Black Tea Vanilla Muffins

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Sponsored post by Mirum Shopper. All opinions are my own.

High quality black tea and real vanilla beans infused in melted butter create the tastiest Black Tea Vanilla Muffins that are perfect with a hot cup of tea!

High quality black tea and real vanilla beans infused in melted butter create the tastiest Black Tea Vanilla Muffins that are perfect with a hot cup of tea!

Its funny how something like tea can be both comforting on a cold winter day, yet incredibly refreshing when served over ice on a blistering hot summer day. Right now, a major cold front it consuming the entire top half of our country. Although we’re not seeing single digit temperatures like the frigid midwest, our highs have been in the thirties for the last week and on the cold winter days like we’ve been having, when a chill has settled in the air, and it feels like your toes have become actual ice cubes, a hot cup of tea is what warms me up. Relaxing with a hot a flavorful cup of tea has actually become part of my daily afternoon ritutal, and every day at 3pm it protects my sanity. If you’re the same, your tea should be dependable. You should know where it comes from and what it stands for.

High quality black tea and real vanilla beans infused in melted butter create the tastiest Black Tea Vanilla Muffins that are perfect with a hot cup of tea!

Because the weather has been so cold, we’ve been doing a lot of baking to go with all the tea drinking in my house. Then, it dawned on me – I should incorporate the flavors of my favorite Pure Leaf Black Tea with vanilla into my tried and trusted muffin recipe. I didn’t want to change the consistency of the batter by adding brewed tea, so I infused the tea right into the melted butter long with a split vanilla bean.

High quality black tea and real vanilla beans infused in melted butter create the tastiest Black Tea Vanilla Muffins that are perfect with a hot cup of tea!

The result was a perfectly moist muffin with just the right hint of tea and vanilla. I can’t even begin to tell you how wonderfully comforting this hot muffin was with a thin pad of butter along with my afternoon cup of tea. That, plus my new electric blanket and my book, was pure heaven.

High quality black tea and real vanilla beans infused in melted butter create the tastiest Black Tea Vanilla Muffins that are perfect with a hot cup of tea!

Try the new bagged and loose varieties of Pure Leaf tea available right now at your neighborhood Kroger store. Kroger strives to be a retailer you can depend on, that’s why they offer Pure Leaf teas—because they’re made simply, from the finest leaves picked at their freshest from Rainforest Alliance Certified tea estates. And their farmers do as little as possible to the leaves—just pick, roll, and craft them.

High quality black tea and real vanilla beans infused in melted butter create the tastiest Black Tea Vanilla Muffins that are perfect with a hot cup of tea!

Pure Leaf believes the best things in life are real, that’s why all Pure Leaf teas are simply made from real tea leaves, picked at their freshest and purposefully crafted to deliver a genuine tea experience. Pure Leaf’s process is simple and authentic. The quality tea leaves go through a four-step process—simply picked, rolled, dried and blended—for an exceptional tea taste. The bagged and loose teas are a blend of quality long-leaf teas made with real fruit pieces, petals and herbs. Like all Pure Leaf tea, the process is simple and authentic—Pure Leaf offers the finest quality tea leaves that are simply picked, rolled, dried and blended, for an exceptional tea taste. Pure Leaf tea leaves are grown at some of the finest-quality tea estates in India, Kenya, Indonesia and Sri Lanka committed to sustainability. I, personally, am drawn to the bagged teas. I absolutely love the shape and material of the bags. To brew it, I simply pour boiling water over the bag in my cup and three minutes later I have a perfectly brewed hot cup of tea.

High quality black tea and real vanilla beans infused in melted butter create the tastiest Black Tea Vanilla Muffins that are perfect with a hot cup of tea!

Kroger has NEW Pure Leaf loose and bagged tea in Black Vanilla and Green Mint Tea. Which flavor are you excited to try? My preferred flavor depends 100% on my mood at the time. To find your nearest Kroger store, click on the store locator here or click the image below. So get to Kroger today to try the new Pure Leaf bagged and loose teas. You’re dedicated to your tea, so it should be made honestly. Choose Pure Leaf—it’s True Brew.High quality black tea and real vanilla beans infused in melted butter create the tastiest Black Tea Vanilla Muffins that are perfect with a hot cup of tea!

Once you get to the store, simply find the coffee and tea isle. Pure Leaf is easy to find because of their clear containers and branding. Choose between loose or bagged teas, as well as hot or iced teas… or just do what I did and take one of each home!

High quality black tea and real vanilla beans infused in melted butter create the tastiest Black Tea Vanilla Muffins that are perfect with a hot cup of tea!

