recipe: lemon pie bars

November 9th, 2012 | Posted by admin in Desserts | RECIPES - (0 Comments)

I was looking for a dessert that wasn’t too sweet… although my “too sweet” may be different than most, because I love desserts.  I found this recipe again in the Southern Cookbook “The Back in the Day Bakery”.  I am such a fan of their sweets!  This recipe was very easy and tastes complicated, a perfect combination.  I recommend you use freshly squeezed lemons.



• 3 cups graham cracker crumbs (approximately 24 crackers)
• 12 tablespoons (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, melted
• 2 tablespoons sugar
• 1 cup heavy cream
• 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
• 1 cup fresh lemon juice
• 2 – 14oz cans sweetened condensed milk
• 6 large egg yolks
• 1 recipe fresh whipped cream (Recipe below)




• Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350˚F.  Grease a 9-by-13-by-2-inch baking pan and line with parchment, allowing the ends of the paper to hang over two opposite edges of the pan.

• To make the crust:  In a medium bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, butter, and sugar and blend with a fork until the crumbs are evenly moistened.  Press the graham cracker mixture firmly and evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan.  Use a piece of parchment to press on the crust with the palm of your hands to make sure it is completely level.

• Bake the crust for about 8 minutes, until lightly golden.  Let cool completely before adding the filling.  Turn the oven temperature down to 325˚F.

• To make the filling:  In a large bowl, whisk together the heavy cream, lemon zest, lemon juice, sweetened condensed milk, and egg yolks.  Pour the filling over the cooked crust.

• Place the baking pan inside a larger baking pan and pour enough hot water into the larger pan to come halfway up the sides of the smaller pan.  Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the filling is puffed at the edges and no longer jiggles in the center when the pan is tapped.  Remove the pan from the water bath and set it on a rack to cook for 1 hour, then refrigerate until cold.

• Cut the bars into squares and serve chilled, with the whipped cream.  The bars will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.




RECIPE: Fresh Whipped Cream

• 2 cups heavy cream
• ¼ cup confectioners’ sugar


• Using a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or in a large mixing bowl, using a handheld mixer), whip the cream on medium speed until is starts to thicken.  Add the confectioners’ sugar and beat until the cream holds nice soft peaks.




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recipe: ice cream sandwiches

November 1st, 2012 | Posted by admin in Desserts | RECIPES - (0 Comments)

This is such an easy dessert and always delicious.  I made chocolate and vanilla swirl cookies.  I purchased a vanilla bean and chocolate fudge swirl ice cream.  I also had mini chocolate chips and Heath bar chocolate chip brittles.  Leave your ice cream out to soften a bit.  Then spread the ice cream on one cookie top it with another cookie and then roll the edges in whatever toppings you choose.  Wrap and put in the fridge and you’ll have these on hand!  I usually hide them because in my house they will be eaten quickly!  You can use any type of cookie and you can vary the size.  I like a smaller cookie so it isn’t such a huge dessert.  Have fun!



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recipe: apple cake with toffee crust

October 31st, 2012 | Posted by admin in Desserts | RECIPES - (0 Comments)

Everything apple is what I want in the fall… apple pie, apple crisp, caramel apples, and this apple cake from “Food & Wine”!  It is an explosion of brown sugar, caramel, and apples.  It’s a special dessert to serve for a fall get-together or even for Thanksgiving.  Enjoy!


• 3 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1 ¼ cups vegetable oil
• 2 cups granulated sugar
• 3 large eggs
• 2 large Granny Smith apples—peeled, cored and cut into 1/2-inch dice
• 1 stick unsalted butter
• ¼ cup heavy cream
• 1 cup light brown sugar
• 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


• 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
• ½ cup water
• 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
• 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
• 1 tablespoon brandy


• 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
• 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
• 3 large Granny Smith apples—peeled, cored and cut into 8 wedges each
• 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
• 2 tablespoons water
• Vanilla ice cream, for serving




• Preheat the oven to 325°. Butter and flour a 9-inch springform tube pan. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour with the salt and baking soda. In a large bowl, whisk the oil with the granulated sugar. Whisk in the eggs one at a time. Add the dry ingredients and whisk until smooth. Fold in the diced apples with a rubber spatula. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake in the lower third of the oven for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool slightly.

• Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, combine the butter, cream and brown sugar and bring to a boil over moderate heat, stirring. Remove the toffee glaze from the heat and stir in the vanilla.

• Place the warm cake (still in its pan) on a rimmed baking sheet. Pour the hot glaze over the cake and let it seep into the cake, poking lightly with a toothpick. Let the cake cool completely, about 2 hours. Invert the cake onto a plate, and invert again onto another plate, right side up.

