Raspberry Blueberry Crumble

If I had enough foresight, this picture would show a red, white, and blue dessert and be a perfect recipe to share on the Fourth of July.

But alas, my patriotic spirit was overcome by my desire to quickly take a picture and dig in to this scrumptious dessert.  Io I forgot to add the white ice cream to my red raspberries and blue blueberries,  But, when you do it at home, it will be a perfect dessert to celebrate the upcoming July holiday.  It’s so simple by so delicious: fresh berries, a little bit of flour and lemon to thicken and bring out the juices all topped with brown sugar, oatmeal, and butter.

RASPBERRY BLUEBERRY CRUMBLE
From My Mom

INGREDIENTS

2 cups raspberries
1 cup blueberries*
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup oats
Pinch of salt
4 1/2 tablespoons butter, cut into 1/4 inch size pieces
Ice cream, for serving

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 375°F.

In a large bowl, stir together raspberries, blueberries, flour, and lemon juice. Set aside.

In a food processor, combine light brown sugar, oats, salt, and butter. Process until crumbly and combined. In a large pie dish, spread the berries in an even layer on the bottom. Sprinkle crumble topping on top. Bake for 30 minutes, until fruit is bubbling and crumble topping is golden brown.

*Use any combination of berries that your heart desires.
Let cool slightly. Serve warm with ice cream.

Canyon Creek Burger

12-16 Canyon Creek Burger

Every now and then I get a huge hankerin’ for a good burger.  Juicy and full of red meat.

This was so good that I could only manage a hastily taken iPhone picture, but I promise you that this burger will deliver.

And I got this hankering last December- I haven’t been in the kitchen as much in this new year, but I am slowly starting to try out more new recipes and experiment.  This burger reminds me of how much delicious food can be made at home.

I saw this combo of burger toppings at Iowa Girl Eats, and I knew it would be love at first bite with me as well.  Since I love a little sweet mixed in with my savory, I was especially intrigued by the inclusion of blackberry jam (I ended up using raspberry instead- just as good!).  It definitely made for a sticky, messy burger, but it was worth every bite.  Very decadent and rich- perfect for relieving stress.

So what has stressed me recently you ask?  Well, last week I have the joy of wonder of sitting in my car, finishing up a conversation with my mom before I was about to head home to prep for a debate I had in my night class that night when I saw two college boys walking onto the street I was parked on.  “Oh my god,” I say to my mom, “Two guys are on the street setting up to hit golf balls.  These idiots decide to do this on a crowded street with lots of cars.”

Want to guess what happened next?  Well, before I could drive off from this risky activity, a golf ball comes flying through my back window, spraying glass everywhere.  Long story short (with a mix of an anger explosion and lots of obscenities), I have started to take care of the issue, but needless to say, I was quite stressed.  When I am stressed I turn to rich, fatty food.  Maybe not the healthiest option or the best coping a psychologist-in-training should use.  But that is neither here nor there.  This burger is perfect for those stressful days.  Or any day when you just want to marvel at the stupidity of people in this world.

CANYON CREEK BURGER
Slightly Adapted from Iowa Girls Eats

INGREDIENTS

4 hamburger patties
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese (or any other variety)
Vegetable oil, for coating pan
4 eggs
Salt and pepper
4 hamburger buns
Candied jalapenos
Onion, thinly sliced
Raspberry jam

DIRECTIONS

Heat a large skillet (or grill) over high heat. Coat pan with oil. Sear hamburger patties, 2-4 minutes per side (depending on your preferences for hamburgers). After the second flip, sprinkle cheese on top of each burger. Cover burgers with lid and cook until cheese is melted. (Add onions to cook with hamburgers if desired.)

Heat another skillet over medium high heat. Coat pan with oil and crack eggs individually in the pan, making sure to leave enough room for each egg. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for 1-2 minutes and flip. Cook an additional minute.

Place burgers on bottom bun. Top with egg, jalapenos, and onion. Spread raspberry jam on the top bun. Place bun on top.

Makes 4 hamburgers.

Sachertorte

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Over the past few years I have definitely become a lot better in the kitchen.  I am better at following/creating recipes and food presentation.  My food used to look tired, run down, and listless, and I made a lot of mistakes (“Oops I forgot the [insert important ingredient that makes the entire recipe here].”, “Oops, did that say 1 1/2 minutes, I thought it said 15”).

