4.15.2014

Bunny Bark and Easter Gift-Givers



                                                        Happy Easter!

What could be more fun than white chocolate bark for an Easter treat? And with big marshmallow bunnies studded through it! Of course, you can use the miniature pastel marshmallows too, but I couldn't resist these pastel big bunny shaped puffs, although the shapes are difficult to see in the photo.


My collection of Christopher Radko/Ino Schaller bunny band gift givers (called gift givers because the bottom is removable and you can put a gift or candy inside) are drooling over the view of the egg shaped bunny bark while "entertaining" us. It's almost as much fun to get them out for Easter as it is to eat the bark!


In Savannah for their annual house tour recently, I was pleased to see a large collection of the Schaller gift-givers, for all holidays, at The Christmas Shop. (To see the collection, click on Ino Schaller on that webpage.) While my Santa gift giver collection has gotten way out of hand, I did break a promise to myself to resist and purchased one little one. There were lots of Easter gift-givers (chicks and bunnies), a large turkey gift giver that didn't appeal at all and even some Halloween gift-givers....an adorable pumpkin one I'd never seen and I just had to have it. Fortunately, I don't get to Savannah that often because it appears resistance is futile. :)



Bunny Bark




Ingredients:

12 ounces white chocolate (I used 3 Ghiradelli 4 ounce bars)
3 cups pastel marshmallows, mini or bunny shaped (got mine at Target)
Pastel sprinkles of your choice

Method:

Fit some parchment paper in a baking pan and set aside.
Melt the chocolate in the microwave, starting with 30 seconds, stirring well, and then in 15 second increments. Shouldn't take more than 1 minute or so. Remove when there are still some chunks, stir madly until it's all melted.
Add the marshmallows and quickly spread on the baking sheet. Use your sprinkles on top and put the pan in the freezer for 15 or 20 minutes. You want to stop those marshmallows from melting.
Remove and let it come nearly to room temperature before cutting into squares, or use an egg shaped cookie cutter. 

Note: It's easier if you spray some Pam on any cookie cutter you use.



4.12.2014

Rhubarb Soufflés


You might have guessed a rhubarb post would be coming along soon this time of year. Donna Hay actually had an entire section on rhubarb in her most recent issue...they must have written it just for me.  :) So, there will be a couple more rhubarb recipes coming your way; you can hold onto them until you see rhubarb in your garden or in your markets.

This s
oufflé was a beauty to make, light and airy to eat, pretty to photograph and a very tasty finale for any meal. Such a delicate pink and, once again, I'm thinking "ladies who lunch."

Rhubarb 
Soufflés
From Donna Hay magazine, issue 74



Ingredients:

300g rhubarb (about 2 1/2 cups), chopped into 1 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 cup superfine sugar
2 tablespoons water

1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon water

butter, melted, for greasing

superfine sugar, for dusting the ramekins

3 egg whites, room temperature
confectioners sugar, for dusting

Method:

Preheat oven to 350.
Place the rhubarb, sugar and water in a saucepan over heat. Stir to combine, bring to a boil and cook,  stirring frequently, for about 8 or so minutes until completely softened. Pour into a bowl and with a hand blender, or hand mixer, beat until smooth. 

Mix the cornstarch and water until smooth. Return 1/2 cup of the rhubarb mixture to the saucepan (save the rest for something else), cook until it starts to bubble, add the cornstarch mixture, stir until thickened. It won't take long. Pour into another bowl and allow to cool.

Take your ramekins, use a pastry brush and brush them with the melted butter and then dust them completely with the superfine sugar. Set aside.

Beat whites until soft peaks form and then add the superfine sugar to taste. I used perhaps 3 or 4 tablespoons. Beat until glossy. Carefully fold in the rhubarb and pour into the ramekins, right up to the top. (I filled the ramekins half way, then tapped them on the counter to to settle the mixture before adding the rest.) Smooth the top and then run your finger about 1/2 inch deep all around the edge of each ramekin. Place ramekins on a baking sheet and bake for 12-14 minutes or until 
soufflés have risen and are golden. Dust with confectioners sugar and serve immediately. 
This recipe made two large ramekins and three small.


4.09.2014

Carrot Ricotta Muffins


Are you beginning to think carrots yet? This time of year, I love all the carrot recipes and with Easter on its way I thought I'd post this savory carrot muffin recipe. I think what drew me to the recipe was the thin slice of carrot around the muffin. It makes for a very pretty muffin presentation. And best of all, a tasty, healthy muffin.

Carrot Ricotta Muffins with Thyme and Lemon
From ricotta....che passione




Ingredients:
1 and 2/3 cup 00 flour (see *note)
3-4  carrots
7 1/2 tablespoons ricotta cheese
generous 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon baking powder
generous 3/4 cup milk
1 egg
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
grated rind of  1/2 a lemon
oil
salt

Method:
*Note: 00 flour is usually used for making pasta. If you don't have any, which I didn't, make 00 flour by using 1 part pastry flour to 3 parts all purpose flour and sieve it.

Peel the carrots and cut 8 strips (I cut more as I used the deeper muffin liners) along the length of the carrot. I lightly buttered my liners and wrapped the carrot slices around the bottom of the liner, against the sides. It took two strips each liner for me. Grate the remaining carrots. (By hand or with your processor) You should have more than 2 cups. I bought large carrots because I wanted a fairly wide slice to line the liners, so ended up using 3 largish carrots. You don't need to be too exact here.
In a pan with a little olive oil, cook the grated carrots for a few minutes. Add some salt and set aside to cool.
Mix the flour, the baking powder, Parmesan cheese, thyme, lemon rind and a little salt.
To the cooled carrots, add the ricotta, the milk and the egg. Stir until well blended. Add to the flour until it makes a soft dough. You may add a bit more milk if it seems too stiff. It needs a bit more than 3/4 cup.
Divide the mixture into the carrot-lined muffin liners and bake in a 355 oven for 30 - 35 minutes until puffed and brown on top. They will be moist and it took me the whole 35 minutes, but remember, I used the deeper cupcake liners. Keep an eye on them to make certain they're golden on top and cooked through. 

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