Desserts

Pumpkin Pie Energy Bites

These are super easy to make and SUPER yummy. They tasted just like pumpkin pie to me. The consistency was a lot softer than I expected it to be but that didn’t bother me much. These are a great treat for when you are craving something pumpkin-y.  You could have these as a snack for extra energy before or after a workout or as an after dinner treat!

Pumpkin Pie Energy Bites

Ingredients:

1 cup pitted dates
1/2 cup raw pecan halves
1/3 cup canned pumpkin puree
1/4 cup unsweetened, shredded coconut (reserve small amount for garnish)
1 tsp maple syrup
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Directions:

Place dates in a medium bowl and cover with warm water. Allow to soak for 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Place pecans in food processor and pulse until finely ground. Add dates, pumpkin, coconut, maple syrup, and pumpkin pie spice. Pulse until well mixed. Place in a medium bowl and refrigerate, covered, for 30 minutes.

Scoop out the mixture into 16 tablespoon-sized pieces and roll each piece into a ball. Roll the balls in the reserved coconut.

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Servings: 8
Serving size: 2
21 Day Fix: 1 yellow and 1 tsp per serving

 

Pumpkin Spice Energy Bites

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Boston Cream Pie

I might as well start my re-entry into the blogosphere with a bang. And, really, if you can’t eat pie/cake when you are pregnant, when can you? I made this for Casey’s birthday as it is his favorite dessert. I had contemplated making this for several years but always felt intimidated by it. This year I decided to tackle it and it was fabulous! I’ll admit that it is time consuming and dirties a TON of dishes but entirely worth it, in my opinion. Still, this will be a strictly once-a-year feat both due to labor and calories consumed.
Ingredients:
Pastry Cream
2 cups half-and-half
½ cup sugar
Pinch of salt
5 large egg yolks
3 tbsp. cornstarch
4 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
1½ tsp. vanilla extract

Sponge Cake
½ cup cake flour
¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
3 tbsp. milk
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
½ tsp. vanilla extract
5 large eggs, at room temperature
¾ cup  sugar

Ganache
1 cup heavy cream
¼ cup light corn syrup
8 oz. semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
½ tsp. vanilla extract

Directions:
Start by making the pastry cream at least 2 hours ahead of time. You can also make it a day or two before you plan to serve the cake. Make the sponge cake the day of but allow yourself enough time for the cake to cool, you to make the ganache, the cake assembly, and 1 hour once assembled for the cake to set up.
Pastry Cream
Heat the half-and-half, 6 tablespoons of the sugar and the salt in a saucepan over medium-high heat until simmering. Stir occasionally to dissolve the sugar.
While the half-and-half mixture is heating, combine the egg yolks and remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar in a medium bowl. Whisk until sugar has begun to dissolve and the mixture is creamy, about 15 seconds. 
Whisk in the cornstarch until combined and the mixture is pale yellow and thick, about 30 seconds.
When the half-and-half mixture reaches a simmer, slowly add it to the egg yolk mixture to temper, making sure to whisk constantly while combining. Return the mixture to the saucepan and scrape the excess from the bowl with a rubber spatula. 
Return the mixture to a simmer over medium heat, whisking constantly, until a few bubbles burst on the surface and the mixture is thickened and glossy, about 30 seconds. Be sure to watch the mixture very carefully during this step. You want to keep whisking just until the mixture starts to thicken. Do not take the mixture off the stove before it has thickened. However, leave it on the heat too long and it will begin to curdle.
Off heat, whisk in the butter and vanilla. Strain the pastry cream through a fine mesh sieve set over a medium bowl. Press plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pastry cream to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until cold and set, at least 3 hours and up to 2 days.
Sponge Cake
Adjust an oven rack to the lower middle position. Preheat the oven to 350. Line the bottom of two 9-inch round cake pans with parchment paper. Grease and flour the sides of the pans. Set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk together cake flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
Combine the milk and butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until the butter is melted. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Set aside.
Separate 3 of the eggs. Place the whites in the bowl of a stand mixer and the 3 yolks plus the other 2 whole eggs in a separate bowl. With the whisk attachment, beat the 3 whites on low speed until foamy. Increase speed to medium and beat, gradually incorporating 6 tablespoons of the sugar. Continue to beat until the whites form soft, moist peaks, being careful not to over-beat. Transfer the egg whites to a clean bowl. 
Add the yolk-whole egg mixture to the stand mixer bowl. Beat with the remaining 6 tablespoons of sugar at medium-high speed until the mixture is very thick and pale yellow in color, about 5 minutes. Add the beaten eggs to the bowl with the egg whites.
Sprinkle* the flour mixture over the beaten eggs and white. Using about 12 strokes, very gently fold the flour mixture into the eggs. (Check out these tips on folding, *Bon Appetit recommends sifting the flour into the eggs). Make a well on one side of the bowl and pour the milk mixture into the well. Continue folding until the batter shows no trace of flour and the eggs are evenly mixed. 
Immediately divide the batter between the prepared cake pans. Bake about 16 minutes until tops are light brown and spring back when touched. Immediately run a knife around the edges of the pans to loosen the cakes. Place one pan on a towel and cover with a plate. Invert the pan so that the cake is upside down on the plate. Peel off the parchment paper and re-invert cake onto a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with the second cake.
Ganache
Combine the  heavy cream and corn syrup in a medium saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and add chocolate, cover and let stand for 8 minutes. If the chocolate has not completely melted, return the saucepan to low heat and stir constantly until melted.  