While I am much improved, cakes are still really hard for me to decorate and have look pretty.  So when it comes to my birthday, I have great dreams and visions of a multi-layered cake with homemade frosting and lots of filling.  And while my birthday cakes usually taste awesome, their looks can sometimes leave something to be desired.

This year I made myself a Sachertorte, with a few twists.  A Sachertorte is an chocolate cake made famous by the Austrian Franz Sacher, who served this cake to Prince Wenzel von Metternich.  The more you know!

A traditional sacher torte is a fudge chocolate cake with brandy, topped with apricot preserves and a ganache.  I made my own twist by replacing the brandy with framboise and the apricot preserves with raspberry.  It was definitely delicious and made for a very happy birthday- even the birth of Jesus can’t eclipse my birthday cake this year!

Happy birthday to all the other December babies out there.

SACHERTORTE
Adapted from The Sweet Melissa Baking Book via My Baking Heart

INGREDIENTS

For the Cake:
6 ounces semisweet chocolate
10 tablespoons butter
2/3 cup framboise
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar, divided
4 eggs, separate
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 & 1 tablespoon cup all purpose flour

For the Filling:
1 cup raspberry preserves
1/3 cup coarsely chopped chocolate

For the Ganache:
6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate*
1/2 cup heavy cream
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon corn syrup

DIRECTIONS

For the Cake:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and line a 9 inch springform pan. Line pan with parchment paper and grease.

In a double broiler, melt chocolate and butter. Remove from stove and stir in framboise. Let cool slightly.

Meanwhile, separate eggs into two separate bowls (4 yolks in one bowl, 4 egg whites in another bowl). Divide sugar in half. Pour half of the sugar in with the egg yolks and whisk together. Whisk egg yolk mixture into chocolate mixture. Stir in salt, cinnamon and flour.

With a hand mixer, beat egg whites until foamy. Continue to beat, adding remaining sugar in a slow, steady stream. Beat until stiff but dry peaks do not form. Fold in 1/3 of the meringue mixture into the chocolate mixture. Fold in remaining meringue

*For my chocolate, I used a combination of semisweet and milk chocolate since sometimes semi-sweet chocolate is not sweet enough for me. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 60-75 minutes. Check with a toothpick for doneness. Cool on a wire wrack for 20 minutes. Remove sides of springform pan and let cool.

For the Filling:

Cut cake into 2 even layers. Spread raspberry preserves on the bottom layer. Sprinkle chopped chocolate on top. Top with top cake layer.

For the Ganache:

Chop the chocolate and place in a bowl. Place heavy cream in a saucepan and scald (heat on medium heat until the side begin to bubble). Pour cream over chocolate and whisk until chocolate is melted. Stir in salt and corn syrup.

Pour ganache over cake, gently spreading the ganache over the edges to cover the cake. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before cutting.

Vanilla Pavolva with Berries

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It’s back to the grind for me, my friends.

It’s that time of year when it is just plain scary to enter the hallowed halls of Walmart- even more than usual.  Everyone please remember to watch our for the wild children running down aisles begging their parents for the next cool batch of school supplies (anyone else miss gel pens), large families stocking up for the academic apocalypse, college students buying an inflatable chair for the dorm/prison cell, and

And let’s not even get started on the parking lot.  Instant road rage.

The school year is definitely back in gear, and I am having a small adjustment period to being back on a more normal schedule.  Sometimes I feel super productive and ready to get work done, and other times all I want to do is sit on my couch and binge watch Orange is the New Black.

This semester marks the start of a lot more new work for me.  I will start seeing clients in therapy within the next week, and earlier this week I held the first day of my Introduction to Psychology class.  Here hoping these students enjoy me as much as my pretend students I instructed when I was seven years old.  Because they loved me.

These new tasks have put a lot of work of my plate, which doesn’t leave me as much time to put delicious food on that plate.

This pavlova was a dinner for me during this first week back.  A treat for all my hard work.  This was a perfect recipe for a busy night.  All you do is whip up some egg whites and sugar (delicious) and then bake it for a little bit over an hour.  Then you can use that hour to get some work down (or watch Orange is the New Black- best show ever).  Then enjoy a delicious meringue treat.  Topped with summer berries this is perfection.

Eating dessert for dinner- I think I am setting a wonderful examples for my pupils.  The lessons they could learn from me.

VANILLA PAVLOVA WITH BERRIES
Slightly Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

INGREDIENTS

100 grams egg whites
Pinch of salt
3/4 cup super fine sugar*
1/4 teaspoon cornstarch
3/4 teaspoon vinegar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
For serving: berries, whipped cream

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 250°F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Draw a circle that is 6 inches in diameter on the parchment paper.

