Cinnamon and Sugar-Dusted Cookies ~ Biscoitinhos de Nata com Canela e Açucar

Recipe by Tudogostoso.com, Photo by Priscillakittycat

Recipe by Tudogostoso.com, Photo by Priscillakittycat

In December of every year I remember something important I forgot to do at Christmas-time.  Quite some time ago I had the idea of hosting a Christmas party at an orphanage in my mom’s hometown, Januária.  When the holidays roll around I get so upset with myself for forgetting to save up and plan the party for the kids at the orphanage.  I haven’t been back to Januária since September 2012.  (Guilty conscience)

Sooo…at the suggestion of my friend Jessy, on January 1, 2017 I created a vision board for my wall.  (If you’re reading this Miss. Jess, thank you!)  On the vision board is a colorful combination of words that summarize, sometimes with secret initials and acronyms, my goals for 2017.  It is said that if you write down your goals and see them every day…you are more likely to accomplish them.  Yep, there’s always hope and it’s never too late to learn.

My intentions for 2017 include the orphanage party.  I will dress as Mrs. Claus.  (I hope that by then I can recruit a good-spirited, kind-hearted and possibly white-bearded Santa Claus to hand out gifts and take pictures with the kids.)  Other intentions for the year:  Continue learning Italian, become better and more consistent with yoga practice, take up painting, grant more wishes for The Make A Wish Foundation, be kinder to others, laugh more, communicate and express myself better and spend less money on clothing and frivolous things, among others.  Oh, I almost forgot.  I also hope to share recipes and write on this blog more often.  If cookies had feelings, these would be happy cookies.  They are great because you can leave them unwrapped on a cooked plate over several days and they still taste good.  Santa may decide to visit more than once.

1 cup of fresh whippping cream
3 cups of flour
1 tbsp baking powder
2 tbsp margarine
2 cups of sugar
1/2 cup sugar mixed with 1 heaping tsp of cinnamon to dust the cookies

Mix and knead all the ingredients until a dough forms.  Break off pieces and form the cookies.  Place the cookies on a buttered and floured cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 for approximately 20 minutes (time will vary depending on the oven).  When the cookies begin to turn golden remove them from the oven and roll them in the sugar and cinnamon mixture.


Faz tempo que eu não visito a cidade da minha mãe.  Estou com a conciência pesada.  Há alguns anos atrás tive a ideia de oferecer uma festa de natal para as crianças do orfanato de Januária.  Mas todo ano quando chega a época de natal eu me lembro que esqueçi de guardar dinheiro e fazer os planos.  Fico tão chateada comigo mesma.

Uma amiga sugeriu que eu criasse uma parede de metas.  Aceitei a sugestão.  Na lista colorida de metas para 2017 esta a festa no orfanato.  Espero que ate lá consigo recrutar um Papai Noel bem bonitinho, e bonzinho, talvez com a barba bem branquinha para me ajudar distribuir os presentes e tirar fotografias com as crianças.

Alem da festa, em 2017 pretendo continuar com as aulas de Italiano, aperfeiçoar as poses de Yoga, gastar menos em bobagens, comunicar melhor com as pessoas, ser mais amável, rir mais, e conhecer outros estados na América. Outra meta importante é compartilhar mais receitas no blog.

Se os biscoitos tivessem personalidade, estes seriam biscoitos felizes.  Ofereça para o Papai Noel e ele sempre voltará.

1 xícara (chá) de nata
3 xícaras (chá) de farinha de trigo
1 colher (sopa) de pó royal.
2 colheres (sopa) de margarina
2 colheres (sopa) de açúcar
1/2 xícara (chá) de açúcar e 1 colher (chá) bem cheia de canela em pó

Amasse todos os ingredientes juntos, até o ponto de enrolar.  Faça os biscoitos.  Coloque numa assadeira untada e polvilhada.  asse em forno regular.  O tempo de preparo varia de forno para forno.  Quando estiverem dourados por baixo, ja estarão prontos.

Depois de assados, passe-os na mistura de açucar e canela.

Serendipity: Finding something good without looking for it. ~ Encontramos as coisas boas da vida sem ter que procurar.

Porto - On the Douro River. O Cais da Ribeira

Porto – On the Douro River. O Cais da Ribeira

We are well into our trip to Portugal and so far we have only good things to say.  When we landed in Porto it felt like home.  It was kind of strange for all of us, we later discussed.  My mom loved the fact that we could walk anywhere and that the nearest cold beer was down the stairs from our apartment.  The water, the cool breeze on the Douro River, the sunshine, the wine.  We felt completely relaxed.  Time for sleep was scarce but that didn’t seem to affect our moods.

I couldn’t wait to be on this trip because I intended to entice you with photos of succulent cuisine and accompanying recipes.  But actually, this first post isn’t at all about food.

We spent our last day in Porto at the Ribeira (the banks of the Douro River),   which happens to be one of my favorite places on the planet.  We watched the people walking past, we drank beer and we chatted with the waiters.  By the time we left (and thanks to my mom), we were friends with the entire place.

Next stop was a restaurant, also on the river’s bank.  Before the Portuguese waiter could get our drink orders, my mom complimented his good looks and asked for a photo.  When we joked with her about the waiter and the kiss on the cheek that he gave her…mom told us we were just jealous because no one else in our group had stolen a kiss from a gorgeous Portuguese man.  Okay, better not argue with mom.

We saw some young boys, probably ages 8 or 9, jump off the pier and into the water.  The sun shone on the river and it glistened.  A man played with his dog, a Dalmatian.  A musician with his guitar sat in front of the restaurant and plucked a tune.  After dinner we left a little sad, knowing that it would be our last day in Porto.  I was in a slight daze, half conscious of my surroundings but half-mesmerized by the magic of the sunset.  The sunset is faithful; beautiful every time.  I had my back to the water and heard the voices of children play-fighting.  Something brushed against my back.  When I turned to look, it was the same young boys from the dock, one very blond, the other had light brown hair.  They wore pastel-colored swimming shorts.  One of the boys pulled the other in my direction while the boy twisted and turned trying to free himself.  But before he could get away, his friend pointed to him, then to me and made a heart shape with his two hands.  I giggled and gave him my heart back.  My little love and his friend ran off, laughing and playing.  And just like that…a boy on the Douro River stole my heart.  Life’s most beautiful moments happen unexpectedly.  Spontaneous yet familiar, embracing while freeing.  That is Porto.


Estamos aproveitando muito desta viagem ao Portugal.  Todos os passeios tem sido lindos e os Portugueses sempre acolhedores.  Quando o avião aterissou sentimos que estávamos em casa.  A minha mãe achou otimo a fartura de cerveja bem na praça onde ficava nosso hotel.  Era só descer a escada do apartamento.  A brisa do Rio Douro, o sol, o vinho…Estávamos completamente relaxadas.  Tivemos muito pouco tempo para dormir mas isto não afetou o nosso humor.

Eu esperei tanto esta viagem porque queria provocar você com fotos das comidas e as receitas portuguesas.  Ao invés disso resolvi falar sobre a beleza do Porto.  Quando menos esperamos, aparecem as coisas boas da vida.  Visitei o Porto pela primeira vez porque fui atrás de um amor.  Ele nao me quiz.  Doeu muito.  Mas o resultado positivo desta paixão foi que aprendi mais sobre um pais maravilhoso e agora tenho o prazer de compartilhar com a família e os amigos.  Conhecemos pessoas muito especiais e nos divertimos muito.

As crianças da foto estavam descansando depois de terem passado o dia brincando de pular do cais.  A recordação que marcou muito durante a viagem ao Portugal foi da felicidade de um amor espontâneo e inesperado.  O Porto me ensinou que a vida as vezes tira uma pessoa de nosso caminho sem explicação.  E que talvez um dia virá outra para alegrar o coração e preencher o vazio.

 

Rocky Road Ice Cream and Sardines

Häagen Daz Ice Cream from Publix. Italia Language Book, Sentieri.

Häagen Daz Ice Cream from Publix. Italian Language Book, Sentieri.

The work-week was long and intense.  My physical body was about to give out on Friday afternoon.  What kept it going was the mental image of a pint of Häagen Daz Rocky Road and a big spoon.  On my way out I wished my colleagues a good weekend.  When they asked about my plans…I didn’t give the answer a second thought.

“Eat a pint of Rocky Road ice cream and watch re-runs of NCIS, CSI or Law and Order…in that order.”

The good apple of the three 40-somethings said I should resist the urge, have some fruit and go for a run.  The one with more sense (divorced and lives life to the fullest) said I should save some Rocky Road for her.  She’s my donut-cravings confidant, the one who sends a happy face reply when I text a photo of the box of donuts in my car…on the way to the office.

The craving became stronger on Saturday.  I knew I needed that ice cream.  At the end of the day, after I had run errands and made frivolous purchases, I drove to the Winn-Dixie near my home.  I was in the pets aisle first and picked up those expensive little cans of cat food, some treats and two boxes of cat litter.  Then I stood in the frozen foods section.  I opened each of the tall glass doors and read the names of the flavors one by one.  There were two ladies (40-somethings, too) dressed in sweat pants and hoodies in the same aisle.  They smiled empathetically at me, as if saying, “I know how you feel”.  They discussed their options and chose two different flavors: double chocolate as well as mint chocolate.  I felt a connection to them.  It was Saturday night, the three of us had a worn look.  We wanted to be on our couches, wrapped in blankets and watching TV.  I could be wrong about them and their plans for the evening, but I’m pretty good at understanding people.

Satisfied with their choices the ladies left the ice cream aisle.  I stayed behind for a bit, still searching.  No Rocky Road.  I got in the check-out line behind the two ladies.   Some big, strong, good looking guy got in the same line behind me.  He had a twelve-pack of beer.  I laughed at myself (internally) and smiled at him; I probably looked so pathetic with…a shopping cart full of cat food, cat treats, cat litter…lettuce and kale (for the rabbit).  Oh well.

One of the ice cream ladies smiled and asked if I found anything.

I smiled and pouted at the same time “No, there isn’t any Rocky Road.”

“Oh but they have it!  It was one freezer over.  You must have missed it.”

“Yeah, I saw that…but I want Häagen Daz brand.  I’m going to Publix.”

She laughed.  I got a thumbs up and this response: “Now that’s commitment.  I like that.”

I found the Häagen Daz Rocky Road at Publix.  I also picked up a pint of Butter Pecan. It must have been one of those “hot-guy-at-the-supermarket nights”.  This time, not one, but two big, strong and handsome eastern Europeans were in the check-out lane next to mine.  My eyes locked with the eyes of the taller one.  Thankfully, I didn’t have a cart-full of cat food.  Although it might actually be alright this time…Europeans tend to be okay with cats.  The French loves cats, for example.

I don’t want to go way off topic…but…do you remember that scene in Batman Returns, where Michelle Pfeiffer comes home looking like hell after being electrocuted when she bites an electrical wire and transfers the current to another man?  She stumbles into her apartment, turns on her answering machine and the only messages are from her mom. She recklessly opens her fridge…pours some milk for her kitties…and drinks the rest straight from the carton.  Cat woman then proceeds to sew her own black vinyl costume.

Well, the scene at my house wasn’t that dramatic, mostly because I already have a cat woman costume and I don’t drink milk.  You can view my scene in the photo above.  I got home, fed the cats, grabbed my Italian Language book, crawled onto the couch, turned on the TV and had half the pint of ice cream.  Happiness comes in small pints.

PS- I forgot to mention the Sardines.  I had them for dinner…with the Rocky Road ice cream.  An unlikely, but quite uplifting combination.

 

Strawberry Pavé ~ Pavê de Morango

Recipe by Rodrigo Hilbert, Tempero de Familia. Photo by Priscillakittycat

Recipe by Rodrigo Hilbert, Tempero de Familia. Photo by Priscillakittycat

C’et parti, Mon Kiki! (An inside joke at my job). It’s also perfectly fitting for this post and this occasion. It all began this week…on a bittersweet note. My absolutely amazing boss transitioned to a new position within our school and we, his direct reports, threw a little party for him. I prepared something with a French name—Strawberry Pavê.

It has been an enormous privilege to work with him and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to learn from someone like him. I have never felt such complete admiration for a boss. He is an example in his personal and professional life. If I could be like someone when I grow up, it would be him. Among his noteworthy qualities, a very open yet highly focused and sharp mind, a great sense of humor, poise & elegance (it helps that he’s French) and a positive attitude. Most of all, though, the Frenchman’s most beautiful quality is the fact that he sees the good in everyone.  He treats all beings with kindness. For him, everyone deserves a second chance. I am very happy for him and the new role he will have…while at the same time sorry to see my mentor go.

We should trust in the circle of life. Everything happens when it is meant to happen. For years, and I am really serious when I say this, I’ve been looking for a good recipe for Strawberry Pavê. Pavê is a French word. The dessert is characterized by layers of cream, fruits slices, and lady finger cookies dipped in a liquid of choice (milk, fruit syrup, liqueur, etc) The neat thing is that I found this recipe while watching Brazilian TV. The show, Tempero de Familia was on the screen and the chef, Rodrigo Hilbert,—who by the way is cute—prepared this pavê, I could tell right a way that this would be a keeper recipe.

I knew I had to make it for the going away party we held for our boss. Sure enough, this Strawberry Pavé was a winner both at the party and at home. (Smiley face).

2 cups of milk
2 egg yolks
2 tablespoons cornstarch
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 can condensed milk
2 cans table cream
100 g milk chocolate
100 g bittersweet chocolate
2 cartons of strawberries, sliced
2 packages lady finger cookies
300 ml whipping cream
1 tablespoon sugar

Place the milk, egg yolks, corn starch and vanilla in a heavy pot and turn the heat to medium. Add the condensed milk and stir continuously until the cream thickens, about 12 minutes. Remove from heat and add one can table cream. Stir until blended and set aside.

Melt both chocolates in Bain Marie. Turn off the heat and add one can of table cream. Stir well until blended. Set aside.

Prepare the whipped cream by whipping the heavy cream with one tablespoon of sugar. Set it aside. Place one layer of the vanilla cream on the bottom of a large pyrex. One by one, dip the lady fingers in milk and spread them on top of the cream. Add another layer of the vanilla cream. Layer the strawberries over the cream. Spread the chocolate cream over the layer of strawberries. Add another layer of lady fingers dipped in milk. Top with the whipped cream.


Meu chefe: o melhor do universo. Esta semana foi a última em que trabalho com ele. Foram quase dois anos e foram os melhores anos de carreira que já tive. Ele possui todas as qualidades que admiro em uma pessoa. A melhor destas sendo a capacidade de ver o bem em todas as pessoas. Ele é do bem, da paz, da harmonia…um ser maravilhoso. Não pense que ele é bobo. Além da inteligência emocional, ele tem uma mente altamente produtiva e muito aberta. Pena que tudo que é bom acaba rápido. As despedidas são tristes.

Estou à procura de uma receita boa de Pavê de Morango há muito tempo. Finalmente encontrei. A espera por um chefe bom valeu a pena e agora a espera pela receita também valeu. Fiz este pavê para a festinha de despedida dele. O nome da sobremesa é apropriado pois o meu chefe é Frances. Com certeza vou usar esta receita muitas vezes.

2 xícaras (chá) de leite
2 gemas
2 colheres de amido de milho
15 gotas de baunilha
1 lata de leite condensado
2 latas de creme de leite
100g de chocolate ao leite
100g de chocolate meio amargo
2 caixas de morango
100g de biscoito champagne
300ml de creme de leite fresco
1 colher de açúcar

Em uma panela, leve ao fogo o leite, as gemas, o amido de milho e a baunilha. Acrescente o leite condensado já com o fogo ligado e mexa sem parar, até engrossar. Depois de desligar o fogo, acrescente uma lata de creme de leite e misture bem. Reserve.

