Archive of ‘Dessert’ category
Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Tart
This dark chocolate salted caramel tart screams Happy Valentine’s Day, at least for me. While my husband doesn’t eat chocolate, I haven’t had trouble sharing this tasty treat with the other Valentines in my life..
Seriously… this is a crunchy chocolate crust, filled with an ooey gooey sweet caramel, topped with a slightly bitter chocolate ganache and dusted with salt. Amazing. There are several steps to this recipe, which each require cool time, but it is definitely worth the effort! Read through the entire recipe to make certain you have plenty of time prior to serving. While the cool times may be several hours, each step only takes a few minutes to complete.
Try this… your loved ones will thank you!
Confession of a *wannabe* foodie… I had every intention of making a special treat for my lovely non-chocolate eating, Allen. Unfortunately, I couldn’t seem to make it happen this week, so not only am I a *wannabe* foodie tonight, I am also a *wannabe* sweet wife. There is always next year, right? (shame)
Happy World Nutella day!
It is so cold and snowy in St. Louis these days, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to warm up the oven for these ultimate comfort brownies.
I am always looking for any excuse to bake and celebrate!
These Nutella brownies are a fantastic way to celebrate the merging of two cultures! Combining chewy chocolaty American brownies, with creamy delicious hazelnut Italian Nutella, is a fantastic tribute to our culinary and cultural histories. The Nutella flavor is somewhat subtle in these brownies, so don’t forget the chopped hazelnuts to really amplify the chocolate hazelnut goodness!
Bake, eat, share, love!
It was snow much fun making this Winter Onederland to celebrate my nephew Miles’ first birthday! I was a little nervous with my friend Tim coming to join in the cake decorating fun, because let’s be honest, there is really only room for one chef in the kitchen, especially one as small as mine! It turns out… we actually work pretty well together! I think this cake adventure was even disaster free.
With every cake adventure I seem to learn a few good cake decorating tips:
- Definitely apply a thin crumb coat to your cake before icing, especially with white icing. I recommend refrigerating the cake for 15-20 minutes after applying the crumb coat, to provide time for the icing to set.
- Sugar cubes are amazing for winter wonderlands: ice blocks, igloos, snow, the opportunities are endless!
- Insert a toothpick in fondant figures to secure the figures in place on top of a cake.
- In order to minimize the mess, add sprinkles immediately after icing before the icing has opportunity to set.
Confession of a *wannabe* foodie….. While I always make homemade icing, I occasionally , okay frequently,cheat on the cake and filling, if I am decorating a cake. Before I started decorating cakes, I had no idea you could buy pudding in cans, but it turns out that canned pudding is pretty fantastic as a cake filling.
Italians eat lentils in celebration of the New Year. The small round legumes resemble small coins and symbolize wealth and prosperity. The more lentils you eat, the more wealth and prosperity you will experience in the coming year. I love lentils, I love tradition, and I will share my favorite tasty lentil soup recipe on the first day of the New Year.
Today, however, I celebrate the end of 2012 and initiate an amazing new tradition… caramel popcorn. I hereby decree I will consume these crispy, crunchy, clusters of golden goodness each New Year’s Eve to symbolize my sweet successes of the past year and the golden opportunities that await in the year ahead.
Try this. You will not be disappointed. You can be good next year!
Confession of a *wannabe* foodie… This caramel popcorn is highly addictive. It may be more addictive than Cheetos. Consider yourself warned.
Blackberry Lime Sorbet
For the love of blackberry…. and lime.
It is a happy day, a true sign of summer, when berries dominate the fruit display at the grocery stores. Hoards of strawberries, heaps of blueberries and mounds of raspberries, but blackberries? Where are the blackberries and why are they always in those teeny-tiny containers?
This summer we are participating in the Fresh Gatherings Harvest, a community supported agriculture (CSA) program run through the nutrition and dietetics department at Saint Louis University. We purchase our “share” (or half-share; $17.50 per week) at the beginning of the season and receive our “product” (produce) throughout the spring/summer/fall. This is an incredibly easy and convenient way to purchase seasonal fruits and veggies from local farmers. In a quick 5 minute stop, we have a crate full of produce for the week and the backbone of a seasonal weekly menu! In addition, the crate often includes fruits and veggies that I might not normally find or buy at the grocery store… like blackberries!
Oh the blackberries!
While the blackberries rarely last a day in our house… I resisted all temptation for the love of blackberry and lime sorbet!
Tart, tangy, and tasty… this is a perfect summer treat!
Confession of a *wannabe* foodie… I consider it a miracle when the blackberries survive the ride home!
Hello Kitty Cake
Hello Kitty. Pink. Sparkly.
Those were the instructions from my beautiful niece Elise for her 3rd birthday cake. I should probably rearrange those instructions to reflect the true enthusiasm of Elise in her birthday cake request…
Sparkly! Pink! Hello Kitty!
In an attempt to be the ultimate aunt, I added one more to the list:
Sparkly. Pink. Hello Kitty. Gum. (one of Elise’s favorites)
Who knew the most challenging mission of this cake would be to locate and acquire gumballs! Once gumballs were included as part of the mission, however, they could not be removed, as they were now an essential element in the cake completion. Fortunately, my mother and sister voluntarily enlisted in the overt gumball operation. Three stores and several phone calls later, a large box of gumballs appeared, concealed in a Dierberg’s bag, between the side door and screen door of our quaint brick bungalow. With the success of the overt gumball operation, it was time to move on to the next phase of cake completion.
Hello Kitty Cake
Pink pearl dust, applied with a paint brush (clean, and cake-specific, of course), provided the perfect pink sparkle to make this cake Elise approved. I intended to make this cake over-the-top -sparkly with actual sparklers, but lost too much time with the overt gumball operation. Next New Year’s Eve, I plan to purchase several packs of sparklers to use throughout the year.
Confession of a *wannabe* foodie… My free hand Hello Kitty failed, so I cheated a bit by creating my own Hello Kitty stencil by printing and cutting an image I liked online.
Batman and Iron Man Cake
I don’t consider myself a necessarily girly-girl. I love to camp, spend time outdoors, watch baseball and hockey, listen to loud rock and roll, love crime shows, etc. I have to admit, however, I seem to be missing the superhero gene! I appreciate a good superhero in the occasional movie or great costumes at Halloween, but if you ask me about Bruce Wayne, it may take a second before I figure out if you are referring to Batman or Superman.
I am always up for a birthday cake challenge, so I thought I would attempt Mason and Alex’s favorite superheros: Batman and Iron Man. Despite my superhero ignorance, I am fairly confident with Batman. Iron Man, on the other hand, is where that ignorance returns in full force! I tried my usual hot spots for cake inspiration: blogs, Google image searches, Pinterest, movie/cartoon clips, etc., but Iron Man continued to elude my creativity. This creativity block continued for several days and as the birthday approached, I began to fear that stifling creativity might, in fact, be Iron Man’s ultimate super power.
I unleashed a few of my decorating superheros, and the gold and silver pearl powders ultimately saved the day by kicking up the Iron Man mask and power supply.
I welcome any suggestions for future superhero cakes! It can be difficult to find that delicate balance of awesome… that remains within my ability to execute!
Batman and Iron Man Cake
Confession of a *Wannabe* Foodie… Boxed cake mix, layered with pudding, and frosted with homemade icing can be pretty fantastic and great for kids’ birthday cakes. The kids get way more excited about the decorations than homemade cake!
Homemade Vanilla Wafers
My loving, sweet, adorable husband does not like chocolate. Under the circumstances, I believe it is even appropriate to say that he hates chocolate. He dislikes chocolate so much that he does not eat anything with chocolate in it… except for Mexican Mole!
As a baker, this has been a difficult character flaw, I mean trait, to accept. As our dating days progressed into engagement and marriage, the issue of the chocolate lingered… no one to appreciate gooey chocolate chip cookies fresh from the oven, a lifetime of vanilla ice cream, cuddling on the couch with a steaming cup of hot cocoa and homemade marshmallows alone… the tragedy of missed opportunities, as you can imagine, abound…
After almost four years of marriage, however, I determined there are a few surprising benefits (okay, two) to a non-chocolate-eating husband!
1. There are many circumstances in which I am *forced* to eat 2 desserts; it is only polite. If dessert at a certain dinner or event, for example, happens to be chocolate, I politely devour mine and then do a quick switch of the plate when no one is looking to politely finish Allen’s dessert as well.
2. I explore and test a lot of amazing non-chocolate desserts, which I might normally overlook!
These homemade vanilla wafer cookies are a fantastic example of a cookie I might never have tried if it were not for my chocolate-fearing husband and my heightened awareness of non-chocolate eaters.
These delicate, crispy, vanilla bite sized cookies will definitely make you think… what chocolate chip cookie?!?
Confession of a *wannabe* foodie… Although I do love to harass Allen for his disdain of chocolate, I do love all the non-chocolate desserts we discover!
Oatmeal Cream Pies
Ohhhh yes… homemade oatmeal cream pies! You may be thinking…
When was the last time I actually ate an oatmeal cream pie?!?
Why would I want to bake a homemade version of a pre-packed vending machine snack?!?
Just take one look at that ooey gooey oatmeal cream pie and trust me!
The past few years, I have helped with a retro bowling fundraiser for Guardian Angel Settlement Association (GASA), an amazing organization in Saint Louis that serves the poor by helping them improve the quality of their lives and achieve economic independence. In addition to raising money, this event is a wonderful opportunity to get together and celebrate such an incredible organization in the Saint Louis community. You know it’s a pretty fantastic fundraiser when it includes, all you can eat, drink, bowl, and shoot pool at an old school bowling alley that requires you to keep your own score! The event is held at Saratoga Bowling Lanes, in operation since 1916, and supposedly the oldest bowling alley west of the Mississippi.
I thought it would be fun to contribute a retro dessert buffet, and where better to start than with the original Little Debbie Snack Cake… the Oatmeal Cream Pie.
Confession of a *wannabe* foodie… these taste amazingly similar to the original Little Debbie Oatmeal Cream Pies, yet oh so delicious! (more…)
I started drafting a few cake ideas for Robotto Otto’s first birthday when my husband Allen nonchalantly mentioned that I could not make a robot cake without some electronics! My knowledge of circuits, however, ended with grade school science.
Needless to say, we decided to divide and conquer. I added the lights into the cake design and Allen headed off to RadioShack. Allen created a series circuit with three LED’s, two nine volt batteries, a switch, a bunch of wires, a project box, some solder, and a bit of electrical tape.
(he totally wrote this section, see my aforementioned self proclaimed electronic ignorance)