Homemade Lemon & Herb Goat Cheese

This sounds super fancy, but the lemon aspect was actually an accident. A beautiful, delicious accident. Just go with it.

A friend and I recently attempted homemade mozzarella, it was decent. We did a few things wrong (#1 was using the microwave instead of a stove) and decided not to be so experimental in our next cheese venture. Cue the goat cheese, four ingredients but a lot of attention to detail. We made a day of it, took our time, and tried a few flavors. One observation in my cheese research was a lack of detailed homemade goat cheese recipes, so here’s one for y’all!

Ingredients/Supplies [makes one small mound- we doubled]:

  • 1 qt. goat milk
  • juice of two lemons
  • 1 oz. of vinegar
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • Dried herbs de provence

  • Cheesecloth
  • Colander
  • Food thermometer
  • Small bowls for shaping (optional)
  1. Line a colander with two or three layers of fine cheesecloth.

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2. In a medium pot, heat the goat milk until it reaches 180’F. Stir frequently to ensure even heat throughout. Check often- ours went from 160 to 210 very quickly! If it does go over 180, turn the stove off and wait for the milk to cool down before moving to the next step.

3. Add lemon juice, stir a few times. Add vinegar, stir just until combined, and let sit for ten minutes. You’ll see the magic starting right away!

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4. Pour into the cheesecloth/colander, add the salt and mix lightly with a spoon or rubber spatula.

5. Gather ends of the cheesecloth and tie to your sink neck to hang & drain for about an hour. Do not squeeze out extra liquid- this is what makes it spreadable vs. crumbly.

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6. Take your ball of goat cheese and either sprinkle with dried herbs & serve, or prepare a small bowl with a light brushing of olive oil, line with dried herbs, and press your cheese into the mould. Release the cheese from the mould, refrigerate & serve.

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A New Year, A New Challah Recipe

After a week of working late every night, and 3 consecutive failed attempts to make apple custard, I decided to keep it simple this weekend and make Challah. I got this new recipe from my cousin. However she is a mother of four, and I am a mother of zero, so naturally I decided to halve the recipe. Here is the recipe that makes two beautiful Challot:

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Ingredients:
– 2.5 cups of warm water
– 1.5 teaspoon fast-rise yeast (one & a half packets)
– 2.5 LB of bread flour (POUNDS, NOT CUPS)
– 1 cup sugar
– 1/2 cup oil
– 2 eggs
– dash of salt

Directions:

1) Mix warm water and yeast and let sit for 10 minutes until yeast bubbles form
2) In a separate bowl, mix all of the remaining ingredients
3) Add yeast/water mixture. If using an electric mixer, wait for dough to pull away from the sides.
4) Take dough and knead with floured hands. Knead A LOT (10-15 min).
5) Let rise in a well-greased bowl for 4-5 hours.
6) Punch down dough and (if needed) add flour to make the dough silky. Should be tacky but not sticking to your fingers.
7) Split dough in half, then each half into thirds. Braid two loaves.
8) Brush egg wash mixed with 2 tsp honey onto the braided dough. Cover with sesame seeds, poppy seeds, or whatever you please!

Bake at 350 for 40 minutes.

Momofuku Milkbar’s Birthday Cake Truffles

There is a very elevated level of pressure that comes with recreating any recipe from Momofuku Milkbar. A good friend of mine got me the cookbook for my birthday last year, and every time I attempt a new recipe I make sure to block out an entire weekend. Their bagel bombs are definitely my favorite thing to make, but these birthday cake truffles come in close second.

They’re small cakeballs that mix the exciting youthful crunch of rainbow sprinkles with the growing confectionary trend of bite size truffles.

