The “Painkiller” Cocktail

You’ve had one of those days haven’t you? Go ahead–take a sip of The Painkiller.

The Painkiller will make you forget  your day. Possible the last 3 days matter of fact. I’ve been playing around with pineapple and coconut recipes the last week and happened to remember this cocktail and found it fitting to sip on while I’ve been recipe testing.

The Painkiller is the cocktail you want to reach for when life seems to have gotten you down. One sip and your mind wanders to a vacation spot with aquamarine blue waters, palm trees and warm soft breezes.

Your boss being an a$$hole this week? take a sip…

The weather got you down? take a sip…

Is the laundry piling up even though you just did it? take a sip…

The Painkiller will make it all better. A least for a good half hour while you slip into pineapple coconut dreamed filled serious coma nap on the couch….close your eyes and imagine that couch is a hammock swinging in the breeze~

p.s. If you have someone in your clan that does not partake in alcohol then omit the rum and add in some extra light coconut milk or coconut water with an optional splash of club soda.

 

The Painkiller 4

 Take a sip….you know you want it

The Painkiller Cocktail 2

 

The Painkiller 3

 

Painkiller 5

The Painkiller

 

4 oz. pineapple juice

1 1/2 oz. orange juice

1 oz. cream of coconut (also known as coconut cream)

2 oz. dark rum

*optional: 1 oz. light coconut milk

optional: garnish: fresh pineapple, orange slice, mint or sprinkle of nutmeg

*(I found I liked the cocktail with a splash of light coconut milk-which adds an extra creaminess)

 

1. In a cocktail filled with ice combine the juices and cream of coconut and shake vigorously. Fill a glass half way with crushed ice or small cubes and strain the juice mixture from the cocktail shaker into the glass. Pour in the rum and optional splash of coconut milk. Garnish as desired with pineapple, orange slice and/or cherry. Serve very cold.

 


Sweet and Salty Caramel Everything Bars

Sweet and salty is here to stay. Everyone has heard of the 7 layer or “magic bars”, right?  In a way, these remind me of those bars, but they are a bit more modern for today’s taste with the use of caramel and I like them even better.  Anything with caramel and I’m automatically along for the ride, and I just realized (after I made these yesterday) that today is National Caramel Day; so there you have it!

This recipe makes a lot so they are perfect for a kids function; as long as no one is allergic to peanuts. The recipe is from Better Homes & Gardens from one of their special addition publications titled “Brownies & Bars”.

 

 

Tray of Everything Bars

 

sweet and salty everything bar

sweet and salty caramel everything bars

Sweet & Salty Everything Bars

Sweet & Salty Caramel Everything Bars

recipe: Better Homes & Gardens special addition: “Bars and Brownies”

yield: 36 bars

 

3 Cups crushed pretzels

1/3 Cup sugar

1 Cup unsalted butter, melted

1/2 Cup unsalted butter

1/2 Cup whipping cream

1/4 Cup packed brown sugar

1 (11 oz.) pkg. caramel baking bits OR one (14 oz.) pkg vanilla caramels, unwrapped

2 Cup salted cocktail peanuts

1 Cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/2 Cup milk chocolate chips

1/2 Cup peanut butter flavor chips

1 Cup almond toffee bits

 

1. Preheat the oven to 325°  F. Line a 9x13x2 inch pan with double or heavy duty tinfoil. Spray pan with non-stick spray. Set aside. Make the crust: in a medium bowl combine the crushed pretzels, sugar and 1 cup milted butter. Press mixture into bottom of pan. In a medium bowl combine: semisweet chips, milk chocolate chips, peanut butter chips and toffee bits; set aside.

2. In a medium saucepan combine the remaining 1/2 cup butter, whipping cream and brown sugar. Cook and stir over medium heat until butter is melted and sugar is dissolved. Stir in the caramel bits. Cook and stir until caramel is melted and mixture is smooth. Stir in peanuts.

3. Quickly pour the caramel mixture over the pretzel crust and smooth out caramel to evenly distribute the peanuts. Sprinkle the chocolate chip mixture over the caramel layer and bake in preheated oven at 325° F for 25 minutes or until edges are bubbly and light brown. Cool in pan on a wire rack. Using the edges of the foil, lift the entire slab of bars out of the pan. Cut into bars.

To store: Layer bars between sheets of waxed paper in an airtight container; cover. Store at room temperature for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.


Mango Lassi

Are you mad for mango? I love mango. A few years ago I had one of the best mango smoothies (of my life) when I still lived in San Francisco, at a Thai restaurant. My son actually ordered it, (it was huge) so I ended up having about half of it. I don’t remember the name of the restaurant but it is on the corner right outside of the Broadway tunnel. Serve this in pretty glasses with a spicy Thai or Indian meal on a beautiful sunny day dining al fresco. It is bright and fresh.

Cheers to spring~

 

mango lassi 2

mango lassi

mango lassi 3

Mango Lassi with Coconut Milk

 

recipe: adapted from Cuisine at home magazine (April 2014 issue)

yield: (4 cups: 2-4 servings)

 

2 1/2 Cups diced mango (fresh or frozen) * I used a 12 oz. frozen pkg. and used it unthawed

1 Cup ice cubes (use a little less ice if using frozen mango)

3/4 Cup canned lite coconut milk

1/2 Cup mango nectar

1/2 Cup vanilla Greek yogurt

2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice

3-4 Tbsp. honey

garnish: pinch of cinnamon

 

 

Puree mango, ice, coconut milk, nectar, yogurt, line juice, and honey in a blender or food processor. Garnish each lassi with a light sprinkling of cinnamon. Note: taste your smoothie; if it’s not quite sweet enough you can add a little more honey. Depending on how sweet the mangos are you may need to adjust.


Orange and Clementine Sweet Rolls

I have an abundance of “cuties” (clementines) in my fruit drawer. We love them but sometimes they seem to linger around a bit before we can eat them all. Anyone who knows me, knows I love citrus of any kind. I especially love citrus desserts or snacks. These little cuties were calling me from the fridge to use them in breakfast. So I did. You could certainly make these rolls with just exclusively orange and they would be great. Enjoy~

orange sweet rolls

Orange & Clementine Sweet Rolls

Dough:

3/4 Cup milk

1/4 Cup unsalted butter, softened

3  1/4 Cups all-purpose flour

1 package (1/4 oz.) fast rising yeast

1/4 Cup + 1 Tbsp. sugar

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 Cup water

1 egg

1. In a small sauce pan scald the milk, then remove and add in the butter and stir until melted. Add the water. Set aside to keep lukewarm.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer whisk 2 1/4 Cups of the flour with the yeast, sugar and salt. With the paddle attachment add in the milk mixture and blend. Add in the egg and beat well. Add in the additional cup of flour a bit at a time until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Note; depending on the humidity you might have to add an additional 1/4 to 1/2 cup more of flour. Switch to the dough hook and knead the dough using the mixer for about 5 minutes until the dough comes together in a ball.

3. Coat a large bowl with a little oil and place the dough inside the bowl and cover with a tea towel and let dough rest for 15 minutes.

4. Roll out the dough into a rectangle about 16 x 13 inches. See recipe below for filling. Prepare the filling by using your fingers to spread the 1/4 Cup of softened butter all over the surface of the dough except leave a border about 3/4 of an inch on all sides. Combine the sugar and zests well in a small bowl and sprinkle evenly over the butter. Scatter the candied orange zest over the sugar mixture. Using your hands pat the filling mixture down into the butter. Roll the dough into a log starting at the bottom edge. Pinch the seam down the length of the dough. Trim the ends of the log if necessary if too thin. Using a sharp serrated knife cut the log in half then each half cut into 6 equal pieces so you have 12 equal pieces. Spray a 9 x 13 inch pan liberally. Place the rolls cut side up 3 across. Cover the pan loosely with plastic wrap and let the rolls rise for about 30 minutes or until doubled in size.

5. Spray a piece of tinfoil (large enough to cover the pan) with non stick spray. Cover the rolls loosely with tinfoil. Bake the rolls at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes, then remove the tinfoil and continue to bake for another 15 minutes or until light golden brown. Let the pan cool slightly on a wire rack while you make the glaze.

6. For glaze: whisk together all the ingredients in a medium bowl until combined. Pour over the warm rolls. Serve warm or at room temperature. Once glaze sets cover rolls with tinfoil to keep from drying out.

Filling:

1/4 Cup unsalted butter, softened

1 Cup granulated sugar

zest of one large orange

zest of one clementine

1/4 Cup finely diced candied orange peel

Clementine glaze:

2 Cups confectioners sugar

2 clementines, (cuties) juiced

zest of 2 clementines

**Note: If you like, you could use orange cream cheese icing instead of the clementine glaze. For the recipe click here:


New York Style Crumb Cake

I remember as a little girl we would have “snack cake” after school. It was usually some type of apple or banana cake. Something that was easy and a little “something something” to tide you over until dinner. This is NOT your mother’s snack cake. No offense Mom.  New Yorkers will know this cake; this is a simple recipe but something you will be craving at all times of the day- not just after school or work. I changed the crumb topping slightly from the original recipe (which used half granulated and half dark brown sugar) because I was out of dark brown sugar and did not feel like running out to the store to get some. I like it just fine that way.

New York Crumb Cake

NY Crumb Cake 2

NY Crumb Cake 4

New York Crumb Cake

recipe adapted from Cook’s Illustrated

yield: 8×8 inch square (about 8-10 servings)

Crumb Topping

1 3/4 C (7 oz.) cake flour

2/3 C light brown sugar (original recipe calls for 1/3 C sugar, plus 1/3 Cup dk. brown sugar)

3/4 tsp. cinnamon

pinch salt

1 stick (1/2 C) (113 g) unsalted butter, melted but still warm

1. In a bowl whisk the flour, sugar, cinnamon and salt. Pour the warm butter over mixture and stir with a large metal spoon. Push down the mixture with the spoon to compact to mix and then “rake” the mixture back and forth to break it up but allow clumps to form. Set aside.

Cake

1 1/4 cups cake flour (5 ounces)
1/2 cup granulated sugar (3 1/2 ounces)
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon table salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter (3/4 stick), cut into 6 pieces, softened but still cool
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup buttermilk*
Confectioners’ sugar for dusting

*If you don’t have buttermilk; take1/3 Cup milk and stir in 1 tsp. white vinegar and let sit for 10 minutes

1. Prepare a 8x8x2 inch square pan with a parchment sling. Spray liberally with non-stick baking spray. Preheat oven to 325° degrees F. Place rack in middle to upper middle position.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer with a hand whisk; whisk together the flour, sugar, soda, and salt. Fit the mixer with the paddle attachment and on low speed mix in the butter one piece at a time until the crumbs resemble no lumps; about 2 minutes. Mix the buttermilk, eggs and vanilla in a measuring cup and add in slowly with mixer on medium. Mix until smooth and light and fluffy about 1 minute. Careful to scrape down bottom of bowl and sides. Spread the batter into prepared pan evenly and top with crumb mixture starting on the outsides of the pan and working towards middle. You want pea size as well as larger clumps to stay intact including crumbs. Bake at 325° F for 35-40 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack and when completely cool dust generously with confectioners sugar.


Chocolate Strawberry and Neapolitan Macarons

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.

neapolitan macarons

strawberry choc and neapolitan macs

neapolitan macaron closeupstrawberry mac and neapolitan macs

chocolate with neapolitan macs

Chocolate Macarons

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.

Strawberry Macarons

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.


Sugared Raspberry Popovers

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….

raspberry popovers 2

Raspberry Sugared Popovers

raspberry popovers 3

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!


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