Dairy-Free Peach & Raspberry Icebox Cake

I’ve been wanting to do a little something different lately because I feel like I get stuck on things like bars, breads and dips a lot! In all honestly they are EASY to make and I’m constantly just wanting something I can throw together since I’ve got kids! But then came along this recipe from Half Baked Harvest and it gave me an idea.

A few years ago, I made this crazy delicious Blueberry Lemon IceBox Cake and while it was good it was most definitely NOT vegan/plantbased and certainly not healthy so I thought I would give it a little makeover! I did the peach/raspberry combo that HBH did so beautifully with her cake and used Cadia Graham Crackers and So Delicious Coconut Whipped Cream. That’s right I BOUGHT the coconut whipped cream! I know, I know I could have just thrown a can of coconut milk in the fridge and whipped it up the next day with some agave and vanilla but I was seriously going for easy here and I’m not gonna lie, I LOVE this whipped cream from So Delicious. Better than my homemade stuff even. ūüėÄ

So while not the healthiest dessert due to the sugar in the graham crackers and whipped cream, albeit a small amount, it is an upgrade from my old recipe for sure! And we loved it! The graham crackers get nice and soft and “cake-like” after sitting overnight, sandwiched between the whipped cream. And the raspberry/peach combo is SO good. Simple, delicious and utilizes the last of those yummy summer fruits!

Enjoy!

Dairy-Free Peach & Raspberry Icebox Cake
 
Ingredients
  • 2, 9 oz. containers So Delicious Coconut Whipped Cream (I used the lite version)
  • 12 sheets Cadia Graham Crackers (or similar healthy/low sugar/whole grain brand)
  • 2 c. Chopped Peaches (about two large), plus more for topping
  • 2 c. Raspberries, plus more for topping
Instructions
  1. Line a large, 6½x11x4-inch loaf pan with foil, both ways, letting the foil hang over either end of the pan. Spray lightly with coconut oil cooking spray.
  2. Spread a layer (about ⅓ of a container) of coconut whipped cream in the bottom of your pan. You want to have enough whipped cream left to use some for spreading on the top of the cake after it has set overnight and been flipped out of the pan.
  3. Place 4 sheets of the graham crackers on the top of the whipped cream (they may overlap a bit in the middle and that's ok!).
  4. Cover the graham crackers in another layer of whipped cram and sprinkle the whipped cream with half of the raspberries and half of the peaches.
  5. Gently spread a layer of whipped cream over the fruit. Cover with 4 more sheets of graham crackers, a layer of whipped cream and the remaining half of the peaches and raspberries.
  6. Cover the fruit with another layer of whipped cream and 4 more sheets of graham crackers.
  7. Cover with foil and let set in the fridge for 24 hours or overnight.
  8. Place a plate or cake stand over the to of the loaf pan and gently flip over. Carefully remove the pan and then gently and slowly peel away the foil.
  9. Quickly cover the top of the cake with the remaining whipped cream and sprinkle/decorate with the extra fruit. Slice and serve immediately.
Notes
Serves 10.

 

 

 

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Raspberry Cream Cheese Pull-Apart Rolls

Raspberry Cream Cheese Pull Apart Roll

One last recipe before the big day of love tomorrow!¬† This one is for a super simple and delicious breakfast, Raspberry Cream Cheese Pull Apart-Rolls.¬† The original recipe was first published in Cooking Light Magazine in 1999.¬† It was a little different with dried fruit and citrus zests and far less fat and calories than my recipe has.¬† But I’m not going for “light” on this one.¬† I wanted full fat and loads of sugar!¬† And that’s exactly what I did.¬† Because it tastes good.

Raspberry Cream Cheese Pull Apart Rolls

Imagine a soft, fluffy yeast roll, brushed with butter, studded with tart raspberries and finished with a layer of cheesecake topping.¬† That’s what you get with these rolls!¬† They are simply divine.¬† The only thing I didn’t get to do (and regret immensely) was drizzle them with a yummy glaze.¬† I highly suggest whipping up a simple powdered sugar/milk mixture and drizzling it over the rolls while they’re still warm.¬† Just too add a little more sweetness since the only sugar is in the cheesecake mixture.¬†¬† They would make a great Valentine’s Day breakfast treat or even dessert!

Hope you enjoy them as much as we did!

