Mini Berry Tarts

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Happy Wednesday to ya, folks!

Today (like most days) I was craving a little somethin’ sweet. It was a gorgeous day and I had a five-mile run under my belt, so it only felt appropriate that I treat myself. 🙂 To do so, I enlisted the help of a long-time best friend (and blog follower–she’s made it on here before!): Lizzardbacon (Elizabeth works too, I guess 😉 )

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Since it was a bit on the warmer side of things (to the tune of upper-80’s, might I add), we both thought something a little lighter (but still just as delicious) was in order. A quick scroll through Pinterest and we landed on the perfect solution: mini berry tarts! 

These are the perfect summer treat. They’re light, tart, a tad crumbly, and very satisfying. They look very patriotic, too (Fourth of July is coming up, you know!). Plus, they’re mini, so you can eat six (or ten?) and be a-okay, right? 

These little tarts also come together pretty quickly, and you probably have all of the ingredients for them on hand in your very kitchen. Right now. Seriously,  go check. 😉

The base is a simple sugar cookie crust that consists of some unsalted butter, a dash of salt, a splash of vanilla, and a bit of powdered sugar. That’s it. No eggs, milk, soy, nuts…nada. 😀 Simplicity is key. 

Once the dough comes together, you make the filling by rinsing and draining about a cup of your berries of choice (it’s blueberry season!) and tossing them with some cornstarch, lemon juice, and plain ol’ granulated sugar. About a tablespoon (maybe a little less) of the mixture goes into each tart, and the leftover juice can be drizzled onto the tarts as well. 

You then pop them in the oven for about 15 minutes until the cookie turns all golden and wonderful, let them cool (maybe?), and proceed to eat the entire batch. 

I’m not kidding about that. We maybe made 15 of them, and by the time we were done taking pictures for the blog we had about eight left. And right now, two. 😈 Gotta love summer!

Ta-da! Simple and muy delicioso. 

Let’s get to it, shall we? 

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No Bake Peanut Butter & Chocolate Cereal Bars

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These, my friends, are a classic. Growing up, no Christmas Eve party, or visit to Grandma’s, was complete without a heaping plate piled with dozens of these bad boys. In my family, we call them Nana Bars, after my great-grandma. They’re chewy, peanut-buttery base is slathered with a rich chocolate-butterscotch layer that keeps you coming back for more (and more!). Make ’em once, and soon you’ll find yourself making them at every possible occasion. 😉

Like I said, they’re a classic! 

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The real reason I made these was because my younger sister wanted to bring them to school as her birthday treat (happy birthday, Annie!) , but I made a couple extra as a little treat to myself for getting through finals week. 

It was a lo-o-o-o-ng week, but I now have absolutely no homework, so I guess it’s kind of nice. 🙂

 It is because of this fact (and a four-day-long weekend!) that I am able to bring this blog post to you, folks. Thank the school system that puts finals after (?) Christmas break. 

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One of the (many!) things I love about these bars is the little twists hidden in the simplicity of them. The main flavors are chocolate and peanut butter, but underneath that you’ve got a swirl of butterscotch and the syrupy shift the peanut butter has thanks to the Karo syrup. When you bite into one, the chocolate layer is smooth and creamy, and the rice crispie part is crunchy and chewy and all things delicious! All of the flavors and textures meld together into a bite size square that arranges just so nicely on a plate. Perfect for a party! 

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As the name says, they’re no-bake (you won’t need your oven), adding to their simplistic charm even more–although me, being me, managed to make them as complicated as I could (I may have set an oven mitt on fire. Shhhh). But seriously, you can make a pretty good sized batch in less than an hour with only 6 ingredients, a microwave, and a fridge. I’d call that impressive, no? 😀

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You’ll start with a cup of light-colored Karo syrup and a cup of granulated sugar. I don’t think I’ve mentioned this before, but these are kind of a dentist’s worst nightmare–they’re exquisitely cavity-inducing. Cut ’em small, and you’ll be fine, right? Everything in moderation!

Anywhoo, mix those two together in a large bowl and microwave them until they’re melted together. You’ll then stir in a cup of peanut butter until it’s all melted together in a sugary concoction of deliciousness. It smells (and tastes) like the inside of a Reese’s peanut butter cup…

Go ahead. 

Try it. Lick the spoon or something (but please don’t put it back in!). 

No judgment here! 😉 

In a v-e-r-y large bowl, you’ll measure out 5 cups of plain rice crispies, and mix in the peanut butter mixture until all of the cereal is evenly coated. After that, press the rice crispies into a parchment-paper lined 9″x13″ dish. It should look a lil’ something like this. 

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The rice crispies on the edges might be a little crumblier than the ones more towards the center of the dish, but that’s all right. The chocolate layer on top will smooth out those rough edges!

