Follow Me on Pinterest

Monday, July 30, 2012

Whip it good

Happy Monday! Did you survive the day? Today I want to talk about the "cherry on top," if you will. That is, homemade whipped cream. You need to start with a good base, know when to stop, and then add fun flavors! I've seen it done so many ways, with so many twists, but here is a basic recipe to get you started and a few extras to make it fun.

Whipped Cream

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream, chilled
  • 2 T confectioners' sugar
  • 1-2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  1. Whip all ingredients together using whip (whisk) attachment of your mixer. 
  2. Stop mixer when you've reached firm peaks. This means when you lift the beaters, the cream forms a strong triangle at the tip of the beater. If it's too loose, the cream won't hold it's shape. 
  3. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Fun Variations:
  • Add 3 T coffee liqueur, dark rum, bourbon, or framboise, and use 1 tsp vanilla
  • Add 3 T lemon or almond extract, and use 1 tsp vanilla
Happy baking!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Olympic excitement!

Happy Friday everyone! It's Olympic day, which excites me like crazy! I am a summer Olympics fan. In honor of my favorite sporting event, I've been trying to think like an athlete. If I were to eat a dessert (they do on occasion!), what would I want? Since it's summer time it needs to be something light, easy, and seasonally appropriate. Since we don't eat desserts for health reasons, why deprive yourself a delicious treat? Just make it bite-sized! Tarts are a great idea for a summery, Olympic-friendly dessert, because they're small and can be loaded up with fresh berries and fruits! Recreate your own Olympic rings using the different colors of fruits. Tart recipes are also super easy, just look for a tartlet baking sheet  or mini tart pans with removable bottoms. Pick your favorite pastry dough recipe, an quick custardy filling, and use your sharpened knives (see the last post!) and slice fruit. Lay it on top of your mini tarts and you have a fabulously fun Olympic dessert! Happy baking!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The perfect slice

Happy Wednesday! Cooking isn't the only time for sharp knives; we pastry chefs need to keep our knives sharp as well. When you cook or bake often, the edges of your knives become dull, which makes it harder to perform concise slices. As a result, a gorgeous fruit pie will have chunks of peaches instead of wedges; a beautiful tart will have strawberry mush instead of get the idea. The amount of times you will need to sharpen your knives every year will depend on how often you use them. Obviously the more use, the more sharpening.

Once you know that you need to sharpen your knives but don't want to depend on taking it to a professional constantly, you should consider investing in your own sharpener. Many knife blocks come with a honing steel, which looks like a long rounded steel stick with a handle. To use one, you should angle the knife and carefully brush it against the side of the steel in a downward motion. If this seems too tricky, but you're still not ready to commit to an automatic tool, check out the hand-held sharpeners (like Wusthof). With the knife in one hand and the sharpener in the other, you carefully pull it across the steel to sharpen the blade. Do it on a cutting board to keep your counters safe! The hand-held is easy and efficient for a quick sharpening at home.

For a more complete list of sharpening options, check out Williams-Sonoma or your favorite kitchen store. Happy baking!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Challenge your flavor profiles!

Hello dear readers, I'm back! Thank you for being patient. Apparently after you get married it's not easy to pick back up on the things at home. So in case you were curious, my wedding cake choice was a delicious lemon cake made by a fabulous former White House pastry chef...she is AMAZING! I have been very much in the "citrusy" mood! As a tribute to that, I've found an interesting recipe that combines a delicious citrus with a very unique twist - cinnamon. Leave it to Jacques Pepin to make it happen!

Cinnamon-Lemon Pound Cake
by Jacques Pepin


  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 2 sticks (8 ounces) plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest (from 3 to 4 large lemons)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 5 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 cup milk
  1. Preheat the oven to 325°. Generously butter a 9-by-2 1/2-inch springform pan. Press the almonds evenly over the base and sides of the pan.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the butter, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice and cinnamon and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time.
  3. Sift together the cake flour and baking powder. Stir one-third of the milk into the batter, then add one-third of the flour. Repeat twice more, stirring just until the ingredients are incorporated and the batter is smooth; do not overmix.
  4. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 1 hour and 25 minutes, or until the cake is well browned and a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool on a rack for 20 minutes before unmolding. Serve the cake upside down to show the almond crust.

Happy baking!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Insert wedding march here...

Hello faithful readers! I hope you're enjoying the sunny day (or enjoying the weather wherever you are!). I just wanted to reach out to let you know that I will be away this week...I'm getting married this weekend! See you next week!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Steamy July

Happy fourth of July! I hope you're all trying out some fabulous dessert recipes! Keep cool!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Ice cream on the 4th!

Hello everyone! Happy Tuesday! I hope you're having a lovely morning. Here's your fourth of July recipe for today. I have always looooooved caramel, especially in ice cream, since I was a little kid! Sitting under a delicious hot fudge sundae, slowly melting into blending into a rich fudgey, sweet, chilly soup...what could be better? Here's a recipe that's sure to cool you down on a hot holiday:

Dulce de Leche Ice Cream Sundaes
Bon Appetit March 2005
Serves 8

Chocolate sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups whipping cream
  • 10 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
2 pints dulce de leche ice cream

For chocolate sauce:
Bring cream to simmer in medium saucepan. Remove from heat. Add chocolate. Whisk until smooth.
For streusel:
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Mix all ingredients in bowl.
2. Rub together with fingertips until small clumps form. Spread on rimmed baking sheet.
3. Bake until golden, stirring occasionally, about 18 minutes. Cool streusel on sheet.
For blondies:
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 8x8x2-inch metal baking pan. Using electric mixer, beat butter and both sugars in bowl to blend.
2. Beat in egg, then vanilla.
3. Sift flour, baking soda, and salt over; beat just until combined. Stir in chocolate chips.
4. Spread batter in pan. Bake until golden around edges and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 23 minutes. Cool in pan on rack.
Cut blondies into 1-inch squares. Arrange 5 squares in bottom of each dish. Rewarm sauce; spoon over. Top with ice cream, more sauce, then streusel.

Happy baking!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Fourth of July tip of the day!

Happy Monday dear readers! How are you holding up post-storms? I hope everyone is okay! I have a tip for you today in order to bring sophistication and fun to your 4th of July picnics. Nothing says Americana like red, white, and blue, so why not try your hand at a no-bake cake (see some of my earlier posts for recipes) and decorate it with delicious fruit? Strawberries and raspberries, blueberries, and a cool whipped topping make your dessert presentation the star of the show. The often-done idea is to create an American flag on top of your cake, using the berries and cream, HOWEVER, why not add a level of elegance by decorating your cake with fruit, but in a unique pattern? Perhaps beautifully patterened stripes of raspberries and blueberries, or circles or swirls, also patterened to perfection? Use your imagination and don't be afraid to make it look different. It'll be beautiful and delicious because it comes from YOU. Happy baking!