Saturday, November 30, 2013

Homemade Berry Crumble Pie + Basil Biscuits

Hello lovelies!
I hope every one of you had a blessed, happy Thanksgiving (I know I'm a couple days late)! I love having a day specifically devoted to the family being together, and just enjoying
each other. I had such a wonderful Thanksgiving with my family, and I am
so very thankful for them.
My Thanksgiving baking goodies were a scrumptious berry crumble pie and savory basil, cracked black pepper biscuits.
For a pie recipe to reference, I went to one of my absolute favorite bloggers, Joy the Baker.
I also decided to use her feta and chive scones recipe for a reference for my 
Also, I just want to apologize for the picture quality - I am using my iPhone, but my kitchen 
doesn't have any natural, good lighting…

Strawberry & Blackberry Crumble Pie
One thing I loved from Joy's recipe was the crust… in school, you learn that pie crust usually does not
have liquid of any sort, the butter and shortening act as moistening, yet flaky, agents. 
But Joy's recipe called for buttermilk, which was the convincing factor for me to try it.
(I personally never buy buttermilk, I just "make" my own - however much buttermilk a recipe
calls for, add about 3/4 of milk and then add lemon juice for the last 1/4 of measurement, then 
let it sit for about 10 mins. And voila! You've just made your own faux buttermilk!)

I made my crust dough first and then refrigerated for an hour.
While the dough chilled, I rinsed my fruit and cut my strawberries and set aside.
When the dough was ready to be rolled out, I placed it between two sheets of parchment paper.
Using parchment keeps your work space cleaner, and also prevents your crust from becoming
too dry by added excess flour.
Also, my dough was not sticky, but it was more moist than flaky, which is what I wanted.
If there's one thing that will always deter me from pie, it's a dry crust.
 Using the parchment that the dough was on, I gently flipped it over my pie dish, and then 
oh-so gently molded my crust to the dish, and with my fingers, created the wavy edges (I know, the 
pastry chef doesn't know all the terminology… the edges look wavy, so… there you go) :)
Then add the fruit mixture… doesn't it look scrumptious!
 Add the crumb topping… yum!
 Bake your pie for 20 minutes at 400 degrees F, then lower oven temp to 350 degrees F and bake for 
another 35-45 minutes (I set my timer for 38:50 which was perfect).
 Let your pie cool for at least 2 hours, this time frame allows the cornstarch
to do it's thing and fully thicken the fruit concoction.
Then watch your family enjoy the deliciousness you just made! (I was lucky to nab this picture before the pie was completely demolished, which I consider a good problem). My favorite thing
about this pie: it's not too sweet. I prefer my desserts to have a balanced sweetness, and this pie
most definitely was balanced, and incredibly yummy.

Savory Basil, Cracked Black Pepper Biscuits

In a mixing bowl, add all your dry ingredients, and whisk together. Then add your cold, cubed
(I forgot to snap a butter photo :/ oops)
 Using your hands, mix the butter and dry mix until you get a consistency similar to a course meal flour.
Even if your dough seems really dry, like the below photo, that is a-okay… just dump it out on your work surface and start kneading the dough together…
 And it will eventually come together perfectly, like below! 
 I used a 2 inch round cutter for my biscuits… then placed on my baking stone.
For my egg wash, I whisked one egg and added a bit of minced garlic - then brushed the tops generously.
 Bake at 350 degrees F, and in about 12-15 minutes, you'll have these gorgeous golden brown little biscuits. These were also a big hit with the fam… just add a smidge of butter for mouth-watering perfection.

Again, I hope you all had a blessed Thanksgiving! 
Now it's time to decorate for Christmas!! eeekkkk!! 
Happy Holiday season friends!
Kylie Rae

Both recipes are adapted from Joy the Baker

Strawberry/Blackberry Crumble Pie

For the Crust:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup (1 stick, 4 ounces) cold, unsalted butter - cubed
1/4 cup, plus 1 to 2 tablespoon, cold buttermilk

For the Filling:
1 lb strawberries, quartered
1 package (I just did the whole package from the store) blackberries
1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
large pinch of salt
2 tablespoons lemon juice

For the Topping:
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup old-fashioned oats
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cubed