Raspberry Cream Cheese Pull-Apart Rolls
 
Ingredients
  • One, 25 oz. Package Rhodes Dinner Rolls (36 rolls total)
  • 1 stick Butter, melted
  • 12 oz. Frozen Raspberries
  • 2, 8 oz. pkgs. Cream Cheese, softened
  • 1 c. Sugar
  • 2 Large Eggs, room temperature
  • 2 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 2 c. Powdered Sugar and ⅔ c. Milk whisked together until smooth
Instructions
  1. Thaw rolls at room temperature for 1 hour. Place 36 rolls in two, 9-inch round pans (18 rolls in each), coated with cooking spray. Brush melted butter evenly over rolls. Cover and let rise in warm place, free from drafts for 1 hour.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Sprinkle rolls with frozen raspberries and then pour cream cheese mixture over rolls. Cover and let rise 1 hour.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake rolls for 35-40 minutes. Remove from oven and drizzle with powdered sugar glaze.
  4. OVERNIGHT VARIATION: After pouring the cream cheese mixture over rolls, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 12 hours. Remove plastic wrap from rolls and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour. Proceed with baking the rolls as directed.
Notes
Makes 36 rolls.

 

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42 Valentine’s Day Dessert Ideas

I started pinning things for Valentine’s Day on Pinterest and couldn’t stop.¬† Thus, this blog post.¬† I knew there was no way I was going to be able to make everything I was pinning so I decided to just put them all into one massive blog post and let you decide what to make!¬† In my opinion, anything pink, red, strawberry, raspberry, cherry or chocolate says Valentine’s Day!¬† And that’s pretty much what you’ll find in this post.¬† Lots of pretty, delicious, Valentine’s Day-perfect treats and ideas!¬† How to choose?!¬† I hate making decisions.¬† Especially when it comes to dessert.¬† They all look amazing.

Enjoy!

 

2-Ingredient Strawberry Fudge

 

2-Ingredient Strawberry Fudge

Berry Banana Smoothie

 

Berry Banana Smoothie

Frozen Cherry Limemade

 

Cherry Limemade

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Popsicles

 

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Popsicles

Chocolate Dream Cupcake Bites with Whipped Chocolate Buttercream

 

Chocolate Dream Cupcake Bites with Whipped Chocolate Buttercream

Conversation Heart Cheesecakes

 

Conversation Heart Cheesecakes

Cupid Corn Cookie Bark

 

Cupid Corn Cookie Bark

Dark Chocolate Raspberry Banana Bread

 

Dark Chocolate Raspberry Banana Bread

Dreamy Mini Cheesecakes

 

Dreamy Mini Cheesecakes

Heart-Shaped Doughnuts

 

Heart-Shaped Doughnuts

Hershey Heart Pretzels

 

Hershey Heart Pretzels

Love Potion #9 Drink

 

Love Potion #9 Drink

Mini Chocolate Cake

 

Mini Chocolate Cake

Pink Confetti Cupcakes

 

Pink Confetti Cupcakes

Pink Lemonade Cake

 

Pink Lemonade Cake

Pretty Pink Cookie Dough Truffles

 

Pretty Pink Cookie Dough Truffles

Puff Pastry Strawberry Tart

 

Puff Pastry Strawberry Tart

Raspberry Coconut Scones

 

Raspberry Coconut Scones

Raspberry Confetti Kisses

 

Raspberry Confetti Kisses

Raspberry Lemonade Bars

 

Raspberry Lemonade Bars

Raspberry Party Punch

 

Raspberry Party Punch

Red Velvet Sweetheart Cupcakes

 

Red Velvet Sweetheart Cupcakes

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies

Reese’s Cupcake Topper

 

Reese's Cupcake Vday Topper

Skinny Berry Cheesecake Trifle

 

Skinny Berry Cheesecake Trifle

Skinny Strawberry Chocolate Chip Muffins

 

Skinny Strawberry Chocolate Chip Muffins

Strawberries and Cream Popsicles

 

Strawberries and Cream Popsicles

Strawberry and Chocolate Nachos

 

Strawberry and Chocolate Nachos

Strawberry Angel Food Cake

 

Strawberry Angel Food Cake

Strawberry Cake

 

Strawberry Cake

Strawberry Chocolate Chip Cookies

 

Strawberry Chocolate Chip Cookies

Strawberry Cream Pie

 

Strawberry Cream Pie

Strawberry Cupcakes with Strawberry Buttercream

 

Strawberry Cupcakes with Strawberry Buttercream

Strawberry Nutella Poptarts

 

Strawberry Nutella Poptarts

Strawberry Tiramisu

 

Strawberry Tiramisu

Sweet Swirl Cookies of Love

 

Sweet Swirl Cookies of Love

Triple Chocolate Cherry M&M Cookies

 

Triple Chocolate Cherry M&M Cookies

Valentine Love Letter Cupcakes

 

Valentine Love Letter Cupcakes

Valentine’s 5-Layer Finger Jello

 

Valentine's 5-Layer Finger Jello

Valentine’s Day Fruit Pizza

 

Valentine's Day Fruit Pizza

Valentine’s Day Pudding Parfait

 

Valentine's Day Pudding Parfait

Valentine’s Day Fruit Kabobs

 

VDay Fruit Kabob

 

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White Chocolate Raspberry Cookies

White Chocolate Raspberry Cookies

I have not found a cookie in awhile that it is hard to stop eating.¬† You know, not so rich that you can only handle a few bites and then you’re done?¬† But more along the lines of “Wow, those are so good I can’t believe I just ate five!!!”.¬† Yeah, that.¬† Let me introduce you to these White Chocolate Raspberry Cookies.¬† They are soooooo good.¬† The kind of good you can’t just stop at one with.¬† The are so soft and slightly crisp around the edges and the tartness of the freeze-dried raspberries sets off the sweetness of the white chocolate perfectly.¬† And I love the slight chewy texture from the oats.¬† Yep, can’t make these often or we’ll be spending extra time at the gym!

Oh and the bright pinkish red bits make them a lovely treat for Valentine’s Day, don’tcha think?

Enjoy!

 

White Chocolate Raspberry Cookies
 
Ingredients
  • 2 c. All-Purpose Flour
  • 1½ c. Quick Oats
  • ½ t. Baking Soda
  • ½ t. Baking Powder
  • ½ t. Salt
  • 1½ c. Granulated Sugar
  • 1 c. Unsalted Butter
  • 2 Large Eggs, room temperature
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • ¼ c. Raspberry Jam
  • 2 c. White Chocolate Chips
  • 1 c. Freeze-Dried Raspberries
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, oats, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
  3. In an electric mixer beat the sugar and butter at medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then the vanilla and raspberry jam. Slowly beat in the flour mixture. Beat in the white chocolate chips. Gently fold in the freeze-dried raspberries. Roll into 1½" balls and place on baking sheet.
  4. Bake for 10 minutes, rotating pans and switching racks halfway through. Let cool on pan for 2 minutes then transfer to wire rack and let cool completely.
Notes
Makes 36 cookies.

 

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July 4th Cupcake Inspiration

I just love these patriotic cupcakes from a few of my favorite blogs.  So creative and soooo tasty looking!  Makes me want to grab a sparkler and get the party started!

Enjoy!

Red, White & Blue – Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes

Photo by Love From the Oven

Color Swirled July 4th Cupcakes

Photo by Bake at 350

Blueberry & Raspberry Cupcakes

Photo by the Cupcaketologist

Berry Patriotic Cupcakes

Photo by Kitchen Daily

Cute Star Candy Cupcakes

Photo by Grey Luster Girl

Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes

Photo by Bakergirl

Bomb Pop Cupcakes

Photo by Confessions of a Cookbook Queen

 

 

 

 

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Art and Romance of Chocolate

A few weeks ago I had the privilege of helping my friend Robyn, of Red’s Cupcakes, hand out her amazing Chocolate Espresso cupcakes to hundreds of chocolate loving people at the Art and Romance of Chocolate event in downtown Springfield, MO. ¬†The event proceeds went to the Friends of the Springfield Art Museum and there were judging in certain categories. ¬†You can see the list of participants and who won what, here.

It was a fun event for a great cause and I was honored to be part of it. ¬†I did manage to make it around to all the vendors before the event started and snap some pictures with my phone (sorry for the poor pic quality!) of their amazing creations. ¬†I couldn’t even begin to tell you what everything was (except Red’s Cupcakes–first photo!) so just enjoy the pictures and give it your best guess! ūüėČ

 

 

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Dark Chocolate Nutella Raspberry Cupcakes

Nutella is everywhere right now.  People are putting it in cookies, cakes, brownies, cheesecakes, rice krispie treats, eating it straight out of the jar with a spoon (Who would do that?! Seriously…I don’t even know…).  It’s Nutella madness!  But there’s a reason.  The stuff is GOOD.  I mean really, really good.  So I decided I must bake with it.  Somehow.  What to dooooo???

And then I had an idea…another really, really good thing is raspberry beer.  Specifically, Framboise Lambic raspberry beer.  This stuff is beyond yummy, like drinking the ripest, juiciest, sweetest raspberries.  I’ve wanted to incorporate it into my baking FOREVER.  Hmmm, Nutella AND raspberry??  YES.  Chocolate cupcake with Nutella ganache and raspberry beer buttercream???  DOUBLE YES.

