My Favorite Meal of the Week – Popsicle Edition

So I’ve been eyeing those Zoku quick pop makers for over a year, but had so far convinced myself that it was just an extra kitchen gadget that I didn’t need. Well that is until last week, when I found one at a small kitchen boutique store in DC and decided that I had to have one. And while I have to say it is totally unnecessary because there’s nothing wrong with the old school popsicle makers, it is kinda fun. Last night I decided to make some last minute popsicles for dessert and they were ready in 10 minutes. Pretty fantastic. I plan to try out lots of fun recipes over the course of the summer, so you’ll likely see some more posts like this. But here’s the first.

popsicle3

Continue reading

Shortcake with Strawberry Rhubarb Compote

If you read my post from a few weeks ago, you know that I have been very excited about starting to bake with strawberries. I had plans to make regular strawberry shortcake this week for a dinner with a friend, but after seeing the world’s most beautiful rhubarb at Whole Foods, I had to spice up my plans.

image

In addition to adding in some rhubarb, I also tried serving the dish in two different ways, both shown below.

The traditional tower:

image

The less traditional (but also less messy) parfait:

image

And I have to say, even though the traditional strawberry shortcake has been my personal favorite dessert for a long time, I think I prefer it with both of the changes I tried this week (the rhubarb and serving it as a parfait).

Continue reading

It Is Almost Summer Time…

With each season, I get excited for certain things I get to start making. With summer, I get excited for strawberries. My absolute, hands down favorite dessert is strawberry shortcake. I have loved this dessert for a very long time. Anything strawberry rhubarb is a close second as well.

So now that we’re starting to get good strawberries, I wanted to share some of my favorite summer desserts. And over the course of the summer, I’ll try to get a bunch of step by step recipes of my own up on the blog.

1) Strawberry Rhubarb Bars – My version is pictured below

image

2) Lemon Cake with Whipped Cream Frosting and Strawberries (see my post here) – Dave’s version for my birthday last year is pictured below, as well as one I just made today for a friend’s birthday

image

image

Continue reading

Lemon Drop Cookies

This year I have really gotten into making anything with lemons. I just love the smell of fresh squeezed lemons and zest. Although I like lemon bars, I always find them to be messy. So in an effort to find something similar to a lemon bar, but that could transport well, I tried these. Although they were not quite what I expected (not as strong of a lemon flavor, and they were much doughier than I expected), my coworkers and I really enjoyed them.My coworkers got to enjoy these because a genius in our office had the great idea to set up our March Madness pool so that instead of paying money to enter, all of the losers had to bring in a baked good. I obviously was a loser, so this was my contribution.
image

Blueberry Crumb Bars

Sometimes it’s really great to have easy and yet delicious desserts that you can whip up with no planning. I have a couple items that I regularly make when I need to do a last minute dessert for a coworker’s birthday, a friend’s bad day, or just because I’m craving dessert RIGHT now. The key is really that the ingredients all reside in your kitchen. These blueberry crumb bars are about as easy as it comes, and if you’re like me, and keep frozen fruit in the freezer, you’ll generally have all these ingredients around.

Meyer Lemon Macadamia Nut Tart

This tart was delicious. It is so great for spring because of the vibrant yellow color. My only warning is that macadamia nuts are surprisingly expensive. So if you’re looking for a cheap dessert, maybe don’t do this (especially since you only use a small amount of nuts).
image

Dark Chocolate Tart with Gingersnap Crust

So if you read my post from Wednesday, you know that I served this for a dinner party recently. What you don’t know is that it was so good, that I’ve already served it at a second dinner party. I have been making this same crust for years (my mom taught it to me) and it’s amazing. And the best part is it has two ingredients, store bought gingersnaps and butter. Doesn’t get much easier than that and the flavor is amazing. The other perk to this crust is that if you are GF, it’s really easy to make with GF gingersnaps (which you can find at Trader Joes).
image

Good Old Chocolate Chip Cookies

There’s nothing more satisfying than a simple, no-frills chocolate chip cookie. People often try to gussy up their cookies, and I’m not saying those are bad because they’re in fact quite good, but there’s still something satisfying about a simple gooey chocolate chip cookie. You’ll note that I say gooey. I’m a firm believer that chocolate chip cookies should not be crunchy. It’s all about achieving the perfect consistency between still being cookie dough and then being overcooked. It’s something I’ve tried hard to perfect.

So after trying lots of different cookie recipes, I’ve decided the Nestle one (yep the one that comes on the back of the chocolate chip bag) is the best. When I’ve brought cookies to people after using the Nestle recipe, I always get way better feedback than I do when I use other recipes. I guess it makes sense that Nestle would have perfected the chocolate chip cookie, but it still somehow surprises me that we all look for the perfect recipe, buy books dedicated solely to chocolate chip cookies, and then the one on the chocolate chip bag still ends up tasting the best.

Apple Cake with Caramel Frosting

Most of the time, I pick cakes based on the aesthetics.  It’s one of the reasons I love cakes. You can make them so beautiful, and they make such a great statement when presented at a dinner party. I recently tried this one out and I loved how the flavors of caramel and apple complemented each other perfectly! This is definitely not a fast dessert to make, but if you’re in the mood for cake, I highly recommend it.

image

Continue reading

Ginger Cookie Sandwiches with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

After spending all of January baking, and then planning to do a lot of Valentine’s baking this week, I decided to take this past weekend off. I wanted a break from having desserts in the apartment. But an early morning Sunday Pinterest session put an end to this plan. I saw a picture of these cookies and just had to have them (it didn’t help that I happened to have all of the necessary ingredients in my kitchen already). I was also planning to go to a Super Bowl party that evening. And here’s the thing about these parties, everyone always focuses on the wings, the dips, and all of the other salty delicious treats. But you also need a dessert. After all that salt, you’re going to want something sweet. And I’d like to say, I was the only person to bring a dessert this year and last year (and my cookies were gone REAL fast!).

image
The original recipe used buttercream, but I actually detest buttercream. It seems like a cheap substitute for the more flavorful cream cheese frosting. And since I happened to have some cream cheese and lemon leftover from a previous baking adventure, I made a change. I also added a couple of decorative additions, which made these cookies seem much more festive. They’d be great for a birthday party or Valentines Day! If you’re the type who doesn’t like frosting (although I have to say, I don’t understand you people), the cookies were delicious by themselves. They’re soft and chewy with a ton of flavor.
Continue reading