Monday, December 28, 2015

An Italian Christmas—Struffoli

 For all of my Italian readers, this is the only recipe you'll need to make everyone happy for the holidays. Struffoli is an old tradition in many Italian households; it's essentially tiny balls of fried dough, drenched in honey and sprinkles. This is the go to Christmas sweet in Naples and other central/southern regions. Fair warning: there is a good deal of frying involved in making this but it is surely worth it. So whip up this classic dessert for Little Christmas this year (January 6th).




Ingredients
2 cups flour, plus extra for dusting
1 large lemon, zested (about 2 teaspoons)
1/2 large orange, zested (about 2 teaspoons)
1/2 cup + 3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Canola oil, for frying
1 cup honey


Sugar sprinkles, for decoration

Mix together 2 cups of flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder using a paddle attachment. Add the eggs and vanilla, mix until homogeneous. Next dump the dough onto a floured surface, and knead for 8 minutes, making a smooth elastic dough. Once the mixture has been kneaded, cover the dough with plastic wrap and leave on the counter top to rest for 20 minutes (to allow to dough to relax).
While the dough is resting, heat a deep fryer or a cast iron skillet with canola oil (a 1/2 inch of oil should be plenty) to 350 Fahrenheit.

Roll your dough into 1/2 inch thick logs, then cut the dough into small pieces (roughly the size of a pea).  Roll the dough in your hands to form perfect circles. Now you may begin frying! Drop your dough into the hot oil and cook until golden. Drain the finished product over paper towels to remove excess oil. While the struffoli is cooling, heat your honey and zests in a large pot. Once the honey is thin and fluid, turn off the heat and add the struffoli. Toss the dough balls in the honey and continue to coat until the honey has cooled.

Pour the finished struffoli onto a platter and assemble as you wish. Traditionally this dessert is made to represent a Christmas tree by piling the dough high, or fashioned in a circle to resemble a wreath. However you choose to decorate, make sure to finish with lots of sprinkles on top for a finishing touch. YUM.


Sunday, December 13, 2015

Slow Cooker Brownie Pudding

Crazy For Crust

Ingredients 
1 Box brownie mix
Eggs, water, and oil (as called for on the brownie box)
1 Package ( about 3.9 ounces) instant chocolate pudding mix
2 Cups milk
Ice cream or whipped cream for serving

Spray a 6-7 quart slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray.
Prepare brownie mix as directed on the back of the box. Pour into prepared slow cooker.
Whisk pudding mix and milk in a medium sized bowl until smooth. Pour carefully over the brownie mix in the crockpot.
Cover the crock pot with a paper towel and place the lid on top (to catch the condensation). Cook on high power 2-3 hours. It will probably take at least 2 1/2 hours, but start checking it after 2. Some of the pudding stays on the top and stays wet looking, so you cannot trust the toothpick test and it will stay somewhat jiggly until it's done. Watch the edges - when they look somewhat dry and done, then the pudding is ready. Baking time will be different for every slow cooker, but after 3 hours on high it should be done. You don't want to overcook it or the brownie (which is on the bottom) will be dry.

Serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream. Store in an airtight container in the regfrigerator for up to 3 days.

This recipe is courtesy of Crazy For Crust


Friday, November 27, 2015

Cranberry [curd] Bars


Ingredients 
Crust: 
1 Cup finely crushed almonds
1 Cup all purpose flour
1/2 Cup confectioners sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp, salt
1/2 Cup unsalted butter

Cranberry Curd: 
3 Cups frozen cranberries
1/2 Cup water
1 Cup granulated sugar
4 eggs
4 egg yolks
1/2 lemon (juiced)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 Cup unsalted butter (softened)
Powdered sugar for dusting

Pre-heat oven to 350 Fahrenheit.
Line a 13x9 baking pan with parchment paper.

Combine crushed almonds, flour, cinnamon, salt, and powdered sugar in a mixing bowl fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix together, then add in the butter in tablespoon chunks. Mix until the butter is fully incorporated.
Press the crust into the prepared 13x9 pan. Bake the crust for 25-30 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown.

For the curd; cook the cranberries and water in a medium saucepan stirring constantly until the berries have all popped. Pour the cranberries into a fine meshed strainer, pushing them through with a rubber spatula. This is your cranberry puree!

To the puree add the granulated sugar, eggs, egg yolks, salt, and lemon juice. Whisk together, then return the mixture to the saucepan and cook over medium heat whisking constantly. Cook the curd until it thickens to a loose pudding consistency.
Next whisk in the butter all at once. Once combined, pour the warm cranberry curd over the almond crust and bake for another 10-15 minutes.
Cool completely before cutting. Dust with powdered sugar and enjoy!


Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thanksgiving



Happy Thanksgiving all! Today I hope that everyone will be staying home with friends and family; not shopping and sprinting towards sales like demented gorillas.


