Baking with B: Blueberry, Lemon and Coconut Trifle

Let’s ease back into this baking thing a little bit, shall we? It’s been a while. I know trifle isn’t exactly “baking” in the traditional sense, but I wanted to share this with you because I made it not once, but twice in the last few weeks. Yes, it was that good.

The best thing about trifle is that you can’t really screw it up. Everyone has their own version, and it doesn’t always turn out the same way every time. Basically each trifle is made up of similar building blocks (cake, fruit, custard, whipped cream) but that’s pretty much where the similarities end. I happen to think that this blueberry-lemon-coconut combo is a fresh and modern take on this traditional dessert. (Plus, I love anything blueberry-lemon flavor.)

Put some time aside for this one: even though it’s a snap to make, assembling the layers requires work, plus you want this baby to chill in the fridge for at least four hours to get everything all blended, gooey and good. Don’t let that put you off- your patience will be rewarded in the form of this awesome dessert.

Blueberry, Lemon and Coconut Trifle (makes about 14 c.)

10 1/2 oz. pound cake (thaw if using frozen)

1 can lemon pie filling (19 oz. or about 540 mL)

1 1/4 c. flaked coconut

2 c. frozen blueberries

3 c. whipped cream

In a large frying pan, toast coconut over medium heat, stirring constantly until lightly golden. Remove from heat and put 1/4 c. aside. Mix the remaining coconut in a small bowl with the lemon pie filling.

Cut the pound cake into approx. 1″ cubes. Arrange half into the bottom of an extra-large glass bowl (or in my case, an enormous jar I had lying around the house), and set the other half aside. Next, take half of your pie filling, and spread over your cake layer evenly. Create the next layer by sprinkling the pie filling with blueberries. Spoon whipped cream over blueberries until covered. Lay down another cake layer, followed by another pie filling layer, followed by the remaining whipped cream. Sprinkle with reserved coconut. Chill in the fridge, covered, for at least 4 hours.

B’s Tip: You can substitute whipped cream for your favorite brand of frozen whipped topping, but be sure to thaw it first before using it in the trifle.

And because this dessert knows no bounds, I urge you to modify the recipe however you like- I know I have! So far I’ve used less coconut in the filling and sprinkled more on top (pretty!); I’ve bought whipped cream, and I’ve whipped my own (store-bought is sweeter!); and I’ve even used different types of blueberries (wild ones have way more flavor!)

What’s in your trifle?!

B

Baking with B appears every other Monday on the Keeping Busy with B Blog. Find out why I like baking so much here. For more of my baking, click here. And for even more recipe inspiration, check out my Pinterest full of food eye candy that will have you licking your computer. Promise.

Baking with B: Rocky Road Sour Cream Brownies

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I confess I used to be one of those people that scoffed at the idea Valentine’s Day. Like those other haters, I believed it was too commercialized, and I resented feeling excluded all of those years I was single on February 14.

As I’ve gotten older and found it more difficult to keep up with all of my personal relationships, I’m starting to realize those greeting card companies might be onto something. There just aren’t a lot of opportunities for romance amidst today’s hustle and bustle unless you make the time for it. Sure, ideally you’d like to show your partner your appreciation every day, but now I think there’s something to be said for putting aside a day once a year for doing something special.

That’s why I’m starting to think Valentine’s Day is really for those in long-term relationships- those relationships that are filled with chores and kids and bills and all those other wonderful things life throws your way as an adult. Those couples need a day like this. They need a way to make things extra-special.

Kind of like these brownies. My chocolate brownies are kind of a staple in my household, and yet when do I ever get the opportunity to jazz them up a little? Valentine’s Day seemed like the perfect excuse to bake this ooey-gooey, junked-up version. The result? A brownie that’s perfect for your favorite chocoholic, or for anyone that you want to feel special.

Rocky Road Sour Cream Brownies (makes 25)

Brownie Base:

1/2 c. butter, melted

1 c. sugar

1/2 c. flour

1/3 c. cocoa

1/4 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 c. sour cream

Rocky Road Topping:

1/2 c. milk or semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/2 c. mini marshmallows

1/2 c. slivered almonds

Preheat oven to 350F. In a medium-sized bowl, cream together butter, sugar and vanilla. Beat in eggs one at a time until frothy, then use a spoon to add sour cream and mix well. In a separate bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Stir dry ingredients into wet ingredients until fully combined. Bake in a greased 8-inch pan for approximately 35 minutes.

Remove brownies from oven and sprinkle chocolate chips, marshmallows and almonds (in that order) over top, taking care to distribute evenly. Return to the oven and bake for 5-10 minutes more, or until marshmallows get puffy and golden. Let the brownies cool at least 10-15 minutes before cutting.

B’s Tip: The sour cream brownie base makes these treats really soft at first, so it’s based to wait until brownies are just about cool for the cleanest, neatest cuts. But who am I kidding? Chocolate is chocolate, and these taste good pretty much any which way.

Happy baking!

B

KBwB-Flower-50Baking with B appears every other Monday on the Keeping Busy with B Blog. Find out why I like baking so much here. For more of my baking, click here. And for even more recipe inspiration, check out my Pinterest full of food eye candy that will have you licking your computer. Promise.

Baking with B: Andi’s Gluten-Free Cranberry Almond Biscotti

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Andi is a neighbor of mine and one of the people that I admire most in this world: she carries herself with such poise and grace that it almost makes me envy her; and you’d hate her for how smart, beautiful and accomplished she is except that she’s so kind-hearted you kind of have to love her anyways.

So when I was making my neighbors some goody bags for Christmas, I felt badly for excluding Andi because of her gluten-free diet. She’s always lamenting that she never gets to try any of the things that I make, so I decided it was time to make her something of her own.

Having not ever made biscotti before-combined with being unfamiliar with many of the GF flours out there- made me a little bit nervous. The results were golden and a little bit spicy, but for some reason retained a slightly chewy texture in the middle that was decidedly delicious, but decidedly un-biscotti like. (Psst. Here’s the part where you email me with your gluten-free, biscotti-making advice.)

Still, I liked them enough to try them again and include them in my baking repertoire. The almond flour gives it an even nuttier flavor that’s not too sweet, and it goes perfectly with a strong Italian espresso.

Andi’s Gluten-Free Cranberry Almond Biscotti (makes 12)

(based on a recipe I originally found here)

2 large eggs

1/3 c. honey

zest from one orange

1 1/2 c. almond flour

2 tbsp arrowroot flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp sea salt

1/2 c. dried cranberries

1/2 almonds, sliced

In a medium bowl, combine eggs, honey and orange zest and beat until frothy. Add flours, baking soda and sea salt to the bowl and mix until a dough forms. Add cranberries and almonds and stir to combine.

Spoon out dough onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet and use fingers to shape it into a long rectangle, approximately 4×12 inches. (B’s Tip: The dough will be sticky, gooey and hard to manipulate so you can always use the back of a spoon that’s been dipped in cold water to help shape your rectangle.) Make sure to leave room on all sides as the dough will spread as it cooks.

Bake dough in oven that’s been preheated to 350F for approximately 20 minutes or until golden. Remove from the oven and let cool for 1 hour. Once cooled, slice your log on a diagonal to get those long, angular biscotti shapes (about 1″ thick). Lay biscotti on their sides and return to oven for an additional 15-20 minutes until crunchy.

B’s Tip: Believe me, it’s hard to wait for the biscotti to cool before slicing them but trust me- they’re much easier to slice if you do and they need that drying-out time to get that crunchy consistency. Make the process go faster by placing your cookie tray on a raised cooling rack to get the air flowing underneath it, and keep them far away from your warm oven!

Happy baking!

B

KBwB-Flower-50Baking with B appears every other Monday on the Keeping Busy with B Blog. Find out why I like baking so much here. For more of my baking, click here. And for even more recipe inspiration, check out my Pinterest full of food eye candy that will have you licking your computer. Promise.