The above-said chocolate layer is so simple that I managed to catch an oven mitt on fire while making it. To make it, you literally need to take a bag of butterscotch chips and a bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips and melt them together in the microwave. Bibbidy-bobbidy-done

Instead of using the microwave, the little voice inside me that thinks its a culinary expert of some sort made the decision to melt them over the stove top, y’know, using a glass bowl on top of a pot of boiling water? Uh-huh. In trying to hold the hot glass bowl still with an oven mitt so I could stir, the oven mitt got tangled up in the fire and…well…

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Long story short, just use the microwave. Your poor oven mitts will thank you!

After you’ve got your butterscotch-chocolate mixture evenly stirred together, you’ll pour the chocolate over the rice crispies and smooth it over with a rubber spatula until all of the cereal is coated in a thick, glossy layer. 

Voila.

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Be still my beating heart. ❤

Then you’ll take this bad boy and pop it in the fridge for, oh, half an hour or so, until the chocolate layer is set. Watch an episode of Criminal Minds, get some laundry done, maybe finish up that English project you’ve had over a month to do–or do all three, like me! 😀

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Once they’re chilled and set, you can slice them into 1″x 1″ squares, so cute and perfectly bite-sized that they’re (almost!) guilt-free. 🙂

Alright, not really, but a girl can dream, right? 

Shall we get into it? 

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Special thanks to my grandma for giving me the recipe—they’re such a classic in my family, and I’m glad I can make them whenever I want now! Love you, Grandma!

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Loaded S’Mores Cheesecake Bars

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Let’s talk about graham crackers. 

Graham crackers are good, y’know? They’re sweet, they’re crackery, they’re crumbly and make fantastically easy crusts when mixed with a lil’ bit of butter. 

They’re just good. 

How about marshmallows? They’re so squishy and sugary and pretty darn delicious when toasted, and–let’s be real, here–they taste significantly better in miniature form. 😉 

They’re good, too. 

And then there’s chocolate, which quite possibly is the only food that can match my (slightly ridiculous) love of peanut butter. Chocolate is better than good. 

Somehow, if you put all of these solidly good things together, they create magic! 

Something that is better than good, better than great, something that tastes like summer and bonfires and long, hot days spent at the beach or by the pool. 

Can you tell yet? 

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😀

So, to sum it all up, if you’re anything like me, you’re going to l-o-v-e today’s recipe. It combines the already magical s’more with something equally delicious–

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A crispy graham cracker crust is layered with creamy cheesecake that is studded with chocolate chips and then piled with a mountain of marshmallows, melted chocolate, and crumbled graham crackers . 

All in one easy to make, easy to serve, and easy to devour bar. 

😉 

It’s possible that I may like these more than it’s peanut butter cup counterpart…

Shhh! 

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To add to their deliciousness (is that possible?), these bars are so full of texture. The crust is crumbly and crackery, the cheesecake is creamy and smooth, the marshmallows are gooey and sticky, and the toppings add a boatload of crunch. 😀 And it’s not so much that it’s overwhelming, just enough to accentuate all of the deliciousness you already got goin’ on with these bad boys. 

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On a different note, I don’t think I’ll ever make cheesecake in the traditional way–not when making cheesecake in bar-form is so much better! There’s no special pans or cooling times, and it’s easier to serve–plus, you don’t have to worry about cracks in your cheesecake; you can just pile on the toppings! 

These bars are no exception. You make your graham cracker crust and somehow find the willpower not to eat it all with a spoon (I have faith in you!), spread it in an 8×8″ pan, and bake it for ten minutes while enjoying how delicious it makes your house smell. 

Then, while that’s baking, you whip up your cheesecake filling. Cream cheese, a bit of flour, sugar, sour cream, eggs, and vanilla all come together in a creamy concoction that will be the cheesecake layer. 2/3 cup of chocolate chips added to the batter make things even more delicious! 

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You then pour the cheesecake batter over the graham cracker crust and smooth it out with a rubber spatula. This’ll come out after around 25 minutes, when it still needs to cook for a little longer, and this is when you’ll pile on the mini marshmallows–feel free to cover the surface completely! The more, the merrier, right? After that, it’ll go back into the oven for another 8-10 minutes. 

While this is finishing baking, you can assemble the toppings. I went ahead and melted some chocolate chips so the chocolate would harden as the cheesecake cooled (yes, please!), but you can use hot fudge or chocolate syrup if you’d like. I also crumbled some graham crackers with my fingers to sprinkle over the top like fairy dust. 🙂 

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Once those 8-10 minutes are up, out comes the cheesecake, all warm and topped with very puffy marshmallows! Here, you’ll add the finishing touches–some drizzled chocolate and a sprinkling of graham cracker crumbs should do the trick! They’ll then have to cool in the fridge for at least 4 hours–but boy, is it worth it when they’re done! 

Enough rambling from me. Let’s get to it, shall we? 

