Savoiardi

Calories: 35/cookie| Prep: 30 min | Bake: 10-15 min | Yield: 30 cookies

Savoiardi is the Italian for Ladyfingers. No! Not actual fingers! My daughter thought something totally brutal and Viking style when I told her I was going to make ladyfingers. These, unlike actual ladies fingers, are soft, spongy, and a tad sweet with a great lemon flavor! These are great with coffee, tea, or as an ingredient in a home-made tiramisu. Savoiardi is a very technical dessert. If the recipe says x,y,z do not do your own a,b,c or they will turn out like lady pancakes. I can say after I made this once, I will never ever buy these again. They taste nothing like the ones in packages from the store in the best way.

Ingredients:

  • 3 eggs; separated
  • 1/2 C. sugar; divided
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp. lemon juice; divided
  • lemon zest from 1 lemon
  • 1/2 C. cake flour
  • 2 Tbs. corn starch
  • confection sugar; dusted

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350°F.
  2. Line baking sheets with parchment paper and prep a piping bag (I use a gallon size plastic storage bag) with a 1/2″ tip.
  3. In a medium bowl, beat egg whites, 1/4 C. sugar, and 1 tsp. lemon juice with a handheld mixer until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
  4. In another medium bowl, beat yolks, remaining 1/4 C. sugar, zest, vanilla extract, 1 tsp. lemon juice, and salt with a hand mixer until thick and pale yellow.
  5. In a small bowl, combine the flour and corn starch. When well mixed, sift the flour mix into the yolk mix while folding with a spatula until well combined. The mix should be smooth and have no lumps or flour on the sides or bottom of the bowl.
  6. GENTLY fold in the egg whites. *This is important as you can over mix and make the batter “deflate” if you just mix it in like a regular cake batter.*
  7. Place the batter into the piping bag and create 4″ lines with space between on the lined baking sheets. The batter should hold its shape. If the batter is runny, you can add 1 Tbs. more of cake flour.
  8. Sift the confection sugar on the lady fingers and let sit for about 5 minutes before sprinkling with confection sugar again.
  9. Place in the oven for about 15 minutes or until light golden brown on the edges (my newer oven only takes about 11 minutes where my old oven took the full 15).
  10. Enjoy!

*Note* You can store these for up to 14 days in an airtight container.

Feel free to leave a comment below and let me know how this turned out. Also, any edits or things you did different that worked better or enhanced this recipe, do tell!

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Easy Chicken Brine

high sodium/sugar| Prep: 10 min | Chill: 120 min | Yield: 5 cups

Have you ever just thrown chicken into a pan or oven with some random seasoning and some butter or oil? How about from the package straight to the grill? Well, stop it! That’s why everyone wants store and restaurant cooked chicken and not the kind you probably put a lot of work into. If you’ve never brined chicken, you should start because that’s the secret to turning that dish from drab to fab. You’ll go from dry and tasteless chicken breasts to tender and juicy. Even the dark meat, arguably the best, could use some help. My kids get picky sometimes and this is how I’ve been able to avoid the dreaded “I don’t like it!” comment followed by “…because it’s too dry-y-y!” I don’t post many savory things, but this is important! This is my mommy-approved easy chicken brine solution.

Ingredients:

  • 5 C. water
  • 1/4 C. kosher salt*
  • 1/4 C. brown sugar
  • 1/4 C. soy sauce
  • 1 Tbs. minced garlic
  • 2 Tbs. chopped onion
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • *optional* 1 tsp. crushed red pepper or sriracha sauce
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs

Directions:

  1. In a large pot, heat oil and sweat garlic, onion, and crushed red pepper/sriracha (about 15 seconds).
  2. Add the water, salt, sugar, and soy sauce and bring to a full boil. Stir while heating to dissolve the salt and sugar.
  3. Remove from heat once the salt and sugar are completely dissolved and incorporated. Allow brine to cool to room temperature or place in an ice bath for faster cooling time.
  4. Once cooled, rinse the chicken and place in brine, cover, and refrigerate for at least two hours before using.
  5. Enjoy!

*Kosher salt and table salt are two completely different things! If you don’t have kosher salt, use 1/2 the amount called for in a recipe for table salt. For this recipe, use 2 Tbs. table salt instead of 1/4 C. or it will be way too salty.

Feel free to leave a comment below and let me know how this turned out. Also, any edits or things you did different that worked better or enhanced this recipe, do tell!

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Marscarpone Cream

Calories: 95| Prep: 10 min | Chill: 30 min | Yield: 16 servings

This is my personal favorite for tart fillings as opposed to pastry cream. It’s much easier and I like the texture and taste as it’s lighter. You can use this as a filling for the pastry crust recipe here. This can be refrigerated for upwards of 3 days if you want to make it ahead of time. There are many ways to make this your own, in terms of flavor, and I have a few variations and flavors listed below under **.

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz. marscarpone; room temp*
  • 1/2 C. heavy cream; room temp*
  • 1/4 C. confection sugar
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract**

Directions:

  1. In a medium bowl, whip the marscarpone with a hand mixer for about 1 minute.
  2. Slowly add the heavy cream to the marscarpone with the hand mixer on medium speed. Be sure to do this slowly to avoid curdling (I speak from experience)!
  3. Add the sugar and vanilla then whip until light and fluffy.
  4. Divide the mix in half and spread into two cooled tart crusts, pie crusts, etc. For a fuller tart or pie, use the whole batch; double the calories noted above. For tarts, refrigerate until ready to top with fruit or decorate immediately.
  5. Enjoy!

*I have had more curdled disasters trying to do this at room temperature than I’d like to admit. Marscarpone is a fickle damsel. I have done this many times using cream and marscarpone straight from the fridge with great results and a 100% success rate with no noticeable difference in texture, taste, etc.

**This is a basic vanilla marscarpone recipe. Of course, you can change this and make it into many other flavors to suit your needs and taste. For example (in place of vanilla extract noted with **):

Chocolate Cream:
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 Tbs. cocoa powder

Lemon Citrus Cream:
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. lemon extract
1/2 tsp. lemon juice (add this after heavy cream has been incorporated)
lemon or orange zest to taste

Coffee Cream:
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. instant espresso (mix with 1/2 tsp water before adding to cream)

Raspberry Cream:
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. raspberry extract
*optional* 1/4 C. fresh raspberries
*optional* lemon or orange zest to taste

Feel free to leave a comment below and let me know how this turned out. Also, any edits or things you did different that worked better or enhanced this recipe, do tell!

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Pastry Crust

Calories: 113| Prep: 10 min | Bake: 10 min | Yield: 16 servings

This is a great versatile crust for just about any pastry. I use this for tarts, but it would be great for dessert pies as well. This is simple to put together and quick to bake. You can also make this ahead of time or store it for later use. This recipe is good for two 9 inch round crusts. You can fill this with the pastry cream recipe used here.

handcpc

Ingredients:

  • 1 and 1/3 C. flour
  • 1/2 C. confection sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 Tbs. heavy cream
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 C. (1 stick) butter; cubed and cold

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, whisk egg, cream, and vanilla together until incorporated.
  2. In a food processor, add flour, sugar, and salt and pulse to mix.
  3. Add the cubed butter to the processor and mix until it forms into pea-sized crumbs. Add the wet ingredients to the processor and pulse until the dough forms into a ball.
  4. On a floured surface, flatten the dough into a disc and wrap. Let the dough refrigerate for at least an hour.
  5. Preheat oven to 400°F. Remove dough from refrigerator and divide in two equal parts and roll into 9-inch circles (for a thicker crust, use all the dough for one 9-inch round pan; double the calories noted above). Poke a fork into the bottom of the pressed dough a few times.
  6. Place rolled dough into greased 9-inch pan(s) and press into the pan and up the sides until even. Place pan(s) in the oven and bake for about 10 minutes or until edges are a golden brown. You can get fancy with it and use pie weights, but I’ve never had an issue with the bottom bubbling up.
  7. Remove from oven and allow to cool before filling.
  8. Enjoy!

*Note* You can save the dough in the fridge for up to two days. You can freeze the pressed dough for about a week. If baking frozen, you will need to allow around 20 minutes for baking time.

handctart

Feel free to leave a comment below and let me know how it turned out. Also, any edits or things you did different that worked better or enhanced this recipe, do tell!

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Hollandaise Sauce

Calories: 261| Prep: 2 min | Cook: 3 min | Yield: 4 servings

So, I love a good Benedict, who doesn’t?! Did you know that aside from everything that goes into it, the secret’s in the sauce? The Hollandaise can make or break your breakfast. It can go from breakfast in bed to breakfast in your face and on the wall real quick. This simple recipe is great for a Benedict and quick to make.

handchs

Ingredients:

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 Tbs fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 C. (1 stick) butter; melted
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • Pinch cayenne (or more for lovers of bear mace)

Directions:

  1. Place a pot with a small amount of water on the burner and allow to simmer.
  2. While waiting for the water to heat, whisk egg yolks and lemon juice in a stainless steel or ceramic bowl until it has almost doubled in volume and thickened.
  3. Place the bowl over the pot of simmering water and continue to whisk (the water should not touch the bottom of the bowl or it will scramble the yolks due to overheating). To avoid getting too hot, I find it helpful to alternate whisking the mixture over the pot and off the pot a few times.
  4. Slowly whisk in the melted butter and continue to whisk until thickened and about double in volume. The mixture should be silky and smooth.
  5. Remove from heat and mix in the cayenne and salt.
  6. Set aside until ready to use.
  7. Enjoy!

*Note* If the sauce becomes too thick after sitting and waiting to be used, you can add a small amount of water (about 1/4 tsp at a time) and whisk to proper consistency.

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Disappearing Fruit Tart

Calories: 315 (before toppings) | Prep: 30 min | Chill: 2 hours | Yield: 10 servings

handctart2

I have made this tart for my daughter’s birthday since… her first birthday. I wanted to do something different from cake and ice cream. Something she’ll remember when she’s grown and moved out. The “I miss those tarts my mom always made me!” and “This tart is good, but it’s not as good as mom’s.” I have a new revamped version I’m going to be trying soon, but this is the OG tart recipe I made in my younger years and have stuck with for the tradition ever since. The filling uses pastry cream and graham cracker crust. This is not nearly as daunting as it might look and the outcome is many “ooo’s,” “ahhh’s,” and “yummmms!” Here’s the tart I make every year that disappears as quickly as it’s set out.

Ingredients Crust:

  • 1½ C. finely ground graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/3 C. sugar
  • 6 Tbs. butter; melted
  • OR use my pastry crust posted here.

Ingredients Pastry Cream:

  • 3 C. whole milk
  • 1/2 C. sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 C. cornstarch
  • 1 Tbs. flour
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 4 Tbs. butter
  • OR use my marscarpone recipe posted here.

Toppings:

  • I stick to berries and fruits that don’t go brown when exposed to oxygen

Directions:

Part I – Crust:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. In a bowl, mix graham cracker crumbs and sugar together then pour in melted butter and mix until well incorporated.
  3. Press into a 9″ tart/round pan (removable bottom is the easiest to use).
  4. Bake for about 7 minutes. Set aside and allow to cool.

Part II – Pastry Cream:

  1. In a medium saucepan, heat 2½ C. milk, sugar, and salt. Allow to simmer to melt the sugar (not boiling).
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk cornstarch, flour, yolks, and remaining ½ C. of milk until lightly frothy.
  3. Remove hot milk from stove and add a small amount at a time to the egg mixture while whisking to temper. When all the hot milk is added to the yolk mixture, add back to the saucepan.
  4. Bring the cream to a boil, whisking constantly until thickened.
  5. Remove from heat and pour into the bowl.
  6. Add the butter and vanilla extract and stir until butter is all melted and combined.
  7. Rub some butter over the top and place plastic wrap or a plastic bag over the top to prevent a skin from forming. Let cool to a warm temperature before placing in the refrigerator or freezer.
  8. Refrigerate until cool then pour/pipe into previously prepared crust and smooth with a spatula or the back of a spoon.

