I am addicted to cooking and baking. I love to find and make delicious recipes. Sometimes I create my own and I post them here. Other times I find a recipe and adapt it. I have posted those recipes here as well. Enjoy.

Monday, April 30, 2012

PERFECT PATRIOTIC PIE (Cheesecake with red and blue M&Ms)

With Mini Baking M&Ms
A Slice with Mini Baking M&Ms

This will make a very festive dessert for any patriotic occasion (Fourth of July, Memorial Day, Veteran's Day, etc.)  Delicious Cheesecake with Milk Chocolate and Dark Chocolate M&Ms make this an amazing treat.

No Eggs were harmed while making this recipe.  (This is an egg-less cheesecake that is set using gelatin)

Loosely adapted from

Preparation Time: 30 Mins.
Total Time to Serve: 5 hours.
Servings: 8

1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup extra fine baker’s sugar
1 package plus 2 oz. (10 oz.) cream cheese, softened* 
¾ to 1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 
½ cup confectioner’s sugar (powdered sugar)
Red and blue M&Ms put through the food chopper to make ½ cup chopped (I used both Milk Chocolate and Dark Chocolate M&Ms) –  or mini M&Ms for baking*
1 cup heavy whipping cream, whipped
Keebler® Ready Crust® Shortbread Pie Crust, or a chocolate crumb crust
Red, white and blue sprinkles 
Whipping Cream and Red and Blue M&Ms for garnish

1.       Chop M&Ms in food chopper.  Set aside.
2.       In small saucepan, combine gelatin and water; let stand 1 minute.  Add sugar; stir over medium heat until mixture is hot and gelatin and sugar are dissolved.  Set aside to cool.
3.       In small mixing bowl beat cream cheese on medium speed of electric mixer until fluffy. Add sour cream and vanilla. Mix well. Slowly add gelatin/sugar mixture.  Add confectioner’s sugar. Beat until combined.  .  Mix well.  Fold in whipping cream. Carefully(to avoid color mixing and ending up with purple) stir in the chopped or the mini baking red M&Ms and blue M&Ms.*
Spread in crust. Refrigerate at least 5 hours or overnight until set. Garnish with sprinkles, red and blue M&Ms and whipping cream. Store in refrigerator.  May be frozen.



Cream Cheese
Cream Cheese and Sour Cream Mixture

Gelatin Added

Gelatin Mixed In

Whipped Whipping Cream

Chopped Red and Blue M&Ms
Mini Baking M&Ms

With Chopped M&Ms added
Added to the Shortbread Pie Crust

Whipping Cream in a Ziplock Bag for Piping the Garnish

Garnished with Whipping Cream and M&Ms

Garnished with Whipping Cream, M&Ms and Red, White and Blue Sprinkles
With Strawberry Freezer Jam/Syrup
With Mini M&Ms Ready to Set

Garnished with Whipping Cream

Garnished with Whipping Cream and Red, White and Blue Sprinkles

A slice of Pie


Thursday, April 26, 2012

Strawberry Freezer Jam (adapted from Sure Jell Premium Fruit Pectin package)

Freezer Jam on Bread with the Jars

Freezer Jam on Bread

Adapted from the Sure Jell Premium Fruit Pectin package

2 pints (4 cups) washed, hulled and sliced strawberries
8 cups sugar (or 4 cups sugar and 4 cups apple juice), divided (set one cup of the sugar aside to mix with pectin)
2 boxes Sure Jell Premium Fruit Pectin

1.       Wash and rinse plastic containers with tight fitting lids.  Use 2 to 4 cup size containers.
2.       Prepare strawberries (wash, hull,and slice)
3.       Measure exact amount (4 cups) of prepared strawberries.
4.       Measure exactly 7 cups of sugar into a separate bowl.
5.       Stir 7 cups sugar into the fruit.  Mix well.  Let stand for 10 minutes; stir occasionally.
6.       Pour the pectin into a medium mixing bowl and add the remaining 1 cup sugar.  Mix well.
7.       Stir the pectin/sugar mixture and 1 ½ cups water in a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil on high heat, stirring constantly.  Boil 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat.
8.       In a large stockpot cook strawberries  on low with the sugar mixture.  Stir constantly.  If desired, use a potato masher and mash strawberries until desired consistency.
9.       Stir pectin mixture into fruit.  Mix well.
10.   Pour into prepared containers, leaving ½ inch space at the top for expansion during freezing;  Using a spatula, scrape the insides of the containers to help remove bubbles.  Repeat the bubble removing process two times. cover.
11.   Let stand at room temperature 24 hours until set.  Refrigerate up to 3 weeks.  Otherwise, store in freezer for up to 1 year.  Thaw in the refrigerator.

Freezer Jam in the Container

Frozen Yogurt and Chocolate Bliss Cups

Frozen Yogurt and Chocolate Bliss Cups - (dark chocolate, Greek yogurt, and pure awesomeness) Easy to make. These are little delights that are a refreshing treat. Fairly healthy for a delicious mini frosty morsel. Serve these at a gathering and your guests will not be disappointed.

My friend Jenn and I developed these little delicious gems.  Both of us are trying to come up with healthier desserts to offer our families.

