A Heaping TBSP of Life

~ presenting a slightly currated collection of all things edible ~

Tag: Desserts

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

Is it too late for one more festive cookie recipe?? I’m going to say no! I didn’t bake half as many treats as I normally do this year – life has just been crazy – but I did find time to make a few tried […]

Funfetti Cupcakes

Funfetti Cupcakes

The other day I was mindlessly pushing my cart down the baking isle at Cub Foods eyeballing the instant puddings and cake mixes that look soooo good  that I also know I’ll never buy (this is a regular occurrence for me).  I used to indulge […]

Dairy Free Chocolate Puddings

Dairy Free Chocolate Puddings

I haven’t made chocolate pudding in ages.  Not because I don’t like it (I freaking love the stuff) and not because I don’t have time (it literally takes 10mn) but honestly because I know that it requires milk and occasionally butter, and I don’t stock those ingredients anymore!

However, last night William and I both agreed that it was a spaghetti and chocolate pudding kind of night.  Neither of us felt like doing much cooking (well, I’m sure he would have been willing, but I wasn’t up for much cleaning either) so we ordered our gluten free shells and soy and dairy free pasta sauce from amazon (2 hour delivery is literally a god-send) and spent the time while we waited for our order to show up throwing together the pudding.

I had originally planned on following a recipe, but everything I found I really wasn’t feeling, so in the end, I wound up just throwing a scoop of this, and a pinch of that into a bowl and William helped, and by the time we were done both of us, the table, and the kitchen floor were completely covered in cocoa powder – and there was a delicious pudding cooling in the fridge!

Thankfully I DID write down what we did (toddler spit is optional).  I found that using a combination of almond milk and whole fat coconut milk kept the pudding from tasting overly ‘tropical’ while also ensuring that it stayed rich enough that you were still getting a full on chocolate pudding experience.  The longer you leave it in the fridge the more it will set up.  Overnight is best, however William and I were impatient so we ate ours while it was still half warm (he used a plate and a fork to eat his – that part is also optional)

I hope everyone is getting ready for a shorter work week next week and being able to spend some quality time with friends and family!

Dairy Free Chocolate Pudding
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
15 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4 Servings
  • 1 1/2 cups full fat coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup dutch processed cocoa powder
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 3 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 pinch salt
  1. In a medium saucepan over high heat whisk together coconut milk, sugar and cocoa powder until smooth.

  2. Bring to a simmer and then remove from heat.  In another medium glass bowl combine remaining ingredients and whisk until smooth.

  3. Starting off very slowly (you don't want to cook the egg yolks too fast or they'll get chunky) pour the hot chocolate mixture into the cold eggs and almond milk mixture whisking the whole time.

  4. Transfer the pudding back into the pan and bring to a simmer over medium heat stirring constantly (it will begin to thicken).  Cook and stir for another two minutes, and then remove from heat.

  5. Pour the pudding into 4 6oz ramekins and cover with plastic wrap.  Refrigerate until completely chilled. 3 - 4 hours or overnight.

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

When I first set out to make a chocolate chip cookie that my son could eat, I wasn’t actually looking to make it vegan, just dairy and soy free.  I cut out the butter and replaced it with a blend of Earth Balance Soy Free […]

Chocolate Lava Cakes

Chocolate Lava Cakes

The other night I had the strongest craving for chocolate.  Like I’m talking, super intense.  I didn’t just want any chocolate either, I wanted melt-in-your-mouth, ooey, gooey, sinfully delicious chocolate lava cakes! And thankfully, I have a go-to recipe that can make that exact thing, […]

Strawberry Rhubarb Hand Pies

Strawberry Rhubarb Hand Pies

I recently read a quote in one of my cooking magazines that couldn’t have rung more true.  I don’t remember it word for word, but the general gist was, you can buy too many carrots and beets and have them get soft and wrinkly before it’s time to use them, you can buy too many fresh herbs, and have them wilt and turn brown before you get to them – but you can NEVER buy too much fruit!

It reminded me of the time, earlier this summer, when my mom gifted me with a big bowl of black raspberries.  They were fragrant, sun ripened berries that she had just picked a day or two ago.  I took them home, knowing that I was going to be working all week and wouldn’t have time to do anything with them.  After feeding a few to William, I laid the rest out on a few sheet trays, froze them, and poured them into freezer safe bags.  We’ve now been munching on delicious blackberries all summer long – putting them on ice cream, panna cotta, and cereal.  Moral of the story: no matter how busy you are, or how unreasonable it might seem to buy ALL of the peaches at the farmers market…do it!  You literally can’t go wrong with fruit!

As another example, I have a VERY productive rhubarb plant in my garden.  I actually split it last year and it’s right back to it’s old size already, still producing like crazy even in August.  Rhubarb freezes great, so I’ve been sticking bags of it in the freezer, but I’m also trying to use it in creative ways throughout the summer too.  When we were driving through the Wisconsin countryside the other day, we saw a sign for fresh picked strawberries.  We stopped (I told him if I could stop for strawberries he could stop for fireworks – it works every time!) and I grabbed a few quarts from the highschool kid manning the stand.

When we got home I realized that, between the strawberries I had gotten at whole foods the other day, the new additions, and the metric ton of rhubarb sitting on the counter, it was time I made something with strawberries and rhubarb!

I actually settled on jam first, since I had SO MUCH fruit, but as I got the fruit on the stove, I started to wonder what other creative things i might be able to do with it.

And so, rhubarb strawberry cream cheese hand pies were born.

These might sound complicated, as there are three separate elements, but I promise they all come together in a snap, and can all be made the day before, so that when you’re ready to cook, you can just roll out the dough and stuff!  I use soy and dairy free creamed ‘cheese’ for these as a general rule, so that the whole family can enjoy them.  Honestly, I can’t even taste a difference, it just adds that subtle richness.  If, however you want to use ‘normal’ cream cheese, I’ve tried that too, and it’s delicious!

Make sure that you don’t skimp on refrigerating the pie dough, and that all of your ingredients are cool when you fill the pies.  As long as you crimp them well around the edges with a fork, and don’t overstuff, these guys shouldn’t leak, and they can be reheated in the toaster the next day for a healthy(ish) morning snack!

If you don’t have an abundance of strawberries on hand, feel free to mix it up with another berry and sub apple for the rhubarb.  One thing that is important to note:  adding the whole half of a lemon is actually important for more than just taste.  Since strawberries and rhubarb are relatively low in pectin (the stuff that makes the jam jell up) you need to add the citrus to encourage the pectin in the fruit to coagulate.  Without it, the jam will not get as gelatinous, and makes for a runnier pie.


5 from 1 vote
Rhubarb Strawberry Hand Pies
Prep Time
1 hr
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
1 hr 20 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 8 Pies
Pie Crust
  • 10 oz All Purpose Flour (about 1 3/4 cups)
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 cup Shortening (I used Spectrum Palm Shortening)
  • 1 Egg
  • 3 Tbsp Cold Water
  • 1 Tbsp White Vinegar
Rhubarb filling
  • 1.5 Quart Strawberries, cored and halved
  • 2 cups Rhubarb, cut into 1/2" pieces
  • 3/4 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1/2 Medium Lemon
  • 2 tsp Vanilla Extract
Cream Cheese Filling
  • 4 oz Cream Cheese (I used Diaya Dairy Free)
  • 1/2 cup Powdered Sugar
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 1 Egg, beaten
  • 1/4 cup Turbinado Sugar
Assemble the crust
  1. Whisk together the dry crust ingredients.  In a 1 cup measuring cup whisk together the egg, water and vinegar.

  2. Cut the shortening into the flour with a fork or two knives until the flour resembles course sand.  Pour in the wet ingredients and stir to combine.  If necessary add another tablespoon or two of water, just until the dough comes together.

  3. Form the dough into a slightly flattened round and wrap in plastic.  Place in the fridge to chill for at least one hour or overnight.  (The jam and the crust can both be made in advance and then assembled the next day)

Make the rhubarb jam
  1. Put the strawberries and rhubarb into a 3 quart saucepan.  Pour the sugar over them, stir briefly and allow to sit for 10 minutes.

  2. While the mixture is sitting zest the lemon half, and then slice it into 3 equal rounds, discarding the end.  Reserve 2 tsp of zest.

  3. Stir the strawberry rhubarb mixture.  There should be a substantial amount of juice in the bottom of the saucepan.  Turn the heat to medium low and allow to cook for 15 - 20 minutes, or until the strawberries are mostly broken down.  Add the lemon slices and continue to cook another 20 - 30 minutes or until the rhubarb is also broken down and the mixture has begun to thicken.

  4. Once the mixture is thickened and bubbly, use the plate test to determine if it is done.  Place a small plate in the freezer for at least 5 minutes.  Take it out and spoon a teaspoon of rhubarb jam onto the plate.  Draw your finger through the jam, dividing it in half.  If the jam stays seperate it's ready, if it collapses back in on itself in a puddle allow it to cook for another 5 - 10 minutes and then try the test again.

  5. Once the jam is done remove the lemon pieces and allow it to cool completely.  This recipe makes enough to stuff the pies, plus have a quart jar left over. (it's delicious on toast!)

Make the Cream Cheese Filling
  1. Beat the softened cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until well combined and creamy.  Set aside.

Assemble the Pies
  1. Take the dough out of the fridge and allow it to set on the counter for 10 minutes.

  2. While the dough is resting preheat the oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

  3. Set a bowl of the cream cheese filling and the rhubarb filling out.  Either use a small scoop, or a tablespoon to portion the fillings.

  4. Divide the pie dough in half.  Working with one half at a time roll it out into a large rectangle about 1/4" thick.  Use a pizza cutter to square off the edges, or leave them uneven for a rustic look.

  5. Use a pizza cutter to divide the dough into four equal rectangles, cutting the dough the short way so that the rectangles are tall and skinny.

  6. Put one tbsp of cream cheese in the bottom half of each rectangle of dough.  Use a small spatula to spread it around the bottom half, leaving about 3/4 of an inch free of filling around the sides.

  7. Add two tbsp of rhubarb mixture and spread it about the same way.

  8. Take the top half of the dough rectangles and fold it over the bottom half with the filling.  Use your fingers to firmly press the dough pieces together, then use a fork to crimp the edges.

  9. Transfer the filled dough pockets to the prepared cookie sheet.  Brush with egg and sprinkle with turbinado sugar.  Bake for 20 - 25 minutes or until puffed and golden.

  10. Repeat process with the second half of dough.  Allow pies to cool before eating!

Everything Blondies

Everything Blondies

For some reason I had a major sweets craving kick in last week.  I NEVER have that happened, so I was unprepared to say the least, when it hit out of the blue like that!  I tried satisfying it with my old standby of a […]

Carrot Layer Cake

Carrot Layer Cake

As I write this, it’s snowing outside.  Yup, it’s the third of April and we’re supposed to get 6 inches of snow, with a windchill possibly below zero.  And that’s not just for today – the weather man was kind enough to extend this snowfall […]

Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies with Caramel Drizzle

Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies with Caramel Drizzle

Oh. My. God.  I mean, look at these cookies!!  These might be one of my proudest creations to date.  And I can’t lie, they might have been ever-so-slightly influenced by the Subway dark chocoalte cookie.  Only influenced though.  I promise you can pronounce every ingredient in these cookies!  Also, they’re gluten free!  I mean talk about an extra little bonus!

I used Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 Gluten Free flour to make these.  I also added 1/4 tsp of Xanthan Gum into the cookies to help bind them.  It worked amazing, in fact, it worked so well there is NO WAY that anyone trying one of these would think for a minute that there was anything out of the ordinary with them.

