The Magic of Baking

Baking is like magic. Yep, I said it. It’s magical. Out of nothing (well, nothing significant when standing alone) appears something delicious. Flour, sugar, butter…throw together and POOF, desserts! I’ve always been a super frugal girl, so I joke with my husband Josh that baking is like creating free food – the BEST! Since there’s always flour, sugar, baking ingredients & butter in the house my brain doesn’t put monetary value to it, it’s just like the most amazing free food ever. :) Lol

Yesterday we hosted our small group for the first time, so I made it my mission to wow everyone with an array of delicious treats. I’ve always loved having people over and sharing time over good food, but over the past year I’ve really jumped head first into a passion for entertaining guests, cooking & baking.

I figured it’d be easy if everything was relatively bite sized (real intention: laziness motivated by not having to wash 15 sets of silverware!) I made my old stand-by, Lemon bars, which are an easy fix since I have an abundance of lemons dangling off the lemon tree in my backyard. I’ll post that recipe a little later, because the main focus is the mini-pies I made for the first time. Which ended up much better than I had anticipated (I was nervous about these little guys).

For these mini cherry pies, I used regular muffin tins. They are SO simple. Just store bought refrigerated pie crust and a can of cherry pie filling. I followed the tutorial from Sew Sweet Stitches, which walks you through a from scratch cherry filling. I didn’t have time to make the filling from scratch with everything else I was doing, so I settled for canned but they was seriously great.

I had half a container of fresh blueberries in my fridge, so I used the remainder of the pie crust dough to make these mini blueberry pies with a lemon streusel topping. OMG my new favorite! I took this recipe from Pillsbury and modified it a little bit. Instead of using their coconut streusel topping, I created a lemon streusel to give them some zippiness. Then I drizzled them with lemon glaze.

Lemon streusel:
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Lemon glaze:
Combine 6 tablespoons of powdered sugar with enough lemon juice to make a thick glaze. Drizzle over cooled pies.

(Photo credit Jessica Burns)

And last but not least, my third dessert was a new one that my amazingly talented foodie friend Jessica introduced me to. They’re Martha Stewart’s Strawberry Shortcake cookies and they’re one of my new favorites. You can find the recipe and an awesome photo-journey walking you through the steps of making these wonderful little treats here on Jessica’s blog. :)

Happy baking!!

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