• In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar and water and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Using a moistened pastry brush, wash down any sugar crystals on the side of the pan. Cook without stirring until a medium-amber caramel forms, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and quickly but carefully stir in the cream and butter. Simmer the sauce over moderate heat for 2 minutes, then remove from the heat and stir in the brandy. Pour the toffee sauce into a pitcher.

• In a large skillet, melt the butter and the brown sugar. Add the apples and cinnamon and cook over moderately high heat, turning the apples once or twice, until they are tender and caramelized, about 10 minutes. Add the water to dissolve the caramel in the skillet, then transfer the caramelized apples to a plate.

• Slice the cake and serve with the caramelized apples, toffee sauce and vanilla ice cream.


MAKE AHEAD: The unmolded cake can be stored in an airtight container overnight at room temperature. The toffee sauce can be refrigerated for up to 1 week; reheat gently before serving. The apples can be made up to 2 hours ahead and kept at room temperature.



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recipe: ‘nana cream pie

October 29th, 2012 | Posted by admin in Desserts | RECIPES - (0 Comments)

What could be better for dessert than a delicious homemade Banana Cream Pie?  I have never made this pie before and the banana cream is luscious.  If you love whipped cream, bananas, and old-fashioned vanilla wafers, then you’ll love this pie.  This recipe is from a wonderful dessert cookbook called “Back In The Day Bakery Cookbook”, by Cheryl & Griffith Day.  This is a collection of recipes from as they say “the best little bakery in the south’.  I can’t wait to try the S’More Pie, stay tuned next week!  I need to get a kitchen blowtorch to melt the marshmallows.



• 5 large egg yolks
• 6 tablespoons sugar
• 3 tablespoons cornstarch, sifted
• ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
• 2 cups half-and-half
• 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
• 3 tablespoons banana liqueur, such as crème de banana, or 2 teaspoons banana extract
• 2 ½ tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into cubes, at room temperature
• 1 recipe Nilla wafer piecrust, prebaked (Recipe below)
• 3 large bananas, cut into ¼-inch-thick slices, plus more for decorating
• 1 recipe fresh whipped cream (Recipe below)
• Freshly grated nutmeg for garnish
• Nilla wafers for decorating




• In a heatproof bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch, and salt until thick and pale in color.  Set aside.

• In a medium saucepan, heat the half-and-half to just below a boil.  Whisk about 1 cup of the hot half-and-half into the egg yolk mixture to temper the yolks, so they won’t curdle, then, continuing to whisk, add the remainder of the half-and-half in a steady stream.

• Set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (do not let the bottom of the bowl touch the water) and cook, whisking constantly, until thickened, 5 to 7 minutes.

• Remove the bowl from the heat and whisk in the vanilla and banana liqueur or extract until well combined.  Let the filling mixture sit for 2 to 3 minutes to cool slightly, then whisk in the butter until the custard is smooth and silky.  Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the custard so that a skin does not form and let cool for 30 minutes, or until it reaches room temperature.

• When the filling has cooled, pour half of it into the prepared piecrust.  Add a layer of the sliced bananas, followed by the rest of the filling.  Cover with plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator to chill for at least 3 hours, or overnight.

• Pile the whipped cream on top of the pie with a spatula.  Sprinkle with grated nutmeg and decorate with vanilla wafers and banana slices.  The pie is best served the same day, but it can be covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days.

TIP – Here is a great way to prevent bananas from turning brown in your pie.  Using a pastry brush, brush them with lemon or orange juice.  Other liquids you can use are lime juice, pineapple juice, orange soda, or lemon-lime soda.




RECIPE: Fresh Whipped Cream

• 2 cups heavy cream
• ¼ cup confectioners’ sugar


• Using a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or in a large mixing bowl, using a handheld mixer), whip the cream on medium speed until is starts to thicken.  Add the confectioners’ sugar and beat until the cream holds nice soft peaks.





RECIPE: Nilla Wafer Piecrust

• 3 ½ cups Nilla wafers
• 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
• 2 tablespoons sugar
• Pinch of fine sea salt
• 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature


• Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

• Put the cookies in a zip-top plastic bag and pound them with a rolling pin until they become coarse crumbs.  Alternatively, pulse the cookies in a food processor.  You should have 2 cups.

• In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large mixing bowl, using a handheld mixer), mix the cookie crumbs, flour, sugar, salt, and butter on low speed until the crumbs and flour are evenly moistened, 3 to 5 minutes.  You may be tempted to add more butter – don’t.

• Press the dough evenly over the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch pie dish.  Bake for 6 to 8 minutes, until golden brown.  Let cool completely before filling.



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recipe: freeform blueberry pie

October 10th, 2012 | Posted by admin in Desserts | RECIPES - (0 Comments)

I love a dessert that is easy to make and tastes like it wasn’t.  I am also a big fan of blueberries no matter what time of year.  This recipe could be changed and you could use apples.  I’d add cinnamon.  I always like to make a fresh bowl of whipped cream; it makes the dessert even more special.  You can keep the discs of dough in your fridge pre-made and ready to go.  Easy, simple, and tastes great… a perfect recipe for me.



• 1/2 cup of butter softened
• 1 egg
• ¼ cup of heavy cream
• 1-¼ cups of all-purpose flour
• 4 cups of fresh blueberries
• 1/3 cup of granulated sugar
• 1 tablespoons fine dry breadcrumbs
• 1 tsp of lemon zest
• ¼ cup flour
• ¼ cup sugar
• 4 tablespoons of butter


• Beat butter in an electric mixer for 30 seconds, add egg and beat until combined, then beat in cream at low speed.  Add flour until well combined.

• Remove dough and make a flattened disc.  Wrap in parchment and chill for at least an hour.

• When ready, either divide dough into four parts for individual pies or roll out into one pie.  Roll out onto a lightly floured surface.  Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.



• Combine blueberries, sugar, zest, and breadcrumbs.  Toss to combine.

• Mound the blueberries onto the center of the pastry dough.  Carefully fold the pastry border up and over the blueberries, pleating the dough when necessary.



• Mix butter, flour, and sugar into fine crumbs and sprinkle over the pies or pie.

• Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 60 minutes or until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbly over entire surface.

• Transfer pie to a plate and cool before serving.  Serve with fresh whipped cream.





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recipe: summer peach crostata

August 6th, 2012 | Posted by admin in Desserts | RECIPES - (0 Comments)

It is the season for Red Haven Peaches and this recipe highlights their sweet and luscious taste.  The crust recipe is a butter crust I have used for years, it is also the same recipe that Ina Garten has in her Summer Fruit Crostata.  A butter crust can’t be beat in a fruit dessert, and I am a fan of all fruit desserts.  You can make this recipe with blueberries, nectarines, plums, or apples.  As the season changes so can the fruit.



PASTRY CRUST INGREDIENTS (makes 2 crostatas):
• 2 cups all purpose flour
• ¼ cup of superfine sugar
• Dash of kosher salt
• 2 sticks of cold butter, diced
• 6 tablespoons of ice water


• 6-7 large red haven peaches, peeled and sliced
• 1 tablespoon of flour
• 1 tablespoon of sugar
• ½ tablespoon of cinnamon
• ¼ tsp of orange zest
• 2 tablespoons of fresh squeezed orange juice


• ¼ cup flour
• ¼ cup of sugar
• 4 tablespoons of cold butter



• Combine dry ingredients.

• Add butter till mixture resembles pea like crumbles.

• Add water. Do not over mix.

• Divide dough into two disks, flatten and wrap in parchment.

• Store in fridge for at least an hour.  You can freeze for use later on.


• Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

• Mix fruit filling ingredients for filling.

• Combine topping ingredients into a crumbled mixture.

• Roll out dough onto a well floured surface about 11 inches in diameter.

• Place dough on a parchment lined baking sheet.

• Place fruit mixture onto dough leaving a 1-½ inch edge.

• After filling the dough bring edges up and crimp around fruit mixture.

• Sprinkle the topping over the crostada.

• Place in the preheated oven.  Bake for 30-35 minutes or until edges of dough are golden and crumble top is bubbly.

• Serve with vanilla ice cream or fresh whipped cream.  Enjoy!



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recipe: potato chip cookies

July 19th, 2012 | Posted by admin in Desserts | RECIPES - (0 Comments)

I saw this recipe in the July issue of Martha Stewart Magazine and the combination of sweet, salty, crunchy, and buttery caught my eye… so of course I had to make these delicious cookies.



• 2 sticks of butter, softened
• ¾ cup of light brown sugar
• ¾ cup of granulated sugar
• 1 tsp of pure vanilla
• 2 large eggs
• 2 ¼ cups of all-purpose flour
• 1 tsp of baking powder
• ¼ tsp of salt
• 4 cups of coarsely crushed slated potato chips (approx. 10 oz)
• 1 cup of pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped




• Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

• Beat together butter and sugars with a mixer on high speed until fluffy.

• Add vanilla and eggs, beat on medium speed until combined.

• Add flour, baking soda, and salt and mix on low until combined.

• Stir in chips (2 cups) and pecans.

• Roll dough into 2 inch balls and coat with potato chips (remaining 2 cups).

• Place on parchment lined cookie sheet and bake for approx. 18 minutes.

Cookies will keep in an airtight container for up to 5 days.  Enjoy!



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If you haven’t yet figured it out I have a sweet tooth.  It’s a fact… I know I should curtail my dessert addiction but sometimes (most times) I need just a little bit of sweet.  This recipe from the food blog “smitten kitchen” is a winner.  I love scones in the morning and with summer’s fresh berries it tastes divine!  If you like strawberry shortcake then you’ll like this recipe.  You could add some fresh berries and whipped cream and you have a dessert.



• 2 ¼ cups of all-purpose flour
• 1 tablespoon of baking powder
• ¼ cup of sugar
• ½ tsp of salt
• 6 tablespoons of cold butter, cut into cubes or shredded
• 1 cup of very ripe strawberries, chopped
• 1 cup of heavy cream




• Preheat oven to 425 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper.

• Whisk all dry ingredients and then add butter until it resembles a crumbly meal.

• Mix in strawberries gently using a rubber spatula.  Don’t worry about mixing; dough should be handled as little as possible.

• Generously flour your counter and place dough on there, rolling out dough with your hands, about ¾ inch thick.

• Cut out scones or baskets to your desired sizes, approximately 2 ½ inch rounds.

• Place on baking sheet and bake.  Scones are done when the edges are browned

• Cool and serve.



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recipe: blueberry bread

July 3rd, 2012 | Posted by admin in Desserts | RECIPES - (0 Comments)

One of my all time favorite dessert cookbooks is ” Rosie’s Bakery All-Butter, Fresh Cream, Sugar-Packed, No-Holds-Barred Baking Book” by Judy Rosenberg.  There are many recipes I use from this sweet packed baking book but my favorite is the Cream Cheese Pound Cake.  I use this recipe for a cake and I also add blueberries and bake muffins and bread.  You can freeze this bread and it makes a great gift for a friend with a sweet tooth.  It’s also a go to dessert, pretty easy and delicious!



• 3 cups of flour
• 1 ½ cups (3 sticks) butter at room temp
• 1 package (8 oz) cream cheese at room temp
• 3 cups of sugar
• 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
• 6 large eggs at room temp



• Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Lightly grease your 10 inch tube pan or two bread pans with no stick cooking spray.

• Cream the butter, cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla in a medium mixing bowl at med-high speed until light and fluffy.

• Stop once or twice to scrape bowl.

• Add eggs one at a time to the butter mixture, scrape bowl while mixing.  Once all of the eggs are added mix for 30 seconds more.

• Stir in the flour, then mix on low speed.  Scrape the bowl and blend until batter is smooth.

• Add 1 ½ cups of blueberries. (Before adding, toss blueberries in a tablespoon of flour.  This will keep the berries from dropping to the bottom).

• Pour the batter into prepared pans.

• Bake until top is golden and center is dry, not wet.  For a cake 1 ½ hour, for bread approximately 1 hour.

• Cool completely before unmolding.  Serve cake with berries and whipped cream.





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This is Tammy Kleber’s recipe for her delicious “Three Cities of Spain” cheesecake.


• 1 ½ cups (5 oz) finely ground graham crackers or cookies such as chocolate or vanilla wafers, or gingersnaps.
• 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
• 1/3 cup sugar
• 1/8 tsp salt


• 3 (8oz) packages cream cheese, softened (I use Neufachel)
• 4 large eggs
• 1 tsp vanilla
• 1 cup sugar


• 16 oz sour cream
• 1 tablespoon butter
• 1 tsp vanilla



• Stir together crust ingredients and press onto bottom and 1 inch up side of a springform pan.  Fill right away or chill up to 2 hours.

• Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

• Beat cream cheese with an electric mixer or food processor until fluffy and add eggs one at a time, then vanilla and sugar, beating on low speed until each ingredient is incorporated and scraping down bowl between additions.

• Put spring form pan with crust on a shallow baking pan (to catch drips).  Pour filling into crust and bake in middle of oven 45 minutes, or until cake is set 3 inches from edge but center is still slightly wobbly when pan shakes gently.

• Let stand in baking pan on a rack 5 minutes.  Leave oven on.

• Stir together sour cream, sugar, and vanilla.  Drop teaspoonfuls of topping around edge of cake and spread gently over center, smoothing evenly.

• Bake cake with topping 10 minutes,

• Cool completely in spring from pan on rack. (Cake will continue to set as it cools)  Chill cake, loosely covered at least 6 hours.  Remove side from pan and transfer to plate.  Best when brought to room temperature before serving.




• 1 ½ pints (3 cups) blueberries
• ¾ Cup sugar
• 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
• 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
• 1 tablespoons cornstarch



• Combine all ingredients in a saucepan over med-high heat.

• Bring to a simmer and cook until berries break down, about 4 minutes.

• Let cool, then refrigerate, covered until cold (up to 3 days).


Note:  Unlike the gluey topping you find in a can, this one cooks down to a syrup using the fresh berries.  Can try this with other berries and fruit as well.



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