Peaches & Cream Tart

 

Hi all– OK, OK, just one more peach recipe!!  I’ve had this one on my Pinterest board for months.  It calls for canned peaches (!), but I wanted to try it with fresh summer peaches and now’s the time!

Made it for my Monday ladies who came in the door this week.  And Larry and I split the leftover piece watching the Angel Baseball game on tv–sweet and peachy!!  Hope you still have peaches at the market so you can give it a try!

PEACHES & CREAM TART
1 white cake mix
1/3 cup butter (2/3 stick), room temperature*
2 eggs, divided
3 large yellow peaches
8 oz. cream cheese
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp. amaretto (or vanilla)**

In a mixing bowl cut together the cake mix, butter and 1 egg with a pastry blender (or 2 forks) until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Set aside one cup of the mixture for later.

Take the remaining mixture in the bowl and press it into a 9″x 13″ baking dish (or 12″ tart pan) that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Pop it into a 350 degree oven for just 10 minutes.

While that’s cooking, peel, pit and cut the 3 peaches into 1″ chunks.  When the baked crumb layer comes out of the oven spread the peaches over the top.

With an electric mixer beat together the cream cheese, 1 egg, sugar and amaretto until it is  creamy (just a couple minutes).  Drizzle it over the peaches.

Then take the remaining 1 cup of crumb mixture, that you saved out earlier, and sprinkle it over the top of everything.  Return it to the 350 oven and bake for 30 minutes more until it’s slightly browned on top.  Delicious hot or cooled.

*If your retrieving the butter from the fridge (like me), pop it into the microwave for 8 to 10 seconds to soften to room temperature.
**I used amaretto because I have a big bottle on hand– keep it in place of almond extract because it’s about a tenth the price and lasts forever in the cupboard.  The original recipe called for vanilla.

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread with Cream Cheese Filling

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Hello all– Made this a few weeks ago and even though I read the directions to let the cake cool before before taking it out of the pan, I was in a hurry (impatient!) and said–“hmmm that’s cool enough.”  I inverted the warm cake onto the plate it crumbled into a heap– literally a hot mess!  When I sadly set it out for our Thursday night group, kind Jordan served himself  a slab and declared it delicious, so it did get eaten. (thanks Jordan!)

So this photo is from my second attempt!  I held off until it was cool enough to leave the pan (live and learn).  And it was still pretty delicious with the banana, chocolate and a tunnel of cream cheese filling going through the middle.  Better.

CHOCOLATE CHIP BANANA BREAD WITH CREAM CHEESE FILLING

Crumb topping:
1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
4 tab. butter (1/2 stick)

Banana Cake:
1 cup smashed banana (2 large bananas)
1  1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup canola oil
1 tab. vanilla
1  1/4 cup unflavored yogurt
2  1/4 cups flour
2  1/4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 cup mini chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Cream Cheese Filling:
1/4 cup reserved cake batter
8 oz. cream cheese
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

Vanilla Glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 or 2 tab. milk

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Start by making the crumb topping.  Stir together the flour and brown sugar in a small mixing bowl.  Then cut in the butter with a pastry blender or 2 forks until it resembles coarse crumbs.  Then stir in the walnuts.  Set aside.

Next make the banana cake.  Smash the 2 bananas in a large mixing bowl with a fork until the are reduced to a paste.  Then stir in the 1 1/2 cup sugar, canola oil, eggs, 1 tablespoon vanilla and the yogurt.  After that, you mix in the 2 1/4 cups flour, baking powder and salt until it’s all blended.

Scoop out 1/4 cup of the batter and save it.  Then mix the chocolate chips into the big bowl of batter and set aside.

To make the cream cheese filling.  With an electric mixer, bet together the cream cheese, 1/4 cup reserved cake batter,  1/4 sup sugar and 1 tsp. vanilla until it’s smooth.

