Passion Fruit Pie

Happy Pi Day! That wonderful day on the calendar, 3/14, were we celebrate the irrational number Pi. Irrational because it cannot be expressed exactly as a simple fraction and therefore is an infinite decimal. What it is exactly though is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter, and regardless of the size of the circle, it will always be the same number. So, due to this fun math themed day I bring you a new recipe for pie. I am always stumped to come up with a new pie recipe for today. When I start searching for a recipe most of the ones I come across are some sort of variation of an apple or pumpkin pie. Both of which I prefer baking during the Fall months. And of course there are the berry pies, but, I think those are better in the summer months when berries are in season. So I run out of options quickly. This year I started to think about pies I’ve made and flavors that I haven’t come across and I thought to myself what about a Passion Fruit Pie.

I decided to follow the recipe for my go-to Key Lime Pie but switch out the key lime juice for passion fruit pulp. I purchased frozen passion fruit pulp and let it defrost in my refrigerator overnight. I also switched up the crust I use. Normally I make Key Lime Pie with a store bought graham cracker crust, but for this pie I decided to make a shortbread cookie crust. And that was my first step in making this pie.

Using my food processor I pulsed shortbread cookies, I used Keebler Sandies Classic Shortbread Cookies, into fine crumbs and then combined the crumbs with melted unsalted butter. Next, I pressed the crumbs into the bottom and along the sides of a 9-inch pie plate. After baking it in a preheated 350 F oven for 10 minutes I let it cool while I made the filling. While baking the crust beforehand isn’t completely necessary I decided to do so so that the crust would be firmer once the pie was done. This would minimize the chances of it crumbling when cutting a piece of the pie.

In a large bowl, using a handheld mixer, I beat egg yolks until they were light and fluffy. I continued beating the eggs while gradually adding in sweetened condensed milk. And finally, I added in the defrosted passion fruit pulp. Once the mixture was combined I poured it into the shortbread cookie crust and returned the dish to the oven for an additional 20 minutes. When done, the pie filling will be set.

I let the pie cool completely on a wire rack before transferring it to the refrigerator to chill before serving.

Before serving I whipped up a small batch of homemade whipped cream and decorated the top of the pie. To create the swirls I used a Wilton 6B piping tip.

This pie was delicious… It was the perfect texture and a wonderful combination of sweet and tart! And yes, pre-baking the crust did help in preventing it from falling apart when slicing into the pie.

Passion Fruit Pie

Ingredients:

For the crust:

1 3/4 cups shortbread cookie crumbs*

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the filling:

4 egg yolks

14oz. can condensed milk

1/2 cup passion fruit pulp**

Whipped cream for decorating and/or serving

 

* I used about 15 Keebler Sandies Classic Shortbread Cookies. You could also purchase a 9-inch shortbread pie crust. If using a store bought pie crust there is no need to pre-bake it. Just fill it with the pie filling and bake as directed below.

** I purchased a frozen 14oz. package from Goya and left it in the refrigerator overnight to defrost.

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Combine the shortbread cookie crumbs and the butter in a medium bowl and mix them together. Once mixed, transfer to a 9-inch pie plate and press the crumbs in an even layer along the bottom and sides of the dish. Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.

While the crust is cooling make the filling. In a large bowl, using a handheld mixer on medium, beat the egg yolks until they are light and fluffy. Gradually add in the condensed milk and continue beating until combined. Finally, add in the passion fruit pulp and continue beating until combined.

Pour the filling into the pie crust and bake for 20 minutes. The filling will be set.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely and then refrigerate for a few hours before serving and/or decorating with whipped cream.

 

Whipped Cream

  • Servings: About 2 cups
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Ingredients:

1 cup heavy cream

2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

Directions:

In a medium bowl combine the heavy cream and confectioners’ sugar and beat with a handheld mixer until soft peaks form. Add in the vanilla extract and continue beating until stiff peaks form. Refrigerate until ready to use.

