This Buttercream is Made from Chickpea Water and I'm Not Kidding

I'm serious, you guys. This buttercream is made with a most unusual ingredient: chickpea water. Loveletter Cakeshop of NYC went ahead and answered a question I didn't even know I had for this week's #whathappenswednesday: what happens when you make buttercream from chickpea water?

When Brandon Baker (real name, not kidding) of Loveletter Cakeshop reached out to me asking if I'd like to share a recipe for this unusual buttercream featuring "aquafaba" (yes, that is the official name for chickpea water), I was intrigued. When he sent it, I simply knew it had to be featured on the site.

I'll let Brandon take it from here. Here's the good word on chickpea-enhanced buttercream, according to Loveletter Cakeshop:

Aquafaba buttercream: what's the deal?

Everyone deserves a good birthday cake. Except, vegans are probably the only subset of the population that has a pretty hard time finding one. Are you keeping Kosher? No problem. Just vegetarian? Done. Vegan? Hope you like Crisco!

As a vegan myself, eating vegan cake has been an exercise in futility and disappointment, as most vegan cakes taste like grease­-slathered cornbread. C'mon, this is my birthday! I deserve better, don't I? Well, thanks to Aquafaba, vegans worldwide are finally getting their cake and eating it too.

Aqua­whaba? Let me explain. The word “Aquafaba” stems from the Latin words for “bean” and “water”, and you'll soon see how this magical ingredient is able to produce the most delicious vegan buttercream you've ever had. It's so good, you'll be able to serve it to a wedding party of 200 guests and no one will be able to tell the difference. Go ahead, just ask me how I know.

Warning: if you're a novice baker, this recipe is quite involved. There's melting, there's boiling, there's freezing, and you'll probably mess up a few times before you get it right. This isn't a throw-­stuff-­in­-your­-mixer-­and-­beat-­it kind of recipe. But the results are so, so worth it.

Best of all, you can take this foundation and build on it in an infinite number of ways. Want a vegan mocha buttercream? Add espresso. Want a vegan chocolate buttercream? Add melted chocolate and soymilk. Just want to eat frosting by the spoonful? Hey, it's your party big boy.

Let's get to it.


Aquafaba Buttercream: Recipe


Adapted from Loveletter Cakeshop's Vegan Swiss Meringue Buttercream

  • 1 cup (220g) food grade cocoa butter (melted)
  • 1 cup (220g) palm oil (melted)
  • 1.5 cups Aquafaba (the liquid from approximately two cans of chickpeas)
  • 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar (optional)
  • A splash of soy milk/almond milk
  • An ice cube tray (or two)


1. Place cocoa butter and palm oil in separate bowls. Place bowls over hot water to gently melt the oils.

2. When oils have completely melted, combine them and whisk vigorously with a fork until fully incorporated

3. Pour your oil mixture into an ice cube tray and freeze for 30 minutes to an hour.

4. Sift your sugar and cream of tartar into a bowl and set aside.

5. Now it's time to reduce the Aquafaba. Pour your bean juice into a pot and set it on the stove on medium high. You’ll want it to reach about a quarter of its original weight or volume, whichever method you prefer. If you've got a good eye, you can eyeball it. This will take about 15 to ­20 minutes.

6. Add your sugar and cream of tartar immediately after removing the aquafaba from the stove. The more thoroughly you mix at this stage, the silkier your buttercream will be.

7. Pour your mixture into a the bowl of a stand mixer. Whip for 6 minutes or until you've reached a stiff meringue. When in doubt, keep whipping. It's hard to overwhip this meringue. Set aside.

8. Open up your freezer and test your oil mixture by touching it with your finger and ensuring it's rock hard. If it is, remove your tray from the freezer and let it thaw.

9. Here's the crucial step. You're going to throw your oil “cubes” into the meringue, but not until they've thawed enough for your finger to make a dent in them when you press into one. In my experience, it takes about 20­ to 30 minutes of sitting at room temperature before your oil is ready. If you wait too long, your buttercream will be soupy and melted, and if you don’t wait long enough, your oil cubes won't incorporate properly into the meringue. (This is the only difficult step in this recipe, so if you've got this one down, you're nearing the finish line.)