Now to put it all together — Spray a angel food cake pan with cooking spray.  Scrape all but 1 cup of the batter into the baking pan.  Save that 1 cup to go on top in a minute!

Then drop tablespoons of the cream cheese filling all over the top of the batter in the angle food cake pan, being careful not to let the filling touch the sides of the pan–keep it in the middle of the batter.

Cover the cream cheese filling with the remaining cup of banana cake batter.  And then sprinkle the crumb topping over it all.

Pop the cake into a 350 degree oven for 50 to 60 minutes until it is cooked through.  Test it with a tooth pick to see if the cake batter is all baked.  After you take it out of the one leave the cake in the pan until it cools completely (believe me)!

When you are ready to serve it, whisk together the glaze– powdered sugar, 1/2 tsp vanilla and 1 tablespoon of milk.  If it seems to thick add the second tablespoon of milk.  Then drizzle it over the cake.  It’s ready to eat!!

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Zucchini Walnut Cake with Honey Cream Cheese Frosting

IMG_2717Hello there– This tidy little cake stood in for the birthday cake for Larry’s birthday– He doesn’t like too much sweetness (unlike his wife!) and I thought this would be just about what he would like in the way of cake.

I wish I had taken a picture with the tall red candles burning away on top!  But you’ll just have to imagine.  Happy Birthday dear Larry!

ZUCCHINI WALNUT CAKE WITH HONEY CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

Cake:
1 1/2 cups zucchini, grated (about 1 medium zucchini)
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup canola oil
2 eggs
1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped*

Frosting:
4 oz. cream cheese
4 tab. butter (1/2 stick)
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 tab. honey

Candied Walnuts:
1/2 cup walnuts
1/4 cup sugar

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Grate that zucchini and set it aside.

Mix the dry ingredients in a big bowl– the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.  Then stir in the vanilla, oil and eggs.  Finally fold in the zucchini and walnuts.

Scoop the thick batter into a 9″ square or round cake pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray and bake it at 350 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes.  Poke it with a thin knife to be sure it’s cooked through (it takes longer than you think it should).

Let the cake cool before you frost it.

To make the frosting, beat together the cream cheese and butter with an electric mixer.  Then beat in the powdered sugar, vanilla and honey.  Spread it on the cooled cake.

To make the candied walnuts,  drop the 1/2 cup walnuts and 1/4 cup sugar into a small skillet and stir continuously over medium heat until the sugar completely melts and turns a beautiful golden color.  (Be careful.  This is so hot!)

When the nuts are all coated, turn them out onto a piece of foil and let them cool (it just takes a couple minutes) before you arrange them on top of the frosted cake.

*1 cup is a whole lot of walnuts for this small size of cake.  Maybe you’d want less (like 1/2 a cup).  I just love nuts so I overdo them, I afraid.

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P.S. I’m loving my new/old white plate sitting under the cake.  I picked it up in a thrift store settled into a little white clapboard church building along the way on our drive through rural New York this summer.  A $1 bargain plate–just my kind of shopping!

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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Raspberry Fruit Tarts

IMG_1588Hi all– Sad to say, some of my favorite teaching buddies are retiring this year– Actually it’s sad for me, but pretty great for them!!  They have big plans ahead– mostly involving grand-kids and traveling!

So we had a big tea party to send them off into retirement.  The best parts were all the dear things that were said and the hugs and gifts given.  But the tea sandwiches and pastries were awfully nice too. Here’s the tarts that were contributed from my kitchen:

RASPBERRY FRUIT TARTS

Pastry Crust:
1 cup flour
3 tab. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup butter, melted & cooled for a couple minutes
1 egg yolk

Filling:
8 oz. cream cheese
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
8 oz. heavy whipping cream

IMG_1559To make the crust, mix together the flour, 3 tab. sugar and salt.  Then stir in the melted butter and egg yolk.

When that’s all blended press teaspoon-fulls of the mixture into mini muffin tins that have been sprayed with cooking spray*.   This should make 25-30 little pastry crusts.

