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BLOOD ORANGE CAKE the perfect cake for a party

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Looking for that perfect cake to bring to a get-together, brunch, or shower? Well ladies, step aside, because Elizabeth is flexing her cake decorating skills and showing us how to master the most delicious cake known to mankind – the blood orange cake with honey mascarpone frosting. I mean, it’s pure perfection! 

It’s stunning, delicious, and a total showstopper! Get the skinny from Elizabeth below. Love what you see, tell us your thoughts below! – xoxo, LK

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INGREDIENTS:

2 1/2 Cups of cake flour

1 1/2 Cups of granulated sugar

1 Teaspoon of course salt

1 Tablespoon of baking powder

5 Large eggs, separated

1/2 Cup of blood orange juice or your favorite citrus juice

1 Tablespoon of blood orange zest

1/2 Cup of vegetable oil 

+ extra flour & non stick baking spray for cake tins

 

HONEY MASCARPONE FROSTING

1 Stick of unsalted butter at room temp

8 Oz of mascarpone cheese or cream cheese

1 1/2 Teaspoons of pure vanilla extract

1 Teaspoon of salt

3-4 Tablespoons of honey

4 Cups of powdered sugar

   *milk on an as needed base

2INSTRUCTIONS:

*For this recipe I used three 6-inch cake tins, two 8-inch will work as well. Spray cake tins with non stick spray and spread flour thinly on sides and bottom of tins, set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit. In a large mixing bowl sift cake flour and add in salt and baking powder and set aside.

1. In a large bowl separate egg yolks and whites into 2 large bowls, reserve the yolks. With a stand or hand mixer fitted with a wire whip, whip egg whites until light and fluffy, about three minutes. Set aside. 

2. With a stand or hand mixer combine sugar and egg yolks. Slowly pour in vegetable oil and blood orange juice and zest, mix. Add flour mixture to wet mixture in three separate segments mixing until just combined after each one. Remove from mixer and gently fold in egg whites until incorporated.

*Whisking your egg whites separately and gently folding them in will ensure a light and airy cake batter. Pour evenly into cake tins and bake for 20-25 mins. Cakes are done when a tooth pick comes out clean. Cool for 30 mins. Take a knife and make a ring around the tin sides, if any of the cake has stuck this will help release it. With a serrated knife edge cut any dome tops off your cakes. 

3. In a large mixing bowl with a stand or hand mixer beat butter, mascarpone cheese, vanilla extract, salt and honey until light and fluffy, about 3 mins. Add in 1 cup of powdered sugar at a time, checking for texture after each addition. Add in one tablespoon of milk as needed to thin frosting.

*Note dryer climates may need more milk for thinning, moister climates may need less. 

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MAPLE SEA SALT ROASTED ALMONDS

Lauren Kelp | Maple Sea Salt Roasted AlmondsHello lovelies! Are you ready for the best snack hack of your life? We recently threw a Tablemakers dinner in Phoenix were these were served as a little appetizer and our guests flipped! They are the perfect combination of salty & sweet and your life will never be the same after you try them. Seriously. xoxo,LK


Laurel here! There’s something magical about the sweet, rich aroma of roasted almonds that always makes me think of steam swirling around street-cart vendors in winter, or fancy kiosks in the mall selling fragrant cellophane bags of these little goodies. They remind me of something you’d treat yourself to or receive as a gift (in those same fancy cellophane bags or glass jars), you know? I’d always thought of roasted or candied nuts as something too special to make at home–which is ridiculous, now that I know how completely easy they are to pull off, and in almost no time at all. Can you stir things in a bowl? Can you wait twenty minutes? Perfect, then you can make these! If your pantry is stocked anything like mine, you may even have all the ingredients to make these treats already, but even if a shopping trip is required, this four-ingredient beauty won’t break the bank.

The only real secret to getting these crunchy, candied nuts just right is one I’ll share with you now (saving you from a fate like my first few overly sticky batches)…always toss them in syrup first, then vegetable oil separately. That’s it! The oil resists mixing with the liquid in the syrup and forms a kind of coating on the outside. Your result, my friend? Perfectly crunchy, not sticky, addictively delicious roasted nuts every time.

Lauren Kelp | Maple Sea Salt Roasted Almonds
The best thing about this recipe for Maple Sea Salt Roasted Almonds really is, in fact, that it’s just a gateway to other recipes. Once you know how easy they are to make ahead of time, you can discover how amazing they are on top of hearty salads, warm Brie drizzled with maple syrup, breakfast bowls of grains or Greek yogurt, chopped and sprinkled on ice cream…you name it! My favorite way to eat them is straight out of my hand, though–they’re the perfect take-along snack for the office or running errands, and they keep me from reaching for far worse alternatives (vending machine candy bars, I’m lookin’ at you).

