Categories
Dessert

Want to try something new? ‘Mousse’ around and find out.

This chocolate mousse is made with only three ingredients: coconut milk, sugar substitute and cocoa powder, making it a yummy dairy-free and vegan dessert.

During my junior year of high school, we read Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Scarlet Letter” in English class.

Our final project included the option to create a video, and for some reason, my group thought it would be an excellent idea to recreate scenes from the classic novel in a mashup with jokes from “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.”

As part of our filming, I purchased a “quick crack” coconut to use for horse hoof sound effects and learned quickly that this coconut did not want to crack quickly at all. In the end, my poor dad had to come to my rescue with a hacksaw. I was also horribly disappointed that coconut milk was not nearly as sweet as I thought it was. Many things were learned that day.

I was thinking about that this week when I bought a can of coconut cream for a recipe and then realized that it called for coconut milk. The good news is that they’re almost the same product. The only difference? Coconut cream has more fat and less water. And in this case, that was actually a benefit.

The recipe I tried came from the blog “Yummy Inspirations.” You can find the original post at https://yummyinspirations.net/2023/03/coconut-milk-chocolate-mousse-recipe/. With only three ingredients, there wasn’t much “spicing up” to do, so other than noting that you can also use coconut cream, I did not change anything in this one.

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Coconut Milk Chocolate Mousse

This chocolate mousse is made with only three ingredients: coconut milk, sugar substitute and cocoa powder, making it a yummy dairy-free and vegan dessert.
Course Dessert
Keyword cocoa powder, coconut cream, coconut milk, cream of coconut, dairy-free, easy dessert, keto, mousse, sugar substitute, vegan, vegetarian

Ingredients

  • 13 to 15 ounce can of coconut milk or cream
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons sugar substitute
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

Instructions

  • At least 24 hours before you want to make this, put your can of coconut milk into the refrigerator.
  • When you’re ready to make it, carefully spoon the coconut solids off the top of the can into a mixing bowl, leaving as much of the water behind as you can.
  • Beat the coconut solids, on high, for several minutes until it is smooth and forms soft peaks.
  • Beat in two tablespoons of sugar substitute and two tablespoons of cocoa powder, and once everything is well combined, give it a taste. Add another tablespoon of either if you want it sweeter and/or chocolatier.
  • Serve right away or refrigerate until you’re ready to enjoy.

This makes either one decent-sized serving or two smaller servings of chocolate mousse. If you’re not a huge coconut fan, you probably won’t like this one, but honestly, the chocolate overpowers the coconut overall, so it’s not as prominent as you might think.

The texture is pretty close to a mousse but definitely not as airy as a traditional one. It was a nice treat, regardless.

It also isn’t going to be fat free by any means, and despite using a sugar substitute, there will still be some sugar in this from the coconut milk. The bonus, though, is it’s dairy free and vegan, so it’s a nice substitute for people with some dietary restrictions.

And I got to learn yet another new lesson about coconut products.

Looking back on it, I’m guessing not too many people learn about tropical fruits as part of their reading of Hawthorne, but I’m also guessing not too many English teachers are in a predicament where they have to watch a stupid movie in order to understand their students’ equally stupid project so they can grade it. (Sorry, Mrs. Coleman.)

But I suppose the silver lining is we all received some surprising lessons in the process.

This piece first appeared in print on May 30, 2024.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.

Categories
Breakfast Cookies Dessert

Combining cookies and cinnamon rolls is totally friend‘chip’ goals

Chocolate chip cookie cinnamon rolls are exactly what the name implies: a gooey, delicious combination of cookies and sweet rolls. Since the recipe uses pre-made ingredients, it’s extremely easy for even amateur bakers to accomplish.

Every once in awhile, I run across a food idea so dumb but so obviously delicious that I just have to try it.

It happened when I made poutine tacos. It happened when I decided to try Mountain Dew and Doritos cupcakes.

And it happened again this past week, when I saw a simple recipe that promised to combine two high-calorie, delectable treats: cinnamon rolls and chocolate chip cookies.

So I went to the store, dumping a package of pre-made cookies and pre-made rolls into my cart and hoping no one who regularly reads my column saw me and wondered if I was losing a step.

And then I made magic in my kitchen.

I was right. They were dumb. But they were so, so good, and now that I have the knowledge that this can be done, it’s only right that I share it with all of you so you can shame buy packages of refrigerated dough and try this out at your house, too.

