Yogurt and chocolate chips muffins: an easy snack butter free.

You know me well and you know how much I love cooking and baking so in these days of forced self isolation (because of COVID Pandemic) I am trying new recipes, that possibly could involve also my daughters in the kitchen, and that would satisfy our sweet tooth without being too caloric.

I found this Yogurt and Chocolate Chips muffins’ recipe at the Italian blog Spadellandia.it  and get temped by it because it uses Yogurt as fat component for the muffins. So – with my girls – we tried it, modified it a little according to our tastes, and we loved it! What we liked about these Yogurt and chocolate chips muffins is that they contain yogurt instead of butter, some flour is substitute with starch to make it lighter, and because you basically mix all the ingredients together, bake it, and enjoy it! We love having them with our morning latte, or for a yummy and low fat snack.

The batter makes 6 big muffins, or 12 medium muffins  or 24 mini muffins, we tried all the  options and we preferred the last one the most, so we could eat “more” with less sense of guilt.

INGREDIENTS

1 cup (8 oz. or 160 gr.) all purpose flour

1/2 cup (4 oz. or 100 gr.) potatoes or corn starch

1/3 cup (80 gr.) semisweet chocolate chips

1 cup (250 gr.) plain yogurt or vanilla yogurt

3/4 cup (6 oz. or 180 gr.) granulated sugar

1 tbs. lemon extract OR 1 tbs. vanilla extract

3 tsp. (16 gr.) sifted baking powder

1/2 cup (4 oz. or 80 ml.) vegetable oil (I used coconut oil)

a pinch of sea salt  

DIRECTIONS

In a big bowl sift the flour, starch and baking powder so your batter will not have any lumps. In a separate bowl mix eggs, sugar, sea salt and whisk it well by hand. Then add the lemon or vanilla flavoring and the oil, mixing well.

Warm up the oven at 360 F (180 C.).   Pour the liquid ingredients in the bowl with the flours (or vice versa), add also the chocolate chip and mix the ingredients well enough to get an even batter, but not too much otherwise your muffins will become gummy.

Pour the batter in the muffins pan and bake for about 20 minutes.

Take it out of the oven, let it cool off and enjoy!!!!

LEARTN IT, MADE IT, LOVED IT! 

TIPS:

If you are having a party or you need a big batch of muffins, don’t be afraid and just double the ingredients. I’ve tried that and it turned out great.

– Use the lemon or vanilla flavoring only if you truly love their aftertaste: their flavors will come trough very strong.

– These muffins are absolutely heaven when fresh baked. If stored in a sealed container they will last up to a week but their consistency will get drier.

-If you like “cookies” more than “muffins” don’t miss these  scrumptious “Yogurt and Chocolate chips soft cookies” ready in 30 minutes or less.

– For another low fat recipe, with no butter at all, check out my “pears and ricotta coffee cake“.

I really hope you will like this recipe!

Please, Keep me posted if you’ll try it and don’t be shy to share your thoughts with me!

We need social interactions more than ever!

Love,

Silvia

YOU CAN ALSO FIND ME HERE:

on FB: Italiangoodness – A taste of Italy on your table every day

on INSTAGRAM: Silvia Italiangoodness

on PINTEREST: Italiangoodness, Italian recipes and more!

       

 

IN CASE YOU DON’T KNOW,

my ITALIAN desserts are available upon orders in the QUAD CITIES AREA.

Check out my HOME BAKERY PAGE to learn more! 

Molten Chocolate lava mini cakes: perfect for Valentine’s Day breakfast!

Calling all the Valentine’s Day lovers!!!! Valentine’s at my house is more a celebration for the kids than for my husband and I, so I am planning to prepare these super easy Molten Chocolate Lava mini cakes for breakfast on Valentine’s Day… ready in 15 minutes, they are perfect for a sweet themed breakfast, and I know for sure It will make my family very happy!

Before to start listing ingredients and sharing directions keep in mind that: 1) you will have to put in the freezer the Nutella at least three hours ahead of time, so if you are planning to make these for breakfast, go ahead and set it the night before.     2) You will need a 6 Cavity Silicone Heart Mold for shaping your mini cakes. Even a regular 6 cavity muffin mold will work, only you will not have the “heart” shapes.

INGREDIENTS FOR 6 HEARTS

2 eggs – 2 uova

5 0z.  Nutella -150 gr. nutella

1.5 oz. all purpose flour – 40 gr. farina

3.5 oz. granulated sugar – 100 gr. zucchero

1 stick unsalted butter – 100 gr. burro

4.4. oz. good quality dark chocolate – 130 gr. dark cioccolato fondente

dark cocoa for dusting – cacao amaro quanto basta

optional: whipping cream for decorating

The night before (or at least three hours before baking the hearts)

Scoop six equal servings of Nutella in six holes of a plastic ice cube tray. If you don’t own it, go to your closest Dollar Tree store to get one.

15 Minutes before servings your molten lava mini cakes.

Butter the silicon hearts mold, and evenly dust it with dark cocoa. Double boil the butter and dark chocolate (previously chopped in tiny pieces) until melted.

Take the melted mix away from the heat, add the sugar and hand-whip. Then add one egg at a time and keep whipping. Finally, add sifted flour and stir.

