Individual Pluot Crisps

Individual Pluot Crisps

Yesterday was the hottest day of the summer so far. Temperatures climbed into the nineties, the sun blazed in a cloudless blue sky, low humidity rounded out the gorgeous weather trifecta.

Some people complained about the heat of the day, but after the winter we had, most did not. The heat felt like the nicest warm blanket, the sun like pure energy. I stood in the driveway, looked to the sky (don’t worry, I had sunglasses on), and soaked it all up. Though I’m not a love of living in Michigan (California here I come . . . one day . . . preferably soon . . . like before the next snowfall), this day, this summer has temporarily changed that. I did not complain about the heat; rather I am hoping Mother Nature sends more of it our way. After all, following the worst winter ever, she kinda owes us!

Individual Pluot Crisps

Along with the heat, summer brings a plethora of stone fruit. The flavorful, juicy fruit quenches my thirst and revitalizes my body. Especially Frog Hollow’s organic Flavor King Pluots.

These pluots are to be treasured. Not too big, their size is deceiving, as they pack huge flavor. The texture of a plum is combined with the flavor of an apricot to make them great for eating out of hand and even better for baking. The flesh is rather soft and sweet, while the slightly tough skin adds a pleasant tartness.

Individual Pluot Crisps

Individual Pluot Crisps

Frog Hollow challenged me to bake something with them with leaving the skin on. I am used to eating stone fruit with the skin, but not baking with it. I also wanted a light easy to make summer dessert.

So I make Individual Pluot Crisps. Each halve of the pitted pluot is filled with the best crumb topping that you won’t believe is vegan and gluten free! Oats and granulated sugar bring texture to the party, while cinnamon packs a flavor punch. The topping combines with the juicy fruit for a not too sweet treat. Oh, and that skin? It blends right into the fruit. You won’t even know it’s there. I know you want some of these pluots in your life, so head over to Frog Hollow’s website and order some. And if you’re a fruit lover like me, be sure to follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram too!

Individual Pluot Crisps

Individual Pluot Crisps

Individual Pluot Crisps

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 2 servings

Ingredients

2 Flavor King Pluots, washed and halved

¼ cup old-fashioned rolled oats (gluten free, if you like)

2 tablespoons flour (gluten free, oat flour, even almond flour will work)

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Place the halves of the pluots flesh side up on the tray.

In a medium bowl, stir together oatmeal, flour, sugar, and cinnamon. Drizzle in oil and stir until clumps form. Divide topping among pluot halves. If there is any leftover, place it in a mound on the tray and it will be a yummy, crunchy addition to the dessert.

Bake for about 30 minutes, until topping is golden brown and fruit is juicy. Serve warm with ice cream, if you like.

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Disclaimer: I was provided with fruit by Frog Hollow Farm, but all opinions, as always, are mine!

How Suits Inspires Me + Sweet Cherry Crumb Bars

Sweet Cherry Crumb Bars

I have been wanting to write a letter to Suits creator Aaron Korsh for awhile now, but I couldn’t find an address to send it to him. Then I realized I have a vehicle through my blog. I figured I’d post the letter here and cross my fingers he’ll read it. Here goes nothing!

Dear Aaron,

When I watch Suits, I think three things. First, “Yay, Suits is on,” because it’s pretty much my favorite show. Second, I wish Harvey was real and would be my boyfriend since he’s smart and handsome and charismatic and basically perfect (am I right, ladies?). Third, I want nothing more from life than to have the opportunity to create a show as wonderful as Suits.

Suits takes me away from my life and all its problems. It makes me happy, makes me cheer for the characters, makes me wish I was a part of the characters’ world. Very few people have the talent you do to create such escapism, but I believe I do.

I have several completed novels, two completed screenplays, and a spec script. I have submitted my novels to agents on several occasions without success. I have submitted one of my screenplays to contests and received positive feedback, which is inspiring. There are, however, very few agents that accept unsolicited submissions from screenwriters.

Because I so admire your work, I was wondering if you would help me get my foot in the door and start my career. I’d appreciate any advice you could offer or any connections you could give me. Seriously, only a moment of your time would mean the world to me. I hope you have had the chance to read this letter. And if you have, thank you for doing so! It only takes one person to make my dreams come true, and I think that person just might be you. Oh, and thank you for creating Suits!

Best,
Laura Dembowski

Sweet Cherry Crumb Bars

For those of you here for a recipe and not to hear about my dreams, you’ll be glad you stuck around. These cherry crumb bars are crazy good. Yes, making them means pitting a little less than two hundred cherries, but they are worth every moment of the messy work. I recommend investing in a cherry pitter, but you can also pit cherries easily with a paring knife. I’ve done it both ways because summer means pitting lots of cherries for treats like this. The slightly crispy, slightly crumbly shortbread crust, paired with the sweet, juicy cherries, and the slightly sandy, melt in your mouth topping is the perfect combination, just like the world of Suits!

