Maple Bacon Brittle Ice-Cream

Maple Bacon Ice Cream

Do you ever walk past the chips aisle & wonder how some flavors are created? Waffles and Chicken. Cappuccino. Maple Bacon. These adventurous titles tend to stand out against the other generic BBQ or cheese flavors. While in the store one day, maple & bacon caught my eye and I soon started noticing it in other foods such as cookies, cake, and even ice-cream. When baking, I love experimenting with new flavors and tastes and before you know it, maple bacon brittle ice-cream was on my to-do list. I figured I would make an ice-cream, because I just got an ice-cream maker so it was a great opportunity to use it! Despite how strange it may sound as bacon is a savory item which we don’t associate with sweets, I loved it and so did my whole family. Now let’s just say, some dishes are made that way to stay that way. Cappuccino falls in that category. The cappuccino chips were definitely out there, and it was strange having a chocolatey aftertaste with a small hint of coffee after eating chips. Alright well on to the recipe below with a few step-by-step photos:

Maple Bacon Brittle Ice-Cream from WhipThisUp Blog

Makes: 1 Quart

Bacon Brittle 

Ingredients

  • 3 strips of turkey bacon
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda

Directions

  1. Wrap a cookie sheet with aluminum foil. Grease and set aside.
  2. Cook bacon over medium heat until crisp, about 6 minutes per side. Remove from heat, allow to cool, and then chop to a fine mince.
  3. Cook sugar over medium-high heat, until it melts and turns golden (about 10 minutes or if lumps form, remove the pan from the heat and stir until melted). Immediately remove from heat when the sugar has completely melted and has turned a light amber color.
  4. Right away, stir in the butter, baking soda, and chopped bacon.
  5. Quickly pour the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet and allow to cool until hardened (about 15 minutes).
  6. Break or cut into very small pieces with a skillet, knife, or other cooking utensil.
  7. Store in a covered container in the refrigerator while you make the ice-cream.

Maple Ice-Cream

Ingredients

  • 1 cup pure maple syrup
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream

Directions

  1. Heat the maple syrup over medium heat and allow it to simmer until it has reduced to ¾ cup, about 12 minutes (you can use a heat safe measuring cup to measure it’s volume every few minutes). Remove from heat.
  2. Whisk the egg yolks and salt in a small bowl for several minutes until a pale yellow color. Transfer to a saucepan and mix in the whole milk.
  3. Cook the egg/milk mixture over medium heat, until almost simmering (the mixture should be thick enough to coat a spoon: when you run your finger through the custard a line should form and not run back into itself). Remove from heat.
  4. Pour the custard through a fine-mesh strainer into a heat safe bowl and then stir in the reduced maple syrup and heavy cream.
  5. Cover the custard and refrigerate overnight.
  6. The following day, churn in an ice-cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Stir in the bacon brittle and allow to freeze for 2 hours before enjoying.

From Beginning to End: Journey of the Turkey Bacon 

Turkey Bacon

Turkey Bacon: Before

Turkey Bacon

Turkey Bacon: After. Golden brown and sizzling in perfection. Keep your eye on these, because you may lose a few from hungry bystanders!

Light Amber Brittle

The much awaited light amber color of the sugar. Patience is required.

Bacon Brittle

Bacon brittle all chopped up. Snacking: Optional.

Maple Bacon Ice Cream

The bowl that makes all your effort worth it. Make this Maple Bacon Brittle Ice-cream recipe for a bowl that you’ll never forget!

What’s the weirdest ice-cream flavor you have ever made or tasted?

Strawberry Shortcake for the New Year

New years cake

I’m about 5 days late but hey, that doesn’t change it being a new year packed with new resolutions, new blog posts, and new everything! I thought it would be perfect to start off the year with a clock themed cake & I tried to make it semi-healthy, hence the strawberries. A New Year sounds great to most as it is a physical reminder for a fresh start and a good chance for one to tackle their dreams and goals. It’s interesting, because only about 8% of people actually follow through with their New Year’s resolutions. Make sure you are one of those 8%. Who ever said you can’t be? It’s important to have attainable goals that you can slowly work towards so that you do follow through with results.

