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Archive for the ‘Desserts’ Category

It can be hectic with your neighborhood friends and family over for dinner and to watch the upcoming Oscars this Sunday…so why not make this fun “make-ahead” popcorn recipe that both the adults and children will love? Plus it saves you time on the day of the Oscars to glam up yourself! Make it fun and have your little boy or girl get dressed up too by letting them take clothes from their closet and play “dress-up” for their favorite movie-character…and for the laid-back parent, maybe let your little girl put on a little lipstick and blush for a “special night” of fun! Enjoy the below recipe.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 5 quarts plain popped popcorn

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Make caramel: In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine sugar, butter, and corn syrup, stirring until melted and combined.
  2. Cover; cook 2 minutes to let steam wash down sides of pan.
  3. Remove lid; cook until mixture reaches 280 degrees on a candy thermometer, about 10 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla and salt.
  5. Place popcorn in a large bowl.
  6. Slowly pour half the caramel over popcorn, stirring to break up clumps.
  7. Drizzle in remaining caramel; stir until cooled and no longer sticky.
  8. Serve at room temperature.

Note: you can store the popcorn for up to 2 days in an air-tight container. I love a “make-ahead” recipe.

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As much as I am a big fan of only homemade bread, cupcakes, dessert, well…anything that goes in your mouth or your child’s mouth, I am a BIG sucker for funfetti. I saw this recipe and it looks AHHHH-MAAA-ZZZING. It is ridiculously easy to make, and your kids will be all smiles this morning over having sprinkles baked right into their slices.

Funfetti Banana Bread

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 (18.25 oz) boxes Funfetti cake
  • Mix 
6 eggs
  • 1/2 cup coconut or canola oil melted
  • 12 very ripe bananas
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl blend together the cake mix, eggs, oil, and bananas in a stand mixer for 2 minutes.
  3. Pour batter into three 5.25 x 9 x 2.75 loaf pans which have been sprayed with nonstick baking spray (the sort with flour added).
  4. Bake for 40-50 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  5. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then remove from the pan and allow to cool completely.
  6. Makes 3 large loaves.

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Here is a very, very sweet recipe that we know your kids will love and think is fun looking! For this Valentne’s Day we decided to make “windowpane heart” valentine’s cookies! If you don’t have time to make the sugar cookie dough, just buy some store made cookie doe that you can roll out and Jolly Ranchers. You will have a whole lotta lovin’ cookies in no time!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • Hard candy for cookie center (try Jolly Ranchers)


To make the dough:

1.  Using an electric mixer at medium-high speed, cream the butter, gradually adding the sugar. Beat in the egg until evenly mixed, then blend in the vanilla extract and salt.

2.  With a wooden spoon, stir the flour into the creamed ingredients, about one third at a time, until evenly blended. The dough may seem soft, but it will firm up when refrigerated.

3.  Divide the dough in half. Flatten each portion into a disk and seal in plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight.


To create the cookies:

1.  Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Cover a sturdy baking sheet with aluminum foil and lightly coat the foil with cooking spray. Between 2 sheets of waxed paper lightly dusted with flour, roll the dough to a 1/4-inch thickness. Remove the top sheet.

2.  Cut out the cookies with a large cookie cutter. Use a spatula to transfer the shapes to the baking sheet, leaving about an inch between cookies. Remove the centers of the cookies with a smaller cookie cutter. (Save the centers to bake later.)

3.  Place a hard candy (we used Jolly Ranchers) in the center of each heart and bake until the cookies start to brown lightly around the edges and the candy is melted, about 8 to 10 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer them to wire racks to cool completely. To prevent sticking, line your serving plate or tin with waxed paper and place additional waxed paper between layers. Makes 30.

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Tonight I am cooking for my fiance’s 90-year-old grandmother (Mama) and her boyfriend Marvin who is 95-years-old! Mama happens to be diabetic and said she couldn’t eat anything really with a lot of sugar. My father is also diabetic and tends to avoid desserts, but how could I not have dessert after dinner? It made me think about families with kids who have diabetes and how it might be hard to do “homemade” desserts without buying something that is tasty for a diabetic child. So, on my last-minute quest today, I found this fabulous recipe that I am sure any child or family member would love. Enjoy!

Most children with diabetes have type 1 diabetes. Children with type 1 diabetes do not make enough insulin and must receive insulin injections to move sugar from the bloodstream into the cells to supply energy. To help manage blood sugar, children with diabetes should aim to eat the same amount of carbohydrates at each meal. Foods with carbohydrate include starch, fruit, milk and yogurt. Carbohydrate needs vary based on your child’s calorie needs and blood sugar goals.

APPLE DUMPLINGS

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 recipe Basic Pie Shell
  • 4 apples
  • 1 Tablespoon (15 mL) lemon juice
  • 3 Tablespoon (45 mL) granulated sugar replacement or granulated fructose
  • 1/4 teaspoon (2 mL) cinnamon
  • 4 teaspoon (20 mL) margarine
  • 1 egg white (slightly beaten)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Roll out pie dough and cut into 4 equal pieces.
  2. Peel and core apples and sprinkle them with lemon.
  3. Place 1 apple in center of each piece of dough.
  4. Combine sugar replacement and cinnamon in a bowl, sprinkling evenly into cavity of apples.
  5. Top each apple with 1 teaspoon (5 mL) margarine.
  6. Bring opposite ends of dough up over apple.
  7. Moisten slightly with water; seal securely.
  8. Brush with beaten egg white and place in shallow baking pan.
  9. Bake at 425 F (220 C) for 35 to 45 minutes, or until pastry is golden brown.

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION:
Serving Size: 1 dumpling
Yield: 4 dumplings
Exchanges: 2 bread, 1 fruit, 2 1/2 fat
Nutrition: 221 calories

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So there I was, it was 8pm on the night before my daughter’s last day of school before the winter break. I had signed up to collect money from the parents for gifts for the teachers and distribute it to our teachers. Before I went to bed I had cards to write for all 9 teachers (from the parents), figure out how much money to put in each envelope, plus, I wanted to give each of the teachers homemade cookies as a token of our appreciation.

I had baked up the cookies (sugar and chocolate chip), and then came the time to decorate the sugar cookies…

This post has been moved to our website. To view the full post on how to frost. glaze and decorate you holiday cookies, go to: http://blog.letop-usa.com/?p=23048

 

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AT
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I have always secretly wanted to buy the lollipop cake pan you see on TV or at Bed Bath and Beyond and make really cute lollipop cake pops for guests as a cute dessert or for my nieces. I just read about this recipe and it’s perfect for family’s to make together without having to go out and buy a special lollipop cake pan! Kids will love rolling the cake ball and dipping them into the delicious icing. As a note to any last minute Christmas/Hannukah shoppers, this is a great idea as a holiday gift for the neighbors on your block. 🙂

This post has been moved to our website. To view the full post go to:
http://blog.letop-usa.com/?p=22991

 

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Apple picking is a family favorite activity this time of year in New York – of course there are all types of ways to cook up apples, but here is a fun (and sweet) treat for your children that looks like an apple, but will satisfy their sweet tooth.

The designs on this page start as Vanilla Cupcakes iced with Swiss Meringue Buttercream — perfect for spreading in thin layers or sculpting into thick mounds (and licking from the bowl).

The cupcakes can be baked a week ahead and frozen, but decorate them no more than a day before serving. Set up an assembly line, and put kids in charge of affixing candy eyes, gumdrop cheeks, and other trimmings. Pack the cupcakes in a shallow plastic container, and stuff crumpled waxed paper in between. Then dole them out and watch kids marvel for a second before opening wide! How cute does Sami look in our Rabbitmoon sweater dress holding an apple? 

APPLE CUPCAKES

How-To
Lots of thick icing forms the rounded shape, and each gets a pretzel stem and a leaf cut from sour tape.

Vanilla Cupcakes Recipe

Makes: 24 cupcakes
(perfect for the classroom!)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature (1 1/2 sticks)
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups milk

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pan with paper liners; set aside. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. In another mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, mixing until incorporated and scraping down sides of bowl, beat in vanilla.
  2. Add flour mixture and milk alternately, beginning and ending with flour. Scrape the sides and bottom of bowl to assure the batter is thoroughly mixed. Divide batter evenly among liners, filling papers about 2/3 full. Bake on the center rack of the oven until tops spring back to touch, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting Recipe 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 10 large egg whites
  • 4 cups (8 sticks or 2 pounds) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Place sugar and egg whites in the heat-proof bowl of an electric mixer. Set bowl over a pan of gently simmering water, and whisk until sugar has dissolved and egg whites are hot to the touch, about 3 minutes. Test by rubbing the mixture between your fingers; it should feel completely smooth.
  2. Transfer bowl to mixer stand. Using the whisk attachment, beat on high speed until mixture has cooled completely and formed stiff and glossy peaks, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add the butter, one piece at a time, and beat until incorporated after each addition. Don’t worry if the buttercream appears curdled after all the butter has been added; it will become smooth again with continued beating. Add vanilla, and beat just until combined.
  4. Switch to the paddle attachment, and beat on the lowest speed to eliminate any air pockets, about 5 minutes. If using buttercream within several hours, cover bowl with plastic wrap, and set aside at room temperature in a cool environment. Or transfer to an airtight container, and store in the refrigerator, up to 3 days. Before using, bring buttercream to room temperature, and beat on the lowest speed with the paddle attachment until smooth, about 5 minutes.

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What better way to start your Friday than whipping up a batch of GIANT chocolate chip cookies for your loved ones and kiddos. It makes them a little extra fun being a larger size, plus they are so appealing to your little ones eyes (and especially cute in their small hands). 