Preheat the oven at 410 F (200 C.). Once the flour is evenly incorporated to the batter, scoop one tbs. of batter to each heart. Take away the Nutella from the freezer and place each single frozen block of Nutella in each heart. Cover the nutella with the remaining batter.

Bake only 10 minutes. Once baked, place each heart in a nice plate, decorate with whipping cream, and enjoy still warm! The molten nutella inside the heart will make the trick!

YUM!!! So delicious!

LEARTN IT, MADE IT, LOVED IT!

TIPS:

– My family and I are addicted to these cakes, so I’ve made those multiple times. I tried substituting the butter with Coconut oil! I loved it, but some of my family members disagreed. If you’d like the idea of using oil instead of butter, follow the same direction and ingredients but use 2.2 oz of coconut oil instead of butter.

– Leftovers are still good but Nutella will harden.

– If you love NUTELLA don’t miss my favorite “only three ingredients” NUTELLA BITES or the more caloric “NUTELLA SEMIFREDDO” .

– For more Valentines’s Day recipes, check out:

HEART SHAPED bacon and puff pastry;

HEART SHAPED butter cookies:

HEART SHAPED chocolate crispy rice bars;

EASY, FAST, AFFORDABLE VALENTINES’ HOME MADE DINNER

 

YOU CAN ALSO FIND ME HERE:

on FB: Italiangoodness – A taste of Italy on your table every day

on INSTAGRAM: Silvia Italiangoodness

on PINTEREST: Italiangoodness, Italian recipes and more!

       

 

IN CASE YOU DON’T KNOW,

my ITALIAN desserts are available upon orders in the QUAD CITIES AREA.

Check out my HOME BAKERY PAGE to learn more! 

Baked brie in puff pastry : a sweet-and-sour appetizer to die for!

brie cheese and apricot preserves in puff pastry

DISCLAIMER: this is NOT an Italian recipe, but when I tried it was so good I couldn’t help but sharing about it! brie in puff pastry

Until few months ago, when I tried this appetizer at a friend’s house, I had no idea of what I was missing! I have to say that after that night, I found tons of recipes on Pinterest involving Brie, Puff pastry and different kinds of preserves, like apricot or cranberry, and considering my love for puff pastry (remember my savory bacon and cheese pie? or my blue cheese and white onion savory pie? or – for the sweet teeth – my apples and cinnamon roses?) I had to try this recipe myself, and obviously, in my way.

If you repel the idea of cheese and preserves, you should know that so I did, but after trying this I had to change my mind! The particular taste of Brie absolutely overcome the preserves’ sweetness, but at the same time, the aftertaste of the preserves makes this appetizer very sophisticated and appealing to guests of any age. Baked in buttery, flaky puff pastry, ooey gooye cheese covered in sweet apricot preserves, it’s melt in your mouth delicious!

Just so you know, in 20 minutes your “baked brie in puff pastry will be ready” but keep in mind that you will have to thaw the puff pastry at  in the refrigerator at least three hours ahead of time and you’ll get a best result if you put the brie in the freezer 20 minutes before arranging it inside the pastry. This is such an insanely easy recipe. Even non-bakers can do it!

BRIE IN PUFF PASTRY

10 SERVINGS INGREDIENTS

16 oz. BRIE cheese

apricot or cranberry preserve

1 puff pasty sheet (thaw)

1 egg and 1 tbs. water for egg wash

optional: honey to drizzle

optional: sliced almonds to decorate

your favorite kind of crackers

DIRECTIONS

Roll out your thaw puff pastry on a parchment paper sheet. Don’t worry if It doesn’t  look perfect, it will look gorgeous once baked. Roll it out as thin as possible and give it a “square shape”. If necessary, cut away the pastry in excess. Wisk the egg and water in a separate cup.

Place the brie (white rind included) in the center of the pastry, cover with preserves (I prefer the apricot one), and fold up the corners of the pastry one at a time, brushing all the dough with the egg wash as you go, using it like glue to hold the pastry together.

If you feel confident, try to fold the top of the pastry as to form a small rose, it will look very cute! Transfer to a baking sheet and chill for 20 minutes uncovered in the fridge. Preheat the oven to 400 F  (220 C.).  Bake at 400 F. for 20-25 minutes until the pastry is golden and puffed.

Remove from the oven and place in a nice cutting board decorated with fresh fruit and crackers. Allow to cool for 5 minutes and serve.brie in puff pastry

LEARTN IT, MADE IT, LOVED IT!brie cheese and apricot preserves in puff pastry

TIPS: – Brie in puff pastry leftovers are not so good. The day after the puff pastry will be soggy and chewy and the cheese solidified. Make this appetizer when you have enough people to finish it up!

– I didn’t try, but I saw recipes on Pinterest where they suggested to drizzle the puff pastry (once baked and out of the oven) with honey, and top with sliced almonds.

– You can opt for placing the preserves inside the cheese previously sectioned in two layers, but I preferred placing the preserves on top of the cheese in case some picky eater would have liked the idea of setting the preserves aside.

– If you didn’t use all the pastry, fill up the pieces you have left with nutella, fold it at the best you can, and bake it while the brie is in the oven too. You’ll have a small tasty dessert !

