I mentioned in my last post that I had been picking some blackberries this past week. And this is one of the recipes I made with them–Blackberry Buttermilk Cake. It’s a recipe I’ve had for awhile, clipped from a newspaper and kept … Continue reading
If you are a fan of Downton Abbey (or even if you’re not), this is a recipe you may be interested in! It’s from a cookbook called Edwardian Cooking: The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook (softcover), which features 80 recipes inspired by this … Continue reading
I love baking with sweet potatoes–I’ve made Sweet Potato Bread, Sweet Potato Biscuits, Loaded Sweet Potato Muffins, and Sweet Potato Cinnamon Cake… so I thought it was about time to try a sweet potato pound cake! I found a great-sounding recipe at Taste … Continue reading
“Crumble” is an understatement when describing these bars, because they are super–crumbly! These Raspberry Jam Oat Crumble Bars have LOTS of crumbly oat topping and, of course, a raspberry jam filling–if you look hard, you can see the filling! :). I was inspired by this recipe at Kraft and made a few simple changes. If you don’t have raspberry jam, use strawberry jam. Or whatever flavor jam you like best. You could even use spreadable fruit if you want to cut down on the sugar.
These are easy to make and really yummy! You can make them in an 8 x 8″ or 9 x 9″ square baking pan. If you use a 9 x 9″ pan, the crumble topping won’t be quite as thick, since the pan is a little bigger–so your bars will be slightly thinner, too. But they’ll still be plenty crumbly. And since these bars are so very crumbly, make sure you have a plate to catch those crumbs when you’re eating these!
RASPBERRY JAM OAT CRUMBLE BARS by NancyCreative, adapted from Kraft Recipes
Makes an 8 x 8″ or 9 x 9″ pan (I used an 8 x 8″ pan for this batch)
- 1 1/2 cups quick-cooking oats
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
- 1 cup well-packed light or dark brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, chilled
- 1 cup (or one 12-ounce jar) Red Raspberry Jam (I used seedless jam)
- 1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line an 8 x 8″ or 9 x 9″ pan with parchment paper or spray with cooking spray; set aside.
Mix oats, flour, brown sugar, and baking powder in a large bowl. Cut in butter with pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
Press 3 1/2 cups of the oat mixture firmly onto the bottom of your square baking pan. Spread jam over crust. Mix pecans with remaining crumb mixture, then sprinkle over jam (it may look like you have too much crumb mixture for the top, but put it all on!)
Bake at 350˚F for 30 minutes or until topping is lightly browned. Cool completely on wire rack.
These bars would taste great warm with a scoop of ice cream, too. I love easy recipes like this! And I usually have all these ingredients on hand anyway, so that makes it even more convenient. Do you like jam bars, or do you have another favorite recipe using jam?
Sometimes I get the greatest recipes when I’m in the lunchroom at work! Like this Avocado Chocolate Mousse. I got the recipe from Robin, who has a blog of her own. She was telling me about a health and nutrition event she went to where they were preparing recipes with healthy ingredients and this Avocado Chocolate Mousse was one of them. I love avocados, but avocado and chocolate? Robin assured me that this mousse tasted like a creamy chocolate truffle and she was right!
This mousse is very rich, but in a healthy way–so you’ll want to use tiny dessert glasses, like they do in some restaurants, to serve this. It will definitely satisfy your chocolate cravings! And it’s dairy-free, unless you decide to top it with a little light whipped cream like I did. Thanks for sharing this recipe, Robin! :)
AVOCADO CHOCOLATE MOUSSE
Makes 4 small servings
- 2 large ripe avocados
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup agave nectar or honey (I used honey)
- 1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- Optional: light whipped cream and chocolate sprinkles, for garnish
Combine all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Top with light whipped cream and chocolate sprinkles, if desired.
Note: This can be made the day before you serve it.
You don’t really need to add the whipped cream or sprinkles because this mousse tastes great all by itself–but it does make the dessert look a little cuter! Have you made any dessert recipes using avocado as an ingredient?
I’m linking this to Fiesta Friday at the Novice Gardener.
Here’s a roundup of 10 recipes that your Valentine–or Valentines–will love…some are healthy and some are not-so-healthy (but very yummy)!
If you’re wanting something sweet for your Valentine breakfast, try these Strawberry Yogurt Muffins–the strawberries on top look like hearts, so they’re perfect for Valentine’s Day!
Or if you’re wanting something healthy, try this Cranberry-Pecan Oatmeal, made with dried cranberries and chopped pecans. You can substitute dried cherries for the cranberries if you want.
Or make this Cranberry Almond Oatmeal Bake if you’re feeding a larger group.
You can also use your dried cranberries (or cherries) in these Cranberry Almond Breakfast Scones for a mid-morning or afternoon Valentine snack!
Since you may be eating lots of sweets on Valentine’s Day, you’ll want to include a healthy salad in your lunch or dinner menu–this Apple Pear Pecan Salad has dried cranberries in it too, but dried cherries would be yummy as well!
Savory Strawberry Salsa makes a great appetizer with tortilla chips, and it’s also really good served over grilled chicken!
Now you need some dessert ideas…Strawberry Cupcakes are just the thing!
But lots of people prefer something chocolate, and you can’t go wrong with these Chocolate Cupcakes with Fudgy Frosting!
If you want a healthier dessert, you could always make this Healthy Chocolate Shake…
But, hey, it’s Valentine’s Day–if you want to splurge, make these Dark Chocolate-Covered Cherry Swirl Brownies!
Hope you get a chance to try out some of these treats! Do you have a favorite Valentine recipe?
Pies are a great holiday dessert. Pumpkin, apple, and pecan pies seem to be the traditional favorites, but Chocolate Chess Pie sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? That’s one of the many delicious pie recipes from The Hoosier Mama Book of Pie. I received a review copy recently, and enjoyed looking at all the recipes and colorful photos of the many pies in that homey, retro-style cookbook! I’m not a great pie-maker myself, but I do appreciate a well-baked pie! :)
Author Paula Haney opened the Hoosier Mama Pie Company in Chicago on March 14, 2009–which is also “Pi day”! There was a line of customers around the block, and from day one, Paula has been baking and selling more pies than she probably ever dreamed of! If anyone knows how to make a great pie, Paula does, and she shares her recipes for all kinds of pies–fruit pies, cream pies, chess pies, and savory pies. She also includes recipes for pie crusts, hand pies, scones, and quiches. You’ll find helpful tips and techniques sprinkled throughout the book, too.
Some great-sounding pies that got my attention in this book include:
- Pear, Apple, and Cranberry Pie with Walnut Crumble
- Maple-Pecan Pie
- Caramel-Banana Cream Pie
- Peanut Butter Pie with Chocolate Ganache
- Red Line Espresso Cream Pie
- Cheddar Vegetable Pie
- French Onion Soup Pie
- Chicken Pot Pie
- Ham and Brie Quiche
- Sweet Potato Hand Pies
And, as I mentioned, the Chocolate Chess Pie sounded pretty great, too, so I decided I’d try that one out. It’s a very rich, chocolatey, fudgy pie. Mine had a thin, crusty top layer that crackled as I cut into the pie–I’m not sure if it’s supposed to have a crusty top layer–it’s possible I may have baked it just a bit too long (see my notes in the recipe on the baking time). Nonetheless, it was still very fudgy and yummy!
CHOCOLATE CHESS PIE from The Hoosier Mama Book of Pie
Makes one 9-inch pie
- 1 single-crust pie shell (Paula recommends her All-Butter Pie Dough that’s finished off with a napkin fold, which she explains how to do in her book; if you use a frozen pie shell like I did, get a regular, not deep dish, pie shell)
- Pie Wash (equal parts whole milk and cream mixed together in a very small bowl or cup) for brushing the pie shell–I used 1 teaspoon each of milk and cream
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 4 ounces 70% bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 4 large eggs
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons cornmeal
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla paste (I didn’t have vanilla paste, so I just used 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)
- Pinch of kosher salt
Preheat oven to 350˚F. Place the pie shell on a baking sheet and brush the rim with Pie Wash. Set aside.
Melt the butter in the top of a double boiler, or in a medium heatproof bowl set on top of a saucepan of simmering water.
Remove the butter from the heat and beat in the sugar until it is thoroughly incorporated. The mixture should look shiny, but not greasy. If the mixture appears greasy, continue to beat.
Melt the chocolate in a separate bowl in the same manner as the butter. Remove from the heat. Be sure to wipe any condensation off the bottom of the bowl, otherwise it may drip into your batter.
Stir the melted chocolate into the butter mixture.
Add the eggs one at a time, whisking to combine after each addition.
Add the cornmeal, vanilla paste, and salt and mix until thoroughly combined.
