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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Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream

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homemade vanilla ice cream

Hello, friends!

With summer in the air and 11 miles under my belt today, I figured a good way to kick off the regular blogging season (!!!) would be with a recipe for some classic vanilla ice cream. 

Except this is no ordinary vanilla–this is the best dang vanilla ice cream that you will evah have, lemme tell you. Cross my heart and hope to die, I promise–well, cross my heart and hope you enjoy it as much as I do, but that doesn’t have the same ring to it. Oh, you know what I mean. 🙂

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So last year, we gave my dad an ice cream maker for Father’s Day, and this past week we realized that we’d only pulled it out once in the entire time we’d had it (which kind of makes sense, given that no one is really ever in the mood for some Rocky Road when it’s 20 below freezing outside–I digress 😉 ) With a weekend promising 80 degree weather and only partly cloudy skies (we’ll take it!), we decided to bust it out. And we’re very glad we did. 😛

Now, you might be wondering what makes this particular ice cream so much better than regular ol’ Edy’s. It’s all frozen sugar milk in the end, right? But, as always, the fact that it’s homemade just makes all the difference. It tastes much richer and creamier than the tubs you can buy at the store, to start, so the texture’s just off the charts. It’s s-u-p-e-r smooth, almost like soft serve, and it coats your whole mouth with creamy, vanilla-y amazingness. 

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The other major (and I mean major with a capital M) difference is the vanilla flavor itself. After trying this, all of the storebought stuff will pale in comparison–you can tell that the homemade version is made from higher quality, fresher ingredients, and there’s no freezer burn to deal with! That’s always a plus, right? 

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The other thing I love about this is the simplicity of it all. No weird preservatives, no artificial flavoring or “diet” ingredients, just good, wholesome ice cream. Well. 

Never mind ;). 

Back to the ice cream and it’s beautiful simplicity. You take some whole milk, some heavy cream, a dash of sugar (alright, maybe a little more than a dash), and some pure vanilla extract. That’s it. You beat it all together with a handheld mixer, pour it in the freezer bowl, turn on the machine, and let it do what it was made to do. And, because of the ice cream maker we have (a Cuisinart Pure Indulgence 2-Qt. Frozen Yogurt-Sorbet Ice Cream Maker, if you’re interested), you don’t need anything other than the machine itself. Simple! You’ll dump in the milk mixture and it will look like this

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…and half an hour later it looks like this <3…

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It’s magic, I tell you! 

The only complicated part of it all is making sure the freezer bowl is completely frozen before you try to make the ice cream. It sounds like it would be an easy thing to remember, but, knowing me, I managed to screw it up. 🙂 You see, I am the queen of on-the-spot baking. I never know what I’m going to make in advance, so I usually have the recipe pulled up on my phone, generally know the ingredients I’ll need, and then I’ll just go. Y’know, instead of “letting the butter sit at room temperature for a couple of hours”, I pop it in the microwave for fifteen seconds. 

That doesn’t work when the freezer bowl has to stay in the freezer for anywhere from six to twenty-two hours before it’s ready to use…

…this post was supposed to be up yesterday…

Oops? 

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And then, once you have this ice cream, you can do anything you want with it. Top your favorite pie (when I made it the first time, I served it with this peach cobbler), make some ice cream Oreos , or make it into some sundaes like I did here! Plop a scoop of ice cream down, drizzle on a layer of chocolate syrup, and add another scoop (of course). Top with copious amounts of whipped cream and sprinkles. 

Lots. 

And lots. 

Of sprinkles. 

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Voila!

Let’s get to it, shall we? 

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Juicy Berry Scones

sconeA whole week and a half has gone by since I’ve baked, shot, and blogged a recipe. 

I’ve missed it! 

My vacation was ah-mazing, though–I got to spend time with a lot of family I don’t see very often, I went paddleboarding and horse-back riding, I got to visit a place without cars, and enjoy a five-course meal two nights in a row. Plus more. 

So pretty darn amazing. 😀

But it’s good to be back, so let’s get to it!

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These scones are pretty much unlike any other scone you’ve ever had. 

They’re not dry (bleh). 

They’re not crumbly

And they are most certainly not bland

The texture of these is sorta like a muffin…just in the shape of a scone. Each bite is also studded with your choice of  juicy, plump blueberries or a pocket of ripe, sweet strawberries. They’re also something you can feel good about eating for breakfast–not only are they bursting with fresh fruit, but there’s also only four *teensy-weensy* tablespoons of sugar in the entire recipe. 

