Fresh Red Raspberry & Blueberry Pie

Fresh Red Raspberry & Blueberry Pie.

Are you looking for an amazing fruit pie that is tart and sweet and bursting full of fresh fruits of the season?

I haven’t baked a pie in a while, so I thought it was high time I treated hubby to something he would love being that it is Father’s Day weekend and all.

He would choose pie over cake or cookies approximately 99.5 times out of 100 – conservatively speaking.

I had some fresh red raspberries and some fresh blueberries in the fridge, but not enough of either to make a whole pie, so I decided to try combining the two into one pie.

I researched some recipes and then decided to combine things I liked about different ones into my own creation – including using tapioca instead of cornstarch as the thickening agent for this pie.  Grandma always used tapioca in her berry pies, so there is no other way in my book!

This pie turned out perfectly thickened and so full of fresh berry flavors.  It was a complete hit with Hubby – especially when topped with a melting scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.

If you are looking for a new twist on berry pie, I hope you’ll give this recipe a try!

Fresh Red Raspberry & Blueberry Pie

Ingredients:

  • Double recipe for Pie Crust
  • 2 cups fresh red raspberries
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1 cup + 1 Tbsp. white sugar
  • 1/4 cup tapioca
  • 1 Tbsp. flour
  • 2 tsp. freshly grated lemon peel
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract of paste
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp. milk or water

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Line a 9 inch pie plate with bottom pastry.

In a bowl, combine berries, 1 cup sugar, tapioca, flour, lemon peel, vanilla, and cinnamon.  Gently stir, and pour into pastry lined pie plate.

Top with remaining pie crust cut and wove into lattice.

Brush with milk or water, and sprinkle with remaining 1 Tbsp. sugar.

Bake at 400 degrees F for 45-50 minutes or until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbly.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

I’ve Fallen Madly in Love…. with Biscotti

I’ve fallen madly in love… with Biscotti!

I’m not sure why?  But all of the sudden, I can’t get enough of it.

It all started with an “impulse” purchase (dang hungry shopping!) – where I picked up a small package of almond flavored biscotti.

I’ve never really been drawn to biscotti – thinking it rather dry and bland tasting, but oh was I wrong!

Dry?  Maybe… but in an amazingly crispy, crunchy way.

Bland?  Far from it!  So full of flavor and texture.

And when served with coffee (or red wine) 🙂 – and dunked – Wowza!

The word “biscotto” means “biscuit” or “cookie.” Biscotti are named according to their method of baking. The root words “bis” and “cotto” literally mean “twice” and “baked.” When Italians first created biscotti in the region of Tuscany many centuries ago, they were careful to bake the cookies twice, in order to form their unique shape and allow the cookies to develop their signature crisp texture.

So after purchasing the almond…… and then the orange pecan…… I decided it was time I try to bake my own biscotti.

I considered what I had on hand and chose to try a Starbucks Copycat recipe of Dried Tart Cherry and Walnut.

I’m not sure I achieved the correct shape, but I’m pretty sure I nailed the flavor!

Hubby, who would normally not choose biscotti…. well – let’s just say he definitely liked them.  We won’t talk about how many he ate when he found them cooling, but suffice it to say, they were a hit!

Here’s the recipe I tried, and I cannot wait to try more flavors.

This could be a very dangerous love affair!

Cherry Walnut Biscotti

Ingredients:

1 stick  butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup dried cherries
1 teaspoon grated orange zest

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Beat butter in electric mixer on high speed until fluffy. Add sugar and continue beating for about 2 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla.

Add baking powder, cinnamon, and salt, and mix.  Add flour just until blended.

Mix in walnuts, cherries and  orange zest by hand.

Turn the batter out onto a floured work surface and divide in half.  Shape each half into a log 12 inches long and 1 1/2 inches in diameter.  Transfer to baking sheet.

Bake 20-25 minutes until golden brown. Place baking sheet on wire rack and let logs cool for 10 minutes. Using a serrated knife, cut the logs into 1/2 inch wide slices, and carefully place the slices back onto the baking sheet.  Bake for another 10 minutes. Let the biscotti cool completely on the baking sheet. Store in airtight container.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

Oreo Millionaire Shortbread

Oreo Millionaire Shortbread.

WARNING – WARNING – WARNING!

This recipe is ONLY for the most serious chocolate and salted caramel lovers.

Others – please disregard!

One of our friends who we meet up with every Thursday on our John’s Bar date night had a birthday last week.

Friends’ birthdays are always a great excuse for me to bake and try something new.