Sweet Cherry Crumb Bars

Sweet Cherry Crumb Bars

Sweet Cherry Crumb Bars

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Yield: 24 bars

Ingredients

5 heaping cups Bing cherries, stemmed, pitted, and halved

4 cups all-purpose flour

1 ½ cups granulated sugar

¾ cup packed dark brown sugar, divided

½ teaspoon kosher salt

3 sticks unsalted butter, cold, cubed

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Generously butter a 9 by 13 inch pan and set aside.

In a large bowl, stir together flour, granulated sugar, ½ cup brown sugar, and salt until combined. Add the butter and work it in using your fingers or a pastry cutter until the butter is evenly distributed in pea sized pieces and the mixture is crumbly.

In a medium bowl, stir together cherries, 1 cup of the crumb mixture, remaining ¼ cup brown sugar, lemon juice, and cinnamon until well combined.

Pour half of the remaining crumb mixture into the prepared pan. Press it down firmly with your hands and bake for about 12 minutes, until light golden brown.

Allow crust to cool slightly before spreading the cherry mixture on to it in an even layer. Top cherries with remaining crumb topping. Press the topping gently into the cherries. Return to the oven and bake for an additional 40-45 minutes, until the top is golden brown and the cherries are bubbling. Cool completely in the pan before cutting into bars and serving. Bars may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days, or frozen, wrapped in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature about an hour or in a 350 degree F oven for about 10 minutes.

Notes

Recipe adapted from Crepes of Wrath

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Lemon Meringue Pie Cookies

Lemon Meringue Pie Cookies

Eggs are a staple food for me. I bake with them all the time. I can create an awesome gluten free recipe, but take away eggs and ask me to make a vegan one, and I struggle. I also eat eggs at least a couple times a week for dinner. That’s right; I’m a breakfast for dinner kind of gal. I love eggs poached, scrambled, baked, turned into a frittata or microwave omelet. I’m basically an egg freak.

Because I eat eggs so frequently, it’s important to me that my eggs are responsibly sourced from humanely treated chickens. When I’m cracking open an egg, I don’t always think about where it came from, and I bet you don’t either. I get it, when you’re in the middle of baking a cake, whipping up a brunch spread, or figuring out a quick dinner after a long day, you don’t want to have a conversation about where those eggs came from.

Cage-Free Eggs

Lemon Meringue Pie Cookies

But by thinking about where your eggs come from and deciding to purchase cage-free eggs, you never have to worry about it again. Over 300 million hens in the US and Canada are living terrible lives, in a space about the size of an iPad. They can’t spread their wings or walk around, leading to injury and stress, which raises the risk of salmonella in eggs, and nobody wants salmonella in their eggs. In fact, it’s hard to even want to eat eggs when you learn how hens, who are social creatures and want to enjoy their lives, are treated.

Luckily, there’s an easy fix: buy cage-free eggs. Yep, it’s that simple. They might be a little more expensive, but it’s worth it to know those hens are happier and their eggs are safer. Cage-free hens are able to walk around, take dust baths, and be typical hens. It sounds to me like it’s a win-win situation. Half of egg buyers say they’d buy a different product if they learned it was made from animals that suffered unnecessarily. I’m definitely one of them.

Lemon Meringue Pie Cookies

I encourage you to sign the Pledge to Choose Cage-Free. This is such an important initiative from the World Society for the Protection of Animals. By taking the pledge and buying cage-free eggs change is possible, and the lives of millions of hens can be improved. Plus, the blogger who gets the most people to sign the pledge will win an interview with Chef Christine Cushing, a famous chef from Food Network Canada. So please, sign the pledge.

After you sign the pledge, you are going to want to stock up on cage-free eggs to make these delectable Lemon Meringue Pie Cookies. From the cakey vanilla cookies to the silky smooth lemon curd to the fluffy, sticky Italian meringue, these cookies are a fabulous mix of flavors and textures everyone is sure to enjoy. They were swiftly devoured in my house and will be in yours too!

Lemon Meringue Pie Cookies

Lemon Meringue Pie Cookies

Lemon Meringue Pie Cookies

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 2 hours

Yield: 10 cookies

Ingredients

Cookies

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup granulated sugar

2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Lemon Curd

Zest of 4 lemons

½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 ¼ cup granulated sugar

5 large egg yolks

1 stick unsalted butter, cold and cubed

Italian Meringue

½ cup water

1 ½ cups granulated sugar

2 tablespoons light corn syrup

5 large egg whites

½ plus ⅛ teaspoon cream of tartar

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

Instructions

Make the cookies. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment. In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, and salt. In a large bowl, cream sugar and butter until light and fluffy. I did this by hand, but a hand or stand mixer would work as well. Add the eggs and mix until once again light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and mix to combine.

Add the flour and mix just until a dough is formed. Using a regular sized ice cream scoop, scoop dough onto prepared pan. Bake for 17-20 minutes, until cookies are golden brown around the edges and just starting to set. While cookies are hot, use your thumb to make a large indentation in the center of the cookies. Cool completely on tray. Cookies may be made 1 day ahead of time.

