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Sprinkles update

Better late than never…..Maple bacon (Sept 2013) & Lemon meringue (July 2013)

See how they rate

bacon

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More new Sprinkles cupcakes

Just when I thought I had made my last trip to Sprinkles this year they released a new flavor… margarita! Sounds good right…wrong. Some things shouldn’t be messed with.

Also, following in the footsteps of In-N-Out, Sprinkles decided to introduce secret off the menu flavors. First on the list – Neapolitan: vanilla cake with strawberry frosting dipped in chocolate.

See how they ranked here

round21

*these cupcakes are from May 2013…better late than never…

Dim Sum Coconut Jelly

coconut jellies

Have you been to a dim sum restaurant and tried the coconut jelly dessert from the cart? Well, if you have and you liked it …try this recipe. Who would have guessed Tyler Florence would have featured it on his TV show.

As usual the video and the recipe posted on the Food network site were not exactly the same. I chose wrong and decided to follow the written word… I have a feeling I should have gone with Tyler. In the end everything turned out fine but I had to cut the tops off all my jellies. For some unknown reason there was a layer of clear sugar water covering the top.

Recipe link
Tyler’s Ultimate

Willy Wonka Ice Cream Tasting

wonka

I got a golden ticket!

I finally have time to write about our end of the summer bbq. After dinner we had a Willy Wonka ice cream tasting courtesy of Oakland based Dreyer’s. They sent me an ice chest full of their new line of wacky Wonka ice cream flavors. Fourteen of our friends tasted and ranked the creamy concoctions in order of their preference.

tasting

Here are the results:

  1. Kerfuffle Truffle, chocolate ice cream with chocolate truffles and swirls of fudge
  2. Caramel Nut Kadoozle, caramel ice cream with mixed nut brittle and walnut caramel swirl
  3. Chocolate Mintropolis, chocolate ice cream with peppermint patties and chocolate mint cookies
  4. Chipperberry Swirl, black raspberry and vanilla ice cream with chocolaty chips
  5. Chocolate Chipper Chip, vanilla ice cream with chocolaty potato chip bark and swirls
  6. Kernelpuff Caramelstuff, caramel ice cream with popped kernels, pecan pralines and salted caramel swirls
  7. Chocolate Snowflakes, vanilla ice cream with melt-in-your-mouth chocolaty flakes
The first place winner was a super chocolaty combination. We did have a bunch of chocoholics in the group which I think skewed the numbers. I was sure the vanilla with chocolate covered potato chips was going to be my favorite but it was too salty. I actually preferred the two caramel flavors. The brittle and praline were very yummy additions to the ice cream but don’t take my word for it go try them yourself. Thank you, Mr. Wonka!
A fight almost broke out!

A fight almost broke out!

Note: Wonka Ice Cream is currently sold exclusively in the Northern CA and Reno areas.

Smitten Ice Cream


Smitten Ice Cream first gained popularity when owner Robyn Sue hit the streets of SF pulling a red wagon equipped with a homemade liquid nitrogen run ice cream machine named “kelvin.”  Eventually she opened a brick and mortar store in a converted shipping container in Hayes Valley. Mike and I finally had the opportunity to check it out 2 weeks ago. The shop has 4 “kelvin” machines and each makes a single flavor: vanilla, chocolate and two seasonal flavors (that change daily). Every single scoop is made to order in 60 seconds using liquid nitrogen! It will be the freshest, coolest, creamiest ice cream you’ve ever had!

Check out our ice cream being made:

The final product…..

Ritual Coffee with Cocoa Nib brittle (left) and Strawberry pink peppercorn with lemon caramel sauce* (right)

I’m sure the vanilla and chocolate are good but if you’re making a special trip to this place be adventurous and try the suggested flavor combination of the day as I did*.

Website: http://smittenicecream.com/

Smitten Ice Cream on Urbanspoon

Minny’s Chocolate Pie from “The Help”


Here is the recipe for the famous pie seen in the film “The Help” …minus the special ingredient! This was super simple to make and really delicious with just the right amount of chocolate. Make it for your Oscar party this weekend and you will be WINNING!

Recipe link
Food & Wine Mag/ Aug 2011

Strawberry and Rhubarb Crumble


For the first time we received a few stalks of rhubarb in our CSA. I had never cooked it before so went on a search for a recipe. There was a trend to use it in a compote or baked good (pie/cake) and almost always with strawberries. I decided to go with the easiest and fastest …. a crumble.

It turned out really tasty and super sweet. Rhubarb looks like red celery and I didn’t taste it raw but it’s supposed to be tart, so to compensate the recipe used a lot of sugar. With a dollop of whipped cream or ice cream (we tried both) it makes for the perfect summer dessert.

Modifications we made: we used walnuts and added a little corn starch to the filling to keep it from getting runny per the comments others made.

Recipe link
Bon Appétit  | May 2010

Avocado Ice Cream


As soon as I saw Rick Bayless’s avocado ice cream on Top Chef Masters in 2009 I knew one day I would make it. When I received a box of lovely ripe avocados from the California Avocado Commission this recipe instantly popped back into my head.


I decided to cut the recipe in half and initially used two avocados but when I tried the final product it was more of a icy sorbet and the tequila was a bit over-powering. Not what I was going for so Mike suggested that I add another blended avocado to the mix. I did and the result was perfect…creamy, sweet avocado with a hint of tequila. This ice cream would be great as a “palate cleanser” during a multi course meal.


To ensure you are getting the best most nutritious avocados INSIST ON CALIFORNIA AVOCADOS!

Recipe link

Note: I received these avocados courtesy of the California Avocado Commission as part of the Foodbuzz tastemaker program.

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies


Whoopie! Mike gave me this Red Velvet whoopie pie mix for xmas. We decided to wait and make them for a party we were attending because I didn’t want to be tempted to eat them all… which I would have easily done.


The directions were easy to follow and they turned out like expected (although a bit stingy with the filling mixture – I could have used a tad more). They were a hit at the party.

You can pick up a batch at Sur la table

Recchiuti Confections S’mores Kit

We spent Valentine’s day at home again this year but I didn’t mind because we made S’mores from Recchiuti Confections. Mike and I picked up a S’mores kit last time we were at the Ferry building in San Francisco and this was the perfect occasion to break it out.

Inside the fancy box you will find 9 handmade Marshmallows, 8 Recchiuti Grahams and a Recchiuti Bittersweet 85% Chocolate Bar.

It’s a grown up version of the classic dessert that is out of the world. The homemade graham crackers are sprinkled with cinnamon sugar and the pillowy marshmallows are made with vanilla beans. You can make them in the oven (like we did since it was rainy and cold out) or you can do it the old fashioned way over an open flame.

Either way, you’ll be super happy with the results.

It’s the perfect little package. I plan on giving these out as birthday/holiday/hostess gifts this year so if you want one… invite me to a party :wink:.

Mike liked the sandwich

I preferred open face

Get yours here: http://www.recchiuti.com/109.html

Gale Gand’s Vanilla Bean Rice Pudding


Rice pudding was a lot easier to make then I thought. The vanilla beans looked so pretty and the flavor was outstanding. We used an entire vanilla bean instead of half  — what a waste not to. We served it with strawberries as suggested the first time but the next we used ripe banana slices and I gotta say I liked it even better. Tasted like a banana cream pie. The consistency was thick and creamy, not at all runny like grocery store pudding can be. A wonderful, fast, easy treat.

Tips: This was sweet even by my standards so I would recommend adding the sugar slowly and tasting to see how much you like.

The rice also could have been a little softer so I would leave it on the stove for 30 minutes instead of 20.

Recipe link
Food & Wine magazine /Sept. 2004

Milk Chocolate Soufflé


Mmmm Mmmm good!  I needed a fancy dessert for a Valentine’s day at home. The milk chocolate Soufflé in the February issue of Bon Appétit called to me.  It was insanely easy to make and more importantly could be done ahead of time. The end result was light, airy, puffed perfection. I passed on the whip that was supposed to go with this and instead made a baileys cream (heavy cream,powdered sugar,baileys). This recipe is a keeper!

Note: I used my complimentary supply of farm fresh eggs from Eggland’s Best to prepare this. Their eggs are so healthy that I didn’t feel bad eating two Soufflés…

Recipe link
Bon Appétit | February 2010

Kiwi Ice Cream


Yes, I thought this would be gross. Mike finally decided to use the 6 kiwi’s that had been sitting in our fridge for 2 weeks. He transformed them into a uniquely creamy Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.

It was surprisingly good and very sweet. It had a fresh, clean taste that reminded me of a sorbet. A small scoop is all you need to be satisfied.

Recipe link

Chocolate Ebelskivers


It was time to test the new chocolate ebelskiver mix from WS. We used three different fillings and they all turned out wicked awesome but the caramel was the best!

Nutella, Peanut Butter and Caramel Filled

If you want to see the full process of making an ebelskiver check out my Cinnamon-Bun Ebelskiver post.

The recipe for Chocolate Ebelskivers is on the mix if you buy it. If you don’t, I’ve attempted to give you a recipe below…

For the pancakes:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbs. granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 2 cups milk
  • 4 Tbs. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted, plus more for cooking
  • cocoa powder (if you want to make them chocolate)

For the filling:
We used Nutella, Peanut butter and Caramel sauce right out of the jars (placed them in the fridge for 10 minutes b4 so they would be easier to work with). You want it to be a paste like consistency not soft and runny.

Directions:
To make the pancakes, in a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and granulated sugar. In another bowl, lightly whisk the egg yolks, then whisk in the milk and the 4 Tbs. melted butter. Whisk the egg yolk mixture into the flour mixture until well combined; the batter will be lumpy. Using an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on high speed until stiff but not dry peaks form, 2 to 3 minutes. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the whites into the batter in two additions.

Put 1/8 tsp. melted butter in each well of a filled-pancake pan. Set over medium heat and heat until the butter begins to bubble. Pour 1 Tbs. batter into each well. Spoon 1 tsp. of the filling of your choice into the center of each pancake and top with 1 Tbs. batter. Cook until the bottoms are golden brown and crispy, about 3 minutes. Using 2 skewers, flip the pancakes over and cook until golden and crispy, about 3 minutes more. Transfer the pancakes to a plate. Repeat with the remaining batter and filling. Dust with powdered sugar.

Makes 35 to 40.

More ebelskiver recipes:
Strawberry Blintz Ebelskivers
Cinnamon-Bun Ebelskiver

Espresso Toffee & Chocolate Fudge


Happy holidays everyone! For the first time we decided to make sweet gifts for the family. To our surprise everything turned out perfect. I thought making toffee and fudge were recipes for disaster but they were really easy to prepare. Add some tins from the dollar store and you have a very festive gift.


Tip: after smoothing out the chocolate on top of the toffee don’t just toss it in the fridge. Let it sit for like 10 minutes to make sure all the chips melt completely. We didn’t, which just meant when we broke it up there were some chips still in tact. No biggie.


This fudge was made with mostly milk chocolate so it was not super rich which is my preference.

Toffee recipe link
Fudge recipe link

Nutella Pound Cake

nutella
When I saw this recipe I knew I had to make it. It looked sooooo good. The end product was more bread-like then the usual moist buttery pound cake consistency but still wonderful. When nutella is cooked the potent flavor of hazelnut transforms into a lovely light chocolate. As suggested we served this with homemade coffee ice cream that Mike made. Scrumptious!

Note: The recipe says use the entire container of nutella… it will seem like a lot but it really isn’t.

Recipe link
Food & Wine magazine /Oct 2009

Cinnamon-Crunch Peach Sundaes

peachsundae
Yum! I was looking for a way to use up some peaches and this is what I found! Ice cream covered in lemon marinated peaches, buttery graham cracker crumble and a cinnamon syrup. The little crunchies make the sundae. If you’re smart you’ll double the recipe. Honestly, you really don’t need the syrup. It’s grand with or without.

view from the top

view from the top

vanillastarterFor the vanilla ice cream we used the Williams-Sonoma Ice cream starter. The few egg based ice creams we’ve made have not impressed me. They are overly creamy and have a milky taste so when I saw this mix I snapped it up. It was fantastic and does not skimp on the Madagascar Bourbon. The flavor was bananas – not literally… I will use this again and again even though it’s a bit overpriced. Need an ice cream maker? This one is awesome.

Recipe link

Chocolate Bouchons

chocbouchons

OMG! These are just like the real deal. I didn’t think Chef Keller would put his name on a product of poor quality. He teamed up with Williams- Sonoma to produce the iconic chocolate Bouchon mix and mold. The mix easily made 24 sensational corks.

bouchonmoldbouchonmold2

Tasty tip: If you want big Bouchons fill the molds to the top, if not fill them just a tad under the lip. The mold works great and the little bad boys slide right out.

Mo’s Bacon Bar

baconbar

Mike picked up this unique treat for me while browsing around the Los Gatos Coffee Roasting Company. He knows me well. The package says Mo’s bar is composed of applewood smoked bacon, Alder wood smoked salt and deep milk chocolate. I was hoping it was a slab of bacon doused in chocolate, alas it was not.baconbar2

The scent reminded me of a bacon dog treat and tasted like smokey, salty chocolate. The bacon bits were minimal and not overly flavorful. The candy paired very well with a glass of Italian red wine but what doesn’t! All I can say is that it was worth the try but not necessarily the $8.95.

Confucius says: I see strips of bacon dipped in chocolate fondue in the near future.

Website: http://www.vosgeschocolate.com/

Pinkberry

pinkberry11 pinkberry2

Pinkberry has arrived in the Bay. All the hoopla in LA about this chilly treat had me intrigued. I went thinking I was for sure going to get the green tea because I love green tea ice cream, but after I tried a sample I changed my mind. It didn’t taste very good so I chose the original flavor. It was the first time that I had frozen yogurt that actually tasted like frozen plain yoplait yogurt. It was good but not earth shattering. I will give them props for giving large servings of froyo for a low price. The toppings… are another story. That’s where they get ya. I got a small with one scoop of fruity pebbles cereal which equated to about a tablespoon which didn’t come close to being enough to satisfy. Mike chose 2 scoops of raspberries and bananas (he is so healthy) and it was still not enough. I’ll probably be back once the weather turns warm to try again.

Verdict:  Walk….don’t run…

Tasty Tip: Each and every day there are only 3 flavors of yogurt (original, green tea and pomegranate) so don’t go hoping for anything else.

Website: http://www.pinkberry.com/

Fondue for Two

This year we again stayed home for Valentine’s day. We feasted on fresh Dungeness crab and then indulged in this….

vdayfondue

Chocolate fondue with a shot of Baileys Irish Cream

fonduefor2To accompany the chocolate we had strawberries, apples, bananas, pirouette wafers and rice crispy treats. Good stuff! The cute sweetheart fondue set was my “V” day gift from Mike last year.

Flashback: Valentine’s day 2008

Sprinkles, Sprinkles, Sprinkles

It’s been exactly 2 years and 7 months since I had my first Sprinkles cupcake in Beverly Hills. The event was life changing. Ever since I have been waiting for a store to open in the Bay Area. That day has come. On October 4th I woke Mike up at the crack of dawn and we made the trek to the new Palo Alto store. It had been open for 2 weeks and I was hoping the novelty would have worn off for the newbies. We rolled into the parking lot at 9am just as the doors were opening and there were already 20 people in line (by the way it was cold and drizzling). My reasoning for going this early was to avoid the 45 minute wait that had been reported on Yelp the past few days, and to make sure my cupcakes were fresh and in-stock. The cakes are made daily and when they are gone, they’re gone. The store layout is similar to LA. Although this is larger they still only allow ~ 6 people inside at once to order, the rest are kicked to the curb (at least they have a bench here). So it’s pretty much a guarantee that there will be people waiting outside when you arrive –pretty good marketing scheme. We were in and out in 20 minutes. We picked out 6 cupcakes ($3.25 each) and 2 dog cupcakes ($2.50 each). They have certain cupcake flavors each day so check the schedule before you go to make sure they have what you are craving. Well, was it worth the wait? You Betcha! I’m not going to go into any details on how things tasted here because in an upcoming ongoing post I will rate all the cupcakes in order of my preference. I invite you to give your opinions on the subject. 6 down 31 to go — I am determined to try them all!

I will leave you with this Warning: Do not attempt to eat the dots on top of the cupcakes. THEY ARE DECORATION and solid as a rock so if you don’t want to break a tooth…lick them and then dispose.

See you in line…

Hours: M-Sat 9-7pm, Sun 10-6pm
Address: 393 Stanford Shopping Center

Honeydew Melon sorbet

What to do with a huge ripe melon? Make sorbet! Summer is supposed to be over, but the last 2 weeks we had some fiery days down here in the South Bay. Beat the heat with this…

We looked to Emeril for the recipe.

BTW – this melon was from our first shipment of organic produce from Farm Fresh to You.

Apple Crisp

Apple crisp is one of my favorite desserts. My mom made one growing up that was outstanding. Of course when I asked her for the recipe she could not find it so off to the food network I went. I found a recipe from Rachael Ray’s sister. As many of you know Rachael doesn’t bake. I have made this two times and both turned out remarkable. Those sisters know how to cook!

Tasty tip: Double the topping mixture (not the cinnamon mix) for extra sweet goodness.

Recipe link

Eton Mess

I’d never heard of Eton Mess before watching Nigella Lawson whip up a batch on her show Nigella Express. Eton mess is a dessert of English origin consisting of a mixture of strawberries, pieces of meringue and cream and was first created at Eton College in Britain. Although I find meringue nests unappetizing, Nigella made them look divine.

The meringue crumbled in the cream was awesomely sweet. This was one of the best strawberry desserts I’ve had. It was a tasty mess, indeed.

Recipe link

Note: The only modification I made to the recipe was use balsamic instead of pomegranate juice. Nigella mentioned on the show that you could use that as an alternative.

Nutella Coconut S’mores

Every year we spend the 4th of July at home with our dog Edison. Our 105 lb black lab mix is deathly afraid of fireworks. Most of the evening he is cowering in our closet as our neighbors light off M-80′s loud enough to rock our foundation. This year in between consoling Mr. Ed we made S’mores. I decided I wanted to do something different so instead of a chocolate bar we used Nutella. I also toasted some coconut to toss on top because I like it. The Nutella was a brilliant substitution. Instead of the usual semi melted chunk of chocolate we had creamy chocolaty hazelnut. Give me S’more! I’ll never use a chocolate bar again…

Chocolate Brownie with Peanut Butter Ice Cream

With summer comes homemade ice cream. Our ice cream machine is super easy to use. No ice or hand churning necessary…just set it and forget it.

This weekend Mike made Peanut butter ice cream to go with the Barefoot Contessa brownies I made. Chocolate and peanut butter is a classic combination. I found the ice cream recipe on a fellow food blog called Kitchen Chick. It turned out fantastic. This was the best ice cream we have made and we’ve made a lot! The flavor and consistency was perfect. The brownies also turned out terrific. They contained a chocolate triple threat (chocolate chips, melted chocolate and chocolate mix). These bad boys were flaky on top and ooey-gooey in the middle. Awesome summer treat!

Mix: Barefoot Contessa Brownie Mix
Tools: Cuisinart Ice Cream machine

More photos (click to enlarge):

Since this turned out so well I’m submitting it to the “You Scream, I Scream, We All Scream for Frozen Desserts!” Food Blog Event hosted by Mike’s Table (btw, not my Mike).

Chocolate Cream pie

There is an A-M-A-Z-I-N-G chocolate cream pie in the February 08 issue of Food and Wine magazine. It actually has you sieve the chocolate filling before you add to the crust. This process makes the pie extra silky and creamy. Since you can prepare this up to a day in advance it is great for when you are having guests over. This got me some rave reviews at our last dinner party.

By the way the whipped cream that goes along with this is scrumptious …I could of eaten a bowl of just cream! :shock:

Recipe link

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