Friday, April 29, 2011

Tipsy Key Lime Pie - by Summer

Once again my book club were my guinea pigs for this recipe.  I actually gave the host this month the choice of this recipe or the crisp.  She loves Key Lime pie, so she quickly picked this one.  I was a little nervous because she was super excited for it because it's her favorite type of pie and I had never made this kind before.

Following Lisa's advice, I also used a bit more butter for the crust.  I definitely think it was a wise move because it was definitely less crumbly.  The filling was really easy to put together.  I was able to find the bottle of key lime juice in my grocery store - thank goodness!  I also decided after reading Lisa's post to slightly cut down on the amount of rum and up the amount of the key lime juice.

I cooked my pie for about 20 minutes.  It probably should have cooked a couple minutes longer.  While the center firmed up some, when it was served, I felt that it was still pretty runny.

This was a huge hit with the gals at book club.  They all devoured their pieces.  I bought canned whipping cream (hey, it was a long day and I was tired) to serve with the pie.  I was the only one that thought it was just ok.  I'm not really a key lime sort of gal and I think the fact that the filling was slightly runny was a bit of a turn off for me - I was expecting it to be firmer. I couldn't really taste the rum and it was definitely tart, so I am glad I made some minor adjustments.  I would definitely make this pie again because it's easy and if I know that Key Lime is someone's favorite pie!

Pear-Tart Cherry Crisp - by Summer

I'm a little behind with my posting this month.  I made this dessert for Easter Sunday.  Our friend invited us over for dinner and I was instructed to bring dessert.  I loved making this dish.  It's quick, tasty, and looks great.

You use can pears and dried cherries, which is great because you can make this any season!  Our son has been really enjoying dried cherries lately for snacks, so we had plenty on hand.  Instead of using the food processor to make the topping, I opted to use my pastry cutter.

I ended up patting down the topping like the recipe called for, but I think I patted it too much.  I normally like a more crumbly topping, but it didn't impact the outcome.  I served this with whipped cream and it was wonderful.  The dried cherries became slightly plump - yum.  Oh - I did add a bit more flour to the fruit because when draining the pears, I realized that there was a bit extra juice and I wanted to make sure it thickened up nicely, which it did.  I would definitely make this again!

I forgot my camera at home, so I don't have any pictures of the crisp cut, with the whipping cream - oops!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Tipsy Key Lime Pie - by Lisa

I've never made a proper key lime pie before, so I was looking forward to trying this recipe out. I decided to make it for dessert with our Easter dinner. Our friend Rob joined us for dinner, and I think it is always much more fun to share these recipes with many people. :)

I remembered that this pie needs some time in the refrigerator, so I got started on it in the morning. I also got the chance to dig into our liquor cabinet and pulled out one of the bottles of rum we got in the Caribbean. Woo hoo! I behaved and restrained myself from sampling the goods before adding it to the pie filling. I had no problem acquiring all the ingredients for the pie, and was rather pleased that the suggested key lime juice was exactly what my grocery store carries.

When I made the graham cracker crust, I decided to add about 2 Tbsp more butter since the last crust I made was a little more crumbly than I like. I think this worked, because the crust seemed to hold together pretty well.
Getting ready to go into the oven
About half way thru the baking time, I realized I forgot to put the pie on a cookie sheet. I pulled it out, set it on the sheet and let it finish. I don't think it hurt the pie any, so whew! The pie baked for about one minute longer than the minimum suggested back time, and I let it cool on the counter for about an hour before placing it in the fridge. Once we recovered from our food coma that was dinner, I whipped up some cream and decorated the pie before serving it.

The finished product
Both guys really enjoyed it, but I wasn't quite sure about it. I definitely noticed the bite that the rum added to the flavor, but the tartness I expected wasn't quite there. It turned out more yellow than green, but I've seen varying colors in key lime pies before, so I wasn't too surprised by that. I'll be having another slice tonight for dessert so we'll see how it does on night number two.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Currant Scones - by Lisa

Oh my oh my oh my. These scones were AMAZING. For as long as I've lived in WA, I have been absolutely in love with Fischer scones. These scones kick the crap out of those! :D I actually made these over the weekend, and they barely lasted the day. I let them cool for about 20 minutes, and they were just perfect. Like Summer, I actually didn't use currants. But I had plenty of dried cranberries on hand, so I tossed in a little over 1/2 cup of those instead.
I had similar concerns as Summer when the dough wasn't coming together in the bowl quite as I expected. But once I dumped it out and started kneading it, it finally started sticking together. I also opted to cut it into triangles, but for some reason I wasn't thinking when I started slicing, so I wound up with a bunch of odd sizes.

