Wednesday, April 27, 2011

100 "Likes" on Facebook = Free Summer Printable!!!!

WooHoo!!  Woke up this am to 100 "likes" on my Facebook page!

As a small thank you I am posting these summer party printables!  Thanks everyone, you guys are awesome!
Click here to download the zip file

Monday, April 25, 2011

Mini Flourless Chocolate Cakes

Happy Monday everyone!  Sorry it has taken me so long to get this post up, but here it is...better late than never, right ?!?! 

When I was looking through desserts to make for Passover this year I came across several different recipes for Flourless Chocolate Cake, I have made this before though it was so long ago I honestly can not tell you what it tasted like...taking a slight chance I guess but I like pretty much anything with chocolate so I didn't figure it could be too bad :) !!!  I had the cutest mini bundt pans that I had bought at an antique store about three years ago that I had yet to use and decided that these cakes would be even better (at least in presentation :) !) if I made them in these pans! 

LOVE, Love, love these mini bundt pans!!!
 I decided on this recipe I found on Epicurious, though I made white chocolate gnache for half of them (which ended up more like a glaze) and a dark chocolate gnache for the other half.  They seemed to be enjoyed equally, though I have to admit I never tried the white chocolate.  The recipe says it makes one 8 in cake, I got about 6 mini cakes per batch (one downside of only having 4 mini pans and making 18 was a little time consuming!). On the cakes with the white chocolate I added a raspberry and the dark chocolate cakes were topped with candied orange peel (you might remember these from a couple of weeks ago when I burnt the first batch as well as my finger tips...the second batch turned out much better!).

Recipe: 8 in cake

  • 4 ounces fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened)

  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter

  • 3/4 cup sugar

  • 3 large eggs

  • Preparation:
    Preheat oven to 375°F and butter an 8-inch round baking pan. Line bottom with a round of wax paper and butter paper (I used spray due to the type of pan I was using).
    Chop chocolate into small pieces. In a double boiler or metal bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water melt chocolate with butter, stirring, until smooth. Remove top of double boiler or bowl from heat and whisk sugar into chocolate mixture. Add eggs and whisk well. Sift 1/2 cup cocoa powder over chocolate mixture and whisk until just combined. Pour batter into pan and bake in middle of oven 25 minutes, or until top has formed a thin crust (the small pans needed to cook for pretty close to this amount of time as well). Cool cake in pan on a rack 5 minutes and invert onto a serving plate.


  • 6 ounces white chocolate, finely chopped, use best-quality

  • 1/4 cup heavy cream

  • Ingredients

  • 9 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

  • 1 cup heavy cream


  • 1 Place finely chopped chocolate in small heatproof bowl.

  • 2 Set over warm water on low heat (water should not touch bottom of bowl).

  • 3 Stir very frequently until almost melted. Remove from heat and hot water; stir until smooth, pressing out any lumps with back of spoon or a rubber spatula.

  • 4 In small saucepan over low heat, heat cream just to a simmer, stirring frequently.

  • 5 Remove from heat; all at once, add about two-thirds of hot cream to melted white chocolate.

  • 6 Gently stir to incorporate, then beat or whisk until smooth, scraping bowl as necessary with rubber spatula.

  • 7 Gradually stir in remaining cream

    I am hoping to have a few posts this week, have some fun projects I am working on for the house from Tip Junkie (AMAZING site!!!!), this is also the week that I am making the 16 dozen macarons...sounds like a lot of coffee and not a lot of sleep :) !!!  Have a great week, thanks for stopping by!!


    Sunday, April 17, 2011

    Passover Favors...Matzah Toffee

    Tomorrow evening is the first night of Passover, so we are getting a few things ready to take to the Sedar.  Last year I made Matzah Toffee that was delicious!  This year I decided I wanted to make Flourless Chocolate Cake (coming in my next post), but thought it would be nice to do the Matzah Toffee as favors as opposed to the dessert.  I got some great boxes from Garnish (little side note...this site is so amazing, awesome products, amazing customer service and super fast shipping, check it out if you haven't!) that I had no plans for...Perfect!  Some cute and simple plaid tags with some coordinating polka dot ribbon and they looked great!  The recipe for the toffee is below, there are many different ones out there to choose from but I love this one from Martha Stewart that uses coarse sea salt on top, it is such nice flavor in combination with the chocolate (though Jacob tells me he likes it without the I guess the salt could be considered optional).
    The recipe calls for 4 pieces of Matzah, I usually just use enough to cover the cookie sheet, since I break up the pieces it doesn't really matter the Matzah are kept in squares are not.  Depending on the number of squares that you end up using adjust your toffee recipe and amount of chocolate to cover the Matzah (probably about 1 1/2 times the original recipe).


    • 4 sheets unsalted non-egg matzah
    • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
    • 1 cup packed dark-brown sugar
    • 1 (12-ounce) package semisweet chocolate chips (2 cups)
    • Coarse sea salt


    1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
    2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper Place matzah in an even layer on baking sheet and set aside.
    3. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add brown sugar and immediately reduce temperature to low. Cook, stirring, adjusting heat as necessary, until sugar has completely dissolved and begins to bubble. Drizzle toffee over matzah and spread to cover using a spatula.
    4. Transfer toffee-covered matzah to oven and bake until toffee has a rich, shiny sheen, 10 to 20 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with chocolate chips. Tent matzah with aluminum foil and let stand 20 to 30 minutes.
    5. Remove foil tent and spread melted chocolate over matzah to cover; sprinkle with sea salt. Transfer matzah to refrigerator and let chill at least 2 hours.
    6. Break chilled matzah into pieces. Matzah will keep in an airtight container for up to 4 days at room temperature.

    Thursday, April 14, 2011

    A cake for the BIG 3-0

    Not me of course...been there, done that...but my wonderful husband is 30 today!!!  David is so supportive and such a good sport whenever I bake anything, shoving spoonfuls of whatever it is at him even though desserts are not really his thing.  He is always asking me to leave some cupcakes or cake unfrosted for him...seriously?!?!  How about I leave some frosting uncaked...that sounds better to me :) !! This being said when I saw this cake on Martha Stewart several weeks ago I was determined to create a frostingless (well almost) cake for him for his birthday!  Over the past couple weeks there have been some amazing cakes that I have used as inspiration.  I used cake recipes from the unbelieveble talented Rosie at Sweetapolita, I could seriously stare at her site all day!  Then when I was trying to decide what I was going to use between the layers of cake I came across this Peanut Butter Cup Chocolate Cake Cheesecake from the also amazingly talented Heather of Sprinkle Bakes.  I think I could eat this entire cake, but since it isn't my birthday I decided to just use the Peanut Butter Frosting for between a couple of the layers and chocolate gnache between the other layers, then I found the cutest mini peanut butter cups at Trader Joe's last night and knew they would be the perfect finishing touch!  Happy Birthday David, I love you :) !
    Dark Chocolate Cake layered with White Cake Layers

    Here are a couple of other things that have kept me busy this week!

    Raspberry Macarons w/ Salted Caramel Gnache...still working on flavor combinations...this was VERY good!
    Coconut & Ginger Shortbread, dipped in chocolate and toasted coconut

    A couple of weeks ago after I made the Earl Grey Macarons, I was anxious to try using other flavors of teas in some baking.  When I went to the tea store to go find some chai that I thought would work, I came across some Coconut Ginger tea that smelled AMAZING, kind of sweet and spicy at the same time!  I decided that I would try adding some of this into a shortbread cookie.  I started with a basic shortbread recipe and put about one tablespoon of the tea leaves in the food processor with the flour.  The flavor that came through in the cookie was a little bit milder than I expected but was a nice compliment to the chocolate and toasted coconut on the outside.

    Gearing up for another weekend full of baking, trying some new recipes and hoping for some very exciting news to share soon!  Have a great weekend!!

