Peaches and Cream Popsicles

improvchallengeToday, I’m jumping in with a fun, new-to-me group – Improv Cooking Challenge. Each month, there are two ingredients to use – and you can make any kind of dish you want. I’m really excited to jump in and create some fun things in the coming months!

This month’s ingredients were peaches and cream. My first thought was a pie or cake (and I’m kind of hoping some of the other bloggers did this so I can drool over their treats!) but it’s been so ridiculously hot here that popsicles sounded like the best bet. These were delicious – and a relatively healthy treat to boot. Jake and I both loved them!

You can check out all the other peaches and cream dishes bloggers made here:

 

PeachesCreamPopsicles

Peaches and Cream Popsicles
(from Pint Sized Treasures)
Makes 4

2 large peaches, peeled and sliced
1/4 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
3 Tbsp. milk
2 Tbsp. honey

Combine all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Pour into popsicle molds and freeze until solid.

Nutella Topped Rice Krispie Treats

I haven’t had many have-to-have it pregnancy cravings, so when I get one I’ve been indulging. A few weeks ago, it was rice krispie treats. The day after we’d finished off the pan, I was chatting with a friend and mentioned them. She was like, oh yes! I smothered mine in Nutella while pregnant. Which, of course, sounded fantastic so then I needed some like that.

These were, of course, fantastic. Just the right amount of chocolate. I found a fun box of red, white and blue Rice Krispies, too, so they’re extra festive for today! If you need a last minute dessert, I highly recommend these.

Hope you’re all having a wonderful 4th of July weekend!

NutellaToppedKrispieTreats

Nutella Topped Rice Krispie Treats
(adapted from Liv Life)
Makes 1 9×13″ pan

1/4 cup butter
1 bag mini marshmallows
6 cups Rice Krispies
1 cup Nutella
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 Tbsp. shortening

Grease a 9×13″ pan. Set aside.

In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the marshmallows and stir often, until melted. Stir in the Rice Krispies. Transfer to the prepared pan and press down evenly.

In a smaller saucepan, combine the Nutella, chocolate chips and shortening. Melt over medium-low heat, stirring until smooth. Pour over the top of the Rice Krispie treats and spread out evenly. Let sit until the chocolate sets then cut into bars.

Cherry Vanilla Coke Poke Cake #CookoutWeek

Every good cookout needs a fun dessert – and this is my new favorite.

Cherry Vanilla Coke just reminds me of summer so I was smitten when I saw this cake. It really does capture the flavors nicely. It was my first time making a poke cake, but I have to say I’m hooked. It was so moist! I made this a day ahead and it was perfect on the day of our cookout.

I also loved how easy this was to put together. I always plan ambitious menus for our cookouts so having something this easy was a definite bonus!

CherryVanillaCokePokeCake

Cherry Vanilla Coke Poke Cake
(from The Recipe Critic)
Makes 1 9×13″ cake

1 French vanilla cake mix, plus ingredients to prepare
1 large box cherry flavored Jello
12 oz. Coca Cola
1/2 cup cold water
1 small box instant vanilla pudding mix
1 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 container frozen whipped topping, thawed
Chocolate sprinkles and maraschino cherries, for topping

Prepare the cake according to package directions. Once baked, let cool for 15 minutes and then use the end of a wooden spoon to poke holes about 1 inch apart all over the cake.

In a bowl, combine the Jello mix, coke and water. Whisk until dissolved and then pour slowly over the cake, filling up the holes as much as possible. Refrigerate for at least half hour.

After the cake is chilled, combine the pudding mix and milk. Whisk until thoroughly combined then stir in vanilla. Fold in the whipped topping and then ice the cake. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

When ready to serve, top with sprinkles and cherries.

No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

This pie, you guys, this pie.

I whipped this up for my husband’s birthday and I’m pretty sure it was more well-received than any cake I’ve made him. It’s hard to argue with creamy peanut butter, chocolate and an Oreo crust. If you’re a chocolate-peanut butter lover like me, you need to make this ASAP. It’s really just that good.