These seemed to be done after about 18-19 minutes. I could have let them go a minute or two longer as well, but I was also afraid of drying them out and possibly burning them. They were incredibly flaky but still slightly moist which I think is the perfect combination. I am already planning on making them again this week!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Orange-Scented Chocolate Chip Cookies - by Summer

Great minds must think alike!  I had been planning on making these cookies this week too!!  A funny little side note about this recipe.  Originally we had talked about making these cookies just over a year ago when I was coming to the end of my pregnancy with my son.  We had talked about doing one more additional recipe if I ended up going late.  But ultimately I decided that I was too crabby and uncomfortable to even think about baking :-)

So here we are a year later baking these cookies!  Like Lisa, my go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe is Tollhouse.  And also like Lisa, I was considering refrigerating these for a few hours before baking.  I read Lisa's post and decided to just bake them right away.  Personally, I would probably refrigerate them before baking in the future.  Mine spread out a lot when they baked and I was hoping for a more dense cookie.

I also yielded between 4 and 5 dozen cookies (more than enough for my dad to sample some this weekend when he comes to visit) and they took about 11-12 minutes in my oven.  I can't say that I overly enjoyed the orange flavor in these.  I think I just love plain chocolate chip cookies too much.  My husband agreed that the orange took away from them.  I am interested in making this recipe, minus the orange zest in the future.

Orange-Scented Chocolate Chip Cookies

For some reason, I haven't felt very motivated to bake this month, but the home baked cookie supply had bottomed out weeks ago. So, I decided to cut a deal with my husband. I offered to make cookies if he would clean up the kitchen. And voila! We have (temporarily) replenished our cookie stock. :)

I was very intrigued by this recipe. I'd had orange flavored chocolate before (like those holiday balls that come out each year), and I used to love my mom's orange peel cookies (I've gotta make those again!), so I was very interested to see how these cookies would turn out.

The cookie recipe is very simple and direct, and the only extra thing I needed was the orange zest. It is somewhat similar to the traditional Tollhouse cookie recipe, which is typically my cookie of choice. I was tempted to treat this recipe like I do with the Tollhouse cookies which meant chilling the dough for at least 12 hours. But I decided to go with what the recipe instructed and skipped the chilling. I'm glad I did because these cookies turned out beautifully! They were ready to come out at about 12-13 minutes and yielded about 5 dozen cookies.

Of course I also tasted tested the batter and the hint of orange was a neat twist. The fresh out of the oven cookies weren't quite as "orange-y" as I'd expected, but by the next day the orange flavor intensified very nicely. It definitely wasn't overpowering by any means, but it added a really nice touch to the chocolate chip cookie base. I look forward to making these again!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Current Scones - by Summer

I have to admit that up till a few years ago, I had never had a scone.  And the first time I ate one, it wasn't very good, so I didn't try another one for quite some time.  Then I had one that was amazing and decided that I loved scones!  They seem like they would be a lot of work, but surprisingly, they are actually very simple to make.

I picked this recipe knowing that I was going to replace the currents with something else.  Originally I had planned for dried cherries, but my son ate most of those this week.  I had some dried apricots on hand (he doesn't like those), so I cut them into quarters to use for this recipe.

My dough was very crumbly after I added the cream and vanilla.  I was tempted to add more cream, but instead just worked it into a disk.  I wouldn't really call my technique kneading, but it did come together.  The recipe calls for using a small cookie cutter, but I opted to just make triangles with a knife.  I figure there would be no waste and that is the typical shape you see scones.
Before baking

After baking!
These baked in about 17 minutes, but I think I could have left them in a minute or two longer.  My husband disagrees because he thought they would have been too dry.  It really didn't matter because we both thought they tasted wonderful!  They were flaky and a little sweet - so yummy!  And I really liked the apricots.  I envision myself making these again and again, just changing up the fruit.  Or adding chocolate chips instead.  Or doing dried cherries and white chocolate chips.  The possibilities are endless!!!!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Double Apple Struessel Coffee Cake - by Lisa

I did actually make this cake in March! Things have just been kind of hectic around here with family coming in to visit and preparations for my son's 3rd birthday party! Anywho, I had the perfect opportunity to make and share this dish earlier this week. I invited some friends and their kids over for a play date and chose this recipe to serve for brunch. I am quite happy to report that it was a success for both kids and adults! I shared it with Hubby later that evening, and we agreed that this was a very tasty cake! I liked the little bit of spiciness mixed in with the apple flavor and chunks of apple that this cake offered. I thought it was a perfect brunch cake, and also held up well for after dinner dessert.

As far as making the cake went, it was pretty easy. I actually made it the night before so I wouldn't have to run around at the last minute the following morning trying to get it done. I did end up using quite a few bowls, but this was another recipe that didn't require the use of a stand mixer which was kind of nice.

I also finally got myself a proper pastry cutter and actually used it for the struessel instead of running it thru the food processor. It took a little longer, but I was happy to finally learn how to cut in butter this way. :) I look forward to making this again for a future brunch!