Strawberry Sorbet

Strawberry Sorbet

I’m so excited about the Spring! The gorgeous flowers, extra daylight (hello, natural light!) and of course, strawberry season. Strawberry is my favorite fruit–hands down. Give me a bowl of strawberries and I’m a happy woman (ok, and perhaps a bowl of chocolate to dip them in?). Here in Louisiana, the strawberries are just amazing. They are super sweet and absolutely perfect.

A few weeks ago, the hubs and I went to Houston for a mini vacation and to see family. We ended up at this make your own frozen yogurt place, and the hubs went crazy over this strawberry kiwi sorbet that they offered. So of course, I had to show him that we could easily make our own sorbet at home. If y’all have an ice cream maker at home, seriously consider making sorbets. You’d be surprised at how quickly it comes together and how few ingredients you need!

Strawberry Sorbet
Source: The Perfect Scoop

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. fresh strawberries, rinsed and hulled
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp. kirsch (optional)

Directions:

  1. Slice the strawberries and toss them in a medium bowl with the sugar and kirsch (if you’re using it), stirring until the sugar begins to dissolve. Cover and let stand for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
  2. Puree the strawberries and their liquid with the lemon juice and salt in a blender (or food processor) until well blended and smooth. If you’d rather not deal with the seeds, you can strain them out at this point.
  3. Chill the mixture and freeze according to your ice cream maker’s instructions.

Eggnog Cranberry Bread

Eggnog Cranberry Bread

Words cannot begin to describe how much I love eggnog. The holiday season hasn’t begun until I chug a glass of the stuff. I know it’s super bad for you, but hey, Christmas only comes once a year, right?

I’ve been looking for a recipe involving eggnog to bake. I made cookies a while back, but those were pretty darn cakey. Almost whoopie pie like. Then, I heard about this recipe from Jessica Lynn of  The Tale of Two Kitchens. I knew I had to make it happen. Instead of muffins, though, I wanted to make mini loaves to include in the coworker’s gift baskets.

I ended up over filling a bread pan and some of the batter spilled out onto the cookie sheet. It was fate since I made just enough for coworkers. So, of course, I sampled the baked on spillage. :) It was PERFECT!

Now, I know eggnog is hard to come by nowadays, but for next year, definitely give this recipe a try. The eggnog flavor isn’t very prominent, but it gave the mini loaves a wonderful, spicy note reminiscent of the holiday season. I also found that when making this recipe into mini loaves, I only really needed half of the streusel topping, so the recipe I’m posting has different measurements for the streusel topping.

Eggnog Cranberry Bread
Source: Slightly adapted from Recipe Girl, found on Tale of Two Kitchens

Ingredients:

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbs baking powder
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
3/4 cup eggnog
1/3 cup melted butter
1 tsp almond extract
1 cup coarsely chopped frozen cranberries
2 Tbs granulated sugar

1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tbsp. butter, slightly softened
1/4 cup chopped pecans, optional

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease 4 mini loaf pans.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour and baking powder; set aside.

3. In a large bowl, mix eggs, sugar, eggnog, butter and almond extract. Mix in dry ingredients just until combined. Toss cranberries with 2 T. sugar and then stir into batter.

4. Prepare streusel topping: Combine topping ingredients using a pastry cutter (or two knives) until crumbly.

5. Fill prepared loaf pans until about 1/2 – 2/3 of the way full (this batter rises a lot!). Top with streusel topping. Bake 40-50 minutes, or until the breads test done with a toothpick inserted in the center coming out clean.

Bananas Foster Milkshake

Banana Milkshake

I’m sure you can tell I’m sort of in love with bananas foster. I’m from New Orleans, so I guess you can say I’m pretty hooked to the stuff. I don’t really remember the first time I had it, but I know it was love at first bite!

