Dessert

Vegan Chocolate Cake

A few months ago my little sister made every Italian mother's nightmare come true...she became a vegan! In the words of one of my favorite movies My Big Fat Greek Wedding, "What do you mean you don't eat no meat!?" Needless to say we all gave her a hard time. I mean whats a life without cheese, without that perfect runny egg yolk, without BUTTER!? We all thought it was a phase but hey this girl has been sticking to her guns! Since I love my sister oh so much I decided to surprise her with a special vegan dessert for her 20th birthday. Like the rest of the Marullo clan, Julia loves chocolate and her favorite dessert was always the Double Chocolate layer cake from Magnolia Bakery in NYC. After some research and the combining of a few good looking recipes I came up with the following recipe and let me tell you it is decadent, it is chocolatey, it is moist and you will not miss the dairy one bit! It tastes a lot like the Magnolia Bakery Cake but its vegan!

 

vegan cake.jpg

 

Ingredients

Dry ingredients:

  • 2½ cups all-Purpose flour
  • 2½ cups white sugar
  • 1 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Instant Espresso Powder (I like the Medaglia D'oro brand) (this is optional but truly enhances the chocolate flavor)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Wet ingredients:

  • 2⅔ cups Unsweetened Almond Milk (you can also use Soy)
  • ⅔ cups Canola oil (or vegetable)
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

 

Vegan Chocolate Buttercream Ingredients:

  • ½ cup vegan butter (such as Earth Balance)
  • ½ cup vegetable shortening 
  • 1¼ cup powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Instant Espresso Powder 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 - 2 tablespoons Almond Milk (as needed)

Instructions
To Make the Cake: Preheat your oven to 350F. Prepare two 8" round baking pans by lightly greasing them, and then cutting a circle of parchment paper to fit into the bottom. You can also use a 9 inch spring form pan and then careful cut the baked cake in half horizontally to fill it with icing but it will take more time to bake. This recipe will also work in sheet pans and cupcake tins! 
In a large bowl whisk together all of the dry ingredients, then set aside.
In a medium bowl whisk together all of the wet ingredients. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Don't over mix. Divide the batter into the prepared pans, then place them in the oven. Bake for about 40 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the cakes cool completely before frosting.

Vegan Buttercream Frosting: Use a mixer with a paddle attachment or a hand blender and whip the vegan butter and shortening until light and fluffy. Add all the rest of the ingredients except for the Almond Milk. Blend until whipped and creamy. If the frosting is a bit too stiff, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of Almond milk as needed until desired consistency is reached.

Assemble the Cake: Run a knife around the edges of the cake pans, and flip the pans over to remove the cakes. Remove the parchment paper and discard. Place the first cake on your cake plate, and spread about half of the frosting on top. Place the second cake on top of the frosted cake, and spread the remaining frosting on top of that cake. Add sprinkles or Dairy Free Chocolate Chips around the perimeter to add a little pizzaz!  Store the cake in the fridge or a cool place until you are ready to serve. Serve at room temp! 

 

Turk-Ish Yogurt Parfaits

I have been named the "Brunch Queen" by my friends, family and clients, but with this reign comes a lot of pressure. I am constantly having to come up with new and innovative brunch dishes that will keep my guests excited.  This dish all started with my love for dried Turkish Apricots.  These apricots are the perfect amount of chewy and juicy and have a sweet but floral taste to them. Some of the classic Turkish desserts involve honey, rose essence, pistachios and spices so I decided to take these flavors and combine them into the perfect savory but sweet parfait. The good quality extra virgin olive oil I use in the granola just add this rich, savory element to the dish that is perfect with the sweet honey and apricots. 

 

Ingredients-

  • 3 Cups Plain Greek Yogurt (I prefer 0% fat Fage)
  • Rose Extract (only a few drops)
  • Clover Honey
  • Turkish Dried Apricots (or any apricots dried or fresh)

Pistachio Olive Oil Granola-

  • 3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 ½ cups raw pistachios, hulled
  • 1 cup raw pumpkin seeds, hulled
  • 1 cup coconut flakes ( I prefer the unsweetened coconut chips)
  • ¾ cup pure maple syrup
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4  teaspoon ground cardamom (optional)

Preheat oven to 300F degrees.

  1. In a large bowl, combine oats, pistachios, pumpkin seeds, coconut chips, maple syrup, olive oil, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon and cardamom.
  2. Spread mixture on a rimmed baking sheet in an even layer and bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, until golden brown and well toasted. Store in an airtight container or mason jars if you do not use all of it right away.

Assembling the parfaits-

  1. Choose the parfait glasses or bowls you would like to assemble the parfaits in and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the Greek yogurt with just 2-3 drops of Rose Extract.  If you prefer a stronger rose flavor add more to your liking. Note that it is very strong and can be overpowering, you want the flavor to come through but subtly.
  3. Scoop a few tablespoons of the rose infused yogurt into each parfait cup. Drizzle the yogurt with clover honey, sprinkle it with a few pieces of the chopped apricots and the Pistachio Granola.
  4. Repeat the layers as many times as you like! Be sure to have the top layer include the granola, apricots and a nice drizzle of honey.  Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Granola Bars

 

New Year, new me right? Dieting is not my forte because I love sweets! I created a granola bar recipe that is overall pretty healthy and truly satisfies my sweet tooth.  The toasted oats, flax and nuts combined with the honey and almond butter give these bars such a warm, comforting and rich flavor. They are the perfect afternoon pick me up and an easy way to get yourself out of bed in the morning.  Make the batch on a Sunday and enjoy them all week long. You'll never get sick of these because you can change up the mix-ins up as you wish! Maybe try dried apricots and candied ginger, or how about a cinnamon and dried blueberry with yogurt chips! Make your own variation and get featured on our Instagram! @gotroomformore or facebook.com/gotroomformore 

 

Ingredients-

  1. 2 Cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  2. 1/2 Cup Slivered Almonds (not sliced, slivered- you can also used chopped whole almonds) 
  3. 3 Tablespoons Flax Seed
  4. 6 ounces honey, approximately 1/2 cup
  5. 3 Tablespoons Packed Light Brown Sugar 
  6. 2 Tablespoons Coconut oil
  7. 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  8. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  9. 2 Heaping Tablespoons of Almond Butter ( My favorite is the Classic flavor from The Nutty Spoon https://thenuttyspoon.squarespace.com/) You can order online! 
  10. 6 1/2 ounces chopped dried fruit, any combination of apricots, cherries or blueberries ( I used Dried Cherries)
  11. 2 Tablespoons Cocoa Nibs (I used dark chocolate coated nibs from Trader Joes but you can just use raw nibs if you like)

