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My name is Lisa and I'm a crafty girl with wanderlust working as an engineer by day. My blog chronicles projects in my home as well as pictures and stories from my travels.

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Entries in Dessert (14)

Saturday
Oct312015

No Bake Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes

Happy Halloween! To celebrate I thought that I would share my recipe for no bake mini pumpkin cheesecakes. They are easy to make plus they are delicious. I made a batch to bring in for my co-workers yesterday and they were a big hit.

Ingredients
- 1-1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 1/3 cup butter
- 3/4 cup brown sugar, divided
- 3/4 tsp. cinnamon, divided
- 1 package (8oz) cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup pumpkin purée
- 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp. ginger
- 1/8 tsp. cloves
- 1 pint whipping cream
- whole pecans (optional for garnish)

Graham Cracker Crust
- Use food processor or rolling pin to create fine graham cracker crumbs
- Melt butter and pour into bowl with graham cracker crumbs, 1/4 cup brown sugar and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- Mix up ingredients with a fork and measure out equally into small dishes
- Press crust into the bottom of small dishes to form bottom crust

Pumpkin Cheesecake Filling
- Mix together cream cheese, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves
- In a separate bowl, whip the whipping cream to stiff peaks and then gently fold it into the pumpkin mixture and top with a pecan for garnish
- Spoon pumpkin cheesecake filling on top of crusts and refrigerate for at least three hours before serving

Tips and Tricks
- You can use canned pumpkin puree, but I prefer to make my own from sugar pumpkins
- For reference I used 2oz square dessert cups for my mini cheesecakes

Monday
Jun152015

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Summertime means fresh fruit is in season which obviously means it is time to make pie. One of my favorites is the classic strawberry rhubarb pie. It is my grandfather's favorite and I grew up loving to eat it with him as a special treat.

Ingredients List
- 3 cups rhubarb, cut into 1/2" cubes
- 3 cups strawberries, sliced
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 Tbsp. corn starch
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 large egg, separated
- 1 teaspoon water
- Large granule sugar (optional)
- Double pie crust pastry

Directions
- Cut the rhubarb and place it in a bowl with the strawberries
- In a separate small bowl stir together the sugar, corn starch, cinnamon and salt
- Pour sugar mixture over rhubarb and strawberries, tossing filling to coat the fruit
- Roll out half of the pastry and line the bottom of a pie plate with it, trimming off excess
- Roll out remaining half of the pastry
- Add filling to the pie plate and then top with pastry using lattice crust or other vented style top
- Whisk egg white and water together to make egg wash glaze
- Brush glaze on pie and sprinkle with large granule sugar if you like
- Bake for 20 minutes at 425° F, turn heat down to 350° F and back another 35-40 minutes until the crust is golden and the filling is bubbling

Tips and Tricks
- I make my own crust but you can also use store bought
- To make your pastry easier to deal with, keep it in the refrigerator until you are rolling it out
- To prevent your crust from browning too much, wrap it in tin foil for the first 20 minutes of baking

If you are interested, check out my apple pie recipe, my mixed berry pie recipe, my blackberry rhubarb pie recipe and my recipe for making pie crust from scratch

 

Tuesday
Mar172015

Mint Oreo Truffles for St. Patrick's Day

Happy St. Patrick's Day! I wanted to make some St. Patrick's Day treats to bring into work for my co-workers today but I had a TV conference for work last night so I didn't get home until after eight. Since I had no intention of staying up too late I had to make something on the simple side so I decided to make some mint oreo truffles which don't require any baking. 

Ingredients List
- 1 package of mint oreos (30 oreos)
- 6 oz. cream cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon mint extract
-
Dark Green and Vibrant Green Candy Melts
- Green sprinkles and non-pareils

Directions
Pulse oreos in food processor until they are finely ground.

Add cream cheese and mint extract to oreos and pulse food processor until mixture is fully combined. Form mixture into equal size size balls, place on a a tray covered in parchment paper and place in the freezer for at least one hour.

Place candy melts into a small microwave proof bowls or glasses that are tall enough to dip one of the truffles into it. Microwave them for 60 seconds and then stir. If some lumps still remain microwave another 30 seconds and then stir until smooth. Dip truffles into the melted candy and then place back on parchment paper. 

While the candy coating is still wet add sprinkles for a festive touch. Once the candy coating has cooled and hardened you can stack the truffles on a serving plate or package them in treat bags.

Tips and Tricks
- To make even sized balls I used a small ice cream scoop to measure out equal amounts of oreo mixture.
- If the mixture is too soft or sticky to shape into balls, place it in the refrigerator for a few minutes.
- If your melted candy starts to cool making dipping difficult, just put the bowl back in the microwave for a few seconds until it is smooth again.
Wednesday
Nov052014

Caramel Apple Cupcakes

Last week my department at work had its annual chili cook-off competition. I didn't enter a chili but I decided to make some cupcakes to share. Last year I made chocolate chili cupcakes and wanted to make something different this time. Fall is in full swing here so I decided to make caramel apple cupcakes.

To make the apple cupcakes I adapted Paula Deen's apple cake recipe to my preferences, like swapping out walnuts for pecans and increasing the amount of cinnamon. I also exchanged the vegetable oil for some of my homemade applesauce which is healthier and makes the cake really moist.

Cupcake Ingredients
3 cups diced cooking apples
1 cup chopped pecans
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon cinnamon
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
1-1/4 cups applesauce
3 eggs

Cupcake Directions
Preheat the oven to 325 F and prepare muffin pans with cupcake liners. Mix together apples, pecans, vanilla and cinnamon in a bowl.


In a second bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda and salt. With an electric mixer beat together the sugar, applesauce and eggs.


Add the dry ingredients to applesauce mixture and beat until fully combined. Fold the apple mixture into batter with a spatula or spoon.

Fill the cupcake liners 3/4 full and bake until toothpick inserted into the middle of a cupcake comes out clean, about 40 minutes.

To add a caramel component to the cupcakes I made Wilton's caramel buttercream icing and iced the cupcakes with a large star decorating tip.

The cupcakes are a great fall treat and were a big hit with my department. I am definitely planning to add this to my autumn rotation of baking treats.

Monday
Aug252014

S'mores Pudding Dessert Cups

Yesterday my group from work got together to have a barbecue. I signed up for making a dessert, however my oven just broke and we don't have a repair technician coming out for a week so I needed to make something that used just my cooktop. Making a pudding seemed like an obvious choice and I though s'mores would be good for a barbecue. Making s'mores inspired pudding is nothing new, but I decided to make my own version using my favorite graham cracker crust and chocolate pudding recipes. 

Ingredients
- 1-1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 1/2 cup butter (1 stick), divided
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 3/4 tsp. cinnamon, divided
- 1/4 cup cocoa
- 2 cups sugar, divided
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 3 Tbsp. cornstarch
- 2-1/4 cups milk
- 3 tsp. vanilla, divided
- 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
- 2 egg whites, room temperature
- 1 Tbsp. light corn syrup
- water 

Graham Cracker Crust
- Use food processor or rolling pin to create fine graham cracker crumbs
- Melt 1/3 cup of butter and pour into bowl with graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- Mix up ingredients with a fork and measure out equally into 24 dishes, about 1 Tablespoon each
- Press crust into the bottom of each dish to form bottom crust and refrigerate 

Chocolate Pudding
- Mix together cocoa, salt, cornstarch with 2/3 cup sugar and 1/2 tsp. cinnamon in a saucepan or small pot
- Gradually whisk in milk
- Over medium heat, continuously whisk mixture until it begins boiling
- After whisking for one minute while boiling, remove from heat and stir in remaining butter (2-2/3 Tbsp) and 2 tsp. vanilla
- Evenly divide pudding among the 24 dishes and return dishes to refrigerator 


Marshmallow Fluff Topping
I included the ingredients for the marshmallow fluff topping in the list above for ease of shopping and gathering ingredients, since I used a marshmallow frosting recipe that I found online, I will let people click over for the directions. It was very delicious, however I found the consistency quite soft, so I am more inclined to classify it as a marshmallow fluff instead of frosting. After letting it cool down a bit I piped the topping over the pudding with a large swirl.

To garnish the dessert cups I used some Hershey's miniatures with pieces of graham crackers. To get clean cuts of graham crackers I have found that using a serrated knife works the best.

I think the s'mores pudding dessert cups turned out well and they were really delicious. Definitely a fun treat for a party!

Friday
Feb142014

Candy Dipped Oreos for Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day! This year I wanted to make a little treat for the people in my department at work for Valentine's Day so I made these candy dipped Oreos to bring in to work today.

To start you will need Oreos, candy melts, sprinkles and wax paper. Lay out some sheets of wax paper and place candy melts into a small microwave proof bowls.

Microwave them for 60 seconds and then stir. If some lumps still remain microwave another 30 seconds and then stir until smooth. Dip Oreos halfway into the melted candy and then place on to wax paper. 

While the candy coating is still wet add sprinkles for a festive touch. Once the candy coating has cooled and hardened you can stack the Oreos on a serving plate or package them in treat bags.

If your melted candy starts to cool making dipping difficult, just put the bowl back in the microwave for a few seconds until it is smooth again.

These have been a favorite festive little treat to make for me since I was back in undergrad fifteen years ago. You can customize them for any holiday or occasion by the colors of sprinkles and candy melts that you use plus they are super quick and easy to make.

If you are interested check out some of my other Valentine's Day related posts: Valentine's Day Mini Heart Cupcakes and Celebrating Valentine's Day (and White Day) in Japan

Saturday
Nov092013

Chocolate Chili Cupcakes

Yesterday was the annual chili cook off in my department at work. I just moved into the department this past summer so this was my first year participating. I didn't prepare a chili for the competition but I did want to contribute a dessert so I thought that making some chocolate chili cupcakes would be perfect.

To make the cupcakes I adapted my go-to one bowl chocolate cupcake recipe from Good Housekeeping's Illustrated Cookbook. I've had that cookbook since I was in high school and I still love it as a reference for basic recipes.

I started off by omitting the vanilla from the recipe and then added ancho chili pepper powder, cinnamon and mini chocolate chips. After baking I finished the cupcakes by topping them with whipped chocolate ganache and some red dragees for a little fun.

I think that the cupcakes turned out great with the extra little kick. Some of my co-workers were a little hesitant about them when I told them about the chili powder but in the end they were a big hit with everyone.

Ingredients
2 cups flour
1-3/4 cups sugar
3/4 cups unsweetened cocoa
1-1/4 cups milk
3/4 cups butter
3 eggs
1 tablespoon ancho chili pepper powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1-1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon double-acting baking powder
1 cup mini chocolate chips (optional) 

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
Beat together all ingredients except chocolate chips in a mixer at low speed until well mixed

Gently fold chocolate chips into the batter

Line two twelve cavity muffin tins with liners and fill halfway with batter
Bake for 20 minutes or until inserted toothpick in center of a cupcake comes out clean 

Let cupcakes cool and then ice with chocolate ganache or buttercream icing

Enjoy!

Wednesday
May152013

Blackberry Rhubarb Pie

I love just love rhubarb and found some beautiful stalks at the grocery so I decided to pair it with some blackberries to make a pie for Mother's Day. Rhubarb is pretty tart so I added a good bit of sugar to offset it in the pie filling. I think that the rhubarb and blackberries made a great combination and it was a big hit with everyone at Mother's Day dinner.

Ingredients List
- 3 cups rhubarb, cut into 1/2" cubes
- 3 cups blackberries
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 Tbsp. corn starch
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- Double pie crust pastry

Directions
- Cut the rhubarb and place it in a bowl with the blackberries
- In a separate small bowl stir together the sugar, corn starch and salt
- Pour sugar mixture over rhubarb and blackberries, tossing filling to coat the fruit
- Roll out half of the pastry and line the bottom of a pie plate with it, trimming off excess
- Roll out remaining half of the pastry
- Add filling to the pie plate and then top with pastry using lattice crust or other vented style top
- Bake for 20 minutes at 425° F, turn heat down to 350° F and back another 35-40 minutes until the crust is golden and the filling is bubbling 

Since I was making this pie for Mother's Day I decided to used a heart shaped cookie cutter to cut vents in my top crust before putting on top of my pie. For the edges I simply pinched the two crusts together.

