Fact of the Week: March 17, 2014

On this day in 461 A.D., Saint Patrick, Christian missionary, bishop and apostle of Ireland, died. For thousands of years, the Irish have observed the day of Saint Patrick's death as a religious holiday, attending church in the morning and celebrating with food and drink in the afternoon. The first St. Patrick's Day parade, though, took place not in Ireland, but the United States, when Irish soldiers serving in the English military marched through New York City in 1762.



Fact of the Week: March 24, 2014

Women in the United States now earn 48 percent of bachelor’s degrees in mathematics and 30 percent of the doctorates


Perfect Gluten Free Pie Crust

A great pie crust can make or break a pie. I find that since I've learned how to make a great crust I judge pies much more harshly now. It is not homemade in my opinion unless it has a flakey and fresh crust. So here are some of the things I've learned making gluten free pie crust, because this can be tricky. 

Amounts for only one pie crust bottom. Double for two, or if lattice topped. 
1 3/4 cups Pamela's Bread Mix
1 stick (8 TBSP) Butter (cold)
3 or 4 TBSP cold water (very cold is best)

Preheat the oven to 350 F

Cut up the butter into pea sized pieces. Add in bread mix and slowly add water while stirring, till dough comes together. 

Place wax paper on to large cutting board. Lay dough into paper and flatten with palm. Add another piece of wax paper on top and roll out dough to desired size and thickness.

Peel off top paper and invert into a lightly greased pie dish. Peel off second sheet and fix crust edge. I just use my thumb between my index and middle finger to get the wavy edge seen below. (Chill dough for 30 minutes if dough is too soft.) Poke the crust with a fork on the bottom several times to avoid air bubbles. Bake unfilled crust on bottom oven rack for 28-30 minutes***.

***However if you are planning to fill the pie with something that needs to be cooked, only place the crust in the oven for about 5 minutes. Then take it out, fill, and bake to the pie directions instructions.***


Fact of the Week: March 11, 2014

One this day in 1818 Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley's Frankenstein was published. It is considered the world's first sci-fi novel. 

Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes!

These cupcakes were fun to make last year and were loved by many friends. I also personally believe that the Baileys Cream Cheese Frosting is the BEST frosting ever! 
They do take a bit of work, but worth it for some St. Patty's Day fun!!

So Yummy! 


Guinness Stout Chocolate Cupcakes
1 cup Guinness
1 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/8 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
2/3 cup sour cream

Jameson Whiskey Ganache Filling
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
2 ounces bittersweet dark chocolate
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 to 2 tablespoons Jameson whiskey
1 teaspoon vanilla

Bailey's Irish Cream Frosting
8 oz cream cheese, softened
4oz unsalted butter, softened
5 cups powdered sugar
4-6 tablespoons of Bailey’s Irish Cream
4-6 drops green food coloring


Preheat oven to 350°F. (Good time to take out the cream cheese so it's room temp. before the frosting steps)

Bring 1 cup Guinness and 1 cup butter to a simmer in a saucepan over medium heat. Take the mixture off the heat and add the cocoa powder and chocolate chips and whisk until mixture is smooth. Cool slightly.

Whisk the flour, sugar, baking soda, and 3/4 teaspoon salt together in large bowl. Using a mixer, beat eggs and then add sour cream and mix well. Add Guinness-chocolate mixture to egg mixture and mix in mixer to combine--don't overmix. Add flour mixture and beat briefly on slow speed.

Divide batter among cupcake liners, filling them 2/3 to 3/4 of the way. Bake cake until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean which can happen in about 17 minutes. Cool cupcakes on a rack completely before coring for filling.

Heat the cream until simmering and then add in the chocolate chips and dark chocolate. Stir rapidly until smooth while on the heat. Add the butter and whiskey and stir until combined. Take the ganache off the heat and let it cool until thick but still soft enough to be piped. A tip from the recipe I used was to put it in the fridge to cool off and check on it after 10 minutes.

Cupcakes Filled with Ganache
Meanwhile, use a 1-inch round cookie cutter or an apple corer (or a knife in my case) to cut the centers out of the cooled cupcakes. Don't cut all the way to the bottom, about 2/3 down will do.  A slim spoon will help you get the center out. Either toss the scraps or eat them while you finish up the cupcakes.

Frosting Before the Green 
In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment or with a hand mixer mix the room temperature cream cheese and butter on low to medium low speed until well incorporated. Slowly add confectioners’ sugar and beat until light and fluffy on medium speed. Drizzle in the Bailey’s, depending on how prominent you want the Irish cream flavoring to be. Then add in green food coloring. Mix until completely incorporated. Use a piping bag with tip of your choice and frost the cupcakes.  And Enjoy!


Fact of the Week: March 3, 2014

Lake Tahoe is estimated as forming somewhere between 2 billion and 3 billion years ago.