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    White Chocolate Panna Cotta with Orange Chocolate Sauce

    White Chocolate Panna Cotta is a holiday host’s best kept secret. It’s a creamy, eggless custard that can be made ahead for convenience. Dark chocolate sauce dazzles as a topping with a shot of orange liqueur.

    Unlike last Christmas, I’m planning to do a little entertaining this year. Nothing too grand, but just a few more than my immediate family. Good holiday hosts know that even a small party can be stressful if you’re not well organized. That’s why I love recipes like this one. This white chocolate panna cotta comes together in minutes and looks elegant in stemware. You can make it a day (or two!) ahead and store it in the refrigerator until party time.

    Creamy components.
    Start by melting some white chocolate morsels with heavy cream in a saucepan. After it’s heated and consistently mixed, add in bloomed gelatin – that’s the lumpy-looking stuff in the bowl up there. Stir until melted then whisk in half-and-half (or whole milk, your choice!).

    Divvy the mixture up into stemware. I used some miniature martini glasses that hold exactly 1/3 cup and got 12 servings. Serve this amount for a small cocktail party or a dessert tasting. Or, if you’re hosting an intimate dinner, portion them into larger glasses for a heartier serving size.

    A simple sauce.
    Make the chocolate sauce with just three ingredients! Use an orange chocolate bar to impart more orange flavor, as I did. Or, if you can’t source one easily, use a regular dark chocolate bar.

    Add a splash of Triple Sec (or Cointreau) to liven things up! However, this can be an optional addition. Or switch up the flavor with your favorite liqueur.

    Top each glass with a little of the sauce. You won’t need much! Add just enough to contrast the creamy white chocolate custard.

    Garnish the glasses with candied orange peel. I used some Callebaut Crispearls, too. You can find them here. They are little dark chocolate beads with a tiny biscuit inside for crunch. I keep them on hand to use as a dessert garnish.

    These little White Chocolate Panna Cotta cups are decadent and so smooth. The creamy white chocolate custard perfectly contrasts the dark chocolate topping. The hit of orange gives them a bright citrusy note that tastes celebratory.
    If you’re looking for more panna cotta recipes, another of my other favorite seasonal panna cotta recipe is this Eggnog Panna Cotta with Spiked Cranberry Sauce. The recipe is so well-loved it’s usually my most popular blog post in December.

    White Chocolate Panna Cotta with Orange-Chocolate Sauce

    Heather Baird

    This white chocolate panna cotta is an elegant eggless custard topped with a quick orange-chocolate sauce. It can be made up to two days ahead and stored in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Serve in stemmed glasses or mold the panna cotta in ramekins. I served these in mini martini glasses, which yielded 12 small cocktail party-sized servings. However, if you’re hosting an intimate dinner, portion them into six 8 oz. glasses or ramekins.

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    Prep Time 10 minsCook Time 5 mins4 hours chill time 4 hrsTotal Time 4 hrs 15 mins

    Course DessertCuisine Italian

    Servings 6

    Equipment8 oz. glasses or ramekins (6), or 3 oz. mini dessert glasses (12)
    Ingredients US CustomaryMetric Panna cotta1/4 oz. powdered unflavored gelatin 1 envelope1 1/2 cups half and half or whole milk cold1 cup heavy whipping cream1/2 cup white chocolate morsels or 3 oz. white chocolate bar chopped1/4 cup sugarOrange-dark chocolate sauce and toppings3 oz. orange dark chocolate bar finely chopped3/4 cup heavy cream1 tablespoon orange liqueur2 tablespoons Callebaut Crispearls chocolate beads or other chocolate caviar12 pieces candied orange peel 2-3” lengths
    Instructions Panna cottaSprinkle the powdered gelatin over 1/4 cup of the half and half in a small bowl. Stir briefly and let stand 2 minutes. The mixture will be lumpy.Combine the heavy cream, white chocolate, and sugar in a saucepan and place over medium heat. Cook while stirring until the chocolate is melted and the sugar is dissolved, about 5 minutes.Remove from the heat and stir in the lumpy gelatin mixture into the hot mixture until dissolved. Stir in the remaining 1 1/4 cups half and half.Divide the mixture evenly between six 8 oz. stemmed glasses or ramekins. Or, portion them into smaller glasses for more servings (I used 2.6 oz mini martini glasses for a yield of 12). Cover and chill the glasses until set, about 4 hours or up to two days ahead of service.Orange-dark chocolate sauceIn a microwave-safe bowl, heat the chocolate and cream on high power for 1 1/2 minutes until melted, stirring every 30 seconds between heating. When the mixture is smooth stir in the orange liqueur. Cool mixture until just warm but still pourable. Pour a little of the dark chocolate sauce on top of the set panna cotta. Serve extra sauce on the side in a small syrup pitcher.Garnish each glass with a few chocolate beads and a candied orange peel before serving.
    NotesWhat to expect: This white chocolate panna cotta is deceivingly light, but holds richness with its creamy ingredients and orange-infused chocolate syrup topping. It is soft set with a small wobble when turned out of a ramekin. 

