Happy National Vanilla Ice Cream Day!

Happy National Vanilla Ice Cream Day!

Happy National Vanilla Ice Cream Day! 

When is the last time you enjoyed some homemade vanilla ice cream? Growing up in Louisiana, ice cream was our favorite dessert. We enjoyed it during family reunions, church dinners, and when cousins dropped in for visits.

The great debate was cooking or not cooking the ice cream mixture before chilling it. Aunt Kitty’s vanilla ice cream was extra rich and creamy. She believed in cooking the milk and eggs to reach a custard-like consistency prior to chilling it. Other family members preferred a simpler approach. Mixing and chilling their favorite ingredients. When peaches were plentiful, they were added to create peaches ‘n cream ice cream. It was out of this world!

In those days, believe it or not, we made ice cream with hand-crank ice cream makers. For what seemed like hours, we sat on our front porch and took turns turning the crank until it wouldn’t budge. At this point, we knew the ice cream was fully whipped and chilled!

Then along came the electric ice cream makers. It was a big step up. Then the debate became hand-crank ice cream makers verses electric ice cream makers. Which one produced a creamier ice cream? My father, an engineer, was convinced that the original hand-crank ice cream makers were superior. His claim was based upon the fact that the dasher turned the opposite direction of the canister, thus creating a lighter, creamier ice cream. 

Luckily, many ice cream makers are available today.

For speed and convenience, a Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker is the best choice.

For nostalgia, a Nostalgia Ice Cream Maker is one of your choices.

Either way, your ice cream is bound to receive rave reviews!

Celebrate – Happy National Vanilla Ice Cream Day!

Source: Ice cream bowls by Nicholson Hardie 

Vanilla Ice Cream

When is the last time you enjoyed homemade ice cream? No doubt it takes a little extra effort and time. With the first taste, you will come to realize that it is worth every bit of it because it's absolutely the best, coolest dessert of the summer!

Prep Time 45 minutes
45 minutes to chill 2 hours


  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 2 cans 12 oz. evaporated milk
  • 6 large eggs
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 t. vanilla


  1. In the top pan of a double boiler, whisk together the sugar, corn starch and salt.

  2. Slowly pour the milk into the sugar mixture. Cook over medium heat until the milk is hot but not boiling, stirring occasionally.

  3. Add to the egg yolks to a mixing bowl, lightly beat them. Add a little of the hot milk mixture and whisk to combine.

  4. Fill the bottom pan of the double boiler with about 2" of water, set aside.

    In the top pan of a double boiler, add the tempered eggs and the milk mixture.

    Place the top pan of the double boiler on the bottom pan of the double boiler.

    Cook the egg/milk mixture, whisking constantly until it coats the back of a spoon.

  5. Remove from heat. Pour through a fine sieve. Add the cream and vanilla. Cool to room temperature. Chill.

  6. Pour into the canister of an ice cream maker. Chill according to the manufacture's instructions.

Into The Garden For A Garden Party

Into The Garden For A Garden Party

I would love to be in Nantucket . . . with so many travel complications and concerns about the coronavirus, we decided to spend our summer at home. No worries. I am grateful for my family’s safety and health. And we will make the most of it!

I need to disconnect, reconnect and appreciate our many blessings. In my Texas kitchen, I’m baking bread, mixing sandwich fillings and a making big pitcher of iced tea. Soon I’ll be in the garden enjoying some fellowship. It makes life worth living.

Something about eating outdoors evokes many childhood memories. Growing up in Louisiana, so many happy times were shared over southern food and iced tea on our front porch. Today, I am transforming these memories into a garden party!

Tips For A Garden Party:

  • Be spontaneous, don’t over plan!
  • Offer an assortment of sandwiches, salads, cookies and a couple of miscellaneous items
  • Take along a little extra fruit
  • Bring a variety of beverages and a bottle opener
  • Don’t forget the plates, napkins and utensils


Cucumber Sandwiches

Cucumber sandwiches are a light, delicious and refreshing snack to serve on a hot, summer afternoon. Decorate with your favorite herb or flower.

Prep Time 45 minutes


  • 2 english cucumbers
  • 1/4 cup mayonaise
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 loaf thinly sliced white sandwich bread, crust removed
  • 1 8-ounce cream cheese, room temperature


  1. Peel and discard coarse seeds of cucumbers.

  2. Chop cucumbers finely and squeeze in cloth, removing excess moisture.

  3. Season with salt and pepper.

  4. Spread half of the bread slices with cream cheese. Spread with cucumber mixture. Top with the other half of the bread slices. Cut into small sandwiches.

  5. Arrange the sandwiches on a serving platter. Garnish with parsley, salad burnet, mint or edible flowers.

Fashion: Susan Apple, Inc Jade linen dress

Earrings: Ippolita

A Simple Favor – Make A Caesar Salad

A Simple Favor – Make A Caesar Salad

A Simple Favor . . . make a Caesar Salad!

Inspired by one of our favorite movies, A Simple Favor, to recreate a scene from the movie and create the perfect Caesar Salad!

