Thursday, December 2, 2010

Sugared Pecans

Sugared pecans are the perfect snack especially served warm during these chilly months! And they will make your house smell delicious!

Sugared Pecans
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 pound pecan halves
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F (120 degrees C). Grease one baking sheet.
  2. In a mixing bowl whip the egg white and water until frothy. In a separate bowl, mix together sugar, salt, and cinnamon.
  3. Add pecans to egg whites, stir to coat the nuts evenly. Remove the nuts, and toss them in the sugar mixture until coated. Spread the nuts out on the prepared baking sheet.
  4. Bake at 250 degrees F (120 degrees C) for 1 hour. Stir every 15 minutes.

Recipe from


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Chocolate Cheescakes for Two

Wedding planning consumes me, and I feel totally guilty for neglecting my blog. I've been meaning to post this for 2 weeks now! For those of you who are still around, thank you. :o) I have a lot of comfort fall desserts I want to make now that autumn is practically here. And soon enough the stressful part of planning will be over and I will make more time for the blog!

For now, you must try these personal sized cheesecakes. Extremely easy to make, and that perfect size for that quick cheesecake fix! The recipe makes two, one for you and one for your honey...or one for you now, and one for later! ;o)

Chocolate Cheesecakes for Two (from
  • 2 oz. (1/4 of 8-oz. pkg.) Philadelphia Cream Cheese, softened
  • 1 Tbsp. Sugar
  • 1 square Baker's Semi-Sweet Chocolate, melted
  • 1/2 cup thawed Cool Whip Whipped Topping
  • 2 Oreo Cookies
  1. Beat first 3 ingredients in medium bowl with whisk until well blended. Stir in COOL WHP.
  2. Place 1 Oreo cookie on the bottom of each paper-lined medium muffin cups (make sure you place the liners in a muffin pan so the liners don't flatten out before the cheesecake thickens); top with cream cheese mixture. Mixture will be somewhat thick, so use a small spatula to spread it evenly.
  3. Refrigerate for 2 hours and eat up!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Hi there!

I know I have been absent for awhile, but I have good reasons! Like I was on vacation for 2 weeks, driving all around the country, taking in the beautiful sites of the west coast and getting engaged! :oD I wanted to make a special "We're engaged" dessert to post, but just haven't found the time. Instead I have something super yummy and cute!!!

My dear friend gave me the sweetest birthday present when I returned from vacation. A book that I have been wanting for quite some time now...

David Lebovitz's "The Perfect Scoop"

Not only did she get me this awesome book, but she made me the cutest peanut butter cup ice cream sandwiches. Yum!! How adorable are these?

I am so excited to start digging into this book (and the ice cream sammies...hehe)! Thanks so much to the best buddy ever! :o)


Saturday, July 17, 2010

White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake

Really enjoying Kraft's cheesecakes recipes. They are so simple and fast to make, and they taste delicious! The White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake is so yummy! The recipe called for an Oreo pie crust, but I couldn't find a pre-made one and I didn't feel like making my own, so I just used a chocolate pie crust. I do think however, that the Oreo pie crust would have been much more rich...there is something about Oreo and raspberry together that is soooo good! Like my Chocolate Raspberry Tarts...yum-o! Anyways, on with the recipe!

Cheesecake with swirls prior to baking.

White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake
(adapted from Kraft

  • 2 pkg. (8 oz. each) Philadelphia Cream Cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. Vanilla
  • 2 Eggs
  • 3 squares Baker's White Chocolate, melted
  • 1 Chocolate Pie Crust (6 oz.)
  • 3 Tbsp. Raspberry seedless preserves
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Melt chocolate in microwavable bowl, in microwave for 20 secs. Stir and microwave an additional 15 secs until melted, stirring in between. Beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla with mixer until well blended. Add eggs; mix just until blended. Stir in chocolate. Pour into crust.
  3. Microwave preserves in small bowl on HIGH 15 sec. or until melted. Dot top of cheesecake with small spoonfuls of preserves; swirl gently with knife.
  4. Bake 35 to 40 min. or until center is almost set. Cool. Refrigerate 3 hours or overnight. Enjoy and store leftovers in refrigerator.


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Toffee Crunch Cheesecake

I loooove cheesecake and I love toffee. I knew this recipe would not fail me. It is delicious and the best part about it was that it only took me a few minutes to mix. Fast, easy, yummy, and hardly any dirty dishes...just the kind of recipe I love. You must try it!

Pre-bake photo

Toffee Crunch Cheesecake (from Kraft

  • 2 pkg. (8 oz. each) Philadelphia Cream Cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. Vanilla
  • 2 Eggs
  • 4 Heath bars (1.4 oz. each), chopped (3 bars to mix in, 1 bar to sprinkle on top)
  • 1 Graham Pie Crust (6 oz.)
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add eggs; mix just until blended. Stir in the 3 chopped Heath bars.
  2. Pour into crust. Sprinkle with remaining chopped Heath bar.
  3. Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool. Refrigerate 3 hours or overnight. Store leftover cheesecake in refrigerator. Enjoy!


Thursday, July 1, 2010

Guinness and Bailey's Cupcakes

I found these cupcakes on Annie's Eats, and have been wanting to make them for about a year now. I planned on making them for Father's Day but didn't have the time or all of the ingredients. I finally made them and they are yummy! I have never been a big fan of homemade cupcake batter, but I guess I just never found a good one. Well this one is soooo good! I like it even more than the ganache and the frosting which is odd for me. If you plan on making these cupcakes, allot a few hours and expect to dirty a lot of dishes! But I think they are worth it! :o)

Guinness and Bailey’s Irish Cream Cupcakes (adapted from Annie's Eats)
Yields: 24 cupcakes

For the Guinness chocolate cupcakes:

  • 1 cup stout (Guinness)
  • 8 tbsp. butter
  • 8 tbsp. shortening
  • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1½ tsp. baking soda
  • ¾ tsp. salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup sour cream

For the Bailey’s ganache filling:

  • 8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp. butter, room temperature
  • 2 tsp. Bailey’s Irish cream

For the Bailey’s buttercream frosting:

  • 8 tbsp. unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 8 tbsp. Bailey’s Irish cream
  1. To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350° F. Line two cupcake pans with paper liners. Combine the stout and butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the cocoa powder and whisk until smooth. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the eggs and sour cream to blend. Add the stout-butter mixture and beat just to combine. Mix in the dry ingredients on low speed just until incorporated. Divide the batter evenly between the cupcake liners, filling them about 2/3 to ¾ full. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 19 minutes. Allow to cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  3. To make the ganache filling, place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Heat the cream in a small saucepan until simmering, then pour it over the chocolate. Let sit for one minute and then whisk until smooth. If the chocolate is not completely melted, place the bowl over a double boiler or give it a very short burst in the microwave (15-20 seconds). Once the mixture reaches 90 - 95 degrees F, add the butter and Bailey’s and stir until combined.
  4. Set aside to let the ganache cool until it is thick enough to be piped. (You can use the refrigerator to speed the cooling process, but be sure to stir every 10 minutes or so to ensure even cooling.) Meanwhile, cut out a portion from the center of the cupcake using the cone method (a small paring knife works best for this). Once the ganache has reached the correct consistency, transfer it to a piping bag fitted with a wide tip and pipe it into the cupcakes.
  5. To make the frosting, place the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Gradually add the powdered sugar until it is all incorporated. Mix in the Bailey’s until smooth. Add more if necessary until the frosting has reached a good consistency for piping or spreading. Frost the cupcakes as desired.


Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Sherbet Trio

I have been dreaming about this delicious trio of sherbet for quite some time and I finally had the time to make it happen. How yummy does this look?! And pretty too. :o)
I was originally going to make sorbets, but decided that sherbet would be so much better because of the creaminess, and boy are they delish! The trio consists of strawberry, raspberry and orange. Enjoy!!

Top to Bottom: Raspberry, Orange, Strawberry

Strawberry Sherbet (from Delish)
  • 3 cups hulled strawberries, fresh or frozen
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  1. In a food processor, puree fruit until smooth. Press the mixture through a strainer to remove seeds if desired. Sweeten the puree with sugar until desired sweetness achieved.
  2. Chill the mixture thoroughly, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Best when served immediately. Can be stored in freezer; leave out for 10-15 minutes to soften before scooping and serving.

Raspberry Sherbet (from Simply Cooking, Originally from David Lebovitz's, The Perfect Scoop)

  • 4 cups raspberries
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1½ tsp. lemon juice
  • food processor
  • ice cream maker
  1. Puree the berries, milk and sugar until smooth
  2. Strain to remove the seeds
  3. Stir in the lemon juice
  4. Freeze the mixture in your ice cream maker
Orange Sherbet (from Food Loves Writing)
  • 7 ounces sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons finely grated orange zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups very cold whole milk
  1. In a food processor, combine all of the ingredients except the milk, and process until the sugar is dissolved, approximately 1 minute.
  2. Transfer this mixture to a mixing bowl, and whisk in the milk.
  3. Cover the bowl, and place in the refrigerator until the mixture reaches 40 degrees F or below, approximately 1 hour.
  4. Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker and process until it is the consistency of soft serve ice cream. You may serve immediately or put in a container and place in freezer until firm, approximately 3 hours.
The orange sherbet is so refreshing and delicious, the only part that bummed me out is that it turned out yellow instead of orange. The raspberry is the next best, nice and creamy. The strawberry is good as well, just not as creamy. It's a little more icy. All in all I am very happy with the results!

All packed up and ready to be delivered to someone special!


Sunday, June 27, 2010

Creamy Strawberry Cookie Tarts

I'm back! Not that I really went anywhere. Sorry for my absence. I made these yummy strawberry cookie tarts for a work party and thought I would share them with you. I was a little worried about how these would taste with the jello mixture on top of a cookie and all...just seemed odd to me. But everyone at work really liked them, so yay! I mean the way I see it is you can't go wrong with anything that has cream cheese in I right or am I right? I thought so. :o) These were really easy to make and took no time at all. I was thinking they would be really yummy will raspberry jello instead, oh and an Oreo cookie on the bottom...yummers!

Creamy Strawberry Cookie Tarts
(from Kraft)
Yields: 12

  • 2/3 cup boiling water
  • 1 pkg. (4-serving size) JELL-O Strawberry Flavor Gelatin
  • 1 pkg. (8 oz.) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, cubed
  • 1 cup thawed COOL WHIP Whipped Topping
  • 12 CHIPS AHOY! Cookies
  • 12 small strawberries
  1. Stir boiling water into dry gelatin mix in small bowl at least 2 min. until completely dissolved. Cool 5 min., stirring occasionally.
  2. Pour gelatin mixture into blender. Add cream cheese; cover. Blend on medium speed 30 to 45 sec. or until well blended; scrape down side of blender container, if needed. Add whipped topping; cover. Blend on low speed 5 sec. or just until blended.
  3. Line 12 muffin pan cups with paper liners; spray with cooking spray. Place 1 cookie on bottom of each prepared cup; top evenly with the gelatin mixture. Refrigerate 1 hour 30 min. or until firm. Top each with a strawberry just before serving. Store leftover desserts in refrigerator.


Sunday, May 23, 2010

For my best buddy :o)

Hope you have a wonderful birthday!!


Thursday, May 13, 2010

Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake

When I saw this cake I knew I had to make it. Chocolate and mousse, plus triple the chocolaty goodness?! Score! :o)

Now in the past, prior to pastry school, I would have seen this recipe and dreamed about how wonderful it would turn out but I would never attempt it. For a few reasons: 1. The long list of ingredients, 2. The even longer list of to-dos, and 3. No spring form pan, and what the heck is folding?! But now that I have experience, a shiny new spring form pan, and big strong folding muscles (who knew folding could be so much work and hurt so bad?), I am ready to take on the world! (The baking world that is.)

So I made the lovely Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake and am very pleased with the way it turned out. My only problem with the recipe is that after the bottom layer is baked, the edges turn in, not allowing for a pretty outer appearance. If I had had the right size cake ring I would have trimmed the cake and built the entire thing in the ring to make for a gorgeous appearance, but I only have little bitty cake rings. Oh well.

Oh yeah, and I really wanted to do chocolate curls on top because how frickin cute are chocolate curls?? But I could not find a large block of chocolate. Guess I have to go to a candy store or order online. Hmmm. Anyhoo! On to the cake!

Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake

Bottom layer:
  • 6 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces (plus extra for greasing the pan)
  • 5 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 2 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • ¾ tsp. instant espresso powder
  • 1½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed

Middle layer:

  • 2 tbsp. cocoa powder
  • 5 tbsp. hot water
  • 5 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 2 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1½ cups heavy cream
  • 1 tbsp. granulated sugar
  • Pinch of salt

Top layer:

  • ¾ tsp. powdered gelatin
  • 1 tbsp. water
  • 6 oz. white chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1½ cups heavy cream

Garnish with:

  • Chocolate curls or cocoa powder
  1. To make the bottom layer, butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch spring form pan and line with parchment. Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 325˚ F. Combine the butter, chocolate, and espresso powder in a large heatproof bowl set over simmering water. Stir occasionally until the mixture is smooth. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the vanilla and egg yolks. Set aside.

  2. In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites and salt on medium speed until foamy, about 30 seconds. Crumble half of the brown sugar into the mixing bowl with your fingers to remove any lumps. Beat until incorporated, about 15 seconds. Add the remaining brown sugar and continue to beat on high speed until stiff peaks form, about 1 minute more. Using a whisk, mix one-third of the beaten egg whites to the chocolate mixture to lighten it. Fold in the remaining egg whites gently with a rubber spatula until no streaks remain. Pour the batter into the prepared spring form pan and smooth the top with a spatula.

  3. Bake until the cake has risen, is firm around the edges and the center has just set but is still soft (should spring back after pressing gently with a finger), about 14-18 minutes. Transfer the cake to a wire rack to cool completely, at least 1 hour. Do not remove the cake from the pan.

  4. To make the second layer, whisk together the cocoa powder and hot water in a small bowl; set aside. Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth. Once melted, remove from the heat and let cool slightly, 2-5 minutes.

  5. In the clean bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the cream, sugar and salt on medium speed until the mixture begins to thicken, about 30 seconds. Increase the speed to high and whip until soft peaks form when the whisk is lifted, 30-60 seconds. Whisk in the cocoa powder mixture until smooth. Using a whisk, mix one-third of the whipped cream to the chocolate mixture to lighten it. Fold in the remaining whipped cream gently with a rubber spatula until no streaks remain. Pour the mousse into the spring form pan over the cooled cake and tap gently on the counter 3 times to remove air bubbles. Gently smooth the top with a spatula. Wipe the inside edge of the pan to remove any drips. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes while preparing the top layer.

  6. To make the top layer, sprinkle the gelatin over the water in a small bowl and let stand 5-8 minutes to allow the gelatin to bloom. Place the white chocolate in a medium bowl. Bring ½ cup of the cream to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove the pan from the heat, add the gelatin mixture and stir until dissolved. Pour the hot cream mixture over the white chocolate and let stand about 1 minute. Whisk until the mixture is smooth. Cool to room temperature, about 5-8 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  7. In the clean bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the remaining 1 cup of cold cream at medium speed until it begins to thicken. Increase the speed to high and whip until soft peaks form when the whisk is lifted, 30-60 seconds. Using a whisk, mix one-third of the whipped cream to the white chocolate mixture to lighten it. Fold in the remaining whipped cream gently with a rubber spatula until no streaks remain. Spoon the white chocolate mousse into the pan over the middle layer. Smooth the top with an offset spatula. Return the cake to the refrigerator uncovered and chill until set, at least 2½ hours. (I left mine in overnight and still needed to pop it in the freezer for a bit to get nice clean cuts.) Before cutting, sprinkle with cocoa powder or chocolate curls.
Adapted from Annie's Eats, originally from Cooks Illustrated


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Baseball Cookie Favors

My friend and I made these baseball cookies as favors for her baby shower. Now that the little cutie is 4 months I'm finally getting around to posting them.

Is he not the cutest baby you have ever seen!?


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Green & Yellow Dessert Table

I love doing dessert tables! Not only do I get to bake, but I get a chance to do a little bit of party planning at the same time. Before I wanted to do pastries I wanted to be an event planner so I love any chance I get to plan and make things pretty! Last weekend I had the pleasure of creating a dessert table for my friend Michelle's wedding shower. I had a great time putting this together for her and thought I'd share some pictures with you! (Forgive the bad pictures...this was my first time using my new camera!)

Congratulations to Michelle and Dave!


Monday, April 5, 2010

Peanut Butter Cupcakes

Reese's Peanut Butter Cups are my favorite. I especially love the holiday versions, such as the Christmas tree, the Easter egg, the pumpkin, etc. I am assuming you know why and agree with me...because of all the extra delicious PB inside, and the chocolate is softer and it's this whole big thing...anyways!

I decided peanut butter cupcakes were something I needed to make, and why not? Afterall, Reese's PB Cups were on sale! These turned out very yummy, and I would definitely make them again. So cure your PB craving and bake some of these little yummies! This recipe made 36 mini cupcakes and 12 regular cupcakes.

Reese's Peanut Butter Cupcakes

  • 1 box dark chocolate fudge cake mix
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 24 regular Reese's Peanut Butter Cups - chopped (16 for mix, 8 for topping)
  • 8 oz. semi-sweet chocolate morsels
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place mini baking cups in mini cupcake pan.
  2. In a large bowl, beat cake mix, eggs, buttermilk and vegetable oil on low for 30 seconds. Increase speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes. Fold in the 16 chopped peanut butter cups.
  3. Use a cookie scoop or tablespoon to spoon batter into cups. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  4. Cool completely.
  5. Place semi-sweet morsels in a medium bowl. Bring the cream just to a boil and then pour over chocolate. Whisk chocolate until it melts, then add the peanut butter and whisk until smooth.
  6. Dip the tops of the cupcakes in the peanut butter/chocolate frosting.
  7. Sprinkle remaining chopped peanut butter cups over each cupcake.
  8. Refrigerate to set the the frosting.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Flower Wedding Cake

Before I show you the cake, I have something to say:

Dear Fondant,

You and I will never be friends. You have caused me heartache over and over and over again. Friends don't make one another cry, like you have made me. I know I have tried to stretch you too thin at times and that is why you tear, leaving my buttercream to show through. What I don't understand is why you refuse to be smooth. Why must you always crease when I try to smooth you out, no matter how hard I try? It exhausting and humiliating! I can't take it anymore. I have been patient with you and you have failed me again. They say "third times the charm" but they are wrong. I am sure we will meet again in the future, but it will not be my choice. I hope when the day comes, we can be decent enough to one another. And if not, "there is always a backside to every cake" and plenty of royal icing flowers to cover up the boo-boos.



Now on with the cake!!

I completed my first wedding cake and overall I am pretty proud of it. I did have some fondant issues as you already know. ;o) But I was able to cover up most of my mistakes with flowers. I am not going to lie, it was stressful making this cake. I dreamt about icing cakes for like 3 nights straight! lol Anyways, it is based on a cake by Peggy Porschen. It is buttercream covered in fondant. The flowers are royal icing and the topper is made from pastillage. I hope you enjoy it!


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Birthday Cake

It's been a long time!

Sorry I have been gone so long. It is very hard to find time nowadays to bake, but I will be done with school in no time and spring is in the air!

Today I would like to share with you the first cake that I have decorated in school. It is yellow chiffon cake, covered in buttercream and decorated with roses and lilies.

I will be making my very first wedding cake this week! Stay tuned for a picture!


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Valentine Message Cookies

I recently bought these Message in a Cookie cookie cutters from Williams-Sonoma. I was very excited to use these, and I was pretty excited with the way mine turned out. The cookie on the right is supposed to say "sweetheart" but unfortunately you can't really read it. Next time I make them I will make sure to press a little harder and also not let my cookies puff up too much. Other than that, these were a lot of fun to make and you can write pretty much whatever you want! The set also comes with a scalloped rectangle and a star. You can purchase the Message in a Cookie set in the store or at

No-Fail Sugar Cookies
Adapted from CakeCentral
  • 6 cups flour
  • 3 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 cups unsalted butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. salt
    1. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix well. Mix dry ingredients and add a little at a time to butter mixture. Mix until flour is completely incorporated and the dough comes together.
    2. Chill for about an hour
    3. Roll to desired thickness and cut into desired shapes. Bake on baking sheet with parchment at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes or until just beginning to turn brown around the edges.
Royal Icing
  • 1 cup powdered sugar (sifted)
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tsp cream of tarter
Combine powdered sugar and cream of tarter in mixing bowl. Gradually add the egg whites and mix on medium speed for 4 minutes. Add a little bit of water to make icing more runny, or a little powdered sugar to stiffen the icing.

Tip: If you plan to flood your cookies you will probably need to double the icing recipe.


Monday, February 8, 2010

Creme Brulee

Creme Brulee
Makes 4 - 4oz ramekins

1 cup heavy cream
2 Tbs. plus additional 1/3 cup sugar
2 extra large or jumbo egg yolks
½ tsp. vanilla extract

  1. Preheat oven to 300ºF. Prepare some boiling water.
  2. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine cream and 2 Tbs sugar; cook, stirring occasionally until small bubbles appear around edges of pan, 5-6 minutes. Set aside.
  3. In a bowl, beat egg yolks and vanilla until smooth and light. Pour hot cream mixture into egg yolks, a little at a time, beating continuously until well blended. Strain mixture through a fine sieve into a bowl. Divide mixture among four 4 oz. ramekins.
  4. Arrange ramekins in a baking pan and place on middle shelf of preheated oven. Fill pan with boiling water to halfway up sides of ramekins. Cover pan loosely with aluminum foil. Bake until custard is just set, about 25 minutes (use caution when removing ramekins from oven as they will be very hot!). Chill 2-3 hours.
  5. Sprinkle remaining sugar evenly over top of cooled custards. With the kitchen torch, move the flame continuously over the surface of the ramekins, in a circular motion until sugar melts and becomes golden brown and bubbly. (You may need to use more sugar for the top if you are getting burnt spots). Serve immediately topped with fresh fruit or refrigerate for later use (if saving for later use, wait to torch the sugar until ready to serve).

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Crème Carmel

Crème Carmel (aka Flan) is a nice custard dessert, presented here with a tuile cookie dome. First prepare the caramelized sugar and then the baked custard.

Caramelized Sugar
Makes enough for 5 - 4" ramekins
  • 8 oz sugar
  • 2 oz water
  • 3 drops of lemon juice
Combine all of the ingredients in a sauce pan and begin heating. Do not stir the mixture. Brush down the insides of the pan with clean water if crystals start forming on the walls, careful not to touch the mixture with your brush. Once the sugar begins to turn brown gently swirl the solution around to distribute the color, by holding the handle of the pan and swirling. Once the entire mixture is brown, place the pot directly into an ice bath so stop it from cooking further. Immediately pour the sugar into 5 - 4" ramekins. Just enough to coat the bottoms. If the mixture hardens in the bottom and you don't have enough to coat the whole bottom, don't worry about it because it will melt again evenly in the oven when you bake the custard.

Baked Custard
Makes 5 - 4" ramekins
  • 1 pt milk
  • 1 pt half and half
  • 4 oz sugar
  • 1/2 vanilla bean (split)
  • 1/3 tsp salt
  • 14 oz eggs
  1. In a sauce pan scald the milk, half and half, sugar, vanilla bean, and salt. Remove from heat.
  2. In a bowl, whisk the eggs to break them up. Carefully pour about 1 1/2 cups of the hot mixture into the eggs, stirring constantly.
  3. Whisk the tempered eggs back into the hot mixture. Strain the mixture through a fine sieve. Gently scrape out the vanilla bean and stir in.
  4. Place mixture into the ramekins (after the caramelized sugar has already been placed in the dishes). Put dishes in a water bath, ensuring water comes up no higher than 1/3 way up the ramekins.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees F, until set and there is a light skin on top of the custard, approximately 35 minutes.

Once they are finished baking, cool and then cover in saran wrap and place in the fridge. The next day (or once they are completely cooled), take a small offset spatula and run it around the edge only going about halfway down so you don't touch the sugar. Flip it over onto a plate, shake it a little and it should come out of the ramekin. If it does not, you may need to run the spatula around again. Decorate as desired and serve chilled.


Thursday, February 4, 2010

Super Bowl Petit Fours

I have always loved the Super Bowl. I enjoy watching the game and rooting on my favorite team, and of course watching the commercials. However, one of my favorite reasons why I love the Super Bowl so much is because of the food! It is a great opportunity to make appetizers and other yummy food that I wouldn't otherwise have a reason to make.

About a week ago I was trying to figure out what I should make and petit fours came to mind. I had originally wanted to do them for Valentine's Day but then decided that I already had too much on my plate for V-day. Plus, mini footballs sounded so cute! Once I had the idea in my head, I knew I had to make it happen. I am very happy with the way they turned out!

Almond Pound Cake
  • 7 oz sugar
  • 7 oz almond paste
  • 1 oz egg
  • 7 oz diced butter
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 oz cake flour
Before you begin, all ingredients must be room temperature including the eggs.
  1. Cream sugar and almond paste together. When the mixture is well broken up, add the 1oz egg.
  2. Continue to mix until the mixture is smooth and forms a paste. There should be no lumps of almond paste in the mixture.
  3. Add the butter and cream on high speed until the mixture is light and airy.
  4. Add the eggs in 3 stages and scrape down after each addition. Do not over mix.
  5. Finally add the sifted flour and mix just until incorporated.
  6. Line a cookie sheet with parchment and evenly spread the mixture in the pan.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown and firm to the touch. Approximately 30-35 minutes.
Once cooled, flip it over onto another sheet pan and remove the parchment. Cut in half horizontally and spread 1/2 cup of warm jam on one half and then place the other layer on top. Now you are ready to cut out your shapes. It may be easier to cut if you place the cake in the freezer for 10-20 minutes.

To glaze, place a rack on a sheet pan to catch the extra glaze. Pour melted chocolate fondant over the petit fours. You can use the extra glaze in the pan if you need more fondant. Once they are set, draw the laces on with a piping bag and royal icing.

Royal Icing
  • 1 cup powdered sugar (sifted)
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tsp cream of tarter
Combine powdered sugar and cream of tarter in mixing bowl. Gradually add the egg whites and mix on medium speed for 4 minutes.

Enjoy the game!!


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

English Trifle

English Trifle
It is made with an apricot jelly roll, layered with cake cubes soaked in grand marnier, strawberries, mandarin oranges, diplomat cream, and garnished with chantilly cream and strawberries. Although this is not a classic English trifle, it is still very delicious and pretty!


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Charlotte Russe

I am very excited that I finally get to make some pretty things in pastry school! Last week I made a Charlotte Russe torte which is a Bavarian cream torte with lady fingers around the outside. The one pictured below is made with a vanilla chiffon cake, layered with vanilla Bavarian cream and topped with apricot glazed fresh fruit.

The recipes that I have make way more cake than you would want to make at home. So I will just tell you how to construct this torte.

You will need:
  • an entremet ring (cake ring) one inch larger than your cake pan
  • a cake board larger than your cake ring
  • acetate strip
  • a recipe for 1 chiffon cake
  • a recipe for vanilla Bavarian cream
  • lady fingers
  1. Bake and freeze chiffon cake: Make one pan of chiffon cake, and once cooled place in the freezer (the cake will be easier to remove from the pan and cut in half if frozen). Get all of your ingredients ready to make the cream, and before you make it, prepare your cake ring.
  2. Prepare cake ring: Place the cake ring on a larger cake board. You will need to put a strip of acetate around the inside of the rings and then place your lady fingers inside the ring as well. You will need to layer your torte with chiffon cake and cream, so cut your cake in half equally. Next brush the cake layers with dessert syrup (recipe below). Place one cake layer inside the circle of lady fingers (it is okay if there is room in between the lady fingers and the cake, the cream will just fill in these spots and hold the torte together).
  3. Make the cream and assemble the torte: Now you can start to make your cream. Once the cream is done, you must make sure that it is not too runny or it will run out the bottom of the ring. However, because it has gelatin in it, you cannot let it sit around or it will set up quickly. Once it is the right consistency, pour half of the gelatin over the first cake layer. Then take the second cake layer and set it on top, and press it down a little bit into the cream. Pour the remaining cream on top and use a flat edge to make the top even with the cake ring. Freeze overnight.
  4. Decorate: Before you begin decorating, pull torte out of the freezer and let thaw for about an hour or so. When you are ready to decorate your torte, first put your toppings on before removing the cake ring. Once you are finished with your torte you are now ready to remove it from the cake ring.
  5. Remove torte from cake ring: In order to do this we used a torch and a cake turn table to warm the top part of the ring. Do not hold the torch in once spot too long, and do not use the torch too long in general because it will melt your cream. Once you warm it up you should be able to slowly lift the cake ring up and off the torte. Peel off the acetate and place on a serving plate. Slice and serve cold.

Dessert Syrup
(yields enough syrup for about 2 - 10" torte)
  • 1/8 cup water
  • 1/8 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup Grand Marnier (or desired flavor)
  1. Combine sugar and water in small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and add Grand Marnier. Bring back to a boil and remove from heat.

In the future I will try to cut down my recipes so I can post them here for you.


Monday, January 11, 2010

Oreo Truffles

These are sooooo yummy! If you like Oreos, you will probably love these. Even my boyfriend (who dislikes sweets), said they were "amazing". I love when I finally make something he likes. :o) You must try these!

Oreo Truffles
Makes approx. 24

-1pkg of Oreos (18oz)
-1pkg of softened cream cheese (8oz)
-Chocolate melts or semi-sweet chocolate (for dipping)

Crush the package of Oreos, either in a food processor or in place in a ziplock bag and use a rolling pin. Once the Oreos are crushed (you want them to be very fine crumbs, otherwise you will have chunks of cookie in your truffles), combine them with the softened cream cheese in a bowl. Mix until it is well blended. Roll the mixture into 1-inch balls and place on a cookie sheet. Put the cookie sheet in the freezer or fridge to harden the truffles. Once firm enough (about 30 - 1 hour in fridge), remove them and dip them into the melted chocolate using a fork. Replace back on cookie sheets and put them in the fridge or freezer to harden. Best when served chilled.



Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Happy New Year!

My vacation is coming to an end. While I have been back to work for a couple days now, I don't go back to school until next week. I have been enjoying my time off and I am trying to relax as much as possible. Drinking hot chocolate and trying to stay nice and cozy inside as much as possible. I know once school begins again, the craziness will follow. There will be no time for anything, what with 20 hours at school, 20+ hours at work and 3 days of workout classes (what was I thinking?!). So I am using this time now to just lounge around. Therefore I haven't felt like baking much. My apologies. I also realize I didn't post much from school last semester, but since I was mainly baking bread, I didn't find anything to be pretty enough to post. This semester should have a lot more things to post, as I will be making lots of pastries. I believe I will also be making a wedding cake, so that should be interesting!

Anyways, if you are still around, I appreciate it. I will try to get some new stuff up soon.