Peach Crisp

When I saw this recipe in the most recent issue of Food Network Magazine I knew I wanted to try it before peaches where nowhere to be found at my local supermarket. Truth be told though, I’ve had more bad peaches this summer than good ones. What’s up with that? I found that while I brought them home from the supermarket rock hard so I could eat them over the course of a week, within a few days the skin was wrinkling on some of them and others were completely rotten. To make sure the peaches I used for this Peach Crisp were good I opted to buy tree ripe peaches that were quite enormous but thankfully perfectly ripe (hence the name) without being overly sweet.

To start I made the crisp topping by mixing together old-fashioned oats, almond flour, light brown sugar and salt in a bowl. I then added in melted butter and stirred everything together with a fork until the mixture began to form clumps. Now, I used almond flour, as that is what the recipe called for and I had some because I want to try my hand at making macarons, but, you easily swap the almond flour out for all-purpose flour. I placed this in the freezer as I worked on the peach portion of the dessert.

I sliced the peaches in half and then sliced each of the halves into halves (basically I quartered the peach) and then sliced each piece into thirds. In the end, each peach should give you 12 slices. The peaches I used were so large that I probably could have gotten away with just using 3.

I transferred the slices to a large bowl and added in brown sugar, flour, orange juice, vanilla extract and nutmeg. The original recipe called for lemon juice, brandy (optional) and orange zest. I had already decided I wasn’t going to use orange zest in the recipe. Truthfully, I didn’t feel like buying an orange for a teaspoon of zest, but, I ended up completely forgetting to get a lemon when I went food shopping. And while I did have brandy on hand, it was apple flavored and I just didn’t think the flavors would go well together. Thankfully though I did have orange juice which is a good substitute for lemon juice and gave me some of the orange flavor the zest would have. I decided to use 3 tablespoons of the orange juice since the original recipe call for 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of brandy and since I had so many peach slices I figured the extra liquid wouldn’t hurt.

Once the peaches and other ingredients were mixed together well – I made sure that the peaches were coated by the mixture – I transferred them to my dish along with any juices that remained.

I then topped the peaches with chopped pecans and the crisp topping. I used my hands to break up the slightly frozen topping into small pieces that I scattered on top of the peaches.  

After baking it in a 350 F preheated oven for about an hour I let it cool on a wire rack. Once cooled I covered it with aluminum foil and refrigerated it. To enjoy, I heated it up a spoonful or two and topped it with vanilla ice cream.

Peach Crisp

Ingredients:

Crisp Topping:

1/2 cup old-fashioned oats

1/2 cup almond flour*

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1 teaspoon Kosher salt

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Peach Filling:

4 large peaches or 5 medium peaches (about 2.5 pounds)

1/3 cup light brown sugar

3 tablespoons flour

3 tablespoons orange juice**

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 cup chopped pecans***

* Could use all-purpose flour

** Original recipe called for 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 tablespoon brandy (optional) and 1 teaspoon grated orange zest

*** Could use walnuts instead

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Make the crisp topping: In a medium bowl whisk together the oats, flour, sugar and Kosher salt. Pour in the melted butter and use a fork to stir everything together. Once the mixture begins to clump place in the freezer while working on the peach filling.

For the peach filling: Cut each peach in half and remove the pit. Cut each half in half and then slice each half into thirds. Place the peach slices in a large bowl and add in the sugar, flour, orange juice, vanilla and ground nutmeg. Give everything a few good stirs to make sure each peach slice is evenly coated.

Transfer the peaches to a 9-inch pie dish. Sprinkle the chopped pecans on top.

Remove the crisp topping from the freezer and using your hands break the topping into small pieces and scatter on top of the peaches in an even layer.

Bake in the preheated oven for an hour. Until the crisp topping is lightly browned and you can easily slice into one of the peach slices.

Remove from the oven and enjoy right out of the oven or place on a cooling rack to cool. If you are planning on refrigerating it for later, cool to room temperature and cover with aluminum foil to refrigerate until ready to enjoy.

Serve on its own or enjoy with ice cream!

Recipe from Vallery Lomas

No Bake Strawberry Cheesecake

No bake cheesecakes can either be a hit or a total miss. It all depends on whether the filling firms up enough while refrigerated. Unfortunately, they don’t sometimes and instead turn into a total mess when slicing into them. It’s happened to me! But since I am not one to give up, I am always willing try something again, just not the same recipe if it failed the first time, I decided to try my hands at a no bake cheesecake again. And I’m happy to say this recipe I tried for a No Bake Strawberry Cheesecake was a winner in all regards. The strawberry flavor was spot on, the texture was perfect and the crust was a combination of pretzels and graham crackers.

First up, I made the crust. In the bowl of my food processor I processed mini pretzels and graham crackers into crumbs. I then transferred the mixture to a medium bowl and stirred in sugar and melted butter. Once it was well incorporated I pressed the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan. You could opt to use a 9-inch baking dish instead. I then baked the crust in a 350 F preheated oven for 15 minutes. And then placed it on a wire rack to cool completely.  

While the crust was in the oven and then cooling I prepped the strawberry puree. In the bowl of my food processor I added in 1 1/2 pounds of strawberries that I rinsed, hulled and sliced in half. Quick tip, I processed the pretzels and graham crackers first so I could give my bowl a quick rinse before using it for the strawberries.

I processed them for about a minute or so to turn the strawberries into a puree.

Next, I transferred the puree to a medium saucepan and simmered it on medium-low heat until it was reduced to about a 1/2 cup. I initially started this in a small saucepan, but, once it started to simmer I was scared that it was going to turn into a complete mess on my stovetop so I transferred it to a larger saucepan. This step took the longest, about a half hour. At one point, I thought I had reduced the mixture enough but when I transferred it to a measuring cup I had about 3/4 of a cup so I returned it to the saucepan for a few more minutes and it was finally reduced to a 1/2 cup. I then let it cool to room temperature.

Once the crust and puree was cooled it was time to make the filling. In a medium bowl I beat heavy cream using a hand mixer on medium-high speed until stiff peaks formed. In a large bowl I beat room temperature cream cheese on medium speed until it was smooth and creamy. I then added in the strawberry puree, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla extract and beat it on medium-high speed until everything was well incorporated and the mixture was once again smooth and creamy.

Using a rubber spatula, I folded the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture. I was careful to do this slowly as I didn’t want to deflate the air in the whipped cream. Once the two were mixed together I then spread the filling into the crust and smoothed the top with a small offset spatula. I then covered it tightly with a piece of plastic wrap and then aluminum foil and refrigerated it overnight.

The following day I sliced up strawberries and tossed them with sugar and whipped up another batch of whipped cream, this time sweetened with confectioners’ sugar and vanilla extract, and topped the cheesecake. Since I opted to make mine in a springform pan I carefully removed the ring from it before spreading the strawberries in the center of the cheesecake and then piped dollops of whipped cream around the edge using a Wilton 1M tip. Since I was taking this cheesecake over to a friends’ house for dessert I carefully placed the ring back on the cake before covering again.

Final verdict… It was delicious. The strawberry flavor was spot on without being overly sweet. Also, the texture was perfect. Sometimes with cheesecakes they can be a bit dense, but the texture of this cheesecake was more smooth and fluffy. This was definitely attributed to gently folding the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture.

No Bake Strawberry Cheesecake

Ingredients:

For the Crust:

1 cup salted mini pretzels crumbs (from 1/2 cup whole mini pretzels)

1 cup graham cracker crumbs (6 full sheets of graham crackers)

3 tablespoons sugar

1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted

For the Filling:

1 1/2 lbs. fresh strawberries, rinsed and hulled

1 cup heavy whipping cream

2 8oz. blocks of cream cheese, at room temperature

1 cup confectioner’ sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Topping:

1 cup sliced strawberries

1 teaspoon sugar

1 cup heavy whupping cream

2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 F.

For the Crust:

Combine the ingredients for the crust in a medium bowl and mix together until well combined. Press the mixture into a 9-inch springform pan or a 9-inch pie dish. Press into the bottom and up the sides of the pan/dish you use. Make sure it’s in an even layer. Bake in the preheated oven for 15-16 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes before filling.

For the Filling:

Puree the strawberries in a food processor or blender. You should have between 1 1/2 – 2 cups of puree. Strain it through a fine mesh sieve to remove the seeds. Transfer the puree to a medium saucepan and simmer over medium-low heat until you are left with a 1/2 cup (or slightly more) of puree. This can take between 25-35 minutes. Let cool to room temperature.

