Strawberry Cream Cheese Pastry Ring 


This is one of those pastries that is actually realistic to make. You buy a couple cans of crescent rolls, a can of strawberry pie filling, and whip together a cream cheese filling… that’s it! You’ll have it in the oven in less than 10 minutes.

I love crescent roll pastries they’re simply delicious and you can beat how simple they are to put together. If you need something sweet for a summer afternoon tea or a quick weekend breakfast, whip this up and I promise you’ll be glad.

Here’s My Notes:

1)Honestly this recipe is so easy I don’t really have any notes, but I would say… I like eating this when it’s completely cooled. Give it a good 30 minutes to cool before serving.

Strawberry Cream Cheese Pastry Ring

Yields: approx. 8 servings

Ingredients

2 (8 ounce) tube crescent rolls

1 (21 ounce) can strawberry pie filling

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1 Tablespoon heavy cream

1 Tablespoon butter

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

1/4 cup sliced almonds, (you could toast them if you like)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Unroll the crescent dough and separate into triangles. Arrange the triangles on the prepared cookie sheet with the points of the triangles pointing towards the outside and the wide ends overlapping at the center. Press the overlapping dough to seal.

In a medium size mixing bowl beat the cream cheese and sugar together using a handheld mixer. Add in vanilla.

Spoon the strawberry pie filling over the crescents rolls, keeping it on the widest part. top it with the cream cheese filling. To bring the ring together fold the pointed ends over the filling, tucking it under. The filling with be visible.

Bake the pastry in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown; mine took 30 minutes. Allow to cool for about 20 minutes before glazing.

While pastry cools prepare your glaze by simple mixing the powdered sugar, cream, almond extract, and butter together in a small bowl with fork. Drizzle over the cooled pastry ring and sprinkle with almonds. Enjoy!

img_1651-6

Advertisements

Chocolate Kahlua Walnut Cake

I’ve been watching a few British baking shows lately. The techniques they use and flavor combinations,  I find so intriguing. One flavor combination that caught my attention was coffee and walnut. Which seems totally normal, but actually rather uncommon here in typical American baking.


This interesting combination inspired me to make this showstopper cake. I wanted the coffee flavor to be present in both the cake and the frosting & really be the focal point. The walnuts are lightly toasted and garnish the bottom half of the cake. They add the perfect crunch! Now let’s talk notes…

Here’s My Notes:

1)For the chocolate cake part of the recipe, I’m leaving that up to you. You can use a chocolate cake mix or use your favorite homemade chocolate cake recipe…. either will work fine. I used my own chocolate cake recipe and substituted the water for French pressed coffee. I wanted the coffee to be nice and strong, which is why I used the French press instead of normal drip brewed coffee. If you decide to use a cake mix, add a tablespoon of espresso powder to get a coffee flavor.

2)Another note about the cake, if you go the homemade route use a dark cocoa powder. It gives the cake a more deeper flavor.

3)The key to this frosting is the Kahlua. You simply will not get the same flavor if you don’t use it…highly, highly recommended.

4)I decorated my cake with some little chocolate covered shortbread cookies. They kinda reminded me of tea biscuits, the kind that you would have with your afternoon tea in England….. plus I just thought they were cute. You could totally just top yours with some dollops of buttercream or sprinkle with more walnuts.

Chocolate Kahlua Walnut Cake

Ingredients:

1 chocolate cake recipe, I suggest a recipe that makes three 9-inch layers

4 sticks salted butter, softened

5 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 ounces Kahlua Liquor

1 cup toasted walnuts, pulse in the food processor

shortbread cookies for garnish, optional

Directions:

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together butter and powdered sugar on medium speed until combined. Add in vanilla extract and Kahlua and beat frosting at high speed for 3-4 minutes or until super light and fluffy.

On a cake plate or cake board begin stacking your cake, place a some dollop of buttercream in the center your plate to help the cake stay in place. Lay one of your cake layers on top, spread a generous layer of buttercream over the top using a small offset spatula; continue with all the layers. Crumb coat the sides of the cake and place it in the fridge to chill before doing your final frost. After frosting the cake press the toasted walnuts into the sides of the cake. Finish decorating your cake however you like. I suggest cutting this cake with a good serrated knife. Enjoy!

img_5149

img_1651-8

Fresh Strawberry Cheesecake Pie

Whenever fresh strawberries are available at our local farm, my mind becomes filled with dessert ideas. My all time favorite is fresh strawberry pie.  I consider it to be a southern classic  pie! The kind of fresh strawberry pie you’ll find in your community church cookbook or your cousin brings to all the summer potlucks. But it’s just a staple, definitely a good recipe to have in your repertoire…… I never get tired of it. I’ve eaten many slices of fresh strawberry pie over the summers and it’s always something I look forward to around this time of year.


