Cranberry & Meyer Lemon Strudel

This month’s ‘What’s Baking’ challenge theme was a good one–A Small Dessert for 1 or 2. It was hosted by Eva from Eva Bakes and a great idea. Seeing as it’s only Husband and I (no kids thanks-just the dog), I often find that recipes make just way.too.much. for just the 2 of us.

This strudel is delicious. The cranberries are so tart and the  Meyer lemon adds a bit of sweetness. It can’t get easier than just unrolling the puff pastry either.

This is the perfect strudel to make in the dead of winter as both blood oranges and Meyer lemons are in season. Feel free  to use more or less of the Meyer lemon, blood orange and/or regular orange juice.


Cranberry & Meyer Lemon Strudel


  • 12 ozs frozen whole cranberries, thawed.
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp corn starch
  • 1 tbsp Meyer lemon zest
  • 1 tbsp blood orange juice
  • 3 tbsp orange juice
  • 1 package Pepperidge Farm frozen Puff Pastry (package contains 2 sheets)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
  • 2-3 tbsp orange juice


  1. Set a large sauce pan over medium heat. Add the sugar, zest, corn starch and juices and stir to combine and dissolve. Add cranberries, stir and bring to a boil and continue cooking for 10-15 minutes, stirring constantly.  The mix will thicken up considerably and the cranberries will burst.
  2. Remove the pan from the heat and put in the fridge for 2 hours.
  3. While the cranberry mix is cooling thaw the pastry as to the package instructions for countertop.
  4. Preheat oven to 375.
  5. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  6. Lay one puff pastry sheet on one half of the baking sheet.  Spread half of the cranberry mix down the middle section of the pastry, fold the left and right over the center. Pinch the dough at each end together to make a seal. Using a small sharp knife cut a few holes gently into the top layer of the pastry.  Reapeat with the remaing pastry dough.
  7. Mix the egg and water together and, using a pastry brush, gently brush the egg wash on top of the pastry.
  8. Bake for 30-40 minutes.
  9. Allow to cool for 15 minutes on the baking sheet then transfer to wire racks to cool.
  10. Mix the confectioners sugar and orange juice together and, when the strudels are fully cooled, drizzle over the tops of each.
  11. Slice and serve.


Note: this makes 2 strudels. To make only 1 cut all ingredients in half.

Inspired by Easy Cranberry Strudel found on

Check out the other great recipes for this month’s theme here.



Pumpkin & Chocolate Chip Squares

This past weekend was the autumnal equinox and it’s finally fall! I can’t think of any other time of year that I like more. That being said it’s time for pumpkin.  Husband and I were heading over to my Grandmother’s house for lunch on Saturday with her and my Mom and I wanted to bring something with me for all of us to have as a treat after our lunch. This was a perfect recipe to make! I started a little later than I wanted to on Saturday morning so the tasties didn’t have time to cool completely but it was ok-I put them in a container with an ice pack and they were nice and cool by the time we got to her house.

They’re not overly spiced or overly pumpkin and using dark chocolate is the right way to go. They’re just right.

Make sure you buy pumpkin puree NOT pumpkin pie filling (has the spices in it).

And how cute is this photo? That’s Timothy, our dog,  and while he really wanted a piece I couldn’t give him any because of the chocolate. He got a biscuit instead and was fine with it.  I think I should rename these Timothy squares-they’re the same colors as he is.


Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Squares


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1&1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • (you may sub 1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice for the last 5 ingredients above)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1&1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 12 ozs semi-sweet chocolate chips


  1. Pre-heat oven to 350.  In an 9/13 baking pan or dish lay one piece of aluminum foil the long way and press into the pan. Then lay another piece of foil the short way. In both directions leave enough extra foil to have a  bit of an overhang so that you can pull the squares out easily. Set it aside.
  2. In a medium bowl add the flour, pie spice or spices, baking soda and salt. Whisk to combine thoroughly and set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer cream the butter and sugar together using medium-high speed until smooth.  Beat in the egg and vanilla until combined then add the pumpkin puree (mixture may appear curdled but that’s ok). Change the speed to low and add the dry ingredients a bit at a time until just combined. Remove the bowl from the stand, add the chocolate chips and gently fold them into the batter using a spatula. Be careful to not over-mix.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared dish-spread to even out. Bake for 35-40 minutes until a toothpick stuck into the middle comes out with just a few crumbs attached.
  5. Move pan to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely.



Strawberry Delight Muffins

These muffins are lovely and light and oh so tasty–perfect muffins to go with slices of delicate strawberries for the summer.  

