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Category Archives: Sweets

Cooking the Blogs

I’ve been cooking up a storm lately, and a lot of my new recipes are courtesy of amazing food blogs. Please go and check out these sites to get the recipes for the below dishes. They are all winners and have been big hits with my family & friends.

Oreo Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies
Picky Palate —> Very dangerous for anyone with a sweet tooth!

I mean, it just doesn’t get more ridiculous than these. They are over-the-top in every way! I made a batch for Brandon’s teachers on the first day of school, and they were a huge hit!

Southwestern Pasta Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing
Two Peas & Their Pod —> go visit Maria, Josh and Caleb (they are the cutest little family!)

Still hanging on to the last days of summer? Well this is the perfect side dish to any kind of grilled meat. I actually ate a huge bowl of this all by myself for dinner. It’s totally addicting!

Blackberry Cobbler
The Pioneer Woman —> Like you don’t know who she is!

You just can’t go wrong here. This is a surefire classic, and so easy to make you will find you don’t even need a recipe the second (or third, or fourth) time around.

What are some of you favorite food blogs? Cooking up anything amazing lately?

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Fig Tart with Mascarpone Cream

As promised, here is the beautiful fig tart recipe courtesy of one of my favorite cookbooks, The Winemaker Cooks. If you’ve never checked out this book, I would highly recommend it. It’s beautiful enough to be a coffee table winner, and the recipes themselves are fresh and delicious.

Now back to this lovely tart. Would you believe this was the first tart I’ve ever made?! Seriously, I had to go out and buy a tart pan and everything. Turns out it’s even easier than making a pie since you don’t have to do all that crimping and prettying up. You just lay the extra crust over the sides, then run your rolling pin over the top, et voila! I also love any reason to pull out my rolling pin – it just feels so retro chic, like I should be cooking in heels and pearls. So not only was this tart fun to make, but it also makes for a rather impressive dessert. The figs do all the real work since they just look beautiful on their own. And for some reason figs don’t seem to be the most popular fruit choice, which makes them seem all the more special. My brother-in-law had actually never eaten a raw fig before this! Get on board people, they are delicious!

I will admit that I had a bit of a snafu the first time I made this, as I think there might be a typo in the recipe. It calls for a full teaspoon of salt, and since I was making this with my toddler, I was concentrating more on keeping his little hands out of it, rather than tasting it before I spooned it into the crust. End result was seriously salty. So I did what any enterprising cook would do – I removed all the figs, scrapped out the old filling, and replaced it with my refashioned version. The day was saved. Try this one out while it’s still warm enough to have you craving a cool/refreshing/light dessert.

I’m off to New Orleans for a much deserved weekend with my college sorority sisters and some (hopefully) great Ole Miss football. Major thanks to my husband and in-laws who will be on kiddo duty!

Fig Tart with Mascarpone Cream

Adapted from The Winemaker Cooks

1 1/2 cups AP Flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
3 T ice water
8 oz. mascarpone cheese
1/3 cup sour cream
1/3 cup honey, extra for drizzling
8 figs, quartered lengthwise

  • For Pastry: in a food processor, pulse flour and salt until combined, then add butter and process until it forms coarse crumbs.
  • Add the water, 1 T at a time, until mixture just comes together.
  • Remove dough and shape into a disk, then wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes (or up to 2 days).
  • Remove the dough from the fridge and allow to soften for a few minutes.
  • Roll into an 11-in. round, then place over a 9-in. fluted tart pan with removable bottom.
  • Press dough into the sides, then run rolling pin over the top to remove excess dough.
  • Place back in the fridge for 30 minutes (or up to 24 hours).
  • Preheat oven to 375ºF.
  • Remove pastry from fridge, prick all over with a fork, then line crust with parchment and fill with dried beans.
  • Bake for 20 minutes, then remove paper and beans and cook for another 5-10 minutes, or until just golden.
  • Transfer crust to a wire rack and allow to cool completely.
  • For Filling: in a medium bowl, whisk together the mascarpone, sour cream, and honey.
  • Spread into cooled crust, then arrange figs on top in concentric circles.
  • Remove from pan, and drizzle with additional honey before serving.

Mocha Chocolate Icebox Cake

This is my absolute favorite summer dessert right now. It’s totally over-the-top, with layers of chocolate chip cookies and coffee & chocolate flavored whipped cream. I guarantee you will be running back to the fridge to grab more! It’s so simple to make – just a little whipping and layering, then leave it in the fridge overnight to soften the cookies (this is by far the hardest part). I recently brought this to a bbq and everyone loved it, so I promised I would post the recipe here. I can’t say enough good things about this cake, it’s so delicious!

Although you can probably use any kind of chocolate chip cookie out there (including homemade if you felt so inclined), I would highly recommend you try it with Tate’s (I buy mine at Whole Foods or Fresh Direct) first. They are really crispy and thin and maintain the perfect texture in the cake. I’ve made this cake 4 or 5 times now, and every time I’ve used Tate’s, so I can’t be held responsible if another cookie doesn’t give you the same amazing outcome. 🙂

Mocha Chocolate Icebox Cake

Adapted from Barefoot Contessa

2 cups heavy cream
12 ounces Italian mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup coffee liqueur, like Kahlua
2 T unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. instant espresso powder (I’ve also used instant coffee)
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 (8-ounce) packages Tate’s chocolate chip cookies (no snacking, you need them all!)
chocolate chips or shavings, for garnish

**You will also need an 8-inch springform pan.

  • Using an electric mixer with whisk attachment, slowly whisk together the cream, mascarpone, sugar, coffee liqueur, cocoa powder, espresso powder, and vanilla. Increase speed, and continue whisking until it forms firm peaks.
  • In an 8-inch springform pan, cover the bottom with chocolate chip cookies, even breaking them apart to fill in any big holes.
  • Spread a fifth of the whipped cream on top, then proceed with another layer of cookies.
  • Continue until there are 5 layers of each, ending with a layer of whipped cream.
  • Smooth the top, cover with plastic wrap, and place in the fridge overnight.
  • To remove the cake, run a knife around the outside and remove the sides.
  • Decorate with chocolate garnish in the center if desired.

Peanut Butter Nutella Cookies

I think you just need to read the title to know this cookie is going to be good. It’s like the taste of a peanut butter cookie, but with a much chewier texture, and this delicious chocolaty swirl with a hint of hazelnut. It’s just as familiar as it is different. My husband and I quickly agreed that this was the best peanut butter cookie we have ever had. This is yet another jewel I found on Pinterest, via The Sisters Cafe – go check them out!

Peanut Butter Nutella Cookies

Adapted from The Sisters Cafe

2 sticks butter, room temp
2/3 cup peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2 2/3 cup flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/3 (heaping) cup Nutella

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • With a mixer, cream the butter, peanut butter, sugars, eggs, and vanilla until smooth.
  • In a seperate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.
  • Gradually mix dry ingredients into wet.
  • Disperse spoonfuls of Nutella in dough, then use a butter knife to swirl throughout.
  • Place dough in fridge for 15 minutes (to allow Nutella to firm up).
  • Scoop dough in heaping tablespoons onto cookie sheets.
  • Bake for approx. 10 minutes, until slightly browned on edges.
  • Allow to cool on pan for a few minutes, then move to cooling racks.

I also wanted to send out huge hugs to Jess over at A Lot On Your Plate (who has great tips for improving your life and a fabulous new design to boot!) and Trkingmomoe (who has loads of delicious recipes!) for the awards they gave me. Thanks so much ladies!!

                         

And don’t forget to comment here with your ideas of a 7-30 day fitness/diet challenge to win a sleek kitchen scale!

Pink Lemonade Bars

Are y’all as addicted to Pinterest as I am? I could totally just browse for hours, and at the end, I actually kinda feel productive. Unlike just cruising facebook or some other time sucker website, I have something to show for my time wasting – fabulous new ideas for organization, recipes, outfits, decorating, etc. I even know 100 uses for baking soda! Granted I will probably use only 1% of these, but who cares, the other 99% are there just in case. Like the recipe pin I found for pink lemonade pound cake. It ended up the actual recipe sounded not-so-fabulous, but as fate had it, Deb had just posted a recipe for these pink lemonade bars. It was meant to be.

These are like your typical lemon bar, but with a slight berry flavor and this really pretty magenta-like color. When I originally made them I decreased the lemon juice and increased the raspberry, thinking it would make them less tart and therefore, more appealing to my toddler. I wish I hadn’t, as I missed the tart, so I’m posting the original recipe’s proportions below. If you like your lemon bars on the gooier side, decrease the flour by a tablespoon. As is, they are delicious, it’s totally just a preference thing. These would be absolutely perfect for a girly party (baby/wedding shower) or any hot summer day when you want something rich but refreshing.  They are just too pretty to pass up!

Pink Lemonade Bars
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

For cookie layer:
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp lemon zest
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cubed
1 cup flour

For the lemonade layer:
1 cup raspberries
2 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup AP flour (1 T less or more if you want them gooier)
confectioners sugar

Cookie Layer:

  • Preheat oven to 350°F and coat a 8×8 in . baking pan with nonstick spray (or line with parchment).
  • In food processor pulse together the sugar, zest, and salt.
  • Add butter and pulse until evenly dispersed.
  • Add flour and pulse just until mixture is combined.
  • Press dough into pan.
  • Bake for 15 minutes, then set out to cool slightly.

Lemonade Layer:

  • Rinse out food processor and puree raspberries.
  • Pour puree through a fine-mesh sieve over a bowl (you will need to press with a spatula to get out all the juice).
  • In a bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar, and lemon juice until smooth.
  • Whisk in 3 T of puree, then stir in flour.
  • Pour on top of crust and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until bars barely jiggle and the edges are slightly golden.
  • Cool completely in fridge then cut into squares.
  • Dust with powdered sugar before serving.

Magnolia Banana Pudding

Originally posted on Culinary Wannabe – this is one of my favorites!

For years, every birthday in our house has included the infamous Magnolia Bakery cupcakes. People line up around the block waiting to get into the itty bitty store in the west village to buy a box of these treasured cupcakes. Truth be told, I’m not the biggest fan of the traditional vanilla or chocolate. They are a little grainy and dry and the frosting makes my teeth hurt just thinking about it. Some of the other flavors like spice or red velvet are okay, but they aren’t the real star of the show. The real star is the banana pudding. It is absolutely ta-die-for, and has long been dubbed by Brad and I as one of the best dessert in nyc.

In recent years Magnolia’s have popped up all around town, and I can frequently be found at the one on the UWS. If you are in NYC, be sure to grab a (large) cup, and if not try this recipe at home. It’s really simple and a definite crowd pleaser!

Magnolia’s Famous Banana Pudding

Recipe Courtesy of More from Magnolia

1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 cups ice cold water
1 3.4-ounce package instant vanilla pudding mix (Jell-O brand recommended)
3 cups heavy cream
1 12-ounce box Nabisco Nilla Wafers (substituting not recommended)
4 cups sliced ripe bananas

  • Beat water and condensed milk together with an electric mixer until well combined (about 1 minute, and be careful, this one can fly every where!)
  • Beat in pudding mix for 2 more minutes.
  • Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 4 hours or overnight.
  • Whip the cream with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form.
  • Gently fold the whipped cream into the pudding.
  • To assemble, do alternating layers of wafers, banana, and pudding. Make as many layers as you like and divey up the ingredients accordingly (you could also make individual portions in stemless wine glasses like I did).

Mint Chocolate Cream Cheese Brownies

Orignally posted on Culinary Wannabe – this is one of my favorites!

Does the name alone have you swooning? Oh yes, they are just as good as they sound. Cream cheese brownies were already one of my favorite desserts, but the mint in these took them to a whole nother level. Chocolate and mint – it’s not just for girl scouts anymore! Keep the leftovers (if there are any) in the fridge, as they are totally awesome cold.

Mint Chocolate Cream Cheese Brownies

6 tablespoons butter
4-ounces mint chocolate, chopped
2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs, at room temp
1/2 cup flour
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1/8 teaspoon saltFilling:
8-ounces cream cheese, at room temp
1 egg yolk
5 tablespoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon mint extract
1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • Preheat oven to 350℉.
  • Spray a 9-inch square pan with non-stick spray.
  • In a large bowl, combine chopped mint chocolate and butter and melt in microwave on low. Start with 2 minutes, then stir, and continue cooking at 30 second intervals until completely melted.
  • Beat in sugar and eggs.
  • Add in flour, cocoa powder, salt and vanilla, and mix until combined.
  • Pour into pan in a thin even layer.
  • In a separate bowl, beat together the cream cheese, egg yolk, sugar and mint extract until smooth.
  • Stir in chocolate chips.
  • Place dollops of cream cheese mixture sporadically over the initial brownie layer, and using a dull knife, swirl together.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes or until that batter in the middle is just set.
  • Let cool and cut to serve. I also preferred these chilled, so I kept them in the fridge.
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