April 1, 2016
January 24, 2016
One of the dishes that I thought I’d probably never make was Creme Brûlée. It’s one of those desserts that is just perfect to have in a restaurant after a fancy meal: creamy, vanilla-scented with a crisp caramel coating that almost tastes bitter. A dish that I thought that couldn’t be made any better at home. Let me tell you now, I was so wrong. I have made the Perfect Creme Brûlée.
Now I know what you may be thinking: how is this creme brûlée any better than any other one I’ve had? Believe me, I don’t say something is ‘perfect’ without it being downright the best homemade version I’ve ever had. This dessert is so creamy, the custard is smooth and silky and is studded with flecks of fragrant vanilla bean. It is topped with coarse sugar and caramelized using a blowtorch (you can also use the broiler!) to give the dessert a thin, glass-like ceiling that is oh-so-satisfying to crack with your spoon. But I haven’t even gotten to the best bit yet, which you may not want to tell your friends, it’s incredibly simple to make (GASP!).
Making a good creme brûlée is actually much easier than I thought. There are only a few simple steps between you and the Perfect Creme Brûlée! You simply have to infuse some heavy cream with a vanilla pod. Then, you pour the hot cream on top of some egg yolks and whisk thoroughly. Next, you pour the custard into ramekins or brûlée dishes and bake in a water bath for 40 minutes. Finally, you allow the brûlées to chill in the fridge until you are ready to caramelize the tops right before devouring!
Just look at the crack of the crust! Make sure you use a coarse sugar (not fine) as it allows for a crisper topping that is less likely to burn. No black brûlées here!
November 23, 2015
There’s just something about sprinkles that just makes me smile. Especially rainbow sprinkles. They just remind me of birthday parties and childhood and about eating cake without any guilt (and loads of frosting on your face). Last year I made a Homemade Funfetti Cake that went down a storm with the teachers at school, so I’ve decided to share the recipe for these gorgeous, portable, single-serving Homemade Funfetti Cupcakes which are not only ADORABLE but super moist and delicious.
But this post is not just to celebrate these delicious Homemade Funfetti Cupcakes, no matter how irresistible the may be. This post is to celebrate 4 YEARS of this little blog I have been writing. There’s not many things I can keep going for more than 4 years! So I’m going to do a little dance and look forward to what the year ahead brings. Ok, back to the reason why we’re all here: the cupcakes!
These Homemade Funfetti Cupcakes are great because they are SO easy to whip up and taste so much better than any *cough, cough* boxed version. They are super moist and packed with that cake batter vanilla flavor. These little beauties also hold up incredibly well when topped with dollops of whipped buttercream frosting and tons of rainbow sprinkles. Makes sure you don’t skimp on the frosting or sprinkles, though. They totally make these cupcakes shine!
Don’t you just want to take a big bite? I love the first bite of this cupcake the best, because it reveals the surprises inside. The speckled interior is enough to blow anyone’s mind! But to get that great, confetti-like surprise inside, make sure you don’t mix your sprinkles too well into the batter as they may bleed their color. You want to keep that vanilla cake white, with pops of color throughout.
Top tip: when decorating cupcakes, make sure they have cooled completely before topping with any frosting. If they are still warm, the frosting can melt! I have definitely had some good piping work go to waste as it has slowly slid off the top of a still-too-warm cupcake.
August 16, 2015
Since traveling to Italy this summer, I have been obsessed with panna cotta. A light, creamy and refreshing dessert that there somehow always seems to be enough room for. The great thing about a panna cotta is that you can infuse almost any flavor into the cream. Here, I use the classic vanilla pod, but I am scheming up ways to infuse the cream with basil, chocolate, hazelnuts, lime and the list is, well I guess you are starting to tell, endless. This time, however, I wanted to keep it simple. Classic vanilla inside a wibbly, wobbly Greek Yogurt Panna Cotta.
This Greek Yogurt Panna Cotta is great because greek yogurt gives the dessert a great creamy texture and the slight tang that comes with a good Greek yogurt. It balances perfectly with the sweet amber honey that is drizzled over when serving. The panna cotta was SO good, that hubby even caught me topping one with granola and having for breakfast with fruit! You know it’s good when you can have it for breakfast!
When I took these little darlings out of the fridge for the first time after letting them set, I was so worried about how to get them out of the molds! The last thing I wanted to do was scrape a knife down the sides and destroy my perfectly formed panna cottas! If they’re struggling to come out of the molds (if using), you can dip the outside of the mold into a bowl of warm water, being careful not to get any water into the panna cotta of course! This should loosen the sides enough to allow it to plop out onto a plate.
Another great thing about this dessert is that it can be prepared in advance. It only takes about 10 minutes to prepare, then it’s just poured into the molds, placed in the fridge to set and voila! Perfect for a busy dinner party as it can be done the night before and it is oh so impressive!
I think the thing I love most about this Greek Yogurt Panna Cotta is the texture. It is creamier than creamy, so smooth and refreshing. Make sure that the gelatin is completely dissolved when mixing together in order to achieve this consistency. Topping with a sliced fig instantly transports me to Mykonos, where I imagine I’m staring at the aquamarine sea and soaking in the Mediterranean sunshine and dipping a tiny spoon into a wobbling, sweet, creamy Greek Yogurt Panna Cotta.
