Bourbon Caramel Apple Upside Down Spice Cake

I’ve been willing Fall to get here for the past few weeks. I am sure I have mentioned it before, it’s my favorite season. Cooler weather, the leaves changing, baking without overheating my house, the list goes on and on. There are a few flavors synonymous with this time of year, mainly pumpkin and apples. And while I normally like to welcome Fall with a new pumpkin recipe, I decided to go with the apples this year for a Caramel Apple Bourbon Upside Down Spice Cake. A bit of a mouthful!

A little backstory on this cake. I got the idea from watching a Fall themed movie on Hallmark Channel back in the Spring. I wrote the idea on a post-it and finally revisited it a few weeks ago. And of course, there were a few fails before I finally ended up with a cake that looked and tasted delicious. My first cake collapsed in the middle. My cake tester led me astray! The cake was slightly undercooked in the middle and there was no saving it. The fail though led me to change the flavor of the cake so it was kind of a good thing. Initially I doctored a French vanilla cake mix and decided the flavor just wasn’t right, so I switched to a spice cake instead. That definitely screams Fall more so than French Vanilla. So, I bought a spice cake Mix and made a few tweaks to it. I also decided to bake the cake in a tube pan to ensure it would bake completely without drying out. Well, it still wasn’t quite right. I used heavy cream when I made my bourbon caramel sauce and I just didn’t like the way it looked after flipping the cake. And while the cake tasted good, I just wasn’t getting enough spice from it.

Thankfully my third attempt was a success! First, I decided to omit the heavy cream from my caramel sauce. Second, I went with a yellow cake mix and added in cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice and cloves (those yummy warm spices of the season) to really get a strong spice flavor. And third, after I poured the caramel and arranged the apples in the pan, I placed the pan in the refrigerator while I made the batter for the cake. This allowed the apples to set in the caramel so that they wouldn’t move when I poured the batter into the pan. This actually happened with my second attempt at this cake. I had arranged my apples in a nice design and they moved all around once I poured the batter in. I didn’t take any chances with my third attempt though. I spooned the batter into the pan just to be safe.

Just look at how the apples looked before I added the batter. I definitely wanted that look on top of my cake once it was done.

And thankfully since I made those tweaks my cake looked amazing once I flipped it out of the pan. YAY!!!

And even better, the taste and texture of the cake was spot on.

Happy Fall Y’all!

Bourbon Caramel Apple Upside Down Spice Cake

Ingredients:

For the Bourbon Caramel Apple:

1/2 cup light brown sugar

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/4 cup bourbon

2 Granny Smith Apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced (about 1/4 inch)

For the Spice Cake:

1 15.25 box of yellow cake mix (I used Duncan Hines)

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ginger

1/2 teaspoon allspice

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

3 large eggs

1/2 cup vegetable oil

3/4 cup buttermilk*, at room temperature

1/3 cup sour cream, at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

*Make your own buttermilk by adding 4 teaspoons of vinegar to a measuring cup and then adding enough whole milk to make 3/4 cup. Let stand for 15 minutes at room temperature, or until the milk becomes thick and appears curdled.

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spray a tube pan with baking spray and set aside. You could also use a Bundt pan.

For the Bourbon Caramel Sauce:

In a small saucepan combine the brown sugar and butter and melt over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Once the mixture is melted and combined remove from the heat and add the bourbon. Return to the heat for about a minute and stir to combine. Let cool slightly.

Pour the caramel sauce into the prepared pan and arrange the apple slices in the sauce making sure to overlap them.

While you make the cake batter refrigerate the pan with the apples and caramel sauce so the sauce can set. This will help the apples stay in place when you add the batter.

For the Spice Cake:

In a medium bowl whisk together the yellow cake mix with the cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice and cloves. Set aside.

In a large bowl, using a handheld mixer on low speed, beat the eggs, vegetable oil, buttermilk, sour cream and vanilla extract until combined. Using a fine mesh sieve (or a sifter) sift the cake mix with the spices over the buttermilk mixture and then beat with the hand mixer on medium speed until just combined.

Remove the pan from the refrigerator and spoon the batter over the apples. Give the pan a few gentle taps on the counter to remove any air bubbles and then bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the cake comes out clean.

Cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes and then invert onto a cake platter or other rimmed dish. Let the cake to cool to room temperature before slicing and enjoying. It’s important to let the cake cool before slicing so the apples can set on the cake. If you slice it too soon the apples will slide off.