PeanutButterChocolatePie

No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie
(from Kevin & Amanda)
Makes 1 pie

1 package Oreos
1 cup butter, divided
1 1/2 cups + 2 Tbsp. creamy peanut butter, divided
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

Crush the Oreos in a food processor or with a rolling pin. Stir together with 1/2 cup melted butter. Press into a pie pan or spring form pan. Freeze for 10 minutes or until set.

While the crust is in the freezer, beat together the remaining butter, 1 1/2 cups peanut butter and 1 cup of powdered sugar, until smooth and creamy. Spoon into the crust and gently smooth. Place back in the freezer.

In a heat-proof bowl, add the chocolate chips and remaining peanut butter.

In a saucepan, bring the whipping cream to a rolling simmer over medium-high heat. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate chips and peanut butter. Let stand for 5 minutes and then whisk until smooth. Pour over the peanut butter layer and smooth out. Refrigerate, covered, for at least an hour before serving.

 

What’s Baking: Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookie Bars

whatsbaking

I’m officially less than 2 months from my due and I’m starting to feel the crunch. I’m pretty sure by this point with Jake everything was mostly set up, the freezer was filling up with meals and I was (not so) patiently waiting for his arrival. This go, all the baby stuff is still in the basement, there’s list of stuff we still need to buy and any meals that make it to the freezer are retrieved within the week for nights I can’t keep up. I’m pretty much just praying I make it to my due date again because those last two weeks I may finally have some time to get things done.

ChocolateChipPecanCookieBars

One of the things that has been hitting me hard is that my days of me-and-Jake time are coming to an end. He’s at such a fun age right now and I really love spending the day with my little buddy. He’s been super into helping me in the kitchen lately so I’ve been trying to pick recipes that he can be really hands-on with.

The latest theme for What’s Baking was “bars” – and these are perfect for a toddler assistant because there’s no risk of over-mixing and if the quantities aren’t measured out perfectly, that’s just fine. And they only take about five minutes to throw together, which is pretty much how long his attention lasts these days.

TasteTesterJake

Besides being easy, they’re delicious. My little taste tester couldn’t wait to get his hands on one and then all I heard was, “Yum! YUM!” as I packaged them up. I’m sure they’ll be making repeat appearances at our summer barbecues.

TasteTestJake

Want more bar ideas for your summer baking? Check out our host for the month, Cookaholic Wife, for a roundup of all of the goodies the other bloggers made!

Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookie Bars
(adapted from South Your Mouth)
Makes 1 8×8″ pan

2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped pecans
3/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. salt
1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup powdered sugar

Preheat your oven to 350F degrees. Spray an 8×8″ baking pan with non-stick spray and line with baking parchment. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except powdered sugar. Mix until thoroughly combined and transfer the batter to the prepared pan.

Bake for 30 minutes, until set. Let cool completely, then cut into squares. Roll each square in powdered sugar.

Cake Batter Snow Ice Cream

I’ve been sitting on this post for a year, waiting for an opportunity to post it. Guess what? We’re finally going to get some snow this weekend! We got a little bit of a dusting last weekend and Jake was so, so excited about it that I’m really hoping this weekend’s storm pans out so we can get in some good outside play time.

Cake batter is one of my favorite ice creams so I was excited to try a snow version. This worked out well – I’m pretty sure it’s going to be our go-to snow ice cream recipe!

CakeBatterSnowIceCream

Cake Batter Snow Ice Cream
(A Kate’s Recipe Box Original)
Serves 4

2/3 cup yellow cake mix
2/3 cup milk
Large bowl of snow
3 Tbsp. rainbow sprinkles

In a large bowl, whisk together the cake mix and milk until well combined. Stir in snow until you get an ice cream-like consistency. Fold in sprinkles. Serve immediately.

 

Whole Wheat Biscotti

This month’s What’s Baking challenge was to make biscotti. I wasn’t sure how this would go because I’ve never made it before – and the only biscotti I’ve ever eaten were really dry and unappealing so I didn’t think I liked it.

This changed my mind.