The recipe I tried comes from the blog “Dude Foods” by Nick Chipman. (If you’re into weird food experiments, he’s your guy.) You can find the original post at https://dudefoods.com/chocolate-chip-cookie-stuffed-cinnamon-rolls/. There were only two ingredients for this, so I didn’t change those up, but I did clarify some directions that should make your life a little easier when trying these.

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Chocolate Chip Cookie Cinnamon Rolls

Chocolate chip cookie cinnamon rolls are exactly what the name implies: a gooey, delicious combination of cookies and sweet rolls. Since the recipe uses pre-made ingredients, it’s extremely easy for even amateur bakers to accomplish.
Course Breakfast, Dessert
Keyword canned cinnamon rolls, cookie dough, easy dessert, quick dessert

Ingredients

  • 16 ounces refrigerated chocolate chip cookie dough
  • 12.4 ounce package of refrigerated cinnamon roll dough with icing

Instructions

  • Let the cookie dough come up to room temperature before starting assembly.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and set it aside.
  • Cut two large pieces of parchment paper or waxed paper, and sandwich the cookie dough between them. Using a rolling pin, roll out the cookie dough to about one-quarter inch in thickness, trying to keep it in as much of a rectangular shape as you can.
  • Carefully remove the top layer of paper and set it aside. Unroll the cinnamon rolls and place them, lengthwise, evenly across the cookie dough. It’s OK if you end up with a little space between or if they hang off the end a little.
  • Take a table knife or pizza cutter and cut a line in the cookie dough between each cinnamon roll, making long strips.
  • Place the paper back on top of the dough. Slide it onto a baking sheet, place another baking sheet on top, and flip the stack over.
  • Now, peel the top layer of paper off and begin tightly rolling the cinnamon roll/cookie dough lines into rolls, and place them on your prepared baking sheet, spacing them at least an inch apart.
  • Once all of the dough is rolled, bake for about 15 minutes or until the dough is soft but set up on the bottoms. While the rolls are hot, cover them with the icing included with the cinnamon rolls. Serve them immediately and store any leftovers in an airtight container. This will make eight rolls.

I was seriously almost angry that these were so stinking good, because they were way too easy to make. They were soft and cinnamon-y and chocolaty and would be phenomenal with a big glass of milk. We were lucky to have a get together the day I made these, so I managed to get away with only eating half of a roll, which I shared with Joey, before passing these calorie bombs off on our friends. (Sorry, gang!)

I can officially cross another weird recipe off my to do list, though, and that’s pretty cool. I have discovered that curiosity is a large part of what drives my kitchen experiments, and I was happy to answer the “what if” of this food combination.

This piece first appeared in print on March 28, 2024.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.

Categories
Dessert

Put this ‘four’midable cake on your list for this week

This cake is made with only four ingredients—yogurt, eggs, vanilla extract and cornstarch. It’s a lightly sweet dessert that pairs well with fruit, honey or maple syrup and has a consistency a bit like a custard.

I was recently given the opportunity to speak to the Newton Kiwanis about the many projects I have been working on at the newspaper.

We enjoyed a great lunch and good conversation before I spent a bit talking about my job, including my over 10-year expedition into writing this column.

I noted to them that sometimes the recipes I try these days get a little weird, because I often feel like I’m running out of ideas for something new each week.

This week was definitely one of those weeks, but it was also one of those recipes that once I saw it online, I had to try it. It’s a cake that is billed as having only three ingredients. It actually has four, though, if you don’t count the toppings, so I decided to change the name. (See? There is accuracy in journalism.) Regardless, the combination sounded super strange, and I couldn’t resist.

This recipe comes from the blog “The Modern Nonna.” You can find the original post at https://themodernnonna.com/3-ingredient-yogurt-cake/. I doubled the vanilla in my version below.

