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Carla Hall’s Mixed Berry Shortcake Mug-cake Is Exactly What You Need This 4th Of July

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Perfect for making sure your celebration is a hootie-hoot.

The grill gets all the glory at 4th of July celebrations but what cookout would be complete without a little patriotic dessert? Well luckily for us the confectionary queen Carla Hall gave a virtual appearance on The Talk earlier this week and shared a recipe for her Mixed Berry Shortcake Mug Cake. And let me just say it looks good enough to stick a flag in.

In my opinion Carla can do no wrong. Her recipes match her cheery disposition so you know anything she makes is going to put a smile on your face. This recipe seems pretty straight forward even though it contains the word “macerate.” (Don’t worry though, that’s just a fancy way of saying the fruit will soften as you let it sit.) The best part about Carla’s celebratory confection is that eating the entire mug is much more calorie conscious than eating an entire sheet cake so you are really doing your body a favor here. It’s simple math really.

Here’s the recipe:

Mixed Berry Shortcake Mug Cake
(Makes 2 cakes and about 4 cups of macerated strawberries and blueberries)
Strawberries
1 pint strawberries, hulled and quartered
1 pint blueberries
1/4 – 1/2 cup strawberry jam
2 tablespoons granulated sugar, if necessary
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Yellow Cake 
⅓ cup all purpose flour
⅓ cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 egg
3 tablespoons milk
½ teaspoon vanilla paste or 1 teaspoon pure vanilla
Whipped cream
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Prepare the strawberries:
1. Place the cut strawberries, blueberries, jam, sugar (if using), and lemon juice in a medium bowl. Toss to combine. Set aside to macerate.
Make the cakes:
1. Set aside two large mugs (12oz) or microwavable bowls.
2. Combine the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt) in a medium bowl.
3. Combine the butter and oil. Stir into the dry ingredients.
4. In another small bowl, whisk the egg until light yellow; add in the milk and vanilla. Fold in the flour mixture until combined. Do not over mix.
5. Divide batter between the two mugs. Cook on HIGH for 1½ -2 minutes or until the cake has risen and is set. Cool slightly.
Make the whipped cream:
1. While the cakes cool, prepare the whipped cream. In a metal bowl, combine the heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla.
2. Whip until soft peaks form.

Then you just assemble the dessert with the cake on the bottom, berries in the middle and the whipped cream on top and voila the perfect Independence Day dessert is complete. If you want to see Carla make the dessert from start to finish check out the video below!

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Crowd Pleasers

This Tabletop S’Mores Grill Gets Big Wows At A Small Price

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I went to big lengths to make a fancy dinner. What stole the show? The 16 dollar table top hibachi grill we used for indoor S’mores.

Does it sound like I’m complaining? I’m not. I love anything that garners oohs and ahs. And considering how simple this was to do, this did in a big way! And let’s face it – while summer may be the season for s’mores, it’s often too damn hot for a campfire, building fires are often a task, keeping them lit a chore, and putting them out a pain. Okay, I’m not this negative, but let me tell you, on a 90 degree day, forgoing the hassle of a fire is a relief in of itself. This mini table top grill, a plate of s’mores fixins, and sitting inside at your table? That’s the perfect blend of showmanship and convenience.

The tabletop grill is roughly the size of a large coffee mug. You fill it with sterno fuel, light it, and the party begins. Realistically, because the grill is small, I would say it’s best to have one for every two people. We had a dinner party for six people, and while we had three, we could have been fine with two. I do find though, that it’s most fun to partner up with another person and have one per couple. The grill is small enough that you’ll only realistically be able to roast one marshmallow at a time.

My dog Friday was captivated. His dreams of trying one went unfulfilled.

We did want to add a slight twist, so in addition to the typical Hershey bars, we also added in the ‘thin’ Reese’s peanut butter cups. Of course, peanut butter is a crowd pleaser, so that was a hit too. I’m tell you, your friends and family will really enjoy the whole experience!

There are lots of links for table top hibachi grills, but to find the one I got, visit my Amazon storefront, where I list my cooking and Snackist favorites!

Of course, with any fire, you have to use caution. Sterno is regularly used indoors, but because this is not your traditional use, you want to exercise caution and not let kids run wild without supervision.

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Ben & Jerry’s Shared Their Secret Recipe For Edible Cookie Dough And It Looks Dough Good

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Finally, a fearless way to eat cookies in their truest form.

By now, we know that the raw eggs and untreated flour in cookie dough can make us sick. By now, we also know there’s no resisting the urge to sneak a taste of that delectable dough right from the bowl it was mixed in. We are only human! Well, there is a way to enjoy all the raw cookie dough you want by simply omitting the eggs and heat treating the flour and luckily for us, Ben & Jerry’s just shared their scrumptious looking secret recipe.

Credit: Ben & Jerry’s

First things first: how the heck do you heat treat flour? According to Ben & Jerry’s official website “there are two main ways to heat treat flour so that it’s safe to eat in edible cookie dough. The easiest method is to microwave your flour on high until it reaches 165°F throughout. Use an instant-read thermometer to make sure that it has all reached 165°F, then stir it into your edible cookie dough recipe as usual. The other method is to heat your flour in a conventional oven. Spread the flour out on a rimmed baking sheet and bake it in a preheated oven at 300°F in 2-minute intervals, checking the temperature after each interval until it reaches 165°F throughout.”

Sounds simple enough! The edible dough making process is actually altogether simple, plus it will keep in an airtight container for one week in the fridge or six months in the freezer. Who has that kind of self control to wait six months to enjoy the deliciousness?

Recipe

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time:  15 minutes
Total Yield: About 2 cups

  • 8 tbsp. unsalted butter (1 stick), room temperature
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 tbsp. heavy cream
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 cup flour
  •  ½ cup chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Heat treat your flour. Do not skip this step!
  2. Using a stand mixer, beat the sugar and butter until fluffy.
  3. Add in the vanilla, cream, and salt and mix to combine.
  4. Add the heat treated flour and mix to incorporate.
  5. Fold in the chocolate chips
  6. Enjoy! No more worrisome dough eating!

This recipe is definitely a game changer and with the seal of approval from Ben & Jerry’s you know it’s going to be delicious!

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Royal Chef Dishes On Secret Ingredient Used In Queen’s Favorite Summer Pudding Recipe

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A pudding fit for a queen…or anyone who likes British desserts.

I think I would like to be a member of the royal family for no other reason than to have full access to a premiere chef with an envoy of desserts in his arsenal ready to be whipped up at any given time. I’d want my royal title to be Prince of Desserts. I would want to sit a top my royal scone. And I would surely let my kingdom eat cake. But since this all sounds like a delusional daydream brought on by low blood sugar, perhaps I should just learn how make one of the Queen Elizabeth’s favorite desserts from her former chef, Darren McGrady. Luckily for me on the latest installment of his YouTube series, McGrady shares a dessert recipe fit for royalty.

According to the former royal chef, Summer Pudding is one of the Queen’s favorite desserts and is perfect to make this time of year. The pudding is dairy free showcasing mostly bread and berries and was a healthy alternative to some the heavier puddings Britain was famous for back in the 19th-century. The Buckingham Palace chefs nicknamed the pudding “Grease Pudding” as they would often insert its name into the lyrics from the hit musical; “Summer pudding, happened so fast…Summer pudding, had me a blast.” McGrady even sings a few bars before realizing that we are really just here for the desserts…Luckily he is an expert at making desserts and nice enough to share his secret ingredient too (spoiler alert: vanilla paste), making this tutorial totally worth watching!

Summer Pudding

Ingredients:

2 lb mixed berries (strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, and cherries)

1 ½ cups sugar (optional)

½ cup water

8 slices hearty white bread, several days old

1 tsp vanilla paste

sprigs of mint for garnish

  1. In a large pan add the cherries first, along with the sugar (optional)
  2. Once the cherries soften, add the strawberries, then the blackberries, and then the blueberries
  3. Let simmer
  4. Meanwhile, slice the bread. Create a circle to fit the bottom of a bowl. Piece the rest of the bread together at an angle to mold to the shape of the inside of the bowl.
  5. Add the raspberries to the berry mixture
  6. Drizzle fruit with McGrady’s “secret ingredient” aka vanilla paste
  7. Drain the juice from the fruit mixture
  8. Dip the circlular bread into the juice and lay on the bottom of the bowl
  9. Do the same thing with the rest of the bread until you create a mold
  10. Spoon the berries into the middle, adding some more bread on top
  11. Refrigerate for around six hours, saving some leftover juice for later
  12. After taking it out of the fridge, gently remove the pudding from the bowl by using a spatula to ease out the edges, then turn it upside down, giving it a little shake, and lift
  13. Drizzle the remaining juice and place the mint on top of the pudding for garnish.
  14. Voila! Your royal dessert is ready!

There you have it, a berry good dessert that would make any peasant feel like queen for a day…or at least a meal. You can check out more of McGrady’s royal creations here!

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