Category Archives: Dessert

Strawberry Lemon Curd Tart

It’s nearly the end of May, and the weather is still so incredibly gray, cloudy, and drizzly. Who would believe that it’s almost summer? 

I guess the dreariness is infinitely better than the stifling heat and humidity I’d probably be enduring if I was still in Cleveland right now, but I am seriously in need of some brightness in my life! To compensate for the lack of sun, I decided to bake the most spring-y dessert that I could possibly think of.

This Strawberry Lemon Curd Tart fits the bill pretty perfectly. Strawberries just scream spring, and I can’t think of anything that is brighter than fresh lemons! 

I had high hopes for this dessert, so I really wanted to be able to write about how this tart was absolutely fabulous and that it exceeded all my expectations. And it did! Well, almost.

 The strawberry topping and lemon curd were outstanding, and the crust would have been too, except that the bottom was completely burned! I think baking the tart in the toaster oven had something to do with it…

I was a little disappointed that the tart wasn’t perfect, but my family still really enjoyed this dessert, and at least the sides of the crust were still delicious! 🙂

Strawberry Lemon Curd Tart

Source: tart adapted from Bon Appetit, crust from Baking Illustrated via Annie’s Eats

Ingredients

For the curd:

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon peel

For the crust:

  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting work surface
  • 2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

For the topping:

  • fresh strawberries, sliced lengthwise

Directions

1. To make the curd, whisk together eggs, sugar, and lemon juice in a small saucepan. Add butter and lemon peel. Whisk over medium heat until mixture thickens to pudding consistency, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and press plastic onto surface of curd. Chill for at least 2 hours.

2. To make the crust, whisk together egg yolk, heavy cream, and vanilla in a small bowl; set aside. Place flour, sugar and salt in a food processor, and pulse a few times to combine. Scatter butter pieces over flour mixture and process until mixture resembles coarse meal, about 15 1-second pulses. With the machine running, add egg mixture and process just until dough comes together, no more than 12 seconds. Turn dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap and press into a 6-inch disc. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

3. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to a 13-inch round. Transfer dough to a 9-inch tart pan. Mold dough to sides of pan and remove excess off top. Set dough lined tart pan a large plate and freeze for 30 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, adjust an oven rack to middle position. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Set dough-lined tart pan on a baking sheet, press a 12-inch square piece of foil into frozen shell and over the edge, and fill with pie weights. Bake for 30 minutes, rotating halfway through baking time. Remove from oven and carefully remove pie weights and foil. Continue to bake until deep golden brown, about 5-8 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

5. Fill the cooled tart shell with lemon curd and spread evenly. Starting from outside and working towards the center, place sliced strawberries in concentric circles, slightly overlapping each other. Chill until ready to serve.

Advertisements

3 Comments

Filed under Dessert, Tarts

Peanut Butter Chickpea Blondies

Eating a healthy diet at home has been such a challenge! I’ve been home for less than a week and I’ve eaten a bucket of peanut M&Ms and about 10 pounds of dark chocolate by myself! I wish I was kidding. At school, I rarely bought packaged snacks because I knew there was no way I could control myself around them, but there is an abundance of chips, cookies, and candy in our pantry, and I just can’t seem to stay away from it all!

At least most of my meals have been pretty healthy. My mom always stocks the fridge with a variety of fresh, organic produce and dairy that I never buy at school because I’m too cheap. I love it! The other day I had Greek yogurt topped with chopped mango and kiwi for breakfast. And for lunch, I made myself a humongous salad with kale, carrots, tomatoes, cucumber, celery, and a hard-boiled egg. Yum!

I’m trying to convince my meat-loving family members to eat more veggies too. I put some raw kale on the table for dinner the other day and my dad asked, “What IS that?” with a very skeptical look on his face. Then I made these chickpea blondies for dessert and my sister told me she wanted to throw up (she’s a little dramatic).

