……………………………………………………. Baking our mark

Summer Fruit Crumble Bars July 21, 2012

It’s not 100 degrees any more. Which means I want to make something that isn’t an enormous green salad.

And I might have bought blueberries because they were on sale and I was making smoothies anyways. And then I might have gotten home and realized that I had SIX PINTS OF BLUEBERRIES but only two people to feed.

So, I made an incredible, simple dessert.



Fresh Fruit Crumble Bars (adapted from a few places)

1 cup white sugar
3 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 stick cold butter
1/2 cup Crisco
1 egg
Zest and juice of one lemon
1/2 cup sugar
4 tsp. cornstarch
4 cups fresh fruit (I did mostly blueberries, with some sliced strawberries and peaches in as well)

Stir together first three ingredients, then stir in the salt and lemon zest. Then blend in the egg, butter and Crisco using a fork or pastry cutter to create a crumbly dough. Take half of this mixture, and pat it down into a greased 9×12 baking dish to form a crust.

In a separate bowl, blend lemon juice, 1/2 cup sugar sugar and cornstarch. Add the fruit and gently toss to coat. Spread the fruit evenly over the crust, then crumble the remaining crust mixture over the fruit. Make sure this “crumble” portion is spread out evenly.

Bake in a 375 degree oven for about an hour, or until top begins to brown. Before cutting into squares and serving, let this cool completely so the juices from the baked fruit stay in the crumble instead of escaping.

If you want to warm it up and serve it with some vanilla ice cream for dessert (or just toast it for breakfast), go right ahead.


Recipe Flash: Frozen Banana Bites June 21, 2012

It’s day number two of nearly 100 degree weather in Philly.  I think this is the worst thing in the world.

Even the flowers don’t like it.

And, with the clarity of a corporate blackberry camera and the photojournalism skills of a writer, I give you a heat tour of my walk from work to home in Philly.

Everyone’s using the fountain as a pool

But no one’s in the park, which is usually overflowing with small children

Which means that no one wants to cook. Or eat anything other than ice for that matter.

The home-made solution to this predicament?

Frozen banana bites

Frozen Banana Bites (idea stolen from BA)

Basically, melt some chocolate with a little bit of oil. (Ratio:  1 cup chocolate to 1 Tbs. vegetable oil)

Dunk in a slice of banana and coat it. Fish it out with a fork and let some of the excess fall off.

Then, roll it around in something that goes well with chocolate and banana (i.e., coconut, oreos, peanuts, skor bits, etc. ).

Put the completed slices onto some parchment paper, then pop them in the freezer for a few hours. (Put them in a sealed container after you’ve frozen them if you intend to store them in the freezer for any length of time.)

…you’ll need more than two…

They taste like summer, but are lovely and cold. Can’t think of anything better for dinner tonight.


Who needs camping? Indoor banana boat alternatives March 13, 2012

Growing up, I was obsessed with camping. Not so much the hike-until-you-drop side of things – more the recreating-your-house-in-nature side. My father sadly recalls the day he realized that my sister and I would have had just as much fun in a tent in the backyard as we did in places like Arches.

Today, still growing up, I am mostly just obsessed with trying to create an actual home for myself and actually be (not just pretend to be) a real adult. Plus, a lack of camping gear makes it difficult to march into the great outdoors for a weekend of unshowered fun. But, that doesn’t stop me from craving a little camping food now and again.

And so – I present to you with utmost deliciousness….indoor alternatives to banana boats. (In case you are a camping-deprived person or if your parents insisted you only eat healthy things, a banana boat is a dessert that involves partly peeling a banana, slicing it lengthwise, then filling it up with chocolate chips and marshmallows. Then you wrap the whole thing in tinfoil and put it in the embers of a campfire until it turns into a sticky, melty, delicious mess.)

These options, banana chocolate chip cookies and a banana s’more sandwich, are not so messy. But with all that chocolate and banana and sweetness, they come pretty close to fixing a craving for the real deal.

Banana-Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookies from Martha

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
3/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 or 2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup mashed ripe banana (preferably bordering on black)
1 cup old-fashioned oats
8 oz chocolate chips or chocolate chunks
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

Preheat oven to 375. Blend dry ingredients first and set aside. In an electric mixer, blend sugars and butter. Then, on a lower speed, blend in the egg and vanilla. Then add the banana. Slowly add in the flour mixture until everything is just combined. Stir in the oats, walnuts and chocolate.

Place scooped out cookie dough balls onto a greased cookie sheet (or use parchment or silpat) – the dough will be sticky. Bake for 12-15 minutes, rotating the rack position half way through. Let cookies cool on baking sheets for 3-5 minutes before letting them cool completely on wire racks.

Banana S’more Sandwich

Yeah, it’s not complicated, but you should still take this idea and run with it. 🙂
Spread some marshmallow fluff on some bread, then put some banana slices and chocolate chips on top. With the sandwich open on both sides, put under the broiler so everything starts to melt. When things are appropriately toasty, you can put the top on the sandwich and munch away.

Yes, both of these are acceptable breakfast foods because they have fruit in them.


Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies December 31, 2011

For my last Christmas in Massachusetts, I took a bunch of time off of work and cooked until we all got bored. Thanks to my mom’s fully stocked kitchen, I whipped up a gourmet dinner with frozen tortellinis, tried some new Trader Joe’s sides, and created a disaster of a steak roulade.

(…I will not talk about how, during this lovely time, my freezer at home in Philly was left open, and I lost a pound of carnitas meat, broth, and homemade pretzel-crusted chicken fingers, among other things…because I will have to remake the delicious things and blog about them later…)

For our most fun time in the kitchen, I teamed up with the girls in my family to make some of the most delicious kinds cookies we could think of. (Peanut butter fudge brownies made the cut, if that gives you any indication. And we whipped up some incredible shortbread cookies that I’ll write about later.)

Perhaps our most inventive creations were Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies, adapted from How Sweet It Is after we enjoyed the original recipe so much. These are spicier and, because of the added flavor, a little less overwhelmingly sugary. If I had marshmallow fluff in my house now, I’d whip these up and gain 5 lbs immediately.

Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies

Makes approximately 24 cookies

1 cup butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 to 2 tsp cinnamon (for Mexican hot chocolate cookies)
½ to 1 tsp chili powder (for Mexican hot chocolate cookies
1/4 cup marshmallow fluff
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup mini marshmallows

Preheat oven to 350.

Cream butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla until fluffy. Add flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and chili powder, and mix until combined. Stir in marshmallow fluff.

Fold in chocolate chips and marshmallows. Cover dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Remove, and scoop into 1 1/2-inch balls. (It’s easiest if you can bake these on Silpat.)

Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes. Make sure cookies are fully cooked, because they will be very sticky from the marshmallows. Allow cookies to cool completely, even sticking them in the fridge for 15 minutes before removing from the baking sheet with a spatula. Be patient and gently remove cookies – let sit another 30 minutes. (Silpat will shorten this process, so use that.)


Cupcake Fondue Party October 23, 2011

Filed under: Dessert — krandle @ 12:29 pm
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I’m pretty certain that any girl who reads food blogs has wanted to have a cupcake fondue party. Courtesy of several sources, and many re-linkings, it’s probably impossible to have looked up cupcakes or party ideas or girly baking recipes on blogs and missed all the fun that everyone else is having.

I am not immune from adorable ideas, or excuses to have parties. So, my friend and I finally threw one.

With six kinds of cupcakes. Lemon, coconut, Mounds (i.e., coconut with chocolate), chocolate amaretto, peanut butter-filled chocolate, and pumpkin. By the way, you need 24 of these if you don’t already have them.

And, yes, it was every bit as adorable as it should have been. Especially because she got fall sprinkles (from Target, in case you’re looking). And maybe it was also cute because we made cake batter martinis….with cake vodka.



Fall Potluck: Baked Apple Sundaes October 2, 2011

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it before, but I have really wonderful friends. Earlier this year, they willingly rated all the dishes at my mac and cheese tasting party. They took pounds of squash off my hands when the squash plant was getting out of control. And they humor my constant desire to be at Tria drinking wine and eating cheese.

This fall was no different. I wanted to have a get together, but didn’t have time to have a dinner party – so they all pitched in for our autumn-themed potluck. Get ready to be jealous of our menu:

Cornbread, made in a skillet that’s been in the family for four generations
Chili, made with the unbelievably delicious DiPaola turkey sausage
Butternut squash gnocchi with sage butter sauce
Roast lamb
Beet and orange salad with hazelnuts
Spinach salad with almonds and cranberries
Ginger carrot soup
Pecan pie

Everything was as wonderful as it sounds. Pretty darn awesome party, I must say.

We also had baked apple sundaes, which are so delicious that you should probably make some right now.

Baked Apple Sundae

Take 1 apple, such as a honey crisp (pick an apple you actually want to eat here, not just a pie apple), per person or per couple, depending on how hungry you are. Using a knife and a spoon (a grapefruit spoon would be perfect here), core the apple, being careful not to pierce the bottom. You should be left with a 1-in. hole in the top, and no core.

Sprinkle the inside with some cinnamon and brown sugar. Adding butter is a nice touch if you’re just making a baked apple, but it’s not necessary in a sundae. Bake the apples inside a glass baking dish at 350 for 40 to 50 minutes. You do not need to grease the pan or add water, as some recipes suggest.

When the apples are done, they will be incredibly warm and soft enough to cut with a spoon, but will still be a little crisp and will maintain their shape.

At this point, using a cookie scoop, scoop vanilla frozen yogurt, or vanilla ice cream, into the apples. B.A. recommended Stonyfield organic…and it was really good, I have to say. Drizzle with caramel (yes, you can make your own, but the smuckers butterscotch caramel ice cream topping is just as delicious).

Easy, and pretty healthy (for a fall dessert, especially).

1 indulgent serving: 263 Calories, 0.4 g fat (no trans fat), 5.8 g fiber


S’more Pops August 20, 2011

Tiny desserts? Covered in chocolate? On a stick? Done and done.

Saw these ideas for s’mores pops on another blog, but had to do them myself so I could use MINI marshmallows. (The chocolate-to-marshmallow ratio is just right here.)

S’mores Pops

Mini marshmallows
Melted chocolate
Graham cracker crumbs
and (per my sister’s insight)
Melted peanut butter

Throw some mini-marshmallows on little toothpicks, then dip in melted chocolate. (To make them super delicious, dip half in chocolate, half in peanut butter.) Then, roll in the crushed graham cracker crumbs. To let them dry, put them in a cooling rack so the chocolate dries.