Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

Well, here it is. The best Chocolate Crinkle Cookies you’ll ever eat. Thanks to the people at Americas Test Kitchen who did all the real work in developing this recipe, I merely tweaked it. This is a Dairy Free recipe now 🙂

This is what I did…

ingredients-wheres-that-vanilla

Assembled the ingredients…minus the vanilla… that elusive vanilla!

wet-ingredients

Combine the eggs, brown sugar, espresso powder and vanilla

into-the-microwave

stick the crisco and chocolate chips in a microwave safe container

not-ready-yet

Not quite ready after 30 secs

chocolate-is-fully-melted

Ready after another 40 secs

helpers-pour-in-the-melted-chocolate

Had my helpers add the melted chocolate into the egg mixture, on low

dry-ingredients

Combine the dry ingredients together

add-the-dry-mixture

add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix until just combined

batter-rests-for-10-mins

and there’s the batter! Let it rest 10-15 minutes while you prep your pans

fit-parchment

Fit your parchment to size

lets-rock-n-roll

Ready to Rock and Roll

use-a-mini-scoop-to-handle-batter

Using a Mini Scooper, drop 1 scoop into a bowl of sugar

drop-in-sugar

roll-in-granulated-sugar

toss it in the sugar so you are able to handle it without it becoming a sticky mess!

coat-with-powdered-sugar

ready-to-bake

cookies

They’ll bake at 325 Degrees for 12 minutes on the center rake. Bake each tray alone! (they don’t like sharing the oven)

img_0865

Pose them in front of a black wall for lots of drama and try not to eat them all 😉

Good Luck with trying not to eat them all.

I literally had to hide them from my son who was sneaking them whenever he came into the kitchen…I’m pretty sure he single handedly at 10 in one day!

Here’s what you need…

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

1 Cup FLour

1/2 Cup Cocoa powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

3 eggs

1 1/2 C brown sugar

1 tsp finely ground espresso

1 tsp vanilla

4oz  dairy free chocolate chips

4 Tablespoons Crisco or dairy free butter

Granulated sugar in a bowl for rolling

Powdered Sugar in a bowl for rolling

Parchment paper and cookie sheets

mini scooper

Preheat Oven to 325°F. Combine eggs, brown sugar, espresso and vanilla

Melt chocolate chips and crisco. Add to wet ingredients

Mix dry ingredients (flour, cocoa, salt, baking soda). Mix until just combined.

Rest batter for 10-15 minutes, then roll in granulated sugar to form a ball, followed by rolling in powdered sugar to coat completely.

Arrange on cookies sheets with 2″ spacing not more than 11 on a tray.

Bake for 12 minutes, one tray at a time.

THEY WILL LOOK GOOEY AND UNCOOKED. Don’t be fooled, 12 minutes is perfect and they will solidify as they cool. Let them rest on the cookie sheet until the next batch is done cooking

ENJOY!

Unicorn Birthday Party

I love unicorns. I have forced them on my 2 year old daughter. She kind of loves unicorns. She’ll get there. But to help her along, I hyped up the idea of having a super cool, super sparkly, super rainbow-filled unicorn birthday party….and, in her adorably deep and raspy words,

she “y-oved it!”

No Unicorn Party is complete without these 11 things…

IMG_5120

1) a gold glitter unicorn 2)rainbow straws and 3) “unicorn horn” lollipop   4) temporary unicorn glitter tattoos

 

IMG_5121

5) unicorn headbands 6) Unicorn literature

IMG_5122

7) pink glitter plates 8) rainbow chevron napkins 9) a rainbow frosted cake

IMG_5123

10) a gold tinsel backdrop

IMG_5124

and of course 11) a 2nd cake with clouds, rainbow and unicorn

IMG_4437Correction…there are 12 things you need for a complete Unicorn Birthday Party…. 12) an adorable little birthday girl!

P.S…..

When having a breakfast birthday party, as we did here… don’t serve donuts with breakfast! There was no room left for CAKE!!!

Happy Birthday Lucy Lu!

