Mini Cherry Pies

I’m still not sure what Jaime and I will be doing for the New Year, but I thought I’d share a couple of recipes that I think would make good desserts for a New Year’s Eve party.  These desserts are pretty and festive and easy to make.  First up: mini cherry pies.

Mini Cherry Pies

Unlike regular sized pies, these cute mini pies are a finger food so they are good for receptions and parties.

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Recipe: Pumpkin Bread with Dried Fruit and Nuts

It is finally beginning to feel a bit like fall here in South Carolina.  While it is definitely not the same as autumn in New England or out west, it is enough to get me thinking about fall foods and especially pumpkin.  I saw a recipe for Golden Stollen on the King Arthur Flour website this past weekend.   The golden color of this bread is a result of pumpkin.  This bread sounded like the perfect fall bread so I went to the grocery store to buy the ingredients that I didn’t have on hand — dried cranberries, candied ginger, and pumpkin — and then came home and made this.  I followed the recipe on the King Arthur Flour website with a couple of minor changes.

Pumpkin BreadWhile this bread was baking it filled the house with the sweet aroma of cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger.  I will definitely make it again.  A slice of this bread with a cup of tea, a fire in the fireplace, and a good book would make a very nice fall evening.

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Recipe: Fresh Peach Cobbler

I bought a basket of beautiful fresh peaches during a recent trip to the farmers’ market. Since I managed to make it through the entire summer without making peach cobbler, I decided to take advantage of the tail end of peach season and make a cobbler.

PeachesThe peaches were not quite ripe, but the cooking softened the peaches and if I hadn’t known I never would have guessed that they were not quite ripe.

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Chocolate Dipped Strawberries

Chocolate dipped strawberries are an elegant dessert, but can be pricey to purchase premade and can get a little squishy if they are left to sit for too long.  When I was a child, my parents had a large strawberry patch and we would often make chocolate dipped strawberries for special occasions.  The key to getting nice looking DIY chocolate strawberries is to make sure that the strawberries are completely dry before dipping and that the chocolate is completely melted but not burnt.

Chocolate Dipped Strawberries

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Having trouble picking a watermelon?

Sorry I can’t help you with that as I haven’t mastered the art of watermelon picking myself, but I can tell you what I do when I cut open a watermelon and discover that it is not so sweet. I pour a can of 7UP or Sprite (or ginger ale in a pinch) over the sliced melon and chill the melon. The soda imparts a sweetness to the watermelon and adds a very subtle lemon-lime (or ginger) flavor to the melon.

Source: Watermelon Slices by Petr Kratochvi

Do you have a tip for selecting a good watermelon? If so, I’d love it if you would share your tip in the comments.