Tonight’s dinner involved Cacio E Pere: pecorino, pear, and mascapone concealed in ravioli reminiscent of pillows, bubbled in a skillet of butter and thin, caramelized onions.
The process (pictured below) was altogether daunting yet therapeutic, tedious yet rewarding, and I found myself eating extra filling like cookie dough once the last bit of salty burnt caramel was scraped from the pan. Everything was arguably the best part, right up to the black pepper that dusted each plate.
Shout out to two of my lovely readers, Lily & Lilian! Thanks for never doubting me or my blog captions!
1 tsp kosher salt
4 c flour
1 1/2 tsp olive oil
1 1/2 lb grated pecorino
1 c mascapone
salt & pepper
9 Bartlett pears, peeled and grated
1 stick of unsalted butter
1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
- In a standing mixer with a dough hook, mix flour and salt. With the mixer on low, add the eggs one at a time, then the oil and a few teaspoons of water until a dough comes together.
- Knead the dough for about 10 minutes, then transfer to a greased bowl, cover with a damp cloth and let sit for an hour.
- Meanwhile, stir together the cheeses and pear, then refrigerate.
- Split the dough in half, then roll out thin. On one half of the dough, place rows of about a tsp. of filling at least 1 inch apart. Brush some water around each mound of filling, then fold over the other half of dough and press down around each ravioli. Using a ravioli cutter or a knife, cut out each piece of pasta.
- In a large skillet, caramelize the onion in about 4 tbsp. of butter over low heat. Add some sugar (optional), and salt and pepper to taste. Add the remaining butter and cook until the butter is slightly browned.
- Cook the ravioli in salty boiling water for about 10 minutes, or until the dough is cooked through. Then, transfer the ravioli to the skillet with a slotted spoon.
- Garnish with pepper and pecorino.
As I tested this recipe earlier today, I was told, “Whatever you’re making smells delicious,” but at this point in time there were only two things on the stove: nearly three sticks of salted butter browning in two separate saucepans. One would eventually bubble into a toasty caramel with sugar and a little bit of milk, while the other would be joined by even more butter for the cookie dough. This situation sums up the inspiration for these cookies: the happy power of butter, which, in this case, provides all the flavor for the recipe. Three major reasons for the different uses of this ingredient in these cookies: brown butter offers an insane depth of flavor where normal chocolate chips cookies lack, caramel is all I need in this crazy, crazy life, and how else would I come up with pretentious recipe titles without it?
Tip: If you don’t have/can’t find chocolate “chunks,” melt a bag of normal chocolate chips in the microwave in 30 second intervals and stir smooth, then fill a piping bag (no tip) or a Ziploc bag (snip the end) with the melted chocolate, and pipe chocolate chunks onto baking sheets lined with wax paper. Let them cool until they’re set.
Make the Cookies
- 3 cups of flour
- 1 1/4 tsp of baking powder
- 2 sticks of butter
- Chocolate chunks (24 oz)
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 large eggs
- caramel (recipe cut in 1/2)
- Preheat the oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat.
- In a saucepan, brown 1 stick of butter on low heat, swirling occasionally until there are dark bits at the bottom of the pan. Remove from the heat and add the second stick of butter. Stir until melted.
- Pour the butter into a large bowl and mix in sugar, then the eggs and vanilla.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder. Add to the butter mixture and stir until combined, then add the chocolate chunks.
- Scoop dough onto the prepared pans and bake for 10-12 minutes. At around 8 minutes, drizzle them with caramel and return them to the oven to finish baking for a couple minutes. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt and more caramel.
A healthy alternative for those who love eating lead-based paint. An unhealthy alternative for vegetables and other health-related food items due to the fact that they’re cookies.
The method is simple: alternate piping thick films of dyed icing onto the center of a sugar cookie until the colors create a marbled rainbow effect and spill over the sides.
