This past weekend was my sister’s birthday, which brought the birthday count to four for the month of February alone. February is not about Valentine’s day its about birthday’s, or at least those are the cards that Hallmark is making a profit off of from me. One perk of all the birthdays is it give me an excuse to head into the kitchen to bake. And not just bake but to bake things I wouldn’t normally think to bake. When I sat down to think of what to make for Kara, I decided to shy away to the tycical favorite dessert of her’s such as crème brûléeor a fruit tart and go for the old favorite eclair.
I’ve made cream puffs before which is the same batter mixture, so I wasn’t intimidated by these delightful pastries. From this time baking I decided to stop living in denial and believe that the altitude is affecting my results. I’ve found things to be a bit dryer, cook quicker and not rise as well. Luckily the only one I saw that effected the eclair was the rising part. Some puffed up but some not too much, but fortunately though it might have not look as fluffy and delicate as it should have, but it tasted like cloud. A chocolate, covered, cream filled heavenly cloud that is.
I have officially turned 24. The scary 24. The 24 that is oh so much older than 23. I’ve been dreading it but its just waltzed into my life. And surprise, surprise, its nots that bad. One bonus, I finally got the Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Julia Child cookbook. Another bonus my almond raspberry cake with buttercream frosting.
Sorry to have taken so long to post, but its been a really busy week. My dad called me Saturday as I was driving to work to inform me and my and sister that he would be stopping in for a visit on Sunday aka tomorrow. I was obviously excited but that also meant everything I had planned for the day had to be pushed up early to before he got there, or pushed back to the start of the week. Any who, no complaints it was great to have him, but that is my excuse for not posting.
Even though I was super busy I factored in time to bake, of course. In between transcribing on Sunday morning I dusted off my whoopie pan and tested a new recipe—gingerbread. I love pumpkin whoopie pies so they stole my thoughts towards any other kind of whoopie pie’s in the past. This year, I was testing cake recipes for Thanksgiving and making other desserts, during the month of November, that the whoopie pie got missed. So it was the perfect time for the gingerbread to swoop in and steal the show. And boy did it.
The gingerbread was decadent and rich, with I have to say the best creamy buttery filling ever. I thought I over baked the pie part a little bit so there was a little crunch the first day. But the second day, after sitting in a covered pan over night, the pie’s became moist and perfect. Make this today, tomorrow, for the holiday party , for Santa, anyone really. After you make these once you will be looking for any excuse to make them again.
This was my first trip in, I don’t-know-how-long, that I didn’t bring my computer. For almost a solid four days I was computer free. I must say it was pretty amazing. I also bought a ticket, so no standby traveling for me this time, which was also pretty amazing.
This Thanksgiving we went to New Hampshire for my cousin’s wedding at the Omni Resort in Mount Washington. We had Thanksgiving dinner at my Aunt’s in Exeter, New Hampshire. I of course brought the cake, which means I brought it on the plane. If anyone wants to make friends on a plane or in the airport carry a container with cakes in them, people will comment.
Hope everyone had a fabulous Thanksgiving and are ready for the transition from pumpkin everything to gingerbread.
I am one of those true believers in pumpkin this time of year. I literally think adding pumpkin to any recipe makes it better. I’ve entered pumpkin adding season and made my first pumpkin dessert last weekend. Pumpkin bread pudding topped with vanilla creme anglaise—an incredible recipe for autumn. Each bite is moist and soft, packed with a mixture of cinnamon and pumpkin flavor. The flavors then hit the cool vanilla creme and there is a small choir singing “alleluia” on your taste buds. Seriously simple, all you do is mix the ingredients to make the custard, then pour it over day old bread chunks. How much easier can it get?
Even though I am eagerly awaiting the cool brisk days of fall, I am trying to soak up the last sunny summer days of the year. My little sister’s birthday falls on one of those last summer days and she requested her favorite cake for her birthday— a Dairy Queen cake, which is perfect for sunny days because it is an ice cream cake. Instead of running out to buy one, I thought I should make it instead. I started googling and putting together different recipes I found online to come up with what I thought was the exact recipe for those amazing DQ cakes. To my surprise it was. This cake was simple, had very few ingredients and pretty darn close to being the exact same as DQ.
My suggestion is to make this, this weekend for the family or friends and enjoy the last ice cream days.
Dairy Queen Ice Cream Cake Recipe
2 cake pans (9 or 8 inch ones will work)
1 quart vanilla ice cream
1 quart chocolate ice cream
1 packaged oreos (16 oz)
1 jar fudge topping (11 3/4 ounces)
Chocolate sauce- enough for 1/4 cup
1 pint heavy whipping cream
2 tbs sugar
2 tsp vanilla
Allow the ice cream to melt enough so you can pour it into the two cake pans. Line the cake pans with plastic wrap before pouring ice cream into the pans so you can get the ice cream back out easily once frozen. Freeze the ice cream in the cake pans till they are once again frozen. Remove the filling from the oreo’s and discard it. Put all the oreo cookies in a bowl and smash till small bits. I used a potato smasher. Mix in chocolate sauce to the cookie crumbles till it forms a ball. Don’t put too much sauce in to the point where it is liquidy. You want it to be a dough like substance. Pull out the ice cream and on the vanilla side spread the cookie mix onto it, then on the chocolate side pour the fudge onto it. Refreeze for 1 hour, at least. Place your whipping bowl and mixer in the freezer for 30 minutes before whipping. Pour the pint of cream into the chilled bowl and add 2 tbs sugar and 2 tsp vanilla into the bowl and mix still stiff peaks. Pull out the two cakes and remove from pan by pulling on the plastic wrap. Place the chocolate cake on a plate fudge side up and then put the vanilla cake on top cookie side down, so the fudge and cookie mix are touching. Frost and refreeze for at least 30 mins. Now enjoy!
(That is supposed to be a polar bear, incase there was any confusion with my artwork)
My sister’s engagement party was this past Saturday and it was amazing! It was at a wine bar in Dallas with friends and family and it went perfectly. To go along with the wine, we had a cheese platter that was incredible, pizza and for dessert dark chocolate cupcakes with chocolate buttercream frosting and chocolate covered strawberries which I made. Dessert has always kinda been my thing so when I started to plan the party I knew I wanted to make the desserts. Picking both of their favorites the cupcakes were for John and the strawberries for Kara.
Since I knew I wanted to spend as much time with my sister when I was visiting as possible, I decided to bake the cupcakes before in Michigan and carry them with me to Dallas. I brought tupperware and the cupcake pan with me from my current location of Charleston, South Carolina and I can only imagine what the TSA was thinking as my bags went through security. I baked the cupcakes on Thursday night and carried with me 48 mini cupcakes down to Dallas. Things went smoothly and I frosted them on Saturday before the party and they were adorable. They were still incredibly moist and delicious. Luckily the strawberries were easy to do on Saturday too during the day so they weren’t overhead bin partners with the cupcakes. What can I say, carry cupcakes on the plane is The Pilot’s Daughter way.
Farmers market season is in full bloom. I’ve been to a few farmers markets before but apparently not the cool ones because I have never seen zucchini blossoms for sale until last week. It was like Christmas morning when I saw them. After I bought them I was so overwhelmed with planning the meal that I would serve them as an appetizer at that I couldn’t focus enough to buy anything else. This week I’m going with a list.
Zucchini blossoms quickly grew into Greek feast night. Stuffed zucchini blossoms as the obvious star but also the appetizer, Greek salad, chicken gyros and baklava. I studied abroad in Greece a few years back and have always wanted to make zucchini blossoms and baklava, the moment had finally arrived. Zucchini blossoms are the flower the grows off of the zucchini. There are male and female flowers and the way to tell them apart it that the male flower grows directly off the zucchini and the female grows from a stem.
Both the blossoms and the baklava were pretty easy. The baklava was just time consuming considering it had 17 layers, but there weren’t any tricky parts and you don’t need special tools. The fried stuffed blossoms are self explanatory and the only thing that was a little tricky was pulling out the pistols of the flowers.
The zucchini blossoms were so, so good! The fried part isn’t too strong but more of a tempura batter because it is just flour and soda water, so it has a lighter taste to it. You bite in and they melt in your mouth and its salty from the parmigiano-reggiano and sweet from the ricotta. The baklava was great. It tasted almost as good as Greece baklava, almost.
I dropped the ball this Easter. I simply ran out of time with work and friends visiting, so I didn’t bake the Easter dessert. I had already bought all the ingredients to bake the cake; the past few days they have just been staring at me, making me feel guilty and making me think about working on my time management skills. Last night I decided these ingredients will no longer make me feel guilty; it was time to bake.
This cake is the perfect spring/summer cake with its orange flavored inside and raspberry frosting. It is so good, it’s better late than never. The only down fall is some of the people at Easter dinner won’t get to enjoy this absolutely divine cake…at least they can see how pretty it is.