SIMPLE & SWEET EASTER DESSERTS

We all know what seals the deal for any Easter brunch menu….SIMPLE & SWEET EASTER DESSERTS!

SIMPLE & SWEET EASTER DESSETS!

Easter Desset Collage

EASTER DESSERT COLLAGE

I have spend the day planning my Easter parties menu.  I say “parties” because at this house we actually have two Easter parties.  The first party we have the Saturday night before Easter Sunday.  This party is where we make our traditional Easter Pizza just like Grandma used to make.  We also decorate the Easter eggs at this party.  Hey why not right…a party before the party…the “pre-Easter party”!  The second party is actually a huge brunch we throw on Easter Sunday.  So anyway, I have spent the better party of today finalizing our menu’s and putting together the dreaded grocery list.  Today, I wanted to share with you the most important party of any Easter party menu….the SIMPLE & SWEET EASTER DESSERTS!  Some of these desserts have started out as a family tradition like my Grandmother’s “Taralli” or Italian Lemon Knots.  Some of these desserts have become a tradition in our family over the last few years such as the Walnut Citrus Twists.  Some of these desserts/sweets I know will become a tradition after this year because the recipes look so darn good….the Layered Berry Cake or the Carrot Cake Bars.  So without further adieu I bring you this years La Mia Tabella SIMPLE & SWEET EASTER DESSERTS!  If you need me…don’t call….I will be baking!!!!

 

Here is a link to my old blog (www.lamiatabella.blogspot.com). I have not yet transferred all my recipes over from that blog yet.  A few years back I posted a recipe for my Grandma’s “Taralli” or Lemon Knots.  These are a must on our Easter menu every year!

"TARALLI" EASTER LEMON KNOTS

“Taralli” Easter Lemon Knots

 

These Walnut Citrus Rolls are also a must have at our Easter Sunday brunch.  I found the recipe on a Rhodes Dough magazine advertisement over 10 years ago and I have been making them ever since!

Walnut Citrus Rolls

WALNUT CITRUS ROLLS

 

I have been  making these Cake Mix Blueberry Muffins for several years. I found this recipe on one of my favorite food blogs, Six Sisters Stuff…check them out! I make them in the shape of eggs using a special baking pan I found.  Not only are they delicious,  but they are super simple to make and darn cute too!

Cake Mix Blueberry Muffins

SIX SISTERS STUFF – CAKE MIX BLUEBERRY MUFFINS

 

This year for our Easter “pre-party” I have added these adorable Carrot Strawberry Pudding Cups for the kids (ok us adults too) to each for dessert!

Carrot Strawberry Pudding Cups

LIL LUNA – CARROT STRAWBERRY PUDDING CUPS

 

I took one like at this photo of Berry Layered Cake over at Home Is Where The Boat is blog and I knew I just had to add this to my Easter dessert menu!  How gorgeous!!!

Berry Layered Cake

HOME IS WHERE THE BOAT IS – BERRY LAYERED CAKE

 

No “pre” Easter Party would be complete without these Carrot Cake Bars w/ Cream Cheese Frosting! I found the recipe at Lovely Little Kitchen.

Carrot Cake Bars w/ Cream Cheese Frositng

LOVELY LITTLE KITCHEN – CARROT CAKE BARS W/ CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

 

My mom needed to get into the dessert action and she found this recipe for a Lemon Sour Cream Pie that I cannot wait to dig my fork into!  This and other fun recipes can be found at Tastes Better From Scatch.

Lemon Sour Cream Pie

TASTES BETTER FROM SCRATCH – LEMON SOUR CREAM PIE

 

Last but not least…. Easter Oreo Bark….because I just don’t think we have enough sugar! Come on, could you blame me?  Find this and other fun recipes at Lil Luna.

Easter Oreo Bark

LIL LUNA – EASTER OREO BARK

 

 

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IRISH OATMEAL COOKIES

The only thing Irish you will find on this Italian blog….IRISH OATMEAL COOKIES!

 

IRISH OATMEAL COOKIES

IRISH OATMEAL COOKIES – Photo Courtesy of McCann’s Irish Oatmeal

 

 

 

 

This Italian family is as far away from Irish roots as you possibly can get.  That being said, that does not mean that I don’t enjoy a tradition St. Patty’s day meal once a year!  I do the corned beef, cabbage and potatoes every year. This year I also found the cutest green and white shamrock shaped ravioli at Costco that I plan on making for my family as well.  One other recipe that I make every year around St. Patrick’s Day is for these IRISH OATMEAL COOKIES.  I found this recipe on the back of a McCann’s Irish Oatmeal box years ago when my girls were just babies.  McCann’s brand Irish Oatmeal is imported from Ireland which makes it not only great tasting, but authentic as well.  The recipe calls for the addition of raisins and walnuts.  Since my girls were under a year old the first time I made these cookies I omitted the raisins and walnuts and added 2 cups of semisweet chocolate chips instead.  I am sure raisins and nuts are very tasty in these cookies…BUT….there is just something about chocolate chips that make things so much tastier! 