So for our sweet friend, Donna, I made these amazingly decadent Oreo Millionaire Shortbread cookie bars.

O… M… G!

What could be more indulgent than an Oreo cookie crust layered with homemade salted caramel and then topped with rich, creamy chocolate and sprinkled with additional Oreo crumbs?!?!

I found a recipe at Baking a Mess, but the recipe was in British weights and measures and contained ingredients I was not familiar with (caster sugar and golden syrup).  I did a little research into converting grams to cups and substitutes for the ingredients I didn’t have, and came up with this recipe below.

There wasn’t one left Thursday night for Donna to take home.  She had generously shared, and they were all devoured.

This is a real treat, but be warned, it is absolutely decadent, so only make when you are absolutely sure you need a luxurious indulgence!

Oreo Millionaire Shortbread

Ingredients:

Base:

  • 1 1/2 packages (14.3 oz) Oreo cookies
  • 1/2/ cup butter
  • 2 Tbsp flour

Caramel:

  • 1 14-oz can Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup (sticks) butter
  • 2 Tbsp Karo Syrup
  • 1 Tbsp molasses
  • 1 tsp flaked sea salt

Topping:

  • 2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup reserved Oreo crumbs

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line a 9×9 square baking stone or pan with parchment paper.  Finely crush Oreo cookies into crumbs.    Reserve 1 cup.  Combine remaining crumbs with melted butter and flour in bowl.  Pour into parchment lined baking pan and pat firmly.  Bake for 10 minutes.  Allow to cool.

On medium-low heat, put the all of the caramel ingredients (except the sea salt flakes) in a heavy saucepan.  Allow to boil, reduce and thicken into a golden caramel sauce, stirring occasionally.  This takes about 30 minutes.  Stir in the sea salt flakes and pour on top of the Oreo base.  Refrigerate approximately 2 hours.

Melt chocolate chips in microwave for 1 minute.  Stir.  Melt an additional 30 seconds.  Stir.  Pour over caramel layer and spread to cover entire surface.  Sprinkle with reserved Oreo crumbs.  Refrigerate a few hours before removing from pan by lifting parchment paper.

Cut into 36 squares.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

 

Terry’s Chocolate Orange Double Chocolate Cookies

Terry’s Chocolate Orange Double Chocolate Cookies.

I’ll bet some of you are surprised to see me baking cookies again after the past month of wedding cookie baking.

But those cookies are gone.  And we were invited to a friend’s house last weekend for a little get together, and guess what I was asked to bring???

I had a couple of Terry’s Chocolate Oranges in the pantry that I’ve been waiting to make something yummy and chocolatey with, and so I found a recipe that I modified to include them.

They were yummy!  A double chocolate chewy, fudgy cookie with a hint of orange.

I had to laugh when a friend said he didn’t really like chocolate cookies – while he was eating his fourth one!

Hope you will give these delightful treats a try!

Terry's Chocolate Orange Double Chocolate Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. (4 sticks) butter, softened
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 4 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 Dark Chocolate Terry’s Chocolate Oranges, coarsely chopped

Directions:

Cream butter and sugar in electric mixer.  Beat in eggs and vanilla until light and fluffy.  Mix in baking soda and salt.  Slowly mix in cocoa powder and flour until combined.

Gently stir in chopped Terry’s Chocolate Oranges.  Refrigerate for at least two hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Drop by tablespoonful onto baking stone or cookie sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes just until set and beginning to crackle.

Leave on baking stone for 5 minutes after removing from oven to begin cooling.  Transfer to wire rack to cool completely.  

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

The Wedding Cookie Table: A Pittsburgh Tradition

The Wedding Cookie Table - It's a Burgh Thing

The Wedding Cookie Table – It’s a Burgh Thing

The Wedding Cookie Table:  A Pittsburgh Tradition.

As some of my faithful friends here at The Creative Life in Between know, I’ve been baking a few cookies for the past month for my son and new daughter-in-law’s wedding.

The wedding was this weekend, so I thought I would share a couple of quick shots we captured of the finished Wedding Cookie Table since many of you asked to see as you saw the various recipes being shared.

I have to thank my other sweet daughter-in-law for helping bake several kinds of cookies (snickerdoodles, peanut butter blossoms, s’mores cookies, and chocolate dipped oreos!) as well as my friend, Tracy, for her generosity in baking the lady locks.  A special thank you to Liz’s mom and her cousin Kathy for baking an amazing variety of sweet breads with flavored butters that added just that special touch to our brunch wedding menu.  My favorite was the earl grey tea lavender bread!  Absolutely amazing!

