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Monday, December 13, 2010

Cool Pink Gift Baskets

Since the holidays are here, I've been asked by friends, business associates, and family to create and sell some gift baskets that they can take to Christmas parties or give as gifts. So I've decided to do just that:) Until January 5, I'll be putting together personalized gift baskets based on the recipient's favorite things, or the nature of the party you'll be attending. You can send your request for a basket to the blog (or respond to an FB or Twitter post) and I will either: 1) give you step-by-step instructions on which items to include in the basket, right down to colors and fabrics; or 2) make the basket for you (I've done some research to make them reasonably priced) and have it shipped to your address:) Until then, deck the halls with dusty rose and pistachio--they look great together, and make the Christmas tree much more noticeable! Stay cool--and pink;)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Cool Pink in the Red: Holiday Desserts

Cool Pink is going red--red velvet, that is. Red velvet cake is pretty popular this season, but of course, I've been playing around with some variations of this tasty dessert to make the holidays especially memorable. So here's my version of red velvet creme brulee--with coconut praline chips:) For this recipe, you'll need:

heavy cream (or soy cream)
cocoa powder
red food coloring
cinnamon extract
real vanilla extract
egg yolks--about 10 or 11 (or egg replacer)
unsweetened chocolate

Place the sugar, cream, extracts and food coloring in a saucepan over medium heat. When the mixture comes to a light bubble, add the cocoa powder and about a bar of unsweetened chocolate.

Place the egg yolks in a stainless steel bowl. Start whisking the yolks and slowly add the cream mixture to the bowl. Strain the mixture and pour it into individual ramekins, or use a large ceramic casserole dish (but personally, i like the individual ramekins better;))Place the ramekins in a large baking pan and fill the baking pan so that the water comes halfway to the side of the ramekin. Bake the creme brulee until it's firm in the center--about 20 minutes. Remove the creme brulee and let it cool completely--then put it in the fridge for at least two hours (i know, i know. but trust me, it's necessary). Then dust the top of the brulee with sugar, and use a handheld propane torch to give the dessert its golden brown crust.

For the coconut pralines, you'll need:

sweetened shredded coconut
powdered sugar
dark Karo syrup
finely chopped pecans or almonds
condensed milk (or the soy alternative)

Combine the syrup, sugar and milk in a saucepan and bring it to a low boil. Cook the mixture to the soil boil stage--you'll know it's ready when you can drop a small piece of the sugar mixture into cold water and it forms a small ball ;) Stir the mixture to make it creamier, then add the coconut. Allow the mixture to cool before forming it into teaspoon-sized discs. Place the discs on buttered parchment paper and store them in a Rubbermaid container until you're ready to decorate your creme brulee plate with them.