Category Archives: Dessert

Embroidering a Cake with Sprinkles [via Clockwork Lemon]: Feature Fridays

Embroidered Cake by Clockwork Lemon

In my kitchen, picking thyme leaves is considered tedious, though worthwhile.  Sorting sprinkles? Now, that takes the cake in the realm of tedious cooking tasks (pardon the pun).  I imagine Stephanie at Clockwork Lemon knows like few others the reward of cooking labor when she completes a work of art like this.  Yes, an embroidered cake folks, she has an artistic eye, not to mention patience and perseverance. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies with Cream Cheese Caramel Filling [via Hoosier Homemade]: Feature Fridays

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies by Hoosier Homemade

Yes, we are still on a pumpkin kick, sure to last until sometime close to Christmas. I must confess I am not a big fan of whoopie pies …
So why feature this post?  Because when I saw this photo on Pintrest by Hoosier Homemade it made me think of my friend, Rebecca, who LOVES whoopie pies (and I love things that remind me of friends). This post is dedicated to her and all the whoopie pie lovers out there—and it’s pumpkin!  Enjoy!

Labor Day Eats: Feature Fridays

Labor Day became a federal holiday 117 years ago, marked by parades and parties recognizing trade and labor organizations.  Today, families enjoy one last vacation before school starts, NFL and college football seasons begin, and backyard parties abound.  If entertaining or creating a dish for a potluck is on the agenda for this three-day weekend, here are a few ideas to get your creative juices flowing.  Instead of featuring just one site this week, there is a whole list—Enjoy!

Menus:

Barbeque Menu – Savoring Today
10 Labor Day Menus – Ezra Pound Cake
Labor Day Gourmet Grilling Party Menu – Recipe Girl


Main Dishes/Meat:

Grilled Thai Ginger-Garlic Pork Chops – Fine Cooking
Grilled Chicken Kebabs with Roasted Red Pepper Dip – Family Fresh Cooking
Sausage Kebabs – Bell’ Alimento
Jamaican Jerk Chicken – Kayotic Kitchen
Pancetta-Gruyere Burger with Grilled Vidalia Onions – Savoring Today
Vegetarian Recipes for Barbecue Season – New York Times

Appetizers & Sides:

Melon & Mint Salad – Shutterbean
Roasted Garlic and Dill White Bean Dip – How Sweet It Is
Roasted Carrots with Goat Cheese – Jungle Frog Cooking
Sauteed Corn with Chile Peppers, Ginger and Garlic – Cinnamon Spice
Grilled Summer Sweet Corn – Simply Sugar & Gluten Free
Romaine Salad with Hatch Chile Dressing – A Communal Table
Goat Cheese Balls with Herbs, Pecans, & Bacon – The Kitchn
Parmesan Rice Crisps with Roasted Tomato Salsa – Gluten-Free Goddess

Desserts:

Brownies for Grown Ups – The 21st Century Housewife’s Kitchen
S’mores Pie – Foodess
Chocolate Caramel Peanut Bites– Sweet Pea’s Kitchen
Limoncello Cheesecake Bites – Bitter Sweet
Rustic Peach & Plum Tart – Eyes Bigger Than My Stomach
Honey Cinnamon Peach Pie – My Kitchen Addiction

Key Lime Cheesecake: Freshly Squeezed

For our anniversary, my husband had one request: Key Lime Cheesecake. For his birthday a few months ago, it was New York-Style Blueberry Cheesecake, and for Thanksgiving he wants Pumpkin Cheesecake … are you noticing a theme here?  He always appreciates my efforts, so it is easy to oblige.

When it is a special occasion, I don’t take short cuts or simplify recipes, so I set my jaw and started zesting and juicing key limes (I suspect it is akin to milking mice).  Twenty-four petite globes later, there was the 2 tablespoons zest and 3/4 cup juice I needed—it was a citrus massacre.  Following the recipe precisely, I discovered it wasn’t necessarily precise and had a few questions, which were answered and included below.

