Apple Spice Bundt Cake

Apple Spice Bundt Cake

So things have been pretty busy for me lately. I’m working on blog projects, went to an event at Neiman Marcus, working hard on my writing, keeping up on fall TV. Oh, yeah, and I joined match.com and went on my first date.

It was nerve wracking joining Match. But I figured I didn’t have anything to lose. It has been an interesting experience. There are definitely some weird dudes on there. Some that seem nice and never write back. Some that are apparently way too busy and have no business stringing us ladies along. And there are some nice, genuine guys. They’re just a little harder to find.

Apple Spice Bundr Cake

So if joining Match had me freaked out, you can imagine what it was like going on my first date EVER! I mean it’s pretty scary venturing out in the world like that. But I was completely and totally ready for it, so my nerves didn’t take over as much as I thought they would.

The guy was nice and even brought me a book as a gift. We met at a nice restaurant and had a great meal. We didn’t really have a connection, we both agreed, and that’s okay. I don’t regret going on the date and I hope the guy finds the right girl for him. It was a good start and I’m excited to see what happens from here.

Apple Spice Bundt Cake

I finally pushed myself out of my comfort zone and that is an amazing thing. It worked out pretty well and hopefully things will only go up from here. I mean, I got to cross going on a date off my bucket list. How cool is that?

I’ve also been busy baking fabulous things like this Apple Spice Bundt Cake. This cake is the perfect comforting fall dessert. Easy to make, it makes use of the wonderful apples available now, and adds in some warming cinnamon, along with a bunch of crunchy nuts for texture. The exterior of the cake gets caramelized and a bit crunchy while the interior is dense and moist. Some future boyfriend is going to be lucky to sample treats like this!

Apple Spice Bundt Cake

Apple Spice Bundt Cake

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Yield: 10 servings

Ingredients

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon kosher salt

1 1/3 cups vegetable oil

2 cups granulated sugar

3 large eggs

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

3 cups apples, peeled and chopped (I used Fuji and Gala – use what you love)

1 cup nuts (I used pecans and walnuts – use what you love)

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Oil and flour a large bundt pan.

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

In a large bowl, stir together oil, sugar, eggs, and vanilla until well combined and lightened in color and texture. Stir in the flour mixture until just combined. Fold in the apples and nuts until distributed.

Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth into an even layer. Bake, rotating halfway through if necessary, for 65-75 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs. Cool cake in pan for about 20 minutes. Then loosen cake from pan and gently invert it on to a serving plate. Cake may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days or frozen in pieces, wrapped in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature for a couple hours or in the microwave for about 1 minute.

Notes

Recipe adapted from Dorothy Mae Brown via the Martha Stewart show

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Carrot Cake Sheet Cake #SundaySupper

Carrot Cake Sheet Cake

I’m a big fan of planning everything out. Like everything. My day is scheduled nearly down to the minute almost every day. I know what time I’m waking up and exercising and blogging and eating dinner. I know what I’m having for dinner and when I’m going to the store. Or the mall. I have it all neatly organized in my head.

And then things happen. Bad things. Very bad, schedule ruining things. Things that throw my entire day off track and send my brain searching for ideas of how to regain control.

Carrot Cake Sheet Cake

Like the other day when I had it in my head I was going to eat dessert. A freshly made, cupcakey dessert with fluffy, silky smooth frosting. Cupcakes from a cookbook I’d just received from a well-known baker. And then I made the cupcakes and knew the batter wasn’t quite right. Okay maybe not right at all is more like it, but I went ahead and baked them off. Thankfully I put foil under the cupcake tin or the day would have gotten a lot worse.

The cupcakes didn’t rise. Instead, they kind of like . . . melted. And oozed all over the place. I baked them longer than the stated time. When they were still raw and gross, I have up.

Carrot Cake Sheet Cake

But I had that image of cake and frosting in my head and I couldn’t let it go. Nothing in the freezer met the criteria. Though I didn’t really have the time or energy, I had to make something else. After scouring my bookmarks, I settled on a single layer carrot cake from The Kitchn.

I mean carrot cake. Yum! And The Kitchen. Yay! I knew . . . okay my confidence was shaken, so I hoped, that it would turn out spectacularly. And it did. I kind of devoured a huge piece of this cake and loved every second.

