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Cookies and Cream Macarons

6 May

As  you are reading this blog post, Anthony and I are jet-lagged (but enjoying every minute of our first day) in Paris. We are here celebrating our one-year anniversary, fulfilling goals of travelling as often as we can afford our first few years of marriage.

I’ve probably eaten half a dozen French macarons by now, so I thought I’d share a recipe with you so you can get your own taste of Paris.

Cookies and Cream Macarons Recipe | www.gustoandgraceblog.com

 

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Chocolate Chip Cookie and Buttercream Push Pops

1 Apr

Chocolate Chip Cookie Push Pops https://gustoandgrace.wordpress.com/2014/03/31/chocolate-chip-cookie-and-buttercream-push-pops

I saw a few push pop cake pops pop up on party blogs last year and was certain they’d be the next cupcake. Boy, was I wrong. Regardless, I’ve been wanting to make a creative batch of the nostalgic treat since I saw them. With my cookie-loving husband in mind, I opted to bake mini chocolate chip cookies, sandwich them with buttercream, and top them with sprinkles. Chocolate Chip Cookie Push Pops

I found my push-pop containers on clearance at Target, but I have also seen them at Michaels, and on Amazon and Etsy.

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Everyone Should Have A Good: Chili Recipe

4 Mar

As requested by readers after posting my first recipe in the “Everyone Should Have A Good” recipe series, I bring you my favorite Chili recipe: Beef Chili with Avocado Crema. I promise you, this chili will not disappoint.

Chili with Avocado Crema www.gustoandgraceblog.com

For all you Texas Chili fans, beans are optional. For all you chili lovers, consider making a double batch and and freezing half for a lazy day.

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The Best of the Basics: Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

4 Feb
I’ll start by saying this isn’t your average chocolate chip cookie recipe. It’s game changing. Possibly even life changing. Sure, you might have to break out your food scale, pick up flours you don’t normally keep on hand, and make the dough a day in advance, but I promise you, it is worth every. single. bit.

Everyone should have a good killer chocolate chip cookie recipe.

World's Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe https://gustoandgrace.wordpress.com/2014/02/03/worlds-best-chocolate-chip-cookie-recipe

I used to be a Toll House kinda girl. When the day called for chocolate chip cookies, I’d go buy a yellow bag and make the recipe right off the package. And then these.

I adapted this recipe from one my friend Mark gave me, who adapted it from Jacque Torres’ recipe. Mark appropriately calls these cookies “Slap Yo’ Mama Cookies,” because they really are THAT good.

World's Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe https://gustoandgrace.wordpress.com/2014/02/03/worlds-best-chocolate-chip-cookie-recipe

Ingredients:

  • 8 1/2 ounces cake flour
  • 8 1/2 ounces bread flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 1 1/4 cups unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs yolks
  • 1 egg white
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 18 ounces chocolate chips (I prefer to use 2-3 different sizes and a variety of milk and dark)
  • sea salt (optional)

Directions:

1. Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a medium bowl.

2. Using a mixer with a paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugars until very light, approximately 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla. Reduce speed to low, add the flour mixture and mix until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips. Press plastic wrap against dough and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours to let the gluten relax.

3. When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 340°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

4. Roll 6 3 1/2-ounce mounds of dough and place onto baking sheet. Sprinkle with sea salt and bake until golden brown but still soft, 18 to 20 minutes. Cool cookies on a wire rack. Eat warm with a big glass of milk.

Makes: 1 1/2 dozen 5-inch cookies.

World's Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe https://gustoandgrace.wordpress.com/2014/02/03/worlds-best-chocolate-chip-cookie-recipe

Want more of my favorite staple recipes? Check out the first recipe in the series: waffles and follow the blog for more to come. When polling readers, chili was a popular response, so keep your eye out because Gusto & Grace will be dishing up a bowl-full of meaty, spicy, avocado crema topped chili soon.

