Watermelon Rum Punch

With summer in full effect, our backyard bbq’s aren’t complete without a refreshing cocktail!!

Loaded with fresh fruit, this cocktail is light, sweet and citrusy. It’s honestly perfect to sip on during the 100 plus degree weather we’ve been having lately!

I made these last week for a bbq at my sister and brother in law’s new home! Lucky for me, my SIL busted out her camera and snapped a few shots while I was throwing this together!

Shout out to Jennifer Runyon Photography!

Click HERE to see some of her work.

I hope you enjoy!!

Ingredients

- 10 cups of watermelon cubed
- 2 cups white rum
- 1 cup cranberry juice
- Juice of 4-5 limes
- Blueberries for garnish
- Ice

Instructions:

Cube the watermelon and pulse in a blender. Take the purée and run through a strainer over a pitcher. Use a meddler or a spoon to push down the purée through the strainer to get the juices to flow down through the strainer.

Stir in the rum, cranberry juice, fresh lime juice, and blueberries. Blueberries act as a decoration so fruit to flow in each cup you serve. Serve over ice and enjoy.

Double Chocolate Birthday Cake

Today was my brother’s 26th birthday! About a week ago, I asked what kind of cake he would like he said “chocolate. Keep it simple”.

I have done this chocolate cake recipe dozens of times. It’s my absolute favorite because it has whipped egg whites so it’s so airy and soft. It’s perfection. Use this cake recipe and pair it with any type of frosting you can think of!

Most of my cake frostings consist of butter cream and sometimes butter is just so heavy, that I thought I would take a break from the butter! Say it isn’t so!!

So today I decided to make a whipped chocolate ganache frosting! Oh my goodness, I gave my family a curve ball with this one. They kept coming up to me saying “what’s this frosting?? It’s so good!”

It was a nice change of pace! It’s very simple and only consists of two ingredients! Cream and chocolate!!

In the instructions below I go into detail on how to treat the cream to get the perfect “whipped” chocolate consistency.

And since this was a birthday cake  all, how could I not top the whole thing off with colorful sprinkles!? Sprinkles just make me happy and they are so cute!

Ingredients:

For the cake

- 2 cups of flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 8 ounces baking chocolate
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- 2 cups sugar
- 4 eggs separated
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 1 cup buttermilk

For the frosting

- 1 1/2 cup whipping cream
- 16 ounces semi sweet chocolate chips

 

Instructions:

Whipped chocolate ganache frosting should be made several hours ahead. At least 4 hours.

Microwave cream in a heat proof bowl and add chocolate chips into the cream. Mix with a whisk until all the chocolate melts down and there are no lumps.

Allow to cool at room temp before sticking into the refrigerator. Let sit in fridge for about 4 hours or longer.

After it has chilled take the bowl and mix with a mixer until stiff peaks are formed. About 5-7 minutes. The mixture should be fluffy and resemble whipped cream in texture. Place the whipped cream back into the fridge until you are ready to frost the cake.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter three 9 inch baking pans and line the bottom with parchment paper ( also butter the top of parchment paper)

* When I’m baking with circle pans I lay the pan on top of the parchment paper over the counter and trace around the bottom of the pan with a pen, the cut the parchment with scissors so that the parchment paper fits perfectly in each pan.

In a microwaveable bowl, melt the baking chocolate with 1/2 cup of water for about a minute and  half. Take a small whisk or a fork and stir the chocolate down into the water until smooth, then set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt, set aside.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together. Add in the 4 egg yolks one by one, mixing together slowly to incorporate. Keep the egg whites in a small bowl set to the side. Add in the vanilla and then the melted chocolate.

Alternate between adding the flour mixture and the buttermilk into the chocolate. Mixing well to make sure everything is well combined and you no longer see streaks of chocolate.

Mix the egg whites together in the small to medium sized bowl until they form stiff peaks. Slowly incorporate the egg whites into the batter with a spatula, folding them in and not mixing them in.

Pour the batter evenly into the three prepared baking pans and bake in the oven 20-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Remove from oven and allow to cool on cooling racks for 20 minutes. Immediately after coming out of the oven, take a knife and slide it around the cake pan to remove the sides of the cake from the pan.

Evenly frost between the three Layers of cake and all over the outside. Top the cake with sprinkles. This cake can sit in the fridge until you’re ready to serve.

