Vanilla Cream Fruit Tart

Recipe from: Taste of Home

This is such a pretty dessert! I can’t have it because it isn’t gluten free, but I eat it with my eyes. A fun dish for company.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 c. butter, softened
  • 1/2 c. confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 (10 oz) pkg. vanilla chips
  • 1/4 c. whipping cream
  • 1 pkg cream cheese, softened
  • 1 pint fresh strawberries
  • 1 c. fresh blueberries
  • 1 c. fresh raspberries
  • 1/4 c. sugar
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tbsp. cornstarch

Directions:

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Cream the butter and confectioner’s sugar, then add flour and beat until crumbly. Press into a greased 12-in. pizza pan and bake for 25 minutes or so. Meanwhile, melt the vanilla chips over a double boiler (you could use a microwave, we just don’t have one). Allow the melted chips to cool, then whip them, first with the cream, then with the cream cheese, until smooth.

When the crust is cooled, spread this cream mixture onto it. Refrigerate 30 minutes. Meanwhile, slice your strawberries. Next, squeeze the juice of half of a lemon through a strainer and pour into a small saucepan. Add the cornstarch and 1/4 cup of sugar (although, this recipe tends to be overly sweet, so I would experiment with smaller quantities of sugar). Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat until the sugar completely dissolves and it thickens slightly, about two minutes.

When the pizza crust is chilled, remove it from the refrigerator and decorate with the fresh berries. Then, using a pastry brush, spread a thin layer of the glaze over the fruit. You want just enough to make the fruit glisten prettily, but no more, or it will be very rich.

Bon apetit!

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Homemade Girl Scout Cookies

Recipe from: Baking Bites

I can easily whip up a batch of cupcakes and treat it purely as edible art, not even feeling tempted to try it. But when I made these, I was drooling. I wanted to bite into one So. Bad.

Samoas always were my favorite girl scout cookie variety. These ones were discovered on pinterest and I knew I had to try them. I have, and while some of my guinea pigs thought they tasted very close to real samoas and some didn’t, I think they all agreed the results were yummy. You should try them.

(Recipe found by following the link to Baking Bites beneath the photo.)

Pretty Little Picnic

My sister spent her 20th birthday at this beautiful oasis of a park someone recommended to us. I’ve lived in Tucson seventeen years and never had any idea this place existed! While not exactly lush, it boasted two very un-desertlike features I couldn’t stop drinking in–abundant shade from the many palm trees, and a large and glossy lake. It was the ideal spot for a real, old-fashioned picnic like I’d been longing to have for forever. It was wonderful. Our spread included blueberry iced tea, turkey tea sandwiches, spinach and swiss quiche, and strawberry scones with whipped cream and fresh berries. This last one is the recipe I’m going to share today.

Recipe from: The Gibson Girls. Some one of them or other shared this recipe years ago on this old forum (back when I actually ate scones that weren’t gf), and I decided it was the definitive scone recipe. For our picnic I spruced it up by adding strawberry chunks and cropping the dough with a biscuit cutter.

Simple Scones

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 stick of butter, frozen
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 large egg

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the dry ingredients. Using a cheese grater, grate the frozen butter into the flour mixture and combine with your hands until a coarse meal forms. (You want there to be some chunks of frozen butter left unincorporated.) Stir in some chopped frozen strawberry pieces, about 3/4-1 cup worth. (Be careful chopping the strawberries–knife accidents are easy with hard little rocklike berries.) Finally, stir in the egg and sour cream, then just dig in with your hands until completely combined and a soft, sticky dough forms. Drop this damp dough wad onto a lightly floured surface and pat out until you have a circle about 3/4 in. thick. Slice this circle into eight pizza-like slices and carefully transfer each to a parchment-lined cookie sheet (or not if you don’t have parchment handy), spacing about 1 inch apart. Sprinkle lightly with additional sugar and bake for 15-17 minutes or until golden brown.

This recipe can be made with any variation you like–blueberries and lemon juice/zest, dried cranberries and orange juice/zest, raisins and cinnamon, dried cherries and almonds, currants, chocolate chips and coconut, or anything that suits your fancy.

Apple Pi

Recipe from: Debbie Fields

This recipe is a family favorite we’ve been making since I was a kid. I can still remember the flakey-buttery-heaven of the crust (I always wanted an extra crust to apple ratio). So yummy!

The pi was inspired by something my friend Ally posted on pinterest, and as soon as I saw it I knew I had to make it for my math-loving brothers. 😀

Coconut Cupcakes with Pineapple Flowers

Recipe from: Ina Garten on Food Network

Coconut is one of my favorite things. I love the smell of it, especially when it is toasted. My shampoo smells like coconut, and there are a brief 30 seconds in the shower when I first rub it in that I feel like I’ve died and gone to heaven just because of that wonderful smell.

It’s been years since I’ve eaten wheat-floury foods, but I still vividly remember the taste of these cupcakes. They are moist and coconutty and very, very rich. Ina has a knack for amazing baked goods.

As for the flowers, those were something I noticed on pinterest. To make them, you slice the top, bottom, and sides of the pineapple off. Then you use a melon baller (or 1/2 or 1/4 teaspoons if you don’t have one) and pock mark the pineapple all the way around. Then, turning it on its side, you slice it very thinly. Press the pineapple slices gently in paper towels sandwiched between clean dish towels to release a lot of the liquid. Gently peel the pineapple pieces off the paper towels, then play with the edges to fray them and make them look akin to cosmos. Finally, place each one in a lightly greased muffin tin and bake at a very low temperature (250-300 degrees depending on your oven), checking frequently as time goes by to make sure the edges don’t get too brown. Pull them out and allow them to cool completely, then gently remove them and use them to adorn your cupcakes.

Simple Lemon Pound Cake

Recipe from: me

For all it’s odd ingredients, this tastes remarkably like, well, lemon pound cake!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup xylitol
  • 2 tsps. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 stick of butter, melted
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 1/2 tsp. stevia

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease two mini loaf pans. Set aside. Melt a stick of butter and pour it into a mixing bowl, then give it a few minutes to return to room temperature. Meanwhile, combine the dry ingredients in a smaller mixing bowl. Next, separate five eggs and beat the whites until stiff peaks form. Now combine the melted butter, yolks, vanilla, and stevia until just combined. Slowly add the dry mix in stages. Finally, fold in the whites by hand. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for ten minutes before removing. Serve warm or cool completely.

Apricot Breakfast Bars

Recipe from: The Pioneer Woman, altered by me (find original recipe here)

I love apricots, and these just sounded too scrumptious not to try! Not having apricots, I had concocted my own variations of this in the past with apple sauce or raspberry jam or even mushed up strawberries. All of them were tasty, but the apricot jam is just the best. So here is my sweetened-down, gluten-free version of The Pioneer Woman’s apricot bars.

Ingredients:

  • 4 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup rice flour
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar (or sweetener of your choice)
  • 2 tsps. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 stick butter, still firm and cold
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 jar unsweetened apricot preserves or the flavor of your choice (I like Whole Food’s brand, which is inexpensive and sweetened with fruit juice)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375. Combine all of the dry ingredients and fluff together with your hands. In a separate, small bowl, whisk eggs and milk. Set aside. Return to the first bowl and use a cheese grater to grate the butter into the oat mixture. Combine with your hands until the clumps of butter are smaller and more evenly dispersed, then pour in the egg mixture and squish it all together. Grease a smallish square baking dish generously with butter, then press about 3/4 of the oat dough into the dish. Reserve the rest. Meanwhile, scoop out the whole jar of apricot preserves and smear gently around the top of the pressed oats to make an even coat of glossy, gooey, goodness. Sprinkle carefully with the rest of the oats and press down just a tiny bit. Bake for 20 min., then let cool for at least ten if you want them to maintain their shape. If you aren’t particular about that then just dig in and savor the moist yummyness.