Baked in advance, the crust includes brown sugar for a caramel flavor far superior to no-bake crusts.  This silky, citrus-kissed dessert is everything you imagine a Key Lime Cheesecake should be—tangy, dulcet, velvety, and refreshing—perfect for warm summer evenings or celebrating anniversaries.

Key Lime Cheesecake

Recipe adapted from One Perfect Bite
Serves 12   (plenty to share)
Crust
2/3      cup  butter — melted
1/4       cup  brown sugar — not packed
2 1/4   cups  graham cracker crumbs — 34-2″x2″ squares or 17 rectangles

Filling
1        envelope  unflavored gelatin
3/4    cup  key lime juice
4        whole  eggs — at room temperature
2        egg yolks — at room temperature
1 1/2  cups sugar — 1 1/4 cup for lime pudding; 1/4 cup for egg whites
2        tablespoons  key lime zest — grated fine; 10 limes produce 2 tbsp
1         pound  cream cheese — at room temperature
1         pinch  sea salt
2        egg whites — at room temperature
8 1/2 inch  springform pan
Optional: whipped cream

For the crust: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325° degrees. Process graham crackers in a food processor until fine; add brown sugar and pulse to incorporate. In medium bowl, add processed crumbs with melted butter and toss with fork until evenly moistened. Brush bottom and sides of springform pan with butter also. Empty crumbs into springform pan and press evenly into pan bottom and about an inch up the sides. Bake until fragrant and beginning to brown around edges, 8-10 minutes. Cool on wire rack while making filling.

For the filling: In a saucepan dissolve gelatin in key lime juice over medium heat, about 5 minutes, remove from heat and set aside. Combine 1-1/4 cups of sugar, eggs, egg yolks, lime zest, and pinch of salt in a separate bowl and mix well. Gradually add hot gelatin mixture, whisk to combine. Once all the gelatin and egg mixture is combined pour back into saucepan and cook over medium heat until mixture thickens and is pudding-like, about 7 to 8 minutes. Remove from heat.

With an electric mixer, beat cream cheese until smooth. While mixer is running, slowly add lime mixture and beat until smooth. Transfer to a large, chilled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until completely cooled, stirring every 10 minutes, for about 30-40 minutes.

In an electric mixer, whip egg whites and remaining 1/4 cup of the sugar on medium high until stiff peaks form. Remove cooled lime pudding from the refrigerator and gently fold egg whites into lime pudding until thoroughly blended. Pour filling into prepared crust. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until set, about 4 to 24 hours.

When ready to serve run a sharp knife along the side of the pan and remove the spring-form. Slice, cleaning knife between each slice, and serve with fresh whipped cream on top, if desired.

NOTE: 22-24 key limes will produce approximately 3/4 cup of juice, however, it is best to buy extra juice for the assurance you will have enough.  If you can buy key limes individually, buy the 10 you need for the zest and bottled key lime juice for the rest. 

Shared on the following Blog Hops:
Hearth & Soul Hop
EKat’s Kitchen Friday Potluck
Mom Trends Friday Food
The Saturday Evening Post

Peanut Butter Pie ~ Tell Someone You Love Them: Feature Fridays

Fridays usually bring features of lighthearted food notes, but this week something meaningful warrants attention.  In recent weeks, the food community gathered around Jennifer Perillo after the sudden loss of her husband, Mikey.  I do not know Jennifer personally, but I do know loss and grief intimately and my heart breaks for her and their children.

This Feature Friday is about engaging more fully in today by valuing people and relationships in your life, while praying for a young family grieving deeply. Her story hit close to home, just 1 year ago, I stood in a hospital waiting room while my husband was in surgery to place stents in his heart—life changes so suddenly. This was the second time we escaped losing each other and part of the story behind Savoring, it still brings a tight lump in my throat.  We do not know what tomorrow holds, today is truly a gift.

