Very Berry Shortbread Sundae

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Happy 4th of July weekend!

Here it is the first day of July, and I’m wondering where the month of June went? Fun-filled with baby chicks, out-of-state visits from family and gearing up for one of our favorite celebrations — America’s birthday!

I’m rounding off my 4th of July desserts with a cool and creamy berry sundae complete with a lemon-flavored shortbread. But this recipe should not be reserved for the 4th of July — it can be enjoyed any day!

I want to mention that my talented husband made these beautiful dessert glasses from recycled champagne bottles! Aren’t they gorgeous? He’s busily working on his inventory and you can check out his lovely line of hand-cut glassware very soon at CucinaBellissima.com! Be looking for an official “Grand Opening” in the near future!

Very Berry Shortbread Sundae

*I prefer to use all organic ingredients when possible

For the Lemon Shortbread

*adapted from King Arthur Flour Shortbread Cookie Recipe

2 cups almond flour

6 Tablespoons coconut oil (or butter)

6 Tablespoons powdered sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons lemon juice

***

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

-Lightly grease a 9″ x 7″ baking dish

-In a medium mixing bowl, combine all ingredients by spoon and spread into prepared pan.

-In preheated oven, bake for 17-18 minutes, or until shortbread begins to turn a golden brown around the edges and on top.

-Remove from stove and set aside to cool completely.

For the Berry Syrup

2 cups fresh or frozen berries (I used a combination of blackberries, strawberries and blueberries)

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 Tablespoon water

1 Tablespoon cornstarch

1/4 cup raw honey

***

-In a medium saucepan, combine ingredients and stir.

-Heat on low-medium, and as berries begin to soften, increase heat to medium.

-Continue stirring as berry sauce reaches a low simmer, and cook for approximately 2 minutes or until sauce begins to thicken.

-Remove from heat and allow to cool completely.

***

One Pint of Strawberry Ice Cream

***

When the shortbread and berry sauce has cooled, take out one pint of berry ice cream (I used strawberry) and allow to soften for easier scooping.

-Cut the shortbread into eight equal squares, and crumble one square each into four dessert glasses.

-Scoop ice cream over the shortbread, and repeat with an additional layer of shortbread. (the shortbread should be about the size of large croutons.)

-Repeat with another ice cream layer, then spoon the berry sauce over the shortbread and ice cream, allowing the sauce to drizzle down into the glasses.

-Garnish with shaved coconut, if desired.

-Serve immediately and enjoy!

Serves four

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From our home to yours, have a wonderful and safe 4th of July!

White Chocolate Chip-Cranberry Cookies

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Continuing my patriotic theme for 4th of July celebrations, I decided on a white chocolate-cranberry cookie because one of America’s favorite desserts would have to be a delicious cookie paired with a cold glass of milk, am I right?

These cookies are soft with a slightly crispy edge — the sweetness of the white chocolate compliments the dried cranberries so very well.

We have our white and red ingredients, so my recommendation is to serve these goodies with fresh summer fruit — preferably in the blue and red colors to complete the theme. 😉

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White Chocolate Chip-Cranberry Cookies

*I prefer to use all organic ingredients

1/2 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup coconut oil, softened

2/3 cup raw cane sugar

1/3 cup coconut sugar

1/4 cup vanilla (or plain) almond milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips

3/4-1 cup dried cranberries

***

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees

-With a stand mixer, hand mixer or by hand, beat together the butter, coconut oil and sugars.

-Add the vanilla and almond milk, mix well.

-Gradually blend in the flour, baking soda and salt until well combined, but not overmixed.

-Gently fold in the white chocolate chips and cranberries.

***

Scoop into rounded tablespoons (a cookie scoop works great!) and bake for 8-10 minutes or until edges are a soft golden brown.

-Cool for 2-5 minutes before transferring to a plate.

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Enjoy on the 4th as well as any day of the year!

 

 

 

Chocolate Chip-Almond Butter Muffins

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We recently found out that our youngest has multiple food allergies to wheat, bananas, egg whites, tomatoes and peanuts. Today I baked my first batch of coconut flour muffins for her to sample, and I have to say, I was pretty impressed with how coconut flour works!