Recipe first appeared on Bead Yarn & Spatula

Brownie Ice Cream Sandwiches

The temperatures may not feel like it, but today, Labor Day, marks the end of the summer (albeit unofficially) for many. After the heat and humidity we’ve had this summer I say bring on Fall and the lower temperatures. The trees in my yard have been suffering from what I have coined “summer foliage.” The leaves are turning brown and falling due to a combination of a lack of rain and the heat. How can so many people really think that climate change doesn’t exist? Anyhoo… If you are looking to hold on to summer a bit longer and all the cold treats that come with it, then whip up a batch of these super simple Brownie Ice Cream Sandwiches to enjoy on those days that are still unbearably warm.

While you could use your favorite brownie recipe to make these, I opted to use a box mix. Ideally you would like two 9-inch square pans to make these so that after you prep your brownie batter you can divide it amongst the two pans to bake. But, if you only have 1, after you prepare your batter divide it in half and bake the first half and let it cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes before removing it to bake the other half. Either way, allow the brownie layers to cool completely before moving on to the next step.

Once the brownie layers had cooled, I lined one of the 9-inch square pans with plastic wrap leaving an overhang on all sides. I placed one of the brownie layers in the pan with the top side facing down and then spread ice cream over it in an even layer and then topped it with the other brownie layer, top side facing up. I covered it with plastic wrap and placed it in the freezer overnight. Truthfully, you only need to freeze it for a minimum of two hours.

The next day I inverted it onto a cutting board, removed the plastic wrap and sliced it into 9 brownie ice cream sandwiches with a serrated knife. To make slicing it easier, I ran the knife under hot water prior to slicing. Once they were sliced, I had to work fast as the ice cream was starting to melt a little. I decided to leave three of them as is, topped three of them with chocolate syrup and chopped walnuts and the last three I coated with sprinkles around the sides. I placed them on a baking sheet and put them back in the freezer for about 20 minutes so they could firm up.

And finally, I wrapped each in plastic wrap to store in my freezer to enjoy for the warmer days that I am sure will still come!

Brownie Ice Cream Sandwiches

Ingredients:

1 18 to 18.75 oz box brownie mix

1 qt. vanilla ice cream (or any flavor of ice cream, gelato or sorbet you like)

Chocolate Syrup, optional for decorating

Chopped Walnuts, optional for decorating

Rainbow Sprinkles, optional for decorating

Directions:

Preheat the oven to the temperature on your brownie mix.

Prepare the brownie batter per the directions on the box and divide in half. Bake in two 9-inch square pans or bake one half and then the other. If using only one pan, let the first brownie layer cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely and then bake the other half.  If using two pans, allow the brownie layers to cool completely in the pans before removing. Bake for 16 to 18 minutes, or until the edges are set and a tester inserted in the center comes out with crumbs.

Line a 9-inch square pan with plastic wrap, leaving an overhang on all sides. Place one of the brownie layers in the pan with the top side facing down. Spread the ice cream over the brownie and then top with the other brownie layer with the top side facing up. Gently press down the top brownie layer. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for at least 2 hours.

Invert onto a large cutting board and remove the plastic wrap. Use a serrated knife to cut into 9 ice cream sandwiches. To make slicing easier, run the knife under hot water.

If decorating…

To top the brownies with walnuts, spread a teaspoon or two of the chocolate syrup on the top of the brownies and then sprinkle with some of the chopped walnuts, pressing them down lightly to adhere.

To add sprinkles to the sides, pour some sprinkles onto a plate and then press each side of the ice cream sandwich into the sprinkles.

Once the brownie ice cream sandwiches have been decorated (or just sliced if you are not decorating) place them on a baking sheet and back in the freezer for 15-20 minutes so they can set. Remove from the freezer and wrap each in plastic wrap and store in the freezer until ready to enjoy!

Chocolate Kahlua Cake with Strawberry Buttercream Frosting

My first attempt at making this cake was a fail. I settled on using a box cake mix as my starting point and doctoring it with additional ingredients besides the ones called for on the box. I must have added in a few too many ingredients because the cake had a weird texture – kind of rubbery – and the bottom of it had a dense appearance. And the flavor just wasn’t there. Thankfully on my second attempt the flavor and texture were spot on.

