No-Bake Vanilla Fruit Pizza

No Bake Vanilla Fruit Pizza3

Hey guys- I know I’ve been somewhat absent over the past several days, but I did have a pretty good reason. I really can explain.

See, in exactly 8 days, my twin sister Jas is getting married.

And I’m the maid of honor.

It’s my first time being in a wedding but maybe some of you that have been MoH before can attest to this. Being a MoH-a GOOD, DUTIFUL MoH that tries to keep the bride happy and assist with planning her wedding- keeps you very, very busy.

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Between all of the bridal fittings, bridesmaid dresses fittings, bridal shower planning/partying, shopping, reception planning details and daily assurances/emotional support to the bride, I’ve kind of fallen off the food blogging wagon, depending on just making my Old Faithful recipes to sustain us through the week rather than create and try new ones.

But I’ve still managed to fit them in here or there, just so long as they’re not super labor-intensive can be cooked and photographed within a few hours.

I’ll admit it: I’ve been a bit lazy and slacker-ish. But I know I need to step my game up and get back to my old regular posting schedule-especially since September is now here and with it, the arrival of Autumn, which also happens to be my favorite time of year. I won’t let you guys down on my Fall Baking; hand to God.

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But in spite of all the hullabaloo that’s going on at our place now and the frenzy that will only increase in fever pitch during the next week, I still managed to crank out a post for you guys. And to be honest, even though this recipe is STUPID easy, it is still one of my favorite desserts, hands down. My sisters literally asked me to “make” this, and we ate up every bit. It’s also a really perfect way to get one last hoo-ha of summer while the weather is still relatively warm, and the cool and fruity desserts are a la mode.

The best part? No baking or hot ovens required.

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You guys remember my Speculoos Toffee Cookies I posted about? Well when I decided to make this fruit pizza, I had a bunch of those still sitting around (the recipe makes a pretty big batch), so I decided that I would use those as the base for my no-bake crust. I piled them all up in a bowl and crushed them with my hands very easily. My recipe calls for using a cookie flavor that’s generally pretty mute so as to not overpower the flavors of the fruit- typically this is a sugar cookie, but if you’re feeling adventurous like I was, I do think that using one with a mild richness (like cookie butter) would be worth trying out.

One thing I will strongly advise though, is making sure that you’re using cookies that are on the softer side; if they’re soft that typically means that they had more butter in their dough, and will thus be easier to make stick together when putting together the crust. Can you use drier cookies like vanilla wafers or traditional Danish butter cookies? Yes, but they will require more butter to hold the crumbs together.

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And I would personally like to be able to continue telling myself that because this thing has fruit on it, it’s a “healthy dessert”. Adding more butter may get in the way of that.

All kidding aside, I have to say: when you eat this pizza, it REALLY does feel very light and refreshing- unlike most rich desserts that make you feel like you swallowed a stone a few hours later. Additionally, a little of it goes a long way, so all things considered it’s really one of the better ways to appease your sweet tooth without feeling too bad afterwards.

No Bake Vanilla Fruit Pizza

Plus, if you’re super artistic (or you just google “Fruit Pizza Designs” like I did) you can really go all out and make this an impressive dessert to bring to a Labor Day Barbecue.

And did I mention it tastes delicious? Because it does. Just imagine that first bite: Cookies. French Vanilla Whipped Cream. A burst of tangy juice from the berries. Your mouth is watering by now, I know.

See you all at the Fiesta Friday #84 party, co-hosted this week by , Effie @ Food Daydreaming and Steffi @ Ginger & Bread. I probably won’t be able to post again by the time my sister gets married a week from now, so wish me (and her lol) luck!

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No-Bake Vanilla Fruit Pizza

Recipe Adapted from KRAFT

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Ingredients

  • 12-16 Large &  soft “neutral” flavored cookies (like sugar), crushed
  • 6-8 tbsp. butter, melted (depending on how dry or moist the cookies you use are)
  • 1 (3.4 ounce) package JELL-O French Vanilla Flavor Instant Pudding
  • 1 cup cold milk
  • 1 cup thawed COOL WHIP Whipped Topping
  • 1 cup mixed fresh fruit (blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, halved strawberries, sliced kiwi)

Directions

Combine the cookie crumbs and butter in a bowl. You’re looking for a good mixture of firm and moist crust– it shouldn’t be ‘wet’, but it needs to be able to hold together when you squeeze it with your fingers.

Press the crumbs into the bottom of a 9-inch round tart pan or shallow pie plate. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or at least one hour.

Beat pudding mix and milk together for 2 minutes. Fold in whipped cream.

Remove tart crust from fridge. Using a spatula, spread whipped cream mixture over the top of crust. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

Top pizza with fruit, and serve. 

 

 

Vanilla Almond Butter Bars

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One of the best things about loving to cook is the desire I have to try new types of food. This wasn’t always the case for me, in fact when I was young, I was a pretty finicky eater. I had a specific list of foods that I knew that I liked, and it was pretty much all I was interested in eating.

Now that I cook for fun, I’m usually always up for trying new foods and new ingredients. The upside to this obvious, but the ‘negative’ part to it gets a little bit more complicated. See, when I find a new food that I like, I usually get somewhat addicted to it to the point where I feel like I HAVE to have it in a regular rotation for a while-especially when it’s something that isn’t too complicated to make.

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This year alone I’ve had a HUGE variety of ‘food phases.’ Heck, I’m still in some of them: buffalo wing hummus (which I could make by throwing the ingredients in the food processor),  oven roasted veggies, chicken schwarma wraps, Kashi Go Lean Crunch cereal smothered in vanilla yogurt, bananas and peanut butter on toast, Shiritaki Noodle & Zucchini Lo Mein. I’m telling you guys, my cravings have no shame.

One of the cravings that has always stuck with me is the craving to have something sweet right after I’ve finished dinner. It doesn’t have to be something ‘too’ sweet or decadent like cake or candy or ice cream (not that those things aren’t ALL wonderful). I just want something that’s sweet enough to balance out the savory flavors from dinner, but still light enough to not be too heavy or put me in a food coma ( because I usually try to save those for the Holidays).

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I’d always been a fan of raw almonds, but before I started reading food blogs and cookbooks, I didn’t even know there was such a thing as almond butter. But since there seemed to be a lot of people that were fans of it, I decided to take the plunge and buy some for myself.

And I was hooked. That first jar of Maranatha started an obsession with almond butter that I have yet to get over (and honestly hope that I never do). Don’t get me wrong, I’ll always love my peanut butter (after all, it is EXTREMELY cheaper), but I find that almond butter’s flavor isn’t as assertive as peanut butter’s is, and sometimes when it comes to flavors, less is more.

I’ve heard of and seen lots of recipes for no-bake bars that feature peanut butter in them (I’ve tried some, and they’re great), but not so much for almond butter. This recipe’s my little contribution/homage to almond butter. It satisfies the sweet tooth craving I get after dinner without making me feel too full. I’m sure that I’ll be stuck in a phase where I have to eat one at least every day for the next month or two. Another plus side to it is that the ingredients are actually pretty healthy so far as sweets go. Make sure you don’t leave out the vanilla extract guys, it adds something really special to the flavor of the almond butter- plus I love vanilla flavored ANYTHING, so I’ll look for excuse to throw it in a recipe if I think it’ll work…and it did. Rather nicely, I think.  I used Honey Bunches of Oats cereal with the Quick Oats to give the bars some varying textures, but if there’s another cereal that you prefer, feel free to use it. The bars are pretty versatile and ridiculously easy to make. Seriously, I think they take less than 10 minutes to put together, and a few hours to harden. So that means you literally have NO excuse not to make them. Right? Of course right.

FEED(ME) BACK: What’s your favorite thing to eat when you have a sweet tooth?

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Vanilla Almond Butter Bars

Yield: 16 Bars

CLICK HERE FOR PRINTABLE RECIPE

Ingredients

  • 1 cup creamy or chunky almond butter
  • 1 cup of honey
  • 2 cups of whole grain oats (either quick or rolled will work fine)
  • 1 cup Honey Bunches of Oats with Vanilla Clusters cereal, or Honey Bunches of Oats with Cinnamon Bunches cereal, slightly crushed
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Directions

1. Combine almond butter and honey in a 2 qt saucepan and place over medium heat. Allow to simmer until almond butter has completely liquefied and blended together with the honey. Remove from heat.

2. Stir in vanilla extract.

3. Fold the oats and cereal into the almond butter and honey mixture until evenly combined.

4. Use a rubber spatula to press the mixture into an 8” square cake pan or baking dish, making sure to spread mixture into an even layer.

5. Cover pan with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and refrigerate overnight, or at least for one hour.

6. Cut into squares.