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Best Ever Cherry Bars

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Whenever we have unexpected company, or just want a last-minute dessert for a meal, we pull out this never-fail recipe. I first found it in a Quick Cooking magazine when I was probably ten, and over time and much use I’ve adapted it by changing the fruit filling. Besides the classic cherry, we like peach and blueberry flavors best. Sometimes we use store-bought cherry pie filling, like the right side of the pan in the photo above, but what puts this recipe over the top is when we make the filling from scratch. We pulled the peach version from our favorite peach cobbler recipe, and the blueberry version is an adaption of a cherry pie filling that we sometimes make for it, too. Each of the filling recipes below will make enough filling for half of a 15″ x 10″ pan, so be sure to choose two fillings, or double one of them.

If that makes sense to you, please explain it to me. Thank you.

Cherry Bars

Cherry Filling:
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
3 cups fresh or frozen pitted dark sweet cherries, thawed, halved
1/8 tsp. almond extract

In a large saucepan, combine sugar, water, cornstarch, and lemon juice until smooth. Add cherries. Bring to a boil; cook and stir 1 minute or until thickened. Remove from heat. Stir in extract. Set aside to cool.

Blueberry Filling:

Follow ingredients and directions for Cherry Filling, substituting blueberries for the cherries, and vanilla extract for the almond extract.

Peach Filling:
2 cans (15 oz. each) sliced peaches, with syrup
1/4 cup, plus 2 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
3 Tbsp. cornstarch

Combine peaches, sugar, cinnamon, and cornstarch in saucepan. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and boils. Boil and stir 1 minute. Remove from heat; set aside to cool.

Dough:
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. almond extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
Glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. almond extract
2 to 3 Tbsp. milk

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the extracts. Combine flour and salt; gradually add to the creamed mixture just until combined. Spread 3 cups of batter into a greased or parchment-lined 15″ x 10″ baking pan. Spread with fillings of your choice, half on one side and half on the other. Drop the remaining batter by teasponfuls over the filling. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 30-35 minutes, or until dough tests done with a toothpick. Cool on a wire rack. Combine glaze ingredients; drizzle over bars. Yield: 5 dozen.

 

Thank you for visiting A Homespun Country Life!

~Kerstin

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Chocolate Cupcakes Topped with Red Chocolate Frosting

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Ahhh, these cupcakes. I was looking forward all day to making them and I knew exactly how they should be–perfect. Well, it didn’t work that way 😉

It was suppose to be a simple, fun project but it turned out to be rather frustrating. First the batter was too thick (I added too much flour) and then I couldn’t get the right color of pink frosting (I wanted a light pink frosting, but I messed up on the dye. In the end, I mixed some cocoa powder in and got this reddish color.) If it wasn’t for the white pearls which help the cupcake’s appearance, and the fact that the cupcakes taste so delicious, I wouldn’t be writing about them!

I used this chocolate cake recipe. It is our favorite chocolate cake recipe–truly the BEST. It made about two dozen cupcakes; each pan took maybe twenty minutes to bake. I made the frosting from a cream cheese base…but lets not talk about the frosting because it isn’t the color I had in mind.

The cupcakes are quite rich, but it is hard to stop at one. I definitely want to try making them again, so I hope my family eats them up fast!

 

Thank you for visiting A Homespun Country Life!

Elisabeth

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Chocolate Caramel Layer Cake

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Weeks ago, I made this layer cake. Too bad it was so long ago, because I really could eat a large piece right now! This cake was three layers, with chocolate buttercream frosting and caramel sauce on top.

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I used two yellow cakes (this is a moist recipe) and a fudge chocolate cake (I found a delicious fudge cake recipe here and I also used the frosting from here) Oh, and the caramel sauce was from The Sister’s Cafe, it is seriously “the best caramel sauce eva”!

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I put the chocolate cake (in case you’re wondering, I made two chocolate layers, but one never made it to the cake because we ate it) on the bottom and covered it in chocolate buttercream frosting. Then I set one of the yellow cakes on next, gave it a crumb coat around the edges, and put a layer of caramel sauce on top. I put the last layer on, crumb coated it, and went to check on my chickens. When I returned, I smothered the whole cake in the remaining frosting and let that dry for a bit.

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Then I poured the remaining caramel sauce over the cake. It dribbled down the sides and hardened there beautifully.

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We cut the cake in the evening, so the photo quality wasn’t superb. But the cake was! And really, it wouldn’t have been worth it to wait until the next morning to cut it just so ya’ll could see a perfect picture of it!

 

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The cakes were moist, the frosting rich, and the caramel sauce smooth and delicate. Next time I’m going to put caramel sauce between each layer 🙂

 

 

Thank you for visiting A Homespun Country Life!

~Elisabeth

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Chocolate Chip Cookies

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I love how these freshly baked chocolate chip cookies are reflected in the mixer bowl!

The secret to the yummiest looking cookies is to add a lavish amount of chocolate chips directly to the top of each cookie before baking.

Thank you for visiting A Homespun Country Life!

-Kerstin and Elisabeth

 

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Day Seven: Giant Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll

This is Day Seven in a 8 part series featuring amazing pumpkin recipes! Click here to start reading at the beginning of the series.

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Remember the very first recipe in this pumpkin series? That’s right, those delicious Pumpkin Biscuits! Today’s recipe starts with that same super easy biscuit dough, but it takes it to a whole new level. We roll the dough into a huge rectangle and slather it with a buttery brown sugar mixture. Then we cut it into narrow strips and roll the strips into large circles in pie plates. It’s really simple, but the result is gorgeous! This recipe actually makes enough dough and filling for two giant cinnamon rolls, so you can have one for yourself and one to share with a friend! (Who am I trying to kid…)

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Step by step:

 

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Melt 1/2 cup butter in a glass measuring cup. Mix in a pile of brown sugar, maybe a cup or so. Just add it until it seems sweet enough. Then stir in a large teaspoon of ground cinnamon.

 

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Yep, just like that.

 

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Here is the dough, all ready to go.

 

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Roll it to about 1/4 inch thickness.

 

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Spread the butter/brown sugar mixture evenly across it. As you can see below, we sprinkled on some extra sugar in a few places, because it was a bit thin.

 

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Using a pizza cutter (or a sharp spatula) cut the dough into narrow strips, approximately 1 inch wide.

 

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Roll the dough into circles. After the first strip, I placed it in a greased 10-inch pie plate and just wound the remaining strips around that.

 

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It looks just a bit like a rose. A really yummy, pumpkin-cinnamon rose. It must be a special fall variety.

 

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It’s growing!! Leave a little bit of space between the cinnamon roll and the pie plate, to allow for it to rise. Then bake at 375 degrees F. for 18-22 minutes, or until it’s no longer doughy.

 

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Let them cool for a while before you add a glaze.

 

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We like to make a delightfully simple glaze by whisking together powdered sugar, a tiny bit of milk, and a few drops of vanilla or maple extract.

 

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Drizzle the glaze over the cinnamon rolls. Tear them apart with your hands in a ravenous fit of hunger.

Or cut them into neat, dignified portions and serve with milk or coffee.

 

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Giant Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon Filling:
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 (to 1  1/2) cups brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pumpkin Dough:
3   1/2 cups flour
4   1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1   1/2 cups canned pumpkin
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. milk
Glaze:
2 cups powdered sugar
2-3 Tbsp. milk (until the consistency is right)
1/2 tsp. vanilla or maple extract

For the cinnamon-sugar filling, combine the melted butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Set aside.

For the dough, in large bowl combine first four ingredients. In another bowl, combine pumpkin, butter, sugar, and milk; add to flour mixture and mix well. Knead 8-10 times. Roll to 1/4 inch thickness. Spread cinnamon mixture evenly across the dough. Cut the dough into strips and roll into two large circles (one in each of two 10 inch pie plates). Wrap remaining strips of dough around the circles. Bake at 375 degrees F. for 18-22 minutes or until no longer doughy. Cool on wire rack while mixing the glaze.

For the glaze, whisk together all ingredients. Drizzle across the cinnamon rolls. Serve slightly warm. Yield: 2 giant cinnamon rolls.

 

Thank you for visiting A Homespun Country Life!

~Kerstin, Elisabeth, and Gabrielle