PINEAPPLE CHERRY PIE

WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS: This recipe works for so many reasons, but most importantly because it’s Pineapple Cherry Pie! You end up with a tart, thick gooey tasty goodness sandwiched between two layers of flaky, crispy crust.

PINEAPPLE CHERRY PIE

4 1/2 cups fresh tart cherries
1/4 cup Pineapple Brandy
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
5 tablespoons cornstarch
Your favorite pie crust or pie dough recipe for 2 crust pie
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon sanding sugar

  • Place butter in freezer.*
  • Pit cherries and place in a saucepan over medium heat.
  • Stir in Pineapple Brandy.
  • Cover and simmer until cherries begin to soften and lose their juice.
  • In a mixing bowl combine the granulated sugar and cornstarch.
  • Pour the cherries into the sugar and stir to blend until sugar is dissolved.
  • Return cherries to pan and simmer over low heat until thickened, stirring frequently.
  • Remove cherries from heat and allow to cool to lukewarm.
  • Preheat oven to 400°.
  • Prepare your dough and divide into 2 sections.
  • Place 1 section in your pie pan. **
  • Pour cooled cherries into pie pan.
  • Grate butter evenly on top of the cherries.
  • Place top pie crust on top, fluting the edges.
  • Slit top in several places for steam to escape.
  • Sprinkle with sanding sugar.
  • Bake 35-45 minutes until crust is golden and flaky.
  • Cool on cooling rack.

NOTE 1: * Putting the butter in the freezer makes it solid enough to grate.
NOTE 2: ** I love my air cool perforated pan. I just wrap the bottom with foil in case any juice gets out.

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SNICKERDOODLES an ALL TIME FAVORITE

APPLE PIE SNICKERDOODLES
1 cup butter, room temperature
2 large eggs
2 3/4 cups flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

  • Preheat oven to 400°.
  • Sift together the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.
  • Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Add eggs, beating well after each addition.
  • Gradually add in flour mixture until well blended.

3-4 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon apple pie spice

  • Combine sugar and apple pie spice until well blended.
  • Form cookie dough into small balls about walnut sized.
  • Roll each cookie ball in the sugar spice mixture and place on un-greased cookie sheet about 2 inches apart.
  • Bake 8-10 minutes or until golden.
  • Cool 2 minutes before placing on wire rack to cool completely.
  • Decorations are melted candy bark and sprinkle.

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CHUNKY MONKEY CUPCAKES aka PEANUT BUTTER BANANA CUPCAKES with FUDGE DRIZZLE or CHOCOLATE DIPPED PEANUT BUTTER BANANA CUPCAKES

Moist, fluffy banana cupcakes topped with a cream cheese peanut butter frosting and a fudge drizzle is my most favorite way, but kids like them chocolate;ate dipped!

BANANA CUPCAKES
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg white
1 large egg
1 2/3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup mashed bananas (the riper, the better)
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons water

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare a cupcake pan with cupcake liners.
  • Beat butter and sugar until light in color and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Add vanilla extract and mix until combined.
  • Add egg white and egg in two batches, mixing until combined after each.
  • Combine dry ingredients in another bowl, then combine mashed bananas, milk and water in another bowl.
  • Add half of the dry ingredients to the batter and mix until well combined.
  • Add the milk and banana mixture and mix until well combined.
  • Add remaining dry ingredients and mix until well combined.
  • Fill cupcake liners about halfway. Bake for 17-19 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out with a few crumbs.
  • Remove cupcakes from oven and allow to cool for 2-3 minutes, then remove to cooling rack to finish cooling.

PEANUT BUTTER CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup salted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
4-5 cups powdered sugar
Banana chips

  • Beat the cream cheese and butter together until smooth.
  • Add the peanut butter and mix until smooth.
  • Add half of the powdered sugar and mix until smooth.
  • Add remaining powdered sugar and mix until smooth.
  • Pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes. I used the Ateco 808 large round tip.
  • Top cupcakes with a banana chip and sprinkle with crushed banana chips, if desired.
  • Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Cupcakes are best for 2-3 days.

FUDGE DRIZZLE
2 squares unsweetened chocolate squares (preferably Baker’s)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/3 cup milk
1 cup sugar
Pinch of salt

  • Melt chocolate and butter in a small saucepan over low to medium-low heat.
  • Add milk and sugar and cook, stirring frequently, until completely melted.

