Fresh Cherry Crumb Bars Recipe

This recipe can really be described in just a few words: fresh, sweet cherries, buttery crumb cake, and a hint of almond. It’s sort of a multi-occasion treat – served best warm, or cold, or for breakfast, or for a mid-day snack, or even for dessert… and probably amazing with fresh whipped cream, although I didn’t think to make any before we cleaned out the entire pan. (Twice… I’ve made this two times in the month of July already, it’s that good!)

 

Fresh Cherry Crumb Bars

If I were to change anything else, I’d probably sprinkle sliced almonds onto the top layer of the batter before putting it in the oven. I did add a little splash of vanilla extract and almond extract to the cherry filling,, which wasn’t called for in the recipe but was something I felt it needed. I also omitted the orange zest, as we had fresh squeezed OJ but no zest.

 

Fresh Cherry Crumb Bars plated

Fresh Cherry Crumb Bars

Recipe found on Bakeaholic
Yield: 30 1 1/2 inch Bars

Crust and Topping
1/2 cup brown, packed
1/2 cup white
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup cold unsalted butter (2 sticks or 8 ounces)
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon salt
Zest of one orange
Cherry Filling
4 cups cherries, pitted and roughly chopped
1/2 cup white sugar
4 teaspoons cornstarch
Zest and juice of one orange

*splash of vanilla extract and almond extract (about 1/2 tsp. each) Optional, but I liked the addition

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease a 9×13 inch pan.

In a large bowl (or food processor), stir together 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup white sugar, 3 cups flour, and baking powder. Mix in salt and orange zest. Use a fork or pastry cutter (or pulse mixture if using food processor) to blend in the butter and egg. [I used my hands to gently mix. It was more fun, and achieved the same consistency.] Dough will be crumbly. Pat half of dough into the prepared pan.

In another bowl, stir together the sugar, cornstarch, juice and zest of one orange , *and extracts, if using. Gently mix in the cherries. Sprinkle the cherry mixture evenly over the crust. Crumble remaining dough over the berry layer.

Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until top is slightly brown. Cool completely before cutting into squares.

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Homemade Peppermint Marshmallows and a Gift Packaging Template

It’s that time of year – peppermint season!

Okay..peppermint can be enjoyed year-round, but I personally associate it with wintertime. I’ve been so busy with work (for which I am grateful!) that I haven’t had much time to enjoy many holiday festivities, baking and candy making included.

The very first thing on my to-make list when I had a spare moment was marshmallows. Not just any marshmallows – peppermint marshmallows!

PeppermintMarshmallows01

If you haven’t tried your hand at homemade marshmallows, have no fear; they’re incredibly easy to make. The hardest part is the waiting! Last year I made regular vanilla marshmallows, and thought I would switch it up with peppermint. (Oh – I also made some pumpkin ones in October! Those were equally amazing!) I made a batch of these peppermint ones the other day, and shipped most of them off to various parts of the country as part of my Christmas packages to family and friends, but did keep a few to enjoy here at home.

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.. and as expected, they’re absolutely delicious in hot chocolate!

For whatever reason, inspiration struck when I was packaging these for gifts. I made some labels for the packages, and found some adorable red and white striped ribbon in my supply stash.

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It’s not too late to whip up a batch of these yourself for some last minute holiday gifts! To save some time, I thought that you might like to use these labels too..

PeppermintMarshmallowsLabel

You can right-click and save the above image (a .jpg) and print it as you wish, but I also made a high-res .pdf file that you can download and print (it has 6 labels per page.) Click the link to view and save or print the file: https://victoriaallison.files.wordpress.com/2012/12/peppermintmarshmallows-printout.pdf

And last but not least, here’s the recipe I used:

Homemade Marshmallows

Bon Appétit  | July 2008

by Molly Wizenberg

Ingredients:

  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 1 cup cold water, divided
  • 3 1/4-ounce envelopes unflavored gelatin
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2/3 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (for the peppermint version, I used 1 tsp vanilla extract and 1 tsp peppermint extract.)
  • * Optional: 2-3 drops red food coloring
  • 1/2 cup potato starch**
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar**
** I use cornstarch.. I also use about 1/4 cup cornstarch and 1/4 cup powdered sugar. It’s PLENTY!
Directions:

Line 13x9x2-inch metal baking pan with foil.

Coat foil lightly with nonstick spray. Pour 1/2 cup cold water into bowl of heavy-duty mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Sprinkle gelatin over water. Let stand until gelatin softens and absorbs water, at least 15 minutes.