On my second attempt I kept things a bit simpler. Along with the eggs and oil measurements suggested on the box, I swapped the water for coffee and added in sour cream, Kahlua and vanilla extract. Adding the coffee helped to really enhance the chocolate flavor, as did the Kahlua. While box cake directions say to mix everything together at once, I opted to beat together all my ingredients except for the cake mix until they were well incorporated and then sifted the cake mix over the mixture and beat it in on low speed until it was just combined. More or less following the method of most cakes that are made completely from scratch.  

Once my cake layers were baked and cooled, I wrapped them in plastic wrap and refrigerated them overnight. I find that it’s easier to level and frost cold cake layers. The cakes are less likely to break apart and there’s much less crumb.

The next day I made the frosting. Contrary to my recipe directions below, I added all the ingredients for the frosting into my stand mixer at once. Either works. If you follow method, I suggest beating everything together on medium speed until the ingredients are incorporated and then raise the speed of your mixer to medium-high for at least 5 minutes to get the frosting light and fluffy. Don’t fret if the frosting appears to be curdled or separated. Just keep beating it, it will come together. I probably beat mine for just shy of 10 minutes. I made this frosting on a fairly warm day so it was a bit soft once it was done so I popped it in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes so it could firm up. I checked it every 10 minutes to make sure that it wasn’t getting too firm. I didn’t want to have to wait for my frosting to “defrost” after all that.

Once it was ready, I transferred about a cup of the frosting to a piping bag fitted with a large star tip and set it aside. After leveling the cakes, I spread about half of the remaining frosting on top of one of them and then placed the other one on top. And finally, I frosted the entire cake with the remaining frosting. My plan was to make this a naked cake so I was well aware that I wouldn’t have enough frosting to completely cover it.  

Once the cake was frosted, I piped dollops of frosting around the cake leaving space between each to fit a strawberry. I opted to slice my strawberries in half, but you could place whole strawberries between the dollops as well. Just make sure to leave enough room. You could also omit the strawberries altogether and just decorate the top of the cake with dollops of frosting.

And then it was time to enjoy a slice. This cake was delicious! The frosting reminded me of strawberry ice cream. Not overly sweet with just the right amount of strawberry flavor thanks to the fresh strawberries added to the frosting. And it was the perfect accompaniment to the chocolate cake.  

Chocolate Kahlua Cake with Strawberry Buttercream Frosting

Ingredients:

For the Cake:

3 large eggs

1 cup coffee

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup sour cream

1/4 cup Kahlua

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 15.25 package chocolate cake mix (I used Duncan Hines Devil’s Food)

For the Frosting:

1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

3 cups confectioners’ sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 cup diced strawberries

3 tablespoons heavy whipping cream

Additional strawberries for topping

Directions:

For the cake: Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray two 8-inch round pans with baking spray.

In a large bowl combine the eggs, coffee, vegetable oil, sour cream, Kahlua and vanilla extract. Beat with a hand mixer on medium speed until well blended.

Sift the cake mix over the mixture and then beat with the hand mixer on low speed until just combined. Divide the batter among the prepared pans and bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean.

Cool the cakes in the pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then remove and allow to cool completely on the racks.

For the Frosting: In the bowl of a stand mixer cream together the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add in the vanilla extract, diced strawberries and heavy whipping cream and beat on medium-high speed until the ingredients are incorporated and the frosting is light and fluffy. If the frosting is too soft to spread refrigerate for about 30 minutes to firm up.

To assemble the cake: If decorating the top of the cake, fit a piping bag with a large star tip and fill with about a cup of frosting and set aside. Level the cake layers if necessary. Spread about half of the remaining frosting on top of one of the cakes and top with the other. Then frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining frosting. Finally, pipe dollops of the reserved frosting on top of the cake leaving space between each to place either a whole or halved strawberry. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Recipe first appeared on Bead Yarn & Spatula

Peach Blueberry Crumble

So last week I brought you a Peach Mango Pie and this week I am bringing you a Peach Blueberry Crumble. Besides the blueberries and it being a crumble the other big difference is that I used fresh fruit for this crumble.

First thing I needed to do was peel the peaches. To make it easy I opted to blanch them. I brought a pot of water to a boil and then added the peaches for about a minute. While the peaches were boiling, I placed a colander in my sink and ran cold water over it. Once the peaches were ready, I transferred them to the colander and let the cold water cool them down. It was then easy to peel off the skin using a paring knife and then slice the peaches into wedges. Along with the peaches, I folded together blueberries, lemon juice, lemon zest, sugar and flour. After letting it sit for a few minutes I transferred it to a 9-inch pie dish.

