Archive for ‘fruity’

August 19th, 2013

cherry almond quickbread

cherry almond quick bread 1

This bread is too good. I-can-eat-the-whole-loaf-in-a-day-if-I’m-not-careful too good. Mmmm. And it is super simple to make!


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar (*You can make a sugar-free version of this too using a sugar baking substitute).
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried tart cherries
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 8 Tbs. (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 tsp. almond extract


  • Preheat an oven to 350°F. Lightly grease an 8-by-4-inch loaf pan.
  •  In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the cherries and toss to distribute evenly.
  •  In another bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, butter and almond extract. Add the milk mixture to the flour mixture and stir until combined. Do not overmix.
  •  Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until the top of the loaf is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 55 to 60 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes. Turn the loaf out onto the rack and let cool completely before serving*.  Makes 1 loaf (+ a baby mini loaf if you want it to, which I like making to “test taste”).
  • * This step is crucial to being able to slice the loaf. I know it is SO HARD TO WAIT. This is where your mini loaf can come in handy 0 eat it while you are waiting on the big loaf to cool!

cherry almond quick bread

I stumbled across the recipe in a Williams Sonoma product catalogue of all places! Just another reason to love WS. I’ve now made this bread no less than 6 times (I even made sugar-free versions for a friend and she loved it so much!) and now I keep dried cherries in my pantry at all times. You know. Just in case I need to make a loaf.

Don’t laugh.

Make it once and you’ll be won over. I promise!

March 22nd, 2013

no bake strawberry cheesecake with golden oreo crust

no bake strawberry shortcakes

I found this recipe on facebook via this girl and I immediately knew I was going to make these.

As if I needed an excuse to make cheesecake!

Cheesecake. The one lactose-ridden enemy of my digestive system.

The one I can never resist.


The hardest part of this recipe was the WAITING.


  • 12 Golden Oreo cookies, crushed into fine crumbs (some larger chunks are ok too – it just won’t press as well into the bottom of the cups).
  • 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1.5 cup diced strawberries
  • 8 oz 1/3 less fat cream cheese, room temperature
  • 8 oz tub of frozen whipped topping, thawed
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • In a small bowl, mix Oreo crumbs and melted butter until crumbs are well moistened. Divide crumb mixture evenly among 6 serving cups and press into the bottom to form a crust layer.
  • In a small glass bowl, combine strawberries and sugar, coating the strawberries well. Allow mixture to sit for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, mash strawberries with a fork.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, add softened cream cheese and beat on medium until smooth and fluffy. With the mixer on low, carefully add the strawberry mixture and vanilla extract. Slowly increase speed of mixer to medium and beat until the strawberries are well incorporated.
  • Using a spatula, gently fold whipped topping into cream cheese mixture by hand.
  • Evenly spoon or pipe mixture into prepared serving cups. Refrigerate cheesecakes for at least 2 hours or overnight.
  • If desired, serve with additional whipped topping and small chocolate covered strawberries.

strawberry no bake cheesecakes 1

I might have eaten 2 of them. Possibly 3.

But I did share with hubs and our son’s babysitter.

Because sharing is caring. 

And because when you make something this good, how can you not share?

August 13th, 2012

dried cherry almond scones

I love cherries – dried or fresh, the tartness with the sweetness makes them a perfect fruit in my opinion.

I discovered dried cherries a few years ago, though I had only every really enjoyed them in my homemade trail mix or just by the handful when traveling. This scone recipe is super simple, it takes about 30 minutes – which is exactly the kind of baking I love: instant gratification baking!

dried cherry almond scones

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 12 scones


  • 2 c. flour
  • 1/3 + 3 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/3 c. chilled butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 c. + 3 Tbsp whipping cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 1 c. dried cherries
  • egg wash 1 egg + 1 tsp water, beaten
  • raw sugar for sprinking
  • sliced almonds for decorating

Cooking Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325F.
  2. In a food processor, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add in butter pieces and pulse until well incorporated. Pour into medium bowl.
  3. In a small bowl combine 1 egg, whipping cream, vanilla extract, and almond extract. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix just until moistened. Add cherries; mixture should be sticky.
  4. Turn onto floured surface and knead 4 to 5 times with floured hands, make sure all cherries are well incorporated. Pat out into TWO 1/2" thick circle shapes and use a knife to make 3 diagonal cuts (like cutting a pizza pie) to get 6 triangles out of each circle (this will yield 12 scones total). Brush triangle tops with egg wash, sprinkle with raw sugar and top with sliced almonds.
  5. Place on a greased baking sheet and bake for 15-18 minutes, until bottom edges appear golden.
  6. Remove and allow to cool 5 minutes before transfering to a cooling rack.

I found this recipe on Food Network’s site, it originally came from Blacksmith Inn in Wisconsin.  I added a little extra whipping cream than the original recipe called for and I used a food processor to bring the dry ingredients together rather than how the original recipe directs.  I also think these would be tasty made with orange zest and cranberries, or even lemon zest and blueberries – there is lots of room for creativity!

The scones turned out great – not overly sweet and the cherries offer just the perfect compliment of tart fruitness that you can enjoy these any time of day…and trust me, I’ve had them at all hours of the day since I made them!

January 13th, 2012

blackberry muffins with lemon zest

I’ve been having bakers withdrawl since hubs has been fasting from sweets… who else am I going to pawn all my goodies off to if not the hubs? Usually he has his fair share and takes the leftovers to work, but he has been gone so the oven has been cold and my pans and mixing bowls have been quite sedentary.  Until last night.

Often I peruse food websites late at night because I’m a glutton for punishment. I love drooling over beautiful pics of food at midnight, wishing the cheese stick or cookie I am nibbling on would taste half as good.  Sometimes I jump up and turn on the oven and othertimes I just continue to dream. While perusing this week I came across this recipe on Williams Sonoma for blackberry muffins and I just knew I had to try it! For one, it’s not an overtly sweet recipe and for 2, we have (had) frozen blackberries in the freezer!

sugar pecan crumble topping


  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3 Tbsp all purpose flour
  • zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup pecans, finely chopped

Cooking Directions

  1. in a small bowl, stir together the sugar, flour and lemon zest. Stir in the melted butter until the mixture is crumbly. Add the pecans and stir to combine. Set aside.

blackberry muffins

Yield: 12 muffins


  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • zest from 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 5 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 cups fresh blackberries (or 2-1/2 cups frozen unsweetened blackberries)

Cooking Directions

  1. Preheat an oven to 375°F. Grease 12 standard muffin cups with butter or butter-flavored nonstick cooking spray.
  2. in a bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, lemon zest and salt. Make a well in the center and add the egg, melted butter and buttermilk. Stir just until evenly moistened. The batter will be slightly lumpy. Sprinkle with the blackberries and gently fold in with a large rubber spatula just until evenly distributed, no more than a few strokes. Take care not to break up the fruit. Do not overmix.
  3. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling each to a bit above the rim of the cup. Top each muffin with the topping, dividing it evenly (the sugar will melt and produce a glaze effect).
  4. Bake until the muffins are golden, dry and springy to the touch, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes. Unmold the muffins. Serve warm or at room temperature, with butter.

I should probably take a cue that baking at night (and on a time limit – I was having a Skype date with the bestie) is probably not a practice I should take up regularly.

Apparently I have a hard time reading directions while under duress (I might be stretching it to say that being a few minutes late to my Skype date qualifies as conditions of duress…).  The directions specifically state to add the sugary pecan topping to the muffins before baking them, not after.


No wonder I couldn’t get the topping to “melt” and form a glaze.

I was also annoyed at the mess it was making when the sugar failed to adhere to the muffin tops, so much so that I nuked it a few times in an effort to make it more syrupy…

I guess the bright side is that since most of it fell off, they were a tad healthier without the extra sugar!

I gave two to our maintenance man, two to our mail man, I ate two, and I sent the rest with hubs to work this morning. And it’s a good thing because another day in this house and I would have finished them off!