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Posts Tagged ‘National Food Day’

December 26th is National Candy Cane Day!

Ok, I’m deviating a little on the food item today. Instead of using candy canes, I am using Andes peppermint crunch baking chips. They look and taste like candy canes, so I’m going with it!

While the cookies are not a true shortbread cookie (there is an egg in this recipe), they still have a similar texture. They are also loaded with peppermint chips, which makes them very festive looking! If you can’t find the peppermint chips, you could always use the regular Andes mint chips. It’s a different mint, but still tasty! Oh, not a mint person? You could try adding chocolate covered toffee pieces…yum!

One year ago: Cinnamon Lover’s Scones

Peppermint Crunch Cookies
Adapted from Mr. Food

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups flour
1- 10 oz. bag Andes peppermint crunch baking chips
1 tablespoon sugar to sprinkle on cookies

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and powdered sugar. Add in the egg, vanilla bean paste, and salt. Stir in the flour until well combined (this will take a couple of minutes). Mix in the peppermint baking chips.

Using a medium-sized ice cream scoop, scoop out the dough and place the cookies onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Space the cookies about 2 inches apart and gently flatten with the palm of your hand. Sprinkle a little sugar on top of each cookie. Bake in a preheated oven for 14-15 minutes, or until the tops are set and the cookies are a light golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, move the cookies onto cooling racks and let cool completely. Enjoy!

Made with love, not calories!

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December 17th is National Maple Syrup Day!

For all of the desserts that I have been making this month, I thought I would go a little healthier with this food holiday. I decided to make Maple Granola. Nick and I like eating granola with our yogurt, and while I like the brand that we buy (Bear Naked), I have always wanted to make my own. This is an easy recipe that you can customize to your own tastes. Use different nuts- or a combination, you could use extra-virgin olive oil (as the original recipe calls for), or you could use different dried fruit!

005 Maple Granola

Maple Granola
Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart

3 cups rolled oats (also called Old-Fashioned)
1 cup dried unsweetened coconut chips
1 cup chopped walnuts
2/3 cup pure maple syrup
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon sea salt
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup dried cranberries (Craisins)
1/3 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with silpat or parchment paper. Set aside.

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients except the dried cranberries and raisins. Mix until everything is well combined. Spread evenly onto the prepared pan. Bake in a preheated oven for 40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. After 40 minutes, add in the cranberries and raisins and bake for another 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool completely. Enjoy!

001 Maple Granola

007 Maple Granola

Made with love, not calories!

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November 21st is National Gingerbread Day!

Gingerbread is a sweet food product flavored with ginger and typically using honey or molasses (treacle) rather than just sugar. Gingerbread foods vary, ranging from a soft, moist loaf cake to something close to a ginger biscuit. The different types likely share a common origin.
The first documented trade of gingerbread biscuits dates to the 16th century, where they were sold in monasteries, pharmacies and town square farmers’ markets. One hundred years later the town of Market Drayton in ShropshireUK became known for its gingerbread, as is proudly displayed on their town’s welcome sign. The first recorded mention of gingerbread being baked in the town dates back to 1793; however, it was probably made earlier, as ginger was stocked in high street businesses from the 1640s. Gingerbread became widely available in the 18th century.” (Source)

While my first thought of gingerbread went to gingerbread men and gingerbread houses, I knew I wanted to make a soft gingerbread dessert. Note: I have never made a gingerbread house. I need to make a gingerbread house! I did some searching and found a recipe for gingerbread cupcakes. Ok, now what kind of frosting? I knew a cream cheese frosting would be really good, but that wasn’t thrilling me. I decided on a salted caramel frosting. The combination is wonderful! The cupcakes are a delight- rich with molasses and spices, while the frosting has a little hint of salt that hits your tongue, followed by the sweetness of the caramel. Don’t be too surprised when I post this combination in other recipes!

One Year Ago: Apple Cider Bread Pudding

Gingerbread Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Frosting
Cupcake recipe from Martha Stewart
Makes 18 cupcakes

Cupcakes:
1 cup boiling water
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
2/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1 cup molasses
2 eggs, lightly beaten

Salted Caramel:
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/3 cup water
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Frosting:
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup salted caramel sauce
3 tablespoons milk
2 3/4 cups powdered sugar

To make the cupcakes:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease or line 18 muffin cups with liners. Set aside.

