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Friday, December 25, 2009

It's Christmas Day!

Wishing you a day full of Joy, Love, Family, and Happiness! from our House to Yours!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Princess Tea Cakes

Which is sweeter? The story of why Bridget Klein made these cookies for her sister...or the cookie itself? These are awesome little sweet treats and you have to make some for your next tea party! Thanks Bridget! :) 

From Eating Well, Nov/Dec 2007..."Working on this makeover of a classic Russian Tea Cake made Bridget Klein feel closer to her late sister, Gina, because they are “a great match for her personality: delicate and refined, pretty to look at, and yet a definite character that inspires adoration and loyalty.” Gina's middle name, Sarah, means “princess,” in Hebrew; hence the name of these confections. Klein's mom “swore these cookies couldn't be made without butter,” she says, “until she tasted them.” Klein continues: “Gina was a traditionalist, too, but I think I might have been able to fool her with these.”

Ingredients:
* 3/4 cup canola oil
* 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
* 3/4 cup white whole-wheat flour
* 2 cups confectioners' sugar, divided
* 3 tablespoons cornstarch
* 1/8 teaspoon salt
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 3/4 cup very finely chopped nuts, such as pecans, walnuts or hazelnuts

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400°F.

2. Pour oil into a medium bowl. Whisk all-purpose flour, white whole-wheat flour, 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, cornstarch and salt in another bowl.

3. Mix half the dry ingredients into the oil by spoonfuls. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add vanilla. Mix in the remaining dry ingredients by spoonfuls until thoroughly combined. (The mixture will resemble creamed butter and brown sugar.) Stir in nuts.

4. Roll the dough into 1-inch balls; place about 1 inch apart on an ungreased baking sheet.

5. Bake the cookies until just set, being careful not to let the bottoms get too brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Cool on the pan for 2 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly.

6. When the cookies are still warm, but no longer hot, roll them in the remaining 1 3/4 cups confectioners’ sugar and place them back on the rack to continue cooling. (Reserve the sugar.) When the cookies are completely cool, roll them in the sugar again.

Makes 3 dozen cookies.

* Make Ahead Tip: Prepare the dough (Steps 2 and 3), cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day. Store the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. Roll in the second coating of confectioners' sugar just before serving.

Nutrition Per cookie: 105 calories; 7 g fat (0 g sat, 4 g mono); 0 mg cholesterol; 11 g carbohydrates; 1 g protein; 1 g fiber; 8 mg sodium; 19 mg potassium.

Exchanges: 1 other carbohydrate, 1 fat

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Almond Lavender Cake


Ingredients:2 cups sugar, divided
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon dried lavender flowers, divided
1 cup butter, softened
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
1/4 cup half-and-half cream
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons boiling water
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
Additional dried lavender flowers, optional

Directions:
Grease a 10-in. fluted tube pan and sprinkle with sugar; set aside. Place 1/2 cup sugar, the almonds and 1 tablespoon lavender in a food processor; cover and process until finely ground.
In a large bowl, cream butter and remaining sugar until light and fluffy; beat in almond mixture until combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla.

In a small bowl, combine sour cream and half-and-half. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt; add to the creamed mixture alternately with sour cream mixture, beating well after each addition.

Pour into prepared pan. 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 drizzle, in a small bowl, combine water and remaining lavender. Cover and steep for 5 minutes. Strain, discarding lavender. In another small bowl, combine confectioners' sugar and enough infused water to achieve desired consistency; drizzle over cake. Garnish with additional lavender if desired.

Yield: 12 servings.

~~Taste of Home, Aug/Sept 2008~~

Monday, June 8, 2009

~~ MY FIRST AWARD! ~~

My first award for my Tea-licous Recipes from Prim Rose Hill blog! I am sooo thrilled! I had to share the news over here! ;) Thank you Bernideen!! She has an awesome tea blog you should visit!

The rules for this Makes My Heart Smile Award are:
1. The winner can copy the logo and put it on their blog
2. Put a link to the person who sent you the award when you pass it out!
3. Nominate 10 blogs on your blog
4. Leave a message at your 10 nominees telling them to come to your blog for their award for "Blogs that Make My Heart Smile"

If you already have this award...not a problem....if you don't want to do this...not a problem! I have to tell you, I had an incredibly hard time choosing from all my favorite blogs!!








Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Tutorial: Tea Tin Candles

Hello my tea-friends!

I just had to post about an awesome tutorial from Denise at Uniquely Tea! Aren't these candles just so lovely! I have to make some for birthday gifts, Christmas gifts, any holiday or occasion! Wouldn't this be a great gift to your tea party hostess? Maybe a unique and special little "thank you" for all her work and time? Thank you to Denise of Uniquely Tea!

Enjoy!!


Thursday, April 23, 2009

WW: Three Berry Scones

Ingredients:
2 cup(s) all-purpose flour
3 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp table salt
2 tbsp unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
1 cup(s) buttermilk
1 1/2 cup(s) frozen unsweetened mixed berries
2 serving(s) butter-flavor cooking spray

Instructions:
* Preheat oven to 400ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

* In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Mix in butter until mixture is size of fine crumbs. Stir in buttermilk and then stir in berries.

* Shape dough into two 7-inch circles on prepared baking sheet. Cut each circle into 6 wedges and coat with cooking spray.

* Bake until cooked through and golden, about 20 minutes.

Yields one wedge per serving.

POINTS® Value: 2
Servings: 12

Thursday, April 2, 2009

I WON! I WON!

Can you believe it?? I am one of the lucky winners from Angela's giveaway at Tea with Friends! I have never read any of Laura Childs' books, but I am so excited to read one finally! And she included some tea samples for me! ;) What a great giveaway! Thanks Angela!!

EGGS IN PURGATORY
Cackleberry Club Mystery #1

"In a rehabbed Spur station outside the small town of Kindred, three semi-desperate, forty-plus women have launched the Cackleberry Club. Eggs are the morning specialty here--fluffy omelets, slumbering volcanoes, toad in the hole, and eggs on a cloud. This cozy little café even offers a book nook and knitting nest--and business has been good. But two murders, a runaway girl, a vicious widow, and a messianic cult leader just might lead to their undoing."

Have a great Thursday!
Hugs!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

PROVENCAL TARTS

Ingredients:
* 1/2 of a 17.3-ounce package frozen puff pastry (1 sheet)
* 1/3 cup purchased tapenade
* 8 cherry tomatoes, quartered
* 1/2 of an 8-ounce package crumbled feta cheese
* Fresh herb sprigs (optional)

Directions:
1. Thaw puff pastry according to package directions. Cut into sixteen 2-1/2-inch squares. Place each square in a 2-1/2-inch muffin cup. Place about 1 teaspoon of the tapenade on each square. Top with two cherry tomato quarters and some of the feta cheese.

2. Bake in a 425 degree F oven for 12 to 15 minutes or until pastry is puffed and golden brown. Remove from muffin cups. Garnish with fresh herb sprigs, if desired. Serve warm.

