Tiramisu Cupcakes

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When I asked our three February birthday people at the office what they’d like for the monthly party, two deferred to the third, who responded “anything chocolate or coffee/chocolate.” That sent me in search of recipes and I settled on King Arthur Flour’s Tiramisu Cupcakes, plus a couple other coffee/chocolate treats, but the cupcakes were the stars.

Who doesn’t like a boozy dessert? Tiramisu, but in the form of a cupcake—a very vanilla cupcake, with a Kahlua espresso soak and a creamy amaretto mascarpone frosting dusted with cocoa. Yes, please! Homemade tiramisu without the need to hunt down a decent package of lady fingers (or figure out how to make your own!).

The recipe reviews are what sealed it for me—they were all great. And they were right. These are a special cupcake. Unique with the “soak” that provides that boozy bite in the middle of a really vanilla cake, and the frosting—oh, the frosting! A not-too-sweet, whipped cream-mascarpone cheese mixture spiked with amaretto (almond liqueur). Wow!

The original frosting recipe called for Instant Clear Jel, which, conveniently, you can order from King Arthur Flour. It’s actually modified food starch, which is chemically processed and not something I want in my food, so I used less processed corn starch. It still keeps the frosting, which contains a lot of whipped cream, from deflating. Arrowroot powder might work as well, but I didn’t want to chance it. Next time I make these at home, I’ll try it and will update the recipe if results are good.

Don’t skimp on the soak. After making a smaller test batch, I told myself to use more of the soak mixture. When I made the larger, “for real” batch, I thought I had used more of the soaking liquid (brushed each cupcake many, many times), and I was worried it was too much liquid (afraid they’d be soggy), but the cupcakes could have used even more of it, so be generous.

Keep in mind that because the alcohol in both the soak and the frosting isn’t cooked off, these should be adults only cupcakes. And all the adults at the office birthday party gave them rave reviews. Enjoy!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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Tiramisu Cupcakes

Slightly adapted from King Arthur Flour

Cupcakes
1 3/4 cups sugar

3/4 cup butter, room temperature

3 large eggs, room temperature

3 tablespoons vanilla extract

2 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup whole milk

Soak
3 tablespoons coffee liqueur, such as Kahlua

2 tablespoons espresso powder

3 tablespoons sugar

3/4 cup hot water

Frosting
2 cups heavy cream

4 teaspoons corn starch 2/3 cup powdered sugar

1/2 cup amaretto liqueur

1 cup mascarpone cheese, room temperature

Garnish
Unsweetened cocoa powder, to dust tops of frosted cupcakes.

To make the cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large mixing bowl, beat together the sugar and butter until light and fluffy. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

Alternate adding the flour mixture and milk into the butter mixture, starting and ending with the flour mixture. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix again, to be sure everything is incorporated.

Scoop the batter into paper-lined cupcake pans. Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until the cake springs back when lightly touched.

Remove the cupcakes from the oven and place the pans on a rack for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, turn the cupcakes out and return them to rack to cool completely.

To make the soak: Mix the espresso powder, liqueur, and sugar into the hot water.

Using a fork, poke the tops of each cupcake two or three times. Sprinkle or brush a small amount of the soak over each cupcake, and allow it to soak in. Repeat until virtually all the liquid is used.

To make the frosting: Beat the whipping cream until medium peaks form.

Whisk together the powdered sugar and corn starch and slowly add to the whipped cream, along with the amaretto.

Gently and briefly whisk in the mascarpone cheese by hand until the frosting is thick and creamy (this shouldn’t take more than 4 or 5 passes with the whisk); more than that and the frosting will get grainy.

Pipe the frosting over the cupcakes, then dust with cocoa. Keep refrigerated. I think the cupcakes taste best if they are removed from the fridge about 1/2 hour before serving.

Yield: 18-24 cupcakes (I got 18, but the original recipe said 24).