I’m also greatly in love with ice cream…I gave it up for a month for a personal junk food detox to prepare me for the 10 week weight loss challenge I’m participating in. :) Before my personal little detox, I used to have a bowl almost daily. It was low-fat ice cream, so no guilt right? Psh, unfortunately those 150 calories daily added up, and I blame the hot summer for the crazy weight gain I’ve experienced. Darn you hot summers and refreshing ice cream!! :)

So, naturally when I heard that Foodbuzz and Lactaid were hosting a smoothie/milkshake recipe contest, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to enter my idea: a bananas foster milkshake. I know milkshakes are a huge diet no-no, but hey, I can practice portion control here, right?

After submitting my idea to Foodbuzz, I found out that my idea was one of the 12 chosen to participate in this contest. :) Wahoo!!

Now, I’m sure you’re wondering what the prize for this fabulous contest is, right? It’s a trip to this year’s Foodbuzz Festival!! So, cross your fingers for me, y’all. This would be an amazing opportunity for me, and I think I would just go nuts if I won (in a good way, I promise).

Now, since this is a contest for Lactaid, I couldn’t just make any milkshake. Rather, this milkshake had to be lactose-free AND unique! Quite a challenge, no?

Now, I knew Lactaid made milk, because I was graciously given a coupon to get a Lactaid milk product for free to make this recipe happen. However, my two other worries were ice cream (of course, a milkshake staple) and butter (a main ingredient in authentic bananas foster).

After perusing Lactaid’s site, I found that Lactaid makes an ice cream product. Bonus? A store really close to my house carries all Lactaid products, so the products are easy to find. If it’s in my town, it’s probably in your town. Yay for availability! Also, Lactaid products are very reasonable in price. I know not everyone can pay mega bucks for groceries, so it’s wonderful that Lactaid keeps costs fairly low for their products. :)

Milkshake Ingredients

Now, for the butter, I took a risk and used a little bit of oil with water rather than butter. I thought this would work well, because I interchange oil and butter in most of my cooking, so why not? Thankfully, the flavors worked out, the shake ended up not tasting oily, and it worked beautifully in making the infamous bananas foster sauce. :)

On a side note, I have to hand it to the folks at Lactaid. When I was a kid, I think I was a little lactose intolerant (never was diagnosed). I used to have major stomach pains after drinking milk, and the sad thing was, I used to drink chocolate milk anyway. I know…you think I must be crazy! To me, the pain was totally worth it. I was completely addicted to chocolate milk!  And yes, while I had stomach cramps, I like to think my addiction to milk had to contribute to my 5’10″ frame. Haha! Now, don’t worry…the good news for me is sometime in my teenage years, I grew out of the intolerance I had. Yay!

However, not everyone ends up so lucky. So, it’s good to know that those who are lactose intolerant can still enjoy cow’s milk now, get the same nutrients from regular milk, and hey, they can even make milkshakes, root beer floats, enjoy sundaes…the list is endless!

Lactaid has really taken it upon themselves to make lactose intolerance less daunting. They have a huge array of lactose-free products, and offer a new website, called MooVision, which is to bring awareness to lactose intolerance and to showcase their product line. They have some fun features on the site too, which include:

  • Moolah!, a trivia contest about lactose-free milk (you can win Amazon.com gift cards here!)
  • Gourmoo cookoff, which is a competition with recipes featuring lactose-free milk
  • Moo News, which is a mockumentary style news show for milk lovers

So, using Lactaid’s ice cream and milk products, I came up with this milkshake. I’m sure you’re wondering if there’s a difference in consistency or taste with these products. Good news peeps…I really didn’t notice a difference, which is awesome.

The verdict? The taste of this shake came out perfectly, as expected. :) Heck, bananas foster is typically served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream anyway. Why not combine it into a tasty drink? You might noticed that I didn’t make traditional bananas foster with alcohol. I did this, because it’s not a huge flavor difference to me, and because of the lack of alcohol, this becomes a shake you can make for the kids, too! :)

And, in case you’re wondering, I only drank 12 oz. of the stuff. This shake made it really hard to practice portion control too…so tasty! I kind of don’t want to calculate the calories, but in hindsight, with a 48 oz. pitcher next to me, I could have done much worse damage.

