Super Easy Key Lime Pie

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I looooove key lime pie, and now that summer is fast approaching, it’s an excellent warm weather dessert. It requires minimal cooking, is refreshingly tart and creamy, and is served nice and chilly. Plus, there’s a super easy recipe for it just below this paragraph. Don’t believe me? TAKE A LOOK!

Key Lime Pie

For the crust:
7 oz graham crackers or ginger snaps, pulverized into crumbs
1 pinch salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the filling:
1 can sweetened condensed milk
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup fresh key lime or lime juice
2 teaspoons freshly grated zest
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream (optional)
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar (optional)

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Combine the cookie crumbs, salt, and butter. Press into the pie pan in an even layer and up the sides.
  3. Bake for 8 minutes. Turn the oven down to 325 degrees.
  4. Combine the sweetened condensed milk, egg yolks, lime juice, and zest. Whisk until well combined and pour into the pie crust.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes until set and just a little jiggly. Let cool completely.
  6. If using the whipped cream: whip the cold cream and sugar in a chilled bowl until stiff peaks form. Spread or pipe on top.
  7. Chill pie for 2-3 hours before eating. Store covered in the fridge for up to 3 days.
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Super Easy Key Lime Pie

Confetti Cookies

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I made Smitten Kitchen’s Confetti Cookies for a friend’s birthday and they were adorable and totally delicious.

I honestly didn’t change a thing other than I was a bit stingy with the sprinkles. A couple of tips, though: include the almond extract and don’t over-bake them. They’re pretty amazing when they’re soft. Also, the dough freezes great.

Make some!

Confetti Cookies

Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes

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When cooking at home, I dabble with vegan baking in an effort to make things a bit healthier/I’m too lazy to run to the market for eggs. One vegan recipe that never fails me is chocolate cake. It’s super easy to make, doesn’t take any weird ingredients, and turns out moist and delicious. If I’m making chocolate cake at home, 95% of the time I’m making a recipe like the one below. Even if you’re not vegan (I’m not) try it out! So good.

Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes
adapted from Chowhound
makes 10-12 cupcakes

1/2 cup plain almond or soy milk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup room temperature coffee
1/3 cup canola oil
1 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line one muffin pan with liners.
2. Add the milk and vinegar to a large bowl and mix. Let sit for a few minutes to curdle. Add the sugar, coffee, oil, and vanilla and whisk until well combined.
3. In a separate bowl, sift together all of the dry ingredients (flour, cocoa, soda, baking powder, salt).
4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in a couple of batches and whisk until no large lumps remain.
5. Fill the liners 2/3 full. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool completely before icing or eating.

I used this vegan chocolate frosting recipe. Cut the recipe by 1/3 if you’re making the recipe above as written.

Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes

Blueberry-Almond Scones

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If you think of scones as dense, dry mounds of dough, then you haven’t had a good, fresh scone. The trick to making them moist, tender and flavorful is lots of butter and a healthy dosing of buttermilk. At least, that’s what this recipe uses. Also in this recipe: a mound of blueberries and almonds add welcome fruity and nutty flavor.

We could argue about what makes a scone a scone and maybe these are just weird, extra buttery muffins? But why spend our time arguing when we could be eating these scones?

The base of the recipe below comes from my mother, which comes from a tea shop in my hometown. If you’re ever in Robertson County, Tennessee (you never know), make sure you stop in at Burdett’s Tea Shop. The quiche is named after my mother and is delish.


Blueberry-Almond Scones

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

1 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

Sift the above dry ingredients together in a large bowl.

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, cubed

Cut the butter into the dry ingredients using knives or a pastry cutter until the butter is pea-sized.

1 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup fresh blueberries (see note for frozen)

Add the buttermilk, almond extract, and blueberries and mix with a spoon until a dough forms. Dust a counter with flour and add dough. Pat or roll the dough into a 1/2″ thick disc, using more flour as needed. Cut into eight wedges and place on parchment-lined baking sheet.

1/4 cup heavy cream or buttermilk
1 tablespoon sugar
1/3 cup slivered almonds

Brush the tops with cream or buttermilk, sprinkle with sugar, and top with almonds, lightly pressing them in.

Bake at 425 degrees in the middle of the oven for about 15 minutes. Scones are done when they are golden brown, tall, and brown but not burnt on the bottom.

Notes:
If you use frozen blueberries, toss them with a tablespoon of flour first to keep them from bleeding too much.
Eating one later? Reheat your scones in a 350 degree oven for 5 minutes.