I made these IRISH OATMEAL COOKIES  this past week-end for a St. Patty’s Day party we were invited to.  The entire kitchen table was filled with all kinds of other desserts, but these cookies seemed to be a fan favorite.  Before dessert was even served our cookie platter was just down to barely a quarter of a tray left.  I kept seeing little hands reaching from below the table grabbing these cookies left and right.  Chocolate all over the kids faces were a sure sign that they were the cookies thieves!  Whether you are Irish and go all out for St. Patrick’s Day or not Irish at all these IRISH OATMEAL COOKIES  will for sure become part of your Irish celebrations!

Just a little note:  on the side panel of the McCann’s box is an Irish blessing that I pass on
to you:

“May you have warm words on
a cold evening.
A full moon on a dark night.
And the road downhill all the
way to your door.”
 
four-leaf-clover
ST PATTYS DAY 
IRISH OATMEAL COOKIES
Yields 36
A delicious oatmeal cookie made with authentic Irish Oats with an addition of semisweet chocolate chips.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 1 /4 cups softened butter
  2. 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  3. 1/2 cup sugar
  4. 1 egg slightly beaten
  5. 1 teaspoon vanilla
  6. 1 1/2 cups flour
  7. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  8. 1 teaspoon salt
  9. 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  10. 3 cups McCann's Quick Cooking Irish Oatmeal
  11. 3/4 cup raisins
  12. 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugars. Add the egg and vanilla.
  3. Combine flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Add to the butter mixture. Mix well.
  4. Stir in the oatmeal, raisins and walnuts.
  5. Drop rounded teaspoons of batter on an ungreased cookie sheet.
  6. Bake for 12 - 15 minutes at 350 degrees. Cool for 1 minute before removing to wire cooling rack.
Notes
  1. * I omit the raisins and walnuts and add 2 cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips instead.
La Mia Tabella http://lamiatabella.com/
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CLEMENTINE ALMOND CUPCAKES

These CLEMENTINE ALMOND CUPCAKES will put a smile on your face the minute you bite into them!

CLEMENTINE ALMOND CUPCAKES

CLEMENTINE ALMOND CUPCAKES

CLEMENTINE ALMOND CUPCAKES

What better way to cheer up your kids on a cold winters day than by making them these CLEMENTINE ALMOND CUPCAKES!  That is exactly what I did for my kids today.  I had one home with the flu, one home from pre-k because his schools heat went out and another one home…well because…he is 3!  I told them that when the fourth child came home from school I would have a treat ready for them and we could have a little tea party!  The excitement of a cupcake and tea party actually made them behave pretty much the rest of the day…Thank God!!!!  I had a citrus cake that I had planned to make for citrus week here on La Mia Tabella, but I decided cupcakes are just…well…cupcakes just make you happy!  I did not want to make the super sweet kind of cupcakes that would have my kids bouncing off the wall until  bed time either. 

FRESH CLEMENTINES

FRESH CLEMENTINES

No one ever really comes back from Italy saying “Wow!  Italy has the best cupcakes ever!”  They do however,  come back saying that the food and desserts are to die for.  If I was going to come up with a new cupcake flavor I had to brain storm.  I know Italian desserts all have two things in common:  One, their desserts are never overly sweet and sugary.  Two, Italian desserts always have a “hint” of flavoring in their desserts such as almond, citrus, rum or coffee. Since it is citrus week I knew I had to use citrus.  There were some beautiful clementine’s in my fridge that I had picked up from Whole Foods.  Ok…hmmm…what pairs good with clementine’s….easy…almonds.  So I decided to use these two stars of the show and create an Italian cake like base to my cupcakes.  When I say “Italian cake like base” I mean it is more of a sponge cake like consistency, more dense in texture and less overall sugar than the cupcakes that we all consume in the U.S.  Now I had to think about what kind of frosting would go great with the cake base….and it came to me in a flash…Ricotta & Fresh Whipped Cream Frosting!

CLEMENTINE ALMOND CUPCAKES

CLEMENTINE ALMOND CUPCAKES

These CLEMENTINE ALMOND CUPCAKES turned out great!!  My kids devoured them!  Even my flu girl decided her stomach would be ok if she had half a cupcake.  In the end I made 18 cupcakes…some for the kids, some for the hubby and even some neighbors lucked out and scored a few.  You want to put a smile on someone’s face (even if it is just yours) make these CLEMENTINE ALMOND CUPCAKES!  You will be happy you did!