(Feel free to put in any mix ins that you like! Use different nuts like cashews or even put in some unsweetened coconut or sunflower seeds! )

Steps-

  1. Line a 9 by 9-inch baking dish with parchment paper and spray with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.(you can use a square dish too and have them a bit thicker) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Spread the oats and almonds onto a half-sheet pan. Place the flax seed on a separate sheet pan. Place pans in the oven and toast for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Flax seeds may be faster depending on your oven so check on them frequently! You just want them lightly toasted and aromatic. 
  3. In the meantime, combine the honey, brown sugar, coconut oil, vanilla extract and salt in a medium saucepan and place over medium heat. Cook until the brown sugar has completely dissolved. Stir in the Almond Butter just until it is melted and incorporated. 
  4. Once the oat mixture is done, remove it from the oven and reduce the heat to 300 degrees F. Immediately add the oat mixture to the liquid mixture, add the dried fruit, and stir to combine. Turn mixture out into the prepared baking dish and press down, evenly distributing the mixture in the dish. Sprinkle the cocoa nibs over the top and and place a piece of parchment on top and press down to ensure the mixture doesn’t stick to your hands. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely (will take a few hours or so). Cut into squares (or whatever shape you like) and store in an airtight container for up to a week.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Crumb Cake

I have to honest, this cake gets me going, it is so darn delicious! My boyfriend and I are very opposite, from our appearance to our personalities, we are pretty ying and yang, but as you know opposites attract! Something we do have in common, besides our names (Danielle and Daniel), is we LOVE Peanut butter and chocolate together, so back in September I came up with this recipe for Dan's birthday.  We are two weeks away from Christmas now and this is the perfect cake to give as gifts to coworkers, neighbors, mailmen..whomever! It is made in a large rectangular pan, so you can cut it into big squares and pack them into nice little boxes tied with holiday ribbon. If you are not a peanut butter person you can leave it out and it just becomes a double chocolate crumb cake! Enjoy!

 

Ingredients-

For the cake-

  1. 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
  2. 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for pan
  3. 1/2 teaspoon espresso powder
  4. 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  5. 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  6. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  7. 1/2 cup white sugar
  8. 1/2 cup brown sugar
  9. 3 large eggs
  10. 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  11. 1/2 cup sour cream
  12. 1 cup Creamy Peanut Butter (I use Skippy)

For the Chocolate Crumbs-

  1. 2 cups all-purpose flour
  2. 1 ¼ cup sugar
  3. 2 sticks butter, melted
  4. 3/8 cup cocoa powder
  5. ¼ cup confectioner's sugar

 

Steps-

Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare a 13inch x 9inch pan or a "jelly-roll" pan ( a pan about 15-inch by 10-inch by 2-inch) if you'd like, by greasing the pan generously with butter and dusting it with flour.  You can also line the bottom with parchment paper after you butter it if you are worried about it sticking. 

In a separate bowl combine the flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder and espresso powder.  Set aside.

In a stand mixer or using an electric hand beater, cream the butter and sugars together.  Once the butter mixture is nice and light add the eggs one at a time until they are fully incorporated.  Next add the vanilla.

Next add the dry ingredients into the butter/egg mixture alternating with the sour cream.  

Pour batter into the prepared pan. Place the peanut butter into a microwave safe bowl, and microwave it for about 30 seconds or until it is liquidy. Drizzle the peanut butter all over the cake and then use a butter knife to swirl it lightly around the cake. You want to see the peanut butter so do not mix it completely into the batter.

Place the cake into the oven and bake at 350 degrees (F) for 15 minutes. While cake is baking, make chocolate crumb topping as follows: In a large mixing bowl, stir together 2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 ¼ cups sugar, and 3/8 cup cocoa powder. Add 2 sticks melted butter and stir until mixture is thick and workable.

With your hands, pinch off chunks of the chocolate mixture and place them on top of the partially-baked chocolate cake. Continue until all of the chocolate mixture is used and the cake is evenly covered. Return the cake to a 350 degree (F) oven, and bake an additional 10-15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove cake from oven. Do not over bake, you want it to be a little fudgy inside, but make sure it is set!

Remove the cake from the oven and let cool completely. Dust the top with the confectioners sugar and enjoy! For an added touch, melt 1 cup of peanut butter chips (reeses makes them in the baking isle), in the microwave with 1 teaspoon of crisco shortening and then drizzle it over the top of the cake.  Once it hardens and cools enjoy!

 

 

Peach Galette

It is Stone Fruit month at the Farmer's Market! My favorite fruit in the entire world is peaches..I mean come on, fleshy, sweet, juicy, colorful..DEEELISH! Now that we are at the peak of the season for peaches, plums and apricots, it was time to make a pie.  Now this is not any pie, this is a galette which is essentially a buttery, flaky pie dough that you fold around fresh fruits...no pie pan or tart mold needed! Once you get the hand of this simple dough recipe, you can stuff anything your heart desires inside, based on what is in season.  At the start of the summer you can do strawberries and rhubarb, in the middle of the summer you can do blueberries and in the Fall you can do Apples.  When you take a few extra minutes to nicely arrange the fruit in an elegant pattern inside the dough, you are left with a work of art! Top this warm galette with your favorite flavor of gelato like vanilla, strawberry, or even something unique like green tea and enjoy! For more culinary inspiration follow me on @Gotroomformore !

Filling:

  1. 3-4 medium Peaches, ripe but not overly ripe
  2. ¼ cup sugar
  3. 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  4. ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  5. ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
  6. 1 Tbsp butter

Crust:

  1. 1¼ cup flour 
  2. 1½ tsp sugar
  3. 1/3 tsp salt
  4. 8 Tablespoons (1 stick) very cold unsalted butter 
  5. 4 to 6 Tbsp ice water
  6. 1/2 Teaspoon Almond Extract (optional)
  7. 1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  8. 1 egg
  9. A Sprinkling of sugar in the raw (large granule sugar) and cinnamon for the crust
  10. 1 Tablespoon Dark Brown Sugar

Steps: 

