Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes

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Happy Pi(e) Day!

Any holiday that mandates a celebration with lots of food, especially dessert, is an a-okay holiday in my books.  Thankfully most holidays here center, or at least feature, lots and lots of food.  And while celebrating math is not something I support quite as much, I’ll celebrate Pi Day if it means I get to eat some more dessert.

While Boston Cream Pie isn’t technically a pie, it has the word “pie” in the title, it’s a dessert, and it’s delicious- so I say it works for Pi day.  And what’s even better is putting Boston Cream Pie in individual-sized adorable cupcake form.  Make sure to have some type of pie today to celebrate!

BOSTON CREAM PIE CUPCAKES
Slightly Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated

INGREDIENTS

For the Pastry Cream:
1 1/3 cups heavy cream
3 egg yolks
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons butter, cut into 2 pieces
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the Cupcakes:
1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons butter, room temperature & in 12 pieces
3 eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup milk, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the Chocolate Icing:
4 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoons milk
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS

For the Pastry Cream:

Place cream in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer. Meanwhile, beat egg yolks, sugar, and salt in a bowl. Whisk in cornstarch until pale yellow and thick.

Slowly whisk the heavy cream into the egg mixture to temper. Return to the saucepan. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the pastry cream thickens, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in butter and vanilla. Pour into a bowl, wrap tightly with plastic wrap (to prevent a skin from forming) and chill for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.

For the Cupcakes:

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 12 cup cupcake pan with cupcake liners.

Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl. Using a stand mixrer or hand mixer, beat butter into flour mixture one piece at a time. Beat until mixture forms moist crumbs, 1-3 minutes. Beat in eggs. Beat in milk and vanilla. Increase speed and mix until smooth, light, and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.

Pour batter into cupcake tins, filling each cup about 3/4 full. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely.

Use a pairing knife to cut a whole in each muffin, removing excess cake. Fill each cupcake with pastry cream and place cupcake top back on top.

For the Chocolate Frosting:

In a saucepan combine butter, cocoa powder, salt, and milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until butter in melted. Whisk in powdered sugar. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Let sit for approximately 10 minutes. Pour frosting on top of cupcakes. Let set for at least 30 minutes.

Makes 12 cupcakes.

Soda Cracker Torte

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Soda crackers are the food you turn too when you are too nauseated to eat food but know you need to eat something.

Starting out a food blog post talking about nausea- tell me, is your mouth watering yet?

Well, soda crackers can be so much more than a snack of desperation when you are feeling sick.

I am a sucker for any recipe that involves meringue in a unique way.  I just cannot say no to whipped, sugary egg whites.  But I love this salty combo by adding in crushed saltines and nuts into meringue.  This is my kind of dessert.   Tastes like what I imagine heaven to be like- sweet pounds of puffy meringue that is crunchy on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside.

SODA CRACKER TORTE
Barely Adapted from Eat, Live, Run

INGREDIENTS

20-25 saltine crackers, crushed
3 egg whites, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup chopped nuts
Whipped cream and cherries, for serving

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease an 8 inch by 8 inch baking dish.

Beat egg whites and salt until frothy. Increase mixer speed and gradually pour in granulated sugar. Continue to beat until egg whites are glossy and and firm. Fold in saltine crackers and nuts. Pour into prepared baking dish and bake for 40-45 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool completely. Serve with whipped cream and cherries

Meringue Filled Yeasted Coffee Cake: Secret Recipe Club

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I have gone into dessert baking withdrawal.

In December, I had desserts coming out the wazoo (a rather mysterious place), and I always had another dessert in mind to make next.  I was a desert making machine back then, AKA the good old days when I had extremely low amounts of required work.  Well, being busy and back to making meals for one has put my dessert making a little bit on pause.  But here I am ready to get back into the kitchen, and I am ready for a challenge.

So when I got Taryn’s blog Sweetly Serendipity for this month’s Secret Recipe Club and saw that she has lots of dessert recipes to choose from, I was absolutely thrilled.  Taryn has a lot of types of desserts to choose from: from easy sweet tooth fixes, lots of chocolate, and lots of homemade bread.  I went searching for a recipe to challenge myself, and I came across this meringue filled yeasted coffee cake.

You had me at meringue (how my romantic comedy would be scripted).