There’s not really all that  much else to write except for the recipe…..


Strawberry Delight Muffins


  • 6 ozs Greek Yogurt (I used Fage 0%)
  • 2 ozs fat-free Sour Cream
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1&1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup Egg Beaters (or 2 large eggs)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp strawberry extract
  • 2 cups AP flour
  • 1&1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup fresh strawberries, chopped small


  1. Pre-heat oven to 350.
  2. Place liners in muffin tin and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl using an electric mixer cream together the yogurt, sour cream, butter and sugar. Then add the Egg Beaters, milk, vanilla and strawberry extract.  Stir until  combined-being careful to not over-mix. Set aside.
  4. In another bowl place the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon and whisk to combine.
  5. Add 1/4 of the dry ingredients to the wet and stir until just combined. Continue adding the dry ingredients in increments and mixing. Do not over mix.   Gently fold in the fresh strawberries.
  6. Fill the liners in the muffin tin to about 3/4 of the way full and bake for about 23-28 minutes or until the tops are light golden brown. Allow to cool in the tin for about 10-15 minutes then remove the muffins from the tin and place onto a cooling rack.

Yield: about 18-20 muffins.  I made 12 muffins and froze the remainder of the batter to use another time.


Greatly adapted from the Strawberry Cream Cheese Muffins from

Chianti & Balsamic Strawberries

These beautifully tart, sweet and tangy strawberries are perfect over ice cream, cake, frozen yogurt or just by themselves.  They are so versatile! A perfect summer treat.  

I’ve mentioned the cookbook Twelve a few times on this blog. It has such wonderful seasonal recipes. One of those recipes is what I based this one on. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.  I don’t recommend making this more than 2 or 3 hours ahead of serving as the berrys will become mushy, but allow at least 30 minutes for marinating before serving.  Hight quality chianti and balsamic vinegar are so important here.

This past weekend I attended a family party at my Grandmother’s house and served this for dessert (doesn’t my she have beautiful plates?) over a rum cake that I purchased in the Caribbean in April.  It was delicious!!



Chianti & B alsamic Strawberries


  • 1 lb container fresh strawberries
  • 3/4 cup chianti
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/3 cup superfine sugar plus extra for sprinkling


  1. Wash strawberries, cut green tops off and cut into halves or quarters or leave whole if small.  Put strawberries into a non-reactive bowl (like stainless steel).
  2. Add the other ingredients except for the sprinkling sugar and let marinate at least 30 minutes before serving (up to 3 hours).
  3. Top the cake with the strawberries, drizzle a bit of the wine sauce and then sprinkle with a bit of sugar.


Apricot & Rum Dipping Sauce

Wow!! What a flavor this sauce has. Sweet and tart from the apricot and just slightly rummy-just enough to taste.   It’s delicious!  I wish I had made this earlier in the week when I made the baked sweet potato fries-it would have been delicious on them.

 I made this recipe for the a recipe swap that I’m involved in with some other great blogger friends which is hosted by Sarah from This swap’s theme was ‘cooking with alcohol’.  The recipe below is from Jen at (what a cute name!!), originally from Food Network.


Apricot & Rum Dipping Sauce


  • 1/2 cup apricot preserves
  • 2 tbsp dark rum


  1. Put both ingredients into a small sauce pan.  Cook for 10 minutes over low heat, stirring occasionally.
  2. Serve

I cooked this down longer than the original recipe instructed as I wanted it to be a little thinner-more of a glaze consistency as you can see below.  I heated up some spring rolls that I had in the freezer but you could put this on anything-grilled chicken, shrimp etc…


Check out the rest of the swap recipes here:


Dreamy Vanilla Fleur de Sel Caramel Krispies

When I received the email from Heather letting me know the theme for this month’s What’s Baking challenge was ‘salty and sweet’ I immediately thought of the Vanilla Fleur de Sel Caramel that I make (recipe here). It’s so so so delicious. I thought about baking it into brownies (but I’m not all that much of a chocolate fan), I thought about making cupcakes and using that over the frosting and the list went on and on.   Then bing!!!bing!!!bing!!! Rice Krispie treats came to mind.  Yummy-sweet marshmallowy crispy goodies plus the gorgeous caramel? Yes, please. The only problem was that I’d never actually made RK treats even though as a kid I ate tons.  So I looked at the recipe on the Rice Krispie website and saw that wow it’s easy.  So here we go.

