The combination of strawberries and champagne is classic. I decided to incorporate that combo into a whipped cream; instead of champagne, I used a sparkling Italian wine varietal called Prosecco... feel free to use whichever you prefer.
     (Note - After making this dish for photos, I thought of a slight variation to call this a Frozen Strawberry Icebox Pie if you: 1. Use the whole pie crust and make a whole pie. 2. Triple the amount of strawberry puree and omit the step to strain it. 3. Freeze it!)

---Karly


STRAWBERRIES N' CREAM BITES

Pie crust (store-bought or from-scratch)
Sugar for sprinkling
1 ¼ cups heavy cream
3-4 tablespoons sugar
2 cups sliced strawberries
3-4 tablespoons Prosecco, or other sparkling wine

     Roll out the pie crust and sprinkle lightly with sugar. Gently press the sugar into the crust with your fingers. With a round cookie cutter, cut out circles of crust and press into a mini muffin tin. Bake the shells at 425 degrees for 8-15 minutes, or until golden brown. When the shells are done, take them out of the muffin tin and put on wire racks to cool completely.

     Wash your strawberries, cut off the tops, and cut them in half. Puree in a food processor or blender with just a bit of water. Press the mixture through a sieve into a small bowl; discard the solids. Put the
heavy cream into a large bowl and beat on high speed with a mixer until it starts to form soft peaks.

     Stop the mixer, and add the strawberry puree, sugar, and Prosecco. Beat the cream on high speed until all ingredients are incorporated and the whipped cream is the consistency you like.

Spoon the whipped cream into the mini pie shells and enjoy!

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     Well, guys, I'm quite proud of this one! This one kind of stewed around in my head: I wanted to do a white sangria, but that's just a beverage. How could I incorporate this into a dessert? CAKE!
     Mango, pineapple, peach and strawberry. In a cake. Oh, yes. It turned out great!
--- Jenny


STRAWBERRY WINE CAKE WITH 
WHITE SANGRIA FROSTING


Cake:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
1 stick of unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated white sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
2/3 cup white wine (I used a white zinfandel/chardonnay blend) 
1/2 cup sliced strawberries
     
     Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9" round baking pan and place a circle of parchment paper in the bottom.

     Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Beat butter with sugar until light and really fluffy (about 2 minutes). Add the eggs one at a time, beating each well until incorporated. Add vanilla extract. Alternate adding the wine and the flour mixture, mixing only until both are blended. Fold in strawberries. Pour the batter into cake pan and smooth out the top. 

     Bake for about 45 minutes, or until the top turns golden and puffs slightly. A cake tester inserted in the center should come out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing onto a dish. Slice cake into two layers and allow to cool completely. Spread a thin layer of frosting on lower layer. Follow with a generous spread of sangria mixture. Place top layer and spread with remainder of frosting.

White Sangria Frosting:

1 mango, peeled and seeded
1/2 cup fresh chopped pineapple
1 peach, peeled, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup sliced strawberries
1/2 cup white wine (I used a white zinfandel/chardonnay blend)
1 stick butter, room temperature
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2/3 cup sangria mixture     

     Bring fruits and wine to a simmer over medium heat. When fruit has softened, transfer to a food processor and blend until the mix becomes a puree. Allow to cool. (If you want it to cool faster, place bowl of puree in a water bath and stir to cool.) This constitutes the "sangria mixture" mentioned in the above cake recipe.

     In a medium bowl, beat butter one minute, then add powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time. Add fruit mixture until desired consistency is reached.

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     Get this: great minds truly think alike, because Karly and I made the same dessert this week - the Raspberry Shortbread Cutout Cookies. So on the spur of the moment, I had to come up with a second dessert for you: Lavender Scones with Raspberry Jam. Think "sweet biscuit with jelly". Great with a cup of tea or coffee.
     And a huge thanks goes to Mystic Blue Spice Company for contributing a nice big sample of their Lavender Sugar!

--- Jenny


LAVENDER SCONES WITH RASPBERRY JAM

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup lavender sugar 
(or 1/4 cup sugar plus 2 tablespoons lavender flowers)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chilled butter
1/2 cup buttermilk
raspberry jam

     In a medium bowl, combine dry ingredients. Cut in butter until mixture resembles dry crumbs. (This is better achieved in a food processor) Add buttermilk and hand stir until just mixed. 
     Turn onto a floured surface and knead 4 or five times, shape into a ball, and flatten to about 1/2 inch thick on a baking sheet. Use a knife to cut the dough into 8-10 pieces. 
     Sprinkle with a bit of remaining sugar. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned.

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     Outside today, the thunder is rumbling and the rain is a long steady one that won't quit. We have floodings everywhere. I'm super peeved that I won't be able to plant anything in my garden for at least two weeks now, if it doesn't rain any more between now and then, that is... so if I can't plant, and I'm stuck inside, I may as well bake!

Oh, this one is a simple and pretty treat! I have no stories to tell, no memories about shortbread cookies, but this is a perfect little snack and it is easy to do! Perfect for having that four year-old of yours join in to help!

--- Jenny


RASPBERRY-FILLED SHORTBREAD CUTOUTS

1 cup butter 
1/2 cup white sugar 
2 teaspoons vanilla extract 
2 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour 
raspberry jam     

     In a large bowl, beat butter with 1/2 cup sugar and almond extract until light and fluffy. With wooden spoon, stir in flour until smooth and well combined. Divide dough into 2 parts. Refrigerate, covered for an hour.     

     Preheat oven 300 degrees F.     
     
     On lightly sugared surface, roll out dough, one part at a time, about 1/4 inch thick. Use a cookie cutter to cut out cookies. For half of the cookies, use a smaller cookie cutter to cut out heart shape or cut out the center shape by hand. Use whole cookie as a base, and spoon a small amount of jam in center, placing the top cookie (with the center cut out) over the top. Place on ungreased cookie sheet.
     
     Bake 25 to 30 minutes, or until light golden brown around the edges. Cool completely on a wire rack.

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     WHEW!!! Today is Monday, so you can do the math. Only one Ginger Week recipe remained, as of last night, and it isn't posted until today. Here's a tip: don't do a remodeling project when your fans are demanding their new recipes ideas! Well, at least the office/spare bedroom is almost finished...
   Ginger goes naturally with citrus fruits, and is a lovely additive to lemonade. I found a recipe for Lemon Sorbet online, but it was way to strong, so I tweaked it for a really nice soft lemon flavor, then added ginger. But this ended up being a granita, because I wasn't home all day in order to take it out of the freezer and stir it occasionally. (The more you DO take it out to stir, the more air is incorporated, and the smoother it becomes.)


GINGER LEMONADE GRANITA

zest of one lemon
1 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup carbonated mineral water
1-2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger


     In a saucepan, stir together the diced lemon peel, 1 cup of water and sugar. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, and allow to cool. If you want to cool the mixture more quickly, place pan in an ice bath.

     Add lemon syrup with lemon zest, lemon juice and mineral water. Pour into an ice cream maker, and freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions. 

     If you do not have an ice cream maker, you may freeze it in a tall canister. Freeze for 1 1/2 hours. Remove and stir with a whisk. Return to the freezer and stir about once every hour for about 4 hours. The more times you stir, the more air will be incorporated, resulting in a lighter finished product.

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     In one of my many, many cookbooks, (Giada’s Kitchen by Giada de Laurentis) there is a recipe for orange and chocolate zeppole, which are little Italian doughnuts. I’ve always wanted to try them, but I never have. I decided to make them this week for my dessert. I modified them very, very slightly (so that they were no longer orange and chocolate) and rolled them in a ginger sugar. They’re pretty easy
to make and best when eaten warm.
---Karly


ITALIAN DOUGHNUTS WITH 
GINGER & CINNAMON SUGAR

1 stick unsalted butter
¼ cup sugar
Pinch of salt
½ cup water
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 eggs
Zest of 2 lemons
Vegetable or peanut oil, for frying 

Ginger Sugar:
¼ cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1-2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Combine ginger, cinnamon, sugar  and half of the lemon zest by whisking the ginger and sugar together in a small bowl. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, combine the butter, sugar, salt, and water over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Take the pan off the heat. Stir in the flour. Put the pan back on low heat and stir
continuously, until the mixture forms a ball, around 4 minutes. Put the dough ball into a medium bowl, and using a mixer on low speed, beat in the eggs, one at a time. Stir in the other half of the lemon zest.

Bring about 2 inches of vegetable oil to 350 degrees in a large frying pan. Using 2 small spoons, drop about a tablespoon of dough into the hot oil. (Be careful!) Drop in 3 more doughnuts, making sure you don’t overcrowd the pan. Turn each doughnut once or twice and cook until they are puffy and golden, about 5 minutes. Remove from the oil, roll in the sugar mixture, and transfer to a paper-towel lined plate. Cook the remaining doughnuts in batches of 4. Serve immediately.

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     The quintessential pair. Chocolate and mint. Who doesn't think of chocolate when thinking of a dessert with mint in it? Such was the case for me, especially when I had considered that I hadn't had a brownie in forever. But, as is the custom here at KP, I had to do something a little out of the ordinary. So I rolled up the brownie and gave it a filling! So rich and delicious! Can you diggit?

--- Jenny

CHOCOLATE MOCHA MINT

BROWNIE ROLLS

Brownies:
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
½ cup butter
¾ cup light brown sugar
¾ cup sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons strongly brewed coffee
1 cup flour
½ teaspoon salt

Mint Filling:
¼ cup butter, softened
¼ teapoon salt
2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoons strongly brewed coffee
2-3 tablespoons chopped mint
2 tablespoons milk or cream

     Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Melt chocolate chips and butter over low heat, stirring. Remove from heat and whisk in both sugars. Cool Slightly. Whisk in 4 eggs, one at a time, along with vanilla extract. Stir in flour and salt. Spread in a greased baking pan and bake 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow to cool on a rack.

     Use a hand mixer to blend butter, salt and sugar. Stir in coffee and mint. Add milk to desired consistency.

     To assemble: After brownies are cut into squares, roll a brownie to a 1/4” thickness. Spread icing over brownie and roll up. 


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     I absolutely love the combination of chocolate and mint. I had recently seen a recipe for orange pots de crème, and thought I’d try making a chocolate mint version. A pot de crème is a French custard dessert. Since I have never made them before, I found a recipe on the Food and Wine website for basic pots de crème, and I modified it slightly to make them chocolate mint.

---Karly


CHOCOLATE MINT POTS DE CRÈME

2 eggs plus 1 egg yolk
1/3 cup turbinado sugar (same as Sugar in the Raw)
2 cups heavy cream
½ to 1 teaspoon pure peppermint extract
4 oz. dark or bittersweet chocolate 

     Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler over medium-low heat, stirring constantly. If you don’t have a double boiler, then put the chocolate in a heat-proof bowl over a pot of
simmering water. Once the chocolate is melted, stir in the peppermint extract. Set the chocolate aside.
     Beat the eggs and the egg yolk with the sugar until well blended. Set aside. In a medium saucepan, heat the cream over medium heat until it begins to simmer around the edges. Slowly drizzle the cream into the egg mixture, while whisking constantly. It’s really important on this step to make sure you are constantly whisking and to make sure it’s a slow drizzle so that the eggs don’t cook. Once the cream is incorporated into the egg mixture, stir in the chocolate. 
     Fill four 4" ramekins with the chocolate mixture and put in an ovenproof casserole dish. Skim off any bubbles or foam that forms on top of the custards.
     Fill the casserole dish with water until it reaches halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake the pots de crème for 30-45 minutes.
The middle of the custards should still move a bit. CAREFULLY remove them from the water bath and allow to cool on a wire rack, then cover with tops with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours
before serving. 
     Serve with whipped cream if desired.

     Serves four.

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I was thumbing through a new Food and Wine magazine the other day, and saw an article about making doughnuts.  They had several glaze recipes included for the doughnuts, including a tart cranberry glaze that I knew immediately I had to try.  A few pages over, I saw a citrus pound cake, and modified it very slightly to make it an orange pound cake because I think cranberry and orange are a perfect combination.  The result was a super moist pound cake paired with a nice, tart glaze that accented it perfectly.  Try it this weekend!
---Karly

ORANGE POUND CAKE WITH TART CRANBERRY GLAZE
For the cake:
2 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¾ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup orange juice, freshly squeezed
½ cup plain Greek yogurt
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons grated orange zest
 
For the glaze:
1 cup fresh cranberries
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
¼ cup water
3 cups powdered sugar
1 ½ teaspoons light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
Pinch of salt

