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Saturday, January 23, 2010

Ladybugs and flowers

This has been a really hectic week for me. I have been overworked, under slept, ill, and just plain old tired! Right now as I am writing this post (finally a post!) I find myself wishing I were under the covers and sleeping for at least a week. I hope the coming week is not as hectic, but I highly doubt it.

When I was asked to make a cake with ladybugs I was thrilled! All I could think about for 2 days was ladybugs and flowers. Enter the cake! I love making ladybugs, they're so cute and chubby. They're popping right out of the cake!

Look at this top mama ladybug, how cute is that??

Seeing as how this cake was kind of short notice and I was really busy, I had to recur to the help of my dear mother.  She came up with the bottom border, of which she is extremely proud, might I add. Good job! Isn't it great?! She was also a big help with softening fondant and the decorating. Thank you mom!

This cake was vanilla with Dulce de Leche filling, one of my most popular. It was travelling to the beach so I really hope it made it there safe and still tasted great!

I apologize for the short post, but like I said before, totally hectic week.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Disastrous Meringues!

Meringues or Suspiros as they are called here in Costa Rica were a staple at my house growing up. My mother used to make them all the time and I think it was one of the first things I ever learned to bake. They're so easy right??? Well, I have come to learn that these puffy treats can be quite temperamental when they want to. 

Making these meringues was a total disaster! First off I was dead tired, hmmm, could that have been the problem? Nah! You're never to tired to make these, they are quick and easy...

As I separated the eggs, some broken yolk went into the whites, aaarggggghhhhh Charlie Brown! Don't you just hate that? You know you're not going to get it all, so why even try and scoop it out with the empty shell or a spoon!

Then, as I was turning on the faucet so I could clean my yolky hands, the water just burst out and splashed everywhere! I think some might have gone into the already semi damaged egg whites. What else could go wrong??

Well, let me tell you, the pesky whites did not want to stiffen. You beat and beat and beat until you think the mixer is going to melt, and they were just blah; runny. Not to mention the fact that they did not rise as much because of the nasty yellow yolk that crashed the party!

Seeing as how they simply refused to form stiff peaks I just said %^&;*/ it, they're baking as is and formed discs. Meringue shells which I think is what they are actually called are great all by themselves but they can later be filled or topped with all kinds of delicious goodies that will just melt in your mouth with sweetness. Aaaahhh. Add strawberries and whipped cream and you have a treat fit for a king. Scoop some ice cream on top and you would think you're in heaven! I am going to be making sinfully silky chocolate mousse later in the week, which may or may not go into one of these, depending if they're still here by then.

In the end, after all the hassle, they came out pretty great. They actually came out exactly how I wanted them. So I guess, these aren't as easy to screw up as I thought!

To make meringues you will need:
2 egg whites
1/2 cup of sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla

That's all you need. Three ingredients. Now some people like to use cream of tartar, but to tell you the truth, I have never really needed it. These three things haved always worked fine. Then again, seeing as how my mixture would not stiffen and rise as much this time, I may reconsider...

To make these all you have to do is beat the egg whites on the bowl of an electric mixer with a whisk attachment on low-medium speed until they rise and form soft peaks. You then add the sugar gradually and beat on high until they form very stiff peaks. Then you add your vanilla. That's it!

You can use a spoon and drop these one your baking sheet forming little puffy clouds or you can also use a pastry bag if you want a more sofisticated look.

You can bake these at 300 degrees for 20 - 25 minutes to get a crispy outside and chewy center (which is exactly how I like it) or you can lower the temperature to 200 degrees and bake these approximately double the time to get a crisp almost powder like meringue.

Like I mentioned these are delicious by themselves or with just about everything!


Thursday, January 14, 2010

A beautiful giveaway!

Seeing as how I have not been able to post thanks to my lack of organization and terrible memory.( I have forgotten the cable that connects my camera to my computer twice already! ) I am going to steer you towards the lovely blog of Bell'alimento so you can have a chance to win this fantastic apron!

Isn't it absolutely adorable? She's giving one away, that's right giving one to a lucky winner! It's Bell'alimento's anniversary this month and if you haven't heard of the The Hip Hostess you're just missing out. To tell you the truth I hadn't seen the aprons before either, but I was just swooning over everything this morning.

