Chicks cake pops

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The chicks are in the coop!  I had a fun time making these this second time around.  I figured out ways to improve my techniques.  One thing I learned is that using specific  brand of products can affect your results.  

For example, I usually use wilton candy melts but I find the colored melts to be too thick.  So, after some research, I stumbled upon a tip to use paramount cystals.  This product purpose is to thin out candy melts.  It worked!  I bought it at a local cake supply store but you can order it online. 

 


Blondie bar with dates and walnuts

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These are called food of the gods in the Philippines.  But I called them blondie bars since it has no chocolate.  Can you believe it? What?  a bar without chocolate?  Actually, dates are rather tasty by itself and you hardly missed the chocolate.  But combine them with walnuts, they are divine.  The soft chewy texture of dates really gives dessert a boost.  I suppose to could substitute the dates for cranberries or golden raisins.  Also, you can even make them a true blondie by using white chocolate as well.  Perhaps, for a holiday or festive theme, add dried cranberries or sour cherries for a splash of color.  Now, soft chewy dates are like a red cherry on top of a good dessert.

This recipe will be in Chef Joey Pratts upcoming  Signature desserts cookbook.

 


Fudgy brownies

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No dessert blog cannot exist without including everybody’s favorite chocolate dessert: brownies.  When I think of an ultimate brownie, I envision a thick rich fudgy brownie loaded with walnuts.  A good brownie must have one important ingredient: Good chocolate and real butter!  Usually, for a special treat I want a scoop of good ole plain vanilla ice cream.  There is just something about the juxaposition of a warm brownie along beside cold ice cream.

I am excited to announce that I will be a recipe tester for Chef Joey Pratts dessert cookbook coming out soon!  Check him out on facebook: Joey Pratts Signature desserts.  So, I will be posting my results from his recipes.  This brownie is one of the delicious recipe from his upcoming book.  This brownie is fudgy and has the crackling crust that is a sign of a good brownie.


Hello Kitty oreo pops

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Hello Kitty makes a little or big girl happy.  There is just something about her hair bow that makes it so girly.  I was inspired by bakerella’s blog.  These took a bit more time to make since you need to have your supplies and sprinkles ready before the candy melts dries.    I really should swap my wilton edible black pen for the americolor brand.  It just doesn’t work well on this surface but may be better on cookies.   I just have not yet to order them online.  If only supplies were more readily available at my local hobby lobby.  Guess I have to check out the cake supply store near me.  I know could spend a long time browsing in that store!

This is a red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting.  I just love anything with cream cheese.  I think red velvet would be a great contract to the white frosting.  So if you want a stunning contrast.. make it a red velvet cake.  Hello kitty with the infamous red bow is like a red cherry on top of a great dessert.

 


Banana Bread

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Going bananas for banana bread.. Yep, I gotta clean out my freezer and need to up a few black bananas that I felt bad throwing out.    Moreover, I even had some sour cream that’s about to reach its expiration as well.  Isn’t nice when you have the exact ingredients to make something so comforting?  I had my kids bring some of this bread to share with the neighbors.   How else you gonna teach them to share?  Actually, it gives me an excuse to try out another banana bread recipe.  I am not sure where this recipe came from but I written it down on a scrap piece of paper.  But, it is similar to Emerils recipe which i think is one of my favorite. Why is that so?  Well, it actually uses butter rather than oil.  Also, another moisture booster is sour cream.  Although next time, I may substitute the butter for some coconut oil.  I just found out that coconut oil is the healthier choice for oil use.  But, coconut flavor would complement bananas..kinda tropical.

I must say that a achieving a great bread is almost like finding the perfect relationship: the key is balance.  I have been reading the science of baking from a Shirley’s corriher Bakewise book.  I have taken some lessons from a baking book and applied it to my relationships.

There are several key factors or elements in baked goods such as the fat, flour, eggs, and liquid.  All of these have different roles to make it good in the end.  As in any relationship, you have to constantly experiment and not give up.  Flour and eggs gives structure to a cake. Sort of like honesty and trust as foundation in a strong relationship.  Also, not having enough fat will not produce a tender cake.  But the type of fat is important consideration:  butter for that great taste or oil for extra moisture.  Sometimes you have to sacrifice one baking ingredients for the sake of principle.  So, why not compromise by using half butter and half oil.  The butter will give you taste and aeration while the oil gives tenderness and moisture.  Now that is harmony.

As in this particular bread,  try using half butter and half oil.  Also, the sour cream will make it more moist and a tang ( any relationship needs a tang).  Keep experimenting and learn from your mistakes in the kitchen.  Afterall, you can never stop learning. But when you do find that light bulb moment, it is like a red cherry on top of a great dessert.

BANANA BREAD

1/2 c butter ( 1 stick, softened)

1 c sugar

1/4 c sour cream

2 eggs

1 & 1/2 c  all purpose flour

1 tsp vanilla

1 tsp baking soda

1 c ripe mashed bananas ( I used 2 large ones)

Mix the butter and sugar until fluffy.  Add  sour cream and vanilla  fold in the dry ingredients (flour, baking, soda, pinch of salt).  Mix until combined.  Pour into a loaf pan that has been sprayed or oiled.  Bake for 50 minutes at 350 degrees.


French almond macarons

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Almond macarons: These little babies droved me nuts!  My first attempt failed miserably.  I adored the dainty frill (or foot) around the edge of the cookie and the colorful display is perfect for joyful celebrations.  The time and effort put forth in baking them makes them truly special for gift-giving. Pictures will follow.  But I bought a book and watch several tutorials… frustration, ranting, and finally.. a chorus of ALLEUIA.  Every bakers hopes and dreams was to see the little “foot” forming on the bottom of these babies.  I cannot recall if I ever looked for feet on my actual children much less these little pastries.  The formation of the feet is dependent on so many factors: egg white whipped to peak, sufficient drying time of the piped meringue,  rapping of the baking sheet,  humidity, proper oven temperature, and so on. Perhaps it was divine intervention…going to sunday mass last week.  Hey, macaron are a mystery in itself.

Here are some pictures of my successful and failed attempts:

Here is the chocolate ganache filling:

  

Notes & Tips:

  • Your egg whites need to be room temperature, and some say aged. Mine were aged 3 days inside the eggshell.
  • I did not make my own almond flour. I used the almond meal at the bulk section of central market.
  • Follow the recipe very carefully and exercise each step very deliberately.
  • At first, use short strokes to fold in the almond flour mixture to the egg whites. Your batter will be very thick. (thicker than I expected!) Use bigger folds once incorporated.  Your mixture will begin to loosen.
  • Once mixed and in a pastry bag, your batter should just start to slowly come out of the tip. If it doesn’t, squeeze it back into your bowl and fold a few more times.  If it runs then I’m sorry to say… back to square 1.  (This valuable tip courtesy of Giver’s Log

I used the recipe from the book called: I love macaron but many bloggers have claimed martha stewart recipe to be pretty good.


cookie bouquet

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Deliver these edible treats to me any day!  I would take these tulips over fresh flowers..at least I can share them..with a few buds missing or bitten off here and there.

These are made in several processes.  First of all, the cookies were bakes and cooled overnight.  Then the decorating  and messy parts began the following day.  If you wanted to add another color, then they need to be dried completely before applying a second color.  I am so glad that these cookie lollipops stayed on the sticks!  But the spiral ones are kind of heavy so I may use a smaller cutter next time.  I used a glaze for this since I did not like the taste of royal icing much.  However, I may only use royal icing sparingly next time for the details.   Now, how else are you gonna get tulips that smelled and tasted good enough to eat!  Almond sugar cookie with edible pearls is like a red cherry on top of a good dessert.