Sunday, December 16, 2012

Sugar Cookie time!!! Our Christmas baking days always included sugar cookies.....Christmas trees, bells, stars, snowmen, all sorts. So here is something fun to make; a 3D Sugar Cookie tree!! I made this for a cake, and am thinking of making them as just the tree's.  Wouldn't they make such great gifts!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Mini Gingerbread Men

I had a party the other day, I was making mini desserts, so I thought how cute would mini gingerbread men be! To decorate gingerbread men, you need a good royal icing recipe. 

Here is the one I use: 

1/4 cup meringue powder
1/4 tsp salt
3-4 cups powdered sugar
3/4 cup cool water

1~put all dry ingredients in large mixer bowl. Add, cool water, and mix slowly to dissolve, starting on low speed, increasing to high speed over several minutes.
2~beat until fluffy, and starts to lose its shine.
3~keep icing covered with damp towel or plastic wrap until you are ready to use it so it doesn't dry out or get crusty.

***TIP: royal icing doesn't like any grease, butters, any kinds of fats, it wont stay stiff, so make sure you have cleaned everything thoroughly before use***

Friday, December 7, 2012

Chocolate Peppermint Candy Cane Cupcake

Chocolate Peppermint Candy Cane Cupcake.....say that three times!!

These are so yummy, this holiday season candy canes run rampant around here, so here is a cute idea, crush some candy canes (I used my robot-coupe/food processor) but when you do it, they may be a little sticky so  add a little bit of powdered sugar when processing them. Once you fill your cupcake holders, sprinkle some of the crushed candy cane onto your chocolate cake batter before baking them. Add a little peppermint extract to your buttercream/frosting (and I mean a little unless you want it to taste like medicine...yuck!) When I fill my decorator bag to pipe on the frosting I just put a line of red butter-cream up the middle of it before filling with the rest of the white to give it a candy cane swirl affect.
Dip or drizzle a mini candy cane with chocolate to top it off :0) Cute and delicious!!

Tie-dye cake??

So I have "camo-ed" (not sure if thats a word!) the inside of a cake, but I had a customer come in that wanted tie-dye inside. So here was my experiment.
~ I split my batter into 3 bowls, colored on red-ish, one orang-ish, and one blue-ish,, (they will all usually  change a little in the baking process)
~I put a cookie scoop in each bowl (you can just use a spoon if you don't have the scoops, they each need their own so colors don't blend into a big blob of a grey-blah!)
~Alternately plop different colors of batter all throughout your cake pan until all used up.
~Use a knife, spreader, toothpick (hey you can even use your finger if you are baking it for yourself :0) and swirl it around just a little, too much will blend the colors into that grey-blah color I mentioned.
~Like any other cake, get it in the oven right away, and bake......

                      .....and this is what I ended up with! I must say, I think it turned out pretty cool!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Ginger spice

Ok, so during the holidays, especially Christmas, I break out my ground ginger spice. Gingerbread cake, gingerbread cookies, gingerbread scones, I could go on!

Ginger is an awesome tropical spice that has an awesome punch of citrus flavor, and is derived from ginger-root. It has as many antioxidants as a cup of spinach! Ginger has had a long history of other comforting properties, known to help sooth upset stomachs, indigestion and reduce pain, and some research says it offers pain relief for everything from arthritis to nausea to migraines.

So, I'm thinkin it's time to bring out the Gingerbread Men!!

Inspiration as you can probably already tell..... I will admit, this months post will probably be full of reminiscing, and about love and family, its just what we are about....BUT, it will still be about food somewhere, because well.... that is what we are all about too!
Mom just found a photo of my grandfather (we call Papa) years ago making one of his beautiful cakes, and of course not pictured would be my grandmother who always helped him, typically covering the cakes and smoothing the buttercream.....then Papa would add the details ..... such an inspiration.....

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Ahhhh yes....a steaming cup of Hot Chocolate.....

Hot Chocolate is one of those sweet treats we love to enjoy during the holidays, or even just on a cold day.
I have tried many different kinds, right down to the home-made mix my mother makes (and we sell at our Bakery) But this is one recipe I just have to try: 

Wittamer’s Belgian Hot Chocolate 
(Wittamer's is said to be one of the best chocolate shops in Brussels)
Four to six servings
1 quart (1l) half-and-half or whole milk
8 ounces (230g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
4 ounces (115g) milk chocolate, finely chopped
tiny pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1. Warm about one-third of the half-and-half or milk, with the chopped chocolates and salt, stirring until the chocolate is melted.
2. Whisk in the remaining half-and-half or milk, heating until the mixture is warmed through. Add the cinnamon.
3. Use a hand-held blender, or a whisk, and mix the hot chocolate until it’s completely smooth. Serve very warm.
At Wittamer, it’s served with a poof of whipped cream and chocolate curls.
 Leftover mix can be stored in the refrigerator for a few days, and re-warmed in a saucepan or microwave oven.

