Posts Tagged ‘cherries’
Every year come May in Memphis, the 90 degree and up temperatures begin. Except for this year and I’ve been loving every minute of the 70 and 80 degree weather. That was until Monday hit with high 90s and doesn’t seem to want to give up. I saw 103 on my car’s thermometer yesterday, boo! Apparently it’s time to summer through the heat and humidity once again, which means I really dislike turning on my oven. When it’s still over 80 degrees outside at night, turning on the oven just seems wrong with all the hard work my central air is doing.
Time for no-bake granola bars to strike again, this time using almond butter. I love how adaptable this granola bar recipe is, allowing me to try all kinds of flavors and mix-ins. This most recent creation involves almond butter, chopped almonds, dried cherries, and a little bit of dark chocolate. I brought them to my cousin’s bachelorette party weekend and they turned out to be as big of a hit as the coconut pecan cookies. I should have made a double batch!
What’s you favorite mix-ins for granola bars? I’m always looking for new ideas!
DARK CHOCOLATE CHERRY ALMOND GRANOLA BARS
Makes 12 bars
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup creamy no-stir almond butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups quick oats
1/2 cup crispy rice cereal
1/2 cup dried cherries, roughly chopped
1/2 cup almonds, roughly chopped
1/4 cup dark chocolate chunks (or chips)
- Line the bottom of an 8 x 8 inch baking pan with parchment paper, allowing for an overhang on two opposite sides.
- In a large sauce pan, add butter, brown sugar, honey and almond butter. Heat over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally until the mixture starts to bubble. Once bubbling, cook for 2 minutes while stirring. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract.
- Stir in the oats, crispy cereal, cherries and almonds. Stir until well coated. Pour into the prepared pan. Press the mixture evenly into the pan. Sprinkle the dark chocolate over the top and gently press into the granola bars with your hands.
- Place the bars in the refrigerator and let cool for at least 30 minutes before cutting. Cut into bars and serve.
How often do you cook with cherries? For me it is a rare occurrence because the task of slicing open and pitting all those cherries is daunting. That was until I was given the opportunity to review OXO’s Cherry Pitter. The cherry pitter worked great and made the process of pitting the cherries for this recipe much more efficient. Every now and then a pit wouldn’t pop out right but it was fairly infrequent.
You could also use this pitter on olives, but since I don’t get along with olives (except when I mistake them for blueberries) I don’t foresee that purpose being fulfilled. Just keep the cherries coming! Heck, I would use this pitter for purely eating raw cherries despite my weird enjoyment of spitting the pits into a bowl.
But how about this cheesecake? Let me just tell you that it was exactly how I like my desserts – rich and decadent. It starts off with a brownie base followed by a layer of roasted cherries and then the cheesecake filling. Then you top it off with even more roasted cherries and even make a cream cheese whipped cream. I had no idea that you could add cream cheese to whipped cream, but I am totally sold on the idea.
Although I would have preferred the brownie layer to be a little thinner. I am an advocate of a larger cheesecake to brownie ratio in this situation. Oh and one more thing, don’t forget that the cherry on top is NOT pitted. I made sure to tell all the recipients of this fact so that no one bit into it and cracked their teeth. Of course I suppose you could be nice and pit it for them.
ROASTED CHERRY BROWNIE CHEESECAKE
1.5 lb (~4 cups) cherries, stemmed and pitted
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup + 2 Tbsp sugar
1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp cocoa
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp espresso powder, optional (I omitted)
1/2 Tbsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup flour
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
3 8-oz. packages cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup sugar
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup heavy whipping cream
- For the Roasted Cherries: Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
- Place pitted, chopped cherries in a small casserole dish or cake pan. Top with sugar and stir. Bake for 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes. Remove from oven and set to 350 degrees.
- For the Brownie Layer: While the cherries are roasting, prepare the brownie batter. Grease a 9″ springform pan with baking spray. In a medium bowl, melt the butter in the microwave, then add the sugar and stir to combine.
- Stir in the cocoa, salt, baking powder, espresso powder, and vanilla. Whisk in the eggs, stirring until smooth. Add the flour and chips, again stirring until smooth. Spread into a prepared pan and bake 10-12 minutes or until brownie is just set, but not completely done.
- For the Cheesecake: While the brownies are baking, in a large bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar on medium speed until well combined and smooth. Add in the eggs on low speed and set the mixture aside. Carefully spoon (1 cup) of the roasted cherries into the center of brownie, leave a 2-inch brownie border along sides of pan.
- Place remaining roasted cherries in a covered dish and refrigerate until ready to serve. Gently scoop the cream cheese mixture over surface; carefully spread to edges of pan. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until center is set, but jiggles when the pan is lightly tapped.
- Leaving the cheesecake in the oven, turn off oven and crack oven door. Allow to come to room temperature. This will take about an hour. Cover and chill at least 4 hours before serving.
- For the Garnish: Spoon the remaining roasted cherries on top of the cheesecake.
- Using an electric mixer with a whisk attachment, beat the cream cheese, vanilla, and sugar until light and creamy. Beat in 1/4 cup whipping cream until smooth. Add the rest of the cream and beat until it has the consistency of whipped cream (don’t overmix).
- Pipe onto cheesecake and place one cherry on each swirl of whipped cream.
Source: Beantown Baker
Disclosure: I received one OXO Cherry Pitter for free from OXO’s Blogger Outreach Program. Thoughts and opinions are my own.
I cannot believe I have been without brussels sprouts in my life until the very end of 2011. What was wrong with me for the past 26 years? (On second thought, don’t answer that.) Because every time I have them, I love them more than before. They may already be my new favorite vegetable.
This side dish counts as only the third time I have ever had brussels sprouts and am planning subsequent meals around it in the furture. Yes I am planning meals around a side dish, which should convince you to make this asap. Heck, maybe I’ll even eat is as an entree one day. It is such an easy recipe to throw together and has incredible flavor.
The chicken with which this was served will be posted tomorrow.
One year ago: Homemade Tagalongs
BRUSSELS SPROUTS WITH BACON, DRIED CHERRIES AND ISRAELI COUSCOUS
Serves 4 as a side-dish
16-18 brussels sprouts, very thinly sliced
4 slices bacon, preferably black pepper-rubbed (available at Whole Foods and butcher shops)
1/2 cup Israeli couscous
1/3 cup dried Bing cherries
1/4-1/2 tsp sea salt to taste
- Bring 3/4 cup water to a boil and add the couscous plus a pinch of sea salt. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 10 minutes or until no more water remains. Fluff with a fork and set aside.
- Cook the bacon in a cast iron skillet until crispy. Remove bacon and roughly chop. Add thinly sliced brussels sprouts to the hot bacon grease on the stove and saute for about five minutes, until the sprouts turn bright green. Add back in the bacon bits along with the dried cherries and cooked couscous. Toss well and season with salt to taste.
Source: Adapted slightly from Eat, Live, Run.
I never understood the aversion to fruit cake. Until I realized it was because I was spoiled by my dad’s version (seems to be a trend when it comes to anything my dad cooked/baked). I doubt I will ever stray away from this recipe, unless he finds some inconceivable way to improve it. It’s dense and moist like a pound cake, but filled with an insane amount of fruit and nuts. This is one fruit cake that will not be pawned off.
PECAN FRUIT CAKE
Makes 2 cakes
2 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
2-1/4 cups sugar
6 large eggs, beaten
4 tsp lemon juice
4 cups flour, divided
2 tsp baking powder
1 lb (2-1/2) cups candied red and green cherries, cut in pieces
1 lb candied pineapple, cut in pieces
1 lb golden raisins
1 lb (4 cups) chopped pecans
1/2 lb (2 cups) whole almonds (I opted to chop mine a little)
- Preheat the oven to 250 degrees for tube/bundt pans or 275 degrees for loaf pans. Generously grease and flour two pans and set aside.
