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Angel Food Sheet Cake with Toasted Coconut

  I feel like a bit of a jumble.

  One hand points to cookies, cupcakes, and cobblers; the other points to an education and four years in a place not well-known to me, in a land of dormitories with small kitchens and a fixed food budget.

  But I think it must be done, I think I need the time to grow up a little.  I can't be in my comfort zone, or any zone, really, forever.

  I've never been good at edging out of my zone.  I have a hard time leaving anything behind.

  And whether or not I'm ready to tip my hat goodbye to regular blog posting, good lighting, and roomy kitchens, I know that forward is the only way to go.

  I just wish I knew where it would take me.  I keep seeing a mundane life of teaching English to sixth graders while dealing with publisher rejections and making cookies on the side, when my dreams show me holding a plateful of cupcakes in front of my newly-opened shop.  Complete with a ribbon-cutting and mounds of pink frosting.

  But I'm not sure of anything, which I hear is something to embrace.  Life doesn't always hand you a blank page and say, "Have at it."

  So let's keep things simple today.

  I want you to view this cake as a blank canvas; to top with coconut, tufts of whipped cream, to throw together with cocoa powder, or simply dusted with powdered sugar, complete with an innocent cherry on top.

  For those who fear the wrath of tube pans (which is totally silly, but not unreasonably so), this cake is for you.  See it as a starter, and work towards the tube from here.  It's worth it.

  This is also for those who don't have enough leftover egg whites to make a full angel food cake, if you have six hanging out in your fridge, you're good to go.

  Your cake might topple, your cherry may fall.  And by all appearances, seem disheartening.

  Here's a secret: it still tastes just as good.  Perspective.

  P.S. I'm still on vacation, this post was scheduled out before I left.  I'll be back Sunday though, and will gladly answer any questions/comments/emails then!

Angel Food Sheet Cake with Toasted Coconut
Yield: one 8 or 9-inch cake

  • 6 large egg whites (3/4 cup), at room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup sifted cake flour
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract 
  • 1/8 tsp almond extract (optional)
  • 1/2 cup coconut flakes (sweetened or unsweetened, your preference)
  • Sweetened whipped cream, for serving (optional)
  • Fresh fruit, for serving (optional)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Position rack in the center of the oven.
Beat egg whites until foamy.  Add the cream of tartar and salt, beat on medium speed until soft peaks form. Gradually add the sugar, 2 tablespoons at a time, beating on high until stiff peaks form.  Sprinkle flour over egg white mixture; fold in carefully. Gently fold in flavoring(s).

Pour batter into an ungreased (Yes, ungreased.  The egg whites need to hold on to the pan.  No worries, the cake will still come out nicely when it's cooled.) 8 or 9-inch square baking pan.  Sprinkle coconut over the top.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until the edges are lightly browned and a wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.   Run a knife around the edges and remove the cake from the pan to cut into squares and serve with sweetened whipped cream and fruit.  Store in an airtight container.

Sources: adapted from Eva Bakes, who found it on Cookie Baker Lynn, originally from Southern Heritage Cakes Cookbook


Salted Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Bites

  Seems like I've been on a peanut butter and chocolate kick lately.

  Seems like that's entirely ok with me.

  This recipe is so simple you'll freak, and so addictive you might need to get to know your neighbors.  Like, right now.  Whoever thought of this is seriously an evil genius, and is probably thoroughly enjoying their five minutes of blog fame, thanks to Pinterest.

  Oh!  On a very unrelated note, I'm on vacation this week.  No biggie, I'm just gone up north Thursday-Sunday, so don't freak if I don't answer your pressing comment or email.  I'm not gone for too long!  I've got some scheduled posts for you, so don't feel too abandoned.


  The method:

  Grab yoself some good, salty, and fresh pretzels.  This is the base, and if the base isn't good, then nothing's good.

  Woah!  You've miraculously mixed up a super easy buckeye mixture, where'd that come from? 
  (Sorry, my sweet and salty cravings had me rushing through the step-by-step pics.  Pretend you've seen a bowlful of the peanut butter stuff.)

  Anyway, get something like a teaspoon of said buckeye mixture.

  P.S. It will take all the self-restraint you have to not treat the peanut butter mixture as a dip for pretzels.

  Roll it in a ball (totes like playdoh!), and stick it on a pretzel half.  Still with me?  I know, it's so hard.  Take a breath now. 

  Aaand we're sandwiched!  Woohoo!  You've come this far, I'm proud of you.

  Now, continue this meticulous process until you've got a good sheetful or two of them.

  And then...you have to freeze them.  It's worth the wait.  Promise!  Because then you're going to dip them in chocolate and sprinkle them with coarse sea salt.  Which I didn't get a picture of either. 

  Still blaming the sweet and salty cravings.  Don't judge.

  After a teensy bit more in the freezer, you have the ultimate snack/appetizer/midnight craving. 

  Consume wisely.  HA.

Salted Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Bites
Yield: about 60-80 pretzel bites (you can halve it...but why?)

  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar, plus more as needed
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar, plus more as needed
  • Pretzels (one full bag should do the trick)
  • 1-2  bags (usually 12 oz. each) of semi-sweet chocolate chips
  •  Coarse sea salt, for sprinkling (I highly recommend fleur de sel)

To make the filling, combine peanut butter and softened butter in a large bowl with a fork, whisk, hand-held mixer, or in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Mix in the salt and vanilla.  Add the sugars and mix to combine.  At this point, if the filling will roll easily into balls without sticking to your hands, you’re good to go.  If it does stick, add a little more of each sugar until you reach a consistency that is easy to roll (You may find that you'll have to do this once or twice throughout the assembly process, if the filling becomes sticky.).

Working with a scant teaspoon of filling, roll into a small ball then sandwich between two whole pretzels.  Place onto a cookie sheet lined with wax paper.  Continue until you've used up the filling.  Stick the whole tray in the freezer for about half an hour to firm before dipping in chocolate. 

Melt the chocolate chips according to your preferred method, or as directed on the bag.  Remove the tray from the freezer and quickly dip half of each pretzel bite into the chocolate, then replace on the tray.  After dipping about three, sprinkle with coarse sea salt as desired.  Continue this with every third dip completion, so the chocolate doesn't harden before you can add the salt.  When all are dipped, return the tray to the freezer to set up completely.  Store in the refrigerator.

Sources: adapted from Two Tiny Kitchens, who adapted it from Foodaphilia


Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream Pie

  Sometimes, things are messy.  Sometimes you don't let your pie freeze long enough before pictures because you have to get ready for a social event you don't want to go to.  Sometimes you get frustrated if things aren't super neat and don't go according to plan.  Sometimes you wish you'd given yourself more than one day to fiddle with a recipe before sticking it on the internet, even though it's ok and everyone's raved about it.  Sometimes it seems like you're trying to make things difficult.

  Sometimes you just get into really bad Saturday funks.

  It was a doozy, no doubt.  I felt like crap, pretty sure I looked like crap, and consequently, I gave everyone crap.

  But the pie?  No, this is not crap.

  If you've recently been giving crap, stop it, and make this pie.  Might I give some helpful hints?  I've added them to the recipe below already, but I just want to elaborate a bit.

If you can, use a non-glass pie tin.  Or, if you want to get stuck chiseling out your crust like me, go  for glass! :P

I don't think I'll add the chocolate chips to the crust next time round, they freeze kinda hard.  But if you really want to, grind them up in a food processor or just chop them finely before adding.

Give your pie plenty of time to set up in the freezer before serving (Unless, of course, you want pie pieces like mine.  Half-melted and swimming in whipped cream?  Okay!  Your pie.)   

I totally froze the leftovers with whipped cream still on top.  It's legal!  And frozen whipped cream is dang good.

Making your own ice cream is optional, but I recommend it!  It's fun.

I've reduced the amount of whipped cream pictured, since it kind of took over the ice cream.

I highly recommend serving with this hot fudge sauce.

