Cherries on a Cloud {Recipe}

It’s cherry season here in California, and I’m enjoying every moment of it!  This past weekend I bought a big bag of cherries from the Farmer’s Market, then came home and made this delicious little dessert.  I used fresh cherries for this recipe, but I’m sure you could use frozen (defrosted) cherries, or canned cherry pie filling.  Feel free to try another fruit as well, such as blueberries, strawberries or blackberries.  The base of the dessert (the “cloud”) is like a light cheesecake filling, so try topping it with any fruit you enjoy on cheesecake.

Cherries on a Cloud

1-8oz block of cream cheese

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1/4 cup milk or cream

2 cups Cool Whip (or freshly whipped, lightly sweetened whipped cream)

1 1/2 cups fresh cherry halves (or fresh or frozen fruit of your choice)

3 Tablespoons cherry preserves (I used a delicious one from Trader Joe’s- their own store brand)

~ Directions ~

Pit fresh cherries and cut in half or quarters.

Put cherry preserves in a small bowl and microwave until warm (about 20 seconds).  Pour cherry preserves over fresh cherries and mix together, then set aside.

Beat cream cheese in the bowl of an eclectic mixer, or with a hand held mixer, until smooth.  Add powdered sugar and milk and continue mixing until fully incorporated and smooth.  Fold Cool Whip into the cream cheese mixture and stir gently until fully combined.  Spoon or into dessert dishes (or fill a piping bag with mixture and pipe into dessert dishes).  Use a spoon to make a well in the center of the cream cheese filling, and fill with cherry topping.

Chill prepared dessert in the refrigerator until ready to serve.  This dessert may be prepared up to a couple hours in advance.

Makes 8 mini servings or 4-6 medium sized servings.

Final recipe by Glorious Treats.

Inspired by a recipe in A Little Taste of Heaven, by Philadelphia brand cream cheese.

Margarita Cookies {Decorating How-To}

Last week I went out to Mexican food with a great group of girlfriends.  We were having a farewell dinner for one of the ladies in the group, who will be moving to Germany this month.  This may be the last time she enjoys Mexican food for a while!

I wanted to make some special cookies, and Margarita’s seemed the perfect choice.  I baked up a batch of my Sugar Cookies, but wanted to add some lime flavor, so when I made the royal icing (Recipe and instructions HERE), I replaced some of the water with lime juice (I used the kind from the little lime shaped bottle- I’m sure fresh would be even better).  The result was delicious!

I was flattered that many of the ladies opened up and enjoyed their cookies right after dinner (I often have to twist peoples arms to make them eat my cookies… they say they’re too pretty to eat, but at some point I’m going to get a complex!).  I love to see people enjoy my cookies!

Want to make some Margarita and Lime shaped cookies?

~ How to make Margarita shaped Cookies ~

1.  Outline the cookie with white thick consistency icing (think traditional toothpaste consistency), using a #2 tip.

2.  Fill in the stem of the glass with white flood consistency (about the consistency of corn syrup, or shampoo), using a #2 tip.  Fill the top portion of the glass with “Margarita”, using flood consistency light green icing.  Set cookie aside and allow to dry fully (6-8 hours, or overnight).

3.  When the base icing is fully dry, add a line of thick consistency white icing around the rim of the glass (as shown above), and then immediately sprinkle with white sanding sugar.  Shake off excess sugar, then allow cookie to dry (about 2 hours) before packaging.

~ How to make Lime shaped cookies ~

(also could be adjusted for lemon or orange slice cookies)

1.  Outline the cookie in a green moderate consistency icing (somewhere between thick and thinned).

2.  Fill in cookie with light green flood consistency icing.

3.  Immediately dd white lines with a medium/flood consistency icing.

4. Add green dots for seeds, and drag a toothpick from the middle of the dot toward the center of the “fruit” just a bit to create a seed shape.

I packed the cookies as special favors for each guest at dinner.  I’ve posted directions on packaging cookies as shown above HERE.

1st Birthday Cookies For A Special Boy

This weekend I made a special set of cookies for a first birthday party.  It was fun to play with “boy” colors, because with two little girls in my house I’m used to making lots of pink and purple cookies! =)
Here is the sweet birthday boy Luke,  happily munching on a cookie…
This set of cookies was extra special to me because this little boy is a bit of a miracle.  Luke’s mommy (my friend) found out she was pregnant and found out she had aggressive breast cancer on the same day.  Doctors told her that in order to save her own life, cancer treatment needed to start immediately and could not wait for a pregnancy.  She was highly advised to abort her pregnancy, since the harsh drugs needed for her cancer treatment would surely affect the baby’s mental and physical development, cause premature birth, or a miscarriage.  She didn’t take that advise.  She reached out to family and friends to cover her sweet baby with prayers, and her prayers were answered.  To the astonishment of many doctors, baby Luke was not adversely affected by the drugs in any way!  He is healthy, beautiful, and perfect! 
Happy birthday sweet Luke!
(Oh, let’s not forget Luke’s mommy… who is also now healthy and cancer free!)
My sugar cookie recipe is HERE
 If you’re new to cookie decorating, I have a couple of decorating tutorials posted HERE and HERE.

Sweetness Contained {Cupcakes in a Jar}

There are a couple popular techniques that can elevate simple dessert into something extra special.  One trick is putting sweets on a stick.. cookies, cake pops, rice krispies treats and even mini pies somehow are much cuter on a stick!  And it seems the same can be said of putting special treats in a jar… it can turn a simple cupcake, for example, into an extra adorable treat, perfect to take on a picnic, give as a party favor, or as a sweet thank you to a teacher, co-worker or friend.

I’ve been seeing lots of beautiful treats in jars… cheesecake in a jar, cupcakes in a jar and even homemade cake mix in a jar.  Everything it seems, looks better in a jar!

So, I recently headed to Wal-Mart and bought myself a case of 1/2 pint canning jars.  Then I whipped up a batch of our household favorite… Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting.

I baked the cupcakes as I normally would, using cupcake liners in a regular sized muffin pan.  Then, after the cupcakes were baked and cooled, I removed the liners and cut the cupcakes in half (horizontally).  I placed a half cupcake in the bottom of a jar, piped a swirl of frosting, added another half cupcake, more icing, a third slice of cupcake and a final swirl of icing.  So each jar contains 1 and 1/2 cupcakes.  I would suggest being slightly stingy on the icing, or the amount of icing may overpower the cupcakes, but it comes down to personal preference too!

Make someone’s day with a special treat in a jar!

I’m adding this post to Tidy Mom’s- I’m lovin it Friday post.

Taste the Rainbow… Jello!

For quite some time I’ve had THE rainbow cake on my “to bake” list, but so far I haven’t found the time or right excuse to make it.  But after the ridiculously weird and rainy weather recently, I just needed to make something fun and colorful.  So I headed to the store, and bought six boxes of jello and some cool whip, and made rainbow jello!  This is a bit of an all day project, but in general is quite easy and produces an eye catching dessert!  Obviously, the same general concept could be use with other color combinations… red, white and blue, school colors, team colors, you name it!  If you want to do red “white” and blue, since there is no white jello, use lemon jello mixed with cool whip as the “white” layer, as I did HERE)

~ How to make rainbow jello ~

You’ll need one small box of jello for each color you want… so in this case, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple. And one large tub of cool whip.

Prepare purple (or whatever color you want on the bottom) jello as directed, using the “quick chill” method, meaning add some ice.  Pour jello into glasses, (or a 9′x13′ baking dish sprayed lightly with cooking spray), reserving about 1/3 of the liquid jello.  Put glasses, or dish in the refrigerator and chill for 15-30 minutes, or until slightly set.  Mix about 1/3 cup of cool whip into the remaining purple jello.  Pour the jello/cool whip mixture on top of the slightly set purple jello already in the glasses (or dish).

Repeat process for each color.

I’ve seen recipes that use sour cream, or yogurt in place of the cool whip, so feel free to do that if it saves you a trip to the store  =)

Once set, top with some additional cool whip and sprinkles if desired.

Have a delicious and colorful day!