Next, I made the crumble topping. If you have a stand mixer, I highly suggest using it to make the topping. I opted to use my hand mixer instead and it took much longer to get the consistency – small peas – I needed and some of the mixture went flying out of the bowl while I was mixing it.

Once it was right though I used my fingers to create large crumbs and sprinkled it evenly over the fruit.

I baked it in a 350 F preheated oven until the topping turned a golden brown and the juices were bubbling. While this takes about 45-50 minutes to achieve, it won’t be that long before this dessert makes your home smell AH-MAZING! And since peach season is slowly winding down this would be a great dessert to make in the fall with apples and dried cranberries. I would just reduce the amount of cranberries to maybe 3/4 – 1 cup and the flour to 1/4 cup.

Peach & Blueberry Crumble

Ingredients:

For the Fruit:

3 large ripe peaches (about 2 lbs.)

1 pint of fresh blueberries (2 cups)

Zest & juice of 1 lemon

1/2 cup sugar

1/3 cup flour

For the Crumble Topping:

1 cup flour

1/3 cup sugar

1/4 cup light brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 stick cold unsalted butter, diced

Vanilla Ice Cream, for serving

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Bring a pot of water to a boil, add the peaches and boil for 1 minute. Transfer them immediately to cold water. Peel the peaches and then slice them into thick wedges and place them in a large bowl. Add the blueberries, lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar and flour. Gently fold everything together using a rubber spatula. Let the mixture sit for a few minutes before transferring to a 9-inch pie dish.

Add the ingredients for the crumble topping to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until the mixture resembles peas. Using your fingers to clump the mixture together into large crumbles and sprinkle evenly over the fruit.

Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until the crumble topping begins to brown and the juices from the fruit are bubbly.

Let cool for a few minutes before serving.

Peach Mango Pie

Summer is a great time to make pies with all kinds of fruit being in season. Although, if you prefer to enjoy your fruit as a snack and want to ensure that you are using the ripest fruit possible there’s nothing wrong with using frozen. That’s just what I did for this Peach Mango Pie. I happened to have frozen peaches (leftover from another recipe) and mangoes (I was planning on making smoothies) in my freezer so I decided to put them to good use.

While you can bake with frozen fruit, I opted to thaw out the peaches and mangoes beforehand. Once they were defrosted, I stirred together flour, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg in a large bowl and then added in the peaches and mangoes. I gently folded everything together. I always opt to use refrigerated pie crust, it’s a great short-cut and foolproof. After rolling out 1 of the pie crust and extra inch or two I pressed it into a 9-inch pie plate and filled it with the peach mango filled and then drizzled it with fresh lime juice.

I then decided to get a little fancy and cut the other pie crusts into strips to make a lattice design. I used to be a bit intimated by making a lattice pie but after making a few of them I have the pattern down pat.  Finally, I brushed the top of the pie with an egg white wash, sprinkled turbinado sugar over it and placed it on a baking sheet to bake in a 375 F preheated oven. 

Once it cooled a bit it was time to slice into it. The peached and mangoes were a wonderful complement to each other and that squeeze of lime juice over the filling really brightened the flavors of the fruit.

Peach Mango Pie

Ingredients:

1 box refrigerated pie crusts (2 count)*

1 cup sugar

2 tablespoons flour

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon salt

3 cups thinly sliced peeled peaches, fresh or frozen**

3 cups, peeled & sliced mangoes, fresh or frozen**

2 teaspoons fresh lime juice

1 egg white

1 tablespoon water

Coarse sugar

*You can also make your crust from scratch

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375F. Whether you are using a store bought or homemade pie crust roll out one of the crusts into a 12-inch circle and then place in a 9-inch pie dish. Set aside.

If using frozen fruit, thaw the fruit and then drain. You can thaw the fruit in a colander in the sink to make it easier to drain.

In a large bowl whisk together the sugar, flour, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt. Add in the frost and toss to coat with the flour mixture. Transfer the mixture to the pie dish and drizzle with the lime juice.

