We All Scream for Ice Cream Cake

Ice Cream Cake SliceIs there any type of dessert that makes you feel more like a kid than ice cream? Perhaps a wonderfully delicious ice cream cake?

Lucky for us, basic ice cream cakes are easy to find in grocery stores. However, once you begin customizing flavor combinations at specialty ice cream shops, the prices rise rapidly. Customized ice cream cakes are simple to make. You can let your creativity flow with your choices of ice creams, fillings and toppings. Purchase some items pre-made, make them all from scratch or use a combination. The result will be delicious, unique, and refreshing! Read the rest of this entry »


Carnevale! Carnevale! Ogni Scherzo Vale!

Finished CrostoliThis phrase is indicative of Carnivale – “Fat Tuesday, a day when every prank is allowed,” a final day of celebration before the start of the Lenten season. My family hails from a pastoral area of Friuli and Carnevale means something delicious in our home – Crostoli.

Friuli, a region of Northeastern Italy is famous for its wine, cheese, San Daniele prosciutto and a language that is unrecognizable as an iteration of Italian. Picture this: my summer vacations consisted of playing at our aunt’s house in the country, chasing the rabbits, collecting eggs from the chicken coop and helping to wash clothes in the stream in front of the house. In the middle of all this, my five foot tall mother wanders out into the fields wielding a scythe to expertly cut grass to feed the rabbits.

Crostoli is made from items found in most kitchens. They are easy and inexpensive to make, and result in a crisp and not overly sweet bite of heaven. They are, in fact, known in other parts of Italy as “Angel Wings.” It is a fun family project, as the dough is fragile and timing critical in the recipe.
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How to Choose the Pizzelle Iron That’s Right For You

Making pizzelle with the Palmer Model 1000While perusing our shelves full of beautiful and intricately designed pizzelle irons, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. “Which one do I want? Which one is the best?” are common questions we encounter – and the answers to these questions will vary based on your preferences.

The most important questions you need to ask when choosing an iron are these:

“Do I prefer an uncoated cast aluminum finish or a nonstick coating?” and “Do I like my pizzelle paper thin, or a little thicker?”

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Zenker Creative Adjustable Baking Pan

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Zenker Creative Adjustable Baking Pan

A creative trio of options: Biscotti, Quiches, Tarts and more… This German-made adjustable baking pan by Zenker provides a range of possibilities, so why settle for just one option, when you can serve up a trio!

I came across this pan last year, and knew it was an item that we needed to add to our bakeware selection here at Fante’s. Always looking for interesting desserts and entrees to make for family gatherings and weekday meals, this pan provides an uncomplicated, yet create way to bake. My kitchen is by no means large, so an item that offers multiple uses is essential for me.

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Nadia’s Nut Surprise

Biscotti nella forma di Noci

Cookies in the Shape of Nuts

Pine Cone Tartlet MoldNadiaFor years, my favorite molds have been those which are commonly used to make tasty Hungarian Spice Cookies, and German walnut shaped cookies with scrumptious caramel and nut fillings. I love to use our pine cone shape molds, in which I have also made delightful shortbread cookies.

However after using our new stove top Nut Surprise iron from Italy, I discovered how much quicker and easier I was able to get a large quantity of evenly baked shells.

Noci-Filled-with-Raspberry-Whipped-CreamI love the traditional manner of making the pastry shells with the iron, and I love the deep cavities that can hold larger quantities and more types of fillings.

The nut shape is not only beautiful and delicious, but also suitable for all kinds of desserts, appetizers, and whatever else.

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12 Dishes of Christmas – Take 2

 Examining the quintessential holiday foods

While this is certainly not an official list, we feel these twelve dishes are evocative of the grand spirit and familial feeling of the holiday season. Some families, regions and cultures adopt their own unique traditions, to be sure, while others tweak already established ones, and you’ll find dishes both new and old below.

If you missed last week’s edition, check it out here.

Without further ado, we present for your tasting pleasure, Days 7 through 12 of the 12 Dishes of Christmas…

Day 7: Egg Nog

Egg nog served in our glass Fidenza espresso cup.

As with most holidays, Christmastime partying often sees a bit of alcohol added to the mix. Such is the case with egg nog, the dairy-based, liquor-infused sweet holiday cocktail that acts as the social lubricant at so many holiday functions. Rum, whiskey or brandy are typical additions to the mixture, which also features milk (or cream), sugar, and beaten, raw eggs, which provide the characteristic frothy thickness.

We also recommend taking a stab at making homemade egg nog. As food author Paulius Nasviytus writes, “if you can’t decipher the ingredients, then you probably shouldn’t eat them!” This is true of many commercially-produced egg nogs, which feature high fructose corn syrup, among other additives. The best kitchen gadget we advise to whip up homemade egg nog is definitely a good wire whisk.

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12 Dishes of Christmas – Take 1

Examining the quintessential holiday foods

We published a quick gift guide last week that got us thinking: the real fun behind the holiday season is spending time with your family (go ahead, admit it!), and nothing is better for sharing than a good meal. Rather than gifts, we looked into 12 foods that represent the season like no other. While this list isn’t definitive, it certainly is delicious!

For the sake of brevity (and to halt pant sizes from skyrocketing upward) we decided to split the list into six this week, and another six for our next post. We think you’ll agree that moderation is key!

Day 1: Candy Canes

Candy CaneThese sweet candy treats began as incredibly labor-intensive products; while it’s unclear when exactly the cane originated, their production widened across Europe in the mid-17th century, albeit as simple white canes. The famous red and white streaked design, now so evocative of the holiday season, wasn’t popularized until much later.

Making candy canes at home can be tough, what with the stretching, pulling and twisting involved – see this this detailed recipe if you don’t believe us – but true candy die-hards know that the real key with candy making is accurate temperature. Thus, a candy thermometer is essential… along with a serious sweet tooth! Read the rest of this entry »