Makes 16 appetizer servings.

Nutrition Facts:
* Calories 92,
* Total Fat (g) 7,
* Saturated Fat (g) 1,
* Cholesterol (mg) 6,
* Sodium (mg) 174,
* Carbohydrate (g) 6,
* Fiber (g) 0,
* Protein (g) 2,
* Vitamin A (DV%) 0,
* Vitamin C (DV%) 2,
* Calcium (DV%) 4,
* Iron (DV%) 1,
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet

Friday, February 20, 2009

NAPOLEANS from Sara's Sweet Surprise!

I just had to share this recipe! OMGoodness! These look awesome! These delights are from Sara's Sweet Surprise. You gotta check it out! :) Her Napoleans recipe...YUM-O! Thanks Sara for letting me share this! (I just had to keep this recipe!)

BLUEBERRY-OATMEAL MUFFINS

Ingredients:
* 1 cup old-fashioned oats
* 2 cups fat-free or low-fat buttermilk
* 1 2/3 cups whole wheat pastry flour
* 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
* 2 Tbs. vegetable oil
* 1 tsp. baking powder
* 1 tsp. baking soda
* 1 tsp. salt
* 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
* 1 tsp. grated orange zest
* 1 1/4 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
* 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, optional

Directions:
1. Combine oats and buttermilk in mixing bowl. Cover; let stand 30 minutes.

2. Preheat oven to 350F. Spray muffin pan cups with nonstick cooking spray or use pleated paper liners.

3. Combine buttermilk mixture, flour, sugar, oil, baking powder, baking soda, salt, eggs and orange zest in second mixing bowl. Beat with an electric mixer at medium speed until smooth. Fold in blueberries and walnuts. Spoon batter into prepared cups, filling them 3/4 full.

4. Bake 15 minutes, or until muffins spring back when touched lightly in center. Remove muffins from pans immediately; place on wire rack to cool.

Makes 18.

Nutritional Information per SERVING:
Calories 130
Protein 4g
Total fat 3g
Carbs 23g
Cholesterol 25mg
Sodium 270mg
Fiber 2g
Sugars 12g

Thursday, February 19, 2009

PETITE FRUIT TARTS

Ingredients:
* 2 cups all-purpose flour
* 1/3 cup sugar
* 3/4 cup cold butter
* 2 egg yolks, beaten
* 1/4 cup dairy sour cream
* 3 tablespoons ice water
* 2/3 cup sugar
* 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
* 6 to 8 cups fresh fruit, such as blackberries, blueberries, coarsely chopped apples, sliced nectarines, raspberries, and/or sliced apricots
* 1/4 to 1/3 cup sugar
* Powdered sugar (optional)

Directions:
1. In a medium bowl stir together the 2 cups flour and the 1/3 cup sugar. Using a pastry blender, cut butter into flour mixture until pieces are pea size. In a small bowl stir together egg yolks, sour cream, and ice water. Gradually stir egg yolk mixture into flour mixture. Using your fingers, gently knead the dough just until a ball forms. Cover dough with plastic wrap; chill about 1 hour or until dough is easy to handle.

2. Divide dough into 8 portions. Place on lightly floured pieces of parchment. Roll dough into 6- to 7-inch circles. Transfer, on parchment, to baking sheets.

3. Preheat oven to 375F. Divide dough into 8 portions. On lightly floured pieces of parchment paper, roll dough portions into 6- to 7-inch circles. Transfer circles, on parchment, to baking sheets.

4. In a small bowl stir together the 2/3 cup sugar and 1/4 cup flour. Sprinkle a scant 2 tablespoons of the sugar mixture on each pastry circle to within 1/2 inch of the edges. In a large bowl combine fruit and the 1/4 to 1/3 cup sugar; toss gently to coat.

5. Spoon 3/4 to 1 cup of the fruit mixture into the center of each dough circle. Fold pastry edges over the edges of fruit. Bake tarts for 20 to 25 minutes or until fruit is tender and pastry is golden brown. If desired, dust pastry edges with powdered sugar.

Makes 8 tarts.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

LEMON-BLUEBERRY BISCUITS

Ingredients:
* 2 cups all-purpose flour
* 1/3 cup granulated sugar
* 2 teaspoons baking powder
* 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1/4 cup butter
* 1 egg, slightly beaten
* 1 (8-ounce) carton lemon yogurt
* 1 teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel
* 1 cup fresh or frozen unsweetened blueberries
* Lemon Glaze (see recipe below)

Directions:
1. Lightly grease a baking sheet; set aside. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture. Set aside.

2. In a small bowl, stir together egg, yogurt, and lemon peel. Add egg mixture all at once to flour mixture. Using a fork, stir just until moistened. Fold in blueberries. (Do not knead, roll or cut dough.)

3. Drop dough by rounded tablespoons (or use an ice cream scoop) onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake in a 400 degree F for 15 to 18 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove biscuits from baking sheet. Place on a wire rack. Drizzle Lemon Glaze over warm biscuits. Serve warm.

Makes about 15 biscuits.

Lemon Glaze: In a small bowl, stir together 1 cup sifted powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and enough lemon juice to reach a drizzling consistency (2 to 3 teaspoons).

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

DOUBLE CHOCOLATE SCONES

Ingredients:
* 2 cups all-purpose flour
* 1/2 cup granulated sugar
* 1/3 cup unsweetened European-style (Dutch processed) cocoa powder or unsweetened cocoa powder
* 1 tablespoon baking powder
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/3 cup unsalted butter
* 1 beaten egg
* 1/2 cup whipping cream
* 1 teaspoon vanilla
* 1 cup miniature semisweet chocolate pieces
* 1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted (optional)
* Whipping cream (optional)
* Coarse sugar (optional)

Directions:
1. In a large bowl, stir together flour, granulated sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in the butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Make a well in the center of dry ingredients; set aside.

2. In a small bowl, stir together egg, 1/2 cup whipping cream, and vanilla. Add egg mixture to flour mixture. Add chocolate pieces and, if you like, the pecans. Using a fork, stir just until moistened.

3. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Gently knead dough by folding and gently pressing dough for 10 to 12 strokes or until dough is nearly smooth. (Handle dough as little as possible to keep it light.) Divide dough in half. Lightly roll or pat each dough half into a 4-1/2-inch circle, about 1-inch thick. Cut each round into 6 wedges. Place wedges 1 inch apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet or an ungreased baking sheet. If you like, brush scones with additional whipping cream and sprinkle with coarse sugar.

4. Bake in a 400 degree F oven for 12 to 14 minutes or until bottoms are lightly browned. Remove scones from baking sheet. Cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Serve warm.

Makes 12 scones.