Using a hand mixer beat the whipped cream until stiff peaks form. Set aside.

In a large bowl beat the cream cheese using a hand mixer on medium speed until smooth and creamy. Add the cooled strawberry puree, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla extract beat on medium-high speed until smooth and creamy. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Make sure the mixture is creamy and smooth, if there are any lumps in the mixture continue to beat until they incorporate into the mixture.

Using a rubber spatula fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture. Do this slowly as you don’t want to deflate the air from the whipped cream.

Spread the filling into the cooled crust and use a small offset spatula to smooth the top. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 8 hours and up to 2 days. The longer it stays in the refrigerator the better it will firm up.

For the Topping:

Before serving, prep the toppings and decorate. In a medium bowl stir the sliced strawberries with the sugar. Set aside. In another medium bowl combine the heavy whipping cream, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla extract and beat until stiff peaks form. Transfer the whipped cream to a piping bag fitted with a large star tip (I used Wilton 1M). Remove the cheesecake from the fridge. If you made it in a springform pan, carefully remove the ring. Spread the strawberries in the center of the cheesecake and then pipe dollops of the whipped cream around the outer edge of the cheesecake. Serve or refrigerate until ready to serve.

Recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction

S’more Cookie Bars

Happy National S’mores Day! S’mores… the perfect treat to make for the dog days of summer! I’ve shared all kinds of S’more desserts here (they are all linked below) and to celebrate the day today I am bringing you S’more Cookie Bars. They look like a blondie but have the texture of a cookie and are topped with melted chocolate and toasted mini marshmallows. YUM!

I started off by making the cookie base by whisking together the dry ingredients in one bowl and creaming together the wet ingredients in another. After combining them I reserved some of the dough and pressed the rest into a 9 x 9 – inch baking pan I lined with parchment paper in an even layer. I then topped the dough with chocolate chips, mini marshmallows and the reserved dough.

After baking in a 350 F preheated oven for about 30 minutes I transferred it to a wire rack to cool completely.

And then using the parchment paper I removed the bars from the pan and sliced them. Final verdict, they were delish and a nice alternative to your traditional s’more. It was almost like eating a deconstructed s’more.

Looking for more twists on the traditional s’more… Check out these recipes:

Pumpkin S’more Layer Cake

S’more Cupcakes

S’mores Chocolate Chip Cookies

S’more Brownie Bites

S’mores Icebox Cake

Malted S’mores Ice Cream

S’mores Brownies

S’mores Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies

S’more Cookies Bars

Ingredients:

1 cup flour

1 cup graham cracker crumbs

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature

3/4 cups light brown sugar

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1 heaping cup mini marshmallows

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spray a 9 x 9-inch baking pan with non-stick spray and then line with parchment paper, leaving an overhang.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients – flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl cream together the butter and sugar using a handheld mixer on medium speed until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the egg and continue beating until well combined. With the mixer on low, gradually add in the flour mixture until well combined.

Reserve 1/4 of the dough and press the remaining into the bottom of the prepared pan in an even layer. Top with the chocolate chips and marshmallows. Scatter the reserved dough in clumps on top. Try not to fully cover the chocolate chips and marshmallows.

Bake 25-30 minutes in the preheated oven until the cookie bar is set and the chocolate has melted and the marshmallows are toasted.

Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool completely. Once cooled, used the overhang to remove from the pan and slice into 12 pieces. Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature.

Recipe from Seasons & Suppers

Salted Caramel Tiramisu

Tiramisu is a great dessert to make during the summer months since you don’t need to turn on your oven. While traditional tiramisu is delicious, variations offer a nice twist and a melding of flavors. I’ve made a Pumpkin version, a White Chocolate Blackberry version and today I am sharing with a Salted Caramel version.

I always like to look at the back of my wrappers, packages and so forth when I buy things. You never know what delicious recipe you may come across. That’s exactly where I found this recipe. It was on the back of a package of ladyfingers I bought.

I started by prepping all the ingredients to assemble the tiramisu. First, I made the salted caramel. I must say, I have made caramel before and had more failures than successes and I was able to ace this salted caramel on my first try. So, this will definitely be my go-to when a recipe calls for caramel, I will just omit the salt. While the caramel cooled, I made instant espresso and allowed it to cool before whisking in Kahlua and I beat together mascarpone cheese along with heavy cream.

Then it was time to start assembling. I dipped 12 ladyfingers in the espresso mixture and then arranged them in an 8 x 8 baking dish and drizzled the top with a few tablespoons of the salted caramel.

I then spread half of the mascarpone mixture on top and then repeated the layers.

And finally, I dusted the top with cocoa powder before covering and refrigerating it for at least 4 hours before serving.  And I must say, this may be my favorite variation of tiramisu I have made to date.

Salted Caramel Tiramisu

For the salted caramel:

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup water

1/2 cups heavy cream

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 teaspoon Kosher salt

For the Tiramisu:

1/4 cup sugar

8oz. mascarpone cheese, at room temperature

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

1 1/2 cups brewed instant espresso, cooled

3 tablespoons Kahlua

24 Ladyfingers

2 teaspoons cocoa powder

Directions:

For the caramel: Clip a candy thermometer to a medium saucepan. Add the sugar and water to the saucepan and let simmer for 5 minutes or until the sugar dissolves over medium-low heat. Increase the heat to medium and bring the mixture to boil. Cook undisturbed until the temperature on the candy thermometer reaches 350 F.

Decrease the heat to low and slowly whisk in the heavy cream and cook for an additional 2 minutes until smooth, whisking constantly.

Remove the saucepan from the heat and whisk in the butter and salt. Allow the caramel to cool for 25 minutes before using.

For the tiramisu:  In a large bowl combine the sugar, mascarpone cheese and heavy cream. Using a hand mixer on medium-high speed beat the mixture until soft peaks form.

In a medium bowl stir together the cooled espresso and Kahlua. Dip half of the lady fingers in the mixture and arrange them in an even layer in an 8-inch square baking dish.

Drizzle the arranged ladyfingers with 3 tablespoons of the cooled salted caramel. Top with half of the mascarpone mixture.

Repeat the layers one more time. Store the leftover salted caramel in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.

Dust the top of the final layer of the mascarpone mixture with the cocoa powder. Cover with a piece of wax paper and aluminum foil and refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving.

Peppermint Chocolate Squared Cupcakes

Merry Christmas in July! It’s probably hard to think about Christmas during this time of the year, especially with everything going on in the world. I am longing for those cooler days though. I totally get that summer is supposed to be warm and some days hot, but, I just feel that this summer has had more days of unbearable heat and humidity than in recent years. Even the days that haven’t been that hot have been too humid for my liking. If it’s 83 degrees, I want it to feel like 83 and not 93 because of other factors. In my post for last year’s Christmas in July recipe, Chocolate Peppermint Chunk Cookies, I discussed the origins of the “holiday.” This year I am sharing a tidbit of information I recently learned, people actually have Christmas in July parties! Sorry, if this comes across as a shocker to me. I have heard of Christmas in July for years, but, never knew that people actually had parties to celebrate. Sounds like a fun idea, but, I definitely wouldn’t put up my Christmas Tree this early in the year regardless of how much I love Christmas. Instead, to celebrate Christmas in July I am sharing with you a Peppermint Chocolate Squared Cupcake recipe.

To amp the peppermint flavor in the cupcakes not only did I add peppermint extract to the batter, but, I infused peppermint into the milk by crushing peppermint candies and adding them to the milk while heating it so they could dissolve into it. And while the frosting also called for milk, I opted to just use peppermint extract to give it a peppermint flavor. The final product, a cupcake that’s making me long for all the sweet treats that are to come with the holidays!

Peppermint Chocolate Squared Cupcakes

  • Servings: 12 Cupcakes
  • Print

Ingredients:

For the Cupcakes:

1 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup whole milk

4 starlight peppermint candies, crushed

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 cup sugar

3/4 cup vegetable oil

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon peppermint extract

For the Frosting:

1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 cups confectioners’ sugar

4 ounces melted semi-sweet chocolate (I used 3/4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips)

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

2 tablespoons whole milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon peppermint extract

Sprinkles or additional crushed peppermint candies to decorate.

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F and line a cupcake pan with paper liners.

