve tried a different recipe every year, looking for one that I like. I didn’t find one until this year. I saw King Cake in the back of my Cook’s Country and decided that if anyone could get it right, it was probably them. I was right, but not without a couple of issues.
The dough for this king cake can be a little sticky, but that is a good thing because the less flour you use, the more moist it will be. Make sure and flour the counter well and have a small bowl of flour handy to dip your fingers into if things get too sticky as you roll up the dough.
The amount of pecans that the recipe calls for makes the filling crazy good. Every bite is full of nuts.
Most King Cakes are a free form circle. I like that this one because it uses a Bundt cake pan which makes it prettier.
The original directions had the cake baking for 30-35 minutes. This did not cook it all the way through for me. I had to bake it for 45 minutes to reach the internal 190 degree temperature both times I made it.
Make sure and not put the baby in until after the cake is cooked.
I hope that you enjoy this New Orleans tradition as much are we do!
Get into the spirit Mardi Gras with this traditional King Cake. A sweet bread with a swirl of cinnamon and pecan and topped with icing and traditional Mardi Gras colors.
2 1/2-3 hours
2 1/2-3 hours
Get into the spirit Mardi Gras with this traditional King Cake. A sweet bread with a swirl of cinnamon and pecan and topped with icing and traditional Mardi Gras colors.
Mix 1 cup milk, eggs, and melted butter together in a stand mixer. Stir in four, sugar, yeast, and salt until just combined. Mix on low (Bosch) for 6 minutes or medium low (Kitchen Aide) for 10 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until doubled in size, 1 1/2-2 hours.
Grease a Bundt pan. Combine pecans, brown sugar, and cinnamon in a bowl. Roll our dough into 18 by 14 inch rectangle on a lightly floured counter. (dough will be sticky!) Spray lightly with water and sprinkle evenly with nut mixture. Roll dough away from you into a log and pinching along seam to seal. (keep a small bowl of flour handy to dip your fingers into as you roll)
Place seam side up into pan. Pinch two ends together so they form a ring. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise to double at room temperature, about 1 hour. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place pan in center of oven and bake for 42-46 minutes.(the internal temperature should be 190) Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, Remove cake from pan, transfer to wire rack and let cool. After cool, place the baby in the cake by puncturing the bottom of it with a knife and placing the baby in the small slit. Mix powdered sugar and 3 Tbsp milk together. Pour around top of cake. Add sprinkles in solid color sections, repeating each color once.
Recipe from Cooks Country with additional instructions from AnneOpinion