Spinach & Mushroom Stromboli

I’m not a fan of working with yeast. I think it’s because the first time I did so it was a bit of a disaster. It took three tries before the yeast proofed and the bread I was making never fully rose. Ultimately the bread did taste good, but I knew that it could have been better. After that experience I have avoided certain recipes that involve yeast. The key to working with yeast is to make sure the temperature of your water/milk is spot on, that you knead your dough enough without overworking it and that you have the right environment for your dough to rise. With those three points in mind I am hoping to curb my apprehension and delve into making more yeast-based recipes. Recently I make homemade Stromboli.

A fellow blogger, Sally’s Baking Addiction , posts a monthly baking challenge for her followers to try. Along with recipe she provides full step-by-step directions as well as pictures and videos to help you along. For this first month of the year her challenge was homemade Stromboli. While hers was filled with sliced deli meats I opted to fill mine with vegetables – specifically spinach, mushrooms and jarred roasted red peppers.

To make the dough I began by combining warm water, instant yeast and sugar in the bowl of my stand mixer and covered it with a kitchen towel and let it rest for a few minutes. I then added in olive oil, salt and flour and using the dough attachment on my mixer, I mixed the ingredients on low for 2 minutes. Next, I dusted my counter with flour and kneaded the dough for a few minutes. I knew it was ready when I poked it and it slowly bounced back.

Next, I sprayed an ovenproof bowl with cooking spray and placed the dough inside of it, turning to coat it. After covering the bowl with aluminum foil, I placed it in a warm spot so the dough could rise for an hour. To ensure a warm enough environment, while prepping the dough I preheated my oven to 200 F and once I was ready to let it rest I turned the oven off and placed the covered bowl inside leaving the oven door slightly ajar. I ended up having to prop it open with a measuring cup so it would be open just enough. After 30 minutes I closed the oven door completely.

And this is what my dough looked like after an hour. It may not look like it doubled in size, but, it did.

Now, this dough was enough to make 2 Stromboli’s, but I was only planning on making one. So, I divided the dough in half, coated one-half in olive oil and then wrapped it in plastic wrap and placed it in the freezer. The other half I formed into a 10×16 rectangle and brushed it with melted butter and minced garlic.

I then sprinkled some dried parsley on top.

Next, I arranged cooked spinach and mushrooms along with jarred roasted red peppers I sliced, leaving a 3-inch border on one long edge and a 1-inch border on the other side and on both short ends.

And finally, since everything is better with cheese, I sprinkled shredded mozzarella on top.

Next it was time to roll it up. Before rolling, I brushed the edges of the dough with an egg wash. I then carefully rolled the Stromboli starting with the long-edge with the 1-inch border, tucking the sides of the dough in as I rolled it. I then carefully transferred it to a baking sheet I lined with parchment paper.

Before placing it in a preheated 400 F oven I cut 4-slits into the top of the dough and brushed it with the remaining egg wash and sprinkled it with dried parsley.

After baking for about 25 minutes my Stromboli was done.

I let it rest for a few minutes before slicing and enjoying.

Spinach & Mushroom Stromboli

  • Servings: 2 Stromboli's
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Ingredients:

For the dough (for 2 Stromboli’s):

1 1/3 cups warm water (between 100 – 110 F)

2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast (1 7g / 1/4 oz. packet)

1 tablespoon sugar

2 tablespoons olive oil

3/4 teaspoons salt

3 1/2 cups flour, plus more for dusting

 

For the filling (for 2 Stromboli’s):

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 teaspoons dried parsley

5 oz. bag spinach

8oz. package sliced mushrooms

1/2 cup sliced jarred roasted red peppers

3 cups shredded mozzarella

Olive oil

Salt and Pepper

 

For rolling and topping:

Egg wash: 1 large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon of water

Additional dried parsley for topping

 

Directions:

In the bowl of your stand mixer whisk together the water, yeast and sugar. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rest for five minutes.

