Butterbeer Affogato

I almost didn’t find the time to write this because I was taking the time to actually relax on a Sunday for a change! Like, I slept in until 9 am, had coffee on my balcony, relaxed by the pool, & read a whole book you guys.

While there’s usually no post on Sundays (you better recognize that reference), I didn’t want you guys to miss out on any of the Harry Potter fun I’ve been having. So, tonight I’m sharing a recipe for BUTTERBEER AFFOGATO. Yup, you heard that right.

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If you’re unfamiliar with the affogato, let me change your life real quick. It’s one of the most wonderful desserts, perfect for hot summer nights. It involves a scoop (or two) of ice cream that one pours a shot of espresso over. In short, it’s kind of like a grown up root beer float, minus the root beer.

Butterbeer is a warm, butterscotch-like drink often referenced in the Harry Potter novels. It’s been interpreted a ton of different ways (like here!), but it’s always fun to add to the list. An affogato interpretation made so much sense to me and hit all the right notes. You get the warmth from the espresso, but the taste from the butterbeer ice cream. It’s refreshing but rich all at once. It’s really, really good. I hope you give it a try!

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Butterbeer Affogato

ingredients:

1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar

2 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon vanilla

1 & 1/2 cups whipping cream

2 cups half-and-half

6 large egg yolks

1 shot of espresso (per affogato)

directions:

in a sauce pan over medium heat, stir brown sugar and butter together until the butter is completely melted, the sugar is dissolved, and the mixture is bubbly. add in a 1/2 cup of whipping cream and immediately start whisking until mixture is smooth. remove the butterscotch from heat. add vanilla into the saucepan, whisk to combine, and set aside.

in another pan over medium heat, combine 1 cup of whipping cream and the half and half. bring to a simmer.

in a separate bowl, beat the egg yolks. once the cream mixture has started to simmer, add half of it into the bowl with the egg yolks. stir to combine. then, pour the egg yolk mixture back into the pan with the remaining cream. stir this constantly over low heat until mixture thickens slightly, then remove from heat.

pour the egg/cream mixture through a fine strainer and into a clean bowl. whisk in the butterscotch. chill this in the fridge until cold, for about 2 hours.

add the chilled cream to your ice cream maker and follow manufacturer instructions. once this process is finished, transfer ice cream to an airtight container and freeze for a few more hours until firm.

when you’re ready to enjoy an affogato, scoop one (or two!) scoops into a bowl. brew a shot of espresso and pour over the ice cream. enjoy immediately!

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How to Decorate Like You’re At Hogwarts (& Keep it Stylish!)

Ever watch any of the Harry Potter movies and desperately wish you could snap your fingers (or wave your wand) and find yourself in one of those magnificent rooms in that medieval castle?! Yeah, me too. If it were up to me I’d live in Hogwarts indefinitely.

Here’s the problem: I’m more of a minimalist when it comes to decorating than most people, the interior designers of Hogwarts probably included. I can’t stand a lot of clutter, too many patterns, or clashing colors. I detest primary colors. Guys, there are so many primary colors in Harry Potter. Talk about my personal nightmare. But there are also a ton of ornate golds, delicate designs, warm wood tones, cozy textures…all of which I can get behind! If you choose & pair wisely, it’s actually possible to add in some Hogwarts-inspired flair to your home decor without being too obvious or looking like you just cleaned out the gift shop at Universal Studios Harry Potter Wizarding World. I threw together a few of my favorite items that I thought fit the bill, and now I’m kiiind of considering a living room re-design. 😉

 

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You know Hogwarts was probably covered in old Persian & Turkish rugs. This soft piece from Anthropologie adds texture and is just patterned enough without being too busy. Plus, the colors simply belong in Gryffindor tower (but again, aren’t so primary). 

Read any passage about (or watch any scene in) Gryffindor common room and you’ll know just how important cozy cushioning is for when you need a comfy place to work or just lounge with your friends. Add vintage throw pillows to armchairs and sofas, lay down some floor pillows for extra seating (hello, movie nights!), and throw in a Moroccan pouf so you can put your feet up (preferably by a roaring fire). 

Speaking of staying warm (sans fire… #apartmentlife), how good would it feel to curl up with a good book under this giant faux fur blanket?!

Every single mirror I own in my apartment is gold. If there’s any decor trend I am truly and 100% behind, it’s that one.  This mirror has a vaguely similar shape to the Mirror of Erised, just with more modern, rounded edges. It’s similar enough to make the association, but isn’t too obvious that it’s cheesy.

This ceramic white stag mount is so cute, plus it’s a decorative item that’s actually pretty popular so it won’t raise too many eyebrows! How could you not look at it and think the words “expecto patronum” every single time?!

Sport your Gryffindor pride with a vase decorated with lions. (Full disclosure: I’m a Slytherin, but unfortunately there aren’t a ton of cute decorative pieces with snakes…)

Is there anything better than the Harry Potter score?! It still gives me goosebumps and brings me to tears. Listening to it on vinyl would be unreal. Especially on this record player that looks like it would be found in a Divination class (that ethereal pattern though…)

Displaying an impressive library is a pretty Hermione-ish move (in the best way!). Your Harry Potter books deserve to be displayed. This neutral (but still thematic!) book cover set makes it so you can display your collection without clashing with your other belongings.

Finally, this golden snitch clock is just too adorable to pass up. It’s the most obvious item on this list, but it’s so cute that I simply don’t care.

Other ideas:

Not ready for a full re-design of your living room? I get it, we can’t all be crazy. There are other easy and inconspicuous ways of showcasing your HP love. Frame a print of a favorite quote (or one of your favorite chapter pages). Display your wand(s) in your pencil cup. Collect themed mugs. Display pretty little trinkets (like a music box that plays Hedwig’s Theme) here & there in tasteful ways! Whatever you do, make sure you have some fun with it. 😉

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Thanks for reading! xx

Strawberry Shortcake Macarons

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Anyone notice an increase in macaron posts lately? I’m on a roll! After my little lemon successes, I decided to make my mom a variety pack as a belated Mother’s Day present. I made four flavors: mint chocolate chip, s’mores, the firecracker ones from my previous post, and these strawberry shortcake ones. These were definitely our favorite!

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They’re just so cute, looking like little bitty strawberry shortcakes! I’m a big fan of food that looks like miniature versions of other food. That’s something I can easily peg on my mama. She used to make cookies that looked just like tiny hamburgers, I was always so delighted by them. It’s like that feeling you get when you look at dollhouse furniture, ya know?

Anyway, here’s the recipe. You’ll see it’s verrry similar to the firecracker macaron recipe, and that’s because it is the exact same with just some slight variation in toppings. Work smarter not harder. I’m keeping these recipe posts short & sweet (kind of like these macs! ha!) because I’m preparing some fun lifestyle type posts in the next coming weeks and I don’t want y’all to get sick of me. Plus, Michael is coming over soon so we can play some flounder at tennis.

Strawberry Shortcake Macarons

ingredients

for the macaron shells

1 cup powdered sugar

3/4 cup almond flour

2 large egg whites

1/4 cup white granulated sugar

for the buttercream

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

2 cups powdered sugar

1/8th tsp salt

1/2 tbsp vanilla extract

2 tbsp heavy cream

strawberries, chopped or sliced thinly

directions

sift 1 cup of powdered sugar and 3/4ths cup almond flour into a large bowl. whisk to combine, then set aside.

add the egg whites to a metal mixing bowl and start whisking on one of the lower settings (I start with a 4 on my Kitchenaid) until the egg whites start to look frothy. add half of the granulated sugar to the egg whites, then increase the speed to a medium (7 for me) until whites start to foam. add the remaining granulated sugar, then increase the speed to high (9 works well) and continue to whisk until stiff peaks form.

remove the bowl containing the meringue from the stand mixer. add half of the dry ingredients directly into the bowl containing the meringue, then use a spatula to gently fold meringue around and over until the dry ingredients are well incorporated. add the remaining dry ingredients and continue to fold the batter. avoid over-mixing by going slowly. the batter is ready when it falls off the spatula in ribbons, but isn’t runny.

transfer the batter to a piping bag with a large round tip. pipe small, uniform circles onto cookie sheets lined with parchment paper by holding the piping bag at a 45 degree angle to sheet. make sure not to overcrowd the sheets.

once finished with piping the batter, take each cookie sheet and carefully but forcefully bang the bottom of each corner on the countertop, to help release air bubbles in the batter! let the cookies sit for 35 minutes. preheat the oven to 305 F while you wait.

bake the cookies on the top shelf of the oven for 15 minutes. remove from the oven but let the cookies cool completely before touching them.

while the cookies cool, make your vanilla buttercream by creaming the butter in a clean mixing bowl. add the sugar, and mix on low until the sugar is incorporated into the butter but there are still small clumps present. add the remaining ingredients, and mix on medium until the buttercream is smooth and fluffy.

transfer the buttercream to a piping bag fitted with a round tip, and pipe onto half of the macaron cookies. top the frosting with one slice of strawberry or a couple of chopped pieces then sandwich with another, clean macaron shell. enjoy immediately!

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