Cherry, Strawberry and Rhubarb Crisp

When it comes to desserts, B is a big fan of anything strawberry-rhubarb related, especially pies, crisps and cobblers. I, on the other hand, are more of  a cookie fan – especially good chocolate and white chocolate chip cookies. Opposites attract? Perhaps (after all, as B says, I have more of a “sweet tooth” and he has a “meat tooth”). But that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate a good crisp every so often.

Since strawberries, cherries and rhubarb are all in season (yay for summertime!) I decided to pair them all together for this recipe. The tanginess of the rhubarb goes great with the sweetness of the cherries and strawberries and the color of the fruit mixed together is simply gorgeous! Confession: I’ve now made a variation on this recipe THREE times this summer. Does that mean I’m now more of a fan of cookies than cobblers/crisps/etc? No … but this IS good! Definitely scroll down below the recipe for some notes to see other ways to make this delicious recipe.

Cherry, Strawberry and Rhubarb Crisp

Here’s what you need:

  • 8 Tablespoons cold butter, sliced into tabs
  • 2 cups pitted cherries, sliced in half
  • 2 cups strawberries, cut in half (or cut smaller if you have really big berries – I like all my fruit to be about the size of the rhubarb)
  • 2 cups of rhubarb, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • ¼ cup white sugar
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup old fashioned oats
  • ¼ cup walnuts
  • ¼ cup pecans

Here’s what you do:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease an 8-inch square baking dish with non-stick cooking spray or butter.
  2. Toss rhubarb, strawberries and cherries with white sugar and spread in baking dish.
  3. Put butter in a food processor along with brown sugar, flour, oats and nuts and pulse until it is completely combined, at least one minute. It will look like a dough and no longer be separate. This is the topping.
  4. Crumble and spread the topping over the fruit and bake about 40-45 minutes or until it just starts to turn brown.

Notes:

  • You can make this with a variety of fruits, just make sure that you have 5-6 cups of fruit total. Got more cherries than strawberries? That’s fine! A cherry rhubarb crisp is delicious on its own. And, cherries and strawberries together work nicely also. If you’re doing more sweeter fruits (like strawberries) than rhubarb, you may want to cut down on the sugar, though.
  • The topping can be made with just walnuts, just pecans or a mixture of both. I prefer a mixture of both or just pecans.
  • For the topping, you must mix it well enough so it forms almost a dough. A few times I’ve made something like this but made the topping more crumb-like and it does not hold up well in baking.
  • What’s the difference between a crumble, crisp and cobbler? Why is this a crisp? Because the topping contains oats! See more, here. #nowyouknow

Some questions for you:

  • Do you like rhubarb?
  • Prefer fruit desserts or chocolate desserts?

Disclosure: Northwest Cherries provided me some cherries to sample. All reviews and opinions are my own.

Chunky Chocolate Cherry Bars

I LOVE chocolate chip cookies, especially blondies. They’re one of my favorite things to bake because they not only taste delicious, but they’re so easy – just pour into a pan and bake!

So when once again Northwest Cherries reached out and asked if I’d like to try some of their cherries, I of course said yes.  I mean, look at these beauties.

This time, I was planning on doctoring up some blondies to include some of their delicious cherries. I used one of my favorite blondie recipes (found here) to come up with a chocolate cherry blondie. Because chocolate and cherries not only look good together – but they taste good, too!

And, I chose today to share these with you. Do you know why? Because it’s National Rainier Cherry Day! Did you know that was a holiday?

That’s right,  July 11 marks National Rainier Cherry Day, commemorating this sweet treat named after Washington state’s famous volcanic peak. Nutrient-rich volcanic soil along with more sunlight in the Northwest creates an optimum growing environment making for high-quality and extra sweet cherries. (So, maybe that’s why when I toss cherry seeds into our garden, they don’t grow into cherry trees?)

To celebrate, I highly suggest you make these. The chocolate + cherry combo is PERFECT.

Chunky Chocolate Cherry Bars

Here’s what you need:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup chocolate chips – I like to do half chocolate and half white chocolate chunks
  • 1 heaping cup of cherries, pitted and cut in half  – I used this to pit the cherries and it works SO much better than doing it by hand!

