Chestnut Thumbprints with Fig and Ginger Jelly

Good morning everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and splendid plans for the New Year, ranging from ordering Chinese food and cuddling up on the couch, or indulging in ~adult~ beverages with friends, or a combination of the two. I fly back to school very early on Saturday morning, and classes begin on Monday morning. I can’t say I’m ready to go back to school quite yet, as I’ve been enjoying my leisurely lifestyle of baking, sleeping, and watching TV as my only responsibilities.

One thing that I love about being at home is the variety of ingredients that are available to me. These range from ingredients that have no labels in english to specialty flours, such as the chestnut flour that I found in our cabinet. It can be difficult to find recipes that use these ingredients, but I’ve found that if a recipe already calls for a specialty or unusual type of flour, I can replace it with a similar item- like in these cookies. The original recipe called for buckwheat flour, but I loved the slightly sweeter edge the chestnut flour added, especially since the jelly I used to fill them was not as sweet.

These have to be up there as one of my favorite holiday cookie recipes. Around this time of year when there are thousands of different recipes circulating around the internet, I found these to be a welcome change. The dough almost acts as a shortbread- it is crumbly and buttery, but stays together well enough to act as a cookie. I like to emphasize the thumbprint by taking the cookies out when they are about halfway done and press them again (with a teaspoon or another similar item). Happy holidays everyone!

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Chestnut Thumbprints with Fig and Ginger Jelly

Makes about 45 Cookies | Adapted from Technicolor Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups (210 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (45 grams) chestnut flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 200g unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Fig and ginger jelly, or any other preserve

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Like two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Mix together the flours and salt in a large bowl. In an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and the sugar. Add the egg yolks and the vanilla extract until just combined. Stir in the dry ingredients in two additions. Do not overmix!
  3. Using a small ice cream scoop or tablespoon, scoop the dough onto the lined cookie sheets. Using a teaspoon (or tablespoon), make a deep indentation into the cookie.
  4. Place in the oven for 10 minutes, then remove and repress the indentations. Fill with the preserves, then bake for 5-7 minutes longer, until the cookies are brown around the edges. Cool for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire cooling rack.

See you in 2016!

-Rayna 🙂

 

Cranberry Pear Pie

Good afternoon everybody! I hope the holiday season has been going well for all you guys. I’ve been home for almost a week at this point, thanks to Northwestern’s wonky schedule. I can’t believe that I’m already done with my first quarter of sophomore year, but I head back to school the day after New Year’s, so I’m trying to make the most out of the time that I’m back: relaxing, baking, practicing, and going into New York City a whole bunch. Chicago is great and all, but I really do miss the northeast while I’m at school. I already have my heart set on living/going to school in NYC after Northwestern, but I still have many years before that.

I have an overwhelming love for cranberries, specifically raw cranberries. I’ll eat them by the handful, and it amuses my mom to no end. She will specifically buy them for me in anticipation for my return, and in this case, it was Thanksgiving. Although I made this beautiful pie for dessert for my Thanksgiving meal, it would be a wonderful addition to any dessert potluck or get-together this holiday season. Between the thousands of cookies that are bound to be offered, this stunner is sure to stand out.

I’ll admit- I did cheat a bit and use frozen pie crust. Partly because I don’t really eat the pie crust anyway, and partly because I planned out my dessert baking poorly and didn’t have the hours for homemade pie crust to chill in the fridge. I loved the addition of pears- the extreme sweetness counteracted the especially tart raw cranberries, and it made a pretty darn good breakfast the day after too 🙂

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Cranberry Pear Pie

From Williams Sonoma

Ingredients

  • 1 package Immaculate Baking pie crusts
  • 2.5 pounds pears, peeled, cored, and sliced
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1.5 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1 egg beaten with 1 teaspoon water
  • Turbinado Sugar

Directions

  1. Fit one pie crust into a 9-inch baking dish and refrigerate until ready to use.
  2. Take the other pie crust and cut into strips, of either equal or varying widths. Place on parchment paper on a cookie sheet and refrigerate until ready to use.
  3. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  4. For the filling, in a medium pot, combine the pears, brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon juice, and cornstarch. Cover and cook until the pears are tender, but not mushy, approximately 15-20 minutes. Let cool to room temperature.
  5. Stir in the cranberries to the pear mixture and pour into the prepared baking dish.
  6. Take the strips of crust to create a lattice.
  7. Brush the lattice crust with the egg wash and sprinkle with turbinado sugar.
  8. Bake until the crust is golden brown and the filling begins to bubble, about 45 minutes- 1 hour, but begin checking the oven after 30 minutes.