Not to pat myself on the back or anything, but this is one of the best cupcakes I’ve made to date.  I simply love this one-bowl dark chocolate cake recipe from Sweetapolita.  It is super moist and reminiscent of a wacky cake just like my mom used to make and reminds me of birthdays past.  The Nutella ganache is decadent and gooey and the light, airy raspberry buttercream is just the perfect frosting for the whole thing.  Oh and dare I suggest TOTALLY perfect for Valentine’s day with the faint pinkness of the buttercream and the cute dark chocolate heart topper??  (You can find the mold for the chocolate heart here.)

Is this the perfect cupcake? Perhaps.  The best use of Nutella EVER, in all baking history??  Maybe.   A really, really super delicious crazy good cupcake?!?  Definitely!

Dark Chocolate Nutella Raspberry Cupcakes
 
Ingredients
One-Bowl Dark Chocolate Cake
  • 1½ c. All-Purpose Flour
  • 1⅓ c. Granulated Sugar
  • ½ c. Dark Cocoa Powder
  • 1¼ t. Baking Soda
  • 1¼ t. Baking Powder
  • 1 t. Salt
  • ¼ c., plus 1 T. Vegetable Oil
  • ⅔ c. Buttermilk (I only had whole milk so that is what I used and it seemed to work fine.)
  • ½ c., plus 1 T. Espresso or Strong Hot Brewed Coffee (I used the coffee)
  • 2 Eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla
Nutella Ganache
  • ¾ c. Nutella Hazelnut Spread
  • ½ c. Heavy Whipping Cream
Raspberry Buttercream
  • 1 Stick Unsalted Butter, softened
  • ½ c. Shortening
  • 4 c. Powdered Sugar
  • ½ c. Raspberry Beer (suggested: Lamboise Frambic)
Instructions
For the Dark Chocolate Cupcake
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 20 regular cupcake pans with cupcake wrappers.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, sift or whisk all of the dry ingredients together. Add all remaining ingedients to the bowl with the dry ingredients and beat or 2 minutes on medium speed. Spoon 3 tablespoons of cake batter into each cupcake tin. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then remove from pan and cool completely.
For the Nutella Ganache
  1. Place the Nutella in a medium size bowl. Heat the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring just to a boil and pour over the Nutella. Whisk or stir until smooth. Let cool completely.
Raspberry Buttercream
  1. Cream the butter and shortening in the bowl of an electric mixer until fluffy. Gradually beat in 2 cups of the powdered sugar and then ¼ cup of the raspberry beer. Beat in the other 2 cups of powdered sugar and the remaining ¼ cup of the raspberry beer. Beat on medium-high speed for 3 minutes until light and fluffy.
To Assemble Cupcakes
  1. Using a serrated knife or apple corer, cut out a small piece from the middle of each cupcake. Fill with 2 teaspoons of Nutella ganache. Pipe with raspberry buttercream.
Notes
Makes 16 cupcakes.

 

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St. Louis and Cheesecake

This weekend I went to the Joyce Meyer conference in St. Louis with a few other lovely ladies. ¬†I’ve been several times before and it’s always a wonderful time of awesome music and challenging teaching. ¬†It’s also a great time to sneak in some shopping and splurge on some good eating out! ¬† On Friday, our sessions were at 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. so during that gap me, my sister Hannah and friend Nicole high-tailed it to the Galleria for a marathon shopping session.

One of our stops was Urban Outfitters where I found these Kitty Cat Measuring Cups.  I am a HUGE cat person, so I pretty much died when I saw them.  I still regret not getting them.

I also came across this toothpaste at Urban Outfitters. ¬†As much as I love cupcakes, I’m not sure I want to brush my teeth with them. ¬†That just seems…wrong.

After the last session on Saturday, we went back to the Galleria for the Cheesecake Factory. ¬†I know, I know it’s a chain and all but I’m sorry, I love the place. ¬†We had some awesome salads and then left.

Just kidding! ¬†Well, we did have salads but we most certainly ordered cheesecake too! ¬†And no, we didn’t share a piece, we each got our own piece. ¬†That’s right. ¬†Total gluttony. ¬†And it was sooooo worth it. ¬†Here is a picture of all three of them taken with my crappy cell phone.

And here are some beautiful stock photos of what we got.  Much better.

My sister Hannah got Craig’s Crazy Carrot Cake Cheesecake. ¬†It. Is. So. Good. ¬†Layers of carrot cake, vanilla cheesecake, cream cheese frosting and toasted pecans. ¬†Amazing.

I got the Lemon Raspberry Cream Cheesecake which consisted of Raspberry-Vanilla Cake, Creamy Lemon Cheesecake, Raspberry Lady Fingers and Lemon Mousse. ¬†It didn’t have the lady fingers and didn’t quite look like this photo and wasn’t really my favorite, BUT it was good. ¬†Just not my favorite.

What was my favorite? ¬†My friend Nicole’s choice, the Kahlua Cocoa Coffee Cheesecake. ¬†OMG. ¬†I know that phrase is overused but seriously, OMG. ¬†It was so, so, so good…a yummy brownie crust with a hint of coffee in the uber-creamy cheesecake filling and some seriously rich chocolate mousse and ganache on top. ¬†I was *this close* to choosing the Kahlua cheesecake and I was KICKING myself for changing my mind at the last minute. ¬†However, Nicole couldn’t quite finish all of her piece so like the good friend I am, I volunteered to help her out.

I had such a great weekend and was so sad to see it end but I’m thankful for the girl time and most importantly, God time. ¬†And now, I’m gonna shut down my computer on this dreary, rainy Sunday afternoon and hold my husband’s hand as he rides the emotional rollercoaster that is fantasy football. ¬†Hope everyone has a lovely Sunday evening.

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Maple Walnut Scones

I saw this recipe for Maple Sugar Scones over on Good Life Eats and immediately printed it off. ¬†Ever since I learned that scones weren’t that difficult (these Raspberry and Dark Chocolate Chip Scones, for instance) to make and were, in fact, quite delicious, I’ve been looking for another opportunity to make them and this recipe was perfect for the start of fall baking.

I didn’t have the maple sugar that the recipe calls for so instead I used Pure Grade A Maple Syrup (do NOT use the maple syrup sold in the cereal aisle of your store…it’s not real maple syrup) and adjusted the amount of dry ingredients. ¬† They turned out so delicious! ¬†The dough itself was more biscuit like with a hint of maple and toasted walnuts, but the syrup and sugar on top gave it a nice bit of added sweetness. ¬†Perfect warm out of the oven with a cup of coffee on a nice, chilly day.

Enjoy!

Maple Walnut Scones
 
Ingredients
  • 4 c. AP Flour
  • 1½ t. Baking Powder
  • ½ t. Baking Soda
  • ½ t. Salt
  • 1 c. Chopped, Toasted Walnuts
  • ½ c. (1 stick) Unsalted Butter, very cold and cubed
  • ⅔ c. Heavy Whipping Cream
  • ⅔ c., plus 2 T. Pure Grade A Maple Syrup, plus a little extra for glazing
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 2 t. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • Raw Sugar
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and walnuts. Using your hands or fork, work the very cold butter into the dry ingredients until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  3. In a separate bowl (I used a large measuring cup) whisk together the heavy cream, maple syrup, egg and vanilla. Add wet ingredients to butter/flour mixture and stir with a rubber spatula until just combined. With your hands, form dough into a large disc, roughly 7" round. Place on a lightly floured surface and cut into 8 wedges (the wedges were a little large so I think I'll cut it into 10 next time). Place on cookie sheet and brush with maple syrup. Sprinkle with raw sugar.
  4. Bake for 18-20 minutes until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of one scone comes out clean.
Notes
Serves 8-10

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Birthday Cake Disaster

The other day I had a request for a birthday cake. ¬†No problem, I thought, I can totally rock this…I’ll just do a cute little three-layer, 6-inch round cake like I’ve made before. ¬†Done and done. ¬†Or so I thought.

As I started to assemble the cake, the layers began slipping and sliding everywhere. ¬†I freaked. ¬†Why is this happening??! ¬†Crap! ¬†And then I started noticing how hot is was in my house…INSANELY HOT. ¬†I looked at the thermostat–80 freakin’ degrees!! ¬†I promptly turned the thermostat down to 75 but it was too little, too late…there was no recovering this cake. ¬†What to do??? ¬†A trifle was my only option and thankfully the person who requested the cake was more than happy to go that route. ¬†Whew! ¬†So I made a decent recovery and still ended up with something that tasted amazing and looked pretty. ¬†Gotta love baking in the heat of summer. ¬†Lesson learned!

P.S. The trifle consists of white cake, homemade raspberry filling and white chocolate almond cream cheese frosting.  YUM.

