Funfetti Layer Cake

Funfetti Layer Cake

The holidays mean a lot of things to me. But one thing the holidays can’t be without is a little sparkle. Glimmer. Glitter. Shine. Glamour.

There’s something about Christmas and New Year’s that just goes with shimmer. It almost makes me feel glittery on the inside, so I need to be all glittery on the outside. Not that I’m not all glittery on the outside other times of year too!

Funfetti Layer Cake

I love the way Christmas lights sparkle in the darkness of night. The way the lights on the Christmas trees make the ornaments shine in just the right way. The crystal ornaments shine the brightest, looking like diamonds on the trees.

Getting dressed up to go out on the town or to a party definitely means busting out the sequined clothes, glittered shoes, and sparkly jewelry. And for once, I’m not the only one rocking embellishments.

Funfetti Layer Cake

And if you get a Christmas card from me, you know it’s going to be all glittery. And it will get everywhere. But then the house just looks extra festive.

You know what else is extra festive. This Funfetti Layer Cake. It’s all glammed up for the holidays. It might not be a traditional Christmas dessert, but I think we need to change that. I mean what’s more Christmas-y than a bunch of sprinkles?

Funfetti Layer Cake

It all begins with a fluffy, buttery white cake studded with tons of bright rainbow sprinkles. Then there’s the silky smooth Italian buttercream that will melt in your mouth and leave you doing a happy dance around the kitchen. Instead of coating the outside in more sprinkles, though you could totally do that, I used Fruity Pebbles. Not only is that classic, childhood fruity flavor a welcome addition, but it also adds great contrasting texture. The tender crumb of the cake, the creamy frosting, and those crunchy Pebbles are a match made in heaven.

Time to break out the cake pans and get festive in the kitchen!

Funfetti Layer Cake

Funfetti Layer Cake

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Yield: 10 servings

Ingredients

Cake

2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature

1 ½ cups granulated sugar

4 large egg whites

1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste

6 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 ½ cups cake flour

2 ¼ teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup milk (I used almond, use what you love)

2/3 cups plus 1 tablespoon rainbow sprinkles

Frosting

1 ½ cups granulated sugar

½ cup water

2 tablespoons light corn syrup

5 large egg whites

½ + ⅛ teaspoon cream of tartar

3 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature

1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste

Fruity Pebbles, for decorating

Instructions

Make the cake. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Oil 2 8-inch round cake pans. Line the bottom only with parchment.

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. I did this by hand, but a hand or stand mixer would work as well. Mix in the egg whites one at a time. Mix in the vanilla and oil.

In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, and salt. Add this to the sugar mixture, alternating with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour. I did 3 additions of flour and 2 of milk. Mix until fully incorporated. Stir in the sprinkles until distributed.

Divide the batter evenly among the pans. Smooth the tops and sprinkle with the remaining tablespoon of sprinkles. Bake for about 25 minutes until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs. Cool cakes completely in pan.

Make the frosting. In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, water, and corn syrup over medium heat, stirring frequently until the sugar is completely dissolved. Once this happens, stop stirring, attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pan, and allow the mixture to come to 240 degrees F on the thermometer. In the meantime, place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat on medium-high until foamy. Once foamy, add the cream of tartar and continue beating on medium-high until stiff peaks form. Be sure not to over whip the egg whites or they will become dry.

Once the eggs are whipped and the syrup is at 240, turn the eggs to medium-low, immediately remove the syrup from the heat, and begin slowly and steadily drizzling it into the eggs. If the syrup is ready before the eggs, it can be turned down or removed from the heat while the eggs finish, before being replaced on the heat to bring to temperature. If the eggs are ready before the syrup, stop mixing them until the syrup is almost ready. Turn them back to medium-high briefly before turning them back down and adding the syrup.

Once the syrup has all been added, turn the mixer back to medium-high and beat the frosting (what is basically marshmallow crème and is delectable all by itself) for 10-13 minutes until the bottom of the bowl is barely warm or at room temperature. It is important for it to not be too warm or the next step will not work.

Once cooled, add the butter a couple tablespoons at a time, allowing each addition to incorporate before adding another. Scrape down the bowl occasionally. Once all the butter is incorporated, add the vanilla bean paste and mix to combine. Remove the bowl from the mixer and mix briefly by hand to make sure there are no clumps of butter. If the frosting is a bit soupy (because it was too warm when the butter was added) stick it in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes, beat it again with the stand mixer. It should come together.

Carefully remove 1 cake from the pan and place it on a cake stand. Cover it with a generous amount of frosting. Place the other cake on top. Frost the top and sides of the cake completely. Carefully press Fruity Pebbles onto the sides of the cake.

Cake may be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 3 days, or frozen in pieces, wrapped in plastic and foil and placed in a zipper bag for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature for about 1 hour.

Notes

Cake recipe adapted from Molly Yeh. Fruity Pebbles addition adapted from Butterlust Blog.

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Sprinkle Sugar Cookies

Sprinkle Sugar Cookies

You know what Thanksgiving makes me think of? Christmas. I know Thanksgiving is its own holiday, but it’s pretty much the official kick-off to Christmas.

The stores have already been all decorated for Christmas and now that our annual day of thanks . . . and food . . . and football is upon us, I can get into the holiday spirit without feeling like I’m way too early.

It all starts with the parade. It’s funny, but living in Detroit, we have a huge local parade, so I’ve never seen the Macy’s parade. However, I enjoy our little local parade as a part of my morning before switching over to watch the Lions. Hoping for a win this year!

Sprinkle Sugar Cookies

Then there’s the fact that we put up our Christmas decorations on Thanksgiving. I know some of my blogging buddies out there have already decorated, but Thanksgiving is the perfect time for me. It’s close enough to the season that the house isn’t torn up forever, but long enough away that I can enjoy the decorations. When it comes to the taking down of decorations, well, let’s just say I like to extend the season a bit.

I try to wrap up my gift shopping around Thanksgiving and Black Friday as well. I’m so glad we have the Internet because I am not braving the stores and crowds on Black Friday. And yeah, I said it, I’m wrapping up my shopping.

Sprinkle Sugar Cookies

Plus, there’s lots and lots of cookie baking. I mean, I’ll bake cookies year round no problem, but there’s something about doing it at Christmas that’s extra special.

Especially when I’m making these Sprinkle Sugar Cookies. They got rave reviews from friends as the best sugar cookies they’ve ever had. With those sprinkles, they’re all festive for the holidays too.

Sprinkle Sugar Cookies

Soft and a little chewy, they almost melt in your mouth. The vanilla flavor shines though. And the sprinkles add not only visual pizzazz but a bit of texture too.

Fair warning, while they are delicious warm, they totally fall apart. Once cool they are easily transported for gift giving. If you need something to get you in the Christmas spirit, these cookies will definitely do the trick!

Sprinkle Sugar Cookies

Sprinkle Sugar Cookies

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 18-20 cookies

Ingredients

2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup vegetable oil

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup confectioners’ sugar

2 large eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cream of tartar

½ teaspoon kosher salt

4 ½ cups all-purpose flour

Sprinkles, for decorating

Instructions

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

In a large bowl, cream butter, oil, and sugars until light and fluffy. I did this by hand, but a hand or stand mixer will work as well. Beat in the eggs and vanilla.

In a medium bowl, stir together baking soda, cream of tartar, salt, and flour. Slowly add this mixture to the butter mixture, and mix in. Once all the flour has been added and a dough is formed, use a small ice cream scoop to scoop the batter onto the prepared pans. Sprinkle with sprinkles of your choosing.

Bake 12-15 minutes until golden brown around the edges and mostly set on top. Cool completely on pan or the cookies will fall apart. Cookies 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 three months. Thaw at room temperature for about 1 hour or in the microwave for 30 seconds.

Notes

Recipe adapted from Cookies and Cups

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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.

Banana Pecan Madeleines

Banana Pecan Madeleines

I’m always excited to receive a new cookbook, especially when it is a sample copy of a new cookbook that I know you all will love. I jumped at the chance to preview Madeleines by Barbara Feldman Morse.

Madeleines Cookbook

Have you ever had a madeleine? If you haven’t, you may be wondering what exactly they are. They are a delightful little cakey cookie. Before reading this book, I had only had vanilla ones. And I only knew they came in vanilla and chocolate varieties. Now my eyes have been opened to all the flavor possibilities when it comes to madeleines.

They are traditionally made in a madeleine pan, giving them a beautiful fluted look. Their delicate nature perfect for any occasion, like afternoon tea. The golden brown exterior provides caramelized flavor and a bit of a texture contrast to the light, fluffy interior.

Madeleines Cookbook

Madeleines Cookbook

There was only one problem . . . I don’t have a madeleine pan. And I’m kind of guessing you don’t either. But there’s no need to fret, you can still make this recipe or any other delightful madeleine recipe. Just use your muffin tin! They don’t have quite the same beauty, but they still have that delightful flavor and texture.

The butterscotch smell of the melty butter and brown sugar while making and baking these is completely intoxicating. The whole house smelled like heaven. I anticipated liking these, but had no idea within one bite they would become one of my favorite treats.

Banana Pecan Madeleines

So easy to make, these little madeleines are tender with wonderful banana flavor and crunch from pecans. I will be making them over and over again, as well as countless other recipes from the book.

I highly recommend Madeleines to you because I know you will love it. There is a favorite recipe for everyone in here from Buttery Cornbread Madeleines to Peaches and Cream Madeleines to Peanut Butter and Jelly Madeleines. Plus, you can always make them a little more indulgent by serving them frosted, with caramel, or even ice cream. I have a feeling there’s about to be a whole lot of madeleine baking going on!

Banana Pecan Madeleines

Banana Pecan Madeleines

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 10 madeleines

Ingredients

½ cup, plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

¾ stick unsalted butter

½ cup packed light brown sugar

1 large egg

½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste or pure vanilla extract

1 medium to large ripe banana, mashed

½ cup unsalted pecans, chopped

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin tin with 10 paper liners.

In a small bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, and salt.

In a medium, microwave safe bowl, place butter and brown sugar. Microwave on high for 1 minute. Stir mixture. If the butter is not completely melted, microwave it for an additional 30 seconds.

Allow the mixture to cool for 3-4 minutes. Whisk in the egg, followed by the vanilla and banana until fully incorporated. Whisk in the flour mixture until just combined, before stirring in the pecans.

Using an ice cream scoop, fill each paper liner about ½ full. Bake for about 15 minutes, until the madeleines have puffed and are light golden brown. I also recommend checking them with a toothpick, which should come out clean or with a few moist crumbs. Cool madeleines completely in pan before serving. Madeleines may be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3 days or frozen, individually wrapped in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature for about an hour.

Notes

Recipe adapted from Madeleines by Barbara Feldman Morse

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Disclaimer: I received a copy of Madeleines to preview, but all opinions, as always, are mine!

The BEST Gluten Free Blueberry Pancakes

The BEST Gluten Free Blueberry Pancakes

I’ve been keeping a secret from you. I mean other than the fact that I’m clearly seasonally challenged. I mean, first Peach and Plum Pie and now Blueberry Pancakes. You’d think it’s July, not – gasp – October! But my real secret is that I do a lot of gluten free baking.

In fact, many of the recipes you see here are gluten free. I just don’t tell you. Let me be clear, I do not have Celiac Disease and I am not gluten free one hundred percent of the time. I simply find a gluten free diet most of the time makes my body happiest. In addition, so many people are looking for amazing gluten free recipes these days, and I would like to help them out.

The BEST Gluten Free Blueberry Pancakes

When I do gluten free baking, I always use Cup 4 Cup. I’ve tried other brands and the flavor and texture just don’t suit my palate. Cup 4 Cup even smells like all-purpose flour. When I use it, no one ever knows the difference. Ever!

Sometimes I even like the Cup 4 Cup version of baked goods better than that made with traditional flour. Like in Blackberry Pie Bars and Blueberry Buckle. I haven’t made pie crust or bread with it (yet!), but I’m sure I’ll be impressed. When it comes to cakes, bars, and cookies you can’t go wrong.

The BEST Gluten Free Blueberry Pancakes

I’m not being paid to say this. I wish I was. Hey, Thomas Keller, need a spokesperson for Cup 4 Cup??? I just love this flour in the things I make – like these Blueberry Pancakes. I’ve eaten more than my fair share of pancakes and these are definitely the best blueberry pancakes I’ve had. They’re probably the best pancakes I’ve ever had . . . and they’re gluten free!

What makes these pancakes so amazing is how thick and fluffy they cook up. Because they are so thick, you’ll need some patience to cook them low and slow, so they cook all the way through without burning, but it’s sooooo worth it.

The heavenly cake-like texture helps them truly live up to their name – they are cakes cooked in a skillet. The burst of blueberries really makes them sing. Because blueberries are going out of season (nooooooooo!), feel free to use ones that have been frozen, thawed, and drained well. Now all you need is some pure maple syrup!

The BEST Gluten Free Blueberry Pancakes

The BEST Gluten Free Blueberry Pancakes

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

1 ½ cups Cup 4 Cup gluten free flour

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon kosher salt

2 large eggs

2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus additional for cooking

1 1/3 cups unsweetened almond or coconut milk

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 cups blueberries, preferably fresh, but frozen, thawed, and drained will work

Instructions

Preheat oven to 200 degrees F.

In a medium bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together eggs, oil, milk, and vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir just until a batter is formed. A few lumps is okay. Fold in the blueberries.

Heat a large skillet over medium to medium-low heat. I used my stainless steel skillet (which I use for everything), but a non-stick or cast iron skillet is recommended. Add a little vegetable oil and scoop about ¼ cup portions of the batter into the skillet. Cook until a couple bubbles appear around the edges, about 1 ½ to 2 minutes. Flip the pancakes over and cook for about an additional 1 ½ minutes, until the pancakes are golden brown on both sides. You may need to flip a couple additional times. Use your judgment based on how they’re cooking. Insert a toothpick in the center of each pancake to check for doneness. The toothpick should come out clean or with just a few crumbs.

Store pancakes on aluminum foil in the oven while you repeat the process with the rest of the batter. Pancakes are best served immediately, but may be frozen, individually wrapped in parchment and foil and placed in zipper bags for up to 3 months. Thaw in the microwave for 30 seconds or in the toaster. Serve with warm maple syrup

Notes

Recipe adapted from Bobby Flay

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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

 

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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.