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Posts Tagged ‘dessert’

Nun’s puffs

Nun's Puffs dessert

I really have no idea why they’re called “nun’s puffs,” but if anyone knows where this deceptively stoic name came from, I’d love to hear it. (Sorry for the dark pictures, by the way… I seem to always be cooking after the sun goes down and may also not be interested in taking the time to arrange my photos before chowing down.)

They have a unique cooking process, and they call for ingredients you probably have on hand. They end up with a pretty significant pocket of air inside, but that just means you can eat more with less guilt, right? Don’t listen to me...

Stephen loves them (I do too!) and has asked for them several times since. Though still delicious by themselves, they’re not very sweet, so they make a great dessert drizzled with some honey.

Random side note: My friend owns a “bee farm,” Desert Creek Honey, and we get our honey from him. You cannot beat local, all-natural, raw North Texas honey – so good for you, and so delicious! I highly recommend them.

Ingredients

The recipe comes from Better Homes and Gardens. They’re pretty “eggy,” so if you just can’t stand eggs for some reason, you may want to avoid nun’s puffs.

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 Tbs sugar (optional: you can also mix in about 1 tsp cinnamon with the sugar if you want a light cinnamon flavor)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375° F.

  1. Grease a muffin tin, including around the edges and top of all 12 cups.
  2. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan, then add the milk. Bring to a boil.
  3. Add the flour all at once and stir vigorously until it forms a ball that is somewhat solid and doesn’t run all over the place.
  4. Remove from heat and let it cool for 5 minutes.
  5. Add the eggs one at a time, stirring vigorously with a wooden spoon for 1 minute after each addition or until smooth.
  6. Divide dough into the 12 muffin cups (they should be about 2/3 full) and sprinkle with sugar (or cinnamon-sugar mixture).
  7. Bake 30 minutes or until puffy and golden-brown. They will deflate a little after a while, so they’re best served immediately, but they’re still wonderful the next day!

I made them a few months ago, but I never got around to posting the recipe. However, now that I don’t have time to cook much, I’m glad I have an arsenal of pictures/recipes that haven’t yet been posted!

Nun Puffs recipe

And while I’m at it, may I just say that these expressions on that tiny face are enough to make me smile uncontrollably?

Baby Lightning Faces

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Slice of chocolate peanut butter pie

Let me introduce you to one of the simplest equations in the universe:

Chocolate + Peanut Butter = BLISS

I’m glad we’ve got that settled. No variables here. Refer to my post on the Chocolate Peanut Butter Shake with No Ice Cream for my feelings on the subject.

So I was making this pie a few weeks ago, and Stephen inquired as to why I hadn’t blogged about it yet, because I was depriving the world of a great treasure. Except he didn’t use those exact words about the treasure. But he was right – I needed to pass it along! (You can thank him later.) It will make your taste buds yodel and do the polka, which is kind of cool since I’m pretty sure I didn’t know how to do the polka. Or yodel, for that matter.

Chocolate and peanut butter. Such a beautiful thing.

Ingredients

The original recipe came from the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook, but of course I always make a few adaptations.

Crust

  • 1 1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs (You can buy them pre-crumbled, or just put some whole graham crackers in a large ziploc bag and mash them until they’re crumbs)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup melted butter

Filling

  • 1 8-oz package cream cheese, softened (I use Neufchâtel cheese, which is usually right next to the cream cheese and will probably say something like “1/3 less fat than cream cheese” on the package)
  • 3/4 cup peanut butter (I use creamy, but crunchy works)
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 Tbs milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup whipping cream (as in, heavy whipping cream – NOT “whipped cream.” You’ll find it in the store next to the half-and-half)
  • 2 Tbs powdered sugar
  • 3/4 cup miniature semisweet chocolate pieces (I have actually never used these. I’ve always just used regular-size and chopped them up, or I’ve used squares of baker’s chocolate and chopped/shaved it really small. But if you get them small it will save you some work and some dishes!)

So I know it looks like a lot of ingredients, but it’s really not. I just apparently talk a lot in my comments after each ingredient.

Directions

This really is embarrassingly easy.

  1. For the crust, mix all 4 ingredients and press the mixture into the bottom and sides of a pie pan. Bake at 350° F for 5-7 minutes. Let it cool while making the filling.
  2. For the filling, beat the cream cheese and peanut butter in a large mixing bowl until smooth. Add the 1 cup powdered sugar, milk and vanilla, beating until combined.
  3. Beat the whipping cream and 2 Tbs powdered sugar in a separate bowl until peaks begin to form and stand by themselves (NOW it’s whipped cream). Gently mix about 1/3 of the whipped cream mixture into the peanut butter mixture, and then mix in the rest, along with the chocolate pieces.
  4. Spoon the mixture into the pie crust and smooth the top. Sprinkle the top with any remaining chocolate. Cover and chill until set, about 2 hours (unless you put it in the freezer because you can’t wait any longer, in which case it takes significantly less time).
I would eat that even without something in it:
Chocolate graham cracker pie crust
The humble beginnings:
Peanut butter and cream cheese in the mixing bowl
It’s coming together:
Blended peanut butter and cream cheese
Whipping cream, post-whip:
Whipping cream in a mixing bowl
Chopped up pieces from a couple of baker’s squares of chocolate:
Chopped-up chocolate
It really is a thing of beauty:
Angled view of chocolate peanut butter pie
P.S. Please excuse the TERRIBLE lighting; I got the urge to make it long after natural light was no longer available…