Put the fresh cranberries, granulated sugar, and water in a small saucepan over medium-high heat.  Cook until the cranberries start to burst, mashing them as they do (I used a potato masher), and the mixture gets jammy, about 8 minutes.  Remove from heat and let cool slightly.  Put the cranberry mixture in a medium bowl with the powdered sugar, corn syrup, vanilla, and salt, and mix with a mixer until well combined.  Strain through a fine mesh strainer.  The glaze will keep in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Butter and flour a 9 ½-by-5-inch glass loaf pan.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  In a small bowl, whisk together the yogurt and orange juice.  In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs and orange zest and beat until well combined.  Add the dry ingredients and the yogurt mixture in 3 additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture, and beating well after each addition; scrape the bowl as necessary.  Pour the batter into the loaf pan and bake 50 minutes, or until the top is golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Transfer to a cooling rack to cool, and after 20 minutes, remove from pan to continue cooling completely.  Serve the cake with the cranberry glaze on top.

NOTE:  I used an 8-by-5-inch loaf pan and ended up with a slight mess in my oven (from it bubbling over) and a longer baking time.  If you use a smaller loaf pan, you won’t use all of the batter.   

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     Oh, how sweet are these? So adorable, and so tasty! This week is Fan's Choice Week, so we polled our followers on Facebook, and the decision came in: Cranberry. At first, I thought I'd do a tart. But these were just too cute to pass up. This is not an original recipe, as I saw these on www.MarthaStewart.com. (I figured since this is a "gimme" week, I didn't have to get too creative.) I followed the recipe exactly, choosing to put orange peel in the crusts. They're great! Try 'em!
---Jenny

MINI CRANBERRY MERINGUE PIES  (from www.marthastewart.com)

Crust:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
4 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons ice water, plus more if needed

     Pulse flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor to combine. Add butter; process until mixture resembles coarse meal, about 10 seconds. Add yolk; pulse. With machine running, add ice water in a slow, steady stream through feed tube; process until dough just holds together (no longer than 30 seconds). Shape into a disk. Wrap in plastic, and refrigerate at least 1 hour (up to 2 days)

Cranberry Filling & Meringue:
3 1/4 cups fresh cranberries (12 ounces)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped blood orange zest, plus 1/4 cup blood orange juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of ground cloves
3 tablespoons cornstarch
3 large egg whites
Pinch of cream of tartar

     Preheat oven to 375 degrees. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to 1/8 inch thick. Cut out 4 1/8-inch fluted rounds, and fit into cups of a standard 12-cup muffin tin (not nonstick). Pierce bottoms with tines of a fork. Freeze 15 minutes.
     Line each shell with parchment paper, and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake 15 minutes. Remove weights and parchment. Return to oven; bake until bottoms are just turning golden, 5 minutes more. Transfer to wire racks; let cool 5 minutes. Remove shells from tin; let cool completely.
     Bring 2 cups cranberries, 1 cup sugar, and 1 1/2 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce heat, and simmer mixture, stirring occasionally, until cranberries have burst, about 5 minutes. Pour through a coarse sieve, then a fine sieve; discard solids. (You should have about 1 3/4 cups; if you have less, add water).
     Bring strained cranberry juice, 1/4 cup sugar, the zests, salt, cinnamon, cloves, and remaining 1 1/4 cups cranberries to a boil in a medium saucepan, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat; simmer, stirring occasionally, until cranberries are soft but have not burst, about 3 minutes.
     Meanwhile, stir cornstarch, blood orange juice, and 1/4 cup water in a bowl; whisk into cranberry mixture. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Cook, stirring, until translucent, about 1 minute. Divide among prepared shells. Refrigerate until set, about 1 hour (up to overnight).
     Preheat broiler. Put egg whites and remaining 1/4 cup sugar into the heatproof bowl of an electric mixer set over a pan of simmering water; whisk until sugar has dissolved and mixture is hot to the touch. Attach to mixer fitted with the whisk attachment; beat on medium speed until foamy. Raise speed to high. Add cream of tartar; beat until medium, glossy peaks form. Divide the meringue evenly among pies.     Set pies under broiler until tops are browned, 30 seconds to 1 minute.

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