Tic, Toc, Tic, Toc…

IMG_8690I can not believe we are already in February of 2016.  It has been such a great start to the new year!  Things are really busy and hopping here at the G&H headquarters.

As for personally, I began school at the Savannah College of Art and Design this past January.  I love it.  But, it has not come with its challenges.  As a mom, I have felt guilt because I can not always be available for the girls.  However, the lesson has been for them and for me, to let go.  It is time to let go of being everything they want me to be and be ME!  Now, of course they would prefer that I be available when they need something immediatley.  Who wouldn’t want that?  So, I can not blame them for having some push back.  I will say time management is the biggest, best skill we are learning.  We are all learning to manage our own schedules, plan accordingly and not take advantage of one another.  Again, this is not an easy skill that comes naturally.  I catch myself being so busy that the first thing to go is the gratitude.

I picked up Emma from Lacrosse the other evening.  She hopped in the car with tears streaming down her eyes.  I said “what is wrong?”  She quickly began explaining her fear of being kicked off the varsity team because she didn’t practice well.  Emma was doing what I do all the time.  She wasn’t enjoying the moment for fear that tomorrow it will be taken away.  Light bulb!

I have been so scared that I won’t be able to juggle the kids, the school and the business that I am not enjoying the moment of all of it.  And, I do love all of it.  Each thing brings me such joy and nothing is perfect about it.  Imperfect…I feel I am right were I am suppose to be.

So, as time is ticking away, I blink and we are at another birthday.  My baby, Gabrielle is 9 years old today.   We are going to make cupcakes from a box.  Imperfect but yet, so perfect.  I’ll save the cake from scratch for my clients.

As for Grits and Honey, it has really taken off on the weekly meals program.  I just love this aspect of the business because it helps those who feel, like me, a little overwhelmed at moments.  And, if I can help you out with your time management, that puts a smile on my face.  But, it isn’t just about saving time or we would be going to eat fast food everynight.  It is about eating healthy, eating well, and eating together at home.

Here is to enjoying all those imperfect and sometimes rushed moments!  I hope you have a Happy Valentine’s Day!

PS- Get those dates in for Spring catered events (graduations, baby showers, birthdays and weddings)… the calendar is filliing up quickly!

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Mo Cookies!

IMG_7761Happy Wednesday!  Boy, do I not feel like working on this blog right now.  I can think of 1000 other things I need to do.  But, I told you I would write out the Soft Ginger Cookie recipe.

Some promises are not easy for me to break.  Did I promise this?  I would have to go back and check my writing.  But I do know that I said I was going to do it.  When I say that I am going to do something, it is my language of love to do it.  Expectations can be so titillating or so, so disappointing.   Now, I don’t think if I didn’t get this blog out that you guys would cry (or notice).  But, I never know.  And I do not want to dishearten one soul.  😉

So, here goes!

Soft Ginger Cookies

Ingredients

2 1/4 cups flour

2 teaspoons ground ginger

1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

pinch of kosher salt

3/4 cup butter (room temperature)

1 cup white sugar

1 egg

1 tablespoon water

1/4 cup molasses

Raw Sugar for rolling over top (optional)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Begin mixing your butter and sugar.  While is mixing add flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt in another bowl.  (I didn’t have time to sift the flour today and the cookies came out just as divine.)  Set this aside after giving it a stir with a fork.  Go back to butter and sugar mixture and it should be pale and fluffy.  Add in egg, water, molasses.  When this is mixed, turn mixer down and add in flour mixture.  Shape dough in a ball and pat raw sugar on top or scoop out small half-dollar balls for baking.    Bake for 10 minutes, then cool for 5 min.  Freeze or refrigerate the dough for drop in guests!

My eyes feel heavy.  Whew, I am tired.  Looks like we are having Soft Ginger Cookies for dinner tonight.  Here’s to that!

 

 

 

Autumn + Cookies = Perfection

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Warm up the fire places!  It is the first day of fall.  School is back in full force, the catering business is getting ready for high season, and all is well with the world.  Well, all is good minus the Republican candidates for Presidency, but we aren’t getting into politics!

I just recently had my first menus printed.  I know that may sound crazy since we have been in business for 4 years (yes, FOUR years!).  But, everything has been either word of mouth, the website, or individual menus that are emailed.  I can’t tell you how excited I am to hold them and pat them and pet them!  They are really so beautiful.  Thank you to the fabulous graphic artist, Jenn Streck!  It is funny how a menu makes me feel all professional inside, as if I haven’t been catering for weddings of 200 plus people.  This is a prime example of the littlest, simplest things that can matter so much.

Another thing that can matter so much is a simple delicious cookie.  And at this time of year, cookies are very important.  We can make them and store them in the freezer for the moment we need them most, like that school function we forget about or the random kids that end up at our house on a Friday night.  I love how baking a batch of cookies warms up the house with the oven temperature and the aroma.

So, let’s get baking.  My two favorite cookies this fall are  the lovely and ever so simple Chocolate Chip Cookie and the spicy, soft Ginger Molasses Cookie.  Today we will get the Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe out.  Look for our Ginger Molasses next week if I can get my blogging life together.

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G&H’s Chocolate Chip Cookie

Ingredients

2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

1/2 cup dark brown sugar

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1/2 cup white sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

2 eggs

1 cup Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate chips

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line your baking pan with parchment paper.  In a standing mixer, mix your melted butter with your three sugars.  While this is mixing on high-speed, in a separate bowl mix together your flour, baking soda, and salt.  After the butter and sugar mixture turns a pale brown, about 5 minutes, add in your eggs one at a time and then your vanilla.  After this is incorporated, turn the mixer to low and add in your flour mixture slowly.  Don’t over mix, just until flour is incorporated.  Turn mixer off and hand mix in your chocolate chips.   Drop a tablespoon size of cookie dough on your parchment paper and bake for 13-15 minutes or until toasty on the sides.  Lastly, try not to burn yourself when eating them too soon after coming out of the oven.

I hope you all enjoy the beautiful Autumn weather immensely with a good simple cookie.  Here’s to the best Chocolate Chip Cookie!  Cheers!

 

 

I Scream for Good Ice-Cream

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Raspberry Goat’s Milk Yogurt Ice-cream with Fresh Peaches

This was so fun!  And, dang is it HOT in Atlanta!   My car temperature is reading 100 degrees.  Throw in the humidity and we need to eat some ice-cream to cool things off a bit!

So, I am also reminiscing of France today in this heat.  Not because of the heat but because of the ice-cream.  One of the first things I wanted to buy after my trip to France and cooking with Patricia Wells was an ice-cream maker.  I immediately bought the ice-cream maker back in October and now, 9 months later, it is finally getting some great use.  Patricia’s ice-cream is what made me want to own my own ice-cream maker.  The flavor is like nothing you could ever buy in the store (or at least nothing I’ve ever tasted).  The tangy goat’s milk yogurt brings me right back to Patricia’s beautiful Provençal yard overlooking the grape vines and olive trees.  Smells, tastes, breezes… what wonderful memories.  Now, I can make more great memories right here in Atlanta with my own family and loved ones while making and eating ice-cream.  I am feeling extremely grateful for the experience, Patricia, and to be able to enjoy it back home with all of you.

We can’t always be in France but we can surely eat more ice-cream.  This one especially because there isn’t a lot of sugar and no cream.  You can also experiment with different flavors.  Being from the south, we will be adding peaches to our next batch!

One thing to remember!  Go ahead and have your ice-cream base frozen.  It really takes a good 12 hours to freeze completely.  I forgot to do this and had to wait a full day before digging in.  It did make the experience that much better but I am terrible at being patient.  If I don’t have to wait, then why would I? Now, my ice-cream base stays in the freezer patiently waiting on me to make that next batch of yummy, cold ice-cream.

