Friday, January 28, 2011

Dessert Wars: Nutella


There’s a new game in town: Dessert Wars. It’s the creation of bloggers Christine “Momma Cupcake” at The Cupcake Bandits and Reeni “Cinnamon Girl” from Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice.

Dessert Wars

Dessert Wars is a progressive blogger competition with monthly winners who will go head to head at the end of the year (December) to secure the position of ULTIMATE DESSERT WARRIOR and win a grand prize package. Each month you will be challenged with a theme ingredient and/or a specific dessert to bake. For example; one month it may be to use lavender in a dessert, the next month it might be to bake a pie. This will leave room for you to express your own creativity. The more creatively you embrace the theme, the more likely you are to win!

This month’s inaugural challenge is Nutella.


There’s still a few days left to enter the contest. Click here to view the complete rules.

Here’s a list of the fantastic prizes one of us will win!

So on to my entry...
Nutella is good for a lot of things like crepes or just slathered on toast. I’ve also noticed that it’s nice to use to give a flavor boost to chocolate pudding. But I can’t stop there. I usually make a mousse with it and fill phyllo cups. This time I thought it would be fun to try to make mini pies, so that’s what I did.
First, make a pie crust dough. Roll the dough into 1 inch sized balls. Place each ball in the cups of a mini muffin pan. Use either a mini tart shaper or the bottom of a shot glass to shape into mini pie shells. Prick the bottom of each shell with a fork.
Bake the pie shells in the oven at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until golden. Let crusts completely cool before filling.
To make the filling, combine 1 3/4 cup of milk and 1/4 cup of Nutella. Whisk together until it is well mixed and resembles chocolate milk. Add one 1.4 oz box of Chocolate Instant Jello Pudding. Mix well and refrigerate until set.
Meanwhile, let an 8 oz. tub of Cool Whip thaw on your kitchen counter. Once it is thawed, add a few spoonfuls to the pudding and stir together well. Then gently fold in the rest to make a light fluffy mousse. Use a pastry bag to fill your pie shells. Or forget all that and just grab a spoon and dig in!!



Friday, January 14, 2011

Snow Cream


Like many of you, I made Snow Cream this week. It’s a nice treat for us Southerners who don’t get much snow. You probably already have a recipe your Granny made that is near and dear to your heart. If that’s the case, you have my permission to stop reading now. It won’t break my heart. I’m not claiming to have the best recipe for Snow Cream, but this is how I make it. And since this is a blog about the foods I make, I feel it would be wrong to keep this recipe from you. Besides, much of what I put on here is for posterity, so that is excuse in itself.

Snow Cream – 6 servings

  • 10 cups Fresh Snow
  • ½ cups Sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Vanilla Extract
  • 1-2 cups Milk

Scoop the snow into a cold metal bowl. Add the sugar, vanilla and 1 cup of milk. Gently stir until well mixed, adding more milk as needed to make a creamy consistency. How much will depend on if the snow is very dry or wet. Taste and adjust ingredients if needed.

*If I know it’s gonna snow, I leave out a container to catch it. Makes things easier.

*Use a very good vanilla extract for best results. Our Mexican Vanilla gave the Snow Cream a really lovely flavor.

*Reserving some snow to add at the end will help the snow cream be a little fluffier if that’s how you like it.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Bread, Milk and Circus Peanuts

Here in the south, we don’t get a lot of snow and ice. We’re not prepared for too much wintry weather. So when the weather forecast suggests icy and snowy conditions, the first thing we do is go buy bread and milk and then we wait for school closings. It’s just what we do. Sometimes it turns out the weather isn’t such a big deal and it’s a case of “better safe than sorry.” But sometimes it is a big deal and we’re trapped at home with our bread and milk.

When I was 11, we had such an occasion when we needed to go buy our bread, milk and other supplies. My Dad, Nana and Papa, (they were staying with us at that time,) divided up the shopping. When they got home and unpacked the groceries, they discovered that each of them had bought Circus Peanuts. We’re not talking just 3 bags of candy, they had each bought a few bags. Nobody knows why they each bought circus peanuts, but that weekend we had 20 inches of snow! Yes, it was the Blizzard of ‘93. Some say it was the Circus Peanuts that brought us the Storm of the Century. We’ll never know. But any time snow is in the forecast, we buy our bread, milk and never forget the Circus Peanuts.


You should probably know that my Dad bought 5 bags this week and gave us some. Right now there isn’t much left, but what we do have is this:



You can thank my Dad and the Circus Peanuts.

You can read more about Chattanooga and the Blizzard of ‘93 here.

Thursday, January 6, 2011




I'm so excited! My husband gave me this book for Christmas; it's something I've been wanting for a long time. (Thanks honey!) Let me share why I'm so excited.

I saw the author, Richard Bertinet in an episode of Rachel Allen: Bake! Bertinet showed Rachel how to make doughnuts using his technique for working the yeast dough as opposed to kneading it and punching it down. His technique involves slapping the dough on the counter, stretching it and folding it over itself to trap air inside the dough. He doesn't flour the counter when he does this so the dough won't accumulate more flour than needed, keeping it light and airy. Somehow, this sticky blob on the counter almost magically transforms into a supple and beautiful dough.

This blew my mind! I’ve not been all that successful when it comes to baking with yeast dough. I had to learn more about Bertinet and his technique so I went to the all-knowing internet.

Originally from France, Bertinet now runs a cookery school in Bath, England: The Bertinet Kitchen. His school won the South West Tourism Award for Best Tourism Experience in 2009. His book Dough won the 2006 IACP Cookery book of the year, James Beard Award for Best Book (Baking & Deserts) and the Julia Child Award for Best First Book. His second book Crust won the World Gourmand Award for Best UK Book (Baking). He also has a book named Cook. If all that isn’t cool enough, he has recently been named BBC Food Champion of the Year 2010!

See why I’m so excited? This is a fantastic book; I’ve already read it through twice. You can look forward to seeing some beautiful bread here in the future. In the meantime, I may be wearing out Bertinet’s facebook page where he answers questions regularly. I can’t wait for my kitchen to be mistaken for the local boulangerie. Wish me luck!