Pasta Night: Cacio E Pere (pear + cheese ravioli)

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!

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Cacio E Pere

Cacio E Pere

Cacio E Pere

Cacio E Pere

Cacio E Pere

Cacio E Pere

1 tsp kosher salt

4 c flour

6 eggs

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

  1. 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.
  2. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes, then transfer to a greased bowl, cover with a damp cloth and let sit for an hour.
  3. Meanwhile, stir together the cheeses and pear, then refrigerate.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Garnish with pepper and pecorino.

Enjoy!

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Blackberry Pop-Tarts

If you’re like me, you get nostalgic about your food. If you are me, it’s breakfast food specifically. Like anyone who subconsciously memorizes the little things, the smell of a relative’s basement, which light switch controls the lights as opposed to the ceiling fan, and how you hold a doorknob in place just the right way to open your bedroom door, (to name a few), there are sentimentally valuable aspects to what you ate as a kid when you revisit them as a slightly older kid. For example, I’m occasionally ridiculed for prioritizing Lucky Charms as my snack of choice. However, it isn’t just the emotionally and physically drained feeling that comes with a bowl of sugar cereal that I love, it’s the fact that it tastes like those times I was successful enough to be granted permission to eat charms for breakfast. Pop-Tarts are another example, but these are on a whole different playing field. There’s nothing that comes close to the integrity of an original frosted strawberry Pop-Tart, but these blackberry ones are the ones you want to eat.

Blackberry pop-tart

Blackberry Pop-Tarts ingredients

Blackberry Pop-Tarts

Blackberry Pop-Tarts

Blackberry Pop-Tarts

Blackberry Pop-Tarts

Blackberry Pop-Tarts

Blackberry Pop-Tarts

Blackberry Pop-Tarts

Blackberry Pop-Tarts

Blackberry Pop-Tarts

Blackberry Pop-Tarts

Blackberry Pop-Tarts

Blackberry Pop-Tarts

Make the Pop-Tarts

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz blackberries
  • 1 tbsp. lemon zest
  • 3 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tbsp. water
  • 2 9-inch pie crusts (store-bought or homemade)

For the glaze:

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 3-4 tbsp. milk or water
  • 1/2 tsp. lemon zest
  • 1/2 tsp. juice from the blackberry jam
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a small saucepan, heat the blackberries, zest, sugar, and water over low heat. Cook for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally and crushing the berries with a wooden spoon, until the jam is thick and syrupy.
  2. To make the glaze, stir together the powdered sugar, milk, zest, and blackberry juice. If the glaze isn’t thin enough, add another teaspoon of milk.
  3. Roll out the pie crust and cut 5 x 4 inch rectangles with a pizza cutter. To make each shape uniform, first cut out a rectangle of cardboard and use it as a stencil for the other crusts.
  4. Spoon a few tablespoons of the blackberry jam onto the middle of a rectangle. Brush the borders of the pop-tart with egg wash (egg yolk + 1 tsp water), cover the rectangle with another section of crust, and crimp the edges with a fork or your fingers. Brush the pop-tarts with more egg wash.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the pop-tarts are golden brown. Once they’re cool, frost them with the lemon-blackberry glaze.

Enjoy!

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Chocolate Chunk Cookies w/ Salty Burnt Caramel

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.

chocolate chunk cookies with salty burnt caramel

Chocolate Chunk Cookies with Salty Burnt Caramel

caramel sauce

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Melted butter

browned butter

browned butter

chocolate chunk cookie dough

chocolate chunk cookies with salty burnt caramel

chocolate chunk cookie with salty burnt caramel

Make the Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 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)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat.
  2. 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.
  3. Pour the butter into a large bowl and mix in sugar, then the eggs and vanilla.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

Enjoy!

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White Rose Cake with Pink Vanilla Buttercream

aka The Best Cake I’ve ever made (just in time for Valentine’s Day)!

As of right now, my newest discovery happens to be my favorite ingredient: rose water. Though I’ve only made a couple things with this magical extract, it’s a great addition to simple recipes if you want to change things up a little. It also happens to be the case that roses are a natural aphrodisiac, hence the V-day theme. I derived this recipe from a simple white cake I found on Pinterest, so I do not take credit for the original, but I did switch it up quite a bit.

The cake is three 8-inch layers filled and frosted with a pink vanilla buttercream. If you want to pipe rosettes, my recommendation is to use a wide-star tip and start from the center of each rose, swirling out.

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Make the Cake

Ingredients:

  • 2 sticks softened butter
  • ½ cup vegetable shortening
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 5 egg whites, room temperature
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 cups of milk, room temperature
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. rose water
  1. Butter and flour 3 8-inch cake pans. Preheat the oven to 350.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and shortening. Add the sugar one cup at a time and beat until light and fluffy. Add the egg whites gradually and beat until incorporated. In a small bowl, whisk together the milk and vanilla and rose extracts.
  3. In another bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder.
  4. Alternate adding the dry and wet ingredients into the egg mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.
  5. Bake for about 25-30 minutes until the cake is golden and a knife inserted comes out clean.

Pink Vanilla Buttercream: Beat together 2 sticks of softened with 1 lb of powdered sugar. Slowly add room temperature milk, one tablespoon at a time, until the frosting comes together. Beat until fluffy and fold in a drop of pink food dye.

Enjoy! <3, B

Rosemary Caramel Ice Cream

For me, ice cream is a year-round commitment. To the people who stop eating ice cream in the winter: you are weak and natural selection is coming for you. However, it does feel slightly wrong to be cuddled next to the fire with a bowl of lemon sorbet. So instead of stopping ice cream consumption altogether because it feels “wrong,” I thought it would be best to just adjust the flavor so it feels more winter-y.

Here’s my recipe for rosemary (infused) caramel ice cream. It’s almost like warm ice cream because of the flavor (don’t actually eat it warm). This recipe is for one pint, but I won’t judge you if you double/triple/quadruple the serving size. Enjoy!

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Make the ice cream

Ingredients:

  • 6-8 sprigs rosemary
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup caramel sauce (recipe below)
  • 2 c heavy cream
  1. In a small saucepan, heat milk until it begins to bubble at the edges. Add rosemary and let simmer for a minute. Remove from heat, cover, and let steep for 10-15 minutes.
  2. In a saucepan, whisk egg yolks and sugar until pale yellow. Slowly whisk in the milk and stir constantly over low heat until the mixture can coat a wooden spoon.
  3. Stir in caramel. Chill the mixture until cold (1-2 hours).
  4. Add heavy cream and churn in an ice cream maker. Transfer to a container and freeze until firm.

Caramel sauce: dissolve 1 cup of sugar in 5 tbsp of water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Let cook, swirling the pot occasionally, until the caramel is amber. Remove from heat and add 1/3 cup cold butter. Stir in 1/2 cup heavy cream. Refrigerate until cool.

Enjoy! <3, B

Homemade Spiced Hot Cocoa Mix

It’s officially Christmas Eve’s Eve Eve! As you know, when you get in the spirit pretty early in the season, Christmas day itself seems almost surreal. I don’t even want to get into post-holiday feels. So the past few posts have been my version of a countdown of sorts, all things holiday leading up to the big hoorah. For this next giftable item, I decided I wanted to go for a traditional holiday staple: hot cocoa. Unfortunately, however, I’ve found myself growing tired of your basic, everyday milk chocolate hot cocoa with gummy marshmallows and a condensed, syrupy bottom. So I was inspired to kick it up a notch and spice things up (pun extremely intended).

This recipe fills a half-pint jar and serves two people or one ambitious person with big dreams and motivation.

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Make the mix:

Ingredients

  • 3 1/2 oz semi sweet chocolate
  • 2 tbsp. cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • pinch of ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg

(1 cup of half & half = 5 tbsp. of cocoa mix)

  1. Process the chocolate in a food processor until it’s grainy and sand-like. Add sugar and cocoa powder and blend until powdery (it won’t be super smooth).
  2. Add cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg and blend until combined.

To make the hot cocoa (2 servings): heat 2 cups of half & half or milk in a small saucepan until the edges begin to bubble, stir in 10 tablespoons of hot cocoa mix and stir until smooth, pour into two mugs.

Enjoy! xo, B

Marshmallow Fondant

Fondant is an edible clay used for covering and decorating cakes. It’s used instead of buttercream for a smooth finish, and also for topping cupcakes. Since making a fondant tier cake is always a project, I set aside a day for baking off the layers (lemon sponge), making the frosting (vanilla buttercream), and, of course, rolling out home made fondant. This is seriously marshmallow in its best form.

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Make the fondant:

Ingredients

  • 16 oz mini marshmallows
  • 8 cups powdered sugar
  • 5 tbsp. water
  1. In a large microwave-safe bowl, mix the marshmallows and water.
  2. Microwave the marshmallows for about 1 1/2 minutes, then stir until the marshmallows are almost completely melted. Put them back in for about 30 seconds, then they should be smooth with no chunks.
  3. Add the sugar 1 cup at a time and knead either with your clean hands or a wooden spoon. Once the fondant isn’t sticky, like soft dough, add food coloring if you want and knead until the color is even. For a marble effect, twist in food dye and stop when the fondant is marble-y.

Covering a cake

  1. Dust a counter or cutting board with either corn starch or powdered sugar. Use a rolling pin to roll out the fondant, making sure none of it is sticking (it takes a few times before you can get the fondant all on in one piece.)
  2. Spread a thin crumb coat of frosting over your cake. Sprinkle more powdered sugar over the sheet of fondant and fold it into fourths (this makes it easy to pick it up, I also use this technique for pie crust.)
  3. Place the folded fondant on the cake and unfold so there’s fondant down to the bottom. If it’s wrinkled, use a fondant smoother to even it out. 
  4. Use cookie cutters for fondant shapes and a shot glass for polka dots (and stick on the cake with water and a paint brush)

Enjoy! <3, B

Chocolate Hazelnut Mousse

Sorry I haven’t posted in a while..I actually meant to post this the other day I just got really busy and completely forgot. I wanted to make something nutella-ish and chocolate-ish, so here it is.

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Make the mousse

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups semi sweet orr dark chocolate chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 cups of heavy cream
  • 1 tbsp. cup cocoa powder
  • 2 giant heaping tbsp. of nutella
  1. In a small saucepan, heat the cream until it begins to bubble around the edges. Pour in the chocolate and make sure all of the morsels are under the cream. Turn off the heat, let it sit for a minute, then stir until smooth.
  2. Add the cocoa powder and nutella and make sure the mixture in combined well.
  3. Put the saucepan in a bowl/tray of ice and begin to beat it with a hand-held mixer. At almost full speed it should take about 7-10 minutes before the mousse is thick. Beat just until you can flip over the saucepan and it stays inside.

Enjoy! <3, B

Peach Basil Pie

(Almost award winning.) A few weeks ago, I entered my application for this year’s Beverly Hills Piesta pie bake competition. Although I didn’t come out triumphant with the $275 first place prize, I did make a pretty awesome pie. It’s full of summer time flavor.

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Make the pie

Ingredients:

  • 6-7 fresh yellow or white peaches, peeled and thinly sliced

  • ¼ cup of white sugar (adjust amount depending on the sweetness of the peaches)

  • 1 meyer lemon (I get mine from my neighbor’s tree)

  • 8 large fresh basil leaves, chopped into small ribbons

Make the pie:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350.

  2. Zest and juice the lemon, then combine in a bowl with the peaches, basil, and sugar.

  3. Roll out 1 pie crust disk into a 9-inch pie plate. Prick a few holes in the dish, then pour in the filling (if the filling is overly juicy, you might need to strain it before putting it in the crust.)

  4. Cover the pie with the second crust and prick more holes in the top with a fork.

  5. Brush the top with egg wash, then bake for 40-45 minutes or until the pie is golden.

Enjoy! <3, B

French Chocolate Macarons

(Sort of.)

I constantly use this recipe, but for some random reason they didn’t turn out the way they always do. Usually, when you make macarons, they’re baked with a little “foot” on the end of the cookie. HOWEVER, these did not bake with a foot, they were cracked on the top, and the cookies came out very delicate. (Still delicious, just not the same.) I think the reason they came out differently was my oven, which has been acting strange, or the fact I might have over-whipped the egg whites..in any case, I’m giving you my classic recipe and hopefully you’ll find success with it. 

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Make the macarons

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of powdered sugar
  • 6 tbsp. cocoa powder
  • 1 cup ground up almonds (4 oz of sliced almonds in a food processor)
  • 4 egg whites (at room temperature)
  • 10 tbsp. white sugar
  1. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper, and preheat the oven to 350. In a food processor, grind up the almonds, powdered sugar, and cocoa powder. 
  2. In a kitchen aid, whip the egg whites until they begin to stiffen, then gradually add the white sugar 1 tablespoon at a time. Stop whipping when the mix can hold soft peaks. WIth a rubber spatula, fold in the almond mix.
  3. Fill a piping bag (with a plain tip) or ziploc bag (snip off a corner) with the batter and pipe 1 inch circles onto the lined baking sheets. Bang the sheets on a flat surface a few times to flatten out the circles. Bake the cookies for 10-15 minutes.

Ganache (filling) Ingredients:

  • 4 tps. light corn syrup
  • 3 tbsp. butter (cut into small chunks)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 8 oz dark chocolate
  • drop of vanilla
  1. In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, stir together the cream, vanilla, and corn syrup. When the edges begin to bubble, remove from the heat.
  2. Add the chocolate, wait 2 minutes, then whisk until smooth. Add the butter and whisk.
  3. Refrigerate or just leave the ganache at room temperature until it thickens. (1-2 hours)
  4. Pipe or spread a layer of ganache between two macaron cookies and sandwich them together.

Enjoy! <3, B