Framboise Dream Meringues

First of all I want to say Sorry for my absence. Sometimes a gal must roam!

Who doesn’t love a delicious Prosecco? Framboise Beer is a fantastic  Raspberry Belgian Craft Beer, and lets face it ladies, if we are going to drink beer, it might as well be fancy beer. This is the Prosecco of Beer.

So, for my comeback recipe, I made a delicious Meringue cookie with Framboise and white chocolate. It is truly divine! It is light and airy, yet chewy as all meringue should be. They are sweet and delicate, just like me.

So, you will need…

  • 1/2 C. Confectioners Sugar, sifted
  • 3 Large Egg Whites, at room Temperature
  • 1/4 tsp Cream of Tartar
  • 1/3 C. Granulated Sugar
  • 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp Framboise Beer
  • 1/2 C. White Chocolate Chips

Here was my process…

  1. Preheat oven to 250 Degrees F and line two baking sheet with Parchment Paper
  2. Sift the confectioners sugar onto a plate and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl combine egg whites, cream of tartar and Framboise. Beat on medium until soft peaks form.
  4. Slowly add the granulated sugar and beat on medium high until stiff, glossy peaks form.
  5. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the confectioners sugar, then fold in the white chips.
  6. Drop the dough on the prepared baking sheets, you can sprinkle the baking sheets with powdered sugar to make them stick less, spacing them about 1 inch apart.
  7. Bake at 250 degrees F for 55 minutes. Remove from baking sheet and let cool.

These are so much fun to eat, and you really do feel a twinge of sexy sophistication while eating them. Plus you won’t need more than one or two of this ladylike treat, which is good for the midsection. Put on your best night wear, throw on an old classic, pour a glass of Prosecco, and have yourself a treat.

After all, Life is but a Meringue…

Happy Baking!

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Vanilla Bean Cream Puffs (Choux Pastry)

Who doesn’t love a good Cream Puff?! For years I have wanted to make these but again, I thought it was going to be wicked hard. Turns out it is actually really easy. The Choux Pastry was the part that seemed daunting, but I found a few great recipes, and just made a dough using parts of the recipes I found. Trial and error! The first batch fell, but the second and third turned out beautifully. I found that the key to these beautiful puffs was milk! I prefer the texture and taste of the puffs much better than other recipes that don’t call for milk. They also didn’t brown as quickly. Success!

For the cream filling I made a Vanilla Bean whipped cream. It added the perfect amount of flavor to this light and airy delight.These are fun, and easy and you probably deserve to have them right now. I think these are the new bonbons! I would much rather sit around in my unmentionables eating these cream puffs than a box of bonbons. Bonbons are so 1994, in a bad way. Cream puffs are a lovely marriage of light and air pastry perfection and sexy whipped cream, with a dash of ladylike elegance that only the ground vanilla bean can offer. Cream puffs are the new sexy. 😉

So, you will need…

*Makes 30-35 puffs

  • 1/2 C. Whole Milk
  • 1/2 C. Water
  • 6 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1 C. All-Purpose Flour, always unbleached
  • 4 Eggs, room temperature

Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream

  • 1 C. Heavy Cream
  • 2 Tbsp Confectioners Sugar
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp Ground Vanilla Bean

Here was my process…

  1. In a medium saucepan bring the milk, water, butter and salt to a boil.
  2. Once butter is completely melted, remove from heat.
  3. Add flour all at once and stir quickly using a beautiful wooden spoon until blended.
  4. Return the pan to heat and stir rapidly until the dough pulls away from the sides of the sauce pan and forms a ball.
  5. Remove from heat and let cool to 140 degrees, about 4-5 minutes.
  6. In a smaller bowl whisk 1 egg, and add it to the cooled dough. (the dough will separate and get shiny after you add each egg, but keep stirring and it turns back into a nice smooth batter). Stir until blended.
  7. Add the remaining eggs, whisking them one at a time, and adding them one at a time. Stirring each until well incorporated.
  8. Let the dough cool for another 10 minutes or so before putting it in your piping (pastry) bag.
  9. Once cooled, fill your piping bag, and for each puff pipe out 1Tbsp of dough (some will call it paste), about 2 inches apart to allow for spreading.
  10. Bake puffs, one sheet at a time, at 425 degrees F for 15 minutes. Then reduce heat to 375 degrees F and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes until golden brown in color.
  11. Remove the puffs from the oven and immediately poke the sides with a toothpick to let the steam escape. Don’t worry, they will not collapse on you!
  12. Return the tray to the oven, turn the oven off ( leaving the door open) and allow the puffs to dry out for 10-15 minutes.
  13. Let cool completely before filling!

For the whipped cream simply combine the heavy cream, confectioners sugar, vanilla and ground vanilla bean in a bowl and beat on medium-high with hand mixer, or stand up mixer until medium peaks form.

Once the puffs are cool, fill your pastry bag with the whipped cream, and gently insert the tip of the bag into the puff and pipe it full of cream. You will feel the puffs get full, and when you see the cream start to show, you know the puff is full!

These are super fun to make and they are also great for any occasion. A wedding, baby shower, birthday, dessert party, pajama party… literally anytime is a good time for a cream puff!

Happy Baking!

Shortbread Sandwich Cookies w/ “Fancy” Chocolate Frosting

Shortbread is a very versatile cookie. You start with your basic dough and you can literally add anything edible to it. I’m not so sure how some ingredients would taste, but hey… we live in a world full of possibilities now don’t we?! My friend leaves for 42 days in 4 days so I was trying to make him something from his request list. He wanted shortbread cookies with chocolate “on top”. To me that meant sandwich cookies… haha, I heard what I wanted, leave me alone! 😉

So, I decided to just keep the lovely shortbread simple. Butter is all that I needed to get the flavor I wanted, but a nice chocolate to be sandwiched was in order. I wanted something not too sweet, but sweet enough. I tried a few different combinations of chocolate to powdered sugar to cream, and I found the best one for this cookie. I love sandwich cookies!!!!!!!

So, you will need…

*Makes 30 cookies

  • 1 C. Salted Butter, softened (Adds to the flavor)
  • 2 C. All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 C. Powdered Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • 1 tsp Vanilla

Frosting

  • 1/2 C. Powdered Sugar
  • 1/2 C. Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 1/4 C. Heavy Cream
  • 1 Tbsp Vanilla
  • add milk if you need a thinner icing/frosting

 

Here was my process…

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and prepare 2 baking sheets, can line with Parchment Paper, but it isn’t necessary
  2. In a small bowl whisk together flour and salt, set aside.
  3. In a medium sized bowl, cream butter using mixer of your choice, and mix until light and fluffy. About 1 minute.
  4. Add powdered sugar and vanilla, beat until smooth. About 2 minutes.
  5. Stir in the flour mixture until everything is well combined.
  6. Take dough and flatten it into a disk on a piece of plastic wrap. Wrap it up.
  7. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
  8. Unwrap the dough and roll it out onto a slightly floured surface. Rolling the dough to be about 1/4 inch thick.
  9. Using a circular floured cookie cutter, (you can get crazy and use whatever cutter you fancy!!!!), cut out as many cookies as you can.
  10. Place cookies on the cookie sheet then put into icebox (fridge) for 10 minutes. This allows the cookies to maintain their shape during baking.
  11. Bake at 350 degrees F for 8-10 minutes.
  12. Let cool completely before frosting and making the glorious sandwiches!

While the cookies are cooling you can prepare your frosting. Take the powdered sugar, cocoa, vanilla and cream and mix it all together at the same time until you have a smooth consistency. If you need to make the frosting thinner, or it isn’t wet enough add a tsp of milk at a time until you are happy with it!

These cookies might sound boring to you, but they appeal to my 1950’s inner housewife in an undeniable way! Make a batch, wear an apron, drink a martini in the middle of the day, enjoy a shortbread cookie sandwich. 😉

Happy Baking!

 

 

 

 

Sweet and Spicy Cornbread

It is just starting to get a little bit warm around here, and so I have been cooking with fresh ingredients and loving every minute of it. I wanted to make some spicy spring chili with cornbread, but it just felt to boring! I love Cornbread and all, but geeze… it is really just a dull, dull bread. That can get very dry and tasteless if done wrong! Of course I am just not one of those people 😉

For Easter, the Easter Bunny (aka my mom!!!, yes, still…) brought me a guacamole basket filled with avocados, limes, tomatillos, Habanero peppers, chili peppers and jalapenos! We could only put so much in the guac, and then I made chicken tacos with some of them… they are damn spicy! So, I figured, why not Pump Up the Volume ( yes, I just went there) and pull a Christian Slater on this cornbread!

Sweet with honey (and love) and spicy with chilis! That would definitely be something to write about.

So, you will need…

  • 1 1/4 C. All-Purpose flour
  • 3/4 C.  Corn Meal
  • 1/4 C. sugar
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 C. Milk
  • 1/4 C. Canola Oil
  • 2 Egg Whites, beaten (NOT WHOLE EGGS)
  • 2 fresh jalapenos diced
  • honey to drizzle over uncooked cornbread before baking, hence the sweet and spicy… just saying!

Here was my process…

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and grease preferred method of baking pan, dish, skillet, etc.
  2. In a  large bowl combine flour, corn meal, sugar, baking powder and salt. Mix lightly, just until everything is combined.
  3. Add Milk, Canola Oil and beaten egg whites. Mix well.
  4. Add jalapeno, diced, chopped however you like them!
  5. Spoon batter into prepared baking pan.
  6. Drizzle honey over each piece. The honey will sink into the cornbread and create a delicious crust.
  7. Bake for 20-22 minutes!

 

These are best served fresh, and don’t be afraid to add a bit more spice!

Happy Baking!

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes

So, I was asked to make cupcakes for a birthday party, and I was very excited to have my first professional assignment.  I wanted to make something that everyone could enjoy, and vanilla seems like the one thing most people can all agree on. There are certainly some out there who don’t like vanilla, but they don’t have to eat my cupcakes now do they! 😉

This is a delicate cupcake that is perfect for any occasion. Paired with a simple icing made of confectioners sugar, milk and cream cheese… it is really just a delightfully simple cupcake.

So, you will need…

*Makes 16 cupcakes

  • 1 C. Granulated Sugar
  • 2 tbsp Vanilla Bean, ground
  • 1 3/4 C. Cake flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 C. Butter, softened
  • 2 eggs, whisked
  • 1/3 C. Sour Cream
  • 1/4 C. Canola Oil
  • 2/3 C. Milk
  • 1 tbsp Vanilla, clear

Frosting

  • 2 C. powdered Sugar
  • 1/4 C.  Milk, more if needed
  • 1/4 C. Cream Cheese

Mix all together using a hand blender. Add more milk if needed.

Here was my process…

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and prepare cupcake pans.
  2. In a  small bowl combine the vanilla bean and sugar, let sit for a while to allow the flavor of the vanilla bean to infuse the sugar.
  3. In a medium bowl mix cake flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
  4. Add the vanilla bean sugar to the flour mixture until well combined. You should be able to smell the delicious vanilla!
  5. Add butter and mix until crumbles form.
  6. In a small bowl whisk eggs. Then add sour cream, canola oil and vanilla, mix until smooth.
  7. Add egg mixture to flour mixture until combined.
  8. Slowly add milk until well mixed.
  9. Fill prepared cupcake pans so that each cavity is half full. Believe me they will rise!
  10. Bake at 350 degrees F for 15 -17 minutes. Tops will not turn golden brown, so don’t over bake my little bakers!
  11. Cool completely before icing.

So that is all, these are very tasty and great for any occasion.Remember, the tops should be a lovely white gold color, not any darker!

Happy Baking!

 

Chili Chocolate Chunk Cookies

I was in possession of a beautiful bar of dark chili chocolate, and I wanted to make some cookies… so…. I combined the two! Instead of using chocolate chips I simply cut the chocolate bar into chunks and tossed it in my dough when the time was right. I tasted the chocolate and fell in love with the way the chili crept up on me. It is subtle and smooth, the perfect amount of chili! Lindt really mastered this one!

I wasn’t too sure if these cookies would be any good so I made a small batch to test out. These cookies definitely go better with a nice red wine than with the traditional milk, but throw a little ice cream between a few cookies and you are in for a treat!

If you just have chocolate chips you can use a 1/4 tsp of chili powder instead!

So, you will need…

  • 1 1/4 C. All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 C. Unsalted Butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 C. Packed Brown Sugar
  • 1/4 C. Granulated Sugar
  • 1 Egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 1 C. Chopped Chili Chocolate

Here was my process…

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, SIFT together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl combine butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar and beat with your trusty wooden spoon until smooth.
  4. Add beaten egg and vanilla, beat until well combined.
  5. Slowly incorporate dry ingredients until everything is mixed entirely.
  6. Fold in chili chocolate chunks.
  7. Drop 1 inch balls of dough, 2 inches apart onto prepared baking sheet.
  8. Bake for 10-12 minutes.
  9. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt at when they are fresh out of the oven.

If you are up for something different I say give these a try. They aren’t the everyday cookie which makes them that much more fun!

Happy Baking!

Blackberry Brie Muffins

This was a fun little adventure in my kitchen. It is starting to get warmer and more springlike around these parts, and I just wanted to celebrate spring while still being prepared for the cold, through a muffin! I actually started out just using blackberries, but the strawberries were so juicy and beautiful, I had to show them some culinary love as well! So I did half blackberry brie, and half strawberry brie muffins. They were both great, although I was a bigger fan of the blackberry ones just because they are my favorite berry!

They came out moist and smelling incredible. even my picky eating friend who said, “What is brie? I won’t be messing with those.”, he liked them both! So that is a sign of success in my kitchen, and so these muffins get an A+!

So, you will need…

*yields 12 muffins

  • 1 3/4 C. All-Purpose flour
  • 1/2 C. Granulated Sugar
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 Egg, beaten
  • 3/4 C. Milk
  • 1/4 C. Canola Oil
  • 1/2 C. Fresh Blackberries, or Fresh Strawberries cut into pieces
  • 1/2 C. Brie cut into pieces – they can be as big or as small as you want. I cut off the rind, but that is also up to you

Here was my process…

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 Degrees F and prepare the muffin pan with liners or grease.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
  3. In a separate bowl whisk egg until fluffy, about 1 minute.
  4. Add milk and oil to egg, whisk for another 30 seconds or so.
  5. Make a well in the center of the dry mixture, and add the wet mixture. Mix until everything is combined.
  6. Add blackberries or strawberries and brie to mixture, mix well.
  7. Spoon into prepared muffin pans, bake at 400 degrees F for 18-20 minutes until muffin tops are a slight golden blonde.

 

I think these are best when they are warm, I even put some fat free frozen yogurt on mine! But they are great at any temperature and they can be enjoyed at anytime!

Happy Baking!

Pumpkin Spice Cookies

Hello my little  bakers! So, I was trying to come up with a “healthy” version of a pumpkin cookies, and as it turns out, a “healthy” pumpkin cookie is a muffin! SO, back to test kitchen with some delicious Pumpkin Spice cookies! You need butter to make these cookies the way I want them! Believe me, these cookies melt in your mouth, and it is so worth it to run that extra mile once you taste these! I’m going to run five today!

Anyway, these cookies have all the taste of a spiced pumpkin pie, but with a light and airy body. They literally melt away as you take a bite! They are easily made into cookie sandwiches, and they taste amazing both ways. If you want a crisper cookie try cooking them for 20 minutes or so, checking the bottoms after 15 minutes to make sure they don’t burn.

So, you will need…

  • 2 C. Butter, softened
  • 2 C. Sugar
  • 2 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 2 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 1 tsp. Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. Nutmeg
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp. Vanilla
  • 15 oz. Pumpkin puree
  • 4 C. All Purpose flour

Frosting

  • 1/2 C. Butter
  • 1/2 C. Brown Sugar
  • 1/4 C. Milk
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 2 1/4 C. Powdered Sugar
  • 3 Tbs. Heavy Cream
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Here was my process…

  1. Set the oven to 350 Degrees F.
  2. Beat butter in a large bowl for 30 to 45 seconds until fluffy.
  3. Add sugar, baking soda, baking, powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg and mix well. (You can use a hand blender, a stand up mixer or a good old-fashioned wooden spoon.)
  4. Add eggs and vanilla and beat until combined.
  5. Add pumpkin, mix until well combined.
  6. Add flour gradually and use a wooden spoon to mix the flour in until well combined.
  7. On a parchment lined baking sheet, use a pastry bag to pipe out cookie onto sheet. They should be about 1 1/2 inches wide and 2 inches apart so they don’t spread out into one another.

 

  1. For the Frosting, in a saucepan heat up the butter and brown sugar until smooth and melted.
  2. Stir in milk and vanilla.
  3. Beat in powdered sugar  and cinnamon until smooth.
  4. Add  Heavy Cream to cut the sweetness
  5. Let cookies cool completely before attempting to frost them, unless you want to try one immediately!

If these cookies don’t put a smile on your face, you might just be dead! Please try and enjoy!

Happy Baking!

Hard Peanut Butter Pretzel Bites

This… Has… Been… A… Challenge!!!!

Not only are there few recipes available to reference, there are fewer ways to fill the pretzels! Again, I was intimidated by this crazy task, and not having any idea where to start, I sort of just dove right in. This was a special request from my cousin, and with his big blue eyes, I couldn’t refuse the challenge.

Here was my process…

So, I started with my dough. I took 1 3/4 cups water (110 degrees), mixed 1 tablespoon of white sugar and 2 teaspoons of kosher salt until dissolved. Then I sprinkled one package of active dry yeast on top and waited for about 5 minutes until a foam started to form on top.

Then I added 2 cups of all-purpose flour and 2 1/2 cups of unbleached whole wheat flour to the water and yeast mixture.

I mixed it until everything was well incorporated, then I kneaded the thick dough by hand until it was smooth and pulled away from the sided of the bowl. I had a well greased bowl set aside to place the dough in once the kneading process was complete. Then I covered the dough with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm area for 55 minutes. The dough should double in size, mine did!

While you are waiting for your dough to rise you can make the peanut butter filling! Take about  1 1/2 cup of peanut butter and mix it with 1/4 cup of powdered sugar and 2 tablespoons Kosher Salt. If you don’t have a piping bag, take a large ziplock bag and put the peanut butter mixture into it. Cut one of the bottom corners, just a small hole, and you can use that to pipe out the filling.

Set out two baking sheets, line with parchment paper and grease them with oil. I prefer veggie oil.

Take the double pretzel dough and turn it onto a greased surface. Cut into four equal pieces and put the three you aren’t working with under a damp cloth.  Roll the dough out in 3 to 4 strips and then flatten each one. Should be about 2 inches long and maybe 1/8 of an inch thick. Eyeballing it works for me.

Take one strip and cut sections about 1 inch wide. Each section should be roughly 1 inch wide and 2 inches long, but you can determine the size you prefer. Pipe a fair amount of peanut butter filling into center of each section. Fold dough over to make a square, and make sure to seal the edges with your fingers so that the filling doesn’t melt out! Repeat until everything is used up.

Now take a deep pan or a pot and bring some water to boil. It only needs to be deep enough to submerge the pretzel pieces. Take your bites and put them in the boiling water for about 15 seconds or until they float. Turn them out onto greased baking sheets.

Take an egg yolk and 1 tablespoon of water and whisk. Then brush the pretzel bites with it and sprinkle coarse salt on top.

Bake for 50 to 55 minutes on 350 degrees.

Shazam! Delicious, entertaining, snack time fun!

This is a good 3 hour project, so don’t attempt if you are easily distracted! It is a fun process and even more fun with a group of people.

So, you will need…

  • 1 3/4 cups warm (110 degrees F) water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  •  4 1/2 cups of flour ( I used 2 cups all-purpose and 2 1/2 cups unbleached whole wheat)
  • 1 large whole egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water
  • Vegetable oil, for pan
  • Water
  • Pretzel salt

Happy Baking!