 

White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake Bars

If you’ve ever been to The Cheesecake Factory you know that they have a cheesecake to fit everyone’s taste buds. Even a few that combine cheesecake with other favorite desserts – Red Velvet Cake, Carrot Cake, Funfetti Cake and Tiramisu just to name a few. While I have tasted my fair share of them, my go-to is the White Chocolate Raspberry Truffle – a creamy cheesecake swirled with white chocolate and raspberry. YUM! So, when I came across a recipe for White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake Bars I knew I had to try it. It had all of the flavors of my favorite cheesecake but the ease of baking it in a pan to slice as bars as opposed to a traditional cheesecake.

Since the raspberry sauce needs to be completely cooled before using it, I opted to make it the night before making the bars and placed it in the refrigerator overnight. In a small bowl I combined a teaspoon each of water and cornstarch. I stirred the two together and then set it aside. In a small saucepan I combined 9oz. of raspberries (1 1/2 cups) along with a teaspoon of water and 2 tablespoons of sugar over medium heat. As the raspberries began to cook I stirred them and began to mash them up. Once the mixture began to simmer I added in the cornstarch mixture. I continued to stir the mixture while it simmered. After the mixture had been simmering for a few minutes and it appeared as though the raspberries had completely broken down I removed it from the heat and passed it through a sieve over a small container to remove the pulp and the seeds. I was left with about 6 tablespoons of raspberry sauce.

The following morning I began by melting the white chocolate. I chopped up 6oz. of white chocolate and placed it in a heatproof bowl. I placed this bowl over a medium pot of water over medium heat. As the chocolate began to melt I stirred it until it was completely melted. I opted to use Lindt’s White Chocolate Bars found in the candy aisle as opposed to the white chocolate baking bars from either Baker’s or Ghirardelli found in the baking aisle since I was having a hard time finding them. There were plenty of the unsweetened, milk and semi-sweet chocolate bars but no white chocolate ones. The Lindt ones are 4.4oz. each so I used one whole bar and half of another one. I ended up with a little more melted chocolate than the recipe called for but it didn’t alter the final outcome. Once the chocolate was melted I set it aside. I kept an eye on it though because I didn’t want it to solidify, it needed to remain melted.

Next I got to work on making the crust for the bars. I lined a 9×9-inch baking pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on the sides to make it easier to remove the bars once they were done for slicing. In my food processor I pulsed 20 Oreo cookies into fine crumbs and then combined them with melted butter. I then pressed the crumbs into the bottom of my prepared ban and baked in a 350 F preheated oven for about 10 minutes. I removed it from the oven and set it aside while I got to work on the cheesecake filling.

In a large bowl I combined cream cheese and sugar and using a handheld mixer beat the two together until the cream cheese was smooth and creamy. I then added in flour, fresh lemon juice, vanilla extract and salt and continued beating the mixture until the additional ingredients were fully combined. Next I added in 2 eggs 1 at a time, beating until the eggs were just combined into the cream cheese mixture. And finally I added in the melted white chocolate. I beat the mixture on low for a few seconds and then gave it a few good stirs with a rubber spatula.

Now it was time to assemble. I poured half of the cream cheese mixture into the center of the pre-baked crust and then using a small offset spatula I spread the mixture evenly over the crust, making sure that I got it into the corners. I drizzled half of the raspberry sauce (about 3 tablespoons) over the cream cheese and then poured the remaining cream cheese mixture over the sauce. Once again using the small off-set spatula to spread the mixture. Finally, I drizzled the remaining sauce over this second layer of cream cheese and then using a knife I gently swirled everything together.

I baked it for 40 minutes in a 350 F preheated oven. The center was set and the edges were just beginning to brown. I let it cool for an hour on a wire rack and then transferred it to the refrigerator to chill for 3 hours.

After the 3 hours I carefully removed it from the pan using the parchment paper overhang and placed it on a cutting board to slice. To create clean slices I cleaned my knife between each slice.

In the end, I ended up with 16 cheesecake bars that were just as good (if not better) as my favorite cheesecake from The Cheesecake Factory.

White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake Bars

Ingredients:

Raspberry Sauce:

2 teaspoons water, divided

1 teaspoon cornstarch

1 1/2 cups fresh raspberries*, about 9oz.

2 tablespoons sugar

 

Crust:

20 Oreos

5 tablespoons unsalte butter, melted

 

Cheesecake Filling:

6oz. white chocolate chopped**

2 8oz. bar cream cheese, at room temperature

1/3 cup sugar

1 tablespoon flour

1 teaspoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs, at room temperature

 

*You can also use frozen strawberries (do not thaw)

**Do not substitute white chocolate chips for the white chocolate. They are not the same thing. White chocolate chips do not contain cocoa butter but do contain a form of oil that may prevent it from melting smoothly further preventing it from incorporating well into the cream cheese filling. If you cannot find white chocolate baking bars in the baking aisle use white chocolate bars found in the candy aisle.

 

Directions:

Raspberry Sauce: Stir together 1 teaspoon of the water with the cornstarch in a small bowl and set aside. In a small saucepan combine the raspberries, sugar and the remaining teaspoon of water. Set the saucepan over medium heat and begin stirring the contents together mashing the raspberries as you stir. Once the mixture begins to simmer add in the cornstarch mixture and allow the mixture to continue simmering for a few more minutes. Set a sieve over a small bowl and press the raspberry mixture through the sieve to remove the seeds and pulp from the sauce. Allow the sauce to cool completely before using.

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line the bottom of a 9×9-inch baking pan with parchment paper leaving an overhang on the sides to lift the bars out once done.

Using a double boiler or microwave melt the chocolate. If using the microwave, melt in 20 second increments, stirring after each one until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth. If using a double boiler, once you see the chocolate is beginning to melt begin stirring it to smooth it out. Once the chocolate is melted set it aside so it can cool while preparing the remaining components of the bars. Do not allow the chocolate to harden though.

In a food processor pulse the Oreos into fine crumbs. Combine the Oreo crumbs and the melted butter in a bowl and stir together until combined. Transfer the crumbs to the prepared baking pan and press them into the bottom of the pan and then bake the crust for 8 minutes in the preheated oven. Remove from the oven and set aside while making the filling.

In a large bowl combine the cream cheese and sugar and using a handheld mixer (you could also use a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment) on medium beat the two together until the cream cheese is smooth and creamy. Add in the flour, lemon juice, vanilla extract and salt and continue beating until all of the ingredients are fully incorporated. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and beat until just combined. Finally, add in the melted chocolate and beat on low until just combined.

Pour half of the cheesecake batter onto the prepared crust. Smooth with a small offset spatula and then drizzle with half of the raspberry sauce. Pour the remaining filling over the sauce and once again smooth with the spatula and then drizzle the remaining sauce on top of the cheesecake filling. Using a toothpick or knife swirl everything together.

Bake for 35-40 minutes, the cheesecake will be set on top and the edges will just be beginning to brown. Place on a wire rack to cool for about an hour and then transfer to the refrigerator to cool for 3 hours.

After the 3 hours remove the bars from the refrigerator and using the paper overhang remove them from the pan and transfer them to a cutting board to slice. To get clean slices wipe your knife between each slice.

Cover and store leftover bars in the refrigerator.

Recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction

Slow Cooker Sunday: Triple Chocolate Brownies

Sometimes baking in my slow cooker is a hit or miss situation. I recently made a Banana Bread Pudding in it and that was a definite hit and I once made a Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake that was more burnt than cake. I don’t let those mishaps discourage me though. I recently tried making brownies in my slow cooker and while they tasted good, there were a few pieces along the edge that were burnt. But, I believe I know what the problem was. The recipe called for a 5 quart slow cooker and I used a 5.5 quart slow cooker. You wouldn’t think it would make a difference, but, having a slightly larger slow cooker means that my brownies were probably slightly thinner than the recipe intended, hence the baking time I followed was too long which resulted in slightly burnt brownies.

I prepped my slow cooker by spraying the insert with non-stick cooking spray and then lining the bottom with parchment paper that I then sprayed with the spray as well.

After making the batter for the brownies I poured it into my slow cooker and smoothed the top with a small offset spatula.

And while I let the brownies cook for 3.5 hours, I really should have let them cook for only 3 hours and then uncovered the slow cooker for the final 30 minutes of cooking. Truth be told, I am not greatest at gauging when I should take my brownies out of the oven. I know they are supposed to be slightly underdone when you take them out, but, I inevitably leave them in a minute or two too long because I don’t want them to be too underdone. I should learn by now. So, while I had a feeling my brownies were done at 3 hours, I ended up leaving them in too long and I ended up with burnt edges, but, I was able to salvage most of them and they were delicious.

You may be wondering why I don’t have any pics of those brownies I did salvage…. Well, by the time the brownies cooled and I sliced them it was too dark in my house to get a good picture. It’s so much easier to take pictures during the summer months! I debated whether or not to share the recipe since there were so many mishaps, but, they were good nonetheless and worth another try at perfecting. Or maybe just baking them in the oven instead!

Slow Cooker Triple Chocolate Brownies

  • Servings: 14 brownies
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Ingredients:

1 1/4 cups flour

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

3/4 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoons coarse salt

1 stick unsalted butter, cut into pieces

8oz. bittersweet chocolate, cut into pieces*

1 cup sugar

3 large egss, lightly beaten

1 cup chopped walnuts

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Non-stick cooking spray

 

*I used 1 1/3 cups of bittersweet chocolate chips

 

Directions:

Spray the insert of a 5-quart slow cooker with the cooking spray. Line the bottom with parchment paper and then spray the paper with the spray as well.

In a small bowl whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

Place the butter and the bittersweet chocolate in a medium microwave-safe bowl and microwave on 30 second intervals, stirring after each, until the chocolate and butter has melted. Add the sugar and stir to combine. Stir in the eggs, then add in the flour mixture, the walnuts and chocolate chips. Stirring everything together until just combined, be sure not to overmix. Transfer the mixture to the slow cooker insert and smooth the top.

Cover and cook on low for 3.5 hours*. Uncover and cook for an additional 30 minutes. Remove the insert from the slow cooker and run a knife around the edges to loosen the brownies. Place the insert on a wire rack and allow the brownies to cool completely, at least 2 hours. Turn the brownies out onto a cutting board / work surface and slice into 14 brownies. Store in an airtight container.

*If using a larger slow cooker your cooking time will be less. I used a 5.5 quart slow cooker and I probably should have uncovered them for the last 30 minutes at around the 3 hour mark.

Recipe from Martha Stewart

Valentine’s Day Cookies

While I enjoy decorating cakes one thing I rarely do is decorate cookies. Around the holidays I always have this grand idea of making sugar cookies and decorating them with royal icing. I actually have a mitten shaped cookie cutter that I have been meaning to use for the past two Christmases to make decorated cookies and it just hasn’t happened. Part of the reason is that I run out of time and the other part is that I am not fond of royal icing. I think it goes back to when I was taking Wilton decorator classes and one of the courses involved making flowers with royal icing. While I liked that the flowers would harden because of the royal icing, which meant you could make them ahead of time to decorate with them later, I just didn’t like the way my flowers looked. And I found working with the royal icing to be a bit of a headache. You have to keep it covered so it doesn’t harden and so forth. Because of all these little things I just avoid it. It’s actually been years since I’ve made royal icing, but, I decided that this year I wanted to make Valentine’s Day cookies that were decorated not just with sprinkles.

I began by making sugar cookies (I also made a batch of Gingerbread Cookies that you can see in the pics as well). I actually took a major shortcut in making the cookies. I purchased Pillsbury’s Sugar Cookie Dough, the one that comes in a roll not the pre-cut ones, and per the instructions on the wrapper I kneaded in flour before rolling the dough out on a floured surface. I then used a heart-shaped cookie cutter to cut out the cookies. I placed them on a parchment-lined cookie sheet and placed them in the refrigerator for a few minutes before baking them. I was hoping that chilling the cookies for a few minutes would help the cookies keep their shape while baking – cold cookies don’t spread as much while baking. Unfortunately this wasn’t the case. Some of my hearts ended up looking like circles or wonky shaped hearts. The two arches at the top weren’t as noticeable as I hoped they would be. I just figured I would make them look like hearts by decorating them. I ended up reading some reviews about the cookie dough and quite a few of them were negative and expressed what I had experienced. The dough spread way too much while baking. Oh well, I know for next time.

While the cookies were cooling I made a batch of royal icing. I removed about 1/2 cup of the icing and transferred it to a piping bag fitted with a small round tip. I then added in 2 tablespoons more water to the remaining icing to thin it to a syrup consistency. I then removed half of it and transferred it to another piping bag fitted with a small round tip and tinted the remaining icing a light pink and then transferred it to another bag, with, you guessed it, another small round tip. I used the thicker consistency icing to pipe the outline of the hearts on each cookie. After letting that set for a few minutes I then used the thinner consistency to flood the cookies. I didn’t go too crazy with my decorating. I piped horizontal lines in the contrasting color on some of the cookies and made a heart design in other. For both, I piped the secondary color on the icing while the first one was still wet this way the icing would dry together and be smooth. To create the heart designs I piped dots onto the cookies and then used a toothpick to drag a vertical line down the center of the dots. If you want to create a 3-D design on your cookies wait until the flooded icing dries and then pipe whatever design you would like onto the cookies.

I must say, decorating these cookies with royal icing was a lot easier than I remember it being. Or it could be that I find it easier compared to some of the cake decorating I do. I remember when I first started baking making some things seemed so daunting. Just last week I was working on a cake. I had just finished filling and crumb coating it and was about to make another batch of frosting to decorate it when I realized I had a major fail so I had to toss the cake and start over. I was able to bake and decorate another 3-layer 9-inch cake in just a few short hours. Thankfully I didn’t freak out and was able to manage my time to get it done. Had this been a few years ago I wouldn’t have been so calm.

So, will I attempt to make cookies decorated with royal icing again? Absolutely! Although next time I will be making the sugar cookies from scratch or possibly using a store-bought mix I only have to add a few ingredients to in hopes that they will keep their shape better. My gingerbread ones baked up perfectly, but, I also had made the dough a few weeks back and then rolled, cut and froze them until I was ready to bake them.

Slow Cooker Sunday: Barbacoa Beef

My second new recipe of the New Year and it’s another slow cooker one and while this is a savory one, it’s just as good as the sweet Banana Bread Pudding from two weeks ago. This time around I made barbacoa in my slow cooker. Barbacoa is a way of cooking meat that results in the meat being very tender. Usually by steam cooking it. While you can use different types of meat for barbacoa I opted to use chuck roast.

I added all of the ingredients to the insert of my slow cooker and gave it a few good stirs. Don’t be concerned by the small amount of liquid required. The meat will release its juices while cooking and keep in mind this isn’t a stew, as I mentioned, with barbacoa you are steam cooking the meat. You are going to use the meat for tacos, a burrito, burrito bowl and so forth, so while you do want the meat tender and juicy, you don’t want it to be soaking.

After cooking for 8 hours on the low setting the meat was perfectly tender and perfect for shredding.

I transferred the meat to a bowl and using two forks shred it into bit-sized pieces, leaving any juices in the insert of my slow cooker. I then transferred the shredded meat back to my slow cooker and let it soak up some of the remaining juices for about 10-15 minutes while my slow cooker was on the warm setting.

Finally, I transferred the meat to a dish.

I opted to use the meat to make quick and easy burrito bowls, so I made cilantro lime rice and pico de gallo to go along with it. Along with the rice and pico de gallo you could also add in shredded cheese, sour cream and/or guacamole.

Slow Cooker Barbacoa Beef

Ingredients:

3 pounds chuck roast*, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces

1/2 cup beef broth

4 garlic cloves, minced

3 chipotles in adobo, chopped (if you like your meat spicier add in 1 more)

1 4oz. can chopped green chiles

Juice from 3 limes (1/4 cup)

3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

3 bay leaves

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon dried oregano

1 tablespoon onion powder

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Salt and pepper

* I used 2.5lbs. of chuck roast cubes meant for beef stew

Directions:

Add all of the ingredients (except the salt and pepper) to the insert of your slow cooker and stir to combine.

Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours, or until beef is tender.*

Once the meat is ready remove it from the slow cooker, leaving the juices behind, and transfer to a bowl and using two forks shred the meat.

Remove the bay leaves from the liquid and transfer the shredded meat back to the slow cooker. With the slow cooker set to the warm setting let the meat sit in the liquid for 10-15 minutes.

Transfer the meat to a serving dish and season with salt and pepper.

*I left my meat in for 8 hours.

Recipe from Chef Savvy

 

Cilantro Lime Rice

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 1/2 cups basmatti rice

1 garlic clove, minced

2 1/4 cups water

1 teaspoon salt

Zest of 1 lime

3 tablespoons of fresh lime juice, from about 2-3 limes

1 cup lightly packed cilantro, leaves and tender stems, chopped

Directions:

In a medium saucepan heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the rice and stir to coat with the olive oil. Cooke the rice until it has begun to lightly brown. Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute.

Add the water, salt and zest and raise the heat to bring the rice to a rolling boil. Cover the pot and then reduce the heat to low to maintain a low simmer.

Cook for about 15 minutes (check you package from instructions). Let sit for 10 minute and then fluff with a fork.

Pour the lime juice over the rice and add in the cilantro and toss everything to combine.

Recipe from Simply Recipes

 

Pico De Gallo

Ingredients:

3 cups grape tomatoes, quartered

1 small red onion, finely chopped

1 jalapeno, seeded and minced

1 cup lightly packed cilantro, leaves and tender stems, chopped

Juice from 2 limes

Salt and pepper

Directions:

In a medium bowl combine the tomatoes, onion, jalapeno, cilantro, and fresh lime juice. Gently toss the ingredients together and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Cover and refrigerate for a few hours so flavors can marinate before using.

Slow Cooker Sunday: Banana Bread Pudding

It’s been a while since I have used my slow cooker and even longer since I have used it to make dessert but recently I decided to dust it off to make a bread pudding, well, not just any bread pudding, but a Banana Bread Pudding. If you’re not a fan of banana flavored desserts don’t worry, the banana flavor is not overpowering.

The night before actually making the bread pudding I did some prep work. I cut a loaf of Challah bread into cubes and then toasted them in the oven for 20 minutes at 300 F. While the bread was in the oven I generously greased the inside of my slow cooker insert with softened butter. The recipe called for one tablespoon, but, I ended up using about 4 tablespoons. I have “baked” things in my slow cooker in the past and regardless of me following the directions to a T my items have always been burnt. I’ve chalked it up to not using enough butter and I didn’t want that to happen again.

After removing the bread from the oven I let it cool for a few minutes and then placed it in an even layer inside of my slow cooker insert.

In a large bowl I combined the ingredients for the custard – eggs, half-and-half, granulated & brown sugar, vanilla extract, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and mashed bananas – and whisked them together until they were combined. I then poured this mixture over the bread in the insert and pressed the bread into the liquid to submerge it. I covered it and then refrigerated it overnight.

The next morning I removed it from the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes uncovered.

After the 30 minutes I placed the insert inside of the slow cooker base, covered it and cooked it on the low setting for about 4 ½ hours. The bread pudding will rise considerably while it’s cooking, mine almost touched the cover.

Once the bread pudding was done I removed the insert and let the bread pudding cool before inverting it onto a dish.

I attempted to make a caramel sauce to go along with the bread pudding but I had two failed attempts. The first time my caramel had a burnt taste to it and the second time my sugar never melted. So, I decided to nix the caramel sauce and just enjoy a piece with vanilla ice cream. Which was just perfect.

The was by far the best bread pudding I have ever made and I will definitely be making it again.

Slow Cooker Banana Bread Pudding

Ingredients:

1 16 oz. Challah Bread, cut into cubes

3-4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

8 large eggs

4 cups half-and-half (1 quart)

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup dark brown sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

3 medium ripe bananas, mashed

vanilla ice cream and/or caramel sauce for serving

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 300 F

Spread the bread cubes in a single layer on a large baking sheet and toast them in the oven for 20 minutes, stirring them halfway through toasting. Let them cook for 10 minutes.

Grease the insert of your slow cooker with the softened butter.

Once the bread is cool, transfer it to the slow cooker and arrange in an even layer.

In a large bowl whisk the eggs and then add in the half-and-half, both sugars, vanilla extract, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and mashed bananas. Whisk everything together to combine.

Pour the egg mixture over the bread and press the bread to submerge it into the liquid. Cover and transfer to the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours.

Remove from the refrigerator, uncover and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Place the insert into the base of your slow cooker, cover, and cook on high for 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours or on low 4 to 5 hours. The bread pudding is ready when it is set and not jiggly in the center. The internal temperature should be above 175 F when tested. It will be considerably puffy, but will subside as it cools.

Remover the insert from the base and let the bread pudding cool for about 15 minutes before inverting onto a plate. Alternatively, you could just serve it from the insert itself.

Enjoy with ice cream and/or caramel sauce.

Recipe slightly modified from Simply Recipes

Happy New Year!!!

Happy New Year! The holidays are quickly winding down. Truthfully, and I think most would agree, the holidays just seemed to fly by this season. Mainly due to the short time between Thanksgiving and Christmas. With Thanksgiving falling so late there was less than a month to get everything ready for Christmas. Besides posting my annual Cookie Palooza recipes I just didn’t have time to blog anything else during the month of December. That doesn’t mean I didn’t do a lot of baking though. There were chocolate covered pretzels, Almond Biscotti (these were so good that I ended up baking a second batch the day after making the first), a few cakes (one of which was supposed to be a tangled lights decorated cake but turned into a congratulatory cake for my oldest niece after competing in her very first gymnastics tournament and placing in a few of the events), and of course cookies, cookies and more cookies. I baked about 300 cookies in one day and by the end of the day the smell of sweets and sugar was just too much for me to handle.

So here we are in a new year and a new decade. Truthfully it didn’t really dawn on me that a new decade was upon us until I was watching the news and they started talking about it. I was just thinking of how the year had gone by so fast. And granted one could say that about every year, but, 2019 in particular seemed to fly by to me. I was thinking about things that happened and they didn’t seem like months ago but more so days ago. I have heard that one of the perils of getting older is that time goes by faster. Maybe it’s because you have a greater realization of things happening. As a kid I think you forget more than you remember but as an adult everything that happens gets filed away so it’s easy to measure things by the events in our lives. My dad has been gone 4 years and I still measure things from before and after his death as well as before and after he got sick. I’ll remember something or see something from a particular year and I measure it against these dates. Not always a good thing. But, it is a good reminder to me of how quickly things can change and can happen. It’s true what they say that life can change in the blink of an eye.

And for many a new year means resolutions to change things in their lives or do things differently. I myself have never made a New Year’s resolution. I personally believe that there is no time like the present to make a change for the better. Every day you are given the opportunity to do things better and/or differently than the day before. So why not grab on to that as opposed to waiting for the year to change. Let’s say you fail at your resolution in February, does that mean you should wait 10 months to try again? Absolutely not! So, instead of resolutions I’ll look back and see if I have grown as a person over the course of time. Of course there are things that I would like to be different, but, at the end of the day I am content. And being content makes it a bit easier to work on those things that I would like to change.

So, what’s on my plate for 2020 so far… A semi-monumental college reunion that I may or may not attend and a pretty exciting vacation! And of course more baking and crafting. Next month marks 8 years that I have been blogging. And while I may not have the amount of followers that others have, I am still trudging along and thankful for those of you who do follow me and welcome any and all new readers. I enjoy baking, crafting, photographing, writing, and everything else that makes up my blog so I will continue on! Besides, good things come to those who wait.

I leave you with two pics…

A pic of the Christmas cake I made (this was totally not the design I had in mind for this cake, but, I had a frosting fail at 10p on a work-night so I had to improvise and was happy with the outcome)…

And the cake I made for New Year’s Eve – I decided to try out the decorated sheet cake trend. After piping the designs on to the cake I then sprayed it with Wilton’s Color Mist in pearl and sprinkled it with a mixture of festive sprinkles…

Happy 2020!