Category Archives: Desserts and Sweets

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Shortbread Cookies

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Happy Tinsel Tuesday everyone! Well, we made it through Thanksgiving with very little stress actually. I was very proud of myself. I am usually a wreck by the big day worrying about the food coming out right and on time, everyone being comfortable and entertained, etc. You know the feeling, by the time dinner is ready you are so stressed out you can’t eat and want to go hide with a bottle of wine? Truly I expected to lose my mind because I had 12 people here and most of them were my son’s girlfriend’s family. They have been together for almost a year now, but the families have only gotten together a handful of times, so it was a true test of my sanity (and I always choke on test day). But I have to say this year was such a wonderful respite from the usual chaos. The families just click together in a way I have never seen before. I didn’t freak out on little bit and enjoyed every single minute of the time we spent together!

Now that Thanksgiving has passed though it is time to get on with the business of Christmas, and one of the items of business for me this year is making some tasty treats. I keep telling Kevin that I have very little in the way of sweets on the blog, so this gives me the opportunity to rectify that situation. I mean Christmas and sweets go hand in hand right? So I have been flipping through magazines and prowling Pintrest looking for some tasty tidbits to make for you all. I stumbled upon these beauties on Pintrest and knew I had to make them. What is there not to like about these babies? Peanut butter + chocolate = YUM!!
These are super easy to make too! I love rolled cookies. You just make them, roll them up and put them in the fridge, and WALA you have cookies whenever you want them. I hope you give these a try. A few of these with a cup of coffee or tea will put a smile on your face, I guarantee it!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Shortbread Cookies
1 stick, (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, room temp 
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour  
1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
scant 1/2 tsp sea salt
3/4 cup milk chocolate chips


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Cream the butter and the peanut butter together in a stand mixer, or with a hand mixer. Mix in the vanilla.
In a large bowl whisk the dry ingredients together and add to the butter mixture.  Mix until the dough comes together.

Mix in the chips, and turn the dough out onto a piece of waxed paper.  Gently roll the dough together and form it into a log.  If it is still crumbly, work it with your hands until it holds together smoothly. Roll it up in the paper, smoothing the shape as you go.  Twist the ends securely and refrigerate for at least a couple of hours.

Slice the log into slices with a sharp knife, about 1/3 inch thick. If it crumbles just press it back together.

Bake on a parchment lined baking sheet for about 12-14 minutes.  The cookies will  not be browned, and they may look undone, but don’t over bake.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

Grab a cup of coffee or some ice cold milk and enjoy!!


New York Style Cheesecake Cupcakes

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This year I have vowed to overcome my baking issues. Oh don’t get me wrong, I can bake a mean chocolate chip cookie, but anything more complicated than that and I have trouble. And bread? Oy don’t even get me started on my issues with bread! But like I said, I am determined to conquer this. I am even planning on making homemade Parker rolls for Thanksgiving *crossing fingers* so pray for me, I know I am going to need it!!
I found these cupcakes on Pintrest. There were several blogs that had made them, so I picked the one that had the prettiest picture, hey you eat with your eyes first right? I know when I see a picture that makes me drool that it has to be a recipe I can at least work with. I just need to get better with my photography.
The family has been pretty happy with my baking plans though. I have only, knock on wood, messed up one batch of cookies so that is impressive for me. Plus the goodies I have made are disappearing very quickly. Now I am getting phone calls asking what I am making next. Yay me!!
Now, about these little dreams, all I can say is YUM! I love cheesecake, it is hands down one of my favorite desserts, my Cinnamon Roll Cheesecake being my all time fave, and these did not disappoint my cheesecake sweet tooth one bit! Seth and Heather both said they were fantastic and Kevin, well where do you think the rest of the cupcakes went? Another thing is that the recipe is super easy. I mean if I can do it without muttering a few colorful phrases under my breath then you know you can do it!!
New York Style Cheesecake Cupcakes
originally found on My Favorite Things

1 cup of all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
a pinch of salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup 
whole milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 graham cracker pie crust, finely crushed
cream cheese frosting  (recipe below)



Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line cupcake pan with cupcake liners.

Put the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and butter in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment and beat on slow speed until you get a sandy consistency and everything is combined.

