Happy Thanksgiving!

It’s Thanksgiving week! Do you have your menus set or are you still searching for one of two sides to round things out? Or maybe, you are still looking for that perfect dessert to serve or bring to your get together. Below I’ve assembled 5 of my most favorite pies that I have made over the years. I will personally be making the Apple Crumb Pie.

Apple Cranberry Pie

Peanut Butter & Chocolate Mousse Pie

Honey Pumpkin Pie

Apple Crumb Pie

Brown Butter & Vanilla Pear Pie

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Apple Crisp Cheesecake

So, are you savoring these last days of Fall while getting ready for Thanksgiving still embracing the pumpkins, leaves and colors of the season? Or have you just gone full blown into Christmas and all around you is red and green and your Thanksgiving meal will be celebrated with Christmas décor?  People have very strong feelings about this and prefer each holiday to have its own time. Me personally I put up my Christmas Tree on November 1st. I used to wait until after Thanksgiving, but I would always feel rushed then to get all my decorating done in one day. The tree up, décor around the house and the lights outside. It was just too much. So, a few years ago I decided that I would set up my tree right after Halloween. I will wait until Thanksgiving week though to turn it on and enjoy it all lit up. I must say though that this year I found that people really had some strong feelings about people jumping into Christmas right after Halloween. Is it really that big of a deal? Just do you own thing and don’t fault others for wanting to spread some holiday cheer a little early. Regardless, today’s dessert might just be the perfect addition to your Thanksgiving dessert table. It combines quite a few desserts into one, an Apple Crisp Cheesecake. You get your apples, a crisp topping and a cheesecake all tied together into one yummy dessert.

I started off by making the crisp topping since it needed to be chilled, then the apples and finally the cheesecake part. To assemble, I started off by filling a 9-inch graham cracker crust with the cheesecake filling. I added in some apple pie spices – cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and ginger – to the cheesecake to help tie all the flavors together since I did add cinnamon to both the apples and crisp topping.

I then arranged the apples over the filling. First in an even layer and then placed the remaining apples over them. I tossed the apples with lemon juice, cinnamon and brown sugar. I used Granny Smith apples, so they weren’t very sweet or mushy after baking.

And finally, I sprinkled the chilled crisp topping over the apples. Initially I wasn’t planning on baking the cheesecake on a baking sheet, but, as I started to sprinkle the topping on it, I thought it best to bake it on the sheet just in case any of the topping fell off. The reason I chilled the crisp topping was to minimize the chances of it over-browning or burning too quickly while in the oven.

I baked the cheesecake for just shy of an hour and then let it cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before placing it on a wire rack to cool completely. It’s best to let cool it for a few minutes on the pan before transferring it so the cheesecake can firm up a bit. The apples will release some juices while baking and while the cheesecake will be done it will feel soft due to these extra juices.

Once the cheesecake had cooled completely, I refrigerated it overnight. And the next day it was time to slice it and enjoy a piece. And I must say, this came out just as I had hoped and envisioned in my head. As with the Apple Tiramisu from the other day it wasn’t overly sweet and all the components worked well together.  

Apple Crisp Cheesecake

Ingredients:

9-inch graham cracker crust

For the Cheesecake:

2 8oz packages cream cheese, at room temperature

1/2 cup sour cream

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon allspice

1/8 teaspoon ginger

2 large eggs, at room temperature

For the Apple Topping:

2 Granny Smith Apples, peeled, cored & sliced thin

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 tablespoon light brown sugar

For the Crisp Topping:

1/2 cup old-fashioned oats

1/2 cup flour

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

4 tablespoons butter, softened

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 F.

For the Crisp Topping: In a medium bowl mix together the oats, flour, sugar and cinnamon until well combined. Add in the butter and mix until the mixture is crumbly. It might be best to use your hands. Refrigerate or freeze until ready to use.

For the Apple Topping: In a medium bowl toss together the apples, lemon juice, cinnamon and sugar until the apples are well coated. Set aside.

For the Cheesecake: In a large bowl beat together the cream cheese, sour cream, sugar, vanilla extract, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and ginger with a hand mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add the eggs and continue beating until the eggs are incorporated into the batter.

Assemble: Place the graham cracker crust on a baking sheet then pour the cheesecake batter into the crust. Arrange the apples evenly over the batter and then sprinkle the crisp topping over the apples.

Bake in the preheated oven for 50-55 minutes, until the center is set. To prevent the crisp topping from over-browning or burning, tent the cheesecake with aluminum foil for the last 15-20 minutes.

Cool on the pan for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Cover with a piece of plastic wrap or aluminum foil and refrigerate for at least 8 hours (or overnight) before serving.

Recipe first appeared on Bead Yarn & Spatula.

Apple Tiramisu

This week I’m bringing you a twist on some traditional desserts, a Fall twist that is with the addition of apples to both. Up first an Apple Tiramisu, and later this week an Apple Crisp Cheesecake.

So, where did the idea for an Apple Tiramisu come from? Well, I had a pack of ladyfingers that were quickly approaching their expiration date and while I was planning on making a traditional tiramisu with them, I started to think that maybe something a little more seasonal would work. And thankfully I was right. Truth be told I had some reservations that the apple filling, similar to what you would make for apple pie, would work in the tiramisu.

To start, I made the apple filling since it needed to be completely cooled before assembling the tiramisu. After peeling, coring and chopping my apples I tossed them with lemon juice, light brown sugar, cinnamon and flour. I then cooked them in melted butter along with a few tablespoons of water in a medium saucepan. The apples were soft, but still had a slight crunch to them.

While the apples cooled, I made a bourbon whipped cream and the mascarpone filling. I folded some of the bourbon whipped cream into mascarpone cheese and reserved the rest for the topping of the tiramisu. I also made the dipping mixture for the ladyfingers by whisking together milk, sugar, vanilla extract and bourbon.

Once all the components were done it was time to start assembling the tiramisu. I began by dipping half of the ladyfingers in the milk mixture and arranging them in an even layer in the bottom of an 8×8-inch baking dish. I spread half of the mascarpone filling over the ladyfingers and then topped it with half of the apple mixture. I repeated the layer one more time and then spread the reserved bourbon whipped cream over the top. I covered the tiramisu with a piece of wax paper and aluminum foil and refrigerated it overnight.

The following day I made a small and quick batch of caramel sauce. After sprinkling chopped walnuts on top of the tiramisu I then drizzled the caramel sauce over it.

This was a nice Fall twist on the traditional Tiramisu. It was light with just the right amount of sweetness from the apples.

Apple Tiramisu

Ingredients:

7oz. package of Ladyfingers

1/2 cup chopped walnuts, for topping

For the Apple Filling:

3 large Granny Smith Apples, peeled, cored & chopped

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons light brown sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 tablespoon flour

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

4 tablespoons water

For the Mascarpone Cream:

8 oz. mascarpone cheese, at room temperature

3 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided

2 cups heavy cream

1/3 cup sugar

2 tablespoons bourbon

For the Ladyfingers Dipping Mixture:

1 1/2 cups milk*

1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons bourbon

For the Caramel Drizzle:

1/4 cup light brown sugar

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 tablespoon milk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

*I used whole milk

Directions:

Apple Filling: In a medium bowl toss the apples with the lemon juice. Add in the sugar, cinnamon and flour and toss together until the apples are well coated.

In a medium saucepan melt the butter over medium heat, add the apples and water and toss everything together. Lower the heat to medium-low and cook the apples until they are soft but still have a slight crunch to them, 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally so the apples don’t stick to the pan. Remove from the heat and cool completely.

Mascarpone Cream: In a medium bowl stir together the mascarpone cheese and 1 teaspoon of the vanilla extract until well combined.

In another medium bowl, beat together the heavy cream, sugar, bourbon and the remaining 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract with a hand mixer on medium speed until stiff peaks form. Reserve about 1 1/4 cups of the whipped cream mixture.

Gradually fold the remaining whipped cream mixture into the mascarpone cheese mixture. Start with a quarter of the of the whipped cream mixture and then the remaining amount. Continue folding the two mixtures together until no streaks of either remain and they are well incorporated.

Dipping Mixture: In a shallow bowl whisk together all the ingredients – milk, sugar, vanilla extract and bourbon – until combined.

Assemble: Dip the rounded side of half of the ladyfingers in the dipping mixture and arrange them in an even layer in the bottom of an 8×8-inch baking dish. Top with half of the mascarpone cream and then spread half of the cooled apple mixture over the cream. Repeat the layers once more. Top with the reserved whipped cream mixture. Cover with a piece of wax paper and them aluminum foil and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight.

For the caramel drizzle: An hour before serving, make the caramel sauce. In a small saucepan combine the sugar, butter and milk. Heat over medium heat until sugar melts and the mixture boils. Boil for a minute or two stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Allow to cool. The sauce will continue to thicken as it cools. If it looks like it’s separating while it’s cooling, whisk it for a minute or so.

Right before serving, sprinkle the chopped walnuts over the tiramisu and then drizzle with caramel sauce.

Store leftovers in the refrigerator.

Recipe first appeared on Bead Yarn & Spatula.

Pumpkin Churro Bundt Cake

I must say, I haven’t gone crazy this year with baking pumpkin desserts. I had a couple of recipes I wanted to try – which I did – and there were others that I came across that I passed on. Could it be that my love of pumpkin is fading? Mmm…. I don’t think so. I’ve just been focusing on getting some other things done and finding and creating other recipes to make. Now, if you love pumpkin and you love churros today’s cake is for you… It’s a Pumpkin Churro Bundt Cake.

The base of the cake is a white cake mix that is doctored with some spices and of course pumpkin puree. The pumpkin flavor is not overpowering at all and the puree gives the cake a nice light orange hue. Not the artificial looking orange you may see with some pumpkin desserts thanks to the addition of orange food coloring.

And to get the churro effect, once the cake has completely cooled it is rubbed with a cinnamon sugar mixture. I must say, I liked that the recipe didn’t call for the cake being brushed with melted butter before coating it with the cinnamon sugar. I think the cake would have been almost too wet then since the pumpkin helps to make the cake incredibly moist. And yes, there were no issues getting the cinnamon sugar to stick to the cake without it.

Along with the cinnamon mixture on the outside of the cake, there is also a swirl of it on the inside which gives each piece of the cake an extra spice and sweet kick.

If you are in the mood for actual Pumpkin Churros, try the recipe below:

Pumpkin Churros

Pumpkin Churro Bundt Cake

Ingredients:

For the Cake:

1 15.25 box of white cake mix

1/2 cup flour

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 cup buttermilk

3/4 cup light brown sugar

1/2 cup pumpkin puree

1/2 cup vegetable oil

2 large eggs

1 egg yolk

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the Cinnamon Swirl:

1/2 cup light brown sugar

2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350F. Spray a Bundt pan with baking spray and set aside.

Combine the ingredients for the cinnamon swirl in a medium bowl, set aside.

In a large bowl sift together the cake mix, flour, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, nutmeg, salt and baking powder.

In a separate large bowl whisk together the remaining ingredients – buttermilk, pumpkin puree, light brown sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla extract – until well combined. Add this mixture to dry mixture and whisk together until well combined.

Pour half of the batter into the prepared pan and then sprinkle 1/3 cup of the cinnamon sugar evenly over the top of the batter and then pour the remaining batter into the pan.

Bake in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the cake comes out clean.

Place the pan on a wire rack and allow the cake to cool completely. Invert the cake on a platter or cake board and rub the remaining cinnamon sugar around it.

Recipe from Sweet Meli Bakery

Baked Apples

I recently got a good amount of apples from my yearly apple picking trip and this year the apples I picked were the right amount of sweetness and crispness. To make sure they don’t go to waste, one can only eat so many apples before they start to go bad, I invariably make a few baked goodies with them. Usually an apple crisp of some sort, this year I decided to make Baked Apples. A simple dessert with a lot of flavor.

The most difficult part of making these baked apples is coring the apples. To do so I used an apple corer to go partway down the apple, turned it a few times and then removed it without the core. Next, I used a paring knife and a small spoon to remove the core and to widen the holes of the apples. You want to leave about a 1/2-inch of the bottom of the apple intact.

Next, I combined brown sugar, spices and chopped walnuts with softened butter and divided the mixture among the apples which I placed in a glass baking dish. And finally, before placing the apples in the oven I filled the bottom of the dish with a cup of boiling water. This helps to keep the apples moist while baking.

And after baking for about 40 minutes in the oven I had delicious baked apples and wonderful aroma swirling around my house. These are delish on their own but even better with a scoop or two of vanilla ice cream.

One more thing to note, the best apples to use for baking are those that are firm; Granny Smith, Cortland, Fuji, Gala, etc. Since I picked quite a few different types of apples I can’t be all that sure which I used to make these baked apples. If you are concerned that the apples you are using may be too soft just keep an eye on them while they are in the oven. They may be ready in less time.

Baked Apples

Ingredients:

4 medium to large apples

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ginger

1/4 cup chopped walnuts, optional

1 cup boiling water

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Use a sharp knife or apple corer to cut out the core of the apples leaving about a 1/2-inch of the bottom of the apple intact. Scoop out the insides of the apples to make the holes wide enough to place the butter mixture inside.

In a medium bowl whisk together the brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and chopped walnuts (is using). Add in the softened butter and mash everything together with a fork or use your hands to mix it together until it’s well combined.

Place the apples in an 8×8-inch baking dish. Divide the butter mixture among the apples and then carefully pour the hot water into the bottom of the pan.

