strawberry bruschetta

Sick of strawberries yet?

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No?  Good.  Neither am I.

Continuing on with my strawberry obsession, I finally had to cave and give strawberry bruschetta a try.  The mix of sweet strawberries and fresh basil make this a sweet-savory snack that is hard to resist.  I added a drizzle of balsamic glaze to bump up the sweetness a bit, and even a smear of mascarpone which really made it about as close to perfect as it could get.  I mean, we already know that strawberries and mascarpone make a good team.

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I’ve also seen recipes that call for a smear of goat cheese, which would give it a nice tang to contrast the sweet strawberries, but that’s not really what I was looking for (goat cheese is not my favorite cheese).  If you’re really into goat cheese, go ahead and give it a shot, but I personally love the flavor of this with creamy mascarpone.

Strawberry Bruschetta

Printable Recipe

  • 1 baguette
  • 1 pint strawberries, washed, hulled, and diced
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 Tablespoon minced fresh basil
  • 2 – 4 ounces mascarpone or goat cheese (optional)
  • Balsamic glaze, for drizzling

1.  Mix strawberries, 2 teaspoons of balsamic vinegar, lemon zest, and basil in a medium bowl.  Toss to combine and set aside.

2.  Slice baguette into 1/4-inch thick slices.  Toast under the broiler until lightly golden on each side.

3.  Spread desired amount of cheese onto each slice of toasted baguette, and top with strawberry mixture.  Drizzle each slice with balsamic glaze.  Eat and enjoy.



strawberry mascarpone tart

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Things that are difficult to take pictures of: ice cream, anything shiny, and this strawberry tart.

I almost didn’t post the recipe because I didn’t have any pictures that I deemed worthy, but instead I just settled on this picture, taken with the BF’s iPad.

Why?  Because this recipe needs to be shared, people.  It’s so easy, and so refreshing, and so… perfect.  It’s light, refreshing, and the right amount of sweet.

The kid in me prefers a Nilla Wafer crust, but you could use a regular pie crust all the same, just baked according to its own directions.  You could even use one of those store-bought graham crusts if you were extra short on time, I’m sure it would still taste great!

Strawberry Mascarpone Tart

Makes 1 8- or 9- inch tart

Printable Recipe

For the Crust

•             2 2/3 cups vanilla wafer cookies

•             1 tbsp sugar

•             1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

•             4 tbsp butter, melted and cooled

•             1 egg, whisked with 1 Tablespoon water

For the Filling

•             2 lbs strawberries, stemmed and sliced or quartered

•             1/2 cup white sugar

•             1 Tablespoon lemon zest

•             1 teaspoon lemon juice

•             8 ounces mascarpone cheese

•             4 ounces whipped cream

•             1/2 teaspoon vanilla

•             1/3 cup powdered sugar

•             1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Make the crust

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.  Crush wafer cookies in a food processor until fine crumbs.  Add melted butter and vanilla extract and continue processing until blended.  Dump into pie or tart pan and press firmly into bottoms and sides (I find using the bottom/sides of a glass to help press makes a big difference).
  2. Brush bottom of crust with whisked egg and bake for 10 minutes until golden brown; cool completely (up to overnight) before filling.

Make the filling

  1. Toss the strawberries with half of the zest, all of the juice, and sugar in a large bowl; set aside for 30 minutes.
  2. While the strawberries are macerating, mix the mascarpone cheese with lemon zest, vanilla, and powdered sugar in a medium bowl until well combined.  Gently fold in the whipped cream; refrigerate until needed.
  3. After 30 minutes, strain juice from strawberries into a small saucepan.  Add the balsamic vinegar and bring to a boil of medium heat.  Reduce until thick enough to cover the back of a spoon, it should be like a syrup.  Set aside to cool.

Assemble the tart

  1.  Spread the mascarpone mixture over the bottom of the tart shell, top with strawberries (sometimes I arrange them fancily, other times I just dump them on top and spread them out, whatever your preference and energy levels call for that day), brush with balsamic syrup and chill until ready to serve.


[ Adapted from Simply Recipes ]



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strawberry and cream cookies

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So, clearly I’ve been on a bit of a strawberry kick lately.  I made my strawberry shortcake ice cream, this strawberry tart (recipe yet to come) for mother’s day, and these glorious things: strawberries and cream cookies.

Yes, they are as magical as they sound.

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These soft, pillowy cookies are filled with dried strawberries and white chocolate chips, these are guaranteed to please.  I’m not normally big on white chocolate, but I forgot to check for yogurt chips at the store, which would work just as well.  The white chocolate chips lend more of a “cream” flavor to these cookies though, and I promise that you won’t be disappointed.

The only thing that I regret is not putting more strawberries in, but unfortunately I lost more than anticipated in my, ahem, “quality control” phase.  I also would leave the strawberry chunks larger for the next batch.  I have rectified the issue of the missing strawberries in the recipe below, which should have enough strawberries to satisfy even the biggest of cravings.

I found my dried strawberries at Trader Joes.  You will need at least two bags, one for the cookies and one for yourself.

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Strawberry & Cream Cookies

Makes about 3 dozen small cookies

Printable Recipe

  • ¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature

  • ¾ cup brown sugar

  • ¼ cup sugar

  • 1 large egg, room temperature

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • ¾ to 1 cup dried strawberries*, chopped

  • ½ cup white chocolate or yogurt chips

Make the dough:

1.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt.

2.  In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until smooth.  Scrape down the bowl and add the white and brown sugars, cream together on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes, scraping down the sides and bottom of bowl as needed.  Add the egg and vanilla to the butter and beat until combined.  Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and continue beating about one minute more.

down the sides as needed..

3.  Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and pulse on low just until incorporated, being careful not to overmix.  Stir in chopped strawberries* and white chocolate chips.

*You could also reserve some of the chopped strawberries to press into the cookie tops once scooped to ensure even distribution.

4. 2 options here:

– Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, pressing the wrap onto the surface of the dough, and chill for 1 – 2 hours.  Scoop dough onto parchment-lined baking sheets and bake following directions below.

– Scoop cookie dough onto a parchment-lined baking sheet that will fit into your freezer, gently flatten the tops of the cookies and cover with plastic wrap.  Freeze for 1 to 2 hours and either bake (on a new, room-temperature, parchment-lined baking sheet) according to directions below or transfer to a freezer-safe bag for longer storage.

To bake:

1.  Preheat oven to 350F.

2.  Bake chilled cookie dough 8 minutes (refrigerated) to 11 minutes (frozen), until the cookies are puffed and the edges are just golden.

3.  Remove from oven and let cookies cool on the baking sheet 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely

*Baked cookies can be stored up to 10 days in an airtight container.


[ Cookie base recipe adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction ]



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strawberry shortcake ice cream

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Summer is upon us!  Yes, I realize that summer doesn’t officially arrive until June, but our high today is 100.  And tomorrow?  103.

So yeah, it’s hot and I’m sad and I probably won’t go outside again until October.  Not if I can help it, at least.

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Needless to say I found the perfect way to cool down – vanilla ice cream swirled with strawberries and angel food cake.

It’s best to make the strawberry swirl first, that way it has time to adequately chill before you add it to the ice cream.

Strawberry Shortcake Ice Cream

Makes 1 quart

Printable Recipe

  • 1 recipe vanilla ice cream (below)
  • 1 recipe strawberry sauce (below) or good quality strawberry jam
  • 1 cup angel food cake or pound cake, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 1 gallon-sized storage bag
  • 1 32-ounce freezer-safe storage container

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 ½ ounces (3 Tablespoons) cream cheese, softened)
  • 1 ¼ cups heavy cream
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch into 2 tablespoons of the milk.  In a large bowl, whisk the cream cheese, salt, and vanilla bean paste until smooth.  Fill another large bowl with ice water.

In a large saucepan, combine the remaining milk with the heavy cream, sugar, and corn syrup.  Bring the milk mixture to a boil and cook over medium heat until the sugar, about 4 minutes.  Remove the pan from the burner and gradually whisk in the cornstarch mixture.  Return the milk mixture to a boil and cook over medium-high heat for exactly 1 minute. The mixture will be slightly thickened.

Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese until smooth.  Let cool slightly and transfer to a gallon-sized ziploc bag.  Submerge the bag in the ice water and let stand until cold, about 20 minutes.  Once chilled you can dry the bag and put it in the refrigerator until ready to mix, or up to one day.

When ready to churn your ice cream, snip the corner off of the bag and empty into an ice cream maker; freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions.  Pack the ice cream into your storage container (a 32-ounce ziploc storage container is the perfect size), layering with the strawberry swirl and the cake cubes. (ice cream, then strawberry, then cake, repeat).

Press a sheet of plastic wrap or parchment paper directly onto the surface of the ice cream and close with an airtight lid. Freeze the vanilla ice cream until firm, about 4 hour

For the Strawberry Swirl

  • 2 cups strawberries, hulled (I actually used frozen because my fresh strawberries weren’t as ripe as I’d have liked)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar

Bring berries and sugar to a boil in a small saucepan over medium high heat.

Continue boiling until berries break down and a thick sauce forms (5 to 8 minutes), stirring occasionally.

Let cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until ready to use.


[ ice cream recipe adapted from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home ]




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In Defense of Valentine’s Day

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Valentine’s Day gets a lot of grief from an ever-growing anti-Valentine crowd.  The “nonbelievers” (as I shall call them) seem to think that it’s not a “real” holiday.  Another excuse is that you should show someone you love them every day and “not just on Valentine’s Day.”

So,  maybe Valentine’s Day has become overly-commercialized, unlike  St. Patrick’s Day and Mardi Gras, which are “real” and happily-celebrated holidays (at least by the non-believers that I know).  And maybe it has been hijacked by greeting card and candy companies, unlike those other real holidays (I’m lookin’ at you, Christmas and Easter).

I happen to like Valentine’s Day.  Possibly because I have a severe medium addiction to chocolate and will happily celebrate any holiday that make it acceptable for me to receive an entire box of it, but also because it’s a pretty easy holiday.  I only have one gift to buy, only one other person to feed, and I don’t have to binge-drink 1,000 pounds of green food coloring.  (Red food coloring is way better for your health, true story*)

*Totally not a true story.  Just made that up to support my argument. 

Of course, Valentine’s Day is not about candy or presents, and you don’t need a special day to show someone that you love them (If you are only showing affection one day out of the year, there may be many issues at play there).  The BF and I do little things for each other every day, but going out of your way to not celebrate a day that is dedicated to the one(s) you love just seems like a silly concept.

To me, at least.

So, even if you do something special every day, why not do it on February 14th?  What did February 14th ever do to you?

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Even if you don’t have a sweetheart, you can spread the love to your friends and/or co-workers.   What’s wrong with having just one more day of the year that you can show the people you love (or just the people you spend your day with) that you care?

And, even if you’re still not convinced…  Even if you’re still set on being a Valentine Scrooge…

Even if you “don’t believe” in Valentine’s Day…

I’m pretty sure that you probably believe in brownies.

So, Scrooge, make these brownies on the 13th, or the 15th, or make them in April for all I care.

Make the frosting orange or blue or whatever color you want, crush up the hearts and sprinkle them on top, broken and shattered.

But please, don’t take your hatred of Valentine’s Day out on these poor, innocent brownies.  Don’t let your Scroogeness (totally a word) prevent you from trying these delicious, bite-size morsels.

So make these for your sweetheart, or your friends, or your co-workers, or yourself.

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Not super into the whole chocolate/strawberry combo?  The frosting recipe for this is like the easiest thing ever and infinitely adaptable.  You can just replace strawberry jam with the flavor of your choice:  Raspberry jam?  Peanut butter?  Nothing at all?  Whatever floats your boat.

After I made these, I totally realized that I did a strawberry and chocolate combo last year for Valentine’s Day, too.  What can I say, chocolate and strawberry is the BF’s favorite combo, and Valentine’s Day is all about him.

Well, for me it is.  Hopefully not for you.  That would just be silly.  (Plus I would totally fight you.*)

*Just kidding.  I love you.  It’s Valentine’s Day.  Have a brownie.

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Valentine Brownie Bites with Strawberry Marshmallow Frosting

Makes: 24 mini brownie bites with frosting

Note: Following the recipe from its source yielded WAY MORE than the 24 mini brownies that it claimed, I’ve provided the halved recipe below, which should give you enough for 24 brownie bites and frosting for each. 

Printable Recipe

For the brownies:

  • 1 cup  sugar
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 5 Tablespoons cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt

For the frosting:

  • ½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 7-ounce container of  marshmallow fluff
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup seedless strawberry jam
  • pink or red food coloring, if desired
  • decorations, if desired

Make the brownies:
1.  Preheat oven to 350°F and line a mini muffin tin with 24 of the cutest  mini paper liners you can find.
2.  In a large mixing bowl, stir together the sugar, oil, vanilla, and eggs.  In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, and salt.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until just incorporated.
3.  Spoon into 24 prepared mini paper liners and bake  for 10 minutes.  After 10 minutes of baking, turn the heat off and leave pan in the oven for another 5 to 6  minutes.  Remove pan from oven and let cool for 5 minutes before removing individual brownie bites to a rack to cool completely.  The tops will be dry and slightly cracked.
(To make in standard muffin tins, bake for 19-20 minutes at 350°F, then turn off the oven and let sit for another 10 minutes before removing from the oven.  Cool in the pan 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to complete cooling.)

Make the frosting:
1, In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter until smooth and creamy.  Add marshmallow fluff and continue beating until combined.  Add the powdered sugar and mix to incorporate, then and the jam and continue beating until it is evenly distributed.
At this point the frosting will be a light pink or red color depending on the jam you used, you can beat in food coloring (I did) to achieve your desired color.

2. Top brownie bites with frosting and sprinkles.  I scooped the frosting into a gallon-size ziplock and cut off one of the corners of the bag making an opening between ¼ to ½ inch in diameter.  Gently squeeze frosting into the cupcake, creating a frosting “bubble”.

[ Adapted from: A Farmgirl’s Dabbles ]
If you like these brownies, you may enjoy these other romantic sweets:
dsc_5818small  mocha brownie thumb  chocolate cake thumb