Disclosure: I received a free sample of Lactaid milk for this recipe, and this recipe serves as my entry for a contest to attend the Foodbuzz Festival.

Bananas Foster Milkshake
Source: an original

Ingredients:

  • 3 bananas, sliced
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 3 tbsp. oil
  • appx. 1/4 cup water
  • 12 oz. Lactaid milk (we used 2% reduced fat)
  • 1 quart Lactaid vanilla ice cream

Directions:

  • Place oil in a medium skillet and bring the heat to medium heat.
  • Add brown sugar and cinnamon. Stir and slowly add water until it forms a sauce. Lower the heat to medium-low heat.
  • Add the sliced bananas to the pan, stirring occasionally.  Cook this down for about 5 minutes. You know it’s done when you can smell it and the bananas are really soft!
    Bananas Foster
  • Remove the bananas and place them in a bowl in a larger bowl with an ice bath to cool down. Reserve the sauce in the skillet.
  • Once the bananas foster has cooled, blend the milk and ice cream together until well blended. Then add the bananas foster and blend. If you think the shake is too thick for your liking, you can add some milk, a little at a time.
  • To serve, drizzle bananas foster sauce in a glass, pour in the shake and drizzle more sauce on top. Enjoy!

Makes appx. 48 ouncesBananas Foster Milkshake

Thanks again to the folks at Foodbuzz and Lactaid for allowing me to participate in this contest. :)

Bananas Foster French Toast “Muffins”

Bananas Foster French Toast "Muffins"

Just a little blurb: If you’d like to see me move on to Round 3 of Project Food Blog, I’d really appreciate your vote here! You can check out my round 2 entry here. Thanks so much y’all!! :)

I tend to LOVE sweet breakfasts. Give me a stack of pancakes, some french toast, donuts, waffles…whatever. As long as it’s sweet! Don’t get me wrong, I love a good plate of scramble bambles (eggs- as my mom called them) or some crusty hashbrowns, but man, something about a sweet breakfast makes me drool. :)

This past weekend, I couldn’t stand it. I had to make some french toast. Not just any french toast, though. I had ripe bananas begging to be cooked into SOMETHING, so I decided to make bananas foster french toast.

Bananas Foster is a very popular dessert in New Orleans. It’s one of those dishes that is a ::must eat:: at Brennan’s Restaurant. They make it right in front of you, and it’s just so delicious. So, I figured this would be PERFECT in french toast, especially for my sweet tooth! You’ll notice that this recipe has no alcohol in it. It still comes out pretty tasty, I promise!

This recipe is another submission for the Nature’s Pride Bread Ambassador contest. They will be choosing 6 recipes/bloggers to represent them at the Foodbuzz Fest this year! I made two other recipe entries, which are here and here. As you can tell, the sweet tooth influenced these recipes heavily. :)

The verdict? OMG…delicious! It was so easy to put together and the little “muffin” servings help with portion control. That is, until you find yourself eating 3-4 of these with no remorse. ;)

Bananas Foster French Toast “Muffins”
Source: an original

makes 12 servings

Ingredients:

French Toast:

Bananas Foster:

  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 3 ripe bananas, cut in half lengthwise

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix eggs, milk, sugar, cinnamon and salt in a bowl. Add bread in and break it up into pieces as it absorbs the mixture. Let sit.
  3. In the meantime, melt butter in a large pan and add brown sugar/cinnamon. Stir until all sugar dissolves.
  4. Add in bananas and cook them down for a few minutes. Remove bananas from the pan and allow to cool. Set sauce to the side.
  5. Once the bananas are cool, add them to the bread mixture and mix by hand. Scoop the combined mixture into greased muffin pans and bake for 15-20 minutes (until a toothpick comes out clean).
  6. Serve with bananas foster sauce on top and enjoy!!

Disclaimer: As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker’s Program, Foodbuzz offered a coupon for a free Nature’s Pride product in exchange for making up a little ol’ recipe highlighting Nature’s Pride bread.  

Caramel Apple Pie A La Mode Bites

Caramel Apple Pie A La Mode Bites

Since the Summer is winding down, it’s time to say goodbye to fresh, sweet berries and hello to juicy, flavorful apples. A great way to celebrate the season is with apple pie, of course.

Instead of making a pie, I wanted to make another recipe highlighting Nature’s Pride bread! This is another entry for the Nature’s Pride bread ambassador contest.

Note: As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker’s Program, Foodbuzz offered a coupon for a free Nature’s Pride product in exchange for making up a little ol’ recipe highlighting Nature’s Pride bread.  Six bloggers’ recipes will be chosen to be an ambassador for Nature’s Pride at this year’s Foodbuzz Festival!

Can you tell I’d really like to go to Foodbuzz Festival this year? :)

I took apple pie a few steps further and made this into a caramel apple pie a la mode bite. Talk about DELICIOUS and perfect for a party! :)

I’m sure you’re curious about the crust. The crust is simply sliced Honey Wheat bread, and it comes out perfectly crispy and sweet, which is great for a dessert crust! To do this, I used a 2″ circle cutter to cut out the crusts and pressed them into a mini muffin pan to shape them! I took a couple of pictures, since I’m a visual person, and thought pictures would help.

Crust how-to

Super easy, right? Definitely give these a try! You’ll be glad that you did!

Caramel Apple Pie A La Mode Bites
Source: an original

makes 24 bites

Ingredients:

Crust:

Apple Filling:

  • 2 granny smith apples, peeled, cored and diced finely
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 5 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 tsp. flour

Additional toppings:

  • vanilla ice cream
  • caramel sundae topping

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Using a 2″-3″ circle cookie cutter, cut out circles in the bread. I was able to get 2 per slice.
  3. Press each circle into a mini muffin pan, making sure it’s pressed well against the edges to form into a good crust. (see above picture)
  4. Brush melted butter on the tops of the crusts.
  5. Combine sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle liberally over the buttered crusts.
  6. Bake for 5-8 minutes, until the crusts brown. Allow to cool.
  7. To make the apple filling, melt the 1/2 stick butter in a small pot and add apples. Then, add brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Cook down for about 5 minutes on low/med-low heat. Add flour to thicken the sauce and cook another 5 minutes or until tender. Allow to cool until apple filling is just warm.
  8. To assemble the bites, add about 2 tsp. of ice cream to each of the crusts (just eyeball it). Add a tsp. of apple filling and then drizzle with caramel sundae topping. Serve immediately. :)

Blueberry Cupcakes w/ Maple Brown Butter Frosting

Blueberry Cupcakes with Maple Browned Butter Icing

I haven’t baked much lately. With the Summer being so dang hot, I just didn’t want to use the oven much at all. Now that the weather is starting to lend us small glimpses into the Fall, I decided that it was time to start baking again.

Would you believe me if I told you that I literally have 1/4 cup of flour left in my house and maybe a cup of sugar after this recipe was done? I’m usually very well stocked on the baking staples, but like I said, I haven’t been baking. I guess it’s time to hit the store sometime soon…oops!

About a week or so ago, I read about a Bake -N- Blog challenge that Jesstagirl and her Officer was organizing. I thought this would serve as a great way to get back into baking. Cupcakes are quick and easy. I got to choose out of ALL of these cupcakes. When it came to choosing, I avoided chocolate, caramel, peanut butter…all the things that I love, but my husband does not. I chose #19: Blueberry Cupcakes with Maple Brown Butter Frosting, because I know my husband likes blueberries and if worse comes to worse, I can skip the icing on a couple in case he isn’t such a fan of it. :)

This cupcake was very simple to put together and pretty darn tasty! The icing reminds me a lot of a butterscotch candy, which was fine on its own, but together, I found that the cupcake/icing combination just wasn’t quite right. I think for next time, I would make a blueberry buttercream or plain buttercream with these cupcakes.