In honor of Jennifer and Mikey, hug tightly, forgive, make that phone call, write a note, make someone smile, cry with a friend, make plans for dinner together, say yes when you’re invited, and make this pie or something special for those you love and savor it together (Jennifer’s request).  It is our 23rd wedding anniversary this weekend, Matt has requested Key lime Cheesecake—it (he) will be my top priority.

Creamy Peanut Butter Pie

Recipe from: In Jennie’s Kitchen
8 ounces chocolate cookies
4 tablespoons butter, melted
4 ounces finely chopped chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup chopped peanuts
1 cup heavy cream
8 ounces cream cheese
1 cup creamy-style peanut butter
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 – 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

Add the cookies to the bowl of a food processor and pulse into fine crumbs.  Combine melted butter and cookie crumbs in a small bowl, and stir with a fork to mix well.  Press mixture into the bottom and 1-inch up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan.

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave.  Pour over bottom of cookie crust and spread to the edges using an offset spatula.  Sprinkle chopped peanuts over the melted chocolate. Place pan in the refrigerator while you prepare the filling.

Pour the heavy cream into a bowl and beat using a stand mixer or hand mixer until stiff peaks form.  Transfer to a small bowl and store in refrigerator until ready to use.  Place the cream cheese and peanut butter in a deep bowl.  Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy.  Reduce speed to low and gradually beat in the confectioner’s sugar.  Add the sweetened condensed milk, vanilla extract, and lemon juice. Increase speed to medium and beat until all the ingredients are combined and filling is smooth.

Stir in 1/3 of the whipped cream into the filling mixture (helps lighten the batter, making it easier to fold in the remaining whipped cream).  Fold in the remaining whipped cream.  Pour the filling into the prepared springform pan.  Drizzle the melted chocolate on top, if using, and refrigerate for three hours or overnight before serving.

Grilled Peach & Vanilla Bean Crisp

It is the last week of the Fine Cooking Grill-lympics Challenge and it’s wild card week.  This Grilled Peach & Vanilla Bean Crisp was inspired by this challenge and the fact that August is peach season here in the Rockies. Beyond grilling, my goal was to create a dessert without refined sugar and gluten-free, so these ingredient alternatives are included.  Grilling subtly caramelize natural sugars, while the peach-vanilla bean sauce brings it all together under an oat-nut crisp topping.  Serve it warm with fresh whipped cream or vanilla ice cream—warm peaches, cool cream, crunchy, nutty goodness—yes, please!

Grilled Peach & Vanilla Bean Crisp [GF]

Serves 6
For the peach filing:
7     medium  peaches — halved
3     tablespoons  honey
1      whole  vanilla bean — inside of pod scraped
1      tablespoon  brandy (optional)
1/2  teaspoon  lemon juice
2     tablespoons  butter — browned
1/2  teaspoon  vanilla
cinnamon
nutmeg
olive oil
For the topping:
1/2    cup  flour [for GF use brown rice flour]
3/4   cup  oats [for GF make sure oats are labeled Gluten-Free]
3        tablespoons  coconut palm sugar, sucanat, or other unrefined sugar
1/2    teaspoon  cinnamon
1/2    cup  pecans — chopped
1/4    teaspoon  sea salt
4        tablespoons  butter — softened

Prepare the vanilla bean by slicing it lengthwise and scraping the inside of the pod with the back of a knife, careful to remove only the soft seeds and not the fibrous hull. Peel and slice two of the peaches, removing the pit. Puree these peaches with the honey, vanilla bean contents, brandy, lemon juice, and vanilla in a food processor until smooth.

In a saucepan over med heat, cook 2 tablespoons of butter until light golden brown. Add peach puree to the butter and simmer until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

For the topping, combine the flour, oats, sugar, cinnamon, pecans, and sea salt. Mix-in the softened butter by working the butter into the mixture with your fingertips until incorporated. Set aside.

