Does it Get any Better Than a Custard Base? Tiramisu Says No! 

These days I get more excited over making a custard base than I do over chocolate. Now if that custard base gets chocolate and cocoa powder added to it for an ice cream application? Well now that may just be a toss up. But seriously I am heartily thankful to whoever figured out the loveliness that happens when you combine dairy, egg yolks, vanilla, a bit of sugar and throw them on the stove! 

 

I just made a custard base and for the first time in over a year it was not headed for ice cream. It was headed for tiramisu. Tiramisu is empirically delightful and the only dessert I will ever order when out at a restaurant, with the exception of a particular seasonal dessert pizza at Cane Rosso in Dallas. This pizza combines Texas peaches, vanilla mascarpone cream, and house-made caramel sauce. Sensational! Anywho I digress. If I had my own ‘Buddy the Elf’ food groups they would be 

Caramel, custard, caramel corns and tiramisu …

and anything my mum bakes … and that seasonal pizza with the peaches. Haha. In other words Buddy needs more than four food groups.

All silliness aside tiramisu is the perfect dessert. Do you need reasons? Alright here are some reasons.

  • It looks daunting and swanky but is quite simple and difficult to mess up.
  • It’s perfect for feeding a larger crowd since its fuss-free when doubled.
  • It makes the day of your party easier because you can make it the night before. It should be made and chilled for at least 3 hours before consumption. I dare you to wait the three hours however. I’ve never had such luck.
  • It includes homemade whipped cream, coffee liqueur, custard, and chocolate. 
  • It gets better with time.
  • Did I mention it was simple and difficult to mess up? 
  • Did I mention there was coffee liqueur and cream involved?

Give it a whirl and prepare for it to be a permanent fixture in your dessert recipe rotation. Make a fun date night out of it or put the recipe together with your friends before dinner. It’ll be ready by the time you pop in your movie or finish that game of pictionary. My favorite tiramisu recipe will get me severely injured (by my mum) if I ever share it, but this past week I tried this version by askchefdennis. It was quite fabulous and safer for anyone in your audience for whom raw egg yolks would be a problem. 

 
Making tiramisu at home really is quick and easy but if you don’t have time the tiramisu at Olive Garden will fit the bill. Even better, if you’re near Dallas stop by Cane Rosso for a fantastic family recipe prepared in house. 
  

If you need or desire to omit the alcohol, fortify the coffee mixture with a teaspoon of instant espresso powder. You won’t even miss it. Enjoy and happy lady finger layering!  

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Egg Nog Pumpkin Pancakes 

Tonight at the Wilson abode dinner needed to satisfy a few different criteria. It needed to be generally soft for our youngest daughter Sophia (who is in the uncomfy process of acquiring three molars), it needed to be orange (don’t know where that came from), for our three year old Izzy, and it needed to involve less than three dishes for my sanity. I looked in our pantry for inspiration and saw the numerous cans of accumulated pumpkin. Pumpkin is orange. Hurrah! It was a starting point. Criteria #1: check. 

I moved on to the fridge and couldn’t stop staring at the lovely, festive bottle of egg nog I had used earlier in the weekend for my egg nog ice cream experiment (results coming soon). 

Next thing I knew criteria #2 and #3 had been reached and dinner was born. What is soft, orange, requires two dishes, measuring cups, a whisk, and can be produced via a base of eggs, egg nog, and pumpkin? 

Egg Nog Pumpkin Pancakes!

For our daughter Izzy, pancakes could be a food group. She takes after her father, who feels the same. She was wildly excited when I told her we were having orange pancakes for dinner. I was wildly excited not to have added much to the leaning tower of dirty dishes I was behind on, and our Sophia ate more than she had all day. 

So without further ado … An easy, healthy (minus the syrup), breakfast for dinner option to add to your repertoire. 

Ingredients 

3 eggs

1 cup pumpkin purée 

2.5 cups egg nog

3t baking powder 

1T sweetener such as vanilla sugar, agave, or whatever you enjoy. 

1T coconut oil

1/4 cup chia seeds *

Cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger to taste (I started with 2t cinnamon and 1t nutmeg and 1/2t ginger) 

2 cups all-purpose flour 

Directions

Grab yourself a large bowl and crack the eggs into it. Give them a good whisk then add everything from the pumpkin purée through the spices. So yes, everything but the flour. You could get all proper on me and sift the flour, baking powder and spices together before adding them to the wet base, but for me that meant dirtying a sifter. I opted to dump everything in before gently folding in the flour. 

At this point you should have a large bowl of lovely orange batter. It shouldn’t be runny but you don’t want it incredibly thick either. Depending on which egg nog you use, your ratio of flour to egg nog may need to increase/decrease slightly. If it’s too thin fold in more flour a tablespoon or so at a time. If too thick add more egg nog in a similar fashion. 

Heat a griddle or skillet over medium low heat and apply some sort of non-stick cooking spray. Right now I’m really attached to my coconut oil spray. It’s absolutely fantastic!

These pancakes are decently dense so make sure you give them plenty of time on each side to fluff. Mine took almost 4 minutes per side. It’s always good to test run a small one just to see where your heat is at. I have an over enthusiastic electric range so it’s always an adventure. 

These pancakes aren’t overly sweet, are packed full of good-for-you ingredients, and are just quite cozy. I am anxious to hear your thoughts. 

  
*Chia seeds are an amazing source of protein, fiber, calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus. The latter three are essential for good bone health. They are so easy to incorporate and don’t have to be ground to acces their health benefits. Not so sure about putting them in your pancakes? Just give them a whirl. From a taste and texture standpoint you won’t even know they’re there. Check out this article at authoritynutrition.com to read more!

Rain Drops on Roses & Whiskers on Kittens

“… These are a few of my favorite things.” My daughter Izzy loves The Sound of Music and we listen to the soundtrack often. As I was humming the “these are a few of my favorite things” tune today it made me think of my favorite Christmas finds. There are certain things that whenever I see them or smell them, or taste them, they make me think of Christmas. I though a festive gift idea list might be a nice break from ice cream experimentation, and might help those struggling to find simple, unique, and elegant gifts that won’t break the bank.

So without further ado … A gift list inspired by one of my daughters favorite songs. 

Thymes Frasier Fir Home Collection $13-$50. My absolute favorite hand soap, antibacterial cleaner and room fragrance. The scent is a luxurious combination of Siberian Fir needles, cedar wood, and relaxing sandalwood. It smells just like a Christmas tree. Everything is stunningly packaged. Their reed diffusers, lotions, candles and soaps are also wonderful. You can’t go wrong. Isn’t that an extraordinary feeling!  

  

    Mo’s Bacon Bar by Vosges Chocolate $3-8. Where do I even start!? This chocolate bar is the perfect stocking stuffer. It’s so amazing you may want to stuff your own stocking this year. Do you love salty and sweet? Do you love bacon? Do you love extraordinary chocolate? If not I’m not sure we can be friends. Just kidding. For some, the idea of bacon and chocolate is off-putting, but trust me, you will be thankful you met. The Vosges collection is extensive so if for some reason bacon is not your thing (I’ll get over it eventually), try something with citrus, fruit or caramel. They have both snack-size and full-sized bars for your experimental and settled pleasure.  

     

      Pickwick & Co. Candles $22. These are incredible candles with long lasting burn time. Unlike some, you will actually smell this candle throughout your home when it’s lit. Pickwick & Co. candles are stunningly packaged and their exquisite holiday scent collection makes them the perfect gift. Try ‘O Christmas Tree,’ ‘Frasier Fir,’ ‘Holiday Spruce,’ or ‘Dickens.’ They aren’t sold via their website and can be tricky to find due to sell out, but they have a wonderful contact page to find which shops in your area carry them. Right now the ‘Holiday’ and ‘Frasier Fir’ scents are available at SocialManor.com.  

       

      Home Decor Throw Pillow from Mussy & Birds $38. Need a beautiful Christmas gift for that person who loves throw pillows, geometric print, and is full of Christmas spirit? This pillow is perfect and it comes from my precious mum! She specializes in pillows, lavender aromatherapy sachets, and fabulous market totes and bags. You won’t be disappointed. Her attention to detail, umptuous fabrics and stunning packaging will leave you with very little to do and a very happy recipient.  
        

        The Vanilla Bean Noel Collection from Bath & Body Works $5-$65. This scent is available from approximately Thanksgiving to New Years and often sells out in stores fast. Online shopping is your easiest bet as the quantities desired are consistently available. With notes of fresh vanilla bean, warm caramel, whipped cream, musk and sugar cookie, this scent is as festive as it gets. This years packaging design took a vintage que and is at its best!   

         

        Emile Henry Pie Plate $40-$45. When I think of Christmas dinner I think of my dad grilling steaks from his friend Dale’s farm. I think of mums homemade applesauce. I think about her perfectly roasted green beans. I think about my mother in law’s cheesy potatoes. You get the picture, but the amazing doesn’t stop with dinner. You always know dessert is coming. At home growing up and still to this day there will be my mums pies. I get excited just thinking about her Kalhua Pecan and her tart Apple Cherry pies. If you have a food and dessert enthusiast on your list this year think about an Emile Henry earthenware pie plate. It bakes pies beautifully and evenly, and gently keeps them warm. It’s so lovely it gets used for way more than pie. I love the crisp white but there are a number of colors to fit whomever you are shopping for.   

         

        Christopher Elbow Artisan Chocolate $10-$75. Because I am a chocolate lover I’ll give you a couple chocolate ideas this Christmas. A few years back my husband and I had the opportunity to visit Christopher Elbow’s storefront in Kansas City, Missouri. It’s not far from our hometown and is an absolute treat. The store itself is simple and stunning to fit the chocolate produced. Beautiful flavors like champagne, citrus, rosemary, and fleur de sel are incorporated into artisan chocolate. They have assorted holiday boxes, drinking chocolate and more. If you are ever in Kansas City make sure you try the ice cream too. It just might change your life. Yeah, it’s that good. Glacé Artisan Ice Cream.  

        Thank you for stopping by. I hope this slightly chocolate heavy list of some of my favorite things helps make shopping for those you treasure easier this year. Blessings and Merry Christmas! 

        What are a few of your favorite things? 


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