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Entries in holidays (51)

Saturday
Aug182012

August 18: National Soft Ice Cream Day

Rita's

Gosh, do I love me some soft-serve. Growing up by the Jersey Shore, it  was a summertime staple at the boardwalk. Not vanilla, not chocolate, but the SWIRL. Some places would do an orange-vanilla swirl, too--because life is all about choices. And sometimes you choose to have a soft-serve equivalent of a creamsicle.

Kohr's soft ice cream, Seaside

Well, today (August 18) is National Soft Ice Cream Day, and in celebration, I'd like to share 13 points of interest regarding this sweet manna.

1. Carvel claims to have invented soft serve. Suffering a flat tire in the early 1934, Tom Carvel pulled into a parking lot and began selling his melting ice cream to vacationers driving by. He sold it rapidly, and had an ephiphany: a fixed location and soft (as opposed to hard) frozen desserts were the way to go. In 1936, Carvel opened his first store on the original broken down truck site and developed a secret soft serve ice cream formula as well as patented super low temperature ice cream machines.

2. Dairy Queen also claims to have invented soft serve. In 1938 in Illinois, J.F. McCullough and his son, Alex, also claim to have developed a soft serve formula. They sold 1,600 servings in two hours, and were officially ice cream men from that day on. 

Ice Cream

3. What's in soft serve? Mostly air, but depending on where you get it, it could also include a treasure trove of not so desirable ingredients, such as stabilizers, corn syrup, and even magnesium hydroxide. Read more here. 

Scoop de Ville, Philadelphia

4. DIY: at Scoop de Ville in Philadelphia, you can choose an ice cream flavor, choose mix-ins, and they will use a machine to render the ice cream into soft-serve. Since theirs has no stabilizers or additives, they make each cup or cone to order. It's very good!

5. Fun place to visit: Stew Leonard, the "Dairy Superstore", with locations in NY and CT, makes their own soft-serve daily--while the most popular flavor is vanilla, they also have a fantastic strawberry variety.

Source: anothermag.com via Cake on Pinterest

 

6. Lost in Translation: in Israel, they call soft-serve "American Ice Cream". In Japan, it's called "softcream". In parts of Europe, it's referred to as "soft ice".

7. Sweet fusion: This nostalgic treat has inspired some fusion foods: in Brooklyn, you can get soft-serve kefir.

8. Go Bananas: If you're vegan, or want to pretend you are, banana soft serve will serve up some vitamins and minerals as well as soft serve tastiness. 

 

9. Soft-serve is lower in fat than ice cream (it's made with 3-6 percent milkfat, as opposed to hard ice cream's 15-ish percent), but don't think that means it's health food. Refer to #3.

 

10. Fascinating phenomenon: Dole makes a series of "enhanced fruit" soft-serves, most famously the Dole Whip sold at Disney.

 

11. Who prefers soft-serve over hard ice cream? You can read an essay on this important subject here.

12. Guilty pleasure: You can make a chocolate soft-serve at home that tastes like a hybrid between a frosty drink from Wendy's and chocolate soft serve. YUM.

Source: google.com via Hanna on Pinterest

 

13. Here's another at-home version, this one a fancier version of the Mr. Softee version. You're welcome.

Thursday
Dec152011

Sweet Idea: Chocolate Covered Candy Canes Recipe for Serious Eats

Candy canes are great and all. But they're even better when they're coated in chocolate.

Coating your candy canes in a rich robe of chocolate raises the bar for the classic holiday sweet, imparting both a delicious flavor contrast and adding a festive visual appeal. They're a sweet party favor, an easy way to make your hot chocolate more awesome, and--bonus--they're really easy and quick to prepare.

Note: This recipe works best with candy canes that are about 6 inches long, or peppermint sticks; if using mini candy canes, use extreme care so you don't burn yourself with the hot melted chocolate!

For the full entry and recipe, visit Serious Eats!