In a small bowl combine sugar and cornstarch.  In another small bowl combine vinegar and vanilla extract.

In a separate bowl, whip egg whites and a pinch of salt on low speed, slowly increasing the speed to medium, until soft peaks form.  This should take 2-4 minutes.  Increase speed to medium-high and slowly adding in sugar-cornstarch mixture.  Then slowly add vinegar-vanilla mixture.  Whip until stiff peaks form, 6-8 minutes.

Use a spatula to spread the whipped egg white mixture into a 6 inch circle.  Leave a slight indentation in the middle for the berries and whipped cream.  Bake for 75-85 minutes.

Let cool slightly.  Serve with berries and whipped cream.

*If you don’t have superfine sugar, you can run normal granulated sugar in a food processor.  Also, I have made this with granulated sugar, and it has generally worked.

Raspberry Filled White Chocolate Almond Bars

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This week I have off from classes, and for the first time in a while I don’t really have anything pressing to do.  And I do not know what to do with myself. Besides listen to this song nonstop.

My name is Karen, and I can no longer do nothing.

I used to be able to just literally sit on the couch or at the computer all day long and do nothing.  Well, not nothing.  I had a very important TV schedule I followed.  Since our study didn’t have cable my line up was based on the standard channels as follows: Arthur (yes, the aardvark…), People’s Court, Judge Mathis, Judge Hatchet, All my Children, One Life to Live, General Hospital, and Maury.

I would love to say I have become more cultured and sophisticated in the years since, but I can still get sucked in by a good Real Housewives of wherever marathon.  I know I shouldn’t complain about this slow week and that a few months from now I will be longing for some nothing-ness.  Until then I will have to try and find some fun stuff to do this week.

Luckily for the second half of this week I don’t have to worry about doing nothing since I will blowing out of this one-horse town on a Texas roadtrip! I am excited to explore some cities, spend time with a friend, eat good food, and watch some fireworks.  From a good distance since I have a healthy respect/fear of explosions.

I really am revealing a lot of neurosis today.  Can’t do nothing, have a fear of fireworks. Hello.  For the sake of full disclosure, I also have an irrational fear of butterflies.

Anyway.  These raspberry almond white chocolate bars would be an amazing treat to bring to any BBQ celebrations. This recipe comes from my mom, and I knew whenever she made these for a holiday celebration, we were in for a treat.  Raspberry, white chocolate, and almonds are a threesome I can fully get behind.

No blue, but you got the red and white covered- just sit them next to a big bowl of blueberries or something.

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RASPBERRY FILLED WHITE CHOCOLATE BARS
Adapted from My Mom

INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup butter
12 ounces white chocolate chips, divided
2 eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup all purpose flour
3/4-1 cup raspberry jam
1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease a 9 inch baking pan.

In a small saucepan, melt butter. Add 6 ounces (about 1 cup) of the white chocolate chips. Do not stir and let stand for at least 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl beat eggs until foamy. Slowly add sugar, beating until mixture is lemon colored. Stir in white chocolate chip and butter mixture. Add almond extract, salt, and flour. Mix until just combined. Pour approximately 1/2-3/4 of the mixture into the pan. Bake for 15-17 minutes.

In a small saucepan warm raspberry jam until easily pourable, about 2-3 minutes. Pour on top of warm crust. Spoon teaspoonfuls of remaining batter on top of jam with some jam still showing through. Sprinkle almonds on top. Bake for 25-27 minutes. Cool completely and cut into bars.

French Toast Monte Cristo

I hope everyone had a very merry Christmas.  We have a few days to recuperate (and shop some more sales) before New Year’s Eve.  For our Christmas celebrations, we had our traditional dinner of Singapore Noodles, ham & sausage, and dumplings at my aunt and uncle’s house.  We then came back home with full bellys and rested up a little bit for the big day.  And then on Christmas Day we made our traditional Sausage Cups for brunch/lunch (look out for the recipe soon, they would work great for a New Year’s Eve party).

We have no set tradition for Christmas dinner, having tried many different variations of roasted chicken, turkey dinner, and more.  This year I wanted to try a new food tradition for dinner: a Monte Cristo.  For those of you who have not been lucky to enough to have eaten a Monte Cristo, it is a turkey, ham, and Swiss sandwich that is then completely deep fried.  It is then sprinkled with powdered sugar and served wit raspberry preserves.  It is glorious, my friends.

