August 2017


Black Cherry Sparkling Ice Pops

August 26: National Cherry Popsicle Day

When an unbearably hot summer day is even more humid and hazy, we feel especially lazy and crazy and just want to stay indoors, blast the air conditioner and cool off with a frozen treat such as cherry popsicles. They aren’t as heavy like cherry ice cream but they are simply light frozen juice on a stick.

We dragged our lazy bums to the kitchen to make something minimal in observance of today’s food holiday with a cheap, plastic popsicle mold from the dollar store and a single bottle of fizzy black cherry-flavored beverage (we used Sparkling Ice brand because it literally sounded cool). Black Cherry Sparkling Ice Pops were nearly an effortless treat to make and post on our blog for National Cherry Popsicle Day.

Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 bottle of cherry flavored juice/beverage (sugar powder mix, bottled concentrate or flavored vitamin water)

Directions

In a plastic popsicle mold, pour the cherry juice/beverage into the wells, leaving about half an inch from the top. Close the mold with the popsicle stick covers. Freeze for several hours until firm. Unmold. Enjoy frozen.

Notes

  • Watch Nat King Cole sing about “Those Hazy Lazy Crazy Days of Summer”, the title track of his 1963 album.

Solar Eclipse Sugar Cookies

August 21, 2017: Solar Eclipse Across the USA

On July 11, 1991, Islander was able to experience a solar eclipse in Hawaii. The path of 100% totality was over the Big Island, but 96% over Oahu was still a good percentage. Unfortunately, it was cloudy that day so the moving rain clouds kept interrupting the views for everyone, even at the observatories with the telescopes. Islander woke up at 6:30 a.m. (okay, NOT a morning person!) and started watching the TV news for coverage about the eclipse. Almost an hour later, she went out in the backyard, put on her sun peepers (79 cents at 7-11 convenience store) and watched the heavens above. At 7:28:48 a.m., the sky became dark gray, almost like dusk. Four minutes later, the sun peeked out again after the moon slowly finished crossing its path and a beautiful morning continued on to become another blessed day.

Today we experience partial totality in Texas at approximately 1:17 p.m. Highlander is working at that time but Islander baked cookies for his co-workers to commemorate the rare occasion that a solar eclipse happens across America. The last time it occurred on the mainland was on February 26, 1979; the next one will be on April 8, 2024.

Along with these solar eclipse sugar cookies, we are snacking on Sun Chips, Moon Pies and Moon Cheese, eating chicken salad “crescent” roll sandwiches, drinking Capri Sun apple juice and Sunny D orange juice and chewing Eclipse gum. These fun foods all make for a memorable meal when celebrating the solar eclipse!

Recipe

Ingredients

  • Sugar cookie dough (we use the recipe from Kitchen Lane)
  • Yellow fondant
  • Black or dark chocolate fondant

Directions

Make the sugar cookie dough. Roll out to 1/4 inch thick. Use a circle cookie cutter to cut out cookie shapes. Bake and cool.

Decorate the round sugar cookies by rolling out yellow fondant 1/8 inch thick. Use the same circle cookie cutter to cut out shapes. Brush water on the top of a round cookie and place a yellow fondant circle on top. Smooth out the edges.

Roll out black or dark chocolate fondant 1/8 inch thick. Using the round cookie cutter, cut different shapes according to the partial moon shadows (quarter, half or ¾ full crescents). Brush water on the back and position it on top of the yellow fondant. Arrange in phases to show the gradual eclipse movements.

Bonus Recipe: Gold Star Cookies

Ingredients

  • Extra cookie dough
  • White fondant
  • Clear extract (almond, lemon, etc.) or vodka
  • Gold edible powder/non-toxic luster dust

Directions

With the extra cookie dough from above, roll out to ¼ inch thick. Use a small star cookie cutter to cut out star shapes. Bake and cool.

Roll out white fondant 1/8 inch thick. Use the same star cookie cutter to cut out shapes. Brush water on the top of a star cookie and place a white fondant star on top. Mix a little extract or vodka with gold edible powder. Brush over the star cookies. Let dry. Serve with solar eclipse sugar cookies.

Notes

  • Also appropriate for a solar eclipse celebration are cinnamon-pecan crescent cookies and brown sugar shortbread star cookies.
  • We also made some silver crescent moon cookies in the same manner as the gold star cookies above. We just substituted the colors and cookie cutter shapes. Combine these with the solar eclipse cookies for a celestial celebration!

Homemade Hula Pie

August 18: National Ice Cream Pie Day

We used to visit our godsister Min V. in Kekaha, Kauai, for a long weekend getaway from our home island of Oahu. We would take a morning flight from Honolulu over to Lihue where Min was waiting for us. She did not greet us locals with a lei but she showed her Hawaiian hospitality by treating us to the famous hula pie at Duke’s restaurant instead. It was filling for famished travelers before heading to her house (about an hour’s drive).

We also split a hula pie whenever we wander around Waikiki playing tourists. We even bought the iconic plate from Duke’s restaurant (but the special spork was not available at the time).

