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Warm Chicken Salad

May 6, 2012


One of my favorite meals to make is salads!  I absolutely love how you can have a completely balanced meal all on one plate.  It’s pure genius!  I really enjoy paying attention to fine detail and I find that salads allow for a lot of freedom of expression when it comes to the finally presentation!

I was first introduced to this salad last summer when I was working at The Rope Loft Restaurant in Chester.  This was my favorite salad to put together because it incorporated fresh fruits, berries, watermelon and feta cheese!  This salad is so adaptable and can really be made to suit your own individual tastes.  I always try to add a wide variety of berries, fruits and vegetables so that I am able to achieve a wholesome and well balanced meal.  This salad is perfect for summer as it is light and healthy, prefect for your waist-line if you are trying to keep slim for those bathing suit days!  I like to serve this salad over a bed of fresh baby spinach and then top it with watermelon, fresh strawberries, raspberries, cherry tomatoes, thinly sliced onions, bean sprouts, feta, and then topped off with an orange glazed warm chicken.  I have become quite fond of making my own salad dressings for my salads.  For this salad I made a honey-orange vinaigrette!

  Warm Chicken Salad
Ingredients

6 cups fresh baby spinach, rinsed and patted dry
1/4 watermelon, cut into 8 wedges
4 fresh strawberries, thinly sliced
8-10 fresh raspberries
6 cherry tomatoes, cut in halve
1/4 English cucumber, thinly sliced and cut in half
1 small shallot, thinly sliced
1/2 cup bean sprouts, rinsed and patted dry
1/2 cup feta, crumbled
2 slices of orange for garnish

To Prepare

Divide the spinach evenly between two plates.  Top the spinach with the remaining ingredients dividing evenly among the two plates.  Set aside the orange slices.

Orange Glazed Chicken
Ingredients

        1/4 cup sweet orange marmalade
1/2 tablespoon hot mustard
1 teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1-2 tablespoons of orange rind
1 3/4 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Makes 2 servings

To Prepare

Combine all of the ingredients together except the chicken breasts.  In a large zip-lock bag shake vigorously to combine.  Pour a small amount of the marinade into a bowl and reserve for basting.  Using a skewer pierce the chicken breasts all over.  Place the chicken breasts into the zip-lock bag and allow to marinate for 4-8 hours in the refrigerator.  Place the oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 450°F. Line a large shallow (1-inch-deep) baking pan with foil, then oil foil.
Place the chicken breasts in the dish season with salt and pepper. Roast chicken, basting occasionally with the reserved marinade until golden and just cooked through, about 30 minutes.
Turn the broiler on and spoon the remaining glaze mixture over chicken, then broil chicken until glaze is bubbling and browned, 3 to 5 minutes.  Remove from oven and slice the chicken breasts for 1/4-inch segments or slices.

Makes 2 servings

Honey-Orange Vinaigrette
Ingredients

4 tablespoons fresh orange juice
2 teaspoons finely grated orange rind
2-3 tablespoons grainy mustard
2-3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons honey

To Prepare

Combine all of the ingredients together in a small bowl and whisk until thoroughly incorporated.  You may adjust the ingredients to suit your taste.  Season with salt and pepper.  Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Makes 3/4 cup

To Assemble

Remove the prepared salad from the refrigerator and top with cooked chicken slices.  Place an orange slice on top of the chicken.  Place a small serving of the dressing on the side.  Serve immediately.

Makes 2 hearty salads.
Source Adaptation The Rope Loft


If you have a deep love for fresh salads that utilize fresh and locally grown ingredients you are going to absolutely love this one for sure!  It should be a welcomed addition to any diet 🙂 If you really wanted to make this salad even more summery you could grill your chicken breasts!

From our kitchen to yours,
Sydney Jones

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Mocha Espresso Cupcakes

May 4, 2012

One of my very favourite things to bake is cupcakes.  I love how they are an empty canvas and by the time you are done you can create some of the most beautiful flavour combinations known to mankind!  I also have a deep affiliation with chocolate and coffee and when combined it is pure heaven for me!

These Mocha Espresso Cupcakes embody my two great loves of chocolate and coffee to create a deep decadent mocha flavour.  The cupcake base is a chocolate cupcake that is topped with a delicious espresso buttercream frosting and then finished off with a small chocolate covered espresso bean!  With this combination of flavours these cupcakes do really well in the afternoon when you are on your coffee break and need a little sugar rush to get you through the rest of your day 🙂  The only problem you may find is your lack of will power to have just one!

Mocha Espresso Cupcakes
Ingredients

1 1/3 cups flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
3/4 cup strong coffee

To Prepare

Preheat the oven to 350 F.  Line 4 mini muffin tins with cupcake liners.
In a large bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and baking soda.  Set aside.
In a separate bowl, combine the sour cream, vanilla, and almond extract.  Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the butter and sugar and beat on medium speed until smooth.
Set the mixer to low speed and add the eggs, one at a time, scraping thoroughly between each addition.
Alternately add the flour and sour cream mixtures to the butter mixture in two batches, starting and ending with the flour mixture.  Scrape down the bowl after each addition.
Gradually pour in the strong coffee.  Scrape down the bowl and beat until thoroughly combined.
Divide the batter evenly between the muffin tins.  Bake for 12-15 minutes, for mini cupcakes, and 20-25 minutes for regular cupcakes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Allow the cupcakes to cool for 20 minutes on a wire rack.

Makes 12 cupcakes
Source The Confetti Cakes Cookbook

Espresso Butter CreamIngredients

5 egg whites, room temperature
1 ¼ cup granulated sugar
2 cups butter, softened and cubed
1 tablespoon vanilla
4 tablespoons espresso powder dissolved in a tablespoon of water

To Prepare

Place eggs and sugar in stand mixer bowl attach thermometer to bowl and then place bowl over simmering water.  Whisk mixture constantly until it comes to 150 degrees F. Remove bowl from heat and place back with stand mixer. Beat mixture on medium-high until it becomes glossy and shiny and stiff peaks begin to form, about 8-10 minutes.
Add butter in a few pieces at a time and beat to combine after each addition. Mixture may look curdled half way through, but continue adding the butter and beating and the mixture will become smooth once more.
Add dissolved espresso powder and continue to beat until smooth and uniform in consistency.  Taste the buttercream and adjust the flavour accordingly to suit your taste.

Assembly

Fill a piping bag with the Espresso buttercream frosting fitted with a Wilton 1M tip.  Pipe swirls on top of each cupcake, sprinkle with chocolate sprinkles and top with a chocolate covered espresso bean.

Makes 12 cupcakes

This is a very simple cupcake recipe that will have your cupcake recipient thinking you slaved over them all day!

From our kitchen to yours,
Sydney Jones

Seeded Country Buns

May 2, 2012

Last week we were supposed to embrace ourselves for a little rest and relaxation in the woods for some camping.  It was to be a celebration of my new found freedom.  Unfortunately, mother nature thought it would be best for us to stay inside.  We kept continually checking the weather reports only to be consistently disappointed with the chilly weather.  At one point they were even calling for snow.  So we decided to bide our time and keep in good health and good spirits by exercising our patients.  It’s funny how things work out sometimes.  It was far better for us to wait than to forge forward and get sick.  There will be plenty of opportunities for us to camp this summer when there is no longer a risk of snow.  So, until then we bake 🙂

The day before we were supposed to go camping I thought it would be a great idea to bake some buns to bring with us for sandwiches.  Ever since my time in Germany I had a deep love for seeded breads.  There is nothing quite like roaming down the cobblestone streets first thing in the morning with no one around and the smell of fresh baking breads flooding your senses.  I remember walking into one bakery that was a few blocks from where I stayed and ordering a beautiful freshly baked bun that was so incredible I had to order another.  Germany bakeries are not a place for people with a weakness for carbohydrates first thing in the morning!  I quickly packed on the pounds but enjoyed every bite of it.  There was not one type of bread that I shied away from there!  These Seeded Country Buns are very reminiscent of the seeded bread I grew fond of while in Germany.  They are soft and chewy on the inside with a beautifully crisp crust on the outside.  I love the nutty flavor that is enhanced by first toasting the seeds, my advice to you is do not skip this step.  You will only be depriving yourself of the true beauty of this bun!

Seeded Country Buns
Ingredients

        3/4 cup water
1 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon sugar
4 teaspoons honey
4 teaspoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cups bread flour
2/3 cup rye flour
3 tablespoons flax seed
2 tablespoons dry roasted pumpkin seeds
4 teaspoons black sesame seeds
2 teaspoons poppy seeds

To Prepare

Toast seeds on a baking sheet in a 350 degree F oven for 4 minutes; allow to cool completely.  Set aside 2-3 tablespoons of the seeds for sprinkling prior to baking.
While the seeds are toasting combine 1/4 cup of the warm water with the yeast and sugar; stir to combine.  Allow the mixture to sit in a warm place for about 10 minutes.  When the bubbles have formed add the honey, olive oil and salt and stir.
In the bowl of your electric mixer combine the bread flour and rye flour;  add the cooled seeds and stir to evenly incorporate the seeds.  Make a well in the center of the flour and add the liquid mixture.  Using the dough hook begin to mix using the stir, or lowest speed to create a ball of dough. Knead the dough with the dough hook for about 10 minutes.  Remove the dough from the bowl and allow to rest while you lightly oil a bowl to set the dough in.  Place the dough in to the oiled bowl and lightly cover the dough evenly with the oil.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and then with a towel and allow to rise in a warm place for about 1 hour or until doubled in volume.  Once the dough has doubled remove the dough from the bowl and deflate it with your fist.  Divide the dough into 6 even pieces and form into rolls.  Place the shaped rolls onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and cover with plastic wrap and a towel and allow to rise until doubled again.  Prior to baking brush the tops of the buns lightly with honey and sprinkle with reserved seeds.
Preheat oven to 400 F and place the buns in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until evenly browned.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly.

Makes 6 Buns
Source Adaptation Allrecipes.com

If like you wholesome nutty-flavored breads you will absolutely melt when you sink your teeth into these buns!

From our kitchen to yours,
Sydney Jones

Chocolate Caramel Turtle Tart

April 30, 2012

When I quit my job a few weeks ago I knew exactly what I was leaving behind.  I also had a firm understanding of the road that lies ahead.  I know that there are going to be tough and trying times but with those times will also be times of pure joy and excitement.  There is always a bright side to every situation.  When I think back on all the work I have accomplished over the course of the last year I am left with a very positive feeling of contentment.  I feel proud of myself for not leaving a mess behind, for communicating my appreciation for the opportunities that were handed to me and for also being brave enough to walk away.  Unfortunately, not everyone shares my positive outlook and that’s okay as well because I feel that I have enough optimism to serve us all well!

One of the wonderful things I was able to take with me from my job was this incredibly decadent Chocolate Caramel Turtle Tart.  It is a dessert that is not for the weak of heart.  It takes a very serious commitment to bite into this dessert.  It is the type of dessert that will either last you an entire month or less than a day.  You can completely get away with having a tiny silver and it will satisfy your sweet tooth instantly.  If you recall, the Lemon Blackberry Tarts that I made this recipe utilizes the same flaky shortbread pastry crust.  If you have not used that recipe yet, you best get on it and try it here!  It is insanely delicious.  As if that weren’t enough, the crust is topped with toasted pecans and then covered with a creamy smooth caramel and then topped with a rich chocolatey ganache topping.  I can feel your teeth aching in angst from here 🙂 Just remember moderation is key!

Chocolate Caramel Turtle Tart
Ingredients

For the Shortbread Pastry Crust

2 cups flour
1/2 cup icing sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup margarine
1/2 tablespoon vanilla

For the Filling

1 cup chopped pecans, toasted
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup lightly packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons whipping cream

For the Chocolate Topping

1/2 cup whipping cream
1 tablespoon sugar
2/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

For the Garnish

10 whole pecans
3-4 tablespoons Homemade Caramel Sauce

To Prepare the Shortbread Pastry Crust

Place the flour and icing sugar in a bowl. Place the butter and margarine in the bowl of your electric mixer and beat until softened. Add the flour and icing sugar and beat on low speed until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and beat until thoroughly combined.  Flatten the pastry into a disk, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 15-30 minutes or just until firm.

Lightly butter and flour  a 10-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Once the pastry has chilled sufficiently, evenly pat it into the bottoms and up the sides of the tart pans. Cover the tart shells with plastic wrap and place in the freezer for about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees F  and place rack in center of oven. Lightly prick bottom of pastry crust with the tines of a fork (this will prevent the dough from puffing up as it bakes). Place the prepared tart pan on a larger baking sheet and bake the crust for 10-12 minutes or until crust is dry and golden brown. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.

To Prepare the Filling

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Place the toasted pecans in the baked tart shell and set aside.  Place the butter, brown sugar, honey and granulated sugar into a heavy bottomed saucepan and set over medium-low heat.  Melt the butter slowly and bring to a boil.  Allow the filling to boil gently for about 3-5 minutes ~ DO NOT STIR as this will cause the filling to form crystals.  Remove from heat and add the 2 tablespoons of whipping cream.   Pour the filling over the toasted pecans and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the filling looks thick and bubbly.  Remove from the oven and allow the tart to cool to room temperature.

To Prepare the Chocolate Topping

Once the tart has cooled to room temperature, add the whipping cream and sugar to a small saucepan.  Place the saucepan over medium heat and bring it to a boil.  Remove from the heat and add the chocolate chips.  Whisk the mixture until it is smooth and then pour it over the tart.

To Garnish

Place whole pecans around the tart decoratively and then drizzle with homemade caramel sauce.

Makes 1~10-inch Tart

This is tart is a delightful treat!  If you love the turtle candies you’ll think you have found heaven on earth with this one 🙂

From our kitchen to yours,
Sydney Jones

White Chocolate & Peanut Butter Granola Trifles

April 28, 2012

I am one of those people with a slightly addictive personality.  I have a tendency to do everything full force.  There is no real happy medium.  I am one extreme to the next.  I have noticed that it even happens with food.  It is something that I am working on because balance is important even with the food we eat.  I used to stand in the kitchen and eat peanut butter out of the jar with the dog sitting at my feet waiting for me to share.  Please, don’t judge me!  I would try to exercise more discipline with myself but there is just something so soothing about peanut butter, just ask my dog 🙂  I have forced myself to retire my late night spooning and am exercising moderation when it comes to my peanut butter cravings.  And all other cravings for that matter.

This recipe is the perfect balance of sweetness!  Not too much not too little.  It combines a velvety smooth white chocolate custard with a light and airy peanut butter mousse. And as if that weren’t enough there is a very welcomed crunch that is offered with the homemade peanut butter granola!  Sounds enticing, don’t you think?  I stumbled upon this recipe from Made From Scratch Recipes, it instantly caught my eye because I am a total sucker for layered desserts!  I also loved the sound of the flavor combinations being a recovering peanut butter addict 🙂  If you haven’t noticed lately I have been on a bit of a simple dessert kick, Mini White Chocolate Berry Tarts, Salted Cashew Caramel Clusters, and Lemon Blackberry Tarts are a few other super simple desserts you might like!  I think trifles are the epitome of simple desserts.  If you really wanted to make this simple you could use store bought granola and then the dessert would be completely no-bake!!  Perfect for summer 🙂

White Chocolate & Peanut Butter Granola Trifles
Ingredients

White Chocolate Custard

2 tablespoons corn starch
1 1/2 cups whole milk
3 ounces white chocolate baking squares
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Peanut Butter Mousse

1/2 cup whipping cream
1/2 tablespoon peanut butter
1/2 tablespoon sugar

Peanut Butter Granola

1 cup old-fashioned oats
1/4 cup peanut butter
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

To Prepare
For the White Chocolate Custard

In a medium saucepan, whisk together the corn starch and milk. Cook over medium heat until the mixture begins to simmer and foam appears around the edge of the pan, stirring frequently.
Add the white chocolate baking squares to the milk mixture when the milk begins to simmer. Continue cooking the mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens, about 5 minutes.
Remove the saucepan from the heat temporarily. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolk. Slowly pour a small amount of the hot milk mixture in with the whisked eggs, whisking constantly while doing so.
Pour the egg mixture back in with the remaining milk mixture in the saucepan, whisking constantly while doing so. Return the saucepan to the stove burner and cook over medium-low heat for 2 minutes.
Remove from heat and add the butter and vanilla extract. Stir the mixture until the butter is melted.
Allow to cool slightly. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl, place a sheet of plastic wrap directly on top of the custard and place in the fridge to chill for at least 4 hours or until cold.

For the Peanut Butter Mousse

Heat the peanut butter in a small saucepan over low heat until softened. Remove from heat and set aside.
Using a stand mixer or a handheld mixer, whisk the whipping cream on medium speed until foam begins to form. Add the sugar and continue mixing on medium speed.
When stiff peaks begin to form in the whipping cream, add the softened peanut butter and continue mixing until combined.
Refrigerate until ready to use.

