Zucchini…yep it’s for dessert!

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In this week’s episode of what’s for dessert I give you the Zucchini Pie Bars.  Now I know what you’re thinking but just go with me on this cause this is actually the second time I’ve used zucchini in a dessert.  The first time was many years ago and I made a zucchini and pineapple cobble and it was pretty damn tasty so I thought I would give this recipe a go.

So, this recipe is basically a shortbread crust, zucchini filling and an oatmeal crumble…and I love a good crumble topping. In fact I’ve been known to just eat the crumble topping off things and leaving the rest of the dessert behind. But the crumble topping didn’t really sway me to a big thumbs up on this.  I found that I was just okay with the outcome on this one.  It was good but it didn’t blow my socks off or anything.

The recipe is pretty basic, easy to follow and the only addition I made was adding a little vanilla to the filling.  Now in the recipe is says to drain the zucchini after you cook it and to add no additional liquid when pouring it on the crust.  I think I should have thickened the mixture a bit and added it to the filling.  I think it needed to have a little more of that (for lack of a better word) goo that is so yummy in apple pies. If I did make this again I would do that and I would probably add a little ginger to it as well. The filling just seemed to be lacking in the flavor department.

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Do I recommend this recipe, not really.  Like I said it was okay but not great. I like the idea of using zucchini in desserts but I think it needs other things with it to help boost the flavor. The shortbread was good and the oatmeal crumble was good but those things are really just basics that you can use with just about anything.  So overall, just a meh this week, I’ll have to try again with something new next weekend.  Oh the burden I carry!

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Oh These Were Good!

cinnamon

This week I made Cinnamon Blondies and I’m just gonna say it, Damn these were good!  I’m usually not a fan of blondies but the combination of brown sugar and cinnamon just made these so yummy and the texture was so perfect.  After my first bite all I could say was, mmmmmmm.

The recipe is simple and very easy to follow.  I didn’t make any adjustments to it at all. I will tell you that I was a little concerned about the fact that it has equal amounts of flour and brown sugar.  I didn’t think it would have enough structure but they came out beautifully.  My favorite part was the top.  After cooling for a few minutes you brush the top with melted butter and sprinkle on cinnamon sugar.  It gave it this crunchy top that I thought just made the whole thing.  The contrast of that crunch and then the soft brownie like consistency was great.

My only tip would be to make sure you watch your timing on this.  The recipe called to bake for 40 minutes but mine was done in 30.  I always rotate my pans halfway through and then I pull it early just to see where we’re at.  Any longer and I don’t think they would have come out as well.

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I can tell you that these were a big hit with Anthony’s coworkers and myself.  Anthony thought they would be good with ice cream and I wouldn’t be against making another pan and trying them that way as well.  And then maybe making another pan to just have again. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I give these a big thumbs up and I’m pretty sure I’ll be making these again in the future.

Do ya like Lemon?

I love lemon!  Also, I have a secret love of zesting lemons.  There’s something about zesting a lemon or scraping seeds out of vanilla beans that makes me feel like a real chef.  I know it’s silly but I really do get a kick out of it.  So with this recipe I got to zest up a storm!

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This week I made a Lemon Crumb Cake to take to a pot luck brunch.  This cake was a very big hit.  I didn’t think it was overly sweet and it had the perfect amount of zip from the lemon.  Well, I think that cause I actually bumped up the lemon in the recipe.  I told ya, I love zesting lemons!!!

The recipe was very easy to follow and like the recipe says, you should use a spring form pan.  Don’t try to do this in a regular round cake pan. I followed the recipe for the most part, I only changed 2 things.  The first was with the crumb topping.  In the recipe it called for using melted butter.  I have found that crumb toppings actually come out a little better if you cut cold butter into the other ingredients. I like to put the butter in the freezer for a few minutes before I use it, I think it makes the butter easier to work with and makes gives you those nice big chunks of crumb topping.  Honestly, I could probably just be happy picking off the crumb topping on some things.  The second change I made was with the glaze.  I added the zest of 1 lemon to it.  I wanted to give the glaze just an extra little bit of zip and it did!

Also, there’s a nice cream cheese layer to the cake that was just the right amount. Sometimes these kind of layers can get over sweet and make the whole thing to start tasting like cheesecake and I didn’t think that was the case here.  Cream Cheese layer just added a nice richness to the cake.

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This cake was super yummy and just perfect for a brunch or an afternoon snack or a dessert or a midnight snack…stop judging me! It’s good is what I’m trying to say and I highly recommend it.  Even if you’re not much of a baker don’t let the several different layers intimidate you.  Once you get into it you’ll see how simple it is.  Now leave me be so I can go zest some lemons…stop judging me!

 

Cola in my Cake!

cola-cake

This week I got to make a friend of mine a birthday cake!  We were having a good Southern Shrimp Boil for dinner so I decided to go a little southern with dessert and I made a Double Fudge Coca Cola Cake.  This cake made famous by one of my favorite restaurants, the Cracker Barrel.

I have to start off by telling you that this is a very odd recipe and I had a few doubts going in.  First you mix the flour and sugar, which is just about the opposite of most cake recipes, and then add the wet ingredients to that.  But I followed the directions and the batter came out beautifully. Bake for exactly 30 minutes and the cake was perfectly done.

The “frosting” was also a little odd and I would call it more of a glaze than a frosting.  You melt down butter, cocoa and milk and while that’s hot add the powdered sugar.  Now this mixture was way too thin to be called a frosting as I know it.  And the directions said to pour it over the warm cake.  Well, I feel like that was a bit of a mistake.  The frosting just ran all over and most of it ended up under the cake.  Which as it turns out wasn’t all together a bad thing because when we ate it it was like their was a chocolate sauce under the cake.

Overall it was a yummy cake.  I only got a little hint of the coke flavor but that’s okay with me cause I’m a Diet Dr. Pepper girl anyway. And I thought it was going to be overly sweet but I didn’t think so.  I served it with French Vanilla Ice Cream on the side and it seemed to me like everyone enjoyed it.  Would I make this recipe again…maybe.  It was pretty quick and simple and sometimes it’s nice to have a sheet cake instead of layer cake.  And I do like to mix things up like that.  So, I give this recipe a thumbs up but I would have to put it in my maybe file for making it again.

 

Lots of Berries!

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This week I made Blackberry Pie Bars. Well, to be honest I actually made Triple Berry Pie Bars cause the frozen triple berry mix was on sale and raspberries, blueberries and blackberries are all delicious and I’m cheap so it makes for a good combination.  And as it turns out it doesn’t hurt the recipe one bit to change-up the berries a bit. I’m actually glad I did cause this thing has a very thick filling and I think just having blackberries would have been a bit too much for me.  I like the contrast that using multiple berries give it.

This is a pretty simple recipe and if making homemade berry pies scares you some I think you should give this a try since you don’t have to roll out a traditional pie crust.  You just have to press this into the pan. Although a helpful hint from me here, whenever I do a crust like this I always freeze my butter for several hours first.  It helps make it easier to cut the butter into the other ingredients and if you work quickly the butter won’t have time to melt.

The filling I found to be very interesting and tasty!  It’s not a traditional berry pie filling.  It has the addition of eggs and sour cream and I think it gives it a great richness and keeps the berries from being to sour.  Sometimes when you’re making a berry pie it’s hard to know if you’re adding too much or not enough sugar to the berries.  This addition of sour cream made the filling creamy and just rounded out everything nicely. The recipe said to bake for 50 min but I had to add another 15 to that. But all ovens are different so just keep an eye on it.

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In the end I would highly recommend this recipe, it’s delicious.  I cooled mine and then let it sit in the fridge over night so it would set up well.  There’s nothing worse than cutting into a berry pie that hasn’t rested and the filling just runs all over the place. When I pulled it out this morning it sliced really well and then I just popped a piece in the microwave for about 30 seconds, topped it with vanilla bean ice cream and had the breakfast of champions!  That’s right, pie bars and ice cream for breakfast…I’m hitting the proper food groups there…berries and milk!  I’m not on trial here!!!!!

Chocolate, Chocolate and a little more Chocolate

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We have gone triple chocolate this week! Chocolate cake/cookie type base, Chocolate Cream Cheese center and Chocolate frosting….is it rich?  You better believe it!

This week I made Frosted Gooey Chocolate Cake Bars. Again with the extra long title and a little misleading on this one as well.  I didn’t really find this to be all that gooey but it’s 100% chocolate so I’ll give it that.

The recipe starts out with making a base with a chocolate cake mix.  I’m a big fan of using cake mixes in other ways than just cake so I always like to give these kind of things a try.  The bottom layer is just the cake mix, 1 egg and melted butter.  It is very thick when you finish mixing it together.  The second layer is a chocolate cream mixture, pretty standard stuff.  I didn’t make any changes to this recipe but I wish I had.  I would have added a little more liquid to the base mixture, maybe some sour cream or a little milk.  I found the bottom to be very very dense and almost a little too dry for my taste.  When I tried it last night I just ate the bar by itself but I would have liked some whip cream or ice cream to go with it.  I’m all for chocolate but this needs something to cut it down a bit.

It also recommended keeping it in the fridge, which I did.  I’m interested to see after letting it set over night if the texture of the bottom layer has changed any.  If so, I’ll have to make a not of that later.

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But as of now, I probably wouldn’t make these again.  The recipe was good and it was simple to make but I know I can make other chocolatey things that I would like much better.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Time

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Peanut Butter and Jelly, probably one of the most classic food combinations of all time.  I’m a big fan, a late night PB&J is one of my favorite snacks.  So I was very excited to give this recipe a try, Peanut Butter and Jelly Cookie Bars.

First off, I think the name is a little misleading.  I wouldn’t describe this as a cookie. To me it has more of a peanut butter brownie type texture.  After feeding one to my favorite guinea pig, Anthony, he agreed that “cookie bar” was the wrong term too.  He actually said it was more bread like and not as sweet as he was expecting.  And I would have to agree with that as well.  Which is strange since they have a cup of sugar, a cup of brown sugar and peanut butter in them.

The recipe is pretty simple and the only change I made was the flavor of jelly.  I used a seedless raspberry jam because that’s what I happened to have on hand.  Because again, I enjoy a late night PB&J. Once I got the base made I was surprised by how much there was and that it was a little on the thick side.  When it came time to swirl the jam into the base it was really hard to do.  Usually when you do a swirl both the things have about the same consistency but this didn’t so it was hard to swirl the jam into it.  I ended up trying to smooth it out a bit and then just poured the jam on top in a pattern.  In the end I felt like it could have used more jam, the peanut butter is a little over powering. Since the base is so thick and there’s so much of it, I wish I had put half in and then layered the jam.  I think that would have put more of a flavor contrast in it.

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So while this was pretty tasty I don’t think I would make these again. And I don’t think it has anything to do with the recipe but it just wasn’t what I was expecting.  I would probably prefer a peanut butter thumbprint cookie with jam, that way I get both of things I love in an equal amounts.   Great…now I have to go make cookies!