Just got back from Germany a few days ago, and the trip was amazing. Before I went I knew some German, but during the host family stay I realized I had so much to learn. The whole experience taught me more about the culture and language and it was the best.
Our family stay was around Ulm, and for the rest of the time we explored Munich. Both cities were laced with gorgeous historical buildings and, of course, amazing food.
(Of course, I have some pictures to share as well.)

This week's recipe was supposed to be from a cookbook I bought there. However, my egg white cookies flattened and turned to mush with the humidity. So I was sitting there with a pile of gooey egg whites and nothing to post about, but I quick found a recipe that interested me in an old cookbook my aunt gave me a while back.

First, a few trip pictures and then the recipe...

The castles were one of the best parts of the trip. This is a picture from the inside of Nymphenburg Palace which is just a bus ride from the Munich city center.

We also got the opportunity to tour the countryside and see the outskirts of the alps. Living in Minnesota where everything is flat it was breathtaking to see the massive mountains rise from the horizon.

The English Garden in Munich is one of the largest urban parks in the world, it was a great place to hang out and relax in between busy traveling days.

And now this week's recipe...
First, I wanted something frozen. It's been a while since I've done a frozen dessert, but I think the heat is demanding for one. This ice cream is actually mousse, so it requires no ice cream machine, and it is very light and airy. It's perfect for a middle of the day snack as well as a dessert.

Honey Ice Cream with Honey-Chocolate Sauce

Adapted from: Maida Heatter Book of Great Desserts
Serves 8 to 10

For the ice cream:
6 egg yolks
1 pound (1 1/2 cup honey)
2 cups heavy cream
1 tsp. vanilla

Place eggs into a medium bowl and whisk briefly. Beat honey into eggs and place bowl over a pot of simmering water. (This essentially creates a makeshift double boiler). Stir constantly with a wooden spoon until the mixture has reaches 185 degrees F. Remove from heat and place the bowl into an ice water bath. Add the vanilla and continuously stir until cool. 
Beat cream until stiff peaks form. Fold 1/3 of the cream into the honey mixture. Then, pour the honey mixture into the remaining cream and fold together. 
Pour into 2 medium sized loaf pan or a 9 x 13 square pan and freeze overnight.

For the chocolate sauce:
1 oz unsweetened chocolate, melted
1 oz semi sweet chocolate, melted
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 Tbs grated orange rine

Combine both chocolates, honey, and cream in a medium sauce pan over medium heat and bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Reduce heat and let simmer for 2 to 3 minutes stirring occasionally. Stir in orange rind and rum. Pour into a bowl, cover and place in the refrigerator until ready to use.

When ready to use remove the sauce from the fridge and place in the microwave for 20 seconds stirring at 5 second intervals until sauce has returned to a runny consistency.

So, this Sunday we threw my sisters high school grad party! We had a great time, and of course, had great food. I made mini cheesecakes that were a definite hit, and we had a made-to-order pasta bar. It was amazing to see all of the planning we put in come together and it was great to have a spectacular grad party.

Before, I get more into that, however, I'm taking a short 2 week break from The Sunday Pasty because I'm going back to Germany for vacation. I'm extremely excited, as I am going with an exchange program and will be living with a family there. I hope to get some amazing pictures to share with you all as well.

Anyways, the grad party was very Pinterest inspired, and we ended up having some good ideas I hadn't seen many other parties do before...

The picture above and below was out table setting and basic decorations. We found many different grad party graphic packages on Etsy that we bought and printed out ourselves.

We had a pasta bar where people picked out their personal favorite and we made it for them on the spot. I cooked most of the time with my cousin and we had a great time. Our sauces were homemade and they were a huge hit. (I also got super good at flipping all the together ingredients right in the pan!) 

We had three different cakes as well. I made the mini cheesecakes as well and they were perfect for the event.

I doubled this recipe and made 48 cheesecakes, however, I only had one cheesecake pan. This meant I had to sit there and wait 20 min for them to cook and then another 15 or so for them too cool before I could re-use the pan. If you are making more than one batch, I would highly recommend buying another mini cheesecake pan. 

