How to Decorate Macarons with Sprinkles

In order for sprinkles to adhere to the macaron batter, you need to sprinkle only a few sprinkles onto the macaron batter just after you’ve piped them.

when to add sprinkles to macarons
  1. Pipe 1.5″ macarons
  2. Immediately add sprinkles to piped macarons. Only add a couple of sprinkles. If you add too many, the macarons could potentially not turn out. You can add sprinkles decoratively to an edge, in the center, or in a circle around the edge.
  3. Bake your macarons for the exact time required in your recipe.
  4. Let cool. Fill macarons with filling.
how to decorate macarons with sprinkles  before baking

Decorative sprinkles are an added touch to your macarons. It’s a simple decoration to add, yet it brings out so much in a macaron.

how to color macarons with sprinkles
pink macarons with sprinkles

You can also make your macarons with sprinkles theme colored:

how to add sprinkles to macarons

How to Make Character Macarons

There are 2 ways to make character macarons.

  1. Using a parchment paper tracer
  2. Layering macaron batter

How to make Character Macarons using a Parchment Paper Tracer

Place a template parchment paper tracer underneath your Silpat mat or Clean parchment paper that you’re going to pipe your macarons onto. You can find templates on Pinterest and Google. To make character macarons print off a template or free hand your own template.

character macaron template

Once you have your template under you surface you’re going to pipe onto, gather all of your materials that you’ll need for your template:

how to make character macarons

Now you can start piping onto your template. Begin with the smaller and more delicate details first. For example – wheels on a car, ears, horns, hands, feet. Use a toothpick to pull the batter into a point or fine details like fingers/toes if needed.

After you’ve piped the small details, begin piping your larger details/base of your macaron. This could be a different color of macaron batter. It’s best to trace the outline of the template, then fill in the center with batter. This way you won’t make the macarons too big and overtake the template design.

bear macaron batter how to make character macarons

Let your macarons dry completely – about 30 min. Then bake them for the same amount of time in your recipe. Let the shells cool to room temperature – about 20 min. Then add any decorations onto them that you like. Add melted chocolate, caramel, draw on designs using edible markers, etc. Or, you can paint on powdered food coloring. Use a bit of almond extract + powdered food coloring + food safe paint brush to paint on your design. Check out our Unicorn Macarons for some macaron inspiration.

polar bear macaron

How to make Character Macarons by Layering Macaron batter

Character macarons can be made by layering macaron batter.

  1. Place a parchment paper template underneath the surface you are going to pipe your macarons onto.
  2. Gather your materials – macaron batter, toothpicks, etc.
  3. Start creating the base of your macaron. Tract the lines and fill in the center. You could be using multiple colors for eyes, body, feet, etc.
  4. Let your base dry for 15 minutes.
  5. Add on your second layer of macaron batter – generally this is a different color. You can add a nose, eyes, mouth, hands, feet, etc. on top of your base color.
  6. Let your second layer dry for 15-30 min until a skin forms on the macaron.
  7. Bake for your required time according to your recipe.
  8. Let cool at room temperature for ~ 20 min.
  9. Add more decorations to your macarons – draw on eyes, face, mouth, add buttercream icing decorations if desired.

How to Decorate Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing

Sugar cookies can be decorated with royal icing in a variety of ways:

  • Make royal icing. Then separate the icing into different bowls. Color the icing. Then thin it out as needed depending on if you’re flooding the cookie, or use it thick for fine details.
  • Line the sugar cookie with thick royal icing in a piping bag. Then take some of that icing and thin it out with a bit of water or milk. Place the newly thinned royal icing and cover the cookie ~70 % in icing. Then take the tip of your piping bag and spread the icing right to the edges of where you’ve lined it. Let it dry overnight before adding any other icing to it to make sure the royal icing does not bleed together.
  • Add royal icing to the top of the cookies, then place a few sprinkles into the icing and let it dry.
  • Flood the royal icing onto your cookie. Let dry. Then add thick royal icing to the top in a criss-cross decoration, lettering, or other designs to the top of the cookie. Always let the cookie dry overnight in an airtight container until you serve them. Sometimes the icing can take all night to dry.
how to decorate sugar cookies with sprinkles

