Rise To The Occasion

Rise To The Occasion

I’m fixin’ to bake a chocolate souffles, when I receive a text message from my daughter. She says, “I highly recommend you should listen to Shania Twain.”

Perfect timing . . .

I turn on Shania

-Melt chocolate

-Whip egg whites

-Make a sauce with the melted chocolate and egg yolks

-I’m folding in the sauce to the egg whites “Man, I feel like a woman” blares over the speakers

-Souffles go into the preheated oven

-My thoughts drift back to carpool days, driving all over Dallas with my four children, friends, dogs, even a chicken sometimes

-We listened to “Up.” It was our theme song.

-Happy memories….the days were long, but the years flew by

-The oven’s timer bell rings, the souffles have risen to perfection!

-Our kitchen door opens, Jim is home for dinner.

-Just in time for the souffles.

-Life is short, maybe we’ll have dessert first!Chocolate Souffles

-Celebrating National Chocolate Souffle day!

Chocolate Souffle

The key to a serving spectacular souffle is timing!  A souffle is simply a flavored sauce folded into stiffly beaten egg whites, filled into a prepared souffle dish and baked until tall and fluffy. 


  • 8 ozs. unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 6 large eggs, seperated
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 1/8 t. cream of tartar
  • 1/2 cups sugar

Chocolate sauce: Melt the chocolate in the water and add the remaining ingredients. 6 ozs. semi-sweet chocolate pieces, 3 T. cold water, 1/3 cup cream, 1 T. butter


  1. Preheat oven to 425º.

    Grease a souffle dish with butter. Lightly sprinkle with sugar. 

    Double a piece of parchment paper, butter it, wrap around the souffle dish, and secure with cooking kitchen twine. Set aside.

  2. Place the chocolate in the top of a double-boiler and melt over hot, not boiling water! Set aside to cool.

  3. In 2-quart saucepan, add the flour and 1/4 sugar; slowly add the milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and begins to boil. Cook 2 minutes; set aside to cool.

  4. Stir the melted chocolate into the cooled milk mixture.

  5. With a spatula, quickly beat in the egg yolks; set mixture aside. 

  6. In a clean separate bowl large bowl with a clean whisk, beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt. When frothy, add the cream of tartar and continue beating until soft peaks form. 

  7. With the mixer at high speed, gradually add the sugar, and the vanilla, beating until stiff glossy peaks form. 

  8. Stir 1 cup of the beaten egg whites into the sauce. 

    Fold the remaining egg whites into the sauce.

  9. Fill into the prepared souffle dish.

  10. Place in the oven. Turn down the temperature to 375º. 

    Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until puffy and lightly brown.

  11. Serving:

    As soon as it is done, remove the collar, dust the surface with sifted confectioners' sugar, and bring to the table. To keep the souffle standing, hold your serving spoon and fork upright and back to back; scoop them into the crust and tear it apart, fill with chocolate sauce and serve!

  12. Create joy -

    Bake for friends and family!

It’s Mardi Gras!

It’s Mardi Gras!

King Cake, a favorite Mardi Gras tradition! Made with a delicious brioche dough and decorated with the three Mardi Gras colors. Purple represents justice, gold represents power, and green represents faith.

Bake a King Cake and let the good times roll!!!King CakeRolling out the dough . . . King CakeAdding the filling . . . King CakeDrizzling the icing . . . King CakeDecorating with purple, gold, and green sugars . . . King CakeBefore you know if you have a delicious King Cake!King Cake

King Cake

This brioche pastry dough is of French origin is an enriched bread with a high egg and butter content giving it a rich and tender crumb. 

This dough has a thick pancake-like consistency. It's easy for beginner bakers and elaborate for experienced bakers!

Servings 2 king cakes
Author susanapplegraass


  • 1/4 cup warm water(80º-100º)
  • 1 package yeast
  • 3/4 cup whole milk, scalded and cooled
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1/2 t. ground nutmeg
  • 1 zest of lemon
  • 3 1/2 - 4 cups all-purpose flour

Filling: Blend together 8-ounce Philadelphia cream cheese(room temperature), 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 2 T. whole milk, 1 T. cinnamon, 1 t. vanilla. Set aside.

Icing: Blend together 8 ounces Philadelphia cream cheese(room temperature), 1 bag confectioners sugar, 1/2 cup whole milk, 1 t. vanilla. Set aside.


  1. Dissolve yeast and 1 t. sugar in warm water. Set aside until frothy, about 5 minutes.

  2. In a small saucepan, scald the milk. Set aside to cool to less than 100º.

  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, add the yeast mixture, scalded & cooled milk, sugar, melted butter, eggs, salt, nutmeg, and lemon zest. Begin mixing, gradually add the flour. Continue mixing until smooth. 

  4. Cover the bowl with a dish towel. Allow to rise until doubled in bulk(about 2 hours) at room temperature. Or overnight in the refrigerator. If refrigerated overnight, allow to come to room temperature before rolling out the dough.

  5. Preheat the oven to 375º.

    On a heavily floured Silpat®, place 1/2 of the dough. Roll out to a 1/2" thickness. Spread with 1/2 of the filling. Starting at the widest edge, roll up to dough into a cylinder. Carefully pick up the dough and place on a Silpatº lined baking sheet. Cover with a clean dish towel. Allow to rise for 30 to 45 minutes.

  6. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a thermometer registers 200º.

    If the King Cake is getting too brown, cover lightly with a sheet of aluminum foil. 

  7. Remove from oven. Place on a wire rack. Cool completely. Place on a serving platter. 

    Hide the baby in the King Cake!

  8. Drizzle with the icing onto King Cake. (You might have a little icing depending on how much you prefer.)

    Sprinkle with purple, gold, and green sugars.

    Place on a serving platter and hide the baby under the cake.

    Happy Mardi Gras!

The Perfect Bite-Size Treat For Valentine’s Day

The Perfect Bite-Size Treat For Valentine’s Day

Petits Fours
Something old is new again! Petits Fours originated in 19th France and quickly spread around Europe as a favorite tea-time delicacy. Today, petits fours are still regarded as a special delicacy for baby showers, afternoon teas and special occasions. However, you might just be surprised at how easy they are to make at home!

Photos by KNorton photography

petits fours
Bake your favorite cake. In the baking pan, cool the cake on a wire rack. When cooled completely, freeze for 4 hours and up to overnight. Remove from the freezer and allow to come to almost room temperature. Using a metal ruler as a guide, cut the cake into squares. Place on a wire rack.
Making petits fours
In a saucepan set over medium heat, cook the sugar, Karo® syrup, cream of tartar, and water to 226º.
fondant for petits fours
Cool to lukewarm, add confectioners’ sugar, blend until smooth and thick.
Petits Fours
Pick up a cake square with a petits four fork, ladle the fondant over it.
Be sure to cover all four sides of the cake square.
petits four
Set the glazed petits fours on a wire rack.
Petits Fours
Now is the really fun part. Using a Deco Drizzler, decorate the petits fours with royal icing. Dry for a couple of hours before placing in the candy cups.
petits fours
Beautiful Petits Fours for all of your friends and family!
Last but not least, package your Petits Fours in the candy cups.
They may be purchased at www.kitchenkraft.com.
Just for you, #unsponsored !!

Petits Fours

Fun to make, easier than cookies, cakes or pie! Here are some of my favorite tips for perfect petits fours! 


  • 1 box white cake mix
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 stick unsalted butter(1/2 cup)
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 1/3 cup Karo® syrup
  • 1/4 t. cream of tartar
  • 2 1/4 cups hot water
  • 2 2-pound bags confectioners’ sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 350º.

    Line a baking pan with parchment paper. Spray with cooking oil. Set aside.

  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the first 5 ingredients. Mix until combined. Pour into the prepared pan. Bake for 30 -35 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. When cooled completely, freeze four hours or overnight.

  3. In a saucepan over medium heat, cook the sugar, Karo® syrup, cream of tartar, and water to 226º. Cool to lukewarm(95º-110º).

  4. Cut the cake into squares and place on a wire rack set over a jelly roll pan.

  5. Place the bowl of fondant in a pan filled with 2″ of water and place over low-medium heat. (This will keep the fondant warm and will be the best consistency for glazing). Ladle the fondant over the cake squares.

  6. Drizzle with royal icing or decorate with your favorite purchased hearts. After the petits fours dry for a couple of hours, set them in the candy cups. 



Over the Christmas holidays, Jim, Catherine, and I discovered Yoshi Shabu Shabu, a shabu-shabu restaurant in Richardson, Texas. Although this form of cooking has been enjoyed in the Orient for generations, it was new to me. Vegetables and thinly sliced meat were served. We cooked them in simmering broths. Once cooked, we doused them in special sauces and enjoyed every last bite!

Long before our meal was complete, I knew this would be my next culinary adventure in our Texas kitchen. Much to my delight, our shabu-shabu was a big hit and my family loved it!

Perhaps this will be your next culinary adventure too . . .

Shabu-shabu table setting


This form of cooking originated in China, but was refined and popularized by the Japanese. Very thinly sliced meat, chicken or seafood, cooked along with vegetables and noodles in simmering stock by swishing them back and forth (creating a sound that inspired the dish’s name). Homemade Garlic Sauce and/or Dijon Sauce are delicious with Shabu-shabu!


  • 3 bell peppers(your choice of color)core, seed, derib & cut into strips
  • 1 bunch broccoli, stems removed, cut into 2″ pieces
  • 2 Japanese eggplants, peel, cut in half, slice diagonally
  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled, cut into 2″ pieces
  • 2 bunches Enoki mushrooms
  • 4 baby Bok Choy, cut off ends, slice in half diagonally
  • 1 Napa cabbage, separate leaves from the core, wash, cut into 2″ strips
  • 6 carrots, cut off a thin disk from the stem end, peel, cut into 1/2″ diagonals
  • 3 packages Ramen noodles
  • 1 quart good-quality chicken stock-per person
  • 1 pound thinly sliced prime beef
  • 1 pound thinly sliced chicken
  • 1 package dry seawood
  • 1 recipe Spicy dipping sauce
  • 1 recipe Dijon Mustard dipping sauce


  1. In an electric-fondue pot, add 1 quart chicken stock, 1 quart water, and 1 piece of dry seaweed; bring to a simmer. 

    Set up on the dinner table.

  2. Prepare and arrange the vegetables on several platters.

    Arrange the beef on one platter.

    Arrange the chicken on another platter.

    Arrange all of the prepared platters on the diner table.

  3. Pour the sauces into individual bowls.

  4. Set each place-setting with the individual-sauce bowls, rim soup bowls, chop sticks, and your guests’ favorite beverage.

  5. Gather your guests for a delicious meal!

  6. First, cook the vegetables for about 4 minutes. Potatoes will need to cook a little longer. Dip in the sauce and enjoy!

  7. Next, cook the chicken and meat a full 4 minutes. 

    For rare beef, cook for 2 minutes.

  8. Finish off the meal with a light and tasty soup! After everyone has cooked and eaten the vegetables, chicken, and meat, add the Ramen noodles to the simmering stock. Ladle into bowls and enjoy!

  9. Notes:

    You can pierce the food with fondue forks. 

    Little wire baskets with bamboo handles come in handy for scooping food into and out of the fondue pot.

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