I have always wanted to try baking with various flours. I’ve done a few recipes with almond flour and really enjoy its nice nutty texture. Today I decided to give coconut flour a try.

First, I did some reading up on coconut flour which was extremely helpful! Coconut flour is ultra absorbent, so you don’t need near the amount as regular flour. (no wonder they sell coconut flour in smaller bags!) 😉 In addition, coconut flour requires an increase in bonding agents such as eggs or milk.

This was really a trial run to see if I could produce moist muffins with a delicious flavor. As I couldn’t use peanut butter, I opted for almond butter which my daughter has been enjoying. The girls and I were quite pleased with the results, so without further ado, I give you Chocolate Chip-Almond Butter Muffins made with coconut flour, coconut sugar and coconut oil to boot! 😉

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Chocolate Chip-Almond Butter Muffins

*I prefer to use all organic ingredients

4 whole eggs

1/2 cup coconut oil, melted

1/4 coconut sugar

1/4 cup raw honey

1/2 cup almond butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 cup vanilla almond milk

3/4 cup coconut flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

3/4 cup chocolate chips

additional chocolate chips and shaved coconut

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

-With a stand mixer, hand mixer or by hand, beat eggs until light and fluffy. Add coconut oil, sugar, honey, almond butter, vanilla and almond milk and mix until well blended.

-Gently add in coconut flour, baking soda and salt until well incorporated.

-Another great tip I read was to let your batter sit 4-5 minutes so that the coconut flour will have time to absorb the liquid. The mixture will end up looking somewhat like pumpkin puree.

-Gently fold in chocolate chips.

-Spoon into cupcake liners approximately 3/4 full. Sprinkle additional chocolate chips and coconut flakes on top and bake for 15-16 minutes, or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.

-Allow to cool 10-15 minutes.

Enjoy!

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Idaho Cherry Pie

 We are currently in the middle of a heat wave with temperatures reaching the triple digits. Summer has indeed arrived, and one of my favorite summer celebrations is the 4th of July!

During the month of June, I would like to share some of my favorite star-spangled desserts to celebrate America’s birthday with a bang!

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The girls and I have thoroughly been enjoying cherry season — my parents’ cherry tree is filled with ripened cherries! We’ve literally picked bags full, and it is still bursting with color! The robins who built their nests nearby are also extremely delighted and have become quite tame as we pick cherries together!

I was inspired to bake a patriotic pie for my first dessert — which would also be a great addition to any summer picnic or party!

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Idaho Cherry Pie

Pie Crust Recipe from King Arthur Flour

*I prefer to use all organic ingredients

*I substituted 1/4 cup Palm Fruit Shortening for the Vegetable Shortening

Cherry Filling

5 cups tart cherries, pitted

1/2 cup raw cane sugar

1/4 cup coconut sugar

1/4 cup raw honey

1 Tablespoon vanilla

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1/4 cup cornstarch

1/8 teaspoon salt

***

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-While preparing your pie crust, combine cherries, sugar, coconut sugar, honey and vanilla in a medium-sized bowl. Stir well, allowing flavors to combine.

-When crust is ready, add lemon juice, cornstarch and salt to cherries and stir well.

-Pour cherry filling into prepared crust and top with stars and stripes crust décor.

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-For the stars, I used a star template, but a star cookie cutter would be ideal. For the stripes, simply cut into 1″ strips to lay across the pie, sealing ends to the edges of the crust.

-Brush stars and stripes with egg white and sprinkle with raw cane sugar.

-Bake in a preheated 425 degree oven for 35-40 minutes or until crust is a deep golden brown and filling begins to bubble.

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Serve warm or cool. This pie pairs extremely well with a scoop (or two) of vanilla  ice cream! It’s as American as apple … er, cherry pie!

Enjoy!

Chocolate Almond-Coconut Smoothie

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A little over a week ago, we found out that our youngest daughter is allergic to peanuts as well as a few other foods. The allergies are in the moderate-low range, however the nurse said to keep an eye on the peanut allergy as it could become worse.

I’ll have to say, our little girl was pretty disappointed to learn she was allergic to one of her very favorite foods — tomatoes not so much, but peanut butter!