DSC_0105Raspberry Lemon Goat’s Milk Yogurt Ice-cream

Ingredients

1/2 Pint Fresh Raspberries

1/4 cup Simple Syrup

1 teaspoon Lemon Zest

2 cups Goat’s Milk Yogurt

3 lg egg whites

1/3 cup Ginger Honey (or plain honey)

Directions

First you will need simple syrup.  If you don’t have any on hand it is super easy to make.  Add 2 cups sugar to 2 cups water.  Simmer this down to a somewhat thick syrup.  Actually, my last batch wasn’t that thick, but still does the job.  It will take about 15-20 minutes.  Patricia adds a squeeze of lemon to hers, as well as do I, but it is not necessary.  Store your extra syrup in a jar in the fridge for another time.  It will keep for a month (or so).

Take 1/4 cup simple syrup and raspberries and simmered them for just a minute or two to break the raspberries down.  Strain your raspberry infused syrup with a sieve to separate the seeds.  Put this aside to cool. While the syrup cools, beat your egg whites in a mixer until stiff peaks form.  Fold in your yogurt, lemon zest, honey and cooled raspberry syrup.  After everything is mixed together, pour into your ice-cream maker.  Then, the ice-cream maker does the rest!  Viola!  And this is how memories are made!

Now, you may say, goat’s milk yogurt?  Don’t judge until you’ve tried it, as I tell my children.  It is addictively good.  Even the Goose likes it.  She says it tastes like a raspberry cheese cake.

Now, I am contemplating.  Is this an ice-cream or a sorbet?  I will have to google the difference another time or you guys can answer that question.

Wherever you are, hot or cold, in France or Atlanta, I hope you are making great memories and enjoying your summer.  Here is to ice-cream on hot days.  Cheers!

 

Fireworks!

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Ice-cream with Strawberry Sauce and Fresh Blueberries

I am sitting at my new home in what I call my “Lady Parlor” (Lauren dubbed it this) or office/art space.  Haha!  I love it.  My desk faces a large window overlooking my front yard where Knockout Roses, herbs, and plants galore flourish.  It is so inspirational.  Last night we had a good summer shower, so this morning is quite fresh and green.

This weekend is July 4th!  Memories of family vacations abound.  Most all July 4th vacations include some type of water fun, fireworks, lobster rolls, corn-on-th-cob, watermelon, and home-made ice-cream. This weekend our family will head to Lake Jackson to join my childhood friend and her family.  There is nothing sweeter than joining up with old friends that you know so well and don’t get to see very often.  The bond seems to be just as strong as 20 years ago.  I feel absolutely rejuvenated after these rendezvous.  I don’t always give myself permission to take off with my girlfriends so we have to make the kids think it is their idea.  It’s a win-win!

One thing that I need for this weekend get-away is simplicity.  A little less fireworks if you know what I mean…  Now that the move is complete and work is rocking and rolling, I want a simple summer vacation to feel, well, lazy.  I am seeing a lot of lovely work on instagram for the 4th festivities.  But, it looks like too much work for me.  So, to make things a bit more calm, I have prepared a simple Strawberry Sauce to pour over some Vanilla Ice-cream (Lemon Sorbet would be good too) with fresh blueberries to top.  Now, that seems easy enough and I’m pretty sure the kiddos (and adults) will feel pretty special with this red, white and blue treat!  But, most importantly, I can relax and enjoy it too.  😉

 

Simple Strawberry Sauce

Ingredients

1 Pint Fresh Organic Strawberries

1 Cup Sugar

1/3-1/2 Cup water

Directions

I began by blending my washed and trimmed strawberries in the blender.  I then mixed the strawberry puree, sugar and water in a sauce pan.  I did not strain my strawberries but you could.  I personally think it adds a little more fiber and again, I am looking for the simple road.  Simmer this on very low heat until it begins to thicken, about 30 minutes.  But, don’t burn it.  Let your sauce cool then refrigerate it until you are ready to pour over your ice-cream.  This sauce is great over pan-cakes the following morning too!