There are a lot of people who are away from home today or are finding that they need to be cooking for the first time. My own little sister is in the middle-east today; studying abroad for the last few months. I wish she could be home, but if she needs a recipe I can help!


The bird is the centerpiece of the meal, luckily it's not hard to make and you're going to look like a pro bringing this to the table.


Ingredients 
1 Turkey ~ mine is 14 lbs(size will depend on how many people)
1 Cup honey
1/2 Cup olive oil
1 Tbsp. Salt
1 Tbsp. Pepper
2 Tbsp. Dried Rosemary
1 whole yellow onion
1 apple


Leave the bird out for around an hour, to bring it to room temperature.
Pre-heat your oven to 425 Fahrenheit.


Rub the honey and olive oil all over the chicken. Sprinkle the spices over it. Next cut the onion and apple into quarters, place them inside the turkey's cavity (this will add tremendous flavor).


Put in the oven for 3 1/2 to 4 hours for this size of bird. Or until your bird reaches an internal temperature of 165 Fahrenheit. Make sure to let the bird REST before carving it!
YUM! Happy Thanksgiving everyone.


Love,
Snack Rack





Thursday, November 19, 2015

Crockpot Hot Vanilla


pixabay

We all love hot chocolate, but what about hot vanilla? For the vanilla lover in your life this is a must for the holiday season, and couldn't be easier to make!

Ingredients 
 2.5 Cups Whole Milk
2.5 Cups Heavy Cream
1 Cup Hot Water
1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp Vanilla Extract

Combine granulated sugar and hot water in a large pot. Stir and bring to a boil, then transfer your mixture to a crock pot.
Add in milk, heavy cream, and vanilla extract. Stir to combine all ingredients
Cook for 2 hours ( or 4 hours on low)

Whip some fresh cream to top this decadent drink and enjoy!

Friday, November 13, 2015

Banana Fruit Leather

Credit thischickcooks.net

The 90's kid in all of us would like nothing more than to eat a Fruit by the Foot and watch cartoons. But becoming an adult means many things; paying taxes, driving, and calling fruit roll ups 'fruit leather' instead. So here is your adult snack, one that we can all feel sophisticated in eating.


Do not feel limited by this recipe, you can use so many different fruits! One of my personal favorites in mango. Keep in mind that different fruits have different water contents and may take longer to dry out. Just keep an eye on your leather and you'll be fine!


Ingredients 

2 Cups Banana Puree (be careful to blend the bananas thoroughly with no lumps)

Blend your bananas; you can use an immersion blender, food processor, or a regular blender. Just ensure the banana is silky smooth, if there are lumps your leather wont dry properly.

Next spread the banana onto either a Silpat or a greased cookie sheet. If you are greasing the cookie sheet be conservative, you don't want an oily snack!
Bake the banana at 175 F for approximately 2 1/2 hours.
EAT AND FALL IN LOVE

Sunday, November 1, 2015

The Cake Cleanse

The cake cleanse recipe book
Credit Cake Cleanse Facebook


Yes you read that correctly. There is now a cleanse where you only eat desserts; I have reached pastry chef nirvana. For those of us with a sweet tooth and weak willpower this is what we've been waiting for. But wait! Drop your car keys and don't head to the bakery just yet. You will need recipes specifically for this cleanse (there's always a catch). But for this we have to thank Deborah Schipper. She has developed this cookbook full of cakes that are packed with nutritional value. We really can have our cake and eat it too, what a time to be alive!
Deborah SchipperDeborah Schipper

Monday, October 12, 2015

Smart — Chocolate Pumpkin Muffins


We are officially in pumpkin season. That means that for the next 3 months we must all consume and create all the pumpkin products we possibly can. Ready, set, go!

We can lose ourselves and our waist line during what I like to call 'butter season'. So lets ease into this together with these Weight Watchers Muffins. STOP! Before you write off this recipe hear me out! For those of you who read the blog know that I am a chocolate fiend, so trust that these little cakes won't disappoint. (Isn't that all muffins are? Bald cupcakes?)


And making these couldn't be easier, there are only 2 ingredients! A box of chocolate cake mix—I used Pillsbury Moist Supreme—and a 15 oz can of pumpkin puree. Mix together, distribute into a muffin tine and bake at 400 Fahrenheit for 20 minutes. Voila !

However I could not stop there...so I may have added more chocolate...ok I did. I added about 1/2 cup of Ghirardelli white chocolate chips. Optional, but definitely adds a level of sweetness. So try them, what do you have to lose? 5 bucks of ingredients and 180 calories?


Ingredients
1 (15 oz) can of pumpkin puree
1 box of chocolate cake mix

Moist, delicious, and only 180 calories!
2.5 grams of fat
37 carbs
2.5 grams of fiber
3 grams of protein
3 Weight Watchers Points

Sunday, October 4, 2015

[A new] Birthday Cake Favorite


                                       
PHOTOGRAPHY: CHRIS COURT
       I'm a simple girl, chocolate on chocolate is the way to my heart. My first 21 birthday cakes were decadent layers of rich chocolate cake, for me to find a new favorite is a big deal.
Que my mother to out-do herself! She found this Martha Stewart recipe and knew it was the one for me.
          If you have a special person in your life who loves milk chocolate, this is the treat to make them. Not only is this cake riddled with butter deliciousness, it has flecks of chocolate throughout the batter.
Can you hear your arteries slamming shut yet? Once you read the ingredients you'll understand why this is a 'once in a while cake'. But oh so worth the trouble of staying at the gym an extra half hour.
Dig in and be prepared for everyone to request this dessert.




Friday, September 25, 2015

Cocoa Sugar Cookies

          
    You know those really chewy cocoa cookies? Those ones that come in .99 packages at Stop and Shop; as a pastry chef I'm horrified to admit that these are my guilty pleasure. Please tell me I'm not the only one! It is slightly bashful to buy these when I bump into my foodie friends. So a recipe had to be found.
        Que my mother to the rescue! These are the perfect amount of sweet, meaning you can eat a dozen or so without realizing.

Ingredients

2 Cups AP Flour
3/4 Cups Cocoa Powder
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1/2 tsp. Salt
1 Cup Butter - Softened
2 1/2 Cups Sugar
2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
2 Eggs

Whisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Set aside

Next cream butter and 2 cups of sugar together, using an electric mixer. Add the vanilla and 1 egg. Mix well and add your final egg. Mix again until homogeneous.
Add in flour mixture in small batches until completely incorporated.

Place your dough in the fridge to chill. My mothers recipe says over-night, but i found an hour suffices. Or until the dough is nice and firm.

Preheat the oven to 350F. Roll the dough into 1 inch balls.  Then roll them around in the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar.

Bake for 12 - 15 minutes . I baked mine for 13 minutes and achieved the perfect chewy consistency.
YUM 

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Singapore Restaurant Week

Never been to Singapore? Join me and the majority of the population.
But you're in luck if you live in New York, Singapore is coming to New York City! Singapore restaurant week is going to be an event.
There are over 20 events to attend; including Shake Shack with their own version of a Singapore slider which I am just dying to try. I can only imagine what they're cooking up!

Today -->27th
Starting off the Singapore fantasy is Singapore: Inside Out, hosted in Madison Square Park. I can think of no better venue to showcase this Asian culture.

check Instagram @snack_rack for updates 

Monday, September 21, 2015

Pancakes stuffed with Nutella

   


         It always seemed strange to me that pancakes are a breakfast food. They're delicious fried cakes covered in syrup, but when I have chocolate cake for breakfast I'm out of line! You see the hypocrisy we're dealing with? All cake should be equal.
      So naturally I think we should push this envelope as far as we can people. I give you Nutella stuffed pancakes. Below I posted a pancake recipe from scratch, but feel free to use Bisquick.
Make these as often as possible until people realize that we're eating chocolate cake for breakfast...

Ingredients 
1 egg
1 1/2 Cups Nutella
1 1/8 Cup Milk
3 Tbsp. Baking Powder
1 1/2 Cups Flour
1/8 tsp. Salt
4 Tbsp. Sugar
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract

First take 2 Tbsp. of Nutella and spread on parchment to make a 3 inch disc. Repeat until you have the desired amount of discs, then place in freezer until solid. (These defrost quickly so keep frozen until you need them)

For the pancake batter whisk together dry ingredients. Then make a well in the center of the dry mixture, pour all wet ingredients in. Whisk together until combined and lump free.
Pour 1/4 cup of the batter on a nonstick skillet, take a Nutella disc and place in the center. Then top with batter until covered. When you see bubbles forming on the edge of the pancakes and the underside is golden, flip the pancake. Cook until golden brown on both sides.
Top with berries and syrup! YUM



Friday, September 18, 2015

DIY Pumpkin Spice Creamer

       Starbucks is detramental to my bank account, and I'm sure I'm not the only one. Certainly non of us are willing to give it up though, that's blasphemy! Especially since the pumpkin flavors are coming back for fall. I mean they must be putting their own mix of nicotine and pumpkin in that coffee.
So I present DIY pumpkin spice creamer! This is in no way healthier, but it will keep your wallet nice and fat. Did I mention it's sinfully delicious?

Ingredients 

1 container Coffee Mate Bliss cinnamon creamer
1/4 Cup 100% Pumpkin puree
1/4 tsp. Pumpkin spice

Whisk all ingredients together
(if your looking for extra sweetness add maple syrup in teaspoon increments to taste)
Pour back into container and store in fridge for up to 1 week.
YUM!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Overnight Oats

       Lately I've been on an oatmeal kick. And my best friend found a recipe for something called 'overnight oats'. I was perplexed by how delicious this was and of course I couldn't stop doing just ONE flavor. So I made a few more...and ate them. But have no fear, these are far healthier than any candy bar your purchasing for your sweet tooth. So go ahead and eat! I wont tell.





Chocolate Cake 
1/2 Cup Quick or Rolled oats
1/2 Vanilla Almond Milk
1/2 Small Banana- Mashed
1/2 tsp. Cocoa Powder
1/2 tsp. Maple Syrup
1/2 tsp. Vanilla Extract  (Check side bar for DIY Vanilla Ext)



First combine your oats and liquid, stir to combine. Then add in all your flavorings! Give the mixture a good stir to combine all the ingredients. Cover and let sit over night. In the morning you will have the perfect sweet treat.

                                                              More variations!

Pina Colada 
1/2 Small Banana- Mashed
2 Tbsp. Crushed Pineapple (I used frozen, cheaper and delicious)
1/4 tsp. Coconut Extract
1 Tbsp. Shredded Coconut
1/2 tsp. Maple Syrup


Mango 
1/2 Small Banana- Mashed
2 Tbsp. Crushed Mango (frozen or fresh)
1/4 tsp. Lemon Zest
1/2 tsp. Maple Syrup


Almond Butter and Jelly 
1/2 Small Banana
1 Tbsp. Almond Butter
1 Tbsp. Raspberry Jam
1/2 tsp. Maple Syrup

Monday, September 14, 2015

Beer Batter Brownies

     The autumn weather is almost upon us. I will personally be looking forward to stouts and pumpkin ales. So quite naturally I think we should mix these with chocolate!
      Chocolate and beer may seem like an odd combination, when they are actually a natural pair. I for one am shocked that there aren't more dessert beers on the market, but I suppose I am a little biased towards pastries.
      So for all your pumpkin induced fantasies this fall, throw in some chocolate or beer to really spice it up!


Ingredients

1 Cup Flour 
1/4 Cup Cocoa Powder
3.5 oz of semi sweet chocolate
1 Stick of butter
1/2 Cup of stout (or any dark beer will do)
4 Eggs
1 Cup Sugar 
1 Cup Brown Sugar 
1 Tbsp. Vanilla Extract 
1 Cup semi sweet chocolate chips 

Pre- heat oven to 350F
Melt the 3.5 oz of chocolate over a double boiler. While this is melting, brown your butter in a small sauce pan. Once melted, pour the browned butter into the melted chocolate.
Next add your beer to the chocolate mixture and mix until combined. 
Beat together eggs and sugar, about 1 minute or until thick and shiny. Continue beating while slowly adding all dry ingredients and wet ingredients alternatively. Finally add the vanilla and fold in your chocolate chips. 
Pour the mixture into a greased and floured 9 x 13 pan. Bake for 40-45 minutes. 
Wait till the brownies are nice and cool until you slice them. 
Serve with a tall glass of cold milk, YUM!  

Friday, September 11, 2015

Snacking during Halloween

         Summer is over and we are all about to be launched into the holiday season. To start us off is the diabetics worst nightmare, HALLOWEEN! Even before October 31st I am tempted to buy that fun sized bag of Kit Kats, they are after all only 99 cents...
         
So I have compiled a list of snacks that will save your teeth and your waistband. I won't lie to you, this will not keep you from craving the sweet taste of Snow Caps. However maybe this will keep us full enough to curve the holiday sugar rush. Happy snacking! 

1. Sliced red bell pepper & ranch dip
2. Greek yogurt & honey 
3. Toasted almonds (please skip the almond milk and enjoy the natural crunch of this nut)
4. Pumpkin seeds
5. Raisins 
6. Dried apricots (these taste like candy)
7. Cucumber and - thick greek yogurt mixed with olive oil for dipping. FAVORITE
8. Apple with a slice of cheddar cheese 
9. Frozen yogurt dots (recipe to come)
10. Berries and cottage cheese 

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

NO BAKE Nutella Cheesecake

         I cannot stop posting fabulous Nutella desserts. And if you're interested in the history of this spread, read on! I am a history buff with a serious baking problem, so naturally I want to share little facts like this with you all.
         Did you know that Nutella was invented in Italy during World War II? Because of the war there was a shortage of chocolate and candy makers needed an alternative. With hazelnuts being plentiful, these delicious nuts were ground with the chocolate to help stretch the limited supply. However it was not the creamy spread we know and love today. In its original form Nutella was a loaf that was designed to be sliced and eaten on bread for an after school snack. But children were removing the chocolate hazelnut goodness and eating it plain; can we blame them? So Nutella was reinvented into the super smooth, super sexy spread we know today.
       So to make sure we all get a balanced diet lets blend this Nutella into a cheesecake. That way we won't eat it straight out of the jar...

Ingredients

8 oz. tub Cool Whip
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
1 (8 oz) package Cream Cheese
2/3 Cup Nutella

Crust
Dozen- Crushed Oreos
3 Tbsp. Melted Butter

In a bowl combine your crushed Oreos and melted butter. Divide the crumbs between your individual serving dishes. Press down to make a crust.

In a kitchen aid bowl fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and Nutella together until smooth. Add vanilla. Continue to mix until combined. Fold in the Cool Whip until well blended throughout and no streaks remain.

Pipe or spoon the cheesecake into the serving dishes. Chill before serving, about 2 hours.
ENJOY!



Sunday, September 6, 2015

Gluten Free?

    "Is this gluten free?"
These are the words I am haunted with as a Pastry Chef.

        Let me start by saying that people who have Celiac disease (intolerance to gluten) must avoid gluten at all costs. Ingesting gluten, in the simplest of terms, causes the villi lining their small intestine to die. The villi are responsible for absorbing nutrients from food; without them the body is unable to absorb vitamins and basic nutritional needs. If you do have Celiac disease eating food baked in the same oven as gluten products can make you ill. But we have been hearing the words GLUTEN FREE everywhere, so why do so many people suddenly have this disease? Well, they don't.
   
       Less than 1% of the people who claim to have Celiac disease actually have this terrible condition. This is in part due to the fact that the testing for this disease causes terrible pain. In order to confirm a diagnoses of Celiacs the patient must ingest a large amount of gluten. There are also food sensitivities, which are less severe but should still be treated by a physician. But lets not overlook the power of 'food fads'.  In the 80's everything was FAT FREE during the workout craze sweeping the nation. If we all weren't high from hairspray fumes, I'm sure we would have checked the nutritional information on those cookies. While there may not have been any fat in there, the sugar in the recipes were sky high. The food manufactures had to compensate for the lack of fat somehow! You were better off eating one normal cookie instead of ten fat free cookies.

       There are many people who choose a gluten free diet because they believe it be a healthier lifestyle. I'm finding it difficult to be politically correct so I'm just going to say that you're all wrong. Gluten is not harmful to your system, nor will cutting it out of your diet cause weight loss. Whoever started that awful rumor, I hate you and so does every other Pastry Chef.
So please enjoy your bread. Eat the cake. And relax with a big bag of tortilla chips.


Saturday, September 5, 2015

Minnie's Chocolate Pie from The Help

       


        Immediately after seeing the movie The Help I had one unanswered question; what was in Minnie's chocolate pie?! Her infamous pie in the movie was a focal point in the story, but aside from that I'm simply in love with chocolate.

        Now I have dedicated more time than I'd like to admit to replicate Minnie's pie and created something I think the sassy character would be proud of.
It is rich beyond your wildest dreams! You'll only need 1 slice...but you'll want 2.
Let me know what you think!

Ingredients 

Pie Crust 1x

3 Tbsp. Cocoa

1 1/2 Cups Sugar

1/2 stick butter (melted)

2 large eggs

3/4 Cup Evaporated Milk

1 tsp. Vanilla Extract

1/4 tsp Salt
Whipped cream for topping!


Pie Crust

1 1/4 cups AP flour

1 Tbs. sugar

1/4 tsp. salt

1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes

3 Tbs. cold water

In a stand mixer combine flour, sugar, and salt.  Add butter and mix until butter resembles small crumbs (the size of oats). Now add water and mix until just combined. DO NOT OVER MIX.

* This dough can be frozen for up to a week* 

Pre heat oven to 350F.
Roll out pie crust, crimp edges (whatever design you wish) and prick the bottom of the crust with a fork. Blind bake the pie crust for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.

Combine sugar, cocoa, melted butter, eggs, evaporated milk, vanilla, and salt. Whisk together until smooth. Pour into pie crust and bake for about 45 minutes or until the pie is firm.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
Serve with whipped cream.





Friday, September 4, 2015

Milk with Chocolate


Here's a random thought I realized while making some midnight chocolate milk;
receiving a glass of warm chocolate milk is the biggest slap in the face.
Why don't you just hand me a melted Hershey bar while you're at it?
Or a bowl of room temperature lemon ice?

Here is the solution, freeze chocolate ice cubes and add them to your milk. While your chocolate melts, your milk will get colder and more delicious. Let's take it to another level and make this more adult with a little Kahlua. This tastes like a fantastic frozen hot chocolate!

Of course make sure the kids in the house don't start eating Mommy's chocolate ice cubes when you're not looking. Or maybe give them one if they're fussing before bedtime...
Try this instead of that glass of wine and unwind!

Ingredients 

80 grams dark chocolate
40 grams milk
40 grams water
1 shot of Kahlua

Break chocolate into small piece and put in a medium sized bowl.
Bring milk and water to a boil and pour over your chocolate. Let sit for 30 seconds, to allow the hot milk to melt the chocolate. Pour in your liquor and vigorously mix. Allow to cool.

Once at room temperate, pour into an ice cube tray. Keep frozen until needed.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

COOKIE BUTTER


I have a confession, I eat butter. Please contain your gasps of surprise!
          I came across this gem called 'Cookie Butter' in Trader Joes. Now I have only found chocolate chip cookie butter, but I do love having options. I made mine with Oreos and couldn't be happier with the results.

