As the temperatures rise and children return to outdoor play, this simple recipe provides a healthy dose of potassium, vitamin C, folate, and dietary fiber. Adding a few tablespoons of local honey makes for a sweet and nutritious summertime treat.
If your family is anything like mine, these fruity popsicles won’t last long in the freezer!
4 Ingredient Fruit Pops
1 ripe banana, peeled and sliced (frozen bananas work best)
12 strawberries, cleaned, trimmed, and halved
1/2 cup pineapple chunks
2 tablespoons honey
Combine fruit and honey in the food processor. Purée until smooth and creamy. Fill and cap popsicle molds. Freeze for four hours. Loosen popsicle molds by briefly running under warm water. Serve immediately.
Cleaning out my freezer proved to be a positive experience this morning. In the far left corner of my freezer compartment, I found a box of puff pastry cups that I had purchased several weeks ago and completely forgot about them (as they slowly made their way to the back of the freezer). I’m sure many can relate to this. As we pack our freezers and pantries with new items, other items are slowly shuffled “out of sight, out of mind”. I’m thrilled that I was able to quickly assemble this easy recipe for a Sunday dessert. Use any fruit flavored filling for this delicious treat.
Puff Pastry Shells with Cherry Crumble
1 package (6) Puff Pastry Cups, prepared according to package directions
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 can (21 ounces) cherry pie filling or your favorite flavor
Puff Pastry Cups with Cherry Crumble
Cool pastry shells on the baking sheet for 5 minutes. Remove center tops. Do not turn off oven. Keep temperature at 400 degrees. In a small bowl, stir the flour, sugar, cinnamon and butter until crumbs form. Sprinkle evenly over pie filling within each pastry. Bake for 5-7 minutes or until the crumb mixture is golden brown and filling begins to bubble. Remove from oven and let the pastries cool for 10 minutes. Return tops to the pastry. Sprinkle with powder sugar when completely cooled, if desired.
Everyone in our house loves peanut butter so this recipe is definitely a family favorite. A few simple ingredients come together to make a delicious bar great for lunch time or snack time. If you’re a peanut butter lover… pour a giant glass of cold milk, grab a serving-sized blonde, find a quite spot to sit and enjoy a little slice of heaven.
Peanut Butter Blondies
1 cup crunchy peanut butter
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
2 cups brown sugar, packed
4 large eggs, slightly beaten
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups flour
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 13X9” baking dish with cooking spray. In a large bowl, beat peanut butter and butter together with an electric mixer until smooth. Gradually mix in brown sugar, eggs and vanilla extract. Add flour and mix until well combined. Pour batter into prepared baking dish and spread evenly in the dish. Bake for 30-35 minutes.
Optional: Microwave until spreadable, 2-3 tablespoons of peanut butter. Spread over warm bars. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.
Cool before slicing into bars.
This is a crazy easy short-cut, if you’re looking for a last minute Christmas cookie recipe. A semi-homemade treat that combines a pouch of cookie mix with a little cinnamon and sugar makes these cookies taste honey bun yummy! I use turbinado sugar for a crunchier exterior, while the interior stays moist and flavorful.
1 pouch sugar cookie mix
2 tablespoons flour
1/3 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/4 cup turbinado sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Heat oven to 350 degrees. In large bowl, stir cookie mix, flour, butter and egg until dough forms. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. In small bowl, mix turbinado sugar and cinnamon. Roll balls in sugar-cinnamon mixture. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets; slightly flatten. Bake for 11 to 13 minutes. Cool slightly and remove to cooling racks.
Over the years, I have had a few favorite “go to” cutout cookie recipes. Most have similar ingredients and use specific techniques for preparing a crispy, yet tender almond flavored disk. Recently, we purchased a 3 pound package of bees and placed them in a backyard hive. Since then, I have been testing recipes that have a very special ingredient in the mix…that ingredient is honey. I recently made this recipe for a baby shower that my office hosted for a co-worker. While I don’t eat a lot of sweets, I’m told these crispy, tender morsels tasted divine.
Glazed Almond Cutouts
2 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cups butter, softened
3/4 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg yolk
2 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and baking soda; set aside. In a separate bowl, beat butter, sugar and salt until creamy. Beat in yolk, then honey and extracts until smooth. Carefully beat in the flour mixture until smooth. Divide the dough in half. Wrap each half in plastic and refrigerate 15 to 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Roll out dough to a 1/4″ thickness. With a 2″ cookie cutter, cut shapes and place on cookie sheets. Optional: freeze for 30 minutes before placing in preheated oven. Bake 10-12 minutes or until golden.
Let cookies cool on cookie sheet 5 minutes. Transfer cookies to wire rack to cool completely. Glaze cookies and decorate cookies as desired. The recipe that I use for the glaze can be found here.
While on our annual spring break visit to Disney World, we passed many bakery style shops displaying an assortment of carefully prepared baked goods and other sweet treats. Most items were meticulously iced with a thick layer of frosting representing the familiar red, yellow, black, and white colors that Mickey and Minnie traditionally wear. For my family, this thick layer of icing is a bit too much; the “sweet” on top of the “sweet” is more than we can take. Especially when there are so many other treats that entice us throughout the parks.
This year, as we were checking out the shops, my oldest daughter spied a scrumptious square of deliciousness that reminded her of my traditional blondie recipe. Unfortunately, a layer of icing donned the top. In a disappointed tone, she asked if I might bake some blondies when we returned home. She also requested the addition of butterscotch chips. Here is my traditional recipe with a twist of butterscotch and walnut flavors.
3/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 2/3 cups butterscotch chips
1 cup walnuts, chopped
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 13 x 9″ baking pan.
In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugars until creamy. Add eggs and water; beat well. In a medium bowl, Combine flour, baking soda and salt; add to butter mixture, mixing well until completely combined. Stir in butterscotch chips and nuts. Batter will be thick. Spread into prepared pan.
Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until top is golden brown and center is set. Cool completely. Cut into 1 1/2″ bars.
I did a kitchen cupboard inventory yesterday. On one of the upper shelves, I found a can of Solo Cake & Pastry Filling. I pulled back the label of the almond flavored can and noticed a recipe for a Bundt cake. Who doesn’t love the aroma of almonds and butter baking in a cake batter? I immediately pulled out a few sticks of butter to soften on the counter and waited in anticipation for a beautiful baking experience. Here’s the recipe:
The cake turned out divine! Just as I had suspected… A moist and flavorful mixture of goodness!
This week marks the beginning of the official holiday season. Like many of you, my calendar is filled with holiday commitments, most of which require a carry-in dish or baked treat to bring along to the party. I really enjoy this time of year and I do my best to take advantage of a few stress-free tips that can really simplify things. One such tip would be to choose recipes that are easy yet flavorful. The recipe below includes ingredients that are nearly always on-hand in my kitchen. It’s adapted from a recipe that I found in an old community cookbook many years ago. This one’s a no brainer for me… It always turns out perfect. A few simple ingredients bake up a moist and flavorful, good ole’ fashioned, pound cake.
Easy Peasy Pound Cake
3 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups butter
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla or almond extract
3/4 cup milk
Grease and flour a Bundt pan (take your time with this step, getting all of the softened butter and flour into all the nooks and crannies). DON’T PREHEAT THE OVEN.
In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, cream sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add vanilla/almond extract and continue mixing well.
Add flour mixture alternately with milk. Beat until smooth batter is smooth. Pour into prepared pan.
Place cake into the oven, set the temperature to 350 degrees and bake for approximately 60 to 90 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean.
It’s that time of year again… Back to school! This is a great quick bread loaf to bake in quantity and pop in the freezer for lunchbox treats throughout the year. We recently visited our daughter who has started her clinical year at a hospital in Illinois. I brought along an assortment of quick breads that I carefully sliced and individually wrapped for the freezer. This way, she can take out one slice at a time and pack it into her lunch bag for a morning snack or a lunchtime treat. As I think back to all of the blueberry recipes I’ve made for the family, this one is surely a winner!
Back to School Blueberry Bread
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
1 cup fresh blueberries
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
2 tablespoons grated fresh lemon peel
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup sugar or 1 cup powdered sugar
In a large bowl, beat the butter, sugar, lemon juice and eggs. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; stir into egg mixture alternately with milk, beating well. Fold in the blueberries, nuts and lemon peel.
Transfer to a greased 9X5″ loaf pan. Bake at 350° for 60-70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan. Continue to cool on a wire rack.
Combine the glaze ingredients and drizzle over warm bread. Cool completely before slicing.
This past holiday weekend was mild and breezy…the perfect opportunity to head up the road to a local farm to purchase some plump, ripe blueberries. The trip was inspired by my niece who had been “baking up a storm” to celebrate her mother’s (my sister’s) birthday. My sister celebrates her birthday on Independence Day so her daughter prepared a few festive goodies for the occasion. After seeing a few pictures of the table setting for the party, I was inspired to uncover our vintage Mustang convertible and take a drive down the country road to pick up a five-pound box of freshly picked berries. This is one of my favorite pie recipes as it is super simple, made with fresh, bright flavors and ingredients. There is nothing like sharing a piece of blueberry pie after dinner on a Sunday evening with the family before starting another busy work week.
Blueberry Pie with Oat Crumble Topping
1 pre-made pie crust
1/2 cup white sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
5 cups fresh blueberries
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup old fashioned oats
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of nutmeg
6 tablespoons butter
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Press the pie crust into the bottom and up the sides of a 9″ pie plate. In a large bowl, stir together the sugar and flour, lemon zest and lemon juice. Gently stir in the blueberries. Carefully, pour blueberry mixture into the pie crust.In a medium bowl, stir together the brown sugar, oats, flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Mix in butter using a pastry blender or fork until crumbly. Spread the crumb topping evenly over the pie filling.
Bake for 40-45 minutes in the preheated oven, or until browned on top. Cover with foil if crust starts to get too dark before baking is complete. Cool before slicing.