Never know what to serve at a party? This recipe will make you look like an entertaining genius. Set out a few pre-dinner bowls of these to satisfy hungry guests the next time you’re hosting–they’re totally at home next to a good cheese plate or on a bar cart with tasty cocktails. Like all good salty-sweet things (which is basically saying ALL GOOD THINGS, because that’s my favorite category), these roasted almonds are equally at home before or after dinner. You could just as easily end the meal with passed bowls of them and call it dessert. Happy snacking!

Lauren Kelp | Maple Sea Salt Roasted AlmondsINGREDIENTS:

3 cups whole almonds
1⁄4 cup real maple syrup
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Lauren Kelp | Maple Sea Salt Roasted Almonds

INSTRUCTIONS:

– Preheat oven to 350 F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

– In a mixing bowl, toss almonds with maple syrup and half the salt.

– Add vegetable oil, toss until thoroughly coated.

– Spread almonds in a single layer on lined baking sheet.

– Bake for 20 minutes until deep golden brown, stopping about halfway through to stir with a silicone spatula and sprinkle with remaining sea salt.

– Let cool slightly, then break apart any clumped-together almonds while still a bit warm.

– When completely cool, store in airtight container for up to one month.

Lauren Kelp | Maple Sea Salt Roasted Almonds


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CRANBERRY + PISTACHIO ALMOND BARK

XMAS0004Hello merrymakers! Constance here! If you’re anything like me, you’re in full scramble mode. It’s Monday and that means you have less than one week until THE day of gifting. No matter how hard I try and how much I plan, I’m always working, shopping, cooking up until the last minute. Wasn’t it Steve Jobs that said the best work is done under pressure? No? Well….someone did, and I’m sticking to that nugget of wisdom!
And friends, if you’re in the same boat, this recipe is clutch. Total prep time? About 10 minutes. Total time? About 8 hours. BUT 7.5 hours of that is spent in your refrigerator which means this little recipe is foolproof! And better news? It’s truly so, so good. And it just to happens to be red, white, and green!

XMAS0001 INGREDIENTS:

-18 oz. good white chocolate
-2 tablespoons almond extract
-1 cup chopped unsalted pistachios
-1 cup chopped dried cranberries

XMAS0002INSTRUCTIONS:

-Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
-In a medium sized saucepan, heat chocolate on low until melted. Stir often.
-Once melted, add almond extract and whisk until smooth.
-Remove from heat and add all but 1/2 cup of pistachios and 1/2 cup of cranberries.
-Pour chocolate mixture into prepared pans.
-Sprinkle the remaining pistachios and cranberries evenly on both prepared pans.
-Refrigerate bark for at least one hour (preferably overnight) until firm.
-Remover from refrigerator, cut into squares, and serve.

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FESTIVE ICE CREAM SANDWICH

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Hello party people! We are getting a little festive this morning! I don’t know why, but I always crave ice cream the second it starts to get cold outside. So, with all of the holiday baking, cookie party exchanges, and friendly gift giving, we thought we would shake up the traditional cookie recipe and make them extra fun by adding ice cream!

Today we are going to show you how to make the most delicious ice cream sandwiches in under 30 seconds. No muss, no fuss, just adorable fun. Do you have any favorites? Share below, we would love to hear!
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INGREDIENTS:

-Your favorite chocolate chip cookie ingredients

Halo Top ice cream

-Sprinkles!

IMG_4743INSTRUCTIONS:

1.Bake your favorite chocolate chip cookies. Because ice cream sandwiches tend to be a spur of the moment decision for me, I like to keep a package of break and bake cookies on hand in my freezer for such an occasion

2. Let cookies cool for up to ten minutes

3. Place cookies in refrigerator to harden up just a bit

4. After about five(ish) minutes, pull the cookies out and flip over half of them

5. Take an ice cream scoop (or big spoon) and scoop out your Halo Top ice cream on to the flat side of the cookie

6. Make sure to push the ice cream (gently, you don’t want the cookie to break) all the way to the edges

7. Once you’ve got enough ice cream, stack another cookie on top to complete your sandwich

8. Pour out your sprinkles into a shallow dish, dip your sandwich in and roll around until the ice cream is covered.

9. Scoop, sprinkle, repeat!

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Photography by Sylvia Krysztofeklauren kelp author button

FANCY MOVIE NIGHT CARAMEL POPCORN

Lauren Kelp | Movie Night SnacksHello, hello! Laurel here! Even though my other half and I are years past our early ‘dating’ days, I have to admit, I have never stopped loving date night. Better still, my guy loves movies of all kinds just as much as I do! But between our busy schedules and a tighter than usual budget these days, actual nights out at a theater just aren’t the norm around these parts. Our new favorite thing? Movie Date Night In, complete with better-than-concession-stand snacks, of course. Let’s be real: movie ticket prices are always going up, theater seats are sticky and uncomfortable, and the treats are expensive and mostly kind of unappealing (except you, Junior Mints, I love you forever and ever). If those aren’t compelling enough reasons for you to stay home and do a little ‘Netflix & chill’, then I’ve got two more words for you……homemade candy!

Now, I’m not the kind of gal who’s going to try and convince you to unethically sneak your own snacks into an actual movie theater (I’m sure no one reading this has ever done that! I mean, I never have done that. Ahem). Let’s just focus instead on the fact that amazing homemade treats like these are best enjoyed at home, where you can be in the company of your sweetheart, your dog, your couch, and your comfiest yoga pants, all at the same time. I’m also going on the theory that if I make it myself at home, it’s somehow healthier……and that includes candy! Shhhhh. Just go with me on this one.

Lauren Kelp | Movie Night Snacks

This recipe is based on a tried & true standard, but with a subtle twist; caramel corn–just like the dark chocolate bark seen above–is one of those old-fashioned recipes I can’t resist giving a modern makeover. White miso paste is the kind of earthy, salty, umami-loaded flavor that can sneak unexpectedly into classic candy and make it feel like a brilliant new invention. Try it! Get a little crazy with your date night treats, change up the movie genre to something you wouldn’t ordinarily go for, switch sides on the couch, you get the idea. Keep the Movie Night magic alive!

With a little planning ahead and only a little bit of effort–you seriously won’t believe how simple and tasty this treat is to put together–you can plan the ultimate Movie Date Night In.

Hint: You will need parchment paper for this recipe, which is easy to find in the baking aisle and is a great addition to your kitchen whenever you’re looking for a disposable, low-stick surface!

Lauren Kelp | Movie Night SnacksINGREDIENTS:

-6 cups popped popcorn (unflavored microwave popcorn or good old stovetop popcorn)

-2 tablespoon butter

-1 1/2 cups sugar

-2 tablespoon white miso paste

-1 tablespoon sesame seeds

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • Line two baking sheets with parchment paper, set aside.
  • In a large pot, melt butter and sugar over medium high heat, stirring with a heatproof spatula or wooden spoon.
  • Let sugar mixture boil for a few minutes without stirring, watching carefully, until it turns the light brown color of caramel.
  • Remove from heat and stir in miso paste.
  • Fold in popcorn and stir until coated in caramel. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.
  • Divide mixture between baking sheets and spread it out with spoon or spatula. Let cool, then enjoy!

Lauren Kelp | Movie Night Snacks


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DARK CHOCOLATE BARK WITH SPICY TAMARI PUMPKIN SEEDS

Lauren Kelp | Dark Chocolate with Spicy Tamari Pumpkin Seeds

Ooh, hello! We are taking dark chocolate to a whole new level today with these delicious, mouth-watering, delectable dark chocolate bark with spicy tamari pumpkin seeds. It’s like magic in your mouth and it’s an absolute must if you are entertaining, giving gifts to friends, need a better snack than potato chips, or want to impress the hell out of anyone. Y’all, they are life changing.  – xoxo, LK


Hi there!Laurel here with a recipe inspired by the recent wave of mini Halloween candy bars that overtook my house. I love a tiny chocolate pick-me-up here and there, but let’s face it, there are better ways to cure that craving than a brightly wrapped block of sugar. When I’m really in need of a dark chocolate fix–which is almost every hour of the day around mid-week–I try to at least reach for a homemade treat instead of a commercial candy bar. This heart-healthy Dark Chocolate Bark with Spicy Tamari Pumpkin Seeds is an absolute winner!

It’s super easy to make, since ‘melt and stir’ are basically all the directions you need to know. With a variety of toppings, it’s made appearances around here as dessert at the end of a dinner party, as a holiday gift (try it with nuts or crushed candy canes), and even as a fancy snack at Movie Night. This version, sprinkled with vitamin-loaded, toasted salty & spicy pumpkin seeds, is one of my favorites ever!

Lauren Kelp | Dark Chocolate with Spicy Tamari Pumpkin Seeds

Hint: These Tamari & Sriracha Pumpkin Seeds are a great snack on their own, if you’re not on a chocolate kick at the moment. Salty, spicy, crunchy….they’re unbelievably good just eaten by the handful, but I’ve also sprinkled them on top of salads and bowls of soup for a little extra ‘wow’.

INGREDIENTS:

-1/2 cup raw, hulled pumpkin seeds (also called pepitas)

-1 tablespoon tamari soy sauce

-1 teaspoon sriracha sauce

-1 teaspoon vegetable oil

-7 oz. dark chocolate (I used two bars of my favorite 70% dark chocolate)

Lauren Kelp | Movie Night SnacksINSTRUCTIONS:

-Preheat oven to 350, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

-Whisk tamari, sriracha and oil together, toss with pumpkin seeds to combine.

