Kitchen Hearts Silicone Baking Mat Set

I do more baking than anyone I know. As a result, I’ve got a wealth of tools to assist me and I’m always on the lookout for something new and innovative to help me along. Over the years I’ve graduated from wax papers and sprays to parchment and silicone mats. If you’ve used one, you know they quickly become indispensable. But Kitchen Hearts had something I’ve yet to try: A ROUND silicone pizza mat!! Oh, baby!

DSC_0738

Silicone mats are probably one of the most versatile tools in a kitchen. They can be used for a multitude of things, and be used hundreds of times before needing to be replaced. From a splatter-catcher in the oven, to making french fries, cookies, macaroons, or biscuits, there’s almost no limit to the goodies one can make on a silicone mat. They clean up with a little warm soapy water, need no oils or sprays to be non-stick, and virtually nothing sticks to them. Fats and oils bead up, and little crispy bits fall right away. They are also oven safe up to 475 degrees, so the limit is really your imagination!

Ideally. Sadly, 9″ Kitchen Hearts Pizza mat came with a critical defect. See, silicone mats are almost just that: silicone. The silicone, however, encases a fiberglass mesh weave that gives the mats some tensile strength and help to hold it’s shape better. But when you puncture the silicone, the fiberglass is exposed and it’s time to toss the mat, both for health and safety reasons. And my round mat had exposed fiberglass all around the outside edge. Not only would that let water in and ruin the mat, but it’s unsafe. One should never consume the fibers from fibergalss, and putting a sticky dough on exposed fibers a sure-fire way to do just that. So I didn’t even get to try it, sadly. The large mat (a now-standard half-sheet 16.5″ x 11.6″ size) did not have these issues. I may contact the company about this because I’m really hoping to a new tool in my kitchen!

Connect with Kitchen Hearts:

DSC_0741

I received the above product(s) free of charge from Kitchen Hearts.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

 

Advertisements

Tryazon: Rhodes Bake-N-Serv™ Cinnamon Rolls #Review #Tryazon #RhodesBread

IMAG3596

I have always been a fan of frozen foods, like vegetables and fruit that go out of season but are readily available all year round. Sometimes even perfectly frozen blueberries will cost less that fresh ones and be in better shape, so the freezer aisle to me is not something I completely avoid. Even companies offer organic meals nowadays from the freezer aisle. I have picked up many “artisan style” breads that come frozen from a local bakery because you just pop them in the oven, bake and have fresh baked bread in 20 minute’s time! Simple ingredients I am fan of and being a cook and baker makes you become familiar as to what goes in what you are making/eating. The freezer aisle is only bad if you purchase ready made meals to baked goods that are more chemicals than real ingredients! This is where we get lost and it’s disappointing because convenience comes at a price and sometimes it’s not even that convenient in the first place.

I tried the microwaved cinnamon rolls before from Rhodes and reviewed them here. Not bad for a microwaved baked good. On the same trip I picked up a bag of the bread loaves, and a bag of the cinnamon (individual) rolls. Two items I bake at home from scratch, so I was looking forward in using them on a busy week. This week, was a very busy week!

 

Rhodes Cinnamon Rolls (Bake-N-Serv™) with Cream Cheese Frosting 

Preparation-

I open up the bag and notice that the individual cinnamon rolls are really partnered in twos and threes. I had a hard time at the store feeling the bags and was hoping I picked well enough because I noticed some were more blobs than others. I travel with two coolers (one for frozen goods and one for fresh), so things defrosting in the truck just does not happen. I can buy ice cream and still shop for 2 to 3 hours without it even it defrosting on the top! I try my best to seperate the rolls, but they seem very attached to their companion, so I do my best.

The directions were simple and opted to go by the one that resembled closest to the time it takes to bake them from scratch. My cinnamon rolls take 1 hour for the dough to rise, you make the roll and cut, then another 30 to 40 minutes for them to rise again, plus bake for 20 minutes! Simple and easy. I put the frozen cinnamon rolls from Rhodes in the oven, which was pre-warmed to 170 degrees. The directions stated it takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes for the rolls to proof and double in size. I’m 2 hours in and watching these frozen rolls more than I do those made from scratch and they are oozing larger in size but not rising. My oven is less than a year old and I check the temperature. Holding at 95 degrees and no change when it comes to rising…..just oozing bigger. I take them out and they are technically double in size (flat wise), so I warm the oven to bake the rolls.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Baking-

In they go and use convection mode and set the oven to 325 degrees. Directions are clear about not over baking and leaving them in for 15 to 20 minutes, until they are light brown in color.

My house smells bread-y but not that yeast dough you associate with cinnamon rolls. I look in the oven and the rolls look like they are swimming in yellow oil, so I go and look at the ingredients. I shouldn’t have! You have a chemical concoction that makes the cinnamon rolls out of tubes look like saints. You have everything from oils, corn syrups, sugars in every way they can be made down to margarine and so forth. I just don’t see the waiting time worth it when I saw what was in these rolls. I remind myself I ate onion flavored puffy ring chips yesterday, so sometimes chemicals taste good 🙂 .  I allow the cinnamon rolls to bake 25 minutes to get a light brown color and notice the dough has pockets that resemble bread, not the ribbon texture you associate with yeast dough, but I’m committed and now it’s too late to bake anything since I have to start dinner.

