Lime Pudding Cups

The best desserts in the summer are of course no-bakes ones. No one wants to turn on their oven when it’s 90+ degrees outside, but, sometimes you can make a slight exception and light up your stove for a quick delicious treat like these Lime Pudding Cups. These came up on my Instagram feed a few weeks ago and I knew instantly that I wanted to make them – partially because it meant using up the last of some heavy whipping cream I had in my refrigerator that was expiring soon and more importantly because they reminded me of one of my favorite desserts… Key Lime Pie.

The prep and cooking time for these is less than an hour. That includes juicing and zesting the limes, cooking the pudding on the stove and then letting it cool before straining and dividing it. (Okay, maybe it’s more like less than 45 minutes). Once all that is done you place them in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours so the pudding can set. While they are in the refrigerator you whip up some homemade whipped cream to top them and refrigerate it until they are ready.

Once the pudding has set top each one with a dollop of whipped cream, crushed graham crackers (to crush, I placed 1 graham cracker in a Ziploc bag and then rolled with a rolling pin) and lime zest.

And as simple as that you have a refreshing summer dessert that’s sweet and citrusy!

Lime Pudding Cups

Ingredients:

2 cups heavy cream

2/3 cup granulated sugar

1 tablespoon grated lime zest, plus more for topping

Pinch of kosher salt

1/3 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (from 4 medium-sized limes)

Crushed graham crackers, for topping

Sweetened whipped cream, for topping (use store-bought or follow recipe below to make your own)

 

Directions:

In a medium saucepan combine the heavy cream, sugar, lime zest and salt and bring to a boil over medium heat. Stir the mixture often until it is reduced to 2 cups. About 8 to 10 minutes.

Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the lime juice. Let cool for 20 minutes and then strain the mixture through a sieve into a measuring cup, discarding the solids. Divide evenly (about 1/3 cup in each) among 6 ramekins. Place in the refrigerator until set, at least 2 hours.

To make the whipped cream: Combine 1 cup heavy cream, 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract in a chilled bowl. Beat on low speed until the mixture thickens and then beat on medium speed until soft peaks form.

Once the pudding is set, top each one with a dollop of whipped cream, some of the crushed graham cracker and lime zest.

Recipe from Martha Stewart

Bourbon Bread Pudding

With the summer in full swing you might have enjoyed a hamburger or hot dog by now. And with those summer BBQ staples comes one dilemma I’m sure most have you have faced… left-over hamburger and hot dog buns. If you haven’t, you’re lucky. I was facing this very dilemma after my July 4th BBQ. I bought extra buns just in case, and while most of it went I still had some left that I just wouldn’t be able to finish on my own. So, I started thinking what I could make with them. A Bourbon Bread Pudding sounded like a good option.

To start, I soaked a cup of raisins in a quarter cup of Jim Beam Bourbon. I let them sit for about 2 hours until most of the bourbon had been soaked up by the raisins. You can actually do this step a day or two before you plan on making your bread pudding.

Since the hot dog buns were still fresh, I had to make them “stale” so that they wouldn’t fall apart too much when I added the liquid. To do so I toasted the bread. I began by slicing 8 hot dogs buns into cubes. Without splitting the buns in half, I sliced them in half lengthwise and then sliced them again into cubes. I placed them on a baking sheet and toasted them a 350 F preheated oven for about 15 minutes. Until the cubes were toasted, but not burnt.

Once the bread had cooled I transferred it to a large bowl and added in a quart of whole milk. Using my hands I pressed the bread into the milk until all of it was absorbed.

In a medium bowl I whisked together eggs, sugar, vanilla extract, allspice and cinnamon.

Once the egg mixture was well combined I poured it over the bread mixture and then gently folded everything together. Finally I folded in the bourbon soaked raisins, adding in any bourbon that hadn’t been soaked up by the raisins as well.

I poured the mixture into 9×13 baking dish that I brushed with melted butter and baked it in a 350 F preheated oven for about 45-50 minutes.

When done, the edges of the bread pudding were brown and pulling away from the baking dish. And while the center was still a little wet, I knew that it would firm up as it cooled.

And while it cooled I made a bourbon sauce to drizzle over the bread pudding. In a medium saucepan I melted a stick of unsalted butter over low heat. I then added in sugar and an egg and whisked everything to combine. As the mixture continued to cook over low heat I constantly stirred it until it began to thicken. At this point I removed it from the heat and whisked in bourbon.

The sauce was the perfect topping to a slice of the bread pudding, all that was missing was a scoop of vanilla ice cream!