They’re very slightly salty, marshmallowy, crispy, a touch vanilla-ey and subtlety caramelly. These are sticky. They’re gooey. They’ll ruin your diet. And you’ll love every minute of it 🙂

I’d say these took about 45 minutes not including the cooling time. That includes making the caramel (so easy!) and the Krispie treats.


Dreamy Vanilla Sea Salt Caramel Krispies


  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 10oz package of marshmallows
  • 6 cups Rice Krispies
  • 1/4-1/3 cup Vanilla Fleur de Sel Caramel
  • non-stick cooking spray
  • waxed paper


  1. Lightly spray a 9×13 inch baking dish with the non-stick spray and set it aside.
  2. Pull off a sheet of waxed paper about the size of the pan and set it aside.
  3. In a pan (large enough to hold all ingredients and stir them) over low heat melt the butter then add marshmallows and stir until they’re melted completely (I used a metal spoon).
  4. Add the Rice Krispies and stir until evenly combined with the marshmallows.
  5. Stir in the caramel and mix until evenly combined. Start with the 1/4 cup and add a little more if you want to.
  6. Pour the mixture into the pan and use the spoon and waxed paper to press it evenly into the pan.
  7. Set the pan aside for it to cool and set.  Store in airtight containers. rice1


Heather from was the host. Thanks Heather!



Creme au Chocolat Meringuee (frozen chocolate mousse made with meringue)

This recipe comes from Simone ‘Simca’ Beck (you know her-she’s the lady who co-authored Mastering the Art of French Cooking with Julia Child).  Simca’s cookbook named Simca’s Cuisine is a book full of great menus for different occasions and this recipe comes from ‘A menu for all seasons’ which also includes pork braised with bourbon, timbales of lettuce pureed with shallots and cream, sauteed broccoli and a green salad with vinaigrette.  Perhaps next time I will make the other dishes from the menu but I only made the frozen chocolate this time.

 My Grandmother gave me this book (it was hers and it’s a First Edition!!) for Christmas this past year and while reading through it I saw this recipe and have kept it in mind since then for Mom. You see this past weekend was Mother’s Day weekend and my Mom LOVES chocolate mousse.  I mean loves-it’s her favorite dessert-so it was only fitting.


I’ll be honest. It was intimidating making a recipe from this book. There are no photos (which like to have), some of the other dishes seemed so rare/unheard of/dishes from back in the day (timbales of lettuce?! say what?!) and it’s by Simca. But once I took time to read and understand the recipe, measure out everything before I started and carefully follow her instructions it was really pretty easy.  It also didn’t take long at all to put together.  I did not include the optional Nougatine but I would imagine it adds a nice crunch (see bottom of post for recipe).

This mousse is RICH. Super rich. It’s not overly sweet at all because of the coffee added but rich none-the-less.  I must admit I’m not a huge chocolate fan-but I like this-a lot.  It’s not the typical lighter chocolate mousse infused with air.  It’s a dark, very dark chocolatey velvety textured concoction.  I imagine that fresh whipped cream on top would really be delicious as well.

We served it with a pot of tea and grilled pineapple as you can see in the photo below. The somewhat tart somewhat sweet warm pineapple went really well with the rich chocolate.  By the way if you’ve never grilled pineapple you’re really missing out.  We also drizzled some of  this caramel sauce onto it. Yummy!!!


Creme au Chocolat Meringuee (frozen chocolate mousse made with meringue)


  • 1&1/2 tbsp powdered instant coffee (I used 3 envelopes of Starbucks Via Colombia)
  • 7 ozs German’s sweet chocolate (cut into small pieces)
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 7 egg whites
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 5 tbsp confectioners sugar


  1. Set a double boiler on the stove and heat to a simmer.  Add the coffee and 1.5 tbsp boiling water and stir to dissolve.  Add the chocolate and stir until melted and smooth. Remove from heat and set aside.
  2. In a medium sized bowl beat the yolks and granulated sugar with a hand-held mixer until they are pale and creamy yellow.  Place the double boiler with chocolate back over the heat and stir in the egg yolk mixture. Stir until it almost reaches a boil then remove from heat and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl using a hand-held mixer beat the egg whites with the salt until they are white and frothy-about 2 minutes. Then add the vanilla and confectioners sugar and beat for about 5 minutes longer until the whites have increased in volume and the meringue is firm and very white ( look for a peak at the end of a finger dragged through).
  4. Gently fold the meringue into the tepid chocolate mixture (rewarm if necessary) being careful to incorporate all of the chocolate and meringue without breaking the egg whites.
  5. Pour into containers and place in freezer.

