Tag Archives: sugar

Reaching for the ‘clouds’ for the New Year!

Well hello to everyone… yes I realize it has been quite a while since my last posting, but there were many obstacles that prevented me from having the time to focus. Hopefully this will be a new blogging beginning for the New Year!
With 2015 finally upon us and an annual Holiday get-together with our friends approaching tonight, I felt this would be the best time to kickstart everything into motion.
Starting with ‘what can I bring’ to our amazing hostess, the words ‘how about dessert’ was music to my ears! After thinking about something out of the norm, I settled on a triple layered hazelnut mocha pavlova, with a hazelnut liquor cream filling…
It all started yesterday by roasting hazelnuts [the amount is your choice, but I went with six ounces] in the oven and also melting milk and dark chocolates [another six ounces] over simmering water. Both were set aside to cool…
While the nuts and melted chocolates cooled, six egg whites were whipped with a pinch of kosher salt until soft peaks formed, from there the sugar began to slowly get added until the whites became glossy and stiff. Once stiff peaks were evident, vanilla and almond extracts were added and the mixer then turned off. The chopped hazelnuts and a cup of chocolate chips were gently folded into the shiny pillowy mixture, as well as the cooled, melted chocolate to create a lovely marbled wonder.
Poured onto three parchment drawn discs and spread out, it was then into the 225*F oven for two and a half hours. Once cooked, the door was opened and the pavlova’s left to cool completely.
For the whipped filling, I beat cream and some hazelnut liquor until firm. This boozy filling was spread on each layer and stacked. The pavlova tier was popped into the refrigerator to ‘set-up’ overnight and then this edible beauty was dressed with some shaved dark chocolate on top before packing up and heading to the party!
The end result… crisp exterior with a slightly chewy center and a creamy delight to hold everything together… a total favorite!
What will I bake next???

-R

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this kind of flakey is acceptable!!

As a cold front approached and garnered the potential for some flurries in the night sky, I took it upon myself to make sure flakes showed up! My flakes, however were in the form of buttery golden topped buttermilk scones.
With a recipe consisting of pantry and crisper staples… flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, sugar, buttermilk, eggs, butter and shortening, soon some gorgeous scones would be pulled from my oven… After sifting all of my dry ingredients, it was time to cut in the chunks of butter and shortening. As soon as my mixture began to gain a crumbly existence, it was dampened with some tangy buttermilk, stirred lightly until combined [not overworked] and then turned out onto my workspace to be brought together into a wobbly [nobody’s judging], lengthened ‘disk’. From this disk the scones were gently plucked out one by one, layered on a baking sheet, brushed with an egg wash and baked off…
Once puffed and bronzed, it was off to cool and then be slathered later with some scarlet-colored rhubarb jam and enjoyed with a hot cup of tea.

at a low simmer…
-R

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hands off my buns!

For a nod to the upcoming Easter holiday, I decided to whip up a batch of hot cross buns… these spicy orbs of golden delight take a bit of time to prepare, but the outcome is entirely worth the effort!
The standards for creating these little heartbreakers are flour, sugar, salt, some mixed spices [pumpkin pie spice works as well], yeast, butter, an egg, whole milk, water, raisins, currants, as well as lemon and orange zest!
Everything for the dough is combined in the mixer, minus the fruits and zests… After a good ten-twelve minutes of kneading in the mixer, the fruits and zests are added in until incorporated. Once combined, a layer of plastic wrap covers the dough and it’s off for a nap in a warm spot until the dough rises in volume…
The dough, once risen, is separated and rolled into mounds, then set aside to rise again. As soon as they have risen the second time, a cross is piped along the tops of each bun and it’s off to get baking!
As soon as the buns are golden, a quick brushing of a syrupy glaze is gently slathered over each to finish off these treasures!
Warm out of the oven with a spread of butter or preserves [or hell both] is the best way to enjoy… guaranteed these don’t make it until Sunday!

at a low simmer…
-R

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that’s how the ____ crumbles!!

After enduring a rainy day, I decided to lift my spirits and make a refreshing crumble for dessert tonight. On a trip to the market, vibrant rhubarb peeked out of the wicker baskets and with their long stalks practically reached out for me!
Once home a nice cleaning, a quick chop and then a toss into a pan with sugar, vanilla and butter. As soon as everything was coated, it was cooked until the rhubarb became almost a glossy pink. Into miniature pie dishes went the filling, while to tuck these beauties in, a tasty crumble made up of flour, butter, brown sugar, salt and vanilla sugar. The crumble mixture was combined by hand until it achieved an almost oatmeal-ish texture, but where the butter still was somewhat together…
The crumbles went into the oven for roughly thirty-five minutes until the topping was golden and the insides were slightly bubbling… the rhubarb bubbling out and cascading down the sides made the excitement for digging in even more appealing!
The crumble was crispy and buttery, while the rhubarb filling had a lovey balance of sweet, but let the minute tartness steal the show…

at a low simmer…
-R

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what are you bananas!!