Mini Cheesecakes

Yeilds 24
Adapted from: Food Network

For the Crust:
2 cups finely ground grahm crackers
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 stick unsalted butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
In a mixing bowl, combine the ingredients with a fork until evenly moistened. Lightly coat the bottom and sides of a mini cheesecake pan with non-stick cooking spray. Put a small handful of curst in the bottom of each well and press down firmly with fingertips.

For the Filling:
1 pound cream cheese, 2 (8-ounce) blocks, softened
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups sour cream
1 lemon, zested
1 tsp vanilla extract

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese on low speed for 1 minute until smooth and free of any lumps. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and continue to beat slowly until combined. Gradually add sugar and beat for 1 to 2 minutes.
Add sour cream, lemon zest, and vanilla. Periodically scrape down the sides of the bowl and the beaters. The batter should be well-mixed but not over beaten. Fill crevices almost all the way to the top. They will puff up a bit in the oven, but will fall when cooling. Place in the middle rack of an oven for 19 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before removing the cheesecakes by pressing a wooden spoon through the bottom. Cool completely and place in refrigerator for 4 hours.

The party altogether was a hit, and I hop you enjoy the cheesecakes. See you in 2 weeks!

Well, my day was actually quite interesting. My sister and I were loading her car with old pictures to make picture boards for her high school graduation party when I chipmunk decided to run through the door and into our house! We were freaking out for a few minutes because we had no idea how to run the little creature out, but eventually we scared it back outside. It was definitely a funny experience.

So, for baking related subjects: I have never really tried panna cotta. I made it once before, but I botched the recipe so it tasted not quite right. So, I was a little leery whether or not to try it again, but I found this great salted carmel recipe that I just couldn't pass up. I've actually been seeing this flavor everywhere: in chocolate, ice cream, panna cotta, cupcakes, you name it! It has become one of my favorites, and I always enjoy it!

Salted Carmel Panna Cotta

Recipe From, with edits to: Manuela Zangara
Serves: 5

For the Panna Cotta:
300 ml – 10 oz. cream
100 ml – 3.5 oz. milk
100 grams – 3.5 oz. sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp gelatin powder
2 Tbs water
1 pinch of sea salt

Place water in a small bowl. Sprinkle gelatin powder over it evenly without stirring. Let sit for 10 min.  Put the cream, milk and vanilla extract into a mug and heat it in the microwave for 40 seconds. Put the sugar in a heavy bottomed saucepan and melt it on medium heat until it becomes a dark amber colour. Do not stir, but if lumps start forming swirl the pan around. 
Carefully add the warm cream mixture stirring it into the caramel and keep it on the fire (it may solidify at this point, so keep stirring and the caramel will melt again). Add the sea salt and mix. Add gelatin to the hot caramel cream. Mix well until completely incorporated.
Strain the mixture into glasses/moulds. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours (or overnight) before serving.

For the Garnish:
Hazelnuts, roasted and peeled
45 ml – 3 tbsp water
65 grams – 4 ½ tbsp sugar
1 pinch salt

Melt the sugar in the water over a medium flame and let it become a medium dark amber. Let the carmel sit for 3 to 5 minutes to let it begin to thicken. While the carmel is cooling place a large sheet of parchment paper on the floor directly underneath a counter top or table top. Get something heavy to weigh the toothpicks down so they wont fall off the edge of the surface.
Insert a toothpick in each hazelnut and dip them in the caramel.  Let the carmel drip off a little before placing the end of the toothpick on the counter top with the hazelnut over the edge. Place the heavy object on top of the toothpick to hold it in place. Continue to dip until the desired amount of garnishes is reached. Allow each garnish to cool for 5 min.
Remove the toothpick and put the caramel coated hazelnut on top of the set panna cotta.
***It is important to understand that the caramelized sugar will eventually melt. If it is humid or hot the melting process will be sped up. The garnish should be made only about 2 hours in advance. However, for best results they should be used immediately after cooling.

Until next week!