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Archive for Easter

EASTER: Speckled Egg Malted Milk Cake

Easter is early this year: just 10 days after St. Patrick’s Day, on March 27th. This year we’re passing on our beloved coconut-covered lamb cake in favor of this elegant caker. Who knows: Next year, maybe we’ll make one of each.

 
RECIPE: SPECKLED EGG MALTED MILK CAKE FOR EASTER

Wow guests with this impressive cake inspired by malted milk candy eggs. It was developed by Heather Baird for Betty Crocker.

Prep time is 40 minutes, baking, frosting and assembly time is 2 hours. You’ll also need a new, stiff-bristle paint brush to “fling” the chocolate speckles. (It’s fun!)
 
Ingredients For 10 Servings

For The Cake

  • 1 box Betty Crocker SuperMoist white cake mix
  • 1/2 cup malted milk powder
  • 1-1/4 cups water
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs
  •  
    For The Frosting

  • 1-1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Dash salt
  • Liquid blue food color
  •  
    For The Speckling Chocolate

  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened baking cocoa
  • 4-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  •  
    For The Phyllo Nest

  • 1/3 cup kataifi* (kah-TAY-fie, shredded phyllo dough)
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 speckled candy-coated malted milk egg candies
  •  

    speckled-egg-malted-milk-cake-2-230

    Athens Foods Kataifi

    Top: An Easter cake delight by Heather Baird for Betty Crocker (photo courtesy Betty Crocker). Bottom: Make the nest with kataifi, shredded phyllo dough (photo courtesy Athens Foods).

     
    ________________________
    *Shredded phyllo (fillo) dough, kataifi, looks like shredded wheat. In addition to Greek pastries, it is often used to make edible bird nests. Look for it in a Greek or Mediterranean market or wherever Athens Foods products are sold; or buy it online.

     
    Preparation

    1. HEAT the oven to 350°F. Spray 3 (8-inch) round cake pans with cooking spray; set aside.

    2. WHISK together in large bowl the cake mix and malted milk powder. Add the remaining cake ingredients; beat with electric mixer on low speed until well combined. Divide the batter evenly among the cake pans.

    3. BAKE for 22 to 28 minutes or until the layers spring back when touched lightly in the center. Cool the cakes in the pans on cooling racks for 5 minutes. Turn the layers out onto cooling racks and cool completely, about 30 minutes. Level the cakes using a large serrated knife or cake leveler, as needed.

    4. MAKE the frosting: In a large bowl, beat the softened butter and powdered sugar with an electric mixer on low speed until incorporated. Beat on high speed for 3 minutes. Add the vanilla and salt and beat 1 minute longer. Add the blue food color, 1 drop at a time, beating until a light blue color is achieved.

    5. FILL and and frost the cooled layers. Refrigerate the frosted cake 1 hour or until the frosting is dry to the touch.

    6. MIX the baking cocoa and vanilla in small condiment bowl. Load a new (unused) stiff-bristle paint brush with the cocoa mixture. Using your fingers, flick the loaded brush bristles toward cake, creating a splatter pattern. Re-load the brush and cover the entire cake with chocolate speckles. Refrigerate the cake for 30 minutes.

    7. MAKE the phyllo nest: Heat the oven to 375°F. Butter 1 muffin cup in regular-size muffin pan. Tear off 1/3 cup portion of kataifi and place it in the muffin cup in a circular nest shape. Gently brush the phyllo nest with melted butter. Bake for 15 minutes or until the phyllo is golden brown around the edges. Gently remove the nest with a fork; cool on a cooling rack.

    8. ATTACH the cooled nest to the cake with a dot of frosting. Place the 3 speckled egg candies inside nest. To serve, bring the cake to room temperature. Store the cake loosely covered with plastic wrap.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Valentine Cocktails Or Mocktails

    Some people think a Valentine’s Day cocktail should be rose red. Others think it should be chocolate. Still others want to drink pink.