 

Black Tea Vanilla Muffins
 
Prep time
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Total time
 
High quality black tea and real vanilla beans infused in melted butter create the tastiest Black Tea Vanilla Muffins that are perfect with a hot cup of tea!
Author:
Recipe type: breakfast
Yields: 12 muffins
Ingredients
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 cube)
  • 1 Pure Leaf Black Tea with vanilla tea bag
  • 1 vanilla bean, split
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F and grease muffin tins with butter or muffin liners with cooking spray.
  2. In a medium sized pan over medium heat, melt the butter with the tea bag and vanilla bean over medium heat. Swirl occasionally to ensure butter is cooking evenly and the flavors of the tea and vanilla are infused. As the butter melts, it will begin to foam and the color will get darker. Continually scrape bottom of pan to release any brown specs. Once you start smelling the nutty aroma, remove browned butter from heat and allow to cool.
  3. In a large bowl, sift together flour, sugars, baking power, baking soda, and salt.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs, buttermilk, vanilla, and mostly cooled browned butter together. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the liquid ingredients. Fold together and do not over mix.
  5. Spoon batter into greased muffin tins and bake in preheated oven for 5 minutes. Without opening the oven door, reduce heat to 325 degrees F and continue cooking until golden brown, about 15-25 minutes (mine took longer because I used a stone muffin pan). When done cooking, immediately remove from muffin tins and allow to cool on cooling rack.

High quality black tea and real vanilla beans infused in melted butter create the tastiest Black Tea Vanilla Muffins that are perfect with a hot cup of tea!

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Blackberry Vanilla Mocktail

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This refreshing and perfectly sweet Blackberry Vanilla Mocktail made from fresh blackberry puree and vanilla paste is a favorite summer drink for all ages.

This refreshing and perfectly sweet Blackberry Vanilla Mocktail made from fresh blackberry puree and vanilla paste is a favorite summer drink for all ages.

I’m a huge fan of vanilla paste. When you add it to your favorite recipes, you get that intense vanilla flavor without any of the alcohol you get when you add extract. If you don’t have vanilla beans on hand, paste is a great alternative. I was at the farmer’s market last week and our local store, New Seasons Market, was giving away samples, along with the recipe, of a blackberry vanilla mocktail. First of all, that little two-sip sample they handed out was so refreshing on that gorgeous sunny day. Second, I watched them prepare the next batch and what were they using for the vanilla? This same exact vanilla paste. New Seasons is a high end grocery store located throughout the Portland metro area, and I knew that if they were using this product, it had to be a good one.

This refreshing and perfectly sweet Blackberry Vanilla Mocktail made from fresh blackberry puree and vanilla paste is a favorite summer drink for all ages.

The base of this recipe is all of the ingredients, minus the seltzer water that gets added just before stirring. Pressing the blackberry puree through a fine mesh strainer is a serious pain in the butt, but well worth the effort to avoid seeds in your drink. These blackberries were destined to be used for something wonder. We picked them ourselves and my poor son got stung by a wasp on the berry farm! After that, I had to make him a special treat. The sweetened blackberry vanilla puree can be added to ice cube trays and frozen if you’d like. I also took the puree to a backyard party and we mixed it with lemonade. There are tons of options!

This refreshing and perfectly sweet Blackberry Vanilla Mocktail made from fresh blackberry puree and vanilla paste is a favorite summer drink for all ages.

Blackberry Vanilla Mocktail
 
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This refreshing and perfectly sweet Blackberry Vanilla Mocktail made from fresh blackberry puree and vanilla paste is a favorite summer drink for all ages.
Author:
Recipe type: drink
Yields: 6 servings
Ingredients
  • 2 pints fresh blackberries
  • juice from 3 lemons
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla paste
  • 2 tablespoons of honey
  • sparkling water
Instructions
  1. Puree blackberries in blender and strain through fine mesh strainer. I recommend using a silicon spatula to press as much of the fruit through. Discard the seeds.
  2. Add the lemon juice, vanilla paste, and honey to the puree. Stir well and taste. Add more honey if needed.
  3. Store this blackberry base in an air tight container in the refrigerator for up to five days until ready to use.*
  4. To serve, combine in a pitcher with sparkling water (amount depends on how strong you want the blackberry flavor) or allow each person to add puree to their ice filled glass and they can top with sparkling water.
Notes
* Puree can also be frozen in ice cube trays for later use.

This refreshing and perfectly sweet Blackberry Vanilla Mocktail made from fresh blackberry puree and vanilla paste is a favorite summer drink for all ages.
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Old Fashioned Strawberry Ice Cream

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When you’re looking for a tasty summer treat to help cool you down, nothing quite beats some creamy homemade Old Fashioned Strawberry Ice Cream.

old-fashioned-strawberry-ice-creamWell, I thought I was done posting strawberry recipes for the season. I went a little strawberry-crazy there for awhile, but I just cannot help myself. How could I not make some classic homemade strawberry ice cream? I mean, next to chocolate and vanilla, strawberry is one of those basic must-have must-make summer flavors.

old-fashioned-strawberry-ice-cream-ingredientsThere are certainly easy ways to cheat at making ice cream that don’t require cooking or eggs, but when it comes to ice cream – I really do have a hard time not making it properly. Its really not that difficult, and once I got over the fear of curdling my eggs with hot cream, I realized the process was super simple.

old-fashioned-strawberry-ice-cream-baseHomemade old fashioned ice cream basically consists of an egg yolk and sugar base combined with a hot cream mixture.  Add in a few wonderful extras like some ruby red summer produce and a vanilla bean and you turn something basic (yet still wonderful) into something extraordinary.