 

Bourbon Bread Pudding

Ingredients:

Bread Pudding:

1 cup raisins

1/4 cup whiskey bourbon

8 hot dog buns, cut into cubes

1 quart whole milk

3 large eggs

2 cups sugar

2 tablespoons vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon allspice

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

 

Bourbon Sauce:

1 stick unsalted butter

1 cup sugar

1 egg

1/2 cup bourbon whiskey

 

Directions:

In a small bowl combine the raisins and 1/4 cup of bourbon whiskey, cover and let sit until the raisins soak up most of the liquid. At least one to two hours.

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Place the cubes of bread on a baking sheet and toast in the oven until crispy, about 12 – 15 minutes. If you find the bread still soft on the bottom, flip and bake for a few more minutes.

Remove the bread from the oven and let cool for a few minutes before transferring to a large bowl. Add the milk and using your hands press the bread into the milk until it’s absorbed.

In a medium bowl whisk the eggs together and then whisk in the sugar, vanilla extract, allspice and cinnamon. Pour this over the bread mixture.

Fold the two mixtures together until well incorporated and then gently stir in the bourbon soaked raisins, adding in any bourbon that wasn’t soaked up by the raisins.

Pour the melted butter into the bottom of 9×13 baking dish and using a pastry brush (or napkin) coat the bottom and sides of the dish with the butter. Pour the bread pudding mixture into the dish and bake in the oven for 40 – 50 minutes.

The bread pudding is ready when the edges begin to brown and pull away from the sides of the baking dish.

Remove from the oven and let cool.

While the bread pudding is cooling you can make the bourbon sauce.

In a medium saucepan melt the butter over low heat. Add the sugar and egg and whisk to blend it. Continue cooking the mixture over low heat, stirring constantly until the mixture has thickened. It should be able to coat the back of a spoon. Remove the mixture from the heat and whisk in the bourbon.

Serve the bread pudding with the bourbon sauce drizzled over it.

Recipe modified from Simply Recipies

Strawberry Trifle with Mascarpone Whipped Cream

Hope you all had a wonderful 4th! Unfortunately the holiday weekend is now over and it’s back to the daily grind of work, but, on the bright side there is still more summer to enjoy. I had my annual BBQ on the 4th and it was a great time… You can never go wrong with great friends, delicious food and yummy desserts.

This year, one of my friends and his mother-in-law decided to have a rib throw-down. Everyone was a winner in this throw-down. One of them was declared as having the best ribs and the rest of us got to enjoy them. In all honesty both were equally delicious in my book… One had a bit of a kick and the other one had a nice amount of homemade BBQ sauce on it.

I made a few salads (macaroni, potato, black and a Greek chickpea salad), macaroni and cheese, slow cooker baked beans and of course dessert.

I made this very patriotic funfetti cake…

A Strawberry Blueberry Icebox Cake (this is actually a dessert I make every year for the 4th)…

And for the first time ever I made a trifle. It had layers of Angel Food Cake, Mascarpone Whipped Cream and Mint Macerated Strawberries. I took a major time-saving shortcut and used a store-bought Angel Food Cake as opposed to baking one from scratch. If you’re not keen on Angel Food Cake, a Pound Cake would be a nice substitute. And, if you don’t have a trifle bowl you could use a large flat-bottomed glass bowl.

 

Strawberry Trifle with Mascarpone Whipped Cream

Ingredients:

Store-bought or Homemade Angel Food Cake or Pound Cake, cut into cubes

For the macerated strawberries:

2 lbs. strawberries, hulled and quartered

1/2 cup sugar

2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

For the mascarpone whipped cream:

1 1/3 cups mascarpone cheese

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

2 cups heavy whipping cream

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

For the Mascarpone Whipped Cream:

Using a handheld mixer on medium speed beat the mascarpone cheese and sugar until combined. Add the heavy cream and vanilla extract and continue beating until stiff peaks form. Use immediately or cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.

For the strawberries:

In a large bowl stir together the strawberries, sugar and mint. Let stand at room temperature until the strawberries begin to release their juices, about 15 minutes.

To assemble the trifle:

Place a single layer of cake in the bottom of the bowl. Spoon a third of the macerated strawberries over the cake and then spread a third of the mascarpone whipped cream over the strawberries. Repeat these layers two more times ending with a layer of mascarpone whipped cream. Place a few strawberries in the center of the whipped cream for decoration. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate for a few hours before serving.

Recipe slightly modified from Williams-Sonoma

Meyer Lemon Scones

I recently purchased 2 bags of Meyer Lemons to make a pie which I will be sharing with you in a couple of weeks in honor of Pi Day. I was pretty sure I only needed 1 bag of the lemons since each bag had about 6 each, but, I wanted to be sure I had enough in case of any mishaps and I figured I could always make something else with the extra ones. Initially I was thinking of making muffins, which I may still do, but quickly realized that most lemon muffins include poppy seeds, which I didn’t have. Then I came across a recipe for scones and for some reason I always thought that scones were difficult and time-consuming to make but the recipe I opted to try was the complete opposite.