I wanted to change up my favorite summer pie just a little by adding a no-bake cheesecake layer, and  I probably ate about 3/4 of this pie on my own.

Here’s my Notes:

1)This pie needs time to chill in the fridge. I suggest making it the day before you plan on serving it. The jello needs to chill and the cheesecake layer will have time to really set up and get firm….it becomes so smooth & creamy 😋

2)I really suggest blind baking the pie crust. Just use some dry black eye beans, you don’t have to have those fancy pie weights…. it’s a extra step worth doing.

3)This recipe makes two deep dish pies.  I suggest you give the other pie away to a friend…they’ll love you.

Fresh Strawberry Cheesecake Pie

Yields:2 deep dish pies

Ingredients:

2 frozen deep dish pie shells

no-bake cheesecake layer-

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese {I love Philadelphia Cream Cheese, I honestly think it’s the best}

2 cups heavy whipping cream

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup sugar

1 cup powdered sugar

strawberry layer-

1 quart fresh strawberries, washed & halved

1 cup water

1 cup sugar

3 Tablespoons cornstarch

1 (3ounce) package strawberry jello

 Directions:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Blind bake the two frozen pie shells in preheated oven for 8-10 minutes. Allow to cool completely before continuing.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the cream cheese, powdered sugar, and sugar until smooth; transfer to another bowl. Using the stand mixer bowl again whip the whipping cream until stiff peaks. Add cream cheese mixture and vanilla; whip together until fully incorporated. Divide the cheesecake mixture evenly between the two pie shells.

In a medium saucepan stir together the water, 1 cup sugar, cornstarch, and jello with a whisk. Bring mixture to a boil, allow to cook for about 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and add the halved strawberries. Divide the strawberries evenly over the top of the cheesecake layer. Chill the pies for at least 6 hours before serving. Enjoy !

img_1651-8

Best French Toast. Ever.

Usually there are French toast people and then there are pancake people. If you happen to be strictly among the pancake lovers I have the recipe to change your mind.



When it comes to making good French toast there are two very important factors. The first is good bread, cinnamon-raisin in my book is the best. As the bread cooks, the filling gets all melty and gooey, it makes all the difference in the world. The second is the custard, I was told once that just plain French toast could be delicious without syrup. Shocking I know, but if you have a good egg mixture to soak your bread in, you won’t even need syrup. French toast is way simpler to whip up than pancakes. So this weekend you can enjoy a delicious, yet simple breakfast right from home.

Here’s my Notes:

1)Forget the egg whites, just egg yolks in this recipe. If you don’t have heavy cream you can use half & half instead.

2)Slice the bread in thick slices. If you cut them too thin it will just fall apart.

3)I’ve only made my French toast with homemade cinnamon-raisin bread, but store-bought is definitely fine. But if you decide to make some homemade bread it keeps great in the freezer. Just pull it out whenever you get the craving.

Best French Toast. Ever.

Yields: about 4 servings

Ingredients:

4 egg yolks

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup heavy cream

pinch of salt

1/4 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

4 thick slices of cinnamon raisin bread

syrup & powdered sugar, for toppings

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and place a cooling rack on a baking sheet and place in the oven.

In a shallow dish (like a pie dish) whisk together all the ingredients except for the bread 😝.

Over medium heat melt one Tablespoon of butter in a skillet. Place a slice of bread in the egg mixture and allow it to soak on each side for about 1 minute. I cook mine for about 6 minutes each side. Once the french toast is cooked, place it in the oven to keep warm. Continue with the remaining slices of bread. Serve the french toast with powdered sugar or syrup. Enjoy!

img_1651-6

{Super-Easy} Apple Turnovers

Who knew that your favorite bakery treat was so easy to make? Get ready…. this is the easiest pastry ever. period.

It had been a while since I had a apple turnover. Recently, I whipped up a batch one morning for a breakfast I did for my friends. I sat there wondering why I haven’t made them sooner. They come together in no time, and they simply are just delicious. I mean seriously, how can you go wrong with puff pastry and spiced apples?