Add the olive oil, salt and flour and using the dough attachment beat the ingredients on low speed for 2 minutes. Lightly dust your counter and hands with flour and knead the dough for 3 – 4 minutes by hand. The dough is ready when it is soft and when poked it slowly bounces back.

Lightly grease a bowl with cooking spray (or oil) and place the dough inside of the bowl coating it with the cooking spray (or oil). Cover with aluminum foil and place in a warm spot to rise, about 60 minutes with instant yeast. The dough should double in size.

While the dough is rising cook the spinach and mushrooms. In a large non-stick skillet warm 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the mushrooms begin to soften and release their juices. Add the spinach and season with additional salt and pepper. Continue cooking until the mushrooms are cooked and the spinach has wilted. Remove from the heat and let cool.

Once the dough is ready… Preheat the oven to 400 F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

Punch the dough down to release any trapped air. Divide the dough in half*. Dust your counter with flour and dust a rolling pin with flour and shape each half of the dough into a 10×16-inch rectangle.

Mix the melted butter and garlic together and brush on the dough and then sprinkle with parsley. Spread half of the spinach mushroom mixture and the sliced roasted peppers onto the dough leaving a three-inch border on one long edge and a one-inch border on the opposite long edge and on both short edges. Sprinkle with half of the mozzarella.

Brush the egg wash along all 4 borders. Now you are ready to roll the Stromboli. Begin with the long edge with the 1-inch border. Carefully roll towards the opposite long edge while also tucking in the edges of the short sides. Once completely rolled tuck in the ends and carefully transfer to one of the prepared baking sheets.

Brush the top of the Stromboli’s with the remaining egg wash and sprinkle with dried parsley.

Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the crust is golden-brown.

Allow to cool for a few minutes before slicing and enjoying.

*If you are only planning on making 1 Stromboli shape one-half of the dough into a ball and coat it with olive oil and the wrap in plastic wrap and then place in a resealable bag and freeze. When you are ready to use, place the dough in the refrigerator overnight to thaw. Remove from the refrigerator and allow to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes before using.

Recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction

One Banana Three Muffins

Normally when I have overripe bananas my go-to is to make a Banana Nut Bread. But that requires 3 bananas and this time around I only had 1. And while I could have tossed it, I’m not keen on eating overripe bananas, I also don’t like to waste food. So, I decided to tweak a recipe to turn that 1 banana into muffins.

Truthfully before making and dividing the batter I wasn’t sure how many muffins I would get from it. Once I was done prepping it, I was able to divide it into 3 large muffins. I used a 6-cup muffin pan as opposed to a 12-cup cupcake pan.

After baking in a 375 F preheated oven I let the muffins cool in the pan for a few minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.

And the following morning enjoy one for breakfast.

These muffins were delicious! From now on when I buy bananas I may leave one to overripe so I can bake up a batch of these muffins. They are quick, easy, delicious and the perfect amount!

 

Banana Nut Muffins

Ingredients:

3 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/3 cup sugar

1 egg

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 cups flour

1 overripe banana, mashed

3 tablespoons chopped walnuts

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375 F. Line 3 cavities of a 6-cup muffin pan with liners.

In a medium bowl sift together the flour and baking soda and set aside.

In another medium bowl cream together the butter and sugar using a handheld mixer. Add the egg and continue to beat until well incorporated. Add the dry ingredients to the mixture and beat until just incorporated. Stir in the mashed banana and the walnuts.

Divide the batter among the prepared muffin pan and bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the muffins are golden brown and cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing the muffins and transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Cookie Palooza: Chocolate Dipped Butter Cookies

I normally end Cookie Palooza with a no-bake option for those individuals who just don’t have the time to bake or for those who baking is just not their thing. Unfortunately, not this year though. Although, I am bringing you a cookie that’s pretty fool-proof and will have people asking you if you made them yourself. A Chocolate Dipped Butter Cookie.

 

I began by making the dough. In a large bowl I creamed together butter and confectioners’ sugar and then added in vanilla extract and finally flour. I covered the bowl with a piece of plastic wrap and refrigerated the dough for an hour.