They have some of the hottest aprons I have ever seen! So check out their site to be amazed and don't forget to hurry on over to Bell'alimento and enter this incredible giveaway, it ends tomorrow!!!


Sunday, January 10, 2010

Cinnamon Twists

They may not be pretty, but they are tasty!

Big, chunky twisted bread sticks filled with cinnamon and sugar, drizzled with a sugar glaze. Yum!  These are more commonly known as cinnamon rolls, sweet rolls or even sticky buns, but I chose to make these cinnamon twists.

Who doesn't love cinnamon rolls, right? They're sweet and gooey and simply delicious. These twists are just as sweet, maybe not as gooey, but equally delicious and they smell sooooo good when they're baking, they are irresistible. 

To make these tasty twists, you will need:

4 to 4 1/3 cups all purpose flour
1 package active dry yeast
1 cup milk
1/3 cup butter or margarine
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs

Combine 2 cups flour with yeast.
Heat and stir milk, butter or margarine, sugar and salt until warm and butter is almost completely melted.
Add this  to the flour mixture along with the eggs.
Beat with an electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds, scraping the bowl, then beat on high speed for approx. 3 minutes. Stir in as much of the remaining flour ( 2 to 2 1/3 cups) as you can.
Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead in enough remaining flour to make a moderately soft dough that is smooth and elastic (about 3 - 5 minutes). Shape into a ball. Place in a lightly greased bowl. Cover and let rise in a warm place till double in size. (About 1 hour)

Punch dough down. Divide in half. Cover and let rest 10 minutes.

Roll half of the dough into a 12x8 inch rectangle. Melt 3 tablespoons butter or margarine; brush half over the dough. combine 3/4 cup sugar and 2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon; sprinkle half of the mixture over dough. Fold dough in half and then in half once more. Cut strips of dough along the short end and twist sealing the seams.

Place in a baking sheet. Cover; let rise till nearly double about 30 minutes.

Bake in a 375 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes. (Be sure to check them, they brown easily.)

For the sugar glaze combine 1 cup sifted powdered sugar with 1/4 teaspoon vanilla and 1 tablespoon milk. Continue to add milk 1 teaspoon at a time until you get a drizzling consistency.


Other places to find this recipe:

Cinnamon Twists on Foodista


Monday, January 4, 2010

Tasty Quiche

It is finally a new year!!! I can't believe it's 2010, I am so happy about this upcoming year. I have a feeling that it's going to be a great one, I just know it!!! 

I really want to get more into my blog this year. I haven't been posting as much as I would like, I just don't have the time you know, but I guess one of my resolutions is to post more, change a few things on the blog and really be more active with it. 

That said, for this post I have some tasty salty pastry. That's right, salty not sweet. As you know I'm all about desserts and baking, making my cakes and cupcakes and whatnot but this time for the first post of this new year I thought I would do something different, so I would like to introduce my vegetable quiche!

 I decided to give up meat a few months ago and I'm always looking for ways to get  more veggies into my meals so I thought ti would be great to make a veggie quiche! I chose this dish because I wanted something in the area of a pie but I was too lazy to make a pie crust so I decided to use some leftover puff pastry I had from when I made Palmiers.

 To make this tasty quiche you will need:


  • 1 puff pastry sheet, thawed
  • 2 cups cooked vegetables (I wanted lots of veggies! I sauteed some onions, shredded carrots and zucchini, broccoli and cauliflower.)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 3/4 cup grated Gouda (Feel free to use any cheese you prefer)
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan (cause I love Parmesan)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Roll out the puff pastry to fit your pie pan or mold. Press pie crust into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch, removable-bottom tart pan (or 9-inch pie pan). Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the sour cream, cheese, milk, eggs, heavy cream, salt and black pepper. Mix well. Add the cooked vegetables and mix until combined. Place on top of uncooked crust and top with Parmesan.

Bake for approximately 40 - 45 minutes, until it's all puffed up and a knife inserted near the center comes out clean and crust is golden brown. And there you have it!

I wish you all a very prosperous and tasty 2010!!!!


Vegetable Quiche on Foodista


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