Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Cupcake Couture Party Winner & Snow Cone Red, White & Blue Chocolate Fudge Cupcakes

We have a winner! The Cupcake Couture prize package winner has been chosen! Check your email to claim your prize. Many thanks again to Bella Cupcake Couture and Betsy of Java Cupcake for the opportunity to participate in the party. It was a lot of fun.

Speaking of cupcakes, I had a crazy weekend but managed to squeeze out these snow cone red white and blue cupcakes for a friend's birthday.

The cupcake idea came from Your Cup of Cake  here. The chocolate fudge cake recipe is one of my favorites from Spinach Tiger. I whipped up some vanilla buttercream and sprinkled them.

I hope everyone had a great weekend!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Homemade Lilac Ginger Ale for a May Kitchen Challenge

Are you sick of my lilac posts yet? As you can see from the quality of the lilacs in the picture above, it's probably time to call it quits with lilac recipes. Last one, I promise. 

Lindsay over at the wonderful Love and Olive Oil blog has been obsessed with ginger ale lately and challenged bloggers this month to come up with homemade versions preferably without blowing up the results.

Full confession: Mine exploded when I opened it. I was so smug beforehand because I placed the bottle in the bathtub for the required 48 hours processing time with the shower curtain closed, just in case. Nothing happened. Overconfident much?  When I opened the bottle, it exploded all over the fancy flowing chiffon shirt I was wearing but I managed to save about half of the liquid.

What? You don't dress up to photograph your blog posts? Jeesh.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Lilac Vanilla Bean Cupcakes for a Cupcake Couture Blog Party! PLUS Giveaway.

When Betsy over at Java Cupcake contacted me about participating in a Cupcake Couture Blog Party. I was so in. Cupcake posts have been lagging behind on this blog so what better excuse to get back to cupcake creating then a party? And Just look at all these talented bloggers who joined the party!

An American Cupcake in London
Bella Cupcake Couture
Chronicles of a Foodie
Crazy for Crust
Creative Food
Cupcakes Take the Cake
Diary of a Mad Hausfrau
Eat Your Heart Out
Hoosier Homemade
In Katrina's Kitchen
Inside BruCrew Life
Java Cupcake
Love From the Oven
Make Bake Celebrate
Not Just a Mommy
Sugar Daze
Sugar Swings! Serve Some
The Baked Equation
The Baking Cup
The Decorated Cookie

This is a party with great giveaway prizes! More about that later.

The bloggers selected to participate in the party were all sent a random package of beautiful cupcake wrappers from Bella Cupcake Couture. We were instructed to find inspiration from the wrapper design to create a cupcake and style the photos with whatever we already had at home. I received the Hannah Pink/Yellow style. Love them! They have some seriously beautiful wrappers over at Bella.

The Cupcake Couture Blog Party – Your Cupcakes Never Looked This Good!  is about showcasing how easy it is to not only make a delicious cupcake... but how simple it is to create a scene for any occasion, event or party that will WOW your guests without having to spend a lot of money or time.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Lilac French Macarons

You didn't think I was going to miss out on making lilac flavor macarons did you? Nahh. This post was inevitable for Lilacpalooza. Most of you know my love of making wacky flavored French macarons as well as my wee obsession with sometimes dressing them up.

I had to try lilac flavor in mac making and was very happy with the result, even if the feet did not turn out so pretty in this batch. When something smells and tastes like lilac, one tends to forget about unsightly feet.

The original plan was to add lilac blossoms to the shells right after piping them but I chickened out for two reasons. One was I didn't know how they would affect the shells growing their feet and the other was I was afraid if the blossoms burned, the shells would be ruined.  Next time I will suck it up and try the flowers on the shells. Also I made some lilac sugar after these were finished. Next time I would swap the lilac version for the regular granulated sugar in the shell recipe below.

So for this batch the lilac color is in the shells and the flavor is in the lilac buttercream accentuated with homemade lilac syrup and fresh lilac blossoms. The lilac flavor is delicate but it's another unusual macaron recipe to add to the Mad Hausfrau recipe files.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Lilac Blueberry Sugar Scones with Lilac Glaze

Next up in Lilacpalooza are these delectable scones. As I mentioned in my last post. I went a bit crazy this past weekend, baking with lilac flavor inspired by our gorgeous big lilac bush in full bloom.

Blueberry lavender is a popular combination. Replacing the lavender with lilac seemed like a good idea. It was.

These scones are so "melt in your mouth" delicious. Soft, tender and chewy. The blueberry and lilac flavor combination is a total winner and the lilac glaze gives them a little extra oomph.

I love these elegant flavor scones.

Lilac Blueberry Sugar Scones with Lilac Glaze
(Adapted from Vanilla Sugar Scones from Food.com)

For the Lilac Blueberry Sugar Scones:

  • 3 cups AP flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/3 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 tablespoons cold butter cut in pieces
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup whipped cream
  • 2 tablespoons lilac syrup (recipe follow)
  • 1/2 cup lilac blossoms rinsed and patted dry
  • 1 cup of fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 cup white granulated sugar

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Whisk together the flour, baking powder, 1/3 cup sugar, and salt.
  • Work the butter into the flour mixture with your hands or a pastry cutter until there are no big chunks left.
  • Add the egg, whipped cream, and lilac syrup and work the dough with your hands just until everything is combined and dough is sticky.
  • Knead in the lilac blossoms and then gently add the blueberries taking care not to crush them.
  • Pour the 1/2 cup sugar onto your workspace and pat the dough out flat.
  • Flip it over to coat both sides in the sugar. 
  • You can either cut the dough into pieces or use a cutter. I used a double heart cutter.
  • Place the scones on the baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the scones slightly brown on top.
  • Remove from the oven, transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely before glazing.