If you would like to see the recipes for the variety of cookies I made, here is a list with links to the recipes:

  1. Jodi’s Best Ever Chocolate Chip Cookies
  2. Hershey Kiss Brownie Bites
  3. Pecan Tassies
  4. Peanut Butter Cup Cookies
  5. Pecan Sandies
  6. Carrot Cake Thumbprints
  7. Raspberry Dark Chocolate Shortbread Cookies
  8. Apricot Kolaches
  9. Buckeye Balls
  10. Lemon Crinkle Cookies
  11. Red Velvet White Chocolate Cookies
  12. Oreo Cookies & Cream Cookies

A Pittsburgh Wedding Cookie Table

A Pittsburgh Wedding Cookie Table

It seems that the Wedding Cookie Table is a bit of a regional tradition to our area.  In Pittsburgh, it’s a “burgh thing” to do.  No wedding is complete without a massive buffet of favorite cookies for the guests to enjoy before, during, and after the reception.  Our wedding “favor” for the guests was an empty box to fill with their favorites from our cookie table.

We could not be happier to welcome our sweet new daughter-in-law to our family.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Oreo Cookies ‘n Cream Cookies

I may have saved the best for last….

For my last cookie recipe for the Wedding cookie table, who is in the mood for a Cookies ‘n Cream cookie created with coarsely crushed Oreo cookies and creamy white chocolate chips?

Oh…. My…. Yumminess!

These are SERIOUSLY divine!  The photos may not do justice to the ecstasy your taste buds are going to experience.

Here’s the recipe I found at The Recipe Critic.  Hope you will give them a try!

Oreo Cookies 'n Cream Cookies

  • Servings: approx. 5 doz.
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar, packed
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 5 cups flour
  • 28 Oreo Cookies, coarsely crushed
  • 3 1/2 cups white chocolate chips

Directions:

In a large mixing bowl, beat together butter and sugars about 2 minutes until light and fluffy.  Beat in eggs and vanilla.  Slowly beat in baking soda, baking powder, salt, and finally flour just until incorporated.  Gently fold in coarsely-crushed Oreo cookies and white chocolate chips.

Refrigerate dough at least 2 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Roll dough into 1 1/2 inch balls and place 2 inches apart on baking stone or cookie sheet.  Bake for 7-9 minutes or until just lightly browned.  Let cool on baking stone/cookie sheet 5 minutes, then completely cool cooling racks.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Red Velvet White Chocolate Cookies

For my penultimate wedding cookie table cookie recipe, I present….

Red Velvet White Chocolate Cookies.

I was so excited to find this simple recipe that uses Bisquick baking mix and creates such beautiful and delicious cookies.

Won’t they look pretty next to the Lemon Crinkles?!

Red velvet lovers rejoice!

Red Velvet White Chocolate Cookies

  • Servings: approx. 3 doz.
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups brown sugar, packed
  • 4 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 tsp. red food coloring
  • 3 1/2 cups Bisquick mix
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened baking cocoa
  • 2 cups white chocolate chips

Directions:

In large mixing bowl, beat butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in vanilla, eggs, and food coloring.  Add Bisquick and cocoa just until combined.  Gently stir in white chocolate chips.

Refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls about 2 inches apart on baking stone or cookie sheet.  Bake for 8-10 minutes.  Do not overbake.  Cool on stone/sheet for 5 minutes.  Remove to cooling rack to cool completely.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Lemon Crinkle Cookies

Lemon Crinkle Cookies.

Amidst all the chocolate and peanut butter and pecans and raspberry and apricot, we needed a fresh, bright, citrusy, spring cookie for the wedding cookie table.

This light, delicate Lemon Crinkle Cookie is just the ticket!

A tangy zip of lemon juice and zest in a small little puff rolled in powdered sugar and “crinkled” will make a lovely  contrast in flavor and color.

It’s wedding week, and we are so excited!

Hope you will give this lovely cookie a try.

And while we are talking about cookies…. my friend Sherrie told me a joke this week that I thought would be fun to share given all the cookie recipes I’ve been sharing lately….

Why did the cookie go to the hospital?