OR CHOCOLATE DIPPED

2 bags chocolate melting wafers OR candy bark

  • Put the cupcakes in the freezer for 15 minutes.
  • Carefully, dip the tops of the cupcakes into the melted chocolate.
  • Place in the refrigerator for an hour to allow the chocolate to firm up.

BLUEBERRY CRUMB CAKE

Rainy and dreary here today so I started the crock pot and the oven for some yummy new recipes.

BLUEBERRY CRUMB CAKE also makes great muffins

CAKE

1/4 cup organic butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 JUMBO egg
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 teaspoon PURE vanilla
2 cups flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 cups small wild blueberries

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Spray a 10 inch spring form pan with non-stick spray.
  • In a large bowl cream butter with sugar.
  • Add egg, blending well.
  • Sift together flour, baking powder and salt.
  • Alternately add flour mixture and milk, beating until well blended.
  • Fold in lemon zest and blueberries.
  • Spread into prepared pan.

TOPPING

1/4 cup organic butter, softened
1/3 cup flour
1/2 cup quick cooking oats
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons chilled butter, sliced thin

  • In a medium bowl mix together softened butter, flour, oats, white sugar and cinnamon until well blended.
  • Sprinkle on top of cake.
  • Sprinkle brown sugar on top evenly.
  • Place chilled butter slices randomly around.
  • Bake 40-45 minutes until cake tester comes out clean from middle of cake.

LEMON MERINGUE PIE

LEMON MERINGUE PIE

CRUST
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup butter CRISCO
1/4 cup COLD ice water (use 1 cup measure & add ice to the 1/4 cup cold ice water)

  • Mix until blended together JUST until incorporated.
  • Roll out on floured surface.
  • Add to pie plate, fluent the edges by pinch between your fingers.

FILLING
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons flour
dash salt
1 1/4 cups boiling water
3 beaten egg yolks
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon fresh grated lemon peel
1/3 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons Key Lime juice

  • In a saucepan stir together the flour, cornstarch, sugar and salt.
  • Add boiling water and cook until mixture boils and thickens, 3-5 minutes.
  • Temper the egg yolks slowly with some of the mixture and add back to saucepan.
  • Cook 2 more minutes and remove from heat.
  • Immediately add butter, whisking until melted.
  • Add zest and juice, blending until smooth.
  • Pour into crust.

MERINGUE
5 large egg whites
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 cup extra fine sugar

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Beat egg whites until peaks form.
  • Slowly add sugar until dissolved.
  • Add cream of tartar and vanilla, blending well.
  • Add meringue to pie, sealing to crust.
  • Bake 12-15 minutes until meringue is browned.
  • Cool completely and then chill.

NOTES:

  • Meringue is extremely humidity sensitive. The sugar in the delicate mixture readily absorbs moisture from the air, which makes it soft and nearly impossible to achieve thick, stiff peaks. Humidity may also cause soft meringues to weep or crisp meringues to soften once baked. 
  • Using a copper bowl and beaters that were in the freezer for 30 minutes helps.  Many chefs prefer to use use copper bowls, a reaction between the copper and egg whites tends to produce a fluffy, more stable foam. Just before using a copper bowl, clean it with salt and lemon juice or vinegar, then rinse with cold water and dry thoroughly before placing in freezer.
  • Also make sure when separating your eggs to be extra careful, even the smallest piece of yolk can ruin your meringue. Separating your eggs while cold is easier to not get bits of yolk into the whites.

PINEAPPLE CARROT TOP BROWN SUGAR GLAZED HAM and ALL the FIXIN’s

So we changed our mind and stayed home for Easter dinner. We decided it’s just too busy around here and we didn’t want to fight the crowds.  Fortunately, we decided on Wednesday night so I was able to shop on Thursday and NOT fight the crowds in the markets.

PINEAPPLE CARROT TOP BROWN SUGAR GLAZED HAM
1 spiral sliced ham 8-10 pounds
1 jar pineapple preserves
1/2 cup minced carrot tops
2 cups brown sugar

  • Add the ham to the slow cooker, trimming off the bottom as needed to fit it into the slow cooker Add the trimmed fat pieces around the ham in the slow cooker.  They will help keep the moisture level up.
  • Whisk together preserves and minced carrot tops.
  • Spread glaze on ham.
  • Cover with the brown sugar.
  • Cook on low for 2-3 hours.
  • Cover with a light covering of brown sugar and serve.

