Clouds of Whipped Cream

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I know, there’s already a post with a recipe for whipped cream. But with the holidays approaching, you need peppermint whipped cream in your wheelhouse for holiday desserts, hot chocolate, and I won’t tell anyone if you add it to your coffee, too.

Chill a bowl in the freezer for about 20 minutes.

Using a mixer (chill the mixer paddles for extra credit), whip 1 cup heavy cream, 1/4 cup powdered sugar, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, and 1 teaspoon peppermint extract. Don’t use spearmint (which makes up the regular “mint extract”). If you’re struggling to find peppermint, check the cake decorating sections of your local grocery store or even craft stores. If you still can’t find it, you can buy entirely too much of it on Amazon.

 

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Pudding Pie

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A word of caution: this is not a pie that you can throw together at the last minute. This is a pie that needs to be refrigerated for at least 24 hours. Sometimes longer. I recommend making this with the chocolate animal cracker pie crust, but the shortbread crust is a good option, too.

 

Combine 1 1/2 cups sugar, 1/4 cup cornstarch, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, 3 cups whole milk, and 4 egg yolks in a medium saucepan. Whisk together. Whisk over medium heat until it just barely comes to a boil and starts to get thick. For me this takes about 15 minutes because I don’t want to curdle anything and I keep it over medium-low heat if we’re being honest. First you want it to coat the back of your spoon. This means that when you lift a spoon, you can wipe your finger in the sauce and leave your finger trail. Keep stirring until it’s thick like pudding.

Remove from heat. Add 6.5 ounces (1 bar) bittersweet baking chocolate, chopped roughly, and 1 tablespoon vanilla extract. Add a 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon and a 1/4 teaspoon chili powder if you want it to have a bit more flair. Add 2 tablespoons unsalted butter. Stir until it’s all melted together. Pour into your pie crust. No need to bake it. Pour any excess into a pudding container of your choice.

Let your pie come to room temperature, then move it to your fridge to sit, uncovered, for at least 24 hours. 36 hours seems to be a sweet spot.

 

 

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Animal Cracker Pie Crust

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In a food processor, crush approximately 2 cups of chocolate animal crackers (or other wafer cookie) until it forms fine crumbs. Measure 1 1/2 cups of these crumbs into a mixing bowl. Slowly stream in 6 tablespoons of butter, melted and cooled.

Press into a pie plate and really smash it all together. The more compact you can make it, the easier it is to serve intact later.

Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes.

 

Let cool completely before filling with pie filling of your choice.

 

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Dutch Oven Pancakes: Pannekoeken

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This recipe comes from my husband’s family, and was relayed to me recently using non-measuring terms. Graham held up his hands about an inch and a half apart and told me we used that much sugar. Don’t worry, I have actual measurements for you.

Whisk together 3 eggs, 1 tablespoon sugar, a pinch of kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, 1/2 cup flour and 1/2 cup almond milk. When thoroughly combined, spread a light layer in the bottom of two greased cast iron skillets or 9×9 glass pans. Or find a plethora of tiny cast iron skillets or spring form pans. Swirl around so the dough climbs the walls of your pans a bit, which will encourage it to grow when you bake it.

Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

When removed from the oven, spread a generous amount of Greek yogurt over the surface of the pancake, then mix in brown sugar until the sugar has dissolved into the yogurt. This ends up being pretty sweet, so you likely won’t need syrup. Top with fresh fruits of your choice and dig in!

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Orange, Earl Grey, and Matcha

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Madeleines are cookies that most folks find impressive but are secretly really easy to make. They are also among my favorite cookies. Of these three recipes, the orange are my favorite!

Preheat oven to 375.

With a mixer, beat together one egg, 2 teaspoons milk, 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon powdered sugar, and a pinch of salt.

Add 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon flour and 1/2 teaspoon baking powder. Combine thoroughly.

Add 4 tablespoons melted but cooled butter, and whip until thick ribbons are formed by your batter.

For orange: mix in the zest of one orange. For Earl Grey: mix in two teaspoons of Earl Grey tea and the zest of one lemon. For matcha: mix in two teaspoons of matcha powder.

Fill each madeleine mold 2/3 full. Bake approximately 11 minutes or until puffed and golden brown. When cooled, dust with powdered sugar if you feel so inclined. The matcha always end up more pillowy than the others for me, just fair warning.

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Fancy Dessert Can Still Taste Like Childhood

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There’s no way to describe Panna Cotta except as milk jello. And that is not appetizing to people, apparently. This, however, tastes exactly like childhood. I used my favorite childhood cereal and regret nothing. Graham is eagerly awaiting a version that uses Blueberry Toast Crunch. The process is the same no matter which cereal you use. Make it taste like your childhood, then tell me all about it.

Begin by soaking 2 cups of your favorite cereal with 2 cups of heavy whipping cream and 1 cup milk (almond works well here, too). You want this to sit for at least 15 minutes.

In a small bowl, combine 1/3 cup milk with one envelope of gelatin mix. Stir well.

When your cereal milk has soaked up all that good flavor, strain and pour liquid into a saucepan set to medium heat. Add 1/2 cup sugar and bring to a boil. Stay close when this milk mixture is on the heat. Add gelatin-milk mix and stir until incorporated. Cook for 1 minute then remove from heat and stir in 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla.

Pour mixture into ramekins, glass containers or silicone muffin pans. I sprinkled a few fruity pebbles into each serving while it began to set. Let panna cotta come to room temperature naturally, then move to fridge to cool for at least 4 hours. Serve without saying the words “milk jello.”

 

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