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4th of July Dessert

You’ll have to excuse me if this blog post isn’t quite as coherent as it should be but I just got done taste-testing tonight’s recipes and I think I’m in a bit of a sugar coma.¬† Not necessarily a bad thing but if I stop making sense about halfway through this post, I warned you!

Ok, let’s get down to it–4th of July themed dessert recipes are a pain in the butt!¬† Why?¬† Because if you limit your use of artificial color (like I do), you’re pretty much left with blueberries and strawberries to work with (and who are we kidding–they’re purple and pink!).¬† That’s it!¬† And don’t even mention the word TRIFLE.¬† Seriously.¬† I racked my brain for hours and googled until I could google no more but honestly couldn’t bring myself to make the same whipped cream/berry/pound cake trifle that everyone else was making.¬† Then it hit me–BREAD PUDDING.¬† I’ve only recently discovered the nirvana that is bread pudding and I love it with all of my heart.¬† I know, I know. You’re thinking “a HOT dessert?¬† ugh!”.¬† But throw in some vanilla ice cream and it’s all good.¬† Promise.

So here’s the recipe–Berry Bread Pudding with Lemon Drizzle.¬† First, let’s start with the sugary, slightly crunchy top crust.¬† Next, imagine sweet cream soaked chunks of soft French bread, studded with blueberries and raspberries.¬† Finally, spoon on some tart lemon drizzle and top with cold, vanilla ice cream.¬† Are you drooling?¬† Out. Of. This. World.

What’s that?¬† You want a second recipe?¬† Done.¬† You can do this one in less than five minutes–Berry Bark.¬† White chocolate with dried cherries, blueberries and cranberries.¬† Yay for options!

Hope you enjoy these recipes and try them yourself!  And most of all, have a safe and fun July 4th weekend!

Berry Bread Pudding with Lemon Drizzle

1 lb. Day Old French Bread, cut into 1-inch cubes

8 Eggs, lightly beaten

3 c. Half-and-Half

3 c. Heavy Whipping Cream

2 c. White Sugar

4 T. Pure Vanilla Extract

2 1/2 t. Lemon Zest

3 c. Blueberries

3 c. Raspberries

Directions

Spray a 9×13 glass baking dish with cooking spray.¬† In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, heavy whipping cream, half-n-half, sugar, vanilla and lemon zest until the sugar has completely dissolved.¬† Gently stir in the bread.

Place half of each of the berries in the bottom of the 9×13 dish.¬† Spoon half of the bread mixture over the berries.¬† Sprinkle the remaining berries over the bread and top with the rest of the bread and pour any liquid that is left, evenly over the dish.¬† Gently press the bread down with the back of the spoon and make sure no berries are peaking through the top.¬† Place in the fridge for 30 minutes to an hour, so the bread can absorb the liquid.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Sprinkle the top of the bread pudding with sugar and place in the oven on top of a baking sheet (sometimes the liquid part will bubble and overflow..no fun cleaning that off the bottom of your oven!).  Bake for 45-50 minutes, until the top is golden brown and the middle is firm.  While the pudding is baking, make the Lemon Drizzle.

Lemon Drizzle

1/2 c. Unsalted Butter

1 c. White Sugar

1/4 c. Water

1/3 c. Lemon Juice

1 t. Pure Vanilla Extract

1 Large Egg, lightly beaten

Directions

In a small, heavy saucepan, combine butter, sugar, water, lemon juice, vanilla and beaten egg.  Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until mixture comes to a boil.  Remove from heat and let cool.

Serve over warm bread pudding and top with ice cream.

Berry Bark

4 c. (2 lbs) Good Quality White Chocolate, chopped (or White Chocolate Chips)

1 c. Dried Mixed Berries (Blueberries, Cranberries and Cherries)

Directions

Melt chocolate in the microwave at 20 second intervals, stirring between each interval, until completely smooth.  Stir in 3/4 c. of the mixed berries and then spread onto a foil-lined cookie sheet.  Sprinkle with remaining berries.  Pop in the freezer for about 30 seconds to harden up.  Cut into pieces with a sharp knife.

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Summer Drinks

I heard earlier today that we are in an “excessive heat” warning for the next few days, all the way through July 4th and beyond.¬† Ugh.¬† While I love the July 4th weekend, I am dreading the thought of being outside for hours while my makeup runs off my face, my hair falls flat and pit stains form under the arms of my non-black shirt (Because who wears black in the middle of summer?! Unless it’s a bikini??).¬† Lovely.¬† So I thought I could perhaps cheer myself up by finding some delicious, cold drinks to share on here.¬† It’s worth a try!

(I want one of these…whatever it is.)

