Top 5 Red, White & Blue Desserts

I am counting down the days until my favorite holiday, Independence Day! Before we cue the fireworks and break out the grill, I wanted to find the perfect 4th of July dessert to bring to our family cookout. I searched the Clabber Girl recipe archive and chose these five gems! Each one is red, white or blue and will be a crowd pleaser. Now the only thing left is to decide which one to make!

Blueberry BarsBlueberry Bars

These bars look very easy to make and I love that the recipe calls for fresh blueberries! For a bar that sports red, white and blue colors, I would use 1.5 cups strawberries and 1.5 cups blueberries for the filling and then top it off with whipped cream.

2 C. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. Clabber Girl Baking Soda
1 Tbsp. Clabber Girl Baking Powder
2 C. quick-cooking rolled oats
1 C. firmly packed brown sugar
1 C. margarine
3 C. blueberries
3/4 C. granulated sugar
1/3 C. water
2 Tbsp. Clabber Girl corn starch
1/4 tsp. salt

For the filling: In a medium saucepan combine blueberries, sugar, water, Clabber Girl Corn Starch and salt. Cook at medium heat about 10 minutes or util thickened. Set aside.

For the dough: In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, and Clabber Girl Baking Powder. Cut in margarine with pastry cutter. Stir in brown sugar and rolled oats.

To assemble: Press half of dough mixture into greased 13 x 9-inch baking pan. Pour blueberry mixture on top; top with other half of flour mixture. Bake at 350° F for 45 minutes, until top is slightly browned. Cool before cutting into bars.

Stars-n-Fruit DessertStars-and-Fruit-Dessert

I love how simple and pretty this dessert looks! Since it calls for the cake to be cut into stars, I can use my star cookie cutter and alternate the star orientation so that there isn’t much wasted cake. I could serve these in mason jars as individual parfaits. This would also be cute to make as a layered cake in a 9×13-inch casserole pan. I could layer the fruit on the bottom, whipped cream dolloped on next and the sponge cake on the top layer. This would allow the fruit to show through the slices of cake and be easy to serve up to a large crowd.

Star Cake:
3 eggs
1 C. granulated sugar
6 Tbsp. orange juice
1 C. sifted cake flour
1 1/2 tsp. Clabber Girl Baking Powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 C. powdered sugar
Fruit:
4 C. mixed berries: blueberries, strawberries, raspberries or blackberries
1 C. granulated sugar
whipped cream, for garnish

For the stars: Grease and flour a 15 x 10-inch sheet pan, preheat oven to 375° F. Beat eggs until light and lemon-colored; add sugar gradually, beating until mixture is very thick. Add the orange juice and mix until blended. Sift together flour, Clabber Girl Baking Powder and salt. Add to the mixture, mixing only enough to blend smoothly. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 20 minutes. Cool in pan on wire rack and cool completely. Turn out onto waxed paper. With a 2-inch star cutter, cut out star shapes. Keep cuts as close together as possible. Store shapes on a flat surface until ready to assemble.

Berries: Wash fresh berries; hull and slice any strawberries that you might have.Toss berries with 1 cup sugar. Refrigerate for approximately 1 hour.

To assemble: Place approximately 1 cup berries in each dessert bowl or plate; decorate with a dollop of whipped cream and about 3-4 stars. You can also add red, white or blue sprinkles as a finishing touch for a more festive garnish. Serve immediately.

Summer Vanilla Ice CreamSummer Vanilla Ice Cream

Homemade ice cream is a summer favorite of mine! It’s even better with fresh strawberries and blueberries for a tangy and sweet, yet creamy, dessert. Even a sprinkle of red, white and blue candies could help make this festive for Independence Day.

2 1/2 C. milk
1 1/2 C. heavy cream
2/3 C. granulated sugar
1/4 C. Clabber Girl Corn Starch
1 1/2 Tbsp. vanilla extract
strawberries and blueberries, optional

In a heavy bottomed medium saucepan, gradually whisk one cup of the milk into the Clabber Girl Corn Starch until the corn starch is dissolved. Whisk in the remaining milk, cream and sugar. Cook over medium low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture is simmering and slightly thickened, about 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl set in a larger bowl of iced water. Stir in the vanilla. Let sit, stirring frequently, until completely chilled. Pour the mixture into the container of an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturers instructions. Transfer the frozen ice cream to a large, airtight container. Cover and freeze until firm and set, about 4 hours. Serve frozen.

Strawberry Rhubarb PieStrawberry Rhubarb Pie

I think this would be the perfect pie to bring to a 4th of July party! If you haven’t had rhubarb before, it looks a little like celery, but don’t worry, it tastes nothing like celery and isn’t as fibrous. Sweet strawberries are the perfect compliment to rhubarb, which can be slightly sour. I love pairing these together in a flaky pastry, then topped with a dollop of whipped cream.

Crust:
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. Clabber Girl Baking Powder
1/4 tsp. salt
10 Tbsp. butter, cold and cut into chunks
4 oz. cold water

Filling:
2 Tbsp. Clabber Girl Corn Starch
2 cups fresh rhubarb, chopped
1 cup granulated sugar
3 cups fresh strawberries, sliced
2 Tbsp. butter
1 egg white
2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
1/4 tsp. vanilla

Directions:
Pie crust:
In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the chunks of cold butter and mix the butter into the flour using a pastry blender. Continue to do this until the mixture looks like bread crumbs or small pieces of butter. Add the cold water and stir it into the mixture so that it all sticks together. Clump the dough all together to form a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1-2 hours. You want the dough chilled and cold, but not hard.