Here’s what you do:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line a 8×8 baking pan with foil or parchment paper.
  2. Melt butter. When we first moved into our new home, we didn’t have a microwave, so I had to do this on the stove. Now, it’s even easier because I can do this in the microwave in a microwave safe bowl.
  3. Add brown sugar to butter (if you did this in the microwave, use the same bowl – just add the brown sugar to this bowl!).
  4. Add in egg and vanilla.
  5. Incorporate the flour and mix until just combined.
  6. Fold in cherries and chocolate and white chocolate chips/chunks.
  7. Spread mixture into prepared baking pan. I like to set aside a few cherries and chocolate chunks to place on top of the batter because it looks nice 🙂
  8. Place in oven and bake for 32-38 minutes. (Mine were done in 37 minutes)
  9. Let them cool in pan for about 10-15 minutes. Then, let them cool completely outside the pan – I like to let them cool for at least 1 hour.  Cut them up into bars and enjoy!

Some questions for you:

  • Do you like the chocolate+cherry combo?
  • What’s your favorite cherry dessert? Least favorite? Believe it or not, I do NOT like cherry pie!

Disclosure: Northwest Cherries provided me some cherries to sample. All reviews and opinions are my own.

Cinnamon Sugar Pretzel Bites

B loves anything cinnamon sugar flavored. Snickerdoodles? Yes. Cinnamon buns? Definitely. Cinnamon French toast? Of course! Cinnamon donuts? Yes. So when searching for a different type of dessert recipe and I stumbled across these, I knew I had to make them. The warm cinnamon sugar doughy bites and sweet dipping sauce? Omg. I swear, I made them for B…not me. Not at all.

Regardless who they were for – they were SO delicious. If you have a potluck to go to and want to impress with a delicious finger-food-friendly dessert, I highly recommend you make these. They’re best eaten the day of, so get baking now!

 Cinnamon Sugar Pretzel Bites
Cinnamon Sugar Pretzel Bites (inspired by Cooking Classy and Cook Craft Love)
Here’s what you need for the pretzels:
  • 2¼ tsp active yeast
  • 1¼ cups warm milk
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 3 cups flour, plus up to 1/4 more for sprinkling/working the dough
  • ¼ cup baking soda

For the coating:

  • 6 Tablespoons butter, melted
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 Tbs cinnamon
For the Dipping Sauce
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 3 Tbs butter
  • 1 Tbs half & half
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
Here’s what you do:
  1. Combine warm milk, add honey and yeast in a mixing bowl. Whisk together and let rest for about 10 minutes until the mixture starts to get bubbly.
  2. Add flour to mixing bowl and mix with dough hook attachment until combined. Once the dough has combined, continue to knead on low until the dough is smooth, about 5 minutes. Dough should be soft and somewhat sticky.  Cover dough with plastic wrap and allow to rest in a warm or room temperature environment for 1 1/2 hours or until nearly doubled in size.
  3. Fill a 4 qt pot with water and bring to a boil and preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Remove dough from bowl and place on a lightly floured surface. Shape dough into a ball. Cut the ball into 4 quarters and roll each quarter into a log about 16-18 inches inches long. Cut each log into about 3/4 in-1 inch bite-sized pieces.
  4. Slowly add baking soda to water about one Tablespoon at a time – don’t add it all at once or you may boil over. Place about 8 dough balls into boiling water at a time and boil for 30 seconds. Remove dough from boiling water and place on a plate lined with a paper towel to dry. Do this until all pretzel bites are boiled
  5. Line a cookie sheet with parchment or other nonstick paper and add bites to cookie sheet, evenly spaced.
  6. Bake at 450 degrees for 9-10 minutes or until brown.
  7. While the dough is cooking, feel free to make the dip. Cream together cream cheese, butter, half and half and powdered sugar until dip reaches your desired thickness.
  8. Remove bites from oven and allow to cool for 8-10 minutes. After cooled somewhat, dip the bites into melted butter and roll in the cinnamon/sugar mixture. Enjoy with the dip!
 Cinnamon Sugar Pretzel Bites and cream cheese dipping sauce

Fresh Cherry and Double Chocolate Almond Scones

Do you like fruit? I love fruit. Fresh, juicy fruit is something I crave pretty much year-round. When I was pregnant last year, I couldn’t get enough fruit. And now, FW is a fruit fiend. He’ll eat pretty much any fruit!