January 25, 2015
Macarons, croissants, eclairs, madeleines, financiers… and the list of things that the French have created (and that I LOVE) goes on and on and on. Over the years I’ve become a bit of a Francophile, growing more interested in all things French and French cooking and patisserie. (See here and here for some of my other French recipes and here and here for some travel photos!)
Naturally, when I become slightly obsessed with something, I go slightly over the top with a new cookbook collection and new bakeware! Hello madeleine pans! But there was one dish I had seen in books from Julia Child to Raymond Blanc that really grabbed my attention, not only because it was French, but because it was simple, quick and easy.
Clafoutis is a French baked dessert, traditionally served with griottes (sour black cherries) as the fruit component. It is said that it comes from the Limousin region of France, where it spread nationally during the 19th century. While some purists may say that if black cherries are not used, it cannot be called a clafoutis but rather a flaugnarde. I disagree, especially since clafoutis (kla-foo-tee) is so much more fun to say! So as I couldn’t find any black cherries, I chose to use some gorgeously red, plump, tart raspberries in their stead.
This Raspberry Clafoutis is divine. The combination of sharp, juicy fruit and a wobbly, vanilla scented batter is one of pure indulgence and simplicity. I love that this dessert can also be served warm or cold, with whipped cream or a chocolate sauce, the possibilities are endless. I think I may go whip up another one! Bon appetit!
January 18, 2015
There aren’t many things that I keep going for longer than 3 years. I’ve only been married for two, just as long as I’ve been teaching, and my hobbies and interests seem to change by the day. (Don’t even get me started on the diet and exercise regime!) But this blog has been a constant for me over the last 3 years. Always there to help me express myself and allow an outlet for my creativity. I really did feel the need to celebrate this year, and what better way is there to celebrate than to make Funfetti?
I always had my fingers crossed when I went to a fellow 8 year old’s birthday party. Why? No it wasn’t about the piñata or the goodie bags, but rather I wished that the cake would be Funfetti. I really don’t think there’s anything more magical when you’re a kid. How did they get all those specks of the rainbow into that cake? How do they manage to get all that vanilla flavor packed in? Why is it the best cake ever? All these questions and more had plagued 8 year old, just getting interested in cooking, little me. But as I grew older, the traditional birthday parties stopped and so did the endless stream of Funfetti cakes. Soon Funfetti was just a childhood dream.
When I started this blog, however, Funfetti had made a comeback in a major way. Does anything look prettier on Pinterest? Anyway, living in England, I’ve never been able to find proper rainbow sprinkles and had to make do on what I picked up when visiting the States or that my Mom ships over for me (Thanks Mom!). But with my little blog’s 3rd birthday here, I wondered why I was hoarding sprinkles rather than allowing them to show off. Hello there, Homemade Funfetti Cake…
This is a great little cake. Not only is it pretty darn simple, it’s pretty darn delicious too! Packed full of moisture because of the greek yogurt, this cake is brimming with vanilla and most importantly: sprinkles! The vanilla buttercream is the most creamy frosting I’ve eve made, and because it uses cream, really does make this a celebration treat. Just a note when making the frosting, be sure your ingredients are room temperature or it may turn out grainy and require extra whipping!
December 7, 2014
Some of my favorite treats as a kid were those that had peanut butter. PB & J sandwiches, peanut butter cups, peanut shaped sandwich cookies, peanut butter filled pretzels and the list goes on and on. Not till I moved to England did I realize how much the rest of the world lacks in peanut butter filled products. So eventually my need for peanut butter grew and grew until I just snapped. The search for the Perfect Peanut Butter Cookies was on.
The Perfect Peanut Butter Cookie is different for everyone. I love lots of peanut butter flavor packed in, with a delicate balance of crumb and chew. For me, they must be soft and slightly fluffy with a real sweet and salty hit. So it shouldn’t be too hard to make the perfect peanut butter cookies, should it?
I have made loads of peanut butter cookies before, but these are one of my favorites. I keep going back for the rich peanut butter flavor and the fact that they last a long time if stored well. It’s great when you want to make a little selfish batch to fill the cookie jar for the week!
This is a great recipe because there aren’t too many ingredients and it’s super easy to whip together in a pinch. They actually don’t need too much chilling time (as little as 30 minutes) so they can be in the oven and filling your house with the delicious scent of peanut butter before you know it! It’s got me thinking about making them again now. I even think next time I might add dark chocolate chips… mmmm.
I cannot believe that it’s already December. This year seems to have gone even faster than the one before, and it has been just as crazy and fun and, more recently, exhausting. Yet I’ve always found that life is always better when the temperature drops, you’re surrounded by friends and family, and you have a crumble for dessert.
I guess some of you might say this isn’t a crumble, it’s a crisp or maybe even a cobbler, but I guess it depends your geographical loyalties. According to The Kitchn, a cobbler has a biscuit-like topping while the lines between crisps and crumbles are more blurred. Some purists may say that if the topping has oats in it, it’s a crisp, but I like oats, and I call this a crumble.
This Apple and Blackberry Crumble is perfectly suited for chilly winter nights. Warm, cinnamon scented apples and juicy blackberries topped with with a crispy, crunchy streusel topping makes the perfect combination of calm inducing comfort and full on flavor. The best part: smothering it all with warm, vanilla speckled custard. This dessert is reason enough to gladly wave goodbye to the summer months.
Doesn’t that look good? Just try not to have it all in one sitting. Continue reading