I pinned a recipe for this Invisible Apple Cake a few weeks ago because it looked pretty neat, and I was ready to try something new and different. And I certainly got all that.
Cutting all the apples thin was what took the longest, but in my opinion there’s almost something calming about it. Plus, I may have eaten just about every other slice I cut.
Next, I had to mix up some batter, coat the apples in it, lay them in the pan, and drizzle the rest of the batter over it. Pretty simple. The last thing I did before sticking it in the oven was sprinkling some sliced almonds on top.
In the end, this dessert wasn’t as good as I’d hoped. I guess that’s what you get for looking into healthier desserts…it’s the sugar and cream and butter that makes sweets so good. Honeycrisp apples probably would have been a better choice than the Gala that I used, since most of the sweetness comes from the fruit, but I don’t expect to be making this again. Nothing wrong with it, but it wasn’t anything extraordinary.
Since school started back up again, I’ve been looking for breakfast options that are quick and easy but tasty. Eggs every day can get boring after a while.
So, I turned to my trusty friend Pinterest for a way to spice up the mornings. And for the last few days I’ve been pinning and pinning and pinning! The first thing on my list was a smoothie bowl, so that’s what I made this morning!
I didn’t directly follow a recipe, but rather took the basic idea from the ones I saw and threw this together on my own. It turned out much better than I’d expected—sweet, satisfying, and surprisingly creamy! I can’t believe I’ve just been given the option to have what’s essentially ice cream for breakfast…only it’s healthy!
And I don’t mean “healthy” as in avocado brownies or whatever other ridiculous thing you make slightly better and call “healthy”. All that’s in this is:
1 frozen banana
the few frozen berries we had left
3 tbsp milk
a tiny sprinkle of Stevia
a couple of walnuts on top
Tip: Freezing the fruit beforehand helps to make your smoothie thicker…just make sure you peel the banana BEFORE you freeze it. Somehow, I didn’t think of this, and I ended up having to scrape the peel off of that rock-hard banana with a knife. I felt like I was whittling wood!
Also, I don’t have a fancy $500 blender, but the Magic Bullet worked fine given that I shook it a bit and gave the fruit a good spoon-stabbing.
Yesterday was the last day of summer, and before it was over I had to cross one more thing off of my list.
Cheesecake ice cream.
I’ve been craving it since the spring—don’t ask why, because I have no idea myself. As a special last treat before we dive into what’s bound to be the craziest school year of my life (freshman year + all online, WHAT??), I decided to make some!
The original recipe is from Handle the Heat, but I made quite a few changes of my own. It came out AMAZING!
Roasting the strawberries is something I never would have thought of, but it such a great idea! They were soft and juicy and this really brought out the flavor. Just like an ice cream shop (except better)!
So, onto the things I changed:
Instead of using 3/4 cup of sugar, I reduced it to 1/4 cup and added in 1/4 cup of Stevia. It was still perfectly sweet—not missing anything!
I omitted the corn syrup, which was optional.
We didn’t have any whole milk, so I used 2% and added in a little bit extra heavy cream.
Neufchâtel cheese in place of cream cheese. It’s essentially the same thing.
We didn’t have any sea salt, but regular iodized salt didn’t make any difference.
Rather than chopping the graham crackers (in a blender, I assume), I crushed them with a spoon. This way there was a little more variety in the sizes of the crumbles.
When mixing the berries and graham crackers in at the end, I held back just about 1/4 of the stuff to stir in at the very end. That way, there was a sort of ribbon of toppings in addition to the ones that were evenly mixed in.
This ice cream made a perfect last-day-of-summer treat! I will definitely be making it again.
Everyone in my house loves lemon bars—especially my dad. They’re quick, easy, and delicious, so naturally they’ve become a pretty frequent dessert.
This time, I wanted to try something different. I got a tart pan for Christmas, which, as I’m sure you know by now, I love to use. So, I made a lemon bar tart—which sounds fancy, but is really just lemon bars made in a tart pan!
The tart turned out great, and I’m especially happy with the way it looked. I think that the thin lemon slices were definitely a good idea, and the dusting of powdered sugar was also a nice addition. I’ll be making this again for sure! (Even though the only thing that changed was the shape…haha!)
A couple of years ago, my family was in Chicago and we had these AMAZING pancakes at a place called Wildberry. I still think about those pancakes…so for Father’s Day, I made them myself!
These were a hit. I made three kinds of sauces/toppings to go with the pancakes: a crème anglaise, a raspberry coulis (originally it was blackberry, but I didn’t have any of those so I substituted raspberries), and a sort of whipped cream topping, which I found in a crêpe recipe. Personally, the whipped topping was my favorite, but of course the pancakes tasted best with all three!
Call me lazy, but I just used store-bought pancake mix for the pancakes themselves. I was running short on time after making all of the other things, and the mix we have is actually pretty good.
A few days ago, while we were on a walk, my dad mentioned that blueberry muffins sounded good to him. I kept this in mind and made them for brunch today! Just so you know: I’m always thinking about what to bake next, so if you’re ever craving a certain treat, just drop a subtle hint…they might just happen to show up within the next few days!
I had a hard decision to make when choosing a recipe: should I make regular blueberry muffins, or blueberry oatmeal muffins? I’d narrowed it down to two recipes…it was just a choice of one or the other. The hard thing about these surprise brunches is that I can’t ask my family for their input! Being an incredibly indecisive person, this is unbelievable difficult for me. Eventually, I caved and asked my mom which one to make. She said regular blueberry—so that’s what I went with! I think it was a good choice, too. As for the other recipe, I’ll have to try it sometime soon, as well.
When baking these muffins, I made quite a few changes to the recipe. First of all, I thought that 1¼ cup sugar sounded like way too much, even when I compared it to other recipes. I ended up putting in just shy of 1 cup, and they were still plenty sweet. Next time, I think I’ll probably reduce it even more.
I’ve read about substituting applesauce for butter or oil in muffins, and I thought I’d give it a try. This being my first time, I didn’t want to make a big mistake, so I only replaced a third of the butter. Better to be safe than sorry. I’ve heard that using applesauce can make muffins too dense, but that wasn’t a problem for mine. They had a perfect texture—moist and soft, and neither too dense nor too airy.
There were two more changes I made to these muffins. I didn’t sprinkle sugar over the top—just a minor difference, but I thought I’d mention it. Personally, I’m not a fan of sugar-sprinkled muffins. Next, I changed the baking temperatures a little.
One thing I learned was that by putting the muffins in the oven at a higher temperature for the first few minutes, then lowering it for the rest of the bake time, you can get taller, rounder muffins with bigger tops. Well, mine certainly rose…many of them too much so! I don’t think that the high-low temperature method was to blame for that, though. A lot of the muffin tins were just filled too high. At least I got three perfect looking muffins: just enough for a nice photo!
For my second week of surprise brunches, I made danishes! Since it was such a lovely day, we got to eat them outside on the back patio.
I started making these danishes two days ahead, though I’m sure you could manage it if you started just one day in advance. The danishes are made using what’s called “rough puff pastry”, which is similar to puff pastry, but instead of having a layer of butter, you mix it into the dough in chunks. This makes the process faster and easier, though the layers aren’t quite as defined.
When making the dough, I must have made a mistake, because it came out very wet. It was more like batter than dough, really. I’m still not sure what I did wrong. I re-read the recipe many times, but I still can’t figure it out. Luckily, the addition of a little extra flour fixed my problem immediately.
Other than that, I didn’t have any mishaps when baking these. For me, that’s quite the achievement. I divided the dough into sections, folded them up, added the cheese, topped them with a bit of jam, and baked them. They came out perfectly!
I got this recipe from NYT Cooking—click here to see it.
Tonight, I made a strawberry tart for dessert. I’ve used this recipe three times now, and it’s become one of my family’s favorites. The recipe is actually for a blueberry tart, but it works with other fruits, too! Each time I’ve made this, I’ve used a different fruit. The first time, I used blueberries, and then I made it again with blackberries, and this time it was strawberries. It’s been delicious every time!
I’ve definitely become faster with every time making this tart. The first night I tried it, I baked well into the night, and by then it was too late to eat it! We had to wait until the next day, which was certainly not what I had intended. Last time, I worked quicker, and today I made it faster than I’ve ever done before. Not to brag, but I must say I’m pretty proud of myself for that.
Before trying this recipe, I’m not sure I ever realized just how delicious custard is! In fact, I’m not quite sure I’d ever tried it at all. Whatever the case, I’m in love with it now! This recipe makes an especially thick and creamy custard/pastry cream, and it’s absolutely scrumptious. Maybe this is technically called a “berry tart”, but the custard is the real star of the show! When making this tart, I always end up with some leftover custard, but my family loves it so much that I’ve never reduced the recipe. We’re all more than happy to have an extra dollop on our slices!
When using blackberries or strawberries instead of blueberries, I just substitute the berries and leave everything else exactly the same. This recipe calls for 200 grams of blueberries, which I’ve found can easily be replaced with 200 grams of any other berry. The funny thing is, we had such huge strawberries that it only took four! Those things were enormous!
Last time I made this tart, I didn’t quite roll the dough out thin enough, so the bottom crust was too thick. There wasn’t any issue with the taste, but it meant the tart was shallower and the filling was harder to fit in. This time, I made sure to roll it out thinner, which resulted in quite a bit of extra dough. The crust of this tart is almost cookie-like, and it was my mom’s idea to make little cookies with what was left over. Originally, I had just planned on eating them, but after they baked, I had another idea. I realized that the little stars would actually make a really pretty decoration for the top of the tart! It was kind of a last-minute decision, but I think it was definitely a good one.
In my opinion, it came out quite pretty!
If you’re interested in trying this recipe, you can find it here.
Last weekend, I made an apple pie. Usually, when I make pie, I top it was a “crumble crust”, as my family calls it—a sort of streusel topping. This time, I decided to try something new and attempted a lattice for the first time.
Once I had a basic idea of what to do, I was able to make some changes from the basic lattice and add my own touches. Weaving the strips together was actually surprisingly easy, as was the braiding. The hard part was trying to keep the strips from breaking as I worked with the small pieces, especially as the dough became more and more handled.
By the time I made it to the roses, the dough was very overworked and flaked apart at the lightest touch. Keeping the flowers from breaking was a very delicate process, but I managed to (slowly) get it done.
Every time I make pie, I like to roll up the extra bits of dough with cinnamon and sugar to make these little bite-sized morsels. It’s a trick that’s passed down through my family for years. Bake them for a few minutes, and they’re absolutely delicious. However, after doing the roses, the leftover dough wouldn’t even stick together! We had to make do with crumbles. Not as pretty, but they still tasted good.
Overall, I think that the pie looked pretty nice for my first time making a lattice. Just a tip, if you’re ever working with pie dough: be careful not to overwork it! I definitely learned my lesson, and I’ll be much more careful next time.