Nougatine (optional)


  • 1/2 cup walnuts or other nuts
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 300F.
  2. Put the walnuts into the oven to warm but not brown.
  3. Oil a metal baking sheet.
  4. Put 3 tbsp of water with the sugar into an enameled sauce pan and boil to form a light caramel sauce. Immediately add the warmed walnuts, stir to distribute the walnuts, and pour the nougatine onto the baking sheet and spread it into an even layer.
  5. Set it aside to cool and harden and then chop into rough pieces.


Brown Sugar, Oatmeal & Coconut Chewies

I love love love oatmeal cookies (but only those without raisins) and could eat brown sugar straight out of the jar it’s so delicious. And then there’s coconut. Delicious crunchy flaky coconut bits that remind me of sitting on a beach drinking one of those drinks where the top of the coconut has been hacked off. In other words this cookie is a culmination of 3 of my favorite things. It’s soft. It’s chewy. It has a little crunch from the coconut chips. Look-you can see the bits of the oatmeal and coconut flakes right there in the cookie. I know I was helping myself to the raw batter-bet you will too.  Make them. Today. Right now.


Brown Sugar, Oatmeal & Coconut Chewies


  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, slightly softened
  • 1 & 1/4 cups brown sugar, packed
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 & 1/4 cups AP flour
  • 1 cup quick cooking oats
  • 1 & 1/2 cups unsweetned flake coconut, crushed into small bits.


  1. Preheat oven to 350F and prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Add butter, brown sugar and white sugar to the bowl of a mixer and cream together until well combined.
  3. Add one egg at a time, mixing each until fully incorporated.
  4. Add the baking soda, baking powder and salt and mix until well combined.
  5. Add the flour in increments and mix until incorporated each time, scraping down the bowl often.
  6. Add the oats and coconut and mix until evenly incorporated.
  7. Make small 3/4 inch in diameter balls of dough, place them on the prepared baking sheet 1 inch apart.
  8. Bake in the preheated oven for 7-9 minutes until the edges are very very lightly browned and the center is still light and puffy.
  9. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes and then slide the parchment paper onto cooling racks (thus saving washing the cookie sheet and racks and getting crumbs underneath the racks).

I made these small bite-sized cookies for the April What’s Baking challenge. The theme this month was ‘bite-sized’ so I made the cookies very small. Small enough to fit 3 in my hand.   Makes approx. 60 cookies.  I froze half of the dough and only made about 30 cookies.



Here’s the link to the round-up of all of the other April What’s Baking goodies. How great everything looks!!!

Adapted from The Dough Will Rise Again.

Vanilla Fleur de Sel Caramel Sauce


Yum. Buttery sugary goodness that’s too often imitated so poorly. I’ve  made it a few times now from scratch and I’m hooked. I’ve been looking for variations on caramel candies because, while I love them, I know that I can do a lot more with it.

I had printed a delicious Caramel Budino recipe a year or so ago. I’ve never gotten around to making the Budino (but I will) but I really liked how vanilla salted caramel sauce that went with it sounded.

So this past Saturday I pulled out the recipe and started in. I photographed the process by which the ingredients turn from sugar/corn starch to yummy caramel. So many times I’d read recipes that tell me to look for ‘golden color’. Well-how golden is golden? I’ve burned a few batches standing over the stove, wondering just that. When I look down-poof-it’s a burned, stinking mess that goes in the garbage and stinks up my kitchen for a while; kind of like burned popcorn. So to avoid all confusion:

When sugar first starts to boil.

When sugar first starts to boil.

A little while longer.

A little longer still.

A little longer still.

If this was Star Wars these are the droids you're looking for.

If this was Star Wars these are the droids you’re looking for.

How I’ve lived without this sauce for my 37.5 years is now a mystery. How you’ve lived without it is a mystery as well. You should make this today-but you need to swear to me that you’ll say it ‘caramel’ and not ‘carmUl’ if you do.  There’s no ‘mul’ at the end of the word and there’s an ‘A’ in the middle. That’s one of my pet peeves.

I’ve heard a lot of people say ‘oh it’s hard to make caramel’. Let me reassure you. It’s not. If you pay attention, follow the directions and look at the photos above it’s really almost foolproof.  So put on some good music and get to it.

This recipe makes a fair amount. I’d say about 2 cups or so. The recipe below is a combination of the printed recipe and a generic caramel recipe I’ve used in the past.  Pour some over gelato, dip sliced granny smith apples into it (like I did late on Saturday), drizzle it over a cookie or a brownie.  And give some to someone else-they’ll love it!!