Mom’s Baklava

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Way back when I was in high school, my mom made a mysterious dessert with a funny name that was unlike anything that had ever graced our kitchen . Dessert nirvana I tell you. But wait, it was full of walnuts, how could that be? I don’t like walnuts; at least not the big chunks found in brownies, fudge or cookies. Odd how you can dislike something when it’s one size, but fall in love when it’s chopped finely, mixed with cinnamon and sugar, suspended between butter-soaked, paper thin layers of pastry, and infused with golden honey. Swoon.

Yes, that dessert totally foreign to my adolescent self was baklava. Mom was so ahead of her time—making baklava in Fargo, North Dakota at a time when a Norwegian or Swedish treat was as exotic as they came. She doesn’t remember where she got the recipe, but I’m glad she did. It’s the best baklava I’ve ever tasted—no other version I’ve had has even come close over the years. Maybe it’s sentiment, but I doubt it; Mom’s baklava is just the best!

If you haven’t worked with phyllo (or filo) dough before, don’t be intimidated. It takes a little patience and diligently keeping the sheets of dough covered with a damp tea towel while you work with one sheet at a time, but it’s not difficult. Have everything ready and prepped before you open the package of thawed phyllo and you’ll breeze through this.
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A bonus as desserts go, baklava has the super food factor with walnuts and cinnamon involved. It keeps unrefrigerated for about 5 days and I imagine it would freeze well. If you’re truly walnut averse (no matter how finely they’re chopped), almonds, pistachios or a combination of the two would work too. Enjoy!

Mom's Baklava

We’ve been making this recipe for decades and I have no idea of the source, so let’s just credit my mom, Annette, the best mom ever!

1 lb. (16 oz.) walnuts

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 pound phyllo dough, thawed

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted

12 oz. honey

Butter a 9×13″ baking dish and set aside.

Place walnuts, sugar and cinnamon in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until walnuts are finely chopped. Alternately, finely chop walnuts and mix with sugar and cinnamon in a large bowl.

Trim phyllo to fit baking dish (mine just needed about an inch trimmed from the short end).

In the prepared baking dish, place 1 sheet of phyllo; brush lightly with melted butter. Repeat to make five more layers of phyllo; sprinkle with one cup of walnut mixture.

Place one sheet of phyllo in baking dish over walnut mixture; brush with butter. Repeat to make six layers. Sprinkle one cup walnut mixture over phyllo. Repeat layering two more times.

Over final sprinkling of walnut mixture, place a sheet of phyllo and brush with butter. Repeat to make six layers.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

With a sharp knife, cut layers just halfway through, in strips about 1 1/2″ inch wide the long way. Then cut halfway through on the diagonal, to make diamond shapes.

Bake 1 hour and 25 minutes or until top is golden brown.

Shortly before removing pan from oven, in a medium saucepan, heat honey until hot, but not boiling. After removing baklava from the oven, spoon hot honey over it evenly. Cool in pan on wire rack at least 1 hour. Cover and leave at room temperature until serving.

To serve: With sharp knife, finish cutting through the layers. Transfer to a platter (can place each piece of baklava in a cupcake paper to make things a little neater). Makes about 24 servings.

Note: Keep phyllo dough under a damp, clean tea towel to prevent drying as you work with it.

 

 

Cranberry Lime White Chocolate Tart

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In a serendipitous turn of events, I’m posting a Valentine’s Day dessert recipe an entire month early. But by no means should this delightfully refreshing tart be reserved for the February holiday—it’s appropriate any time.

This all started when a co-worker with a January birthday shared her preference for office birthday party treats as either “a chocolate peanut butter combination or something with fruit.” I debated making a decadent peanut butter cup cheesecake, but for a mid-morning party, that might be a little too rich. Then a recipe made years ago came to mind—a somewhat light tart with fruit in two forms, fresh lime curd and cranberries. Plus almonds are in the crust, so with the incorporation of cranberries, this should qualify as super food, am I right!?!

Decision made, and completely certain I owned the called for 11-inch tart pan with removable bottom (after all, I’ve made this before!), my search for it began. Even though it’s been almost 8 years since I last moved, there are a few things still in boxes and it had to be there if not in my kitchen. After digging through boxes several times with no luck, and not enough time to order one (even with Amazon Prime!), I had to go with my closest option, a heart-shaped pan with removable bottom. Thus, a Valentine’s Day dessert.
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With the heart shape holding less than a round, I knew I would have extra of everything, so I made a cute little round version of the tart for Pete—because he’s such a sweetheart!
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If you don’t have the 11-inch tart pan with removable bottom (the removable bottom is necessary to show off the sides of that pretty fluted crust), you can use a similar sized tart pan with regular bottom or improvise like I did and use a different shaped pan, but keep in mind you may need to adjust the amount of everything you put in that pan. I tried figuring out how to calculate the area of a heart so I could determine the ratio to the area of the 11” pan and that looked like too much work for me, but go for it if you’re so inclined!

The tart is quite a versatile dessert—you could play with the curd, making lemon instead of lime, or this time of year, be adventurous and go with blood orange, but then I’d cut the sugar to 1/3 to 1/2 cup. If you’re not big on cranberries, pick a different fruit that pairs well with the curd you opt for. Blueberries would be great with a lemon curd, raspberries or mango would suit the blood orange, etc. I love desserts you can tweak depending on preference or season.

Please note this is a recipe you’ll need to start a couple days before serving, but with a fairly small amount of hands on time. Most of the time involves chilling or cooling, so just plan a bit in advance. And this doesn’t have a rolled crust, you just press it over the bottom and up the sides of the pan—it’s so easy! Enjoy!
Slice

Cranberry Lime White Chocolate Tart

Adapted from this Bon Appetite recipe
Begin preparing the tart two days before you plan to serve it

Lime curd
1/2 cup fresh squeezed lime juice

1/2 teaspoon arrowroot or cornstarch

3/4 cup sugar

6 large egg yolks

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces

2 1/2 teaspoons grated lime zest

Crust
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1/3 cup whole almonds, toasted, cooled

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cranberry Topping
1/4 cup water

1 1/2 teaspoons arrowroot or cornstarch

2/3 cup sugar

3 tablespoons honey

One 12-ounce bag (3 cups) fresh cranberries or frozen, partially thawed


White Chocolate Cream

5 ounces white chocolate, chopped

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sour cream

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Garnish
White chocolate curls

For crust: Finely grind flour, sugar, almonds, and salt in processor. Add butter and vanilla; cut in, using on/off turns, until mixture just forms soft moist clumps. Gather dough into ball; flatten into a disk. Wrap in plastic. Refrigerate 1 hour. Press dough onto bottom and up sides of 11-inch-diameter tart pan with removable bottom. Using thumb, press dough up sides to extend 1/8 inch above rim of pan. Freeze crust 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake crust until golden brown, pressing with back of spoon if crust bubbles, about 25 minutes. Transfer to rack and cool completely.

For lime curd: Whisk lime juice and cornstarch in heavy medium saucepan. Whisk in sugar and yolks, then add butter. Whisk constantly over medium heat until mixture simmers and thickens, about 8 minutes. Strain into small bowl. Mix in lime zest. Cover; chill overnight.

For cranberry topping: Whisk 1/4 cup water and cornstarch in heavy large saucepan to blend. Add sugar and honey. Stir over medium-high heat until mixture comes to boil. Add cranberries; cook until mixture boils and berries just begin to pop but still maintain shape, occasionally stirring gently, about 4-5 minutes. Cool completely (mixture will thicken).

For white chocolate cream: Stir chocolate in top of double boiler over simmering water until melted and smooth. Remove from over water; whisk in sour cream and vanilla. Cool completely.

To assemble: Spread white chocolate cream into crust; freeze 15 minutes. Spoon curd over; spread evenly. Spoon cooled cranberry topping by tablespoonsful over, then spread carefully to cover completely. Cover and chill overnight. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Keep refrigerated.)