After an hour I removed the dough from the refrigerator and used a cookie scoop to scoop the dough and then formed it into small logs that I placed about 2 inches apart on parchment lined baking sheets. Yes, they are closer than that in this picture, but it was only for the picture.

Next, I pressed about three-fourths of the cookie with a fork to flatten it. To prevent the fork from sticking to the dough, since it was starting to get a bit sticky from being handled, I dipped the fork in flour every few cookies. I’ll admit that they did look a little wonky before going into the oven and I was having doubts that they would look good after baking…

But, after baking them in a 350 F preheated for about 15 minutes, they didn’t look all that bad. Especially after dipping the unflatten part of the cookie in melted chocolate and sprinkling it with holiday sprinkles. And while I used holiday sprinkles, you could totally do chopped nuts instead or your favorite color of sprinkles.

Final verdict… These were a hit! Sometimes butter cookies can be on the dry side and/or lacking flavor, but these were neither. I was actually asked if I had made them myself, they were so good! This is definitely a nice cookie you can gift to anyone on your list this year. But, if you are still doubting you could whip these up, check out the no-bake option I ended last year’s Cookie Palooza with… A Chocolate Dipped Shortbread Cookie. Which is eerily similar to how I ended this year.

I hope you have enjoyed this year’s Cookie Palooza. As the year winds down and we look forward to 2021, that will hopefully be better than this year, stay safe and be healthy!

 

Chocolate Dipped Butter Cookies

  • Servings: 30 Cookies
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Ingredients:

For Cookies:

2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups flour

 

For Dipping:

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 tablespoon shortening

Holiday sprinkles

 

Directions:

In a large bowl cream together the butter and confectioners’ sugar using a handheld mixer on medium speed. Add in the vanilla extract and mix well. Gradually add in the flour until combined. Cover the bowl with a piece of plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and preheat oven to 350F. Shape tablespoonfuls of the dough into 2 1/2-in x 1/2-in logs and place 2-inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. With a fork, flatten three-fourths of each log lengthwise. Bake in the preheated oven for 14 – 16 minutes, or until the cookies are set. Cool on the baking sheets.

Combine the chocolate chips and shortening in a microwave safe bowl and melt in 30 second intervals, stirring between each interval. Dip the round end of the cookie into the chocolate and then place on a piece of wax paper. Before the chocolate sets sprinkle with the sprinkles. Let chocolate firm. To speed up the process you can place the cookie in the refrigerator for a few minutes.

Recipe from Taste of Home

Turkey Pumpkin Chili

While pumpkin is predominantly used in dessert dishes, it can also be used to make some delicious savory dishes. Pumpkin is actually really good for you, so, by using it in dishes that aren’t overloaded with sugar you can get some great health benefits from it. It can boost your immune system, protect your eyesight, lower your risk of certain cancers and promote heart and skin health. So, while the past couple of weeks I have brought you pumpkin desserts this week I am bringing you a pumpkin dish that is perfect for the cold days ahead… a Turkey Pumpkin Chili.

As with most chili’s this one is cooked in just one pot and takes minutes to prepare. I started out by sautéing onions and then adding in the ground turkey and spices. Once the meat was browned, I added in the beans, pumpkin, water and chicken broth and continued to cook it until it was thickened.

And enjoyed it with a dollop of sour cream and hot sauce on top.

Turkey Pumpkin Chili

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 small onion, chopped

1 lb. 93% lean ground turkey

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon ground coriander

2 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika

1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt

1 15oz. cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

1 15oz. can pumpkin

1 14.5oz. can chicken broth

1 3/4 cups water

Hot sauce, sour cream and scallions for topping

Directions:

In a heavy-bottomed pot heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally until the onions are tender. Stir in the turkey, coriander, smoked paprika and salt, cook, stirring occasionally to break up the ground turkey, until the meat is browned.

Add in the beans, pumpkin, water and chicken broth to the turkey mixture. Cover the pot and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring often until everything is heated through and the chili begins to thicken, about 15 minutes.

Top with hot sauce, sour cream and/or scallions.