Make the lemon curd. In a medium saucepan, whisk together lemon zest and juice, sugar, and egg yolks. Place the pan over medium-low heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the curd thickens slightly, about 5-7 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the butter 1 piece at a time. Continue stirring until all the butter is emulsified. You may strain the curd if you like. I skipped that step. Pour the curd into an airtight container and place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the curd to prevent a skin from forming. Store curd in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Make the meringue. In a small saucepan, combine water, sugar, and corn syrup over medium heat. Stir frequently until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is clear. Once this happens, attach a candy thermometer, raise the heat to medium-high, and stop stirring. Allow the mixture to come to 240 degrees F on the candy thermometer.

In the meantime, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on medium-high until frothy. Add the cream of tartar. Continue beating on medium-high until the egg whites form stiff peaks.

When the egg whites have formed stiff peaks and the sugar mixture has reached 240, remove the syrup from the heat and turn the mixer to medium-low. Slowly and immediately begin drizzling the syrup into the egg whites, trying not to get it on the sides of the bowl. If the whites are done whipping before the syrup is done, turn them off until the syrup reaches 235, then turn them back on to make sure they are fluffy. If the syrup is done before the whites, turn the heat down or remove it from the heat for a minute or so.

Once the syrup is drizzled into the whites, turn the mixer back up to medium-high and beat for about 7 minutes, until the bottom of the bowl is cool and the marshmallow is thick, glossy, and voluminous. Add the vanilla and mix about 1 minute more. Meringue may be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

Assemble the cookies. Generously fill the indentation in each cookie with lemon curd. Place several mounds of meringue on top and smooth with an offset spatula, covering cookie entirely. Once all the cookies are coated, turn on the broiler and broil until the meringue is golden brown. Cookies may be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

Notes

Additional cooling time is necessary

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I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Fluffernutter Pie

Fluffernutter Pie

Finally spring is starting to take hold.  Hopefully it’s doing some serious weightlifting because it needs to be crazy strong to kick winter all the way to the curb and keep it there.

All the springtime signs are like a weight lifted from my shoulders.  The birds are singing, the chipmunks have come out of hibernation, the days are so much longer, the snow is almost melted (yeah, some of it’s still hanging on), and I didn’t even have to wear my coat the other day!

Fluffernutter Pie

Fluffernutter Pie

If winter comes back again, I swear I’m gonna barricade myself in the house.  And maybe have a load of dirt and some flowers delivered to start a garden in the house because you can have anything delivered today.  Just ask my BFF, the UPS man.

There may have been some talk on the local news that snow is meteorologically possible until June.  But I put my fingers in my ears and chanted “la, la, la” like a five year old, so we’ll pretend like it didn’t happen.

Fluffernutter Pie

This Fluffernutter Pie definitely happened.  And I’m so glad it did.  I mean does it get better than a thick graham cracker crust, silky smooth peanut butter pastry cream, and homemade marshmallow fluff?  Um . . . no.  You’ll be tempted to eat the peanut butter pastry cream straight from the pot with a spoon, but save some for the pie.  You’ll thank me later!

Fluffernutter Pie

Fluffernutter Pie

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Yield: 8 slices

Ingredients

Crust

2 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs

¼ cup granulated sugar

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Peanut Butter Pastry Cream

2 cups milk or cream, divided (I used almond milk, use what you love)

¼ cup cornstarch

¾ cup granulated sugar

2 whole large eggs

4 large egg yolks

¾ cup creamy peanut butter (I used Skippy Natural, use what you love)

1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste

Marshmallow Fluff

½ cup water

1 ½ cups granulated sugar

2 tablespoons light corn syrup

5 large egg whites

½ plus ⅛ teaspoon cream of tartar

1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste

Instructions

Make the crust. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and butter. Pour into a pie pan and press in firmly with your hands, going all the way up the sides. Using a measuring cup press the bottom in very firmly. Bake for 15-25 minutes until golden brown. Cool completely.

Make the marshmallow fluff. In a small saucepan, combine water, sugar, and corn syrup over medium heat. Stir frequently until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is clear. Once this happens, attach a candy thermometer, raise the heat to medium-high, and stop stirring. Allow the mixture to come to 240 degrees F on the candy thermometer.

In the meantime, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on medium-high until frothy. Add the cream of tartar. Continue beating on medium-high until the egg whites form stiff peaks.

When the egg whites have formed stiff peaks and the sugar mixture has reached 240, remove the syrup from the heat and turn the mixer to medium-low. Slowly and immediately begin drizzling the syrup into the egg whites, trying not to get it on the sides of the bowl. If the whites are done whipping before the syrup is done, turn them off until the syrup reaches 235, then turn them back on to make sure they are fluffy. If the syrup is done before the whites, turn the heat down or remove it from the heat for a minute or so.

Once the syrup is drizzled into the whites, turn the mixer back up to medium-high and beat for about 7 minutes, until the bottom of the bowl is cool and the marshmallow is thick, glossy, and voluminous. Add the vanilla bean paste and mix about 1 minute more. Marshmallow may be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. I recommend doing this as it makes assembling the pie easier.

Make the pastry cream. In a medium bowl, whisk together ½ cup milk and cornstarch. Place the remaining milk and the sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook until the mixture just starts to bubble.

