Passion Fruit Lemon Squares

PASSION Is In The Air

It is our Summer season (technically a long one in south Florida)!!!! I like to highlight seasonal fruits when making my desserts. Passion fruit is a tart, but sweeter seeded fruit.  You do not have to use the seeds, you may strain it, and just use the juice. I like the way they look in the lemon square. If you would like to leave out the passion fruit juice, and just do lemon that is alright as well. These will have be buttery, sweet, tart, and salty!!!!

Different Lemon bar renditions:

Ginger, Lime, blueberry, or strawberry.

You can take a simple dessert and make it your own.

What are the benefits of Passion fruit?

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Passion fruit has the ability to prevent cancerous growth, stimulate digestion, boost immune function, improve eyesight, increase skin health, regulate fluid balance in the body, lower blood pressure, boost circulation, and improve bone mineral density. Furthermore, it reduces signs of premature aging, lessens inflammation, improves sleeping habits, and eliminates asthma. These all come from its nutrients, minerals, and the vitamin content of the fruit, which includes antioxidants, flavonoids, vitamin A, vitamin C, riboflavin, niacin, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper, fiber, and protein. (*)

Passion Fruit Lemon Squares/Bars

Yield:8-10
Bake: 350°F Crust: 15-25 min Custard: 15-20 Minutes(when the custard is set)
Ingredients:

Crust:
1/2 Cup Butter (cubed)
1 Cup All-Purpose Flour
1/4 Cup Powder Sugar (Extra fro dusting at the end)
2 Lemon Zest
Dash Ginger Powder(less then a Pinch, and less then 1/4 Tsp)Optional

Filling:
1 1/2 Cups Sugar
1/3 Cup All-Purpose Flour
3 Eggs
1/4 Tsp Salt
1/4 Cup Lemon Juice
2 Passion Fruit (Fresh) Optional

Directions:
1. In a bowl mix by hand all the crust ingredients: Butter, Flour,
Powder Sugar, Lemon Zest, Ginger Powder. Meal the butter in-between 
the palms of your hand (like a biscuit method) until it forms a dough
2. Grease the pan. (10 inch round or rectangle)
3. Press the dough 1 centimeter thick at the bottom of the pan.
4. Bake at 350°F for 15-25 minutes.
5. Let cool for 15 minutes.
6. In another bowl mix together all the Filling ingredients with a 
whisk.
7. Pour the filling over the crust and bake for 15-20 minutes (until the custard is set).
8. Let cool for 30 minutes in the cooler before cutting them!
9. When ready to serve dust with powder sugar!!

Enjoy!! 

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 Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

HAPPY 4TH OF JULY

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We all have our favorite holidays, and mine is not the most common one haha. 4TH OF July is one, if not my favorite holiday. I guess it has to do with the appreciation I have for this wonderful country, and how lucky and blessed we truly are. Also the family tradition and festivities growing up were always going to the park behind my high school with the WHOLE family. We would lay on a blanket while eating a bucket of KFC and CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES, listen to live music, play cards all day with my cousins, and then finally watch the 30 minute firework show!!! Then the best part would be us doing “legal” fireworks as a family in the drive way after the show that was in town. Sometimes I wish I could take a time capsule back to these moments.

History Lesson

Fourth of July is also known as Americas Independence Day! Our Independence Day is a Federal holiday that was established 241 years ago on July 4, 1776. It was a day, and written document declaring the original 13 colonies would break off from the British empire, and start a new nation. FUN FACT: The actual separation from the British Empire took place on July 2nd. It needed congressman’s approval (John Adams, & Thomas Jefferson..etc), and it was approved on July 4th!! America is a place founded for opportunity, and to be free in many forms that other countries aren’t blessed with. America is a melting pot of immigrants from all countries, we must love and respect what we have. My father said, “Freedom with intellectuality is okay babe, freedom with stupid is scary..”-Michael Pietrantonio (My daddy).

Lets get to baking shall we… Fun fact* – If the chocolate chip cookie recipe your using has baking powder its a no go!!! In my experience over the years the best are with out baking powder for the right texture!!! My niece Caramia is always my baking partner. She loves to help people, and she loves to cook/bake! Plus its a good way to get the kids more involved, and away from the technology! Its always a plus to teach them fundamentals on how to cook/bake! She tells me she wants to be a chef like me, so we are training her early ahah.

          Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yield:12-14 Cookies
Bake: 350° F 10-14 min (golden on the outside, light in the center)
Ingredients:
1 1/2 Cups All Purpose Flour
1/2 Tsp Baking Soda
1/2 Cup Sugar
1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
2 Tsp Honey 
1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
1 Egg
1 Stick Unsalted Butter
1/4 tsp salt
1 Cup Chocolate Chunks
Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. 
2. Cream the butter,and sugars together (brown sugar and granulated  sugar).
3. Add the egg, honey, and vanilla and cream together.
4. Scrap the bowl down. Scale all dry ingredients in a bowl with out the chocolate chunks : Flour, salt, and baking soda. 
5. Add the dry to the wet butter mixture. Mix just until incorporated
6. Add the chocolate chunks. and mix until just incorporated!
7. Place bowl of cookie dough in the cooler for 10-15 minutes.
8. Spray or line a sheet pan with grease, aluminum, or parchment 
paper. 
9. Make hockey puck rounds with the cookie dough. The size is between a golf ball and tennis ball.
9. Bake for 10-14 min on the middle rack. I like to rotate the pan in the middle of baking also. The  cookie should be golden brown on  the outside, and lighter in the center. Don’t be scared that it is raw in the center. The cookie carries over, and bakes for 
another 3-4 minutes when its comes out of the oven and its cooling
down.
10. Enjoy your warm goowwwwyyyy cookies with a glass of milk :]!!

*(you may alter this cookie recipe to the filling of your choice and 
it will still work. Example: Oatmeal, white chocolate, nuts..etc.. if you have questions of a cookie idea, or measurements you know where 
to find me :])

    Happy 4th of July Everyone! Stay happy, blessed, and safe!

Japanese An Pan

First & Foremost Happy Fathers Day

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Happy Fathers Day to all the wonderful Daddy’s!! My father has a special place in mine, and everyone hearts really! He’s the most sweetest (well maybe bittersweet..haha), devoted, loving, and most hardworking person I know. He’s always pushing me to thrive for higher standards, and to chase my dreams. Thank you for everything you have done for me I love you, and am so appreciative that I got you to be my daddy!!!

I try to do something versatile, and different every week for my followers. This week I tried to implement one of my dads personal experiences in life with the pastry I choose to make this week.  My dad used to travel, and work in Japan on a monthly basis for years. This week I’m making An Pan, which is Japanese sweet red bean bread. Its a very soft, and sweet bun (almost steamed) with a blended sweet red bean paste inside. You can change the fillings, but this is the most traditional. They are delicious as a snack, or for breakfast with a cup of coffee/tea!! All my recipes are usually totally created from my own, with this one I used some help and tested it out and its awesome. I tweaked the recipe a tad bit. *Aeriskitchen is a Korean blog. It is where I first saw it!

An Pan 

Yield: 10-12
Bake: 350° 13-18 min
Ingredients:
3 1/2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
2 1/2 Cups Red bean paste (local Asian store) (you can make it from   scratch as well, just email me to help you!)
2/3 Cup Lukewarm Water
2/3 Cup Lukewarm Milk
1/2 Cup Sugar
1/4 Cup Melted Butter (additional melted butter for brushing)
2 Tsp Fast Active Dry Yeast
2 Tsp Salt

Directions:
1. Mix all ingredients together with a dough hook, until incorporate.
2. Wrap and keep in the oven to Rise for 30min- 1 Hr. You want it to double in size.
3. Roll and cut 2 inch pieces. Round and let sit for 15 Minutes. 
4. Roll and flatten. Place one spoon full of red bean paste in the  
center. Close the dough and flatten (make a hockey puck)
5. Cut 3-4 slits in the doughs edges.
6. Brush melted butter on top, and bake for 13-18 minutes. Until      golden brown. 

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