Blondes are More Fun.

Cherry Chocolate Chunk Blondies
Cherry Chocolate Chunk Blondies

I recently bought one of those 5lb cherry bags from the grocers. At the time it seemed like a good idea, I hadn’t had cherries yet all summer and these babies were booming with color and flavor (yes I’m the person who samples from the bag at the store). I understand how unsanitary this whole sampling business is but I am not going to buy a 1-3lb bag of fruit if the fruit does not taste first-rate. So I will take the chance of getting a 24hour GI bug. Did I mention I worked for Trader Joes for about 6 years on and off? If you ever want a great place to work, it’s there.

Back to the bars. I had too much fruit at my house. I also had mangos and oranges. I was overwhelmed with the choices and with the stifling heat I knew I didn’t have much time before they entered the spoiling stage. Oh I do hate to be wasteful. My only options were: I could freeze the suitable items, give some of the cherries away, go on a 48hr fruit diet or bake with the cherries!!!!! I searched the internet for some recipes. I wanted to bring whatever I made into my work for my coworkers to think highly of me. I’m still somewhat new there and I want to start out on the right foot ;-). I knew it had to be something that could be easily grabbed or scooped. I decided to go with blondies.

These bars were toothsomely generous with every bite. I got the recipe form Averiecooks.com I decided to substitute the chocolate chips for chocolate chunks. I wanted to a bit more chocolate/cherry ratio the the bigger bits of chocolate help with this. The bars turned out great, the coworkers loved them. I decided to save a few for my parents so I put them in the freezer. This was a bad idea, initially they were frozen and chewy and the chocolate chunks were hard which made it a fun bite and altered the flavor but soon they became a mushy bar.

I hope you enjoy them.

http://www.averiecooks.com/2012/07/chocolate-chip-and-cherry-blondies.html

A Birthday Cake He Will Remember

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So I wanted to make his birthday extra special this year for more than one reason: 35 is a big year for him and his family, last year we were relatively new to one another and while I was able to help him feel special I didn’t quite know just how special he was for me, follow me? A year later I’ve learned and experienced so much with him it comes more naturally to show him my adoration and lastly everyone deserves a homemade cake. He loves chocolate and I recently just obtained a bundt mold from his family (thank you again) so I knew where to start on this adventure.

I’ve had limited experience with bundt cakes, they were never around the house hold and from my lack of perspective and understanding I’d imagine them being boring and dry. I knew I had to find out for myself  it was a risk I was willing to take on his big day. I searched endlessly for what appeared to be the best recipe. I wondered if it should have a tunnel of fudge? Sprinkles? an addition of fruit? I ended up settling on a plain chocolate sour cream cake with a decadent chocolate ganache.

I stirred the ingredients and put the cake in the oven. I’ve had issues in the past in the kitchen with impatiences. I just get so excited and want to see the end result. It doesn’t happen often but It’s something I’m working on. I’m mentioning this because I did not let the cake cool as long as it needed to and when I flipped her out of the mold half of her moist middle was left in the pan! Mind you I’m meeting Troy at his house in an hour, I begin to sweat and worry. I couldn’t go to his house without this cake, I won’t… I thought. So I ever so delicately lifted the rest of the cake out and molded a circle together with my hands. I stirred the chocolate and cream for the ganache and double layered his cake. She was beautiful like Cinderella on the night of the ball.

I packed her up safely and headed to his house. Troy loved the cake and I did too. I proved my assumptions wrong, the cake was moist, rich, beautiful and best yet made with love. Memories of that day will stay with me forever.

Happy Birthday Troy

Sunny Lemon Bars

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When your mother gives you lemons make lemon bars? It was a beautiful lazy sunny morning and I was visiting my parents house. My mother would disagree with me on this one but they have an amazing kitchen. Its spacious and ergonomically designed to entertain while cooking or baking. We have spent many mornings sipping OJ and sharing bites of french toast and many nights sipping our last drops of wine. I’m at an age where I shouldn’t be using my parents of anything anymore but I do, I use them for their kitchen and every once in awhile their shower (you would have to experience it and my shower too for that matter).

Lemon bars are one of my fathers favorite summer treats, unfortunately he was out of town when I baked these sweet tartlings. I froze a few for him and per him “tasted wonderful” when he eventually bit into one. I too sampled a frozen version and I myself preferred this style. Both the lemon butter layer and shortbread layer had firmed just enough to given your brain more time to process what it was you were biting into. SENSATIONAL.

These bars are very easy to make. I opted out for the lemon extract but did add an additional squeeze of fresh lemon. This recipe came from: http://www.inspiredtaste.net/25882/lemon-bars-recipe/

Hope you enjoy!

David Lebovitz’s Chocolate Sorbet Recipe

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I have sampled my way around the world with different varieties of chocolate sorbet. Most leave be satisfied but one always leaves me wanting more. I have a love hate relationship with Ciao Bella’s version. I enjoy every sweet, silky spoonful and then I get to the bottom of the pint and with the last bite I know what i’m in for, some serious depression, “If I could have just made it last a week, we could have spent more time together”.  I was alone the first time I tried it. I had just gotten back from the grocery store, sat down at the kitchen counter and dipped my spoon right in. The sorbet was the perfect consistency as I had just travelled 20 mins from the frozen section to get to my beautiful abode. The spoon entered my mouth and it felt as if the the whole world had paused. I NEEDED someone there. It was one of those moments you must share with another human being. I will never forget that night. Its so embedded in my memory I was fueled to create a similar version and it was just my luck that the first recipe I used did just the trick.

Thank you David Lebovitz’s you not only have an awesome last name but you have won a special place in my heart and mind for one of the world best chocolate sorbet varieties.

I’d like to send a special thanks to a great family for helping me (re)create memories with their Cuisinart Ice Cream maker.

http://food52.com/recipes/17877-david-lebovitz-s-chocolate-sorbet

Peach Blueberry Coffee Cake Crumble

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Well isn’t that a mouthful to say? This recipe is a hearty coffee cake that will provide you with enough sustenance to propel you through a hilly hike, a long bike ride, or a binge session of Orange is The New Black. Please find your own reason to try this recipe and enjoy a piece or two. It’s scrumptious.

I had six peaches originally, but you’re playing with fire when you have to let your fruit ripen. Some of these little gems were not on the same ripening schedule, mother nature is beautiful, right? Because I was short on some fruit I added some FROZEN blueberries that I thawed, draining the excess fluid. I’ll post the recipe when I leave the gym here. From memory, I’ll add a few thoughts that crossed my mind while making this. So as you’re prepping the cake part you, are splitting the dough in half to create a top and bottom layer. My advice is to do about 3/4’s of the dough on the bottom and the remaining on top of the fruit mixture. Who loves layers?? I DO…after the first layer is down, pour the sweet fruit combo on. At this point I stopped and thought to myself, “this fruit sure is juicy and there certainly is a lot of it, will this turn out mushy?” Wonder aside I pushed on. For the crumble I added oatmeal and more butter then required I wanted a really crisp crumble. I must say, a crisp crumble is one of my favorite things. I threw Ms. Peach blueberry crumble into the oven and went to get ready for work. The recipe calls for (40) mins of bake time, but if my memory serves me right, it felt like I baked it much longer maybe an hour? For me, the tester to see if the cake had cooked through was the knife piercing trick. When there was no batter left on the knife after poking, I pulled her out. It turned out delicious! I brought it to work with a container of vanilla Breyers ice cream. However, I think it would taste better with country style French vanilla. You tell me. My opinion, don’t worry about over baking this piece, there is enough liquid ensure your cake retains it’s moisture.

No Bake Peanut Butter S’mores Bars

S'mores Bars
S’mores Bars

This was less of a “from scratch” dessert and more of an assembly of packaged goods. Did that word just make you cringe? The word packaged has quite the negative undertones these days and rightfully so. I am a huge proponent of moderation and at times, over indulgence. Back to the topic at hand, I’m a very healthy lady, I eat kale, drink kombucha, I do trice weekly circuit training workouts and acknowledge my blessings daily. 80% of my diet comes in its raw-ist earthly state. I feel good eating this way. So it allows me to eat every once in awhile these processed foods, sometimes there is no way around it and I don’t feel bad, not one bit. Look at that marvelous S’mores bar pictured above. How could this make you feel bad? Its a head scratcher for real.

This recipe came from pinterest and its SUPER easy to make and fun:).  I can’t pull up the recipe for everyone right now but it came from the food blogger: thegirlwhoateeverything. I tried two different brands for the graham cracker crust and found Keebler over Honey Maid to have a better taste. Sample both and decide for yourself, no palate is alike. Did I mention this was a fun recipe to put together? For a few reasons. One being the marshmallow fluff. I ate this buy spoonfuls when I was a child, it was a great addition to hot chocolate and a wonderful middle to these s’mores bars. The next best thing, the hard chocolate layer on the top with embedded chopped up pieces of reese’s peanut butter cups. Its a wonderful layered bar, your mouth will love it.

The Bee’s Knees

One of the best gifts a girl could get.
One of the best gifts a girl could get.

So this was quite the surprise… This big beaut was given to me, for us, for our anniversary. He knew I stirred my chocolate chip cookies by hand (its how my grandma did it), he casually mentioned how awesomely functional a cuisinart mixer would be for my baking escapades. My response, “I just don’t know babe, there is something so pure about putting a little elbow grease into the whole process”.

A week later this retro orange power machine showed up. I was hesitant at first for sure. We warmed up to one another and today she is my baking companion. There have only been a few recipes where I haven’t utilized her gifts. I still stand by the elbow grease, its like a bound book vs Ebook there is no comparison. I am able to see the perks to both sides. My new friend lends ease to my baking experience and uniformity, this is important right? I do want all of my ingredients to mix evenly and with my by hand method my stamina eventually would have given way.  Not much else I have to say.

Thank you.