Ground Cherry Pie

Ground cherries are the weirdest dang fruit, but they make a very tasty pie! If you’ve never heard of them, they look like a small tomatillo (a little tomato with a papery ‘husk’ you remove to eat) but taste, when raw, like a walnut. Baffling. When heated up in pie, though, you get kind of the flavor of apple pie with a hint of pineapple. If you eat cold leftovers, though, back to a walnutty flavor. So strange! Totally worth eating, hot, though! They’re easy to grow, and if that’s not your thing you might be able to find them at the farmers’ market.

Ingredients:

Crust:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • heaping 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons vegetable shortening
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2″ pieces
  • 8-10 tablespoons ice water

Fruit Filling:

  • 2 1/2 cups ground cherries, measured with husks removed
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons corn starch (I used flour, cornstarch would be much better for thickening)

To make the crust, first whisk the flour and salt together in a large bowl. Work in the shortening with a pastry blender or your fingers until well combined. Work the butter in until the mixture is unevenly crumbly, with some butter pieces still a bit larger than others. Add the water one tablespoon at a time, stirring as you sprinkle. When the dough is moist enough that it holds together when squeezed, stop adding water and knead it three or four times to bring it together. Divide into two pieces. Roll each piece into a ball, flatten somewhat into a disk, and roll each disk on the counter to smooth out the edges, which helps with the edges later when you roll out the crust. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 30 minutes, or overnight. (This is just a doubled version of the crust from Paper Bag Apple Pie.)

Once the dough is chilled, preheat your oven to 425. Roll out one of the disks of dough (the larger one, if one is bigger) and line a pie dish. Prick all over with a fork. Roll out the other disk of dough and cut into thin slices. In a medium bowl, stir together the filling ingredients well, then gently spoon into the bottom crust.

Create a lattice top with your crust slices, laying strips in one direction, then folding every other one back about halfway to add a perpendicular strip, alternating which strips get folded back to create a woven-looking pattern. Fold over the outside edge and crimp.

I’m still working on my crusts, clearly….

Bake 20 minutes at 425, then reduce the heat to 300 and bake an additional 35-40 minutes, until the filling is thickened. Serve still warm.

Ground Cherry Pie

Crust:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • heaping 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons vegetable shortening
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2″ pieces
  • 8-10 tablespoons ice water

Fruit Filling:

  • 2 1/2 cups ground cherries, measured with husks removed
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons corn starch

To make the crust, first whisk the flour and salt together in a large bowl. Work in the shortening with a pastry blender or your fingers until well combined. Work the butter in until the mixture is unevenly crumbly, with some butter pieces still a bit larger than others. Add the water one tablespoon at a time, stirring as you sprinkle. When the dough is moist enough that it holds together when squeezed, stop adding water and knead it three or four times to bring it together. Divide into two pieces. Roll each piece into a ball, flatten somewhat into a disk, and roll each disk on the counter to smooth out the edges. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 30 minutes, or overnight.

Once the dough is chilled, preheat your oven to 425. Roll out one of the disks of dough and line a pie dish with it. Prick all over with a fork. Roll out the other disk of dough and cut into thin slices. In a medium bowl, stir together the filling ingredients well, then gently spoon into the bottom crust. Create a lattice top with your crust slices, laying strips in one direction, then folding every other one back about halfway to add a perpendicular strip, alternating which strips get folded back to create a woven-looking pattern. Fold over the outside edge and crimp, then bake 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to 300 and bake an additional 35-40 minutes, until the filling is thickened. Serve still warm.

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Honey Chicken Pizza

As with many pizzas, this is more an idea than a 100% rigid recipe, but it’s a good flavor combo I recommend working with! I had it first at Zax in Moab, so there is at least one pizza professional out there that thinks it’s a good idea and you don’t have to take my word for it, but I’ve made this pizza many times since because I do love it!

Ingredients:

  • Pizza dough (I tend to use this refrigerator pizza dough for convenience)
  • 1 small chicken breast’s worth of shredded chicken
  • honey
  • shredded mozzarella cheese

If you have leftover shredded chicken from something, that’s handy! Otherwise, I wrap a small chicken breast in foil, to hold in moisture, and cook it at 350 in a toaster oven for an hour, until it’s shred-able.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and grease or line a baking sheet/pizza pan. Roll or toss the dough to desired thickness and spread on the pan.

In a small bowl, stir enough honey into the shredded chicken to just cover the chicken.

Drizzle additional honey over the prepared crust – you don’t want nearly as much honey as you would pizza sauce, as with too much honey the heat of the oven will cause it to melt, pour out onto the pan, and burn.

Top with the chicken, then several large handfuls of shredded cheese. You want the cheese on top to keep the shredded, honey-coated chicken from burning.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until the crust is golden and the cheese is melted and started to brown.

Slice and serve!

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Cucumber Cake

So, this is a pretty weird one, but it’s good and will help use up some of the outrageous overabundance that comes with cucumber plants. It’s fluffy and moist, and definitely tastes cucumber-y, but in a more dessert-y way.

Ingredients:

Cake:

 

  • approximately 2 1/2 pounds fresh cucumbers
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs

Frosting:

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch salt
  • 2 cups powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour a 9×13″ pan and set aside.

Wash and peel the cucumbers, then shred.

Looking juicy already.

Place the shredded cucumber in a colander and press to squeeze out much of the liquid. I pressed quite firmly and there was still plenty of liquid left in the cake! Set drained cucumber aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon.

Stir in 3 cups of the cucumber shreds, oil, and eggs until well mixed.

Pour into the greased pan.

Bake 1 hour, or until it passes the toothpick test. Let cool.

When the cake has cooled to room temperature, use a mixer to beat together all the frosting ingredients until smooth. Spread over the top of the cake and enjoy!

Cucumber Cake

Adapted from Food52.

Cake:

 

  • approximately 2 1/2 pounds fresh cucumbers
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs

Frosting:

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch salt
  • 2 cups powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour a 9×13″ pan and set aside.

Wash and peel the cucumbers, then shred. Place the shredded cucumber in a colander and press to squeeze out much of the liquid. Set drained cucumber aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon. Stir in the cucumber shreds, oil, and eggs until well mixed. Pour into the greased pan and bake 1 hour, or until it passes the toothpick test. Let cool.

When the cake has cooled to room temperature, use a mixer to beat together all the frosting ingredients until smooth. Spread over the top of the cake and enjoy!

 

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Cinnamon Bun Rice Krispy Treats

These were very popular at the beach this past weekend, and would no doubt also disappear to a happy crowd at a cookout or party! They are shaped/rolled line cinnamon buns to go with the flavor, but if you’re in a rush  you could always just spread everything in a 9×13″ pan, frost, and cut into bars instead. But where’s the fun in that?

Ingredients:

Krispy Treats:

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 2-3 teaspoons ground cinnamon, to preference
  • pinch salt
  • 10 ounce package mini marshmallows
  • 6 cups Rice Krispies

Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch salt
  • 2 cups powdered sugar

Line a half sheet pan with plastic wrap and spray with cooking spray. Set aside.

In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Stir the corn syrup, cinnamon, and salt into the melted butter, then add the marshmallows and continue stirring until smooth.

Remove from the heat and stir in the cereal, stirring until evenly combined.

I was worried at first that there wasn’t enough marshmallow mixture to cover, but there was! Just keep stirring!

Spread the mixture into the prepared pan, spraying a silicone spatula with cooking spray to help spread the mixture without sticking.

Cool briefly, then, from a long side, life the plastic wrap and use it to help roll the sheet of Rice Krispie treats, rolling and pulling off the plastic as you go.

Wrap the whole log in plastic and refrigerate at least 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, beat together the butter, cream cheese, vanilla, and salt of the frosting, then beat in the powdered sugar until smooth.

Slice the chilled Treat log into 3/4″ rounds, then spread the frosting evenly among them. Enjoy!

Cinnamon Bun Rice Krispie Treats

From Bake or Break.

Krispy Treats:

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 2-3 teaspoons ground cinnamon, to preference
  • pinch salt
  • 10 ounce package mini marshmallows
  • 6 cups Rice Krispies

Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch salt
  • 2 cups powdered sugar

Line a half sheet pan with plastic wrap and spray with cooking spray. Set aside.

In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Stir the corn syrup, cinnamon, and salt into the melted butter, then add the marshmallows and continue stirring until smooth. Remove from the heat and stir in the cereal, stirring until evenly combined.

Spread the mixture into the prepared pan, spraying a silicone spatula with cooking spray to help spread the mixture without sticking. Cool briefly, then, from a long side, life the plastic wrap and use it to help roll the sheet of Rice Krispie treats, rolling and pulling off the plastic as you go. Wrap the whole log in plastic and refrigerate at least 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, beat together the butter, cream cheese, vanilla, and salt of the frosting, then beat in the powdered sugar until smooth.

