Valentine Paris-Brest

It’s the month of hearts and the color red, and nothing says Valentine’s Day like a French dessert shaped in a big heart. snapseed Paris-Brest is a classic French dessert that was created in 1891 to commemorate the Paris-Brest bicycle race.  Classically, the pastry is piped in the shape of a bicycle wheel.  Mine is piped in the shape of a heart img_9063 in honor of Valentine’s Day. Normally creme patisserie with praline is used for Paris-Brest but I used Chantilly cream with vanilla pudding for a lighter taste. snapseed Cream Puffs are always one of those desserts that impress everybody.  It’s very French and, therefore, very sophisticated in the eyes of many.snapseed But the reality is that cream puffs are incredibly simple to make once you have a good recipe on hand like my valentineparis-brest recipe.  This is a showstopper dessert, a filled pastry shaped into a heart – the very essence of Paris’ romance all in one delicious treat!  snapseed There are so many flavors and textures at work in this simple pastry.  Crunchy toasted almonds, spongy/chewy pastry, rich but light vanilla Chantilly cream.          

 

 

img_9028 If you have waited for the last minute to make your Valentine’s Day dessert, this is the perfect confection, it truly is simpler than you think, give it a try I promise you will love it. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Click valentineparis-brest for recipe.

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Individual Meringue Nests

Nothing says Christmas more than these Individual Meringue Nests.   Whether they are topped with different types of cream or fresh berries or my favorite sugaredcranberries. , they just added the final Christmas touch.013b5447015018cd00386474987bbcd4f0c1c05e0f 0139c0a7ccb1077947c3e90e9608e0a7d4fd1b2c02 Making these mini meringue nests is no more difficult than baking one big shell.  I used the top of a glass to trace circles on parchment paper, then flipped the paper over and started piping in the circle filling completely. With this recipe you end up with eight mini nests;  each makes a dessert just right for one person.  These mini nests are a showstopping meringue dessert and the best part is they melt in your mouth! 

Just click on for each recipe.

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Nougat and Dark Torrone

Nougat Torrone  is a traditional Italian delicacy.  This is a famous sweet most often enjoyed during the Christmas season. 01442afe1d88f5230b98ff0837895bc0e155994cf9 A candy that is full of festivity. Perfect to take to family and friends’ homes, give as a gift or to add to the dessert table.  There are many different types of torrone available – some soft, some hard and some with chocolate, with different flavors and ingredients.  This is the classical torrone 01442afe1d88f5230b98ff0837895bc0e155994cf9 that I remember having as a child during Christmas holidays, made of honey, sugar, whisked egg-whites and toasted almonds. 01aabf3f7be5395f0e677a4b2f42d81a1c406670d8 NougatTorrone 

 

The Christmas season invariably starts with some baking in an Italian household. This year I decided to try making homemade torrone, nougat and dark brittle torrone. 01eedb3a046de33230ad15de5d54b30c4ce10f6732 This isn’t the typical nougat torrone you pick up at the store.  This is more of a homemade kind typical of Southern Italy including Calabria and Sicily that is dark and more like brittle. 01bd5bf6598896795aee1b05e5e12e71a53feedf56You could try this with hazelnuts or peanuts. I made this with lightly toasted almonds. 01e4298e827b7ff6c2a047ed7095c11389af3f7893 Honey, sugar, butter and almonds is all that you need to make this sweet . Happy Holidays and enjoy. 015b90f2ee9f4e6f726ce6e2972d015de43af69af8 DarkTorrone 01b23dbc8cc7307960c01946069aa7eb0c3e8c482e

Mushroom Cookies

Are you a fan of mushrooms? This is the type of food that people either adore or hate, it’s that simple. I find this post to be a bit odd and quite amusing. I am not a big fan of mushrooms  for the reason of being highly allergic to them.  But I have always been intrigued by the way they look.  Normally I wouldn’t describe a mushroom as being cute, 01363efa7b231f959e651b900bdac558edb0c65a00 but these mushrooms are really adorable. Drum roll please!!!  Let me introduce to you mushroom-shaped cookies. 01916035af47024a241aa16e57482ff4c54bd22f32 They’re chocolaty, crunchy and have a moist nutty center. 0129ef51566a409fbfd9c7b3fbdb43e4c8e7fcde74 These MushroomCookies are made of three parts. The stems are made of a wonderful walnut dough and the caps have a buttery taste. 011a6aa2c5f280d96abc83f53c55eadd087237425f.jpg Their center is scraped out to make room for a filling made with a mixture of cookie crumbs, walnuts, jam and a hint of rum.  The cap on top 01c4176c81322fa2008a80dce1673923fbad84dba0 is dipped in dark chocolate.  All the flavors connect when you bite into one.  Bring joy to the table 01841711a4e8e3b0cc4d0a500a122c437306d52c74 with these mushroom cookies.  This is the perfect cookie to add a touch of elegance to any dessert table. 01d1578348d108ec9b30f320fbd1d566f70e817a1d 012f3e2dbb9c53095a418910d6f8efbb7d343eb396

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Eggnog Wreaths and Spritz Finger Cookies

A huge part of the holiday season_whether we like it or not-are the delicious baked goods IMG_4522 that come along with this time of year. 01286f430e031496fe2b84b4f6f4fdc1c414ec8abcHoliday cookies, in particular, are often a traditional dessert to make for parties or give away as gifts.  These mini EggnogWreaths IMG_4523 are easy on the eyes as well as the taste buds. Wreath cookies are bright and festive, whether bejeweled or simply frosted. Make beautiful cookies even if you don’t have 01e240f05200aeaca59cd6890dd5972ad8833bd0cc time to fuss.  This next cookie is a classic Christmas cookie.  Spritz  is a simple butter cookie pressed into festive 0128ee67bb9fd7b59bb4c4b809b8a4b44937e80d4b shapes and topped with different toppings.  Christmas is just around the corner, and it is the season for gift giving, hospitality and tradition, these cookies are perfect for all three.         01421e5b38c9800b4f7c002a75e96b29fd24d4fc58 These have a crispy, buttery texture and delicate cream cheese flavor. 013342db1d082e82d0832fdf29f9841713a98b7464 SpritzFingerCookies You can form them with a cookie press or you can use a pastry bag fitted with a large open-star tip. Just perfect for your dessert table!        013342db1d082e82d0832fdf29f9841713a98b7464

Peppermint Sugar Bars

Sugar cookies and peppermint are a couple of great things about the holiday season, even better if you combine them together.  01542f0b77ba08e90fa0516ca44a3b79181b3a0d63 This combination will give you an easy quick dessert. 01806b0aff08a96ac93ae6fd4f0a353c22400cc9ce  It is a deliciously simple, festive treat. 015c49ad80f1f4ef583e6d883ba28a859e3b840db1 Give it away in holiday tins, slice some squares for your dessert tray or dessert table. 019499f51eff9401653b86a447b8df4a382cc76fe2  0170473f7044d44355b99889e2fdf0fab024a49f78 PeppermintSugarBars   

Pizzelle Cookies and “My Pizzelle Christmas Wreath”

All I want for Christmas is a ……Pizzelle Maker. A Christmas present from my husband and kids, and I love it. My first time making pizzelles, first batch turned out a little hard. Once I got the hang of it, it became easy. Pizzelles are the oldest known cookie.  The name comes from the Italian word… Continue reading Pizzelle Cookies and “My Pizzelle Christmas Wreath”