Whisk the eggs and egg yolks into the milk and cornstarch mixture until well combined. Slowly add about 1/3 of the hot milk mixture to the egg mixture while whisking. Then pour the egg mixture into the remaining hot milk in the saucepan and place over medium low heat. It is important to keep the heat low so the mixture does not curdle. Whisk constantly until the mixture starts to thicken. Remove from the heat and whisk in the peanut butter and vanilla bean paste until fully combined.

Assemble the pie. Preheat the broiler. Pour pastry cream immediately into the baked and cooled crust. Top immediately with the marshmallow fluff. Make peaks in the marshmallow using the back of a spoon or a knife. Place under the broiler for 1-2 minutes until the marshmallow is golden brown. Do not walk away during this process, as it will burn quickly.

Allow the pie to chill in the refrigerator for at least two hours before serving. Pie may be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

Notes

Recipe adapted from Sprinkle Bakes

Additional cooling and chilling time is necessary

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Lime Meltaways #SundaySupper

Lime Meltaways

St. Patrick’s Day is a fun holiday.  I’m part Irish and love celebrating a little.  Green is a bright, happy color, and I’m all about four leaf clovers, pots of gold, and anything that might bring good luck.

But it’s a hard food holiday.  Not that many foods are inherently Irish.  I’m not a big fan of the ones that are either.  Corned beef?  No thanks.  Guinness?  Not so much.  I do like mint, but most of the green mint candies out there involve chocolate, and they have become synonymous with St. Patrick’s Day only because they’re green.  I have plenty of red mint candies, but we’re talking March 17, not December 25 here!

Lime Meltaways

Lime Meltaways

So this Sunday Supper is celebrating green foods.  Okay, I realize these aren’t exactly green.  I didn’t go color blind or anything.  I had trouble thinking of many green foods to bake with.  Hopefully my Sunday Supper friends will forgive me because there is some bright green lime zest under all that confectioners’ sugar.  I promise!

These Lime Meltaways taste green.  I was skeptical that a little lime juice and zest would flavor all these cookies, but they pack a serious lime punch.  The bright flavor of these cookies totally made me smile.  The texture is a winner too.  They’re a bit crunchy before living up to their name and basically melting in your mouth.  Green or not, I’m celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with these cookies and you should too!

Lime Meltaways

Lime Meltaways

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 13 minutes

Total Time: 28 minutes

Yield: About 30 cookies

Ingredients

1 ½ sticks unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup confectioners’ sugar, divided

Zest of 2 limes

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

1 ¾ cup, plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons cornstarch

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

Instructions

In a large bowl, cream butter and 1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar until light and fluffy. I did this by hand, but a hand or stand mixer would work as well. Add lime zest and juice and vanilla and mix until mostly combined. It’s okay if it doesn’t fully incorporate.

In a medium bowl, stir together flour, cornstarch, and salt. Add to butter mixture and stir until fully incorporated and a soft dough comes together.

Place dough on a large piece of parchment paper and roll into a log 1 ½ - 2 inches in diameter. Place dough in the refrigerator to chill for at least 1 hour and up to overnight.

After dough has chilled, preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment. Cut dough into ¼ - ½ inch thick slices and place on baking sheets about one inch apart.

Bake for about 13 minutes until the bottoms are golden brown but the tops are not. Cool about 10 minutes on trays. Place remaining confectioners’ sugar in a bowl. Coat each cookie fully in confectioners’ sugar before placing is back on the tray to cool completely. Cookies may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.

Notes

Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart

Additional chilling time is necessary

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Don’t forget to check out the other Sunday Supper recipes!

Green Light Appetizers and Sides

 

Getting Greens Through Salads

 

Entreés That Will Leave You Green With Envy

 

Desserts and Beverages That Will Make Others Turn Green

 

 

 

Join the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm EST.  Follow the#SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. Check out our #SundaySupper Pinterest board for more fabulous recipes and food photos.

 

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

 

 

Pecan Bars #SundaySupper

 Pecan Bars

First of all thank you so much for voting for Pies and Plots in The Kitchn’s The Homies Best Sweets and Baking Blog Contest!  Your support means so much to me <3  I finished in fourth place.  While I didn’t technically win, I feel like a winner thanks to all of you.  I mean who would have thought this little blog could compete with all the others out there?!?  I can already tell this is going to be an awesome year!

Here in the Detroit area Fat Tuesday is also known as Paczki Day.  If you are unfamiliar with them, paczki are big, yeast doughnuts typically filled with jelly or custard and coated with glaze or sugar.  They are buttery, dense, soft, and pillowy.  The best jelly doughnut you’ll ever have.  At least that’s what people say and what I remember from being a kid.

Pecan Bars

Last year, Mom, Dad, and I went to Hamtramck, the paczki capital, to pick up some super authentic and sure to be delicious paczki from one of the best bakeries that make the time consuming treats.  It was a cold, snowy day, but it was gonna be so worth it to sink our teeth into these glorious goodies.

The bakery wasn’t that crowded since we went the weekend before Paczki Day, as wait times on the actual day routinely exceed an hour.  It smelled intoxicating and they looked great.  I could barely wait until after dinner for my treat.

Pecan Bars

But wait I did, and when I took that first bite . . . I was not impressed.  They were hard and chewy, almost like bread.  There wasn’t enough glaze.  Or was there any at all?  And the jam tasted like nothing.  I tore open almost all of the paczki, hoping one of them would be good, but they just weren’t.  How could this be possible?  Even the guys at Dad’s work were unimpressed when he took in the leftovers. 

This year, I figured I’d stick to my own treats (though Brown Eyed Baker’s Paczki are on my list for next year!), so I made Pecan Bars and I am so glad I did.  These are the best Fat Tuesday treat ever!  The crust is so buttery and crumbly, and then there’s that filling.  Gooey and caramel-y with tons of toasty pecans.  I kept taking little tastes of these bars just to make sure they were good ;)   Plus, I found these really easy to make.  I think Paczki Day just became Pecan Bar Day!

Pecan Bars

Pecan Bars

Pecan Bars #SundaySupper

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Yield: 18 bars

Ingredients

Crust

1 ½ sticks cold unsalted butter, cubed

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

2/3 cup packed light brown sugar

½ teaspoon kosher salt

2 tablespoons cold water

Filling

1 stick unsalted butter, very soft, almost melted

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1/3 cup light corn syrup

1/3 cup pure maple syrup

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

¼ cup all-purpose flour

3 cups pecans

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9 by 13 inch pan and line with parchment. Butter the parchment.

Make the crust. In a large bowl, stir together flour, sugar, and salt. Work in the butter with your fingers or a pastry cutter until it is in pea sized pieces. Add the water and continue working the dough until it comes together when pressed. Firmly press the dough in an even layer in the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake until lightly golden brown, about 20 minutes.

While the crust bakes, make the filling. In a large bowl, mix together the butter, sugar, corn syrup, maple syrup, and vanilla until fully combined and all streaks of butter are gone. Stir in flour until just incorporated. Stir in the pecans until fully coated.

Pour the pecan mixture over the baked crust and spread into an even layer. Return to the oven and bake for about 30 additional minutes. Cool bars completely in the pan. Once cool, cut bars and store at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Bars may also be frozen, wrapped in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature for about an hour or in a 350 degree F oven for about 10 minutes.

Notes

Recipe adapted from Claire Robinson

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Don’t forget to check out all the other Sunday Supper dishes!

Cocktails & Other Beverages:

Appetizers:

Main Dishes:

Side Dishes:

Desserts:

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. Check out our #SundaySupper Pinterest board for more fabulous recipes and food photos.Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Brown Sugar Cookies

Brown Sugar Cookies

I’m not good at waiting.  But then again, are any of us?  Perhaps it’s a symptom of our instant gratification society.  If a text or email goes unanswered for five minutes we freak out, as though our world is going to end.  Really though, waiting has never been fun.

If you saw me sitting in doctors’ office waiting rooms you would think I’m being sent to a firing squad.  I shake like a leaf, rocking back and forth, and turn paler than my usual shade of ghostly white.  An inability to smile or focus on anything strikes as five minutes turn into ten and ten in thirty.  It’s even worse when no one else is in the office, as I can’t help but wonder what everyone is doing.

Brown Sugar Cookies

Brown Sugar Cookies

And then there’s waiting at home for the cable/phone/plumber/general home improvement guy.  They give you those nice two or three hour windows.  You hope they’ll get there toward the beginning of it.  But do they?  Of course not.  With thirty seconds to spare, just as your about to call and complain, a day wasted unnecessarily, the doorbell rings.

I don’t text, but I frequently communicate with people via telephone or email.  When I’m just staying in touch or contacting someone for fun, waiting in between conversations doesn’t bother me.  We’re all busy.  I get it.  I often take my time responding as well.  But when I’m trying to make plans or find out important information, I go crazy waiting.  It’s all I can talk or think about.  I often just make another call.  And, man, if I had a dollar for every time the person on the other end said they were just about to call me, I wouldn’t have to worry about money ever again.

Brown Sugar Cookies

I have kept you waiting way too long for these Brown Sugar Cookies.  I made them awhile ago and knew I’d post them, I just wasn’t sure when.  I pulled one out of the freezer for a treat last week and fell in love all over again.  I knew I had to post them ASAP!  The edges are crispy while the interiors stay super chewy.  The rich, slightly nutty flavor from the brown butter is perfectly accompanied by the sugar coating.  Plus, no chilling is required – no waiting to make . . . and eat these cookies!

Brown Sugar Cookies

 

Brown Sugar Cookies

Prep Time: PT20 M

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 12-14 cookies

Ingredients

1 ¾ sticks unsalted butter

1 ¾ cups packed dark brown sugar

2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon kosher salt

1 large egg, plus 1 large egg yolk

2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract

¼ cup granulated sugar, for topping

¼ cup dark brown sugar, for topping

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment.

In a medium saucepan, cook butter until it turns a deep amber color and smells nutty. This may take awhile, but do not walk away from it, as it can burn quickly. The butter will melt and then boil, continue to boil until it is brown and then immediately remove from the heat. Cool for 15 minutes.

In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt

In a large bowl, combine cooled brown butter and sugar until fully incorporated. A hand or stand mixer would also work, but this is easy to do by hand. Add the egg and egg yolk and mix until light and fluffy. Stir in the vanilla before adding the flour mixture and stirring until just combined.