Normally I always add marshmallows, maybe just the kid in me, but its a must. Oh, and home-made marshmallows, even better! AND...cinnamon, gotta add some cinnamon, not only does it zest up your hot chocolate, but cinnamon has so many health benefits (as I have mentioned before in cider) but hey another important one- just smelling cinnamon boosts cognitive function and memory, which especially around the holidays with my bogged down brain I can use any help I can get!!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The bell....

So we had dinner at moms tonight...the girls put up some more ornaments on her tree, and what did I find? My bell I made my mother years ago hanging in middle of the tree, the one she so proudly has hung every year since. The one that is hanging on for dear life, that little plastic dixi-cup with whats left of dried glue and remnants of glitter, and a bell that now struggles to ring inside.

That love and pride my mothers mother had in her children, and what my mother in turn has had for me has helped mold me into the mother I am today. I hope my children look up to me with so much love and so many memories as I have been blessed with.

Yep, it's Flax time again!

So, during this holiday season, we can still eat healthy, and it can still taste great! Again, I use my favorite substitute of ground flax for my eggs, and then substituted applesauce for the butter.

**Reminder: 1 egg=  1 TBSP of ground flax mixed w/3 TBSP water


I took my whole wheat chocolate chip muffin recipe and substituted the eggs with flax, and the butter with applesauce, added DARK CHOCOLATE chips, and cranberries (even better!....and even more antioxidants!) Oh and of course sprinkle with extra whole flax seeds, giving it a nuttier flavor. They were delicious, and popped with even more flavor as you bit into one and got the mixture of dark chocolate and cranberry......YUMMMM......and guilt free!


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

family traditions continued....

Well Thanksgiving is over, and its time to put up the Christmas decorations, ......and the most important part for us...... DECORATING THE CHRISTMAS TREE!!!

Every year, my grandmother would pick out an ornament that represented who we were that year. Something special about us, that something neat that we were into, sport we played, interest or hobby we had, was somehow represented in an ornament. Every Christmas when it was time to put up the Christmas tree it was so much fun pulling out our ornaments. Checking out each one, reflecting on why we got a little squirrel in a rocking chair sewing, or a Koala bear with a telephone, or one of my absolute favorites, Santa Clause with a belly full of cookies :)

Tonight we put on the Christmas music, pulled out our family ornaments, all of mine from when I was younger, and then watched my three children squeal in delight and get excited when I would pull out one of theirs, reminiscing on why their grandmother gave them that ornament for that year. Talking about what they might get this year. See, my mother now carries on that tradition, and I treasure it so much, as I know they do too. I miss my grandmother so much, and its such a neat piece of our  history together that I get to remember every Christmas, as we continue this family tradition.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Put those expensive pie weights back on the shelf!

You don't need to buy the expensive pie weights at the kitchen stores you see. You can simply line your pie crust with a sheet of parchment, and fill it with any kind of dry bean you have (I use pinto) It will weigh down your crust so you don't get that annoying puffiness anywhere, when you need to par-bake or bake it unfilled.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Pie crust made easy....

Ok, pie crust can seem like a task, but it really can be super easy!

Here is my tip, don't use flour to roll out your pie crust, use POWDERED SUGAR! It won't add too much flour into your crust, and dry it out, and it helps roll it out smoothly. Also, make sure your dough is chilled, if it is too soft, it will get mushy and stick to everything.....and well, that's just not fun.....

Sprinkle powdered sugar all over the table, and rolling pin.
 get a chunk of your pie dough
Roll it out a little bit, and sprinkle again.
Roll it out some more
Set your pie tin on top to make sure you have rolled it out big enough to fill it.

Roll your dough up around your rolling pin
Roll it back over your pie tin

push your pie crust firmly into pie tin

Use a pairing knife and cut around the sides to cut excess crust off
pinch all the way around

fill with desired filling .....I chose pumpkin :0)

Now I always have left over crust and filling when I make pumpkin pie, so what do I do??
.....pumpkin pie minis, so cute and so yummy!!
cut your crust to fit muffin cups

fill with pumpkin filling
cut some cute little leaves or pumpkins

Bake up for a little tasty mini-pumpkin pie!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

How do you like your apple pie??

Traditionally, pies are such a big part of Thanksgiving, and of course apple pie being on the list of must haves, I am curious to know, what is the favorite? A pretty Lattice crust topping for your apple pie?

.....or that yummy French apple pie, with the sweet struesel topping?? Both so good in their own right,....which one do you prefer?

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Are you a Twinkie lover? Not to worry, I have a recipe for you!!

Are you a twinkie lover? Bummed because Hostess is closing their doors? Not to worry...... you can make your own cream filled cakes!!
Check out the recipe below,  if you try it, make sure to come back and comment and let me know how it turned out for you.

Cream filled cakes

Preheat oven to 350.

Beat all of the following ingredients in a mixing bowl until smooth:
2 cups cake flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 TBSP baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup cold water
7 unbeaten egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla

Beat 7 egg whites until very stiff
Fold egg whites into batter in thirds: Fold in, dont beat!

Fill snack cake pans 2/3 full with batter. When baking it will puff up quite a bit, then shrink back down while cooling. Bake 8-12 minutes until golden brown. Let cool about 5 minutes before removing from pan.

If making these in cupcake form, increase baking time about 5 minutes.

Prepare filling while cake cools.
2 TBSP ap flour
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp vanilla
4 TBSP salted butter
4 TBSP shortening
1/2 cup sugar

 Cook flour and milk over medium heat until paste forms, stirring constantly so it doesnt brown. Remove from heat and let cool about a minute. Add vanilla and stir until smooth. Press a piece of plastic wrap down to the surface of the paste to avoid forming a skin and set aside to completely cool. In mixing bowl, beat butter, shortening, and sugar until fluffy, scraping bowl to fully incorporate ingredients.  Add cooled flour/milk mixture and continue beating on medium-high speed until smooth and creamy. Use a pastry bag and piping tube to fill snack cakes. You can store these cakes at room temperature well wrapped for up to 4 days.




Thursday, November 15, 2012

...time goes by

An awesome memory....Thanksgiving, was one of the last Holiday meals I got to cook with my grandmother before she passed away. I would give anything to have more of those times. It makes you realize how important it is to spend as much time with your loved ones as you can. Be thankful and cherish every moment you get before they are gone. I love that my children get to make those memories as a family, so much love can come from the kitchen.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Local Raw honey

So my mom came home the other day from a Bazaar and had a wonderful treat for me. Local Raw Honey, and a container full of  a wonderful childhood memory, actual honeycomb! I was so excited! My Great-Uncle had a farm, and he raised bee's, I remember getting jars of honey with honeycomb in it, and taking little chunks and chewing the wax until all the honey was gone. I don't really know how to describe it really, but truly, an experience you have to try for yourself. My children have now gotten the "sweet" experience and I must say enjoyed it quite a bit!

So, lets get down to business, the Health benefits, just to name a few:
~It has carbohydrates which supply energy and strength so it can provide and energy boost and reduce muscle fatigue
~Known to help relieve morning sickness, some say even more than traditional soda crackers
~Great for sore throats and laryngitis
~And the biggie for my family, and why I'm such a big advocate of local raw honey, is how it helps with seasonal allergies. Local raw honey is honey that hasn't been heated, pasteurized or processed in any way, and contains natural vitamins, enzymes, powerful antioxidants, and many other important natural nutrients. When honey is pasteurized, it loses these nutrients, and is basically equal to sugar with no nutritional value. Local honey comes from bees that have picked up specific pollens that you may be allergic to. Honey bees will collect pollen from different species of plants, and it will be present in small amounts in their honey. When you eat honey that was produced in the same area, the honey acts as an immune booster when taken in a little bit a day for several months before pollen season.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Pumpkin Spice Pound cake

OK fellow Bakers..... this is simple, I took our family pound cake recipe and added:

1 Tsp Cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp allspice
1 TBSP flour
1/4 cup pumpkin
and voila, Pumpkin Spice Pound Cake.....soooooo delicious!!
Experiment with your own recipes and let me know what you come up with!

YUMMM....I did it again :)

So this time I substituted eggs with ground flax and the butter with applesauce, the only fat in these is a little bit of buttermilk (which has much less fat then regular milk) and Seriously they are really good!! Oh and threw in some strawberries with the blueberries which added another extra flavor profile :)

Monday, November 12, 2012

A cup of Hot apple cider a day....keeps the doctor away??

So that saying " an apple a day keep's the doctor away" made me look at my cup of Hot Apple Cider, that I absolutely love to indulge in this time of year, and got me thinking..........those of you struggling with a cold, bronchitis, the flu, etc, lets think about this:

Hot Apple Cider has quite a few benefits if you consider what comes in that little package called an apple.:
 It's Hot! (great for anyone with a nasty cold)
Apples are high in vitamins C (great for boosting your immune system!)
Apples are rich in flavanoid (known for their antioxidant effects)
Apples are low in calories (contains natural sugars so it can help curb sugar cravings)
Apples help prevent cancers, and contain phenols which help reduce bad cholesterol and increases good cholesterol.
Apples are high in fiber.
Apples prevent tooth decay- the juice from apples have properties that can kill up to 80% of bacteria
Apples can help protect your brain from brain disease, as they contain phytonutrients which help prevent neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinsons.

Don't forget to throw in a cinnamon stick or sprinkle a little cinnamon on top,which adds antibacterial and anti-oxidant properties.

Sick or not, enjoy a cup of guiltless Hot Apple Cider this season!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

a pie dilemma....

 I am making an Apple Pie and I have left over apples and pie crust.....what to do, what to do....

                                                        Why not make some apple minis!

Cut your pie crust to fit the bottom of your cupcake wrapper. (be sure to spray the paper wrapper before filling them so they dont stick to it. Top it with apple mixture, and cut another circle of pie crust for the top, and sprinkle with sugar. Bake until apples are tender.

Arent they cute! A perfect little individual serving, and perfect for parties!


mmmmm.....Rugelach, once baked-the dough flakes us like a croissant or danish, and burst with flavor. The dough has butter, cream cheese, and sour cream cut in and a filling of cinnamon, raisins and nuts.

Make the dough and chill it overnight, roll it out, and sprinkle a layer of the filling mixture over the dough

                                            Cut diagonally into slices and roll each one up.

Bake them off on Parchment for an delicious yummy treat!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012



So my mom brought me a bag of goodies tonight, and it was full of pecans!! I have a fond memory of going to a pecan orchard with my family and friends when I was younger and collecting so many bags of pecans. Learning the art of cracking them, so they didn't get crushed inside, and being so delighted when you actually could pull the nut out whole, it was like winning a prize!


   ~Pecans contain more than 19 vitamins and minerals including:
                – vitamin A
                -  vitamin E
                -  folic acid
                -  calcium
                -  magnesium
                -  phosphorus
                -  potassium,
                -  several B vitamins and zinc.

One ounce of pecans provides 10 percent of the recommended Daily Value for fiber.

Just a few fun facts to think about when you indulge yourself with a slice of pecan pie this holiday season!

Pumpkin spice whoopie pies!!!

I absolutely love the holidays!
Pumpkin pie
Pumpkin muffins
Pumpkin scones
Pumpkin cupcakes.......
How about a Pumpkin Spice Whoopie pie?!!
I used my pumpkin spice cake recipe and my cream cheese frosting for the filling.....yummmmm.....

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Absolutely Rediculous Cake!!!

Two blogs in one night...crazy, what is crazy is this absolutely rediculous huge cake I just had to share. 5 layers of cake (chocolate, vanilla, strawberry) with layers of chocolate mouse, vanilla buttercream, and strawberry puree in between cake layers. Vanilla buttercream and drizzled strawberry and chocolate ganache all over. So massive, it was named after its rediculousness!!!

LOW FAT Blueberry Flax muffins!!

So I said before I would try out the idea that you can substitute butter with ground Flax, and I did in my blueberry muffin recipe and it was really good!!

If you are going to give it a try- make sure to substitute 3 Tbsp of ground flax for every 1 Tbsp of butter, and up your moisture content/liquids by

Monday, November 5, 2012


                                                        Tis the season for some Challah!!

Challah  is pronounced Há La. It is a  Jewish bread  that is served on Friday night for the Sabbath dinner, and for holidays. The Sabbath dinner is special and sacred so only the best ingredients are used , for example-white flour and eggs.
The bread is traditionally made with water rather than milk, because Jewish dietary laws wont let them eat meat and dairy products served together. Typically Friday night Challah is braided, and can be very fancily braided, and topped with sesame or poppy seeds.

Challah dough makes a delicious pastry that can be used for other things as well. I am about to make a very large batch tomorrow for the dough to wrap the Bierocks, as well as make small rolls for our Kulua Pork sliders we will be serving tomorrow!