Lemony Ice Cream Squares

lemony ice cream squares copy

Most people dream about standing naked in front of a large crowd or teeth falling out at a rapid rate. Not me. I dream about food, it’s kind of a problem. This past week I dreamed about ice cream sandwiches every single night. I was eating them, buying them, and making them every time I closed my eyes. I figured that this must be some kind of sign from a parallel universe so I decided to make the ultimate ice cream sandwich. I can’t tell if I’m a genius or a crazy person, but what i do know is that this icy treat is a delicious mashup of lemon squares and ice cream. To create this crazy concoction, we start with buttery shortbread cookies that have just the slightest hint of lemon. Then we whip up some of Ina Garten’s luscious lemon curd. It’s sweet and zingy without being tart. After the lemon curd has cooled, we’ll move onto the main event. I’ll show you how to make the creamiest vanilla ice cream base on the planet and then we’ll swirl in our lemon curd from earlier. If you’re just looking for a tasty cookie or an outstanding lemon ice cream recipe then don’t fret. But if you’re willing to make the trip to crazy town with me, I can assure that you will not be disappointed.


shortbread

Lemon Shortbread

Yields 24 squares

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line 2 13×9 cake pans with parchment and lightly grase. In a medium bowl, combine sugar and lemon zest. Rub the zest and sugar between your fingers until the sugar is fragrant. Set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, combine the lemon sugar, butter, salt, and lemon juice. Use an electric mixer to cream everything together until the mixture is light and fluffy. Beat in the flour.

3. Divide the dough in half and press into each of the prepared cake pans. Prick the dough with a fork.

4. Bake the short bread for 25-30 minutes, or until the edges begin to turn a light golden brown.

5. Remove from the oven and loosen the edges with a knife. Allow the short bread to rest for 5 minutes. Remove the shortbread from the pans using the parchment as a sling. Cut the shortbread into 12 pieces using a very sharp knife. Transfer the cookies to a cooling rack.

Buttery Lemon Shortbread


lemon curd ingredients

Luscious Lemon Curd

Adapted from Ina Garten

  • 2 lemons
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 extra large eggs
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
  • pinch of salt

1. Using a vegetable peeler, remove the zest of 2 lemons. Avoid the white pith. Place the zest and the sugar into a food processor and pulse until the zest is minced into the sugar.

2. Cream together the butter and sugar with an electric mixer. Add the eggs 1 at a time and then add the lemon juice and salt.

3. Pour the mixture into a saucepan and cook over low heat until thickened, about 10 minutes. Be sure to stir the curd the entire time. The curd will thicken at 170 degrees, or just below a simmer. Use a candy thermometer to regulate the temperature. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Refrigerate overnight before using it in the ice cream.


lemon ice cream

Lemon Swirl Ice Cream

  • 2 cups heavy cream, divided
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups luscious lemon curd

1. Heat 1 cup heavy cream, sugar, and salt in a small pot over medium heat. Cut the vanilla bean pod in half and scrape the seeds into the heated milk mixture. Add the vanilla bean pod to the mixture and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and allow the milk mixture to steep for 15-20 minutes. Remove the vanilla bean.

2. Wash a food storage container thoroughly until no food smells remain. Pour the heated mixture into the clean container along with 1 cup of heavy cream, 1 cup whole milk, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. stir well. Allow to chill for 3 hours or overnight.

3. Add the ice cream base to the ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Once the ice cream is churned, pour a shallow layer into a clean, freezer-safe loaf pan. Spoon a layer of lemon curd over the ice cream and gently swirl with the tip of a knife to create a marble pattern. Repeat with the rest of the ice cream and lemon curd. Place the ice cream into the freezer and freeze until firm, about 2 hours.

4. To assemble the ice cream bars, heat 2 shortbread squares in the microwave for 30 seconds. Using a sharp knife, slice off a piece of the ice cream. Place the slice onto one of the cookies and top with the remaining cookie. Enjoy! 🙂

lemon swirl ice cream 2 copy

lemony ice cream squares 2

lemon swirl ice cream

Roasted Banana Biscotti

Hi Friends! It’s been awhile. I’d been feeling a little zapped creatively and I just didn’t have it in me to update this site anymore. I know. I’m a bad blogger. I was putting far too much energy into a dead end job and some freelancing projects that were a real time suck. I’ve decided to simplify my life a bit and focus on the things that are actually important. Like this site and all of my lovely readers. I made the decision to go in a new direction with this blog. It will still be very recipe heavy, but will also include makeup reviews, simple DIYs, renter-friendly decor tips, and maybe a little gardening. I realized there are so many other things I’m passionate about and I wanted to share those with you. But for now, I have a killer roasted banana biscotti recipe for you, just in time for your Sunday morning coffee.

Roasted Banana Biscotti

Roasted Banana Biscotti

roasted bananas

Perfectly Roasted Bananas

Biscotti Log After Baking

Biscotti Log after baking, ready to be sliced.

Sliced Biscotti

Sliced Biscotti eagerly awaiting a ganache jacuzzi.

Roasted Banana Biscotti

Adapted from Homemade Decadence by Joy Wilson

  • 1 medium banana
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon plus 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (divided)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 a stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup, plus 2 tablespoons sugar (divided)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon molasses

For the Chocolate Ganache

  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place whole, unpeeled banana on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Roast the banana for 15-20 minutes, or until the peel turns completely black. Allow the banana to cool until it can be easily handled. Once the banana is cooled, cut the stem off and and then split it in half lengthwise. Scoop out the fruit and mash. Set aside.
  2. Lower the heat to 325 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Add flour, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, baking powder, and salt to a medium. bowl. Whisk thoroughly.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and 3/4 cup of the sugar until fluffy. Beat in the roasted banana and one of the eggs.  Beat in the vanilla and molasses. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and beat on low, until a semi-stiff dough is formed.
  4. Shape the dough into a log that reaches the length of the pan and is about 2 inches wide. In a small bowl, beat the remaining egg with with 1 tablespoon of water. Mix the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon together. Brush the egg wash onto the biscotti log and dust with the cinnamon sugar.
  5. Bake in the middle rack for 25 minutes. Rotate the baking sheet and bake for an additional 25 minutes, or until the biscotti is golden brown and firm to the touch.
  6. Remove the pan from the oven, but keep it on if you prefer crisp biscotti. Allow the biscotti to cool until it can be handled easily. Using a serrated knife, cut the log into 1/2 inch wide slices. Optional, but totally worth it: Put the biscotti cut side down onto a cookie sheet and bake for 7 more minutes for a firmer bite.
  7. Bring a medium pot filled with 2 inches of water to a simmer. Put chocolate and butter into a heat proof bowl and place over the simmering water. Stir the chocolate as it melts. Once it is completely melted, whisk in heavy cream. Dip about half of the biscotti into the chocolate ganache.  Shake off excess chocolate and place onto a piece of parchment. Continue until all of the biscotti has been dipped. Allow the biscotti to cool completely at room temperature.
  8. Serve alongside a cup of coffee and good company. It will last for one week if stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Roasted Banana Biscotti

Chocolate Espresso Snowballs

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I used to be an avid baker. I would bake something sweet at least once a week because I refuse to buy grocery store cookies and cakes because they all taste horrible. Once I started working at a bakery in March, I stopped baking. Almost everything we make at work is better than anything I could ever do, so it became a lot easier for me to just pick up some cupcakes for a party rather than bake my own. There are also those days when I can’t stand to even look at another cookie once I walk out of those doors. Now that the holidays are upon us, I feel like my love of baking has come back in full force. The bakery I work at creates really beautiful baked goods, but it makes me miss the homemade taste and look of my own kitchen. I spend all day tossing cupcakes that are slightly smooshed or cookies that are a little brown. But when I come home and bake, I embrace those imperfections rather than criticizing them. It’s those imperfections that let my family know I made these goodies with my own two hands rather than just taking the easy way out. Even though I love small businesses and family-owned bakeries, I strongly encourage everyone to bake something yourself this Christmas. Your family will love it so much more than anything from a store, I promise!

ces finished green

But anywho, enough about me. These cookies are the bomb. They’re a riff on traditional Italian Wedding Cookies. I took a boring and predictable cookie and punched it up with strong coffee and chocolate flavors. The chocolate isn’t overly sweet and the espresso isn’t too bitter. You’re left with a well balanced and crunchy cookie that’s perfect with coffee and milk. Since they are a harder cookie, they’ll travel well no matter where you go this holiday season. They also freeze beautifully. I made one dozen to enjoy now and set aside 2 dozen to  freeze for Christmas. To freeze, just place the cooled cookies (do not powder them!) into a large ziploc and remove all of the air. Then store them in the freezer for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to eat, take the bag out of the freezer and pour some confectioners sugar inside. Zip it back up and toss the cookies in the sugar as they’re defrosting. It couldn’t be any easier!


ces ingredients 2

Chocolate Espresso Snowballs

Adapted from Food & Wine

Makes about 3 Dozen

  • 2 sticks softened unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Kahlua
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
  • 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup finely chopped pecans
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • confectioners sugar for coating

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.Combine the butter, sugar, Kahlua, cocoa powder, and espresso powder in a large bowl. Mix the ingredients until light and fluffy using the paddle attachment of a stand mixer. Add the flour in 1/4 cup increments until the flour is thoroughly combined. Stir in the chocolate chips and pecans. Cover and refrigerate the dough for half an hour.

2. Lightly grease 2 cookie sheets using the butter wrappers from earlier. Gently roll the dough into tablespoon-sized balls and place them about 2 inches apart from each other on a cookie sheet. Bake for 15 minutes or until the tops are dry and slightly firm to the touch and the bottoms have begun to brown. Allow the cookies to cool for 10 minutes on the cookie sheet. Transfer to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely. Once the cookies are cool, coat with powdered sugar. Enjoy with family and friends over a cup of coffee or a glass of milk.

ces finished snowy 9

Fresh Strawberry Ice Cream

When I was 16, I asked for an ice cream maker for Christmas. My mother did not understand my crazy food obsession and told me that I wouldn’t be receiving one because it was “stupid and impractical”. Well last week, I bit the bullet and finally bought the ice cream maker of my dreams. To my surprise, my mom was thrilled about my newest purchase. I was bombarded with questions like, “What kind of ice cream are you making? When will it be ready? Can you put coconut in it?”. I obviously took every opportunity I could to remind her about the time she didn’t get me an ice cream maker for Christmas.

strawberries

Considering the fact that this was my first foray into homemade ice cream, I think it went pretty well. I did a fair amount of research beforehand and I gathered a few valuable tips.

  1. Always freeze the bowl of the ice cream maker for at least 24 hours beforehand.
  2. Use a strainer to remove any cooked egg bits from the ice cream base.
  3. Add a small amount of alcohol to the ice cream base before churning to improve scoopability.
  4. Use the freshest and highest quality ingredients you can find.
  5. Freeze the ice cream for a few hours after churning.

I was raised on Sherman’s ice cream from Michigan which is in my opinion, the best ice cream on the planet. I love creamy hard packed ice cream that you can only get at old fashioned ice cream shops, and that’s what you’ll get from this recipe. I love the perfect blend of luxurious vanilla flavor and bright strawberry freshness. I highly recommend buying strawberries from your local farmer’s market. You want the freshest berries you can get your hands on. The chocolate chips aren’t totally necessary, but they are a fun touch. Make this recipe for the Fourth and impress your friends and family.

ingredients best

Fresh Strawberry Ice Cream

Adapted From The Pioneer Woman
Serves 16


Ingredients

  • 3 cups Half-and-half
  • 2 cups Sugar
  • 1 whole Vanilla Bean (or 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract)
  • 9 whole Large Egg Yolks
  • 3 cups Heavy Cream
  • 1 pound Strawberries, Hulled
  • 2 Tablespoons Sugar
  • 3 T vodka
  • 1/2 c dark chocolate chips

1. Stir together the half-and-half and 2 cups sugar in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Split the vanilla bean, scrape out the beans, and add it to the mixture (or add the vanilla extract.) Heat the mixture until it’s hot but not simmering or boiling. In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks vigorously with a whisk until they start to lighten in color, about 2 minutes.

2. Next, grab a ladle of the hot half-and-half mixture and very slowly drizzle it into the bowl with the egg yolks, whisking the whole time. (The purpose of this is to temper the egg yolks and bring them to a good temperature before adding them to the pan.) Repeat with a second ladle of hot half-and-half mixture, making sure to whisk the whole time.Pour the tempered yolks into the saucepan with the rest of the half and half mixture and stir gently with a wooden spoon for 2 to 4 minutes, cooking it slowly until it’s thick enough to coat the spoon. Pour the thick liquid through a fine mesh strainer and into a clean bowl. Add the heavy cream to the bowl and stir gently to combine. Refrigerate this mixture for 2 hours, or until chilled.

3. Combine the strawberries, 3 tablespoons of vodka, and 2 tablespoons of sugar in a blender. Puree until smooth (or you can stop just short of smooth if you want a little texture.) Pour the pureed strawberries into the chilled custard mixture and stir.

4. Now pour this mixture into your ice cream maker and freeze it according to its directions (You may have to do it in two batches depending on its size). Add the chocolate chips, of using, 5 minutes before the mixture is finished churning. After it freezes, transfer it to a freezer-safe container and freeze it for at least 4 hours, or until frozen firm.

5. Serve with strawberry garnish!

finished ice cream close up

Piña Colada Macaroons

My life has been a little crazy lately. I recently started a new job with bizarro hours, I was extremely sick, then I got second degree burns on my hands, and I had a 2 page spread in an online magazine. I also missed my boyfriend lots and lots. During this period of constant change, I often forgot about all of the little things that make life wonderful. Like taking walks to the local ice cream shop. Or binge-watching How I Met Your Mother from the beginning. And smiles from redheaded babies.

Coconut macaroons are one of those little things. I can’t think of another cookie that comes together so quickly with such incredible results. Biting into a coconut macaroon is like an instant vacation. The toasted coconut combined with the chewy interior is like heaven on earth. Since I’m kinda obsessed with turning alcoholic beverages into baked goods, I decided to take the traditional macaroon one step further and transform them into everyone’s favorite tropical beverage, The Piña Colada.

I kept the whipped egg whites, sugar, and of course the coconut, but I swapped out the boring vanilla with rum and added crushed pineapple. Unlike some macaroon recipes, mine has no flour. I’ve made macaroons with flour and I really don’t think it’s necessary. If you whip your egg whites enough, you don’t need anything to hold them together. I also don’t recommend adding cream of tartar. Every time I’ve used it, I ended up with meringues instead of macaroons. In order to make this recipe a success, you’ll want to whip the egg whites until semi-stiff peaks form. And by semi-stiff, I mean the tips of the egg whites will curl instead of stand up straight. It’s also very important that you thoroughly drain the crushed pineapple. Excess moisture will make your cookies soggy instead of crispy.

But enough with pity parties and technicalities, you have a tastebud vacation to get to!

ingredients 1

 

Piña Colada Macaroons

Makes 18-20 Cookies

4 egg whites

1/2 cup granulated sugar

pinch of salt

2 t imitation rum extract

1, 14 oz package of sweetened, shredded coconut

3/4 cup of canned, crushed pineapple, squeezed dry.

Pam nonstick spray

 

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray 2 cookie sheets with Pam nonstick spray and then wipe with a clean paper towel. This ensures even distribution.

2. In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip egg whites, sugar, salt, and rum extract until semi-stiff peaks form. The egg whites should curl when you lift up the whisk. Fold in the coconut and drained pineapple.

3. Using a medium cookie scoop, drop rounded mounds onto prepared cookie sheet. You want to ensure that the mounds stay neat. Bake until lightly golden brown, about 20-25 minutes. Rotate the cookie sheets once throughout baking.

4. Remove cookie sheets from the oven and let cool for about 2 minutes. Then transfer them to a cooling rack. This will greatly reduce any sogginess that may be caused by the pineapple. Place cooled cookies in a ziploc bag and store in the refrigerator. Cookies will keep for 5 days.

 

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Neat Coconut Mounds

 

whipped

What you DON’T  want your egg whites to look like!!!

yum

Just pretend you’re at the beach.

Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes

If you’re not familiar with the delicious, yet terribly dangerous, concoction that is the Irish Car Bomb, I’m not sure if you should get acquainted. A traditional Irish Car Bomb consists of a shot glass filled with Baileys Irish Cream and Jameson that is then dropped in a nearly full glass of Guinness. The recipient must then chug the whole thing before it curdles. This usually results in a big foamy mess, but that’s part of the fun. If it wasn’t obvious yet, these drinks will really mess you up. My boyfriend has a lovely story about too many Car Bombs on his twenty-second birthday that I’m sure he would love to share with you all (sorry babe, I had to). They taste like the best mocha milkshake you’ve ever had, which makes them all the more dangerous. Luckily for you, I managed to put all of the booze, and none of the pain, in a heavenly cupcake just in time for St.Patty’s day.

ingredients 1

I should warn you, this recipe calls for a lot of alcohol that isn’t exactly cheap. However, don’t be intimidated! When I went to my local grocery store, I was able to buy a single can of Guinness and knock off Bailey’s. Since whiskey isn’t my libation of choice, I went to the liquor store and bought a mini whiskey and saved a lot of money. But if you have a bar fully stocked with all of the necessary alcohols, then you have no excuse not to make them!

Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes

Adapted from the Smitten Kitchen.

Ingredients

For the Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes

  •  1 cup stout (such as Guinness)
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-process)
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup sour cream

Ganache Filling

  • 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons Irish whiskey (optional)

Baileys Frosting

  • 3 to 4 cups confections sugar
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperatue
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons Baileys (you can also use Irish cream flavored coffee creamer)

Special equipment: 1-inch round cookie cutter or an apple corer (I used the round end of a large piping tip) and a piping bag (though a plastic bag with the corner snipped off will also work)

Make the cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 24 cupcake cups with liners. Bring 1 cup stout and 1 cup butter to simmer in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add cocoa powder and whisk until mixture is smooth. Cool slightly.

Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, and 3/4 teaspoon salt in large bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat eggs and sour cream in another large bowl to blend. Add stout-chocolate mixture to egg mixture and beat just to combine. Add flour mixture and beat briefly on slow speed. Using rubber spatula, fold batter until completely combined. Divide batter among cupcake liners, filling them 2/3 to 3/4 of the way. Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, rotating them once front to back if your oven bakes unevenly, about 17 minutes. Cool cupcakes on a rack completely.

Make the filling: Chop the chocolate and transfer it to a heatproof bowl. Heat the cream until simmering and pour it over the chocolate. Let it sit for one minute and then stir until smooth. (If this has not sufficiently melted the chocolate, you can return it to a double-boiler to gently melt what remains. 20 seconds in the microwave, watching carefully, will also work.) Add the butter and whiskey (if you’re using it) and stir until combined.

Fill the cupcakes: Let the ganache cool until thick but still soft enough to be piped (the fridge will speed this along but you must stir it every 10 minutes). Meanwhile, using your 1-inch round cookie cutter or an apple corer, cut the centers out of the cooled cupcakes. You want to go most of the way down the cupcake but not cut through the bottom — aim for 2/3 of the way. A slim spoon or grapefruit knife will help you get the center out. Those are your “tasters”. Put the ganache into a piping bag with a wide tip and fill the holes in each cupcake to the top.

Make the frosting: Whip the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, for several minutes. You want to get it very light and fluffy. Slowly add the powdered sugar, a few tablespoons at a time.

cut out

That’s what I used to core the cupcakes for the ganache.

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filling

Enjoy these festive treats! I hope you have a fun, and safe, St. Patty’s Day!

15 Minute Chocolate Lava Cakes for 2

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Since Valentines Day is rapidly approaching, I wanted to share my favorite quick dessert with you all. These lava cakes with homemade whipped cream take 15 minutes total. By total, I mean prep, cook time, and preparing the whipped cream in 15 minutes. The ingredients used in this recipe are most likely things you already have in your pantry. My favorite thing about this dessert is the fact that the cakes are served warm. When was the last time you ate warm cake? It’s probably been awhile. There’s no frosting, so you won’t have to worry about cooling it completely.  In fact, it tastes better when the sweet whipped cream melts down the sides. This is the perfect treat to make for someone you love on Valentine’s day. It doesn’t have to be a significant other. Make this for your best friend, your mom, your roommate, or your sister. Show the most important person in your life, whomever that may be, how special they are

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Let’s get to it!

Ingredients

  • 3/4 c Chocolate Chips
  • 2 T Butter
  • 2 Eggs
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 2 T Granulated Sugar
  • 2 T, 1/2 t Flour
  • 1/2 Vanilla
  • Zest of 1 Orange
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 2 ramekins with butter and then coat with sugar.
  2. Melt butter, orange zest, sugar, vanilla, and chocolate in a saucepan over low heat. Once melted, turn off the heat and let cool for a minute.
  3. Whisk together eggs and salt very well. Add it to the chocolate mixture slowly to avoid scrambling the eggs.
  4. Add flour to the chocolate and whisk until there are no lumps.
  5. Pour into ramekins until almost full. Bake for 11-12 minutes. When the cakes are baking, prepare whipped cream following the recipe listed below.
  6. Remove from oven and let cool for a minute. Then, gently separate the cake from the edges of the ramekin with a butter knife. Once the cakes are loosened, flip over onto plates.

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Whipped cream, will you be my Valentine?

Ingredients

  • 1/2 c Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 1/2 t Vanilla Extract
  • 1 T Confectioners Sugar
  1. The key to perfect whipped cream is making sure that everything is very cold. You’ll want to put a mixing bowl and whisk attachment in the freezer when you begin making the cakes.
  2. Once the bowl and whisk are sufficiently icy, add all ingredients to the bowl and whisk rapidly until stiff peaks form.

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