Halve the remaining peaches, remove pit, leaving the skin intact. On the cut side, drizzle olive oil over peaches and sprinkle with a little cinnamon and nutmeg. Grill peaches over med-high heat on a preheated grill, starting cut side down. Grill on each side about 3-5 minutes or until peaches are softened.

Transfer peaches to a cutting board. Once cool enough to handle, remove the skin and slice, arranging slices in an 8×8 buttered casserole dish.

Pour peach sauce over sliced peaches and top with crumb mixture. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes to brown topping and meld flavors.  Serve warm with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Shared on the following Blog Hops:
Real Food Forager Fat Tuesday
Real Food Whole Heath Traditional Tuesdays
Hearth & Soul Blog Hop
Mom Trends Friday Food
EKat’s Kitchen Friday Potluck
The Nourishing Gourmet Pennywise Platter
The Healthy Home Economist Monday Mania
SS & GF Slightly Indulgent Tuesday

Zucchini Ginger Cupcakes: Test Kitchen Tuesday

Perusing stacks of old cooking magazines, I picked up the July 2006 issue of Gourmet noticing Zucchini Ginger Cupcakes was dog-eared, perfect for Test Kitchen Tuesday.  Ginger and orange are well-matched, the zucchini is sure to keep the crumb moist, these are a must-try.  My plan is to convert it to a gluten-free recipe I can take to showers or potlucks, so wish me luck!

If you are like me, you have favorite issues of magazines squirreled away somewhere.  When Gourmet ceased publishing, I was glad to have my old copies and felt a little less guilty about my messy, piled-up stash.  I miss Gourmet landing in my mailbox as it once did.  Gourmet.com is still around, but it is not the same as holding a glossy issue in my hands, ogling its contents.  Sifting through this issue was like visiting with an old friend. 🙂

I hope you join me in this delicious adventure!

In the next week or so:

1.  Make the recipe (posted below)
2.  Leave a comment describing your experience, opinion, adjustments, or suggestions.  ♥ If you focus on altering it to economize, choose healthier ingredients, make it gluten-free/allergy sensitive, embellish for entertaining, or incorporate into batch/once-a-month cooking, please mention that too.
3.  Subscribe to comments so you can see what others have done.
4.  If you are especially proud of your creation, send a photo to savoringtoday@comcast.net, or include a link to your site with your comment.

Zucchini Ginger Cupcakes

Source: Gourmet July 2006
Yields: 12
For cupcakes
1/3    cup crystallized ginger (1 3/4 oz) — coarsely chopped
2       cups all-purpose flour
1        teaspoon  ground ginger
1        teaspoon  ground cinnamon
1        teaspoon  finely grated fresh orange zest
1        teaspoon  salt
1        teaspoon  baking soda
1/2    teaspoon  baking powder
2        cups coarsely grated zucchini (2 medium)
3/4    cup mild olive oil
3/4    cup mild honey
2        large  eggs — lightly beaten
1         teaspoon  vanilla
For frosting
8         oz  cream cheese — softened
2         tablespoons  unsalted butter — softened
1/2     cup confectioners sugar
1         teaspoon  vanilla
1/2     teaspoon  ground ginger
1/2     teaspoon  ground cinnamon
1/2     teaspoon  finely grated fresh orange zest
12       paper liners

Bake cupcakes:
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Line muffin cups with liners. Pulse crystallized ginger in food processor until finely ground, then add flour, ground ginger, cinnamon, zest, salt, baking soda, and baking powder and pulse until combined.

Whisk together zucchini, oil, honey, eggs and vanilla in a medium bowl, then stir in flour mixture until just combined.  Divide batter among muffin cups and bake until golden and a wooden pick or skewer inserted in center of a cupcake comes out clean, 20 to 24 minutes. Cool in pan on rack 10 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pan and cool completely, 1 hour.

Make frosting:
Beat together frosting ingredients with an electric mixer at high-speed until combined well and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Frost tops of cooled cupcakes.