Peanut Butter Honey “Bee’s Knees” Pie

Can we talk about TV for a minute?  For my birthday, Jesse got me a Kindle Fire.

I was super excited to have an ebook reader, but then I learned that it comes with a month of free Amazon Prime… That includes the free streaming…

Instead of voraciously reading the classics like I originally intended to, I’ve been watching Downton Abbey.  I get it, I’m like 5 years too late.  But I’m loving it.  To further my recent TV obsession, on Friday night I made Jesse watch 3 episodes of “Orange is the New Black.”  Awesome.

So since I like being late to the party, let me tell you about something I made for a party a while back.  You remember the Peanut Butter Throwdown, right?

I made White Chocolate Wonderful Ice Cream

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But I also made pie, because pie is always a good idea.

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Let me tell you about one of them because you know what else is a good idea? Pretzel crusts.

Along with being obsessed with multiple TV shows, I’m also really into pretzel crusts.  I love the salty and sweet combination, so in pie form it takes it to a whole new level.

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Peanut Butter Honey Pie

1 1/4 cup pretzel crumbs
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup Bee’s Knees peanut butter
4 oz cream cheese, softened
7 oz sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream, divided
4 tbsp honey

First make your crust by mixing together pretzel crumbs, butter and sugar.  Press into a 9” pie dish and place in the freezer until ready to use.

Next, beat together peanut butter, cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk.  Beat 1/2 cup of heavy whipping cream until if holds firm peaks.  Fold whipped cream into peanut butter mixture until combined.  Set aside.

Beat remaining 1 cup of whipped cream.  Once it start to form peaks, add in 4 tbsp honey.

Next assemble the pie.  Spread peanut butter mixture into the pie crust.  Top with honey whipped cream.  Chill for a few hours.  Serve cold.

Ok now you can forgive me while I go crawl into bed to watch more Downton Abbey.

Which shows are you into these days?

I also recently discovered Catfish.  That’s totally amazing…

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Strawberry Shortcake in a Jar

It’s almost summer, you know what that means?

Summer means that everyone and their mother is making strawberry shortcake.  Why don’t you take a ride with me on the strawberry shortcake wagon, but with a twist of Foodologie.

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That’s code for take something sweet and put it in a jar.  I love things in jars…

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Pies in Jars

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Birthday Cake in a Jar

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Coconut Curry Stew in a Jar

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Cocktails in jars: Strawberry Basil Gin and Tonic

The list goes on really.  But aside from the hipster-y “cute” factor of a jar, I find them to be extremely functional.  They’re sturdy and portable.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve dropped jars, thrown them into bags.  They just don’t break.  It’s great.

So let’s go back to strawberry shortcakes.

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They’re one of those appealing desserts because they’re simply delicious.  Everyone seems to have a way to make them.  Some people use biscuits, some use pound cake, others use angel food cake.

I like to use plain yellow cake (specifically this recipe for Moist Yellow Cake from Epicurious).  It’s lighter than pound cake but denser than angel food cake.  It’s really just all sorts of amazing.

Here’s what you need:

That’s a pretty short list of ingredients for such a fantastic dessert.  The beautiful thing about making them in jars is that they’ll pretty much look cute no matter what you do.

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Wash and slice your strawberries.  Remember these are going in jars, so you want to cut them into small pieces.  Toss with sugar and lemon juice.  I eyeball the sugar, about 1/4 cup for every cup of strawberries.  If you like them sweeter, add more sugar.  Remember this is all about how it tastes best for you. Let the strawberries sit (macerate, if you want to get technical) for 15-20 minutes so they let out all those wonderful juices and you get strawberry saucy goodness (yes, saucy goodness is a legitimate culinary term).

Next whip your cream.  I don’t like mine too sweet.  I add a few tablespoons of sugar for each cup of whipped cream, and about 1/2 a tsp of vanilla.  Once your whipped cream is mixed, transfer it to a ziploc bag.

Now you can assemble.  Take your cake and break it up into little chunks. Place some in the bottom of your jar, next put a few spoonfuls of strawberries in there, press down with a spoon.  Next the whipped cream.  Cut off a corner of the ziploc bag so you have a piping bag of sorts.  Pipe some whipped make sure to get it one the edges so it looks nice.  Then repeat (be sure to press down the cake so more fits in there!).  Depending on how big your jars are and how thick your layers are, you might be able to do 2 or 3 layers.

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Serve or put a lid on them and take them to go!

I wish I had eaten these on a picnic in a park or on the beach, because that really would have added to the full effect of it all.  They’ll just have to go on the menu for my next picnic.

