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Plum Crumble Bars

2 Oct

I never thought I’d be one to say I was excited for plum season. Truth be told plums are towards the bottom of my list of favorite fruits. But, after last season, my opinions changed completely. My in-laws have a veritable grove of plum trees and convinced me to take a small box home last year when we went to visit. I was not excited about them. However, I took my mother-in-law’s advice and made a pie out of them. And then my world was changed forever.

Cooked plums have got to be the most underrated thing in the world. So sweet, flavorful, and delicious it’s a wonder more people don’t know about them. This year I was pining for plum season and was ecstatic to bring home a large box of plums from my in-laws to fill up my freezer for year-round treats.

I found a couple amazing recipes last year that I loved, namely Perfect Plum Pie and Plum Pocket Pies. These crumble bars are my latest find and may very well be my favorite of the three recipes. It’s so easy to make and turns out so beautiful. If you decide to make it for yourself, don’t be alarmed at the dry nature of the crust/crumble mixture. It will magically change from a dry floury looking mess to golden buttery crusty deliciousness. Oh and don’t forget the vanilla ice cream!

plum bars

For Plum Mixture:

  • 4 cups thinly sliced plums
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon cornstarch

For Crust & Topping:

  • ½ cup white sugar
  • ½  cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon allspice
  • pinch of ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, chilled (not frozen)
  • 1 egg

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375°F and grease a 9 x 13″ pan.

2. Toss plum slices with the 2 Tbsp. sugar and 1 Tbsp. cornstarch and set aside.

3.  In a large bowl (or the bowl of your food processor) whisk together the brown and white sugar, baking powder, flour, spices, and salt. Cut butter into approximately 1 Tbsp. size chunks and add to flour mixture. Using a fork, pastry cutter, or your hands, work the butter into the flour mixture until it becomes crumbly (or pulse a few times in the food processor). Then stir in the egg. The mixture will be very dry and crumbly.

4. Firmly press two thirds of the crumble mixture into the bottom of the 9 x 13 pan. Then evenly layer the plum slices on top. Sprinkle the remaining crumble on top and bake for about 40 minutes or until the topping has turned golden and the fruit is bubbling.

5. Remove from the oven and allow to cool before slicing and serving.

Adapted from Clockwork Lemon

Balsamic Blueberry Gummy Snacks (Sugar-free!)

6 Feb

I saw these on my recipe feed and I was very skeptical that they would be any good.  I thought that if I liked them there’s no way my 18 month old would. Imagine my delight when these turned out to be a huge success. They were so easy to make, didn’t stick in the pan (which I was sure they would),  are plenty sweet, and quite addictive. Which is great since they’re mostly made of fruit! I’m super excited to have another go-to healthy snack in my arsenal!

blueberry gummies

Ingredients

  • 4 cups blueberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons gelatin (I used 4 packets or 1 oz. box of Knox Unflavored Gelatin)
  • 1 cup water

Directions:

Combine blueberries and balsamic vinegar in a large saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, and cook for approximately 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the blueberries are soft and have cooked through. Remove from heat.

While blueberries are cooking, bloom the gelatin. Pour 1 cup of water into a bowl with a large surface area. Sprinkle the gelatin over the water, making sure it all gets wet (if there are any dry spots, stir it gently, and if it has soaked up all the water but there’s still dry spots, add a little bit of water). Let sit for 5 minutes.

After allowing the blueberries to cool slightly, transfer them to a blender (or use an immersion stick blender) and puree the blueberries until completely smooth. Return pureed blueberries to the pot. If blueberry mixture has cooled, reheat until warm but not boiling. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in bloomed gelatin until completely dissolved.

Transfer blueberry mixture to a 11″ x 13″ glass dish (or other shallow dish). Allow the mixture to come to room temperature then place in the fridge to set.

The gelatin should take approximately 2 hours to set. Cut into squares and store in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Adapted from The Primalist

Best Ever Pumpkin Pie with Coconut Milk Whipped Cream

5 Dec

Pumpkin Pie

I realize this post is a little late with it being after Thanksgiving and all but this recipe really needs to be shared. So, truth be told, I have posted this recipe before, but it was so delicious I had to revive it. I made two of these pies for Thanksgiving and then one more again this week just because I really wanted some more. There are so many good elements to this pie: perfect texture, just the right amount of spices, and the all important ease of assembly.

When I attempted to make my most recent pie I realized we were almost out of eggs so I decided to try using an egg replacer powder instead. It actually worked out pretty well. I think the texture might have been slightly less firm than the ones I made with real eggs, but it’s hard to know if that was from the egg replacer or just a normal variation in the baking. But it was by no means bad and I wouldn’t hesitate to use the egg replacer again.

whole pumpkin pie

Another reason I made my most recent pie was because I wanted to try making whipped cream out of coconut milk. It seems to be all the rage these days and I was curious as to whether it would work and if it would taste good. I’ve put a link to the recipe I used and I highly suggest you follow the instructions to a T. I would suggest one difference in the process, however. That is, when you put your coconut milk in the fridge to chill, put them in upside-down so when you flip them over to open them, the liquid part will already be at the top. I tried to cheat the system a little and I think it made my coconut milk mix together a little which made my whipped cream not quite so fluffy as it should have been. Good news is, after chilling in the fridge it firmed up quite a bit. As far as the taste goes, I thought it turned out really well. The texture was just like that of regular whipped cream. I could definitely taste a light coconut flavor, but didn’t think it clashed with the taste of the pie at all. It was a really good alternative to regular whipped cream and I like that I can keep a can of coconut milk on hand to have fresh whipped cream whenever I need it. A win I say!

Best Ever Pumpkin Pie Recipe

Coconut Milk Whipped Cream Recipe

 

Grandma’s Apple Pie

31 Oct

Although I’ve made some delicious apple pies in the past, I’ve never been 100% satisfied with them. Probably because in my mind I always compared them to my grandma’s pies. Grandmas’ pies are always the best, are they not? So, recently when I went to visit her, I asked my grandma for her recipe. I think she makes hers by memory and some super grandma-pie-making-instinct these days, but lucky for me she had the base recipe she initially started from. I was thrilled to find the results were just what I was looking for.

Now I chose to make hand pies instead of a regular full pie. I used a box of Pillsbury Refrigerated Pie Crust (there’s 2 crusts) and it made 7 hand pies using half the following recipe. You’ll want to let the filling cool before filling (I put mine in the fridge for a few minutes) otherwise it makes them really weak. A couple of mine split before I caught on. I used about 1/3 cup of filling in each pie, brushed some beaten egg on one edge, then crimped. Then I brushed the top of each pie with more egg, sprinkled a bit of sugar over the tops, and cut 2 vent holes. Baked on a parchment lined baking sheet for about 25 minutes at 400 degrees.

2013-10-31 13.34.07

Grandma’s Apple Pie 

  • 7 tart apples
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 rounded Tablespoons Instant Clear Jel*
  • 1 dash salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon ( I doubled this)
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 recipe for double pie crust

Wash, peel, and slice or dice apples. Put into medium-size saucepan with water. Bring to a boil and simmer 5 minutes. In a dry bowl, mix sugar, instant clear jel, salt, and cinnamon. Mix dry ingredients with apples. Add lemon juice. Pour into unbaked crust. Dot with butter or margarine. Cover with crust. Bake 375 degrees for 45 minutes, or until crust is golden brown.

 

In case you’re wondering what “Instant Clear Jel” is, it’s an instant powdered thickener. I use a brand called “Ultra Gel.”