Combine 2 cups sugar, corn syrup, salt, and remaining 1/2 cup cold water in heavy medium saucepan. Stir over mediumlow heat until sugar dissolves, brushing down sides of pan with wet pastry brush. Attach candy thermometer to side of pan. Increase heat and bring syrup to boil. Boil, without stirring, until syrup reaches 240°F, about 8 minutes.

With mixer running at low speed, slowly pour hot syrup into gelatin mixture in thin stream down side of bowl (avoid pouring syrup onto whisk, as it may splash). Gradually increase speed to high and beat until mixture is very thick and stiff, about 15 minutes. Add vanilla and beat to blend, about 30 seconds longer.

*Optional: I added a couple of drops of red food coloring and gently stirred it into the marshmallows to create a light pink ‘swirl’ effect.

Scrape marshmallow mixture into prepared pan. Smooth top with wet spatula. Let stand uncovered at room temperature until firm, about 4 hours.

Stir potato starch and powdered sugar in small bowl to blend. Sift generous dusting of starch-sugar mixture onto work surface, forming rectangle slightly larger than 13×9 inches. Turn marshmallow slab out onto starch-sugar mixture; peel off foil. Sift more starch-sugar mixture over marshmallow slab. Coat large sharp knife (or cookie cutters) with nonstick spray. Cut marshmallows into squares or other shapes. Toss each in remaining starch-sugar mixture to coat. Transfer marshmallows to rack, shaking off excess mixture.

 

Enjoy!

Pumpkin Coffee Cake with Pecan Streusel

I love pumpkin! (Unless it’s in pie, that is.) Pumpkin whoopie pies, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin cheesecake, and even pumpkin marshmallows, but pumpkin pie? Blech. No thanks. You can keep it!

 

Once July rolls around, I start thinking about fall, and pumpkin recipes. I saved this one on Pinterest a while ago, and have already made it twice this season. Actually, the first time was probably in July. Or maybe August. Either way, Fall was not on most people’s minds, but I needed a pumpkin fix. The recipe was amazing, and we ate the entire thing before I had time to take a few photos.

 

Naturally, I wanted this recipe documented here, so what better excuse to make it yet again?

 

I have a tendency to make slight modifications to my baked goods. The first time I made this, I used half whole wheat flour, and half white flour. The second time, I was out of whole wheat flour so I just used all white flour, and used pecans in the streusel topping instead of walnuts. I also used vegetable oil instead of butter for the cake part, both times. (Butter for the topping, of course!)

 

 

Honestly, this recipe is super easy. I make a half batch, which fills up a single 8 or 9-inch cake pan. Plenty for two people. Or more, if you like sharing.

 

 

I had to include my favorite Pumpkin Jar in this shot. Isn’t it adorable? I never put anything inside of it, because I can’t decide on what. It’s handmade by Bauman Stoneware. (Their Etsy shop looks pretty much sold out at the moment, but you can click on their sold items page to see more of their amazing designs. I want one of their fabulous teapots!)

 

 

Onto the recipe! I originally found it posted on the blog Not So Humble Pie, who made theirs with a icing glaze.

 

Pumpkin Coffee Cake
From Make Ahead Meals for Busy Moms
1/2 cup butter, softened (*I substituted equal amounts vegetable oil.)
1 1/2 cups sugar
15 oz can pumpkin
3 large eggs
2 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt

Streusel Topping:
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/3 cup walnuts, chopped (*I used pecans this time.)

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray the inside of a tube or bundt pan with nonstick spray; set aside. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until well blended. Add the pumpkin and eggs and mix thoroughly. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves and salt. Add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture. Mix on medium speed until combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Prepare the streusel topping: In a small bowl combine the flour, sugars, cinnamon, melted butter and walnuts. Sprinkle the streusel over the cake batter. Bake for 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for about 15 minutes. Slide a knife around the pan so the cake doesn’t stick when removing it. Invert the cake onto a plate. Then invert the cake onto another plate, so that the streusel is on the top. Cool completely. Cover and store at room temperature.

(For two round cakes: coat two 8-inch rounds with non-stick spray and place a circle of parchment in the bottom. Divide the batter between the two pans, top with the streusel (x3) and bake for approximately 35 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.)

 

*As also mentioned, I made half of this recipe, in an 8-inch cake pan. (Or maybe it was 9-inches? I can’t remember offhand.) I baked it for 30 minutes.

 

Enjoy!