Nectarine Tart with Pistachio Oat Crumble

Pies vs Tarts?

What’s the difference?  Great question.  There’s probably an official answer but honestly to me they’re the same thing.  The only difference is the type of pan you make it in.  But honestly, you can make any tart recipe into a pie and any pie recipe in to a tart.  So whether you want to call this a pie or a tart, I’m ok with either.

I took this to a potluck and I think I called it a pie.  But now that I think about it, I made it in a tart pan so it should be called a tart.  A tart sounds fancy, doesn’t it?

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Pie sounds homey.  Tart sounds regal.  I’m ok with fancy business, but let’s be honest, I’m not a fan of expensive.  My tart pan was $2.50 at the Good Will.  I wanted to keep this dessert low budget too.  I went to the store and looked for the cheapest fruit available.  That’s my strategy because generally the cheapest fruit is in season.

Nectarines were $0.50/lb.  So awesome.  It took about $1.50 worth of fruit to make this tart.   Beautiful and frugal.  I’m into it.

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Nectarine Tart with Pistachio Oat Crumble

For Crust:

175g All Purpose Flour (about 1 1/4 cup)
1 tbsp Sugar
pinch of Salt
1 stick of Butter, cold
2 tbsp (maybe more) Ice Water

For Filling:

8 Nectarines, diced
1 1/4 cup Sugar
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp Flour
1/2 tsp Cinnamon (optional)
2 tbsp Rum (Optional)

For Topping:

1/2 cup Flour
1/3 cup Oats
1/4 cup Brown Sugar
2 tbsp White Sugar
1/4 Pistachios, chopped
pinch of Salt
4 tbsp Butter (plus extra for placing on top)
1 tbsp Rum (optional)

Prepare pie crust by combing flour, sugar and salt.  Using your fingers, break the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles very coarse crumbs (even pea sized is fine).  Add ice water and bring it all together into a ball using your hands.  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate a few hours.  You can make this up to two days in advance (or much longer and freeze it).

Once the dough has rested enough (a few hours or days), roll out and place into a 9 inch fluted tart pan (this will also work in a pie dish).  Place in freezer while you make the filling and topping.

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Pre-heat oven to 350F.

Dice nectarines (leave the skin on) and combine with sugar, flour, cinnamon and rum.  Set aside and make the topping.  In a bowl, combine ingredients for filling.  Using your fingers, work ingredients together (feel free to add more pistachios if you’d like) until the texture of coarse crumbs.

Now assemble tart.  Place nectarine filling into prepared tart pan.  Top with crumble topping.  Lay a few thin pats of butter over the top.  Bake for about an hour and a half, or until filling is bubbling and top is golden.

Allow to cool completely.  Serve and enjoy!

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This was a big hit.  I was a fan.  I loved the crumble topping with pistachios in it, and let’s be honest… nectarines > peaches, but we never see nectarines in a pie/tart.  I’m not sure why, but I’m glad I changed that.  Also, everyone should leave the skin on the fruit.  Just saying…

For some reason I’m thinking plum pie needs to happen sometime soon, because I never see plums in a pie.

What’s your favorite fruit pie?  If you have an awesome recipe, share it in the comments!

Chocolate Chip Snickerdoodle Bars

I somehow had the bright idea of joining the company softball team. If you knew me in real life, you’d be surprised that I would make such a choice. I’m not really a “team sports” kind of girl.  Not because I don’t like exercise.  No no.  I love Crossfit.  Running is fun.  Spinning is amazing.

At first you might think, oh so you’re a solo rider.  Well not really.  What softball has that running, Crossfit and spinning don’t is that softball involves a hard object flying at your face.  I’m not good at that.  You see, I’m what we like to call “accident-prone.”

The truth is, if there’s an opportunity to get hurt, chances are I will.   I’m set to hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in November and my sister is already researching altitude sickeness and ways to prevent it.  She’s not even going on the trip with me and she knows it’ll be an issue for me.

In fact, the last time I tried to play a team sport was a summer softball league the summer before 9th grade.  I broke my finger mid way through the summer.  Lesson learned.

But now I’m older, and conquering fears and trying new (ish) things is totally my thing.  So why not.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

In the meantime, let’s talk about these guys.

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I know you’re drooling because any mention of the word “snickerdoodle” makes babies smile and men squeal in joy.

Ok I can’t take credit for these.  I got this recipe from my favorite cookie cookbook given to me by my friend Rhoda (who also published an awesome cookbook!).

I want everyone to buy this book because I think it’s so awesome.  What I didn’t think was awesome was the name of the recipe.  Buttermilk Cinnamon Bars.  Boring.  So since I made some changes (like adding chocolate chips, among a few other changes, I decided to rename these to more accurately describe the taste.

Chocolate Chip Snickerdoodle Bars

Adapted from Blue Ribbon Cookies

2 cup sugar
2 cups flour
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1 egg
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla

Pre-heat oven to 350F.   In a bowl, combine sugar, flour and butter.  Using your fingers, combine until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.   Take two cups of that mixture and combine it with coconut and chocolate chips.