Unfortunately I did not take any pictures of the prep work that went into making these scones. I was cooking/baking about three or four other things so my counter was a mess and I was trying to make sure I didn’t overcook or burn anything. What was nice about this recipe was that it only required two bowls to mix all of the ingredients and it came together quickly. After stirring together my dry ingredients (flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and baking powder) I added in diced cold butter. Here’s a tip, if you want to ensure your butter is cold enough and incorporates into the flour well, freeze it for a few minutes and instead of dicing it grate it in to the flour mixture. I then used a combination of a pastry cutter and my hands (actually just one hand, I ended up with a pretty bad cut on one of my fingers when I was cleaning lemon zest off my Microplane Grater) to work the butter in and get the mixture into the consistency of small peas. In a measuring cup I whisked together the heavy cream, an egg yolk and lemon zest and then added this to the flour mixture and stirred it until the dough formed. I then transferred the dough to a baking sheet, formed it into a circle and then cut it using a pizza cutter into four equal pieces. I separated the pieces so they weren’t touching and then brushed them with heavy cream. While the scones were baking, I whisked together a glaze of confectioners’ sugar, heavy cream and lemon juice to pour on them right out of the oven. I was never one to add glazes to my baked goods, I always thought doing so would make them super sweet. But, I have come around and realized that all glazes are not super sweet and sometimes can add another level of flavor to things. Like the cardamom glaze on the Rum-Raisin Apple Bundt Cake I posted a few months ago… YUM!

These scones were delicious and made for a nice breakfast treat. Maybe next time I will add some blueberries. Blueberries and lemon go together like peanut butter and chocolate!

Meyer Lemon Scones

Ingredients:

For the Scones:

1 1/4 cups flour

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

4 tablespoon unsalted butter, cold and diced

1/3 cup + 2 tablespoons heavy cream, plus more for brushing

1 large egg yolk

Zest of 2 Meyer lemons

 

For the Glaze:

1/3 cup Confectioners’ sugar

1 teaspoon heavy cream

2 teaspoons freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 F.

In a large bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and baking powder. Add the butter and using your preferred method (knives, pastry cutter or hands) work the butter into the flour mixture until the consistency is smaller than peas.

In a measuring cup whisk together the heavy cream, egg yolk and lemon zest and then pour over the flour mixture. Stir the mixture until a shaggy dough forms and everything is incorporated, being careful not to overmix the dough.

Transfer the dough to a small cookie sheet and form it into a circle.

Using a knife (or pizza cutter) cut the circle into 4 equal pieces. Separate the pieces a bit so they are not touching and brush the pieces with heavy cream.

Whisk together the ingredients for the glaze in a small bowl and set aside.

Bake the scones for 13-15 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean and the edges of the scones are beginning to brown.

Drizzle the glaze on the scones immediately after removing them from the oven. Enjoy warm.

To store, place the scones in an airtight container at room temperature for 1-2 days.

Recipe from Dessert for Two

Pink Hot Chocolate

An all-natural Pink Hot Chocolate just in time for Valentine’s Day! How you may ask, well, instead of using red or pink food coloring to get the pink hue, you use a few tablespoons of beet juice. And before you cringe your face because beets are not your favorite vegetable or something you are willing to try once or again, just know that you will not be able to taste the beet flavor whatsoever. But, if you are still intrigued by the idea of making Pink Hot Chocolate for your Valentine this week (or for yourself) but are completely against the beet juice, I will give you a few options to get the pink color that might sound more appealing.

The base of this hot chocolate is white hot chocolate. You start off by bringing milk (I used whole milk) and salt to a simmer over medium heat. Then remove it from the heat and add in grated white chocolate and vanilla extract. Grating the chocolate allows it to melt easier and quicker. Once the chocolate has melted then stir in a few tablespoons of beet juice. But, if you are not inclined to use beet juice, you could substitute it with cherry juice or the juice from maraschino cherries. Just be aware that either of those options could make your hot chocolate a tad bit sweeter. Now, if none of those options work for you, you could tint the hot chocolate with a few drops of either pink or red food coloring. And finally, top the hot chocolate with a healthy topping of whipped cream and then sprinkle with cinnamon. YUM!

Pink Hot Chocolate

Ingredients:

2 cups milk

Kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 ounces white chocolate, grated*

2 tablespoons beet juice**

Whipped cream, for topping

Cinnamon, for topping

 

*I used Baker’s White Chocolate

**substitute with cherry juice, maraschino cherry juice, food coloring

 

Directions:

In a small saucepan combine the milk and a pinch of the kosher salt and bring to a simmer over medium heat.

Remove the saucepan from heat and add in the vanilla extract and grated chocolate, stirring until the chocolate has completely melted. Stir in the beet juice.

Diving among mugs and top with whipped cream and cinnamon.