Gently stir in the vanilla until smooth. Cool the glaze until tepid so that a spoonful drizzled back into the pan mounds slightly. To speed up the cooling process, you can refrigerate the glaze, stirring every few minutes to ensure even cooling.
To assemble the cake, place one cake layer on a cardboard cake circle. Place strips of parchment paper underneath the edges of the cake perimeter. If desired, reserve some of the pastry cream for decorating, Spread the remaining pastry cream evenly on the top of the first cake, all the way to the edges. Top with the remaining cake layer and press down gently. Pour the ganache onto the middle of the top cake layer and let it flow down the sides of the cake. If necessary, use a spatula to help cover the sides of the cake and smooth out any rough spots. Allow the cake to sit until the glaze fully sets, about 1 hour. 
The cake is best served the day of, however, leftovers can be refrigerated for later consumption.
Recipe adapted from: Annie’s Eats

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Pumpkin Cream Cheese Roll

What would I do without pumpkin and cream cheese? My pants might fit a little better but that is a small price to pay, I think. I have been meaning to make this for the past couple years and never got around to it. This is actually surprisingly easy to make and looks highly impressive. And, it is delicious to boot! Definitely give this one a try, you won’t be sorry and it is a great treat to share with friends and co-workers.

Ingredients:
1/4 cup powdered sugar
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup canned pumpkin
1 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
6 tablespoons butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted (optional, for garnish)  
Directions:
Preheat oven to 375. Butter a 15×10 inch jelly-roll pan then line with parchment paper. Leave the parchment paper long on two opposite ends for easy removal of the cake after baking. Butter the parchment, sprinkle it with flour and shake off excess.
Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt in a small bowl. Beat eggs and sugar in a large mixer bowl until thick. Add pumpkin and beat to combine. Stir in flour mixture until just combined. Spread pumpkin mixture evenly into the prepared jelly-roll pan. Sprinkle with nuts (optional). 
Bake 13-15 minutes or until top of cake springs back when touched. Sprinkle or sift 1/4 cup powdered sugar evenly over top of cake. Place a piece of parchment over the cake. Flip the pan onto a smooth work surface so that the new parchment paper is beneath the cake. Remove the pan and carefully peel away the old parchment from the top of the cake. Starting at the narrow end, roll up the cake and parchment together. Place on to a wire rack, seam side down, to cool.
When cake is cooled, beat together cream cheese, 1 cup powdered sugar, butter and vanilla extract until smooth. Carefully unroll the cooled cake. Spread the cream cheese mixture evenly over the cake. Re-roll, removing the parchment as you go. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour. Sift additional powdered sugar over cake before serving if desired.
Note: the cake looks best if you slice off a bit of each end to give it a smooth surface. Plus, you have to taste it before you serve it to guests anyway, right? Right. Do it.

Adapted from Libby’s via allrecipes.

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Pumpkin Cream Cheese Roll

What would I do without pumpkin and cream cheese? My pants might fit a little better but that is a small price to pay, I think. I have been meaning to make this for the past couple years and never got around to it. This is actually surprisingly easy to make and looks highly impressive. And, it is delicious to boot! Definitely give this one a try, you won’t be sorry and it is a great treat to share with friends and co-workers.

Ingredients:
1/4 cup powdered sugar
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup canned pumpkin
1 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
6 tablespoons butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted (optional, for garnish)  
Directions:
Preheat oven to 375. Butter a 15×10 inch jelly-roll pan then line with parchment paper. Leave the parchment paper long on two opposite ends for easy removal of the cake after baking. Butter the parchment, sprinkle it with flour and shake off excess.
Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt in a small bowl. Beat eggs and sugar in a large mixer bowl until thick. Add pumpkin and beat to combine. Stir in flour mixture until just combined. Spread pumpkin mixture evenly into the prepared jelly-roll pan. Sprinkle with nuts (optional). 
Bake 13-15 minutes or until top of cake springs back when touched. Sprinkle or sift 1/4 cup powdered sugar evenly over top of cake. Place a piece of parchment over the cake. Flip the pan onto a smooth work surface so that the new parchment paper is beneath the cake. Remove the pan and carefully peel away the old parchment from the top of the cake. Starting at the narrow end, roll up the cake and parchment together. Place on to a wire rack, seam side down, to cool.
When cake is cooled, beat together cream cheese, 1 cup powdered sugar, butter and vanilla extract until smooth. Carefully unroll the cooled cake. Spread the cream cheese mixture evenly over the cake. Re-roll, removing the parchment as you go. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour. Sift additional powdered sugar over cake before serving if desired.
Note: the cake looks best if you slice off a bit of each end to give it a smooth surface. Plus, you have to taste it before you serve it to guests anyway, right? Right. Do it.

Adapted from Libby’s via allrecipes.

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Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

I don’t tend to bake a lot of cookies. Mainly because then I will find myself eating them. But, I recently had a craving for oatmeal chocolate chip cookies and people to eat up the majority of them. Winning! This recipe makes a ton so you will have plenty to share, even if you want to keep a few for yourself (and you really should). These are chewy and delicious!

Ingredients:
1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups flour
2 3/4 cups oatmeal
2 cups chocolate chips
Directions:
Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Preheat oven to 350.
Using a mixer, cream together the butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until light and fluffy. Add baking soda, baking powder, and salt and mix to combine. Add flour, oatmeal, and chocolate chips, and mix until just incorporated.
Take a spoonful of batter and roll into an inch thick ball (or smaller, if you prefer smaller cookies), place on  prepared baking sheet. Repeat until baking sheet is full, being sure to leave a couple inches between each ball of cookie dough.  Bake for 10-12 minutes. Cookies should be golden and crisp on the edges but slightly gooey in the center. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

Repeat with additional baking sheets (I think I did 3.5 batches total).

Adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe.

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Peanut Butter Brownies

I feel like this post doesn’t even need an introduction. Peanut butter and chocolate are a match made in heaven! I made these on a whim after having an intense brownie craving. These chewy, moist, and rich babies certainly satisfied my craving. I halved the recipe so there was less leftovers tempting me but am writing the full version of the recipe here.

Ingredients:
For the Brownies
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons dark unsweetened cocoa powder
11 ounces dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup (8 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
1½ cups granulated sugar
½ cup packed light brown sugar
5 eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
For the Peanut Butter Swirl
½ cup (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
1 cup powdered sugar
1½ cups creamy peanut butter
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350. Butter the sides and bottom of a 9×13 glass baking pan. Line with parchment paper. Place a saucepan of water over a burner to simmer.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and cocoa powder.

Place the chocolate, butter, and espresso powder in a large heat-proof bowl. Set the bowl over the saucepan of simmering water. Stir the chocolate/butter mixture occasionally until  completely melted and smooth. Turn off the heat, but keep the bowl over the water. Add the sugars and whisk until completely combined. Remove the bowl from the pan. The mixture should be room temperature.

Add three eggs to the chocolate mixture and whisk until combined. Add the remaining two eggs and whisk until combined. Add the vanilla, stirring until combined. Be sure to not over beat the batter or the brownies will be cakey.

Sprinkle the flour mixture over the chocolate mixture. Use a rubber spatula to fold the flour mixture into the chocolate until just a bit of the flour mixture is visible. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan. Use a spatula to smooth the top.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the peanut butter swirl ingredients. Using a spoon or a tablespoon scoop, drop dollops of the peanut butter mixture over the top of the brownie batter. Using a butter knife, swirl the peanut butter and chocolate together, running the knife through the two batters. Smooth the top.
Bake for 30 minutes in the center of the oven, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the brownies comes out with a few moist crumbs sticking to it.
Let the brownies cool completely. Lift the brownies out of the pan using the parchment paper. Cut into squares and serve.
Store at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3 days (assuming they can even last that long).
Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker.

Linked to Good Cheap Eats What’s On Your Plate? and Prairie Story Recipe Swap Thursday.

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Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Mmmmm pie. I love pie. This was a close second to my all-time-favorite Blueberry Pie. I had never really had strawberry rhubarb pie before but I am now a fan! I just wish I had a slice right now.

Ingredients:
1 recipe double-crust pie dough of your choice (I use this recipe
3 1/2 cups (about 1 1/2 pounds, untrimmed) rhubarb, stripped of any rough outer fibers and cut in 1/2-inch thick slices
3 1/2 cups (about 1 pound) strawberries, hulled and sliced or halved depending on their size
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup quick-cooking tapioca
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 teaspoon water (for glaze)
Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Roll out half of the pie dough on a well-floured surface to a 12 inch circle. Transfer to a 9 inch pie plate.
Combine rhubarb, strawberries, sugars, lemon, salt, and tapioca in a large bowl. Stir gently until strawberries and rhubarb are evenly coated. Place filling inside the bottom pie crust. Dot with unsalted butter.
Roll out the remaining pie dough to an 11-inch circle and cut slits to vent (or use decorative cutters or a lattice top). Transfer to top the pie filling. Trim the top and bottom dough to leave a 1/2 inch overhang over the lip of the pie plate. Fold rim of dough underneath itself to seal and then crimp the edges.
Transfer the pie to a baking sheet and brush with the egg yolk/water mixture. Bake for 20 minutes at 400, then reduce to 350 and bake an additional 25-30 minutes, until the pie is golden and the juices are bubbly.
Transfer the pie to wire rack to cool for 1-2 hours. When cool, the juices will gel. This pie will keep at room temp for up to three days.
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen.

Linked to Mangoes and Chutney Fat Camp Friday and Home Sweet Farm Delectable Tuesday.

Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie on FoodistaStrawberry-Rhubarb Pie

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Triple Chocolate Brownies

I have been craving chocolate something fierce lately, the darker the better! I decided to make some brownies because I haven’t made them in ages and need to find my go-to recipe. As with all things baking related, I knew I should turn to Annie’s Eats. As usual, she did not let me down. These were so good, I want to make them again and again. They are moist and chewy and just dense enough to be the perfect balance between fudge and cake. They also have a thin little crust on top which completes the perfection. Yum, yum, yum.

