Lemon Raspberry Cookie Cake

The heat where I live has been pretty intense these past few weeks. It keeps my tastebuds in a summer mood, and with that summer mood comes a craving for citrus, fresh fruit, and/or both.

So far as I’m concerned, lemon is good at any time of year, but there’s just something about the summer and heat that makes it taste even better. Same thing with raspberries. Whenever and however you put them together, you’re pretty much guaranteed to have a perfect summer-y bite.

I’ve said it on here before, but one of the most important things in a good dessert for me is texture. I’m typically not a fan of ones that are completely ‘smooth’ or creamy, even when it comes to ice cream. I want to be able to have some use for my teeth.

I’ve made a lot of cakes, but they’re not typically my favorite dessert, mainly because most of the time, cake is a ‘one-note’ dessert in terms of texture. When it’s made right, it’s supposed to be light and soft and smooth. There are only a couple of exceptions to that rule; the cookie cake is one of them.

I first started making cookie cakes several years ago and fell in love with them mainly because they’re everything I like in a dessert, especially when it comes to the texture. While on the one hand, it’s a ‘cake’ it’s also a very loose cookie dough so the finished texture comes out ultra dense, rich and chewy– just the way I happen to like it.

The base of this recipe is an ultra lemon cookie dough batter. And when I say ultra, I do mean ultra; lemon juice, lemon extract and the zest of two full lemons are in this thing. I promise, you will taste the lemon. Added to that are fresh raspberries that I layered throughout the cake. As they baked, they burst and bled out, rather beautifully I think.

I ate this with a huge scoop of whipped cream on top, and it made for several bites of pure summery bliss. Enjoy.

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Lemon Raspberry Cookie Cake

Recipe Adapted from Southern Lady Magazine

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon zest
  • 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract or emulsion
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 16 oz fresh raspberries

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease and flour a 9-10 inch deep dish pie dish and set aside.

In a medium size bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and lemon zest and stir together with a fork. Set aside.

In a large bowl, use a handheld mixer to beat butter and sugar with a mixer at high speed until creamy. Add eggs, beating until well combined. Stir in lemon juice and extracts.

Add the flour mixture to the butter-egg mixture in 2 batches, stirring just until combined.

Use a spatula, to spread exactly half of the batter into the bottom of the pie dish. Sprinkle exactly half of the berries on top, lightly pressing them into the batter so that they are partially submerged. Spread the other half of the batter on top, and sprinkle/press the rest of the berries on top.

Bake until light golden brown and almost set in the center, approximately 50 to 65 minutes. (The middle should be puffed up and slightly firm to the touch.) Cover loosely with foil you’ve sprayed with cooking spray to prevent excess browning if need be.

Sharing at Fiesta Friday #445.

Strawberry Cookie Tart

There are some desserts that for me, are like some people in my life; they’ll just always be special. The moment of realization with people can come in an interesting conversation we’re having or a fun experience we’re having. With dessert, it’s usually in that first bite. But regardless of which one, I have the same thought: “Yeah. This one is a keeper.”

It’s one of the best feelings ever, and as such, I try to re-experience it as often as I can. This blog makes that relatively easy for me to do with food, which is what we’re doing here today.

For the 12 Days of Christmas 2020, I shared a recipe for a cranberry cookie tart. I raved about it back then as one of the best desserts I’d ever made, and that is still very much true. It’s become a staple holiday dessert for us, and probably always will be.

The only downside is that cranberries are a seasonal ingredient that are mostly only sold for about 2 months during the latter part of the year in the winter. And that’s all well and good, but…what am I supposed to do during the summer?

The answer/solution I came to was making a couple of simple ‘seasonal’ ingredient adjustments so that my new favorite winter-y holiday dessert could become a favorite summertime one.

Whereas cranberries are pretty easy to get during the wintertime, strawberries are just as easy to get during summer, so I decided to swap one out for the other. The filling is the only thing I changed from the original recipe so that instead of cranberries and cranberry sauce, the tart is filled with fresh, chopped strawberries and strawberry preserves. I also threw in some lemon zest to give it an added fresh flavor.

Much like the cranberry tart, the strawberry one was delicious. Which now means I’ve got a ‘keeper’ on my hands for both times of year.

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Strawberry Cookie Tart

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter at room temperature
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar packed
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste or pure vanilla extract
  • 2⅓ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup of strawberry preserves
  • 1 cup fresh strawberries, chopped
  • Zest of 1 lemon

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350F/160C. Grease a 9-inch removable-bottom tart pan* and place this on a baking tray.

Using a food processor or mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, sugar, vanilla and brown sugar vigorously until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. It’s an important step to beat the butter and sugar well together when making shortbread as this ensures the shortbread is light, crisp and will hold together.

In a separate bowl, sift the flour and salt. Add it to the butter mixture and mix until blended (forming large clumps). Turn onto a floured surface and using floured hands, press two-thirds of the mixture evenly into the prepared pan (including the sides).

Spread with the strawberry preserves evenly over the dough, leaving a 1⁄4-inch border and then scatter with the chopped strawberries and the lemon zest.

Crumble the remaining dough into large crumbs and scatter evenly over the filling, covering most of the surface.Bake the tart for 40 – 45 minutes, until lightly browned.

Leave to cool completely in the pan.

*If you do not have a tart pan, I do think that this would also work in a 9-inch round cake pan, you just won’t be able to lift the whole tart out of it. It’ll still taste great though.

Sharing at Fiesta Friday #439.

Peach Cobbler Bars

There are some foods that just taste like they were made for summer.

When I think of stone fruit (peaches, nectarines, plums, apricots), I think of summer. When I eat stone fruit, it’s usually summer. A large part of this is because stone fruit season is during the summer months. But I also think it just comes down to the flavors.

They’re sharp and bright and fresh. They’re sweet, juicy and refreshing–all of the tastes that you want on hot summer days.

I can never let the summer pass without making SOME kind of fruit dessert, specifically a stone fruit one. I just can’t do it.

Fortunately, I do make a pretty mean peach cobbler.  However, if I had to give ONE downside to it, I would say that cobbler’s don’t exactly ‘travel’ well. Divvying it up after that first day can also be a little bit tricky.

Today’s recipe is a twist on the original and solves both of those pesky cobbler complications without being any more difficult to make than the original.

Most peach cobblers are made with a fruit filling on the bottom, and a puffy, biscuit-like crust that gets plopped on top, then baked for about an hour. The main difference here, is that there’s crust on the top and bottom, and the texture is slightly different.

If I had to liken it to anything, I’d say the crust is like a cross between shortbread and pie crust and it comes together very easily. The easiest way will be if you have a box grater to cut the butter into the flour, but if you don’t it’s not a big deal. Just cut it into small cubes and smash it up with a fork or pastry blender. Unlike some cobblers whose crusts can get drowned in filling, this crust holds up very well for all of the juicy peach filling that gets poured on top.

I think what I love most about this dish is that all of the proportions are just right. There’s just the right amount of peach filling to crust. Neither one overwhelms the other. The flavors of the peaches are sublime and they bake to a perfect, juicy gooey consistency. This is a PERFECT dish for traveling to summer barbecues, cookouts, potlucks or the beach. Once you give it enough time to cool, the bars cut very easily, and they’re simple to place into individualized portions.

Best of all, even if you’re a beginner baker, you can pull this off. So get to it. Summer will be over before we know it.

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Peach Cobbler Bars

Recipe Adapted from Taste of the South

Ingredients

  • 2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar, divided
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 8 cups peeled, pitted, and diced fresh peaches, nectarines, plums, or apricots (any stone fruit you want to use will work) (about 8 peaches)
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1 1⁄2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup cold butter, (whole, or cubed)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1⁄2 cup sour cream
  • 1 1⁄2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • About 1/4 cup-1/3 cup milk, if needed

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a 13 x 9 baking dish with aluminum foil and spray it GENEROUSLY with cooking spray. Set aside.

In a  large bowl combine 1 cup of the brown sugar with the cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Stir in the peaches, orange zest and orange juice until the peaches are evenly coated. Set aside.

In another large bowl combine the whisk together the other 1 cup of brown sugar with the flour, oats, baking powder and salt. If you have a box grater, use it to grate the butter into the dry ingredients. If you do not, then cut the butter into cubes and use a fork or a pastry blender to cut the butter into the dry ingredients until they are crumbly and resemble bread crumbs in texture.

In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, sour cream, and vanilla. Make a well into the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet, using a large fork to stir together just until combined. If after stirring, it is still too dry and crumbly, you may add the milk, a little bit at a time until it does hold together into a craggy mass. (It doesn’t have to be perfect or super wet).

Press 3/4s of the flour mixture into the bottom of the lined baking dish. You can use your fingers, the bottom of a measuring cup or a spatula you’ve sprayed with cooking spray. (Don’t worry about making it perfect, just try to aim for as even a layer as you can so you get an even bottom crust.)

Pour the reserved peach filling on top of the bottom crust and spread it out evenly. Sprinkle with the remaining flour-butter mixture, trying to get an even layer out of it, breaking it apart with your fingers if need be (It’s going to spread out and fill out while baking, so again, don’t stress about making it perfect).

Place the baking dish on a sheet pan and bake on the middle rack of the oven until browned, set and bubbling, about 50-60 minutes. (You may have to cover the top with foil if it browns too quickly for the middle to set up.)

Allow to cool for about 30-40 minutes before cutting into bars.

Sharing at Fiesta Friday #286, co-hosted this week by Mollie @ Frugal Hausfrau and Laurena @ Life Diet Health.