Category Archives: confections

easy as 1, 2, 3

I made these for Valentine’s day for my son’s 2nd grade class.  They were a huge success, and he asked for them again for his birthday instead of the usual cupcake.  It’s a great alternative and a great end to a meal.  Everyone loves these and they are simple and easy to make…and a nice treat for those watching their weight.  These were made with Valhrona Chocolate.  It just so happened that my local grocery store had these beautiful huge chunks of fine chocolate on sale so I grabbed a few blocks.  Just chop the chocolate small and put place in a glass bowl.  You can either melt it over a double boiler or even at a low temp in the microwave for 40 second intervals.  I add a few tablespoons of light corn syrup and you are ready to dip!  The oversized long stemmed strawberries work really well.


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puppy cupcakes

 

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angeletti or anisette cookie

I am quite fond of this soft pillow-ey Italian cookie.  I made them last Christmas and decided to make them again this year, but when I started out to make the recipe I did not have enough baking powder.  This recipe calls for a wopping (no pun intended) 6 tbls of baking powder!!  So instead, I found another recipe as a substitute. Not as good!!   So I am going to share with you my favorite recipe for angeletti.   I believe the  transaltion is “little angels”.

4 cups flour

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup milk

2 eggs, large

6 tbls baking powder

3/4 cup oil

1 1/2 tbls anise extract

Icing:

1 tsp anise extract (and hot water as needed) to 1 cup confectioners sugar to make icing smooth.

yield: 40 cookies or so

Mix together dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Make a well in the center and add the oil milk anise and eggs  Mix together with a wooden spoon.  With oiled hands roll into 1″ balls and slightly flatten top.  Bake at 375 for 8 minutes.  Dip cookies into icing while still warm.  Buon Natale!

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my very first buche de noel

I have always wanted to make a bouche de noel and every christmas my mom and I agree to make one, and then chicken out.  so this year I decided I would give it a go.  I think I did ok.  I made a few mistakes that I will share with you.  First, it really helps to watch a few videos (youtube has many).  I watched several.  I chose to use  a recipe from marthastewart.com compliments of Johnny Iuzzini from Jean Georges in NY.  http://www.marthastewart.com/recipes/buche-de-noel

I changed it a little..I  did not make the chestnut cream filling, I used chocolate mousse instead.  Johnny’s genoise recipe is great and easy to roll, the ganache is great too.  You might want to double the ganache recipe, it makes it easier to have extra.  OK, so here is where I screwed up, my mousse was too soft and oozed out a bit, next time I will pop it in the freezer to really thicken it.  Also, after filling and rolling do the following :

1) pop it in the FREEZER for 1 hour.

2) then slice the ends…

3) pour ganache over cake-roll over a sheet pan with rack,

4) adhere stump ends

5) more ganache over cake-roll over a sheet pan with rack,

5) then decorate on serving platter with meringue mushrooms.

I also did not use his swiss meringue recipe.  I whipped up 6 egg whites in an electric mixer (whisk attachment!!) added 1 cup sugar and about 4 tbls of meringue powder…whipped until stiff peaks form.  Use a piping bag and tip #12 to make mushroom caps and stems.  Bake on parchment at 200 for 1 hour.

Happy Holidays!!

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mini vanilla cupcakes with chocolate ganache center

I love Mrs Millmans recipe for chocolate ganache or frosting:

This will last in the fridge for about 5-6 days in a plastic container.  I had some leftover so I decided to inject my vanilla cupcakes with it.  I used my piping bag.  Use a tip that you can easily pierce through the cupcake with.   You want a decent size tip opening to allow the ganache to flow… don’t go too small, it will take you forever.  I used a #21 star tip. They do make a tip for this very purpose(# 230).

Makes 6 cups

  • 24 ounces semisweet chocolate morsels
  • 4 cups heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon light corn syrup

Directions

  1. Put chocolate and cream into a medium saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat; stirring constantly with a heatproof rubber spatula, until thick, 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in corn syrup. Transfer to a large, wide metal bowl. Refrigerate until frosting is cool enough to spread, about 2 hours, checking and stirring every 15 minutes. Use immediately

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pumpkin cupcakes for halloween

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i made martha stewart’s pumpkin cupcake recipe this morning to bring to my daughters class party.  they are very light and tasty.  i made minis.  i just find that the mini cupcakes are better for the little ones.  they can have just one, or 2 if they like.  one batch made about 48 minis AND one small loaf pan of pumpkin bread.  i was going to use my mom’s banana bread recipe (which i LOVE and the kids just adore!!) just substitute the bananas with pumpkin (or zucchini, sweet potato…whatever) but I thought i would try Martha’s new recipe…  it’s definitely good.  and maybe it would have been better with cream cheese frosting.  but I do think i like my moms better.  much better.  my best, and most sincere recipe taster,  my 6 year old agreed that grandma’s “pumpkin bread” is better!!  again, Martha’s is not a bad recipe, by any stretch…my husband and myself have had about 5 so far and it’s only 2:00 pm

martha’s:

http://www.marthastewart.com/recipe/pumpkin-cupcakes

moms:

https://butterygoodness.wordpress.com/2009/05/25/never-get-caught-without-a-banana/

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pumpkin pie

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My 6 year old son is a HUGE fan of pumpkin pie. Last week we made a pie together, and almost every night for a week he enjoyed a slice after dinner.  So tonight, he asked if we could make another.  I happily obliged.  As I set out to make our pie from my stockpile of Libby’s canned pumpkin, my little guy said…”Wait!”  Can we use real pumpkin?  We have a bunch outside on the front step!”  So we set out together to make our pie from fresh pumpkin.

I do love having canned pumpkin on hand, it is one of the top 10 super foods!!  I like to add it to cakes and brownies and omit the fat.  My kids also love pumpkin bread and cupcakes, so I like having it available.

Making pie from fresh pumpkin is more nutritious and actually quite simple.  Make sure that you use the small sugar pumpkins.

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First, we scrubbed our pumpkin clean. Then I cut it down the middle with a long serrated knife.  We scooped out all the stringy fibrous  material and seeds with a sturdy ice-cream scoop.  (You can save the seeds and roast in the oven with melted butter salt and brown sugar).

Quarter the pumpkin, place it on a baking sheet with some butter and brown sugar and a little salt.  Roast it in a 350 oven (i cranked up the convection).  Let it roast until it is tender, about 35-40 minutes or so.

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Let cool.  When you can comfortably handle the pumpkin with your hands, peel off the skin and discard.

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Puree the pumpkin in a Cuisinart, blender…or whatever you have.

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Preheat oven to 425…mix together:

1 3/4 cups of pureed pumpkin

3/4 cup sugar

1 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1 /4 cloves

1/4 allspice

1 tbls vanilla extract

2 eggs

1 1/2 cups of heavy cream

1  9″ deep dish pie shell

Mix it all together simply in a bowl with a wire whisk…that’s it!!  Pour into pie shell and bake at 425 for 15 minutes, lower temp to 350 for 40-50 minutes

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