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Showing posts with label Desserts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Desserts. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Simply Vanilla Gourmet Cheesecakes: Simply Scrumptious

Simply Vanilla's Cheesecake Case
IN A WORD, Yessss!
We sampled our myriad of mini cheesecakes in front of the fireplace in the mall!

Cookies and Cream Cheesecake

Simply Vanilla's wonderful selection of bars and brownies

Whoopie Pies, Massive Danishes, Muffins and Cookies

Simply Vanilla offers Vegan and Keto options




Social Distancing Parameters at Simply Vanilla

Key Lime Cheesecake by Simply Vanilla


Simply Vanilla Menu



 

Sharing is Caring, Simply Vanilla Gourmet Cheesecake

Sunday, April 11, 2021

White Sweet Potato Pie Supreme


 Sweet potatoes pack a mean punch of good for you vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.  They are one of the most nutrient dense vegetables in the supermarket! The vibrant orange color of a sweet potato comes from its concentration of beta carotene, but it may come in other mediums like red, white and purple! The red and purple ones have higher concentrations of anthocyanins and polyphenols, which are types of antioxidants.  I have prepared all these versions for my Mom and the classic orange is still her favorite.  Apparently, the tastes of those multicolored sweet potatoes are also different, though slight, to a discerning and most admiring critic.  I did find that the purple ones were a bit dry, soft, almost doughy also, or maybe that was my fault.  I think the purple would be suited nicely as a substitute for yams in making Foo-Foo, an African dish composed of pounded yams, kneaded into a sticky ball of sorts, torn off in bits and used as a vessel for dipping and scooping up such delights as Stew Chicken, Peanut or Okra Soup and Egusi, all African cuisine and quite amazing, according to my readings.  I do however draw the line at okra.  I have a disdain for its texture and mouthfeel.
Many consumers think that sweet potatoes and yams are one in the same, which could not be further from the truth. 
 Yams, which have native origins in Africa and Asia, are a tuber yes, but are also toxic if not cooked before consumption.  They are from the Yam Family, boasting over 600+ varieties and related to grasses, while sweet potatoes are from the Morning Glory or Lily Family. Yams are also Dicots, or have two embryonic seed leaves, while sweet potatoes are Monocots, having only one.  Yams have more starch and are drier as compared to sweet potatoes and their sizes can vary exponentially greater than that of its Doppelganger. 

 Sweet Potatoes however, are classified as firm or soft, with the softer variety being cultivated second.  The African Slaves found familiarity in the softer version, because it was closer to what they consumed in their homelands, so they began referring to the softer sweet potato as a Yam.   
This recipe features the white sweet potatoes and white baking chips.  It was received very well by the kiddoes and we felt it was outstanding served warm.

Recipe:
16 oz. cooked and mashed white sweet potato
1 12 oz. can evaporated milk 
1/2 c. salted butter, melted and cooled
3 large eggs
2/3 c. light brown sugar, lightly packed
1/3 c. pure cane sugar
4 oz. white baking chips
2 tsp. Chinese Five Spice
1 tsp. Vietnamese Cinnamon
1 tsp. freshly ground Green Cardamom
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. salt 
Zest of one lemon
Prep the sweet potato by peeling and cutting into equal sized chunks and boiling until tender. Drain and remove from water and mash.  Cool slightly before using.  May be done up to 2 days ahead.

Preheat oven to 400*F. 
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and blend  until smooth. 
Divide the baking chips between the pie shells, spreading evenly across bottom.
Pour blended mixture between the pie shells.
Bake at 400*F for 15 minutes, then reduce to 350*F and bake until toothpick inserted comes out clean, about 1 hour. 
Remove from oven and allow to cool for one hour and can be served warm for a decadent and wonderful dessert with coffee, just add friends and family.
Each pie makes 8 servings, give one to someone you love and adore.




Saturday, March 20, 2021

Shoto Todoroki Ice Cream Bowls, Happy Spring!

Shoto Todoroki Ice Cream Bowls: Hot and Cold!

Hot Cheetos Dusted Ice Cream Bowls!


 This post was never intended to see the light of day, but with the welcome arrival of Spring, I had to share something to mark this special day.  Not only is Hot Cheetos a fabulous coating for chicken tenders and cheese sticks, its also an interesting and spicy delicious topping for ice cream.  That is it and that is all.  Celebrate Spring with a cold, creamy, chunky, chocolaty, crunchy, indulgent, sweet, salty and Hot Cheetos topped treat.  Just add cake for the ultimate gratification.  Don't judge me. haha, but seriously, this is "Bussin"!

