Blackberry Pop-Tarts

If you’re like me, you get nostalgic about your food. If you are me, it’s breakfast food specifically. Like anyone who subconsciously memorizes the little things, the smell of a relative’s basement, which light switch controls the lights as opposed to the ceiling fan, and how you hold a doorknob in place just the right way to open your bedroom door, (to name a few), there are sentimentally valuable aspects to what you ate as a kid when you revisit them as a slightly older kid. For example, I’m occasionally ridiculed for prioritizing Lucky Charms as my snack of choice. However, it isn’t just the emotionally and physically drained feeling that comes with a bowl of sugar cereal that I love, it’s the fact that it tastes like those times I was successful enough to be granted permission to eat charms for breakfast. Pop-Tarts are another example, but these are on a whole different playing field. There’s nothing that comes close to the integrity of an original frosted strawberry Pop-Tart, but these blackberry ones are the ones you want to eat.

Blackberry pop-tart

Blackberry Pop-Tarts ingredients

Blackberry Pop-Tarts

Blackberry Pop-Tarts

Blackberry Pop-Tarts

Blackberry Pop-Tarts

Blackberry Pop-Tarts

Blackberry Pop-Tarts

Blackberry Pop-Tarts

Blackberry Pop-Tarts

Blackberry Pop-Tarts

Blackberry Pop-Tarts

Blackberry Pop-Tarts

Blackberry Pop-Tarts

Make the Pop-Tarts

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz blackberries
  • 1 tbsp. lemon zest
  • 3 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tbsp. water
  • 2 9-inch pie crusts (store-bought or homemade)

For the glaze:

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 3-4 tbsp. milk or water
  • 1/2 tsp. lemon zest
  • 1/2 tsp. juice from the blackberry jam
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a small saucepan, heat the blackberries, zest, sugar, and water over low heat. Cook for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally and crushing the berries with a wooden spoon, until the jam is thick and syrupy.
  2. To make the glaze, stir together the powdered sugar, milk, zest, and blackberry juice. If the glaze isn’t thin enough, add another teaspoon of milk.
  3. Roll out the pie crust and cut 5 x 4 inch rectangles with a pizza cutter. To make each shape uniform, first cut out a rectangle of cardboard and use it as a stencil for the other crusts.
  4. Spoon a few tablespoons of the blackberry jam onto the middle of a rectangle. Brush the borders of the pop-tart with egg wash (egg yolk + 1 tsp water), cover the rectangle with another section of crust, and crimp the edges with a fork or your fingers. Brush the pop-tarts with more egg wash.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the pop-tarts are golden brown. Once they’re cool, frost them with the lemon-blackberry glaze.

Enjoy!

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Chocolate Chunk Cookies w/ Salty Burnt Caramel

As I tested this recipe earlier today, I was told, “Whatever you’re making smells delicious,” but at this point in time there were only two things on the stove: nearly three sticks of salted butter browning in two separate saucepans. One would eventually bubble into a toasty caramel with sugar and a little bit of milk, while the other would be joined by even more butter for the cookie dough. This situation sums up the inspiration for these cookies: the happy power of butter, which, in this case, provides all the flavor for the recipe. Three major reasons for the different uses of this ingredient in these cookies: brown butter offers an insane depth of flavor where normal chocolate chips cookies lack, caramel is all I need in this crazy, crazy life, and how else would I come up with pretentious recipe titles without it?

Tip: If you don’t have/can’t find chocolate “chunks,” melt a bag of normal chocolate chips in the microwave in 30 second intervals and stir smooth, then fill a piping bag (no tip) or a Ziploc bag (snip the end) with the melted chocolate, and pipe chocolate chunks onto baking sheets lined with wax paper. Let them cool until they’re set.

chocolate chunk cookies with salty burnt caramel

Chocolate Chunk Cookies with Salty Burnt Caramel

caramel sauce

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Melted butter

browned butter

browned butter

chocolate chunk cookie dough

chocolate chunk cookies with salty burnt caramel

chocolate chunk cookie with salty burnt caramel

Make the Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups of flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp of baking powder
  • 2 sticks of butter
  • Chocolate chunks (24 oz)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • caramel (recipe cut in 1/2)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat.
  2. In a saucepan, brown 1 stick of butter on low heat, swirling occasionally until there are dark bits at the bottom of the pan. Remove from the heat and add the second stick of butter. Stir until melted.
  3. Pour the butter into a large bowl and mix in sugar, then the eggs and vanilla.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder. Add to the butter mixture and stir until combined, then add the chocolate chunks.
  5. Scoop dough onto the prepared pans and bake for 10-12 minutes. At around 8 minutes, drizzle them with caramel and return them to the oven to finish baking for a couple minutes. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt and more caramel.

Enjoy!

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Paint Spill Sugar Cookies (+ DIY Tutorial)

A healthy alternative for those who love eating lead-based paint. An unhealthy alternative for vegetables and other health-related food items due to the fact that they’re cookies.

