Category Archives: Desserts

Desserts

Whole Wheat Blondies with Pecans

These healthier Whole Wheat Blondies are buttery, nutty and addicting! You won’t be able to stop at one!

These Whole Wheat Blondies with Pecans are a healthier alternative to the traditional butter-packed blondie bar. The whole wheat flour adds fiber and the pecans add a healthy fat to these delicious and addicting dessert bars. A great bake sale or lunch box treat for the kids! ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Well friends, I had fun travel plans scheduled for this upcoming weekend, but I think they might be foiled by the ridiculous blizzard that’s about to hit the east coast.

Tomorrow morning, I am supposed to fly to Washington DC to visit my BFF Emily, who is getting married in 9 short months! The plan was to do some wedding dress shopping and snuggle up on the couch with a good bottle of wine and catch up all weekend long. Now I am worried that all this snow will mean my flight will be cancelled, but I am keeping my fingers crossed that I can get out of LA tomorrow!

Anyway, if you happen to be stuck inside all weekend from the snow, I’ve got a delicious baking project for you!

These Whole Wheat Blondies with Pecans are a healthier alternative to the traditional butter-packed blondie bar. The whole wheat flour adds fiber and the pecans add a healthy fat to these delicious and addicting dessert bars. A great bake sale or lunch box treat for the kids! ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

I found a recipe for Whole Grain Blondies from Cooking Light, and after a couple of tweaks, I finally perfected them and made them my own.

These Whole Wheat Blondies are buttery and sweet, just like a traditional blondie recipe, but this recipe calls for whole wheat flour and waaaaaay less butter than usual. Dear 2016 Resolutions, you’re welcome.

These Whole Wheat Blondies with Pecans are a healthier alternative to the traditional butter-packed blondie bar. The whole wheat flour adds fiber and the pecans add a healthy fat to these delicious and addicting dessert bars. A great bake sale or lunch box treat for the kids! ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

If pecans aren’t your thing, I think mini chocolate chips would be DELISH. Travis requested that I try that next time.

These Whole Wheat Blondies with Pecans are a healthier alternative to the traditional butter-packed blondie bar. The whole wheat flour adds fiber and the pecans add a healthy fat to these delicious and addicting dessert bars. A great bake sale or lunch box treat for the kids! ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

 

Whole Wheat Blondies with Pecans
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 16
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ¾ cup packed brown sugar
  • 2¼ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1.5 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ⅓ cup chopped pecans, toasted
  • 16 toasted pecan halves (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease an 8x8 inch square pan with unsalted butter or cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a small saucepan, warm the oil, butter and brown sugar. Cook until the butter is melted, stirring constantly, about 1 minute. Remove from heat. Pour into a large bowl. Add the vanilla extract and eggs to the sugar mixture. Stir to combine.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Whisk to combine. Add the flour mixture and the chopped pecans to the sugar mixture and stir until all ingredients are thoroughly combined.
  4. Using a rubber spatula, scrape the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Arrange the pecan halves in 4x4 rows (as seen in the photos).
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for 22-24 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack (at least 30 minutes) and then cut into 16 squares.
Notes
Recipe adapted from Cooking Light.
 

Whole Wheat Blondies with Pecans Recipe l www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Desserts

Miracle No Crust Apple Pie

Skip the unhealthy butter-packed pie crust and try this Miracle No Crust Apple Pie recipe instead! Thanks to eggs and a little bit of flour, this pie makes its own crust while baking.

 

Skip the unhealthy butter-packed pie crust and try this Miracle No Crust Apple Pie recipe instead! Thanks to eggs and a little bit of flour, this pie makes its own crust while baking. // www.littlechefbigappetite.com // Healthy Apple Pie // Healthy Pie Recipe // Gluten Free Pie // Whole Wheat Pie // Healthy Apple Dessert

Fall is upon us people! It’s really hard to believe because the temperatures are still in the upper 80’s in Los Angeles. Don’t get me wrong, I love the summer, but I am itching for the temps to cool down a bit.

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have noticed that I haven’t been cooking as much recently. It’s just been too darn hot in our apartment to even think about turning on the stove or oven!

Skip the unhealthy butter-packed pie crust and try this Miracle No Crust Apple Pie recipe instead! Thanks to eggs and a little bit of flour, this pie makes its own crust while baking. // www.littlechefbigappetite.com // Healthy Apple Pie // Healthy Pie Recipe // Gluten Free Pie // Whole Wheat Pie // Healthy Apple Dessert

Luckily, the weather cooled down a bit the last few days, so I was able to make a delicious meal for Rosh Hashanah. This year, I was interested in making something slightly different than a traditional Apple Cake for our Jewish New Year celebrations.

In comes this Miracle Crust Apple Pie! It took a few tries to perfect, but I promise this recipe is amazing. Even Travis (who, might I remind you, doesn’t like dessert), loves it!

Skip the unhealthy butter-packed pie crust and try this Miracle No Crust Apple Pie recipe instead! Thanks to eggs and a little bit of flour, this pie makes its own crust while baking. // www.littlechefbigappetite.com // Healthy Apple Pie // Healthy Pie Recipe // Gluten Free Pie // Whole Wheat Pie // Healthy Apple Dessert

Here is the deal: this apple pie makes its own crust during the baking process. That’s right, NO buttery pie crust needed, saving you tons of time and calories!

Skip the unhealthy butter-packed pie crust and try this Miracle No Crust Apple Pie recipe instead! Thanks to eggs and a little bit of flour, this pie makes its own crust while baking. // www.littlechefbigappetite.com // Healthy Apple Pie // Healthy Pie Recipe // Gluten Free Pie // Whole Wheat Pie // Healthy Apple Dessert

The apple mixture goes into the pie plate just as you see above. As you’re making it, you’ll think, “What the heck? This can’t be right.”

But, just trust me…because when this baby comes out of the oven it’ll look like THIS:

Skip the unhealthy butter-packed pie crust and try this Miracle No Crust Apple Pie recipe instead! Thanks to eggs and a little bit of flour, this pie makes its own crust while baking. // www.littlechefbigappetite.com // Healthy Apple Pie // Healthy Pie Recipe // Gluten Free Pie // Whole Wheat Pie // Healthy Apple Dessert

With the help of eggs and a bit of whole wheat pastry flour, the pie magically forms its own crust. This recipe can easily be made gluten-free by substituting any GF flour (or even ground rolled oats!) for the whole wheat flour.

I love this Miracle No Crust Apple Pie because it comes together in no time, uses no butter, and contains a lot less sugar than traditional recipes. I know you’ll love it, too.

 

Miracle No Crust Apple Pie
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 2 apples, peeled (I used one Granny Smith and one Fuji)
  • ⅓ cup brown sugar, unpacked
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • ⅓ cup whole wheat pastry flour*
  • 1¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup pecan halves
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a pie plate with unsalted butter or cooking spray.
  2. Slice the apples into very thin slices, about ⅛ inch. Place in a large bowl.
  3. In a separate medium bowl combine the sugars, flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Stir well to combine. Add the dry ingredients to the apples. Next add the eggs, vanilla and pecan halves. Stir well to combine.
  4. Pour the mixture into the greased pie plate. Use a rubber spatula to get every bit out of the bowl. Spread the mixture evenly across the pie plate. Bake for 45-60 minutes. Let cool for at least 10 minutes before slicing.
Notes
*Can substitute any flour of choice (gluten-free, oat flour, all-purpose, etc.)
 

Desserts Tips and Tricks

Perfect Dark Chocolate Covered Strawberries

You may remember from a few weeks ago that I made Travis Dark Chocolate Covered Strawberries for Valentine’s Day.

Perfect Dark Chocolate Covered Strawberries Recipe

Over the last few years, I’ve made these strawberries numerous times and they are secretly SO easy. Even though Valentine’s Day is over, there is no reason you can’t make these Dark Chocolate Covered Strawberries for another occasion. That is why I wanted to share them on the blog today.

Perfect Dark Chocolate Covered Strawberries Recipe

I love Dark Chocolate Covered Strawberries because are a relatively  healthy dessert and this version is made with just TWO ingredients, so they come together in no time!

The biggest trick to perfecting your strawberries is all in how you melt the chocolate. For years growing up I watched my mom melt chocolate in her fancy glass double boiler.

img_4211

In college she bought me my own double boiler, but when I was packing up my things to move across the country to LA, I decided it was just too big and not worth shipping. I’ve survived the last year and a half without one because of one very nifty trick that I will show you today.

The purpose of a double boiler is to melt chocolate slowly without burning it. If you melt it too quickly (i.e. in the microwave or directly in a pot on the stove) then you will run the risk of nasty burnt bits that won’t look very appealing on your strawberries. With a double boiler the steam from the simmering water below the chocolate is what causes it to melt, as opposed to direct heat.

If you don’t have a double-boiler at home, here is what you do:

First, find a small sauce pan and a glass dish. The base of the glass dish must be large enough to SIT ON TOP of the sauce pan without falling in. Fill the sauce pan with 2 inches of water, place it on the stove and bring the water to a boil.

Perfect Dark Chocolate Covered Strawberries Recipe

Once the water boils, bring it to a simmer and place the glass dish on top of the sauce pan. Put the chocolate in the glass dish and stir the chocolate constantly until it is melted.

Perfect Dark Chocolate Covered Strawberries Recipe

Constant stirring ensures that the chocolate closest to the bottom of the dish does not burn. Your goal is velvety-smooth chocolate.

Perfect Dark Chocolate Covered Strawberries Recipe

Once the chocolate is melted and smooth, remove it from the heat immediately.

You must move quickly here because you cannot let the chocolate harden, which will happen if you allow it to sit for awhile untouched.

Learn how to make perfect Dark Chocolate Covered Strawberries. They couldn't be easier, but they always look impressive. Only two ingredients, and they're vegan and gluten-free. // www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Next, pick up your washed strawberries by their stems. Dip them in the chocolate, twisting in a circle as you remove them to ensure that the chocolate coats all the way around the strawberry. Lay the dipped strawberries on a large plate or dish lined with wax paper.

Learn how to make perfect Dark Chocolate Covered Strawberries. They couldn't be easier, but they always look impressive. Only two ingredients, and they're vegan and gluten-free. // www.littlechefbigappetite.com

That’s it! Then you just let the strawberries cool and harden at room temperature for about 30 minutes. Good luck waiting. They sure are tempting…

Learn how to make perfect Dark Chocolate Covered Strawberries. They couldn't be easier, but they always look impressive. Only two ingredients, and they're vegan and gluten-free. // www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Store the strawberries in the fridge so they do not melt. I think they taste delicious cold!

Learn how to make perfect Dark Chocolate Covered Strawberries. They couldn't be easier, but they always look impressive. Only two ingredients, and they're vegan and gluten-free. // www.littlechefbigappetite.com

You can make these Dark Chocolate Covered Strawberries for someone special or you can make them just for yourself! Everyone needs to spoil themselves once in awhile, am I right?

 

Dark Chocolate Covered Strawberries
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 20-25
Ingredients
  • 20-25 medium Strawberries (washed and dried)
  • ½ cup Dark Chocolate Chips (or 1 bar of good quality dark chocolate)
Instructions
  1. Wash and dry your strawberries thoroughly with a paper towel. The chocolate won't stick if they are wet. Put aside.
  2. Using a double boiler, melt the chocolate until it smooth and velvety, stirring constantly. Immediately remove the chocolate from the double boiler.
  3. Pick the strawberries up from their stems and dip them in the melted chocolate, twisting as you remove to ensure the chocolate coats all sides. Place the dipped strawberries on a large plate lined with wax paper. Allow the strawberries to cool and harden for 30 minutes. Store in the refrigerator.
 

 

Desserts

Healthy Blondies

These healthy blondies require NO flour, butter, or oil all thanks to one secret ingredient. Can you guess what it might be?

Recently, my friend from elementary school, Ben, reached out to me on Facebook after seeing my blog (Hi Ben!). I hadn’t heard from him in years, so when he asked me if I ever made my mom’s congo bars it brought back a flood of memories. I hadn’t thought about my mom’s beloved congo bars in ages. In fact, I couldn’t even recall that last time she made them.

But when I was growing up, my mom used to always make Congo Bars. By the way, if you’re sitting there scratching your head, wondering what the heck a congo bar is, then think of it like a blondie. In fact, I don’t even know if there is a discernible difference between a congo bar and a blondie. Is there?

These healthy blondies require NO flour, butter, or oil all thanks to one secret ingredient. Can you guess what it might be? // www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Whenever I had friends come over for playdates, study sessions, sleepovers, etc. there seemed to always be a batch of ooey-gooey melty congo bars.

Ben, in particular, loved my mom’s congo bars. In fact, he loved them so much that he made up a song and dance about them.  No joke. My mom loved this, of course, so just about every week she asked me if she should make a batch of congo bars just for Ben (my mom is one of the most thoughtful, generous women you will ever meet and if she knows you love one of her baked goods, she will make sure to always bake it for you).

Ben’s comment got me craaaaaaaaving one of my mom’s congo bars. So, I set out a healthier version of my beloved childhood treat.

These healthy blondies require NO flour, butter, or oil all thanks to one secret ingredient. Can you guess what it might be? // www.littlechefbigappetite.com

In this version we’re using chickpeas.

Yup, chickpeas. No flour. These are gluten-free. In fact, they’re vegan, too (unintentionally, but hey now I am just pleasing loads of different diets!)

These healthy blondies require NO flour, butter, or oil all thanks to one secret ingredient. Can you guess what it might be? // www.littlechefbigappetite.com

And what goes better with chickpeas then peanut butter, am I right!?

*Crickets*

I’m kidding. I’ll admit we’re doing weird things with these healthy blondies. It is completely strange combination, but it works, so just hang in there a little while longer, would’ya?

These healthy blondies require NO flour, butter, or oil all thanks to one secret ingredient. Can you guess what it might be? // www.littlechefbigappetite.com

You’re going to need a food processor or a very good blender. Everything gets thrown in and blended up all nice and smooth. You just let that food processor do alllllll the work.

These healthy blondies require NO flour, butter, or oil all thanks to one secret ingredient. Can you guess what it might be? // www.littlechefbigappetite.com

I may or may not have eaten 1/3 of the batter before it went into the pan. I mean, there was no egg in it, and it was calling to me….so what’s a girl to do – just let it sit there??

See if you can exercise a little more self-restraint than me and get the batter into the pan sooner than I did. In the end you’ll have some pretty delicious congo bars / blondies / whatever the heck you want to call them.

You would never in one million years know these healthy blondies contain chickpeas…OR they’re gluten-free and vegan.

 

Secret Ingredient Healthy Blondies
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Ingredients
  • 1 15oz. can unsalted chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • ⅓ cup natural unsalted peanut butter or almond butter* (See note below)
  • ¼ – ⅓ cup maple syrup (to taste)**
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 bar good quality dark-chocolate, chopped
  • ¼ cup chocolate chips for sprinkling (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8×8 baking pan.
  2. Combine all ingredients besides the chocolate in the bowl of a food processor. Process until smooth (about 45 seconds). Gently fold in the chopped dark chocolate.
  3. Pour the mixture into the baking pan. Sprinkle the top with additional chocolate chips (optional). Bake for 25 minutes or until the edges begin to harden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. The blondies will harden as they cool, so be careful not to overcook them. Cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Be careful not to cut them too soon, or you will just get blondie mess instead of nice squares!
Notes
*Peanut Butter will provide a noticeable peanut butter taste and almond butter will be mild and less detectable.

**You can substitute honey, but they will no longer be vegan.
 

Desserts Gluten-Free

Healthy Brownie Bites

These No-Bake Healthy Brownie Bites are a quick and easy raw vegan dessert. Made from only a handful of ingredients and no baking required, you can throw these brownie bites together in no time!

 

I have been seeing lots of raw vegan desserts pop up around the internet these days. Some of them intrigue me, but most of the time I sit there and question if combining XYZ ingredients is actually going to taste like a piece of carrot cake, apple pie, or the like.

I am all for healthy desserts, but my goal is have the healthier version taste exactly (or better!)  than the real thing. That’s why I love desserts like my Salted Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies – they’re healthier than the classic chocolate chip cookie, but they taste so gosh-darned freakin’ delicious, so you never feel like you’re missing anything.

 

These No-Bake Healthy Brownie Bites are a quick and easy raw vegan dessert. Made from only a handful of ingredients and no baking required, you can throw these brownie bites together in no time! // www.littlechefbigappetite.com

So when I saw this recipe for 3 ingredient recipe for truffles that claimed to taste like healthy brownie bites, I knew I had to give it a whirl.  I thought, “Hey – if they don’t turn out well,  at least I only wasted three ingredients!”

 

These No-Bake Healthy Brownie Bites are a quick and easy raw vegan dessert. Made from only a handful of ingredients and no baking required, you can throw these brownie bites together in no time! // www.littlechefbigappetite.com

So, I set out to make these no-bake healthy brownie bites.

At first I wasn’t impressed — they weren’t sweet enough for my liking. But, after making a few changes to make them a bit sweeter, I think I made a real keeper.

These No-Bake Healthy Brownie Bites are a quick and easy raw vegan dessert. Made from only a handful of ingredients and no baking required, you can throw these brownie bites together in no time! // www.littlechefbigappetite.com

I was snacking on these all throughout the weekend.

As someone who usually craves something sweet right after lunch or dinner, I think these are perfect. You get that sweet chocolate-y fix without loads of calories.

These No-Bake Healthy Brownie Bites are a quick and easy raw vegan dessert. Made from only a handful of ingredients and no baking required, you can throw these brownie bites together in no time! // www.littlechefbigappetite.com

These healthy brownie bites also transport quite well, so they could be a great healthy dessert to bring to a party this holiday season. Did I mention they are vegan, gluten-free AND dairy-free, so they are bound to please all of your friends with dietary restrictions.

If you try them let me know what you think!

 

Healthy Brownie Bites
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 10
Ingredients
  • 1 cup Walnuts (raw, unsalted)
  • ½ cup Dates (pitted)
  • 2 tablespoons Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 2 teaspoons Stevia (or another all-natural sweetener)
  • ½ teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • ½ cup Sweetened or Unsweetened Shredded Coconut (Optional)
Instructions
  1. Place the walnuts in a bowl of a food processor and process until they become like sand (about 45 seconds). Add the dates, cocoa, stevia and vanilla and process until well combined and the mixture looks like brownie batter (about 20 seconds). You may have to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula once or twice to make sure all of the ingredients are well incorporated.
  2. Form the dough into balls slightly smaller than a golf ball, rolling to smooth in your hands. Put the shredded coconut in a small bowl or plastic baggie and toss the balls in the coconut. Place the bites in the fridge for about 30 minutes to harden and then they will be ready to serve. I stored mine in the fridge.
 

Desserts

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

This one time back in college I really liked this boy. He knew that I loved to bake, and he asked me if I knew how to make Black and White cookies.  This boy didn’t really like sweets (I know, he was kind of a weirdo), but for some reason he really liked those cookies. I said I had never made them before, but thought to myself, “How hard can they really be?”

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe - Little Chef Big Appetite

Well, this boy was studying very hard for finals at the time, so I wanted to surprise him (and impress him) by baking him his favorite cookies.

I read various recipes and finally settled on one that looked perfect. I spent the next few hours in my college kitchen, mixing, baking, and icing these adorable cookies. I made plenty of extra so he could share them with his roommates (I, of course, had to win over his friends, too).

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe - Little Chef Big Appetite

Once every last cookie had been frosted, I perfectly displayed the cookies on a big plate and carried them over to this boy’s apartment. I rang the bell and waited.  He was surprised to see me and even more surprised by the mass amount of cookies on the tray I was holding. He let me in and was eager to try a cookie. He took a bite and his reaction was….well….not what I was expecting.

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe - Little Chef Big Appetite

He said, “These are the worst Black and White cookies I have ever had.” I could feel my face turn bright red immediately. First of all, how the heck was that possible? I was a PRO baker. And also, did he really have to be so blunt?

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe - Little Chef Big Appetite

He told me to take a bite and see for myself. So, I grabbed a cookie and took a big bite. They were in fact, the WORST cookies I had ever had. To be honest, I am surprised he didn’t spit the thing out of his mouth. Something had gone terribly wrong. I tried to figure it out. Was it the ingredients? Had my eggs gone bad? The buttermilk? Did I bake them too long?

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe - Little Chef Big Appetite

To this day, I have no freakin clue.

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe - Little Chef Big Appetite

So, why did I tell you that story? Because there is a lesson involved, you see.

You MUST taste everything you bake and cook before you serve it.

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe - Little Chef Big Appetite

And you must taste it twice if they’re cupcakes….because, well, they’re cupcakes…and you should be extra sure 😉

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe - Little Chef Big Appetite

These little red velvet babies are a little piece of heaven. I made these for a friend’s birthday and they were a big hit.

They are simple, moist, and have the perfect hint of cinnamon in the fluffy cream cheese frosting.

Make them for someone special this Valentine’s Day. But remember what I told you…

 

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 12
Ingredients
Red Velvet Cupcakes
  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 egg, at room temperature
  • 3 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 Tablespoons red food coloring
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup buttermilk, at room temperature*
  • 1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar
Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 2 1/3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 3 Tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • 4oz cream cheese, at room temperature
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Instructions
Red Velvet Cupcakes
  1. Place a rack in the upper third of your oven. Preheat to 325 degrees.
  2. Cream the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat quickly until the egg is well incorporated.
  3. In a separate small bowl, mix the cocoa, vanilla and red food coloring to make a thick paste (this may take some extra muscle to get the desired consistency). Add to the butter, sugar and egg batter and mix until well incorporated. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides so all of the batter gets the red color.
  4. Add half of the buttermilk. Then add half of the flour and salt. Mix until combined and then repeat with the remaining buttermilk and flour. Beat quickly until the batter is smooth. Then slowly add the baking soda and vinegar and beat for another minute.
  5. Spoon the batter into a muffin tray lined with paper cups. The batter should fill about 3/4 of the cups. Bake for 23-25 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean.
  6. Let the cupcakes rest in the pan for 10 minutes and then remove and let cool completely on a cooling rack before frosting.
Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
  1. Beat the powdered sugar, butter and cinnamon in a bowl until the three ingredients are well mixed.  Add the cream cheese and beat until the frosting is well incorporated. Continue to beat the frosting until it is light and fluffy.
Notes
*To make your own buttermilk, pour ½ Tablespoon distilled white vinegar in a liquid measuring cup. Fill the measuring cup up to the ½ cup line with reduced-fat milk. Stir and let sit for 10 minutes.
 

Desserts

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Listen here.  This weekend is a very important weekend. You know why? A lot, a lot, a lot of families will be spending time together this weekend. Super important.

I’m going home tomorrow and can’t wait. I know that the second I get into the car my mom will offer me a variety snacks that she packed for the ride and then when I walk inside my house she’ll be ready to feed me all of my favorite foods. I love you Mom. You get me. You understand that I get totally cranky if I don’t eat. Therefore, you do everything you possibly can to avoid all crankiness.  21 years. I think we’ve nailed it.

I hope you’re spending time with your family this weekend. If not, I hope you call. Or send your mom flowers. She’ll love it. Really.

Or at the very least play a family member in Words with Friends. This completely counts as healthy communication. It also keeps my confidence at an all time high. You see, my brother is totally the favorite child, but hey at least I’m the one #winning in WWF:

Okay, but really I hope you eat some amazing food this weekend. Food at home always tastes better, doesn’t it?

This cake is perfect for Easter. I wooooooooouldn’t suggest bringing it to a Passover seder. Don’t worry guys – I got the Matzah and Passover-friendly recipes coming this week.

I made this carrot cake for Emily’s birthday. We spent awhile looking through one of my new favorite cookbooks.  It is called Flour – written by the amazing Joanne Chang from Flour Bakery in Boston.  Her Carrot Cake recipe is to die for.  Absolute perfection.

And I will note that I made this cake KitchenAid Mixer-free in my tiny college kitchen and it turned out perfectly.

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe - Little Chef Big Appetite

Carrot Cake Fact: Do not use pre-cut carrot strips.  They are too thick for baked goods and don’t cook down as well as carrots your shred yourself. The point is to disguise the carrots, right?

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe - Little Chef Big Appetite

Here’s the birthday girl on her big 2-2:

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe - Little Chef Big Appetite

 

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Ingredients
Carrot Cake
  • 1 cup (220 grams) packed light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • ¾ cup (150 grams) canola oil
  • 3T nonfat buttermilk
  • ⅓t vanilla extract
  • 1 cup plus 2T (160 grams) all-purpose flour
  • ½t baking powder
  • ½t baking soda
  • ½t salt
  • ½ cinnamon
  • 2 cups (260 grams) tightly packed shredded carrots
  • ½ cup (80 grams) raisins
  • ½ cup (50 grams) walnuts, toasted and chopped
Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 12 ounces cream cheese, left at room temperature for at least 4 hours
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 2/3 cups (230 grams) confectioners’ sugar
Instructions
Carrot Cake
  1. Position a rack in the center of your oven.  Preheat to 350 degrees.  Butter an flour and 8-inch cake pan.  (For very easy removal, cut a circle of parchment paper to fit the bottom of the pan and your cake will come out from the pan perfectly).
  2. Using a stand or handheld mixer beat the eggs and brown sugar on medium-high speed for 3 minutes (longer if mixing by hand), until the mixture is light and thick.  In a separate bowl mix together the oil, buttermilk and vanilla.  On low-speed add the oil mixture to the egg and sugar mixture.
  3. In another bowl sift together the flour, baking power, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.  Fold the flour mixture into the wet ingredients.  When most of the flour mixture has been incorporated at the carrots, raisins and walnuts.  Fold until the mixture is well-combined, although be careful not to overmix.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake for 1 hour (slightly less for cupcakes) or until the top is golden brown and springs back when you press into the middle with your finger.  Allow to cool completely on a wire rack in the pan.
Frosting
  1. Beat all three ingredients until well combined.  This should make about 3 1/2 cups - I had extra. Cover the frosting and place it in the fridge for a few hours.  This allows it to firm up before frosting the cake.
Assemble
  1. Slice the cake in half: If you have a lazy Susan it makes this VERY easy, but if not, you’ll be okay, too.  Using a serrated knife, working your way evenly around the cake, score around the perimeter, cutting about one inch into the cake.  Once the cake has been scored, insert the knife into a grove and using a sawing motion, start to cut the cake, turning the lazy Susan (or the cake plate) as you saw. This should give you an even split down the middle.
  2. Once the cake is split, spread one layer of frosting on the cut side of one half and place the top layer (cut side down) on top of the frosting.  Then, using a spatula spread about one cup of the frosting on the top and sides of the cake.  This is the “crumb coat” and will prevent tiny crumbs from peeking through the frosting.  Then, spread the remaining frosting on the tops and bottom of the cake, ensuring you’re getting an even layer all around.
  3. Make sure to store the cake in the refrigerator when you’re not enjoying it!
 

 

Desserts

Cherry Pie

For Father’s Day all my dad wanted was a cherry pie.

The Most Delicious Cherry Pie Recipe - Little Chef Big Appetite

…even though no one else in my family likes cherry pie…

…but it was Father’s Day…

…so, what Dad wants, Dad gets…

The Most Delicious Cherry Pie Recipe - Little Chef Big Appetite

But, he doesn’t just get ANY cherry pie. He gets a cherry pie made from scratch.

No pre-made crust for you, Dad.

The Most Delicious Cherry Pie Recipe - Little Chef Big Appetite

Nope.

The Most Delicious Cherry Pie Recipe - Little Chef Big Appetite

Because I love you.

A lot.

The Most Delicious Cherry Pie Recipe - Little Chef Big Appetite

And because playing with dough {is fun} reminds me of being a kid at Bertucci’s again.

The Most Delicious Cherry Pie Recipe - Little Chef Big Appetite

For the filling I recommend using jarred Morello cherries. These have the perfect level of tartness and save you from individually pitting cherries. You can use fresh cherries if you reaaaaaaaaally want to if you are insane,but Dad will love you regardless.

The Most Delicious Cherry Pie Recipe - Little Chef Big Appetite

I promise.

The Most Delicious Cherry Pie Recipe - Little Chef Big Appetite

As I said, I didn’t expect anyone else to eat this pie.  (My mom and I are triple-chocolate-fudge-brownie-peanut-butter-EXPLOSION kind of people).

BUT

I may have been converted. I may DO like cherry pie. (Don’t worry brownie sundae, I won’t forget about you).

In fact it was SO good that we all had seconds.

Poor Dad, he thought he was going to have the whole thing to himself.

 


Cherry Pie
 
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 8
Ingredients
Basic Pie Dough – For 1 Double-Crust 9-inch Pie
  • 2 ½ cups unbleached all purpose flour, plus more for dusting the work surface
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoon sugar
  • ½ cup vegetable shortening, chilled
  • 12 tablespoons (1 ½ sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into ¼-inch pieces
  • 6-8 tablespoons ice water
Cherry Pie
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • 1 to 1 +1/4 cups sugar, plus 1 tablespoon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch salt
  • 3 (24-ounce) jars Morello cherries*, drained, or fresh or canned sour cherries, pitted or drained
  • ¼ teaspoon almond extract
Instructions
Basic Pie Dough
  1. Process the flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor until combined. Add the shortening and process until the mixture has the texture of course sand (about ten seconds). Scatter the butter pieces over the flour mixture; cut the butter into the flour until the mixture is pale yellow and resembles course crumbs, with butter bits no larger than small peas, about ten 1-second pulses. Turn the mixture into a medium bowl.
  2. Sprinkle 6 tablespoons of the ice water over the mixture. Using a rubber spatula, use a folding motion to mix. Press down on the dough with the broad side of the spatula until the dough sticks together, adding up to 2 tablespoons more of the ice water if the dough does not come together.
  3. Divide the dough into 2 balls, one slightly larger than the other. Flatten each ball into a 4-inch disk. Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour, or up to 2 days, before rolling out.
Cherry Pie
  1. Remove the dough from the refrigerator. If it is very cold let it stand at room temperature until malleable. On a floured work surface roll the larger piece of dough into a 12-inch circle. Transfer the dough into a 9-inch pie plate (while many recommend rolling the dough onto the rolling pin and then unrolling it into the plate, I found the easiest way to transfer the dough was to fold it in half to lift it and then place it into the pan). Work around the circumference of the pan, easing the dough into the pan corners. Leave the dough that overhands the lip of the pie plate in place. Refrigerate the dough-lined pie plate.
  2. Adjust an oven rack to the lowest position, place a rimmed baking sheet on it, and heat the oven to 500 degrees.
  3. Mix together the cornstarch, 1 to 1 ¼ cups of sugar (taste the fruit and adjust amount as desired), cinnamon, and salt in a medium bowl. Stir in the cherries and almond extract. Remove the dough lined pie plate from the refrigerator and turn the cherry mixture into the plate.
  4. Now, on a floured work surface again, roll the second piece of dough into a 10-inch circle. Lay this piece on top of the cherry mixture. Using a fork, press the edges of the dough (both pieces) to the lip of the pan. Cut four slits at right angles in the center of the pie. Lightly brush the top with 1 tablespoon of water and sprinkle with one tablespoon of sugar.
  5. Lower the oven temperature to 425 degrees. Place the pie on the baking sheet and bake until the crust is set and begins to brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Rotate the pie and reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees; continue baking until the crust is a deep golden brown and the juices bubble, 25 to 30 minutes longer. Cool the pie on a wire rack for at least 2 hours before serving.
Notes
*Morello cherries are the best and easiest thing to use for this recipe, avoiding both pitting individual cherries and using any other canned version. They can be found at specialty stores, but Trader Joes is probably your best bet.

***Recipe adapted from Baking Illustrated (of Cooks Illustrated)