Sunday, November 15, 2009

I Made Them!!

Wow….it’s been so long since I baked but I knew I could commit once a month and although last month I was too sleep deprived to even take a shower or eat a proper meal, this month we’ve developed some semblance of a schedule.

So, this month forced our house to venture into the realm of sweet potatoes – an item both my husband and I have never been fond of, but what better way to give them another chance than in a cupcake.

The overall making of the cupcakes was easy – and I let my 4 year old son measure all the dry ingredients. My 4 year old daughter added the liquids, laid out the cups and helped pour the batter into the cups. I have to say, they turned out well.


My son was very excited and kept looking in the oven…


My 13 year old daughter made the candied pecans and toasted the marshmallows in the oven under the broiler.



So, the difficulty was in the assembly!  WOW what a royal, sticky pain in the tush!!!  To be fair we didn’t have an offset spatula but still – transferring the marshmallows was a mess, funny, but still quite the mess.


Taste:  Not bad – they reminded me more of a spice muffin rather than a cupcake.  Oh, and the sweet potatoes…we loved them!  We made these as we were cooking dinner and I had extra sweet potatoes so we threw them into our mashed red potatoes and the kids INHALED them! Go figure, we all like sweet potatoes =)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Cupcake Time…Almost

Okay, so the 15th snuck up on me…and I’m supposed to have a cupcake recipe completed by today.  Well, this little person has all my days (and nights) blending together!!


So, these cupcakes for this months MS challenge sound good and I really want to give them a shot – so hopefully he’ll give me a chance to get to my kitchen today…if not I’ll have to wait until my dear husband gets home and maybe this evening I’ll be able to make them up!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Finally back…

Now that my pregnancy is at the very end…my cravings for sweet has gone through the roof…and the smell of baked goods no longer makes me nauseous!  Which, means the scale hasn’t been as friendly to me these last couple weeks. 

I can’t wait to start baking and posting, but trying to keep everyone’s waistlines in mind, I may not be baking weekly…and if I do, I have to remember to cut the recipes in half so that we can all enjoy our sweet treats but not keep excess around after a day or two!

So, wish me luck and look forward to all sorts of challenges

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Back in Cyberworld

A quick update from me – I’m cautiously optimistic that I’m back in cyberworld again!!!  I’ve had three hard drives put into my computer since it arrived on my doorstep brand spanking new 11 months ago.

I’ve had 2 hard drives die within 6 weeks.  This last time I sent the whole computer back to Dell – and was without a computer for 3 weeks just to get a new hard drive.  Let’s just say, after my experience with Dell and their technical support and their laissez faire attitude about defective hard drives (“oh, we’ve had a lot of issues…) this will be the very last Dell computer we purchase, and we’ve been loyal (we’ve bought 5 computers from them).  If I have to re-install all of my programs one more time I think I’m going to scream – especially ones with a finite number of installs before you have to call the company for a new install code.

Beyond that – I'm finally through my first trimester and much of the queasiness has passed.  BUT, for some crazy reason, I seem to be pregnant with a health nut.  I only get nauseous around greasy food and sweets.  I told my husband that I’m just not sure this is our offspring ;)

So, I’m going to TRY and get back into the kitchen soon and hope to start posting again NOW that I’m back online.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

No Baking yet...

Well, things aren't going much better - I still have an unhealthy friendship with our toilets and every garbage can in the house - oh and my bed (which I'm not complaining about too There are some great recipes coming up in TWD  - my husband is practicing an amazing amount of patience and understanding with our lack of baked items and I really hope to be back to normal soon.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

No Cake Slice or TWD for 2/24

All the ingredients are sitting in my kitchen, but with hubby's birthday and an last week's TWD cake combined with my morning sickness - there's no way on this planet I am baking anything right now.  I can't even cook dinner because just being around food makes me queasy.  Hopefully by next time I'll be back to normal.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Back to the Real World!!

Wow, you just don't realize you have an addiction until you are yanked, torn, dragged away from it with no allowed use for several days.  My goodness!  I feel like I've been living in the dark ages, and that notion, in all reality, is quite silly, BUT it doesn't make it any less true.  My hard drive died (again - this time by human fault not computer malfunction) and I was without a computer for 4 days!  Holy batman that's a long time!!


