Whipped Cream

18 Jan

Whipped cream is so much better when it’s made right at home.  It’s also super easy to make.  It’s a thing of culinary beauty really.  And the best part?  You can flavor it any way you want!  I’m putting this delicacy on crêpes, though, so I’m going with the plain ol’ vanilla version.

You only need 3 ingredients for this: powdered sugar, vanilla, and heavy cream.  I always get the big carton of heavy cream because look at the expiration date on that baby – this one doesn’t expire until February 11th!

It’s best to start with very cold heavy whipping cream. Depending on how much room I have in my freezer, I usually pour 1 cup of the heavy whipping cream into my stand mixer’s bowl and put the whole thing into the freezer.  If I don’t have room, I just pour the heavy cream into a drinking cup and put that into the freezer or put the whole dang carton in there.

Cold Cold Heavy Cream

Next add 2 teaspoons vanilla or whatever flavor you are attempting (if it’s a liquid).  Ooo wouldn’t peppermint whipped cream be amazing on some nice hot cocoa?!

Inhale. Mmmmm vanilla

Now whip together on medium-high speed until peaks begin to form.  I had my KitchenAid stand mixer on 6 for about 2 minutes.

Sorry about the shadows

Now, slowly, add in 2 tablespoons of powdered sugar (if you are adding a dry flavor like cinnamon, you’d add it here too).  You can always test it here and if it isn’t sweet enough, add a little more, but I think it’s the perfect amount especially for crêpes!

Yum!

This stuff goes great on crêpes, or that flourless torte I love, or in your coffee, or right on a big spoon and into your mouth!

Enjoy!

Printable Recipe

Crêpes

15 Jan

I love crêpes.  They are so versatile.  You can make them savory:  asparagus and chicken, broccoli and cheese, spinach, bacon, mushrooms, eggs – the list is endless.  I have a confession, though, I have never eaten a savory crêpe.  I almost  have several times, but I have quite a sweet tooth!  I also like warm crêpes.  I went to a French restaurant in Tucson this past weekend for breakfast and they served their crêpes COLD!!  Maybe that’s how they do it in France, but my American taste buds needed them warm!! So, I had to come home and make my own to share with you.

You can buy crêpes and they do taste good enough.  The difference, though, they seem to rip a lot easier then homemade ones.

You’ll need milk, flour, vanilla, water, eggs, salt, and melted butter.  I used skim milk because that’s what we drink and I hate going to buy something new for just one recipe.

This is a crazy simple recipe.  First, mix all the ingredients, minus the flour, in a small bowl.

When combined, add your cup of flour.  Stir.  If if seems too thick to you, you can always add more milk a little bit at a time, but it should be fine.

See the lumps, try to get as many of those out as you can.  I find using a fork is really helpful.  My mom always did it, so of course, I learned to do it as well!

Grease up your skillet really well.  I normally use Olive Oil cooking spray, but not with these beauties.  They need real butter and the pan needs to have all the sides buttered up.

Perfection!  All nice and runny.

Now, this is usually the part where people get intimated with the whole crêpe process – don’t let it!  Even if you have a couple “practice” crêpes, they will still taste delish!!   Pour in the batter paper thin by swirling it in the pan.

Pour

Swirl

Swirl and cover

Sweet, mine still has lumps.  It still tasted wonderful!!  Cook until your crêpe looks dry and bubbly.  No more shine (probably about 1 min)  FLIP!  Use a spatula to loosen the edges and keep from tearing the crêpe.

Edges start to curl away from sides

Now, just like a pancake, it only needs a few seconds on this side, probably 30 – 45 seconds.

This is where you can get creative with your filling.  My favorite, though, is Nutella, bananas, and whip cream (I’ll give ya’ll the whip cream recipe later this week – you’ll never get store-bought again). If you melt the Nutella for about 30 seconds in the microwave, it makes it a lot easier to spread and lowers the chance of ripping your crêpe.

Remember the edges are suppose to be a little crispy.

Assemble:  Nutella nice a thick, then sliced bananas, little whip cream for good measure.  Fold in thirds.  Nutella drizzle, what the heck! Then nice little fluffs of whip cream.  Eat.

Yum!

Bon appétit!

Printable Recipe

Flourless Torte (Naturally Gluten-Free)

3 Jan

So, I have a very dear friend who should be eating gluten free, but drags her feet.  She turns up her nose and says, “I like too much of this stuff,” and will usually gesture to an array of sweets and snacks.  It so happens that her birthday was coming up and we observed it via a surprise party.  I thought, well, since I like to experiment in the kitchen, her birthday gift will be a delicious gluten free chocolate cake and show her she can have goodies and be gluten free.

Have you ever had a flourless torte?  They use to serve them at PF Changs.  I fell in love, but at the time I wasn’t much of a baker.  I have thought of that lovey little dense cake that tasted like warm brownie batter several times since we last parted. . . . MmmMmmm.  Oh, excuse me, sorry.

Since this is my first recipe post, I kinda forgot I was going to post it until I started the baking process. Ooops.  Start, though, by greasing a 10-inch round pan.  I use PAM butter flavored spray because it’s easy, but use your favorite method of making your pan anti-stick.  I also use a springform pan because I suck at popping cakes out of their pans.  It’s a patience problem.

Melted sugar and salt

Start by melting the salt and sugar in water over medium heat. It should get nice and clear like the picture.  While you are waiting on that to melt, start your chocolate.

Like my nails?!  That is pink glitter with a zebra print beneath it – Happy New Year!!

So, any semi-sweet chocolate will work for this.  I used good ol’Nestle semi-sweet chocolate chips in a double boiler.  But, you could use a microwave, they turn out the same.  I was waiting on the salt and sugar to melt, so opted for the slow method.  Don’t forget to stir that salt and sugar a little!  This cake needs 18 oz of chocolate for the 10 inch version.  I actually got the kitchen scale out and weighed it.  You don’t need to be that exact; it was about a half oz difference in the weight and the measuring cup.

When the salt/sugar is completely dissolved, set it off to the side.  Let your chocolate melt and start chopping up your butter. It takes two sticks of the unsalted stuff.  Your chocolate should be getting close – keep stirring it!

Nice chocolatey mess in the background, but it’s at the perfect consistency.  Once it’s all melty and yummy, pour it’s deliciousness into your stand mixer bowl, or bowl for an electric mixer, or if your chocolate bowl is big enough for the remaining ingredients, save yourself a dish to clean and use that!  I HATE doing dishes.  It’s my absolute least favorite chore.

Since my hubby got me a beautiful red stand mixer for Christmas, I used that.  Put your cut up butter in your bowl one at a time.  I have to admit, towards the end, I got impatient and didn’t wait for the butter to be completely incorporated into the chocolate. I thought I’d never get through it!

Pour in your melted salt/sugar – it does not have to be cooled:  warm or hot works just fine.

  Drop your eggs in one at time; this I did do one at a time all the way to the end.

Are you ready?  It’s time to pour this beauty into your pan and put into the oven.

Oh-my-goodness I’m so excited! This cake is so wonderful!  Pop that baby into your oven for at least 45 mins (mine took 60, but check at 45).  It’s okay if looks wet in the center, but not jiggley.

I am happy to report that the first comment from this cake was, “Oh my! That torte was to die for!” And with that, that man and I were no longer strangers.  So, go, make it now.  Don’t call it gluten-free to any one, but the gluten sensitive – Flourless Torte.  Serve it warm.  Serve it à la mode.  Serve small slivers, this sucker is dense!!

Click here for the printable recipe

And so it begins. . .

24 Jul

Ryan and Stacie

We are newlyweds (June 9, 2011) and are in our first house!  It was a foreclosed home and the previous owners left it in quite a state – they took the air conditioner for heaven’s sake!!  Luckily, my man is wise in the ways of handyman stuff: I just say, “Baby, can I have an outlet here?”  He looks around the wall, shrugs his shoulders, says, “I don’t see why not.” And a few “exploratory” holes later I have a new plug-in!  He is definitely the Hammer in this operation, but I have a few DIY tricks up my sleeves, though they lean more towards the artsy side. 

On the other hand, I am the Spoon.  I love cooking.  I love everything about it: the solitude of being in the kitchen, the simple joy food can bring to people, I even like the clean-up signifying the completion of a culinary adventure.  Right now, I’m not one of these kitchen geniuses that can create a masterpiece from my own mind, but I can take a recipe and make it my own. . . I am working on the first part, though.   

This is a chornicle of our journey with our house, in the kitchen, and occassionally our travels, you’re welcome to join us.

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