Lavender Apple Upside-down Cake

For christmas last year, Miranda from sundrymornings.com gave me, among other delightful treats, lavender sugar.  Which is dried lavender flowers combined with granulated sugar.   Brilliant.  To make your own, mix 1 cup sugar with 1 1/2 teaspoons dried lavender.  If you don't have any lavender or lavender sugar on hand, you can substitute with granulated or brown sugar for this recipe. Lavender Apple Upside-down Cake

1 stick butter, softened

1/4 cup lavender sugar (see above)

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

4 apples, peeled, cored and sliced

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs, beaten

1 cup milk

2 tablespoons white vinegar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease the baking dish with 1 tablespoon of the butter.  In a bowl, mix lavender sugar and cinnamon and spread over bottom of greased baking dish.  Layer apples slices in bottom of greased, sugared baking dish.  This will be the top of the cake when finished so feel free to get creative with your apple arrangement. Set aside.

In  a mixing bowl, combine remaining butter and sugar.  Add remaining wet ingredients and dry ingredients. Pour and evenly spread batter over apples. Bake 50 minutes.  Cool 10 minutes.  Run a knife along edges and carefully invert onto flat surface.  Cake is now an upside-down cake.

berry cookies

Is it obvious how much I like cookies?

Berry and Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 1/4 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon salt

3 cups flour

1 cup raspberries or blackberries, chopped

1 bag white chocolate chips

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine butter, sugars, eggs and vanilla.  Add baking soda, salt and flour.  Add berries and chips.  Use a spoon or scoop to portion dough onto greased cookie sheet.  Bake about 12 minutes.

my favorite cookies

I cannot and do not resist these.  I love these cookies so much I had them on the dessert table at my wedding.  I call them crackle cookies as I think it sounds better. (although, crackle refers to a noise and these are soft and chewy.  The only sounds made while eating these are usually contented mmhmm's.)

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil

2 eggs

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup all purpose flour

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1/2 cup confectioner's sugar (for rolling in, post chilling, pre baking)

Stir all ingredients together.  Cover and chill dough 3 hours or overnight to firm dough.  After chilling, heat oven to 350 degrees.  Use a spoon or scoop to portion dough and form into ball with hands.  Roll in powdered sugar until heavily coated.  Place on greased cookie sheet and bake immediately, about 10 minutes.   (Only roll dough in powder right before baking.  Ever seen these with matted, sad sugar powdering?   The sugar gets damp and transparent if it sits too long on the dough.) Remove from oven and cool.

cookies for monkeys (and for me)

Once again, found myself with bananas past their prime.  Usually I make banana bread but it was time for something sweeter.  These cookies are extra fluffy and cake-like.  What do you make with your over ripe bananas?

Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 sticks butter, softened

1 cup light brown sugar

3/4 cup white sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 bananas, peeled and mashed

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 whole wheat flour

1 1/2 all purpose flour

1 bag semi sweet chocolate chips

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease cookie sheet and set aside.  In a large bowl, whisk butter, sugar and vanilla.  Add eggs, then bananas.  Add flour, baking soda and salt.  Add chocolate chips.  Drop tablespoon sized portions of dough onto greased cookie sheet, each about an inch or more apart.  Bake 10-12 minutes. Edges will be golden brown.

pear bleu puff tarts

I wanted to make homemade poptarts and had a puff pastry dough in the freezer. Perfect. I also made a raspberry version.

Pear and Bleu Cheese Poptarts

1 package puff pastry dough, thawed

1/4 cup mascarpone

1/4 cup bleu cheese

two pears halved, cored, sliced

honey

flour for rolling out dough

egg yolk and milk (for the wash)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Gently roll out pastry on floured surface very thin. Use a pastry or pizza cutter to cut poptart squares. (Mine were huge portions at 5" x 6". I recommend smaller portions)

In a bowl, mix bleu and mascarpone cheeses and smear on what will be the bottom pastry square. Layer with slices of pear. Drizzle with honey. With a pastry brush or finger, brush small amount of water along the pastry edges. Create a sandwich with another square. Press along edges to seal. Repeat with remaining squares until you have all your little poptarts sealed up and ready for baking. Poke holes in top layer with a fork.

Mix egg yolk and about a tablespoon of milk together for the egg wash. This will create a pretty golden brown glaze. Lightly brush each square with egg wash. Bake for about 20 minutes.  They will be golden, flaky puffs of heaven.

raspberry puff tarts

I couldn't make up my mind the other day when I was making puff pastry pop tarts if I wanted raspberry or pear so I made both.  Here is the recipe for the raspberry ones.