  1. In a large food processor with the blade attachment or in a bowl by hand, pulse 1¼ cups flour, 1½ tsp sugar and ½ tsp salt 
  2. Cut cold butter into small (1/2-inch) cubes and add it to the food processor. If doing it by hand use a pastry cutter or two butter knives and cut the butter into the flour until it is the size of peas. If using the food processor, push the pulse button 8 times until the butter is pea size. Add the 1/2 teaspoon of almond extract and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract to the ice water  and add 1 Tbsp at a time to the flour mixture and pulse between each addition. If doing by hand just stir together with a fork until you see the dough is starting to come together. Your dough should be ready when it just begins to clump. It should take about 4-6 tablespoons of water.
  3. Form the dough into a disk. Don’t overwork it with your hands because the texture of the dough will get tough.  Just pat it into a disk shape, dust with flour on all sides and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 45 minutes.
  4. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  5. In a small bowl, beat the egg and set aside.
  6. Slice peaches into ½″ thick slices. Place peaches in a bowl and sprinkle with flour, sugar, cinnamon and vanilla. Stir gently being careful not to break up the peaches. 
  7. In between 2 sheets of parchment paper, roll the dough into a 12″ circle. Place the parchment paper and dough into a rimmed baking sheet. Remove the top piece of parchment. 
  8. Arrange the peaches in circles over the dough working from the outside in. Leave a 1.5″ to 2″ dough border. Discard any excess juices from the peaches, or your galette may overflow. Dot the top of the peaches with small chunks of 1 Tablespoon of  butter and sprinkle the top of the peaches with the 1 Tablespoon Dark Brown Sugar. 
  9. Fold the edges of the gallette up and over the peaches, pinching the overlapping edges together to form a nice seal. If there are any tiny holes patch them up with dough. Brush the crust with beaten egg and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar in the raw.  Bake for 18-22 minutes until the crust is golden brown on the sides and the bottom. Let sit 15 minutes before serving. Serve with you favorite vanilla ice cream..or even green tea ice cream is fabulous with this too!

Strawberry Basil Shortcake

It is June which means it is the start of Strawberry season! In NY we can buy berries all year long, but there is a drastic difference between the berries in the winter and the berries in the early summer.  Strawberries in June are deep red throughout, they are extremely juicy and fragrant and they are as sweet as sugar! This easy recipe really showcases summer fruits, and the best part is you can use whatever you have on hand! Use strawberries, blueberries, raspberries or fresh or grilled peaches! The basic buttermilk biscuit recipe is super flaky and buttery and if you want savory biscuits you can even leave out the sugar and cinnamon and add chives and cheddar or leave them plain! My strawberry filling is brought to a whole new level with the addition of fresh chopped basil...my favorite smell in the world is basil.  I always say if I could walk around with sprigs of basil under my armpits I would ;) My whipped cream filling has a little vanilla and a little almond extract which really compliment the strawberry flavor. This is the perfect 4th of July treat or for any summer night for that matter ;)

 

Shortcake (Sweet Buttermilk Biscuits)- You can leave out the sugar and vanilla for a delicious savory biscuit! Use them for egg sandwiches, biscuits and gravy and more!

Ingredients-

  1. 2 cups all purpose flour
  2. 3 tablespoons sugar
  3. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  4. 2 teaspoons baking powder
  5. 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  6. 7 tablespoons cold butter
  7. 3/4 cup buttermilk
  8. 1/2  teaspoon vanilla
  9. 2 Tablespoons Melted Butter
  10. Sugar in the Raw (white sugar is fine too but large granule is better)- All you need is a few teaspoons
  11. Cinnamon (a sprinkle)

Steps-

  1. Preheat the oven to 425F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, and baking soda together in a large bowl.
  3. Cut butter into flour mixture with a pastry cutter or using an electric stand mixer with a paddle attachment until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  You want the butter to be tiny pea size pieces in the flour mixture. Make sure the butter is super cold because it will only make the biscuits more flaky.
  4. Make a well in the center of butter and flour mixture. Pour in the buttermilk and vanilla extract; stir until just combined.
  5. Turn dough onto a floured work surface, pat together into a rectangle.
  6. Fold the rectangle in thirds. Turn dough a half turn, gather any crumbs, and flatten back into a rectangle. Repeat twice more, folding and pressing dough a total of three times.
  7. Gently roll dough on a floured surface to about 1/2 inch thick.
  8. Cut out 10-12 biscuits using a 2 1/2-inch round biscuit cutter.
  9. Transfer biscuits to the prepared baking sheet and brush the tops of biscuits with melted butter and sprinkle a decent amount of sugar in the raw on top as well as some ground cinnamon.
  10. Bake in the preheated oven until browned, about 15 minutes.

Strawberry Basil Filling

Ingredients-

  1. 1 Lb Fresh, Ripe Strawberries sliced in 1/4 inch slices (tops removed)
  2. 2-3 Tablespoons Granulated White Sugar
  3. 4-5 Basil Leaves Chiffonade (cut into thin ribbons)
  4. 1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice 

Steps-

  1. Stir together the ingredients and set aside for at least 30-45 mins. You want the juice to slightly extract a little.  If it doesn't have enough juices, add a few drops of water.

Vanilla Almond Chantilly Cream- (You can use store-bought whipped cream as well)

  1. 1 1/2 cups heavy cream, chilled
  2. 3 tablespoons confectioners sugar
  3. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  4. 1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Steps-

Whip all the ingredients vigorously with a whisk or use hand beaters or a stand mixer with a whisk attachment until it is fluffy and forms peaks.  Do not over whip or it will get grainy or even turn into butter!

To Assemble the Cakes-

Cut each warm biscuit in half, top with a heaping scoop of the strawberry basil mixture, top with the chantilly cream and then place the top of the biscuit on top.  You can even place another dollop of cream on top and then sprinkle some toasted slivered almonds over the top. 

Matcha Almond Cake

Lets just say that New York is Mad about Matcha! Matcha is a finely ground powder of specially grown green tea. What's great about Matcha is that it is incredibly versatile.  Matcha has many health benefits and will give you an energy boost without the crash and caffeine withdrawal that coffee gives you.  As a caffeine sensitive person, trust me this is a great way to start your day.  The obvious way to enjoy matcha is as a hot beverage, but in recent years it has been popping up in all sorts of recipes, from ice cream to crepes and even in savory dishes like sauces and rubs. Last week I stopped by a new NYC brunch hotspot called Egg Shop, down on Elizabeth Street in Soho.  Normally I opt for the traditional mimosa when I have brunch, but when perusing this menu the Matcha Almond Latte jumped out at me.  The latte consisted of steamed almond milk and matcha powder and had this incredible earthy and mildly sweet flavor.  When you first try Matcha you may think it is a little bit grassy in flavor, but do not give up right away!  Trust me as you continue to drink it or eat it, it will grow on you and you will find it extremely pleasant.  After I had this latte, the chef in me began to ponder ways I could use it in an original recipe for GRFM.  I loved the almond and green tea flavors together, so I decided to make a delicious tea cake that you can eat for breakfast, dessert or an afternoon snack.  I originally wanted to make a very dense poundcake style loaf, but in the end I ended up with a moist but fluffy loaf that will be awesome with a cup of tea or coffee and a great asset to my next brunch spread.  If you love green tea..give this one a go!

