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“Ice Cream”

17 Jan

It’s the new year and I know a lot of people are probably on a health kick to start the year off right.  However, I think that every good meal should end with some sort of dessert.  Unfortunately this philosophy can be challenging when I’m trying to be healthy, so I’ve had to get a little more creative.  Three of my favorite things to eat are peanut butter, bananas and honey.  I’ll often make myself a little sandwich with these ingredients.  And, at this restaurant in Dallas called Purple Cow, I like to order a peanut butter and banana milkshake.  Mmmmm…

Ok, I got sidetracked momentarily, but back to being healthy.  So, keeping with this banana, honey and peanut butter thing, I made some “ice cream”.  Here’s what you need:

  • 2 ripe bananas, frozen and cut into one-inch pieces
  • 1 teaspoon of honey (or more if you’re like me)
  • 1 tablespoon of peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons of milk

So, the one part of this recipe that stinks is that you have to plan ahead.  You have to cut your bananas up and put them in the freezer.  But, it’s so worth it, so just do it.  Then, when they’re nice and frozen throw them into your food processor:

Mix those around for a while until you get something that I think looks like Dippin’ Dots:

Don’t worry, I promise it will start to look like real ice cream soon.  Then, add the remaining ingredients:

Then, mix it around some more until you get something so deliciously rich and creamy you’ll swear you’re eating ice cream:

The great thing about this recipe, is that you can add anything you want.   Try some chocolate chips, or anything else that you like with your bananas.  Enjoy!

Chocolate Truffles

6 Dec

In addition to the mini apple pies,  I also made some truffles.  And, they were surprisingly easy.  Remember the first time you made chocolate covered strawberries after the countless times you bought them and paid a ridiculous amount, and you were thinking to yourself, “why the hell didn’t I do this a long time ago”?  Well, it’s kind of like that with truffles.  They are pretty easy, but super costly, so if you’re in the mood for truffles, just make them! 

Here’s what you need:

  • 1/3 cup cream
  • 14 ounces white chocolate, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 8 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 cup coconut, toasted and finely ground
  • 1/2 cup pecans
  • 1/4 cup confectioners sugar, sifted

Start with the white chocolate and cut it into pieces:

In one pot, warm the heavy cream over very low heat.  Then, in a double boiler, add the white chocolate.  Then, pour in the hot cream.

Whisk until all of the chocolate has melted.  Then, add the butter and whisk until the mixture is smooth.

Cover the ganache with plastic wrap.  Make sure to press the plastic wrap into the bowl right on top of the ganache to avoid developing a film.  Refrigerate the ganache for about 1 to 2 hours, just enough to be able to form it into balls.

Once it’s been in the fridge long enough it will look something like this:

 

Use a tablespoon or small scoop to measure even amounts of ganache into small balls. Or if you’re anything like me, just be happy you formed some sort of ball even though they are in no way uniform.  Put the balls on a parchment or silicone mat lined sheet tray. Refrigerate for 1 hour to firm up before the next step. 

While you’re waiting for everything to firm up, you can prepare the toppings (except the chocolate).  Put the coconut and pecans into little bowls to roll the truffles in.  Or, you can get creative and come up with other toppings too. Put the confectioners sugar in a sifter to sift over the tops of the chocolate. 

Once the little balls are firmed up and ready, cut up the chocolate and melt it in a double boiler.

Then, dip each ball in the melted chocolate (2 forks make it easier to fish out dipped chocolate balls). 

 

Set them down for just a little bit (like 20 seconds) and then  roll them around in the toppings.

Then put them on a wire rack over a parchment lined tray to dry.

So what do you think?

Mini Apple Pies

5 Dec

So, I was invited to a cookie exchange this past weekend.  Well, sometimes I’m not so great at following directions or maybe rules so I decided to make two desserts and neither of them was a cookie.  I thought the other people might appreciate some variety.  Anyway, the first one was mini apple pies.  I heard recently that the new dessert craze might be pies. Move over cupcakes! 

I cheated though and didn’t make my own crust.  For about $2 I was able to get 2 crusts right in the frozen section of my grocery store.  I know, I know, but whatever shortcuts I can get, I’ll take. 

I started out with the pre-made crust, some cookie cutters and some play-doh cutters.  I’m serious, they’re from my nieces play-doh set that I had at my house:

Since I was using things that belong to my nieces, I kept the theme going with the cup I chose to make the little circle pie crusts.

And, I cut out some pie crust tops with the little cookie cutters.  Here’s where things went a little off course.  Initially I wanted to use the play-doh stuff to make cute shapes in the top crust, well that turned into a big fat fail.  You can see in the top of the picture below that I tried cutting out a little star and it did not work.  So I abandoned that idea and just made cute flower shapes with the cookie cutters:

I put all the bottom crusts in my pie pan and started making the filling.  For the filling, I just used one granny smith apple.  I wasn’t making very many pies though, so if you make more than me, you’ll at least need two.  I peeled and cored them, and then cut them into small sticks:

What happened next was a bit of a blur.  I haven’t made pie in YEARS, but for some reason I thought I should just throw some stuff in the pan and do a few taste tests as I went along.  Luckily it actually worked out for me.  To the pan I added apples, cinnamon, butter, white wine and sugar.   And then for good measure I added some honey too.  Not really sure why, but it tasted good.

Once the apple concoction was soft enough, I started to spoon it into the little pie crusts:

Then, I put the tops on and put it into the oven.

I baked them for about 20 minutes at 350F.  Maybe longer though, I kept checking on them and they didn’t seem to be done, so then I’d add some more time. 

Mmmm….

I thought they tasted really yummy, and the crust to filling ratio was good.  The only thing I would change is the top of the pie crust. I wanted something cuter than what I ended up with, but for my first time trying mini pies, I think they turned out pretty good.

Thanksgiving

28 Nov

Wow, this is the second longest blogging break I’ve ever taken, beaten only by my honeymoon. 🙂 I had big plans for sharing all my recipes with you guys, but then I had too many things going on simultaneously so I did a really shitty job of documenting the process.  This means that you’ll get to see the recipes  in various stages of completeness.  However, I figure that no one is really looking for Thanksgiving recipes after the actual day, so it’s probably not a big deal. 

I tried out a few new recipes and some of them worked out well, and others were just ok.  I made a Cranberry Pomegranate sauce.  This was good, but I think I needed to let it cook a little longer because it wasn’t thick enough. 

And, I made some broccoli rice and cheese casserole.  This is my favorite, and it’s so ghetto.  The recipe involves cheese wiz.  And, yes, I probably could have updated it with some real cheese, but I’ve liked it for years, so why change it now?

And the sweet potatoes.  Mmmmm…with marshmallows.  Even better.  It’s just sweet potatoes, maple syrup and butter.  So simple and so delicious. 

I also did some appetizers.  I tried out some spinach and gruyere pinwheels made with puff pastry and some french onion soup stuffed mushrooms

Oh, and the pies.  I did pumpkin, my sister made pecan and chocolate and her fiance made a chess pie.  OMG, I couldn’t pick just one, so I had a sampler plate. 

Also, my brother made fun of me for decorating the table and actually complained about the “dirty acorn” I put on his napkin.  But, I still think it was worth it.  What do you think? 

Overall the weekend was great, we played some games, ate a lot of food, and to round out the weekend, we also found a dog and returned it to its owner.  (Yes, we actually found this dog running in the street and found the owners!) 

How was your Thanksgiving weekend?

Holiday Time

25 Oct

Guess who put on her big girl pants?  Um…me!  Why you ask?  Well, I’m going to host Thanksgiving at our house for the first time ever.   I’d mentioned this to my mom a couple of weeks ago, and I wasn’t sure if anyone was really going to take me up on this.  See, I live in Austin while my mom, brother, sister and nieces all live in Dallas.  Typically Sean and I make our way up there for each holiday event.  But, we are newlyweds with a semi-new house and I would love to be able to put some of my registry gifts to use by hosting things here.  Looks like I’m going to get my chance. 

My mom always does the turkey (and, I don’t eat it because I’m a vegetarian), but my favorite part has always been the sides.  One of my most favorite sides ever is Truffle Mac and Cheese.

Source

My favorite truffle mac and cheese recipe is this one by Ina Garten.  Only, I can’t ever find truffle butter, so I substitute truffle oil. 

I also love broccoli, rice and cheese casserole.

Source

Um…clearly I’m going to need a little more than cheese and then more cheese.  Luckily, my Real Simple magazine and Martha Stewart Food magazine had a lot of great ideas this month including a killer mashed potato recipe and at least 8 different ways to do stuffing.  Yum.  What are your favorite recipes?  And, any tips for a first time Thanksgiving host?

Pumpkin recipes

13 Oct

Sorry about jumping between holidays, but I wasn’t done with October and all things pumpkin yet.  I get so excited when the pumpkin spice latte comes back to Starbucks, and I basically love any pumpkin dessert.  Here are some delicious ones for you to try this fall from Better Homes and Gardens (there are 31 others if these don’t sound good to you).

Pumpkin Spice Creme Brulee

Ingredients

  • 2 cups  whipping cream (no substitutes)
  • 3 egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup  sugar
  • 1/2 cup  canned pumpkin
  • 1 teaspoon  ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon  ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon  salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon  ground cloves
  • 10 baby pumpkins*
  • 1/4 cup  sugar

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a small saucepan, heat whipping cream over medium heat just until bubbly. Remove from heat; set aside.

2. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine egg yolks, eggs, the 1/2 cup sugar, pumpkin, cinnamon, ginger, salt, and cloves. Beat with a whisk or rotary beater just until combined. Slowly whisk the hot whipping cream into the egg mixture.

3. Use a small serrated knife to cut off the top 1/2-inch of the baby pumpkins. Discard the tops. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds.

4. Place the pumpkins in a roasting pan. Divide custard mixture evenly among the pumpkins. Place roasting pan on oven rack. Pour enough boiling water into the roasting pan to reach halfway up the sides of the pumpkins.

5. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until centers appear nearly set when gently shaken. Carefully remove pan from oven. Remove pumpkins from water; cool on a wire rack. Cover and chill for at least 1 hour or up to 8 hours.

6. Before serving, let custards stand at room temperature for 20 minutes. **Meanwhile, for caramelized sugar: in a heavy 8-inch skillet, heat the 1/4 cup sugar over medium-high heat until sugar begins to melt, shaking skillet occasionally to heat sugar evenly. Do not stir. Once sugar starts to melt, reduce heat to low; cook 3 to 5 minutes more or until all of the sugar is melted and golden brown, stirring as needed with a wooden spoon.

7. Quickly drizzle caramelized sugar over the custards. (If sugar starts to harden in the skillet, return to heat, stirring until melted.) Serve immediately. Makes 10 filled pumpkins or 6 custard cups.

* Instead of the pumpkins, you can use six 3/4-cup souffle dishes or 6-ounce custard cups. Place the souffle dishes or custard cups in a 13x9x2-inch baking pan.

**Culinary Torch Method: Instead of caramelizing the sugar in the skillet as directed in steps 6 and 7, sprinkle sugar evenly over custards. Use a culinary torch to caramelize the sugar.

Sour Cream Pumpkin Bars

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup  butter, softened
  • 1-1/3 cups  sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons  baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon  baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon  salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup  canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup  dairy sour cream
  • 1/4 cup  milk
  • 1 teaspoon  vanilla
  • 1-1/2 cups  all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup  whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup  chopped walnuts or pecans
  • Browned Butter Frosting (recipe follows)
  • Chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)

Directions

1. Grease a 15x10x1-inch baking pan; set aside.

2. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter with an electric mixer for 30 seconds. Beat in sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt until combined. Add eggs, pumpkin, sour cream, milk, and vanilla; beat until combined. Add all-purpose and whole wheat flours; beat until combined. Stir in 1 cup nuts.

3. Spread mixture evenly into prepared baking pan. Bake in a 350 degrees F oven about 25 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack.

4. Prepare Browned Butter Frosting; spread over cooled bars. If you like, sprinkle with additional nuts. Cut into bars. Makes 48 bars.

Browned Butter Frosting: In a small saucepan, heat 1/2 cup butter over medium-low heat until melted. Continue heating until the butter turns a light brown. Remove from heat and transfer butter to a medium mixing bowl. Add 3 cups powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons milk and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer until combined. Beat in additional milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, to make a spreadable frosting. Use immediately. Makes about 1 cup.

Pumpkin Fudge

Ingredients

  • 3 cups  sugar
  • 3/4 cup  butter
  • 1 5-ounce can  evaporated milk
  • 1/2 cup  canned pumpkin
  • 1 10-ounce package  cinnamon-flavored pieces
  • 1 7-ounce jar  marshmallow creme
  • 3/4 cup  chopped walnuts, toasted

Directions

1. Line a 13x9x2-inch baking pan with foil, extending foil over edges of pan. Butter foil; set pan aside.

2. In a 3-quart heavy saucepan combine sugar, butter, evaporated milk, and pumpkin. Cook and stir over medium-high heat until mixture boils. Clip a candy thermometer to side of pan. Reduce heat to medium-low; continue boiling at a moderate, steady rate, stirring frequently, until thermometer registers 234 degrees F, soft-ball stage (20 to 25 minutes). (Adjust heat as necessary to maintain a steady boil.)

3. Remove saucepan from heat; remove thermometer from saucepan. Stir in cinnamon-flavored pieces until melted. Stir in marshmallow creme and walnuts.

4. Immediately spread fudge evenly in prepared pan. Score into squares while warm. Let fudge cool to room temperature. When fudge is firm, use foil to lift it out of pan. Cut into squares. Cover tightly and chill for up to 1 week. Do not freeze. Makes about 96 pieces.

Pumpkin Spice Whoopie Pies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup  canned pumpkin
  • 1/3 cup  butter, softened
  • 1 package 2-layer-size  spice cake mix
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup  milk
  • 1 recipe  Marshmallow-Spice Filling (see recipe below)

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 375 degree F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or foil (grease foil, if using). In a large mixing bowl beat pumpkin and butter with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Add cake mix, eggs, and milk; beat on low speed until combined, and then on medium speed for 1 minute.

2. By the heaping tablespoon, drop mounds of batter 3 inches apart on cookie sheet; keep remaining batter chilled. Bake 15 minutes or until set and lightly browned around edges. Carefully remove from parchment or foil; cool on wire rack. Repeat with remaining batter, lining cooled cookie sheets each time with new parchment or foil. If desired, place cookies in a covered storage container with waxed paper between layers to prevent sticking. Store cookies at room temperature for 24 hours. Prepare Marshmallow-Spice Filling up to 2 hours before serving. Spread about 2-1/2 tablespoons filling on flat side of one cookie; top with a second cookie. Repeat. Serve immediately or cover and chill up to 2 hours. Makes 15 whoopies.

Marshmallow-Spice Filling: Up to 2 hours before serving, beat together 1/2 cup softened butter and one 8-ounce package softened cream cheese until smooth. Add 2 cups sifted powdered sugar, 1/2 of a 7-ounce jar marshmallow cream, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and 1/2 teaspoon each ground cinnamon and nutmeg. Beat until well combined.

Enjoy!

Cupcakes!!

29 Aug

I’m getting ready to host a shower in Minneapolis over Labor Day weekend and my mind is drifting to all things sweet in preparation for the dessert table.  Well, I found the best site with the most amazing cupcake recipes.  Ming Makes Cupcakes, I heart you.  Want a sample of what her recipes look like?

And, not to be overlooked, cookies and other delectable treats are also featured on the blog, like this

I especially love the fall-inspired flavors.  Yum.