I have been a big fan of rice pudding since I discovered it at Rice to Riches, in New York City. Sweet and creamy, it is one of my ultimate comfort foods. I love its versatility since it may be eaten warm, right out of the pan, or cold, after chilling in the fridge for an hour or so. Rice pudding makes a wonderful dessert, afternoon snack, or as a delicious alternate to oatmeal in the mornings. It is also easy to customize with a variety of spices and other flavorings. (For inspiration, check out the Rice to Riches website as they offer over 30 flavors!) Rice pudding is cooked in one of three ways: on the stove, in the oven, or in a crockpot. I prefer to cook mine on the stovetop because it is ready in about 30 minutes and has a softer and creamier consistency. Continue reading
Growing up, my mom loved fruit and always kept a variety in the house which she encouraged my brothers and I to eat. However, one fruit that was conspicuously absent was the apple. It was not the taste she didn’t like. Rather it was the sound of someone biting into one that bothered her. It was like fingernails on chalkboard and the sound literally gave her goosebumps and sent chills up her spine. Continue reading
Think what a better world it would be if we all-the whole world-had cookies and milk about three o’clock every afternoon and then lay down with our blankets for a nap.
~ Robert Fulghum, author
Imagine if we could do that, just like when we were kids. I agree with Mr. Fulghum, the world would be a better place. The only question is… Continue reading
I like milk. I like its creamy, buttery taste and, to me, it’s best ice cold with a chocolate chip cookie or two. On the other hand, I’ve never liked soy milk. Years ago, I tried it and I didn’t care for its watery flavor and chalky texture. Recently, however, I was convinced by some fellow bloggers to try it again and surprisingly, I found that it actually tasted good and not gritty. While it doesn’t compare to the flavor and texture of milk, I have had a change of heart. I still prefer to drink regular milk, but I have started to use soy milk, specifically in smoothies. My first attempt at making a soy milk smoothie, Chocolate, Peanut Butter, and Banana Smoothie, was such a success that I am using soy milk again for this one. Continue reading
A month ago, I would have passed on making this cake. It wasn’t because this recipe, from Aran Goyoaga of the breathtakingly beautiful blog Canelle et Vanille, didn’t sound delicious. On the contrary, her recipe have always been so tempting, but I’ve never attempted any of them. Why, you ask? Well, I’m a little embarrassed to say! 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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