Carefully remove pan sides; transfer tart to a platter. Sprinkle white chocolate curls around edge of tart.

Grandma LaPalm’s Half Moon Cookies

Cookies and Milk
Half Moon Cookies take me back to my childhood; warm memories of visiting my grandma in upstate New York come flooding back. Grandma LaPalm lived in a beautiful house full of antiques and very big rooms (at least they seemed big back then) in a pre-World War II neighborhood that even had an old-fashioned corner store across the street. The house had such charm—a huge front porch, claw-foot bathtub, crystal candy dish on top of the console TV, a den full of wooden toys built by my grandpa, and a mudroom illuminated by a still-burning Edison bulb original to the house.

Frosted Half Moon Cookies

Frosted Half Moon Cookies

Meals at Grandma’s were always at the big round table in her cheery eat-in kitchen, never in the fancy formal dining room, which was just fine with my kid self. Next to the table was a hutch with canisters holding sweet treats, and more often than not, one of those canisters was filled with Half Moon Cookies. Big cakey cookies with half chocolate frosting and half vanilla; which side to eat first was always such a decision!

I’m not sure what made me want to bake up batch recently. Maybe the cooler weather gave me a hankering for something warm and comforting, like a visit to Grandma’s house. Enjoy!

Half Moon Cookies

Half Moon Cookies

Grandma LaPalm's Half Moon Cookies

  • Servings: 2 1/2-3 dozen cookies
  • Print
¾ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 ¼ cups sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup sour milk (1 tablespoon vinegar with milk added to make one cup; let sit 5 minutes)

Chocolate and vanilla frosting, recipe follows

In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large bowl with hand-held mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla.

In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Alternately mix flour mixture and milk into butter-sugar-egg mixture, a third at a time, mixing well after each addition. When fully mixed, cover bowl and chill for at least two hours and up to 12 hours.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line two large baking pans with parchment. Using a medium cookie dough scoop (mine is size 30), drop scoops of dough about 2-3 inches apart on prepared pans. Bake for 9-10 minutes, rotating pans halfway through cooking, to bake evenly. Remove cookies to rack to cool.

While cookies are cooling, make frosting:

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 2/3 cups powdered sugar

1/3 cup, plus 1 tablespoon, milk, divided

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

In a medium bowl, using a hand mixer, beat the butter until fluffy. Mix in the 1/3 cup milk and vanilla alternately with the powdered sugar until all is incorporated and frosting is smooth and creamy.

Removed about half of the frosting to another medium bowl. Beat in cocoa powder and an additional tablespoon milk.

Frost cookies on the flat bottom side, not the domed top side. Frost one half of each cookie with vanilla frosting. Frost the other half with chocolate, using a thicker swath with the chocolate.

Let cookies sit at room temperature until frosting is set. Cookies keep for several days if covered (or in Grandma’s cookie canister!). Makes 2 ½ to 3 dozen cookies.

Homemade Dairy Queen Ice-Cream Cake

Cut cake
The August birthdays at my office are my boss Laurie’s and mine. There used to be a couple more, but as people have left and been replaced, we’re the only two (and now the year is nicely rounded out with at least one birthday each month).

As the office birthday party coordinator, I asked Laurie what she’d like for the celebration. She suggested I decide. Oh, the pressure! I hate making that kind of decision—the other birthday people are supposed to decide. But in years past, Laurie has several times requested Dairy Queen Ice-Cream Cake, so with my new found no-churn ice-cream making ability, maybe I could make a homemade version? Yeah, that’s the ticket!

There were several copycat versions out there, and I ended up adapting one from Browned Eyed Baker, whose recipes I’ve had success with before. My ice-cream, hot fudge sauce and whipped cream frosting are all homemade, but I drew the line at making homemade Oreos. That’s like trying to make your own Coca-Cola—it’s can’t be done.
Fudge Jar

Vanilla Ice-Cream

Vanilla Ice-Cream

The recipe may seem putzy and you do have to make it over the course of a couple days, but the actual hands-on time isn’t that bad—less than an hour total, so as long as you plan ahead, it’s no big deal.