So, my TWD almost didn't happen....again.  See, when you discover, much to your jaw dropping surprise that, oh, just say for the heck of it, you're pregnant....AGAIN, and morning sickness has kicked in full force, food, in general sounds horrific.  So, baking, cooking, eating - anything to do with food at all just doesn't sound appealing.

But, I pressed on because I'd been DYING to try this cake for some time now.

I had a couple of issues -

I could not get the temperature of the boiling sugar about 220 degrees.  Not sure what happened but I let it sit there quite some time - maybe my thermometer is broken, I'm not sure.

The cake turned out awesome but the frosting, not as fantastic.  The frosting as soon as it was done tasted like - well, hubby said it tasted like cough medicine.  BUT we persevered, put it on the cake and put it in the fridge for an hour, and afterwards, the frosting lost that weird aftertaste. 

My frosting wasn't as fluffy.  I assume I didn't mix it long enough.

My cake didn't all just stuck together, so there's big chunks of crumbled cake pieces decorating my

Overall, not as good as I hoped but not as bad as I thought it would be when I first tasted the frosting. I would definitely make the cake again, but use a different frosting though.  I really can't wait to see how other people fared!

Okay - so, this picture makes it look a bit worse than it actually was!! I had just cut a super tiny slice for one of my little ones and it smashed down part of my cake.  With that being said, it's easy to see that my cake was a far stretch from the cover of our cooking bible.  Yes, I still have a looong way to go, but it was still fun to make!


Also - my hubby is having a birthday this week and his two favorite cakes are Champagne cake and black forest cake so if any of you know of any good recipes, please let me know!!

Thanks =)

Monday, February 9, 2009

Come back on Wed.

Ahhh - - - another round of dr. appts. and one of my babies has a bladder infection, plus more dr. appts. for me today and tomorrow.  I will be making floating islands hopefully tomorrow =) I can't wait to read everyone's stories in the meantime.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

TWD - World Peace Cookies

YUMMM!!  These cookies were so freaking good.  I'm a salty sweet snack kind of girl, so this week promised to carve a special little spot in my heart.  Please go to Jess at cookbookhabit for the recipe!  Thanks for the great pick this week!


But, alas, wicked germs tried to thwart my date with these cookies.  Let me highlight Thursday night through Sunday:

Thursday night:

Child #3 - lost a battle with the stomach flu - in the car (the 3rd time my poor husband has had to clean the car for this very reason in two months). Finally to bed at 2 am

Friday Morning:

Child #2 awake at 5:15 am - ear pain and wakes big sister (child #1).  Child #1 comforts her and they sleep on Child #1's floor.  Yes, child #1 is a HUGE HELP.

Take Child #2 to dr. for ear infection. Get home, notice goop in eye, suspect pink eye but refuse to drive 45 minutes back to dr.

Husband - stomach flu and I sleep (if you can call it that) on the couch.


I am now on day 3 of less than 4 hours of sleep. My throat starts to hurt.  Child #3 still very sick, though no longer throwing up.  Intuition waves a flag, I listen. Hubby takes him to doctor - immediately pointed to ER. After several long hours at ER child #3 comes home with pink eye and VERY bad strep throat.


Hubby and I go to dr. We both have strep. Sunday night Child #1 complains of sore throat --yep, strep.


Yes, waaay more than you wanted to know, I'm sure.  But, now you see how important it was to me to make my cookies - the recipe sitting there teasing me all weekend.  Finally, today, after two naps, I started to feel like a human being again, my kids were bouncing off the walls and feeling better, so I pulled up my sleeves, scrubbed my hands and dug in.

I only had bittersweet chips and they weren't mini's.  I didn't care. I was also terrified that they'd turn out like my lime meltaways which were an abysmal disaster. I've been so traumatized by that cookie mess that I've not dared another refrigerator cookie recipe. Oh no, no way.  After reading other reviews, I froze the dough and promptly forgot about it for two hours.

My cut frozen dough:


My cookies right out of the oven - hmm - weird shape:


I cut them and had no issues with crumbling and cooked them.  They didn't melt into nothingness!!!!!!  OMG, I was so happy. 

The result:


One of my favorite kinds of cookie - the salt is just a tease and you can tell it's there but it doesn't take over the other flavors.  I absolutely love these and are my favorite Dorie recipe so far!!!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Ack! No TWD Again!