Blueberry Cupcakes w/ Maple Brown Butter Frosting
Source: Ming Makes Cupcakes

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 stick butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1 stick butter
  • 3 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 3 tbsp. maple syrup

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix flour, granulated sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a bowl. In a separate bowl, mix the 1/2 cup of (cooled) melted butter with the egg and add the buttermilk and milk. Mix well.
  3. Add the milk mixture to the flour mixture and mix until blended. Fold in blueberries.
  4. Scoop into a cupcake pan and bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow the cupcakes to cool.
  5. For the icing: Put the 1 stick of butter in a small pot and cook on low/medium low until it it a golden brown color. Be careful not to burn the butter.
  6. Place the butter in a bowl and add the confectioners sugar. Mix well.
  7. Add the milk and maple syrup and mix until smooth.

Berry Mash Bruschetta

Berry Mash Bruschetta

You know when people say, “OMG this is the best thing since sliced bread!”? Whenever someone says that, I always think about how sliced bread is actually pretty boring. Don’t get me wrong here, because I love a good sandwich, but sliced bread in a bag isn’t something (bread-wise) that I consider to be the “best thing”. In fact, the thought of sliced bread brings me back to school lunch days when I would push through trying to eat a soggy turkey sandwich, and growing envious of those who got to bring the fancy awesome Lunchables. (Mom, if you are reading this, I love you and realize how stupidly expensive Lunchables are now.)

A while back, Foodbuzz sent me some samples of Nature’s Pride bread. I wasn’t expecting to be really wow-ed by the bread, but I will say that this bread is sort of our staple now. I especially love the honey wheat and the wheat hamburger buns. They don’t have that gross, dry texture that other wheat breads in store have, and for that, we are a Nature’s Pride convert. :)

As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker’s Program, Foodbuzz offered a coupon for a free Nature’s Pride product in exchange for making up a little ol’ recipe highlighting Nature’s Pride bread.  Six bloggers’ recipes will be chosen to be an ambassador for Nature’s Pride at this year’s Foodbuzz Festival! ::crosses fingers::

I think I would go happy-crazy if I were chosen. I’ve never been to California before, and I’d love to meet/greet other food bloggers! :D

Anyway, back to the post. I figured since I buy the bread every week, I’ll just make a recipe before the coupon comes in. :)

I definitely wanted to make sliced bread not-so-boring, so I kept the idea in my mind to make a recipe with sliced sandwich bread! I sort of just thought up this recipe in my head: cinnamon toast, cream cheese spread, fresh mashed berries and a nutella drizzle on top. What’s not to like?

This recipe is insanely delicious and sinful. The crunchy toasty bread and the juicy berries with chocolate and cream cheese made a perfect little dessert bite (or two). It’s also ridiculously easy. You could totally make this for a party, and impress the guests.

Berry Mash Bruschetta
Source: an original

Ingredients:

  • 6 slices Nature’s Pride Honey Wheat sliced bread
  • Unsalted butter (softened)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 4 oz. cream cheese (softened)
  • 1/4 cup nutella
  • 2 tbsp. milk
  • 1 cup strawberries
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 1/4 cup raspberries

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Slice the bread into fourths and place on the baking sheet.
  3. While waiting for the oven to preheat, mix the granulated sugar with the cinnamon in a bowl. Set aside.
  4. Mix the nutella and milk in another bowl to make the nutella drizzle. Set aside.
  5. Mix the cream cheese with 1 1/2 tbsp. of the cinnamon sugar mixture in another bowl. Set aside.
  6. Rinse berries and then place them in a bowl and mash them with a fork.
  7. Place the sliced bread pieces in the oven for 5-7 minutes, or until a golden, toasty brown. Turn off the oven. Immediately add a thin layer of butter and then liberally sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar. Place back in the oven for an additional 2 minutes to ensure that the butter/cinnamon sugar set in.
  8. Take the bread out and let it cool for about 5 minutes.
  9. Now, assemble your bruschettas. :) Add a thin layer of the cinnamon cream cheese to the bread slice, add about 1 tbsp. of the berry mash on top (making sure not to avoid adding too much berry juice), and drizzle nutella on top! Enjoy!

