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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Blueberry Banana Bread

Blueberry Banana Bread

There’s nothing worse than an unexpected 6 am wakeup call. We recently had some visitors in our attic of the furry four-legged kind. To be specific, red squirrels seem to have an affinity for the living quarters above our house.

These squirrels are tiny and adorable. We are part of the problem in feeding them for our viewing pleasure. It’s hilarious to watch them do just about anything to get their hands on a peanut. This includes chasing regular squirrels at least twice their size. Providing them with food is not an invitation to chew through our siding, however. This year they even had little squirrel babies! Too cute!

Blueberry Banana Bread

They’re taken up residence in the attic before and been removed before. Most of the time they live up there quietly and neatly. That’s right, they’re neat. But not too long ago, came a string of days where each morning they rose with the sun and started chewing or digging . . . or doing other things, which would wake me up. I don’t like being woken up. Girlfrand needs her beauty sleep :)

After calling around, we found a humane removal company that would relocate our little critters. They took away one very calm little squirrel and one very rambunctious little guy. Then the other squirrels got smart and began eating the peanut butter out of the trap. Genius squirrels live in our yard! The problem has been solved . . . for now.

Blueberry Banana Bread

With all those early wakeup calls, I needed an extra delicious breakfast. I’m obsessed with summer fruit so Blueberry Banana Bread definitely fit the extra delicious bill. Insanely moist on the inside with a dense crumb and intense banana flavor, the slightly crunchy outside provided a texture contrast. The pop of color and flavor from the blueberries was more than welcome. Add a little peanut butter and you’d have a treat for you . . . or a squirrel!

Blueberry Banana Bread

Blueberry Banana Bread

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Yield: 2 loaves, 8 generous slices

Ingredients

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1 cup vegetable or canola oil

4 large eggs

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

7 large ripe bananas, well mashed

2 cups fresh blueberries, washed and picked over

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Oil 2 loaf pans and line the bottom only with parchment. Place the loaf pans on a sheet tray for easy removal from the oven later.

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

In a large bowl, stir together sugar, brown sugar, and oil. Stir in the eggs one at a time until well combined. Stir in the vanilla and bananas. Add the flour mixture and mix until just combined. Fold in the blueberries until distributed.

Divide the batter equally between the loaf pans and place in the oven. Bake for about 1 hour, rotating halfway through, until a toothpick inserted in the center of each loaf comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs. If the loaves are getting too brown, tent with foil. I recommend doing this between 30-40 minutes into baking. Cool loaves in the pan for about a half an hour before removing and allowing to cool completely on a rack or serving tray. Bread may be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 4 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 about 1 minute.

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Vanilla Bean Chia Seed Pudding #SundaySupper

Vanilla Bean Chia Seed Pudding

I caved. I am the proud new owner of a Netflix subscription. I’ve debated the issue for awhile now with everyone talking about House of Cards and Orange is the New Black. Finally one night when I didn’t have anything to watch and didn’t want to start a movie, I signed up for my free trial, knowing once that happened and I began watching the shows, I would be hooked forever.

It’s not as though I don’t have enough summer TV to watch. The days of repeats and boring specials are gone. My nights are filled with Rookie Blue, Suits, Covert Affairs, Royal Pains, Masterchef, Big Brother, Perception, and more. Sometimes I think I have more summer shows than fall ones! But those few moments of wanting something new and exciting to watch led me to figure out how to sign up for my Netflix trial, activate it on my TiVo, and put some shows in My List, all without leaving the comfort of my couch.

Vanilla Bean Chia Seed Pudding

Vanilla Bean Chia Seed Pudding

It seems Netflix doesn’t have much to offer in terms of movies, particularly new ones, meaning my OnDemand addiction isn’t likely to go anywhere, but that’s okay because within a few moments of having Orange is the New Black on my TV, and getting used to occasional pauses for “Retrieving” I was hooked. I finished season 1 and am now working my way through House of Cards season 1, trying to spread out the awesomeness. I also plan on working my way through Breaking Bad and Dexter. How did I miss out on Netflix this long?