 

Recipe from Real Simple

 

Chocolate Covered Pretzel Rods

Sweet & Salty is as good a combination as you can get and there’s no better way to get satisfy that craving for both than with chocolate covered pretzels. If you’re looking for a last minute treat to give your loved ones this Holiday season these may be the answer. You only need three ingredients to make them, pretzels, chocolate and a topping (if you choose). Now, when I’ve made chocolate covered pretzels in the past I’ve used the mini pretzel twists and while they taste good I always have an issue with getting the excess chocolate to drip off… It never does. I never end up with pretzels that are nice and evenly coated with chocolate, there is always one or two spots that has a little too much. As I mentioned, they taste good, but, I am just not 100% happy with how they look. This year, I decided I would make chocolate dipped pretzels rods rolled in sprinkles. Figuring that the sprinkles could easily cover any imperfections with the chocolate. Which it did!

Now, I know a lot of directions for chocolate covered pretzels call for a bit of shortening to be added to the chocolate when melting, I have never done this. From what I have read the shortening creates a smoother and more manageable consistency of chocolate – which I suppose would be ideal for the chocolate covered pretzel twists – but, I have also read that it can alter the flavor of the chocolate and that sometimes the chocolate doesn’t harden as well, so I stick with plain old chocolate. If I find that the chocolate is beginning to thicken too much while I am working with it I pop it back in the microwave for a quick 10 seconds just to get it smooth again. Not much longer because I don’t want to scorch the chocolate. Oh, and I melt my chocolate in the microwave as well. I have melted chocolate in my own make-shift double boiler – I place a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water – but, I find the microwave quicker and with less clean-up. I simply pour a bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips into a microwave-safe bowl (I normally use a silicone one) and heat it for 1 minute. I give it a good stir and continue melting the chocolate in 30 second intervals, stirring the chocolate between each zap in the microwave. I don’t melt the chocolate completely in the microwave. Once it begins to melt stirring it will help melt the rest of the chocolate into a smooth mixture. For dipping pretzel rods you want to use a small bowl that is pretty deep so you can get a lot of the pretzel rods coated in the chocolate. As you go along and find yourself with less and less chocolate but pretzel rods remaining you can use a spoon/knife to spread the chocolate on to the rod.

Once the chocolate is ready I pour my sprinkles onto a rimmed baking sheet and push them to the center of the pan. Using a baking sheet will make it easy to roll the pretzel rods in the sprinkles. I set up another baking sheet with wax paper to place the rods on once they are dipped and sprinkled. And then I simply dipped a rod into the chocolate and then rolled it in the sprinkles. I then placed it on the wax lined paper so it could set and once I was done I placed the entire pan in the refrigerator to be sure that the chocolate would harden.

Here are some tips that may help you get a good coating of chocolate on your pretzels… If you have too much chocolate and it’s just not dripping off use a butter knife to smooth it out, or, another pretzel rod. I did the latter a few times. I simply rolled the pretzels next to each other over the bowl to coat the one without the chocolate. For those rods that I wasn’t planning on rolling in sprinkles I actually rolled it on a sheet of wax paper to smooth the chocolate out and then placed them in the refrigerator so the chocolate could harden and then drizzled them with the red and green chocolate the following day. To do so, I melted candy melts and then poured it in squeeze bottles and drizzled the chocolate over the pretzels and once again placed the sheet back in the refrigerator so the drizzle could harden.

My apologies for not having step-by-step pictures, but, I made these late at night (a lot later than I had planned since my car decided to act up that day and I had to be towed from work to the mechanic and then have a friend bring me home… thankfully my car was fixed and back on the road the following day!) and I have learned that late-night pictures are not good for blogging!

So, to recap, all you need for these Chocolate Covered Pretzels is a bag of pretzel rods (I used a 12oz bag that had about 30 good (unbroken) pretzel rods), a 12oz. bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips, and to decorate sprinkles, candy melts, chopped nuts or coconut. You will also need wax paper, at least 3 baking sheets and a bowl to melt and dip the chocolate.

Happy Dipping & Rolling!

Pumpkin Cannoli

If you visited my blog yesterday you saw my post for a Slow Cooker Pumpkin Spice White Hot Chocolate (YUM!) and I mentioned these Pumpkin Cannoli in that post. Today I am sharing the recipe with you. Sometimes with one can of pumpkin puree you can enjoy 2 or 3 delicious treats.

Pumpkin Cannoli

Ingredients:

4 large cannoli shells

1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese

1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar

1/2 cup pumpkin puree

1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Directions:

Fold the ricotta cheese, sugar, pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice together in a medium bowl until well blended. Transfer the mixture to a large piping bag (or a gallon size resealable bag) and snip a half inch hole at the end (or corner) of the bag and pipe the mixture into both ends of the cannoli shells. Dust with confectioner’ sugar and enjoy.

Recipe from Rachael Ray Magazine