S’More Tartlets

SMORE TARTLETS www.platinumblondelife.com

S’mores are a childhood favorite of mine, but they have always been reserved for summer nights by the fire. Mother’s Day isn’t typically a holiday the family gathers around the fire, so I opted to bring the marshmallow toasting indoors. I felt that by creating individual S’more tartlets it would not only elevate the traditional S’more but would give the treats the optimal marshmallow to chocolate ratio.

Tools:
Kitchen Torch
Six 4″ Mini Round Tart Pans

Ingredients:

Graham Cracker Crust (Note: I used Momofuku Milk Bar’s graham cracker crust recipe.)

  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/4 cup milk powder
  • 2 Tbs granulated sugar
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 4 Tbs (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream

Chocolate Filling

  • two 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Bars coarsely (8 oz) chopped
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 Tbs light corn syrup
  • 2 1/2 Tbs unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 bag Jumbo Marshmallows (I used about 25 marshmallows (4-5 per tart) & ate at least 3 in addition but who’s counting?)

SMORE TARTLETS | www.platinumblondelife.com

Instructions:

Combine graham cracker crumbs, milk powder, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl.
Whisk butter and heavy cream together.  Add to dry ingredients and stir together until evenly distributed. The mixture should hold its shape if squeezed tightly (if it doesn’t add a bit more melted butter).  Press mixture immediately into tart pans. Cover pans and place in freezer for 20-30 minutes.

Place chopped chocolate in heatproof bowl. In small saucepan heat heavy cream and corn syrup to near boil. Pour heavy cream mixture over chocolate. Allow to sit for a minute. This will begin to melt the chocolate. Stir in butter until all chocolate & butter is melted and evenly combined. Use a medium scoop to transfer chocolate mixture into the middle of the chilled graham crusts. Immediately begin to place marshmallows into the mixture. This will help to evenly spread the chocolate into the tarts. Work fast because chocolate chills quickly.

If serving immediately prepare your work space to start toasting marshmallows. If you don’t have a kitchen torch you can place the tarts in the oven with the oven set on broil for a few minutes (watch them like a hawk as marshmallows toast in minutes and you’ll likely have to move your tarts around to get an even toast). Otherwise store your tarts in the fridge and toast just before serving for best results.

The S’Mores tarts were a big hit, and I had a fabulous 2nd mother’s day with my little man.

Mother's Day

Easter: Bunny Sugar Cookies With Royal Icing

Every major holiday my mother would make the softest, melt in your mouth sugar cookies topped with buttercream icing in pastel colors (even at Christmas our Santas lean a bit pink). It was always a labor intensive process that was always finished in the late evening. If done right, all the hard work is worth it! Like my mother, I typically stick to buttercream for sugar cookies largely because you almost always have the ingredients on hand, it isn’t fussy, and it tastes delicious!

Bunny Cookies + Royal Icing | www.platinumblondelife.com

This year I thought it would be appropriate to break out the unused bunny cookie cutters residing in my cabinet, make my mother’s sugar cookie recipe and top them with royal icing.  I thought that the royal icing would give the cookies more of a professional bakery look. When I was finished icing I placed the cookies in white treat boxes. When I took them over to my in-laws house on Easter everyone thought I had just picked them up at the bakery. On the one hand that made me happy, but on the other sort of stole my thunder.

Ingredients:
{Sugar Cookies}

  • 1 1/2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1 egg
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar

Instructions:
{Sugar Cookies}

  • Mix confectioners’ sugar, butter, vanilla, almond extract and egg bowl of stand mixer with paddle attachment. Stir in remaining ingredients. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours.
  • Heat oven to 375ºF.
  • Divide dough in half. Roll each half 1/4 inch thick on lightly floured surface. To prevent dough from sticking to cutter dip cutter into flour before cutting dough into desired shapes. Place on Silpat  covered cookie sheet.
  • Bake 7 to 8 minutes or until edges are light brown. Remove from cookie sheet. Cool on wire rack.
  • Note: Baking the cookies a day ahead of time will help break up the process! Simply store the cookies in an air tight container until you are ready to begin icing.

 

Bunny Cookies + Royal Icing | www.platinumblondelife.com Bunny Cookies + Royal Icing | www.platinumblondelife.com

 

Ingredients:
{Royal Icing}

  • 3 Tbs meringue powder
  • 4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
  • 8-10 Tbs warm water

Instructions:
{Royal Icing}

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer combine the confectioner’s sugar and meringue powder. Add the water and beat on medium to high until very glossy and stiff peaks form (about 7 minutes). You want to make sure you have frosting that is of the proper consistency, so if it is a bit too thin you can always a bit more confectioners’ sugar, or if it is too thick, add another tablespoon of water.
  • It is helpful to do a bit of strategic planning here based on your shapes & desired colors By developing a decorating plan of action you can use your time efficiently. Prepare squeeze bottles or pastry bags with icing in the colors and consistency you will need to create your desired end result.
  • I cut all of my cookies using a bunny cutter, and planned to make white bunnies with pink inner ears and a brown eyes/nose/mouth.  I filled one Wilton Decorating Squeeze Bottle with a thicker white frosting for outlining. I then added a bit more water to the icing mixture, took a small amount out placed in a small bowl and mixed some brown gel in for my detail frosting.  Back to my larger batch of frosting I added another tablespoon of water to get the frosting to a thinner flooding consistency. I split the batch 70-30 and mixed in a hint of red gel into the smaller portion. I then filled two more Wilton Decorating Squeeze Bottles with my white flooding icing and my pink flooding icing.Bunny Cookies + Royal Icing | www.platinumblondelife.com
  • Using my outline squeeze bottle I outlined all my shapes with white. I followed by flooding the entire cookie with white save for the inner ear portion. I then flooded the inner ears with pink. By the time I was done with my last cookie the flooded icing was nice and hard, so the cookies were prime for layering. I added two white dots as cheeks to my bunnies with my white flooding icing. I followed with eyes, nose, and mouth with my dark frosting. Once the icing is dry the cookies have a hard, smooth finish. I placed the cookies in treat boxes separated by parchment paper.

Bunny Cookies + Royal Icing | www.platinumblondelife.com Bunny Cookies + Royal Icing | www.platinumblondelife.com

In addition to baking bunny cookies, we dyed some Easter eggs using masking tape, stickers, and a white crayon.  My little man doesn’t eat (or need) much sugar, so I made sure the Easter Bunny filled his basket with toddler friendly treats. The mission was to create a fun toddler friendly Easter basket.

DIY Carrots: Cheddar Bunnies |www.platinumblondelife.com

Pastry bags were filled with cheddar bunnies and tied off with green ribbon to look like carrots.

Toddler Friendly Easter Egg Treats | www.platinumblondelife.com

Instead of candy, the plastic eggs were filled with mini treat bags filled with bunny grahams and taped off with printed masking tape.

Anatomy of an Easter Basket | www.platinumblondelife.comThe basket had a coloring book, sidewalk chalk, bubbles, a kite, bunny ears, a bath toy, bath color tabs, animal crackers, a stuffed dinosaur, and a golden egg with a few dollars for his piggy bank.
Toddler Friendly Easter Basket| www.platinumblondelife.com

 

DSC_2973Little man was very happy with his loot, and LOVED his treats, I think just as much as any kid loves candy.  We had a very happy Easter, he was a fan of the bunny cookies, and we ran through our bubble arsenal almost immediately!

squareeaster.jpg

Mint + Pearl Polka Dot DIY Nail Art

Deborah Lippmann 'Flowers In Her Hair' with Pearl Polka Dots DIY Nail Art |www.platinumblondelife.com

I could not resist picking up Deborah Lippmann’s ‘Flowers In Her Hair’, a shade that is arguably my favorite color. The formula makes a DIY manicure so so easy, and for that I don’t mind paying the price. I decided to add a few pearl polka dots using Sephora’s dotting tool and Sinful Colors ‘Tokyo Pearl’.

