As much as it pains me to say it, simply because I draw a line for how cheesy my content on here can get before exceeding the clichéd and generic white mom style of blogging boundary, spring has sprung (cringe!!).
But despite this awful phrase that needs to die right now immediately, spring is actually here again, which calls for spring flavors and colors. When it comes to April, I’m down for all things floral and light (i.e lavender, lemon, and honey)! Therefore, these glazed donuts are a perfect teatime dessert or springtime breakfast, and really taste like April.
Make the donuts:
3 tbsp honey
1 cup milk, heated
1 package active dry yeast
1 cup lavender sugar (divided)
3 1/2 cups of flour
3 eggs, whisked
1 lemon, zested
Oil, for frying
1 stick of softened butter
In a Kitchen Aid bowl, stir together the warm milk and yeast with the dough hook attachment and let it sit for 5 minutes.
Stir in whisked eggs and 3/4 cup of lavender sugar, then add in the butter, lemon zest, and honey. Mix in flour until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
Cover with a damp cloth and let the dough rise for an hour.
On a floured surface, roll out the dough and cut into rounds with a cookie cutter or glass. Punch a hole in the middle with the end of a wide, round frosting tip or small cookie cutter.
Fry the donuts in hot oil (about 350 degrees) until golden brown, for about 1 minute on each side. Let cool, then coat in lavender glaze (3 cups powdered sugar + 5 tbsp. milk + 1/4 cup lavender sugar, all whisked together) and let them sit on a rack until firm.
A couple years ago, I decided that making candy store-style truffles at home is impossible. Whenever there’s a recipe online for truffles, what it is actually most likely referring to is a combination of cream cheese (or butter) and chocolate, formed into balls and rolled in cocoa powder, then chilled to firm. At See’s Candies, Lindt, or any shop of that nature, truffles are a creamy filling encased in a shell of hardened chocolate, which is the candy I was always looking to recreate.
The other day I had a groundbreaking realization. If you make a buttercream, pipe it on wax paper in rounds, chill them, coat them in chocolate, then let them sit at room temperature until the insides have softened, you have a candy store truffle. It took me a while to realize this, and it’s probably a method many people use already, but I was still excited about my discovery. To kick things up a notch, I reduced balsamic vinegar to give them a tangy quality (that you wouldn’t normally find in a candy store truffle. It’s the best of both worlds.)
Make the Truffles
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
4 oz dark or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 stick of softened butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tsp light corn syrup
Semi sweet chocolate chips
In a small saucepan, heat the heavy cream and stir in the corn syrup. When bubbles begin to form around the edges, remove from heat and add dark chocolate. Let sit for a minute, then stir until smooth.
Reduce the balsamic vinegar over low heat in a saucepan until it has a syrup-like consistency. This should take about 5-10 minutes, but make sure you swirl it occasionally so it doesn’t burn!
Stir the balsamic reduction into the chocolate mixture until smooth, then transfer to the bowl of an electric mixture and beat in softened butter. Fill a piping bag with a plain round tip and pipe small circles or squares onto a wax paper-lined baking sheet then chill until firm.
Coat the chilled truffle fillings in melted semi sweet chocolate, then chill and repeat the process. Let the truffles sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes before serving so the filling has time to soften.
Here’s another holiday DIY recipe that’s perfect for either St. Paddy’s Day or your next LGBT meeting/coming out party :)!
When my mom was little, her mom would use this method of color-blocking jello by tilting parfait glasses in the fridge, alternating between red and green, to jellify each layer of jello before adding the next. This gives the jello a colorful pattern, perfect for what my grandma considered a “fancy” dessert.
This is my updated version, made with only three colors of jello and green tinted whipped cream. They’re adorable in individual mason jars for Tuesday, and so simple to make!
Make the Rainbow
1 packet yellow jello
1 packet red jello
1 packet blue jello
Green food coloring
Make each jello mixture according to the directions on the box (2 cups boiling water, 2 cups cold water).
Set a small mason jar or juice glass, tilted, in a muffin tin. Pour in red jello about 1/4 of the way up.
Chill the muffin tin to set the red jello. Then add yellow jello with the glasses tilted the other way. Lastly, after the yellow has chilled, add the blue jello.
Whip the heavy cream and tint with a couple drops of green food coloring (optional). Pipe a little decoration:)
If you’ve ever been to Lush, then you’re most likely familiar with one of their most popular products: bath bombs. If you’ve never heard of them, you’ve probably heard of some variation of them (bath fizzies, lotion bars, etc.) Whatever the case, bath bombs are pretty little scented ‘bombs’ which you essentially drop into a warm bath to create beautiful colors and aromas to make bath time even more enjoyable. However, these things range anywhere from $6-$11 each, and that’s not necessarily a price I personally am willing to pay for such a small amount of time, especially when one can easily DIY these things at home!
Here is my version of a Lush-style bath bomb. In addition, this basic recipe is super easy to personalize. For my scent, I chose rose water (no surprise there), but you can choose any other essential oil you want. These also make for great springtime/anytime gifts!
Note: I used cream of tartar, but I hear that citric acid (found in the canning section of your local bakery aisle) makes the bath bomb fizzier. If you’ve tried both, let me know which you prefer!
Make the Bath Bombs
2 tbsp coconut oil
2 tsp rose water
5 tsp water
A few drops of food coloring (no sugar!)
¾ cup corn starch
¼ cup citric acid
¼ cup epsom salts
Flower petals (optional)
In a food processor, pulse together the corn starch, citric acid, and epsom salts until fine and combined.
In a bowl, mix together the essential oil, coconut oil, water, and food coloring with a fork.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and pulse together until a mixture forms that feels like wet sand, and holds together when you squeeze it.
(Also referred to as “please end my suffering” bars and “I cried harder eating these than I did watching Bridge to Terabithia” bars.)
Whenever I’m on Pinterest, like the white mom I am, I see beautiful things. There’s always photos of promising recipes and DIY ideas, and I always pin stuff hoping one day I’ll get around to recreating all the mouthwatering projects I come across. This morning, since it actually is, in fact, a rainy day, I decided to turn the tables a bit and not let gloomy day laziness get the best of me:)
Whilst scrolling through the food tag on my pinterest, (still not positive how the site works in general btw), I was reminded of a pin I pinned a phile pack. (That sounded so much funnier in my head I’m so sorry..) There was a recipe for “carmelitas” with a short description, “Chocolate and caramel sandwiched in an oatmeal cookie crust. No mixer needed!” Almost immediately, with only 12 words to guide me, I knew exactly what had to be done.
Make them as soon as you can. You will cry yourself to sleep, trust me.
Make the Carmelitas
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 stick butter
1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup white sugar
Preheat oven to 350 and grease an 8×8 glass pan.
In a small saucepan, heat white sugar and 5 tablespoons of water and swirl over medium heat until golden. Add 1/2 stick of butter and heavy cream, stir until smooth. Whisk in flour and baking powder, then set aside.
Melt butter until brown in another saucepan, then remove from heat and stir in brown sugar. Add rolled oats and stir until combined. Press the mixture into the pan in an even layer, then bake for 10 minutes.
Pour caramel into oat crust and add a layer of chocolate chips. Sprinkle more oats on top, then bake until golden for about 15 minutes. Let sit for a few hours before cutting into squares!
aka The Best Cake I’ve ever made (just in time for Valentine’s Day)!
As of right now, my newest discovery happens to be my favorite ingredient: rose water. Though I’ve only made a couple things with this magical extract, it’s a great addition to simple recipes if you want to change things up a little. It also happens to be the case that roses are a natural aphrodisiac, hence the V-day theme. I derived this recipe from a simple white cake I found on Pinterest, so I do not take credit for the original, but I did switch it up quite a bit.
The cake is three 8-inch layers filled and frosted with a pink vanilla buttercream. If you want to pipe rosettes, my recommendation is to use a wide-star tip and start from the center of each rose, swirling out.
Make the Cake
2 sticks softened butter
½ cup vegetable shortening
3 cups granulated sugar
5 egg whites, room temperature
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 cups of milk, room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. rose water
Butter and flour 3 8-inch cake pans. Preheat the oven to 350.
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and shortening. Add the sugar one cup at a time and beat until light and fluffy. Add the egg whites gradually and beat until incorporated. In a small bowl, whisk together the milk and vanilla and rose extracts.
In another bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder.
Alternate adding the dry and wet ingredients into the egg mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.
Bake for about 25-30 minutes until the cake is golden and a knife inserted comes out clean.
Pink Vanilla Buttercream: Beat together 2 sticks of softened with 1 lb of powdered sugar. Slowly add room temperature milk, one tablespoon at a time, until the frosting comes together. Beat until fluffy and fold in a drop of pink food dye.
For me, ice cream is a year-round commitment. To the people who stop eating ice cream in the winter: you are weak and natural selection is coming for you. However, it does feel slightly wrong to be cuddled next to the fire with a bowl of lemon sorbet. So instead of stopping ice cream consumption altogether because it feels “wrong,” I thought it would be best to just adjust the flavor so it feels more winter-y.
Here’s my recipe for rosemary (infused) caramel ice cream. It’s almost like warm ice cream because of the flavor (don’t actually eat it warm). This recipe is for one pint, but I won’t judge you if you double/triple/quadruple the serving size. Enjoy!
Make the ice cream
6-8 sprigs rosemary
3 large egg yolks
1 cup whole milk
1 cup caramel sauce (recipe below)
2 c heavy cream
In a small saucepan, heat milk until it begins to bubble at the edges. Add rosemary and let simmer for a minute. Remove from heat, cover, and let steep for 10-15 minutes.
In a saucepan, whisk egg yolks and sugar until pale yellow. Slowly whisk in the milk and stir constantly over low heat until the mixture can coat a wooden spoon.
Stir in caramel. Chill the mixture until cold (1-2 hours).
Add heavy cream and churn in an ice cream maker. Transfer to a container and freeze until firm.
Caramel sauce: dissolve 1 cup of sugar in 5 tbsp of water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Let cook, swirling the pot occasionally, until the caramel is amber. Remove from heat and add 1/3 cup cold butter. Stir in 1/2 cup heavy cream. Refrigerate until cool.
Happy New Year! Here’s a fun DIY to either give as gifts or keep for yourself: 2015 Happy Jars. The idea is that, throughout the new year, whenever something good/exciting/happy happens, you write it down and put it in the jar. Then, on December 31st 2015, you open the jar and read all the great things that happened the past year. I think I originally found this idea on tumblr, but I added a few things to make it giftable. For example, using a hair tie as a makeshift pen-holder, and hot gluing post its to the lid so it’s easy to jot a quick note. In addition, I added some printables for the labels and Happy Jar Rules:)
Ponytail holders (hair ties)
Hot glue gun
Mini post-it notes
To make the pen holder: snip a hair tie in half and hot glue both ends to the jar.
To make the notes: hot glue the post it notes to the lid.
It’s officially Christmas Eve’s Eve Eve! As you know, when you get in the spirit pretty early in the season, Christmas day itself seems almost surreal. I don’t even want to get into post-holiday feels. So the past few posts have been my version of a countdown of sorts, all things holiday leading up to the big hoorah. For this next giftable item, I decided I wanted to go for a traditional holiday staple: hot cocoa. Unfortunately, however, I’ve found myself growing tired of your basic, everyday milk chocolate hot cocoa with gummy marshmallows and a condensed, syrupy bottom. So I was inspired to kick it up a notch and spice things up (pun extremely intended).
This recipe fills a half-pint jar and serves two people or one ambitious person with big dreams and motivation.
Make the mix:
3 1/2 oz semi sweet chocolate
2 tbsp. cocoa powder
1 1/2 tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
pinch of ginger
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
(1 cup of half & half = 5 tbsp. of cocoa mix)
Process the chocolate in a food processor until it’s grainy and sand-like. Add sugar and cocoa powder and blend until powdery (it won’t be super smooth).
Add cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg and blend until combined.
To make the hot cocoa (2 servings): heat 2 cups of half & half or milk in a small saucepan until the edges begin to bubble, stir in 10 tablespoons of hot cocoa mix and stir until smooth, pour into two mugs.