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Lemon Flower Tarts

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Happy Friday, everybody!

I know, I know, I’ve been lazy this week. My last post was last week’s SLBW, and I’m putting up the next one tomorrow… :O Now, I don’t really have an excuse…but maybe these adorable little tarts will change your mind?

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These sunny little tarts are bursting with lemony goodness encased in a buttery, flaky pastry. They’re pretty darn simple to make, especially if you use store-bought lemon curd and pastry, and the presentation is unbeatable! Bring these to any summer get-together and they are sure to be a hit. 🙂

I also made them with one of my best buddies (Anna :D), which is why the set up is a little different–she wasn’t even fazed when I complimented her pretty (and photogenic!) countertop. I mean, have you seen mine? All black and green and grey granite. 😉

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Moving on. 

Like I said, you use store bought pastry and lemon curd, and these take no time at all. My friend and I went half way and bought premade pie crusts and made the curd ourselves. I’ll include how to make the curd in the recipe (because believe me when I say you will want to eat it all with a spoon, even if it is a little labor-intensive). 😀 And making the little flower pastry cups was simpler than simple–you stamp out your flower shapes with a cookie cutter in the pie crusts, fit ’em in a muffin tin, and bake ’em til they’re golden. 😉 Perfection.

lemonflower2I feel like these are the kind of things you would have at a tea party with little finger sandwiches and the like. They’re so…I don’t know, sophisticated-looking! They make me feel fancy. 🙂

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Enough rambling from me–let’s get to it!

What you’ll need…

For the pastry:

  • 1 box of premade pie crusts
  • 1 flower-shaped cookie cutter

For the lemon curd***:

  • 3 lemons
  • 1 & 1/2 c. granulated sugar
  • 1/2 c. (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 c. lemon juice
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  1. Preheat oven to 425. Grease a muffin pan and set aside.
  2. Take the lemons and zest all of them, being careful to avoid the white pith.
  3. Roll out the premade pie crust. Stamp out flower shapes in the dough and place inside the muffin tin so that the petals form a little cup-like shape.
  4. Place the pan in the oven for 10-12 minutes, or until the pastry is golden. Set aside to cool.
  5. Taking the lemon zest and sugar, pulse together in a food processor until the zest and sugar are well-combined.
  6. Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the butter until creamy and then add in the lemon-sugar mixture, beating until combined.
  7. Add in the eggs one at a time, followed by the lemon juice and salt. Beat until everything is smooth.
  8. Pour the mixture in a medium-sized saucepan. Cook over low heat for 15-20 minutes, or until mixture is translucent and thick, stirring constantly.
  9. Once the lemon curd reaches the desired texture, remove from heat and allow to cool. Spoon about a tablespoon into the center of each pastry cup. Top with powdered sugar.
  10. Enjoy! 😀

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***Feel free to use store-bought lemon curd in place of what’s listed. If you choose to, skip steps 5-8. 

Original lemon curd recipe here

 

 

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Cinnamon Blueberry Mini Muffins

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You know what these are?

No?

Well, I’ll tell you.

They’re little muffins of adorableness and blueberries and cinnamon. 😀

Don’t agree?

Just look at them. All golden and spotted with blueberries and a smattering of cinnamon. They’re sweet and moist with a touch of vanilla that are irresistible with a capital “i”.

 

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Remember this fruit salad that I made for the 4th? Well, I still had some blueberries leftover, and they were giving me the evil eye every time I’d open the fridge (y’know, if fruit can give you the evil eye…). And today after my run I was craving some kind of carb-y, fruity treat, but not something particularly unhealthy…

And thus, cinnamon blueberry mini muffins!

😀

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Each bite-sized muffin is sweet and crumbly, with a splash of vanilla and cinnamon and positively bursting with blueberries. And the best part is, it took me all of half an hour to make these, start-to-finish. No cooling time (do you cool muffins? I prefer them warm 🙂 ), no absurd ingredients; just pure, unadulterated muffiny goodness.

To make them, you start with milk, apple cider vinegar, vegetable oil, and vanilla. You whisk all of those together in a bowl and let them be for a good ten minutes. Why? Because they need to mingle and sit together. Magic needs to happen. 

While they’re mingling, you’ll take another bowl and stir together flour, cinnamon, baking powder, salt, and sugar. You’ll then pour wet into dry and stir until juuuuuuust combined–you don’t want hard little muffins, do you?

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And finally, you’ll oh-so-delicately fold in the blueberries, being careful not to break them and turn the batter purple. You can then spoon them into a mini-muffin pan and stick ’em in the oven for 8-10 minutes.

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They’re so…perfect!

Let us take a moment to appreciate these little muffins (and the fact that they clock in at roughly 80 calories per muffin.)

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Perfection. 😉

Let’s get to it, shall we?