……………………………………………………………………………….Because it was feeling crummy! 😝😝😝🍪

Lemon Crinkle Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 8-oz package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 Tbsp freshly grated lemon zest (2 large lemons)
  • 2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice (from same 2 lemons)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp lemon extract
  • A couple drops of yellow food coloring
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 1/4 ups flour
  • 1 cup powdered sugar (to roll cookies in before baking)

Directions:

In the mixing bowl of electric stand mixer, combine cream cheese and butter until creamy and smooth.  Beat in sugar, lemon zest and juice, vanilla and lemon extract, food coloring and salt.  Mix until well combined, light and fluffy.  Add egg and egg yolk and beat for 1-2 minutes on medium until creamy and light.

Gradually add in baking powder and flour on low speed until just incorporated.  Dough will be quite sticky.  Cover bowl and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Roll dough into 1 inch round balls and then roll in powdered sugar.  Place balls about 2 inches apart on baking stone or cookie sheet.  Bake 10-12 minutes until cookies puff and crinkle.  Do not overbake.  Cookies should not brown.  Cool completely on wire rack.  Cookies are wonderful when frozen or refrigerated for a “cool” taste. 

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Fresh Strawberry & Lemon Poppy Seed Cake

Fresh Strawberry & Lemon Poppy Seed Cake.

If you know me at all, you know Poppy Seed Cake is my favorite of all cakes.

Unusual to most I’m guessing, but most significant to me because my Grandma always made it for my birthday (New Year’s Eve) since everyone is just about over it with sweets by then after the holidays.

I had some fresh strawberries that were on the verge of going bad and lemon on the brain from a cookie I was making for the wedding cookie table, so I decided to whip up and “zip” up a poppy seed cake for Easter Sunday.

A bit of tart and sweet lemon zest in the batter along with chunks of juicy red-ripe strawberries and a thin lemon glaze really “Spring”ed up my usual wintertime poppy seed cake craving.

Hubby loved his with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and an extra handful of fresh strawberries on top.

If you are looking for a fresh, not too sweet, but yummy Spring cake to serve, give this one a try.  It is truly delightful!

Fresh Strawberry & Lemon Poppy Seed Cake*

  • Servings: 1 marvelous cake
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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh strawberries, chopped
  • 1/4  cup poppy seeds
  • Glaze:
    • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
    • 1 cup powdered sugar
    • 2 Tbsp milk

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Grease and flour a fluted cake pan or your favorite.

In a large bowl, beat together the melted butter, sugar, and lemon zest.  Add eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating.  Add milk, yogurt and vanilla next.  Stir in dry ingredients until combined.  Gently stir in strawberries and poppy seeds.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 50-60 minutes, or until cake test inserted comes out clean.

Prepare glaze by mixing lemon juice and powdered sugar until sugar is completely dissolved, then stir in milk until smooth.   Set aside.

Cool cake for at least 20 minutes before drizzling with glaze.

Serve with additional fresh strawberries and ice cream, if desired.  

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

*Adapted from a recipe found on BakerbyNature.com

Buckeye Balls

Buckeye Balls.

Calling all chocolate and peanut butter lovers!  Another must-have “staple” at any Pittsburgh wedding cookie table is the Buckeye Ball!

These delectable little creamy peanut butter delights coated in dark chocolate are called Buckeye Balls because they look like Buckeye nuts and originated in Ohio – the Buckeye state.

Simple, but absolutely delish, this is cookie #9 on my wedding cookie table list.   The freezer is filling up fast, and the wedding date is closing in on us!  Cookie baking continues.

Here’s the recipe.  Hope you will give them a try.

Buckeye Balls

  • Servings: approx. 6 doz.
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 lb. dark chocolate, melted

Directions:

Mix peanut butter and butter in a bowl with wooden spoon until creamy.  Blend in vanilla.  Add powdered sugar, and stir until incorporated and a stiff mixture forms.

Roll teaspoon-sized pieces into balls, and place on wax paper lined cookie sheet or cutting board.  Refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

Melt chocolate in narrow deep container in microwave for 1 minute and then at 30 second intervals until smooth.  Using a wooden skewer, dip balls into chocolate all but for a bit at top.  Place on waxed paper lined cookie sheet.  Allow to cool completely and chocolate to harden.  Smooth over hole created by skewer with a small spatula or your clean finger.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Wedding Cookie List Baking so far:

  1. Jodi’s Best Ever Chocolate Chip Cookies
  2. Hershey Kiss Brownie Bites
  3. Pecan Tassies
  4. Peanut Butter Cup Cookies
  5. Pecan Sandies
  6. Carrot Cake Thumbprints
  7. Raspberry Dark Chocolate Shortbread Cookies
  8. Apricot Kolaches
  9. Buckeye Balls