Joe Joe the Baker !

>I had a guest in my kitchen this weekend, Joe Joe the Baker , he’s our baker for camping. Joe and I baked up a bunch of goodies. He was a good sport as I outfitted him for our day of baking, doesn’t he look sharp?!?!

We made Chocolate Chip Cookies, Chocolate Cake and Tea Cookies. Starting off with Chocolate Chip Cookies we got to it right away.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

2 sticks of butter at room temp 
1 cup of brown sugar- the darker the better
1/2 cup of raw sugar or white sugar
2 eggs at room temp – makes for better whipping
1 teaspoon vanilla – real vanilla please
2 1/4 cups flour- unbleached
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups of semi sweet chocolate chips
1 cup toasted nuts- your choice
1 cup dried fruit- cherries, blueberries or raisins if you must…uugghh

Preheat oven to 350
Whip the butter with a hand mixer or on a stand mixer until very light and fluffy, then add the sugars until mixed well. 

Add the eggs one at a time until well blended, then add the vanilla. Mix the dry ingredients in a separate bowl and add to wet mixture slowly, mix well. 

Now you’re ready to add the chips and anything else you may like in your cookies, toasted walnuts, dried cherries, oats. Joe liked his with just chocolate chips, so that’s how we rolled this batch. 

Bake for 10-13 minutes depending on how you like your cookies, crispy or softy. We baked up one dozen for snacking while we continued on to the cake. I packed up the remaining cookie dough for Joe to take home and bake up for his family. Now he knows how to make CC Cookies from scratch, so he can always have dough in the fridge ready to bake up at anytime.

Next item Chocolate Cake – Joe’s made cakes before, but never a layered frosted cake. We used a cake mix for ease and to secure a solid outcome. Cakes from scratch are tricky and we wanted success so we took the easy route. Joe enjoyed all the gear we used. He listened and learned very well. We got the Kitchen Aid all the way to 10 while mixing the cake batter, he thought that was pretty cool.

We baked up our 8″ rounds and let them cool for frosting. They came out of the pans perfectly.

Joe took to frosting the cake… with careful concentration.

We also made Tea Cookies for his mom Nicky. Here’s a shot of Joe and all his goodies.

Here’s a shot of his family enjoying the Cake later that day…. Jimbo seems happy enough, where’s Jack ?

Big thanks to Joe for coming to bake with me, you did a GREAT job !! Come back anytime.

Triple Berry Tart

>At the organic market, the berries were plentiful and fragrant. They jumped in my basket and came home with me.

After researching several ideas of what I wanted to do with this beautiful bounty.
I decided to try a berry tart. I’d seen this amazing crust recipe for a tart a few months back and I wanted a cheesy filling with the berries on top. So after sifting through all my cookbooks and recipes I decided to do this…

Tart Crust
1 2/3 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1/2 cup chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons cold water
3 tablespoons apricot jam

Mix flour, salt and powdered sugar in food processor. Add butter and cut in using on/off turns until mixture resembles coarse meal. 

Add egg yolks and process briefly to blend. Add enough water by tablespoonfuls until mixture forms moist clumps. Gather dough into ball; flatten into disk.
Wrap in plastic and refrigerate 30 minutes. 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll out dough on lightly floured surface to 12 inch diameter round. Transfer to 9inch diameter tart pan with removable bottom. Trim crust overhang to 1/4-inch. Fold overhang in, creating double thick sides.

 Freeze crust 15 minutes. Line crust with foil. Fill with dried beans or pie weights.

Bake until sides are set, about 20 minutes. Remove foil and beans. Bake crust until golden brown, piercing with fork if bubbles form, about 15 minutes. Transfer pan to rack. Brush crust with the apricot jam while it’s warm. Cool completely.

Now for the filling and the berries.
  • 1 cup mascarpone cheese (about 8 ounces), room temperature
  • 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream, chilled
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
  • 3/4 cup strawberries, sliced and or quartered
  • 1 pint raspberries
  • 1 pint blueberries
  • Mix the mascarpone, sugar, vanilla and whip cream gently with a whisk, not too much, just until its creamy and smooth. Spread into cooled crust evenly, then grate the lemon rind over the filling.

  • Arrange the berries in a beautiful pattern that looks pretty to you. Chill and serve same day for best results. Enjoy !

Visiting the Spry’s

Recently we took a trip Phoenix to visit the Spry Resort. It’s not a public resort, it’s where my Aunt and Uncle live. They’ve made their home into a paradise in the desert. When you’re a guest of theirs, you are treated like royalty. They rock the food like a 5 star resort, one fantastic meal after another and the cocktails are totally over the top every time. This is how we were greeted upon our arrival…..Bloody Mary’s w/ blue cheese stuffed olives, peppers, shrimp and a floater of chile spiced vodka….mmmmmmm.

Then lunch came…. a stacked out grilled delight. I’m not even sure of what all was in this sandwich, but it was good.

Then dinner….. grilled Baby Back Ribs, Bake Beans and Deviled Egg Potato Salad.

This is my Uncle Dennis, the Grill Master ! and extreme host. Love him tons !
The next day the grill was in effect again with a Seafood Extravaganza, Lobster Tails, Oysters and Shrimp Cocktails. Sorry no pics of the Shrimp Cocktails, they were gone way too fast.

It was a lovely weekend of food and fun, big hugs and kisses to my Uncle Dennis and Aunt Debbie, thanks for all the love. Sorry no recipes or instructions, just sharing our fabulous time at the Spry Resort.