Well you may have noticed that the picture of my sandwich is not deep fried.  Well, we had some deep frying issues.  I had a good batter and hot oil, but when I dipped my bread in the batter, it became soggy, and it was difficult to completely cover the sandwich, meaning oil soaked in during frying.  The sandwiches we got tasted good, but the oil lurking inside was likely to give us a holiday stomach ache   Not fun, especially when we had so many desserts waiting to be eaten.  Instead, we had a Monte Cristo alternative: Challah French toast with griddled turkey/ham and melted Swiss in between.  Topped with powdered sugar and maple syrup, with raspberry preserves on the side.  Yes, my friends, make this.

A short disclaimer: this sandwich will in no way help you take revenge on people who caused you to be falsely imprisoned.

FRENCH TOAST MONTE CRISTO
From Cinnamon Freud
INGREDIENTS

6 slices Challah bread
3 eggs
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
6-8 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
Nonstick Spray
Roasted Turkey and/or Ham, thinly sliced
Swiss cheese, grated
Powdered sugar
Maple Syrup
Raspberry preserves

DIRECTIONS

In a large bowl, whisk eggs, milk sugar, vanilla, and salt together.  Heat a griddle over medium high heat.  Spray with nonstick spray.  On one side, layer you lunch meat of choice and top with a slice of Swiss cheese.  Cook for 2-5 minutes, covering with lid if needed, until cheese begins to melt.

Quickly dip two slices of challah bread into the egg mixture.  On the other side of the griddle*, cook the bread for 1-3 minutes per side, until golden brown.  Transfer meat and cheese onto one slice of your French toast.  Place the other French toast on top and slightly compress together.  Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.  Transfer to broiler if you need to melt cheese further.  Repeat for the remaining two sandwiches, spraying the pan with nonstick spray in between.

Top with sprinkling of powdered sugar.  Dip into maple syrup or raspberry preserves.  Sandwich can be eaten by hand or with knife and fork, depending on the amount of toppings.

Makes 3 sandwiches.

*You can make all three sandwiches at once if you have a large enough griddle.  If you do not have a griddle pan large enough to cook both the meat and French toast, you can use two separate pans to cook each at the same time.

Chocolate Raspberry Truffle Cake

I have been to many birthday parties back in the day where they served the half-chocolate and half-vanilla sheet cake as a way to calm tensions between the chocolate faction and vanilla faction.  Consider this layered cake a more grown up version of such a cake.  And, not to toot my own horn too much, I am sure it is much more delicious than those bakery cakes.
This layer cake has alternating layers of a moist chocolate cake and a tender white chocolate cake.  Spread between the layers is a sweet raspberry whipped cream.  Spread over the outside is a smooth ganache icing.  Topped with fresh whipped cream for just another touch of delicous-ness.
Now, I won’t lie to you and tell you that this is an easy dessert you can just whip up.  Making a big layered cake is a commitment- but it is not impossible.  If a novice baker such as myself can do it, so can you!  Just make sure to take your time.  Don’t rush yourself and just take it step by step.  I had a few hiccups along the way, but all in all, it came out great (and much better looking than my last cake attempt)
CHOCOLATE RASPBERRY TRUFFLE CAKE
Slightly Adapted from Bon Appetit Desserts
INGREDIENTS
For the White Chocolate Cake:
1 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 ounces white chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs, separated
For the Chocolate Cake:
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
2/3 cup Dutch processed cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
For the Ganache Icing:
1 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup butter, cut into pieces
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
12 ounces milk chocolate, chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Raspberry Whipped Cream:
2 cups whipping cream
6 tablespoons powdered sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups frozen raspberries, thawed and drained
INGREDIENTS
For the White Chocolate Cake:
Preheat oven to 350°F.  Butter a 9-inch cake pan and line bottom with wax paper.  Butter the wax paper and dust pan with flour.
In a large bowl sift together flour, baking powder, and salt.  In a small saucepan combine 1/4 cup whipping cream and white chocolate over low heat.  Stir until chocolate is melted and smooth.  Stir in remaining 1/4 cup of cream, milk, and vanilla
In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to cream together butter and 1/2 cup sugar.  Beat in egg yolks.  Add dry ingredients and wet ingredient alternatively.  In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form.  Gradually beat in 1/2 cup sugar until stiff but not dry.  Fold egg whites into cake mixture.  Pour into prepared cake pan.  Bake 22-24 minutes, until center is cooked.  Cool cake in pan for 10 minutes on wire rack.  Turn cake pan upside down to remove cake.  Remove wax paper and cool completely.
For the Chocolate Cake:
Butter two 9-inch cake pan and line bottom with wax paper.  Butter the wax paper and dust pan with flour.
In a large bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.  Over a double broiler, melt chocolate, stirring occasionally.  Set aside and cool.  In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl.  Mix in melted chocolate and vanilla.  Mix in dry ingredients and buttermilk alternatively.  Divide batter between two cake pans.  Bake for 35 minutes. Cool cake in pan for 10 minutes on wire rack.  Turn cake pan upside down to remove cake.  Remove wax paper and cool completely.
For the Ganache Icing:
In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine the whipping cream, butter, and sugar.  Bring to a simmer, stirring until butter melts and sugar dissolves.  Remove from heat and add chocolate and vanilla extract.  Stir until chocolate is melted an smooth.  Let stand at room temperature until thickened, stirring occasionally, ofr about 1 hour.
For the Raspberry Whipped Cream;
In a large bowl, beat together whipping cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract until firm peaks form.  Set aside 1 1/2 cups of whipped cream for decorating, if desired.  Fold in raspberries to remaining whipped cream.
For the Cake:
Spread some of the ganache icing on a plate.  Place chocolate cake layer on top.  Spread half raspberry whipped cream on top.  Top with white chocolate cake.  Spread remaining raspberry whipped cream on top.  Top with chocolate cake layer.  Spread ganache icing on top and ice cake.  Decorate with remaining whipped cream.

White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake

What do you dream about at night?  Flying?  Showing up to work in your underwear? Your teeth falling out?
Me, I dream of cheesecake (and have nightmares of a world without cheesecake).  Cheesecake and I are each other’s soul mates.  If there is cheesecake on a restaurant menu, there is a 99.9% chance I am having it for dessert.
So basically, I like cheesecake.  I’ve always wanted a reason to make a cheesecake from scratch.  While a Tuesday is a perfectly legimiate reason to celebrate with a cheesecake, our family of four can’t take down a cheesecake as often I want.  So when both of my parents celebrated their birthdays earlier this month, I decided it was a celebration that needed what every celebration needs: a cheesecake.
Now, I am a cheesecake purist.  I love simple plain cheesecake with some flavored toppings and typically don’t like when the cheesecake itself is flavored.  However, this cheesecake has me doubting my cheesecake opinions.  I loved both the raspberry and the white chocolate layer.  The fillings were smooth and sweet and a perfect pairing together.
WHITE CHOCOLATE AND RASPBERRY CHEESECAKE
Slightly Adapted from Bon Appetit Desserts
INGREDIENTS
For the Crust:
9 ounces graham crackers
6 tablespoons butter, melted
For the Cheesecake:
6 ounces frozen raspberries, thawed
6 ounces white chocolate, chopped
32 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
4 eggs, room temperature
2 tablespoons whipping cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
Fresh whipped cream, optional
DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 325°F.
Butter a 9-inch springform pan.  Wrap the bottom of the pan with aluminum foil.
For the Crust:
Using a food processor, process graham crackers until crushed into crumbs.  Pour in melted butter and stir until moistened.  Lightly press graham cracker crumbs in springform pan, with the graham cracker crust going about halfway up the sides.  Bake for 8-10 minutes.  Cool completely on wire wrack.
For the Cheesecake:
Using a food processor or blender, puree raspberries.  Measure out 1/2 cup of the puree and set aside. (You can strain out the seeds if desired but I liked the crunch of the seeds in the cheesecake)
In a double broiler, melt white chocolate over simmering water.  Set aside and let cool.
In a large bowl of a stand mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar together until smooth and fluffy.  Beat in flour.  Beat in eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.  Beat in whipping cream and vanilla extract.
Transfer 2 1/4 cups of the cheesecake batter to another bowl.  Stir in the white chocolate to this mixture and set aside.  Fold in the raspberry puree and almond extract to the other bowl.
Pour the raspberry mixture into the cooled crust.  Bake for 50-60 minutes, until softly set in the middle and puffed at the edges.  Let cool for 5-10 minutes.  Slowly pour white chocolate mixture over top, starting at the edges and using a spoon to smooth the top.  Bake for 35-38 minutes, until filling is set in center.  Let cool at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.  Refrigerate at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
Pipe fresh whipped cream on top, if desired.  To serve, run a knife under hot water, then wipe with a towel.  Run knife around edge and remove the outside of the springform pan.  Cut into slices.