Peach Blackberry Gingersnap Crisp

I am in peach blackberry gingersnap heaven right now.

Trust me, that’s a place.  At least, I am 98.8% confident that it must be after eating this peach-blackberry gingersnap crisp.  Devouring this peach-blackberry gingersnap crisp, rather, as much as I could while my family tackled it as well.  It didn’t stand a chance.  How many times can I say peach-blackberry gingersnap crisp before you get annoyed?  I’ll stop now.

I used to not be a big fan of fruit in my desserts, but as you might be able to tell from a few of my previous posts I’m slowly coming around.  Maybe it’s the hot, HOT weather we’re having right now, but I’ve been craving lighter, fruit-laden desserts recently.

But, um, not just fruit, ya know.   It needs to be surrounded by a significant amount of crumbly buttery sweet goodness in order to keep my attention.

Blackberry Peach Gingersnap Crisp

I’ve always been a fan of the classic, basic apple crisp, but sometimes I crave excitement.

Evidently, excitement for me is using peaches instead of apples and adding gingersnap crumbles to my crumb topping, but hey, I’m OK with that.

This crisp is full of juicy fruit covered in a jazzed up (thanks to the addition of ginger snaps) crumb topping.

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The spicy snap of ginger in these cookies makes a perfectly crisp, cookie topping that pairs perfectly with the sweetness of the peaches and blackberries.

Crisp gingersnap topping + sweet warm fruit filling + cold, (yet melting) vanilla ice cream = melt in your mouth oh-my-gosh-give-me-another-scoop-right-now perfection.

It’s just simple math.

And yes, I definitely recommend topping it all off with ice cream because what warm fruit crisp doesn’t deserve a cold scoop of vanilla, but hey, that’s optional.

As for making this crisp right now… Not optional.  Dooooo itttttt.

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On another note completely unrelated to peach-blackberry gingersnap crisp goodness, on Thursday Zach and I settled on our house!!!!!

We are now officially home owners and I am so excited and I have never before in my life been so in love with Home Depot or so excited to buy a bucket of paint.

Eek!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Skillet Peach-Blackberry Gingersnap Crisp
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
Fast, easy fruit crisp recipe
Ingredients
Fruit Filling
  • 5 peaches, sliced, pits removed
  • 1½ cups blackberries
  • ⅓ cup white sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon corn starch
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
Crisp topping
  • 20 gingersnap cookies
  • ¾ cups brown sugar (packed)
  • ½ cup flour
  • ⅓ cup oats
  • 1 stick cold butter
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a 10½ inch cast iron skillet* combine peach slices, blackberries, sugar, lemon juice, corn starch, vanilla, and cinnamon. Set aside.
  3. Crush gingersnap cookies into small pieces. I did this by placing them in a resealable plastic baggie and crushing with a rubber mallet. Alternatively you could crush with a rolling-pin or pulse in a food processor.
  4. Pour cookie pieces in to medium-sized bowl. Add brown sugar, flour, and oats and combine.
  5. Using a pastry cutter (or knife and fork), cut cold butter into the mixture. Cut until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  6. Spread crumb topping evenly over the fruit filling in the skillet.
  7. Bake on 375 degrees for 30 minutes.
  8. Allow crisp to cool slightly before serving, preferably topped with ice cream.
Notes
*I chose to make this crisp in a skillet. I believe that if you did not have a cast iron skillet an 8x8 pan would serve much the same.

 
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Cheesecake Bites in Sugar Cookie Cups

Cheesecake Cookie Cups

I know we talked about this already, but it’s Strawberry season (!).

Unfortunately (/fortunately?) it’s also the season of sporadic thunderstorms that creep up on you unannounced.

The skies have me a little terrified to go running recently since these dark clouds come out of nowhere I don’t have a waterproof case on my phone in the event that I get stuck in a downpour.

But that’s Ok, because there’s something so… cozy about a thunderstorm in the early evening, when it rolls in and blacks out the sun and whips the trees into a frenzy, I can’t help but want to hole up in the kitchen.

The thunder starts grumbling in the distance and I know it’s only moments before the rain starts to come down like Niagara Falls (and I invariably panic about whether or not I left my car windows down).

This is my favorite time to bake something sweet.

Sugar Cookie Cheesecake Cups

I never feel guilty about being inside in the summertime when the weather outside is awful.  It’s just so nice to be in the kitchen with a bowl of some sort of cookie dough or cake batter, an oven preheating, and my family in the room beside me settling down to take advantage of the weather in their own way and pop in a movie that will inevitably distract me and make the baking process take 3x as long.

It’s Ok.  It’s cozy.

I love cozy.

Sugar Cookie Cups with cheesecake filling and fruit topping

I also love recipes that look more complicated than they really are.

These cheesecake bites are that kind.  The “cups” are a basic sugar cookie dough molded partially around the outside of a mini-muffin pan tin.  The rich, (no-bake, no box-filling) cheesecake filling is absurdly easy to whip together, and the strawberries & blueberries (or whatever fruit best suits your fancy), well all you have to do is cut and arrange.

Sugary, crisp cookie crust cup.  Rich cheesecake filling.  Fresh fruit to top it all off.  Minimal assembly.

Sugar cookie Cheesecake cups

Next time a thunderstorm starts rolling in, you know what to do.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Cheesecake Bites in Sugar Cookie Cups
Author: 
 
Makes about 3 dozen cheesecake bites
Ingredients
Cookie cups
  • 1 cup butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
Cheesecake Filling
  • 24 oz (3 packages) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ cup heavy whipping cream
  • ½ cup sour cream
Fruit topping
  • Fruit of your choice, I chose strawberries and blueberries
Instructions
Cookie cups
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In mixer combine butter, sugar and vanilla. Beat until creamy.
  3. Add in egg, stir until combined.
  4. Gradually add in flour and baking soda. Stir until dough clumps together.
  5. Grease the protruding cups of a mini-muffin tin.
  6. Roll dough into 1-inch sized balls, and press over the back end of a cup of the muffin tray. Spread so that dough covers the bottom and a small amount reaches over all sides of the cup.*
  7. Bake on 350 degrees for 7 minutes, or until the "rim" of the cookie cups start to turn golden brown.
Cheesecake filling
  1. In stand mixer, beat cream cheese until smooth.
  2. Stir in sugar and vanilla, beat until creamy.
  3. Beat in heavy cream, beat on medium-high for 1-2 minutes
  4. Reduce speed to low and beat in ½ cup sour cream.
  5. Refrigerate until cookie cups have cooled completely and are ready to be filled/served.
  6. Up to a few hours before serving, pipe (or spoon) cheesecake filling in to completely cooled cookie cups. Top with desired fruit and serve.
Notes
*I recommend using every other cup of the mini-muffin tin, that way the cookie crusts do not run in to one another.
Cookie cups should be relatively shallow, when molding them, keep in mind that they will stretch as they bake. If the dough stretches too far (to the base of the cup) it is fine to trim while the cookies are still warm.

 
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Strawberry cake

So not only have I been seriously skipping out on the gym recently, but now I’m also eating cake for breakfast.

Oops.

But it gets worse.  I might have also eaten four pieces of this cake in a single day.  Might have… as in yes I totally did.

But this is totally redeemable when you consider the fact that it is chock-full-o’ fresh strawberries.

So, it’s practically a healthy breakfast.  Right?

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Right.  We’ll go with that.

ANYWAY, tis the season for ripe, red, fresh strawberries.  I highly recommend you take advantage of that the same way I did and make this cake.

But when you do, do yourself another favor and stick it in the fridge for a couple of hours before indulging.  This allows that fresh-picked strawberry flavor to  really really come out in this moist, strawberry-dense cake (no Jello-flavoring needed here).

And that frosting… my new favorite frosting.  It’s so airy and light, a classic cream cheese icing flavor whipped with heavy cream until it’s light and fluffy… it will literally melt in your mouth. It’s so delicate, and so delicious.

So… is cake for dinner not a good idea either?

Strawberry cake

 

5.0 from 1 reviews
Strawberry Cake with Airy Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting
Author: 
 
Ingredients
Cake
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1¼ cup sugar
  • 1 cup strawberry puree* (see note)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup sour cream
Frosting
  • 1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
  • 1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1¼ cups granulated sugar
  • 2 cups heavy cream
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F). Prepare two 9½" round cake pans by greasing bottoms and sides with crisco and lightly flouring them. Set aside.
  2. In mixer, combine oil, milk, and sugar. Beat on medium speed for about 1-2 minutes, until the mixture is well combined and an even, hazy, yellow-ish. color.
  3. Add in pureed strawberries, beat again for about 1 minute.
  4. Add eggs, one at a time, and vanilla. Beat well.
  5. In a separate medium-sized bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt.
  6. Measure out your sour cream.
  7. With mixer on low speed, gradually add flour and sour cream, alternating between the two until flour mixture and sour cream are combined.
  8. To achieve a brighter, more pink color, add red food coloring to your cake mix (I added approximately 5 drops of red food dye).
  9. Divide cake batter evenly between prepared cake pans.
  10. Bake at 350 degrees on center rack of oven for 30 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out mostly clean (few crumbs).
  11. Allow cakes to cool fully after baking before frosting and serving.
Frosting
  1. In mixer, combine cream cheese, vanilla extract and sugar, beating until evenly combined.
  2. Increase speed of mixer to medium-high and slowly, gradually pour in heavy cream.
  3. Beat until frosting achieves light, airy texture (about 2 minutes on high speed)
Notes
For pureed strawberries, remove the tops of 6-8 large, ripe strawberries and place into food processor. Add 1 Tbsp sugar and process until strawberries are fully pureed.
Optional: For a strawberry-flavored center frosting, set aside a portion of the frosting that you will use for the center of your cake and (by hand) stir in additional/leftover strawberry puree until you reach your desired level of strawberry-ness.
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Kitchen Sink Cookies

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Zach likes to joke (or… maybe not really joke) about how indecisive I am.

When we were looking at houses, he said there was no way we could get a split level because each time I entered I’d have to decide if I wanted to go upstairs or downstairs, and I’d never be able to handle that level of decision-making on a daily basis.

So, while that’s a bit of an over-exaggeration… he’s not completely off base.

Kitchen Sink Pudding Cookies

I’ll admit I struggle with some of the most basic decisions (when choosing what to order off of a menu I feel like a colorblind bomb defuser trying to decide which wire to cut).

I blame it on the fact that there are just so many choices out there and I feel like I have to make the best possible one.  How am I supposed to choose just one option when there are so many possibilities!

These cookies are a testament to that struggle ;).  They’re kind of my way around actually making a decision because instead of choosing one thing to add into them, I’ve just included everything.

I call them Kitchen Sink cookies because of this.  This recipe includes all the best add-ins… butterscotch pudding, Heath bar bits, dark chocolate chips, mini M&Ms, chopped up milk chocolate/caramel Rolos…

Candy pudding cookies

Everything but the kitchen sink.

These cookies are chewy and jam-packed with tons of candy bits.  This flavor combo is perfect (oh, and it also makes literally the best tasting cookie dough I’ve ever had).

I also struggle mightily with deciding when to stop eating cookies.

The struggle continues.

5.0 from 2 reviews
Kitchen Sink Cookies
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened to room temperature
  • 2 cups light brown sugar, packed
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs + 1 egg yolk, room temperature
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 packet (3.4 oz) Instant Butterscotch Jello pudding
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1 cup mini M&Ms
  • 1 cup Heath bar bits
  • 1 cup Rolos, chopped in half
Instructions
  1. In mixer, combine butter, sugars, and vanilla. Beat until creamed.
  2. Add eggs and egg yolk, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
  3. In a separate bowl combine flour, dry pudding mix, baking powder and salt.
  4. Gradually add dry mixture to butter and sugar mix until evenly incorporated.
  5. Stir in candy, ½ cup at a time, until combined.
  6. Chill dough in refrigerator for 1 hour
  7. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  8. Prepare cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  9. Roll dough into 1½"-sized balls*
  10. Bake on center rack of 375 degree oven for 10 minutes.
  11. Remove from oven and allow cookies to cool for 5 minutes before removing to cooling rack to cool completely.
Notes
*The caramel in the Rolos can make these cookies a bit tricky to cook with as it can ooze out and burn. To prevent this, be conscious of where the caramel is as you roll the cookies and try to cover exposed caramel with cookie dough.

For more colorful cookies, press additional mini M&Ms into the tops of your balls of dough just before cooking.

 
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Healthy Santa Fe Chicken Salad

Healthy Santa Fe Salad

I love getting my hands on a really, really good book.  One that’s so absorbing you’re constantly looking for an opportunity to steal away with it to find out what happens next.  One of my favorite times to read is at the gym when I’m on the recumbent bike or elliptical.  If I have a good book I could do cardio for hours and never get bored (…or, at least, maybe one hour).

What I don’t love so much is getting a bit too emotionally invested in said book (this time it was What Alice ForgotFYI)… especially if I’m in public.

 

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You know what I mean, right?  Something pivotal and emotional happens in your book and suddenly you find yourself on a stationary bike in the middle of the gym trying to cover your face with your Kindle as you’re sniffling loudly enough that you’re sure the girls in the tanning beds upstairs can hear and you really need a tissue or even to just wipe your eyes but that would be admitting that you might actually be crying in public over fictional characters… (“I swear, my eyes are just sweating from all this cardio, that’s all”).

That’s not just me, right?

I’m gonna say it’s not… just ’cause that makes me feel better.

You know what else makes me feel better about crying over fictional scenarios in public?

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Why, yes, yes it is this salad that I’ve been teasing you with photos of without actually telling you anything about it so far and just going on about my own emotional issues.

Unlike an emotionally absorbing book, this salad will not make you cry in public, and considering its really healthy properties, it’s definitely not going to make you cry at the gym.

The dressing is the real superstar here.  Yeah most salads start out healthy… until you get to the best part (that’s the ranch, duh) which piles on fat and calories at warp speed .

This dressing starts with a fat-free Greek yogurt base… but if you tasted it without knowing you’d probably never figure that out on your own.

I’m saying this from experience.  My future mother-in-law makes a fantastic salad (it heavily inspired this one, as a matter-of-fact) and this dressing is her creation, I just had to share it with you.  When I first tasted it I had NO idea that the dressing was 90% Greek yogurt until she told me.

Healthy Santa Fe Salad 2

So let’s review.

Reading emotion-inducing books in public — BAD

Eating this delicious, healthy salad layered with homemade black bean and corn salsa, spicy, marinated chicken breasts and topped with a creamy, (healthy) chili-ranch dressing — So, so GOOD.

5.0 from 2 reviews
Healthy Santa Fe Chicken Salad
Author: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
Chicken
  • 3 (thin) chicken breasts
  • 5 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • ½ tsp ground red pepper
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ tsp onion powder
  • ⅛ tsp salt
  • ⅛ tsp ground black pepper
Salad
  • 10 oz chopped iceberg lettuce
  • 10 oz chopped romaine lettuce
  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeds and ribs removed, cut into small fine pieces
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 15.5 oz can super sweet yellow and white corn, drained
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • ¼ cup finely chopped onion
  • 2 tsp lime juice
  • (optional)
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • (optional)
  • broken baked Tostitos (15-20 chips, broken)
Dressing
  • 1 cup (8 oz) plain, nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp Ranch Dressing Mix
  • 1½ teaspoon reduced sodium taco seasoning
Instructions
Chicken
  1. Spray stovetop griddle with cooking spray and set to medium heat.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together olive oil, lime juice, and all spices.
  3. Submerge chicken in marinade so that it is fully coated and transfer to stovetop griddle.
  4. Cook chicken, flipping occasionally and brushing chicken with additional marinade after each flip
  5. Cook chicken until internal temperature reaches 165F.
  6. Transfer chicken to plate and cover with foil to keep warm.
Black Bean & Corn Salsa
  1. Combine tomatoes, jalapeno, black beans, corn, cilantro, onion and lime juice in medium bowl.
  2. Set in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
  3. Prepare your dressing by combining Greek yogurt, ranch dressing mix, and taco seasoning. Be sure to stir very well.
  4. When ready to serve, combine romaine and iceberg lettuce and distribute evenly across serving plates.
  5. Top each serving with Black Bean and Corn Salsa, then with chopped grilled chicken. Serve with Greek yogurt dressing.
  6. Top with avocado and baked Tostitos, if desired.
Notes
*If your chicken breasts are not already thin I would recommend pounding them so that they cook quickly and evenly
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