Recipe:

Your favorite Ice Cream

Waffle Bowls, optional

Your desired Cake, optional

Hot Cheetos or XXL Hot Cheetos Dust, essential

Assemble as desired, top with Hot Cheetos, the more, the merrier...

Serve immediately.  You're Welcome.

Shoto Todoroki Ice Cream featuring Cookies and Cream and Rocky Road



Thursday, July 16, 2020

Buttery Bourbon Peach Cobbler




Peaches are in full swing here in Virginia and man are they delicious!  The plump, brightly hued orbs of sweet and juicy 'fruitmeat' is the perfect accompaniment to both shellfish, fish and pork, even poultry.  A nice, chunk filled cobbler is easy to assemble and can be ready for your next dessert slot in no time. I was in the local supermarket looking for peaches and Elba Butcher Shoppe had just what I needed.  They have peaches by the peck, the bushel or pair, right now and I wanted to have enough for more than just one recipe.  I saw this wonderful recipe for a brown sugar cake with a Peach Bourbon Frosting and it peaked my interest.  I must create something inspired by that article, but first, I needed to complete the request of my oldest daughter, Genesis. Besides, any time is a good time to pull out my vintage Emile Henry pie dish, the beautiful ruffled retired one, "Paprika" edition. I just love it. It was a gift, a most wonderful one I might add. It is a humongous dish, made in the 90's, a full 11 inches across!  That's a mighty dish for pies and cobblers, even meat pies and quiches.

  Genesis has some firm likes and dislikes, but I know for sure she enjoys a fresh peach or two, with pleasure and gratification.  I like to grab enough for the girls to snack and go, mom included.  There's a certain nostalgia involved in eating fruit within its season, during it perfectly, wonderfully ripe time, it's a much different experience for the palate. Just Bliss.  This recipe is simple and full of flavor.  The Bourbon may be added or taken away, I wanted to add some depth of flavor, with some oaky undertones and elevation, Maker's Mark does just that and there's plenty left to either serve alongside,  save for another day or to make a boozy shake to go along with it!  

Recipe:
 5 lbs. or 16 c. fresh peach slices, 1/4 to 1/2 inch cut (this dish is huge, 11 inches across, 2 inches deep, you can use 2 regular deep pie dishes, but you will also need two more crusts)
1 stick of butter, unsalted
Juice of one medium lemon
2- 9 inch pie crusts, either store bought or homemade
1  c. pure cane sugar or brown sugar or to taste
1 tbs. Pumpkin Pie Spice
Pinch Pink Himalayan Salt
3 tbs. cornstarch
2 tbs. Maker's Mark or good quality Bourbon
SPST, (I used some freshly cracked black pepper grinds to compliment the Bourbon and sweetness of the peaches.)
 Preheat oven to 350*F. 
In a small bowl, combine sugar, salt, cornstarch and spices. Stir with fork to mix well. 
In a large bowl, add peaches, lemon juice and Bourbon.  Toss to coat.
Sprinkle evenly with sugar mixture and combine in a folding fashion until evenly coated. 
Lightly grease pie dish with a small piece of the butter and press one of the crusts into the bottom and up the sides.
Place small pats of butter across the first crust.
Add contents of bowl and spread evenly.
Add remaining pats of butter and cover with second crust.
Make slits to vent.
Bake until golden and bubbly, about 50 minutes.
Let stand before serving.
Makes Smiles and is perfect with some Vanilla Bean Ice cream or Butter Pecan! 









Friday, July 3, 2020

Happy National Independant Beer Run Day, Sweet!


Tiered Rainbow Drip Cake, as per my daughter's birthday request.

These are all photos of recipes I've created and shared for family birthdays, Sunday dinners or just working with different ingredients. If you would like to see a particular recipe for any of these pics, simply drop a request in the comments section below and I will try to get it up as soon as possible! 
No Bake Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake/Pumpkin Pie with Apple Pie Cookie Crumbles



*Periodic Table Cake, Platinum, White Cake, Blue Interior, made by Bronwyn

Guinness Stout Piecaken w/ Chocolate Guinness Stout Cheesecake, Guinness Stout Buttercream and Caramel Drip, for my nephew Rob's surprise birthday party!



