On October 6th, you can join me at Surfas in Los Angeles to learn how to make the best homemade versions of store-bought treats.
In this 3-hour hands-on baking class, you will get to make each of the following recipes and take them home
Here's a sneak peak into the baking secrets you'll learn in this Sunday's class:
A lot of people think that Twinkies are just a filled "butter cake", which is a traditional type of cake where butter and sugar are creamed together, then whole eggs are beat in, followed by flour and a leavening (rising) agent like baking powder, and lastly milk. Butter cakes are denser than a Twinkie, which is actually a different type of cake called a "sponge cake".
While sponge cakes use butter and eggs, sponge cake recipes call for whipping egg whites into the consistency of whipped cream, then mixing those fluffy whites (nearly a meringue) into the batter, which results in a lighter "spongy" type cake.
If you buy a Hostess brand Twinkie bake pan, the recipe they provide in their kit is for a butter cake (not a sponge cake), which means that your homemade twinkies won't be as light as the real thing.
Come to class this Sunday and actually make a butter cake and a sponge cake and see the delicious difference! And make a delicious version of the homemade Twinkie too!
Buy tickets today right here:
Everyone's had spaghetti and meatballs, but have you ever had Spaghetti *IN* Meatballs?
Here are a few of my meatball making tips not in the video:
Go make these meatballs and sneak them into #Cloudy2: It beats $8 popcorn.
You guys have been asking for it and it's now here!
I've partnered with Surfas Los Angeles again! The next hands-on baking class is going to feature the homemade versions of your favorite store-bought treats.
You will learn to make these treats without using the ingredients that you can't pronounce. Speaking of which, did you see that article where they listed the 37 ingredients in the storebought Twinkie?
Students will work in our test kitchen to make the following treats:
Buy tickets online here:
I recently partnered up with a private chef catering business, at first to help develop a seasonal recipe book, and now I'm working both as an occasional private chef and in the corporate office helping to build this new company. Pretty exciting stuff!
At the office, we decided we wanted to give new clients an edible gift, so we sourced a cookie maker who specialized in creative cookies package in cute little bags for giving away. We ordered 65 cookie gifts, and since we had never tasted the cookies, we decided to taste one before we gave them away. They. Were. Horrible. One of the cookies was a key lime cookie that had been injected with so much artificial green food coloring it looked as if it was radioactive.
In a pinch, we decided that I would make the cookies for the company: not a stretch given that I'm an award-winning pastry chef!
I looked around the test kitchen and saw half a jar of Nutella, some chocolate chips, and a handful of toasted hazelnuts. Then it hit me! We were going to make Nutella Chocolate Chip Cookies with toasted hazelnuts.
The cookies were delicious. They had a great chocolate flavor that was balanced by the hazelnut flavor that came through as a result of the Nutella and the toasted hazelnuts.
I'm going to share the recipe with you, and embedded in the recipe are some professional baking tips that I know will help you make the perfect cookies!
Nutella Chocolate Chip Cookies
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup Nutella
1/2 cup sugar, granulated white
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
¾ cup dark chocolate chips* (*reserve ¼ Cup for chopping). You can use semi-sweet in a pinch.
This recipe can easily be doubled. It will make about a dozen 3” cookies.
1. Preheat oven to 375.
2. Chop ¼ cup of the chocolate chips into smaller, coarsely chopped pieces. Set aside with remaining chocolate.
3. In a mixing bowl, combine unsalted butter and Nutella just until combined.
4. Add sugars to the mixing bowl, and mix just until combined.
5. Add the egg, and mix for 30 seconds, or just until egg is combined. Add the vanilla.
It is here that most people make a crucial mistake in cookie baking: they over-mix the batter. Unlike cake batter making, when making cookies you don’t want to beat eggs and sugars for 3-4 minutes until they are fluffy and aerated. Over-mixing cookie dough in this step will negatively alter the structure of your cookie. So, just mix that egg until it’s mixed into the butter and sugar, and when you no longer see the yolks, stop mixing.
6. In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt). Slowly add the flour mixture into the butter mixture.
7. Stop mixing when you no longer see the white flour peeking through your brown cookie dough. Again, you don’t want to over-mix.
8. Mix in the chocolate.
9. Scoop your cookie dough into equal sized balls. I like to use a cookie or ice cream scoop with a trigger spring, specifically a size 30# disher/scoop, but you can also use regular ol spoons as well.
Now here is a pro-baking tip:
Once you scoop your cookie dough into balls, freeze your cookie dough for at least 15 minutes before baking. Have you ever baked a cookie from scratch and wondered why they weren't as perfectly round as the cookies you've bought at a bakery? This is the secret of the pros! We bake cookies from the frozen state.
You are more likely to get a perfectly round cookie when cold dough enters the hot oven. Fresh cookie dough is soft and the butter in that cookie is at room temperature. This softened butter and cookie dough means butter in that fresh cookie dough will start to melt before the cookie has “set” into the perfect circle. This is why cookies spread when you bake them fresh (versus refrigerating or freezing the dough first.)
10. Time to Bake. Place your chilled (or frozen) cookie dough on an parchment-lined baking sheet and bake until edges are golden brown. Bake time depends on the size of the cookie you make.
Whether I'm making Salted Caramel Ice Cream, or using this incredibly delicious sauce to drizzle all over my apple hand pies, this recipe really only requires a pan and a spoon. No thermometers, no special steps. You just have to use your eyes to make sure the caramel doesn't burn.
Salted Caramel Sauce
2/3 Cup granulated white sugar
1 C cups heavy cream, warmed in the microwave to about 170 degrees (hot to the touch, but not boiling)
2 tbsp unsalted butter
½-1 teaspoon flaky sea salt, such as Maldon. (do this at the end, to your taste)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1. Pour sugar into the bottom of a skillet. *Chefs Note: I prefer non-stick skillet for the easy cleanup.
2. Heat sugar over medium heat. You’ll start to see it melt and turn into a brown color
3. While sugar is melting, warm heavy cream until it is hot to the touch. About the temperature of a piping hot cup of coffee. *Chefs Note: Warming the cream makes it easier to incorporate into the hot caramel. Cold cream will cause the boiling hot caramel mixture to seize.
4. Once the sugar is all dissolved and is amber in color, remove pan from heat and slowly add in the warm cream. *Chefs Note: The mixture will bubble, but will calm down as you continue to whisk in the cream.
5. Add butter and swirl around until melted.
6. Add sea salt and vanilla and stir until dissolved.
7. Use immediately, or cool in a container (like a jar). To store, cover and refrigerate. Use within 2 weeks.
Dishing on Movies is a special project of mine where Dale and I create recipes inspired by movies.
For the first time ever, Dale and I were invited to the red carpet premiere of Fast & Furious 6, and it was pretty amazing. You can watch our VLOG coverage here:
For the newest edition of the #Fast&Furious franchise, Fast & Furious 6, we were inspired by the location shots in Spain. So much so that the recipe we chose to create for the movie was a Fast 6-ingredient Paella featuring Chorizo and Shrimp. Learn to make the recipe by watching this week's episode of Dishing on Movies.
Fast and Furious 6: 6 Ingredient Paella
1.) Make the Saffron Rice (listed below), set aside. This can be done in advance.
2.) Make the Sofrito: This is your traditional flavor base. This can be made in advance
3.) Cook Protein: Add olive oil to a pan and bring to temperature. Slice chorizo and sauté until done. Remove from pan. Next, add your shrimp and cook 2 minutes on side #1 and 1 minutes on side #2. Remove shrimp.
4.) Add Sofrito: Into the fat and meat juices, add 1 cup of the sofrito. Cook until warmed through.
5.) Add Rice: Add 5 Cups of room-temperature Saffron Rice to the sauté pan with ¼ cup of liquid. (chicken stock or white wine or water.) Warm through.
6.) Add Peas: Add room-temperature peas to the rice and stir.
7.) Add Chorizo: Add ¾ cooked chorizo into the rice and stir.
8.) Assemble the Paella: Place shrimp on top of the rice, as well as the remaining chorizo. Place lid on top of dish and let steam for 1-2 mins.
9.) Finish: Finish with an optional squeeze of lemon juice and a dusting of Italian parsley, finely chopped
2 cups of medium grain rice
3 1/2 cup of liquid
30 Saffron fronds
1). Make Saffron Water: Bring 3 1/2 Cups of liquid to a simmer. Add Saffron. Simmer for 2 minutes. Then bring to a boil.
2.) Rinse Rice: Rinse the rice once, moving your fingers through the rice, until the water runs pure without any milkiness. Drain.
3.) Cook Rice: Place the rice in a pot. Add enough water to cover the rice by 3/4 inch.