With a few bananas remaining from the cake I made this past weekend, I decided rather than tossing then out they’d do better mashed up into a wonderful banana bread! This wasn’t just any banana bread, but rather a boozy banana bread…
I soaked sweet little golden raisins in some delicious bourbon. Once plumped up and juicy, they went into my batter that was full of the mashed bananas, chopped pecans, vanilla, two eggs, one cup of flour, two teaspoons of baking powder, a half teaspoon of baking soda and salt, one stick of melted butter and sugar.
Once everything was combined, it was into a loaf pan and then off for a nap for fifty minutes on 325. After a quick test for complete doneness, I had to taste! There was very little willpower, but tasting this freshly baked beauty was a necessity. Served up with some vanilla-infused mascarpone made this luxurious delight even more spectacular!
The boozy raisins offered a wonderful addition to the sweetness of the bananas. This definitely will be on my breakfast menu tomorrow!

at a low simmer…
-R

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my inner cookie monster…

After a sweets craving, I decided to churn out a quick batch of chocolate chip cookies, but to elevate these cookies, I added in some chopped hazelnuts.
I started by creaming two sticks of butter, along with some regular sugar and brown sugar. To the mix, in went two eggs and vanilla.
While everything was mixing, in a separate bowl I added flour, baking powder, salt and some cinnamon. The dry mixture was slowly added into the mixing bowl until combined. Lastly, into the batter went the chopped hazelnuts and semi-sweet chocolate chips.
Scoopfuls of the scented batter went onto baking sheets and into the preheated oven. The fragrance of fresh baked cookies wafted throughout the entire house! After eighteen minutes, it was time to take the cookies out. Once out of the oven, a sprinkling of fleur de sel finished these gorgeous beauties…
Almost cake-like, these chocolatey and nutty cookies were the perfect end to the evening with a large glass of ice cold milk!

at a low simmer…
-R

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taking a ‘dip’ in pure deliciousness!

After realizing that I had a few eggs that would be passing their peak, I decided to make a vanilla bean dipping sauce and a batch of insatiable fried dough!
The dipping sauce was simple, one cup of cream and one of milk [brought to a simmer], into the simmering liquid went a vanilla bean that I split and scraped…
In a separate bowl went four egg yolks and one-fourth cups of sugar. This was whisked until a pale yellow color. The simmering liquid mixture was then slowly added into the egg mixture while constantly whisking.
Once the mixture was incorporated, it was back onto the heat and constantly stirred until slightly thickened. Off the heat a half teaspoon of bourbon was whisked in…
The mixture was set aside to cool until it met its fluffy and golden counterparts…
Dip… bite… dip… bite… this could have went on forever!

at a low simmer…
-R

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we’re all entitled to some decadence…

To start the week off right, it was best to do it on a sweet note!
A whiskey chocolate tart topped off with luxurious, homemade whiskey whipped cream…
The tart was made using a cookbook I received as a Christmas present. I adapted it from one large tart into mini-personal sized ones.
The crust was made using shortbread cookies, sugar, salt and some melted butter. The cookies, sugar and salt are pulsed in a food processor, and then the melted butter stirred in until everything was incorporated. Pressed into the mini tart pans, the crust was cooked till just before browned…
While the crust cooled down, some milk and heavy cream were heated. Once hot, but not boiling, off the heat chopped milk and dark chocolates were whisked into the milky mixture until smooth.
In a separate bowl went some flour, an extra-large egg [plus an additional yolk] and some whiskey! Everything was beat together and then added into the chocolate mixture and whisked until combined.
The silky, chocolatey mixture was eased into the cooled shortbread crusts and popped into the oven and baked until slightly set, but wiggly in the center.
To finish this story, a hefty dollop of the homemade whipped cream and it was time to begin eating! Rich and decadent, full of chocolatey goodness… this was truly a spectacular dessert!

at a low simmer…
-R

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quite the cookie!

After a grueling day of shopping for Christmas presents and finishing decorating around the house, it was finally time to sit down, turn on the television and relax. Before doing that, I decided to make us some classic espresso coffees served with some beautiful, homemade Italian biscotti!
The biscotti were crunchy, nutty and a bit tart. Simply made, all that it took to make were pistachios, dried cranberries [or honestly any dried fruit you like], some lemon or orange zest, flour, salt, baking powder, sugar, butter, salt and eggs.
The most difficult part of baking these tasty little lovelies, wasn’t the cooling process, but the fact that these cookies were twice baked so it felt like the waiting game was just that…

at a low simmer…
-R

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say cheese[cake that is]…

After a fantastic holiday weekend full of spending time with family and friends, unfortunately reality is kicking back in…
To prepare for another week, what better way to gear up than with a slice of velvety caramel pecan cheesecake in a graham cracker crust!
Two packages of cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, eggs, pecans, caramel and a graham cracker crust [store bought or homemade, there are no judgements here!] are all that is needed to create this delightful masterpiece…
For the pecan caramel base, chopped pecans are stirred into a sultry caramel sauce and poured into the graham cracker crust… The cream cheese and sugar are whipped until combined, then the vanilla and eggs are added in and blended together. This creamy mixture is gently eased into the crust and then baked in a 350 degree oven until set. After cooling down and then chilling in the refrigerator, it was time to slice and enjoy…
Sweet, creamy, nutty and buttery… this slice of heaven is well deserved and for me guilt-free!!

at a low simmer…
-R

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