I don’t know about you, but when I bring a treat to work or a dish over to a potluck, I try to make something with that “wow” factor. Sure, it’s easy to make a fruit salad and call it a day, but the extra 30 minutes to bake a delicious crisp crust, whip up a batch of cream cheese frosting and arrange the perfect fruit design, brings it up a notch (or ten).
Growing up, my dad always quoted Emeril Lagasse when he spiced up simple boxed Kraft Macaroni and Cheese by adding oregano to “bring it up a notch.” Since then, I’ve been inspired to find ways to make even the simplest of recipes more impressive. What are some ways you try to “bring it up a notch” with your favorite recipes?
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup brown sugar, unpacked
1/4 cup melted unsalted butter
2 large egg whites
1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce
2 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup white chocolate chips
8 oz Neufchatel cheese, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 kiwis, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup blueberries
1/2 cup raspberries
1 peach, pitted and sliced
Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly spray a 9 x 13 inch non-stick baking pan with cooking spray.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt and cinnamon and stir to blend. In an electric mixer, whisk the sugars with the butter, egg whites, applesauce and vanilla until light and fluffy.
Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients in two additions until the batter is very well blended. Fold in the white chocolate chips.
Spread the batter onto the baking pan using your hands to smooth evenly. If batter sticks, spray cooking spray on your finger tips to reduce stickiness.
Bake 14 to 16 minutes, until the edges are golden and a toothpick inserted comes out clean. While the crust cools, in a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla until well-blended.
Spread the frosting in a thin, even layer over the surface of the crust, leaving a small margin around the edges. Layer the fresh fruit over the frosting. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.