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Tag Archives: dessert

Brown Sugar Peach Pie

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This was another of the pies Teri and I made during the great pie making adventure several weeks ago.  I’ll let the photos speak for themselves, but will add that yes, it’s every bit as good as it looks.  And the crust recipe makes a lot, so you will have some leftover for pie crust cookies.  Or do what my nephew and I did: cut animal shapes out of it, fill with jelly, press another shape on top and bake!

Brown Sugar Peach Pie

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Crust
2 2/3 cups flour
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup vegetable shortening, chilled in freezer
6-8 tablespoons ice cold water
1 egg, beaten, for brushing on the crust
1 teaspoon white sugar, for sprinkling on top

Filling
7-8 large fresh ripe peaches
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
3 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 teaspoons butter

In bowl of food processor, combine flour, brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon; pulse until combined.  Scoop out the shortening and add it to the flour mixture; pulse until mixture resembles large peas.  Add water, one tablespoon at a time, until the dough comes together.  Form into two discs, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.

Preheat oven to 425.   Peel*, pit and slice peaches; place in a large bowl.  Add lemon juice, brown sugar, and vanilla, and mix well; set aside.  Roll out one pie dough disc on a floured counter and fit into pie plate.  Brush with egg to create a barrier between it and the filling and keep it from becoming soggy.  Pour peach mixture into crust and dot with butter. Roll out second disk for the top of pie and place on top. You can make a lattice design or just make slits in top crust. Brush with egg & sprinkle with sugar.

Bake for 10 minutes. Turn temperature down to 350 and bake approximately 40 minutes longer, or until filling is bubbling and crust is golden brown.  Halfway through, or when it starts browning on the edges, cover edges with aluminum foil or a pie shield to keep it from burning.

*To easily peel peaches, score an X into the bottoms, drop them 2-3 at a time into boiling water, let boil for 30 seconds – 1 minute, then remove and place in a bowl of ice water.  The skins will just slip off when you rub it away from the cut.

Recipe source: Foodin Life in New England

Owen with his butterfly pie crust cut out.

After the filled cookies were baked, I spread more jam on top instead of making a glaze because it was easier. :)

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Raw Double Chocolate Brownie Bites

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I joined The Secret Recipe Club at the end of May, which was too late to participate in June, so I was super eager to finally get my assignment for July.  In this club, each month the participating bloggers make a recipe from another participant’s blog.  The blog is assigned secretly and at random, so no one else knows who’s making something from their blog that month.  I found the whole idea really fun and exciting!  (Don’t judge me.)

I was assigned to make a recipe from Ginger Lemon Girl’s blog, and my first reaction was a mixture of both trepidation and anticipation.  Carrie follows a gluten-free diet, and since I don’t have any dietary restrictions, I wasn’t sure if the recipes would appeal to me, but I knew I could adapt them if necessary and was ready for the challenge.  Once I started browsing her archives, I quickly realized that her recipes were good, wholesome foods that anyone could enjoy, and some of them were naturally gluten-free because no flour was involved.  Like this one!

When I came across Carrie’s recipe for Raw Chocolate Brownie Bites, I immediately thought of my love for Fudge Babies, and knew it was the one I’d have to make.

I made the recipe as it was written the first time (pictured above) and really liked it (maybe that’s an understatement, seeing as how I ate half the batch the first day!), though adding as much agave nectar to sweeten them as I liked (2 T) made them too soft for me. I wanted them chewier and a little sweeter (i.e. more dates!). I also wanted more of the chocolate dough so that it would completely cover the bottom of a loaf pan. The first batch, spreading it to the thickness I wanted, filled only 2/3 of the bottom of the pan. So I took Carrie’s rockin’ recipe and tweaked it a bit, and couldn’t help adding some mini chocolate chips to make them doubly chocolatey!  The chocolate chips only add 16 calories per Brownie Bite and don’t change the points, so I really recommend you put them over the top to make these bites, well, over the top. :)

For those unfamiliar with raw desserts, they are a lot like Larabars, but better (at least I think these are).  If you’ve never had those either, now’s your chance to see what all the fuss is about.  This isn’t like eating a candy bar or any sort of processed sweet, because it’s all-natural, raw, and much healthier (not to mention allergy-friendly), but they are very good!  I bet even your kids will love them.  Give them a try and see if you don’t agree.

Raw Double Chocolate Brownie Bites

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1 cup pitted dates
1 1/3 cups raw nuts (I used 2/3 cups each almonds & pecans)
¼ cup cocoa powder
½ teaspoon Fleur de Sel or kosher salt
~or ¼ teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips

Soak the dates in a bowl of hot tap water for five minutes; drain well. (Skip the soaking step if you are using Medjool dates.) In a food processor fitted with the blade attachment, grind the nuts until very fine. Add the drained dates, cocoa powder, and salt. Process for a minute or two, until nuts are very fine and the mixture sticks together quite easily, if it’s not already coming together in the bowl. With the food processor running, add the vanilla through the feed tube and continue processing until the mixture starts to form a ball. Just run it for another 10-30 seconds and if it doesn’t form a ball, check the consistency and see if it will stick together when pinched. If not, add a teaspoon of water and continue processing, adding more water if necessary (it shouldn’t be) until the mixture is sticky. Pat the chocolate dough into a loaf pan. It is OK if oil separates a little and forms a layer on top; it will soak back down into the brownie dough while it sits in the refrigerator.   Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top and pat them down into the surface so that they will stick. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2-3 hours. Cut into 18 squares (6 rows x 3 rows) and enjoy cold.

Makes 18 Brownie Bites

Per Brownie Bite: 107 calories; 7 g fat; 1.1 g saturated fat; 1.6 g polyunsaturated fat; 3.8 g monounsaturated fat; 0 g cholesterol;  33.2 mg sodium; 151 mg potassium; 12 g carbohydrates; 2.4 g fiber; 2.1 g protein; Vitamin B-6 2%; Vitamin E 8%; Calcium 2.2%; Copper 10%; Iron 4%; Magnesium 8.4%; Manganese 21.3%; Phosphorous 5.6%; Riboflavin 3.6%; Thiamin 3.3%; Zinc 3.6%      3 Points Plus

Recipe source: adapted from Ginger Lemon Girl



Fudge Babies

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I’ve been seeing raw desserts around the blogosphere for a while now and am kind of late in joining in on this remarkable food trend.  I finally made the first raw dessert recipe I ever saved after I started seeing it in varied forms on other blogs.  And I was blown. away.  I’ve made other raw desserts since, and these are still my favorite.

These things are called Cocoa Nibbles on the blog I nabbed them from, but I think Katie’s name for them, Fudge Babies (same ingredients, slightly different recipe), is much more apt.  Because they really do have the consistency of fudge!  And they’re healthy.  Gluten-free.  Fruit-sweetened with no added sugars.  Vegan.  Simple.  Easy.  Perfect for a summer treat because there’s no cooking involved, and they’re served cold.  And did I already say they’re amazing?

Fudge Babies

Printable recipe
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½ cup raw cashews (or any other nut you love)
1 ¼ cups Medjool dates, chopped
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
Optional add ins: vanilla, 6 leaves mint, chopped; ¼ – ½ tsp chili flakes; 1 tbsp chopped candied ginger; 1 tbsp raw cocoa nibs; 2 tsp freshly grated orange rind; ½ tsp cinnamon, or play with other spices of your choice

In a food processor, process the nuts, dates and cocoa until you have what looks like a fine meal. Sprinkle with optional add-ins, if using, and continue to process until the mixture comes together as a ball that rolls around the edge of the processor bowl.  The “dough” is ready when, if you pinch some and press it between your fingers, it sticks together readily and looks a bit shiny. (If you are using regular dates, the mixture might be too dry to produce this type of dough, in which case you can sprinkle up to 2 teaspoons water and proceed as above).

Pull off pieces of dough and roll into truffle-like balls, placing on a plate.   Go ahead and eat one while they’re room temperature and give a little sigh of pleasure.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate  at least two hours or overnight.  They are much better cold, as they firm up considerably and will attain the texture of a dense fudge.

Makes 16 fudge babies

Per fudge baby: 61 calories; 2 g fat; 12 g carbohydrates; 1.3 g fiber; 1 g protein; 2 Points Plus

Recipe source: slightly tweaked from The Copycat Cook, while the name came from Chocolate-Covered Katie, who uses a similar recipe.

Sunshine Bars {Citrus Gooey Butter Cake}

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Food blogging can be rough on a girl’s diet.  I told you that I didn’t have any Easter-ish recipes and gave you what I could, and yet I still felt the pressure of posting one before the holiday.  And so I got to work in the kitchen and came up with something so delicious that sampling it when it came out of the oven at 1 AM, and having more for breakfast this morning (the breakfast of champions!) has completely depleted all my Weight Watchers Points Plus for the day.  And then some.  Oi.  But a dedicated food blogger owes it to her readers to sacrifice valuable points for the sake of their holiday enjoyment, right?  Yeah, that’s right.  I did it all for you.  Because I so wouldn’t have eaten all that tart-sweet gooey butter cake without my readers as motivation.

What?  You don’t believe me?  OK, fine.  I so totally would have made and eaten this regardless, but I’m rushing to post this recipe before work so you can make it for Easter and that’s all for you.  You’re welcome.  :)

I really love gooey butter cake, and in fact I was already planning to do a few posts on the basic recipe and the chocolate version since I made both almost two years ago and never got around to blogging them.  It reminds me of a different form of cheesecake, sort of like cheesecake bars, but muuuuuch more buttery.  The crust layer is soft, yet firm enough to hold the bars together, somewhere between cookie and cake, while the filling is creamy & gooey.  In this springtime version, I used an orange cake mix for the base (though lemon or even yellow would be great), and used up the rest of my lemon curd in the filling.  I had no idea how it would turn out and was greatly relieved to be rewarded with something I can proudly share with my husband’s family this weekend.  Well.  I mean.  What’s left of it.

Sunshine Bars 

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Crust:
1 (18.25 oz) orange or lemon cake mix
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted
1 egg

Filling:
1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, room temperature
2/3 cup lemon curd
1/3 cup lemon juice
2 eggs
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted
1 lb (4 cups) powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F with rack in center of oven. Spray a 9×13 baking dish with oil and set aside. In a large bowl, mix the cake mix, egg, and butter with an electric mixer until well combined. Press the dough into the prepared pan and set aside. Wipe out the bowl and clean off the beaters, then cream together the cream cheese and lemon curd until well combined. Mix in the lemon juice, then the eggs until incorporated. Add the butter and powdered sugar and mix until well combined. Spread over the crust layer and smooth the top with spatula. Bake in preheated oven for 45-47 minutes, or until browned on top but still jiggly in the middle. Cool on wire rack until completely cool, about two hours, before cutting and serving. Can also be served cold, depending on your preference.

Recipe source: adapted from Paula Deen’s Gooey Butter Cake recipe.

Apple Cake Mabel

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Before we get to the cake, please remember to head on over to Steph’s Bite by Bite to check out all the wonderful goodies up for auction in the online bake sale, which started at 7 AM today and goes until 9 PM EST.  She’s raising money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and I can’t wait to mail a batch of my Mocha Toffee Brownies to the winning bidder!  Good luck!

OK, now let’s get down to business.  I begged this recipe off my friend, Judy, when she mentioned she had made a sugar-free apple cake that turned out well.  I’m intrigued by anything that is sugar-free that also tastes good, as I have not had a lot of personal success with this.  I discovered that the cake was made with Splenda and shortening and this repelled me on many levels, but also awakened a creative desire to make it healthier with a natural sweetener and not only non-hydrogenated fat, but less of it.  As I mentioned in my post on chocolate chip banana bread, I’ve been experimenting with Truvia, a natural calorie-free sweetener made from the stevia plant’s leaves, so I used that in addition to brown sugar to give a better, more natural flavor.  I didn’t mess with the diet soda in the recipe, but it could easily be switched out for any variety of Zevia (a calorie-free soda made with stevia), or with club soda and additional Truvia.

Now, I’m not sure who Mabel is, or if she was even the one to come up with the original recipe, but I hope that she would be as pleased as I am with my adaptation.  It isn’t as light and tender as a traditional cake, but a little more dense like coffee cake, moist, perfectly sweet & spiced, with tender chunks of apple in every bite.  It is best served the day you bake it as it gets a little dry a couple days later, but it can be returned to it’s former glory with a few seconds in the microwave.

Apple Cake Mabel

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2 eggs
½ cup brown sugar
4 oz cup (1/2 cup) unsweetened applesauce
1 cup diet Dr. Pepper or cream soda
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup Truvia
1 teaspoon Vietnamese cinnamon
1 t freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

1 large apple, peeled & chopped

Toppping
¼ chopped pecans
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons shredded, sweetened coconut

Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour a 9×13 pan.  Beat eggs until smooth & uniform in color, then add in brown sugar and beat until sugar is incorporated and mixture is slightly thickened. Add applesauce, diet Dr. Pepper, canola oil, and vanilla and mix until incorporated. Add in the remaining ingredients, except for the apples, and beat until smooth, 1-2 minutes. Fold in apples and pour into prepared pan. Sprinkle the toppings over the top in the order listed and bake for 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack at least 15 minutes before serving. Serve with whipped cream if desired.

*Veronica’s note: I recommend using a sweet baking apple, such as Braeburn, Rome, or Gala.

Makes 15 servings. Per piece: 139 calories; 2.6 g fat; 28 g carb; 1.4 fiber; 3.2 protein

Recipe source: adapted from Judy L.

Mocha Toffee Brownies

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I’ve signed up to participate in an online bake sale to help fellow food blogger, Stephanie of Bite by Bite, raise money for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society while she trains with Team in Training to complete a marathon on June 5th.  I ran a half marathon with Team in Training in 2008 and I love to bake, so there was no question I was joining the effort!

My submission to the sale will be a batch of these Mocha Toffee Brownies.  In case you can’t tell from the photo, they are delicious! Imagine a thick, Kahlua-infused brownie with a layer of toffee & almond-studded milk chocolate in the middle, and a heavy sprinkling of crunchy English toffee baked into the top.  It’s an incredibly decadent treat.  The second best part?  They are incredibly easy to make!

If you would like to bid on these brownies, or any other treats (there are even healthy ones!) that will be in the auction from over 30 other bloggers, or would like to donate some of your own baked goods, click here for more information.  The bake sale is January 31st!

Mocha Toffee Brownies

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1 (19.9 oz) box fudge brownie mix
1 stick (1/2 cup) real butter, melted
1/4 cup coffee liqueur, such as Kahlua*
2 large eggs
2 large (4.25 oz) Symphony candy bars with almonds and toffee chips
1/3 cup toffee bits

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease the bottom of an 8×8 baking dish.  Mix together brownie mix, butter, coffee liqueur, and eggs until well mixed.  Spread half into prepared pan and place the candy bars side by side on top.  Cover with remaining batter, smoothing with a spatula.  Sprinkle toffee bits evenly over the top and bake for 40-45 minutes.  Cool completely in pan on wire rack before cutting.

*For Toffee Brownies, which are just as fabulous, omit the coffee liqueur and replace with 1/4 cup water.

Recipe by Veronica Miller, with inspiration from Paula Deen

Black Rice Pudding

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This stuff is just amazing.  I adore it!  The coconut milk and sugar makes it a little heavy on the calories, but I justify the splurge by reminding myself that the black rice is chock full of antioxidants, even more than blueberries!

Commonly served for breakfast in parts of Southeast Asia, this dish also makes a great dessert. Chinese black rice, sometimes called forbidden rice, works well, but if you live near a Southeast Asian market you can use this same method with the more traditional Thai black sticky rice.

If you can’t find any kind of black rice, substitute brown rice (not quick-cooking) — it will result in a thicker, light-colored pudding but will still be delicious.

Black Rice Pudding

Printable recipe

1 cup black rice
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 cup sugar
1 (13 1/2- to 15-oz) can unsweetened coconut milk, stirred well

Bring rice, 3 cups water, and 1/4 teaspoon salt to a boil in a 3 to 4-quart heavy saucepan, then reduce heat to low and simmer, covered with a tight-fitting lid, 45 minutes (rice will be cooked but still wet). Stir in sugar, a scant 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1 1/2 cups coconut milk and bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until mixture is thick and rice is tender but still slightly chewy, about 30 minutes.

Remove from heat and cool to warm or room temperature, stirring occasionally, at least 30 minutes. Just before serving, stir pudding and divide among 8 bowls. Stir remaining coconut milk and drizzle over pudding.

Recipe source: Gourmet, December 2005

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