Here’s My Notes:

1)It’s very important to place the assembled turnovers in the freezer before baking them. Freezing them keeps the pastry super cold, which insures that the pastries will puff up and hold their shape while baking.

2)Honestly, I don’t think the kind of apple you use really matters in this recipe. I usually have Golden Delicious or Red Delicious on hand.

3)When it comes to nutmeg, freshly grated nutmeg is the best, not the already ground nutmeg in the container. I suggest getting whole nutmeg and grating it. I usually just eyeball the amount.

{Super-Easy} Apple Turnovers

Yields: 6 turnovers

Ingredients:

For filling:

1 cups diced and peeled apples (about 2 medium apples)

2 Tablespoons brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

freshly grated nutmeg, about 1/8 teaspoon

pinch of salt

1 egg, beaten well

For icing:

1 Tablespoon powdered sugar

splash of heavy cream

1 Tablespoon butter, melted

1/4 teaspoon vanilla

1 package of store-bought puff pastry (I really like the Pepperidge Farm Brand)

Directions:

In a medium-sized bowl combine diced apples, sugar, salt, and spices.

Roll out the puff pastry onto a floured sureface. Using the scores already on the pastry as a guide, cut each sheet into 6 equal rectangles. Using a pastry brush, brush the beaten egg around the perimeter of each rectangle.

Assemble the pastries on a parchment paper lined sheet pan. In the center of 6 of the rectangles place about 1 1/2 Tablespoons – 2 Tablespoons of the apple mixture. Then top with a rectangle of pastry. Seal by pressing a fork down into the pastry all the way around. Brush the tops with the rest of the egg and make 4-5 slits using a sharp knife.

Pop the assembled turnovers in the freezer for about 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Once oven is preheated bake the turnovers for 30 minutes or until golden brown.

Prepare the icing while the turnovers are baking.  Simply whisk the icing ingredients together with a fork in a small bowl.

Allow the turnovers to cool slightly before icing them. Serve & Enjoy!

 

 

img_1651-8

Braided Nutella Bread 

What is better than warm homemade bread filled with Nutella?

Whenever I get an idea for a bread recipe I always start with my trusty challah bread recipe. It has a nice tender texture, but it’s also able to hold up to whatever I fill it with.
This time around I kept the filling super simple and classic.

IMG_0332

Here’s My Notes:

1)When making bread I always find it helpful to read the recipe throughly before beginning.

2)This bread is best eaten the day it’s baked, any leftovers should be stored well covered. This bread makes an amazing breakfast! I have a recipe coming soon for any leftover bread you may have. So be looking for part 2.

3)I love the ripples of Nutella throughout the bread. BUT don’t go over board with the filling. I don’t have measurements for the Nutella, just spread enough to cover the rolled out dough and that’s it. If you overfill the loaf it will ooze everywhere and cause a mess.

4)I find that the laundry room is a good place to rise dough. I place the bowl on the dryer and close the laundry room door.

 

Braided Nutella Bread

Yields: 1 large loaf

Ingredients: 

•2 teaspoons dry yeast

•1 cup warm water (around 108-112 degrees F.)

•4 – 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

•1/4 cup sugar

•2 teaspoons salt

•2 eggs

•1 egg yolk

•1/4 cup oil

•Nutella

Directions:

Prepare the yeast: In a two-cup measuring cup sprinkle the yeast over the warm water and add a pinch of sugar to help activate the yeast. Stir to dissolve the yeast and allow to stand for about 10 minutes or until you see a thin frothy layer over the top of the water.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the 4 cups flour, sugar, and salt. Making a well in the center of the flour add in the eggs, yolk, and oil. Pour in the yeast mixture and whisk to make a slurry. Switching to a wooden spoon mix until you form a shaggy dough.

Using a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, knead the dough on low for about 6-8 minutes. If the dough still seems very sticky add a little flour at a time, about one Tablespoon. The dough is finished kneading when it’s soft, smooth, and forms a ball.

Place the dough in a oiled bowl, covered with plastic wrap, and place in a warm place for about 1 1/2 – 2 hours or until doubled in size. Once the dough has risen, remove the dough from the bowl onto a well floured surface. Roll into a rectangle, about 3/4 of a inch thick. Then, spread a layer of Nutella over the rolled out dough.

Now, roll the dough up, starting with the side farthest away from you rolling the dough towards you. Next, cut completely down the center of the dough, end to end. Turn the sides up and carefully twist the dough….I start from the middle. Such the ends underneath the twisted loaf. Gently place the loaf on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicon mat. let the loaf rise for 1 hour.