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Frozen drink chocolate peanut butter milkshake in a glass

I don’t keep ice cream in our home. I will eat it. I’m fine with eating ice cream in isolated instances at another place, but there is just no sense in keeping ice cream here. I will eat it. All of it. Bad idea. ANYWAY…. that means that I never have the essential milkshake ingredient. I was really feeling a milkshake tonight, though, so I did what I do best: I scrounged.

Ingredients

Oh man. Did I measure? Of course not. Just dump it in the blender. But I’ll give you my best guess. 🙂

  • 20ish cubes of ice
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 heaping Tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3-4 Tbs sugar (or a few good squirts of honey might be good instead)
  • milk (pour it into the blender last, until it goes about halfway up the mound of ice and peanut butter)
The great thing about milkshakes is that they’re incredibly forgiving. You don’t have to be exact. You can throw a bunch of random stuff in there and there’s a pretty good chance it will turn out delicious. And if not, throw something else into the mix and it will probably balance out the problem.
Have I mentioned that chocolate and peanut butter were made for each other?

Directions

Well, it doesn’t get much easier than this.

  1. Dump all ingredients into the blender.
  2. Blend.
  3. Wash the blender (I had to include another step in there somehow).
It was a total experiment, and I thought it was delicious! I proudly handed Stephen a glass of it, and after taking a sip, he announces: “That’s DECENT!” (Apparently that’s a huge compliment in some parts of Mississippi, according to his friend. I didn’t take it as such. He said he was just teasing. And then he jumped up and down and fake squealed in excitement. I’m not sure which reaction I prefer.).
But seriously, folks. Despite the surrounding drama, we both thought it was delicious, and certainly healthier than ice cream.
Disclaimer: Stephen is no drama queen. And I’m not a delicate flower whose emotional stability teeters on the edge of milkshake approval. He was totally kidding. And he really did love it. We’re just weird like that.

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Fruit smoothie in blue cup with a straw

Mmmm.

Frozen fruit medley.

Milk.

Vanilla extract.

Sugar.

Mmmm.

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homemade gingerbread cookies with raisins

I have no idea where she got this recipe. All I know is, it was a legend in our family, and I have very fond memories of this special treat. It’s fun, versatile, easy, unique and delicious. Really, it’s that awesome.

My sister-in-law, Rebecca, came over and made these with me tonight, molding them into adorable shapes and popping them in the oven. That, coupled with watching the movie Julie & Julia while the dough was in the refrigerator, made us feel all culinary and inspired and French. We can dream.

Ingredients

It’s actually pretty basic. The only thing you might not have on hand is molasses. It looks like a long list, but it’s mostly just spices.

  • 1 cup butter (I always use unsalted)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar (packed down in the measuring cup)
  • 2/3 cup molasses
  • 4 cups flour
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves (optional, but I always use it)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla

I also sometimes use raisins on the cookies when I’m molding them into shapes.

Directions

You need to set aside a little time to make these, but it’s mostly just waiting. There’s hardly any busy work. I made a second batch of dough tonight to bring to a friend’s house tomorrow so we can just mold it into shapes and bake it.

  1. Melt the butter, brown sugar and molasses together in a medium saucepan. Stir, and then let cool for at least 10 minutes (If it’s too hot, it will scald the egg).
  2. Combine all remaining dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.
  3. Add the egg and vanilla to the butter mixture, then immediately add it to the flour mixture and stir well. Cover and chill the dough at least 2 hours, or overnight.
  4. Form shapes on ungreased cookie sheets (I always use Airbake cookie sheets, they’re amazing. Its virtually impossible to burn the bottom of your cookies on those.). Make sure they’re not too close together, because they do rise a little. Bake 12-15 minutes at 325°. Remove from pan and let cool (or not…).

They’re awesome with milk, but sadly I didn’t have any in my refrigerator tonight. Thanks for baking with me, Becca!

Melting butter with molasses and brown sugar

 

Dry ingredients in mixing bowl

 

Melted butter, molasses, brown sugar, egg and vanilla

 

Mixing bowl with dry and liquid ingredients

 

Gingerbread cookie dough after refrigerating

 

Cookie dough twist

Becca is neat and organized. Here are her cookies lined up in pretty rows:

Organized cookies

I am random and sporadic. Here are my cookies sprawled all over the cookie sheet:

Random sporadic cookies on cookie sheet

Et voilà!

Homemade braided gingerbread cookie

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