Press into a 9×13 baking dish lined with parchment paper.   With the remaining sugar/flour/butter mixture, add egg, salt, cinnamon, baking powder, buttermilk and vanilla.  Blend together.  Pour mixture oven base and bake for about 45 minutes, or until fully cooked in the center.

Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.  (I let it sit out overnight)  Once cooled, remove bars from pan by lifting parchment paper.  Cut bars into about 40 squares (or fewer large pieces…).

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I promise these will be a hit.  They’re like snickerdoodles and chocolate chip coconut cookies on a date, because that makes sense.

Either way, enjoy them, pin them and wish me luck on this softball endeavor.

How are you at team sports?  Play any?  Tell me!

P.S. Have you entered the Peanut Butter & Co Giveaway?  You can earn entries daily!  Get to it here: http://bit.ly/147k7k8

Peanut Butter Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies

When a friend comes to visit from across the country, they deserve a treat.  When a friend says she wants a dessert with bacon, you oblige and make these:

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My friend Liz loves bacon more than anyone I know.  We have that bond of former roommates so I know the lady loves meat  (no pun intended, get your mind out of the gutter).

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Lucky for her, bacon in dessert is totally having a moment, or is that just me?  If you haven’t had bacon in a dessert yet, you need to try it asap.  Start with these cookies…

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Peanut Butter Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies

3 slices of bacon, fat reserved
1/4 cup softened butter
*
1/2 cup peanut butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt (omit if using salted PB)
1 cup chocolate chips

In a pan, fry bacon over medium heat until very crispy.  Reserve fat and allow to cool completely.  Chop bacon and set aside.

Pre-heat oven to 350F.

Beat together butter, peanut butter and bacon fat (*note if you don’t want to use bacon fat, you can just use 1/2 cup of butter and omit the bacon fat).  Add sugar and beat for an additional minute or two.  Add egg and beat for an additional minute.  Add flour and baking soda (and salt if using) and beat until almost combined.  Lastly, fold in chopped bacon and chocolate chips.

Form dough into walnut-sized balls, place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake for 10-13 minutes or until golden on the edges.  Allow to cool completely and serve!  Makes about 2 dozen cookies (or maybe more… I wouldn’t know because I ate a ton of the cookie dough).

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If your friend loves bacon but isn’t a fan of peanut butter… not to worry, I have a solution for you:

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Bacon Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies

Not into cookies (we won’t talk about how blasphemous that is…) but feeling the need to put bacon in a dessert?  How about this Chocolate Pudding with Peanut Butter Mousse and Maple Candied Bacon?

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Equally delicious and bacon-y.

How do you feel about bacon in desserts? Do you love it? Hate it? Is it over-rated? Never tried it?  Tell me!

Epic Banana Bundt Cake

I’ve rewritten this post about three times, trying to come up with something as epic as the recipe to come.  But I can’t.  My brain is asking me for a rest.

Between work and blogging, my creative juices are dried up, in terms of writing that is.  Because recipes… I’ve got sooooo many for you to look forward to.  But first let’s talk about bananas.

I’m a banana fiend.  I eat one daily.  I learned it from my mother, she probably eats two daily.  That’s ok.

Bananas are on the top of my list of things I think are out of this world, let’s talk about my other favorite thing on the planet: cake.

And combine the two… Banana Cake! Why not?  In fact, this cake was so good it had to be made twice.  It really was THAT good.

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Ok I’ll be honest.  I really made this twice, because the first time around I hated my pictures.  It was a labor of love (or gluttony or vanity?) to make it again, but that just means I know the recipe is extra perfect for you.

I know everyone and their mother has a recipe for banana cake (and no, this is NOT banana bread).

Even if you think it looks similar, trust me.  This is definitely banana cake.  What’s the difference?

Texture.  Banana bread is dense.  This is lighter, and it has an icing.  Icing goes on cake.  True story.

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Epic Banana Bundt Cake

2 cups + 2 tbsp all purpose flour
2 tbsp corn starch
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon plus pinch of salt
1 1/3 cup sugar
1 cup canola oil
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 bananas, very ripe and mashed
1/2 cup milk (I used almond milk)
1 package vanilla instant pudding (3.4 oz)

Icing/Glaze:
3 tbsp butter, melted
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 tbsp heavy cream (or milk)
1/2 tsp vanilla (optional)
1-2 tsp of water for thinning, if necessary
Pre-heat oven to 350F.
In a bowl, sift together flour, corn starch, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.  Grease and flour a bundt pan (or any other pan you choose to make this in, I’ve also made this in two 9 inch pans, baking times adjusted).
Using a mixer beat together sugar and oil.  Beat in eggs, one at a time until fluffy (about 2 minutes).  Beat in vanilla and bananas.  Start adding some of the flour mixture, about 1/4 cup at a time, alternating adding milk.  Once all the flour is in the batter, beat in the instant pudding.  Once combined, pour batter into prepared bundt pan.
Bake 45 minutes.  Then turn the oven down to 325F and continue to bake until golden and cooked through (usually another 15-20 minutes, but this will depend on your oven).  Once fully baked, remove from oven and allow to cool completely.
Once cooled, make glaze by combining all ingredients.  The pour glaze over cake.
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I didn’t actually pour, I did the spoon/drizzle method, because I think it looks better than pouring.
Serve and enjoy!
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This cake goes great with a cup of coffee and a good book.  It’s also fantastic served to a friend with a little bit of gossip.
Truth be told, I’m not sure if I’m half monkey or something, but I want to keep making this cake, over and over and over.  It’s a good idea, because I seriously think this might be my new favorite cake.
Stay tuned for lots of good new recipes and other fun things… like maybe some trip planning.  How does that sound?

