Pies, Tia's Treat of the Week

Individual Makes It Sweeter

Thanksgiving means pie.  Don’t try to deny it.  You’re guests are expecting pumpkin and probably apple.  How can you surprise them with something different, but sticking to traditions?  Make it individual.

Tia made this little goodie as a Treat of the Week and vowed to never do it again.  It’s a popular post 0n Pinterest and has it’s good points.  It’s something different when an apple pie is pretty expected.  It presents well on a prepare plate.  You do need to have a pretty good crust recipe because there is a lot of it.

In the comments let us know how it turns out for you.

Cupcakes

TTW: Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes

These were delicious cupcakes.  The creamy filling keeps the cake moist and compliments the chocolate nicely.  If you’d like to try it, here’s the recipe she used.  Tia said, “This was my first experience with filled cupcakes and I am proud to say it was a successful venture!  These were very, very good!  Rave reviews all around.”

Rating: Creamy Cake Yums

Cupcakes, Tia's Treat of the Week

TTW: Gingerbread Cupcakes

When Tia said she was going to make a gingerbread cupcake, I sneered.  I scoffed.  I huffed and said “Who likes gingerbread?  I mean you’re forced to at Christmas time, but why would someone choose to eat it?”  Boy, was I wrong.

People couldn’t get enough of it.  People who usually pass up sweets and baked treats, were grabbing for this spiced creation.  They were raving about the moistness of the cake and how the frosting wasn’t “too sweet.”  Even when I followed it up with “You’d choose this over a classic chocolate cake?”  There response was quick and a unanimous “hands down.”  (I have to admit it was a pretty good cupcake.  And I love chocolate.)

If you are trying to find a different cake to serve your friends who aren’t into desserts, you might want to try this one.

Rating: Surprisingly (to me) Delish

Tia’s Note:  I doubled this recipe as I was making it for my team, but there really was no need as it made a TON!  Also, don’t fill all the way to the top like the recipe says, I would recommend 1/2 to 3/4.  Other than that, they turned out great and very yummy!  They were a BIG hit!

Bars, Tia's Treat of the Week

TTW: The Pantry Brownie

The official name to this is the Ultimate Pretzel Crusted Peanut Butter Cookie Candy Brownie Bars.  Seriously?  How is anyone supposed to wait around for you to get out the title before you dive into this awesome brownie?  So, I changed the name.  Yeah, I did it just like that.

With all the ingredients being common pantry items (well, awesome junk food pantry items), I thought this would be as good a title as any.  It’s a pretty rich brownie and might be too much for some people.  Pretzels are used for the bottom crust so you get that salty taste mixed with the sweet smooshed-in-the-middle candy bar only to be topped by the chocolate brownie masterpiece.  It’s a nice treat to spoil yourself when you feel like splurging.

Rating:  Spoil Yourself Delish

Tia’s Note:  I made these for my team today.  I may have overcooked just slightly in my quest to make sure they didn’t turn out a gooey mess, but still got reviews they were OMGood!

Bars, Tia's Treat of the Week

TTW: Lemon Bars

It should be a crime to use lemons for anything but Lemondrop martinis.  Okay, maybe that’s a little drastic.  If you do end up having tons of lemons you aren’t sure what to do with them, here is a great, easy, summer recipe.

These lemon bars are a fabulous combination of tart and sweet.  They have the traditional smooth insides with a flakey texture from the crust.  Lemon bars are one of my favorite desserts.  With looking at how easy they are to whip up, they will be one of yours too.

2 c flour
½ c plus 2 tbsp, confectioner’s sugar, divided
1 c butter
4 eggs
2 c sugar
1/3 c fresh lemon juice

  1. Preheat oven to 350o F. Mix flour and ½ c confectioner’s sugar in a bowl.  Cut in butter using a pastry blender or 2 knives until crumbly.
  2. Pat mixture gently into a 9×13-inch baking dish.  Bake for 15 minutes or until the crust is lightly browned.
  3. Beat eggs, sugar and lemon juice in bowl until smooth.  Pour over crust.
  4. Bake for 20 minutes longer or until set.  Cool on a wire rack.  Sprinkle with remaining confectioner’s sugar.  Cut into bars.

Rating: Lemon Fresh Delish

Cakes, Tia's Treat of the Week

TTW: Buttermilk Blueberry Breakfast Cake

This is a perfect treat for a 4th of July morning.  And it’s super good, too!  I’m not a big fan of the blueberry muffin, but this cake is so much more.  The cake is moist, light and a nice ratio of blueberries to cake.  The crust on top has a crunch and a beautiful brown color.  The buttermilk does something to it to give it that something different.  But it’s the lemon zest that steals the show.  It gives a refreshing taste to the small blue fruit.

Tia served it warm and it was blueberry goodness.

The recipe is found here:  http://www.alexandracooks.com/2011/06/29/buttermilk-blueberry-breakfast-cake/  It has beautiful photos to take you through the steps and make even the most novice baker create something delish!

Rating: Patriotic Delish

Scones

TTW: Raspberry and White Chocolate Scone

Breakfast is one of those meals where it’s hard not to go with one of the regulars such as bagels, donuts, or cinnamon rolls.  Anything outside of that and you are likely to start a riot.  Tia was bold and went for an english classic.  While it’s true, if you add white chocolate and raspberries to anything, you’re making it a safer bet. But there is still a chance a scone won’t cut it.