How to Flood Sugar Cookies

  1. Line the sugar cookie with thick royal icing in a piping bag
  2. Take some of that icing and thin it out with a bit of water or milk. 
  3. Place the newly thinned royal icing and cover the cookie ~70 % in icing. 
  4. Take the tip of your piping bag and spread the icing right to the edges of where you’ve lined it. Let it dry overnight before adding any other icing to it to make sure the royal icing does not bleed together.
how to flood sugar cookies

How to Decorate Sugar Cookies with Sprinkles

Sugar cookies can have sprinkles added to them right after they come out of the oven. The sprinkles will adhere to the cookie as it cools. If you wait until they’ve dried fully, the sprinkles will not stick to the sugar cookie.

Another option is adding frosting – royal icing or buttercream icing. After you’ve added your icing to your sugar cookie, add the sprinkles where you would like them right away. The sprinkles will harden into the icing as it cools.

Circle Sugar Cookie Decorating Ideas

  1. Flooded, then add lettering.
  2. Flooded, then add hearts, stars, or pipe flowers and leaves.
  3. Flooded, then pipe with your star piping tip all over the cookie to give it a rough look.
  4. Flooded, then pipe with your thin long piping tip and make figure 8’s to give it an infinity look. 
  5. Flooded, then add sprinkles.
  6. Add sprinkles directly onto the cookie as it cools.
  7. Write lettering directly onto the cookie
  8. Decorate as a: Christmas bulb, soccer ball, basketball, baseball, tire, engagement ring, wedding ring

Do cookies with royal icing need to be refrigerated?

No. You can keep sugar cookies decorated with royal icing at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.

Can you freeze decorated sugar cookies?

Yes. You can freeze decorated sugar cookies for up to 6 months.

What’s the best sugar cookie recipe that holds its shape?

Sally’s Baking Addiction has a great recipe for the best sugar cookies that hold their shape when using cookie cutters. The chilling time is a requirement which allows the sugar cookies to hold their shape so well.

sugar cookie recipe that holds shape

How do you store decorated sugar cookies?

Decorated sugar cookies can be kept at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. Store them in the freezer for up to 6 months in an airtight container.

How long do cookies take to cool before decorating?

Cookies take about 20 minutes to cool before adding decorations to them. Icing will melt off of the cookie if it is too warm, so let cookies cool to room temperature before decorating them. 

how to bake perfect sugar cookies

What to use when decorating cookies?

8 foods to decorate cookies with:

  • Sprinkles
  • Icing – royal icing or buttercream icing
  • Chocolate – dipped or shavings, Smarties
  • Toffee bits
  • Candy, gummies, candy eyes
  • Nuts
  • Marshmallows
  • Dusted powdered sugar 
chewy sugar cookies with frosting

Best Way to Melt, Dip and Store Chocolate Chips

Can you use chocolate chips for dipping?

Yes. Chocolate chips are easy to melt in the microwave and then can be used for dipping. Make sure to use semi-sweet or pure chocolate chips as the flavor will be well suited for dipping. Using bittersweet chocolate for dipping is more of an earthy, tart flavor. 


How do you melt chocolate chips?

  1. The best way to melt chocolate chips is to melt them in the microwave. Using a microwave safe bowl, place chocolate chips in a large enough bowl. Microwave in 30 second intervals. Mix with a spoon vigorously at each of the intervals until the chocolate chips are completely melted.
  2. Using a double boiler. Place 1”-2” of water in the bottom of a saucepan. Boil the water on medium. Place the double boiler on top of the saucepan. Place chocolate chips in the double boiler. Mix the chocolate chips continuously with a wooden spoon until they are fully melted. Careful not to burn them. It’s very easy to burn the chocolate and there is no going back after you burn them. They become clumpy and you’re not able to use them.

What can you do with old chocolate chips? 

Melt them down for other recipes.

10 recipes on how to use up old leftover chocolate chips:

  1. Peanut butter cups
  2. Chocolate dipped rice krispies
  3. Chocolate covered strawberries
  4. Chocolate ganache
  5. Chocolate fountain
  6. Truffles
  7. Chocolate mousse
  8. Chocolate croissants
  9. Chocolate loaf cake
  10. Chocolate oat bars

Why do you add oil to melting chocolate?

