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Showing posts from June, 2011

Chonky Boys: The Chocolate Chip Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches that Scream Summer!

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Featuring my thick and nuggy Chonky Boy Chocolate Chip Cookies, these ice cream sandwiches are the stuff that summer dreams are made of.  If you've ever had the Cookie Ice Cream Sandwich at Disneyland , you are going to LOVE these! 

These big and bold chocolate chip cookies are based on a recipe from my culinary school studies at Auguste Escoffier, but with a few modifications to give them that Jennuine touch.  They make the perfectas book for a fat slice of real vanilla bean ice cream.  And those mini chips?  You just gotta have that extra cronch!

Thank goodness this recipe only makes 8 sandwiches, otherwise I would be eating them for breakfast lunch and dinner.  This way, my big family can help save me from my inner child diet-saboteur.  
PrintWith ImageWithout Image Chonky Boy Chocolate Chip Cookie Ice Cream SandwichesYield: 8Author: Jenn Erickson Loaded with chocolate chips and buttery, brown-sugary vanilla flavor, these mall-sized cookies form a perfect partnership with a fat wedg…

Baking with Olive Oil -- Luscious Lemon Yogurt Cake

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Homer called it "liquid gold."  Since ancient times, Olive oil has been prized by the people of the Mediterranean, not only for food, but for skin care, medicinal applications, and even religious ones. Like a fine wine, a good olive oil is influenced by the soil on which the olive trees grow, and can have a complex flavor profile with nuances of fruits, nuts and herbs or pepper.  
I've been intrigued by the idea of baking with olive oil -- replacing a flavorless oil like vegetable or canola with more depth, richness, and flavor. I was inspired when Natasha of "5 Minutes Just for Me" adapted a Barefoot Contessa recipe for Lemon Yogurt Cake. I recently made the cake, with a few adaptations of my own, and the results were nothing short of exquisite. 
This Lemon Yogurt Olive Oil Loaf-cake is incredibly moist, rich, but not too heavy, and has the perfect balance of sweet and tart. The nuances of the olive oil definitely come through and harmonize beautifully with the …

Vanilla Bean Peach Preserves -- a spoonful of heaven!

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“The jelly - the jam and the marmalade, And the cherry and quince 'preserves' she made! And the sweet-sour pickles of peach and pear, With cinnamon in 'em, and all things rare--! And the more we ate was the more to spare, Out to old Aunt Mary's!”
--James Whitcomb Riley
Ahhh...one of my favorite things about summer is the summer fruit, with peaches at the tippy top of my list.  When the first peaches of summer hit the market, I'm quick to hoard. Yet even when my family has had their fill of the juicy, velvet-skinned fruit, we're always left with a few pounds that ripen to tender lumplings; ready to burst with sweet liquid sunshine! This presents the perfect opportunity to make the most blissful, pie-like preserves that a palette has ever had the pleasure to savor!

My Vanilla Bean Peach Preserves are made with loads of fresh, ripe peaches, a touch of honey to bring out the floral notes, and a liberal speckling of vanilla bean.  It is wonderful on toast and pancakes, as a…

Flip-Flops, Lemonade & Watermelon Get a Summer Makeover -- A Little Birdie Told Me...No. 26

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"Summer afternoon -- summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language." ~ Henry James

Welcome to  "A Little Birdie Told Me..." Tuesday! If you're here to share a craft, recipe or project post, you'll find the linky and the specifics on how to  join the party after the features below.
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Last week's party-goers shared some Summer Classics with a Fresh New Spin...
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The Classic:  Flip-flops Becomes:  FLIP-FLOP REFASHION from Flamingo Toes
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The Classic:  Lemonade  Becomes:  LEMONADE BEER WITH CHERRY RUM from Shugary Sweets
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The Classic:  Watermelon Becomes:  WATERMELON "CUPCAKES" from Jac o'lyn Murphy
--------------------------------- If you've been featured  (this week, or in a previous week)
feel free to grab a "featured on" button
from the sidebar. ---------------------------…

My Favorite Strawberry & Chocolate Tartlets

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I owe much gratitude to my mom for initiating so many wonderful family traditions when my brothers and I were growing up. One of my favorites involves visiting a local farm every year for berry-picking. I am happy to say that this is one (of many) traditions that we've continued and now includes three generations. Because we can always count on a bounty of fresh strawberries every summer, I enjoy creating new recipes that will perfectly complement their natural sweetness.