old-fashioned-strawberry-ice-cream-panIf you don’t already have an ice cream maker, I highly recommend getting one. Its has been worth every penny in our house. I usually like to freeze the base container in my deep freezer as opposed to the house freezer because it gets that much colder.

old-fashioned-strawberry-ice-cream-scoop

The result?  The most creamy, perfectly sweet, classic ice cream flavor.

old-fashioned-strawberry-ice-cream-sideNow, I have to know… are you a dish or a cone person?  I, myself, am both. When I order ice cream I have them serve it up in a dish with the cone on top. That way I won’t spill a drop plus I won’t miss out on a sweet cookie cone. Enjoy!

old-fashioned-strawberry-ice-cream-close

This recipe uses vanilla beans. Did you know you can make your own homemade vanilla extract? It makes the perfect gift too. Watch how in the video below.
Old Fashioned Strawberry Ice Cream
 
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When you're looking for a tasty summer treat to help cool you down, nothing quite beats some creamy homemade Old Fashioned Strawberry Ice Cream.
Author:
Recipe type: dessert
Yields: 6 servings
Ingredients
  • 4 cups strawberries, stems removed, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar, divided
  • 1/4 cup golden brown sugar
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
Instructions
  1. Combine the strawberries with the lemon juice and 1/4 cup of the sugar in a bowl. Toss until the ingredients are well incorporated and allow to macerate in the refrigerator for several hours to let the natural juice of the strawberry come out.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together egg yolks. Add granulated and brown sugars as well as salt and whisk together until lightened in color and smooth.
  3. Pour the half and half, the heavy cream, and the vanilla bean into a medium saucepan, over medium heat. Bring the mixture just to a simmer, stirring occasionally while pressing onto the vanilla beans to extract the flavor and the seeds, and then remove the pot from the heat.
  4. Use a ladle to transfer one spoonful at a time of the hot cream to the egg yolk mixture while whisking the entire time. Your goal is to slowly mix in the hot mixture to temper the eggs but not to cook them. Continue to slowly add the hot cream while whisking until all of it has been thoroughly combined.
  5. Return the entire mixture to the saucepan and place over medium low heat. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture thickens slightly and coats the back of a spoon. For me, this was more of a gut feel thing to know when it was ready, but you can definitely tell when the mixture has thickened. Do not let it get to the point where the eggs begin to cook. You should be able to touch the mixture with your finger without burning it.
  6. Pour the mixture into a bowl and allow to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  7. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least four hours.
  8. Alternatively, you can pour the mixture into a bowl and set over another large bowl filled with ice water. Stir to cool the mixture down. You want the custard to be ice cold before churning.
  9. Stir the chilled strawberry mixture into the custard.
  10. Pour into an ice cream maker and process according to the manufacturer's directions. I was able to process the entire batch at once in my Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker. This should take approximately 25 to 35 minutes. Freeze for a couple of hours to allow the ice cream to harden. Then scoop and enjoy.
When you're looking for a tasty summer treat to help cool you down, nothing quite beats some creamy homemade Old Fashioned Strawberry Ice Cream.
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Salted Vanilla Bean Caramels

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These sweet & chewy homemade Salted Vanilla Bean Caramels, made with the goodness of browned butter and lots of vanilla beans, are the perfect holiday gift!

These sweet & chewy homemade Salted Vanilla Bean Caramels, made with the goodness of browned butter and lots of vanilla beans, are the perfect holiday gift!

Welcome to Day 7 of my 12 Days of Holiday Treats Series! That means that I’m well past half way done. What on earth will I share next?!?

12 Days of Holiday Treats | Self Proclaimed Foodie

I’ve been wanting to make chewy homemade caramels for my holiday cookie boxes for years now. As much as I love holiday cookies, the overwhelming amount of flour gets a little tiresome. I like to mix it up on occasion with a chocolate truffle or something like these unbelievably delicious caramels.

These sweet & chewy homemade Salted Vanilla Bean Caramels, made with the goodness of browned butter and lots of vanilla beans, are the perfect holiday gift!

Until this past year, I’ve been deathly afraid of boiling sugar. It all comes back to a tragic gingerbread house incident where I was making homemade gingerbread (yes – long before the days of those easy to make kits) and was gluing the pieces together with boiling melted sugar. Well, I’ll have you know that boiling sugar works fantastic as a glue because it instantly holds the gingerbread together… much like it instantly bonds to your flesh when you sister accidentally spills some on the back of your hand. Yeah. Well. I was finally able to overcome my fear when I made some salted caramel sauce this summer.

These sweet & chewy homemade Salted Vanilla Bean Caramels, made with the goodness of browned butter and lots of vanilla beans, are the perfect holiday gift!

The process is reasonably similar for these caramels in that you need to get it to a very specific temperature to yield the very best results. I don’t have a candy thermometer but I do use my digital meat thermometer. Works like a charm! I also keep my hands protected from the heat by wearing my silicone oven mitt while I stir. I did a few things to take these caramels to good to DAMM GOOD. First, instead of just melting the butter, I browned it first. Then, I used a heck of a lot of vanilla beans. This is a no brainer for me because I just pull them out of the gallon sized jar of homemade vanilla extract that I’ve had soaking in my closet for the past year. I’m a firm believer that everyone should always have at least 20 vanilla beans on hand. Finally, top your sweet caramel with the most delicious flaked sea salt and you have yourself an outstanding treat that makes a fantastic gift!

These sweet & chewy homemade Salted Vanilla Bean Caramels, made with the goodness of browned butter and lots of vanilla beans, are the perfect holiday gift!

This recipe uses vanilla beans. Did you know you can make your own homemade vanilla extract? It makes the perfect gift too. Watch how in the video below.
Salted Vanilla Bean Caramels
 
Prep time
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These sweet & chewy homemade Salted Vanilla Bean Caramels, made with the goodness of browned butter and lots of vanilla beans, are the perfect holiday gift!
Author:
Recipe type: dessert
Yields: 4 dozen
Ingredients
  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 vanilla beans, split with seeds scraped (you'll use both)
  • 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon flaked salt (I use Maldon)
Instructions
  1. Line a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with foil or parchment lined foil. Butter any sides of the dish that are not covered in the liner.
  2. Using a medium to large saucepan (I used an 8 quart because hot bubbling sugar scares me), begin to melt butter over medium high heat. Whisk continually as butter melts and bubbles, scraping any brown bits off the bottom of the pan. When butter has successfully browned, you will have a wonderful caramel nutty aroma. Remove from heat.
  3. Combine the water, sugar, vanilla beans with scraped seeds, condensed milk, corn syrup, and browned butter in the saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly with a heat-resistant rubber spatula. Continue stirring while cooking until the batch reaches 245ºF. You may need to use a heat protective glove over your hand while stirring.
  4. The instant the caramel reaches 245ºF, immediately pour into the prepared pan and remove the vanilla bean pods using a fork. If you do this too early, the caramel won't set. If you take the temperature above the setpoint, you risk having caramel that's hard as a rock as opposed to chewy.
  5. As soon as you've poured the caramel, sprinkle the salt flakes over the surface. Allow to cool completely to room temperature, at least 2 hours. Remove the sheet of caramels from the pan. Cut into the desired size pieces using a sharp chef's knife. For easy wrapping, caramels may be chilled before handling. Wrap in pieces of wax paper for individual treats. Store in airtight container at room temperature.
These sweet and chewy homemade Salted Vanilla Bean Caramels, made with the goodness of browned butter and lots of vanilla beans, are the perfect holiday gift!
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Vanilla Cake with Balsamic Cherry Mascarpone

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If you're looking for an easy yet unique dessert that will really impress, Vanilla Cake with Balsamic Cherry Mascarpone is what you need to make.

If you’re looking for an easy yet unique dessert that will really impress, Vanilla Cake with Balsamic Cherry Mascarpone is what you need to make.

If you're looking for an easy yet unique dessert that will really impress, Vanilla Cake with Balsamic Cherry Mascarpone is what you need to make. 

The trick to the perfect dessert is to make something that is first delicious, but secretly very easy. That’s exactly what this dessert was.If you're looking for an easy yet unique dessert that will really impress, Vanilla Cake with Balsamic Cherry Mascarpone is what you need to make. 

The easy part comes from making your cake using a mix. I don’t think making a cake from scratch is particularly difficult, but anytime you have to measure ingredients and mix according to a specific procedure, there’s always the chance of screwing it up. Mixes make everything more easy. I used the Trader Joe’s vanilla bean cake mix because it is simply the very best boxed cake I’ve ever had.

If you're looking for an easy yet unique dessert that will really impress, Vanilla Cake with Balsamic Cherry Mascarpone is what you need to make. 

Next comes the cherries. All you have to do is pit them and soak them in a bath of balsamic vinegar and sugar. This gives the cherries a unique yet delicious flavor. Please do a better job of pitting them than I did. I mistakenly left one pit in one cherry and my co-worker was the lucky one who found my mistake. Fortunately all of his molars are still in tact.If you're looking for an easy yet unique dessert that will really impress, Vanilla Cake with Balsamic Cherry Mascarpone is what you need to make. 

My kids devoured this cake, as did I, as did the people at work. I make a lot of desserts and I’m pretty sure we would quickly pass the threshold from healthy, to over weight, straight to obese if we were to eat everything I make. That being said, you must make this cake. You won’t be sorry.If you're looking for an easy yet unique dessert that will really impress, Vanilla Cake with Balsamic Cherry Mascarpone is what you need to make.

Vanilla Cake with Balsamic Cherry Mascarpone
 
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If you're looking for an easy yet unique dessert that will really impress, Vanilla Cake with Balsamic Cherry Mascarpone is what you need to make.
Author:
Recipe type: dessert
Yields: 9 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 package vanilla cake mix (plus ingredients required to make cake like egg, oil, etc)
  • 16 ounces fresh sweet red cherries, pitted with stems removed
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar
  • 1 (8 ounce tub) mascarpone cheese, room temperature
Instructions
  1. Bake cake in 9x9 inch pan according to package directions. Allow to cool.
  2. Combine cherries with sugar and balsamic. Allow to soak and macerate for at least 2 hours.
  3. Combine half of the liquid from the cherries with the mascarpone and blend well. Spread on top of cake.
  4. Using slotted spoon, add cherries to top of cake. Drizzle remaining liquid over the cherries.
  5. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

 

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Coconut Pudding Poke Cake

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Coconut Pudding Poke Cake is so moist and perfectly sweet because you “poke” holes into the cake to enable the homemade coconut pudding to be in each bite.

Coconut Pudding Poke Cake is so moist and perfectly sweet because you "poke" holes into the cake to enable the homemade coconut pudding to be in each bite.

I had never heard of poke cake until right before I made this. I actually had to look it up on wikipedia. The explanation is simple – you poke the cake to let something wonderful fill the holes. No one likes a dry cake, so here’s how you make the ultimate moist cake. This was one of my favorite cakes I’ve ever made. Don’t get me wrong – I love to make homemade cakes from scratch. But we don’t always have the time nor the desire to do so. the next best option, in my opinion, are the Trader Joe’s cake mixes. In true TJ’s fashion, they don’t offer a ton of options, but their vanilla cake mix is out of this world delicious… and easy.

Coconut Pudding Poke Cake is so moist and perfectly sweet because you "poke" holes into the cake to enable the homemade coconut pudding to be in each bite.

Just look at those beautiful specs of vanilla bean. You know I’m a lover of all things vanilla.

Coconut Pudding Poke Cake is so moist and perfectly sweet because you "poke" holes into the cake to enable the homemade coconut pudding to be in each bite.

A wooden spoon works great, but all of my wooden spoons have rectangular handles instead of round, and I’m such a freak in the kitchen I couldn’t handle odd shaped holes in my cake, so I found my silicon brush and it worked perfectly. My OCD almost got in the way of me poking that first whole in this beautiful cake, but once the first one went in, my destructive side had fun and went to down with the whole poking. I actually wish I had put twice as many wholes as I did below so that there would be even more pudding in each bite of the cake.

Coconut Pudding Poke Cake is so moist and perfectly sweet because you "poke" holes into the cake to enable the homemade coconut pudding to be in each bite.

For you to be able to enjoy this recipe like I did, you must make a batch of homemade coconut pudding. Sure you could use any kind of store bought pudding, but then you wouldn’t feel the sheer and utter joy I did. And believe me, you’ll want to.

Coconut Pudding Poke Cake is so moist and perfectly sweet because you "poke" holes into the cake to enable the homemade coconut pudding to be in each bite.

After I spread the coconut pudding filled with tiny little specs of sweetened toasted coconut into all the holes, I topped with even more sweetened toasted coconut. Wouldn’t you want to do the same thing? I thought yes, so I did.

Coconut Pudding Poke Cake is so moist and perfectly sweet because you "poke" holes into the cake to enable the homemade coconut pudding to be in each bite.

In my opinion, frosting can either make or break a cake. More times than not, it is too sweet and/or fatty and you end up feeling sick after devouring a piece. That’s why I fell in love with this cake. The pudding combined with the cake was the perfect balance of sweet and creamy. My kids freaking loved it too (shocking, I know).

Coconut Pudding Poke Cake is so moist and perfectly sweet because you "poke" holes into the cake to enable the homemade coconut pudding to be in each bite.

So the next time you get signed up to bring a dessert to a summer potluck because your last name starts with M-Z, make everyone happy by bringing this Coconut Pudding Poke Cake!

Coconut Pudding Poke Cake is so moist and perfectly sweet because you "poke" holes into the cake to enable the homemade coconut pudding to be in each bite.

This recipe uses pure vanilla extract. Did you know you can make your own homemade vanilla extract? It makes the perfect gift too. Watch how in the video below.

Coconut Pudding Poke Cake
 
Prep time
Cook time
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Coconut Pudding Poke Cake is so moist and perfectly sweet because you "poke" holes into the cake to enable the homemade coconut pudding to be in each bite.
Author:
Recipe type: dessert
Yields: 9 servings
Ingredients
cake:
  • Trader Joe's Vanilla Cake mix (plus the below ingredients required from the cake mix)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 stick melted butter (1/2 cup)
  • 1 cup cold milk
pudding:
Instructions
  1. To bake the cake, follow the directions on the box. You can substitute any other cake mix, but be aware that the Trader Joe's brand makes an 8x8x2 cake, where as big brand cake mixes often make a 9x13x2, so you will either have extra cake batter or you will have less pudding to cake ratio.
  2. Make homemade coconut pudding according to the post instructions. Mix half of the toasted coconut into the cooled pudding and reserve the other half.
  3. Using the handle of a wooden spoon (or something similar), poke holes that are about an inch apart in your cooled cake. Spread cooled pudding over cake. Top with remaining toasted coconut. Refrigerate for at least an hour.
  4. Cut into 9 squares while in pan and serve.

Coconut Pudding Poke Cake is so moist and perfectly sweet because you "poke" holes into the cake to enable the homemade coconut pudding to be in each bite.

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Homemade Granola

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If you’ve never made your own Homemade Granola, not only will it taste better and fresher than anything you can buy, but you’ll make it exactly how you want.

If you've never made your own Homemade Granola, not only will it taste better and fresher than anything you can buy, but you'll make it exactly how you want.

Have you ever made your own homemade granola?  If not, well then. You are in luck, because this granola is not only simple to make but it tastes so freaking good. The best part? Make it however you want.

If you've never made your own Homemade Granola, not only will it taste better and fresher than anything you can buy, but you'll make it exactly how you want.

Granola basically consists of mixing oats with a bunch of other stuff, combining it with sunflower oil, vanilla, water, and maple syrup, and baking it at a low temperature to dry it out. My version of granola consisted of what I had lying around in my pantry, which is why you only see a tablespoon of sunflower seeds and not more. Had I had more, I would have used them.

If you've never made your own Homemade Granola, not only will it taste better and fresher than anything you can buy, but you'll make it exactly how you want.

Basically, you can substitute in/out whatever floats your boat. For example, I can’t stand dried fruit in my granola much for the same reason I don’t like raisins in my oatmeal cookie. Its just gross. I also used hemp seed because it has a lot of protein and I like to try out Trader Joe’s new products, but it has an Earthy taste so you may not like it. I do, however, highly recommend pumpkin seeds and coconut because they’re always wonderful.

If you've never made your own Homemade Granola, not only will it taste better and fresher than anything you can buy, but you'll make it exactly how you want.

If you've never made your own Homemade Granola, not only will it taste better and fresher than anything you can buy, but you'll make it exactly how you want.

Our family loves homemade granola. I mix it in with yogurt for a fast, protein filled snack. My son likes to eat it up as cereal for breakfast. It doesn’t really matter, just make it and you will agree!

If you've never made your own Homemade Granola, not only will it taste better and fresher than anything you can buy, but you'll make it exactly how you want.

Homemade Granola
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
If you've never made your own Homemade Granola, not only will it taste better and fresher than anything you can buy, but you'll make it exactly how you want.
Author:
Recipe type: breakfast, snack
Yields: 6-8 cups
Ingredients
  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup coconut
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seed
  • 1/2 cup raw shelled hemp seed
  • 1/2 cup whole ground flaxseed meal
  • 1 tablespoon sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/3 cup raw pecan pieces
  • 1/2 cup sunflower oil
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla (I used 2 vanilla beans)
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, combine all of your dry ingredients. In a separate bowl or measuring cup, combine oil, water, maple syrup, and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir to combine.
  2. Using an extra large baking sheet covered in parchment or a silpat, spread granola mixture over sheet to form a thin layer.
  3. Bake in preheated 250 degree F oven for a total of 1 1/2 hours, stirring or flipping every 15 minutes or so.
  4. Store at room temperature in an airtight container.

 

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Extreme Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

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There is nothing quite like a scoop of homemade rich and creamy Extreme Vanilla Bean Ice Cream. Its the perfect dessert.

 There is nothing quite like a scoop of homemade rich and creamy Extreme Vanilla Bean Ice Cream. Its the perfect dessert.

I love vanilla beans.  Allow me to say it again with more excitement: I LOVE vanilla beans!!!  If you just do a search on my blog, you’ll see how much I really do love them.  If you’re thinking “they’re way to expensive… I can’t believe the grocery stores can get away charging a few bucks for a single vanilla bean, and this crazy chick says I should put three in this ice cream?  No way.”  Trust me, I wouldn’t either if I didn’t have a ton of vanilla beans at the ready in my pantry.  My vanilla beans are dual purpose.  I soak about 80 of them in vodka for an entire year to make my homemade vanilla extract, then I bottle up said extract and give it away as Christmas gifts and use it for my own cooking as well, then I store the 80 vanilla beans in my pantry. They stay perfectly moist and preserved because – remember – they spent a year bathing in glorious vodka.  When those are all gone after a year of making wonderous vanilla bean recipes, its time to bottle up the next batch.  And, the best part: when you buy them in bulk, they are MUCH much cheaper. So there you go!

 There is nothing quite like a scoop of homemade rich and creamy Extreme Vanilla Bean Ice Cream. Its the perfect dessert.

There are a lot of ways to make homemade ice cream. A lot of recipes call for just cream, half and half, milk, or some combination mixed with sugar. C’mon, now. If you’re gonna go to the trouble of making homemade ice cream, don’t cheat yourself. Do it the right way. And if you’re wondering what the right way is, it is to use egg yolks. Don’t be intimidated if you’ve never done this. The process is super easy.

 There is nothing quite like a scoop of homemade rich and creamy Extreme Vanilla Bean Ice Cream. Its the perfect dessert.

Just whisk up your egg yolks. Then whisk in the sugar. Go ahead, burn all those calories you’re about to consume by whisking the hell out of it.  Then you heat up your cream and milk and, of course, vanilla beans. Then you take a spoon ful of the cream and add it to the yolk. If you just add a small amount and keep on whisking, you’ll slowly raise the temperature of the eggs rather then cook them.

 There is nothing quite like a scoop of homemade rich and creamy Extreme Vanilla Bean Ice Cream. Its the perfect dessert.

And… because I’m typing the directions when they’re written below, I’ll use the rest of this post to tell you how delicious this ice cream is.

 There is nothing quite like a scoop of homemade rich and creamy Extreme Vanilla Bean Ice Cream. Its the perfect dessert.

Its the best damn vanilla bean ice cream I’ve ever eaten. That is all.

 There is nothing quite like a scoop of homemade rich and creamy Extreme Vanilla Bean Ice Cream. Its the perfect dessert.

Extreme Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
There is nothing quite like a scoop of homemade rich and creamy Extreme Vanilla Bean Ice Cream. Its the perfect dessert.
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Yields: 6 servings
Ingredients
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup golden brown sugar
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 vanilla beans, split lengthwise
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together egg yolks. Add granulated and brown sugars and whisk together until lightened in color and smooth.
  2. Pour the half and half, the heavy cream, and the vanilla beans into a medium saucepan, over medium heat. Bring the mixture just to a simmer, stirring occasionally while pressing onto the vanilla beans to extract the flavor and the seeds, and then remove the pot from the heat.
  3. Use a ladle to transfer one spoonful at a time of the hot cream to the egg yolk mixture while whisking the entire time. Your goal is to slowly mix in the hot mixture to temper the eggs but not to cook them. Continue to slowly add the hot cream while whisking until all of it has been thoroughly combined.
  4. Return the entire mixture to the saucepan and place over medium low heat. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture thickens slightly and coats the back of a spoon. For me, this was more of a gut feel thing to know when it was ready, but you can definitely tell when the mixture has thickened. Do not let it get to the point where the eggs begin to cook. You should be able to touch the mixture with your finger without burning it.
  5. Pour the mixture into a bowl and allow to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  6. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least four hours.
  7. Pour into an ice cream maker and process according to the manufacturer's directions. I was able to process the entire batch at once in my Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker. This should take approximately 25 to 35 minutes. Freeze for a couple of hours to allow the ice cream to harden. Then scoop and enjoy.

 

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Blood Orange Frosting

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Blood Orange Frosting is a beautifully colored and delicious icing made from fresh orange juice that is thicker than a glaze but thinner than buttercream.

Blood Orange Frosting is a beautifully colored and delicious icing made from fresh orange juice that is thicker than a glaze but thinner than buttercream.

So… I kind of screwed this recipe up from what I originally planned on doing. I wanted to make a nice thick frosting to put on top of my blood orange cupcakes. Wait I failed to do was reduce the orange juice down into a syrup to retain the flavor but also keep it thick so I could pipe it onto the cupcake and make a tall peak.  Whoopsie. If you want a thicker frosting, go ahead and do that. But, as you know, I care more about taste than I do presentation or functionality, so it ended up working out perfectly for what I wanted. I still ended up using this frosting on my cupcakes, although it wasn’t thick enough to pipe on. Instead, it made a perfectly thin layer of frosting and didn’t overwhelm the delicious cupcake. Well, because it was thinner than a traditional buttercream frosting, I ended up having leftovers after frosting all 12 cupcakes, so what did I do?  I made a Guinness Chocolate Bundt Cake (post yet to come) and, oh my Lord, this orange frosting paired so well with that rich chocolate cake.  That’s why I love cooking… it doesn’t have to be perfect and sometimes your “mistakes” turn into something awesome!

 

The moral of the story is this: if you want a semi-thin frosting or a semi-thick glaze, make it as is.  If you want it to be thicker, reduce your freshly squeezed orange juice until you have a 1-2 tablespoon syrup, and use that in lieu of the juice in the recipe below. Either way – YUM!

Blood Orange Frosting is a beautifully colored and delicious icing made from fresh orange juice that is thicker than a glaze but thinner than buttercream.

Blood Orange Frosting
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Blood Orange Frosting is a beautifully colored and delicious icing made from fresh orange juice that is thicker than a glaze but thinner than buttercream.
Author:
Recipe type: dessert
Yields: 2 cups
Ingredients
  • 6 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice (from about 2 oranges)
  • 2 vanilla beans, scraped
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest
  • 3 cups confectioners' sugar
Instructions
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attached, cream together cream cheese and butter until completely smooth.
  2. Add orange juice, vanilla bean, and orange zest. Blend until smooth.
  3. Add powdered sugar, one cup at a time, blending until smooth and creamy.
  4. Frosting will have a consistency between a thick buttercream and a glaze.

 

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Mexican Chocolate Truffles

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These Mexican Chocolate Truffles made with real Ceylon cinnamon, vanilla, and almond extract are easy to make and delicious bite sized holiday treats.

Mexican Chocolate Truffles | Self Proclaimed Foodie

Welcome to the final day of 12 Days of Holiday Treats | Self Proclaimed Foodie

Can you believe that there will be even more sweets posted throughout December!  Tis the season to eat. Of all the goodies I made to share with you, these Mexican Chocolate Truffles might be my favorite. If you don’t know what Mexican chocolate is, its basically chocolate flavored with cinnamon, vanilla, and almond. This flavor combination is out of this world. Trust me on this one.

Mexican Chocolate Truffles | Self Proclaimed Foodie

I made these truffles because an amazing company, Flavor of the Earth, reached out to me and told me about their product. Mitch, my contact at Flavor of the Earth, explained that most people tend to use Cassia Cinnamon (the type that is normally available at the grocery store) which isn’t even real Cinnamon, and is loaded with the dangerous compound Coumarin that the FDA has recently warned against ingesting.   And Denmark is going to outlaw Cassia Cinnamon due to its danger to the liver. I had no idea. Did you? He sent me some articles but like any good consumer, I googled it on my own and I couldn’t believe the amount of information out there about the differences between traditional cinnamon and their true cinnamon product. Mitch explained to me that there is a real type of Cinnamon that people are just starting to become aware of.

This real Cinnamon is called Ceylon Cinnamon.  He thought perhaps my readers would be interested in learning about this real Cinnamon – Ceylon Cinnamon from Sri Lanka.  It has an amazing flavor and aroma (much better than the Cassia Cinnamon) and makes all things with Cinnamon even more fantastic and the excellent health benefits of Ceylon Cinnamon are well documented. I’ve never endorsed a product like this before and you know I am very particular in the quality of foods and brands that I support, so I can honestly tell you that there is no other way to describe this cinnamon other than it smells and tastes like what you’d think cinnamon should taste like. I’m also posting affiliate links all over this post because I seriously want you to convert over to using real cinnamon. I’ll never go back!

Mexican Chocolate Truffles | Self Proclaimed Foodie

Anyway, this was my first attempt at making truffles. I was a little worried because I had heard that sometimes the chocolate never sets properly or that ganache can seize up. Maybe it was the cool temperature of my house (we call it The Ice Castle) or the stars were aligned, but my truffles turned out PERFECT. The chocolate was shiny and set beautifully and the taste was amazing. Who knows… maybe it was the real cinnamon.

Mexican Chocolate Truffles | Self Proclaimed Foodie

I rolled that chocolate mixture into walnut sized balls and then rolled those balls in a mixture of cocoa powder, confectioners sugar, and more of that amazing cinnamon. OH MY LAWD. Sooooo good.

Mexican Chocolate Truffles | Self Proclaimed Foodie

They just look so darn fancy but they were super easy to make. And you can stack them like a pyramid which is always fun.

Mexican Chocolate Truffles | Self Proclaimed Foodie

You know I like to share my extreme close ups, so how could I not include one so that you could admire all those perfect little specs of wonderfulness. You’re welcome.

Mexican Chocolate Truffles | Self Proclaimed Foodie

 

And just in case you missed my first dozen attempts at trying to get you to check out this amazing cinnamon, here’s one last affiliate link for you complete with a picture!

 

To see all of 2014’s holiday treats, click the links below:

2014 Holiday Treats | Self Proclaimed Foodie

Five Minute Fudge | Holiday Sugar Cookies | Peppermint Candy Cane Cookies

Peppermint Chocolate Pie | Hazelnut Lemon Curd Thumbprints | Homemade Peppermint Marshmallows

Chewy Molasses Sugar Cookies | Easy Petite Palmiers | Triple Threat Peppermint Brownie Bites

Toasted Coconut Cookies | Walnut Spiced Rum Balls | Mexican Chocolate Truffles

 

 

Mexican Chocolate Truffles
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
These Mexican Chocolate Truffles made with real Ceylon cinnamon, vanilla, and almond extract are easy to make and delicious bite sized holiday treats.
Author:
Recipe type: dessert
Yields: 3 dozen
Ingredients
Truffle:
  • 1/2 pound dark chocolate (I used Trader Joes 72% from a Pounds Plus bar)
  • 1/2 pound semisweet chocolate (I used Trader Joes semisweet chunks)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon Ceylon cinnamon
Coating:
  • 1 tablespoon Confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon Ceylon cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Chop chocolate into small chunks. Do yourself a favor and use room temperature chocolate. I tried to chop a very frozen and very thick chocolate bar and was sore for two days. Add chocolate to a medium sized bowl. I used a stainless steel bowl. I don't know if that makes a difference, but my truffles turned out perfect so just do what I did.
  2. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, heat heavy cream just until it starts to boil. While its heating, swirl it around in the pan to ensure even heating, and when the cream starts to coat the bottom of the pan, its done. Pour hot cream over chocolate and whisk until all chocolate has melted and mixture is very smooth. Add vanilla, almond extract, and Ceylon cinnamon and mix well.
  3. Allow mixture to sit out at room temperature at least an hour. Mine set perfectly but our house is usually a cool 66 degrees F. If you live in a warm house, you may need to refrigerate.
  4. In small bowl, combine Confectioners sugar, cocoa powder, and remaining Ceylon cinnamon. Roll truffles into walnut sized balls. Then roll in powder mixture to fully coat.
  5. Store truffles in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Can be served cool or at room temperature.

These Mexican Chocolate Truffles made with real Ceylon cinnamon, vanilla, and almond extract are easy to make and delicious bite sized holiday treats.
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