I’m super excited to announce that I have completed a video series on cookie decorating/making. The series is on ehow.com and above is a video on how to make sugar cookies with a jelly center. Thanks for watching!
Okay okay, I know that ombre is the big thing right now but I really couldn’t resist. I mean, how delightful is cake with pink, blush and ivory roses piped on the outside? So sweetly romantic and darn easy too. All you need (besides the obvious) is a large icing star tip, and icing bag (see my video on how fill an icing bag mess free!) and some food coloring. The trick with the icing is to make the consistency firm enough that the icing keeps its shape but not so firm that you can’t get it out. (So with your basic buttercream icing recipe, keep milk and powdered sugar on hand for firming or loosening the icing). And the trick with food color is to use ONE DROP at a time until you get the desired color. More than one or two drops of red food coloring in white icing can create a barbie pink VERY quickly. (I like slightly more subtle colors myself). Below are few more specifics on how to get started. Enjoy!
Things you Need:
Baked Round Cakes filled with either buttercream or a filling of your choice. (The size and amount of layers is up to you. I use the Better Homes & Garden’s Yellow Cake Recipe myself…)
Buttercream Frosting (I always refer to Savory Sweet Life’s Recipe. This won’t be enough so make more than you think you need for the size cake!)
Red Food Color
Large Star Icing Tip (and a small one as well to fill in gaps)
Divide your frosting into three parts and color with food coloring until you’ve reached your desired look. (Make SURE before you color the frosting that you have enough! Its almost impossible to get the color exactly the same if you run out….) Cut the end off your icing bag and put in your large star tip until bag is tight around the edges of the tip. Make sure that no icing can get out. Take a large piece of saran wrap and lay it flat on the counter. Spoon in as much frostings (from the color you want to use for the top) as will fit while leaving enough room to wrap up like a sausage. Wrap saran wrap around the frosting and twist the ends until tight. Cut off one end of the saran wrap and put the cut end into the icing bag first (so the icing can get out and through the star tip). Twist the top of the icing bag until there is enough tension to pip the icing out.
With a circular motion make a rose in the very center of the cake. Continue making roses evenly until you reach the point where you want to switch to the next color. Continue with the next color and switch again when necessary.
On a cool winter’s night there is nothing better than a steamy cup of chamomile tea right before bed. But what about in the summertime when its hot!? Chamomile ice cream is the answer to that questions. Its been so hot around here lately (well, in Santa Barbara hot means anything above 75 degree’s) and a frosty bowl of relaxing ice cream is just the ticket. If you haven’t tried chamomile tea I highly recommend it. Its know for its soothing qualities and is the reason I drink it before bed. It has a sort of flower meets dried field sort of taste. Like if you stood in the middle of a dry grassy field and opened your mouth when its windy… Well maybe not exactly like that but you get the idea. Anyway, this recipe was modified from a Lavender Honey ice cream recipe by Kevin Weeks that I found online. (The lavender version is amazing too!) Enjoy!
- 1 cup half and half
- 2 tbsp. agave syrup (or honey)
- 1/8 tsp. salt
- 4 chamomile tea bags
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 4 lg. egg yolks
1. Heat half and half, agave syrup, chamomile, salt and 1 cup of the heavy cream in a sauce pan over medium heat until mixture begins to bubble and an instant-read thermometer reads 170 – 175 degrees F.
2. Remove from heat, cover, and allow to steep for 30 minutes. Strain mixture into a medium bowl and discard chamomile.
3. Return cream mixture to sauce pan over medium heat and warm to 170 degrees. Stir in sugar until dissolved.
4. Whip egg yolks in a small bowl then whisk in 1/2 of cream mixture. Whisk egg mixture back into sauce pan and return to medium heat.
5. Cook, stirring steadily until mixture coats the back of a spoon and a finger drawn through the back of the spoon leaves a trail and mixture registers 170 – 175 degrees F. Do not boil.
6. Strain mixture into a medium bowl in large bowl surrounded by ice.
7. Stir in remaining cream, add water to ice, and cool until ice melts then cover bowl and refrigerate for at least three hours until cold.
8. Freeze mixture in ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s directions then scoop into an airtight container and put in freezer to harden.
I feel like this dessert needs no explanation. Just read the title. Mint.Milano.Log. Yep, I want that.
Who has seen the Jim Gaffigan comedy sketch where he talks about undressing a mint milano cookie? “Hey there cookie, let me help you with that mint milano pack….let me help you get out of that wrapper and into something a little more comfortable.” He cracks me up….
ANYWAY. This recipe is so easy I almost don’t need to write it out. Just look at the photos! But seriously, this is easy, delicious and just fun. Its a version of a peppermint whipped cream log my Mom often makes at Christmas. Her recipe has chocolate wafers, whipped cream and crushed candy canes. So the difference here is that I substituted mint milano cookies for the chocolate wafers and andes mints for the peppermint. Voila! When I was growing up, mint milano cookies were my parents little treat many nights while they watched Nick at Nite. I remember trying to make sure I could snag a cookie as they went fast due to my Dad’s cookie monster like techniques. And my sister Sarah and I were major Andes mints fans. When we were kids we’d walk to the drug store and buy them all the time. Its not really a kid type of candy but what can I say? We had mature taste. If we were in a mischievous mood we’d fold up an empty Andes Mint wrapper to look like it had something in it and give it to each other as a trick. We had a BFF/Frenemy type relationship as kids…! ;) This nostalgic hodge podge makes for a great dessert though. Enjoy!
Whipping cream in a mixer is soooo easy…
My beloved Andes mints
Layers of whipped cream in between the cookies
Making the “log”
Sprinkle the top with crushed Andes Mints.
2 packages mint milano cookies
16 oz whipping cream
1 teaspoon mint flavoring
1 package andes mints
Whip up the whipping cream using 2 tablespoons of sugar. Add mint flavoring. Taste and add more mint if you like.
To make the log, take four cookies and spread a dollop of whipped cream in between them sandwiching them together. When done with one row, start on the next. You should have four cookies wide and four row long approximately. It also depends on the size of your platter. After your done, spread a thick coating of whipped cream around the entire log. Sprinkle with the crushed Andes Mints. Refrigerate overnight. Serve and enjoy!
(Sorry, didn’t mean to be giving the finger in this shot. You get the idea…)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons butter cut into small cubes
2 3/4 Cups Flour
½ Tbs Salt
4 Tbs cold unsalted butter cut into pieces
1 Cup Shortening
½ Cup Ice Water
Mix the flour and salt together in a large bowl. Add the butter and using your fingers cut in into the flour until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Break up the shortening an add it in little bits and cut it into mixture with your hands. Continue working the mixture until it has small clumps and curds. Switch to a wooden spoon and add the ice water, stirring to incorporate it. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and fold it over on its self a few times. Wrap dough in plastic and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or for as long as 5 days.
In the meantime, fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Add peaches and allow to boil for several minutes until peel come off easily. The peaches will be VERY hot so use tongs as you put them into an ice bath. Remove peel and pits. Take all peaches and put onto a large cutting board and cut into slices. Put peaches into a large mixing bowl.
Meanwhile, combine flour, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a separate bowl. Mix together thoroughly. Pour mixture onto peaches and stir enough to combine but don’t over do it. Set aside
Take chilled pie dough out of refrigerator and lay out on floured work surface. Separate into two equal amounts. Roll out the first portion of dough and transfer to a glass pie plate. If the pie crust isn’t even on all sides then use excess dough to fill in open spots. Beat an egg and brush onto the bottom of the pie to make sure the filling doesn’t stick. Pour pie filling into crust. Dot with butter. Roll out second portion of dough and transfer to the top of the pie. Cut sides of the pie so their is ½ inch around and with your fingers crimp the edges. Brush the top with more egg wash for browning.
Bake for 45-60 minutes until golden brown and bubbling around edges. If the edges of the pie start over browning and the top still has a ways to go then cover with a piece of aluminum foil with a hole cut out of the center. This way the middle of the pie continues to brown while the edge stay the same. HERE is a little explanation if my directions aren’t clear… Take out of oven and let cool. Enjoy!
Graduation season is coming up! These little Cap n’ Gown treats are easy to make and super impressive looking which makes it a win-win dessert. And since my brother graduated from UCLA and is now going to Harvard for graduate school I want to be sure to really impress him… I’m sure this will do the trick. haha!
Hostess Mini Chocolate Donuts
Ghiradelli Chocolate Squares (individually wrapped)
Red Twizzlers (unraveled and cut in one inch pieces)
Buttercream Frosting (reserve a small amount and dye red. Put it into a piping bag affixed with a small round tip)
Direction for Assembling:
Take a donut and spread a small amount of buttercream frosting on the top. Place a chocolate square over the buttercream. Place a twizzler and secure it onto the middle of the cap by piping a dot of red icing over it. Repeat with remaining ingredients.
I got this orange marmalade recipe from Ina Garten who got it from her friend Anna (go figure!) This recipe is so good that I gave some to my landlord and he loved it so much that he dropped a heavy hint that he was running low so I made him more. Enjoy!
4 large seedless oranges
8 cups sugar
Cut the oranges and lemons in half crosswise, then into very thin half-moon slices. (If you have a mandoline, this will be quite fast.) Discard any seeds. Place the sliced fruit and their juices into a stainless-steel pot. Add 8 cups water and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring often. Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar until it dissolves. Cover and allow to stand overnight at room temperature.
The next day, bring the mixture back to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer uncovered for about 2 hours. Turn the heat up to medium and boil gently, stirring often, for another 30 minutes. Skim off any foam that forms on the top. Cook the marmalade until it reaches 220 degrees F on a candy thermometer. If you want to be doubly sure it’s ready, place a small amount on a plate and refrigerate it until it’s cool but not cold. If it’s firm — neither runny nor too hard — it’s done. It will be a golden orange color. (If the marmalade is runny, continue cooking it and if it’s too hard, add more water.)
Pour the marmalade into clean, hot Mason jars; wipe the rims thoroughly with a clean damp paper towel, and seal with the lids. Store in the pantry for up to a year.
I came up with so many inappropriate one liners for this dessert but I thought of my daughter digging this up years down the road and decided to omit them. So you’ll just have to ask me personally when you see me next…
I have to say that this dessert is truly unbelievably and its only 3 ingredients! Its a bit messy but definitely worth it. I made these for movie night with our friends and they were gone in two seconds flat. If you make these for a special event you’ll have to be slapping your husband (or wife’s) hand because they’ll be trying to sneak them out of the fridge. Enjoy!
1 pint raspberries
1 bag semi sweet chocolate chips
1 small 8 inch pre made plain cheesecake from the store
Take the cheesecake out of its container and place in a mixing bowl. Mash cheesecake with a fork until crust and cheesecake is just mixed. Take one raspberry and cover with cheesecake mixture. Roll between your hands until a smooth ball. Set on a cookie sheet. Repeat. When you are done place the cheesecake balls in the fridge for 30 minutes to firm them up for dipping in chocolate.
After 30 minutes, empty chocolate chips in a microwavable bowl and microwave on high for 30 seconds. Remove and mix. Continue to microwave for 30 second intervals (mixing in-between) until the chocolate is just melted.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment or wax paper. Using a fork, lower a cheesecake ball into the chocolate and then turn once gently to cover the opposite side. Take out the cheesecake and place on parchment. Repeat until all the balls are covered in chocolate. Let stand at room temperature until cool. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.