Apple Pie Mini Cheesecakes w/ Apple Pie Cookie Crust



Brainy Brownies for Halloween Party 2019


Maca Chocolate Cupcakes and Fruit Cups for Genesis' Birthday


Hummingbird Cake w/ Toasted Walnuts, for my Vacation Buddies 2019

Hummingbird Cake w/ Pecans, Easter Edition

White Chocolate Carrot Cake Cupcakes, Easter Edition

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Mulberry Molten Cakes w/Lemon Curd and Blueberries


Summer has a flavor and it's bright, tangy, fresh, creamy and AH-mazing.This recipe is inspired by a delicious classic, Lemon Meringue Pie and anything with a molten center, hot or cold.  I used a combination of homemade and store bought ingredients, along with some fresh picked and homegrown  delights like the Mulberries, scratch made Lemon Curd and mint from my herb garden.  The cakes are a simple store bought boxed variety of French Vanilla, with the freshly picked mulberries nestled in the bottom of each one.  
The mulberries have a fleeting existence, subject to the elements of wind and nature, the birds, who quickly make light work of the sweet ripened berries, that will fall at the slightest touch when ready to enjoy.  My youngest Bronwyn assisted in gathering the berries from our backyard, which are a part of the breadfruit and fig family and grown in China for its leaves, which are the only variety of leaf a Silkworm will eat! Mulberries provide an array of noteworthy vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. These gems contain  Vitamin C and K, iron, potassium, fiber, polyphenols and anthocyanins giving their brilliant dark red color, plus rutin and myracetin, which are both excellent compounds for reducing cancer risks. 
The sweet tang of the curd is a first time for me, inspired by a Lemon Curd recipe from a popular site.  The icing is of the whipped variety, a specialty item from the grocer, favored for its icing consistency, but without the sickly sweet taste of some traditional icings.  The whipped icing helps to keep this recipe 'light', in taste and mouthfeel.   
The family received the recipe well, as did I.  They are easy enough to make for a special dinner dessert or as a great bring-along to your next cookout, when the opportunity permits.  




Thursday, March 19, 2020

Lemony Pistachio and Cardamom Shortbread

I ran across this gorgeous, practically brand new, vintage cookie mold from the 80's by "Brown Bag Cookie Art", at the goodwill store.  The Scottish Thistle design is incredibly ornate, imparting the same design onto your dough.  I had been thinking about shortbread, shortbread cookies and such, as it was around the holiday.  Shortbread was to be included with the cookie bundles I planned to give out to my family and friends. 
Somehow, my cookie plan's applecart was upset, partly because the kids were eating them as fast as I could bake them, and also from some erratic time management or should I say mismanagement! Anywho, the cute little brownies were the first baked and first to go and It seemed as if I was making myself more stressed than necessary, considering how crazy stressful  the holidays can be.  So, to save the ship, I chucked the cookie plans overboard and settled for only the shortbread.   I had not made shortbread before, so I started out with some extensive reading and researching my older cookbooks and magazines for earlier versions as well as its origins and history.
Once I satisfied my curiosity, I was able to create a recipe exemplary of my experience and desire to have it represent my style, which brings us to the recipe below. 
My mom and I enjoyed it with hot tea and coffee and my daughter enjoyed them with her cocoa. Heck, we enjoyed it by itself!   I was certain that the shortbread was even better the next day and it disappeared quickly, which is a good sign.

Lemon juice imparts brightness and tang, plus antioxidants and vitamin c. I had both ground and cardamom pods on hand and they complement lemon very well, mimicking the same flavor. This last restock,  I ordered the cardamom pods from Sri Lanka, always having some on hand because it is a key ingredient in one of my other quite popular and well received dishes I create, Roasted Pumpkin Cream Pie. 
 I used my mortar and pestle to crush the pod, which I remove and grind the little lemony, warm spice pebbles on the inside. The smell of freshly crushed cardamom is AHHmazing! It puts the pre ground stuff to shame compared, even the more expensive kinds.   This is a no fuss recipe, big on return, simple and inexpensive.  Aside from maybe the cardamom, all the other ingredients are pantry staples.  I like to use Pistachio extract because it imparts a very cherry flavor profile, but you may use more vanilla in its place if you like.

