Monday, August 18, 2014

The Last Days of Summer!!!

Welcome to Back-to-School! I keep asking myself where did the Summer go? There were so many plans for the Summer. Some were accomplished…some were not! It is amazing how quickly this time has slipped out of my hands. Guess I better make good use of what is left. 

While I have never been a huge fan of Summer, I do have to say this one was a great one. This season was filled with baseball games, town festivals, road trips and great memories with friends and family. There were also evening of live music, weddings and even some quiet nights. Luckily for me, this season isn't over just yet. I have a little more exploring to go. 

So while I venture out on my last few days of Summer…I will leave you with a great reminder of the season….Peach Crumb Bars. This recipe even surprised me. It was a great mix of Peach Pie and Crumb Bar using local Midwest Peaches. Hope you enjoy these few days left of the Season!



3 C Unbleached Flour
1 C Sugar
1 Tsp Baking Powder
¼ Tsp Salt
1 C Unsalted butter, softened
1 Egg, lightly beaten

7-8 Peaches, peeled and sliced
1 1/2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
1 C Sugar
¼ Tsp Salt
½ Tsp Cinnamon, ground
¼ Tsp Nutmeg, ground
½ C Unbleached Flour

2 Tbsp Crystal Sugar (Decorative)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a 9x13-inch baking pan.

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt for dough. Using a pastry blender, cut in the butter and add the egg until crumbly. Place half of the dough into the prepared pan and pat out. Place the pan in the refrigerator to chill.

Place sliced peaches in a large bowl and sprinkle with lemon juice. Fold gently. Add   sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and flour, stir until combined.  Spread the peach mixture evenly over the crust. Crumble remaining dough over the peach layer. Sprinkle with Crystal Sugar.

Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until the top is slightly brown. Cool completely before cutting into squares.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Chocolate….Sometimes All We Have Until Spring!!!

How has your Winter been? I love the season but this year, at least in the Midwest, I am soooo tired of snow! Let's not even get into the -40 degree weather…Spring, Where are You?

I want to be able to feel the Sun on my skin (without the windchill forcing me to run back inside). I am ready for road trips and running outside. I see photos of friends already having brunch outside and enjoying the warmth of the season and I hope to be there soon. So in the meantime I am entertaining myself with ideas and recipes (when I am not cleaning or doing laundry….can't someone be hired for the non-fun stuff?!). 

I hope your Winter has been far more enjoyable than mine or at least better entertainment. If not, maybe these Chocolate Blackout Cupcakes will help ease the pain until the next season arrives! Enjoy...

Chocolate Blackout Cupcakes
Adapted from Cookies and Cups


Chocolate Ganache Frosting
10 oz Bittersweet Chocolate
1 C Whipping Cream
1 Tsp Vanilla

8 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
2 Oz Bittersweet Chocolate, chopped
1/2 C Cocoa Powder
3/4 C Unbleached Flour
1/2 Tsp Baking Soda
3/4 Tsp Baking Powder
2 Eggs
2/3 C Sugar
2 Tsp Vanilla
1/2 Tsp Salt
1/2 C Sour Cream

Brownie Batter Filling
1/2 C Unsalted Butter, room temperature
1 C Brownie Mix, dry
1 1/2 C Powdered Sugar
2 Tbsp Whipping Cream

Brownie Pieces
Chocolate Curls


Chocolate Ganache Frosting
Pour chocolate into a heat-safe bowl.

In small saucepan heat the cream until right before boiling. Pour hot cream over chocolate and let sit for 3 minutes. Whisk the chocolate until it's completely melted with the cream. Add vanilla.  Allow to chill in refrigerator for 1 hour

Preheat oven to 350°

Combine butter, chocolate, and cocoa in double boiler over simmering water; Stir until mixture is melted and smooth and combined.  Allow to cool until warm to the touch.

Combine flour, baking soda, and baking powder in small bowl.

Place eggs in second bowl and whisk. Add sugar, vanilla, and salt until fully incorporated. Stir in cooled chocolate mixture until combined. Add a portion of flour mixture over chocolate mixture and stir until combined. Mix in sour cream until combined. Add remaining flour and combine until blended.

Divide the batter evenly among muffin pan cups. Bake until toothpick inserted into center of cupcakes comes out clean, about 18 minutes. Allow to cool completely.

Brownie Batter Filling
In bowl beat butter and brownie mix together until combined and smooth.
Slowly add in powdered sugar until combined. Add cream until incorporated.

Hollow out the cupcakes using a paring knife and fill them with the brownie batter filling. 

Place cooled ganache into bowl of stand mixer and beat until fluffy and smooth. Fill piping bag with chocolate ganache and pipe onto cupcakes.

Garnish cupcakes with brownie pieces and chocolate curls.