10. When your oil cubes are ready, throw them into the meringue and mix on medium until your buttercream is smooth.

11. If your buttercream seems too thick, add your soy milk / almond milk very, very slowly until you've got the consistency you're looking for. If you add too much, your buttercream will become too runny, so take caution.

11. Pat yourself on the back and breathe a sigh of relief. You've made it!


­I understand not everyone runs a commercial bakery and has cocoa butter just lying around the kitchen. It's OK. You can make this recipe using straight palm shortening, but you may have to fiddle with the proportions to make sure your buttercream is stiff enough. And you'd probably want to omit the milk at the end.

Fair warning: this recipe made with 100% palm shortening won't taste nearly as good as a 50/50 blend with cocoa butter. You know how delicious white chocolate is? It's essentially just sweetened cocoa butter with vanilla and milk added in.

­If you're committed to the cocoa butter, you must make sure that you're buying FOOD GRADE cocoa butter. If it doesn't specifically say the words “Food Grade,” assume it's not. And if you want a more neutral flavor, use deodorized cocoa butter. 

Would you try aquafaba buttercream?

Four Ingredient Ganache Cookie Pie

Four ingredients, yo.

I've never tasted a "doctored" sweet as wonderful as this pie. It starts with a refrigerated store-bought tube of cookie dough, but by simply combining it with cream, chocolate, and pecans, you get something that looks way, way, way fancy. 

Chocolate chip cookie dough dotted with buttery pecan bits and then topped with ganache. Could life get any better?

Seriously. This is a recipe for non-bakers, because it's so easy to make and yields such a delicious result.

Seriously. This is a recipe for bakers, too, because it is a crowd-pleasing winner. If you're super DIY you can even make your own cookie dough, it's fine with me. 

I'm not going to waste any more of your time. You want to make this magic happen? Here's what you do.

Four ingredient ganache cookie pie

Printable version here

You need:

  • 1 tube of refrigerated chocolate chip cookie dough
  • 3/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans (can substitute another nut)
  • 4 ounces coarsely chopped chocolate
  • 4 ounces heavy cream

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a pie plate, and press the cookie dough evenly into the pie plate, as flat as you can.

2. Sprinkle the top of the dough with 3/4 cup of coarsely chopped pecans, and press them fairly firmly into the cookie mixture (but try to maintain an even height). If you chose to omit them, you'd be down to just three ingredients, but I think they make it taste extra-special and fancies up the dough so it's less evident that the dough is from a tube. So do it. 

3. Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until golden. This might vary depending on the brand you use (I used Pillsbury). Remove from the oven and let the cookie-lined pie plate cool for about 20 minutes on a wire rack. I know, you want to eat it now. But don't yet! 

4. Make ganache. Place the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl. In a small saucepan, bring the cream to a high simmer. Remove from heat and pour over the chocolate. Stir until it comes together into a creamy, cohesive mixture. 

5. Pour on top of the cookie dough lined pie plate and spread evenly. Chances are the cookie mixture formed a little crust for you while baking and is slightly elevated around the rim of the plate. This makes the chocolate fill the space quite naturally.

6. Place the pie in the fridge and let it chill for about 30 minutes to an hour, or until firm enough to slice.

7. Once it's cooled, DO enjoy a slice.


Roundup of the St. Petersburg Cupcake Festival, Florida

CakeSpy note: what's sweeter than a cupcake festival? This fantastic recap is courtesy of Aditi at Follow the Red Velvet Road. Enjoy!

Fifth Annual St. Petersburg Cupcake Festival Morean Art Center Downtown St. Petersburg Saturday August 16th, 12:00 – 3:00

After last year’s foray into the Ybor Saturday Market Cupcake Festival, I decided to check out the 2015 calendar of events in the Tampa Bay area to see if there were any other cupcake themed events going on. I was delighted to find a cupcake festival in St. Petersburg, apparently it was an annual one. I didn’t hear about it last year so I was interested and excited to attend this year.

The festival itself is a fund raiser for the Morean Art Center in downtown St. Petersburg (more info here, Morean Arts Center). Patrons of the festival could purchase tickets which were used to vote for the People’s Choice for the best cupcake. There were also designated judges who voted for the best cupcake between novice and professional bakers. Over all, there were awards for first, second, and third place from the People’s Choice as well as the judges. All the money raised went directly back to the art center.

