Elevating Classics

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One of my favorite things to do is take classic recipes and put a twist on them. Strawberry Shortcake is just one of the many American staples that I LOVE. The classic style is too plain for me. I really love being creative and different…and maybe a tad dramatic! With that in mind, I created a cornmeal biscuit, macerated berries with lemon zest and whipped vanilla bean mascarpone. Your childhood favorite is still there, it’s just a modern mature approach, which is sure to impress your friends. :-)

P.S. Remember that all my recipes can be altered. Cooking is about having fun and using what you have on hand. This recipe would be great with a different fruit as well!

Cornmeal Biscuits
1 1/2 cups All Purpose Flour
1/2 cup Cornmeal (gives a great texture to your biscuits)
1 1/2 tbsp. Baking Powder
1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
1/8 cup white sugar
1 stick butter (cold! this helps create the layers you know and love)
Buttermilk as needed….( start with 1/2 a cup save some more for brushing on top prior to baking)
Zest of 1 lemon

Whisk the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, salt, lemon zest and sugar together in a large bowl. Cut in the stick of butter. (this basically means incorporate butter using a pastry blender or fork until the butter is pea sized.)
Drizzle in the buttermilk until dough starts to form. Remember you can always add but you can’t take away in cooking!

Roll out your biscuit dough onto a floured surface until about 1 inch. Brush with buttermilk and bake at 375 degrees until golden and risen.  Let cool.
For my filling I used strawberries and blackberries tossed with lemon zest, juice and white sugar. Feel free to switch up the fruit I used for something more to your liking…e.g. peaches, cherries or plums!

The typical whip cream is replaced by a rich and creamy whipped mascarpone cheese (basically this is an Italian cream cheese) Whip the mascarpone with white OR brown sugar, vanilla beans AND extract and slowly drizzle in some heavy cream to thin out to your desired consistency.

 

 

 

No Graham Flour? No Problem!

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I recently was trying to put a fun twist on a S’more. My end result was a graham cracker cupcake, salted dark chocolate mousse filling and a toasted marshmallow meringue garnished with crushed graham crumbs and chocolate ganache.

While the cupcake as a whole was a success, the real star for me was the cupcake alone…It has a perfect graham cracker flavor with the soft texture of a cake. I highly suggest you try this out, even if just for the cake….

 

Graham Cracker Cupcake

1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp corn starch
1 cup finely ground honey graham crackers
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 tbsp honey
1/2 cup buttermilk

 

This link will take you to the finished product https://scontent-a-lga.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-prn2/1230006_770105626648_1716084835_n.jpg

Thank you, Thank you very much

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Did you know Marshmallow Fluff was created in Lynn, MA? Me either..and if you did..Good for you!

Every year there is a ‘Fluff Festival’ with a recipe contest in which the product must feature Marshmallow Fluff. I came up with three ideas almost instantly…1.) Sweet Potato Casserole Cupcake 2.) S’mores Cupcake and 3.) Elvis Cupcake.

 

All three of these cupcakes would obviously incorporate Fluff…The tricky part was how? I wanted the Marshmallow Fluff to come through without overpowering the rest of the product. I tested all three out and to say the least my favorite was the Elvis Cupcake. Elvis loved a peanut butter, banana and bacon sandwich…so this is my take on his favorite. This cake starts with a brown sugar banana cupcake, peanut butter- Fluff filling and a browned butter Fluff buttercream topped with crispy bacon, home made peanut brittle and dried banana chips! Here is the recipe…roughly…can’t give away all my secrets :-)

 

Brown Sugar Banana Cake

1 1/2 Cups Mashed, ripe bananas (I cannot stand the texture and taste of an unripened banana!)
3 Cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 1/8 Cups Light brown sugar
1 Cup Dark brown sugar
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
3 Large Eggs
1 1/2 Cups Buttermilk
3/4 Cup Vegetable Oil

In a large bowl combine the flour, salt, cinnamon, baking soda, and baking powder. Whisk until incorporated.

In a separate bowl whisk together sugars, vegetable oil, vanilla and eggs until incorporated.

Fold in the mashed bananas to the wet ingredients. Add the dry ingredients to the wet a little at a time until just incorporated…do not over mix! (This will make for a tough texture in your ending product)

Peanut Butter-Fluff Filling

This stuff is rich and each cupcake only needs about 1 Tablespoon each.

1/2 Cup Smooth Peanut Butter
1/2 Cup Marshmallow Fluff
Half and Half to thin it out

Browned Butter Frosting

1 Stick butter, browned and cooled
1 8 oz. Package Greek Cream Cheese (This product has a great tang that cuts through the sweetness of the filling)
1 Tsp. Pure vanilla extract
1/2 Cup Marshmallow Fluff
Pinch Salt
Powdered sugar to desired sweetness
Half and Half to thin out to desired consistency

 

The garnishes on mine were crushed banana chips, peanut brittle and crispy bacon bits :-) the saltiness from the bacon, crunch from the chips and the extra nuttiness from the brittle really round out this cupcake perfectly…Elvis would be proud!

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Pantry Raid!

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I recently had a few of my close friends over to shoot the shit, gossip and eat some yummy food. I was on a tight budget and decided to make due with ingredients that I had on hand…It was a pantry raid if you will :-)

Topped Crositni is always a super simple and extremely versatile appetizer that everyone enjoys. These can be boring so try something new and exciting like my BLT Crostini with a siracha mayo. It is so easy and fast to do. Here’s whatcha will need…

 

BLT Crostini

1 small loaf of French bread, sliced to your liking (I did about a half inch thick)
Olive Oil for Drizzling
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 pound bacon, cooked and crumbled (preferably thick cut)
1 cup diced tomatoes, squeeze out the seeds and juice from these guys it will prevent the crostini from being too soggy
1/2 cup shredded ice berg lettuce…if you want to be fancy you can use any sort of lettuce variety you like
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1-2 tablespoons of siracha It’s like an Asian hot sauce. You can find it at most grocery stores
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
Garlic Powder
Salt and Pepper

So take your sliced bread, drizzle it with olive oil and season it with some salt, pepper and garlic powder. Top each crostini with about 1 teaspoon of cheddar cheese. (heck do more if you want!) Toast it in the oven at 350 degrees until golden brown and toasty.

While the crostini cool a bit, mix together the mayo, siracha, lemon juice and some more salt and pepper. Season as you cook people! Dollop each crostini with desired amount of spicy mayo. Top each crostini with as little or as much tomato, bacon and lettuce as you want. I drizzled mine with more olive oil and seasoned the tomato and lettuce with some more salt and pepper.

This crostini is so inexpensive and most of you have these items on hand. Your guests will never know it was so easy :-) (Excuse the Christmas looking platter…hey don’t judge it was all I had! haha)

As always feel free to make my recipes your own…I tend to cook with what I have! Be creative and have fun :-)

 

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