Saturday, August 27, 2011

Apple Pie!

I love traditional recipes and this apple pie is a classic!  I decided to use some organic apples I bought in NJ and turn them into a delicious treat.

I made my favorite buttery crust with a touch a cinnamon since it pairs so nicely with apples.  I then sliced a few Granny Smith (since they hold together well during baking) and some New Zealand apples (for flavor) paper thin and sprinkled them with some brown sugar, cinnamon, flour (to thicken the juices), butter and salt.  After adding base dough in the pan and slicing the rest of the dough for the lattice cover, I added the apples and all of their goodness into the pie pan and baked it at 350 degrees for about an hour.  Forty five minutes into baking, I brushed some warm honey on top to get the crust golden brown.  You can also easily substitute milk or a lightly beaten egg.  Here are the before and after pics!

P.S. I still need to work on my lattice design but it's not so bad for my first try! :)


Daniella :)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Vanilla Bean Nutella Sandwich Cookies

Vanilla and Chocolate.  It doesn't get more classic and simpler than that.

I baked these cookies during my vanilla bean paste phase.  I love how a few quality ingredients turned these cookies into pure deliciousness!  Since I am a chocoholic, I added some Nutella in between two of the buttery cookies.  For photo purposes (well not really), I sprinkled some powder sugar over the cookies.  Check out the pic below!


Daniella :)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Vanilla Bean Birthday

Last week was my aunt's birthday and I wanted to use some of the great ingredients I bought at a NJ Chef store (thanks to Michelle and Bill).  I found, and have now fallen in love with, vanilla bean paste.  It is so versatile and it's much easier to use than a vanilla bean (it's also less expensive). 

I also decided to try a new type of buttercream with meringue.  It is similar to an Italian or Swiss buttercream which is typically used in wedding cakes.  The process takes a while considering you have to cook the egg whites over simmering water to ensure they are safe to eat.  You then have to whip the whites into a meringue and slowly add chunks of soften butter into the mix.  I was lucky that the buttercream did not get soupy like most recipes warn.  In any case, if it does, continue to whip it until it comes together.

I made a buttermilk vanilla bean cake iced with a meringue vanilla bean buttercream and filled with dulce de leche cream.  I also used the dulce de leche cream to pipe some decorations and "Happy Birthday!" It was all sorts of delicious and I was pretty proud with the results.  In case you're wondering, those tiny pearls were added individually (just saying).  Check out the pics below!


Daniella :)

Saturday, August 20, 2011

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

Jeff has been asking me to bake these cookies for such a long time now.  I would have baked them a lot sooner but I didn't realize that macadamia nuts are pretty expensive! I finally bought some at this awesome little place in NJ (thanks to Michelle and Bill) which sells mostly organic goods and they made all the difference!  Check out these yummy cookies below! Oh and Jeff, you're welcome <3


Daniella :)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Banana Cream Pie

Oh pie, how I love you!

This was my first time making an entire pie from scratch.  It's a long waiting process but totally worth it.  First, I had to look up an all butter pie crust recipe since I'm not a huge fan of shortening.   I ended up finding a pretty decent one I wanted to try and now I'm hooked.  The crust was light, flaky and full of buttery goodness.  The key to get a nice crust is to not overwork the dough and let it rest.  It has to just barely come together when mixing and chill for at least 30 minutes.  

Since I had to bake my pie crust first, I placed the pie dish with the dough (rolled and crimped) into the freezer for 30 minutes.  This helps with preventing the dough from loosing its shape in the oven.  As it baked, I worked on the other components aka the good stuff!

I sliced 3 ripe bananas and whipped some heavy cream which I folded into some leftover pastry cream I made earlier in the week.  I also chopped up some bittersweet chocolate and made a ganache to layer over the bananas and on top of the pie.  Once the pie crust was cool, I started to layer beginning with bananas on the bottom (this helps the bottom crust stay crisp), chocolate, and ending with pastry cream.  What's the end result?  Check it out below!


Daniella :)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Feeling Peachy

What do I do with left over puff pastry?  Bake an easy tart!

The great thing about summer are all of the delicious fruits.  I love peaches and I wanted to pay homage to them since I had a ton on hand. I sliced a few of them and sprinkled some brown sugar and spices (cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon) on top.  Now you may be thinking, spiced peaches? Well yes, it actually works really well.  Apples are the obvious choice but I was really curious to try something different.

I then lined the slices on top of a thawed sheet of puff pastry.  To add a little more richness and make the tart glisten, I brushed some melted butter and warm honey.  Check out the pic below!




Friday, August 5, 2011

Chocolate Heaven!

This past weekend, I went to MD and discovered the best local supermarket named ROOTS! Not only is everything organic and fresh, it's also way cheaper than NYC.  I, of course, fell in love with their baking section and was amazed by their chocolate selection.  No Hershey's here!

I stocked up on really great quality chocolate and that was the inspiration for this cake.  This is a chocolate buttermilk cake filled and covered with a chocolate ganache whipped cream and coated with bittersweet dark chocolate shavings.  Talk about chocolate overload! Surprisingly, it was pretty light due to the layers of chocolate ganache whipped cream sandwiched in between the delicate chocolate cake.  Check out the pics below!

NYC needs a Roots market.  Or at least my neighborhood does.  Until next time!