Fresh Fruit Tart

Last year my attempted fresh fruit tart was pretty good, but had to be chiseled out of my ceramic pan…not fun! That experience led me to the wonders of metal tart pans with removable bottoms – MIND BLOWN!

Bake challenge last week was fresh fruit. This recipe is one of the few of mine that calls for fresh fruit…maybe only the napoleon I made last year? Fresh fruit is so summer-y – nice and refreshing compared to hot fruit dishes.

The only baking here is the crust, which has browned butter in it. Have you ever used browned butter in a recipe? You are just lightly browning butter on the stove top. It really adds a different flavor – nutty? aromatic? My first batch burned beyond belief, as I walked away for just a minute to probably multitask. Watch that butter!

Original recipe called for lime juice and zest, and I only had lemons, so used those. Result was still fabulous! Next time I’ll test with limes instead.

The filling is marscapone cheese and melted white chocolate – YUM. I’m not a white-chocolate-by-itself fan, but dig it in combination with marscapone.

Feel free to try whatever tart pan you have for this bake. I particularly love and use this one!

This was better the next day, BTW. Perhaps not quite as pretty with a bit of fruit juice bleeding through the tart, but the flavors have a chance to meld together. Enjoy!

 

(This post may have affiliate links; if you purchase something through the link, you’ll help support my site – thank you!)

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Fresh Fruit Tart
A versatile seasonal fruit tart with a light and tangy filling.
fresh fruit tart marscapone white chocolate
Course Desserts
Servings
Ingredients
Crust
Tart
Course Desserts
Servings
Ingredients
Crust
Tart
fresh fruit tart marscapone white chocolate
Instructions
Crust
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Whisk flour, sugar, and salt together in a bowl.
  3. Brown your butter in a saucepan - melt over medium high heat and swirl the saucepan. Foaming will subside. Cook while scraping bottom of saucepan until your butter is a golden brown and has a great nutty smell. This will take less than 5 minutes - keep watching, as it burns easily! Remove from heat and add water - this will bubble vigorously but then calm down.
  4. Add browned butter to flour mixture and stir well. Let sit until cooled down, about 10 minutes.
  5. Using your fingers, press dough on bottom and sides of a tart pan. Original recipe calls for 9 inch round, but I used my long and skinny tart pan with no problems. Bake on a rimmed cookie sheet until lightly browned for 25 minutes or so. Let crust cool completely.
Tart Filling
  1. Over a double boiler, carefully melt white chocolate, cream, lemon juice, zest, and salt.
  2. Whisk in a small amount of marscapone and stir. Add the rest and stir until nice and smooth.
  3. Pour filling into tart pan and smooth into a nice layer.
  4. Add whatever cut fruit you have to filling, setting gently on top.
  5. Gently warm up the preserves with 1 tsp of lemon juice until runny, either on stove or microwave. Strain the preserves to get a very thin, liquid mixture.
  6. Carefully dab the preserve mixture over the fruit only.
  7. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes and enjoy!
Recipe Notes

Recipe adapted from Cooks Illustrated fresh fruit tart recipe from the July/August 2017 issue.

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Salted Caramel Apple Hand Pies

These salted caramel apple hand pies were DELICIOUS! Consider them a bit more work than just dumping apples in a crust, but I think its worth it.

BTW, if you need a look-no-further salted caramel sauce recipe, here it is. I’ve never made another version of this caramel, cuz it’s perfect already. It’s sweet, salty, and drippy, perfect for filling cupcakes, putting on brownies, or eating it by the spoonful. Not that I have experience in that last one, ahem.

This recipe is part of my Reddit bake challenge, said challenge being caramel this time.

Enjoy!

 

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Salted Caramel Apple Hand Pies
salted caramel hand pies
Course Desserts
Servings
pies
Ingredients
Pie dough
Caramel Apple Filling
Course Desserts
Servings
pies
Ingredients
Pie dough
Caramel Apple Filling
salted caramel hand pies
Instructions
Pie Dough
  1. Combine flour and salt in a bowl.
  2. Using a pastry cutter, your cold fingers, or 2 forks, add cubed butter to flour and salt. Work it until it's crumbly, with some pea- and bean-sized pieces of butter left.
  3. Using a fork, add ice water 1 tbsp at a time until it forms a ball. You may need a little more or less than 6 or 7 depending on the humidity.
  4. Wrap the ball in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.
Apple Filling
  1. Combine apples, lemon juice, sugar and cinnamon in a small saucepan.
  2. Cook and stir over medium heat for 2-3 minutes; you want them a bit softened, but definitely not squishy. They will finish cooking in the oven.
  3. Mix cornstarch and water together in a small cup and drizzle into apple mixture. Cook and stir an additional 2 minutes or so. The cornstarch will thicken up the juices.
  4. Set aside to cool for a 10 minutes or so.
Putting Pies Together
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place parchment paper on a rimmed cookie sheet and set aside.
  2. On a lightly flour surface, roll out your dough to about 12 inches in diameter, give or take.
  3. Using a 3 inch biscuit cutter or similar size, cut out circles and set on the parchment paper.
  4. You can re-roll out your dough as needed and cut more circles; I got 9 total from my ball of dough.
  5. Place roughly 1 tbsp apple mixture on one side of the circle and fold over. Drizzle about 1 tsp of salted caramel on top of apple mixture.
  6. Use a fork to press the edges together into half-moon shapes. They will pop open if you don't seal them well. Still yummy, but not quite as pretty πŸ˜‰
  7. Poke a single hole with a skewer in each pie, to let some juices escape.
  8. Brush top of each pie with the beaten egg.
  9. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, starting with 15. Check every few minutes for a beautiful, golden brown color.
  10. Let cool and drizzle more salted caramel on top.
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Copycat Hostess Cupcakes

I was never actually into the Hostess cupcakes that much as a kid. I was definitely more of a Nutty Buddy type. Wafers plus peanut butter plus fake chocolate tasted fabulous!

Now I prefer to bake stuff from scratch when I can, mainly because I like to know what’s in the food I’m eating and it’s weird that something can last for years on a shelf. Time for a copycat version that’s homemade!

This week’s Reddit bake challenge was childhood favorites. Hostess Cupcakes have been around quite a while and look really monochromatic and cool. My husband fondly remembers eating the rubbery chocolate layer off them first as a kid, so I’m going to assume these count as a childhood favorite πŸ™‚

The Basics

Your cupcake base is a FABULOUS chocolate cake recipe simply in cupcake form. I actually use this particular recipe for all my chocolate cakes because it’s so good. Don’t be afraid of the instant espresso; you won’t taste it and it just intensifies the chocolate flavor.

Each little cake is filled with a simple 7-minute frosting, cooked over the stove and whipped. The recipe for that is here. Save your leftovers after filling them, cuz you’ll need it to pipe the little swirly on the top to decorate. They aren’t the real deal without the swirl πŸ˜‰

They are all topped off with a 2-ingredient ganache. I used bittersweet chocolate chips, but I bet you’ll get an even more “authentic” flavor if you use semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips instead. Let them sit in the fridge for about 10 minutes to firm up the ganache, and pipe your curly-cues on top for the finishing touch with the leftover frosting.

(Weird measurements in the recipe are from scaling it for exactly 12 cupcakes; we definitely didn’t need 24 of these sitting around πŸ™‚

The finished product really does taste amazing, and we had exactly none leftover from the dozen we made. There’s something SO satisfying about whipping up something that’s typically made in a factory πŸ™‚

Enjoy!

 

 

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Copycat Hostess Cupcakes
A homemade twist on the classic childhood favorite!
copycat hostess chocolate cupcakes
Course Desserts
Servings
cupcakes
Ingredients
Chocolate Cupcakes
Ganache Topping
Course Desserts
Servings
cupcakes
Ingredients
Chocolate Cupcakes
Ganache Topping
copycat hostess chocolate cupcakes
Instructions
Chocolate Cupcake Recipe
  1. Preheat oven to 350 and line a muffin tin with 12 cupcake liners.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  3. In a large measuring cup, combine the milk, vegetable oil, vanilla, and 1 egg.
  4. Using a mixer, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until combined.
  5. Bring the 1/2 cup water to boil and add the espresso to it. Immediately add this to the batter and mix until combined. It will be thin and watery.
  6. Fill each cupcake liner with about 1/4 cup of batter.
  7. Bake about 18 minutes, until toothpick stuck in the center is mostly clean. Let cool in tin for 5 minutes, then remove and cool completely on a rack.
  8. When your cupcakes are cooled, get started on the 7-minute frosting. Recipe I used is up above in instructions, but any basic 7-minute frosting would be fine.
  9. If your cupcakes have a dome, use a serrated knife to shave a bit of the top off and level them. Now core out each cupcake for the filling. I just use a small metal veggie peeler and carve out of a little rough circle shape from the center of the cupcake. Fill with frosting.
Ganache Topping
  1. Place your chocolate in a small bowl and set aside.
  2. Bring your heavy cream just barely to a simmer and take off the heat.
  3. Pour heavy cream over chocolate and cover the small bowl with a lid. Set aside for 3 minutes to soften the chocolate.
  4. Using a whisk, gently mix the cream and chocolate together in one direction, not vigorously. It will eventually come together in a smooth, glossy, beautiful ganache.
  5. Let cool for a few minutes until firmed up just a bit for spreading over cupcakes. I used an offset spatula to spread it just to the edges; dunking the whole cupcake upside down in the ganache resulted in a mess, so I would avoid that way with this recipe πŸ™‚
  6. Put the ganache-covered cupcakes in the fridge for 10 minutes to firm up the ganache. Make the swirl on top using the leftover white frosting.
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Garlic Breadsticks

Some meals just lend themselves to a side of bread. A few that come to mind are spaghetti, your standard meat and potatoes meal, or a hearty bowl of soup. These garlic breadsticks are quick and easy enough to serve alongside any of those, or as an appetizer to dip in marinara sauce or a good olive oil.

Have you ever seen a fabulous bread recipe, but realize it takes 22.5 hours to make and it’s just not.going.to.happen? Especially if it happens to be a half-hour before my family wants to stuff some grub in their faces. Said recipe is then relegated to my “one day” pile, as in one day I’ll get to it when I have 22.5 spare hours. For most other days when I don’t have spare time, these breadsticks are my go-to for a soft, garlicky side. If you aren’t into (or don’t want!) lengthy kneading or a 2-hour rise time, you are in luck. These tasty morsels only require about 10 minutes to proof and you are good to go.

The picture shows them without cheese, but this recipe would lend itself well to a bit of improvisation. A sprinkle of parmesan cheese on top or other spices that suit your fancy would totally work.

If you have any left (unlikely), then just pop your cooled leftovers into a Ziploc baggie to warm up later. Like almost every bread product I’ve ingested, these are just tastier warm πŸ˜‰

Print Recipe
Garlic Breadsticks
A quick and easy garlic breadstick recipe. Great as a side dish for dinner or a yummy appetizer for dipping.
garlic breadsticks bread
Course Side Dish
Servings
sticks
Ingredients
Course Side Dish
Servings
sticks
Ingredients
garlic breadsticks bread
Instructions
  1. In a measuring cup, add the warm water, olive oil, sugar, and yeast. Lightly whisk together and leave to sit in a warm spot for 5 minutes or so.
  2. In a large bowl combine 2 cups of flour and salt. Using a mixer with a dough hook, add in your water/yeast. It will be a goopy mess, but add in the remaining flour until you have a nice smooth ball that doesn't stick to you. If you need to add in a sprinkle more, that's okay.
  3. Cover your bowl with plastic wrap and set in a warm spot for 10 minutes. You aren't looking for a doubling in size, just a bit puffed up.
  4. Preheat to 375 F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  5. Using a lightly floured surface, grab slightly larger than golfball-sized pieces of dough and use your hands to roll them into breadstick shapes, roughly 6 inches, but a little bigger is okay too. I get 12 from this recipe, but you could get more if you make them a little smaller. They will puff up in the oven, so keep them about 2 inches apart from each other.
  6. Melt half of your butter and brush over your sticks.
  7. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, depending on size, until lightly browned bottoms.
  8. While they are baking, melt remaining 3 tbsp butter.
  9. When breadsticks are done, immediately brush remaining butter on top and sprinkle your garlic salt and Italian seasoning on top. Serve warm.
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Lebkuchen (German Gingerbread Cookies)

Leb-a-who?? Lebkuchen, i.e. German gingerbread cookies. The baking theme this week (see https://www.reddit.com/r/52weeksofbaking/) was Germany.Β  I’ve always been interested in all thingsΒ Deutschland related. With 2 years of German language in high school and a love affair with marzipan, I am almost German, right??

I also happen to have a brand new sister-in-law from the UK that brought my attention to Lebkuchen. According to all-knowing Wikipedia:

Lebkuchen or Pfefferkuchen, is a traditional German baked Christmas treat, somewhat resembling gingerbread.

These lebkuchen are soft when they first come out, but quickly harden and become more crisp as they cool. Eating the cookies plain was a bit underwhelming to me, but the chocolate on top converted me πŸ™‚ There is a reason most pics of Lebkuchen are smothered in icing and it’s because they are definitely tastier πŸ™‚ Having something on top adds moisture that seeps into the cookies and softens them up nicely.

Enjoy!

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Lebkuchen (German Gingerbread Cookies)
Spiced German gingerbread cookies iced with either powdered sugar or bittersweet chocolate.
Lebkuchen German gingerbread cookies
Course Desserts
Cuisine German
Servings
cookies
Ingredients
Course Desserts
Cuisine German
Servings
cookies
Ingredients
Lebkuchen German gingerbread cookies
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Add the molasses and corn syrup to your melted butter and stir. Set aside.
  3. Mix your flour, brown sugar, spices, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.
  4. Add your butter mixture to your dry ingredients and mix well.
  5. Add your eggs one at a time and mix well after each addition.
  6. Using a cookie scoop or tablespoon, drop spoonfuls onto your cookie sheets, leaving about 2 inches between them for spreading.
  7. Bake 15 to 20 minutes. Cool on a rack before icing.
  8. To make your chocolate icing, melt your chocolate and coconut oil together either in the microwave or over a double boiler on low heat.
  9. Add your melted chocolate to a piping bag, snip the tip off, and pipe in a swirl fashion. Start from the inside and work your way out to the edge for half of the cookies.
  10. Decorate with almond slices while chocolate is still wet. You can also take a few almonds and drag them through the excess melted chocolate to set aside for later.
  11. To make your white icing, mix your powdered sugar with a few tablespoons of water to get a flowing icing consistency. Either add a bit more water or a bit more icing to get the thickness you want.
  12. Add your icing to a piping bag, snip the tip off, and pipe in a swirl fashion to the other half of your cookies.
  13. You can either add plain almond slices to the wet icing or use the chocolate dipped almond slices you made earlier for a nice black/white contrast.
Recipe Notes

Recipe inspired by Just Like Oma.

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Peanut Blossom Cookies

Peanut Blossoms need no introduction, right? The match made in Heaven that is chocolate and peanut butter. The horrifying thing is I actually lived a large portion of my life not knowing these existed. My world was forever changed when my cousin made some for Christmas and my eyes were opened πŸ˜‰

Now I have to make up for lost time by baking these babies periodically. I feel like I have it down to a science now, which means I’m either a genius or bake too much. I especially love this recipe here because it uses all butter for those who aren’t a fan of shortening.

Another epiphany (the only word I know that rhymes with Tiffany!) I had about these: bake time is everything. Really just a minute or 2 longer than needed and they’ll get hard and crispy, and my peanut blossoms must be soft!

You will notice in my pic that I used three mini Hershey Kisses instead of one big one. I found those on sale (hence using them instead) but have made them before with regular sized Hershey Kisses, and you know what? The tiny ones are better! You get THREE bites of chocolate in your cookie instead of one, which sounds like a no-brainer to me.

Enjoy!

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Peanut Blossom Cookies
A soft peanut butter cookie topped with miniature Hershey Kisses.
peanut butter blossom cookies
Course Desserts
Servings
cookies
Ingredients
Course Desserts
Servings
cookies
Ingredients
peanut butter blossom cookies
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F and place parchment paper on your cookie sheets.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together your butter, both sugars, and peanut butter.
  3. When smooth, beat in your egg and add the milk and vanilla.
  4. Sift your flour, baking soda, and salt directly over your bowl of batter.
  5. Use your mixer to blend it all together, making a nice soft dough.
  6. Using a cookie scoop or small spoon, shape the dough roughly a little smaller than a golf ball and roll each one in the 1/3 cup white sugar. Place cookies about 2 inches apart on the baking sheet.
  7. I bake these for exactly 10 minutes in my oven. You want a nice puffed up and crackly surface that is lightly browned.
  8. Take them out and immediately press 3 mini Hershey Kisses on top; if you wait too long, your kisses won't stick very well in the cookie.
  9. Remove from cookie sheet and set aside to cool on a wire rack. Attempt to avoid eating right away and most likely fail.
Recipe Notes

You could also use regular sized Hershey Kisses or even a few chocolate chips clustered together on top if that is what you have available.

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