Roll the other pie crust into a 12-inch circle as well and place on top of the filling. Cut slits into the top crust and then trim and crimp edges of the pie. Whisk together the egg white and water and then brush over pie. Sprinkle with the coarse sugar.

Place the pie on a baking and bake in the preheated oven for 50 minutes. If the edges of the pie begin to brown too quickly cover with foil for the last 20 to 25 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

Recipe from Better Homes & Gardens

S’mores Cheesecake

Cheesecake is a versatile dessert. It tastes delicious with its simplest ingredients but can be easily transformed into something more with different variations. Have you seen the cheesecake menu at The Cheesecake Factory? To celebrate National S’mores Day today I am sharing with you a S’mores Cheesecake. A cheesecake with all the flavors and components of your favorite campfire treat. A graham cracker crust, a filling made with mini chocolate chips and marshmallows and finally a topping of toasted marshmallows with a drizzle of melted chocolate… Yum!

Up first, I made the crust. In my food processor I processed 2 sleeves of graham crackers into fine crumbs and then added in sugar and melted butter. Once everything was well combined, I transferred the mixture to a 9-inch springform pan and pressed it along the bottom and up the sides of the pan. I used a 1 cup measuring cup to press the crumbs into the bottom in an even layer. While some recipes call for you to pre-bake your crust, I opted not to do that. I sometimes find that the crust gets a little too hard to slice then.

Next, I made the filling. After beating together cream cheese, sour cream, sugar, eggs and vanilla extract with a hand mixer I folded in mini marshmallows and mini semi-sweet chocolate chips with a rubber spatula. I then poured the filling into the prepared crust. I find that springform pans always seem to leak a little when baking so I placed it on a baking sheet before baking the cheesecake in a 325 F preheated oven for about 50 minutes.

I removed the cheesecake from the oven and sprinkled mini marshmallows on top and placed it back in the oven for an additional 5 minutes. At this point my marshmallows had puffed, but I wanted them to be toasted on top, so I switched my oven to broil for about 30 seconds. Even that was pushing it, marshmallows can go from toasted to burnt very quickly so it’s important to keep an eye on them if you opt to broil them.

Finally, I melted some semi-sweet chocolate chips and drizzled it on top of the marshmallows. I don’t know if it was because of the humidity in the air, or the chocolate chips themselves, but the melted chocolate was on the thicker side. In other words, it was going to be hard to drizzle it. So, I stirred in a little vegetable oil to thin it out. If you do this, you may notice that it will take longer for your chocolate to harden when left at room temperature. No need to fear, once you place the cheesecake in the refrigerator to cool the chocolate will harden.  

I let the cheesecake cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes and then I carefully removed the ring (only to put it back on again.) I basically didn’t want the melted marshmallows to get too stuck to the pan. So, before removing the ring I ran a small knife under hot water and carefully ran it along the sides of the pan to separate the crust and marshmallows from it. I wiped the knife and ran it under the hot water as necessary to repeat. Once I was able to easily remove the ring, I put it back on and allowed the cheesecake to cool for another hour before covering and refrigerating it overnight.

And to serve, since I removed the ring the day before it was a cinch to remove it prior to serving. Also, since I didn’t prebake my crust, it wasn’t a struggle to cut thru it. The cheesecake came out delicious and all the flavors of a S’more were there. And you might think that the cheesecake would be rich or overly sweet due to all the components, but it will satisfy your sweet tooth just perfectly! And you don’t have to worry about burning your fingers or mouth on a hot S’more!

Looking for some other ideas for Cheesecake or S’mores. Check out one of the recipes below.

Cherry Amaretto Cheesecake

Tiramisu Cheesecake

Mini Pumpkin Spice Latter Cheesecakes

S’mores Cupcakes

S’mores Icebox Cake

Malted S’mores Ice Cream

S’mores Cheesecake

Ingredients:

Graham Cracker Crust:

2 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (2 sleeves of graham crackers)

1/3 cup sugar

1 stick unsalted butter, melted

Cheesecake:

3 8oz. packages cream cheese, at room temperature

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3 large eggs, at room temperature

1 cup miniature semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 cup mini marshmallows

Topping:

1 1/4 cup mini marshmallows

1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted*

*If you find the chocolate is too thick to drizzle add in a teaspoon or two of vegetable oil until you reach your desired consistency

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 325 F.

