Lavender Vanilla Bean White Chocolate

Hey! What is more sexy than chocolate?! Trick question because there is no answer! Add some classic french flavors and hello curvaceous, sweet and sultry candy 😉

I love to use a little culinary lavender in sweets. The key word being, a little. If you overuse this ingredient, your delicious treats can quickly turn to soap. It is a love hate relationship, and you have to make sure your measurements are exact.

That being said, this is a great little taste of France! The vanilla bean gives a delicate look to the white chocolate candy. You might only have a few, but they look great, and taste even better so gifting them is always an option.

I haven’t figured out my own White Chocolate recipe yet, that is on its way. For this candy making batch I just melted down some solid white chocolate, crushed some culinary lavender with ground vanilla bean and set the molds. It only makes me want to be a Chocolatier!

So, you will need…

  • 1/2 lb. Solid White Chocolate
  • 1/8 tsp. Crushed Culinary Lavender
  • 1/8 tsp. Ground Vanilla Bean

Here was my process…

  1. In a double Boiler melt White Chocolate, stirring frequently to allow a smooth consistency.
  2. Once white chocolate is smooth add Lavender and Vanilla Bean and stir. Allow flavors to meld before placing in molds, but be sure to not burn.
  3. I used a measuring cup with slight lip to pour chocolate into the molds. 
  4. Allow to cool until the candy looks glossy and is solid to the touch. About 2 hours. You can always pop the mold in the refrigerator to speed up the process,l or save them from the summer heat!
  5. Pop out of molds and enjoy!

I don’t care what anyone says, making chocolate is hard, and a daunting task. I intend to master the craft, so look out world, my chocolate is on the rise!

Happy Candy Making!

 

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Orange Honey Ice Cream Sandwiches

Yay!!! Summer is upon us and there is no end in sight. The endless possibilities of summer treats make me feel like I could bake forever! I have three pages of things I want to create and share with my loved ones. The fresh squeezed lemonade, strawberries and cream, fresh green salads… and watermelon! The flavors go on and on. For today I settled on Oranges and Honey. Yummy yummy!

I wanted a cookie that would be able to make a sort of “Dreamsicle” type Ice Cream Sandwich. SO, I made Orange Honey cookies and used some 1/2 fat vanilla bean ice cream for the filling. The ice cream complimented the cookies so well, you would think that the ice cream company had invented this cookie. Alas, it was I… just a simple baker.

 

So, you will need…

  • 2 C. All Purpose Flour
  • 2 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1/4 tsp. Salt
  • 1/2 C. + 2 Tbsp. Canola Oil
  • 1/4 C. Honey
  • 1 C. Granulated Sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice, yes, freshly squeezed!
  • 1 Egg

Here was my process…

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl combine flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl combine canola oil, honey, sugar, orange juice and egg. Beat with mixer of your choice until all ingredients are well combined.
  4. Pour dry mixture into wet mixture and mix until all ingredients are incorporated. DO NOT over beat.
  5. Spoon dough onto prepared baking sheets allowing room to spread.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees F for 9-11 minutes, until sides are a lovely honey brown.
  7. Remove from oven and let cool completely before creating a Cookie Ice Cream Sandwich!

These cookies are surprisingly delicious and work very well in this situation! They are also good on their own, or with milk. Milk and honey after all, are very good friends.

Happy Baking!

 

Vanilla Bean Marshmallow Squares

As “mature adults” we try to enjoy the finer treats offered. You give up the ring dings and the store-bought doughnuts for Creme Brulee and Passion Fruit tarts. You trade up, as you always should! But there are classics we all love, that can use a little fine tuning from time to time. Who knew that adding a teaspoon of finely ground vanilla bean could turn the ever tempting and delicious rice crispy treat into a gourmet treat worth its calories.

So, you will need…

  • 6 C. Rice Krispies Cereal
  • 1 Bag Marshmallows
  • 1/4 C. Butter
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Bean, finely ground

Here was my process…

  1. Lightly butter a deep baking sheet or square cake pan.
  2. Combine Butter and Vanilla Bean in large pot over medium heat, let butter melt.
  3. Add marshmallows and stir constantly until completely melted.
  4. Remove from heat.
  5. Immediately Add Rice Krispy cereal and stir until well combined.
  6. Press mixture into prepared pan and let cool.

These treats are so easy to make, and the extra special kick of the Vanilla Bean brings this vintage recipe into the brave and exciting new culinary world. This sophisticated Marshmallow Square has a place in every home at any time. That is the beauty of classics, you don’t have to save them for a rainy day. 😉

Happy Baking!

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!