Boozy Berry Trifle

 

I hope everyone has a very happy 4th of July tomorrow!!

I took to Instagram to ask my friends whether I should post a drink recipe or a dessert recipe inspired by this holiday! I really thought for a moment there, I’d be posting about a drink recipe, but the dessert option ended up winning the poll!

I couldn’t help myself from including a touch of alcohol in this post given that tomorrow is a fun holiday that I love enjoying by the pool with a nice drink!! However, it can be completely optional and you do not have to include the rum that is added- especially if kids will be enjoying this dessert!

I basically just let the berries soak in rum for about an hour so they pack a little punch with each bite!

My trifle includes a fresh sponge cake with only four ingredients, so so so easy! Layered with whip cream and tasty boozy berries. Very simple. Great summer dessert. It feels so light and airy when you’re eating it… it feels guilt free— even though it’s not, lol.

The strawberries I got from HEB yesterday were so incredibly sweet! I kept popping them in my mouth as I was going along baking this dessert. My baby boy GM kept reaching for the blueberries, (the ones not soaked in rum of course) those are his fav!

If you attempt to make the homemade sponge cake instead of using pre packaged, please read special instructions below so your cake comes out perfectly!

I hope you enjoy this post and thank you for taking the time to read!

Ingredients:

For the sponge cake

- 6 eggs at room temp
- 1 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 cup flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder

For the whip cream

- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  Or more to taste
- 1/2 tsp orange zest

For the berries

- 2 cup strawberries
- 1 cup blueberries
- 1/4 cup sugar
- Rum to soak the berries in
- 1-2 tbs sugar for dusting

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut the strawberries and blueberries and add into a large bowl with sugar. Pour enough rum into the bowl until all the berries are submerged in the alcohol. Let the berries soak for about an hour or until you are ready to construct the cake.

*Line The bottoms of two 9 inch baking pans with parchment paper. Do not grease the pans with butter.

*In a mixer with the whisk attachment, beat the eggs for about 2 minutes. Slowly add the sugar while mixing. Let the mixer continue to mix the eggs and sugar until the mixture is creamy and thick- about ten minutes * do not skip this. Next, run the flour and baking powder through a sifter.

*Take the mixture out of attachment and fold the flour into the eggs with a spatula. Do not mix. Fold all of the flour in using the spatula slowly incorporating the flour into the batter. Continue until you no longer see the flour floating around.

Be sure to scrape your spatula to the bottom of the bowl because the flour will sink down there.

Evenly pour the batter into the two baking dishes and bake in the oven for about 25 minutes or until the top is light golden brown.

*Once out of the oven, immediately take a thin knife and scrape around the edges of the cake to separate from the cake pan. Remove the cakes from the pans onto cooking racks and take off the parchment paper. Allow to cool completely.

Take a chilled large bowl and beat the whipping cream and powdered sugar until thick and creamy. Add in the orange zest and mix for another minute or two.

Remove the berries from the rum and onto plate with paper towel. Lightly sprinkle the berries with additional sugar.

To construct the trifle, begin ripping parts of the sponge cake to fill the bottom of the dish. Next arrange berries on top as desired, then add a layer of whip cream. Continue layering two more times so that in total you should have three layers of ripped sponge cake and berries.

Serve and enjoy!

 

Coconut Pecan Shortbread Cookies

Had a serious pecan pie craving this afternoon, but I really didn’t feel like committing the time to make a crust and the pie filling and wait for it to cool, etc. etc. etc. So, I made these delicious little cookies as a snack!

Probably took less than ten minutes to put together and no more than 15 minutes from start to finish! This mini recipe yielded about 6-7 cookies! Which was perfect for me because I wanted something quick and easy!

Ingredients:

For the short bread

- 1/2 stick of unsalted
  butter cold
- 1/2 cup of flour
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1/2 tbs sour cream

For the topping

- 1/2 cup toasted pecans,
  chopped
- 1/3 cup evaporated milk
- 2 tbs butter 
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1 tbs corn syrup
- 1/4 cup coconut flakes

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place pecans on a baking sheet and toast for no more ten minutes or until the pecans become fragrant.

Take cold butter and cut into pats, combine into bowl with flour, powdered sugar, salt and sour cream. Cut butter down till pea sized pieces are formed. With your hands incorporate the ingredients together to form into a dough.

On a floured surface, roll out the dough and cut with cookie cutters. Place on an un greased baking sheet and cook for about 10-12 minutes.

Over medium heat in a small saucepan, heat the butter, evaporated milk, sugar and syrup together. Bring to a simmering boil, stirring consistently. Take off of heat and add the toasted pecans and coconut. Let the mixture cool.

Add dollop of mixture over the shortbread cookies and enjoy! 🙂

Thank you for reading.

Summer Fruit Tart

Y’all! I’m so excited to write this post!! I made this deliciously addicting dessert for father’s day last week, but was waiting to post till my amazing sister-in-law sent me the amazing photos that she took of it! Thank you to Jennifer Runyon Photography for capturing these amazing shots. I can just stare at them all day! Also, it just amazes me at how these shots just make this whole dessert look so appetizing!

So, this tart is hands-down, my new favorite dessert!! This is almost like a no-bake dessert, I say almost because the crust bakes for like ten minutes lol. However, the filling is a no bake, which makes this so easy- and it is so so good. I served this to my guests for our fathers day bbq and I watched everyone enjoy eating it! It became a new favorite for many of my family members.

The crust is pretty much a dessert on it’s own! It’s a short bread cookie crust, with toasted pecans added in. I recommend NOT skipping out on toasting the pecans, it truly makes all the difference. When you take a bite of that crunch in the crust, the pecans just sing when you get that toasted aroma in every bite. The filling is creamy and well balanced with the fresh fruit on top. I recommend this as a great make ahead dessert, the crust and filling specifically, and I would wait till before serving to add the fruit. The longer the custard sits in the fridge, the more it sets and slices better. It sat for almost a day in mine, and it pretty much sliced like a clean cheesecake!

The fruits can be assembled in any way you please, and you can honestly add just about any fruit to the top that you want!

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Thank you for reading- I hope you enjoy!

Ingredients:

For the crust:

- 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1 stick unsalted butter plus 2 
  tbs cold
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tbs milk
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup toasted chopped 
  pecans

For the filling

- 1 package cream cheese
- 1 cup whipping cream
- 3 to 4 tbs apricot preserve
- fresh lime juice of 1/2 a lime
- zest of one lime
- 1/3 cup of sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla

For the glaze

- 6 ounces fresh orange juice
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 tbs cornstarch 

Fruit:

- 3/4 cup strawberries
- 1/2 cup blueberries
- 1 kiwi


Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Toast pecans for about 10 minutes. 5 minutes into baking time, give the pecans a stir. Remove and let cool. With a pastry cutter, cut down cold butter into flour and powdered sugar in a medium bowl. Cut butter down to pea sized pieces. Toss in the toasted pecans and form into a dough. Place dough into tart pan and bake for about 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned.

For the filling, in a chilled glass bowl, add in the whipping cream and beat with a mixer until almost a whipped cream consistency. Add in the room temp cream cheese, sour cream and sugar. The texture should thicken up to almost a frosting consistency. Add the apricot reserve one tbs at a time, tasting as you go until you have achieved the taste to your liking. Add in zest and juice of the lime and vanilla. Mix well and then pour into your tart pan. Smoothen the mixture out and let chill for about 8 hours or over night.

Before serving, cut the desired fruit for topping and assemble over the tart. In a medium sauce pan, bring the fresh orange juice to a light boil, add in sugar until it dissolves plus the tbs of cornstarch. Set aside. Arrange the fruit over your tart, and with a cooking brush, lightly coat the glaze over the fresh fruit. Let stand for a couple minutes before serving!

Mississippi Mud Pie

There are so many different ways to make this fun pie! A lot of variations will have a crust layer, brownie layer then a layer of pudding under the whip topping!

My recipe eliminates having two chocolate layers (I don’t like chocolate pudding) and in a way kind of combines the two textures into one! You get a good fudgey consistency in the middle and as you finish your slice you get more of a brownie texture! The Oreo crust beneath it is my favorite. I see a lot of dark chocolate graham cracker crusts with Mississippi Mud Pies, however I always take an opportunity to make Oreo crusts when baking, you can’t beat it!

This is a fun dessert when you want something really chocolatey!! It’s not too sweet- which is really important to me lol. I can’t do overly sweet desserts for some reason. I made this pie for Father’s Day yesterday, as well as another dessert that I will post later— let’s just say this pie was completely gone in less than 5 minutes! All of our guests really seemed to enjoy it!

I hope you enjoy too!

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Ingredients:

For the crust

– 25 Oreo cookies

– 4 Tbs melted butter

For the filling:

– 1 cup light brown sugar

– 6 tbs melted butter

– 2 eggs

– 2 tbs coffee or espresso

– 1 bar of baking chocolate about 4 oz

– 1 1/2 tsp vanilla

– 2 tbs flour

– 2 tbs cocoa powder

For the whipped topping

– 1 1/2 cup whipping cream

– 1/2 cup powdered sugar

– 1/2 tsp vanilla

– shaved chocolate for garnish

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Crush about 25 Oreos in a plastic zip lock (with the filling still in them) until it’s all crumbly. Pour crumbs into a bowl and the 4 tbs of melted butter. Mix well with fork until all the Oreo crumbs look moistened in the butter. Pour the cookie crumbs into a pie dish. With a fork, press the crumbs into the dish and form the crust. Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes then remove and set aside.

In a heat proof bowl, set a double broiler and begin melting down the chocolate bar. When it’s completely melted, add in the espresso or coffee. Mix to incorporate and set the heat low enough to stop cooking the chocolate and just hot enough to keep the chocolate warm to prevent it from hardening.

In a separate bowl, cream together the sugar, butter, eggs and vanilla. In a sifter, sift the flour and cocoa powder into the bowl, mix together until you see no more powder. Finally take the melted chocolate and incorporate into the bowl of other ingredients.

Pour the mixture into the pie dish and bake for about 35 minutes or till the pie looks like it has set. The toothpick method will not check for done-ness as the middle of the pie will be very fudgey.

Allow the pie to cool completely before adding the whip topping. In a chilled glass bowl. Add the whipping cream and beat on high speed. Slowly add the powdered sugar while mixing. Add the vanilla just before you’re done mixing. When you have achieved a thick whip topping consistency, place the cream over the pie and garnish with shaved chocolate.

 

 

 

Easy Lemon Bars

I’m not really big on lemon desserts, but today I spent the majority of my time outside and it was super hot! So thinking of something sweet but also tart and lemony, just sounded like it would hit the spot!

These little lemon bars were just the trick, and oh so easy to do. I whipped them up together and only dirtied one bowl and one pan, yay for less dishes to clean. Ya know, sometimes baking just leaves a huge mess behind in the kitchen, but I was pleased that this recipe didn’t leave my kitchen destroyed.

I used a shortbread cookie recipe for the bottom crust in the lemon bars. The crust is just the right amount of sweet. The tart lemon custard was so good, I kept licking my mixing spoon! These bars need to be allowed to cool completely before cutting. It’s important that the custard is allowed to set. And to me, these are best served chilled! So pop em in the fridge for a couple hours and enjoy!!

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Ingredients:

For the crust:

- 1/2 cup of unsalted butter, 
  soft
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1/4 tsp baking powder

For the lemon filling:

- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 1/2 tbs flour
- juice of 2 lemons squeezed
  (About 1/4 of a cup)
- zest of 2 whole lemons
  (About 1 tbs)
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- powdered sugar for dusting

Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. To prepare the crust, have a large bowl and combine the butter, flour, sugar, salt, vanilla and baking powder into a bowl. Make sure the butter is room temp. With a spatula, work the ingredients to combine into the butter. Once you have a dough like consistency you are done mixing. Lightly grease a 8×8 baking dish and gently spread the dough mixture into the pan. Use two fingers to press the dough flat and as even as possible to make your crust. Take a fork, and poke a few times throughout the crust. This will help the crust bake evenly. Now pop the dish into the oven, center rack, for about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.

To prepare the custard, combine the eggs, sugar, flour and baking powder together and beat very well. Now add in the lemon zest and fresh lemon juice and mix with a whisk for about 3 minutes. Pour the custard over the crust layer and bake for about 25-30 minutes or until you see a thin white crispy sugar layer form over the custard. Once you remove from the oven, give the pan a slight wiggle to make sure the custard isn’t too jiggly and that it’s set. Allow to cool completely.

Once cooled, cut the bars and place them on a serving platter. Dust each bar with powdered sugar and serve!