Butterscotch Pecan Ravioli Cookie

I was going through some recipes that I hadn’t made for quite a while and came across a favorite of mine from a twenty year old Betty Crocker book.  This cookie had chocolate chips and walnuts as the ravioli filling and was brushed with honey.  Even though I enjoy these flavors, I wanted to tweak it up a bit by using butterscotch chips and pecans, then brushing it with maple syrup.  Let’s give it a try!

Ravioli Cookie Dough

  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup Crisco
  • 1/4 Cup Butter (softened)
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 tsp Vanilla or Maple Extract
  • 2 1/2 Cup Flour
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/2 tsp Salt

Let’s first toast the pecans.  Place 1 1/2 Cups of Pecans on a sheet pan or cookie tray and bake them at 350 degrees for 7-8 minutes. This brings out the flavor of the pecans, you will see such a difference in the taste by toasting them.  Let them cool.

Mix the sugar, Crisco, butter, eggs and vanilla or maple extract with the paddle attachment until well combined.  Mix the flour, baking soda and salt together and add to the batter on low speed.  Divide the dough into four equal size balls and wrap in saran wrap.  Put into the frig for a couple of hours.  If it is hot and humid, like it is in Pittsburgh, let them refrigerate a little longer.

Butterscotch & Pecan Filling

  • 1 1/2 Cup Toasted Pecans
  • 1 Cup Butterscotch Baking Chips

In your Cuisinart (food processor) grind the pecans until they are fine.  Take out 1/2 Cup, we will use this for sprinkling on top later.  With the remainder 1 Cup of pecans add the Butterscotch chips into the Cuisinart and give them a whirl until they come together.

Take out one ball of dough, unwrap and place on a well floured work table.  Roll out the dough into an approximate 12″ x 8″ rectangle, remember we aren’t looking for perfection here.  Cut the dough into eighths.  Then plop a teaspoon of filling towards the top of each rectangle.  This is so we can flip the dough over to make our ravioli shape.

Flip the bottom part of each ravioli over and seal the edges well with a floured fork.  I went over the edges twice to make sure they were sealed.

Using a spatula place them on an ungreased baking sheet.  They don’t spread at all when they bake.  Bake 400 degree oven, for 10 minutes.  They will be lightly golden.

When they come out of the oven brush them liberally with some good maple syrup (like Log Cabin) then sprinkle them with the reserved finely chopped pecans.

Repeat procedure with the remaining dough balls.  The reasoning behind making one tray at a time is because this is a soft dough, so it is much easier to handle straight from the refrigerator.

I love the combination of butterscotch and pecans.  The maple syrup pulls these flavors together.  Now go get yourself some English Toffee cappuccino to dip these lovely raviolis into, ummm……. ready for the second dunk!

Zucchini “Gone Wild” Bread, with a Sugar Streusel Topping

My garden is going crazy!  Especially the zucchini.  It is flourishing, I assume from the high humidity we have been experiencing here.  I have never seen leaves as huge as this on my zucchinis.  Since I seem to be experiencing an abundant crop in my city garden this year, let’s make some super moist Zucchini Bread.  We are going to put in a Granny Smith apple to give this bread a slightly different taste.  Let’s get baking!

Sugar Streusel

  • 1 Cup Flour
  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • 1/4 Cup Butter (cold and sliced)

Put all the ingredients into your bowl.  Using the paddle attachment, mix until crumbly.

When using a large zucchini, make sure you cut it in half to see if it is seedy.  If it has a lot of seeds, just scoop them out using a spoon, then shred.

Zucchini Bread

  • 2 Cup Sugar
  • 1 Cup Crisco (veggie shortening)
  • 3 Cup Shredded Fresh Zucchini (with peel on)
  • 1 Cup Shredded Granny Smith Apple (one medium size)
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 Tblsp Vanilla
  • 1 Tblsp Cinnamon (you can use pumpkin pie spice instead, for a spicier taste)
  • 1/2 Cup Buttermilk
  • 2 Cup Flour
  • 1 Tblsp Baking Powder
  • 3/4 Tblsp Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp Salt

Set oven 350 degrees.  Grease 2 Loaf pans.

Shred the zucchini and apple using the large hole on your box grater.

Put the first seven ingredients into the mixing bowl, using the paddle attachment, mix until combined.  This will take a couple of minutes on medium speed.  Then add the last of the ingredients on low speed and mix only until the batter comes together.  We don’t want to over mix this quick bread!