I didn’t realize how popular this cupcake festival was when I first read about it. A few friends and I decided to head over around 12:30, thinking we’d beat the bulk of the crowd. Apparently the entire Bay Area thought to go to this event because the entrance line was out the door. While this sounds delightful, and it’s great for the art center, the space was very limited. When we finally got into the art center, it felt like a herd of cattle being ushered through the space going from table to table and grabbing what we could. Some tables had already run out of cupcakes before 1:30!

There were some amazing bakers there though. The competition was open to non‐commercial, non‐ professional, and commercial bakers alike. There were some personal favorites present, including Sweet IRB from Indian Rocks Beach and Oobalamode from Tampa. I was also excited to see the places I hadn’t heard of and definitely plan to visit while I’m still living in the Bay Area.

Most of the bakers provided mini‐cupcakes as samples for the patrons. Some provided both mini and regular sized cupcakes. Others cut up large cupcakes to give out as samples. I tried a variety of cupcakes including cannoli (which was my ultimate favorite), salted caramel, spicy red velvet, and homemade funfetti. There were also cocktail themed cupcakes including margarita, hops, and irish carbombs. The variety was delicious, and I was very happy to see traditional flavors, like red velvet, represented.

The competition was fierce and it was hard to choose which cupcake to vote for, especially when I only had enough cash to buy one voting ticket. The winners were:

Novice Category:

1st Place: Lemon Blueberry Lavender ‐ Michelle Saxton
2nd Place: Bottom of the 9th Bacon with Caramel Buttercream ‐ Sarah Perkins 3rd Place: Banana Nutella ‐ Jennifer Jacobs
Professional Category:
1st Place: Hopcakes ‐ Lori Schmidt
2nd Place: Strawberry Coulis and Lemon Curd ‐ Michelle Garner


3rd Place: Cannoli Cupcakes‐ Lori Schmidt



1st Place: Jennifer Jacob's Banana Nutella

2nd Place: Michelle Saxton's Lemon Blueberry Lavender

In the end I was very impressed by the event and I can’t wait to attend next year. In the meanwhile, I will be looking forward to attending the Ybor Saturday Market Cupcake Festival again in October.

Follow The Red Velvet Road to more cupcake adventures at Follow my adventures on Instagram @followtheredvelvetroad 

Discover This: Vietnamese Coffee

I have a funny story to tell you about coffee in Vietnam.

Photo credit: Colin Erricson

Ok, so here it is. I had a friend who went to a Starbucks in Vietnam (I know, hilarious already!). And apparently there was a bit of confusion when it came to the type of milk she'd prefer. After trying to explain, the employee said "oh, you want breast milk?". 

But I digress. Because we're here to talk about Vietnamese coffee, which is made with the magic of sweetened condensed milk. Yes, it comes from a can, but good-golly does it do something magical to coffee. Seriously--this stuff is amazing, and you might not ever go back to breast milk. 

This recipe is excerpted from the newly-released Simply Vietnamese Cooking by Nancie McDermott. Enjoy!

Vietnamese Coffee, Iced or Hot

Vietnamese coffee is a lingering souvenir of the French colonial presence in Vietnam. Along with delicious baguettes and the fabulous sandwiches they inspired, ca­phé sua da long ago made itself at home, embraced with such passion that it has become something very Vietnamese. You can make it at home with ease, with or without the signature top­ hat contraption used to prepare ca­phé in Vietnamese establishments. If you lack the metal filter but long for the taste, pour 2 tbsp (30 mL) of sweetened condensed milk into a coffee cup or sturdy bistro glass. Brew some espresso, add it to the cup and stir like crazy. Voilà ca­phé sua! Pour over ice and it’s ca­phé sua da.

Serves 1

  • 2 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 tablespoons finely ground dark roast coffee
  • 3/4 cup boiling water

1. Spoon condensed milk into a coffee cup or a short drinking glass and place Vietnamese coffee filter on top. For iced coffee, fill a tall glass with ice cubes and set aside. Remove coffee filter’s lid, unscrew inner press and set both aside. Add ground coffee and then screw the press lightly in place to pack coffee down a bit. Add boiling water, cover with lid and let water drip through coffee, 3 to 5 minutes.

2. Remove lid and rest upside down. Then place drained filter basket on inverted lid to catch any last drops of coffee. Stir well to mix coffee with milk. For iced coffee, pour coffee into ice­filled glass and serve. For hot coffee, skip the glass of ice or da and sip (carefully) your steaming ca­phé sua.


