Writer Carol Fraser Hagen offers an easy dessert to make with your kids this Valentine's Day.
These cute little cakes would make a festive dessert for a dinner party or any special event in the month of February, not just Valentine's Day.
You will have to supervise your children, while they mix the batter and use the oven. But of course, you'll want to help decorate the cakes. After all, that's half the fun.
HEART-SHAPED STRAWBERRY MINI-CAKES
Here's What You Will Need:
A mini heart shaped cake tin
1 (18 oz.) box strawberry cake mix
1 (15 oz.) can strawberry pie filling
1 (8 oz.) tub nondairy whipped dessert topping
1 bag Valentine candy hearts
1 (3 oz.) jar heart-shaped candy sprinkles
Help children prepare cake mix according to package directions. Have children fill each section of the heart-shaped mini-cake tin 1/3 full with batter (Note: a regular size box of cake mix will make about 24 mini-cakes, so there will be enough batter for several batches of mini-cakes).
Bake mini-cakes according to package directions. Let cakes cool, then wrap the cakes in plastic wrap so they will stay moist. When ready to serve, layer the top of one mini-cake with strawberry pie filling, then top it with another mini-cake to make a heart-shaped sandwich.
Put a few dollops of whipped cream on top of the sandwich, then decorate with candy hearts and/or heart-shaped candy sprinkles. Decorate only as many cakes as you plan to serve immediately.
Save the others to decorate and serve later.
Happy Valentine's Day!
This recipe is from an old cookbook that I used as a child baking cookies with my mom and my sister.
2 cups sifted flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg, well beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon milk or cream
Sift together 1 1/2 cups flour, baking powder, and salt.
Cream butter; add sugar gradually and cream until light and fluffy. Add egg, vanilla, and milk.
Add sifted dry ingredients, then gradually add remaining flour until dough is stiff enough to handle. Chill at least 1 hour.
Roll 1/8 (2 cm.) thick on lightly floured board and shape with floured cookie cutters. Place on ungreased cookie sheets.
Sprinkle with plain or tinted sugar if desired.
Bake in moderate oven (375°) for 8 to 10 minutes. Makes 50 to 60 small cookies. You may also double or triple the recipe for more cookies. If you prefer, allow baked cookies to cool and ice with coloured icing and sprinkles.
In my further adventures in cooking with purple yams, I thought I would make Purple Yam Soup. I had leftovers after trying them simply boiled. They were, shall we say, not pleasant cooked that way.
I made this recipe up and have to say, it was one of the best soups I have ever tasted. You could probably switch out regular yams or sweet potatoes for purple yams but you wouldn't get this rich colour.
Purple Yam Soup
1 medium onion, chopped
1-2 tbsp. butter
1 can consommé (concentrated)
1 can water
Leftover boiled yams - about 2 cups - cut into small pieces (sugar cube size or smaller)
1 tbsp. or so concentrated liquid beef bouillon
1 cup coconut cream
Melt the butter in a saucepan. Sauté the onions in the butter until translucent. Add the consommé, water, and bouillon and stir. Add the yams and coconut cream. Allow to heat. Remove the saucepan from the heat and blend the soup thoroughly with a hand blender. If using a canister blender, blend only a small portion at a time or it will explode all over the kitchen, make a big mess, and maybe even burn you. (Experience speaking here.)
When soup is thoroughly blended and smooth, re-heat and serve with a dollop of heavy cream, yogurt, or coconut cream. I had only coffee cream, which didn't look as pretty but the soup was so good, we didn't care.
Try it. It's quick, easy, and delicious.
If you don't own a hand blender, I recommend getting one. It's a useful kitchen tool for soups, smoothies, and frothy drinks. You can find a selection of hand blenders HERE.
Purple donuts? Yes. Yesterday I bought some purple yams at the green grocer around the corner. I didn't know such a food existed so I thought I'd give them a try. Yams and sweet potatoes are low on the glycemic index, so if you're avoiding carbs it's easy to swap them out for regular potatoes.
I was in a hurry getting dinner ready so I simple peeled the yams, cut them in cubes and boiled them. My impression wasn't great. They were dry, sticky, and starchy tasting, so naturally, we had some left over. I thought I'd make soup out of them tomorrow.
While searching for a recipe, I came across this one for Purple Donuts. They would be fun to serve for the holidays as the purple color would sure attract attention.
1. Peel the skin off the purple yams and roughly chop them. Drop them in a pot of boiling water till they soften before mashing them.
2. In a big bowl, combine the mashed purple yam with the self raising flour. Not too much or it will make the donuts quite hard—about 3 tbsps, just to be able to bind the mixture together.
3. Roll into balls, flatten slightly and with your little finger, pierce a hole in the centre of the dough to shape like a doughnut. Place on a floured surface.
4. In a pan, heat the oil and slow fry them on a medium high heat. Flip over once they are cooked on one side.
5. Once cooked, remove from oil and drain on kitchen towel.
Dust with powdered sugar and serve!
Thanks to Farianti at My Simple Delights.
Lots of folks these days are seeking better diets and healthier lifestyles. Going gluten-free and low-glycemic is an important step and for some, it's essential. So, I thought I would share a yummy gluten-free dessert you can make today. It's quick and easy!
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
3 cups whole milk
4 large egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
I came across a program today that I have to share. It's called Guilt-Free Desserts, by Kelley Herring of Healing Gourmet. Look at these irresistible treats!
If you love all-natural, gluten-free, and low-glycemic, you'll love this product. Plus Kelley has some extra bonuses for you as well. (Guilt-free appetizers, anyone?) Click HERE now to learn more.
Summer has ended and fall is officially here. Fall is football season. Which means it’s also the season for chips and dips.
Why not use those luscious tomatoes still plentiful in your garden or at the farmer’s market to make some end-of-summer salsa? If you make several batches they just might see you through the coming season of tailgating parties and football games.
Here’s a simple recipe from BRILLIANT FOOD TIPS AND COOKING TRICKS by David Joachim
FRESH TOMATO SALSA
In a bowl, combine 4 large seeded and chopped summer tomatoes; 2/3 finely chopped sweet onion (or 4 finely chopped scallions); 1/3 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro; 1 to 2 seeded and finely chopped fresh jalapeno chile peppers (leave the seeds in for more heat); 2 teaspoons lime juice; and 1 teaspoon salt.
Toss, let sit 1 hour at room temperature, and serve. Great spooned over soft tacos or for scooping up with corn chips. Makes about 3 1/4 cups. Serve in some fiesta-style bowls.
Can you imagine what the world was like before cheesecake was created?
Turns out, you'd have to search back pretty far to find a time when the Earth was cheesecake free. In fact, way back in 776 BC, long before the first Cheesecake Factory restaurant opened, the Greeks are said to have served cheesecake to the athletes at the first Olympic games. The Romans soon caught on and spread the divine taste of cheesecake throughout Europe. From there it was only a matter of time before European immigrants brought their cherished cheesecake recipes to America.
It seems that every region of the globe has embraced cheesecake in one form or another, adapting the recipe to local tastes and adding local flavors. In America, cheesecakes are typically made with a cream cheese base, but even here we vary the recipe by region. New York cheesecake is famous for its ultra-smooth texture and decadently rich flavor achieved by adding extra egg yolks and a hint of lemon and you'll find other regional variations from Chicago-style to Pennsylvania Dutch. Many American bakers add sour cream for a creamy cheesecake that can be frozen without compromising taste or texture.
Italian cheesecakes generally use ricotta cheese, which makes them drier than their American cousins. The French prefer Neufchatel cheese and often add gelatin for a light and airy consistency. The Greeks might use ricotta, mizithra, farmers, feta, Swiss, or a combination of cheeses, while the Germans typically rely on cottage cheese or quark. The Japanese incorporate cornstarch and whipped egg whites into their cheesecakes for a more custard-like effect, and I've even heard you can find cheesecake in vending machines in Japan. Now why didn't I think of that?
You'd be hard pressed to find a culture that doesn't or didn't enjoy a good cheesecake. Culinary historians cite cheesecake recipes dating back to the first century AD, with additional recipes floating around from the centuries that followed. You'll find every imaginable flavor and topping in today's cheesecake recipes, but the basic premise, baking creamy cheese with wheat and sweetener, has stood the test of time.
And let's not forget savory cheesecakes featuring blue cheese, garlic, seafood, chiles, and other tasty cheese-friendly flavors, or vegan versions of cheesecake-like desserts made with tofu. With so many varieties, you'd need a lot more than a Cheesecake of the Month club to sample them all!
Clearly, cheesecake has lived long and continues to prosper. Whether it's a birthday cake, anniversary treat, or just a Make-everyday special indulgence, cheesecake is an ancient delight that will never go out of style!
You'll want to try our own cheesecake recipe.
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Cheesecake has become one of the most popular desserts in the United States. Nothing is quite as rich and delicious, and as impressive to serve, as a firm creamy cheesecake with a glorious topping of fruit, sour cream, or chocolate.
But don’t be intimidated by this fancy dessert. You don’t have to BUY the perfect cheesecake from a pastry shop or bakery. Bake the perfect cheesecake yourself at home. You just need a good, easy-to-follow recipe, and a few tips for success before you get started.
First, learn some cheesecake tips and read these additional hints for baking the perfect cheesecake.
Next, pick out the perfect recipe (see ours, below).
Now, gather your ingredients and get started. You should be well on your way to baking the perfect cheesecake!
Make a graham cracker crust according to the recipe on the graham cracker crumb box. Press the crust into the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan and go up at least 1/2 inch on the sides.
Combine the following in a large mixing bowl:
2 (8 oz.) cream cheese (softened) (Philadelphia Cream Cheese is what we used)
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
Beat until smooth. Pour into the crust and bake for 30 minutes at 375 degrees.
Cool and refrigerate.
When cake has completely cooled, and just before serving, remove from springform pan and place on a footed cake plate or other large plate. Spoon a can of prepared cherry (or strawberry) pie filling evenly over the top of the cake. Refrigerate any leftovers.
I came across this recipe today that is so quick and easy, you can make it while you watch the video (though you may have to press pause a few times). You can even dance to the music while to prepare it.
Today's word is zest. My thesaurus shows synonyms such as relish, spice, tang, flavor, seasoning, savor, twang, zing, and zip. There are more but you get the idea. Do you notice that any of these words can be equally applied to food and to life?
Let's stick to the food meanings today and talk about lemon zest.
When it comes to using lemon zest, you should always choose organic lemons. Pesticides and other nasty stuff are deposited on the skin of the fruit and you don't want that in you food.
Using a fine grater, shred only the yellow skin of the fruit, not the white pith. You can dry the zest and keep it in a jar to use later, or you can use it fresh to add to dishes or as a colourful garnish.
Lemon zest can be used in savory dishes like pasta, chicken, or roasted vegetables. It also adds extra zing to desserts and ice cream. As a garnish you can't beat the sunshine yellow of a sprinkling of lemon zest. Try it today then leave a comment and let us know how you use lemon zest.
Suzanne and Wendy
Tips, tricks, and yummy creative ideas.
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