Add the milk and vanilla and beat on medium speed until all the ingredients are well mixed, make sure to scrape the sides of the bowl.

Add the egg to the batter and beat well for a few minutes.Spoon the batter until two-thirds full and bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until light golden and the cake tops bounce back when touched. A tooth pick inserted in the center should come out clean.


Let the cupcakes cool slightly in the pan before placing on a cooling rack. Allow to cool completely.

When the cupcakes are cold, frost them and finish with a sprinkling of crumbled graham cracker pie crust.

Cream Cheese Frosting


2 1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 oz. cream cheese, cold



Beat the confectioners’ sugar and butter together in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment on medium-slow speed until the mixture comes together and is well mixed.

Add the cream cheese in one go and beat until it is completely incorporated.

Turn the mixer up to medium-high speed and continue beating until the frosting is light and fluffy. This should take at least five minutes. However, be careful not to over beat as the frosting can quickly become runny.


ENJOY!!

Tinsel Tuesday – Chai Sugar Cookies

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Happy “Tinsel” Tuesday my friends. Yes, I know it is usually Tipsy Tuesday but I have decided to change that up just a bit for the Holidays. So Tuesday will be reserved for holiday themed posts. Cookies, cakes, side dishes, and yes, even drinks. Anything that puts you in a holiday state of mind.
I haven’t really baked in about 5 years. In 2007 my daughter and I lived in a small apartment in San Diego. It had 4 apartments in each block of apartments. So that year I decided I would bake cookies for all of my neighbors and friends. I had bought countless magazines and cookie cookbooks, watched Food Network, and made notes like a crazy woman whenever I found anything cookie-ish. 
My daughter was on a Chai Tea Latte kick, so when she saw these beauties she begged me to make them. I actually made these and Chai Shortbread cookies. If you all are interested I will make those as well. They are great with tea or coffee!

To be honest I am not sure what magazine or book I found this recipe in so I am sorry that I can not give proper credit where it is due. But I did find a version of them on My Baking Addiction. These cookies are amazing. In fact there is a danger of eating way too many if there is a nice glass of ice cold milk around! They taste like a sugar cookie and snickerdoodle took a bath in Chai tea. So ding dang good it is crazy!! I only made one batch because I am determined to make as many different types of cookies I can this year, but I have been ordered errrr emphatically requested to make these again ASAP!!
They are so simple to make, really. I mean you know I am not a baker and if I can make them anyone can. Give them a try, they might become a new family favorite!!
Chai Sugar Cookies

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups white sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper

In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

In a medium bowl combine sugar, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, allspice and black pepper. Remove 1/4 cup of the sugar-spice mixture, set aside to reserve for rolling the cookies.

Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar-spice mixture until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

Add the egg and vanilla extract, combine until mixed well.

Slowly blend in dry ingredients mixing until just combined.

Using a small scoop or spoon roll dough into balls and then into the reserved sugar-spice mixture. Place dough balls on prepared baking sheet about 1 1/2 inches apart. Bake 8 to 10 minutes.

Let stand on baking sheet two minutes before removing to cool on wire racks

ENJOY!!

Cinnamon Roll Cheesecake

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Oh my goodness, you have no idea how happy I am right now! #1 because, well, this is an amazing cheesecake! #2 I thought I had lost this photo and wasn’t going to be able to post this until I made it again. Even though my mouth loves the idea of me making this again (and again and again) my waistline has put me on a limit of 2 or 3 of these a year. The reason? I become like a mother lion protecting her cubs, growling at anyone that comes near it trying to keep it all for myself. I am not a big sweets eater but this is one that I adore!