Hula pie is simply an ice cream pie. It was developed a long time ago at Kimo’s restaurant, a sister (brother?) eatery to Duke’s in the TS Restaurant family (‘ohana). According to their website: “Hula Pie is made with Kimo’s favorite macadamia nut ice cream piled high on a chocolate cookie crust and topped with chocolate fudge, whipped cream, and more macadamia nuts.” The website also gives suggestions on how to eat a hula pie. Sometimes the chefs serve a specialty hula pie in their menu (variations of the classic recipe using different flavored ice creams).

Home chefs can prepare hula pie themselves and indulge in an abundance of aloha. Especially on a hot summer day, hula pie is perfect for National Ice Cream Pie Day!

Recipe

(Adapted from Hawaii Magazine and Baking Bites)

Ingredients

  • 1 Oreo cookie pie crust (or chocolate graham cracker pie crust)
  • 1 ½ – 2 ½ gallons of vanilla ice cream (we used Breyer’s brand), slightly softened
  • 1 ½ cups macadamia nut pieces, divided use
  • 4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon instant coffee powder (we used Kona coffee), finely ground
  • hot fudge sauce, room temperature
  • whipped cream

Directions

Freeze the chocolate pie crust until ready to use (this prevents the crust from cracking too much and leaving too many crumbs). In a large bowl, mix the ice cream with ONE cup of the nut pieces until well blended. Work quickly so the ice cream will not melt too fast.

Pile the ice cream mix on the pie crust, making a dome. Freeze until firm (overnight is best). In a microwavable bowl, melt the semi-sweet chocolate and butter. Stir until smooth.

Mix in the ground instant coffee powder. Let this chocolate sauce cool for about 15 minutes at room temperature. Remove the frozen pie from the freezer. Pour the chocolate sauce over the top of the pie. Use a spatula to quickly smooth the sauce all over the top of the ice cream dome (it sets and hardens fast). Freeze again for a couple of hours.

When ready to serve, remove the entire pie from the foil plate and place on a large tray. Warm a sharp knife in hot water, wipe dry and slice the pie in six serving pieces. Put an individual slice on a dessert plate.

Drizzle some fudge sauce on top, allowing it to pool on the bottom of the plate. Sprinkle with remaining macadamia nut pieces. Decorate the edge of the pie with a generous piping of whipped cream. Serve immediately.

Notes

  • Some recipes for hula pie say to spread the fudge sauce over the ice cream. But some sauces are too runny so we used a homemade chocolate sauce that sticks to the surface of the ice cream dome and sets into a sort-of shell.
  • We had used lactose-free vanilla ice cream before but it has a soft-serve consistency that does not work too well when spreading the chocolate sauce on top. Sometimes if the ice cream is not frozen firmly, the sauce will pick up the softened ice cream and makes a messy mix (see the Food Flop photo).
  • The whipped cream decoration looks like the white foam from the waves of the ocean but it is supposed to represent the sway of the hula skirt—hence, the name “hula pie”.
  • See how the real hula pie is made at Duke’s. Watch a TS Restaurant video from the Cooking Channel’s “Ice Cream Nation” segment on YouTube.

Lemon Meringue Tarts

August 15: National Lemon Meringue Pie Day

We have not been as lucky with lemons lately when we have failed at making a lemon meringue pie (the filling was too runny and the meringue was overbrowned). So we tried to make the best of the situation and bake mini pies (tarts) using phyllo cups and lemon curd. The filling was too sweet when paired with a supposedly crispy-turned-soggy shell. Determined to overcome these Food Flops, we tried again to make mini lemon meringue tarts using a different crust (from our Pecan Tassies recipe). They turned out terrific for our tea time gathering! And now we can post our version of lemon meringue tarts for National Lemon Meringue Pie Day.

Recipe

Ingredients

  • 3 ounces cream cheese
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter
  • 1 cup flour
  • lemon curd
  • 2 egg whites
  • pinch of cream of tartar
  • 1/3 cup sugar, granulated white 

Directions

Make the mini pie/tart crust by mixing the butter and cream cheese until smooth. Gradually add the flour to make a soft dough. Roll into a ball, cover with a plastic wrap and chill it for at least an hour to harden. Then divide the dough into 24 one-inch balls.

Flatten, press and shape the crusts in the wells of an ungreased muffin pan. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool completely.

Fill the crusts with a teaspoonful of lemon curd. In a mixing bowl, beat the egg whites with a pinch of cream of tartar until foamy. Continue beating the egg whites and gradually add the sugar until stiff peaks form.

Fill a piping bag with a star tip (we used Tip 1M) and squeeze a little meringue on top of the lemon curd. Bake in the preheated oven at 350 degrees F for about 5-7 minutes, being careful not to overbrown the meringue. Remove from the oven (be careful as the lemon curd is hot and liquefied). Use a toothpick to remove the tarts from the pan when cooled. Store in an airtight container and refrigerate any leftovers. Bring to room temperature when ready to serve.

Notes

  • See our Food Flops page for a photo of our runny lemon meringue pie and other culinary catastrophies.