In between all my Netflix viewing, I have definitely been enjoying the summer weather and summer foods. I love lighter, more refreshing foods that are often served cold in the summer, which is a good thing, as this week’s Sunday Supper is all about foods served chilled. While I still love a nice, hot bowl of oatmeal in the mornings, sometimes I crave something nice and cool. That’s why I’ve recently become obsessed with Vanilla Bean Chia Seed Pudding.

Vanilla Bean Chia Seed Pudding

It is so easy to make and best served straight from the refrigerator. I wasn’t sure if I’d like it, but the texture is rather comforting, quite creamy and smooth. The chia seeds don’t really stand out but are packing a stealthy nutritional punch. Vanilla bean paste is the secret ingredient that offers a pleasant scent and even better flavor. To further celebrate summer, I like topping it with fresh berries. If you’re looking for a light, healthy dessert, this would also fit the bill and keep you cool!  Regardless this is one tasty treat that also happens to be easy to make, healthy, gluten free, and vegan.  If I make this more, I’ll have plenty of time to watch Netflix!

Vanilla Bean Chia Seed Pudding

Vanilla Bean Chia Seed Pudding #SundaySupper

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 5 minutes

Yield: 2 servings

Ingredients

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

¼ cup chia seeds

1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste

Instructions

In a medium bowl stir together milk, chia seeds, and vanilla bean paste until well combined. Refrigerate for about 12 hours, stirring once during the process. I prefer the flavor when I leave the pudding uncovered, but you may cover it with plastic wrap. Serve cold with fresh fruit.

Notes

Additional chilling time is necessary

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

Brisk Beverages

Chilled Starters

Snappy Salads and Sides

Refreshing Main Dishes

Cool Confections

 

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.

Strawberry Shortcake Ice Cream

Strawberry Shortcake Ice Cream

Strawberry shortcake was my favorite summer treat growing up. I’d often go to the produce market with Mom. I could tell when summer had arrived just by looking around the store. Sure, there were lots of goodies, but I headed straight for the containers of Driscoll’s strawberries. Perfectly ruby red, I couldn’t get my tiny hands around the plastic clamshells fast enough.

Right above them were loaves of pound cake. I stood on my tip toes and reached for the one I thought looked best. Mom nodded approval, looking forward to the after dinner treat as much as me.

Strawberry Shortcake Ice Cream

Strawberry Shortcake Ice Cream

We sliced the strawberries and mascerated them with a little sugar. A slice of pound cake was placed on each plate and topped with the strawberries, their slightly sweetened juice soaking in to the cake. And then some whipped cream or ice cream topped them off, or both if we were feeling extra indulgent. Before long it was devoured, and I already couldn’t wait to go to the store again.

I was thrilled when Driscoll’s challenged me to make my version of strawberry shortcake! While I still pop Driscoll’s berries in my cart every week, I haven’t had strawberry shortcake in years. I had to reinvent the classic I had years ago but keep all the same flavors.

Strawberry Shortcake Ice Cream

Enter Strawberry Shortcake Ice Cream. This is summer in one single ice cream scoop. Classic vanilla ice cream, buttery pound cake, and sweet, juicy strawberries are all combined in one fantastic treat I know you’ll love. Plus, you can use homemade or store bought pound cake and ice cream, so this dessert can take a whole day to make or be whipped up in no time – your choice! Regardless, this summer needs some Strawberry Shortcake Ice Cream!

Strawberry Shortcake Ice Cream Strawberry Shortcake Ice Cream

Strawberry Shortcake Ice Cream

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 4-6 servings

Ingredients

1 16 ounce container Driscoll’s strawberries, topped, hulled, and cut into pieces

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

Juice of ½ a lemon

1 pint vanilla ice cream, softened, but not melted, homemade or store bought

½ loaf of pound cake, cubed, homemade or store bought

Instructions

In a small saucepan, combine strawberries, sugar, and lemon juice. Cook over medium-low heat until the berries are juicy and have softened, about 5 minutes. Pour into a bowl place in the refrigerator to chill completely, at least four hours.