-Spread seeds in a single layer on baking sheet, bake until seeds are toasted and liquid has evaporated (about 10 minutes, keep a close eye on these!).

-Place chocolate in a microwave-proof bowl and heat in microwave, removing every twenty seconds to stir, until just melted.

-Add roasted pumpkin seeds to melted chocolate, pour mixture out over a sheet of parchment.

-Let cool (place in fridge to set faster if you can’t wait), then break into pieces and eat!

Lauren Kelp | Movie Night Snacks


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PLUM SAKE GRANITA

Plum Sake Granita | Lauren KelpHello, FRI-YAY! Are y’all doing anything fun to celebrate the end of a good week? Anyone else feel like this week was particularly long? Either way, good week, bad week, we’ve got a delicious new cocktail concoction that is perfect for celebrating the weekend! It’s a frozen delight and it’s packed full of flavor. Don’t be leary, this is a serious crowdpleaser! See the skinny below – xoxo, LK


Who says the cocktail hour has to come at the start of the meal? There’s nothing like an after-dinner beverage to gather all your guests together one last time before the end of the night…it’s the perfect time to serve something smooth and velvety and spiked with just a little something. If that after-dinner crowdpleaser happens to be a luscious, fruity frozen dessert, even better! Mix up a batch of Plum Sake Granita the next time you want to end a meal in style, and you’ll have an instant classic on your hands. The best part? Unlike other frozen desserts like sorbets, you won’t even need an ice cream maker to put together this spoon-able cocktail!

I honestly can’t get enough of plums while they’re in season–there are so many varieties to try, but the rich golden sweetness of black plums always blows me away–and blending them with a dose of sake, or Japanese rice wine, is a winning combination. Since sake is lighter in alcohol than other liquors (percentage-wise, it’s more like a wine), it won’t drown out the lovely, delicate sweet tartness of the plums OR send you off to bed feeling overly boozy. Every scoop of this Plum Sake Granita is simply a smooth, satisfying end to your evening!

Plum Sake Granita | Lauren Kelp

INGREDIENTS:

– 3 black plums

– 1 1/2 cups water

– 3/4 cup sugar

– 1 cup sake

INSTRUCTIONS:

– Peel and slice three plums, removing the pit as you go.

– Place plums in a saucepan with water and sugar, bring to a boil then simmer on low for 5 minutes.

– Add sake to plums, let cool.

– Puree mixture in food processor or blender until smooth.

– Pour mixture in a lidded plastic container and freeze. After about an hour, scrape the whole mixture with a metal spoon until it softens into fluffy ice crystals, then re-freeze. Scrape until fluffy once more before serving, then enjoy!

Plum Sake Granita | Lauren Kelp


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THAI ICED TEA

THAI ICED TEA | Lauren Kelp

Hello! Laurel here and I am so excited to be on board with the LK team! Do you like sweet things? How about spiced things? And most importantly, do you like them….and this part really is crucial…together? Me too! Have a Thai iced tea with me, and let’s chat about this crazy concoction.

THAI ICED TEA | Lauren Kelp

Thai food came into my life pretty late in the game. I don’t remember my first serving of pad thai, my first green papaya salad, or even my first taste of spicy, rich, coconut-milk-based tom kha kai soup. But I do remember my first Thai iced tea. Tall & frosty over ice, with hints of vanilla, the sharp taste of cinnamon and other spices hidden just underneath a strong tea flavor and powerfully sweet creaminess…..it was a game changer. It was also bright orange, and was most definitely served in a plain white Styrofoam cup with a plastic lid from my nearest Thai takeout place. I was hooked instantly on this rich, yet refreshing beverage.

Many, many years later (as in, last week), I learned that the vibrant Orange Creamsicle-like hue actually comes from yellow and red food dyes traditionally added to Thai tea blends. Why bright orange? Who knows? You may notice that this recipe doesn’t call for any dyes, which means it won’t look exactly like the Thai iced tea available from your own local takeout joint. But otherwise it’s a dead ringer for the first Thai tea I ever tried, rich in steeped tea flavor, a blend of spices and vanilla and luxurious creaminess….in other words, it’s about the smoothest thing you could pour over ice and cool off with on a hot, late summer afternoon.

THAI ICED TEA | Lauren Kelp
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*FIVE SPICE POWDER: This is a tasty mix of, yes, five spices—star anise, cloves, cinnamon, Sichuan pepper and fennel seeds. It’s not expensive, so stock up for this recipe and keep it in your pantry to add interest & intrigue to stir-fries, marinades, and all kinds of other dishes

THAI ICED TEA | Lauren KelpHint: Want to take it up to yet another level? Try mixing up a batch and chilling it in ice pop molds for a perfect frozen treat.


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