In a medium bowl stir together the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and butter. Transfer to a 9-inch springform pan and press into the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Place on a baking sheet and set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar with a hand mixer on medium speed until combined. Add in the sour cream and vanilla extract and beat until smooth. Add the eggs 1 at a time and beat on low until combined. Fold in the chocolate chips and marshmallows. Pour the filling into the prepared pie crust and bake in the preheated oven for 45-50 minutes. Until the center is almost set.

Remove from the oven and top with the mini marshmallows. Return to the oven and bake an additional 4-6 minutes, or until the marshmallows are puffed. To get the marshmallows toasted on top switch your oven to broil for about a minute. Drizzle with the melted chocolate and allow to cool on a wire rack. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving.

Recipe first appeared on Bead Yarn & Spatula

No-Bake Blueberry Lemon Pie

I came across the recipe for this no-bake pie at the perfect time. I was randomly watching an episode of Michael Symon’s Symon’s Dinners Cooking Out on the Food Network and it looked and sounded delicious and the following weekend it was one of those scorchers where turning on the oven was out of the question, so I decided to make this for Sunday dessert. If you have read some of my recent posts, you will see that this has been a theme as of late… me avoiding the oven!

While the recipe called for making the blueberry puree on a grill, I opted to make it on my stovetop. I combined fresh blueberries, sugar, fresh lemon juice and salt in a small saucepan and heated it over medium heat to bring it to a boil. I then lowered the heat to low so the mixture could simmer. Ultimately the blueberries began to burst, and the mixture began to thicken. I then transferred the mixture to my food processor and processed it until it was smooth. Finally, I transferred it to a container and let it cool to room temperature before covering it and refrigerating it. Since the puree needs to be completely chilled before using it, I opted to make the puree early in the day so it could be ready by the time I made the pie.

Next, I made the crust. While you can buy graham cracker crumbs, I opted to crush graham crackers into crumbs. I placed them in a resealable bag and used a rolling pin to crush them. I used two full sleeves of crackers. After combining the crumbs with melted butter, sugar and salt I pressed them on the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan.

And finally, I made the filling. I started by whipping heavy cream until stiff peaks formed. Next, I whisk together warm milk and unflavored gelatin and let it sit for a few minutes so it could bloom. With a hand mixer I beat together cream cheese, sugar, lemon zest and lemon juice until it was smooth. I then added in the milk mixture and half of the whipped cream and continued beating until it was smooth. I then folded in the remaining whipped cream with a rubber spatula. Next, I poured it into the prepared crust and smoothed the top. I spooned the chilled blueberry puree in thin lines on top of the cake and then used a toothpick to drag the puree in the opposite direction of the lines.

I let it chill in the refrigerator overnight. The next day when it came time to slice it it held together perfectly.  And the flavor was refreshing for these hot summer days! The lemon flavor was spot on and it wasn’t overly sweet. And thanks to the whipped cream the pie has a much lighter texture than cheesecake even though cream cheese was used to make it. If you have some of the blueberry puree leftover it would be perfect to drizzle on each plate before serving.

No-Bake Blueberry Lemon Pie

 

Ingredients:

Blueberry Puree:

1 cup fresh blueberries

2 tablespoons sugar

Juice of 1/2 lemon

Pinch of salt

Graham Cracker Crust:

2 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs*

1/4 cup sugar

12 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Pinch of salt

Filling:
2 cups heavy cream

1/2 cup whole milk, warmed

1 .25oz. packet unflavored powdered gelatin

2 8oz. packages cream cheese, at room temperature

2/3 cup sugar

Zest and juice of 2 lemons

* Approximately 2 sleeves of graham crackers.

Directions:

Blueberry Puree: In a small saucepan combine the blueberries, sugar, lemon juice and salt. Stir together and then heat over medium heat until the mixture begins to boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer the mixture until the blueberries begin to burst and the mixture thickens. Transfer to a food processor (or blend) and puree until smooth. Pour into a bowl and allow to cool to room temperature before covering and refrigerating until completely cold.

Graham Cracker Crust: In a medium bowl combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, melted butter and pinch of salt. Stir together to combines and then pour into a 9-inch springform pan and press the mixture in the bottom and up the sides of the pan evenly to make the crust. Use the bottom of a measuring cup or glass to smooth the bottom.

Filling: In a large bowl beat the heavy cream with a hand mixer on medium speed until stiff peaks form. Transfer the whipped cream into another bowl.