Derreta o chocolate ao leite e o chocolate amargo em banho maria. Com o fogo desligado, acrescente uma lata de creme de leite e misture bem. Reserve. Em uma batedeira, prepare o chantilly, batendo o creme de leite fresco com uma colher de açúcar. Reserve.

Em uma travessa, coloque uma camada do creme de baunilha. Adicione uma camada do biscoito champagne molhado no leite e, em seguida, mais uma de creme de baunilha. Depois, distribua os morangos picados e o creme de chocolate e, por cima, mais uma camada de biscoito molhado no leite. Termine com uma camada de chantilly. Decore com morangos inteiros. Leve à geladeira e sirva gelado.

A Baby! Cookies and the Icing ~ Cookies para um Chá de Bebe!

Cookie Recipe by Taste of Home, Icing Recipe by Allrecipes, Photos by Priscillakittycat

Cookie Recipe by Taste of Home, Icing Recipe by Allrecipes, Photos by Priscillakittycat

My circle of friends that are within childbearing age is dwindling. Which means that whenever there’s a baby on the way…we have to celebrate and go all out! For this baby shower I prepared a number of dishes. I also put myself in charge of the games. I love to play board games, card games, dominoes, trivia games, and pretty much anything along those lines. The games were fun (borrowed from Pinterest) and the theme we chose for the shower was oh so cute, elephants.  Both recipes are fail proof!

Sugar Cookies

3/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

  1. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla; mix well. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. Chill for 1 hour or until firm.
  2. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to 1/4-in thickness. Cut out with Christmas cookie cutters of your choice. Using a floured spatula, transfer cookies to greased baking sheets. Bake at 375° for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool completely on wire racks.
  3. Decorate cookies with frosting and colored sugars.

Cookie Icing

1 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons milk (I used 3 or 4 tsps)
2 teaspoons light corn syrup (i used 3 or 4 tsps)
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
assorted icing coloring

  1. In a small bowl, stir together confectioners’ sugar and milk until smooth. Beat in corn syrup and almond extract until icing is smooth and glossy. If icing is too thick, add more corn syrup.
  2. Divide into separate bowls, and add food colorings to each to desired intensity. Dip cookies, or paint them with a brush.

 

On Papaya Cream and Hugs ~ Crème de Papaya e um Abraço

Papayas from our yard, Photos by Priscillakittycat

Papayas from our yard, Photos by Priscillakittycat

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I bow to the beauty and bounty of nature and the blessings of life.  It is from the ground that we receive our nourishment, from the sun that we receive warmth and…from the special people in our lives we accept hugs to calm our fears.  This month marks my ninth year as a volunteer Wish Granter for the Make a Wish Foundation.  Nine must be my lucky number.

A few days ago I went to visit my “Chunky Monkey” (his nickname).  He’s nine years old and will soon celebrate his 10th year of life.  He says of his approaching birthday, “I’ll be in the double digits”.  When I come to visit, he’s waiting at the door.  With his arms stretched…he motions his hands forward for me to come in for a hug.  He hugs my wish partner with the same enthusiasm and begins to tells us about his wish.  We look at pictures and at the toys he received while he was on the trip…while he indulges in pizza, cheese sticks and spicy wings (he loves spicy wings).  We have something in common– a love for food.  He shows us his light saber and the moves he learned during Jedi training.  I never thought I would have a favorite wish child but the boy who is witty and smart has won my heart.

What do my Chunky Monkey and Papaya Cream have in common?  Well, they both make me really happy deep inside and they also remind me that nature gives rise to all forms of beauty.  There is the papaya fruit that gives rise to a lovely cream…And there are two people who meet by chance, fall in love and create a beautiful being whose hugs remind me what life is all about.  Happy Birthday, little Jedi!  May you be healthy and may you live as long as the Master Jedi.

Life is uncertain. Eat Dessert First. ~ Ernestine Ulmer (A vida é incerta. Coma a sobremesa primeiro.)

As the year comes to a close, it’s time to look back and be thankful.  There are literally millions of things to be thankful for.  A child that smiles at a stranger on the street and stops time.  The blades of grass that cool our bare feet.  The sun that rises faithfully every morning and sets in the evening.  The shimmering grains of sand on the beach.  A kitten sleeping peacefully on your favorite pillow.  Grandpa Elliott singing “Stand By Me” with Playing for a Change.

How sweet is the scent of someone you love coming in for a hug? Or the excitement you feel when a hand-written letter arrives in the mail and it’s from a friend you haven’t seen in a long time.  Tucked in the branches of the Christmas tree is an ornament you bought while strolling through quaint little shops in a foreign land.  A good laugh at your desk when you receive an email that says: “I’m interested in a Health Care Curse”.  There might be a vowel missing from the “curse”.

Of all the blessings of this life I am especially thankful for good health.  Most of us have two eyes that open when we wake each morning.  And we have legs that will take us on a scenic jog whenever our heart desires.  With good health we can enjoy and feel thankful for all the other things.

This Passion Fruit Mousse recipe is very easy to make and easier to eat…first.

Photos by Priscillakittycat, Recipe by Allrecipes.com

Photos by Priscillakittycat, Recipe by Allrecipes.com

8 Maracujás
1 colher de sopa de açucar
1 lata de leite condensado
2 copos de crème (whipping cream)

Tire a polpa dos maracujás, amacie com as mãos e coe para extrair o suco.  Acrescente o açucar e o leite condensado.

Numa tigela fria (coloque a tigela no freezer antes de usar) e bata o crème até formar um Chantilly.  Levemente acrescente um terço do crème à mistura do maracujá e logo acrescente o restante do crème até que desapareçam os traços e a cor fique uniforme.  Leve para gelar (na geladeira) durante uma hora.

Plum Upside-Down Cake ~ Bolo de Ameixa

Recipe by Food & Wine Magazine, Photos by Priscillakittycat

Recipe by Food & Wine Magazine, Photos by Priscillakittycat

IMG_1617 IMG_1637 IMG_1639

Plums
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 pounds medium plums (about 6), pitted and cut into 1/2-inch-thick wedges

Cake
1/2 cup crème fraîche
2 tablespoons whole milk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs, beaten
Whipped cream, for serving

Prepare the plums: Preheat oven 325 F.  In a saucepan, combine the sugar and water and bring to a boil without stirring. Cook over high heat, washing down the side of the saucepan with a wet pastry brush, until an amber-colored caramel forms, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter. Immediately pour the caramel into a 9-inch (2 inches deep) metal cake pan. Carefully arrange the plum wedges in the caramel in concentric circles.

Make the cake: In a small bowl, whisk the crème fraîche with the milk and vanilla. In a large bowl, using a hand mixer, mix the flour with the sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. At low speed, beat in the butter until the mixture resembles moist crumbs, about 30 seconds. Beat in the eggs at low speed until incorporated, then beat the batter at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 1 minute; scrape down the side of the bowl. At medium speed, beat in the crème fraîche mixture until smooth, about 30 seconds. Scrape the batter over the plums and gently spread 
in an even layer.

Bake the cake in the center of the oven for 55 to 60 minutes, until golden and springy. Let cool in the pan on a rack for 30 minutes, then invert the cake onto a serving plate. Cut into wedges and serve warm or at room temperature with whipped cream.

—————————————-

Ameixas
¾  copo de açúcar
1/3 copo de agua
2 colheres de sopa de manteiga sem sal, amolecida
680 gramas de ameixas, sem a semente, cortadas em fatias de 1.3 cm

Bolo
½ copo de creme fresco
2 colheres de sopa de leite integral
2 colheres de sopa de extrato de baunilha
1 ½ copos de farinha de trigo
2/3 copos de açúcar
1 colher de chá de fermento em pó
½ colher de chá de bicarbonato de sódio
½ colher de chá de sal
1 ½ tabletes de manteiga sem sal, amolecida (160 gr)
2 ovos grandes, batidos
Chantilly, para servir

Prepare as Ameixas:  Aqueça o forno, 325 F (160C).  Numa panela coloque o açúcar e a agua.  Deixe ferver sem mexer.  Enquanto a calda cozinha no fogo alto, use uma escova pastelaria molhado para molhar os lados da panela com agua até a calda ficar com a cor de âmbar (5-7 minutos).  Retire a panela do fogo, acrescente a manteiga sem sal e bata com o batedor.  Imediatamente despeje a calda numa fôrma de 23 cm de largura e 5 cm de altura.  Arranje as ameixas cuidadosamente em cima do caramelo.

Faça o Bolo: Numa tigela pequena bata o creme fresco com o leite e a baunilha.  Numa tigela grande, usando a batedeira elétrica, bata a farinha, o açúcar, pó Royal, bicarbonato e o sal.  Em velocidade mínima, acrescente a manteiga até a mistura parecer uma farofa, uns 30 segundos.  Ainda com a batedeira ligada na velocidade mínima, acrescente os ovos até incorporarem na massa e depois bata a massa na velocidade média até ficar leve e fofa (um minuto); pare a batedeira para raspar as beiradas da tigela e acrescente a mistura do creme fresco e bata na velocidade média até a massa ficar consistente (30 segundos).  Despeje a massa por cima das ameixas cuidadosamente.

Asse o bolo por 55-60 minutos.  O bolo deve ficar dourado.  Deixe esfriar na fôrma durante 30 minutos e depois vire no prato de servir.  Sirva ainda quente ou espere o bolo atingir temperatura ambiente.  Sirva com creme chantilly.

Rats on Cheesecake ~ Ratos no Cheesecake

2 rat

Recipe by Redbook Magazine, Photos by Priscillakittycat

Recipe by Redbook Magazine, Photos by Priscillakittycat

This cheesecake is awesome!  The little rats are so, so cute and they are entirely edible, made from strawberries covered in chocolate and sprinkled with black decorating sugar.  The ears and fangs are almonds.  The tails are made from gummy candy cut into thin strips and dipped in chocolate.  Halloween guests will beg for more “rats on cheese”.  I took the recipe from Redbook online, September 2007.

Crust
1½ c. ground chocolate wafers
4 tbsp. Sugar
5 tbsp. butter

Filling
2 package cream cheese
½ c. Sugar
2 large eggs
½ tsp. grated orange zest
½ c. sour cream
Yellow food coloring

Heat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom.

Combine cookie crumbs, sugar, and melted butter in a medium bowl; stir well. Press crumbs evenly onto bottom and sides of prepared tart pan. Bake until fragrant and lightly toasted, about 7 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Reduce oven temperature to 325°F.

Beat cream cheese and sugar in a medium bowl, until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition and making sure to scrape sides of the bowl. Add orange zest and sour cream and beat until just blended.

Add 4 drops of yellow food coloring and stir well to blend. Remove 1/2 cup of the cheesecake batter and place into a small bowl. Add 5 drops of yellow food coloring to the 1/2 cup batter and stir well. Spoon into a resealable bag.

Pour light yellow batter into baked tart crust and smooth top. Snip a very small corner from bag with darker yellow batter. Pipe random spots of batter on top of the tart in a variety of sizes to make the cheese holes. Bake tart until lightly puffed and center is just set, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack; cool completely. Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving. Serve with Chocolate Rats.

Chocolate Rats

8 large strawberries
sliced almonds
1 container dipping chocolate
½ c. black decorating sugar
Yellow and brown candy-coated chocolate-covered sunflower seeds
slivered almonds
Black licorice laces

Line a cookie sheet with wax paper. Trim a small piece from one side of each strawberry so they can rest horizontally on wax paper. Insert 2 sliced almonds — about 1 inch from pointed end of strawberry and about 1 inch apart — to make the ears of the rat.

Follow heating directions for dipping chocolate. Insert a fork into the large end of a strawberry. Holding strawberry on fork over container of dipping chocolate, spoon chocolate over strawberry to coat. Allow excess chocolate to drip off, tapping fork lightly. Sprinkle with black sugar to coat and transfer strawberry to prepared cookie sheet. Add yellow candies for the eyes, slivered almonds for the teeth, and brown candies for the nose. Repeat with the remaining 7 strawberries. Refrigerate rats until ready to serve.

Make a hole with a toothpick in back side of a chocolate-covered strawberry and insert one end of a 4-inch piece of black licorice for the tail. Repeat with the remaining 7 strawberries. Serve with Creepy Critter Cheesecake.

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Versao em Portugues a seguir.

Chocolate and Orange Madeleine Cookies ~ Cookies Madeleine de Chocolate com Laranja

Recipe by A Gorgeous Mess Blog, Photos by Priscillakittycat

Recipe by A Gorgeous Mess Blog, Photos by Priscillakittycat

IMG_1329 IMG_1334

I’m spending this romantic Friday evening with a man named Alejandro.  His dark hair is slicked back. He has a beautiful face, strong jaws and full lips.  His hot-flash-stimulating body matches a voice that roars like a horseman racing through a forest, crying for his lost love.  If you know Mexican music, you know Alejandro Fernandez.  He isn’t really here with me physically, but I have him on YouTube.  It is good enough.

Before Alejandro finds me and we gallop off into the sunset, I should give you the recipe for Chocolate and Orange Madeleine Cookies.  For the English-speaking blog readers:  You can go directly to the blog where I found this recipe. Chocolate & Orange Madeleine Cookies

4          eggs
2/3       cup sugar
1/4       teaspoon salt
1/2       teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4       cup flour
1/4       cup cocoa
1/4       cup melted, cooled butter
zest from one orange

In a bowl beat together the eggs, sugar and salt until well combined and the batter begins to slightly change in color. Stir in the vanilla.

Stir in the flour and cocoa. Then stir in the melted and slightly cooled butter. Stir until just combined and nearly no lumps remain in your batter (you do not need to over mix here).

Add the orange zest. Spoon the batter into your buttered madeleine pan. Bake at 375°F for 8-10 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cookie comes out clean. Allow to cool for just a few minutes before removing from the pan to a cooling rack.  For added joy spread nutella on the cookies and make a sandwich with fresh sliced strawberries.

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Mmmmm, que delicia.  Curtindo esta sexta feira romântica com um homem chamado Alejandro.  O seu cabelo liso penteado para trás mostra os traços fortes e a boca carnuda.  Ele tem um corpo que causa quentura e a voz que grita como um cavaleiro na floresta rugindo pelo amor perdido.  Se você conhece a musica mexicana, então ja ouviu falar no Alejandro Fernandez.  Não importa que ele não esta presente fisicamente.  Eu tenho ele no YouTube.  Igual de bom.

Antes que o Alejandro me encontra, me puxa pelos cabelos e me leva com ele…acho que devo postar a receita dos Cookies Madeleine.

4          ovos
2/3       copos de açucar
1/4       colher de chá de sal
1/2       colher de chá de extrato de baunilha
3/4       copos de farinha de trigo
1/4       copo de cacao
1/4       copo manteiga derretida, temperatura ambiente
raspa de uma laranja

Numa tigela bata os ovos, o açúcar e o sal até a mistura ficar consistente e começar a mudar de cor.  Acrescente a baunilha.  Adicione a farinha e o cacao e logo depois a manteiga.  Misture até os ingredientes ficarem incorporados. Não misture excessivamente.

Adicione as raspas de laranja.  Use uma colher para despejar a massa na fôrma de Madeleine que foi untada com manteiga.  Asse no forno na temperatura 375 F durante 8-10 minutos ou até que o palito enfiado do cookie saia limpo.  Deixe os cookies esfriarem na fôrma por alguns minutos e depois desenforme e deixe esfriar.  Se você gosta de Nutella, espalhe nos cookies e faça um sanduiche com fatias de morango.