Homemade Whipped Cream

Homemade whipped cream and I… we’re tight. We’ve been friends for about a year now, and even though I know it’s not good for me, I can’t quite get away. Oh sure, I could if I really wanted to, but honestly? I don’t. Homemade whipped cream is delicious. Indulgent. Creamy. AND, the best part? It’s super simple to make.

The biggest issue I’ve had so far is finding and appropriate size bowl to make it in. Too small, and the whipped cream flies everywhere. Too big, and you can’t really get in there to whip it up properly.

Until a close family friend – and I feel it’s important I mention they’re Irish immigrants, because we’re also Irish, and we love all the true Irish customs they bring to our celebrations (brown bread, anyone?) – she recommended a tip. And guess what? It worked. And now, I will share that tip with you!

So here we go!

RECIPE:
1 cup Heavy Whipping Cream*
2 Tablespoon Powdered Sugar
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
*Note: Be sure it’s heavy whipping cream, not just “whipping cream”.

Measure 1 cup of the Heavy cream into a 2 cup glass Pyrex measuring cup. (This is the tip our family friend taught me!) Add the vanilla.

Using a hand mixer on low, whip for 1-2 minutes. Add the powdered sugar. (You can add 1 tablespoon if you’d prefer it less sweet.) If you have the powdered sugar pre-measured, you can add it while you whip. If necessary, you can stop the mixer to add the powdered sugar and then start it again. Increase the speed and whip until it’s thick and forms peaks.

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That’s it! You’re done!

Some of my favorite ways to enjoy homemade whipped cream?
– Pie topping (Pumpkin or Chocolate Peppermint Pie, for example)
– On your coffee (Especially this Peppermint Mocha)
– As a brownie topping (try these Guilt-free Black Bean Brownies)
– A lighter dessert of strawberries & whipped cream

Adult Ice Cream Sundae

Raspberries were on sale for $1 this week, so we got 5 containers. I opened my freezer last night and saw that my  parents must’ve left ice cream when they babysat last night – Breyers Vanilla. It’s kind of a weakness of mine! I immediately thought of the Bailey’s I have in the back of my fridge and a sundae I made one time with Bailey’s “Hint of Mint”.

So I started thinking… and made a really yummy adults – only sundae!

I originally envisioned drizzling the Bailey’s, then a fresh, red raspberry sauce drizzled over the ice cream, and some chocolate chips. But when I was making the raspberry ‘sauce’ I had another idea… ***I added it spontaneously, so I’m adjusting the recipe from exactly how I did it…***

First preheat a small skillet or saucepan over medium heat.  Melt a little pat of butter, then add your raspberries – I probably used about 10. This is a GREAT way to use any of those raspberries that are a little mushy.  Roll the raspberries around a bit in the butter, then add a couple splashes of Peach Schnapps – I’d say more than a teaspoon but less than a tablespoon. Let it simmer until the juices have turned pink/red. Now add some chocolate chips and simmer for a minute or so until the chips melt. Roll the raspberries in that sauce until they are covered in it. Turn off the heat.

Scoop your ice cream into a bowl (I used 3 scoops!) and drizzle a bit of Bailey’s over it. Then, using a spatula to get all the sauce off the pan, pour the chocolate raspberry sauce over the ice cream and add a few chocolate chips for texture.
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Eat immediately, because that sauce will melt the ice cream quickly! It was REALLY good!

Here’s another variation I’m going to try:
– Use vanilla Greek frozen yogurt, omit the chocolate chips and add another berry (blueberry or strawberry) to the sauce

Here’s how I made the Adult Thin Mint sundae:
– Drizzle some Bailey’s Hint of Mint over Breyer’s Vanilla Bean ice cream, and crush some Thin Mint girl scout cookies over top. (Yeah. It’s good.)

My last tip is, wait until after the kids are in bed to enjoy these treats!

Crepes!

Where do I begin?? Once I tried them, crepes quickly became one of my favorite meals.  Good for breakfast, lunch, dinner or dessert. Great any time of year, but there’s something about hot crepes when it’s cold and grey out. Plus they go GREAT with a morning cup of tea (and you know how I love my tea). These are a favorite with my kids too. They’re too young to do this now, but I have this mental image of bowls of different fillings and they’re choosing which ones they want. Make your own Crepe, instead of Make your Own Sundae. I think what makes me really drawn to a recipe is when you can start with a base of understanding and adjust for many different uses or flavors. Muffins for example. Or pasta. Or soup. Even cookies. Maybe that’s why I really like Alton Brown’s show, “Good eats”. He teaches you the science and the reasoning behind things. It’s the whole, “teach them to fish” concept. Because once you understand a technique, you can begin to come up with and combine your own ideas instead of relying on other people’s.

When I searched recipes for crepes Alton Brown’s was one of the ones that came up. He had a genius idea of mixing everything in a blender, instead of in a mixing bowl. Not only do you dirty like dishes, but you can pour directly out of the blender into the frying pan instead of having to use a ladle or some other device to scoop the batter and put it into the pan. So efficient! Most of the time when I make these, I make them for breakfast or lunch, and they are sweet, using fruit and chocolate, etc. However I have done a savory version and they’re great for dinner too.

Here we go! (Link to recipe at bottom)
I always add the eggs first, so they are closest to the blades of the blender.
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Then I’ll add vanilla.
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I don’t always use cinnamon, but since we were making apple cinnamon today, I did. And sugar.
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Then I alternate between wet and dry ingredients; if you put all the liquid on bottom and dry on top, it takes a long time (not to mention makes a bigger mess!) to combine, and if you put dry on bottom and wet on top, it’s hard to combine unless you stir first.
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As for the melted butter: I always melt it in a Pyrex cup and melt it in the microwave. The ‘beverage’ button works well for this. Or if you have a ‘milk’ button – or some microwaves even have a ‘butter’ button! Nice!
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And after the first batch of flour I’ll add the butter.
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Here’s the awesome part: I’ll reuse that Pyrex (Yep, less dishes!) to measure the milk. AND, whatever butter is left in the Pyrex will come out when I pour the milk. And that’s why I do the water last. It too pulls the rest of the milk out. Alton Brown’s recipe says you can add 2 tablespoons of your favorite liqueur. Well, mine have to be kid friendly. So I add a couple splashes of OJ.
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Pulse for about 10 seconds or until everything is combined. You might need a spatula to get anything un-stuck from the sides of the blender.

Now the fun… choose your filling!

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Be sure to give them a stir to combine all ingredients!

I always put the filling in bowls because these cook so fast that you won’t have time to cut or cook things while the crepes cook. (In fancy cooking terms, this is called your ‘mise en place’) This will be the filling for the apple cinnamon crepes:
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I use butter flavored cooking spray, BEING SURE TO COAT THE SIDES OF THE PAN. Then pour the batter in a circular motion around the outside of the pan and into the middle until it covers the bottom of the pan:
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Then tilt the pan and swirl the batter in a circular motion around the edges of the pan until, well, there’s nothing left to swirl!
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When it starts to bubble in the middle, like the picture above, and the sides pull away easily from the pan, it’s ready to flip! Go around the outside with your spatula first, to make sure all the sides come away easy. Then slide the spatula under the crepe, and FLIP!
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I used this same pan to cook the apples in, so it had some buttery-cinnamon-y goodness still on the bottom, which you can see here. Yeah. Yum.
Immediately put your filling in a straight line down the middle of your crepe (think a diameter line!) For these I first used the flat spatula to spread some apple butter all over, then added the apples, then a sprinkling of cinnamon/sugar.
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Next fold the sides in over the filling, first one, then the other. Press down gently on the folds with the flat end of your spatula to seal it a little. At this point you don’t need to cook it too much more. A minute maybe, if you want to make sure everything is heated through, or your chocolate chips are melted 😉
Then slide it out of the pan onto a plate, sprinkle with some powdered sugar and, VOILA! A beautiful delicious crepe waiting for your enjoyment.