Roll out the dough to a 13 inch circle on a lightly floured surface. Save some dough for your top lattice strips. Lay the circle of crust dough in your greased pie dish. Roll out the remaining dough and cut into 1 inch wide strips for the lattice top and leave aside until fruit in the pie crust.

Pie Filling:
Whisk Clabber Girl Corn Starch together with 1/4 cup water until well blended. Combine with the rhubarb and sugar in a medium pot and heat until thickened. Then add to strawberries. Add the vanilla and stir all together. Then let sit for about 30 minutes for your filling to thicken. Pour the fruit mixture into the pie crust. Add the butter chunks on top.

Arrange the crust strips in a lattice pattern over the fruit mixture and press the strip ends into the crust. Brush the egg whites onto the top of the crust strips and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake at 400° F. for about 35 minutes or golden in color. Let cool for filling to settle and thicken.

Sugar Cookies

This recipe was submitted by a fellow Clabber Girl employee and it is a recipe box staple! This is one of the rare kinds of sugar cookie recipes that don’t require refrigerating the dough prior to cutting out shapes. If you need a last minute dessert that looks like you spent hours on, bake away, friends! You can top the cookies with sprinkles prior to baking or frost and sprinkle after baking. Either way, these are fun and taste great! They’re the perfect finger food for tiny hands at your 4th of July party.

Old Fashioned Sugar Cookies

3 C. all-purpose flour, sifted
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. Clabber Girl Baking Powder
1 C. sugar
1 C. butter, softened
1 egg, lightly beaten
3 Tbsp. cream or evaporated milk
1 tsp. vanilla

In a mixing bowl, sift together flour, salt, Clabber Girl Baking Powder and sugar. Cut in butter until fine. Add the slightly beaten egg, cream (or evaporated milk), and vanilla. Roll out dough on slightly floured surface. Sprinkle with sugar. Cut out with cookie cutters and place on a baking sheet. Bake at 400° F for 5 to 8 minutes until edges just start to brown. Makes 2 to 3 dozen cookies, depending on the size of cookie cutters used. From the Clabber Girl Recipe Book “RECIPES TO WARM THE HEART”- Submitted by Sherry Wood.

Iced Coffee in Perfection, A Rumford Complete Cookbook Recipe

Iced-Coffee-3

Relax this summer by sitting out on the patio, with an iced coffee in hand, enjoying reading a book and soaking up some sunshine. Doesn’t that sound great! Making a cold coffee at home can be simple and easy. Enjoy your favorite coffee flavor, creamy from the milk, and a little sweet from the whipped topping.

Iced-Coffee-6
Here is a tasty iced coffee recipe found in the Rumford Complete Cookbook. Iced Coffee in Perfection is on page 214 in the 1908 cookbook.

Here is my version of the recipe.

Iced Coffee in Perfection
Ingredients: 
1 pint cold coffee
1 pink milk
Ground cinnamon
Whipped topping
Cracked Ice

Directions: 
Fully prepare and chill coffee for it to be cold. Have milk fully chilled as well. Blend together in a pitcher and mix well. When serving, add the cracked ice. Top off with a large dollop of whipped topping. Sprinkle over top each glass with the cinnamon.
Perfect in a coffee mug……

Iced-Coffee-3

….or a mason jar!

Iced-Coffee-5
What a great way to enjoy coffee in those hot days of summer!

 

Chocolate Loaf Cake, A Rumford Complete Cookbook Recipe

Need an easy recipe to bake and take? This Chocolate Loaf Cake recipe is great for that! I made it the other day for a snack carry in I attended and it went over well.

Simply mix everything together, bake, cool, slice and you’re done!

This cake is light, fluffy and moist!

One slice of the loaf is perfect for like chocolate fix too!

The Chocolate Loaf Cake recipe is on page 135 of the Rumford Complete Cookbook. Below is a copy of the recipe.

Chocolate Loaf Cake Recipe Original

Here is my version:

Chocolate Loaf Cake

Ingredients:
1 1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. butter, room temperature
2 eggs
1 c. milk
2 c. flour
2 tsp. Rumford Baking Powder
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 chocolate squares

Directions:
In a large mixing bowl beat one cup of the sugar with the butter to bring to a cream. Add the eggs, 1/2 of milk and vanilla. Mix together well. Add the flour and baking powder to the mixture and beat them into the other ingredients. Set aside.
In a small saucepan, add the remainder of the sugar and milk and the chocolate squares. Cook until chocolate is dissolved, stiring occassionally. Add the chocolate mixture to the cake batter and beat together well.
Bake in a loaf pan at 350° F. for 1 hour.

After cooling, you can also add your favorite frosting!