- In a medium bowl, sift together 3 cups flour and the baking powder.
- In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar. Add beaten eggs and lemon juice until incorporated, then add the flour/baking powder mix.
- In a separate extra large bowl, mix candied fruit and raisins with the remaining cup of flour until well coated. Add nuts and then the batter and mix well.
- Pour evenly into the two prepared tube or loaf pans. Tube pans cook the best. Do not use glass pans. Bake tube pans at 250 for about 1.5-2 hours; loaf pans cook at 275 for about 1-1.5 hours.
- Cook times are approximate. Test for doneness with a toothpick after one hour and as needed afterward. Do not over cook! Slow baking keeps the cake moist. Let cool completely before removing from pans. Keep covered in fridge.
Source: My dad
Do you know what “stone fruit” means? Because I sure didn’t until a few weeks ago. I had never even heard of the term “stone fruit” let alone knew what it meant and now here I am posting about making something with said fruit.
Oh, and I used all yellow stone fruits, to continue my current yellow fruit obsession. Peach, yellow plum, and yellow (Rainier) cherries. I can’t take credit for the fruit combination (Audra at The Baker Chick), but what a flavor combination it was! A wonderful explosion on my taste buds. Can it be stone fruit season all year long? Please?
I really enjoyed the ease of using a pre-made crust, although next time I will make it with a less puffier kind. I enjoyed the flaky texture, but wish it weren’t so puffy. (Who knew that PUFF pastry gets puffy?) Although they actually remind me of the apple hand pies (sans apples) you can get at McDonald’s. But better. And bigger. Did I mention better?
STONE FRUIT HAND PIES
Makes 6 hand pies
2 Tbsp cornstarch + 2 Tbsp cold water
1 peach, pitted and cut into chunks
1 yellow plum, pitted and cut into chunks
6 Rainier cherries, stemmed, pitted and quartered
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup sugar + more for sprinkling
1 box frozen puff pastry, defrosted in fridge
1 egg + 1 Tbsp warm water, beaten
- Whisk together the cold water and cornstarch in a small bowl until all the cornstarch is dissolved. Set aside.
- Combine the fruit, lemon juice and sugar in a saucepan and heat over medium high on the stove. Once the mixture has started to simmer, slowly drizzle in the cornstarch/water and stir constantly while bringing up to a boil briefly. Remove from heat and let cool while you prepare the pastry.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
- Working with one piece of puff pastry at a time, roll out to smooth edges and then slice into three equal sized rectangles*. Place on prepared baking sheet.
- Divide the fruit mixture onto each half of the pastries. Carefully fold over pastry and pinch all edges together well**. Make three small slits into the top of each. Brush the egg mixture on each pie. Sprinkle sugar over each.
- Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown.
*I cut mine along the seams of the dough. Worked great!
**A fork works great
Yellow fruit is currently my obsession. And the yellow fruits I am referring to are ones that you normally wouldn’t think of as being yellow – cherries, plums, and raspberries. They might look under-ripe and unappetizing to you, but I have to buy extra whenever I plan to make something with them. I inevitably eat
some a lot of it on my 5 minute drive home from the grocery and/or before I even cook them. I cannot help it. To me fresh fruit is almost as good as a soft just-out-of-the-oven cookie. The cherries and raspberries were the only ones the survived long enough to make it into this oatmeal. I maybe should have added the raspberries in the morning, after it had cooked because they pretty much disintegrated (note their invisibility in the picture). But the flavor definitely did not disappear and the texture is great. If you are one of those people that like to come up with excuses for not eating Breakfast, throw them out the window and make this oatmeal. That is if you can even come up with any to deny such a thing as this.