For the cake above, I followed the recipe from Cook’s Illustrated. Full recipe can be found here on Pittsburgh Eats Needed blog.

Recipe Tip:

  • To get the strawberries straight along the sides, use a 9 inch springform pan and line parchment paper around the inner circle. Once you release the springform pan and remove the parchment paper, the strawberries will remain in place.
  • Use cake flour as indicated in the recipe for a fluffier, and lighter cake. If you prefer it more dense, then use all-purpose flour although it may turn out drier than expected and you can try moistening it by spraying the cake with a 1 part sugar 2 parts water mix that has been boiled and cooled.

2015 will see a lot more of my Ultimate Food Bucket List being completed and more restaurant reviews as I explore the food scene. Keep posted for more exciting posts and news every week!

New years cake

Any recipes or cooking techniques you would like me to cover for 2015? Feel free to share :)

 

Little Black Dress Fondant Cake

little black dress cake

Yes. ANOTHER fondant cake. These cakes are just so much fun to plan and make. After my last holiday fondant creation, I was ready for more. My best friend was having a little black dress themed party a few days before her wedding and so I insisted on making her a surprise cake. I got to try out a few new techniques on this cake, which I will be using in the future as well. Enjoy the tips!

Few Tips for Fondant Cakes:

1) Stamps. These are the simplest items to have as a final touch on your cake and they are just so lovely. Make sure you are using a stamp that is new so that you do not get any paint or toxic residue onto the fondant. To use the stamp, take a brush and dip it in black gel food coloring. Paint the stamp and practice on scraps of fondant so you can get an idea of the amount of pressure that you would need to apply to get a crisp and clear image.

2) Cookie Cutters. Long gone are the days when I only pulled out my cookie cutters for sugar cookies. There are just so many uses for cookie cutters and cutting fondant is only one of them.

Check out this fun post on Buzzfeed here about 47 different ways to use cookie cutters ranging from gift tags, ornaments, and even fruit salads!

3) Molds. These are super easy to use, because you just push the fondant in the mold and pop it out. The one I used on this little black dress cake could also be used for monograms or a small message. At 2 am in the morning, I had no time to make black icing and so I had to settle for no initials.

4) Ribbons. Any type of ribbon will look beautiful on your cake and will cover the bottom edges if the fondant happens to be uneven or messy there. What I learned with this cake is to use a ribbon that preferable has no sparkles or sprinkles on it that could fall off. I had to keep brushing off the sparkles from the ribbon and a satin ribbon in place would have made it much easier. Ribbons can be easily attached with a few drops of buttercream icing.

5) Fondant Pearls. The most trouble I always have with these is making them all the same size. I found a very helpful tip to help with this common problem, which is to use a very small circle cookie cutter (or a bottle cap, anything circular and small).

little black dress cake

Any tips of your own that you have found helpful for dealing with fondant cakes?

 

Holiday Themed Fondant Cake

holiday fondant cake

Whenever the holidays start to come around, signups begin for all the holiday potlucks to enjoy at work, school, or even amongst family and friends. Sometimes you get signed up for a dessert at a company you don’t even work at too. Yep, my mom signed me up for her potluck. I didn’t mind, because it was a great stress reliever for finals even though I had two papers to write on the same day. It was also the perfect opportunity too to use these gold edible sprinkles that I have. I ended up making a two-layer chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream icing in between.

