Monday, May 31, 2010

Fresh Fruit Tart

Happy Memorial Day!!! Yay summer is OFFICIALLY here.  However, living in Arizona the heat and sun has made it feel like summer since the middle of April. You would think that since I was born and raised here that I would be used to the heat.  That I would be used to the fact that most years we see 100 degrees by the end of April.  That come the middle of May stepping outside means you start to sweat instantly.  That the only way to escape the heat is to stay inside where you have the comfort of the air conditioner.  That come July it is STILL 100 degrees at midnight. Like I said, you would think I’d be used to all of that, but I’m not. 
I have an extreme love/hate relationship with Arizona.  From November to March I LOVE this state, but come April to October, Arizona makes it extremely hard for me to love her.  The only thing that keeps my sanity is knowing that the cool weather is only about a two hour drive away.
Any ways.  I’ll stop my rambling and tell you about what I made.  My mother’s birthday was last weekend, and instead of making her a birthday cake, I made her a fresh fruit tart. 

My oh my was it delicious.  It was the perfect ending to a family bbq in honor of my mother.  This tart is oh so delicious. It’s the perfect summer treat.  Go. Make it. You’ll love me for it.
Like most fruit tarts, this recipe had a glaze, but I didn’t use it.  I think that the glazes take away from the flavor of the fresh fruit and add too much sugar.  Plus this specific glaze wasn’t very tasty.  However, if you do want to try it with the glaze then click here.
Fresh Fruit Tart
(Recipe from Paula Deen)

                        ½ cup powdered sugar
                        1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
                        1 ½ sticks unsalted butter, sliced and softened
                        1 - 8oz package of cream cheese, softened
                        ½ cup granulated sugar
                        1 teaspoon vanilla extract
                        2 teaspoons lime zest
                        Whatever your heart desires


Preheat the oven to 350F. In a food processor, combine the flour, powdered sugar, and butter until the mixture starts to pull away from the sides and form a ball.

Then dumb the dough into an 11inch tart pan (with a removable bottom).  Using your fingers, press the dough all along the bottom and along the sides of the tart pan.  Make it as even as possible so it cooks evenly in the oven.  Bake for 10-11 minutes; the crust should be a light brown when it is down. Set aside and let the crust cool.

While the crust is cooking you can prep all of your fruit.  Wash the berries, cut what needs to be cut, and get it ready for assembly.   

Then, using a mixer beat together the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, and lime zest until it is smooth.  The filling should look fluffy and creamy.  Spoon the filling into the tart crust and spread evenly.

Then assemble your fruit tart however you would like.  Just make sure it looks pretty. :)

Once the tart is assembled place it in your fridge until 20 minutes before you are ready to serve it. Then eat it outside, on your porch, with the people you love the most.

Thursday, May 13, 2010


Since summer is right around the corner, and my boyfriend just LOVES these things, I thought I'd try my hand at baking some pretzels. My friend Kate kept telling me that Alton Brown’s recipe was so simple and so easy that I just HAD to make them. So, a couple months later I finally gave in and made these bad boys.
I don’t think I can stress enough how easy making these were! Seriously, everything happened so fast. One minute I was making the dough, then the next minute I was devouring a delicious, warm, salty pretzel. Now this might sound weird to you, but I’ve always thought soft pretzels have a very distinct taste to them, and for some reason I never could figure it out. Until I made them at home. The specific flavor soft pretzels have come from their dip in the baking soda jacuzzi.

Intense. I swear it’s a hot tub for pretzels.

My boyfriend wants me to make some kind of gooey, cheesy dipping sauce for them, but I think they are delicious just the way they are. Fresh out of the oven. This recipe makes a total of eight pretzels, and their shelf life is about a week.

(Recipe from Alton Brown)

1 ½ cups warm water ( 110 to 115F)
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 package active dry yeast
22 ounces all-purpose flour, approximately 4 ½ cups
2 ounces unsalted butter, melted
Vegetable oil
10 cups water
2/3 cup baking soda
1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water
Pretzel salt (kosher salt)


Combine water, sugar, and kosher salt in the bowl for your mixer. Sprinkle the yeast over top of it; let is sit for 5 minutes (the mixture should begin to get foamy).

Then add the flour and melted butter. Using a dough hook mix the ingredients together at a low speed until it is well combined. Then increase your speed to medium and knead for about 5 minutes. The dough should be smooth, and it should pull away from the side of the bowl.

Oil a bowl, place the dough inside of it, cover with plastic wrap, and let is sit in a warm place for 50 – 55 minutes*

Preheat the oven to 45F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and oil.

Now it’s time to make the baking soda jacuzzi. Bring 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a boil in a roasting pan.

While the jacuzzi is getting hot it’s time to make the pretzels. Divide the dough into eight pieces.

Roll each piece into a 24inch rope. Then, make a U shape with your rope. Next, take the ends of the pretzel, cross them, and then place them under the U shape. You should have something that looks like a pretzel.

Place pretzels in baking soda jacuzzi for 30 seconds. Then place them on your lined and oiled baking sheets. Brush the top of the pretzels with the egg wash, and then sprinkle with salt. Bake for 12-14 minutes.

Move them to a cooling rack, and let the pretzels sit for 5 minutes. Then enjoy eating your pretzels with a cute boy.

* I always let my dough rise in the oven with a bowl of hot water place directly underneath it. It works every time.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Easy Brownies

(Blogger is being difficult. Sorry if some of my formating looks weird.)

I like to think that it is the simple things in life that make me happy.

Like dancing in pretty green grass.

Big puffy clouds.

 Red nail polish.

Hearing my nephew laugh. It's oh so precious.

BevMo 5cent wine sales.  (I get to purchase my favorite champagne by the boat loads! What isn'tthere to like about that!?)

Planting a garden.

And last, but not least, having a delicious brownie for breakfast.

These brownies are the perfect balance between a cake brownie and a fudge brownie.  They are thick like a cake brownie, but when you bite into them the centers are gooey and fudge like.  And the batter!  Oh man, it's one of those batters that you find yourself licking the bowl clean because it's just so darn good!
These brownies are a chocolate lovers match made in heaven because they get topped with an equally delicious chocolate frosting.  So creamy, so silky, SO GOOD.  It might be chocolate overload, but it's okay, just make sure you have a giant glass of milk by your side to wash the brownies down with. This is the easiest brownie recipe EVER. So, no excuses people. Get your butts in the kitchen are start baking!        Easy Brownie Recipe:        (Adapted from Hershey's Best Brownies Recipe       Ingredients:        1 cup (2 sticks) butter, melted      2 cups sugar        2 teaspoons vanilla extract    4 eggs        1 tablespoon coffee       2/3 cup Cocoa Powder (I like to use Hershey's)        1 cup all-purpose flour      1/2 teaspoon baking powder   1/2 teaspoon salt
Directions:    Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Then grease a 13x9x2 glass* baking pan. In a medium size bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking powder.    
In a large bowl, whisk together to sugar, vanilla, coffee, and melted butter. Add the eggs and beat until combined. Then slowly add the dry ingredients a little at a time; beating well until everything is incorporated.    
Bake for 25 minutes at 350F.  Then lower the oven to 325F and bake for another 10 minutes.**    
Creamy Chocolate Frosting:    (From Hershey's best Brownies Recipe     Ingredients:    6 tablespoons butter, softened    6 tablespoons cocoa powder      2 tablespoons honey      1 teaspoon vanilla extract    2 cups powder sugar      4 tablespoons milk      Directions: Combine butter, cocoa powder, and honey.  Then beat in the two cups of powder sugar.  Lastly, add the milk and beat until incorporated.  Frost Brownies. EAT BROWNIES.  
* Every time I've ever made them in a metal baking pan they don't cook all the way through. The edges are burnt and crunchy and the middle is still batter like.   ** It makes them turn out pefect EVERY TIME.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Baking To Do List:

Sorry guys for not posting anything this week.  My birthday was last week, and I am one of those people who tend to have a birthday week instead of just a birthday (even though I hate celebrating the fact that 30 is quickly approaching).  There were family parties where I got to dance in bubbles with my niece and nephew.

There was a surprise wine tasting dinner with my boyfriend alex.

There were lots of good eats and a hike up camelback.

There was even a night with my friends on Mill Ave.

As you can see I didn't really have any time to bake anything, so with that said here is my baking to do list. I PROMISE the baking will resume this weekend. :)

Baking To Do List:
-Chocolate Brownies
-Lemon Cake with Blueberry Compote
-Round 2 of the Avocado Cake (damn you round one.)
-My Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookie
-Cupcakes of some sort

That's my list of things that MUST be baked a.s.a.p.  Please be patient, and I promise that there will be a new post up shortly with some delicious combination of butter & sugar that make your heart mealt and your taste buds smile. :)

Oh. Maybe you should make your beautiful mother a yummy cake for mother's day. I bet she'd love it if you did. :)