The recipe name is a mouthful, but I had never heard of stuffing a coffee cake with meringue.  I was intrigued automatically.  I set out to make the coffee cake the first day I had free.  First, I loved that the ingredients are listed by weight- weighing ingredients is so much easier than measuring them for the sole reason that there are less dishes to wash after.  Second, it sounded decadent and perfect for a kitchen challenge.

I got straight to work, and thing were going great.  But, my friends, this was a challenge.  Rolling a pasty around meringue makes for messy work, and if you compare mine to Taryn’s, I could not manage creating a circular pastry.  It was a little messy, but I say let’s call that rustic charm because it is delicious enough that no one will mind.  Just follow instructions and take it slow.  Makes for one decadent breakfast or brunch.

MERINGUE FILLED YEASTED COFFEE CAKE
Barely Adapted from Sweetly Serendipity

INGREDIENTS

For the Dough:
2 cups all purpose flour (200 g), divided
2 tablespoons granulated sugar (27 g)
1/2 teaspoon salt (4 g)
1/2 package of yeast (4 g)
1/4 cup & 2 tablespoons milk
4 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons water
1 egg

For the Meringue:
2 egg whites, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup granulated sugar (55 g)

For the Filling:
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped nuts

DIRECTIONS

For the Dough:

In a large bowl, whisk 1 1/2 cups of flour (115 g), sugar, salt, and yeast.

In a saucepan, combine milk, butter, and water over medium-low heat. Heat, stirring occasionally, until butter is just melted.

With an electric mixer or hand mixer, slowly add the liquid ingreidents to the dry ingredients until blended. Increase speed and beat for 2 minutes. Add egg and 1/2 cup flour (75 g). Beat for 2 more minutes. If needed, stir in any remaining flour to have the mixture come together as a dough. Knead dough for 6-10 minutes until smooth and elastic, adding extra flour as needed.

Place dough in a grease bowl and put in a warm place. Let rise until doubled in size, about 1 1/2-2 hours.

For the Meringue:

After the dough has risen, prepare the meringue. Place egg whites and salt in a large bowl. Beat until foamy and opaque. Add vanilla extract. Slowly add sugar while beating until very stiff and glossy peaks form.

To Assemble to Coffee Cake:

Punch down risen down. Roll dough out into a 20 by 10 inch rectangle. Spread meringue filling on dough, leaving a 3/4 inch border on all sides. Sprinkle toppings on top of meringue. Carefully roll the dough into a long log. Transfer to a prepared baking sheet and form a ring.

Use a sharp knife to make cuts deep into the ring. Cover and place in a warm place to rise until doubled in size, 45-60 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake for 25-60 minutes until golden brown. Let cool completely.

Make sure to check out what everyone else made this month!

 

Chocolate Hazelnut Cake

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Last time I gave you a pink treat for Valentine’s Day, and now it’s time for a chocolate one.

A chocolate hazelnut dessert! Nutella lovers, get your forks ready.

But before we dive into this cake, let’s take a moment to talk about winter weather.  So I grew up in Houston, Texas, and I spent my childhood years wishing and hoping for some white powdery snow.  My birthday candles, those rope necklaces, and fallen eyelashes were all dedicated to my hopes for some snow.  One Christmas we got almost a 1/2 inch of snow, and it was pure magic.  It promptly melted the next morning, but it was a Christmas miracle.  I was convinced as a child that I must move north to get more snow in my life.

Childhood self: you are a fool.  Snow is not always so great.  First, it’s cold.  Second, it’s not good for an anxious person to drive in (I almost went head first into a telephone pole in our parking lot last week).  Third, people in academic buildings never keep the heat at the right temperature.  Fourth, although you still have to be at work, people stop showing up to stuff which leaves you even more bitter that you had to be there.

Yeah, so snow and I are not on the outs.  I might not be so bitter if I didn’t have to walk 15 minutes to get to work each morning.  God forbid graduate students who work for the university have access to sensible parking.

Before I go on another rant, let’s talk about this cake.  This cake can brighten anyone’s snowy, cold day.  This cake is rich but light tasting.  The Nutella frosting is made with light whipped cream and taste divine- I would each just a bowl of this if I could.  The roasted, salted hazelnuts on top add such a great crunch to the combo as well as a pretty way to hide the fact that you are a subpar cake decorator, and there is hidden chopped chocolate on the inside layer   In my version of this recipe I used one of my favorite chocolate cake bases- one that I find actually turns out most and doesn’t taste dry or overbaked.

Let them eat cake!