Ingredients-

  1. 1 cup all-purpose flour

  2. 1   1/2 teaspoons baking powder

  3. 1/4 teaspoon salt

  4. 1/2 cup butter

  5. 5 oz  cream cheese softened

  6. 2  1/2 Teaspoons Matcha Powder

  7. 3/4 cups white sugar

  8. 2 large eggs

  9. 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

  10. 3/4 teaspoon almond extract

  11. About 1/3 Cup Slivered Almonds

Glaze-

  1. 1/2 Cup Confectioners Sugar
  2. Fresh Lemond Juice
  3. Almond Extract
  4. Water

Steps-

  1. Preheat oven to 325 F . Grease (with butter) and flour a loaf pan.
  2. Stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, cream cheese, and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the Matcha Powder, vanilla and almond extract. Beat in the flour mixture, mixing just until incorporated. DO not over mix! Do it by hand if you want to prevent over beating. 
  4. Spread into prepared pan and sprinkle some slivered almonds evenly over the top.  You can put as much or as little as you want or none at all! I think it adds a wonderful crunch to the top of the cake.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven for 40-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes,then turn out onto a wire rack.  Quickly put together the glaze while the cake is still pretty hot. 
  6. Stir together the confectioners sugar, a few drops of fresh lemon juice, a drop of almond extracts (remember it is very strong and concentrated so a drop is enough) and a few tablespoons of water until it is a loose glaze consistency.  Next drizzle it over the top with a spoon and brush the sides of the cake with the glaze using a pastry brush.  When the cake cools the sugary glaze will leave a nice sugary crust on the outside. 
  7. Enjoy!

Dark Chocolate Coconut Oatmeal Cookies

A massive blizzard named "Juno" was to hit New York City causing streets to be closed, subways to be suspended and millions of people trapped in their tiny apartments.  For me this is one of my guilty pleasures, mostly because my mother used to make Snow Days super special.  I have so many vivid memories of my sisters and I standing in the kitchen watching the snow pile up outside while we were elbow deep in dough.  Sometimes it was pizza dough, sometimes it was a sweet braided bread we called "Daisy Bread," and other times it was just chocolate chip cookies.  Even though the view out my window is now a brick wall and my mother is an hour away, I still keep these traditions alive.  While stuck inside with my lovely roommate Kristen watching bad reality television, we decided cookies were just what the weather man ordered.  I rummaged through my fridge and pantry to find 3 of my favorite ingredients: Chocolate, Coconut and Oats...and that is how these insanely delicious cookies were born.  They are crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside and the unsweetened coconut gives them this wonderful flavor and interesting texture.  These are a must try! Oh and if you are wondering about the blizzard, we woke up to a measly 6 inches on the ground, so here I am with an excess of eggs, milk, water and cookies but its off to work I go.  Oh well!

 

Ingredients-

  1. 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  2. ½ teaspoon baking soda
  3. ½ teaspoon baking powder
  4. 3/4 teaspoon salt
  5. 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened but still cool
  6. 1 cup dark brown sugar
  7. 1 cup white granulated sugar
  8. 2 large eggs
  9. 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  10. 2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  11. 1½ cups Ghiardelli Bittersweet 60% Chocolate Chips (They are larger than normal chocolate chips. You can also use dark chocolate chunks or baking bars and chop into chunks)
  12. 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes (I use Bob's Red Mill brand)

Steps-

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F; adjust oven racks to middle positions. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. Stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a small bowl; set aside.

3. Cream together the butter and both sugars on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes using a stand mixer or hand beater. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, and then mix in the vanilla. 

4.  Slowly stir in the flour mixture, then stir in the oats, chocolate chips and shredded coconut. Do not overheat, just mix until everything is evenly distributed.

5. Using 1  1/2  to 2 heaping tablespoons per cookie, roll the dough into balls and place on the cookie sheets, spacing them at least 2 inches apart (I use a small ice cream scoop used for cookie dough). Bake until the cookie edges are golden brown, but the middles are still quite pale, about 15-20 minutes depending on your oven. Rotate the sheets from front to back and top to bottom halfway through the baking time. Cool the cookies on the baking sheets for 2 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool for at least 30 minutes. With these cookies they are actually better after they have cooled for an hour or so! They are crisp yet chewy and so flavorful and delicious! You can even sprinkle some large granualted decorative sugar on top of the dough to give it a shimmery effect like below. :)

The Best Banana Bread

Ingredients

 

  1.         ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  2.         ¼ cup vegetable oil
  3.         1 cup white granulated sugar
  4.         ½ cup packed dark brown sugar
  5.         2 eggs
  6.         1½ cups mashed ripe bananas (I use 3 medium well-ripened bananas)
  7.         ½ cup sour cream
  8.         1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  9.         2 cups flour
  10.         1 teaspoon baking soda
  11.         ½ teaspoon salt
  12.         1 heaping cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips 
  13.         Additional brown sugar for the top 

Steps-

  1.         Mix together butter, oil, sugars and eggs.
  2.         Add mashed bananas, sour cream and vanilla, stirring together well.
  3.         Mix together the flour, baking soda and salt in a separate bowl and then add it slowly to the banana mixture.
  4.         Pour into 1 greased large loaf pan or into greased muffin tins or muffin tins lined with paper liners
  5.         Sprinkle additional brown sugar generously over top of batter
  6.         Bake at 325 degrees: large loaf pan for about 1 hour, for muffins around 25 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick comes out of the center clean.
  7.         Allow bread to cool in pans for about 20 minutes, then run a sharp knife around the edges, tap the pan on the counter several times to release the bread from the bottom of the pan, then invert pan over a wire rack and let the bread fall onto the rack to finish cooling completely.