Here’s the cookie tutorial!:
For the icing:
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 6 tsp milk
- 6 tsp light corn syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Food dye (I used the 3 primary colors)
1. Whisk together the milk and powdered sugar, then add the corn syrup and vanilla.
2. Divide the icing into 3 portions and dye each with your colors of choice.
Alternate piping thick films of dyed icing onto the center of a sugar cookie until the colors create a marbled rainbow effect and spill over the sides. Use cooled, flat sugar cookies for the best results.
Unlike cookies, pies, or ice cream, when I decide to make a cake, it becomes my baby for the following 48 hours. Maybe because the time it takes to complete the entire process is highly underrated, but it’s probably also due to the fact that a really good cake takes a lot of figuring how to go about the smallest details. Some are obvious, such as what flavor of cake you’re really in the mood for, but the very same flow chart that begins with chocolate or vanilla leads to a plethora of other options, leading to decisions, which then leads to the task of executing them.
In any case, there is a specific satisfaction that comes with baking something for fun, no matter what the dessert, as opposed to baking for an event or even for someone in particular. Exhibit A would be taking less than a minute to marvel at your finished product before slicing into it with a knife and a fork.
Check out the video of my cake process here!
Make the cake
- 2 sticks softened butter
- 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
- 3 cups white sugar
- Zest and juice of 2 oranges
- 3 cups flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 2 cups room temperature milk
- 5 egg whites (@ room temperature)
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- a pinch of ground ginger
1. Preheat the oven to 350 and butter & flour 3 8-inch cake pans.
2. Cream the butter and shortening together, then add the sugar gradually. Once incorporated, add the egg whites gradually, then add the orange juice and zest.
3. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (flour + spices + baking powder)
4. Alternate the wet and dry ingredients while mixing into the butter/egg mixture (scrape down the bowl occasionally).
5. Pour into prepared pans and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the cake is golden and a skewer inserted comes out clean.
For the frosting
2 sticks (1 cup) of softened butter
1 cup shortening
1 bag (2 lb, 3 3/4 cups) powdered sugar
4 tbsp. milk
rosemary syrup (1 cup water + 1/4 cup sugar + 6-8 sprigs of fresh rosemary — simmer together in a small saucepan for 5 minutes then chill and strain)
1. Beat the butter and shortening together, then add sugar 1/2 cup at a time.
2. Beat in syrup and milk and mix until the consistency is light and fluffy.
This post is part of the monthly link up party Our Growing Edge. This event aims to connect food bloggers and inspire us to try new things. This month is hosted by Lauren at Sweet and Southern Lifestyle.
If, on any given day, I was posed the question of what my favorite thing(s) is/are, my answer would probably consist of a brief list, and would definitely include both coffee and ice cream (also dogs when they sigh really loud and peeling plastic off a new thing). So when I first heard someone mention the Italian coffee/ice cream-based drink dessert infamously known as an affogato, I said “why would you eat an avocado at this hour?” then someone said, “not an avocado, an affogato” then I said “oh.” It was a life changing moment!
This is my take on a classic affogato (cold ice cream + a shot of hot espresso), but instead of using a scoop of classic vanilla, I encourage you to try this flavor instead! It’s fresh, it’s edgy, it tastes nothing like avocado, and it gives you that dog sigh sentiment that only coffee AND ice cream lovers understand.
Make the Ice Cream:
- 3 large egg yolks
- 1/4 sugar
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 cup whole milk
- 3/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1/2 tbsp. sea salt (one of the most important ingredients not present in the ingredient picture my bad)
- 1/4 cup maple syrup (Grade B is best)
+ one shot of espresso or strong coffee
- In a medium sized sauce pan, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until pale yellow. Whisk in the salt, then the milk, and heat at medium-low, stirring constantly until the mixture is thick enough to coat a wooden spoon.
- Remove from heat and whisk in the maple syrup and cocoa powder (make sure there are no cocoa lumps before refrigerating!)
- Transfer the ice cream base to a (preferably metal) bowl, cover with plastic and place in the fridge for at least two hours, or until cold.
- Once the mixture is chilled, stir in the heavy cream and churn in an ice cream maker, then transfer to an airtight container and freeze until firm.
- When the ice cream is firm, scoop into glasses or bowls and serve with a shot of espresso or strong coffee. Pour the coffee over the ice cream and eat/drink with a spoon 🙂
Enjoy! <3, B
And now for something completely different! Normally, you won’t see me using dark colors or spicy flavors during the months of February through July, but technically these still taste summery, despite the deep Halloween-natured blood orange hue (I debated on holding off on posting this one until late August at the least, but all these bars really are is a spin on lemon bars, which I’ve always associated with early July).
Make sure to use ripe oranges to ensure the juice’s dark pigment will dye the filling!
Make the bars:
- Juice and zest of 1 blood orange
- 2 large eggs
- 2/3 cup white sugar
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1 tbsp. lemon juice
- Powdered sugar (optional)
- 1 cup flour
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- Pinch of ground cloves
- Pinch of ground ginger
- 1 stick of softened butter
- Preheat the oven to 350. In a food processor, pulse together the flour, butter, spices, and sugar until a soft dough forms. Press the crust into a glass pan (8×8) and bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Beat together eggs, sugar, lemon juice, and baking soda. Stir in the orange juice and zest.
- Pour the filling into the hot crust when it comes out of the oven, then return to the oven for 15 more minutes or until the bars are soft but firm in the middle.
- Let cool completely, and serve with sifted powdered sugar.
Enjoy! <3, B
As much as it pains me to say it, simply because I draw a line for how cheesy my content on here can get before exceeding the clichéd and generic white mom style of blogging boundary, spring has sprung (cringe!!).
But despite this awful phrase that needs to die right now immediately, spring is actually here again, which calls for spring flavors and colors. When it comes to April, I’m down for all things floral and light (i.e lavender, lemon, and honey)! Therefore, these glazed donuts are a perfect teatime dessert or springtime breakfast, and really taste like April.
Make the donuts:
- 3 tbsp honey
- 1 cup milk, heated
- 1 package active dry yeast
- 1 cup lavender sugar (divided)
- 3 1/2 cups of flour
- 3 eggs, whisked
- 1 lemon, zested
- Oil, for frying
- 1 stick of softened butter
- In a Kitchen Aid bowl, stir together the warm milk and yeast with the dough hook attachment and let it sit for 5 minutes.
- Stir in whisked eggs and 3/4 cup of lavender sugar, then add in the butter, lemon zest, and honey. Mix in flour until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
- Cover with a damp cloth and let the dough rise for an hour.
- On a floured surface, roll out the dough and cut into rounds with a cookie cutter or glass. Punch a hole in the middle with the end of a wide, round frosting tip or small cookie cutter.
- Fry the donuts in hot oil (about 350 degrees) until golden brown, for about 1 minute on each side. Let cool, then coat in lavender glaze (3 cups powdered sugar + 5 tbsp. milk + 1/4 cup lavender sugar, all whisked together) and let them sit on a rack until firm.
Enjoy! <3, B
A couple years ago, I decided that making candy store-style truffles at home is impossible. Whenever there’s a recipe online for truffles, what it is actually most likely referring to is a combination of cream cheese (or butter) and chocolate, formed into balls and rolled in cocoa powder, then chilled to firm. At See’s Candies, Lindt, or any shop of that nature, truffles are a creamy filling encased in a shell of hardened chocolate, which is the candy I was always looking to recreate.
The other day I had a groundbreaking realization. If you make a buttercream, pipe it on wax paper in rounds, chill them, coat them in chocolate, then let them sit at room temperature until the insides have softened, you have a candy store truffle. It took me a while to realize this, and it’s probably a method many people use already, but I was still excited about my discovery. To kick things up a notch, I reduced balsamic vinegar to give them a tangy quality (that you wouldn’t normally find in a candy store truffle. It’s the best of both worlds.)
Make the Truffles
- 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
- 4 oz dark or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 1 stick of softened butter
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 tsp light corn syrup
- Semi sweet chocolate chips
- In a small saucepan, heat the heavy cream and stir in the corn syrup. When bubbles begin to form around the edges, remove from heat and add dark chocolate. Let sit for a minute, then stir until smooth.
- Reduce the balsamic vinegar over low heat in a saucepan until it has a syrup-like consistency. This should take about 5-10 minutes, but make sure you swirl it occasionally so it doesn’t burn!
- Stir the balsamic reduction into the chocolate mixture until smooth, then transfer to the bowl of an electric mixture and beat in softened butter. Fill a piping bag with a plain round tip and pipe small circles or squares onto a wax paper-lined baking sheet then chill until firm.
- Coat the chilled truffle fillings in melted semi sweet chocolate, then chill and repeat the process. Let the truffles sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes before serving so the filling has time to soften.
Enjoy! <3, B
Here’s another holiday DIY recipe that’s perfect for either St. Paddy’s Day or your next LGBT meeting/coming out party :)!
When my mom was little, her mom would use this method of color-blocking jello by tilting parfait glasses in the fridge, alternating between red and green, to jellify each layer of jello before adding the next. This gives the jello a colorful pattern, perfect for what my grandma considered a “fancy” dessert.
This is my updated version, made with only three colors of jello and green tinted whipped cream. They’re adorable in individual mason jars for Tuesday, and so simple to make!
Make the Rainbow
- 1 packet yellow jello
- 1 packet red jello
- 1 packet blue jello
- Heavy cream
- Green food coloring
- Make each jello mixture according to the directions on the box (2 cups boiling water, 2 cups cold water).
- Set a small mason jar or juice glass, tilted, in a muffin tin. Pour in red jello about 1/4 of the way up.
- Chill the muffin tin to set the red jello. Then add yellow jello with the glasses tilted the other way. Lastly, after the yellow has chilled, add the blue jello.
- Whip the heavy cream and tint with a couple drops of green food coloring (optional). Pipe a little decoration:)
Enjoy! <3, B
If you’ve ever been to Lush, then you’re most likely familiar with one of their most popular products: bath bombs. If you’ve never heard of them, you’ve probably heard of some variation of them (bath fizzies, lotion bars, etc.) Whatever the case, bath bombs are pretty little scented ‘bombs’ which you essentially drop into a warm bath to create beautiful colors and aromas to make bath time even more enjoyable. However, these things range anywhere from $6-$11 each, and that’s not necessarily a price I personally am willing to pay for such a small amount of time, especially when one can easily DIY these things at home!
Here is my version of a Lush-style bath bomb. In addition, this basic recipe is super easy to personalize. For my scent, I chose rose water (no surprise there), but you can choose any other essential oil you want. These also make for great springtime/anytime gifts!
Note: I used cream of tartar, but I hear that citric acid (found in the canning section of your local bakery aisle) makes the bath bomb fizzier. If you’ve tried both, let me know which you prefer!
Make the Bath Bombs
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 2 tsp rose water
- 5 tsp water
- A few drops of food coloring (no sugar!)
- ¾ cup corn starch
- ¼ cup citric acid
- ¼ cup epsom salts
- Flower petals (optional)
- In a food processor, pulse together the corn starch, citric acid, and epsom salts until fine and combined.
- In a bowl, mix together the essential oil, coconut oil, water, and food coloring with a fork.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and pulse together until a mixture forms that feels like wet sand, and holds together when you squeeze it.
- Place flower petals in one half of a sphere mold (I found one in the candy-making section of a craft store) and put the mixture over the petals. Make sure the mold is overflowing! In the other half, fill up to/over the brim with the mixture as well.
- Pack together both ends of the mold and tap gently on the outside so they don’t stick. Carefully remove the bath bomb from the mold and place it on a baking sheet to dry for 2-3 days before using.
Enjoy! <3, B