All Fruit Popsicles

Watermelon PopsicleIt is summer time. Days of 100 F degree weather are the norm here. The nice thing about summer is the abundance of fruit available. And I tend to buy more than we can eat before they go bad. Here is a great way to use some of your extra fruit up and a healthy alternative to store bought corn syrup and whatever else popsicles.  Plus, who doesn’t like a nice cold popsicle on a hot day? If you don’t have popsicle molds, you can use plastic cups and popsicles sticks with cling wrap to hold them in place. Feel free to switch up your ingredients. I just used what I had on hand, but there are tons of different combinations out there. This recipe yields 6.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 cups watermelon chunks
  • 2 strawberries, sliced
  • 1/2 nectarine, sliced
  • 1 kiwi, sliced
  • 1/4 cup blueberriesWatermelon Popsicle 2

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a blender, puree the watermelon chunks.
  2.  Watermelon Popsicle 1
  3. Fill 1/4 of your molds with watermelon puree.
  4. Add equal amounts of each fruit into the molds. Watermelon Popsicle 3
  5. Pour the rest of the watermelon puree to the fill line on each of the molds. Watermelon Popsicle 4
  6. Freeze your filled molds for 4 to 6 hours; overnight is best. Watermelon Popsicle
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Mini Cheesecakes

mini-cheesecake-1Since my father passed away earlier in December, this Christmas was bittersweet. I think my cooking and baking has reflected my sadness. So these mini blueberry cheesecakes I made weren’t given the usual attention and detail that I normally like to give my recipes that I post. So I apologize if the pictures aren’t as appealing as the mini cheesecakes really are.

 CRUST INGREDIENTS:

  • 6 graham cracker sheets
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 stick of melted butter

FILLING INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup powdered (confectioners) sugar
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

TOPPING INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

DIRECTIONS:

To make the crust:

  1. Using a food processor, pulse the graham crackers until they are crumbs.
  2. Add sugar and melted butter and pulse until well combined.
  3. Press 1-2 tablespoons into the bottom of your cupcake liners.mini-cheesecake-2

 

To make the filling:

  1. Using an electric hand mixer, combine cream cheese and powdered sugar until smooth
  2. Add heavy whipping cream, vanilla and almond extract, and lemon juice. Mix on high for 2-3 minutes until thickened. Pour filling over crusts to the rim of each cupcake liner.
  3. Cover with cling wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours. I made mine the night before, so it was refrigerated for 12 hours.mini-cheesecake-3

To make the topping:

  1. Combine the blueberries, sugar, butter, cornstarch, vanilla extract and lemon juice into a small saucepan.
  2. Cook over medium high heat for about five minutes.  Stir frequently until the blueberries breakdown and the sauce thickens.
  3. Let cool down and refrigerate until you are ready to serve.

Are you ready to serve? Let’s go:

  1. Carefully remove the mini cheesecakes from the cupcake liners.
  2. Arrange on a platter and spoon the blueberry sauce over the top of each mini cheesecake.mini-cheesecake-4

 

This recipe yields 12 mini cheesecakes. Double the recipe if you have a larger crowd to feed. You can substitute any berry for the topping. I just like blueberries the most.

Lemon Blueberry Crumble Bars

lemon-blueberry-crumble-plated1I love quick recipes. And even better, a quick baked goods recipe. Correction, a quick FROM SCRATCH recipe. These are so tasty you are going to want to make a second batch soon. I know I am!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar, divided into 1/2 cup and 1/4 cup
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) cold, unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 cups blueberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 F degrees. Lightly coat an 8×8 baking pan with nonstick baking spray.
  2. In a large bowl or food processor, combine flour, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder and salt.
  3. Add egg yolk, vanilla extract, lemon zest and cold butter. Using your fingers work the butter into the dry ingredients until it resembles coarse crumbs. (Or pulse in food processor until crumbs form.)
  4. In a small bowl, combine remaining 1/4 cup sugar and cornstarch. Stir in lemon juice. Add blueberries and gently mix to combine.
  5. Spread 2/3 of the batter into the prepared baking pan. lemon-blueberry-crumble-1
  6. Spread blueberry mixture evenly over the bottom layer. lemon-blueberry-crumble-2
  7. Sprinkle with remaining 1/3 of the batter and then sprinkle turbinado sugar evenly over top batter layer. lemon-blueberry-crumble-3
  8. Bake until lightly browned, about 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool before cutting into bars.

lemon-blueberry-crumble-plated

Blueberry Cheesecake Bars

Blueberry Cheesecake Bar 1Phew! All the prepping and cooking for Thanksgiving is over. Don’t get me wrong. I love cooking for the family holiday dinners. But this year, I was off my game a bit. I didn’t have to host or cook for Thanksgiving last year. Maybe the year off made me rusty? I was so frazzled and disappointed with myself that I totally forgot about blogging the desserts I made. Thank goodness, my sister-in-law reminded me before it was too late for at least one of them. Sorry I don’t have all the step by step pictures that I like to take. But at least I got one of the final product before it was all eaten up! The good news is this is a no bake recipe. So that precious oven time and space during the holiday dinners won’t be needed.

CRUST INGREDIENTS:

  • 12 graham cracker sheets
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

FILLING INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 packages (8 ounces each package) cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup powdered (confectioners’) sugar
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

BLUEBERRY SAUCE INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

DIRECTIONS:

To make the crust:

  1. Using a food processor, pulse the graham crackers until they are crumbs.
  2. Add sugar and melted butter and pulse until well combined.
  3. Press into the bottom of an 8 X 8 inch pan.

To make the filling:

  1. Using an electric hand mixer, combine cream cheese and powdered sugar until smooth.
  2. Add heavy whipping cream, vanilla and almond extract, and lemon juice. Mix on high for 2-3 minutes until thickened. Pour filling over crust.
  3. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours. I made mine the night before, so it was refrigerated for 12 hours.

To make the sauce:

  1. Combine the blueberries, sugar, butter, cornstarch, vanilla extract and lemon juice into a small saucepan.
  2. Cook over medium high heat for about five minutes.  Stir frequently until the blueberries breakdown and the sauce thickens.
  3. Let cool down and refrigerate until you are ready to serve the cheesecake.

Are you ready to serve? Let’s go:

  1. Cut cheesecake into squares and gently remove from the pan.
  2. Arrange on a platter and spoon the blueberry sauce over the top of each square.
  3. Garnish with whip cream or mint sprigs. (Optional)

Blueberry Cheesecake Bar 2

White Chocolate Blueberry Cheesecake Cookies

White Chocolate Blueberry Cookies platedSo my daughter moved all the way to Hawaii and had to learn to cook for herself and her boyfriend. She is not into baking, but she suggested I come up with a cookie recipe that did not require her to purchase baking products (such as baking powder or soda.)  Because she would probably never use those again. Challenge accepted! With a little help from a prepackaged muffin mix and some leftover blueberries from my lemon blueberry mini loaves recipe, this is what I came up with.

INGREDIENTS: 

  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 stick of butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup of brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 (7 ounce) boxes of Jiffy blueberry muffin mix
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup fresh blueberries (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a large bowl, beat together cream cheese, butter, vegetable oil and brown sugar.
  2. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each is added.
  3. Add muffin mix and flour until just combined.
  4. Stir in white chocolate chips. If you have chosen to add fresh blueberries, stir in as well.
  5. Chill dough in refrigerator at least 2 hours.
  6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Meanwhile, line your baking sheets with a silicone mat or parchment paper.
  7. Scoop cookie dough into 1 tablespoon balls and place on your baking sheets. Be sure to keep them at least 2 inches apart.
  8. Bake 10-12 minutes or until golden brown on edges.
  9. In between baking batches of cookies, make sure to return unused dough to the refrigerator.
  10. This recipe yields 36 cookies.

White Chocolate Blueberry Cookies

These cookies came out crispy on the bottoms and soft in the centers. I recommend you store in an air tight container in your refrigerator to keep fresh.

So what do you think? Did I live up to the challenge, Ashley?

Joann and Ashley

Joann and Ashley