This is after "incorporating" the bag's contents more, as they like to separate.

This is after “incorporating” the bag’s contents more, as they like to separate.

Frosting-

I allow the cinnamon rolls to cool and get a baggy of the frosting. It’s yellow in color and not just a faint hue, it’s yellow. I turn over the bag and I recalled right, it states cream cheese but this is not like any cream cheese frosting I have ever seen. The directions state to incorporate the icing and I do the “smashy thing” but it still looks undesirable. I cut the tip off the bag and I taste it……..it’s so sweet and the texture of cupcake icing, not at all like what you put on a roll. Also, cream cheese is there in words but your taste buds just does not pick it up.

Taste Test-

I serve us each a roll and even my Husband says the icing is just so wrong. I take a bite and this is one oily roll that is dry at the same time and you see and smell cinnamon, but you really don’t taste it. I did not finish my roll. Not worth the calories and my Husband does not either. I use to buy the cinnamon rolls in the refrigerated section when we dated. They were fine but never like the bakery, so I began learning to bake and trying recipe after recipe. My Husband will at times even pick-up a tray from the grocery store’s bakery and they are edible and a nice treat for those days I was too tired or busy to bake. The Rhodes Cinnamon Rolls were not unfortunately, not worth the effort and I just don’t get why they are frozen to just be a disappointment.  I also don’t understand the amount of poor ingredients that I can respect chemicals to produce let’s say a Spicy chip that tastes like a taco or something.  You get your junk food fix and you will crave a bag in 3 to 6 months time again.  These cinnamon rolls did not even satisfy a craving as such!  Sad…….very sad because in this house we do think sweet goods are worth the calories and fat, but rule #1, it needs to taste good!

 

I dislike having to give a negative review but honesty comes first and when the cinnamon rolls in a tube taste better and you can find better (i.e. real butter, ect.) ingredients in brands like Trader Joe’s to even the giggling doughy guy, I just can’t say at least these were easy to bake, so you should get them.  Taste matters and I don’t expect to get nutrition out of cinnamon rolls, but my taste buds need to be happy and cinnamon rolls are the type of food you eat with a smile.  These=no smiles :(.  The Rhodes microwave variety were passable and I would have never imagined since these required more time and came from an oven.

 

Connect with Rhodes at:

 

I received the above product(s) free of charge from Tryazon and Rhodes.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

 

 

Kozy Shack: Indulgent Recipe Puddings #Review #KozyShack

Who doesn’t love puddings? I happen to be a huge fan and even make pudding based pies, cakes and treats because puddings go beyond the cup!

DSC_0081

BzzAgent sent me two coupons to try the new Kozy Shack Indulgent Recipe Pudding cups that come in three flavors:

  • Dark Chocolate
  • Chocolate Truffle
  • Salted Caramel
  • Vanilla Bean

 

DSC_0082 (1)

The new Kozy Shack Indulgent Recipe cups is making an already liked food more likable! Made with real ingredients and the recipe is very simple when it comes to easily grabbing an already made and ready to serve dessert or treat, straight from the fridge. I went out to hunt for Dark Chocolate because being a caramel lover, that flavor was already on my “must-get” list. After visiting a few stores and not finding the dark chocolate, I went with trying the Chocolate Truffle variety instead.

DSC_0201 (2)

  • Verdict on Chocolate Truffle:
    My family and I enjoy pudding and maybe because I make the dessert from scratch, we have been spoiled. I was left craving chocolate after trying this version. The chocolate flavor is not intense and the product is smooth, but not velvety in texture. Almost kind of like to much gelatin and/or thickener was added. I turn the package around and not only was a color an indication that there was not enough chocolate, the ingredient list reflected such (i.e. Tapioca starch before chocolate and sugar before chocolate too). I felt it was too sweet to even take a second spoonful, as did my husband, so we passed but felt the product could be saved.

DSC_0202 (2)

 

Ingredients:
Reduced Fat Milk, Sugar, Cream, Modified Tapioca Starch, Cocoa (Processed with Alkali), Contains Less than 2% of Natural Flavors, Salt, Carrageenan, Maltodextrin.

DSC_0203 (2)

Retail Price Point: From $2.76 to $3.75 at most stores. Each cup is about 200 calories per serving and each container comes with 4 individual cups.

DSC_0198

  • Verdict on Salted Caramel:
    This is my go to flavor from coffees, treats, baked goods, to just enjoying Fleur de Sel Caramel. We open the cup and take a taste, it’s more butterscotch than caramel and the salted versus sweetness that makes salted caramel be that buttery goodness is not present. This one again is sweeter but think of it like a vanilla butterscotch variety and then your taste buds get the idea. It may be missing the salted caramel notes, but we found it better than a pudding that says chocolate and is then lacking the key component.

DSC_0199

Ingredients:
Reduced Fat Milk, Cream, Brown Sugar, Modified Tapioca Starch, Contains Less than 2% of Caramel Color, Sea Salt, Natural Flavors, Carrageenan, Maltodextrin.

DSC_0200

Final Verdict:

I don’t like to just dispose of food and especially when I see potential.  Each of these cups have about 23 grams of sugar alone and are thick in texture…….so my brain thought why not make a mug cake.  Calories wise a mug cake would be 2 servings to share and the sugar problem would not be an issue. I used 1 teaspoon of Cake flour (I use an unbleached variety) and a pinch of Baking Soda.  Combine product and start by microwaving the cup for 1 minute and then 30 second intervals until the batter begins to bubble and rise.  I kept checking because I did not want it bubbling over and it took three 30 second intervals to achieve the desired texture I wanted, something molten lava cake-ish! 🙂 Allow the cake to completely cool before enjoying and it’s not only because it’s nuclear hot but so the cake can set.  I used a stoneware based mug because it retains heat best and is microwave safe.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

The final product was not as sweet and we could enjoy the pudding cakes!  I feel the product has potential but if I want pudding as-is, I would not be indulging in this variety mainly because of it being too sugary to enjoy.  There are many Belgium chocolate based puddings that are silky and most importantly, so much chocolate that it drowns every loving taste bud! That is what I want in a pudding 🙂

IMAG3673

 

Connect with Kozy Shack at:

I received the above product(s) free of charge from Kozy Shack and BzzAgent.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

 

 

Tryazon: Rhodes Cinnamon Rolls, Microwave and ready in 60 Seconds #Review #Tryazon #RhodesBread

IMAG3597

Oh, what a title can say in just a few words can illicit a person to salivate instantly. That is exactly what occurred when I received first notice that this event was up for grabs. When I was accepted, it was a mix of drooling and happiness at the same time.

Rhodes is known for their Bake-n-Serve breads. This company is one of the first brands that made me feel comfortable with an oven. Fresh baked breads are always a crowd pleaser but sometime the pleaser is short on time and/or energy. It does not mean I love my family any less and this is why sometimes I need an “emergency stash”. Yes, we have emergency situations when an unplanned event or even the clock got the best of me and I have no after dinner treat. When you are the baker in the family and you have to share you did not bake anything for that day……oh, those eyes you get can just break your heart. My Husband has yet mastered the oven but is an expert at grilling and smoking meats. He also mastered the art of using a microwave and failed in patience class, so 60 seconds of wait time was made for him.

IMAG3612

Cinnamon rolls is something I make at home but it takes time, so I probably do not bake them as often as would liked. Also, there are days where someone is in a cinnamon-y mood while another person has a fruit craving. I make fruit based rolls too but I’m not making 2 batches to satisfy every craving, and don’t even get me started on who eats what type of a nut and the other person doesn’t. I need an out! A form of salvation for the sweet little monsters in my life!

IMAG3611

Rhodes created the answer and a 60 second promise for a product that is often seen in stores cold, laying in a silver colored tray, and usually dry. Rhodes took everything everyone wants in a cinnamon roll, a warm gooey roll all your own and when you want it. Magic!

Now, I wish my microwave could deliver. I did experience some difficulties in locating the product and Rhodes does have a store locator, down to what product is offered in each store near you. The only obstacle was that the New Microwave rolls were not a product option you could select from the drop-down menu. I finally started hitting stores and located the rolls (one bag) 20 miles away and when I arrived at the Neighborhood Walmart Store, they had more items than what the product locator reflected. I called stores at the end to avoid wasting gas too and I highly suggest in doing so. Just kindly ask for the “freezer” department when calling and that you are looking for the Microwave Rhodes Cinnamon rolls. Not to be confused with the Ready to Bake Anytime cinnamon rolls. The new Rhodes Microwave Cinnamon Rolls come in a bag (not a tray) and the bag is brown-orange in color with a large 60 number on the front of the bag.