    Friday, April 8, 2011

    Wishing for summer...Pina Colada Macarons

    Happy Friday!!! As you may have noticed, it has been a little while since my last post. Last week I got an order for 16 dozen macarons, I have to admit, after the excitement wore off the panic set in!  I have spent the last week in the kitchen, attempting different recipes and flavor combinations.  Several flopped attempts, a couple batches straight into the trash and a lot of cookies that never got filled.  When I made macarons for the first time in January, they worked perfect the time...beginners luck?!?  On Wednesday night, after I had attempted the same recipe for the third time with no luck, I would have said yes...this is the only time in the last week where I have been so frustrated that I just had to sit and cry for a minute.  It is a good thing my husband is a genius :)!!  He suggested that I go back to using the recipe that worked for me previously...not sure quite why this thought had not occurred to me previously?!? 

    So last night I went back to my original recipe, from Martha Stewart but a serious thank you to AmberLee @ Giverslog, who shares some incredibly helpful tips on her blog.  I have been wanting to find something to do with all of the bags of coconut that I had in the cupboard...I got a really good deal on it!  So I decided Pina Colada macarons. 

    Here is the recipe:
    Adapted from French Macarons

    For the Macaroons
    1 cup confectioners' sugar
    3/4 cup almond flour
    2 large egg whites, room temperature
    Pinch of cream of tartar
    1/4 cup superfine sugar
    1/4 tsp of coconut extract (I also added some almond extract, but it really overpowered the coconut flavor, so I would probably leave this out next time)

    1.      Pulse confectioners' sugar and almond flour in a food processor until combined. Sift mixture 2 times.
    2.      Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Whisk whites with a mixer on medium speed until foamy. Add cream of tartar, and whisk until soft peaks form. Reduce speed to low, then add superfine sugar. Increase speed to high, and whisk until stiff peaks form, about 8 minutes. Sift flour mixture over whites, and fold until mixture is smooth and shiny.
    3.      Transfer batter to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain round tip, and pipe 3/4-inch rounds 1 inch apart on parchment-lined baking sheets, dragging pastry tip to the side of rounds rather than forming peaks. Tap bottom of each sheet on work surface to release trapped air. Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. Bake 1 sheet at a time, rotating halfway through, until macaroons are crisp and firm, about 10 minutes. After each batch, increase oven temperature to 375 degrees, heat for 5 minutes, then reduce to 325 degrees.
    4.      Let macaroons cool on sheets for 2 to 3 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack. (If macaroons stick, spray water underneath parchment on hot sheet. The steam will help release macaroons.)
    5.      Sandwich 2 same-size macaroons with 1 teaspoon filling. Serve immediately, or stack between layers of parchment, wrap in plastic, and freeze for up to 3 months.

    For the filling I started with a cream cheese filling that I have used before and made a few adjustments to make it a pineapple rum cream cheese

    Cream Cheese Filling

    6 oz cream cheese, softened
    4 oz unsalted butter, softened
    1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
    2 tbsp lemon juice (I put some pineapple in the food processor and substituted this for the lemon juice)
    1/2 tsp vanilla extract ( I substituted with 1/4 tsp pineapple extract and 1/4 tsp rum may want a little more of each, but this is a good starting point)
    Yellow food gel (this really gave me the bright yellow color I wanted)

    Beat the cream cheese and butter in an electric mixer until smooth. Add the sugar until combined, then mix in the juice and extract. Pipe a dollop onto one macaron and top with another.

    With the added flavoring in this it was a little thinner that I wanted it, just pop it in the fridge for a bit and it should help firm it up.

    Overall these macarons were a success, I will most definitely be sticking to this recipe for the ones I will be making at the end of this month.  I am looking for some flavor combinations to make for this order too, I really want them to be bright springy colors, with fresh flavors, here is what I have so far...I need two more flavors:
    Raspberry with white chocolate gnache filling
    Lemon with lemon mascarpone filling
    Lime & Basil (?!?!?!)

    Please share your thoughts, I would love your input!! 

    Here are a few pictures of the Pina Colada macarons...they are delicious!

    I have a few of things in the next couple of weeks I can't wait to share with you!!! 
    Have a great weekend!