Sunday, January 31, 2010

Like breathing...

I think that baking is like air to me. I become... shall I say... unstable... after periods of non-baking. I feel so much better... more centered... after spending a few hours in the kitchen.

This weekend I baked five batches of brownies (sorry, no new recipes) for the Cookies Without Borders Bake Sale for Haiti. It was fun times! Nice weather, nice drive, and of course hanging out an Ila.

Here's some coverage by LAist of the event.

The prep.

The packing.

The end.

There were so many goodies to eat... I had to restrain myself - even though I grabbed the "big box" to fill up!
(This was just a third of the table setup.)

I'm trying to feel out if the next "cupcakes" will be whoopie pies. Whisk LA sure has it down! I nibbled on some of Ila's Toffee Caramel flavor, and I noshed on the Banana Chocolate Chip once I got home. So good! A bit sweet, but still delish! I liked the light banana flavor with the chocolate chips. Yummm!

These were the thickest brownies I have ever seen. The picture doesn't show this clearly. But WOW.

And of course, since the bake sale took place right outside of Scoops, we had to stop in for some ice cream/gelato!

I got earl grey and pistachio-coconut flavors. Ila got brown bread and coke. Interesting no?
It was all so unique and flavorful. Not something you'd find in every other gelato shop out there. The shop's aesthetic was very "city". We loved it - and of course mourned over the fact that the OC lacks in that particular charm of city life.

My "big box" of baked goodies! Banana Chocolate Chip Whoopie Pie, PB Crisp Marshmallow Brownies (like what I've made before! gotta check out how other people do it!), Salted Chocolate Covered Caramel Cups, Vanilla Cupcake with Chocolate Frosting, Earl Grey Cookie, Organic Chocolate Covered Chocolate Sandwich Cookies with Peppermint Cream Filling, and the pièce de résistance.... poppyseed lemon dinosaur cake! His name is Stenno. (I'm sure he'll be delicious in my tummy.)

Tomorrow will be Macaron Monday! Inspired by Bakerella and Tartelette. (That is, if I go out to buy a food processor to grind up some almonds.)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The itch...

I've been lacking in producing ANYTHING out of the kitchen. quite sad.
But I do have the itch to get in there and bake something. ANYTHING. PLEASE.
So, hopefully I'll whip up something soon. And maybe that'll help abate this anti-people mood I've been in lately. I mean, can sooo many people of the human race REALLY be that dumb? REALLY? (insert work rants here).

In any case, I stumbled upon a blog post on Cupcakes Take The Cake on making healthier cupcakes (YES PLEASE!)... it takes you to an article (with recipes) by the AP. It's a nice little read. So help yourself and enjoy!

And in other (food) news, I attended an awesome bridal/industry bash - "Utterly Spankin' New Year Party" for the e-zine Utterly Engaged ... and of course, noshed out on amazing party foods! (Sorry, forgot the digicam so its gonna be very text-y!)

UM. Fried food anyone?
Mini Chicken Corn Dogs!
Mini Donuts!
This had the cutest little fryer that flips the donuts over and out. So cute!
The flavors that go on top (a light powdery flavoring- no sticky liquid gunk!) were really neat! (Oreo, Maple, Cinnamon Sugar, Powdered Sugar, And you could combine them to make your own! I had the raspberry with vanilla... and on a fresh warm donut?... YUMMY!!! Oh, and even sweeter? The nutrition facts: "Each mini donut contains only 1 gram of fat, 26 calories and 3.5 grams of carbs". Needless to say, I was sold.


Candied Bacon? Hells YEAH!
I LOVED her presentation... but personally, the taste fell through for me. I tried the "Original" and the "Chocolate Covered Strawberry". Both were spicy to me. I was expecting that lovely contrast of salty and sweet with this candied bacon... but it just ended up being quite spicy. Good, yeah. But not what I expect and what I'd prefer. (Ila made a BOMB candied bacon fudge over the holidays - THAT is really what I was hoping to sample)

And last, but not least,

HELLO?! Cotton Candy!! I had the strawberry flavored and the pina coloda flavored... MMMMMMM. Delish! And again, I was sold on the fact that they also do ORGANIC cotton candy. SO RAD. (I think I was on this kind of "healthy" watch that night).
But the gal was so sweet! And the company also does caramel apples AND snow cones (sugar-free syrups available, just sayin').

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Hot Cocoa!

Since so-cal is "freaking out" over the storm systems coming in...
I had a hankering for something warm and tasty!

Except I didn't have any little packets of Swiss Miss(is that right?), but lots of cocoa powder!

So, just a quick single cup of hot cocoa from Hershey's. (I love how brands put their little recipes on the box/bag/packaging!)

1 C Milk
2 T cocoa powder
2T sugar
Dash of salt
1/4tsp vanilla

Heat milk. Mix dry ingredients. Add hot milk. Then vanilla. Stir stir stir!


Friday, January 1, 2010

the new year!

yay? I've been pretty blah this year about the holidays... so I didn't venture out to do anything "fun" to ring in the new year.

But one nice thing with the new year... is a day off!

So I did some baking... :)

Ultimate Triple-Chocolate Bars (Betty Crocker)
12 oz semisweet chocolate chips
6oz cream cheese
2/3C evaporated milk
2C pancake mix
2/4C Sugar
1/2C Baking Cocoa
2/4C Butter, softened
1C White Baking Chips
additional 6oz semisweet chocolate chips to top

Heat 12oz chocolate chips, cream cheese, and milk over low heat until melted and smooth.
In medium bowl, mix pancake mix, sugar and cocoa. Cut in butter using pastry blender or crisscross 2 knives until mixture is crumbly. (I used my hands).
Press half the crumb mixture on the bottom of ungreasted 9x13 pan.
Sprinkle with white baking chips.

Spoon chocolate mixture over crumb crust and chips. Spread evenly.

Sprinkle with remaining crumb mixture and 6oz chocolate chips.
Press lightly with fork.

Bake in (preheated) oven at 375 for 30-35 minutes.
Cool completely, then refrigerate until chilled. Store covered in fridge.

Notes: Not an overall amazing recipe... not as sweet as i would like for something with so much chocolate. Maybe if I use sweetened cocoa powder instead? I probably won't make this again...