Independence Day, Simply Vanilla Ice Cream, and More

Tomorrow is Independence Day, and at this point, I have no idea how we will celebrate it.  I’m not usually a big plan in advance kind of girl.  I’d much rather act on spontaneity.  Last minute barbeques, campfires, a trip to the lake, and road trips are so much for fun when they aren’t over-thought. 

Regardless of what we might decide to do on the 4th, I am sure of one thing, we will need to eat.    I’m thinking that this Bacon, Ranch, and Onion Dip will get the party started.  I’ve made this before, but it’s worth mentioning again, especially since I just made a bowl of it.

And then there are those fat slices of my Sinful Midnight Cake resting peacefully in the freezer; right next to a quart of this Simply Vanilla Ice Cream that I made.  So, I’ve got an appetizer and dessert covered.  Hey, it’s a start!

This ice cream requires no cooking or eggs.  And it’s delicious!  I found it in a booklet that came with my Crofton ice cream maker.

Simply Vanilla Ice Cream

2 c. heavy cream

1 c. whole milk (I use skim)

3/4 c. sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

In a large bowl, mix milk, cream, sugar and vanilla.  Stir until sugar has dissolved.  Follow the instructions that came with your ice cream maker.

Do you have plans made to celebrate Independence Day? Or are you like me, flying by the seat of your pants?

Happy Fourth of July!!!

FV

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Frozen Vanilla Peach Yogurt

Lately, I have been pinning ice cream recipes galore on Pinterest.  My goal this summer is to make, and perfect, as many batches of homemade ice cream as humanly possible.  And do it, without gaining a single pound.  Okay, you can stop laughing now because I can see you!

I admit that when it comes to making homemade ice cream I haven’t strayed far from the beaten path.  I make a simple (no-cook) vanilla and a simple (no-cook) Strawberry Bliss, but you all know that I can’t leave well enough alone where recipes are concerned, so once again, I’ve been playing mad scientist. 

I created this recipe, and made it using my ice cream machine, which by the way, I’ve come to believe is practically worthless.  The bottom freezes and the sides freeze slightly and that’s it.  You still have to freeze the ice cream for a considerable amount of time in the freezer to actually consider it ice cream.  Is that normal?  So, what am I getting at here?  I would dare say that if you make this, and pour it into a freezer safe container, and then freeze it, you will get the same results that I got using a worthless ice cream maker. 

Frozen Vanilla Peach Yogurt

1  14 oz. can of sweetened condensed milk

1 1/2 c. skim milk

1 6oz. container of non-fat peach yogurt

2 tsp. vanilla extract

1/8 tsp. cinnamon

1 dash of nutmeg

Put all of the ingredients in a large bowl and mix completely using an electric mixer.  Make according to your ice cream makers instructions (hopefully yours works much better than mine).  This  recipe makes about 1 1/4 quarts of ice cream.

This yogurt is super sweet and super rich, so don’t let the word yogurt trick you into believing it is a whole lot healthier for you.  Using the sweetened condensed milk knocks that theory right out the window.  I found the peach flavor in this batch to be more subtle than I had expected.  That’s because the vanilla and cinnamon are vying to be the winning flavors – which they succeeded quite well at.  I’ve decided when I make this again I’m going to tone down the vanilla and cinnamon just a little, and I’m going to add baked pie crust to the next batch because the flavor reminds me of a homemade peach pie.  And who will be able to resist frozen peach pie yogurt?

Are you ready for a season of homemade ice cream and frozen yogurt recipes?

FV

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Double Vanilla Cupcakes with Strawberry Cream Topping

Our garden needs to be planted, my flower beds need mulched, the lawn needs a manicure, and there is still a lot of work to do on the Pink Paradise, but because we had cooler than normal temperatures this weekend, none of that has been done.  Instead, I opted to stay warm and exert my creativity in the kitchen.  If you like combination of vanilla and strawberries than I predict you will like this recipe.

Double Vanilla Cupcakes with Strawberry Cream Topping

3 eggs

1/2 c. olive oil

3/4 c. sugar

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

1 package of vanilla pudding

3/4 c. sour milk

1 1/4 c. sifted flour

1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Line 18 cupcake cups with cupcake tin paper liners.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In a large bowl, add eggs, oil, and sugar; mix thoroughly with electric mixer.  Mix in baking powder, baking soda, salt,  and vanilla pudding.  Sift in flour, add sour milk, and vanilla.  Beat until batter is smooth and creamy. 

Ladle cupcake batter into prepared cupcake tins (about 2/3 full) and tap pans on counter to settle batter (you’ll see in the picture below I didn’t do this and it resulted in air pockets).  Bake for 15-17 minutes, or until toothpick comes clean when inserted into the center of cupcakes.  Cool in tins before moving to cooling racks.

Strawberry Cream Topping

1 1/2 c. heavy cream

4 tbsp. strawberry gelatin (powder)

1 tsp. vanilla extract

In a large chilled bowl, add ingredients and beat with electric mixer until cream thickens into whipped cream.  Place whipped cream in pastry bag and top each cupcake.

These cupcakes are moist and sweet.  Their flavor reminds me of a homemade sugar cookie recipe I make, and the light creamy strawberry topping compliments them perfectly.

How was the weather this weekend in your neck of the woods?

Other strawberry related recipes:

Strawberry & Cream Cupcakes

Strawberry Kiss Cheesecakes

Strawberry Bliss Ice Cream

Strawberry Freezer Jam 2012

Old-Fashioned Custard Pie with Strawberry Sauce

Glazed Strawberry Crumb Muffins

French Vanilla Cake with Strawberry Crème Frosting

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The Best Vanilla Coconut Cake Ever!

My daughter’s birthday was last week and she wanted me to make her a coconut birthday cake.  I’m not a huge coconut fan, so my first thought was “well, I’ll just make two cakes.”  Like I need my own cake – not!  And then reality set in.  I wasn’t about to make two cakes.  Instead, I decided to make a coconut cake that I would like as much as she did.  And… mission accomplished!

This recipe is slightly more time consuming than most.  This is because the recipe requires the making of a pudding filling, along with a homemade whipped cream frosting.  I can assure you though – this cake is worth the extra effort.

The Best Vanilla Coconut Cake

3 eggs

1/2 c. margarine, softened

3/4 c. sugar

3/4 c. sour milk

1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

1 1/4 c. sifted flour

2 packages (minus two tablespoons of the mix to set aside for the frosting) Jell-O brand coconut pudding & pie filling (cooked version); one package (minus the two tablespoons) will go directly into the cake batter; the other will be prepared according to the package with the addition of 1 tsp. of vanilla extract.

Frosting

2 c. heavy whipping cream

2 tbsp. dry coconut pudding & pie filling (reserved from earlier)

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Line two 6” round cake pans with parchment paper and generously grease both pans.

In a large bowl, cream together eggs, margarine, and sugar.  Mix in remaining ingredients, including the box of coconut pudding mix that is missing the two tablespoons.  Beat thoroughly and pour equal amounts into each prepared pan.  Bake for approximately 27-30 minutes, or until toothpick comes clean when inserted into the center.  Immediately remove cakes from pans and allow to cool.

Prepare the other box of coconut pudding according to the package; add 1 tsp. of vanilla. 

Place first cake on a cake plate and poke holes into the cake using a straw or wooden stick.  Spread coconut pudding over the top.  Add second cake layer and repeat.  I put a wooden stick into the center of the cake to help prevent the cake layers from sliding around.  Place the cake in fridge for about 15- 20 minutes.

In a chilled bowl, add 2 cups of whipping cream, 1 tsp. of vanilla extract, and the two tbsp. of the dry (reserved) coconut pudding mix.  Beat until cream thickens to desired consistency.

Remove cake from refrigerator and frost.  Remove the stick and return to the fridge until ready to serve.

This cake is so moist and dense.  It has a mild coconut flavor, and the vanilla flavor shines through too – a perfect match.  I think this just might be my favorite cake now. I wouldn’t change a thing about it.  They say “the proof is in the pudding”.  What pudding?  It’s gone!

What is your favorite cake flavor?  

Got a minute?  Stop over at Katherine’s blog to check out tons of great bloggers who are participating in Thursday Favorite Things Blog Hop.

FV

Vanilla Cream Pie

Pick your poison: Banana Cream, Coconut Cream, Almond Cream, Chocolate Cream, Butterscotch Cream, or Vanilla Cream Pie.  And so I did; Vanilla Cream Pie.

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This pie is so simple, yet so rich and creamy.  It has a hint of old-fashioned to it – which I like.  Nothing fancy or extravagant, just pure deliciousness. 

This recipe comes from Betty Crocker’s Picture Cookbook.   I increased the vanilla extract in the recipe by 1/2 teaspoon.

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You will need one 9” prepared pie crust.  I used a recipe for my pie crust out of the same cookbook.

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Vanilla Cream Pie (Original Recipe)

2/3 c. granulated sugar

1/2 tsp. salt

2 1/2 tbsp. cornstarch

1 tbsp. all-purpose flour

3 c. milk

3 eggs, slightly beaten

1 tbsp. butter

1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Mix in a large saucepan; sugar, salt, cornstarch, and flour.  Gradually stir in milk.  Heat mixture over moderate heat (stirring constantly) until it thickens and boils.  Boil 1 minute.

Remove from heat.  Slowly stir half the mixture into the beaten eggs.  Then blend the hot egg mixture back into the saucepan.  Return to heat and bring to boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. 

Remove from heat, add butter and vanilla.  Pour into prepared pie crust.  Chill for two hours before serving.  Top with whipped cream, toasted nuts or coconut, or fresh fruit. 

I topped my pie with homemade vanilla-cinnamon whipped cream – yum!

I want to thank Mike and Molly again for the bottle of their homemade vanilla that I won in their give-away last winter.   It  is awesome and ranks right up there with the more expensive brands that I often purchase.  Thanks guys!