1 10 oz. bag high quality dark chocolate chips (I used Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Chips)
2 6 oz. containers Greek yogurt, naturally flavored, not plain (I used raspberry flavor)
16 Fresh Raspberries, washed and drained
Ziploc quart size freezer bag
Decorating tip and attachment
Cooking Spray
Mini Cupcake Papers

Yield: 16 mini cups

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler, stirring with a spatula.  The chocolate should be smooth and velvety.  Arrange your cupcake papers onto a baking sheet and lightly mist with cooking spray (be sure to coat the sides of the papers with spray, too).  Spoon (I used a mini teaspoon) the melted chocolate into the cupcake papers, coating the bottoms and sides entirely.  Put an extra spoon full of melted chocolate at the bottom of each cup.  Once all cupcake papers are coated, place the tray in the refrigerator to cool for about five to ten minutes.  Pipe(I used a quart size Ziploc freezer bag, stuffed the yogurt in it to one corner and then cut the corner at the tip and fastened the decorating tip to the bag** ) or spoon the yogurt mixture into the cooled chocolate cups. Place a single upside down raspberry in the center of each filled cup.  Cover with plastic wrap or one of those shower cap food covers and place the tray in the freezer for a 2 to 2 ½ hours or so to freeze completely.  Keep frozen and eat them immediately after they are served.
** a decorating tip is not essential, it will just make your little yogurt cups more festive.

Any flavor yogurt may be used.  Strawberry – garnish with a strawberry slice.  Blackberry – garnish with a single blackberry.  Cherry, garnish with a pitted cherry, etc.

Milk chocolate or semi sweet chocolate may also be substituted.

Tip – the raspberry may get frosty when you take them out of the freezer.  To take the frost off, make sure your hands are clean and dip your fingers in some warm water, then gently rub the raspberry with the warm water.  Serve immediately.

Variation: Chocolate Covered Frozen Yogurt Bliss Cups
When melting chocolate, melt about 5 oz. more.  Follow the directions above, but after you add the raspberry, add some melted  chocolate to cover the yogurt.  Partially submerge the raspberry in the chocolate covering.  Freeze as directed and enjoy.  See picture on bottom of page.


Cooking Spray Sprayed Cupcake Liners

Ziplock for Piping

Chocolate for Melting in Makeshift Double Boiler

Melted Chocolate

Chocolate Lined Cupcake Liner

Chocolate lined Cupcake Liner

Chocolate Cup Cake Liners on the Cookie Sheet

Yogurt in the Ziploc

Chocolate just out of the Refrigerator

With Yogurt Raspberry Piped In

Garnished with Raspberry ready to Freeze

Ready to Freeze

Just out of the Freezer

Ready to Eat
Chocolate Covered Variation: Ready to Freeze.  Chocolate had already begun to set when I took the photo.

Chocolate Covered Variation: Ready to Eat.  I hope to get a better photo of this.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Lemon Pull Apart (Monkey) Bread (loosely adapted from bakerlady.wordpress.com)

Glazed Rolls, Just Out of the Oven
Glazed Roll, Ready to Eat

The bread dough ingredients are basic and simple. Here they are:
  • 2 1/2 Cups Warm Milk (water can be substituted)
  • 2 Tablespoons Yeast
  • 2 Tablespoons  Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon  Salt
  • 3 Tablespoon Oil
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • Zest of 3 0r 4 medium lemons (depending on how lemony you like your rolls)
  • 5 1/2 -6 Cups Flour (use approximately 4 cups all purpose flour and 2 cups self rising flour)

  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted

Lemon Sugar Topping
  • Zest of 2 lemons
  • 1 cup sugar

Lemon Glaze
·         2 cups powdered sugar
·         4 Tablespoons lemon juice (from zested lemons)

Prep – Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
First:  Add yeast and then sprinkle the sugar over the 2 1/2 cups of milk.  Stir until sugar dissolves.  Let it sit for about five to ten minutes until you see the yeast get all bubbly on top.
Next:  Stir in the salt, oil, sugar, lemon zest and flour.
Then:  Knead the dough for a few minutes until it is smooth and pulls away from the bowl
Then spray a bowl with baking spray and place your dough in it. Cover your bowl with a warm wet towel and let the dough sit in a warm room for about 15  minutes.
If you have a warming drawer in your oven, put your bowl in the warming drawer on the lowest setting.

Making the Lemon Sugar Topping
Mix the sugar and lemon zest in a small bowl and set aside.
Melt Butter

To make the Lemon Pull Apart (Monkey Bread):
Prepare a large bar pan baking stone  and line with parchment paper. 
Remove the dough from the warm room or warming drawer. 
Gently knead to get any air bubbles out. 
Shape dough into 1 – 2 inch balls and place close together on the baking pan.
Drizzle the rolls with the melted butter.
Sprinkle HALF of the lemon sugar mixture over the rolls.
Cover with a warm wet towel or use a showercap – like plastic cover and place back in the warm room or warming drawer for about 30 minutes.  Let double in size.
Sprinkle with remaining lemon sugar mixture on top.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 – 25 minutes (rotating pan after about 12 minutes).
Remove from pan.
Combine glaze ingredients and drizzle over rolls while still warm.
Balls of Dough on Baking Bar Stone

Balls of Dough with Lemon Sugar

Balls of Dough after they Have Risen and Sprinkled with the Other Half of the Lemon Sugar

Right Out of the Oven

Glazed Right Out of the Oven

No Glaze, but Ready to Eat

Glazed and Ready to Eat