Monday
May022011

Cinco de Sweet Mayo: Cinnamon Sugar Dessert Chips With Fruit Salsa Recipe

Everyone knows that chips and salsa are an ideal accompaniment to margaritas and a delicious precursor to a Cinco de Mayo meal.

But what about giving them a sweet makeover to continue the party post-dinner?

Say hello to Cinnamon Sugar Dessert Chips with Fruit Salsa, a dish wherein plain flour tortillas are brushed with a decadent cinnamon-flecked brown sugar and butter mixture and baked until crispy, then served with fruit preserves. Like its cousin Pie Fries, this dish is a snap to prepare and makes for some sweetly addictive eating.

For the full entry and recipe, visit Serious Eats!

Wednesday
Mar162011

Green and Sweet: St. Patrick's Day Peanut Butter Truffles Recipe for Peanut Butter and Co.

As any leprechaun knows, the journey to the end of the rainbow can be pretty long and arduous. And while the treasure at the end of the line is totally sweet in the figurative sense, the fact is, gold does little to satisfy the physical appetite.

These truffles, however, comprised of a sweet filling with crispy cereal and creamy, rich peanut butter and generously coated with festive green candy coating, are worth their weight in gold when it comes to a satisfying St. Patrick’s Day snack–delicious for humans and leprechauns alike.

For the full entry, more photos and the recipe, visit Peanut Butter & Co.!

Monday
Mar142011

Pi Oh My: Make a Pi-Shaped Pie, for Pi Day

There is some disagreement over when to celebrate Pie Day. Some (including the American Pie Council) cite January 23 as the day, the reason allegedly being that the digits of 1/23 are "easy as pie." Others (generally math nerds) say it must be March 14, or "Pi" Day.

Of course, this is a very silly argument, because really, it's an opportunity to enjoy pie on two separate occasions, whether baked at home or at a roadside stand, cafe, or bakery. But as a shout-out to the math nerds, here's a Pi-shaped Pie for March 14.

Use the template with your favorite pie crust and use whatever filling you'd like (I used peanut butter and chocolate chips), but know that it's best enjoyed at 1:59 PM...and 26 seconds.

For the full entry and recipe, visit Serious Eats! For more fun pie times, come to CakeSpy Shop tonight for Seattle's first PIE SLAM!

Tuesday
Feb222011

Baked, Not Stirred: Fresa Breeze Margarita Cupcakes Recipe from Robicelli's

Who knew? February 22 is National Margarita Day. But how to celebrate? Well, naturally, you should indulge in a margarita or seven. But you'll need something to soak up all of that blissful booze, so may I suggest a Margarita Cupcake? Here's a recipe sent on care of Partida Tequila, developed specially for them by Robicelli's (who you know I have a cake crush on!).

Margarita Cupcakes

Cake
3/4 stick butter, melted & cooled
3 eggs
1/4 heavy cream
1/4 cup Partida Blanco tequila
1 cup flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
Zests of 2 limes

Cream cheese frosting
1 tsp Partida Blanco Tequila
1/2 stick butter, softened
1 package cream cheese, softened
3 cups powdered sugar

Strawberry salsa
1 large container strawberries, stems removed and chopped 
1/4 cup seedless cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
1/3 cup sugar
2 Tbsp Partida Tequila
One Lime, juiced
1/2 teaspoon Sea Salt

Strawberry Salsa:
1.  Combine all ingredients in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

For Cake:
1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Beat eggs until well mixed, then add butter, cream, tequila & salt.  Mix until combined.
3. Sift together flour, sugar and baking powder.  Add to wet mixture and stir until smooth.
4. Divide amongst 12 cupcake tins and bake for 16-18 minutes, or until the tops just spring back when touched.

Cream Cheese Frosting:
1.  Beat together tequila, softened butter and cream cheese on high speed until light and fluffy.
2.  Add powdered sugar 1/2 a cup at a time, beating well after each addition.
3.  Once all sugar is added, beat for an additional 3 minutes to incorporate air.

To assemble:
1.  Strain salsa, reserving liquid.  Using a pastry brush, brush the top of each cupcake with the liquid.
2.  Frost cupcakes with the cream cheese & tequila icing.  Using a teaspoon, scoop out an indentation in the middle of each cupcake.
3. Place a heaping spoonful of the strawberry salsa in each indentation.
4.  Garnish with a sliver or lime.

Monday
Jan312011

Whole Hog: Groundhog Day Cake for Serious Eats

My family has an unusual tradition: we celebrate Groundhog Day. In a completely non-ironic way. And to herald the occasion, there is always a cake-homage to the skittish little critter.

Why? Well, my dad is a surfer, and he carefully follows Punxsutawney Phil's yearly emergence. If he does not see his shadow, it means spring is coming, and thus surf season will come sooner. And also because, well, cake is very delicious.

Of course, no matter whether you're in a rush for spring to come, it's a pretty sure thing that this Groundhog-themed cake will brighten your day—and the remaining crumbs will cast minimal shadows.

For the full entry and recipe, visit Serious Eats!

Monday
Dec272010

Well Bread: Christmas Leftover GingerBread Pudding for Serious Eats

Christmas is over, over, over.

But what to do with all those holiday leftovers?

Resist the urge to do anything rash like start New Year's Resolutions early. Instead, make the best of the rest of the year by combining your leftover eggnog, gingerbread, and some butter and eggs to form a delicious GingerBread Pudding. It's easy as can be to make, and very forgiving with substitutions. Want to make it with cinnamon rolls or doughnuts instead of gingerbread? Go ahead, sweet stuff! As Tiny Tim might say, Merry post-Christmas, every one!

For the full entry and recipe, visit Serious Eats!

Monday
Dec202010

Snowbound: Snowy Snickerdoodles Recipe from SpyMom

Lucky, lucky you. SpyMom has another sweet holiday recipe to share: Snowy Snickerdoodles. No, you won't get an explanation of where the name comes from, but you will get a recipe that is bound to be delicious, because that's how she rolls.

Snowy Snickerdoodles

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • cinnamon sugar

Procedure

  1. In a mixer bowl, cream together sugar and butter; beat in egg and vanilla
  2. Combine flour, cinnamon, baking powder and salt
  3. Add to butter mixture
  4. Blend well
  5. Cover and refrigerate 2 hours or till firm enough to roll into balls
  6. Shape dough into small balls about 3/4-inch in diameter
  7. Roll in cinnamon sugar to coat
  8. Set cookies 1-inch apart on lightly greased cookie sheets
  9. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes or till the edges are lightly browned.
  10. Cool slightly on pans, then remove to racks to cool completely.

 

Sunday
Dec192010

Bread and Circus: Molded Gingerbread Cookies Recipe

Christmas is all about sharing.

Of course, some things are more fun to share than others--for instance, SpyMom's Molded Gingerbread cookies recipe, which yields pretty and delicious cookies showcasing vivid scenes from her collection of old-school cookie molds from House on the Hill.

Of course, while the recipe is fun to share, I wouldn't blame you if you couldn't bring yourself to share the actual cookies. 

Gingerbread Recipe from SpyMom

 

  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger

 

Procedure

Preheat oven to 350 and butter cookie sheets. Heat the molasses to the boiling point, then add the sugar, butter, and milk. Mix the flour with the baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and rest of the spices. Add to the first mixture and blend well. Add a few tablespoons of water, enough so that the dough holds together and handles easily. Roll or pat out the dough about 1/4 inch thick. Press into molds, or cut out in whatever shapes you'd like (Ninjabread men, anyone?). SpyMom doesn't specify if it's best to let them chill before baking, but the recipe calls for baking these babies for 5-7 minutes. Garnish as desired, confectioners' sugar might be nice. 

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