Deborah Lippmann 'Flowers In Her Hair' with Pearl Polka Dots DIY Nail Art |www.platinumblondelife.com

Apply Base Coat.
Apply Two Coats of Mint Nail Polish
Allow to Dry Fully

Deborah Lippmann 'Flowers In Her Hair' with Pearl Polka Dots DIY Nail Art |www.platinumblondelife.com

Pour a small amount of Pearl Nail Polish onto magazine or paper plate
Dip dotting tool (or alternatively a toothpick) into pearl polish and strategically place dots on each nail.
Allow to dry completely.
Apply Top Coat.

Deborah Lippmann 'Flowers In Her Hair' with Pearl Polka Dots DIY Nail Art |www.platinumblondelife.comHappy Spring!

Homemade Peanut Butter Cups

homemade peanut butter cups | www.platinumblondelife.com

My cake loathing, peanut butter loving husband had a birthday this week, so I made him peanut butter cups using this recipe for the filling. These are so rich, so smooth, and so so addictive. Dare I say, they may be even better than the store bought variety! Move over Reese’s a new peanut butter cup has just arrived in my kitchen!

Ingredients:

1 cup creamy peanut butter
¼ cup unsalted butter
¼ cup light brown sugar
1¼ cups powdered sugar
5 cups milk chocolate chips (I used Ghiradelli) (I started with 2 bags, but on my second tin I found I was running low on chocolate, so I wound up melting about a cup more)
1/4 cup vegetable shortening

Instructions:

Line your mini muffin pans with paper liners. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan combine peanut butter, butter & brown sugar over medium heat. Heat until mixture begins to bubble, remove from heat. Add powdered sugar incrementally stirring until completely combined. Set aside to cool.

Melt chocolate and shortening using a double boiler. Spoon a small amount of chocolate into the bottom of each cupcake liner. Place in fridge for 30 minutes.

Roll peanut butter mixture into small balls and flatten slightly into discs. Place each disc on the baking sheet and place in the fridge for 30 minutes. (Note: It may be helpful to place in paper liner to make sure you have the appropriate size…too wide and it will be difficult to get the chocolate down around the sides, and too high your cups will not have a smooth flat top like store bought peanut butter cups have.)

When the bottom layer of chocolate has cooled completely place a peanut butter disc on top. Now pour melted chocolate over each disc. Shake the pan gently back and fourth to help the chocolate coat the peanut butter disc evenly and move down the sides. Once covered, place in fridge for another 30 minutes to cool completely before serving. Store in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer.

 

Chocolate, Raspberry & Brie Pastries

Raspberry, Brie, & Chocolate Pastries | www.platinumblondelife.com

Puff pastry sheets are genius. There are so many wonderful ways to use them, but my favorite way is for a sweet & quick morning treat with my coffee. I usually make them using chocolate and mix it up using cinnamon & sea salt. Last weekend I opted to add thinly sliced brie, fresh raspberries, and chocolate. The flavor combinations were wonderful, the cheese, tartness of the raspberries and sweetness of the chocolate complimenting each other perfectly.

Raspberry, Brie, & Chocolate Pastries | www.platinumblondelife.com

Ingredients:

  • 1 sheet of puff pastry defrosted (one box includes 2)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tablespoon water
  • 2 oz dark chocolate, finely chopped (chocolate chips work great as well, I recommend using whatever you have on hand)
  • 5 oz soft brie, rind removed
  • 6 oz fresh raspberries
  • melted chocolate for drizzling (chocolate sauce can also be used)

Instructions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 375 F.
  2. Unfold defrosted pastry sheets onto lightly floured work surface. Gently roll out pastry until it is approximately 12 x 16 inches. Cut into rectangles (8×3 is a good size).
  3. In a small bowl whisk egg and a Tablespoon of water together.  With a pastry brush apply egg wash to one half of each rectangle.
  4. Place a piece of thinly sliced brie, raspberries, and chocolate in the center of one half of the rectangle.
  5. Fold each rectangle in half and press edges together.
  6. With a pastry brush apply the egg wash on top of pastries awaiting baking.
  7. Bake for 20-25 minutes, rotating halfway through, until the pastries are puffed and golden brown.
  8. Drizzle melted chocolate on each pastry. Allow to cool for 8 to 10 minutes before serving.

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