It’s certainly nice to have an oven again!

-Rayna

Mini Toasted Coconut Bundt Cakes

I couldn’t love spring more if I tried. I was the lucky one out of my siblings and I don’t have to worry about wheezing at the sight of the beautiful cherry trees in our front yard or getting itchy red eyes if the windows in my car are left open.  Typically, spring can also be a stressful time of year for me, but I didn’t have to take my end of year jury at MSM and I only have a few days left of school before I start my senior internship. It’s crazy how time flew by after all of my college acceptances!

DSC_2501I know I’ve mentioned it here before, but my mom runs a pretty cool website called The Weiser Kitchen, and now that I have time (???) it’s fun to test out her recipes once in awhile. These bundt cakes were given to me because the first time they didn’t turn out too well, but the addition of coconut oil and some RTTC magic, and presto, some delicious bundt cakes. Enjoy!

Mini Toasted Coconut Bundt Cakes: A TWK/RTTC Original

Ingredients

  • 1 cup coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla paste
  • 1 1/2 cups coconut milk
  • 2 cups toasted coconut

Directions

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, add the coconut oil and the sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, making sure each is fully incorporated before the next addition. Add the vanilla paste (or vanilla extract).
  2. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder.
  3. Alternate adding the coconut milk and the flour mixture until just combined. Add the toasted coconut and fold in until just combined.
  4. Bake for 14-16 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

We can put off the whole “get fit for summer trend” until next week, right? 🙂

-Rayna

Apple Blackberry Crumble Bars

Good afternoon everyone!! I hope that your St. Patrick’s Day was filled with lots of green, clovers, and hopefully not too many green treats, because to be honest, those kind of scare me. Mine was pretty uneventful, but this coming weekend is going to be filled with lots of news. In the next few weeks, I’m going to be receiving all of my college notifications, which is a little bit stressful to say the least. But, the only thing that I can do at this point is wait, and to help you wait too, I made you something that isn’t green!

-4My last ever state gymnastics meet is this coming weekend. I’m still having a hard time thinking about that, but I knew that this day would come eventually. I’ve been at my gym for 7 years, and it’s sad to think that this is the last time that I’ll be able to wear my leotard and warmups. It’s going to be hard to say goodbye to a sport that I’ve spent so much of my life participating in, but I’m hoping that wherever I go I will be able to compete on a club team or even train at a gym recreationally.

-1I always seem to end up with tons of apples at my house. I love to eat them as a healthy after school or gymnastics snack, but there are some weeks where there seems to be an endless supply of apples in our kitchen. I’ve made so many apple desserts that are just so similar, and I wanted something a little different. These crumb bars are a mixture of a buttery shortbread crust, cinnamony apples, and a slightly tart layer of all natural blackberry preserves. While you can use whatever you would like, I love the mixture between these 2 and would highly recommend it.

Apple Blackberry Crumble Bars- From Annie’s Eats

Ingredients

For the base:

  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature

For the filling:

  • 4 medium-sized apples, peeled, cored and coarsely diced
  • 5 tbsp. sugar
  • ¼ tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • ¼ cup fruit jam (I used peach)

For the topping:

  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
3 tbsp. sugar
  • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened

Directions:

