Just the Tip
Search
Categories
Have a request?
This form does not yet contain any fields.

     

    Entries in fast and easy (70)

    Tuesday
    Oct082013

    Mace will make you scream... for ice cream!

    It may come as news to you that mace is more than just pepper spray.  Or you might also know it as a weapon like this. 

    The mace I’m talking about today has no relation to either of those, whatsoever.  This mace is actually a spice that comes from the nutmeg tree.  In this picture, the brown nut on the left is an example of nutmeg.  At the bottom, in the middle you can see an example of mace.  It is that red coating surrounding the nutmeg within.  When it is peeled off and dried, it turns more of an orange color.  It is then ground into a fine powder.    

    I know, it doesn’t look like anything special, but trust me, it can turn store bought vanilla ice cream into a gourmet dessert. 

    Here’s what you’ll need:

    • Vanilla ice cream
    • Mace

    Yep, just two ingredients.  The hardest part of this will be getting your hands on some mace.  If you don’t have a Penzeys near you, you can order it from their website.  Yes, it is a little on the expensive side, but even for just this one application, it’s worth every penny.  All you have to do is scoop some of your favorite vanilla ice cream into a bowl. 

    And now for the really complicated part… sprinkle on some mace. 

    You have now turned ordinary vanilla ice cream into spice cream!  I know it doesn’t look like much, but it truly is fabulous.  You could even serve it to guests, and they are guaranteed to rave. 

    What’s your favorite brand of vanilla ice cream?

    Saturday
    Oct052013

    The Pumpkins, They Have Returned

    And along with the return of the pumpkins, come all the other wonderful things fall brings.  First and foremost, at least for me, a welcome relief from the heat.  As the temperatures drop and the leaves begin to turn I’m starting to see how people fall in love with this place.  As the stifling blanket dissipates, you can feel Virginia coming to life.  Perhaps it’s just because it’s my first autumn here, but it feels much more like a beginning than an end.  But back to food.  Is there anything better than all the spice stuff that comes with this time of year?  There’s a traditional progression from apple spice to pumpkin spice to eggnog and eventually to gingerbread.  As usual, I’ve ignored tradition and started with pumpkin.  Perhaps I’ll do apples next.  For now, I bring you these amazing pumpkin spice bars… cakes?... whatever.  Filled with warm spices, studded with chocolate chips, and topped with cream cheese frosting, they are to die for, and yet, they are so simple, you can throw them together in just a few minutes. 

    Here’s what you’ll need:

    • 1 ¼ cups flour
    • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
    • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
    • ¼ teaspoon cloves
    • ¼ teaspoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • ¾ cup sugar
    • 2 eggs
    • ⅓ cup buttermilk
    • ⅓ cup oil
    • 7.5 oz pumpkin (half of a 15 oz. can)
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla

    First things first.  Since these come together so quickly, go ahead and preheat your oven to 350° and butter an 8x8 pan. 

    Next, whisk together all your dry ingredients. 

    Add the chocolate chips and stir them into the mixture.  I prefer mini chocolate chips for this recipe, but if you don’t have any, go ahead and use the regular ones. 

    In another vessel, combine the buttermilk, eggs, oil, and vanilla. 

    Whisk them together thoroughly and add the pumpkin. 

    Whisk that in, and pour the whole thing over the dry ingredients. 

    At this point you want to lose the whisk and switch to a spatula or spoon.  Stir just until everything comes together.  Don’t over mix or you’ll end up with air tunnels because this is basically a muffin recipe.  In fact, you could certainly make muffins from this same recipe. 

    Pour the batter into your prepared pan.  I know, you can’t believe it was really that simple.   

    Spread it to the edges of the pan and smooth out the top.  Doesn’t that color just scream fall?

    Into the oven for about 35 minutes.  A toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean, and your kitchen will be filled with the aroma of all those fabulous spices.

    Now for the hard part.  That cake has to cool completely before it’s frosted.  I left mine overnight… well, most of it.  Ahem.  Ok!  Let’s start on the icing!  Half a block of cream cheese and 2 Tablespoons of butter walk into bowl… 

    I’m sorry, I couldn’t help myself.  Anyway, make sure they’re both softened and then mix them until they’re well combined and fluffy. 

    Sift in ¾ cup powdered sugar and a pinch of salt. 

    I know, sifting is a bit of a pain, but for some ingredients it’s just a necessary evil.  Unfortunately, powdered sugar is one of those ingredients.

    Mix until the sugar is completely incorporated and you have a smooth consistency. 

    I forgot to add vanilla before the sugar, but now will be fine.  Just a splash… maybe ½ teaspoon or so. 

    And more mixing.  We have now arrived at frosting perfection. 

    Spread that on top of your cake.  Mine seems to be missing a bit.  What?  Don’t judge me.  I was um… testing it.  I had to make sure my recipe was perfect.  OMG was it!

    I topped mine with a few pieces of shaved chocolate.  You could also use chocolate chips or even a sprinkling of nutmeg.  The mini chocolate chips are perfect because you never have an overwhelming flavor of chocolate.  It’s the perfect blend of chocolate, pumpkin, and spice. 

    What’s your favorite thing about fall?

     

     

    Page 1 ... 2 3 4 5 6 ... 35 Next 2 Entries »