For the Lilac Glaze:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • 4 tablespoons lilac syrup
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 dab purple food coloring (optional)

  • Place the rack with the scones directly on parchment-lined baking sheets. 
  • Whisk all ingredients together until smooth. 
  • Load into a disposable pastry bag or a ziplock bag.
  • Snip off the tip and drizzle the scones with the glaze.
  • Let glaze harden completely before serving.

For the Lilac Syrup:

  • 1 cup white granulated sugar
  • One cup Water
  • 1+1/2 cups fresh lilac blossoms
  • A few drops of purple food coloring (optional)
  • Rinse the lilac blossoms well and gently pat dry with paper towels.
  • Place the f lowers sugar and water together in a saucepan and heat on low.
  • when mixture starts to boil turn the heat down to low and simmer for about 10 minutes until the mixture thickens.
  • Stir in the food coloring if desired
  • Remove from heat, strain out the flowers and let cool completely.
  • Place in sealed jar  and store in a cool dark place.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Lilac Chocolate Truffles

You know that scene in The Wizard of Oz where Dorothy and her posse are overcome by the poppies? That happened to me this weekend.

Sorta. This weekend we arrived our Pennsylvania place and were greeted by our huge lilac bush in full boogie. The scent was intoxicating. But instead of fainting, I grabbed my clippers, cut down a bunch of blossom and ran straight to the kitchen to get creative.

My first idea was to make lilac syrup and post it here. After it was ready,  I just couldn't stop there. Under a purple spell, I cranked out lilac themed dessert after dessert.. Then for good measure I made lilac sugar and essential oil. 

So get ready dear readers, because the next few posts will be from the results of my weekend lilacpalooza.

These truffles are great for a special seasonal treat. The lilac syrup definitely added a special something. I rolled them in lavender color sparkling sugar and then half of those in the flowers to amp up the flavor.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Pink Lemonade Embossed MOMmallows for a Mother's Day Treat

I've written about my better late than never discovery of these frosting flavor packets from Duncan Hines.

Ever since I had the idea to throw one into a batch of meringues  I was hooked on coming up with ideas for using these little magical packets in everything but frosting. I suppose I will get around to actually using them is a batch of frosting one of these days.

Anyway, I had the idea to use some molds to create a pattern on homemade marshmallows to make them look embossed. It worked pretty well even though I wasn't too happy with the molds I bought. Next time I will get a better mold with a smaller pattern.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Gin & Tonic Fudge

Ever since I saw that fabulous White Russian Fudge over at Culinary Concoctions by Peabody, I was inspired to start experimenting with making my own drink in a fudge.

Cue the unopened bottle of Saphire gin that has been sitting on my shelf for months. A perfect reason to bust it open.

A lime gin fudge was created and a layer of tonic flavored fudge was added on the top. I don't know how much this tastes like a gin and tonic (a bit) but is it ever delicious.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Whole Wheat Goat Cheese Kumato, shaved Asparagus Galette with Caramelized Vidalia Onions

This was a last minute throw together for weekend guests. An early morning supermarket sweep surprised me with my favorite Vidalia onions. Usually I can't wait until they are in season. This time they just snuck up on me. I scooped up a package of gorgeous Kumato tomatos, threw a bunch of asparagus into my cart and was on my way to this galette.

I prefer to use whole wheat flour but you can use whatever variety you like.

Once home, I threw the dough together, stuck it in the fridge, then chopped the onions and set them in a pan with butter and olive oil to caramelize. While the dough was chillin' and the onions were caramelizin'  I threw the rest of the ingredients into a food processor. Once the filling was done, I shaved the asparagus, removed the dough from the fridge and assembled the tart.

I served this together with an arugula salad sporting roasted bitty baby potatoes and rainbow colored both peppers and tomatoes. This was the perfect lunch.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Chihuahuas, Chili Pepper Pops, Tequila and Frieda Kahlo - Cinco de Mayo Treats

A close friend visited from Munich this past week. There were lots of girl talks and long walks and unfortunately no time to make anything new to celebrate Cinco de Mayo.

Que Horrible! 

I still have fond memories of living and going to school in Mexico as a child so I couldn't let the holiday pass without a nostalgic nod to happy times spent there.

Even though it feels a bit like cheating, here is a round up of fun and festive Mexican themed treats I've made in the past for this holiday. Clicking the picture or the caption will take you to the post with the recipe.

Tequila Cilantro Pepita Pesto Salsa 

Adding pepitas and tequila made this salsa a nutty boozy party in a dish. Also life had handed me 20 pounds of tomatoes leftover from a photo shoot so I needed to get creative. Real. Quick.

Frieda Kahlo's Almond Cornmeal Cookies

A long time fan of Frieda and her extraordinary art, I picked up a book of her recipes at the Tate museum in London when visiting an exhibition of her work. Frieda was brilliant with flowers and used them daily to decorate her home and table. These are simple yet wonderfully flavorful cookies. Viva La Frieda!