Friday, May 30, 2014

Summery Sweets

With those summer days rapidly coming to us spending time with friends and family is essential. When my friends and I hang out, our one request is to have FOOD. This video has three easy dessert recipes for summer. Whether you're toasting marshmallows around a fire, eating ice cream around the pool, or or having a fancy tea, these three desserts are perfect for summer

3 Summer Dessert Recipes

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Summer is approaching and what better way to celebrate than make some delicious cold smoothies? Learn a simple recipe by clicking the link down below

Saturday, May 24, 2014

As everyone knows, my favorite flavor of all is pumpkin. So I thought I would demo my pumpkin pie for everyone!  Here is a link to my video:

Thursday, May 8, 2014

The Art of Meringue

Meringue cookies are those light and fluffy, simple seeming cookies that we all love biting into. They can be found in tubs at our local grocery stores, but in my house they are made from scratch. Although these cookies seem so effortless, there are actually quite a few challenging techniques in making them. Part of the reason is because the batter is meringue, and meringue can be under whipped, over whipped, too stiff, or too soft, etc. After watching the inspiring and talented Martha Stewart making her wonderful striped meringues, i was intrigued and knew I needed to try the recipe out.
 I was determined to create the perfect little stripes that Martha did on her cookies by painting food coloring on the inside of the bag before putting the meringue mixture into it. Martha said this was a difficult skill- great. If Martha Stewart said it was hard, then it was HARD. But, to my amazement, i painted some strange lines in the bag, ultra- carefully scooped in the meringue, and piped out the most delicately swirled meringue cookies I have ever seen! It was a success.
The only changes i made to the recipe were not using vanilla bean because really- I am not paying fifteen dollars for a tiny dried out bean that we can hardly taste. So i also wanted mine to be lemon meringue so i added in a 1/2 teaspoon of lemon extract to my meringue batter. it is important to make sure the extract is added in after the sugar has been melted into the eggs and the eggs are being beaten. It seems to work better than adding it to the hot mix. Another important tip for making this recipe is using extreme care when scooping the meringue into the intricately painted piping bag, as to not smear the lines and end up with all one color meringues. Her is the link to Martha's recipe that also includes a video:

Delicious Salted Caramel Apple Pie

For those of you that enjoy the bold taste of sweet and salty,I have a feeling that this tasty apple pie recipie will become your favorite.

  • Pie Crust
  • 1 2- crust pie crust
    • Salted Caramel
    • cup white sugar
    • 1/4 cup water
    • stick (1/2 cup) fresh unsalted butter
    • 1/2 cup fresh heavy cream
    • 1 1/2 teaspoon sea salt(recommended: Maldon sea salt flakes)
    • Apple Filling
    • to 6 lemons
    • to 6 medium to large apples.
    • Apple Filling Seasoning
    • 1/3 cup raw sugar (castor, unrefined, large granule sugar)
    • tablespoons flour
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
    • 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
    • to 3 dashes Angostura bitters
    • Assembly
    • egg beaten
    • Raw sugar, for sprinkling on top
    • teaspoon sea salt (flake)
    • To make the pie crust: 
    • Prepare one 2-crust batch of your favorite all butter pie crust. Roll the bottom crust to fit a 9-inch pan, and cut the top crust as a lattice, approximately 1-inch in width or as desired. Chill the rolled crust while you prepare the salted caramel and apple filling. 

    To make the salted caramel: 

    Cook the sugar and water together over low heat until just dissolved. Add the butter and bring to a slow boil. Continue cooking at a low boil until the mixture turns a deep, golden brown color, almost copper. 

    Once the mixture has turned a copper color, remove it from the heat and immediately add the heavy cream - the mixture will bubble rapidly and steam - be cautious as the sugar will be very hot. 

    Whisk the final mixture together well over low heat and sprinkle in the sea salt. Set the caramel aside while you prepare the apple filling. 

    To make the apple filling: 

    Juice the lemons into a large mixing bowl. Core, peel, and thinly slice the whole apples.
    Dredge all the apple slices in the freshly squeezed lemon juice to prevent browning and to add flavor. Set the prepared apples aside. 

    To make the apple filling seasoning: 

    In a large measuring cup or small mixing bowl, combine the sugar, flour, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, and Angostura bitters. Sprinkle this mixture over the apples in the mixing bowl. Use your hands to gently mix and coat the apple slices. 

    To assemble the pie: 

    Preheat the oven to 380 degrees F

    Gather your rolled pie crust, salted caramel, and apple mixture. Begin by layering 1/3 of the apples in the bottom of the crust so that there are minimal gaps. Pour 1/3 of the caramel over the apples. Add 1/3 of the apples and caramel for a second layer, and then add a third layer of apples, and then the caramel again. My suggestion is to save a small portion of the caramel to pour on top once the lattice is assembled. 

    Assemble the lattice crust and flute the edges of the crust. Pour the last bit of caramel on top. Brush the crust with the beaten egg and lightly sprinkle with raw sugar and sea salt. 

    Bake the pie on a baking sheet larger than the pie pan for 20 minutes (otherwise the caramel will bubble over and burn on the bottom of your oven). Reduce the oven temperature to 325 to 350 and bake for 25 to 35 minutes. You can test the apples for doneness with a long toothpick or small knife. The apples should be just soft. 

    Let the pie cool, then slice and enjoy.

    A Cafe of Experiences

    Recently a little cafe opened up near where I live. I thought it was perfect because it was located a couple of minutes away from my house and is located right on the main street of the hustle and bustle of our popular town hangout center. One beautiful and clear Friday evening, my parents and I decided to walk around the dimly lit streets and came across the little cafe. The annual carnival was in town so after all the activity, we were searching for a place to relax and something to fill our bellies. The exterior of the cafe was warm and the atmosphere inviting. The warm yellow lights adding color to the pavement outside making the area seem more cheerful than it already was. From standing outside of the door I could see a few plush couches, a display filled with mouthwatering desserts and another display containing a colorful array of gelato.

    Ice Cream Heaven!

    Baking sweets can be fun and entertaining but sometimes you just want to go out to have a tasty dessert. I personally love going out to ice cream with friends and family every so often. While Baskin Robbins and Cold Stone may be delicious, one ice cream parlor personally stands out from the rest- Farrell's. Farrell's is a restaurant and an ice cream parlor but they are mostly known for their ice cream. Farrell's was founded in 1963 and has been a success ever since. The ice cream they offer isn't your normal size serving you would normally get; everything is massive. The amount of ice cream that you get when you order just a simple serving or shake can be intimidating. Even better than the huge amount of sweets is that it tastes amazing too! Farrell's has some of the best ice cream that I have ever had. Farrell's is also a family friendly place with something always going on like a birthday song. The employees know countless amounts of songs modified to sing for a birthday that when I went, there was almost constant singing and I only heard one song ever repeated. When it's your birthday you also get a free birthday sundae! Who can resist a free ice cream sundae? I went when it was my birthday and it was a lot of fun and the employees were all really nice and funny. At first I didn't really see the fascination with Farrell's, I just figured that it was like any other ice cream parlor but it was a lot more fun than I would ever anticipate that a restaurant/ ice cream parlor could be. If there is a Farrell's near you then you have to go try it and if you already have, you should go again!  Overall, Farrell's has amazing ice cream and a fun atmosphere and it should be on everybody's bucket list!

    Wednesday, April 23, 2014

    A Jar Filled Sweetness

    Lately I've been getting more creative with gifts, presents and other little things around the house: courtesy of Pinterest and spring break. So instead of buying my friends gifts like clothing or gift cards, I decided on this little idea. Most of my friends love eating sweets, not necessarily baking because it takes too much time or they're too lazy to gather up all of the ingredients. While browsing through Pinterest, I found this idea: a mason jar filled with layers of cookie dough ingredients! Not only is the cute jar an added bonus, but all of the dry ingredients necessary to baking cookies are already provided and measured perfectly! All they have to do is add the liquid ingredients and follow the provided directions that you attach to the jar. These are perfect for anyone who has a sweet tooth but might not have time to go through the whole cookie making process. Read on for the tutorial and let's get started!

    Helpful Tips and Tricks

    Let's face it, baking does not come easy for some people. I am not the best baker myself but I am progressively getting better with helpful hints my family has given me, tips I have learned from friends, or even discovered myself through the internet. With baking I find it difficult to bake sweets perfectly; mine usually turn out too overdone, too underdone, or done on the outside but raw in the middle so I can see the struggles that bakers go through. Bakers on TV always make it look so easy because everything turns out perfect so here are some tips and tricks to better your baking creations and turn you into a better baker.

