Tag Archives: #dessert

Apples: The Versatile Fruit

Fall is one of my favorite times of the year….pretty much because I’m a basic bitch that just wants all things pumpkin, flannel, and ugg. The past few years I haven’t fully embraced the wonders of the season as I have wanted to, so this year I created a fall bucket list to make sure I did all the things I have missed out on the past few years. Here’s my fall to do list!

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Naturally, I took care of that pumpkin donut right away….I had to!

Once that pesky donut has been crossed off the list, I decided I wanted to tackle the apple farm next. I’m fortunate to live in a part of Ohio where I have a ton of great apple orchards nearby, which made my decision of where to go somewhat challenging. Finally I decided on Rittman Orchards, a local orchard that many of my friends recommended. I was not disappointed.

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We couldn’t have picked a better day weather wise to pick apples!

Rittman is a great local farm that I strongly recommend to those in the Cleveland/Akron area. While we went to get apples, they also have a great market and pumpkins to pick as well. From a price perspective, apple picking was very reasonably priced. We were given a bag that cost $19 to fill it up with the apples available that day .The day we went we were able to pick Red Delicious, Melrose, and Jonagold apples, and trust me….we got our money’s worth. Check out how many apples came home to our house that day! And your eyes aren’t deceiving you….they were huge apples!

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So what did I make with all these apples??? I made lots of stuff, including two of my favorite recipes that I want to share with you today: Easy crockpot apple butter AND apple dumplings.

If you are a fan of apple butter (who isn’t), you have to try this recipe. It is super simple and turns out so, so, so good!

Katie’s Apple Butter

Ingredients:
-6 lbs apples (I use a mixture of apples…my favorites are pink ladys, honey crisp, and Melrose apples, but you can use any kind)
-1 cup brown sugar
-1/2 tsp nutmeg
-1 tbl cinnamon
-1/4 tsp salt
-1 tbl vanilla extract

How to make:

Core and peel all apples, cutting into slices and placing in a crockpot. Mix together the cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and sugar, then toss apples with the mixture. Cook on low in your crockpot for about 10 hours. After the 10 hours is up, stir in vanilla and smash up any larger apple pieces that still are visible. Cook on low for an additional 2 hours. Allow the apples to cool, then puree in either a food processor or with an immersion blender. Store in airtight containers in either your fridge or freezer! This could double as a great gift or housewarming present, too!

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The finished product: Beautiful apple butter

When it comes to apple dumplings, I have two recipes I go between. The first is one that is much more sugary and calorie filled; the other not nearly as heavy with sugar. Since I have been trying to limit my sugar intake to just my donuts, I opted to make the healthy-ish version this go round. Again, this is a simple recipe that everyone always loves and is a great fall dessert.

Apple Dumplings

Ingredients:

For the apples:
-Puff pastry sheets (found in the frozen section at your grocery store) . If you prefer, you could make your own dough instead of purchasing it.
-6-8 medium sized apples (go for tart)
-1/2 cup sugar
-1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
-6-8 tbl unsalted butter

For the syrup:
-2 cups water
-1 cup granulated sugar
-3 tbl unsalted butter
-1/4 tsp cinnamon

How to make:

Preheat oven to 425 and spray cooking dish with nonstick spray. Core and peel apples (this is a great time to buy an apple corer if you don’t have one). Set aside. Prepare the syrup by bringing 2 cups of water, 1 cup of sugar, 3 tbl butter, and 1/4 tsp cinnamon to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, reduce to a medium heat and allow to simmer until it becomes thicker and more syrup-like. In a small bowl whisk together 1/2 cup sugar and 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon.

Cut your pastry sheets into squares (I can get four squares per sheet with the store bought kind). I set one square aside for later, so I typically make 7 at a time. Place one apple on a square, filling the core with the sugar mixture and a bit of butter. You have butter freedom here….use as much as you want or as little as you want. Bring pastry points up over apple to wrap it, tucking the ends into the core cavity. Moisten with a little water to seal, then place in a baking dish. Repeat with remaining apples.
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Pour the syrup over the apples once all have been wrapped. You can pour excess around the dumplings as well. I get next level with mine and use a cookie cutter and some extra dough to cut out a small leaf to top the dumplings, and I like an extra sprinkle of the cinnamon sugar mixture here, too. You can do something similar if you choose, or just go without. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until the crust is a light golden brown. Serve with the syrup warm and if you want to get crazy, add a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Enjoy!

