Friday, April 29, 2011

Strawberry Pâte de Fruit (Fruit Jellies)


I love candy!  Always have and always will.  Some people say that as you get older you lose your taste for candy – I sure hope this does not happen to me.  Steve is the same way, so there is always candy in the house :).


Because of our love for candy, I have always wanted to make some.  I thought I would start out easy and small, and then slowly work my way up to more intricate and complicated candies.  When I found this recipe for Pâte de Fruit (also known as Fruit Jellies), I thought this would be a great start!  The recipe is very simple and takes almost no time to put together.  But the outcome is amazing!  These little candies are delicious!


What speeds up the process in making these fruit jellies is the strawberry jam.  Without the strawberry jam, you would have to melt down fresh strawberries, along with sugar, until it creates a thick jam-like consistency.  Bypassing this step and substituting jam instead is genius!

These fruit jellies can me made in many different flavors.  All you have to do is substitute 1 cup of any type of jam/marmalade – orange, lemon, cherry, blackberry, raspberry… anything! 


These candies are great for snacking, but would also be great to give out as favors for parties and holidays!  

For Recipe, Click here!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Blackberry and Cream Cheese Crumb Cake



Don’t you love it when you eat a dessert and it tasted way better than your expectations.  You went into the dessert as if it would be any old sweet.  Nothing special, nothing out of the world, just normal.  And then in one bite, everything changes.  All of the sudden, the normal dessert, turned into not-so-normal.  That nothing special dessert, turned into something very special.  That happened to me on this cake!         

I have been wanting to make a crumb cake for a long time.  In high school, there used to be a traditional crumb cake (or sometimes called coffee cake) that they would serve in the cafeteria every day.  It was just a normal crumb cake, but almost everyone got it, almost every day.  So when I think of crumb cake, this is what I think of. 

When I thought about making this particular dessert, I wanted to jazz it up.  Add some freshness to the cake and break apart some of its denseness – Crumb cake is known to be very thick and dense.  I had some extra blackberries on hand, so I thought it would be great to add blackberries to the cake.  And then to make it even better, let’s add a creamy (and surprising) layer of cream cheese.  Now this is a crumb cake!  


As I was assembling this cake – even though I loved the spin on this traditional cake – I still thought it would be a good cake, but not great.  When I think of a great cake, I think of a cake that I want to make again and again.  One that will stay in my recipe book for a long time.  By the way, I only have a few of these – Chocolate, Red Velvet, and Carrot, to name the big ones. 


Wow, was I wrong.  This cake was not just good, it was great!  The layers created an amazing depth to this cake.  Each bite sung in your mouth with all of the flavors coming together beautifully.  The cake was incredibly moist, and the crumb topping added the perfect crunch.  The blackberries added a tangy, fresh taste, and the cream cheese added a creamy, smooth texture.  I actually finished the whole piece of cake!  And…. Went back for more!  I know, I normally don’t do that!  But it was necessary and worth it on this cake!


You need to make this cake.  You will be very happy you did :)!  I served it as dessert, but it would be amazing for breakfast or brunch as well!


For Recipe, Click here!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Chive and Cream Cheese Biscuits



One of the ways I get an idea to make something is if I have extra items in my pantry and/or refrigerator.  If I have extra apples lying around, I think, let’s make apple pie.  If I have extra blueberries, I make blueberry scones.  If I have extra strawberries, I make strawberry frozen yogurt.  Get it :)

Last week, I had tons of extra cream cheese on hand from making Cream Cheese frosting.  I also had some leftover chives in the refrigerator.   That’s it!  I’ll make Chive and Cream Cheese biscuits!  Lucky for me, I found a wonderful recipe just earlier that week. 


The biscuits were so yummy!  They were moist and fluffy.  And, believe or not, they actually tasted like a baked potato with sour cream and chives.  Trust me, they did!  Make them and you will see for yourself :).
  

These biscuits would be perfect for really any occasion - Breakfast, Brunch, Dinner, or even a snack!


For Recipe, Click here!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Vanilla Bundt Cake with Vanilla Glaze


For so much baking I do, I don’t have the nearly the amount of baking supplies that I wish I had.  There are so many dishes, pans, tools, utensils (etc….) that I wish I had. One thing that I’ve been really wanting is a Bundt pan.  I know, seems small and not that expensive, but I’ve never found one that I really liked.  I finally found one!


















Right after I bought this beautiful pan, I made a Bundt cake the very next day.  I decided on a classic vanilla cake with vanilla glaze.  Steve thinks that nothing is better than classic vanilla.  He loves all the different types of cakes I make, but when I tell him I making a vanilla cake with vanilla frosting he smiles with joy :).   And this cake was no exception. He loved it!


The texture and flavor of this cake was just right.  It was incredibly moist and melted in your mouth.  You could smell the vanilla aroma from the other side of the house, and it made your mouth water just from the incredible smell.  This was definitely the best Bundt cake we have ever had!



For Recipe, Click here!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Whole Wheat Pizza

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We are big pizza eaters in our family, especially Steve.  He can eat pizza for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  With this, I have a go-to pizza recipe that our family has been using for years.   My mom actually taught me this recipe a few years ago, and I feel that I finally perfected it this year. 


When I decided to make pizza for dinner, I thought I would change things up and change a few ingredients in the recipe.  The original recipe calls for All Purpose Flour, but I substituted Bread Flour and Whole Wheat Flour.  I also added a couple tablespoons of Wheat Gluten Flour.





After kneading the dough, I could tell this was a good recipe!  I normally only let it rise for about 30 minutes to 1 hour.  However, this time, I let it rise for 2 ½ to 3 hours.  The dough rose beautifully!  It was so light and fluffy.


I topped the pizza with homemade tomato sauce, a blend of Italian Cheeses (Mozzarella, Provolone, Asiago, and Parmesan), Pepperoni, Spinach and Arugula, Garlic, and a little bit of Feta Cheese. The outcome was fantastic! 



Mmmm…… This pizza dough is definitely a keeper!  You can also use this dough to make Calzones, Strombolis, and much more.   Enjoy :)

For Recipe, Click here

A little more :)
This pizza can be made thin crust too!  I just make the whole recipe of dough and cut it in half after it's done rising.  You can either make 2 thin crust pizzas or freeze the other half for later use!  Here are some pictures of a thin crust pizza we just made - It was soooo good!  









Friday, April 22, 2011

Blueberry Cake with Lemon Buttercream Frosting



Happy Good Friday!  Easter is this weekend and I’m sure many of you are preparing for a lovely dinner :).  If you haven't chosen a dessert to serve, here is one that would make your family and friends say, “WOW!”.






This cake was so much fun to make!  Creating a cake that is more involved and has multiple steps is exciting for me.  It’s such a great feeling to be in the kitchen for hours and, when everything is finished, see the beautiful product!


Inside this beautiful cake are gorgeous, fresh blueberries.  Blueberries are just coming into season, so they are developing their sweet and juicy flavor.  Blueberries are perfect on their own in this cake, but the subtle hint of lemon in the frosting really adds another great fresh flavor.


This cake has 5 layers – 2 layers are vanilla, 2 layers have whole blueberries in them, and the last layer has pureed blueberries.  Its filled and frosted with a creamy Swiss Meringue Buttercream (hinted with lemon).  Then to make it extra special, I finished it off with a beautiful ruffling technique.  This technique is easy to create (view recipe for directions) and adds a stunning presentation.


This dessert would be a perfect addition to your Easter table! 
 


For Recipe, Click here!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Hummingbird Cupcakes



It’s spring and Easter is just around the corner!  I have been baking up some fun and pretty Easter desserts in my kitchen, and I wanted to share some with you :).  

 




These hummingbird cupcakes are great for Easter.  Hummingbird cake is a southern dessert that has pineapple, bananas, and nuts baked into the cake – I omitted the nuts because I don’t really like nuts in my dessert, but you can always add them in if you like.  The cake is so yummy and moist!  And the cream cheese frosting adds a perfect tartness.




I topped the cupcakes with beautiful pineapple flowers.  These pineapple flowers are easy to make!  All you do is slice pineapple very thin and bake it in the oven until they dried out.  Once they are dry, you transfer them to a cupcake pan so they make the beautiful flower shape.  You should definitely make these flowers to put on your next dessert!





Tune in tomorrow for another beautiful springtime, Easter dessert :)


For Recipe, Click here!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Fresh Fruit Tart with Pastry Cream

The best. 
The best ever. 
This dessert was the best!  
EVER!



I love baking desserts!    I could sit in my kitchen and bake all day.   The weird thing is, after I’m done baking those desserts I rarely like to eat them.  I know – I know – a true baker has to try their own recipes – and I do try them… but I rarely ever finish the piece I try.   Don’t think that I don’t have a sweet tooth, because I do, trust me :)…  It’s just sometimes after I’m done baking, I only want a small bite of what I made.  No big deal, just something I do :).  




However, there are those desserts that I just can’t have one bite.  For example, ice cream and warm fruit pies – yummy!  This fruit tart is now one of those desserts.  I wish I could describe to you how amazing this fruit tart was.  The crust, the pastry cream, the fruit… ahhh!  It was SOOOO good!  I wish I could slice you a piece and hand it to you through this computer!




The crust was soft and tender with just enough crunch.  The pastry cream was so light and creamy.  And the fruit on top added a perfect tart and sweetness.  Everything came together perfectly!  




I could not get enough of this dessert.  After I had 1 piece, I went back and got another sliver.  Steve did the same thing.  Then we had it again for dessert the following night.  Once it was gone, we were wishing there was more left!  And when Steve was eating this dessert, he didn’t want to talk to me.  He said is was so good he wanted to focus on what he was eating :)…  He said – and I must agree for myself as well – this is the best dessert he has ever had!   I know – big statement – but its true!  




Please please please, go make this for yourself.  If not, I’ll come make one for you!


For Recipe, Click here!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Turkey Burgers with Arugula Pesto & Aged White Cheddar



There are infinite amounts of ways to make a burger – the bun – the meat – the condiments – there are so many options.   I have had so many different types of burgers, but out of all of the burgers I’ve had, I can count the good ones on 1 hand.  A good burger is easy to remember.   This is one of those burgers!





This burger was scrumptious!  It only had a few ingredients, but those ingredients came together and sung a beautiful song :).  The starting point to this burger was of course my homemade burger buns!  Then a moist turkey patty filled with feta cheese, topped with Aged White Cheddar added a juicy addition.  Topping it off with fresh, homemade Arugula Pesto and a tomato finished off this burger with a punch!




Although turkey burgers can sometime come out dry and tasteless, this burger was just the opposite.  It was juicy and flavorful!  And the Arugula Pesto really sent this burger over the top :).




For Recipe, Click here!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Croissants

 


I have wanted to make Croissants for a really long time now.  However, I never had the time to make them because they are a process and take some time to put together.  I finally had some time on my hands and thought – let’s do it!  And wow – they were incredible!  They were buttery and tender and unbelievably mouth watering!





The process of making the Croissants was not very hard.   You just need to be ready for an involved recipe and have some time.  To tell you the truth, no matter how long or how difficult Croissants can be, they are 100% worth the effort!  The pleasure of biting into this wonderful pastry you made is worth it all.




We only have a couple Croissants left and they won’t be here for long!  Steve can’t keep his hands off them! 



For Recipe, Click here!
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