Tag: Desserts

The Afterlife of a Vanilla Bean

by in How-to, May 23rd, 2012

vanilla beans
Every year in the restaurant and out in the field, I use a truckload of vanilla beans. To me, they are as important as flour, sugar, butter and eggs. I consider the vanilla bean the fifth essential ingredient.

So imagine gallons of ice cream flecked with pounds of vanilla beans. Yummers! And how about custards by the kilo with an equal amount of this decadent vanilla sprinkled through every last bite?

So what do you do with pods that served their duty, sometimes even double duty? I could throw them away, but that wouldn’t be prudent. They are extremely expensive and too special to sit in a landfill somewhere in Florida, never really enjoying the fruits of their labor.

A flashbulb went off in my brain. No, not the same magical 60 watt summoning to life the Easy-Bake Oven of my childhood, but a bigger and brighter new fangled one. I realized if I washed the used pods and dried them slowly in the oven on very low heat, I could grind them in a spice or coffee grinder and have the most wonderful vanilla dust.

Get Hedy’s Vanilla Dust recipe

How to Use Salt in Sweets

by in How-to, May 9th, 2012

salt
Savoring dessert carries a double meaning in my book. To fully enjoy most sweets, whether they are chocolate, fruit or candy-based, a little salt goes a long way to make the flavors pop. As the pastry chef at Miami’s top restaurant, I’m always trying to nudge guests a little bit outside their comfort zone. Sometimes the easiest way to do it is by baking some kosher salt into raw sugar-dusted sesame shortbread for a supportive boost you wouldn’t even know unless I told you. Or, better yet, go a little more obvious with a sprinkle of light and flaky Maldon sea salt on top of creamy, frozen truffle-like Milk Chocolate Cremoso. I love the raised eyebrows it provokes upon hitting the table — of course shortly followed by the, “Oh, I see, this completely makes sense,” look.

Just think about it. While it’s probably not the first thing that comes to mind when you think of dessert, it’s actually not that far-fetched of an idea. We’ve been baking salt into our desserts since we were kids. (Remember the Nestlé Toll House cookies package?) When baking at home, think outside the salt shaker. Try to pay attention to the types of salt you are using as there’s likely a perfect variety for each application in both the savory and the sweet kitchen.

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Hop to It: Make Your Own Easter Sweets

by in Holidays, Recipes, April 5th, 2012


No matter how much candy you may find in your Easter basket or waiting for you in dozens of hidden eggs, on Easter Sunday there always seems to be room for another piece of something sweet, right? This holiday, after you finish another successful dinner of roast lamb or glazed ham, celebrate creative and traditional treats by baking up a few of Food Network’s favorite Easter desserts, like Coconut-Covered Bunny Cake, Hot Cross Buns, Carrot Cake and more. Kids and grownups alike will enjoy these after-dinner indulgences, and you’ll be pleased because they’re a cinch to put together.

A go-to, last-minute dessert, Food Network Kitchens’ Easter Bunny Cake (pictured above) is a no-bake recipe that can be made in just one hour, thanks to pre-baked or store-bought cake. After building the bunny and covering it in creamy buttercream frosting and sweet coconut, embellish it with any extra Easter candy you have on hand, like licorice and jelly beans. Check out how the Kitchens assembles their realistic-looking rabbit.

A holiday staple in many homes, Easter Egg Bread is light, flaky and bursting with a refreshing light lemon flavor. Food.com’s recipe yields a golden-brown loaf that is dotted with colorful shelled eggs and drizzled with a sweet citrus glaze. Save leftover slices of bread for breakfast tomorrow and spread each with a thin layer of room-temperature butter before enjoying.

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Best 10 Dessert Recipes of 2011

by in Recipes, December 26th, 2011


Hope you’ve saved room for dessert. We’ve compiled a list of our top 10 dessert recipes of the year that will finish any meal on a sugary note. Bake up a batch of 2011’s best today and celebrate the sweetest dishes of the year.

10. Pumpkin Cheesecake — Bake a rich pumpkin-cream cheese filling atop a crumbly graham cracker crust to create this family favorite.

9. Pumpkin Pie — Not just a holiday dessert, pumpkin pie can be enjoyed year-round with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or generous dollop of whipped cream.

8. Zucchini Bread — Fragrant cinnamon and nutmeg add warmth and subtle spice to Paula’s 5-star dish, made with grated zucchini and chopped walnuts.

