White Chocolate Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Homemade Cherry Preserves

White Chocolate Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Homemade Cherry Preserves

I love to bake. I seriously, really, honestly love to bake. It brings me immeasurable joy and it’s a passion I happily dwell in, often at the expense of a good night’s sleep!  But, when the temperatures begins to rise and the most chic accessory I’m wearing is sunscreen, I look to our garden and the farmer’s market for culinary inspiration, and it often does not require turning on the oven. So, on days like today with a high of 91°F and 71% humidity, a lush, cool, creamy White Chocolate Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta topped with seasonal cherries is the most perfect end to a hot, muggy day.

Cherry Preserves

Cherry Preserves

Anyone who knows me, is well aware of my tendency to wax poetic about virtually anything within the realm of the baking and pastry worlds. However, there is beauty in brevity, and this Cherry Preserve story is the epitome of that notion. So basically, I saw this heap of bright ruby sunshine at the market and could not resist turning them into preserves. The End. Okay, maybe just a few more details…

Milk, Tea & Honey Crème Caramel

Milk, Tea & Honey Crème Caramel

Perhaps I was still in that hazy, sleep deprived, beyond exhausted, new mom phase when I thought it was a good idea to board an airplane with a weary three month old clinging to my chest, a doe-eyed toddler nervously gripping my leg, and the cumulative weight of the reality of heading to a city I had never stepped in, to walk into a house that I hastily agreed to buy sight unseen, resting uneasily on my shoulders. What had I done? Eight years later, the answer is as clear as the sunlight streaming through the honey jars lining a bee farm wall.

Roasted Strawberry Ice Cream with Magic Shell

Roasted Strawberry Ice Cream with Magic Shell

Seasonal berries are my jam ya’ll! Each April there’s a moment of pure joy when I’m anxiously perusing the farmer’s market hoping that perhaps today is the day I spot that bright ruby red hue that signals spring is here and so are the strawberries. When that happened this season, I knew I needed to create a recipe that honored this first bounty of strawberry season in a spectacular way, and this Roasted Strawberry Ice Cream does so beautifully.

Cherry Orange Chocolate Bars

Cherry Orange Chocolate Bars

Just like life, where a balance of work and play is essential, a balance of flavors is key in the culinary world as well. This is a palate pleasing and perfectly balanced bake that’s composed of sweet, salty, tart and citrusy flavors, all wrapped up in a pretty little bar of Cherry Orange Chocolate goodness. These bars are not only easy to make and utterly delightful to serve, but as it turns out, they are the perfect road trip treat!

Carrot Cake Ice Cream

Carrot Cake Ice Cream

Just imagine a dreamy, luscious, tangy-sweet cream cheese frosting, but in ice cream form. Now add moist, decadent, flavorful chunks of carrot cake, and finish with a drizzle of the best caramel sauce your two hands can make or wallet can afford. Mine is a magical carrot caramel, which I realized wasn’t a thing until I created it! I promise, this ice cream will blow your taste buds away. They will then regroup, join forces, and scream for another spoonful.

You’re welcome.

Carrot Coconut Cake

Carrot Coconut Cake

Ya’ll it is cold in Nashville.  Like, really, really, really cold. As in, with a wind chill of -14°F this is the coldest it has been since we have moved here! So, what’s one to do when you’re iced in with stir-crazy little ones to entertain and a kitchen full of seasonal fruits and veggies? You bake, of course! This moist voluptuous carrot coconut cake uses half the oil and sugar of a traditional recipe and is paired with a luxurious Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting. It is a lovely twist on the traditional, but yet it is still as comforting as grandma’s knit woolen throw when freezing cold blankets the world outside and ice covers EVERYTHING in sight!

Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

Cream Cheese Frosting is awesome! Everyone knows this. How do you make it even more lush? (I know you think it can’t be! Oh, but it can.) Beurre noisette, or brown butter, elevates this frosting to higher, dreamier level than before. The added rich, nuttiness of the brown butter adds a flavor note to an otherwise one dimensional frosting. The glossary provides a step by step tutorial on how to make beurre noisette, should you need it.

Candied Blood Orange Olive Oil Yogurt Cake

Candied Blood Orange Olive Oil Yogurt Cake

Ahhh, blood orange. This sweet, sour, tangy and unbelievably bright citrus fruit is bursting with juicy flavor that is reminiscent of an orange, tangerine and lemon, all they while drenched in its own crimson uniqueness.

Cake is often treated as a vehicle for frosting. Not here. Not this bake. Not this cake. This Candied Blood Orange Olive Oil Yogurt Cake is one of the most deeply flavorful and gratifying cakes I have ever created. The fruity intense flavor of the extra virgin oil, with the tang of the yogurt and sweet sour bite of the blood orange is an incredible symphony when married together.

Sweet Love Strawberry Marshmallows

Sweet Love Strawberry Marshmallows

I cannot imagine a more appropriate occasion to make these Sweet Love Strawberry Marshmallow confections than Valentine’s Day! I am not ashamed to confess that I’m wholly and unabashedly in love with Valentine’s Day, and not necessarily the couple’s kind, though that is all kinds of lovely as well.  I simply adore the idea of celebrating love.  Love of all that bring such joy and beauty to our lives…family, friends, children and significant others, is what we celebrate on this day.