Makes 24.

Note: You may have some berries leftover, but there’s nothing wrong with that, right?

If Heaven made me breakfast…

French Toast

I know what you’re thinking…what’s with the title? Well, writing challah french toast with subtle notes of orange drenched in orange berry sauce is a little bit lengthy for a blog title, don’t you think?

So, I decided if Heaven could cook me breakfast in the morning, I imagine this is what they would serve. Delicious, fruity french toast. There’s something about french toast. It’s just so simple, yet yummy and you can flavor it any way you want. Versatile little breakfast you are, my french toast.

One of my fellow Weddingbee pals (Yes, I know I got married over a year ago. Once a bee, always a bee darnit!), who writes the blog I love you much, came up with this recipe. This recipe is the reason I made challah and it was worth it. Make the challah/buy the challah…whatever it takes. This bread redefines french toast, folks. Seriously…you don’t even have to make THIS french toast. Just make any french toast with this bread from now on. You will NOT regret it!

Challah French Toast with Orange Berry Sauce
Source: adapted from I love you much

Ingredients for toast:

  • 1 loaf challah
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 cup reduced fat milk
  • 3 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. orange zest
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp. vegetable oil

Ingredients for sauce:

  • 1 bag of frozen strawberries
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 tsp. orange zest
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 1 tbsp. flour
  • pinch of salt

(optional: some powdered sugar for dusting)

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients for the berry sauce in a small pot on medium low heat and allow to cook down, stirring/slightly mashing berries every few minutes.
  2. Preheat your oven to 250 degrees.
  3. Whisk all ingredients (except for the challah) in a large bowl until well incorporated.
  4. Slice challah into 1/2 inch slices.
  5. Heat the vegetable oil in a skillet at medium heat.
  6. Soak 3-4 pieces of challah in the egg mixture for 30 seconds on each side (until the bread is fully soaked but not soggy). Shake off excess mixture and place on the skillet (cook 2-3 minutes on each side until barely brown).
  7. When finished on the skillet, place on a parchment lined cookie sheet in an oven to keep warm/finish the toast.
  8. Repeat 6 & 7 until all toast is done. Keep in the oven an extra 10 minutes.
  9. Serve with berry sauce and powdered sugar. Enjoy!

Blueberry Scones

Blueberry Scones

Scones are the typical coffee shop pastry item. They are crumbly, fruity and just so delicious. However, at about $2/each, I really wanted to see if I could make coffee shop quality scones on my own. I’ve tried making scones before, but they always ended up cakey and not quite the texture I desired in a scone. This time, though, I think I found my recipe.

I will admit, the directions, especially for rolling the dough, sound completely ridiculous, but I almost always follow a  baking recipe exactly the first time I make it, so that I can give a proper critique of it. It’s a pet peeve of mine to go to a recipe site and see that a recipe has 3 stars because people made 4-5 substitutions that didn’t work. It’s fairly stupid, in my opinion, since those substitutions were the reviewer’s doing and had nothing to do with the original recipe.

Anyway, this recipe is really good. The only thing I will change next time is subbing dried blueberries for fresh. I didn’t really like having fresh blueberries in it, because as much as I love blueberries, the random bursts of juice from the berries just were not expected or desired much in this recipe.