Bake the loaf in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F. for 35-40 minutes or until the bread reaches an internal temperature pf 190 degrees F. and is golden brown.

You can enjoy this bread right out of the oven. I love to dust the top with powdered sugar. Enjoy!

 

 

♥More recipes using my favorite Challah Bread Recipe

 

Braided Orange & Almond Sweet Bread

 

img_0430

 

Apple Cinnamon Crunch Bread

img_0546

Honey Sweetened Iced Green Tea {Tazo Tea Copycat}

Out of all the iced tea recipes I’ve come up with….this is the favorite. I’ve made this tea several times for different occasions and every time it’s a huge hit. When I show up at get- togethers I’m always asked, “Did you make the TEA?”.

img_3545

This tea is a copycat for Tazo Iced Green Tea, which I bought on a total whim at a health food store for an afternoon lunch with a friend. We both fell absolutely in love with it and I knew immediately that I had to recreate it.

fullsizeoutput_2cc

Now that it’s summer, it’s the perfect refreshment to enjoy with friends. Go ahead and make a double patch, you’ll thank me later.

Here’s My Notes:

 1)The secret to this tea tasting like the real thing is using Tazo Zen  tea bags…. it’s infused with spearmint & lemongrass.

2)As I say in every iced tea recipe….iced tea tastes better after it has time to chill. Please, please chill it for at least 2 hours before you drink it 🙏.

3)I love my tea sweet, not lightly sweetened or a hint of sweet, so I add two cups of sweetener per gallon. I know that two cups of sugar may not be everyone’s cup of tea (😉) , so feel free to half the sugar.

4)After making this tea several times, I like the flavor of more honey. I use half honey, half sugar. Again, feel free to half the sugar or sweeten to your taste…to each his own.

 

Honey Sweetened Iced Green Tea

Yields: 1 gallon

Ingredients;

Tazo Zen tea bags

4 black tea bags, I use Red Rose tea

6 cups water

1 cup honey

1 cup sugar

lemon slices & fresh mint are nice garnishes

Directions:

In a medium sized saucepan bring the water and tea bags to just a boil; steep for about 15-20 minutes.

In a 1 gallon pitcher pour in honey and sugar, once the tea has steeped add it to the pitcher. Stir well to dissolve the sugar and place in the fridge to chill for a least 2 hours before serving. Garnish with slices of lemon and a handful of fresh mint.

Enjoy & Happy Summer !

 

fullsizeoutput_307

enjoying my iced green tea in my favorite cup

Chocolate Punch Bowl Dessert 

There is just something about creamy, layered desserts that people just can’t get enough of…


This dessert was inspired by my Aunt Sheree, who described to me a dessert she had just made for a church luncheon. (She informed me that cook & serve pudding is way better than just the instant.) I thought I would give her version a try, and served it at my church too. Well, I could barely get a picture before they devoured it. Layered desserts always seem to do well with crowds. They’re easy to make, but impressive to look at…..not to mention it’s delicious. I promise if you take this to a summer cook-out, it will be a huge hit!!

Here’s My Notes:

1)When you’re using cook & serve pudding make sure you use it right away. As the pudding cools, it will form a skin on the top— so layer immediately.

2)I decided to top my dessert with fresh strawberries, but mini Oreos would be cute too.

3)I crushed my oreo cookies in my food processor to crumbs. You can just crush them up in a plastic Zip-loc bag.

4)I wanted to put my dessert in a punch bowl, but they were all too big…so i just went with a trifle dish. But if you really want to feed a crowd you could easily double this recipe and serve it in a huge punch bowl.

5)This dessert is perfect to make in advance.

 

Chocolate Punch Bowl Dessert

Ingredients:

•1 (18.3 oz) package brownie mix

•1 (8 oz) package cream cheese

•1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

•1/2 cup sugar

•1 1/2 cups heavy cream

•1 teaspoon vanilla

•1 (3.4 oz) cook & serve chocolate pudding

•1 (14.3 oz) package oreo cookies (crushed)

🍓 Strawberries, halved 

Directions:

Prepare and bake the brownie mix according to the package directions; allow to cool completely before cutting into cubes.

In the bowl of a stand mixer cream together the cream cheese and sugars until smooth; transfer to another bowl. In the same stand mixer bowl whip the heavy cream and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add the cream cheese – sugar mixture to the whipped cream; beat together for about 5 minutes on high speed.

