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Sweets and Treats

Blueberry Hand Pies

February 9, 2015

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Like most things I bake, these Blueberry Hand Pies are SO easy!!! If you need a quick, easy to make, homemade dessert that everyone will love, make these hand pies! You can add a little fancy vanilla ice cream if you feel they need to be dressed up, but really, they can stand on their own two feet….just look at how pretty they are. They kind of remind me of the Hostess fruit pies we had as kids way back when….but so much better!!

Begin by mixing in a large bowl the blueberries, sugar, cinnamon and lemon juice. Stir to combine and set aside. On a floured surface, roll out your pie crust. Using a cereal bowl (because I don’t have a 6″ cookie cutter), cut the pie crust into circles. You should end up with 6-8 circles.

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Put the pie crust circles on a parchment lined cookie sheet and fill each half of the circles with a few tablespoons of the blueberry mixture. Fold the crust over to form a half circle. Using a fork, crimp the ends.

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Brush the top of each hand pie with an egg wash and sprinkle with raw sugar. Vent each hand pie with a knife and bake at 375º for 30 minutes, or until perfectly browned. There you have it!! That’s it. Told you it was easy!

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Ingredients:

1 pie crust (I use refrigerated ready to use pie crust)
1½ cup fresh or frozen blueberries
1 tablespoon lemon juice
¼ cup raw sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Egg wash (1 egg whisked with a teaspoon of cold water)
Raw sugar to dust the tops of the pies

Makes 6-8 hand pies

 

 

 

 

 

Rustic Tart

September 7, 2013

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The Rustic Tart has been my “go to” dessert this summer.  It is so easy, relatively healthy as far as desserts go and really quite beautiful in a rustic way….hence I call it the Rustic Tart!! Use your favorite berry as pretty much any one will adapt well to this dish — trust me, I’ve tried them all! Add a scoop of french vanilla ice cream and you have an elegant yet simple dessert easy enough to make on a weeknight for your family yet gourmet enough to make for a dinner party on Saturday.

Begin by mixing the berries, sugar and corn starch in a medium-sized bowl. Add the lemon zest and fresh lemon juice and mix well. Next, layer a sheet of parchment paper over a cookie sheet and place the uncooked pie crust on top. Add the berry mixture directly in the middle of the dough leaving roughly 2 inches from the berries to the outside of the crust.

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Slowly pleat the crust up and over the berries leaving the center of the tart exposed.

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Once the tart is folded, give the exposed pie dough a generous egg wash using a pastry brush. Place tart in a preheated 375º oven and bake for 30-40 minutes until the crust is a golden brown. Let the tart cool before serving.

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Ingredients:

1½ cups fresh berries (blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, etc.)
¼ cup sugar
1 tbsp cornstarch
½ tsp lemon zest
1 tsp lemon juice
1 pie crust, rolled out into a 9″-10″ circle
egg wash ( 1 egg whisked with 1 tbsp water)

Serves 4-6

Three Berry Pie (aka…The Hot Mess)

August 6, 2013

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In my opinion, pie is best eaten hot out of the oven. And when you eat it hot out of the oven it falls apart into a mess of yumminess. It may not look pretty but it sure tastes delicious! You could be civil and wait for the pie to cool. Then when you cut it perhaps it would look like a slice of pie. But it also wouldn’t be warm and gooey. So, if you ask me, when you make this pie eat it immediately — then you will understand why we call it The Hot Mess!

Because I have yet to perfect an amazing pie crust, I “cheat” and use a pre-made crust….disturbing, I know. As soon as I perfect my crust (or better yet, get my mother-in-law’s recipe!), I will post a perfect homemade pie crust. Until then, this recipe calls for a pie crust of your choosing. How’s that for diplomacy!! Now on with the rest of the recipe…In a large mixing bowl, toss the blueberries, strawberries and raspberries with one tablespoon of fresh lemon juice. In a separate smaller bowl, blend the sugar, flour, cinnamon and nutmeg together. Mix the dry ingredients with the fruit mixture and set aside. For the crumb topping, blend together the rolled oats, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and salt. Slowly pour the melted butter into the topping mixture using a fork to blend.  Pour the fruit into the pie shell and evenly spread the crumb topping over the entire pie.

Bake at 375º for 40-45 minutes — the crumb topping will be a beautiful golden brown when done.

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Now, please dig in!! Don’t miss this opportunity to enjoy The Hot Mess!!

Ingredients:

2 cups fresh blueberries
2 cups fresh strawberries, thinly sliced
1 cup fresh raspberries
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
¾ cup white sugar
3 tbsp flour
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg

For crumb topping:
½ cup rolled oats
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup flour
2 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp salt
¼ cup butter, melted

One pie crust

Strawberry Shortcake Bites

March 10, 2013

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In preparation for an upcoming party, I wanted to create a tasty “dessert appetizer”–a sweet treat small enough to be eaten in a bite or two while standing, holding a glass and talking to your friends. I tried a few different ideas and, with the help of my daughter’s hungry boyfriend, settled on the Strawberry Shortcake Bites. They are simple to make, pretty to serve and easy to eat. Oh yeah, they taste great too!

Begin with opening a package of Grand Buttermilk Biscuits (that’s easier than making your own isn’t it?).  On a flour dusted surface, roll out one biscuit, thinning to a quarter of its original thickness.

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Using a small circular cookie cutter (or, as I did, a shot glass), cut out as many circles as you can get out of the dough. Repeat process cutting out however many dough circles you need for however many dessert bites you want to make.

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Place dough in a 350º oven and cook until done.

Meanwhile, slice your strawberries length-wise so they are thin slivers.

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To put it all together, have a biscuit bottom, top with 3 slivers of strawberries, a dollop of whipped cream and top with a biscuit. Use a cocktail spear to hold it altogether. Viola!! You have the perfect dessert appetizer!

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ingredients:

1 package Grand Buttermilk Biscuits
Fresh Strawberries
Whipped Cream (homemade or if you must store bought is fine)

Junk Bars

March 6, 2013

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So I’m not a big baker or a big sweet tooth, but ever since I was a little girl I’ve been making Junk Bars. My sister and I named them “junk” because, even as children, we knew there was nothing nutritious in them. Even so, when we made a batch we would proceed to eat the entire lot!! Not a good idea…..

Begin by making your crust: in a 9×13 baking pan, slowly add the melted butter to the graham cracker crumbs mixing as you go. You might need to add a little more butter to get the correct consistency though it doesn’t need to be perfect. Being a little crumbly adds character!!

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Once thoroughly mixed, press the crust so it’s evenly distributed on the entire bottom.

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Next, add your layer of chocolate chips followed by your layer of coconut flakes.

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To top it off, slowly pour condensed milk over entire dish.Try and cover as much of the dish as this “sets” the dessert.DSC_5075

Bake in a 375º oven for 35-40 minutes. Your junk (sounds kind of rude saying that) will be nicely browned on top when done.

 

Let cool before cutting into bars. Remember my advice…do not eat in one sitting.

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Ingredients:

2 cups graham cracker crumbs
½ cup melted butter (more if needed)
1 12 oz package of chocolate chips
1 14 oz package of Bakers coconut flakes
1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk (I used fat-free version…HA! Like that helps!)

Verona’s Banana Bread

March 3, 2013

 

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This is an old family recipe handed down from a dear friend from Bermuda.

♥ Thanks Verona!! You taught us well. ♥

In a medium mixing bowl, sift flour, salt, nutmeg and baking powder. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, add sugar and butter and cream until smooth.
Blend in the egg.

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Gradually add the flour mixture, stirring well. Using a large fork, add bananas mashing until mixture is creamy.

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Pour batter into a lightly greased loaf pan and bake at 375º for 45 minutes (or until done–pierce with a knife and if it comes out clean, it’s ready!). I always check the bread at the 30 minute mark if for nothing else than letting the aroma fill the kitchen…
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Oh it’s so good…..brew a cup of tea and enjoy.

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You can also make mini muffins rather than a loaf — great for on the go breakfast treats!!

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Ingredients:

⅓ cup butter
⅔ cup sugar
1 egg
2 cups flour
4 tsps baking powder
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp nutmeg
3 medium ripe bananas

Makes one loaf or 32 mini muffins.

Lemon Sorbet

February 15, 2013

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Today is Valentine’s Day, no big plans tonight. BUT on Saturday night, my cooking club is putting on what we are calling an “elegant dinner”….Kir Royale to start, lobster tail with drawn butter, asparagus with hollandaise, truffle potatoes, fruit tart to end….basically, the works!! I thought a lemon sorbet would be a perfect first course so as to cleanse our palates. I’ve made this sorbet before but it’s been many, many years. It’s not overly difficult, just time-consuming with carving out your lemons and the freezing process for the sorbet. The end result, however,  is magnificent!

To begin, wash the lemon rinds very well. Since the actual lemon is your “bowl,” you want to make sure it’s especially clean.

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Next, cut off ⅓ of the top of the lemon and just a smidge on the bottom so the lemon will be able to stand upright on your serving dish.

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Now comes the tricky part: cleaning out the insides of the lemons while at the same time retaining all the juice. I use a serrated knife, a grapefruit knife and a small spoon. Over a mixing bowl, cut out the lemon’s flesh, scooping out as you go. It doesn’t need to be perfectly clean of all the lemon’s fiber, just as smooth as you can get it. Put the lemon shells on a cookie sheet lined with parchment and put in freezer.

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Using a small strainer, squeeze the juice from the pulp and remove all seeds, reserving the fresh juice. Make sure you have 1 cup of lemon juice.

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In a sauce pot set over medium heat, add 1 cup of water and 1 cup of sugar. Stir until sugar is totally dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool. Add 1½ teaspoon lemon zest and 1 cup lemon juice. Mix well and chill in refrigerator for 15-20 minutes. Poor into metal mixing bowl and put in freezer for 2 hours. Take out and stir vigorously with fork. Do this process 3-4 times, keeping in freezer overnight. (If you happen to own an ice cream maker, you can let the machine do this step. As I do not own one, I have to do all the mixing!!)

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Remove your sorbet and lemon shells. Working fast, fill the shells with the sorbet. When done, put back in freezer  (the sorbet will thaw very quickly so don’t put on table until ready to serve). Top with mint leaves for a colorful addition!

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Ingredients:

8 lemons
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 cup lemon juice
1½ teaspoon lemon zest

Serves 8