Part III – Topping:

  1. Time to dress the nude tart! This is the easiest and most fun part.
  2. Arrange your fruit/berries in a geometric pattern (or for the lovers of chaos, throw it all on top and where it falls is where it shall be devoured).
  3. Optional* You can glaze the fruit by mixing 2 Tbs. of orange or peach preserves with 1 Tbs. of water and brush over after the design process. (I have in the past, but I don’t usually do this because the cream and crust are so rich already.)

Enjoy!

I have a “healthy” version of this and will post the recipe later, so subscribe to my blog for updates!

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Black Licorice Ice Cream

Calories: ≈ 275| Prep: 15 min | Chill: 40 min | Yield: 4 Cups (8 servings)

If you’re like me, you may have gone to an actual ice cream parlor as a kid and your parents probably paid lots of money for those amazing specialty flavors you couldn’t get at the store. The problem all started when the parlors started going out of business. I couldn’t find this amazing flavor anymore. This is my version of black licorice ice cream. If you’re one of the rare fans, this is sure to bring some nostalgia to your day. This was the first real soft serve ice cream recipe I’ve ever made. I used to pour milk, sugar, and vanilla into the ice cream maker and thought it was ice cream but I was so so wrong. That’s just frozen sugar milk. This though, is delicious!

handcblic1

Ingredients:

  • 6 oz. black licorice or anise hard candy
  • 1/2 C. water
  • 2 C. whole milk
  • 1 C. heavy cream
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/3 C. granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp. anise extract *optional*

Directions:

  1. First, we need to make a “simple syrup” with the licorice candy. In a small saucepan, add the water and licorice candy and put on a medium-low heat; stir occasionally to mix the melting sugar.
  2. While the syrup is heating, pour the milk and heavy cream into a medium saucepan on medium-high heat. You will heat this to a steaming point (not boiling).
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks until well combined then add the sugar and anise extract. Whisk until slightly fluffy and pale yellow.
  4. This is the important step! When the milk has started steaming, remove from heat and GRADUALLY add the hot milk to the whisked eggs; whisk through this whole process until all the milk has been added to create your custard base. Adding the hot liquid slowly while stirring prevents the yolks from cooking and becoming a lumpy yucky mess.
  5. Pour the custard back into the medium saucepan then add the licorice syrup and black food color. You will want this on a medium-low heat until a thin layer can coat the back of a spoon.
  6. Remove from heat and either chill for 20 minutes in an ice bath or allow it to cool before placing it in the refrigerator. (I’ve made this many times but the best results were achieved after letting it chill overnight, which is ideal. If you want/need this more urgently, you can use with good results after chilling at least 6 hours in the refrigerator or an hour or so in the freezer.)
  7. Place custard in your ice cream maker and follow those specific instructions to make the ice cream.
  8. When the churning process is over, remove from ice cream maker and place in a freezer safe container and freeze for about 2 hours before eating. The custard will want to melt pretty quickly right out of the ice cream maker. When it goes into the freezer after the churning process, this helps it set and turn into that soft-serve ice cream you get at the supermarket…
  9. Enjoy!

*Note* This recipe is a great basic soft serve ice cream recipe if you remove the water, licorice candy, and anise extract and add an extra 1/3 C. of sugar and whatever flavors/berries/candies you like. I’ve made this with root beer extract, vanilla extract, and even done a raspberry white chocolate batch. Add the candy/berries during the last minute of churning if you want them to remain in their original form (i.e. not mushed or dissolved or dying the ice cream a muddy color).

I am going to be making a “healthy” version of this and will post the recipe later, so subscribe to my blog for updates!

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