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Four-Ingredient Yogurt Cake

This cake is made with only four ingredients—yogurt, eggs, vanilla extract and cornstarch. It’s a lightly sweet dessert that pairs well with fruit, honey or maple syrup and has a consistency a bit like a custard.
Course Dessert
Keyword cornstarch, easy dessert, eggs, low-calorie, low-fat, vanilla, yogurt

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups vanilla yogurt
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 5 tablespoons cornstarch
  • Optional toppings: fruit honey, maple syrup, powdered sugar

Instructions

  • Line a nine-by-five-inch loaf pan with parchment paper, letting the excess hang over the edges a bit so you can remove the cake easily when it’s done.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a mixing bowl, whisk the yogurt and eggs until they are smooth.
  • Whisk in the vanilla and cornstarch, and continue stirring until everything is well combined.
  • Pour the mixture into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Let the cake cool, gently remove it from the pan using the parchment paper, and transfer to a serving plate. Top with fruit, honey or maple syrup and sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired. Slice and serve.
  • Refrigerate any leftovers in an airtight container.

This. Was. Weird. It had a bit of a custard consistency, but it was firm enough to slice easily, too. I opted for honey and powdered sugar on mine, and it was very lightly sweet. Joey and I agreed it would have been even better with some fresh berries on top. The flavor profile reminded me a little bit of tapioca pudding.

Also, be ready for this to puff up a whole lot and then fall to being about two inches tall.

The recipe’s author also noted that you can use any other flavor of yogurt that sounds good, too, so if you’re in the mood to experiment even further, you have tons of options.

I really enjoyed my time with the Kiwanis, although no one seemed particularly excited by my explanation of this week’s weird recipe.

To each their own, I suppose.

This piece first appeared in print on March 14, 2024.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.

Categories
Dessert

Become ‘nut’orious for simple pecan brownies

Pecan brownies are flavored with butter, unsweetened chocolate and vanilla, along with lots of pecans to create a great dessert for a small gathering or cookie exchange.

We had a bit of a scaled-down celebration for Christmas this year, with several of our family members traveling outside of Kansas, so I very carefully considered what treats I would be making.

Normally, I overdo it with several types of candies and baked goods to share, but knowing that our group would be a bit smaller, I promised myself I would stick to only three things.

Well, I had to, of course, make my yearly batch of peppernuts. It just wouldn’t feel like Christmas without them.

Then I decided that I would go easy on myself and make just a few peanut clusters. You know, a couple dozen or so—a small batch.

And finally, I had to throw in a new recipe to try, and sticking to my simple theme for the year, I landed on what looked to be a yummy pan of pecan brownies. The recipe made a nice, eight-by-eight-inch batch of brownies that were perfect for our small celebration, and it’s a great one to keep in the recipe box for future gatherings.

This comes from Taste of Home. You can find the original at https://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/pecan-brownies/. I doubled the vanilla in my version.

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Pecan Brownies

Pecan brownies are flavored with butter, unsweetened chocolate and vanilla, along with lots of pecans to create a great dessert for a small gathering or cookie exchange.
Course Dessert
Keyword baker’s chocolate, brownies, butter, cookie exchange, easy dessert, pecans, small dessert, unsweetened chocolate, vanilla

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3/4 cups flour
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Prepare an eight-by-eight-inch baking pan by lightly greasing it with butter, shortening or cooking spray. Set it aside.
  • In a medium-sized pot, melt the butter and chocolate, stirring constantly. Once they are completely melted, remove the pot from the heat and stir in the sugar.
  • Let the mixture cool for a few minutes.
  • Lightly beat the eggs in a small bowl, and add the eggs, vanilla and flour to the pot, stirring to combine everything well.
  • Finally, fold in the pecans (save a few to sprinkle on the top of the batter).
  • Spread the mixture into your prepared baking pan and sprinkle the top with a few pecan pieces.
  • Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Let the brownies cool before slicing them and storing them in an air-tight container.

I liked these, because they were chocolatey and nutty and not sickeningly sweet. I also sliced them into small squares, which made them perfect for the Christmas snack table.

In addition to sharing these with our family, they were a nice addition to some Christmas gifts we dropped off with friends on Christmas Eve, and I was very happy with how they turned out.

Even better, they’re already gone and not hanging around on my kitchen counter, tempting me to have just one more.

I can’t quite say the same for the peanut clusters, but hey, at least I tried.

This piece first appeared in print on Dec. 28, 2023.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.

Categories
Cookies Dessert

Preserve your time with a quick strawberry bar

Strawberry oatmeal bars are a snap to put together and bake in 30 minutes or less. They feature a light sweetness from coconut, nuttiness from quick oats, and of course, delicious strawberry flavor from preserves.

I am often lost when it comes to buying preserves, jams, jellies, etc.

I know there are differences, but for some reason, my brain can’t seem to keep it all straight. If you ever see me at a store, staring at my phone in front of a shelf of spreads, you’ll know exactly what I’m Googling at that moment.

A farm out of Pennsylvania, Masonic Village Farm, has a blog post on its website, explaining all the ins and outs of the fruity offerings.

Jelly is made with juice. Jam has fruit mashed up in it. Preserves uses big pieces or whole fruit. Spreads are fruit without any added sugar, and butters have pureed fruit.

It’s amazing to me that there’s a term for every subtle difference.

I found myself researching this mystery yet again this past week, as I needed to buy some strawberry preserves for some delicious bars, which did not disappoint at all.

This recipe comes from “Taste of Home” magazine. You can find the original post at https://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/strawberry-oatmeal-bars. I added just a touch extra of vanilla in my version.

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Strawberry Oatmeal Bars

Strawberry oatmeal bars are a snap to put together and bake in 30 minutes or less. They feature a light sweetness from coconut, nuttiness from quick oats, and of course, delicious strawberry flavor from preserves.
Course Dessert
Keyword bar cookies, coconut, easy dessert, quick bar cookie, quick dessert, quick oats, strawberry, strawberry preserves, vanilla

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup butter melted
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 1/4 cups quick oats
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup strawberry preserves or flavor of your choice
  • 1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a microwave-safe mixing bowl, melt the butter. Dump in the vanilla, flour, oats, sugar, baking powder and salt and mix well until everything is completely combined.
  • Add all but one cup of the mixture to a nine-by-13-inch baking pan (you don’t need to grease it). Press it down evenly over the bottom of the pan.
  • Spoon the preserves over the top, spreading it out evenly.
  • Stir the shredded coconut into the remaining cup of crumbs, and loosely sprinkle the crumb/coconut mixture evenly over top of the preserves layer.
  • Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the top is nicely browned. Let the bars cool completely before cutting, and store them in an airtight container.

These were a big hit at the barbecue I took them to, and they were so, so easy to make, too. This would be a great recipe to make for a young or beginning baker. The tinge of coconut was the perfect amount, and the preserves did all the work outside of that.

The nice thing is, you can easily use the preserves of your choice if strawberry isn’t really your thing or if you want to have several options for a bake sale or snack table.

And honestly, if you wanted to use a jam instead, you’d probably be just fine. Although, as we have established, I am definitely no expert.

This piece first appeared in print on July 13, 2023.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.

Categories
Dessert

Don’t crumble under hosting pressure; make a quick and easy dessert

Quick cherry crumble lives up to its name. With super easy assembly, the dessert can be baked an on the table in just over 30 minutes.

I was remarking to some friends the other day about how Joey and I are complete opposites when it comes to socializing.

As an extroverted social butterfly, Joey draws his energy from being around people and generally loves a crowd.

For me, while I love to socialize, I tend to be reenergized by some alone time, and after a long day of hanging out with people or going to an event, I need a break to recharge.

Despite that difference, what Joey and I do have in common is that we love to host.

Planning a meal or a snack table and having people over to spend time chatting or playing games or watching sports with us is one of our favorite activities.

This past week, Joey casually mentioned, “Oh, I probably should have told you but I invited a bunch of people over to hang out this weekend.”

I was totally on board.

We discussed menu a bit, and that was that.

But then, the night before our get-together, I remembered I totally forgot to plan a dessert, which is a necessity for any big meal, in my humble opinion.

Luckily, the Internet and my pantry saved the day on this one, and I managed a delicious, quick dessert for our guests.

This recipe comes from the blog “Julie’s Eats & Treats” by Julie Evink. You can find the original at https://www.julieseatsandtreats.com/cherry-crunch-pie/. I added cinnamon and almond extract in my version.

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Quick Cherry Crumble

Quick cherry crumble lives up to its name. With super easy assembly, the dessert can be baked an on the table in just over 30 minutes.
Course Dessert
Keyword almond extract, brown sugar, canned cinnamon rolls, cherry crisp, cherry crumble, cherry pie filling, easy dessert, quick dessert, quick oats

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup quick oats
  • 1 heaping teaspoon cinnamon
  • 21 ounces cherry pie filling
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a mixing bowl, combine the butter, brown sugar, flour, oats and cinnamon until everything is well incorporated and the mixture looks like pea-sized crumbs.
  • Dump half of the mixture into an eight- or nine-inch glass pie plate and press it firmly to an even layer on the bottom and up the sides.
  • Pour the can of cherry pie filling into the plate, and sprinkle on the almond extract. Give the filling a gentle stir to distribute the extract, and then crumble the rest of the crust mixture evenly over the top of the filling.
  • Bake for 30 minutes or until the top of the crumble is browned.
  • Serve warm or room temperature for the best flavor, but out of the fridge is a winner, too.

As you can see, this really was a quick recipe, and I was glad I added the extra oomph with the cinnamon and almond extract. You could leave those out, but I thought it made the dessert taste a bit more homemade.

This would also be absolutely amazing with some ice cream, if you wanted to pull out all the stops.

I know some people hate hosting, but despite my tendencies to be a bit of an introvert, I love opening our home to our friends and family and watching them have a good time.

Plus, it generally means just a little leftover dessert in the fridge when they all leave.

This piece first appeared in print on June 29, 2023.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.

Categories
Dessert

Get lost in a piece of amazing cake

Amazing cake has too many ingredients to put in its title. It features an easy base of a boxed cake mix, elevated by pecans, shredded coconut, chocolate chips and a swirled cream cheese mixture that is not to be missed.

The names people choose for recipes often crack me up.

There’s the embarrassing-to-talk-about “better than sex” or “sex in a pan” variety of dishes, followed by “blue-ribbon” and “award-winning” options, and of course, there are a million recipes purporting to be “Mom’s” or “Grandma’s,” although few identify which matriarch those actually belong to.

So you’ll excuse my skepticism as to how “amazing” the recipe I tried this week was when the author simply called it “amazing cake.”

Upon reading the long list of ingredients, though, not only did I start to believe that this just might be amazing, but I also realized that she couldn’t have possibly come up with a more descriptive name without having to list at least five items in the title. Amazing cake it was.

This recipe comes from a Facebook reel by @genie_cooks. I adjusted the ingredients just a tiny bit, based on what I had in my pantry. I also used an Oreo chocolate cake mix that had Oreo bits in it for the cake part, and that was phenomenal.

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Amazing Cake

Amazing cake has too many ingredients to put in its title. It features an easy base of a boxed cake mix, elevated by pecans, shredded coconut, chocolate chips and a swirled cream cheese mixture that is not to be missed.
Course Dessert
Keyword cake mix, chocolate, chocolate cake, chocolate chips, coconut, cream cheese, easy cake, easy dessert, pecans, powdered sugar

Ingredients

  • 1 cup pecans divided
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 1 chocolate cake mix and ingredients listed on the box
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter melted
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips I used semi-sweet

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Prepare a nine-by-13-inch baking pan by spraying it with cooking spray.
  • Spread one-half cup of the pecans and all of the shredded coconut evenly along the bottom of the pan. Set it aside.
  • In a mixing bowl, prepare the chocolate cake mix according to the directions on the box. Pour the prepared mix evenly over the top of the pecans and coconut in the prepared pan.
  • In another mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, powdered sugar and melted butter until it is smooth. Fold in the remaining pecans and the chocolate chips.
  • With a large spoon, place dollops of the cream cheese mixture all over the surface of the cake batter, and then gently swirl the cream cheese mixture into the batter with a knife.
  • Bake for 35 to 40 minutes. Let the cake cool completely before cutting into it. Sore any leftovers in an airtight container.

This really did turn out, well, amazing. I brought some to the office to share, and Adam described it as a “German chocolate upside down cake,” which I thought was a fairly apt way of putting it. The incorporation of so many different flavors and textures in this cake makes it decadent and delicious, and the best part was that it was super easy to create. Put this one on your “I need to make a quick dessert” list.

While “amazing cake” doesn’t really tell you everything you need to know about this recipe, it was a decent descriptor after all, and I certainly recommend it. As for some of the other descriptive terms people tend to use in their recipe names, I think I’ll stick to the tamer adjectives. I don’t need my cooking to get a strange reputation.

This piece first appeared in print on April 20, 2023.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.

Categories
Breakfast Dessert

A crustless pie recipe can really take the cake

This fresh strawberry cake is moist and light and a fabulous dessert to pair with a bowl of vanilla ice cream or a cup of coffee.

Every week, I go have lunch with my Little for Big Brothers Big Sisters. We solve the world’s problems over school food and Uno cards as only a 13-year-old and a 39-year-old can.

Recently, we discussed the nature of sandwiches. Is a hot dog a sandwich? How about a taco? Where do quesadillas come into play?

Her assessment was that tortillas didn’t count; we stalled out on the subject of buns. We’ll have to come back to it at some point and figure it out.

I was reminded of that conversation when I made this week’s recipe, except my internal struggle was: cake or pie? The recipe author calls it a “crustless pie,” but honestly, it’s a phenomenal, moist cake that just happens to be made in a pie pan—at least in my humble opinion.

Whatever the ruling, though, it was really good, and it is perfect for all the sweet berries that are starting to hit our grocery store shelves right now.

This comes from the blog “Averie Cooks.” You can find the original post at https://www.averiecooks.com/crustless-fresh-strawberry-pie/. I added extra vanilla in my version.

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Fresh Strawberry Cake

This fresh strawberry cake is moist and light and a fabulous dessert to pair with a bowl of vanilla ice cream or a cup of coffee.
Course Breakfast, Dessert
Keyword almond extract, crustless pie, easy cake, easy dessert, fresh fruit, strawberry, vanilla

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter melted
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 16 ounces fresh strawberries halved or quartered, divided

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Prepare a nine-inch glass pie dish by spraying it with cooking spray.
  • In a large mixing bowl, add the melted butter (let it cool a bit), eggs, vanilla extract and almond extract. Beat the mixture to combine.
  • Add in one cup of sugar, the flour and salt, and beat until you have a smooth batter.
  • Fold in all but about 1/4 cup of your strawberries, and pour the mixture into your prepared pie dish, spreading it out evenly.
  • Lightly press the remaining strawberries into the top of the batter, and sprinkle two tablespoons of sugar evenly over the top of the cake.
  • Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
  • Cool completely before slicing. Store any leftovers in the fridge in an airtight container.

We really, really enjoyed this one. The vanilla and almond extracts compliment the flavor of the fresh strawberries perfectly and really help the fruit be the star of the dessert. This was delicious for breakfast with a cup of coffee, too.

You could easily swap in blueberries, raspberries, etc., if you’re not a strawberry fan or your local grocery store has something else on the shelves.

If you make this, you’ll have to tell me if I’m wrong in the cake vs. pie debate. I haven’t asked my Little to weigh in yet. If she’s anywhere near the expert on baked goods that she is on sandwiches, though, I’ll have a definitive answer in no time.

This piece first appeared in print on March 16, 2023.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.

Categories
Dessert

You’ll be ready to poke into this chocolate-filled cake

Hot chocolate poke cake takes the flavors of hot chocolate and elevates them into a delicious cake that will satisfy any chocolate-lover’s sweet tooth.

We had an early Christmas celebration this past week, and of course, I volunteered to make dessert. I knew I wanted to make a cranberry orange tart that I first tried last Christmas (check out my website for that one), since I had a full bag of cranberries in my crisper drawer, but I was feeling completely uninspired about what else to make.

So, I sent a text to my sister to ask the most creative person I know—my 5-year-old niece—what I should make.

The answer came back: chocolate chip cookies.

OK, so not the most creative answer. But my sister saved the day, sharing a recipe she was eyeballing, and it turned out to be a huge hit and an absolutely delicious dessert.

This comes from the blog “Persnickety Plates.” You can find the original post at https://www.persnicketyplates.com/hot-chocolate-poke-cake/. I didn’t do any playing with the recipe outside of clarifying a few directions.

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Hot Chocolate Poke Cake

Hot chocolate poke cake takes the flavors of hot chocolate and elevates them into a delicious cake that will satisfy any chocolate-lover's sweet tooth.
Course Dessert
Keyword cake mix, chocolate cake, chocolate chips, dark chocolate, easy dessert, hot chocolate, hot fudge topping, instant pudding, mini marshmallows, whipped cream

Ingredients

  • 15.25 ounce dark chocolate cake mix
  • 2, 3.9 ounce instant chocolate pudding mixes
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 cup cold chocolate milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 11 to 12 ounces hot fudge topping
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 pint heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • mini marshmallows and chocolate chips for topping

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a nine-by-13-inch baking pan by spraying it with non-stick cooking spray.
  • In a large mixing bowl, beat the cake mix, one box of instant pudding, eggs, vanilla, chocolate milk, oil and sour cream until the mixture is smooth.
  • Pour it evenly into the prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.
  • Let the cake cool for about 10 minutes, and then, using a skewer or the end of a wooden spoon, poke holes all over the cake.
  • Heat the hot fudge topping in the microwave until it is easy to pour, and then pour over the cake, spreading it out with a spatula, if necessary, to get it evenly distributed.
  • Let the cake cool completely, either on the counter or in the refrigerator before continuing to the next step.
  • Once the cake is completely cooled, add the other box of pudding mix along with the two cups of milk to a bowl and whisk until they are well combined. Pour the pudding mixture evenly over the cake and put it in the refrigerator to set. (I let mine set overnight.)
  • For the whipped cream, add the heavy cream, cocoa powder and powdered sugar to a mixing bowl and beat on high for several minutes until the mixture forms stiff peaks.
  • Spread the whipped cream evenly over top of the cake and finish it off with some mini marshmallows and chocolate chips.
  • Keep the cake refrigerated until you’re ready to serve it, and keep any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

This was chocolate cake, elevated to a whole new level. The hot fudge and pudding layers kept it especially moist, and there’s nothing to complain about when it comes to fresh chocolate whipped cream.

My little cousins really enjoyed it, and my sister gave the recipe two thumbs up, as well.

My niece also seemed to enjoy it, so I was glad I didn’t disappoint her by skipping out on her chocolate chip cookies. I’ll have to make her a batch sometime soon, although by then, she’ll probably have a new kind of sweet on her mind.

This piece first appeared in print on Dec. 22, 2022.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.

Categories
Dessert

The holidays are the ‘zest’ time for refreshing lemon pie

Sour cream lemon pie is a refreshing dessert that is really easy to make, especially with a pre-made graham cracker crust.

I’m constantly amazed by the things I don’t know, despite having spent a lot of time trying new ingredients and recipes over the years.

One of my favorite discoveries over the past couple of years came from a random post I saw online about store-bought graham cracker crusts.

I’m sure I am the last person to discover this, but I never knew that you could use the plastic cover on a store-bought crust as a lid if you just flip it upside down.

Joey came in the kitchen last week, just as I was washing the plastic from my crust and looked at me like I lost it.

I’m sure he thought it was one of my strange money-saving schemes.

But when I placed it handily on top of the pie I just finished, crimped the edges of the pie tin down and slid it in the fridge, he was mildly impressed.

The pie recipe I tried comes from the blog “Bunny’s Warm Oven,” by Mary Bostow. You can find the original post at https://bunnyswarmoven.net/sour-cream-lemon-pie. I didn’t change anything other than omitting the addition of whipped cream once the pie was done.

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Sour Cream Lemon Pie

Sour cream lemon pie is a refreshing dessert that is really easy to make, especially with a pre-made raham cracker crust.
Course Dessert
Keyword easy dessert, fresh lemon, graham cracker crust, lemon juice, lemon zest, pie, sour cream

Ingredients

  • 1 nine-inch graham cracker crust pre-baked
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 cup sugar
  • zest of one large lemon
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 cup sour cream

Instructions

  • In a medium-sized saucepan, combine the cornstarch, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, egg yolks and milk. Stir well and heat over medium heat, stirring continuously.
  • After about 10 minutes, the mixture will start to thicken. Keep stirring until it begins to boil, and then remove the pan from the heat.
  • Stir in the butter until it’s fully melted and combined.
  • Let the mixture cool for about 10 minutes and then stir in the sour cream.
  • Pour the lemon mixture into the prepared crust, and refrigerate it a few hours (or overnight) until it’s completely cooled through. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator.

This was just a bit sour and a bit sweet, and while you could definitely use a normal pre-baked pie crust for this recipe, I was especially happy with the flavor profile of the graham crackers pairing with the lemon filling.

If you’re looking for a new pie to try out or just need a quick dessert as the holidays come around, keep this one on hand. It was easy to make and was a really tasty, refreshing dessert, too.

And if you’re like me and quickly start to run out of space in your pie-shaped Tupperware containers during this time of year, at least you’ll have one dessert that comes with its own lid.

This piece first appeared in print on Nov. 3, 2022.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.

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