Bake for 40 minutes, then take them out of the oven and top them with the Sugar Streusel. Put them back in the oven for another 15 minutes.  (I put the streusel on before baking and the streusel sunk into the batter, I believe this happened because the batter is so moist and loose.)

Let cool until room temperature, then de pan.

This is sooooo…… moist and yummy!  I like to toast the zucchini bread and cover it with butter.  If you like walnuts you can throw some in if you like.

I have to start making another batch, my zucchinis are growing wild as we speak! (blog)


White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosted Cheesecake Birthday Cake. Wow, that’s a mouthful!

I would like to thank everyone for their kind and wonderful comments!  It made my day to be Freshly Pressed!

Many years ago I worked at a bakery called Say Cheesecake.  It is no longer open, but they made the best Cheesecake Wedding Cakes.  I remembered that she had used a white chocolate frosting on the cakes, but I never got the recipe.  Instead of a wedding cake I thought that we would make a birthday cake, with cheesecake instead of cake and we are going to frost it with a White Chocolate Cream Cheese frosting.  Let’s begin!

Nilla Wafer Crust

  • 2 oz melted butter
  • 1 Cup Nilla Wafer cookies (finely crushed)

Mix together and pat into your springform pans, either the 9″ or the two 6″, I used the 6″ pans because I wanted a two layer cake.  No sugar needed the Nilla Wafers are sweet enough!

Vanilla Cheesecake (makes one 9″ or two 6″)

  • 2 pounds Cream Cheese (room temperature)
  • Heavy 1/2 Cup Sugar
  • 1 1/2 Tblsp Cornstarch
  • 1 Tblsp Water
  • 3/4 Tblsp Vanilla ( you may use any real flavoring that you desire)
  • 2 1/2 Eggs (mix one egg with a fork, then use half of that for the half of an egg)

Using the paddle attachment mix your cream cheese on medium speed for about fifteen minutes.  Scrape down sides of bowl periodically.  It takes so long because we want the cream cheese to be smooth and creamy.  Add the sugar and mix until incorporated.  In a small bowl mix the cornstarch, water and extract together.  Pour into mixer while running, scrape down bowl.  Add the eggs last, mix only until combined.  You want the eggs to lighten the cheesecake batter.

Now put 1/4 cup of batter into three separate bowls.  I am going to color the batter to make it festive.  I used gel coloring in violet, pink and yellow. Just like when I colored the batter for the Thirty Sucks cake.  Use whatever you would like, it would be cool to use the colors that are on your party favors!

Pour the vanilla cheesecake a little over half way up into your pan or pans.  Using a spoon plop some of the colored batter on top.  Then swirl with a knife, don’t go into the bottom crust, try to stay above it so the batter doesn’t get “crumby”.

Swirl it good to distribute all the colors throughout! Like an easter egg dye effect! You will have extra batter if you are using the two 6″ pans, just put a Nilla Wafer cookie into the bottom of a mini cupcake pan and fill with batter, these will bake in about 8 minutes, this is the treat for the baker! Yum!  You deserve it after all your hard work.

Bake in a 350 degree oven, 35 minutes for the two 6″, or 55 minutes for the 9″.  You want the cheesecake to jiggle a little.  Let cool at room temperature for half an hour.  Then put into the refrigerator overnight.

Make this frosting now because we are going to refrigerate it overnight also.

White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 3 1/2 Cup Powdered Sugar
  • 1 (8 oz) Cream Cheese, room temperature
  • 4 Tblsp Butter, room temperature
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 1 Cup White Chocolate Chips (melted, let cool to room temp.)

With the paddle attachment mix all the ingredients except the white chocolate.  Mix it on medium high speed for 6 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl, with mixer off.  Put it on low speed and pour in the melted white chocolate.  Mix until combined.  Put in the refrigerator leaving it in the mixing bowl because we will be mixing it again tomorrow.  Now make your favorite Buttercream recipe.  Only make a small batch for flowers and leaves.  The white chocolate cream cheese frosting will not be thick enough to hold the shape of your decorations.

Next day:

Put the white chocolate cream cheese frosting back into the mixer and paddle until smooth enough to work with, a couple of minutes.