Delicious Crepes!

Delicious Crepes!

I always have at least 2 filling options, sometimes 3. Today the other filling we did was bananas and chocolate chips:
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Aubrey’s crepes (the kids like a drizzle of syrup or sometimes honey)

Due to the nature of these scrumptious treats, they are sometimes difficult to cut or for the kids to eat. However, I have mastered the art of cutting these for kids, and will now share this essential and TOP SECRET information with you:

How to cut crepes for kids

How to cut crepes for kids

The trick is to hold the crepe STILL with the fork while you cut with a sharp knife. I cut the ‘hamburger’ cuts first, then do one cut lengthwise (‘hot dog’!) down the middle. The best way to eat these is to slide your fork underneath each cut and bring to your mouth. YUM!

My favorite filling for these is probably strawberries and chocolate chips. But here’s a list of possibilities:
*strawberries & chocolate chips
*strawberries, bananas & chocolate chips
*bananas & chocolate chips
*bananas, cinnamon/sugar, & chocolate chips (Aubrey’s idea!)
*peanut butter & jelly (also Aubrey’s idea!)
*apple cinnamon
*bananas and blueberries
*blueberry compote (made by sautéing blueberries with a little cranberry juice, OJ & sugar!)

SAVORY crepes can be seasoned with herbs IN the batter, and putting veggies and/or a cream or cheese sauce. Great for dinner!

Here’s the link to Alton Brown’s original recipe. (For me and my kids, I take 1 1/2 recipe otherwise we don’t have enough)
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/crepes-recipe/index.html

Now go make some. For yourself. Or family! Or impress your friends at your next get-together with these babies that seem hard to make… but are really quite easy 😉

Cookie-crust brownie surprise!

If you’re like me, you’re careful with your kids’ sugar intake. Sugary cereal is kept to a minimum, no sweets before lunch, usually only one treat per day-and only after a good meal or healthy snack. Now I am flexible… somewhat.  Special occasions, for example.  Like birthdays. Easter. Christmas. And yes, that health-conscious mother-feared holiday: Halloween.
I recently found this recipe and thought, not only does it look DELICIOUS, but it definitely will use up a bit of our leftover candy. Because I promise you, it takes us at least a until the next year to finish off the candy from any candy-giving day. Hence my enthusiasm for this idea. Plus it is fun and kid friendly!

So, once Camille went down for her nap, Aubrey and Brendan helped me make these.  Ingredients:

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Store-bought cookie dough, box brownie mix, mini-Reese's

First you smoosh refrigerated cookie dough into muffin tins. My mom had dropped off some frozen, store-bought dough awhile back, so I put it in the fridge to soften it up, then used it for this instead of making fresh.

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Aubrey's job: drop dough into muffin tins

Then you drop mini-Reeses on top  of the dough.

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Brendan's job: put the mini Reese's on top of cookie dough

Then you fill the muffin tins with the prepared brownie mix and bake at 350º. Recipe said 18mins, but mine took closer to 25.

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They came out looking pretty good!

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Inside…

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Aubrey said this looks like a person with two eyes

But how do they taste?? They definitely require a big glass of milk. Very rich. I wish the cookie dough crust tasted more like an actual cookie. I’m surprised how much all three ingredients’ flavors meld together.  You can taste hints of peanut butter in the crust and parts of the brownie. And the brownie tastes less like a fudgy brownie and more like, well, I guess chocolate cupcake. I usually prefer fudgy and chunky brownies! All in all not my favorite, but still a fun idea.  I wonder if they’d be better with homemade cookie or brownie mix? I’m definitely willing to try the Oreo cookie version. Now THAT sounds like a winner!

What’s your favorite way to repurpose Halloween candy??? Share in the comments below!