ALMOND BERRY OVERNIGHT SLOW COOKER OATMEAL
2 cups Rainier cherries, pitted and cut in half
1 cup raspberries
1-1/2 cups almond milk milk
1-1/2 cups water 1 cup uncooked steel-cut oats
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1-1/2 Tbsp butter, cut into 5-6 pieces
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp ground flax seed
1/4 tsp salt
Sliced almonds, for garnish
- Coat inside of 3-1/2 quart (or larger) slow cooker with cooking spray. Add all ingredients from cherries to salt to slow cooker. Stir, cover, and cook on low for 7 hours.
- Spoon oatmeal into bowls; add sliced almonds, if desired.
- Refrigerate or freeze leftovers. To reheat single servings: Put 1-cup cooked oatmeal in microwave proof bowl. Add 1/3 cup fat-free milk. Microwave on high for 1 minute; stir. Continue cooking for another minute, or until hot. Recipe can be doubled in 6-quart or larger slow cooker. Increase cooking time 1 hour.
Source: Adapted slightly from Pass the Sushi
Monday, March 28th: National Black Forest Cake Day. But how about stuffed cupcakes instead? I think yes!
I was disappointed when I was told at the grocery store that Cherries are a seasonal fruit item and therefore are currently not in stock. This perplexed me because arn’t most fruits seasonal? Com’on there’s gotta be some country cherries are imported from year round. ::Sigh:: I had to settle for a jar of Maraschino cherries instead. If you can find real cherries, I would do it because I always think fresh fruit is better than anything else. Granted these were delicious regardless. I think the Maraschino cherries went well with the cherry pie filling inside the cupcakes. And the frosting was fabulous.
Plus they received this rave review from my P.I. – “I am not kidding you, best cupcake I’ve ever had.”
1-2/3 cups flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
1-1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
8 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
1-1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups buttermilk
1 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
2 Tbsp sugar
1 can (20 oz) cherry pie filling
1-1/4 cups heavy cream
6-7 Tbsp sifted confectioners’ sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Maraschino cherries, with stems
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 12 wells of two cupcake pans with paper liners.
- In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt and espresso powder together; whisk to blend, and set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time until incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Mix in the vanilla extract.
- With the mixer on low speed, mix in the dry ingredients in three additions alternately with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Mix each addition just until incorporated.
- Divide half the batter evenly between the prepared cupcake liners. Spoon in 2 Tbsp of the cream cheese cherry mixture. Cover evenly with remaining cake batter.
- Bake 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- To make the whipped cream frosting, add the heavy cream to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Start beating on medium-low speed, slowly increasing as the cream begins to thicken up to medium-high speed. While the cream is being whipped, gradually add in the confectioners’ sugar a spoonful at a time. Whip the cream until stiff peaks form. (Be careful not to overbeat!) Fold in the vanilla extract.
- Frost the filled cupcakes with the whipped cream. Garnish as desired with a cherry and chocolate shavings. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Hope everyone had a great Valentine’s Day yesterday. Brent and I skipped the dinner craze and went out for a lunch date instead. But it was a bittersweet day because he packed at night and left early this morning on a plane to Costa Rica for two weeks (and yes, I am incredibly jealous). My cooking/baking tendencies are either going to go through the roof, or I’m going to completely slack off during his absence. For now, enjoy some chocolate covered cherries. Who says these chocolate treats are only for Valentine’s Day?
These take at least a week before they are ready to enjoy (the sugar coating must be given time to turn into gel), but definitely worth your time and patience. They even converted someone who proclaimed to hate chocolate covered cherries.
60 maraschino cherries with stems
3 Tbsp butter, softened
3 Tbsp corn syrup
2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
1 lb chocolate confectioners’ coating
- Drain cherries and set on paper towels to dry.
- In a medium bowl, combine butter and corn syrup until smooth. Stir in confectioners’ sugar and knead to form a dough. Chill to stiffen if necessary. Wrap each cherry in about 1 teaspoon of dough. Chill in freezer until firm.
- Melt confectioners’ coating in a double boiler over low heat. Dip each cherry in by its stem, and place on waxed paper lined sheets. Chill until completely set.
- Store in an airtight container in a cool place. Best after 1 or 2 weeks.
Source: All Recipes