Now lets de pan your cheesecakes.  Remember my tip to roll the pan and bottom briefly over a flame on your stovetop.  This will loosen it up.  Cut the tops with a serrated knife to make then level.  Put one of the cheesecakes on a cake board or platter crust side down, adhere it with a dollop of frosting.  Spread some more frosting on top and place next cheesecake on top, crust side up.  Frost top and sides of cakes.  This frosting can be used for borders and trim.

Now using the small batch of buttercream you had made, dye it the colors that you had dyed the cheesecake batter.  That way it matches the inside of your cakes.  I just put three roses and leaves on top and went over my side trim with the colored buttercream.

Use plain dental floss to cut through the cheesecake.  This way the colors won’t smear onto a knife, it is much easier to cut cheesecake this way.

Make this for a true cheesecake lover, don’t tell them, let them think it is a regular birthday cake.  It sure looks like a cake, but what a surprise when you cut it and serve it.  The white chocolate cream cheese frosting compliments the cheesecake flavor.

Now it is time to sing “Happy Birthday” to me as I cut the cheesecake.  It isn’t my birthday, but I’m not going to let that stop me from diving in!

Experimenting with Recipes

Hi everyone!  I have not stopped blogging, I have been extremely busy revising recipes.  I have been fortunate enough to be able to share a kitchen with Perfect Pastry.  I am getting together samples for restaurants and cafes.  Also the owner at Perfect Pastry wants to sell my small tarts.  This is an exciting time for me, I am so happy to be able to bake professionally again.  I do bake out of my home, but there is something about a commercial kitchen that gets the motor running!  Please be patient with me, I will be back to a new blog in no time.  Thanks for viewing my blog, I have reached my twenty-fifth blog! Yahoooooo!

Take a look at some of my creations, I put a lot of time into them.  I now see why the Chef back in pastry school told us that sometimes recipes cannot be cut into half.  I tried to do this to my Cocoa Mocha Torte recipe and it did not come out.  Does anyone know why some recipes cannot be cut into half?  I really want to know the reason.

These large tarts are for wholesale and the small tarts are for retail sales. (I haven’t perfected scratch and sniff yet for these photos!)  Creamsicle Cheesecake Tart

Caramel Walnut Torte

My favorite, Cocoa Mocha Tart.  This has a dense chocolate bottom layer and a fluffy light cocoa and Kaluha top layer.  The best of both worlds to me!

This is the Rasperapple Tart that I blogged about.  This is a small 4″ tart.  I love to warm this up and put a large scoop of vanilla bean ice cream on top.  Give this a try if you haven’t yet, I now like this better than just a plain apple pie.

I will be back blogging soon!

Super Easy Banana, Raisin Rice Pudding Brûlée

I was recently given a rice steamer.  I love it, the rice is just like in a Chinese restaurant, it is never sticky and you can use the cheap plain bagged rice.  My boyfriend loves rice pudding, so I steamed some rice with cinnamon and this recipe begins!

Steamed Cinnamon Rice

  • 2 Cups Plain Rice
  • Water as indicated in steamer (usually 2 to 1 ratio)
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon

Put all ingredients into the rice steamer and cook as directed.  If you don’t have a steamer, just boil off 2 Cups of rice, after you drain it, stir in the cinnamon.  Let cool.  I refrigerated it overnight.

Homemade Vanilla Pastry Cream

  • 4 Cups Milk
  • 1/2 Cup Sugar
  • 4 Egg Yolks
  • 2 Whole Eggs
  • 5 Tblsp Constarch
  • 1/2 Cup Sugar
  • 4 Tblsp Butter
  • 1 Tblsp Vanilla
  • 1 diced Banana

In a medium saucepan bring the milk and first 1/2 cup of sugar to a boil.  In a bowl whisk yolks, whole eggs, cornstarch and sugar.  Pour hot milk mixture into yolk mixture and whisk.  Put back on the burner on medium high heat and whisk until it comes to a boil.  Take off heat and whisk in butter, vanilla and banana. You just made Pastry Cream, the main staple that baker’s always use for fillings, puddings and pies.  Wasn’t that simple!

Vanilla & Cinnamon Infused Raisins

  • 2 Cups Raisins
  • 1/3 Cup Water
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon

Put all ingredients into a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil.  Take off heat, the liquids should be absorbed into the raisins.  If you have any excess liquid just drain a little of it out.

Let’s assemble: Take the cinnamon rice, pastry cream and vanilla & cinnamon infused raisins and stir together.  Put this mixture into a buttered glass casserole dish, or if you have individual casserole dishes use them.  I recently treated myself to these small casserole dishes, I have used them many times for desserts as well as for mac n’ cheese.

Heat up your broiler, we are going to Brûlée the top of our pudding.

Sprinkle the top of the pudding with 3 to 4 Tablespoons of Sugar, enough to cover it.  Place under broiler.  Watch it carefully, you don’t want it to burn, you do want it to be bubbly and brown.  This takes about 6 to 7 minutes.

I think this is much quicker than traditional rice pudding.  I love the banana thrown into the mix, it adds texture and flavor.  Let the pudding cool a bit, this will allow the sugar to “crisp” up so you get the crunch of the Bruleed (I don’t think this is a word!) topping.  The texture is extra creamy and the taste of the vanilla and cinnamon shine through.  Anyone that likes rice pudding will go bananas over this one.  Give it a try!

Caramel, Peanut Butter, Pretzel, Chocolate Bon Bon!

I was in the candy aisle craving a goodie, as usual, I wanted something sweet, yet salty, chocolatey, yet crunchy.  Couldn’t find what I was in the mood for, so I went home and came up with this recipe.  I love all of the above items, so why not put them into one monster size Bon Bon!  Now the definition of a Bon Bon is a small candy, so we are stretching the meaning a little, these are definitely not a small bite.  Let’s get started!

Caramel Candy

  • 1/2 Cup Heavy Cream
  • 2 1/2 Tblsp Butter (cut into pieces)
  • 3/4 Cup Sugar
  • 2 Tblsp Light Corn Syrup
  • 2 Tblsp Water

Melt the heavy cream and butter together, set aside.  Put the rest of the ingredients into a heavy saucepan.  Bring to a boil, stir until sugar is melted. Now swirl the pan until the sugar turns a light caramel color, take it off the heat and stir in the heavy cream and butter mixture.  STEP BACK! THIS WILL BUBBLE UP!  Put back on the burner, simmer on a low flame.  If you have a candy thermometer insert it now, you want to bring it up to 248 degrees.  I do not have a thermometer, so I have a bowl with water and ice cubes to test my sugar.  Stir frequently, in three minutes let’s test the sugar.  Put a drop of sugar into the ice water,using your fingers pick up the cool sugar to see the consistency.  When the sugar comes together into a ball and it semi-soft it is ready.

This only takes about five minutes from the time that you pour in the cream and butter mixture, so don’t walk away from the stove, you have to babysit your sugar!

Pour the caramel into a stainless steel bowl and set over a bowl filled with ice water.  Stirring often, we want to cool down the caramel so we can roll it into balls.

While that is cooling take 8 oz of pretzels and crush them in a cuisanart.  We want to keep some texture to them, so don’t finely crush ’em!

When the caramel is room temperature take one teaspoon of caramel and roll it into the crushed pretzels.  You will get 16 caramel balls. Put them on a cookie tray lined with wax paper.  If they are still warm they will flatten, let them cool a little and re-roll into balls before you put them into the freezer.  While they are setting up let’s go ahead and make the peanut butter layer to wrap over the caramel balls.

Yummy Peanut Butter Dough

  • 1/3 Cup Butter
  • 1/2 Cup Creamy Peanut Butter (Remember choosy bakers choose Jif)
  • 1 Cup Powdered Sugar
  • 3/4 Cup finely crushed Graham Crackers (one half of 1 packet)

Melt the butter, put into a bowl with the paddle attachment.  Mix in the peanut butter until smooth.  Then add the powdered sugar and graham crumbs, incorporate them.  Take a taste, there will be some extra for you!  Reminds me of the inside of a Reese Peanut Butter Cup, see why I call it yummy!

Take the caramel balls out of the freezer.  Using about 1 Tblsp of peanut butter dough wrap it around the caramel ball.  Now roll this into the crushed pretzels.  Place them back into the freezer.

We will now make the final coating for our caramel peanut butter balls.

Chocolate Dip

  • 16 oz Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • 2 Tblsp Crisco

Put these ingredients into a bowl, microwave for one minute.  Take out and stir.  Now microwave for another 20 seconds.  Take out and stir thoroughly.

Remove the candies from the freezer, using a fork dip the ball into the chocolate to coat.  Don’t use your hands, I tried this and it was a mess. (not that I didn’t enjoy licking the chocolate off of my fingers)  I used another fork to maneuver the ball back onto the tray.

