Friday, March 27, 2015

Cinnamon Apple Rings Fried in Beer Batter

Got beer? Got Apples? This German treat also works as a terrific brunch alternative to French toast, replacing the bread with the battered, fried apples. You can pretend it's healthier.

For the batter, I used weiss beer or wheat beer, a light herbal beer variety I believe works best for this recipe. However, you are welcome to experiment with a darker variety if that's all you have on hand. 

For decoration and flavor, I recommend serving this dessert with homemade whipped cream but that's optional. An alternative to whipped cream would be to serve some plain or vanilla flavored yogurt on the side.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Patriotic Easter Egg Cookies for Operation Cookie Takeover

Over the next few days over 8,000 homemade cookies will be shipped to military personal overseas through Operation Cookie Takeover. I am proud to say these patriotic Easter egg cookies I made will be among them.

Operation Cookie Takeover mobilizes bloggers and non bloggers several times a year to pledge and create a voluntary dozens amount of cookies and then organized a window of a few days where we all ship out our cookies so they are received all in the same time frame.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Macaron Monday: Rum Raisin French Macarons

Since Rum Raisin is one of my all time favorite ice cream flavors, I am embarrassed over how long it took me to transfer the flavor to a batch of French macarons.

Shame on me. These are so good I may forget I ever liked rum raisin in ice cream form.

I used very little rum in the shells, only 1 teaspoon for the entire batch. The filling does the heavy lifting in the flavor department. Pureed rum soaked raisins. That's all.

Friday, March 20, 2015

German Ham & Onion Torte

This recipe is from the Thüringin region of Germany and is a great addition to any Easter meal. I like the flexibility of this recipe which can be served for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner.

Thüringin or Thuringia is one of the 16 German states located in the central east part of the country. It is know for it's lush forest area and beautiful mountain range and is nicknamed "The Green Heart of Germany". Thüringin is a popular vacation destination for Germans with lots of outdoor activities to explore.

This quiche-like cake has a yeasted crust that is well worth the rise time wait. It adds heft and stability to the finished product. The main ingredients for the topping are ham and onions, however, this can be easily switched up by adding peppers or any other vegetable you like chopped into small pieces.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Amy Vanderbilt's Sour Cream Muffins

Most of us who love the kitchen have probably way too many cookbooks in our collection. However, once in a while, trolling thrift stores and tag sales sometimes yields an irresistible vintage culinary jewel or sometimes a decades old cookbook that's just kitchy and fun.

"No cookbook fills all needs. If there were such a book, I would have it and not the 300 odd books I have in my collection."
-Amy Vanderbilt

For 50 cents, I picked up Amy Vanderbilt's Complete Cookbook, which is a little of both. It's also packed with personal and collected recipes from "America's Foremost Etiquette Authority"

"I believe that the ability to prepare and serve good and attractive meals is a delightful feminine virtue."
-Amy Vanderbilt

"A woman must know all the household arts whether or not she has servants to instruct."
-Amy Vanderbilt

Monday, March 16, 2015

Macaron Monday: Creme de Menthe French Macarons with Dark Chocolate Buttercream Filling

St. Patrick's Day is upon us tomorrow. So I thought I would flash a wee bit of green to show my Irish friends some love. 

It also is Macaron Monday here on the blog so I combined the two with these lovely green French macarons with the cool flavor of Creme de Menthe.

In the past my St. Paddy's treats have been pretty outlandish and sparkly. These are more subtle in looks but still big on flavor.

Once of my favorite restaurants of my childhood used to hand out complimentary creme de menthe chocolates after dinner. These French macarons made me think of that place, those minty chocolates and it made me smile.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Almond Cinnamon Lemon German Crescent Cookies

These German crescent cookies (called Mandel Halbmonde) are usually made at Christmas time but I think they work well for any Easter holiday table as well. I love me a flexible cookie. The cinnamon almond coating feels like fall or winter but it hides a bright lemon flavored cookies that has sSpring written all over it. 

So. These cookies are dense and pack a triple punch of flavor. The batter is brightened up with lemon zest then rolled in a almond cinnamon mixture before baking. In addition to the lemon zest ingredient, I added a small amount of pure lemon extract to punch up the lemon flavor a bit more. You can feel free to omit it or replace it with pure vanilla extract.

The unusual cookie secret to this cookie's density is several cooked egg yolks added to the batter. 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Movie Slate Birthday Cake

A dear friend a colleague had a birthday recently. She is the executive producer of a movie review show. The host, some staff members and I conspired to surprise her at work with cake and prosecco. We managed to pull it off beautifully.

In creating the cake I wanted to make something for her that was also a theme for the whole team.  I've often though, how wonderful it would be if everyone could have a custom cake made every year with a theme created representing the person at that particular time in their lives. What a great photo retrospective that would be.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Rocking the Red Pump For National Women & Girls' HIV/AIDS Awareness Day - Red Velvet Roundup

In honor of National Women & Girls' HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, and because every year on March 10th, this blog Rocks the Red Pump, I am painting my blog red today with a roundup of  fun and delicious red velvet baking recipes.

THE RED PUMP PROJECT is a national nonprofit organization that raises awareness about the impact of HIV/AIDS on women and girls. The organization uses red shoes to get attention. The idea is to talk about the epidemic, empower and educate and decrease the stigma associated with it.

From the Rock the Red Pump's website:

The Rock the Red Pump Campaign
In observance of NWGHAAD, our signature Rock the Red Pump® (#RocktheRedPump) Campaign generates conversation both online and offline about the issue of HIV/AIDS and how it affects women.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Low Sugar Chocolate Pretzel Cookies

Like most German desserts and cookies, these Schokoladen Brezeln or chocolate pretzels contain little sugar in the dough. 

To make them sweeter, you can cover these pretzel cookies with chocolate glaze.  In the pictures in this post have no glaze added. I like to make them both ways. Sometime I glaze only half of them. Regardless, I like to add large crystal sparkle sugar to both versions to make them look like salted pretzels. I used gold colored decorations for this batch.