For the Peanut Butter Granola

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a baking sheet and set aside.
In a small saucepan, combine the peanut butter, honey,  cinnamon and vanilla extract. Stir and heat over low heat until the mixture is creamy, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat.
Pour the oats in with the peanut butter mixture and stir until the oats are evenly coated.
Dump the peanut butter granola on the prepared baking sheet and place on the oven’s center rack.
Bake the granola for 10 to 12 minutes or until the granola is evenly browned. Toss the granola at the midway baking point to ensure even baking. Remove from the oven and cool completely.

To Assemble the Desserts

Place enough granola into a dessert cup to coat the bottom of the dish. Spoon the desired amount of white chocolate custard on top of the peanut butter granola.
Place a dollop of the peanut butter mousse on top of the white chocolate pudding.
Sprinkle a little granola and white chocolate on top of the peanut butter mousse and serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings
Source Made From Scratch Recipes

If you love white chocolate, peanut butter and layered desserts you must make these this weekend!  They are the prefect compliment to a relaxing afternoon as a snack or an after dinner dessert!

From our kitchen to yours,
Sydney Jones

Blackberry Pistachio Breakfast Braids

April 26, 2012

I have been toiling with the idea of sharing with you some very exciting news!  I really want to tell you all something that just tickles me from the inside out!  I have been bursting at the seems to let you all know that today was my last day of work 🙂  Two weeks ago I decided to let a lot of things go in my life and my job at the bakery was one of them.  Don’t worry, please, although bittersweet it is for the best.  I wish that I could share with you some of my future intentions but being a fly by the seat of my pants kinda gal I really don’t have any yet 🙂  I do have some exciting plans to go camping for a few days tomorrow but aside from that I don’t really know.  I think that for the first little while I will be taking a lot of time to reflect on my life and then attempting to try something new, different and exciting.  I wanted to extend a very special thank you to you all for being here (or there) with me and allowing me to share with you what it is that I enjoy doing most which is baking and learning.  So, to you all thank you!

In celebration of my big brave step forward into life, I have decided to share with you an incredibly simple yet insanely delicious, breakfast braid that would be ideal for this weekends breakfast or brunch!  I made this recipe into individual braids to which you will be able to serve four, perfect for a family breakfast or brunch.  The pastry is buttery, tender and very flaky quite reminiscent of puff pastry or the store bought crescent roll dough.  In fact, if you wanted to cheat, you could use either one of those pre-made doughs and make this recipe even quicker.  Although, I will forewarn you, it will not taste nearly as good as it does when you make it from scratch and bake it filled with your love 🙂  These individual breakfast braids are similar to the Fresh Raspberry Turnovers I made last May.  If you recall, that pastry utilized cream cheese as well.  You can substitute the blackberry preserve for any preserve you fancy as well as the toasted nuts.  I really love the combination of blackberries and pistachios and it is one I don’t see often so I thought I would give it a whirl and they really a the prefect compliment to one another.

Blackberry Pistachio Breakfast Braids
Pastry and Filling Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup butter
3 oz. cream cheese
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup blackberry preserves (or your favourite preserves)

Egg Wash

1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 tablespoon milk
3-4 tablespoons sugar

Glaze Ingredients

1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon milk
1/8 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon almond extract
3-4 tablespoons toasted sliced pistachios (or any nut of your choice)

To Prepare

Preheat oven to 425 F. In the bowl of an electric mixer, mix the flour, and baking powder. Add the cream cheese and butter into the flour mixture and stir to cut the fat into the flour until it resembles coarse meal. Combine the milk and almond extract; add to combine into a loose dough.

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead VERY CAREFULLY for 4-5 strokes. DO NOT OVER WORK THE DOUGH!  If you overwork the dough, the pastry will be tough. Simply gather the dough together and wrap it in saran wrap the dough will still look a little rough. This is what you are trying to achieve.) Refrigerate the dough for 30-45 minutes to allow the gluten to rest.

Remove the dough from the fridge.   Between two sheets of parchment paper, roll the dough out into a 16~ by 24~inch rectangle that is about ⅛-¼ ~inch thick. Cut the rectangle into 6~ by 4~inch rectangles to create four smaller rectangles.  Place the rectangles onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet that has been lightly buttered. Measure and mark each of the rectangles into thirds lengthwise leaving about 1 1/2~inches on either side. Spread 2-3 tablespoons the preserves down the centre third of the dough, keeping it about 1/4~ inch from the mark on both sides.

Make 1~inch, slightly diagonal, cuts at ½~inch intervals along the length of each side. Do not cut into the centre jam-filled area. Fold the strips, first one from one side and then one from the other side in a rotating fashion so that they overlap, over the filling. It will now resemble a braid. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with generously with sugar.  Bake in a 425° oven for 10-15 minutes, or until the dough is cooked through and the top is golden brown.

In a small glass measuring cup with a pouring spout, combine the sugar, milk, vanilla, and almond extract. Drizzle over the top of the braid. Sprinkle on the toasted sliced pistachios while the icing is still wet. Serve warm.

NOTE: To prepare these braids in advance, complete all steps and assemble the braids but do not bake. Cover the braids on its parchment lined baking sheet with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Set out in the morning as you preheat the oven and then bake as directed above.

Makes 4 ~ 6 inch breakfast braids
Source Adaptation Luna Cafe & Willow Bird Baking

These breakfast braids are a real cinch if you prepare them the night before.  Simply preheat the oven as you sip your morning coffee and in they go, 15 minutes later they are out and ready to be enjoyed!

Here’s to new beginnings that start out with the prefect breakfast braid!

From our kitchen to yours,
Sydney Jones

Mini White Chocolate Berry Tarts

April 24, 2012

Lately I have been on a mini tart kick.  Have you noticed or is it evident?  Maybe it’s not a kick just simply a mini tart a week, hey, that sounds like a tradition I should maintain 🙂  Two weeks ago it was Mini Espresso Cream Pies (tarts) and then it was these incredibly simple and delightfully delicious Lemon-Blackberry Tarts!  I think mini tarts should be incorporated into my weekly dessert menu they are very soothing to the soul.

Today, I thought I would share with you these amazing Mini White Chocolate Berry Tarts.  These tarts are again very easy to throw together and they don’t take long either although they look quite the contrary, wouldn’t you say?!  They are almost a no-bake mini tart and if you were really in a bind you could completely skip turning on your oven to bake the buttery graham cracker crust.  I am never in a hurry and I do prefer to bake my graham crusts as I find it gives them a fuller flavor.  To each is own though.  The white chocolate filling is actually a white chocolate mousse which is heavenly and cloud-like in consistency.  It is not an overly sweet filling which is rather nice when combined with the fresh berries on top.  If you are a fan of easy desserts that err on the side of elegance these are a definite must for you 🙂

Mini White Chocolate Berry Tarts
Ingredients
Crusts

2-3 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons graham cracker crumbs
1 tablespoon sugar

Cream Filling

4 oz (1/2 cup) cream cheese, room temperature
2 oz (1/4 cup)  white chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons sour cream
3/4 cup whipping cream, whipped
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Garnish

Any combination of fresh ripe berries (blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries) or other fruit such as sliced fresh peaches, plums, or kiwi.

To Prepare the Mini White Chocolate Berry Tarts

Mix together the graham cracker crumbs, melted butter and sugar. Evenly divide the mixture and press onto the bottom and up the sides of four – 4 inch tart pans with removable bottoms. (Each tart will use 2 – 3 tablespoons of the graham cracker crumb mixture.) Place the tart shells in the refrigerator to chill for 10 minutes.  Preheat oven to 350 F and bake for 10 minutes.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before filling.

To Prepare the White Chocolate Mousse Filling

Melt the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water. (Watch carefully as white chocolate burns very easily.) Remove from heat and set aside. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese until fluffy and smooth (about 2 – 3 minutes). Add the melted white chocolate and then the sour cream and vanilla extract, beating until you have a creamy smooth mixture. Fold the white chocolate mixture into the whipped cream until fully incorporated.  Evenly divide the cream among the tart shells smoothing the tops with the back of a spoon or an offset spatula. Cover and refrigerate until firm.

To Assemble

Top with fresh berries or sliced fruit.

Note  You can make both the graham cracker tart shells and filling a few days in advance. But to prevent the crust from softening, do not assemble the tarts until the day they are being served.

Makes 4 – 4 inch tarts. Preparation time 30 minutes.
Source Adaptation Joyofbaking.com

These mini tarts are the quintessential dessert for spring or summer as they utilize fresh berries and they won’t kill your waist-line in the process 🙂

From our kitchen to yours,
Sydney Jones

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