I know that most people would agree with her after hearing that these blondies are made with garbanzo beans, but honestly, these blondies are REALLY good!! Obviously they’re not super sweet and buttery like regular blondies, but they’re still quite fudgey and delicious. Plus, they’re vegan, so you can eat as much of the raw batter as you’d like, which I think is even BETTER than the baked blondies. It tastes like Snickerdoodle Dessert Hummus!!

I ate wayyy more than my share of these chickpea blondies, and even my sister ate a couple after I told her that there were chocolate chips in them. She proclaimed them “gross,” but at least she tried them, right? Baby steps! 🙂

Chickpea Blondies

Source: adapted from Chocolate Covered Katie

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups chickpeas (1 can, drained and rinsed)
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • heaping 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup oat flour
  • 1/4 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease an 8×8 inch baking pan.
2. Place all ingredients (except chocolate chips and walnuts) in a food processor and process until completely smooth. Stir in chocolate chips and walnuts.
3. Scrape batter into prepared pan and spread evenly.
4. Bake in preheated oven for 35-40 minutes. Do not overbake.


12 Comments

Filed under Bars/Squares, Dessert

Chocolate Pudding Cake

The most horrible, unimaginable thing happened yesterday. The oven STOPPED WORKING. As I was gathering the ingredients to make homemade granola bars, I set the oven to preheat. Over half an hour later, there was still no beep to signal that the oven was fully preheated, so I went to check on it and  found that it wasn’t warm at all! I reset the oven and tried to preheat it again, but the oven didn’t warm up in the slightest.

I almost panicked. How on earth was I going to bake without a working oven?? I had already measured out the raw oats and chopped up the nuts for granola bars. Also, I had promised my sister (who had a SERIOUS chocolate craving) that I would bake the most amazing chocolate pudding cake for dessert. Luckily, my mom reminded me that I could use our little toaster oven to toast the oats and nuts for the granola bars. And I was delighted to discover that the toaster oven was just large enough to fit an 8×8 inch pan for the cake.

So I mixed up the cake batter, poured hot coffee all over it, and waited for 25 agonizing minutes for it to finish baking. My sister and I dug in while the cake was still hot and almost died and went to chocolate lovers heaven. The warm pudding sauce is beyond words. It’s the perfect thing to make you forget about surviving the summer at home with a non-functional oven (at least for a moment!).

Chocolate Pudding Cake

Source: slightly adapted from Joy of Baking

Ingredients

For the pudding sauce:

  • 1 1/2 cups boiling water
  • 1 tablespoon instant coffee
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
For the cake:
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoons alt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 large egg
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)
Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease an 8×8 inch baking dish.
2. To make the pudding sauce, stir the instant coffee into the boiling water. In a separate bowl, stir together sugars and cocoa powder.
3. To make the cake, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking powder. In another large bowl, whisk together egg, melted butter, sugar, milk, and vanilla extract. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and stir until just combined. Fold in the chopped nuts.
4. Scrape batter into prepared pan and spread evenly. Sprinkle the cocoa mixture on top of cake batter. Gently pour coffee over the cocoa mixture.
5. Bake in preheated oven for about 25 minutes, or until the cake is puffed and just beginning to pull away from sides of pan. Place on wire rack to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.

2 Comments

Filed under Cakes/Cupcakes, Dessert

Maple Almond Butter Cookies

I feel like I always have a latest obsession, and this time, it’s nut butter. I’ve always liked it, but now I am seriously crazy about the stuff! I drizzle it on oatmeal, spread it on bread, blend it into smoothies, and I like to bake with it, too. But my most favorite way to enjoy nut butter is straight out of the jar with a spoon. 🙂

I grew up eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches practically every day, but my favorite of all nut butters is almond butter. The first time I tried it, I was still in elementary school, but I clearly remember the freshly ground almond butter being so warm and nutty and delicious. Then proceeding to eat huge globs of it on my afternoon snack of apple slices. 🙂

It was love at first taste, and since then I’ve been eating it almost daily. I’ve even made my own almond butter (and peanut butter and sunflower seed butter) in my food processor. You would think that I’d be sick of it by now, but if anything, I love it even more! Whenever I’m at the grocery store, I make a beeline for the nut butter shelves (after the baking aisle though, of course!).

I don’t know what it is about nut butter, but I can’t seem to get enough of it! And I don’t think my obsession is going to wear off anytime soon. This is going to make me sound like a total dork, but my goal is to try every single nut/seed butter out there by the end of this year – walnut, pecan, cashew, hazelnut etc., etc., etc.

When I was at Whole Foods last weekend, I picked up a pack of Justin’s Maple Almond Butter to sample, and I absolutely loved it! I made sure to squeeze every last drop out of the packet. 🙂 The maple syrup and almond butter combo is a winner, and I had the PERFECT recipe to try it out in!

These maple almond butter cookies were really, REALLY good. Out of all the healthier cookie recipes that I’ve tried, these are definitely the best. I didn’t miss the lack of butter or sugar in the recipe at all! Plus, it’s the perfect excuse to eat cookies for breakfast! 🙂

Maple Almond Butter Cookies

Source: slightly adapted from Sweet and Natural

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup creamy almond butter
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped almonds

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. In a large bowl, combine almond butter, maple syrup, oil, vanilla extract and almond extract and mix well. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt.

3. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and stir until just combined. Fold in chopped almonds. Let sit for 5 minutes.

4. Roll heaping tablespoons of dough into balls and place on an ungreased baking sheet. Flatten slightly to about 1/3 of an inch. Bake in preheated oven for 8-10 minutes.

4 Comments

Filed under Cookies, Dessert

Cinnamon Rolls

I’m DONE!! As soon as I turned in my last final exam I rushed home with Deborah (we’re in the same class) and anxiously waited for Ahra to turn in her final paper. When she got home, all three of us proceeded to scream and jump up and down. Then we popped open a bottle of ice wine to celebrate!

It feels SO good to be done with undergrad. It has been quite an eventful semester, to put it mildly, so I’m glad that it’s finally over. We have lots more celebrating to do tonight, so I’ll just leave you with a recipe for the most ridiculously delicious homemade cinnamon rolls that I have ever eaten in my life. Soft, fluffy dough swirled with buttery cinnamon-sugar filling drizzled with sweet cream cheese icing = PERFECTION!

This was my first attempt at homemade cinnamon rolls because I always thought they were difficult and complicated to make for some reason. Not so at all! Although the process is a bit time consuming, the whole process is a breeze!

They’re almost too easy to make, which equals bad news for me. I can see myself making a batch of these cinnamon rolls for brunch every weekend and then devouring half of them by myself. Oh well, I guess that just means more time with the treadmill! 🙂

Cinnamon Rolls

Source: adapted from Savory Sweet Life

Ingredients

  • 1 cup warm milk (115 degrees F)
  • 1 egg (room temperature), slightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons (1 .25-ounce package) instant dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cinnamon

For the frosting:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 5-6 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions

1. In a large bowl, combine milk, egg, melted butter, oil, sugar, and salt. Add flour, and sprinkle yeast on top. Mix well with a wooden spoon until a dough forms.

2. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface, and knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes, adding more flour as needed. Place dough in a greased bowl and cover with a damp towel. Allow dough to rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

3. In a small bowl, combine sugar, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Set aside. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and roll into a rectangle slightly large than a 9×13 pan. Spread surface evenly with melted butter, and sprinkle sugar/cinnamon mixture on top. Use hands to make sure entire surface of dough is evenly coated.

4. Beginning with the long side, roll dough into a log, pinching seam to seal. Use dental floss to cut log into 12 equal slices and place them in a 9×13 inch baking pan. Cover with a damp towel and allow to rise for 30 minutes.

5. While rolls are rising, preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Beat cream cheese, milk, confectioners’ sugar, and vanilla with an electric mixer until smooth. Set aside.

6. Bake cinnamon rolls for 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Drizzle with icing and serve warm.

3 Comments

Filed under Bread, Dessert

Earl Grey Shortbread Cookies

Happy Monday!! This is an especially happy Monday because it’s the last one of the semester. In just two days, I will be done with my last final, and completely done with undergrad! During the 1.5 weeks until graduation, I plan to sleep lots, bake all day and every day, and QUIT DRINKING SO MUCH COFFEE.

I’ve always been a tea drinker, but over the past year, I’ve become increasingly dependent on coffee. I typically drink a HUGE cup in the morning, a small cup at work, and a HUGE cup after dinner. And as if I wasn’t getting enough caffeine already, I supplement my execessive coffee intake by overdosing on tea. 🙂

I’m going to take baby steps, and start out by pouring myself a little less coffee each morning and having tea instead of coffee in the evenings. Then I’ll work on trying to cut my afternoon cup completely. I know I should probably reduce my tea intake too, but that’s going to be a little more difficult since I love the stuff so much! 🙂

Even though I have multiple cups of tea per day, I guess that’s not enough, because I love incorporating it in my desserts, too. I like it in my ice cream, cake, and cookies! The only tea that I’ve baked with so far is matcha (green tea) though, so yesterday I decided to use one of my other favorite teas – Earl Grey!

My friend Angelina mentioned something about Earl Grey shortbread a longgg time ago and it’s been in the back of my mind ever since. I finally decided to try them out last night, and they were even better than I had imagined! Crisp, delicate, and buttery, with just a hint of Earl Grey flavor. The most PERFECT shortbread cookies ever!

For maximum enjoyment, use cookie cutters to make the shortbread into fun shapes and have a nice big cup of Earl Grey tea on the side! 🙂

Earl Grey Shortbread Cookies

Source: Claire Robinson

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons loose Earl Grey tea leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

Directions

1. Combine flour, tea and salt in a food processor, and pulse until tea is just spotted throughout flour. Add confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, and butter, and pulse again until dough forms.

2. Place dough on a sheet of plastic wrap, and roll into a log about 2 1/2 inches in diameter. Cover tightly with the plastic wrap, and chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes.

3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

4. Slice log into 1/3-inch disks and place on prepared baking sheets, 2 inches apart. Bake in preheated oven for about 12 minutes, until edges are just brown. Let cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and cool to room temperature.

5 Comments

Filed under Cookies, Dessert

Nutty Apple Spice Muffies

The world seems like SUCH a better place now that I am eating sugar again! Okay, that may be a bit of an exaggeration, but I love being able to eat whatever I want and not have to restrict myself from my favorite food group! 🙂

I got a little too excited about eating sugar again though, and had way too much gelato, cheesecake, and doughnuts at a school event earlier this week. It was blissful. 🙂 The sugar high actually made me feel kind of sick afterwards, but it was worth it!

I think I will take it easy with sugar from now on, though. As much as I love sugar, I don’t want to revert back to my old habits of eating multiple servings of dessert a day or substituting dessert foods for meals altogether.

Even though Lent is over (thank goodness!), I’m still going to bake with no added sugar from time to time. I made a batch of sugar-free nutty apple spice muffies yesterday, and they were sooo yummy! I call these “muffies” because they look like cookies, but they are more like muffins in taste and texture.

I think my tastebuds have become accustomed to the taste of naturally sweetened desserts because the muffies tasted so much better to me than all the sugary treats I indulged in this week. They are addictively good. I singlehandedly devoured half the batch in less than 24 hours. Oh well, at least they’re healthy, right? 🙂

Nutty Apple Spice Muffies

Source: adapted from Kat’s Health Corner

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and lightly grease two baking sheets.

2. Place walnuts, almonds, oats, and raisins in a food processor and process until a coarse meal forms. Transfer mixture to a large bowl and combine with baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg.

4. Add applesauce and vanilla to dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.

5. Drop heaping tablespoons of batter onto prepared baking sheets, spacing about 1 1/2 inches apart, and flatten slightly into a cookie shape.

6. Bake in preheated oven for 10-12 minutes, or until bottoms are lightly browned. Cool muffies on baking sheets for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

5 Comments

Filed under Breakfast, Cookies, Dessert, Muffins