I am having a total 70′s flashback today (in reference to my childhood) thinking about Neapolitan ice cream. In the 70′s it was still the cheap square cardboard boxes when it came to ice cream, and you didn’t have a million flavors like we do today. Somewhere along the line we transitioned into circular ice cream containers. What’s up with that?
Neapolitan ice cream was a frequent in our house growing up. I loved the first glance of those perfectly proportioned lines of chocolate, vanilla and strawberry when you first lifted the lid on the container. I was a naughty girl and always scooped from the strawberry stripe only. I’m sure my Mother figured it out. If not-she is certainly right now- reading this. For some reason I was not much interested in the chocolate or vanilla. Today I have grown out of my strawberry obsession and am an equal flavor opportunist.
Neapolitan macarons. You get all 3 wonderful flavors at the same time. Give it a try….
I did a couple variations on flavors. You could use vanilla swiss meringue buttercream to fill all or also choose to divide some of them and fill with chocolate ganache or even strawberry buttercream.
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200 gms almond flour, sifted
200 gms confectioners sugar, sifted
2 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
76 gms egg whites
200 gms granulated sugar
50 gms water
75 gms egg whites (room temp)
pinch of cream of tartar
1. In a large bowl combine the almond flour, and confectioners sugar and cocoa powder. Add the 75 gms of egg whites, and stir to combine. Set aside.
2. In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment combine 75 gms of egg whites and the cream of tartar and begin whipping them on medium-high speed.
At the same time combine the 200 gms of granulated sugar and water in a small saucepan on high heat; bring to 240° without stirring while whipping the egg whites on your mixer simultaneously. You want the cooking sugar syrup to reach 240 degrees at the same time your whites reach stiff peaks. To time this; keep the stand mixer next to the stove so you can peek at the whites while still watching your cooking syrup. If you notice the whites starting to get too stiff before the sugar is done; slow down the mixer to low-speed.
3. Once the syrup is at 240 degrees, stop/take off the heat and start pouring the syrup down the side of the mixer bowl slowly with the mixer running on slow-medium at the same time; careful not to let the syrup hit the whisk to prevent hard syrup forming. Once all the syrup is in, crank up the mixer and whip the whites until very glossy and stiff.
4. Take the whipped meringue and place on top of the almond mixture and start to fold gently until all of the meringue is incorporated; careful not to deflate the mixture. You are looking for a thick consistency like lava. Fill a piping bag fitted with a 1/2 inch round tip and pipe the cookies on parchment lined sheet trays; leaving at least an inch space between cookies. Take the trays and rap them hard on the counter to release any air bubbles. Let the trays sit out anywhere from 30-60 minutes; as long as it takes until when you touch the top of the cookies they are dry and no longer tacky to the touch.
5. Bake the cookies double panned (placing one empty tray underneath the piped cookies) one tray at a time in a 325° oven for about 15-18 minutes until the cookies are no longer wet on the bottom and appear dry. Sacrifice one if you have to test. Let the cookies cool on the tray. Sandwich with the filling. Store the cookies in the fridge covered loosely for 8 hours or overnight; this helps the cookies become even more chewy as the moisture from the filling helps the texture of the cookie.
Follow the same recipe as above except substitute the cocoa powder with 2 Tbsp. dried strawberry powder and add a few drops of deep pink food coloring gel in step one.
Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream
4 egg whites
1 cup granulated sugar
4 sticks unsalted butter
2 tsp. vanilla
In the bowl of a stand mixer combine egg whites and sugar. Set over a saucepan of simmering water and whisk until mixture is hot and sugar is dissolved. Remove bowl and place on mixer and beat until stiff meringue forms and bottom of mixer bowl is cool to touch; about 5 minutes. Add softened butter one tablespoon at a time until all is incorporated. Add vanilla and and beat until smooth. Use a generous 1 tsp. full to fill macarons.
Note: any leftover buttercream may be frozen. Store in an airtight container. To use: thaw at room temperature and rewhip with paddle attachment. You may also make strawberry buttercream by dividing adding in some seedless strawberry jam and whipping to combine.
Assembling Neapolitan Macarons: match up one chocolate and strawberry mac cookie and fill with vanilla buttercream. As an alternative you may fill some with chocolate ganache.
