Follow Me on Pinterest

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Lip-Smacking Cookie Sandwiches

Happy Thursday! I've got a sweet recipe on a savory day today! Remember the days of hot summers, splashing at the pool, and enjoying a deliciously melty chipwich? Well today I'm bringing you some updates on that old standby. Here are a few ice cream sandwiches to make you sigh with pure joy!

Updates on old-fashioned flavors...
Oatmeal Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches
Rachel Soszynski

  • 1 1/2 cups sliced almonds
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 cups dried cranberries
  • 3/4 pound bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, cut into 1/3-inch pieces
  • 4 pints vanilla ice cream, softened slightly
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Line two 11-by-17-inch jelly roll pans with foil paper, leaving 2-inches of overhang on the short sides of the pan. Spread the almonds in a cake pan and bake for about 5 minutes, until fragrant and lightly browned. Transfer the almond to a bowl.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk the flour with the baking soda and salt. In the bowl of a standing electric mixer, cream the butter. Add granulated sugar and brown sugar and beat at medium high speed until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg until blended, then beat in the vanilla. At low speed, beat in the dry ingredients. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the toasted almonds, oats, cranberries and chocolate.
  3. Scrape the cookie dough onto the prepared pans and pat it out into an even layer. Bake the cookies for about 15 minutes, until light brown around the edge. Transfer to a rack and let cool completely.
  4. Turn the cookies out and peel off the paper. Spread the ice cream evenly over one of the cookies and top with the second cookie. Cover with foil and freeze until firm, at least 6 hours
  5. Using a very sharp knife, cut the cookie into 24 sandwiches. Serve immediately, or return them to the freezer until serving time.
MAKE AHEAD The ice cream sandwiches can be frozen for up to 1 week.

Awesomely funky flavors from a fantastic chef...
Hazelnut, Nutella, and Caramel Ice Cream Sandwiches
Alain Ducasse

  • 1 cup hazelnuts (4 ounces)
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 4 large egg whites
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 ounces white chocolate, chopped
  • 1 cup Nutella
  • 6 sugar ice cream cones, crushed
  • 1 pint caramel ice cream, softened
  1. Preheat the oven to 375° and line a baking sheet with parchment. Spread the nuts in a pie plate and roast for 12 minutes, until the skins split. Transfer the nuts to a clean kitchen towel and let cool. Rub them together to remove the skins and transfer to a food processor. Add the confectioners' sugar and flour; process until the nuts are finely ground.
  2. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites with the salt at high speed until soft peaks form. Beat in the granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the whites are stiff. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the ground nuts. Spread the batter on the parchment in a 9-by-12-inch rectangle. Bake for 20 minutes, until golden. Prop the oven door open and let the dacquoise sit for 1 hour.
  3. Meanwhile, in a microwave-safe bowl, melt the white chocolate in the microwave at high power in 1-minute intervals. Stir in the Nutella and crushed ice cream cones.
  4. Invert the dacquoise onto a surface and peel off the paper. Spread evenly with the Nutella filling. Cut the dacquoise in half to make two 9-by-6-inch rectangles. Freeze until the filling is set. Spread the ice cream over one half. Close the sandwich and freeze until firm, at least 4 hours. Slice and serve.

Not the usual suspects...
Chocolate Macaroon Ice Cream Sandwiches
Bon Appetit, September 1996