Recipe:
2 c. plus 1/4 c. AP flour, unbleached
1 tsp. baking powder
pinch salt, I used Himalayan Pink salt, fine grain
 2 stick plant butter or margarine, I used almond
1/2 c. pure cane sugar
1 1/2 tsp. fresh Lemon juice
zest of one lemon
1/2 tsp. pure Vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. Pistachio extract
1/2 tsp. ground Cardamom

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 325*F.
In a medium bowl, combine dry ingredients until well mixed.
In another bowl, cream butter and sugar, then add extracts, juice and zest.
Combine wet and dry ingredients and turn out on lightly floured surface.
Knead for several minutes until smooth and press into cookie mold.
Make lots of holes in the shortbread all over.
Bake until golden, about 40 minutes, if using a ceramic cookie mold, 25 minutes for metals.
Let cool for 10 minutes before inverting onto a cooling rack and allow shortbread to cool completely before serving.
Cut along lines into wedges.
Serve with coffee or hot tea or as is. 
Serves Many.




Saturday, March 7, 2020

Best .Oatmeal .Cookie. Ever.

This is one of my most cherished recipes. I created it in 2012. The book in which it was written, was a gift from my sister Brenda, meant  to house such treasures of this very caliber.  Sometimes, we are afraid to step outside of our comfort zone and open our vulnerabilities to the world, especially when dealing with cooking and what our personal idea of what is "good" really is.  This is one such time, but since I am not yet global per se, I feel the best way to obtain such status, would be to let the world in on one of my best kept secrets.
This recipe was misplaced in my sea of culinary journals and sketches for years.  I ran across it this past summer, luckily because my family had inquired about it for as long as it was missing.  I was advised to keep it to myself, but here we go....
Be advised, this cookie is dangerous. One bite will lead to another, then another, and more. Before you know it, you will be in 3 cookies deep and wondering how the heck you got there. You will bade for time, until you may shamelessly have another.  You will want to give out some as gifts, freeze some, anything to feel better about becoming a cookie monster. Try this recipe if you dare.  I will leave this recipe on my website for a total of 23 days. Why 23? One of my lucky numbers is 23. After the specified time, it will be removed promptly, to return to my personal recipe file, to only be baked by me alone.  I would take advantage of this opportunity if I were you.  Feel free to leave your feedback in the comments section at the bottom of this post. For more exciting and informative  content delivered right to your mailbox, enter your email address and hit the submit button at the top of the desktop version. I'd love to have you join me!

Recipe:
3 c. quick cooking oats
1 c. rice flour
1 1/3 c. cake flour
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 c. butter, softened, unsalted
1 large egg
2 c. granulated sugar
1/4 c. unsulphured molasses
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350*F.
Mix dry ingredients together well in one bowl and in another, cream together butter, egg, molasses, sugar and vanilla.
Incorporate wet ingredients into dry  gradually, in a folding fashion, until evenly blended.
Drop by heaping teaspoons or roll into balls about 1' in diameter and place on a well greased cookie sheet.
Bake until golden, about 13 minutes. For a softer cookie, cut cooking time down to 11 minutes.
Let cool slightly before transferring to wire rack, then cookie vessel.
Makes about 5 1/2 dozen, depending on size.



Friday, June 28, 2019

Fourth of July: Decadent Frozen Desserts



A great way to celebrate Independence Day is with thanks, fellowship,  good food, grilling, booze  fireworks and fantastic desserts. With summer in full swing, any attempt to stay cool is welcome.  Nothing like frozen pie on a stick to round out a magnificent evening.  What's better, this pie is a Roasted Pumpkin Cream Pie, recipe by yours truly.  If you can't get into pumpkin, freeze your favorite pie and cut into serving slices. I used corn on the cob sticks to hold my pie in place, placing the stick in the pie after about 1 hour into freezing process.  Dip the slice of pie into dipping chocolate and place in freezer again, until nice and set.  To add festive and wonderful flair, place in individual sleeve and add colorful and relevant ribbon to tie it all off.  You can give them out for dessert or as a parting gift from the fantastic blowout of a cookout you had.  Your friends will remember it for years to come. 















Tuesday, March 12, 2019

No Bake, Walking Cheesecakes


Cheesecake is one of those desserts you just can't go wrong with when looking to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Sometimes, we shy away from treats like this, thwarting the urge to overindulge.  With this quick and easy recipe, portion control is literally in the palm of your hand.  There are a couple of ways I made this recipe, the one below is the quickest, but also very gratifying.
An added plus of this recipe is a dramatic cut of fat and calories, by using a cake cup, instead of a traditional graham cracker and butter crust and the amount of filling that goes into the cup.  This is a part of a movement I refer to as "Bettertarian Cuisine".  We'll go further into detail on what Bettertarian Cuisine is in future posts, so let's get back to this gem of a dessert.  This was quite popular with my tween age girls. Kids respond more positively to food that they've had a part in preparing!
You can have a Walking Cheesecake Bar by offering a variety of toppings like strawberry, blueberry, caramel, fresh berries , candied walnuts,etc... and let each person customize their cheesecake to fit their needs. More cherries? no problem, no cherries? piece of cake, the possibilities are many fold and guaranteed to be just right. Creamy, light, crunchy and satisfying all at once.  Easy, Elevated and Delish!

Instructions:
Boxed no bake cheesecake mix
Pie filling of choice, chilled
Cake cups
Pastry bag, or resealable bag with corner snipped

Prepare the cheesecake mix according to directions on box and place in piping vessel of choice.
Chill for 2 hours.
When ready, pour graham cracker crust crumbs into a small bowl.
Dip cone rim into a small bowl of milk, water or melted butter, then dip into graham cracker crumbs.
Pipe the filling into cone to desired height and garnish with topping of choice.
These treats are made to order, so there's no waste and less waist! ;)
Enjoy.


Monday, May 21, 2018

Meyer Lemon Pound Cake and Other Lemony Delights



  Meyer lemons are a fragrant and bright citrus fruit, that is a a cross between a lemon and a mandarin.  They made their appearance in the Americas in the early 1900's.  Their season is between November and March.  I was in place at just the right time to catch them for $2 for 2 lbs.  Knowing the standard price encouraged me to buy many many bags and set aside a day and an evening to process the whole lot.  I spent quite a few hours peeling and juicing the yellow gems and wanted to go ham in the lab aka the kitchen to see what I could could come up with.  After peeling the lemons, I laid the peels out on parchment and dried in a 200 degree oven for about 2 hours.   I used some of the fresh peels to make Meyer Lemon Peel Candy. I spiked mine with Crown Royal Apple Brandy.
Apple Brandy Lemon Peel Candy

I used ice cube trays to freeze the zesty juice in portioned increments to fit the bill for likely amounts in recipes: 1 and 2 tsp. amounts and 1 tbsp. increments. After freezing the cubes, I placed them in separate resealable zip lock bags for easy accessibility, works like a charm!!  I also used my mortar and pestle to make a course ground powder to use in soups, stews and water baths.  My daughter Bronwyn was the first to actually make a tall and frosty jar full of this delicious Meyer Lemonade!  The tangy citrusy and lemony drink was perfect.  I love the idea of having these cubes on hand for many of our treasured treats, which brings me to the featured recipe.
 I am obviously a fan of things lemon, and this creation stemmed from the wonderful fragrance that filled the air during my lab or kitchen time, that's devoted to the development of one specific item or technique.  I also made my first preserved lemons from this batch, I impatiently waited in angst for the 3 week time frame the lemons needed to be ready to eat/use.  I have used them thus far in a recipe starring pork and they were fabulous, albeit, a little goes a long way.  I  rehydrated some of the Meyer Lemon peels and incorporated a touch of that water into the glaze for the end.  Lemon zest will do just fine if you don't happen to have dried peels on hand.  If in season, zest some of the fresh peel into the batter for even more sweet/tart twang.
Recipe:
3 1/2 c. cake flour, sifted
1 1/2 tsp. double acting baking powder
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
2 1/4 c. sugar
6 large eggs
1 c. or 2 sticks softened butter, unsalted
1/4 c. canola oil
1 c. evaporated milk
1/2 c. Meyer Lemon juice
1 tsp. Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Bean Paste*
Preheat oven to 350*F.
Combine dry ingredients until well blended. 
In another bowl, cream sugar, eggs, butter, oil and milk
Add juice and extract.
Mix in flour in two batches, careful not to overwork batter, producing a tough cake.
Pour into a large greased and floured bundt pan, tapping on hard surface to release any air pockets.
Bake until toothpick or skewer inserted comes out clean, about 55 minutes to 1 hour.
Let cool for about 10 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.
For Glaze:
1 c. confectioner's sugar
2 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. milk, more or less for desired consistency
1 to 1 1/2 tsp. meyer lemon peel water
1/4 tsp. *MBVBP
zest of one lemon
pinch of salt

In a medium bowl, combine confectioner's sugar, butter, vanilla and salt.
Add milk slowly until you reach the desired consistency.
Fold or stir in lemon zest.
Spread or pour over cooled cake.
Serves 16-18.

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Smokinhotchef
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