Rainbow Jello for a Rainbow Party

075

Little girls are growing up mighty quickly in our household. Somehow someway we managed to celebrate two birthdays within the passed few months. How quickly the months and years are passing! I’d be lying, however, if I said I don’t love to plan a party. And a party with a good old theme is what gets me especially giddy. For my little one we did a rainbow theme in the spring. Pinterest became my best friend because more than ANYONE Pinterest LOVES a rainbow theme party. (If you don’t believe me, check for yourself!)

Together my girls and I tackled this Rainbow Jello mold. If you plan to make this, choose a day when you will be home for several hours. While there isn’t significant hands on time required, there is substantial waiting time required between each step.  The final product looked so pretty on the table and the kids couldn’t wait to get their hands on it! And it tasted delicious!

Rainbow Jello Mold:

7  3 oz. packages of flavored gelatin

  • 1 purple
  • 1 blue
  • 1 green
  • 1 yellow
  • 1 orange
  •  2 red
  • 1 1/2 cups vanilla yogurt
  • 8 3/4 cup boiling water

First, empty your packages of gelatin powder into 6 separate containers.  The containers need to be able to hold at least 1 1/4 cups of hot liquid. You will need a bigger bowl for the red one as you will be using two boxes of that one.

Next, stir 1 1/4 cups boiling water into each flavor (2 1/2 cups for the red). Stir each until gelatin is completely dissolved. You will want to position your glasses in opposite order of the rainbow as we will start with purple and end on red.

Spray your bundt pan with cooking spray, this will help the Jello mold release easily once it is set. Once you have done that you can start adding colors.

Add 3/4 cup of your purple gelatin into the bundt pan and then place in the refrigerator for 15 minutes. Make sure you set a timer for each layer as knowing when to add the next layer is important.  You must chill each layer long enough to partially set, but not too long otherwise the next layer will not stick.

Take the remaining purple gelatin and add 1 1/2 Tablespoons of the yogurt and stir until completely dissolved.  Make sure there are no yogurt lumps.  Place this mixture into the refrigerator to chill until your first 15 minutes is up.

Once your timer goes off, take your bundt pan and yogurt mixture out of the refrigerator.  You will first want to test the gelatin in the pan to make sure it is set enough to take the next layer.  You will test this by lightly touching the jello with a finger tip and lifting up right away.

The jello should stick to your finger and leave a slight impression in the jello.  If you have that, then you are ready to add your next layer.

Now you want to add your yogurt mixture. With a spoon very gently and slowly add your yogurt mixture to the set jello layer. Make sure your spoon is low when you add the yogurt mixture.  This will ensure you don’t break through the bottom layer when you pour it in.

Continue until all of the yogurt mixture is added.  Place back into the refrigerator for another 15 minutes.

Complete this same process with the rest of the gelatin colors.  Red will be your last layer, which will be a double layer. Use 1 1/2 cups of the liquid jello for the clear layer and 1 cup mixed with 4 Tablespoons yogurt for the creamy layer.

The other jello colors can remain on the counter during this entire process.

I have never had any of the waiting jello start to set.  If this should happen though, simply fill a bowl with hot water and place your jello container inside of the water bowl and stir until the set jello loosens up and turns back into liquid.

Your cooling time will lessen with each layer added as the cooler the jello gets, the less time it takes to set.  Also, each layer gets thinner and thinner so will chill quicker.  So each layer might not take the entire 15 minutes.  When I get to the green layer I start checking around 10-12 minutes and adjust accordingly.

Once you have added all 12 layers, let the filled mold set overnight.

When you are ready to release the mold, simply fill your sink with warm (not hot) water. The water should cover the majority of the bundt pan, but should not come all the way to the top.  You do not want any water to get into the jello mold.

Let your mold sit in the warm water for about 10-15 seconds.  You will see the side of the jello get a little shiny and liquefy slightly.  That is a good sign that the jello has separated from the mold.

Once you see that, take your mold out of the water and dry off the pan.  Take the plate that you will be serving the jello on (should be flat and at least 2-3 inches wider than your mold) and sprinkle a couple drops of water around where the jello will be touching the plate.  This will allow the jello to adjust and spread a little once it is released. Now place the lightly moistened plate over the jello mold.  With a good grip on the mold and plate, flip the plate and mold over.  Slowly lift your mold and the jello should release easily.  If any water has accumulated on the plate around the jello, simply take a paper towel and wipe until clean and dry.

Recipe found here on Glitter and Goulash.

 

064067

Advertisements

Chocolate Heart Cake with Ganache

038

Happy Valentine’s Day, friends! It sure is a cold one here in the Northeast! All the better for snuggling, I suppose. 🙂

Today I bring you a heart-shaped chocolate cake topped with thick fudgy ganache and raspberries. Pinterest takes all the credit here. This cake is created by pouring batter into one 8 inch square pan  and one 8 inch round pan then baking and slicing the round cake in half. See below.

026

I used this oldie but goodie chocolate cake recipe which originates from Annie’s Eats. I then slathered on thick fudgy ganache (made using this recipe). Top with raspberries (little kid fingers are especially helpful here) and enjoy!

Wishing you lots of love and chocolate on this cold Valentine’s Day!

035

Gingerbread Cupcakes

044

Happy New Year! Hard to believe we are already THREE weeks in to 2016. I have no idea how that happened. It’s almost every day that I think, “Man, I wish I had a pause button.” The time seems to FLY by these days. Anyone else feel that way?

So rewinding…. I was charged with making a few desserts for Christmas Eve this year. Dinner is a sit down affair for 32 (that’s not a typo: THIRTY TWO) people. Baked stuffed lobster, linguini with anchovy sauce, fried scallops, and stuffed calamari are just  a few of the delicacies my mom prepares. Dessert is typically on the lighter side. Easy bites people can pick up and nibble on while sipping homemade lemoncello are best.

While cruising around Pinterest I found these adorable looking cupcakes. The mini Wilton sugar gingerbread men that Sally’s Baking Addiction  put on top of her cupcakes are adorable. I ran around to all of our local craft stores and could not find them. These cute little trees had to work–and they did! I love the winter wonderland-y effect they have when perched on top of the thick cream cheese frosting. These cupcakes were moist and satisfying and would be a tasty addition to any winter dinner.

041

Gingerbread Cupcakes:

  • 1/2 cup butter, room temp
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 and 1/3 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

 

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 8 oz cream cheese, room temp
  • 1/4 cup butter, room temp
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1-2 Tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cupcakes

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners.  In a large bowl using a  stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and brown sugar together on medium speed until creamy. Beat in the egg until combined, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Beat in the milk, molasses, and vanilla on. Mixture will look slightly curdled.

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice. With the mixer running on low, slowly pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Mix until just combined. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.

Fill cupcake liners 2/3 of the way full. Bake for 19-21 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

Frosting

In a medium bowl using a stand mixer beat the cream cheese and butter together on until smooth. Add the powdered sugar and 1 tablespoon of milk. Beat for 2 minutes. Add the vanilla and 1 more tablespoon of milk if needed to thin out. Beat for 1 minute.

Frost cooled cupcakes immediately before serving. Decorate with sprinkles of cinnamon and your choice of candy.

 

Recipe credit: Sally’s Baking Addiction

 

043

Apple Tart

Remember back in the day when I used to make tarts all of the time?

Well, I was asked to make an apple dessert for Thanksgiving and I wanted to step outside of the apple pie box. I contemplated making an apple tart for Rosh Hashanah and decided on apple cake instead, so for Thanksgiving I determined it was time for a tart!

This tart was well-received. My dad actually thought it was purchased from a bakery when he saw it on the dessert table. (That is always the best compliment, isn’t it?)

This recipe follows my standard tart formula: crust + filling + fruit + glaze. It is easy to make and yields a beautiful and delicious tart. Enjoy!

Apple Tart:

Filling

  • 3 Granny Smith apples
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup (50 – 100 grams) granulated white sugar, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, divided
  • Confectioners’ Sugar for browning the top of the tart.
  • 1 1/2 cups chunky apple sauce (you can definitely use home made if you prefer)

Crust

  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Glaze

  • 1/2 cup apricot preserves
  • 1 tablespoon Water

Make the Crust

Preheat oven to 350 F. In a large mixing bowl, combine all crust ingredients and stir with a fork until mixture is moist, like wet sand. Pour into a well-buttered 9- or 10-inch tart pan and press into an even layer, going up the sides of the tart. Bake for 12-14 minutes, until crust is just starting to brown at the edges. Cool completely.

Make the filling

Peel, core, and cut the apples into slices 1/4 inch thick. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet over medium heat and stir in the other 2 – 4 tablespoons sugar and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon. Add the apples and saute until they begin to soften, approximately 5 minutes. Set the cooked apples aside.

Assemble

Spoon the apple sauce into the cooled crust.

Arrange the cooked apple slices in concentric circles over the applesauce, and brush with 1 – 2 tablespoons melted butter. Sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar. Broil it under a preheated broiler about 4 inches from the heat until the edges of the apples are golden brown and crisp.

Make the Glaze

In a small saucepan, heat the apricot preserves until boiling. Remove from heat and strain to get rid of lumps. Add the water. Use this glaze to seal the baked tart shell and to brush the top of the finished tart.
Recipe inspired from this one found here on The Joy of Baking.

Pumpkin Cupcakes

 

 

Pumpkin cupcakes! Perfect for Halloween and Thanksgiving. Hope everyone is enjoying this wonderful season!

Pumpkin Cupcakes recipe found here: http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2008/11/pumpkin-cupcakes/

P.S. I hope One-Pie never changes their can label. I love the nostalgia it evokes and choose it over Libby’s every time because of it!

Banana Cake for My Little Monkey

First order of business is this: I’ve decided I am no longer waiting until I have a decent picture to post to the blog. I am going to snap a photo of whatever meal/dessert I have made and document it. Too many great recipes have gone undocumented and too many weeks have past between posts because the photos are blah. In an ideal world I would be able to spend more time learning the ins and outs of my camera as well as make/buy a light box and stage the meals perfectly. Until then I will commit to posting whatever I have.

Now back to regularly (hopefully more regularly!) scheduled programming. 😉

—————————————————————————-

Wow. Here we are again. Another year has passed since my daughter was born. Her second birthday was a couple of weeks ago.  I barely remember life without her, yet I feel like I just had her.  All of those cliches are cliches for a reason. Time flies.

She has shiny blond curls that I would have never predicted. She is particular about which shoes and clothes she wears and whether she would like a barrette or “two ponies” in her hair. Certain words/phrases make her laugh into a tizzy, like “coconut” and “sour feet.” (Don’t ask!) When she is overtired she giggles so hard she nearly chokes.  She loves playing with her baby dolls and she changes their diapers, puts lotion on their tushies, feeds them little bottles of milk and water then wraps them in blankets tenderly before tucking them into the tiny doll crib. She also loves playing with play dough (or “tay-doe” as she calls it, even though she can say the word “play” clear as day.)

She recently learned to put her own shoes on and she likes to ask, “Right foot mama?” Because sometimes she puts them on opposite feet. (And seems even more comfortable that way! ha!)

She loves books–especially Olivia, Take Me Out to the Ball Game, Boo Boo, Tikki Tikki Tembo, The Cat in the Hat, The Tooth Book, and Max and Ruby. She has most of them memorized! My heart becomes a puddle on the floor when I peek into her room and see her flipping through books and “reading” them out loud.

More than anything she loves playing with her cousins and friends. The pure joy in her deep brown expressive eyes, full lips, pudgy cheeks and teeny teeth explodes my heart on demand. She bursts with little girl excitement when they are together. Watching them play (splashing in the kiddie pool, holding their hands at the playground, jumping on the bed  in fits of giggles and screeches) is like a drug for me. She brings infinite amounts of joy into my life and I love her more than I ever knew possible.

Her actual birthday was on a weeknight so I planned to make this banana cake. But then I realized I was out of butter so long story short we had this cake the night after her birthday. It is moist and delicious when paired with rich chocolate frosting. It is an Art Smith recipe. I rediscovered his book Back to the Table and I have found so many fabulous recipes in it.

(Her birthday party cake was adorable turned catastrophe after a bumpy car ride. More on that in another post.)

She loved the cake! Success! Happy Birthday Sweetheart!

Banana Chocolate Chip Cake:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 cups mashed, well-ripened bananas
  • 2 1/2 cups self-rising flour
  • 2 cups mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • One recipe of your favorite chocolate frosting

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Butter and flour two 9-inch round pans.

Beat the sugar and butter together in a large bowl. Beat in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Reduce to low speed and beat in the bananas. Gradually beat in the dry ingredients, beating until just combined. Mix in the chocolate chips using a wooden spoon. Spread evenly into pans.

Bake until a wooden tooth pick inserted into the center comes out clean. (Check at 25 minutes.)

Cool in pans for 15 minutes then remove from pans and cool on wire racks completely. Frost with chocolate frosting.

Recipe adapted from recipe found in Back to the Table by Art Smith.

Apple Cake with Caramel Sauce

It’s that time of year! (And believe it or not, I’m not referring to pumpkins. Not yet, at least!) I have APPLES on the brain!  Boy am I loving these crisp cool mornings. I’ve officially made the switch to hot coffee, which is a big step given the iced coffee addict that I am.

I always welcome the transition to fall with open arms. The season seems  briefer and briefer each year, which is all the more reason so savor it. The pressure of filling the long days of summer is behind us and we can retreat to the house for warm dinners, red wine, and pumpkin beer. And the season is all the sweeter now that I have a little pumpkin’s birthday to celebrate each fall!

I attended a Rosh Hashanah dinner party this weekend and I was asked to make a dessert containing apples. It’s my understanding that apples (and honey) signify the sweetness of the New Year. (If anyone would like to elaborate on this in the comments, please do.)

I always enjoy being tasked with a specific request! I contemplated an apple tart but ultimately decided on this apple cake because it gave me a reason to purchase a Bundt pan. I can’t believe I didn’t already own one! It’s green, of course!

This cake turned out great! While it worked well as a dessert, it would also be appropriate to serve with tea and coffee as a coffee cake. I decided to take a short cut using the caramel candies instead of making caramel sauce from scratch because it was so. much. easier. While making the sauce from sugar might have been fun, it would have required me to find my candy thermometer and would have taken much longer. This “fake” method tasted fantastic and I am not sure it would be worth my time to make it from scratch. (Feel free to convince me otherwise!)

I poured the sauce into a squeeze bottle and drizzled it over the cake until it dribbled down each corner and crevice. Mmmmm. Apples + Caramel– a duo that is in the rankings of Peanut butter + Chocolate, Tuna Salad + Potato Chips, and Crusty Bread + Cheese in my book.

Apple Cake with Caramel Sauce:

  • non-stick cooking spray
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon ground
  • cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups light brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/3 cups vegetable oil
  • 4 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    Caramel Sauce (recipe follows)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 12-cup Bundt pan with cooking spray; set
aside.
Sift together flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine vegetable oil, sugar, vanilla and eggs; mix on high speed until combined.

With mixer on medium speed, gradually add dry ingredients until just incorporated.

Using a wooden spoon fold apples into batter and mix to combine.

Pour batter into prepared pan, and bake until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out with
a few moist crumbs attached, about 60-65 minutes. Note: Ovens vary drastically so this cake could take as long as 70 minutes. Begin checking it at 55 minutes. My oven is hot and this cake took about 60 minutes.

Remove from oven, and cool on a wire rack. Invert cake onto rack; turn cake right-side up to cool completely on rack, and drizzle with caramel sauce.

Easy Caramel Sauce:

  • 1 bag of caramel candies
  • 1/2 cup of cream or milk

Place unwrapped caramel square candies into a microwave safe bowl. Add cream or milk. Microwave on high for one minute at a time stirring after each minute until melted.

Recipe adapted from Butter + Cream blog, originally from Martha Stewart.com.