ROASTED CARROTS AND ASPARAGUS with BERNAISE SAUCE
3 large carrots, sliced thinly and diagonally
3-4 stalks asparagus, per person, trimmed and cut into pieces
2 tablespoons butter
salt and pepper, to taste
1 batch Bernaise sauce

  • Bring a double boiler of water to a boil.
  • Add butter, salt and pepper to water.
  • Add carrots and asparagus to vegetable steamer.
  • Cover and steam 15-20 minutes until crisp tender.
  • Top with sauce and serve immediately.

BERNAISE SAUCE
1 tablespoon plus 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2″ cubes
3 tablespoons minced shallots
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons Champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar
2 large egg yolks
Juice of 1 large fresh lemon
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh tarragon

  • Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a small saucepan over medium heat.
  • Add shallots and a pinch of salt and pepper; stir to coat.
  • Stir in vinegar, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook until vinegar is evaporated, 3-4 minutes.
  • Reduce heat to low and continue cooking shallots, stirring frequently, until tender and translucent, about 5 minutes longer.
  • Transfer shallot reduction to a small bowl and let cool completely.
  • Meanwhile, fill a blender with hot water to warm it; set aside.
  • Melt remaining 1 cup butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until butter is foamy.
  • Transfer butter to a measuring cup.
  • Drain blender and dry well.
  • Combine egg yolks, lemon juice, and 1 tablespoon water in warm, dry blender.
  • Purée mixture until smooth.
  • With blender running, slowly pour in hot butter in a thin stream of droplets, discarding milk solids at bottom of measuring cup. Blend until smooth and creamy, 2-3 minutes.
  • Pour sauce into a medium bowl stirring in shallot reduction and tarragon.
  • Season to taste with salt, pepper, and more lemon juice, if desired.

DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 hour ahead. Cover and let stand at room temperature. I prefer fresh if your time allows.


POTATOES AU GRATIN
1/2 cup butter
16 oz. whipping cream
5 large russet potatoes
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon minced garlic (jar) or 1 clove
2 cups grated 4 white cheese mix (Gruyere, Muenster, etc…)
2 cups rates sharp cheddar
Wondra Flour

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Peel and thinly slice potatoes.
  • Grease 9×13 baking dish.
  • In a large sauce pan, melt the butter.
  • Gradually add the whipping cream and spices. Blend well.
  • Gradually add the flour until the mixture thickens, but it is still pourable!
  • Mix the cheeses all together.
  • Layer the potatoes, cheese and cream mixture ending with cheese on top.
  • Bake 45 minutes or until potatoes are tender and golden brown.

I developed this recipe for a request from our youngest and it quickly became a family favorite.

Dessert was a recent inspiration from a new restaurant.  Tony Mandola’s Gulf Coast Kitchen is a fantastic place.  We had the BEST waiter who made our meal so enjoyable while he treated us to dessert and the history of two restaurant families (Carrabas Italian Grill and Ninfas Mexican Cantina) melding together to create this restaurant. I couldn’t find a recipe so I kind of made it up as I went and came VERY close.

BANANA KEY LIME PIE

1 large firm banana, sliced thin
1/4 cup Malibu rum
1 graham cracker crumb crust
14 ounce can Eagle sweetened condensed milk
3 egg yolks + 2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup Key Lime Juice

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Soak banana slices in rum.
  • Pat banana slices dry.
  • Combine milk, egg yolks, sugar and lime juice, beating until smooth like custard.
  • Layer banana slices in a layer on top of graham cracker crust.
  • Top with custard and bake 12-15 minutes until JUST barely set.
  • Cool 10 minutes.
  • Move to refrigerator, chilling several hours before serving.
  • Top with whipped cream.

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CHERRY PINEAPPLE UPSIDE DOWN CAKE ala SLOW COOKER aka DUMP CAKE from the 1980’s

This is a modern updated version of the “DUMP” cake from the 80’s. I really like this version for the convenience, BUT that said, I miss the extra crisp from oven version.