2013-10-30 16.50.24

Perfect Plum Pie

10 Oct

plum pie

This is another recipe I decided to use my box of plums on. The assembly was simple enough that I actually made three pies at once! Good thing they turned out! I have to say I was a bit alarmed when I put the topping on as it looked like I’d covered all the beautiful plums with nothing more than a thick layer of flour. I was relieved and delighted to see the results. Be fair warned this pie is not in the least bit healthy. Pretty sure there was about 50 pounds of sugar in it. But, when this is the result, who cares? Had I known plum pastries were so delicious and easy to make, I would have done this years ago.

Go to Recipe

Plum Pocket Pies

10 Oct

I was lovingly gifted with a box of fresh plums from Seth’s parents on our recent trip up to Idaho. I have to be honest and say that normally I’m not a huge fan of plums and I didn’t know what I was going to do with all of them. But, Seth’s mom insisted that plum pies were delicious so I figured I’d start there and see what happened. I’m not really sure how I came upon the pocket pie idea, but once I saw it, I had to get me one. There are several varieties available, but I chose the Nordic Ware Pocket Pie Crimper because it featured metal hinges instead of plastic, and was very affordable at about $12. I do have to say I didn’t press down on the handles (just pushed on the edges) as they didn’t provide enough pressure and felt a bit flimsy, but other than that I was very happy with it. These pies turned out so delicious, I can’t wait to see what other concoctions I can create!

plum pocket pies

  • 1/3 cup sugar (plus additional for sprinkling)
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 cups diced plums (approximately 10 small plums)
  • 1 package Pillsbury Refrigerated 9″ Pie Crusts (2 crusts)
  • 1 egg, beaten

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and heat oven to 400 degrees. Combine 1/3 cup sugar and cornstarch in a medium bowl. Add diced plums and toss gently to coat; set aside.

Using the back of the pie press, cut 2 circles out of each crust. Combine the scraps and roll out into another circle and cut with the pie press, giving you 3 total rounds per pie crust. One at a time, place each round on the indented side of the pie press and place 1/4 cup of the plum mixture in the center (I used an ice cream-sized scoop). Use a pastry brush to coat the edge of the crust on one side with beaten egg. Carefully fold the press together, evening out the layer of plums as necessary. Press tightly to seal and remove pie to baking sheet. Repeat with remaining rounds.

Brush the tops of each pie with beaten egg and  sprinkle with sugar. Cut two 1-inch slits in the top to vent. Bake for 20-25 minutes until pies are golden brown. Allow to cool for about 10 minutes and serve.

Makes 6 pocket pies

Adapted from Home is Where the Boat Is

Cool Whip Cookies

17 Jul

Cool Whip Cookies

I saw a link to these cookies the other day on Facebook and thought, “Hey! I have all those things! I should try it out!” So I did. These are the easiest cookies in the world to make with only 3 ingredients. THREE: Cool Whip, cake mix, and eggs. Ok I lied. There’s 4 if you coat them in powdered sugar. Details details.

Now, I used yellow cake mix because it was all I had on hand. This wouldn’t be my first choice if I were to go choose a box of cake mix at the store. I think red velvet or chocolate or lemon would be awesome. Don’t get me wrong though… good ol’ yellow cake mix turned out fabulous as well.

I slightly underbaked my cookies because I hate it when they get dried out. This resulted in a flatter but chewier cookie. I think if you let them go another minute or two more they’d be more fluffy. Anyway, I was pleasantly surprised by this last-minute cookies-on-a-whim recipe I found. I’m excited to try out other flavors!

p.s. You have to pronounce “Cool Whip” like this:

Cool Whip Cookies

  • 1 (18 1/4 ounce) box cake mix (any flavor)
  • 1 (8 ounce) container Cool Whip (thawed)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar (for rolling)

Combine cake mix, Cool Whip, and egg in a large bowl and beat until well combined (dough will resemble thick marshmallow and may be refrigerated to make it easier to work with).Using a cookie scoop (about 1 rounded tablespoon), drop cookie dough into bowl of powered sugar and roll to coat. Place evenly spaced on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350°F for 10-12 minutes. Allow to cool for a few minutes before removing to cooling rack. Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

 
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