Okay, so when I saw this recipe I knew I had my work cut out for me.  My family is NOT a big fan of ginger and my baking partner (hubby) doesn't even like the smell.  Well, I knew I could overcome his objections but I wasn't counting on the wrinkle nose face from my other baking buddy, my 12 year old daughter. 

So, I buckled - the pressure was insurmountable and I had to pass on this weeks cake.

But I promise - unless there is some crazy, unforseen catastrophe I will be back next week with another TWD!!

I'm off to see how everyone else did this week.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009



Between The Cake Slice and making a marble pound cake from The Secrets of Baking by Sherry Yard, we're pretty caked out.  So, we decided to choose and the banana cake won out in the family vote. I'll be back with a new TWD next week!



My swirl pound cake - when I recover from the grueling session with my personal trainer, I'll post my other cake this week.

The Cake Slice - Banana Cake with Praline Filling and White Chocolate Ganache



So, this was my first Cake Slice attempt and it sounded so good, I couldn't let myself forget like I have in the past couple of months. 

Even with the multiple step process, my baking partner (my hubby) and I put this together over the weekend. And we only made one mistake!!! WOW!

This mistake?  Well, we are trying to eat better and I decided to cut the cake down to smaller 6 inch rounds and we made all the correct recipe reductions for the cake.  But, something happened and when we went to make the ganache, and the praline filling, I followed the original recipe.  Again, not a problem EXCEPT I didn't buy enough white chocolate for the FULL recipe, and it didn't dawn on me until the very end when I couldn't taste the white chocolate that I realized I'd only cut the white chocolate in half but kept the pecans, heavy cream and vanilla at the full amount. 

Thankfully the overall construction and flavor were not hampered, we just didn't get the full ganache flavoring.

Overall, it was wonderful and a huge hit.  The banana flavor was not overpowering which was nice, and it all blended together nicely.

Visit Gigi and Katie for the recipe or you can purchase the book: Sky High: Irresistible Triple Layer Cakes  (Alicia Huntsman and Peter Wynne). The The Cake Slice Bakers will show all the different takes on this cake!


Wow - in this picture, the cake looks like it is about to tip over, but it's not, I promise!! 

Monday, January 12, 2009

TWD Savory Muffins


Looking forward to a change of pace, this weeks recipe from EZRA POUND CAKE was corn and pepper muffins.  Many comments suggested that this would be a perfect partner to Chili.  Having never made either, I thought, why not? 

The muffins were a cinch to put together, but because hubby and the toddlers aren't fans of spicy foods, I left out the jalapeno (boo hoo...I LOVE hot food!) and was sorely missed.  There was just something missing (ahem - the jalapeno!!) and next I would DEFINITELY not leave it out. 

Sorry - had to include this to prove that I can cook and keep a relatively clean counter =)




They did go well with the Chili though, so thanks all for the great tip!!

Monday, January 5, 2009

TWD French Pear Tart


This is why I love being part of TWD - I bake things that I normally wouldn't try on my own.  I've always classified pies and tarts to be similar and my pie making ability leaves a lot to be desired. So, I've never attempted a tart, not to mention I didn't own a tart pan until last week when I discovered our local restaurant supply store. Instead of buying one large tart pan, I bought 4 mini pans.

Anyway - back to my tarts.

This week's recipe was courtesy of Dorie Greenspan herself!! So, it made my foray even more exciting knowing that the author of our book picked the recipe for the week.

TASTE TEST: Incredible!  Another household hit - not overly sweet and great flavors.  These are definitely worth making again.

I made a few variations -

  • I used 4 mini pans
  • I ran out of almonds and had to use walnuts, the only other nut on hand.  I really have to buy almonds at Costco - I run out ALL the time.
  • Because of the smaller pans, I didn't use all the almond cream or the dough.
  • My cooking time was decreased about 13 minutes - probably because of the smaller pans.
  • Oh, and I couldn't, for the life of me, figure out how the world we were supposed to lay out the pears, so I tried to make mine look like the spokes of a wheel - key word: 'tried' =)

Here is what my crusts looked like:

The crust was very simple  and straightforward.


Here are my tarts before baking:


And my final product:



Thursday, January 1, 2009

Cream Puffs



Danny and I stayed home and had a quiet New Year's Eve.  Not wanting to sit around doing nothing, we decided to bake.  Yep, my hubby likes to bake with me which, when he has time, is a  lot of fun. 