After the strawberry sauce has chilled, place the softened ice cream into a medium bowl. Mix in pound cake cubes. Some will be mashed others will not, this will add a variety of textures. Drizzle in half of the strawberry sauce. Mix it in so it is streaked through the ice cream. Place ice cream into a freezer safe container and freeze until firm, at least 2 hours.

Serve the ice cream with additional strawberry sauce and pound cake cubes. Ice cream can be stored in the freezer in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Notes

Additional freezing time is necessary. Additional time will be necessary if you choose to make the ice cream and pound cake.

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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.

Five Candies You Should Make, Not Buy, for Easter

Five Candies You Should Make, Not Buy, for Easter

Every year I browse the candy aisles for Easter candy. Jelly beans, Peeps, and Reese’s Pieces Eggs, oh my! But most of the candies are coated in chocolate, meaning they’re off limits to me. I also increasingly find many candies are made in Mexico or even China. Um, no thank you.

This has led me online to Jelly Belly and Williams Sonoma, who both offer high quality, made in the US candies, many of which are cocoa free! I have a serious weakness for pectin jelly beans and sour gummy bunnies.

I’ve also taken a liking to making my own candy. Homemade candy has high quality ingredients that you control. The flavors shine through, and they are super fun to make. The kids can even get involved in a lot of them!

Five Candies You Should Make, Not Buy, for Easter

Last year around this time, I bookmarked a recipe for Homemade Cadbury Crème Eggs. I’ve been counting the days until I could make this recipe. I eliminated the food coloring, as a lot of people aren’t a fan of it. This also streamlined and simplified the process without altering the flavor in any way. It doesn’t exactly look like and egg, and I honestly don’t know if it tastes like the real thing, as I’ve never had one, but I promise you these are addictive little candies that no Easter is complete without.

The sticky, sweet interior has tons of little vanilla bean specks, so you know that pure flavor packs a big punch. The assertive carob matches the sweetness perfectly, though I also liked them with white chocolate. Of course, if you’re not allergic to chocolate, feel free to use dark chocolate to coat these.  Scroll down past the recipe for more fun Easter candy ideas!

Five Candies You Should Make, Not Buy, for Easter

Homemade Cadbury Creme Eggs

Prep Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 15-20 eggs

Ingredients

½ cup light corn syrup

6 tablespoons unsalted butter

½ teaspoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste

3 cups confectioners’ sugar

1 ½ cups carob chips or dark chocolate

1 ½ cups white chocolate chips

2 tablespoons vegetable shortening, divided

Instructions

In a large bowl, beat corn syrup, butter, salt, and vanilla bean paste with a hand mixer on medium speed to combine into a homogeneous mixture. A stand mixer may also be used.

Turn the mixer to low and slowly add the confectioners’ sugar. You may need to stir the final cup of sugar in by hand. Mix until completely smooth.

Place bowl in freezer for about 15 minutes to harden.

In a small microwave safe bowl, melt white chocolate chips with 1 tablespoon of shortening. Microwave in 30 second increments, stirring in between to promote melting, until fully melted.

Remove the butter mixture from the freezer. Using a small ice cream scoop, scoop the butter mixture and roll it into an egg shape using your hands. Using 2 forks or your fingers, coat the egg in the melted white chocolate. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet to set. Repeat until you have coated half the eggs.

Place the butter mixture while you melt the carob/dark chocolate. In a small microwave safe bowl, melt carob/dark chocolate with 1 tablespoon shortening. Microwave in 30 second increments, stirring in between to promote melting, until fully melted.

Remove the butter mixture from the freezer again, scoop it, form it into egg shapes, and coat in the carob. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet to set. Once all the eggs are coated, place them in the refrigerator to set completely. Eggs may be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container 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 about 1 hour.

Notes

Recipe adapted from Ashley Rodriguez, courtesy Food 52

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I hope you are inspired to make your own Easter candy this year.  Here are a couple more recipes to get you set for the holiday.  Plus, all of these are gluten free as long as you double check the ingredients you add.  It looks like it’s going to be one sweet Easter!

Carob Peanut Butter Eggs – This classic candy is a blast to make and tastes just like the real thing!

Five Candies You Should Make, Not Buy, for Easter

Homemade Snickers Bars – Peanut butter nougat, peanuts, and homemade caramel combine to make one delectable candy.  Cut them in egg shapes to make them more festive!

Five Candies You Should Make, Not Buy, for Easter

Homemade Marshmallows – Forget about Peeps, these fluffy, pillowy morsels of goodness pack in real vanilla flavor.

Five Candies You Should Make, Not Buy, for Easter

Peanut Butter Fudge – You won’t believe how easy it is to make this irresistible candy.  All the cooking is done in the microwave!

Five Candies You Should Make, Not Buy, for Easter

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!

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Main Dishes:

Side Dishes:

Desserts:

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Ina’s Salted Caramels

 Ina's Salted Caramels

First, please vote for my blog for The Kitchn’s The Homies Awards.  I need to place in the top five to make it to the next round.  This would really help my dreams come true and could change my blog and possibly my life.  It would be a dream come true, but I need your help.  Please, even if you don’t leave comments and just like to lurk, please take a moment to click the link, sign up for an account and click the +1 next to Pies and Plots.  You should see the number of nominations go up.  I cannot begin to tell you how much this would mean to me!

Second, don’t forget to enter to win the Hungarian shortbread from Frog Hollow Farm.  I know you will love that little treat!  Now onto your regularly scheduled blog post.

Ina's Salted Caramels

I’m not one to be all fanatical about spoilers.  I realize in the strange world in which we live where most of us don’t watch shows when they actually air and yet feel the need to share all about them on social media, I need to be smart if I don’t want to know who won Top Chef or what happened on Grey’s Anatomy.

When I actually care about avoiding spoilers, I try to watch the show in a timely manner and avoid social media.  I’ve also learned to enjoy shows even when I know what happens.

But the Olympics are killing me.  I can’t get interested in watching twenty bobsled runs or ten ice skating short programs, which I swear are all the same, when I know what happens.  So I’ve been spending my days avoiding spoliers like it’s my job.  Coincidentally it pays about the same as blogging ;)

My local news is great.  They announce when they are going to talk spoliers.  They appear on the screen while they Olympic music plays.  When the music’s over, so are the spoliers.  Awesome.

Ina's Salted Caramels

However, my frenemies over at NBC have a bit of a different tactic, in that they talk spoliers all the time, without warning.  The moment I turn on Today in the morning, they are talking about results.  Ted Ligity this, Bode Miller that.  I love NBC Nightly News and their Olympic stories, but I can’t watch them because I have to turn it on mute and look away before I know who fell while ice skating.  Doesn’t NBC want me to enjoy their Olympic coverage?

Well, at least I definitely enjoyed Ina’s Salted Caramels.  I have a thing for homemade caramels.  I simplified the process here by removing the step of warming the cream and butter before adding to the cooked sugar and these are the best caramels I’ve ever made.  They set perfectly, are super creamy, and have that rich, complex flavor we all want from caramels with that perfect crunch of sea salt.  I say these are gold medalists, no spoiler alert necessary!

Ina's Salted Caramels

Ina’s Salted Caramels

Yield: 64 caramels

Ingredients

1 ½ cups granulated sugar

¼ cup light corn syrup

¼ cup water

1 cup heavy cream

5 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Maldon Sea Salt, for sprinkling

Instructions

Line an 8-inch square pan with parchment, leaving overhang for easy removal later.

In a large saucepan, cook sugar, corn syrup, and water over medium-high heat. Without stirring, bring to a boil, and cook until the mixture is a deep amber color. If you need to swirl the pan, you may do so gently.

Remove the pan from the heat once it is the proper color, and add the cream, butter, and vanilla. Place the pan back on the heat and stir until any clumps have dissolved. Stop stirring. Place a candy thermometer in the pan and cook until the mixture reaches 248 degrees F.

Carefully pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Sprinkle with sea salt. Allow to cool at room temperature for about 1 hour. Then cool completely in the refrigerator, about 2 additional hours. Cut into pieces and wrap with parchment or wax paper. Caramels may be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Notes

Recipe adapted from Ina Garten

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Fruity Pebbles Breakfast Cookies

This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group™ and Post Pebbles, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #PostWalgreens http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV.

Fruity Pebbles Breakfast Cookies - Gluten Free and Healthy!

I’m a bit of a cereal addict.  Mom and I are the only people who eat cereal in the house and there are at least ten boxes in the pantry.  Yep, you read that right.  Ten boxes.  But constantly eating cereal with milk and maybe a banana for breakfast can get a bit boring after awhile.  I need some cereal variety in my life.

Luckily cereal is one of those foods that is super versatile.  Depending on the variety, it can be used to coat chicken or fish, to top a casserole or macaroni and cheese, or for baking.  I absolutely love baking with cereal.  There’s something fun about it that almost always brings me back to childhood, when life was simple and cereal for breakfast or a lunch box surprise at school was all I needed to be instantly happy.

Fruity Pebbles Breakfast Cookies - Gluten Free and Healthy!

Picking up Fruity Pebbles at Walgreens!

All kinds of heart healthy sweet treats can be made with cereal (in fact, stay tuned for a scrumptious granola bar recipe coming up!), but today I bring you cookies.  Not just any kind of cookies, but healthy cookies.  Cookies that are meant to be eaten for breakfast. That’s right, cookies for breakfast!  Cookies that you can feel great about eating for breakfast.

It’s so important to get a good, heart healthy start to the day, which led me to create Fruity Pebbles Breakfast Cookies to help celebrate American Heart Month.  They are full of super healthy rolled oats, which add fiber, protein, and iron to the cookies and help to lower that pesky cholesterol.  Peanut butter adds some more protein and super healthy fats.  There’s some pure maple syrup for sweetness, and one egg to bind.  But eggs aren’t the bad guys they are often made out to be.  In fact, they are often called the perfect protein and are an important component of a healthy diet.  Plus, there’s the star: Fruity Pebbles!  They happen to be gluten free, so if you use gluten free oats, these cookies are gf friendly!

Fruity Pebbles Breakfast Cookies - Gluten Free and Healthy!

The resulting cookie, is soft and moist in the center with a bit of crunch on the outside.  The peanut butter flavor really comes through with a hint of maple syrup in the background and plenty of that bright Fruity Pebbles flavor I crave on a regular basis.  Make a batch of these and freeze the leftovers for quick weekday breakfasts!

Walgreens is the perfect place to pick up a box of Fruity Pebbles or your other favorite Post cereals.  It’s perfect one stop shopping to pick up cereal and any other little things you might need.  When I was there, I stocked up on candy too!

Fruity Pebbles Breakfast Cookies - Gluten Free and Healthy!

Fruity Pebbles Breakfast Cookies - Gluten Free and Healthy!

Fruity Pebbles Breakfast Cookies

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 8 cookies

Ingredients

2 cups old fashioned rolled oats (gluten free if necessary)

1 cup Fruity Pebbles

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

1/2 cup pure maple syrup

1 large egg

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line cookie sheet with parchment.

In a medium bowl, stir together oats, Fruity Pebbles, and baking soda.

In a large bowl, stir together peanut butter, maple syrup, egg, and vanilla until well combined. Add oat mixture and stir until fully incorporated.

Using a regular sized ice cream scoop, scoop cookies onto prepared pan. Bake for about 15 minutes until cookies are golden brown and just set. Cool completely on pan. 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. Cookies may be thawed at room temperature for 1 hour or in the microwave for 30 seconds.

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