Flipping through Julie Richardson’s new cookbook, Vintage Cakes, brings me back to my grandmother’s flour-dusted, sweet-smelling kitchen. Grandma made a cake from scratch for every birthday, and their moist layers and buttercream never disappointed — even when I turned seven and all I wanted was the Little Mermaid cake I spotted at the grocery store.
Like Grandma’s, Julie’s cakes steer clear of fancy pastry chef tricks in favor of classic American combinations. A bakery owner and collector of vintage cookbooks and recipe cards, she folds in interesting tidbits of history. Who knew that the Stack Cake, pictured above, was once a traditional wedding cake for settlers in southern Appalachia? Julie notes that wedding guests would each bring a layer for the bride’s family to assemble. Though timeless, the recipes in Vintage Cakes are all updated for today’s home baker, so go ahead and break out that stand mixer.
Continue Reading Cookbook Giveaway: Vintage Cakes
Maria Sharapova shows her sweeter side with the launch of her new candy line, Sugarpova.
On the court, “sweet” is not the first word we would choose to describe Maria Sharapova’s aggressive baseline style of play (ruthless, determined, and intimidating do come to mind). However, off the court, the bodacious blond tennis star has released Sugarpova, her new line of premium gummy candies that reflects Maria’s “fun, fashionable, sweet side.”
- Flirty: Sweet and pout-y gummy candy lips
- Cheeky: “Cute but fierce” gummy bears
- Sporty: Mini tennis gumballs, of course
- Quirky: Fitting in is boring, and these strawberry-vanilla chewy treats stand out from the crowd
- Chic: Accessories make the outfit, so fruit-flavored shades, bags, and shoes are the perfect fit
Are you craving sweets now? Sorry we’re not sorry: Let us help satiate your sweet tooth.
Our Best Sugary Sweets:
Banana pudding sits high in the royal court of Southern desserts, and it doesn’t get much better than the classic recipe on the back of the Nilla wafer box. But sometimes it can’t hurt to experiment, and it’s not often difficult to find a line of folks ready and willing to try my latest spin. Two of my greatest hits are MoonPie Banana Pudding and Banana Pudding Ice Cream Pie. Seriously, how bad can those be?
Not being able to leave well enough alone, I decided to give the recipe another go. This time I added brown sugar and bourbon to my vanilla pudding base, giving it a hint of butterscotch and a bit more grown-up appeal. And to further the recipe’s cocktail-lovin’ flare, I substituted in sweet and spicy gingersnaps for the usual plain wafers—my nod to the old Southern standby “Jack & Ginger.”
While most recipes for banana pudding call for a big trifle dish, I thought these would be best piled into my favorite cocktail glasses; the individual servings are perfect for your next adults-only dinner party, no I.D. required. Now the only thing left is to figure out how to get these down with a straw.
Continue Reading Bourbon Banana Puddings
Your job as an ice cream maker is to make unforgettable flavors. By combining ingredients that are iconic, and retooling classic combinations, you arrive at ice cream that becomes the main event. Each ice cream has many components that contribute to its character – color, crunch, cream, scent. All of those add up to create the sensory experience of the flavor – but it’s more than that, it becomes a personality. You create the personality of an ice cream by mixing and matching the base ice cream flavor with exciting sauces or bits that are added after the ice cream freezes in the canister machine.
What I love is that subtle tweaks to a recipe can alter the whole theme of the ice cream – and that changes what you believe about it and has a big affect on how you perceive the flavor. One of my favorite additions to ice cream is simple bread crumbs. I usually double toast them, and when added to ice cream they absorb the sugar syrup in the cream and become soft and cake-like. You can do a lot with bread. Consider the personality of these three similar, but very different ice creams, each made by adding toasted bread crumbs to the ice cream and layering jam throughout:
Continue Reading Mix It Up: Breadcrumbs in Ice Cream
The Franklin Fountain's signature flavor: Franklin Mint Chip, featuring peppermint ice cream swirled with green creme de menthe and shards of dark chocolate from Wilbur Chocolate.
No doubt about it; I’m an ice cream lover. But lately, there’s been two things weighing me down about it — and not just the actual pounds stemming from my five-scoop-a-week summer diet (hey, there’s been a heat wave around here):
1) It is nearly impossible to get a ‘small’ in New York City for under $6.
2) Textures have been disappointing; iciness abounds where creaminess should rule.
So imagine how delighted I was to discover the phenomenal-ness (is that a word? It should be.) of Philadelphia’s ice cream scene. No $6 icy scoops here. Instead, a concentration of impeccable options – even just within downtown — that are lush, dense and under $5 for a single cup.
It makes sense, then, that this weekend Philly hosted its sixth annual Ultimate Philadelphia Ice Cream Festival at Reading Terminal Market. But you don’t need a festival to get your ice cream fix in the City of Brotherly Love. Any time is ideal for a self-led tour — so long as you bring cash (most don’t accept cards) and go before 1:30 p.m. to avoid lines. So where to go? Here’s the scoop:
Continue Reading Philadelphia: A Dream Destination for Ice Cream Fans
This panna cotta is inspired by Vietnamese ice coffee, my favorite summer time drink. Take strong coffee, mix it with sweet condensed milk and pour over ice. I’ve taken those simple flavors and created an elegant, no-bake dessert. I like my panna cotta with as little gelatin as possible, just enough to keep it together. This version requires even less, because I leave it right in the glass.
Vietnamese Ice Coffee Panna Cotta
Makes 6 to 8
Prep time: 45 minutes
Refrigerator time: 2 hours
Skill: Easy, but several steps
Continue Reading Vietnamese Ice Coffee Reinvented as Panna Cotta
Rich Vanilla Ice Cream Just Waiting to Get Sauced
I can’t think of a better-suited end to a slow summer meal than an eye-popping ice cream sundae. Like summer itself, the best ice cream sundaes are about wild contrasts of taste, texture, temperature and flavor.
Voluptuous vanilla bean — full and round. When it melts and relaxes on your palate it reveals notes of honey, jasmine, leather, smoke, and cream into your nose. There is nothing more full-flavored, full-bodied than a well-made vanilla ice cream. Vanilla has its own personality, and, like people, is at its best when paired with something that complements, highlights and occasionally pushes its limits.
Buy or make your favorite vanilla ice cream, then assemble these easy sauces for a dessert that really pops.
Plum Skin Sauce
A neon pink and puckery plum skin sauce is the perfect accessory; one bite of the two strikingly dissimilar flavor profiles makes all the flavors pop.
Continue Reading Make Your Vanilla Ice Cream Pop with Striking Sauces
Adults-only Cantaloupe and Campari Pops from People's Pops taste just like summer. Photograph by Jennifer May.
In 2008 three friends living in Brooklyn –Nathalie Jordi, David Carrell and Joel Horowitz — had the idea of selling grown-up ice pops at a one-day event. Their artisanal frozen treats made with local, farm-fresh ingredients were such a hit that they decided to take it to the next level. They became regulars at the Brooklyn Flea and have since opened shops in the East Village, the High Line, Park Slope and Chelsea Market (luckily for me, also the location of the Cooking Channel and Food Network offices). And now, for the rest of the country, the founders of People’s Pops are sharing their best pop recipes in a cute new cookbook, People’s Pops: 55 Recipes for Ice Pops, Shave Ice, and Boozy Pops from Brooklyn’s Coolest Pop Shop.
The pop recipes are sorted by season (with summer divided into three sections) so you can match up your farmers’ market finds with the perfect People’s Pop. Spring brings rhubarb and strawberry; early summer you get cherry and blueberry; midsummer means apricots, peaches and nectarines; late summer is all about melons; and autumn is full of pears, apples, pumpkins and cranberries. All are mixed with herb and spice combos that make the fresh fruit and veggie flavors sing.
Continue Reading Cookbook Giveaway: People’s Pops
The Dark Knight Rises: Let Cooking Channel indulge your dark (chocolate) side.
Every time we view the trailer for the final film in Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, The Dark Knight Rises, we find ourselves in a dark and dangerous mood. And whenever we get in a dark and dangerous mood, there’s only one thing that will satisfy: deep, dark chocolate desserts. Just like the bat-signal, our cravings must be answered.
Fortunately, we’ve got plenty of lethal dark chocolate recipes on Cooking Channel. So go ahead: Indulge your dark side.
Our Favorite Dark Chocolate Recipes:
Continue Reading The Dark Knight Rises: Indulge Your Dark Side