Carrot Cake Sheet Cake

It was easy to make and made with all pantry staples, making it a great recipe to make without any preparation and also making it easy on the wallet, the theme of this week’s Sunday Supper. There’s not need to run to the store for crème fraiche or some other specialized ingredients. Nope. Just take a trip to your pantry and refrigerator and get to baking!

You will thank me once you do. This fluffy cake is so moist and has that classic slightly spiced flavor we have all come to expect from carrot cake. And the frosting. Oh my, the frosting. Creamy, melt in your mouth frosting with tons of vanilla bean seeds. I had to splurge on those because I don’t think cream cheese frosting is the same without them, but plain old vanilla extract will work just fine. So maybe for once I’m kind of glad my plans didn’t work out.

Carrot Cake Sheet Cake

Carrot Cake Sheet Cake #SundaySupper

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Total Time: 55 minutes

Yield: 12 generous servings

Ingredients

Cake

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon kosher salt

4 large eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

¾ cup canola oil

1 cup granulated sugar

4 cups freshly grated carrots

Frosting

½ stick unsalted butter, room temperature

8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste or pure vanilla extract

3 cups confectioners’ sugar

Instructions

Make the cake. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Oil a 9 by 13 inch pan.

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

In a large bowl, stir together vanilla, oil, and sugar until well combined. Alternately add the flour mixture and eggs to the sugar mixture, beginning with the flour and ending with the eggs, doing 3 additions of each. Mix until well combined. Stir in the carrots.

Pour the batter into the baking dish and smooth into an even layer. Carefully bang the pan on the counter a couple times to release any air bubbles. Bake for 25-35 minutes, until the cake has puffed, is golden brown, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs. Cool completely in pan.

Make the frosting. Beat the butter and cream cheese together using a hand or stand mixer until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and confectioners’ sugar and beat until creamy and fully incorporated. Taste the frosting and see if you want to add any more sugar.

Spread the frosting on top of the cooled cake, cut into pieces, and serve. Cake may be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Notes

Recipe adapted from The Kitchen

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

Scrumptious Mains (Breakfast and Dinner)

Satisfying Sides

Sweet Treats

Sips, Spreads, and Snacks

 

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.
To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.



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

Gluten Free Peanut Butter Blondies #SundaySupper

Gluten Free Peanut Butter Blondies

Do you eat a lot of processed food? I’ll be the first to admit, I used to. Prepackaged cookies and crackers, canned soups, soda and sports drinks, fast food. Much of my diet consisted of processed foods, but I did not look or feel my best.

Since then, I’ve totally changed the way I eat. Tons of fresh fruit and vegetables, lean protein (mostly wild fish), whole grains. I eat foods that are good for me. It’s also pretty awesome that they taste great too. Those weird fruit cocktail cups have nothing on fresh fruit! These are foods I am happy to say I eat. I know where they come from and don’t have to question the ingredients in them. For the most part, if I can’t pronounce it, I don’t eat it.

Gluten Free Peanut Butter Blondies

Sometimes, though, I do eat processed foods. There are some I won’t touch. I’m looking at you canned soup. I haven’t had soda in ten years and that was only because I was about to pass out after receiving a shot at the doctor’s office, and I needed some sugar so I could leave. Yeah, needles and I aren’t friends! I love a good potato chip and even Cheetos and Doritos sometimes. Candy is one of my favorite indulgences. I’ve even been known to eat a spoonful of canned frosting now and then. Guilty pleasure alert!!!

Life is all about balance. While I love those unprocessed foods and they nourish my body, the fun foods nourish my soul and deserve an occasional presence in my life because life is short and I refuse to not have any fun!

Gluten Free Peanut Butter Blondies

Baking doesn’t have to include processed foods either. I mean, I am totally going to satisfy my craving for a big slice of layer cake coming up, but I really like healthier treats that I can eat when I don’t want a big slice or cake or that I can grab for a quick breakfast without feeling like I’m doing something wrong.

These Gluten Free Peanut Butter Blondies totally fit that bill. They make an awesome light dessert, as well as a great breakfast full of flavor and nutrition to start your day right. Don’t forget about them at snack time either!