IMAG3620

Verdict:
I found literally the last bag they had and always check the back of the freezer. I reached until I got a frozen paw but that bag had my name on it. I always see low stock on a product as a good sign. It’s popular and probably well liked, and that tends to make me want to try them. Each bag holds a count of 6 cinnamon rolls, so even though my weekend get-together had more people, we figured we share (it’s a new diet we are trying 😉 ). We had only one roll in the bag that had stuck to another but all the cinnamon were in a nice shape and intact. We played it safe and microwaved one roll at a time and I put toppings out, to even a separate type of frosting (cream cheese) with soft caramel swirls in case someone wanted a different topping versus the icing it came with. You can toast pecans and add that too, to even fruit that is fresh or from a jar. Customization is really easy to do. Everyone tasted the frosting and except for one person, they were the only one that opted to use the icing the rolls came with, so I was happy to have both options available. Once you microwave the product, the roll does increase in size a little bit about 25% larger, however the cinnamon roll is fair in size overall. Feedback was 50/50 when it came to how the product tasted and texture. The roll is soft and gooey, but for some it was a little to gummy while others felt the cinnamon roll begins to dry out (not harden thankfully) a little to quick for them as it cools down. The sweet factor was a little high for some and others felt the cinnamon was not strong enough, but agreed when I mentioned the idea of sprinkling a dash on top of the icing/frosting could fix that. My cream cheese based frosting was very liked and that seem to make up for what I consider to be small short comings for a roll that is ready to enjoy in 1 minute’s time. You may have to eat it a little faster if you worry about the dough drying out but I can share one thing that does have some value, everyone ate their serving!  So even those that did not consider this to be their favorite cinnamon roll did not feel it was not edible, it was just not like others they have had. I myself have had worse from bakeries but for a product with no time constraints and no mess other than the plate you are eating it from, I think Rhodes did as well as you can do with microwave dishes. Nothing will be as good as from the oven but this little cinnamon roll satisfied my sweet tooth!  I fought for my 1 bag of cinnamon rolls, so that meant I had 2 more coupons left when it came to trying Rhodes products and I picked out 2 different ones.  So, stay tuned because I will be reviewing and sharing those with you too.

 

Connect with Rhodes at:

 

I received the above product(s) free of charge from Tryazon and Rhodes.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

 

 

Dick Taylor Craft Handmade Chocolate and French Silk Pie Review and Recipe #DickTaylorChocolate

download

Every once in a while, you run into a product that is a game changer. Someone who ups the bar so high that you don’t know who or if it can ever be topped. I really try to reserve some labels for a truly superlative product. Dick Taylor’s Craft Chocolate hits every metric for me to call it “The Very Best”. Nothing I’ve ever had before can even come close. It’s in a league all it’s own. I’ll go over why below, and even add a recipe that, should you have the willpower to not devour the chocolate immediately, will be dynamite.

IMAG2928

Chocolate in the United States has been done a great disservice. What was once an American icon, Hershey’s, can be held partly accountable for the woeful state of chocolate confections in this country. Because if you’ve only had Hershey’s, you’ve not had chocolate. Craftsmen like Dustin Taylor and Adam Dick are looking to right a terrible wrong with their small-batch craft Dick Taylor chocolates. With a hands-on approach that takes up to a month or more, it starts with selecting only the finest fair-trade raw cacao, all the way up to the pouring of this molten magic into it’s molds. You’ve not lived until you’ve treated yourself to a piece of Dick Taylor Craft Chocolate. The vintage machinery used belie the dedication and skill inherent to this labor of love, because one would think to make the best chocolate, you’d need the latest and greatest in automation and innovation. The craftspeople at Dick Taylor chocolates scoff at the notion, and impart a love and devotion to being the best that I could only strive for. Heart will take you far, it seems.

IMAG2929

The list of ingredients for the 72% Madagascar, Sambirano is so simple it’s almost as if they left out a step on purpose to keep anyone else from finding the secret to a truly superior chocolate. Ready?

Organic cacao and organic cane sugar.

IMAG2930

That’s it. No emulsifiers, no fillers, no chemicals, no artificial gunk, no waxes. The flavor envelopes your mouth immediately, with no harsh bitterness, no oily or overly creamy mouth feel, no grit. Impossibly smooth from first bite to final swallow, you almost never want the experience to end. There’s nothing else like it. It was almost transcendent. Our bars of Green & Blacks now sit in the pantry, lonely and wanting. The Guittard Dark baking chips that were my baking cabinet queens have been kicked to the curb. I’m fully and completely in love with Dick Taylor’s Craft lovelies. I mean, they even look exquisite. We were so fortunate that the weather was in our favor when the box arrived, as I’ve have been inconsolable to have had this chocolate adulterated by the heat. There’s 5 different types of “dark” chocolate with cacao percentages from 72% up to 76%, as well as 4 specialty flavors (Fleur de Sel?! You had me at “chocolate”, you devil!), drinking chocolate, and even a Father’s Day Gift Collection! Should I gift one to hubby despite not being a father? Hmm… At any rate, there’s truly something for everybody there!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Located to our north in Eureka, CA, we have a standing invitation to tour their facility should we ever find ourselves in the neighborhood. I don’t know if I’d trust my self (or hubby) to not grab everything we could carry and run cackling like madmen out the doors at first opportunity, probably to the tune of “I’ve got a golden ticket”. There’s thankfully an authorized retailer just a short ways away, but I’m not sure if my diet thinks this is a good thing. We finished the first bar in 5 minutes after the first nibbles, and we just don’t do that in this house. Chances are, there’s someone to sell you a bar locally. And if not, they do sell direct from the website, shipped to your door.

IMAG2935

Not since the mythical Willy Wonka has there been something so magical available to eat. Nothing you’ve had comes close. Be forewarned, after you’ve had Dick Taylor Craft Chocolate, nothing will ever come close again. You’ll be spoiled for all time, chasing a chocolate dragon until your end of days. Do it anyways. It’s sooooo worth it.