Anna Kendrick plays Stephanie, a food blogger living in Connecticut. When one of her friend’s, Emily, played by Blake Lively comes up missing. The plot is full of many twists and turns. It is a thrilling movie to watch!

The following is our favorite scenes. . . a detective is quizzing Stephanie about the crime.

She responds, “Those are the worst breadcrumbs I’ve ever heard of, you know. You couldn’t fill a Caesar salad with those breadcrumbs!” 

A Simple Favor

Here’s our version of the movie scene from A Simple Favor . . . 

A Simple Favor - Susan Apple

. . . and our delicious Caesar salad recipe.

A Simple Favor – Make a Caesar salad!

Caesar Salad

A Caesar Salad is beautiful and goes well with so many meals. A creamy Caesar dressing is easy to make with a hand blender and tall Mason jar.


  • 2 heads of Romaine lettuce, thinly sliced, washed and chilled
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons freshly Parmesan cheese

Breadcrumbs: Cut the crust from 4 slices of day old bread. Cut the slices into small cubes. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet. When fat begins to sizzle, add the cubes of bread and cook, tossing with a spatula occasionally as the cubes are golden brown. Drain the cubes on a paper towel. Crush with a couple of pulses in a food processor fitted with a metal blade, working with half of the cubes at a time.


  1. Cook the egg in gently simmering water for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes; set aside.

  2. In a tall Mason jar, add the garlic cloves, egg, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, Dijon, 2 T. Parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper. Blend with a hand blender while gradually adding the olive oil in a slow, steady stream. Mix until the mixture is thick and creamy.

  3. In a large salad bowl, toss the romaine lettuce with desired amount of the dressing. About half or one third should be enough. Add the remaining 3 T. grated Parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs; toss again.

  4. Enjoy!

Fancy Making A Tart with Blueberries

Fancy Making A Tart with Blueberries

Fancy making a tart with blueberries and raspberries. With summer’s abundance of blueberries and raspberries, now is the perfect time to prepare this elegant dessert!

Special Equipment:

Perfect Tart Crust Tips:

  1. Don’t overwork the dough.
  2. Let the dough rest before rolling it out.
  3. Chill the shaped tart crust before baking it.

Blueberry-Raspberry Tart

A beautiful and delicious dessert to create with summer's best berries.

Prep Time 2 hours
Servings 8 people


  • 1 tart crust recipe
  • 2 pints blueberries, washed, set aside to dry on paper towels
  • 1 cup raspberries, washed set aside to dry on paper towels
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract


  1. Prepare the tart shell. Set aside.

  2. Prepare the cream filling:

    In a saucepan set over moderate heat, whisk the egg yolks. Gradually whisk in the sugar in a thin stream. (Gradually adding the sugar assures the eggs will not become grainy.)

    Whisk until pale yellow in color and ribbons form when dropped from the whisk.

  3. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour and cornstarch. Beat into the egg mixture.

  4. Gradually pour the hot milk into the egg mixture, stirring with a wooden spoon. Scrape the sides and bottom of the pan as the sauce cooks. Do not let it boil as it thickens. When it coats a spoon well and leaves a trail when you draw a finger across the surface of the spoon, the pastry cream is ready.

    (If the cream is overcooked the eggs will scramble.)

  5. Immediately remove from heat. Pour through a sieve into a bowl and set over ice bath for about 5 minutes. The ice bath will stop the cooking. Stir in the butter. And then the vanilla. Cover the surface with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until set, about 2 hours.

  6. To assemble the tart:

    Pour the pastry cream evenly into the prepared tart shell. Arrange the blueberries and raspberries.

    Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Tart Crust

Tips to prevent a tart crust from shrinking: Don't overwork the dough. Let the dough rest before rolling it out. Chill the rolled out tart crust before baking.

Prep Time 20 minutes


  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 t. baking powder
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1 stick softened unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 t. vanilla
  • 1 t. milk


  1. In a medium size bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.

  2. In another bowl, cream butter, slowly add the sugar.

  3. Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl after adding the eggs. Add the vanilla.

  4. Slowly add the dry ingredients and milk alternately, a little at a time, until all are added, being careful not to over mix the dough.

  5. Chill crust for one hour.

  6. Preheat the oven to 375Fº.

  7. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the crust. Place in a greased 11-inch tart pan. Gently shape the dough to the edges of the pan. Roll a rolling pin over the surface to remove excess dough.

  8. Place a square piece of parchment paper on the surface. Fill with 2 boxes pie weights or dry beans.

    Bake in the middle of the oven for 20 minutes. Remove the weights and parchment paper. Continue baking for 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from the oven. Place on a wire rack. Cool.

*Susan Apple, Inc. linen dress

Cookies Make Everything Better

Cookies Make Everything Better

Cookies make everything better! Cracked sugar cookies are a classic, buttery, chewy sugar cookie. Everyone loves them!

Special Equipement:

Cookie Baking Tips:

  • Start with room-temperature unsalted butter and eggs
  • Chill dough for 30 minutes to 1 hour before baking
  • Scoop dough with a cookie scooper so that each cookie is the same size and bakes evenly
  • Set a timer, check cookies for doneness
  • Remove from oven, set cookie sheet on a wire rack for 5 or so minutes
  • Remove cookies from cookie sheet and place directly on wire racks; set aside until completely cool
  • Bake some today!
    5 from 1 vote

    Cracked Sugar Cookies

    Pure and simple sugar cookies - loved by all!

    Prep Time 30 minutes
    Cook Time 10 minutes
    Servings 3 dozen


    • 2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
    • 2 teaspoons baking soda
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed firmly
    • 1 egg, room temperature
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla

    Pour 1 cup of Turbinado sugar into a wide bowl or pie plate. Roll dough balls in the sugar and place on the cookie sheet. Bake.


    1. Preheat oven to 375Fº.

    2. Whisk together the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt; set aside.

    3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter, sugar and brown sugar. Beat in egg and vanilla.

    4. Add the flour mixture to the butter/egg mixture, mix until blended.

      Chill for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

    5. Scoop dough with a cookie scooper. Roll in sugar. Place on Silicone lined cookie sheet, spacing apart because the cookies will spread during baking!

    6. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes.

    7. Cool cookie sheets on wire racks for 5 minutes.

      Remove cookies from cookie sheets and set on wire racks to cool completely.

    8. Happy baking!


Cheaper By The Dozen

Cheaper By The Dozen

Cheaper by the dozen . . . and more delicious! Surprisingly homemade bagels are better than 99% of the bagels available at grocery stores and bakeries.

During quarantine, there has been a recent surge in homemade bread baking. So if you are looking for a new bread recipe, this one’s for you!

After testing several bagel recipes for the best one, we discovered a few special techniques and ingredients that drastically improve the bagels’ flavor and texture. Try this recipe . . . in no time at all you will be a champion bagel baker!Homemade Bagels

The Secret Ingredient:

  • Non-diastatic malt powder.  It is a sweet derivative of roasted barley. It gives the bagels their distinctive shiny crust. Add it to the dough and to the water bath.

The Secret Techniques:

  • After the second rise, gently press a whole into the center of each bagel.
  • Drop the bagels in a gently simmering water bath with non-diastatic malt powder.
  • Cool and roll in your favorite topping.

Favorite topping:

Why bread flour? 

  • The bread flour creates a chewy texture.

What if bread flour is unavailable?

  • No problem . . . all-purpose flour may be substituted for bread flour.
  • Simply, measure 4 cups of all-purpose flour, take out 2 tablespoons of the flour and replace it with 2 tablespoons of vital wheat gluten.

Special Equipment:

* Susan Apple, Inc. Jade Linen Dress


Impress you friends and family with these soft on the inside, chewy on the outside, bagels. Bagel-making techniques are easy to master for novice or experienced bread bakers.

Bake them for less than $3 or buy them for $20 per dozen!

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 3 hours
Servings 12 bagels


  • 1 tablespoon instant yeast
  • 4 cups bread flour
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons non-diastatic malt powder
  • 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water - not exceeding 110Fº

Water bath: 2 quarts water and 2 tablespoons non-diastatic malt powder

Toppings to add before baking: Everything Bagel Topping by King Arthur Flour®, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, dried onion flakes, or your favorite topping

Vegetable oil and cornmeal for baking sheets

Your favorite cream cheese to spread on the plain or toasted bagels.


  1. In the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine all of the dough ingredients. Beat for a couple of minutes. Switch the attachment to the dough hook and continue mixing until the dough "thwaps" the side of the bowl. The dough will be quite stiff.

  2. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover with a clean, damp dish towel; set aside to rise for 1 - 1 1/2 hours. The dough will become puffy.

  3. Preheat the oven to 425Fº.

  4. Generously sprinkle corn meal onto a Silicone Baking Liner Mat placed on a jelly roll pan; set aside.

  5. Pour the toppings into individual pie plates or bowls; set aside.

  6. Prepare the water bath by heating the water and the non-diastatic malt powder to a gently simmering boil in a large, wide-diameter pan.

  7. Transfer the dough to a Silicone Baking Liner Mat. With a pastry scraper, divide into 12 equal potions. Roll each portion or shape into a smooth, round ball. Place the balls on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Cover with a clean dish towel; set aside for 30 minutes.

  8. With your thumb poke a hole in the center of each dough, and form into a bagel shape. (The center doesn't need to be too large).

  9. Drop the bagels into the water three at a time. Let them simmer for a minute, flip over, then simmer for another minute. Remove with a slotted spoon, return to the oiled sheet to dry for just a couple of minutes. Continue with the remainder of the dough balls.

  10. Dip the bagels one at a time into the toppings. Arrange on the prepared cornmeal-sprinkled baking sheet.

  11. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes, until golden brown.

    Serve with your favorite cream cheese. Enjoy!

  12. Store in an air-tight container for up to one week.

Recipe Notes

What if I don't have bread flour?

No worries. You can substitute all-purpose flour for bread flour. Measure 4 cups of all-purpose flour. Remove 2 tablespoons of the flour and replace with 2 tablespoons of vital wheat gluten.