For the Cupcakes: Start by making the peppermint milk. In a small saucepan over medium hear (or using a glass measuring cup in a microwave) heat the milk and crushed candies together until the milk is hot but not boiling. Stir to melt the candies in the heated milk. Pour the heated milk over the cocoa powder in a large bowl and stir until smooth. Let cool slightly. 

In a medium whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

Once the cocoa mixture has cooled, whisk in the sugar, vegetable oil, egg, vanilla and peppermint extracts until the mixture is smooth. Then whisk in the flour mixture until just combined.

Divide the batter among the prepared cupcake pan and bake for 20 -25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center of one of the cupcakes comes out clean.

Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Once the cupcakes are cool make the frosting. In the bowl of a food processor combine the butter, confectioners’ sugar, melted chocolate, unsweetened cocoa powder, milk, vanilla and peppermint extracts and pulse the ingredients together until smooth.

Frost the cupcakes using your desired method and then top with sprinkles and/or crushed candies.

Recipe adapted from Food Network.

Red White & Blue Roll Cake

Are you looking for something fun to bake for the 4th of July? A lot of the fun desserts you may come across may involve using berries to create a flag design, which is always delicious and inventive, but why not try something a little different. How about a Red White & Blue Roll Cake?

All you’ll need is a white cake mix, eggs, water, oil and sour cream. It’s pretty much just like making a box cake except you’ll need more eggs and the sour cream. You’ll also need something for the filling. I made a marshmallow whipped cream for my filling, but, you could use store bought vanilla frosting or any other flavor you choose. You could also do a fruit compote.

 After making the batter I divided it in three (about 1 1/3 cups each) and tinted two of them blue and red respectively and left the third one untinted.

Next, I transferred the batters to pastry bags – I used 16-inch ones –   and snipped off the ends of each. I didn’t cut the holes too big so I could control the amount of batter I piped. If your hole is too big you might end up with a big mess while piping. I then started piping the batter into a 12×18 inch baking sheet I lined with parchment paper and sprayed with baking spray. You could also use two smaller baking sheets as well. I was concerned that I would run out of batter before I was done piping, so I made my stripes a bit thin. Once I was done though, I still had some batter left over so I went back and filled in any gaps I had.

I then baked the cake in a 350 preheated oven for about 10 minutes.

While the cake was baking I laid out a clean kitchen towel on my counter and dusted it with confectioners’ sugar. Once the cake was done, I immediately flipped it onto the towel. I removed the parchment paper and using the towel I rolled the cake from short end to short end. I placed it on a wire rack and let it cool for 30 minutes. And as the cake was cooled I made the marshmallow whipped cream for the filling.

Once the cake was cooled I unrolled it (and yes it did break a little), frosted it and then rerolled it again. I refrigerated it for a few hours before slicing and enjoying.

Red White & Blue Roll Cake

Ingredients:

For the Cake:

1 box white cake mix

6 large eggs

1/4 cup sour cream

1/4 cup water

1/4 vegetable oil

Red & Blue food coloring

For the Filling:

1 cup heavy whipping cream

1 7oz. jar marshmallow crème

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spray a 12×18 baking sheet with baking spray, line with parchment paper and then spray the parchment paper with baking spray. Set aside.

In a large bowl beat the eggs on medium until thick and pale (about 6 minutes). Add in the cake mix, sour cream, water and oil and beat on low for 30 seconds and then medium for 1-2 minutes until the batter is smooth.

Divide the batter in three, about 1 1/3 cups each. Leave one untinted and tint the other two blue and red respectively. Transfer the batter to pastry bags or resealable plastic bags. Cut a small opening in the bags and pipe the batter diagonally into the prepared pan.

Once done piping tap the pan on the counter a few times to release any air bubbles. If you have batter left-over you can use it to fill any gaps.

Bake in the preheated oven for 8-10 minutes.

While the cake is in the oven, lay out a clean dish towel and dust with confectioners’ sugar.

Once the cake is done, flip it out on the prepared towel. Remove the parchment paper and roll the cake from short end to short end. Roll the towel up with the cake. This will prevent the cake from sticking to itself. Place on a wire rack and let cool for 30 minutes.

