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Grilled Vegetable & Andouille Salad with Spicy Ranch by Natalie

Rocket Pop Cookies

Rocket pops – also known as firecrackers or bomb pops – were always my popsicle of choice. I loved their look and shape – plus the combination of cherry, pineapple and raspberry flavors meant I never had to pick just one. I still enjoy them to this day and will pick one up at the convenience store or at a nice cream truck on a hot day. These Rocket Pop Cookies are inspired by those popsicles. They’re not served cold, but the red, white and blue cookies capture the look of those classic pops.

The cookies start with a vanilla sugar cookie dough that is one of my favorite for cut-out cookies, Not only is the dough easy to make, it doesn’t need to be chilled before you roll it out unless your kitchen is very hot (and even then, only for a couple of minutes. You’re going to need some popsicle sticks for this recipe and you can find them at cake decorating stores (and craft stores, but I would recommend sticking with ones that note they are food safe). Mine are a little bit longer than I would have liked, but I wanted relatively wide popsicle sticks to support the weight of the cookies and I wasn’t going to get too picky about it. These are about 1/2-inch wide.

Once the cookie dough is prepared, roll it out into a rectangle and cut it into small rectangles that are about 2-inches by 5-inches. If you have a bottle-shaped cookie cutter, you can use that, too. Trim the tops of the rectangles to resemble a rocket pop, then insert a paring knife into the bottom of the cookie – parallel to the counter – to make a pocket for the popsicle stick. Make sure the stick goes in at least half way.

The classic popsicles may have inspired these cookies, but they also inspired another art piece – a neon artwork I recently made at Lili Lakich Studio in Los Angeles. Lili is a world-renowned neon artist and holds great workshops where beginners (like me!) can learn to design and construct together neon art. My Rocket Pop piece was so much fun to make and these cookies give me the perfect excuse to show it off here!

Nicole's Rocket Pop Neon Sign

The finishing touch on these cookies is the red, white and blue icing, which takes the cookies from oddly-shaped cookie popsicles to true rocket pops. You will need a batch of royal icing, along with red and blue food coloring (recipe below). Be generous with the colors, as you want the cookies to be bold. To get a nice consistency for “flooding” the icing onto the cookie, you may need to add in a teaspoon or two of water to each batch to thin it out. Don’t be afraid to play around with the icing a bit to get it where you want. Once iced, the cookies will need to dry for 8-12 hours before they are ready to eat. Fortunately, the cookies have a great shelf life and will last several days an in airtight container.

Rocket Pop Cookies

Rocket Pop Cookies
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
1 tsp salt
2 3/4 cups + 2 tbsp all purpose flour
approx 2 1/2-3 dozen wide popsicle sticks
1/2 batch Royal Icing

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg, vanilla extract and almond extract.
With the mixer on low speed, mix in the salt and gradually blend in the flour until it is completely incorporated and the dough comes together into a smooth ball. Dough will be thick.
Divide dough in half and gently knead if dough is not completely smooth.
Place half of the dough on a well-floured work surface and roll out to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut out dough into 2×5-inch rectangles, or use a similarly sized bottle-shaped cookie cutter.
Transfer cookies to prepared baking sheet. Gather and reroll cookie dough scraps. Repeat with second half of the cookie dough.
Using a knife or the edge of a round cookie cutter, shape the tops of the rectangles into rocket pop shapes by making round cuts in the top corners. Insert a paring knife into the bottom of the cookie, parallel to the counter, to make a pocket. Insert a popsicle stick into each pocket.
Chill cut out cookies on the baking sheet for 10 minutes before baking.
Bake for about 15 minutes, depending on the size of the cookie, until cookies are set and very lightly browned around the edges.
Allow cookies to cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To frost: Make Royal Icing (half batch) and divide it into three bowls. Tint one bowl red, one blue and leave one white. Thin the icing as needed with a little bit of water to make it flow more easily when piping.
Pipe red, white and blue design shown on the cookies above. Work with one color at a time, starting with red and working your way down the cookie.
Allow icing to dry for 8-12 hours before serving or storing.

Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

The post Rocket Pop Cookies appeared first on Baking Bites.

