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Posts Tagged ‘easy dessert recipes’

My Favorite Back-to-School Cookies

For people between the ages of 5 and 23, going back to school is a standard — and sometimes unsettling — part of life. We’ve put together easy recipes and food tips to help make the entire experience way more appetizing.

One of my favorite family food traditions is that my mom always made a fresh batch of cookies on the first day of school. Since back-to-school fever seems to be in the air, I wanted to share one of the cookie recipes I love most from home. My Pink Lemonade Candy Cookies are a variation of a Lemon Drop Candy Cookie that my mom made when I was growing up. The secret ingredient is none other than classic lemon hard candies (Lemonheads!). They are scattered throughout the batter and every now and then you get a bite with a zing of lemon candy that is crazy delicious. The secret to making hard candies work in a cookie recipe is to pulse them in a food processor. It’s important that they’re a fine crumble and that there aren’t any large pieces throughout.

The most important rule for making these cookies perfect is that it’s critical to not overbake them. When you pull them out of the oven, you might think that they aren’t finished, but they are — I promise. It’s also important to let them cool completely on the sheet tray.

I made a batch this week for the sake of tradition, even though no one in my family is headed back to school. Let’s be honest: Who doesn’t love having an excuse to make cookies?

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Kelsey’s Icebox Cake Essentials

The icebox cake is an iconic retro dessert that is perfect for the summer months. From June to August I avoid my oven at all costs, so the only way to make cake is by “baking” it in the refrigerator, rather than the oven. It’s easy to make and is always a favorite among family and friends. The ingredients are simple enough to have on hand and once you get the method down, the variations are endless. Every icebox cake is made up of some key components: essentially, cookies and cream. (What’s not to like?) I tend to think about it in layers.

First: the wafer cookies. These chocolate wafer cookies are a classic option and perfect for any icebox cake, but I’ve found that a variety of flavored wafer cookies are fun to use as well, like lemon, almond, chocolate-mint and ginger. I usually use two (6 to 9 ounce) boxes of cookies for one cake made in a 9-inch springform pan.

Second: whipped cream. Here you can keep it super simple, or have some fun. Fresh whipped cream is a must and it can be a great canvas for other flavors from extracts, sweeteners, or even peanut butter, coffee or fruit curd. I usually use 2 1/2 to 3 cups heavy whipping cream for one cake made in a 9-inch springform pan.

Third: flair. Here’s where you can really play with flavor, whether by layering in or garnishing with additional ingredients. Consider adding fresh fruit or chocolate shavings in between the layers or to the top of the icebox cake. 

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One Quick Bread Recipe, Two Versions

Pear Bread

As bosc pears ripen the texture is as soft as a ripe banana, so I got the idea of making my banana bread recipe with chunks of pear. I added a bit of homemade granola, instead of the toasted coconut I usually put in the banana bread. It is essentially the same recipe, but the result is completely and wonderfully different, with a sweet spice flavor.

The trick to this recipe is using the pears when they are very ripe. This means they are at their sweetest and will breakdown when baking. Unlike other banana recipes, this one calls for chunks of fruit, instead of a puree. Try both the banana and the pear versions and let me know which is your favorite. See the banana bread at the bottom of the post.

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