A couple hints on the caramel drizzle.  First off, it’s not necessary.  These cookies are amazing without it, they are just brought to the next level with it.  If you’re trying to save a few calories, or just don’t think you can handle the sweetness (I feel you), then by all means, skip it!  I actually made the first half of the batch caramel free, and the second half with just to see which way was better.  They were both super yummy, but in different ways, so feel free to do what works best for you!

Additionally, make sure you make the caramel just like the recipe says.  Melt the sugar, add the butter 1 Tbsp at a time, add the cream, kill the heat.  There honestly isn’t too much room in this method for creativity, as sugar can burn very quickly.  And burnt sugar is horrible.  On the bright side, as long as you follow the method the caramel will turn out every time, no thermometer required!

It’s important that you really beat the wet ingredients before adding the dry.  This will help develop the gorgeous crackly surface on top.  Also, make sure that your cookies are about 2 Tbsp of dough, too small and they’ll dry out too much, too big and they’ll stay part raw in the middle.

One last thing.  I’m pretty sure these would be good with some coarse sea salt on top.  I didn’t try it because I don’t have any, but if you do, and if you try this, let me know how it worked!!


Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies w/a Caramel Drizzle
Prep Time
1 hr
Cook Time
12 mins
Total Time
1 hr 12 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 18 Cookies
  • 1 Cup Granulated Sugar
  • 6 Tbsp Butter
  • 1/2 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 2/3 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 1/3 Cup White Sugar
  • 8 Tbsp Butter, Room Temp
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 2 Tbsp Heavy Cream or Whole Milk
  • 2/3 Cup Cocoa Powder
  • 1 Cup Gluten Free Flour, I like Bob's Red Mill 1:1
  • 1/4 tsp Xanthan Gum
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 Cup Macadamia Nuts, Roasted
Make and Chill the Cookie Dough
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer cream the butter and sugar until well combined.

  2. Add the egg and vanilla and milk and briefly beat them in as well.

  3. In a medium bowl combine dry ingredients (except nuts).  Whisk briefly and then add to the butter mixture, stirring by hand or on low speed until completely incorporated.

  4. Stir in the nuts until just combined.

  5. Turn dough out onto plastic and wrap tightly.  Refrigerate until it begins to firm, about one hour.  About 20mn before removing from the fridge preheat the oven to 350F.

Make the Caramel
  1. In a medium saucepan melt the sugar over medium high heat, stirring occasionally at first, and then constantly once the sugar begins to clump up and brown.

  2. Once the sugar is completely melted and golden turn the heat to medium low and immediately add the butter, once tbsp at a time, stirring constantly the entire time.  The mixture will foam up.  Just keep stirring.

  3. After the butter has been fully incorporated and is melted, pour in the cream, continuing to stir constantly.  Once the cream is fully incorporated turn off the heat.  The mixture should be thick and golden brown.  It will continue to thicken as it cools.

  4. Allow the caramel to cool completely before transferring it to a tightly lidded glass container and refrigerating.  You will only need about 1/4 cup for this recipe, use the rest on ice cream, pancakes, or however you'd like!  It will keep for about two weeks in the fridge.

Bake and Decorate the Cookies
  1. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.  Once the dough has firmed remove it from the fridge.  Use your best guess to pull 2 Tbsp chunks off the dough, roll them in your hands to form balls, and place them on the cookie sheet about 2 inches apart.

  2. Bake until just barely set, about 12 minutes.  You want them to still look raw in-between the cracks.  Allow the cookies to cool on the pan for 5mn before removing to rack to finish cooling.  Repeat the process until all the dough has been used up, keeping the dough in the fridge in between batches.

  3. Once the cookies are completely cool drizzle with the caramel.  Allow cookies to set for about an hour before transferring to storage.  Cookies will keep in fridge for up to a week.  (But I promise they won't last that long!)

Vegan Sugar Cookies

Vegan Sugar Cookies

February 14th is fast approaching, and that means flowers, cards, and of course, sweets!  I have long been wanting a recipe for vegan sugar cookies that were just straightforward, easy and tasty.  No hard to find ingredients, just simple and delicious.  So in the spirit […]