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The Circle B Kitchen has been blogging since September, 2009.  We have loads of recipes and thoughts on food to share in the coming weeks and months, so come back and check in often!  We love hearing from you and hope you'll leave a comment or shoot an email our way.  Whether you have questions about a recipe or the site in general, please let us know...    Contact me at      pberry@circle-B-kitchen.com

Find a Circle B Kitchen Recipe 

Some of Our Favorite Eats for Fall!

          Homemade Baked Applesauce   

   Pumpkin Apple Streusel Muffins

Polenta with Sausage and Mozarella

                 Chili Beans

  Spiced Molasses Pumpkin Bread

       Chicken Chile Soup

Apple Molasses Gingerbread Cake

       Mushroom Stroganoff

     The Best Clam Chowder!

              Pumpkin Pasta

      Circle B Kitchen Apple Crisp

           Enchilada Soup

         Homemade Apple Butter

Apple Butter Spice Cake with Rum Icing

      Creamy Artichoke Soup

    Apple Ginger Pudding Cake

Apple Crumble with Warm Custard Sauce

And just in case you were wondering...



Our oldest daughter, Erin, has been riding, training and showing horses since she was a teenager.  She graduated from Colorado St. University with a degree in Equine Science and is now Financial and Administrative Manager for HETRA (Heartland Equine Therapeutic Riding Association), which provides therapy through horseback riding for children and adults with disabilities such as cerebral palsy, spina bifida, muscular dystrophy, cystic fibrosis, brain tumors, head injuries, blindness, autism, and strokes.  For more information or to donate to this amazing cause, please visit http://www.hetra.org/ .



Entries in dessert (21)


Team Fig!

I was totally planning on posting a very different dish today, especially since I’ve been talking a lot about dessert lately, but it’s fig season, people!  And fig season isn’t going to hang around forever, so I thought it my culinary duty to remind you to grab some figs while they’re still with us and enjoy the heck out of them before it’s too late and you are forced to spend the next 6 months in an unbalanced state teetering between deprivation anxiety (that's a real thing) and wistful longing.  

As much as I love figs, I also realize that mine is not a universal experience.  There are those, like yours truly, who believe figs are one of the finest, tastiest and most delicious fruits that one can possibly find on this planet.  Then, there are the rest of the people. 

If you find yourself on team fig, then you’ll be with me (self-proclaimed team captain), enjoying delicious things such as this fig crostata that I just threw together one day because it was fig season and that’s the kind of thing that fig lovers do...we just find ways to work them into our life.  I must beg your indulgence, though, as I didn’t have my camera present when I made the crostata and took this photo with my phone.  Then, when it came time to actually finish the crostata for consumption, I didn’t have my phone handy to record how pretty each slice was, and consumption proceeded without documentation. But I will tell you that after slicing the crostata, each piece was topped with slightly sweetened-vanilla-laden, creamy mascarpone cheese and then drizzled with some lusciously thick balsamic syrup.  And I will also tell you that it was a mighty pretty sight, eclipsed only by it's figgy deliciousness.

Assuming that you’re a member of team fig, let’s talk about those luscious little globes of deliciousness.  If you’re lucky enough to have a tree in your yard or your neighbor’s yard or in your neighborhood, or somewhere within a 5-mile radius of your home, then you know that the very best way to enjoy a fig is plucked right fresh from the source.  We had a fig tree (well, kind’ve a shrub) in our back yard when I was little and this is where I had my first fig experience.  It was most definitely love at first bite.  Beyond that, the fig newton was pretty much our family mascot, and I’m fairly certain it was emblazoned on our family crest.  Those ubiquitous fig cookies were present at every family vacation, road trip, beach party, picnic and pantry raid.  There were just always fig newtons in my life, and to this day they hold an especially nostalgic and beloved place on my favorite cookie list.  But I digress.

You might notice that there aren’t a whole bunch of fig recipes on my blog and there’s a very good reason for that.  I prefer not to do a bunch of fussy stuff with figs.  The fanciest thing I’ve done is this bread pudding,

which, odd photo notwithstanding, is so amazingly delicious.  But if you’re a real fig lover, you also must try these (O-M-G!)...

figs dipped in chocolate and sprinkled with sea salt).  I can't even describe to you how good these are.  

And then there’s this fig jam, which is so good and so easy to make and will provide a bit of fig happiness long after fig season is over. 

So I absolutely and whole-heartedly encourage you to find yourself some fresh figs and dip em in chocolate, make some jam, bake em crostata-style, or simply find a team mate to share a bowl of them with you.  Before it's too late.  Sigh.


P.S.  Here are just a few of fig's best friends to inspire you into further fig enjoyment... goat cheese, blue cheese, any cheese, actually, chocolate, bacon, balsamic, ice cream, and of course, Newtons. 

Fresh Fig Crostata

Click here for a printable recipe

The beautiful thing about crostatas are that they do not require much fussiness.  They’re rustic, free-form and open to your creative whims and impulses.  Here’s how I made mine, but feel free to switch it up and make it your own.  

Enough pastry dough for a 9 or 10-inch pie crust (store bought or homemade)
6 or 7 fresh, ripe figs, sliced
2 tablespoons of raw or turbinado sugar
Balsamic vinegar syrup (recipe below)
Mascarpone cream (recipe below) 

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 

Place the parchment paper onto a flat surface and roll the pastry dough into a 10 or 12-inch circle (this doesn’t need to be exact as rustic looks best) on the parchment paper.  Transfer this to your baking sheet. 

Place the fig slices over the center of the dough, leaving a 1½ to 2 inch border.  Fold the edges of the dough over the figs.  Sprinkle the figs and the edges of the dough with the raw sugar and place in a preheated oven.  Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until the edges of the dough start to turn golden brown. 

Let cool briefly before slicing.  This can be served warm or at room temperature.  To serve, top each slice with a dollop of mascarpone cream and a drizzle of balsamic syrup. 

For the Balsamic Syrup:

In a small saucepan combine 1 cup of balsamic vinegar and ¼ cup sugar.  Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer.  Simmer until reduced by half or until thick and syrup-y.  Be careful to not let it get too thick as it will thicken further as it cools.  Another version of this that makes an incredibly delicious syrup is to cook down 1 cup of balsamic vinegar with 1 cup of port wine and 1/2 cup of sugar.  Let this simmer until thick and syrup-y.  It's divine.

For the Mascarpone Cream:

Combine 8 oz of softened (room temperature) mascarpone cheese with 2 teaspoons vanilla and ¼ cup of sugar.  Stir to combine thoroughly.  Add more sugar to taste.

 Click here to ask a question or leave a comment 


Snickerdoodle Peach Cobbler


A totally awesome thing happened here this week!  And that awesome thing is that we got to eat this incredibly delicious peach cobbler.  There were probably several awesome things that happened this week, but this is pretty much all I can think about.  And even with all of that hyperbole, it honestly almost feels like I'm understating how good this stuff is.  I hope that I will do it justice here and that you will rush out and get your hands on the last of this summer's fresh peaches and get it made.

Every summer here in Nebraska we get these beautiful, fresh, sweet, juicy peaches from Colorado and I buy em up as fast as I can.  I always make our favorite fresh peach cobbler round about the 4th of July, and we slice up peaches all summer long to put on our yogurt and granola at breakfast.  When I came across this recipe on Serious Eats, my heart sort of skipped a beat, and I swear, we had our spoons dipping into it that night.  I mean, snickerdoodles meet peach cobbler?  Are you kidding me?  Then that first bite...when The Husband finally was able to speak, he was just like, "This is maybe the best thing I've ever eaten."  I had to agree.

Now, that may or may not be true (the part about it being the very best thing we've ever eaten), but in that moment it just felt true.  Holy moley, let's start with the peaches which are sliced and marinated in this scrumptious bourbon-brown sugar mixture and then layered in the bottom of some ramekins.  I know, right?

Then on top of those beautiful peaches we're going to place what is basically a cinnamon-dusted ball of snickerdoodle cookie dough.  I mean, really.

THEN we're going to bake them and those peaches are going to get all bubbly and tasty and that snickerdoodle topping is going to get a little crunchy on the top and soft in the middle and all of those flavors are going to create something very, very special.

Then we're going to top it with some of our homemade (lower fat) vanilla ice cream and pretty much that's where words seem to vanish, so it's about all I can say.  I hope it's enough. Here's the recipe...

 Snickerdoodle Peach Cobbler

Click here for a printable recipe

Recipe adapted from Serious Eats

You would be hard pressed to find anything that tastes as good as this cobbler.  We were totally blown away by its deliciousness.  I used 4 peaches (instead of the 8 called for in the recipe), halving the macerating liquid as well, which perfectly fit into 6  1/2-cup ramekins.  But I made the full recipe of snickerdoodle topping and used the leftovers to make some little cookies.  So good!

For the Snickerdoodle Topping:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar 

For the Peaches:
8 ripe peaches
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon bourbon 

For the Sugar Coating
1/4 cup raw sugar (turbinado)
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Vanilla ice cream, for serving (here's our recipe)

For the Cookie Dough
In a stand mixer or with a handheld electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugars.  Beat in the egg and vanilla, then combine all the rest of the ingredients before beating into the dough at a low speed, finishing by hand to avoid overworking the dough.  Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

For the Peaches:  Peel the peaches and cut into quarters, then cut each quarter in two or three slices depending on size.  Toss to coat thoroughly with brown sugar, ginger and bourbon.  Set aside and allow to macerate for at least 30 minutes.

To Bake:  Set a rack in center of oven.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Evenly divide peaches among 10- 12 (1/2-cup) ramekins, adding macerating liquid equally to each one.  Roll lumps of cookie dough into balls slightly smaller than a golf ball.  Roll to coat thoroughly in cinnamon-sugar mix, and flatten slightly, placing each in center of a cobbler.

Bake for about 20 minutes, or until cookie is baked through, but still very soft and peaches release juice that bubbles around the edges.  Allow to cool slightly before serving, topped with ice cream.

Click here to ask a question or leave a comment


Homemade Orange Sherbet Redux

Soooooooo.  It’s been almost a whole month since we shared with you our homemade orange sherbet recipe, and perhaps you are now as hooked on the stuff as we are.  It honestly needs nothing added to it but a bowl and a spoon, but I just couldn’t leave it there, and have come up with two scrumptious desserts that you can make using that tasty sherbet. 

There is one thing you won’t need for either of these scrumptious desserts, which is an oven.  And there’s one thing you will need (in addition to the sherbet), and that’s some vanilla ice cream, preferably our homemade lower-fat vanilla bean ice cream.  I keep a container of both in the freezer at all times because they’ve become best friends in our house.  

So while you go and get those two things together, I’ll tell you about the first of our two very tasty desserts, pictured above… our 50-50 Creamsicle Ice Cream Sandwiches.  

In my Orange Sherbet post, I shared with you my childhood devotion to the creamsicle bar, which is basically an ice cream bar with both vanilla ice cream and orange sherbet… which I am still, lo these many years, rather partial to.  So, to pay homage to this totally awesome flavor combination, I came up with these ice cream sandwiches, which take that creamsicle theme to a whole new place. 

I started with these waffle cookies from Trader Joe's.  No worries if you don't have a Trader Joe's from which to procure these delectable little confections.  You can order them online, or find a suitable subtitute, as I think there are lots of different companies that make them.

Then the first thing we’re going to do is spread each of those cookies with a little Nutella. 

I know, we could just stop there, right?  Well, we’re not going to stop there.  No, we’re going to top half of those with vanilla ice cream and half of them with orange sherbet. 

Then we’re going to put them together and freeze them and try to wait just long enough for them to re-freeze.  Holy moly, people, these are so good. 

Our second creamsicle-themed dessert is an ice cream pie that is just sort of awe-inspiring, but so very simple to put together.  It starts with a crust made with chocolate cookies.  I used Trader Joe’s chocolate Kitty cookies, but any chocolate wafer cookie will do.  

Then we’re going to top that chocolate crust with some orange sherbet and after that’s spent a bit of time in the freezer, we’ll top it with some softened vanilla ice cream and then return it to the freezer.  When it’s all good and re-frozen, it’s ready to serve.  I topped it with some more of those cute little kitty cookies, but a nice drizzle of chocolate sauce and maybe some grated orange zest would be lovely as well. 

So there you have it folks, two memorably delicious desserts to keep you and your people happy in the remaining summer days ahead.  Here are the recipes…

50-50 Creamsicle Ice Cream Sandwiches

Click here for a printable recipe

These are some of the most delectable little ice cream sandwiches we've had the pleasure of meeting.  I used the waffle cookies from Trader Joe's to make them, but any waffle cookie or thin cookie will do.  If you don't have a Trader Joe's nearby, you can order these cookies online.  I used our homemade lower-fat vanilla ice cream and homemade orange herbet, but of course, store-bought will also work great.

You will need...

Waffle cookies (I used Trader Joe's)
Vanilla ice cream (here's my recipe), slightly softened
Orange Sherbet (here's my recipe), slightly softened

For each sandwich, you will need 2 waffle cookies.  Spread one side of each cookie with a thin layer of Nutella spread.  I placed these in the freezer for a bit before adding the ice cream.

Remove the cookies from the freezer and spread some of the vanilla ice cream on one and some of the orange sherbet on the other.  Place the two cookies together and return them to the freezer until they are completely frozen.

Once they are frozen, you can place them in a container or ziploc bag and keep them in the freezer for up to a month, which makes them a great make-ahead dessert.

Creamsicle Ice Cream Pie
This ice cream pie is ridiculously delicious for how easy it is to make.  I used Trader Joe's Chocolate Kitty cookies for the crust, but any chocolate wafer cookie will work for the crumbs.  I also used our homemade vanilla ice cream and homemade orange sherbet, but of course, store-bought would make this even easier.  I topped the pie with a scattering of Kitty Cookies, but it would be equally as good with a drizzle of chocolate sauce and a sprinkling of orange zest.

You will need...

For the Crust
1 1/2 cups of chocolate cookie crumbs
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup sugar

For the Pie
1 1/4 cups of orange sherbet (here's my recipe), softened
1 1/2 cups of vanilla ice cream (here's my recipe), softened

Spray a 9-inch pie plate with nonstick cooking spray

In a medium bowl, combine the cookie crumbs, the melted butter and sugar.  Using your fingers, press the crumbs into the prepared pie plate.

Spread the orange sherbet over the cookie crust, spreading evenly over the top.  Place the pie in the freezer for at least an hour.

Remove the pie from the freezer, spread the vanilla ice cream over the top of the orange sherbet and return the pie to the freezer.  Freeze for at least two hours before serving.  Top the pie with crumbled chocolate cookies or a drizzle of chocolate sauce and a sprinkling of orange zest.

 Click here to ask a question or leave a comment 


Homemade Orange Sherbet

Pardon me as I wax a bit nostalgic for a moment here, but for me, summertime in the ‘hood back in the 50’s and 60’s was just plain fun; the ‘hood being a middle class neighborhood in a suburb of L.A.  Our particular neighborhood was peopled with working class families with lots of post-war kids, and if you can even imagine it, not one electronic device other than our big ol’ radios and black and white TV’s.  Which meant that summer evenings were spent playing freeze tag and kick ball and waiting for the ice cream truck to make its way over to our street.  I’ve always been pretty up front about my age, but if this doesn’t make me sound old, I just don’t know what. 

