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Posts Tagged ‘whipped cream’

by Caitlin Saniga

Strawberry and whipped mascarpone crostini

You’ve probably had strawberries and whipped cream before. But mascarpone cheese adds another level of luxury to the classic combination. Paired with the crusty, buttered toasts, it almost reminds me of an airier strawberry cheesecake.

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by Caitlin Saniga

Caramel pudding cups with gingerbread groundhogs

Did you ever try the “dirt and worms” snack as a kid? It consisted of crushed Oreos, layered with whipped cream and topped with gummy worms. These pudding cups were inspired by that elementary school treat.

Let me just say that this recipe took a lot of work. I started making my own groundhog-shaped cookie cutter from a pop can Friday morning and mixed up the cookie dough that afternoon. I made the pudding and baked the cookies on Saturday morning, whipped up the whipped cream that afternoon and finished the assembly in the evening. By the time I dipped in my spoon for the first taste, I darn well deserved it.

Was it worth it? To me, yes. The cookies were delicious, the pudding was a culinary challenge I can now cross off my list, and whipped cream is always best when made from scratch. Could I have taken shortcuts? Ooooh, yeah.

For starters, I could have bought a groundhog cookie cutter like this or decided on some other shape to use, like a circle. I could have skipped making my own gingerbread altogether and found some kind of premade cookie at the grocery store (Maybe Nutter Butters?). I certainly could have saved myself some nail-biting if I’d just used an instant pudding mix. And store-bought whipped cream almost seems like a no-brainer. Will I hold it against you if you don’t make everything from scratch? Of course not! I’m the idiot who thought making this dessert for two days straight sounded like a good idea.

But if you’re up to the challenge, I’ve summed up every step you need to know to make these Groundhog Day pudding cups from scratch. Shall we begin?

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I experimented with shapes and sizes and ended up liking these two. The tall one measures about 2 inches vertically, while the other one is about 1 1/2 inches.

I experimented with shapes and sizes and ended up liking these two. The tall one measures about 2 inches vertically, while the other one is about 1 1/2 inches. I liked the longer cookies because you could really push them down into the pudding without losing too much of the head shape.

Groundhog cookie cutter

*Note: Making your own cookie cutter can be dangerous if you’re not careful. Don’t use dull blades, and handle the metal, which is very sharp, with care.

You’ll need:

  • a clean aluminum soda can
  • a very sharp knife with a pointed tip and flat blade (I used a paring knife.)
  • a pair of scissors
  • a ruler
  • a permanent marker
  • a stapler
See those jagged edges? Those were cut with my sharp paring knife. If anyone knows of a better, safer way to cut off the top and bottom of a pop can, please comment and let us know!

See those jagged edges? Those were cut with my sharp paring knife. If anyone knows of a better, safer way to cut off the top and bottom of a soda can, please comment and let us know! This was the best I could come up with my limited tool supply.

Cut off the top and bottom of the aluminum can with a knife. Watch your fingers, and start each cut with a stab of the point.

Use scissors to make a vertical cut along the length of the open cylinder. You’ll be left with a curled sheet of metal.

Carefully flatten the metal with one hand, reinforcing it with a ruler parallel to the long edge. Use a marker to trace a line along the ruler. Draw a parallel line about 1/2 inch from the first one.

Once you make your cuts, you'll have a thin strip of metal to work with.

Once you make your cuts, you’ll have a thin strip of metal to work with.

Use scissors to cut along the lines you’ve drawn. Be as precise as possible to ensure clean cuts into your cookie dough later. You’ll be left with a curled strip of metal.

From there, bend the strip into the outline of a groundhog, leaving about 1/2 inch excess at the end of the strip. Hard creases may tear the aluminum, so soft bends are best. Use the excess of the strip to overlap with the other end, and staple it to close the shape.

Makes 1 cookie cutter.

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If you don't have a groundhog cookie cutter (Who the heck does??) and you aren't up for making your own, I suggest using a circle-shape cookie cutter or a glass to make small round cookies.

If you don’t have a groundhog cookie cutter (Who the heck does??) and you aren’t up for making your own, I suggest using a circle-shape cookie cutter or a glass to make small round cookies. And is it me, or do my groundhogs look like owls?

Gingerbread cookies

I started the dough for these a day early. See the recipe I used here.

You’ll need:

  • 6 cookies for groundhog garnish
  • 1 1/2 cups crushed cookies, or 10-12 cookies, for “dirt”

For the groundhogs, I used a toothpick to poke holes for eyes after the cookies had baked and set.

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To stop skin from forming on the top of the pudding, press a square of plastic wrap against the top of the pudding and chill.

To stop skin from forming on the pudding, press a square of plastic wrap against the top before chilling.

Practice mis-en-place, and do measure each ingredient ahead of time! You'll thank me as your dabbing the sweat off your forehead and watching your pudding change colors.

Practice mis-en-place, and measure each ingredient ahead of time! You’ll thank me as your dabbing the sweat off your forehead and watching your pudding change colors.

Caramel pudding

I placed a lot of faith in Smitten Kitchen for this one. Didn’t make too many tweaks except for the type of milk, which I switched to skim (and it worked just fine!). We don’t normally do this, but I’m going to direct you to SK’s blog post and advise you to read the recipe 2 or 3 times, assemble your ingredients and take some deep breaths before you start.

Don’t even think about stepping away from the pot once you start! Your diligence will pay off!

Recipe: Smitten Kitchen

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Whipped cream

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

In the bowl of an upright mixer fitted with a whisk, combine the whipping cream, powdered sugar and vanilla, and beat on high until a semi-firm consistency is reached, about 3 minutes.

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Pudding cup assembly

With your pudding already chilled in 6 lowball glasses, sprinkle 1/4 cup crushed gingerbread cookies into each glass. Top with whipped cream and wedge a groundhog cookie into each cup.

Serve and enjoy!

Makes 6.

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by Caitlin Saniga

Oops! Got a little excited digging into the pie and cracked the crust of my first slice at the base. Top each slice of cocoa pudding pie with a dollop of fresh whipped cream, a square of chocolate and maybe even a dusting of chocolate powder.

  • pate brisee (recipe here)
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • 3 cups milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • sweetened whipped cream (recipe here)
  • chocolate squares for garnish

If you decide to embellish the edges of your pie crust, dig around in your cupboards and drawers to find some unconventional decorating tools. Here, I used a citrus zester with tiny circular holes in a repetitive pattern around the edge. You can also use the tongs of a fork, the spikes of a meat tenderizer, a mesh strainer or the decorative handle of any utensil.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

On a clean, flat surface, roll the pate brisee into an 11-inch circle. Gently lift and place the crust in a 9-inch pie pan. Softly press the crust into the pan, then quickly flip the pan upside down and rest on a flat surface. Using a sharp knife, cut around the pan to remove any extra crust. Flip over again, and use a fork to prick holes in the crust. Refrigerate the pan for 10 minutes (Cooling it will help prevent the crust from shrinking down into the pan when it’s baked.).

Remove the pan from the fridge and cover the crust with foil and place pie weights or dried beans on top to keep the foil in place. Bake the crust for 20 minutes, then remove it from the oven and take out the pie weights and the aluminum foil liner.

Lower the oven temperature to 375 degrees. Return the pie to the oven to bake for an additional 15 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool completely before using.

Combine the cocoa, sugar, cornstarch and salt in a medium saucepan. Gradually add the milk to the dry ingredients, stirring until smooth. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly , until mixture comes to a boil; boil for 1 minute.

Remove the pan from heat; stir in the butter and vanilla. Pour the mixture into the crust. Carefully press plastic wrap directly onto the pie filling. Refrigerate for 6 hours.

When serving, wipe the blade of your knife clean after each slice. Top each piece with whipped cream and a chocolate square. Refrigerate leftover pie.

Makes 8 servings.

Recipe adapted from: Hershey’s

*This month we’re featuring classic pies that would be a great dessert at any Thanksgiving table. For the full list of pies, click here.

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by Caitlin Saniga

Do these puffs look familiar? I used the same pate a choux recipe here that I used for my sausage profiteroles a few months ago. I had some trouble getting the puffs to rise the first time I made profiteroles, but this time around, I knew exactly what consistency to look for. Remember, if you’re cooking on a day that’s even remotely humid, you should start with just 2 whole eggs. My trick is to start with 2 whole eggs, beat them into the mixture, break the third egg into a cup, and use a hollow egg shell half to scoop out little bits of egg to add to the mixture. That way, I can be as precise as possible.

Pate a choux:

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut in pieces
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 large whole eggs
  • 1 large egg white

Whipped cream:

  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar (Add it gradually, tasting as you go, until you achieve the perfect mild sweetness.)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Fruit:

  • 3/4 cup sliced strawberries
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar

To make the pate a choux:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper, and set them aside. Combine the butter, salt and 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan, and place over medium heat. Cook until the butter is melted and the water just comes to a boil.

Remove from the heat, add flour, and stir rapidly with a wooden spoon. Return the pan to heat; cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture comes together and pulls

away from the sides of the saucepan as you stir, about 5 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat, and let cool for 5 minutes.

Add the eggs one at a time, beating vigorously until they are completely incorporate and the pastry is smooth. (It might be best to break the third egg into a dish, split the yolk with a knife, and add it in spoonfuls to the mixture. You might not need to use all of the final egg to achieve the correct consistency.)

Transfer the pastry to a pastry bag fitted with a small coupler (or a zip-top bag with the corner cut off to form a small hole). Pipe about 1 tablespoon of the pastry into a mound on one of the prepared baking sheets. Continue piping until all the pastry is used, spacing pastry about 1 1/2 inches apart.

Combine the egg white with 1 tablespoon of water to make an egg wash, and brush the top of each mound with the egg wash. Smooth any rough spot on the top with a water-dampened finger. Bake until the puffs are golden brown all over, about 30 minutes. (Start checking at 20 minutes.) Remove from the oven, and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Slice the pastry puffs crosswise, and set aside.

To make the whipped cream:

In the bowl of an upright mixer fitted with a whisk, combine the whipping cream, powdered sugar and vanilla, and beat on high until a semi-firm consistency is reached, about 3 minutes.

To make the strawberries:

Sprinkle the sugar over the sliced strawberries and stir to combine.

To assemble the cream puffs:

Put a few slices of strawberry and a dollop of whipped cream in the bottom of each pasty. Top cream puffs with pastry lids.

Serve immediately or chill up to 3 hours before serving.

Recipe adapted from: The Martha Stewart Living Cookbook — The Original Classics

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by Sarah Steimer

A little throwback to our January hot chocolate guide, yes?

  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
  • pinch nutmeg
  • heavy whipping cream
  • pinch sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine whipping cream and sugar. Beat with an electric mixer until you reach a whipped cream consistency. Add vanilla and combine. Place in the freezer.

In a small sauce pan over low heat, melt the chocolate and combine with nutmeg. Add milk and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Let cool. Pour into an ice cube tray and freeze.

Place the frozen hot chocolate into a blender and pulse, slowly adding a little additional milk, along with two regular ice cubes and a dollop of the frozen whipped cream. Pulse until smooth.

Serve with summer fruit and a spoonful of the whipped cream on top.

Makes two cups.

Recipe: Sarah Steimer

Photo: Sarah Steimer

*Throughout June, “Freeze These” will feature our favorite frozen dessert recipes — all of which can be found here.

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by Caitlin Saniga

This took about 15 minutes to prepare. I waited the minimum hour freeze time, so the whipped cream was just barely frozen and still kind of soft. It got icier the longer it stayed in the freezer.

Does anyone remember Vienetta ice cream cakes? This recipe reminds me of a much less intricate-looking version with the added bonus of including already-delicious ice cream sandwiches. And it still looks impressive.

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
  • 6 ice cream sandwiches (3.5 ounces each)
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips, chopped (I accidentally bought mini chocolate chips {so cute!}, so I didn’t chop mine)

Line a large baking dish (I used a 7-by-11-inch glass dish) with a piece of wax paper or parchment, allow the paper to hang over both long sides.

In a large bowl, beat the cream and sugar until stiff peaks form.

In the bottom of the pan, arrange 3 of the sandwiches in a single layer. Spread 1/4 of the whipped cream over. Repeat with the remaining sandwiches and whipped cream. Spread the remaining whipped cream along the sides of the stacked sandwiches.

Sprinkle the top of the cake with the chopped chocolate chips. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze until firm, at least 1 hour and up to a week.

Holding both sides of the paper overhang, lift the cake out of the pan and transfer to a plate. Discard the paper and serve.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Recipe adapted from: Real Simple’s Easy, Delicious Meals

Photo: Caitlin Saniga

*Throughout June, “Freeze These” will feature our favorite frozen dessert recipes — all of which can be found here.

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by Sarah Steimer

I wish I would have thought of Irish hot chocolate when I had snow days in college.

For the hot chocolate

  • Your favorite hot chocolate recipe
  • Baileys Irish Cream liqueur, as much as you’d like

Combine the two. This isn’t so much a recipe as it is a good idea. And you’re welcome.

For the whipped cream

  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Whip cream until white peaks begin to appear. Add the sugar and vanilla and beat a little more until it’s at a whipped cream consistency you know and love. Makes about two cups. Add to your Irish hot chocolate and garnish with some shaved chocolate. Dab a little of the whipped cream on your nose for extra pizazz.

Recipes: Sarah Steimer

Photo: Sarah Steimer

*During the month of January, we’ll post six hot chocolate recipes as part of Loving Cup, all of which can be found here.

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