Piña Colada Frozen Yogurt (Pineapple Coconut Frozen Yogurt)

Pineapple Coconut Frozen Yogurt 3Do you also hear Rupert Holmes’ Escape a.k.a The Piña Colada Song when someone mentions Piña Coladas to you?  For me, it’s as if a record starts playing in my head and the very familiar “If you like Piña Coladas and getting caught in the rain…” begins.
Pineapple Coconut Frozen Yogurt 4The weather has been ridiculously hot this past week, and the thought of turning my oven was a major turn off.  (Insert HIMYM joke here.)  So with Piña Coladas on the brain, I started a journey for a pineapple coconut frozen yogurt.  I’ve always loved pineapples, but coconuts have been a love-hate relationship until a few years ago when out of nowhere I became a coconut fiend.  Dried, toasted, grated, shredded, fresh – I ate it all until like all good things, I eventually got tired of it.  But this recipe has sparked the love again, and I’m back on the coconut train.

Pineapple Coconut Frozen Yogurt 1Instead of using only shredded coconut as most recipes call for, I added a good dose of coconut cream into the yogurt base.  To make coconut cream, refrigerate a can of full fat coconut milk overnight.  When you’re ready, open up the can and the cream should’ve separated from the coconut water.  Scoop up the thickened cream and reserve the coconut water for another use.  So easy, yet it adds a surprising coconut element that you can’t put your finger on.

Pineapple Coconut Frozen Yogurt 2I have to say, this frozen yogurt was not easy to photograph.  Because of the added water content of the coconut cream and the pineapple, it is icier than your normal frozen yogurt.  This translated into melting quickly and causing me much grief.  If I could do this again, I would make them into popsicles.  I had half a mind to just scrap the project, but it was too tasty not to share.  Onto the next one …
Pineapple Coconut Frozen Yogurt 5

Piña Colada Frozen Yogurt (Pineapple Coconut Frozen Yogurt)

Ingredients:
2 c. vanilla whole-milk yogurt
2 c. plain nonfat or reduced-fat Greek yogurt
½ c. granulated sugar
3 tbsp. light corn syrup
1 batch of coconut cream
1 20 oz. can of crushed pineapple, drained
2 c. sweetened shredded coconut

Instructions:

  1. In a large bowl, whisk whole milk yogurt, Greek yogurt, sugar, corn syrup and coconut cream together until combined.
  2. In an ice cream maker, pour the yogurt base and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions until you reach a soft serve consistency.
  3. Transfer to a plastic container and fold in crushed pineapple and shredded coconut. Line the top with plastic wrap and seal with the lid.
  4. Freeze for at least 2 hours. Let it sit out for about 15 minutes if completely frozen.

Coconut Cream

Ingredients:
1 – 14 or 13.5 oz. can of full fat coconut milk

Instructions:

  1. Place can of coconut milk in the refrigerator for 8 hours or overnight.
  2. When ready for use, open the can to reveal a thick layer of coconut cream.
  3. Carefully scoop out the cream portion of the coconut milk. You will see the separated coconut water when you harvest all the cream.
  4. You can whip the coconut cream like whipped cream if desired.
  5. Do not throw out the coconut water. You can use it for smoothies, recipes or just drink it.

*Frozen yogurt recipe adapted from The Food Network.

 

Sausage and Spinach Pasta

Sausage and Spinach Pasta 3I have this silly mentality that as long a dish has dark leafy greens, it is somewhat healthy.  Peas, carrots, celery… those don’t fool me, but add kale, spinach, or broccoli to the mix and I’ll think that it’s nutritious.  So if you follow my train of thought, you can understand why I would proclaim that this pasta is nutritious and healthy.
Sausage and Spinach Pasta 6It’s really not though, I should know.  It’s rich without feeling heavy and gloriously creamy without being greasy.  In fact, it tastes so decadent that people were surprised I only used 4 tablespoons of butter for an entire pound of pasta.
Sausage and Spinach Pasta 1It starts with a pound of good Italian sausage, and when the sausage is cooked and the delicious brown bits are formed, you add your veggies.
Sausage and Spinach Pasta 2Then you start your béchamel sauce which is the key to having a pasta taste so creamy and finally, you add your freshly grated cheddar.  No, not the shredded bagged stuff, the seriously sharp, good stuff you get by the block. The dish comes together relatively quickly and the sauce requires only one pot. Oh, and the flavor? Explosive! ;)
Sausage and Spinach Pasta 4