In a small heat-safe bowl, whisk together the boiling water and baking soda. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, spices, salt, and baking powder. Set aside.

In a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and brown sugar. Add in the molasses and the water/baking soda mixture, and mix well. With the mixer on low-speed, slowly add in the flour mixture. Add in the eggs and mix until well combined. Fill the muffin cups 3/4 of the way full. Bake in a preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, remove the cupcakes from the pan onto cooling racks and let cool completely.

To make the salted caramel sauce:
In a medium-sized saucepan, combine the sugar and water and cook over medium-low heat until the sugar has dissolved. Increase the heat to medium and bring to a boil. Continue to boil until the mixture reaches 350 degrees on a candy thermometer, or is a medium brown color. Note: you will usually see the color start to change in the center of the pan. Once you see that happening, start to carefully swirl the pan the make sure the sugar mixture doesn’t burn in the center.
Once the mixture has turned medium brown, remove from the heat and add in the butter. Carefully stir until the butter has melted, then add in the heavy cream. The mixture will bubble and boil when the cream is added, so be careful and don’t lean directly over the pan. Return the pan to the heat, this time over low, and continue stirring until the mixture is smooth. Once it is smooth, remove from the heat and add in the vanilla bean paste and sea salt. Let cool completely before using it in the frosting. Note: The caramel sauce can be refrigerated until needed. Use any leftover sauce over ice cream or apple pie!

To make the frosting:
In a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, cream together the butter and salted caramel sauce. Add in the powdered sugar, alternating it with the milk. Mix until you have the frosting consistency you like (adding more powdered sugar or milk to get the consistency you prefer).

To finish the cupcakes:
Once the cupcakes are cool, frost the cupcakes. Note: I used a pastry bag with a star tip. Once the cupcakes are frosted, drizzle on additional salted caramel sauce, if desired. Enjoy!

I’m linked to: Chocolate, Chocolate & More!, Taste and Tell.

I’m featured at Taste and Tell!!

Made with love, not calories!

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November 13th is National Indian Pudding Day!

“Indian pudding is a delicious custard made with molasses, cornmeal, milk, butter, spices, eggs, and sometimes apples. Once baked, Indian pudding looks like an inedible mush, but after one bite you’ll be hooked!

This scrumptious recipe has been around for centuries. Early American colonists did not have the necessary ingredients to make plum pudding, so they created an alternative using cornmeal. Indian pudding is still a popular dessert around New England and other parts of the country.” (Source)

I have never had Indian Pudding. However, now that I have made it, and eaten it for this food holiday, I can say that I enjoyed it! It has wonderfully warm flavors, from the molasses and spices, that make it perfect for a Fall/Winter dessert. It is simple to put together, and for this recipe you finish it in a slow cooker. Because I had never eaten Indian pudding before, I did not make any changes to the recipe. Other recipes I found included apples instead of raisins. I would like to try that the next time!

Indian Pudding
Recipe from About.com- Southern Food

3 cups milk
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter
3 eggs
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup molasses
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
2/3 cup chopped raisins

Lightly grease crockpot (slow-cooker). Preheat on high for 20 minutes.

In a medium-sized saucepan, bring the milk, cornmeal, and salt to a boil over medium heat, stirring continuously. Turn the heat to medium low and let simmer for 10 minutes, while stirring. After 10 minutes, add in the butter and stir until melted and combined.

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, brown sugar, molasses, and spices.

Once the butter has been added to the cornmeal, slowly add the egg mixture to the cornmeal mixture, making sure to whisk quickly and continuously until well combined. Stir in the chopped raisins. Pour this mixture into the prepared crockpot. Cook on low heat for 6-8 hours or on high heat for 2-3 hours. Serve warm as is, or with a scoop of whipped cream or ice cream! Enjoy!

Made with love, not calories!

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November 5th was National Doughnut Day! Sorry, I got my days mixed up :(

Not even a month ago, I finally bought a doughnut pan, and made my first batch of baked doughnuts. And now, I am already making another batch. This really isn’t a good thing, when you love doughnuts as much as I do! So I planned ahead, and made these on a day that Nick and I were meeting friends to watch football. I knew they would help me eat them!

One Year Ago: Peanut Brittle Peanut Butter Cookies

Cinnamon Sugar Baked Doughnuts
Recipe lightly adapted from King Arthur Flour

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup sugar, divided
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1/4 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon, divided
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 2/3 cups flour
1 cup milk
3/4 cup cinnamon chips

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray doughnut pan with cooking spray. Set aside.

In a bowl, combine 1/4 cup sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Mix well then set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the butter, oil, remaining 1/2 cup sugar, and brown sugar. Mix well. Add in the eggs and vanilla bean paste. Stir in the baking powder, baking soda, remaining 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, and salt. Alternate adding in the flour with the milk, starting and ending with the flour. Mix until well combined. Fold in the cinnamon chips.

Spoon, or pipe (using a pastry bag or heavy zip-lock bag with a corner snipped off) the batter into the prepared doughnut pan, filling each cavity 3/4 of the way full. Bake in a preheated oven for 9-10 minutes. Remove the doughnuts from the oven and let cool for 3 minutes. After 3 minutes, turn the doughnuts out onto cooling racks. Dip both sides of the warm doughnuts into the cinnamon sugar mixture that you prepared earlier. Return the doughnuts to the cooling rack and cool completely. Enjoy!

Note: If you only have 1 doughnut pan like I do, let the pan cool for 10 minutes after removing the baked doughnuts. Spray the pan again and proceed until all the batter has been used.

Made with love, not calories!

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HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!

October 31st is National Candy Apple Day!

I’m not a big fan of candy apples, just for the simple reason that they are hard on my teeth. However, that doesn’t mean that I can’t have fun making them and giving them away! Let others enjoy them (and break their teeth- geez, I hope not!).

Candy apples are easy to make, but there are a few things to keep in mind. First off- this is not a recipe that young kids should be helping with. I’m not trying to be mean. You will be working with a sugar mixture that is 300 degrees. Even once you start dipping the apples and the sugar mixture has stopped boiling, and it looks safe- it isn’t. Also, the cinnamon oil that you use to add flavor, is very strong. You will be adding this once the sugar comes to temperature, and there will be a lot of fumes. If you are standing over the pot (which I highly suggest that you Do Not) you could hurt your sinus cavities from the fumes. Believe me, I learned the hard way years ago when I first started making the sugar mixture for hard candy. If this is your first time making hard sugar candy, having a bowl of ice water nearby would be beneficial in case you get any hot sugar on your skin.

Ok! If I haven’t scared you off, let’s make some candy apples!

Cinnamon Candy Apples

2 cups sugar
1 cup water
3/4 cup light corn syrup
Red food coloring
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon oil (.125 fl. oz.)
8 small apples (I used Gala apples)
8 popsicle sticks

Remove the stems from the apples and insert a popsicle stick. Place the apples on a silpat mat. Set aside.

In a large saucepan, combine the sugar, water, and corn syrup. Bring this to a boil over medium heat, stirring continuously. Clip on a candy thermometer and continue stirring until the temperature reaches 300 degrees. *If you have an exhaust fan over your stove, turn it on now (or open a nearby window)! Remove the pan from the heat and add in the food coloring and cinnamon oil (be careful not to stand over-top the pan), stirring well to combine. Working quickly, tilt the saucepan to pool the sugar mixture, and dip your apples. Let the excess drip off for a few seconds, then place the apples back onto the silpat mat. After all the apples have been dipped, any extra candy can be poured directly onto the siplat mat (on an open spot). The apples will set up very quickly, but wait 30 minutes before eating them. Note: if you had extra candy, once it hardens, break it up and toss it in a little powdered sugar.  Enjoy!

*I purchased my Cinnamon oil at a  local candy supply store, however, I have also seen it at Wal-Mart. Make sure it says oil- extract isn’t strong enough for the recipe.

Made with love, not calories!

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October 23rd is National Boston Cream Pie Day!

A French chef named Sanzian invented Boston cream pie in 1856. He worked at the Parker House Hotel in Boston, Massachusetts, which is also where the Parker House roll originated.
In 1996, Boston cream pie became the official dessert of Massachusetts in a bill sponsored by Norton High School. This bill defeated both Indian Pudding and Toll House cookies as the state’s official dessert. Boston cream pie is now also a popular doughnut, coffee, and ice cream flavor.
Although it is called a pie, Boston cream pie is actually a cake. It consists of two round layers of sponge cake with a thick vanilla custard filling. It is usually frosted with a chocolate glaze but it can also be topped with confectionary sugar. The dessert is served in wedges just like a pie. (Source)

I decided that instead of making a pie, I would make cupcakes!

Which leads me too…the week 4 challenge from Willow Bird Baking is…cupcakes! But not just any cupcake. The challenge was for us to make a cupcake, fill it, and frost it. And guess what? Boston Creme Pie cupcakes fit that description. Yup. It’s like killing 2 birds with 1 stone! Sorry, I couldn’t help myself. And I would never kill a bird, because that would make me cry.

Anyways! I made the batter for the Boston Cream Pie, but baked it into cupcakes. Then I made a vanilla pastry cream for the filling. A rich chocolate glaze covers the top. Each cupcake is the perfect portion for a wonderful dessert!

 

Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes
Recipe lightly adapted from America’s Test Kitchen
Makes 12 cupcakes

Cupcakes:
1 3/4 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
3 eggs
3/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

Pastry Cream (filling):
1 1/3 cup heavy cream
3 egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

Chocolate Glaze:
1 1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
2/3 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

1. Make the cupcakes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a muffin pan*. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Using the whisk attachment, turn the mixer on low-speed and add in the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time. Once the butter has been added, let the mixer run on medium speed, until the mixer resembles pebbles (or large pieces of coarse sand). Turn the mixer back to low and add in the eggs, one at a time. Once combined, pour in the milk and add in the vanilla bean paste. Turn the mixer back to medium speed and let the batter mix for 2 minutes. Evenly distribute the batter into the muffin pan, filling each 3/4 of the way full (I had a little batter- 2 or 3 tablespoons, left over). Be careful not to over-fill. Bake for 18-20 minutes in a preheated oven, or until the cupcakes test clean with a toothpick. Remove from the oven and let cool for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, remove cupcakes from the pan onto cooling racks, and let cool completely.

2. To make the pastry cream (filling):
In a medium-sized saucepan, bring the heavy cream to a simmer over medium heat. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until they are a light yellow. Whisk in the salt and cornstarch.
Once the milk is at a simmer, slowly pour 1/2 of the milk into the yolk mixture, whisking continuously. Once this is well combined, add in the rest of the milk, continuing to whisk. Pour this combined mixture back into the saucepan on medium heat. Continue whisking until the mixture has thickened (this will take a couple of minutes). Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter and vanilla bean paste. Place a piece of plastic wrap on the surface of the pastry cream (this will prevent a “skin” from forming), and refrigerate for 2 hours.

3. To make the chocolate glaze:
In a microwave safe bowl, combine all the ingredients. Microwave on high for 30 second intervals, stirring after each one, until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth. Let the glaze rest a few minutes to cool and thicken.

4. To assemble the cupcakes:
Take a sharp knife and cut around the inside edge, angled towards the center, and remove a cone-shaped piece* from the top of the cupcake. Fill the cupcake with pastry cream. Trim the cut-out piece so that it is flat (instead of cone-shaped), and place it back on the cupcake (it might not sit flush- that is ok). Repeat this on all the remaining cupcakes. Place the cupcakes on a cooling rack, which is sitting on a cookie sheet covered in wax paper. Spoon or pour the chocolate glaze over the tops of the cupcakes, letting the excess chocolate run down the sides. Refrigerate for 10 minutes to let the glaze set. Enjoy!

Notes:
* I greased and floured my muffin pan as directed, however, I struggled to get the cupcakes to come out cleanly. My pan isn’t non-stick, so that might be my problem.
* I made the cone-shaped cut as directed and ended up with extra pastry cream. However, when Nick and I were eating the finished cupcakes, we both commented that it could use more filling. I think a more straight-down cut into the cupcakes would have enabled more pastry cream to be used. Please keep in mind that this is our personal preference. Also, I had plenty of glaze on each cupcake, yet had a lot remaining. I think you could make half of the glaze recipe and have enough. The extra glaze won’t go waste (!), but I had more than enough for the 12 cupcakes.

Made with love, not calories!

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October 10th is National Angel Food Cake Day!

Once again I am making an angel food cake! This was needed, in order to use up some of the egg whites I have left over from making ice cream.

Notice I said “some”!

Yup, I still have more egg whites stashed in the freezer! I’m sure you have heard about this little tip: use a clean ice cube tray, and fill each cavity with an egg white. Freeze, then pop them out and store in freezer-safe zip-lock bags. This has come in handy for me!

The 1st angel food cake I shared with you, was Lemon. This time, I’m going with my favorite flavor…Chocolate! Well, with a twist! I added some malt powder to it, and wow, this is a winner! It’s been a while since I have had a chocolate malt shake, I had almost forgotten how good that combination is!

Chocolate Malt Angel Food Cake
Lightly adapted from here
Prep time: 20 minutes     Bake time: 40-45 minutes

1 1/2 cups egg whites (about 10-12), room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup cake flour
1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons malt powder
4.4 oz. Hershey’s milk chocolate bar, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Move the oven rack to the lower third of the oven.

In a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, whisk the egg whites until foamy. Add in the cream of tartar and whisk on medium-high speed until the egg whites form soft peaks.

While the egg whites are whisking, sift together the cake flour, confectioners sugar, salt, and malt powder onto a large piece of wax paper. Set aside.

Once the egg whites have formed soft peaks, keep the mixer running and slowly add in the sugar. Stop the mixer, remove the bowl, and fold in 1/4 of the flour mixture. Repeat this 3 more times, until all the flour mixture has been folded into the egg whites. Fold in the chopped chocolate. Pour the batter into a tube pan (ungreased), and bake until the top is golden brown, about 40-45 minutes. A toothpick inserted into the cake should come out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and invert it onto the neck of a wine bottle or metal funnel (I used a bottle of hot sauce!). While inverted, let the cake cool completely. Once cool, run a knife along all the edges (and bottom) to release the cake. Cut using a serrated knife, with a sawing motion. Enjoy!

Made with love, not calories!

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September 26th is National Pancake Day!

I love pancakes! If I am in a restaurant that offers chocolate chip pancakes, that is what I order- and it doesn’t matter what time of day it is! Smeared with butter and drenched in maple syrup (go big or go home!), it might be sugar and carb overload, but that’s the way I like it!

So, as you can tell, for National Pancake Day, plain pancakes just were not going to cut it for me. Oh no. If I’m making pancakes, they are going to be just as sweet as the chocolate chip ones. Well, I found it. The perfect recipe that puts pancakes over the top. Cinnamon Roll Pancakes by the Recipe Girl! Swirls of cinnamon filling, baked right into each fluffy pancake. Then as if the decadent pancakes weren’t enough, a rich cream cheese glaze gets poured over the top, creating the perfect cinnamon roll pancake. These should come with a warning- they are definitely not to be eaten on a regular basis. They are for special occasions or that dreary weekend morning, when everyone needs a pick-me-up (or a nap after all the sugar!)!

I’m going to send you to the Recipe Girl for the recipe, as she has a very detailed description (and pictures!) of the pancake making process. Be prepared to drool!

Made with love, not calories!

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September 4th is National Macadamia Nut Day!

I like macadamia nuts. They are crunchy yet soft, and they have a great flavor! I knew they would go well in shortbread, but I wanted to stay away from adding white chocolate or coconut. Not that there is anything wrong with those add-ins, it’s just that when I see dessert recipes that have macadamia nuts in them, I usually see them paired with white chocolate or coconut. I wanted something different. I ended up adding toffee pieces to my shortbread. It adds a little sweetness and it isn’t so strong that you lose the flavor from the nuts.

Toffee and Macadamia Shortbread
Recipe adapted from Use Real Butter

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups flour
1 cup finely chopped macadamia nuts
1/2 cup toffee bits

In a stand mixer, cream together the butter and powdered sugar. Add in the vanilla and salt. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides. Turn the mixer on low and add in the flour. Once the flour is incorporated, add in the macadamia nuts and toffee. Divide the dough in half and place it on plastic wrap. Either roll it into a log, or pat it evenly into a square shape. Refrigerate the dough for at least 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

After 2 hours, remove the dough from the refrigerator and cut it into rounds (if you rolled the dough) or squares. Place the shortbread onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Bake in a preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until lightly golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, move the shortbread onto cooling racks and let cool completely. Enjoy!

Made with love, not calories!

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