In a small bowl, combine remaining sugars for topping.

Using a regular sized ice cream scoop, scoop batter and form it into a ball. Roll each ball in the sugar mixture so it is completely coated. Place on 1 of the prepared baking sheets. Continue until all the cookies have been formed, leaving as much space as possible between the cookies.

Bake for 15-18 minutes until cookies have spread and are beginning to set. Cookies may be served warm or at room temperature. Cookies may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days, or frozen, wrapped in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature for about an hour or in the microwave for 30 seconds.

Notes

Recipe adapted from Joanne Eats Well With Others

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Favorite Recipes of 2013

Another year has come and gone.  This was actually my first full year of blogging.  2013 flew by.  While I’m already planning recipes for 2014, this is the perfect time to look back at my personal favorite recipes of the past year.  Hopefully you’ll discover a recipe or two you missed the first time around.  Happy New Year!

Frostedn Clementine Cookies

Frosted Clementine Cookies

These unique cookies have amazing orange flavor in both the cookies and icing.  They are the perfect winter treat!

Caramel Pretzel Bars

Caramel Pretzel Bars

Brown sugar shortbread covered with a thick layer of gooey caramel with salty pretzels.  What’s not to love about these bars?  They were a hit on Pinterest and featured on both Food Porn Daily and the FoodBuzz Top 9!

Homemade Marshmallows

Homemade Marshmallows

I make these all the time and never get tired of them.  I only wish I hadn’t waited 23 years of my life to make them.  You’ll never want store bought marshmallows again!

Coconut Cream Pie

Coconut Cream Pie

I had never so much as tasted Coconut Cream Pie before I made it.  Man was I missing out!  The silky smooth filling with toasted coconut on top is a tropical treat.

Cinnamon Raisin Bread

Cinnamon Raisin Bread

Homemade bread is one of my favorite things to make and eat.  This is my favorite bread, with the subtle spice of cinnamon and tons of raisins.  Plus, it makes the house smell amazing!

Coconut Cake

Coconut Cake

I know not everyone likes coconut (I didn’t like it for most of my youth), but it’s one of my favorite flavors.  I am so proud of this original recipe and often crave the moist layers of cake and insanely creamy filling.

Rhubarb Crumb Cake

Rhubarb Crumb Cake

Whether for breakfast, snack, or dessert, this buttery snack cake with a carmelized crust, complements the sweet-tart rhubarb perfectly.  The crumb topping is pretty addictive too.

Lemon Meringue Pie

Lemon Meringue Pie

Topped with a mound of homemade marshmallow meringue, the tart lemon filling and buttery crust go together perfectly.  This is a show stopping dessert!  It was Mom’s Mother’s Day treat and she loved it even more than I did.

Homemade Nutter Butters

Homemade Nutter Butters

Dad’s Father’s Day treat, these nutty-oaty cookies are sandwiched with peanut butter Italian buttercream.  A recipe from Thomas Keller, I shouldn’t have been surprised when I was left speechless by the amazing taste of these giant cookies.

Sour Cherry Crisp

Sour Cherry Crisp

A trip to a local farm inspired this fruity treat.  I devoured it for breakfast several days in a row.  Vegan and gluten free, the syrupy cherries and crispy topping are a match made in heaven!

Flourless Triple Peanut Butter Cookies

Flourless Triple Peanut Butter Cookies

These are my favorite peanut butter cookies ever!  In fact, I may never make another kind again.  They don’t have any butter or flour, so I don’t have to feel too guilty about eating them; plus they pack serious peanut butter flavor!  If you are a peanut butter addict, you must try these cookies!

Peach Granola Bars

Peach Granola Bars

I know these might not sound like one of the best recipes of the year, but they are.  In fact they’re one of my favorite recipes of all time.  Chewy granola, crunchy nuts, soft peaches, these bars are one of my favorite breakfasts.  And one of the many reasons I can’t wait for summer and peach season!

Flourless Almond Butter Cookies

Flourless Almond Butter Cookies

By far the most popular recipe on my site (thanks Google!), these gluten free, butter free cookies are outstanding.  The almond flavor shines through and they hold up better than the peanut butter ones.  Crispy exteriors and chewy interiors make these cookies totally irresistible.  I love them so much I even made a video with Mom about them!

Pumpkin Pie Crumb Bars

Pumpkin Pie Crumb Bars

Whether you love pumpkin pie or not, you have to try these bars!  The crunchy crust, the silky, spiced filling, the crumbles, some soft, some crunchy.  When is Thanksgiving again?

Salted Caramel Apple Pie

Salted Caramel Apple Pie

This is my go-to apple pie.  I used the same crust that I adore, and the inside is filled with thinly sliced apples that cook perfectly, but it’s the salted caramel sauce layered with the apples in the filling and poured onto the crust before baking that make this a winner.

I think I need to get in the kitchen and make some of these things again.  I bet you want to start baking too!