Thanks for reading,
Dominique

Everyone Should Have a Good Waffle Recipe

7 Jan

When I was writing my year-in-review post, I realized I had not shared many savory or staple recipes on Gusto & Grace. This year, I want to change that. Throughout the year, look for basic recipes with the title “Everyone Should Have a Good __________ Recipe.”

Anthony and I have tested four or five different waffle recipes. This recipe makes the best waffles around. The best part is they’re really easy to make. Whip up a batch without separating eggs and whipping egg whites!

Everyone Should Have: A Good Waffle Recipe www.gustoandgraceblog.comMy husband got me the rose gold flatware for Christmas. Isn’t it lovely?

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 2/3 cup canola oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Toppings of your choice for serving

In a large bowl, stir together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Next add the buttermilk, oil, eggs, sugar and vanilla. Mix well. Let sit for 30 minutes. This allows the buttermilk and baking soda to react and give your waffles that crisp, fluffy texture. Heat up your waffle maker. Use non-stick cooking spray just before pouring the batter onto the waffle maker (only do this for the first waffle). Cook according to waffle maker’s instructions. Makes approximately 10 waffles.

Sometimes, I like to add a little cinnamon to the batter.

Everyone Should Have: A Good  Waffle Recipe www.gustoandgraceblog.comNotice the mini gravy boats I painted for Thanksgiving in the background? They’re perfect for syrup.

Word to the wise: If you don’t yet have a waffle maker, purchase a square one when you do. Frozen waffles toast up nicely, but round waffles won’t fit in a standard toaster. You also make four servings at a time rather than one which is great if you have breakfast guests.

Fill in the blank by commenting below: Everyone should have a good ___________ recipe.

I hope your new year is off to a great start!

12 Days of Christmas Cookies: A recap with recipe links

26 Dec

I hope you had a merry Christmas. I also hope you followed along with the 12 Days of Christmas Cookies Online Cookie Swap Series. I have put permanent links directly to the recipes below for your reference. Here is a recap of what bloggers baked this holiday season:

Day 1: Chocolate Toffee Pretzel Bark with Gusto and Grace

Salted Chocolate Pretzel Bites www.gustoandgraceblog.com

Day 2: Sugar Cookies with Hello Homebody

Day 3: Russian Tea Cakes with Healthy Isn’t Hard

Day 4: Peppermint Brownie Cookies with Unconventional Adventures

Day 5: Almond Jam Bites with Blaine Arin

Day 6: Pizzelles with The Well-Styled Child

 Pizelles with The Well-Styled Child

Day 7: Peanut Butter Blossoms with Debbie Allen

Day 8: Gluten Free Chocolate Walnut Cookies with Thirty One Ministries

Day 9: Treasure Cookies with Enjoying the Journey

Day 10: Dark Chocolate Persimmon Cookies with Simple Pleasures

Dark Chocolate Persimmon Cookies Recipe

Day 11: Chocolate Espresso Cookies with Styled By Ryn

Day 12: Gluten Free Lebkuchen with Clothes, Crafts and Creativity with Caitlin

Did you try any of these recipes? Plan to try any?

12 Days of Christmas Cookies: An Online Cookie Swap

10 Dec

This month, I’m hosting an online cookie swap! For the next twelve weekdays, through Christmas, you will find a Christmas cookie recipe on a different blog each day. I don’t want to give away who is baking what, but recipes in the line up include classics like (my favorite) Peanut Butter Blossoms, and new recipes like Chocolate Persimmon Cookies, to look forward to. I hope you’ll follow along a bake up a sweet treat or two this season.

Here’s the schedule:

I love salty-sweet goodies, so I will kick it off in the kitchen with Salted Chocolate Pretzel Bark  Bites.

Salted Chocolate Pretzel Bites www.gustoandgraceblog.com

You will need:

  • An 8×8 pan
  • Cookie cutter(s), shape(s) of your choice
  • Parchment paper
  • A hammer
  • Aluminum foil
  • Pretzel Thins
  • 1 (11.5 oz)  package of chocolate chips or chocolate flavored bark
  • Sea salt
  • 1 Toffee bar (such as Heath), chopped
  • Christmas sprinkles

Salted Chocolate Pretzel Bites www.gustoandgraceblog.com

The Cookies for Santa plate is from West Elm a previous year and the 3D Tree cookie cutter is from Ikea.

First, line your pan with parchment paper and put down one layer of pretzel thins. Melt your chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave (for about 1 minute 30 seconds, stirring every 30 seconds). Pour the chocolate evenly over your pretzels, spread with a spatula. Tap the pan on the counter to smooth out the chocolate. Top with sea salt, toffee, and sprinkles. Refrigerate until set, about 30 minutes.

When your bark is set, gently press your cookie cutter into the bark, then wrap a hammer in foil and tap your cookie cutter until the pretzels have been cleanly cut.

Salted Chocolate Pretzel Bites www.gustoandgraceblog.com

If you plan on gifting some of your treats, my favorite way to wrap brittle or bark is with a small hammer, as seen here.

Comment below with your favorite Christmas cookie!

A Recipe for My All Time Favorite Dessert

22 Nov

There was a time in my life, shortly after I graduated college, that I went over to my mom’s every Sunday to cook dinner. We had a “deal.” I’d put together a menu and send her a grocery list, she’d go to the store. I’d do the cooking, she’d do the cleanup. I think I got the better end of the deal.

Sometimes I spent all day in the kitchen. I’d look for the most interesting and elaborate recipes I could find. And I’d make dessert every time. In those few months, I tried so many recipes and cooking techniques. We savored some of the tastiest food I have ever tried.

In these pre-Pinterest days I would spend time scouring for great recipes on blogs and sites like Epicurious, Martha Stewart, and AllRecipes.

Those meals are some of my favorite memories.

A few months ago, Anthony and I started attending a dinner club with a few couples from church. The host is a very talented trained chef. Every week, collectively, we pick a theme for the following week’s dinner and each couple brings a dish. It is even a little competitive! We have had fresh pasta, sliders, an Asian flop, comfort food, breakfast for dinner and homemade pizza, among others.

Dinner club is something I consistently look forward to. We started as strangers and our weekly dinners have nurtured both our bodies and our relationships. I have so enjoyed getting back in the kitchen and getting creative. I have also enjoyed getting back to the table and enjoying really good food. I love gathering around the table sharing food, recipes, and stories.

For our last dinner club, I made my (hands-down, no competition) favorite dessert, tiramisu. I wanted to share the recipe that I used (adapted from Gourmet).Translated from Italian, tiramisu means “pick-me-up.”I might be a bit of a tiramisu snob… I have tried more varieties than I can count. I prefer my tiramisu to be more light and fluffy than custardy.

Tiramisu Recipe www.gustoandgraceblog.com

  • 4 egg whites
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 8 oz mascarpone cheese
  • 1/2 cup chilled heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup very strong brewed coffee or brewed espresso, cooled to room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons sweet Marsala wine, brandy or Kaluha
  • 1 pkg. (7 oz) savoiardi (crisp Italian ladyfingers)
  • 2 tablespoons dutch process cocoa powder

Tiramisu Recipe www.gustoandgraceblog.com

Using an electric mixer, beat together yolks and 1/2 cup sugar in a large bowl until thick and pale. Next, beat in mascarpone until just combined.

Beat whites with a pinch of salt in another bowl with cleaned beaters until they just hold soft peaks. Add remaining 1/4 cup sugar a little at a time white beating and continue to beat whites until they hold stiff peaks.

Beat cream in another bowl with cleaned beaters until it just holds soft peaks. Fold cream into mascarpone mixture, gently but thoroughly, then fold in whites.

