Cannoli Cones

My cousin asked me to make a dessert for her second baby shower. Initially, I planned on making Ooey Gooey Lemon Bars, but the oven in my new apartment isn’t working (you can imagine the toll this has taken on my cookie making: I’ve been eating graham crackers with peanut butter as a midnight snack instead of moist, decadent, pillowy cookies fresh from my kitchen OMGIWANTCOOKIES), so I had to scratch that idea and think of something else that wouldn’t require baking.

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I really like the idea of marrying two desserts in one delicious package, so I started thinking of ways to do something a little different with cannoli cream; I went to brunch in Long Island a week ago and passed up a cannoli cream waffle, which I’ve been (rightfully) regretting ever since. Consequently, I’ve had cannoli on the brain.

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I realized it would be a cute and easy, no-bake idea to insert homemade cannoli cream into sugar cones from the grocery store. I could decorate the cones with some sprinkles to jazz them up and make them baby shower appropriate. The sprinkle actually wound up being mermaid themed, so the ice cream cone concept was a good fit with the beachy atmosphere that my aunt created with her decorations and menu options.

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I’ve never made cannoli before, but I know what I like, so I adapted a recipe from Alex Guarnaschelli.

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INGREDIENTS:

For the Cones:

2 packages (about 24), sugar cones

1/2 cup melted semisweet chocolate chips

Sprinkles

For the Cream:

2 cups whole milk ricotta cheese, strained (I used Bel Gioioso because it doesn’t require much straining)

3/4 cup powdered sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup small semisweet chocolate chips (I used regular, because I had them on hand, but small is more authentic!)

Zest of 1/2 a lemon

1 tbsp of orange zest

1 tsp vanilla extract

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DIRECTIONS:

For the Cones:

Remove the cones from their packaging, and separate them. Set any broken ones aside (we’ll eat these later with any extra cannoli cream). Melt the chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl on high in 15 second increments, stirring in between each, until they’re thoroughly melted but not burned.

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^My nephew noshing on one.^

Dip the rounded part of each cone into the chocolate, then dip them in the sprinkles while still wet. I found the sprinkles adhered better when I stuck the cone directly into the sprinkles, rather than twisting it clockwise in them.

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Set the cones, chocolate-sprinkle ends up, in a few mugs, then refrigerate for about 5 minutes, or until the chocolate is no longer wet. Set aside.

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For the Cream:

In a large bowl, whisk the ricotta until smooth. Sift in the powdered sugar, nutmeg, and cinnamon. I made this at home on Long Island and left my sifter in the city, so I used a splatter screen. Hehe. Blend, whisking gently until just combined and there are no powdery lumps.

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In a small, chilled metal bowl, beat the heavy cream with the vanilla until relatively stiff peaks form. Do not over whip, or it will collapse. Gingerly fold the cream into the ricotta blend using a rubber spatula. Fold in the chocolate chips and fruit zests. Refrigerate for at least an hour before using.

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Assembly:

Using an ice cream scoop, scoop about 1 1/2 scoops into each cone. The cream will lie flat on top; it won’t be arched as ice cream would be. However, the better you strain your ricotta, the fluffier it will be (truth be told, I didn’t strain my ricotta at all, because I left my sieve in my apartment too! But it still tasted great and the texture was absolutely fine). Place a chocolate chip or two on top of the cream as a garnish. If you’re trying to be authentic, skip the sprinkles and simply coat the top of the cream in mini chocolate chips so that it looks more similar to a regular cannoli.

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^You can store the cones in an airtight container until use. DO NOT fill them until you are ready to serve, or the cones will become mushy!^

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Enjoy!

Leslie

Dino Oreo Truffles

To most people, this past Saturday was the Fourth of July. But to me, it was my nephew’s third birthday party. (And also the Fourth of July; it’s one of my favorite holidays). Last year his birthday was Sesame Street themed, so I made sugar cookies with Cookie Monster and Big Bird faces on them. This time around it was dino themed, and I initially had no idea what to make. I perused Pinterest for recipes, but mostly found complicated fondant* cakes and cake pops, which I wasn’t in the mood to experiment with. Also, it seems there’s a divide in dino party concepts: some are scarier and more Jurassic Park-like, while others are more cartoonish and friendly.

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^Cookie Monster cookies from last year^

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^Big Bird cookies… a little sadder looking than their Cookie Monster counterparts^

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Finally, I came across a picture of some dino cake pops that I realized I could make using an Oreo truffle recipe that I use every Christmas. As with most Pinterest recipes, mine didn’t come out exactly how the originals looked, but they’re still very cute, if I do say so myself. Over time it’s occurred to me that unless your family is brimming with Martha Stewarts and Julia Childs, whatever you make will probably be impressive to everyone, even if it’s not one hundred percent perfect. So, relax. Make what you want to make. Try something that’s a little out of your comfort zone; make the dino truffles. And if they come out poorly, eat the evidence.

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I think this recipe, if we can even call it that since it’s really a rough outline of what I did and in what order, makes about 14-16 dinos. Mine were on the large side, so if you want to make more with the same amount of ingredients, just form the heads to be a little bit smaller.

*Fondant is basically equivalent to the f word in my family. Every time we watch “Cake Boss” and Buddy uses fondant (which he always does) my family screams, “ew! Not the fondant, it’s so dry!”

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INGREDIENTS:

1 package Oreos (I used regular Oreos since I needed to use white chocolate, but if you’re using milk or bittersweet chocolate I recommend trying mint oreos)

1, 8 oz. bar cream cheese, room temp.

1/2 regular sized bag of M&M’s

1, 12 oz. bag of white chocolate chips

1 tbsp. black frosting

Blue food dye

Brown sprinkles

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DIRECTIONS:

Put the oreos into a Ziploc bag and seal tightly. Put on a cutting board, and whack with a meat pounder until crushed into small bits. I used a hammer since I just moved into a new apartment and was not successful in stealing my mother’s meat pounder while packing. Once the Oreos are adequately crushed, carefully pour them into a medium-large mixing bowl. Add the cream cheese and mix with a spoon or your hands until combined.

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Cover a baking sheet with wax paper. Roll the Oreo mixture into balls a little bit smaller than ping pong balls. Use your best judgment. Then, roll a much smaller ball for each large one, and stick the smaller ball into the side of the larger one. This will be the dino’s nose, so make sure it’s firmly packed onto the head, or it will come off when you’re coating them in chocolate. Also, try to flatten the smaller ball a bit so that it looks more like a nose. Put each complete head on the wax paper tray.

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Once you have as many complete heads as you’d like, place the baking sheet into the freezer for at least an hour, or overnight.

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Using a toothpick, dot the flat side of 36-40 white chocolate chips with black frosting– these are the eyes. I made a few extra since I knew a couple would probably come out wonky. When my roommate saw the eyeballs on the dinosaurs she said, “some of these are gonna go extinct sooner than others”. Case and point.

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Melt about half of the white chocolate in a microwave safe bowl, 30 seconds at a time on high, stirring in between. White chocolate takes a little bit longer to melt than milk, and also hardens more quickly. As soon as it’s adequately melted, add the blue food dye. You can add as little or as much as you’d like; mine was sort of baby blue, but I think a darker, more neon blue would have looked even better.

Once your chocolate is blue, pick up an Oreo head and gently paint it with the chocolate using the backside of a metal teaspoon. Don’t worry about getting the bottom, or making the chocolate perfectly smooth. Once it’s sufficiently coated, put the dino back on the tray, and stick on a row of M&M’s (these are the spikes of the dinosaur) from the top of the head to the base of the neck. Add the white chocolate chip eyes just above the nose, then add two brown sprinkles to the flat protruding part of the nose, giving the dinosaur nostrils. Repeat with remaining dino heads.

You can put each dino in a cupcake liner for an easy cleanup, or put them directly on a serving tray. I cut up some green peeps in an attempt to make grass, but it wound up looking more like tentacles, according to my friend Emily who came over to help.

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^Emily helping/dancing/hair whipping.^

The white chocolate will harden on its own, so no need to freeze the dinos again. But, remember to refrigerate them if you’re not serving them immediately, as they do contain cream cheese.

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^My scrumptious nephew. He called the M&M’s “dinosaur hair”.^

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Enjoy!

Leslie

Fascinators

Last August, I took a trip to England and Scotland with my mom, aunt, and sister, who was going to school there at the time. We each got to pick our top choice of what we wanted to do while we were there. My aunt wanted to explore Whitechapel, the area in which our ancestors lived, and my sister wanted to go to a special World War I exhibit up in York. My mom and I were both salivating over the prospect of seeing Highclere Castle (where Downton Abbey is filmed), but my other main priority was going to tea at Fortnum and Mason. I had only been to England once before when I was 10, but ever since then I’ve periodically daydreamed about the scones, clotted cream, finger sandwiches, pastries, and their Queen Anne tea.

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^ Whitechapel ^

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^ Highclere Castle ^

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^ I was really into it. ^

For those of you who may not be familiar, Fortnum and Mason is a very high end department store in London that boasts a wide variety of specialty foods, such as INCREDIBLY DELICIOUS Belgian chocolates, candied fruits, nuts, marmalades, not to mention my favorite loose leaf tea. Admittedly, it has become a bit of a tourist attraction, but I’m sure locals still go there. Maybe. I don’t know. Normally I would care, but not in this case: I’m very attached.

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^ The ground floor at Fortnum and Mason ^

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^ A fraction of the loose tea selection ^

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^ Sugar mice ^

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^ I love this blue far more than Tiffany blue ^

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^ Chocolate fish and chips!! C’mon. ^

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^ Candied fruit, candied veggies ^

Anyhow, we did go to Fortnum and Mason on this trip and had a delicious, albeit, humongous tea (we ate at lunchtime and couldn’t eat dinner later). But it wasn’t enough to have teatime only once while in England, so once we arrived in York, which is a city further north than London and much more quaint, we promptly met for tea once again. This time though, we went to Betty’s Cafe Tea Rooms, another renowned place to have tea in the UK. Fortnum and Mason will always have my heart for sentimental reasons, but Betty’s had a wonderful spread, including these little meringue treats with whipped cream, lemon curd, and dark chocolate webbing on top.

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^ Betty’s ^

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^ Teatime! Wonderful Ginger Tisane tea. ^

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^ The meringue treat I speak of is on the right ^

Since I catered my mom’s birthday party and she wanted it to be a tea, I decided to try my hand at making these treats. Mine came out much more heavy handed and far less precise than the original, but they were so good. So good, in fact, that I started fist pumping when I tried one. Thankfully I hadn’t done that while eating the original in England.

I didn’t know what to call them, so my family friend Joann suggested we call them Fascinators, since they hail from England and look like the fancy hats that go by that moniker.

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Original Meringue Recipe: http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/meringue-nests

Original Gelatinized Whipped Cream Recipe: http://www.ucook.com/Recipes/RecipeFull.aspx?RecipeID=23549

INGREDIENTS:

MERINGUE: 

3 egg whites

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

3/4 cup sugar

WHIPPED CREAM:

1 cup heavy cream

1 tsp unflavored gelatin

1 tbsp water

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 tbsp confectioners sugar

CHOCOLATE WEBBING:

6 oz. bittersweet chocolate, melted

LEMON CURD:

About 3 tbsp jarred lemon curd (I used Wilkin and Sons), room temperature

Berries, if desired

DIRECTIONS:

Place egg whites in a large bowl; let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Beat the egg whites, vanilla and cream of tartar on medium speed until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, on high until stiff peaks form.

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Drop meringue into eight or nine mounds on parchment paper lined baking sheet. They don’t spread, so they can be close together but not touching. Smooth them out so that they look like sand dollars, and are almost flat on top.

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Bake at 275° for 45-50 minutes or until set and dry. Turn off oven and do not open door; leave meringues in oven for 1 hour. Let cool, and set aside.

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Dissolve gelatin in water and heat till it is thoroughly melted. Blend thoroughly with the cream just before it is whipped to your taste. This will give the piped cream a certain stability, although it changes the texture slightly. Make sure the gelatin is fulling dissolved before adding to the cream, or you’ll have chunks! No one likes chunky whipped cream! Once the gelatin and cream are blended, and very soft peaks form, add the vanilla and sugar. Continue blending until slightly stiff peaks form (but not nearly as stiff as the meringue peaks).