Slice the chilled Treat log into 3/4″ rounds, then spread the frosting evenly among them. Enjoy!

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Salted Caramel Chocolate Popsicles

So, to get the exact same experience, these popsicles require you to also find (make??) salted caramel milk at your supermarket, but realistically it’s probably also very good with just regular chocolate milk if that’s all you can get. (But if you can find the caramel- why wouldn’t you??) These are rich, and a good texture – not grainy nor a solid block of chocolate. I’ll be making a second batch as soon as I get my popsicle mold thingies out of the dishwasher!

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup sea salt caramel milk (or chocolate milk)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups Greek yogurt (I used plain, 5% fat; vanilla would probably make the final product even sweeter but I’m not sure it’s necessary)

Place the chocolate chips in a medium saucepan and heat over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally until fully melted.

Increase the heat to medium high and drizzle in the milk, stirring constantly until the mixture reaches a gentle simmer, then quickly remove from the heat.

Let cool 5 minutes, then stir in the vanilla and Greek yogurt and stir well. Pour through a sieve into a medium bowl to catch any unmelted chunks.

Pour from there into the popsicle molds.

Freeze for several hours until firm.

Salted Caramel Chocolate Popsicles

Adapted from Baker by Nature.

  • 1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup sea salt caramel milk (or chocolate milk)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups Greek yogurt

Place the chocolate chips in a medium saucepan and heat over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally until fully melted. Increase the heat to medium high and drizzle in the milk, stirring constantly until the mixture reaches a gentle simmer, then quickly remove from the heat. Let cool 5 minutes, then stir in the vanilla and Greek yogurt and stir well. Pour through a sieve into a medium bowl to catch any unmelted chunks, then into the popsicle molds. Freeze for several hours until firm.

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Peanut Butter and Oatmeal Cookie Swirled Brownies

There’s a lot going on in this pan, and it’s a good mess of a combination! Some fudgey, chocolately brownies, blobs of oatmeal cookie, and peanut butter mixing through it all. All delicious things!

Ingredients:

Brownie:

  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 ounces milk chocolate chips
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips or chocolate chunks
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter, microwaved for 30 seconds, divided

Oatmeal Cookie

  • 1 1/4 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 4 ounces dark chocolate chopped into chunks (about 1 1/2 cups)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×13″ dish and set aside.

To make the brownie batter, combine the butter and milk chocolate chips in a microwaveable bowl.  Microwave for 30 second intervals, stirring after each, until smooth.

Add the sugar and whisk to combine.

Add the vanilla and egg and again whisk until combined.

Stir in the cocoa, flour, and salt until just combined.

Add 1/4 cup of the peanut butter and stir briefly, leaving it not totally mixed.

Stir in the semisweet chocolate chips.

For the oatmeal cookie dough, in a large bowl beat together the oats, flour, brown sugar, baking soda, salt, oil, egg, and vanilla.

Stir in about 1/3 of the chocolate chunks.

Drop blobs of the brownie batter around the greased pan. Don’t worry at this point if it feels like you won’t have enough.

Fill in some of the gaps with chunks of the cookie dough.

Top with blobs of the remaining brownie batter.

Drizzle the remaining 1/4 cup of peanut butter around the pan, and mix by dragging a knife through the dough/batter. Sprinkle the remaining chocolate chunks over the top.

Bake for 25-35 minutes, then let cool in the pan 1 hour before serving.

Peanut Butter and Oatmeal Cookie Swirled Brownies

From Half Baked Harvest.

Brownie:

  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 ounces milk chocolate chips
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips or chocolate chunks
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter, microwaved for 30 seconds, divided

Oatmeal Cookie

  • 1 1/4 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 4 ounces dark chocolate chopped into chunks (about 1 1/2 cups)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×13″ dish and set aside.

To make the brownie batter, combine the butter and milk chocolate chips in a microwaveable bowl.  Microwave for 30 second intervals, stirring after each, until smooth. Add the sugar and whisk to combine. Add the vanilla and egg and again whisk until combined. Stir in the cocoa, flour, and salt until just combined. Add 1/4 cup of the peanut butter and stir briefly, leaving it not totally mixed. Stir in the semisweet chocolate chips.

For the oatmeal cookie dough, in a large bowl beat together the oats, flour, brown sugar, baking soda, salt, oil, egg, and vanilla. Stir in about 1/3 of the chocolate chunks.

Drop blobs of the brownie batter around the greased pan, then dollops of the cookie dough. Top with blobs of the remaining brownie batter. Drizzle the remaining 1/4 cup of peanut butter around the pan, and mix by dragging a knife through the dough/batter. Sprinkle the remaining chocolate chunks over the top.