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A slutty cookie?

When it came to St. Patty’s Day this year, I really knocked it out of the park. Besides the corned beef ruebens I made (get that recipe HERE), I made a dessert item that I always love and that is well received, the brookie!

My brookies also go by another alias……the slutty bar…so if you’ve heard me mention them, they are one in the same. The brookie aka brownie-cookie is a layer of brownies, followed by a layer of Oreos, then topped with chocolate chip cookie dough. Yeah, I know what you are thinking….super healthy, right?

Since it was St. Patty’s Day, I put a little spin on my typical brookie and used mint oreos and mint M & Ms as a decorative topping. However, you could change that up depending on your taste buds and the occasion. The recipe is super easy, and again, you can change it up and use your own brownie or chocolate chip cookie recipe if you prefer.

Katie’s Brookie/Slutty Bar Recipe

Ingredients:

-Brownie Mix (I make my own, but if you prefer to buy a mix I recommend Ghiradelli Brownie Mix)….you’ll need any ingredients that the boxed mix you get calls for as well
-Oreos (I use about a dozen)…..you can use regular or mint like I did here
-1 1/4 cup flour
-1/4 teaspoon baking soda
-1/2 cup softened butter (unsalted)
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon sugar
-1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon brown sugar
-1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
-1 egg
-1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
-M & M’s to garnish (you could use additional Oreo pieces if you prefer)

How to Make: 

Preheat Oven to 350 and Spray 9 x 13 pan. You can also use parchment paper or foil if you prefer. Prepare brownies as directed by box or your personal recipe. Pour into Pan. Smash Oreos so they are in chunks and place on top of brownie layer like below.

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Mix together flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl, then set aside. In a separate bowl, cream together butter, both sugars, egg, and vanilla until well blended. Slowly mix in flour mixture. Stir in chocolate chips by hand, then separate into three parts, flattening each before placing on top of brownie and cookie layer. The dough doesn’t have to cover the entire mix (I like to let brownie pieces show a bit). REMINDER: You can also buy chocolate chip cookie dough or use a different recipe. Press M & Ms or Oreo crumbles on top and bake for about 35 minutes. Allow to sit for about 45 minutes before cutting and serving.

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The finished product!

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Sushi for Dessert? Yes, please!

A few weeks ago I ran across an article for an easy dessert sushi recipe that I absolutely had to try. It took all of a minute to make, and was delicious! Try it….especially if you have kids!

Here’s how I made my version of dessert sushi, but you could honestly customize it however you (or your kids) like!

Katie’s Dessert Sushi
Ingredients:

-Banana
-Peanut Butter
-Strawberries
-Graham Cracker
-Dark Chocolate Chips

Roll peeled banana in graham crackers, then slice lengthwise. You can also roll banana in coconut or rice krispies depending on what you like. Drizzle with melted peanut butter, then top with chopped up strawberries and dark chocolate chips. I use the brand Good Life for chocolate chips, which are great if you are looking for a dairy free, nut free, and soy free option, and I also used Smoreables in place of graham crackers!

Serve with chopsticks for a fun dessert experience!

The finished product! I didn’t roll the banana completely in graham crackers, but you can. 

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WTF is Mochi????

I heard this question about a billion and five times over the weekend once I shared on my IG story that I was enjoying a few flavors before starting a new workout program and meal plan on Monday. I was shocked how few people knew what it was!!! Let me educate you, my fellow ice cream lovers, because you deserve to have some Mochi in your life.

 

Vanilla Bean, Kona Coffee, and Green Tea Mochi

 

Mochi is a Japanese treat that is basically a sweet rice dough ball with an ice cream center…..sounds delicious yet odd, right? In Japan, mochi is a symbol of good fortune while also representing sustenance for those who may be in need due to the fact it is incredibly filling. While it has become popular around the world and available for purchase year round, mochi has been an integral part of the Japanese New Year celebration, a celebration going on since the late 700s. No one can confirm the exact origin of this treat, but  it is known that mochi was eaten exclusively by emperors and the aristocracy since the beginning of the Japanese New Year celebration, being nicknamed “the food of the gods.”

The main ingredient in mochi is Mochiko or Shiratamako rice (both variations of Japanese sweet short grain rice) that is used to create a dough to wrap around a ball of ice cream. The flavors are endless…..vanilla, coffee, strawberry, peanut butter, sesame, green tea….I could go on and on! And the best part…..each little ball is only about 100 calories! Yahtzeeeeeee!