    Here, we offer chocolate, coffee, red and pink Valentine cocktails for your consideration. If you’re having a party, choose several.

    Mocktail options follow.

    VALENTINE COCKTAIL DRINKS

  • Amore Espresso Cocktail Recipe
  • Bright Red Cocktail Recipes (including the Lovecicle)
  • Chocolate Basil Martini Recipe
  • Five Chocolate Cocktail Recipes (including the Hot Lips Chocolatini)
  • Love Nectar Recipe (red, with tequila, cider, red grapes)
  • Love Potion Recipe (bright red)
  • Passionfruit Tequila “Besame” (Kiss Me) Recipe (bright red)
  • Pink Cocktail Recipes (including Cupid’s Cosmo)
  • Pomegranate Martini Recipe (deep pink with red arils)
  • Pomegranate Refresher Recipe (pale pink with red arils)
  • The Right Kiss Gin Cocktail Recipe (deep red)
  • Rose Cocktail Recipes (pink, with rose simple syrup)
  • Secret Crush Champagne Cocktail Recipe (red)
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    Valentine Champagne Cocktail

    Rosy and delicious: the Secret Crush “Champagne” cocktail made with Prosecco and grenadine. Photo courtesy Macao Trading Co.

     

    VALENTINE MOCKTAIL INGREDIENTS

    To make a Valentine-red mocktail, you need to use either a red base (blood orange juice, cranberry juice, cherry or raspberry soda) or a red-colored flavor such as grenadine or strawberry purée)—or both.

    Blend the juice and soda in proportions you prefer. If it isn’t red enough, add one of the red-colored flavors. Taste, add some citrus juice to pick up the flavor, and select a garnish.

     

    Valentine Cocktail

    The Pomegranate Refresher can be made
    with tequila, or as a mocktail with regular or
    diet 7-UP or Sprite.

     

    Juice

  • Blood orange juice
  • Cranberry juice
  • Pink lemonade
  •  
    Soda Pop

  • Cherry Soda
  • Club Soda
  • Ginger ale or ginger beer
  • Raspberry Soda
  •  
    Red-Colored Flavors

  • Grenadine
  • Pomegranate syrup
  • Raspberry syrup
  • Strawberry or raspberry purée
  •  
    Flavor Accent

  • Bitters
  • Citrus juice: grapefruit lemon, lime
  •  
    Garnish

  • Fruit: blood orange wheel, notched strawberry, pomegranate arils, raspberry pick
  • Herbs: fresh mint, opal (purple) basil
  •  
    Plus

  • Ice
  • Optional: red straws
  •   

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    RECIPE: Asparagus & Prosciutto Wraps

    asparagus-prosciutto-rolls-castelloUSA-230

    We love these delicious, fancy yet very easy Asparagus & Prosciutto Wraps. Photo courtesy Castello USA.

     

    Need something fancy—and easy? Here’s a lovely first course to make with spring asparagus. We serve the wraps individually plated with some watercress salad, to which we add some snipped chives or thin-sliced green onion.

    The recipe is from Castello Cheese, which crumbles their Danish blue cheese as a garnish.

    RECIPE: ASPARAGUS & PROSCIUTTO WRAPS

    Ingredients

  • 8 slender* asparagus per person
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 slice prosciutto or other Serrano ham
  • 1 teaspoon crumbled blue cheese per person
  • Optional: watercress plus chives or green onion
  •  
    Preparation

    1. TRIM the woody ends from the asparagus. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Blanch the asparagus for 30 seconds (90 seconds for thick spears), until the asparagus just bends. Alternatively, lightly steam the asparagus in a microwave.

     

    2. PLUNGE the asparagus into ice water to stop the cooking. Blot dry with paper towels and set aside.

    3. WHISK together the olive oil, vinegar and garlic and roll and marinate asparagus in vinaigrette 30 minutes at room temperature. Make extra vinaigrette if you are serving the watercress.

    4. GATHER the asparagus into bundles of 8 (if thin, 4 if thick) and wrap each bundle with a prosciutto slice. Arrange on a platter or individual plates. Decorate with crumbled blue cheese.

    5. TOSS the optional watercress with vinaigrette and add to the plate.

    6. PASS a peppermill for fresh-ground black pepper.
     
    THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN PROSCIUTTO & SERRANO HAM

    This is a complex question, because the authentic breeds of pig and curing techniques differ in Europe from what is permitted in the U.S. But a simple answer is: Both products are air-cured hams, with some differences in the breed and diet of the pig.

  • Prosciutto, from Italy, tends to be fattier and more mild.
  • Serrano, from Spain, tends to be more flavorful.
  •  
    But it’s hard to state something definitively when you buy the product in the U.S. The best approach: Buy a small amount of each and decide which you prefer. If you’re buying it freshly carved (not pre-packaged), ask the counterperson what the brand is, and keep notes.
     
    *Slender asparagus are easier to wrap; but if you can only find thick spears, use half as many.
      

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    FOOD FUN: Confetti Cake

    With the success of The Flintstones television series, Post Foods obtained a license from Hanna-Barbera for Cocoa Pebbles and Fruity Pebbles breakfast cereals. Introduced in 1971, the crisp rice cereal bits are still going strong.

    And not just for breakfast, either. They’ve made their way into a variety of baked goods, from donuts to Rice Krispie Treats. Fruity Pebbles, in particular, provides a rainbow of six colors to add brightness and crunch. The cereal has generated a plethora of Fruity Pebbles cakes.

    Depending on your crowd, you may prefer to call them confetti cakes.

    It’s spring, it’s almost Mother’s Day: It’s time to think of making a confetti cake:

  • Bundt cake (recipe)
  • Cake roll (recipe)
  • Cheesecake: as a topper, mixed into the batter or both.
  • Cupcake toppers (recipe)
  • Ice cream cake (recipe)
  • Ice cream pie (recipe)
  •  

    strawberry-fruity-pebble-bunt-cake-lecremedelacrumb-230r

    Sophisticated: a Fruity Pebbles bundt. Here’s the recipe. Photo courtesy Le Creme De La Crumb.

  • Layer cake: top only, sides only, atop the filling layer(s) inside, or over the whole surface of the cake; mixed into the batter and atop the frosting (recipe)
  • Sheet cake: mixed into the batter and as a garnish atop the frosting
  •  

    MORE CONFETTI CAKE

    Check out Pillsbury’s Funfetti cake mix.

    We love these neon confetti cake decorations.

    The easiest default: mixed sprinkles.

      

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    EASTER: Chocolate Gift Certificate

    Here’s an easy solution to a gift emergency: a chocolate e-gift certificate.

    If you’ve forgotten to bring a gift, or if you receive an unexpected gift and want to reciprocate, you don’t have to sneak out to the nearest store.

    Instead, sneak onto the Internet and send a gift certificate via email. It will be in the giftee’s email box in minutes.

    Chocomize.com sells ready-made and make-your-own chocolates. Our favorite is the customized chocolate bar, where you pick your chocolate (dark, milk or white) and up to five toppings—candies, fruits, nuts, spices and special decorations (crystallized flower petals, 24 karat gold flakes).

    There are more than 70 topping choices. Special Easter toppings include caramel “quail eggs,” carrot cake candy corn, peanut butter speckled eggs and a white chocolate “Happy Easter” plaque.

    Jelly beans are available year-round—along with Junior Mints, M&Ms, mini marshmallows, Oreo pieces, Pop Rocks, Reese’s Pieces, toffee bits and much more.

    Head to Chocomize.com.

     

    chocomize-easter-egg-boxed-230

    A candy-covered hollow chocolate Easter egg with two chocolate truffles hidden inside.

     

      

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