Now sprinkle the tops with more crushed pretzels.  You can set them back into the freezer to set up for five minutes.  They can be stored at room temperature.

Look at layers.  The chewy caramel center, with the pretzel crunch, smooth peanut butter with the pretzel crunch, then the rich chocolate coating.  This sure got me shaking my “Bon Bon” back to the plate for just one more!

Memorable Memorial Day Fruity Mousse Cake

With the holiday weekend approaching I was racking my brain on what fruits I would like to use for a red, white and blue treat.  Strawberries are delish now and blueberries are sweet too!  So let’s make a cake, a refrigerated cake.  Something light after all the barbecue that we will consume on Monday.  This dessert can be made two days in advance, then left in the refrigerator.

Let’s start with our sauces in order to make them into mousses!

You will need a total of (3) 6 oz containers of fresh blueberries and (3) 16 oz containers of fresh strawberries to make this dessert!

You will also be using (2) 16 oz of Cool Whip (thawed)

Blueberry Sauce

  • 6 oz Blueberries (fresh, rinsed and pick out any stems)
  • 1/2 Cup Sugar
  • 1/4 cup Water

Put in a small saucepan on medium high heat, stir occasionally for 15 minutes.  Pour into a fine mesh strainer.  Press down on berries to extract all the juice.  Let cool.

Strawberry Sauce

  • 16 oz Strawberries (cut off stems, rinse, cut into half)
  • 3/4 Cup Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup Water

Put into a medium saucepan on a medium high flame.  Stir occasionally cook for 15 minutes.  Pour into a fine mesh strainer pushing down on solids.  Let cool.While your sauces are cooking away, whip up one box of White Cake Mix, make according to box directions.  Use a 9″ Springform pan.  Grease well.  Since you are using the one box in only one pan rather than two, this will take about 35 minutes to bake, because of its’ size.

Let cool, then put into the freezer, pan and all.  This will make it much easier to cut into thirds.  You can freeze it overnight, or for at least a couple of hours.

If the sauces are completely cool, let’s turn them into mousses!

Take 4 oz Cool Whip, and fold it into the blueberry sauce.  Put into the frig.

Now take 12 oz Cool Whip, and fold it into the strawberry sauce.  Put into the frig too!

Take the (2) 16 oz containers of fresh Strawberries (rinse, cut off tops, slice)

Take the (2) 6 oz containers of fresh Blueberries (rinse, remove any stems)

You can set this all into the refrigerator and assemble the next day.

Remove the cake from the freezer.  Horizontally slice the cake into thirds.  Approximately the same size, no perfection is necessary!

Line a 9″ Springform pan with 2 sheets of saran wrap, leaving overhang.

Put one third of cake into the bottom of the pan, cut side up.  Use half of the strawberry mousse and spread over the cake layer.  Now cover with half of the sliced strawberries.  One layer down two to go!  Now place one more third of cake over this.  It may be thin and hard to work with, so pat the cake into place if needed.  Using all of the blueberry mousse cover this cake layer, spread with spatula, then top with the blueberries.  Save a handful of blueberries for decorating the top.  Last, set the final piece of cake on top and cover it with the remainder of strawberry mousse.  Cover the top with saran wrap and put into the freezer.  You can let it set up overnight, or until firm, about 3 to 4 hours.  This just makes it easier to take out of the springform pan.After it is set up, let’s take it out of the springform pan.  Keep the saran wrap on the top, unhook the springform latch to remove the ring.  Now flip it over to remove the saran wrap on the bottom, place on your platter and remove the top layers of saran wrap.

Using the last 16 oz container of Cool Whip, frost the sides of the cake.  You may want to pipe a border of Cool Whip on the bottom, if you like.

Mound the blueberries in the center of the cake.  Use the sliced strawberries to make a design over the top of the cake.  Like a concentrical circle!

Put into the refrigerator to give it time to thaw, the cake may still be frozen inside.  A couple of hours will do!

This cake is light, a lovely texture from the mousse layers and a sweetness from the fresh fruit.  Make your Memorial Day celebration memorable with this All-American-Cake.  This cake is so good you may want to salute the baker!  Happy Holiday!