Monday, February 16, 2009

APPLE CAKE

Ingredients:
* 2 eggs, slightly beaten
* 2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
* 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
* 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt or 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 2-1/2 cups peeled and chopped Granny Smith apples
* 1 teaspoon lemon juice
* 1-1/2 cups sugar
* 1 cup cooking oil
* 2 teaspoons vanilla
* 1 cup chopped pecans, toasted
* Powdered sugar (optional)

Directions:
1. Allow eggs to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, grease and lightly flour a 10-inch fluted tube pan; set aside. In a medium bowl, stir together flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. Set aside. In another bowl toss apples with lemon juice; set aside.

2. In a large mixing bowl, combine granulated sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add flour mixture and beat on low speed just until combined. Fold in apples and pecans. (Batter will be thick.) Spoon batter into the prepared pan.

3. Bake in a 350 degree F oven about 1 hour or until a wooden toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool cake in pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Carefully remove from pan. Cool thoroughly on wire rack. If you like, sprinkle with powdered sugar. Cover; store in refrigerator.

Makes 12 servings.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

CHOCOLATE ESPRESSO WALNUT TILES

Ingredients:
* 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder or instant coffee crystals
* 1 tablespoon boiling water
* 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
* 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
* 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
* 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1-1/2 cups sugar
* 3 eggs
* 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
* 3/4 cup chopped walnuts
* Cream Cheese Frosting
* Brownie Glaze
* Chocolate-covered coffee beans (optional)

Directions:
1. In a small bowl, dissolve espresso powder in boiling water; set aside. In a large saucepan, melt butter and bittersweet chocolate over low heat, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; cool.

2. Meanwhile, line a 13x9x2-inch baking pan with foil, extending foil over edges of pan. Grease foil; set pan aside. In a small bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.

3. Stir sugar into cooled chocolate mixture in saucepan; add espresso mixture. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating with a wooden spoon after each addition just until combined. Stir in vanilla. Add flour mixture to chocolate mixture; stir just until combined. Stir in nuts. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan.

4. Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until top appears set and dry. Cool in pan on a wire rack. Frost with Cream Cheese Frosting. Spread the Brownie Glaze evenly over frosting. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours or until glaze is set.

5. Before serving, use foil to lift brownies out of pan. Cut into bars. Let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes. If you like, garnish with chocolate-covered coffee beans.

Makes 48 bars.

Cream Cheese Frosting: In a large mixing bowl, beat one 3-ounce package softened cream cheese, 1/4 cup softened unsalted butter and 1 teaspoon vanilla with an electric mixer on medium speed until combined. Gradually add 2 cups powdered sugar, beating well. Gradually beat in 1 cup additional powdered sugar to reach spreading consistency.

Brownie Glaze: In a medium saucepan, combine 6 ounces coarsely chopped bittersweet chocolate, 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, 3 tablespoons whipping cream and 1-1/2 teaspoons instant espresso powder or instant coffee crystals. Cook and stir over low heat until melted and smooth. Remove from heat; cool for 30 minutes.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

BE MY VALENTINE COOKIES



Ingredients:
* 1/2 cup butter, softened
* 1/4 cup granulated sugar
* 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
* 1 teaspoon baking powder
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1 egg
* 1 tablespoon milk
* 1 teaspoon vanilla
* 2 cups all-purpose flour
* 1/4 to 1/3 cup cherry jam or preserves, or seedless raspberry preserves

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375 degree F. In a large bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add granulated sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt. Beat until mixture is combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in egg, milk, and vanilla until combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in any remaining flour.

2. Shape dough into 3/4-inch balls. For each cookie on an ungreased or parchment paper-lined cookie sheet place 2 dough balls side by side with one side touching. Press thumbs into each ball to form an indentation in each. Press in center of each with thumb and taper bottom of cookie with fingers to form a heart shape. Repeat with remaining dough balls, leaving about 2 inches between cookies.

3. Bake for 7 to 9 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Remove from oven and transfer cookies to a wire rack. While warm, fill each indentation with jam or preserves (if necessary, snip any large pieces of fruit). Cool completely.

Makes about 30 cookies.

To Store: Place filled cookies in a single layer in covered storage containers and store at room temperature up to 3 days or freeze up to 3 months.

Nutrition Facts:
* Calories 81,
* Total Fat (g) 3,
* Saturated Fat (g) 2,
* Monounsaturated Fat (g) 1,
* Polyunsaturated Fat (g) 0,
* Cholesterol (mg) 16,
* Sodium (mg) 74,
* Carbohydrate (g) 11,
* Total Sugar (g) 5,
* Fiber (g) 0,
* Protein (g) 1,
* Vitamin C (DV%) 0,
* Calcium (DV%) 1,
* Iron (DV%) 2,
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet

CHOCOLATE HEARTS WITH CARAMEL-HONEY SAUCE

Ingredients:
* 8 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
* 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
* 1 cup whipping cream
* 3 slightly beaten egg yolks
* 1/3 cup milk
* 1/4 cup sugar
* 2 tablespoons coffee or orange liqueur
* 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* Unsweetened cocoa powder (optional)
* 1 recipe Honey-Caramel Sauce (optional)
* 1 recipe Candied Orange Peel (optional)
* Whipped cream (optional)

Directions:
1. Chill a medium mixing bowl and the beaters of an electric mixer.

2. Place chocolate in a heavy medium saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly until partially melted; immediately remove from heat and stir until smooth. Cool slightly.

3. In a chilled mixing bowl beat whipping cream with the chilled beaters on medium speed until stiff peaks form. Cover; chill until needed (up to 1 hour).

4. In a heavy small saucepan stir together egg yolks, milk, and sugar. Bring to a gentle boil over low heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat. Cook and stir for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and pour mixture into a medium mixing bowl; add liqueur and cinnamon. Stir to combine. Add the melted chocolate, 2 tablespoons at a time, to the hot mixture, beating with an electric mixer on low speed until combined (mixture will be thick). Add 1/2 cup of the whipped cream and continue beating on low speed until smooth. Gently fold in the remaining whipped cream.

5. Line 6 individual heart-shaped pans (about 3 inches in diameter) or 6-ounce custard cups with plastic wrap, allowing edges to hang over sides. Spoon chocolate mixture evenly into pans. Cover with heavy foil; freeze until firm (about 4 hours) or for up to 1 month.

6. Before serving, remove pans or cups from freezer. Invert onto a baking sheet. Remove plastic wrap. Smooth tops of desserts with a knife that has been dipped in hot water. Let desserts stand for 15 minutes at room temperature.

7. If desired, for a cocoa design, cut several 1/4-inch-wide strips of paper, making each strip slightly longer than one of the heart-shaped or round desserts. Place the strips atop one of the desserts in a lattice design. Sift cocoa atop. Carefully remove strips. Repeat with the remaining desserts.

8. To serve, spoon Honey-Caramel Sauce atop 6 dessert plates, if desired. With a spatula, transfer the desserts to the dessert plates, placing them atop sauce. Dollop with whipped cream and top with Candied Orange Peel, if desired. Serve immediately.

Makes 6 desserts.

Honey-Caramel Sauce: In a heavy small saucepan cook and stir 1/3 cup honey over medium-high heat until bubbly and foamy. Reduce heat to medium. Continue to cook and stir until foam is dark golden brown (the color of a penny). This should take about 6 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in 1/4 cup whipping cream. Return to heat. Cook and stir about 2 minutes or until slightly thickened. Cover surface with plastic wrap. Cool. Makes about 1 cup.

Candied Orange Peel: With a vegetable peeler or small knife, cut strips of peel from 1 large orange, leaving the white pith behind. Use the rest of the orange for another purpose. Cut the strips of orange peel into thin julienne strips (about 1/8-inch wide).

Place peel in a small pan of boiling water for 2 minutes; drain. Remove peel. In same pan combine 1/2 cup water and 1/4 cup sugar. Bring to boiling, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Reduce heat. Add peel. Simmer, uncovered, for 12 to 15 minutes or until the peel is transparent; drain.

With a fork, transfer peel to a sheet of buttered foil; cool thoroughly. Use immediately or transfer to a tightly covered storage container and store in a cool, dry place for up to 1 week.

Friday, February 13, 2009

"BE MINE" COOKIES

Ingredients:
* 1 cup shortening
* 1 cup granulated sugar
* 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
* 1/8 teaspoon salt
* 1 egg
* 1 teaspoon vanilla
* 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
* 2 cups all-purpose flour
* Red food coloring
* 1 cup sifted powdered sugar
* 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
* 1 tablespoon milk
* Milk

Directions

1. Beat shortening in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt; beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in egg, vanilla, and peppermint extract until combined. Beat in as much flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in remaining flour with a wooden spoon. Tint and shape dough as directed for each cookie variation. Place cutouts 1 inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake in a 375 degree F oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden. Transfer to wire racks and cool. Makes 30 cookies.

Checkerboard Hearts and Bleeding Heart Cookies: Divide dough in half; divide one half in half again. Tint one quarter red and one quarter pink with food coloring. Wrap each portion in clear plastic wrap; freeze for 20 minutes.

Divide plain potion into eight pieces. Divide each colored portion into four pieces. Roll each piece on a lightly floured surface into an 8-inch-long rope. Flatten each on four sides to form a square rope. For checkerboard design, place four ropes side by side on waxed paper, alternating colors with plain ropes. Top with four more ropes, alternating colors. Repeat two more times, forming an 8x8x2-inch dough block with a checkerboard pattern. Wrap in waxed paper and freeze 1 hour or until firm. Cut dough crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Cut a heart shape from each slice with a floured 2-inch heart-shape cookie cutter. Reserve scraps for Bleeding Heart Cookies. Bake as directed.

Mix dough scraps lightly with your hands so dough looks marbled. Roll dough on a lightly floured surface until 1/4 inch thick. Cut with floured 2-inch heart-shape cookie cutter. Bake as directed.

Inside-Out Cookies: Divide dough into three portions. Tint one portion pink and one portion red with food coloring. Roll dough, one color at a time, on a lightly floured surface until 1/4 inch thick. Cut with floured different size heart-shape cookie cutters. Using a smaller cookie cutter, cut hearts from the center of each cookie. Remove smaller hearts and interchange them so cookies have a contrasting colored heart in the center. Reroll dough scraps and repeat. Bake as directed.

New Wave Cookies: Cover and chill dough for 2 hours or overnight. Roll dough on a lightly floured surface until 1/4 inch thick. Cut with a floured 3-inch heart-shape cookie cutter. Place cutouts about 1 inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake as directed. Transfer to wire racks and cool. Frost with Powdered Sugar Icing. Dry on a wire rack. Combine small amounts of the remaining icing and a few drops of desired food colorings. Place each color icing in a small sealable plastic bag. Decorate cookies with colored icings. Let dry.
Nutrition Facts

RED VELVET CUPCAKES

Ingredients:
* 3 eggs
* 3/4 cup butter
* 3 cups all-purpose flour
* 2 tsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
* 2-1/4 cups sugar
* 1-1/2 tsp. vanilla
* 1 (1-oz.) bottle red food coloring (2 Tbsp.)
* 1-1/2 cups buttermilk
* 1-1/2 tsp. baking soda
* 1-1/2 tsp. vinegar
* Small chocolate heart-shaped cookies (optional)
* Powdered sugar (optional)

Directions:
1. Let eggs and butter stand 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 28 2-1/2-inch cupcake pans with paper liners; set aside.

2. In medium bowl combine flour, cocoa powder, and 3/4 tsp. salt; set aside. In large mixing bowl beat butter on medium-high 30 seconds. Add sugar and vanilla; beat until combined. One at a time, add eggs; beat on medium after each. Beat in food coloring on low.

3. Alternately add flour mixture and buttermilk to egg mixture; beat on low to medium sped after each just until combined. Stir together baking soda and vinegar. Add to batter; beat just until combined.

4. Spoon batter into prepared pans, filling each about two-thirds full. Bake 15 to 17 minutes. Cool in pan on wire rack for 5 minutes. Remove from pans. Cool completely. Top with small chocolate cookies, if desired. Dust with powdered sugar.

Makes 28 servings.

Nutrition Facts:
* Calories 172,
* Total Fat (g) 6,
* Saturated Fat (g) 3,
* Monounsaturated Fat (g) 2,
* Polyunsaturated Fat (g) 0,
* Cholesterol (mg) 36,
* Sodium (mg) 124,
* Carbohydrate (g) 28,
* Total Sugar (g) 17,
* Fiber (g) 0,
* Protein (g) 3,
* Vitamin C (DV%) 0,
* Calcium (DV%) 2,
* Iron (DV%) 4,
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet

Thursday, February 12, 2009

LET'S HAVE A TEA PARTY!


Hello tea lovers!

**Love my new blog makeover? It was designed by Tom & Jan at Rose Haven! They are having a blog makeover giveaway through the end of March! So...what are you waiting for? Get over there and get a chance at winning! OK, ok, enjoy the tea party, then go. :)

I hope you are joining in on the fun today with Jan! She is hosting a tea party today from Jan & Tom's Rose Haven. She is such a sweetie and you have to see her blog. :)

I used to love giving tea parties at my home and I'm hoping when I finally get moved and settled this spring (ok, if you know me, that might be this summer! LOL), but anyhow, I am hoping to start hosting tea parties again. So I thought I would post some tips I've learned along the way.

So grab a cuppa tea and enjoy a little reading and maybe make some muffins--I've posted a yummy recipe at the end. Have a grand time and see you at next month's tea party!

Hugs,
SHERI


Since it's Valentine's Day, I think I'll wear this dress!Come, sit, and enjoy!Special heart-shaped goodies, just for you!

TEA PARTY TIPS

Fill vases with fresh flowers, or place flowers in teacups designed to serve as centerpieces.

Remember that the tea should be the star of your afternoon gathering. Choose recipes will help you assemble a buffet that complements, rather than overpowers, your tea selections.

Mix and match fine teacups with sturdy plates.

Offer your guests copies of the recipes, printed on lively stock.

Set out a little poem or thoughtful quote. Try this one from Eleanor Roosevelt: "A woman is like a tea bag -- you never know how strong she is until she gets into hot water."

TEA TYPES

The nomenclature of tea has its roots in the color of the leaves. All teas (except for herbal teas) come from the same plant, Camellia sinensis. But each type of tea (shown from left) gets its distinctive characteristics from the way the fresh tea leaves are processed.

Black tea is made from leaves that are harvested, then left to wither, dry and fully ferment before they are heated. There are black teas flavored with bits of dried fruits such as peach, strawberry, raspberry, black currant and citrus. The most famous black tea is Earl Grey, which is flavored with the oil of bergamot, a small citrus fruit from southern Italy.

Green tea is favored among Asians and is made from leaves that are steamed and dried but not fermented. The slightly grassy taste of green tea more closely resembles the fresh leaf than black tea.

Herbal tea is an infusion of herbs, spices and citrus that is not really tea at all. Rather, herbal tea is what the French call tisane (from Old French, meaning "barley water").

Oolong falls somewhere between black and green teas. It is only partially fermented before it is heated. It is clear and fragrant like green tea, but it also has some of the strength and power to refresh typically found in black teas.

White tea is made from leaves and buds that are not fully opened. It, like green tea, is steamed and dried but not fermented and has an exceptionally delicate, light, sweet flavor.

NECESSITIES AND NICETIES

Making tea doesn't require any fancy gear, but there are a few necessities (and a few niceties) to consider. Popular accoutrements for tea lovers include different forms of glass teapots, a timer for getting exact infusion times, a ball-shape infuser for loose-leaf tea, a teaspoon for measuring tea, an instant-read thermometer to check water temperatures and -- if you are using tea bags -- a small saucer for holding the used tea bag.

A TEA RECIPE JUST FOR YOU!

LEMON POPPY SEED MUFFINS


Ingredients:
* 1 cup all-purpose flour
* 1 cup rolled oats
* 1/2 cup granulated sugar
* 1 tablespoon baking powder
* 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
* 1 tablespoon finely shredded lemon or lime peel
* 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt or 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1 egg, slightly beaten
* 3/4 cup milk
* 1/4 cup cooking oil
* 1/3 cup lemon or lime curd
* Powdered sugar

Directions:
1. Grease twelve 2 1/2-inch muffin cups or line with paper bake cups; set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, stir together flour, oats, granulated sugar, baking powder, poppy seeds, lemon peel and salt. Make a well in center of flour mixture; set aside.

3. In a small bowl, combine egg, milk and oil. Add egg mixture all at once to flour mixture. Stir just until moistened (batter should be lumpy).

4. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling each cup about two-thirds full. Spoon about 1 teaspoon of the lemon curd on top of the batter in each cup.

5. Bake in a 375 degree F. oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until tops are lightly browned. Cool in muffin cups on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Remove from pans. Sift warm muffins with powdered sugar. Serve warm.

Makes 12 muffins.

ENJOY!!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

RASPBERRY MERINGUES

Ingredients:
* 2 egg whites
* 1 tablespoon seedless red raspberry jam (at room temperature)
* 6 drops red food coloring
* 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
* 1/3 cup superfine sugar or granulated sugar
* 1/3 cup sifted powdered sugar
* Valentine messages written on parchment paper strips

Directions:
1. Let egg whites stand, covered, in a large stainless-steel or glass mixing bowl at room temperature for 30 minutes. Meanwhile cover 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. Preheat oven to 300 degree F. In a small mixing bowl stir together seedless raspberry jam (at room temperature) and 6 drops red food coloring. Set aside.

3. In a small bowl, combine the superfine sugar and powdered sugar; set aside. Uncover eggs and add cream of tartar. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form (tips curl). Add sugar mixture, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating for 5 to 7 minutes on medium speed or until stiff glossy peaks form (tips stand straight up) and sugar is dissolved.

4. Use a spatula to gently fold 1/2 cup of the meringue mixture into the jam; then gently fold jam mixture into the remaining meringue.

5. Using a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip, (Wilton 2 D) pipe the meringue into 2-inch freeform hearts, Xs and Os, on the parchment paper. Carefully tuck one end of each valentine message into each meringue.

6. Place baking sheets in preheated oven. Turn off oven. Let meringues dry in oven, with door closed, for 1 hour or until dry and crisp but still light in color. Let cool on parchment paper. Gently remove meringues. Tuck each meringue into a paper bake cup.

Lemon Meringues: Prepare as above, except omit red raspberry jam and red food coloring. Use a spatula to gently fold 1-1/2 teaspoons finely shredded lemon peel into meringue after it has reached stiff glossy peak stage. Proceed as directed above.

Makes about 20 meringue cookies.

Nutrition Facts:
* Calories 23,
* Total Fat (g) 0,
* Saturated Fat (g) 0,
* Monounsaturated Fat (g) 0,
* Polyunsaturated Fat (g) 0,
* Cholesterol (mg) 0,
* Sodium (mg) 6,
* Carbohydrate (g) 6,
* Total Sugar (g) 5,
* Fiber (g) 0,
* Protein (g) 0,
* Vitamin C (DV%) 0,
* Calcium (DV%) 0,
* Iron (DV%) 0,
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet

CHOCOLATE PISTACHIO HEART COOKIES

Ingredients

* 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
* 1 cup butter
* 1 teaspoon vanilla
* 1 beaten egg
* 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
* 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
* 3/4 cup finely chopped pistachio nuts
* 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate pieces
* 1 tablespoon shortening
* 1/2 cup ground pistachio nuts

Directions:
In a medium saucepan combine the butter and brown sugar. Heat and stir over low heat until butter is melted. Remove saucepan from heat; stir in vanilla. Cool mixture 15 minutes. Stir in beaten egg, flour, and cocoa powder until combined. Stir in the 3/4 cup pistachio nuts. Divide dough in half. Cover and chill about 30 minutes or until dough is easy to handle.

On a lightly floured surface, roll half of dough at a time to 1/4-inch thickness. Using a 2-inch heart-shape cookie cutter, cut out cookies. Place cookies 1 inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake in a 350 degree F oven about 9 minutes or until edges are firm. Transfer cookies to a wire rack; cool.

In a small heavy saucepan heat and stir chocolate pieces and shortening over low heat until melted. Remove from heat. Dip half of each cookie into chocolate mixture; roll edges of cookie in ground pistachio nuts.

Makes about 48 cookies.

Nutrition Facts:
* Calories 105,
* Total Fat (g) 7,
* Saturated Fat (g) 4,
* Cholesterol (mg) 16,
* Sodium (mg) 44,
* Carbohydrate (g) 9,
* Fiber (g) 1,
* Protein (g) 2,
* Vitamin A (DV%) 42,
* Vitamin C (DV%) 1,
* Calcium (DV%) 1,
* Iron (DV%) 1,
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

FRUIT-FILLED PASTRY HEARTS

Ingredients:
* 1 (17.3-ounce) package frozen puff pastry (2 sheets)
* 1/3 cup peach spreadable fruit or preserves
* 1 teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel
* 1 cup peeled and finely chopped peaches (about 2)
* 1 (8-ounce)package cream cheese, softened
* 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
* 1 teaspoon vanilla
* Powdered sugar
* 1 cup blueberries

Directions:
1. Thaw and unfold puff pastry sheets onto a lightly floured surface. Using a floured, 2-inch heart-shaped cookie cutter or a sharp small knife and a heart pattern, cut pastry into about 45 heart shapes (do not reroll scraps). Place pastry hearts on an ungreased baking sheet.

2. Bake in a 375 degree F oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until puffed and golden. Cool on a wire rack. If desired, store, tightly covered, at room temperature for up to 12 hours.

3. In a small saucepan combine spreadable fruit or preserves and lemon peel. Heat and stir until melted; cool. In a large mixing bowl combine peaches and blueberries. Add spread or preserves mixture and gently toss to combine; set aside.

4. In a medium mixing bowl beat cream cheese, brown sugar, and vanilla with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until fluffy.

5. To assemble pastries, with a serrated knife, cut pastry hearts in half horizontally. Spread each of the bottom halves with about 1 teaspoon cream cheese mixture. Top each with a spoonful of fruit mixture and a pastry top. Serve immediately or cover and chill for up to 4 hours. Just before serving, lightly sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Makes about 45 pastries.

Make-Ahead Tip: Bake pastry hearts. Cool and store tightly covered up to 12 hours ahead. Assemble pastries, cover and chill for up to 4 hours ahead.

Nutrition Facts:
* Calories 82,
* Total Fat (g) 5,
* Saturated Fat (g) 1,
* Cholesterol (mg) 6,
* Sodium (mg) 57,
* Carbohydrate (g) 8,
* Fiber (g) 0,
* Protein (g) 1,
* Vitamin A (DV%) 3,
* Vitamin C (DV%) 1,
* Calcium (DV%) 1,
* Iron (DV%) 0,
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet

Monday, February 9, 2009

OATY-DOODLE HEARTS

Ingredients:
* 2 cups rolled oats
* 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
* 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
* 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 cup butter, softened
* 1/2 cup butter-flavored shortening
* 1-1/2 cups sugar
* 2 eggs
* 1 teaspoon vanilla
* 1/3 to 1/2 cup sugar

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degree F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or foil; set aside. In a food processor process the oats until finely ground. In a medium bowl combine ground oats, flours, cinnamon, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt; set aside.

2. In a large mixing bowl beat butter and shortening with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add 1-1/2 cups sugar and beat until combined. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Beat or stir in flour mixture. Using a heaping teaspoon for each, roll dough into balls; roll in 1/3 to 1/2 cup sugar. Place on prepared cookie sheets about 2 inches apart. Flatten to a little less than 1/2 inch thick and use your fingers to shape into hearts by shaping one end into a point and the other into two rounded shapes. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until set and lightly browned. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheet. Cool completely on wire racks.

Makes about 60 cookies.

Nutrition Facts:
* Calories 82,
* Total Fat (g) 4,
* Saturated Fat (g) 1,
* Monounsaturated Fat (g) 2,
* Polyunsaturated Fat (g) 1,
* Cholesterol (mg) 11,
* Sodium (mg) 45,
* Carbohydrate (g) 11,
* Total Sugar (g) 6,
* Fiber (g) 1,
* Protein (g) 1,
* Vitamin C (DV%) 0,
* Calcium (DV%) 1,
* Iron (DV%) 2,
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet

CHOCOLATE-COVERED STRAWBERRY CAKES

Ingredients:
* 1/2 cup butter
* 1 cup sugar
* 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
* 1 egg
* 1 teaspoon vanilla
* 1 cup all-purpose flour
* 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
* 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/8 teaspoon salt
* 3/4 cup milk
* 1/4 cup strawberry jam
* Bittersweet Chocolate Ganache
* 12 medium strawberries
* 3 ounces bittersweet and/or milk chocolate curls

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour or line with paper bake cups twelve 2-1/2-inch muffin cups; set aside.

2. In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Remove from heat. Let cool for 5 minutes. Stir in sugar and cocoa powder until combined. Add egg and vanilla. Using a wooden spoon, beat lightly just until combined.

3. In a small bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Alternately add flour mixture and milk to chocolate mixture, beating by hand after each addition. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling each two-thirds full.

4. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the centers comes out clean. Cool in muffin cups on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Using a knife, loosen the edges; carefully remove cupcakes. Cool completely on a wire rack.

5. If cupcakes don't have paper liners, trim a thin slice from top of each cupcake so they will sit flat. Turn bottom side up. Place cupcakes 2 inches apart on wire rack set over waxed paper. (For cupcakes in liners, peel liners down but do not remove.) Spread 1 teaspoon of the strawberry jam over each cupcake.

6. Prepare Bittersweet Chocolate Ganache. (below) Spoon ganache over cupcakes, making sure to coat all sides. Place a strawberry on top of each cake. Drizzle each strawberry lightly with ganache, letting the strawberry show through. Top cupcakes with chocolate curls.


Bittersweet Chocolate Ganache: In a medium saucepan, bring 1 cup whipping cream just to boiling over medium-high heat. Remove from heat. Add 10 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped (do not stir). Let stand for 5 minutes. Stir until smooth. Whisk in 3 tablespoons butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, whisking until ganache is smooth.

Makes: 12 cupcakes

To Bake Ahead: Prepare as directed through step 4. Place cooled cupcakes in an airtight container; cover. Store at room temperature for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 1 month. Thaw cupcakes, if frozen. Continue as directed in step 5.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

ASPARAGUS FINGER SANDWICHES

Ingredients:
* 8 oz. fresh asparagus or 1/2 of a 9- to 10-ounce package frozen cut asparagus
* 1/4 cup mayonnaise or salad dressing
* 3 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
* 1/4 tsp. salt
* 1/8 tsp. ground white pepper
* 1 Tbsp. butter, softened
* 4 slices thinly sliced firm-textured white sandwich bread
* 2 slices thinly sliced firm-textured wheat sandwich bread
* Fresh parsley sprigs or microgreens

Directions:
1. If using fresh asparagus, snap off and discard woody bases from asparagus. If desired, scrape off scales from asparagus spears. Cook asparagus, covered, in a small amount of boiling water about 10 minutes or until soft and tender; drain. If using frozen asparagus, cook according to package directions using maximum time given; drain. Carefully spread asparagus on a double layer of paper towels; drain well. Pat dry with paper towel.

2. Transfer asparagus to a medium bowl. Using a fork, mash the asparagus. Drain out all the excess water using a sieve (excess water will make the sandwiches soggy). Stir in mayonnaise, Parmesan cheese, salt, and white pepper; mix thoroughly to a spreadable consistency.

3. Spread butter on one side of each slice of white bread. Spread asparagus mixture over buttered side of each slice. Top 2 slices of white bread with a slice of wheat bread. Place the 2 remaining slices of white bread, asparagus side down, on top each slice of whole wheat.

4. To serve, using a sharp serrated knife, slice crusts from all four sides of each sandwich. Cut each sandwich into 4 triangles or 4 squares. Arrange on a platter with the cut edges upward. Garnish with sprigs of parsley or microgreens. Serve at once or cover and chill up to 1 hour.

Makes 8 small sandwiches.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

CUCUMBER AND DILL-SOUR CREAM ON ENGLISH MUFFIN

Ingredients:
* 1/4 cup dairy sour cream
* 1 teaspoon snipped fresh dill or 1/4 teaspoon dried dillweed
* 2 English muffins, split and toasted
* Thin slices English cucumber
* Salt
* Fresh dill sprigs (optional)

Directions:
1. In a small bowl, stir together sour cream and 1 teaspoon dill. If desired, cut 2-1/2-inch rounds from the English muffin halves. Spread the sour cream mixture on the cut side of the toasted English muffin halves. Place cucumber slices on 2 of the English muffin halves. Sprinkle cucumbers lightly with salt. Top with remaining English muffin halves, spread side down. Slice in half to serve. (Or, for open-faced sandwiches, arrange cucumber slices over each English muffin half. If you like, garnish with additional fresh dill.)

Makes 4 sandwiches.

Friday, February 6, 2009

I WON! I WON!

Just wanted to share my happiness today! I received a teacup from Tom & Jan at Rose Haven! Isn't it a beauty?! I won on week #2 but there are 15 weeks. So get on over there and post a comment to get a chance at winning! Thank you Jan for such a wonderful giveaway...you are such a sweetie!! I always drink tea at breakfast (at minimum!) and will always cherish this teacup! Aren't friends just wonderful? I feel so blessed to have met so many wonderful people here in blogland. May God richly bless you in all you do!
HUGS to Tom & Jan,
SHERI

EARL GREY CREME BRULEE

Ingredients:
* 2 cups half-and-half or light cream
* 2 cups whipping cream
* 2 tablespoons good quality Earl Grey loose tea or 6 Earl Grey tea bags
* 9 egg yolks
* 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
* 1/3 cup granulated sugar or extra-fine granulated sugar

Directions:
1. In a heavy medium saucepan, heat half-and-half and whipping cream over medium-low heat just until bubbly. Remove from heat. Whisk in loose tea or add tea bags. Cover; let steep for 1 hour. Strain the cream mixture through a fine mesh sieve if using loose tea, pressing out all the liquid; discard loose tea. Or, remove tea bags from cream, pressing out liquid from the bags.

2. In a large bowl, combine egg yolks and 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar. Beat with a wire whisk or rotary beater just until combined. Slowly whisk the cream mixture into the egg mixture.

3. Place eight 3/4-cup souffle dishes, 6-ounce custard cups or 4 3/4-ounce ramekins in a large roasting pan*. Divide custard mixture evenly among the dishes. Place roasting pan on oven rack. Pour enough boiling water into the roasting pan to reach halfway up the sides of the souffle dishes, cups, or ramekins.

4. Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 45 to 50 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center of each custard comes out clean. Remove dishes from water; cool on a wire rack. Cover and chill for at least 1 hour or for up to 24 hours.

5. Before serving, sprinkle each with remaining 1/3 cup sugar and caramelize with a culinary blowtorch*. Serve custards immediately.

Makes 8 servings.

*Tip: If you do not have a culinary blowtorch, remove custards from refrigerator. Place 1/4 cup sugar in an 8-inch skillet. Heat over medium-high heat until sugar begins to melt, shaking skillet occasionally to heat sugar evenly. Do not stir. Once sugar starts to melt, reduce heat to low; cook about 5 minutes more or until all of the sugar is melted and golden, stirring as needed with a wooden spoon. Quickly drizzle caramelized sugar over the custards. Serve immediately.

*Note: You can also use sixteen 2-ounce ramekins. You may need two baking pans. Bake in a 350 degree F oven about 40 minutes or until a knife comes out clean. Cool the dessert, chill, and serve as directed.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

CRANBERRY SCONES

Ingredients:
* 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
* 1/2 cup powdered sugar
* 2 tablespoons buttermilk powder
* 4 teaspoons baking powder
* 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
* 3/4 cup cold butter, cut into pieces
* 2 eggs, lightly beaten
* 1/2 cup whole milk, half-and-half, or light cream
* 3/4 cup dried cranberries, snipped dried cherries, dried currants, or snipped raisins
* Whole milk, half-and-half, or light cream (optional)
* Granulated sugar (optional)
* Whipped cream or butter

Directions:
1. In a large bowl, combine flour, powdered sugar, buttermilk powder, baking powder, and soda. Using a pastry blender, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Make well in center of flour mixture. In bowl, mix eggs, 1/2 cup milk, and cranberries. Add to flour mixture. Using a fork, stir until just moistened.

2. Turn out onto lightly floured surface. Knead gently 10 to 12 strokes or until nearly smooth. Pat or lightly roll to 1/2-inch thickness; cut with a flour 2-1/2-inch round cutter. Or divide dough in half. Pat each half to 1/2-inch-thick circle. Cut each circle into 8 wedges. If you like, brush tops of each round or wedge with some milk. Sprinkle with sugar.

3. Place 1 inch apart on an ungreased baking sheet. Don't flatten. Bake in a 350 degree F oven 15 minutes or until golden. Remove scones from baking sheet. Cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Serve warm with whipped cream of butter.

makes 15 to 16 scones.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

CRAB, AVOCADO, AND WATERCRESS SANDWICHES

Ingredients:
* 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
* 1 tablespoon snipped fresh chives
* 1 teaspoon lemon juice
* 1 cup chopped cooked fresh lump or jumbo crabmeat or drained pasteurized canned lump crabmeat, flaked and cartilage removed
* 1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper
* Dash kosher salt or salt
* 8 slices thinly sliced firm-textured white or wheat sandwich bread
* 2 tablespoons butter, softened
* 1 avocado, halved, seeded, peeled and sliced
* 1/2 cup loosely packed watercress (thick stems discarded), rinsed and dried
* Chives

Directions:
1. In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon chives, and lemon juice. Add crabmeat; stir with a fork to combine. Season with white pepper and salt.