Put them in the oven at 350 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes until they are nicely browned.

While they are cooling, with an electric mixer, beat together the cream cheese, 1/4 cup sugar and vanilla.  In a separate bowl, beat the whipping cream until it is fairly firm.
Then fold the cream cheese mixture and the whipped cream together and spoon it into the little cooled crusts.

Top them with raspberries (or whatever pretty berries you like).  Enjoy!

*This recipe would work great with mini muffin pans.  I had this little metallic muffin liners — available in SF at Kaiwen restaurant supply store– so I used them.

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Creamy Citrus Cake

DSC00564Hey there– In the grayish days of winter, we could all use a little sunshine– like this bright orange/lemon little coffee cake.

There’s lots of baking around here– so I try to have just one piece of what comes out of the oven and share the rest around.  But this cake stayed on our counter and I ate most of it– inch by inch, lemony nibble by nibble, every time I walked by in the kitchen.  It didn’t take long to polish it off!  It’s a good cake.

CREAMY CITRUS CAKE

Topping:
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
3 tab. butter
powdered sugar for dusting

Cream Cheese Layer:
8 oz. cream cheese–at room temperature*
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1  1/2 tsp. lemon juice

Cake Layer:
1  1/2 cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup yogurt
1 egg
grated peel of 1 lemon & 1 orange
3 tab. lemon juice

To make the crumb topping– Mix together the flour & sugar.  Then cut int he butter with a pastry blender or 2 forks until it looks like coarse crumbs.  Set aside.

To make the cream cheese layer– with an electric mixer beat together the cream cheese and sugar.  Then beat in the egg and lemon juice.  Set aside.

To make the cake layer– Stir together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.  Then mix in the oil, yogurt, egg, orange & lemon peel and the lemon juice.

Spoon the batter in to a 9″ square or round pan** that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Then spread the cream cheese layer evenly over the cake batter.  Top it all by sprinkling the crumb mixture over the top of it all.

Pop it into the oven at 350 degrees for 34 to 40 minutes, until it’s firm to the touch.

Let the cake cool just a bit and then dust the top of the cake with powdered sugar shaken through sieve.  Delish with mugs of tea– hope you like it!

*If your cream cheese is coming out of the fridge, take off the wrapper and microwave it for jut 5 or 6 seconds to warm it up a bit.
**I used  10 1/2″ tart pan– so it’s flatter cake, and the cooking time was a couple minutes less.

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Banana Rum Cake

IMG_2664Hello all– It was another case of too-ripe bananas languishing on the kitchen counter–speckled, soft and fragrant.  I was obliged to run to the store and scoop up a bottle of rum to stir up this cake.  It’s sweet and rummy and showered with sugary pecans–

aside: If you’ve read this little blog at all lately, you must think I’m near pecan addiction. It’s true.  My mom gave me the BIGGEST bag of pecans (& a bag of walnuts & one of pine nuts) for my birthday gift and I’ve been tossing them into everything!!  Nuts glorious nuts!

BANANA RUM CAKE
1/2 cup butter, room temperature*
8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature*
1  1/2 cup sugar
3 eggs
3 ripe bananas, smashed
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup light rum
3 cups flour
2  1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup whole milk (or half & half)

Glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tab. rum

Candied pecans:
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup pecans

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Sweet and smelling so banana-ish warm from the oven.

With an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese, butter and 1 1/2 cup sugar until smooth.  then beat in the eggs, bananas, vanilla and rum.

Finally, beat in the flour, baking powder, salt and milk.  Scoop the batter into a tube or bundt pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray.

Drop it into a 350 oven for 55 to 60 minutes, until it’s golden and a a thin knife inserted comes out clean.

Let it cool and make the rum glaze.  With a whisk, beat the powdered sugar and 2 tab. rum together.  When the cake it cooled Drizzle over the cake.

To make the sugared pecans.  Just mix the 1/2 cup sugar and 1 cup pecans in a skillet.  Stir them constantly over medium heat until the sugar all melts and the pecans are coated with the browned, melted sugar.  Turn the nuts out of the pan onto a sheet of foil separating the nuts and let them cool.  Top the glazed cake with the nuts– and it’s ready to eat!

*If you’re pulling the butter and cream cheese out of the fridge, just microwave them for 8 to 10 seconds and they’ll be soft enough to beat into the cake.

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Cream Cheese Pecan Bars

IMG_2584Hello there–  I’m saying right up front that pecans are my favorite kind of nut– and I am pretty nuts about all nuts in general.  (does that make sense?)  So take a pan full of pecans and layer them over a little cheese cake and a graham cracker crust and you’ve go a delectable winner.

Made these bars for friends last week, and I’m reluctant to admit that I kept nibbling away at the leftovers and ate most of them right out from under Larry’s nose.  They were THAT good.  (sorry Larry).  All that to say– I think you should try them.  I loved, loved them!

CREAM CHEESE PECAN BARS

Crust:
1 cup graham cracker crumbs (about 4)
1/4 cup sugar
4 tab. butter, melted

Cream cheese filling:
8 oz. cream cheese*
1/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup whole milk (0r half & half)
2 tsp. vanilla
2 tab. flour

Pecan layer:
1 cup chopped pecans (or a little handful more if you love nuts like I do!)
1/4 cup light corn syrup
2 tab. butter, melted
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
pinch of salt

IMG_2588Crush the graham cracker crumbs in a bag with a rolling pin or in your food processor.  Then in a bowl, stir them up with the sugar and 4 tab. melted butter.

Spread the moist crumbs over the bottom of a 7″x11″ pan (or a 9″ square) that has been sprayed with cooking spray to make a even thin layer.  Then put it in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes while you whip up the cream cheese layer.

With an electric mixer beat the cream cheese and sugar to a smooth paste.  Then beat in the eggs, milk, vanilla and flour.  Pour the mixture over the crust gently (so you don’t disturb the crust) when it comes out of the oven.

Pop it back into the oven for 25 minutes just until the cream cheese is set.  Then take it out and let the cream cheese layer cool for 20 minutes.

Next stir together the pecans, corn syrup, 2 tab. melted butter. brown sugar, 1 egg and salt.
Carefully spoon the pecan mixture over the cream cheese layer and send it back to the oven for another 20 to 25 minutes until the pecan layer is firm.

Let it cool an hour or so and then put it in the fridge to set up so you can cut it into neat little squares. (they do taste better chilled right out of the fridge)

A little whipped cream would turn it from cookie bar to full fledged dessert!!

Brownie Peanut Butter Cheesebake Bars

IMG_9913Hey there– This is a “What shall I take along to the bar-b-que potluck?” kind of recipe– a sweet chocolatey square at the end of a savory meal.  There’s the chewy brownie layer on bottom, creamy cheesy peanut butter in the middle and rich chocolate ganache to top it off.  It’s almost a Reese’s peanut butter cup in a baking pan.  Hope you try it!!

BROWNIE PEANUT BUTTER CHEESECAKE BARS

Brownie layer:
1 stick butter (1/2 cup) melted
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa*
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 cup flour

Peanut butter layer:
8 oz. cream cheese
1/2 cup peanut butter**
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Ganache:
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 tab. butter
2 tab. corn syrup (optional)***
1  1/3 cup chocolate chips (8 oz.)

To make the brownie layer, melt the butter in the microwave and mix in just the cocoa to form a pretty chocolate paste.  The stir in the sugar and vanilla.  Whisk in the eggs and finally thoroughly stir in the flour.

Scrape the brownie batter into a 9″ (or 7’x11″) baking dish sprayed with cooking spray.  Set it aside for now.

For the peanut butter layer, beat the cream cheese and peanut butter with an electric mixer.  Then beat in the sugar, egg and vanilla.

Drop the mixture by small spoonfuls over the brownie batter in the pan.  And with a knife, oh so carefully, spread the peanut butter mixture over the brownies, careful not to mix the two layers. (This is the only tricky part!)

Pop that all into the oven a 350 degrees for 30 to 35  minutes–until the brownies are cooked through.  Poke the tip of a small knife in to see if you pull out small crumbs.

When it’s cooled, bring the cream, butter and corn syrup to a low simmer in a pan on the stove top.  Remove it from the heat and stir in the chocolate chips until they are all melted.  Then beat it al with a wooden spoon for 3 or 4 minutes.

Spread the chocolate ganache over the brownies and set it into the fridge for an hour or so until the topping sets up firm and then cut into delicious squares!

*We love the Hershey’s dark unsweetened baking cocoa.
** the recipe I worked from asked for creamy peanut butter– but I used super chunky–love all those little peanut bits!
*** I often leave out the corn syrup– but it does give the ganache that pretty shine.

Lemonade Cake

IMG_9513Hello Cake Eaters– That should include most everyone!  We are big on cake around here.  So this week I set out for dinner with my Monday night buddies, this lemonade cake in hand.  It was a sweet evening together.  We sat out on Sally’s patio for a long, leisurely, laugh-filled dinner and then circled around to each share a summer day memory  and to pray for each other.  I was heart-warmed. Do love those gals…

So here it is.  Lemonade Cake.  Good for summer evenings with dear friends…

IMG_9547LEMONADE CAKE

Cake:
1  1/3 cup sugar
1/2  cup butter (room temperature)*
grated rind from one lemon
1/4 cup frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed
2 tsp. vanilla
3 eggs
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1  1/4 cups buttermilk**

Frosting:
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)*
8 oz. cream cheese
grated rind of one lemon
1 tab. lemon juice (no more!!)
4 cups powdered sugar (just a bit more than a 1 pound box)

With an electric mixer, cream together the sugar and butter.  Then mix in the lemon rind, lemonade concentrate, vanilla and eggs.  Finally beat in the flour, baking powder, salt and buttermilk.

Spoon the batter into two  9″ cake pans (or 1 9″x13″ land) that have been sprayed with cooking spray.  Pop them into the oven for 25-30 minutes at 350 degrees.  Take them out when they just start to turn golden and are firm to the touch.

Let them cool completely before you frost them.

For the frosting, use the electric mixer to beat together the butter and cream cheese.  Then beat in the lemon rind and juice.  Finally leave the mixer on low to beat in the powdered sugar, increasing the speed as it is incorporated, until it’s all bended together.

Frost up that cake and trim it with a sunny slice of lemon and a little mint.

*If you are using butter straight from the fridge, microwave it a

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Lemon Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

IMG_6770Hello there– This may look like an unassuming little chunk of cake, but there is a whole lot of flavor and creaminess in this little slice–4 doses of lemon juice, not to mention the cream cheese (one of my personal favorite recipe ingredients!).  It’s tenderly delicious.

And if you have a friend with a lemon tree, who loves to bring you tidy little paper bags, stuffed with fresh lemons, this may be just the recipe for you this time of year.

LEMON CREAM CHEESE COFFEE CAKE

Cream Cheese layer:
8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp. lemon juice*

Crumble topping:
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 tab. butter, (room temperature)
1 tab. grated lemon peel
1 tab. lemon juice

Cake:
1 1/2 cup flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup canola oil
1 egg
1/2 cup buttermilk**
1 tab. grated lemon peel
1 tab. lemon juice

Drizzle:
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tab. lemon juice

IMG_6744To make the cream cheese layer, just mix all 4 ingredients up with an electric mixer and set is aside.

For the crumble topping, mix together the flour and sugar in a small bowl.  Cut in the butter with a pastry blender or 2 forks until it looks like coarse crumbs.  Then stir in the lemon peel and juice. Set aside as well.

Mix up the cake by stirring together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.  Then mix in the oil, egg and buttermilk.  And finally, fold in the grated lemon peel and lemon juice.

To put it all together, spoon the cake batter into a 9″square (or round) baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Carefully spread the cream cheese layer on top.  Then with your fingers sprinkle on the crumble topping.

Pop it in the oven at 350 for 35 to 40 minutes until it just starts to brown and is firm to the touch.    Let it cool an few minutes.

While it’s cooling, stir together the powdered sugar and 1 tablespoon lemon juice for the drizzle glaze and then drizzle the powdered sugar mixture over the top and serve it up warm and lemony!

*I managed to peel off and squeeze all the grated peel and lemon juice needed from one large lemon.  If you have smaller lemons, it will probably take two of them.
**If you don’t find buttermilk in your fridge (like me), substitute by putting a couple tablespoons of cider vinegar into your measuring cup and filling it up with milk to 1/2 cup.  Let it sit a couple minutes to thicken.

Caramel Cream Cheese Brownies

IMG_3621Hello everyone–  I always try to have a chocolate cake on the counter when Ani and Brian drive down from San Francisco.  Ani is a real “cake face.”  And who doesn’t love a good old chocolate cake?  But this trip we were traveling on for a weekend in Big Bear.  So I decided to bake up something more portable– a pan of brownies.  These have a cream cheese layer on top with a bit of caramel swirled in.  Sweet and gooey.

CARAMEL CREAM CHEESE BROWNIES
1 family size brownie mix (makes a 9″x13″ pan of brownies)
oil
4 eggs
8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
5 tab. butter, room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
2 tab. flour
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup caramel sauce*

IMG_3481Mix up the brownie mix according the directions on the box, using 2 of the eggs.  Spread the batter into a 9″ x 13″ baking pan sprayed with cooking spray.

Then with an electric mixer beat together the cream cheese, butter, sugar, flour, vanilla and the last 2 eggs.  Beat on high until the batter is smooth and creamy.  Carefully spread the cream cheese mixture over the brownie batter.  Then spoon the caramel sauce over the cream cheese layer.  Use the tip of a sharp knife to swirl the caramel and cream cheese together.

Bake up the brownies at 350 degrees for 35 to 45 minutes, until they are firm to the touch and just starting to brown around the edges.  Insert a sharp tip knife to be sure they are cooked all the way through!  Let them cool a while before you cut them into squares (unless you can wait!)

*If you’re a better cook than I, you can whip up your very own caramel sauce.  I use Hershey’s caramel sauce from the jar. It’s a favorite staple in my cupboard.

Cream Cheese Carrot Muffins

IMG_9028Hey there– When I was up staying with Ani & Brian in San Francisco, she had a few of these muffins leftover in the kitchen and we happily downed them with mugs of steaming tea.  It’s like that old favorite carrot cake reduced down to a tidy little muffin.  Spicy and sweet, they make the kitchen smell delectable while they are baking.

CREAM CHEESE CARROT MUFFINS

Carrot layer:
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups grated carrots (2 0r 3 carrots)
1 cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (or cinnamon)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (0r pecans)

Stir together the sugar, oil, eggs and carrots,  Then add in the flour, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice and walnuts.  Spoon it all into standard cupcake tins lined with paper wrappers (makes 16)  Add the cream cheese layer before you bake.

Cream cheese layer:
8 oz. cream cheese
1/3 cup sugar
2 tab. flour
3/4 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup butter (4 tab.)

With an electric mixer blend the cream cheese and sugar.  Then mix in the flour, vanilla and butter.  Spoon this over the 16 unbaked carrot cupcakes.  Pop them in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes at 350 degrees until the topping just starts to brown a bit and the muffins are firm to the touch.

Thanks Ani for the tea and the recipe!

Crumbly Pumpkin Pecan Bars

Hi all– Pumpkin again.  It must be October.  And when you mix it up with cream cheese, better yet!  These are tender little nutty bars that sit just right with friends and a mug of tea on a cool fall afternoon.

CRUMBLY PUMPKIN PECAN BARS

Crust:
1 1/3 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 stick butter
2/3 cup pecans, chopped

Mix the flour and sugar.  Then cut in the butter with a pastry blender or food processor until it’s crumbly.  Reserve 2/3 cup of the crumb mixture for the topping and mix it with the pecans and set aside.  Take the rest of the flour/sugar/butter mixture and press it into a 7″x11″ pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Bake it in a 350 degree oven for just 15 minutes.

Filling:
3/4 cup sugar
8 oz. cream cheese
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
2 eggs
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (or cinnamon)
1 tsp. vanilla

With the mixer, beat the sugar and cream cheese until it’s smooth.  Then mix in the pumpkin, eggs, spice and vanilla.  Pour it over the top of the half baked crust and top with the reserved crumb pecan mixture.  Bake it in a 350 degree over for 30 to 35 minutes.

Lemon Tart


Got this yumscious recipe from my sister, Lulu.  She’s brought it to lots of family get togethers, so this week I finally made it on my own.  Sweet, tart and cold.  Lovely at the end of dinner on a warm summer evening.

LEMON TART
1 c. flour
1/4 c. powdered sugar
1/2 c. butter, softened

Place all of the ingredients into bowl. With an electric mixer, combine the flour, sugar and butter until crumbly and beginning to stick together. Place into a 10 inch tart pan and press into the bottom and up the sides. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until it starts to brown.

Filling:
1 c. sugar
3 tab. cornstarch
1 c. water
1/3 c. lemon juice
2 egg yolks
4 oz. Cream Cheese
2 tsp. grated lemon peel
1/2 c. whipping cream*

In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar and the cornstarch. Mix well. Stir in the water, lemon juice, and the egg yolks. Cook over medium heat until the mixture thickens and boils. Boil 1 minute. Heat the cream cheese in the microwave until smooth and creamy, about 30 seconds. Add the cream chese and the lemon peel to the lemon mixture, stirring until the cream cheese is completely mixed in and the mixture is smooth. Cool to room temperature.

In a large bowl, beat the whipping cream until soft peaks form.  Fold into the cooled lemon mixture. Spoon the filling into the cooled crust. Cover with plastic wrap and refigerate overnight or for 6 to 8 hours.

Dust with powdered sugar and garnish with lemon slices or berries.

* I add about 1 T. of cheesecake flavor instant pudding and 1 T. powdered sugar per 1 cup whipping cream to make the cream stable.

Brownie Pies

Hi baking buddies– This is just a smallish treat to tuck alongside your mug of tea.  One batch makes a whole lot of these, so you can share with friends…   We served them up at a baby shower with a few other small goodies last weekend.

BROWNIE PIE
1 large brownie mix (9×13 pan size)
canola oil
4 eggs
8 oz. cream cheese
1/3 cup sugar
2 tab. flour
3/4 tsp. vanilla
5 tab. butter
candy garnish

Make the brownies with 2 of the eggs, oil and water according to the directions on the box.  Spoon the brownie batter into mini muffin pans (use paper liners or spray the pans with Pam).  Fill them a smidge over half full.  Then beat up the cream cheese and sugar with a mixer.  Next, beat in the flour, vanilla, butter and remaining 2 eggs.   Spoon this mixture over the tops of the little brownies in the muffin pans.  Then bake it all up at 350 degrees 25 to 30 minutes until the brownies are firm.  When they cool, top them with a little candy garnish.  Makes about 30 of these little guys.

So there you go.  Hope you like them as much as I do…

(If you live in Orange County, like me, you can pick up the candy hearts at the Decor store in La Habra– or check the Sweet Factory for all kinds of pretty little things to pop on top)