S’mores Strawberries

S'mores Strawberries

Valentine’s Day is almost upon us.  Whether you think of it as nothing more than a Hallmark holiday for people who are actually in love or you think it’s the sweetest holiday since it celebrates something as amazing and illusive as love, it’s a good excuse to eat an amazing treat or two.

All of us single gals need to drown our sorrows in dessert and cheesy movies that represent love as it probably never will be in the real world.

S'mores Strawberries

And all of you love birds need to celebrate your significant other and the fact that Cupid brought you together.  Or something like that.

While you could definitely spend all day in the kitchen making something like my Brooklyn Blackout Cake, these S’mores Strawberries will totally do the trick without all the work.

S'mores Strawberries

They are fun and easy to make and full of textures and flavors.  I distinctly remember the first time I had a chocolate covered strawberry.  It was from Godiva and probably five dollar, which 15 or so years ago was a lot of money for one giant strawberry.  I think I shared it with my baby sitter after lunch at Olive Garden.

I really liked the strawberry … and Olive Garden, so maybe my tween judgment can’t be trusted.  Since I developed my chocolate allergy, those strawberries have vanished from my life.  So I made my own with carob, but feel free to use your favorite dark chocolate.

S'mores Strawberries

After washing and drying the strawberries, I hulled them and filled the center with gooey marshmallow fluff.  Then I dipped them in chocolate and crushed graham crackers.  It’s a messy process, but lots of fun and well worth it when you pop the juicy strawberry with the gooey marshmallow the snappy carob/chocolate and crunchy graham crackers in your mouth.

No matter how you celebrate Valentine’s Day, be sure to do it with these S’mores Strawberries.

S'mores Strawberries

S’mores Strawberries

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 minute

Total Time: 16 minutes

Yield: 20 Strawberries

Ingredients

20 strawberries, washed and hulled

1 cup marshmallow fluff

1 cup carob or dark chocolate chips

1 tablespoon vegetable shortening

2 graham cracker sheets, finely crushed

Instructions

Place the strawberries on a parchment lined baking sheet. Fill each one with marshmallow fluff. It’s okay if they are overfull.

Melt the chocolate or carob with the shortening in the microwave in 30 second increments, stirring in between, until fully melted.

Spoon chocolate or carob over the cut and marshmallow filled end of the berry. Cover that end completely and dip immediately in graham cracker crumbs.

Place strawberries back on parchment. Repeat with remaining berries. Allow to set for about 1 hour. Best served immediately. Berries may be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2 days.

http://piesandplots.net/smores-strawberries/

 

Very Vanilla Muffins

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CarnationSweepstakes #BetterBreakfast #CollectiveBias

Very Vanilla Muffins

What are mornings like in your house?  Are you running around frantically trying to get out the door?  Or do you enjoy a leisurely breakfast while reading the newspaper?

I fall somewhere in the middle.  I used to skip breakfast all the time but now it is an important part of my day.  Eating a nutritious breakfast without falling into a rut is tough though.  That’s why I turn to Carnation Breakfast Essentials ® that I pick up on my trips to Kroger.

Shopping at Kroger

Carnation Breakfast Essentials ® gets me going with nutrients and protein that my body craves so I can start my day right and have energy to write, run the blog, exercise, and more.

I have fallen in love with the French Vanilla Carnation Breakfast Essentials® Ready-to-Drink Bottles.  They are great for a quick meal on the go with the rich vanilla flavor.  They also work in smoothies and even oatmeal.

Very Vanilla Muffins

When I feel like getting creative, I turn to Carnation Breakfast Essentials® Powder to make things like these Very Vanilla Muffins.  These muffins are such a classic and feel like an indulgent breakfast without being heavy or too caloric like muffins can be.

The Carnation Breakfast Essentials® Powder combines with vanilla bean paste to lend tons of flavor to these tender muffins.  And then just to add a little more excitement to breakfast, I topped them with a glaze made from French Vanilla Carnation Breakfast Essentials® Ready-to-Drink Bottles.  The glaze really makes them special.

Very Vanilla Muffins

 

Very Vanilla Muffins

These muffins are perfect for a make ahead breakfast that you can enjoy throughout the week.  They can even be frozen for mornings that are super busy.

I hope Carnation Breakfast Essentials® and I have inspired you to get into a better breakfast.  You can join me in taking the Carnation 7-Day Breakfast Challenge to eat a nutritious breakfast every day for one week.  It’s a great way to make sure we all start our days on the right foot.

Very Vanilla Muffins

Throughout February you can complete breakfast missions for the chance to win prizes.  Ready to get started? Follow these easy steps

  1. Sign up at CarnationBreakfastChallenge.com.
  1. Complete a simple yet fun breakfast mission for a chance to win. New prizes revealed every day!
  1. Come back any day in February to complete missions and see new prizes. The prizes range from a Fitbit to a GoPro and other awesome stuff!
  1. Head to your favorite store to purchase a Carnation Breakfast Essentials® Nutritional Product and upload your receipt for five extra entries per day.

And now that we all have these Very Vanilla Muffins and Carnation Breakfast Essentials® in our lives we can get started.  What are you going to make for breakfast?

Very Vanilla Muffins

Very Vanilla Muffins

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 12 muffins

Ingredients

Muffins

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

½ teaspoon kosher salt

½ cup granulated sugar

2 packets Vanilla Carnation Breakfast Essentials®

1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste

¼ cup olive oil

2 large eggs

1 ¼ cup milk

Glaze

1 cup confectioners’ sugar

¼ cup French Vanilla Carnation Breakfast Essentials® Ready-to-Drink Bottles

1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

Instructions

Make the muffins. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin tin with paper liners.

In a large bowl stir together sugar, Vanilla Carnation Breakfast Essentials®, vanilla bean paste, olive oil, and eggs until well combined.

In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, and salt.

Alternately add the milk and flour mixture, beginning with the milk and ending with the flour. Mix just until the batter comes together, a couple lumps are okay.

Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin tin, filling almost to the top. Bake for about 20 minutes, until muffins are risen, golden brown, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs.

While the muffins cool slightly, make the glaze. In a small bowl, wish together sugar, French Vanilla Carnation Breakfast Essentials® Ready-to-Drink Bottles, and vanilla bean paste, adding more sugar or Carnation as necessary to achieve a thick, yet spreadable glaze. Spoon over the muffins.

Serve warm or store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. Muffins may also be frozen, wrapped in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag for up to 3 months. Thaw in the microwave for about 1 minute.

http://piesandplots.net/very-vanilla-muffins/

No Bake Pot de Creme

No Bake Pot de Creme

Do you watch Top Chef or Next Food Network Star?  If you do, I bet you remember Arnold Myint.  He has a fun, energetic, and infectious personality and even has an alter ego: drag queen Suzy Wong.

I had the opportunity to chat with Arnold about his career in food last week.  He’s a super nice guy.  I want to be friends with him and go out to dinner with him and cook with him.  Arnold, if you’re ever in the Detroit area, I can show you around the culinary scene here :)

Arnold Myint

Of course we talked a lot about Top Chef and Next Food Network Star.  Since I have never missed an episode of either show, it’s nice to hear about them, including some behind the scenes information that’s perfect for super fans like me.

He said the days of filming can be very long, but he loved his time on the competition circuit.  He has a competitive nature from his days of ice skating, so these reality shows were a natural fit.  He noted that while he didn’t win Next Food Network Star, he feels like a winner … kind of like the Jennifer Hudson of the show … because now “people get who I am,” he said.

No Bake Pot de Creme

Being cast in the shows was one of the most difficult parts of the process according to Arnold.  And though he loved being on the shows, he thinks his reality show days are over.

We also talked about Suzy Wong who came about from his summers in Thailand as a kid as well as all the glitz and glamour of ice skating costumes.  Now Suzy is part of his brand, and people love her because of the way Arnold presents her.  Suzy does a lot of charity work, hosting dinners and is a “good ambassador to merging gay and straight worlds.”

No Bake Pot de Creme

Now Arnold has several restaurants, but he’s focusing more on learning to cook in smaller quantities instead of on a restaurant scale.  He tries to cook 4 recipes a day when he’s not in a restaurant and is also working on the Downtown LA Dinner Club.

I also have no doubt we will see more of Arnold on TV soon too. We can all keep our eyes peeled!

Arnold also provided me with an awesome pot de crème recipe that was super easy to make; it doesn’t even require baking!  I changed the recipe a little, swapping the cream for almond milk and the whole milk for a lesser amount of coffee.  It turned out perfectly and is an awesome dessert that is sure to impress anyone without a ton of calories.

Thanks for your time and the recipe, Arnold.  Good luck in the future!

No Bake Pot de Creme

No Bake Pot de Creme

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 8-10 servings

Ingredients

9 ounces carob or dark chocolate chips

1 ½ cups almond milk

½ cup iced coffee beverage (in the refrigerator section at the store)

6 large egg yolks

5 tablespoons granulated sugar

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

Instructions

In a medium saucepan bring the almond milk, coffee, sugar, and salt to a simmer.

Add the carob or chocolate in three installments, whisking each in fully before adding more.

Remove the pot from the heat. In a medium bowl, place the egg yolks. Slowly whisk in about ½ cup of the hot chocolate mixture.

Return the pot to low heat and add the egg mixture to the pot. Whisk until the mixture thickens, about 5 minutes.

Remove from the heat and pour into serving vessels. Chill until thickened and set, about 2 hours. Pot de crème may be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

Notes

Recipe adapted from Arnold Myint Additional chilling time is necessary

http://piesandplots.net/no-bake-pot-de-creme/

Cinnamon Roll Cake + Giveaway!

Cinnamon Roll Cake + Giveaway!

January can be a bit of a downer.  I’m here to make it brighter though.  With cake and cookbooks.  Sounds like a win to me.

Let’s start with the cake.  It’s my New Year’s Day tradition to make cinnamon rolls, but this year, I wanted something a little different.  So I made a cake.

Cinnamon Roll Cake + Giveaway!

It starts with an unassuming vanilla cake.  What really makes this shine is the gooey swirl of brown sugar, cinnamon, and butter.  It makes the whole cake moist and practically melt in your mouth, whether hot out of the oven or cooled to room temperature.  In fact, this is one of the few things I’ve made that I actually like better cool.

Cinnamon Roll Cake + GIveaway!

Then it gets topped with a simple vanilla glaze, some of which soaks into the cake.  I pretty much wanted to grab a fork and eat this straight from the pan.  It’s perfect for breakfast or dessert … or even a snack.  I may have even eaten it for lunch.  Move over cinnamon rolls – this cake taking over!

Massive Cookbook Giveaway!

Massive Cookbook Giveaway!

Now onto the giveaway.  I’ve teamed up with some of my favorite bloggers – The Cooking Actress, The Spiffy Cookie, and Wishes and Dishes to giveaway some cookbooks.  Eleven cookbooks to be exact.  They cover appetizers to dessert and everything in between.  They are from famous chefs like Tyler Florence and Mary Berry and bloggers like Sally McKinney and Averie Sunshine.

I know they will inspire you to get in the kitchen!  Use the widget below to enter the giveaway.  Good luck!

Cinnamon Roll Cake + Giveaway!

Cinnamon Roll Cake + Giveaway!

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Yield: 18-24 pieces

Ingredients

Cake

3 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, divided

1 cup granulated sugar

½ teaspoon kosher salt

1 ½ tablespoons baking powder

1 ½ cups milk (I used almond, use what you love)

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste

½ stick unsalted butter, melted

2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup packed light brown sugar

2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

Icing

2 cups confectioners’ sugar

2-3 tablespoons water

2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste

Instructions

Make the cake. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9 by 13 inch pan. Line the bottom with parchment. Butter the parchment.

In a large bowl, stir together 3 cups flour, granulated sugar, salt, baking powder, milk, eggs, vanilla, and melted butter. Once well combined, pour into the prepared pan.

In another bowl, beat 2 sticks softened butter with brown sugar, remaining 2 tablespoons flour, and cinnamon until light and fluffy. I did this by hand but a hand or stand mixer will work as well.

Dollop the brown sugar mixture onto the cake batter. Use it all. Swirl it in using a knife. Bake cake about 30 minutes, until golden brown and a toothpick comes out of the center clean or with a few moist crumbs.

Make the icing. In a bowl, stir together sugar, water, and vanilla bean paste, adding more sugar or water as necessary until a pourable icing is formed. Pour over the cake. Serve warm or cool completely in pan. Cake may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days or frozen in pieces wrapped in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag for up to 3 months. Thaw in the microwave about 1 minute.

Notes

Recipe adapted from Shugary Sweets

http://piesandplots.net/cinnamon-roll-cake-giveaway/

Caramel Apple Rice Krispies Treats #SundaySupper

Caramel Apple Rice Krispies Treats

I eat dinner with my parents pretty much every single night.  Okay, so sometimes dad gets home from work really late and then eats like he’s the living embodiment of a tornado, but other than that we eat dinner together.

It’s a time to talk about our days, our pasts, and our futures.  There’s also background noise from the TV so we can catch up on the latest news and keep our brains young with Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy.  I know we shouldn’t have the TV on but I have misophonia – that’s a story for another day.  Plus, the TV never distracts me; Mom is another story.

Caramel Apple Rice Krispies Treats

The bottom line is that we make an effort seven nights a week to eat a home cooked meal together.  Sure, there are exceptions when we eat out, I meet friends or an online date, or we’re rushing around trying to get to an event.  However, these dinners and all that surrounds them are something I look forward to and miss after a day or two long detour from them.

The dinners aren’t always fancy and the stories aren’t always happy.  Some days we don’t have much to say, so we just enjoy each other’s company and take comfort in the fact that no matter what other things are going on, we can count on each other.

Caramel Apple Rice Krispies Treats

January is National Sunday Supper Month, and I couldn’t be happier to be a part of kicking it off with my Sunday Supper buddies who treasure family dinners as much as me.  We all want to encourage you to have a dinner with your family once a week.  Or if you can, more often.  To set the phones aside and talk to each other.

Try a new recipe, cook together, see what you like.  Things may not always turn out, but that is half the fun.  And then you’ll have something else to talk about.  While my dinners are typically just my parents and me, your family dinners can include any family and friends who you love and care about.  There aren’t any rules.  Just have fun and enjoy the simple things in life.

Caramel Apple Rice Krispies Treats

Well, I do have one rule.  There has to be dessert.  Sometimes it’s just a couple gummy bears and other times, it’s a real treat like these Caramel Apple Rice Krispies Treats.

They start with a Caramel Apple Oreo Crust.  If you can’t find Caramel Apple Oreos, use whatever kind you love.  Then there’s the classic Rice Krispies Treat on top.  It’s hard to improve upon that, but I think I did with dried apples and modjeskas.  If you’ve never heard of modjeskas, they are vanilla marshmallows wrapped in ooey gooey caramel.  They are a treat on their own, and in these … brace yourself.

This decadent treat fun to make and the perfect way to end a family meal.  Here’s to many more Sunday Suppers!

Caramel Apple Rice Krispies Treats

Caramel Apple Rice Krispies Treats

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 2 minutes

Total Time: 12 minutes

Yield: 9-12 treats

Ingredients

15 Caramel Apple Oreos, finely crushed

1 stick unsalted butter, divided

1 10 ounce bag marshmallows

3 ¼ cups Rice Krispies

Heaping ½ dried apples, diced

6 modjeskas or soft caramels, chopped

Instructions

Line an 8 inch square pan with parchment.

Melt 4 tablespoons of the butter in the microwave. Add to the crushed Oreos and stir to combine. Pour into the prepared pan and press firmly into place. Refrigerate until set, about 30 minutes.

Once the crust is set, melt the marshmallows and remaining 4 tablespoons butter in the microwave in 30 second increments, stirring in between. Once melted, stir to combine the marshmallows and butter. Stir in the Rice Krispies, adding a few more if necessary until the mixture is gooey but not liquidy. Fold in the dried apples and modjeskas.

Pour on top of the crust. Oil or butter your hands and press down firmly. Refrigerate for an additional 30 minutes before cutting and serving. Treats may be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 5 days or frozen, wrapped in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature about 1 hour.

Notes

Addtional chilling time is necessary

http://piesandplots.net/caramel-apple-rice-krispies-treats/

Don’t forget to check out all the other Sunday Supper dishes!

Appetizers and Soups

Main courses

Side dishes

Desserts

 

 

Help us celebrate National Sunday Supper Month by entering the Idaho® Potato Let’s Poutine recipe contest, sponsored by the Idaho Potato Commission, with prizes of $500, $200 and $100, plus a ticket for each winner to Food and Wine Conference 2016. All the rules and conditions for entry can be found on our Sunday Supper Movement website.

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on Twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat.

To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Favorite Recipes of 2015!

The New Year is nearly upon us, so it’s time for my annual round up of the best things I’ve made this year.  When I went through my records, I realized I made a lot of amazing things that I had forgotten about.  Get your oven ready, because things are about to get pretty delicious!

The BEST Homemade Cinnamon Rolls

The Best Homemade Cinnamon Rolls

It’s my New Year’s Day tradition to make some kind of super yummy cinnamon roll and these definitely fit the bill.  They are huge, soft and pillowy, and smothered in cream cheese frosting.

Carob Brooklyn Blackout Cake

Carob Brooklyn Blackout Cake

Use carob, use chocolate, whatever.  Just make sure you make this cake.  It’s rich cake with fluffy buttercream, pudding, and cake crumbs.  Is your mouth watering yet???

Lemon Brownies

Lemon Brownies

It’s rare to have a brownie recipe that doesn’t include chocolate that really provides that dense, gooey texture, but these brownies do it with flair and a punch of citrus.

Fluffernutter Cookies

Fluffernutter Cookies

These gems are easy to make and gluten free.  They melt in your mouth and combine two of my favorite ingredients: peanut butter and marshmallow.

Giant Carob Cookies

Giant Carob Cookies

These super fudgy cookies are loaded with chips and practically the size of my head.

Vegan and Gluten Free Triple Cherry Crisp

Triple Cherry Crisp

Full of bing, sour, and rainier cherries and topped with an irresistible oatmeal topping, I may or may not have eaten this for breakfast more than once.  Hey, I said it had oatmeal.  Top it with ice cream … it’s just like milk :)

Peach Oatmeal Skillet Pie

Peach Oatmeal Skillet Pie

Call it a pie or a cookie or a cobbler.  I don’t care.  I just want it again with juicy peaches and a gooey cookie like topping.

Peach Blueberry Baked Oatmeal

Peach Blueberry Baked Oatmeal

This may be super healthy and gluten and dairy free, but it’s also amazing.  It’s my favorite breakfast and I’ve made it more times than I can count.

Peach Blueberry Crumb Pie

Peach Blueberry Crumb Pie

I had never made a crumb pie and this recipe made me ask myself one thing: why did I wait this long?  With flaky crust and a buttery crumb, this pie has the best of both worlds.

Lemon Minion Cake

Lemon Minion Cake

Not only do I love this cake and frosting, but it was so creative and so much fun to make.  It pushed me out of my comfort zone and got me excited to draw on another cake.  Any requests?

Now I’m ready to get baking for 2016!

 

 

Lemon Minion Cake

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #MinionsMovieNight #CollectiveBias

Lemon Minion Cake

I have something in common with minions. I love bananas. I typically eat 2 a day. That’s over 700 bananas a year. Maybe I’m part minion :)

But, one cannot survive on bananas alone, so I think lemons are the next step for the minions. I made this Lemon Minion Cake to celebrate the Blu-Ray/DVD combo pack of Minions © 2015 Universal Studios. All rights reserved.

Minion Sketch

I have been super excited to see Minions and was thrilled to pick up a copy to inspire my recipe. You can check out where to pick it up on the Minions movie website. There are different fun extras depending on where you shop.

Illumination Entertainment’s Minions is such a cute movie. Those minions are just adorable and seeing their backstory is hilarious and makes me like them even more. Sure, they’re a little mischievous, but aren’t we all???

Filling the Cake

Icing the Cake

Icing the Cake

Like the minions have taken on many challenges, I challenged myself to draw a minion on my bright, citrus flavored cake. I’d never, ever done anything like this before, and I feared it wouldn’t go quite according to plan like a lot of the minions’ adventures.

Luckily, my minion turned out great, and I have some tips so yours will as well. First I drew a minion on paper. This helped me get a feel for their shape since drawing with a pen is a lot easier than drawing with icing!

Lemon Minion Cake

Then I outlined the minion shape on the cake with a toothpick. This way if I made a mistake, I could just smooth the frosting over and start again. Then I took my colored icing and filled in the outline. Some of the icings were easy to spread, so I just squeezed those out of the tube, but the yellow was very stiff, so I used toothpicks to spread it.

It was so cool to watch my minion coming to life. It’s not perfect, but this is a homemade cake and that’s what I love about it. I think the minions would devour it and become obsessed with lemons.

Lemon Minion Cake

Take a day with the ones you love, make this cake, and watch the Minions movie. Plus check out the website for more fun minion recipe ideas!

Minion Movie Night

Lemon Minion Cake

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 2 hours

Yield: 10-12 servings

Ingredients

Cake

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

2 cups granulated sugar

1 ½ sticks unsalted butter, room temperature

3 large eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste

Zest of 2 lemons

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 cup milk, any variety

Frosting

1 ½ cups granulated sugar

½ cup water

2 tablespoons corn syrup

5 egg whites

½ + 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar

3 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature

For Assembly

1 12 ounce jar blueberry preserves

Yellow, black, and blue icing

Toothpicks

Instructions

Make the cake. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter 2 8 or 9 inch round pans. Line the bottom with parchment and butter the parchment. Set aside

In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, and baking soda.

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. I did this by hand but a hand or stand mixer would work as well. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Beat in the vanilla bean paste, lemon zest, and lemon juice.

Alternately add the flour mixture and milk, beginning and ending with the flour. Stir just until the batter comes together. Divide evenly between the two prepared pans.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs. Cool completely in pans. Cakes may be made one day in advance.

Make the frosting. In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, water, and corn syrup over medium heat, stirring frequently until the sugar is completely dissolved. Once this happens, stop stirring, attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pan, and allow the mixture to come to 240 degrees F on the thermometer. In the meantime, place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat on medium-high until foamy. Once foamy, add the cream of tartar and continue beating on medium-high until stiff peaks form. Be sure not to over whip the egg whites or they will become dry.

Once the eggs are whipped and the syrup is at 240, turn the eggs to medium-low, immediately remove the syrup from the heat, and begin slowly and steadily drizzling it into the eggs. If the syrup is ready before the eggs, it can be turned down or removed from the heat while the eggs finish, before being replaced on the heat to bring to temperature. If the eggs are ready before the syrup, stop mixing them until the syrup is almost ready. Turn them back to medium-high briefly before turning them back down and adding the syrup.

Once the syrup has all been added, turn the mixer back to medium-high and beat the frosting (what is basically marshmallow crème and is delectable all by itself) for 10-13 minutes until the bottom of the bowl is barely warm or at room temperature. It is important for it to not be too warm or the next step will not work.

Once cooled, add the butter a couple tablespoons at a time, allowing each addition to incorporate before adding another. Scrape down the bowl occasionally. Once all the butter is incorporated, add the vanilla and almond extracts and mix to combine. Remove the bowl from the mixer and mix briefly by hand to make sure there are no clumps of butter. If the frosting is a bit soupy (because it was too warm when the butter was added) stick it in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes, beat it again with the stand mixer. It should come together.

Assemble the cake. Place one cake on a cake stand. Using a serrated knife, slice the cake in half horizontally. Remove the top half and place it on a plate. Cover the cake on the stand with an even layer of blueberry jam. Place the top half of the cake on top and cover with frosting. Place the second cake on top and slice it in half horizontally. Remove the top half and cover the remaining half with the rest of the jam. Place the final layer of cake on top and cover the entire cake with a generous layer of frosting.

Draw the minion. Using a toothpick outline the minion shape. Fill in with colored frosting. Allow cake to set in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before serving. Cake may be stored in the refrigerator, wrapped tightly with plastic wrap for up to 3 days or frozen, in pieces, wrapped in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag. Thaw in the refrigerator for about 2 hours.

Notes

Additional cooling/chilling time is necessary

http://piesandplots.net/lemon-minion-cake/

Cranberry Swirl Frozen Yogurt

Cranberry Swirl Frozen Yogurt

I’ve recently been on a very big frozen dessert kick. That’s right, as the temperatures have dropped, I’m craving more ice cream and smoothies.

Before a month or so ago, I couldn’t really tell you the last time I bought ice cream. I picked up a pint for the Bananas Foster I made and fell in love all over again. I needed more ice cream in my life.

Cranberry Swirl Frozen Yogurt

Since then I’ve topped … okay smothered … my ice cream in Hot Fudge and leftover Cranberry Sauce. Ice cream and I are new BFFs.

But sometimes I crave something lighter and healthier. Something that’s good for me. Since I recently worked with Almond Dream and Coconut Dream, I had a stockpile of it in my refrigerator and was inspired to make some frozen yogurt.

Cranberry Swirl Frozen Yogurt

It’s not quite the same as the froyo you might get out, but it’s as good, if not better. Plus, this is super easy to make with no added sugar, and it’s gluten free, dairy free, and even vegan.

All you need is yogurt and some leftover cranberry sauce. If you don’t have that on hand, add some of your favorite jam. The flavors are endless.

So let’s turn up the heat and break out some of this Cranberry Swirl Frozen Yogurt!!

Cranberry Swirl Frozen Yogurt

Cranberry Swirl Frozen Yogurt

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

2 containers Almond Dream Vanilla Yogurt

1 container Coconut Dream Plain Yogurt

½ cup leftover cranberry sauce or jam

Instructions

Place yogurt in a freezer safe container. Stir to combine the flavors. Dollop the cranberry sauce into the yogurt and swirl it in with a spoon, making sure to not mix it in fully.

Freeze the yogurt for about 2 hours for soft serve consistency. If you freeze it for longer, it will freezer very hard and will need about 15 minutes to thaw at room temperature before scooping.

Notes

Additional freezing time is necessary

http://piesandplots.net/cranberry-swirl-frozen-yogurt/

Gingerbread Coconut Bundt Cake

Gingerbread Coconut Bundt Cake

Can you believe I’ve never baked anything with yogurt? Sure, I’ve eaten plenty of yogurt in my life, but I’ve never done anything more than open the container, grab a spoon, and dig in.

Luckily that all changed when I made this Gingerbread Coconut Bundt Cake. It is all of your holiday baking dreams come true. It’s super easy to make, you don’t even have to cream butter and sugar. The cake is big and beautiful, perfect for serving at a party or sharing with family and friends. Plus, it has that soft warm spice with cinnamon, ginger, and a hint of cloves.

Gingerbread Coconut Bundt Cake

I almost went with cranberries as the accent flavor in this cake but gingerbread cranberry cakes are a dime a dozen, yet coconut is an unexpected addition that you will love. The flavors pair well since ginger and coconut are both tropical ingredients. And considering I’m looking out at at least half a foot of snow, I’ll take the tropics in any form.

The cool thing about baking with yogurt is that it adds that incredible moisture without all the calories of sour cream or extra oil. The even better thing about this cake is that I used Almond Dream Coconut and Coconut Dream Vanilla yogurt, so not only did I add more coconut flavor to my cake, I kept it dairy free.

Gingerbread Coconut Bundt Cake

I have officially fallen in love with this yogurt. I know it is full of great ingredients since it’s non-GMO. Plus in the vanilla I could see real vanilla beans and in the coconut there were real pieces of toasted coconut. I can’t say that about many, maybe not any, other yogurts.

Gingerbread Coconut Bundt Cake

This cake also happens to be gluten free, which is so easy to do by using your favorite gluten free flour. As if this cake didn’t have enough going for it, from the texture of the coconut to the golden brown crust to the fluffy interior, it is both dairy and gluten free, so most of your guests will be able to enjoy it!

Whip up this cake for your holiday celebration and be sure to check out Almond Dream and Coconut Dream yogurts.

Gingerbread Coconut Bundt Cake

Gingerbread Coconut Bundt Cake

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Yield: 10-12 servings

Ingredients

3 cups gluten free flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 tablespoon ground ginger

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground cloves

½ teaspoon kosher salt

½ cup granulated sugar

1 cup packed light brown sugar

½ cup canola oil

½ cup pure maple syrup (or molasses for a richer cake)

3 large eggs

1 6 ounce container Almond Dream Coconut Yogurt

1 6 ounce container Coconut Dream Vanilla Yogurt

2 cups flaked unsweetened coconut

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Oil and flour a large Bundt pan.

In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and salt.

In a large bowl, stir together sugar, oil, syrup, eggs, and yogurt until well combined. Add the dry ingredients and stir until combined. Fold in the coconut.

Pour into the prepared pan and smooth into an even layer. Bake for about 1 hour, rotating halfway through, until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs.

Cool in pan for about 15 minutes. Gently loosen the cake from the pan and invert onto a serving plate. Cake may be served warm or room temperature. Cake may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days or frozen in pieces, wrapped in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag for up to three months. Thaw in the microwave about 1 minute.

http://piesandplots.net/gingerbread-coconut-bundt-cake/

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Almond Dream and Coconut Dream Yogurts.  All opinions, as always, are mine.

Coffee Hot Fudge Sauce

Coffee Hot Fudge Sauce

Recently I did some work for International Delight Iced Coffee. Remember these Coffee Sugar Cream Pies? Take a minute to check them out – they are wonderful.

I hadn’t had much coffee in awhile, but it sounded like a fun opportunity to work with the product. When I bought it, I brought it home and tasted it and fell in love. It seriously converted me into a coffee lover … I want to drink it every day.

Coffee Hot Fudge

It’s great when I work with companies and discover a new product I love, even better in fact than when I work with products I already know I enjoy. Working with companies really forces me to be creative and think outside of the box to stand out from the crowd which makes me a better blogger. Now that I’ve created awesome things like a Cheez-It Grilled Cheese and Peach Blueberry Baked Oatmeal (which I’ve made at least five times since), I want to be more creative in all my posts.

Coffee Hot Fudge Sauce

So I got funky with this Coffee Hot Fudge Sauce. It used up the last little bit of ID Iced Coffee that I can’t get enough of and will be buying again soon and created a rich, creamy hot fudge with a depth of flavor thanks to swapping milk or cream for that addictive Iced Coffee.

Coffee Hot Fudge Sauce

Whether you dip fruit or pretzels into this or pour it over ice cream, you have to make a batch. It keeps in the refrigerator for 2 weeks, waiting for whenever a craving strikes. My favorite way to eat it was steaming hot over ice cream, which melted into a milkshake kind of thing that I now need to recreate for lunch. Don’t judge! You know you want a sundae for lunch too.

Coffee Hot Fudge Sauce

Coffee Hot Fudge Sauce

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Yield: Varies

Ingredients

1 ½ cups granulated sugar

1 cup carob or cocoa powder

1 ¼ cups International Delight Vanilla Iced Coffee

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed

1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

Instructions

Combine sugar, carob or cocoa, and coffee in a medium pot. Whisk until combined.

Place over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally until the mixture comes to a boil. Add in the butter a couple pieces at a time and cook, continuing to stir occasionally until the sauce thickens slightly, about 5 minutes.

Remove from the heat. Whisk in the vanilla. Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. Reheat in the microwave for about 1 minute.

Notes

Recipe adapted from Chocolate Chocolate and More

http://piesandplots.net/coffee-hot-fudge-sauce/

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