Monday, April 6, 2015

Swimming Peeps Jello Cups

I made these really cute Jello cups for the kids this year for Easter. They were a huge hit! All of their mouths were blue after, but they loved them.

The Peeps came in a pack of 10, so I made 10 Jello cups. It took 2 packets of Jello. I used plastic cups, but you could use glass if you're sure they won't end up falling on the floor. One of mine did so I'd still recommend plastic.

Swimming Peeps Jello Cups
Makes 10 Servings
From The First Year

2 packets of blue Jello
1/2 a tub of frozen whipped topping, thawed
blue liquid food colouring
10 Peeps

Prepare the Jello according to package directions and divide among 10 plastic cups.

Refrigerate for several hours until set.

Mix the whipped topping with a few drops of blue food colouring. I think I used about 10 drops. I used a plastic zipper bag with the tip cut off to pipe the topping into the cups.

Place one Peep on top of each and press down slightly. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Almond Coconut Cookies

I made a Masurka cake for Easter that only used the yolks of the eggs, so I had to find a way to use up the whites. I wasn't in the mood for an omelette, but I'm always in the mood for some sugar.

These cookies were crispy, chewy and delicious! And really easy to make. I made the first few on a Silpat and they didn't want to come off easily. Parchment worked a little better.

They spread quite a bit, so leave at least 2" between them. You can see in my image below, that they were spreading quickly. I took the picture immediately after I put the tray in the oven. The next few batches I only baked 6 at a time.

It's a little less runny after 10 minutes.

Almond Coconut Cookies
Makes 24-26 cookies

1 1/2 cups ground almonds
3/4 cup ground sweetened coconut
3 egg whites, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon rose water (optional but delicious)

Place all ingredients in a bowl and beat with a wooden spoon for just about a minute until it comes together. Let the mixture rest for 10 minutes so it can thicken a bit. 

In the meantime, preheat your oven to 350F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Using a small cookie scoop, place mounds of dough at least 2" apart. Bake for about 8 minutes or until the edges start to turn golden.

Let them cool almost completely before transferring to a wire rack, or they will fall apart as you try to lift them. I made them yesterday, stored them on a plate covered with plastic wrap and they're still crispy and chewy today.

Tip: I just gave my almonds a buzz in the Vitamix (skin and all), then measure. I did the same for the sweetened shredded coconut. 

Polish Mazurka (Mazurek) - Easter Cake

Happy Easter friends!

Today I'm going to share a recipe for Mazurka. This is a Polish Easter cake that uses a sponge (made with yeast). The texture is kind of flaky due to the butter, and it tastes like a danish to me. It smells like bread while it's baking!

You can use any canned pie filling for this, or make your own topping by cooking some fruit and thickening it with corn starch. I used cherry pie filling for this one.

Save the egg whites!

Here's the first one I made.

Here's the sponge.

Here's the 2nd one. I used a little more milk and some vanilla in the icing so you can't see it as well. It's not as white due to the vanilla, and slightly runnier. 

Polish Mazurka (Mazurek) - Easter Cake
Makes 20 servings (well, it depends how you cut it)
Adapted from About Food

1 package active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
1/2 cup scalded milk, cooled to 110 degrees
3 large egg yolks, room temperature and lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
8 ounces (2 sticks) cold butter, cubed
1 can of pie filling
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon milk (or more)
vanilla or almond extract (optional)

In a bowl, combine the yeast with the milk, then add egg yolks, 1/2 teaspoon sugar and 1/2 cup of flour until well combined. Set aside and allow the mixture to double in volume. This is the sponge that I was referring to. 

In a large bowl, combine 2 1/2 cups flour, 2 tablespoons sugar and salt. Cut in the butter as if you were making a pie crust. It should be crumbly. 

Combine the flour mixture with the yeast mixture until a ball forms. You can do all of this in a mixer or by hand. 

Prepare a 15x11 baking sheet using parchment. The recipe said to use cooking spray, but it wasn't necessary at all. I prefer parchment.

Roll 2/3 of the dough into a rectangle about 1/4" thick. I rolled it a bit bigger and then rolled the edges back in with my fingers, to make a border all the way around. 1/2" is enough for a border. 

Spread the pie filling evenly all the way to the border. 

You can either roll the remaining dough and cut strips, or you can do what i did and make snakes by rolling pieces of dough on the counter with your fingers. You can flatten them slightly before you make a lattice design on your cake. 

Allow to rise for an hour. 

Preheat your oven to 350F. Place your cake inside and let it bake for about 30 minutes. You can check on it to see if the edges are starting to brown. We don't want to burn it. Remove your cake and let it cool completely before drizzling on the icing. 

To make the icing, mix the confectioners' sugar with the milk. You can add extract for extra flavour if you wish. You should be able to drizzle the mixture on the cake without it running off. Add more sugar or milk as needed. 

We had our Easter dinner yesterday and i sent some home with friends. This cake probably won't last more than 2 days, but i imagine you could keep it on the counter for 3 or 4. It may start to get stale after that.

Next, i'll show you how to use the egg whites!