Note: For each cookie, use a ¼-cup measuring cup to scoop out and level dough before dropping onto the baking sheet.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Yield: Makes 16

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 bag (12 ounces) chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, beat butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition until combined; mix in vanilla.
  3. With mixer on low speed, add flour mixture; mix until just incorporated. With a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, stir in chocolate chips.
  4. Drop 1/4-cup mounds of dough onto ungreased baking sheets, at least 4 inches apart and away from edges of pan. (You will fit about 4 cookies to a sheet; bake in two batches, using two baking sheets per batch.) Bake until golden, 15 to 18 minutes, rotating sheets front to back and from top to bottom of oven halfway through.
  5. Cool 1 to 2 minutes on baking sheets, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.

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We will all be travelling in cars this weekend to various friends and families’ houses to celebrate Uncle Sam’s Birthday a.k.a. Fourth of July! These pudding cups are super easy to make, great to travel with and easy for kid to run and have fun with these in hand with their friends.  They are very patriotic and delicious!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3/4 cup each red, white, and blue melting wafers
  • 1 pound cake (12 oz.)
  • 1 cup sliced strawberries
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1/2 cup strawberry preserves
  • 1 1/2 cups prepared vanilla pudding
  • Whipped cream
  • Red, white, and blue sprinkles

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Place 12 foil cupcake liners on a baking sheet. Microwave red wafers in a bowl for 30-second intervals,
    stirring in between, until melted (about 2 minutes). Repeat with the white and blue wafers.
  2. To make a solid-colored cup: Using a 10 pastry brush, spread one color of melted wafers across bottom
    of foil cup, then brush the color up the cup’s sides. For a striped cup: Brush stripes of alternating colors across bottom of cup, continuing up the sides.
  3. Return finished cups to baking sheet and refrigerate until just set, about 3 minutes. Apply a second
    coat of melted wafers to each cup, matching its original color pattern, and return to refrigerator to set, 10 minutes.
  4. Cut pound cake crosswise into 12 1″-thick slices. With a cookie cutter, cut a 2 1/2″ round from each slice. In medium bowl, combine strawberries, blueberries, and preserves.
  5. To assemble, carefully peel foil from chilled cups. Gently place 1 cake circle into bottom of each cup. Top each circle with 2 Tbs. pudding; divide fruit mix among cups. Decorate with dollops of whipped cream, and top with colored sprinkles.
recipe from www.parents.com

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I just returned from a wedding in Puerto Rico where much of the food was local fried plantains and sauce driven food – it made me think that we have our annual clambake this weekend in the Hamptons, and since that involves lobster and butter and hot dogs, I was trying to think of what other ways we could incorporate healthy cooking into our 4th of July family weekend.

Cooking healthy food for the 4th of July basically translates into reducing the sodium and sugar content, as well as the grams of saturated and trans-fats in your holiday meal. It also means adding vitamins and minerals by serving vegetable and fruit based dishes. Keep your traditional Independence Day recipes by making small changes to the portion size too!

Meat on the Grill
Place chicken and fish on the grill for healthier fare. The healthiest fish include salmon and trout because they contain omega-3 fatty acids which are good for your heart. Choose skinless chicken breasts instead of dark meat. Replace hamburgers with turkey burgers or vegetarian burgers.

Our "Ship Ahoy!" Nautical Sunsuit Top & Check Panty would be a perfect outfit for your little girl on 4th of July

Replacing Chips and Soda
Replace the chips and soda in your Fourth of July meal with healthier options. Instead of store bought potato chips grill steak-cut French fries brushed with olive oil to use with dips, alongside fresh cut vegetables such as carrot and celery sticks. Instead of soda, serve fresh brewed lightly sweetened iced tea with fresh lemon. Take out your blender and mix up fresh fruit smoothies with strawberry’s, peaches and other summer fruits.

Dessert
I am always a fan of “homemade’ baked goods and everything organic from scractch! Bake your own all-natural desserts this Independence Day instead of purchasing commercial baked goods. Use whole grain flour to add fiber and vitamins. Bake with egg substitutes to reduce the cholesterol content. Banana bread, carrot cake, fruit cobblers and oatmeal raisin cookies represent desserts on the healthier side. Instead of ice cream serve sorbet and low-fat frozen yogurt. Throw some fruit kabobs on the grill made with pineapple and plums.

Reduce and it Still Tastes Good
To make healthy adjustments to your favorite recipes, start by simply reducing the portion size. Cut a pie into eight slices instead of six and make smaller hamburgers. Remove the salt from recipes or reduce the amount by half — except in baked goods. For pasta salad and dip recipes that call for mayonnaise and sour cream, use low-fat versions or substitute low-fat yogurt for half the amount called for to preserve the taste of the full-fat version.

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