Blueberry Cupcakes with Goat Cheese Frosting

Last summer my friend, the other Megan, took a month long, whirlwind trip around Europe. She is a teacher & took the summer, with another teacher friend, to enjoy the history around some of the oldest cities in the world. She left on her birthday since she would be gone for her birthday I did what any friend would, & should, do.

Made cupcakes, filled with wine, & helped her weed through her suitcase.

Okay, honestly I probably was no help to her at all. I told her she needed to bring a few… okay, a lot… of things she never ended up wearing. Hey! I like to be prepared. And that’s a lot of pressure. What if she was out for a night & thought damn it, I really wish I had those strappy heels Megg told me not to bring. I would not be that girl!

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Anyway, truth be told the frosting was just not good & I have yet to go back to that recipe to figure out where I went wrong. But the other night I wanted to bake, & I had a lot of blueberries. So while blueberry muffins just sounded far too cliché, I thought I’d give it a shot to bake with blueberries again.

(Please note, I am sitting next to a 30 year old man who is holding his breathe until I get him one of these bad boys… literally. Make it stop!)

I thought what type of frosting can I make that will go good with blueberries & the obvious is cream cheese frosting. Hell I am from the tri-state area. We live on flavored bagels. But I hate cream cheese frosting more than almost anything in the world. Cream cheese I love. Cream cheese frosting is literally heinous. So I dug through my refrigerator & found some of my fabulous goat cheese medallions that I get at T.J.s. Umm yumm! Goat cheese frosting. Now just an FYI this frosting recipe actually makes enough for 12 cupcakes so if you are making a full batch no need to double the frosting recipe. Try it out & let me know what you think!

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IMG_2235 Makes 6 cupcakes
½ cup granulated sugar
1 egg
¼ tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup blueberries
4 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
½ tsp baking powder
½ cup all-purpose flour
1/8 tsp salt
¼ cup milk

Goat Cheese Frosting
1 tsp vanilla extract
5 oz goat cheese
½ cup whipping cream
1/3 cup sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350⁰ and line your cupcake tin with baking cups.
2. In a large bowl beat together your egg and sugar until mixed thoroughly. Add in your blueberries, vanilla and melted butter and continue to mix.
3. In another bowl, combine all of your dry ingredients. Salt, flour and baking powder.
4. Add half of your dry ingredients to your wet and beat until mixed throughout. Add in milk while continuing to mix in mixer. Then add remaining dry ingredients. (I used my Kitchen Aid and just kept the mixer on as I added in the ingredients slowly.)
5. Distribute the batter amongst the cupcake tins and bake 18-20 minutes.
6. For the frosting, add all ingredients to a deep bowl. Mix on high, with an electric mixer, until you reach your desired texture. The longer you beat, the stiffer the frosting becomes.

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Almond Vanilla Biscotti

Is there any cookies better than Christmas cookies? The answer is just plain old no. There is nothing better, or more Italian, than a big old tray of cookies after dinner with coffee, espresso, & a little Sambuca or Limoncello. Ahh I love Italian family dinners.

One of my aunts does most of the cookie baking during the holidays. I think a lot of families have one person who is the cookie connoisseur, & she is definitely ours. A few years ago she made all of her nieces a little cookie cookbook & it is one of my favorite gifts I have gotten. It is such a treasure to have all of her cookies together in one place.

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Now I have been pretty honest… I not the best baker. But one of my 30 goals by 30 was to become a decent baker. I feel like everyone needs to have a little something in their back pocket as far as desserts. A dessert that doesn’t come from a box. So this past holiday season I decided I was going to perfect a Almond Vanilla Biscotti.

So I made them… probably four times. My coworkers loved them, our friends loved them & Chris’s family loved them.

Baking a single cookie three times can be a little intimidating. I wasn’t sure how it as going to come out. Hell I can barely cook a sugar cookie once & have it come out right. But these came out amazing! This weekend we are going home to Connecticut & my girlfriends & I are getting together for a little girls brunch. I defiantly plan on making these & seeing what everyone on the east coast thinks of them. Maybe I will even run some over to my aunts so I can have the professional herself judge them. Wish me luck!

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½ cup butter, softened
¾ cup sugar
3 eggs
3 cups flour
1/2 cup sliced almonds
2 tsp almond extract
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp baking powder

1. Preheat the oven to 350⁰ and lay parchment paper over a cookie sheet.
2. In a large bowl mix together butter and sugar until smooth. Add in eggs one at a time and beat into mixture.
3. Stir in almond and vanilla extract.
4. Stir in flour and baking powder until mixed throughout. Do not over mix. Add in sliced almonds.
5. Lightly flour your hands and divide the mixture in half. Shape the dough into two 10 in long rolls. Place the rolls e5 inches apart from each other on the cookie sheet. Flatten until they are about 3 inches wide.
6. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until lightly golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
7. With a sharp serrated knife, cut the rolls into ½ inch slices. Around the slices on the same cookie sheet and bake 8-10 minutes.
8. Flip the cookies over and bake another 5 minutes. Allow to cool and enjoy with a nice cup of coffee.