One thing that bears mentioning, especially since my blog usually contains recipes that lean more toward the healthy side, this isn’t a dessert you should have often. It’s delicious and exponentially better than the Dairy Queen version that contains some not so natural flavors and ingredients, but it’s very rich and high in saturated fat, and best reserved for truly special occasions—like office or kids (both the young and old variety) birthdays and other events that merit a huge splurge.

Cake made of ice-cream!

Cake made of ice-cream!

The adult “kids” at this birthday party loved the ice-cream cake and all proclaimed it wonderful and much better than the one from that franchised shop down the street. Yay—success! I know you’ll feel the same when you indulge. Enjoy!

B-Day Cake

B-Day Cake

Slice 'o cake

Slice ‘o cake

Homemade Dairy Queen Ice-Cream Cake

Overall recipe adapted from this copycat Homemade Dairy Queen Ice-Cream Cake on Brown-Eyed Baker; Hot Fudge Sauce is also from Brown-Eyed Baker. Ice-cream recipes adapted from this previous blog post and Sally’s Baking Addiction.

Chocolate ice-cream layer:
2 cups heavy cream

1 14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

Hot Fudge Sauce/Oreo Cookie layer:
2/3 cup heavy cream

½ cup light corn syrup

1/3 cup dark brown sugar

¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

¼ teaspoon sea salt

6 ounces bittersweet (NOT semi-sweet) chocolate, chopped, divided in half

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

24 Oreo cookies, crushed (place in large plastic zip lock bag and crush with a rolling pin)

Vanilla ice-cream layer:
2 cups heavy cream

1 14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Whipped cream frosting layer:
2 cups heavy cream

4 teaspoons sugar

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Optional: Sprinkles or other cake decorations

Lightly butter sides and bottom of a 10-inch spring-form pan. Place a circle of parchment paper on the bottom of the pan and lightly butter it. Set pan aside.

Chocolate ice-cream layer: Place bowl and whisk of your stand or hand mixer in the freezer for 15-30 minutes. Remove from freezer and add cream, sweetened condensed milk, vanilla and cocoa powder. Whisk on low until cocoa is mixed in (so powder won’t fly all over). Increase mixer speed to medium high and beat until good and thick, about 4-5 minutes. Pour ice-cream into prepared pan. Cover and freeze overnight.

Hot fudge sauce/Oreo layer: In a 2-quart saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the cream, syrup, brown sugar, cocoa powder, salt and half of the chocolate to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low or low (enough to maintain a low simmer), and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove from the heat and whisk in the remaining chocolate, the butter, and the vanilla extract, until smooth. Let cool for 20 to 30 minutes before using (it will thicken as it cools).

Mix crushed Oreos into the sauce until well combined. Spread over the chocolate ice-cream layer and return to freezer for a couple hours.

Vanilla ice-cream layer: Place bowl and whisk of your stand or hand mixer in the freezer for 15-30 minutes. Remove from freezer and add cream, sweetened condensed milk, and vanilla. Beat on medium high until good and thick, about 4-5 minutes. Pour ice-cream over fudge-Oreo layer. Cover and freeze overnight.

Before you prepare the frosting, unmold the cake. To release the cake from the pan, invert the cake onto a plate or cardboard round the same size and wrap a hot kitchen towel around the cake pan, keeping it there for 30 seconds, or until the cake loosens, unlatch pan release, and slide the pan off. Remove the bottom of pan and parchment. Top with a serving platter and turn the cake right side up. Return to the freezer for at about 30 minutes.

Whipped cream frosting: Place bowl and whisk of your stand or hand mixer in the freezer for 15-30 minutes. Remove from freezer and add cream, sugar, and vanilla. Beat on medium high until fairly stiff peaks form, about 3 minutes.