A friend gave me this recipe a few years back and at first I thought there is no way in heck this non baking girl is going to try that! But the idea of it just sounded so good. I mean cinnamon rolls and cheesecake? Two of my favorites in one place? Oh man I have to give it a try, what is the worst that can happen? *Note to self* I should never ask that question as many things have gone majorly wrong in my kitchen. Luckily this was not one of them.
Normally when I make cakes, pies, cupcakes, etc. they don’t go very fast because there is just never anyone here anymore to eat them. This however was a whole different story. It was gone in one day! The next week it was requested again!! I laughed as I explained that we would all end up gaining 50 pounds if I made it every week. They begrudgingly agreed with me.
The following month it was again requested but this time it was going to a party so my waistline didn’t have to stress. I was informed that the party goers were just as happy as the family had been. I had explained to my friend that the cake needed to be refrigerated if it wasn’t eaten within the first couple of hours due to the cream cheese. She laughed as she told me that it didn’t even make it past the first half hour! 
Cinnamon Roll Cheesecake
Cinnamon Roll Batter:
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup butter, room temperature
1 egg, room temperature
1/2 cup milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Cheesecake Filling:
16-ounces (2 8-ounce packages) cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 eggs, room temperature
Cinnamon Filling:
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons ground cinnamon
Cream Cheese Frosting:
2 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup powdered sugar
Milk (if needed to thin the frosting)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and spray a 9″ springform pan with non stick spray.
For the cinnamon roll batter, use a stand mixer with the padded attachment or you can use a hand mixer. Cream together butter and sugar until it is light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add egg, vanilla, and milk. Beat for another minute, scrape the sides of the bowl. 
In a medium bowl sift flour, backing powder and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the batter a little at a time. Mix on low speed until combined well. Spray your hands with non stick spray and spread half of the batter in the bottom of the springform pan making a thin layer. Don’t worry it will rise when it bakes.
For the cheesecake filling beat the cream cheese and sugar, in a stand mixer or by hand, on medium for 2 minutes on medium-high speed. Add the eggs, one at a time, making sure to scrape the sides of the bowl with each egg. Add the vanilla and flour, beat for another minute. Pour the batter on top of the batter already in the pan. 
For the cinnamon filling, combine the melted butter, sugar, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Drop spoon fulls of the filling on top of the cheesecake filling. Top with spoon fulls of the remaining cinnamon roll batter. Using a knife to swirl the top of the cake. It will be thick, but just swirl as much as you can.
Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, until cake is puffy and lightly browned. remove cake from the oven and set it on a cooling rack. Allow cake to cool for at least 20 minutes. Cover and place in the refrigerator for 4 hours.
For the cream cheese frosting, combine the cream cheese and butter in your stand mixer or with a hand mixer, making sure your bowl is clean. Beat on medium for 2 minutes. Add the lemon juice, vanilla, and powdered sugar, beat for another minute or so until the ingredients are thoroughly combined. Add milk if the frosting is too thick. Spread the cream cheese frosting on the top of the cooled cheesecake and serve. Make sure to refrigerate leftovers.
ENJOY!!!

Champagne Poached Strawberries with Mascarpone

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This has to be one of my favorite desserts, hands down! I discovered it one day while watching Take Home Chef on TLC. Remember that show girls? The one with the hunky Chef Curtis Stone *swoon* ambushing women in the grocery store and then going home with them to prepare a gourmet meal for whoever they were cooking for that night? I swear I used to make sure my hair and make up were done every time I went to the store those days, just in case. Alas, no hottie chef for me *sigh* but I did find some really good recipes! I mean, how can you go wrong with strawberries and champagne? Right?

This is is a very elegant dessert. It is great for dinner parties or for that special dinner for two. But I will tell you that I have craved this so much that I have made it just for me, and whoever might be lucky enough to stumble upon the leftovers. Very not elegant at those times. Me, hair in pony tail, sweats, no make up, mowing down a huge bowl of this stuff. Not an attractive scene I know, but man oh man it was good!
I did have a little kitchen “mishap” the first time I made this though. So you can learn from my explosion errrr mistake. I boiled the strawberries in the champagne, as the recipe calls for, then placed them in a bowl, juice and all. You need to chill them before you can assemble the dish. Sooooo me being the braniac that I can be at times, placed the bowl in the fridge. A couple hours later I come back and opened the refrigerator door. I swear it looked like Freddy Kruger had murdered someone in my fridge. There was sauce and strawberry

shrapnel everywhere! I didn’t know whether to grab a mop or call CSI!! I ended up having to take everything out of my fridge and deep clean it. It had even seeped into my freezer!! YIKES! I will never make that mistake again I can tell you that!