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Summer Time Ice-cream Break!

Next blog we are going crazy and making ice-cream to go with our Strawberry Sauce.  So, stay tuned… Have a fantastic 4th of July and I hope you too are having a wonderful time with your friends and family.  OR, at least being lazy!  Cheers!

 

 

 

 

 

Let’s Bake a Cake!

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Yellow Cake with Butter Cream Icing and Fresh Strawberries

The rain is heavy this morning.  I imagine that this is what a rain forest would feel like.  Everything is wet but growing and green because of the warmer weather.  There also seems to be a thousand birds, bugs and little critters scurrying around.

The weather seems to be a bit of a reflection of my feelings today.  The weight of moving to a new home and the whisper of a new beginning.  As I signed my name on the closing papers to the house, I realized how much one piece of paper and signature can mean to someone.  It could mean hundreds of thousands of dollars, it could mean a burden gone, it could mean no roof over your head, or it could mean a gratitude for not having the burden of fixing one more thing in the house.  It could mean many things I suspect with different perspectives.  So, as I left the closing, I realized I may have shifted internally  with this simple signature, but everything is still moving swiftly in Atlanta.

I am feeling nostalgia over this closing chapter.  I brought home a baby girl in this house.  I started a business in this house.  I had many gatherings with friends and family in this house.  I found my inner voice and authenticity in this house.

But with each beginning comes and end.  I am ecstatic about the new chapters that are to come.  I read in the Artist’s Way the other day about our finite thinking.  We can’t always see what tomorrow will bring us.  The unknown can be a paralyzing.  But thinking about the infinite things that the universe has to offer is so amazing.  I see the peddles on a dog wood tree.  I see pollen all over my back yard.  There are so many things the universe brings down upon us that we can not count or grasp an understanding on.  We can not wrap our limited head around what is possible.  I believe the universe has an infinite joy that lies ahead of me and around everyone who believes it.  I may not be able to see it, just as I can not count the leaves on a tree but it is there.  I may feel fear creep up because of the unknown but just as in good vs. evil, the good always wins.  As my dear friend Jo said, “one foot in front of the other”.  If we wake up enough times telling ourselves the universe wants to give us infinite joy, we start to believe it.  Just as I feel a heaviness with the rain clouds.  I also feel a wind of weightlessness that carries me to soar to the next chapter and joy that lies ahead.

One of the many joys that I have is to bake.  As Marie Antoinette said “Let them eat cake!”  Strawberries are in full season here in the south, and I have some in the house.  We will add those to our cake too!

Yellow Cake Recipe

Ingredients

2 Sticks Butter (room temp)

1 1/2 cups sugar

4 large eggs

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

pinch of kosher salt

1 1/2 cup milk

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Directions

Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees.  I used two 8″ cake pans.  Butter and flour your cake pans.  Begin by mixing your butter and sugar on medium high-speed for about 5 minutes.  While this is mixing, mix your flour, baking powder and salt.  (I have to be honest I don’t always sift these ingredients.  I just don’t feel like it sometimes, and I certainly don’t want something extra to clean.  I know every baking chef out there will disagree with this method but sometimes it just works).

Add your vinegar to your milk.  This will break down the milk into what is like a buttermilk.  I don’t always keep buttermilk in my fridge which is why this method works better for me.  I usually always have milk and vinegar.

After your butter and sugar mixture is creamy and fluffy, alternate adding in the milk mixture and the flour mixture.  Don’t over mix this part.  Mix until it just comes together making a nice cake batter.  Add in your vanilla extract.  Lastly pour your batter into the prepared cake pans and bake for 35 minutes or until golden brown on the outside.

Check out the Butter Cream Icing recipe on The Goose blog page.  It is super easy and delicious.  I put about 1/4 of the prepared icing on the cake.  This cake recipe is so good I don’t want to overwhelm it with the butter cream.  I put sliced fresh strawberries in the center between layers and a pile of strawberries on the top.