If you’re buying ground coffee, look for espresso so that it will be strong and robustly flavored. If you’re buying whole beans, look for French roast or Italian roast and grind the beans as finely as possible.

You’ll find the top­hat contraption in many Asian markets and through mail­order sources. 

Courtesy of Simply Vietnamese Cooking by Nancie McDermott © 2015 Reprinted with publisher permission. Available where books are sold.

What Happens When You Bake Cake Batter and Frosting Together?

Listen, you guys. It's #whathappenswednesday!

Well, I'll be honest, this week I didn't get to complete my desired baking experiment because I'm not living at my house at the moment (I'm OK, it's a long story). 

BUT, I still have something to offer. Something delightful from my archives. The important question of the day: what happens when you bake cake mix, and a can of frosting, all together?

Hopefully this doesn't smack of a boring re-run, because if you haven't seen this post, it is really worth reading. 

Find out here. 

I Made Something Savory and I'm Not Sorry.

You heard me. I made something savory. I'm not sorry. This is what I made.

What is it, you ask? Well, it's little cubes of polenta with homemade tapenade and slow roasted tomatoes on top. I know. Fancy. I got the idea from a website called Coconut & Berries.

Basically, what happened was this. Someone contacted me and asked if I could make desserts for her party. I was all, OK.

And then she was like, hey, can you make a vegan appetizer, too? Well, why not?

I've never done such a thing, but it was actually pretty fun. I definitely would manage my time slightly better next time, but I did deliver on time. 

I made za'atar bread, mini peach pies, and these babies: polenta-olive tapenade bites. 

These little guys start out with polenta, plain and simple. But once you cook it, you transfer the still-gooey cereal into square brownie pan, and let it set in the fridge. From there, it will solidify into a solid unit. Once set, you cut it into cubes and toast them under the broiler, then top them with tapenade and tomato slices. 

I've got to tell you, these appetizers came out brilliantly. The polenta, made with vegetable broth, was not too bland, but not too powerfully flavored so as to compete with the other elements. The tapenade added a perfect, salty bite, and the mellow, slow-roasted tomatoes added a touch of sweetness. It was a perfect combo of salty, naturally sweet, and mellow. 

Not only are they cute, but pretty healthy and vegan and gluten-free, naturally. 

Hey, want to make your own? Follow this recipe.

Polenta Tapenade Appetizers

Adapted lightly from Coconut & Berries

Printable version here

  • 1 cup polenta (I used Bob's Red Mill)
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 batch of olive tapenade (I did the "vegan" version of this recipe by omitting the anchovy)
  • cherry tomatoes (I used the better part of one of those mini baskets of them)
  • Parsley, for garnish 


  1. Prepare the polenta per the package instructions, but using the vegetable broth in place of water. Add the tablespoon of olive oil toward the end of the cooking, for an extra-rich flavor.
  2. Once the polenta is done, transfer it into a greased and parchment-lined square brownie tin. Spread to smooth the top as much as you can. Place it in the fridge for an hour or so, to set. 
  3. Invert the pan on to a work surface; the polenta should come out in one solid piece. Cut it into cubes (I did about 1 1/2 inch cubes)
  4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set the oven to broil.
  5. Line the cubes on the prepared baking sheet. Place under the broiler for several minutes, or until the cubes are toasty and crisp.
  6. Remove from the oven, and let cool for a couple of minutes. Top with a small scoop of tapenade and a cherry tomato half (I slow-roasted mine by slicing them in half, sprinkling with olive oil, salt and pepper, and baking at 300 degrees until softened and lightly toasty). 
  7. Garnish with a little bit of parsley (I took my pics before I had done this!). You win at parties! 

What Happens When You Bake Cannoli as Mini Pies?

A cannolo (did you know that's the singular, and cannoli is plural? That's fairly new info to me) is a thing of beauty. But really, is fried and filled the only way to enjoy these Italian treats?

While some are of the mentality that "you shouldn't mess with a classic", I disagree. How on earth will you ever make new culinary discoveries if you're too scared to experiment in the kitchen?

This is all to say that recently, when developing a delicious olive oil cannoli recipe for Colavita, I went through many batches of the little tube-like treats, and along the way I found myself thinking "what if I baked the components as mini custard pies?". 