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Line a clean baking sheet with wax paper. Dip a regular metal spoon and dip it in the melted chocolate. Don’t fill the spoon too much, or the webbing will come out heavier on one side than on the other. Pick up the spoon out of the chocolate, and dangle it over the wax sheet. Move it in a circle about the size of the meringues you made, if not a little bit smaller, and then zig zag the spoon back and forth over the circle so that there is a waffle-like design. It doesn’t have to be perfect, so don’t freak out if you don’t think yours looks right. Also, many people haven’t had these before, so they won’t know the difference! Once you’ve made about 10 of these (make an extra or two in case one breaks or you want to nibble on one), put the baking sheet they’re on into the refrigerator for at least an hour.

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Once the meringues have cooled, use two regular metal spoons to place a dollop of whipped cream on each meringue. I like to put them slightly off center, but dollop wherever your heart desires. Next, take the room temperature lemon curd, a teaspoon at a time, and dash it across each meringue, sort of how you made the chocolate webbing. It’s important that the curd is at room temperature so that it spreads evenly. Now you can take your chocolate out of the fridge! Place one web on top of each meringue. Press it down into the whipped cream slightly, being careful not to break the webbing. Add a berry to the side of each treat, if desired.

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Enjoy!

Leslie

Julia Child’s Chocolate Mousse

Julia Child. What a woman. People are often put off by her recipes because they’re complex and time consuming. But, when I follow her instructions to a T, I know that whatever I’m making will turn out fabulously- and that can’t be said of many cookbook authors. Also, the Parisian life she shared with her husband Paul is decadent in and of itself. When I’m standing over a chilled metal bowl whisking ferociously, I sense that I’m partaking in some small piece of that romantic, chocolate laden experience.

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I’ve made a few chocolate mousses before, and none hold a candle to Julia’s (Mrs. Child’s? I feel like she wouldn’t have let me call her by her first name). Some have turned out too airy; I don’t think chocolate mousse should be the same consistency as my Paul Mitchell hair volumizing mousse. Mousses that are too airy also tend to be too sweet and not very chocolatey. WHO WANTS THAT BS?! Not I.

I’m always a little hesitant to make recipes that feature raw eggs, but true chocolate mousse really can’t be made without this addition. Since I made this batch for a tea party, I let the guests know before serving the mousse so that they could decide for themselves if they wanted to be daredevils and eat it, or play it safe and miss out on a helluva good chocolate experience.

Though the original recipe comes from Mrs. Child’s masterpiece, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, I used the version posted on famed food blogger David Lebovitz’s site.

David’s adapted recipe: http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2008/05/perfect-chocola/

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INGREDIENTS:

6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

6 ounces unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

1/4 cup strongly brewed coffee

4 large eggs, separated

2/3 cup, plus 1 tablespoon sugar

2 tablespoons dark rum or apple juice (I used apple juice since I was out of rum)

1 tablespoon water

pinch of salt

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

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DIRECTIONS:

Heat a saucepan one-third full with hot water, and in a bowl set on top, melt together the chocolate, butter and coffee, stirring over the barely simmering water, until smooth. Remove from heat.

Fill a large bowl with ice water and set aside.

In a bowl large enough to nest securely on the saucepan of simmering water, whisk the yolks of the eggs with the 2/3 cup of sugar, rum, and water for about 3 minutes until the mixture is thick, like runny mayonnaise. (You can also use a handheld electric mixer.)

Remove from heat and place the bowl of whipped egg yolks within the bowl of ice water and beat until cool and thick, as shown in the photo above. Then fold the chocolate mixture into the egg yolks.

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In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites with the salt until frothy. Continue to beat until they start to hold their shape. Whip in the tablespoon of sugar and continue to beat until thick and shiny, but not completely stiff, then the vanilla.IMG_0523

Fold one-third of the beaten egg whites into the chocolate mixture, then fold in the remainder of the whites just until incorporated, but don’t overdo it or the mousse will lose volume.

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Transfer the mousse to a serving bowl or divide into serving dishes, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, until firm. Cover with plastic wrap so that a skin doesn’t form.

The mousse can last in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Garnish with mint, or a caramel shard before serving.