Connect with Dick Taylor Craft Chocolates at:

 

 

Dick Taylor Craft Chocolate French Silk Pie:

With Summer here and the weather finally warming up for us, I wanted to bring back a classic but a goodie.  A good pudding always allows you taste the honest chocolate notes.  With Dick Taylor’s Madagascar, Sambirano 72%, I found it to be like the perfect espresso without the bitterness.  A good chocolate will not add oils or large amount of sugars, so neither shall I.  My Husband has always loved this pie but disliked what time has done to it.  It went from a way to showcase a fine chocolate bar and having a cold pie on a hot day, which hits you perfectly like a car ride (of course top down) with a chocolate shake in hand.  We now get ready-made puddings out of a box and the custard pudding below is good and rich enough to eat by the spoonful!  Say goodbye to eating desserts out of the box and treat you and yours with real pudding made like other, with Dick Taylor Craft Chocolate.  If I could only find a way to transfer the design of their bars onto this pie…….life would be perfect.  I swear they should sell stamps of their bar’s imprint and of course paired with chocolate scented ink 🙂 Enjoy!

Lets Begin……

Filling (Custard Pudding)-

  • 1/3 cup of Sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups of Whole Milk (at room temperature)
  • 1/8 cup of Corn Starch
  • 1/8 teaspoon of Kosher Salt
  • 2 Egg Yolks (at room temperature)
  • 5 1/4 ounces of Dick Taylor’s Dark Chocolate of your choice
  • 1/8 cup of Cocoa Powder (unsweetened)
  • 1/2 of teaspoon of Cocoa Powder (reserved as you sprinkle it on the crust before adding the filling)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of Vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon of Butter (salted and used KerryGold)
  • 1 Pre-baked Pie Crust (search my recipes if you need one or you can use whatever recipe you desire)

You Start by pre-baking a pie crust.  The crust has to be fully cooked and cooled before you begin making the pudding for the pie.  Below is my crust, and I use a butter and shortening recipe.  I won’t judge if you even get a ready made pie crust, just as long as you make the pudding and you can just skip the crust and serve the pudding in cups with a graham cracker to dunk with!

Now, comes puddin’ time!  You first start by combining the dry ingredients.  This is the corn starch, sugar and salt.  I combine them in a bowl, whisk and then they go into the pot you wish to make your pudding in.  I use a non-stick for that added no stick insurance they have.  Next, combine the milk and the 2 egg yolks.  I use the same measuring cup I use for the milk and just whisk and set aside.  You then measure out your chocolate (break up bars **sniffle**), and you need 5 1/4 ounces.  If you go over, it produces a thicker product but trust me this is pudding that is as thick as it is and rich.  Add the 1/8 cup of Cocoa Powder to the same bowl you have your chocolate in.  If you opted to make this a pie, add the 1/2 teaspoon and dust the bottom of your pie crust with it.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Now comes the cooking process.  Combine the milk and egg mixture to the sugar, salt and corn starch mix.  Combine with a whisk and turn the stove’s burner on low.  Keep mixing, whisking (get those edges too!) and continue whisking.  You can set the burner to a low-medium setting if you are a heavy whisker at this point and the mixture will begin to show small air bubbles around the 3 minute mark.  You will feel some heat on you knuckles from the steam but keep at it.  After all, we’re burning calories here!  As you whisk, you will feel at the 5 minute mark (if not sooner), the mixture getting thicker and thicker and when it truly bubbles, just before it boils, off the heat it comes.  Turn off the burner and add the chocolate to your custard, along with the Vanilla.  You got pudding!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Then add the tablespoon of butter.  Now, you have a glistening and rich pudding.  Heaven!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Now, pour the pudding into the pie shell or if making pudding cups, you can pour into a container to cool (uncovered).  Once cooled, you can then add a cover to not have a choco-smelling fridge, but then that’s not a bad thing either.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

You allow the pie (or pudding bowl) to cool on the counter for an hour and then into the fridge it goes (uncovered).  I let it cool about 3 hours to avoid that condensation you can get if you covered it.  After the 3 hour mark, I then cover the pie (or pudding bowl).  I allow the pie to cool over night and yes, it tortures my loved ones.  I figure they can salivate while it’s cooling and you really get the pie to settle and this is why that 1/2 teaspoon of Cocoa is added.  Any wetness gets absorbed and there is no sliding around from the filling when cut.  Now, topping time!

I have made several topping from whipped cream with mascarpone cheese to salted caramel.  This time I made edible fun-fetti.  It’s a sugar cookie batter but why use white sugar when you can add color!