Here's what I did.

Basically, I started out the normal way. I made a batch of cannoli shell dough, and I made a batch of cannoli cream. 

But then, instead of frying and rolling the shells into tubes, I simply pressed them into cupcake liners, so that they looked like mini pie crusts.

Then I filled each shell with cannoli cream.

Then I baked them in the oven at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes. 

And here's how they came out. 

They looked absolutely beautiful.

Taste-wise, they provided an interesting experience. It really brought my attention to the fact that the frying is really a vital part of the cannoli experience. Because while these were quite pleasurable as little cheesecake-like tartlets, I would not have taken a bite and said "this is cannoli-flavored!". 

The shells were a tad...sturdy. I think that while they require a certain structure to be fried, in baked form they were a bit on the dry side. Not terrible, but not "wow" worthy, and perhaps a little bland. Like I said - that frying in oil goes a long way, flavor and texture-wise. 

I'm delighted to report, though: the filling was absolutely gorgeous. Cannoli cream, when baked, really is a thing of beauty. It formed a pleasant little golden crust on the top, and it was almost like eating the center out of one of those cream cheese muffins (really? come on. Cake.) they sell at Starbucks and such. Good stuff. 

You know what helped with the slightly dry crust issue, too? A nice dousing with the way-more-flavorful-than-it-sounds water ganache I have become addicted to. 

Cannoli baked as mini pies? Great idea, but the crust needs adapting. For better results, I'd use the regular cannoli cream, but use a classic pie crust recipe for the shells instead.

OK. So, to review, in case you want to give this a try:

How I did this:

I prepared the cannoli shells per this recipe, but did not fry them.

Instead of frying them, I pressed them into cupcake liners. I didn't use the entire batch to bake, but if I had, it would have yielded about 18 pies. 

I then filled each shell with cannoli cream (from the same recipe). 

I preheated the oven to 400 degrees F, and when it was preheated, I baked the pies until golden - about 15 minutes. And then I topped them with ganache, because, why not? Well, let me tell you, I  couldn't resist digging in while they were still warm like that (though the rest did "set" more once cooled).

And voila! 

Have you ever baked a recipe that is supposed to be fried? 

Very Nice Peanut Butter Cookies

It's a funny thing about peanut butter cookies. I almost despise myself for saying it, but sometimes I actually forget that peanut butter cookies exist.

But then, sooner or later, peanut butter cookies re-enter my life, and I'm all like "oh baby, where have you been?". This leads to a full-fledged love affair with peanut butter cookies wherein I'm eating them every day for two weeks, and then some shiny thing or perhaps a batch of blondies distracts me and I forget about them all over again. Repeat cycle.

When I was recently assigned to make homemade nutter butter cookies for (recipe coming soon) I spent some time experimenting with peanut butter cookie recipes to use for the sweet sandwiches. 

Ultimately, this particular variety of peanut butter cookies spread too much to be ideal for homemade nutter butters, but they had such a perfect taste that I simply had to share the recipe. 

The original recipe I started from calls for 2 1/2 cups of flour; I made a slight switch and used 2 cups of flour and 1/2 cup of cornstarch. This made the cookies incredibly tender, even while having a crunch to the exterior. It really gave them a unique texture, sort of like a sugar cookie or snickerdoodle, but with a taste that is 100% peanut butter cookie. 

Peanut butter cookies have a nostalgic taste for me. They make me ache for other flavors, like milk with ice cubes (something I used to do when I was a kid), or for chocolate, or for strawberry jam. They don't necessarily any of these things, and often I don't add any accompaniment, but they evoke other flavor memories for me, which makes the process of eating a peanut butter cookie thoughtful and sweet. 

These aren't necessarily a classic peanut butter cookie, but with the sugar cookie-like texture and peanut buttery flavor, they will taste familiar. I think you'll like them. Give 'em a try!

Tender peanut butter cookies 

Makes many - printable version here

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup corn starch
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter (I used Peanut Butter and Co's The Bee's Knees)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/3 cup or so granulated sugar, for topping 


Sift together the flour, corn starch, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set to the side.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, peanut butter, and sugars until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes on medium-high speed.

