Browsing articles in "Desserts"
Dec 20, 2011

Recipe for: Homemade Warm Churros

FROM THE KITCHEN OF: Isabel Canfield
TOTAL TIME: 20 min to prep, 10 min to cook
20-25 churros

Our first experience with a churro was during our honeymoon in Spain. The first day we arrive, we literally wondered the streets in Barcelona and found ourselves at a very random carnival right by the water. The smell of fried dough engulfed the air and we soon found ourselves at a churros stand buying a batch for only a few euros. The churros were nothing but fried dough shaped into sticks made on the spot. They were hot, crispy, but light at the same time. They were sweetened with a light dusting of sugar. These churros were an addicting and great snack to hold us down for dinner. Needless to say, I’m pretty excited I actually made the exact version at home. I found it a lot easier than I thought and even tastier with a warm chocolate dipping sauce, which I’ll showcase on Pretty Tasty Things tomorrow.

1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup water
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup flour
3 eggs
vegetable oil for frying

1. Prepare cinnamon + sugar mixture. On a plate or narrow dish, combine the sugar and cinnamon until well-blended. Set aside.

2. Start the dough. In a nonstick saucepan, bring to a simmer the water, butter, salt and vanilla extract on medium heat stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon. When the ingredients have melted down, turn the temperature to low. Immediately add the flour stirring vigorously until no lumps remain. The texture of the dough should be a very thick paste. Remove from heat.

3. Finish the dough. Place the dough in a mixing bowl. With the wooden spoon, mix the eggs in one at a time. The dough may appear separated, but just continue to stir. The end texture of the dough should be thick and gummy. Add the dough into a pipping bag using an extra large star tip.

4. Fry the churros. In a cast iron pot, add vegetable oil just about 1-inch high from the bottom. Heat on medium high temperature. To test whether the oil is ready, drop a small dollop of dough. If it sizzles immediately, the oil should be ready. Squeeze 4-inch lengths of dough into the hot oil, cutting them off with a knife. Fry 4-6 at a time for about 1 minute per side until the churros are lightly golden brown. Remove the churros from the oil and place on a paper-towel lined plate to drain the excess oil.

5. Coat in cinnamon + sugar mixture and serve. Once all the churros have been fried, dip each one in the cinnamon and sugar mixture you prepared early. Serve churros immediately with yummy chocolate sauce, which I’ll show you tomorrow!

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Nov 23, 2011

Recipe for: Mint-flavored Sugar

FROM THE KITCHEN OF: Isabel Canfield
TOTAL TIME: 5 min to prepare
1 cup of sugar

It’s sometimes the annoying little details that people love and appreciate. Berries with mint-flavored sugar is one of them.

This time of the year, fresh and sweet berries may be hard to come by, but here’s a way to have it all with mint-flavored sugar. People love adding sugar to their fruit, myself included. But adding mint-flavored sugar is even better. I prepared this for my sister’s brunch baby shower. Fruit is a must so I used a medley of berries, which consisted of sliced strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries. I placed them in a nice stark-white bowl and sprinkled the mint-flavored sugar right on top. It was absolutely beautiful. The green bits of mint peaked through the sugar. The sugar was a little crumbly from the moisture from the mint. It was a little detail that added a refreshing flavor to a regular bowl of fruit.

1 cup sugar
20 fresh mint leaves

1. Process sugar with mint. In a food processor, add the sugar and approximately 20 mint leaves. Be sure the mint leaves are super dry. Pulse the sugar with the mint leaves until the mint has been broken down into little bits. This will only take a minute or so.

I love my Cuisinart food processor/blender duo. If you’re interested in purchasing one, I totally recommend this one even though there were some not-so-good reviews on Bed Bath and Beyond

2. Store in a container. Transfer the mint-flavored sugar into an air-tight container. The sugar will keep well for a few days. I made this batch the day before use, which helped the mint flavor the sugar even more.

3. Sprinkle over fruit. When you’re ready to serve your fruit, sprinkle the sugar right on top. It’s a beautiful and tasty thing right over a mix of strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries all purchased from Costco.

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Nov 8, 2011

Recipe for: Pound Cake with Nutella and Raspberry Jam

FROM THE KITCHEN OF: Isabel Canfield
TOTAL TIME: raspberry jam takes 24 hrs to set, 10 min to prep and 6 min to grill the pound cake sandwich
feeds 4

The holiday season officially starts when we receive our first pound cake or some sort of baked goodness. Pound cake is a hit or a miss for some people. The dense texture could turn people away, but for me, I love the stuff. I love it even more when it’s dressed up with the best pairing ever — Nutella and raspberry jam. If you know me, I love me some Nutella. Who doesn’t? So, for this dessert, I wanted to show you a very simple way to transform a pound cake into something with a completely different flavor that could be served at your next dinner party or enjoyed as an afternoon snack.

I created the raspberry jam—spread, compote or whatever you want to call it—from scratch. Even though my way of canning jam is not very traditional, the outcome turned out just as good—both sweet and tart with the lemon. The Nutella was store bought and the fresh whipped cream takes only minutes. These three flavors enhance the boring dense pound cake and turn it into something you’ll want to eat again and again.

1 container of raspberries (roughly 1 cup)
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 loaf pound cake, 8 slices
1 cup heavy cream

1. Make strawberry jam the day before. In a small saucepan, combine the raspberries, sugar and zest. Heat over low to medium temperature for about 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once the sugar has dissolved, pour jam in a glass air-tight container and refrigerate overnight to thicken.

2. Whip heavy cream. For fresh whip cream, whisk 1 cup of heavy cream in a bowl. Whisk aggressively for about 5 minutes until soft, but firm peaks form. Whisk cream just before making the sandwiches. Set aside.

3. Assemble pound cake sandwich. Cut 8 1/2-inch slices of pound cake. Lay flat on a cutting board. Spread raspberry jam on 4 slices of pound cake and Nutella on the remaining 4 slices. Sandwich one of each together.

4. Grill pound cake sandwiches. Place the sandwiches on a dry grill pan heated to medium temperature. Each side takes 2-3 minutes. Remove from pan, place on a serving plate and top with fresh whipped cream. Enjoy!

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Sep 20, 2011

Recipe for: Coconut Macaroons dipped in Chocolate

FROM THE KITCHEN OF: Isabel Canfield
TOTAL TIME: 10 minutes to prep, 13-15 minutes to bake
about 24-30 macaroons

Not everyone is a fan of coconut. Myself included. But for some reason, I just love coconut macaroons. I don’t eat them often, but when I do, they’re completely delicious and satisfying. I must love them because they’re not too sweet and the coconut flavor is balanced and not over-the-top. Making macaroons are probably one of the easiest cookies you can possibly make. This is the first time for me and I think this recipe, which a friend gave to me, couldn’t be any easier. With just five simple ingredients, you, too, can make a macaroon with a crispy exterior and a super moist and chewy interior.

5 cups of sweet coconut flakes
2/3 cup flour
1 can of sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 bag of chocolate morsels (your flavor)

1. Combine ingredients. In a large bowl mix together the coconut and flour. Then stir in the condensed milk and vanilla, making sure all the flour and coconut flakes are moist.

2. Scoop macaroons and bake. Preheat oven to 350°. Using a small cookie scoop or a spoon, drop ping pong size balls of the coconut mixture onto a non-stick cookie sheet. You can line the sheet with parchment paper to be extra cautious. Watch closely them bake closely because they can go from toasty brown to black in a hurry. Bake for 13-15 minutes.

3. Melt chocolate. While the macaroons are baking, set up a double boiler to melt the chocolate. Place a heat-safe bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. The heat and steam from the water will melt the chocolate without burning. Stir until all the morsels have melted leaving a smooth texture.

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Aug 5, 2011

Recipe for: S’mores Cupcakes

FROM THE KITCHEN OF: Isabel Canfield
TOTAL TIME: 45 minutes to prep, 17-20 minutes to bake
36 cupcakes

I do like me some dessert. My husband, though, absolutely LOVES dessert. He can literally eat 5 cupcakes in one sitting or a whole bag of Reese’s Pieces or a half gallon of ice cream. No joke. I certainly don’t have it as bad as he does! I usually don’t make desserts just because I enjoy cooking savory dishes more and plus I’m still learning how to bake. But I gave it a shot with this recipe for S’mores cupcakes.

I made this maybe a month ago. I just completely forgot to blog about it. I was inspired by a recipe I found online, I changed it quite a bit though. I actually used pre-packaged cake batter instead of making it from scratch. I also kept the ganache fairly simple by using just cream and chocolate. Since this recipe made 36 cupcakes, I had plenty to go around. I fed my husband’s soccer team and my sisters who probably ate more than half! This recipe is a little tedious, but it was worth it. It’s super moist, the flavors of a s’more definitely come through all the parts and pieces, the icing wasn’t too sweet and the graham cracker on top was a nice finish. All 36 were gone in just a few days!

graham topping
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted

16 marshmallows, sliced in half for 26 pieces

cake batters (follow cake box directions & ingredients)
1 box of yellow cake (1 1/4 cups water, 1/3 cup vegetable oil, 3 eggs)
1 box of chocolate cake (1 1/4 cups water, 1/3 cup vegetable oil, 3 eggs)

1 cup graham cracker crumbs

8 oz of semi-sweet chocolate
1 cup of heavy cream

1. Make the crumb topping. Combine 1 cup of graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar and melted butter into a bowl. Stir with a fork. Texture should be “crumbly.” Afterwards, slice marshmallows in half. You can also use mini marshmallows, about 3-4. Set both aside.

2. Prepare the cake batters. Prepare the yellow cake batter and chocolate cake batter according to the box directions in two separate bowls. To the yellow cake batter, add the other cup of graham cracker crumbs. Mix well.

3. Assemble the cupcakes and bake. Preheat the oven according to the box directions, usually 350°. Line three cupcake trays with cupcake liners. Using a 1/4 measuring cup as a ladle, pour half a ladle of the yellow batter into the cupcake liner. Sprinkle some crumb topping on top of the yellow batter. Next, place one halved marshmallow pressing down gently. Ladle the chocolate batter on top and finally add a little more of the crumb topping. Be sure not to overfill because the marshmallow will expand while baking. Bakes for 17-20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Once cooked, remove the cupcakes from tray and let them cool on racks.

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