This time of year especially, I can’t get enough stone fruit. Nectarines. Peaches. Cherries. So, when Northwest Cherries reached out and asked if I’d like to try some of their cherries, I of course said yes.

The Northwest U.S. is actually known for seven varieties of cherries, including Bing cherries, the most popular cherry in North America, and Rainiers. You can typically spot the sweet cherries by their darker red skins – in general, the darker, the sweeter.

So, while I’ve been enjoying eating cherries by the handful (and spitting out the seeds … so ladylike), I’ve also been enjoying testing out different recipes using my delicious bounty. In addition to making these cherry pie bars, I have also been dabbling in the scone game (or should I say Game of Scones? #nerdhumor).

These scones are a great way to use some fresh cherries, but also just great in general. The combination of cherry and almond is great, and the dark and white chocolate picks up on the cherries’ sweetness.

The only part about this recipe I don’t like? Chopping and seeding the cherries. But, if you can get past that, then I highly recommend you make these.

Luckily, B decided that he doesn’t mind chopping and seeding cherries, so I see more cherry recipes in my future. If you don’t have yourself a B to chop the cherries, I suggest you wear clothes you don’t care about and be prepared to have deep red cherry hands for a little while!

Fresh Cherry and Double Chocolate Almond Scones

Makes about 12 scones

Here’s what you need:

  • 3 1/4 cups flour
  • 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cups cold butter, sliced into pieces
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 cup of your favorite chocolate chopped up or chips – I used 1/2 cup semisweet and 1/2 cup of white chocolate chunks
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh cherries, pitted and chopped

Here’s what you do:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and powder. Using your fingers or a fork, cut in butter until the batter resembles coarse crumbs.
  3. Add in coconut milk and almond extract. Combine until batter is wet and sticky.
  4. Fold in cherries and chocolate. Combine with a spatula or spoon until dough is evenly mixed.
  5. Divide dough in half and pat down into two even circles about 1 inch high.  Cut into 6 triangles.
  6. Bake on an oven sheet lined with foil or parchment paper for 12-14 minutes. Enjoy!

Some questions for you:

  • What’s your favorite fruit?
  • Do you like fruit desserts?

Disclosure: Northwest Cherries provided me some cherries to sample. All reviews and opinions are my own.

Homemade Gingersnaps

I know, I know. When was the last time I posted a recipe?! This blog used to be all about recipes – but suddenly it’s become about eating, weekends, relaxing, being a mom and running. In all honesty, I haven’t had much time to bake lately. And when I do find time to bake, finding time to write down the recipe is waaaay last on my list.

BUT when I made these gingersnaps, I knew I had to share them. They were easy and so perfect to make now – right before the holidays – and any time of year! They’re quick to make, make enough to share (mine made about 33) and the best part – they taste great! I’d never tried to make gingersnaps before because I know I can always buy them if I want; but I highly recommend you make these. I’m so excited to bake them again and try different add-ins next time – candied ginger, dried cranberries, etc.

homemade-gingersnaps-cookies-recipe

Homemade Gingersnaps

Here’s what you need:

  • 3/4 cup shortening
  • 1 cup granulated sugar, plus 3 Tablespoons for rolling
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tablespoons molasses
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

Here’s what you do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a baking sheet. (Or use a nonstick surface, I like to use my silat and they don’t need greasing)
  2. In a small bowl, combine flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, cream shortening and 1 c. sugar. Add in egg, molasses and honey and continue to mix until combined.
  4. Slowly add in flour mixture to sugar mixture.
  5. Roll dough into small, Tablespoon-ish size balls. Dip balls into the 3 Tbs. granulated sugar and place onto baking sheet. Bake until light brown, 12-14 minutes. Cool completely on wire rack.
  6. Enjoy! Makes about 30-36 cookies.

homemade gingersnaps cookies

Some questions for you:

  • Are you a ginger fan? Yes! I love everything ginger. ginger tea. pickled ginger. gingersnaps. gingerbread. ginger candy. yum yum yum!
  • What’s on your holiday baking list?

Energy Balls – a.k.a. Boobie Balls

One of the things I’ve noticed as a breastfeeding mom is that some days I am ravenous. Some days I need two breakfasts. Other days I’m not hungry until 10 but then I need two (or three) snacks!