Be sure not to overbake these, to allow their soft, slightly dense texture to shine through. The peanut butter and vanilla flavors are prominent, with a nice sweetness from the raisins that are so plump and juicy. Because I love treats with a variety of textures, I also added some walnuts for crunch. Feel free to use whatever dried fruit and nuts you love. And then indulge without an ounce of guilt.

Gluten Free Peanut Butter Blondies

Gluten Free Peanut Butter Blondies #SundaySupper

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 9 bars

Ingredients

1 cup creamy peanut butter

¼ cup honey

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 large egg

½ cup raisins

½ cup walnuts

Instructions

Lightly oil an 8 inch square pan.

In a medium bowl, stir together peanut butter, honey, baking soda, vanilla, and the egg until well combined. Add the raisins and walnuts and stir to combine. Pour batter into the prepared pan and smooth into an even layer.

Bake for about 20 minutes, until the blondies have puffed and the top is golden brown. Cool completely in pan (or don’t – they’re great warm!). Blondies may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days, or individually 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.

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

 

Alluring Appetizers and Stunning Sides

Enticing Entreés

Decadent 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. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.
Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Cherry Pie Bars

Cherry Pie Bars

I have always loved when my aunt, Debbie, comes to visit. Since I can remember, I’ve looked forward to her trips to see my parents and me and spend time with us.

She’s my cool aunt. You know, the member of my family, other than my parents, that I look up to, admire, want to spend time with. I distinctly remember her past visits fondly. They involved lots of shopping, watching movies, and going out to eat.

Cherry Pie Bars

I think my all-time favorite visit of hers was a long time ago when we spent a day painting our nails purple, eating pretzel nuggets right from the bag, and watching Spice World. I told you it was a long time ago! I sometimes wish I could transport back to that day.

It had been a very long time since Debbie came to visit, so late last year I asked her if she’d like to take a trip here and go to the Justin Timberlake concert with Mom and me (more on that fabulous show next week!). She said yes! It just took Justin Timberlake to get her to visit; no one can say no to Justin! While it seemed like the concert was eons away at the time, it came up super quickly.

We didn’t waste a single moment of the long weekend. The time flew by and was full of talking, a day of shopping, and some baking! We had to get in the kitchen for some bonding time.

Cherry Pie Bars

We made Cherry Pie Bars. Blackberry Pie Bars are one of my favorite recipes, so I was excited to mix them up with cherries. They did not disappoint. The crisp buttery shortbread with the creamy vanilla filling, and those juicy, sweet cherries is an irresistible combination. Plus, they are equally tasty warm from the oven or cold from the refrigerator. We could not stop eating them!

Even better than the bars was the time spent with Mom and Debbie in the kitchen talking and baking the day away. It’s a memory forever treasured in my mind. I really hope Debbie’s next visit is soon . . . even if it doesn’t involve Justin or Cherry Pie Bars.

Cherry Pie Bars

Cherry Pie Bars

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes

Yield: 18 bars

Ingredients

Shortbread

Zest of 1 orange

Zest of 1 lemon

1 ½ cups granulated sugar

3 cups all-purpose flour

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

3 sticks unsalted butter, cold, cubed

Filling

4 large eggs

2 cups granulated sugar

1 cup sour cream

¾ cup all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste

6 cups fresh Bing cherries, washed, dried, stemmed, and pitted

Instructions

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

In a large bowl, stir together orange and lemon zest, sugar, flour, and salt until combined. Add butter and work in with your fingers or a pastry cutter until the butter is about the size of peas and has been well distributed.

Reserve 1 ½ cups of the shortbread in a small bowl. Pour the remainder of the shortbread into the pan and press it in firmly. Bake 15-20 minutes until light golden brown.

While the crust cools, prepare the filling. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar, sour cream, flour, and vanilla bean paste until fully incorporated. Fold in the cherries. Pour the filling over the baked crust and spread into an even layer. Sprinkle with reserved crumb topping.

Place the pan on a baking sheet larger than the pan to catch any drips (mine dripped a lot) and bake for an additional 45-55 minutes, until light golden brown. Cool at least one hour before cutting. Bars may be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 3 days, or frozen, wrapped individually in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator about 1 hour.

Notes

Recipe adapted from Brown Eyed Baker

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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.