In a measuring cup whisk together the milk and unflavored gelatin. Let stand for 3-5 minutes so the mixture can bloom.

In the large bowl combine the cream cheese, sugar and zest and juice of lemons. Beat with a hand mixer on medium speed until the mixture is smooth. Add in half of the whipped cream and the milk mixture and continue mixing until smooth. Fold in the remaining whipped cream with a rubber spatula until both are incorporated. Transfer the mixture to the prepared crust and smooth the surface. Spoon the chilled blueberry puree in the lines across the surface of the filling. Using a toothpick or wooden skewer drag the puree in the opposite direction of the lines to create a swirled pattern. Chill for at least 3 hours, or overnight before slicing and enjoying.

Recipe from Food Network

No Churn Peppermint Chip Ice Cream

When it comes to the weather this past week has been a brutal one by me. Days over 90’s with the feel like temperature even higher. Ugh! Needless to say, I have been avoiding turning on my oven at all costs. I was going to skip making something to celebrate Christmas in July this year, but then I decided to make something perfect for this time of year… ice cream. A No-Churn Peppermint Chip Ice Cream. Peppermint, the flavor synonymous with the holidays and one that is quite refreshing for these hot days.

I began by whipping heavy cream until stiff peaks formed. I then beat in sweetened condensed milk, the all-important peppermint extract and a few drops of red food coloring to give it a nice, but somewhat subtle, pink hue. The red food coloring is completely optional. Once everything was incorporated well, I folded in mini chocolate chips and then transferred the mixture to a loaf pan I lined with wax paper. I topped the ice cream with a few crushed peppermint candies. This is completely optional as well. You could also fold in some crushed peppermint candies into the ice cream along with the chocolate chips. I then covered the pan with a piece of wax paper and then aluminum foil and placed it in the freezer overnight.

And the next day I had a delicious (and cold) treat to help me beat the heat and celebrate Christmas in July!

No-Churn Peppermint Ice Cream

Ingredients:

2 cups heavy cream

1 14oz. can sweetened condensed milk

1 teaspoon peppermint extract

5-6 drops red liquid food coloring, optional

3/4 cup mini chocolate chips

1/4 cup crushed peppermint candies, optional

Directions:

Line a 9 x 5 -inch loaf pan with wax paper, leaving an overhang, and set aside.

In a medium bowl beat the heavy cream with a hand mixer on medium speed until stiff peaks form. Add in the sweetened condensed milk, the peppermint extract and food coloring (if using) and continue beating on medium speed until well incorporated. Fold in the mini chocolate chips and then transfer the mixture to the prepared pan.

If desired, sprinkle crushed peppermint candies on top and then cover with a piece of wax paper and aluminum foil and freeze for 8 hours or overnight.

Strawberry Tiramisu

It’s the dog days of summer which usually means you will do anything to avoid turning on your oven. Thankfully there are many delicious recipes out there that can prevent you from doing just that and today I am sharing one, a Strawberry Tiramisu. This spin on tiramisu is perfect for the summer with the abundance of perfectly ripened strawberries available this time of year.

To begin, you will make the strawberry sauce. In a large bowl combine sliced strawberries with orange liqueur, balsamic vinegar, salt and sugar. After letting it sit for about 15 minutes puree half of it along with seedless strawberry jam in a food processor until smooth and then return the mixture to the strawberries and stir together. It may seem like the mixture is a tad watery, but it will be absorbed by the ladyfingers. No need to fear, your dessert will not be a runny mess when sliced.

Next you will make the mascarpone – whipped cream mixture. Beat heavy cream with confectioners’ sugar and vanilla extract until soft peaks form. Next, fold in mascarpone cheese & orange zest until the whipped cream and mascarpone cheese are well incorporated and no streaks of either remain.

Now it’s time to assemble. Begin by spreading some of the strawberry mixture in the bottom of your dish. Then add a layer of ladyfingers on top and then spread half of the mascarpone cheese mixture over them. Repeat the layers ending with the remaining half of the mascarpone cheese mixture. Decorate the top with sliced strawberries and then cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours before slicing and serving.

This is a light and refreshing dessert that isn’t overly sweet… Perfect for these warmer days!

