Bourbon Pecan Peach Crisp

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The fall season has officially begun, and what better way to celebrate than to dust off your oven and make this amazing Bourbon Pecan Peach Crisp. Peaches aren’t a typical fall fruit, but they are still in abundance in my neck of the woods, which makes this dessert the perfect transition from summer to fall. If peach season has already passed, this would be amazing with apples too!

Bourbon Pecan Peach Crisp

Of course, no crisp would be complete without a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Bourbon Pecan Peach Crisp with Ice Cream

Serves 6

Filling Ingredients
3-4 peaches, sliced (about 3 cups sliced)
2 tablespoons bourbon
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Topping Ingredients
1/3 cup pecans
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
Pinch cinnamon
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted and cooled

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Butter a 7 x 11 baking dish (or other medium-sized baking dish) and set aside.

Spread the pecans evenly onto a baking sheet, and bake until toasted, about 4 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.

Add the sliced peaches (no need to peel) to a large bowl. Sprinkle the bourbon over the peaches and gently stir to coat the peaches. Add the brown sugar, cornstarch, and vanilla to the bowl and stir gently until coated. Set aside.

To prepare the topping, stir together the flour, brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Stir in the toasted pecans. Pour the melted butter over the top, and stir to combine.

Spoon the peaches into the bottom of the baking dish, leaving most of the residual liquid in the bowl. Crumble the topping over the peaches, using your fingers to distribute evenly.

Bake in the preheated oven, for about 30-40 minutes, or until the topping is golden-brown and the fruit is bubbly. Let cool for at least 20 minutes.

Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, and enjoy!

Adapted from The Bojon Gourmet and Host the Toast.

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Chocolate Banana Bread with Walnuts

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It has been cold and wet this week so I have been in a bit of a baking frenzy. I started the week with this amazing chocolate banana bread. The chocolate adds some decadence to this moist bread and changes simple breakfast bread into a sweet treat.

1 stick of butter (1/2 cup), softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 overripe bananas
3/4 cup unbleached flour
3/4 cup white whole wheat flour (or use all unbleached flour)
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3 tablespoons milk
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease and flour a 9×5 inch loaf pan.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

In a small bowl, mash the bananas with a fork, then stir into the butter mixture.

In a medium bowl, add the unbleached flour, white whole wheat flour, baking powder, salt, and cocoa powder. Use a whisk to stir the dry ingredients together until well combined.

Gradually mix the flour mixture into the banana mixture. Mix in the milk, and then stir in the chocolate chips and walnuts.

Pour into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

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Key Lime Pie, oh my!

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We celebrated my best friend’s birthday this weekend and I baked a key lime pie for her, instead of the traditional birthday dessert (am I the only one that doesn’t get excited about birthday cake?). The pie was delish (even the kids wolfed it down) and it’s one of the few key lime pie recipes I’ve seen that doesn’t contain eggs. Be sure to buy key limes, which are smaller than standard limes. My grocery store sells a bag of key limes, which just happens to have the perfect amount of limes needed for this pie. The recipes is simple, but be prepared to get a workout squeezing the juice from all of those tiny key limes!

1 1/2 cups finely ground graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup white sugar
6 tablespoons butter, melted
1 tablespoon grated lime zest
18 key limes (or enough to get 3/4 cup juice)
2 cans sweetened condensed milk (about 3 cups)
1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream (I like Daisy brand)
Fresh whipped cream (see recipe below)

To prepare the graham cracker crust, mix graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and melted butter until well blended. Firmly press the mixture into a 9-inch pie plate, using your hands. Set aside while you make the pie filling.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Using a lemon zester or a grater, zest a few of the limes until you have about 1 tablespoon of lime zest (do this while the limes are still whole). Now it’s time to get squeezing. The easiest way to juice the limes is to use a garlic press. Just cut the limes into pieces small enough to fit into your garlic press and then squeeze the juice into a measuring cup. An advantage to this method is that the garlic press contains the seeds, so you don’t have worry about fishing them out of your lime juice later. If you don’t have a garlic press, then cut a lime in half, and then stick a fork into the cut side of the lime and squeeze the lime around the fork in a circular motion to extract the juice. Repeat until you have 3/4 cup of lime juice.

In a medium bowl, combine sweetened condensed milk, sour cream, lime juice, and lime zest. Mix until the filling is smooth (no lumps), and pour into the graham cracker crust.

Bake in preheated oven for 6 to 8 minutes (a few tiny bubbles on the surface of the pie is a good indication that it is done). Watch carefully and ensure that the pie doesn’t brown. Chill pie thoroughly before serving.

Fresh Whipped Cream

Nothing compares to homemade whipped cream. All you need is a bowl, an electric mixer, three ingredients, and about two minutes to create rich, creamy goodness that can’t be found in a can (and don’t even get me started on that frozen stuff). The beauty of making your own whipped cream is that you can adjust the sweetness to your taste (or your recipe). I used less sugar in the whipped cream for the key lime pie, since the pie was already very rich, but you can adjust the amount of sugar to your liking.

1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

In a medium metal mixing bowl, beat the cream with an electric mixer until it starts to thicken. Add the sugar and vanilla and continue to beat the mixture until soft peaks form. Be sure not to over mix.  (Note: chilling the bowl and beaters before adding the ingredients will reduce the mixing time.)

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Almond Pear Pie

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It’s pear season and this is an excellent recipe if you find yourself with a surplus of very ripe pears. Choose pears that are soft when ripe, such as Bartlett, rather than crisper pear varieties (Asian, Bosc, etc).

1/3 cup softened butter, plus 1 tablespoon, divided
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1 frozen pie crust
1/3 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3-4 very ripe pears

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium saucepan, melt 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat, and then add the almonds. Toast the almonds until golden and fragrant, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and let cool.

In a medium bowl, beat the remaining 1/3 cup butter and the sugar together until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, and beat until light and fluffy. Stir in vanilla and almond extracts, and then mix in the flour. Fold in the toasted almonds.

Working quickly to prevent browning, peel the pears and cut into thick slices.  Arrange the pears in the bottom of the pie crust (don’t bother trying to make it look pretty). Pour the custard (mixed in the previous step) over the top of the pears.

Bake for 1 hour in the preheated oven, until the custard is set in the center. Cool completely before slicing. Serve with vanilla ice cream, if desired.

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