Champagne Poached Strawberries with Mascarpone

2 1/2 cups Prosecco (regular champagne can be used, I just prefer Prosecco)
1/4 cup sugar
1 pound fresh strawberries, green caps removed
4 ounces crème fraîche
4 ounces marscapone cheese
Fresh mint leaves


Combine the champagne and 1/4 cup of sugar in a medium saucepan.  Bring the champagne to a boil over medium-high heat.  Place the strawberries in a medium bowl.

Once the champagne has come to a boil, pour it over the strawberries ensuring the strawberries are covered completely.  Allow the champagne to cool then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.  The strawberries will keep up to 2 days in the refrigerator.

In a small bowl, whisk the crème fraîche, mascarpone and remaining 3 tablespoons of sugar to blend.  Scoop the crème fraîche mixture in the center of 4 bowls.  Place the strawberries around the outside of the crème fraîche mixture.  Pour a little of the champagne juice into each bowl. Garish with mint leaves.

ENJOY!!!

This recipe also shared on;

Thursdays Treasures on Recipes for My Boys

Foodie Friends Friday

Food Star Friday – Banana Muffins with Marscapone Frosting

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As you can tell from my lack of it on the blog, I am not a big baker. Well between me not baking much and the fact that, believe it or not even with kids here, sweets just don’t aren’t popular in my house. Don’t get me wrong. I could make a huge batch of chocolate chip cookies and they would be gone tomorrow. But I want to try out new cakes and pies and those just don’t go over well. I guess I should just make them and feed my neighbors well right?

Well since I had a Food Star Friday coming up, I figured it was a great time to pull out a baking recipe. I had gone to the store and picked up 4 bananas a few days ago and hid them so no one would eat them before they got ripe enough to use. I am so sneaky. Once I got down to baking them I had everything out and into the bowls, just one more ingredient needed…vanilla. CRAP where is the vanilla??? Just as I was starting to get really upset (at myself for not checking a head of time and at whoever used the last of the vanilla) Dylan’s girlfriend told me she had seen it in the pantry. She proceeded to rummage around and come up with the vanilla. They had used it for French toast and it didn’t get put back in the box *sigh* so now I have vanilla right? I open it up and pour it into the tablespoon…..just under one tablespoon left in the bottle AARRGGGG!!! Why does baking always end up so stressful for me? OK, back to why were are here…the muffins.

The recipe is from Giada De Laurentiis. I love a lot of her recipes, so when I saw this one I decided to take a stab at it. My friends, it is so good!! The muffins are moist and don’t really need the frosting but I will tell you that the frosting is out of this world! If you are baking challenged like me this is a great recipe for you because it is not difficult at all. The best part…..the muffins went so fast I almost didn’t have time to take the photo!! So give them a try, you will be very happy you did, I promise!!!

Banana Muffins with Marscapone Frosting

Muffins:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 4 ripe bananas, peeled and coarsely mashed

Frosting:

  • 3 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup mascarpone cheese, room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted (I omitted the nuts)

Line 18 muffin cups with paper liners. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
Whisk the flour, baking soda, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a medium bowl to blend. Beat the sugar, oil, eggs, and vanilla in a large bowl to blend. Stir in the banana. Add the dry ingredients and stir just until blended.
Divide the batter among the prepared muffin cups. Bake the muffins on the middle rack until the tops are golden brown and a tester inserted into the center comes out with no crumbs attached, about 25 minutes. Transfer the muffins to a rack and cool slightly. The muffins may be eaten warm or cooled completely and frosted.
To frost the cupcakes: Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in the mascarpone cheese and then beat in the honey. Spread the frosting over the muffins. Sprinkle with the walnuts.

Buttermilk Pie

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This pie was the perfect finale for my “Southern Supper” of Roasted Pork Loin and Creamy Peas with Bacon. I was excited and nervous to make this all at the same time. I will be the first to admit I am not the greatest baker. I can make some mean Christmas cookies, but as far as other baking goes I have been pretty limited to boxed cakes and cupcakes etc. That is why I have decided to push myself and try more and more. I mean it is a good thing to get outside of your comfort zone, right? Of course that entails me making desserts for the whole family. I know they will enjoy them but they may curse me if the scale starts reflecting it. I am bad, I will take one serving and leave the rest to them. But they are my tasting team, I am just the humble cook.