Recipe from Real Simple Turkey Pumpkin Chili

Chocolate Pumpkin Flan

It’s Fall Y’all! And you know what that means… It’s time for some pumpkin treats. Truth be told I feel like Fall came out of nowhere this year. Between working from home and barely going anywhere due to the pandemic the days are just passing by quickly and rolling into each other. Now that September is winding down though I’m doing my best to be cognizant of the days/dates to make sure I get all of my holiday projects and goodies done. I’m kicking off Fall with a Chocolate Pumpkin Flan.

While traditional flan uses eggs as the base to make the custard, this flan uses a combination of cream cheese, eggs and pumpkin. One thing that does remain the same though is the delicious caramel sauce. And I am happy to say that I was finally successful in making caramel sauce. I have tried in the past and all I have ended up with is burnt sugar. I was determined this time to get it right. One thing that helped, besides having patience, was using a smaller saucepan. I normally use a medium sized one and I think that was preventing the caramel from coming together. By using a smaller one it was easier for the sugar to melt into the water and begin the caramelization process. I also resisted the urge to stir it and instead swirled the pan every few minutes to ensure it wouldn’t burn.  As with a traditional flan, once the caramel was done I poured it into the pan I was using and then poured the batter for the flan over it. Oh, one other thing this flan has that a traditional flan doesn’t have… melted chocolate. If you didn’t know, chocolate and pumpkin go together really well. After baking in a water bath, initially I was thinking that I could bake a 9-inch pan inside of a 10-inch springform pan, but, after I added the water it seeped right out so I ended up baking it in a water bath inside of my roasting pan, I let it cool and then refrigerated it overnight before unmolding it. It didn’t come out easily, but, once it did it thankfully didn’t break apart.

Final verdict… It was delicious. It had the exact consistency of an egg custard flan but the flavor of pumpkin and chocolate with a hint of spice thanks to pumpkin spice. Which is just a combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves and allspice.

So, even with all the craziness going on are you looking forward to the holidays? Me and a friend were saying the other day how when the summer started, we had no clue how the summer would be and what we would be able to do. And now here we are, the summer is over, and we made it through without doing anything really. With the extra time on the weekends I was able to get some projects done in my backyard and I am in the middle of remodeling my living room. All in all, I am sure most people are looking to put this year to bed. For now though, bring on the pumpkins, the mums and the scarves!

Chocolate Pumpkin Flan

Ingredients:

2oz. semi-sweet chocolate

1 1/2 cups sugar, divided

1/4 cup water

1 12oz. can evaporated milk

1 8oz. package cream cheese, softened and cubed

4 eggs

1/2 cup canned pumpkin

1/2 teaspoon pumpkin spice

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Microwave the chocolate in a microwave safe bowl on high for 1 minute, or until almost melted. Stir until completely melted, set aside to cool.

In a small saucepan add 3/4 cups of the sugar and the water. Cook on medium heat until the mixture is golden brown and a syrup-like consistency. This will take 10-15 minutes. Do not stir the contents, instead swirl the pan every few minutes. Pour into a 9-inch round pan.

In a large bowl, using a handheld mixer, combine the evaporated milk and cream cheese and mix together until smooth.  Add the remaining sugar, the eggs, pumpkin, pumpkin spice and melted chocolate and continue mixing until well incorporated. Pour the mixture over the syrup in the pan.

Place the 9-inch pan inside of a larger pan, a roasting pan is ideal, and fill the larger pan with enough water that it comes halfway up the sides of the small pan.

Bake for 1 hour in the preheated oven, or until a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Let cool completely on a wire rack and then refrigerate for at least 4 hours before inverting and unmolding. Drizzle any remaining caramel sauce left in pan over flan. Slice and enjoy!