7. Cream Cheese Frosting — Equal parts butter and cream cheese offer a tried-and-true taste to this favorite frosting, often featured with red velvet goods.

6. Southern Red Velvet Cake — This triple-layer beauty is frosted with a smooth cream cheese topping and dusted with crushed pecans.

Get the top five recipes »

Make and Freeze Pie Dough — Thanksgiving Tip of the Day

by in Holidays, November 11th, 2011

rolling out pie crust
If you’re using homemade pie crusts, make the dough now and freeze it in freezer bags. Defrost the dough and bake your pies the day before Thanksgiving.

Start making your Thanksgiving desserts with the help of these video tutorials.

Browse more of Food Network’s Thanksgiving recipes and tips.

Red, White and Blueberries

by in Holidays, Recipes, July 1st, 2011

retro picnic
This Fourth of July, whether you’re hosting a holiday cookout or will be a guest at a backyard bash, Food Network has recipes for simple, patriotic party desserts to celebrate this all-American holiday. These fruit-filled, flag-inspired treats can be easily packed for spill-free and frosting smudge-proof car rides, and will be enough to feed a whole crowd of firework-happy friends.

Food Network Magazine’s Fruit-Tart Flag (pictured above) is the ultimate star-spangled sweet. Store-bought mini tarts are filled with sweetened mascarpone cheese and topped with colorful fresh berries. Best of all, these two-bite stripes and stars are easily transported in shoe boxes and can be assembled at the party.

More patriotic dessert recipes »

Thanksgiving Dessert of the Day: Paula’s Pumpkin Bars

by in Holidays, November 11th, 2010
Pumpkin Bars
Paula's Pumpkin Bars make a great take-along Thanksgiving treat.

Paula’s Pumpkin Bars are the perfect Thanksgiving treat to take to a friend’s house or an office party. They’re quick and easy (see how Paula makes them), yet full of that pumpkin-y goodness that’s so essential during the fall season. The best part about these pumpkin bars is the rich, buttery frosting (using a whole stick of butter and a package of cream cheese!). Do not skimp on the frosting. Slather it on to make this pumpkin dessert completely irresistible.

Browse more Thanksgiving dessert recipes from Food Network chefs, to find the perfect finale for your feast. And for hundreds more ideas, recipes and menus for your feast, check out FoodNetwork.com/Thanksgiving.

$25K Dessert? Sweet! The Showdown

by in View All Posts, April 15th, 2010
Competitor Andrea Gaskins's Apple Crisp Bread Pudding

After four weeks of savory showdowns, bakers finally took the spotlight on Ultimate Recipe Showdown last Sunday. The Cakes and Desserts competition was a sweet tooth’s fantasy: Layer cakes, cupcakes, crisps and cobblers, brownies (topped with cookie dough!) and more.

Food Network Kitchens’ Katherine Alford, our in-house URS judge, is back this week to share some tips for baking perfection. And for those days when there’s barely enough time to preheat the oven, she gives her favorite quick and simple dessert ideas.

FN Dish: This round can be tough timing-wise, since most of the cakes have to bake and then cool down enough to be frosted. Any tips for speeding up this process when you’re in a time crunch and need to get the frosted cake to a party?
Katherine Alford: Cakes really do need time to ripen. Not just for icing, but also for flavor. Smaller is better obviously, like a cupcake—they cool down quicker. But always cool a cake on a rack out of the pan, and cool the layers separately. Pop it in the fridge first to cool it down and then move it to the freezer.

FN Dish: Cupcakes are huge right now. Can you make any cake recipe into cupcakes, or are there some that don’t work as well? What should you keep in mind when using a cake recipe to make cupcakes?
KA: Simple cakes often work as cupcakes, but not always. I think chocolate works better. Don’t over-fill the molds and bake for less time. Sarah Copeland, one of our recipe developers and a cupcake expert, suggests, too, that dense cakes (like carrot cake) make better cupcakes. The airy sponge cakes just get flat and tend to leak over the sides. Thick cake batters (dense cakes) hold their shape better and sometimes even dome a touch in muffin tins.

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Sunny’s Dish Party – “Desserts”

by in View All Posts, View Video Only, February 9th, 2009

Subbing for Bruce, Sunny Anderson gets the behind-the-scenes dish from the “Dessert” episode of Ultimate Recipe Showdown.