CHERRY PINEAPPLE UPSIDE DOWN CAKE

20 ounce can Cherry Pie filling
2 – 8 ounce cans crushed pineapple
1 box yellow cake mix
1/2 cup sweetened coconut flakes
1/2 cup crushed walnuts or pecans (I used Fisher’s Cinnamon pecan topping pieces)
1/2 cup butter, melted

  • Even layer the ingredients in the exact order listed in your slow cooker, drizzling the butter over everything last..
  • Cover and cook on high 3 hours.
  • Divide into ramekins and serve with fresh whipped cream or Vanilla bean ice cream.

NOTE: If you like a toasted effect, make sure you scoop out the cake into the ramekins so the coconut butter portion is on the top.  Place the ramekins under the broiler for 2 minutes OR  you can make the same recipe in a 13 x 9 baking pan in the oven at 350°.

BLUEBERRY STREUSEL COFFEECAKE

ALMOST every recipe I make is completely from scratch these days, BUT I’ve been making this one for MANY moons since before I ever got sick and this recipe made with Bisquick is one of my few guilty pleasures recipes that I still make.

BLUEBERRY STREUSEL COFFEECAKE

CAKE
2 cups Bisquick mix
2 tablespoons sugar
1 egg
2/3 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons cooking oil
1 cup wild organic baby blueberries

STREUSEL
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup Bisquick mix
2 tablespoons sugar
8 tablespoons COLD butter, cut into small cubes

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Spray 8×8 pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Prepare Streusel first.
  • Sift Bisquick mix into mixing bowl, fold in brown sugar and sugar.
  • Using a pastry blender add butter cubes and process until it resembles coarse sand. Set aside.
  • In another mixing bowl sift the Bisquick mix and sugar together.
  • With a wooden spoon, add buttermilk, egg and cooking oil just until combined. Mixture will be a little thick and gooey.
  • Gently fold in blueberries.
  • Spread cake mixture into prepared pan evenly.
  • Using a straw, poke holes into cake.  These holes will allow streusel to bake down into the cake.
  • Evenly top with the streusel mixture.
  • Bake 18-22 minutes.
  • Serve warm.

CHOCOLATE CHERRY TRUFFLES

CHOCOLATE CHERRY TRUFFLES

11 ounces QUALITY white chocolate, broken into pieces
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon cherry Jell-o**
CandiQuick or Melting Wafers for decorating
Sprinkles for decorating

  • In a small saucepan, heat whipping cream until warm.
  • Add butter, stirring until melted.
  • Stir in Jell-o.
  • Add in chocolate pieces, stirring quickly and constantly until smooth.
  • Refrigerate for at least an hour until it begins to harden.
  • When hard, scoop into balls on parchment paper lined baking sheet that fits in your freezer and freeze for about 30 minutes until VERY firm.
  • Once firm, melt chocolate until smooth and creamy – about 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds using the microwave.
  • Use a small flat spatula or spoon to dip each ball in chocolate and place on wax paper to dry.
  • Sprinkle with decorations immediately while chocolate is still wet.
  • Keep refrigerated.

**NOTE: for non-Valentine holidays change up the cherry flavor for some variety.  Also good with peach, raspberry and pineapple or any combo you can come up with I’m sure.

CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER VOLCANO CAKES

I have made these using Nestle’s chocolate and also using QUALITY chocolate.  While the quality chocolate does cost a bit more, you can SERIOUSLY taste the difference. Do yourself a favor and splurge for this decadent dessert. They also work with Nutella instead of peanut butter.

CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER VOLCANO CAKES
14 ounces QUALITY semi-sweet chocolate, broken into pieces
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 cup sugar
4 Large eggs
4 Large egg yolks*
1/2 cup flour
1 heaping cup of peanut butter, chilled
powdered sugar

