Tag Archives: Dessert

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


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


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

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.


Red Velvet Strawberry Shortcake

19 May

The moment I saw this cake on Pinterest, I knew I had to make it. When I actually read the recipe and realized how easy it was to make, it increased my interest ten fold. This is the biggest cake I’ve ever made. Four layers to be exact. But it had to be big. It had to look amazing. It had to taste amazing. Why? Well because I was making a cake for not only my mom & grandma for Mother’s Day, but it was both of their birthdays as well. That’s a tall order… just like this cake! HA!

Just to tell you how easy this thing was to make, all you do is make 2 boxed cakes. One red velvet, one white. Then alternating the layers, you stack them with a layer of whipped cream and strawberries in between. That’s it! You can use Cool Whip like the recipe suggests, or you can make your own to save on cost (and improve taste!). I used a quart of whipping cream and it was plenty for between the layers and to cover the outside. I love this recipe for whipping cream as it holds up really well. Also, I used one container of store-bought frosting for a crumb coat around the outside of the cake. This helped to keep the strawberries and red cake from bleeding through the whipped cream. I also always freeze my cake layers before assembly to make handling and frosting way easier. Box cakes are especially fragile so freezing them really helps a ton. Plus the cake easily thaws in just a few hours and there’s no affect on the quality of the cake at all!

So next time you need an easy, crowd pleasing dessert, make this cake. It will make you cry tears of joy.

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes

18 May

A perfect specimen

This was another Pinterest find for me and I’d been waiting for just the right time to make them. A friend at work had a birthday coming up so I “tricked” him into choosing these cupcakes as his birthday treat. I’m not going to lie… I was a little worried these things wouldn’t turn out. I haven’t had the best luck frosting cupcakes using a pastry bag and with the final product being dipped, I was fully prepared for failure. Luckily the recipe gave some great suggestions for frosting success, namely using a giant piping tip instead of a regular sized one. This made a huge difference and I was amazed at how easily I was able to make a beautiful swirl on top of the little cakes.

The only tricky part to making these was the buttercream frosting. There were a few steps involved, none of which I’d ever done before so I wasn’t quite sure if I was doing it right, namely beating the heated egg white/sugar mixture to the proper texture. The recipe says to beat it until it has a shaving cream consistency. I don’t know that I’d say that description was entirely accurate as the sticky concoction never really looked like shaving cream (such as your typical whipping cream process). For me it went from a runny, sticky liquid to a fluffy sticky mixture. Kind of like marshmallow fluff. Other than that, everything went off without a hitch and I was pleased to see that although I guessed a little on some of the steps, everything turned out how it should.  Oh also, it’d be better to underfill your cupcake tins a little than to overfill… anything hanging over the top of the cupcake liners makes frosting and dipping much more difficult. I’d shoot for filling them no more than 2/3 full.  I would also recommend doubling the recipe as I did, just to give yourself a couple of practice cupcakes (you’ll need them!), especially since this recipe only makes 10 cupcakes.

One of the dipping casualties, but still delicious!

So, if you’re looking for a special treat or just have a hankering for some peanut butter and chocolate, give these babies a try! They were just as delicious as they look!

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Eclair Cake

16 Apr

Please ignore the Christmas-themed paper plate...

This is a delicious recipe I got from my sister a few years ago which quickly became a favorite around here (Seth isn’t much of a cake fan). See, this isn’t really a typical cake… more like a giant pan of eclair tasty goodness. I got to make dessert this weekend for my lovely sister-in-law Collette’s birthday as she just happened to be in town. Happy Birthday Collette!  I don’t get to make large desserts like this too often with just the two of us around here, so it was fun to be able to make this again.

Just a couple tips for making this… make sure your cream cheese is softened completely… as in room temperature. I would recommend whipping up the cream cheese first, then slowly adding a little bit of milk at a time in order to keep lumps from forming. Also, I’ve never actually made this in a sheet pan. I like thicker slices so I typically use a 13×9″ casserole dish. I’ve also made this in a spring form pan, but it’s best to do that if it’ll all be served at once (i.e. no leftovers) as it tends to get a little messy when it sits for a while without the edges supported. Anyway, this is an incredibly easy dessert to make and is always a crowd pleaser!

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