Sunday, June 27, 2010

Strawberry Gelato ~ Now You Can Make your Very Own

  It’s summertime and what is enjoyed most at this time? Gelato.
I recently discovered Gelato. It is denser and richer than ice cream.
I must say, my preference is gelato over ice cream now. The thing I like most about gelato is the seasonal, fresh ingredients that go into it. I also like that it is less fattening than ice cream.
Gelato differs from ice cream in the lower butterfat content it has. Gelato contains around 4-8% versus 14% for ice cream. Gelato generally has slightly lower sugar content, between 16-22% versus approximately 21% for ice cream.
Gelato is churned at a slower speed than ice cream. As a result, it's denser due to less air whipped into the mixture. Gelato contains about 25 to 30 percent air, while ice cream can contain as much as 50 percent air. There’s not as much fat in gelato. Since it doesn't coat the mouth in the same way, the flavors are more intense."
Today’s recipe is Strawberry Gelato using my Delonghi gelato machine. What I love is how you can take dairy ingredients, seasonal fruit and come up with a dessert so creamy and wonderful. The strawberry flavor comes through the cream so sweetly…it’s heavenly!
You can get the Delonghi Gelato Maker at Williams-Sonoma. My machine makes about one pint. But, you can get a larger size. What I really like about this gelato maker is the ease of use. The compressor inside the machine allows no need to pre-freeze the bowl. So, you can make different flavor batches without waiting.
You can enjoy the gelato as is or embellish it with items such as:
  • Waffles
  • Fried tortilla shells
  • Brioche roll
 Below is a recipe for Strawberry Gelato accompanied by a photo tutorial. 

Strawberry Gelato
By Delonghi - Video-using Delonghi Gelato Maker: Williams-Sonoma website
Adapted by Carmen Ortiz
 Makes 6-8 portions

1 ½ cup cleaned strawberries
½ cup milk
½ cup cream
½ cup sugar
Pinch of Vanilla extract

White Rum or Vodka
Paper towel

1. Blend the strawberries with half the sugar (1/4 cup) in a blender.
2. Add the milk, cream and remaining ¼ cup sugar.
3. Mix well to dissolve the sugar.
4. Add vanilla extract.
5. Dab some rum on a paper towel.
6. Wipe the stainless steel gelato bowl with the rum laced paper towel. (do not allow rum to touch the central plastic area). This process prevents formation of ice between the bowl and aluminum bottom.
7. Insert the paddle in the stainless steel gelato bowl.
8. Pour strawberry mixture into the gelato bowl.
9. Top with the lid.
10. Plug in the gelato maker.
11. To incorporate ingredients: Turn knob to the function selector: [Paddle spin]
12. To make gelato: Turn knob to function selector: [Combined paddle rotation & chilling]
13. Allow to churn for 25-35 minutes.
14. Turn knob to the function selector: [Off]
15. Remove the lid and paddle.
16. Transfer the soft serve gelato to a bowl.
17. Storage: Put gelato in a container. Cover and store in freezer.

Enjoy your gelato!

Here's a photo tutorial in making your own Gelato:

Gather ingredients: strawberries, milk, heavy cream, sugar, vanilla, (rum-for bowl)
Wash strawberries.
Dry strawberries.
Hull strawberries and cut in quarters. (remove leafy stems)
Add strawberries to blender.

Add half the sugar.
Blend sugar and strawberries.
Add milk, cream and remaining sugar.
Mix well to dissolve sugar. Add vanilla.
Dab rum on paper towel.
Wipe bowl with rum. Do not allow rum to touch the central plastic area.
Insert the paddle. Pour the gelato in the bowl. (I added the gelato first. I don't think it matters)

Top with the lid and plug in the appliance.
Turn to PADDLE icon for a few seconds, then to the PADDLE & CHILLING icon.
Allow to chill for about 25-35 minutes.
Gelato is done.
So delish!!
Transfer to bowl and enjoy. Store gelato in a sealed container.
  You'll love making your own gelato using different flavor profiles.
Peace in gelato making,


Baking is my Zen...sweet nibbles for the soul

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Whole Wheat Blueberry Muffins ~ Happy Father's Day!

It’s Father’s Day, June 20, 2010!

Love my dad! I will be visiting him today, with muffins in hand.
He loves these muffins. They are simple to make, taste great AND only 184 calories.
You can switch it up and use different fruit to keep it interesting.

I originally posted this in February 2009.

Got to run…time to celebrate with my dad and family!

Whole Wheat Blueberry Muffins

1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 egg whites, lightly beaten
1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup vegetable oil

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Coat 12 muffin cups with cooking spray.
3. Sift together the flour and baking soda.
4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg whites, buttermilk, honey and oil until creamy
5. Stir in the blueberries to the mixture.
6. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.
7. Fold together with a rubber spatula until the batter is moist, yet remains slightly lumpy.
8. Pour into muffin cups and bake for about 30-35 minutes.

Servings: 12 muffins
Nutritional information for one serving:
Calories: 184
Calories from fat: 60
Total fat: 6.7g
Cholesterol: 1mg
Total carbs: 29.2g
Fiber: 2.8g
Protein: 4.3g
WW points: 4

Happy Father’s Day to all dads!

Peace in Baking,


Baking is my Zen…sweet nibbles for the soul

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Lime-Sugar Cookies ~ no rolling pin needed!

Sugar Cookies are one of my favorites. But rolling the dough discourages me from making them. I prefer to bake cookies using the drop method.

I came upon a blog, Savory Sweet Life, by Alice. She made Sugar Cookies that didn’t require rolling dough. I was so happy to see this. Thank you Alice! You’ve inspired me to make these cookies.

I am such of fan of lime. So, I added a lime-sugar mixture on top of the cookies. Simply delicious! It’s very hard to just have one!

Lime-Sugar Cookies

Adapted by Carmen Ortiz of Baking is my Zen
(Source: Savory Sweet Life which was adapted from

Makes approx. 32 medium sized cookies


1 1/4 cups white sugar

1 cup salted butter

3 egg yolks

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/4 teaspoon of salt


½ cup sugar

Zest of 1-2 limes

Pinch of fleur de sel or salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Mis en Place:
2 Bowls
Spatula or large spoon
Parchment or waxed paper – to wrap dough for chilling
Parchment paper – for lining baking trays
Baking trays
Ice cream scooper – medium size
Cookie spatula
Cooling racks
Container to store cookies


Lime-Sugar Topping: In a bowl, combine sugar, lime zest and salt. Set aside.

In a mixer, cream butter and sugar. (approx 3-4 min)

Mix in egg yolks, one at a time.

Add vanilla extract.

In a bowl, sift flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt.

Add dry ingredients into butter mixture and mix until dough forms.

Scrape mixing bowl down to ensure even mixing.

Tear a sheet of wax or parchment paper. (about 12 inches or so)

Transfer dough onto wax paper. Wrap and chill for about 1 hour.

Remove dough from refrigerator. Unwrap.

Using a medium ice cream scooper, drop each dough ball in the lime-sugar mixture.

Roll the top & sides of dough in sugar. Do not coat the flat part of the dough with sugar.

Place cookie balls, flat side down, on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper - 2 inches apart.

Do NOT flatten the dough balls.

Bake at 350 degrees for 12-14 minutes until a crack-like texture appears on the surface of the cookies. Don’t over bake.

Remove from oven and allow cookies to remain on the cookie sheet for approx. 3 mintues.

Transfer cookies to a cooling rack.

After cooling, store in an airtight container.

Enjoy. It’s hard to eat just one!

Peace in baking,


Baking is my Zen…sweet nibbles for the soul

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Mojito Scones

For those that like Mojito Cocktails, you can have those flavor profiles in a scone.
What? MOJITO SCONES! Are they good, you ask?
I must admit. YES, they are!
I added the mojito elements into one of Ina Garten’s Scone recipes.

  First, let’s start off with the recipe for a MOJITO COCKTAIL recipe since this was the inspiration for the Mojito Scones.
Mojito Cocktail
By Bacardi


12 mint leaves
½ lime, sliced in quarters
2 Tablespoons simple syrup OR 4 teaspoons sugar
1 ½ oz Bacardi White Rum
Club soda - chilled
Mint and Lime wedge – for garnish

1. Add 12 mint leaves and ½ lime, sliced in quarters in a tall glass.
2. Pour in 2 Tablespoons simple syrup or 4 teaspoon sugar
3. Muddle ingredients with a muddler.
4. Add ice.
5. Pour in 1 ½ oz Bacardi white rum.
6. Top with club soda.
7. Stir.
8. Garnish with mint and a lime wedge

Check out the Barcardi VIDEO on making a Mojito Cocktail. Cool video and music.

Now to translate this drink into a MOJITO SCONE.
The elements that make it a Mojito Scone are lime, rum, sugar and mint.

First, we’ll start with your basic scone recipe. Then, I’ll embelish the scones with the mojito flavor profile.

The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook by Ina Garten
Adapted by Carmen Ortiz of Baking is my Zen

4 cups plus 1 tablespoon flour
2 tablespoons sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
2 tablespoons baking powder
2 teaspoons kosher salt

3/4 pound cold unsalted butter, diced

4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup cold heavy cream

Rum-Soaked Raisins:
3/4 cup golden raisins – (dark may be used)
White Rum – add enough to cover raisins

Rum-Mint Syrup:
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup water
6-8 Mint leaves
¼ cup Rum

Rum-Mint Egg Wash:
2 eggs beaten with approximately 1/4 cup Rum-Mint Syrup

Mojito-Sugar Topping:
1 cup sugar
Zest of one lime
6-8 mint leaves, chopped finely (or kept whole and removed before sprinkling)
Pinch of Fleur de Sel, or salt – optional

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Combine 4 cups flour, 2 tablespoons sugar, the baking powder, and salt in an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.

Blend in the cold butter at the lowest speed and mix until the butter is in pea-sized pieces.

Combine the eggs and heavy cream and quickly add to the flour/butter mixture.

Combine until just blended.

Combine the rum-soaked raisins, drained, and 1 tablespoon flour and then add to the dough and mix quickly. The dough may be a bit sticky.

Dump the dough out onto a floured surface and be sure it is well combined.

Flour your hands and a rolling pin and roll the dough out to 3/4-inch to 1-inch thick.

You will see lumps of butter in the dough.

Cut into squares with a 4-inch cutter and then cut in half diagonally to make triangles.

Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

Brush the scones with the Rum-Mint Egg Wash and sprinkle with the Mojito-Sugar Topping.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until the outsides are crisp and the insides are done.


DAY BEFORE BAKING SCONES: Prep raisins, syrup, egg wash and mojito sugar.

Rum-soaked Raisins
  • Raisins
  • Rum

 Immerse raisins in rum in a bowl. Cover.
Allow to steep overnight.
When ready to bake scones: Drain rum from raisins.
Add raisins to your scone batter.

  Rum-Mint Syrup

  •  ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • 6-8 mint leaves – must be kept whole
  • ¼ cup Rum

 Simple syrup is made of equal parts of sugar and water.

Bring ¼ cup water and ¼ cup sugar to a simmer in a saucepan while stirring. Allow the sugar to dissolve.
Approximate time-3 minutes.
Add the mint leaves and rum to the syrup. Cover.
Allow to steep overnight in fridge.
When ready to bake scones: Remove mint leaves from syrup.
Add about ¼ cup Rum-Mint Syrup (approximate) to egg wash.

Rum-Mint Egg Wash

  • 2 eggs 
  • ¼ cup Rum-mint Syrup - approximate

 Mix eggs and Rum-Mint Syrup together. Cover.
Allow to steep overnight in fridge.
When ready to bake scones: Brush the Rum-Mint egg wash on each scone.

 Mojito-Sugar Topping
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Zest of one lime
  • 6-8 mint leaves, chopped finely (or leave whole and remove before using)
  • Pinch of Fleur de Sel, or salt – optional

 Add sugar, lime zest, mint, and Fleur de Sel in a bowl.
Cover and leave on counter overnight.
When ready to bake scones: Mint can be either chopped finely and kept in the sugar OR whole leaves can be removed before use. (I did the latter).
After egg wash is applied on each scone, generously sprinkle each scone with the Mojito-Sugar topping.
Put scones on baking pan (lined with parchment paper) and bake.


Day 1: Prepare and allow to steep/infuse
Rum soaked raisins
Rum-Mint Simple Syrup
Rum-Mint Egg Wash
Mojito-Sugar Topping

Day 2: Bake Mojito Scones
1. Prepare scones adding in the rum soaked raisins.
2. Brush tops of scones with Rum-Mint Egg Wash.
3. Sprinkle scones generously with Mojito-Sugar Topping.
4. Bake scones.

If you bake this Mojito Scone, let me know how it turned out for you!
You can reach me at

^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^

Off to Montauk, New York, June 16, 2010. I look forward to viewing the marinas…love the ambience…so peaceful. Weather forecast indicates showers. That’s ok. For me, the scenery will still be beautiful.

I plan on visiting a Restaurant called Pierre’s in Bridgehampton, NY. Look forward to having their French pastries and enjoying the ambience. The d├ęcor is rated ‘excellent’. That’s a must see!

Peace in baking,
Baking is my Zen…sweet nibbles for the soul




Thank You.

~ Carmen Ortiz - blogger (Baking is my Zen)