Stop the mixer, and add the eggs, one at a time, then mixing on low speed, pausing to scrape the sides of the bowl of the mixer with each addition. Stir in the vanilla. 

Stir in the flour mixture in 2 to 3 increments, mixing on low and pausing to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Mix until combined and cohesive, but don't over mix. Separate the dough into two rounds, wrap them in plastic wrap, and gently flatten. Place in the fridge for at least 2 hours, or as long as overnight. This will help the flavors come together and minimize spreading as the cookies bake. 

When you're ready to go, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone heatproof sheets (I used both sheets twice to bake all the cookies!) Pour the topping sugar into a shallow bowl and have it at the ready.

Work with the dough one round at a time, keeping the second round in the fridge until you're ready to use it. Pinch off about 1 tablespoon's worth of dough, and roll it into a ball. Press one side of the ball into the sugar (it's ok if this slightly flattens it) and place it on the baking sheet, sugar side up. Repeat with the remaining dough. Place the cookies 2 inches apart, as they will spread. 

Using a fork, press the tines on the top of each cookie both vertically and horizontally, so they have a cross hatch pattern on top. This will flatten the dough a bit more; totally fine. 

Bake for 6-8 minutes or until lightly golden on the edges. Cool on the sheet for a couple of minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. 


Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days, or freeze the cookies for up to 3 months. 

Do you like peanut butter cookies?

What Happens When You Put Cannoli Cream in an Ice Cream Maker?

#whathappenswednesday! My favorite day. And today, I've got a really compelling "what if" question to ask.

Full disclosure: perhaps in all honesty I should revise that title to be "what happens when you put slightly faulty cannoli cream in an ice cream maker?".

You see, I have recently been working a lot with a homemade cannoli recipe, trying to perfect it, make it interesting, make it mine. Finally, I did it. You'll see it shared soon, I promise. 

Along the way, there have been some good batches, some bad. One thing in particular that I have learned is that you should not mix the ricotta filling in a stand mixer. It becomes too liquid. Every time. Even with whipped cream added as a stabilizer, though that did help--a bit.

But before I realized that hand mixing was the way to go, I found myself with a bunch of delicious--but slightly too liquid--cannoli cream.

Naturally, my first thought was "what would happen if I put this slightly faulty-textured yet deliciously flavored cannoli cream in my ice cream maker?"

And so I did. I piped the entirety of the pastry bag filled with cannoli cream (2 cups or so) into the chilled drum of my ice cream maker. Then I let it churn for 15 minutes.

At first, it was still rather liquid. I thought maybe this hadn't worked out.

But then, I put it in the freezer, and after a few hours, it set to about this consistency:

Softer than traditional ice cream, more like a firm pudding. With a taste that is 100% cannoli. Perfect for serving a cookie or brownie a la mode, or for mixing with a scoop of regular vanilla ice cream.

Oh, happy day. 

Cannoli cream churned in the ice cream maker 

Printable recipe here 

Note: your ice cream maker may require that the drum be chilled for several hours or overnight before using. Do that before making the cream. 

  • About 2 cups cannoli cream, your favorite recipe, or this one that is slightly too liquid:
  • 1 container (15 ounces) whole milk ricotta
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 2-3 ounces finely chopped chocolate, or chocolate chips

Combine the ricotta and olive oil in the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix to combine. 

Add the confectioners' sugar, and mix thoroughly. It will be rather liquid. 

Stir in the chocolate. 

Let the mixture chill in the fridge for oh, two hours. 

Pour it into your ice cream maker. Let churn according to the manufacturer's directions.

Turn the mixture into a bowl, and let it freeze for several hours before enjoying. 

Have you ever put a fascinating non-ice cream substance in your ice cream maker?

How To Make Tall, Star and Heart-Shaped Pancakes

News flash, you guys: your pancakes could be cuter and cooler. I can help you make it happen, because as it happens, I have pancake prowess. 

Perhaps you saw my amazing post on Craftsy about how to make extra-tall, puffy pancakes. If not, you should take a few minutes and go over there to check it out. Don't worry, I'll wait.

OK, now that you're back, let me tell you how to parlay this pancake tutorial into adorably shaped morning cakes. 

Basically, what you're going to do is prepare the batter the same way as in the tall pancake tutorial (with less liquid than normal pancakes). 

Then, you're going to spray a skillet with non-stick spray, or grease it with butter.

And then you'll very generously grease the inside of cookie cutters.

And then you'll pour the batter right inside of the cookie cutters. Since it's fairly thick it will stay put. Fill them about 3/4 full. Maybe a little more.

Cook for oh, 5 to 6 minutes on each side. If a tiny bit of batter seeps out, don't worry. I had minor seepage but it ultimately turned out fine. 

Remove from heat, and hang on for a sec because the cookie cutters will be HOT. 

Use a knife to remove. Enjoy your awesomely shaped pancakes!

How to make star and heart-shaped pancakes

You'll need: heart and star shaped cookie cutters. Or other cookie cutters. But keep in mind that the more complex the shape, the harder the pancakes are to remove later. 

Amount may vary based on your recipe - printable version here

Step 1: start with your favorite pancake recipe (or use the recipe in this post).

If you're using a different recipe, instead of reducing the liquid by a certain amount, what I suggest is that you measure out about half of the liquid required in the recipe, and then add it little by little. You just want to add enough so that the batter comes together thickly. 

Step 2: heat up a skillet on medium-high heat. Spray with non-stick spray or put a pat of butter on it. 

Step 3: Generously (GENEROUSLY) grease the inside of your cookie cutters. Place them on the hot surface.

Step 4: Spoon the batter into the cookie cutters. Immediately reduce heat to low.

Step 5: Let them bake for about 5 minutes, then flip (still in the cookie cutter). If not browned let them cook a little longer.

Step 6: Remove the entire cookie cutter unit from Heat. Let cool for a minute or two, then use a knife to loosen the pancake out. Since you greased the insides of the cutters VERY GENEROUSLY they should come out without too much resistance.

Step 7: repeat with any remaining batter. Enjoy! 

Have you ever made shaped pancakes? 

Make Everyone Love You With Mini Cherry Pies

I have figured out a sure-fire way to impress people, and it doesn't involve having a degree from Harvard. My method is far more pleasurable and much less expensive: make mini pies.

I'm telling you. If you present a classic pie recipe served in individual, cupcake-sized portions, you are going to win friends and influence people. It's as easy as that.

Personally, one of my favorite parts about mini pies is that there is a high crust to filling ratio. I am a crust (and carb, in general) freak, so I always want more pie crust. In the mini portion, the amount of pie crust compared to filling is upped, which means that crust fiends like me can have some carbs in every bite. EVERY BITE!

I made this batch with cherries, which are currently in season and just fantastic. Dressed up lightly with a kiss of sugar and a little flour to thicken the mixture, the true cherry flavor shines through, and tastes terrific paired with the buttery crust.

It is my strong suggestion that you pair these mini pies with ice cream or whipped cream, but then again, I understand if you go without, because then they are health food. 


Mini Cherry Pies 

Makes about 12 - printable version here

Note: I had enough to make 12 mini pies plus lattice top crusts for each. I had some dough left over, which I never mind because I used it to make roly polies

For the crust:

One batch all-butter pie dough recipe (sufficient for a double crust pie)

For the filling:

  • 1 pound cherries, pitted and diced into small pieces 
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons flour
  • Pinch of salt

To top:

1 egg, beaten 

Other supplies:

  • A cupcake baking tin
  • 12 cupcake liners


Preheat the oven to 400 F. Line the cups of your cupcake tin with liners (I like silicone cupcake liners for this baking project).

In a large bowl, toss the diced cherries, sugar, flour and salt, making sure everything is combined. Set the mixture to the side for the moment. 

Roll out the pie dough, one ball at a time, on a floured surface, until it is about as large as you would roll it to fill a pie plate. The edges don’t have to be perfect. 

Slice off a bit of the crust (maybe a handful-worth) and set to the side, to use for the lattice toppings later. 

Cut circles of dough about an inch wider than the circumference of one of your cupcake liners. Re-roll the scraps to get a few more cutouts. 

Press the circles into the cupcake liners, patting them into shape as you would a pie crust.

Spoon the cherry mixture into the pie shells. Using the leftover dough, make mini lattice tops. 

Brush the tops with your egg wash, and sprinkle with sugar, if desired. 

Bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until the tops and sides of the crust are browned. Remove, let cool in the cupcake tin, and then serve. 

Psst! You could also use the same ingredients to make pie pops!

Have you ever made mini pies?