Blueberry Lemonade Bars

Dessert | July 26, 2016 | By

Blueberry Lemonade Bars It’s a crazy summer for us in the Gowan household, but I’m still holding onto my baking time. It sounds crazy, but its kind of like therapy for me. Last weekend, the kids were having a rest time and I was excited to get into the kitchen and try these Blueberry Lemonade Bars.

First let me say, I LOVE lemon bars. Heck, I love anything lemon flavored. Citrus just equals summer for me. These Blueberry Lemonade Bars are the perfect little treat in the summer time, and just the best thing to pack for a summer picnic or potluck dinner. I took this recipe from Smitten Kitchen and put my own spin on it. I swapped out the raspberries for blueberries simply because that is what is in season for us right now and I had a bunch leftover in my fridge. 

These bars are really tart and not so sweet. The buttery lemon crust really helps balance out the whole thing. Also, don’t forget a dusting of confectioner’s sugar over the top because that will sweeten them up ever so slightly as well! 

Enjoy!

(more…)

Lemon Buttermilk Bundt Cake

Dessert | January 6, 2016 | By

bundt1After I bought this pretty new bundt pan, I’m on a mission to use it more. I think I’ll probably make a cake a month, and be sending most of it to work (which is what happened to this Lemon Buttermilk Bundt Cake).

I really loved the tart lemon flavor mixed with the richness of the buttermilk. To top it all off, the cake was super moist! If you don’t have a pan like this, then you can easily make it into a small loaf pan, bake it a little bit longer and call it pound cake! Just make sure the toothpick tester comes out clean in the middle and you aren’t using a bigger sized loaf pan (it may never cook in the middle before it over-browns on top). 

So (I think) this concludes some sugary recipes for a while. It’s time for me to stop eating so many sweets so things might get a little healthy around here. We’ll see. For now, enjoy this cake 🙂 

Read on for the recipe. 

(more…)

Raspberry Almond Shortbread Thumbprint Cookies

Dessert, Holidays | December 24, 2015 | By

raspberry shortbread cookiesMerry Christmas Eve! These Raspberry Almond Shortbread Thumbprint Cookies are what we’ll be putting out for Santa Claus tonight. And Bryn has asked to put out carrots for the reindeer. 

These cookies are just perfect to me. They have an very intense almond flavor, which you all know is just my jam. I used this recipe from Cooking Classy, but increased the amount of almond extract. 

So what’s everyone doing for Christmas Eve? We’re enjoying a 65 degree day (!!!!) here in upstate New York by taking Beau for an extra long romp at the dog park and then getting a few last minute things at the grocery store. Yes, I’m taking two small children to the grocery store on Christmas Eve, but I forgot some treats for Christmas morning breakfast. 

Trevor and I have plans to finally watch the best Christmas movie ever tonight – “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” and there will probably be adult beverages and some more gift wrapping involved. We have a full weekend of activities planned so it’s nice to have a couple days at home with just the four of us. I’m super excited for Christmas morning, and I think having kids on Christmas makes it even more fun.

Anyways, I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday and I’m going to take the rest of the week off, and I’ll be back on Monday with a recap of our holiday festivities! 

In the meantime, make these Raspberry Almond Shortbread Thumbprint Cookies and tweet me a picture. I love to see what recipes you guys are baking from my blog (shout out to my Aunt Marsha for making yesterday’s Lemon Ricotta Cookies!

Christen in the Kitchen’s 12 Days of Christmas Cookies 

Day 1: Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles

Day 2: Press Cookies 

Day 3: Peanut Blossoms

Day 4: Ultimate Ginger Cookies

Day 5: Pumpkin Snickerdoodles  

Day 6: Buckeyes 

Day 7: Lemon Ricotta Cookies 

Read on for the recipe!

(more…)

Lemon Ricotta Cookies

Dessert, Holidays | December 23, 2015 | By

Lemon Ricotta CookiesOkay, so I think these Lemon Ricotta Cookies are the second-to-last cookie recipe that I’m going to bake for this Christmas. While it’s been a seriously tasty couple of weeks, I’m in need of a little new year’s detox after all this sugar (ha! Watch, I’ll post even more sugary treats in January). 

Anywho, these Lemon Ricotta Cookies are really soft, and I absolutely love how citrusy they are. They’re intensely lemon-flavored with none of that weird, fake lemon taste. It’s just a pure, simple cookie that’s really tart while being sweet. It’s a great balance between all the heavy chocolate and peanut butter treats that I tend to gravitate towards. 

This recipe is originally from Giada de Laurentiis and I made zero additions or subtractions, which is pretty rare these days. All in all, its a great, easy to whip up kind of cookie. Case in point, I actually made these with Bryn and we both had quite a bit of fun (cooking with kids isn’t like my absolute favorite thing to do since it’s not very relaxing).

Read on for the recipe and enjoy!

Christen in the Kitchen’s 12 Days of Christmas Cookies 

Day 1: Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles

Day 2: Press Cookies 

Day 3: Peanut Blossoms

Day 4: Ultimate Ginger Cookies

Day 5: Pumpkin Snickerdoodles  

Day 6: Buckeyes 

(more…)

Buckeyes

Dessert, Holidays | December 22, 2015 | By

buckeyes This is my last of the family Christmas cookie recipes (I have two others ready to go), but it’s probably the most popular. Buckeyes were something we always looked forward to every year. This was Gram’s recipe (my mom’s mother) and she’s definitely someone I got the baking gene from. 

She was known for testing new recipes, and had perfected several in our family that our now legendary (I’ve never had potato salad like hers). I think that’s what I love about cooking though. Even though people aren’t with us anymore, you are still reminded of them through their recipes. 

I have so many happy memories of my grandmother, especially spending time with her in her kitchen around the holidays. She didn’t have the best upbringing (growing up in the Depression was certainly difficult for many), but she always had an upbeat and patient way about her when it came to her grandkids. One of my favorite memories with her was spending a sick day at her house and watching Audrey Hepburn movies. She let me watch “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” when I was 10 or 11 – long before I understood what it really was about. 

I had such a strong reminder of her this week when I tried someone else’s Buckeye recipe and it just failed miserably. The filling was dry and just crumbling into the chocolate and it was a big old mess. I literally put the spoon down and walked out of the kitchen for several hours. I was annoyed and grumpy, watching some TV and avoiding the dishes in the kitchen when I thought about what Gram would’ve said. Even though that batch of Buckeyes were terrible, she would’ve told me they were delicious and better than hers (which really wasn’t true), but that’s who she was. 

It’s just great to be reminded of the people we miss through something like food. So these Buckeyes are just awesome. The peanut butter filling is super smooth while the chocolate really brings the whole thing together. 

Also, a huge shout out to my sister, Colleen. The Buckeyes I tried, sucked, so the ones pictured above were from her freezer (and they’re delicious!). 

Christen in the Kitchen’s 12 Days of Christmas Cookies 

Day 1: Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles

Day 2: Press Cookies 

Day 3: Peanut Blossoms

Day 4: Ultimate Ginger Cookies

Day 5: Pumpkin Snickerdoodles  

(more…)

Ultimate Ginger Cookies

Dessert | December 15, 2015 | By

Ultimate Ginger cookiesHey! I’m back with the 12 Days of Christmas Cookies, and you’re going to want to run and make these Ultimate Ginger Cookies. They are just proof that Ina Garten reigns supreme with some of her recipes. These cookies are spicy without being heavy and just an awesome chewy cookie. 

I’ve really been on a ginger kick this Christmas season (see my Gingerbread Bundt Cake for even more proof). It’s just a great dessert flavor without being overly sweet. I really like the addition of crystallized ginger in these cookies, but it isn’t complete needed. If you have everything else, don’t worry about buying another ingredient. Just make the ginger cookies without and they’ll be just as good! 

My mom was the one who originally shared these cookies with me, and she had bumped up the ground ginger in the recipe and I totally agree. Bring on the spice!

Read on for the recipe!

Don’t forget! Enter my $50 Whole Foods Gift Card giveaway here! 

Christen in the Kitchen’s 12 Days of Christmas Cookies

Day 1: Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles

Day 2: Press Cookies

Day 3: Peanut Blossoms

(more…)

Bacon Bourbon Pecan Pie and Whole Foods Gift Card Giveaway

Dessert, Giveaway | December 14, 2015 | By

Bacon Bourbon Pecan Pie Let’s take a quick break from the Christmas cookies and talk pie, shall we? This Bacon Bourbon Pecan Pie is my second collaboration with the awesome folks at Whole Foods in Albany (stay tuned to the end of the post – there’s a giveaway!) 

I really love to try new desserts for Christmas. I know everyone has their allegiances to certain pies on Thanksgiving (typically apple and pumpkin), but Christmas is special. It’s a time to try a new dessert, maybe something a little more decadent and this Bacon Bourbon Pecan Pie is a home run! 

So this Bacon Bourbon Pecan Pie was born. The family and I stopped into our local Whole Foods the other day to pick up the ingredients and I really love the bulk section. It’s great to be able to buy exactly what you need for this recipe. I also wanted some big, whole pecans to make the design on the top and they had those in bulk took. A huge bonus – they had a 20 percent off beer sale on Saturday so you know we took advantage of that! 

Bacon Bourbon Pecan PieThis pie is just everything I’m looking for in a holiday dessert. Not too sweet, but really delicious. The bacon cuts through the sweetness of the maple syrup and gives the pie that nice salty bite. I recommend a really high-quality bacon in this. No cheap flimsy bacon so go for some thick cut, center cut strips of bacon. Just make sure to chop them up pretty small (a little bit smaller than the pecans) so that it blends in nicely with the pecan pie. 

I used my mom’s pie crust recipe for this pie since it’s shortening based. I wanted something not super rich (an all-butter crust can be), and it compliments the filling. 

Read on for the recipe (and click alllll the way to the end for the chance to win a $50 gift card from Whole Foods!

(more…)