 

Why are these so tasty?!?!?!

 

I discovered this treat several years back while shopping at a Whole Foods Market and instantly fell in love. There are several ways you can enjoy it; I usually just cut into it with a fork and knife, but I have used a toaster oven to change it up from time to time. If you choose to do this, you only need to put it in the toaster oven for about 8 minutes or so (you want the dough to puff up a bit and turn a golden brown) and can top with a mixture of soy sauce and sugar for a more traditional taste. If all else fails and you find yourself without an eating utensil, you can just eat them whole!

 

The perfect treat for those with a sweet tooth or ice cream addiction!

 

One thing I’ve learned about mochi: many people have never heard of it, but once they try it they can’t imagine how they lived life without it. If you are into ice cream, go get yourself some! They are traditionally about $1-$1.50 per ball and located in the freezer section of stores. Not all stores carry them, so do some research in your area if you are on the hunt. I presently buy mine at a local Whole Foods 365!

Go get some and tell me what you think!

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Give me S’more S’mores!

Last week I was in complete Fall mode and was craving S’mores like nobody’s business. Since I have yet to buy a fire pit for my backyard, I decided on a different solution to making S’mores: an easy, yet fabulous cookie recipe that I loved.

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The best S’mores cookie ever!

I shared a picture on Instagram and instantly was bombarded with people asking for the recipe. I have to preface this by stating these should be eaten in moderation because they will NOT fit into any meal plan, regardless of how hard you try.

                                                 Katie’s S’mores Cookie Recipe

-Chocolate Chip Cookies
-1 package mini marshmallows
-10 oz melting chocolate
-1 sleeve of graham crackers, crushed

If you have a specific chocolate chip recipe you love, I encourage you to use it. I use my family’s recipe (which I keep secret because some things should be). Obviously, you want to make the cookies first and let them cool completely.

Crush the graham crackers completely as you turn the oven on to BROIL. This is extremely important…you don’t want to have the BAKE setting on!

Place 7-10 marshmallows on each cookie (depending on the size of the cookie), pressing into cookie slightly before putting cookie sheet into oven and broiling until the marshmallows are golden brown. This happens FAST, so keep an eye on them or you will be really sad when you have burnt marshies!

Remove from oven and allow the cookie to cool completely. Once cooled, melt the chocolate, dipping each cookie in halfway and then sprinkling with crushed graham crackers. Transfer to cooling rack to allow the chocolate to harden completely.

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Sorry, Murphy. No cookies for you!

These are so easy to make and are always a huge hit, especially with kids! Enjoy!

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Life is Short…Eat Dessert First.

Pinterest has it out for me.

Honestly…..If I cooked five meals a day for the rest of my life I STILL would have recipes left over to try! Please tell me I’m not the only one!

This week I made dinner for Kyle and my mother in law and thought it was finally time to try out one of the recipes I had pinned way back when…..lemon soufflés. These weren’t just any soufflés though….they were made in an actual lemon.

You know me, I am all about presentation with food, so off to the store I went for some lemons and ingredients! I was surprised how easy these little guys were to make!

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Look at these cute little beauties!

Katie’s Little Lemon Soufflés 

Ingredients:

-8 lemons ( go for the larger ones, trust me. Size matter here!)
-3 eggs
-1/2 cup sugar
-Confectioner’s sugar
-2 Tablespoons Flour (I used Cake Flour)

Instructions:

1. Line a pan with parchment paper and preheat over to 350 degrees.

2. Slice just enough off of the bottom of the lemon (stem end) so that it can sit level. Don’t slice it to where you can see the inside of the lemon!

3. Cut off the tip (that’s NOT what she said….sorry, I had to) approximately 1/3 of the way down from the top. You can choose to keep the lemon tops if you want….they can be your soufflé hats!

4. Using a knife, spoon, or some form of wizardry scoop the pulpy inside of the lemon out and place in a bowl. You will need the juice for later, so don’t get rid of that! For me, this was the hardest part, so if someone comes up with a really easy way, please let me know. Next time I may try a melon baller.

5. You will need 1/4 cup of the lemon juice, so extract it at this time.

6. Mix egg yolks (save the egg whites for later) in a heat proof bowl with the lemon juice, 1/4 cup sugar, and the flour. I used a simple whisk for this task.

7. Place a large pot on the stove with water and bring to a bowl, then place the heatproof bowl inside of it, whisking for about 7-8 minutes.

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I used a Pampered Chef mixing bowl. It worked great!

8. Once thick, remove and beat with an electric mixer for about 8 more minutes, then move to a different bowl and set to the side.

9. In a bowl combine the remaining 1/4 cup sugar with the egg whites and beat until frothy. I used my KitchenAid mixer and started on the lowest speed for about 2 minutes, then slowly increased the speed until the meringue had soft peaks.

10. Mix about 1/3 of the meringue into the yolk mixture. Once combined, fold in the rest of the meringue, then fill each lemon, stopping just a bit shy of the top so it doesn’t overflow.

11. Bake for 15-17 minutes or until the tops are a golden brown. The mixture should have risen about an inch above the lemon.

12. Garnish with confectioner’s sugar and top with a lemon hat if you want. Serve immediately!

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Lessons learned while making these:

-They were tasty, but very, very light.
-I should’ve cooked them a smidge longer.
-I need to buy mutant sized lemons next time.

Everyone seemed to enjoy them, so I was a happy camper.

And so was my kitchen help for the night, Murphy.

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Brownie Points!

My love affair with chocolate is not something I have ever hidden. In fact, I’ve always embraced it. Why hide such a wonderful thing that brings so much joy to others????

When I started making healthier changes to my life back in 2013, I knew that my relationship with chocolate needed to have some boundaries…..more like the occasional visitation. The one thing I think people are surprised to learn about me is how important balance is in my life. Yes, I love living healthy and making quality choices with what I put into my body, however, I believe very strongly that you should never cut things you love completely out of your diet…..I feel like that only leads to bingefests and bad decisions. Instead, I believe you should balance your choices. Do I eat pizza and chocolate every day? Absolutely not. But do I deprive myself of them? Nope. I’ve just learned that having a slice or two of pizza with some salad is a much better option than eating a whole pizza, and I’m ok with that.

Over time I’ve learned healthier adaptations for the foods I used to binge on. Some people may roll their eyes and think that there is no way cauliflower pizza crust is any good, but trust me. Some of the healthier recipes I have come across or created I actually prefer over the original. Yes, you heard right!

Back to my love affair with chocolate…..how amazing is the brownie? Of all the treats in the world, brownies (especially my mother’s) have always ranked in my top favorites. For a long time they were the one treat I had failed countless times in finding a healthy alternative.

That is no longer the case.

I’d like to enter into the discussion my old friend, the black bean. I’ve written about them previously and think they are one seriously underestimated item in your cabinet. Awhile back I stumbled across a brownie recipe where black beans were used. I was open minded to the taste, thinking the black beans would be noticeable but that they would still be okay.

My apologies to the recipe for thinking it would be just “okay.” These brownies were incredible! Here’s how you make them!

Before you begin making the brownies, you must follow the first rule of thumb for handling black bean. Rinse the heck out of them! You don’t want the bean slime to join you in cooking, and you want to make sure you get rid of any additional sodium lingering.

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After the beans have been rinsed, it’s time to break out your food processor and get to work. You’ll start with just the black beans and process until their are smooth, then add in the rest of the ingredients with the exception of half of the chocolate chips (the full recipe is posted below). 2016-02-19 22.00.24

Pour batter into a greased 8 by 8 pan and place into an oven set to 350 degrees. Sprinkle the remaining chocolate chips on top. Looks just like a pan of regular brownies, right??

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As you can imagine, the excitement of trying a new brownie recipe didn’t just appeal to me. Murphy was extremely focused on the brownies….too bad chocolate isn’t for dogs, Murph.

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Once the brownies have baked for 30-35 minutes (depending on your oven or when the brownies start to separate from the edge of the pan), remove them and let cool before you decide to enjoy them.

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So what did I think of this recipe? BEST EVER. You can’t taste the black beans at all, and they have a great fudge-like texture. Overall, they were a huge hit, and a much healthier one at that! I opted for dark chocolate chips, but you can go with semi-sweet if you prefer.

You may be nervous to try them because you don’t like black beans as a side dish. Trust me….you want to try these and give them a chance. If I brought you a brownie and didn’t tell you what the ingredients were, you’d never know black beans were in it. Don’t knock them until you try them! You may just be pleasantly surprised!

Here’s the recipe so you know what all you need! Happy Baking!

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