The method is simple: alternate piping thick films of dyed icing onto the center of a sugar cookie until the colors create a marbled rainbow effect and spill over the sides.

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Here’s the cookie tutorial!:

For the icing:

  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 6 tsp milk
  • 6 tsp light corn syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Food dye (I used the 3 primary colors)

1. Whisk together the milk and powdered sugar, then add the corn syrup and vanilla.
2. Divide the icing into 3 portions and dye each with your colors of choice.

Alternate piping thick films of dyed icing onto the center of a sugar cookie until the colors create a marbled rainbow effect and spill over the sides. Use cooled, flat sugar cookies for the best results.

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Spiced Orange 6-Layer w/ Rosemary Buttercream

Unlike cookies, pies, or ice cream, when I decide to make a cake, it becomes my baby for the following 48 hours. Maybe because the time it takes to complete the entire process is highly underrated, but it’s probably also due to the fact that a really good cake takes a lot of figuring how to go about the smallest details. Some are obvious, such as what flavor of cake you’re really in the mood for, but the very same flow chart that begins with chocolate or vanilla leads to a plethora of other options, leading to decisions, which then leads to the task of executing them.

In any case, there is a specific satisfaction that comes with baking something for fun, no matter what the dessert, as opposed to baking for an event or even for someone in particular. Exhibit A would be taking less than a minute to marvel at your finished product before slicing into it with a knife and a fork.

Check out the video of my cake process here!

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Make the cake

Ingredients:

  • 2 sticks softened butter
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
  • 3 cups white sugar
  • Zest and juice of 2 oranges
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 cups room temperature milk
  • 5 egg whites (@ room temperature)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • a pinch of ground ginger

1. Preheat the oven to 350 and butter & flour 3 8-inch cake pans.
2. Cream the butter and shortening together, then add the sugar gradually. Once incorporated, add the egg whites gradually, then add the orange juice and zest.
3. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (flour + spices + baking powder)
4. Alternate the wet and dry ingredients while mixing into the butter/egg mixture (scrape down the bowl occasionally).
5. Pour into prepared pans and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the cake is golden and a skewer inserted comes out clean.

For the frosting

Ingredients:
2 sticks (1 cup) of softened butter
1 cup shortening
1 bag (2 lb, 3 3/4 cups) powdered sugar
4 tbsp. milk
rosemary syrup (1 cup water + 1/4 cup sugar + 6-8 sprigs of fresh rosemary — simmer together in a small saucepan for 5 minutes then chill and strain)

1. Beat the butter and shortening together, then add sugar 1/2 cup at a time.
2. Beat in syrup and milk and mix until the consistency is light and fluffy.

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This post is part of the monthly link up party Our Growing Edge. This event aims to connect food bloggers and inspire us to try new things. This month is hosted by Lauren at Sweet and Southern Lifestyle.

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Microwave Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate DIY Short

5-ingredient microwave Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate
Pro-tip: make in the cheesiest mug possible

Ingredients:
3/4 cup milk
3 tsp white sugar
1 tsp water
1/4 cup chocolate chips
a pinch of salt
marshmallows (optional but how dare you if you opt out)

1. In a glass, heat the milk in the microwave with 30 second intervals, or until hot.
2. In a mug, dissolve the sugar in the water, and microwave at 15 second intervals, swirling in between, until the caramel is golden brown and bubbling (be careful! It’s very hot).
3. Pour the hot milk into the caramel mug and stir constantly, until the caramel is incorporated and the milk is tinted light amber. Add a pinch of salt.
4. Add the chocolate chips and wait a minute before stirring to combine. Enjoy!

Fresh Mint & Dark Chocolate Tart

For whatever reason, I’ve never been able to truly enjoy a mint-flavored anything. Whether it’s ice cream, cookies, or candy, I have always steered clear of mint chip, thin mints, and peppermint patties, respectively. If it registers as the same flavor of my toothpaste, I’m not into it. However, I will say that the difference between the flavors of fresh mint and bottled peppermint oil or tictacs is too immense not to call them by completely different names. The fact that all mint is considered to be on the same playing field is devastating, my point being that I enjoy desserts made with fresh mint, and do not enjoy desserts made with artificial mint flavoring. In the title, I made it my business to clarify: this is strictly fresh mint and nothing else.

Make sure the pastry of your tart shell is cooked all the way through before filling, or you’ll have a hard time making clean slices. Also be sure to leave some excess dough around the edges, as the puff pastry will shrink as it bakes.