Creamsicle Cheesecake with a Sugar Cone Crust

When I think of summer I think of a Creamsicle.  As a kid when the ice cream truck came around, I can recall the orange and vanilla flavor of this cold confection.  So with the weather getting warmer and a craving for a cheesecake, let’s combine those two favorite flavors, along with a sugar ice cream cone crust!

Sugar Ice cream Cone Crust

  • 1 Box (12 count) Sugar Ice Cream Cones
  • 1/3 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 4 0z (1 stick) Butter, melted

Break up the sugar cones into your food processor.  Crush until medium fine.  Put into a bowl with the brown sugar and melted butter.  Mix until combined.  Pat the mixture into a 10″ springform pan, on the bottom and only slightly up the sides.

Bake at 350 degree, for 12 minutes.  Let cool.

Creamsicle Cheesecake Filling

  • 3 pounds Cream Cheese (6, 8oz packages, room temperature)
  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • 2 Tblsp Cornstarch
  • 1 Tblsp plus 1/2 tsp Water
  • 2 tsp Vanilla
  • Zest of 2 Medium Oranges
  • Juice of one of the Oranges
  • 2 tsp Orange Extract
  • 4 Eggs

Using the paddle attachment mix the cream cheese on low speed.  Scrape bowl frequently, and mix for 15 minutes, until nice and creamy.

Slowly mix in the sugar.  Then in a small bowl mix together the next six ingredients.  Pour into the batter, mix on low speed.  Last, add the eggs, one at a time.  Only mix until combined. This will keep the batter light.  No need to over mix!

Take half of the batter and put it into a bowl, add orange gel food coloring, mix well.  Now pour the orange batter over the vanilla batter and just stir twice with a spatula.  The batter will combine while pouring it into the crust.  You want to keep the “swirl” effect of the colors.Bake in a 350 degree oven, for one hour.  It will jiggle somewhat when it is done.  Let cool for 40 minutes.  If you notice any cracking, mine did, let’s cover that up with this sour cream topping.  If yours didn’t crack, you may want to use this on top too!

Sour Cream Topping (aka: Crack Corrector!)

  • 8 oz Sour Cream
  • 2 Tblsp Sugar
  • 1/4 tsp Vanilla
  • 1 Tblsp Water
  • orange gel food coloring

Mix all ingredients together with a fork, you don’t want to incorporate a lot of air.

While cheesecake is warm pour this over the top, spread to cover.  Now put it back into a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes, for it to set up.  Now let it cool, before putting the cheesecake into the refrigerator.  Even if the cheesecake cracks in the frig overnight, I have used this topping on a cold cheesecake, and baked to set the topping, it works too.Don’t see the crack that was in the middle, do you!  I really like the appearance and the flavor of this topping, that’s why I use it on top, even if my cheesecake doesn’t crack.

Now let’s depan the cheesecake.  Here is a tip to doing this easily without anything sticking.  Using your stovetop. put a burner on a medium high flame, roll the pan over the flame quickly and place the pan flat on the burner for half a minute.

Now the cheesecake will come out of the springform pan effortlessly!

The easiest way to cut a cheesecake is with plain dental floss.  No flavored floss, just cut off a piece twice the width of the cheesecake and taking one end with each hand slice into the cake.  The crust may not be cut by this, so warm up your chef knife over a flame and cut down through the crust.  Wiping the blade between the cuts, because this is a creamy cheesecake.

I served this cheesecake with sliced strawberries.  Put a little sugar and freshly squeezed orange juice over the berries.

I think I just heard the ice cream truck, I’ll pass on the ice cream and just savor my Creamsicle cheesecake instead.

I scream, you scream, we all scream for “Creamsicle Cheesecake!”

Lady Blocks (a much easier Lady Lock!)

My boyfriend has been asking me to make him lady locks for quite a while now, I just wasn’t up to spending over 24 hours making puff pastry.  I don’t have the forms to roll the dough around either.  So I was looking through a book, called “Good Cookie”, there is a Rapid Puff Pastry recipe, so I thought, I am going to give it a try.  Let’s see what you think!

Rapid Puff Pastry

  • 1 3/4 Cup Bread Flour
  • 1 3/4 Cup Cake Flour (not self rising)
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 2 Cups (1 pound) Unsalted Butter (freeze it for a half hour, then cut into 1/2″ cubes
  • 1/2 Cup plus 1 Tblsp Ice water

Using the paddle attachment blend the flours and salt at low speed.  Add the cold butter a third at a time.  Just mixing for a few seconds, the mixture will be very crumbly with large pieces of butter.  Now add the ice water, on low speed, only until the dough comes together.

On your floured work table (I used cake flour) Pat the dough into a rough rectangle. Now roll it into a 8″ x 16″ rectangle, lift your dough and flour if needed so it doesn’t stick to the table.   Instead of getting out a measuring tape, measure your rolling pin, mine was a little over 16″ long, but I used it as a guide.

Turn the dough so the short end is facing you, dust off excess flour, use your handy pastry brush, now fold the bottom third of the dough up to the center, dust off excess flour again, now fold top of dough to center.  This is just like folding a business letter! 

Now turn the dough so the open sides are at the top and bottom. (a 90 degree turn) Flour as needed so the dough doesn’t stick.  Now roll out again into a 8″ x 16″ rectangle, repeat with folding the lower third up to the center, dust off excess flour, and fold top of dough over the center.  Hate to repeat myself, but it is important to dust off the excess flour, you want the dough to stick together and excess flour will deter this.  Now that wasn’t so bad, you have just completed two “turns” of the dough.  Hey this rapid puff pastry is quite doable!

Now wrap your dough in saran wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

While the dough is in the frig, make your favorite Buttercream recipe, I made vanilla, but feel free to make chocolate, or both.  A recipe calling for 8 oz of butter and 8 oz of Crisco is plenty.

Now place the dough so that the open ends are closest to you.  We will roll the dough as we had done before.  Thus making two more “turns” of the dough.  Just look at the photos above and repeat.  We are now ready to use the puff pastry dough.  Yehawww!!!

If you don’t want to make your Lady Blocks now, the dough can be refrigerated for 3 days, or frozen for a month.

Divide the dough into four equal pieces.  This is when a bench scraper comes in handy.  They are only a couple of bucks, and you will use this more often than you think.

Take each fourth of dough and roll into a 12″ x 12″ square.  Be precise with these measurements because you want all four to be as close to each other in size.  As you roll out one, use a measuring tape and cut off excess.  Don’t throw out the scraps they can be frozen then used for another goodie.  Place square of dough on foil, proceed with other pieces of dough rolling into a 12″x 12″ square and place on foil.  Layer them on top of each other onto a sheet pan.  

Put them into the freezer.  You want the dough to relax and firm up.  So 30 minutes will be plenty of time.   Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  Remove 2 sheets from the freezer, keep them on the foil, place onto 2 cookie sheets.  Using a fork prick the dough thoroughly.  Bake them for 8 minutes, now switch trays, top to bottom, bottom to top.  Bake for another 8 minutes.  Take off trays, using the foil and let cool.  Take out of the freezer the other two sheets of puff pastry dough, fork prick them, and bake them as you did the other sheets.  When done take them off the trays using the foil to assist you.  Let them cool thoroughly.  They will be golden brown in color.

When they are cooled take one square of puff pastry and frost it with your buttercream, I used about one cup in between each layer.  Proceed with placing another puff pastry on top, then frost, then place another sheet of puff pastry and frost.  Now leave the top bare.  If you want to use chocolate buttercream, or layers of each vanilla and chocolate.  Whatever you desire!  Put your layered square into the freezer for about a half an hour.  This will make it easier to cut.

Take out your layered square and cut them into rectangles, six cuts down, then four cuts across. You will have 24 rectangles. Use a sharp Chef knife.  They may crumble somewhat, but this will be covered with a generous sprinkle of powdered sugar.  This may seem time consuming, but it is much faster than rolling the dough strips around lady lock forms, let’s not forget the time saver using this Rapid Puff Pastry recipe. The resulting flavor is the same.  They are flaky and creamy with the buttercream layers.

My boyfriend is happy, he is crazy over lady locks, now I have him crazy over Lady Blocks!  So next time someone wants you to make Lady Locks for a party (wedding) tell them you will certainly make Lady Blocks and save yourself some time!


Since it has been very hot lately, I have been in the mood for a s’mores.  I didn’t want to light a grill to make them so I thought of an easier way to get the taste I was looking for.  Let me show you how I did it!

Preheat oven to 350 degree.  Spray the sides and top of a 12 piece tartlet pan.  About 2 1/2″ each round tartlet.

