It snowed this past weekend! I know, we live in Michigan and the snow inevitability returns every November, but it still catches me off guard. The first snow is still magical. The leaves have all fallen and the branches are bare and snow clings onto the newly bare branches that form a canopy over our drive. As the sun begins to peek through the gray clouds, the light catches each snowflake and they glisten with the brightness of a layer of glitter. The laughter of small children in the neighborhood can be heard as they gleefully attempt to catch each flake on their tongue. The first snow is also a reminder that the holidays are coming. Holiday parties, dinners with loved ones and family are on everyone’s agenda.
Winter Storm Bella will bring the first, heavy accumulating snow of the season for us here in Michigan and across the Midwest this weekend. Cold temperatures will be setting in with single-digit windchill values.
As we prepare for the winter storm this weekend, many of us will bundle up and hunker down by the fireplace with a cup of hot chocolate. Let's welcome this winter storm with something other than plain hot chocolate to warm us up. How about a caramel hot chocolate with homemade caramel corn instead? Now we're talking!
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Begin your day with a bowl of hearty and soul satisfying Vanilla Bean Chia Oatmeal. Chia oatmeal can be assembled quickly the evening before and eaten cold or warmed in the morning. Highly portable and infinitely nutritious, you'll wonder why you didn’t make this sooner.
There are very few of us that do not like a moist, buttery piece of perfectly baked cake. Cakes can be overly fussy sometimes when including layers, buttercream, royal icing, fondant, gum paste, etc. The essence of the cake is sometimes lost in layers of other things… Bundt cake is simply cake, no fuss.
Apples tend to find their way into many of our desserts, savory dishes and drinks during this time of year. One of my personal favorites is apple cake. In this maple apple cake recipe, the cake is almost the consistency of a crumb or coffee cake. The top is soaked in pure local maple syrup and the apples are tender and sweet. Buttermilk in the cake cuts the sweetness of the maple syrup and adds a tangy flavor to the dessert. This cake is best eaten the day it is baked.
Strawberry and chocolate is often associated with the very simple dessert known as a chocolate covered strawberry. Pure and simple, this combination of flavors is often associated with love and decadence. I have definitely fallen in love with our strawberry chocolate mini layer cakes. Miniature cakes are the perfect way to serve guests a personal serving at any event or dinner party. Perfectly suited for weddings, baby showers or even engagement parties. There is no need for cake cutting or even running out of cake to serve your guests. Typically I will create cakes from scratch but this cake is moist, delicious and super easy to make when you are lacking in time and energy.
I know it's cold and I am sharing an ice cream recipe. It's pumpkin season and although I am a huge fan of all things pumpkin, I can only eat so many pumpkin bread slices and muffins. Pumpkin ice cream is the perfect way to get your fill of pumpkin flavor without the overly filling denseness of a muffin or bread. Smooth and creamy with just a hint of spice, pumpkin chocolate chunk ice cream is the perfect accompaniment to pecan pie or simply enjoyed on its own.
A pastry chef that doesn’t really eat sweets, that’s me! Don’t worry, I test everything I create but I simply do not crave sweets. It may stem from the years I spent in commercial kitchens and fine dining restaurants. Hundreds of plated desserts and homemade sweets came out those kitchens over the years, which may explain my lack of desire for the sweet treats. I will let you in on a little secret; I do still have one craving. It has never receded or lessened over the years. Oreos or more specifically, Trader Joe’s Chocolate Jo Jo’s. Just the thought of them makes my stomach growl.
Glistening red, candy coated apples sitting pretty in a row, patiently waiting for the next customer to take that first delicious bite. Candied apples are a sweet treat that is typically found at carnivals, fairs and country gatherings.
Halloween is fast approaching. Do you prefer a trick or a treat? I think it’s pretty obvious what we prefer; treats of course! Candy is delicious and always fun for the younger members of your family but for those with a bit more of a refined palate, try serving them a vanilla infused Old Fashioned bourbon.
It’s October and the holiday season is fast approaching! The year has flown by and I for one cannot believe it almost time to start holiday baking. If you reside in the United States you will most likely agree with me that pumpkin and pecan pie is the traditional dessert offered at Thanksgiving. Occasionally an apple pie is created for those who loathe pumpkin or have an allergy to nuts, but traditionally pecan and pumpkin grace our tables.
Pumpkin! The market is saturated with pumpkin spice lattes, donuts, and scones. Everywhere we turn, the bright orange vegetable is being prominently turned into the epitome of fall.
Just when I thought I had enough of pumpkin, I remembered this absolutely delicious pumpkin muffin recipe I created a few years back. Perfectly moist, the right amount of spice to pumpkin and the most delicious pecan pie topping. Go to your pantry, collect all the ingredients and make these now! They are that good!
Christmas is just around the corner! Now is the perfect time to start making homemade vanilla extract for holiday gift-giving and baking. From vanilla beans to decorative glass bottles, we have everything you need to make homemade vanilla extract. For those who want to dress up their extract creations, we have created this free downloadable homemade vanilla extract label template that you can print right from home.
Each label measures 2x3" (2" width x 3" height) and contains 8 labels on an 8.5" x 11" downloadable pdf template. Using glue or adhesive, you can print and cut out each label and affix them to your bottles. An even better way to print your labels is on 8.5 x 11" full-sheet label paper which can be purchased from most any office supply store.
Using a pen or felt tip marker, we have left space for you to write the date, variety of vanilla bean and maker.
Fall is here! We are located in the beautiful state of Michigan and the air is starting to take on that beautiful fall feeling. The nights have a chill that requires an extra layer and the days are beginning to dip into the cooler temperatures. The maples are beginning to show their glorious fall colors and my thoughts turn to baking. Warm spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom cross my mind. Pumpkin spice lattes, donuts and apple cider are prominent in every retail setting. I prefer maple; maple brings a warmth and depth to bake goods and pastries without overwhelming the other flavors.
Tangy lemons, buttery crust and light and airy meringue come together in one perfect bite. Lemon meringue tarts are the epitome of summer; bright and cheery. Savor these sweet bites before the summer begins to fade in fall and apple pies and pumpkin donuts slowly replace lemon desserts. I for one am not quite ready for the cool nights, fall leaves and warm spices that fall brings. I think I’ll enjoy what is left of warm summer days and nights while I still can.