That’s not a lot at all

Maybe you can even have two. 😉 

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These scones were inspired by our two-day stay at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island. The whole place is such a throwback (but a very welcome one at that!). One of the things they offered there is afternoon tea (I know, right?). Trust me, it fulfilled every little-girl tea party fantasy inside me–and then some. 😀 They gave everyone a cup of tea (which I’ve found is delicious with a lemon wedge and a lump o’ sugar), and then these adorable personal plates of snacks, one with sweets and another with heart-shaped cucumber sandwiches and the like (!!!). 

Anywho, they gave you a little scone on one of the plates that turned out to be everyone’s favorite part of the experience. Along with that, they gave you miniature jars of raspberry preserves (the best kind of jelly), and I don’t know if I’ve been living under a rock or something (more likely than not), but the scones became infinitely more delicious when slathered with jam. 

Long story short, because we liked the scones so much, I decided to look up a scone recipe and make some for myself. And they are de-licious! 

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To make them, you start out with a cup of fresh fruit (or frozen, if ya want). I did half a cup of blueberries and a half a cup of strawberries because I’m indecisive like that, but you can choose whichever fruit you’d like. After quartering the strawberries, I topped both cups of fruit with a tablespoon & a half of sugar and set them aside to let it all soak in. 🙂 

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Then you can go ahead and whisk together the dry ingredients–all-purpose flour, some sugar, baking powder, and a pinch of salt. The yellow lumpy pile is powdered buttermilk, which was oh-so-conveniently in my pantry. If you have normal buttermilk on hand, you’ll wait to stir that in until later. 

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Then you can plop in some cubed butter and work it in with either your fingers or a pastry blender, much like making a pie crust. You will have butter under your fingernails for the next week and a half, but it was all in the name of berry scones. That makes it worth it, right? 😉 

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Once it’s all worked in, it should look a lil’ somethin’ like this. 

At this point, you’ll mix in your buttermilk and fruit. If you’re using two separate kinds of fruit (a la moi), you should wait to add the fruit until you divide the completed batter in half. Then you can dump in the fruit that you set aside…

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and mix it allllllll together. 

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The texture of the batter is very…weird. It’s not like traditional scone batter in the sense that you can plop it out of the bowl and knead it. It’s almost like muffin batter in consistency (very sticky!), which means it lends itself very well to being spooned out onto a well-greased cookie sheet, like you’d do with cookie dough. Bake them for fifteen minutes and you’ve got yourself some scones. 

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Try topping your scones with jelly. Please. 

It’s life-changing. 

Let’s get to it, shall we? 

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 Adapted from this recipe here

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Patriotic Jello Cups

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Happy Fourth of July!

Although…

Is it weirding anybody else out that the Fourth of July is tomorrow?

Next week they’re probably going to start playing school supplies commercials and having back-t0-school sales.

I’m not ready yet! :O

I can comfort myself with the thought that there’s still a solid month of summer left.

Only 30 days…

Alright, maybe I’m not so good at comforting myself. Moving on. 

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Blue raspberry Jello is layered with a healthy serving of Cool Whip and then topped with a ring of juicy sliced strawberries. Yum!

I have to be honest, the smell of that blue jello was like a slap in the face from my six-year-old self. 😉 I hadn’t made jello or bought it in a while, and that potent blue-raspberry smell wafting from the packet was very reminiscent of kindergarten lunch treats!

Still…how could I say no to blue jello? Especially when they’re this cute and flippin’ perfect for the 4th of July!

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We usually have a little get-together with family on the 4th, which often means a lot of little cousins running around. Blue Jello + Cool Whip + strawberries = a little kid’s dream! 😀 Plus, they won’t melt in the heat.

As far as assembling these, it’s pretty dang simple. You don’t even have to turn on your oven! All you gotta do is make up your blue Jello…

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…pour about a half cup into a clear plastic cup (if you don’t use clear cups, you lose out on 75% of the cuteness!)…

…pop ’em in the fridge for, oh, four hours or so, until they’re firm and jiggly…

…top them with a dollop of Cool Whip and a ring of sliced strawberries…

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And voila! An adorably patriotic treat perfect for the 4th of July!

Let’s get to it, shall we?

What you’ll need… (this batch makes around eight, so double or even triple the recipe if you need more)

  • 1 package of blue raspberry Jello
  • 1 tub of Cool Whip
  • 8-9 strawberries, sliced
  • Clear plastic cups
    1. Make up your Jello following the directions on the box. Pour about half a cup of the mixture into each clear plastic cup.
    2. Place in the fridge and chill until firm and wobbly.
    3. Top with a generous spoonful of Cool Whip. Add sliced strawberries on top of the Cool Whip.
    4. Enjoy!

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Piggy Cupcakes

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These fluffy little pink velvet cupcakes of adorableness are less a recipe and more of a crafty idea. They are adorable, no?

