Strawberry Streusel Pie by twocarolines.com
Here in coastal So. Cali there have been really nice strawberries lately. Summer is almost over for us, our kids are going back to school later this week, but the strawberries haven’t been this sweet all summer so a strawberry streusel pie just seemed like the right thing to do. I thought about doing a strawberry pie with one of those intricate braided, flowered, super detailed double crusts, and then I remembered how I have 3 young kids and an insane schedule and no time for that mumbo jumbo right now. I also remembered that streusel is dear to my heart – anything is better when you top it with a nice crumbly, sweet, delicious crumb. This pie turned out so incredible! The strawberries baked up super sweet and the streusel top made for such a texture knock out. It’s the perfect accompaniment to any Labor Day spread!
traditional 9 inch pie crust par baked – with ours that means bake for about 6- minutes at 425 before filling (I actually used a deep dish so I just rolled our recipe really thin and it worked out well, but could have been a little more full, it will fill a 9 inch nicely but be sure to bake on a sheet to prevent spills)
For the filling:
6 cups (2 pounds) strawberries hulled and quartered
1/2 cup sugar (less if you want your pie less sweet)
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
2 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon lemon or orange zest
1/4 teaspoon cardamon
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
For crumb topping:
3/4 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter melted and cooled slightly
- First make the crust, par bake it and set it aside. Set your oven to 350.
- Make the filling: Toss the strawberries, sugar, lemon juice, cornstarch and spices and zest in a mixing bowl. Let sit in the fridge or at room temp for a good 25 minutes and strain out any juices.
- While you are waiting for your strawberries to let out some juice make your crumb streusel topping. Combine the oatmeal, flour and sugar in a small bowl and toss to combine. Add the melted butter and stir until thoroughly incorporated. Freeze or refrigerate the topping until chilled, a good 10-15 minutes.
- Spoon your strawberry filling into the crust being sure to not include juice. Spread the crumb topping over the top and bake in the middle rack of the oven (put a cookies sheet under to prevent spills) until your pie is bubbly and the crust and topping are golden brown, about 55 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool to room temperature before serving.
Recipe adapted from Emeril Lagasee Strawberry Crumb Pie
Coconut Macadamia Chocolate Chip Cookies by twocarolines.com
These incredible cookies were first discovered by our sister Kristin who became obsessed with them at the Nordstrom’s Cafe here in coastal Orange County – they are called the “Nordie” and they are such a sensational combination with crunchy, chewy, sweet, salty and chocolatey cookie perfection. It took her a number of trials and errors before she found a recipe that not only tasted like the Nordstrom cookie, but was even better! The original author of this recipe is vanilla and bean – check out her rad blog. The “Nordie” is a large cookie and it’s baked longer than traditional chocolate chip cookies to make the coconut have a nice toasted flavor, but you can also bake them less time for more chew and less crunch if you prefer. Another bonus with these cookies is how you can easily save the dough in the fridge or freezer and just scoop and bake what you want to eat or even bake them all and freeze completed cookies until you’re presented with a situation that only an insanely delicious cookie can solve.
2 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs at room temperature
1 cup all purpose flout
1 cup whole wheat white flour (they taste great with only AP flour if you don’t have any wheat)
1/4 cup almond meal (can substitute with wheat germ, wheat bran, or just normal flour)
1/4 cup corn starch
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup macadamia nuts roughly chopped
3 cups shredded coconut
1 1/2 cup chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350 and line a cookie sheet with parchment or silpat
- Mix together the flours, almond meal, baking soda, salt and cornstarch. Set aside.
- With the paddle attachment on a stand mixer, beat the butter, sugar, and vanilla until smooth, about 2 minutes.
- Add the eggs one at a time until totally incorporated being sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Then add the flour mixture in a few batches making sure to scrape the bowl. Last add the coconut, nuts and chocolate chips mixing on low speed until ingredients are evenly distributed throughout the dough.
- To make the large cookies use a big 3-4 tablespoon scoop – only about 6 cookies per pan. Bake about 17-20 minutes until nicely browned. You can also make smaller cookies if you want and if you do bake them for less time, like check them around 9-10 minutes. The original cookies are darker than an average cookie with a nice crunch to the outside, but they are also delicious baked just until the bottoms are brown if you prefer your cookie more chewy and less crunchy. Pay more attention to doneness than bake times as times vary greatly depending on how large your cookies are.
Recipe adapted from vanilla and bean
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