– Besides my passion for Italian food, which – I would dare to say – is part of my “identity”, I appreciate good food from all  over the word, and sometimes I revisits the foreign recipes with an Italian touch. This post is one example, but if you look for more, check out also:  jalapenos popper deepfennel and pears salad, my Italian style cheese cake, my special version of the classic banana cream pie, corn flakes and raisins cookies, Irish coffee, macarons for beginners .

I really hope you will like my recipe this week, even though it’s not authentic Italian!

Have ever baked brie with puff pastry? Do you use a different recipe?

I would love to hear your thoughts!

MUCH LOVE

SILVIA

YOU CAN ALSO FIND ME HERE:

on FB: Italiangoodness – A taste of Italy on your table every day

on INSTAGRAM: Silvia Italiangoodness

on PINTEREST: Italiangoodness, Italian recipes and more!

       

 

IN CASE YOU DON’T KNOW,

my ITALIAN desserts are available upon orders in the QUAD CITIES AREA.

Check out my HOME BAKERY PAGE to learn more! 

Roasted almonds Croccante: share with your friends the Christmas Italian tradition

single servings croccante

almonds croccanteGreetings everyone!

Christmas is almost here and my kitchen is so busy and messy with me preparing all small edible gifts for family and friends (and having all the baking done to make my home bakery’s customers happy)!  As you probably already know in this season I like baking plenty of Italian Cantucci Biscotti and Baci di Dama, but those require quite a bit of time in the oven. The treat I am writing about today is traditional during Christmas period in the South of Italy (Calabria), it’s very fast to prepare and with just three ingredients: oven baked almonds, honey (good quality one) and granulated sugar.  The result is a super crunchy caramel bar, sweet but not too much, and absolutely addictive: once you start eating it you can’t help but keep eating until you’ve eaten whole thing!

I have to tell you that I brought these “Croccante” mini bars to my local Freight House Farmers Market in the past weeks and they sold very very good! One of the reason, besides the fact that it’s delicious, it’s probably  because this treat is EGGS FREE, LACTOSE FREE and GLUTEN FREE. single servings croccante

This recipe requires 10 minutes max, plus the time to bake the almonds if they are not already baked. With these quantities you will obtain about 12 pieces about 3oz. (or 100) big.

Be aware that to prepare the Croccante you will need a food thermometer.

INGREDIENTS

1.10 lb. (500 gr.) oven baked peeled almond

7 oz. (200 gr.) granulated sugar

5 oz. (150 gr.) best quality honey (I used organic clover honey)

DIRECTIONS

If your almonds are not already baked, bake it at 360 F. for about 10 minutes and let it cooling off.

Cover your working surface with parchment.

In a big non-stick pan bring honey and sugar to boil and keep stirring until the mix reaches 338 F. (170 C.). Keeping the temperature controlled will avoid the caramel to burn and taste bitter.

At this point, take away the caramel from the heat, add the almonds, mix quickly the ingredients and  pour the mix on the parchment paper (or on a marble surface). With a wet rolling pin flat the mix as thin as possible. Let it cool off and cut in bars as big as you wish.

The cutting phase will be easier if you’ll use a sharp knife, slightly wet with water.

LEARN IT, MADE IT, LOVED IT!!!!!

TIPS: – When still hot the mixture can be shaped in different shapes, like a star, or a Christmas Tree, or whatever you may like.

– Be very careful while you are handling the hot mixture because it will be very hot and the chances to get burned are very high (especially if you are not an expert). The first time I prepared Croccante I burned all my left fingertips plus my lips because I was so an anxious to eat the Croccante that I put the hot ladle in my mouth! Vey bad idea! But it was soo good!!!

– Cutting the Croccante is not necessary unless you wish to make single servings.single servings croccante

– Best way to store the Croccante is inside a tin, in a cool and dry room. It will last for days.

– As cute edible Christmas gift, you can cut the Croccante, wrap it in parchment and tie it with kitchen wire.

I really hope you enjoyed my recipe this week, I promise, you will fall in love with this easy treat!

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas! 

MUCH LOVE,

SILVIA

 

YOU CAN ALSO FIND ME HERE:

on FB: Italiangoodness – A taste of Italy on your table every day

on INSTAGRAM: Silvia Italiangoodness

on PINTEREST: Italiangoodness, Italian recipes and more!

       

 

IN CASE YOU DON’T KNOW,

my ITALIAN desserts are available upon orders in the QUAD CITIES AREA.

Check out my HOME BAKERY PAGE to learn more!   

 

A Thanksgiving Meal with an Italian Flair

Hello my dear friends!An Italian pie for Thanksgiving

I’ve been so busy with my new adventure (selling Home made Italian desserts at the local Farmers Market) that I’ve skipped a couple of weeks of recipes posting… MY APOLOGIES! But  if by the way  you would like to learn more about my booth at the Freight House Farmers Market in Davenport, take a look to this brief interview on WHBF-TV . I was so nervous, but I had the chance to talk about my beloved Italy, and our amazing food tradition! With the Winter Holidays approaching I’ve enriched my menu with more  “wintery and Christmassy” desserts, you should definitely check those out!

