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Pineapple Cream Puffs

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As I previously mentioned, years ago my aunt made a Pineapple Cream Puff which I fondly remember. Since I can't replicate her recipe, I did my best to adapt the Strawberry Cream Puffs. While not the same ones I remember, these were very good.


Here is what you'll need:
  • 1/2 cup pineapple puree (about 1 cup of fresh pineapple)
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 Tbsp confectioners' sugar
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 1/3 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 sheets of puff pastry
  • 1 egg yolk, beaten
  • confectioners' sugar (for sprinkling)
  • pineapple, diced for garnish
Take puff pastry out of freezer and let sit 20 minutes while you make the filling. Preheat oven to 430F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

To make the puree, place 1 cup of pineapple in a blender or food processor and pulse until pureed to an almost smooth consistency. Set aside.

To make pineapple cream, in the bowl of a stand mixer, beat heavy cream on high until foamy Add 2 Tbsp confectioners' sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Transfer to a mixing bowl and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat cream cheese until smooth. Add 1/3 cup confectioner's sugar and vanilla, and beat until smooth. Be sure to scrape down the sides to make sure ingredients are well combined. Add pineapple puree to cream cheese mixture and mix on low until combined. Remove bowl from stand mixer.

Gently fold whipped cream into pineapple cream until combined. Transfer cream to pastry bag with large tip, or alternately use a zip lock bag with corned cut off. Refrigerate until ready to use.

To make pastry, unfold a sheet of puff pastry on wax paper. Cut each sheet into 9 pieces for regular sized cream puffs, or 25 pieces for mini cream puffs.

Transfer cut pastry to parchment lined baking sheet. Brush pastry with egg yolk.

Bake for 11-13 minutes, or until pastry has risen, browned and looks dry. Remove from oven and completely cool on wire racks.

Cut each pastry in half. Pipe ~1/4 cup of cream onto each pastry bottom. Place other half of pastry on top of cream. Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar. Pipe a small dollop of cream on top. Garnish with diced pineapple. Serve immediately.

For mini cream puffs, I baked the puff pastry for 8 minutes. After the puff pastry cooled, I cut a hole in the top of the puff pastry, sprinkled with confectioner's sugar, filled the hole with cream and sprinkled a few pieces of diced pineapple on top of the cream.

Makes 18 cream puffs (shown here) or 50 mini cream puffs (not shown).

Source: Adapted from Glorious Treats

Strawberry Cream Puffs

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Continuing on with bite-sized treats theme, Strawberry Cream Puffs came to be on the party menu when I was remembering a cream puff from my childhood. My aunt would make Stella D'oro Anginetti cookies stuffed with a pineapple cream. These showed up at most, if not all, family events and I remember licking every last sugar crumb off my fingers. I knew sister-in-law would love these!


To my disappointment, Stella D'oro discontinued Anginetti cookies. I hear they may be making a come back soon, I certainly hope so! I was determined to make something similar when I found this Strawberry Cream Puffs recipe on Glorious Treats.


The great thing about this recipe is that I was able to make the cream in steps ahead of time, and just bake off the pastry to fill right before leaving for the party. You don't want bake and fill in advance since the pastry doesn't hold up very long (a couple hours at most).

Here is what you'll need:
  • 1/2 cup strawberry puree (about 1 cup of strawberries)
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 Tbsp confectioners' sugar
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 1/3 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 sheets of puff pastry
  • 1 egg yolk, beaten
  • confectioners' sugar (for sprinkling)
  • strawberries, sliced for garnish
Take puff pastry out of freezer and let sit 20 minutes while you make the filling. Preheat oven to 430F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

To make the puree, place 1 cup of strawberries in a blender or food processor and pulse until pureed to an almost smooth consistency. Set aside.

To make strawberry cream, in the bowl of a stand mixer, beat heavy cream on high until foamy Add 2 Tbsp confectioners' sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Transfer to a mixing bowl and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat cream cheese until smooth. Add 1/3 cup confectioner's sugar and vanilla, and beat until smooth. Be sure to scrape down the sides to make sure ingredients are well combined. Add strawberry puree to cream cheese mixture and mix on low until combined. Remove bowl from stand mixer.

Gently fold whipped cream into strawberry cream until combined. Transfer cream to pastry bag with large tip, or alternately use a zip lock bag with corned cut off. Refrigerate until ready to use.

To make pastry, unfold a sheet of puff pastry on wax paper. Cut each sheet into 9 pieces for regular sized cream puffs, or 25 pieces for mini cream puffs.

Transfer cut pastry to parchment lined baking sheet. Brush pastry with egg yolk.

Bake for 11-13 minutes, or until pastry has risen, browned and looks dry. Remove from oven and completely cool on wire racks.

Cut each pastry in half. Pipe ~1/4 cup of cream onto each pastry bottom. Place other half of pastry on top of cream. Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar. Pipe a small dollop of cream on top. Garnish with strawberry slice. Serve immediately.

For mini cream puffs, I baked the puff pastry for 8 minutes. After the puff pastry cooled, I cut a hole in the top of the puff pastry, sprinkled with confectioner's sugar, filled the hole with cream and sprinkled a few pieces of diced strawberries on top of the cream.

Makes 18 cream puffs (shown here) or 50 mini cream puffs (not shown).

Source: Adapted from Glorious Treats

Cherry Brownie Cups

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Cherry Brownie Cups are another dessert I made for my sister-in-law's 50th birthday party, along with the Blood Orange Mini Cupcakes I already posted (and a few recipes still to come). I had taken these to her house before so I knew they would go over well with this crowd.

If you are entertaining a crowd anytime soon, make these. It's hard to resist a chewy brownie, filled with chocolate fudge cream and topped with a cherry!  Plus these are easy to make and super cute.


Even if you aren't entertaining soon, you could easily make a batch just because you need them in your life, and of course you could surprise with your neighbors or coworkers with 1/2 the batch!

For the Brownies:
  • 3/4 cup butter, cubed
  • 2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
Preheat oven to 350F. Line mini cupcake pan with cupcake liners.

In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, melt butter and chocolate. Remove from heat and stir in granulated sugar until dissolved. Transfer mixture to a large bowl.

Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in vanilla and mix well.

Gradually add flour and stir until well combined.

Drop 1 Tbsp of batter into cupcake liner. Bake for 20-22 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes. Using the handle of a wooden spoon, make an indentation in the top of each brownie. Remove brownies from pan and cool completely on wire racks.

For the Fudge Cream:
  • 3 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup corn syrup
  • 1 1/2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped, melted and cooled
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1 jar (10 oz. maraschino cherries with stems, drained
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat cream cheese and vanilla until smooth. Add corn syrup and melted chocolate (it's important that the chocolate is cooled), and mix until well combined. Add sugar and beat until smooth.

Transfer cream into a pastry bag with round tip, or alternately use a zip lock back with corner snipped off. Fill the brownie center with 1 tsp of cream. Top with cherry. Store in the refrigerator.

Makes 5 dozen.

Source: Taste of Home Holiday, November 2010 

Blood Orange Mini Cupcakes

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My dear sister-in-law recently turned 50. She's been planning a big party for about a year now and asked me to make the desserts. She left the dessert menu up to me, which ended up working perfectly since I decided on these cupcakes the morning of the party.


About a week before, I picked up a bag of blood oranges. I asked my cooking message board what I should use them for, but I never used any of their suggestions (sorry!). My last minute thought was to turn the blood oranges into a pretty pink cupcake to go with this Spring themed party. While the cupcakes didn't come out pink, the frosting filled that void.

These cupcakes were the perfect bite size treat, and incredibly moist with a hint of orange flavor. The candied oranges make these perfect, and like Annie, I would recommend you don't skip this step.

These would be great for a bridal or baby shower, Spring, Easter or tea party.

Stay tuned for more bite-size treats.

For the cupcakes:
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbsp blood orange zest
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1½ cups milk (I used 2%)
  • ½ cup freshly squeezed blood orange juice
  • 2 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
Preheat oven to 350F. Line mini cupcake pan with paper liners.

Place sugar and orange zest in a food processor and process until zest is finely chopped and combined with the sugar.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine sugar and butter and cream on medium-high speed until well combined, about 2-3 minutes. Add eggs one at a time and mix well.

In a medium bowl, combine milk, orange jusice and vanilla. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

Add 1/3 of flour mixture to butter mixture and beat on low until just combined. Add 1/2 liquid mixture to batter and beat on low until just combine. Repeat with additions of flour, liquid and ending with flour mixtures. Turn off mixer and scrape down sides of bowl. Mix batter on medium for about 30 seconds to make sure ingredients are well combined.

Fill each cupcake liner with 1 Tbsp of batter. Bake 10-12 minutes. Test by gently touching the cupcake tops, if they spring back the cupcakes are done. Be careful not to overbake.

Remove from oven and place cupcakes on cooling rack.

For the candied oranges:
  • 1½ cups granulated sugar
  • 1½ cups water
  • About 11 thin blood orange slices
In a large saucepan, combine sugar and water and place over medium-high heat. Once sugar is dissolved, place orange slices in the pan in a single layer with none overlapping. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for about 20 minutes. Turn orange slices once to allow both sides to become candied.

Remove orange slices from the pan and transfer to a container with a little liquid. Allow to cool before using.

Repeat process with remaining orange slices. You may use the same liquid for each batch, however, if the liquid starts to thicken or solidify you may need to start a new batch.

Once cooled, cut orange slices into 8 pieces.

For the glaze:
  • 4-5 Tbsp freshly squeezed blood orange juice
  • ~1/1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
Once cupcakes are completely cooled, turn cupcake upside down and dip top of cupcake into glaze just far enough so the glaze covers the entire top of the cupcake but doesn't touch the cupcake paper. Lift cupcake, allow excess glaze to drip off, then turn cupcake right side up and place on cooling rack. Repeat with remaining cupcakes.

Place 1 piece of candied orange on each cupcake.

Allow glaze to set (the shine will go away and it will look dry) before serving.

Makes 7 dozen mini cupcakes.

Source: Cupcakes and Candied Oranges are adapted from Annies Eats

Creamy Tomato Basil Soup

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It's been cold, and snowy. I spent all day Saturday in the kitchen. Come Sunday night, I wanted a quick, comforting, warm meal. I really wanted tomato soup and grilled cheese. JR doesn't like tomato soup, or so he thought until he tried this one. He's now edited his statement to "I don't like the tomato soup in the can." 

We both agreed this hit the spot for Sunday dinner and warmed us through. I used tomatoes I canned and basil I frozen, both from our garden, which quickly brought us both back to Summer and longing for Spring. I can't wait to have more for lunch today.

 

Here is what you'll need:
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 stalks of celery with leaves
  • 1 medium onion
  • seasoned salt
  • black pepper
  • 1 quart whole canned tomatoes
  • 2 beef bullion cubes
  • 1 cup water  
  • 1 Tbsp fresh or frozen basil
  • 3/4 to 1 cup heavy cream or half and half
In a medium pot, add olive oil and heat on medium-high. Add celery and onion and cook until soft, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper.

Add tomatoes, bullion and water, and simmer on medium for 10 minutes. Add basil and stir until combined.

Using an immersion blender, blend soup until smooth, or to your preferred consistency. Alternately, you could transfer the soup to a blender and blend in batches, making sure the blender is never more than 1/2 full of ingredients.

Add cream to soup and simmer over low heat 10 minutes. Do not allow to boil.

Makes 8 cups.

Source: Adventures in my Kitchen