Posts tagged ‘baking’

February 19, 2011

Rosemary Parmesan Kale Chips

While we all know chips aren’t healthy, these green crispy things stand up to the challenge. I guess by the time the olive oil and salt are added, it may not be as healthy as we may wish, but all things in moderation, right?

Kale chips, you will find, are great substitutes for fries or regular chips and can be served with (almost) any meal or be saved in an air-tight container for some midday snackage.

I owe the credit for the idea to my big little sister, Jen; she is my “big little sister” because she is 8 1/2 years older than me, but has been shorter than me for a good majority of our lives. We’re best pals. Every time that I go visit her and her husband, Josh, we end up cruising to TJ’s stocking up on a good bottle of wine (which takes us forever to pick out), a new type of cheese we want to try out, and ingredients for a dinner feast.

Little Yellow Note: TJ’s doesn’t sell kale, so make plans to find it elsewhere. Jen normally has some on hand from the CSA veggie box she gets from the local Ventura farms. If this program is an option near you, you should definitely look into it for great organic produce and the support of local farmers.

Jen’s kale chips are simple and delicious: kale, olive oil or grape seed oil, sea salt and fresh shredded parmesan cheese. We added a little fresh rosemary and garlic to zest it up.

Here’s the scoop on the Rosemary Parmesan Kale Chips:

1 bunch organic green kale, washed
3 Tbsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp olive oil
1-2 Tbsp parmesan cheese, preferably freshly shredded
sea salt

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Wash kale leaves and pat dry.
2. Strip kale leave from the middle stem part (see video clip), and tear into big pieces.
3. Put leaves in a large bowl, drizzle with olive oil, add minced garlic and mix well with hands. You want to distribute the garlic and oil evenly.
4. Arrange kale in a single layer on a baking sheet covered with foil. (we filled up 3 sheets of kale). Sprinkle with rosemary and sea salt.

5. Pop in the oven for 12 minutes, until nice and crispy. Sprinkle parmesan cheese over kale, and let cook for the remaining 3 minutes (15 minutes total).

From the Little Yellow Kitchen,


February 14, 2011

Valentines Day Vanilla Bean Mini-cake

Valentine’s Day. It’s usually a lover’s holiday, right? Well this year, both of our men are studying too hard to celebrate so we decided to have our own party. Chrissy and I are going to Enoteca Adriano again to celebrate something a bit different. This year it isn’t just about the men in our lives, it’s a celebration of all the things we love in life. Mainly great Italian food and neon pink mini cakes with Nutella filling…

This isn’t just any mini cake. It is a vanilla bean mini cake with a Nutella filling and topped with a pink vanilla cream cheese frosting. Try coming up with a recipe title for that…

First you’ll want to mash together the sugar and butter with a spoon — mashing it prevents too much mixing which makes dense cakes.

Beat in the other ingredients.

Spoon the mixture into your giant cupcake holders (found at your local cooking store) filling them half way and bake!

Once they are done you will use a pastry bag and tip to squeeze some Nutella into each one:

Do us a huge favor and don’t use a Ziploc bag like we did. This WILL happen:

Major blowout on the side of the bag. There was no rescuing these poor little cakes. Good thing we love Nutella.

Oh, and we didn’t learn from our lesson the first time and tried yet another baggy. The decorating tip proceeded to shoot out of the bag and into the center of a cake.

They should look more like this:

Moving on to the Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting. Try not to to eat it all before you top your mini cakes. This sounds like an easy thing to do but trust me on this one. You will need to hide it from your significant other, the kids, your mom, brother and the dog or it won’t last 5 minutes.

Check out those vanilla bean seeds! MmmMmMm.

Don’t forget to check out the other ingredient challengers for something RED! Ya, I know. Our’s ended up neon pink. Apparently adding more food coloring doesn’t constitute a more red hue.

How to make a vanilla bean mini cake with a Nutella filling and topped with a pink vanilla cream cheese frosting:

Cupcake Ingredients: Makes 12-18 gigantic cupcakes

1 cup flour

1 3/4 tsp baking powder

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup sugar

1 stick butter, softened

2 eggs

1/2 cup milk



1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. In a medium bowl, combine flour and baking powder.