  1. To prepare the filling, in a large skillet combine the apples, sugar, and cinnamon.  Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 5-7 minutes, until apples are tender but still firm.  In a small cup, whisk together cornstarch and lemon juice.  Add to the apple mixture and continue cooking, stirring constantly for 3 minutes or until thickened.  Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°.  Line an 8×8” baking dish with foil, leaving overhang on both sides for easy removal later.  Grease foil.
  3. To make the base, in a medium bowl combine flour, sugar and salt.  Mix well.  Cut the butter into the flour mixture using a pastry blender, two forks or your hands, until it resembles breadcrumbs.  Press the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan.  Bake for 10-12 minutes, until lightly browned around the edges.  Remove from the oven.  Spread the fruit jam evenly on the base while it is still hot.  Top with the cooked apple mixture.
  4. In a medium bowl combine all ingredients for the topping.  Mix well until combined and crumbly.  Sprinkle over the apple layer.  Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool.  Using the foil, lift out of pan.  Cut into squares and serve.  (If desired, refrigerate before cutting to firm up a bit for easier slicing.)

Enjoy!

-Rayna 🙂

 

Chocolate Walnut Biscotti

I hope you had a Merry Christmas, everyone! I wish that all of you were able to spend lots of time with family and friends, and of course enjoyed lots of delicious food. I have had a very relaxing break so far, mostly involving sleep and organizing myself before I have to go back to the hectic schedule I have once school starts up again.

One thing that I have been very grateful to be able to do over these past few weeks is really explore what New York has to offer in terms of classical music, namely going to lots of concerts. Some of my favorite things that I’ve seen this year include Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte, and most recently, the New York Philharmonic’s performance of Handel’s Messiah. It’s hard to find time mainly because I’m the only one in my family that thinks it’s really fun to watch an opera for 3 and a half hours, but between birthdays and the holiday season, I’ve made it work.

While I don’t get sucked up into the holiday cookie craze too much (this is when gymnastics season starts, after all), I still love to make a nice treat for my family and others to enjoy this time of year, and one of my favorites is biscotti. Between the endless thumbprint cookies, crinkle cookies, gingerbread, etc., I like to make something that isn’t cloyingly sweet and is easy to enjoy in the morning, afternoon, or as a sweet treat after dinner that won’t give you more calories than you can count.

Chocolate Biscotti

Chocolate Walnut Biscotti- Adapted from The Sweeter Side of Amy’s Bread

Ingredients

  • 1 ounce (1 tablespoon) unsalted butter, slightly softened
  • 7.48 ounces (1 cup + 1 tablespoon) sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 6 ounces (1 1/8 cup) all purpose flour
  • 1.83 ounces (1/2 cup + 2 teaspoons) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon instant coffee powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1 3/4 cups toasted walnut pieces
  • 4.59 ounces (3/4 cup) semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 large egg for egg wash

Directions

  1. Position one rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line the cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In the bowl with an electric mixer, cream the butter with the sugar for 1 minute or until a sandy mixture forms. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix until fluffy and lighter in color, about 1 minute more.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, add the flour, cocoa powder, coffee powder, baking soda, and cinnamon and whisk together. Add to the butter and egg mixture in 2 additions, and mix only until combined.
  4. Fold the walnuts and the chocolate chips into the dough, and mix until evenly distributed. The dough will be thick and hard to stir. If it is too sticky, chill briefly.
  5. Divide the dough into 2 equal pieces, about 16 oz. each. On a lightly floured surface, roll each piece of dough into a log about 2 inches wide by 14 inches long by 1 1/2 inches high. Place the logs on the prepared sheet pan with several inches between them.
  6. In a small bowl, mix 1 egg with 1 teaspoon of water to make an egg wash. Brush each log with egg wash, coating them evenly on the top and sides.
  7. Bake for 27 minutes, rotating the cookie sheet from front to back halfway through baking, until very lightly browned and somewhat firm. Remove from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees.
  8. Cool the logs for 20 minutes, then place them onto a cutting board. With a serrated knife, slice each log on a slight angle into 3/4-inch thick pieces, keeping them in a row. Slide the row of biscotti together, lift and place back onto the cookie sheet, then separate the slices, leaving 1/2 inch of space between each one.
  9. Bake again for 9-12 minutes, rotating once during baking until the biscotti feel slightly firm.
  10. Enjoy!

Enjoy the rest of the holiday season!

-Rayna

 

Cashew Butter Grapenut Cookies

I don’t think it’s possible for me to be more exhausted. While some people say this time of year is the holiday season, I consider it the concert season. Over the past few weeks, I’ve had about 4 recitals, and these coming weeks are only bringing more along. Something I’m excited for in the middle of the madness is the concert that I’m playing this Saturday. It’s not your typical setting, because instead of my chamber group performing by itself, we get the opportunity to accompany a local ballet studio in their upcoming production. They don’t do the Nutcracker like most studios, but instead perform a piece called “La Boutique Fantastique.” It’s a different experience trying to match to dancers, and it’s a nice change of pace from the usual quartet setting.

Although I haven’t talked about it much on RTTC, I’m still going to gymnastics as much as I can between seemingly endless amounts of chamber group rehearsals. I’m competing level 8 again this year because I wanted this year to be fun, not filled with competition stress. And, since I typically can’t stay for a full practice because of rehearsals, it’s better for me mentally that I don’t have to worry about lots of new skills. Anyway, our first meet is next weekend and I’m pretty excited. I wouldn’t have been able to stay in the sport for all of these years unless I loved it, and the adrenaline and excitement that comes from competing is something I can’t get anywhere else.

Now that I’ve bored you enough talking about my various life adventures, let’s get to the real reason why you came here- cookies. As much as I love reading copious amounts of food blogs and finding interesting recipes to try, I can’t help but get creative in the kitchen. I had originally wanted to whip up something quick, simple, and delicious: a peanut butter cookie. But, after looking in my cabinet and seeing cashew butter shining in the front row, I knew that I couldn’t go back to plain ol’ peanut butter. Then, as I was making the dough, I thought, why not add some texture to these? I couldn’t find the cashews, so the next logical solution was clearly to go for the good-for-you, whole grain goodness that is Grapenuts. They add such a nice heartiness and crunch to these cookies that I just love. Besides, it’s an excuse to eat cookies for breakfast- obviously something I have never done before. 🙂

rayna's grapenut breakfast cookie

Cashew Butter Grape Nut Cookies: Adapted from King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup butter or vegan butter substitute

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar

  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar

  • 1 large egg

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

  • 3/4 cup smooth cashew butter

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • ¾ cup grape nuts

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets.
  2.  Beat together the butter, sugars, egg, vanilla, and cashew butter until smooth.
  3. Add the flour, baking soda, and salt to the cashew-butter mixture, beating gently until everything is well combined. It may take awhile for this rather dry dough to come together; and when it does, it’ll be quite stiff. Only if necessary, drizzle in enough water to make the dough cohesive. Mix in grape nuts until just combined.
  4. Drop the cookie dough by tablepoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheets (a tablespoon cookie scoop works well here), leaving 2″ between them.

The holidays are coming- better get baking!

-Rayna

Chewy Butterfinger Blondies

Happy Halloween! I hope your day is filled with many chocolates, sugar comas, and of course fantastic costumes. I know pumpkin is all the rage for Halloween, but I figured a recipe that will help you get rid of all of that candy you’re going to collect tonight would be pretty helpful too. While this could work with a variety of candies, I like how the crumbly texture of the Butterfinger works with the chewy blondie.

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I don’t really care about Halloween very much. There. I said it. I don’t understand the allure of spending money on a ridiculous costume you are going to wear once as you walk around freezing outside knocking on strangers’ doors asking for candy, just so you can go home and eat so much that you get sick. Fun? No, not to me. I stopped trick-or-treating when I was in sixth grade, which was the year that I started to take gymnastics seriously, and I wasn’t going to miss practice to go walking around outside.

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Just because I don’t like Halloween doesn’t mean I don’t like candy though! Butterfingers are one of my favorites with their chocolate outside and uniquely textured inside, so I grabbed a blondie from Warm Vanilla Sugar and got going. The end result was a chewy, nutty and butterfinger-y treat to help me celebrate Halloween. These are just too simple not to whip up!

Chewy Butterfinger Blondies

Ingredients

  • 2¼ cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¾ cup butter, softened
  • 2¼ cups brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 regular-sized butterfinger candy bars, crushed

Directions

  1.  Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a 13×9-inch baking pan. In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, with electric mixer at medium speed, combine butter and brown sugar. Beat in eggs and vanilla until smooth. Stir in flour mixture and 1 cup of crushed butterfingers.
  3. Spread in prepared pan. Sprinkle remaining crushed butterfinger bars over top of batter.
  4. Bake 30- 35 minutes, or until the bars are a bit firm to the touch. Cool completely before cutting into bars.

Happy Halloween!

Peach Coffeecake

It’s hard to believe that tomorrow I’ll be starting my senior year of high school. Preparing for it hasn’t left much time for me to do anything else, but I’m trying to squeeze in my last moments of summer before I go off to school tomorrow morning. I’ve already done the summer assignments, gotten new school supplies, and most importantly, spent some time relaxing by the pool and soaking up the sun before I basically go into hibernation before audition season starts.

DSC_0046One of the things I’m most excited for this year is starting up at MSM again. This year, in addition to taking the regular schedule of ear training, theory, a lesson and orchestra, I’ll be in 2 chamber groups, which (if I haven’t mentioned before) is by far my favorite type of playing. I’ve already had a rehearsal with a wonderful piano quintet that I get to be a part of this year, but I can’t wait to be there again and surround myself with so many talented musicians.

DSC_0034In an effort to pretend that my summer is able to go on for longer, I’m sharing is incredible peach coffeecake recipe from the ever-so-trustworthy King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking book (available on Amazon). It’s a quick cake, but especially during my lazy summer mornings, having a home baked good was truly appreciated. We even enjoyed it better the second day, as it became denser and slightly more hearty. Enjoy!

Peach Coffeecake: Makes one 9X13″ cake or two 9-inch round coffeecakes

Ingredients:

Cake

  • 8 ounces (2 cups) white whole wheat flour
  • 2 1/8 ounces (1/2 cup) all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 4 ounces (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
  • 7 ounces (1 cup) sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 8 ounces (1 cup) buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 12 ounces (2 cups) peeled, diced fresh peaches

Topping

  • 1 ounce  (2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 1/2 ounces (1/2 cup) sugar
  • 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare two 9-inch cake pans or one 9X13- inch pan.
  2. Whisk together the flours and baking soda in a medium mixing bowl. Cream together the butter and the sugar in a large bowl. Beat in the egg, stopping afterwards to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. Add the vanilla. Add the dry ingredients, one third at a time, alternately with the buttermilk. Stir in the peaches until evenly distributed. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
  3. Topping: Combine the butter, sugar, flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a small mixing bowl until evenly mixed. Sprinkle this mixture over the batter.
  4. Bake according to the pan size (25-30 minutes for rounds, 30-35 for the 9 by 13) until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, or with a few moist crumbs.

Now, onto senior year!

-Rayna 🙂

 

Cherry Almond Goat Cheese Bars

During quartet camp today, I realized that it was the middle of August, and I can’t figure out how my summer managed to go by so fast. Yesterday, I finished my first week of quartet camp, which was fantastic as always. I study chamber music with the program director during the year, so being able to buckle down and work on 2 full quartets in 2 weeks is very intense, but also really fun. The members of my quartet are some of my best friends, so rehearsing with them is really great.

DSC_0054Cheesecake is such a fun but temperamental thing for me to make. As you can see, the amount of cheesecake recipes here on the blog is rather limited, but that’s partially because I have a limited audience that will actually eat the cheesecake. My family tends to stay on the healthy side (surprising for an avid baker) so super rich and creamy desserts aren’t big sellers in my house. Not to mention, goat cheese is one of the few foods that almost no one in my family really likes, so I don’t think these bars ever got the attention that they truly deserve.

DSC_0077I loved these bars that I found on Sift and Whisk. The crust is not graham cracker based, but rather crushed almonds give it not only a wonderful crunch, but an amazing warm flavor too. The mixture of the goat cheese and the cream cheese ensures that the batter is not too dry, but it has a little bit of a tangy flavor because of the goat cheese, which I just loved. The fresh cherries not only mixed into the batter but sprinkled on top provide a sweet contrast to the sour edge of the cheesecake. All in all, I can’t rave about these bars enough.

Cherry Almond Goat Cheese Bars

Ingredients

For the almond crust:

  • 1 cup (140 grams) raw, whole almonds
  • 1 cup (120 grams) all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup (55 grams) packed light brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, melted

For the filling:

  • 8 ounces (226 grams) goat cheese, softened
  • 8 ounces (226 grams) cream cheese, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (150 grams) cherries
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Spread almonds on a baking sheet and roast for about 10 minutes, until fragrant, stirring occasionally. Let cool slightly, then roughly chop the almonds.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, stir together chopped almonds, flour, brown sugar, salt, and melted butter. Press into the bottom of a 9-inch square baking pan. Bake crust for 12-15 minutes, until lightly browned. Cool on wire rack while making filling.
  3. Halve cherries and remove pits. In the bowl of a food processor, process goat cheese, cream cheese, eggs, and sugar. (If you do not have a food processor, you can use a hand or stand mixer. Beat the goat cheese and cream cheese together first, until smooth and creamy, then add the eggs and sugar.) Remove the food processor blade, then gently stir in most of the cherry halves by hand, reserving 18 cherry halves for the top. Pour filling onto cooled crust. Arrange remaining 18 cherry halves, cut side up, on top.
  4. Bake at 325°F for 35-40 minutes, until the center just barely jiggles, or a thermometer inserted in the middle of the pan reads 155-160°F. Cool to room temperature on a wire rack, then transfer to the refrigerator to chill for at least 3 hours. Cut into 16 squares and serve.

Don’t be fooled by the goat cheese- these are some great cheesecake bars.

-Rayna 🙂

 

 

Toasted Coconut and Lime Sour Cream Bundt Cake

Happy August, everyone! I can’t believe that my summer has gone by this fast, and that in less than a month, I will officially be a high school senior! I just finished up my 2 weeks at gymnastics, and for the next 2 weeks, I’ll be attending another chamber music program. It’s a program I’ve done for many years now, and I can’t wait to be able to participate in it for another fantastic year!DSC_0095This summer was the first summer that I’ve really tried to dedicate myself to music. In the past, I would always respectfully decline my teacher’s wishes to go to music programs with her because I would need to stay to do gymnastics. Now that I’m really trying to push the music aspect so I could study with a teacher that I would want to in college, I didn’t get to spend as much time at the gym as I normally do.

DSC_0116This summer-y bundt cake from My Baking Addiction is the perfect dessert if you don’t feel like cutting up tons of fruit but still want something that’s a tasty summer treat. The lime flavor is very prominent, which I loved! You can always cut back on the amount of zest, but I personally loved it. For the coconut, you don’t have to toast it, but I would highly recommend it. I brought it over to Deanna’s house for dessert, and it got rave reviews. Enjoy!

Toasted Coconut and Lime Sour Cream Bundt Cake

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsalted butter , softened
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar (11 3/8 oz)
  • Zest of 2 medium limes
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (9 1/4 oz)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup toasted sweetened flaked coconut

Lime Glaze

  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 5 tablespoons heavy cream (can vary depending on the thickness desired)
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Zest of 1 medium lime

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and prepare a 10 inch bundt pan, set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, cream the butter until smooth.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the sugar and lime zest mixing together with your fingertips until the sugar is moistened and fragrant. Add the sugar mixture gradually to the butter and beat on medium speed until light fluffy, about 3 minutes. Mix in vanilla. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.
  4. In a medium bow, combine flour, baking powder and baking soda. Add flour mixture to sugar mixture alternately with sour cream, beating until well blended after each addition. Fold in coconut. Spoon mixture into prepared pan and smooth the top.
  5. Bake 50 minutes to 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. After 10 minutes, flip cake onto a wire rack to finish cooling.
  6. Prepare the glaze: Whisk all ingredients together in a medium bowl and drizzle over cake.

Now make this and enjoy your weekend!

-Rayna