This year, I revamped an old family classic for Strawberry and Chocolate Pie to make these delightful two-bite tartlets. The buttery little tart shells and the not-too-sweet chocolate filling are the perfect match for the berries.



While strawberry season is at its peak, visit a local farm, farmer's market or grocer -- pick up a bushel of berries, and give this recipe a try:


Strawberry & Chocolate Tartlets (makes 4 dozen) Print-friendly button at the end of the post

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature 6 oun…

How to Make a LIGHTNING MCQUEEN Cake Topper Out of Fondant

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After what was a very long and seriously intense week, it was wonderful to unwind by hanging out and getting creative with some good friends.  I brought along some fondant and fondant tools so I could play and just have fun.  I have to admit, there's a lot of kid in me, so I'm really looking forward to the summer release of Pixar's "Cars II".  I must have had 'Cars' on the brain as I twizzled and twisted my red fondant because before I knew it, the pieces were coming together in the form of Lightning McQueen.



This little guy is just 3" long and was made from red, white, black and blue fondant.  The metallic elements were brushed on with a combination of lemon extract and luster dusts.  I used an food-writer pen to highlight the lettering.
Here's a quick little slideshow of how I put Lighting McQueen together.  He'd be the perfect little cake topper for a CARS birthday party.  I can imagine him posed on top of a fondant strip of blacktop, checke…

A Perfect Vegetarian Summer Menu...

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Tremendous thanks to everyone who linked up to "A Little Birdie Told Me..." last week!
If you'd like to join in this week's party, click HERE!
Last week, there were so many wonderful, healthy, vegetarian recipes, that the theme of "A Perfect Vegetarian Summer Menu" evolved organically in to this week's features.  

Bon Appetit!

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For Starters Crisp toasty phyllo and the perfect balance of healthy spinach and the tang of feta in this traditional recipe for Greek Spanakopitas from Chef in Training
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The Main Course Meat-less, but Flavor-full --  Grilled Portobello Sandwiches with Garlic Herbed Mayo from Jam Hands.
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And on the side A "Terrifically Simple Tabbouleh Salad" from The Hungry Homebody
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For Dessert Try these healthy & delicious Strawberry-Cranberry Cupcakes from Culinary Adve…

You're invited to link-up, share, inspire and be inspired -- A Little Birdie Told Me No. 25

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"Yes, to be a good parent, you have to sacrifice, but this is not a requirement of parenting, it is a requirement of being good at something." 
~Robert Brault
It's been one crackerjack of a week, friends.  It's been challenging, exciting, satisfying, exhilarating, and joyful; riddled with moments of self doubt, humility, and loaded with new lessons, obstacles and triumphs.  There's been little time to spend here in my creative haven, Rook No. 17, or visiting those that inspire me most out in the blogosphere as I've focused my heart, soul and energies on the two cakes that were ultimately delivered to a wedding last Saturday.

 If you're a regular participant in the weekly creative sharefest, "A Little Birdie Told Me..." (thank you), you'll know that I pride myself in visiting everyone's links, reading & enjoying their posts, and leaving a genuine and thoughtful  comment.  It's important to me.
But here we are on Tuesday morning and I …

The Vintage Fire Truck Cake Project -- Complete!

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After 60+ hours, 18 pounds of rolled fondant, 10 pounds of gumpaste, 12 pounds of raspberries, and burning lots of "midnight oil", the fire truck and wedding cake are done!

It was an honor and a privilege to have the opportunity to make these cakes for such a beautiful wedding and such a lovely young couple!  
Here is a 5-minute video of the entire process from concept to reality.  Enjoy the journey!


















Vintage Fire Truck Cake Has Me On A Bloggy Break...

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This week I'm recreating the 1917 fire truck pictured above in sugar and cake! There won't be any new posts this week, since 100% of my time is going in to making this cake a show-stopper. There are lots and lots of fine details!
If you'd like to share any of your posts, please stop by my linky party, A Little Birdie Told Me...
I look forward to showing off the finished cake on Sunday or Monday. In the meantime, here are some photos showing the process and progress up to this point: