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    Giant Hostess Cupcake Cake

    What’s better than a Hostess Cupcake? A super-sized one! This Giant Hostess Cupcake Cake is three chocolate layers with a cream-filled center and rich ganache frosting.

    Nostalgic childhood treats prove to be a very rich well of inspiration for me. You may remember this Snowball Cake that I made all the way back in 2012. It’s still such a favorite! Well, today I’m adding a new one to the recipe index. This Giant Hostess Cupcake Cake has been a while in the making, with repeat testing and even a few fails along the way. Now it’s just right. I’m totally obsessed with the texture of these cake layers. And, there’s a literal core of cream filling inside!

    It’s easy to complicate things when developing a recipe. Usually the secret to success is to keep things as simple as possible. I had to remind my self of that after a few setbacks. This recipe has three main components, each fairly simple. The first is really great chocolate cake. It freezes well and has a firm yet moist crumb. Second – whipped filling that’s actually a frosting your grandma might have made. Seven minute frosting is so light it’s almost like marshmallow. And third is good ol’ trusty ganache. You just can’t go wrong here!

    It’s what’s inside that counts.
    The filling little more than cooked egg whites and sugar with the whipping power of an electric mixer. It’s so easy. Always keep in mind that the enemy of meringue is fat. Always make sure your mixing bowl and whip is without a trace. To be sure, cut a lemon in half and wipe down the bowl with it. Do the same to the whip then wipe them down with a paper towel. This removes any trace of fat or grease.

    The word billowy comes to mind! Other frostings were attempted, but this one was the lightest and best contrasted all of that chocolate.

    The buttermilk cake layers don’t really puff up much during baking, so I didn’t even have to level them (who doesn’t love that?!). Cut out the centers of the bottom two layers using a large round cutter, or just free-hand it with a serrated knife.

    Fill the cake all the way to the top with that amazing fluff!

    Removing a cake slice reveals the creamy center, which will sigh down slightly, but won’t totally spill out of the cake. It just kind of relaxes.

    See? I feel relaxed just looking at it (wink). A slice of this cake will definitely remind you of the flavors of a Hostess Cupcake. The soft outer covering of creamy ganache just seals the deal. The creamy center makes this so decadent. I wish I could teleport a slice to each and every one of you!

    Serve slices on their sides instead of upright. They’ll be a little top heavy and the cream filling will ooze out otherwise. The flavor and texture of the chocolate cake is just outstanding. I refrigerated my layers overnight and I think this made the texture even better. Enjoy!

    Giant Hostess Cupcake Cake

    Heather Baird

    This Giant Hostess Cupcake Cake is three chocolate cake layers with a cream-filled center and rich ganache frosting. It’s a great all-purpose cake for nearly any special occasion. Save the cut-out cake centers. You’ll have a little leftover cream filling and can assemble your own personal-sized mini cake with the scraps and leftovers.

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    Prep Time 45 minsCook Time 35 minsTotal Time 1 hr 20 mins

    Course DessertCuisine American

    Servings 15

    Equipment8 inch round cake pans (3)
    Ingredients US CustomaryMetric Cake layers1 cup unsweet cocoa powder1 cup hot water1 cup unsalted butter room temperature2 cups granulated sugar4 large eggs room temperature1 teaspoon baking soda1 teaspoon fine grain salt1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder1 cup full fat buttermilk3 cups all-purpose flourGanache3 cups semisweet chocolate chips1 1/2 cups heavy creamCream filling1/2 cup egg whites about 2 1/2 egg whites, I used carton egg whites1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar1/2 teaspoon vanilla extractConfectioners’ glaze for décor1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar plus more if needed1-2 teaspoons of milk or cream plus more if needed
    Instructions Cake layersPreheat the oven to 350F. Grease three 8-inch round cake pans with flour-based baking spray.Combine the dark cocoa powder and hot water in a small bowl and whisk together until smooth and dissolved. Set aside.In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, combine the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in eggs one at a time. Scrape down the bowl and mix again. To the creamed mixture add the baking soda, salt and baking powder. Mix again briefly.In a 4 cup or larger glass measure with a pour spout, combine the dissolved cocoa mixture and buttermilk. Whisk until combined.Mix in the flour in three additions, alternating with the buttermilk/cocoa mixture (Order: 1/3 of the flour, 1/2 the liquid, 1/3 flour, remaining liquid, remaining 1/3 flour). Mix on low speed until each is incorporated.Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick tester inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool cakes in the pans for 5 minutes, then turn out to cool completely on wire racks. When cakes are cool, cut out and remove a 3.5 inch circle from two of the cakes. Save cake scraps for snacks, cake pops, or for a quick hot fudge sundae.GanachePour the chocolate chips in a large microwave-safe bowl. Add the cream and tamp the chips down into the cream so they are all covered. Microwave at 100% power for 2 minutes. Let mixture stand for 1 minute then whisk together until a shiny, thick ganache is formed. Transfer to the refrigerator to firm. Stir ganache intermittently until mixture is of soft spreading consistency, like buttercream, which should take about 20-30 minutes.Cream fillingBring a pot with 2 inches of water to a simmer. Place egg whites, cream of tartar and sugar into a stainless-steel mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Set the bowl on top of the simmering water and whisk constantly until the mixture is hot and sugar is dissolved. Check by rubbing a little of the mixture between your fingers. If the mixture is still grainy, keep whisking and cooking. Mixture is ready when the sugar is melted and an instant-read thermometer registers 160F.Remove the bowl from the simmering water and pour into an electric stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment. Beat for 5-7 minutes on medium high until the mixture is thick and billowy, and holds stiff peaks. Beat in the vanilla extract.Place a cake layer with a hole in the center on a cake board or server. Frost top edges with ganache. Top with the second cake layer with a hole in the center. Frost top with ganache. Pour cream filling into the center, filling the hole all the way to the top of the hole (You will have a little cream filling left over). Top with the final cake layer without a hole. Frost the entire cake with a crumb coat of ganache. Refrigerate until firm, about 15 minutes.Ganache will set, so re-heat, if necessary, in the microwave for 15-20 seconds, or until loosened. Remove cake from the refrigerator and apply a second thick coat of ganache.Confectioners’ glazeMix the confectioners’ sugar and 1 teaspoon of milk in a small bowl. Whisk together until a very thick paste is formed. It should hold in the balloon of the whisk and very slowly fall out. Use more or less of each of the sugar and milk to reach this correct consistency. Remove to a piping bag or zip-top bag with a small hole snipped in the corner. Pipe a series of consecutive loops on top of the cake in Hostess Cupcake fashion.Serve slices of cake on their sides instead of standing upright. The filling will fall out of the cake slices otherwise. Serve with ice cold glasses of milk for an extra dose of childhood nostalgia.Cover cake leftovers with plastic wrap. Store in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before serving.
    NotesIf you’re not using carton egg whites as I did, beat three whole egg whites lightly in a bowl, then pour into a 1/2 cup measure. 

    Keyword buttercream filling, chocolate cake, ganache frosting

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    Pink Pineapple Pie

    Pink Pineapple Pie has a hint of berry flavor thanks to a little strawberry puree mixed into the batter. Colorful sprinkles baked right into the graham cracker crust add an extra ounce of fun!

    It’s been a while since I’ve made a pie, and this one has all the summer vibes. Pink Pineapple Pie – it’s fun to say, isn’t it? I recently learned that pink pineapples are totally a thing, but I didn’t use them for this recipe. Instead I decided to add a little strawberry goodness to my favorite no-cook pineapple pie filling.

    I really wanted this pie to look happy and fun. So first thing I did was whip up a graham cracker crust and add some pink and yellow sprinkles. (I’m a crust sprinkle-er from way back, see here and here). It’s too easy, with just graham crumbs, butter, and sprinkles. It bakes for 10 minutes to set the crumb, and the rest is a no-bake affair.

    The pie filling is so creamy with a no-nonsense list of ingredients: sweetened condensed milk, lemon juice, crushed pineapple, and strawberry puree. I had hoped the puree would give the filling a more pink color, but in the end it needed a little help with drops of pink food color. Whisk this up until well combined.

    Next add in some whipped cream -ah! This makes the pie so light. Fold it all together until no obvious white streaks remain.

    Pour the filling into the cooled crust and chill. It takes about 3 hours to firm in the refrigerator. The spring form collar will slide right off easily because of the butter in the crust. If you don’t have a 9-inch spring form pan, you can make this in a 9 inch deep dish pie pan.

    I had so much fun with the garnishes. I used more whipped cream, more sprinkles, some pineapple leaves, a strawberry half, and a little pineapple cube. It kind of looks like an umbrella drink you’d get at Benihana!

    I’d almost re-name this ‘Happy Pie’ if Pink Pineapple Pie wasn’t so darn catchy and a much better description. It’s cheerful-looking for sure, and so tasty! It’s a cold, creamy treat that’s easy to make when you crave something tropical on a hot day.

    Pink Pineapple Pie

    Heather Baird

    This creamy, tropical-tasting pie is a refreshing dessert that’s easy to make. Serve slices chilled on a hot day.

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    Prep Time 20 minsCook Time 10 minsTotal Time 30 mins

    Course DessertCuisine American

    Servings 8

    Equipment9-inch spring form pan
    Ingredients US CustomaryMetric Crust1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs1/2 cup unsalted butter melted1/3 cup pink and yellow jimmies ice cream sprinklesPie filling14 oz. sweetened condensed milk 1 can8 oz. crushed pineapple undrained 1 small can1/4 cup lemon juice1/4 cup strawberry puree sieved to remove seeds2-3 drops liquid pink food color1 cup heavy cream3 tablespoons granulated sugarGarnishes1/2 cup heavy cream whipped to stiff peaks1 tablespoon granulated sugar1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract3 tablespoons pink and yellow sprinklesPineapple leaves1/2 strawberry1 cube pineapples or wedge
    Instructions CrustPreheat the oven to 350F.Combine the graham cracker crumbs and unsalted butter in a bowl. Mix with a rubber spatula until all the crumbs are coated with butter and the texture resembles wet sand. Add the sprinkles and fold them in until well dispersed. Pour the crumbs into a 9-inch spring form pan and press in the bottom and 2 inches up the sides. Bake for 10 minutes. Cool crust completely.Pie fillingCombine sweetened condensed milk, undrained pineapple, lemon juice, and strawberry puree in a large bowl. Whisk together until well combined. Add drops of pink food color. Whisk again to disperse color.In a separate medium bowl, whip the heavy cream until slightly thickened. Slowly add in the granulated sugar 1 tablespoon at a time. Beat to stiff peaks. Add the whipped cream to the pineapple mixture and fold together until well incorporated. Pour the filling into the crust. Refrigerate until set, 3-4 hours.GarnishesBeat the heavy cream in a medium while gradually adding the granulated sugar. Add the vanilla extract and beat to stiff peaks. Transfer the whipped cream to a piping bag fitted with a large closed start tip. Pipe stars of whipped cream around the top edge of the pie. Pipe stars in the center of the pie also. Immediately add sprinkles. Place three or more pineapple leaves standing upright in the center of the pie. Add the strawberry half and pineapple to finish. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
    NotesIf you don’t have a spring form pan, this pie can be made in a 9-inch-deep dish pie pan.
    If you don’t have pink food color on hand, try using a few drops of red.
    You’ll need about 5 oz. of fresh or frozen strawberries (thawed) to yield the 1/4 cup of puree for this recipe.

    Keyword crused pineapple, heavy cream, strawberry puree

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    Peanut Butter Cookie Banana Pudding

    An old-fashioned favorite gets a new twist! Peanut Butter Cookie Banana Pudding swaps vanilla wafers for peanut butter sandwich cookies.

    There’s a sense of normalcy easing its way back into our lives. We’re having family dinners again, and summer weather means potlucks and picnics won’t be far behind. I’m so eager to share this new banana pudding recipe with my friends and family. It’s just like regular scratch-made banana pudding, but with a peanut butter surprise!

    First, you’ll start with a good scratch-made vanilla pudding. Homemade vanilla pudding is so simple that it’s best to use high quality ingredients. It should taste of cream and vanilla, and never overtly of cornstarch. I always finish my batch of vanilla pudding with at least two tablespoons of butter, which adds homemade flavor.

    After the pudding cools, layer it in the bottom of a trifle dish, 2 quart dish or bowl. Next, on goes a layer of sliced bananas. I like to line a few around the edge of the dish so it looks pretty.

    Peanut butter love!
    Now, for the best part: peanut butter sandwich cookies. If you plan to eat your banana pudding right away, give the cookies a quick dunk in milk. This helps them to soften faster. Otherwise, it takes a good 24 hours for the crisp sandwich cookies to soften in the pudding.
    Use any peanut butter sandwich cookie you like! These are Mother’s brand Peanut Butter Gauchos, or use Nutter Butters, which are available nearly everywhere.

    The texture of the cookies soften and leave pockets of peanut butter filling throughout the pudding. It’s so dreamy! We couldn’t stay out of this bowl.

    Peanut Butter Cookie Banana Pudding might just replace this recipe as my picnic fave – but who am I kidding? I’ll probably make both, especially if any kiddos show up. They love those little pouches of pudding.

    Add a few chopped salty peanuts on top, and some more crushed cookies – now you’re in business!
    We first enjoyed this last Monday on Memorial Day, but it would be wonderful for a July Fourth cookout. I’ll make it throughout the summer and probably even into November! It’s that good!

    Peanut Butter Cookie Banana Pudding

    Heather Baird

    An old-fashioned favorite gets a new twist! Peanut Butter Cookie Banana Pudding swaps vanilla wafers for peanut butter sandwich cookies.If you plan to eat the pudding right away, use my cookie dunking method to speed the softening of the peanut butter cookies. Otherwise cookies will naturally soften over 24 hours, however the pudding will be well-chilled at 6 hours – serve at your discretion.

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    Prep Time 20 minsCook Time 15 mins30 minutes cooling time 30 minsTotal Time 35 mins

    Course DessertCuisine American

    Servings 8

    Equipment2 to 2 1/2 quart baking dish or trifle bowl
    Ingredients US CustomaryMetric 3 cups whole milk3 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch1/8 teaspoon salt3/4 cup sugar3 egg yolks2 tablespoons butter2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract4 large bananas1 package, approx. 15 oz. peanut butter sandwich cookies such as Gauchos or Nutter Butter1 cup milk for dunking cookies optional2 cups heavy cream1/4 cup powdered sugar1/4 cup roasted salted peanuts chopped
    Instructions Mix 1/4 cup of the milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl. In a saucepan over medium heat, whisk the remaining 2 3/4 cups milk, salt, and sugar together. When the mixture is barely warm whisk in the egg yolks. Whisk constantly until the mixture steams. Increase the heat to medium-high and add the cornstarch mixture. Whisk constantly until the mixture thickens and bubbles slightly. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter and vanilla extract. Pour the mixture into a shallow dish to speed cooling. Cool 20 minutes then cover the surface with a piece of plastic wrap to keep a skin from forming. Chill for 10-15 minutes.Chop bananas into 1/4-inch rounds. Set aside 3 peanut butter cookies for garnish.Layer pudding in the bottom of a 2 to 2 1/2-quart bowl or trifle dish. Top with half of the bananas. Add a layer of peanut butter cookies. (Dunk each cookie quickly in the 1 cup of milk if you plan to enjoy the pudding right away. Otherwise, it takes about 24 hours for the cookies to soften on their own in the pudding.) Repeat layering – these don’t have to be perfectly even. Just do the best you can.For the whipped topping, beat the heavy cream on medium-high until slightly thickened. Add the powdered sugar gradually. Beat to stiff peaks. Top the layered pudding with the whipped cream.Garnish the pudding with two of the reserved cookies. Crush the remaining cookie and sprinkle the crumbs on top. Sprinkle on the salted chopped peanuts.Enjoy immediately or chill for 6 hours before serving. Store leftovers in the refrigerator.

    Keyword fresh bananas, homemade vanilla pudding, peanut butter sandwich cookies

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    Episode 192 – Buck, Yeah!

    Featured Cocktail: The Sunset StormThis episode’s featured cocktail is the Sunset Storm. It’s a custom cocktail made using Halyard Brewing Co. Ginger Beer. To make it, you’ll need:1 oz Dark Rum (Halyard recommends Mt. Gay Black Barrel)¾ oz Aperol4 oz Volcano Juice Ginger Beer Shandy1 oz Orange Juice½ oz Lemon Juice5-6 dashes of Angostura BittersIn a cocktail shaker with ice, combine the rum, Aperol, and citrus juices. Shake vigorously until the ingredients are well chilled, strain into a collins glass with ice, and top up with about 4 oz of the Volcano Juice Shandy. Garnish this cocktail with several dashes of Angostura bitters, which  create a stormy-colored gradient as they gradually mix with the drink, and a lemon wheel, which emulates the setting sun.What we like about the Sunset Storm is that it shows off what Halyard Brewing Co’s ginger beer can do when mixed with other sweeteners and acids. We talk at length later in the episode about just what creates these really complex sweetness and acid profiles, but suffice it to say that this drink is a shining example of how they all work together in the glass. LEGGI TUTTO

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    Tiramisu Semifreddo

    Tiramisu Semifreddo is a mashup of two classic Italian desserts in frozen form. Frozen espresso mousse is surrounded by soft lady fingers and topped with sweet mascarpone cream.

    I’ve decided that this is my new favorite dinner party dessert for summer. It’s so decadent, but also silky and light in texture. And it’s so easy to make ahead! Assemble it days in advance and store it in the freezer, then bring it out when you need a beautiful ending to a meal.

    First thing, get yourself a couple of packages of soft lady fingers from your grocery store’s bakery. Line them up around the sides of a 9×5 inch loaf pan. Cover the bottom, too!

    Next whip up some egg yoks, sugar, and espresso in a double boiler. This makes a quick custard base for the espresso mousse. I always keep instant espresso powder on hand because I’m a Tiramisu fanatic (see here, here, and here). It’s so good in this recipe so I recommend using it! Delallo is a great brand of espresso powder.
    After the custard base cools, you’ll fold it with some lightly sweet whipped cream.

    Next, pour all that billowy espresso mousse into the lined loaf pan. It will fill the pan almost to the very top. Give the pan a few taps on the counter top to knock out any air pockets that might be hiding. Now its time to freeze! Three or four hours later, you’re ready to top it with fluffy mascarpone cream.

    Heavy cream and mascarpone cheese along with a little powdered sugar makes the perfect topping. But I couldn’t stop there.

    Indulge a little more!
    I couldn’t help myself! Tiramisu always needs a chocolate element (unless it’s my Quick Berry Tiramisu) so I went all in with a chocolate ganache, chocolate shavings, chopped almonds, and chocolate-covered coffee beans. The latter is courtesy of Sconza. I can’t say enough good things about their products. They are one of my favorite food gifts to give to colleagues, friends, family – everybody!

    Semifreddo means partially frozen. So if you’re expecting a frozen rock hard brick of dessert, then think again! Even well-frozen your knife will meet little resistance. The mousse stays soft. The texture is just so silky, and the lady fingers make it cake-like. And it becomes cloud-like as a slices warm to room temperature.

    Let’s end all of our summer dinners this way, okay? This dessert tastes restaurant-quality, and it’s not hard to make. The video below will help you get better acquainted with assembly.

    Tiramisu Semifreddo

    Heather Baird

    This restaurant quality dessert can be made a few days ahead and stored in your freezer. Enjoy the classic flavors of Tiramisu in frozen form.

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    Prep Time 25 minsCook Time 10 mins4 hours freeze time 4 hrsTotal Time 35 mins

    Course DessertCuisine Italian

    Servings 8

    Equipment9×5 inch loaf pan
    Ingredients US CustomaryMetric Semifreddo2 tablespoons instant espresso powder1 tablespoon hot water30 soft lady fingers4 large egg yolks1/2 cup granulated sugar1/4 cup dark rum1/4 teaspoon fine grain salt2 1/4 cups heavy whipping cream4 oz. mascarpone cheese5 tablespoons powdered sugarChocolate toppings1/2 cup heavy whipping cream1 cup finely chopped semisweet chocolate1/3 cup chocolate shavings1/4 cup chopped chocolate-covered espresso beans such as Sconza2 tablespoons chopped almonds
    Instructions SemifreddoDissolve the espresso powder in the hot water; set aside.Line a 9×5-inch loaf pan with plastic wrap that overhangs all sides of the pan. Line the sides and the bottom of the pan with the lady fingers, standing up vertically around the sides of the pan. Tear small pieces of lady fingers and press into gaps in the bottom of the pan (see video).Fill a saucepan with 1 inch of water and bring to a simmer. Set a large metal bowl on top and add the egg yolks, sugar, rum, and salt. Add the espresso mixture. Whisk until the mixture thickens like custard. The mixture is ready when an instant read thermometer registers 160F. Remove from the heat and cool 5 minutes. Transfer to the bowl of an electric mixer and beat with the whip attachment until the bowl feels cool to the touch, about 5 more minutes.Beat 1 3/4 cups of the heavy cream on medium-high until slightly thickened. Add 3 tablespoons of the powdered sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Fold the whipped cream into the beaten espresso custard mixture. Spoon the mixture into the lined loaf pan. Smooth the top and tap on the counter top to remove air bubbles. Fold in the plastic wrap and freeze until solid, about 4 hours or overnight.Beat the remaining cream on medium-high speed gradually adding the remaining 3 tablespoons of sugar. Add mascarpone a little at a time while beating. Whip to stiff peaks. Spread the top of the frozen semifreddo with the whipped mascarpone cream. Return to the freezer.Chocolate ganache and toppingsHeat the heavy cream in a saucepan until steaming but not boiling. Add in chopped chocolate. Let stand one minute and then whisk together. Let cool until thickened yet still pourable, about 15-20 minutes.Remove the semifreddo from the pan from the overhanging plastic. Unwrap and place on a serving tray. Cover with chocolate ganache. Sprinkle on chocolate shavings, chocolate-covered espresso beans, and almonds. Serve immediately or return to the freezer until set. When the chocolate is set, cover in plastic wrap until ready to serve.

    Keyword espresso mousse, mascarpone cream, soft lady fingers

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    The Ultimate Southern Brunch Board

    Homemade pimiento cheese, grits waffles with peach-bourbon syrup, and buttermilk biscuits are just a few offerings on this bountiful southern style brunch board.

    Holy smokes, will you look at that?! I am obsessed with beautifully styled, bountiful brunch boards in general, but this one is special. Making this Ultimate Southern Brunch Board was pretty much my dream come true. As a born and raised southern girl I can tell you this. Everything here reflects the place where I’m from. My East Tennessee home is within the Appalachian Mountains, where food traditions have deep roots. And ‘there’s always room for one more at the table’ is practically our family motto.
    I wish I could invite every single person reading this over for a taste of this feast. But for now, the best I can do is share some of my favorite heirloom recipes. Some of which already live here on the blog. First up – my favorite pimiento cheese recipe, which is a combination of Southern Living’s and The Lee Bros. recipes.

    Pimiento cheese serves us well as a sandwich spread, appetizer, or beside a pile of pickled okra on this brunch board. Forget the pre-shredded stuff. The secret to really great pimiento cheese is a block of extra-sharp cheddar.

    Simple is best!
    The best pimiento spread has few ingredients. A box grater and an 8 oz. block of extra sharp won’t take long to break down into feathery shreds. Add the cheese to a bowl, along with some jarred pimiento patted dry on paper towels. Add a little cream cheese, JFG mayo (or other, if you must) and a coarse grind of black pepper. Stir it up and enjoy!
    You’ll find the recipe in greater detail at the end of this blog post.

    Next – eggs. What would brunch be without eggs? You can’t go wrong with boiled eggs from the deli section at the supermarket (no peeling!). A few folded up crepe/omelet-style eggs can be neatly tucked in here and there.

    Buttermilk is a magic ingredient!
    Tangy buttermilk biscuits can be made into sandwiches with salty country ham (it’s like the Appalachian version of prosciutto) or spread with another southern favorite – tomato jam. If you find yourself with a bumper tomato harvest this year, make jam!
    Buttermilk Grits Waffles is another favorite that has buttermilk tang and uses up leftover grits as an ingredient. I usually don’t have any leftover grits when I make them, so my first step is whipping up instant grits, which takes just 5 minutes.

    In addition to maple syrup, peach-bourbon syrup is a must for waffles. Make it with fresh peaches for the tastiest results. You can find out how to make it in the Grits Waffles recipe notes.

    Most importantly? Cornbread. Get my all-time favorite buttermilk cornbread recipe right here. Southern cornbread is unsweet, but that just makes it more perfect to stuff with butter and drizzle with sorghum or honey. My grandmother would crumble cornbread into beaten eggs for a hearty scramble. It’s good, especially with lots of freshly ground black pepper.
    Grandma’s silver pitcher makes a fine vase for pretty flowers!

    Get the whole run-down of everything seen here in the list below. The recipes are linked, along with some things you can pick up at the store or easily throw together, like a pot of grits!
    Homemade Pimiento Cheese with crackers (recipe is at the bottom of this blog post)Southern Buttermilk Biscuits Southern Cornbread with honey or sorghum syrupButtermilk Grits Waffles (with Peach-Bourbon Sauce in recipe notes)Cherry Tomato JamBoiled eggs and scrambled (crepe/omelet style) eggsCountry ham, bacon, and sausage linksPickled okraMaple syrupGrits with butter and black pepperSalted butter, for serving on biscuits, cornbread, and waffles

    Homemade Pimiento Cheese

    Heather Baird

    Pimiento cheese is a simple mix of Cheddar, jarred pimiento (cherry pepper) and mayonnaise. However, this spread’s ingredients are as varied as the southerners that make it. Purists only use mayonnaise as a binder, but I find that cream cheese makes it heartier and extra-creamy. Spread it on crackers or between soft or toasted white bread. This recipe serves about 8 as an appetizer or makes 4 sandwiches (1 1/2 cups of spread).

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    Prep Time 15 minsTotal Time 15 mins

    Course AppetizerCuisine American, Southern United States

    Servings 8

    Ingredients US CustomaryMetric 8 oz. block extra-sharp cheddar cheese3 oz. cream cheese at room temperature4 oz. jar pimento peppers patted dry on paper towels3 tablespoons JFG mayonnaise or other high-quality store-bought mayonnaise1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauceFreshly ground black pepper to taste
    Instructions Grate the cheese on the large holes of a box grater.Place the grated cheddar in a large mixing bowl. Pull apart the cream cheese and scatter over the cheddar along with the pimentos, and mayo. Add Worcestershire and a few grinds of black pepper. Using a spatula, mix the ingredients together until well incorporated. The mixture will be thick. Add more black pepper to taste. Add salt if desired, but I never need to because the cheddar adds enough salt for my taste.Transfer the pimento cheese to a jar or plastic lidded container. Store the pimiento cheese in the refrigerator. This will keep in the refrigerator for 1 week.

    Keyword cream cheese, extra-sharp cheddar, JFG mayonnaise

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    Aperol Creamsicle Ice Pops

    These ice pops are made with Aperol, the intensely orange Italian liqueur that packs a bittersweet punch. A touch of vanilla syrup transforms the intensity with a creamy note reminiscent of an orange creamsicle.

    It’s almost like a switch was flipped that turned on the heat and humidity here in the southeast. Last Sunday I hosted a family get-together outside, and we enjoyed the prettiest blue skies with puffy clouds and a cool breeze. My mom mentioned she should have brought a cardigan. However, today we had 90 degree weather and it felt like a shock. Wilted from a walk across the lawn, I dreamed up these Aperol Creamsicle Ice Pops. They are too easy, just four ingredients, so you can make them on your laziest day.

    Aperol is an Italian liqueur with low alcohol content and a nuanced bittersweet orange flavor. It’s so refreshing! The first thing you’ll do to make these ice pops, is make a sugar syrup. I did this in the microwave, but you can also make it in a pot on the stove top. When the sugar is dissolved, mix in some vanilla beverage syrup such as Amoretti or Torani. This is what brings the creamsicle flavor forward (and I DO love a creamsicle dessert riff). Next, add in the Aperol. Mix it all up, and you’re halfway there!

    Forgo the popsicle stick!
    Use these zip top popsicle pouches for a bit of nostalgia – you’re practically making a highbrow popsicle here (fancy meets fun!). Funnel the mixture into pouches. If you stand the popsicle inside a glass, it will catch dribbles if they happen.

    Easy peasy, almost ready to freezy! Zip the top closed and continue filling the pouches. This recipe makes about 6-7 ice pops.

    I like to squeeze the tubes gently to make sure the zip-tops are well sealed before I pop them in the freezer. This is important if you lay them down on their sides in the freezer. Or you can freeze them upright in a container, like the picture above.

    They are so delicious as-is, but you can also use one as a frosty cocktail starter!

    Top with champagne, prosecco or ginger ale. Instant umbrella drink!

    These are simple to make ahead and the perfect treat to serve on a hot day. They’d be great for a pool party or a fun ending to an intimate dinner party with friends.

    Aperol Creamsicle Ice Pops

    This is no ordinary creamsicle! These ice pops are made with Aperol, the intensely orange Italian liqueur that packs a bittersweet punch. A touch of vanilla syrup transforms the intensity with a creamy note reminiscent of an orange creamsicle. See the recipe notes for a non-alcoholic version.

    .wprm-recipe-rating .wprm-rating-star.wprm-rating-star-full svg * { fill: #5A822B; }No ratings yet

    Prep Time 10 minsCook Time 2 mins4 hours freeze time 4 hrsTotal Time 12 mins

    Course DessertCuisine American

    Servings 6

    Equipment6 ice pop pouches with zip topsSmall funnel
    Ingredients US CustomaryMetric 1/4 cup granulated sugar1 1/2 cups water1/3 cup vanilla beverage syrup such as Torani or Amoretti1 cup Aperol liqueur
    Instructions Combine the sugar and water In a 4 cup or larger glass heat-proof measure with a pour spout. Stir briefly. Microwave for 2 minutes at 100% power; stir until the sugar dissolves. (Alternatively heat in a saucepan on the stove top). Stir well.Pour in the vanilla syrup and stir well. Allow the mixture to cool 5 minutes. Pour in the Aperol. Mix well to combine.Insert the funnel into an ice pop pouch and fill with the liquid; seal the zip top closure. Divide mixture between the 6 ice pop pouches. Lay filled pouches on a baking tray and freeze until solid, 4 to 6 hours.Serve frozen.
    NotesA non-alcoholic version can by made by simmering the Aperol for 10 minutes. This cooks out the alcohol content.
    Create a frosty beverage by placing the frozen ice pop contents in a cocktail class and top with champagne, prosecco, or ginger ale.

    Keyword Aperol, granulated sugar, vanilla beverage syrup

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