Just about everyone that I know can use a little sunshine in their lives right now. This is the time of year when the winter blues start to set in and the pristine white snow has lost its luster and appeal. We are all yearning for a peak of green grass and the first tiny crocuses to sprout from the frozen ground. While we are waiting anxiously for this to happen, why not bring a little warmth and sunshine into your cold winter day with a beautiful blood orange. Blood oranges look similar to any other citrus on the market; bright orange with a tinge of red on the skin. The red blush on the skin of the blood orange reveals only a glimpse of the beautiful bright red interior. Truly a stunning fruit...
It’s that time of year again….. The time of year when we begin to feel the effects of cabin fever, the effects of all our holiday indulgences and the fear that in a few months it’s swimsuit season once again! As all the experts will tell you, exercise and a healthy diet is the key to successful long term weight loss. Not only does a healthy diet and exercise aid you in weight loss, it also eases the symptoms of joint related pain and is a natural mood booster -- Essential when you live in an area where sun is brief and fleeting in the winter months!
If you have ever been to the mall or shopping center you are instantly greeted by the delicious smells wafting from the pretzel stand. It is hard to miss and even harder to resist!
The soft pretzel is said to have originated from Germany. History states that in the year 1111, the first documented picture of the pretzel appeared in the baker's guild crest. In the 1440's the pretzel was seen in a prayer book, St. Bartholomew was pictured surrounded by the soft and chewy knotted bread. The pretzel was said to bring luck and spiritual wholeness to the people. Pretzels were used in other traditions in Europe, often in Easter hunts (much like today's Easter egg hunts) and hung on Christmas trees as a symbol of luck and prosperity. The pretzel was also used in wedding ceremonies, the bride and groom would tug on each side and wish for happiness in the marriage, similar to the modern day turkey wishbone.
From time to time, even professional Pastry Chef’s utilize store bought cake mixes! I have a recipe from my childhood that is the perfect example of this. The recipe is already multi-stepped without the addition of making a homemade batter; just like my mother used to make.
The first boxed cake mixes graced the store shelves in the early 1930’s by the Duff Company who even offered gingerbread and molasses cake mixes. The mixes required only water and were not as big of a success as the company had hope for…
As the 1940’s and 1950’s approached, Pillsbury and Duncan Hines emerged with mixes that required the addition of eggs. Eggs not only made the cake moist and rich but gave the average housewife (of the time) more of a feeling that they made the cake from scratch. Cake mixes are now on every shelf and I can guarantee from time to time we will all utilize this time saver in our recipes!
The origin of the crisp is decidedly an American invention. When it came to recipes, early settlers were often forced to use what was readily available and on hand. Early American settlers often improvised; they had limited access to ingredients or the ability to run to the store when needed. Quite often, each creation varied from the last; oats may not have been available so ground nuts were often substituted, or flour was used in its place. There are many variations of the crisp and many have different and interesting names given to them such as: grunt, cobbler, buckle, slump, pandowdy or even a sonker. Each recipe varies from region to region. The crisp or the cobbler is what many of us in the United States are familiar with. The cobbler has more of a biscuit or cake like crust while the crisp is traditionally made with oatmeal and ground nuts as a base.
Berry Chocolate crisp adds one more layer of flavor to a very simple and comforting dessert. Chocolate and Ugandan Vanilla beans! The addition of dark cocoa powder to the crisp topping adds a depth of flavor not often found in traditional crisps. Have you ever had chocolate covered strawberries? This dessert will satisfy your desire for chocolate, berries and a crisp topping all in one delicious bite!
The Danish is a small breakfast pastry that typically contains a creamy cheese or a sweet fruit filling. Traditional Danishes are labor intensive; unless you are making them commercially in large batches, making them will take you the better part of the day to create all the components necessary for the filling and dough.
I don't know about you, but I just don't have the time to spend part of a day on one pastry! A very quick and easy solution to this problem is "puff pastry". Making puff pastry from scratch is a true art and takes a considerable amount of time and ingredients. There are just not many great commercially made puff pastries on the market today (Even the professionals utilize these pre-made shortcuts!)
Persimmons are in season! This sweet and creamy fruit is very versatile, but can be a little intimidating a first glance. You may ask, "What is a persimmon, and how can I eat this beautiful, bright orange fruit?!"
What was your New Year’s resolution this year? Whether your goal was to lose that last 5 pounds, run a marathon, eat less, find love or spend more time with the one’s you love; toast to some of your resolutions with our Vanilla Pomegranate Sparkling Cocktail.
I have never met a doughnut that I didn't like. That being said, it is the New Year and we all are looking for ways to trim a few calories and dreaded fat from our diets. Traditionally, donuts are yeast or cake dough that is fried and then dredged in a sweet, creamy frosting or filled with a sugary fruit filling. Donut muffins satisfy the craving for a calorie-laden fried donut, but with fewer calories, and no frying! Simple to make with the texture of a classic cake donut, donut muffins are sure to satisfy even the diehard donut fan.
Donut muffins are the perfect way to begin your morning. Light, with a cake donut-like texture, they are easy to make the night before and hand out to tired and hungry family members as they leave for the day. Portable, baked and delicious, these muffins are a sensible replacement for the overly fried and sweet donut.
Winter is beautiful in Michigan. The snow falls gently to the ground, leaving a pristine layer of white. The kids bundle up, grab their sleds and their laughter fills the air. Hot chocolate and marshmallows are the preferred choice of beverage. The first month of snow is beautiful! Then January approaches and slowly February, the snow is no longer pristine and the cold, crisp air has lost its allure. The sun hasn't shown its face in days, and we are beginning to long for green grass and warm weather. This is the perfect time of year for Limoncello. Bright, citrusy and cheery enough to ward off the winter blues.
Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes are the perfect addition to any dessert table or as a gift for someone special.
Every chocolate cupcake I have ever had has had a certain level of denseness or ended up being dry and tasteless. That is not the case with this recipe. The deep chocolate flavor is brought out with the addition of coffee extract and the crumb is moist and delicious. The only thing that could possibly make this cake even better is the addition of a creamy and rich peppermint buttercream.
If you live in Michigan, Ohio or any of the surrounding Midwest states, you are most likely familiar with Buckeyes. For those of you who live in the Southern states, or on either of the coasts, and have never had a Buckeye, you must make these delicious candies a part of your holiday traditions!
The buckeye is the state tree of Ohio. It produces small nuts that have a dark outer shell, but the lighter colored interior of the nut is visible from the top. The candy resembling this beloved nut is made with a creamy peanut butter center and dipped in milk chocolate. The creamy center is visible from the top of the candy. The candy is reminiscent of a peanut butter cup, and is primarily made on and around the holiday season or during the Ohio State football season. Our buckeyes are traditional, but you can mix it up and dip the entire creamy center into the chocolate. Drizzle a bit of melted chocolate on top for a finished look.
The tradition of cutting down an evergreen, placing it in a stand, lighting it up and garnishing it with ornaments began in the early 1600s. The evergreen symbolized life when every other tree had shed its leaves -- the evergreen remained green and lush. The very first holiday lights were candles, and they often symbolized loved ones, friends and family. Many of these first trees were decorated with fresh garlands of berries and baked cookies. Electricity introduced the first electrified strings of lights, and homemade ornaments of fruits and cookies were replaced with glass balls and molded plastic figurines. Many of these ornaments have been lovingly collected over the years, with each having a special meaning of a specific place or time in our lives.
While many of us will have no problem planning the timing of our turkey, whipping up creamy mashed potatoes and baking a creamy green bean casserole, we often forget about the beverages. Soda is perfectly acceptable, juice and milk have their place and even a good bottle of red wine is essential to a well-rounded feast, but have you thought about a signature cocktail?
Cranberry orange rum cocktail brings a sense of elegance and whimsy to a holiday table. Serve it before dinner with a light appetizer or after dinner as an accompaniment to delicious pecan pie. Cranberries are not only deliciously tart, but have a long history at the holiday table. Cranberries date back to the American Indians. They were called by many different names, but ultimately the name cranberry was adopted by early European settlers. The cranberry is one of only three species of fruit indigenous to the United States. It's fitting that they grace the table at our Thanksgiving feasts.
Thanksgiving is right around the corner--are you ready? We at Beanilla are so excited for the holiday season! Not only is it our busiest time of the year, but also our favorite. Cookies, pies, candies or just about any baked good or pastry you can create is our forte. The addition of our high quality vanilla beans, extracts, vanilla sugar and vanilla salt can bring your desserts to a whole new level of deliciousness!
Speaking of delicious, who doesn’t love pumpkin pie?! Although this pie only seems to hang around for a brief time during the holiday season, it is almost always a staple on the holiday dinner table. Traditionally baked in a flaky rolled pie crust and garnished with a dollop of creamy whipped cream, the creamy custard-like texture is unique and quintessentially Thanksgiving!