**Little Yellow Note: Remember that it’s always best to sift the dry ingredients, to ensure there are no clumps!

3. In a mixing bowl, combine sugar and butter together with a spoon. Beat in eggs, one at a time, mixing well. Add the vanilla.

4. Beat in the dry ingredients with the creamed butter mixture.

5. Add milk and mix in by hand (you do not want to over-beat the batter!)

6. Spoon into gigantic cupcake holders, filling them up halfway (these holders are free-standing and do not require a muffin pan).

7. Bake for 18-20 minutes, testing with a toothpick.

8. While still warm, pipe the Nutella into the center of the cupcake. Let cool.

Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients:

**Little Yellow Note: we halved this recipe from the Cake Dutchess, and added a little extra cream cheese and substituted vanilla bean paste for vanilla extract.

  • ¼ cup butter (1/2 stick), softened
  • 6 oz of Philly cream cheese (3/4 of a package), softened
  • 1-2 cups of powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
  • red food coloring (as much as needed)
  • colored sprinkles to top


1. Beat the butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add in the vanilla bean paste, along with desired amount of powdered sugar (to taste) and drops of red food coloring and beat until desired sweetness and color is reached.
2. Top cupcakes with Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Frosting and lots of Valentine’s sprinkles!

From the Little Yellow Kitchen,

Chrissy & Lauren

February 10, 2011

Grapefruit Olive Oil Cake for the Soul

The first thing I do when I get home each day is take off my uncomfortable work clothes, pull on my sweats and a T-shirt, and cook. But today was a tad different, Chrissy and I took a romantic relaxing walk down to the beach to check out the sunset. Being cooped up in an office all day really makes me crave sunshine. Check out this post-sunset pic…


Remember those grapefruits I told you about? Well I found something else really amazing to do with them, thanks to Smitten Kitchen! She has such creative recipes and her Blood Orange Olive Oil Cake really got a lot of attention today, we couldn’t resist trying it out with our own little twist on things.


You: “Oh no you did not put grapefruit inside cake!”

Us: “Oh yes. We did.”


Boy, oh boy is Chris going to enjoy this one.

Do you want to know how to make it? Do ya? Ok.


Collect the zest from 2 grapefruits and combine it with the sugar. This fantastic zesty sugar made me wonder what else I could make with it. Hm…any ideas?

Grapefruit juice and yogurt mixture


+ Zesty Sugar




Whisk in eggs and olive oil.



Now you must supreme a grapefruit. I just learned that this is the fancy name for peeling and dissecting a segmented fruit. The ultimate goal is to get rid of the chewy membrane and end up with 1/4 in. chunks of lush citrus.



Mix together the dry ingredients. Add Dry –> Wet. Then fold your supremed pieces of grapefruit into the batter.



Bake and serve!

This cake was just the right amount of sweet and sour when we topped it off with some powder sugar and grapefruit compote. I can’t wait for breakfast!


Grapefruit Olive Oil Cake

From Smitten Kitchen – with a little of our own zest

  • 3 ruby red grapefruits
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Honey-grapefruit compote, for serving

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan. Grate zest from 2 grapefruits and place in a bowl with sugar. Using your fingers, rub ingredients together until zest is evenly distributed in sugar.

Supreme a grapefruit.

Halve remaining orange and squeeze juice into a measuring cup; you’ll will have about 1/4 cup. Add buttermilk or yogurt to juice until you have 2/3 cup liquid altogether. Pour mixture into bowl with sugar and whisk well. Whisk in eggs and olive oil.

In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Gently stir dry ingredients into wet ones. Fold in pieces of orange segments. Pour batter into prepared pan.

Smitten Kitchen said to bake cake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until it is golden and a knife inserted into center comes out clean. Ours was in for 50 and was a little bit too brown around the edges. Cool on a rack for 5 minutes.

Serve with powdered sugar and honey-grapefruit compote.

Honey-grapefruit Compote: Supreme 3 more grapefruits. Drizzle in 1 to 2 teaspoons honey. Let sit for 5 minutes, then stir gently.


Little Yellow Note: Now go check out Smitten Kitchen for more awesome recipes like this one!

From the Little Yellow Kitchen,


January 30, 2011

A Birthday + Ingredient Challenge

I’ve quite simply had the best weekend ever. A night out for pizza and beer with good friends, a breakfast with my family, a romantic getaway with my man, and finally, cheese fondue, apple crisp and a movie with my best bud. I LOVE birthdays! While 23 seems like a bit of a dreary age with no extra special perks, my friends and family made it otherwise.

IMG_2129 IMG_2132

A delicious cinnamon sugar birthday pizza at Woodstocks

This weekend was also an ingredient challenge weekend. The mystery ingredient is: Dates! I have had some Medjool Dates in the refrigerator for quite some time so this challenge was the perfect way to get me to use them up! Thanks to Jen’s informative post on date truffles I learned they last up to 6 months in the fridge! Who knew?!


Mix it all up real good. But not too good or it will make your baby date bits tough!


Place dollops of the dough into your mini muffin bake ware and top it off with chocolate.


Voila: Pumpkin Date Cake Bites


Pumpkin Date Cake Bites

  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoons double-acting baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin (let it drain out as much liquid as possible)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3/4 cup pitted medjool dates, roughly chopped
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

How To:

Into a bowl sift together the flour, the baking powder, the cinnamon, the nutmeg, the cloves, and the salt. In another bowl with an electric mixer cream the butter and the sugar, beat in the egg. Mix in pumpkin and the vanilla. In a small bowl toss the dates with 1/4 cup of the flour mixture until they are coated well. Gradually add the remaining flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture, beating slowly, and stir in the date mixture and the pecans, stirring until the batter is combined well. Drop the batter into mini muffin tins and bake in a preheated 350°F. oven for 15-20 minutes.

Check out all the other great Ingredient Challenge Recipes contenders for more spectacular date recipes:

And Love It Too!

Marci Gilbert

Dixie Chik Cooks

Also wishing Nutritionella a speedy recovery so she can participate next week!

From the Little Yellow Kitchen,


January 12, 2011

Makin’ Whoopie: Chocolate Peppermint Whoopie Pie

These whoopie pies are melt-in-your-mouth decadent, unlike any other whoopie pie in the world! Although, I can’t remember if I have ever had one before these so who am I to make these preposterous claims. They were incredible though. You’ll just have to try them yourself!

These weren’t fluffy whoopie pie’s like I expected them to be based on photo’s I’ve seen, maybe I made a mistake? BUT they still turned out so good! So good. They slightly resembled a gourmet version of a cookie ice cream sandwich, you know, the one’s from baseball games and theme parks? I love those.

Without further adieu, I bring you the Chocolate Peppermint Whoopie Pie:

This makes 48 small cookies for 24 whoopie pies

  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon of instant espresso
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degree F.

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and both sugars. Beat in egg, sour cream and vanilla. Combine dry ingredients; gradually add to the creamed mixture. Stir in chips. Refrigerate the dough for 15-20 minutes.

Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart onto greased baking sheets (Mine weren’t very round and they came out a bit more rustic looking than a traditional whoopie pie). Bake for 12 minutes.

Cool for 2 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool completely. Spoon a heaping tablespoon of frosting on the flat half of one cookie, then top with another cookie. Repeat.

Marshmallow Buttercream

  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 cups mini marshmallows
  • 1 cup butter at room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup of Peppermint Bark (Costco or TJ’s)

In a stainless steel saucepan cook the milk and marshmallows over low heat and stir frequently until it’s all melted. This took a solid 30-40 minutes. Set aside to cool thoroughly.

Use a mixer to cream the butter until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes). Slowly drizzle in the marshmallow mixture and the vanilla extract while the mixer is still going and whip until creamy.

Little Yellow Note: Don’t eat these too late at night, for some reason they keep you wide-eyed awake playing Just Dance on the Wii till midnight. Enjoy!

From the Little Yellow Kitchen,