Almost nothing is off-limits when I bake. I let my mind go in many places and see where it lands. Often, it’s in the freezer.
So, you’ve baked the cake and now it’s time to frost it. While you could opt for the traditional white or chocolate variety, a special occasion — or, perhaps, just a chilly snow day — calls for a pop of color. That’s where this week’s Most Popular Pin of the Week comes in.
Thanks to Food Network Magazine’s handy guide to DIY frosting colors, it’s now possible to tint your topping with more than just the usual red, yellow, green and blue dyes. Follow the easy system to know just how many drops of coloring it takes to turn out an entire rainbow of frosting colors, including Orange Soda (bright orange), Bubble Gum (hot pink) and Grasshopper Pie (a cool mint green).
For more baking inspiration, check out Food Network’s Let’s Bake board on Pinterest.
Get the Details: Frost by Numbers: How to Make Frosting Colors from Food Network Magazine
When you’re building your recipe repertoire, it’s best to look for the tried-and-true how-tos that you know are going to work well, those culinary workhorses that are easy to prepare and serve more than one purpose. That’s what this week’s Most Popular Pin of the Week is all about. For a go-to frosting recipe you’ll want to have in your back pocket, look no further than Food Network Kitchen’s quick-fix Cream Cheese Frosting (pictured above). It is made with only a few basic ingredients, turns out soft and fluffy every time, and shines atop cakes and cupcakes.
For more sweet ideas, visit Food Network’s Let’s Bake board on Pinterest.
Get the Recipe: Cream Cheese Frosting
This time of the year, when the days are short and bone-chillingly cold, I turn to citrus to help brighten my mood. I bring home clementines by the bagful, order boxes of sweet-tart Meyer lemons direct from California and peel myself at least one red grapefruit every afternoon as a snack.
Most of the time, my citrus consumption feels spare and virtuous, but occasionally I put a few lemons and limes to work in a less austere manner. I have a small, dense lemon loaf recipe that I adore. Lemon curd happens at least once a season in my kitchen. And this year, I’m having a hard time keeping myself away from Ree Drummond’s Lemon-Lime Pound Cake.
Why are the sweets at most airports dry, flavorless, high in fat and sugar, and oddly very appealing? Is it the cinnamon-sugar smell that drifts down the terminal corridor, reeling you in with the sweet smell of home? What about the smell of freshly baked soft pretzels or sugared nuts? Intoxicating, especially while traveling, when planning meals is sometimes too overwhelming.
Let’s talk cinnamon buns. I love my cinnamon bun recipe so much, and it’s pretty easy. I keep baked cinnamon buns in the freezer, individually wrapped and ready to go for mornings on the run. Just pop one of these bad boys in the microwave and it’s off to the airport (or work or school). You’ll be completely satisfied and never tempted again (maybe) by overly sweet airport buns. Check out this step-by-step how-to for my Bacon, Bourbon and Hazelnut Cinnamon Buns.
If there is one thing that most of us can agree on, it is that we have the best of intentions when it comes to New Year’s resolutions. We want to eat better, exercise more, watch less TV and save money.
But it is hard. While I cannot help with all of those resolutions, I can try to help with the “eating better.”
This stunning cake is a Naked Cake, or a cake that is made with less sugar and fat and has fewer calories. The trick to making a delicious chocolate naked cake is using a good-quality chocolate and a flavorful sugar substitute. The star of the cake is in fact the chocolate. I used a good-quality cocoa powder and mini chocolate chips and then complemented them with the sweet natural sugars found in the fruits that adorn the cake.
Add to that a homemade whipped cream (where you can control the sugar) and a no-fat chocolate sauce, and you have a decadent cake that will satisfy all your sweet cravings!
If you’re steering clear of store-bought food colorings but want to make colorful cookies or holiday gifts, I’m with you. As a mom of four small kids, I’ve been looking high and low for recipes that produce vibrant colors without chemicals, and these are the best I’ve found. Below are techniques for making three primary colors that you can use as is or mix to create orange, purple or green.
To make red, use raspberries, pure pomegranate juice or roasted beets.
To make yellow, use raw carrots or mangoes.
To make blue, use radicchio or red cabbage.
“I guess I’m a baking nerd,” says Dorie Greenspan with a sly smile. The award-winning cookbook author is standing in the middle of Food Network Kitchen, whisk in hand and talking about her latest book, Baking Chez Moi. “I’ve come to think of myself as a baking evangelist. I want people to have the satisfaction of making something themselves. So when I write, I try to imagine I’m talking to a newbie.” Dedicated to the home cooking she delights in during the four months a year she spends in Paris, Greenspan’s newest book is friendly and approachable, straddling both the high (Bubble Éclairs) and humble (Chocolate Chip Cookies). Her Custardy Apple Squares are an ideal mix of the two, and Greenspan happily demonstrated how to whip them up during her visit. “I love this recipe,” she says. “It’s so easy, so unfussy, so French.” Follow Dorie’s step-by-step how-to to make them at home.
For many sweets lovers, Greenspan’s name is synonymous with one thing above all: amazing cookies. So we couldn’t let her go without asking her to share a few of her best cookie tips, too. Here’s what we learned. Read more
For the d’Arabian family, the day after Thanksgiving is the official start of the holiday season. We put up holidays lights, shop for a Christmas tree, light up the fireplace (even though it’s 70 degrees) and decorate the house. The girls celebrate with a teapot full of homemade hot cocoa (tip: stir in a spoonful of pumpkin puree for a little extra fiber and vitamins), and we start our holiday baking. Our annual Mother-Daughter Holiday Tea is usually the first week of December, which means we typically have one or two weeks to bake up the treats. And because the holidays are our favorite time to share homemade gifts with friends, neighbors and teachers, we have plenty of baking to do!
My girls, of course, want to be part of it all, and that’s the fun of it — it’s a family activity! One of the best pieces of advice I can give parents who are looking to cook more with their kids is: Plan it for when you have plenty of time. Make it a Friday night activity after an early dinner, or spend Sunday afternoon with music on and the oven humming, keeping you cozy and warm while you bake away lazily. To get the baking done in time, then, we have to start early and freeze just about everything. So whether we are cooking for neighbors’ gifts or getting a jump-start on party food, I embrace make-ahead options that can be frozen (which in baking, is just about everything).
And that leads me to my No. 1 holiday baking secret weapon: my Simple Buttermilk Scones (pictured above) from Food Network Magazine. They are quick to make, they are scalable, and they are a versatile canvas for almost any flavor profile you can imagine — add tiny chocolate chips and fresh rosemary, or orange zest and dried basil, or dried edible lavender and chopped white chocolate.
Kids consider their stash of hard-earned Halloween candy sacred, so the concept of leftover candy is a fantasy in a lot of households. Before making any of these spooky desserts, you might need to hit the post-trick-or-treat sale aisles. Be prepared to receive a hero’s welcome when you bestow these bonus Halloween candy-based treats upon your loved ones this weekend.
Store-bought cake, frosting and brownies can be used as timesavers, or you can make your own. Do frost the cake and brownies yourself, because the frosting needs to be wet for the toppings to adhere properly. Incorporate Halloween-themed sprinkles into each recipe to up the fun factor even higher.