To Make the Crust:
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, and salt. Add cold, cubed butter and, using your fingers, work the butter into the flour mixture. Quickly break the butter down into the flour mixture, some butter pieces will be the size of oat flakes, some the size of peas. Create a well in the mixture and pour in the cold buttermilk. Use a fork to bring the dough together. Try to moisten all of the flour bits. Add a bit more buttermilk if necessary, but you want your mixture to be shaggy and not outwardly wet - just slightly moist.
On a lightly floured work surface, dump out the dough mixture. It will be moist and shaggy. That's what you're looking for. Gently knead into a disk. Wrap the disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour. Allowing the dough to rest in the fridge helps re-chill the butter and distribute the moisture.
To roll out pie crust, place the dough disk between two pieces of parchment paper and roll the dough about 1/8 inch thickness and about 12 inches in diameter. Hover the pie pan over dough to see if you've rolled it out far enough, you want there to be about an inch excess edge. Transfer dough to pie pan with bottom parchment paper. Trim excess edge almost even with the edge of pan. Gently mold dough to pan, and crimp edges with fingers or fork - use fingers for the "wavy" look ;) Some recipes say to refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, but I just added my fruit mixture and baked… and my crust came out perfectly baked and golden.

To Make the Filling:
In a medium bowl, toss together the blackberries, strawberries, sugars, cornstarch, salt, and lemon juice. Toss until all the fruit is covered in a coating of sugar and cornstarch. Pour into pie dish.

To Make the Crumble:
Mix the flour, oats, sugars, and salt together. Add cubed butter, and similarly to the pie dough, mix the butter in with your fingers. Add crumble to the top of the pie, coating over the berries evenly.

Bake the pie for 20 mins at 400 degrees F, then reduce heat to 350 degrees F and bake for about 35-45 minutes, or until the pie is juicy, bubbling, and golden brown.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 2 hours before serving - allowing eth juices to cool and thicken. Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, or just solo, since it's just scrumptious on it own. 

Savory Biscuits:

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
2 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1 tablespoon dry basil seasoning
3/4 cup unsalted butter, cold and cubed
1 egg, beaten
3 tablespoons cold water
3/4 cup greek yogurt, cold
1 egg beaten for egg wash w/ 1/4 teaspoon minced garlic

Place rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 400 degrees F
If you have a baking stone, use that… if not, line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a mixing bowl, sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, black pepper, and basil. Cut in butter (with either your fingers or two butter knives) until mixture resembles a coarse meal. In a separate bowl, combine egg, sour cream, and water. Beat lightly with a fork. Add to flour mixture all at once, stirring enough to make a soft, shaggy dough. Dump onto a clean work surface, and knead dough together.

Roll or pat out into a 1-inch thickness. Cut into 2-inch rounds. Reshape and roll/pat dough to create more biscuits with excess dough. Place on baking sheets/stone and brush egg wash on top of biscuits. Bake for about 12-16 minutes. Serve warm.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Delicious [French] Macarons + Mini Desserts

Oh my sweet stars!!! 
This post is probably going to be my favorite… 
Because I'm going to be sharing photos from my amazingly fun French Macaron &
mini desserts class at Sweet & Saucy Shop in Long Beach.

I have SO much love for Sweet & Saucy Shop since it's where I did my very
first internship, and where I learned basically everything I know.
Not only is Melody Brandon one of the sweetest, down-to-earth, genuine people
to work for/with… but she's also insanely talented and creative.
Everything she, and her team, come up with is always both stunningly gorgeous
and mouthwateringly delicious.

When I saw Mel's instagram for a macaron and mini dessert class, I called right away.
And if any of you remember, back in February, I took a class from Mel and Irene for
buttercream frosting. That class was so fun because I finally learned how to do ombre 
buttercream - which is one of my fav looks for a simple, yet gorgeous, cake.
And, anyone who knows me (or maybe just from reading some of my posts), knows
I LOVE macarons.
French Macarons are the one dessert I can eat for breakfast (which is huge since
I hate sweets in the morning - said the pastry chef), which I did this morning… 
(my actual macaron creation from class)

and it's the only dessert I ever crave.
I sometimes feel like I just can't get enough macarons.
It's an obsession, and I'm totally okay with it.
I signed up for the class, and was excited to be going to the new Long Beach
location, which turned out to be utterly gorgeous - even the bathroom was 
so cute, I kinda just wanted to hang out there and stare at all the cute
baked goods photos.

The class was taught by Melody, Jess, and Michelle.
Jess was the French macaron connoisseur, and honestly, the girl 
knows her macarons - and just baking in general.
She is so cute and funny, and such a great teacher.
She had no sense of arrogance or a "I know it all" attitude (which you deal
with a lot in culinary school/industry), even though she is extremely 
knowledgeable and very [naturally] talented.
She taught us in such a simplistic way, which made the daunting task of making
macarons (which can be super finicky) seem easy and stressless.