Frozen Krispy Treat

Let me preface this post with “I am not a baker!” I don’t enjoy baking, I don’t have the patience for baking, and it stresses me out because I can’t taste what I am making along the way. So when I found this recipe on Chef in Training and I saw nothing had to go in the oven I was all in!

I’m also not a huge sweet person, but to my surprise, this dessert is jam packed with sugar but I loved it. The vanilla ice cream is the perfect match to break up the crazy amount of sugar each bite has.

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A few weeks ago Chris’s dad’s side of his family came own for the weekend and we brought them to Disneyland. The second day they were here they had a little pool party at our place while I was at work so I premade my Taco Salad and Chris grilled hotdogs and hamburgers. For dessert the Krispy Snickers snack was the perfect things to have after day at the pool.

I chose to use Snickers on top of the Krispy bars, but you can really use anything on top. Carmel and chocolate sauce drizzled on top would be great or even crushed nuts and chocolate flakes. For kids a fun colored cereal would be cute.

As the summer winds down we are going to be having a lot less days at the pool but it is always great to have a simple go to snack that you can just whip up and throw in the freezer for later. We kept ours wrapped up in parchment paper with a lid on the baking tin for about a week and the cereal held it’s freshness and it still tasted great. I truly enjoy this dessert and hope you can find a fun time you try it out also.  Signature

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½ cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
2 cups krispy cereal
2 Snickers bars, chopped
½ gallon vanilla ice cream
Ice cream toppings of your choice

1. Allow butter and ice cream to sit out for about 30 minutes to soften. Mix together butter, brown sugar, and cereal in a bowl using a soft spatula.
2. Line a 2 inch deep 9×13 baking tray with parchment paper. Spread the mixture across the bottom of the tray. Pat it down with the rubber spatula.
3. Layer vanilla ice cream over mixture. The softer, the easier it is to smooth over the mixture. If it is too hard still it will pick up the krispies when you try to smooth it out.
4. Chop Snickers bars with a sharp knife and sprinkle on top of the ice cream.
5. Freeze and cut into squares when ready to serve.

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Valentine’s Pretzel Bites

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This is one of my favorite treats my mom makes for the holidays. Usually she makes them during Christmas time with Rolos and pecans and it is the perfect mix of chocolate and salt with a little caramel. But I like these little bites because you can customize them for any holiday or occasion. Today I am making my Valentine’s version of pretzel bites for Chris to bring to work for a little treat for his co-workers. It’s great because they are quick and easy and require literally zero baking talent, which is perfect for me! Enjoy!

Medium Pretzels
Caramel Chocolates
Valentine’s M&Ms

Preheat your oven to 350⁰ and layer parchment paper onto a cookie sheet. Lay pretzels along the parchment paper and place a caramel chocolate centered on top of the pretzels. Pop pretzels with caramel into the oven for 5-7 minutes and allow the caramel chocolate to soften. Pull out of oven and lightly place one M&M on top of each pretzel bite. Allow to cool and after a half hour pull parchment paper off of cookie sheet and place on plate into the refrigerator. Don’t remove pretzels from parchment paper until the bites are fully cooled down. Enjoy.

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Fried Ice Cream

In my early twenties I worked in a Thai restaurant that my friend’s family owned. The food that was introduced to me was amazing. From traditional Pad Thai, to Lemongrass Beef and Panang Duck we got to pick anything we wanted off the menu, twice a night. Amazing. This is a little recipe that I picked up from my four years at the restaurant.

Fried Ice Cream

6 scoops vanilla ice cream
6 slices of store bought pound cake
1 ½ cup milk
2 cups vegetable or peanut oil

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Place 6 scoops of ice cream onto the parchment paper. Make sure the scoops are rounded and not touching each other on the cookie sheet. Freeze for two hours.

Slice 6 slices of pound cake in half making 12 thinner slices. Dip ice cream scoops into milk and quickly coat scoop with two thin slices of pound cake. The milk allows for the cake to form easier and stick to the ice cream, Mold cake around ice cream and place back onto parchment paper lined cookie sheet.Repeat until all ice cream scoops have pound cake around them. Freeze for another 2 hours.

Bring oil to a boil in small sauce pan. Once oil is brought to a full boil place ice cream into sauce pan using a long handled spoon. Let fry for a minute and a half per side slipping only once.

Scoop fried ice cream out of oil using a slotted spoon to allow oil to drip out as much as possible. Serve in bowl with a dollop of whipped cream. Left over fried ice cream can be wrapped in plastic wrap after being casted with pound cake and fried at a later time.