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Easy Caramel Tarts

19 Aug Caramel tart

Since today is my birthday, instead of a cake, I opted to make something a little less traditional to celebrate. I’m obsessed with caramel—I could drink the stuff—so I decided to make a really easy caramel tart. The tarts are small, eliminating the risk of eating 4 slices, and fast to assemble, which meant I didn’t have to slave in the kitchen on a day when I should be relaxing.

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Chrusciki

7 Aug chrusciki

I will always remember a highlight of family get-togethers being the chrusciki – a Polish cookie – that my grandmother used to bring. Even though everyone in the family called them by a different name – “chirogies,” “chiregies,” never “chrusciki” – these crispy, light cookies were always a hit. Then one year my grandma declared a moratorium on chrusciki, saying they were too much trouble to make. We never had chrusciki again – until this year when I decided to take on the task.

Grandma was right. The process of making chrusciki is involved, including rolling out the dough, cutting the shapes, frying the cookies, and coating them in powdered sugar.

chrusciki dough

I rolled the dough through a pasta machine to get it this thin.

It was an all-morning cookie assembly line, but, in the end, everyone loved the treat.

frying chrusciki

Frying the cookies

Sfinges

9 Mar st joseph pastry

Last year, I encouraged you to go out and eat a sfinge, but this year, I want you to make your own. St. Joseph’s Day (Mar. 19th) is fast approaching, so I decided to tackle this recipe. It has homemade cannoli cream (which I could eat by the bucket), chocolate chips, and candied fruit. Since sfinges are my all-time favorite dessert, I anxiously await the start of Lent each year – the only time these delicious treats are available at my local bakery. Now that I can personally whip up a batch, there might be trouble. Sfinge Fridays anyone?

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Pie Bites

3 Mar pie bites

I’ve been thinking about Bakerella’s cake balls lately and with the ongoing battle between cake and pie (go Team Pie!), I thought it was pie’s time to become bite-sized and round. So I made pie bites. These are a great treat for pie crust aficionados out there (since there’s more crust than filling). They taste like shortbread with a fruity filling (and covered in chocolate, if you choose).

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Easy Chocolate Ice Cream

23 Feb chocolate ice cream

Even though it’s winter and I’m curled under a blanket half the time, I’ve got ice cream on my mind (it’s an obsession). It’s definitely an anytime-of-the-year treat.

This is the best chocolate ice cream I’ve ever had. And I hardly like chocolate (so I think that’s saying something). I added mini Reese’s peanut cups to this batch to jazz it up a bit.

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Maple Glazed Donuts

2 Feb maple donuts

Last night, on a whim, I decided to make donuts—this is what happens when you have extra frying oil lying around. We just bought some maple sugar (maple ice cream recipe coming soon) so I made a maple glaze. I also filled one of the donuts, sans hole, with pistachio pudding. Overall, it was a success.

Cabernet Caramel Ice Cream

1 Feb cabernet caramel ice cream

I’ve loved ice cream for as long as I can remember and I’ve been obsessed with developing my own flavors since I took a class on the subject in college. For the class, my group developed a winner: vanilla ice cream with a cabernet caramel swirl and fudge pieces. I haven’t been able to get that flavor out of my head ever since, so I’m recreating it in my own kitchen.

Trust me: make the cabernet swirl. It’s so good, even on its own. It tastes like concentrated jam.

Side note: If you’re curious about how much butterfat your homemade ice cream recipe has, use this handy calculator: butterfat calculator (this recipe has 17.6%).

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