Glazed Snickerdoodle Bars with Walnuts #SundaySupper

Glazed Snickerdoodle Bars with Walnuts

Sweet and spicy.  That’s how I would describe 2013.  Some of it was pretty great.  I feel like I’m doing the best writing of my life (2014 will show if I’m right), I spent a lot of quality time with my parents doing fun things like shopping, going out to dinner with friends, and seeing plays, musicals, and even a concert.  My blog has started to grow, though it is still not where I’d like it to be, and I made some rather tasty food.  But my struggles with trying to get my dreams to become reality, frustrations over blogging, fears about what the future holds, and a few other things I didn’t talk about here on the blog, made it a tough year.

Isn’t that how most of us feel about the years?  That they were good and bad, sweet and spicy.  We look back and think of the things that didn’t go right, the things that didn’t get done, the regrets we have.  And then a decade down the line, when we look back, those mostly little things have hopefully vanished and we only remember the good parts.  Life is always a series of ups and downs, and hopefully in the end, there are more ups than downs.

Glazed Snickerdoodle Bars with Walnuts

Glazed Snickerdoodle Bars with Walnuts

2013 wasn’t my favorite year.  I wanted it to be better.  I hoped it would be better.  And now I’m looking to 2014, hoping, wishing that it has some good things in store.  Only time will tell.  For now, I sit, thinking about this year, and all the things that occurred during it.  Reliving the good bits, and trying to forget the bad ones. 

Regardless of my feelings about the year, it certainly went quickly.  Thinking back, it seems like January was just yesterday, like 2013 just commenced, like I want it back, to do over again, to use my time better.  I was just filled with that nostalgia for 2012, pleading with it to come back; now here I am again.  This time, I’m not asking 2013 to come back.  I don’t want it back.  I’m proud of a lot of the things I accomplished.  And this time, I’m really looking forward to 2014, because I think it has great things in store for me.  I think it’s going to work out.  So, 2014, here’s to you; may you be far more sweet than spicy.

Speaking of sweet and spicy, these Glazed Snickerdoodle Bars with Walnuts are just that.  Okay, so these are definitely more sweet than spicy, but two heaping tablespoons of cinnamon bring that warm, comforting heat, I crave this time of year.  I thought these would be dense and chewy like a blondies, but instead they baked up soft and moist, a dense, cake-like bar that I fell in love with after one bite.  I’m much happier they’re cakey instead of chewy.  The crunchy walnuts are the perfect complement to the cinnamon cake and the vanilla glaze is quite literally the icing on top.  If 2014 is anything like these bars, I think we’ll all be just fine!

Glazed Snickerdoodle Bars with Walnuts

Glazed Snickerdoodle Bars with Walnuts

 

Glazed Snickerdoodle Bars with Walnuts #SundaySupper

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Yield: 18 bars

Ingredients

Bars

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoon baking powder

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon cream of tartar

½ teaspoon kosher salt

3 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature

3 cups packed light brown sugar

4 large eggs

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

2 cups walnuts

Topping

4 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

Glaze

3 cups confectioners’ sugar

¼ cup water

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9 by 13 inch baking pan, line it with parchment and lightly butter the parchment.

In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, cream of tartar, and salt.

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. I did this by hand, but a hand or stand mixer will work too. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing until each is fully incorporated. Add the vanilla and beat until once again light and fluffy. Add the flour mixture and stir to combine. Stir in the walnuts until evenly distributed.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Spread into an even layer. In a small bowl, stir together cinnamon and sugar for topping. Sprinkle the topping into an even layer over the batter. Use it all.

Bake for 40-45 minutes, rotating halfway through if necessary, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs. Cool completely in pan.

Once the bars are cool, make the glaze. In a medium bowl, whisk together sugar, water, and vanilla until a thick, but spreadable glaze forms. Add more water to make it thinner or sugar to make it thicker as necessary. Immediately spread glaze evenly over bars. Cut into pieces and serve. Bars may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days, or frozen, wrapped in pieces in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature for about 2 hours.

Notes

Recipe adapted from Recipe Girl Cookbook via Confessions of a Cookbook Queen

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Don’t forget to check out the other Sunday Supper dishes!

Breakfast

Appetizers & Snacks

Main Dishes & Sides

Desserts & Drinks

Sunday Supper Movement Join the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. Check out our#SundaySupper Pinterest board for more fabulous recipes and food photos. Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy! You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

 

Pumpkin Gingerbread Souffle + Giveaway

Pumpkin Gingerbread Souffle + Giveaway

This giveaway is CLOSED!

When I go out to dinner, I love to order soufflé for dessert. There’s something about the towering ramekin of egg whites, typically orange flavored (since I have to forego the chocolate ones), served piping hot out of the oven with some kind of sauce accompaniment. It’s heaven on a plate. Sure, some are better than others, but it’s a soufflé, how bad can it be? But I’ve never made one at home. I’ve thought about it, but never actually whipped one up.

Luckily KitchenAid® challenged me to POOF A HOLIDAY SOUFFLÉ using my KitchenAid® 27-Inch Convection Double Wall Oven, Architect® Series II. These double wall ovens are probably the most used piece of equipment in my kitchen, other than my KitchenAid® 25 Cu. Ft. Standard-Depth French Door Refrigerator, Architect® Series II. Every single day one, if not both, of the ovens are on. From baked oatmeal or reheating a piece of frozen coffee cake in the morning to midday baking to roasting garlic, fish, and vegetables for dinner, the ovens get a serious workout. I have no idea what I’d do without both of them.