 

Sweet Arancini- Fried Rice Pudding Balls


One year ago I was on the beautiful island of Sicily with my big, loud, Italian family.  There are many dishes that are specific to the Sicilian culture that I grew up eating, and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the “real thing.”  Canolis, Eggplant Caponata, Cassata Cake, Fig Cookies and of course Arancini.  Arancini are a popular street food in Sicily, so common that you can even purchase them at a gas station convenience store. Arancini are these dense, creamy, cheesy, fried rice balls that are often stuffed with things like ham, peas, ground beef and tomato sauce.  The Sicilians make these so well, that even when you purchase them from a sketchy “mini-mart” chances are they are still going to be down right delicioso.  I decided to reinvent Arancini and combine them with another classic rice dish, Rice Pudding.  My Sweet Arancini are crunchy, creamy bundles of gooey, rice pudding, coated in a blanket of delicious graham cracker crumbs and fried to perfection.  These bella balls are not complete without their silky, tangy Apricot and Peach dipping sauce.  Make these for your next soiree and I promise you everyone will not be able to take their hands off your rice balls.

 

 Ingredients-

  1. 2 cups water
  2. 1 cup  Arborio rice
  3. 2 1/2 cups whole milk (you can use any milk but whole works the best)
  4. 1/4 cup sugar
  5. 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  6. 1 egg
  7. Dash of Cinnamon
  8. Pinch of Nutmeg
  9. 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  10. 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  11. 2-3 eggs beaten
  12. 1 1/2 Cups Graham Cracker Crumbs- you may use a little less or more (you can buy the crumbs in a box in the baking isle or by the breadcrumbs or just crush plain graham crackers in a food processor)
  13. Canola Oil or Peanut Oil for frying
  14. Confectioners sugar for dusting

 Apricot Peach Dipping sauce-

Ingredients-

  1.  1 Cup Peach Preserves (jam)
  2. 3 Fresh Ripe Apricots (you can use any fruit you like!)
  3. 1 Tablespoon Butter

 Steps-

  1. First make the dipping sauce. Remove the pits from the apricots and chop the flesh into small chunks.
  2. Melt the butter in a small saucepan and add the chopped fruit. Cook down on low heat until some of the juices release from the fruits.
  3. Add the peach preserves and melt down until it thins out and becomes a sauce consistency. You may need to add some water if it is too thick. Place in the fridge until you are ready to use.  If the sauce gets too thick just add a little water and heat it up in a pot or the microwave for a few seconds until it is warm and thins out.

 Rice Balls-

Steps-

  1. In a medium pot, bring the water and rice to a boil. Stir, cover, and simmer for about 15 minutes or until the water has been absorbed. Add the milk and bring to a boil. Simmer gently, uncovered, for about 30 minutes, stirring frequently until the rice is tender. Set aside.
  2. In a bowl, combine the sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and cornstarch. Add the egg and vanilla and combine with a whisk. Gradually pour this mixture into the rice pudding and cook for about 2 minutes over medium heat, stirring constantly, or until the rice thickens and becomes very sticky like risotto.
  3. Spread the rice in a baking pan or loaf pan and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for about 2 hours or until completely chilled.  This is a great thing to make the day before!  You want the texture to be very thick and gelatinous so you can form balls easily.
  4. Next, preheat the canola oil in the deep fryer on high temperature. Set a wire rack and paper towels aside.
  5. Place the flour, eggs, and graham cracker crumbs in three separate bowls. Set aside.
  6. With your hands, shape each ball of the rice pudding.  You want them to be a little bigger than ping-pong balls, but you can make them as big or as small as you like!  A small 1 1/2 inch ice cream/cookie scoop works well too! When doing them by hand flour your hands to prevent the rice from sticking to you. You can also stuff them with any sweet treat you would like if you wanted!
  7. Dredge the balls in flour and shake to remove any excess. Dip them in eggs and drain. Coat with the graham cracker crumbs.
  8. Fry the pudding balls, a few at a time until they are nicely browned and have a nice crunchy outside, about 2 to 3 minutes. Drain on the baking sheet and paper towels and continue with the remaining balls.
  9. Dust the rice balls with powdered sugar and serve slightly warm with the apricot peach dipping sauce!

 

Fishy Chow: Peanut Butter & Chocolate Coated Pretzel Goldfish

It has been a while since I posted a scrumptious sweet treat!  Now that summer is almost here, you are going to need some good portable snacks to bring with you to the beach or on long car rides!  Ive said this before, but one of my all time favorite flavor combinations is peanut butter and chocolate..I mean unless you are allergic to peanuts, everyone pretty much loves that combo.  When I was at school at Penn State University, tailgating season was a huge production.  Picture 100,000 people flooding the parking lots surrounding the stadium enjoying some cold brewskis and lots and lots of delicious foods.  A popular tailgating snack was “Puppy Chow” or “Muddy Buddies” which is chocolate and peanut butter coated Chex cereal.  It is so yummy and so addicting, I can eat it by the pounds.  I decided to give Puppy Chow a salty sweet twist and replace the Chex with Goldfish Pretzels.  Goldfish pretzels are just fish shaped pretzels that are the perfect size for snacking! Now take a salty crunch pretzel shaped fish and coat it with peanut butter and chocolate..come on now its the bomb.

Ingredients-

  1. 1 & 1/3 Bags of Goldfish Pretzels
  2. 1/2 Cup Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips
  3. 1/4 Cup Creamy Peanut Butter
  4. 3 Tablespoons Butter
  5. 1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  6. 1 to 1 1/4 cups Confectioners Sugar

Steps-

  1. Pour the Pretzel Goldfish into a large bowl and set aside.
  2. Place the chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter in a microwavable bowl and microwave for a minute.  Stir and microwave again in 15 second increments until the mixture is completely smooth and the butter and chips are melted. Remove from microwave and stir in the vanilla extract.
  3. Pour the chocolate peanut butter mixture over the Pretzel Goldfish.
  4. Using a rubber spatula carefully mix everything together and get all the Goldfish coated in the chocolate mixture. Be careful not to break up the Pretzels.
  5. Pour the coated Goldfish into a large Ziploc bag and pour in the confectioners sugar.  
  6. Zip the bag closed and shake it until everything is well coated and the Goldfish separate from each other.  If they are all too stuck together add a little more confectioners sugar and shake more.  Note: Some with be stuck together..don’t worry that just means you can eat more at one time :)
  7. Spread the fish onto a sheet pan covered with foil or wax paper and let it dry out for about an hour.  You can eat it right away, but I prefer to let it cool a little.
  8. Seal in a container or a plastic bag and you are good to go!!