Adding oil makes melting chocolate thinner in viscosity. This makes the chocolate smooth, and is easier for dipping. It also prevents the chocolate from hardening as quickly, so you have lots of time to dip your food into the melted chocolate. 

You need to add oil to chocolate when creating a chocolate fountain. The melted chocolate with oil added is able to move quicker around the plastic parts of a chocolate fountain, so it’s more desirable because it wont risk clogging up the machine. 

How to drizzle chocolate over chocolate covered strawberries?

  1. Obtain your chocolate dipped strawberries from the fridge.
  2. Melt your color contrasting chocolate to drizzle with.
  3. Obtain a piping bag or resealable bag.
  4. Place the bag inside a glass, overwrapping the top of the glass with the plastic.
  5. Place chocolate into the piping bag.
  6. Seal the bag by twisting it, or sealing it.
  7. Take the bag out of the glass and hold it horizontally.
  8. Cut the very tip of the bag – a very small opening.
  9. Squeeze the bag at the top to drizzle chocolate onto the strawberries.
  10. Place the strawberries in the fridge for a minimum of 20 min before serving.

Drizzled chocolate covered strawberries should be a contrasting color so you can vibrantly see the difference. 

Color combinations to try:

  • Dipped milk or dark chocolate, drizzled with white chocolate
  • Dipped white chocolate, drizzled with dark or milk chocolate

How to make frozen chocolate strawberries?

  1. Melt chocolate
  2. Obtain a piping bag or resealable bag.
  3. Place the bag inside a glass, overwrapping the top of the glass with the plastic.
  4. Place chocolate into the piping bag.
  5. Seal the bag by twisting it, or sealing it.
  6. Take the bag out of the glass and hold it horizontally.
  7. Cut the very tip of the bag – a very small opening.
  8. Squeeze the bag at the top to drizzle chocolate onto the strawberries.
  9. Place the strawberries in the freezer for a minimum of 20 min before serving.

How to store chocolate chips?

The best way to store chocolate chips is in a room temperature area without direct sunlight. Chocolate chips need to be kept in a sealed bag or airtight container. 

Dark Chocolate chips will last up to 2 years at room temperature. They can last even longer if kept in the fridge or freezer. Milk chocolate chips only last about 8 months until they start to stale a bit.

Can old chocolate chips make you sick?

Yes. Chocolate chips over 2 years old that have been kept open at room temperature can start to grow bacteria. It’s best to purchase a new bag of chocolate chips after they are past their expiry date.

How to make perfect chocolate covered strawberries

13 Desserts to Make in Silicone Molds

What desserts can you make with silicone molds?

How to make Tartufo? (layered ice cream)

Making a layered ice cream dessert in a silicone mold should be made at least a day in advance to have the ice cream freeze well before serving.

chocolate ice cream in a silicone mold with caramel and oreo crumbs

You’ll need:

  • small half sphere silicone molds
  • 3 types of ice cream that go well together, or 2 types of ice cream + chocolate ganache that has been frozen
  • 1-3 toppings for the ice cream

Decide if you want to do 3 layers of ice cream, or 2 layers of ice cream and 1 inner layer of chocolate ganache. You could make dark chocolate ganache, milk chocolate ganache or white chocolate ganache as your center filling. This should be made the day before you’re preparing your molds, and then frozen so you’re ready to fill your silicone molds the following day.

Begin by selecting the ice cream for your outer layer. Your outer layer will be the one that will have your toppings on it.

how to put ice cream in silicone mold for dessert

Place your ice cream in the silicone mold. Use a metal spoon to press the ice cream around so that all of the sides are covered in ice cream. Try to make it a 1/2 cm in thickness. Place each silicone mold in the freezer in an airtight container as you complete them. They will start to melt very quickly and it will be messy.

Freeze for 30 min – 1 hour. Then you’re ready for your next layer. Select your inner layer of ice cream. Use a fresh metal spoon to put the ice cream in the molds. Press the ice cream into the first layer so it’s completely covered. The thickness isn’t as important for this one, just make sure you leave a bit of space for the center flavor.

Freeze for 30 min – 1 hour. Now you’re ready for your final layer. Use a melon baller or a fresh spoon to scoop your center layer of ice cream or ganache. Chocolate ganache is typically very hard when it comes right out of the freezer, so it’s best if you thaw it out for 5-8 min before trying to scoop it. Press your final layer into your silicone mold. It doesn’t have to be flat by any means, just make sure it’s filled and pressed into your second layer.

Freeze your silicone mold dessert overnight.

how to make desserts in silicone molds

When you’re ready to serve your ice cream for your dinner party, first remove the silicone mold from your ice cream. Use your fingers on either side of the silicone mold to peel the outer silicone mold off of the ice cream, with your thumb on the top of the mold pushing the ice cream out. Try to take them out and place them directly onto your serving plate.

Once you have all of your desserts on their serving plates, you can top your ice cream. Use 1-2 toppings for your layered ice cream dessert.

Tartufo made with silicone mold chocolate ice cream at home
Tartufo made with silicone mold

Creating this layered ice cream dessert is called a “Tartufo”.

How to Serve Ice Cream at a Dinner Party

How to make chocolate cups without balloons using silicone molds

Making chocolate cups without using balloons is easy to do if you have any silicone molds handy. It doesn’t really matter what shapes you have at home, as long as you’re happy with it and the sizing is appropriate for the dessert you’re making.

  1. Melt chocolate in the microwave using a heat proof bowl. Glass tends to work the best for melting chocolate in the microwave. Melt the chocolate in 30 second intervals and mix with a spoon until you have a smooth mixture. You’ll probably only need 1/4 cup – 1/2 cup of chocolate to make your chocolate cups.
  2. Paint the chocolate onto the inside of the silicone mold using a food safe brush. If you don’t have one, you can easily use a butter knife to spread the chocolate. Try to get it as evenly distributed as possible.
  3. Place the chocolate cup in the fridge for 30 min. It should have hardened up. You have the option of doing another layer of melted chocolate if you want, but you usually only need to do 1 layer to have enough chocolate for your chocolate cup.
  4. Gently peel away the silicone mold. This is easier if you do multiple layers of chocolate because it thickens up the edges where you are peeling the silicone from. Keep this in mind if you want your chocolate cups to be perfect.
  5. Place your chocolate cup in an airtight container in the fridge until you’re ready to use it.
vegan espresso ice cream in chocolate cup

What to put in chocolate cups

18 foods you can put in chocolate cups:

  • vanilla custard
  • chocolate mousse
  • raspberry mousse
  • mocha mousse
  • coffee mousse
  • ice cream
  • raspberries
  • strawberries
  • kiwi
  • mandarin orange slices
  • whipped cream
  • ice wine
  • hazelnut spread
  • pudding
  • Jell-o
  • maraschino cherries
  • iced coffee
  • angel food cake

If you want to decorate the edging of your chocolate cup, you can use a bit of icing and pipe the icing around the edge of the chocolate cup. Pour sprinkles onto the icing to give it a decorative ring around the chocolate cup for a bit of added color, and make it eye catching.

What other foods can you make in silicone molds?

  • Muffins
  • Ice cubes
  • Quiche
  • Mini pot pies

Can you make chocolate in silicone molds?

Yes. You can make chocolate, chocolate cups, and peanut butter cups.

Can silicone molds be used in the oven?

Yes. They are very heat resistant, but always check the packaging to confirm the highest temperature you can use them at.

Does it take longer to bake in silicone?

Yes. Some darker molds can take longer to bake than lighter molds. Always check cakes for doneness using a toothpick.

Do you put silicone bakeware directly on the oven rack?

No. Use a cookie sheet underneath the silicone baking mold to stabilize it. It will be much easier putting it in and out of the oven with a cookie sheet under the silicone mold.

Is silicone bakeware better than metal?

Silicone bakeware is not better than metal when baking in the oven. Silicone bakeware does not conduct heat. Aluminum baking pans are the best to use in the oven.

Do you need to spray silicone candy molds?