Prepare the cook & serve pudding according to package directions.

Assembly

It’s finally time to layer the chocolate masterpiece! Begin with a brownie layer… next, a generous layer of cream…then pudding… and finally crushed oreos. Continue this process til u fill the bowl. Chill for at least two hours before serving. I suggest making it the night before and chilling it overnight. I topped my dessert with halved strawberries, but garnish however you desire. Enjoy! 🍓

 

♥More summer desserts:

The Easiest Dessert Ever!

img_2786

Blueberry & Peach Cobbler with Bourbon Caramel Sauce

img_0359

img_1651-8

Easter Egg Nest Candy 

How can something so simple be so delicious and so addictive ?!


At Christmas time, haystack candy is often made and given out as gifts to family and friends. But if you’re like me…. you want to enjoy it year round.  Here is a way to make it springtime appropriate. How cute would it be to receive these in your Easter basket 🐣

Here’s My Notes:

1)When I was at the store getting my Chow Mein noodles there were two options: a 12 ounce bag of noodles & a 5 ounces can of noodles. Since this was my first time making this candy, I wasn’t sure which to get. Thanks to this kind lady behind me in the check-out line for informing me that it doesn’t matter which one to use…..they’re the same. I used the can because it was already weighed out. 

2) You can use whatever egg shaped candy you like.  I used Peanut Butter M&M’s candy.

🌷 Easter Egg Nest Candy 🌷

Yields: 10 nest candies

Ingredients:

1 (12oz.) package butterscotch chips

1 (5oz.) can Chow Mein noodles

Egg shaped candy, such as M&M’s

Directions:

In a large glass bowl melt the butterscotch chips in the microwave, it took about two minutes to completely melt. Add the Chow Mein noodles to the bowl of melted butterscotch chips and stir to completely coat the noodles. Scoop out the candy onto parchment paper to form little monds. Press a few eggs in the center to create a little nest. Allow the candy to harden completely. Enjoy !

  French Patisserie Inspired Chocolate Chip Cookies 

I seriously have no idea if there are chocolate chips cookies in a French Patisserie….  If they are….these would be in it.


As soon as I saw these cookies my immediate thought was that they should be in a cute French sweets shop. There is something so elegant about this ultra flat cookie with it’s crinkly edges and specks of dark chocolate.

Another thing about these cookies that caught my attention was the actual recipe. After 10 minutes of baking you take the tray of cookies and drop them against the oven rack. This creates crinkle edges and a completely flat cookie.


I know this is a bold statement but these are the absolute best cookies I’ve ever had. They’re crispy and thin but still some how chewy. Another bonus is that they taste equally as good the next day.

Here’s My Notes:

1)You must freeze these cookies for 15 minutes before baking. They will spread way too much if you don’t. I know it’s a extra step but it’s well worth it.

2)Even if you’re a fan of thick, soft cookies I still recommend making these….they’re life changing.

3)Because these cookies spread a lot, I only put four on each baking tray.

4) I weighed my dough on a scale, 3 1/2 ounces of dough per cookie. If you don’t have a scale you can just measure out a 1/3 cup of dough per cookie.

5)Lining the pans with foil is important, this helps to create the crinkles and an extra-crisp, golden brown bottom.

French Patisserie Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yields: 12 (4-inch) cookies

Ingredients:

•1 cup (two sticks) butter, softened

•1 1/2 cups sugar

•1/4 cup brown sugar

•1 egg

•2 Tablespoons water

•2 teaspoons vanilla

•2 cups all-purpose flour

•1/2 teaspoon baking soda

•1/4 teaspoon salt

•6 ounces dark chocolate chopped

•Sea Salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line three cookie sheets with foil, dull side up.

Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment cream together the butter and sugars on medium speed for about 3-4 minutes until light and fluffy.  Add the egg, vanilla, and water; mix  on low until combined. Mix in the flour, baking soda, and salt. Fold in chopped chocolate.

Form 3 1/2 ounce balls of dough and place four balls of dough on each baking sheet and freeze for 15 minutes before baking.

Place the chilled baking sheet in the preheated oven and bake for ten minutes. After ten minutes of baking, lift the the baking sheet up about 4″ and let it drop down against the oven rack; repeat this step every two minutes (I dropped my cookies three times). Bake the cookies for a total of 18 minutes. Look for golden brown edges and a light center that’s not fully cooked. Let the cookies cool for about 5 minutes before removing them from the pan. Enjoy !