First, I have a recipe for a Thai Tea that is out of this world!¬† If you’ve never had Thai Tea before, now is your chance.¬† This recipe is so delicious…sweet, spicy (as in cinnamon/clove spicy) and creamy.¬† Unfortunately, I don’t have photo but I’m sure it’s not too hard to imagine a glass of tea with half-and-half poured in.¬† Delicious.

I also linked to a few more yummy summer drinks below, in case you need more beverage inspiration.¬† I’m pretty sure I’ll be making that Sour Cherry Fizz concoction this weekend…sounds ABSOLUTELY AMAZING.

Enjoy!

Thai Tea

6 c. Water

1 c. Thai Tea Leaves (found at Asian market)

4 Cardamom Pods, crushed

1 Whole Clove, crushed

1/4 t. Cinnamon

1 c. Granulated Sugar

1 c. Half-and-Half

Bring water to a boil in a large pan.  Stir in tea leaves and next 3 ingredients and cover.  Remove from heat and steep 5 minutes.

Pour tea through a fine wire-mesh strainer into a pitcher, discarding tea leaves.  Add sugar, stirring until dissolved.  Cover and chill.

Pour into a glass 3/4 tea and 1/4 half-and half.

More Summer Drinks

Summer Mocktails

Frozen Blueberry Lemonade

Sour Cherry Fizz

Raspberry Lemonade

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Berry Butter Cake

This post is a little late for Memorial Day, but this is one recipe you’ll be able to break out for any family or friend type gathering you may have in the coming summer months.¬† It’s basically a pound cake but it is a darn good one…I mean, it’s from Paula Deen after all!¬† That woman knows her stuff, especially when it comes to absurd amounts of butter and sugar.¬† I added in two types of berries for a more summery cake and threw in a bit more vanilla.¬† Also, if you have quite a few eggs you need to use up (like me) this cake is perfect–it uses six! Many of the reviews I read added lemon flavor or zest to give it a little more zing, which would also be a wonderful addition along with the berries.

I really wanted something quick too, as I didn’t have a lot of time last night to make something. However, the time stated on the recipe was a little off.¬† Instead of the hour and fifteen minutes it said to bake it, it actually took me one hour and 50 minutes to get it perfectly done.¬† That will definitely teach me to not start a cake around 9 in the evening! Besides that little snaffu, the cake was awesome!¬† It forms a sugary crust on the bottom (my favorite part) and stays absolutely moist and dense on the inside.¬† I HIGHLY recommend serving with vanilla ice cream.¬† Absolutely delish!

Enjoy!

Berry Butter Cake

Adapted from Southwest Georgia Pound Cake

1 c. (2 sticks) Unsalted Butter, softened

3 c. Granulated Sugar

6 Large Eggs

3 c. AP Flour

1/2 t. Baking Powder

1/2 t. Salt

1 c. Heavy Whipping Cream

2 T. Pure Vanilla Extract

1 1/2 c. Each Frozen Blueberries and Raspberries, tossed in flour (Do this once you have mixed everything together. You want the berries to be frozen when you mix them into the batter so that they don’t bleed into it.)

Directions

Generously grease and flour a 10-inch bundt pan.  Do NOT preheat the oven.  Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.  Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.  Alternately add flour mixture and heavy whipping cream to the butter-sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour.  Stir in the vanilla and gently, but quickly, fold the berries into the batter.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan.¬† Put into a cold oven and set the temperature to 325 degrees.¬† Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes without opening the oven door and then bake for an additional 30–35 minutes, checking with a butter knife toward the end of the time to test for doneness.

Cool the cake on a baking rack  for 15 minutes and then invert the cake onto a cake plate or cake stand.  Slice warm or at room temperature and serve with vanilla ice cream or homemade whipped cream.

Makes 16-20 servings.

 

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White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake

Every now and then I come across a recipe that is good.¬† Like, really good.¬† And people inevitably ask me for the recipe to which I reply “Yes!¬† Of course I’ll give it to you!”¬† And then I, ummm…conveniently “forget”.¬† I guess it’s not very nice.¬† It’s just that when something is so good and people are so impressed, you hate to let them in on the fact that your famous cookie/cake/brownie/whatever you make is really not that difficult and complicated.¬† They might not see you as the culinary genius they think you are anymore!

But lately I’ve been rethinking my selfish ways and decided that I should start sharing some of my more coveted recipes with others.¬† There’s no better place to start than with this cheesecake recipe that has been my go-to for whatever–birthdays, weddings, bridal/baby showers, etc.¬† It is seriously fail-proof and so delicious.¬† Oh, and did I mention simple?¬† It is, I swear!