2. Spread one side of each slice of bread with butter. Arrange avocado slices on half of the buttered bread slices. Top with crab mixture. Add watercress. Top with remaining bread slices; buttered-side down. Trim the crusts from bread. Cut each sandwich into 3 equal pieces. (Sandwiches can be filled and refrigerated, covered tightly with plastic wrap, for one hour before serving.) Garnish with additional chives before serving.

Makes 12 small sandwiches.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

GINGERBREAD TEA CAKE

Ingredients:
* 1/2 cup butter
* 2 eggs
* 2-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
* 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
* 1 teaspoon ground ginger
* 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
* 1/2 cup granulated sugar
* 1 cup mild-flavored molasses
* 1-1/4 cups cold water
* Powdered sugar
* Edible flowers (optional)

Directions:
1. Allow butter and eggs to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, grease a 13x9x2-inch baking pan; set aside. In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, and cloves; set aside.

2. In a mixing bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar; beat until well combined. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add molasses; beat until well combined. Alternately add flour mixture and water to butter mixture; beating on low speed after each addition just until combined. Pour into prepared pan.

3. Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 40 to 50 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool for 30 minutes in pan on a wire rack. Serve warm sprinkled with powdered sugar and garnished with edible flowers, if you like.

Makes 35 servings.

Monday, February 2, 2009

CREAMY PEANUT BUTTER TRUFFLES

Ingredients:
* 3/4 cup whipping cream
* 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
* 1 cup semisweet chocolate pieces
* 8 ounces chocolate-flavored candy coating*
* Edible flower petals and/or lavender buds (optional)

Directions:
1. In a heavy small saucepan, bring whipping cream just to boiling. Remove from heat. Add peanut butter, stirring until combined. Add chocolate pieces, stirring until melted and smooth. Transfer mixture to a 2-quart baking dish. Cover and chill about 1 hour or until firm.

2. Line a baking sheet with waxed paper. Use a spoon or a small cookie scoop to shape truffle mixture into 1-inch balls. Place on prepared baking sheet. Cover and freeze 30 minutes or until firm.

3. In a heavy small saucepan, melt candy coating over low heat, stirring constantly until smooth. Using a fork, quickly dip truffles, one at a time, into coating. Draw the fork across the rim of the saucepan to remove excess coating. Return truffles to baking sheet. Let stand 30 minutes or until coating is set.

4. Store truffles tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Let stand at room temperature about 30 minutes before serving. Garnish each with edible flower petals or lavender buds, if you like.

Makes about 45 pieces.

*Note: As an option to the candy coating, you can roll the truffles in 1/2 cup of finely chopped peanuts or finely chopped nut topping for ice cream.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

CARDAMOM TEA COOKIES

Ingredients:
* 1 cup butter
* 1 egg yolk
* 2/3 cup granulated sugar
* 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
* 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 2 cups all-purpose flour
* 1/3 cup granulated sugar

Directions:
1. Allow butter and egg yolk to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.

2. In a large mixing bowl, beat the softened butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add 2/3 cup sugar; beat about 5 minutes or until well-combined and very fluffy, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Add egg yolk, cardamom, baking soda and salt. Beat until combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can; stir in any remaining flour with a wooden spoon. Cover and chill dough about 1 hour or until easy to handle.

3. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake in a 350 degree F oven about 10 minutes or until edges are just set and bottoms are very lightly browned. Let cookies cool on sheets for 1 minute. Transfer to wire racks; cool completely. Gently dip cookies in 1/2 cup extra-fine sugar, turning to coat all sides.

Makes about 44 cookies.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

RASPBERRY TARTLETS

Ingredients:
* 2/3 cup butter
* 5 egg yolks (about 1/3 cup)
* 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
* 1 tablespoon baking powder
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 3/4 cup granulated sugar
* 1 tablespoon finely shredded orange peel
* 1 cup purchased lemon or lime curd
* 2 cups raspberries
* Powdered sugar

Directions:
1. Allow butter and egg yolks to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

2. In a large mixing bowl, beat the egg yolks and granulated sugar with an electric mixer on high speed until light and pale, about 3 minutes. Add softened butter and orange peel. Beat on medium speed until well combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in flour mixture just until combined. Divide dough in half. Wrap dough in plastic wrap; chill for at least 4 hours or up to 24 hours or until firm enough to handle.

3. Lightly grease twenty-four 1-3/4-inch muffin cups; set aside.

4. On a lightly floured surface, roll half the dough at a time until 1/4 inch thick. Using a 2-1/2-inch round cookie cutter, cut dough into 12 rounds, rerolling as needed. Press a round into the bottom and up the sides of each prepared muffin cup. Repeat rolling and cutting with remaining half of dough.

5. Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 8 to 9 minutes or until lightly browned (dough will puff). Remove from oven. Immediately make an indentation so as to form a tart shell (use the rounded bottom of a measuring teaspoon). Cool slightly in pan. Carefully transfer tart shells to a wire rack and let cool.

6. To serve, spoon a scant 1 tablespoon of Lemon Curd into each cooled tart shell. Arrange raspberries on top and dust tartlets with powdered sugar. Tartlets may be assembled up to 4 hours before serving, dusting with powdered sugar just before serving.

Makes 24 tartlets.

Friday, January 30, 2009

CHOCOLATE FLOURLESS TORTE

Ingredients:
* 16 ounces semisweet chocolate, cut up
* 1 pound unsalted butter or regular butter
* 1 cup whipping cream
* 1 cup sugar
* 1/2 teaspoon salt*
* 9 eggs
* 4 teaspoons vanilla
* 1 cup whipping cream
* 12 ounces semisweet chocolate, cut up
* 1 ounce white chocolate, melted (optional)

Directions:
1. For torte, grease bottom and side of a 10-inch springform pan; set aside.

2. In heavy, large saucepan, combine the 16 ounces chocolate, the butter, sugar, 1 cup whipping cream, and salt, if using. Cook over medium-low heat until chocolate and butter are melted; stir frequently. Remove from heat.

3. In a large bowl, whisk eggs and vanilla together. Slowly stir half of the chocolate mixture into eggs. Return egg mixture to remaining chocolate mixture, stirring until combined.

4. Pour batter into prepared springform pan, placed on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 45 to 50 minutes or until evenly puffed and a knife inserted near center comes out clean. Remove from oven; cool thoroughly on a wire rack. Chill in the refrigerator about 4 hours or until firm.

5. For ganache, in a small saucepan, heat 1 cup whipping cream to just boiling. Place the 12 ounces chocolate in a medium bowl. Add hot whipping cream. Stir until chocolate is melted and smooth. Cool to room temperature.

6. Set torte on serving plate. With a knife or narrow metal spatula, carefully loosen cake and remove side of pan. Spread ganache over top of torte, allowing some of the ganache to drizzle down sides. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for several minutes or until ganache is set.

7. If you like, pipe or drizzle stripes or other designs on the torte with melted white chocolate. For easier eating, let the torte stand at room temperature about 30 minutes before slicing it.

Makes 20 servings.

*Note: Omit salt if using regular butter.