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Sunday
Mar152015

20 Tasty Green Foods For St. Patrick's Day

The theme of today's post is GREEN. That's the color associated with St. Patrick's day, and the color of all the food you should eat on March 17. Here are 10 green foods that can help you celebrate. Pairing with green beer optional. 

1. Mint chocolate chip whoopie pies

Mint chocolate chip whoopie pies

Whoopie pies are great. But whoopie pies inspired by the prettiest ice cream flavor? All the better, and very appropriate for St. Patrick's Day. Recipe here

2. Watergate cake

Watergate Cake (Pistachio Pudding Mix Cake)

The connection to the scandal is tenuous at best. Following Watergate, many foods flavored with pistachio (said to be a favorite of Richard Nixon's) were dubbed after the scandal. This cake is only scandalous in its deliciousness. Recipe here

3. Green Irish soda bread

Green Irish Soda Bread

Well, this one's easy. Take your favorite Irish Soda bread recipe...and add green food coloring. I much prefer this method to letting it mold over. The food coloring is a more delicious variation of green. Recipe here (untinted). 

4. Candy salad

Sweet Salad

Possibly the tastiest method of eating your greens, ever. That isn't actual salad - it's candy and cake configured to look like it! Recipe here

5. Princess cake

Miette Princess Cake

I can't say with 100 percent certainty why it's green, but it typically is, and it's a fun and fancy food. Featured in my second book, The Secret Lives of Baked Goods.

6. Shamrock shakes

Shamrock Shake

Photo via Flickr member vasenka

It's not up to me to judge whether you make a homemade version or buy it at the evil empire fast food retailer. But it is a classic green food around this time of year. Homemade version recipe here.

7. Pistachio chocolate chip cookies

Chocolate Chip Pistachio Cookies

This is one of my favorite cookie recipes in the world. Find out why...Recipe here

8. Something healthy

Green smoothie

You can consider this intermission, or consider the fact that I made a banana and kale smoothie, and it actually tasted good. Recipe here.

9. Avocado cake

Chocolate Avocado Cake

This remains one of my favorite recipes for Serious Eats. It basically employs avocado wherever a normal recipe would call for butter (I actually used butter, too, though). Recipe here

10. Green tea ice cream

Green Tea Ice Cream

Photo via Flickr member Dong Kwan

I seem to see green tea ice cream on frequent offer at sushi places, but not so much at ice cream parlors. If you want, make your own, for a dignified green treat. Recipe here

11. Mint oreo stuffed brownie cupcakes Finalist 8: Stuffed Brownie Cupcakes (with chocolate covered mint oreos)

Go ahead. Stuff your cupcakes with mint fudge covered Oreos. It's only St. Patrick's day once a year. More info here.

 

12. Butter mint bars

Butter mint bars

A sugar cookie base with a thick, rich buttercream topping. I don't care that they're a Christmas treat. They're tasty right now, too. Recipe here

13. Pistachio pudding pops

Pistachio pudding pop

So simple. So perfect. This is my favorite flavor for Jell-O pudding pops. Or, fancy them up and make a two-tone variation. Recipe here

14. Avocado pie

Avocado Pie from Curio Confections Pie-Off

Pie? With avocado? Believe it. It's actually quite good. Recipe here

15. Mint chocolate chip ice cream Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream (with Sprinkles) - Week #10 for "52 of 2014" 

Photo via Flickr member aukirk

If you are one of those people who prefers the white variety of mint ice cream, then please, stay in bed all day on the 17th. I suggest, for the full experience, going to a local ice cream shop and picking this up. Read about how I shipped a mint chocolate chip ice cream cone to myself

16. Mint Nanaimo bars Nanaimo bars

Nanaimo bars are delicious any time of year, and making them minty gives you a reason to make the middle green and to call them St. Patrick's day appropriate. Recipe here

17. Frog cupcakes

Frog cakes

I suppose that you could make these sweet treats, but it's more fun to find them in their natural element. Read my essay about the Curious Case of the Frog Cupcakes.

18. Green buttercream

Peppermint Patty Cupcake, Common Ground, Renton

If you're making cupcakes on March 17, I don't care what flavor they are. Tint your buttercream green. That's all.

19. Mint chocolate chip cookies Green holiday cookies

All it takes is some doctored up cookie mix to make these tasty green cookies, which are inspired by the ice cream flavor. Recipe here

20. Green bagels

 Green Bagels

It's possible that your local grocery store or bagel shop has green bagels on the 17th. If they do, buy them. You must! Or, tint a batch of your own. (Untinted) Recipe here

BONUS: rainbow cookies

How to make NYC style rainbow cookies

They're a treasure, and they're not at the end of the rainbow: they ARE the rainbow. Or, make them all green for a St. Patrick's day treat. Recipe here

What's your favorite green food?

Saturday
Mar142015

Homemade Samoas Girl Scout Cookies

It's a truly beautiful day. Why? Because of this: HOMEMADE SAMOAS. 

Recipe here

Friday
Mar132015

Baker's Dozen: A Batch of Sweet Links

Frog Cupcakes, Whats for Dessert, Spring Lake Heights NJ

The curious case of the St. Patrick's day frog cupcakes. (CakeSpy archives)

Easy (and super delicious-looking) coconut ice cream. (Bonjour Sucre)

Hold on to your recipes! Don't let the "cruffin" theft befall your recipe collection. (Seattle Times)

Batik painting on paper. Not cake, still sweet. (Craftsy)

The long history of food--and celebrity chefs. (Newsweek)

Crepe cake!! It's awesome and beautiful. (Matea Milojkovic

I need one of these unicorn bowls. (Uncommon Goods) - via reader Dini!

SO dignified! Salted chocolate dipped orange and grapefruit slices. (Mayhem in the Kitchen)

The history of Alabama barbecue is deeply tied to civil rights and politics. (AL.com)

Just take a gander at this thick, beautiful homemade hot chocolate. (Molly Mell)

Tips for making fluffy vegan cakes and muffins. (One Green Planet)

Think you know a thing or two about buttercream? Test your knowledge with this fun quiz. (Craftsy)

In case you missed it: Snickers Cheesecake. (CakeSpy)

Book of the week: Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child. It's famous. You've heard of it. You saw the movie. But have you looked through it? It's a true treasure, and a volume that everyone should own...even if they only ever look at, and never make, the aspic recipes. 

Thursday
Mar122015

How to Make Paleo Coffee, AKA Bulletproof Coffee

Paleo coffee DIY

When I was in Asheville, several of my yoga school classmates became hooked on something sold at the Whole Foods nearby called "Paleo Coffee". Well, I didn't have too much interest in it until someone told me it contained butter.

What? Coffee with butter? That sounded awesome!

I was intrigued, and when I tried the stuff, I found that it was quite agreeable. Turns out, it was not only butter but coconut oil in addition that gave the coffee its rich, creamy flavor. Yes, I liked the stuff.

After Asheville, I promptly forgot about it until I happened upon this article in In Touch Weekly (one of my guilty pleasures fo'sho). I had to roll my eyes at it a bit, but then again, I have to say that the butter diet is one of the better ones I've come across. 

Paleo coffee DIY

They called it "bulletproof coffee" but it was the same thing that Whole Foods in Asheville had deemed Paleo Coffee. Either way, I think this stuff is worth a try. It's far cheaper to make it at home (I've seen it for sale between $4 and a whopping $8 per cup) and it's pretty delicious. While I will never ever suggest a fad diet to you, I think that this buttery coffee is a curiosity that is worth trying at least once! 

Paleo coffee DIY

Paleo Coffee, or "Bulletproof" Coffee

inspired by In Touch Weekly and Greenlife of Asheville 

  • 2 cups (16 oz) hot brewed coffee
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter (I used unsalted) 

Procedure: It's as easy as combining all of the ingredients, but I will give you a few small tips. First, you'll definitely want to use super hot coffee, because it needs to be hot to allow the coconut oil, which is solid at room temperature, become liquid, and the butter to melt. Second, I suggest pouring the mixture into a bowl and mixing it all together with a whisk, because if you just stir with a spoon in the cup, it won't be vigorous enough to make the butter droplets go away. I find that it just looks better when mixed thoroughly.

Paleo coffee DIY

Finally, be sure to drink it while it's quite hot. The fat will begin to separate as it cools, making for a less appetizing visual.

Have you ever tried bulletproof or paleo coffee? 

Thursday
Mar122015

Actually Good: Stout Beer Ganache

Do you like beer? 

Beer ganache

In general, I do not. But in recent years I have come to appreciate a few what I will call "fancy beers" - the type that cost more than the average six pack, have the word "handcrafted" somewhere on the packaging, and that the average football watching dude would probably scoff at. 

The only problem is that a lot of the fancy beers only come in 22 ounce bottles. Now, as an occasional beer drinker, this is an insanely large quantity to me; I have never and probably will never be able to finish an entire bottle. And as it simply isn't the same the next day (flat!) and I'm the only one in my house who drinks it, it has been relegated to "occasional" treat, and I usually end up throwing out the un-consumed portion. 

I hate waste.

So the last time I bought a fancy-ish beer called Cappuccino Stout, I had some, and then decided to experiment with the rest.

What would happen if I substituted fancy beer for cream in a ganache recipe? What would beer ganache taste like? 

Well, given the success of chocolate stout cupcakes, I figured there was a chance that I could be successful. So I heated up the beer, and then mixed it with mixed dark and milk chopped chocolate in an equal quantity. 

I let it sit until it firmed a bit, and here's what it looked like.

Beer Ganache

And as for the taste? Surprisingly good. Like, actually good. The beer didn't so much taste beer-y anymore, but it more imparted a malty, caramelly taste to the chocolate. If I had been given a sample and you'd asked me to do a blind taste, I would have said that it was some sort of malted chocolate sauce.

Stout beer ganache is definitely worth your time. I think I'll try it on top of brownies next! 

Actually-Good Beer Ganache

Note: you can use whatever quantity you like, as long as the beer and chocolate are in equal weights. 

  1. Put the beer in a saucepan over medium heat until it begins to bubble (not to be confused with the fizz), like it's just shy of boiling. 
  2. Beer Ganache
  3. Either add the chocolate to the pan, or pour the hot beer over chocolate in a heatproof bowl.
  4. Beer Ganache
  5. Mix until combined, and the chocolate has melted.
  6. Let set until it has reached cool room temperature. Enjoy as a cake filling, icing, or as a tasty dip for cookies.
  7. Beer Ganache

Would you ever try beer ganache?

Monday
Mar092015

Three Ingredient Chocolate Cake

3 Ingredient Chocolate Cake

Well, technically it's four ingredients. But I happened to have ganache handy, so I didn't need to take any extra steps. 

Even if you don't have ganache handy, though, this cake is incredibly easy to make. All you need is ganache, eggs, and sugar. If you have these things, you could be eating this cake within the hour. For reals. 

This cake was inspired by the three ingredient peanut butter cake I made for Craftsy. The cake got a great reaction, because it's just so darned simple: peanut butter, eggs, sugar. That's it.

3 Ingredient Chocolate Cake

Of course, it also came with questions, ranging from the deeply boring ("Can I substitute non-sugar substitute?" and the like) to sensible ("can I use natural peanut butter?") to very interesting ("can I add chocolate?" "Can I substitute almond butter?"). 

Well, the questions about chocolate in particular intrigued me and my sweetheart, especially because we had a big old pan full of ganache in the kitchen (related: I love my life). 

So, along with said sweetheart, a version of the peanut butter cake was made, but this time with ganache instead of peanut butter.

Well, let me tell you.

It was a bit flatter than its peanut butter counterpart, but it...was...freaking...delicious.

3 Ingredient Chocolate Cake

 

It is like eating the best parts of a chocolate layer cake, but condensed into one little dense form. It's simultaneously rich and oddly light.

Although it technically added more ingredients, topping the cake with whipped cream or ice cream is a really, really good thing. 

3 Ingredient Chocolate Cake

I don't want to waste any more of your time, because every minute you read this is a minute less that you'll be baking this cake. So let's get baking! Here's how you do it. 

Three Ingredient Chocolate Cake

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces ganache, weighed on a scale
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar

Procedure

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease and 8-inch cake pan and line with parchment paper. Lightly grease the top of the parchment paper, too. This will ensure easy removal later.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the eggs until more than doubled in volume — about 8 minutes at high speed.
  3. 3 Ingredient Chocolate Cake
  4. Stop the mixer. Add the sugar, and beat one more minute, until fully combined, on medium-high speed. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula if necessary.
  5. Stop the mixer. Add the ganache, and mix on the lowest setting only until no streaks remain and the color is consistent. You can also add the ganache by hand, gently folding it in to the egg mixture.3 Ingredient Chocolate Cake
  6. Pour the batter in your prepared pan.
  7. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a knife or cake tester inserted in the center comes out mostly clean. Immediately run a sharp knife along the perimeter of the cake pan to loosen the edges. Let the cake cool completely before inverting on to a cake platter and serving. Store in the refrigerator, but serve at room temperature.
  8. 3 Ingredient Chocolate Cake

How would you top this cake?

Sunday
Mar082015

CakeSpy's Recent Craftsy Posts

Photo via Craftsy blogHow to create beautiful stippled (millions of dots!) drawings

Think you know a lot about buttercream? Prove it by taking the buttercream quiz.

A primer on chicken flatbread sandwiches. Delicious!

Make eating easier: how to cut meat against the grain.

How to paint skin tones.

Roasted avocado slices. Best. Snack. Ever. 

Gluten-free hummingbird cake. So. Good.

Create a beautiful batik-style painting on paper. 

How to pack watercolors for travel. Good because I travel a lot!

Beautiful and inspiring beaded wedding cakes. (pictured top)

Sunday
Mar082015

Last Meal-Worthy: Snickers Cheesecake Recipe

Snickers cheesecake

"If I could only eat one pie for the rest of my life, I would choose this one. It’s so incredibly good!" - so says Roy Fares in the headnote for this recipe, featured in the new book United States of Cakes: Tasty Traditional American Cakes, Cookies, Pies, and Baked Goods. I am pretty into this book so far. For one thing, it's beautiful eye candy: I could look at the pictures of cakes and places all day--it speaks to my sweet tooth and wanderlust tendencies.

Now, the title might be a bit misleading - while you might be picturing sweets from sea to shining sea, the book is mostly set in Southern California. The author, Roy Fares, is an international pastry chef celebrity, and on his travels, the Los Angeles area intrigued him quite a bit--so he settled there to bake through some American favorites. It's a beautiful book, but don't expect a book like United Cakes of America: Recipes Celebrating Every State. DO expect some delicious and decadent desserts, like the one featured below. 

Snickers Cheesecake

Makes 12 pieces

Pie Shell

  • 15 (200 g) graham crackers
  • 1/3 cup + 1 tbsp (100 g) butter
  • 1⁄4 cup (40 g) sugar
  • 11⁄2 tbsp (10 g) cocoa powder
  • 1⁄2 tsp (3 g) salt
  • Cheesecake Filling
  • 1⁄2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 1⁄2 cups (600 g) cream cheese
  • 3⁄4 cup (180 g) sugar
  • 2 tbsp (20 g) all­ purpose flour
  • 1⁄4 cup (59 mL (50 g)) whipping cream
  • 2 (30 g) egg yolks
  • 2 (110 g) eggs
  • 1 1⁄2 (80 g) Snickers bars
  • 1⁄2 cup (60 g) salted peanuts