Kids Activity: Rainbow Rocks

This activity requires prep time and overnight setting.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Clabber Girl Baking Soda
  • ¼ c. + 2 Tbsp water
  • 1 gal Vinegar
  • Watercolor Magic liquid watercolor (we chose Sargent Art®)
  • Rubber gloves
  • Paper towels (for cleanup)
  • Parchment paper
  • Plastic gold coins
  • 2 large mixing bowls (we chose clear to show color)
  • Baking sheet or dry surface for drying

This recipe yields 5-6 rocks. These Rainbow Rocks are easy and enjoyable for children of all ages.

  1. Gather all ingredients.
    Rainbow Rocks Ingredients
  2. In one of the large mixing bowls, add baking soda. Slowly add water. Mixture should be moldable but not too wet.
    Making Rainbow Rocks 1
  3. Cover hands with rubber gloves. Add watercolor drops to soda water mixture. Massage soda mixture with your hands, adding color as you go until desired color is achieved.
    Making Rainbow Rocks 3
  4. While mixture is still moist, put a small amount of mixture into your hand. Take one plastic gold coin and place in the middle of the mixture. Continue to pat mixture in hands until a medium rock shape forms and the gold coin is hidden.
  5. Cover a cookie sheet or flat surface with parchment paper. Please rocks on top of parchment paper to dry overnight.
  6. After rocks have completely dried, do with them what you wish! We thought it would be fun to hide these in the yard and have children search for them. You could also simply use these as a quick kitchen table experiment.
  7. Using another clean large bowl, fill with vinegar until bowl is 2-quarters full. One at a time, drop Rainbow Rocks in and wait for the surprise.
    Fizzing Rainbow Rocks Activity


Chili Soup – Six Ways!

There are so many ways to celebrate the SuperBowl, but we think there’s no better way than cheering your team on with a warm bowl of chili at your side! Just as there are many ways to celebrate SuperBowl Sunday, there are numerous ways to prepare chili. We’ve searched our archives and found six totally different chili recipes for you to try out. Ranging from spicy hot to vegan zucchini, each is unique in its own way. All recipes include our special chili seasoning recipe, which you can add to taste.

Hot Chili

  • 1/4 c. Chili Seasoning
  • 2.5 lb. beef top round, fat trimmed and diced into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 diced onion
  • 2 diced poblano peppers
  • 2 diced Anaheim chilies
  • 3-4 diced fresh jalapeno peppers
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped garlic
  • 2 Tbsp. dried oregano
  • 2 Tbsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 c. Tequila
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro chopped
  • 1/4 c. lime juice
  • 24 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 c. tomato sauce
  • 1 c. beef stock
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Coat the diced meat with 1/4 cup of the Chili Seasoning. In a large braiser, heat the olive oil and add the seasoned beef. Brown on all sides. Add the onion, garlic and the fresh chilies and sauté until the onions are soft. Add the Tequila and cook until liquid is reduced by half.

Add tomato products and beef broth and bring to a boil then turn down to a high simmer. Simmer until meat is tender. Adjust seasoning as desired. Finish with lime juice and chopped cilantro.

Hot Chili

Mild Chili

  • 2-3 Tbsp. Chili Seasoning (to taste)
  • 3 lbs. lean ground beef
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 1 large jalapeno, finely chopped
  • 2 (16-oz.) cans hot chili beans
  • 1 (22-oz.) can tomato juice
  • 1 (15-oz.) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (15-oz.) can tomato puree
  • 1 (10-oz.) can beef broth
  • 3 tablespoons barbeque Sauce
  • 4 tablespoons Kahlua
  • 4 tablespoons Vodka
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

In a large stockpot, combine ground beef and chili seasoning. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until beef begins to turn crusty brown. Add celery, onion, green pepper and jalapeno; cook until vegetables are tender. Add un-drained chili beans, tomato juice, tomatoes, tomato puree, broth, BBQ sauce, Kahlua, Vodka and Worcestershire sauce. Mix well and simmer, stirring occasionally. May place this chili in slow cooker to keep warm.

Mild Chili

Quick ‘n Easy Turkey Chili

  • 1-2 Tbsp. Chili Seasoning (to taste)
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • Two 16-oz. cans kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • One 28-oz. can whole tomatoes; un-drained and chopped

Combine turkey, onion and garlic in a Dutch oven; Cook until turkey is browned, stirring to crumble. Drain off drippings. Add remaining ingredients; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes stirring occasionally.

Quick-n-Easy-Turkey-Chili

Chicken Chili with Corn and Cannellini Beans

  • 2-3 Tbsp. Chili Seasoning (to taste)
  • 3 1/2 to 4 pound chicken
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 green bell peppers, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 cups fresh, frozen or canned corn kernels
  • 1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • optional toppings:
    • grated cheddar or Jack cheese
    • sour cream
    • chopped scallions

Combine the chicken, half the onion and enough water just to cover. Simmer for 1 hour and transfer the chicken to a plate. Boil the broth until it is reduced to 4 cups. Discard the skin and bones from the chicken and chop the meat coarsely.

In a large saucepan, cook the remaining onion, green peppers and garlic in the oil, stirring over moderate heat until golden. Stir in the chili seasoning and cook for 1 minute. Stir in 3 cups of the broth, the chicken, cumin and pepper and simmer the chili for 30 minutes.

Stir in the corn and beans and simmer another 15 minutes.

Chicken Chili with Corn and Cannellini Beans

Super Sausage Chili

  • 2 Tbsp. Chili Seasoning (to taste)
  • 2 lbs. hot sausage (May use Italian sausage)
  • 1 c. chopped onion
  • 2 (14 oz.) cans red kidney beans
  • 1 (15 oz.) can stewed tomatoes
  • 1 (12 oz.) can tomato paste
  • 2 Tbsp. prepared mustard
  • 2 c. water

In a skillet, brown sausage and onion. Crumble sausage until it is in very small pieces. When sausage is brown, drain grease and add to large stock pot. Add remaining ingredients and cook on medium heat until mixture comes to a boil. Turn down heat to simmer and cook at least 2 hours.

Super Sausage Chili

Vegan Zucchini Chili

  • 2-3 Tbsp. Chili Seasoning (to taste)
  • 4 to 6 cups zucchini, unpeeled and grated
  • 1 cup celery, sliced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 Tablespoons oil
  • 1 15-oz. can tomato sauce, plus 1 can water
  • 1 28-oz. can tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper, or to taste
  • 1 15-oz. can kidney beans
  • 1 cup fresh sliced mushrooms
  • green olives, sliced (optional)
  • shredded vegan cheese (optional)

In a pan, sauté zucchini, celery and onion in oil for about 6 minutes. Add tomato sauce, water, tomatoes, chili seasoning to zucchini mixture and simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours (this mixture can be frozen, and remaining ingredients added later). Add kidney beans, mushrooms and green olives; simmer for 15 minutes.

Vegan Zucchini Chili

Pumpkin Pie 3 Ways

Every family has its own holiday traditions, and each year new favorites are discovered and requested the following year. This year, I decided to try pumpkin pie in three ways: pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin cake and a standard pumpkin pie.

As a kid, we always had Thanksgiving at my Aunt Dixie’s house. Pumpkin pie was the epitome of Thanksgiving to me. We enjoyed it only once a year and any other pumpkin pie would always be measured against her perfect recipe. This pie was so good that all of us kids would eat slice after slice. We’d all run around outside, make extra room for pumpkin pie, then come back in to eat more. It was a fun tradition that I get to see the next generation of kids in our family do today. I wanted to share my Aunt’s pumpkin pie recipe with her permission. She isn’t sure where she got the original recipe, but she’s been making it for Thanksgiving for decades. Every time she makes it, she uses the recipe as a general guideline, making small changes here and there. But every time, it comes out as the best pumpkin pie recipe ever.

Recipe #1: Aunt Dixie’s Pumpkin Pie

Classic Pumpkin Pie

This pumpkin pie is perfectly spiced-just the right amount of cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg that aren’t overwhelming for younger palates. You can make this pie ahead of time, freeze it a couple of weeks and then bake it the day before Thanksgiving when you need it. When you pair the pie filling with a homemade pie crust, it is the best pumpkin pie ever. The crust is flaky and slightly puffed from the addition of baking powder. I like to use up any leftover crust to make little sweet treats. I just cut shapes out of the pie dough, top with melted butter, sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon. The pie crust bites can be baked simultaneously with the pie, just remove after 10 minutes or when the edges turn golden brown.

Filling:

  • 15 oz. canned pumpkin
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1 c. brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. ginger
  • ½ tsp. nutmeg
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 12 oz. evaporated milk

Clabber Girl Pie Crust Recipe:
(watch our 60 second video on how to make pie crust here)

  • 1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp. Clabber Girl Baking Powder
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 10 Tbsp. butter cold and cut into chunks
  • 3-4 Tbsp. ice water as needed

To prepare the pie crust:

Mix the flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Add the butter. Using a pastry blender or your fingers, cut the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse bread crumbs with some pea-size pieces of butter. Gradually stir in enough of the water for the dough to clump together. Gather up the dough and form into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate until chilled but not hard, 1-2 hours.

On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough into a 1/8-inch thick round. Transfer to a 10-inch pie dish, trimming the dough to a 1/2-inch overhang around the edges of the dish. Tuck the overhang under the dough on the rim and flute the edges.

To prepare the filling:

Mix ingredients in order. Pour into uncooked pie crust and bake at 425° F. for 15 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 350° F. and continue to bake for 45 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Recipe #2: Pumpkin Cheesecake

Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake

This cheesecake is smooth and light with a slightly sweet, slightly sour finish. You can either make it as two 9-inch pies or one spring form cake as the recipe advises. The cheesecake does take a long time in the oven, but could be made a few days in advance and refrigerated. Completely cool the cake before refrigerating. If you wrap it in foil or plastic before it is cool, condensation can drip on top of the pie and make the sour cream look thin.

Graham Cracker Crust:

  • 1 1/2 c. graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 c. melted butter
  • 1/4 c. granulated sugar

Pumpkin Cheesecake Filling:

  • 24 oz. cream cheese
  • 1 c. granulated sugar
  • 1/4 c. brown sugar
  • 15 oz. canned pumpkin
  • 2/3 c. evaporated milk
  • 2 lg. eggs
  • 2 Tbsp. Rumford Cornstarch
  • 1 Tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 1/4 tsp. cinnamon

Pumpkin Cheesecake Topping:

  • 2 c. sour cream
  • 1/3 c. granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

To prepare the crust:

Combine graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, sugar and press into a 9-inch spring form pan or two 9-inch pie pans.

To prepare the filling:

In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, white and brown sugar and eggs. In a separate bowl, combine pumpkin, milk, cornstarch and spices. Add to cream cheese mixture. Pour into prepared crust(s).

To prepare the topping:

Mix all ingredients thoroughly.

Bake for about 65 to 70 minutes at 350° F. Remove from oven, spoon topping mixture over cake(s). Return to 350° F oven and bake for additional 5 minutes.

Recipe #3: Pumpkin Cake

Pumpkin Pie Cake

This pumpkin cake is a mix of two batters: a cream cheese and a pumpkin batter. It is very mild and not overly pumpkin tasting. One thing I liked about this recipe is that you don’t have to worry about portioning out the pumpkin batter evenly, the cream cheese filling bakes up just fine. The end result is a beautiful layered cake dotted with chopped pecans.

Cream Cheese Filling:

  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 1/2 c. granulated sugar
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 Tbsp. Rumford Cornstarch
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp. milk
  • 2 eggs

Pumpkin Batter:

  • 1 c. granulated sugar
  • 1/2 c. butter melted
  • 1 c. canned pumpkin
  • 1 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. Rumford Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Clabber Girl Baking Soda
  • 1 c. chopped pecans
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

To prepare filling:

Combine ingredients for filling mixture; set aside.

To prepare batter:

Beat together eggs, sugar, pumpkin and butter. In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients and add to pumpkin mixture; stir in nuts.

In a 9 x 13-inch baking pan, pour 1/2 of batter into bottom, spread it out to coat the bottom completely (about ½-inch thick). Top with filling mixture; pour the other half of batter on top.

Bake in a 350° F. oven for 25 minutes. Cool completely on wire rack.

Salted Vanilla Marshmallow Cream S’mores

S'mores Hero

It’s perfect camping weather! That time of year when the days are warm and the nights are cool. It’s perfect for a bowl of chili and perfect for that all-American messy treat . . . S’mores! But, if you are anything like me, I don’t want to wait for a camping trip to have S’mores. I may make S’mores on a random Tuesday afternoon or enjoy one on the couch as a midnight snack.

I love the elements of a S’more and how they work together to make that perfect treat. Crunchy graham crackers, chocolate, and gooey toasty marshmallows. Each ingredient brings an important element to the table. But, of course, I can’t help but play with it a little bit!

This recipe is my version of a S’more. The Biscoff cookie is an elevated version of a graham cracker. It’s crispy and crunchy like a graham cracker but, has notes of ginger and more complexity. The marshmallows are replaced with a home-made salted vanilla marshmallow cream. It’s creamy and sweet and salty and messy and delicious. For the chocolate, I used a high-quality European chocolate. And, to top it off, I added candied orange peel. It pairs so well with the Biscoff cookie and adds a slight note of sweet-bitter that plays really well with the chocolate.

This recipe is designed so that you can make it indoors. But, all the ingredients travel well so, they could easily go outdoors with you to be assembled by the fire. Enjoy!

S’mores Recipe

Candied Orange Peel

3 medium oranges
2 cups sugar + ½ cup sugar for dusting
1 cup water

Combine the 2 cups of sugar and water in a medium pot. Heat over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves.
Meanwhile, using a vegetable peeler, peel strips of skin from the oranges being careful not to get the white pith.
Add the orange peel to the simple syrup and simmer for about 40 minutes.
Drain the orange peel and toss in the remaining ½ cup of sugar. Lay candied orange strips out on a wire rack and allow to cool and air dry. Orange peel can be stored in dusting sugar in airtight container for up to two weeks.

Salted Vanilla Marshmallow Cream

1/3 cup water
¾ cup sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
3 egg whites
½ tsp. cream of tartar
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. salt

Combine the water, sugar, and corn syrup in saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Simmer the mixture, not stirring, until it reaches 240F on a candy thermometer.

Meanwhile, in a stand mixer combine the egg whites and cream of tartar. Whip the egg whites until they form stiff peaks.

When the sugar mixture reaches 240F take off of heat. With the stand mixture running on low, drizzle the hot liquid into the egg whites. Once all the liquid is incorporated, add the vanilla and salt. Beat the mixture for another minute or so until smooth and shiny.

Marshmallow cream can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

 

S’mores Assembly

Biscoff Cookies
High – quality dark or milk chocolate
Salted Vanilla Marshmallow Cream
Candied Orange Peel

S'mores Ingredients

Spread a small spoonful of marshmallow cream on a Biscoff cookie. Top with broken pieces of chocolate.
Spread a small spoonful of marshmallow cream on a second Biscoff cookie and place on top of first Biscoff cookie.
With a kitchen torch, burn the exposed marshmallow on the top and on the sides.
Top with a candied orange peel. Enjoy!

Birthday Celebration Cake

Birthday Celebration Cake Hero 2Birthdays are one of my favorite days of the year. Growing up, birth dates we’re a special day to celebrated, tailored to make it so uniquely about celebrating you. We never did anything too extravagant, as a child there were the “big” birthday parties with school friends. But by middle school, birthdays become more about celebrating as a family as opposed to having the biggest party. Every year it is the same, like clockwork, our birthdays have become a tradition.

Every time in the weeks leading up to your birthday, the customary “Where do you want to eat at?” would be asked and pondered. Growing up we didn’t go out to eat much, we enjoyed cooking

together at home and having “Pizza & Movie Night” every Friday. Going out to eat was a treat, something usually reserved just for birthdays. But the best party was dessert, we never had dessert at the restaurant, it was like an unspoken rule. Your favorite cake or dessert was ALWAYS made for your birthday. It changed from year to year, growing more consistent as we all grew older, but cake was always a mainstay.

Over the years I have taken up cake decorating for family birthdays, it’s the little something extra I can try and do to make someone feel special on their day. In my family vanilla cake is a crowd pleaser and one we make most often, but I love to mix it up a bit by adding in different flavors. For the birthday cake I am sharing with you, I went with my favorites: strawberries and lemons. With the simple sprinkle decorations and piping, this is a decorated cake that anyone can pull off for any number of occasions. Change up the colors, size and/or shape of your sprinkles to match your theme and you’ve got an easy to make birthday cake, tailored just for you!

Download Party Cards

Download Pin the Cherry on the Cupcake Game

Download our Frosting Color Guide

Download our Cupcake Toppers

Pinterest Birthday Celebration CakeBirthday Celebration Cake

Vanilla Cake with Strawberry Filling and Lemon Buttercream

(Get the full Birthday Celebration Cake Recipe Here)

Makes two 9-inch round layers

Ingredients:

For the Cake:
2 cups All-Purpose flour
2 teaspoons Clabber Girl Baking Powder
½ tsp. kosher salt
12 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
1 ½ cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. lemon extract
3 eggs
¾ cup milk

For the Strawberry Filling:

1 lb. strawberries, stems removed and quartered
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp. Clabber Girl Cornstarch
Juice from 2 lemons

For the Lemon Buttercream

2 lbs. powdered sugar, sifted
1 # unsalted butter, softened
2 tsp. lemon extract
Zest from 2 lemons

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl, whisking to combine.
    Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attached and beat on low for about 5 minutes or until combined and lightened in color. Add in the vanilla and lemon extract and mix to combine.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk and set aside. Reducing the mixer to low, slowly add in 1/3 of the flour mixture and then ½ of the milk-egg mixture. Stop and scrap down the bowl on the edges after each addition or as needed. Add in another 1/3 of the flour mixture and the remaining milk-egg mixture, scrap again as needed and add the remaining 1/3 of the flour mixture. Scrap the bowl with a large spatula and pour the batter into prepared pans.
  4. Bake in a 350 degrees F oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until they are golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool the cakes in the pans on racks for about 5 minutes, then remove from pans and let cool the remaining time on the rack.
  5. For the Strawberry Filling: Combine all of the ingredients in a medium sized pot and toss to combine. Cook over medium heat, until the strawberries begin to soften and release their juices, stirring occasionally. Let mixture come to a boil and reduce to simmer for about 5 minutes until thickened and cooked to desired consistency, stirring as needed. Remove from heat and let cool completely before using.
  6. For the Lemon Buttercream: Using the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter until creamy and lightened in color. Add 1 cup of powdered sugar to the creamed butter and beat to combine, continue adding the powdered sugar 1 to 2 cups at a time until the mixture is lightly and fluffy. Add in the lemon extract and mix to combine. If the mixture is too stiff, mix in 2-3 tablespoons of milk to reached desired consistency.
  7. To assemble the cakes: Cut the tops of the cakes to create a flat even top. Place 1 cake layer, cut side down on your cake stand. Using a piping bag, pipe a circle around the entire rim of the cake top. Spoon ½ of the Strawberry Filling inside of the buttercream circle (this acts as a wall to keep your filling from spilling out of the cake). Gently place the second layer, cut side down on top of the first cake, lining up the edges. Ice and decorate the outside of the cake as desired with the remaining Lemon Buttercream.

**You will have extra Strawberry Filling, serve some on the side so guest and spoon more over their own cake slices as desired or reserved for a later use.

Homemade Animal Crackers in 5 Fun Flavors!

 

I have a one and a half year old daughter. As a parent, her diet is extremely important to me. I try hard to only give her the highest quality food and a wide variety of textures and tastes. I have vowed that she will not even know what a “chicken nugget” is until she starts school where, inevitably, she will become aware of this food option. But, as long as she is at home, it is a wide variety of vegetables, fruits, and exotic foods. I’m helping to build her little palate after all!

That being said, little kids do love treats, crackers, cookies, and snacks. I have always made the effort to cook all of her food from scratch. I made my own baby food when she first started eating solids. So, why not continue with cookies and crackers. Sure, it’s convenient to just buy a box at the store but, by making them myself I can be sure of the ingredients in them and that she isn’t getting a bunch of “junk” in her crackers. And, when I started making them, I really couldn’t believe just how easy they are to make and much cheaper!

I have also had a lot of fun experimenting with flavors and different types of flours. Once you have a base recipe, it is easy to swap out flours and add in different flavors. I have five recipes to share that the little one seems to like quite a bit. The first recipe is an Orange-Honey Animal Cracker and I used this as my base recipe and began swapping ingredients to create other flavors.  I have included recipes for:

  • Orange-Honey Almond Animal Crackers
  • Chocolate Almond Animal Crackers
  • Strawberry Almond Animal Crackers
  • Coconut Macha Animal Crackers
  • Aged White Cheddar, Quinoa, and Oregano Animal Crackers

Each recipe yields about 30 medium sized crackers.

I hope that you enjoy these recipes and have as fun as I did creating them. Thanks!

Orange-Honey Almond Animal Crackers

Orange Honey Animal Crackers

½ cup Almond Flour

1 cup all-purpose Flour

¼ tsp. Clabber Girl Baking Soda

½ tsp. salt

¼ cup unsalted butter, chilled

1 Tbsp. Honey

½ cup Buttermilk

Zest of one Orange

 

Preheat the oven to 400F.

In a medium bowl, blend the almond flour, flour, baking soda, and salt.

Cut in the butter using a pastry blender (or your hands) until the mixture becomes like the texture of sand.

Stir in the honey, buttermilk, and orange zest.

The dough may be a bit crumbly. Dump out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead by hand until a dough forms.

With a rolling pin, roll the dough out to 1/8 inch in thickness. Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters.

Place the crackers onto a lightly greased cookie sheet and bake for about 5 minutes, until the edges are lightly browned.

 

Chocolate Almond Animal Crackers

chocolate cracker

½ cup almond flour

¾ cup all-purpose flour

¼ tsp. Clabber Girl Baking Soda

½ tsp. salt

¼ cup cocoa powder

1/3 cup granulated sugar

¼ cup unsalted butter

¾ cup buttermilk

 

Preheat the oven to 400F.

In a medium bowl, blend the almond flour, flour, baking soda, cocoa powder, sugar, and salt.

Cut in the butter using a pastry blender (or your hands) until the mixture becomes like the texture of sand.

Stir in the buttermilk. Dough may be crumbly.

Dump out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead by hand until a dough forms.

With a rolling pin, roll the dough out to 1/8 inch in thickness. Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters.

Place the crackers onto a lightly greased cookie sheet and bake for about 5 minutes, until the edges are lightly browned.

Strawberry-Almond Animal Crackers

 

½ cup Almond Flour

1 cup all-purpose Flour

¼ tsp. Clabber Girl Baking Soda

½ tsp. salt

¼ cup unsalted butter, chilled

1 Tbsp. Honey

½ cup Buttermilk

¼ cup freeze-dried strawberries

 

Preheat the oven to 400F.

In a medium bowl, blend the almond flour, flour, baking soda, salt, and freeze-dried strawberries.

Cut in the butter using a pastry blender (or your hands) until the mixture becomes like the texture of sand.

Stir in the honey and buttermilk.

The dough may be a bit crumbly. Dump out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead by hand until a dough forms.

With a rolling pin, roll the dough out to 1/8 inch in thickness. Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters.

Place the crackers onto a lightly greased cookie sheet and bake for about 5 minutes, until the edges are lightly browned.

Coconut Macha Animal Crackers

Coconut Macha Animal Crackers

½ cup coconut flour

1 cup all-purpose flour

¼ tsp. Clabber Girl Baking Soda

1 Tbsp. Macha Powder

¼ cup unsalted butter

1 Tbsp. Honey

¾ cup buttermilk

 

Preheat the oven to 400F.

In a medium bowl, blend the coconut flour, flour, baking soda, salt, and Macha Powder.

Cut in the butter using a pastry blender (or your hands) until the mixture becomes like the texture of sand.

Stir in the honey and buttermilk.

The dough may be a bit crumbly. Dump out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead by hand until a dough forms.

With a rolling pin, roll the dough out to 1/8 inch in thickness. Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters.

Place the crackers onto a lightly greased cookie sheet and bake for about 5 minutes, until the edges are lightly browned.

 

Aged White Cheddar, Quinoa, and Oregano Animal Crackers

 

½ cup Quinoa Flour

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 tsp. dried oregano

¼ cup Aged White Cheddar, shredded

¼ tsp. Clabber Girl baking Soda

½ tsp. salt

½ cup Buttermilk

 

Preheat the oven to 400F.

In a medium bowl, blend the quinoa flour, flour, oregano, cheddar, baking soda, and salt.

Stir in the buttermilk.

The dough may be a bit crumbly. Dump out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead by hand until a dough forms.

With a rolling pin, roll the dough out to 1/8 inch in thickness. Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters.

Place the crackers onto a lightly greased cookie sheet and bake for about 5 minutes, until the edges are lightly browned.

Animal Crackers Pinterest Promo

Cinco de Mayo Party: Margarita Bar

Cinco de Mayo is fast approaching and while everyone else may be thinking tacos and churros, I’m over here thinking about the salty, sour, and tart perfection of the Classic Margarita. As many of us gear up to celebrate, we often find ourselves focusing on the food and not the drinks. And it’s hard to fault that game plan, as the food is the star. This year however, I wanted to change things up and focus on the drinks for once. Because let’s face it, what’s a good party without a good cocktail? But then again, why settle for just one. While I love a classic lime margarita, I also love the versatility of it. There are so many variations on that drink it can make your head spin. But how to pull off multiple different flavors and combinations and still stay on theme?

Easy…enter the Margarita Bar.