I am now wondering if the heaviness is from the rain or from not being able to stop eating this delicious cake.  And look, the sun is peeping out!  Let’s go for a walk and dream about what my new home and kitchen will look like… The possibilities are endless.  Cheers!

 

 

 

A Winter Dinner Party

Mousse Cake

Chocolate Mousse Cake

What is the best thing to do when the weather is too cold to play outside?  Turn on the fire inside and have friends and loved ones over to a dinner party!   There is nothing sweeter than coming into a warm home with marvelous smells of food cooking, seeing smiling faces and hearing laughter of friends and family.

It feel so good when I can do something to help others to feel good.  One way to make someone feel great is by feeding them.   Everyone has their own way of showing love and I show mine by feeding them.  I put the same love in my cooking for my family as I do for my clients.  I want to feed everyone with not only food that will fill a hungry belly but give peaceful satisfaction afterwards.

For this winter dinner party, we had some wheat allergies and “no gluten” diets.  I wanted to still make a special dessert for us and I don’t really like using “imitation flours” or substitutes.  If I am going to have a cake, I want to use cake flour.  I haven’t found anything that replaces the real deal.  So, I chose to make a Mousse Cake which doesn’t call for flour.

For my own dinner parties, I do like to branch out and try new things on my guests.  Most of them are pretty good sports for being guinea pigs!  I feel like I should disclose here to do what I say and not what I do.  Don’t try feeding your guests with a menu you haven’t tried before!

This Mousse Cake did not come without its challenges.  First of all, you have to really plan in advance if you’re going to make this because you bake a layer, let it cool, place in the fridge, add another layer on top, bake it and then put it back in the fridge to chill for at least 4 hours.  It really is a two-day process.  It isn’t labor intensive, it just takes time to bake, chill, bake and chill!

From my understanding this recipe originated from Michel Rostang, a Michelin-starred chef, and is now in the wonderful cookbook Around My French Table by Dori Greenspan.  On a side note, her cookbook is wonderful.  I made individual cakes in ramekins because that is what I had.  However, the original recipe calls for a spring pan that you can release the cake from.  Using ramekins did make it a little more challenging for me when I was trying to get the cake out.  I do have a blow torch that I use for creme brûlée.  I used this to heat up the bottom of the ramekins and they will come out after using a knife around the edges.  They did come out pretty clean and no one seemed to notice.  This was probably because of the deliciousness!

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Enjoying Time Together

 

Ingredients

1/4 pound bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

1/3 cup hot coffee  (I think, a french coffee press is the best for good dark coffee)

7 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

2/3 cup sugar

1 pinch of salt

4 large eggs, separated

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Generously butter individual ramekins.  Then add parchment paper around bottom of ramekins and butter the parchment paper.  Melt the chocolate in a double boiler.  While the Chocolate is melting begin beating your egg whites in a standing mixer until they are firm and stiff.  When the chocolate is all melted, add in hot coffee.  Take the chocolate mixture off the heat and add in the butter a table-spoon at a time, then whisk in the sugar.  After this is mixed, add egg yolks one at a time.  Whisk in half of the egg whites then, gently fold the following half with a rubber spatula.  I used an ice cream scoop to fill the ramekins 1/3 way up.  After filling 6, there should be half of the mousse leftover.  Cover and refrigerate the remaining mousse.  Bake the ramekins on a baking sheet for 10-13 minutes.  They will be really puffed up, but they will fall as they are cooling.  After they are cooled, place in the refrigerator for at least an hour.  After the cakes have chilled, add the remaining cold mousse to cold ramekins.  This is your second layer.  Bake this in a 400 degree F oven for about 20-30 minutes.  This will also puff up and then fall as it cools.  Place the cakes back in the fridge for a few hours or over night.  Again, you have to warm the bottom of the ramekins so that the mousse will come out easily.  I served the mousse cake with with strawberries and fresh whipped cream.

The ingredients are pretty simple, the taste is delicious and all of our gluten-free friends can enjoy dessert.  No one needs to feel like they are missing out on the party!  The process is a little harder but I think you can do it, or just call me!  I’ll definitley be making these again, but maybe with a little more planning.  Here’s to full bellies and warm hearts through these cold months!  Savourer!

 

 

 

 

 

No Graceful Way About It

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Beaches of Nice

Bonjour!  I am sorry there is no photo or video of me trying to walk on these rocks while attempting to go against the waves and up an embankment (not really).  I sat in my chair for a good hour watching everyone tackling this problem before I felt courageous enough to tackle it myself.  It is easier getting into the Mediterranean Sea than getting out.  And if you don’t have those ugly water shoes on, it is that much harder.  I thought it was most enjoyable and entertaining watching cool Frenchmen attempt this with such suave only to bite the rocky beach.  I couldn’t help but chuckle to myself.

I walked to the beach only to retreat.  I was going to hurt myself.  And I was maybe a little vain.  I couldn’t help but also think about the book A Year In Provence“where Peter Mayle writes

at any giving moment during any day in the month of August there are 5000 people making pipi in the sea…who would be a fish?

It was only September.
Later I carefully and smoothly walked to the toilette trying to keep my unattainable american je ne sais quoi only to see that my face was as white as a sheep’s because my Neutrogena Sunblock hadn’t blended in… C’est la vie.  So much for trying to be cool!

There are some pretty nice restaurants in Nice along the water.  There is a big Italian influence because they are so close to the border.  There are lots of pizzas and ceaser salads.  The dressings are made with fresh anchovy and large pieces of grated Parmesan cheese.  There is also a lot of fresh fish that comes in from the ocean.  Everything I have had has been great except my hotel breakfast.  I was surprised to see all the fruit that looked like it came from a can and drenched in syrup.  Bleeck!  You can judge most places by the amount of French people siting outside eating, the more the better.

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La cappuccino

My favorite dessert has been home-made ice-cream and sorbet.  One of my first purchases will be a professional grade ice cream maker when I get back.  I’ve had sorbet made with Greek yogurt and lemon that gives you a wonderful tangy taste.  I’ve had delicious vanilla bean ice cream with fresh espresso poured over it and topped with fresh whipped cream.   They can be served in little tea cups with just a small scoop, unlike the photo.  As always, fresh ingredients are what make the difference in good and delectable.

Traveling on to my next adventure!  Au revoir!

The Goose

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When I see my little Gabby Goose outside playing, content with herself, making up foods, cooking for her bug friends, chatting to herself and those made up creatures, my heart melts with love.  All of my girls did this at some point.  The older girls don’t do it anymore.  They are little ladies now, too cool to talk to stuffed animals or bugs.  But my Goose, she is turning 7, and she is still that sweet little girl with the imagination of Rembrandt or Picasso.  The computer, mini iPad, or cell phone hasn’t sucked her completely in.

She is grating chalk into cups and I see her nose and cheeks becoming rosy from the crispness in the air.  I wonder who she is chatting with.  She shirks her shoulders as if to say “I don’t know”.  I realize this moment is worth its weight in gold.  I want to cherish it like so many other fleeting moments.  There are so many of these moments, if, I just stop for a minute to notice them.

My Goose has this attraction that brings people to her.  They enjoy and want to be around her.   Her happiness and joy is a magnet to everyone who comes in contact with her.  Well, maybe not so much when she was an infant.  She was the loudest of any child I have ever heard.  I think most people who were around us when she was a baby would vouch for that.  Her scream was piercing.  But now, I wonder why this little, happy soul chose me to be its mother.  It is really cool to think about this with each of my daughters.  How these sweet spirits grow from a little bean in your womb into these human beings that are so precious.  They are all pretty damn amazing, and I get to be their mom.  There really is nothing sweeter!

For my goose’s birthday, we will make cupcakes.  She wants her sisters to make the cake and I will make the Buttercream Icing.  In her honor, I will share my Buttercream Icing recipe.

Ingredients

10 egg whites

3 cups white sugar

3 lbs butter (room temp)

1 tablespoon flavoring (vanilla, almond, or other extract)

Directions

In a double boiler, heat your egg whites and sugar until the sugar dissolves.  You need to whisk your mixture while it heats up so the egg and sugar doesn’t burn.  When your egg whites are hot to touch, pour the mixture into a mixer and whisk on high speed.  You will notice that your egg whites become fluffy white, and tripled in size.  Once they are stiff, take your whisk off and add your dough attachment.  Add half the butter and pulse so that the butter goes to the bottom.  Repeat until all the butter is added.  Mix on high until it is fully incorporated.  Your Buttercream Icing will be smooth and silky.  At this point, you can add your extract or favorite food coloring.  This can be kept in the fridge for a couple of weeks or the freezer for a couple of months.  Just, thaw and add back to the mixer to get that smooth texture.  If it looks watery, it has separated and is too cold.  Just heat it up to room temp. and it will combine right back together!

This Buttercream Icing is delicious with the Vanilla Pound Cake recipe thatI shared a few weeks ago.  I have made them for many parties and events.  There is never any left over.  I will be showing my love for my little Goose on her birthday by making her favorite icing.  Valentine’s Day is just around the corner.  I think some sweet cupcakes with Buttercream Icing are just the thing to show your love!  Make them for that special person in your life.  OR order them from G&H and take that time to enjoy moments in your life.  Cheers!

You want WHAT for Christmas?

Vanilla Pound Cupcakes with Almond Buttercream Icing

Vanilla Pound Cupcakes with Almond Buttercream Icing

It is finally here!  The season that little people and some big people favor most of the year.  Christmas is finally upon us!

I may have written this before, but this is not my favorite holiday.  It reminds me of a really bad drug (like a decongestant) that gets you all hyped up only to plummet you to the bottom of the deepest darkest hole.  OK, maybe that is a bit extreme but I ain’t a fan.  We all feel way too busy rushing around.  We all hear those car horns a little more this time of year.  Everyone seems a little Mad.  And for most Moms and Dads, it can be brutal having your little monkey look at you with those sweet eyes, saying “please get me that iPad mini” that is over $300.  I sold my car from college for about that much.

I believe the best part of this year is staying warm in the kitchen while baking goodies for friends and family. And sometimes eating the goodies myself while watching Netflix in the comfort of my own home.  Sometimes I turn on some calming music (maybe a little Frank Sinatra’s Christmas but only once during the season) and zone in on the baking, tuning everything else out.  All eyes do light up and twinkle when given that gift that is made from the heart and fills the belly.

The girls and I have so much fun concocting different sweet treats.  One such treat are these Vanilla Pound Cupcakes.  I call them pound cakes because they use more egg than a normal yellow vanilla cake.  They can be tricky because as they cool, they will shrink from the cupcake tin.  I found this Pound Cake recipe from Gourmet.  It was called Elvis Presley’s Favorite Pound Cake.  I changed a couple of things, like the egg amount, to make them into more of a yummy cupcake.

You will need to soften your butter to room temperature.  This always gets me because I forget and then need to make it on the fly.

Ingredients~

2 sticks butter

3 cups sugar

5 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3 cups all purpose flour (sifted)

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup heavy whipping cream

Directions~

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cream your butter and sugar together in a mixer and then add the eggs one at a time.  Add vanilla and mix.  Scrape down of your bowl.  Add half your flour, then all your heavy cream, and finish with your last bit of flour and salt.  Mix this on high speed for 5-6 minutes.  This is where the batter will get a lovely silky texture.  Bake your cupcakes for about 45 minutes.  Check to make sure your toothpick comes out clean!

You will love this with berries and cream in the summertime too.  It doesn’t hurt to dream of the warm spring, which IS my favorite season.  It will be here sooner than we know.

Here is to spending way too much money on the monkeys and feeding them way too much sugar.  But, most importantly, to their faces lighting up when they receive what they didn’t expect, which is always priceless.