THANKS MOM!

THANKS MOM!

 

CLEMENTINE ALMOND CUPCAKES
Serves 18
An Italian cake like base with a hint of almond & clementine flavors, topped with ricotta & fresh whipped cream frosting.
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For Cupcakes
  1. 2 cups cake flour
  2. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  3. 1 teaspoon baking powder
  4. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  5. 1/2 cup butter, room temp
  6. 1 cup sugar
  7. 2 large eggs
  8. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  9. 1 teaspoon almond extract
  10. 1/4 teaspoon clementine zest
  11. 1/2 cup fresh squeezed clementine juice
For Frosting
  1. 1/2 stick of butter
  2. 1/4 cup whole milk ricotta
  3. 1/4 teaspoon clementine zest
  4. 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  5. 1 pint heavy whipping cream
For Cupcakes
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a medium bowl whisk together cake flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl beat together sugar & butter until light and fluffy.
  4. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each one.
  5. Add vanilla & almond extract. Mix well.
  6. Mix in the flour mixture and fresh clementine juice alternately; starting and ending with flour. Mix until all ingredients are incorporated well.
  7. Line cupcake pan with cupcake liners. Fill cupcake liners 1/2 way with batter. Bake for about 15-20 minutes until light golden on top and toothpick comes out clean when center is pricked.
  8. Remove from oven and let cool for about 5 minutes. Remove from pan and place on wire rack. Cool completely before frosting.
For Frosting
  1. In medium bowl beat the butter and powdered sugar until creamy. Add in the ricotta and whip until it mixes in well with butter mixture. Mix in clementine zest. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl whip the heavy whipping cream until stiff peaks form. Add the butter/ricotta mixture to the whipped cream. Carefully fold in the butter/ricotta mixture into the whipped cream until it is all incorporated.
  3. Frost cupcakes. Can place a tiny slice of clementine on top for decoration.
  4. Refrigerate cupcakes until ready to serve.
Notes
  1. * Do not overly mix the butter/ricotta mixture into the whipped cream as the stiff peaks will soften.
  2. ** When frosting cupcakes it is best to use a cake/frosting decorating tool so it can be piped on instead of spread on to preserve the peaks of the whipped cream.
  3. *** These are best served the day you made them as the frosting will "fall" slightly by the next day.
La Mia Tabella http://lamiatabella.com/
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BLOOD ORANGE ITALIAN SODA ICE CREAM FLOATS

Italian Soda…..no thanks…I’ll take these BLOOD ORANGE ITALIAN SODA ICE CREAM FLOATS !

 

BLOOD ORANGE ITALIAN SODA ICE CREAM FLOATS

BLOOD ORANGE ITALIAN SODA ICE CREAM FLOATS

BLOOD ORANGE ITALIAN SODA ICE CREAM FLOATS

 A while back I came across a photo on Pinterest of a Blood Orange Italian Soda.  The picture was beautiful!  To be honest with you I was very intrigued as to how the author of this photo came up with the recipe to concoct this interesting beverage.  The “pin” took me to a food blog called Completely Delicious.  She came up with the most amazing recipe for blood orange simple syrup!  She then poured the simple syrup over some ice, topped it with some 1/2 and 1/2 and then some sparkling or seltzer water. So I had an idea….why not turn this Blood Orange Italian Soda into Blood Orange Italian Soda Ice Cream Floats!

Blood Orange Italian Soda Ice Cream Floats

Blood Orange Italian Soda Ice Cream Floats

I made these for my kids as a special treat this past Saturday night.  The slurping of straws coming from our kitchen table I am sure could be heard for miles!  Let me tell you if there was an award for who could slurp up  BLOOD ORANGE ITALIAN SODA ICE CREAM FLOATS all four of my kids would win…hands down!  The Blood Orange Simple Syrup is so simple to make.  It really is the “hit” of this dessert with the combination of sweet & tart.  The creaminess of the ice-cream combined with the blood orange syrup reminds me of an orange flavored push up.  Once you add the sparking Pellegrino…forget about it…..you have died and gone to dessert heaven.  These BLOOD ORANGE ITALIAN SODA ICE CREAM FLOATS like an Orange Crush ice cream float with more distinguished flavors.  So distinguished you could serve it to guests, but so good you could “slurp” it alone!

Blood Orange Simple Syrup

Blood Orange Simple Syrup

BLOOD ORANGE ITALIAN SODA ICE CREAM FLOATS
Serves 4
An old fashioned Italian Soda with creamy vanilla ice cream and a homemade blood orange simple syrup.
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Ingredients
  1. Zest from 2 blood oranges
  2. 3 cups fresh squeezed blood orange juice (about 6-8 blood oranges)
  3. 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  4. 1 gallon of premium vanilla ice cream
  5. Pellegrino Sparkling Water
To make blood orange simple syrup
  1. In a small sauce pan, bring the orange zest, blood orange juice and sugar to a boil. Stir often to make sure the sugar dissolves. Lower heat and keep mixture on a simmer for about five minutes so that is gets a bit thicker in texture.
  2. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Strain the mixture and chill in fridge.
To make the floats
  1. In a tall glass place 2 scoops of vanilla ice cream. Pour about 1/4 cup of the blood orange simple syrup over the top of the ice cream.
  2. Fill the remainder of the glass with sparkling Pellegrino.
  3. Grab and spoon and a straw and dig in!
Notes
  1. Although the taste and color of a blood orange cannot be beat for these floats, you could always use regular oranges, clementine's or even pink grapefruit.
Adapted from Completely Delicious
La Mia Tabella http://lamiatabella.com/
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ORANGE RICOTTA COOKIES

Desserts | January 19, 2016 | By

These ORANGE RICOTTA COOKIES are reason alone to add a couple fresh oranges to your grocery list this week!

ORANGE RICOTTA COOKIES

Orange Ricotta Cookies

Orange Ricotta Cookies

Growing up Italian there was never a lack of desserts or sweets at the family table.  I grew up on my Grandma’s Lemon Knots (recipe to come).  The Lemon Knots only came out once a year and that time was Easter Sunday.  When I saw this recipe for ORANGE RICOTTA COOKIES, on A Family Feast blog, I thought they were very reminiscent of my Grandma’s Lemon Knots.  I had all the ingredients in the fridge and pantry…so why the heck not!  I decided to make these ORANGE RICOTTA COOKIES right then and there.  Who ever said that you can only have these special Italian “treats” once a year? Why not make them all the time?!?!? So I got out my stand mixer and whipped up a batch for my family.  I am doing the no sugar, no eggs, no dairy and no gluten thing remember…so no cookies for me!  I did however sample the finished product.  It was actually very hard to only take one bite and save the rest for someone else!  These cookies are pure Italian.  The cookies are cake like and spongey and yet they still have the consistency of a cookie.  I love Italian sweets as they are never too “sweet” as in the case of these ORANGE RICOTTA COOKIES as well. There is a nice hint of sweetness, but the sugar is pushed aside to make room for the star of the recipe…the orange!  The orange juice and the orange rind bring a sense of freshness to these cookies that cannot be described.  You will just have to make a batch of these ORANGE RICOTTA COOKIES and find out how wonderful they are for yourself!

Orange Ricotta Cookies

ORANGE RICOTTA COOKIES
A classic cake-like Italian cookie with a fresh orange flavor.
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For Cookies
  1. 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  2. 1 teaspoon baking powder
  3. 1 pinch of kosher salt
  4. 1 cup sugar
  5. 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temp
  6. 2 eggs
  7. 8 ounces fresh whole milk ricotta (drain excess liquid)
  8. 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  9. Zest of 1 large orange (about 2 teaspoons)
For the Glaze
  1. 1/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
  2. 1 teaspoon orange zest
  3. 2 1/2 to 3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Sift flour, baking powder and salt together in a bowl and set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, place the sugar and softened butter and beat on high until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
  4. Add the first egg to the mixing bowl and mix well. Then add the second egg, and again mix well.
  5. Add the ricotta, vanilla and orange zest and mix to combine.
  6. Add the flour mixture and mix on low until all the ingredients are just combined - being careful not to over mix.
  7. Using a small scoop or tablespoon drop the dough onto the baking sheets about 2 inches apart.
  8. Bake cookies for 20-22 minutes, until the cookies are puffed and light golden in color. (if you are baking both sheets of cookies at the same time in the oven, rotate halfway through the baking time). Remove from the oven and cool completely on wire racks before glazing.
  9. When ready to glaze, in a small, wide bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, orange juice and orange zest and mix into a smooth glaze. Add more powdered sugar if needed to make glaze thick enough to coat the cookies when dipped.
  10. Holding the cookies with your fingers, dip the top of the cookies in the glaze and then immediately turn back over and place on a wire rack to dry. I like to put a baking sheet under the wire rack to catch the extra glaze that drips down).
  11. Allow cookies to dry for about 2 hours until completely set before storing.
Notes
  1. * Make sure that you do not overmix these cookies once flour mixture is added. You want to make sure that these cookies remain light and cakey!
La Mia Tabella http://lamiatabella.com/
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