I had to make this to help my younger sister with a school project. I think she’s impressed! 😀 While I was making them, I though to photograph the assembly for a quicker post tonight. For me, summer starts on Wednesday (woot woot!) so the posts should be coming more frequently. (I feel like I’ve been saying that forever!)

Anywho, these little dudes are suuuuuuuuper easy to assemble, unless you’re going the homemade route. They would most definitely fall under the Lazy Man’s category. Boxed cake mix, premade frosting, marshmallows, strawberry wafers, and mini chocolate chips are all you’ll need to construct the little piggy cupcakes!

Follow the directions to make the cupcakes. I found a Duncan Hines pink velvet cake mix at Sunset and it worked perfectly! Bake according to the directions on the box. I got 24 regular-sized cupcakes out of one box. Awesome, right?

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(It was nice enough to photograph outside–yay!)

Then using some hot pink vanilla frosting from Pillsbury, I slathered a generous amount on top.

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You’ll then take your regular-sized marshmallow and either cut it in half with scissors or a knife. Either way is fine. Place the marshmallow sticky-side down towards the bottom of your cupcake. If you can find pink marshmallows, it would be even better! 🙂

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(The camera would not focus for some reason….sorry for the crummy shot! 😦 )

Take two of the mini chocolate chips and stick them to the marshmallow using frosting for glue. How cute, right?

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You’ll then take those strawberry wafers and cut out little triangles. I found that one wafer could give me 6-8 little triangles, so you will not need to use the entire package!

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Take two and place them towards the top of the cupcake like ears.

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Yay for off-center pictures! And crummy lighting (stupid shadows…)!

Take two more chocolate chips and stick ’em above the marshmallow like eyes. Voila! Your finished cupcake! ❤

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…And now do that 23 more times. Perfect! 😀

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Gah! The adorableness!

This would be a great project to do with kids on a rainy day (or a sunny day like me. Who needs outside?), with a class, while babysitting, or even for a picnic! Everyone will get a kick out of these adorable cupcakes–so why not? 😀

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I found inspiration on Pinterest for these. 😉

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Single-Serve Angel Food Cake

Today, I woke up, and it was Wednesday!

I love Wednesdays. I don’t know about you, but it’s that one odd day of the week that I just plain like. I like Fridays & Saturdays just as much as the next guy, but Wednesday was always spaghetti n’ meatballs day at school…

Okay, random. 

Nah, I just always felt that it was like, “Yay! Half way to the weekend! Whoopee!”

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Since I woke up in a good mood, I decided today was baking day. 

Do I have too much time on my hands? Maybe.

I need to go to the library!

Anywhoo, somehow my mind fixed on angel food cake. I always remembered angel food as so fluff and so light. It always had this light, airy frosting spread between the layers and these perfect little red strawberries on top.

But it was always store-bought. 

And as my 7-year-old cousin so eloquently put, “If it’s not homemade, it’s crap.”

But all of the recipes called for bajillions of egg whites and special pans and crazy-long cooling times.

Too far, man. Too far.

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Until I came across a recipe for a single-serve (not mug!) angel food cake.

It was like the heavens opened up and the clouds were made of cake!

Basically, for this recipe, you prepare the dry ingredients (enough for eight of the little cakes!) scoop up the amount you need for the one, and throw in a beaten egg white, some sugar, and a drop of lemon juice in a greased & sugared ramekin. Bake at 350 and in 20 short minutes you’ve got yourself a completely guilt-free dessert!

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I’m in love!

I mentioned a sugared ramekin–once you grease the ramekin, you add a spoonful of sugar to coat the interior. It helps the angel food cake rise & become fluffy! Plus, once it’s done, it forms this deliciously sweet crust of golden-brown sugar.

Let’s get to it!

What you’ll need…

For the Mix:

  • 1 Cup Cake Flour (I use Swan’s Down as a cake flour. Best results!)
  • 1 Cup Powdered Sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt

For the individual cake:

  • 1 Large Egg White
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Lemon Juice
  • 1 Tablespoon Sugar
  1. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the cake flour, powdered sugar, and salt. Scoop out 1/4 cup of the mixture for the cake and put the rest of the mixture in an air-tight bag. Keep refrigerated.
  2. Preheat oven to 350.
  3. In a separate bowl, beat the egg white, sugar, and lemon juice until stiff peaks form.
  4. Gently fold in the flour mixture.
  5. Grease a ramekin. Put a spoonful of sugar in and coat the interior evenly (this step cannot be omitted). Tap out excess.
  6. Fill the ramekin with the batter, about 3/4 full.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes.
  8. Once done, let cool on it’s side to set for 10 minutes, or else the cake will collapse.
  9. Top with fresh berries and whipped frosting. Enjoy!

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