 

Olaf Cake Tutorial

What is a FROZEN party without an Olaf Cake???!

It’s a super easy way to make your FROZEN themed party extra special. With these pans, I used one box of white cake and 1/2 batch of homemade frosting (equal to 1 can of store bought). ATTENTION! All Dairy Free people!!! If you use dairy-free box mix and store bought vanilla icing, this can be a dairy free dessert for a party where an allergy may be an issue.

Here’s what I did…

oval pan, round pan, jumbo muffin pan...crisco'd ans floured

oval pan, round pan, jumbo muffin pan…crisco’d ans floured

fill each pan, half way with white cake batter

fill each pan, half way with white cake batter (as you can see I put a pastry tip in the round cake to speed up cooking and cook it evenly, probably not necessary though)

cook until golden, cool completely

cook until golden, cool completely

draw olaf on back of wax paper, flip over and trace with melted chocolate, using a pastry bag and small round tip. (buttons are chocolate covered Nilla Wafers)

draw Olaf on the back of  some wax paper, flip over and trace with melted chocolate, using a pastry bag and small round tip. (buttons are chocolate covered Nilla Wafers)

trim oval cake for head, trim round cake for body, trim muffins for neck and feet (cutting them flatter as needed to keep them all relatively the same height)

trim oval cake for head, trim round cake for body, trim muffins for neck and feet (cutting them flatter as needed to keep them all relatively the same height)…OLAF HAS A BELLY BUTTON!

remove chocolate pieces from wax paper

remove chocolate pieces from wax paper

cover the cake in white frosting, apply chocolate eyebrows, arms, small and buttons. Nose is a Nilla Wafer trimmed into a triangle and sprayed with edible orange food coloring.

cover the cake in white frosting, generously coat with powder sugar and apply chocolate eyebrows, arms, small and buttons. Nose is a Nilla Wafer trimmed into a triangle and sprayed with edible orange food coloring.

Grandpop’s Peterson’s Creamy Baked Cheesecake with Strawberry Topping

There are few things that my husband goes weak in the knees for…myself obviously ;), our kids, chocolate milk, watermelon and pure, unadulterated cheesecake.

So to show our appreciation for him this past Father’s Day, we (and by we, I mean, me doing all the baking while my kids kept coming in the kitchen asking if they can have some cake yet) made him a beautifully rich, plain cheesecake with Strawberry topping. The recipe is one I received from my Grandpop Peterson, but slightly altered by way of replacing the Sour Cream and Peach Melba topping he used, for simple strawberries instead.

It’s simple to make and and keeps well in the fridge for days of cheesecake bliss.

Here’s what I did…

Beat 16 oz of cream cheese

Beat 16 oz of cream cheese

While that was beating, I prepared the graham cracker crust.

crush about 6 graham crackers in the food processor

crush about 6 graham crackers in the food processor

you need 1 Cup of Graham Cracker crumbs (p.s. Cinnamon Sugar ones are SO good!)

you need 1 Cup of Graham Cracker crumbs (p.s. Cinnamon Sugar ones are SO good!)

4 Tablespoons Butter to be zapped in the microwave until melted

4 Tablespoons Butter to be zapped in the microwave until melted

ZAP!

ZAP!

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup sugar

Combine the sugar, crumbs and butter

Combine the sugar, crumbs and butter

add 1 can of sweetened condensed milk and beat until smooth

add 1 can of sweetened condensed milk and beat until smooth

soooooo smooth

soooooo smooth

add 1/4 tsp salt

add 1/4 tsp salt

add 3 eggs

add 3 eggs

add 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

add 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

Pour it over the compacted crumb crust

Pour it over the compacted crumb crust

IMG_3274

tap it on the counter to release bubbles…ready for the water bath

Baked for 55 minutes at 300Âș F

Baked for 55 minutes at 300Âș F

cover the top with strawberries and drizzle hot jam over them to make them nice and glossy

cover the top with strawberries and drizzle hot jam over them to make them nice and glossy

nothing better than cheesecake for breakfast to kick off a great Father's Day!

nothing better than cheesecake for breakfast to kick off a great Father’s Day…complete with handmade cards and cool new mug!

Here’s what you’ll need…

IMG_3248

Sour Cream Summer Pound Cake

Nothin’ says summer like a Sour Cream Summer Poundcake. Paired with fresh whipped cream and berries, this recipe is perfect for a post-bbq no frills dessert or the a beautiful flower bedecked wedding cake!

Here’s what I did…

ingredients: pastry flour, eggs, salt, sugar, sour cream, butter, baking powder, nutmeg, lemon

ingredients: pastry flour, eggs, salt, sugar, sour cream, butter, baking powder,  lemon

add butter and sugar to mixing bowl

add butter and sugar to mixing bowl

cream until white and fluffy

cream until white and fluffy

add sour cream

add sour cream

add vanilla

add vanilla

baking powder

baking powder

zest of 1/3 of a lemon

Here comes the Summer part……….zest of 2/3 of a lemon

and salt

and salt

whip together until smooth

whip together until smooth

add 2 eggs and whip

add 2 eggs and whip

add 1 cup of sifted flour and whip

add 1 cup of sifted flour and whip

repeat with two more eggs and more flour

repeat with two more eggs and more flour

repeat again

repeat again

line the trays

line the trays

using a bag, fill each liner half way with batter

using a bag, fill each liner half way with batter

thanks to my very talented 5 year old, I could use both hands to pipe out batter, and not juggle a camera too

thanks to my very talented 5 year old, I could use both hands to pipe out batter, and not juggle a camera too

baked and ready to cool

baked and ready to cool

incredibly moist cake and fine crumb. It's subtle lemon flavor is just enough to brighten it up.

incredibly moist cake and fine crumb. It’s subtle lemon flavor is just enough to brighten it up.

Sneak peek at the cake sampling for Andrew and Randy's wedding cake using this recipe!!!!

Sneak peek at the cake sampling for Andrew and Randy’s wedding cake using this recipe!!!!

Here’s what you’ll need…

Sour Cream Summer Poundcake

2 Sticks of Unsalted Butter ( at room temp.)

3 C. Sugar

 1 C. Sour Cream

2 tsp. Vanilla

1/2 tsp Baking Powder

1/4 tsp Salt

Lemon for Zest

 6 Large Eggs

3 C. Pastry Flour

1 Tube Pan, 2 Loaf Pans, or 2 Cupcake trays

1) Cream butter and sugar until fluffy

2) add sour cream, salt, powder, lemon zest and vanilla

3) add 2 eggs and mix then 1 cup of flour and mix

4) repeat step 3 until all eggs and flour are combined in

5) grease and flour tube pan, 2 loaf pans or put liners in cupcake pans

6) Bake at 325ÂșF for 80 mins (tube), 60 mins (loaves), or 20 mins (cupcakes) checking regularly with tooth pick and removing as soon as the center is not sticking to toothpick

A Dessert To Honor A Ballerina: The Pavlova

While walking frantically through the grocery store, after work yesterday, searching for a delicious dessert inspiration to hit me, (We were having some friends over in a few hours (freaking out!) and they were bring the entree and I was doing salad and dessert) I came across the berry section of the produce aisle and what do you know, all the berries were on sale. Hallelujah! Berries…something with berries. Boom! It hit me. Pavlovas!

I stumbled upon this gem of a dessert a few years ago, when it struck me as unique and genius. I love meringue, right, and a pavlova is like a meringue crossed with a….a marshmallow…and I love marshmallows too, so naturally when I discovered how the two could become one, I was doomed. It gets better. The top of this miraculous ballerina cake is loaded with whipped cream and fruit. Berries by the quart. It’s so light and fresh, you can literally eat a whole half of the cake and feel justifiable.

Pavlovas are named after the Ballerina Anna Pavlovna Pavlova, supposedly created in New Zealand, or Australia by argument, in honor of the beautiful Anna.

Anna Pavlvoa. The inspiration...delicate and airy

Anna Pavlvoa. The inspiration…delicate and airy

It’s a very fitting tribute. The crisp flaky outer shell of the “cake” is delicate and ruffled like a tutu, and the center is moist and fluffy like a cloud. One bite and I feel like I could pirouette through the kitchen…stop me now.

Here’s what I did

ingredients.

ingredients.

6 egg whites ready to whip...see those beautiful yolks? don't chuck em! save them for something else!

6 egg whites ready to whip…see those beautiful yolks? don’t chuck em! save them for something else!

whisk together the cornstarch and the sugar

whisk together the cornstarch and the sugar

add the salt and the cream of tarter, then add the sugar 1 Tablespoon at a time on Med. High

add the salt and the cream of tarter, then add the sugar 1 Tablespoon at a time on Med. High

My mixer is a ballerina...look at her spin

My mixer is a ballerina…look at her spin

almost there

almost there, just added in vanilla and vinegar

the rub test

the rub test

feels a little gritty, needs to whip a few more minutes

feels a little gritty, needs to whip a few more minutes

stiff peaks

stiff peaks

no more grit

no more grit

trace an 8" circle on parchment...boy was that fun measuring all the circular items in my kitchen

trace an 8″ circle on parchment…boy was that fun measuring all the circular items in my kitchen

flipped my circle over so the pencil graphite isn't touching my cake

flipped my circle over so the pencil graphite isn’t touching my cake

plop it out into the circle

plop it out into the circle

push it out to the circle edge, flatten the top and sweep up the sides to create a stubby little volcano shape

push it out to the circle edge, flatten the top and sweep up the sides to create a stubby little volcano shape

300Âș preheated oven

300Âș preheated oven

just finished baking...now it's time to dry out

just finished baking…now it’s time to dry out

Blueberries. Raspberries. Blackberries. Strawberries. Berries!!!!! Rinsed and Drained, gently patted dry

Blueberries. Raspberries. Blackberries. Strawberries. Berries!!!!! Rinsed and Drained, gently patted dry

step 1: place dried pavlova on serving plate

step 1: place dried pavlova on serving plate

load with Fresh Whipped Cream... or Cool Whip...whatever you got time for

load with Fresh Whipped Cream… or Cool Whip…whatever you got time for

step 3: add the berries and sprinkle with powdered sugar

step 3: add the berries and sprinkle with powdered sugar…P.S. if you don’t want yours to be broken, don’t let your 5 year old “help” you get it ready. “Help” = pick apart and eat 

cue harps...ahhhh....

cue harps…ahhhh….

flaky shell with marshmallowy interior...we almost finished off the whole thing before I remembered to capture this image...close one.

flaky shell with marshmallowy interior…we almost finished off the whole thing before I remembered to capture this image…close one.

Dinner, thanks to the very talented Lorraine, was a-ma-zing and dessert, thanks to Anna Pavlova, was just as satisfying

Here’s what you’ll need…

Pavlova

1 1/4 C sugar

6 egg whites

2 Tbsp Corn Starch

1/4 tsp. cream of Tarter

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp vanilla

1/4 tsp vinegar

Whipped Cream or Cool Whip

2 pints Bluebberies

1 pint Raspberrries

1 pint Blackberries

handful of Strawberries cut up

powdered sugar for dusting

Whip egg whites until frothy then add in tarter and salt. Whisk together sugar and cornstarch. add by the Tablespoon into egg whites on medium high speed. Once stiffer, add vanilla and vinegar. Whip to stiff peaks and make sure its not gritty, by rubbing a small amount between finger and thumb.

Trace an 8″ circle onto parchment and form meringue into a flattened volcano like shape within the circle. Bake at 300ÂșF for 1 hour and let it rest in the oven for 2 hrs or overnight. It may crack and fall as it cools…its ok.

Fill with whipped cream and top with berries.

Blueberry Lemon Macarons

In honor of my sister-in-law heading to Spain and Paris for a month (so jealous), I made macarons for her bon voyage party, like she won’t get her fill of them in Paris. Let’s just take a moment of silence as we approach the holy grail of patisseries…

…the macaron.

Soak it in. Mmmmmmmm. Ok, that’s good. Now let’s dig into this recipe.

Here’s what I did…

the ingredients. Egg whites, sugar, almond flour, confectioners sugar, dye, candy thermometer, spatula, water,

the ingredients. Egg whites, sugar, almond flour, confectioners sugar, dye, candy thermometer, spatula, water,

trace circles on parchment that can be slid out from under the macarons parchment

trace circles on parchment that can be slid out from under the macarons parchment

almond flour and confectioners sugar

almond flour and confectioners sugar

combined with whisk, making a well for the egg whites

combined with whisk, making a well for the egg whites

2 eggs white and food dye added to make this colorful thick paste

2 eggs white and food dye added to make this colorful thick paste

cover the almond paste to prevent drying

cover the almond paste to prevent drying

place sugar and water to saucepan

place sugar and water to saucepan

beat egg whites until soft peaks form, adding 35g of sugar at this point

beat egg whites until soft peaks form, adding 35g of sugar at this point

heat the sugar until 240Âș

heat the sugar until 240Âș

drizzle in the molten sugar syrup slowly while mixing

drizzle in the molten sugar syrup slowly while mixing

meringue holds a firm string of whites when pulled

meringue holds a firm string of whites when pulled

add 1/3 of the meringue to the almond paste

add 1/3 of the meringue to the almond paste

I added a bit more food dye  after the first round of meringue was added

I added a bit more food dye after the first round of meringue was added

add the rest of the meringue to the almond base

add the rest of the meringue to the almond base

fold together and press against the bowl  to combine

fold together and press against the bowl to combine

piping out little mounds just shy of 2", using my template as a guide

piping out little mounds just shy of 2″, using my template as a guide

drying out for about  45 minutes

drying out for about 45 minutes

notice the dull surface, these are dry to touch

notice the dull surface, these are dry to touch

check out those feet

check out those feet

shells matched by size and shape

shells matched by size and shape

shells filled with lemon curd and blueberry buttercream

shells filled with lemon curd and blueberry buttercream

hmmmm...who ate one?!

hmmmm…who ate one?!

handpicked flowers by little guys, macarons and coffee...perfection

handpicked flowers by little guys, macarons and coffee…perfection

showing us some macaron excitement

showing us some macaron excitement

thick, structured and just enough filling

thick, structured and just enough filling

Here’s what you need…

Blueberry Lemon Macarons

Almond Paste: 

150g almond meal

150g powdered sugar

50g egg whites (2 whites)

food dye

dash of salt

Meringue:

55g egg whites (+2 egg whites)

35g granulated sugar

120g granulated sugar

40g water

Measure precisely! Sift flour and sugar together and process in food processor if necessary to make VERY fine. Combine all ingredients in the paste until it is uniform and cover.

Whip egg whites for meringue until frothy, then add 35g sugar slowly until soft peaks form. While on stove heat 120g sugar and water until 240Âș (just under) then drizzle into whisking egg white on Med. High.

Add 1/4-1/3 meringue into paste and blend together. Add rest of meringue and combine until just dripping of spoon. Texture should smooth out into a smooth circle if piped. (This may take some practice to figure out the right consistency here. I’m not gonna lie, it may take a few batches to nail this aspect…don’t give up!)

Bake at 300Âș for 15-20 mins. remove from parchment when cool. Once you fill and sandwich together the macarons, wrap them in plastic wrap and let them sit overnight in the fridge to reconstitute the cookie and reach the right texture. They can be frozen too, only let them thaw in their wrapping before serving.

Blueberry Buttercream

butter, blueberry syrup and 10xsugar

(sorry I kinda winged it with this one, basically a buttercream overloaded with syrupy cooked blueberries)

Lemon Curd

Recipe coming soon!

Preparing for Beignets

Beignets. Tonight. I. Can’t. Wait.

If you’ve never had beignets before, imagine the best doughnut you’ve ever eaten, then make it fluffier, egg-ier, more deep-fried, and cover in powdered sugar. Even then, I can’t describe the utter perfection they are. Their hollow insides make them PERFECT for dipping into chocolate sauce or raspberry sauce as well as homemade whipped cream.

The first time I ever had beignets was at The Grand Lux Cafe and they were eye opening! I’ve managed to duplicate them somehow and am quite a bit of danger of gaining 50lbs from making them at a whim.

Only weeks ago, I found out beignets are made of Pate a Choux (the pastry that makes cream puffs and eclairs) but whereas the creme puff is baked, beignets are deep fried. What?!

SOooo, I took a reliable choux pastry recipe I had been using and dropped it in super hot oil and, well, it was a very exciting night. It was such a big hit, we decided to bless our guests that we are having over tonight with a fresh batch. I made the dough last night so it has time to chill (and so I have more time to clean my messy house before our guests arrive tonight)

WARNING! Once you try these, you’ll never be satisfied with a regular donut again.

Here’s what you need to do…

8 tablespoons butter on medium heat

8 tablespoons butter on medium heat

1 cup of water

1 cup of water

combined butter and water

combined butter and water

add 1/4 tsp salt

add 1/4 tsp salt

add 1.5 Tablespoons sugar

add 1.5 Tablespoons sugar

in another bowl, add 1/4 teaspoon baking powder

in another bowl, add 1/4 teaspoon baking powder

and 1 cup of all purpose flour

and 1 cup of all purpose flour

sift the dry ingredients together ....pretty like snow

sift the dry ingredients together ….pretty like snow

get your biggest wooden spoon out

get your biggest wooden spoon out

stir the water and butter mixture

stir the water and butter mixture

when it starts to boil its ready

when it starts to boil its ready

add the flour

add the flour

start stirring like its going out of style

start stirring like its going out of style

dough starts to form a ball

dough starts to form a ball

cook for 3 more minutes to cook flour

cook for 3 more minutes to cook flour

dough forms a tighter ball

dough forms a tighter ball

transfer dough to the bowl that i used to sift flour

transfer dough to the bowl that i used to sift flour

I get the pot in hot water right away to make for easy clean-up

I get the pot in hot water right away to make for easy clean-up

add eggs 1 at a time and mix until combined

add eggs 1 at a time and mix until combined

getting there...

getting there…

...there

…there

(5 eggs later)

(5 eggs later)

for making beignets, chill the dough. Old lunchmeat containers are the perfect size

for making beignets, chill the dough. Old lunchmeat containers are the perfect size

chill for 4 hours or overnight...yes that is lemon curd on the shelf below...yum

chill for 4 hours or overnight…yes that is lemon curd on the shelf below…yum

Beignets Recipe (Pate a choux)

8 Tablespoons Butter; unsalted

1 Cup Water

1/4 tsp salt

1.5 Tablespoons sugar

1 Cup flour, sifted

1/4 tsp. Baking Powder

5 eggs

powdered sugar

Cook water, butter, salt, and sugar over medium heat until it boils gently

Sift flour and powder together

Add flour to liquid and stir until it forms a dough ball; cook 3 minutes longer

add eggs 1 at a time

Put in container with lid and store in fridge for 4 hours or overnight.

Drop 1 Tablespoon dollops into HOT 365 degree oil (canola oil)

fry 3-4 at a time so it doesn’t crowd the oil

Remove from oil to lined tray, sprinkle with powdered sugar sifted over them

Tonight my guests are supplying the dipping sauces, so I’ll let you know what we end up with and I’ll be sure to get pictures along the way. Check out tomorrows post to see the finished beignets. Can’t wait!!!!!

Little Delight

It’s impossible to resist one of these…it may be my favorite cupcake.

Recipe coming soon!

Dark Chocolate Cupcake with Chocolate Frosting and rainbow sprinkles....simple perfection!

Dark Chocolate Cupcake with Chocolate Frosting and rainbow sprinkles….simple perfection!