Amazing Marble Cupcakes {with a twist…of course}

20120826-140545.jpg

This weekend, my 8-year-old son and I made these cupcakes together. The interesting ingredients resulted in probably the best cupcakes we’ve made. Yum!

Enjoy! Denise

20120826-135026.jpg

Amazing Marble Cupcakes

1 Box Yellow Cake Mix
3 Eggs
1/3 cup Vegetable Oil
8 oz. Pepsi
4 oz. Maraschino Cherry Juice
1/4 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground Cardamom
1/4 teaspoon Vanilla extract
2 tablespoons Cocoa Powder
Maraschino Cherries

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Line 2 cupcake pans with liners and set aside.
  • Add cake mix, eggs, vegetable oil, Pepsi, maraschino cherry juice, cinnamon, cardamom and vanilla extract to a large mixing bowl.
  • Beat on low for 30 seconds then beat on med-high for 2-3 minutes.

20120826-134906.jpg

  • Pour 1/3 of cake batter to a small mixing bowl. Add the cocoa powder and mix well with a rubber spatula.
  • Divide the non-chocolate cake batter evenly between the 24 cupcake liners.

20120826-134913.jpg

  • Divide and dollop the chocolate batter evenly between the 24 cupcake liners.

20120826-134920.jpg

  • Using the dull end of a wooden skewer, marble the batter.

20120826-134929.jpg

20120826-134935.jpg

  • Bake for 17-20 minutes.
  • Cool completely then frost with your favorite buttercream frosting and top with a maraschino cherry.20120826-135012.jpg
Advertisements

Sweet & Salty Chocolate Toffee Cracker Candy

20120602-154224.jpg

I have thought about making this for a while. This recipe is not only easy, it is very rich and flavorful. My colleagues at work loved it…so I guess I need to make it again real soon!

My favorite thing about this recipe s that it is perfect for those last-minute “make & take” events because you can have the ingredients in your pantry….

Enjoy! Denise

Sweet & Salty Chocolate Toffee Cracker Candy

4 oz. Saltine Crackers (1/4 of avg. size box)
1 stick of Butter
1 cup Dark Brown Sugar, packed
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Powder (or extract)
2 teaspoons Himalayan Pink Sea Salt, divided
12 oz. Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
Candies, Sprinkles, or Nuts

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and grease it with shortening.
  • Place the Saltines in a single layer on the lined cookie sheet; set aside.

20120602-153207.jpg

  • In a heavy saucepan, melt the dark brown sugar, butter along with 1 teaspoon of the pink salt, cinnamon and vanilla powder over medium heat.

20120602-153219.jpg

  • Bring to a boil while stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Boil for 3 minutes.

20120602-153238.jpg

  • Carefully pour the mixture over the crackers. Use a metal spatula to spread the mixture evenly onto all the crackers.

20120602-153624.jpg

  • Place the cookie sheet into the preheated oven and bake for 7 minutes (toffee will bubbly).
  • Transfer cookie sheet to a safe surface.
  • Pour the chocolate chips over the toffee; set aside until chocolate chips soften and look glossy.

20120602-153633.jpg

  • Use a metal spatula or scraper to smooth out the chocolate chips evenly to cover the toffee layer.

20120602-153648.jpg
20120602-153654.jpg

  • Sprinkle the remaining 1 teaspoon of pink salt over the chocolate layer.

20120602-153228.jpg

  • Sprinkle with your choice of toppings.
  • Cool completely. Transfer to the refrigerator to chill. Cut or break into bite-size pieces.

20120602-154210.jpg

Gypsy Spiced Apple Crisp

20120220-065956.jpgThe spice Grains of Paradise are tiny, unique pyramid-shaped seeds whose flavor profile can be described as sharp and peppery with a fruity backdrop.

They look ashy when you crush them with a spice grinder or mortar & pestle.

Substitute Grains of Paradise for black peppercorns. Try seasoning your steak with crushed grains of paradise, salt and hungarian paprika. The flavor combination really works.

Look for them at your local spice shop.

My family has been requesting an apple dessert. Below is an apple dessert recipe that features Grains of Paradise.

Enjoy!

Denise

Gypsy Spiced Apple Crisp

Gypsy Spiced Apple Crisp

2 cans (20 oz) Apple Pie Filling
1/4 cup Brown Sugar
1 teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice
1 cup Evaporated Milk
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1/4 teaspoon Grains of Paradise
15.25 oz box of Butter Pecan Cake Mix
1 cup Butter, melted

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Lightly grease a 13 x 9 baking dish with cooking spray; set aside.
  • Crush the grains of paradise with a mortar and pestle; set aside.

20120220-063601.jpg
20120220-063608.jpg

  • In a large bowl, mix together the apple pie filling, brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice, evaporated milk, vanilla and ground grains of paradise.

20120220-063839.jpg

  • Pour mixture into the prepared baking pan.

20120220-064019.jpg

  • Sprinkle the dry cake mix evenly over the apple mixture. Drizzle the melted butter evenly over the dry cake mix layer.
  • Bake for one hour or until golden brown.

20120220-064031.jpg

  • Serve warm or cold.

Note: I turned the baking dish after 30 minutes. If you want, top with vanilla ice cream and drizzle with caramel.

Printer Friendly Recipe

Nutella Frosted Saffron Cupcakes

I decided to make Saffron Cupcakes for my Saffron dessert post.

Hmmm. What kind of frosting?

Well, of course I had to pair these yummy cupcakes with Nutella frosting!

The result was better than expected and the flavor combination was perfect….

I took some cupcakes in for my coworkers to sample. They loved them!

You will find both recipes below….

Enjoy! Denise

P.S. if you want, swap out the frosting with Saffron Buttercream instead….

20120130-192232.jpg

Saffron Cupcakes

1 box Pound Cake Mix (I used Betty Crocker)
2/3 cup Milk
2 Eggs
1/2 cup Butter, softened
1/4 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Saffron
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
6 Ferrero Rocher Chocolates, chopped
Powder Sugar

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray mini-bundt cake pan with cooking spray or line your cupcake tins. Set aside.
  • Place saffron in the mortar and pestil. Press to crumble the threads.

20120130-192317.jpg
20120130-192309.jpg

  • Warm milk for 45-60 seconds. Add saffron and allow to steep for ten minutes.

20120130-192302.jpg

  • Add cake mix, steeped milk, eggs, butter, cinnamon and vanilla to a large mixing bowl.

20120130-192324.jpg

  • Mix on low for 30 seconds. Increase mixer speed to medium and mix for 3 minutes.

20120130-192355.jpg

  • Fill each mini-bundt halfway. Smooth tops with a spoon.
  • Bake for 20 minutes (or until cake tester comes out clean).

20120130-192346.jpg

  • Remove from baking pan and cool on a wire rack.
  • Fill the center of the mini-bundt cakes with Nutella Frosting (see recipe listed below).
  • Top with chopped with chocolates.
  • Dust with powdered sugar.

20120130-192336.jpg

20120130-192407.jpg

Nutella Frosting

1-1/2 cups Powdered Sugar
3-4 tablespoons Hazlenut-flavored Creamer
1/4 cup Nutella

  • Add all ingredients to a medium bowl.
  • Mix at a medium speed until you get to a creamy frosting consistency.

Note: If you prefer a traditional cupcake, fill the cupcake liners 2/3 full. Frost as you like with the Nutella Frosting and place half of a Ferrero Rocher chocolate on top.

20120130-204450.jpg

Chocolate Pumpkin Cupcakes with Espresso Spiced Frosting {Semi-Homemade}

It happened again… I had a last-minute “make & take” opportunity….

What to make? Hmmm.

Recently on Pinterest, people have been sharing recipes for  2 ingredient cupcakes using store-bought cake-mix and canned pumpkin puree.   It reminded me of a posts that I did last year for Chocolate Coated Pumpkin Gingerbread Bon Bons  where I made cake balls with Gingerbread cake-mix and pumpkin puree.   

So, I decided to make Chocolate Pumpkin Cupcakes with Espresso Spiced Frosting.  For this recipe, I opted for a semi-homemade approach and spiced up store-bought frosting.  (If you want a homemade recipe for a sweet spiced buttercream frosting, check out my post for Spicy Mocha Cupcakes).

This recipe is not only easy….most likely you already have the ingredients in your pantry.

Enjoy!

