Love and Confections: January 2014

January 31, 2014

Pinata Apple Crisp

No comments:

While most of the north has snow, ice or below freezing temperatures, it's 65 outside here. If you need something to warm you up on a cold Winter day, try this Apple Crisp. It has just the right amount of spice and is perfect hot out of the oven with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream. 

Stemilt growers was very kind and provided me with a dozen gorgeous Pinata Apples. "Pinata apples are crisp and juicy, equal parts sweet and tart, with a classic apple flavor that finishes with a tropical hint. They have the same thin skin as the Golden Delicious, which means they can be used for any culinary purpose. They hold their shape to cooking temperatures, making them a great choice for classic apple pie or roasted alongside pork tenderloin. And their pretty red-orange color and crisp texture make them the perfect apple for adding fruit flavor to a fresh green salad."

To read more about the Pinata Apple, check out the Stemilt Blog. You can find these beautiful apples in stores from November through April. Give Stemilt some love by heading over to their website. You can also find them on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. In addition to apples, Stemilt also grows pears, cherries and Summer stone fruit.

Pinata Apple Crisp
a Love & Confections original recipe

Pinata Apple Crisp Ingredients:
 - 8 Pinata Apples, peeled, cored and diced
 - 1 tablespoon Lemon Juice
 - 3/4 cup Granulated Sugar
 - 1/4 cup Brown Sugar, lightly packed
 - 2 tablespoons All Purpose Flour
 - 2 teaspoons homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice
 - 1/2 teaspoon Salt

Pinata Apple Crisp Topping Ingredients:
 - 1 cup Old Fashioned Oats
 - 1 cup All Purpose Flour
 - 1 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
 - 1/4 teaspoon Salt
 - 1 cup Brown Sugar, lightly packed
 - 1 stick Unsalted Butter, melted and cooled
 - 2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract

Pinata Apple Crisp Directions:
 - Heat oven to 350F and lightly grease a 9x13 baking dish or Corningware of equivalent size.
 - Combine Apples with Lemon Juice in a large mixing bowl. In a small bowl, combine the Granulated Sugar, Brown Sugar, Flour, Pumpkin Pie Spice and Salt. Sprinkle over the Apples and toss to coat. Pour Apples in the baking dish and make sure they are in an even layer.
 - In a small bowl, combine the Oats, Flour, Cinnamon and Salt. Add in the melted, cooled Butter and the Vanilla Extract. The easiest way to combine is using your hands.
 - Sprinkle oat mixture over apples and bake for 40-50 minutes, depending on your oven, until the oat mixture is golden brown and the apples are tender.
 - Best served warm and with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream. Enjoy!

Until next time,

Disclaimer: I received a dozen Pinata Apples from Stemilt to use for a recipe. All opinions are my own.

January 29, 2014

{Guest Post with Sweet Remedy} Pear and Cranberry Tarts

No comments:
I am so excited to have Samantha from Sweet Remedy here today to share her Tarts with you. I have followed Sam's blog for a while and love her recipes - she has such delicious food, sweets and drinks. She also takes the most gorgeous photos. I hope we can finally meet in real life soon. In addition to the Sweet Remedy Blog, you can find Samantha on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.

Hello Love and Confections Readers! I'm so excited to be posting here today. Before we talk about these Cranberry Pear Mini Tarts, I'd like to congratulate Mr. and Mrs. L&C on their new beautiful addition, Baby Grace! She is a complete little bundle of joy and I've loved seeing all the photos of their journey! Well wishes to your new little family!

To celebrate, I've made these mini tarts in the tiny tart pans that I love so much. Tiny tarts for a tiny baby girl! The tart cranberries compliment the sweet pear filling quite well in this dessert. The pop of red is also so pretty and festive for winter. Whenever I see cranberries in the store, I gravitate towards them and they end up going into the cart. After I get them home I start to dream up some new creative recipes, these tarts are exactly that.

If you have a large tart pan, feel free to use it in lieu of the mini pans. A mini tart pan set usually contains six little pans but in this recipe you will only have enough dough for four. I struggled not to eat all four tarts after they came out of the oven.

Pear Cranberry Mini Tarts
YIELD: 4 mini tarts or 1 large tart PREP TIME: 35 COOK TIME: 45 minutes TOTAL TIME: 1 hour and 20 minutes
For the tart dough:1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1/8 tsp salt

1/2 cup butter (1 stick)

1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
2 cups pears, peeled and chopped

3 Tbsp sugar

1/2 cup water

2 Tbsp cornstarch
For the Filling:
Add the pears to a medium sized pot – turn heat to medium-high. Mix in the sugar & water, add the cornstarch and mix together leaving on medium-high for about 10 minutes, mixing often. Mash the pears while stirring. If the mixture is too watery, turn the heat down to low and let simmer for a few more minutes. Set aside until dough is complete.

For the filling:
For the Dough:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a food processor, blend together the sugar and butter. Add the salt. Cut butter into quarters and add to dough. Mix thoroughly and remove from food processor. Form a ball shape and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Leave in overnight or freeze for longer storage. If freezing, remove and defrost an hour before use.

Spray tart pan with cooking oil or smear with butter. Press dough into tart pan (or mini tart pans) Poke holes into dough with fork. Place parchment paper on top of dough and add rice or beans as a pie weight. Cook for about 20-25 minutes or until tart shell is lightly browned.

Add the pear filling to the tart shell and add the cranberries to the top of the mixture. Bake until cranberries burst.

Alternatively, you can cook the cranberries with the pears in the original pot.

January 24, 2014

{Guest Post with The Girl in the Little Red Kitchen} Meyer Lemon Donuts

Hi everyone! Today Susan from The Girl in the Little Red Kitchen is here to share her Meyer Lemon Donut recipe with you while I take time off with Baby Grace. I first worked with Susan when she participated in my #BrunchWeek last year and had a blast making all sorts of delicious cookies for the #CookieWeek she hosted this past November. Aside from her Blog, you can find The Girl in the Little Red Kitchen on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.

Hello Love and Confections readers and happy Friday! I’m Susan from The Girl In The Little Red Kitchen and I’m so happy to be here today helping Terri out while she takes some time off to enjoy her baby girl Grace.


I thought since the weekend is almost upon us, today would be a great day to share a simple but delicious baked donut recipe that you can bake up in no time. All it takes is an hour of your time and then you can sit down with these meyer lemon donuts with your coffee and Sunday paper (or Facebook, I won’t judge).

Meyer lemons are in season right now and I look for any opportunity to use them. If you aren’t familiar with the meyer lemon, it is simple a hybrid of lemons and mandarin oranges. The cross breeding with the orange produces a fruit that is not as tart as your regular lemon, extremely juicy and fragrant. Meyer lemons are perfect not only in baked goods but as a savory application as well.

Since our houses will be flooded with chocolate again next month due to Valentine’s Day, use this opportunity for a lovely lemony donut. You will need a donut pan to make these guys but they are inexpensive and in my personal opinion a worthy investment.


For the donut:
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated white sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
zest from 1 meyer lemon
juice from 2 meyer lemons
1/2 cup greek yogurt
1 large egg

For the frosting:
1 cup confectioners sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
zest and juice from 1 meyer lemon

Heat your oven to 350 degrees F. and grease a 6 capacity donut pan.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and zest.
In a small bowl, whisk together the meyer lemon juice, yogurt and egg.
Combine the wet ingredients into the dry and stir until incorporated throughout.
Carefully spoon the batter into the donut pans (I fill to the top) and bake for 10-12 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of one of the donuts comes out clean.
Let cool slightly before removing to a rack to cool completely.
While the donuts are cooling, in your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment beat together the confectioners sugar, butter, zest and juice first on low and then up to high to form a smooth frosting.
Transfer to a piping bag and pipe the frosting on the cooled donuts.
The donuts are best served fresh the day they are made or can be kept in an airtight container for 1-2 additional days.

Makes 6 donuts.

January 14, 2014

{Guest Post with Big Bear's Wife} Monster Chocolate Chunk M&M Cookies

No comments:
I am so grateful that Angie is here to share a recipe with you all. Things have been crazy here at Love & Confections and I am definitely trying to get used to the lack of sleep and our fussy episodes. I love reading Angie's blog - Big Bear's Wife and am so glad I got to meet her this past year at the Food Blog Forum here in Orlando. You can also find Angie on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram.

Hello!! I’m so glad to be a guest here on Love & Confections and excited to share these Monster Chocolate Chunk M&M cookies with you! I also want to shout out a huge “Congratulations” to Terri and her husband on the arrival of their sweet baby girl! Grace is so adorable and I’ve loved seeing her photos on Facebook!

Since Terri is taking time to be with her baby girl and family a few of her blogging friends have stepped in to guest post on her blog and I’m so happy that she asked me to stop by!

Today I’m sharing these Monster Chocolate Chunk M&M Cookies that my niece and I made for the first time back during the holidays! My niece’s name is Savannah Grace and I thought “that is just perfect! Cookie inspired by my Savannah Grace for Baby Grace!”

Hope you enjoy these as much as we do! They’re huge, soft and packed full of chocolate chunks and M&Ms!

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups brown sugar
3 eggs
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 Hershey Bars, roughly chopped
2 cups M&Ms

Pre-heat oven to 350F.
Cream the softened butter in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add in the white sugar and brown sugar. Mix Well.
Add the eggs one at a time. Make sure each egg is incorporated before adding the next.
Add the vanilla. Mix well.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.
With the mixer on low, slowly add the flour mixture to the batter. Mix until just combined.
Mix in the chocolate chunks and mix. Add in the M&Ms. Mix well.
Using a medium scoop, scoop 2 large scoops of dough for each cookie onto a sheet pan. I was able to bake 4 huge cookies at a time.
Bake at 350 F for 15 minutes. Remove and let cool.