CHOCOLATE HAZELNUT CAKE
Adapted from Eat, Drink, & Be Merry via Tasty Kitchen

DIRECTIONS

For the Cake:
6 ounces semisweet chocolate
10 tablespoons butter
2/3 cup Frangelico
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar, divided
4 eggs, separate
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 & 1 tablespoon cup all purpose flour

8 ounces Marscarpone cream
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup Nutella

To Assemble the Cake:
1 1/2 cup Nutella
1 cup chopped chocolate
Roasted, salted hazelnuts

DIRECTIONS

For the Cake:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and line a 9 inch springform pan. Line pan with parchment paper and grease.

In a double broiler, melt chocolate and butter. Remove from stove and stir in Frangelica. Let cool slightly.

Meanwhile, separate eggs into two separate bowls (4 yolks in one bowl, 4 egg whites in another bowl). Divide sugar in half. Pour half of the sugar in with the egg yolks and whisk together. Whisk egg yolk mixture into chocolate mixture. Stir in salt, cinnamon and flour.

With a hand mixer, beat egg whites until foamy. Continue to beat, adding remaining sugar in a slow, steady stream. Beat until stiff but dry peaks do not form. Fold in 1/3 of the meringue mixture into the chocolate mixture. Fold in remaining meringue

*For my chocolate, I used a combination of semisweet and milk chocolate since sometimes semi-sweet chocolate is not sweet enough for me. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 60-75 minutes. Check with a toothpick for doneness. Cool on a wire wrack for 20 minutes. Remove sides of springform pan and let cool.

For the Nutella Cream:

In a large bowl whip the marscarpone, powdered sugar, vanilla, and heavy whipping cream together until peaks form. Fold in Nutella.

To Assemble the Cake:

Cut the cake into two equal layers. Place Nutella in the bowl and melt in the microwave until spreadable, about 30 seconds. Spread on the bottom cake layer. Place in the freezer for about 10 minutes.

Sprinkle chopped chocolate on top. Spread a layer of Nutella cream on top. Place the top cake layer on top. Frost the cake with the remaining Nutella cream. Sprinkle hazelnuts on top.

Goat Cheese and Cherry Galettes

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It’s that divisive time of year again: Valentine’s Day.  Valentine’s Day is both full of love and hate from different people.  Commercialized, romantic, overpriced, etc., etc.

There will be no huge happenings at the Cinnamon Freud household for the holiday next Friday.  Perhaps I will renew my match.com membership, perhaps I will catch up on all my Real Housewives, perhaps I will booze it up to celebrate that at least it’s the weekend.  I’ll leave the lovebirds to their thing.

I am a neutral Valentine.  I don’t feel a huge need to grab the first living, breathing, testosterone filled human being, nor do I feel a burning hatred for those who have a significant other nor do I go on rampages about the commercialization of the evils of Hallmark.  I am just happy to eat seasonal candy (as I am for every holiday) and to have an excuse to bake.

So this cherry galette with goat cheese represents that divisive-ness of Valentine’s Day.  The cherry filling is sweet and juicy.  And the goat cheese is tart and salty.  Love and bitterness.

And it’s pink!

GOAT CHEESE AND CHERRY GALETTES
Slightly Adapted from Culinary Concotions by Peabody

INGREDIENTS

1 pie crust
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 cups cherries (I used drained morello cherries)
6 ounces goat cheese
1 egg white

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 425°F.  Grease a baking sheet.

Divide pie crust into 2 pieces.  Roll out into circles, about 1/4 inch thick.  Chill until ready to use.

In a bowl, whisk together sugar, cornstarch, and salt.  Stir in lemon juice and cherries.  Mix in approximately 4 ounces of the goat cheese.  Divide filling between the two galettes, leaving a 1/2-1 inch border.  Top with remaining goat cheese.  Fold pie crust around filling.  Brush the pie crust with egg whites.  Bake for 22-27 minutes, until golden brown.

Makes 2 galettes.  Serves 2.

Homemade Cinnamon Rolls

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So I was healthy for a little bit this new year at least, right?  I am not trying to tempt you all away from any resolutions, but…homemade cinnamon rolls (that taste like Cinnabon) with cream cheese frosting.

Homemade cinnamon rolls with cream cheese frosting. 

I know that January is meant for healthy eating, but we all need a little indulgence sometime.  Just balance some sweets with working out and healthy eating at other meals.  In doing my part working on resolutions, I recently tried a Pure Barre class, and it kicked my ass.  About 33% of the class was spent with me holding on to the bar looking around incredulously as everyone else worked out.  Phew.   A good healthy workout sometimes mandates homemade cinnamon rolls really.