The Hershey’s Perfectly Chocolate Cake recipe can be found here  on a previous blog post of mine.

holiday fondant cake

Previous recipes where I have used this Hershey’s Perfectly Chocolate recipe are below:

hershey's twizzler bites

Hershey Twizzler Bites 

mini chocolate bundt cakes

Chocolate Bundt Cakes: Mini and Normal Versions

Hershey's Chocolate Cakeballs

Hershey’s Winter Themed Cakeballs 

Batman Cake

Batman Fondant Cake 

 

 

 

 

Hazelnut Acorn Cookies

Hazelnut Acorn Cookies

There are times when you see something and just have to buy it. Or you may stay thinking about it only to come back hours later to buy it. That was my case with my acorn cookie cutter. I saw it at World Market and figured I would just come back later for it. What happened instead was that I went to a few stores next door and ended up coming back for the cookie cutter before I went home. No regrets. Hakuna Matata.

I loved making these cookies because I didn’t have to use the royal icing, which always takes forever to dry. We were going to visit one of our neighbors before she left for the holidays and so I figured it would be the perfect occasion to use my acorn cookie cutter. Later on, while jogging around my neighborhood I noticed many acorns on the sidewalk and so I picked up a few to use as decor for when I would make these cookies. Enjoy these as they will be the perfect addition on your dessert table for Thanksgiving!

Hazelnut Acorn Cookies 

Printable Recipe Here

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar (confectioner’s sugar)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon hazelnut extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 ½ cups cups finely ground hazelnuts, divided
  • 3 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
  • 8 ounces chocolate candy coating/ chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Beat butter and sugar at medium speed until fluffy
  2. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat well after each addition
  3. Mix in the vanilla and hazelnut extract
  4. In another bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder
  5. Add 1 cup of hazelnuts to the flour mixture
  6. Gradually add this to the butter mixture and beat on low speed until smooth
  7. Add the cream and beat until well-incorporated
  8. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour or up till overnight
  9. Preheat the oven to 350° F
  10. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside
  11. On a lightly floured surface, roll out your dough to ¼ inch thickness and cut with your cookie cutter
  12. Place the cookies on the prepared sheets and bake for 10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned
  13. In a microwavable bowl, melt the chocolate candy coating and dip the top half of the cookies
  14. Sprinkle the remaining ½ cup of hazelnuts over the top half
  15. Add some chocolate coating to a plastic ziploc bag or piping bag and design as you wish
  16. Store in air-tight container for up to 5 days

Recipe from the All American Cooking magazine

Hazelnut Acorn Cookies

 

 

NY Style Cheesecake

This cheesecake almost didn’t happen. The night I had planned to make it for a lunch we were holding the next day, I conveniently forgot where the springform pan’s base was. I sat for a while on Pinterest trying to get inspirations for another dessert to make, but nothing was appealing to me. Once I had the idea to make this cheesecake, I just couldn’t forget it and that was the problem. I tried again, opening every cabinet and looking between pans that the springform base could be hidden in. Just when I was about to call it a night, my mom yelled over to me and there it was in her hand. Apparently it was in our outside refrigerator; an area that I never thought to check. Cheesecake is one of those desserts that is really worth making because the end product never fails to satisfy. Check below to enjoy your own home-made version as well!

new york cheesecake

New York Style Cheesecake

Printable Recipe Here

Ingredients

Crust

  • 2 cups crushed graham wafers
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

Cheesecake Filling

  • 32 ounces (4 of the 8 ounce packages) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 5 eggs
  • 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest  (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Put the wafers in a food processor and blend until they are small crumbs
  2. Pour the crumbs in a bowl and add the 1/4 cup of sugar and melted butter
  3. Spray the springform pan with cooking spray and press the crumbs on the bottom and halfway up the pan
  4. Refrigerate while you make the cheesecake filling
  5. Put the cream cheese, 1 cup of sugar, and flour in a mixing bowl and beat until well incorporated (1 minute)
  6. Add the eggs, one at a time, until they are blended in
  7. Scrape the sides of the bowl as you mix so that you do not have any lumps of cream cheese remaining
  8. Add the whipping cream, lemon zest, and vanilla extract and beat for a minute or until well mixed
  9. Before you pour the filling into your crust, cover the outside of the springform pan with aluminum foil (so no water gets in)
  10. Pour the filling into the aluminum wrapped springform pan
  11. Put the springform pan in a large baking dish and fill the dish with water (so the water is halfway up the pan)
  12. Bake at 350 F for 15 minutes
  13. Reduce to 250 F and bake for 1 hour and 30 minutes or until only the center is a little wobbly when you shake the pan
  14. Cool and refrigerate overnight and decorate/serve the following day