While the cake is cooling make the filling. In a chilled bowl beat the heavy whipping cream on medium speed until soft peaks form. Add in the marshmallow crème and vanilla extract and continue beating until stiff peaks form. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Carefully unroll the cake and spread the filling on top. Re-roll the cake, this time without the towel. Refrigerate for at least an hour before slicing and serving.

Passion Fruit Panna Cotta

Panna Cotta is one of those desserts that looks like it’s difficult to make, but in fact is quite easy. It doesn’t require many ingredients and you can customize the flavor easily. While I used passion fruit for this recipe you could easily swap it out for a different fruit.

To start, I added a 1/2 cup of passion fruit juice to a measuring cup and sprinkled unflavored gelatin on top. I let it sit for 15 minutes and then whisked it together.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat I whisked milk, heavy whipping cream, vanilla extract and sugar together until the sugar dissolved and the mixture began to simmer. I them removed it from the heat and let it sit for 10 minutes. Letting the mixture cool is key. If it’s too hot when you add the passion fruit/gelatin mixture in the next step the gelatin will lose its ability to thicken and your panna cotta will not firm up.

Next, I whisked the passion fruit mixture into the milk mixture until it dissolved.

Once the panna cotta mixture was ready it was time to divide it among four ramekins. To make it easy to divide the mixture among the ramekins I transferred it to a measuring cup…

And then poured 1/2 cup of the mixture into each of the ramekins.

After letting it cool to room temperature, I covered the ramekins and refrigerated the panna cotta for at least three hours so it could firm up.

Now, this is the nerve wrecking part… Will it firm up? I ended up checking it after an hour and was happy to see that it was already firming up. And after letting it sit in the refrigerator a bit longer it was the perfect consistency. You could top the panna cotta with a raspberry sauce or some whipped cream, but I was fine eating it as is.

Looking for some more passion fruit recipes, try making a passion fruit pie, ice cream or a curd that could be used as a filling for cookies.

Passion Fruit Panna Cotta

Ingredients:

1/2 cup passion fruit juice*

1 1/2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin

3/4 cup whole milk

1 cup heavy whipping cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup sugar

*I used frozen passion fruit pulp that I defrosted in the refrigerator overnight.

Directions:

Add passion fruit juice to a small bowl and sprinkle the unflavored gelatin on top. Let sit for 15 minutes.

In a medium saucepan combine the milk, heavy cream, vanilla extract and sugar. Whisk the mixture over medium heat until the sugar dissolves and the mixture comes to a bare simmer. Let sit for 10 minutes.

Whisk together the passion fruit juice and the gelatin and then whisk into the milk mixture to dissolve.

Divide the mixture among 4 ramekins and let cool to room temperature. Cover each and then refrigerate for at least 3 hours until the panna cotta has set.

Malted Brownies

My favorite chocolate chip cookie is a Malted Chocolate Chip cookie. The malted milk powder produces a cookie that is both chewy (in the center) and crispy (along the edges) and gives it a flavor that is just extra yummy. So, when I came across a recipe for Malted Brownies, I knew I had to try it.

One thing that was slightly different about these brownies is that they are frosted. Which might make you think that they are going to be like a snack cake, but I can assure you they are not. The consistency is all brownie! And the frosting also has malted milk powder in it, so you are getting double dose of it. It’s made with marshmallow crème (or fluff) and while it was delicious on these brownies, it would make a great filling for a chocolate cake.

Surprisingly these brownies weren’t overtly sweet considering the frosting. I think that was due to the fact that bittersweet chocolate is used to make the brownies. They are rich though, so I would suggest cutting them into 24 pieces as opposed to 12 like I did.

Malted Brownies

Ingredients:

For the Brownies:

1/2 cup unsalted butter

1 1/4 cups bittersweet chocolate chips*

4 eggs

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup flour

1/2 cup vanilla malted milk powder

2 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon Kosher salt

For the Frosting:

3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

7oz. jar marshmallow crème

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 tablespoons vanilla malted milk powder

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

*The original recipe called for 8oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease a 13 x 9 – inch baking pan and line with parchment paper leaving an overhang on the long sides. Set aside.

In a microwave safe bowl melt the butter and chocolate together in 35 second intervals, stirring between each, until smooth. Let cool for a few minutes.

In a large bowl whisk together the eggs, sugar and vanilla extract until smooth. Add in the melted chocolate mixture and continue whisking until combined. Add the flour, milk powder, cocoa powder and salt and continue whisking until the mixture is smooth.

Pour the brownie mixture in the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack before spreading frosting on top.

While the brownies are cooling make the frosting. In a large bowl beat the butter using a handheld mixer until creamy. Add in the marshmallow crème and vanilla extract and continue beating until combined. Add in the malted milk powder and cocoa powder and continue beating. Gradually add in the confectioners’ sugar and beat until thoroughly combined.

Spread frosting over cooled brownies. To make slicing the brownies easier refrigerate for about 10 minutes so the frosting can set.

Slice into 12 large brownies or 24 small brownies.

Recipe from Better Homes & Gardens

White Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes

One of my favorite cheesecake flavors is White Chocolate Raspberry. One day I got to thinking what about a cupcake that incorporated those flavors, just without the cheesecake part. I knew I wanted the frosting to be white chocolate, but I wasn’t quite sure how I wanted to incorporate raspberry into the cupcakes. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to fold fresh raspberries into the batter or make the cupcakes with a raspberry swirl. Ultimately, I decided to make a true raspberry cupcake by incorporating a fresh raspberry puree and raspberry powder – made from freeze-dried raspberries – into my batter. 

To make the raspberry puree and the raspberry powder I used my food processor to process the fresh raspberries and freeze-dried raspberries and then used a fine mesh sieve to sift the seeds out of the raspberry powder and pressed the raspberry puree through the sieve to separate it from the seeds. A quick tip, I processed the freeze-dried raspberries first and then the fresh raspberries afterwards so I wouldn’t have to clean my food processor in between. If you are wondering where you can get freeze dried raspberries from, I found mine at my local Target. And while you could make these cupcakes without the raspberry powder, adding it really enhances the raspberry flavor, especially if you end up with a batch of raspberries that aren’t incredibly sweet. The powder also intensifies the color of the cupcakes without having to use food coloring to get a nice pink color reminiscent of raspberries.

Once the raspberry powder and puree was ready, I incorporated the puree into my wet ingredients and the powder into my dry ingredients and then mixed the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients alternating with milk. When filling my cupcake liners, I erred on the side of caution when filling them since I wasn’t sure how much they would rise. As you can see, I filled them about 3/4 quarters of the way…

Once they were baked though I noticed that they didn’t rise that much and I could have filled them just about to the top. And I have to mention that the smell of these cupcakes is pure raspberries. There was no doubt what the flavor was going to be.

After letting them cool in the pan for 15 minutes I transferred them to a wire rack to cool completely. Once they were cooled it was time to make the frosting.   

Now, for the white chocolate frosting you may be tempted to and they are easier to come by, but don’t use white chips for it. With most brands, white chips do not contain cocoa butter and thus cannot be called chocolate. If you do use them, your frosting will not be smooth, but instead will have chunks of the chips in it even after melting and beating it into your frosting (I speak from experience). It’s best to buy white chocolate in bar form and check the ingredient list to make sure it does contain cocoa butter. For this recipe I used two Lindt White Chocolate bars that you can find in the candy aisle or you can use Ghirardelli White Chocolate Bars that are normally found in the baking aisle.

I started by melting and cooling the chocolate and then I gradually beat it into butter that I had already beaten. I opted to make the frosting in my stand mixer so I could keep it running constantly while adding in the ingredients. Once the chocolate was incorporated, I then gradually added in confectioners’ sugar and finally vanilla extract and heavy whipping cream. Adding the whipping cream helps to make the frosting light and fluffy. And in case you are wondering, even with the chocolate and confectioners’ sugar the frosting is not overly sweet. I transferred the frosting to a piping bag fitted with a large star tip and piped swirls on each of the cupcakes and topped some with a fresh raspberry for a final touch.

Raspberry Cupcakes

  • Servings: 12 Cupcakes
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Ingredients:

6oz. (1 1/4 cups) fresh raspberries

1/4 cup freeze dried raspberries,

1 1/2 cups cake flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a cupcake pan with liners and set aside.

In the bowl of a food processor add the freeze-dried raspberries. Pulse a few times until they become a powder. Sift the powder through a fine mesh sieve to eliminate the seeds. Set aside.

Add the fresh raspberries to the bowl of the food processor and pulse until the raspberries until they have broken down. Press the mixture through a fine mesh sieve over a bowl to separate the seeds from the puree. Set aside.

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and raspberry powder and set aside.

In a large bowl cream together the butter on medium speed until cream. Add the sugar and continue beating until light & fluffy.

Add the eggs 1 at a time, then the vanilla extract and finally the raspberry puree until just incorporated.

Add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the milk on low speed. Raise the speed to medium until just combined.

Divide the batter among the prepared pan and bake 20 to 25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in one of the cupcakes comes out clean.

Let cool in the pan for 15 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

White Chocolate Frosting

  • Servings: About 2 cups
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Ingredients:

8oz. white chocolate

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream

Directions:

Chop the white chocolate and microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring between each, until completely smooth. Let cool for 15 minutes.

In the bowl of a stand mixer (or using a hand mixer) beat the butter on medium speed until creamy. Reduce the speed to love and gradually add in the cooled melted chocolate.

Still on low speed, gradually add in the confectioners’ sugar.

Add in the vanilla extract and salt increase the speed to medium and then finally add in the heavy cream and beat for another minute or so.

Marbled Pound Cake

If you can’t choose between a vanilla or chocolate cake, then a marbled cake is for you! And if you are thinking that it might be double the work because you have to make to separate batters that’s not the case at all. With today’s recipe I started off by making the vanilla batter and then dividing it in half and adding cocoa powder to one of them.

Once I had the two batters ready it was time to fill my prepared pan. I used a cookie scoop and a 1/4 cup measuring cup to drop alternating scoops of the vanilla and chocolate batter in the pan to get the marble effect.

After tapping the pan a few times on my counter to release any air bubbles I used a small off-set spatula to smooth the top of the cake. I then placed it on baking sheet and baked it in a 325 F preheated oven for 70 minutes.

After letting the cake cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, I transferred it to a wire rack to cool completely.  

And then it was time to slice it. And as cheesy as it sounds, I get a slight tinge of excitement when I bake a cake that is supposed to have a surprise inside or look a certain way and it works. The joys of baking! As you can see, the marble look was just about perfect with this loaf cake. Even more exciting though, was how delicious the cake was. I used to love the Marble Loaf Cake from Entenmann’s, but I feel like they changed their recipe because it doesn’t take like how I remember. Thankfully I have a replacement now that I can make myself.

I actually ended up baking two loaves and decided to slice the second one and freeze it. This is the perfect type of cake to freeze, it has no frosting and is moist but dense enough to withstand being frozen and thawed. I wrapped each of the slices in plastic wrap and then placed all of them in a resealable bag in my freezer. When I am ready to eat a slice, I will leave it out on my counter for a few hours so it can defrost.

Marbled Pound Cake

Ingredients:

1 cup flour

1/4 cup cake flour, sifted

1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt

2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 tablespoons vanilla extract

3 eggs, at room temperature

1/4 cup buttermilk, at room temperature*

3 tablespoons Dutch-processed cocoa powder

*To make your own combine 1/4 cup whole milk with 1 teaspoon white vinegar. Let sit at room temperature for 15 minutes then stir to combine.

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 325 F. Spray a loaf pan with baking spray, or, lightly grease with butter and then coat with flour.

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, cake flour and salt, set aside.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment beat the butter of medium-high speed until creamy.

With the mixer on low add in the sugar. Continue mixing on low until the butter and sugar are incorporated. Increase the speed to medium and continue mixing until the mixture has become light and fluffy (about 5 minutes.) Scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary.

Add the vanilla extract. Reduce the speed to medium-low and add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each addition until just combined.

With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in three parts alternating with the buttermilk.

Divide the batter in half and add in the cocoa powder to one half. Mixing well to incorporate it evenly among the batter.

Using a 2 ice cream scoops (or 2 1/4 cup measuring cups, or 1 of each) alternate scoops of the vanilla and chocolate batter into the prepared loaf pan. Tap the pan on the counter a few times to release any air bubbles and using a small off-set spatula or butter knife smooth the top of the cake.

Place the loaf pan on a baking sheet and baked in the preheated oven until a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 70 minutes.

Let the cake cook in the pan for 10 minutes and then remove from pan and let cool completely before slicing.

Recipe from Zoe Francois