No. You do not need to spray silicone candy molds. Pop the candy out of the silicone mold by using your fingers to put it out. If you use a spray when using your silicone mold, you could have a greasy sheen to them, which isn’t ideal when making candy.

How to check if you have good pure silicone?

Perform the pinch test. Pinch the silicone together and look at where it’s stretching. If your silicone changes color to white, it’s not pure silicone. Pure silicone will be a homogeneous color even when stretched and bent.

When baking with silicone molds, what is the highest and lowest temperature you can use them at?

The highest temperature you can have silicone molds at in the oven is 200°C without damaging them. They can withstand higher temperatures, but they will start breaking down if held at temperatures higher than 250°C. 

The lowest temperature silicone molds can handle is -60°C without breaking down. 

Check your package insert for exact temperature abilities of your specific silicone molds before using at extreme temperatures.

What are the advantages of silicone bakeware?

  • Dishwasher safe
  • Freezer safe
  • Microwave safe
  • Oven safe

How do you clean silicone bakeware?

Use soap and water. Do not soak for extended periods of time. Wash quickly with soap and water or place in the top rack of the dishwasher to clean. Do not use abrasive cleaners on silicone.

How to Remove Ice Cream from a Silicone Mold?

Silicone mold bakeware is ideal for using in the fridge and freezer. It’s not the best for using in the oven, because silicone does not conduct heat like aluminum does. It’s best to use silicone molds for desserts that require chilling.

Best Piping Bag to Use

What is the best piping bag to use?

The best piping bag to use is the DayMark PipingPal Disposable Pastry Bag.

  • Heavy duty – will not split, even with thick mixtures
  • Surface prevents slipping and folding over. Maintains its upright shape
  • Fits both tips and couplers
  • Dispenser for easy access
  • 45 degree angle – ideal for piping decorations
  • Sizes = 12’’, 18’’, 21’’
  • Disposable bags, no risk of contamination with washing reusable bags
best piping bag

How do you choose the size of a piping bag?

Select your piping bag based on how large your recipe is. There are 12″-21″ piping bag sizes.

Usually for icing a dozen cupcakes you can go with the 12″ bags.

For macarons, you should be using a 21″ sized piping bag. This gives lots of room for twisting the bag and control with your fingers to pipe the macarons effectively.

best piping bag to use for cupcakes

How do you fill a piping bag without making a mess?

  1. Get a tall, wide glass and set it out with plenty of room around it.
  2. Place the piping tip into the bag.
  3. Twist the end of the tip and a few inches of bag and tuck it into the glass. This is to make sure the mixture does not go to the end of the tip yet.
  4. Fold the edges of the bag over the glass.
  5. Fill the piping bag.
  6. Twist the piping bag to seal it closed.
  7. Take the piping bag out of the glass and hold it sideways.
  8. Cut the piping bag roughly in the middle of the metal tip so that the tips edges have no bag around it.
  9. Pipe the first bit of batter out to get any air out.
  10. Pipe your mixture.

Should frosting be cold before piping?

Frosting should be room temperature when piping. This will make it more malleable and able to be manipulated easier than if it was cold.

best piping bag to use

How do you get air bubbles out of a piping bag?

  • run your fingers up the sides of the bag where the air bubbles are
  • twist the bag until almost closed
  • run your fingers up the sides again to remove the air bubbles
  • pipe the first couple centimetres of your mixture onto a plate to make sure all the air bubbles have been removed

How do you seal a piping bag?

Twist the top of the piping bag to seal the piping bag.

Can you use a piping bag with store bought frosting

Yes. You can use a piping bag with store bought frosting. Store bought frosting is usually quite dense and thick, so pick a piping bag that is strong and durable enough that won’t break.

Are reusable silicone piping bags good to use?

  • no risk of breaking or bursting
  • rough exterior for easy gripping and piping – no-slip material
  • smooth inner surface for icing to glide out of
  • environmentally friendly
  • use warm or cold mixtures in them

They are not dishwasher safe. You have to clean them by hand, which can be quite time consuming.