Ingredients:
5 oz. semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into quarters
3 tbsp. cocoa powder
3 large eggs
1¼ cups (8¾ oz.) sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
½ tsp. salt
1 cup (5 oz.) all-purpose flour
Directions:
Place an oven rack in lower-middle position and preheat the oven to 350° F. Line an 8-inch square baking dish with foil and spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.
In a heatproof bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water, melt the chocolate and butter, stirring occasionally until smooth. Whisk in the cocoa powder until smooth. Set aside to cool.
In a medium bowl, combine the eggs, sugar, vanilla and salt; whisk until combined, about 15 seconds. Whisk in the warm chocolate mixture until incorporated. Then stir in the flour with a wooden spoon until just combined. (It took me a while to get the flour evenly incorporated and I was worried it would affect the texture of the brownies, but they turned out fabulously – no need to worry.) Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and spread with a spatula to make an even layer. Bake until slightly puffed and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a small amount of sticky crumbs clinging to it, 35-40 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool to room temperature, about 2 hours.
Remove the brownies from the pan using the foil and transfer to a cutting board. Cut into squares as desired. Store in an air-tight container.
 
Linked to Prairie Story Recipe Swap Thursday and Not So Homemade What’s Cooking Wednesday.

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Cranberry Apple Pie

I know I am supposed to showing you only post-holiday guilt-free recipes but it isn’t really after the holidays yet and I just had to share this amazing pie recipe with you. I made it for Christmas dinner at my parents’ house and it was so heavenly! IThe tartness of the cranberries and apples and the sweetness of the glaze were delicious. The nutmeg and cinnamon really gave the whole pie that holiday taste. I added a pinch more of each spice to the filling. If you have any sort of exuses occasions to make this pie, you should! Recipe adapted from e-mealz.
Ingredients:
Pie
Basic Pie Dough (doubled)
6 cups peeled, sliced Granny Smith apples

1 cup fresh cranberries, washed and chopped in half
1 cup sugar + 2 Tbsp
3 Tbsp flour
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
Dash salt
4 tsp butter

Glaze
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
1-2 Tbsp milk

Directions:
Heat oven to 425. Roll out half the pie dough and place in bottom of 9” pie shell.

In lg bowl, combine apples, cranberries, sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Turn into pastry-lined pan. Add 4 dabs of butter on of fruit filling.

Roll out additional dough and place over pie filling. Trim edges and seal. Flute edges and cut 3-4 slits in top pie crust to vent. Place tin foil around pie crust edges to prevent burning. Bake for 40 -45 min.

Whisk confectioners sugar and milk together paint or drizzle over pie crust while hot. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream!

 

Linked to A Southern Fairytale’s Mouthwatering Mondays and Mangoes and Chutney Fat Camp Friday.

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Thumbprint Cookies

Here is my last post from our holiday bake-fest. This was a new recipe that we tried that turned out great! I love the mix of the buttery cookie with the sweet jam. You can use all different types of jam for these for a fun variety.

I wish you all a very merry Christmas! I’ll be back next week with some low-cal meals for you!

Ingredients:
2 cups sifted flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup butter
1/2 cup superfine sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract (or 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract and 1/2 tsp almond extract)
Your preferred jam or other filling
1/2 cup sifted confectioners sugar
Directions:
Sift together flour and salt; set aside. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy; add extract(s). Slowly mix in flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until just blended. Chill dough for 1 to 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 325. Menawhile, quickly shape dough into 1 inch balls and space them 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Make a deep thumbpring in the center of each; fill with preferred jam or chocolate.
Bake for 15 minutes, or until cookies are the color of pale sand. Transfer to wire cooling racks. When cooled, dust with confectioners sugar.

 

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