Vanilla Fleur de Sel Caramel Sauce


  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped and both bean and seeds set aside for use
  • 1&1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 5 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into 1/2″ cubes, chilled
  • 1&1/2 tsp fleur de sel


  1. Place the vanilla bean and seeds into a small measuring cup large enough to hold the heavy cream. Add the heavy cream and set aside.
  2.  Measure the butter and salt and set aside for use later.
  3. In a small sauce pan over low heat combine the butter, salt, cream and vanilla bean mixture. Cook, stirring occasionally, until butter melts. Allow it to simmer gently for a few minutes then remove from heat and set aside.
  4.  In a heavy bottomed sauce pan add the granulated sugar, corn syrup and water and cook over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. (It’s at this point that you should start singing along with Pink Floyd’s ‘Wish You Were Here’. The length of that song was how long it took to go from boiling to golden for me.) Allow the liquid to bubble over medium heat until that golden color in photo #4 arrives. It will take anywhere from 5-8 minutes depending on your stove and heat.  Gently swirl the pan a lot as it’s bubbling.
  5. While the sugar mixture is bubbling remove the vanilla bean from the cream. Make sure to squeeze all of the beans/cream out of the bean into the butter/cream mixture before you discard.  Do it fast and don’t stop paying attention to the sugar mixture.
  6. When the sugar mixture is the correct color remove the pan from the heat, gradually add the vanilla/butter/cream mixture (Be careful!! It bubbles vigorously!!). Reduce the heat to medium low and whisk the ingredients together until smooth and thick-about 2 minutes.

When the caramel has cooled a bit you may pour it into jars (I had 2 clean jam jars to reuse) to store in the refrigerator or eat it with a spoon right from the pan like I did.


Tim also loved it. How cute is it that he’s holding the bowl down with his foot? He’s making sure to get every last bit.


Pretty Pink Strawberry Sugar Cookies

I’ve recently joined a great group of girls who take part in a monthly baking challenge.  This month’s theme is ‘sprinkles’.   Jen at hosted the challenge. Check out everyone’s dishes here.  

Recently I had seen a recipe online or in a magazine with sugar cookes that had a few different shades of pink for the cookie and different pink and white sprinkles. I believe they were also strawberry flavored (unless that was a different cookie). At any rate these are now a combination of those cookies. They were so darn cute! So I used what I recalled of those for my inspiration.

Generally I use the drop liquid kind of food coloring but I guess that’s not made in pink because when I went to the craft store the guy told me that I’d have to get the gel and to only use a tiny bit at first. Boy was he right! It also helped me a great deal that Husband had given me some surgical gloves recently. They were fantastic to use as none of the coloring or bits of dough were stuck to my hands after. If you can find some-use them.


Pretty Pink Strawberry Sugar Cookies


  • 2 sticks usalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup confectioners sugar
  • 3/4 cup super-fine* sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 tbsp strawberry flavoring
  • 2&1/2 cups AP flour plus more for dusting
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • assorted sprinkles and pink gel coloring



  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. In a large bowl beat the butter and sugar until creamy.  Add the egg and strawberry flavoring and mix well.  Set aside.
  4. In another bowl add the flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk well to combine.
  5. Add the flour mixture, a bit at a time and incorporate fully, a little at a time.  If the dough is too moist add a tad more flour and combine. The dough should be soft but able to be rolled easily in the hand and not stick to your fingers when pressed.
  6. On a lightly dusted board roll the dough into a log. Divide into sections. 1 section for each color dough you’re going to make. I ended up with 3 (pic 1 below).
  7. Take the first section of dough and add the coloring, a tiny bit at a time, folding the dough over itself and then rotating to distribute color, until the desired color is achieved.  Repeat for the remaining sections. Wrap each section in plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.
  8. Remove the first section of dough from the fridge. Pinch off a small amount and roll into a 1.5 inch ball. Roll the ball in the sprinkles you want to use and then place the ball on the prepared baking sheet.  Place about 1.5 inches apart. Repeat until the cookie sheet is full.
  9. Using the bottom of a drinking glass with about a 2 inch diameter, gently press down the cookies until they’re all the same 2 inch diameter.
  10. Bake for 9-11 minutes.  Remove from oven, set aside to cool and then place gently on cooling wracks.




* to make super-fine sugar put granulated sugar in a food processor and process until super fine.

I had this recipe for the cookies in my huge binder of recipies I’ve printed out over the years. I have no idea where it came from.


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