[I'm just going to pause here and tell you, if you have instagram, start following 
@jess_marvelous cuz she's just so cool!
And follow Melody (if you don't already): @sweetnsaucyshop ]

The class, which consisted of 9 people, split into 2 groups. I was in a group of 
4 and went with Mel first to make mini desserts.
She had us make mini Pumpkin Caramel Cheesecakes w/ a Gingersnap/Pecan Crust
and Key Lime Pies… both are TO DIE FOR.
One major thing I love about Melody's desserts (all of them in the shop) is that none of them
are overly sweet. She has balanced the flavors in such a beautiful way…
During the class, I was partnered w/ Stacy, who is so sweet and so fun. And it was exciting 
to watch our creations come out beautifully… 
I had fun baking with you, Stacy!
Now I'm going to stop gushing for a bit and showing photos from the class.

(Stacy's hand ;) pressing the crusts)
Our Key Lime Pies
Pumpkin Caramel Cheesecakes
Starting the macaron process… whipping the egg whites

 Ready for the almond flour!
 The perfect macaron consistency for piping: a ribbon-like flow
 Piped little beauts
 When I set my tray over by the oven, I noticed a container of colorful sprinkles… I'm kind of
a kid at heart: I am such a sucker for sprinkles! 
I asked Jess if I could use sprinkles, and she jokingly whispered, "Just don't tell the others."
But of course, my baking group buddies got in on the sprinkles action - I mean, who can
say no to sprinkles?!
Aren't they adorable?!
Baking away!

 Baked perfectly thanks to Jess! Ready to be filled...
Jess had ganache, vanilla ganache, and pistachio buttercream for fillings, and all 
were amazingly delicious.
My mini desserts!
Michelle teaching us how to make scrumptious salted caramel sauce (for the pumpkin cheesecakes)
 Mel showing us a super easy meringue to use for piping on the key lime pies

My amazing macaron teacher, Jess, holding a macaron for me - cuz she's awesome like that!

Thank you Mel, Jess, & Michelle for taking time to teach us the right way to make a perfect French Macaron! I loved every minute of class! It was so much fun!
And for anyone reading this post, follow Mel's instagram to keep updated for future classes… you'll be
so happy you did because her tutorials are so fun and easy!
Also check out her blog for yummy pictures and shop info: Sweet & Saucy Shop Blog

Have a wonderful day!
kylie rae

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Apple Fritters

Last Sunday night I had a potluck with my coworkers for [Sunday] night, and was left with about 45 minutes to whip something up for dessert. Since I've been at my job for 5 (almost 6) years, everyone knows that I'm a baker/pastry chef, which adds a little bit of pressure to bust out something mind-blowingly ahhhhmazing.
No biggie.
So after finishing a paper for my PoliSci class, I rushed into the kitchen and turned to an easy and favorite recipe from The Pioneer Woman - Apple Fritters! These little nummies are SO beyond easy and SO stinkin' delicious. My coworkers couldn't get enough of them.
So, for your next get-together or potluck - or just for your personal midnight craving, no judgement here ;) - make these scrumptious fritters and your coworkers/friends/family will think you have the baking skills blessed by unicorns (to weird… just run with it… I'm beyond tired).
(ps. sorry for the lame-looking,sparse photos - it was dark and I was really short on time.)
I'll post the recipe below or you can click here

 First, pull out all your ingredients.
Get your pan out, add oil and turn on the heat… 
I opted for coconut oil because it has high smoke point, it's healthy, and also doesn't have an overpowering flavor.

I measured out all my dry ingredients and whisked them together. Then got to chopping my green apples.
Once those were chopped I whipped up my two eggs and vanilla extract and added that to the dry mix.
Add apples to your wet mix and fold them in completely.
I used a tablespoon and mini spoon, since I don't have a mini ice cream scooper, to drop fritter batter into the oil. Make sure you drop the batter gently and close to the oil, so you don't splash yourself with hot oil… also, keep your heat on med-low heat (mine stays between 6-4, if that helps you at all) to prevent oil splatters burning you while the fritters cook.
Since I was in a time-crunch, I was trying to do a gajillion at a time, so I didn't time how long it took to brown before I flipped them, I just flipped mine when I saw a few air bubbles appear, the kind you get when making pancakes... the whole fritter takes just under 2 mins.
Resist the urge to eat them fresh… remember these are for your friends/family/coworkers…
The smell will get to you…
or just pop one….
either way is good.
I'm an advocate for taste-testing… always.
Then dust with powdered sugar - or if your a glaze person, make a simple glaze with powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and a smidge of milk (almond milk in my case) and pour over warm fritters.
Take to your family/friends/coworkers and watch them disappear… 
I almost didn't catch a picture because they were disappearing so quickly...
Kylie Rae