Blueberry Scones
Source: Cooks Illustrated (Annie’s Eats‘ adaptation)

Ingredients:

  • 8 tbsp. (1 stick) unsalted butter, frozen whole
  • 1½ cups (7½ oz.) fresh blueberries
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 2 cups (10 oz.) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the work surface
  • ½ cup sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

Directions:

  1. Adjust an oven rack to middle position and preheat to 425˚ F.  Grate the frozen butter on the holes of a large box grater.  (I like to use my food processor for this – fast and easy.)  Place the blueberries in the freezer until needed.
  2. Whisk together the milk and sour cream in a medium bowl; refrigerate until needed.  Combine the flour, ½ cup sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and lemon zest in a medium mixing bowl.  Whisk to combine.  Add the grated butter to the flour mixture and toss with fingers until thoroughly coated.
  3. Add the milk mixture to the dry ingredients and fold with a spatula just until combined.  Transfer the dough to a generously floured work surface.  Dust the top of the dough with flour, and knead with well floured hands, 6-8 times, just until the dough holds together in a ragged ball.  Add small amounts of flour as needed to prevent sticking.
  4. Roll the dough into a 12-inch square.  Fold the dough into thirds like a business letter (a dough scraper really helps with these steps).  Fold the short ends of the dough into the center in thirds, to form an approximate 4-inch square.  Transfer the dough to a plate lightly dusted with flour and chill in the freezer for 5 minutes.
  5. Return the dough to the floured work surface and roll into an approximately 12-inch square again.  Sprinkle the blueberries evenly over the surface of the dough, and gently press down so that they are slightly embedded in the dough surface.  Using a dough scraper, roll the dough up to form a tight log.  Lay the log seam side down and press the the log into a 12 by 4-inch rectangle.  Using a sharp, floured knife, cut the rectangle crosswise into 4 equal rectangles.  Cut each rectangle diagonally to form 2 triangles.  Transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet.
  6. Brush the tops of the scones with melted butter and sprinkle lightly with sugar.  (If freezing ahead of time, flash freeze on the baking sheet for 20 minutes, then wrap individually and store in a freezer bag until needed.)  Bake until the tops and bottoms are golden brown, 18-25 minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack and let cool at least 10 minutes before serving.

Strawberry Cake

Strawberry Cake

I was very surprised to see that most of you were curious about the strawberry cake recipe. It’s probably the easiest thing to make out of the menu, but also a refreshing crowd pleaser!

I got this idea from a local bakery. In fact, I wanted to buy this cake since my party menu was ambitious enough. I had a Groupon type of gift card to redeem there for anything in the bakery case, and when I got there, sure enough, there were already made strawberry cakes in the case. However, my dreams of having one less thing to worry about came to a halt when the employee, who probably can’t legally drive a car yet, told me that the refrigerator case isn’t ::technically:: their bakery case, so I’d have to buy the cake for $31. I was totally aggravated that there were buttercream cakes in what she considered the “bakery case”, but the whipped topping strawberry cake that was in a different case, because it needed to be at a colder temperature, was not the “bakery case”. Seriously folks, what the heck?!

So, this cake is NOT entirely from scratch folks. This recipe involves boxed cake mix. I would have driven myself batty making a cake from scratch with everything else I was working on. Not one guest seemed to mind, and trust me, you won’t either. The whipped topping makes this cake!

Strawberry Cake
inspired by a local bakery that has a ridiculous definition for a “bakery case”

Ingredients:

  • Duncan Hines french vanilla cake mix
  • 1 1/3 Cups Water
  • 1/3 Cup Vegetable Oil
  • 3 Large Eggs
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1/3 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1 quart fresh strawberries
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Bake cake in two 8″ or 9″ pans according to instructions. Allow layers to completely cool.
  2. Take 10 of the strawberries and puree them in a blender or food processor. Hull and slice the rest of the strawberries into fairly thin slices.
  3. Put heavy whipping cream in a mixer and just mix until it starts to thicken and barely form peaks. Add in confectioners sugar and mix until the whipped cream makes stiff peaks. Be careful not to overmix.
  4. Fold in 3 tbsp. of the strawberry puree and vanilla extract and allow to set in the fridge for a few minutes, while you carve the cake layers to be flat.
  5. Take the whipped cream out and carefully fold in sliced strawberries.
  6. Ice cake with the whipped cream/strawberry mixture. Allow to set in the fridge and serve immediately.

Note: This cake does really well  if you individually freeze leftover slices and allow to defrost at room temperature until ready to eat. That is, IF you have leftovers!