September 24, 2010

Gluten-Free Lime Shortbread Sandwiches

I first glimpsed a version of these cookies on foodgawker, posted by Jamie (aka Sophistimom).  There's nothing I love more than a simple shortbread cookie, especially one bursting with citrus flavor. 

I tweaked the original recipe a bit and made them gluten-free by replacing the all-purpose flour with superfine brown rice flour.  It worked like a dream.   The finished cookies were delicious and you can't even tell the difference.  The crumb is tight and crisp, just how a shortbread should be.  I gave samples to two gluten-free friends and both gave the thumbs up.  

September 19, 2010

Baby Brioche

I buy baking equipment and supplies like it's going out of style.  What can I say? It's an addiction, just like some ladies can't get enough of shoes and bags.  Don't get me wrong, I love me some stilettos and hobos just as much as the next gal, but I'll never have my fill of tart tins, decorating tips, cake pans and cookie cutters.  My pantry is already overflowing with treasures I've amassed over the years but that doesn't deter me one bit from buying more.

I've found some great things at Kamei, one of my favorite restaurant supply stores in San Francisco.  They've got everything you can think of, plus a thousand more.   Whenever I go I can't help but buy something.   

On a recent visit I found these fantastic disposable aluminum tartelette tins.  At only $2.39 for a pack of 200 you can't get a better deal than that.  They're my new favorite baking vessel and I've used them for individual brownies and fruit tarts.  

I was hankering to make some bread and I thought the tins would be perfect for baby brioche.    I love brioche, but then again who doesn't love a rich and buttery egg bread?

September 18, 2010

Yo Gabba Gabba! Cookies

A friend ordered Yo Gabba Gabba! themed cookies for his 2-year old's birthday party.   Have you seen this kids show on Nick Jr.?  I haven't, but from what I've heard it's like Sesame Street on crack.  Since I wasn't familiar with the show I had to rely on images I found online for inspiration.

These cookies were fun to make and I applied a few new decorating techniques.  Fondant was used for a majority of the decorations, especially the eyes.  Why?  Because white royal icing sometimes has a tendency to absorb the base coat color which wouldn't look so nice in the finished cookie.  

Happy Birthday Ava!  Hope you like your cookies!!

Wanted to share a picture from the party..isn't this the cutest display?

September 6, 2010

Bikini Sugar Cookies

These sugar cookies were commissioned by a friend's wife for a bridal shower she was hosting.  She saw them on some website and asked if I could replicate.  I was happy to oblige.  

Think they turned out really cute although the pale pink base is a bit too similar in color to the white polka dots.  Next time I'll make it more vivid so that it really pops.

September 4, 2010

Zebra Striped Japanese Cheesecake

Doesn't this Japanese cheesecake look really cool?  I think so.  I love the zebra stripes! What makes Japanese style cheesecake different from your usual American version is its light and airy texture and subtle sweetness.  

I do enjoy a slice of New York style cheesecake every now and then, but even the thinnest slice can feel like a ton of bricks because it's so darn dense.  The Japanese interpretation uses a lot less cream cheese and relies on French meringue (egg whites and sugar whipped to soft peaks) to give it  the signature souffle-like fluffiness. 

I'd been yearning to make a Japanese cheesecake for quite some time and my sister found this recipe for me on Not Quite Nigella.   It's actually a combination of two recipes: Japanese cheesecake and Zebra Cake, a popular dessert in Eastern Europe.

The stripe effect is easier to achieve than you might think.  You basically drop spoonfuls of chocolate and vanilla batter alternately in the center of the cake pan, one right after the other.  The batter spreads out by itself and creates the stripe pattern.     

My only disappointment was that the cheesecake deflated once it cooled.  Will have to figure out what happened, but as I always say, "still tastes good!"

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