What’s your favorite summer dessert?

Banana Birthday Cake for My Mom

Today is Memorial Day, but it’s also my mother’s birthday.  While you’re all probably grilling and pie-making, I made a cake to celebrate a very special lady.

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My mom claims to not like cake and dessert, but really I know she’s just picky.  She loves certain desserts and she loves everything banana.  No crazy combinations here, because of her picky palate, I went the simple route.

I made a simple banana cake like the little banana cake I made before (recipe doubled for a full cake), but with a few changes to the filling

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I whipped up a ton of whipped cream with sugar and a touch of vanilla for filling and frosting, fried some bananas with rum and added some slivered almonds.

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and ta-da! A birthday cake just for my mother.  I added some fresh flowers for a pop of color.

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Happy Birthday Mom!

Is your mother picky about desserts like mine?  I feel like that’s one thing my children will never have to worry about.  I’ll pretty much enjoy anything.

Little Banana Cake with Caramel Filling

Sometimes you just don’t want a big commitment.  Saturday, I went on a 16 mile hike up the highest peak in Orange County.  That was a big commitment; there was snow at the top of the mountain.. in Orange County…

I was totally ok with that commitment.

But sometimes, dessert can be a big commitment, especially cakes.

Because of this, I think my 6 inch cake pans were a great investment, and I think this banana cake has been my greatest creation from them so far.

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I actually made this twice, so I can tell you with confidence that it’s doubly tasty.

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Little Banana Cake with Caramel Filling

adapted from Epicurious

For Cake:
1 cup + 1 tbsp flour

1 tbsp corn starch
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) butter
1/2 cup sugar, heaping
1 egg
1 ripe banana, mashed
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp whole milk
1/2 tsp vinegar
1 tsp vanilla

Caramel filling:
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp cream
1/2 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt

Icing:
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Pre-heat oven to 350F.

Sift together flour, corn starch, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.

Cream together butter and sugar until fluffy (about 3 minutes).  Add in egg, continue to beat for another minute or two.  Beat in mashed banana, milk, vinegar and vanilla.  Add in flour mixture until well combine.

Pour batter into 2 (6 inch round) cake pans (greased, floured and bottom lined with parchment paper).  Bake 20-25 minutes or until golden and cooked through (mine took 25 mins, but yours might differ based on your oven so start checking after 20 mins).  Allow to cool completely.

Make caramel filling.  Melt sugar in a sauce pan over medium heat.  Once sugar starts to melt turn flame to low.  Work out any clumps by stirring.  Once the sugar syrup is a deep amber color, remove from heat stir in butter (mixture will foam a lot but keep stirring), stream in cream as you stir, then stir in vanilla and salt.   Set aside to cool a bit.

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Level off each layer using a serrated knife.  Place your bottom layer crumb side down on a plate (put some pieces of parchment paper around the edges to get a clean frost).  Spread half the caramel in the middle of the cake.  Put second layer on top and spread with remaining caramel.  Caramel should still be warm to the touch but not pourable.  You’ll have to spread it with the wooden spoon and it will smooth out on its own (if you let it cool too much you won’t get a smooth top.  Alternatively if the caramel is too hot, it might flow over the edges, no biggie, you can cover that with icing).

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Next make frosting.  Beat half a cup of heavy cream, once it starts to form soft peaks add in sugar and vanilla.  Continue to beat until it forms firm peaks.  Frost the cake as desired.  If you plan to frost the entire thing (including the top) and decorate, double the frosting.  I only frosted the sides

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then used a piping bag with a star tip to decorate the edges to leave the caramel exposed.  Both are great, tasty options.

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If you’re ready for a big commitment (aka a full size cake), double the recipe and bake in two 8 or 9 inch cake pans.

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Either way, store this cake in the fridge until about 45 minutes before you’re ready to serve it.  Don’t come complaining to me that your caramel is too hard if you take it out of the fridge and slice it immediately.  Like all commitments, that part needs time too.

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What’s your next commitment?

Please tell me it’s this little banana cake!

Roasted Pineapple with Cardamom Whipped Cream

We’re mid-way through January and resolutions are in full swing.  Most people have a resolution that is health/fitness related.  I certainly do.  Believe it or not, in 2013 I want to:

1. Eat less sugar
2.  Keep up my work outs 3-5 times per week
3.  Be able to do 50 pushups without having to drop to my knees after 10

Not the loftiest of goals, but I’ll take it.  This doesn’t mean I’ll stop baking.  Nope.  In fact, last week I made a cake and a pie and today I made cookies (don’t worry I didn’t eat it all).  But I might to diversify my recipes to be a little more health conscious.