While I’m not yet actively trying to lose weight (in case you couldn’t tell by my double the ice cream day What I Ate Wednesday post), I am trying to make healthy-ish choices sometimes – for me AND for FW. So I’m so glad to have found these delicious energy balls.

I’d had energy balls like these before becoming pregnant (they’re good for everyone! not just breastfeeding moms!), and Anson had made me some when she and her daughter came over to visit FW and I. But these are a little different. Why? They have ingredients that are supposedly good for breastfeeding – Brewer’s yeast, oats, flaxseed. And yes, these are supposedly good for non-breastfeeders, so feel free to make them, share them with your BF friends and eat some yourself! I’ve been known to share some with B as well:)

energy balls - boobie balls - breastfeeding snacks

Energy Balls – a.k.a. Boobie Balls

Slightly updated from here  

Here’s what you need:

  • 2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal
  • 1 cup peanut butter or other nut butter (I like Once Again almond butter or Peanut Butter & Co crunchy peanut butter– I’ve also made with creamy peanut butter and it’s just as good!) (NOTE: the quantity of peanut butter you use will depend on the type/consistency. The more runny the peanut butter – like in many natural kinds – the less likely you’ll need a full cup because it’s so wet. The more dry the peanut butter – as is with a low fat kinda like low fat JIF – you may need more)
  • 1 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1.5 cups shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup of honey
  • 1 Tablespoon Brewer’s yeast (I buy my Brewer’s yeast from Swanson Health* online)
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla
  • Optional: 1 cup add-ins – a mixture of chocolate chips, dried fruit, etc. I like craisins and/or chocolate chips, white chocolate chips or mini m&ms

20160819_133252

Here’s what you do:

  1. Combine peanut butter, honey, and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix on medium low. (NOTE – I’ve also done this by hand with a large spoon)
  2. Add in the dry ingredients: oatmeal, coconut, Brewer’s yeast, flaxseed and any adding (I added 1 cup chocolate chips).
  3. Roll into small balls, about 1-inch thick. Store covered in the refrigerator and enjoy!

20160819_135053

*Disclosure: I was not compensated for this post, but some of the products mentioned were provided to me by Swanson Health. My views and comments are solely my own and do not represent those of Swanson

Peanut Butter Coconut Flour Banana Bread

Some blogkeeping- there is still one more day to enter the Cleveland Marathon race entry giveaway!

My friend Cuoghi is allergic to coconut. Can you imagine being allergic to coconut? I LOVE it so much and cant imagine not being able to experience all the gloriousness that is coconut. Coconut flakes. Special K cookies. Almond Joys. Coconut ice cream. Coconut oil. Fresh coconut right from the tree!

mekong delta trip in vietnam

You get the picture. BUT up until recently I had never tried coconut flour. It intrigued me but I was intimidated. I knew you couldn’t use it as a replacement for traditional flour in a 1:1 ratio, but was really eager to try it out. Thank goodness the first recipe I tried came out GREAT. Here is a recipe for peanut butter coconut flour banana bread. The texture of this bread reminds me of bread pudding or pastel de elote – it’s really moist (Favorite word!) and not really quick-bread like but still so so so good. I’ll definitely be making this again!

Peanut Butter Coconut Flour Banana Bread

Peanut Butter Coconut Flour Banana Bread

modified from Ambitious Kitchen’s paleo banana bread recipe. This is not paleo-sorry;)

Here’s what you need:

  • 3-4 medium ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup natural peanut butter*
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour*
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter chips

Here’s what you do:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a small bowl, combine coconut flour, baking soda and baking powder. Set aside.
  3. Combine bananas, sugar, vanilla and peanut butter with an electric mixer and mix until smooth. Add in eggs and mix until combined.
  4. Add in coconut flour mixture; mix until just combined – do not over mix.
  5. Pour batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle peanut butter chips on top.
  6. Bake for 45-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into middle of pan comes out clean.
  7. Cool completely before cutting. Texture will be somewhat mushy – not undercooked but more like a bread-pudding texture. Enjoy!

Peanut Butter Coconut Flour Banana Bread-icrashedtheweb

*Disclosure: I was not compensated for this post, but some of the product (nut butter, coconut flour) was provided to me by Swanson Health. My views and comments are solely my own and do not represent those of Swanson.

Some questions for you:

  • Now that I have all this coconut flour – what should I make with it?
  • Do you like coconut?