Recipe from Kraft Foods

No Churn Passion Fruit Ice Cream

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ICE CREAM! Happy 1st (official) day of summer. I say official, because I am sure there are plenty of people who feel that Memorial Day is the kick-off to summer. Which, I don’t completely disagree with, but, the weather in my neck of the woods has been saying otherwise. There have been some warm days, but, quite a few days have felt like we are back in April with the rain, wind and chill in the air. As you know, April showers bring May flowers, well, we are well into June now Mother Nature so we don’t need so much of the rain. Hopefully she’ll listen. So, what better way to kick off summer than with some homemade ice cream. Last year I shared with you a No Churn Coffee-Caramel Ice Cream to kick off the summer and this year I am sharing with you a No Churn Passion Fruit Ice Cream. YUM! Passion Fruit happens to be my favorite Chobani Yogurt flavor. That’s where the idea for this ice cream flavor came about. I figured if it tasted good as a yogurt it ought to taste just as good as ice cream (and I was right.)

While I came across quite a few different recipes for this ice cream, I opted to go with one that required only 3 ingredients and less than 15 minutes of prep time. I purchased frozen passion fruit pulp from my local supermarket. To defrost it, I placed it in my refrigerator for about a day. Once it was defrosted I combined it with a can of sweetened condensed milk, whisking the two together until they were well combined. In another bowl, using my hand mixer, I whipped extra cold (I placed it in the freezer for 10 minutes) heavy cream until stiff peaks formed. I then added in the passion fruit mixture and beat everything together until just combined. I transferred the mixture to a loaf pan and placed a piece of wax paper directly on the surface before covering the pan with aluminum foil and then placing it in the freezer. And of course, I snuck a taste of it beforehand and it tasted just like my favorite Chobani yogurt, without the pesky little black seeds

After letting the ice cream set in the freezer for a few days (I am sure it was ready after a few hours, but, I happen to make this in the middle of week and was busy some doing baking and other things and totally forgot it was in freezer) I scooped myself a scoop or two and enjoyed it.

Passion Fruit Ice Cream

Ingredients:

1 14 oz. package of Passion Fruit Pulp, defrosted

1 14oz. can sweetened condensed milk

1 cup of cold heavy whipping cream

Directions:

Place the heavy cream in the freezer for 10 -15 minutes.

In a medium bowl whisk together the defrosted passion fruit pulp and sweetened condensed milk.

In another medium bowl beat the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Add the passion fruit mixture and continue beating until the two mixtures are combined.

Transfer the mixture to a loaf pan and place a piece of wax paper directly on the surface and the cover with a piece of aluminum foil before placing in the freezer. Free for at least 2 hours and up to two weeks.

Recipe from Olivia’s Cuisine

Margarita Cheesecake

Instead of drinking a margarita this past Sunday for Cinco de Mayo I opted to bake one instead in the form of a cheesecake. While this was a great dessert to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, the light lime flavor also makes it perfect for the upcoming warmer months of the summer.

I began by making the crust. I crushed Nilla Wafers into crumbs and then combined it with melted butter and then pressed it into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan. I then placed it in the refrigerator until the cheesecake mixture was ready. While I used Nilla Wafers for my crust, you could opt to get the salty rim of a traditional margarita in the form of a crust made with crushed pretzels instead.

Using a hand mixer I bet three room temperature 8oz. blocks of cream cheese until it was light and fluffy. I then added in sour cream, sugar, Grand Marnier, tequila, freshly squeezed lime juice and lime zest. I continued beating everything on medium speed until it was well combined. I then added in four eggs one at a time. On the off chance you taste the filling and think that it’s too much alcohol don’t worry, the alcohol flavor will burn off while the cheesecake is baking. On the converse side, if you feel like it’s not enough now would be the time to add in more.

I poured the filling into the prepared pan and then placed it on a baking sheet and baked it in a 350 F preheated oven for about 50 minutes, or until the center was just set.

A few minutes before removing the cheesecake from the oven I combined sugar, lime juice and sour cream in a small bowl. After removing the cheesecake from the oven I spread this sour cream mixture over the cheesecake and then placed it back in the oven for an additional five minutes.  This gives the cheesecake a nice topping and one other thing I like about it, it hides any cracks.

I then placed the cheesecake on a wire rack to cool and then placed it in the refrigerator for a few hours for it to chill.

