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Whole Wheat Belgian Waffles

HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY!!!

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First and foremost HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY, and thanks to my sister and our troops! I know its easy to get lost in the haze of society today, so I would like to take this time to recenter, and show my appreciation to our troops! As of 2016, there have been 2,386 U.S. military deaths in the War in Afghanistan. 20,049 American servicemembers have also been wounded in action during the war. To show my appreciation, I rode 15 miles for our troops in spin class, and am dedicating this blog post to them!!! I feel so blessed, and thankful for everything they do!! I love you li li!! All Americans love waffles. I thought for everyones Memorial Day brunch/ BBQ these would be a great addition!!!

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Would you like some bling on it?

…..and in the morning I’m making waffles!!!!! haha

 THE BELGIAN WAFFLE HISTORY

The Waffle came to the states in 1962 World’s Fair in Seattle. But it was at the 1964-65 World’s Fair hosted in Queens, N.Y that Belgian native Maurice Vermersch, and his family made the waffle popular to Americans!! Originally known as the Brussels waffle, named for the capital city from which it comes, the crisp-on-the-outside, airy-on-the-inside…It was know as the Brussels waffle at first but Americans could not correctly identify Brussels as the capital of Belgium. Americans have made the traditional waffle with bling (powder sugar), and strawberries into so many other variations!!!!

Savory vs Sweet, you decide….

 

Of course those renditions are DELICIOUS.. but you already know I always like to sneak a happy median of healthy, and yummy in one. Its not cheating, if your not feeling a void from having both ahah!!

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I wanted my waffle recipe to still have the same delicious qualities we expect in a waffle, but with better health benefits!!! They still will be crunchy on the outside and soft in the side I promise!!! These are great to sneak a healthier option to kids as well! My niece Caramia loves waffles!! I used whole wheat flour (if you would like to make these gluten free you may, with almond flour, or gluten free flour), almond milk, and honey instead of sugar!!! The egg white and baking soda are actually the secret to how they are crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside but shhhhhh…. hah. Healthier toping options are: fresh fruit, almond butter with bananas, agave or honey instead of syrup. You can use sugar free syrup, but honestly there is so much junk in  those kinds of products…the best is 100% organic maple syrup straight from the tree hah..

Whole Wheat Waffles

Yield: 3 Whole Wheat Waffles

Ingredients:

1 1/2 Cups Whole Wheat Flour
1/2 Cup Cornstarch
1 Tsp Baking powder
1/2 Tsp Baking Soda
1/2 Tsp Salt
1/4 Cup Old-fashion Oats
1 Tbs Flaxseeds 
2 Cups Almond milk
6 Tbs Vegetable Oil
1/2 Tsp Vanilla Extract 
2 Eggs (SEPARATED) 
3 Tbs Honey

Directions:
1. Turn the iron on to medium high heat. 
2. Mix all dry ingredients together, and make a well in the center of the bowl: Flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, oats, flaxseeds,  and cornstarch.
3. Separate the egg white and yolks. Set aside whites in a bowl. 
4. Mix all liquid ingredients together in a separate bowl: Yolks,     almond milk, vanilla, oil, and honey.
5. Pour the liquid in the center of the well, and mix with a whisk    until incorporated.
6. Beat egg whites to medium-stiff peak, and fold into the waffle     batter.
7. Grease waffle iron. Pour the batter in the waffle maker, and bake for 1-2 minutes till golden brown...the light also indicates when its done!
8. Enjoy with your topping of choice, and with a smile on your face, and in your belly :)!


Vanilla Cake / Unicorn Cake

THIS IS HAPPENING!!

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For my friend Cashs birthday, we thought to do a unicorn themed birthday cake. I know unicorns have become a fad really; but honestly, I love horses, and the fact that unicorns are mystical creatures. It has beauty in a sense from the creature that is it, and the fact that it is a rare being. That is why I like when people compare us to unicorns!!! It is apparently rare to be an independent classy broad, with religious morals, and to not drink or do drugs in this day and age….so heres a shout out to all my UNICORNS!! This is my form of a mystical creature, but honestly we don’t have to fit into that category or mold, everyone is special and unique in their own way!!! AND I AM NOT JUST SAYING THAT, I TRULY BELIEVE THAT!

Just chant to yourself….. 

In my experience as a pastry chef, the hardest recipe to master was the vanilla cake. I’M NOT JOKING!! It is so hard to find a delicious moist simple vanilla cake. A lot of household bakers resort to box cakes; which are GREAT options, anything home baked is better then bought in my book. I understand the convenience of them, especially if you want to spend more time on the decorating part. Plus they have good flavor, texture, and they are affordable. Lets be honest cooking/baking is a lot of work and money. For me, I love making everything from scratch, and giving them as favors, and gifts! I’m a simple girl, who appreciates the simple things in life. Yes a vanilla cake can be simple, but I want it in its best form! Vanilla is always a good base to pair, and add additional complimenting flavors to as well. Cash is from Jamaica, so I feel it is only right to soak the cake with rum, and she likes it haha…

Vanilla Cake

Yield: 2- 8 inch rounds
BAKE TEMPERATURE: 350° F 30-45 minutes

CAKE INGREDIENTS:
3 Cups Vegetable Oil
6 Cups Sugar
12 Eggs
1 Tbs Vanilla Extract
6 Cups All-Purpose Flour
3 Tbs Baking Powder
1 Tsp Salt

VANILLA BUTTERCREAM RECIPE:
4 Cups Vegetable Shortening
2 Tbs Water
2 Tbs Egg White Meringue Powder
1 Tbs Vanilla Extract
12-16 Cups Powder Sugar
4-6 Tbs Milk

Utensils:
-Wooden dowel stick
-2 toothpicks 
-2 box of Wilton white fondant
-Gold luster dust
-Paint brush
-Edible marker pen
-Food coloring (your favorite rainbow shades)
-Star tip
-Piping bag
-8 inch cake board
-Offset spatula 

*** Fondant, food colorings, luster dust, cake board, piping bags,   edible marker, dowels, star tips, and paint brushes can all be        purchases at Michaels arts and crafts store. (Dowel and paint brush might be cheaper at Home Depot!)

Cake Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F, and grease two 8 inch round cake pans.
  2. Mix the oil, and sugar together.
  3. Add the eggs one at the time, and whisk together with vanilla.
  4. Add the dry ingredients, and whisk until smooth (flour, baking powder, and salt).
  5. Fill the cake pans 3/4 of the way, and bake at 350 °F for 30- 45 min. Test with a tooth pic after 25 minutes.
  6. Let the cakes cool down for 1 hour before removing them from the pan.

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Icing Directions:

  1. Cream the shortening, water, and vanilla extract together.
  2. Scrape your bowl down and add meringue powder. Cream well.
  3. Add 12 cups of powder sugar, and 3 Tbs of milk.
  4. The consistency should be a stiff paste like buttercream.
  5. The consistency can fluctuate to your preference with the extra sugar, and milk.
  6. After the cake is frosted, reserve the excess frosting for the rosettes, and dividing them into different colors.

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Decorating Directions:

 

NO MATTER YOUNG OR OLD THIS IS THE PERFECT CAKE TO BRING TO ANY EVENT! It will bring smiles, which is always the goal in my book! Like I said I always try to put thought, and love in my gifts, so what better way then to make a cake 🙂 Making gifts from scratch take time, and money too, and it’ll put a smile on their face, in their stomach, and in their heart !! If you have any questions or inquiries please let me know! Happy birthday Cash! <3333

Italian Lemon Cookies

Happy Mothers Day

SHOUT OUT TO ALL MOMMAS!!

First and foremost Happy Mothers Day to all mommas, especially MINE! I love you very much, and appreciate all the loving things you have done for me, all the loving words you have said to me, all the loving devotion you put in me, and all the loving faith and support you have for me! I know its not only my momma, I’m sure we all feel this way, and I would like to take this well deserved time to acknowledge, and appreciate all the sacrifices they do for us!!

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My Momma ❤
Everyone has that specific dish, and/or specific dessert your momma makes that is soooo good, and they bring it to every dinner/event they attend! For my momma it is either her tiramisu, or her LEMON COOKIES!  I promise to post her tiramisu one day as well, so just keep up with me on my blog! These lemon cookies were actually from my Nonna- Lina. I watched her, and made these with her practically my whole childhood. Once again, she never really measures or writes recipes that are fully accurate. Italians will understand hah..but nonetheless this is the recipe we bake today! If your Italian, then you know exactly what cookie I am talking about. They are on every dinner table with coffee after every meal!! Or they are being shipped to every person in the whole family for Christmas, with an assortment of different Italian Cookies. These are the family favorite though.

Not only are they good as the after dinner coffee/tea cookie, they are great to bring as a gift, or to a dinner party. My momma has fun, and tries to be cute and festive with them. If there is a holiday, or theme dinner party, she will color the icing with the appropriate color scheme. For example before my baby cousin Gianna was born, we had a pumpkin gender reveal party. It was a girl!!

ITALIAN LEMON COOKIES

YIELD:20-25 Cookies 
BAKE TEMP: 350°F 10-12 Minutes
INGREDIENTS:
Cookie Dough:
1/2 Cup Sugar
1/4 Cup Crisco Shortening
3 Eggs
2 Tsp Lemon Extract
1 Lemon Zest
1 Tsp Lemon Juice
2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
1 1/2 Tsp Baking Powder
1/4 Tsp Salt

Icing:
3 Cups Powder Sugar
1 Lemon Juiced and Zested
1 1/2 Tsp Lemon Extract
1-2 Tsp Milk

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Cream shortening, sugar, and zest together.

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Scrape sides of the bowl, and add/mix in the eggs, lemon juice, and extract.

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Add the flour, salt, and baking powder.

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DO NOT OVER MIX! Just mix until incorporated.

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Grab a pinch of dough at a time and roll into logs, and then tie into a KNOT. ** Putting a touch of oil on the board, and your hands prevents the dough from sticking.

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These cookies do not spread very much, so pack them in!!

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Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit 10- 12 minutes! You want them soft, DO NOT OVER BAKE!

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ICING: Mix all ingredients to an Elmers glue consistency. You want it pasty, but not liquidy.

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After the cookies have cooled down for 30 minutes. Dunk the tops in the lemon icing.

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After going through all the cookies, repeat the process a second time for a thicker coating.

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After all the cookies are glazed place in the cooler for 20 minutes so the coating can get hard, and you can store them!!!

Once again HAPPY MOTHERS DAY (DOG MOMS TOO!!), and happy Sunday!! See you next week! Let me know what you think!!! Thank you, and come bake with me!! They need a Happy Dog Parents Day or Happy AUNTS/UNCLES DAY haha.

CHEWY Nutella & Peanut Butter Cookies

Give the gift of…..

NUTELLAAA-ELLLAA -ELLAAA- ELLAAAA

For starters growing up, Nutella was basically a main food group in my household. Nutella became popular in the states more so around 10 years ago. Unless you had European parents who gave you this as a child, and introduced it to all your friends(ME), you didn’t know about it. Nutella was created in 1964, by a pastry chef who lived in Piedmont Italy. It was first created as a chocolate cream for patisseries to use. The inventor,  Pietro Ferrero had a son who perfected it into a chocolate spread that we eat today! My mom used to give it to us with BREAD, croissants, crepes, crackers, fruit, or the best way in my opinion…..ON THE SPOON! I have so many childhood memories with Nutella, and the tradition Has moved down with my niece.

You can use Nutella to bake with. In my opinion honey, and peanut butter are a match made in heaven with this spread!!! Considering mothers day is next week, I am giving the gift of Nutella! My mom personally loves peanut butter & nutella, so I decided to make a cookie for her!! These cookies are so rich, chewy, and moist.  They are perfect with a glass of milk, tea(my favorite), or in this case her favorite which is COFFEE! I tend to show my love through baking as a gift. Material objects are over rated! Of course I need my professional tester…… CARAMIA!

         Nutella & Peanut Butter Cookies

Yield:15-20 cookies
BAKE:350°F
INGREDIENTS:
2 Eggs
1/2 Cup NUTELLA
2 Tsp Baking Soda
1/8 Tsp Baking Powder
1/2 Cup Honey
1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
2 3/4 Cup All Purpose Flour
1 Tsp Salt
1/2 Cup Sugar
2 Sticks of Butter 
2/3 Cup Creamy Peanut Butter

Directions:
1. Cream together the butter and sugar.
2. Add, and mix the peanut butter.
3. Add the eggs, vanilla, and honey.
4. Add the dry ingredients and mix: flour, salt, baking powder, 
and baking soda. 
5. Swirl in nutella with a fork.
6. Place the cookie batter in the fridge for 15 minutes before 
scooping to become more firm. 
7. Scoop golf ball size scoops “2” inches apart.*** 
8. Bake at 350°F for 8-12 minutes.
9. Let rest for 20 minutes, and ENJOY!!!!

**I like big CHEWY cookies. These will spread and baking to a thin   chewy cookie that are softball size. If you want to get a higher     quantity, and like smaller cookies, you can make them a smaller scoop size just watch the baking time. It might take 2-3 minutes shorter  in time since they are smaller. 
*** remember to bake just till the edges are golden brown, and a     little on the top if you want them this chewy!! They carry over and cookie 3-5 minutes after taking them out od the oven as well!!

PLEASE EMAIL ME IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS!!!!


Coconut Samoa Cake

 

This week I was craving coconut! Summer is here soon, and I am back home in south Florida….so why not? I was craving coconut, with a hint of chocolate. I did not want a full on German chocolate cake. So I thought to myself what If I inverted it? Then I remembered the best Girl Scout cookies growing up!! The chocolate coconut Samoas cookies, from the girl scouts!! I transformed the Samoas into my version of a Samoa bundt cake.

             Why does it have a hole in it?

Bundt cakes do not conform to any single recipe really, they are just considered that from their shape. The name derived from Europe. It came from a brioche/cake hybrid baked in a ring shape called Gugelhupf. It was used mostly for religious holidays amongst the Jewish community.


CoconutMilkDiptychPeople tend to skew from healthy hacks and habits because of price, and convenience. For this cake there is coconut milk in it. You can use the canned coconut milk if you would like, and just skip ahead to the recipe!!!! If you are a health nut; and love and appreciate organic tricks, please make it from scratch!! I always make extra to reserve for my shake in the mornings! Buy 1 bag of UNSWEETENED COCONUT FLAKES. Coconuts are a delicious and nutritious source of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. They have tons of calcium, potassium, and magnesium, as well as plenty of electrolytes. So the fresher the better!

                                   Coconut Milk:

  • 4 Cups warm water, 2 cups unsweetened Coconut Flakes
  • Blend and strain

                     Coconut Cake & Topping!!

Usually coconut cake tends to be a little dry and dense because, the coconut flakes absorb a lot of moisture, but NOT this one! It is very rich, moist, light, and is great with a cup of milk, coffee, or my favorite tea! This recipe is so simple to make, it didn’t even need a video tutorial! I thought I should switch things up a bit as well! You may use just a whisk and bowl for this recipe, or a mixer of your choice.

  Recipe    
 Yield: 1 bundt 
                     
 Cake Ingredients:
 2 Cups Sugar
 2 Cups All-Purpose Flour 
 1 Cup Vegetable Oil                   
 1 1/2 Cup Coconut Milk  
 2 Tbs Baking Powder
 1/2 Cup Unsweetened Coconut Flakes
 1 Tsp Salt
 2 Tsp Vanilla Extract
 4 Eggs

 Topping Ingredients:
 1 Tbs Butter
 1 Tbs Coconut Oil
 3/4 Cup Sugar
 2 Tbs Cocoa Powder
 1 Cup Coconut Flakes
 1/4 Cup White Chocolate Chips
 1/4 Cup Pecans
 1 Tbs Honey or Corn syrup
 1 Tsp Cornstarch

Cake Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Grease a Bundt pan, and put aside.
  3. Whisk the coconut milk, oil, and sugar until its incorporated.
  4. Add the eggs one at a time, and vanilla extract until incorporated.
  5. Add the rest of the dry ingredients, and whisk together until incorporated (Flour, salt, coconut flakes, and baking powder).
  6. Pour batter in the greased pan, and bake for 30-45 minutes. Place the cake on the middle rack! (Set a timer at 25 minutes, and check every 5 minutes after. It took my oven 35 minutes which is the average time). Check with a tooth pick, if it comes out dry its done! 
  7. Let the cake rest for 20 minutes before trying to remove from the cake pan (go around the edges with the back end of the knife to make sure the cake doesn’t rip, and stick to the pan!)

Topping Directions:

  1. Melt the coconut oil, butter, honey, sugar, cocoa powder in a sauté pan.
  2. Add the pecans, coconut flakes, and white chocolate chips until incorporated.
  3. Drizzle the cornstarch, and mix together until thick!
  4. Place the filling in the fridge for 20 minutes, until cooled down.
  5. Place the Coconut topping around the bundt cake like a ring on the top.
  6. ENJOY!!!!!!!!! EMAIL ME IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS OR ALTERATIONS YOU WOULD LIKE TO TRY!! IM HERE TO HELP!

Blueberry Cheesecake

Spring is in the Air!

A cheesecake is a perfect favor to bring to any event, or give as a gift! A cheesecake is a custard based dessert with a second layer. Usually the second layer is a crust or a crunchy layer of some sort.

Today is my Zia Ornellas birthday! One of her favorite desserts is a cheesecake. Traditionally I make cheesecake with cream cheese, and sour cream. Today I made it with ricotta and cream cheese because, there is always a reason to add a splash of Italian in a dessert, and my aunt likes it. As the crust, I used gluten free pretzels. Yes this dessert is GLUTEN FREE! The combination of salty pretzels, creamy cheesecake, and the citrus blueberry topping, will be heaven in your mouth! If there is only one thing people take from my blog, I hope its the versatility, and unimaginative things you can do with one single recipe.


     Other Renditions 

You can still use this recipe, and replace the ricotta with sour cream. If, you want a traditional graham cracker crust instead of glutenfree pretzels, that is fine as well. Finally, if you would like a different berry for the topping, like strawberries, be bold and do it! All you have to do is just swap out the ingredients, all the steps remain the same. BE CREATIVE!! LET ME JUST BE A GUIDELINE!


Since it is Spring time; and it is coming closer to summer, blueberries were the perfect choice for the topping! They come in season this time of year. If you look close to home; sometimes, there are farms you can pick them from scratch, and make a day out of it! Farm to table is always and interest for me!

Blueberry Cheesecake

Yield: 1 – ’10’ cheesecake pan
Ingredients:
Cheesecake base:
2 1/4 Lbs Philadelphia Cream Cheese
1 1/2 Cup Ricotta
2 Cup Sugar
1 Tsp Salt
1 Tbs Vanilla Extract
1 Tbs Cornstarch
5 eggs

Pretzel Crust:
2 1/2 Cup Pretzels (gluten free) 
1/4 Cup Sugar
3/4 Cup Melted Butter

Blueberry Compote:
2 Pints Blueberries
1 Cup Sugar
2 Lemon zest
1 Lemon Juice
1/3 Cup Cornstarch


Cheesecake & Crust Directions:
  1. In a bowl blend all ingredients together until smooth and creamy : cream cheese, ricotta, vanilla, eggs, sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Set Aside.
  2. Melt butter.
  3. Blend pretzels into a crumb.
  4. Mix melted butter, and ground pretzels into a crust crumble.
  5. Press into the bottom of the cheesecake pan and bake at 350° F for 10 minutes.
  6. Lower the oven to 250°F.
  7. Pour the cheesecake batter in the pan on top of the toasted crust.
  8. Make a bain marie with the cheesecake pan(fill an extra pan which is larger then the cheesecake pan half way up with water).
  9. Bake 1 hr 30 minutes – 1 hr 45 minutes. Just until the top springs back, and does not jiggle.
  10. Place in the cooler for 1 hr.
Blueberry Compote Directions:
  1. Bring to a boil the sugar, zest, juice, and blueberries.
  2. As soon as it boils and the sugar dissolves, turn off the heat.
  3. Make a slurry with the cornstarch, and blueberry liquid. Whisk together.
  4. Add the cornstarch mixture back to the pot. Bring it to a boil, until it becomes a thick compote.
  5. Let compote cool in the cooler for 1 hr.
  6. Un-mold cheesecake, and pour compote on top!
  7. Enjoy a thick slice!

 

I hope you guys like this cheesecake as much as Rachael & Chandler from friends like theirs!! I love this episode!

 

Happy Easter

                      Happy Easter!!

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Our families Easter tradition has always been to get together at my Zia Ornellas house. This year, since everyone is getting older, and having families of their own, I thought it would be a nice time, and change to do it at my place. I organized an Easter egg scavenger hunt for my niece and nephew, and hid their goody baskets for them to find.

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Most people do not know the story behind the Easter Bunny, eggs, and why we relate it to Easter. The rabbit is dedicated to the goddess of fertility, who is often categorized with a bunny. The term “to go at it like rabbits” suggests, the animals are often associated with fertility. The eggs are used as a symbol of rebirth, since Christ was reborn!

Three crosses on a hill
Three crosses on a hill

This week I choose my Carrot Cake recipe to share with everyone. It is a crowd favorite with fluffy cream cheese icing. My carrot cake is fully-loaded with textures, and flavors. I personally put coconut flakes, pineapples, walnuts, and raisins in my carrot cake. You may still use this recipe, and leave all extra additives out, if you like plain carrot cake. In life, I always say don’t knock it until you try it. So in this case, I hope you do the same!! To keep it festive, I bought a nest, mini birds, and chocolate candy eggs to put as a topper on the cake for a garnish. You can buy this for a total of $5.00 at your nearest arts & craft store.

Carrot Cake

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Carrot Cake
Yield: 2 layer 10 ” round
Cake Ingredients:

2 cups All-Purpose Flour

2 cups Sugar

4 tsp Cinnamon

2 tsp Baking Powder

1 tsp Salt

1 1/2 tsp Baking Soda

1 1/4 cup Vegetable Oil

1/4 cup Whole Milk

4 Eggs

3 cups Shredded Carrots


Optional:

1/4 cup diced pineapple

1/4 cup Shredded (unsweetened coconut)

1/2 cup Chopped Walnuts

1/4 cup Raisins

Cream Cheese Icing Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups Cream Cheese

2 cups Powder Sugar

1 qt Heavy Whipping Cream

1 Tbs Vanilla Extract

Cake Directions:
  1. Preheat oven 325 ° Fahrenheit, and spray grease a 10 ” round cake pan.
  2. In a large bowl with a whisk, whisk together the oil, milk, eggs, and sugar.
  3. Add the shredded carrots, raisins, walnuts, coconut flakes, and diced pineapple.
  4. Whisk in the dry ingredients( Flour, salt, cinnamon, baking powder, and baking soda).
  5. Pour the batter into the cake pan, and bake for 40-55 min at 325 ° Fahrenheit. Test with a tooth pick to see if it comes out dry. Rotate pan at 25 minutes.
  6. Wait 2 hours at room temperature before taking the cake out of the pan.
Cream Cheese Icing Directions:
  1. Cream together cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla extract.
  2. slowly stream in the heavy cream while mixer is on low.
  3. Mix until it turns into thick buttercream consistency.
  4. Place cream cheese icing in a piping bag with a star tip.
  5. Pipe spiral circles on each layer.
  6. Optional : Sprinkle with whatever garnish you would like on each layer.  I did coconut, and walnuts for Easter.

Easter weekend!!