Birthday Cake Truffles:

1 recipe birthday cake (below)
2-4 tablespoons vanilla milk (below)
3 ounces white chocolate, melted
1 cup birthday cake sand (below)

1. Using a fork, tear apart the cooled cake into crumbs. You might have to use your hands (yay!). Combine fine cake crumbs and vanilla milk in a medium sized bowl and toss with your hands until moist enough to knead into a ball. if it is not moist enough to do so, add up to 2 tablespoons more vanilla milk and knead it in. Depending on how moist/dry your cake is you might not need more than 2 tbsp

2. roll the balls to be 1 inch. The original recipe says into 12 balls, but I made 24 because more cake truffles = better. Roll each one between the palms of your hands to shape and smooth it into a round sphere.

3. put 2 tablespoons of the white chocolate in the palm of your hand and roll each ball between your palms, coating it in a thin layer of melted chocolate; add more chocolate as needed.

4. put 3 or 4 chocolate-covered balls at a time into the bowl of birthday cake sand. immediately toss them with the crumbs to coat, before the chocolate shell sets and no longer acts as a glue (if this happens, just coat the ball in another thin layer of melted chocolate).

5. refrigerate for at least 5 minutes to fully set the chocolate shells before eating or storing. in an airtight container, the truffles will keep for up to 1 week in the fridge.

Birthday Cake Recipe:

makes 1 quarter sheet pan

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup vegetable shortening
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
3 tablespoons light brown sugar, tightly packed
3 eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup grapeseed oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups cake flour (you can make cake flour using flour + cornstarch. remove 2 tbsp flour per cup and replace with cornstarch)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup rainbow sprinkles

1. heat the oven to 350°f.

2. combine the butter, shortening, and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream together on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the eggs, and mix on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes. scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.

3. on low speed, stream in the buttermilk, oil, and vanilla. increase the mixer speed to medium-high and paddle for 4 to 6 minutes, until the mixture is twice the size of your original fluffy butter-and-sugar mixture, and completely combined. don’t rush the process.

4. on very low speed, add the cake flour, baking powder, salt, and mix just until combined (45 seconds). Take bowl off of the mixer and add ¼ cup rainbow sprinkles. Fold in with a rubber spatula.

5. pam-spray a quarter sheet pan (9×13) and line it with parchment. using a spatula, spread the cake batter in an even layer in the pan. sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons rainbow sprinkles evenly on top of the batter.

6. bake the cake for 30 to 35 minutes. the cake will rise and puff, doubling in size, but will remain slightly buttery and dense. at 30 minutes, gently poke the edge of the cake with your finger: the cake should bounce back slightly and the center should no longer be jiggly. leave the cake in the oven for an extra 3 to 5 minutes if it doesn’t pass these tests.

7. take the cake out of the oven and cool on a wire rack or, in a pinch, in the fridge or freezer.

Vanilla Milk:

– 1/4 cup milk

– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

whisk together in a small bowl

Birthday Sand:

– 1/4 cup granulated sugar
– 1 tablespoon light brown sugar, tightly packed
– 2/3 cup cake flour
– 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
– 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
– 1 tablespoon rainbow sprinkles
– 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
– 1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract

1. heat the oven to 300°f.

2. combine the sugars, flour, baking powder, salt, and sprinkles in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on low speed until well combined.

3. add the oil and vanilla and paddle again to distribute. the wet ingredients will act as glue to help the dry ingredients form small sandy clusters; continue paddling until that happens.

4. let the crumbs cool completely before using

I was too stressed during the process to take pictures, so here are some of the final product!

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Raspberry Mascarpone and Honey Lavender French Macarons


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Lavender Honey Buttercream 

– 2 tbsp heavy cream

– 1.5 tbsp lavender buds, dried

– 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted

– 5 tbsp butter

– 2 tsp honey

Soak the lavender buds in the heavy cream and keep in refrigerator for 24-48 hours. When you are ready to make the frosting, beat the butter with the paddle attachment in your stand mixer. Add half the powdered sugar, then half of the cream mixture; repeat. Add honey and beat until desired consistency. Use the whisk attachment if you like a fluffier whipped frosting.

Raspberry Mascarpone Filling

– one 4 oz container mascarpone at room temperature

– 5 tbsp raspberry preserves, seedless

Mix! Easiest filling ever? I think so 🙂

Macaron Recipe (I used for both. Next time, I will dye the lavender shells to be, well… lavender.)

– 90 g. egg whites (been separated and in refrigerator for 3-5 days)

– 25 g. sugar

– 200 g. powdered sugar

– 110 g. almond meal

– 1/2 vanilla bean, scraped

Weigh all of your ingredients ahead of time.

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In a stand mixer whisk the egg whites to a foam.

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Gradually add the granulated sugar until you arrive at a glossy meringue with just barely stiff peaks. common mistake 1: do not over-beat the mixture or it will dry out.

Place the powdered sugar and almond meal in a food processor and pulse until very well mixed.

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Add them to the meringue, add the vanilla bean seeds, give it a quick fold to break some of the air and then fold the mass carefully until the mixture falls into itself after 8-10 seconds. Give quick strokes at first and then slow down. The batter should fall back on itself and flatten.

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Fill a pastry bag with a plane tip with the batter and pipe small rounds (really just 1 inch in diameter, I promise they spread!) onto parchment paper or silpat mat lined baking sheets. let the macarons sit out for 30 minutes to an hour until they develop a skin that is not sticky to the touch.

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Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for 20 minutes on a silpat mat or parchment paper. Let cool completely before filling.

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PROM Thin Mint Cakepops!

Here are some cakepops I made for our fake prom event last month. #nostalgia

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– 3 sleeves of thin mints

– 1 block of cream cheese

Put thin mints in a food processor until very fine. mix in cream cheese with your hands. Refrigerate mixture for 20 minutes.

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Remove from fridge and roll into 1.5 inch balls. Add sticks.

DSC_0076Refrigerate with sticks in for 20 more minutes. Remove from fridge and let balls return to almost room temperate (still cool to the touch). The reasoning for this is that the balls expand as they warm to room temperature. You don’t want to dip and coat them while they are still cold because the coating will crack once they expand.

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Decorate as you wish! I don’t have a picture of the tuxedo dipping, but I tilted the cakepop and did each half of the tux. I took dried plain white cakepops and used a piping bag to make a decorative white design (like a lace dress). I covered those with white mini non pareils and the white-on-white looked phenom!

 

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Famous Thanksgiving Gingersnap Pumpkin Pie

Remember when I said the next post would be brownie bites? That was a joke. Also, remember when the title said this pie is famous? Apparently that is a joke too. I have made this pie every thanksgiving since high school, and I look forward to it every year. For the past two years when I come home from school, my mom has already bought that year’s pumpkin pie! Despite the pie being obviously forgettable during the year, every Thanksgiving it disappears at dessert time, we’ll see how this year goes.

The crust is what differentiates this pumpkin pie, it is made of crushed gingersnap cookies. This recipe adapted from Cooking Light.

Ingredients:

– 1 3/4 cups gingersnap cookie crumbs (appx 45 cookies, one bag)

– 2 tablespoons melted butter

– 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

Cooking Spray

– 1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin puree

– 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

– 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar

– 1 tablespoon cornstarch

– 1 teaspoon ground cinammon

– 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

– 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

– 1 teaspoon vanilla

– 1/4 teaspoon salt

– 2 large egg whites

– 1 large egg

– 1 (12 oz) can evaporated skim milk

Directions:

1) Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

2) Using a food processor or a blender, blend the gingersnap cookies into fine crumbs.

2) Combine first three ingredients in a bowl, toss with a fork until moist.

3) Press into the bottom and sides of a 9 inch greased pie pan

4) Bake at 325 degrees for 5 minutes, let cool.

5) Combine pumpkin and the remaining ingredients in a bowl. The filling will seem very liquidy, it solidifies in the oven.

6) Pour into prepared crust and bake at 325 for one hour, or until a knife inserted comes out clean