Anyway, back to the pie. This pie has a wonderful custard like texture. You can taste the bite of the buttermilk along with the lemon from the lemon juice and zest and the fresh grated nutmeg. We all really enjoyed it and in the end I was very proud of what I accomplished. So don’t be afraid if you are not an accomplished baker. Trust me, if I can do it you can too!! Give it a try!

Buttermilk Pie
1 1/4 cup low-fat buttermilk, room temperature
2 large room temperature eggs, separated 
1 disk refrigerated or homemade pie dough

1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/4 fresh grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
Confectioners sugar for dusting

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Ease the dough into a 9-inch deep dish pie plate and crimp as desired. Pierce all over with a fork. Line the dough with parchment paper, then fill the pie with dried beans or pie weights. Bake until the edges are golden, about 20 minutes. Remove the paper and weights and continue baking until lightly golden all over, about 10 more minutes. Let cool completely on a rack.

Make the filling: beat the butter and the sugar in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or use a hand mixer) on medium-high speed until combined, about1 minute. Add the egg yolks and beat until pale and thick, about 1 minute. Reduce the mixer speed to medium-low, add the flour, lemon juice, lemon zest, nutmeg and salt and beat until just incorporated. Increase the speed to medium-high and slowly pour in the buttermilk. Scrap down the sides of the bowl and continue beating until combined. Transfer to a large bowl.

Clean the mixer and whisk attachment. Add the egg whites and beat on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form, about 4 minutes. Fold the egg whites into the yolk mixture in three additions until no white streaks remain. Pour the filling into the prepared crust. Transfer to a baking sheet and bake until golden and set around the edges (the center will still jiggle), 45 to 50 minutes, rotating the pie halfway through, let cool on a rack. Dust with confectioners sugar before serving.

White Chocolate Chip Cookies with Rum Soaked Craisins

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Christmas is my favorite time of year. Oh, I know you hear that all of the time, but seriously I could be one of those crazy people that stay decorated for Christmas year round. As soon as Halloween is over I am chomping at the bit to put up my Christmas goodies and the rest of the family have to hold me back until Thanksgiving. But that is as far as it gets! The day after Thanksgiving my tree goes up and the festivities begin!!

My kids and I have always made cookies at Christmas together and now that they are young adults, those memories bring me so much happiness and joy! I guess you could say I can’t think about Christmas without cookies. They just go hand in hand. Even above the whole Christmas dinner, cookies are the first thing I think of in my kitchen at Christmas.

So it just seemed a natural direction for me to go when I found out about the White Christmas Challenge through Very Good Recipes. If I think of a snowy white Christmas, I think of being warm and toasty inside with my kids and the wonderful smells of freshly baked cookies wafting through the air! I can close my eyes and picture it right now!!

This recipe is one that I have made for years, but this year I brought it up a “notch” by soaking the Craisins in rum. You don’t have to use the rum. You could soak them in apple cider or even cranberry juice if you like. But I will say that if you try them this way you will be hooked. The rum adds just a touch of a bite to the cookies and soaking the Craisins make them softer and chewier. Either way though, I hope you give these a try. Hopefully they will end up on your “Must have for Christmas” list.

White Chocolate Chip Cookies with Rum Soaked Craisins 
1 1/2 to 2 cups Craisins
2 cups rum, regular or spiced 
1 cup butter flavored shortening, room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups unsifted flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups white chocolate chips
Place Craisins in a bowl and pour the rum over them, making sure they are all covered by the liquid. Allow to soak overnight. Drain and set aside.
Preheat over to 350 degrees F.
In a medium bowl combine the flour, salt, and baking soda. Cream butter and sugars together until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, then add the vanilla extract and beat well. Blend in flour mixture a little at a time until completely incorporated. Add the white chocolate chips and the rum soaked Craisins and combine.
Drop by teaspoonful onto an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 10 to 12 minutes

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Apple Blackberry Pie

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I think I mentioned in one of my posts before Thanksgiving that I wanted to make something different this year for dessert VS the traditional pumpkin pie. Of course I couldn’t decide on just one thing so I compromised. I made the Pumpkin Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting to satisfy my pumpkin tooth, and then to fulfill the pie opening in the line up I decided on an Apple Blackberry Pie.

Now, I had never made pie before so I was quite nervous about this undertaking. I chose to make Apple Blackberry Pie because I wanted apple and Kevin prefers blackberry so WALA simple choice to me was to throw them in to party together, seemed logical to me.

I was surprised how simple the process really was. I was expecting to stress out and struggle but it all went quite smoothly. Now I am excited to bake more pies! I hope the neighbors are ready!!!

Apple Blackberry Pie
For the pie dough:
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup ( 2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter cut into small cubes
1/4 to 1/2 ice water

For the filling:
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 pounds assorted apples, peeled, cored, and cut in 1/4 inch slices
2 1/2 cups blackberries (frozen can be used thawed)
2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 egg yolk beaten with a teaspoon of water for egg wash
Sanding sugar for sprinkling (optional)
To prepare the pie crusts place the flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor and pulse a few times to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal, about 10 seconds. Add the ice water slowly through the feed hole in the processor just until the dough holds together. Don’t process for more than 30 seconds.
Turn the dough out onto a work surface. Divide in two. Place each half on a sheet of plastic wrap and flatten to form two discs. Wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.
Whisk together granulated sugar, cinnamon, flour, and salt in a large bowl. Add apples and blackberries and toss to combine. Pour filling into prepared pie crust and dot with butter. 
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F with the rack in the lowest position. Brush the rim of the crust with egg wash and top with second pie crust. Trim if necessary and pinch the edges together. Cut a small X in the center of the pie crust and then brush with egg wash. Sprinkle with sanding sugar. Place pie in freezer for 30 minutes.
Place pie on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, or until crust is golden. Reduce heat to 350 degrees F and rotate the pie about halfway through baking. Bake about 1 hour and 45 minutes, until the juices are bubbling in the center and the crust is golden brown. 

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Pumpkin Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

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I have been a hard core pumpkin pie traditionalist for many years when it came to Thanksgiving. I mean in my head you had to have pumpkin pie, right? For some reason I felt Thanksgiving without pumpkin pie was unimaginable.

This year, for whatever reason, that pumpkin pie obsession turned loose of my little brain. When it did it seemed like a million ideas came flooding in. I think I went on and on for about a week, talking everyone’s ears off, about what desserts I would make for Thanksgiving. For the most part they all looked at me like I had lost my mind. It is a look I am quite used to receiving so no big deal.

Once my mind came back from it’s little trip I decided I still wanted to do something pumpkin, just not a pie. Hmmmm what to make? A pumpkin roll? Cupcakes? How about whoopie pies? But then I remembered my mother’s cake she used to make when I was young. She used a spiced cake mix from the box and added canned pumpkin to it, then topped it with a spiced whipped cream frosting. Yummmmm right? SO I began digging through my piles of cookbooks, notes, and magazines. (*Mental note* I REALLY need to organize my stuff!!) I came back from my digging empty handed. I have no idea what happened to her recipe. So I figured I would look online and see if I could find something close. I could NOT believe how many recipes I found for pumpkin cake in varies forms and sizes.

I finally found a recipe I liked on Just Putzing Around The Kitchen and with a slight bit of change decided I had my cake. I will tell you that I had to be supervised when I made the frosting because I could have eaten it straight out of the bowl!

The family loved the cake and no pumpkin pie withdrawal was observed!

Pumpkin Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
For the cake:
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup pumpkin puree
3/4 cup milk
For the frosting:
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease 9 inch springform pan.
In a medium bowl sift all of the dry ingredients, stir to combine.
In a large bowl, or stand mixer, beat together the butter and the sugar until it is creamy. Beat in eggs one at a time then add the vanilla. Add the milk and pumpkin puree, mix until well combined. Add the dry ingredients and mix well.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. 
Cool the cake for 10 minutes, then remove from pan and cool and additional 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, beat your cream cheese until it is soft and fluffy. In a separate bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the whipping cream until firm peaks form. Transfer 1/3 of the whipped cream to your cream cheese mixture, gently stir until combined. Add the remaining whipped cream. Gently stir until completely combined.
Frost your cooled cake.
ENJOY!!

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