Now that you know why I’ve been “absent” (and maybe why It may happen again LOL), I would like to share with you and another article I wrote for the Quadcities Mom’s blog last we (the previous one was a “fall themed one“). All recipes are mine, and it’s   about adding an Italian touch to the Traditional Thanksgiving menu!!!! I hope you’ll enjoy the reading and maybe find some fun recipe to experiment!

“Even though “giving thanks” should be a moment of reflection that everyone should try to do at least once a year, this celebration is not observed in many other countries and is probably mostly seen as an American holiday. (Forgot about the origin of Thanksgiving? Click here to refresh your memory).

Italians don’t celebrate Thanksgiving but in approximately eight years that we’ve lived in Iowa, we’ve often been invited to Thanksgiving celebrations at dear friends’ houses, and to be honest, I’ve loved the atmosphere and preparation!  I have noticed though, that most of the hosts and guests at some point have admitted that turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pies weren’t exactly their favorite foods.    I am a huge supporter of traditions and celebrations, but why keep self-inflicting a Thanksgiving meal that nobody likes?

To find a solution, when we have celebrated Thanksgiving at home here in the Quad Cities, I’ve tried to follow the custom of turkey and mashed potatoes for the sake of my children, but I have also enriched this menu with an Italian touch. I was thinking that you may be interested in doing the same by adding a few easy Italian dishes to the traditional menu.

It’s well known that those turkeys take hours to roast.  So, as an easy start (since we probably won’t be eating until late afternoon) why don’t we treat ourselves with some “Italian appetizers“? Here are some of my favorites:

AN ITALIAN COCKTAILSpritz the most popular Italian appetazier cocktail

SPRITZ:  This is one of the most popular cocktails in Italy.  Only three liquid ingredients to warm up the atmosphere and possibly make your mother-in-law sound more pleasant . A Spritz is a perfectly seasonable orange cocktail.  It is enjoyable and fairly light, even for those who are not much into booze. It will make the beginning of your Thanksgiving meal very fancy!

ITALIAN  STARTERS  White Onion, bacon and blue cheese savory Italian pie

WHITE ONION, BACON AND BLUE CHEESE SAVORY PIE: Such a long name for an extra easy appetizer. Everybody will love it (just remember not to tell the kids that there are onions in there!). This tart takes 10 minutes for preparation and 20 in the oven. You can prepare it a few hours in advance and pop it into the oven whenever your guests start walking around the kitchen to ask how long until dinner will be served! I understand that to prepare this tart you may need a second oven (since the first one will be busy with the big bird), but if you don’t own one, don’t worry, there is another appetizer you may want to try…. Asiago cheese cubes appetizer

ASIAGO CHEESE CUBES: Your guests will just die for this finger food. Small Asiago cheese cubes, crunchy on the outside and melted inside-so delicious! This Italian classic  for your Thanksgiving meal may require a little more work in the kitchen, but believe me, it’s totally worth it.  As a bonus, it will fill those impatient bellies for a decent amount of time!

THE MAIN MEAL HAS TO BE TURKEY, AND IT WILL BE TURKEY!

I’ll skip offering options for the main course but I want to suggest a light soup that you may want to serve while the turkey rests on the kitchen counter: Orange creamy butternut squash soup

ORANGE CREAMY BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP: Many fancy restaurants, before their important dinner parties serve light soups or “consomme“.  Especially in those years that Thanksgiving Day is deadly cold, I am sure your family would be delighted by a warm, orange, velvety soup to enjoy before the classic Thanksgiving meal. This soup is even better if prepared a little ahead of time and kept refrigerated, so you will have it ready to go on the busy day.

After the legendary turkey with gravy, let’s jump straight to my favorite course and my area of expertise…

DESSERTS

Here are a couple of options that you may want to consider to break up the monotony of the classic Thanksgiving pies.ricotta, almonds and amaretti cookies tart

RICOTTA, ALMOND and AMARETTI COOKIE TART: A not too sweet and slightly aromatic tart that could perfectly suit a Thanksgiving buffet.  You may want to consider this pie because it’s absolutely easy to prepare with very little “hands-on” time, and, if prepared a day ahead it tastes even better. chocolate chips and ricotta tart

CHOCOLATE AND RICOTTA TART:  If you are afraid your guests may dislike an almond-based dessert, who doesn’t like chocolate chips? This chocolate and ricotta tart is creamy, velvety and absolutely loved by children. It can be prepared a few days in advance and it’s really super easy to make.

Maybe preparing ALL of these alternative dishes for your Thanksgiving meal in such a busy-and many times stressful-holiday season sounds a little overwhelming. But if you like the idea of spicing up your planned menu even with just one new dish, I am sure it will be beneficial for the mood, the atmosphere and everyone’s appetites!

ricotta, amonds and amaretti tart

I am curious to know if you already have a dish that stands out from the classic ones on Thanksgiving? I am always excited to try new recipes and ideas!”.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

What do you think of this article?

Do you like the idea of me as a writer rather than just a food blogger?

I don’t know…. but it sure is fun, and I truly believe I’ll do it again 😉

I really hope you liked my post this week, and if you did,

please  share it, like it, and support my blog!

And if you haven’t done it yet, don’t forget to subscribe: it’s completely free and you will receive my

(almost) weekly recipe directly at your email address!

MUCH LOVE

SILVIA

 

YOU CAN ALSO FIND ME HERE:

on FB: Italiangoodness – A taste of Italy on your table every day

on INSTAGRAM: Silvia Italiangoodness

on PINTEREST: Italiangoodness, Italian recipes and more!

       

 

IN CASE YOU DON’T KNOW,

my ITALIAN desserts are available upon orders in the QUAD CITIES AREA.

Check out my HOME BAKERY PAGE to learn more!   

 

Italian Pumpkin Flowers Fritters: at the Pumpkin Patch don’t forget to pick up those flowers too!!!

Last week I went to a field trip to the Pride of the Wapsy Pumping Patch with my preschooler, and , fun thing, while the children (mine included) where walking trough the field to find the perfect pumpkin I was picking those beautiful “male” pumpkin flowers that made the patch yellow and bright!   Few minutes before, indeed, the farmer was explaining us how the “female” flowers fall from the pumpkin when it grows meanwhile the “male” ones – which are not attached to any fruit – keep blossoming during the season.

Well, long story short, in Italy those flowers (and the zucchini flowers) are very well known as a delightful ingredients for amazing fritters. When the farmer told me to help myself, I harvested a bag of those, took them home, and prepared this very popular Italian recipe, which is also a very common finger food you can find at wedding’s buffets, and fancy restaurants.how a pumpkin flower fritter looks like

Super easy, just three ingredients (plus the peanut oil for frying) and get ready to try this deliciousness!!! Just to be clear, this is my family recipe, but I know for sure other Italians may tell you that the batter needs also eggs, or baking soda, or freezing water. Nothing to say about those other recipes: to me, my mom’s one works perfectly. The flowers will taste crispy and tasty, they won’t absorb too much oil, and be perfect for an “alternative” snack or as a finger food appetizer.  One last thing, depending on your preferences, you can drizzle the flowers either with sugar (if you are more for sweet treats) or sea salt (if you are more a “savory food” lover), and in this latest case, you can also decide – before to immerge the flowers in the batter – to stuff it with Provolone or Asiago cheese, to make it even more appealing!

INGREDIENTS FOR ABOUT 15 FLOWERS

7 oz. (100 gr). all purpose flour

7 oz. (200 ml.) beer (any kind works but better a blond one)

peanut oil for deep frying

DIRECTIONS

When you pick up and bag your flowers it may be that during the ride home some bugs come out. Don’t freak out, it’s quite common finding bugs in flowers. Once home, just was the flowers well but delicately,  pat them dry and take away the stems and pistils.

Prepare the batter by hand whisking the flour and beer, and let the batter resting in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes.  In a medium sized pot, pour enough peanut oil to fry the flowers, and bring it at 350-350 F.  (170-180 Celsius).

Meantime take a flower at a  time and deep into the batter making sure is well covered all around. Once the oil reaches the right temperature, fry the flowers (not more than two-three at a  time to not bring the oil temperature down) for about a minute for side, then using a holed ladle,  take them out into a plate covered in paper towel (to absorb any oil in excess).

Sprinkle with sea salt or sugar (depending if you’d prefer a savory or sweet treat) and serve still warm. YUMMMMM!This is how a pumping flower fritter looks like

LEARNT IT, MADE IT, LOVED IT!!!!

TIPS: – Ideal would be frying the flowers the same day you picked them up. But If you don’t, seal them in a container and keep them refrigerated until it’s time to fry them.

– Even if they look withered when you pick them up, they will taste great anyway. Just be carful they don’t are rot (black and bad smelling).

– these flowers are delicious even in risotto or noodles, and they match perfectly with squash (of course!), cheese and other vegetables.

– When I prepare this batter, if I don’t have pumpkin flowers, I fry sliced zucchini, or sage leaves, or broccoli and carrots, and they all turn out amazing!

Have you ever tried pumpkin flower fritters? What do you think about it?   

I really hope you liked my post this week, and if you did,

please  share it, like it, and support my blog!

And if you haven’t done it yet, don’t forget to subscribe: it’s completely free and you will receive my

(almost) weekly recipe directly at your email address!

MUCH LOVE

SILVIA

 

YOU CAN ALSO FIND ME HERE:

on FB: Italiangoodness – A taste of Italy on your table every day

on INSTAGRAM: Silvia Italiangoodness

on PINTEREST: Italiangoodness, Italian recipes and more!

       

 

IN CASE YOU DON’T KNOW,

my ITALIAN desserts are available upon orders in the QUAD CITIES AREA.

Check out my HOME BAKERY PAGE to learn more!   

 

 

Puff pastry and apples roses: what a cute and yummy recipe!

Ciao a tutti! I felt so guilty last week when I published that (apparently) complicated and extra wordy post about macarons that today I decided to share with you a recipe that is easy and fast but not traditionally Italian.  Besides, it’s super popular and mostly absolutely appropriate for this period of the year where we are about to say goodbye to summer and welcome fall.    I am talking about these super cute roses made with puff pastry and apples, that I’ve wanted to try in a long time and that only yesterday I decided to experiment. There are tons of tutorial and recipes on Pinterest I’ve read as inspiration, and I came out with my own, which I am sharing with you in few minutes.

These absolutely adorable and tasty roses can be prepared with any kind of apples but those with red skin would work better as for the esthetic effect. For 6 pieces you will need only a bunch of

INGREDIENTS

1 puff pastry sheet

2 apples

1 lemon juice

2 tbs. water

cinnamon to taste

apricot preserve

They are so easy to prepare that you will want to give it a try asap!

DIRECTIONS

If you are using frozen puff pastry, make sure to take it out of the freezer and store in the refrigerator at least 2 hours before.

Wash the apples, take away the stem and core, and cut in very thin slices (thin because otherwise it will be impossible to shape them).

Place the apple slices in a bowl with 2 tbs. of sugar (even the brown one works very well), the lemon juice and a couple of tbs. of water and microwave for about 2 minutes.  Once microwaved, drain the apples in a strainer to get rid off all the extra juice.

Take the puff pastry out of the refrigerator, roll it out on a parchment paper sheet and cut it in six stripes about 2″ wide (5 cm.). Microwave for about 1 minute a bowl of apricot preserve.

At this point,  brush one puff pastry stipe with  the melted apricot preserve and arrange the apples on one side of the stripe, making sure each apple slices overlaps the other. Dust with cinnamon to taste (optional). Fold the stripe to “wrap” the apples. Roll up the stripe to shape it as a rose, making sure to let it a bit loose so it will have room enough to raise once in the oven.

Arrange the rose in a oven sheet lined with parchment paper.  Repeat for each puff pastry stripe left. Dust with sugar.

Bake for about 40 minutes at 400 F (200 C.) in the oven middle rack.

Dust with powdered sugar and enjoy still warm…. YUMMMMMMMM! So delicious!!!

LEARN IT, MADE IT, LOVED IT!

Tips: – These roses are delicious even the day after, but be careful: if you microwave to get them warm again the puff pastry will get chewy and lose its crispiness.

– My daughters had lot of fun helping me preparing these roses: they had no issues at arraging the apples and rolling the pastry.

– My family is not very fond of cinnamon, so I made only two out of six roses with cinnamon: I tell you, those with the spice were ten times better!

– Usually puff pastry sheets are sold in couples, so when you approach this recipe, be sure to have four apples instead of only two.

– Since Fall is approaching and you may be considering to pick up apples at an apple orchard soon, save this other apple desserts recipes… they may come handy soon:

 Tell me the truth, this is not the first time you have seen these apple roses around…

Tell me the truth, have you ever given this recipe a try?

I am very curious to know your thought about this recipe, and eventually your opinion about it!

I really hope you liked my recipe this week, and if you did, please  share it, like it, and support my blog!

And if you haven’t done it yet, don’t forget to subscribe: it’s completely free and you will receive my

(almost) weekly recipe directly at your email address!

MUCH LOVE

SILVIA

YOU CAN ALSO FIND ME HERE:

on FB: Italiangoodness – A taste of Italy on your table every day

on INSTAGRAM: Silvia Italiangoodness

on PINTEREST: Italiangoodness, Italian recipes and more!

       

 

IN CASE YOU DON’T KNOW,

my ITALIAN desserts are available upon orders in the QUAD CITIES AREA.

Check out my HOME BAKERY PAGE to learn more!   

 

 

Macarons for beginners: the ultimate foolproof recipe

Hello there! Lately I’ve often started my posts apologizing to my readers for not being persistent in posting, and this week (beside the first apology) I also have to apologize for posting about a dessert which is not Italian at all, but that recently got so popular (and so delicious) that I couldn’t help but learn how to prepare it.   Actually this is not the first time I share an “International recipe”.. do you remember the “Lapponian salad“? or the “Jalapenos popper deep“?  and my “cheesecake“? and the “cornflakes and raisins cookies“?

Anyway, I’ve learnt making macarons by experimenting recipes I found online, and the best one, and simplest and most effective is the one shared by Simona Mirto in the Italian website tavolartegusto.it : if you fluently speak Italian I warmly suggest you to follow her recipe, which is very detailed and well explained.. for the English version keep reading and be ready to feel like a French chef!

Just before starting, I have a few ESSENTIAL suggestions:

  1. Macarons require patient, calmness and precision. If you are mostly for quick result with minor effort, it may be not the most appropriate recipe to try;
  2. Macarons are about exact proportions between ingredients, so this time I cannot convert the ingredients in cups and teaspoons because they are too much approximate: get a kitchen scale before starting!
  3. Even if this recipe works (I promise), it may take you a few attempts before getting the right result because you will need to figure out which is the best time and temperature to bake the macarons in your own oven.
  4. Sorry if I am not posting the pictures step by step, but if you need a “visual” guide for the method, just visit www.tavolartegusto.it/ricetta/macarons-ricetta-e-guida-passo-passo/ and you will find a question to all your answers!
  5. The egg whites should be a few days “old” and must be at room temperature for at least a couple of hours before starting;
  6. Even though most macarons recipes use cream of tartar as main ingredient to make the batter a little more stable, I don’t use it because in my opinion it slightly alters the consistency of the macarons’ shells.
  7. Macarons could be made in different colors and different fillings. My family likes any colors but is particularly picky about the filling: the only one allowed is the white chocolate ganache, and this is the filling type I would prepare if I’d be you!
  8. Macarons don’t require a lot of time to be prepared but, especially on humid day, the “croutage” may take up to an hour or so and  as I previous said (see #1), when you prepare macarons pick a day you’ll have enough time for  your cooking project !