Sausage and Spinach Pasta

Ingredients:
1 lb. sweet Italian sausage
1 lb. dried pasta (I used thin spaghetti)
½ lb. baby spinach
5 cloves of garlic, minced
1 large onion, diced
½ tsp. red pepper flakes
4 tbsp. unsalted butter
⅓ c. all-purpose flour
1 ½ c. whole milk
1 ½ c. chicken stock
6 oz. aged white cheddar, grated
salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil while you prepare the sauce.
  2. In a large, heavy bottomed pot cook the Italian sausage until cooked through and brown bits have formed on the bottom of the pan.
  3. Add the onion and cook until softened, then add the spinach, garlic and red pepper flakes until the spinach wilts and releases liquid.  Continuously scrape the bottom of the pot to remove the brown bits.
  4. Add the butter and once it melts, stir in the flour and cook until the mixture becomes pasty and smells slightly nutty.
  5. Slowly add in the chicken stock while stirring the mixture to avoid any lumps.
  6. Then, slowly add in the whole milk while stirring the mixture to avoid any lumps.
  7. Add the grated cheddar in small increments until completely incorporated.
  8. Simmer sauce while boil the pasta.
  9. Once the pasta is cooked and drained, add salt and pepper to the sauce to taste.
  10. Add the pasta to the sauce and stir until sauce is evenly distributed throughout the pasta.

 

Mini Green Tea Cake

Mini Green Tea Cake 2It’s been forever since I posted something on the blog.  This is what happened…  The weekend before I left for my vacation to Korea, I made a wedding cake, mini wedding desserts and did desserts for a confirmation banquet.  It was jam packed with sugar, whipped cream, flour and butter.   At this point, I was so sick and tired of seeing ingredients I had to take a break.  If you follow me on Instagram, you probably saw that I went on a two week vacation to South Korea and by the time I got back, I was so jet lagged I didn’t have it in me to do anything.  And so here I am, three weeks later posting a new recipe for you guys.  I think I’m sufficiently rested and I hope to continue on this culinary journey with you with no more stops in the road.
Mini Green Tea Cakes 4This green tea cake was inspired by my trip to O’Sulloc Tea Museum in Jeju, South Korea.   Unfortunately the weather was horrible the day we went and I wasn’t able to see the plantation but, I did enjoy some green tea desserts.Mini Green Tea Cakes 1I paired my cake with both red bean and sweet potato frosting.  The slight bitterness of the green tea balances well with the smooth creamy sweet potato and the red beans give it a pop of interesting texture.  While we are talking about sweet potatoes, I should let you know that I do not mean the orange fleshed American sweet potato.  This is the potato I am talking about.   The Korean/Japanese sweet potato has purple skin and yellow flesh.  When baked, it tastes slightly like a perfectly roasted chestnut and is less water logged than its American cousin. With that bit of information, I hope you give it a try! Enjoy :)Mini Green Tea Cake 3

Mini Green Tea Cakes

Green Tea Cake

Ingredients:
¾ c. cake flour
2 tbsp. matcha powder
1/2 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. kosher salt
4 large eggs, separated
pinch of cream of tartar
¾ c. granulated sugar, divided
2 tablespoons buttermilk

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350˚F and line a half sheet pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a bowl, sift together cake flour, matcha powder, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whisk egg whites and cream of tartar on medium speed until foamy.  Once foamy, slowly add ¼ c. granulated sugar until incorporated and raise speed to high until stiff peaks form.
  4. In a separate bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whisk egg yolks until pale and thickened.  Then add ½ c. granulated sugar and mix until thick and the batter forms ribbons when whisk is lifted.
  5. Stir in buttermilk to the egg yolk mixture until combined.
  6. Fold in flour mix into the egg yolk mix until just combined.
  7. Fold in egg white mixture until fully incorporated.
  8. Pour batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly.
  9. Bake for 10-12 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean or the cake is springy to the touch.
  10. Let cool.