    • Accuracy is key! Most people think its okay to just guess the measurements but you want it to be as accurate and close to the recipe as possible for your treats to turn out just the way you want.
    • Don't use expensive ingredients! A lot of ingredients may be able to be purchased in bulk which is cheaper and often times better for the baker. There are also baking substitutions you can make (there's a post with substitutions from a few weeks back!).
    • Research the recipe! If you get a recipe from the internet, check to make sure it has good reviews and is credible. The last thing you want is to waste time and money on a bad recipe!
    • Think outside of the box! To save even more money, use some ingredients you may have in your house to spice up a dish such as any type of fruit or maybe even cheese. There is another post about a few combinations as well!
    • Prepare before! Preparing to make a dish before you actually do saves time in the long run. Preparing and possibly even practicing to make a dish before that big event eases stress and helps you to know what to fix or change for the next time so you can get that perfect sweet treat!

    Tuesday, April 22, 2014

    Birthday Buttercreams

    Since my birthday fell on the first day of spring break this year, I knew I had lots of time to get creative in the kitchen! I get really excited to bake my own birthday treats, which makes my mom happy. It makes it a lot easier for her to take a break once in a while. Looking through various recipes on Pinterest, I discovered a few delicious sounding recipes for buttercream frostings. I knew I wanted to start with a simple boxed Raley's brand vanilla bean cupcake mix (it was so good!) because vanilla is a good blank slate. I found an easy strawberry buttercream and a salted caramel buttercream. They both use a unique idea of adding no milk for moisture. In the berry frosting, strawberry jam served as the liquid, and in the caramel one, well, caramel was the secret ingredient! Below are the recipes I used, with the only tweak of using regular vanilla extract instead of almond because I had none on hand.

    1 cup butter, softened
    4 cups powdered sugar
    1 teaspoon almond flavoring
    ¼ cup strawberry jam

    Monday, March 31, 2014

    Buttercream Filled Macarons

    As the weather gets warmer, the sun starts shinning and flowers bloom with color, many families spend more time outside drinking lemonade and munching on small desserts like cookies and brownies instead of rich cakes. Macarons are my opinion of the “spring cookie”. Most commonly served and made popular in Paris, France these classy looking, adorable yet delicious treats have become all the rage. Never having had one before but thinking they were adorable (and being sucked into this trend), I decided to make my own. Maybe it’s the pastel colors or how sophisticated they seem to me that I wanted to be able to say, “Yes! I’ve made them successfully!” I didn’t know what I was getting myself into! They are definitely not as easy as making the classic chocolate chip cookie! The recipe is simple, the main ingredients being almond flour, sugar, and egg whites however; these sweet cookies were probably one of the most challenging things I’ve ever made.

    So I decided to talk about my experience making them with the recipe I've found most success with. Have fun baking!

    I adapted from THIS recipe. But added one ingredient and did some of my steps differently…

    Quirky Combinations

    We all love classic dessert combinations such as vanilla ice-cream and brownies, chocolate and pretzels, and one of my personal favorites, chocolate and peanut butter. The list of delicious combinations can go on forever but it even includes many combinations that you might think are gross but you never know unless you try them for yourself. One wacky combination that I have been dying to try is chocolate and jalapeƱos. Some of my family has tried jalapeƱo and chocolate cake and loved the spicy taste that it brings out. I'm a huge chocolate lover so I think I would like it too! At first I thought the combination would be revolting but after hearing so many good reviews about it I will definitely try it whenever I get the chance.

    When we think of dessert we typically don't think of vegetables. I don't know very many people that would think that combination would sound appetizing. We have all heard of rice pudding but have you ever heard of rice pudding that is made with cauliflower? Probably not. It's a healthier alternative for sure (if you are looking for a healthier dessert of course!) but not most peoples first choice in a dessert. Rice pudding itself is one of the healthier dessert options out there but substituting cauliflower in makes it even better for you. This is another combination that has gotten good ratings so I would be open to trying it if I ever had the option.

    Saturday, March 29, 2014

    Baking Substitutions!

    Although baking is an exact science, changes and tweaks can still be made to recipes. Baking substitutions are becoming increasingly popular because of the health benefits. Some people also make substitutions based on their dietary needs and allergies. I find it fun to experiment with changing up recipes and seeing how different the final product seems. Sometimes it is not recognizable that the recipe is healthier or made without an allergen such as nuts, but other recipes do not tweak well. Products may come out not as sweet or puffy as expected. Here are some common health related substitutions that are popular today:

    Dietary restrictions are other reasons for substitutions. Being a vegan, I use a lot of changes in recipes. Here are some common vegan substitutions:

    My favorite vegan substitutes are apple sauce and silken tofu. I think that they add health benefits while also being more kind to our fellow living beings.

    Tuesday, February 18, 2014

    Spectacular Ice Cream Man

    About a month ago, this video about an ice cream vendor in Turkey became popular. The creative vendor doesn't just give his customer the frozen sweet treat but does a series of cute stunts. After watching the video, I was amazed at how calm and patient the vendor's customer was. It made me think how I would react if I was the one under that situation. I am not the most patient person but I don't get frustratingly impatient quickly. Some might get frustrated but most would probably be amazed and awed. 

    The action of this creative man made me realize that it could really lighten the mood of anyone's day. Imagine bringing young kids to a vendor like this and the wide smile that spreads across their face and the widening of sparkling eyes. The world always needs new,innovative , and exciting people and ways to promote products instead of those annoying popup ads when you're looking at a recipe on your favorite site or trying to beat your high score of Flappy Bird. 

    For the original post and a link to the video, click here:

    Check out this amazing video it will definitely bring a smile to your face!

    Monday, February 10, 2014

    Chocolate Butterscotch Fudge

    I remember when I was in elementary school, every year on Valentine's Day each kid would set out some sort of Valentine holder: a paper mailbox, a weaved heart, or even something as simple as a decorated shoe box. Even though passing out your goodies was fun it was amazing and exciting digging through to see the different cards and candy. And for some of us, maybe a little something special from a special someone. 

    Valentine’s Day really is the celebration in between the chilly snowy, rainy winters and the breezy fresh air of spring. We can still cozy up in the comforts of home but also draw open the curtains from our windows and let the slowly emerging sunlight in.

    Tuesday, February 4, 2014

    The snow is slowly starting to melt and flowers are starting to bloom

    Even though the groundhog saw his shadow and threw us into 6 more weeks of winter, it's not too early to start preparing for spring. Most people love winter, the spicy scents, cold crisp air, and for most of us more time to spend with our families and people we love. Most treats are rich, contain many homey spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and decadent flavors like pumpkin and caramel. We also slowly move away from hot chocolate and holiday coffee to smoothies, lemonade, and frappucinos.

    Spring on the other hand to me seems like a more playful time of year when everything starts blooming and brightening. The aromatic scents of flowers and the chirping of birds. The sun starts to shine and warms up but still has the light spring breeze...not to mention the allergies that comes along with it. Not quite summer: fruity and fun but spring has its bounties. Light refreshing flavors with the tangy sweetness of ripening fruit. We move into cakes and fruit baskets but not ice cream and watermelon cake yet. Spring is to most-a start to a new beginning and a breath of fresh air.

    Thursday, January 23, 2014

    Pumpkin Scones

     I recently discovered about myself that my favorite season is fall. The beautiful leaves on the ground, fresh smell in the air, and the coming of the joyous holiday season just make this the most blissful time of the year. Not to mention the most striking weather. The best part about cold and rainy days is sitting inside by the fire with a nice cup of hot coco after a chilling 10 mile run. And for people like me who love to bake, the rain poses the perfect time to get crafty in the kitchen. But on top of all of these pros of fall, the thing that tops the list for me is-  get ready for it: PUMPKINS.
    Yes I am crazy for anything pumpkin. Pumpkin soup, pumpkin ice cream, pumpkin muffins, and of course pumpkin pie.  The second I tried a Starbuck’s Pumpkin Scone, my baking mind started thinking. I did not want to have to pay at least four dollars for a small scone when I am perfectly capable of making them myself. After looking through hundreds of recipes on Pinterest, I adapted a recipe that worked out so well! The recipe is as follows: