Cherry Bit Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Hello all– We lived in Texas the first 4 years we were married. Larry was in seminary and I taught science all week.  So every Saturday it was the same routine.  He’d study– while I cleaned our student apartment (so tiny, it didn’t take long!) went with 3 friends to grocery shop together, did laundry and then made cookies. So many cookies!  Now days we don’t need weekly cookies…

But for some young friends coming in last Thursday, I pulled out this old recipe.  Homey and sweet and best hot from the oven!

CHERY BIT CHOCOLATE CHIP OATMEAL COOKIES
1 cup butter (2 sticks)
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1  1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1  1/2 cups oats
1 cup walnuts, chopped
2 cups chocolate chips
1 cup dried cherries, minced*

With an electric mixer beat the butter, 2 sugars and eggs until they’re creamy.  Then beat in the flour, salt, baking powder and oats.  Finally, use the mixer to blend in the walnuts, chocolate chips and cherries.

Drop the batter by spoonfuls on a cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray.  Flatten the cookies a bit with the bottom of a heavy glass.

Bake them up at 350 degrees for 11 or 12 minutes.  Be sure to eat at least one hot from the oven!!

*Whole dried cherries are too gummy for me.  I mince them to bits, for their cherry sweetness, but no gummy bites!

Cherry Cream Tart

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Hey there– Sad to say summer is closing down on us here.  The kids on the next block over started to back to school yesterday.  And I’m collecting supplies and trundling them over to my classroom getting ready for some 3rd & 4th graders myself. But there’s a few days left of lunch with friends, and long morning walks, a lazy afternoons ready and I’m trying to make the most of them.

And there are still summer fruit at the market– so many cherries this summer!  So here’s a luscious way to celebrate the end of summer– creamy and sweet.  Savoring summer for these last few days…

CHERRY CREAM TART

Crust:
1 cup flour
3 tab. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), melted & cooled a bit
1 egg yolk, beaten

Filling:
8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
16 oz. whipped cream
1 tsp. vanilla instant pudding powder*
3 cups fresh cherries, pitted and cut in half
1/3 cup cherry (or raspberry) jam**

To make the crust, stir together the flour, 3 tab. sugar and salt.  Then mix in the butter and the egg yolk.

Press the dough with your fingers into a 9″ tart or pie pan.  Put it into the oven at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, so that the crust comes out browned around the edges and cooked through.  Let it cool before you add the filling.

With an electric mixer beat together the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla.

Then with the mixer, in a second bowl, whip the cream with the instant vanilla pudding powder until it is stiff.  Fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture with a wooden spoon.

And it yet another bowl, stir together the cherries and the jam.

Then spoon the whipped cream/cream cheese mixture into the cooled crust.  Layer the cherries on top.

If you are not eating it right away, set it in the fridge to keep cool.  Hope you like it!!

* The instant pudding acts as a stabilizer for the whipped cream and keeps the filling firm, even after it sits out for a while.
**I didn’t have cherry jam in the fridge, so I used raspberry and it was just fine.

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Cherry Cheesecake

IMG_1066Hello– This cheese cake uses my sis’s world’s best cheesecake recipe as a starting point– with just a few cherries thrown in.  Thanks Lulu!  She’s the best cook ever and I’ve learned so much from her– no one I’d rather share a kitchen with!!

CHERRY CHEESE CAKE

Crust:
1/3 cup melted butter
2 tab. sugar
1  1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs

Cheesecake:
3 -8 oz. packages of cream cheese
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
1  1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup of cherries, pitted and cut to small bits

topping:
3 cups fresh cherries, pitted
2 tab. water
2 tab cornstarch
2 tab. sugar

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This is my handy-dandy olive pitter from years ago when we lived in Spain.  Works for cherries too!

Mix together the melted butter, 2 tab. sugar and graham cracker crumbs and then press them into the bottom of a 9″ to 10″ springform pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Set aside.

With an electric mixer, beat together the cream cheese and 1 cup sugar until blended.  Then beat in the eggs and sour cream.  Finally, gently fold in the cherries and then spoon he mixture in over the crust.

Put it into a 350 degree oven for 60 to 70 minutes.  It will still be a little “jiggly,” but will firm as it cools.

For the topping, pit the cherries.  Then in a heavy saucepan, stir together the 2 tab. sugar and cornstarch until there are no lumps.  Add the water the stir over medium heat until it simmers and thickens, just about a minute.  Then drop in the cherries and cook a minute more.

Remove from the heat and let the cherry topping cool completely before you spoon onto the top of the cake.  Refrigerate until you’re ready to serve it up.  Bon Apetit!

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Kale Salad with Cherries, Almonds and Goat Cheese

IMG_3424Hi all– Do you ever get stuck on a salad and keep making it over and over?  This one has been around our kitchen several times lately.  I call it my Trader Joe’s salad– most of the ingredients come from there– the cherries, sliced almonds, goat cheese crumbles and orange vinegar.  It’s a sturdy bright fruity in the middle of winter.  Just about right.

KALE SALAD WITH CHERRIES, ALMONDS AND GOAT CHEES

3 cups kale leaves, chopped to bits
1 cup dark Morello cherries*
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup goat cheese crumbles
1/3 cup olive oil
3 tab. orange moscat vinegar
1 tab. cherry juice (from the jar)
salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

Just layer the chopped kale, cherries, almonds and goat cheese crumbles on a pretty plate.

In a container with a tight fitting lid, shake together the oil, vinegar, cherry juice, salt and pepper until it’s thoroughly blended.  Douse the salad with the dressing just before setting it on the table.  Delish!

Cherry Nut Muffins

IMG_0988Hi all–  A few years back we were dropping off our son for college in Michigan– drove along the lake (amazing!) and popped into a farm stand with tables of beautiful fruit–oh the cherries!  Well, it seems a lot of those cherries have made their way down our way this summer.  We’ve had cherries galore–glossy and dark, sweet and juicy.  Lots of cherry snacking and cherries in salads.  And these cherry nut muffins.

CHERRY NUT MUFFINS
1  1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup oil
2 tsp. vanilla
1 full cup cherries, pitted & cut in half
1/2 cup of walnuts, chopped*
2 tab. sugar

Stir together the flour, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder and salt.  Then blend in the egg, milk, oil and vanilla.  And last, fold in the cherries and walnuts.

Spoon the batter into a 12 muffin pan– lined with paper liners.  Sprinkle the 2 tab. of sugar lightly over the tops.

Pop the muffins into a 350 degree oven and bake them for 20 to 22 minutes until they are golden and firm to the touch.

Delicious warm– no need for jam with all those sweet cherries!

*Pecans or hazelnuts would work well too– and I always cheat and add extra nuts, love all the nutty crunch.

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Cherry Pecan Scones

IMG_9833Hello all– My dear buddy Debbie has a daughter getting married soon.  So last Friday we spent the morning making jars of blackberry jam to give all the friends who come celebrate together at the wedding.  The kitchen was awash in crushed berries and and sterilizing jars…  After a bit, we got into the rhythm of bubbling up that jam and filling those jars and we had a table full by the end of the morning.

So when I showed up at her door that morning for the jam-fest, I thought it was important to have a plate of scones to pair with a sampling of that luscious jam!  A little taste test…

CHERRY PECAN SCONES
2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1  1/2 sticks butter (3/4 cup)
1/2 cup whole milk
2 eggs*
2/3 cup fresh cherries, pitted & quartered
1/2 cup pecan, chopped fine

IMG_9829In a large mixing bowl stir together the flour sugar, baking powder and salt.

Then with a pastry blender cut in the butter (if the butter is cold from the fridge, microwave it just a few seconds to soften a bit).

Stir in the eggs and milk.  And finally fold in the cherries and pecans.

Cut the dough in half.  Then drop half the dough on to a well floured counter.  Shape it into a circle and cut into 6 pie shaped scones.  Repeat with the second half of the dough.

Put them at least 1 inch apart (they do spread!) on a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray.  Bake them up at 375 degrees for 15 to 18 minutes.  Until they are golden and firm to the touch.

Serve them hot with butter or whipped cream–and pots of your best jam.  Perfect.

* I know– it’s weird to put eggs in scones!  But I got this recipe (with slight variations) from the Empress Hotel in British Columbia– famous for their scones. Trust me.

Cherry Cake

IMG_9566Hello everyone– I’m usually a stack it tall layer cake kind of baker.  But when summer comes around and all those berries and cherries are just waiting at the market, a simple fruity cake is perfect-  sweet but not too heavy.  And, of course, accompanied by ice cream, the official summer food.

CHERRY CAKE
3 cups cherries, pitted & cut in half (a little more than a pound)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. amaretto
1 egg
1 cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/3 cup milk
sugar to sprinkle on top

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Here’s my trusty rusty olive pitter, a friend gave me back when we lived in Spain– works like a cherry pitter who can get around here…  (or just use a knife).

Prepare the cherries by pitting them and cutting them in half.

In a mixing bowl stir up the sugar, oil, vanilla, amaretto and egg.  Then mix in the flour, baking powder, salt and milk.  Finally fold in the cherries.

Spoon the batter into a tart pan (or a 9″ cake pan) that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Sprinkle the top liberally with white sugar.

Pop it into a 375 degree oven for 25 to 35 minutes (depending on which type of pan you use)– and cook until it’s golden on top and firm to the touch.

It’s lovely warm for breakfast or dessert– and, of course, best with whipped cream or ice cream on the plate!

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