This biscotti is super simple, with just enough sweetness to make them the perfect holiday accompaniment to coffee or tea. Now that I have these under my belt, I’m sure I’ll be trying different varieties next year!

To see the biscotti other bloggers made for the challenge, check out Coleen’s roundup at The Redhead Baker tomorrow!

Biscotti

Whole Wheat Biscotti
(from Food.com)
Makes about 2 dozen

2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. almond extract

Preheat the oven to 350F degrees.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt and sugar. Add in the eggs, vanilla and almond extract and stir until well-combined and dough-like. Divide dough in half anf form into 2 logs about 2″x13″.

Bake for 25 minutes, then cool on a rack for 10 minutes.

Using a bread knife, cut into 1/2″ slices and bake for 10 more minutes, turning halfway through.

Cool completely and store in an airtight container.

Peanut Clusters

For the last few years, I’ve participated in a cookie swap with some of my foodie friends. Last year, we got an awesome box of sweets from Amber. Our favorite of everything was these peanut clusters so I knew I had to put them on our treat list for this year. For the past week, I’ve pretty much been throwing them in everyone’s face saying, eat this! They’re amazing!

They’re also pretty much crack, so if you do make them – and you know you want to – be prepared to eat more than your fair share.

These are so good and they’re so easy to make that they’ve earned a spot on our must-make-every-year list.

PeanutClusters

Peanut Clusters
(from Sugared Whisk)
Makes about 4 dozen 3″ clusters

16 oz. unsalted, dry roasted peanuts
16 oz. salted cocktail peanuts
12 oz. bag semisweet chocolate chips
12 oz. bag milk chocolate chips
20 oz. peanut butter chips
32 oz. white almond bark or vanilla candy melts

In the slow cooker: layer all the ingredients and cook on low for 2 hours. Stir to combine and if not everything is melted, cook for an additional 30 minutes. Drop by spoonfuls onto parchment lined cookie sheets and let sit at room temperature for 1-2 hours to solidify.

On the stovetop: Stir everything together over low heat. Stir regularly, until all evenly melted. Drop by spoonfuls onto parchment lined cookie sheets and let sit at room temperature for 1-2 hours to solidify.

Baked Apple Roses

I’ve been taking a step back from blogging lately. This has always been a hobby for me and when it starts to feel like a chore, I know it’s time to take a breather and wait until I feel excited about it again. This time, inspiration struck in the form of a Facebook post. My friend, Caitlyn, posted the video for these and since I had everything in the house already, I just had to try them out.

These came together easier than I was anticipating and they looked awesome. I made them in cupcake tins, but I think if you doubled the recipe and put them in round cake pans they would work great as a pull-apart dessert. They were also good reheated in the oven. If you’re looking for a different take on apple pie for Thanksgiving, this is a great option!

AppleRoses

Baked Apple Roses
(adapted from Tip Hero)
Makes 6

1 large red apple, cored, halved and thinly sliced
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
3 Tbsp. peach preserves
1 sheet puff pastry
Cinnamon sugar, to taste

Preheat the oven to 375F degrees. Spray a cupcake pan with nonstick spray.

Place the apple slices in a bowl and cover with water. Add lemon juice, toss to coat. Microwave on high for 3 minutes then set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together the peach preserves and 2 Tbsp. water. Set aside.

Roll out puff pastry until it’s a 12″ x 12″ square. Using a pizza wheel, slice the puff pastry into 6 2″ x 12″ strips.

Take one puff pastry strip and brush it with the peach preserves mixture. Place one apple slice along the top of the strip, with the rounded side overlapping the top. Place another slice overlapping the previous slice. Repeat until the end of the strip is reached – the top should look like a scalloped edge. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Carefully fold up the bottom of the puff pasty strip to form a pocket for the apple slice. Starting from one end, gently roll the puff pastry to create the look of a rose. Press the end together and place in the prepared cupcake pan. Repeat 5 more times, until all the strips are used up. Sprinkle again with cinnamon sugar.

Bake for 35 – 45 minutes, until golden.