No Tricks Just Halloween Treats

img_5389I love Halloween, not for the scary and spooky stuff, for the creativity it brings out of everyone.  Starting with costumes,  it is so fun to see my girls coming up with what they want to dress up as.  As a mom it is hard not to want to tell them what they should be or what costume would be the cutest, but really it is the best when they come up with their own ideas.  

Working up Halloween treats in the kitchen is the same, the more creative the better. Halloween is not a serious or elegant holiday so why not be a little crazy and have fun with it.  This year I am focused on treats that you and your kids will enjoy and get their hands a little dirty with.

Black and White Chocolate Bark is a simple treats you and your kids can make together.  With nearly no recipe needed at all, find whatever Halloween candy or salty sweet combination you like and sprinkle over melted dark and white chocolate.img_5391

Candy corn and caramel corn both scream fall and why not combine the two for a delicious snack that you won’t be able to stop eating.  Candy Corn Caramel Crunch combines all of my favorites, popcorn, buttery caramel, roasted peanuts, candy corn and drizzled with chocolate.  Serve in a bowl for your guests or package up for a perfect school treat for friends.img_5317

If you are hosting friends on Halloween Orange Fizz Punch is refreshing before or after trick or treating.  Frozen orange sherbet topped with pineapple juice and lemon lime soda ending with a fizz is decadent and sweet, it can even be dessert! img_5449

Keep Halloween stress free with these three kid and adult friendly recipes that will bring your creative juices out!  

Black and White Chocolate Bark
Serves 8
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Ingredients
  1. 8 ounces Semisweet Chocolate
  2. 8 ounces White Chocolate
  3. Candy Corn
  4. Sixlets
  5. Pretzels
  6. Candy Corn M&M
  7. Peanuts
Instructions
  1. Prepare a baking sheet lined with parchment paper
  2. Melt semisweet chocolate in a double boiler, stirring until chocolate is melted
  3. (remove one ounce of semisweet chocolate and save)
  4. Pour onto a prepared baking sheet and spread to be even and smooth
  5. Allow the semisweet chocolate layer to cool
  6. Melt white chocolate in a double boiler, stirring until chocolate is melted
  7. Pour the white chocolate over the semisweet chocolate layer and spread evenly to cover the semisweet chocolate
  8. While the white chocolate is still melted, drizzle the extra semisweet chocolate in rows onto the white chocolate and take a toothpick to spread the semisweet chocolate through the white chocolate
  9. Immediately sprinkle the toppings; candy corn, sixlets, pretzels, M&M’s and peanuts over the white and dark chocolate.
  10. Allow the bark to cool completely, approximately 1 hour, before breaking it into pieces
  11. Package for gifts or store in the refrigerator until ready to serve
INK foods : In Nanny's Kitchen http://inkfoods.com/
Candy Corn Caramel Crunch
Serves 8
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Ingredients
  1. 1/2 Cup Unsalted Butter
  2. 1 Cup Light Brown Sugar
  3. 1/4 Cup Light Corn Syrup
  4. 1 tsp Salt
  5. 1/4 tsp Baking Soda
  6. 8 Cups Popcorn, Popped
  7. 1 Cup Candy Corn
  8. 1/2 Cup Unsalted Peanuts
  9. 1 Cup Semi Sweet Chocolate, melted
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F
  2. Prepare a baking sheet lined with parchment paper
  3. In a large Saucepan, melt butter completely
  4. Stir in light brown sugar and light corn syrup and stir until fully combined
  5. Bring butter mixture to a rolling boil and boil for 5 minutes without stirring the caramel mixture
  6. Continue cooking for 5-8 minutes or until the mixture comes to a desired caramel color
  7. Turn the heat off and stir in the salt and baking soda
  8. Slowly pour in the popped popcorn and peanuts and toss until completely coated
  9. Spread the caramel corn onto a sheet pan 
Bake for 15 minutes until the caramel becomes a deep amber color
  10. Remove the sheet pan from the oven and immediately sprinkle with candy corn and drizzle with semi sweet chocolate
  11. Once the caramel corn has cooled, break the pieces into small chucks
  12. Package the candy corn caramel crunch for gifts or store in an air tight container
INK foods : In Nanny's Kitchen http://inkfoods.com/
Orange Fizz Punch
Serves 8
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Ingredients
  1. 1 quart Orange Sherbet
  2. 1 Can (46 ounces) Pineapple Juice
  3. 2 Cups Orange Juice
  4. 1 Liters Lemon Lime Soda
  5. Garnish: Halloween Sprinkles
Instructions
  1. In a large punch bowl, combine pineapple juice, orange juice and lemon lime soda
  2. Right before you are ready to serve add orange sherbet to the punch bowl
  3. Serve the punch in individual glasses and top it off with a splash of lemon lime soda to create the fizz!
  4. Garnish with halloween sprinkles and a straw
INK foods : In Nanny's Kitchen http://inkfoods.com/

Feeling a little French with éclairs

img_4708As life gets busy and we are in full swing of our daily routines, I like to daydream that I am walking the streets of Paris munching on baguette, eating every flavor of Macaron that I come across and finishing my day with a perfectly filled éclairs.

Not so long ago, these oblong piped pastries were an old fashion and out of style treat from the past, but éclairs have made a comeback and I hope they are here to stay. Although we would all like to be walking the streets of Paris, éclairs can be made in your own home or have become a staple at several local bakeries to fill your craving.img_4698

The classic éclairs which dates back to the 19th century in France is made of pâte à choux, filled pastry cream and topped with a chocolate glaze but now they can also be found in the most indulgent and creative flavors to take you through each season.

pâte à choux, is a special dough made by cooking butter, water, milk and flour together and then beating the eggs in. The steam of the flour mixture and egg combination is what creates the light weight hollow pastry shell that is perfect to fill. Although, it has a fancy name and the process might be intimidating, don’t give up on making your own, it only gets easier.img_4688

As the pâte à choux is baking, your next step is pastry cream and this is where your flavor creations can come into play. Pastry cream is similar to a pudding base, combining milk, sugar, egg yolks and cornstarch cooking over a stove top until thick. If there are any specific flavors such as raspberry, peanut butter, coffee or pistachio, this is the time to add them in.img_4690img_4696

Finish these decadent pastries with only the best, chocolate! Dipping these cream filled shells into a chocolate glaze is the final step to this classic french pastry. Whether you are enjoying Eclairs for breakfast, brunch or dessert, the crisp shell and smooth cream filling will make all your hard work worth it.img_4724

éclairs
Yields 14
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pâte à choux
  1. 1/2 Cup Whole Milk
  2. 1/2 Cup Water
  3. 8 Tbsp Unsalted Butter, Cubed
  4. 1/2 tsp Sugar
  5. 1/4 tsp Salt
  6. 1 Cup All Purpose Flour
  7. 5 Eggs, Room Temperature
Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream
  1. 2 Cups Whole Milk
  2. 1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
  3. 1 Vanilla Bean, Split and Scraped
  4. 4 Tbsp Cornstarch
  5. 5 Egg Yolks
  6. 1/2 Cup Heavy Cream, Whipped
Chocolate Glaze
  1. 1 Cup Semi Sweet Chocolate or White Chocolate
  2. 6 Tbsp Unsalted Butter, Softened
pâte à choux
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
  2. In a medium saucepan combine milk, water, butter, sugar and salt
  3. Heat mixture until butter is melted and just starting to simmer
  4. Add flour into butter mixture and stir vigorously with a wood spoon until dough comes together and create a film on the bottom of the pan
  5. Transfer the dough to a mixer with paddle attachment and turn on medium speed
  6. Beat the dough on medium speed to release the steam from the dough, approximately 1 minute
  7. Slowly add eggs one at a time until the dough comes back together and has the texture of paste
  8. Transfer dough into a pastry bag with start tip and pipe into 4 inch long logs
  9. Bake at 400 degrees F for 10 minutes and then turn oven to 375 degrees F for another 20 minutes or until golden brown
  10. Shut oven off and prop open the door and leave the pâte à choux shells in for another 5 minutes
  11. Remove from the oven and allow them to cool completely before filling or store in an airtight container and freeze until ready to use.
Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream
  1. Combine milk, 1/2 of the sugar, and vanilla bean in a medium saucepan placed over high heat
  2. Whisk together remaining sugar, cornstarch and egg yolks
  3. Once the milk has come to a simmer, whisking continuously slowly add 1/3 of the milk mixture into the egg mixture to temper the eggs
  4. Return the tempered egg mixture back into the saucepan and continue whisking until pastry cream becomes thick and starts to bubble
  5. Remove the pastry cream from the heat, strain through a fine sieve, pour it into a shallow bowl and cover with plastic wrap pressed to the surface to prevent a skin forming
  6. Allow the pastry cream to cool to room temperature before refrigerating
  7. Store in air tight container for up to 3 days if not using immediately
  8. Before filling the eclairs, fold whipped cream into pastry cream to lighten up the custard
Chocolate Glaze
  1. Melt chocolate in a microwave safe bowl
  2. Whisk in butter into melted chocolate until smooth
Assembly
  1. Using small round pastry tip, poke 2 holes in the bottom of the pate a choux shell
  2. Fill pâte à choux shell with vanilla bean pastry cream
  3. Dip the top of the shell into melted dark chocolate glaze and garnish with white chocolate drizzle and gold leaf (optional)
  4. Refrigerate until ready to serve
Flavor Options
Chocolate Peanut Butter
  1. Add 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter to the pastry cream once it is removed from the saucepan and still warm. Cover with plastic wrap pressed to the surface and allow the pastry cream to cool to room temperature before refrigerating. Continue following directions from above. Once the pate a choux is filled, dip the top of shell into dark chocolate glaze and sprinkle with unsalted peanuts for garnish.
Pistachio
  1. Add 1/4 cup pistachio paste to the pastry cream once it is removed from the saucepan and still warm. Cover with plastic wrap pressed to the surface and allow the pastry cream to cool to room temperature before refrigerating. Continue following directions from above. Once the pate a choux is filled, dip the top of shell into light green tinted white chocolate glaze and sprinkle with crushed pistachios for garnish.
Raspberry White Chocolate
  1. Add 1/4 cup raspberry puree to the pastry cream once it is removed from the saucepan and still warm. Cover with plastic wrap pressed to the surface and allow the pastry cream to cool to room temperature before refrigerating. Continue following directions from above. Once the pate a choux is filled, dip the top of shell into light pink tinted white chocolate glaze and garnish with fresh raspberries and white chocolate drizzle.
INK foods : In Nanny's Kitchen http://inkfoods.com/

Mini Pumpkin Spice Muffins

img_5186It’s fall ya’ll!!! and pumpkin season…yahoo!  

There are many things as a family we love this time of year but I got so excited when Sophie, my oldest daughter, told me her “tastebuds” love pumpkin muffins :) because so do mine.

These mini pumpkin muffins are the perfect amount of spice with a soft cream cheese glaze on top and can be served for breakfast or sneak them in a lunch box for an afternoon surprise.

img_5096  img_5113img_5175

Mini Pumpkin Spice Muffins
Yields 36
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Ingredients
  1. 1 1/2 cups sugar
  2. 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  3. 2 eggs
  4. 1/3 cup water
  5. 7 ounces pumpkin puree
  6. 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  7. 1 tsp ground ginger
  8. 1/2 tsp allspice
  9. 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  10. 1 tsp baking soda
  11. 1/4 tsp baking powder
  12. 1/2 tsp salt
Instructions
  1. In a large mixing bowl combine sugar, oil and eggs; beat until smooth
  2. Add water to egg mixture
  3. Add in pumpkin puree, ginger, cinnamon and allspice
  4. Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a bowl
  5. Add dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture and mix until combined
  6. Scoop batter into mini muffin pans filled 3/4 high
  7. Bake at 350 degrees F for 10-12 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean
  8. Allow the muffins to cool in pan before removing
  9. Once the muffins are cool, remove from the pan and dip in cream cheese glaze
  10. Optional* Dust the top of the muffins with cinnamon and garnish with pumpkin seeds
  11. Serve or store in an airtight container
Cream Cheese Glaze
Ingredients
  1. 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  2. 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  3. 4 Tbsp milk, plus more if needed
Directions
  1. In a bowl with paddle attachment, beat cream cheese on high speed until smooth
  2. Add powdered sugar and beat until combined
  3. Slowly add milk and mix until smooth
  4. If glaze is to thick to drizzle or dip the muffins, add more milk 1 Tbsp at a time.
INK foods : In Nanny's Kitchen http://inkfoods.com/

Quick Breads

IMG_4624Any recipe with the name bread in it can seem intimidating but if you are in the mood to be adventurous with flavors and impress your family and friends, try a quick bread. Quick breads are just what they seem, two mixtures coming together, dry ingredients and liquid ingredients and sometimes adding an acidic element like yogurt, buttermilk or sour cream. There is no yeast, no waiting with time but so much wonderful flavor. Quick breads with coffee in the morning, served with fresh whipped cream and berries in the evening or flavored with cheese and herbs for a dinner side dish makes for a very versatile recipe and one that is used most out of my recipe box.IMG_4600IMG_4648IMG_4677

Blueberry Oatmeal Loaf
Yields 1
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Oatmeal Topping
  1. 1/2 Cup Oatmeal
  2. 1/4 Cup All Purpose Flour
  3. 2 Tbsp Granulated Sugar
  4. 2 Tbsp Light Brown Sugar
  5. 1 tsp Cinnamon
  6. 5 Tbsp Unsalted Butter, Melted
  7. 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
Blueberry Loaf
  1. 1 Large Orange, Zest and Juiced
  2. 2/3 Cup Vegetable Oil
  3. 1/2 Cup Whole Milk
  4. 2 Eggs
  5. 2 1/4 Cup All Purpose Flour
  6. 1 Cup Light Brown Sugar
  7. 1 Tbsp Baking Powder
  8. 1/4 tsp Salt
  9. 1 Cup Fresh Blueberries
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9x5 loaf pan
  2. Prepare the oatmeal topping
  3. Combine oatmeal, flour, both sugar and cinnamon
  4. Slowly add in melted butter and vanilla extract while stirring to cream a crumble; Set aside
  5. Zest and juice orange to measure 1/3 cup and whisk together with oil, milk and eggs
  6. Combine the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt together
  7. Add the liquid to the dry ingredients and whisk until combined
  8. Fold in the blueberries
  9. Pour Batter into prepared loaf pan and sprinkle with oatmeal topping
  10. Bake for 45-55 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean
INK foods : In Nanny's Kitchen http://inkfoods.com/
IMG_4659

Raspberry Lemon Loaf
Yields 1
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Ingredients
  1. 2 Cups All Purpose Flour
  2. 1 tsp Baking Powder
  3. 1 tsp Baking Soda
  4. 1/2 tsp Salt
  5. 1/2 Cup Unsalted Butter, Softened
  6. 1 Cup Sugar
  7. Zest of 1 Lemon
  8. 2 Eggs
  9. 3 Tbsp Yogurt, Plain
  10. 1 Cup Fresh Raspberries, Crushed
  11. *Lemon Glaze (see below)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and spray a 9x5 inch loaf pan
  2. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt
  3. In a mixing bowl, attached with paddle attachment, cream the butter, sugar and lemon zest until fluffy
  4. Beat in eggs and scrape down sides after each egg
  5. Mix in flour and yogurt until fully combined
  6. Remove the bowl from mixer and fold in the crushed raspberries
  7. Spread the batter into the prepared loaf pan
  8. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until center comes out clean
  9. Allow the bread to cool in the pan for 30 minutes
  10. Once the bread is cooled, remove from the pan make the *lemon glaze and drizzle over the top of the raspberry loaf
  11. Serve or store in an airtight container
Notes
  1. *Lemon Glaze
  2. 1 Cups Powdered Sugar
  3. 2-3 Tablespoons Fresh Lemon Juice
  4. Place powdered sugar in a medium bowl and stir in lemon juice
  5. Glaze should be thick but able to be drizzled over bread
INK foods : In Nanny's Kitchen http://inkfoods.com/
IMG_4671

Cream Cheese Coffee Crumb Loaf
Yields 1
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Crumb Topping
  1. 3/4 Cups All Purpose Flour
  2. 1/3 Cup Light Brown Sugar
  3. 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  4. 1/4 tsp Baking Powder
  5. 1/4 tsp Salt
  6. 6 Tbsp Unsalted Butter, Cubed
Cream Cheese Filling
  1. 4 ounce Cream Cheese
  2. 1/4 Cup Granulated Sugar
  3. 1 Egg
Coffee Cake
  1. 8 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
  2. 3/4 Cup Granulated Sugar
  3. 1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
  4. 1 Egg
  5. 2 Cups All Purpose Flour
  6. 1 Tbsp Baking Powder
  7. 1/2 tsp Salt
  8. 2/3 Cup Whole Milk
Crumb Topping
  1. Whisk together the flour, light brown sugar, cinnamon, baking powder and salt
  2. Cut the butter into the flour mixture until it is fully combined and large crumbles of dough form
  3. Refrigerate until ready to use
Cream Cheese Filling
  1. In a mixing bowl, beat together the cream cheese and sugar until completely smooth
  2. Add the egg and continue beating until fluffy
  3. Refrigerate until ready to use
Coffee Cake
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and spray a 9x5 loaf pan
  2. Cream the butter, sugar and vanilla extract until light and fluffy
  3. Add the egg and beat until smooth
  4. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt and slowly incorporate the flour mixture in with the butter alternating with milk
  5. Beat until fully combined
  6. Spread half the batter into prepared loaf pan and then spread the cream cheese mixture in the middle finishing with the rest of the cake batter
  7. Sprinkle the crumble topping evenly over the batter
  8. Bake for 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean
  9. Allow the bread to cool completely before removing it from the loaf pan
  10. Enjoy or store in an air tight container
INK foods : In Nanny's Kitchen http://inkfoods.com/
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Back to School Lunch Box Must Haves

lunch boxSummers are made up of late nights, no routine and a lot of tiresome fun and it is not always easy getting back into the school routine.  For me early mornings are the hardest part.  Getting everyone up, dressed, fed a healthy and nutritious breakfast, lunches packed and out the door.  

As important as breakfast is for ourselves and our kids, so is the lunch we pack to fuel the rest of their day.  The lunch box routine does not have to be intimidating or stressful when you have an organized refrigerator of simple and healthy options.  In my family, we love a classic sandwich but I always like to change it up so everyday lunches don’t look the same.  

Lunch Box Menu Options:

Turkey & cheese skewers
Sweet potato chips
Grapes
Edamame

PBJ Roll Ups
Apple slices
Carrots and ranch
Pretzel sticks

Salami and crackers
Mozzarella balls
Cucumbers and tomatoes
Dried fruit mix

Pasta salad
Sugar snap peas
Strawberries with yogurt dip
Popcorn 

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Profiteroles…Fancy Up Your Ice Cream!

cream puff 4

Happy July!  It is crazy how fast this summer is going, but it has been a fun and busy one.  Trying to keep the girls entertained and cool has been the main focus and July is going to only get hotter.  With warm temperatures, the only thing we can turn to is ice cream and I am thankful it is National Ice Cream month so we have an excuse to eat it every day!  Profiteroles are a simple way to fancy up my go to homemade classic ice cream or dairy free coconut ice cream recipes.

A classic French dessert that might seem intimidating to make will surprise you with it’s simplicity and ease for a light summer dessert. Pâte à Choux is the dough that creates this airy and crisp shell often filled with your favorite ice cream or custard and garnished with powdered sugar, a decadent chocolate sauce (dairy free option) or fresh fruit. Bite size, full of ice cream and fresh fruit, profiteroles will win over your guests heart and keep you cool during the summer heat.

cream puff 2cream puff 3cream puff 6

Classic Profiteroles
Yields 24
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Ingredients
  1. Pâte à Choux
  2. 1 cup Water
  3. 1/2 cup Butter, Unsalted
  4. 1/4 tsp Salt
  5. 1 1/2 cups All Purpose Flour
  6. 4 Eggs
Filling/Garnish
  1. Vanilla Bean Ice Cream or Flavor of your choice
  2. Fresh Strawberries, sliced
Instructions
  1. Heat water, butter and salt in a medium sauce pan and bring to a boil
  2. Once the butter is completely melted, reduce the heat and add in the flour
  3. Whisk until the flour and butter mixture come to a paste form and pulls away from the sides of the pan
  4. Take the mixture off of the heat and pour dough into a mixer with paddle attachment
  5. Mix on medium speed for 2 minutes to release the steam from the dough
  6. Slowly add the eggs, one by one and beat until the dough is smooth and all ingredients are fully combined
  7. Pipe or scoop into 2” round balls
  8. Egg wash the top of dough
  9. Bake at 425 degrees F for 10 minutes and reduce to 375 degrees F for approx. 15 minutes or until profiteroles are a light golden brown
  10. Allow the profiteroles to cool completely before filling
  11. Cut profiteroles in half and add one scoop of vanilla bean ice cream and fresh cut strawberries
  12. Garnish with powdered sugar
  13. Serve immediately
INK foods : In Nanny's Kitchen http://inkfoods.com/
Must have kitchen gadgets:

 Ice Cream Maker,

Ice Cream Scoop,

Piping Bags,

Silpat

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Berry Slab Pie

IMG_3954Happy Memorial Day!!  As we dive into summer, backyard bbq’s and pool parties, easy and fresh are what we are looking for. A slab pie is the perfect warm weather treat, similar ingredients to your classic deep dish pie, but tends to be on the lighter side due to the thin buttery crust surrounding fresh seasonal fruit. Enjoy this berry filled goodness all summer long topped with your favorite scoop of ice cream!IMG_3875IMG_3926IMG_3945

Berry Slab Pie
Serves 10
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Pie Crust
  1. 5 Cups All Purpose Flour
  2. 1 Tbsp Sugar
  3. 2 tsp salt
  4. 2 Cups Unsalted Butter, Chilled
  5. 1/2 Cup Cold Water
Berry Filling
  1. 4 Cups Strawberries, Sliced
  2. 1 Cup Blueberries
  3. 1 Cup Rasperries
  4. 1 Cup Granulated Sugar
  5. 3 Tbsp Corn Starch
  6. 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  7. 1 lemon, Zested
  8. Juice of 1 Lemon
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and butter a 9x13 pan (1/4 sheet pan)
  2. In a food processor combine flour, sugar, and salt
  3. Slowly pulse the dry ingredients while adding the cold butter in cubes
  4. Once the flour looks like course meal, slowly add the water to the flour mixture until dough comes together
  5. Divide dough into two equal parts, wrap and refrigerate for 20-30 minutes before rolling out
  6. While the dough is chilling, prepare the berry fruit filling
  7. Slice the strawberries, combine with blueberries and raspberries
  8. Add sugar, cornstarch, vanilla extract, lemon zest and lemon juice to the fruit, mix until fully combined (refrigerated until ready to use)
  9. Once dough is chilled, roll the dough out to cover the bottom of your pan
  10. Add the filling to the top of the dough and spread evenly
  11. Roll out the remainder of the dough and cut into strips to make a lattice top
  12. *Egg wash the dough
  13. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until crust is golden brown
  14. Serve Warm
*Egg Wash
  1. 1 Egg
  2. 1 Tbsp Water
  3. Combine egg and water and whisk until combined 
Using a pastry brush, brush the egg wash onto the dough before baking to create a glossy and golden finish
INK foods : In Nanny's Kitchen http://inkfoods.com/
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Crawfish Boil….Ending with the best ever Bourbon Bread Pudding

crawfish boiCrawfish season is one of our favorite times of the year. It’s time to get our backyards set up to enjoy spring weather and family get-togethers.

April is a month full of birthdays in our family, and it has become a tradition to host a casual backyard crawfish boil to celebrate. It’s so relaxing to spend time with the people we love most, eating on paper-lined tables piled with spicy crawfish, shrimp, corn and potatoes and listening to music. There is nothing fancy about this, but it brings everyone around the table for the first time after a busy winter.

Throwing a crawfish boil is easier than you might think. Here are answers to typical questions:
When is crawfish in season?
March-May.
What equipment do I need?
The first step to hosting a crawfish boil for a large group is investing in a large stockpot with lid, basket and burner. If you plan to host a crawfish boil every year or several times in a year, it is worth the purchase. (These stockpots can also be used to fry a turkey.) An 80-quart pot will boil 30 pounds of crawfish.
How many crawfish do I need?
Although there are social crawfish eaters and veteran crawfish eaters, a good rule of thumb is around 2 to 3 pounds of mudbugs per person. Don’t worry about leftovers — there are many wonderful recipes you can make with them.
Where do I get crawfish?
Crawfish has to be cooked alive, so ordering from your local seafood market will be your best bet. (We went to Rex’s Seafood, rexsseafood.com.) You will typically need to order early in the week and pick them up the morning of your boil. While you are at the seafood market be sure to pick up your crawfish seasoning and liquid crab boil. Don’t be afraid to add fresh shrimp and crab legs to the mix.
How much time does it take?
Hosting a crawfish boil is a very social event — lots of talking, cooking and drinking beer. While you are waiting on the crawfish to boil you should enjoy the weather and your friends. It takes about an hour total.
How should I serve it?
This is the fun part! Cover a large table in paper, dump the hot crawfish boil on it, and start eating. Make sure to have the music on, beer on hand and empty bowls for the shells. If anyone is new to a crawfish boil, be sure to teach them the tricks. To finish off the night, serve Bourbon Bread Pudding for dessert. (see recipe below)bread pudding

What do I do with leftovers?
If all the crawfish is not consumed, do not throw them away. It will take you a little bit of extra time, but you must clean and remove all the shells in order to save the meat. Refrigerate or freeze the leftover crawfish meat to enjoy later. Some of my favorite crawfish dishes are crawfish mac and cheese, crawfish fritters, crawfish cakes or traditional crawfish étouffée. You will not regret having leftovers

Crawfish Boil
Serves 15
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Ingredients
  1. 1(16-ounce) package powdered shrimp and crab boil seasoning
  2. 1(8-ounce) bottle liquid shrimp and crab boil
  3. 3(4-pound) boxes of salt
  4. 1(30-40 pound) sack of live crawfish
  5. 8 large lemons, halved
  6. 4 large oranges, halved
  7. 1 bag small red potatoes
  8. 8 large heads garlic, not peeled, tops cut off
  9. 6 to 8 onions, cut in half
  10. 1 large pack of mushrooms (optional)
  11. 1 pack of smoked sausage (optional)
  12. 8 ears of corn (frozen)
Instructions
  1. Fill crawfish pot about half full of water and bring to a boil. Add powdered seasoning, liquid shrimp and crab boil, and two boxes of salt to the pot.
  2. In a large washtub, add crawfish, water and half a box of salt to purge the crawfish. After 5 to 10 minutes, empty water, add remaining salt and wash them a second time. Make sure to remove any dead fish, grass or trash from the crawfish at this time. Making sure the crawfish are purged and very clean is essential to ending up with a tasty product in the end.
  3. Once water has come to a rolling boil in the pot, squeeze the juice from the lemons and oranges into the pot and toss in the rind. Add potatoes, garlic, onions, mushrooms and sausage to the pot, and boil for 10 minutes.
  4. Add crawfish to boiling water, cover the pot and bring back to a rolling boil. From the point that the water comes to a rolling boil, boil for no more than about 3 to 5 minutes depending on size of crawfish.
  5. After the crawfish have boiled, turn off burner and add the frozen ears of corn.
  6. Let crawfish soak for about 20 minutes or desired seasoning level. The longer they soak, the more seasoning they absorb. Never do less than 15 minutes or more than 30 minutes.
  7. Enjoy!
INK foods : In Nanny's Kitchen http://inkfoods.com/
Bourbon Bread Pudding
Serves 10
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Ingredients
  1. 5 cups French bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
  2. 4 cups whole milk
  3. 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  4. 2 cups sugar
  5. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  6. 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  7. 1/2 cup raisins
  8. 1 cup pineapple, crushed
  9. Bourbon Caramel Sauce (see recipe below)
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 350 F.
  2. Place cubed French bread into a large bowl. Pour milk onto the bread and allow the bread to soak for 5 to 10 minutes.
  3. Whisk eggs, sugar, vanilla extract and cinnamon together in a separate bowl and pour over milk and bread mixture; stir to combine.
  4. Fold in raisins and crushed pineapple until fully combined.
  5. Pour mixture into a 9x13 glass dish and bake for 35-45 minutes or until custard is set.
  6. While the bread pudding is baking, make the Bourbon Caramel Sauce.
  7. Serve bread pudding in a bowl with sauce poured on top.
Notes
  1. Bourbon Caramel Sauce: Combine 1 cup unsalted butter and 2 cups sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir consistently until sugar is dissolved and butter is melted.
  2. Remove the pot from the heat and slowly stir in 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 4 tablespoons bourbon.
Adapted from Fishmongers Seafood Market
Adapted from Fishmongers Seafood Market
INK foods : In Nanny's Kitchen http://inkfoods.com/
Ink Foods Signature

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