She loves peanut butter!

I tried to encourage her with all the foods she is not allergic to and mentioned that almond butter is pretty amazing! She was delighted, and I think she is going to be very pleased with this new smoothie — although I’m going to have to replace the banana in hers. Another allergy!

I hope you will enjoy this new recipe as well!

Chocolate Almond-Coconut Smoothie

*I prefer to use all organic ingredients

1 cup vanilla almond milk

2/3-3/4 cup ice

1 banana, in pieces

1/2 cup raw oats

2-3 Tablespoons almond butter

2 Tablespoons cocoa powder

2-3 Tablespoons shaved coconut

***

In a blender, combine all ingredients and pulse until mixture begins to combine.

-Mix on medium-high for approximately 45 seconds or until smooth.

-Garnish with additional coconut and a few chocolate shavings, if desired.

-Serves one, but can easily be doubled.

***

A rich and creamy smoothie that is perfect for breakfast, a snack or even dessert!

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Enjoy!

Mother’s Day Lemon Meringue Pie

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Mother’s Day is one of my favorite days — celebrating our wonderful mothers as well as the joys of motherhood.

God has blessed me with a wonderful mom whom I cherish, and since Lemon Meringue Pie is one of her favorite desserts, I would like to dedicate this post to her in honor of Mother’s Day. 

In addition, God gave me the great blessing of two precious daughters, so this post is dedicated to them as well. They are my treasures.

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Pie Crust

*I prefer to use all organic ingredients

1 1/4 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

2 Tablespoons palm oil

6 Tablespoons coconut oil, cold

5-6 Tablespoons ice water

-Preheat oven to 475 degrees

-In a food processor, gently combine all ingredients on pulse until dough forms medium-sized pebbles. Do not over-mix. Alternatively, a pastry cutter can be used to blend ingredients.

-Wrap dough in plastic wrap or place in a small glass bowl, and refrigerate 10-15 minutes until chilled.

-Gently press pie dough into a 9 inch pie dish and return to refrigerator for 20-25 minutes.

-Prick dough with a fork, and bake in a preheated oven for 8-10 minutes or until softly golden.

Lemon Pie Filling

*Slightly adapted from the Joy of Cooking Cookbook

-In a medium-sized saucepan, blend together:

1 1/4 cups raw cane sugar

1/3 cup cornstarch

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

Blend  in well:

1 1/2 cups water

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

Whisk in:

4 egg yolks

3 Tablespoons coconut oil

-Stir over medium heat with a wooden spoon until mixture begins to simmer. Cook for one minute — mixture will thicken. Pour into prepared pie crust.

Meringue

-With a stand mixer or hand mixer, whisk until soft peaks form:

4 large egg whites

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

-Slowly blend in:

2 Tablespoons raw cane sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

-Spread meringue over hot pie filling, ensuring edges of crust are sealed.

-Bake at 325 degrees for 15 minutes.

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Wishing you a beautiful and joyous Mother’s Day!

Maple-Pecan Waffles

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Most mornings, we tend to eat a healthy breakfast — smoothies, eggs, oatmeal. But every once in a while, it’s so delightful to indulge in a dessert-style breakfast!

Maybe something like Maple-Pecan Waffles — where the waffles are soft inside with a buttery-crisp exterior and the maple-pecan syrup drizzles from each layer with additional pecans on top for delicious texture.

Sounds good to me!

Waffles

*recipe slightly adapted from the Joy of Cooking Cookbook

*I prefer to use all organic ingredients

In a large bowl, whisk together:

1 3/4 cups flour

1 Tablespoon baking powder

3 Tablespoons raw sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

In a separate large bowl, whisk together:

3 eggs, beaten

1/2 cup butter, melted

1 1/3 cups almond or vanilla almond milk

-Gently combine the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, and mix gently. Batter will have a slightly pebbled look.

-Cook in a pre-heated waffle iron according to your waffle maker’s instructions. My Belgian Waffle machine makes approximately six waffles.

Maple-Pecan Syrup

*I prefer to use all organic ingredients

In a small saucepan, combine:

2/3 cup coconut sugar

1/3 cup raw sugar

1/3 cup pecans, chopped

1/3 cup pure maple syrup

2/3 cup warm water

2 Tablespoons cornstarch

-On medium heat, bring mixture to a boil while stirring constantly.

-Once mixture reaches a boil, lower temperature and cook for 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Mixture will start to thicken slightly.

-Remove from heat and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes. The longer the syrup cools, the more it will thicken.

-Drizzle syrup in between waffle layers and over the top. Sprinkle with additional chopped pecans, if desired.

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Enjoy!

Freshly-Baked French Bread

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I am becoming more and more excited with organic bread baking! Because my daughters love deli-style sandwiches, fresh rolls and, of course, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, I have been on a quest to find a delicious, soft bread recipe that I could bake organically and that wouldn’t tend to dry out by the next day.

I headed straight to Pinterest where I found an overwhelming amount of “the best” bread recipes. I went ahead and picked one, and I do believe this has been my favorite bread so far!

I absolutely love baking bread from scratch now — organic with no preservatives, additives or ingredients that really shouldn’t be there. This bread has only six ingredients and is so much better than store-bought!

Homemade French Bread

*recipe slightly adapted from lil’ luna

*I prefer to use all organic ingredients

  • 2 Tablespoons dry yeast
  • ½ cup warm water
  • 2 cups hot water
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon salt
  • 5 Tablespoons grape seed oil
  • 6 cups flour, divided
  1. Dissolve your yeast in ½ cup warm water.
  2. In a large mixing bowl combine hot water, sugar, salt, oil and 3 cups of the flour and stir.
  3. In a stand mixer, use the paddle attachment to mix the yeast mixture and the hot water/flour mixture together.
  4. Add the remaining 3 cups of flour, one cup at a time, mixing after each addition. Once all of the flour is added, cover with a clean dishtowel and let sit for 15 minutes.
  5. Separate your dough into 3 pieces (I typically make a sandwich loaf, traditional French loaf and some extra rolls or buns.) This dough is very sticky, so you will probably want to flour your hands and sprinkle a little on the dough itself. On a floured surface, roll each piece into a rectangle shape then form into a oblong loaf or place in a greased bread pan. You can also form this dough into round balls, slightly flattened, for rolls and buns.
  6. Place the dough on a greased baking pan, seam side down. Score the bread across the top 3 or 4 times, and brush with additional grape seed oil. Cover and let dough rise  for 30-40 minutes in a warm place.
  7. Bake on the middle rack for 20 minutes at 375 degrees or until golden brown.
  8. Note – when baking hamburger/hot dog buns or rolls, baking time will be approximately 15 minutes, depending on the size of your bread.
One batch of this delicious dough produced all of the various breads you see in the first picture! This dough is so versatile and oh-so-soft! Use it for sandwiches, served with pasta, for hamburgers/hot dogs … even delicious little rolls with butter and honey!
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Enjoy!

Chocolate Chip-Pecan Cookies

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Snow has arrived!

Yesterday, we spent a cozy day inside while watching the softly-falling snow through the windows. By morning, the snow storm had subsided, and the girls couldn’t wait to get outside for a day of sledding!

For me, snow days are cozy. I want to cuddle in a blanket, sip hot chocolate with my family, and we can’t forget something yummy to bake, now can we?

While listening to Christmas tunes play merrily, I was inspired to bake up some cookies that I hope you will enjoy!

Chocolate Chip-Pecan Cookies

*I prefer to use organic ingredients

Preheat oven to 325 degrees

1/2 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup coconut oil

1/2 cup raw cane sugar

1/2 cup coconut sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 tablespoon raw honey

2 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

2 cups chocolate chips

1 cup finely chopped pecans

-With a stand mixer or hand mixer, blend butter and coconut oil.

-Add sugars, eggs, vanilla and honey — mix until light and fluffy.

-Gently incorporate flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

-Stir in chocolate chips and pecans by hand until well incorporated.

Scoop by rounded tablespoon (a cookie scoop works wonderfully!) onto a baking sheet or baking stone, and bake for 10-12 minutes. Edges should begin to turn a soft brown.

-Cool on cookie rack for 1-2 minutes before transferring to a plate.

Enjoy!

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