There was a brief and lovely Two Carolines reunion over the weekend (with most of the rest of the family) and of course—there had to be a dessert party. I wanted something that would feed the whole crew and that could be prepared ahead of time. I dug back into the family archives and found this dessert that came from family on my mom’s side. It’s almost like a Pavlova, but with some extra ingredients that add to the texture and flavor. It is one of those desserts that all the kids and adults were devouring and wanting seconds and thirds. It takes some time to make it, but each step is pretty easy and it’s totally worth it.
- 6 eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 8 oz. cream cheese, softened to room temp.
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 cups small marshmallows
- 1 pint cream, whipped
- 1 (16 oz.) bag of frozen berries, thawed
- Beat egg whites and cream of tartar until frothy. Add the salt and sugar; whip 10-15 minutes in stand mixer.
- Spread in an 11×15 inch greased pan. Bake one hour at 250-275 degrees. Turn off oven and leave in overnight.
- Mix the cream cheese, sugar and the vanilla until smooth and creamy. Add the marshmallows and mix until incorporated. Gently fold in whipped cream until mixture is uniform. Spread evenly on meringue layer. Cover with plastic wrap.
- Chill 8-10 hours.
- To serve, cut into squares and top with spoonful of thawed mixed berries.
This version is without almond extract or slivered almonds due to my stepson’s tree nut allergies. It’s really great either way.
It’s a King family tradition for birthdays and celebrations that the person of honor gets to pick their favorite meals for the day. That means a favorite breakfast, dinner and dessert. We all had our different favorites and go-tos, but this coffee cake was probably the most requested by all of us, especially my dad. It’s best when made the night before, or if it has hours to cool to room temperature, ’cause the cream cheese can fall a bit if it’s too warm. But let’s be honest; a pool of creamy, jammy goodness can’t be a bad thing, can it? Also, Creamy Jammy Goodness sounds like a 70’s cover band, amiright?
2 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup butter
1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
3/4 cup sour cream (or substitute with plain greek yogurt)
1 t. almond extract
8 oz. package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup raspberry preserves
1/2 cup sliced almonds
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour bottom and sides of 9 or 10 inch spring-form pan. Lightly spoon flour into measuring cup; level off. In large bowl, combine flour and 3/4 cup sugar. Using pastry blender or fork, cut butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Reserve 1 cup crumb mixture.
- To remaining crumb mixture, add baking powder, baking soda, salt, sour cream, 1 egg and almond extract. Blend well. Spread batter over bottom and two inches up sides of prepared pan. (Batter should be about 1/4 inch thick on sides)
- In small bowl, combine cream cheese, ¼ cup sugar and 1 egg; blend well. Pour over batter in pan. Carefully spoon preserves evenly over cream cheese filling.
- In small bowl, combine 1 cup reserved crumb mixture and sliced almonds. Sprinkle over top.
- Bake at 350 for 45- 55 minutes or until cream cheese filling is set and crust is deep golden brown. Cool 15 minutes. Remove sides of pan. Serve warm or cool, cut into wedges.
Peanut Butter Banana Chocolate Chip Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting by twocarolines.com
Oh bananas, chocolate and peanut butter, you have our whole heart! We salute you here on two carolines with not, 5, not 10, but literally dozens of recipes and we’re not even done yet! This is a wonderful mash up of 1.0’s famous banana peanut butter chocolate chip cake with my (2.0 duh) renowned peanut butter chocolate cake frosting – and trust me, it’s all that is right in the world to combine these two masterful recipes into one dessert. Grab those spotty bananas and buy a big bag of pow sug because these are going to need to be added to your summer bucket list STAT! -CK 2.0
For the cupcakes:
4 very ripe bananas
2 large eggs
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
3/4 cup peanut butter (use creamy or crunchy according to texture preference, but probably creamy, and not the kind you have to stir)
2 cups chocolate chips
For the frosting:
10 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 stick (4 ounces or 1/2 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
5 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
2/3 cup smooth peanut butter, preferably a commercial brand like Jiff or Skippy
- Set oven to 350. Line two muffin tins and spray just a touch of cooking spray (I use coconut for most bakes) into the bottom of each one.
- In a medium mixing bowl, mash the bananas well with a fork or potato masher. Add the eggs and vanilla, and stir well to combine. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking soda, and cinnamon—then add to the banana mixture.
- Add the peanut butter and when that is combined, add the chocolate chips.
- Pour the batter into your lined muffin tin up to 3/4 full then bake one at a time for about 17-19 minutes (you know your oven, check for doneness with a toothpick).
- For the frosting -In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Gradually add the confectioners’ sugar 1 cup at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl often. Continue to beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the peanut butter and beat until thoroughly blended.
- Put a large star tip (I use all of these large tips regularly for cupcakes, macaroons and all manner of sweets) into a big piping bag and seal the end with plastic wrap or a clamp then drape your bag on a very tall glass or I always use a vase. Fill your piping bag with frosting then pipe a cute swirl of PB frosting onto each cupcake, once they’ve cooled. This frosting and cake keep fine at room temperature but keep them in a sealed container for freshness. If you don’t have a piping bag and tips just spread it on top of your cupcakes however you want.
Quintessential Cupcakes by twocarolines.com
I’m introducing you to the most perfect party companion ever. These cupcakes are always so moist, rich and chocolatey with a bit of sour for balance and the most perfect springy texture, they are consistently amazing and so easy it’s embarrassing. Of course this recipe works great as a layer cake, in a bundt, or just poured into a 9X13, just be sure to check doneness instead of bake times. I made this batch for a sweet baby boy’s 1st birthday and thought it would be more fun to have two kinds of frosting for the kids to choose from, I will post both but I only made half of each for 24 cupcakes. If you don’t feel like making frosting I’m sure you’ll enjoy them with a little ganache glaze or even just sprinkled with powdered sugar.
1 box pillsbury devils food cake mix
1 3.4 oz box jello instant chocolate pudding (not the fat/sugar free)
1/2 cup melted butter or coconut oil
1 cup sour cream
4 eggs lightly beaten (room temp works best)
1/2 cup warm water
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 heaping cup chocolate chips
Vanilla Buttercream Frosting:
1/2 cup butter at room temperature
4 ounces cream cheese (1/2 a box) room temperature
5 cups confectioners sugar
1/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Chocolate Buttercream Frosting:
1/3 cup butter
2-3 ounces cream cheese
2/3 cup cocoa powder
3-4 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup milk (might need a bit more if frosting is too thick)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt
- For the cake. Preheat oven to 350 and line 2 cupcake pans then spray the very bottom so your cakes come out clean.
- Lightly mix together the cake mix and pudding mix then in a separate bowl mix your eggs water, oil (or butter) and vanilla well until all the eggs are incorporated. Add the wet mixture into the cake mix making sure to mix it thoroughly for a few minutes, and then add the sour cream blending until no white streaks remain. Last add the chocolate chips and just fold them in with a spatula so they are evenly distributed. The batter is quite thick, but it bakes up really nice so don’t get scared.
- Fill muffin tins about 2/3-3/4 tall depending on how tall your want your cupcakes. You might have a bit extra.
- Bake at 350 for about 19-20 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean (bake times vary for 9″ pans, bundts etc. so check doneness with a toothpick before taking out).
- For the vanilla buttercream – mix butter and cream cheese in a stand mixer until well combined and a little fluffed up. Add sugar and milk alternating, then vanilla. I usually end up adding a little more sugar or milk until I reach desired texture.
- For the chocolate buttercream – melt butter and mix with cream cheese until well combined. Add about half the milk to this mixture then start to add your cocoa and sugar in alternating batches ending with sugar. Add vanilla and salt anytime. Put in the rest of the milk and make sure you scrape down the sides of the pan often and just like the vanilla buttercream have extra milk and sugar on hand to get to your desired texture.
- I think it’s easiest and pretty to pipe on your frosting for cupcakes. I use these handy Wilton disposable piping bags and I just cut them and put in my large frosting tip then put the bag into a tall vase with the edges pulled over the top to fill it up and pipe it on to my cupcakes. So easy, and looks pretty good for someone who’s not the worlds best decorator.
Cake recipe adapted from “A Gathering of Friends” cookbook. Vanilla Buttercream from Martha Stewart Cakes cookbook. Chocolate Buttercream I made up.
Chocolate Date Nut Bars by twocarolines.com
These are the best breakfast treat/ energy bar/ snack your kids will actually eat / straight up chocolate dessert EVER! You don’t officially bake them, however you do need to toast the oats and nuts, so there’s an oven involved, but they are conspicuously missing flour and sugar, which is something you’ll notice happens almost never times in my posts, and probably don’t get used to it. But seriously, I love these too much not to share. After I cut them into the above squares I cut many of those in half so I can have some smaller portions for when a little afternoon pick-me-up is needed, because an entire square is quite filling. I especially love sharing these with Mom’s of new babies because I haven’t met a better nursing snack. And who doesn’t love a treat of the chocolate variety that is still giving you fruity fiber from dates, whole grain oats, plus the satisfying protein of nuts? I invite you to get creative with this recipe, my guess is they would taste great replacing pecans with cashews or even pistachios.
2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1 (heaping) cup pecans
1 cup slivered almonds (I usually use sliced which work great)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup pitted dates chopped in half
1 1/3 cup dark chopped chocolate (chocolate chips work, but I love using decadent rich chocolate like this Scharffen Berger chocolate that has incredible flavor)
- Pre-heat oven to 300 and line 2 rimmed cookie sheets with parchment paper or foil. Toast pecans on one and oats on the other rotating them a time or two. I do this for about 10 minutes on the oats and 7 or so with the nuts because you only want them fragrant, not burnt. The original recipe says to toast the almonds as well, but mine always burn so if I do put almonds in it’s only for a few minutes – the bars are fantastic even if your almonds aren’t toasted.
- Put the oats and the nuts into a large capacity food processor (save parchment). Let cool about 20 minutes then add the dates and salt and mix until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Next add the chopped chocolate and vanilla and mix until all combined. You may need to take a spatula and mix some of the dry into the chocolate here and there, but usually it all just comes together after a few long sessions in the food processor.
Use the parchment from toasting nuts to line an 8×8 both ways so you can lift the ends up to easily deliver your bars. If you don’t have parchment around it’s not that big a deal, just spray your 8×8 and they should come out pretty well. Push your mixture into the pan pressing the top to make it all flat and uniform then put in the fridge for a good hour or so. Once they are cold they are easy to cut into bars and I then wrap the bars individually with plastic wrap and keep them in the fridge until I need a perfect snack.
wrapped date nut bars by twocarolines.com
If you want an easy and delicious pie recipe, this one’s for you! It is so easy to put together and has a big payoff in flavor and texture. It tastes like summer, sunshine and joy. Also, I think it probably has three to four of your daily servings of fruit—and this pie is so good—you could eat it all in one sitting. Now that I call a win-win.
- 3/4 cup white sugar
- 3 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 5 cups fresh blueberries
- 1 recipe pastry for a 9 inch double crust pie
- 1 tablespoon butter, diced
- Turbinado sugar
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Mix sugar, cornstarch, salt, and cinnamon, and sprinkle over blueberries. Mix well. Line pie dish with one pie crust. Pour berry mixture into the crust, and dot with butter. Cut remaining pastry into 1/2-3/4 inch wide strips, and make lattice top. Crimp and flute edges. Sprinkle turbinado sugar on the top (A tip from my pie expert mama is to spritz the top of the crust with water to make the sugar stick more easily. Bake pie on lower shelf of oven for about 40-50 minutes, or until crust is golden brown. (If the crust edges start to get too brown after 30 minutes, cover with foil.)
S’mores Brownies by twocarolines.com
Summer and S’mores are MFEO – 💞and this dessert is such a perfect summertime treat, plus it’s easy and you don’t need a kitchen torch like you do for the s’mores cake I posted a few weeks ago. If you want to make it super easy on yourself you could even use a brownie mix for your middle layer, but that seems silly to me when our recipe for Kristin’s homemade Brownies takes maybe 2 minutes more and is infinitely more delicious. Either way, these are a guaranteed crowd pleaser for any summer soiree!
Graham Cracker crust:
18 full graham cracker sheets
1/3 c sugar
3/4 c melted butter
1 cup butter (melted)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder (NOT soda)
2 teaspoons vanilla
optional – 3/4 cup chocolate chips, chopped walnuts or other additions
3 large egg whites
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
S’mores brownie meringue by twocarolines.com
- To make the graham cracker crust, preheat the oven to 375˚ F. Butter a 9×13 inch pan and line with parchment paper. Put graham crackers into a blender or food processor and mix until they are sandy crumbs then add sugar and butter mixing until combined. Add mixture to the prepared pan and smooth with a dry measuring cup to create an even layer. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown. Clean mixer bowl for re-use and keep oven set to 350˚ to bake the brownie layer.
- For the Brownie layer – mix sugars and butter until very well combined then add eggs one at a time until totally incorporated. Next add salt then pile the cocoa, flour and baking powder all on top of your mixture and whisk until smooth. Last add your vanilla and any additions (if using) until uniform, and spread on top of your graham cracker crust.
- Bake for anywhere from 25-30 minutes depending on how done you like your brownies. If you enjoy a gooeyer texture opt for a shorter bake time, but go all the way if you like your brownies more done.
- To Make the Meringue Topping: Set up a clean double boiler – I always use the metal bowl of my kitchenaid mixer on a pot of boiling water and it works perfect. When the water is simmering, add egg whites and sugar and whisk until the sugar has dissolved, about 3 minutes – you want them warm to the touch and smooth so you can tell the sugar is dissolved. Put bowl back into your mixer, or if not using just transfer to a cool enough to touch bowl then, add the vanilla extract and cream of tartar. Whip (with the whisk attachment) on high for about 5-7 minutes, or until the mix starts to become stiff and glossy. You’ll know the mixture is ready when it will hold a stiff peak without deflating. Add topping to prepared brownies and smooth with the back of a wooden spoon, creating some peaks for decoration.
- To Brown Meringue: If using a broiler, set oven rack about 8 inches below the flame and preheat for about 5 minutes. Add brownies and keep a close eye on them, adjusting the pan as needed so that they brown evenly. If you are using a kitchen torch, which I to prefer because it looks so dramatically beautiful – torch topping by moving the flame in circular motions so not to stay in one spot for too long (it will burn) over the meringue until the surface is evenly browned – careful not to set your parchment on fire – but possibly do this next to the sink just in case!
S’mores brownies by twocarolines.com
Recipe adapted from feed feed Ultimate Smores Brownie