An easy way to measure the water is to use the knuckle test – the water should come up to the first joint of your knuckle. (If you need a measurement, consider this: For 1 1/2 cups rice, I use just over 1 3/4 cups water).
4.) Bring to a Boil: Bring the rice to a boil, uncovered. Boil 1 minute.
5.) Reduce Heat, Continue Cooking: Once rice has boiled, turn the heat down to the lowest setting. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
6.) Remove from Heat: Keep covered: Remove the rice from the heat and allow to sit, still covered, for at least 10 minutes.
7.) Fluff and Serve: Fluff rice with a fork before serving.
1 medium onion, diced
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 can of crushed tomatoes (approx. 15oz)
1 tbsp crushed garlic
2 tsp paprika
1 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1.) In a sauté pan, sauté onion into olive oil until softened.
2.) Add the garlic, and sauté a minute.
3.) Add the paprika and continue to sauté another minute.
4.) Next, add the crushed tomatoes and tomato paste. Cook together until mixture has thickened into a jam-like consistency.
5.)Cool and use in any dish, like eggs or the Fast6 Paella
On this week's episode of Dishing on Movies, we team up with @HappiLeeErin to make Pokemon-inspired, Poke Ball Cake Pops.
To make these delicious Cake Pops, you can use your own favorite recipe for cake and frosting, or even buy store bought if you wish. But, in case you want to make it extra special, extra delicious, and homemade, you can follow these Basic Vanilla Cake and Buttercream recipes from the Kiss My Bundt Cookbook.
Kiss My Bundt Bakery's Basic Vanilla Cake
- 2½ cups all-purpose flour
- 2½ tsp. baking powder
- ½ tsp. salt
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter
- 1-3/4 cups granulated sugar
- 3 eggs, at room temperature
- 1½ tsp. vanilla
- 1¼ cups whole milk
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift flour, baking powder and salt together. Set aside.
2. Beat butter with an electric mixer at medium speed until creamy. Slowly add sugar. Beat on medium speed until the mixture is fluffy, about 2 minutes.
3. Crack eggs, one at a time, into a separate bowl and add to batter one at a time, blending well after each addition. Continue beating on medium speed for an additional 2 minutes.
4. Add vanilla to milk.
5. Beginning and ending with the flour mixture, mix 1/3 of the flour into the batter at a low speed, then 1/2 of the milk, alternating until all ingredients are combined.
6. Spray a baking pan (13x9x2) with baker’s cooking spray or grease and dust with flour. Pour the batter into the prepared Pan
7. Bake cake until an inserted toothpick comes out clean, about 40-45 minutes.
8. Invert cake onto a cooling rack. for 30 minutes then serve.
Kiss My Bundt Bakery's Basic Vanilla Buttercream Recipe
- 8 ounces of unsalted butter
- 4 cups of powdered sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1-3 tbsp milk
1. In a mixing bowl, beat butter until creamy.
2. Sift powdered sugar and slowly add into the butter mixture.
3. Beat butter and powdered sugar until incorporated. Add vanilla extract.
4. Add 1tbsp of milk to the mixture, at a time, until the frosting is a creamy "spreadable" consistency.
Today is Cinco De Mayo, a day which has become synonymous with margaritas and cervezas. For a unique spin on today's cocktails, I'm re-sharing one of my favorite sorbet recipes that you can have ready in less than 3 hours. So make it now, and enjoy it later with your nachos.
This Margarita Sorbet is sweet-tart (made to my taste preferences), and has a real bite of tequila. The tartness of the lime juice, the kick of tequila, and sweetness from the agave syrup, which comes from the same plant at tequila, are incredibly refreshing.
Margarita Sorbet Makes about 32 ounces (2 pints)
- 2 cups water
- 2 cup granulated sugar (you can use white or Raw sugar, but the raw will change the flavor, slightly)
- ½ Cup Agave Nectar
- 1 1/3 Cup fresh lime juice
- Juice of 1 navel orange. (about ½ cup)
- 2/3 cup of tequila
- finely grated zest of 3 limes
- finely grated zest of ½ of the navel orange used in this recipe
- Make a Simple Syrup: Stir water and sugar in a saucepot over medium heat until sugar dissolves, then increase heat to high and boil syrup for 4 minutes (to thicken the syrup).
- Mix and Cool: Stir simple syrup, agave syrup, lime juice, orange juice, tequila, and zest. Pour into a bowl and cool for at least 2 hours.
- Freeze your sorbet using an Ice Cream Maker: Transfer cooled sorbet base into an ice cream maker of your choice and process according to manufacturer's instructions. About 20 minutes later when done, transfer sorbet into a freezer-safe to container with a lid. Cover sorbet and freeze until firm, at least 2 hours.
Don’t have an ice cream maker?
- Freeze your sorbet using a bowl and a fork:
- Mix It: Once you have chilled your sorbet base, put in a freezer safe bowl and place in the freezer for 30 minutes.
- Scrape it: After 30 minutes, remove from freezer and break up the frozen mixture with a fork. The mixture will be pretty frozen on the edges and still pretty loose in the middle, so make sure to break it all up
- Freeze it: Place back in the freezer for 30 minutes.
- Scrape It: Just like before, after 30 minutes, remove from freezer and break up the frozen mixture with a fork. This time it will be pretty close to sorbet.
- Freeze it: Place back in the freezer for 45 minutes.
- Eat: At this point, the sorbet should be fully frozen and ready to eat.
- Because this sorbet wasn't churned in an ice-cream maker (where air and whipped in and the ice crystals were minimized) this sorbet won't be as smooth as you're probably used to.
- To make the mixture smoother: You could pulse this mixture in a food processor or a blender for about 10 seconds to get to that consistency.
Years ago, Butternut Squash Puree was one of those things I loved to eat, but relegated it meals enjoyed at a restaurant. To me, the idea of roasting the squash for 30 minutes before I could even prepare my dish was 30 minutes I’d rather spend making my entire meal.
Then I discovered the ease of cooking said squash in the microwave oven and I’ve been pureeing it up ever since!
This Butternut Squash Puree starts with a quick cooking in a microwave oven (cutting roasting time by two-thirds) and is then finished in a blender. All of this in about 15 minutes!
The result is a delicious smooth, almost sauce-like accompaniment that is perfect with fish, chicken, or pork. And, it couldn’t be easier thanks to the use of the microwave. If you want to have a Mashed Butternut Squash, this recipe works too! All you need to do is omit step #10.
This recipe plays up the sweeter side of Butternut Squash because we paired it with a Malibu-spiced Red Snapper on an episode of Dishing On Movies. The contrast of the sweet-ish puree with the spicy fish was a match made in
heaven Malibu. If you want more of a savory dish, you could omit the sugar and cinnamon and add your own spices like cumin.
1 small butternut squash (mine was 1.5 lbs and yielded 1 cup of puree).
3 tablespoons of butter
2 tbsp of milk
1 ½ tbsp of brown sugar
2 pinches (about 1/8 tsp) of ground cinnamon
salt and white pepper* to taste (you can use black pepper. White pepper gives us the kick w/o seeing the black specks in our final puree).
1. Wash the outside of the squash.
2. Using a sharp knife, slice squash in half and remove the seeds.
3. Place the squash cut-side-down onto a microwave safe dish.
4. Using a fork, pierce the skin of the squash (about 5 times on each half). This will allow steam to release.
5. Microwave for 7 minutes.
6. Remove squash from the microwave. Be careful, it will be very hot. If the meat doesn’t release from the skin very easily, continue to microwave in 1-minute increments. This squash took a total of 11 minutes to get tender.
7. Let the squash sit for 5 minutes to cool down so that you can handle it. It will be VERY hot when it’s first removed from the oven.
8. Using a spoon, scoop out the tender squash meat and place in a bowl. Add butter, milk, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Stir or mash together.
9. At this step, you could eat this butternut squash as a sort of rustic mash. If you’d like the kind of puree that you see in the video, that has the texture the allows for a fancy “plating” of your dish using the puree and the back of a spoon, follow step 10.
10. Place your squash mash into a blender or food processor, and pulse for about 8 seconds, or until you see that it’s a smooth texture.
11. Taste and season to your preference. You could add cumin, cayenne pepper, or any spice you like. Or you could leave it as it.
Remember this butternut squash puree can be used as a “sauce” for pasta or rice and can also double as a baby food (but omit the milk, butter, sugar and spices for baby. Instead, use a little apple juice to facilitate the puree)
If you wanna learn how to make the Malibu-spiced Red Snapper, take a look at this week's #IronMan3 inspired episode of Dishing on Movies
If you wanna learn how to make the Malibu-spiced Red Snapper, take a look at this week's #IronMan3 inspired episode of Dishing on Movies