"Life is uncertain. Eat dessert first."

-Ernestine Ulmer-

Monday, February 3, 2014

Snow Cream

Funfetti snow cream.

We finally got some snow here in Virginia, and of course, Liam wanted to eat it. 
So I made snow cream.
And if you have snow, you should too!
I don't have measurements. Its snow cream, people.
Mix a little milk (I dunno, 1/2 a cup maybe?) with vanilla extract and either a few tablespoons of sugar or honey or whatever you sweeten with. Add fresh, clean snow until you've reached the desired consistency. Then stir in multicolored nonpareil sprinkles. Top with more sprinkles, and I added a little coarse sanding sugar, because I think snow cream sounds like a food that should be sparkly.

Sunday, July 22, 2012


Vanilla cupcakes can be a pain the butt. I want that box-mix texture, without the box-mix taste. 
It occurred to me that my favorite chocolate cupcake recipe has oil in it, not butter.
So do boxed cake mixes. 
So I hunted and hunted and baked and baked until I formulated my new favorite vanilla cupcake recipe.
These are soft, bake up nice and flat, stay moist, and they're super easy to boot.
You can substitute coconut oil for the safflower oil, a friend of mine did it and said they turned out great! (Thanks for the tip, Ruby!)
1 cup cake flour
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 organic eggs
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract vanilla bean paste
1/2 cup safflower oil
1/2 cup buttermilk
Preheat oven to 350°
-Whisk together the cake flour, AP flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In the bowl of a mixer, add eggs and beat 10-20 seconds.  Add sugar and continue to beat on medium speed about 30 seconds.  Add vanilla and oil, beat some mo'.
With the mixer on low,  add half of the flour mixture. Alternate with half of the buttermilk, then the rest of the flour, and ending with the rest of the buttermilk.
 This batter is thin. Don't freak out. Pour batter into prepared pan.
 Bake for 13 minutes.
Enjoy your perfect vanilla cupcakes.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp/Crumble
2 pints fresh strawberries, cut in half they're big', hulled
5-6 stalks fresh rhubarb, cut into 1 inch pieces
1/2 cup fresh orange juice + the zest
tablespoon cornstarch
teaspoon vanilla extract
tablespoon lavender buds
3/4 cup + 1/2 cup white sugar
teaspoon salt
1 cup spelt flour
1 cup quick cooking rolled oats (not instant)
1/2 cup light brown sugar
12 tablespoons cold butter, cut into pieces
pinch of cardamom, if you like it.
Preheat your oven to 350
Toss the strawberries, rhubarb, orange zest, lavender, and 3/4 cup of sugar together in a large bowl. 
Mix the cornstarch with the orange juice and vanilla until dissolved. Pour over the fruit and toss to combine.
Let it hang out while you make the topping so it's nice and macerated.
Mix the 1/2 cup sugar, salt, spelt flour, brown sugar, cardamom if you're using it, and oats together in a bowl.
Scatter the butter over the top, then get in there with your hands and work it all together to form a crumbly topping. You could do this in a mixer but it's just as quick to do it this way, plus you don't have to dirty your mixer bowl or an attachment
Pour the fruit into an 8x11 baker. Set that pan on a cookie sheet lined with foil or parchment. Trust me.
Scatter the topping over the fruit. Bake for 1 hour, all the while enjoying that heavenly smell.
Serve warm or at room temperature, with ice cream or whipped cream or whatever your little heart desires.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Italian Almond Tart

 This recipe isn't mine, it's from Williams Sonoma.
Which makes posting it so much easier. ;)
The pictures are mine though! This tart is super fast and incredible simple, but looks lovely. And tastes like magic and wonder.
  • 1 rolled-out round of tart dough (see recipe below)
  • 8 Tbs. (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room
  • 1⁄2 lb. almond paste, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1⁄4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1⁄3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1⁄3 cup raspberry, plum or cherry jam (I used cherry and it was divine)
  • 1⁄2 cup sliced almonds
Fold the dough round in half and carefully transfer to a 9 1/2-inch tart pan, preferably with a removable bottom. Unfold and ease the round into the pan, without stretching it, and pat it firmly into the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Trim off any excess dough by gently running a rolling pin across the top of the pan. Press the dough into the sides to extend it slightly above the rim to offset any shrinkage during baking.
Refrigerate or freeze the tart shell until firm, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, position a rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat to 375°F.
Line the pastry shell with aluminum foil or parchment paper and fill with pie weights or raw short-grain rice. Bake for 20 minutes, then lift an edge of the foil. If the dough looks wet, continue to bake, checking every 5 minutes, until the dough is pale gold, for a total baking time of 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack.
Position a rack in the middle of the oven and reduce the heat to 350°F.
In a bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed or a whisk, beat the butter until smooth. Add the almond paste, one piece at a time, beating until smooth after each addition. While continuing to beat, sprinkle in the sugar. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in the flour.
Spread the jam evenly over the bottom of the partially baked tart shell. Spoon in the almond paste mixture and spread evenly over the jam. Sprinkle the surface evenly with the sliced almonds.
Bake the tart until the filling is golden and the middle is firm to the touch, 35 to 45 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let the tart cool completely. If using a tart pan with a removable bottom, let the sides fall away, then slide the tart onto a serving plate. Serve at room temperature.
Makes one 9 1/2-inch tart.
Tart Dough
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 Tbs. very cold water
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1⁄4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1⁄3 cup sugar
  • 1⁄4 tsp. salt
  • 8 Tbs. (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into
      1⁄4-inch cubes
In a small bowl, stir together the egg yolk, water and vanilla; set aside.
To make the dough by hand, in a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar and salt. Using a pastry cutter or 2 knives, cut the butter into the flour mixture until the texture resembles coarse cornmeal, with butter pieces no larger than small peas. Add the egg mixture and mix with a fork just until the dough pulls together.
To make the dough in a stand mixer fitted with the flat beater, stir together the flour, sugar and salt in the mixer bowl. Add the butter and beat on medium-low speed until the texture resembles coarse cornmeal, with butter pieces no larger than small peas. Add the egg mixture and beat just until the dough pulls together.
Transfer the dough to a work surface, pat into a ball and flatten into a disk. Use the dough immediately, or wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until well chilled, about 30 minutes.
To roll out the dough, on a lightly floured board, flatten the disk with 6 to 8 gentle taps of the rolling pin. Lift the dough and give it a quarter turn. Lightly dust the top of the dough or the rolling pin with flour as needed, then roll out until the dough is about 1/8 inch thick. Use a small, sharp knife to cut out a round or rounds 2 inches greater in diameter than your tart or larger tartlet pans. Use a small, sharp knife or a cookie cutter to cut out rounds 1/2 to 1 inch greater in diameter than your miniature tartlet pans. If using a rectangular tart pan, cut out a rectangle 2 inches larger on all sides than the pan. Makes enough dough for one 9 1/2-inch tart, six 4-inch tartlets, twelve 2-inch miniature tartlets or one 13 3/4-by-4 1/4-inch rectangular tart.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Don't just sit there, bake something!

Sometimes when I'm bored, or stressed, or I want my house to smell yummy, I'll make a pie.
Today it was a Key Lime Pie.
A super pretty Key Lime Pie if I do say so myself.
What would desserts be without a piping bag?

(Ugly. The answer is ugly.)

Friday, March 16, 2012

oh hello

lavender chocolate cupcakes with lavender vanilla butterceam.
because purple is pretty.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Chocolate and Whiskey Tart

-courtesy of me-
1.5 cups unbleached all purpose flour
3 tbsp sugar
pinch of kosher salt
1/2 cup walnuts
-Pulse all these ingredients in a food processor until the walnuts are finely ground-
Add 1 stick of cold butter, cut into pieces, and pulse again until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
Whisk 1 large egg yolk with 2 tbsp ice water and 1 tsp of vanilla. Stream into the running food processor until the dough just comes together. 
Turn out onto a board and shape into a flat disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes in fridge, press (no need to roll it out) into a 9-10 inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Prick the bottom of the crust with a fork and bake at 375º for 22 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool. Reduce the oven to 325º.
Now make yo fillin'!
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup skim milk
2-3 tbsp Jameson Irish Whiskey
1 tbsp vanilla extract
8 ounces chocolate (I used half semi-sweet and half unsweetened)
1/4 cup sugar (I use organic, but I don't think it really matters)
2 large eggs, at room temperature, beaten
 -Heat the cream, milk, whiskey, and vanilla on the stove top until just bubbly around the edges. Remove the pot from the heat and add your chocolate (chopped up, obviously.)
Stir to combine until the chocolate is melted. Whisk in the sugar.
Let the mixture cool for several minutes. You don't want to scramble your eggs. 
Once the mixture is cool, add the eggs and whisk to combine everything.
Pour the mixture into the cooled tart crust and bake at 325º for 26-30 minutes. If the top begins to crack, it's getting over-baked. If after 30 minutes it's still super jiggly, keep it in the oven for 5 minute increments until it's just set. Oven temps are tricky, you just have to watch it.
Sprinkle the tart with smoked grey salt once it comes out. Let it cool completely before serving.
The smoked salt plays really nicely off of the peppery whiskey. I'm pretty happy with this recipe.