Before serving, I removed the ring from the pan and garnished the cheesecake with thin slices of lime.

Margarita Cheesecake

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cups vanilla wafer cookie crumbs*

1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

3 8oz. packages cream cheese, at room temperature

2 cups sour cream, divided

1 1/4 cups sugar

3 tablespoons Grand Marnier**

3 tablespoons gold tequila**

4 tablespoons lime juice, freshly squeezed

2 teaspoons lime zest

4 large eggs

Thin lime slices, for garnish

 

*I used Nilla Wafers

**I used the 5cl/50ml sized bottles. Each had exactly 3 tablespoons. For the tequila, I used Jose Cuervo Gold.

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Mix the cookie crumbs and butter in a medium bowl until well blended. Press the crumbs onto the bottom and 1-inch up the side of a 9-inch springform pan.  Refrigerate.

In a large bowl beat the cream cheese with a hand mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add in 1 cup of sour cream, 1 cup of sugar, Grand Marnier, tequila, 3 tablespoons of the lime juice and the lime zest and beat until well combined. Add in the eggs one at a time, beating until just blended after each addition.

Remove the pan from the refrigerator and pour the filling into the crust. Place on a baking sheet and bake until the center is just set, about 50 minutes. In a small bowl combine the remaining sour cream, sugar and lime juice and stir well to combine. Pour this over of the cheesecake and smooth with an offset spatula. Return the cheesecake to oven for an additional 5 minutes.

Transfer the cheesecake to a wire rack to cool completely and then chill in the refrigerator at least 4 hours prior to serving.

Before serving, remove the ring from the pan and garnish the cheesecake with the lime slices.

Recipe from Food Network

Meyer Lemon Shaker Pie

A pie for Pi Day! To celebrate Pi Day this year I am bringing you a Meyer Lemon Shaker Pie. Meyer lemons are a tad sweeter than your traditional lemons. They are a cross between regular lemons and mandarins and tend to be smaller, rounder and smoother than traditional lemons. They also have a deep yellow / orange hue to them.

I began by thinly slicing the lemons, removing the pits.

I then combined the sliced lemons with sugar and salt and set it aside.

In a medium bowl I whisked together 4 large eggs with vanilla extract and then combined that with the lemons. I opted to use refrigerated store-bought pie dough. After letting it come to room temperature I rolled it out about and extra 1/2-inch and then pressed it into a pie dish that I greased with butter. I brushed the crust with a beaten egg yolk and then poured the lemon mixture into the crust.

Next, I rolled out the other half of my pie crust approximately an extra 1/2 inch and then placed it on top of my pie. I attempted to do a decorate crust my crimping the ends. I am not a great pie maker so I was happy with the way this crust looked when I was done. I did my best not to rush through it and I was very happy that I was able to cut slits in the pie that were four individual slits as opposed to four slits that I over sliced and turned into 2. It’s happened. I am telling you, baking pies knocks me off-kilter and I end up doing something wrong. Practice makes perfect though. My plan at this point was to freeze the pie for an hour prior to baking. But, I found out the hard way (when I went to go put the pie in the freezer) that my freezer wasn’t wide enough for me to get the dish in. UGH! So, I ended up refrigerating the pie overnight instead. On a side note, when it comes time for me to purchase a new refrigerator I will be going to the store with a bag of pie dishes and cookie sheets to make sure I get a freezer part that I will be able to fit things in. Not being able to get certain dishes and pans in my freezer can be maddening at times. I didn’t find it to be such an annoyance until I decided to freeze my cookie dough back in December and I was only able to fit one cookie sheet in there from the 10+ that I own. It definitely slowed down my flow of getting things done! Anyhoo…

After refrigerating the pie overnight I baked it the following morning… I was pleased with the golden brown color of the crust and that my decorative edge didn’t fall apart completely while the pie was baking.

I let the pie cool for a bit and then sliced into it… The filling was jammy as it’s supposed to be, but, I found it incredibly sweet. I tried taking a few bites, but, it was just too much for me. If I make this again I will definitely cut back on the amount of sugar I used per the directions (2 cups). While I was scooping the sugar out to combine with the lemons in the back of my mind I was already thinking “this is way too much sugar,” but since other recipes I saw called for that much I followed along.