Fun-Fetti/Confetti Cookie Crumb Topping:

  • 4 Tablespoons of Unsalted Butter (cold)
  • 3/4 cup of All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 Tablespoon of Multi-Colored Sugar Crystals
  • A Dash of salt
  • A Sprinkling of Multi-Colored Sugar Crystals

Set Oven at 375 degrees and begin incorporating (cutting with fork or I use my hands) the butter and flour.  It’s cold and you want to create crumb with about pea sized crumbles.  Add a dash of salt (if wanted) and the 1 tablespoon of the sugar crystals.  Mix until incorporated and in it goes into the preheated oven for about 10 minutes.  When the 7 minute mark comes, add a sprinkle of the sugar if you want extra shimmer.  Then back it goes for the last 3 minutes of cooking.  You want the crumble set but not browned because it takes away from the appearance.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Take out cooled Pie.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Add whipped topping and Fun-fetti/Confetti topping and done………..well, you can do more and this is why I never decorate the entire pie!  You can also add red, white and blue sugar crystals for a 4th of July theme to the confetti crumble.

IMAG3160

 

You can opt for a Fleur de Sel Caramel topping with crushed Pistachios…….

IMAG3161 (1)

 

Or, you want it all!

IMAG3175

 

And, if you’re feeling nifty and want Fleur de Sel Topping with Maldon Salt Crystals (of course, Hubby fought me on not leaving the Fun-fetti out)……the possibilities are endless!

IMAG3176

 

Enjoy!

I received the above product(s) free of charge from Dick Taylor Craft Chocolate.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

 

 

Kitchen Simple: Danish/Dutch Dough Hook #Review #DoughWhisk

IMAG2598

I always wanted a Danish Dough hook but was unsure I needed one. I have a nice collection of whisks, spatulas to even pastry cutters but that dough hook was the one kitchen tool I did not own. My baking magazines and catalogs always displayed a gorgeous pastry with a Danish Dough hook sitting proud and pretty by it’s side, but when my mixer came with a dough hook attachment, it sort of rained on my Dutch Hook Dough dreams. With all the kitchen tools we own, adding another means making room or someone’s gotta go bye-bye and I have separation anxiety because in my world, every tool does a job or jobs! My Husband keeps that rusted hammer outside to abuse while the prettier hammer gets used only when something pretty goes up, and back it goes to hang on it’s hook and never left outside!

IMAG2564

I came cross several Danish Dough hooks but some were just weak that I could imagine them snapping when used. Bought one at one of those discount outlets and it broke when the cashier went to bag it and it fell. I thanked her for testing it out for me because I need a tool that does not need to be babied and it was not a far fall!

IMAG2599

In comes Kitchen Simple’s Danish/Dutch Dough Hook. It has a nice weight and is hefty enough to work with. I was trying a new cinnamon roll recipe and it grew into trying different cinnamon varieties, so I baked and baked one weekend. I needed a tool I can count on and because I was working with a yeast dough, cleaning the stainless steel one that came with the mixer meant waiting for it to cool off enough or come into the right temperature before I even started. I did not have time to wait while I was trying to proof 4 dough bowls at the same time, but the Kitchen Simple’s Danish Dough hook kept up with me and as I used all my large bowls to make and make cinnamon rolls.

Retail Price Point: $8.95 via Amazon but when I clicked the link, it went down to $7.95

IMAG2565

The hook was easy to use and I needed no instructions. I just pretended I was the hook on my mixer, set my timer, and produced the perfect sweet dough time and time again. Easy to clean and it’s also sort of pretty looking in my eyes. It’s the tool you are happy to have and did not know you needed until you have one. Plus, I got a good amount of exercise and I figured that made up for taste testing :).  I also found uses for making quick breads to even just scrambling eggs, it does the trick and easy to clean and stands nicely just air drying after washing.

Get your Kitchen Simple Danish Hook today:

 

I received the above product(s) free of charge from Kitchen Simple.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

The Simple Baker: Premium Silicone Baking Mat for Macarons #Review #macaronmat

IMAG2110

 

IMAG2108

Being a baker means I need products I can count on and a multi-tasker is a must in my kitchen. The Simple Baker does everything my expensive silicone baking mats do, plus as much as I did not appreciate the circle pattern at first, I became to really like the convince it provided. My cookies never touched each other, so I have to admit I’m not the best spacer I thought I was!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The mat yielded the same results as my french branded mat and clean-up was a cinch. The mat cleans up instantly with a little soapy water and I just fill the sink 1/4 way up, make some bubbles and suds on top of the mat and this I find is the most gentle way to clean the mat with no sponge and/or sink brush needed. I simply roll the Simple Baker mat (without creating fold or creases) and use a silicone band to keep it in place.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

I wanted to test the silicone mat out with by making dark chocolate ganache cookies. The cookies are a butter base recipe and I tried both round shapes and heart shapes when baking. My baking time was adjusted, as these silicone mats provide even baking, which tends to accelerate the baking but produces what I call the “perfect cookie”. You get a soft flaky texture on the inside with a cookie top crust that stays in place and only crumbles until you take a bite.

 

Retail Price Point: $17.97 via Amazon

IMAG2109

The Simple Baker Mat will save you money in the long run and pay for itself. I use parchment paper and that gets costly over time and can be a wasteful expense. These silicone mats are reusable, do not hold odors, and are also safe because they are non-toxic. The silicone used is food-grade quality and no need to add extra fats or oils to make them non-stick……their finish stays non-stick time and time again!