Denise

Chocolate Pumpkin Cupcakes Espresso Spiced Frosting

Chocolate Pumpkin Cupcakes with Espresso Spiced Frosting

Yield:  16 Cupcakes

1 Box Butter Fudge Cake Mix    ( I used Duncan Hines “Moist Deluxe”)

1 15 oz. can Pumpkin Puree

1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

1 tablespoon Pumpkin Pie Spice

1 teaspoon Cardamom (optional but recommended)

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Line cupcake pan with baking cups and set aside.
  • Add the cake mix, pumpkin puree, vanilla extract, pumpkin pie spice and the cardamom to a large bowl.
  • Mix on low for 30 seconds.  Adjust the setting to medium and beat for an additional 4 minutes.
  • Pour batter into the baking cups (2/3 full).
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean when inserted into center of cupcake.
  • Cool for 15 minutes and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Frost with Espresso Spiced Frosting (recipe below).
Espresso Spiced Frosting

12 oz container of Whipped Fluffy White Frosting

1 tablespoon Pumpkin Pie Spice

1/4 teaspoon Espresso Powder

1/4 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

  • Add all ingredients to a medium bowl.  Mix well.

Chocolate Pumpkin Cupcakes with Espresso Spiced Frosting

Cinnamon Spiced Cappuccino Cannoli Dip

This “not diet friendly” dessert recipe was actually inspired by one of my favorite low calorie desserts/snacks….

It is all about balance.  So, go ahead and have a treat once in a while.  Be sure to counter the calorie intake with exercise and be mindful of portions.  

Definitely worth the extra workout… 

Enjoy!

Denise

Cappuccino Cannoli Dip with Cookies

Cinnamon Cappuccino Cannoli Dip

8 oz. Cream Cheese, softened
1 cup Ricotta Cheese (I used part-skim)
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 teaspoon Espresso Powder
3/4 teaspoon Cinnamon
2 tablespoons Brown Sugar
1 cup Confectioners Sugar
3/4 cup Mini Chocolate Chips

  • In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, ricotta cheese, vanilla, cinnamon, and espresso powder until creamy.

Cappuccino Cannoli Dip Preparation I

  • Gradually add the sugars and mix until well blended.

Cappuccino Cannoli Dip

  • Stir in mini chocolate chips.

Cappuccino Cannoli Dip

Cappuccino Cannoli Dip

  • Transfer to an airtight container.  Refrigerate overnight (or at least 4-6 hours).
  • When ready to serve, transfer to a decorative bowl.
  • Serve with chocolate graham crackers, vanilla wafer or strawberries.

Note:

  • This was a big hit! 
  • We think that Polish Chrusciki would  have been really good because they have a flavor/texture reminiscent of cannoli  shells.  Next time….
  • My “diet” version is 1/2 cup fat free ricotta, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract, pinch of cinnamon, 1 packet of Splenda.  Mix well with a spoon.  Sprinkle with 6 mini chocolate chips.  Yum! 🙂
Gypsy Spiced Chocolate Flan Cake Preparation

Gypsy Spiced Chocolate Flan Cake (aka Torta Imposible)

Chocolate Flan Cake (Torta Imposible or “impossible cake”) is a decadent, layered dessert with Chocolate Cake on the bottom and Flan on the top.

You are probably wondering why they describe it as “impossible”….

Well, when the cake pan goes into the oven, the flan ingredients are on the top and the cake batter is on the bottom.

Then two hours later, when the dessert comes out of the oven, the cake is on the top and the flan is on the bottom.

My favorite step is to invert the cake pan onto a platter.  It is definitely a “TADA” moment.  The caramel runs all over both the Chocolate Cake and Flan layers.   It is very hard not to slice it right there and then.  But do let it refrigerate and the flavors will marry even more because as Chocolate Flan Cake refrigerates, the chocolate cake absorbs the caramel like a sponge.

I like to think that nothing is impossible  and had to master this recipe after reading about it several years ago.   It has since become a family favorite. 

Below is the recipe…  

Enjoy!

Denise

Gypsy Spiced Chocolate Flan Cake

Gypsy Spiced Chocolate Flan Cake

12 Servings

Chocolate Cake Ingredients

  • 1 (18 oz.) box Butter Fudge Cake Mix
  •  3/4 cup Water
  •  3 eggs
  •  1 stick Butter, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
  •  1/2 teaspoon Cardamom

Flan Ingredients

  •  8-12 oz Caramel Sauce (depending on how gooey you like it)
  •  1(14 oz.) can Sweetened Condensed Milk
  •  1(12 oz.) can Evaporated Milk
  •  1/2 cup fresh Milk
  •  8 oz. Cream Cheese, softened
  •  3 eggs
  •  1 Vanilla Bean
  •  1/2 teaspoon Cardamom

Instructions

  • Preheat Oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a large bundt pan with nonstick spray.  Pour caramel sauce into prepare pan.  Set aside.

Gypsy Spiced Chocolate Flan Cake Preparation

  • Prepare cake mix according to package directions (adding cinnamon and cardamom).

Gypsy Spiced Chocolate Flan Cake PreparationGypsy Spiced Chocolate Flan Cake Preparation

  • Pour cake batter into cake pan (over the caramel).  Tip:  I typically only fill my cake pan a little more than 1/2 way.  Then make cupcakes with the rest of the batter (or leave more batter for the kids to have fun with. 🙂 )

Gypsy Spiced Chocolate Flan Cake Preparation...

  • Pour condensed, evaporated and fresh milks into a blender.  Split and scrape the vanilla bean.  Add the tiny vanilla beans to the blender along with the cream cheese and the cardamom.  Mix well.

Gypsy Spiced Chocolate Flan Cake Preparation...Gypsy Spiced Chocolate Flan Cake PreparationGypsy Spiced Chocolate Flan Cake Preparation

Pour flan mixture very slowly (with a ladle) over the cake batter.

Gypsy Spiced Chocolate Flan Cake Preparation

  • Spray aluminum foil with non-stick spray.  Cover bundt pan very tightly with the aluminum foil.  Set the bundt pan into a large pan and set on the oven rack.  Carefully pour hot water into the larger pan to a depth of 2 inches.
  • Bake for 2 hours.  Note: Do Not Take the Aluminum Cover Off During Baking Process.
  • Cool for 15 minutes.  Remove aluminum foil.  Invert cake onto a large platter.  Refrigerate for several hours before serving. 

Gypsy Spiced Chocolate Flan Cake Preparation

Source:  Recipezaar

Versatile Vanilla – Very Vanilla Shortcakes (Plus Bonus Recipe for Very Vanilla Dessert Pancakes)

Continuing on the Versatile Vanilla Voyage….

Today’s Vanilla post features a dessert recipe… There are many Vanilla dessert recipes that come to mind.

 Custards…Cake…Cookies…Ice Cream… The list is long…

I was inspired by a new kitchen gadget that my Mom recently gave me.  We went to visit her and she pulled it out…laughing…because she had meant to give it to me as one of my Christmas gifts…

What was it? None other than a Xpress Redi Set Go*… I was inspired by one of the recipes that came with this gadget for a “Cookizza”.   I adapted it and below is my take on the “Cookizza” to feature Vanilla.  (there is a bonus recipe below for those that do not have this appliance).   

Thanks for the cool gift Mom!

Enjoy!

Denise

*Please Note: this is not a product endorsement or recommendation…

Gypsy World Spice Cafe Recipe – Very Vanilla Shortcakes

Servings: 8 (makes 2 shortcakes, each serves 4)

6 tablespoons lite butter, softened
1/3 cup Splenda Brown Sugar Blend
1-1/3 cup Baking Mix (I used Bisquick)
1 egg
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 teaspoon Vanilla Powder

  • Spray appliance with cooking spray and pre-heat using manufacturer instructions.
  •  Mix together all the ingredients with a spatula.

  •  Spread 1/2 mixture into base.

  • Close and bake for 5 minutes.

  •  Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

  • Repeat steps 3-5 for remaining batter.
  •  Cut each shortcake into 4 wedges.
  • Top with Vanilla Ice Cream, Caramel Sauce and Sprinkles.

Blogger’s Comments:

I served it up with Vanilla Ice Cream and Caramel Sauce. You can top with whatever you like. Whipped Cream and Berries with Vanilla Sugar would be really good too…

Since some people may not have this nifty appliance, we used the other half of the recipe to make Dessert Pancakes… See the the bonus recipe and pictures below…  The topping options are endless…

I will be making peach cobbler soon and plan to use this as the topping and bake it.  Another fun option would be to use the batter to make mini-muffins.   This recipe is not only Very Vanilla … it is Very Versatile…

 

Gypsy World Spice Cafe – Bonus Recipe – Very Vanilla Dessert Pancakes

Servings: 10 Dessert Pancakes (1 pancake per person)

One Batch Very Vanilla Shortcake Batter

  • Heat griddle and spray with butter flavored cooking spray.
  • Drop batter onto griddle by tablespoon.