Margarita Bar Cinco de Mayo

Behind every tasty and delicious margarita is good tequila and fresh ingredients. Like I said before, there are a TON of different flavor combinations that you can make, some of the ones that I came up with are featured in the pictures throughout this post. I went with 5, but you if you go with just 3 flavors you’re still headed in the directions of an amazing Cinco de Mayo party!

Here’s the low-down on how to make a margarita bar for Cinco de Mayo:

Simple Syrup:

This is where you’re getting the sweetness in the drink from, especially in drinks that are highly acidic (like a classical margarita), and the simple syrup helps balance the sweet and tart/sour flavors. To make simple syrup you just need equal parts water and granulated sugar. Place in a pot on medium heat and simmer until all the sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool before using.

Strawberry Jalapeno Margarita
Strawberry Jalapeno Margarita

Fruits/Juices/Herbs:

Whatever flavor combinations you decide on, this part is key to making a tasty margarita. If you’re just using juices and herbs you’re all set to throw everything in your shaker, shake, strain into a glass over ice and enjoy. If you’re using fruit, like the Strawberry Jalapeno Margarita then you can muddle the strawberries, jalapeno and mint together or blend everything into a puree like I did. This will give you a slightly thicker margarita, but nevertheless delicious.

Tequila:

This to me, is what makes a margarita a margarita. I prefer to use silver tequila in my drinks, especially for a classic margarita or the Cucumber Jalapeno Margarita so I get the drink color I’m looking for.

Cucumber Jalapeno Margarita
Cucumber Jalapeno Margarita

Grand Marnier:

Is your drink still really tart from all the lime juice? Grand Marnier will help cut that too with some add sweetness. Triple sec or any other orange liquor will work, so go with your preference. Not all margaritas call for it, so it’s really up to you if you want to include it in your drink, but I’d really suggest making the trip to the liquor store if you don’t have it on hand as it can make a world of difference in the outcome of your cocktail.
Once all your ingredients are a go, it’s time to figure what you are going to serve. You can premix a large batch or have all the ingredients ready to guest can make their own drinks. Whichever direction you decide to go in, here’s a list of some of the essentials you’ll need on your Margarita Bar.

Pitches/Wine Carafes/Drink Dispensers:

Whether you’re going with large batches or single serve, you’re going to need a few of these for the beverage table. Premix large batches with all the liquid ingredients (the Lemon Basil Margarita is perfect for this) and serve in a large drink dispenser for guests to pour their own. If you want your bar a little more interactive, use full or half carafes to fill with different juice flavors for guest to choice from.

Lemon Basil Margarita
Lemon Basil Margarita

Drink Shakers:

Give everyone a change to be a bartender for a night! If you’re doing a serve yourself bar, litter your beverage bar with drink shakers for guest to use. Have one on hand just in case if you’re premixing, you never know if you might need it and it’s good to have on hand.

Ice Bucket & Scoops:

These are a must have. Even if you decide to go with drink dispensers, don’t risk pre-icing your drinks and watering that flavor down. Have ice available for guest to add to their cup before pouring themselves a drink. If you’re going for a self-serve make your own drink kind of bar than you can’t pull that off without a lot of ice. Not only do party goers need it for their drinks, but for the drink shakers as well. Be sure to have a bag of ice on hand just in case your ice dispenser can’t keep up too, you’ll thank me later.

Coconut Lime Margarita
Coconut Lime Margarita

Glasses:

You are going to need lots and lots of glasses! If you’re anything like me, than I doubt that you have a secret stash for tons of margarita glasses lying around. No worries though, I used all kinds of different glasses. I think it adds to the charm of a Margarita Bar, plus you don’t have to dish out any money to buy all new glasses just for the party. Pilsner and rocks glass, as well as some mason jars worked perfectly for me!

Little Plates/Shallow Rimmed Bowls:

You can not have a margarita without salt. Okay, you actually can. But you definitely can’t ditch the salt when hosting a Margarita Bar so little plates or shallow rimmed bowls are perfect for this. You can use ones that go with your theme colors or just stick with white like I did. Be sure to have one out for each margarita flavor you are going with or just a couple if you’re sticking with just one salt for all the flavors (kosher salt worked for me, but you can buy margarita salt too). The salt that you’re rimming your glass with is just another area where you get to impart different flavorings and put a spin on your margaritas to kick them up a notch (like the cayenne salt for the Mango Orange Margarita), so get creative if you want.

Mango Orange Margarita
Mango Orange Margarita

Bowls:

You’re going to want bowls of various sizes. This is perfect for garnishes if your serving out of drink dispensers and a must have to serve lime wedges needed to rim your glass with before dipping into the salt. If you’re going with a make your own bar, then little bowls are just right for all the herbs and various fruits you might be using.

Festive straws that match your theme are a great thing to have on the bar, as well as plenty of cocktail napkins. Little chalkboard signs are a great way to label the different drinks if your serving out of drink dispensers. If you can nab some larger chalkboard signs, write out the recipe for the single serving drinks that are available so party goers can make their own.

Once you have all the essentials gathered, it’s only a matter of displaying the bar in a way that is uniquely you. Keep it casual in the kitchen or set up a whole beverage bar station that is sure to be a talking point. Whatever you do, when throwing a Margarita Bar, have fun…and enjoy!