Frosting

  • 1 1⁄4 cups (300 g) cream cheese
  • 2 tbsp (15 g) cocoa powder
  • 3⁄4 cups (120 g) confectioners' sugar
  • 1⁄2 tsp (11⁄2 g) vanilla extract
  • 1⁄4 cup (50 g) whipping cream

Garnish

  • Pieces of Snickers
  • Salted peanuts
  • Optional, cocoa powder for Dusting

Make the Pie Shell

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius), convection function. Run the cookies in a food processor until they become fine crumbs. Melt the butter and add it. Add a little more butter if you think that the mixture is too dry to work with. Line a springform, 9 inches (23 cm) in diameter, with the crumbs, create an edge of about 11⁄2 inches (4 cm) high. Flatten the surface a little with the back of a tablespoon. Bake in the center of the oven for 7 minutes. Allow to cool.

Make the Cheesecake Filling

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (200 degrees Celsius), convection function. Beat the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla extract, and flour in a bowl until fluffy. Whisk in the cream. Fold in the egg yolks one egg at a time with a spatula. Cut the Snickers into pieces and spread them over the bottom of the pie shell along with the peanuts. Pour the cheesecake mixture on top and smooth with a spatula. Bake in the middle of oven for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 200 degrees Fahrenheit (105 degrees Celsius) and bake for 35 minutes (do not open oven door). Turn off the oven and let the cheesecake stand in the heat for another 25 minutes (which reduces the risk of cracking). Remove and let cool completely. Let the cheesecake stand in the fridge for at least 6 hours, preferably overnight, so that it hardens properly. Run a thin knife around the form’s edge before it is removed. Rinse the knife with hot water a few times during that process.

Make the Frosting, and finish up

Mix all the ingredients except the cream in a bowl and whisk until the mixture feels fluffy. Whip in the cream in batches until it becomes a smooth frosting. Pipe or spread the frosting over the cheesecake. Garnish with Snickers chunks and peanuts and, if you like, dust with cocoa powder.

What dessert would you choose if you knew it would be your last meal?

Saturday
Mar072015

Three Ingredient Peanut Butter Cake

Got eggs, peanut butter and sugar? You could be enjoying this cake in less than an hour. Really. 

It's only three ingredients, but it tastes way fancier. Trust me: try this one. 

Intrigued? Recipe here. 

Friday
Mar062015

Baker's Dozen: A Batch of Sweet Links

Watercolor batik

Melt or temper? Here's a guide to when to do what. (Baking 911)

Our history is jotted on recipe cards. A sweet essay. (Charlotte News Observer)

Gluten-free hummingbird cake. (Craftsy)

Virtuous no-bake lemon bars. They look delicious, virtue or no! (Sun Diego Eats)

A new book explores the history of nutritional supplements. Interesting! (NY Times)

Opening a young coconut. (Faye's Fork)

Fruity pebble cereal baked doughnuts. (American Heritage Cooking

Cinnamon roll cheesecake? I'm into it. (Life, Love, and Sugar)

Bananas foster bread pudding. YES! (Grandbaby Cakes)

It's a good day to make Nanaimo bars, I think. (CakeSpy for Craftsy)

Brownies with coconut and matcha swirl. I'd give 'em a whirl. (Mainly Baking)

Awesome, inspiring beaded wedding cakes. (CakeSpy for Craftsy)

I am very into these saucepan brownies. (The Cooking of Joy)

Book of the week: Raising Unicorns: Your Step-by-Step Guide to Starting and Running a Successful - and Magical! - Unicorn Farm No, not technically a cookbook, but magical enough to bear mention on this site. The description really does it for me: "In this book, author Jessica S. Marquis provides everything you need to know to make a good living as a unicorn farmer. From choosing the right breed (Purebred; Twinkletoe; Karmic; Gigglerump; Horse with Horn) to picking the unicorn farm dream team (an alchemist; stable hands; groomers; The On-Call Virgin (OCV); lawyers), you are guaranteed to have a magical journey."

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