Stir together coffee and Marsala, brandy, or Kaluha in a shallow bowl. Dip 1 ladyfinger in coffee mixture, soaking it about 1 seconds on each side, and transfer to an 2-quart baking dish (often 8×8 square). It is important to do this step quickly so you do not oversoak your ladyfingers and cause your tiramisu to be soupy. Repeat with half of ladyfingers and arrange in bottom of dish, trimming as needed to fit snugly. Spread half of mascarpone mixture evenly over ladyfingers. Make another layer with remaining ladyfingers and mascarpone mixture. Chill tiramisu, covered, for at least 6 hours.

Just before serving, sprinkle with cocoa powder.

Note: The eggs in tiramisu are not cooked.

Tiramisu Recipe www.gustoandgraceblog.com

What’s your favorite dessert?

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Thanksgiving Menu 2013

8 Nov

Have you picked out your Thanksgiving menu this year?

In Martha’s Entertaining: A Year of Celebrations, Martha Stewart (or M. Stew, as my sister calls her) says, “I approach each holiday during the year as a pleasant challenge. I certainly am not of the “do it the same exact way” school of entertaining, …whereby every Thanksgiving is identical to the last and the one before that…. I am an enthusiast for change, for subtly altering the traditional to make it more interesting, more creative, more inventive. I am a firm believer that there are almost infinite choices for a single thing, such as the turkey.”

While I enjoy traditions and having a few of the same things each Thanksgiving, trying new recipes and new food is easily one of my favorite things. I’ve opted to swap some of the traditional Thanksgiving foods for a few festive alternatives.

Rather than mashed potatoes, I’ll be making goat cheese croquettes. Anthony and I had goat cheese tater tots at our rehearsal dinner, and fell in love with croquettes at the tapas bar we went to in Spain on our Honeymoon. Instead of cornbread, my husband has requested savory madelines.

Thanksgiving Menu 2013 www.gustoandgraceblog.com

When putting together the menu, I found it most difficult to control the carbs. Do we really need croissants, rolls, cornbread, stuffing, mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes?

Some of the recipes are hand-written in family recipe collections, and I will make up others  up as I go along, but here are links to recipes for a few of the items I included in my menu.

I’ll also be serving up mulled wine and cider. Desserts are still T.B.D. I am sure (well, not entirely sure) someone in the family will want pie. I am not much of a pie person myself and will probably opt to make a pumpkin cheesecake or a chestnut trifle. Roasting mallows in the cold and making s’mores also sounds perfect.

Look for some Thanksgiving tablescape ideas, from yours truly, on Hello Homebody next week!

What’s on your menu? What are some of your Thanksgiving traditions?

Crocktoberfest: Chicken Tomatillo Soup

18 Oct

Before I started Crocktoberfest, this is one of the few recipes I had ever made in a crockpot. It’s a staple around the Paolini house.

Chicken Tomatillo Soup www.gustoandgraceblog.com

  • 8-9 fresh tomatillos, husks removed and quartered
  • 2-3 jalapenos, halved and seeded
  • 1.5 lbs boneless, skinless chicken (can be white or dark)
  • 8 oz. diced green chiles
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 5 cups chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • tortilla chips (optional)

Place the onion, garlic and oil in the bottom of your crock. Turn on high. Meanwhile, using a blender, food processor, or immersion blender, puree the tomatillos with the jalapenos. Add the chicken to the crock. Sometimes I keep some cooked shredded chicken in the freezer. If I have it, I’ll use it for the soup, otherwise, I’ll trim the chicken and cut it into small cubes. Place the chicken on top of the onion, then add the cumin, coriander, green chiles, tomatillo mixture, and finally the broth. Turn your crock to low and cook for 6 hours. Add the salt and cilantro. Serve and garnish with avocado, a lime wedge, and crushed tortilla chips.

Texas Tortilla Chip in Tomatillo Soup www.gustoandgraceblog.com

I love these Texas shaped chips from HEB.

Please, share your favorite crockpot recipes!

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