Ingredients

2 Cups Cookie Crumbs
1/2 Stick Butter
1/2 Cup Sweetened Condensed Milk
1/4 Cup Evaporated Milk
Water (as needed)

Place your cookies in a food processor and blend until you have very fine crumbs. You'll need 2 cups of crumbs, so continue to add more until you reach that yield. Every cookie is different, with different sizes so you will never use the same amount of each cookie.
If you're using a cookie with a soft cream center, like the oreo, you will need to scrape out the centers. The cookie crumbs need to be as dry as possible.
Place cookie crumbs in a large bowl.

In a saucepan melt your butter over medium heat. Stir in the evaporated milk and sweetened condensed milk until the mixture is melted together. Start streaming in the milk/butter mixture into your cookie crumbs in small additions. Stirring well after each addition. Cool the cookie butter in the refrigerator.
                                           If you would like it to be more of a dipping consistency...

Once cool, stir in tablespoons of water at a time. Stir vigorously! It may look like the water is causing the mixture to separate, do not panic! Keep mixing until you achieve a super smooth, super sexy consistency. Store in the refrigerator and this deliciousness will last about 2 weeks. EAT FAST.



Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Star Wars Marshmallow Treats

   
107 Days. That's how long we have until the next installment of Star Wars. This may seem like forever and it is. You are not being dramatic when you get emotional over the new light saber design, or anticipate a new trailer with bated breath. I understand all too well.

     Thankfully Lucky Charms came out with Star Wars cereal. Marshmallows and Star Wars, I nearly danced when my brother brought this home. Now this is only a limited edition cereal, so they say, so I am forced to get as much use out of this treat as possible.

     Naturally my first thought is to add more marshmallows! So here we have a deliciously sugar coated treat that will make everyone a Star Wars fan.

WARNING: If you eat more than two of these, you may need to take a nap afterwards...or possibly need a shot of insulin.

Ingredients

3 Tbsp. Butter
1 package ( 10 oz) Marshmallows
6 Cups Star Wars Cereal

Grease a 13 x 9 baking pan and rubber spatula. Set aside.
In a large pot melt butter. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted.
Remove from heat and stir in cereal.
While still pliable, pour mixture into the prepared baking pan. Allow to cool completely before cutting into desired shapes. These are best if eaten the same day!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Sangria Sunday...Sunday came more than once this week

It may seem simple, but I have actually have had my fair share of bad sangria. I know what you're thinking, its fruit and wine what can you screw up?
I'm glad you asked. The answer to your question is A LOT.

Most people just add sugar to wine. Wrong.  I personally prefer to sweeten this drink with more alcohol, this will punch more flavor into the drink!  Brandy works best, peach or apricot can be used in this recipe.

Next if you're making a white sangria, like this one, use white fruits. Fruits like peaches, grapes, pears,or lychee. Red fruits like cherries, raspberries, and strawberries compete too much with the light flavor of the Moscato wine.

Make a big pitcher and go soak up the last of  the summer sun!
Get your fruit serving for the day!
Grab a fork and fish out the wine soaked grapes




Ingredients 

1.5 L bottle of Moscato (I used Yellow Tail)
3/4 Cup Peach or Apricot Brandy 
1 L Seltzer 
3 Peaches- sliced 
2 Cups White Grapes 

Just combine everything in a large pitcher and enjoy! 

                                                    






Monday, August 31, 2015

Salt Water Taffy

If you were thinking about going to the gym, get that awful thought out of your mind! Making this taffy is going to give your arms quite the workout. So yes you can use this as your 'get out of gym' free card.

And if you are like me, a recent and very poor college graduate, use this as a DIY present for the candy lover in your life. Wrap these candies up in a cute bag or fill a mason jar to the brim, add a cute tag and voila! This way you don't have to give Grandma ANOTHER afghan for her birthday.

Salt water taffy is a delicious candy that you can make any flavor you want! If you have read my other posts, you know that I love having options. This recipe is going to be made using an orange oil.

Ingredients:

1/4 teaspoon orange oil
1 tsp. Salt
2 Cups Sugar
2 Tbsp. Cornstarch
1 Cup Corn Syrup
3/4 Cup Water
2 Tbsp. Butter
Orange food coloring

Grease a baking dish and a rubber spatula with butter. Set aside
Sift together sugar and cornstarch.
In a saucepan combine sugar, cornstarch, corn syrup, water, butter, and salt.
Cook over medium heat until all sugar is dissolved. Cover pot and boil for 2-3 minutes.
Uncover pot and insert a candy thermometer.
Cook candy to 256F
Remove pot from heat. Stir in orange oil and food coloring. Stir gently until fully incorporated.
Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish.

When the candy is cool enough to handle, grease your hands and being to 'satin' the taffy. Stretch the candy about 10 inches, catch the middle and stretch the candy again. This process incorporates air into the taffy, making it light and shiny. Continue for about 20 minutes. It will become more difficult to pull the candy as it cools, but hang in there!
Pull this into a long rope and (using scissors that have been greased) cut into desired shape. Finish by wrapping in wax paper and twist the ends to give a classic look.




Sunday, August 30, 2015

DIY Momofuku Milk Bar's Cereal Milk Ice Cream

            Momofuku Milk Bar is famous for their cereal ice cream, and if you're like me you cant shlep into New York City everytime you get a craving. Personally I prefer to have ice cream at my finger tips, which is where this fabulous DIY comes in.
         You can make your own and even put your own twist on the classic by using a favorite cereal. But for this bloggers sake lets start with the classic and work from there, because trust me when I say this is an ice cream recipe you'll keep forever.

Ingredients

1/4 tsp Salt
8 egg yolks
1 Tbsp Vanilla Extract
1 Cup Frosted Flakes (or your favorite cereal) for topping
3/4 Cup Brown Sugar

Cereal Milk

2 Cups Frosted Flakes (or your favorite cereal)
2 1/2 Cups Heavy Cream
3 Cups Half & Half

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Cover and let steep over night.
Strain the soggy cereal from the milk mixture.

Make sure are left with 5 cups of liquid. Some of the milk will have been absorbed by the cereal, replace what you need with whole milk.


Toast cereal at 300F for 15 minutes, this helps release more flavor.
Pour cereal milk into a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and set aside.
Whisk together egg yolks and brown sugar until thick (about 2 minutes). Next stream in the hot cereal milk into the egg yolk/sugar mixture, while continuously mixing. Add the vanilla extract and salt.
                                                     If you are making soft serve:
Allow this mixture to chill thoroughly, preferably overnight so the flavors fully develop!
Churn the ice cream mixture in your kitchen aid ice cream attachment.
                                            If you are making NO CHURN ice cream:
Pour ice cream mixture into a deep vessel, cover and freeze until solid.

Serve ice cream in large scoops and top with cereal! YUM

Saturday, August 29, 2015

S'mores Cookie Pockets - Watch the How To on my YouTube Channel

                                       Producing Credit to MirandaaLee.blogsplot.com                  


                                            
                                                   Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients 

2 Cups Flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

2 sticks (softened ) butter

3/4 Cup Sugar

3/4 Cup Brown Sugar

2 large eggs

2 Cups of Chocolate Chunks


Pre-heat oven to 350F

Cream together butter, sugar, and brown sugar until light and fluffy.
Slowly add in your eggs and vanilla. Mix until combined.

Next add in all dry ingredients. Mix until fully combined. Then stir in chocolate chunks.
Place tablespoon mounds of the dough on a greased cookie sheet.

Bake for about 10 minutes or until golden brown.


Friday, August 28, 2015

DIY Vanilla Extract

          Displaying image1.jpeg


           Vanilla extract is expensive, and GOOD vanilla extract is even pricier. It seems that somewhere in the bottling process the vanilla is mixed with the tears of Jesus.

           My brother in law, Brian,  had been inquiring how to make his own vanilla extract. Now he's not the biggest baker so I was confused, until I received the BEST birthday present. Now bless his heart he bought a beautiful brand of bourbon to infuse with the vanilla bean, Kings County Distillery. Don't feel pressured to buy expensive bottles like Brian; however the better the bourbon you use, the better the finished product. Hopefully this will help feed your insatiable baking habit!

I recommend Kings County or Makers Mark. 
I like Makers Mark in my cakes for the same reason I like it in my whiskey sours, the delicious vanilla undertones.

Here's what you'll need:

750 ml - bottle of your favorite bourbon
6 - vanilla beans

Pour out about 2 shots worth of bourbon ( to make room for your addition of vanilla)
Next slice the vanilla beans vertically, drop them in the bourbon bottle and replace your lid.

Store the bottle in a cool dry pantry for 12 weeks before use. Shake every few weeks.
For more extracts and infusions leave comments or e-mail what you would like to see!


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Whole Peach Pies




Go scoop up the last ripe peaches of the season, because you are going to want to try this. Pies are a classic dessert and well loved no matter which seasonal fruit goes into them. Put a twist on the classic by making these individual pies, using the whole fruit!

Ingredients
12 ripe peaches

Pie Crust (recipe follows)

Sugar in the raw-for topping

1 cup Brown Sugar

1/2 cup Cinnamon


Pie Crust

1 1/4 cups AP flour

1 Tbs. sugar

1/4 tsp. salt

1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes

3 Tbs. cold water

In a stand mixer combine flour, sugar, and salt.  Add butter and mix until butter resembles small crumbs (the size of oats). Now add water and mix until just combined. DO NOT OVER MIX.

* This dough can be frozen for up to a week*  Place dough on a lightly floured surface (to avoid sticking) and divide into 12 equal pieces. Roll into 1/4 inch thick discs (large enough to fir a peach)

Whole Peach Pies 
Pre heat oven to 350F. Grease and flour muffin tin.

Slice peaches in half, remove pit. Next heavily sprinkle both halves of peaches with cinnamon and brown sugar. Stick both halves back together, wrap the peach in pie dough. Place each peach in individual muffin tin.


Brush top of dough wrapped peaches with water, then sprinkle with sugar in the raw.
Bake for 45 minutes- 1 hour or until golden brown.


Monday, August 24, 2015

How To Bake Better

Makeshift rolling pin:  Baking in a new kitchen? If you find yourself without a rolling pin, use an empty wine bottle! Fairly certain we all have one of those laying around...

Cakes that fall: We all do it, open the oven door while our cake is baking. Well stop it, stop it now. This causes the temperature of the oven to drop, and the cool air makes the center of the cake fall.

Room temperature eggs: It's best to use eggs that are at room temperature when baking, but lets be honest we all forget. Or we're making some late night, spur of the moment brownies. Don't fret, put your eggs in a bowl of warm water for 5 minutes.

Metal or Glass cake pan? : The color of your baking dish does matter. If you think it doesn't, you're in denial and I can't help you. Metal and glass conduct heat differently. You can substitute a glass pan for a metal one, but first you need to adjust your baking temperature. Reduce the temperature of the oven by 25F. All set!

Can't find a cooling rack?: Take a piece of wax paper and sprinkle it with sugar. This will keep the cookies or cake from sticking. And I'm always looking for a way to add more sugar to recipes!


Friday, August 21, 2015

New Posts and Ideas

This is Snack Racks first day being open! We will be posting videos, tutorials, and restaurant reviews to come. But I would love to hear from the viewers. Tell us what you want to see. If there's something you've been dying to make and just don't know how. Or maybe you just want to throw out a crazy idea.
E-mail us at:  laurapucillo@gmail.com 
Follow us on instagram: laurapucillo 

Creme Brulee

Creme brulee is, to put it simply, one of the most delectable 'pudding' like sweets you will ever eat. Topped with a caramelized sugar shell, who wouldn't love this? However this decadent dessert has a stigma of being difficult to make. People have long thought this is a dessert reserved for special occasions, something you can only get in nice French restaurant. These people are what I like to call, wrong. Not only can creme brulee be something to used to give that WOW factor next time its your turn to cook, but impress anyone by throwing it into a simple dinner routine.
Traditional creme brulee is made with vanilla bean, always a popular choice! But this is far from the only flavor you can make, I'd venture to say you can infuse any flavor you can think of. Here's a few :

- Black Bottom Nutella
- Lavender
- Coconut
- Orange Creamsicle
- Coffee
- Chai Tea
- Passion Fruit

Classic
1.5 Cups Whole Milk
1 Cup Heavy Cream
1/2 Cup Sugar
1/4 tsp. Salt
2 Eggs
3 Egg Yolks
1 Vanilla Bean scraped or 2 tsp. vanilla extract
Granulated Sugar for topping

Preheat oven to 325F.
 In a saucepan combine milk, heavy cream, and vanilla bean.
Tahitian Vanilla Bean, can be substituted for vanilla extract 
                       Slice open and scrape the vanilla bean before adding to the milk mixture
 Bring mixture to a simmer, this is where your flavor is infused and where all the wonderful taste comes from.
In a bowl, whisk together eggs, egg yolks, sugar, and salt. (if you are using vanilla extract add now)
While continuously whisking, slowly stream the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture. Be careful not to stream too quickly, you run the risk of cooking your eggs.

Pour the mixture into a measuring cup or bowl with a pouring spout.

Place 6 six oz ramekins in a 9x13 baking pan. I have filled half with Nutella to make the 'Black Bottom Nutella Creme Brulee'

 Divide custard among the ramekins and place in oven. Fill baking pan with hot water, until the water reaches halfway up the ramekins.


Bake for 35 minutes or until the custard in set.

Remove from oven and carefully remove ramekins from the hot water bath. Allow the ramekins to cool to room temperature before covering with plastic wrap. Then place in refrigerator to chill completely.

Once your custards are completely cool, top each one with an even coating of sugar (about a tablespoon each). Then using a kitchen blowtorch (see sidebar), slowly caramelize the sugar.
If you don't have a blowtorch use the broiler in your oven!


To make the 'Black Bottom Nutella', put 1 tsp of Nutella in each ramekin. Proceed to complete the recipe. Make sure not to over fill the ramekins.

Voila! Go ahead and add your own little touches to finish your show stopping dessert.

To make Lavender/ Orange Creamsicle/ Coffee/ Coconut/ OR Chai Tea
Steep the desired flavor in the hot milk mixture to infuse. Proceed to complete this recipe.

COMING SOON

                                 We are a work in progress, check back soon for our first post!