Easy Blueberry Petit Fours

Petit fours are little cakes.  Delicious and dainty little cakes that would be perfect to serve at your Easter party this year.


If you've ever eaten a petit four, you know what a different and delicious little treat they are.  If you've ever MADE petit fours, you know just how time consuming and potentially frustrating they can be when made the traditional way.  (Trust me, I've made them several times.)  Well, I didn't make these the traditional way: I changed it.

The process might be reminiscent of lasagna, but the outcome might be something you might have never experienced.

There's no cutting out little circles or squares, spreading filling on those little pieces, stacking them together, and covering them with poured fondant.  All you have to do is slice your pound cake, layer it in a baking dish with some amazing blueberry curd, and top it all off with some stabilized whipped cream.

Plus, by cutting them before you serve them, your guests will never know just how easy they were to make.  It will be our little secret.

Easy Blueberry Petit Fours

For the Pound Cake

1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 cup cake flour
2 T dry powdered milk
1 T corn syrup
juice of half a small lemon
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp baking powder

  1. Allow butter to reach room temperature.  Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  2. Add eggs one at a time and mix well.
  3. Add flour, powdered milk, baking powder, and corn syrup.  Beat well.
  4. Add juice of half a lemon, salt, vanilla, and nutmeg.
  5. Blend well and pour into a greased loaf pan.
  6. Bake at 325 F for 45 minutes.
  7. Check for done-ness by inserting a toothpick to see if it comes out clean.  Do not overbake.
  8. Remove from oven and allow to cool 10 minutes.  Remove from pan onto a wire rack and cool completely.

For the Blueberry Curd

1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)
1 T water
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter
3 eggs, lightly beaten

  1. In a medium saucepan, combine blueberries and water.  Cook over low heat until blueberries are very soft (about 10 minutes).
  2. Press the blueberries through a fine mesh sieve and put the liquid back into the saucepan.  You'll have about 1/4 cup of blueberry liquid.
  3. Add remaining ingredients and stir together. 
  4. Cook on medium-low heat, stirring constantly until mixture is thickened (about 5 minutes). 
  5. The curd will continue to thicken as it cools.
  6. Cool completely.

For the Stabilized Whipped Cream

1 tsp unflavored gelatin
4 tsp cold water
1 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar

  1. In a small pan, combine gelatin and cold water; let stand until thick. (About 2 minutes)
  2. Place over low heat, stirring constantly, just until gelatin dissolves.
  3. Remove from heat; cool (do not allow it to set).
  4. Whip the cream with the powdered sugar until slightly thick.
  5. While beating, slowly add the gelatin to the whipping cream
  6. Whip at high speed until stiff.

Assembly

  1. Cut pound cake into 1/4 inch slices and layer in the bottom of an 8 x 11 baking dish.  
  2. Thinly spread blueberry curd over pound cake.  Make sure it's thin.  You don't want too much or it will be overbearing.
  3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 two more times.
  4. Top with stabilized whipped cream.
  5. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour for the whipped cream to set.
  6. Cut into 1 inch squares.
  7. Store in the refrigerator.

Pound cake recipe from copycat.com, blueberry curd recipe from beantownbaker.com, and stabilized whipped cream recipe from wilton.com.

  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS

Cream Cheese Filled Carrot Cake

Carrot cake is one of those desserts that naturally goes with Easter.  This carrot cake has a surprise of cream cheese filling in the middle that adds a delicious little twist.


This carrot cake is so moist and so yummy.  My husband was (until today) a carrot cake hater.  When he ate some of this today, he stated that it isn't carrot cake.  (At least, not as he knew it.)  This means that he loved it and ate nearly half of it all by himself.  It's that good.

Cream Cheese Filled Carrot Cake

3 cups shredded carrots (about 5-6 good sized carrots)
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 cup olive oil
3 eggs
2 cups whole soft white wheat flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Filling:

1 pkg. (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg

Cream Cheese Frosting:

1 pkg. (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
4 cups powdered sugar

In a large bowl, beat the carrots, sugar, oil and eggs until well blended. In another large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; gradually beat into carrot mixture until blended. Stir in the pecans. Pour 2 1/2 cups batter into a greased and floured 10-in. fluted tube pan.

In a small bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Beat in egg. Spoon over batter. Top with remaining batter. 

Bake at 350° for 55-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack to cool completely. 

For frosting, in a small bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla until fluffy. Gradually add confectioners' sugar until smooth. Frost cake.

 *Recipe from Taste of Home

  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS

My 3 Must-Have Essential Oils



Essential oils have become very popular over the past few years as people are turning to natural ways to help the body heal itself, prevent sickness, and improve their quality of life.  I have three essential oils that I always have in my home that I use all the time.  Today, I'd like to share those with you and tell you why I like them and how I use them.


Let's start off with lemon.  I love the fresh smell of lemon, so I use it in my cleaning.
  • It's the most effective de-greaser I've ever used.  Put a couple drops on a dry paper towel and wipe away those dried-on grease splatters.
  • I like to put a couple drops in my water to keep my digestive system awake and running smoothly.
  • I use it in my baking.  I'm a huge fan of lemon.  If it's a lemon dessert, I love it.  I use it in any lemon dessert to bring more flavor to the party.
  • I also use it as an air freshener and mood enhancer by diffusing it into the air.


Melaleuca has so many different qualities.
  • It's antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, antiparasitic, and antiseptic.
  • I've used it to get rid of mold and mildew.  Just before my second kid was born, I got our infant car seat out of the shed.  Looking at it, I discovered that it had some mildew on it.  My oldest had come into contact with it and developed itchy, red eyes and a high fever.  I replaced the carseat cover and wiped the rest of it down with melaleaca.  From that point on, it has been safe for my oldest to touch because the melaleuca completely got rid of the mildew.
  • I use it to clean the bathroom.  I add about 5 drops to my toilet bowl before cleaning it.
  • I use it for cold sores.  Again, my oldest developed a cold sore a couple weeks ago and after just one application of melaleuca, I could see it start to dry out and heal.
  • I've used it to get rid of parasites in my dogs.  In a capsule, I put 5 drops of oregano and 3 drops of melaleuca, hide it inside of a hot dog and give it to my dogs.


On Guard is my go-to for sickness.  Especially when it comes to babies.
  • When babies get sick, there's not much you can give them to help them feel better.  Essential oils are always the first thing I think of when dealing with babies.  One drop on each foot 3-4 times a day dramatically decreases the length of the sickness.  I don't dilute it, but it's suggested that you do dilute it in coconut or olive oil.
  • I also use it when adults get sick.  For them, I put a few drops in a capsule and have them swallow it.  
  • For children, babies, and adults, you can diffuse it into the air as a preventive measure.
  • I also like to use it for cleaning, just as I use meleleuca.
  • It's also great for oral health.  doTERRA has a whole line of On Guard products.  I like to do oil pulling.  It's basically swishing oil around in your mouth for 15-20 minutes as it pulls bacteria off your teeth and gums.  When I do this, I add two drops of On Guard for added oral benefits.
If you want to purchase doTERRA essential oils, you can come into our store or you can use this link.

  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS

Irish Creme Brulee

I've said it before and I'll say it again. Creme Brulee is my all-time favorite dessert. On top of that, I love the flavor of Irish Cream. I've put it in brownies, pie, and I've flavored hot cocoa with it. So, when I saw this recipe for Irish Creme Brulee, you know I had to make it.


We sell these flavoring syrups that are typically used to flavor Italian Sodas, coffee, and hot cocoa.  I think they add some amazing flavor to baked goods and other desserts too.  I have several flavors at home that I use all the time.  They even make a great ice cream topping.

Did you notice the ramekins?  I'll admit it; I'm not only a sucker for creme brulee, but also for ramekins.  Good thing they go together so well.  :)  Can you imagine my excitement when I saw these colored ramekins come into the store?  They come in green, orange (although it's more goldish), red, and blue.  I thought the green and orange ones would be perfect for some St. Patrick's Day Irish Creme Brulee.

Oh, and did you also noticed that little spoon?  It's called a demitasse spoon.  It's about 4 inches long and is absolutely perfect for eating creme brulee, ice cream, pudding, and yogurt.  We sell those too, in case you were wondering.

Irish Cream Creme Brulee


  1. Preheat oven to 325 F.
  2. In a saucepan, heat cream and flavoring syrup until just hot.  DO NOT BOIL.  Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk eggs and egg yolks together.  (Note: In a typical creme brulee, sugar is added to the eggs.  In this recipe there is already enough sugar in the flavoring syrup, so no sugar is needed in the eggs.)
  4. Gradually add hot cream mixture to eggs, stirring constantly.
  5. Place in 6 4 oz. ramekins and place in a 9x13 baking dish.  Pour water into baking dish until it reaches halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
  6. Bake 25-30 minutes or until creme brulee is set when baking dish is jiggled.
  7. Remove ramekins from baking dish and allow to cool 30 minutes.  Refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight.
  8. Just before serving, sprinkle granulated sugar over the top of each creme brulee.  
  9. Set oven to broil and place ramekins on a baking sheet.  Place in the oven 6-8 inches below the heat source for 30-60 seconds.  Rotate baking sheet if sugar is melting unevenly.  Watch carefully as sugar burns easily.  When it is golden-brown, remove from oven.  Let sugar harden for 2 minutes.  Serve immediately.

Recipe adapted from Betty Crocker

  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS

Grasshopper Thumbprint Cookies


“What? Did YOU make these?”

“But, seriously, where did you buy these?”

“I wish I could make awesome things like you can.”

The previous quotes are examples of the kinds of reactions you might receive after showing your most recent homemade cookies.  


It might surprise you how going just one or two baby steps farther than the average person can make the average person oogle or squirm at the sight of something they are too afraid to attempt.  You know, such as melting chocolate or using a new kind of cookie pan. 

The truth is, we are all a little guilty of leaving desserts in the boring yet comfortable doldrums of commonness.  But you, you have decided to scale the hills and take a step that your friends and family are too afraid to take.  You have decided to throw caution to the wind and follow a different recipe than you usually do.  Step aside chocolate chip cookie, we introduce the grasshopper thumbprint cookie.  With  a taste that may surpass the girl scouts, ingredients that you already have, and a new piece of hardware that won’t be put in the dark corners of your cupboard, this cookie looks fantastic, yet still overproduces with flavor.

A lot chocolatey and a little minty, these cookies will definitely keep you coming back for more. And what's more, we have a special cookie pan to bake them in that already has that thumbprint indentation for you. It's a nonstick filled cookie pan and it looks like this:


Pretty nifty, huh?  All you have to do is press your cookie dough into each cavity, bake them, and fill them.  You'll have perfectly shaped and perfectly uniform cookies every time.  You can find these pans in our store.

Grasshopper Thumbprint Cookies

  • 4 oz high quality dark or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 3 drops peppermint flavoring oil
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 T brown sugar, packed
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup dutch process cocoa powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt

For the filling:

  • 4 oz high quality white chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 4 T heavy cream
  • 4 drops peppermint flavoring oil
  • green food coloring

  1. Melt the chocolate in the microwave in 30 second bursts until almost melted (about 1 minute total). Stir until it is completely melted.  Add 3 drops peppermint flavoring oil and stir to combine.  Set aside.
    In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter with the sugars until light and fluffy. About 3 minutes.  Add egg yolks and vanilla and beat until combined.  Add the cooled chocolate and mix until combined.
  2. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the flour, cocoa powder, and salt.  Mix until just combined.
  3. In your filled cookie pan, press dough into each cavity, filling each cavity almost to the top.  Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes.
  4. Remove from oven and let cool for 5-10 minutes.  Flip the pan upside down to release the cookies.  Transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
  5. For the filling, heat the cream until it just barely boils.  Remove from heat and pour over white chocolate.  Stir until all the white chocolate is melted.  Add peppermint flavoring oil and green food coloring.  Spoon into the well of each cookie and let sit until it firms up.  If desired drizzle some melted dark chocolate over the tops of each cookie.
*Recipe adapted from Baked Sunday Mornings

  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS

Crepe Brulee Cake

I had this idea one night while I was eating my favorite dessert: creme brulee. Turns out, it's not an original idea, but it sure is a good one regardless of who originally came up with the idea.


I've been eying these crepe cakes going around on Pinterest and I've been meaning to make one for quite a while now. I finally did it. And the results are very yummy.

Creme brulee and crepes are desserts that are thought of as being more elegant. Combine them and you have the ultimate in elegance.

This is a dessert that takes some time to prepare, but it's not hard and it's totally worth the effort.

Crepe Brulee Cake
 
For the crepes:

4 eggs
6 T melted butter
2 1/2 cups milk
2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp butter

In a large bowl, whisk all ingredients together until well combined.  Let sit for about 10 minutes to allow the whole wheat flour to absorb all the liquid it can.

Pour about 1/3 cup of batter into a crepe pan and cook one side until lightly browned.  Flip and cook the other side until lightly browned.  Remove from pan onto a plate. Repeat until all the batter has been used.  This should yield about 20 crepes.

For the filling:

1 package Bavarian Creme pastry filling

When crepes have cooled, place one on a plate.  Spread Bavarian Creme pastry filling very thinly over the crepe.  Top with another crepe and again spread pastry filling thinly over crepe.  Repeat until all the crepes have been used and end with a crepe on top.

In a small sauce pan, melt 1/4 cup white sugar.  Do not stir.  Gently shake the pan in a circular motion to evenly melt sugar.  Remove from heat when sugar is a light amber color.  

With a spoon, drizzle melted sugar over crepe cake.  Slice with a sharp knife and enjoy!

 


  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS

Homemade Animal Crackers

Continuing on with our Make it Homemade series, today we have pink and white animal crackers.  I've been having so much fun making things that you'd normally only buy in the store.  Not only is it gratifying to see something you made that you usually see made on an assembly line, but you can also customize them to be healthier, a different shape, a different color, a different flavor, you name it.


With Valentine's Day approaching, you could even make these heart-shaped and dip them in pink, white, and red confectioner's coating and sprinkle them with plain white nonpareils.  You could do chicks and bunnies and dip them in pastel colored coatings for Easter.  The customizations are endless.

I dipped these in our white vanilla drops for the white ones and for the pink ones, I just added some pink powdered food coloring to the white.  Be sure to use powdered food coloring because gels, pastes, or liquids will cause the coating to stiffen and you definitely can't work with that.

They're fun and easy.  Have fun making them!

Homemade Animal Crackers

1 1/4 cups flour*
1/2 tsp baking powder*
1/2 tsp salt*
1/4 tsp cinnamon*
dash nutmeg*
6 T butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar*
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract*
white vanilla drops*
pink powdered food coloring*
nonpareils 

*These items can be found in our store.

In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and beat for 1 minute, stopping the mixer once to scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Stop the mixer and add half of the flour mixture. Beat on low speed until most of the flour has been absorbed. Add the remaining flour and beat until all of the flour has been absorbed and the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl, 2 to 3 minutes.

Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.

Let the dough stand at room temperature for 5 minutes. Roll out the dough to 1/8-inch thickness. (If the dough cracks while rolling, let it stand at room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes more.) Remove the plastic wrap and place the dough on a floured work surface. Lightly dust the top of the dough with flour.

Preheat an oven to 350°F.

Line several baking sheets with parchment paper. Cut animal shapes (or whatever shape you want) with small cookie cutters.  Place cut out shapes on a baking sheet. Gather up the scraps, re-roll and cut out more cookies.

Bake the cookies until very light golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer the cookies to wire racks and let the cookies cool to room temperature.

Prepare the dipping station while the cookies are cooling. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set out a tiny bowl of nonpareils. In a heatproof bowl melt the white vanilla drops in the microwave 30 seconds at a time, stirring after each interval until smooth.

Dip half of the cooled cookies, one at a time, in the melted white coating. Transfer to parchment paper and top with sprinkles. Add powdered pink food coloring to the remaining white vanilla drops and repeat the process with the remaining cookies.

Let the dipped cookies stand for a hour or two until the coating has firmed up.

*Adapted from Williams Sanoma

  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS