Mini Snowballs Recipe

Preparation Time: approx. 45 minutes
Baking Time: approx. 10 minutes
Total time: approx. 55 minutes
Servings: +- 20

Ingredients:
125g (4.4 oz) butter
2 large eggs
5ml (1 teaspoon) vanilla extract
500ml (2 cups + 2 tablespoons) cake flour, sifted
10ml (2 teaspoons) baking powder
200ml (7/8 cup) milk

mini-snowballsSyrup ingredients:
250ml (1 cup + 1 tablespoon) sugar
pink food colouring
300ml (1 1/4 cups) fine dessicated coconut

Preparation:
Heat oven to 180 C/ 356 F.
Cream the butter and sugar until light.
Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then beat in the vanilla.
Fold in the flour and baking powder alternately with the milk to form a batter with a dropping consistency.
Spoon into greased mini cupcake trays.
Bake for about 10 mins until skewer comes out clean.
Remove from the oven and cool on a rack.

mini-snowballs-recipeTo make the Syrup:
Add the sugar and 250ml (1 cup + 1 tablespoon) water to a saucepan.
Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until the mixture thickens slightly.
Remove from the heat and stir in a few drops of colouring.
Dip the cool cakes into the syrup, then roll in coconut.

Enjoy!!

So Sweet, So Simple, So Italian

Busy, busy, busy seems to be my life’s theme these days. After working hard all day, it’s all I can do to make dinner at night, let alone dessert. At the end of my evening meal, however, I still crave something sweet, something yummy, something… let’s face it… decadent. Also, I like to surprise my other half with tasty treats.

While briefly living in Italy, I managed to develop quite a taste for the Italian desserts. Unfortunately, those of us whose pastry and baking skills are not quite up to par with our palates, are often left searching for that perfect decadent dessert from an outside source, such as a bakery or grocery store. Unfortunately, we all know that just because a dessert comes from a bakery, there’s no guarantee that it’s of epicurean quality. If you are as busy as I am, you know that most dessert lovers simply do not have the time (or money) to traverse the entire city and sample every bakery (although, I’d love to try).

So Sweet, So Simple, So Italian
So Sweet, So Simple, So Italian

Luckily for all of us, Trader Joe’s offers dessert lovers something sweet and simple… Trader Joe’s Peach & Blueberry Panna Cotta. Panna Cotta, which literally means “cooked cream” in Italian, is a sweet, creamy, silky tantalizing taste of Italy. Similar in form and texture to Creme Brulee, each bite of Panna Cotta will melt in your mouth and leave you wanting more.

Blueberry & Peach Topping
Blueberry & Peach Topping

Trader Joe’s has paired their delightfully decadent Panna Cotta with a deliciously sweet and slightly sour fruit compote topping with blueberry on one half and peach on the other. Each box has two perfectly sized servings, and preparation is fantastically simple and quick. Originally frozen, they will thaw in your refridgerator in 3-4 hours. I’ve even taken them out of the freezer in the morning before leaving for work. That way, after dinner, I can simply go to the fridge, take out a Panna Cotta, and enjoy the mouth-watering flavor of Italy in the time-saving comfort of my own kitchen. Unless, of course, my sweetie has already discovered it… and devoured it right up!

Black Bottom Banana Cream Pie Recipe

Another yummy-licious dessert recipe from pillsbury.com.

DESCRIPTION
What a clever idea! A fudgy layer on the crust keeps the crust from getting too soggy… and it provides a fabulous chocolate surprise in every bite.

INGREDIENTS

1 box (4-serving size) vanilla pudding and pie filling mix (not instant)
2 cups milk
1 Pillsbury® refrigerated pie crust (from 15-oz box), softened as directed on box
2/3 cup hot fudge topping
2 cups sliced ripe bananas (about 2 large bananas)
1 cup whipping cream, whipped
Chocolate curls, if desired

Black Bottom Banana Cream Pie
Black Bottom Banana Cream Pie

DIRECTIONS

1.Make pudding mix with milk as directed on box for pie. Cool 30 minutes, stirring 2 or 3 times.

2.Meanwhile, heat oven to 450°F. Bake pie crust as directed on box for One-Crust Baked Shell, using 9-inch glass pie plate. Cool on cooling rack 10 minutes.

3.Spread fudge topping in bottom of shell. Top with bananas, pudding and whipped cream. Refrigerate at least 4 hours until serving time. Garnish with chocolate curls. Cover and refrigerate any remaining pie.

High Altitude (3500-6500 ft): No change.

Rabbit Cookies Recipe

As soon as I saw this yummy recipe, I knew I had to share it! So, here we go!

DESCRIPTION

No cookie cutters needed for these clever cookies! Just turn a few balls of Pillsbury® Create ‘n Bake™ cookie dough into tasty treats.

INGREDIENTS

1 roll (16.5 oz) Pillsbury® refrigerated sugar cookies
1 cup fluffy white frosting
Decorating icing or gel
Assorted small candies or decors

DIRECTIONS

Rabbit cookies
Rabbit Cookies. photo and recipe courtesy of Pillsbury.com

1.Heat oven to 350°F. Cut cookie dough into 16 slices; cut 8 of the slices in half down the center. To make 1 rabbit cookie, place 1 whole slice on ungreased cookie sheet for head; place
2 halves on top, slightly overlapping on whole slice, for ears. Repeat to make 7 more rabbit cookies, placing 2 inches apart.

2.Bake 7 to 9 minutes or until edges are light golden brown. Cool 1 minute; remove from cookie sheet to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 15 minutes.

3.Frost cookies with frosting; decorate with icing and candies.

High Altitude (3500-6500 ft): No change.

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Thank you, Pillsbury.com, for allowing us to re-publish this recipe!

Easter Bunny Cake Recipe

Easter is coming. Here is one of our favorite Bunny Cake recipes from BettyCrocker.com!
Preparation time: 30 min.
Total time: 2 hrs and 10 min.
Servings: 12

Ingredients:
1 box Betty Crocker® SuperMoist® carrot cake mix
Water, vegetable oil and eggs called for on cake mix box
Tray or cardboard, covered with foil
1 container Betty Crocker® Whipped fluffy white frosting
1 cup shredded coconut
Construction paper
Jelly beans or small gumdrops
1 cup shredded coconut
Green food color

Easter Bunny Cake from BettyCrocker.com
Easter Bunny Cake from BettyCrocker.com
Instructions:

1. Heat oven to 350°F (325°F for dark or nonstick pans). Make and cool cake as directed on box for two 8-inch or 9-inch round pans.

2. Reserve 1 layer for another use or to make a second bunny. Cut 1 layer in half as shown in diagram. Put halves together with frosting to form body. Place cake upright on cut edge on tray.

3. Cut out a notch about one-third of the way up one end of body to form head (small end) as shown in diagram. Attach half of cutout piece from tail with toothpicks. Frost with remaining frosting, rounding body on sides. Sprinkle with 1 cup coconut. Cut ears from construction paper; press into notch on top. Use jelly beans for eyes and nose.

4. Shake 1 cup coconut and 3 drops food color in tightly covered jar until evenly tinted. Surround bunny with tinted coconut. Add additional jelly beans if desired. Store loosely covered.

High Altitude (3500-6500 ft): Follow High Altitude directions on cake mix box for two 8- or 9-inch round pans.

Source: Find more recipes at www.bettycrocker.com.

Pie Fun Facts

Approx. $700 million in pies (approx. 186 million units) are sold in grocery stores every year. This does not include restaurants, food service or price clubs, only grocery stores. If you lined up the number of pies sold at U.S. grocery stores in one year, they would circle the globe and then some.

