I’ve been watching the artisanal toast trend gain momentum over the last year and have been wanting to give it a try. One Saturday, I made three versions for Avery to snack on while doing some reading in her bean bag chair. All on thick-cut brioche from a local bakery, version one was obsidian blackberry jam + French butter, version two was royal blenheim apricot jam + quark and version three was coconut jam + French butter. Avery had no favorites in particular—she loved them all! She agreed that books and toast made a perfect afternoon break. (And some nice downtime for the rest of the household!)
Post by Jeran of Oleander and Palm
Why did we ever eat store bought graham crackers? These chocolate, homemade versions are so amazing. I don’t know if we can ever go back.
So, have you gotten the May Catalogue? That’s my cute kiddos in the Teepee and our family just having a little party with Riley. What a cool experience for our family. While we were out at Red Rock Canyon State Park shooting this, I made a batch of these graham crackers and some homemade marshmallows (see them sitting on the little bench).
I have to share this recipe for Chocolate Graham Crackers with you. They made the best s’mores ever.
Homemade Chocolate Graham Crackers
1 cup each of whole wheat and white flour
1/4 cup ground flax seed
1/4 cup cocoa
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
Cream butter and sugar together. In a large bowl combine all the dry ingredients. Mix well with a whisk. Add the dry ingredients and mix until the dough comes together. Place the dough between to floured pieces of parchment paper. Roll out the dough to about 1/4 inch thick. Cut into squares (mine were 3″x3″) with a pizza cutter. Chill for 10-15 mins, then transfer the individual square to a parchment lined cookie sheet. Prick them with a fork and bake for 15-18 mins in a 325 F oven. Cool on a wire rack.
Here’s some images to help with the how to:
This recipe is adapted from Martha’s recipe.
Post by Jeran of Oleander and Palm
Jenna has requested a “Cinderella Camping” themed birthday party this year. That one loves to challenge her mama with theme mash-ups. Last year’s Hello Kitty Rainbow Flower party seems easy in comparison to this year’s combo. Luckily, I enjoy a good challenge.
In preparation for the upcoming festivities, I decided to experiment with natural food dyes to see if I could achieve a good ‘Cinderella blue.’ And while I clearly need more practice working with fondant, I was pretty happy with the colors resulting from my experimentation this weekend.
I used this recipe for marshmallow fondant. Dye-free marshmallows are surprisingly hard to come by, but I’ve discovered that Walmart brand marshmallows don’t contain the artificial blue dye found in most other brands. For the coloring, I used this all-natural blue food dye. The results are more muted than artificial dyes, but work well for the Cinderella palette I was going for.
Post by Julee : Warm Hot Chocolate
I wanted to create something really cute and precious for Easter. I was thinking of something whimsical in pastel colours, something sweet, but not a cupcake. I’m not sure why, but that’s where my mind was taking me. I had seen these Martha Stewart Meringue nests, which were cute; but then Sweetapolita upped the ante by colouring her nests blue. I wanted to make my nests pink at first, but realized that I didn’t have any red food colouring left – so blue it was. I kept them simple by adding a couple of chocolate eggs in beautiful pastel colours. This way they make an instant Easter treat and are easy to hand over as a gift as well.
While meringue is not hard to make, it does take time. So make sure you’ve got a couple of hours at home. Once you have the nests, your options are limitless. Fill them with candy like I did above, add some butter-cream like Rosie did, add fruit like Martha did, fill them with melted chocolate or make some lemon curd with the left-over egg yolks. I made this lemon curd and filled a couple of nests. It makes for a nice flavour combination, but they do get messy with all that sticky sweetness.
You can also store your meringue nests in an air tight container for a couple of days, just make sure you don’t crush them as they are quite fragile. The perfect bit of pastel whimsy just in time for Easter. And yes, we did give most of them as gifts, because there’s only so much sweetness I want to keep in our house.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
Yield: Approximately 14 three inch nests
- 5 egg whites, at room temperature
- Pinch of cream of tartar
- 1 cup superfine (caster) sugar or regular sugar
- Drop of food colour or food gel colour of choice
- Line two baking sheets or one large baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat oven to lowest temperature (for my oven this is 175°F).
- Separate your eggs (best done when cold) and add the 5 egg whites into a clean metal mixing bowl. If you get any yolk into the mixing bowl, remove all contents and begin again. Leave bowl on counter until they come to room temperature.
- Once egg whites are room temperature (warm is best), place bowl back on mixer and fit with whisk attachment. Mix on low speed until egg whites become frothy, about 2 minutes, and add cream of tartar.
- Increase speed to medium-high and beat until soft peaks form, about 2 minutes. Gradually add all of the sugar and beat on high speed until stiff peaks form. You should be able to hold the bowl upside down over your head with no meringue falling out. Add food colour and beat until combined.
- Fit a large pastry bag with a large tip and pipe approximately 3-inch circles, working from the middle outwards, followed by two full rings atop one another around the perimeter of the nest. Pipe 14 nests placing a few inches apart.
- Bake in oven until completely dry and crisp, but not browned, about 90 minutes (this can take much longer, depending on your environment). Nests should lift from parchment with ease. Turn off oven and leave nests inside until oven has cooled, then remove nests from oven.
If you don't want to pipe your nests, you can spoon the meringue on to the parchment and use a spoon to create a small indentation. This will create more organic looking nests.
Post by Giulia Doyle : Audrey's