What can you use instead of a piping bag

Instead of a piping bag, you can use a resealable plastic bag for piping. Cut the tip of the bag small-large hole depending on how thick you want your icing to come out. Sometimes resealable bags are more difficult to keep closed and the icing can spill out the top of them.

How do you use a piping bag with a ziplock bag

  1. Place ziplock bag at an angle in a glass.
  2. Fold the edges of the bag over the glass
  3. Fill the ziplock bag with your mixture to pipe.
  4. Close the ziplock bag, make sure to try to get all of the air out of it.
  5. Take the bag out of the glass and hold it horizontally.
  6. Cut the tip small – large depending on how thick you want the icing to come out.
  7. Pipe.

Do you need a piping bag for macarons

Ideally yes. It makes the macarons easier to pipe uniform circles with less jagged edges from a cut bag.

How to Pipe Macarons Without a Tip

Cut the bag to give it a 1/2” large hole. Best to cut smaller hole than a larger hole as you can always cut a larger hole if needed.

How Long can Macaron Batter Sit Before Piping

You can let macaron batter sit for 30 min – 1 hour before piping the batter. Keep the batter at room temperature before piping out.

What is the Best Piping Bag for Macarons

The best piping bag for macarons is the DayMark 21” PipingPal Disposable Pastry Bag. You want the largest, strongest piping bag you can get for macarons.

The batter is very thick, and there is a ton of batter. You don’t want to over-mix the batter when you are placing it into the bag.

Placing the macaron batter into the bag only once will give it the best chance of turning out. You don’t want to be refilling the bag as this may cause the macarons not to turn out from over-mixing.

bear macaron batter how to pipe

How to Pipe Macarons

  1. Get a tall, wide glass and set it out with plenty of room around it.
  2. Place a 1/2″ piping tip into the bag.
  3. Twist the end of the tip and a few inches of bag and tuck it into the glass. This is to make sure the mixture does not go to the end of the tip yet.
  4. Fold the edges of the bag over the glass.
  5. Fill the piping bag with macaron batter.
  6. Twist the piping bag to seal it closed.
  7. Take the piping bag out of the glass and hold it sideways.
  8. Cut the piping bag roughly in the middle of the metal tip so that the tips edges have no bag around it.
  9. Pipe the first bit of batter out to get any air out.
  10. Pipe the macarons onto a 1.5″ template. Pipe the macarons by holding the top of the bag and squeezing the batter with your fingers that are holding the seal at the top of the bag. Pipe holding the bag straight up. When you’re wanting to move on to the next macaron, make a U to smear the tip on the top of the macaron. This will create less peaks and valleys for you to bang out later. Leave a few inches before piping the next macaron. Add any sprinkles or cookie crumbs. Then, let them sit for 30 min before baking.

Smoked Vegan Carrot Lox Recipe

vegan cream cheese recipe
Jump to Recipe

Guest Post by Cashew & Cheese

smoked vegan carrot lox recipe

Ally of Cashew & Cheese creates her own vegan recipes from scratch.

cashew and cheese recipes

From slow roasting carrots to taste like salmon, to vegan portobello mushrooms tasting like steak, she has some of the most unique vegan recipes on her blog. Her Greek heritage comes through in her recipes making them incredibly flavorful and decadent. Today she’s going to teach us how to slow roast vegan smoked carrots to taste like smoked salmon.

Smoked vegan carrot lox is the long lost breakfast option for people that want to add more veggies to their routine. If you struggle with the idea of eating oatmeal every day, or chugging a vegetable-filled smoothie each morning, you have to try this vegan cream cheese recipe out!

nori komi furikake recipes
nori komi furikake recipe

Smoked vegan carrot lox satisfies your savory cravings while still feeling light and healthy.

This meal works incredibly for meal prep. Smoke your vegan carrot lox on Sunday and enjoy them all week long.

smoked vegan carrot lox recipe

Smoked Vegan Carrot Lox

Cashew & Cheese
How to make smoked vegan carrot lox recipe with vegan cream cheese
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 3 hrs
Total Time 3 hrs 20 mins
Course Appetizer, Breakfast
Servings 6 servings


  • Oven


  • 1-2 large carrots peeled into strips
  • 2-3 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2-3 dashes liquid smoke
  • dash nori komi furikake
  • 1 tbsp caper liquid optional
  • 1 tsp capers
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • pinch dill fresh
  • 1/8 red onion sliced
  • 1/2 pkg vegan cream cheese
  • 6 whole wheat English muffins or bread of your choice


  • Preheat oven to 350 F.
  • In a bowl, toss the peeled carrots with rice vinegar, liquid smoke (2-3 dashes), kelp granules (nori komi furikake), caper liquid, salt and pepper (white pepper works well). As long as it smells fragrant and a faint bit like seafood, you are good to go!
  • Wrap your seasoned carrots in tin foil packets.
  • Slow roast your smoked vegan carrots by cooking them in your oven for about 3 hours, flipping the tin foil packets every 45 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven at the 3 hour mark. Check them and adjust flavor/cook time to your own preference.
  • Once you're happy with your smoked vegan carrots mixture, let them cool to room temperature.
  • Toast English muffins. Assemble smoked vegan carrot lox by adding vegan cream cheese, fresh dill, smoked vegan carrots lox, red onions, and topping with capers. Serve immediately.
  • Store excess smoked vegan carrot lox in an airtight container in the fridge.


cashew and cheese recipes Recipe by Alexandra Thompson of Cashew & Cheese
Keyword smoked vegan recipe, vegan cream cheese recipe

What is the Best Pastry Blender and How to Use it

What is the purpose of a pastry blender?

A pastry blender cuts butter or shortening into smaller pieces, creating “coarse crumbs”.

How to use a pastry blender?

  1. Place flour, baking powder/baking soda, salt, sugar into your recipe. Mix well.
  2. Add butter/shortening.
  3. Cut the butter using your pastry blender. When you cut the butter move your wrist to make a ¼ turn at the end to mix it into your flour.
  4. Cut your butter with your pastry blender until the butter looks about ½ cm pieces aka coarse crumbs. The butter will all be covered in your flour mixture.
how to use a pastry blender
what coarse crumbs looks like after using a pastry blender

How do you cut butter in a recipe?

  1. Make sure your butter is cold, right out of the refrigerator.
  2. Cut your butter into your flour mixture by pressing your pastry blender into the butter, cutting right through to the bottom of the butter. If it’s too hard, just try cutting smaller pieces off of the top until it’s a bit easier to work with.
  3. Once it’s a bit more worked in, cut your pastry blender into your flour with a ¼ turn at the end to completely mix it into your flour mixture.
  4. Cut all of the butter with your pastry blender until your butter is in small pieces ~½ cm.

How do you clean a pastry blender?

Rinse the pastry blender with a bit of water, or soak in some soap and water. Once the majority of your butter/flour is off of the pastry blender, place it on the top rack of your dishwasher to fully clean it.

Is a pastry blender necessary?

Yes. Using a pastry blender is one of the hand tools recommended for making pastry. Making pastry is already difficult enough, especially without the right tools.

What is the Best Pastry Blender?

The best pastry blender is the Spring Chef Pastry Blender.


  • Strong stainless steel blades – twice as thick as a regular pastry blender
  • Built to last – they want you to pass on your pastry blender to a future generation 
  • Heavy duty
  • Ergonomic round handle grip for small-medium sized hands
  • Thick rubber handle for more give for your hands
  • Cuts cold butter with ease

What else can you use a pastry blender for?

You can use it to mash up avocado, cooked sweet potatoes, potatoes, or butternut squash. 

24 Recipes on How to Use Basil in Cooking

How can Basil be used in cooking?

Basil can be used at the end of the cooking process. It will wilt and the flavor deteriorates as it gets heated; therefore, adding it at the end will give your dish the most flavor possible.

How to Cook Basil Leaves?

It depends what you’re making. If you’re including it in a pasta dish, you can cut it into strips, then add them in at the end. When you’re making pesto and Vietnamese wraps, use the whole leaf.

how to use basil in pasta dishes

Can you eat a basil leaf raw?

Yes. Basil can be consumed raw on appetizers like crostinis and bruschetta.

24 ways to use up Basil:

  • Pesto
  • Margherita pizza
  • Pizza sauce
  • Garlic and cherry tomato pasta
  • Vietnamese wraps
  • Flatbread
  • Bruschetta
  • Crostini appetizers
  • Tomato pasta sauce
  • Lemon basil pasta salad
  • Thai basil chicken stir fry
  • Basil infused oil for dipping bread
  • Garlic basil shrimp
  • Roasted tomato basil soup
  • Strawberry basil lemonade
  • Lemon basil vinaigrette
  • Honey lemon basil chicken
  • Thai basil fried rice
  • Tomato basil salad
  • Garlic basil aioli
  • Tuscan chicken
  • Caprese salad
  • Lemon basil sugar cookies
  • Thai basil ice cream

Does basil need to be washed?

Yes. Just like all produce you bring home from the grocery store, you should wash it thoroughly and dry before using.

freshly baked margherita flatbread

What is Basil best used for?

Basil is best used for making pesto, pizza sauce, and margherita pizza.

What does Basil go with?

Basil goes best with tomatoes, olive oil, mozzarella cheese. Frequently it’s used in Italian cooking which will give you a good clue as to what it goes well with.

pesto in food processor

How to Grow, Preserve, Dry, Store, and Use Parsley

Types of Parsley

  • Curly leaf Parsley: garnish
  • Flat leaf/Italian Parsley: strong flavor
  • Root Parsley: vegetable addition to soup, stew or eaten as is.
how to grow parsley outdoors

How to Grow Parsley from Cuttings?

  1. Cut a stem of Parsley approximately 3 inches tall that has leaves attached to it.
  2. Put it in water in a window sill that gets a lot of sun.
  3. Once the roots have grown after a couple of weeks, place into well drained soil and continue growing.

How to Grow Parsley Outdoors?

  • If you have a new plant from a nursery you have a couple of options- if it’s still cold outside at night, start growing inside on a sunny windowsill. Place outside after the last frost.
  • Parsley likes it’s soil damp, be sure to continue watering throughout the summer
  • Plant seeds 6-8 inches apart so they aren’t too crowded.
  • Plant seeds outside covering them only by 1 cm of soil. Give them a bit of room to grow, not too much is needed. 
what is parsley good for in cooking

Parsley Growing Conditions

  • Wet soil
  • A bit of sunlight
  • Try to not clutter the plant – thin it out so it will continue to grow

How do you cut parsley to encourage growth?

  • Cut clippings from the outside to encourage new growth in the middle of the plant
  • Cut any flowers that begin forming to extend the life of your herb

How to Preserve Parsley in Fridge?

  • Place stems of freshly cut Parsley into a glass of water
  • Store the glass full of Parsley in the fridge to extend the life and flavor of the herb
  • Change the water as needed

How to Eat Parsley?

  • Use the leaves only when eating Parsley. The stems are very bitter and won’t have that sweeter flavor the leaves do.
how to dry parsley

What is Parsley Good for in Cooking?

  • Frittata
  • Omlette
  • Garnish for hummus
  • Topping salmon
  • Bean salads
  • Cauliflower with lemon/olive oil
  • Shrimp dip
  • Crab dip
  • Vegetable stock
  • Vegetable soup
  • Salad dressing
  • Including in salad as greenery

Dried Parsley Uses

  • Burgers
  • Risotto
  • Potatoes

Have too much Parsley, and you’re not sure what to do?

Dry your Parsley so you can use it all year round.

How to dry Parsley?

  1. Cut stems of Parsley from the outer edge of the plant
  2. Tie the stems together
  3. Place Parsley in a paper bag
  4. Poke a couple of holes in the bag to aerate them.
  5. Store the bag in a cool, dry area for a couple of weeks.
  6. After 2 weeks, take your Parsley and grind them up with your fingers. You should have a nice medium grind – perfect for adding to dishes
  7. Store in an airtight container for ~ 1 year.

By using the paper bag method, you’ll keep the strong green color and flavor as much as possible.

Parsley is a light, fresh herb that adds character to dishes like eggs, meat, dips and potatoes. Try growing it for yourself next summer and see how you like cooking with your freshly grown herb.