Reserving 2 cups of frosting; spread the remaining whipped cream on the top and sides of the cake, working quickly so that the ice cream doesn’t melt. (If the cake gets soft, just pop it back into the freezer for 5 or 10 minutes.) With the remaining frosting in a pastry bag with a Wilton #21 decorating tip, pipe a shell border around the top and bottom of the cake (my cake was pretty much the same size as the platter, so there was no room for a border around the bottom—next time I’ll use a larger platter). Decorate with sprinkles on top, if desired.

Return cake to freezer until ready to serve—should serve it within a day. Makes 12-14 servings.

Summer Fruit Crisp with No-Churn Coffee Liqueur Ice-Cream

Fruit Crisp with Ice-Cream
Up until a few days ago, I had never made ice-cream. Never wanted to buy an ice-cream maker and every recipe I’d ever come across required one. That is, until last week.

While looking for ideas to make M & M sandwich cookies for an office birthday party, I stumbled upon something even better, M & M cookie ice-cream sandwiches!!! Included was a very simple ice-cream recipe only requiring three ingredients, and wonder of all wonders, NO ice-cream maker necessary.

Very intrigued, I went to the store for heavy cream and sweetened condensed milk, dumped them in the bowl of my stand mixer, added a teaspoon of vanilla, turned the mixer on high and the timer for five minutes. Plopped the resulting thick, creamy deliciousness into a container and froze it overnight. Skeptical it could be this easy, I kept checking it to see if this was really turning into ice-cream.

Amazingly, by the next morning, it truly was ice-cream. Lovely, rich, creamy and decadent ice-cream! The entire batch was gone before I even made the M & M cookies, so another batch was necessary and it ended up being not quite enough for the number of sandwiches I needed. One more batch coming up.
M & M Cookie Ice-Cream Sandwich

Earlier that day some friends at work were joking that I always put booze in my baked goods (it really isn’t always), so it gave me the idea of incorporating booze into this ice-cream. What would go with M & M cookies? Hey, doesn’t coffee go great with cookies? And I just happened to have some of my mom’s homemade Kahlua (coffee liqueur) on hand.

Worried that the alcohol would interfere with the ice-cream freezing, I only put in ¼ cup, but it was enough to give it a coffee/boozy hint, and while I didn’t think it was possible, this version was even better than the first two batches.

After filling the remaining cookies, there was ice-cream left over that needed a partner and I immediately thought of a mouthwatering recipe seen recently on 101 Cookbooks for a summer berry crisp that, aptly, also contained alcohol, this time in the form of red wine.  And with a healthy boost from the fruit, oats and whole grain flour, it would cancel out the not-so-healthy ice-cream, right??

There were fresh raspberries at the farmers market last night and some cherries and plums at home. The only ingredient missing from the original recipe was port, and as Heidi Swanson mentioned in her notes, red wine would also work, and she’s right. This is the best fruit crisp I have ever had and Pete agreed. A big scoop of the coffee liqueur ice-cream on the still-warm-from-the-oven crisp took this dessert over the top! Enjoy!
Pan of Fruit Crisp

Summer Fruit Crisp with No-Churn Coffee Liqueur Ice-Cream

Adapted from 101 Cookbooks

1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour

4 tablespoons poppy seeds  or a combination poppy and black sesame seeds

1 cup rolled oats (not quick oats), uncooked

1 cup organic cane sugar

1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt

2/3 cup unsalted butter, melted

1 tablespoon arrowroot powder or all-natural cornstarch

1/3 cup / 1.5 oz. organic turbinado sugar

4 1/2 cups berries/fruit – mix of ripe, pitted cherries, raspberries, peeled plums, etc.

1/4 cup port wine or merlot

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F with a rack in the middle of the oven. Butter an 8-inch square baking dish, or equivalent.

To make the crumble, mix together the flour, poppy seeds, oats, sugar, and salt in a bowl. Use a fork to stir in the melted butter. Divide the mixture into three portions and use your hands to form three patties. Place the patties in the bowl and freeze for at least 10 minutes, or until you’re ready to bake.

Make the filling by whisking together the arrowroot and sugar in a large bowl. Add the fruit and toss until evenly coated. Wait 3 minutes, add the wine, and toss again. Transfer the filling to the prepared baking dish.

Remove the topping from the freezer and crumble it over the filling, making sure you have both big and small pieces.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the topping is deeply golden and the fruit juices are vigorously bubbling. Let cool a little before serving, 20 to 30 minutes. Makes about 9 servings.

No-Churn Coffee Liqueur Ice-Cream
Adapted from this Sally’s Baking Addiction recipe

2 cups heavy cream

1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

¼ cup coffee liqueur

Place bowl and whisk of your stand or hand mixer in the freezer for 15-30 minutes. Remove from freezer and add all ingredients to the bowl. Whisk at high speed for about 5 minutes until mixture is good and thick. Transfer to a 2-quart container with a tight fitting lid and freeze overnight (keeps in freezer for two weeks. Makes about 2 quarts.

Avocado Lime Cupcakes with Avocado Lime Buttercream

Cupcakes from overhead
The weather here in Minnesota is creating an epidemic of spring fever and we have not been spared. Dinner has been from the grill a couple times in the past few days and yesterday Pete hauled out some of our patio furniture and lit the fire table. We went hiking in a nearby park, and then experienced our first patio dining of the year at a local restaurant/bar. Today, more time spent outside and Pete even went kite-flying. As much as we love winter, this early spring is great and everyone seems to be in a fantastic mood!

The last couple years when St. Patrick’s Day approached, we’ve still been knee-deep in snow, so we feel especially giddy with shirt-sleeve weather to celebrate the holiday. While not a dessert you’ll probably find in a Dublin bakery, the light green hue of these cupcakes makes them perfect for that St. Patrick’s Day office potluck where all the food is supposed to be green, and yet no yucky artificial coloring is required.

The avocado lends a moistness and buttery aspect to the cupcakes and the lime offers an unexpected burst of citrus. With a lovely light green color, the frosting is wonderful with its subtle lime tartness and avocado creaminess. Pete and I each ate one and agreed they are delicious! The rest I’m packing up to take to work tomorrow—we can’t be trusted to keep our hands off them the additional day until it’s actually St. Paddy’s. Enjoy!
Lime ZestJuicing LimeCupcakeCupcakes

Avocado Lime Cupcakes with Avocado Lime Buttercream

 Adapted from Robin Asbell’s Big Vegan

Cupcakes:

1 cup white whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour

¾ cup unbleached all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons lime zest, plus more for garnish

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ cup mashed avocado

2 tablespoons grapeseed or canola oil

1 cup organic granulated sugar

1 cup almond milk

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice

½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Frosting:
½ cup mashed avocado

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

½ cup non-hydrogenated shortening (Spectrum is the brand I use)

3 cups powdered sugar

To make the cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 12 muffin cups with muffin papers or grease and flour the cups.

In a large bowl, combine the flours, lime zest, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a medium bowl or blender, puree the avocado until very smooth then mix in the oil (this can be done with a whisk if you don’t feel like dirtying the blender). Stir in the granulated sugar, then the milk, lime juice and vanilla. Stir the liquids into the dry mixture, mashing if there are any lumps, just until combined, taking care not to over-mix. Divide batter among the prepared muffin cups and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cake comes out clean, about 18-20 minutes. Let the cupcakes cool in the pan on a rack. Remove from pans once cooled.

To make the frosting: In the bowl of a stand mixer (or use a hand mixer), mix the avocado and lime juice until smooth. Add the shortening and powdered sugar and mix until combined. Increase mixer speed to high and beat for a couple minutes until smooth and fluffy, scrapping down the sides when necessary.

Pipe or spread frosting onto cooled cupcakes and sprinkle with additional lime zest. Store, covered, in the refrigerator and let them come to room temperature before serving. Makes 12 cupcakes.