  • Cook like you would pancakes.

  • Top with your favorite dessert toppings.

More With Mustard – Dessert Recipe for Lemon Glazed Mustard Spiced Poppyseed Cake

Continuing on with the Mustard spiced menu theme, below you will find a dessert recipe that features the spice Mustard.

Yes…I found a way to incorporate the spice Mustard into a dessert recipe.

When dried Mustard is baked, it takes on a very pleasant background flavor that is not sharp.  So, I decided to make a poppyseed cake with lemon glaze (and added dried mustard to the batter to give it that “special something”).

I was very pleased with the results.  You can detect a nice flavor in the backdrop….most would never guess that dried Mustard was the secret ingredient.  For this recipe, I decided to doctor up a few store-bought ingredients for convenience….

My cake tasters gave this recipe a “two thumbs up”.

I love to do the unexpected with a spice.   We often buy spices for a recipe and then it sits in the spice cabinet unused.  Most spices only have a shelf life of 6 months.  So, make the most of them!  At the bottom of the article, I’ve included some interesting spice information about Mustard.

Enjoy!

Denise

Gypsy World Spice Cafe Recipe – Lemon Glazed Mustard Spiced Poppyseed Cake

I box Yellow Butter Cake Mix
1-1/4 cups Water or Milk
1 stick Butter, softened
3 Eggs
2 teaspoons dried Mustard
1/2 teaspoon Almond Extract
1/2 teaspoon Coconut Extract
2 tablespoons Poppyseeds
1/2 container Vanilla Frosting.
Zest of 1/2 lemon, finely chopped
Juice from half of lemon

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2.  Grease and flour a bundt pan; set aside.
  3.  Place cake mix, butter, water and eggs in a large mixing bowls.
  4.  Beat on low for 30 seconds. Adjust speed to medium and beat for 2 more minutes.
  5.  Pour into prepared bundt pan.
  6.  Bake for 45-50 minutes (or until cake tester comes out clean).
  7.  Cool completely. Remove from pan.
  8.  Place frosting in a small microwavable bowl. Microwave for 15-30 seconds (or until a glaze consistency).   Stir in lemon zest and lemon juice.
  9. Drizzle over cake

Interesting Tidbits about the spice Mustard:

Researching Mustard, I was surprised to learn that Mustard seeds are a great source for omega-3 fatty acids.  There is also interesting information out there on research that has been done on Mustard seed’s potential anti-cancer effects.  Mustard seeds were traditionally used as an anti-inflammatory.  People used Mustard seeds to alleviate symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and asthma, and migraine headaches.

Note: Home remedies should not be tried without consulting the physician.

Celebrating Cinco de Mayo – Homemade Black Pepper Tortillas

Tortillas are very versatile…  They are great with appetizers, main dishes and desserts.  They bring back childhood memories because when I was little my Titi (endearment for Tia) used to make them for us as an afternoon snack.  I remember feeling especially lucky (and proud) when she made them for my third grade class who had never tasted tortillas.   By the way, there were 42 kids in my third grade class.  Wow!  That was definitely a labor of love…. 

This week was my first attempt at making tortillas.  Inspired by this childhood memory, my sons and I worked together on this article.  They really got into rolling the dough.  We were very excited when one of the tortillas ended up in the shape of a heart.  We took pictures as we went along to share. 

We decided to put a dessert twist on tortillas and peppercorns.  So, for the feature picture of this article, we took a homemade black pepper tortilla and used a heart-shaped cookie cutter to cut out 3 hearts.   We then made a little napoleon dessert by layering the  tortilla with Nutella and Strawberry Preserves.  The flavor combination rocked!  You definitely have to try it.  For more information on Peppercorns, check out my post in the archives,  https://gypsyworldspicecafe.com/2010/09/19/provocative-peppercorns/

Enjoy!

Denise

P.S. Sending Special Birthday Wishes to my sister, Desiree.  Love Ya!

 

 

 

Gypsy World Spice Cafe Recipe – Homemade Black Pepper Tortillas

Yields:  12 tortillas

Ingredients:

3 cups Flour, plus extra for rolling out the dough

1-2 teaspoons Salt (depending on your taste)

2 teaspoons Baking Powder

1 tablespoon coarsley ground Black Pepper

3/4  cup Hot Water

3/4 cup Shortening

Instructions

  • Measure your flour, salt, black pepper and baking powder into a bowl and set aside.  
  • Add the shortening to the flour mixture.  Using a pastry cutter, cut the shortening until the mixture has consistency of meal (crumbly).

  •  

 

    • Add hot water to flour mixture.  Use a spatula to combine the ingredients into a ball (until the dough does not stick to the sides of your bowl).  Note:  You may have to add a few tablepoons of flour. 
    • Cover the bowl with a clean dish towel and let rest for 1 hour.
    • Divide the ball into 12 smaller balls.  Cover with a clean dish towel.

  • Using a rolling pin, roll each ball into to be about 1/8 inch thick.  

 

  • Place tortilla on a hot skillet.  Cook for 1-2 minutes on first side.   It will start to bubble which is a sign to flip it. 
  • Cook for another 1-2 minutes on the other side.

 

*Variation:  Instead of black pepper, try your favorite blend of Herbs.  We made a variation by swapping out the coarsley ground black pepper with with 2 tablespoons of our “house blend”.  You might want to try Italian Seasoning or Herbs de Provence…

 

Assembling the Black Pepper Napoleon:

Using a cookie cutter, cut out 3 shapes from a black pepper tortilla.  Spread some Nutella and Strawberry Preserves onto the first tortilla.  Top with the second tortilla.  Repeat.   Garnish with whipped cream and mini-chocolate chips.

 

Creative Cooking with Cilantro: Day 4 – Coconut Cilantro Cupcakes with Lime Buttercream Frosting

This week, I have been posting the recipes from our Cilantro themed Sunday dinner.

Below is the recipe for the dessert from our family meal…

Yes…I found a way to make a dessert using Cilantro and it was amazing.

Even the picky eater in my family loved it. That alone says it all!

I hope that this Cilantro series opens your taste buds and imagination so that you too can come up with some creative ways to cook with Cilantro. It is more than “just for salsa”…

Enjoy!

 

 

Gypsy World Spice Cafe Recipe – Coconut Cilantro Cupcakes with Lime Buttercream Frosting

1 box Pound Cake Mix (I used Betty Crocker)
3/4 cup Milk
2 eggs
1/4 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1/4 cup Sweetened Flaked Coconut
1/4 Cilantro, finely chopped

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line cupcake pan with paper cupcake liners.
  3. Add cake mix, milk, eggs, cinnamon and vanilla to a large mixing bowl.
  4. Mix on low for 30 seconds.
  5. Increase mixer speed to medium and mix for 3 minutes.
  6. Fold in coconut and cilantro.
  7. Fill each cupcake liner halfway.
  8. Bake for 20 minutes (or until cake tester comes out clean).
  9. Remove from baking pan and cool on a wire rack.
  10. Frost with Lime Buttercream Frosting (see recipe listed below).
  11. Top with coconut or candies.

 

Gypsy World Spice Cafe Recipe – Lime Buttercream Frosting

1-3/4 cups Confectioners Sugar
1/4 cup Butter, softened
Zest of 1 Lime, finely chopped
Juice from 1 Lime
1-2 tablespoons Milk (as needed)

  1. In a medium bowl, combine confectioners sugar, butter, milk, lime zest and juice with a mixer.
  2. Beat for 1-2 minutes until very creamy.
  3. Add milk a tablespoon at a time to get the consistency you like.

Oregano Unleashed

Oregano….

One of my favorite dried herbs or spices to use. I absolutely love the smell and flavor. In fact, most of all of my favorite food memories use Oregano. We used oregano in our pasta sauces, meatballs, carne beef, and the meat filling for our empanadillas and pasteles. I remember loving to watch my mother cook. She would pour the dried oregano into the palms of her hands and crumble them finer by rubbing her hands together to “release the flavor”…letting the dried herbs fall into the pot. When she was done, she would lean over the pot to take in the aroma. Justly thinking about it makes me hungry and home-sick for her cooking…

Check out the recipes below that highlight Oregano. The first recipe is a traditional Italian shrimp recipe from one of my favorite “go to” Italian cook books. The rest of the recipes are my creative take on unique uses of Oregano in desserts and cocktails. The combinations are unexpected but they unleash new ways to use a dried herb that some people consider to be cliché.

Next time you are cooking or baking, consider using oregano in a new way…you might be surprised…

Enjoy!

P.S. Love Ya Mom! Thanks for always being a constant inspiration…

Oregano Basics

Oregano is commonly used in Mediterranean and Latin American recipes. Oregano’s name means “joy of the mountains” because it was traditionally grown and harvested on the Mediterranean mountainsides. It was not widely used in the United States until the WWII soldiers brought Oregano home from Italy.

Oregano is very aromatic with a bitter, peppery edge flavor. Like most dried herbs and spices, Oregano should be stored away from sunlight and has a shelf life of about 6 months.

While, many use it for pizza, it very good with beans, poultry, lamb, fish, tomato and vegetable dishes.

Recipe Section

Traditional Recipe – Black Pepper Shrimp Oreganata

1 pound large Shrimp in their shells
2 tablespoons Butter
3 tablespoons Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
4 cloves of Garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon dried Oregano
1 tablespoon Black Pepper
1 cup Dry White Wine

  • Rinse shrimp under cold running water. Pat dry with paper towels.
  • In a nonreactive large frying pan, melt butter and olive oil over medium heat.
  • Add garlic, oregano, pepper and shrimp.
  • Cook, tossing 30 seconds.
  • Add white wine and cook 2-3 minutes (or until shrimp turns pink).
  • Serve immediately with crusty bread.

Source: 365 Easy Italian Recipes by Rick Marzullo O’Connell

Gypsy World Spice Cafe Recipe – Saffron Frosted Orange Oregano Cupcakes

1 box Orange Cake Mix (I used Duncan Hines)
1-1/3 cups Milk
1/3 cup Vegetable Oil
3 large Eggs
1/4 teaspoon Almond Extract
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
1 tablespoon dried Oregano

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Spray mini-bundt cake pans with cooking spray.
  • Add cake mix, milk, vegetable oil, eggs, cinnamon, oregano and almond extract to a large mixing bowl.
  • Mix on low for 30 seconds.
  • Increase mixer speed to medium and mix for 3 minutes.
  • Fill each mini-bundt halfway. Smooth tops with a spoon.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes (or until cake tester comes out clean).
  • Remove from baking pan and cool on a wire rack.
  • When cool, dust the mini-bundt cakes with powdered sugar.
  • Dollop with Saffron Buttercream Frosting (see recipe listed below)
  • Decorate with candies or fresh oregano.

Gypsy World Spice Cafe Recipe – Saffron Buttercream Frosting

3-3/4 cups Confectioners Sugar
1/2 cup Butter, softened
3-4 tablespoons Milk
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
Pinch Saffron

  • Steep saffron in lukewarm milk for 5 minute then remove saffron.
  • In a medium bowl, combine confectioners sugar, butter, saffron infused milk with a mixer.
  • Beat for 1-2 minutes until very creamy. ( Add more milk if it consistency is too thick).

Oregano Infused Vodka

1 pint-sized mason jar, clean and dry
Fresh Oregano, washed and patted dry
Vodka

  • Fill jar halfway (loosely) with fresh oregano.
  • Fill jar with vodka.
  • Put the lid on the jar and place in a dark location (or refrigerator) for at least 3 days.
  • After 3 days, remove oregano.

Oregano Infused Bloody Mary

1-1/2 oz. Oregano Infused Vodka
3 oz. Tomato Juice
1/2 oz. Lemon Juice
Worcestershire Sauce to taste
Tabasco Sauce to taste
Black Pepper to taste

  • Add all ingredients to a shaker with ice.
  • Shake softly.
  • Strain into highball glass. Garnish with celery and fresh oregano.

Oregano Vodka Pink Spritzer

1-1/2 oz Oregano Infused Vodka
Fresca Soda
1/2 teaspoon Grenadine

  • Fill a highball glass halfway with ice.
  • Add oregano infused vodka.
  • Fill remainder of glass with Fresca.
  • Stir in grenadine.
  • Garnish with fresh oregano or a maraschino cherry.