HULLR 9-Piece Kitchen Gadgets Tools Set, Pizza Cutter, Apple Corer, Vegetable Peeler, Multifunctional Bottle Opener, Cheese Slicer, Grater, Scoop, Slicer, with Rotating Stand

HULLR 9-piece Kitchen Gadget Tool Set
• Stainless Steel Pizza Cutter
• Apple Corer
• Vegetable & Fruit Peeler
• Multi-function Opener
• Cheese Slicer
• Stainless Steel Grater
• Ice Cream Scoop
• Avocado Slicer
• Rotating Stand

Product Features

  • HULLR 9-piece Kitchen Gadget Tool Set Includes: Stainless Steel Pizza Cutter, Apple Corer, Vegetable & Fruit Peeler, Multi-function Opener, Cheese Slicer, Stainless Steel Grater, Ice Cream Scoop, Avocado Slicer, and Rotating Stand
  • Multi-colored Easy Grip Soft Touch Handles For Comfortable Use
  • All Gadgets Store Safely In The Rotating Stand For Space Efficient Storage
  • HULLR Premium German Design & Innovation

Deiss Pro Julienne & Vegetable Peeler Review

Is a spiralizer necessary? I got one to review, but truth be told I’m unconvinced. It turns out there are lots of ways to get strands and ribbons from vegetables and fruit. The most common kitchen tools, a grater and a vegetable peeler work remarkably well. I’m also a fan of the mandolin which can be used to make many more types of cuts. But if you really enjoy creating these textures and want a single gadget, the Deiss Pro Julienne & Vegetable Peeler is really a three in one. It’s great for peeling potatoes and carrots, but it’s also good for creating those slithery ribbons and shredds for salads. It also has a nifty feature on the side that allows you to remove the “eyes” from potatoes without resorting to a paring knife or use it to create a peel strip from citrus fruit. 

I’ve been using this gadget on zucchini. I use the larger ribbons with chunkier pasta and the shreds with skinny noodles. I blanch the zucchini for a minute or two with the pasta, to get rid of the rawness and cook it just enough so it blends nicely with the pasta. It helps me to lower the carbs and bulk up a pasta meal with healthy vegetables. 

It’s also good for creating ribbons of cucumber for salads. 

Another way I am using it is to make vegetable slaws. The latest one I made with raw carrots, beets and celeraic. I tosssed it with a creamy sesame dressing for a deliciously crunch salad. 

This is a small gadget, and I like that it both peels and shreds, the only negative to it is cleaning it. Because it creates such fine strands, it can be a pain to remove them all, the best bet is to use a bamboo skewer if any tiny bits get stuck in the teeth. At just under $10 I think it’s a good buy especially if you are in the market for a new peeler as eventually they do become dull. 

Do you have a spiralizer? Or do you use something else? If you have any favorite recipes let me know in the comments. 

Disclaimer: I was provided with the Deiss Pro Julienne & Vegetable Peeler for review purposes. This post includes an affiliate link. I was not compensated monetarily for this or any other post. 

Knife Cuts 101 by Meseidy

Instant Pot DUO80 7-in-1 Multi-Use Programmable Pressure Cooker, 8 Qt | Stainless Steel

Instant Pot is a smart Electric Pressure Cooker designed by Canadians aiming to be Safe, Convenient and Dependable. It speeds up cooking by 2~6 times using up to 70% less energy and, above all, produces nutritious healthy food in a convenient and consistent fashion. Instant Pot Duo 8 Quart is a 7-in-1 programmable cooker, it replaces 7 kitchen appliances as it has the functions of a pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, steamer, sauté, yogurt maker & warmer. 14 built-in smart programs (Soup, Meat/Stew, Bean/Chili, Poultry, Sauté, Steam, Rice, Porridge, Multigrain, Slow Cook, Keep-Warm, Yogurt, Pasteurize & Jiu Niang) cook your favorite dishes with the press of a button. A 24-hour timer allows for delayed cooking. Automatic keep-warm holds the temperature of the food until you serve it. Instant Pot generates almost no noise and leaks no steam. It traps all the aromas in the food without heating up the kitchen. The 3-ply bottom stainless steel inner pot is extremely durable and leaves no health concerns associated with non-stick coatings. The slim body design has lid holders for both left and right handed users. The brushed stainless steel exterior is finger print resistant. Its elegant and durable design makes it easy to clean and pleasurable to use for the years to come. Instant Pot Duo 8 Quart uses the latest 3rd generation technology with an embedded microprocessor, which monitors the pressure and temperature, keeps time and adjusts heating intensity. The cooking programs have been lab-tested hundreds of times for optimal effect. These greatly improve cooking result and maintain consistence. Instant Pot is carefully designed to eliminate many common errors that could cause harm or spoil food. It passed the stringent UL certification giving you uncompromised safety and peace of mind and protects you with 10 proven safety mechanisms and patented technologies.

Product Features

  • Duo 8 Quart, the number 1 selling multi-cooker, combines 7 kitchen appliances in 1, Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Steamer, Sauté, Yogurt Marker and Warmer, prepares dishes up to 70% faster to support your busy lifestyle
  • Features 14 Smart Programs – Soup, Meat/Stew, Bean/Chili, Poultry, Sauté/Simmer, Rice, Multigrain, Porridge, Steam, Slow Cook, Keep Warm, Yogurt, Manual, and Pressure Cook. Now, your favorite dishes are as easy as pressing a button
  • Healthy, stainless steel (18/8) inner cooking pot made from food grade 304, no chemical coating, 3-ply bottom for even heat distribution, fully sealed environment traps the flavours, nutrients and aromas within the food
  • Built with the latest 3rd generation technology, the microprocessor monitors pressure, temperature, keeps time, and adjusts heating intensity and duration to achieve your desired results every time
  • UL and ULC certified with 10 safety mechanisms to provide you with added assurance, designed to eliminate many common errors
  • Accessories include stainless steel steam rack with handles, rice paddle, soup spoon, measuring cup, condensation collector and recipe booklet

Watermelon Slicer, Kenor Watermelon Knife & Fruit Slicer Fastest Cutter Multi-purpose Stainless Steel, Smart Kitchen Gadget & Perfect Gift

Watermelon Knife Now On Sale …
Save time cutting up a whole watermelon by using this all-in-one watermelon knife.
This stainless steel tool cuts and serves slices of cool. refreshing watermelon all at the same time.
Simply insert the tool into the watermelon hook side in and cut slices by dragging down and in.
Following the natural curvature of the melon.
Then flip it around and squeeze the tool to grasp the slice with the tong side of the tool.
We guarantee our best product in 100 percent.
Get rid of seed and Leaving the fruit clean .
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A great product that must be in every kitchen.

Product Features

  • • Easily watermelon knife and slicer
  • • Get the most out of your watermelon
  • • Simpley Using and keeps your hands clean
  • • Dishwasher Safe Kitchen Tool – Stainless Steel made
  • • Perfectly Slice or Cube Melons in seconds

Unicorn Cheesecake Brownies

Every time that I think the unicorn food trend – a trend which involves a generous use of ingredients like sprinkles, glitter and pink, purple and blue food colorings – is fading, I see someone share something colorful and delicious looking on Instagram and I get swept right back up in it. These Unicorn Cheesecake Brownies were the result of browsing Instagram while I worked on a batch of fudgy brownies. Inspired by the colors, I decided to incorporate them into this easy and indulgent dessert.

The brownies themselves are dense and fudgy, with a rich chocolate flavor and a chewy texture. They’re satisfying brownies and they stand up well to the layer of creamy cheesecake batter that is poured on top of them before baking. The cheesecake mixture comes together very quickly and that is where the unicorn colors come in. After I mixed up the batter in a large bowl, I dipped a toothpick into some gel food colorings (which are thicker and tend to come in more colors than liquid food colorings) and swirled them through the cheesecake mixture. I made one portion of the batter pink, one blue and one purple while still leaving white visible in the bow, then allowed the colors to run together as I poured the mixture on top of the cheesecake base. I gently ran a knife through the cheesecake to marry it to the brownie layer after it was in the pan and before baking.

I recommend gel food colorings for this recipe because they’re thicker and a little easier to work with. If you only have liquid food colorings, you will only need a couple of drops of each color. If you’re worried about blending the colors together in the same bowl, as I did, you can always divide your batter into three smaller bowls to tint it.

Unicorn Cheesecake Brownies

The finished brownies are absolutely delicious with rich chocolate and tangy cheesecake in every bite. You’ll definitely feel a bit magical as you look at the bars, too. If you aren’t in a unicorn mood, you can omit the food coloring and make plain cheesecake brownies. That being said, I’ll be on board the unicorn trend and having fun with it as long as its around.

Cheesecake Brownies
1/2 cup butter
2-oz dark chocolate, chopped
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2/3 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt

8-oz cream cheese, room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
pink, purple and blue food coloring

Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8×8-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil and lightly grease.
In a small, heatproof bowl, melt butter and chocolate together. Stir with a fork until very smooth. Stir in cocoa powder and vanilla extract. Set aside to cool slightly.
In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, eggs and chocolate mixture. Stir until smooth. Sift flour and salt into the bowl and stir until just combined.
Pour brownie batter into prepared pan and prepare cheesecake mixture.
In a large bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, egg and vanilla extract until smooth. Dip a toothpick into the pink food coloring (pref. gel coloring) and swirl it through the batter. Repeat for remaining colors. If using liquid food colorings, simply add a few drops of each color to the bowl and swirl carefully with a knife or spatula. Do NOT overswirl the colors; you should still see some white in the batter.
Pour the cheesecake mixture onto the brownie batter. Gently swirl two batters with a butter knife.
Bake for 35-38 minutes, until brownies and cheesecake are set. A knife inserted into the cheesecake mixture should come out clean and the edges will be very lightly browned.
Cool in the pan completely before slicing and serving, either at room temperature or chilled.
Brownies can be refrigerated, covered, for several days.

Makes 16 large brownies.

Apple Hand Pies

These Apple Hand Pies are portable and delicious, and bring back memories of those little pies in the grocery store checkout line. You could use this base pastry recipe and mix and match all sorts of pie fillings to suit your tastes and use up seasonal fruit.

Apple Hand Pies - A super flaky pastry crust filled with cooked apples!

Apple Pie: rustic, flaky, tart, and spicy. The most iconic of American traditions.

These marvelous little pies package up the best parts of apple pie, eliminate a lot of the work, and deliver scrumptious, addictive fruit-wrapped-in-crust that can be stowed away in your pocket for safe keeping.

I originally shared these apple hand pies with you way, way, wayyyyyyy back in the dark ages of 2008. It’s been quite a long time since I’ve made them myself, but when Joseph saw an episode of his favorite show, Hey Duggee, and it featured an apple pie, he proceeded to walk around the house saying “apple pieeeeeeeee” for days and days. He’d never had apple pie; how could I deprive my child of something so delicious?? I immediately thought of these hand pies, since they would be much easier for him to eat than a slice of apple pie, and I got baking!

Apple Hand Pies - fresh from the oven!

The dough for this recipe is really just incredible. I admit that I was somewhat skeptical at first, as it contained sour cream. I had never heard or seen sour cream used in a pie or pastry dough before, so it certainly caused me to raise an eyebrow. But like the good trooper that I am, I forged ahead. This dough has such an incredibly buttery, flaky texture, much like that of a laminated dough you would create for croissants. When you bite into one of these pies, the crust just flakes and shatters, which is basically a crust-lover’s dream come true.

I made two modifications to this recipe (and those changes are reflected in the recipe as it’s written below):

  • The original recipe required A LOT of time chilling ingredients and the dough at different steps, which I have now condensed a bit. I didn’t find there to be any reduction in the quality of the final crust by doing so. I also made the dough mixing step a little easier to execute, as well.
  • I added a little cinnamon to the filling – I can’t believe I left it out originally!

Cutting dough rounds for Apple Hand Pies

Dough circles topped with apple filling for Apple Hand Pies

Apple Hand Pies assembled and ready for baking!

I couldn’t wait to get these baked and cooled enough for Joseph to try one. When I told him I had made him little apple hand pies, he said, “APPLE PIE?!?!”

I gave him half of one and he went over and sat on the fireplace, took a bite, and said, “Mmmmmmmm!” He polished it off quickly and then requested the other half. I’m so happy that I could make his apple pie dreams come true, ha!

Joseph enjoyed an Apple Hand Pie

These hand pies are a fantastic option for changing up the traditional slice of pie and ice cream and would be especially welcome as a dessert at an outdoor gathering or one that included small children.

And really, for the kid in all of us – what’s much better than a slice of apple pie that you can pick up and carry around with you?

Apple Hand Pie with a BIG bite taken out!

Did you make this recipe?
Leave a review »

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Apple Hand Pies

Portable apple pies with a super flaky crust and delicious apple filling.


For the Pastry

  • 2½ cups (354 grams) all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (227 grams) unsalted butter, chilled, cut into small pieces
  • ½ cup (113 grams) sour cream
  • 4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • ½ cup (120 ml) ice water

For the Filling

  • 2 large apples, peeled, cored and diced small
  • ⅓ cup (66 grams) granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt

To Finish

  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • Coarse sugar


  1. Make the Pastry: In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. Add the butter to the well and, using a pastry blender, cut it into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse meal. In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream, lemon juice and water. Add to the flour mixture and, using a fork, gently toss and stir together until large lumps form and all of the flour has been moistened. Using your hands, pat the dough into a ball and wrap with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 1 hour (if preparing ahead of time, the dough can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month).
  2. Assemble the Pies: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Divide the refrigerated dough in half. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out one half of the dough to ⅛-inch thickness. Using a 4½-inch round biscuit cutter, cut seven circles out of the rolled dough. Transfer the circles to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat the rolling and cutting process with the remaining half of dough. Refrigerate the dough circles for 30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, in a small pan, combine the apples, sugar, cinnamon and salt, and cook over low heat for 8-10 minutes, stirring frequently, until the apples are tender. Set aside. Prior to preparing the pies, drain any accumulated liquid from the apples.
  4. Remove the chilled dough from the refrigerator. Spoon about 1 to 2 tablespoons filling onto one half of each circle of dough. Brush a little water around the circumference of the dough, and fold it in half so the other side comes down over the filling, creating a semicircle. Seal the hand pie, and make a decorative edge by pressing the edges of the dough together with the tines of a fork. Refrigerate the assembled hand pies for 30 minutes.
  5. Bake the Pies: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolk and water for the egg wash. Remove the chilled hand pies from the refrigerator, and lightly brush with the egg yolk wash. Using a paring knife, cut a few small slits on the top of each hand pie, then sprinkle generously with coarse sugar. Bake until the hand pies are golden brown, anywhere from 20 to 40 minutes, depending on how thick you rolled the dough. Remove the pies from the oven, and let stand to cool slightly before serving. The pies are best eaten within a day of baking them, but they can be stored in airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. They can also be wrapped with plastic wrap and placed in a freezer storage bag and frozen for up to 2 months.

Recipe Notes:

  • Feel free to use any type of apple you’d like in this recipe, as it’s quite forgiving. I’ve used Granny Smith, Gala, and Honeycrisps!

Did you make this recipe?

Leave a review below, then snap a picture and tag @thebrowneyedbaker on Instagram so I can see it!

(Adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

All images and text ©Brown Eyed Baker, LLC.

Apple Hand Pies - baked and golden!

This recipe was originally published on October 15, 2008.

The post Apple Hand Pies appeared first on Brown Eyed Baker.

Cherry Jamming in the Miele Kitchen

Chef Rachelle Boucher shows off our cherry jam
If you’ve been to the store or maybe the farmers market recently you might have seen cherries. The sweetness of bing cherries is both intense and fleeting. Cherries don’t last long after being picked, unlike apples or oranges. That’s why I’m glad to be a part of the Canbassador program.

The past few years I’ve received a crate of fresh sweet cherries from Northwest Cherry Growers. Every year I experiment preserving something different. I’ve prepared cherry barbecue sauce, canned cherries for pie, put up bourbon cherries, made cherry vanilla shrub and even dried and frozen cherries. This year I decided to make cherry jam. It turned out to be a very special cooking experience for me because I wasn’t in my kitchen, but over at the Miele showroom in San Francisco, with my pal Chef Rachelle Boucher. She kindly invited me over to do a little cooking. To be honest, working with Miele appliances will spoil you. Here’s how it went and the key ways it differed from what I do at home: 

Step 1 – Sterlized the jars in  Miele’s super duper professional dishwasher. No messy hot water bath! 
Step 2 – Cooked the jam using a super duper Miele Induction Range. I would take induction over gas anyday. Why? The minute you turn it off, there’s no heat at all. Which means while I probably should have used a larger pot, there was no risk of it boiling over since any adjustment to the heat was instantaneous. When you turn of the heat on a gas or electric range, the grate stays hot. The smooth surface also makes moving pots around easy.
Step 3 – Sterilized more jars then processed the jam in a super duper Miele Combi-Steam Oven. Again, no messy and potentially dangerous hot water bath! Because the oven uses steam, you don’t need a large capacity, and it heats instantly, no “preheating.” What else can you do in it? Well steam obviously but also roast, make yogurt, proof dough, bake bread with perfect crusts. 

You really don’t know what appliances are like until you use them. You can read all the reviews you want, but nothing takes the place of actually trying before you buy. The touchscreens, the smooth surfaces and the incredible number of settings all make this line of appliances positively dreamy. So you don’t think I turned into the perfect cook, I will now share with you the things I did wrong.  These are the three mistakes I made that I will not make again:

1. I mostly mashed the cherries instead of chopping them thoroughly. If you don’t chop the cherries finely enough, cherry jam doesn’t thicken up as much as it should. Oops! The good news is I have  syrupy cherry topping which is fabulous on Greek yogurt or ice cream and not bad on toast. I may also use some to make cherry soda or cherry cocktails, so not a complete disaster. 

2. The recipe I found online called for a teaspoon of almond extract to 4 cups of cherries. This is way too much. Better to use about a quarter or half that amount. Live and learn! Seriously though, make sure you’re confident in your recipe source. I recommend using the recipes at Sweet Preservation on the Northwest Cherries site.  

3. I doubled my recipe. While preserving is great for large quantities, when trying a new recipe, it’s best to do a small or single batch in case something goes wrong (see #1 and #2).
Disclaimer: My thanks for Northwest Stone Fruit for providing me with the cherries and to Rachelle Boucher for inviting me to cook in the Miele kitchen. I was not compensated monetarily for this or any another post on Cooking with Amy.