Monday, April 30, 2012

Stuffed Croissants for petit dejeuner

Blackberries are delicious and the grocery stores are chalk full of them now!   After a stressful week of STARR testing, I knew Emma needed to have a special breakfast this weekend.   I grabbed some fresh croissants and made a creamy spread to compliment blackberries.   After eating, she looked at me and asked if she could have another?   Quick, easy but with a beautiful presentation - this makes breakfast special.

Stuffed Croissants

  • fresh croissants
  • pint of fresh blackberries {or any other berry}
  • 1 pkg mascarpone cheese
  • 2 T confectioners sugar + 1 T for dusting
  • 1 t vanilla bean extract
  • squeeze fresh lemon
Directions:   Rinse blackberries, dry them and slice them in half and set aside.   Split and lightly toast your croissants.  In a small bowl, mix together the mascarpone with the confectioners sugar, vanilla bean extract, and lemon juice.  To assemble, spread the mascarpone mixture onto the bottom croissant slice, layer with blackberries then spread another mascarpone mixture layer onto the top croissant to "sandwich" the blackberries.   Dust with confectioners sugar and serve!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Girls and Giggles - Let Them Eat Cake!

{an adventure in cake baking with little girls}

I think somewhere we have lost that baking from scratch ease that our grandmothers had...

Now it's premade, preboxed, into the oven without a thought... but stop and think for a moment... what is Modified Food Starch, Cellulose Gum, Xanthan Gum, and Maltodextri and why is it in YOUR CAKE?

Today's little girls need the same baking from scratch confidence that our grandmothers had and I started yesterday with my baking class for six of the cuties, silliest and giggliest girls around!

I had done a little "pre measuring" for the cake and explained the ingredients for a simple cake from scratch... they were curious!

Everyone took turns putting in the sugar, butter and eggs while Reese and Alexandria manned the mixer.   Then we blended until light and fluffy and added vanilla.   {smells good so far}.

They added baking powder, salt then a scoop of flour, mixing between additions and adding milk.   They made the perfect batter!

We talked about pre-heating the oven to 350 degrees and preparing our baking sheet for the cake by greasing and flouring the surface.   They all tried shaking flour around!

We then moved on to buttercream... which produced a hysterical wave of giggles when someone turned the mixer on to a high speed after confectioners sugar had been added... you can see the results and we learned a valuable lesson of why it's important to have quick on-off bursts until it's mixed with the shortening and butter.

Each girl picked their favorite cake to work on... then their favorite frosting... and everyone tried using the piping bag.  I was impressed with their technique!

 Miss Alexandria frosting her cake

 Miss Ella was excited about chocolate frosting

 Miss Claire created a vanilla on lemon cake

 Miss Reese opted for Red Velvet and lemon buttercream

 Miss Kelly loves chocolate on chocolate and has mad piping skills

My daughter, Miss Emma, showcasing her embellishments

Once our cakes were complete we headed out to the "Secret Garden", a peaceful little spot on the side of our home where all the little girls love to hang out and spend time playing.   

I had already set up and table topped with fine bone china tea cups and saucers, my array of antique English bone china plates and my grandmother's sterling.   It was Tea Time! 

The girls took turns describing their works then shared their cakes with each other {and the Mom's as well}.   They enjoyed lemonade, tea and cakes while a gentle breeze kept us cool while under the shade of an oak tree.

The girls were so proud of their cakes and it gave them such a confident demeanor.  It's my belief that if we can "keep this up" we will instill a baking from scratch faith in our children that will produce self-assured, knowledgeable and capable adults that care about what they put in their mouths!

The girls and myself after a great day

You can find all my cake and frosting recipes here

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Citrus Cream Scones

The kiddos had a 4 day weekend with Good Friday and the bad weather make-up day that was never used.   After an afternoon in the pool I made them Citrus Cream Scones, but I have a story to tell...

I received negative feedback for feeding my daughter and her friends these treats.

I understand that in publishing my recipes I will get feedback, both positive and negative, and honestly I welcome any comment.   But I do want to offer a small insight into why I did/do this.

I would rather have my child eat something I made from scratch over a store bought, over processed, salty snack.   Does she eat chips - of course, but my cream scones are made from organic flour, fresh cream, hand zested citrus, fresh citrus juice and a pinch of sea salt. 

I won't elaborate on her daily intake yesterday, but she did eat fresh fruit, yogurt with granola and drank milk and water.   So offering one of my scones as a snack made perfect sense after swimming for a couple hours.

Did I mention the citrus glaze?   {No butter is needed as they are tender and melt in your mouth}   You simply must make them and judge for yourself.   I love them and so does my family!

                                                                                                                 aka the Four Points Foodie

Citrus Cream Scones

  • 2 C flour
  • 1/4 C sugar
  • 1 T baking powder
  • 1 t sea salt
  • 1 C half and half
  • zest of 3 tangerines
  • juice of those 3 tangerines
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • juice of that 1 lemon
Directions:   Preheat oven to 425 degrees.   In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt, mixing well.   Add the half and half and citrus juices and mix until dough forms.   Add the zest of the citrus, mix once more and turn out onto a floured surface.   Pat dough into a long rectangle and make diagonal cuts to form triangles.   Place on silpat or parchment on baking sheet and place in oven for 15 minutes.   Scones should be golden on top.   Remove and cool.

Citrus Glaze

  • 2/3 C confectioners sugar
  • juice of 2 tangerines
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • zest of 2 tangerines and 1 lemon
Direction:   Mix above ingredients together to form a glaze.   Drizzle over cooled scones and serve.

Stuffed Pork Tenderloin

A friend of mine frequents a hip meat market, and adores their jalapeno and cream cheese stuffed pork tenderloin wrapped in bacon.  Sounds incredible, doesn't it, and you know me... if you can buy it, you can make it!   I headed into the kitchen armed with fresh jalapeno's, organic cream cheese, a pretty pork tenderloin and jalapeno bacon because the flavor matches the theme!   After baking in the oven my husband put it on the grill to "finish" it and it was really delicious!   It's easy, not expensive and yet, the presentation looks amazing.

Stuffed Pork Tenderloin
  • pork tenderloin (usually come 2 per package)
  • 2 pkgs cream cheese, softened
  • 6 jalapenos, seeded and chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • jalapeno bacon 
  • kitchen string
Directions:   Preheat oven to 350 degrees.   Rinse and pat dry the pork tenderloin, remove excess fat and silver skin, then butterfly open.   Spread softened cream cheese over pork, leaving about an inch around the sides.   Add chopped jalapenos in a line down the center and season with salt and pepper. 

Roll up the pork as tightly as you can without squeezing out the filling and tie with kitchen string.   Wrap the tenderloin with jalapeno bacon, using the kitchen string to hold it in place.

 Place wrapped pork into oven and bake for 40 minutes.   To finish the outside, either broil or put onto a hot grill.   Bacon will crisp and brown, but do not burn!   Remove and tent pork for 10 minutes.   Remove kitchen string, slice and serve.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Cupcake Craze recipes

Had an amazing time Sunday afternoon at Faraday's Kitchen Store, Lakeway, that hosted my Cupcake Craze demo.   We were up to our elbows in cupcakes, fillings, frostings, and fun!   Both children and adults used their imagination to create incredible flavor combinations resulting in their very own signature cupcake!

A huge thank you to Faraday's Kitchen Store for allowing me to take over their store and kitchen.   

Here are the recipes...

Vanilla Bean Cake/Cupcakes

  • 2 C sugar
  • 3 1/4 all purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 t baking powder
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1 t salt
  • 3/4 C unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 C milk
  • 3/4 C buttermilk
  • 2 t vanilla bean paste
  • 4 large eggs
Directions:   Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line muffin tin with your choice of papers.   In a large mixing bowl, combine sugar, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.   Add the butter and beat at low speed until mixed.   Combine the milk and buttermilk and add, mixing at low speed then increasing to medium speed.   Add vanilla bean paste then eggs, at low speed, one at a time, mixing well.   Fill cupcake liners 1/2 full and bake for 22 minutes or when a toothpick inserted comes out clean.   Cool completely!

Lemon Cake/Cupcakes

Use the vanilla bean recipe from above, but add 1 T lemon extract AND 2 T fresh lemon juice!

Dark Chocolate Cake/Cupcakes

  • 8 T unsalted butter
  • 2 oz bittersweet chocolate
  • 1/2 C cocoa
  • 3/4 C all purpose flour
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 1 t salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 C sugar
  • 1 t vanilla bean paste
  • 1/2 C buttermilk
Directions:   Preheat over to 350 degrees and line muffin tin with your choice of papers.   In a small saucepan, melt butter, chocolate and cocoa powder over medium low heat, whisking until smooth.   Set aside to cool.   In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.   In a large bowl, whisk eggs.  Add sugar and vanilla, mixing well.   Add cooled chocolate mixture and stir well.   Add 1/3 dry mixture, then a bit of the buttermilk, and continue until all incorporated, mixing well.   Fill cupcake liners 1/2 full and bake for 18 - 24 minutes or when a toothpick inserted comes out clean.   Cool completely!

Red Velvet Cake/Cupcakes

  • 2 1/2 C all purpose flour
  • 1/2 C unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 C butter, room temperature
  • 2 C sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 C buttermilk
  • 1/2 C milk
  • 1 oz red food coloring
  • 2 t vanilla bean paste
Directions:   Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line muffin tin with your choice of papers.   In a medium bowl, mix flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt and set aside.   Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.   Beat in eggs one at a time, then mix in buttermilk, milk, food coloring and vanilla.   Add flour mixture on low speed until just blended.   Fill cupcake lines 1/2 full and bake for 20 - 24 minutes or when a toothpick is inserted comes out clean.   Cool completely!

Crusting Vanilla Bean Buttercream

  • 1 bag confectioners sugar
  • 1/2 C Crisco
  • 1/2 C unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 t vanilla bean paste
  • 1/2 - 3/4 C milk
Directions:   Cream shortening, butter and vanilla bean paste together until light and fluffy.   Add confectioners sugar, one cup at a time, alternating with the milk.   For thick frosting, use less milk, for thinner frosting, use all 3/4 C.  

Crusting Lemon Buttercream

Add 1 T lemon extract, 1 T fresh lemon juice and yellow food coloring instead of vanilla bean paste.

Chocolate Crusting Buttercream

  • 1 bag confectioners sugar
  • 1/2 C Crisco
  • 1/2 C unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 C unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 t vanilla bean paste
  • 3/4 - 1 C milk
Directions:   Cream shortening, butter and vanilla bean paste together until light and fluffy.   Add cocoa powder then confectioners sugar, alternating with the milk.   Beat until thoroughly mixed.

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1/4 C unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 2 C confectioners sugar
  • 1 t vanilla bean paste
Directions:   In a large bowl, cream the butter and cream cheese together until light and fluffy.   Add the vanilla bean paste.  Gradually add the confectioners sugar and mix well.

Flavored Cream Filling:

To create the cream filling, whisk heavy whipping cream on high until soft peaks appear.   Add 1/4 C confectioners sugar and the extract YOU WANT to compliment your cupcake/frosting flavors.   I used maple extract, vanilla bean paste, raspberry extract and cinnamon.   Fill a pastry bag with a plain tip and either just plunge it into the center of the cupcake and squeeze, or cut a divet from the center of the cupcake and fill... then frost and enjoy!