Monday, March 29, 2010


So, I'm starting a baking program this week, I've had to switch my work schedule around to accommodate - meaning I now only have Sundays off for the next 3 months. I've been mentally preparing for the onslaught of stress and tiresome days which has thus decreased my motivation to run/workout and bake as often as I usually would otherwise. If I seem to have disappeared off the face of the earth... sorry!

On another note, I'm currently working on making some macarons!
aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand it's not going well so far.

But practice makes perfect!

Any tips would be absolutely wonderful too!

The filling I made the other day came out wonderful though! Vanilla Bean Buttercream from Brown Eyed Baker. Yum!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Sweet & Saucy Shop

Some say (I don't) that wedding cakes are the pinnacle of any wedding decor.

But who can blame them when you see amazing works like at the Sweet & Saucy Shop in Long Beach?

One of the co-workers received a nice little bundle of cake pops today... and of course the entire office dug right in!

I had the brownie pop. And nibbled on the banana peanut butter pop.

Here is the cute label on the box that "indexed" all the flavors.

And here is the the lollipop I ate. Yum!

My cell phone used to take higher quality pics - sorry for this lo-qual!
More reason for me to carry the digi cam around I guess!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

gifting cookies!

so, we've already been over how amazing these salted chocolate chip cookies are - and how these particular cookies are HIGHLY accepted by everybody...

so i bake them for "special occasions" and package them into gifts!

A paper mache flower pot filled with cookies, and hugging an empty Starbucks cup containing gift cards! Happy Birthday Jason indeed!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

In the biz...

Some of you may or may not know... I work for a catering and events company. So, in addition to the humdrum of weddings and parties and banquets, we also go out to bridal shows and all that jazz.

Oh. And I eat whatever appetizers and sweets are going around that night from other companies.
A few of tonight's selections (I unfortunately missed on out some stuff - damn actual work.)

crispy fried wonton thing.
duck sandwich thing with oyster sauce
mango pudding! YUM!
walnut mayo shrimp on skewer
lemon drops (we NEVER forget to get the booze)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

LA Adventures

Headed up to LA for some "errands" - well more like fun times.

Stop #1: Garvey's Nut and Candy
Man, oh man... seriously - I was a kid in a candy store. An insanely LARGE WAREHOUSE candy store that is. Sure the pictures a slightly fuzzy... but that's just about how I looked at everything. I was so overwhelmed at the sight of SO MUCH CANDY. The warehouse also has candy novelty items - clocks, lunch boxes, pillows etc. Oh, and giant Hello Kitty PEZ dispensers.

Stop #2: Paper Mart
While we didn't get the full warehouse experience, it was an aweing experience to just see the size of the operation. Lots of neat paper goods for packaging!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Lemon-Butter Cookies

I guess lemons are in abundance this time of year... co-workers and friends seem to bring buckets around to just give them away! So of course, I snagged a few... with this super easy and yummy recipe in mind!

Lemon-Butter Cookies
adapted from special issue magazine

1C Butter, softened
3/4C Granulated Sugar (154g)
2t finely shredded lemon peel (about 2 lemons)
2C AP flour (10.75oz)
Powdered Sugar (optional - for sprinkling)

Preheat oven to 350.

Beat butter for 30 seconds. Add granulated sugar. Beat until combined, scraping bowl as needed.
Beat in lemon zest. Then beat in flour. Mix any unincorporated flour by hand, then drop dough onto baking sheets. (Parchment lined or ungreased). I used a 1.5T cookie scoop and placed them approx. 2 inches apart. Cookies will not spread much and will keep the domed shape.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, until edges are light brown.
Transfer to a wire rack. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired.

And since all my friends are my guinea pigs... I worked on some packaging ideas to give some of these cookies away. (If I'm fattening them all up, I should at least present the treats on something better than a paper plate right?)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Brownies again!

Brownies. As much as I've brownie-d myself out over the past few months... I always end up coming back to it. I think I has to do with the fact that I don't have to let any butter come up to room temp but simply melt it. Cuz you know, using cold butter is just a no-no in successful baking (in most recipes anyways).

So, brownies are chocolatized with cocoa powder or melted chocolate - and in this particular recipe - which is what caught my eye - it uses both! This recipe produces an insanely moist and chewy brownie. YUM! And it also uses two different fats instead of just butter OR oil. Interesting no?

Anyways, this all came together in less time than it took for a Simpsons episode to run - then it was into the oven, and out again with lots of cooling time!

Thanks again Michelle for another wonderful recipe! Chewy Brownies from Brown Eyed Baker

Monday, March 8, 2010

I made whoopie!

(gross. lol.)

Anyways, I finally used up the last of the PB mousse! I made whoopie pies based off the "New England" recipe. Apparently there are the New England and Amish versions. (Whisk LA has run amuck with more flavors... but any variations for me will have to wait!) So given that this is the first time I've made whoopie pies, I decided to just go with the New England version - it was the first one I read.

I always like reading about the "origins" of the whoopie pie. Go read on Wiki! Whoopie!!

So, the recipe:
New England Whoopie Pie Recipe from What's Cooking America

Really easy recipe - still think shortening is gross - yielded 8 x 3" and 5 x 4" assembled whoopie pies.

I used parchment to line the pans, and didn't grease them... so...
And remove the baked cakes to cool on the rack sooner rather than later - they stick a BIT more to the paper as it cools. They stick to each other as well - I made the mistake of stacking them so the roomie had easier access (i.e. so he would see the stack on the table).
(don't do this)
This came out to be delicious! I don't recommend the mousse as a regular filling, since I think it should stay refrigerated. But definitely any fluffy, able to sit at room temp filling would be awesome for this nice chocolatey yet not overwhelming cake.

Using leftovers...

From the Peanut Butter Tortes I made just a few days ago, I had a lot of the mousse and some ganache left over. SO! Never one to let things go to waste... I decided to make some cupcakes to fill and ice with the leftovers.

Mocha Chip Cupcakes (from The Best of Fine Cooking: Sweet Cakes)

4.5oz unbleached AP flour
0.5tsp baking soda
0.25tsp table salt
4oz unsalted butter @ room temp
1C granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1.5tsp vanilla extract
3oz unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled slightly
2tsp instant espresso powder, dissolved in 0.5c cool water
0.25lb semisweet chocolate chips

Sift flour, baking soda and salt.
Beat butter until smooth, then slowly add in sugar. Beat until light and fluffy. Don't forget to scrape the bowl!
Beat in eggs one at a time. Scrape the bowl after each addition. Beat until batter is smooth.
Add vanilla and melted chocolate; Beat until smooth and blended.
Add the dry ingredients and espresso. Alternating - in 5 additions - starting and ending with the dry ingredients. Mix after each addition just until the batter is smooth.
Stir in the chocolate chips by hand.
Evenly portion and drop spoonfuls of batter into baking cups (standard size). Don't smooth the batter.
Bake in preheated oven at 350 for 20-22 minutes, until cupcakes spring back when touched.
Let cool in tin on rack for 5 minutes, then remove and let cook on rack completely.

To finish:
Cut out the centers to make space for the filling - keep the top (aka the hat) intact to put back on.
Ice with frosting as desired.

I realized that my espresso powder isn't the instant kind - so it obviously didn't dissolve in the water. But I used it anyways, and so the cupcakes didn't have a strong coffee taste. It tasted like watered down coffee, or a piece of gross coffee flavored candy.
I may have overbeat the batter since it was incredibly fluffy, almost mousse like.
And they didn't rise much in the oven. Hmmmmmmmm.
I was only able to ice 2 cupcakes since that was all the ganache I had left. (I whipped the ganache as opposed to a poured/spread)
I still have a good amount of the PB mousse left. Maybe next I'll make whoopie pies to fill?

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Peanut Butter Torte

What does all this make?

An amazing yum-yum treat!! Again - another AMAZING recipe by Michelle of Brown Eyed Baker.

Notes: Food processor is nice and time-saving in chopping nuts and crushing oreos for the crust. I did it all my hand... not all that much fun.
I used 4 small springform pans instead of 1 large. I had a TON of the mousse left over... I'm thinking of doing some filled chocolate cupcakes with that!
And this is definitely one of those recipes you should read before beginning. I skimmed the directions only and didn't realize this was more of a chill in fridge dessert vs. a bake in oven dessert. Ooops! Oh well. The oven needed a workout anyways.