So for the sake of resolutions, here is a lighter (I say lighter, not light because whipped cream is not healthy) dessert.

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It includes fruit, a bit of sugar, some spice, nuts and cream.  It’s all about balance after all right?

Roasted Pineapple with Cardamom Whipped Cream

1 pineapple, thinly sliced into rings
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup whipping cream
1/2 tsp cardamom
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup chopped pecans (or other nuts)
Honey for drizzling

Pre-heat oven to 450F.

Slice pineapple and rub slices with brown sugar (about 1/2 tsp per slice).

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Place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and roast for 10 minutes.  Flip and roast for another 5-10 minutes or until golden.

In the meantime, make whipped cream.  Using a mixer, beat cream until it starts to foam and thicken,  add cardamom, sugar and vanilla and continue to beat until it forms firm peaks.  Set aside.

Once pineapple is done.  Allow to cool slightly.  Place a few slices on a plate top with a dollop of whipped cream, sprinkle with nuts (whichever you’d like.  I used pecans but I bet pistachios would be awesome), and drizzle with honey.  The whipped cream will melt a bit because the pineapple is hot.  Depending on the size of your pineapple and how thick your slices are this should serve about 10 people.

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The beauty of this recipe is that it’s ok to NOT measure things.  It’s easy to scale up or down, just take however much pineapple you want, rub it with some sugar, roast it, serve it with whipped cream (or ice cream?!?!), sprinkle with nuts, drizzle with honey and BAM!  Quick and easy light dessert that will impress all.

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So whether your new years resolution is to lighten up, throw more dinner parties or become a master chef.  This should set you in the right direction.

What’s your New Year’s Resolution?

Lemon Cupcakes with Berry Whipped Cream Icing

I’m starting to realize I have a tendency toward repetitiveness.  I do things over and over again without really getting tired of it.

Example #1: Today I listened to the same song over and over again from about 10am until 4pm. I literally kept hitting repeat on YouTube.

Example #2: Every so often, when I have nothing to do, I like to watch Pride and Prejudice alone in my bed and cry my eyes out when Elizabeth is telling her father how much she loves Mr. Darcy.  It gets me every time.

Example #3: I make lemon cupcakes for any number of occasions.  I never get tired of experimenting in my quest to make the perfect lemon cupcakes/cake.

I think this is the jackpot though.  Oh wait, do I claim that every time?  Who knows… let’s go with it.

Lemon Cupcakes with Berry Whipped Cream Icing

adapted from Epicurious Moist Yellow Cake

3 cups all purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 3/4 cup sugar
5 eggs
zest and juice of 2 lemons
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4- 1 cup milk*
1 box instant vanilla pudding mix
1 1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup powered sugar
3-4 tbsp berry jam (i.e. strawberry, raspberry, blueberry, etc)

Pre-heat oven to 350F.

Sift together flour, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.

Combine lemon juice and milk.  You want enough to make 1 1/4 cup of the mixture.  So squeeze the lemon juice into a measuring cup and fill until you get 1 1/4 cups.  Set aside.

Cream together butter and sugar.  Beat 3-5 minutes until fluffy.  Add lemon zest, vanilla and one egg at a time, beating 30 seconds between each egg.   Add flour mixture 1/2 cup (ish) at a time and milk mixture, alternating add each one.  Lastly, mix in the instant pudding mix.

Pour batter into line cupcake pan.  Bake 15-20 minutes depending on the strength of your oven, or until golden brown and cooked through.  Makes about 30 cupcakes.

Allow to cool completely and make the icing.  Beat heavy cream to soft peaks.  Add powdered sugar and jam, a bit at a time.  Keep beating until stiff.  Put icing in a piping bag and top off cupcakes (or spread with a knife).

Serve immediately or keep refrigerated until about an hour before serving.

This is definitely something I’d like to repeat, not just because I like making cupcakes but because they were delicious. I think this is going to replace any other lemon cupcake recipe I thought was best.  These are better.  Trust me.  Give it a try, then repeat.

I’d also like to repeat the shrimp tacos I made for dinner last night that I’m kicking myself for not photographing.  Oh well.  For the sake of repetition, here’s one more photo…  Is that okay?

It’s past midnight.  I can’t sleep.  I’m listening to the same song I listened to all day and am tempted to go into my kitchen to make these again.  Or maybe I should break my repetitive streak and make something new.  What do you think?