 INGREDIENTS FOR ABOUT 30 COMPLETED MACARONS

100 gr. eggs white

150 gr. finely grounded almond flour

200 gr. powdered sugar

25 gr. granulated sugar

food coloring (optional)

FOR THE WHITE CHOCOLATE GANACHE

150  gr. good quality white chocolate

100 gr. whipping cream

DIRECTIONS:

Before starting: using a food processor, grind the almond flour and the powdered sugar together. The secret is activating the food processor just for few seconds, to mix evenly the two ingredients and make the flour even thinner than before. Just few seconds are enough. If you mix the flour too much it may “sweat” and later, it may ruin  the consistency of the batter.   I CONFESS: the first time I tried making macarons I skipped this step. Result: the batter was too thick and crumbly and it didn’t rise while cooking!     And HOLD ON!!!! You are not done yet with the “preparing phase“: it’s now time to sift the flour and sugar with a thin strainer, making sure to get rid off any possible little crumble or lump.

Preparing the macarons batter: At this point you can start whipping the egg whites in a standing mixer, adding the granulated sugar a little bit a time, let’s say in at least three rounds.   Once the whites are firm, stiff and fluffy, sift half of the sugar/flour into the whites and start stirring with a spatula, very gently, from the bottom to the top. Once the dry ingredients are well incorporated it is time to add the food coloring (PS. you can also make white macarons and avoid any food coloring). The food coloring that worked the best for me is the powdered ones, but also the gel ones are fine. Avoid those liquid because they would alter the consistency of the batter. Stir always gently from the bottom to the top to avoid the batter becoming too watery.   Now you can add the remaining flour/sugar mix (always sifting) and keep mixing until you get a perfect and even batter. Just so you can  understand when to stop stirring, the batter should be soft enough to fall from the spatula like a satin tape. If it takes too much for the batter to fall from the spatula it means it is too thick and you have to keep stirring.   When the batter looks ready, keep it aside  for a few minutes. It’s time to prepare your baking dish!

I know on the market they sell silicon baking sheets that are already marked with the macarons’ shape. I don’t own one, so with a pencil I draw 4 cm (1.5″) sized circles making sure each one diverts from another for about 2 cm (0.8″) .   Once done, I flip the parchment upside down (so the grey of the pencil doesn’t stain the macarons’ shells) and line my baking sheets.

Now that the baking sheets are ready, move the batter into a Sac a’ Poche with a 1 cm round decorating tip.  Fill each circle of your baking sheet with the batter making sure to stay a little far from the edges because the batter will loose up a bit.  Keep doing it until all the batter is gone.

THIS IS THE PART WHERE YOU NEED TO BE PATIENT: the macaroons need to “dry” enough so when you touch them your finger doesn’t stick to it (c.d. croutage).  In a dry sunny day the “croutage” would take about 30 minutes. During humid days it may take even an hour or more. But do not worry, your macarons will not get ruined if you wait too much to bake them, but they for sure not turn out if you don’t wait enough time! So take your time and wait before starting baking!

FINALLY! IT”S TIME FOR BAKING!

After the “drying time” (or coutage) the surface of your macarons should be hard enough that if you touch them, your fingers don’t stick to them…         Pre-Heat your oven at 290 F. and let your macarons bake around 14 minutes. Beware: cooking time changes from recipe to recipe and sometimes it depends on the “color” you pick. Avoiding the cream of tartar extends the baking time  so – with my oven, and my recipe – the macarons starts forming their famous “collar” around minute #8th and are ready to be taken out of the oven at minute #14th.

Once baked let your macarons cooling off before taking it away from the baking sheet and remember to use a knife blade to help you during the process. Be careful: the macarons are very delicate and if you don’t use gentleness you may crush the macarons’ shells.

THE FILLING

While your Macarons cool off, you can prepare the white chocolate ganache (which will be one of my next posts).  For the best result put your ganache in a cake decorator or a sack a posh, fill half of your macarons shells (handling those with gentleness) and cover those with the other halves. YOU ARE DONE!!!

I Know, it sounds (and it probably is) a time consuming job, but when you’ll see your macarons’ shells forming their famous “collar” while cooking you will feel the power of the success!!! And when you’ll enjoy these little bites of deliciousness, you could not ever live without 😉

LEARTN IT, MADE IT, LOVED IT!

Curiosities: – Macaroon and Macaron are two completely diffent kids of French cookies. Both are delicious but are entirely different from each other: a macaroon is coconut based whereas macaron is meringue based.  Macarons range in color and flavors while macaroons are limited in variety. SO when you talk about Macaron, watch out for your spelling!!!

– Macarons are gluten free gourmet cookies so they can come very handy whenever you have guests that are on a gluten free regimen but still like to enjoy delicious treats!

Have you ever made Macarons? What’s your favorite recipe? Did you find any of my suggestions helpful? Do you have any secret tricks to prepare perfect Macarons?   What’s your favorite Macarons filling?

Please feel free to share your thoughts by leaving a comment! I love exchanging recipes and tips with you!

I really hope you liked my recipe this week, and if you did, please  share it, like it, and support my blog!

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MUCH LOVE

SILVIA

 

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Farro, tomatoes and olives salad: a vegetarian refreshing, light and high protein meal

Do you remember the recipe of my famous Italian rice salad (Insalata di riso)? That Italian classic very popular in summer at parties, pick- nick and cookout? Today I’m posting a very similar one, but in a vegetarian version and prepared with a  hulled wheat which is not gluten free but with a high nutrition value (over 16% protein): FARRO.       The reason I haven’t posted this recipe before  (even if it is absolutely one of my favorite in the warm season) is because I thought FARRO was impossible to find here in Mid West or at least too expensive.    Guess what? Yesterday I found it at my local groceries store, at a very affordable price and few hours after I was already cooking it!         For those who are not familiar with FARRO I can add that it’s a simple grain of 28 chromosomes that pre-dates spelt. It is prepared like brown rice and cooks in about 40 minutes (or can be soaked overnight to reduce the cooking time). It makes a fabulous pilaf, grain salad, risotto, addition to soup, or sprouted for breads and salads. When cooked, its dark, plump berries add sweet, full-bodied flavor, chewy texture, and high nutritional value (as already told) to every meal. It is a lovely, versatile grain very used in the Italian cousin.

My family and I love eating “farro” in a vegetarian way,  mixed with green and black olives, tomatoes, basil, sea salt and extravergin olive oil.  This salad is perfect for a refreshing meal at home or to take away, wonderful  for parties and cookout, and can last – if refrigerated and well stored – for a few days. It can be considered a full meal (remember FARRO’s high protein content!), but – depending on tastes – can be enriched with tuna, salmon, eggs, cheese or whatever you’d like.  The method to prepare it it’s simple: cut in small pieces all the “fresh” ingredients, and toss in the Farro once cooked, drained and cooled off.

2-4 servings INGREDIENTS

7.05 oz. (200 gr.) pearled farro

6 oz. (1 can) green olives

6 oz. (1 can) black olives

2-3 handful cherry tomatoes

fresh basil

optional: 1 garlic clove finely chopped

sea salt to taste

olive oil to taste

DIRECTIONS

Farro doesn’t need to be soaked overnight before being cooked unless you want it to be ready in less that 40 minutes. The label usually describes the cooking method and the pack I bought (exactly like the Italian one) needs to be rinsed in cold water and then dried in a colander, then put in a large pot with enough water.  The proportion indicated in my farro is 25 oz. (0,75 l.) water per each 3.5 oz. (100 gr.) farro.

In our case, to cook approximately 7.05 oz. (200 gr.) farro pour it in a pot filled with 50 oz. (1.5 l.) water. Bring it to boil, then cover with a lid and let it cook at low heat for 35-40 minutes.

Drain it very well in a colander and wash it with cold water. When ready, set aside for later.

PREPARE THE DRESSING

While the FARRO cooks, you have plenty of time to prepare the dressing: wash the cherry tomatoes very well, cut them in half and take away the seeds, then cut them in even smaller pieces and let them drain in a small strainer. Then drain very well the olives and cut them in small pieces. Cut even the fresh basil as small as you prefer. If you don’t mind the taste of garlic, chop very finely a garlic clove.

Toss all these ingredients together in a nice bowl, and dress with few tbs. of extravergin olive oil and sea salt to taste (be aware: olives are quite salty, so be careful when you add the salt!). Finally, add the cooled and drained farro and mix the ingredients very well but gently to avoid smashing and pureeing the whole thing.

YOU ARE DONE!!! The only bad news is that your salad is not ready to be eaten yet: it needs to stay a few hours properly covered  and refrigerated so the flavor of the dressing will be absorbed by the Farro and make it extra tasty, and the salad will be exactly as refreshing as you would wish in a hot summer day!

LEARTN IT, MADE IT, LOVED IT!

TIPS: – This salad is quiet easy to be made but It takes some time to get ready so it wouldn’t be a bad idea to prepare it a day before consuming it.

– Don’t underestimate the importance of draining the tomatoes. Some of them sometimes can be very watery and if not get rid off the excess of water your salad will become a disastrous bland soup!

– Be careful to not overcook the FARRO: you don’t want it to become mushy but to keep its nice  full-bodied flavor and texture.

– I usually eyeball the ingredients so it was particularly hard on me this time to give you exact quantities. So do not hesitate to add or take away some of the ingredients if they don’t match your tastes.

Thank you so much for stopping by my blog again! I hope you liked my recipe and I am curious to know if FARRO was familiar to you before reading my post.. .was it?

As usually I hope you enjoyed reading this article and if you did, please leave a like, a comment, or share on social media and don’t forget to subscribe to receive for free my new recipes every (or better,  almost every) week! Your help is precious to support my blog!

MUCH LOVE

Silvia

 

YOU CAN ALSO FIND ME HERE:

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on PINTEREST: Italiangoodness, Italian recipes and more!