No-Bake Cherry Cheesecake Bars

20170629_102444If you haven’t already noticed, this summer I am all about the no-bake desserts. With limited time available and no desire to make the A/C work any harder than it already is, no-bake desserts are a perfect option. Not only are these cherry cheesecake bars an easy summertime treat but they are also a great addition to your 4th of July picnic or party.

As with every dessert I make I try to make it as healthy as possible without the taste being noticeably off. These bars are no different. Instead of a traditional graham cracker crust made with fattening butter, this crust is made with olive oil containing heart healthy fats and omega-3 rich walnuts. The walnuts add a touch of extra flavor to the crust to make up for the loss of richness when butter is cut from the equation. To keep saturated fat in check in the filling, regular cream cheese is swapped out for a blend of reduced-fat cream cheese and nonfat Greek yogurt. You can even make these bars gluten-free if you make the simple exchange of gluten-free graham crackers for regular.

20170629_102431Whether you want to pass a delicious dessert at an Independence Day themed picnic/party or simply desire an easy, no bake summer dessert for your family, these no-bake cherry cheesecake bars are sure to never disappoint!

No-Bake Cherry Cheesecake Bars

 

Ingredients:

  • Half of a 14 oz. box of Graham Crackers; preferably whole-wheat
  • ½ cup chopped Walnuts; toasted
  • ¼ cup Sugar
  • 1/3 cup light Olive Oil
  • 2 (8 oz.) pkg. Reduced-Fat Cream Cheese (Neufchatel); softened
  • 2 cups Plain Greek Yogurt
  • 6 tbsp. Confectioner’s Sugar
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 2 cans Cherry Pie Filling (you may not need all of the 2nd can)

 

Preparation:

  1. Process graham crackers in a food processor until finely ground. Add walnuts and pulse until finely chopped. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the sugar. Drizzle with the oil and stir to combine. Press into the bottom of a 13-x-9 inch baking dish.
  2. Beat cream cheese, yogurt, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until smooth. Spread evenly over the crust. Spoon the cherry topping over the filling until no filling shows through the topping. Cover and refrigerate until cold and set, about 3 hours. Cut into squares and enjoy!

 

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: CAROLYN MALCOUN
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2017

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Easy Cherry-Almond Crisp

20170529_174601June has only just begun and temperatures here in Central Florida have already been averaging in the mid-90’s (heat index well over 100°) since early May. I enjoy the heat but it makes going outside with the kids for walks or playtime practically impossible unless it is really early or late (but late in the swamp only trades heat for mosquitoes). Seeing as outside play is limited this time of year, other activities need to fill the void. Baking happens to be one of our favorite go-to activities year round but even more so in the hot and rainy summer months.

With the A/C already working overtime to keep us cool I want a recipe that is not too extensive but also screams summer for the days we stay cooped up indoors. Along with cobblers and pies, one of the quintessential desserts served in the summer is a crisp. A crisp is quick, easy, and makes the most out of in season fresh fruit. Sweet cherries are a favorite of mine and happen to currently be in season, making them easily accessible at supermarkets. If you happen to stumble across this recipe when sweet cherries are not in season, you can easily use frozen sweet cherries with the added bonus that they will already be pitted for you.

cherryalmondcrisp1Although I love sweet cherries on their own, I prefer a balance of tart and sweet flavors in a crisp. For example, when I make apple crisp, I always use a blend of sweet and tart apples. I chose to replicate the same process by using tart dried cherries in addition to fresh sweet cherries. Before burying the cherries under a blend of oats and almonds I add a touch of cinnamon and vanilla to further enhance the flavor.

I prefer to serve this dessert warm and with a scoop of vanilla frozen yogurt (or ice cream), however it is just as enjoyable at room temperature or after a quick warm up in the microwave. I mean, what is not to love about a simple recipe that takes fresh in season fruit, tosses it together with some pantry staples, and bakes into a summertime stunner beckoning for a scoop of ice cream!

Note: To keep this dessert super simple, use frozen pitted cherries if you do not want to pit them yourself. If you elect to use fresh cherries (recommended) and you do not own a cherry pitter, you can pit the cherries with a straw or pastry tip. Simply insert the straw or pastry tip into the stem end of the cherry and push it through until the pit pops out on its on. This recipe yields one 8 x 8 inch baking dish of crisp. You can easily double the recipe ingredients and bake the crisp in a 13 x 9 inch baking dish to accommodate larger families/crowds.

Easy Cherry-Almond Crisp

 

Filling Ingredients:

  • ½ cup dried Tart Cherries
  • ½ cup Boiling Water
  • 1 pound fresh (or frozen) Sweet Cherries; pitted
  • 1/3 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1 ½ tbsp. All-Purpose Flour
  • ½ tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 1/8 tsp. Ground Cinnamon

Topping Ingredients:

  • 3.4 oz. (¾ cup) All-Purpose Flour
  • ¾ cup Old-Fashioned Rolled Oats
  • ½ cup packed Light Brown Sugar
  • ¼ cup Sliced Almonds
  • ½ tsp. Salt
  • 5 tbsp. Unsalted Butter; melted
  • ¼ tsp. Almond Extract

 

Preparation:

  1. Combine dried cherries and boiling water in a small bowl (or pan you boiled the water in); cover and let stand 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 375°. Coat a 8 x 8 inch glass or ceramic baking dish with cooking spray.
  3. In a large bowl combine the dried cherries (including the soaking liquid), pitted sweet cherries, sugar, flour, vanilla, and cinnamon; stir well. Let stand for 15 minutes.
  4. Pour the cherry mixture into the prepared baking dish. Bake for 30 minutes or until thick and bubbly.
  5. Meanwhile, combine flour, oats, brown sugar, almonds, and salt in a medium bowl; stir well. Combine butter and almond extract in a small bowl. Drizzle butter mixture over oat mixture, stirring until moist clumps form.
  6. Remove cherry mixture from oven and sprinkle evenly with streusel topping (you may have extra topping). Bake an additional 20 minutes or until streusel is golden brown. Remove from oven and let stand for 5 minutes. Serve warm on its own or with a scoop of vanilla frozen yogurt/ice cream.

 

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: JEANNE KELLEY
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2017

Easy Banana Snack Cake

20170329_192032Recently I had a few blackened bananas on the verge of needing disposal before they rotted completely. I usually turn to making banana bread when this happens but I felt like trying something new. I hadn’t made a cake in awhile so I thought this would be a good fit for some bananas that would otherwise go to waste. Although technically cake, it is more specifically a loaf cake. Loaf cakes hold up well when sliced compared to regular cake, which makes this banana snack cake perfect for packing in lunches or eating a slice on the go for breakfast.

20170329_191744Whether you enjoy this cake for dessert, a snack, or a stand in for breakfast it is a light and healthier option that even kids can enjoy. Packed with potassium-rich bananas, olive oil, low-fat Greek yogurt, and only 1/3 cup of added sugar, you can rest assured this cake will taste indulgent without breaking your healthy lifestyle. As an added bonus this cake is really easy to prepare…even if you have some little kitchen helpers like myself! Enjoy!

Easy Banana Snack Cake

Ingredients:

  • 6.75 oz. (1 ½ cups) Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/3 cup Sugar
  • 1 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. Salt
  • 1 cup Plain Low-fat Greek Yogurt
  • ¾ cup Mashed Ripe Banana (about 2 whole)
  • ¼ cup Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Large Egg; lightly beaten
  • ¼ cup Chopped Walnuts

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°. Grease a 9-inch square metal baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. Place flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl. Whisk mixture until well combined. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture.
  3. Combine yogurt, banana, oil, vanilla, and egg in a small bowl; stir until well blended. Add yogurt mixture to the flour mixture and stir until just moistened. Add the walnuts and stir until just combined.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan. Bake for 20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool cake in the pan 10 minutes on a wire rack then remove from the pan. Cool completely on wire rack. Serve (approximately 8 servings).

 

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: JUDITH MCINTIRE
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2017

Skinny Citrus Pudding

20170216_134210We still have a few more weeks of winter before we officially hit spring despite many places across the country experiencing milder temperatures than usual. For many across the nation, winter is a time when it is harder to find fresh, in season produce to utilize. Citrus is currently one of the select finds currently in season across the nation and in abundance this time of year. If you find yourself with a lot of citrus and want to experiment with something new than this recipe is just for you.

20170216_133233Some of you may look at this and be confused thinking it is more like a citrus curd and not a pudding, but I assure you it is indeed a pudding. This pudding uses cornstarch as a thickener and a curd does not use cornstarch. If you begin eating this with the mindset of a traditional pudding you will probably be a little shocked. It is tart so be warned. Don’t be tempted to add more sugar. If you want it to be a little tamer than I suggest cutting back on the orange zest by ¼ tsp. If you are looking for a different type of light dessert that is inexpensive and easy to prepare than give this recipe a go. It surely will not disappoint!

20170216_133225Skinny Citrus Pudding

Ingredients:

  • 3 tbsp. Sugar
  • 1 tsp. Grated Orange Zest
  • 1 cup Fresh Orange Juice
  • 1 cup Tangerine Juice
  • 3 tbsp. Cornstarch
  • ¼ tsp. Salt
  • 1 tbsp. Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 1 tsp. Unsalted Butter
  • ¼ cup Heavy Whipping Cream; divided
  • Mint; optional

Preparation:

  1. Combine the sugar and orange zest in a small saucepan; crush with spatula or a wooden spoon to excrete oils of zest into sugar (sugar will turn yellowish-orange in color).
  2. Stir in the tangerine juice, orange juice, cornstarch, and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil 2 minutes or until thickened, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; stir in lemon juice and butter. Pour the pudding into a bowl; cover surface of pudding with plastic wrap and chill.
  3. Place cream in bowl and beat with a mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form. Fold half of the cream into the pudding.
  4. To serve: Spoon ½ cup pudding into dessert bowls or glasses. Top each serving with 1 tbsp. of whipped cream and a sprig of mint (if desired).

 

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

(½ cup pudding & 1 tbsp. cream)

 

citruspuddingnutritionlabel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weight Watchers: 9 Smart Points, 5 Points Plus, or 4 Traditional Points

 

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: DEBORAH MADISON
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2017

Easy Apple Strudel (Apfelstrudel)

20160927_144943October is just around the corner and many of the typical fall favorites have already made their annual debut. For most, October signifies the time to use or buy the traditional flavors of fall (pumpkin, apples, & warm spices) in everything from food to candles and soaps. For those with a German heritage, it is also the time to anticipate Oktoberfest. Every year in October, Germany holds an annual festival in Munich called Oktoberfest. The festival hosts attractions and serves up traditional food to visitors from around the world. The most notable feature is the consumption of Oktoberfest beer. Although the main festival takes place in Germany, there are many festivals across the globe that mimic the original and allow people to celebrate the tradition no matter their location.

20160927_150609When attending the Oktoberfest near my home in Central Florida there are three traditional items I can’t leave without trying: a Frankfurter covered in sauerkraut, a pretzel, and Apfelstrudel. Of the three, the Apfelstrudel is the most important to me because it is something I cannot easily replicate at home. The light and flaky dough is so hard to manage that I have only attempted to make the traditional German version twice. You literally need a large table, tablecloth, and a ton of patience to stretch the dough until you can literally read a piece of paper through it but without tearing a hole in it. This is no easy task folks I assure you. That is why most pastry shops in Germany have switched to using phyllo dough to replace the labor intensive traditional way.

20160927_150626To be quite honest even phyllo dough can be tricky to work with, which is why when I wanted an easier version to replicate at home I decided to use puff pastry. You can achieve a similar light and flaky crust as the traditional dough or phyllo, but without all of the hassle. One day when I am feeling more adventurous and I don’t have a preschooler and infant taking up the majority of my time, I will attempt to make strudel again with phyllo in place of the puff pastry. For now though, this will be my easy go to recipe when I want a taste of Oktoberfest at any time of the year.