I initially got this recipe out of a Better Homes and Gardens special baking edition and it was originally Maple Pecan, I believe.¬† But since then, I’ve morphed it into many things…chai cheesecake, chocolate chip cheesecake, Oreo, etc.¬† It is that versatile.¬† So this time I did a white chocolate raspberry version and it turned out quite fabulous.¬† Super creamy with a little extra sweetness from the white chocolate and tart from the raspberries.¬† So go ahead, make it…and enjoy all the many compliments you will get!

White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake

2 c. Graham Cracker, processed in food processor

9 T. Unsalted Butter, melted

3, 8 oz. Packages Cream Cheese, softened

1 c. Granulated Sugar

2 T. AP Flour

3 Eggs

1/2 c. Half-and-Half

2 T. Pure Vanilla Extract

1 c. Raspberry Preserves, slightly warmed in a bowl

1 c. White Chocolate Chips, melted and slightly cooled

Directions

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.¬† Grease a 9×13″ pan.¬† Line with foil, letting foil hang over ends for “handles”.¬† Grease foil

Mix together the processed graham crackers and butter in a bowl.  With your hands, pat down firmly into the bottom of the pan.

In mixer, combine cream cheese, granulated sugar and the 2 T. flour.  Beat with an electric mixer on medium to high speed until combined.  Add eggs all at once.  Beat on low speed just until combined.  Stir in half-and-half, vanilla and melted white chocolate chips.  Pour half of the filling into the crust-lined pan, spreading evenly.   Spoon half of the raspberry preserves over the filling and gently swirl with a knife, being careful not to cut into the crust.  Pour the other half of the filling into the pan and spoon remaining preserves onto the filling.  Swirl gently with knife.

Bake for 40 minutes or just until center is set.¬† Cool in pan on wire rack for 1 hour.¬† Cover and chill for at least 4-24 hours.¬† Use foil to carefully lift cheesecake from pan. (If the foil “handle” happens to rip, lift up one side as much as you can without bending the cheesecake too much, slide your hand underneath the cheesecake and lift out.)¬† Cut into 1-inch squares or however big you’d like them to be.

Makes about 65, 1-inch pieces.

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Raspberry and Dark Chocolate Chip Scones

Earlier this evening I whipped up some “test” scones for a baby shower tomorrow.¬† The reason they were “test” scones is because it was the second time I had EVER made scones.¬† I knew that I LOVED the recipe I had made just a few weeks earlier, but it was for a savory Jalapeno Pepper Jack Scone so I determined to adapt it and make it work.¬† And it did!¬† Much to my relief.

In my opinion, these are the best scones and so easy!  They are soft, buttery and flaky with a perfectly crisp outside and the combination of raspberry and dark chocolate is divine.  I always thought scones were hard to make but they definitely are not.  I think it just comes down to having a good recipe.  Enjoy!

Raspberry and Dark Chocolate Chip Scones

2 c. AP Flour

1 T. Baking Powder

1 t. Salt

1/4 c. Granulated Sugar

1 Stick Unsalted Butter, cold

2 Large Eggs

3/4 c. Heavy Whipping Cream (plus more for brushing tops of scones)

1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract

1 c. Frozen Raspberries

1 c. Dark Chocolate Chips (I used Ghirardelli Double Chocolate Bittersweet)

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in a large bowl.  Dice butter into small cubes and work into the flour mixture with your hands until it resembles a coarse meal.  The flour should be nice and crumbly.

Whisk together the eggs, heavy cream and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients all at once to the dry ingredients and fold together with a fork until almost fully incorporated.  Gently fold in chocolate chips and then lightly flour the surface of the counter where you will turn out the dough.

Divide dough into two portions.  Working quickly, toss 1/2 cup of the frozen raspberries in flour and then gently, but quickly, incorporate them into the dough.  It will be quite sticky.  Flour your hands and turn the dough onto the floured counter, and quickly but gently form the dough into a rectangle about 14 inches long and 2 inches thick.  Press against sides with a large knife to get straighter edges.  Cut dough in half and then cut the halves diagonally.  Repeat with remaining half of dough.  Place onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and brush with heavy cream.  Bake for 20 minutes, rotating pans once, until scones are golden brown.  Let cool completely and drizzle with vanilla glaze (optional).

Makes 8 scones.

Vanilla Glaze

1/2 c. Powdered Sugar, plus 2 T.

5 t. Milk

2 t. Pure vanilla extract

Directions

Whisk together all ingredients until smooth.

 

 

 

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