  • 2 cups All-purpose Flour
  • 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons Sugar
  • 2-1/4 teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1-1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 2 teaspoons Ground Cinnamon
  • 2 whole Large Eggs
  • 3/4 cups Whole Milk
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  • 2 Tablespoons Melted Butter
  • 2 whole Granny Smith Apples, Peeled And Diced
  •  Powdered Sugar (optional, For Dusting)
  •  GLAZE (optional)
  • 1-1/2 cup Powdered Sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Vanilla
  • 1/4 cup Milk

Preparation Instructions

In a mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.
In a separate bowl, beat the eggs with a fork, then add milk, melted butter, and vanilla.
Gently fold dry and wet ingredients together until just combined (do not overmix.) Fold in apples. Add enough apples to make a very chunky batter. You want the apples to shine though!
Heat a couple of inches of canola oil over medium to medium-low heat. When it gets hot, drop a little drop of batter into the oil. If it sizzles immediately and rises to the top, the oil is ready; if it burns quickly, turn down the heat.
Drop teaspoons of batter into the hot oil, six or eight at a time. Sometimes they'll flip over by themselves; sometimes you have to flip them. Just watch them and make sure they don't get too brown, but cook them long enough to make sure the batter's cooked through, about 2 to 2 1/2 minutes total.
Remove and drain on a paper towel. Dust very generously with powdered sugar, or dip fritters in a light doughnut glaze (mix all glaze ingredients together, then dunk warm fritters).
Serve warm!
**May be heated up the next day in a 350 degree oven for 8 minutes.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Sugar Cookies

With the holidays right around the corner, I've been wanting to make sugar cookies to decorate while listening to christmas music… it's one of my favorite things.
Unfortunately, since I'm not only a full-time employee, but also a full-time student, I literally have no time to myself anymore. This week especially, because my office is coordinating a family day this Saturday… which equals a 7-day work week plus mon-fri classes & a language class (not school related) at night. ha! Can you tell I like to keep busy? :D I'm hyperactive (personal diagnosis), so I love to be constantly doing something.
Anywho… my boss put me in charge of the cake decorating booth for family day, which also meant I needed to do some baking - double yay!!! I was so blessed to be able to work from home for 2 days, doing what I love most. 
So what did I bake? 
400 mini bundt cakes and 100 sugar cookies.
I wanted to blog about the sugar cookies since I finally found a recipe/system that kept the shape of the cookies. In the past, my cookies have always spread out a bit, even if the recipe I used swore the cut-outs would hold their shape - leaving me with puffy, fat cookies.
But I finally found the recipe I will forever stick with, all thanks to Martha Stewart.
Because I was in "work mode" I didn't remember to take many pictures for you guys :/ sorry!

Click here, or scroll to bottom, for recipe.

 First, preheat oven to 325 degrees
Then sift dry ingredients (minus sugar) together
 Mix butter and sugar together till white and fluffy
 I missed most of this part, but, add eggs and vanilla to butter/sugar, mix till fully incorporated, then add dry ingredient mix. My advice, add dry ingredients one cup at a time, and mix on low to prevent turning yourself and your kitchen into a white-wonderland. Let mix until dough pulls cleanly off the sides of the bowl.
 Divide dough into two, shape into a disk shape, wrap in cellophane. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour to overnight. (I did overnight).
 When you're ready to roll out your dough, make sure to have a clean work surface. Pull out your dough and let it stand for about 10 mins. When it's soft enough to roll out, roll out the dough between cellophane/cling film. When you roll it out by dusting with flour, in my experience, the dough tends to dry out. Roll to about 1/4 inch thick.
Cut out your desired shape and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat. Place in freezer until the cookies are hard - the freezing process helps the cookies keep their shapes will baking, rather than being "deflated" in shape by the heat. Place in oven and bake for about 18-22 minutes, or until slightly golden, but not brown. Let cool on baking sheet for a minute or so, then place on cooling racks. Decorate to your heart's desire - unfortunately, I can't decorate these myself, saving them for the kiddos this weekend.
Hope you all love this recipe and have a wonderful weekend!!