Sicilian Ricotta Cheesecake

I was born and raised a New Yorker so naturally I love me some cheesecake! Cheesecake is rich, creamy, dense, tangy, mildly sweet and just so comforting to consume.  As much as I love NY style Cheesecake, it can be a super heavy dessert to eat after a big meal.  After growing up in a Sicilian household and traveling all over Sicily last summer, I discovered the beauty of using ricotta cheese in desserts.  Sicilians use ricotta based fillings and custards in tons of desserts like layer cakes, cream puffs, casadelle (fried “calzone” shaped pieces of dough stuffed with a delicious sweet ricotta filling and chocolate) and many more! This Easter I came up with my own Sicilian style cheesecake recipe that was such a hit, even my Dad’s cousin Sal who was visiting from the motherland gave it a “molto bene!”  This cheesecake is light and buttery and has a wonderful citrus flavor that is perfect for any spring/summer get together.  This recipe is pretty simple to execute and is always a hit with my guests! Remember tweet me or Instagram me pics of your Got Room For More creations @gotroomformore.

 

Ingredients-

  1. 1-2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter Melted
  2. ½ Cup finely crushed Almond Biscotti Cookies (You can also use graham crackers, chocolate biscotti, Amaretti cookies or whatever you like!)
  3. 2  Pounds Whole Milk Ricotta Cheese
  4. 1 Pound Mascarpone Cheese
  5. 1 ½ Cups Granulated White Sugar
  6. 6 Large Eggs
  7. 2 Egg Yolks
  8. 2 Tablespoons Fresh Orange Zest
  9. 1/4 cup Heavy Cream
  10. 2 Teaspoons Pure Vanilla Extract
  11. 1 ½ Tablespoons Fresh Orange Juice (squeeze the orange you zested)
  12. Powdered sugar, for dusting

Steps-

  1.  Preheat the oven to 325 F.
  2. If there is a lot of excess water in your ricotta (which may happen if you use fresh/homemade), drain the ricotta in a colander or in some cheesecloth set over a bowl for about 30 minutes to an hour. 
  3. In a small bowl stir together the biscotti crumbs and melted butter. Cover the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with aluminum foil.  Make sure it is covered well so the water bath doesn’t get into the pan and make the crust soggy. Make sure the foil is not bulky so the pan can lay flat. 
  4. Pour the buttery cookie crumbs into the springform pan and press them into the bottom of the pan and up the sides of the pan a little. Make sure there is a thin, flat, even layer throughout.
  5. Place the pan in the oven for 8-10 minutes or until slightly dry and starting to brown. 
  6. Remove from the oven and set aside.
  7. Using an electric mixer, beat the ricotta, mascarpone and sugar together until smooth.  With the mixer Add the eggs one at a time, orange zest, cream, vanilla and orange juice and mix until completely smooth and combined. 
  8. Pour batter into the prepared springform pan and set the pan inside a larger pan (roasting pan, jelly roll pan, glass Pyrex dish etc.) Fill the outer pan with boiling water until it reaches about halfway up the sides of the cheesecake pan.
  9. Bake for 1½ to 2 hours or until the cheesecake is mostly set in the center. Turn off the oven and let the cake rest inside for 30 minutes.
  10. Remove cake from the oven and let cool to room temperature on a wire rack.  Run a sharp knife around the perimeter of the cake to loosen it and unmold. 
  11.  Chill the cheesecake in the fridge for several hours or overnight.
  12. Make the whipped cream topping (see below) and spread it over the top of the chilled cheesecake.
  13. Top with fresh raspberries or just some powdered sugar and some orange or lemon slices as I did.

 

 Topping-

  1. ½ Cup Heavy Whipping Cream
  2. 1-2 Tablespoons Confectioners’ Sugar (depending on how sweet you like your whipped cream)
  3. ½ Teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract

Beat together in a stand mixer or with a hand mixer or whisk until the cream has stiff peaks and turns into whipped cream.

Chocolate, Salted Peanut Brittle Mousse Pie

I can go on and on about this pie, but it really doesn't need an introduction…the name says it all: Chocolate, Salted Peanut Brittle Mousse Pie.  I have made this for several parties and unfortunately for me there has never been even the tiniest crumb for me to take home to enjoy later.  People go crazy for this thing! The chocolately, buttery crust, the salty, sweet and crunchy peanut brittle layer, the creamy and tangy peanut butter, cream cheese mousse and the rich, decadent chocolate ganache topping all come together in this gorgeous and unbelievably delicious dessert.  This pie is good for any holiday, any party, any season…or any typical Tuesday night. 

 

Chocolate Cookie Crust

Ingredients-

  1. 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter (melted)
  2. About 30 Chocolate Wafer Cookies (I use Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers in the long yellow box)

 Steps-

1.     Heat the oven to 350°F

2.    Place cookies in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade attachment and process until the cookies become fine crumbs. (if you don’t have a food processor just crush the cookies in a Ziploc using a meat mallet or large spoon.)

3.    Add the melted butter, and continue to process until the crumbs and fully combined with the butter.

4.    Pour crumb mixture into a 9-inch pie plate and, using the bottom of a cup or your fingers, press firmly and evenly into the bottom and up the sides. Bake until fragrant, about 10 minutes. Remove to a wire rack to cool completely before filling.

  Salted Peanut Caramel Layer

  1.    1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  2.    1/4 cup honey
  3.     1 cup lightly packed dark brown sugar
  4.     1/3 cup heavy cream
  5.     2 cups chopped, salted dry roasted peanuts

Steps-

  1. . In a small saucepan melt the butter over low heat. Add the honey and brown sugar, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Continue to boil, without stirring, for about 1 minute. Add the heavy cream and stir to combine. Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the peanuts until well coated with the mixture.
  2. Place the pie pan with the cookie crust on a large baking sheet.
  3.  Scrape the mixture into the pre-baked cookie crust, spreading it as evenly as possible. Continue baking the tart in the preheated 350 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until the filling is bubbly all over. Transfer the tart pan to a wire rack and let the tart cool completely.

*NOTE– The ingredient amounts for the caramel nut layer just about filled my whole tart pan, leaving barely any room for the peanut butter filling and ganache toppings, without serious overflow. I removed about 1/3 of it, and cooked it to about 300F to make crunchy, delicious salted peanut caramel candy to top the tart.  You want the brittle mixture to reach a dark caramel brown color..if it is too light it will be too sticky and will get stuck in your teeth! Hello dental work! ;)  Spread the excess peanut brittle mixture onto an aluminum foil lined sheet pan sprayed with nonstick spray.  Sprinkle it with sea-salt and let it cool completely so you can break it into pieces.

Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Mousse Layer

  1.    1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter
  2.     1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  3.     6 oz Cream Cheese softened
  4.     ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

 Steps-

  1. In a stand mixture, whisk together the peanut butter, cream cheese and vanilla.  Slowly add the confectioners sugar.
  2. When the peanut brittle layer of the tart is cooled spread the peanut butter mousse layer evenly over the top.  Make sure you have enough room for the final layer! If you don’t, then do not put all of the peanut butter mousse in.

Chocolate Ganache

  1.    9 ounces bittersweet, or semisweet chocolate (I prefer Ghiardelli bittersweet because the rest of the tart is fairly sweet already), coarsely chopped
  2.     1 Tablespoon light corn syrup
  3.     1/2 cup heavy cream

 Steps-

  1. Place the chocolate in a bowl.
  2. In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the cream and corn syrup to a gentle boil.
  3. Pour the hot cream/corn syrup over the chocolate. Allow the mixture to stand for 30 seconds to melt the chocolate, and then whisk until smooth.
  4. Pour the chocolate over the peanut butter mousse layer and spread evenly with a spatula.
  5. Now place the final touches on your pie! I put little pieces of the extra peanut brittle over the top and sprinkle on some salted peanuts. 

 

Easy as Pie...Banana Cream Pie

In the spirit of the holidays I would like to share one of my favorite holiday dessert recipes with you.  This recipe was created by my amazing and talented grandmother, Rosemarie.  Grandma Rosemarie makes all of her desserts from scratch, crusts, fillings, cookies, cakes you name it, but this pie was the only exception.  It consists of store bought graham cracker crust, instant vanilla pudding, fresh bananas, heavy cream, milk and vanilla...that is it!  It takes minutes to prepare and doesn’t have to be baked in an oven!  I have enjoyed this Banana Cream Pie every Thanksgiving for the past 23 years! It just isn’t the holiday season without this silky, crunchy, creamy delight and my incredible family members enjoying it together around the dining room table while sharing stories.

Ingredients-

  1. 1 Graham Cracker Crust
  2. Jello Brand Vanilla Instant Pudding (1 small box)
  3. 1 ½  Ripe Bananas sliced into ¼ inch round slices
  4. 1 ½ Cups Milk (I use 2% or Whole)
  5. ¼ Cup Heavy Cream

Whipped Cream Topping-

  1. ¾ Cup Heavy Cream
  2. 2 Tablespoons Sugar
  3. ½ Teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract

Steps-

  1. In a stand mixer or with a hand mixer, whip together the vanilla pudding mix, milk, and ¼ cup heavy cream until thick (pudding like texture).
  2. With a rubber spatula fold in the banana slices.
  3. Pour the pudding mixture into the graham cracker crust.
  4. Using the stand mixer or hand mixer beat the ¾ cup of heavy cream, vanilla extract and sugar until stiff peaks form.
  5. Scoop as much of the whipped cream as you like onto the top of the pie and spread it out evenly to cover the entire top of the pie.
  6. Let it set in the fridge for about an hour or two (or overnight) and serve!

 

Strawberry Cornmeal Scookies?

My obsession with cooking and the Hospitality industry all started at the age of 14 when I started my own business baking and selling scones in my town.  My scones are still the most requested baked good at every birthday party, brunch, dinner party, Mother’s Day celebration you name it.  I spent endless hours in the kitchen practicing and editing my recipe until it was just right.  Although my scone recipe will forever be a family secret, I have come up with a twist on the classic scone recipe to share with my loyal followers.  My mom and I absolutely love a good corn muffin in the morning, so I decided to combine 3 of my favorite foods all into one irresistible breakfast treat…the Cornmeal Scookie.  The Cornmeal Scookie is a combination of a corn muffin and scone and a cookie all in one!  I add fresh, ripened Strawberries to add some sweetness and a pop of color.  Make these for breakfast, dessert, or as a take-away at your next brunch party!

Ingredients-

  1. 1 Cup Cornmeal
    1  Cup All Purpose flour
  2. 1/3 Cup White Granulated Sugar
    1 ½ Teaspoons Baking Powder
    ½  Teaspoon Baking Soda
    ½ Teaspoon Salt
    6.5 Tablespoons Cold Unsalted Butter
    1 Cup Ripe Fresh Strawberries Diced
    ¼ Cup Sour Cream
    1/3 Cup Milk (I used skim)
    ½ Teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
    2 Large Egg Yolks

For the Egg Wash-

  1. 1 Whole Egg
  2. 1 Tablespoon Milk
  3. A few tablespoons of granulated sugar to sprinkle on top.  You can even use large granulated sugar or sugar in the raw on top for a prettier look!

Steps-

  1. Preheat the oven to 400F
  2. Stir together the Cornmeal, Flour, Sugar, Baking Powder, Baking Soda and Salt.
  3. Dice the Cold Butter into ½ inch cubes.  Toss them into the bowl with the flour mixture.
  4. Using a pastry cutter or two butter knives, cut the butter into the flour mixture until each piece of butter is about the size of a pea.  You want there to be pieces of butter throughout the dough, so that when the scones bake the butter will melt into the dough and make them buttery and tender.
  5. Set the flour mixture aside.
  6. In a separate bowl, mix together the Sour Cream, Milk, Vanilla and 2 Egg Yolks. Set aside.
  7. Sprinkle about 1 Tablespoon of Granulated Sugar onto the diced Strawberries and stir them around so they are fully coated. 
  8. Stir the Strawberries into the flour mixture until each berry is fully coated.  Be gentle so the berries don’t break up too much and dye the scones red.
  9. Pour the Milk mixture into the flour mixture and stir with a fork until everything is fully incorporated.  The mixture will be fairly wet.
  10. Cover a Large cookie sheet pan with aluminum foil and spray it lightly with nonstick cooking spray.
  11. Scoop 8 large, round, heaping mounds of dough onto the cookie sheet.  Leave about an inch and a half to 2 inches in between them so they have room to grow.
  12. In a small bowl beat together the whole Egg and Tablespoon of Milk using a fork.
  13. Using a pastry brush, brush a little of the egg wash onto each mound of dough and then sprinkle each one with some sugar. I use a generous amount of sugar on the top because it adds to the texture and flavor.
  14. Baking in the oven for about 25 minutes on the middle rack of the oven, or until they are fully cooked inside and they are golden brown on the bottom and edges.
  15. Remove them from the oven and let them sit for about 20 minutes so they can set.
  16. Eat them with butter on them, or clotted cream along with some nice strawberry preserves if youd like!