While the recipe I followed didn’t call for the lemons and sugar to macerate for 24 hours, I found that many recipes called for this step in order to break down the rind and pith of the lemons to eliminate any bitterness.  If I were to make this recipe again I would definitely do that as well as cut back on some of the sugar. While the pie did have a nice taste to it and the bitterness from the rind and pith wasn’t strong, as I mentioned, the sweetness was just too much for me. So, here is what I would do. I would slice the lemons and combine them with the sugar (probably only a cup and a quarter to a cup and a half) and salt in a large bowl. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours, stirring occasionally. The following day I would then continue with the recipe, whisking together the eggs and vanilla and then combining that with the lemons. And instead of freezing / refrigerating the pie before baking, I would omit this step and go ahead and bake the pie

Meyer Lemon Shaker Pie

Ingredients:

4 to 7 small to medium Meyer lemons

2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon salt

4 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 store-bought pie crust or homemade

 

To finish the pie:

1 large egg separated, white and yolk whisked separately

2 teaspoons sugar

 

Directions:

Thinly slice the lemons, removing any seeds. You will need 2 cups of sliced lemons. Combine the lemon slices with the sugar and salt and set aside to allow the lemon to macerate. Whisk the 4 eggs and vanilla extract together in a separate bowl.

Lightly grease a 9-inch pie dish. Roll out half of the dough to fit in the dish with a 1-inch overhang. Brush the dough with the beaten egg yolk.

Combine the sliced lemons and egg mixture and then spread into the prepared pie crust.

Roll out the other half of the dough. If using store bought dough, roll it out approximately a 1/2 inch more and then place on top of the dough in the pie dish. Trim off any excess dough and pinch the bottom and top crust together and crimp or seal the edges with your finger or fork.

Cut 4 slits on the top and brush with the beaten egg white and sprinkle the sugar on top. Chill in the freezer for 1 hour or in the refrigerator overnight.

Preheat the oven to 450 F. Bake the pie on the lowest rack of the oven for 15 minutes. Lower the temperature of the oven to 375 F and move the pie to the center rack and bake for another 30 minutes. If the edges of the pie begin to brown too quickly, cover with a pie cover or strips of aluminum foil.

Let the pie cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing and enjoying.

Recipe from The Kitchn

Hidden Heart Cake

Are you looking for something fun to bake for Valentine’s Day but are thinking that it’s too late? Well, this may just be the cake for you. All you need is 2 boxes of cake mix (I used white & chocolate), a loaf pan, a 2-inch heart cookie cutter and pink (or red) food coloring. While I used a white cake mix tinted pink for the hearts inside of a chocolate cake, you could try pink hearts inside of a white cake, red hearts inside of a white cake, red hearts inside of a yellow cake and so forth. It’s really up to you.

To begin, I prepped a box of white cake mix per the directions and then tinted it pink with a few drops of gel food coloring. I then poured it into a loaf pan that I sprayed with baking spray and baking it in a 350 F oven for 40 minutes, the cake wasn’t quite done but was browning considerably along the top so I dropped the temperature to 325 F and baked it for another 10 minutes. I let the cake cool for about 20 minutes in the pan and then transferred it to a wire rack to cool completely.

After the cake cooled I sliced it into approximately 1 inch slices. Some of the slices were a little thicker, some a little thinner. In the end, it didn’t matter.

Next, using a 2-inch heart cookie cutter I cut hearts from the slice of cake and set them aside. Those mini heart were for a different project that turned out to be a fail… Oh Well.

You will have a bunch of cake scraps left, I ended up snacking on a few pieces and then tossing the rest. If you make cake pops, or have been wanting to make pops, save these scraps for that.

I then prepped the chocolate cake mix per the directions on the box. I spread about a 1/2 inch later of the batter onto the bottom of my loaf pan that I prepped with baking spray.

Next, I arranged the 2-inch hearts in a row down the middle of the pan, leaving a small space between the first and last heart and then pan, while making sure the hearts in the middle were as close together as possible. This is why I said that if your slices aren’t exactly 1-inch thick it won’t matter. Once you line them together it will all be good.

I used a ladle to slowly pour the rest of the batter along the sides and on the top of the hearts. You don’t want to just pour the batter into the pan, this could disturb the hearts and you could end up with chocolate in between them. I did make sure that the hearts were completely covered with the batter. You don’t want a heart peeking out of the top of the cake… that would ruin the surprise.

I then baked it in a 350 F preheated oven for about 40 minutes. I inserted a cake tester and the inside was a still a little underdone so I lowered the oven temperature to 325 F and baked it for an additional 10 minutes, similar to what I did with the pink cake. Once again, I let the cake cool for about 20 minutes in the pan then removed it and let it cool completely on a wire rack.

Once it was cool it was time to slice and see if my hidden heart cake was a succes… And it was!!!

Happy Holidays!

How was your Thanksgiving? Mine was good… Surrounded by loved ones, delicious food and sweet-tooth satisfying desserts. Of course, I did my fair share of baking… Key Lime Pie, Pumpkin-Brownie Swirl Pie, Pumpkin Pie, a Pumpkin Tiramisu Cake and the below Pear Cranberry Pie, just to name a few things.

 

I’ll admit that I took some major shortcuts when it came to making the crust for this pie. First off, I used a frozen deep dish pie crust as the base and for the lattice pattern I used refrigerated pie crust that I cut into strips to weave and braid and then added a decorative border with leaf cut-outs. I decided to brush the pie with milk prior to baking – I usually use an egg, but, after all of the baking I did I was feeling lazy and didn’t feel like cracking and whisking an egg – so I made sure to dab a little milk under the leaf border so to that the leaves and the lattice and braided strips would adhere to the crust. One other thing to note, I let the frozen crust sit out at room temperature for a few minutes after filling it so that it would be easier for my top crust stick to it. As for the filling, if you’ve never had pear pie you should definitely try one. For me, pear pie isn’t as sweet as apple pie and while I do bake a lot I actually don’t like things that are overly sweet. If you want the best of both worlds, try this Brown Butter & Vanilla Pear Pie I made last year for Thanksgiving. While the filling consists mainly of pears, there is 1 apple in the mix. As for the recipe for this or, I got it from the premiere issues of Magnolia Journal last year. You can find the recipe here.

Now that Thanksgiving is over I am looking forward to Christmas and New Year’s. I can’t believe how quickly the year has flown by. Fourth of July honestly feels like it was just a few short weeks ago, but, it was more like 5 long months ago. Today marks my three-month anniversary at my new job, oh yeah, I never mentioned that, I got a new job. I was working part-time before but I am now working full-time, which has given me some challenges when it comes to writing blog posts and sometimes baking, but, not really. I can always squeeze in some time for baking.

Next week I will be bringing you my 3rd annual Cookie Palooza… Hopefully you’ll try at least one of the recipes and just maybe it will become one of your staples. One of the cookies is actually one I am planning on making and gifting later this month, oops, later next month – we are still in November. I kind of like that Thanksgiving was early this year. I feel like it cuts down on the panic of realizing that the next set of holidays are just around the corner. Although, I was at Walmart a few weeks ago and seeing people shopping for what seemed like Christmas gifts already had me panicking a bit. Like I was short on time to get things done. Yikes! I have to-do lists everywhere I look.

The second week in December I am bringing you something new… A Holiday Cake Week. The idea came about last year when I never seemed to get the time to post about a Yule Log Cake I made and then some Snickerdoodle Cupcakes I made. So, I figured I would save the write-up for both and create a special week for them this year. Rounding out the five is a Pull-Apart Cupcake Christmas Wreath, a Rum Cake and a Rainbow Cookie Cake. Yum!

So, sit back, enjoy this last month of the year and don’t forget to indulge in some delicious treats. ‘Tis the season!