Connect with The Simple Baker at:

 

I received the above product(s) free of charge from The Simple Baker.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

Grazia: Premium Bakeware Silicone Baking Cups, 24 count #Review #graziabaking

IMAG2037

The last silicone cups you will need to buy! When silicone cups and “pans” came on the market, I was excited to see how the material would work with my baking mixes. I went from being optimistic to then using a pan with 6-cupcake molds that I literally used once and tossed away. First, the thing was flimsy and you had to be careful filling it with batter as a collapse was eminent and lastly, it did not perform well leaving me with uneven baked cupcakes that were dry. Easily clean-up made me rethink what was easy in my book was not at all easy in theirs. I had to soak the wanna-be pan and in 1 years time, the pan became sticky to the touch like the silicone was breaking down by just being exposed to air because I never used it again. Hardest 6 cupcakes, which I later tossed, that I ever had to bake! I swore off silicone and just baked in parchment cups.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

In comes Grazia with the heaviest silicone cups I have ever felt. To give you an idea, the container of 24 cups weighs close to 9 ounces (unfilled). Sturdy and the happiest colors that fit with any celebration. The silicone material that Grazia uses is:

  • Oven Safe
  • Microwave Safe, meaning you can make “one-cup” servings to satisfy any craving
  • Can be used in the Freezer, so you can have ready-to-bake batches ready to go
  • Dishwasher Safe for easy clean-ups
  • The product has a non-stick finish too, so no need for baking sprays with harsh chemicals
  • Most importantly, also BPA-Free and Grazia uses a silicone material that is FDA&LFGB approved (food-grade silicone)
  • Temperature Safe from -40 degrees (for freezer use) to 440 degrees (for oven use)
  • Each cup holds 2.5 ounces of batter, filling, anything you want to create! You can make savory treats too by using Puff Pastry combined with cheeses and meats.  Great way to welcome in 2015 with little mess to clean-up.

Grazia Bakeware is not like any other silicone baking cup I have felt on the market. No collapsing when pouring can occur because the cups are engineered with “real-life” baking in mind, meaning the cups stay put and are easily moved on-to a baking pan and again easily transferred without worrying of spilling or even crushing a cupcake if you happen to touch/move the cup. I can just bake as I always do minus wasting money and parchment paper with the cups I would buy or make before. You just pop-out your creations and start munching or easily make a basket of goodies to give-away.

 

Retail Price Point: $11.99 on Amazon and Grazia stands by their products by providing a Life-time Gurantee

 

Grazia also supplies you with 24 cups to use in 4 different colors. You can use as many as you need and not have to clean-up an entire pan even if some cups were not used. You simply soak in warm soapy water after using and I let mine air dry on the rack before storing them away in the same plastic cylinder holder provided.  So easy to clean that I felt I did not even need to use the dishwasher!

IMAG2029

Connect with Grazia Baking products at:

I received the above product(s) free of charge from Grazia.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

HouseParty: Mixing it up with Mezzetta Party #MezzettaMixer

IMAG1685

Mezzetta has been a brand we have used in our home for decades. From the roasted peppers that go great on a pizza, blended to add to a sauce to the Peperoncini that I slice up for sandwiches or eat whole with a salad. I have started baking our own breads because finding a bread with “friendly ingredients” is possible but at a hefty price point. I don’t believe you should pay more when you want less chemicals! When HouseParty announced they had openings for a Mezzetta Party, you bet I signed up.

IMAG1684

Mezzetta Party Kit contained:

  • (1) Apron with a cute Mezzetta logo that has an Olive and finally an apron with 2 large pockets. Those that give you one pocket don’t realize that I have 2 hands and usually I act like I have three by grabbing more utensils that I can hold.
  • (1) Visa Card for the Host to purchase products/ingredients for the event.
  • (1) One of the cutest Slotted Spoon that is perfect for draining the brine/liquid but still getting the olive and/or pepper you seek. No need to attempt to “harpoon” a pepper with a fork or pretend I can balance an olive out of a jar like Houdini.
  • (16) Coupon Booklets that included Mezzetta inspired recipes.
  • (16) Reusable Mezzetta branded Tote Bags that were very welcomed by my guests, due to the new state law, which will make California the first state to pass a state wide law of banning shopping bags.

IMAG1682

I have been doing really good with puff pastry and just like that, you can make the dishes savory or sweet. Easy to use and a great way to showcase what is in season. I found the most beautiful baby heirloom tomatoes, so they were a must mixed with a ricotta and Mezzetta’s Sun Dried Tomatoes “bedding” for them to rest on. I allowed guests to make their own dish by pre-chopping veggies they could add to their tart. Easy and almost mess free (well, bunching up the used parchment paper can be labor intensive 🙂 ).

IMAG1683

Combined with an Italian braised pork that I used Mezzetta’s Sweet Cherry Peppers and also paired with fresh Italian (Cubanelle) Green peppers, and doused in Pinot Grigio wine. You simply brown the seasoned pork first, brown the veggies and then add the peppers with a nice healthy wine bath. I add a bouquet of Lavender and Herbs, and just stick in the oven (covered in a braiser) at 350 degrees for a couple hours. Easy and tastes like you took all day to make when it was the oven that did all the work. I also love the all in one pot cooking method!