    Look for white chocolate morsels that contain real cocoa butter, which will be listed in the ingredients. These will melt best and impart the best white chocolate flavor. Or, chop a 3 oz. white chocolate baking bar to use in this recipe.
    I used Theo 70% orange dark chocolate bar for the sauce, but an unflavored dark chocolate bar will work just fine.
    This recipe is easily scales up or down to serve as few as 6 people, or as many as 12. It’s a rich dessert, so even small servings pack a big punch. If hosting an intimate dinner, portion into 6 servings. Finger foods and cocktail party atmosphere call for smaller servings or even shot glass-sized portions.
    The panna cotta can be made up to two days ahead. You can also top the set panna cottas in glasses with chocolate sauce ahead, but do not garnish. The candied orange peel may weep. Wait to garnish an hour or two ahead of serving.
    If molding these into ramekins for a plated dessert, serve the chocolate sauce on the side, or drizzle just before serving.
    The chocolate sauce will be liquid and pourable just after it is mixed. If you pour the sauce over the set panna cotta and store in the refrigerator, the sauce will set slightly, yet not as firm as ganache.

    Keyword dark chocolate, half and half, heavy cream, orange chocolate sauce, orange liqueur, powdered gelatin, white chocolate

    You may also enjoy: LEGGI TUTTO

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    Teacup Apple Charlottes

    Teacup Apple Charlottes are layered with soft ladyfingers, vanilla custard and tender spiced apples. Make them ahead for an elegant Thanksgiving Day dessert.

    I hope you won’t mind the many apple desserts I have on the agenda this month. I’m trying to use the bounty that my mom brought me from her trip to an orchard. It’s been fun to think up new ways to use them, and this recipe is one I loved instantly!
    This Teacup Apple Charlottes recipe is my riff on the British classic. The original is made with buttered white bread that lines a pudding tin, then it’s filled with cooked apples and served with a sweet sauce and whipped cream. This version isn’t quite as elaborate, and presented in teacups!

    Creamy custard.
    Begin by making a crème patissiere. Making this always feels special because it tastes so indulgent. It’s one of my favorite pastry elements. I usually break out the vanilla bean paste or split half a vanilla bean and scoop the seeds into the custard. If you don’t have those on hand, just use vanilla extract. The result will still be lovely.
    Cover the surface of the custard with plastic wrap so it doesn’t develop a skin. Refrigerate it until you’re ready to assemble. One important note: Crème patissiere should be thick enough to hold in a spoon. This is not a sauce, it’s a custard. Be sure you cook it until thickened.

    Next, bubble up some sugar and water together in a skillet – just until the edges start to caramelize. You can see here it’s lightly golden and ready for the next step.

    Have the apples ready to pour in at a moment’s notice. Caramelization happens quickly, and requires a watchful eye. The caramelized edges may seize up a little when the apples are added but this is normal.

    Punch up the flavor!
    Immediately pour in the juice of one orange and some apple brandy, if you have it. I did not have this on hand, so I added a little boiled cider to the mixture. Stir, stir, stir. You may see little clumps of caramelized sugar lurking about. Keep stirring while cooking and they’ll dissolve in the acidic juice of the orange.

    Cook the apples down until most of the moisture has evaporated, and the apples are golden brown and shiny with syrup.

    Prep the teacups.
    Line six teacups with ready-made soft lady fingers standing upright. You can find these at most grocery stores in the bakery aisle. This is a wonderful shortcut without compromising flavor.

    Pipe or spoon the pastry cream into the bottoms of the cups, about 1/3 of the way full.

    Next, spoon in the apples. Aim for equal parts crème patissiere and apples for a nice balance. The apples are a little sharp, especially if you use Granny Smith apples.

    Whipped cream can be served on the side, but I think the desserts look best presented with a big dollop on top.

    I could see these being served as a fun ending to Thanksgiving dinner, and the components can be made ahead. I’m always for a low stress dessert, especially when entertaining a houseful of people.

    Teacup Apple Charlottes

    Heather Baird

    This recipe is my riff on the British classic, Apple Charlotte. This slightly less involved version is served in a teacup, layered with crème patissiere, and topped with freshly whipped cream. See the recipe notes for instructions to make them ahead.

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    Prep Time 20 minsCook Time 15 minsTotal Time 35 mins

    Course DessertCuisine American, British

    Servings 6

    Equipment6 oz. teacups (6)
    Ingredients US CustomaryMetric Crème patissiere2 tablespoons cornstarch1 cup whole milk1 egg2 egg yolks6 tablespoons granulated sugar2 tablespoons unsalted butter1 teaspoon vanilla extractPinch of saltSpiced apples1/2 cup granulated sugar3 tablespoons water6 Granny Smith apples peeled cored and chopped into 1/2 inch pieces2 tablespoons apple brandy or boiled apple cider1/4 cup orange juice from 1 large orange1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon2 tablespoons unsalted butterCrème chantilly2/3 cup heavy cream2 tablespoons granulated sugar1/2 teaspoon vanilla extractAssembly36 ready-made soft lady fingers about 1 1/2 packagesGround cinnamon for garnish
    Instructions Crème patissiereIn a small bowl, dissolve the cornstarch in 1/4 cup of the milk. Beat the whole egg, then the yolks, one at a time, into the cornstarch mixture.In a saucepan, combine the remaining 3/4 cup milk and the sugar; bring to a boil whisking constantly. While whisking the egg mixture, slowly pour 1/4 of the hot milk into it, to temper the eggs. Return the remaining milk in the saucepan to medium-low heat.Pour the hot egg mixture into the saucepan in a thin stream, whisking, so as to not scramble the eggs. Whisk constantly until the mixture begins to boil. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter and vanilla; stir in the salt.Pour the pastry cream into a bowl and press a sheet of plastic wrap directly on the surface so it does not form a skin. Cool to room temperature. Refrigerate until ready to use.Spiced applesPlace the sugar and water into a saucepan set over medium heat. Cook gently until the sugar has dissolved and turns lightly golden at the edges. Immediately pour in the chopped apples, add the apple brandy or boiled cider, orange juice, cinnamon, and butter. Stir together briskly. The caramel may seize when the apples are added; this is normal. Keep stirring until lumps have disappeared. Cook uncovered over medium high heat. Cook for 10 minutes, or until all of the liquid has evaporated and the apples are fork tender. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.Crème ChantillyPour the heavy cream into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whip attachment. Whip the cream on high until it starts to thicken. Add the sugar and vanilla extract. Whip until stiff peaks form.Use immediately, or store in the refrigerator until ready for use.AssemblyPlace six 6 oz. teacups on a baking sheet or tray. Line each teacup with six soft ladyfingers standing upright. Spoon or pipe the pastry cream into the bottoms of the teacups, about 1/3 full. Add an equal amount of spiced apples on top.Add dollops of Chantilly cream on top of each cup. Sprinkle with pinches of cinnamon and you’re ready to serve!
    NotesWhat to expect:
    The pastry cream balances the flavors of tart granny smith apples. The lady fingers are soft and cake-like.
    Patience and a watchful eye are both required for the caramel portion of the apple recipe. Be careful not to burn the sugar, and don’t try to multitask during this step.
    The orange juice in the apple recipe really brightens the apple flavor. Use freshly orange juice squeezed from one large orange.
    To make these ahead, assemble the lady fingers, pastry cream, and apples in the teacups. Cover each cup with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve. Just before serving, top with the whipped cream and sprinkle with cinnamon. 

    Keyword creme chantilly, creme patissiere, espresso pastry cream, soft lady fingers, spiced apples

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    Candy Corn Jello Shots

    Whip up these Candy Corn Jello Shots for a fun October treat. This kid-friendly version has fruity, tropical flavor that can be made grown-up with your favorite spirit.

    October is just days away, and I’m a little too excited about all the sweet and spooky things this month brings. I’ve been working on some fun Halloween sweets and the truth is, I have too many ideas and not enough time to make them all. But I’m going to try!
    First, I decided to make some cute candy corn Jello shots – or parfaits, if you’re serving them to kids. I’ve seen plenty of versions of this treat around the web, but I wanted to put my own spin on them. As written, my version is non-alcoholic, tropical-fruity, and darn cute, too! However, if you’re looking for a grown-up party treat then these are super simple to alter with your favorite spirit. I’ve included those instructions in the recipe.

    Jello shots are set firmer than the standard Jell-O recipe on the box, yet not as firm as say, a Jell-O Jiggler (shoutout to any 90’s kids in the room!). This version is dessert-like, so serve each glass with a little spoon.

    Layer #1
    Cook up a pot of opaque white ‘jello’ using powdered gelatin, sweetened condensed milk and coconut milk. Make these grown-up by swapping the coconut milk for whipped cream flavored vodka or another favorite liqueur. It’s best to limit this addition to spirits that are clear or milky white. Godiva white chocolate liqueur comes to mind.
    Divide this mixture between two measuring cups. Tint one cup with yellow food color and add lemon extract. Flavor the other cup with coconut extract. Cover the white coconut-flavored cup and set aside. Fill tall shot glasses 1/3 of the way up with the yellow gelatin and chill.

    Layer #2
    The second layer comes together with a small box of orange Jell-O, powdered gelatin, and orange juice. Again – swap the orange juice for something more spirited if you’d like. Pour the mixture on top of the set yellow layer and chill until firm.

    Layer #3
    The final layer is the creamy coconutty mixture that’s been hanging around since we started this whole process. At room temperature it shouldn’t congeal, but it could. Give the mixture a stir and if you find any jelled gelatin, then microwave the mixture for 30 seconds to melt it. Cool the mixture before adding it to the glasses.

    Top it off!
    A swirl of whipped cream on each shot gives these a touch more creaminess, which I’m all for. Yum! These can be made a couple of days ahead of time and kept in the refrigerator.

    Add candy corn on top of each shot and these are dressed and ready for Halloween festivities. I can’t wait!

    Candy Corn Jello Shots

    Heather Baird

    Whip up these Candy Corn Jell-O Shots for a fun October treat. This kid-friendly version has fruity, tropical flavor that can be altered with your favorite fruit juice and soda. See the recipe notes for the grown-up version of this dessert. The texture of this treat is comparable to the classic Jell-O shot, which is set a little firmer than a regular Jell-O recipe. The higher ratio of gelatin will also help the shots to set more quickly. Serve each of these with a small dessert spoon.

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    Prep Time 15 minsCook Time 10 mins1-2 hours chill time 1 hrTotal Time 1 hr 25 mins

    Course DessertCuisine American

    Servings 12

    Equipment2.4 oz. shot glasses, or 3 oz. dessert cups
    Ingredients US CustomaryMetric 2 cups water3 envelopes Knox unflavored gelatin .25 oz. each7 oz. sweetened condensed milk 1/2 of a 14 oz. can2/3 cup coconut milk cold1 teaspoon coconut extract1 teaspoon lemon extractYellow food color3 oz. box orange Jell-O gelatin dessert1/3 cup orange juice cold1/2 cup heavy whipping cream chilled2 tablespoons granulated sugar14 candy corn pieces
    Instructions Pour 1 cup of the water into a small saucepan. Whisk in the contents of two packets of the unflavored gelatin. Cook over low heat while slowly stirring, until the gelatin is dissolved, about 5 minutes.When the gelatin is dissolved, stir in the sweetened condensed milk. Add 2/3 cup coconut milk. Stir to combine. Divide the white opaque mixture between two glass measuring cups with pour spouts. Stir the coconut extract into one cup. Cover it and set aside; keep at room temperature. In the second cup, add the lemon extract and a few drops of yellow food color. Mix well to combine.Set 14 tall shot glasses (2.4 oz. each) on a sturdy tray that will fit inside your refrigerator or freezer. Pour the yellow gelatin mixture 1/3 of the way up into each shot glass. Refrigerate until the gelatin is semi-set, about 20 minutes or 10 minutes in the freezer (I used the freezer method). You can tell the gelatin is correctly set and ready for the next layer if you tip a shot glass from side-to-side and the surface tension holds any unset liquid under the surface in place.Meanwhile, make the orange Jello layer. Pour the remaining 1 cup of water into a saucepan and whisk in 1 packet of gelatin. Cook while stirring until the gelatin melts, about 5 minutes. Stir in the orange Jell-O and stir until dissolved. Add 1/3 cup orange juice and stir. Let cool 5 minutes. Evenly distribute the orange gelatin over the yellow layer, approximately 1/3 of the way up each shot glass. Refrigerate until set, about 20 minutes or 10 minutes in the freezer.Stir the reserved white coconut gelatin. If the mixture has partially set, microwave it for 30 seconds and stir until gelatin is melted. (I didn’t have this problem at 70 degree room temperature). When the orange layer is set, top each shot glass off with the white gelatin. Refrigerate until the entire dessert is set, about 30-45 minutes (more or less depending on your fridge temp).To make the whipped topping, beat the heavy cream in a medium bowl while gradually adding 2 tablespoons sugar. Beat until billowy and stiff peaks form. Transfer to a piping bag with a closed star tip, and pipe a swirl of whipped cream on top of each shot glass. Garnish each with a candy corn piece.
    NotesSpike them! For a grown-up candy corn Jell-O shot add your favorite spirit. For the white and yellow layers, omit the coconut milk and replace it with an equal amount of whipped cream vodka or plain vodka. Limit these additions to liquors that are clear or milky white, such as Godiva white chocolate liqueur or Bailey’s. For the orange layer, replace the orange juice with Cointreau or Triple Sec. 
    Variations. The flavors of the opaque gelatin layers can be changed up by swapping in cream soda or almond milk for the coconut milk. Add clear vanilla extract to the mixture instead of the coconut and lemon extracts. You can change the flavor of the orange layer by adding pineapple juice instead of orange juice. 
    Make-ahead! The layered shots can be made a couple of days ahead of serving, but wait to garnish them with the whipped cream and candy until party time. After the layered shots are assembled, place a small piece of plastic wrap over each glass so the gelatin’s surface doesn’t dry out.

    Keyword coconut extract, coconut milk, lemon extract, orange Jell-O, orange juice, powdered gelatin, sweetened condensed milk

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    Cereal Milk Pudding Shooters

    These fun Cereal Milk Pudding Shooters can be made with your favorite sweet breakfast cereal. This version uses Froot Loops, which makes a colorful party food that’s kid-friendly, too!

    Sometimes I forget how good scratch-made pudding is. Whenever I make it I always wonder why I don’t make it more often. This pudding is extra good, because it comes with a hit of childhood nostalgia. We have Milk Bar to thank for introducing the world to cereal milk as an ingredient. The thing is, we’ve all likely made this as kids sitting in front of the TV, eating sugary cereal and watching Saturday morning cartoons. Who knew we’d be using it to make desserts?

    Selecting a cereal.
    Start this recipe with the biggest bowl of cereal, ever! Five cups of milk to four cups of cereal. I must admit, stirring this together was super satisfying. I was tempted to take a big bite.
    Froot Loops (with marshmallow shapes) is my sweet cereal of choice, but you could use Fruity Pebbles, Cap’n Crunch, or even less sweet Cornflakes. You might remember my previous recipe made with cereal milk – Toasted Corn Flakes Cupcakes with Cereal Milk Pipettes. Still love those!

    Cover the enormous bowl of cereal and refrigerate it. Let the mixture steep for at least an hour. Longer is better to coax out as much cereal flavor as possible. Aim for 2-3 hours.

    Next, strain out the cereal. The loops will soak up some of the milk, so you’ll have less than you began with. You should end up with about 4 1/2 cups of cereal milk.

    Divide the cereal milk. 4 cups will be heated in a saucepan, and 1/2 cup will go in a bowl with cornstarch and egg yolks to make a slurry. Add this little bowl of ingredients to the saucepan to thicken the pudding as it cooks.

    After the mixture was all whisked together and thickened, something was obviously missing. The thick, pale yellow pudding didn’t really resemble the colorful Froot Loops cereal milk I’d had as a kid. A drop of red food color will make it look more authentic. This is optional.

    Cool the pudding before dividing it between shot glasses. I used a piping bag with a tiny hole cut in the end to portion it into the glasses, but you could also just spoon it in.

    Party perfect.
    Add some whipped cream and crushed cereal on top, and you’ve got instant party food! This recipe will make about 20 shooters served in these 2.4 oz. dessert shot glasses. However, you can also divvy the pudding up in larger servings to serve 6-8 people.

    How fun would these be for a kid’s party? They’re so creamy and they’re a good summer refresher when chilled. They can be made a couple of days ahead, so if it’s hot where you live right now, wait until night time when it’s cooler to make them. It takes about 15 minutes on the stove top. Enjoy!

    Cereal Milk Pudding Shooters

    Heather Baird

    This recipe can be endlessly varied with your favorite cereal. This version uses Froot Loops, which makes a fun and colorful party food. Kid-friendly, too! These take about 4 hours to chill completely, and can be made 2 days ahead.

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    Prep Time 10 minsCook Time 15 minsTotal Time 25 mins

    Course DessertCuisine American

    Servings 20 dessert shooters

    Equipment20-24 shot glasses, 2.4 oz. eachPiping baglarge closed star piping tip
    Ingredients US CustomaryMetric Cereal milk pudding5 cups whole milk4 cups fruity breakfast cereal such as Froot Loops or Fruity Pebbles1 cup sugar1/3 cup cornstarch5 large egg yolks1/2 teaspoon sea salt1 drop liquid red food color optionalWhipped cream and topping2/3 cup heavy cream2 tablespoons granulated sugar1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract1/4 cup loosely crushed fruity cereal such as Froot Loops or Fruity Pebbles
    Instructions Cereal milk puddingCombine the milk and cereal in a large bowl and stir to combine. Let the mixture steep for at least 1 hour in the refrigerator. Strain out the cereal. You should be left with about 4 1/2 cups of cereal milk. Discard the cereal.Pour 1/2 cup of the cereal milk in a medium bowl. Add the sugar, cornstarch egg yolks and 1/2 teaspoon of salt to the bowl. Whisk to combine.Add 4 cups of the cereal milk to a saucepan and set over medium heat until steaming but not boiling.Add 1/3 cup of the hot cereal milk from the saucepan to the egg mixture, whisking constantly to keep the eggs from scrambling. Once mixed, add the egg mixture back to the saucepan of milk in a pencil-thin stream, whisking constantly as you pour.Cook over medium heat, whisking continually, until the mixture thickens up to the consistency of pudding, about 7 minutes. Stir in food color, if using. Transfer to a bowl and place plastic wrap on the surface of the pudding to prevent a skin from forming. Allow the mixture to cool at room temperature until barely warm. Portion into approximately 20-24 shot glasses, 2.4 oz. each. Alternatively divide between 6-8 ramekins or dessert cups.Whipped cream and toppingsBeat the heavy cream in the bowl of an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Gradually add in the granulated sugar while beating. Add in the vanilla extract. Beat until stiff peaks form.Transfer the whipped cream to a piping bag fitted with a large closed star tip. Pipe whipped cream on top of each pudding shot. Garnish each with crushed fruity cereal.Refrigerate until ready to serve.
    NotesLighten this recipe by using low fat milk or almond milk.
    I’ve found that allowing the cereal to steep for 2 hours in the milk will impart more flavor.
     
     

    Keyword cereal milk, froot loops, heavy cream, whole milk

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    Cold Strawberry Soufflé

    Cold Strawberry Soufflé gets its lift and airy texture from beaten egg whites and whipped cream. Make it ahead for a chilly summer treat or an elegant dinner party dessert.

    If the word soufflé brings up some hesitancy, it’s no wonder. Hot soufflés in French fashion have only a handful of ingredients, but they must be handled just so. Immediately after baking they’re whisked to the table for the best presentation of their height. Cold soufflés are a different story. Unlike hot soufflés they can be made well ahead of time and kept chilled until ready to serve. I find them enjoyable to make, and a simple foil collar gives them stately height, just like a hot soufflé.

    Make the base.
    Begin with two pints of strawberries. These can be fresh or frozen. I used frozen berries (thawed). Puree them and measure out 1 1/4 cups of puree. I had about 3 tablespoons of leftover puree and used it as an ice cream topping.

    Next, in a saucepan you’ll bloom gelatin in a little of the puree. Place the saucepan over heat just long enough to melt the gelatin, then combine it with the rest of the puree.

    After the gelatin/puree mixture cools, you’ll whip it in a standing mixer. It will gain loads of volume, and look like a big weird pile of pink marshmallow. This is the base of the soufflé.

    Lighten the base.
    Immediately after the strawberry base is whipped, fold it into the whipped cream. Do this with gentle folding motions. As a result it will retain volume. At this stage I added 2 drops of liquid red food color, just to increase the pink intensity (recommend!). Finally, fold in the egg whites, just as gently as before.

    To make a cold soufflé look like a hot soufflé which rises above the top of its dish, add a foil collar. It should extend a couple of inches over the top of the dish, and it will support the soufflé mixture during setting. Use tape or rubber bands to secure the collars around the ramekins. Pipe the mixture into the collared ramekins and smooth the tops with a spatula.
    I made this recipe into individual servings, but you can also make it into one big soufflé (or even molded into a pan, like this one!). Same collar technique applies, but use a 1 quart soufflé dish.

    For the neatest collar removal, freeze the desserts and unmold them while they are still frozen. As a result, you’ll have smooth edges that won’t ding easily if you accidentally stick your thumb into it (I learned the hard way!). Thaw them in the refrigerator before digging in.

    This dessert is a pink cloud! Sweet and gossamer light, it refreshes and won’t weigh you down. It’s a wonderful, classic dessert to learn, and good any time of year (but especially on a hot day).

    Cold Strawberry Soufflé

    Heather Baird

    This recipe yields about 4 servings if divided between collared 6 oz. ramekins. This is a generous serving size, and even though this dessert is light it is deceptively rich. Consider using collared 4 oz. ramekins for more servings. Or, collar a 1 to 1.25 quart soufflé dish for one large dessert that can be portioned onto dessert plates. This recipe was adapted from The Good Housekeeping Illustrated Cookbook, circa 1980.

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    Prep Time 20 minsCook Time 5 minsTotal Time 25 mins

    Course DessertCuisine French

    Servings 4

    Equipment4 ramekins, 6 oz. each, or 1 quart souffle dishaluminum foil
    Ingredients US CustomaryMetric 2 cups heavy whipping cream1 1/4 cups strawberry puree from about 2 pints of berries2 envelopes powdered unflavored gelatin .25 oz. each2 drops liquid red food color6 egg whites from pasteurized eggs1/4 teaspoon fine grain salt1/2 cup granulated sugar4 fresh whole strawberries1/2 cup whipped cream for piping optional
    Instructions Prepare four 6 oz. ramekins with foil collars, or a 1-quart dish. (See notes for instructions.)In the bowl of an electric mixer, whip the cream to stiff peaks. Cover and refrigerate.In a saucepan, stir the gelatin with 3 tablespoons of the strawberry puree. Mixture will thicken and set. Place over medium heat and stir until gelatin melts and dissolves. Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining puree. Cool completely, about 15 minutes. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, whip the gelatin and strawberry puree mixture on high speed until the mixture gains volume and lightens. Immediately fold the strawberry mixture into the whipped cream mixture. Do this gently to retain volume and lightness.In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites and salt to soft peaks with an electric mixer. Gradually add in the sugar and beat to stiff peaks. Fold into the strawberry whipped cream mixture. Do this gently to retain the volume and lightness.Spoon or pipe the soufflé mixture into the prepared dishes and smooth the tops using an offset spatula. Freeze until firm, about 4 hours. Remove collars while the desserts are still frozen. Thaw them in the refrigerator, about 2 hours. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.Before serving, garnish with sliced fresh berries. Pipe stars of whipped cream around the top edge of the soufflés, if using.
    NotesHow to make a foil collar: Cut a piece of 12-inch-wide foil to fit around a 1 quart soufflé dish or cut four pieces to fit around four 6 oz. ramekins and overlap about 2 inches. For one large soufflé, fold the foil in half lengthwise, for ramekins fold into thirds. Carefully wrap around the outside of the dish so that the collar stands about 3 inches above the rim. Secure with rubber bands or with short pieces of cellophane tape.
    For the optional piped whipped cream, beat 1/4 cup of heavy cream with 1 teaspoon granulated sugar in a bowl with an electric hand mixer. Beat to stiff peaks. Place in a piping bag fitted with a small open star tip. Pipe whipped cream around the top edge(s) of the soufflé.

    Keyword egg whites, heavy cream, powdered gelatin, strawberry puree

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    Coconut Butterfly Pea Flower Boba Tea

    Ice cold, brimming with coconut flavor and eye-popping color, this Coconut Butterfly Pea Flower Boba Tea is summer’s best refresher!

    I’ve been so eager to try butterfly pea flower tea for months now, but I didn’t know where to start. I’ve seen it used by pastry chefs in cakes and mousses with beautiful (naturally blue!) results. However, since I’m a butterfly pea flower tea newbie, I started with its intended purpose. Which is herbal tea. Paired with sweet coconut milk and boba (bubble) tea pearls, it makes a lovely sippable dessert.

    A magic ingredient.
    The butterfly pea flower plant is native to most South East Asian countries, but has only recently been introduced outside its natural territory. You won’t find it at the grocery store (but I hear Whole Foods is trying to procure some). Instead you’ll have to purchase it online.  Aside from being used for tea or as a food ingredient, it’s been used as a popular plant dye for centuries. One of the neatest things about the tea is its color-changing properties. In its brewed state it is vibrant blue. Change the pH level with a little lemon juice and it turns bright purple!  

    Wow! SO pretty. The brewed tea has a slightly wheat-y flavor that I think has the aroma of whole grain cereal. Other people have described it as earthy and grassy, but it’s not as assertive as, say, matcha green tea (which is my measuring stick for ‘earthy and grassy’). It’s so light, and hides itself behind other bolder flavors easily.

    Bubble love.
    You may remember my first boba tea post (here) from years ago. For those uninitiated, “Bubble tea” or boba originated in Taiwan in the 1980’s. It first came to the states through Asian American communities. Now boba enthusiasts are everywhere! (Including right here, hi!). Reportedly, boba tea shops are in the midst of a boba shortage due to supply chain issues, but smaller packages seem to still be available for purchase online. However, if your local bubble tea shop is experiencing a shortage, you can still support them by purchasing their other menu items. It’s the least we can do to keep these shops alive and well!
    So. The very first order of business is cooking up some boba. You can usually find a small bag at international markets and online. This is the kind I used, which cooks quickly. Use the 5-minute variety for this recipe.

    Next, brew up the tea. Let it stand for about 10 minutes. It will go through several beautiful color intensities as it steeps. You’ll know it’s ready when the color is deep sapphire blue.

    Strain the flowers out and press with the back of a spoon to remove as much liquid as possible. Let it cool down before you use it.

    Next – the sweetest part! Combine coconut milk and sweetened condensed milk in a glass measure. Whisk together until no lumps of coconut milk solids remain.

    The serving size of this recipe is variable depending on your glass size. Poured in 12 oz. glasses you’ll get about 5 servings. Layer in as much boba as you’d like (I like a lot!) and fill each glass about 1/3 of the way up with the milk mixture. Fill up the glass to the top with crushed ice.

    Tea time!
    Pour in the steeped tea to the top of the glass. The milk and tea will slightly swirl and intermingle but they’ll stay mostly separated because the sweetened milk mixture is heavier than the tea. They’ll stay beautifully semi-swirled until you decide it’s time to mix it all up!

    This drink is sweet and creamy with refreshing coconut flavor. The soft, chewy tapioca pearls make this half beverage, half snack. The butterfly pea flower tea is present more in color than flavor, but it’s more than just a novelty to me. It’s a whole new sandbox to play in! The color is so beautiful, it reminds me of ocean water and I just want to dive into it head-first. And I pretty much did just that (yum!)!

    Coconut Butterfly Pea Flower Boba Tea

    Heather Baird

    This beverage is like a cool breeze on a hot day! So refreshing and more than just a drink – it’s sippable dessert.
    This recipe will yield about 5 servings if portioned into 12 oz. glasses. Simple syrup, butterfly pea flower tea, and sweet coconut cream can all be made one day ahead and chilled, if desired. Boba pearls are best eaten the same day they are made.

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    Prep Time 20 minsCook Time 7 minsTotal Time 27 mins

    Course Dessert, DrinksCuisine South East Asia, Taiwainese

    Servings 5

    Ingredients US CustomaryMetric Simple syrup1 cup sugar1 cup water1 teaspoon coconut extractBoba10 cups water1 package 8.8 oz. dried boba tapioca pearls quick cooking 5-minute typeButterfly pea flower tea1 cup dried butterfly pea flower buds2 cups boiling waterSweet coconut cream1 can coconut milk well shaken2/3 cup sweetened condensed milkCrushed ice for serving
    Instructions Simple syrupMake the simple syrup: Combine the water and sugar in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Heat in the microwave for 2 minutes at 100% power. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. If granules remain, heat at full power in 1-minute intervals thereafter until the sugar is melted. Stir in the coconut extract. Transfer the bowl to the refrigerator to cool. If you don’t have a microwave, the simple syrup can be made in a saucepan on the stove top.BobaBring the water to a boil in a large pot over high heat. Add the boba and cook for 7 minutes, stirring gently until the pearls float to the surface of the water. Cover the pot with a lid and cook for 3 more minutes. Remove the pot from the heat source and let it stand for 5 minutes. Drain the boba with a colander, and rinse them in cool water for 20 seconds. Remove the simple syrup from the refrigerator and transfer the boba to the simple syrup. Let stand until completely cool, about 1 hour. Or, speed cooling in the refrigerator, about 30 minutes.Butterfly pea flower teaPlace the buds in a large glass bowl or container and pour over the boiling water. Stir the buds around and then let steep uncovered for 10-15 minutes. When the liquid is deep sapphire blue, strain out the buds using a sieve and transfer the tea to the refrigerator to cool.Sweet coconut creamCombine the coconut milk and sweetened condensed milk in a large glass measure. Whisk until completely smooth.AssemblePut as little or as much boba as you like in the bottom of a 12-ounce glass (I used about 1/4 cup per glass). Pour sweet coconut cream about 1/3 of the way up the glass. Add crushed ice and fill to the top. Pour the butterfly pea flower tea over the ice to fill to the top of the glass. Serve immediately with bubble tea straws or with spoons. Stir together before enjoying. Assemble more glasses as needed. Store the boba tea in its syrup in the refrigerator. Also store the coconut cream and butterfly pea flower in the refrigerator until ready to use.
    NotesI cook the boba slightly longer than the package directions. This seems to keep them softer a little longer.
    Boba pearls are best fresh. Leftover boba should be tossed at the end of the day.

    Keyword boba tea, bubble tea, butterfly pea flower tea, coconut milk, sweetened condensed milk, tapioca pearls

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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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