Sweet Potato Frosting

Ingredients:
1 lb. Korean/Japanese sweet potatoes, roasted and peeled
2 tbsp. heavy cream
pinch kosher salt
⅓ c. vanilla frosting

Instructions:

  1. In a food processor, add all the ingredients and puree until smooth.

Red Bean Frosting

Ingredients:
8 oz. canned sweet red beans
⅓ c. vanilla frosting

Instructions:

  1. In a separate bowl, mix red beans and vanilla frosting until completely blended.

Assemble the Mini Green Tea Cakes:

  1. Using a 2” cookie cutter, cut out 2” cake rounds.
  2. Use the same cookie cutter to assemble the cake.
  3. Place a cake round into the cookie cutter and proceed to layer the red bean frosting, a cake round, sweet potato frosting and finish off with a cake round.
  4. Slowly remove the cookie cutter to reveal your layered cake.
  5. If desired, you can garnish the tops of the cake with powdered sugar.

Green Tea Cake adapted from Oh Sweet Day!

 

The Krabby Patty (California Roll Burger)

California Roll Burger 6Who lives in a pineapple under the sea?  I discovered Spongebob when I was in middle school many years ago.  It caught my attention from the very first episode, and I was an avid fan for a while.  If you don’t know already, Spongebob works at the Krusty Krab where he makes Krabby Patties as a fry cook.  A Krabby Patty looks like this.  Every time they did a close up shot, my adolescent mind wanted to sink my teeth into one.  Now I wonder if I was the only one that was hankering for a made-up burger…
California Roll Burger 2I saw a recipe for a California roll burger, and my first thought was, this is what a Krabby Patty would taste like!  Perhaps minus the beef, because where would they get it from?  And maybe minus the crab sticks, because wouldn’t that be cannibalism? A Sweeny Todd scenario perhaps?  Let’s stop questioning a fictional burger that has no definite flavor and substance, and get down to the nitty-gritty.
California Roll Burger 1It starts with a beautiful set of hamburger buns.* Followed by a spread of Sriracha mayo, and a stack of the standard lettuce and tomato.  The beef has just a dash of fish sauce for the umami factor and is topped with a light crab stick salad.  It is then followed by a few slices of avocado tossed in lime juice and topped with masago (smelt roe) and nori (dried seaweed).
California Roll Burger 9It’s bursting with flavor and is definitely a king of burgers, worthy of being flipped by Spat (Spongebob’s spatula).
California Roll Burger 7
The Krabby Patty (California Roll Burger)

Makes 8 large burgers

Ingredients
2 lbs. ground beef
1 tsp. fish sauce
1 tbsp. Sriracha
3 tbsp. mayo
½ lb. crab sticks
2-4 tbsp. mayo
2 avocados, sliced
1 lime, juiced
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
butter lettuce, washed
tomato, sliced
masago (smelt roe)
nori (dried seaweed)
8 large burger buns

Instructions:

  1. Mix 1 tbsp. Sriracha and 3 tbsp. mayo in a small bowl to make Sriracha mayo.
  2. Shred crab sticks and mix in 2-4 tbsp. of mayo to make the crab salad.
  3. Mix ground beef, fish sauce, salt and pepper in a large bowl.  Form into 8 large patties.
  4. In a large skillet over medium high heat, cook patties about 3 minutes per side or to desired doneness.
  5. While the patties are cooking, slice avocados and toss in lime juice.
  6. When the burgers are ready, layer the components in the following order: Sriracha mayo, lettuce, tomato, beef patty, crab salad, avocado, masago, and nori.

*I made mine from scratch, but you are welcome to use store bought.  These buns deserve a post of their own, and will be featured in the future.
** Recipe adapted from use real butter.

Pretzel Hot Dogs

Pretzel Hot Dogs 5Every single time I go to the mall, I have an inner battle with myself.  Do I get a soft pretzel or not?  I try not to have one because frankly it’s just a chunk of carbs and I always feel a little guilty after I eat it.  I suppose the real question is: is it worth feeling guilty about?
Pretzel Hot Dogs 2I would say that the chance of me caving in is about 50/50.  I have a good idea of what it is that I want (plain salted pretzel with lots of golden mustard) until I get to the window and see a glistening pretzel hot dog.  How do they get it so shiny and golden?  Why do you wink at me so in the fluorescent mall light?  Why am I personifying you?
Pretzel Hot Dogs 3I sit there frazzled until it’s my turn and at this point, I blank out and whatever word comes out of my mouth first is what I get.  Sometimes it’s the hot dog, sometimes it’s the pretzel.  All I know is that either way I have buttery, carb-y goodness in my mouth.  I win.
Pretzel Hot Dogs 4Sometimes, you don’t want to go to the mall.  Sometimes, the drive isn’t worth it and the battle of the parking spot is tiring and stressful.  This is for those days, a little reward without the battle.
Pretzel Hot Dog 1Pretzel Hot Dogs

Ingredients:
4 ½ to 5 c. all-purpose flour
1 ½ c. 110°F-115°F water
½ c. milk
2 tsp salt
1 tbsp active dry yeast
1 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted plus more for brushing
kosher sea salt/ pretzel salt/ Maldon salt
10 c. water
⅔ c. baking soda
1 egg
16 Hot dogs

Instructions:

  1. In a microwave safe cup, warm 1½ c. water until 110°F-115°F or lukewarm.  Stir in sugar until dissolved. Stir in dry yeast and let stand until foamy (about 5 minutes).
  2. While the yeast is proofing, mix 4½ c. flour, milk, salt, and the melted butter into a bowl of a stand mixer.
  3. Add the water mixture into the flour mixture and stir until a loose dough forms.
  4. Let stand for 8 minutes to hydrate flour.
  5. With the dough hook attachment, knead the dough on speed 2 for about 8 minutes.  If you see that the dough is still loose and sticks to the bowl, add the remaining half cup of flour and knead until the dough does not stick to the bowl.
  6. Cover the bowl and let the dough rise until double its size.
  7. Once the dough has risen, preheat oven to 450˚F and line two sheet pans with either parchment paper or silicone mats.
  8.  In a large pot, boil 10 c. of water and baking soda.
  9. Divide dough into 16 equal pieces, and form into a long rope. Carefully wrap each piece around a hot dog, pinch the ends together to seal the dough.
  10. Boil the pretzel hot dogs, one at a time about 15 seconds on each side.  Remove from the water and drain thoroughly with a slotted spoon.
  11. Mix 1 egg with 1 tbsp. water to form an egg wash.
  12. Place onto the sheet pan and brush bread thoroughly with the egg wash and sprinkle with your choice of salt.
  13. Bake until golden brown, about 12-15 minutes.  Brush generously with melted butter.
  14. Let Cool. Eat with a lot of mustard.

Pretzel recipe adapted from Jo Cooks.

Chocolate Frosted Flake Macarons

Chocolate Frosted Flake Macarons 2I tend to pair certain foods with particular people.  Frosted Flakes is one of them.  My grandmother started every morning with a bowl of frosted flakes while doing her daily Bible reading with her red pen.  I woke up particularly early yesterday morning and that certain memory came to mind.  Plus, the weather was unusually cool and dry and perfect for macarons.   Call it fate, but that’s how this macaron flavor was born.Chocolate Frosted Flake Macarons 7I know, I know.  Frosted Flake macarons?  It sounds odd, but it’s really good!  I even brought them out with me yesterday and someone noted that it might’ve been the best macaron he ever had.
Chocolate Frosted Flake Macarons 3It starts with a vanilla macaron base.  (The speckles are from the almond skins my almond flour had.)  Then, it’s filled with a salted milk jam* filling, to mimic that sweet milk you get when you eat Frosted Flakes.  The tops are dipped into melted sweet chocolate and garnished with a few Frosted Flakes.  Chocolate Frosted Flake Macarons 1I really love how the Frosted Flakes stand up and add an architectural look to them.  They’re pretty to look at and they’re grrrreat to eat.
Chocolate Frosted Flake Macarons 5

Chocolate Frosted Flake Macarons

You will need:
yellow vanilla macaron shells
salted milk jam filling
semi-sweet chocolate, melted
frosted flakes

Basic French Macarons

Ingredients:
212 g. almond meal
212 g. powdered sugar
172 g. egg whites, divided to 82 g. and 90 g (aged, if possible)
236 g. sugar
158 g. water
yellow gel food color

Instructions:

  1. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.
  2. In the bowl of a food processor, add the almond meal and powdered sugar and pulse until thoroughly combined.
  3. Sift the mixture over a large mixing bowl, throwing out the lumps as they appear.  Add 82 g. of the egg whites and stir until you get a thick mixture.
  4. In a small pot attached with a candy thermometer, combine the sugar and water over medium heat and boil until the syrup reaches 200˚F.
  5. Once the syrup reaches 200˚F, start whipping the remaining 90 g. in the bowl of your stand mixer with the whisk attachment on medium speed until soft peaks are reached.
  6. Once the syrup reaches 248 degrees, remove the pot off the burner and slowly pour the syrup down the side of the mixing bowl with the egg whites on medium speed.
  7. Once the egg whites are fully incorporated, increase the speed to medium high until egg whites form glossy, stiff peaks.  Add two drops of the yellow gel food color and mix until batter turns a light shade of yellow.
  8. Mix a ⅓ of the egg white mix to the almond mixture and stir together until the batter is slightly lighter and less pasty.  From then on, fold in ⅓ of the egg white mixture at a time until the mixture “flows like magma”.  The mixture should be smooth and run thick ribbons off the spatula.
  9. With a pastry bag fitted with a ½ in. plain tip, pipe 1¼ – 1½ in. rounds.
  10. The piped batter may have peaks but should smooth away in a minute or two.  Let the batter stand until the tops of the macaron batter are dry to the touch, about 30 mins to 1 hour.
  11. Preheat the oven to 275-325˚F.  If your oven tends to run hot go for 275˚, if not then 325˚.
  12. Bake 10-13 minutes, until the feet are formed and the tops are smooth.  The batter is done when you slightly wiggle it and it starts to come off of the parchment paper / silicone mat.
  13. Let cool and fill.

Salted Milk Jam Filling

Ingredients:
1 c. dulce de leche (either from a jar or homemade)
1 batch of vanilla frosting (recipe below)
a generous pinch of Maldon salt

Instructions:

  1. Mix dulce de leche, vanilla frosting and Maldon salt until combined.  If the filling is too soft to pipe, chill in the freezer for about 5-10 minutes.  Checking every 3 minutes for the correct consistency.

Basic Vanilla Frosting

Ingredients:
½ c. whole milk
3tbsp. flour
⅛ tsp. salt
4 oz. (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
½ c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Instructions:

  1. In a saucier pan, put milk, salt and flour and whisk until combined on medium heat.
  2. Continuously whisk mixture until thickened to a pudding like consistency.
  3. Once thickened, strain through a mesh strainer into a bowl with a spatula to remove lumps.
  4. Place a piece of plastic wrap on top of the flour mixture and put into the fridge until fully cool.
  5. In a mixer bowl fitted with the whisk attachment, mix the sugar and butter on high speed until fluffy and pale about, 5-10 minutes.
  6. Add the chilled flour mixture and continue to whip on high speed until the sugar is completely dissolved and the mixture is no longer gritty, about 5-10 minutes.
  7. Add the vanilla extract and mix until combined.

Assembly

  1. Dip half of the macaron shells into the melted semi sweet chocolate.
  2. Place about 3 Frosted Flakes on top of each chocolate dipped macaron shell.
  3. Let set in freezer for about 5 minutes.
  4. While the chocolate macaron shells are chilling, fill the other half of the macaron shells with the salted milk jam.
  5. Top the milk jam macaron shell with chocolate macaron shell and enjoy!

*I always thought that milk jam was a lighter, less caramel version of dulce de leche.  But after searching the internet, it turns out they’re the same thing.
**Basic macarons adapted from Bouchon Bakery by Thomas Keller, Sebastien Rouxel

Salted Dark Chocolate Caramel Cookies

Salted Dark Chocolate Caramel Cookies 6I hope you all had a great Memorial Day weekend!  If you follow me on Instagram, you probably saw I had some good eats during my weekend.  I know many of you are on diet mode for the upcoming swimsuit season and I’m sorry to do this to you, but you must make these cookies, especially if you love salty/sweet desserts.
Salted Dark Chocolate Caramel Cookies 2What makes this cookie so great is the sum of its parts.  First, you have the moist chocolate cookie base.  The secret to having it so deliciously soft is by under baking it.  10 minutes! No more!  Second, you have the cocoa nibs that cut the sweetness and have a satisfying crunch.  Think of it as a more cocoa-y nut alternative.  Third, you have the perfectly melted caramel center.  Personally, I love caramel and you can use regular caramels instead of Rolos.  However Rolos have the chocolate coating that enhances it.
Salted Dark Chocolate Caramel Cookies 4Finally, the sprinkling of Maldon salt finishes the balance of the cookie.  Some of the delicate flakes melt into the cookie fusing their salty goodness while the larger chunks withstand the heat and sparkle when you take them out.
Salted Dark Chocolate Caramel Cookies 3The recipe makes 12 large cookies.   You can easily double it, but I kept my body conscious readers in mind as I baked this.  It’s definitely not healthy food, but as the saying goes, “a balanced diet is a cookie in each hand”.
Salted Dark Chocolate Caramel Cookies 5Salted Dark Chocolate Caramel Cookies
Makes 12 large cookies

Ingredients:
4 oz. butter, room temperature
½ c. sugar
½ c. brown sugar
1 egg, room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract
⅓ c. Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 c. all purpose flour
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. kosher salt
¾ c. cocoa nibs
12 Rolos, unwrapped
Maldon sea salt

Instructions:

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter, sugar and brown sugar until lighter in color and fluffy.
  2. Add egg and vanilla on medium speed and mix until glossy.
  3. Add cocoa and mix until homogeneous.
  4. Change the speed to low and add the flour, baking soda, and salt.  Mix until just combined.
  5. Fold in cocoa nibs.
  6. Chill dough in refrigerator for 1 hour.  This step will make it easier for you to roll the cookies.
  7. Preheat oven to 350˚F and line large cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  8. Form two, 1 tablespoon balls of cookie dough.
  9. Sandwich a Rolo in between the two balls of cookie dough and completely encase the Rolo by rolling it around in your hand.
  10. Repeat steps 8 and 9 until all of the dough and Rolos are used.
  11. Sprinkle Maldon salt over the tops of cookie dough balls.
  12. Bake for 10 minutes, rotating the pan 180˚ halfway.
  13. Let cool and enjoy.

The Liebster Award

The lovely Erin from The Wishin’ Kitchen nominated me for a Liebster Award.  Thank you!!

LiebsterAward

What is a Liebster Award?  It’s an award created to recognize and discover new bloggers with less than 1000 followers.  You answer the questions as a nominee and in return, nominate bloggers for the award and they answer the questions you ask them.

1. What is the most embarrassing song on your iPod? (A Hilary Duff revival perhaps…)
This is a tough one.  As a child of the nineties, my music collection is a treasure trove of “embarrassing” songs.  If I had to pick one, it would be Barbie Girl by Aqua.

2. What did you want to be when you were a kid?
I really wanted to be a scientist.  I thought beakers and test tubes were so cool and that people who got to work with them all day must be having fun.

3. What is the most memorable trip you’ve ever taken?
I’ve been to Dominican Republic two years in a row (several years ago) for mission trips.  They were the most memorable trips because it gave me an opportunity to become a small part of someone’s life.

4. What is your preferred method of transportation and why? (Bike, car, train, plane, scooter, rollerblades, Segway, hanglider…?)
I like to walk/run.  I hate driving and my hand-foot coordination isn’t the greatest for all other methods.

5. Chocolate or vanilla?
If I HAD to choose, it would be chocolate.  Sorry, vanilla!

6. What is your favorite crepe filling?
Hazelnut spread and strawberries.  You cannot beat that tart/sweet/chocolaty combo.

7. Favorite Disney character?
Belle. She shares my love of reading.

8. If you could choose any era to time travel back to, when and where would you go?
There are so many places and people I would want to meet.  But it would be pretty amazing to be able to meet Jesus.

9. What is your dream car?
Maserati GranTurismo .  It’s beautiful.

10. If you could choose a theme song, what would it be?
The Merry-Go-Round of Life from Howl’s Moving Castle

11. Do you have a favorite Disney memory? If so, please share! (Parks, movies, personal experiences… etc.)
I haven’t been to Disney world yet, I’m still dreaming about going.  However, the scene when Mulan goes to her father with the sword always gets me!

I nominate the following for The Leibster Award

Chef Julie Yoon – I love the beautiful photography and helpful videos on Julie and her husband, Joe’s site.  Every recipe I’ve made has been a home run!

Food Like Cake – A girl after my own sweet tooth, she thinks of sinfully delicious desserts.

I’ve Got Cake – A fun mix of food and fashion, I’m always pleasantly surprised by the flavor pairings of her recipes.

Shameless Plug – A deep, insightful blog of walking in Jesus’ footsteps and making music about Him along the way.

Questions for my Liebsters:

  1. What is your favorite food?
  2. Do you have a doppelgänger? If so, who?
  3. What is the best gift you have received?
  4. If you won the lottery, what would be the first thing you’ll buy?
  5. If you could invite 5 famous people to your party, who would they be?
  6.  What do like to do for fun?
  7. What is your favorite song on your iPod at the moment?
  8. What is your favorite ice cream flavor?
  9. What is your favorite TV show at the moment?
  10. If you were a superhero, what would you catch phrase be?

Hi Hat Cake Cones

Hi Hat Cake Cones 3The weather is finally starting to warm up and these ice cream cones were screaming to be used.  I originally used them for my ice cream cone macarons, but I had half a box that was sitting on my counter looking useless and forlorn.  I wanted my next post to be hi hat cupcakes, so I stuffed it into a cone.
Hi Hat Cake Cones 1It’s ridiculously fun and easy to eat.  The crisp chocolate coating breaks into the soft marshmallow frosting and rich chocolate cake.  You can also sprinkle it with different combinations of toppings and change the color of the candy melts to suit the occasion.  I used Swedish pearl sugar and sanding sugar as toppings, but you can use anything you want to top it.  It also looks very cute with sprinkles.
Hi Hat Cake Cones 2On another note, why is the weather cloudy 80% of the time I’m trying to shoot photos?  Can’t a sista catch a break once in a while?  Every time I start conjuring up an idea for a project, the forecast is bound to be cloudy or rainy.  If you are into photography, you know the value of natural light and can understand my frustration.   If you’re not, then please excuse this rant of mine.
Hi Hat Cake Cones 4Hi Hat Cake Cones

You will need:
1 batch of chocolate cake batter (recipe below)
1 batch of marshmallow frosting (recipe bleow)
white candy melts
pink candy melts
blue candy melts
pink sanding sugar
Swedish pearl sugar
mini ice cream cones

Chocolate Cake

Ingredients:
1 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. sugar
1/3 c. Dutch-process unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. kosher salt
¼ c. vegetable oil
1 extra-large egg, room temperature
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 c. strong, hot coffee

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and put one mini ice cream cone in each cup of a mini cupcake pan.
  2. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix flour, sugar, both cocoa powders, baking soda, baking powder and salt until fully combined.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla extract until combined.
  4. With the mixer speed on low, add the egg mixture to the flour mixture until combined.
  5. Turn off the mixer.  With a spatula, scrape the sides of the bowl to fully incorporate the two mixtures.
  6. Turn the mixer on low and slowly add the hot coffee to the batter.  Once added, raise the speed to medium until completely homogenous.
  7. Fill mini ice cream cones½ full with batter and bake about 10-13 minutes. Checking at 10 minutes for doneness with a toothpick test.*
  8. Let stand for 5-10 minutes when done, then put onto a cooling rack to fully cooled.

Marshmallow Frosting

Ingredients:
4 egg whites (120 g.)
1 c. sugar
a pinch of cream of tartar
a pinch of salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Instructions:

  1. In a small pot fill about 1 in. of water and let it come to a simmer.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk egg whites, sugar, cream of tartar and salt until homogenous.
  3. Once the water comes to a simmer, place the bowl on top of the pot and whisk the egg white mixture until the sugar is completely dissolved and no longer grainy.
  4. Move the bowl to your standing mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and beat on high speed until glossy and stiff.
  5. Add the vanilla extract and mix completely.
  6. Fill a piping bag fitted with an open star tip.

Assembly:

  1. Pipe a swirl of frosting onto cooled cake cone.
  2. Put into the freezer for 15-30 minutes until completely cold.
  3. In two separate bowls, melt white and pink candy melts and blue and white candy melts.
  4. Remove the cake cones from the freezer and dip the frosting portion into the melted chocolate.  Do not be afraid, the frosting will not fall off if sufficiently cooled.
  5. Before the chocolate sets, sprinkle sanding sugar and Swedish pearl sugar.
  6. Let chocolate set and enjoy.

* The toothpick test: insert a toothpick into the cake and if the toothpick comes out clean or with a few crumbs clinging to it, it is done.

Chocolate Chip Raspberry Meringues

Chocolate Chip Raspberry Meringues 1Happy National Chocolate Chip Day!  Chocolate chips are such a simple concept yet so pivotal in the world of baking.  It’s so versatile and can be subbed for chocolate in a lot of recipes.  I always wondered if Ruth Graves Wakefield kicked herself for exchanging her invention for a lifetime supply of chocolates. Chocolate Chip Raspberry Meringues 2I know chocolate chips are synonymous with chocolate chip cookies, but since I just posted a recipe involving a cookie cake, it seemed redundant.  Usually chocolate conjures up rich, heavy and decadent desserts and I ran the opposite direction with it this time.  It’s a light chocolate chip studded meringue cookie sandwiched with fresh whipped cream and raspberries.  It melts in your mouth, but still has a chewy middle.  It’s so yummy and easy to make, yet fancy enough to serve to guests.  In other words, a win-win-win.Chocolate Chip Raspberry Meringues 3Chocolate Chip Raspberry Meringues

Meringues

Ingredients:
4 large egg whites, room temperature
1 c. sugar
pinch of cream of tartar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 c. mini chocolate chips, divided

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 200˚F and line a sheet pan with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
  2. In a small pot, fill it with an inch of water and let it come to a simmer.
  3. In a bowl of a standing mixer, whisk egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar.
  4. Place bowl over the small pot and whisk until the mixture reads 160 degrees.
  5. Whip with a stand mixer until stiff, glossy peaks form.
  6. Add in the vanilla and fold in ¾ c. mini chocolate chips.
  7. In a piping bag fitted with a plain tip, pipe half of the batter as 2“ round, flat bases and the other half as 2” round, domed tops.
  8.  Bake in oven for about 30 minutes or until the cookies are firm and dry to the touch.

Whipped Cream

Ingredients:
1 c. heavy cream
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tbsp. confectioner’s sugar

Instructions:

  1. In a bowl of a standing mixer with the whip attachment, add the heavy cream and whip on high speed until soft peaks are just about to form.
  2. Add the vanilla extract and sugar and whip on medium speed until stiff peaks form.
  3. Do not over whip! The cream will turn into butter.

Assembly:

  1. On a round, flat meringue cookie base, arrange raspberries around the circumference of the cookie.
  2. Put about 2 teaspoons of whipped cream in the center of the cookie.
  3. Finish with a domed meringue cookie top.
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