Raspberry Poptarts

1 container fresh raspberries, washed and coarsely chopped

1/2 cup mascarpone

1/2 cup powdered sugar

2 egg yolks (one for the filling and one for the wash)

1 puff pastry sheets, thawed and rolled out super thin

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  In a small bowl combine mascarpone, sugar and egg yolk.  Add raspberries.  Set aside.

Cut pastry into desired sized squares.  (Even number since we'll be using one square as the base and sandwiching the filling with another square as the top.)

Smear raspberry filling onto half the squares, leaving a border.  With a finger or pastry brush dab a bit of water around the edge of every square. This will help the sides adhere to one another.  Make little snadwiches or pockets, press all edges with fork or finger to seal well.  (no one wants a leaky poptart) Poke holes in top of each.

Mix one egg yolk with a dash of milk for the wash.  Brush each square with the egg milk wash using a pastry brush.  This will create a pretty golden brown puff once baked.  Bake 15-20 minutes.

Pina Colada Popsicles

More bonding with the ice pop molds.

Pina Colada Popsicles about 12oz fresh pineapple pieces or 1 drained tin of pineapple 6oz container vanilla yogurt (i used greek) 3/4 cup lite coconut milk 3 tablespoons agave syrup

Blend. Pour into molds and freeze.

Mini Margarita Cookies

I like cocktails.  I like cookies.  Perfect.  Who doesn't?  What other drinks could be good cookie flavors?

Margarita Cookies

1 stick butter

1 cup sugar

1 egg

2 tablespoons tequila

zest of two limes

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

2 cups flour

Mix all ingredients.  Chill until dough is firm.  Roll out on floured surface and cut out cookies.  Position on greased baking sheet.  I sprinkled half the batch with sea salt and half with sugar (I will not be icing.)  Bake about ten minutes at 350 degrees.

Cheers.

zucchini bread (sort of)

This zucchini bread doesn't know if it's a sweeter bread, cupcake or muffin.  With a bit of vanilla frosting, it is a recipe for cupcakes.

Zucchini Muffins

1 1/2 cup flour

1 cup brown sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 heaping teaspoons cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon each cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, vanilla

1 1/2 cup grated zucchini (2 smaller or 1.5 medium)

1/3 cup vegetable or canola oil

2 eggs

2 tablespoons milk

1 tablespoon orange zest (or to taste)

Mix all ingredients and bake about 35 minutes at 350 degrees.

Berry Popsicles

a new favorite treat.

Yogurt Berry Berry Popsicles

8oz (half a bag) frozen raspberries

8oz (half a bag) frozen blueberries

2 containers greek yogurt (5.3oz each)

1 cup milk

2 tablespoon agave

Blend all ingredients.  Pour into popsicle molds and freeze.

Bourbon Bananas Foster

Traditionally made with rum which i never have lying around. Those who know me know my love of bourbon. So, i present you with my new favorite breakfast: Bourbon Bananas Foster 4 ripe bananas, peeled cut lengthwise and halved 2 tablespoons butter 4 tablespoons brown sugar 2 shots bourbon Heat butter and sugar on medium heat until its caramelized, about 2 minutes. Add bananas cook until warm, about 2 minutes. Add bourbon. Cook on each side until a pretty even light sugary brown color. Serve right away with ice cream or whip cream.

Cake in a Jar

These little things are tasty and cute.  I had a small get together dinner last night and wasn't sure we'd have room for dessert but still wanted to have something handy.  These cake jars are great as favors or take away desserts.  I think a basket full of assorted ones would be a sweet gift.  The mason jars need to be sanitized in boiling water before use.  You can bake right in the mason jars but you must use a hot water bath while baking.  The jars I used are 8oz and each have 1.5 cupcakes stuffed inside. For these little ones, I used a classic red velvet cake and cream cheese frosting.

Red Velvet Cake                                                                    

1 stick butter

2 eggs

1 1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon white vinegar

1 bottle red food color

1 cup buttermilk

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 1/4 cup cake flour, sifted

2 tablespoon cocoa powder

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients.  Bake about 25 minutes for cupcakes and slightly longer for cake pans.

 

Cream Cheese Frosting

8oz cream cheese, room temperature

1/2 stick butter, room temperature

heavy dash of vanilla

1 1/4 cup powdered sugar

Whip all ingredients until smooth.

Stuff cupcakes or cut pieces of cake and layer with frosting and other toppings.  Cake jars will last about a week with proper refrigeration but I'm guessing they won't be resisted that long.

Spicy Corn Bread

I used a large Jalapeno and drizzled it in a lot of agave syrup after baking because I was craving a sweet and spicy cornbread.  This recipe can be adjusted according to taste.  When dicing the jalapeno, use gloves or make sure to wash your hands thoroughly after.  When cutting the corn kernels from the cob, place a cup or mug upside down in a bowl.  Hold the corn vertically with the bottom resting on the cup.  Slice down and kernels will fall into the bowl.  Easy. Jalapeno Corn Bread

1 corn on the cob (1 cob of corn?) kernels sliced off cob

1/2 or 1 jalapeno, diced

3 tablespoons butter

1 egg

1 1/4 cup buttermilk

2 tablespoons agave or honey, plus more for drizzling post baking

1 cup cornmeal

3/4 cup  flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoon salt

Combine all ingredients and spread into square baking dish.  Bake 20 minutes at 425 degrees.  Drizzle with agave syrup or honey for sweetness.

sweet tooth

Wash those hands and pull your hair back: It's brownie time!  This recipe without the raspberries and almond extract is a great brownie base that you can get creative with and add just about anything to.  (candied orange peel and toasted marshmallow brownies,  anyone?)

Raspberry Brownies

1 1/4 sticks butter

1 cup sugar

3/4 cup cocoa powder

pinch salt

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/2 teaspoon almond extract

2 eggs

1/2 cup flour

1-2 cup fresh or frozen raspberries (i used frozen but thawed 30 sec in microwave before crumbling them into the mix)

Preheat oven to 350.  Paper and grease an brownie pan.  I suggest 8x8 but a 9x9 could work but will result in thin brownies.  Mix all ingredients in a large bowl and spread into pan.  Bake about 25-30 minutes until center is set.

Cookie This.

I happen to detest raisins. This makes it difficult to get enough oatmeal cookies. I could feel the craving coming on and had the idea for a bit that dried cranberries and pecans would be the perfect substitute for the usual oatmeal cookie filler of raisins.

Cranberry Pecan Oatmeal Cookies

2 sticks butter

1 cup white sugar and 1 cup brown sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon each vanilla, cinnamon, salt and baking soda

2 cups flour

1 cup dried cranberries

3 cups oats

1 cup pecans  (I smashed the pecans into dusty crumbly bits so the whole batch would be nutty and have a mild crunchy texture)

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix all ingredients.  Feel free to mix with your hands!

Use a spoon to portion cookies, roll into balls and place them on a greased cookie sheet.  Space about 1 1/2 inches apart.

Bake for 10-12 minutes.  Do not over bake!  These should be a lightly toasted golden brown on the very edges and slightly soft in the middle.  Let cool and set on a rack or towel.

Banana Bread (that would probably be better if it was frosted)

Banana bread? Yes. Yes, please.

Bananas Looking a little something like this?   They really have a ripeness window of a day, don't they?

Then you might want to consider mashing them up into a tasty bread.

Banana Bread

3 bananas

1/3 cup olive oil

1/2 cup agave nectar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon baking soda

salt

3/4 cup all purpose flour

3/4 cup whole wheat flour

1/4 cup rolled oats

 

First, preheat that oven.  350 degrees.  Grease up the loaf pan.

Peel bananas.

Mash bananas to desired consistency. 

Read down the ingredients list and mix it all together.  Pour batter into bread pan.  Bake 50 minutes.  Cool, remove from pan, slice and eat.

Blueberry Muffins

Somewhat Healthy Blueberry Muffins

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3 tablespoons oil or butter 1 cup milk 1 egg lemon zest to taste 1 teaspoon vanilla 1 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup oat bran 1/4 cup brown sugar 1/4 cup sugar 1 1/2 cup flour 3 teaspoon baking powder 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1teaspoon ground ginger 1 cup frozen or fresh blueberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients together, starting with the wet ingredients first. Add blueberries. Fill muffin pans so that the cups are 2/3 full. Bake 15-20 minutes. They will be light golden brown on the edges and very hot! Remove from pan carefully and be sure to eat one even more carefully while you watch the rest cool.

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