I didn't think the crumbled vanilla wafers added a whole lot to the crust and I prefer a less-messed-with meringue, so I'm leaving those out and sticking in some optional chopped pecans (yum!).

  Don't be daunted by the recipe length, the majority of it is the ice cream recipes I included, and making your own ice cream for the recipe is optional.  No worries!

  So make yourself a peanut butter chocolate swirled pie of healing, and check out all the posts by the other members of Sundays with Joy on Bakeaholic Mama.

  Happy Sunday, stay beautiful (and non-funky).

Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream Pie
Yield: one 9-inch pie

Ingredients for the peanut butter ice cream*:
  • ¾ cup creamy peanut butter
  • ¾ cup plus 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 2 2/3 cups half-and-half
  • Pinch of coarse salt
  • Dash of vanilla extract
  • 1 heaping cup mini Reese’s cups, wrappers removed, frozen and chopped

Ingredients for the chocolate ice cream*:
  • 2 cups heavy cream, divided
  • 3 tbsp. Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 5 oz. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract

Ingredients for the crust:
  • 1/4 cup egg whites (from 2-3 large eggs)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup finely-chopped pecans (optional)

Ingredients for the filling:
  • 1 pint (2 cups) chocolate ice cream
  • 1 pint (2 cups) peanut butter ice cream

Ingredients for the topping:
  • 1 cup heavy cream 
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Coarsely chopped mini Reese’s cups, if desired
  • Hot fudge sauce, if desired

*Note: You'll find that these recipes make more ice cream than you'll need for the pie, but who's going to complain about leftovers?  Also, it isn't mandatory to make your own ice cream, but I did and thus included the recipes and methods I used.  Feel free to try different flavors!

To make the peanut butter ice cream, combine all of the ingredients (minus the candy) in a blender or food processor; and puree until completely smooth.  Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator. When the mixture is chilled through, freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions (The mixture may appear grainy, don't worry, that's just what the peanut butter does.  That lessens a bit when you completely freeze it and scoop it.).  Transfer the ice cream to a storage container and gently fold in the peanut butter cup pieces until evenly distributed, freeze until ready to use.

To make the chocolate ice cream, in a medium saucepan, combine 1 cup of the cream with the cocoa powder.  Warm over medium-high heat, whisking to dissolve the cocoa.   Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and let simmer for 30 seconds, whisking constantly.  Remove the pan from the heat, mix in the chocolate and whisk until melted and smooth.  Stir in the remaining 1 cup of cream.  Transfer this mixture to a medium-large mixing bowl.  Set a fine mesh sieve over the top.

In the same saucepan, combine the milk, sugar and salt and warm the mixture over medium-high heat.  In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the egg yolks.  When the milk mixture is warm, gradually whisk in a thin stream into the egg yolks, beating constantly.  Return the egg-milk mixture to the saucepan and continue heating over medium-high heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom of the pan with a spatula, until the mixture is slightly thickened and coats the back of a spoon (reads 170-175° F on an instant-read thermometer).  Remove from the heat, pour through the mesh sieve into the chocolate-cream mixture and stir to blend.  Stir in the vanilla extract.

Cover with plastic wrap and chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator.  (Alternatively to speed chilling, stir the mixture frequently over an ice bath.)  Once the mixture is well chilled, freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.  Store in an airtight container and freeze until ready to use.

To make the crust, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Line a 9-inch pie pan with parchment paper.  In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat egg whites on high speed until foamy.  Add salt and gradually add sugar.  Beat on high speed until stiff and glossy.  Remove bowl from mixer and fold in the chopped pecans, if using.  Pour the mixture into a 9-inch pie pan and evenly spread across the bottom and up the sides of the pan.  Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown, watching carefully towards the end to make sure it doesn't get too brown or possibly burn.  Let cool completely.

To make the filling, while the crust is cooling, remove ice cream from the freezer.  To soften the ice cream, just before filling the pie, remove the 2 cups of ice cream from its container and place in separate medium bowls.  Stir each ice cream with a spatula until soft and pliable.  When crust is completely cooled, fill the bottom and sides of the pie crust with chocolate ice cream.  Then add the peanut butter ice cream.  Cover the pie with foil or plastic wrap and freeze until very firm, overnight is recommended.

To make the topping, when ready to serve pie, whip cream, sugar, and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment on high speed until soft and fluffy.  Spread on top of the pie and sprinkle with coarsely chopped Reese's cups.  Slice and serve, drizzling each slice with hot fudge sauce.

Sources: inspired by Joy the Baker's Cookbook, who was inspired by the Pioneer WomanChocolate ice cream and peanut butter ice cream from Annie's Eats, originally adapted from The Perfect Scoop


Nutella Chocolate Chip Cookies, Perfected

  "I am in serious need of Nutella cookies after this week."

  So read the post on facebook from my sister Emma.  Emma is smart, she's doing some intern research on cancer cells and stuff.  It's definitely harder than it sounds.  And it's definitely worthy of Nutella cravings.

  I can't help the fact that she's living out of a hotel for quite a few weeks or that she doesn't know anyone, but I can send cookies.

  This is a recipe I've made too many times to count, and is immediately loved by almost anyone who takes a bite.

  Now, you can Google nutella chocolate chip cookies, and get 2,040,000 results.  Many people have thrown out their own take on these, usually consisting of tossing nutella into their favorite cookie dough and mercilessly whipping the hijeebies out of it.  The result is often a slightly more chocolate-y and tender chocolate chip cookie, but not something I'd merit by putting the word 'nutella' into the title.

  In short, I've tried quite a few of those recipes, and none of them really came through for me.  I wanted something that held up better and still retained a goodly amount of nutella flavor. 

  I got close when I first tried Celeste's recipe, way back before my blogging days.  Even then, the cookies were a major crowd-pleaser; but I still wasn't happy.

  Enter the many test runs (much to the pleasure of my friends and family).  I tried wrapping dough around nutella, swirling flattened dough balls with it, toyed with the idea of finicky nutella chips, not overmixing, overmixing, new baking times, oven positions, baking sheets, new cookie dough bases, sprinklings of sea salt, more nutella, more flour, different methods of rolling the dough, chilling...you name it. 

  Finally, I got what I was looking for.

  And that was a delicately marbled chocolate chip cookie with a crackled top that stays soft and chewy for days (seriously, they only get better with time), all while retaining a slight hint of that creamy chocolate hazelnut taste that is nutella.

  What's the trick?  Depends on which trick you're asking after...if it's the soft and chewy one, don't overbake!  This entails taking the cookies out of the oven a wee bit before you usually would.  You want them soft, puffy, and with slightly crackled (but very soft) tops.  They may look underdone to you, but they will continue to bake for a few seconds on the hot baking sheet.  Seriously!  If the edges aren't firm in the oven, feel them a few minutes after they've been out of the oven; firmed!  Let the cooling time do its thing.

  The nutella flavor?  Well, first off, you're mixing in 1/4 cup into the dough somewhat thoroughly, then you barely swirl in another 1/4 cup with the chocolate chips.  That extra 1/4 cup does the trick, as long as you don't overmix it.  Also, as much as I love that little sprinkling of sea salt on top of cookies, I didn't think it suited this one; it was a little overwhelming for the delicate nutella.  Of course, it's your cookie, do as you will!

  Without further ado, I give you the recipe.  Make a double batch, lick the nutella off your fingers, eat your fair share, then package up the rest to send to people you love.

  Just be prepared to be bombarded with requests for more.

Nutella Chocolate Chip Cookies
Yield: about 2-3 dozen cookies

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup nutella (chocolate-hazelnut spread), divided
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Line a couple baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Add the eggs and vanilla and mix until combined.  With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the flour mixture until just combined, with a few dry streaks remaining throughout.  Add 1/4 cup of the nutella and mix until just combined.  Fold in the chocolate chips.  Add the remaining 1/4 cup of nutella, mixing just so it is streaked throughout the dough, taking care not to over-mix.

Roll a scant 1/4 cup of dough into a ball then tear in half.  Roll each half into a smooth ball and place on the prepared baking sheet, about 2 inches apart.

Bake for 9-11 minutes, until the cookies are very lightly browned, have slightly crackled tops, and are still very soft and puffy (they may seem underdone, but they will continue to bake a bit on the hot cookie sheets when removed from the oven), do not overbake.  Allow to cool on the sheets for 5-10 minutes, then move to a cooling rack to cool completely.  Store in an airtight container in the fridge or at room temperature, your preference.

Sources: inspired by Sugar & Spice, who adapted from Kirby's Cravings, originally from JustJenn Recipes  


Sweet & Salty Guinness Chocolate Marshmallow Pie

  I don't know about you, but I've got a pretty cool dad.

  My dad can make a killer omelet, knows his way around hot oil, can drive a tractor, gives a darned good bear hug, and knows how to listen.

  When Father's Day comes around, I always want to give him just the right thing, or make him the best card.  I want it to be perfect, I want him to know how much this family cares about him.

  I definitely believe that food preparation is a universal language.  The way you present it, the amount of time you put into it, how much you spend on ingredients...it all says a lot.  Whether or not the recipient knows all this, what's important is that they love it.  Nothing is more heartwarming than watching a person go for seconds or thirds of something you spent the day slaving over.

  Food is meant to be shared.

  I wanted to convey all that in a single Father's Day dessert that could last a two-hour road trip in a cooler and feed at least 10 people, and I had two days to think it up.  My brain is usually bursting with ideas, but never within the right context, it seems. 

  When I'm hard up on inspiration, I browse.  Sometimes that means perusing our shelf of cookbooks, but more often it means searching through some of my favorite blogs, gawking at gorgeous pictures and recipes.

  Leave it to Heather of Sprinkle Bakes to inspire me.  This lady is phenomenally artsy, just filled to the brim with talent and ideas.  While perusing her impressive recipe archive, I came across the perfect dessert for my dad.  The title Sweet and Salty Guinness Chocolate Pie with Beer Marshmallow Meringue hit me right between the eyes.

  This is a bit of a St. Patrick's thing, but I didn't think anyone would complain.  If you really want to go all out, dye the marshmallow green and throw in some peppermint extract or something.  Possibilities!

  Now, I don't like beer.  This is probably okay, since, you know, I'm 17.  But I actually went back for seconds here.  Not to say that the Guinness flavor is lost, it's quite present, but it just compliments the marshmallow and chocolate so perfectly!  Plus, the crust is to-die-for.  That will be definitely be going into other pie creations.  I wasn't the only non-beer-liker who fell for it, and those who are fans couldn't get enough.  Definitely a win-win!

  This guy came up with top marks, and I've already got recipe requests on facebook just because of the picture I posted and the small mention I made of it on Sunday

  I'm not gonna lie, this is a labor of love; I recommend that you dedicate an afternoon to it the day before you plan to serve it, so it has a chance to chill overnight.  It is entirely worth it though, especially if you're making it for your daddy.

  Many thanks and kudos to Heather for her creativity, this pie more than fit the bill.

Sweet & Salty Guinness Chocolate Marshmallow Pie
Yield: two 8 or 9-inch pies

Ingredients for the crust:
  • 2 cups crushed pretzels
  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 12 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons light brown sugar, packed

Ingredients for the Guinness chocolate filling:
  • 8 large egg yolks (be sure to reserve 4 of the egg whites for the marshmallow topping!)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 14.9 oz. can Guinness Draught, divided
  • 2 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 7 oz. high quality bittersweet chocolate, evenly and finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch

Ingredients for the beer marshmallow meringue topping:
(Note: This marshmallow meringue is really gooey and not your average dry, fluffy meringue.  It's more like melted marshmallow fluff.)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp. water
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 12 jumbo marshmallows cut into quarters with kitchen scissors (or about 18-20 large, cut in half)
  • 3 tbsp. beer reduction, used from the 14.9 oz. can listed in the chocolate pudding ingredients (divided as instructed within the recipe)

To make the crust, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  In a medium bowl, mix together crushed pretzels, graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, and brown sugar.  Stir together with a rubber spatula until well incorporated.  Divide mixture between two 8 or 9-inch pie plates, pressing down into an even layer with a flat-bottomed ramekin or heavy glass (you may let the crust go up the sides, if you wish). Bake for 10-15 minutes, until set.  Cool completely before filling. 
Once the crusts are cool, make the Guinness chocolate filling.  Whisk together egg yolks and sugar in a non-reactive bowl.  Pour 1 cup of Guinness into a heavy-bottomed 3-quart saucepan (reserve the rest for later use in the marshmallow meringue beer reduction). Add heavy cream and whisk to combine.  Set over medium-high heat and cook until very hot, but not boiling.  Remove from heat and whisk in chocolate until completely melted.  Add the egg mixture in a very thin stream, whisking constantly, so you don't scramble the egg.  Whisk in cornstarch and return to heat source.  Whisk over medium heat until thickened (pudding may appear separated).

Divide mixture between pie pans, quickly smoothing the chocolate onto the crust with a rubber spatula.  Refrigerate while making the marshmallow topping. (Note: you may find that a slight separation of the beer will occur.  I fixed this by periodically laying a single layer of paper towel over each of the pies, allowing it to soak up the extra moisture.  I did this about three times.)

For the beer reduction in the marshmallow meringue, place the reserved Guinness in a small saucepan over medium heat and cook until reduced to 3 tablespoons (this will take about 10-15 minutes). Note: within the first few minutes of boiling, the Guinness will bubble and foam up like crazy.  Slide it off the heat quickly before it boils over and stir it a bit.  Slide it back onto the heat when you've calmed it, and from there it will simmer down contentedly.

To make the marshmallow meringue, whisk sugar, egg whites, water, and salt together in a large metal bowl.  Set bowl over a simmering pan of water (your heat should be around medium-low, and the bowl should not be in direct contact with the water); whisking constantly until sugar dissolves and mixture is hot to the touch (be sure the water never comes to a boil, or your eggs will cook).  Remove bowl from simmering saucepan and stir in marshmallow pieces.  Let stand for 3-5 minutes, until the marshmallow pieces have softened.  Return bowl to simmering water and beat together using a hand-held mixer for several minutes, until mixture thickens and is combined (remember, the texture is like melted marshmallow fluff, not your usual meringue!).  Remove bowl from simmering water and add beer reduction.  Continue to beat mixture until it has cooled slightly.

Preheat oven to broil.  Divide marshmallow mixture between the two pie pans and, if desired, create a swirl pattern with a small off-set spatula or butterknife.  Place under hot broiler, leaving the door open and rotating the pans as necessary (if it's more comfortable for you to do one pie at a time, that's totally fine).  Watch constantly - it's easy for the marshmallow to burn! Remove from oven when nice and toasty.

Let cool, then cover and refrigerate pies until well set - about 3-4 hours, but preferably overnight.  This is important, as it helps the marshmallow meringue to solidify.  

Use a warm knife (dipped in hot water then wiped dry) to achieve cleanly cut slices of pie, dipping and wiping clean between each slice.  Store covered in the refrigerator.

Sources: Sprinkle Bakes


Spinach Peach Mango Peanut Butter Smoothie

  Let me tell you something.  Green smoothies, they're for real.  Most people can't get through morning without their coffee, I prefer to start mine with a bubbling, fruity, green-colored smoothie.

  I loved how Joy opened this "recipe" in her book: "A girl cannot survive on biscuits and bacon alone."

  Words of truth!  I love biscuits, and bacon.  Especially when combined.  The key is to love those things in moderation, and drink green stuff through a straw the rest of the time.  Especially during swimsuit season.

  Understandable, right?  What might be a little more difficult to fathom is putting peanut butter in this green mix.  Peanut butter?  With peaches?  And mango?  Hecks yeah!  Joy's original recipe had frozen banana (as well as kale), but I decided to go with what I had on hand.  Why not?  You only live once.

  You know what?  It was actually good!  I like to think that I'm pretty well-versed in the making of tropical green smoothies, so adding in peanut butter was kind of a fun mix up.  It's a nice protein boost, and a part of me sort of felt like I was drinking Reese's...it's really better than it sounds (or looks).  Go green!  Throw in peanut butter!  Live yo life.

  For more awesome smoothies and not-so-thigh-friendly nibbles, I highly recommend Joy's book.  Plus, once you get it, you're eligible to join up with our Sundays with Joy group on facebook!  It's a lovely place to be, in the company of brilliant women and brown butter.  Be sure to head over to Bakeaholic Mama's page to see all the smoothie posts by the other group members.

   And last, but certainly not least, Happy Father's Day to all the fathers out there!  I made mine an evil pie involving a sweet & salty crust, Guinness, chocolate, and marshmallows.  I think he's going to like it :) Love you Papa!

Spinach Peach Mango Peanut Butter Smoothie
Yield: makes 1 large smoothie

  • 1/2 cup vanilla yogurt(I use Greek) 
  • 3/4 cup soy, almond, or cow's milk 
  • 1 heaping cup clean spinach leaves
  • 1/4 cup frozen chopped mango
  • 1/4 cup frozen chopped peach
  • 1 tablespoon all-natural peanut butter

Combine the yogurt, milk, spinach, mango, peach, and peanut butter in a blender.  Blend until thoroughly combined, and no large spinach chunks remain, about 45 seconds.

Serve immediately in a large glass or mason jar with a pretty straw.

Sources: inspired by Joy the Baker's Cookbook


Chewy Chocolate Ginger Cookies

  The cookie jar was empty. 

  Sooo I made some cookies.  Don't fall out of your chair or anything.

  Thing is, I made these cookies Wednesday.  Today is Thursday, and there are no more cookies to be had.

  A good sign, eh?

  Molasses is a grandma ingredient.  Putting it into cookies is not just a grandma thing.

  Your whole house will smell like molasses and ginger, how could you not want this?

  Also, there's definitely chocolate involved.  Seriously, there's nothing like chocolate chips to kick up any texture a notch or two.  Because at first you're like, "Oh, ginger cookies.  Fun.  Merry Christmas?" 

  Then you eat one.  And you're like, "WHAT JUST HAPPENED TO MY LIFE?"

  You think I'm exaggerating?  'Kay fine.  More for me.

  However, let me lay out a few things for you to consider.

  When's the last time you made cookies?  What's your fridge situation right now?  What's that, you've only got 1 egg, and there's 1 1/2 sticks of butter that's been staring at you from the counter all day?  And there's a crapload of spices and brown sugar in your pantry?  You've only got a handful of chocolate chunks that you don't want to guiltily just straight up stuff in your face?

  Do I really need to twist your arm?

  You telling me you don't want chewy, spicy, chocolate-studded cookies that will take up maybe 40 minutes of your sad life?

  I didn't think so.

Chewy Chocolate Ginger Cookies
Yield: about 3-4 dozen cookies, depending on how heaping you make your tablespoonfuls of dough

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips (milk chocolate or semi-sweet)
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar, for rolling the dough in

Position a rack in the middle of the oven.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper, or just spray lightly with cooking spray.

Sift the flour, baking soda, spices, and salt into a medium bowl and set aside.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and brown sugar on medium speed until smooth, about 2 minutes.  Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed during mixing.  Add the egg and molasses and mix until blended and an even light color, about 1 minute.  On low speed, add the flour mixture, mixing just until incorporated.  Fold in the chocolate chips.

Spread the granulated sugar into a small bowl.  Roll a heaping tablespoon of dough between the palms of your hands into a ball, toss the ball in sugar to coat and place on the prepared baking sheet.  Continue making cookies, spacing them about 2 inches apart.

Bake the cookies one sheet at a time, until the tops feel set but they are still soft in the center and there are several large cracks on top, about 12-14 minutes.  Cool the cookies on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

Sources: Joy the Baker, originally adapted from Big Fat Cookies