Strawberry Tiramisu

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons orange liqueur*

2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

1/8 teaspoon Kosher salt

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

4 cups sliced strawberries, divided**

1/4 cup seedless strawberry jam

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 8oz. container mascarpone cheese

1 teaspoon grated orange zest

1 7oz. package ladyfingers

*I used Cointreau

**About 1.5 lbs

Directions:

In a large bowl stir together 3 cups of the sliced strawberries, the liqueur, balsamic vinegar, salt and granulated sugar. Let stand for 15 minutes, stirring a few times. Transfer half of the mixture to a food processor (or blender) along with the strawberry jam and blend until smooth. Pour the pureed mixture back into the bowl with the remaining marinated strawberries and stir together. Set aside.

In a medium bowl beat the heavy cream with the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla extract with a hand mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form. Fold in the mascarpone cheese and orange zest until both are incorporated well and no streaks of either remain.

To assemble: Spread 3/4 cup of the of the strawberry mixture in the bottom of an 8×8 square baking dish. Top with a single layer of ladyfingers. Spread half of the mascarpone cheese mixture over the ladyfingers. Top the ladyfingers with the remaining strawberry mixture and then top with another layer of ladyfingers. And finally, spread the remaining mascarpone cheese mixture over the ladyfingers. Top with the remaining cup of sliced strawberries. Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight before slicing and serving.

Recipe modified from Food and Wine

No-Knead Olive Bread

I love bread recipes that don’t require too much work. And if you agree with me, then No-Knead Bread recipes are perfect for you as well. Instead of having to knead the dough to form the gluten strands that give the bread its texture, you allow the dough to rest for 12-18 hours. And for someone who is never quite sure if they have kneaded their dough too long or too short this is the perfect method. Today I am sharing with you a No-Knead Olive Bread. Don’t like olives, read on to get ideas on other No-Knead Breads you can try instead.

To start, in a large bowl I mixed all the ingredients – flour, sea salt, yeast, oregano, garlic powder, chopped olives and water – together using a wooded spoon and then shaped the dough into a ball before covering it with a piece of plastic wrap and aluminum foil.

I let the dough rest on my counter for about 18 hours, I did peak at it a few times during those hours to make sure it was rising. Hence using a piece of plastic wrap and then aluminum foil on top. And I happy to say that it did rise considerably, although it didn’t have many air bubbles.

After shaping it again into a ball and letting it rest for an additional 30 minutes I baked it in my Dutch oven. And after letting it cool I had a delicious bread to slice into.

What’s great about this recipe is that it can easily be switched up. The base of it is the flour, sea salt & water. And from there you could add in anything to satisfy your taste buds. Think a Cranberry Walnut Bread, a Jalapeno Cheddar version, or maybe a Sun-Dried Tomato & Pesto one… The possibilities are endless.  

No-Knead Olive Bread

Ingredients:

3 cups + 2 tablespoons flour

2 teaspoons sea salt

1/2 teaspoon instant yeast

2 teaspoons dried oregano

1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder

1 cup chopped olives*

1 1/2 cups warm water (95 F)

*I used 1/2 cup black olives and 1/2 cup pimento stuffed Manzanilla olives

Directions:

In a large bowl stir together the flour, sea salt, yeast, oregano, garlic powder and chopped olives. Add in the warm water and stir. The dough will be sticky. Shape into a ball and cover the bowl with plastic wrap and then aluminum foil. Let it sit on the counter at room temperature for 12-18 hours. The dough will double in size and be covered in air bubbles.

Once the dough is ready, preheat the oven to 450 F.

Lightly dust your work space with flour and turn out the dough. Using lightly floured hands shape the dough into a ball and then transfer to a large piece of parchment paper*. You want your piece of parchment paper to be large enough to fit in your Dutch oven**.  Score an “X” into the top of the dough with a sharp knife and then cover loosely with a piece of plastic wrap for 30 minutes. During these 30 minutes, place your Dutch oven in the preheated oven.

After the 30 minutes carefully remove your pot from the oven. Remove the plastic wrap from the top of your dough and place the dough, along with the parchment paper, into your Dutch oven. Cover and bake for 25 minutes. Remove the lid and bake for an additional 10 minutes, until the bread is golden brown on top. Remove the pot from the oven and transfer the bread, along with the parchment paper, to a wire rack to cool for 30 minutes before slicing.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

*Make sure to check your parchment paper to see what the highest and safest temperature it can be used at.

**If you don’t have a Dutch oven you could also use a heavy-duty pot.

Recipe adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction

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