Small batch chocolate ganache
4 oz. semi sweet chocolate, chopped fine
3 oz. heavy cream
In a medium bowl place the chopped chocolate. Heat the heavy cream on high until small bubbles appear around the edges of the pan. Pour the cream over the chocolate and let sit for one minute before stirring to combine thoroughly. Place the ganache in the fridge while you make the cookies.
You may notice that the breakfast category has a high count when it comes to my lists. I LOVE breakfast. It is hands down my favorite meal. I love nothing more than going out with friends to a wonderful breakfast spot and lazily enjoying a delicious breakfast while languidly sipping coffee and easing into the day. Some days you just want that special feeling but you don’t want to get dressed, quite frankly. You know that feeling. One of those days you try to convince yourself, “Do I REALLY need to get dressed today?” Perhaps its a Sunday and you don’t REALLY have anywhere to go. Nobody is coming over. Your favorite show is on tv. The couch is calling you. It’s freezing outside. Screw the polar vortex!! When it is the dead of winter and you have not shaved your legs in God knows how long. I hear-by give you permission. (to not get dressed-not the shaving part). Your secret is safe with me. Nobody has to know….
Sugared Raspberry Popovers
yield: 6 large popovers
3 large eggs
1 1/2 Cup whole milk (2% is fine)
3/4 tsp. vanilla bean paste (or 1 tsp. vanilla is fine)
1 1/2 Tbsp. sugar
pinch of salt
1 1/2 Tbsp. melted butter
1 1/2 Cups all purpose flour
fresh raspberries, rinsed and dried
granulated sugar for serving
1. Preheat the oven to 425° degrees. Have baking non stick spray available.
2. Blend the eggs, milk, vanilla, sugar, salt, and melted butter. Add the flour and whisk to combine; about 1 minute; mix just til combined but okay if visible lumps of flour remain. Pour batter into a 2 Cup glass measuring cup. Set aside.
3. Place the popover pan in the oven and heat the pan for about 10 minutes. Remove the pan carefully and spray generously with the non stick spray; make sure to get the tops of the wells.
4. Carefully pour batter into each well to 3/4 full. Top with about 6-7 raspberries. Bake the popovers at 425° for 20 minutes. DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN DOOR!
5. After 20 minutes, reduced the of the oven to 350° and continue baking for an additional 20-25 minutes. After 20 minutes check the popovers; insert a bamboo skewer and the popovers are done when the skewer comes out clean; if not done continue baking for a few additional minutes. Once they are done; insert a sharp paring knife into each popover to release the steam (this will ensure they keep their shape) and let the popovers cool in the pan on a wire rack until cool enough to touch. Toss in granulated sugar.
*Can I just say: I like to rip them open while warm and eat them by sprinkling on additional granulated sugar inside. Yum!
White chocolate and raspberry are a classic combination. The slightly tart but still sweet raspberry plays well off of the sweet mellow white chocolate. I love this combination for a pudding. I layered the flavors in dessert shooter glasses for a sweet looking parfait. If you don’t have access to fresh raspberries you can use frozen for the raspberry layer; just thaw and drain the berries first.
H♥ppy V♥lentines D♥y!
White Chocolate Raspberry Pudding
yield: 4-6 servings
12 oz. fresh raspberries, rinsed and let dry (if using frozen; let berries thaw and drain first)
1/4 Cup granulated sugar
2 tsp. corn starch
1 tsp. water
1. In a small saucepan (2 Qt.) combine the raspberries and sugar over low heat and heat until sugar starts to dissolve. Increase the heat to medium and stir until berries until they break up and bring to a boil. Boil gently for 5 minutes.
2. Remove from the heat and with a rubber spatula press the berries through a fine mesh sieve placed over a small bowl. Scrape the bottom of the sieve to make sure you get the thickened puree into the bowl. Return the puree to the saucepan and begin to heat again over low heat. Meanwhile; stir together the corn starch and water in a small cup to form a slurry. Add the slurry to the pan and increase the heat to medium high and bring to a boil. Let the mixture boil until it becomes thick. Pour the mixture into a bowl and place a piece of plastic wrap over the surface and refrigerate until ready for assembly.
White Chocolate Pudding:
1/4 Cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp. cornstarch
pinch of salt
1 Cup heavy cream
1 Cup milk
3 egg yolks, lightly beaten
3/4 tsp. vanilla
3 oz. white chocolate, finely chopped
1. In a heavy saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch and salt. Gradually add cream and milk. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat; cook and stir with a wire whisk 2-3 minutes more or until thickened.
2. Remove from the heat. Stir about 3/4 Cup of the hot mixture into egg yolks; return to saucepan. Stirring constantly, bring to a gentle boil; cook and stir 2 minutes more. Remove from the heat; stir in vanilla and chocolate until melted. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly over surface of the pudding and chill in the refrigerator until ready ready for assembly.
Alternate pudding and raspberry filling layer in decorative glasses. Serve chilled.
This recipe is great on a cold Winter day. I’m probably a week or so late though since the polar vortex in the Midwest and Eastern United States has past. For my peeps in the Midwest; keep this in mind for the next time it gets really cold or you need an activity to keep the kiddos busy. The pretzels are really fun to make, so it’s great to get the kids involved to have a go at shaping the pretzels. Chances are you have all the ingredients already on hand. You will need granulated (active dry) yeast though. An added bonus if it’s really cold is these bake at a pretty high temperature so the house gets nice and toasty. You could also shape these into little 1 inch bits (dip size) and make them for the “Big Game” or a fun party snack served with different types of mustard. The recipe is from Alton Brown and I added an extra step by brushing the pretzels once they come out of the oven with butter; just like the ones you get in the mall. If you like a sweet version, dip the pretzels in cinnamon sugar on both sides. Another alternative is you could sprinkle on some pizza type seasoning, or sprinkle with chopped jalapeno/chopped green chili and shredded cheddar cheese.
Salty Classic or Cinnamon/Sugar Soft Buttery Pretzels
salty version (with kosher salt)
Cinnamon-Sugar (my fave)
Shown: pretzels out of the soda bath and brushed with egg yolk mixture ready for the oven. Note: The pretzels puff up in the soda bath, (and in the oven), (next time I would make the rope a little longer than the recommended 24 ” so it is thinner-say 26 “) to define the shape a bit better
Soft Buttered Pretzels (sweet or salty)
- 1 1/2 cups warm (110 to 115 degrees F) water
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 package active dry yeast
- 22 ounces all-purpose flour, approximately 4 1/2 cups
- 2 ounces (1/4 Cup) unsalted butter, melted
- Vegetable oil, for pan
- 10 cups water
- 2/3 cup baking soda
- 1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water
- Pretzel salt (or coarse sea salt or kosher salt would be fine)
- Optional: cinnamon sugar (mix 1/2 Cup sugar with generous 1/4 tsp. cinnamon in a shallow bowl)
1. Combine the water, sugar and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast on top. Allow to sit for 5 minutes or until the mixture begins to foam.
2. Add the flour and butter and, using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed until well combined. Change to medium speed and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, approximately 4 to 5 minutes (the dough should make a slapping noise as it hits the side of the bowl and you know it is ready).
3. Remove the dough from the bowl, (it will be sticky and that’s normal). Place it in an oiled large bowl and turn dough over so both sides are oiled. Cover with an oiled piece of plastic wrap or wax paper (I like wax paper) and put in a warm place for approximately 50 to 55 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.
4. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line 2 half-sheet pans with parchment paper and lightly brush with the vegetable oil. Set aside.
5. Bring the 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a rolling boil in an 8-quart saucepan or roasting pan.
In the meantime, turn the dough out onto a slightly oiled work surface and divide into 8 equal pieces. Roll out each piece of dough into a 24-26 inch rope. (The original recipe says 24 inches, but I think a bit longer would be better). Make a U-shape with the rope, holding the ends of the rope, cross them over each other and fold down the tails towards you to press onto the bottom of the U in order to form the shape of a pretzel. Place onto the parchment-lined half sheet pan.
6. Place the pretzels into the boiling water, 1 at a time, for 30 seconds. (I find it easy to place the pretzel onto a very large spatula; like a pancake turner size and then place into the water- the pretzel will release on it’s own). Remove from the water. Return to the half sheet pan, brush the top of each pretzel with the beaten egg yolk and water mixture and sprinkle with the pretzel salt (omit the salt for cinnamon sugar version). Bake until dark golden brown in color, approximately 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving. Brush with softened butter while pretzels are still warm. (I find it handy to use the other half of a stick of butter; just peel off a bit of the paper and “brush” over the pretzel).
7. For cinnamon sugar version: omit the salt before baking and after resting for 5 minutes, brush pretzel with butter as above and dip both sides generously into a shallow bowl filled with the cinnamon sugar mixture.
For 1 inch pretzel bits: bake ~ 10 minutes
Does everybody have sugar overload coming off of the holidays? Here is a savory recipe for you to break up the sweetness a little. We still like to have a little goodie with our meals but maybe we need to take a break from it. Or not.
I’ve included a recipe for cinnamon-honey butter so if you need a wink of sweetness you can slather on the flavored butter. This butter is amazing on scones, biscuits or bagels so make sure to store the rest in the fridge.
Cornbread with Cinnamon Honey Butter
yield: 9×9 square pan
2 Cups fine cornmeal
1 Cup AP flour
3 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 Cup buttermilk OR plain yogurt
3 large eggs
1 (15 oz.) can cream style corn
1/4 Cup unsalted butter, melted
1. Preheat an oven to 425° F. Line a 9 inch square pan with parchment paper; leaving 2 inches overhang and spray the pan with non stick baking spray.
2. In a large bowl combine the dry ingredients with a whisk. In a 4 cup glass measuring cup combine the wet ingredients with a whisk. Add the wet to the dry and stir to combine. Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 25-35 minutes until golden brown around the edges and a toothpick inserted comes out with moist crumbs.
Serve with cinnamon honey butter if desired.
recipe: Food Network
1 stick (I/2 Cup) unsalted butter, softened
3 Tbsp. honey
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
pinch of salt
Combine all the ingredients with a rubber spatula or hand mixer until thoroughly combined. Store extra butter in an air tight container in fridge. Leftover butter is great on bagels or scones!
Merry Christmas to all my wonderful readers.
Peace, Love, and Blessings to all of you and a Happy New Year for 2014.
I know this is a bit late to plan for baking for Christmas so I apologize as I have been running around like crazy this week; but keep it in mind for Valentines Day; just plan to change up the sprinkles to something appropriate.
Red Velvet Mini Cheesecakes
yield: ~ 19 individual cheesecakes
1 Cup chocolate graham cracker crumbs
4 Tbsp. melted unsalted butter
20 oz. cream cheese, room temp
1 Cup sugar
1/4 Cup natural (such as Hershey’s) unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. vanilla
1 oz. red liquid food coloring (such as McCormick) (one small McCormick bottle is 1 oz.)
3 lg. eggs, room temp
1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Prepare mini cheesecake pan(s) or standard size muffin pans with paper liners. Spray the mini cheesecake pan with non stick baking spray or alternatively spray the paper liners.
2. Mix the chocolate crumbs and melted butter together and press 1 Tbsp. into the well of each cup. Press firmly to the bottom. NO NEED TO PRE BAKE! Set aside while making the batter.
3. Cream together the cream cheese and sugar until fluffy. Add the cocoa and beat until combined. Add in the vanilla and red food coloring until smooth. Add eggs one at a time and stop often to scrape bottom and sides of mixer bowl. Combine until smooth. Pour batter into a glass measuring cup to make filling easier. Fill each well almost to the top. Use a bamboo skewer or toothpick to pop any visible air bubbles.
4. Bake at 375° F for 15-20 mins. or until tops of cheesecake no longer look shiny. Bake only one pan at a time. [remaining cheesecake batter filled pans will be fine to sit while first batch is baking]. Note; baking time is only a guideline; make sure to check cheesecakes as pan sizes vary. Remove pan to cool over wire rack. Once cool, place in fridge to cool completely.
5. To serve; top with whipped cream and crushed pieces of candy cane.
6. Note; this recipe also works well as half a recipe (to yield 9 cheesecakes). Divide recipe by half, and regarding the eggs; just weigh the egg portion and use 1 1/2 eggs. (Weigh the second egg and divide by half).