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I watch a lot of baking shows: Great British Baking Show, Zumbo’s Just Desserts, Sugar Rush, Cupcake Wars… the list goes on and on. I am very much an amateur baker, but there have been times when I have been interested in taking my skills up a notch or two and have consistently ran into some issues with ingredients. I’m not a vegan, but I am pescatarian and many of the more elaborate desserts call for animal byproducts that I don’t feel comfortable using. Two people have changed all that though – vegan master pastry chef Sabina Hambarava and vegan pastry chef Alexey Korotkevich.
Incredible, right? Their creations are completely gorgeous, and I’d love to be able to do half of what they can. Looks like I might have to sign up for a few weeks of classes as soon as things start to calm down. If you’re interested in learning more, here are the links for the Facebook Page and the Website.
Strawberry Shortcake is a summer dessert staple here in the south. Even more so here in Florida where some of the best strawberries you could ever have are grown in state. Heck, we even have a festival for it. Yeah, it’s kind of a big deal. However, all this strawberry pride has led to some overly processed sugar bombs that don’t even deserve the shortcake name. I wanted to do away with all that and bring the focus back where it needed to be – on the strawberries.
The base of my dish is a slightly sweet black pepper biscuit. It might seem a bit odd, but the tiny bit of heat you get from the freshly ground pepper goes wonderfully with the sweetness from the cream and the berries. Also, I do acknowledge that there is a bit of sugar in each component of this recipe, but I tried to use it in a way that enhances rather than overpowers. Don’t let the multiple components throw you – the biscuits are the only tricky bit to this recipe; everything else is super simple.
Biscuits (makes 9-12 depending on size)
- 1 3/4 cup of all purpose flour
- 3 tsp organic sugar
- 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 3 tsp fresh ground black pepper
- Pre-heat oven to 475 degrees F
- Combine dry ingredients in mixing bowl and whisk together with a fork.
- Pour cream into well in the center of the dry mixture and stir gently with the fork until the mixture begins to come together.
- Turn contents of bowl out onto a floured surface and shape into a rough ball.
- Fold the ball in half and press out with the heel of your hand. Turn 90 degrees and repeat eight more times.
- Pat mixture into large disk approximately 1/2 inch thick
- Use a glass with a greased rim to cut out biscuits (do not twist or the edges will seal and prevent biscuit from rising).
- Once you’ve cut out all of the biscuits you can, place them on the baking sheet and combine remaining dough and make another round of biscuits. Repeat until dough is gone.
- Bake biscuits for 13-15 minutes.
- Place on rack to cool completely before using.
- 1lb ripe strawberries
- 1 heaping tbsp organic sugar
- Slice strawberries
- In a mixing bowl, combine strawberries and sugar tossing to coat the berries.
- Store mixture in refrigerator for 2 hours to allow juices to collect.
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 2 tsps powdered sugar
- Chill mixing bowl in fridge for 1 hour prior to making the whipped cream.
- In chilled bowl, combine sugar and cream and whip on high until soft peaks form.
*Do not over whip or mixture will begin to turn into butter.
Assemble components and enjoy!
So there you go – simple, special, and perfect for summer.
Every once in a while you find something cool that makes you want to go places that you’ve never even considered before. Places like Richardson, TX. The wonder that is Instagram introduced me Sweet Daze dessert bar. Unicorn cake, soft serve topped donuts, and fanciful layered confections; heck, they even offer vegan options so there is a little something for everyone. It’s tailor made for a sparkle sweet loving girl like me.
This place is incredible! I wish so badly that we had something like this in Tallahassee; girls night and coffee/tea dates would never be the same again! You can check out their menu here; they have seasonal treats offered daily as well as entire decorated layer cakes that are available by pre-order. So what do you say? Who wants to meet me in Richardson, TX for some crazy elaborate treats and a nice frosty beverage?
I love watching recipe videos; I can spend hours on sites like Tasty or Delish. I think about how I could rediscover my passion for cooking, become the next Martha Steward and make all the things. This ambition inevitably gets derailed somewhere between watching the video and getting up to go to the grocery store. Christmas day my brother in law and his girlfriend came down to stay with Andy and I for a few days, and we agreed that we’d all enjoy a bit of holiday baking. When the idea of cheesecake came up, I hit Pinterest and quickly located the Death by Chocolate recipe I had pinned and Facebooked a couple of weeks ago. After watching the video, they agreed to give it a shot, and spoiler, we kind of killed it 🙂
- 24 whole Oreo cookies
- 6 tbsp. melted butter
- Pinch kosher salt
- 4 (8-oz.) packages of cream cheese, softened to room temperature
- 3/4 c. granulated sugar
- 1/2 c. packed light brown sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 1/4 c. cocoa powder
- 9 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped and melted
- 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
- 1 1/2 c. chocolate chips
- 3/4 c. heavy cream
- Chocolate shavings, for garnish
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and position an oven rack in the middle of the oven.
- Make crust: In a large Ziploc bag or a food processor fitted with a metal blade, crush or blend Oreos until fine crumbs form. Transfer to a bowl and pour in melted butter. Add salt and stir until crumbs are completely coated and moist.
- Make cheesecake: In a large bowl using a hand mixer (or in the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment), beat cream cheese, sugars, cocoa powder and salt until smooth. Add eggs one a time, beating well between each addition. Fold in melted chocolate.
- Coat a 9″ springform pan with cooking spray and press Oreo mixture into pan and 1/3 of the way up the sides, packing tightly. Pour cheesecake filling over crust.
- Bake until cheesecake is only slightly jiggly in the center, 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes. (If you want to use a water bath to ensure cheesecake top does not crack, wrap the outside of the pan in aluminum foil and place in a baking dish. Place on oven rack and pour in enough boiling water to reach halfway up the pan. Follow baking instructions.) If using a water bath, remove pan from water and unwrap foil. Refrigerate cheesecake until totally chilled, at least 4 hours and up to overnight.
- Make ganache: Place chocolate chips in a medium, heatproof bowl and set aside. Heat heavy cream in a small saucepan over medium heat. When bubbles begin to break the surface around the edges of the pan, turn off the heat. Pour the hot cream over chocolate chips, whisking constantly until the sauce is smooth.
- Pour ganache on top of the cheesecake. Garnish with chocolate shavings. Return to the refrigerate for about 10 more minutes to let the ganache set.
- I neglected to really read the actual recipe until after we’d already started baking, but I was a little annoyed with the “refrigerate at least 4 hours and up to overnight” part. The video implies immediate cheesecake gratification, and we had to wait: so lame. Other than that, this is a really great recipe and I can’t think of a single thing I’d do differently. 9 out of 10 to be sure.
Now I have made chocolate covered strawberries before, but I tend to go with the traditional technique. Melt chocolate of choice in a double boiler, dip berries, place on parchment or wax paper. Then let berries cool until you can’t resist any longer and devourer delicious berries. However, there are other schools of thought. PS I Made This partnered with to Flour Shop create some spooky Halloween themed berries.
- Melt chocolate in bowls separated by color.
- Dip each strawberry in chocolate, then leave to dry.
- Create texture and whiskers by drizzling lines of chocolate onto the dipped strawberries
- Adhere candy eyeballs with a touch of melted chocolate.
- Use a brush to gently dust on edible glitter.
For the CAT:
- go overboard with drizzle.
For the PUMPKIN:
- paint on a zigzag smile.
Get creative with your characters, the possibilities are endless!
Images and tutorial from PS I Made This.