Sweet & Simple Valentine’s Day Pie

Someone gave us some beautiful raspberries. They were a bit over-ripe, so they needed to be cooked. I found a recipe that was a winner with The Saxophone Player and me, and I thought you might like it, too. It requires very few ingredients, and is substitution-friendly. It would make a lovely dessert for any day, but with the bright, red raspberries and Valentine’s Day right around the corner? It’s a good match!

This is the recipe from Taste of Home.: LINK

– I used a store-bought, graham cracker crust.
– I thought a cup of sugar would be too sweet, so I used 1/3 cup.
– Since I used a third of the sugar, I also used a third of the cornstarch.
– I had some old blueberries, and tossed those in with the raspberries.
– I did not use orange liqueur.
– I added sweetened whipped cream as a garnish.

– Make sure cream cheese is room temperature, or texture will not be smooth.
– Be sure fruit compote is cooled completely, before putting it on the pie
– I used a small, offset spatula to make the top flat, so the compote would stay put.
– Keep piping bags on hand. They are so useful, cheap, and versatile.

However you celebrate Valentine’s Day this year, I hope you know you are truly loved by the One who so loved the world He sent His only begotten Son to pay the price for your sins, and give you eternal life.

God bless you all!

Gluten-Free Shortbread and My Make-Believe Cottage

I love to bake. Shortbread cookies are probably my favorite cookie of all the cookies. For a million years I used the recipe from my Betty Crocker cookbook, then began to experiment and made a few changes that I thought made it the best shortbread ever.

And, then, I learned that wheat and my body weren’t friends, anymore. I made a couple attempts at GF shortbread, but they were too disappointing. I just gave them up.

Until Columbus Day 2018. (Cue the angelic chorus.)

I was looking for a Ricotta Pie recipe and the recipe I settled on suggested a cookie crust. I did a quick search, and found a recipe that read like a winner. It sounded almost exactly like my own. I did not follow her ingredients exactly, though I did use her instructions.  I will give you the link to the original recipe, and post my ingredients here.

I tell you, the cookie was so good it resurrected an old dream in my make-believe world, where I live in a cottage on a rocky seacoast somewhere, and bake shortbread cookies for the world.

The Best Gluten-Free Shortbread

Here is the original recipe: How to Make the Best Gluten-Free Shortbread. Her tips are very good, so be sure to read the whole thing.

Here is my ingredient list:

  • 1 1/3 + 1/2 cup Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1 to 1 Baking Flour
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch cup cornstarch (2 ounces/ 56 grams)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 14 tablespoons butter, softened (7 ounces; 198 grams)
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar (5 1/4 ounces; 148 grams)

The finished product was beautiful.

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Next time, I will try some flavor variations. I know shortbread isn’t for everyone, but to me there’s just nothing better.

My Make-Believe Cottage

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I found this pictures over 20 years ago at a yard sale in Whittier, California. It was love at first sight. You can see it’s decrepit—the frame is barely holding together, and the paper image is worn and dirty. I’m sure I paid more than it was ever worth—I think five dollars—but I wanted that little cottage. I had to make it my own. When I look at this picture, I’m right there. The Saxophone Player is on the porch with a cup of coffee, and the zinnias in the back yard are doing beautifully.

Do you have a make-believe cottage?

Easy Chocolate Shell Recipe

Now, when I say this is easy, I mean you can make this recipe with one hand tied behind your back and your eyes closed. It’s really easy!

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 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips  
 1 level tablespoon refined coconut oil 

1) Place chips and coconut oil in a microwave safe container.
2) Heat on high for 20 seconds.
3) Stir.
4) Repeat steps 2 and 3, until smooth and combined.
5) Store in the refrigerator a small canning jar, or other microwave-safe container. Reheat as above, 20 seconds at a time.

I’ve only made this once, but it came out really well. Even the Saxophone Player liked it. I like the fact it uses coconut oil, instead of shortening. I think that pretty much makes it health food, right? 😉 

FYI: This is an adaptation of the recipe in the video below, which uses dark chocolate. I didn’t have dark chocolate on hand, so I used milk chocolate. Knowing milk chocolate has a higher fat content, I adjusted the chocolate to oil ratio. If you like the coconut smell, you can use unrefined coconut oil.