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Make the tart:

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pint (1 cup) heavy cream (+ more for whipped cream)
  • 10 oz dark chocolate, chopped (or 10 oz chocolate chips/chunks)
  • 1 sheet of puff pastry
  • 1 cup of fresh mint, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  1. Preheat the oven to 350. Roll out a sheet of thawed puff pastry dough and lay it in a 9 in pie plate, then bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. (The middle will puff up, but once removed from the oven, press it down with a spoon.
  2. To make the mint syrup, crush the chopped mint with the sugar in a small saucepan with a wooden spoon. Add 1/2 cup of water and turn the stove on medium-low. Let the mixture simmer until it’s thickened slightly and is tinted light green. Strain the syrup through a sieve and set aside.
  3. In another saucepan, heat the cream with the corn syrup until bubbles form around the edges. Pour the cream over the chocolate and let sit for 3 minutes, then stir until smooth. Add 4 tablespoons of the mint syrup and stir until combined.
  4. Pour the chocolate mixture into the puff pastry shell, cover and refrigerate for an hour (or until completely cool). Make whipped cream and add 3 tablespoons of mint syrup to the cream before whipping. Spread the whipped cream over the tart and refrigerate until set.

Enjoy! <3, B

Toffee Almond Bark

Your entire life depends on whether or not you foil and grease the pan you’re using to make this liquid gold/drug of a dessert. Don’t learn the hard way. Also, if you’re as impatient as me when it comes to waiting, the bark a few minutes fresh from the oven is equally good spooned over ice cream as it is when it’s solidified in bark form.

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Make the Bark:

Ingredients

  • 20-30 saltine crackers
  • 2 sticks of salted butter (1 cup)
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup of whole almonds, roughly chopped
  1. Line a baking pan with foil and grease it. Cover the bottom of the pan with saltines and sprinkle a handful of almonds over the crackers.
  2. In a small saucepan, stir together the butter and sugar until boiling. Reduce the heat and let the toffee simmer for a couple minutes, stirring frequently. Once it’s thickened, stir in the rest of the almonds and pour the mixture over the saltines.
  3. Let the bark cool before cutting, or just wait a few minutes and spoon the toffee over ice cream.

Enjoy! <3, B

DIY: Making Boxed Cake Mix Taste Homemade

You’ve probably been there before: the mental debate you have with yourself regarding whether or not making a cake from scratch is worth the time and effort, rather than simply following the 3-step instructions found on every box in probably the most artificial section of the grocery store. There’s always an easy way out, giving in to the oil, egg, and water recipe, but it’s lazy. Then, there’s the more complicated and time consuming way, the eggs, sugar, flour, butter, baking powder, vanilla, etc. recipe, but it’s tedious when you don’t have all the time in the world. Don’t settle for the watered down flavor of death, but don’t go to great lengths if the pay off isn’t worth it! Instead, upgrade the boxed cake mix with easy substitutions so there’s a happy medium (or be an overachiever and make a cake from scratch, but no one likes overachievers. How dare you) (But use one of my cake recipes if you decide that’s what you want to do) (no pressure)

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Make the chocolate cupcakes/cake:

Ingredients (depending on the cake mix)

  • an extra egg (I used 4 eggs)
  • 2 tbsp of sour cream (it makes the cake moist)
  • milk instead of water
  • 1/4 cup of coffee (you won’t taste the coffee but it enhances the chocolate)

For the frosting: Beat together 4 oz of softened cream cheese and a can of frosting.

Follow the instructions on the box, but only beat the mix for 30 seconds instead of 2 minutes.

Enjoy! <3, B

Salted Dark Chocolate & Maple Affogato

If, on any given day, I was posed the question of what my favorite thing(s) is/are, my answer would probably consist of a brief list, and would definitely include both coffee and ice cream (also dogs when they sigh really loud and peeling plastic off a new thing). So when I first heard someone mention the Italian coffee/ice cream-based drink dessert infamously known as an affogato, I said “why would you eat an avocado at this hour?” then someone said, “not an avocado, an affogato” then I said “oh.” It was a life changing moment!

This is my take on a classic affogato (cold ice cream + a shot of hot espresso), but instead of using a scoop of classic vanilla, I encourage you to try this flavor instead! It’s fresh, it’s edgy, it tastes nothing like avocado, and it gives you that dog sigh sentiment that only coffee AND ice cream lovers understand.

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Make the Ice Cream:

Ingredients

  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 sugar
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tbsp. sea salt (one of the most important ingredients not present in the ingredient picture my bad)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup (Grade B is best)

+ one shot of espresso or strong coffee

  1. In a medium sized sauce pan, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until pale yellow. Whisk in the salt, then the milk, and heat at medium-low, stirring constantly until the mixture is thick enough to coat a wooden spoon.
  2. Remove from heat and whisk in the maple syrup and cocoa powder (make sure there are no cocoa lumps before refrigerating!)
  3. Transfer the ice cream base to a (preferably metal) bowl, cover with plastic and place in the fridge for at least two hours, or until cold.
  4. Once the mixture is chilled, stir in the heavy cream and churn in an ice cream maker, then transfer to an airtight container and freeze until firm.
  5. When the ice cream is firm, scoop into glasses or bowls and serve with a shot of espresso or strong coffee. Pour the coffee over the ice cream and eat/drink with a spoon 🙂

Enjoy! <3, B