  • Preheat oven to 400°.
  • Butter muffin tin REALLY well and sprinkled with sugar.**
  • Using a double boiler melt butter and chocolate pieces together until smooth.  Stir constantly.***
  • When smooth, turn off the heat, remove from burner and let cool a bit.
  • In a large mixing bowl whisk together the 4 eggs and 4 egg yolks until well blended.
  • Add sugar and then flour, whisking until smooth.
  • Whisk in the cooled chocolate mixture.
  • Fill each muffin tin halfway.
  • Add about 1 1/2 tablespoons of the chilled peanut butter to each muffin cup.
  • Evenly top each muffin cup with remaining chocolate mixture. DO NOT OVERFILL.
  • Bake 14 minutes or until top center crust bounces back when gently pressed.
  • Carefully pop cakes out and garnish with powdered sugar.
  • Serve warm with vanilla ice cream for complete decadence.
  • *NOTE: I save the whites for omelettes or to add into the dog’s food
  • **NOTE: I like to use my mini cheesecake pan that you just push up the bottoms for the individual cakes.  It makes it much easier to get the cakes out without breaking them open.
  • ***HINT: Make sure the water level in the pan is NOT touching the double boiler.  If it does it could scorch your chocolate mixture.

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CARAMEL APPLE CHEESECAKE

This is one of the most decadent desserts and yet so simple too.

APPLE CARAMEL CHEESECAKE

CRUST
2 cups crushed gingersnap and vanilla wafer crumbs*
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup Fisher’s Cinnamon Pecans
11 ounce bag Kraft caramels
1/2 cup milk

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Combine cookie crumbs, melted butter and the pecans.
  • Press firmly into the bottom and up the sides of a 9 inch springform pan.
  • Using a double boiler whisk together the milk and caramels until smooth.
  • Pour half of the caramel mixture over the crust, refrigerating the rest for later.
  • Refrigerate crust while making the filling.

FILLING
(2) 8 ounce packages cream cheese, softened at room temperature
2/3 cup extra fine sugar
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon PURE vanilla
2 large Honey Crisp apples, peeled, cored and sliced thin

  • In a large mixing bowl cream the cream cheese until smooth.
  • Gradually add sugar until well incorporated.
  • Add eggs, one at a time, blending until VERY smooth.
  • Blend in vanilla.
  • Spread mixture evenly over prepared crust.
  • Arrange apple slices evenly over cream cheese mixture.
  • Bake on enter rack for 50-60 minutes until set (center should be only be SLIGHTLY jiggly.
  • Remove from oven and cool 20 minutes.

TOPPING
1 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons extra fine sugar
1 teaspoon PURE vanilla

  • Increase oven temperature to 475 degrees.
  • Whisk together sour cream, sugar and vanilla until smooth.
  • Spread evenly over cheesecake.
  • Bake 5 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and cool 30 minutes.
  • Chill at least 3 hours (I do 8-10 hours).

GARNISH
1 Hershey’s milk chocolate ball
1 square unsweetened baking chocolate
1/2 cup Fisher’s Cinnamon Pecans

  • Grate chocolates together.

TO SERVE

  • Microwave reserve caramel sauce 15 seconds.
  • Pour a small amount over each slice and then sprinkle with chocolate gratings and reserved pecans.

*If you prefer the original recipe called for graham cracker crumbs

APPLE PIE SNICKERDOODLES and my new FAVORITE ornament

One of my favorite ALL time cookies is the Snickerdoodle.  One of the most versatile cookies, in my opinion, is the Snickerdoodle. You can change up the flavor for whatever holiday – pumpkin pie spice for fall, apple pie spice for for Christmas or Easter…, decorate or not, but according to hubby plain is BEST. I LOVE this time of year with ALL the baking and fun treats!

I also love that Victoria and Dave send a new unique snowflake in their Christmas card and I just ADORE my new FAVORITE ornament that my friend brought over for me.  She saw it at a boutique and said it reminded her of me – such a sweet thought and absolutely beautiful ornament.

APPLE PIE SNICKERDOODLES
1 cup butter, room temperature
2 large eggs
2 3/4 cups flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

  • Preheat oven to 400°.
  • Sift together the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.
  • Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Add eggs, beating well after each addition.
  • Gradually add in flour mixture until well blended.

3-4 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon apple pie spice

  • Combine sugar and apple pie spice until well blended.
  • Form cookie dough into small balls about walnut sized.
  • Roll each cookie ball in the sugar spice mixture and place on un-greased cookie sheet about 2 inches apart.
  • Bake 8-10 minutes or until golden.
  • Cool 2 minutes before placing on wire rack to cool completely.
  • Decorations are melted candy bark and sprinkle.