Thursday, February 26, 2009

Let's see how far I've come....

Final cake for Wilton class #1:

Final cake for Wilton class #2:

It's all about the basketweave baby!

I think I've improved!

I used all butter and brown vanilla for my buttercream...I chose not to use shortening as Wilton suggests and it turned out a pretty ivory color and tastes a lot better! Thanks to Cafe Coco for the rebellious idea!

I'm on to class #3...fondant and tiered cakes! Woohoo!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

TWD: Caramel Crunch Bars

This weeks TWD was chosen by Whitney over at What's Left on the Table? She chose Caramel Crunch Bars which seems to be a grown up candy bar. A shortbread crust with espresso powder, cinnamon and bittersweet chocolate mixed in, topped by a thin layer of even more bittersweet chocolate and then finished off with bits of toffee! Wowzy!

A lot of bakers mentioned they had a hard time finding the toffee bits but my local Walmart has them year round...I picked up a package when I was there yesterday (don't even think about stopping into Walmart on the weekend!) and baked up a batch today. I think I might use the rest of the toffee bits in some blondies....hmmm. These dangerous bars will be wrapped up and taken to Bunco at a friend's house Thursday night. (Haven't played Bunco yet but there will be food and drink there so it can't be all bad, right?)

The only substitution I made was replacing the light brown sugar in the shortbread base with dark brown as that was all I had in the pantry.

Have a look over here to see what the rest of the bakers made....

Oh yeah...Twilight comes out on DVD 03/21/09! I CAN'T WAIT! :)

Monday, February 23, 2009

PTC Meeting Bundt Cake

Another day...another bundt cake! Seriously though, a bundt cake is the perfect choice for a meeting at a school, with a bunch of moms (and 1 dad), on a rainy school night, right at dinner time, you get my drift. Easy to whip up, one pan, no layers to deal with...throw a glaze over the top and it's good to go. All the moms and teachers enjoyed this Blood Orange Chocolate Chunk Cake I found over at Smitten Kitchen. She used regular oranges but I had picked up a few blood oranges at the farmers' market and needed to use them and what better way than a cake?

Next time I will poke holes all over the top of the cake so the blood orange syrup gets down in there...and something happened to my it wasn't a glaze really, more like a thick ganache frosting. So I frosted the whole thing. I should have used the glaze recipe for "Physical Therapist Bundt Cake" because that shiz was YUM! And it behaved much better.

To see what the glaze was SUPPOSED to look like...head over here.

Thanks for stopping by...

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

From now on...I'm naming my Bundt Cakes...

I recently made a few bundt cakes and have decided to name them for the Keri Russell named her pies in Waitress? It's just too boring to say "Chocolate Bundt Cake" or "Orange Bundt Cake" so from now on mine will be named.

Here is "Physical Therapist Bundt Cake"

My husband has been receiving physical therapy for a back injury and wanted to say Thanks! to his physical therapist. This is what she got: Double Chocolate Bundt Cake with Ganache Glaze found here. Very easy to put together. This cake contains both buttermilk and coffee and calls from Dutch-process cocoa. I didn't have Dutch-process on hand so used turned out fine. The ganache though, was heavenly...

Perfectly soft and chocolatey and drippy...I sprinkled little Vahlrona balls on the top. I hope she liked it!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

TWD: Devil's Food White Out Cake

This week's TWD was chosen by Stephanie over at Confessions of a City Eater. Wow. Wow again. This cake was so very yummy....and the frosting was too. I had never made this type of frosting and it came together pretty easy. I followed the directions exactly, I was afraid I was gonna screw it up. My only change was to use liquid pasteurized egg whites from TJ's. The result was soft and fluffy and fun to frost the cake with...

I halved the recipe and made it in two 6" pans. That worked perfectly...I was able to slice both layers into 4 and still have a pretty tall cake. The fourth layer I crumbled half for the top of the cake (left the sides snow-white) and ate the other half! I did use milk chocolate chips in my batter and was wondering if I could have used hot coffee in place of the boiling know, a la Ina! I'm sure it would taste fine but I had already poured the water into the batter when the thought came to me!

I enjoyed peeking at all the other bakers' renditions...some had crumbs on the sides with the top white...some had crumbs around the top edge...some had shapes on the top with the crumbs...the possibilities are endless...I like that they are all different!

To crumb...or not to crumb....I kinda like the snow white affect:

But this is pretty too...

I didn't cut into mine and haven't tried it all together (frosting and cake) as I am waiting for my husband to return from a trip to the Oregon Coast...this will be our belated Valentine's dessert!

Head on over to TWD to check out the others and their wonderful won't leave disappointed! :)

Thanks for stopping by...

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Barefoot Blogger! Real Meatballs and Spaghetti..

Remember when I said I joined Barefoot Bloggers because they made real food instead of making sweets all the time, and I would have a chance to make dinner and try new recipes at the same time....And then proceeded to have the next 2 choices be sweet breakfast items? Well, I got my wish! (How do I get rid of this stupid underline?)

These are sitting on wax paper...not my tile just can't see the paper!!

Yummm, a chance to make real meatballs that were on the easy side and pair them with some spaghetti with lots of parmesan on top! A sure fire meal my husband, kids and I would enjoy....and enjoy we did. Plus it gave me an excuse to use the pound of grass fed ground beef I bought at Whole, that shit is expensive!

Rebecca over at Ezra Pound Cake chose this recipe for BB this time.
I did enjoy making this recipe...the meatballs were easy to put together. I made a few subs: 1. We don't do veal I just used extra ground pork. I did look for ground veal in the supermarket but couldn't find it and didn't bother asking since I really didn't want to eat it. 2. Forgot to get the parsley at the did without, but I did grind fresh nutmeg...that must give me extra points somewhere. 3. Used whole wheat pasta noodles and 4. Made the meatballs a lot smaller so I ended up with about 20 extra partially cooked meatballs in the freezer waiting for another day! Perfect! After reading some of the other time I will try baking them. I don't know why I didn't think of it this time...I need to learn to think outside of the box recipe! :)

Everyone here enjoyed this...I will definately keep this meatball recipe handy. Check out the others here to see how they fared.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Don't Snicker at my Doodles...

just because I forgot to add the eggs....until the end. Here's what happened: I was mixing the butter and sugar together and as I looked down at my recipe for snickerdoodles...I realized I was actually looking at the recipe for Giada's Lemon Ricotta Cookies that I plan on making later in the week. The actual recipe I wanted was underneath. So I put the snickerdoodle recipe on top and scanned down to where I thought I should be after creaming the butter and sugar...adding the dry ingredients. Completely skipped the add the 2 eggs part. Needless to dough wasn't sticking together! Duh :) I quickly beat 2 eggs together and added them to the dough...mixed them in and called it good. I rolled the dough into balls and then froze them on a cookie sheet for 5-10 minutes so that when I threw them into the ziploc bag with the sugar cinnamon mixture, they held their shape...I also wanted them to be a little puffier when baked. It worked! Yummy cookies for the kids' lunches this week...oh and I made 1 1 /2 batches so that the hubs and I could sneak some in after the kids were in bed at night...
No TWD for me this week...not into floating islands. I've made them before in a cooking class I took about 8 years ago. They were called oeufs a la neige...which translated, I believe, means "eggs in snow". They were fun to make and we learned the technique for making them egg (oval) sized using 2 large spoons and sliding them off one onto the other. They turned out nice but I just don't see me eating them again...I have been baking though and will share with you later.

On a more serious note, as some of you know, my husband is from Australia...down near Melbourne in Victoria..where right now they are having some of the worst wildfires in their history...please keep the residents in your thoughts throughout your day...I know my family members are in my thoughts constantly. Thank you.

And thank you for stopping by...

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

TWD: World Peace Cookies....

What could be better for promoting world peace than cookies? And not just any cookies but these yummy, chocolatey, salty, sweet little morsels! If everyone in the world had one, we would all just get along. That's my dream anyway! :)
Jessica from CookBookHabit chose these beauties for TWD.
This recipe is the very first recipe I made after receiving my Baking: From My Home to Yours cookbook last August. Of course, I was the only one in the house eating them so I had to put them in the freezer so I didn't eat them all at one time. I believe I just finished the last cookie 3 days ago.
Unfortunately, I didn't take any photographs of them...just believe me when I say they were awesome! I did have the same problems a lot of other bakers did with the dough crumbling when slicing. I just mooshed my cookies back together and baked. Some were a little misshapen but they all tasted just fine. I couldn't risk making them again without having somewhere for them to go. . Don't forget to visit the TWD website to see what the others have baked up!

I will leave you with the previously promised photographs of the previously baked Christmas goodies...

Mexican Wedding Cakes

Vanilla Marshmallows

Coconut Marshmallows

And..Peppermint Bark Brownies

That should do it...