My Cake Decorating Gallery

Monday, December 29, 2008

Ina's Easy Sticky Buns

It was Christmas Eve morning and we were ready to have a treat for breakfast at my parents' house. My mom had seen this recipe on Food TV so we gave it a try... these are delicious, rich, sweet sticky buns and they are really easy to make, with only a few ingredients. I made another half recipe of these again for another gathering with friends, after Christmas, and they were still delicious. This recipe is a keeper!

One time I made them without pecans but with raisins and another time I made them with only pecans,... all of these combinations were great and I'm sure there are more additions that would be tasty also. This recipe would work well for a brunch, they tasted great warm or at room temperature. Another note is that when she says " allow to cool for 5 minutes only", she means it... when my friends were over, I was distracted and 7 minutes is too long - I had to do some coaxing. :)

Easy Sticky Buns
As seen on Back to Basics with Ina Garten, and also in her book with the same title (which I got for Christmas!), and on the Barefoot Contessa website
makes 12

12 tablespoons (1 & 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1/2 cup pecans, chopped in very large pieces
1 package (17.3 ounces/ 2 sheets) frozen puff pastry, defrosted

2 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2/3 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 cup raisins

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Place a 12-cup standard muffin tin on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the 12 tablespoons butter and 1/3 cup brown sugar. Place 1 rounded tablespoon of the mixture in each of the 12 muffin cups. Distribute the pecans evenly among the 12 muffin cups on top of the butter and sugar mixture.

Lightly flour a wooden board or stone surface. Unfold one sheet of puff pastry with the folds going left to right. Brush the whole sheet with half of the melted butter. Leaving a 1-inch border on the puff pastry, sprinkle each sheet with 1/3 cup of the brown sugar, 1½ teaspoons of the cinnamon, and ½ cup of the raisins.

Starting with the end nearest you, roll the pastry up snugly like a jelly roll around the filling, finishing the roll with the seam side down. Trim the ends of the roll about ½ inch and discard.

Slice the roll in 6 equal pieces, each about 1½ inches wide. Place each piece, spiral side up, in 6 of the muffin cups. Repeat with the second sheet of puff pastry to make 12 sticky buns.

Bake for 30 minutes, until the sticky buns are golden to dark brown on top and firm to the touch. Allow to cool for 5 minutes only, invert the buns onto the parchment paper (ease the filling and pecans out onto the buns with a spoon) and cool completely.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Ultimate Chocolate Martini

I found this recipe in 2007 for the holidays and it has become a holiday tradition for me -- the liquors are sorta expensive, so I limit it to my birthday/Christmas season time of year for a special treat. Of chocolate martini's, my favorite one was from the Town Tavern in Royal Oak, Michigan, because they also included a chocolate truffle in the martini - nice garnish! Also, I like chocolate martinis that taste good, not just like a mouthful of liquor. They are of course $8 or 9+ bucks so I still think it's more economic to buy your own top shelf ingredients, and even little chocolates, to construct this delicious martini at home... and share with your friends! I think this martini is just as good as the best chocolate martini I've had at a bar and better than most I've ordered.

Ultimate Chocolte Martini

Recipe from

In a shaker of ice, add:

1.5oz Godiva chocolate liquor
1.5oz Creme de Cacao
0.5oz Vodka, preferably a top shelf variety
2.5oz half and half

Optional garnish: Chocolate or caramel drizzles, fine chocolates, chocolate truffles, etc

Shake shaker until it feels cold to the touch and serve in your martini glass with garnishes.


Monday, December 1, 2008

Smoked Salmon Frittata

This was just a fun recipe to try from Barefoot Contessa's, Ina Garten. My parents were coming over for brunch and The Husband was out of town so it was a great time to try something unusual. This recipe popped up in my search and I knew my parents would love it, plus it just sounded tasty.

It turned out excellent and I think it would make a great addition to anyone's menu - breakfast or dinner! In fact, since I delayed finishing this post so long, my parents actually requested it again for their visit after the holidays. I'm not really into smoked fish that much, so if you're like me, you may still love this dish - it has a nice balance with the dill and my favorite part was the tangy pockets of fresh goat cheese.

Smoked Salmon Frittata
as seen here, by Ina Garten

1 medium onion, diced
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
12 extra-large eggs
1 cup heavy cream
4 ounces fresh goat cheese, such as Montrachet, crumbled
1/2 pound smoked salmon, chopped
3 scallions, chopped, white and light green parts
3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Saute the onion and butter in a 10-inch oven-proof omelet pan over medium-low heat until translucent, about 5 minutes.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs. Add the heavy cream, goat cheese, smoked salmon, scallions, dill, salt, and pepper and combine. Pour the mixture over the onions and place the omelet pan in the center of the oven.

Bake the frittata for about 50 minutes, until it puffs and a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Serve hot directly from the pan.