Yields: 16 HUGE cookies or about 32 regular cookies

Thank you for having me Terri and Thank you for reading along Love & Confections friends!

 ~Angie Barrett

January 10, 2014

{Guest Post with Cravings of a Lunatic} Peanut Butter and Chocolate Brownies


With a newborn, it's sometimes a miracle that I am even able to brush my teeth every day. I am definitely still in the healing process and Baby and I are working on getting a routine and learning about each other. I am so glad that I have food blogging friends like Kim from Cravings of a Lunatic, who graciously said yes to do a guest post for me here on Love & Confections. Kim has such great recipes on her blog - both sweet and savory - and she is always ready to lend a hand. In addition to Cravings of a Lunatic blog, you can find her on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter. Enjoy!

Hello Love and Confections readers. I am so happy to be here today. I met Terri last year while doing Brunch Week with her. She is such a nice gal and we bonded over bacon and french toast. Food bloggers are like that, we have this shared passion for cooking and food so when we meet someone else who is as passionate as we are it's like finding a long-lost friend. Terri is one of those friends, and I'm lucky to know her.

 As you all know Terri and Mr L & C had a beautiful baby girl. Terri knew she would need some time off so she asked a few blogger friends to guest post for her while she did much more important things. I'm just hoping sleep is high on her list. My kids are older now, but I remember trying to grab sleep whenever I could when mine were young. It's such a busy but exciting time. I'm so honoured Terri asked me to do this for her. It's an absolute pleasure to be here so she can spend time with the family.

 For those who do not know me I am the lady behind the blog Cravings of a Lunatic. I also have a grill site called Kiss My Smoke. I'm an obsessive type of person so I spend a ton of time cooking and grilling. I spend so much time grilling that I've developed this territorial thing regarding it. Hubs is not allowed to touch it. I tend to be the same way in the kitchen as well. I love that the kitchen is my domain, so to speak. I crank up the music and just have a ball in there. For me cooking and baking is the time of the day where I just feel the stress leave my body and I'm in my element. All the other things on mind slip away and I just focus on the food.

 This is one of those recipes. I took my favourite brownie recipe and just played around with it. I wanted to make something that was just dripping with chocolate and peanut butter. We all know that combination is sheer perfection. So this recipe is the result of me playing with my food. I tend to do that far too often. But when the results turn out like this it's totally worth it.

 Peanut Butter and Chocolate Brownies:
  • 8 tablespoons of butter
  • 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • ¼ cup flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup of peanut butter chip
  • 1 cup of milk chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup of mini chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Line your 8 x 8 inch pan with parchment paper. Spray with non-stick as well.
  3. Melt the butter and unsweetened chocolate together over low heat in a medium saucepan. Stir with a wooden spoon until it is melted and smooth.
  4. Remove from heat and quickly add the sugar. Stir well.
  5. Now add the eggs and vanilla, stir well until it’s smooth.
  6. Add semi-sweet chocolate chips, flour and salt. Stir until combined.
  7. Pour into lined and sprayed 8 x 8 inch pan.
  8. Top with the peanut butter chips, milk chocolate chips and mini chocolate chips. Tap the pan to get out any bubbles and then place it in the oven on the middle rack.
  9. Bake for 35-45 minutes. Normally I would tell you to watch for the top to start to crack but with all the chips on top you won't be able to see that. You can use a toothpick but try to insert it around the edge so the toppings don't mess with your dry toothpick results.
  10. Remove and cool on a rack.
  11. Cut into squares, or slice like a pizza.
  12. Serve with a big old peanut buttery and chocolatey smile.
Recipe is adapted from The Best Brownies in the World from Tasty Eats at Home. You can also find the recipe on my site as well, mine is minus the nuts, my daughter is not a nuts in brownie kind of gal.

 I really hope you get a chance to try this brownie recipe. A friend hooked me Alta's brownie recipe years ago. It is by far the best fudgey, ooey, gooey brownie recipe I've ever had. It is my daughter's favourite brownie recipe so I often tinker with it to put different spins on it. Alta adapted Katherine Hepburn's Brownie Recipe which is a super famous brownie recipe. It's incredibly simple but full of flavour. If you get a chance to try that one too you should. It's a classic, much like Katherine Hepburn herself. The lady was class personified.

 Okay so now that I've rambled on, as I often do, I should wrap this up by thanking Terri for having me today. It's an honour and pleasure to be here.

 Thanks to Terri's readers for visiting with me today. If you get a chance you should swing by Cravings of a Lunatic and Kiss My Smoke to say hello. If you're on pinterest I'm a huge pinterest addict so stop by there to follow me as well. I spend WAY too much time on there. It's so much fun though. And heck, that's what life is all about right.
Toodles and smoochies! xx