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Until about 5 days ago, I thought “brown butter” was a crock of shit.

I hate to be crass, but let’s be honest, food bloggers are some of the best bullshitters I know.  Don’t worry, I’m include myself in that sweeping comment.

I mean really, we love to make basic things and give them a fancy name that hipsters will repin like crazy and drive traffic to our sites.

Examples:

Chocolate Pudding with Peanut Butter Mousse and Maple Candied Bacon = Chocolate Pudding with stuff sprinkled on it

Spinach-Quinoa-Peach Salad with Honey-Sage Vinaigrette= a salad with fruit and grains

You’re welcome.

I’m just calling it like it is.  And you know what hipsters love?

Butter.  Especially brown butter.

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So for a long time, I avoided anything with brown butter, because it just sounded sort of silly, but then on Friday I was bored and I needed to make dessert for the next day.  So I thought to myself, why not give it a shot?

At worst it, it’s still just a damn cookie.  At best, it’s an amazing cookie.

I won’t lie.  It’s a pretty amazing cookie.

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Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

adapted from Food and Wine

1 stick of butter
1 cup + 2 tbsp all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup dark chocolate chips

In a pan, melt butter over medium heat.  Allow to brown, about 5 minutes.  Remove from heat, transfer to large bowl and allow to cool to room temperature.  In the meantime, combine flour, salt, and baking soda in a bowl and set aside.

Once the butter has cooled, cream together butter and sugar until fluffy.  Add 1 egg at a time, then vanilla and continue to be beat for about a minute.  Add in flour mixture.  Mix until almost combined. Fold in chocolate chips until dough is just combined.

Place dough in the freezer while oven preheats to 350F.

Once oven has pre-heated, form dough into walnut sized balls.  Place on parchment paper-lined pan and bake for 8-10 minutes, or until golden around the edges.

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Remove from oven, leave on pan for a few minutes then transfer to a cooling rack until cool.  Then serve!  This recipe makes about 20-24 small ish cookies.  If you want larger cookies, bake longer and you’ll probably get about 10.

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So I’m going to go ahead and tell you that these are great.

I’m going to swallow my pride and admit I was wrong.  Brown butter is pretty tasty.  They weren’t lying when they said it gives it a nice nutty flavor.

Ok now be a hipster and…

Easier-Than-Pie Creamy Pumpkin Pie

For Christmas, there are always a million dishes to make.  Usually, Christmas dinner is essentially a repeat of Thanksgiving.  But this year we decided to branch out, so this is our menu:

Usually, my sister and I share cooking duties.  This year, she is very pregnant and swollen.  The last thing we need is labor intensive desserts (even though I ordinarily love those).  But easy doesn’t mean it’s not tasty.

So if you’re in a similar situation (not necessarily pregnant, but just with a lot of cooking to do).  Here’s an easy and amazingly delicious dessert that’s perfect for any holiday celebration.

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Now, I’ll have to warn you. This is not your average pumpkin pie.  It’s not as dense as regular pumpkin pie, not to mention it’s in a graham cracker crust, which is unlike most pumpkin pies.  It’s creamy, almost like a light cheesecake but without the cheese.

If that sounds great to you, then give it a whirl.  If you’re apprehensive… give it a whirl.  I think you’ll love it.

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Easier-Than-Pie Creamy Pumpkin Pie

1 1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 stick of butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
1 can sweetened condensed milk
3/4 cup pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp mace (or nutmeg?)
1 cup sour cream
1-2 tsp molasses
1/4 cup sugar
Candied ginger (optional, for garnish)

Melt butter and combine with graham cracker crumbs and 1/4 cup sugar.  Press into a 9-inch pie dish.  Place in the fridge/freezer until ready to use.

Pre-heat oven to 325F.

In a bowl, beat the yolks a few mins until slightly thick.  Beat in pumpkin puree.  Add spices and then beat in sweetened condensed milk.  Pour filling into prepared pie dish.

Bake 45 mins or until pie is no longer jiggly (this is clearly a scientific method, dating a biochemist will do that to you).   Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.

In a separate bowl combine sour cream, molasses and sugar.  Spread over the pie and garnish with sliced candied ginger or any other cute looking topping.  Chill for a few hours in the fridge then serve.

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Well friend, off to my pre-holiday celebration with just me and the boyfriend.   You better believe I have this pie sitting in the fridge for dessert.

Merry Christmas!!