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Blueberry-Almond Scones

To a Whale of a Wife Ice Cream Cake

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For this installment of my monthly “Cooking The Simpsons” series, I tackle a whale of an ice cream cake. Check out the article to hear all about the backstory and read my detailed instructions for making what is essentially a Fudgy the Whale cake.

The layers of chocolate ice cream, fudge, chocolate cookie crumbs, vanilla ice cream, and whipped cream make this cake very nostalgic and classically delicious. But don’t stop there! Below are some other flavor combos for really mixing things up. You can use my basic instructions and simply replace the ingredients with the ones listed below. Woo hoo!

  • Strawberry ice cream + Chocolate cookie crumbs and fudge + Vanilla ice cream = Neapolitan
  • Chocolate chip ice cream + a layer of chopped cherries and fudge + Chocolate chip ice cream = Chocolate-covered cherry
  • Vanilla ice cream + Caramel sauce + Chocolate ice cream = Milky Way
  • Mint chocolate chip ice cream + Chocolate cookie crumbs and fudge + Mint chocolate chip ice cream = Grasshopper
  • Strawberry ice cream + Chopped strawberries and vanilla cookie crumbs + Vanilla ice cream = Strawberry shortcake
  • Coffee ice cream + Fudge + Vanilla ice cream = Mocha

The only limit is your imagination (and some general rules about flavor combinations)! Make one for your Memorial Day gathering and kick off summer in the most drool-worthy way possible.

To a Whale of a Wife Ice Cream Cake

Frozen Chocolate Banana Bites

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If you’ve got a surplus of not-TOO-ripe bananas and/or want a totally sweet but relatively healthy treat, I present to you the frozen chocolate banana. You may have had a frozen banana on a boardwalk or at a fair or have just heard about them from Arrested Development (there’s always money in the banana stand). They happen to be cheap and easy to make, and last for months in your freezer. Plus, dark chocolate and sweet, creamy bananas go together so well that it’ll trick your brain into thinking that you’re eating an ice cream bar.

Dark Chocolate Banana Bites

You’ll need:

  • bananas (note: Pretty firm but sweet bananas work best. I like using bananas that are totally yellow and might have just a few spots, but no riper.)
  • dark chocolate
  • sprinkles and/or sea salt and/or chopped nuts (optional)

Method:

  • Peel and cut the bananas into three or four equal pieces.
  • Place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet an inch apart. Freeze for two hours.
  • Heat the chocolate in a double boiler, or use a heat-proof bowl over a pot of simmering water. Stir often until almost completely melted and remove from heat.
  • Continue to stir until totally melted and the chocolate has cooled a bit.
  • Remove the bananas from the freezer. Using a slotted spoon or fork and working quickly, submerge each banana piece. Quickly remove the banana from the chocolate, tap once or twice to remove excess chocolate, and place on another parchment-lined baking sheet.
  • Once you’ve completed a few, top with sprinkles or nuts or sea salt before the chocolate sets.
  • Repeat until all of the bananas are covered in chocolate and your topping of choice.
  • Place back in the freezer for at least one hour. Transfer to an airtight container and store in the freezer for up to two or three months.

Note: Working quickly is important, since melty bananas don’t like to adhere to chocolate, and cold chocolate doesn’t like to coat bananas. You may need to reheat your chocolate a bit part way through. As soon as it starts to show signs of thickening up, stick it back over simmering water—don’t wait until its already a hardened mess.

Note: If you’re making a large batch, you may want to only remove half or a third of the frozen bananas at a time so that they don’t defrost too much before being dunked in chocolate. You may also want to melt your chocolate in batches as well.

Frozen Chocolate Banana Bites

Ice Cream Cone S’mores

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While camping in Morro Bay, we put our fire pit to good use. After grilling up cheesy veggie flatbreads, we tried out a new trick for dessert. We each stuffed our own sugar cone to the top with a mix of dark chocolate chips and mini marshmallows and wrapped them tightly in foil (be careful not to be too rough, I broke one of my cones this way).S'mores cone

If you have a calmer fire, stick them in the grates like the photo above and let them heat up while you clean up your dinner mess. If your fire is pretty hot like our’s, I started them out on their side, rotating them after a couple of minutes, and then poked them through the grates to finish. This way the bottom won’t burn, but hopefully when you unwrap your cones, they’ll be nice and melty inside. Once you check and see if they’re done, be sure to let them cool for a minute before digging in.

It’s a great way to enjoy a s’more without the need for skewers, and they’re not quite as messy. We liked them so much we made two for each of us.

Ice Cream Cone S’mores