*Recipe taken from Martha Stewart*

  • 4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  1. STEP 1

    Sift flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl.
  2. STEP 2

    Put butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Mix in eggs and vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Gradually mix in flour mixture. Divide dough in half; flatten each half into a disk. Wrap each in plastic. Refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour or overnight.
  3. STEP 3

    Preheat oven to 325 degrees with racks in upper and lower thirds. Let one disk of dough stand at room temperature just until soft enough to roll, about 10 minutes. Roll out dough between two pieces of plastic wrap to 1/4 inch thick. Remove top layer of plastic wrap. Cut out cookies with a 4-inch one-piece-shaped cookie cutter. To make an ornament, cut out a hole from the center of the neck about 1/4-inch from the edge using a straw. Transfer cookie dough on plastic wrap to a baking sheet. Transfer baking sheet to freezer, freeze until very firm, about 15 minutes. Remove baking sheet from freezer and transfer shapes to baking sheets lined with nonstick baking mats. Roll out scraps, and repeat. Repeat with remaining disk of dough.
  4. STEP 4

    Bake, switching positions of sheets and rotating halfway through, until edges turn golden, 15 to 18 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Homemade Vanilla Marshmallows

This weekend was a weekend for coffee and marshmallows.
Homemade marshmallows.
All week I've been blog hopping looking at one marshmallow recipe
after another, and I had to try the recipe for myself.
All the bloggers are raving about how amazing these marshmallows
are, and how you'll forever be changed into a marshmallow
snob (in the best way possible)…
Sooo, I had to give these lovelies a go.
I decided to use Martha Stewart's recipe for this first-time project,
and I'm so happy with how the little beauts turned out (despite the messiness).
You can find the recipe here.

First things first, my advice: have everything prepped/measured out and ready to go before you even start, and read, then re-read, the recipe and directions. 
I also read through Smitten Kitchen's blog post (found here) because I trust
her, and she always has fantastic advice and detailed instructions…
Her main advice, DO NOT SCRAPE THE BOWL while it's mixing…
it will cause a huge mess you don't want or need.

Start by dissolving your gelatin packets in the water into your stand mixer bowl, then move 
onto the sugar syrup. You will need a candy thermometer for this process.
Add your water and corn syrup first, then add the sugar carefully.
When making a sugar syrup, you want to be careful not to get sugar on the sides of
the pan (they drill this into your brain in culinary arts) as that will cause crystallization - no bueno.
I added my sugar to the middle of the water, with the measuring cup almost touching the water
as I gently poured the sugar in.
Turn on the heat ;)
I know many of you will be tempted to stir the sugar water, don't do it.
Just let the sugar do it's thing, and if needed, a gentle swirl of the pan will suffice, but do not
stir with a utensil.
 Keep a cup of water and pastry brush nearby, if you swirl the pan, dip the brush in water and run along
the sides of the pan right above the sugar syrup - this helps prevent crystallization.
Let the syrup boil till it reaches between 238-240 degrees Fahrenheit.
At one point, my syrup decided it wanted to grow (aka: boiling upwards),
if you encounter this, just brush the water above the sugar, and you can
even put the temp down a smidge. I kept my temp at med-high the whole time.
Once the syrup hits 240, gently pour the syrup into your stand mixer with the 
speed on low - pour in a med-slow, steady flow on the side of the bowl.
Slowly bring the mixer speed up to medium, then high.
For me, this process took a very long time, it seemed… also, I didn't
keep time, since I'm horrible with that part… ha...ha.
I felt like I was stuck in this soft-peak stage for ages… it also didn't help that I was going to
be late for my language class.
Nonetheless, the marshmallows turned out great.
My personal advice, which helps me from becoming impatient: walk away from the mixer for
a couple minutes…unfortunately, staring at the mixture does not bring a stiff peak any sooner...
I added my vanilla at this ribbon-like phase, but the recipe tells you to add it when it's stiff,
which is probably better, but I'm sometimes impatient.
Once your fluffy goodness gets a stiff peak, pour your mixture into a greased, powdered sugar dusted 9x13 pan. Smooth with an offset spatula, and then dust 1/4 cup of powder sugar evenly over the surface. Leave them to firm up, uncovered, for at least 3 hours.
After the dreaded wait, dust a working surface with powder sugar. Use a knife to loosen the edges
of the marshmallows, and using your fingers, gently "dump" the 'mallows out. And dust with powdered
Spray your cutting knife with a bit of veg oil, then begin cutting…
Gently toss squares in powder sugar to coat all sides, and then [gently] dust off excess
Lastly, enjoy in your morning coffee…. or hot cocoa for yourself or little kiddos. And thoroughly enjoy the scrumptious, fluffy marshmallows you just made from scratch…
You'll never want a store bought marshmallow again :)
(ps. do you love my Christmas mug?! I'm totally in the Christmas spirit already, with the baking & [Christmas] music/movies! I LOVE Christmas!)
My favorite thing about these gooey yummies, besides how good they taste, is how long they last. As a kid, I always hated how quickly marshmallows melted in my hot chocolate, but these little guys lasted till the very last sip!
Hope you all enjoyed this post!
Have a wonderful Saturday!