I have to admit, I was a little nervous. Making a soufflé for the first time is a daunting task, but I’ve made more challenging things than soufflé. I use a candy thermometer like a pro and I make caramel like a champ, so this would be a piece of cake. Beyond that, I was so excited to finally be making soufflé, so I put my worries aside and got to work. Plus with those KitchenAid® ovens, I knew I was in good hands.

Pumpkin Gingerbread Souffle + Giveaway

KitchenAid® suggested I make a gingerbread soufflé, but I had to take it to the next level, so I made a Pumpkin Gingerbread Soufflé with Bourbon Molasses Sauce. The sauce and pumpkin mixture can both be prepared a day ahead of time, which is great, because while the soufflé is not hard to make, there are several steps that can be a bit time consuming.

I whipped out my KitchenAid® 9-Speed Hand Mixer to whip the egg whites to stiff peaks. I could have used my KitchenAid® stand mixer, but for this small and quick task, the hand mixer was the perfect choice. Plus, then I got in a good workout :) Once the egg whites were whipped, I folded in the pumpkin mixture, divided the soufflé batter among ramekins and bowls and into the oven they went with my fingers crossed.

Pumpkin Gingerbread Souffle + Giveaway

Pumpkin Gingerbread Souffle + Giveaway

I turned on the handy oven light about a million times during the baking process to see how the soufflés were doing. They puffed before my eyes like magic. When they were done, they looked better than any soufflé I’ve ever ordered in a restaurant. It was killing me to take pictures without taking a bite. As soon as I set the camera down, I grabbed a spoon and dug in. You guys, these soufflés are one of the best things I’ve ever made. EVER! So light and fluffy, they definitely pack a gingerbread punch with lots of spices. And the bourbon infused caramel in the sauce enhances all of the flavors and adds a bit of sweetness.

Pumpkin Gingerbread Souffle + Giveaway

My KitchenAid® ovens better get ready for the influx of soufflés coming their way. You should make them too, because they are way easier to make than you ever thought and so impressive. Imagine bringing these to the Thanksgiving table instead of pumpkin pie. KitchenAid® and BlogHer have also been kind enough to giveaway a $200 Visa gift card! How awesome is that? Especially this time of year. To enter, leave a comment telling me what flavor your holiday soufflé would be or tell me about another cooking challenge you recently accomplished. Plus, read below for more ways to enter! Good luck!

Pumpkin Gingerbread Souffle + Giveaway

Pumpkin Gingerbread Souffle + Giveaway

4.9 from 20 reviews
Pumpkin Gingerbread Souffle + Giveaway
Serves: 4-8
 
Ingredients
Soufflés
  • ½ cup milk (I used almond, but any kind will work)
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¾ cup, plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, divided
  • ¾ cup pumpkin puree (canned or homemade)
  • 10 large egg whites
  • ¾ teaspoon cream of tartar
Sauce
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup, plus 2 tablespoons water, divided
  • 3 tablespoons bourbon
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cubed
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • ¼ teaspoon flaky sea salt
Instructions
  1. Make the soufflés. In a small saucepan, whisk together milk, cornstarch, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and 1 tablespoon granulated sugar over medium heat. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 2 minutes while whisking, until thickened. Remove from the heat and whisk in the pumpkin. Pour into a bowl and cool to room temperature. Alternatively, cover and refrigerate for 1 day.
  2. When ready to make the soufflés, preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Butter and sugar ramekins and place on a baking sheet.
  3. In a large bowl, whip egg whites using a hand mixer on medium-high until frothy. Add cream of tartar. Continue beating egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining ¾ cup sugar while beating the egg whites. Beat until stiff, glossy peaks form. A stand mixer may alternatively be used for this process. Fold ⅓ of the egg whites into the pumpkin mixture until pretty evenly distributed. Fold in the remaining egg whites, taking care not to deflate the mixture. Divide the batter among the ramekins, mounding it toward the middle. Fill ramekins no more than ¾ full.
  4. Bake soufflés until puffed greatly and golden brown, 18-25 minutes, depending on the size of your ramekins. You will have to watch them closely. They should be puffed high above the ramekin and deep golden brown on top. Serve immediately.
  5. Make the sauce while the soufflés are baking or 1 day ahead of time. In a small saucepan, combine sugar and 2 tablespoons water over medium heat. Stir until sugar has dissolved. Once sugar dissolves, stop stirring, and cook until the sugar is a dark amber color. You may gently swirl the pan. Remove pan from the heat and stir in remaining ¼ cup water, bourbon, butter, molasses, and salt. The mixture may seize. Don’t panic. Just return it to the heat and stir until the mixture simmers and thins out into a sauce. Serve immediately with soufflé or store in the refrigerator for 1 day. Reheat in the microwave.
Notes
Recipe adapted from Gourmet

Sweepstakes Rules:
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This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winner  will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.

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