Bake in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes, or until the apples are cooked through and soft but not mushy.

Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes before enjoying.

Any leftover apples can be stored in the refrigerator and reheated in the microwave.

Recipe first appeared on Bead Yarn & Spatula.

Pumpkin Tiramisu Cake

If at first you don’t succeed you must try again. That’s what’s been happening with some of the cakes I have been posting as of late. I have been trying to come up with recipes myself as opposed to relying on Google to give me a nice list of whatever idea pops into my head. On my first try it’s sometimes a complete fail, a great flavor but horrible texture or a so-so flavor and the right texture. And let’s be honest, if you can’t get the flavor and texture to be just right the cake is just not good to eat. That’s what happened with the first pumpkin cake I made for today’s Pumpkin Tiramisu Cake. I used an entire can of pumpkin puree for the cake and the end result was a cake that had an odd indentation around it, but tasted good. I had a feeling that it was the result of too much liquid (i.e. wet ingredients) in the cake and my suspicions were correct. I ended up tweaking the recipe a bit and ended up with a cake that had smooth edges and a much more cake-like consistency.

So, what makes this a tiramisu cake? Well, if you are thinking ladyfingers you won’t be finding any on this cake. It’s more about the flavor. The filling is basically the same filling that is used in your typical tiramisu… A custard that is mixed with mascarpone cheese and homemade whipped cream. To get that coffee flavor, each cake layer is brushed with a coffee and Kahlua mixture. And to top it off, the cake is covered in a Mascarpone Kahlua Frosting (YUM!). I had some leftover frosting after finishing the cake and I may have enjoyed a spoonful or two of it. It’s not sweet at all and the Kahlua gives it a very light coffee flavor. And finally, the cake is dusted with unsweetened cocoa powder to get that finishing look of Tiramisu.

The end result, a pumpkin cake that is perfectly complemented by the traditional flavors of Tiramisu.

If you are looking for a more traditional Tiramisu with the flavors of pumpkin instead, check out the recipe below from a few years ago.

Pumpkin Tiramisu

Pumpkin Tiramisu Cake

For the Pumpkin Cake:

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

1/2 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice

1 cup pumpkin puree

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 large eggs

1/2 cup milk

For the Tiramisu Filling:

3 egg yolks

1/3 cup + 1 tbsp sugar

1/3 cup whole milk

1/2 cup mascarpone cheese

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the coffee soak:

1/4 cup coffee

2 tablespoon Kahlua

For the Mascarpone Kahlua Frosting:

1 1lb. mascarpone cheese

2 cups heavy cream

2 cups Confectioners’ sugar

2 tablespoons Kahlua

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Unsweetened cocoa powder, to dust on top of the cake

Directions:

For the cake:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spray 2 8-inch round cake pans with baking spray.

In a large bowl whisk together the cake mix and pumpkin pie spice. Add in the pumpkin puree, vanilla extract, eggs and milk. Beat with a hand mixer on low speed for 30 seconds and then increase the speed to medium and beat until just combined.

Divide the batter among the prepared pans and bake in the preheated oven for 24-28 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let the cakes cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

For the filling:

In a small saucepan, over medium heat, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until blended. Whisk in the milk and stir constantly until it boils. Allow the mixture to boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and transfer to a container and cool to room temperature. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface and then cover tightly and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Beat the heavy cream and vanilla together until stiff peaks form.

Beat the mascarpone cheese and chilled egg yolk mixture together until blended. Fold the whipped cream mixture in until no streaks remain. Refrigerate until ready to use.

For the frosting:

Add the mascarpone cheese, heavy cream, Confectioners’ sugar, Kahlua and vanilla extract to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Start the mixer on low and beat for 30 seconds to 1 minute to allow the ingredients to come together. Gradually increase the speed of the mixer to medium high and continue to beat until the frosting is light and fluffy. At first there may seem like there is too much heavy cream but as you continue to beat it, the heavy cream will be incorporated, and the frosting will become light and fluffy.

To assemble:

If necessary, level the cake layers. In a small bowl whisk together the Kahlua and coffee and brush it on the top of both cake layers.

Place the bottom cake layer on a cake board or serving platter. Transfer about a cup of frosting to a piping bag and pipe a dam around this bottom layer and then fill with the tiramisu filling. Place the second cake layer on top and then crumb coat the cake. Refrigerate for 30 minutes and then finish frosting the cake with the remaining frosting. You should have enough frosting to pipe decorative dollops on top of the cake. Finish the cake by dusting the top with cocoa powder using a fine mesh sieve.

Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Recipe first appeared on Bead Yarn & Spatula.

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.

%d bloggers like this: