The Ginger Has Come To Town

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Christmas is basically here. Everyone should be preparing for their guest and thinking about the food they will be serving. Presents should be bought, though that doesn’t mean they have been. If you are like my sister, and me, we have yet to buy the gifts.

Though the gifts may not be bought the menu has been planned. I’m one of those hosts who loves to have some little nibble baked good sitting around that’s perfect to go with coffee, as a late night snack, or in the afternoon. Like I mentioned before my taste buds transitioned from pumpkin to gingerbread so this recipe is none other than gingerbread. This recipe calls for orange zest, which adds a subtle crisp flavor to it. I love a good cream cheese frosting, and this is a good cream cheese frosting but with that said the gingerbread is so good I find myself enjoying it without the frosting. I’ll let that be your decision to frost or not to frost.

Orange gingerbread with cream cheese frosting

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The Ginger Whoopie

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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.

Gingerbread Whoopie Pie Recipe

Filling Recipe (It’s the filling number two recipe f.y.i.)

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Be patient. If you wait and just stir the flour and milk it will, in about five minutes, become thick.  IMG_7746

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Hard Caramel

The cooking challenge this week was caramel.  I was so excited to make them and nervous at the same time, because making candy can be dangerous.  I can safely say nobody got hurt in the kitchen in the making of these caramels.  But, I have to say these ended up not as caramel, but as hard candy—oops.

This recipe, even with the major screw up, are fabulous.  It is an apple cider caramel recipe and the thing that went wrong was I let it get above 252 degrees.  I would suggest adding the cinnamon and salt mixture when the temp is about 240, and after a little research I would suggest pouring it into the pan to set at 248 degrees. I believe mine probably got close to 260 which is the temperature for hard candy.

Now the flavor, it literally is a roller-coaster ride for your taste buds.  You initially get the tart cider, then the sweet buttery caramel flavor, then it finishes with a salty cinnamony swirl. They were so delish as hard candy I can’t imagine how good they would be as caramels.  Back to the kitchen.

Apple Cider Caramels

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Pumpkin Pumpkin Everywhere!

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?

Stay tuned for more pumpkin recipes but in the meantime take a look a some old ones like my pumpkin whoopi pie recipe and pumpkin spice cake with pumpkin cream cheese frosting. 

 

Pumpkin Bread Pudding Recipe

Vanilla Creme Anglaise Recipe

*I substituted 2 tsp vanilla for the vanilla bean in the recipe.

Warming the cream and vanilla for the creme anglaise.

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Birthday Cake

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

Directions

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)

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Never Too Late For This Cake

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.

Orange Raspberry Cake Recipe

 

 

 

 

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Gettin’ Down and Gritty With The South

What is more southern than shrimp and grits?  Nothing is right.  And what better to finish off a shrimp and grits meal than with a key lime pie.  Nothing is right again.  I knew this had to be the first meal I made for the new roommates in Charleston.

I’ve only had a bite here or there of grits in my life time and I’m a fan but not a die hard one.  The recipe I used was a Bobby Flay recipe.  It was super easy and fast, and of course delicious.  You use lemon juice as the sauce and it balances so nicely with the sharp cheddar cheese grits. I’m becoming a more serious fan every day.

My friend gave me the key lime pie recipe and it is absolutely delicious.  I was hesitant about the meringue topping but it compliments the lime filling perfectly.  I don’t have my Kitchen Aid mixer with me because trying to get that thing on an airplane would’ve been ridiculous, so I whipped the egg whites by hand.  Even with help from my friend Becky, sadly I have to admit my arm was sore the next day. If I ever thought Julie Child would’ve been proud of me for moments before I was wrong this was for sure the moment she approved of.  Also don’t wimp out and buy store bought crust, the homemade crust was well worth the extra effort.

Shrimp and Grits Recipe

Key Lime Pie Recipe from Kyle Heironimus

Ingredients:
1 14oz can sweeten condensed milk
3 eggs
3 to 5oz of key lime juice
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
1/4 cup of sugar
1 pie crust (your choice)

Crust:

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (10 crackers)
1/4 cup sugar
6 tbs (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

For the crust, combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and butter in a bowl. Press into a 9-inch pie pan, making sure the sides and the bottom are an even thickness. Bake for 10 minutes until firm and golden. Allow to cool completely.

Filling:
Separate 3 egg yolks from whites.  Save the whites for the meringue (make sure to get no yolk in the whites).
Wisk 3 egg yolks, sweeten condensed milk, and 3 to 5oz of key lime juice (to taste) in a bowl.  More than 5oz of key lime juice will not be good, so don’t do it.
Pour filling into pie crust.

Meringue:
Use egg beater on high to beat egg whites until they are foamy.
Add vanilla extract and cream of tartar and continue to beat egg whites.
Mix in sugar gradually while continuing to beat egg whites.
Beat egg whites until ridges form on the top.
Spoon meringue evenly onto top of filling in pie crust.

Bake:
Put in oven at 350° for 15 minutes or until the meringue is golden brown on the tips.
Remove from oven and let cool down at room temperature for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
Refrigerate for at least 12 hours (24 is better).

 

 

The most important part about making grits is when you put the grits in the water.   You must stir out all the lumps then, otherwise they will be in there in the end.

 

 

 

 

 

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