What you’ll need…

  • 1/2 c. milk of choice (I used 2%)
  • 2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 & 1/2 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 c. granulated sugar
  • 3/4 c. blueberries (fresh or frozen & thawed)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 and grease a mini muffin tin. Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the milk, apple cider vinegar, vanilla, and vegetable oil. Set aside and let sit for at least ten minutes.
  3. In a medium-sized bowl, stir together the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt. Add wet into dry and stir until *just* combined.
  4. Gently fold in blueberries, being careful not to break the berries and turn the batter purple.
  5. Spoon into muffin tin and bake for 10-12 minutes.
  6. Enjoy!

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Original recipe here

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S’Mores Pockets

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Oh yes. 

It’s that time of year again!

Weather’s warmer, hair’s frizzier, skin’s tanner, days are longer, and life gets better.

It’s summer!

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I feel like I said something similar when I posted one of the pumpkin recipes earlier, in the fall…

And now I’m saying it for summer.

Goodness, what happened to this year? Is anyone else a little alarmed at how quickly its gone? june

A little outdated, but I saw this on Pinterest and totally agreed. Those Teenager Posts, man. They get me. 😉

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So, since it is already June, why not bring about a summery (sort of) recipe? And it is here that I bring up the delectable things you’re seeing in the photos above–s’mores pockets!

Ah!

Velvety chocolate and mini marshmallows are sandwiched in between a flaky pastry and drizzled in gooey chocolate and crumbled graham crackers.

Did I mention there’s a peanut butter version, too? 😀

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Ohhhhh, brother…

And that pastry isn’t horrible for you! I mean, it’s not made of kale and flax and infused with acai berry and antioxidant-rich minerals buuuuut it is egg-free & butter-free. And vegan! Now, the filling on the other hand…

Let’s face it, if you’re going to eat a s’mores pastry, you’re not really looking for the healthiest option, now are you? So let’s just not get into the nitty-gritty. 😉

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When you’re making these, you’ll start by making the pastry, which will be quite crumbly. You’ll mix it up and put it in a plastic baggie, squish it into a ball, and roll it flat, all in the bag. You’ll then pop that in the fridge for oh, half an hour or so, to keep it from getting too crispy-crunchy when you bake it.

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Once it’s chilled, you’ll cut apart the plastic baggie and cut out some squares. I got six medium-sized squares and two mini squares out of the dough with a bit left over that I couldn’t do anything with. You’ll then place the chocolate chips & marshmallows mainly in the center of one of the squares so that they don’t leak out while baking. Taking the square of dough you’ll use to top the one covered in the filling, roll it out so it’s a bit larger than its opposite. This helps to better seal the edges so none of your yummy filling leaks out!

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You also might want to poke air holes with a fork to help ventilate the pocket.

Now, when you bake marshmallows inside something, they sort of expand into sugary nothingness–they don’t stay all marshmallowy and gooey. It’s sort of like sticking a marshmallow in the microwave, how it expands and all. If you’d prefer it to stay, I recommend using marshmallow fluff. De-licious!

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Once these babies are done baking, drizzle them in melted chocolate (and peanut butter, if you wish 🙂 ) and crumbled graham crackers. They taste best served warm, so eat them straight out of the oven or pop ’em in the microwave for a few seconds before eating. 😛

Let’s get into it, shall we?

What you’ll need…

For the pastry:

  • 1/2 c. & 3 tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 packet of Truvia (or an extra tbsp. of honey)
  • 1 tbsp. milk of choice
  • 2 tbsp. coconut or vegetable oil
  • 3/4 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 & 1/2 tbsp. honey

For the filling & drizzle:

  • Mini marshmallows
  • Chocolate chips
  • 1 sheet of graham crackers
  • Peanut butter
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease a baking sheet and set aside.
  2. Whisk the flour, salt, and Truvia together in a medium-sized bowl. In a separate, smaller bowl, mix together the milk, oil, vanilla, and honey. I recommend doing it in that order so the honey doesn’t glop up the measuring spoons.
  3. Combine the wet ingredients into the dry and stir well. The dough will be crumbly.
  4. Using a plastic baggie, place the dough in and seal it. Work the dough into a ball and roll it into a thin sheet.
  5. Place in the fridge and chill for at least twenty minutes. Once it’s done, cut into squares and pair them up. Place one square out of every pair onto the greased baking sheet.
  6. If you would like, smear peanut butter over the dough square. Place the chocolate chips and marshmallows towards the center of the squares before topping with the opposite square. Cinch closed with your fingers or a fork. Poke holes with the fork as well.
  7. Bake for 13-15 minutes. While they’re baking, melt some of the chocolate chips and the peanut butter. Drizzle freshly baked pastries with chocolate (and peanut butter) and crumbled graham crackers.
  8. Enjoy warm! 🙂

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Inspired by this recipe here

 

 

 

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