Saturday, May 24, 2014

Salted Caramel Tea cup Cupcakes

My niece, who lives in Australia, recently shared photos of her visit to a local cafe called The Silva Spoon.  More specifically, she posted a photo of a yummy-looking cupcake served in a tea cup...and she assured me that those alone were worth a visit to Australia.  Since I don't think I'll be in Australia anytime soon, I just borrowed the concept of serving a special dessert in a tea cup.  We had some birthdays to celebrate over here...and had a girls' luncheon.  For dessert, we each had our own wee cake served in a family heirloom tea cup.

I used our family favorite apple cake recipe...which made 18 large cupcakes.  I made a Caramel Butter Cream frosting (recipe to follow)...and piped it onto the cupcakes with a tip of my choice.  Make that my second choice...since I couldn't locate the tip I was after.  I drizzled a little caramel sauce on top...and added a sprinkle of sea salt.  And those were our Salted Caramel Birthday Cupcakes-in-a-Teacup.

* * * * *

Caramel Buttercream Frosting
  • 1 cup salted butter, at room temperature
  • 4 cups icing sugar (powdered sugar)
  • 3/4 cup Caramel Sauce, cooled completely (recipe below)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract 
Whip butter on medium-high speed until light and fluffy (several minutes).
Add icing sugar and blend on low speed until combined.
Add caramel sauce and vanilla and beat until well blended.

Caramel Sauce
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup salted butter
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  1. In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat sugar and water over medium heat, whisking constantly to dissolve sugar. 
  2.  Once mixture reaches a boil, stop stirring and allow mixture to boil until it turns amber, swirling pan occasionally. 
  3. Add butter; whisk until butter has melted then remove from heat. 
  4. Wait 3 seconds then carefully pour in cream, whisking until smooth. 
  5. Allow caramel to cool completely. 
 * * * * *

Use your imagination.  Find a cupcake liner that fits nicely into your teacups (likely extra-large).  Bake your favorite cupcake; cool, then transfer to a tea cup and decorate as you please.  They will want to have dessert first.  I know! 

That is why, one of the wee birthday cakes seemed to have a piece missing when it came time for dessert! 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Avocado Caesar Salad

Here's a Caesar salad with a bit  of a avocado dressing. 

  • 1 avocado
  • ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more in needed
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1- 2 tablespoons red or white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  1. Cut the avocado in half lengthwise. Remove the pit from the avocado and discard. Remove the avocado from the skin and place the avocado flesh in a food processor or blender.
  2. Add the olive oil, Parmesan, vinegar, lemon juice, garlic cloves, Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper. Pulse until smooth and creamy.  
  3. Thin the dressing, if you need to, with more olive oil.
  4. Use immediately or refrigerate for several days. 
  • 3 hearts of romaine
  • 12 slices bacon, fried and crumbled
  • Parmesan cheese, shredded
  • croutons, avocado slices (optional)
  1. Place lettuce into a large mixing bowl. 
  2. Add dressing and toss to combine. (Use only enough dressing to lightly coat the lettuce.)
  3. Transfer lettuce to individual serving plates and top with Parmesan, bacon, croutons and avocado slices.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Lemon Parmesan Coins

A friend posted a family favorite recipe for homemade crackers on her blog some time ago and I bookmarked it.  Today I'm sharing my adaptation, since I changed it up a wee bit.  She used rosemary...I used dill.  She used the food processor...I did it without. We quite enjoyed these crackers...having them as an pre-dinner appetizer with guests on several occasions.  The best part is the pastry can be made in advance...even stored in the freezer.  Thanks, Lorrie!

  • 1 1/3 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 Tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1-2  tablespoons fresh dill, rosemary or thyme, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup butter, cold and hard
  • 1 egg yolk
  • juice of 1 lemon (about 3 tablespoons)
  1. In large bowl, combine flour, Parmesan cheese, lemon zest, salt and pepper.  
  2. Using a large holed grater, grate the butter.
  3. Add grated butter to the dry ingredients, and toss to create  pea-sized pieces.
  4. Combine egg yolk and lemon juice. Drizzle over flour mixture.
  5. Stir to combine.
  6. Turn mixture onto work surface and work the dough until it sticks together.
  7. Shape into a log, about 1 1/2 inches in diameter.
  8. Wrap in plastic wrap.
  9. Chill for at least one hour.
  10. Slice 1/4 inch think and place on parchment lined baking sheet.
  11. Bake at 350° for 15 minutes or until golden.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Mason Jar Lid Pies

 Everyone loves mini-pies, it seems...
but not everyone has mini-pie pans at their disposal.
Or do they?
Who doesn't have Mason jar lids in their cupboard?
They work fabulously as a wee pie pan.
The mason jar lids are like a little spring-form pan...
and the wee pies pop right out.
They are the perfect little hand-pie!

The rhubarb in the garden is ready for the picking...
so I decided do see for myself if the Mason jar lids really doubled as pie pans.
And yes...they do.

  • 6 Mason jar lids and rings, wide-mouth size
  • 1 box refrigerated pie crust or pastry for a double-crusted pie.
  • 2 cups rhubarb, chopped
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  1. Wash and chop rhubarb quite fine
  2. Combine rhubarb, sugar, flour and nutmeg. Set aside.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  4. Place 6 wide-mouth mason jar rings on the baking sheet. Place 6 lids inside the rings with the rubber seal facing down and the top of the lid facing up. Spray the lids and rings with non-stick cooking spray.
  5. Roll out pastry for one pie crust (or use refrigerated pastry). Using a mason jar ring as a guide, create a bottom crust by cutting a circle about 1/2 inch around the lid.
  6. Carefully fit the crust inside a jar lid on the prepared pan. The crust should hang over edge of ring a bit.
  7. Repeat until you have 6 bottom crusts. (You will need to re-roll the scraps.)
  8. Place filling into each crust.
  9. To make the top crusts, roll out the second sheet of pastry and use a jar ring to cut 6 more circles.
  10. Place the top crusts over the filling. Try to pinch the top and bottom pastry together to seal. (As you can see, my seal never quite held!)
  11. Prick upper crust with fork in several places.
  12. Bake the pies in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes or until the filling is bubbly and the crust is golden.
  13. Cool on a wire rack. 
  14. Run a knife along the edge of the mason jar ring to release the pie.
Serves 6

* The mason jar lids wash up beautifully in the dishwasher!