Thursday, February 13, 2014

Chocolate Chip Cannoli Dip

We've seen a bunch of dessert dip recipes on other blogs, but we have never had an excuse to try one for ourselves. Last weekend, a good friend of ours made cannoli dip for a Superbowl party. We were hooked! We probably ate more dessert dip then the variety of cheese dips at the party. The following weekend, our neighbors invited us over for dinner and we were in charge of dessert. Of course we made cannoli dip! We were inspired by the recipe our friend gave us, which she found in a blog (ValSoCal). We made a few tweaks to make it our own. This dessert is so light and fluffy, that it will be hard to stop eating it. That's why we made sure to pack up the leftovers and give them away to family members. Everyone loved the sweet, smooth cream. It doesn't really matter what you dip into it - fruit, wafers, a spoon or your fingers - you won't be disappointed! Plus, this recipe is totally feasible even for the busiest sweet lover. Just throw all the ingredients in a bowl and mix!

Recipe modified from ValSoCal

Kitchen Essentials:
Stand or Hand Mixer
Mixing bowl
Cutting board
Measuring cups
Measuring spoons

2 1/2 cups of ricotta cheese
1 8oz package of cream cheese
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
1 tablespoon of water
1 teaspoon of instant coffee
2 cups of powdered sugar
1 cup of chopped milk chocolate chips

Allow the cream cheese to come to room temperature. Measure out the milk chocolate chips and roughly chop.

Measure out and mix the water and instant coffee in a small bowl and set aside.

Measure out the ricotta and cream cheese and add to a mixing bowl. Mix until smooth and fully incorporated. Next add the vanilla extract and instant coffee and give it a quick mix.  Then add the powdered sugar and slowly mix.

Lastly add the chopped milk chocolate chips and mix using a spatula. Pour into a bowl and refrigerate for 1 hour until the dip is cold and has thicken. 

Transfer to a decorative serving bowl, sprinkle some more chopped chocolate chips onto and serve with lady fingers, graham crackers, fresh fruit and vanilla wafers. Enjoy!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Lemon Shortbread Cookies

There’s no better way to show your children how much you love them on Valentine’s Day then by baking homemade heart-shaped cookies. Allow them to help you decorate the treats and you are guaranteed to earn the title of best mom or dad of the year! This fun recipe will bring your family together by creating something from scratch in the heart of your home – the kitchen. This cookie dough is so versatile that you and the kids could experiment with different shapes, sizes and decorations. If you and your family are willing to share these moist and crumbly cookies, pack them up in a tin container or individual clear bags as gifts for teachers, classmates and neighbors. Y

Kitchen Essentials:
Baking sheet
Stand or hand mixer
Plastic wrap
Parchment paper
Measuring cups
Measuring spoons
Mixing bowls
Cookie cutters
Piping bag and tips

Ingredients for Cookies:
2 sticks of room temperature unsalted butter
1 cup of sugar
1 large egg
1 egg yolk
1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon on vanilla extract
½ teaspoon of ground white pepper
Zest of one lemon
3 cups of flour

Ingredients for Royal Icing:
3 ounces of egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups of confectioner’s sugar

Directions for Cookies:
In a large bowl, combine the butter and sugar with a hand or stand mixer over medium speed. Next, add the egg, egg yolk, salt, vanilla, white pepper and lemon zest to the bowl and mix until fully incorporated. Slowly begin to add the flour one cup at a time until the dough is firm and turns into a big ball. With clean hands, create two round disks out of the dough. Cover each disk in plastic wrap and chill for an hour to three hours in the refrigerator.  

Now the fun part begins! Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a few baking sheets with parchment paper. While the oven heats up, cover clean surface and rolling pin with flour and roll out the chilled dough until it is about half an inch thick. Begin to cut out the cookies using cookie cutters of your choice. We used heart-shaped cutters about 3 inches big for this recipe but have also used smaller ones and they come out just as great. Place the cookies on the cookie sheet one inch apart. Create another disk of dough using the scraps and chill and roll out again until you have used all the dough. Bake the cookies 10-15 minutes depending on the size of the cookies. Keep a close eye on them by turning on the oven light. Resist the urge to open the oven door to avoid changing the temperature in the oven. The cookies are done baking once the edges turn golden brown. Remove from oven and allow the cookies to cool completely on a cooling rack before decorating them with the royal icing.

Directions for Royal Icing:

Royal icing is one of the best recipes for children to make because there is no heating involved. It could be a little messy, but definitely fun. In a large bowl, whisk together egg whites, vanilla and sugar until smooth. Divide the icing into separate bowls and add the food coloring of your choice. For this recipe, we divided the icing into two small bowls. We dyed one half red. The other half of the icing remained white. We used the white icing as glue for the multi-colored sprinkles we added to some of the cookies and the red icing to write on the cookies using a piping bag and a thin tip. Feel free to let your kiddo’s imagination run wild. No matter how the cookies end up looking, they will still be delicious!

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