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Enjoy!

Leslie

Rice Krispie Treat Pops

One of my favorite food-related smells has to be that of marshmallows and butter melting together in the same serendipitous pot over medium-low heat. I’ve only had the good fortune of smelling this delightful interaction while making rice krispie treats, which are, perhaps, the easiest dessert to make besides box pudding. Even though the pre-packaged rice krispie treats are pretty good (I used to eat 6 or 7 at a time after school while watching “Friends” on DVD), there’s nothing like the homemade version. They’re also super fun to play around with; you can use cookie cutters to make different shapes, or even food dye to change the color of the marshmallow-butter blend.

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My friend Chloe’s birthday is coming up so I decided to make celebratory rice krispie pops for our improv practice group tonight. One of the benefits of making these as opposed to cookies or cupcakes is that they’re virtually allergen (i.e. gluten or nut) free, so most people can eat them. With that said, always check the packaging on the ingredients, since allergens vary brand to brand.

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INGREDIENTS:

10 oz. mini marshmallows

6 cups rice krispie cereal

3 tbsp. butter

1/4 melted milk chocolate

1/4 cup rainbow sprinkles

fun straws, cut in half

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DIRECTIONS:

Melt the butter and marshmallows over medium-low heat in a large saucepan. Once there are no marshmallow lumps remaining, turn off the heat and add the cereal. Mix until all of the cereal is coated with the marshmallow mixture. Pour into a 9×13 baking dish, and press down with wax paper or a spatula until smooth. Let cool for a few minutes.

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Spatter with melted chocolate in a diagonal pattern. Move your arm rapidly so that the chocolate doesn’t drip and look gloppy on the treats. Shake sprinkles over the rice krispies so that the whole rectangle is coated. Let chocolate harden for about 10-15 minutes.

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Using a sharp knife, cut into squares about 2 inches in diameter. Remove from pan. Insert straw half into each square. If the straws aren’t sticking,try dipping one end of each straw in melted chocolate before inserting into the rice krispie treats.

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Enjoy!

Leslie

Baked Occasions Strawberry Cake

I’m always trepidatious when it comes to trying desserts with fruit in them. Fruit-bearing desserts almost always have way too much fruit, and way too little butter and cake and brownies and chocolate. For example, “berries and whipped cream” are almost always a bunch of blackberries and strawberries with a tiny dollop of whipped cream; I’m not in dessert for the fruit, I’m in it for the dessert.

In spite of my clearly defined feelings toward fruit masquerading as dessert, this Strawberry Supreme Cake, as it’s called in the cookbook Baked Occasions, caught my eye. I kept flipping back to the photo of the elegantly whimsical cake, on which three strawberries were neatly perched. The cake to berry ratio seemed to be in my favor. I skimmed the recipe and though it calls for multiple cups of fresh or frozen strawberries, it also calls for butter, heavy cream, and sugar, so my fruit fears were abated. (I want to reiterate, it’s not that I don’t like fruit, it’s just that it has it’s place, and that’s usually not on my dessert plate, or in salads… generally speaking, I find fruit in salads to be a bit wonky).

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This cake is probably the best homemade strawberry cake you’ll ever make. It’s fluffy and moist, thanks to the shortening and meringue in the batter. The frosting, which contains three sticks of butter, is fluffy and enchanting in texture. The strawberry preserves, which lie under the whipped cream filling, round out the cake perfectly. To be honest, I doubted whether I could finish my slice since it’s so, so sweet, but somehow I managed.

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Due to copyright laws I can’t reprint the wonderful recipe here, but hopefully the pictures will inspire you to buy the book, or try a strawberry cake recipe of your own!

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 Enjoy!

Valentine’s Day Red Velvet Cake

Valentine’s Day is one of my favorite holidays, and not for the reasons you might think. Yes, if you have a significant other, it’s about celebrating your “relationship” (i.e. it’s actually about overdone Hallmark cards, overpriced roses, and last minute restaurant reservations made by frantic boyfriends and husbands… I know, because I take said reservations). For me, Valentine’s Day has always been about celebrating all forms of love in my life. Every year, my mom has given me and my sister a few small goodies on the morning of Valentine’s Day. Last V-Day I was living in California, and she sent me an awesome package: Dove chocolate, cherry/vanilla tootsie rolls, the movie “It’s Complicated”, themed socks, and decorations.

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^The package from my mom.^

Growing up, we also had an annual Valentine’s Day tea party for friends. We stopped doing it at some point, but, inspired by Leslie Knope’s Galentine’s Day festivities, I decided to revive it. Instead of doing a tea party, though, we’re going to be having dinner, cocktails, and cake. And thanks to my friend Lauren, buff chick and heart shaped mozzarella stick appetizers. HEYOOO. Buff chick for the win.

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At the afore mentioned Valentine’s Day tea parties, my mom always made a heart shaped cake. Usually vanilla, and usually with those little red heart gummies that you find at CVS perched on top. As an homage to that cake, I made a red velvet heart shaped cake with cream cheese frosting. I generally think that red velvet cake is slightly overrated, as compared to say, peanut butter and chocolate cake, but it was the most festive option. If you have a heart shaped tin (mine is from Wilton), you can use the following cake recipe and it will fit perfectly. I used Alton Brown’s cream cheese frosting recipe, but feel free to use your favorite. Whatever recipe you choose, I recommend sifting the powdered sugar before adding it to your wet ingredients, or you’ll have lumpy frosting.

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Original Cake Recipe: http://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1016329-red-velvet-cake

INGREDIENTS:

½ cup unsalted butter at room temperature

2 tbsp cocoa powder

1 ½ cups sugar

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla

pink/red food coloring

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 ½ flour, sifted

1 cup buttermilk

1 tablespoon white vinegar

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DIRECTIONS:

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare heart shaped cake pan by greasing heavily with butter or crisco, then coat with a thin layer of flour or cocoa powder, tapping out excess.

Cream butter and sugar together. Add eggs one at a time and beat vigorously until each is incorporated. Mix in vanilla.

Add food coloring and cocoa powder. If you’re using pink food dye, add more than you think you need in order to make a deeper red color.

Sift together remaining dry ingredients. Alternating in 2 batches each, add dry ingredients and buttermilk to the butter mixture. In the last batch of buttermilk, mix in the vinegar before adding to the batter. Mix until blended.

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Pour batter into cake pan. Cook for about 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

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Let cool, invert onto wire rack, then frost as desired.

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Enjoy!

Leslie

Baked Brooklyn Birthday Cake

Yesterday was my grandma, Nawnee’s, 79th birthday. Nawnee is a pretty fabulous woman, so she required a pretty fabulous cake. I like to do either classic double chocolate or funfetti for birthdays, but she isn’t a huge chocolate fan, so I opted for funfetti. I’ve only ever made funfetti from the box (which is delicious), but my recently purchased cookbook, Baked Occasionshas a homemade funfetti cake right on its cover. The recipe is pretty straightforward, just more time consuming than using a box mix.

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I can’t reprint the recipe here, but I encourage you to buy the cookbook; the recipes and introductions are funny, heartfelt, and mouth-watering good. Side note: if you’re wondering why this recipe has “Baked Brooklyn” in the title, it’s because the cookbook Baked Occasions is based on recipes that the authors, Matt and Renato, created for their bakery, Baked Brooklyn.

Coffee Kahlua Brownie Bites

Every Christmas, I bake the same three types of cookies: chocolate chip, sugar, and oatmeal butterscotch. Though I love these cookies and the memories that come with them, I also like to try a few new recipes every year. My friend Casey is hosting a wine and fondue tasting party tomorrow night, which gave me the perfect excuse to make these mini brownies. Because they’re miniature, they’re perfect for entertaining or bringing to a friend’s house. They also make you feel like a giant that’s eating normal sized brownies, so that’s a plus. The original recipe (Better Homes and Gardens) actually calls for creme de menthe, but I have a giant bottle of Kahlua in my cabinet so… these are now coffee and Kahlua brownies.

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I kept the proportions the same as they were in the original recipe. But, if you want a strong Kahlua flavor in your frosting, add more, a half tablespoon at a time, after the first two tablespoons have already been blended. If the frosting becomes too thin, compensate by gradually adding more confectioners sugar.

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INGREDIENTS:

BROWNIES:

1/2 cup butter

3 oz. bittersweet chocolate chips

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 tbsp strongly brewed coffee

1 tsp vanilla

2/3 cup all purpose flour

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/8 tsp salt

FROSTING:

1/3 cup butter, softened

2 oz. cream cheese, softened

2 cups confectioners sugar

2 tbsp Kahlua

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DIRECTIONS:

BROWNIES:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8x8x2 baking pan with foil, extending the foil over the edges of the pan. Spray with non-stick baking spray. Set aside.

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In a small saucepan, cook and store butter and chocolate over very low heat until melted. Let cool slightly.

Stir sugar into cooled chocolate mixture. Add eggs one at a time, beating with a wooden spoon after each until just combined. Stir in coffee and vanilla.

In a small bowl stir together flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to chocolate mixture and stir briefly until it looks uniform. Spread this batter into the baking pan. Bake for 30 minutes. Place pan on a wire rack and let cool completely.

Lift the foil and brownies out of the pan. Cut brownies into roughly 49 small squares. Set aside.

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FROSTING:

In a medium bowl, beat butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Beat in 1 cup of confectioners sugar, then beat in Kahlua. Add the second cup of confectioners sugar.

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ASSEMBLY:

Using a spatula, spoon frosting into a piping bag fitted with a star tip. Pipe a dollop of frosting onto each brownie bite. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days.

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Enjoy!

Leslie

Triple Chocolate Fudge Cookies

I’ve been posting a lot of recipes involving classically autumnal flavor profiles (i.e. cinnamon, pumpkin, and nutmeg), so I decided to go the chocolate route for a change. The name of these cookies might seem a bit overdone, but there’s so much chocolate involved that it somehow feels appropriate. This recipe, which comes from the scrumptious food blog Baker By Nature, popped up on my Instagram feed a few days ago, and I haven’t been able to shake the memory of seeing so much chocolate enveloped in one cookie.

And now, the dilemma: I’ve been mildly attempting to eat more healthily, and I knew that making these cookies wouldn’t help in my feeble endeavors for obvious reasons. I needed to make them, eat one or two (or three or four, let’s be honest), and then get them out of the house as soon as possible. And then I remembered: my church has a coffee hour in between services, so once in a while I bring baked goods to serve there. What a perfect opportunity to get rid of these cookies! Again, after I test them.

Each batch only makes a dozen cookies, but they’re so big that it’s not chintzy to cut them up before serving them if you don’t feel like doubling it. I would have tried making them smaller, but since it’s a new recipe I decided against meddling with the cooking time.

Original Recipe: http://bakerbynature.com/soft-batch-double-chocolate-fudge-cookies/#more-19665

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INGREDIENTS:

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 cup + 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar (6 tbsp total)

2 large eggs, room temperature

2 tablespoons heavy cream

1 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup milk chocolate chips, to be mixed in to the batter

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DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper, and lightly grease or spray with non-stick spray (remember, these cookies are fudgey!).

Place the semi-sweet chocolate chips and butter in a small, microwave safe bowl. Heat them in the microwave for for 15 second increments of time, mixing in between each, until butter and chocolate are completely melted and can easily be whisked smooth. Be sure you don’t overcook the chocolate, as this will cause it to thicken and be harder to fold into the batter. Set aside.

In a small-medium bowl whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a separate medium-sized bowl whisk together the sugars, eggs, heavy cream, and vanilla.

Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, and stir to combine – be wary of over-mixing, as this will make the batter too stiff.

Fold in the melted chocolate/butter and the milk chocolate chips into the batter, stirring only until everything is combined evenly.

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Scoop 1/4 cupfuls of the batter on the prepared baking sheets (do not try rolling the batter into balls with your hands… you will have a handful of melted chocolate), place pans in the oven, reduce heat to 300 degrees, and bake for 18-20 minutes. You can tell that they’re done because they will have a slight pearlescent sheen to them, due to the egg yolks.

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Allow cookies to cool for at least on hour on the baking sheets… truth be told, I snuck one before they were finished cooling, and it was totally fine, but if you have to transport them or are afraid of breaking them, I suggest waiting the full hour.

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Enjoy!

Leslie