Skinnier Strawberry Shortcake

This ain’t your momma’s Strawberry Shortcake!  No sir.  This is Strawberry Shortcake elevated to a whole new level.  Fresh baked sponge cake.  Freshly whipped cream.  And berries picked from a local farm. 

I tried to come up with some fancy shmancy name to help emphasize the awesomeness of this cake, but there was nothing that described it better than the simple, traditional name. 

I lightened this up a bit by using Splenda in the whipped cream and to macerate the strawberries.  Yes, there’s still 2 cups of heavy cream in there, but hey – you’re not going to eat the whole thing, so don’t freak out.  I only ate 1/16 of this cake and was quite satisfied.  All in moderation, folks.

I think this will be my new favorite recipe for fresh strawberries.  But don’t quote me on that.  I have about 3 more gallons of strawberries, so I may find another favorite!

Skinnier Strawberry Shortcake

Cake

  • 4 eggs, seperated
  • 1/3 cup plus 2 tbsp sugar
  • 3 tbsp milk, at room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 tbsp corn starch
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted

Whipped Cream:

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup Splenda

Strawberries:

  • 1/2 pound fresh strawberries
  • 2-4 tbsp Splenda (depending on the sweetness of your berries)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

To prepare cake, line an 8″ square baking pan with parchment or waxed paper.  Grease and flour the paper lined pan and set aside.

Combine sugar and egg whites in large bowl and whip to stiff peaks.  Add egg yolks and gently whisk until combined.  Add milk, vanilla, and flour and gently fold in until combined.  Fold in melted butter.

Pour cake batter into prepared pan and bake for 20-25 mintues or until a cake tester comes out clean.  Let cool completely on wire rack.  Remove cake from pan and split horizontally.

While the cake is baking, finely dice the strawberries.  Combine with Splenda and set aside to macerate until ready to assemble cake.

When cake is cooled and ready to be assembled, prepare the whipped cream:  Combine heavy cream, splenda, and vanilla in a metal bowl and beat until slightly stiff.  Reserve one cup for piping on the top of the cake.

Place one cake layer on a serving platter.  Top with half the the remaining whipped cream.  Spread a layer of strawberries over the whipped cream.  Top with the other half of the whipped cream.  Place the remaining cake layer on top.  Spoon the reserved 1 cup of whipped cream into a piping bag fitted with a large round tip, and pipe diagonal stripes over the entire top of cake.  Garnish with fresh strawberry halves, if desired.

Toffee Caramel Coffee

The temperatures are finally starting to get cooler here, and to me that means cozy evenings snuggled up in a blanket with a good book and a nice warm drink.  I’ve been playing around with lots of new sweet beverages for my next cookbook (which will be ready by early December!), and I decided to share one of my favorites with my dear blog readers!  If you like this one, be sure to order one of my cookbooks when they are ready!

Toffee Caramel Coffee

  • 6 oz. hot coffee
  • 1 tbsp caramel ice cream syrup (or your favorite caramel sauce)
  • 1 tbsp toffee bits
  • whipped cream
  • caramel syrup for drizzling
  • toffee bits for sprinkling

Stir toffee bits into hot coffee and let sit for 1-2 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Strain to remove any remaining toffee pieces; pour into mug.  Stir 1 tbsp caramel syrup into coffee.  Top with whipped cream, a drizzle of caramel syrup, and a sprinkle of toffee bits.

 

Paw Paw Muffins

About a week ago, I went to a friend’s house to pick up something I had ordered from her.  When I stepped on her porch I could smell this really sweet, fruity scent.  When she opened the door the first thing I said was “what smells SO GOOD out here???”  It smelled absolutely divine.  I can’t even describe it.  She informed me that it was Paw Paw fruit from her Paw Paw tree.  Seriously?  I had only heard of them from The Jungle Book movie!  Is there really such a thing?  Yes, there really is.  She gave me a bag of them to take home and try.  She told me that they are an ‘acquired taste’ for most people, so don’t be alarmed if you take a bite and don’t really like it at first.  So, I took my little bag of Paw Paws home and was anxious to taste one and make something with them. 

First, I just cut one open, and ate a bit of the flesh with a spo0n.  Hmm…she’s right.  I didn’t love it.  But I didn’t hate it either.  I couldn’t decide.  So, I made muffins with a few.  I did like the muffins better than the plain paw paw, but I still didn’t love it.  My husband really liked the muffins though.  Here’s the recipe, in case you ever come across some Paw Paw fruit yourself!

Paw Paw Muffins

  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 3 medium-large paw paws (or 4 small ones), flesh removed
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp butter, melted
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/4 cup walnuts

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In seperate bowl, combine paw paw flesh, brown sugar, butter, vanilla, and egg yolk.  Stir just until mixed together.  Add dry ingredients and walnuts to paw paw mixture, stirring just until combined.  Don’t overmix.

Divide evenly into 5 or 6 muffin cups (grease the muffin cups or use papers).  Bake at 350 for 15-18 minutes, or until a tester inserted comes out clean.  Cool slightly before serving.

Blueberry Cheesecake No-Churn Ice Cream

Yes, another ice cream recipe.  My kitchen has turned into sort of an ice cream factory lately.  I just keep thinking of new flavors I want to play with!  Can you blame me?  Smooth.  Creamy.  Just mix it up and throw it in the freezer.  Doesn’t get much easier.  So, when we had a big bowl of blueberries that were reaching their last days, I decided to make a blueberry cheesecake ice cream!  Super delicious.  Seriously.  It was my husband’s favorite so far. 

Blueberry Cheesecake No-Churn Ice Cream

Ice Cream:

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/3 cup spreadable cream cheese
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup graham cracker chunks

Blueberry Sauce

  • 2-1/2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1-1/2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp cold water
  • 1-1/2 tsp lemon juice

Prepare the blueberry sauce by combining all ingredients in a small saucepan.  Cook, stirring often, until thickened.  Let cool before proceeding.

For the ice cream, whip one cup of the heavy cream to stiff peaks.  In seperate bowl, beat cream cheese with sweetened condensed milk until smooth.  Add remaining cup of heavy cream and vanilla; stir until smooth.  Fold whipped cream into mixture.  Spoon blueberry sauce over whipped cream mixture.  Sprinkle graham cracker chunks over top.  Gently fold in until there are ribbons of blueberry sauce running through – do not overmix.

Pour into a freezer proof, airtight container and freeze until firm.

 

Browned Butter Toffee Bars

I’ve sort of been on a browned butter kick lately.  It’s just so darn good!  I’m convinced that pretty much anything that is ‘good’ with butter in it would be absolutely fantabulous with browned butter in it…and I’m on a mission to find out!

I’ve made these bars a few times, but always just melted the butter and proceeded with the recipe.  This time I decided to let the butter brown before adding the other ingredients.  I can’t even begin to tell you how much better these are with the browned butter.  I’ll never go back to plain ol’ melted butter!  Oh, and by the way, this recipe is not at all healthy.  As a matter of fact, it’s down right dangerous.  Four sticks of butter go in here.  Four.  Sticks.  Seriously. 

Browned Butter Toffee Bars

  • 4 sticks butter
  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 (14 oz) cans sweetened condensed milk (did I mention this wasn’t healthy??)
  • 4 tbsp corn syrup
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 12 oz semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a 9×13 pan with foil; spray foil with cooking spray.  Set aside.  Place graham cracker crumbs in a medium bowl and set aside.

Melt butter in large saucepan over medium-low heat until it turns amber brown in color.  DO NOT LET IT BURN!  Pour one cup of browned butter into graham cracker crumbs.  Stir to combine and press into prepared pan.  Bake for 10 minutes.  Let cool while making toffee layer.

In pan with remaining browned butter, place brown sugar, sweetened condensed milk and corn syrup.  Bring mixture to a boil and boil for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.  Pour toffee mixture over crust.  Let set until cooled and firm.

Melt chocolate and spread over cooled toffee layer.  Let set until chocolate is firm (you can pop the pan in the fridge to speed up this process).  Cut into squares and serve. 

 

Sun-tella Spread (Sunflower Seed-Chocolate Spread)

Nutella.  It’s smooth, creamy, delicous.  It’s also kind pricey.  I wanted to try to make my own version.  So, I go to the grocery store only to discover that they don’t carry hazelnuts.  Seriously?  Change of plans.  What can I use in place of the hazelnuts that would still taste yummy.  On a whim, I decided to try sunflower seeds.  Yes.  Sunflower seeds.  The end result was yummy.  Not the same at Nutella, but  yummy none the less. I decided to go with salted sunflower seeds because I love that salty-sweet combination.  If you don’t want the salty-sweet combo, just use unsalted sunflower seeds.   I’m anxious to try other nuts/seeds for other flavors as well! 

 *NOTE* Because this is made with seeds, not nuts, those with nut allergies SHOULD be able to eat this.  But don’t just take my word for it.  Ask your doctor first if you’re not sure.

Sun-tella Spread

  • 1 cup sunflower seeds
  • 4 oz. semisweet chocolate chips, melted
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 4-6 teaspoons vegetable oil

Place sunflower seeds in food processor and process until almost powdery.  (If you want a chunkier spread, don’t process quite as long).  Add enough vegetable oil to form a smooth, soft paste.  Pour in the melted chocolate, pulsing until smooth.  Add powdered sugar, pulsing until it forms a smooth, spreadable consistency.    

Store in airtight container.  Because there is no dairy in this spread, and because we’ll eat it up in about 3 days,  I just leave it at room temperature.  If you will be storing it for more than a few days, I’d refrigerate it and let it come to room temp before using.

Makes: 1 cup

WW Points + Per Tablespoon: 3

Birthday Cake Batter No-Churn Ice Cream

After making the Birthday Cake Batter Rice Crispy Treats, my sprinkle-obsessed daughter has been begging me to make Birthday Cake Batter Ice Cream – her absolute favorite ice cream.  So, while I was in my ice cream-making mode last week, I whipped up a batch.  She was in heaven.  If you’re a birthday cake ice cream lover like her, I think you will be too.

Birthday Cake Batter No-Churn Ice Cream

  • 2 cups heavy cream, divided
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2/3 cup dry yellow cake mix
  • 1 tbsp butter flavor
  • 1/3 cup sprinkles

In medium bowl, whip 1 cup of heavy cream to stiff peaks. 

In seperate bowl, stir together remaining 1 cup of heavy cream, sweetened condensed milk, cake mix, and butter flavor.  Fold whipped cream into this mixture.  Fold in sprinkles.  Pour into a freezer safe airtight container and freeze until solid.