Caramel Cookie Bars should be classified as a sin…but a very delicious one! Daughter, Megan, made these to take to friends that recently had a baby and she shared a piece with me. Oh my gosh! They are decadent and perfect for a special occasion.
Caramel Cookie Bars
1 cup salted butter softened
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups chocolate chips/chopped chocolate use your favorite (I like a combination of milk and semi sweet)
Fresh Peach Ice Cream is a summer dream come true. I’ve made it in the past but never cared for the icy chunks of peach in the ice cream. This recipe appealed to me with the blended peaches, allowing the peach flavor to permeate the ice cream. I added a bit of lemon juice (noted in the recipe below) to add a little citrus kick to the creamy goodness of peach ice cream. I served with fresh raspberries, my favorite combination with peach!
Peach Ice Cream
2 cups chopped peaches (peel removed)
1 1/4 cups sugar (divided)
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
optional: 1/2-1 tsp fresh lemon juice
Mix chopped peaches with 1/2 cup sugar in a medium sized bowl. Allow to set for about 15 minutes so the peach pieces release their juices.
Blend peaches up in a blender or food processor until nice and smooth. (Add 1/4 cup of your whole milk if you need more liquid to blend it up)
In a large bowl combine peach mixture with heavy cream, whole milk, vanilla extract, and remaining 3/4 cup sugar. Set aside.
Get out your freezer bowl and start running your ice cream maker. Pour the peach mixture into the running ice cream maker. And allow to run according to manufactures instructions (Mine is about 25-30 minutes.)
Serve now for soft serve ice cream.
For scoopable ice cream, scoop the peach ice cream into a bread loaf pan and cover with plastic wrap. Place in the freezer for 6 hours up to overnight. Then scoop and serve.
Funfetti Dip is an easy dessert, especially for kids. Who doesn’t love to dunk a Nilla Wafer or animal cracker into a yummy dip. We served this for a baby shower but it would be great for a kids or adult party.
1 box Funfetti cake mix (unprepared)
8 oz cream cheese softened
8 oz cool whip thawed
1/2 cup milk
Sprinkles for topping
Cream together cream cheese and whipped topping until smooth with a hand mixer.
Add cake mix (unprepared) and half of the milk and mix, gradually adding in more milk until desired texture is established.
Top with extra bright colored sprinkles
Serve with Nilla wafers, animal crackers or graham crackers
Tiramisu is one of my favorite desserts and this recipe is heavenly. I followed Chef Lucas during the COVID lockdown. When I saw his Facebook Live featured Tiramisu, I was in! I have found that Ladyfingers from Cost Plus World Market are best, and appropriately crunchy. The ladyfingers from my local grocery store are soft, so I crisp them up in the oven before dipping into the water/Amaretto mixture.
I’d highly recommend a food scale to get the ingredients right, but I have adapted to U.S. measurements below.
130g sugar (4.58 ounces or .5725 cup)
500g mascarpone (17.637 oz. or 2.205 cup)
125g whipping cream (4.40925 oz. or .55116 cup)
100g amaretti cookies (3.5274 oz. or .44 cup)
30g cocoa powder (1.058 oz. or .1323 cup)
1 package lady fingers
1/2 cup amaretto liquor
1/2 cup caffè (coffee) or water
Using a tumbler, fill about 3/4 full with 50% Amaretto (or coffee) and 50% water.
Quickly dip each ladyfinger in the glass; flip to get both sides. Place in 9×13″ glass dish. There should be about 15 ladyfingers per layer.
Crush the Amaretto cookies. Set aside.
Separate the eggs.
Add sugar to the egg yolks. Mix well. Add Mascarpone to the egg mixture. Folding in gently.
Add a dash of water to the egg whites. Beat until stiff peaks.
Fold the egg white mixture into the yolk mixture.
Add Amaretto cookies, crumbled, to the mixture.
Whip the cream until stiff peaks form.
Fold whipping cream into egg mixture.
Spread 1/2 of the cream mixture over the first layer of lady fingers.
Put cocoa powder in a sieve and sprinkle over the cream mixture.
Repeat the dipping of lady fingers in Amaretto and water and place 2nd layer into the pan.
Spread remaining cream on top of the lady fingers.
Chill the Tiramisu.
When ready to service, sift cocoa powder over the top.
Megan is the dessert queen of our family. She whipped up this decadent dessert and served it in an antique compote dish of my Mother’s. It was rich, velvety and so wonderful. Perfect for your Valentine’s Day dinner…or anytime you want to spoil your family and friends.
6 ounces (170 g) semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
6 tablespoons (89 g) unsalted butter, cubed
4 large egg yolks
1/4 cup (50 g) granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup (240 ml) heavy cream
Sweetened whipped cream, chocolate shavings, and fresh strawberries for garnish, optional
In a small heatproof bow, combine the chocolate and butter. Set the bowl over a pot of barely simmering water. Stir constantly until chocolate is melted and smooth. Remove from heat but leave the pot of simmering water on the burner.
In a medium heatproof bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar together until well combined. Set the bowl over the pot of barely simmering water and whisk for about 5 minutes, until the mixture turns pale and becomes slightly stiff. Remove from heat.
Stir in the vanilla followed by the chocolate mixture. Stir for a few more minutes to allow the mixture to cool then set aside until it cools to room temperature.
In a large bowl, whip the cream to soft peaks. Whisk 1/4 of the whipped cream into the cooled chocolate mixture. Use a silicone spatula to gently fold in the remaining whipped cream until fully mixed in.
Divide the mousse among four 6-ounce ramekins and refrigerate until set, about 1 hours.
Garnish with whipped cream, chocolate shavings, raspberries, or strawberries if desired.
HOMEMADE WHIPPED CREAM
1 cup (240 ml) heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
In a medium bowl, whip cream with an electric mixer on medium-low speed just until soft peaks form.
Add vanilla extract and sugar. Continue to whip until the cream forms stiff peaks. Make sure not to over beat, the cream will become lumpy and butter-like.
During the Pandemic lockdown, the girls and I joined our local winery, InVINtions, for their Zoom Italian Cooking classes with Chef Lucas. We made many wonderful dishes with Chef Lucas, and Pears in Red Wine Sauce was a delicious surprise. We didn’t have great expectations for this recipe, but trust me, it was one of many fantastic dishes!
When the holidays are upon us and we are tired of dishes that are too sweet or too rich, this is the perfect answer. It is a beautiful dish to serve your guests or to enjoy all by yourself!
PEARS IN RED WINE SAUCE
6-8 Pears 1 Bottle Red Wine 8 Ounces (1 cup) of Sugar 3 Cinnamon Sticks 6 Cloves
In a pan, combine all the ingredients.
Cook over low heat for about 1 hour.
If you desire a thicker sauce, remove the pears after cooked and mix one teaspoon of corn starch with a 1/4 cup water and mix with the wine.
Serve hot or cold. They are delicious warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream! You can store in the fridge for about a month.
Autumn and apples are like hand in glove. I love making apple desserts and salads and I needed a Vegan and Gluten-Free dessert for a gathering of friends. This recipe fit the bill and was scrumptious for all.
APPLE CRUMBLE — GLUTEN FREE AND VEGAN
6 large Granny Smith apples (around 1 kilo), peeled, cored and chopped into cubes
½ cup coconut sugar
1/4 cup arrowroot powder
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground ginger (optional)
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. lemon juice
2 tbsp. water
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup almond meal
1 cup all-purpose gluten-free flour
1 cup gluten-free rolled oats
1/2 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 cup coconut sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
1 tsp. vanilla extract2 tbsp. water
Preheat oven to 180C (350F).
In a large bowl combine all the filling ingredients making sure that all the apples are coated well.
Spread the apples evenly in an approximately 31x21cm (12.2×8.27inch) baking dish and set aside.
For the crumble topping, reusing the bowl from the apples, combine all the topping ingredients well with a spatula. If you feel like it isn’t mixed in well enough evenly, I like to get in with my hands.
Crumb the topping over the apples evenly and put in the oven to bake for around 45-50 minutes.
Serve warm with some vegan ice cream, cream or even yoghurt.
S’mores conjure up childhood memories of campfires with friends and family, biting into that creamy marshmallow with melted chocolate. Yum! Sometimes you don’t have a campfire and you still want s’mores. This recipe does that and takes it up a notch with peanut butter and chocolate hazelnut spread.
Make these delicious s’mores in advance and store in the fridge. Decorate for the occasion or holiday, in this case, Labor Day. It is a real crowd pleaser!
Chocolate Dipped Peanut Butter S’mores
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
16 graham cracker square (8 whole rectangular pieces, halved)
1/2 cup chocolate-hazelnut spread
8 large marshmallows
1 package white almond bark
1 package chocolate chips or other melting chocolate
Spread a generous dollop of peanut butter onto one side of 8 of the cracker squares, and then spread the chocolate hazelnut spread onto one side of the other 8 squares.
Thread the marshmallows onto 2 metal skewers and carefully toast over a flame on the stove top or grill. Place 1 toasted marshmallow onto each of the peanut butter-covered graham crackers. Top with the chocolate-covered crackers and sandwich together gently.
Melt the white almond bark and milk chocolate in separate glass bowls set over simmering water. Set aside to cool, stirring occasionally to keep the chocolate melted.
When the toppings are at room temperature, one by one dip half of the sandwiches in the white chocolate, allowing any excess to drip off. Work quickly, and then add on whatever sprinkles or toppings you’d like to use. (NOTE: We chose to drizzle melted chocolate over the s’mores and then apply sprinkles.)
Place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Then you can store the s’mores at room temperature or in the fridge until you’re ready to serve! (NOTE: I would recommend storing in the refrigerator so the chocolate doesn’t melt. They keep very well without getting soft).
Recipe slightly adapted from Food Network/Ree Drummond
Beat first 5 ingredients on medium speed until blended, 2-3 minutes (do not overbeat).
Whisk lemon juice and sugar in a shallow bowl until sugar is dissolved. Quickly dip 8 ladyfingers into lemon juice, allowing excess to drip off; place in a single layer in an 8-in. square dish. Spread a third of the mascarpone mixture over top. Repeat layers twice.
Sprinkle with lemon zest. Refrigerate, covered, at least 2 hours before serving.
Mango Shrikhand was a recipe made by my friend, Diane, for Book Club now over a year ago. It was delicious and I wanted to try to make it at home. I made it with Greek Yogurt and cut the cardamon in half.
For those who don’t love Greek Yogurt, I would recommend using Vanilla yogurt. If you don’t like cardamom, try using cinnamon. If you don’t like mango, try another fruit. It’s a versatile recipe and healthy dessert.
2 1/2 (8 ounce) container plain yogurt (I used Greek yogurt)
3/4 cup mango puree
5 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom (I used 1/8 teaspoon)
2 tablespoons crushed almonds
Line a colander with a clean piece of cheesecloth. Place colander over a tall vessel to collect the dripping water.
Pour yogurt onto the cheesecloth and gently twist the ends. Tie the ends into a knot above the yogurt. Let drain and thicken in the refrigerator, 5 hours to overnight.
Whisk yogurt, mango puree, confectioners’ sugar, and cardamom in a bowl until well blended.
Refrigerate Shrikhand for 1 to 2 hours. Garnish with crushed almonds and serve chilled.