And these cinnamon rolls. Oh my, these were just as good as I dreamed of.  I have wanted to make homemade cinnamon rolls for a long time, and I am so glad I did.  I remember how much of a treat it was when I would come downstairs and smell that mom had made up a batch of cinnamon rolls for breakfast.  That smell always let me know it was going to be a good start to my day.

These take a little bit of a time investment since there is yeast and rising time involved, but you can make the rolls almost completely the night before.  Because while I may like to eat cinnamon rolls early in the morning, I don’t particularly want to have to get up super early to make them.  I served these on Christmas morning, and I am certain that Santa was bitter that all he got the night before was some measly cookies.  If he had stuck around, he could have gorged on these.

HOMEMADE CINNAMON ROLLS
Barely Adapted from Lauren’s Latest

INGREDIENTS

For the Dough:
3/4 cup warm water, 115-110°F
2 1/4 teaspoons yeast
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup buttermilk, room temperature
1 egg, room temperature
1/3 cup canola oil
4 1/2 – 5 cups all purpose flour

For the Filling:
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/4 cups light brown sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons cornstarch

For the Icing:
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
4 tablespoons butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar

DIRECTIONS

For the Dough:

In a large bowl of stand mixer, combine water, yeast, and 1 tablespoon granulated sugar. Let sit until foamy, about 10 minutes. Pour in remaining sugar and salt. Stir on low for 20 seconds.

In a separate bowl, whisk buttermilk, oil, and egg together. Pour into into yeast mixture. Use your stand mixer to stir together. Pour 2 cups of flour into bowl and mix on low until incorporated. While running the mixer, continue to add flour in 1/4 cup increments until the dough cleans the sides of the bowl (you may not need to use the entire amount of flour). Turn the mixer on high and knead for 5 minutes. Remove dough from bowl. Grease the bowl and place dough back in. Cover with plastic wrap and dish towel. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size,d about 1 1/2-2 hours.

For the filling:

In a bowl mix together brown sugar, cinnamon, and cornstarch. Set aside.

Punch down dough after it has risen. Transfer dough to a large cutting board that is dusted with flour. Roll out to a 20 inch by 30 inch rectangle. Spread the softened butter on the dough, leaving a 1 inch border on one of the longer sides.

Sprinkle brown sugar mixture on top of the butter. Lightly press mixture into butter using your hands or a rolling pin.

Roll the dough into a tight log, finishing on the edge with the border, using the plain dough to seal the roll shut. Score the dough every 2 inches and slice into rolls. Place into a parchment lined, greased pan (2 cake pans can work, or a 9×13 and a loaf pan). Cover and let rise in a warm place for another 1-2 hours, until almost doubled in size.

Or, you can cover with plastic wrap and store in the fridge overnight. The next morning, take out the rolls and place in a 100°F oven for about 40 minutes to take the chill off and help the rolls start rising. Then let rise in a warm place for approximately 1 hour (This is how I had them rise- you can also just let them sit in a warm place for a little longer, about 3 hours).

Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake for 17 minutes, until the tops begin to turn golden brown.

For the Icing:

In a bowl, whip cream cheese and butter together. Mix in vanilla, corn syrup, and lemon juice. Pour in powdered sugar slowly and mix to incorporate. Mix on high for 5 minutes, until icing turns a light color.

Once rolls have finished baking, spread approximately 1/3 to 1/2 of the icing on top. Let them cool for about 10-13 minutes, and frost with remaining icing. Serve warm

Makes about 15 cinnamon rolls.

Sachertorte

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Over the past few years I have definitely become a lot better in the kitchen.  I am better at following/creating recipes and food presentation.  My food used to look tired, run down, and listless, and I made a lot of mistakes (“Oops I forgot the [insert important ingredient that makes the entire recipe here].”, “Oops, did that say 1 1/2 minutes, I thought it said 15”).

While I am much improved, cakes are still really hard for me to decorate and have look pretty.  So when it comes to my birthday, I have great dreams and visions of a multi-layered cake with homemade frosting and lots of filling.  And while my birthday cakes usually taste awesome, their looks can sometimes leave something to be desired.

This year I made myself a Sachertorte, with a few twists.  A Sachertorte is an chocolate cake made famous by the Austrian Franz Sacher, who served this cake to Prince Wenzel von Metternich.  The more you know!

A traditional sacher torte is a fudge chocolate cake with brandy, topped with apricot preserves and a ganache.  I made my own twist by replacing the brandy with framboise and the apricot preserves with raspberry.  It was definitely delicious and made for a very happy birthday- even the birth of Jesus can’t eclipse my birthday cake this year!

Happy birthday to all the other December babies out there.

SACHERTORTE
Adapted from The Sweet Melissa Baking Book via My Baking Heart

INGREDIENTS

For the Cake:
6 ounces semisweet chocolate
10 tablespoons butter
2/3 cup framboise
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar, divided
4 eggs, separate
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 & 1 tablespoon cup all purpose flour

For the Filling:
1 cup raspberry preserves
1/3 cup coarsely chopped chocolate

For the Ganache:
6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate*
1/2 cup heavy cream
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon corn syrup

DIRECTIONS

For the Cake:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and line a 9 inch springform pan. Line pan with parchment paper and grease.

In a double broiler, melt chocolate and butter. Remove from stove and stir in framboise. Let cool slightly.

Meanwhile, separate eggs into two separate bowls (4 yolks in one bowl, 4 egg whites in another bowl). Divide sugar in half. Pour half of the sugar in with the egg yolks and whisk together. Whisk egg yolk mixture into chocolate mixture. Stir in salt, cinnamon and flour.

With a hand mixer, beat egg whites until foamy. Continue to beat, adding remaining sugar in a slow, steady stream. Beat until stiff but dry peaks do not form. Fold in 1/3 of the meringue mixture into the chocolate mixture. Fold in remaining meringue

*For my chocolate, I used a combination of semisweet and milk chocolate since sometimes semi-sweet chocolate is not sweet enough for me. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 60-75 minutes. Check with a toothpick for doneness. Cool on a wire wrack for 20 minutes. Remove sides of springform pan and let cool.

For the Filling:

Cut cake into 2 even layers. Spread raspberry preserves on the bottom layer. Sprinkle chopped chocolate on top. Top with top cake layer.

For the Ganache:

Chop the chocolate and place in a bowl. Place heavy cream in a saucepan and scald (heat on medium heat until the side begin to bubble). Pour cream over chocolate and whisk until chocolate is melted. Stir in salt and corn syrup.

Pour ganache over cake, gently spreading the ganache over the edges to cover the cake. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before cutting.

Blackberry White Chocolate Lime Cheesecake Bars

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My brain is currently undergoing Christmas-scramble.  My thoughts are about gifts, decorations, and crafting.  But of course I also have saved some brain power to think about food.  Holidays bring some of the best food (and an excuse to eat it- only a Scrooge won’t eat that Christmas cookie or eat another piece of bread).

For this month’s Improv Challenge, we had to make something with white chocolate and lime- two of my absolute favorite dessert flavors.  I considered making something akin to a key lime pie but ended up taking some cheesecake bars and adding some deliciously smooth, melted white chocolate and citrus-y lime zest.  Then to top it all off, I swirled in some blackberry preserves- or if you want to be more festive, swirl in some cranberry sauce or raspberry preserves.

Don’t be a Scrooge- make and share these bars!

BLACKBERRY WHITE CHOCOLATE LIME CHEESECAKE BARS
Adapted from Handle the Heat

INGREDIENTS

For the Crust:
1 1/3 cup all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup light brown sugar
6 tablespoons butter, cut in 1 inch cubes

For the Cheesecake:
16 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs, room temperature
Zest of 2 limes
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
4 ounces white chocolate, melted
3/4 cup blackberry jam

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9×9 baking pan with foil and grease.

In a food processor combine flour, salt, and brown sugar. Pulse until combined. Sprinkle cold butter cubes on top. Pulse until pea sized crumbs form. Press evenly into prepared baking pan.

In a large bowl combined granulated sugar and lime zest. Rub together. Add cream cheese and beat until combined. While continuing to beat, add eggs, vanilla extract, flour, and salt until combined. Beat in white chocolate until combined. Pour cheesecake batter on top of crust.

Warm blackberry jam on the stove or in the microwave until slightly thinner.  Dollop on top of cheesecake and swirl with a butter knife.

Place 9×9 pan inside a 9×13 pan. Fill the larger pan with hot water to create a water bath. Place in oven and bake for 35-45 minutes. The center should jiggle slightly when shaken, but the edges should be stiffer looking. Cool completely. Store in refrigerator.

Thanks for Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker for hosting.  Make sure to check out what everyone else made this month!