Graham Cracker Crust

  • 1 package of Graham Crackers (from a box) pulsated to a fine crumb
  • 1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 3 oz melted Butter

Mix together.  Then pat into your tartlet pan, up the sides too.  Bake for 8 minutes, they will be golden brown.  Set aside to cool.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Filling

  • 12 oz Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips (melted)
  • 5 oz Butter (melted)
  • 1/4 Cup Half N’ Half
  • 4 Egg Yolks
  • 1 Tblsp Water
  • 1/2 Cup Creamy Peanut Butter (choosy bakers choose Jif!)

Put the egg yolks into a medium size stainless steel bowl.  Put the bowl over a medium flame on the stovetop.  Using a wire whisk, mix continuously.  If the eggs start to curdle take the bowl off the heat, keep whisking and add in the water.  Put back onto flame and whisk until thickened.  Like a hollandaise sauce.  Take off the heat and whisk in the butter.  Strain this through a fine mesh sieve.  Pushing down on the egg mixture to ensure you get it all.  This will strain out any of the curdled egg. (not a texture you want in this dessert!)  Next whisk in the half n’ half, and then the melted chocolate.  Whisk so that this is well incorporated.  Now whisk in the room temperature Jif, make sure to blend well.

I used an ice cream scoop to put the filling into the graham crusts, a spoon would work too.  Smooth the tops and refrigerate until firm, about 3 hours.  You can make these a couple of days in advance, then just make the marshmallow topping the day you want to use them.

Homemade Marshmallow Topping (no jarred Fluff, Please!)

  • 1 (1/4 oz) package of Unflavored Gelatin (Knox)
  • 1/4 Cup Water
  • 3/4 Cup Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup Light Corn Syrup
  • 1/4 Cup Water
  • Dash of Salt
  • 1 Tsp Vanilla

Put the packet of unflavored gelatin and the water into your mixer bowl, stir with a spoon.  Put the whisk attachment onto your mixer.

Place the sugar, corn syrup, water and dash of salt into a heavy saucepan.  Put this onto a medium high flame.  Have on hands two bowls, one with ice water to test sugar, and one with water and a pastry brush to brush down the sides of the saucepan.  Don’t stir, just brush down sides with wet pastry brush so that you do not get any sugar crystals forming on the sides of the pan.  

Bring sugars up to 240 degrees if you have a candy thermometer.  I do not, so the old way is wait until the sugars boil, then drizzle some sugar into the ice water bowl.  The sugar will sink to the bottom, pick it up with your fingers and roll it.  If the sugar rolls into a soft ball, then it is ready.  If not wait another minute and try the test again.  The sugar will still be clear and at a rapid boil.  Take off the heat.  Remember this is extremely hot and sticky and will give you a nasty burn!  Be very careful!  

Put your mixer on low speed and pour the hot sugar down the inside of the bowl over the gelatin mixture. You do not want the sugar coming in contact with the whisk of the mixer, because it will splatter hot sugar at you.  Once all the sugar is poured, kick the mixer up to high.  Let it beat for 15 minutes.  It is pretty cool to watch the clear sugar turn into white fluffy marshmallow.  This is because the whisk attachment is aerating the hot sugar and cooling it off.  (Photo is looking into the mixer.)

After the 15 minutes, turn off mixer and add the vanilla extract.  Mix in for another minute.  The mixture will be warm, let it cool a little longer in the bowl, about fifteen minutes, then scoop it into a pastry bag, just cut the tip. ( I piped the marshmallow when it was warm and it didn’t hold its shape as well as when it was cooler.)  Pipe the mixture over the tarts, try to stay away from the sides, this will make for easy de-panning of the tarts.

You want to brown the marshmallow tops in a broiler, watch them carefully. A kitchen torch would be super if you have one.  They will burn quickly just like a marshmallow over a campfire.  I rather like mine burnt and crunchy on top!  I had to eat one without the marshmallow topping, craving was too strong!

Refrigerate for 30 minutes.  To release the tarts take a spatula and run it around each tart to loosen them.  Eat them now or they can be kept in refrigerator for a day. (The dark brown looks like a smiley face, kind of!)

Gooey marshmallow, creamy chocolate peanut butter and a brown sugar graham crust.  Sit around the kitchen table and sing “Kumbayay” while eating these Chocolate Peanut Butter S’mores Tartlets!

Here is a tip:  I have had a few of these in the refrigerator, out of curiosity I put one into the microwave for 20 seconds, it turns into a warm gooey s’mores, give it a try!