But back then it was always a tough decision to have to choose between fudgsicles, popsicles, drumsticks, ice cream sandwiches, Eskimo Pies, and one of my personal favorites…the creamsicle or 50-50 bar, which was half vanilla ice cream and half orange sherbet.  I think I most often ended up with that 50-50 bar, and for years ever after, I’ve had an orange sherbet crush, made all the better if I can pair it up with some vanilla ice cream.  And which probably led to my total and complete addiction to the Orange Julius in high school. 

But here’s the thing… to me, orange sherbet just isn’t quite what it used to be.  It could be all the additives and artificial ingredients that get thrown into it nowadays, or it could just be a selective memory thing, or maybe it really was better back then.  Hard to say, but I decided it was high time I made some up just to see if I could replicate those sherbet flavors of my youth. 

But why isn’t it spelled sherbert?

I started with a recipe from my Cuisinart ice cream maker (very forgettable); moved on to one from Alton Brown (better, but still not quite there) and then landed on this one from Fine Cooking.  Score!!  Oh man, is this stuff good.  Super bright and orange-y, balanced with just the right amount of creaminess and the perfect sweet to tangy ratio, and in my humble opinion, maybe even better than my beloved childhood sherbet.  

We’re going to start with fresh oranges, which, of course, is what this sherbet is all about, although one time I swapped out a few of the fresh oranges for some fresh-squeezed, organic tangerine juice and it was amazing!! 

Then we’re going to zest up a few of those oranges and infuse this stuff with even more orangey-ness, which is what I think sends it right over the edge of sherbet mediocrity and into orange sherbet legend.  

Of course, you don’t have to dredge up some sappy childhood memories from the 50’s to get excited about orange sherbet.  It’s just pretty much one of those cold summertime treats that's ever so easy to love.  Here’s the recipe…

Homemade Orange Sherbet

Click here for a printable recipe

Recipe Courtesy Fine Cooking 

At the risk of setting your expectations impossibly high, I’m still going to say that this may be some of the best orange sherbet you’ll ever have the pleasure of meeting.  It’s bright and citrusy and creamy and sweet and tangy all at the same time and all of that is so perfectly balanced and just so good.  The only change I made to the recipe was to use half and half instead of cream.  We loved it, but if you’re game for using the cream, I can only imagine how even more creamy and wondrous it would be.  Please DO use fresh-squeezed orange juice.  From real, fresh oranges.  Mostly because of the fresh orange flavor, but also because you absolutely cannot skip the step where you steep the orange zest to make this even more awesomely orange.  Lovely stuff. 

10 medium navel oranges (about 5 lb.)
1 cup granulated sugar
1-1/2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup heavy cream (I used half and half) 

Finely grate enough zest from the oranges to yield 2 Tbs., and then squeeze the oranges to yield 3 cups juice. 

In a 2-quart saucepan, bring the zest, 1 cup of the juice, and the sugar to a simmer over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Strain though a fine sieve into a medium bowl, pressing on the zest; discard the zest. 

Strain the remaining orange juice and the lemon juice into the bowl, and then whisk in the heavy cream. Refrigerate until cold, about 2 hours. 

Churn the mixture in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions. Transfer the sherbet to an airtight container and freeze until firm, at least 4 hours.

Click here to ask a question or leave a comment


Blueberry Breakfast Cobbler

A sure sign that life has become just a bit too busy has to be the moment when getting sick seems something like a possible vacation.  None of us ever wish ourselves to be truly ill, but it seems I’ve contracted a chesty coughing virus that requires me to stop everything and rest.  Resting, and its distant cousin, relaxing, are a decidedly foreign concept in my life, so having it imposed upon me, is, dare I say it, a rather appealing prospect. 

And here’s the bonus… it’s fall and chilly and it just started raining and I can’t think of anything better right now than curling up with a cup of tea, a cozy blanket and a pile of food magazines and cookbooks that I’ve not had the time to peruse.  And being a bit under the weather affords me an excuse to do just that, minus the guilt that might normally accompany such behavior.  I know myself well enough to know that the minute I’m feeling even the slightest bit better I’ll be up and working my way down the chore list once again.  But for now, I get to indulge a bit and it’s kinda nice. 

And speaking of nice, how about some scrumptious blueberry breakfast cobbler?  (shameless seamless segue into today’s post)… 

Actually, this cobbler was way beyond just nice.  It was so awesome and so delicious and just so right and exactly what I was hoping for on the morning in question, in which I had blueberries and was wanting something like coffee cake but not really wanting anything sweet and cake-y.  I was looking for something a bit more rustic and earthy so I grabbed a blueberry coffee cake recipe, left out the eggs, did a little layering, and what resulted was exactly what I was hoping for…something more related to a cobbler (which I am choosing to call it); a bit biscuit-y but still moist and oh so very good.  This rarely happens when I’m in the kitchen first thing in the morning, which makes this cobbler all the more miraculous. 

And who doesn’t love cobbler for breakfast?   But if baking first thing in the a.m. isn’t your deal (it really isn’t mine either), this can be assembled the night (or day) before and baked off in the morning, which qualifies it for rock star cobbler status around here. 

In the meantime, it’s still raining.  I’m going to go make some chicken soup and then it’s back to the couch.  My chore list for the day says “rest”, and I’m feeling very productive.    

Update to the above which was written several days ago… I'm so over the whole resting thing.  I’ve had enough rest to last me for the next decade, and yet, curiously, am still enjoying the company of this virus which the doc assures me will be with me for a few more days yet.  To cheer myself up, I’m making a blueberry cobbler for breakfast.  Here’s the recipe…

Blueberry Breakfast Cobbler 

Click here for a printable recipe

This scrumptious breakfast treat is loaded with blueberry goodness and has a slightly crunchy top from the sprinkling of raw sugar.  The recipe calls for fresh blueberries, but if you all you have are frozen, no worries.  If you’re going to make this in the morning, place your frozen blueberries on a cookie sheet lined with double paper towels the night before.  They’ll be nicely thawed and ready to use in the morning, turning them out onto a dry paper towel to soak up any excess moisture.  And don’t forget to put the butter on the counter the night before too!  If you'd like to assemble the whole thing the night before.  Just get it all put together, stick it in the fridge and bake it off first thing.  If it's still chilled from the fridge, it only takes 5 minutes longer in the oven.

You will need 3 bowls (1 largish, 1 medium and 1 smallish) and a 9-inch baking dish

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter at room temperature
zest from 1 large lemon (optional, but yummy)
7/8 cup sugar
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
2 cups fresh blueberries (see headnote)
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk
1 tablespoon raw sugar for sprinkling on top 

Preheat the oven to 350º F 

Grease a 9” square baking dish 

1.  In the large-ish bowl, cream together the butter, lemon zest and sugar until light and fluffy.  Stir in the buttermilk. 

2.  Place the blueberries in the small-ish bowl.

3.  Place the 2 cups of flour in the medium bowl, and then remove 1 or 2 tablespoons of the flour and add it to the blueberries in the small-ish bowl and toss those together to coat the blueberries.  You can mix a tablespoon of sugar in with the blueberries if you'd like.

4.  Add the baking powder and salt to the flour in the medium bowl and whisk to combine. 

3.  Add the flour mixture into the butter mixture. Stir to combine.  The batter will be fairly stiff.

5.  Spread ½ of the batter into the prepared pan and then top that with the blueberries.  Using your fingers, place the rest of the batter on top, doing your best to cover the blueberries, but it’s OK if there are gaps. (If the dough seems too sticky, I dip my fingers in flour).  Sprinkle the top of the batter with the raw sugar.

Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until the top begins to brown ever so slightly (you don’t want the top to get very brown).  Let cool briefly before serving.  Note:  in my oven it takes 45 minutes to bake perfectly; 50 minutes if it's still a little chilled from the fridge.

Click here to ask a question or leave a comment