According to a 2008 survey by Crisco® and American Pie Council:
•Nearly one out of five (19%) of Americans prefer apple pie, followed by pumpkin (13%), pecan (12%), banana cream (10%) and cherry (9%)
•Pie just isn’t for after-dinner dessert. Thirty-five percent of Americans say they’ve had pies for breakfast. Pies as lunch (66%) and midnight snacks (59%) also have a popular following.
•When asked what dessert Americans would prefer a friend or family member bring to their house for a holiday dinner, pie was the winner with 29%. Cake (17%) and cookies (15%) rounded out the top-three spots.

Pumpkin pie was first introduced to the holiday table at the pilgrim’s second Thanksgiving in 1623.

cherry pie
cherry pie. photo courtesy of Snutur

Pie was not always America’s favorite dessert – in the 19th Century, fruit pies were a common breakfast food eaten before the start of a long day.

According to a 2008 “Pie Slice of Life” Survey, conducted by Schwan’s Consumer Brands North America, Inc., Carol Brady of The Brady Bunch was picked by 40% of survey respondents as the TV mom that would bake the best pie. The Cosby Show’s Claire Huxtable was second with 22%, Desperate Houswives’ Bree Van de Camp was third with 16 percent, Everybody Loves Raymond’s Debra Barone was fourth with 13% while The Simpsons’ Marge Simpson came in fifth with 8%.

The same survey also revealed that when asked “Who Makes the Best Pie?,” Mom rates highly (27%), and store bought convenience pie came in a close second with a 26% slice of the pie – beating out Grandma who garnered 17%.
This 2006 Four Points® Pie Portrait is an examination of how Americans enjoy their signature dessert, in honor of Four Points by Sheraton’s simple pleasures offerings: pie in all its restaurants, express pie via room service.

Pie By the Numbers
•36 million Number of Americans who identify apple pie as their favorite
•47% Americans for whom the word “comforting” comes to mind when they think of pie
•6 million Number of American men ages 35-54 who have eaten the last slice of pie and denied it
•27% Americans who believe chocolate pie is the most romantic to share with someone special
•1 in 5 Proportion of Americans who have eaten an entire pie by themselves
•113 million Number of Americans who have eaten pie for breakfast
•75 million Number of Americans who prefer to drink milk with their pie
•32% Americans who prefer no crust on top of their pie
•90% Americans who agree that a slice of pie represents one of the simple pleasures in life
•9% Americans who prefer to eat their pie crust-first
•7% Americans who have passed off a store-bought pie as homemade
•18% Men who say their wife makes the best homemade pie
•2% Women who say their husband makes the best homemade pie

Pie Personalities
If you love… You are likely to describe yourself as…
Apple Pie Independent, realistic and compassionate
Pecan Pie Thoughtful and analytical
Chocolate Pie Loving
Pumpkin Pie Funny and independent

Pie Preferences
•More than one-third of Americans have eaten pie in bed
•Nearly one in four women believe that they make the best pie – better than Mom or Grandma
•More than one-third of Americans have craved pie in the middle of the night
The first mention of a fruit pie in print is from Robert Green’s Arcadia (1590): “thy breath is like the steame of apple-pyes.”

The wet bottom molasses pie, Shoo-fly pie, was used to attract flies from the kitchen.
Oliver Cromwell banned the eating of pie in 1644, declaring it a pagan form of pleasure. For 16 years, pie eating and making went underground until the Restoration leaders lifted the ban on pie in 1660.

The wealthy English were known for their “Surprise Pies” in which live creatures would pop out when the pie was cut open.

At one time it was against the law to serve ice cream on cherry pie in Kansas.

“As easy as pie” is an American expression. In the 1890’s, “pie” was a common slang expression meaning anything easy, a cinch; the expression “easy as pie” stemmed quite readily from that.

Boston Cream Pie is a cake, not a pie.

Pies are favorite props for humor, particularly when aimed at the pompous. Throwing a pie in a person’s face has been a staple of film comedy since the early days of the medium, and real-life pranksters have taken to targeting politicians and celebrities with their pies, an act called “pieing.”

State Pies:
•Key Lime pie was just adopted in the state of Florida as the official pie in 2006.
•The state of Vermont adopted apple pie as the official state pie in 1999.

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Source: www.piecouncil.org Check out their website for more info on pies!

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Dream Bars

Cookie Base

1 pouch (1 lb 1.5 oz) Betty Crocker® double chocolate chunk cookie mix
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons cold strong brewed coffee or water
1 egg

Filling

1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1 container (8 oz) frozen whipped topping, thawed
1 bag (9 oz) miniature chocolate-covered peanut butter cup candies, chopped

Topping

1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons sugar
3 oz bittersweet baking chocolate, melted
1 cup unsalted dry-roasted peanuts

3310356408_996fac84c1
Chocolate Peanut Butter Dream Bars. photo courtesy of Betty Crocker Recipes

1. Heat oven to 350°F. In large bowl, stir cookie base ingredients until soft dough forms. Spread dough in bottom of ungreased 13×9-inch pan. Bake 12 to 15 minutes or just until set. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.

2. In large bowl, beat cream cheese and 1/4 cup sugar with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Fold in whipped topping and candies. Spread over cooled cookie base.

3. In small microwavable bowl, beat peanut butter, milk and 2 tablespoons sugar with wire whisk until smooth. Microwave uncovered on High 30 to 60 seconds, stirring after 30 seconds, to thin for drizzling. Drizzle mixture over filling. Drizzle with melted chocolate. Sprinkle with peanuts. Refrigerate about 1 hour or until set. For bars, cut into 6 rows by 4 rows. Store covered in refrigerator.

Source: Find more recipes at www.bettycrocker.com.

The History of Pie

The origins of pie actually did not come from America, but has evolved over the years into what we now call the all-American pie. It is not something that was created to be American, but somehow, we have adopted this dessert as our own and commonly use the expression, “as American as apple pie.”

Pie has been around since about 2000 B.C. during the time of the ancient Egyptians. Between 1400 B.C. and 600 B.C., it’s believed pie was passed on to the Greeks and then spread to Rome around 100 B.C. The early Romans’ pies were sometimes made in “reeds” which were used for the sole purpose of holding the filling and not for eating with the filling.

The first pie recipe was published by the Romans and was for a rye-crusted goat cheese and honey pie. They must have spread the word about pies around Europe as the Oxford English Dictionary notes that the word pie was a popular word in the 14th century.

Lemon meringue pie. Photo courtesy of jennyvierThe early pies were predominately meat pies. Pyes (pies) originally appeared in England as early as the twelfth century. The crust of the pie was referred to as “coffyn.” There was actually more crust than filling. Often these pies were made using fowl and the legs were left to hang over the side of the dish and used as handles. Fruit pies or tarts (pasties) where probably first made in the 1500s. English tradition credits making the first cherry pie to Queen Elizabeth I.

Pie came to America with the first English settlers. The early colonists cooked their pies in long narrow pans calling them “coffins” like the crust in England. As in the Roman times, the early American pie crusts often were not eaten but simply designed to hold the filling during baking. It was during the American Revolution that the term crust was used instead of coffyn.

Over the years, pie has evolved to become what it is today “the most traditional American dessert.” Pie has become so much a part of American culture throughout the years, that we now commonly use the term “as American as apple pie.”

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This article is courtesy of piecouncil.org. The 2009 Great American Pie Festival will be held April 25 and 26 in Celebration, Fla., and will feature countless pie varieties and a never-ending pie buffet. It will be held in conjunction with the APC/Crisco® National Pie Championships (April 24-26), where commercial, professional, junior chef and amateur pie-makers will compete to earn the title of America’s best pie. Check them out for more pie related info!