Banana, Lychee & Coconut Muffins with a Coconut Glaze

While picking up some produce at my favorite fruit stand, these bags of colorful, textured, chestnut size fruits caught my eye.  What were these foreign fruits? I asked the man working at the stand, and to my surprise he yelled out “it’s Lychee!” I have eaten Lychee quite a few times, but in cocktails like Lychee martinis and coladas.  I bought a bag of these strange little fellas without a clue on what to do with them.  I cut one open and gave it a taste to see if anything would jump out at me.  The sweet, tropical, floral, slightly nutty flavor was a match made in heaven for coconut and banana.  This recipe is dairy free (contains eggs but no milk products) so if you are Lactose Intolerant this recipe is for you!  These muffins are incredibly tasty and moist and if you bring them to your next event I assure you they will “rise” to the occasion…literally.

Ingredients-

  1. ¼ Cup Pureed Fresh Lychees (make sure you peel them and remove the pits)
  2. ½ Cup Coconut Milk
  3. 1 ½ Bananas
  4. 1/3 Cup Canola Oil
  5. 1 ½ Teaspoons Vanilla
  6. 2 Cups All Purpose Flour
  7. 1 ½ Teaspoons Baking Soda
  8. 1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
  9. ½ Teaspoon Salt
  10. ¾ Cup White Granulated Sugar
  11. ½ Cup Sweetened Shredded Coconut
  12. ¼ Cup Fresh Lychees finely chopped (remove skin and pits)

Coconut Glaze-

(optional, but definitely adds flavor and makes them look pretty)

  1. 2 Tablespoons Powdered Sugar
  2. 1 ½ - 2 Tablespoons Coconut Milk
  3. 1 Tablespoon Shredded Sweetened Coconut
  4. A drop of Vanilla Extract

Steps-

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F
  2. In a food processor or blender, blend together the pureed lychee (1/4 cup), coconut milk, bananas, canola oil and vanilla.
  3. In a large bowl stir together the dry ingredients- flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and coconut.
  4. Pour the banana mixture into the flour mixture and mix it all together.  Do not over mix or the muffins will be too dense.
  5. Gently fold in the chopped lychee.
  6. Scoop batter evenly into 12 muffin cups (use paper or foil muffin tin liners)
  7. Bake 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean when you stick it in the center of the muffin.
  8. Let the muffins cool
  9. To make the glaze, stir together all the glaze ingredients in a bowl.
  10. Using a pastry brush or a small off-set spatula, spread some of the glaze onto the top of each cupcake.
  11. Sprinkle some extra coconut over the top for decoration.
  12. Let the glaze dry and then enjoy!

Frog & Peach: Grilled Peaches with Green Tea Ice Cream & Brown Sugar Vanilla Syrup

This dish is inspired by my childhood obsession, frogs, and my favorite fruit, peaches! There is nothing quite like a warm, succulent grilled peach combined with the contrasting flavors of an icy cold scoop of Green Tea Ice Cream.  Of course you can use any Ice Cream flavor you like, but the Green Tea has such a unique, earthy flavor that is mildly sweet, which compliments the sweetness and freshness of the ripened peaches.

 

Ingredients-

  1. 2 Ripe Peaches
  2. ¼ Cup Dark Brown Sugar
  3. 2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  4. Green Tea Ice Cream (I love Ciao Bella Gelato)

(Feeds about 3 People)

Steps-

  1. Slice the Peaches into wedges and place them into a bowl
  2. Mix the Brown Sugar and Vanilla in with the Peaches and toss them around until they are fully coated.
  3. Let the Peaches sit in the sugar mixture for about 15 minutes.
  4. Put your grill pan on the stove on medium high heat (or heat up your outdoor grill).
  5. Grill the peaches for about 4 minutes on each side or until they start to caramelize and have nice grill marks.  You want them to be warm throughout. Make sure you set aside the extra Brown Sugar Syrup left in the bowl.
  6. Place a few slices of Peaches in each bowl and top them with a nice big scoop of Green Tea Ice Cream.
  7. Drizzle the extra Brown Sugar & Vanilla Syrup over the top of the Ice Cream.

Enjoy!

Banana Whama Sweet & Salty Pie

A few days ago I tweeted this amazing dessert to Phin & Phebes: Twitter Link. They very much enjoyed the delicious looking pie that I made with their Banana Whama ice cream, and contacted me asking if they could share with their customers: Website Link.

And now, I want to share it with you!

Banana Whama Sweet & Salty PIe

There is no better way to bare the sizzling summer heat than to enjoy your favorite Phin and Phebes Ice Cream inside a decadent, frozen pie. Here is a simple, crowd pleasing recipe that is sure to leave your Phamily and phriends pheeling phabulous. Any of the “phantastic” Phin and Phebes Ice Cream flavors can be used in this recipe, but I chose Banana Whama because the sweet, fruity flavor and creamy, silky texture compliment the salty crunch of the peanuts & pretzels and the rich, bitter flavor of the chocolate ganache. Nothing makes my taste buds dance quite like the contrasting flavors of salt and sugar combined. This recipe will make your tongue tingle with delight! Here is how to concoct this dreamy dessert.

Ingredients

  • 1- 9 inch store bought Graham Cracker Pie Crust (or homemade of course)
  • 1 pint of Banana Whama Ice Cream (or the flavor of your choice)
  • 3/4 cup salted roasted peanuts
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 6 ounces 60% Bittersweet Chocolate Chips (you can also use semi-sweet)
  • 1/2 Cup Crushed up salted sour dough hard pretzels

Steps

  • Allow the ice cream to soften up slightly on your kitchen counter (just until it is spreadable and easy to work with).
  • Scoop the entire pint of ice cream into the pie crust and spread it out evenly.
  • Sprinkle the salted, roasted peanuts evenly over the top of the ice cream
  • Place the pie into the freezer for about an hour until it firms back up.
  • In the mean time, bring the heavy whipping cream and corn syrup to a simmer in a small saucepan. Once it is simmering, remove from the heat and whisk in the chocolate chips until smooth.
  • Pour the ganache into a glass bowl and allow it to cool in the refrigerator (or just on the counter). Make sure it is spreadable
  • After the ice cream has firmed up again, pour the cooled chocolate ganache over the top of the pie and spread it out evenly.
  • Sprinkle the salty pretzel crumbs and pieces over the top of the ganache.
  • Freeze the pie for an hour or two (or overnight) until the ice cream and ganache is set.
  • Slice and ENJOY!