Bake for 25-35 minutes, then let cool in the pan 1 hour before serving.

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Strawberry Angel Pavlovas

This is a plan-ahead sort of dessert I’d wanted to make for ages, but not just for myself because half of the meringues would go squishy before I could eat them. With that in mind, I invited myself to dinner at a friend’s on a day where I could be home to prep for as much of the day as necessary. It’s worth the planning – the various flavors and textures are really great – tart lemon, sweet berries and crunchy-chewy meringues. Yum!

Some food facts to remember: 1) eggs separate better while cold, 2) egg whites beat up better while room temperature, 3) cream beats up better while very cold – you can even put your bowl and beaters in the freezer for a while ahead of time to help, 4) beating egg whites or cream kinda goes better with a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, but you’ll survive with a hand mixer if it’s what you’ve got, 5) egg whites won’t beat up to stiff peaks if they have yolk, or any other fat, in them, so be careful with your separating and in cleaning the bowl ahead of time

Ingredients:

  • 4 eggs at room temperature, separated
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar, divided
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
  • 2 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and diced
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • *if you know you’re going to have leftovers, 1 tablespoon white chocolate pudding mix to add to the whipped cream to prevent seeping/separating

Place an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 275 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment and set aside.

In a large bowl, beat together the egg whites, salt, and cream of tartar on medium speed until soft peaks form.

While still beating, slowly sprinkle in 1 cup of the sugar, then increase speed to high and beat until stiff and glossy. Beat in the vanilla.

I would have liked this to have gotten slightly more stiff-peak-y even, but this is as far as it got that day.

Scoop the egg white mixture into 8 mounds on your lined sheets, then draw a spoon in a circle in the center to create a well.

Bake 1 hour, or until lightly golden, then turn off the heat, crack the oven door open, and let cool completely.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl beat the egg yolks until thick and pale yellow.

Gradually beat in the remaining 1/2 cup sugar, followed by the lemon juice and zest.

Transfer to a small, nonreactive saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened, at least 5 minute. Remove from heat and cool completely.

Meanwhile-r, put the diced strawberries in a medium bowl and sprinkle with the powdered sugar. Toss to coat, then set aside.

The sugar is absorbed/wetting with berry juice very quickly.

When ready to serve, whip the cream to stiff peaks, adding the white chocolate pudding powder if you expect leftovers.

Gently fold 1 cup of the whipped cream into the lemon custard, and the remaining whipped cream into the berries.

Place each meringue on a small plate, top with 1/8th of the lemon custard mixture, and top again with 1/8th of the strawberry whipped cream. Serve immediately. (If you don’t have 8 people available, don’t plate the extra meringues, keep them in an air tight container, separate from the toppings, until you can scarf them the next day.)

Strawberry Angel Pavlovas

Slightly adapted from Shauna Sever.

  • 4 eggs at room temperature, separated
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar, divided
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
  • 2 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and diced
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • *if you know you’re going to have leftovers, 1 tablespoon white chocolate pudding mix to add to the whipped cream to prevent seeping/separating

Place an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 275 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment and set aside.

In a large bowl, beat together the egg whites, salt, and cream of tartar on medium speed until soft peaks form. While still beating, slowly sprinkle in 1 cup of the sugar, then increase speed to high and beat until stiff and glossy. Beat in the vanilla.

Scoop the egg white mixture into 8 mounds on your lined sheets, then draw a spoon in a circle in the center to create a well. Bake 1 hour, or until lightly golden, then turn off the heat, crack the oven door open, and let cool completely.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl beat the egg yolks until thick and pale yellow. Gradually beat in the remaining 1/2 cup sugar, followed by the lemon juice and zest. Transfer to a small, nonreactive saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened, at least 5 minute. Remove from heat and cool completely.

Meanwhile-r, put the diced strawberries in a medium bowl and sprinkle with the powdered sugar. Toss to coat, then set aside.

When ready to serve, whip the cream to stiff peaks, adding the white chocolate pudding powder if you expect leftovers. Gently fold 1 cup of the whipped cream into the lemon custard, and the remaining whipped cream into the berries.

Place each meringue on a small plate, top with 1/8th of the lemon custard mixture, and top again with 1/8th of the strawberry whipped cream. Serve immediately. (If you don’t have 8 people available, don’t plate the extra meringues, keep them in an air tight container, separate from the toppings, until you can scarf them the next day.)

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