Tips

  • For the design, I melted semi-sweet chocolate and dipped strawberries in it. For some strawberries, I covered them with chopped almonds and for the others, I dipped them in a ready made strawberry glaze.
  • If you do not have graham wafers (as I did not), be creative and improvise with ANYTHING that you have. I used waffle cones that we had and just put those in the food processor. I have also used animal crackers in the past so anything will work.
  • Baking the cheesecake in a water bath will prevent it cracking because then the outer edge will not bake faster than the center (the hottest the water bath can get is 100 C).
  • Short 1 minute video for how to assemble a water bath here

Recipe modified from ZoomYummy

new york cheesecake

new york cheesecake

 

For more ideas check out some of my past cheesecakes below:

reeses cheesecake

 

pecan cheesecake

 

cheesecake

 

 

Houston Bites: Cedar’s Bakery

Houston Bites is back!!!

Driving back home with a colossal stack of white boxes, I knew that my brunch with my mom had gone successful. A planned brunch date quickly turned into stocking up a week’s supply for the family which was quite successful, although it disappeared without a trace. The effect after my first visit was similar as this is one place that is definitely hard to leave. I will have to warn you: you need to eat at least one of the mana’eesh (flatbread pies) in the store before heading home with a load, or else you may find yourself driving with one hand because your other fingers (that are now covered in olive oil and sesame) could not resist the temptations driven by the aroma of Middle Eastern herbs.

Cedar’s Bakery, a Lebanese family-owned business, may not have an extensive menu of breakfast or lunch items to order, but why have that when you have a range of quality mana’eesh, pita sandwiches, and assorted mini pastries? Watching your mana’eesh come out on long wooden paddles from the authentic twin brick ovens only adds to the experience as compared to simply picking up a pizza in a box from Domino’s. One of my favorites is sojok, a beef crumbly sausage flavored with cumin, garlic, and red pepper that is also mixed with a crumbly cheese. The sweet cheese and savory sausage complement each other on the soft, chewy pita flatbread. Other favorites of mine include the zaa’tar (a spice blend of sumac, thyme, oregano, sesame, & marjoram) and the parsley with akkawi cheese. If you are looking for a flatbread that is not so savory, I would go for the labne bread (a popular Middle Eastern cheese topped with tomatoes, olives, & a spice blend). Other than the famous mana’eesh, I have also tried their crunchy spinach and onion pies which are great to-go items for a quick snack. You can pair up some coffee or tea with your steaming baked good or you can be a bit more adventurous and go for the fragrant rose-flavored drink.

Quick “Must Order Bites” List

  1. Sojok Mana’eesh (my favorite although I am fan of their whole menu)
  2. Half Zaa’tar/ Half Cheese Mana’eesh
  3. Parsley & Cheese Mana’eesh
  4. Labne Mana’eesh
  5. Spinach Pies
  6. Rose Flavored Drink

Take a look at their menu here , complete with mouthwatering pictures to make your decision even harder on what to order haha.

Newsworthy Tidbit: Cedar’s has been rated as 42 out of the top 100 Houston restaurants for the Houston Chronicle in 2014 so come grab a quick bite here!

ADDRESS

8619 Richmond Ave

Houston, TX 77063

HOURS OF OPERATION

MONDAY-FRIDAY: 7am – 6pm

SATURDAY: 7am – 5pm

SUNDAY: 7am – 4pm

CONTACT INFO

EMAIL ADDRESS:info@cedarsbakeryhouston.com

TELEPHONE: (713)706-4141

 

IMG_1716

Sojok Mana’eesh

IMG_1718

Parsley & Cheese Mana’eesh

 IMG_1721

Labne Bread

     IMG_0940

Rose Flavored Drink