Scrape down the side and bottom of the bowl and incorporate any unmixed butter. Pour the batter into the pie shell.
Bake for 60 to 75 minutes, rotating 180 degrees every 20 minutes, until the top of the pie doesn’t give when pressed firmly in the middle. (Note: My pie was done at about 58 minutes, and I think it may have been a little too long, so you may want to check yours a little early, like around 55 minutes). The pie will rise up to 1 inch above the rim of the pie tin as it bakes, then fall slowly as it cools. The finished pie may be slightly concave. (The top of my pie had a thin crusty layer, which looks a little odd when the pie has risen fresh out of the oven, but it looks fine after the pie falls when cooling. It did crackle when I cut it, though).
The baked pie can be stored at room temperature for 3 to 5 days.
All in all, I thought the pie was very dense, moist, and delicious! The photo of the pie in this cookbook shows it dusted with powdered sugar, so I did that, too, while the pie was still warm. It makes a nice finishing touch!
Have you ever made a Chocolate Chess Pie? What’s your favorite holiday pie?
I tried making pumpkin swirl brownies last fall, and just wasn’t happy with the results, even after tweaking a recipe several times. Now that it’s fall again, I thought I’d give them another try with my own version.
These brownies have a thick chocolate batter and a light creamy pumpkin swirl filling. I also added some mini semi-sweet chocolate chips to the chocolate batter for good measure. Yum! The brownies have a rich chocolate taste with a touch of pumpkin-spice flavor from the swirl filling. If you love the combination of pumpkin and chocolate, you’ll need to try these!
DOUBLE CHOCOLATE PUMPKIN SWIRL BROWNIES by NancyCreative
Makes an 8 x 8″ or 9 x 9″ pan
- 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
- 3/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup unbleached flour
- 1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
Pumpkin Swirl Filling:
- 3 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix)
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (or substitute 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, 1/8 tsp. cloves, 1/4 tsp. ginger, and 1/8 tsp. nutmeg)
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 large egg
Preheat oven to 350˚F. Grease or spray an 8 x 8″ or 9 x 9″ baking pan, or line with parchment paper.
For the Chocolate Batter: In medium bowl, beat eggs with vanilla; then add the melted butter, blending well. To this mixture, stir in the cocoa powder, sugar, and salt, blending everything well. Stir in the flour, half the amount at a time, and blend well (your batter may be a little lumpy–that’s okay!). Fold in the semi-sweet chocolate chips, stirring until they are incorporated evenly into the batter. Spoon and spread 2/3 of the batter into your prepared baking pan.
For the Pumpkin Swirl Filling: In medium bowl, blend softened cream cheese, pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, sugar, and egg, mixing until smooth. Pour this pumpkin mixture evenly over the chocolate brownie batter in the pan. Then spoon remaining chocolate brownie batter in tablespoon-size dollops evenly over the pumpkin filling. Using a knife, cut through the batter slowly and swirl with the pumpkin filling for a marbled effect.
Bake at 350˚F for 33 to 43 minutes (my baking time was 42 minutes in an 8 x 8″ pan; if you make these in a 9 x 9″ pan, your time should be a little less, about 33 to 37 minutes, and your bars will be a little thinner than my bars pictured here). Cool completely, then cut into squares. Serve, or store covered in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
These brownies are great for fall! Do you have a favorite fall brownie recipe?
I had some lemon curd I needed to use, and I came across this recipe from Good Housekeeping that looked so good! A lemony cake with lots of fresh berries–yum! And I could just imagine how good the lemon flavor would be with the lemon curd. I thought I would make it even more lemony by using lemon extract instead of vanilla and using more lemon zest. Add I added a dash of fresh lemon juice, too. The original recipe suggests using a mix of blackberries, blueberries, and/or raspberries. I just had blueberries, so that’s all I used. I also made a glaze topping to go over the cake, but you could serve it with whipped cream and fresh berries like the original recipe suggests.
If you like lemon-flavored treats, this would be a great recipe for you to try!
LEMON CURD BERRY CAKE by NancyCreative, adapted from Good Housekeeping
Makes 1 bundt cake with a 12-cup pan (about 12 servings)
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
- 1/3 cup finely ground toasted slivered or sliced almonds (they work fine untoasted, too)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon lemon extract
- 1 Tablespoon finely grated lemon peel (lemon zest)
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice (from the zested lemon)
- 1 cup low-fat buttermilk
- 1/2 cup prepared lemon curd (you’ll need about an 8 to 10-ounce jar of lemon curd for the cake and the glaze, and you’ll have some left over; I used this brand)
- 2 cups mixed fresh berries–blackberries, blueberries, and/or raspberries (or if you just have one kind of berry, use that–I used all blueberries)
- Lemon Curd Glaze (see recipe below)
Preheat oven to 350˚F. Grease and flour a 12-cup Bundt pan.
PREPARE CAKE: In medium bowl, whisk flour, almonds, baking powder, and salt. In large bowl, with mixer on high speed, beat butter and sugar 4 minutes or until light and fluffy (or you can beat by hand). Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, then reduce speed to low, if using a mixer, and beat in lemon extract, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Beat in flour mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture, until combined. Beat in lemon curd until just combined. Fold in berries.
Spoon batter into prepared pan; lightly tap pan on counter to remove any air pockets. Bake, in center of oven, 60 to 65 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely on wire rack. After cake has completely cooled, top with Lemon Curd Glaze.
LEMON CURD GLAZE
- 5 Tablespoons heavy whipping cream
- 2 Tablespoons prepared lemon curd (if the lemon curd is very thick, heat it in the microwave for about 20 seconds to make it more stirable)
- 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
- additional berries for garnish
In medium bowl, blend the whipping cream, lemon curd, and lemon juice, blending well. Add confectioner’s sugar and blend well. Spoon glaze over cake, let glaze set, top with additional berries, if desired, and serve. There’s plenty of glaze, so you can drizzle some extra glaze from the cake plate onto each slice with a spoon–it tastes great that way!
Note: The original recipe says to serve the cake with Lemon Cream (instead of glaze), so that’s another option you may want to try…
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup prepared lemon curd
- 1 Tablespoon sifted confectioner’s sugar
- Additional confectioner’s sugar to lightly dust the cake, optional
- Mixed berries (or one kind of berry) for garnish
In medium bowl, beat cream on high speed until soft peaks form. Reduce speed to low; beat in lemon curd and confectioner’s sugar until combined.
Serve cake with Lemon Cream and berries. You can give the cake a light dusting of confectioner’s sugar before serving with the cream and berries if you like,
If you like making your own lemon curd, I’m sure it would be fantastic in this cake recipe! I used store-bought lemon curd, but one of these days I want to try making my own!
Do you have any great recipes that use lemon curd as an ingredient?
I made these bars for a bake sale the other week. When I was looking for recipes, I found this one at Allrecipes.com and thought these would be just the thing to make! I made some changes, though, mainly substituting butter for the shortening and using more semi-sweet chocolate chips and coconut. These are soooo rich and chewy and chocolatey! The coconut is not overpowering, so even people who aren’t crazy about coconut would probably still like these. I cut my bars into big squares for the bake sale, but these are so rich, you’ll probably want to cut them into smaller bars!
CHEWY CHOCOLATE CHIP COCONUT BARS by NancyCreative, adapted from Allrecipes
Makes a 9 x 13″ pan of bars
- 2/3 cup butter, softened
- 2 cups packed brown sugar
- 3 eggs
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour (I used unbleached flour)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 3/4 cup chopped pecans (or walnuts)
- 1 cup shredded sweetened coconut (also called coconut flakes)
Preheat oven to 350˚F. Grease a 9 x 13″ baking pan; set aside.
In large bowl, cream the softened butter and brown sugar; then blend in eggs and vanilla extract, mixing well.
In small bowl, blend flour, baking powder, and salt; slowly blend in flour mixture to butter/sugar mixture, mixing everything until well blended. Fold in chocolate chips, chopped pecans or walnuts, and shredded coconut. Spread the mixture evenly in pan.
Bake at 350˚F for 23 to 28 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely before cutting into bars.
For a fancier dessert, cut them into bigger bars like I did and top them with a scoop of ice cream, hot fudge sauce, and a sprinkle of coconut flakes!
What’s your favorite treat to make for a bake sale?
I’m really not a big soda-pop drinker; I usually drink iced tea instead. But every once in awhile I’ll l have some soda on hand, usually left over from a get-together or party. That’s how I ended up with some 7-UP recently. Instead of tossing it, I decided to see if there was anything I could make with it. After all, I had made a Coca-Cola Cake, which tasted great, so was there such a thing as a 7-UP cake?
It turns out there was–a 7-UP Pound Cake! In fact, it’s been around for awhile, since the 1960’s, when bundt cake pans became popular. I found about 8 or 9 different recipes (here’s one of them) when I searched on the web. They all had pretty much the same butter-sugar-egg-flour amounts, with variations on the amounts of flavorings and lemon juice used. So I came up with my own version and added a sweet and slightly tart lemon-lime glaze to top it off.
This a really good, moist pound cake! And the glaze has a lot of lemon-limey flavor. Some recipes called for 3/4 cup of 7-UP in the cake and some called for 1 cup; I used 3/4 cup when I made this cake and thought it had a great pound cake texture; next time I make this I will try 1 cup to see if there is much difference–I’m guessing the additional 7-UP will make the cake a little more moist, though it seemed moist enough with 3/4 cup.
Next time you have some extra 7-UP, give this a try!
7–UP POUND CAKE WITH LEMON-LIME GLAZE by NancyCreative
Makes one 10″ Bundt cake
- 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter (3 sticks), softened
- 3 cups granulated sugar
- 5 large eggs
- 1 Tablespoon lemon zest
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/2 Tablespoon lemon extract or flavoring
- 3 cups all-purpose flour (I used unbleached flour)
- 3/4 cup to 1 cup 7–UP
Preheat oven to 325˚F. Grease or spray a 10″ bundt or tube pan; set aside (you can grease and flour the pan if you want it to come out super-easy).
In large bowl, cream butter and sugar, blending well. Add in eggs, 1 at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add in lemon zest, lemon juice, and lemon extract and blend well.
Add flour to the butter mixture, 1 cup at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add 7–UP, about a half or third at a time, blending well after each addition. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake at 325˚F for 65 to 75 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. (Note: My cake was done in 65 minutes, using 3/4 cup of 7–UP. If you use 1 cup of 7-UP your baking time may be a little longer, but be careful not to over bake, or it may be dry).
Remove cake from oven and let cool for 10 minutes (the cake will be cracked on the bottom–see photo, left–which is fine). Invert pan to remove cake and cool completely on wire rack. While cake is cooling, make the glaze…
(A note on the glaze: this makes a lot of glaze! Enough to glaze the cake twice, which is what I did…I generously drizzled a first glaze on, let it set, then put a second glaze over that, for an extra lemon-limey taste. If you just want one layer of glaze, you can halve this recipe.)
- 3 cups powdered (confectioner’s) sugar
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 Tablespoon lime juice
- 3 to 4 Tablespoons 7-UP (start with 3 and if you want a thinner glaze, add another 1/2 to 1 Tablespoon)
In medium bowl, mix powdered sugar with lemon and lime juices and 7–UP, blending everything well. Drizzle half the glaze over the cake when it is completely cooled; let glaze set. Then, if desired, drizzle a second glaze over the cake and let set. Cut into slices and serve.
Note: If you are doing a double glaze, you can also try this: put the first glaze on while the cake is still warm–some of the glaze will soak into the cake, giving it a sweeter taste. Then let the cake completely cool, and put on the second glaze.
This batter also works for cupcakes…one of my readers, Amy, told me she baked hers at 325˚F for 25 minutes. Not sure how many she made with the batter, but I’m guessing probably about 24.
Have you made any good recipes using soda pop as an ingredient?
This recipe is for all of you lemon-lovers out there…these Lemon “Brownies” may not have any chocolate in them, but they have a dense, brownie-like texture with plenty of lemony yumminess in every bite! I was a little skeptical about lemon brownies, but after making these, I love them every bit as much as the chocolate kind! I adapted this from a recipe I found at Rita’s Recipes. I used more lemon juice and zest for my version.
You actually need quite a few lemons for these brownies…about 6 to 7, depending on the size of the lemons. You’ll need to juice them and zest some of them, so there is a little work in making these, but it’s definitely worth it! I’m not that crazy about zesting lemons myself. If you’re not either, you could still try it without the zest…it may be less lemony, but I’m sure they’d still be great!
LEMON BROWNIES WITH LEMON GLAZE by NancyCreative, adapted from Rita’s Recipes
Makes a 9 x 13″ pan
- 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 large eggs
- 6 Tablespoons lemon juice (you need about 3 to 4 lemons for the juice and the zest)
- 2 to 3 Tablespoons lemon zest
Preheat oven to 350˚F. Grease or spray a 9 x 13″ pan; set aside (for easy clean-up, you can also line your pan with parchment paper; leave paper edges sticking up out of the pan so you can just lift the brownies right out of the pan when they’re finished baking).
Juice and zest your lemons; set aside in a small container.
In large bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Add in the flour and salt, mixing until well blended.
In small to medium bowl, whisk eggs and add lemon juice and lemon zest, blending well. Pour this mixture into the flour/butter mixture and mix ingredients until smooth.
Pour batter into prepared pan and bake at 350˚F for 25 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean (the edges will be browned). Let brownies cool for a few minutes in pan. While cooling, you can mix the Lemon Glaze…
- 2 to 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar (depending on how thin or thick you want the glaze)
- 5 Tablespoons lemon juice (you need another 3 lemons for the juice and the zest)
- 2 Tablespoons lemon zest
Mix powdered sugar and lemon juice together, blending well, then add in the lemon zest and stir until zest is mixed in evenly. While brownies are still warm, spoon and spread about half the glaze over the top of the brownies (some of the glaze will soak into the brownies); wait 10 to 15 minutes (the glaze will just be partially set) and then spoon the rest of the glaze over the first layer of glaze. Let glaze set completely (this might take an hour or so, especially in humid weather) and then cut into squares or bars and serve. If you want the glaze to set more quickly, you can put the brownies in the fridge for about 20 to 25 minutes, then cut and serve. Actually, you may just want to pop them in the fridge anyway, because these taste great cold, too!
I like making lemon-flavored things in the warm weather months–they’re so refreshing! Do you have a favorite lemon recipe you like making in spring or summer?
Have you served any desserts in jars yet? I’ve seen some great ideas on Pinterest and in several magazines, so when I heard about 150 Best Desserts in a Jar, I was happy to review it and discover a whole collection of yummy recipes, from rich and decadent to light and healthy. Author Andrea Jourdan has developed quite an array of recipes that sound easy and delicious–puddings, cobblers, pies, cakes, trifles, parfaits…just about any kind of dessert you can think of! And you can creatively present them in attractive jars…antique jars, canning jars, or just uniquely-shaped jars you’ve kept…I’m always saving jars from jams, relishes, and other items because they’re just too pretty to discard!
The book is divided into two parts: Warm and Comforting (crumbles, cobblers, puddings, bread puddings, custards, cakes, and souffles) and From the Fridge (fruity and/or creamy desserts, gelatins, trifles, tiramisu, chilled cakes, sweet soups, parfaits, and frothy desserts). I thought the Marble Chocolate Cake with Coffee Cream Sauce, Warm Salted Caramel Pudding, Blackberry Bread Pudding, Pear and Almond Crumble, Brownie Frozen Delight, and Banana Cream Pie Crunch all sounded wonderful. But I decided to try one of the healthier recipes, the Mango Parfait, because I was craving a healthy dessert…and this really hit the spot! Mangos are sweetened with a little sugar and paired with creamy Greek vanilla yogurt for a great-tasting treat. It’s really cool and refreshing, so you’ll have to try this out soon!
MANGO PARFAIT from 150 Best Desserts in a Jar
One of the most popular exotic fruits, the mango here brings its tangy flavor to a perfect companion–yogurt. This is my family’s favorite healthy treat after lunch.–Andrea Jourdan
Makes 4 servings
- 3 mangos, peeled and sliced, divided
- 2 Tablespoons (30 ml) granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) ground cardamom
- 2 cups (500 ml) Greek-style vanilla yogurt
Mangos: In food processor fitted with the metal blade, puree the flesh of 2 mangos with the sugar.
Place remaining mango slices in a bowl. Sprinkle with cardamom and mix gently. Set aside.
Assembly: Spoon approximately 2 Tablespoons (30 ml) mango puree into the bottom of each jar. Cover with 1/4 cup (60 ml) vanilla yogurt. Repeat. When ready to serve, garnish with reserved mango slices.
Tips: For a sweeter treat, add 1 Tablespoon (15 ml) maple syrup to the top of each jar. Mango and maple syrup are a great match. Use any leftover mango puree to make a smoothie.
You could also sprinkle some granola cereal on top of these parfaits–that would make a nice garnish. I was having a little trouble slicing my mangos–most of my slices didn’t look that great–so I cut most of my mangos into chunks and that worked fine, too.
Hope this inspires you to make some desserts in jars–it’s easy and fun!
I love these fun, colorful brownies–they’re kind of like a celebration in a pan! This easy and yummy recipe is from an M&M’s promotional recipe card that I’ve had for quite a while. There are two layers to these brownies– a bottom chocolate layer and a top yellow batter layer, with mini M&M’s mixed in and sprinkled on top. They’re rich and chewy…perfect when you’re craving something chocolate! I changed the recipe a little by adding some semi-sweet chocolate chips in the bottom chocolate brownie layer. It never hurts to add more chocolate, right? :)
CHOCOLATE CHIP CONFETTI BROWNIES by NancyCreative, adapted from M&M’s
Makes a 9 x 13″ pan
- 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
- 2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 Tbsp. butter, melted
- 1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1 cup M&M’s Semi-Sweet Chocolate Mini Baking Bits, divided
Preheat oven to 350˚F. Lightly grease a 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan; set aside.
In large bowl, cream butter, granulated sugar, and light brown sugar until light and fluffy; beat in eggs and vanilla.
In medium bowl, combine 2 1/4 cups of the flour (save 1/4 cup for later), baking powder, and salt; blend into creamed mixture. Divide batter in half, putting half into another bowl.
Stir cocoa powder and melted butter into one half of the dough; then stir in the mini chocolate chips. Spread cocoa dough evenly into prepared baking pan.
Stir remaining 1/4 cup flour and 1/2 cup of the M&M’s mini baking bits into remaining dough; spread evenly over cocoa dough in pan. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup of M&M’s mini baking bits. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until edges start to pull away from sides of pan.
Cool completely and cut into bars. Store in a tightly covered container. Makes about 20 brownies, depending on how large you cut them. (NOTE: I’ve seen a version of this recipe using regular-size M&M’s, so you could try substituting those for the mini baking bits).
I actually cut into these while they were still warm, after about 10 minutes of cooling, and they are really good warm! If I had some ice cream in my fridge, I think I would have been tempted to add a scoop on top!
Here’s a helpful tip if you want neat, less crumbly brownie slices: Line your baking pan with parchment paper, leaving a little overhang on the ends so you can lift your brownies right out of the pan after they are done baking and have cooled. After removing brownies from the pan, turn them upside down onto a cutting board or other cutting surface and slice them from the bottom–this way, the tops of your brownies will have nice clean edges…just like a bakery shop brownie!
Do you like making brownies too? Do you have a favorite brownie recipe?
Pam shares my love for baking, and she recently gave me this wonderful recipe for a pumpkin cake. It’s a large sheet-cake style cake, so it’s really easy to make and perfect for group get-togethers like potlucks, club meetings…any gathering where you have hungry people to feed! :) I haven’t come across anyone who hasn’t liked this cake, so you just can’t go wrong in making this!
This sheet cake is made in a 10″x 15″x 1″ pan, so there’s plenty to go around. If you like Texas sheet cakes, then you’ll like this, too (unless you’re not crazy about pumpkin!). The cake is moist, with a great pumpkin flavor, and it’s topped with a creamy, smooth cream cheese frosting–a perfect combination!
Here’s the yummy recipe–thanks for sharing it, Pam!
PAM’S PUMPKIN SHEET CAKE from Pam S.
Makes one 10″x 15″ sheet cake
- 4 large eggs
- 1 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup vegetable or canola oil
- 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
- 2 cups all-purpose flour (I used unbleached flour)
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, blend eggs and sugar, then add the oil and pumpkin puree, blending everything well.
In medium bowl, mix flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, blending everything well. Add this dry indgredient mixture a little at a time to the egg/sugar mixture until everything is blended well, then spread into an ungreased 10″x 15″x 1″ pan (since I didn’t use a non-stick pan, I greased mine, but greasing your pan is optional).
Bake at 350 degrees for 24 to 30 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean (I baked mine for 25 minutes). Let cake cool completely, then frost with Cream Cheese Frosting.
CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
- 3/4 cup butter, softened
- 2 packages (3 ounces each) cream cheese, softened (I used 6 ounces from an 8-ounce block of light cream cheese)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 cups powdered sugar
In a medium bowl, beat butter, cream cheese, and vanilla extract until smooth. Gradually add in powdered sugar and blend well. Frost cake when cooled. If not serving the cake soon after frosting it, store it in your refrigerator until almost ready to serve, taking it out of the fridge a little earlier so it can get to room temperature.
Yum! It’s hard not to just eat one piece of this cake!
It’s always fun trying new pumpkin recipes. Have you been making a lot of pumpkin goodies this fall?