After fielding tons of questions about “what is a scone?” the group gave it a favorable rating.  This biscuit like, handheld, breakfast treat had a nice crust on the outside and was soft in the middle.  Some scones have the tendency to be dry, but this stayed moist.  Almost like a well-baked muffin.  It didn’t require any of the traditional toppings such as butter or honey because it held up all on its own.

Scones are some of the easiest breakfast treats to whip up.  Go ahead.  Be brave.  Break the breakfast mold and try this delicious treat.  If you’re not sure where to start, here’s the recipe for this one: http://www.rockrecipes.blogspot.com/2012/02/raspberry-white-chocolate-scones.html  Then try your own variation.

Rating: Flaky Delish

Tia's Treat of the Week

TTW: Snickerdoodle

The snickerdoodle is a classic cookie.  Funny part is the fact I’d never really had a snickerdoodle before meeting Tia.  She introduced me (and my daughter) to the world of a soft sugar cookie rolled in a cinnamon/sugar coating.  The concept sounds so simple, but as we’ve discovered through several tastings of snickerdoodles all over Oregon, it’s not as easy as it looks.

Success for the cookie is in the balance of cookie to sugar.  We’ve tried huge cookies where the sugar crust was sparse, hard cookies that didn’t give the comfort of a chewy consistency, and the worst of all gooey cookies on the edge of raw.  From our tastings, we’ve agreed Tia’s staple of the Betty Crocker Snickerdoodle is one of the best recipes around.  It has all of the best elements with a generous coating of sugar, a crisp outside edge with a soft middle, and the chewiness of a good homemade cookie.

If you don’t believe me about the awesomeness of this cookie, ask my 6-year-old daughter.  When she tried a local bakery’s version, she snubbed her nose and declared Tia’s were better.  On another occasion she asked if I would ask Tia to make her some of these cookies.  When I told her Tia was busy and we could try to make them together, she gave me a sideways look and said “Maybe she’ll do it if you whisper the question.”  Needless to say, Tia melted with the story, and my daughter ended up with a boatload of cookies.

Rating: Classic Delish

Quick Breads, Tia's Treat of the Week

TTW: Lemon Poppy Seed Bread

There is something about April that reminds me of lemons.  Maybe it’s the matching yellow from the rough skin of the fruit to what it supposed to be the sun shining in the sky.  Or maybe it’s the fresh citrus smell to match the blooming tulips.  It may even be the hope there will be lemonade stands in the summer heat around the corner.  Although I’m not sure of the reason, I do know the reminder the sun should be coming out soon has been needed more than a couple times with this long winter extending it’s arm well into the spring months.

Tia went with a solid staple in her repertoire this week.  I love the combination of lemon and poppy seed.  The bread has a light consistency, but a gooey crunch from the sugary glaze on the top.  To say it was good would be misleading because it was downright fantastic.

Hopefully you will try the recipe and enjoy a taste of spring while you are fighting off the winter blues.  Trust me, if you do, you will be thanking Tia for bringing sunshine back into your life.

Lemon Poppy Seed Bread

2 c sugar
1 c vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp lemon extract
2 tbsp poppy seeds
3 c all-purpose flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
1 ½ tsp salt
1 ½ c milk

Icing:
2 tbsp lemon juice
¾ c confectioners’ sugar

Preheat oven to 350oF.  Grease and flour 2 loaf pans.  Combine sugar, oil, eggs, vanilla and lemon extracts in a large bowl; mix well.  Stir in poppy seeds.

Sift together flour, baking powder and salt.  Add flour mixture and milk to sugar mixture alternately, mixing well after each addition.  Divide batter evenly between prepared pans.

Bake loaves for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Loosen edges from sides of pans.  Cool loaves in pans for 10 minutes.  Turn out onto wire racks.

For icing, blend lemon juice and confectioners’ sugar in a small bowl.  Drizzle over warm loaves.

Bars, Tia's Treat of the Week

TTW: Banana Bars

When a banana passes that day where you want to eat it straight out of the peel, it turns into something delicious.  Sure, there’s no possible way you are going to eat it as a mushy mess and unless you have a baby in the house, no one else will either.  Bakers all over the world know the next step is to turn those slightly brown fruits into baked goodness.

Most people think of the obvious, banana bread.  But Tia’s treat this week is a nicely done variation of the traditional quick bread.  Instead, this gives a nice cake like texture with its softness versus the breads dense insides with a thicker crust.  The addition of mini chocolate chips and sprinkled with powdered sugar makes this a nice treat rather than a breakfast meal.  It might even be considered a healthy dessert.  Well, I wouldn’t go that far, but it was a nice addition to a long day at the office.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (about 3 medium) mashed ripe bananas
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Semi-Sweet Chocolate Mini Morsels
  • Powdered sugar

Directions

PREHEAT oven to 350°F. Grease a 15×10-inch jelly-roll pan.
COMBINE flour, baking powder and salt in medium bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixing bowl until creamy. Beat in bananas and egg. Gradually beat in flour mixture; stir in morsels. Spread into prepared jelly-roll pan.
BAKE for 20 to 30 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Rating: Going Bananas Delish