As 2011 comes to a close, it is time to review the dishes that made my first eight months of blogging memorable. The original premise of Daisy’s World was to blog about the little things in life that brought me happiness. Quickly, the focus shifted to food, which has been a constant source of joy in my life. So I guess, after almost 100 posts, the premise still stands. Continue reading
If you are a regular reader of my blog, you’ll notice that I like to cook dishes that are simple, easy to prepare, and readily adaptable to someone else’s tastes or needs. Well, this recipe is all of that, and best of all, it’s absolutely delicious! These baked sausage and spinach shells were exactly the type of food I wanted to serve my family and friends on Christmas Eve – finger foods that were filling and hearty. I was right because they were a big hit at my buffet table! The shells held the filling together so my guests were able to pick them up with their fingers and eat them without making a mess. I received compliments all night long. Continue reading
I have learned so much about cooking, and baking, in particular, since I started this blog. One of the things that I particularly enjoy about food blogging is that it forces me to be more creative and to seek out recipes that use ingredients in a way that is new to me. This is one of those recipes that intrigued me enough to give it a try. Continue reading
I am not normally a made-from-scratch cookie baker. For many years, I’ve been buying frozen cookie dough from my nephews’ school as part of their fundraising efforts. When both boys moved to different schools, the fundraiser ended and with it went my ready-made cookie dough supply. Now, I am “forced” to make cookie dough myself. I don’t really have any go-to cookie recipes aside from my Snickerdoodle Cookies so I’ve been testing out recipes I’ve seen on different blogs and websites. So far, I’ve discovered a couple of keepers, like the Pistachio-Tangerine Cookies and the Soft and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies that I featured in previous blog posts. Continue reading
Life gave me lemons this week…..so I made pound cake!
I harvested 6 meyer lemons this morning from my trusty little tree and there are still about 25 more that will be ready to pick by early next week. My tree was a little lazy this fall, since I usually harvest around early November, right in time for Thanksgiving. Nevertheless, I guess I’ll be making more lemon treats this holiday season. I recently made my first chiffon cake and now I have just made my first pound cake. Honestly, I don’t know how I got through culinary school without baking either one of these cakes. Continue reading
I have one more pistachio recipe to share and I think it’s a good one! I wanted to use some leftover pistachios to make a variation of the Russian Tea Cakes, which are usually made with walnuts. A quick search for a recipe on Google yielded a similar cookie, Pistachio Snowballs, from Dandy Sugar which combines pistachio with tangerine. This is a new flavor combination for me and I was immediately intrigued. Serendipitously, I had a couple of tangerines that I bought last week for a recipe I ended up not making (and frankly, don’t remember). I love it when I find a recipe to make and I have all the ingredients at hand.
According to legend, the chiffon cake was invented in Los Angeles in the 1920s by Harry Baker (how appropriate!), an insurance salesman. The cake has a wonderfully light and airy texture, much like angel food cake, due to the stiffly-beaten egg whites which acts as a leavening agent. However, unlike the angel food, the chiffon cake also contains egg yolks and vegetable oil which keeps the cake moist and tender. Baking powder is added to the recipe because the vegetable oil is heavy and needs the extra boost to ensure that the cake will rise properly. The chiffon cake is typically baked in a tube pan to enable the hot air to circulate and bake the center of the cake. Once baked, the chiffon cake is inverted until cool to keep the cake from shrinking and deflating. Continue reading
Aren’t these Santa Hat Brownies just so cute? Thanks to Erica’s Sweet Tooth for the inspiration. I was looking for a fun and simple holiday treat and I ran across a recipe on her website. They’re so good and easy to make, especially since I bought Trader Joe’s Ready to Bake brownie mix (just pour the ready-made brownie batter in an 8-X 8-inch pan and bake for 22-25 minutes). You can use ready-made brownie bites or bake a pan of your favorite brownies. I whipped up some vanilla-mascarpone buttercream to simulate the white trim on the hats. Voila! A festive dessert to get everyone into the spirit of the holidays. It really is beginning to look a lot like Christmas around here!
Update: November 17, 2013
This year, I plan to bake these Santa Hat Brownies and other holiday treats to give as gifts to friends and co-workers. Since I will be making homemade gifts, I thought it would be a great idea to make the gift tags too. I want to make recipe cards so I can easily share the recipe and it could double as the gift tag as well. The card below is the one I designed for the Santa Hat Brownies using Picmonkey, an online photo editing tool. Pretty neat, huh? I love Picmonkey and already use it to add text and overlays to the photos on this blog. For my recipe cards/gift tags, I am going to print the photo of the food on one side and the recipe on the other. This is going to be a real fun project!
Note: I have been paying for Picmonkey’s monthly Royale Plan for the past year. Picmonkey provided me with a free month’s membership ($4.99 value) to use them to make these recipe cards. As always, all opinions expressed here are my own. (Product Review Disclaimer).
Santa Hat Brownies
Yields 12-16 brownies
1 pan of your favorite brownies, cooled and cut into desired size and shape (I used a round cutter)
12-16 small strawberries, cleaned and hulled
vanilla-mascarpone buttercream (recipe below)
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
8 ounces mascarpone cheese, room temperature
2-1/2 to 3 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
pinch of salt
Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat butter and mascarpone cheese until light and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add vanilla extract and salt. Add 2-1/2 cups of sugar, half a cup at a time and continue beating until smooth. Add more sugar, if needed to reach desired consistency and sweetness.
To assemble, pipe a ring of vanilla buttercream on top of each brownie. Cut off the base of a strawberry so it is flat and place it upside down on each brownie, pushing slightly to secure in place. Top the tip of the strawberry with a dot of buttercream to finish the santa hat.
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I was very excited to make this recipe when I found it on Food 52. It was named the runner-up polenta recipe in last year ‘s Your Best Polenta Recipe Contest! on the Food 52 website. The recipe remains very popular today with over 17,000 views. In the comments section, there are many posts from readers who had actually made the dish and raved about it. With all that build-up and anticipation, I was very disappointed to be underwhelmed by this dish. The sum of all the delicious individual parts should have been much greater than what it actually was. Maybe I did something wrong? I’m not sure. How could so many people give this high praise when I thought the dish as a whole was just so-so. Continue reading