We decided to make one of his favorites, cream puffs - mainly because we didn't have to go to the store. 

Using my new cookbook from Christmas - Martha Stewart's cooking School, we got to work.

First we made the pastry cream:

Our vanilla bean:


The pastry cream before it gets covered and goes in the fridge:



While the cream sits in the fridge for 2 hours, we started on the dough:


So, after we make the dough, we are supposed to pipe the dough onto baking sheets.  We've never used piping bags before and we made a very rookie mistake - an overfilled pastry bag.  Oops:


This mistake made for a very difficult piping process, but hubby did pretty good!



Next, we use our fingers to put on an egg wash before we slide them into a 400 degree oven.DSC00503

After sitting in the oven for about 12 minutes, decrease the temperature to 350 for another 20 minutes until golden.




After the puffs cool and the pastry cream sits for two hours it's time to whip heavy cream and fold it into the pastry cream.  Fill another pastry bag and pipe the filling into the puffs.


We made a chocolate glaze and dipped the cream puffs...but our chocolate was a bit grainy for some reason.  I don't think we let the the sugar mixture come to a full boil, but we dipped half into chocolate and just dusted the other half with powdered sugar.


All in all, it was a long time consuming process.  Each individual step was pretty easy but stringing them all together our cream puffs took over two hours to cook.  They're not my favorite desert in general but these turned out good.  The pastry cream was excellent and can be used in so many different things. Danny loved them and said they were excellent.

Recipe from Martha Stewart's Cooking School

Cream Puffs -

  • 1 cup water, plus more as needed
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4-5 large eggs
  • For puffs
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • sunflower or other neutral tasting oil, for plastic wrap
  • 1/3 heavy cream
  • 1 recipe pastry cream

Heat oven to 400 degrees with a rack in the center. Line two baking sheets with nonstick baking mats.

Combine the water, butter, sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, and immediately remove from heat. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the flour. When flour is combined, return to heat. Dry the mixture by stirring constantly over heat until it pulls away from the sides and a film forms on the bottom of the pan, about 4 minutes. Transfer mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, and mix on low speed, about 2 minutes, until slightly cooled. Add 4 eggs, one at a time, on medium speed, letting each one incorporate completely before adding the next. Test the batter by touching it with a flexible spatula or your finger, then lifting; it should form a string. If a string does not form, lightly beat the last egg and add it, a teaspoon at a time, until the batter is smooth and shiny. If you have added all the egg and the batter still doesn't form a string, add water, 1 teaspoon at a time, until it does.

Fill a pastry bag fitted with a plain round 3/4-inch tip with the dough and pipe 1 1/2-inch rounds (3/4 inch high) onto baking sheets. Beat together egg and the water; use your finger to rub egg wash over entire surface, being careful not to let it drip onto the baking sheet (it will inhibit rising), and flatten tips.

Cover one sheet with lightly oiled plastic wrap, and place in refrigerator. Bake the other sheet 15 minutes; reduce oven heat to 350 degrees. Bake another 20 minutes more, or until puffs are golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to let cool coompletely. Return oven heat to 400 degrees and repeat process for remaining batch.

Whip heavy cream to medium peaks in a small bowl.  Stir pastry cream to soften. Add whipped cream to pastry cream in two batches, folding to combine after each. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a coupler and plain round tip. Insert tip into the underside of each cream puff, and fill. Cool completely before dusting with confectioners' sugar or dipping tops in glaze, as desired.

Pastry Cream -

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 vanilla bean,
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 3 tablespoons plus 1 1/2 tsp. cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Bring milk, 1/4 cup sugar, vanilla seeds, and salt to a simmer in a saucepan over medium heat, whisking to disperse seeds.

Whisk egg yolks and remaining 1/4 cup sugar in a medium bowl. Whisk in cornstarch, 1 tablespoon at a time. Ladle 1/2 cup hot-milk mixture into yolk mixture, whisking. Add remaining milk mixture, 1/2 cup at a time. Pour mixture into pan, and heat over medium-high, whisking constantly, until mixture comes to a full boil and is thick enough to hold its shap when lifted with a spoon, about 2 minutes. Stir in butter and vanilla.

Remove from heat and pour mixture into a bowl; place plastic wrap directly on surface to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until cold, at least 2 hours (or up to 2 days).