Ice Cream
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 4 cups whipping cream
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 2 2/3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups almonds (about 6 ounces)
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 4 large egg whites
For Ice Cream:
  1. Stir 1 1/4 cups sugar and water in heavy medium saucepan over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat and boil without stirring until deep amber color, brushing down sides of pan with wet pastry brush and swirling pan occasionally, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Gradually add 2 cups cream. Return to low heat. Stir until caramel is smooth.
  2. Whisk yolk and 1/4 cup sugar in large bowl until very thick and pale, about 2 minutes. Combine 2 cups cream and milk in heavy large saucepan. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean; add bean. Bring to boil. Gradually whisk into yolk mixture. Return to pan and stir over medium heat until custard thickens and coats spoon, about 4 minutes (do not boil). Remove from heat. Mix in caramel. Strain into bowl. Chill until cold, stirring often.
  3. Freeze custard in ice cream maker. Transfer ice cream to bowl; freeze overnight or up to 3 days.
For Macaroons:
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment. Finely grind 1 cup powdered sugar and almonds in processor. Transfer to large bowl. Mix in 1 2/3 cups powdered sugar and cocoa. Beat egg whites in medium bowl until soft peaks form. Fold into nut mixture in 2 additions.
  2. Spoon batter into large pastry bag fitted with 1/2-inch plain tip. Pipe onto prepared sheets in 1 1/2-inch rounds, spacing apart. (Batter will spread to about 2- to 3-inch rounds).
  3. Bake macaroons until puffed and dry-looking on top, about 12 minutes. Cool on sheets on racks. Using spatula, transfer macaroons to work surface.
  4. Spoon 1/4 cup ice cream onto flat side of each of 5 macaroons. Top each with flat side of another macaroon; press lightly. Place sandwiches on baking sheets; cover and freeze. (Can be made 1 day ahead.)

Happy baking!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Pizza Partaaaaay!

Happy Wednesday! I couldn't post my savory dish last night because I didn't actually eat until after 10, so I'm posting now! Last night I made one of my favorite white pizzas, courtesy of Ina Garten's Back to Basics (it's the cookbook with the green cover). She gives the reader a very quick pizza dough recipe (usually dough takes a few hours...this one takes half an hour!) and a really unique set of toppings. So try this recipe or grab your favorite pizza dough and let's go!

White Pizzas with Arugula
Ina Garten

For the pizza
  • 1 1/4 cups warm water (100 to 110 degrees)
  • 2 packages dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • Good olive oil
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for kneading
  • Kosher salt
  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 5 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cups grated Italian Fontina cheese (8 ounces)
  • 1 1/2 cups grated fresh mozzarella (7 ounces)
  • 11 ounces creamy goat cheese such as Montrachet, crumbled
For the salad
  • 1/2 cup good olive oil
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 8 ounces baby arugula
  1. For the dough, combine the water, yeast, honey, and 3 tablespoons olive oil in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. When the yeast is dissolved, add 3 cups of the flour, then 2 teaspoons salt, and mix on medium-low speed. While mixing, add up to 1 more cup of flour, or just enough to make a soft dough. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes until smooth, sprinkling it with the flour as necessary to keep it from sticking to the bowl. When the dough is ready, turn it out onto a floured board and knead it by hand a dozen times. It should be smooth and elastic. Place the dough in a well-oiled bowl and turn it to cover it lightly with oil. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and allow the dough to rise at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, make the garlic oil. Place 1/2 cup olive oil, the garlic, thyme, and red pepper flakes in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over low heat. Cook for 10 minutes, making sure the garlic doesn't burn. Set aside.
  3. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. (Be sure your oven is clean!)
  4. Dump the dough onto a board and divide it into 6 equal pieces. Place them on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and cover them with a damp towel. Allow the dough to rest for 10 minutes. Use immediately, or refrigerate for up to 4 hours.
  5. Press and stretch each ball into an 8-inch circle and place 2 circles on each parchment-lined sheet pan. (If you've chilled the dough, take it out of the refrigerator approximately 30 minutes ahead to let it come to room temperature.) Brush the pizzas with the garlic oil, and sprinkle each one liberally with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the pizzas evenly with Fontina, mozzarella, and goat cheese. Drizzle each pizza with 1 tablespoon more of the garlic oil and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until the crusts are crisp and the cheeses begin to brown.
  6. Meanwhile, for the vinaigrette, whisk together 1/2 cup of the olive oil, the lemon juice, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. When the pizzas are done, place the arugula in a large bowl and toss with just enough lemon vinaigrette to moisten. Place a large bunch of arugula on each pizza and serve immediately.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Petite Cheesecakes!

Mini classic cheesecake with mint crust
Happy Monday everyone! Yesterday was my birthday so I did one of my favorite things - I baked. I made two kinds of cheesecake. One is a 6 inch, made in the mixer, classic flavor with sour cream topping, and a Thin Mint crust. Interestingly enough it was a bit tricky to unmold it from my springform pan, compared to my second cake. I also made an 8 inch banana chocolate marble cheesecake, made in the Cuisinart. It had a smooth, uncracked top, and an easy to unmold consistency. Maybe it was because the recipe had you open the turned off oven door for 15 minutes after baking. I was pretty proud since cheesecakes don't tend to be a go-to recipe for me. They received rave reviews and were gone by the end of the day. I'd call it a success!

8in banana marble cheesecake

Friday, June 21, 2013

Buckwheat Soba Noodles with a Tasty Spin

Happy Friday! I forgot to post this last night, so I'm doing it this morning! I served soba noodle salad for dinner last night, mixed with some very interesting veggies. It was tasty, filling, and best of all, healthy. It's really easy to make as well - the recipe says it takes an hour, but it takes much less! Enjoy!

Soba Noodle Salad with Pesto and Grilled Eggplant
Bill Kim, Food & Wine

  • 1 pound Asian eggplant, sliced crosswise 1/2 inch thick
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing and tossing
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 2 cups basil leaves
  • 4 medium garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/2 pound buckwheat soba noodles
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 6 large radishes, cut into thin wedges through the stem
  • 1/2 English cucumber—halved lengthwise, seeded and thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1 cup mint leaves, torn if large
  1. Light a grill or preheat a grill pan. Brush the eggplant with olive oil and season with salt. Grill over moderate heat, turning once, until tender and lightly charred, 6 minutes. Transfer the eggplant to a plate and let cool completely, then cut into 3/4-inch pieces.
  2. In a small skillet, toast the pine nuts over moderate heat, tossing, until golden, about 4 minutes; transfer to a plate and let cool.
  3. In a food processor, combine the pine nuts, basil and garlic and pulse until finely chopped. With the machine on, add the 1 cup of olive oil in a steady stream. Add the soy sauce and pulse to blend. Season the pesto with salt.
  4. In a large saucepan of salted boiling water, cook the soba noodles until al dente, about 4 minutes. Rinse the noodles under cold water, then drain and pat dry.
  5. In a large bowl, toss the soba noodles with the pesto until evenly coated. Add the grilled eggplant, tomatoes, radishes, cucumber and 3/4 cup of the mint leaves and toss well. Season the soba noodle salad with salt. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of mint leaves on top and serve.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Mascarpone, the Bakery Way

Brownies cooling on the rack.
Hello Wednesday! Tonight I had a very successful fiesta, which ended in my world famous brownies! But no, I will not being giving you that recipe. Instead we're going to talk about the deliciousness of mascarpone, in frosting form. Enjoy!

Next to a chocolate lava cake...
Mascarpone Cream
Hosea Rosenberg

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 cup mascarpone (8 ounces)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
In a bowl, beat the cream with the vanilla seeds, brown sugar and lemon zest until soft peaks form. Add the mascarpone and lemon juice and beat until blended.

On a deep, dark chocolate cake
Mocha-Mascarpone Frosting
Abigail Johnson Dodge, Bon Appetit

  1. Sift cocoa powder into large bowl; add espresso powder. Bring 1 cup cream to boil in small saucepan. Slowly pour cream over cocoa mixture, whisking until cocoa is completely dissolved, about 1 minute. Add 1/2 cup cream and sugar; stir until sugar dissolves. Chill until cold, at least 2 hours. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover; keep chilled.
  2. Add mascarpone to chilled cocoa mixture. Using electric mixer, beat on low speed until blended and smooth. Increase speed to medium-high; beat until mixture is thick and medium-firm peaks form when beaters are lifted, about 2 minutes (do not overbeat or mixture will curdle).

For a fancy carrot cake...
Ginger Mascarpone Frosting
Ina Garten

  • 12 ounces Italian mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. heavy cream
  • ½ tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • ⅓ cup minced crystallized ginger (not in syrup), plus more for garnish
  • ¼ tsp. kosher salt
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat mascarpone, cream cheese, confectioners' sugar, cream, and vanilla about 1 minute, until light and fluffy. Add crystallized ginger and salt and beat 30 seconds more.

Happy frosting!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

A Spicy Salad...Hold the Lettuce

It's Tuesday my wonderful readers! Woot woot. One day closer to the weekend (and my birthday...*ahem.). Tonight I made one of my favorite spicy salads - but also one of my unorthodox. This bad boy has no leafy greens, just jalapenos, figs (love figs of all kinds!), and cheese (among other deliciousness). Without further adieu, check this out!

Fresh Fig Salad with Feta and Blistered Jalapenos
Tim Byres, Food & Wine

  • 1 ancho chile, stemmed and seeded
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 12 dried Black Mission figs, halved lengthwise
  • 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 6 fresh large Black Mission figs, halved lengthwise
  • 4 shallots, cut through the root into 1/4-inch wedges
  • 4 jalapeños, seeded and julienned
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (1/2 cup)  ***Save calories and use Trader Joe's Fat Free Feta!
  • Cilantro leaves, crushed pink peppercorns and lime wedges, for serving
  1. In a medium saucepan, toast the ancho chile over moderate heat, turning, until fragrant and charred in spots, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.
  2. Add the wine, dried figs, dark brown sugar and 1/4 cup of water to the saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over moderately low heat until the chile and figs are tender, 20 minutes. Transfer to a food processor and let cool slightly. Pulse until a chunky puree forms. Scrape the jam into a bowl.
  3. Light a grill or preheat a grill pan. Set a mesh or perforated pan on the grill. Spread the granulated sugar in a pie plate. Dip the cut sides of the fresh figs in the sugar and grill over high heat, until caramelized on 1 side only but still firm, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the figs to a plate.
  4. In a bowl, toss the shallots and jalapeños with the oil and season with salt and pepper. Add the vegetables to the mesh or perforated pan and grill over high heat, tossing, until lightly charred and softened, 6 minutes. Transfer the vegetables to a plate.
  5. Spoon 1 or 2 tablespoons of the fig jam onto plates and arrange the shallots, jalapeños, caramelized figs and crumbled feta around it. Garnish the salad with cilantro leaves and crushed pink peppercorns and serve with lime wedges.
The chunky fig jam can be refrigerated for 1 week. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Lizzy Bee's Note: The fig jam is great on chicken too! 
  • I made a really easy pan seared salmon - a little salt/pepper, good olive oil, and flesh side down 5 min. Flip for 3 more minutes. 
  • I also made easy zucchini and onions - saute onions 10 minutes; add zucchini for 10 more with salt and pepper.

Monday, June 17, 2013

A Vanilla Father's Day

Happy Monday everyone! I hope your day is sunny and exciting. Yesterday I was fortunate enough to be with my dad on Father's Day. Of course I wanted to bake him something for this special event, but he only requested 2 things - pancakes and vanilla bean ice cream. My dad is a vanilla guy (guess who I got it from?) so we stayed traditional with this recipe, but adding the twist of low fat. Since I forgot my own recipe at home, I found a great replacement. With no further adieu, here's the result:

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
Adapted from Gourmet, September 1998

  • 2 vanilla beans
  • 3 cups heavy cream (I used fat free half and half)
  • 1 cup whole milk (I used non fat)
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  1. With a knife halve vanilla beans lengthwise. Scrape seeds into a large heavy saucepan and stir in pods, cream, milk, and sugar. Bring mixture just to a boil, stirring occasionally, and remove pan from heat. (I let it steep for about 30 minutes here, lid on!)
  2. In a large bowl lightly beat eggs. Add hot cream mixture to eggs in a slow stream, whisking, and pour into pan. Cook custard over moderately low heat, stirring constantly, until a thermometer registers 170°F. (Do not let boil.) 
  3. Pour custard through a sieve into a clean bowl and cool. **My bowl sat in a larger bowl filled with ice water. This stops the custard base from cooking.
  4. Chill custard until cold, up to 1 day.
  5. Freeze custard in an ice-cream maker, in 2 batches if necessary. Transfer ice cream to an airtight container and put in freezer to harden. Ice cream may be made 1 week ahead.

Happy baking!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Father's Day is Knocking on the Door!

Hi everyone! I'm baaaaack! Today let's get right down to business and discuss Father's Day ideas. I've got a few very different recipes for the dad who not only deserves a world of appreciation, but also considers himself to be quite the foodie. Enjoy!

For an extravagant brunch...
White Peach-Bourbon French Toast with White Peach-Pecan Maple Syrup
Bobby Flay


  • 6 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup white peach puree
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 4 slices day old brioche, sliced 1/2-inch thick
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
White Peach-Pecan Maple Syrup
  • 1 cup pure maple syrup
  • 4 ripe white peaches, peeled, pitted and cut into 1/8ths
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped toasted pecans
  • 1/2 cup bourbon, optional
  • Mint sprigs, for garnish


  1. Whisk together eggs, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Add the milk, cream and peach puree and vanilla and whisk until combined. Place brioche in a large baking dish, pour custard over and turn to coat. Let sit for 5 minutes.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons of oil in a large nonstick saute pan over high heat. Add 4 slices of the soaked bread and cook until golden brown, flip over and continue cooking until golden brown on the second side. Place 1 slice of the French toast on a plate, ladle some of the peach syrup on top. Top with a second slice of toast and ladle more of the peaches on top. Garnish with a mint sprig.
White Peach-Pecan Maple Syrup:

  1. Heat maple syrup over low heat in a medium saucepan. Add the peaches, pecans and bourbon and let simmer for 10 minutes.

Classic with a twist...
Cinnamon Cake with Chile-Chocolate Buttercream
Lisa Ritter, Food & Wine

  • 1 1/2 sticks (6 ounces) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for buttering the paper
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 5 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 pound confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ancho chile powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
  • 5 ounces white chocolate, melted and cooled

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter two 9-inch round cake pans. Line the bottoms with parchment paper and butter the paper. Dust the pans with flour, tapping out the excess.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the 1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour with the cake flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. In a standing mixer fitted with a paddle, beat the butter with the sugar at medium speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the eggs and vanilla until incorporated. In 3 alternating additions, add the dry ingredients and sour cream, scraping down the side of the bowl between additions.
  3. Scrape the batter evenly into the prepared pans. Bake the cakes on the lower and middle racks of the oven for about 30 minutes, until golden and springy and the edges begin to pull away from the sides of the pan. Transfer the cakes to racks and let cool for 15 minutes, then turn the cakes out and let them cool completely. Remove the parchment paper.
  4. In a standing mixer fitted with a paddle, beat the butter until creamy. At low speed, beat in the confectioners' sugar. Increase the speed to high and beat until fluffy, scraping down the side of the bowl, about 2 minutes longer. At low speed, beat in the cream, vanilla, cinnamon, ancho chile powder and cayenne, then gradually beat in the bittersweet and white chocolate. Scrape down the side of the bowl and the paddle, increase the speed to medium-high and beat until light, 3 minutes longer. Using a wooden spoon, vigorously beat the buttercream for 30 seconds to deflate any air bubbles.
  5. Place one cake layer on a plate and spread with 1 cup of the frosting. Top with the second cake layer and spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides. Refrigerate the cake for at least 30 minutes. Bring to room temperature before serving.
MAKE AHEAD The cake can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. The buttercream can be refrigerated for up to 5 days. Return to room temperature before using.

For the pie lover...
Classic Sour Cherry Pie with Lattice Crust
Lori Longbotham, Bon Appetit

  • 2 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 5 tablespoons (or more) ice water
  • 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 5 cups whole pitted sour cherries or dark sweet cherries (about 2 pounds whole unpitted cherries)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice (if using sour cherries) or 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (if using dark sweet cherries)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon (about) milk
  • Vanilla ice cream
  1. Whisk flour, sugar, and salt in large bowl to blend. Add butter and rub in with fingertips until small pea-size clumps form. Add 5 tablespoons ice water; mix lightly with fork until dough holds together when small pieces are pressed between fingertips, adding more water by teaspoonfuls if dough is dry. Gather dough together; divide into 2 pieces. Form each piece into ball, then flatten into disk and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes. 
DO AHEAD Can be made 2 days ahead. Keep chilled. Let dough soften slightly before rolling out.

  1. Position rack in lower third of oven and preheat to 425°F. Whisk 1 cup sugar, cornstarch, and salt in medium bowl to blend. Stir in cherries, lemon juice, and vanilla; set aside.
  2. Roll out 1 dough disk on floured surface to 12-inch round. Transfer to 9-inch glass pie dish. Trim dough overhang to 1/2 inch. Roll out second dough disk on floured surface to 12-inch round. Using large knife or pastry wheel with fluted edge, cut ten 3/4-inch-wide strips from dough round. Transfer filling to dough-lined dish, mounding slightly in center. Dot with butter. Arrange dough strips atop filling, forming lattice; trim dough strip overhang to 1/2 inch. Fold bottom crust up over ends of strips and crimp edges to seal. Brush lattice crust (not edges) with milk. Sprinkle lattice with remaining 1 tablespoon sugar.
  3. Place pie on rimmed baking sheet and bake 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375°F. Bake pie until filling is bubbling and crust is golden brown, covering edges with foil collar if browning too quickly, about 1 hour longer. Transfer pie to rack and cool completely. Cut into wedges and serve with vanilla ice cream.
Happy baking!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Going on vacation...

Hello everyone! I'll be away until Wednesday! I'm going down to Charleston for some rest and relaxation with my sister. Have a great weekend; see you then!

Do You Know the Best Desserts in the U.S?

Hello my readers! I'm sorry I didn't post last night...I couldn't find my inspiration! Today I've got a quick post for you...there have been many reports on the best desserts or most well-known desserts in the U.S. Here are a few of the big lists that tell it like it is!

Lonely Planet

Food & Wine (one of my favs!)

National Geographic?!

Bon Appetit's Coffee Shop Dessert List

Get inspired! Happy baking!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Italy Meets California in a Unique Pesto

Hello everyone! I'm bringing you my Tuesday savory dish tonight. Last night I made a dish from one of my Food Network favs - Giada De Laurentiis! I've learned to love her cross between Italian classics and light California flair. This recipe is fun because it takes a pasta staple (pesto) and transforms it with greens. This is also a great way to sneak in some greens for those picky eaters (not just the kids!). Enjoy!

Fusilli with Pea Pesto and Smoked Mozzarella
Giada De Laurentiis

  • Kosher salt
  • 1 pound fusilli pasta
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large shallot, chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine, such as pinot grigio
  • 2 1/2 cups frozen peas, thawed
  • 4 ounces smoked mozzarella, rind removed, grated (1 cup)
  • 1 packed cup baby spinach leaves
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, from 1/2 a large lemon
  • Zest of 1 large lemon
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted, coarsely chopped


  1. For the pasta: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and reserve about 1 cup of the pasta water. Place the drained pasta in a large bowl. Add the cheese and toss until coated.
  2. For the pesto: In a small skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the shallots, 1/2 teaspoon salt and the pepper. Cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the wine and cook for 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and cool slightly.
  3. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the peas, smoked mozzarella, spinach, Parmesan, lemon juice, lemon zest, the remaining 1 teaspoon salt and the cooked shallot mixture. Blend until smooth, but still slightly chunky. **The recipe forgets to mention what to do with the extra 1/2 cup of olive oil. To make this more of a classic style pesto, I slowly added it to the pesto mixture, with the food processor running. I kept going until the pesto was just blended.
  4. Pour the pesto over the pasta and toss until coated, adding the reserved pasta water as needed to loosen the sauce. Sprinkle with the toasted almonds and serve.
Cook's Note: To toast the almonds, arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake in a preheated 350 degrees F oven until lightly toasted, 6 to 8 minutes. Cool completely before using.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Strawberries in Their Springtime Glory!

Happy Monday eve my faithful readers. Today I'm bring you strawberries in many forms. They are one of my favorite springtime foods (because they remind me that summer is coming!), most dinner guests enjoy them, and they are almost always kid-friendly (minus those with allergies!). So I hope you enjoy the plethora of strawberry love.

Fresh Strawberry Meringue Cake
Southern Living, April 2012

  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • Parchment paper
  • Masking tape
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups sugar, divided
  • egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • (8-oz.) containers mascarpone cheese
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups whipping cream
  • 4 1/2 cups sliced fresh strawberries
  • Halved fresh strawberries
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Bake pecans in a single layer in a shallow pan 10 to 12 minutes or until toasted and fragrant, stirring halfway through. Remove from oven, and cool completely (about 10 minutes). Reduce oven temperature to 250°.
  2. Cover 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Draw 2 (8-inch) circles on each piece of paper. Turn paper over; secure with masking tape.
  3. Process cornstarch, salt, toasted pecans, and 1/2 cup sugar in a food processor 40 to 45 seconds or until pecans are finely ground.
  4. Beat egg whites and cream of tartar at high speed with an electric mixer until foamy. Gradually add 1 cup sugar, 1 Tbsp. at a time, beating at medium-high speed until mixture is glossy, stiff peaks form, and sugar dissolves (2 to 4 minutes; do not overbeat). Add half of pecan mixture to egg white mixture, gently folding just until blended. Repeat procedure with remaining pecan mixture.
  5. Gently spoon egg white mixture onto circles drawn on parchment paper (about 1 1/2 cups mixture per circle), spreading to cover each circle completely.
  6. Bake at 250° for 1 hour, turning baking sheets after 30 minutes. Turn oven off; let meringues stand in closed oven with light on 2 to 2 1/2 hours or until surface is dry and meringues can be lifted from paper without sticking to fingers.
  7. Just before assembling cake, stir together mascarpone cheese and vanilla in a large bowl just until blended.
  8. Beat whipping cream at low speed until foamy; increase speed to medium-high, and gradually add remaining 1/2 cup sugar, beating until stiff peaks form. (Do not overbeat or cream will be grainy.) Gently fold whipped cream into mascarpone mixture.
  9. Carefully remove 1 meringue from parchment paper; place on a serving plate. Spread one-fourth mascarpone mixture (about 2 cups) over meringue; top with 1 1/2 cups sliced strawberries. Repeat layers 2 times; top with remaining meringue, mascarpone mixture, and halved strawberries. Serve immediately, or chill up to 2 hours. Cut with a sharp, thin-bladed knife.

Strawberry Ice Cream

  • 1 1⁄2 cups whole milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 3⁄4 cup plus 1⁄3 cup sugar
  • 1 1⁄4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and thinly sliced
  • Juice of 1⁄2 lemon
  1.  Place milk in the top of a double boiler and bring just to a simmer over gently boiling water over medium heat.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk together eggs, egg yolks, and 3/4 cup sugar in a mixing bowl. Lightly whisk 1/4 cup of the hot milk into egg mixture, then whisk egg mixture into remaining milk in top of double boiler. Cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until mixture is thick enough to coat back of a spoon, about 15 minutes.
  3. Transfer mixture to a mixing bowl; stir in heavy cream; refrigerate until cold.
  4. Combine strawberries, 1/3 cup sugar, and lemon juice in a mixing bowl. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.
  5. Slightly mash strawberries, then stir into cream base and pour into an ice cream maker. Process according to manufacturer's directions.

Strawberry-Buttermilk Donuts
Waylynn Lucas, Fonuts

  • 1 ¼ cups (5 oz.) all-purpose flour, sifted
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • ⅔ cup canola oil, plus more for greasing
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • ½ tsp. white vinegar
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • ½ cup finely chopped strawberries
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar
  1. Heat oven to 350°. Combine flour, sugar, soda, and salt in a bowl; make a well in the center and set aside. Whisk oil, buttermilk, egg, vinegar, and vanilla in a bowl; add to well, and mix into a smooth batter. Stir in half the strawberries; set aside. Lightly grease a nonstick donut pan; spoon 2 tbsp. batter into each mold. Bake until golden and a toothpick inserted into donut comes out clean, 13–15 minutes. Invert donuts onto a baking sheet with a wire rack; let cool completely.
  2. Whisk remaining strawberries, confectioners' sugar, and 2 tbsp. water until smooth. Dip tops of donuts into glaze and return to wire rack until glaze is set.

Happy baking!