Tips and Tricks
- I make my own crust but you can also use store bought
- To make your pastry easier to deal with, keep it in the refrigerator until you are rolling it out
- To prevent your crust from browning too much, wrap it in tin foil for the first 20 minutes of baking

If you are interested, check out my apple pie recipe, my mixed berry pie recipe, and my recipe for making pie crust from scratch

Thursday
Dec062012

Pie Crust From Scratch

It is no secret that I love pie. I'll use just about any excuse I can to make (and eat!) one. For me, one of the secrets of a good pie is having a good, homemade crust. Making a crust from scratch may seem difficult but it is actually quite quick and easy. Here is a simple pastry recipe for a two crust pie.

Ingredients List
- 2 cups flour
- 1 tsp. salt
- 3/4 cup butter, chilled and cut into pats
- 5-6 Tbsp. cold water

Pastry Directions
- Stir together flour and salt in a bowl
- Cut in butter with a pastry blender until the mixture becomes coarse crumbs
- Sprinkle in the water a little at a time, mixing the the dough lightly with a fork after each addition
- Form dough into a ball with your hands, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least half an hour 

Rolling Out Directions
- Divide dough into half, form into a flat disc and place on a lightly floured surface
- With a rolling pin, roll out the dough in a circle until it is 1/8" thick and about 2" larger than your pie plate
- Roll half of the circle onto your rolling pin to transfer the pastry to the pie plate
- Gently lay the bottom half of the circle on the pie plate and roll the rest over the plate
- Trim excess crust 

Tips and Tricks
- For success both your butter and your water must be very cold
- If you don't know how to use a pastry blender, you just hold the bowl with one hand, and push the blender into the dough with the other, repeating until the mixture has become coarse crumbs
- If you do not have a pastry blender you can cut in the butter by using two knives in a scissor fashion (i.e. blades crossing each other like scissors to cut the butter up)
- Don't use too much water or over mix the dough- you want it to barely hold together
- Make sure to store the dough in the refrigerator until you use it as it is much easier to work with cold dough
- To limit how much flour I need to use to prevent sticking I like to roll my dough out on parchment paper
- If you make a mistake transferring the pastry to the pie plate just roll it out again 

If you are interested, check out how to make a lattice top or use cookie cutters with your pastry to decorate your crust.

Wednesday
Nov282012

Apple Pie

I just love apple pie. It is such an American classic and one of my favorites to make (and also to eat). You can usually get pretty nice apples almost all year round (unlike some other fruits) so this is a great pie to make from summer through early winter.

I've been making apple pie since my early teens and to me no summer picnic or Thanksgiving meal is complete without out one. Not only does it taste delicious but it also makes my home smell wonderful while it is baking.

Ingredients List
- 2 pounds apples: peeled, cored and cut into 1/4" slices
- 1 tsp. lemon juice
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
- Double pie crust pastry

Directions
- Prepare the apples (peel, core and cut) and place them in a bowl
- Add the lemon juice, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg and toss the apples in the mixture
- Roll out half of the pastry and line the bottom of a pie plate with it, trimming off excess
- Roll out remaining half of the pastry
- Add apples to the pie plate and then top with pastry using lattice crust or other vented style top
- Bake for 40-50 minutes at 425° F until the crust is golden and the filling is bubbling 

Tips and Tricks
- Using a variety of apples gives a nice flavor I think. For this particular pie I used Granny Smith and Raeburn but feel free to experiment, just avoid apples with a high water content.  
- I make my own crust (I'll share the recipe in another post) but you can also use store bought
- To make your pastry easier to deal with, keep it in the refrigerator until you are rolling it out
- To prevent your crust from browning too much, wrap it in tin foil for the first 25 minutes of baking