20160927_144740

Easy Apple Strudel (Apfelstrudel)

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp. Unsalted Butter
  • ¼ cup Light Brown Sugar; packed
  • 2 tbsp. Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 1 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. Salt
  • 2 pounds (6 medium) Granny Smith Apples; peeled & thinly sliced
  • ½ cup Golden Raisins
  • 2 sheets Frozen Puff Pastry; thawed
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 1 tbsp. Water
  • ¼ cup Chopped Walnuts
  • 2 tbsp. Granulated Sugar
  • Vanilla Ice Cream

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in brown sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon, salt, apples, and raisins. Cover and reduce heat to low. Cook 10 minutes or until the apples are tender, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and allow mixture to cool.
  3. Meanwhile, on a lightly floured surface, roll each puff pastry sheet into a 15 x 12 inch rectangle. Using a slotted spoon, place an equal amount of the apple mixture along the long edge of each pastry sheet (leaving a 1 inch margin on all sides). Roll up the pastry in a jelly-roll fashion. Tuck edges under and gently press the seam to seal. Place seam side down on the prepared baking sheet.
  4. Whisk egg and water until combined. Brush mixture over top and sides of each strudel. Cut diagonal slits across the top of each strudel for ventilation.
  5. Place nuts and granulated sugar in a food processor and pulse until finely ground. Sprinkle each strudel with the nut mixture, pressing gently to adhere. Bake strudels for 25 minutes or until golden. Let stand 5 minutes; slice and serve with desired amount of vanilla ice cream.

 

PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

 

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2016

Easy Fireworks Cookies

6Happy Independence Day to America!!! In all honesty this one kind of snuck up on me. I was planning to make an easy tutorial for 4th of July and I kept thinking in my head that I have more time and I shouldn’t start yet and then “boom” it is three days before and I haven’t even baked the cookies yet. Then when I do bake them my cookie monster toddler kept stealing them all off the table and instead of having 3 dozen I am left with 2. I want to scold her but seeing her nibbling cookie after cookie in the corner trying to hide from my sight is just too cute. I guess I will let her win this one and be a kid.

Since I had procrastinated badly I thought I could squeeze in the quick decorating while the cookie monster was nibbling away without getting bothered too much. Boy was I wrong! The second she saw my frosting containers she knew its time to decorate and she wanted to make a mess…I mean help. Of course I made a spot for her at the table and let her hold the bottle as I piped the icing into the lines and dots I needed to make the cookie look like a firework explosion. Some came out great, others were a bit messy but that is perfect because not all fireworks are the same when they explode and this gave the cookies character. It also made me realize that these cookies should not just be marketed for adults that don’t want to spend too long decorating cookies but it is also a great way to spend time with your kids on the holiday making a patriotic treat. These are easy enough that adults won’t get stressed and kids can have fun making them with you.

2As I was sitting with my daughter watching the joy on her face as she squeezed a blob of frosting onto a cookie I was no longer frustrated that she wanted to help but rather I embraced the moment and didn’t want to finish the last cookie that seemed to creep up on us way too fast. Far too often I am in a rush to get things done thinking the faster I get it done the faster I can focus on my daughter but I end up missing out on opportunities to do just that. Luckily I didn’t miss this one and it meant a lot to me since I know this fall I will be returning to work and I won’t be able to spend all day with her. It has been weighing heavily on my mind lately as I have pretty much been a stay at home mom almost the entire time since she was born and I feel really guilty leaving her at home. I guess I will have to set up more mommy-daughter baking and decorating dates.

5What I like most about these cookies is they are completely customizable. They can be made with any color scheme and you can use any patterns you like that you feel represents what an exploding firework looks like. I used a sand dollar cookie cutter to give a unique shape that would help support the look of an explosion and falling particles but you can use any cutter you like. If you have a regular star you can use that or if you only have a circle you can also use that too. As far as colors go I used tulip red, white, and baby blue for Independence Day but you can pick any colors, especially if you want to recreate them for another holiday such as New Years you could do gold and black. As always I use my favorite sugar cookie recipe and decorate with royal icing tinted with gel dye but you are welcome to use your own approach. The sky is the limit with these. They are designed to be easy and fun for all the family. So go enjoy the holiday and celebrate your freedom if you are an American and if not just celebrate your family by spending time together making a batch of cookies and promoting your children’s creative expression.

PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEE’S PATISSERIE 2015

*PLEASE DO NOT REPLICATE AND DISTRIBUTE THIS DESIGN FOR PROFIT WITHOUT WRITTEN CONSENT*