IMAG1640

The Olive bread was a cinch too. I use my “lazy girl” method, which can be used with any combination of Mezzetta’s Olives and most of their peppers.

Mezzetta’s Olive Blend Bread:

  • 1 3/4 cups of All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Active Dry Yeast
  • 1/2 to 3/4 of warm water (105 degrees)
  • Olive Oil to baste bowl and bread

I put the above in my mixer (with dough hook) and make a well with the flour. I add the yeast and the warm water and allow it to “bloom” (bubble a bit) for about 5 to 8 minutes. I add my salt and then mix. If it needs more water to allow for a dough that is supple, I add by the teaspoon. I knead (well, the mixer does it) for about 7 to 10 minutes. I then get a bowl and add some Olive Oil to allow the bread to proof in the oven (105 degrees) for an hour (cover lightly with plastic wrap). Once the dough is proofed, I then put it in the fridge (do not punch the dough down).

I used about 1/2 a cup of mixed Mezzetta Olives, you can use peppers of your liking as long as the seeds are removed and they are chopped. Same goes for the olives, no stones or anything. Once I chopped what I want, I then take the dough out and start kneading my ingredients in. I sometimes add cheeses and a mix of dry and fresh herbs. Try to not over knead when incorporating your olives/pepper mixes. This can produce a rough dough. I will then shape the loaf into a desired shape and I then put the dough on a baking stone (a pan is fine with parchment or at least oiled to reduce sticking). Cover with a light towel and allow the dough to proof again for about 40 minutes to an hour. I sometimes baste mine with more Olive Oil or you use Warm Water to create a nice crust. I have sprinkled Parmesan to even Maldon (flake) Salt on mine before putting it in the oven. Add a couple slashes to allow the bread to breathe (steam escape) and bake at 450 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes (depending on size/shape) or until done. Allow to completely cool before slicing! You can also make the dough ahead and leave it in the fridge for up to a week after the first proof (the dough gets a richer flavor if you at least leave it overnight in the fridge)…….told you it was a friendly
recipe 🙂

IMAG1645

Mezzetta allows us to make dishes that look beautiful, taste great, but took only a few minutes to make. I like that! The less time I spend in the kitchen, the more time I can spend with Family & Friends!

IMAG1681

Get you Mezzetta Fix and Make it betta’ at:

IMAG1641

I received the above product(s) free of charge from HouseParty and Mezetta.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

Siggi’s: Icelandic Style Skyr Strained Non-Fat Yogurt Tubes in Blueberry #Review

siggis_frontpage

 

I’ve been fortunate enough to get to try a whole host of yogurts, Greek style, European style, Australian style…the list goes on and on. Some have been great. Some, not so much. A few are now in my regular rotation. Siggi’s falls into that last category. You might not have heard of Siggi’s, but you really should make a point of finding yourself some.

Siggi’s is truly a different kind of yogurt. In fact, it called Icelandic Skyr, a protein-dense low sugar form of yogurt. Truthfully, they

My local Target carries the Siggi's Yogurt Tubes in Blueberry & Raspberry

My local Target carries the Siggi’s Yogurt Tubes in Blueberry & Strawberry

had me at “low sugar”. In the U.S.A., almost everything you can buy in the markets is salty or sweet. Overly so at that. Don’t believe me? Take a look at almost everything in the middle of the market. Sometimes I think the FDA has revamped the 4 major food groups as salt, sugar, corn and soy. So when Siggi’s skyr says it’s not too sweet, I jumped in with both feet. It’s got all the probiotics and active cultures of the best Greek-style yogurts, but the yogurt here is the star, not some syrup on the bottom or some packets of stuff in a sidecar either.

Here’s another bone to pick: the tubed yogurt marketed mostly to kids is loaded with sugar. It’s practically syrup itself . Yuck.

But not Siggi’s. The yogurt you get in the cups is almost identical to the yogurt in the tube! Nice. And while it’s not as thick as the cups, I’d assume to promote viscosity and ease of eating, it’s not some runny mess either. Finally, something you and the kids can share, and not have them hopped up on a sugar rush later! I’m in love with a tubed yogurt? I am, and I have no shame admitting it. It’s so good hubby made a tube or two a part of his morning breakfast routine.

I have tried only the blueberry tubes from Siggi’s so far, but I’m a big enough fan that I have plans to immediately go and get the other flavor as well.  You can also freeze them and have a healthy frozen yogurt treat!

This is a product unlike any on the market today in the U.S., and if you’re like me a day you’re fed up with all the sugar in everything, get some Siggi’s today. You’ll wonder how you ever ate yogurt any other way before.

IMAG0794-1-1 (1)

 

Connect with Siggi’s:

 

 

I received the above product(s) free of charge from Siggi’s.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

Previous Older Entries

%d bloggers like this: