Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Development

Was anyone else super excited for the return of Arrested Development this weekend? I haven't watched all the new episodes yet, but have been enjoying them thus far.


Recurring developments
Themed snacks
What the critics are saying
How are you feeling today?
Posters
Arrested Dinner, including frozen bananas for dessert Pin It

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Key Lime Ice Cream

With the weather beginning to turn warm, I made my first batch of ice cream this year. I decided to do a variation on a favorite dessert, key lime pie, and turn it into a frozen treat.

Key Lime Ice Cream
1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup key lime juice
1 tablespoon lime zest

Whisk ingredients together until smooth. Pour into ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer's instructions.

Key Lime Ice Cream

Key Lime Ice Cream Sandwiches
my favorite way to enjoy the ice cream was to make them into ice cream sandwiches between two graham crackers and dipping the edges in colorful sprinkles

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Monday, May 13, 2013

Maple & Blueberry Crepe Cake

My dad's birthday was this weekend, and he requested that I make another crepe cake for the occasion. Last year I made a version with layers of lemon curd and vanilla bean pastry cream. This year I thought I'd try something different. I went for a variation on one of his favorite meals, blueberry pancakes and real maple syrup. I made a fresh blueberry jam (my Bread Machine actually has a jam setting so I made the jam in there for ease while I was making the other components of the cake, you could also use your favorite store-bought variety) and infused the pastry cream with maple in a couple ways.

Maple & Blueberry Crepe Cake

Crepes
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups milk
3/4 cup lukewarm water
large eggs
tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt

Mix all ingredients together until smooth, let batter rest at room temperature for  thirty minutes (or store it in the fridge if you aren't using it right away)

Heat your crepe pan and brush with a light layer of butter. Pour a scant 1/4 cup of batter into the pan, swirl until the surface is covered, cook until the crepe looks dry and then flip. Repeat until all the batter is used.



Maple Pastry Cream
1/2 cup maple sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 large egg yolks
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons maple syrup

Mix together sugar, flour and salt until well combined in a large bowl. Add in egg yolks and whisk until the texture is a thick paste. Set aside.

Combine milk and 1/4 cup maple syrup in a heavy saucepan over medium heat until it begins to steam but not simmering or boiling. Remove from heat.

Pour a little of the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture and whisk thoroughly to temper the eggs. Then continue to pour the milk into the egg mixture slowly while mixing constantly. Once everything is combined, pour the mixture into the saucepan and return it to the stove over medium heat.

While heating the pastry cream, be sure to whisk constantly, pausing occasionally to check the heat of the cream, once it reaches boiling whisk for just a few seconds more and then remove from heat and pour through a strainer into bowl, using a spatula to help press it through the strainer. Stir in remaining 2 tablespoons of maple syrup, cover with plastic wrap pressed against the surface of the pastry cream and refrigerate.

Blueberry Jam

3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon low sugar pectin
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 cups blueberries (fresh or frozen; I like the small wild Maine bluberries for this; Wyman's frozen berries are my favorite brand)

Place all ingredients in breadmaker and set to jam setting. 



Cake Assembly
Center a crepe on your cake plate and then using an offset spatula, pastry brush, or even a butter knife spread it with a thin, even layer of the pastry cream, then another crepe, then a thin, even layer of jam...repeat this several times and end the cake with a crepe. Depending on the size of the crepes you made (mine were about 8 inches in diameter), each filling layer will be roughly 1-3 tablespoons. Chill cake for at least 4 hours before serving. 

Before serving, top the cake with fresh blueberries and powdered sugar. 

Maple & Blueberry Crepe Cake

First Slice

Sugared Blueberries 


Aftermath
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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Chocolate Fluff Cookies

Mallomars are a favorite cookie of mine, but unfortunately they do not ship these delicious treats during summer months due to the melting factor (I still don't understand this, with modern technology and all), but it makes them a seasonal delicacy for me.

America's Test Kitchen recently posted a recipe for cookies resembling my beloved Mallomar on their feed, so I knew I'd have to try them out. Not exactly the same, but really delicious and absurdly easy to make. My store didn't have the crackers they recommended so I made a substitution (see below).

Oddly enough, this is the first time I had ever eaten fluff. Greg loves fluffernutter sandwiches, so we had some in the cabinet, but it was never a food I wanted to experience, until now.

Chocolate Fluff Cookies (adapted from here)
10 plain McVitties biscuits (originally recommended were Carr's Whole Wheat Crackers)
10 heaping tablespoons marshmallow fluff
1 cup bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spray a wire rack with vegetable oil spray and set on top of the parchment. Check that you have enough room in your freezer that you can slide the tray in and out easily.

Spread a heaping tablespoon of fluff on each biscuit and set on wire rack. Transfer rack to freezer and chill until fluff is firm, about 15 minutes.

Combine chocolate and vegetable oil in a bowl, microwave until melted and smooth.

One at a time, lift fluff topped biscuits with a fork or spatula and spoon chocolate over the top until covered smoothly. Transfer back to wire rack. Once all cookies are coated, put the tray back into the freezer until chocolate is firm. Serve immediately or store in fridge until serving.

Chocolate Fluff Cookies
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Friday, May 3, 2013

Have a geeky weekend!

Happy Friday everyone! Do y'all have anything fun in store for the weekend? Tomorrow is Free Comic Book Day, which is a fabulous nerdy 'holiday'. Publishers put together specials comics to give away for free on the first Saturday in May. Many comic shops also bring in the creators, artists, writers, etc. involved in the comics, which makes for a really fun day. Greg and I will be visiting a few different shops around the area.

If you love comics, or even if you haven't picked one up since you were a kid, take a little time to stop by your local comic shop on Saturday and see what's out there. You can visit the Free Comic Book Day website here and find local participating shops.


A guide to Free Comic Book Day
An interview with David Petersen, creator of Mouse Guard
Free Comic Book Day cheat sheet
What is Free Comic Book Day?
Free Comic Book Day checklist

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Wednesday, May 1, 2013

What your coffee says about you

I ran across this great little infographic on Dog House Diaries, and being the coffee lover that I am, had to share it.

What's your favorite variety of coffee (iced coffee is my personal favorite); do you agree with its sentiments?


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