Category Archives: Sweet

Simple Delicious Fruit Dip

The other day I found myself packing up fresh berries to take to a friend’s house for game night. As I  looked at the containers of fruit, I kept thinking “this needs something.” Which queued memories of the many, many, southern church pot lucks I went to growing up. I remembered this delicious, tangy dip that my mom frequently had to remind me to share or to leave some for other people, but I couldn’t remember how to make it. Fortunately, we live in a world of Pinterest, and while I couldn’t find exactly what I wanted, I did find something close, and with a tweak here and a reconfiguration there, I think I’ve gotten it exactly right. It seemed to be a hit with everyone who tried it, and the cats attacked the almost empty bowl when I gave it and the mixing spoon to Andy to “finish off.” I am thinking it would also be pretty wonderful layered into a tart shell with some of that fresh fruit layered on top…..a recipe for a later day.

Ingredients:

  • 8oz of cream cheese (I used the 1/3 fat from Philadelphia)
  • 3/4 cup Vanilla Greek Yogurt
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp Almond Extract

Directions:

  1. In a mixing bowl, beat together cream cheese and vanilla yogurt until uniform in texture.
  2. Next, beat in powdered sugar and almond extract until completely incorporated.
  3. Chill covered until ready to serve.

Super simple, but now I know the secret and you guys do too. People seemed to really like this with strawberries, but I think it also works well with tarter fruits like granny smith apples. I’d be interested to try to veganize the recipe, since I’ve had both vegan yogurt and cream cheese and I think the flavors/consistency are close enough to work. With so many friends with different dietary restrictions, it’s nice to have something you can put together quickly and reliably.


Brioche French Toast Casserole with Struesel Topping

Breakfast/Brunch is always a lot of fun for me. I think it comes partially from when I was much younger and my mom and I would clean and make a big breakfast every Saturday morning. The week was always super busy, and we were mostly a cereal/toaster pastry family, especially in high school when my classes started at 7:15. Sunday was church day, so Saturday was the big day. The breakfast tradition carried over into college where my roommate and I threw quite a few brunches, not to mention brinners. We kicked ass at brinner.

 This casserole was the result of me going to a brunch pot luck and not being able to find exactly what I wanted on Pinterest. So I combined the bits and pieces that I liked best. A brioche base here; a modified streusel topping there. It was almost blueberry, but I asked one of my friends her opinion on fruit options and she said anything but blueberry. So that put the kibosh on that. Apple cinnamon was my other contender so here we are. 

Ingredients:

Casserole

  • 9 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 1/2 lb brioche bread
  • 1/2 cup regular sugar
  • 1/4 dark brown sugar packed
  • 1/2 tbsp vanilla paste
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tspn salt
  • 3 Granny Smith apples, peeled and diced

Streusel Topping

  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/3 dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/4 cup melted butter

Directions:

  1. Cut brioche breads into cubes and dice the green apples. Layer into the bottom of a 13×9 casserole dish.
  2. In a large mixing bowl whisk together eggs, milk, cream, both sugars, cinnamon, vanilla and salt.
  3. Pour mixture over the bread and apples and cover. Set in the fridge for at least four hours, preferably overnight, so the bread can soak up the egg mixture.
  4. Bake casserole in the 350 degree oven for 45-55 minutes.
  5. While the casserole bakes, whisk together the dry streusel ingredients. Melt the butter then stir into the dry ingredients until crumbs form.
  6. 10 minutes before the casserole is done baking, pull from the oven, sprinkle on streusel topping and put back into the oven for the remaining 10 minutes.

* This recipe works even better if the bread is slightly stale. I unwrapped the loaf and left it in the toaster oven (turned off) overnight. I’ve also cheated and popped the cubed bread into a 200 degree oven for 45 minutes, turning over about half way through, to dry the bread out.


Super Easy 3 Ingredient Frosting

As you all know, I make a lot of cake. Normally, baking is a nice stress reducing activity, but occasionally it is more of a last minute necessity. When that’s the case, it’s always nice to have a few time saving tricks up your sleeve.  This frosting is one of them. I wish I could take credit for coming up with this amazing recipe, but I found it online somewhere, but here is the thing. I can’t remember when or where. I wrote it down on a sticky note and now… you know. Trust me, I would give credit where credit is do if I could. That aside, this is absolutely something you should tuck away for that last minute baking emergency.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave, checking every 30 seconds, until smooth. Allow to cool slightly.
  2. Combine chocolate, sour cream and vanilla in a mixing bowl and beat until light and fluffy.
  3. Frost away!

Note:

  • If your kitchen is warm, your frosting could start melting. Store your completed cake in the fridge or in a cooler spot away from the stove. Allow to return to room temp before serving. 

Eas,y right? And it’s also delicious. I know I am selling this as a time saving option, but it really is good enough that it could be your go frosting if you wanted. The only issue I have with it is the temperature sensitivity. I live in Florida; it stays pretty warm around here most of the time.


Upside-Down Skillet Corn Cake

And I am chipping right away at #3 on my 31 before 32, this time with Upside-Down Skillet Corn Cake. While seemingly simple, I had a tough time with the recipe. Was it an off day? Was it the humidity? Am I not as good at this baking thing as I thought I was? Who knows, but this recipe was delicious and, after a bit of reflection, well worth the trouble.

Notes:

  • Boy howdy did I have a rough time with this recipe. First, I could not get the brown sugar to melt into the butter. I stirred and stirred, up-ed the heat, turned it back down, and in a desperate attempt – added more butter. Alas, it was all for naught, and I eventually just had to give it a “good enough” and cross my fingers. It 90% worked out. Most of the texture issues worked themselves out as the cake baked, but there was one small grainy patch left that I gently scrapped off before serving.
  • I also could not get the fruit to cooperate, I used nectarines instead of peaches because that fuzz on the outside makes me shudder. As I tried to pit the fruit, it refused to release the pit, and two of my nectarines turned to mush in the process. Even afterwards all I could do was squeeze fruit pieces off of the pit and use them for something else. So I guess I should go for slightly under ripe fruit next time?
  • The cook time was WAY off on this. I baked it for the recommended time plus some and finally took it out when it seemed like the sugar mixture on the edges was starting to burn. The middle was still not fully cooked. Next time I am going to bake it lower for longer. Maybe 325 for 50 minutes to an hour.
  • It is important to note, I do not have a cast iron skillet that is the right size for this recipe so I used a cake tin. Which might have contributed to the bake time issues. I’d still use it again, but I’d also be interested in a do-over with the recommended equipment.

 

 


GF Chocolate Chip Pistachio Cookies with Smoked Sea Salt

Okay guys, I am all for scratch baking. If you got time and energy (and sometimes a little ingenuity), you can really create some amazing things. However, there isn’t always the time to trial and error your way into greatness. Keeping a mix or two on hand for a baking emergency, especially when you are baking with dietary restrictions. No lie, there is always a GF brownie mix or cookie mix in my pantry. I’ve gone through a few different brands, and though I deviate from time to time, King Arthur is my tried and true go-to.

So if you too would like some pretentious, low effort cookies follow the instructions on the back of the box and add these four ingredients:

  1. 1/3 cup chopped pistachios
  2. 1 tsp smoked sea salt (for finishing)
  3. 1/2 tsp vanilla powdered vanilla
  4. 1/2 a heaping cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips

  • Put the mix together according to the instruction on the box and then mix ingredients 1,3 &4.
  • Bake as directed.
  • As soon as they come out, sprinkle some of that delicious overpriced salt over the top of those bad boys (sparingly, this stuff is potent) and let cool. Seriously, let them cool for at least 5 minutes or they’ll fall apart when you pick them up. You’re welcome.

Look how pretty! These bad boys are so delicious, and yes, you need to make them. ASAP. Seriously, go get some mix now.