January 21, 2011

Sophie's Birthday Cookies

My niece Sophie's 11th birthday is this week and she's having a bunch of her friends over for a sleepover...her first ever!   She asked me if I could make some cookies for the party and of course I said yes.  I came up with these two-layer birthday cake sugar cookies since Sophie gave me carte blanche to make whichever design I wanted.  Love that she's such an easygoing kid.

The paper topper I created in Excel and printed on heavy cardstock.  I had thought about ordering them from a paper designer on etsy, but since it's such an easy design why not try myself and save a few bucks  in the process.  I think they look quite cute and finish off the cookie nicely.

Happy Birthday Sophie!  Love, O Truc

January 16, 2011

Dinosaur Birthday Cake and Cookies

Micah turned 1 this month and his parents hosted a brunch recently to celebrate this milestone.  My present to the birthday boy was the cake and cookie favors for the party.  Ev says Micah's favorite book at the moment is about a dinosaur.  She found the cutest Meri Meri dinosaur party supplies on diapers.com so I made sure the treats complimented this theme.

Overall I'm happy with how the cake and favors turned out.  I think both capture the party theme quite nicely without being too over the top.  My only complaint is that the royal icing on the blue and green cookies was not very cooperative.  I cringe when I see the little divets...so annoying!  I'm my worst critic and hopefully the guests didn't notice.  But I  do take comfort in the fact that even an expert like Sweetopia has experienced this issue.

Everyone at the party seemed to enjoy the cake.  It was four layers of high ratio yellow butter cake filled with two kinds of swiss meringue buttercream (lemon curd and raspberry) and then covered in vanilla buttercream.  This cake recipe is a new favorite of mine and produces a cake that is not only delicious but has a really fine crumb that slices beautifully.  

Looks like the guest of honor enjoyed it!  Happy Birthday Micah Bear!  Love, Auntie Truc.

January 14, 2011

Cherry-Almond Shortbread Bars

A new year rolls around and most people use that as motivation to clean out their closets.  In my case it wasn't the closet that needed a thorough once over, it was my pantry.  As a baker I seem to collect (alright hoard!) baking ingredients.  I admit it's an addiction, but I can't help it!  

So what are some of my spoils?  Let's see: 15 pounds of Ghiradelli white chocolate candy making and dipping bars (for petits fours), 8 pounds of dutch-processed cocoa (too good of a deal at Costco to pass up) and bags and bags of dried fruit from Trader Joe's, just to name a few.

A jar of cherry preserves caught my eye as I was going through the pantry shelves and I knew I wanted to make something with it.  As luck would have it I happened upon a recipe for these shortbread bars online.  Good thing I had all the ingredients on hand which was additional  motivation to make them.   

The bars have a nice buttery cookie crust and the cherries provide a great tart contrast.  The only change I'd make is to use a 9x9 inch pan, rather than the 9x13 suggested in the original recipe.  I thought using the larger pan made the bars too thin.

January 12, 2011

MJ Giveaway Winner

The winner of the $35 gift certificate is comment #21, bonj67, who's favorite MJ song is "Man in the Mirror".

Thanks to everyone who participated...hope to see you again for the next one!

January 7, 2011

Michael Jackson Sequin Glove Cake and Cookies and a Giveaway

Apparently there's a Michael Jackson revival going on and among an audience who definitely caught me off guard.  I'm finding, quite by surprise, that kids born in the early to mid-2000s have rediscovered the King of Pop.   My friend Grace says it's because of the documentary "This Is It."   Who would have thought?  Despite all the strangeness surrounding MJ and his life you've got to admit the man was one hell of an entertainer. 

A co-worker commissioned a Michael Jackson-themed birthday cake and cookie favors for her 5-year old daughter's birthday party.   She had a few ideas and suggested MJ's most famous icon, the sequin glove....love it! 

For the cookies I took white sanding sugar and colored it with silver luster dust before sprinkling on wet royal icing.  The sugar was very simple to make - put it in a Ziploc bag,  add some of the luster dust and shake until the color is evenly distributed.

 The cake is four layers of high ratio chocolate butter cake filled with chocolate swiss meringue buttercream then covered in fondant.  This is the second cake I've made with fondant and I'm slowly starting to get the hang of it.  For the large sequin glove I sprinkled silver disco dust on to a white fondant hand.

I had such a fun time making the cake and cookies.  Happy Birthday Fiona!     

Now to the giveaway...

From the friendly folks at CSN Stores I have a $35 gift certificate that's up for grabs.  Your certificate will definitely go far.   Looking for a bar stool, a gas grill or new bathroom towels?  They've got it! 

To enter just answer the following question in the Comments section of this post by 12pm PST  January 11th.    The winner will be chosen randomly and announced on January 12th.   

What's your favorite Michael Jackson song?

RULES: Only one comment per person allowed and you MUST include your email address  in the comment to be eligible.  Sorry, but that's the only way the winner can be notified to claim the gift certificate.  CSN only ships to addresses in the US and Canada.   There may be international shipping charges for Canadian addresses.

January 3, 2011

Quiche Lorraine

I was reminded of how much I love quiche when I was  invited to Henning and Anne-Marie's flat for brunch last November.  Anne-Marie made the most delicious quiche lorraine that was the perfect entree.   The recipe she used had crème fraîche, sort of like a French sour cream, which you can find at Trader Joe's or Whole Foods.  Unfortunately I didn't have any lying around my house and my craving for quiche was too impatient to withstand a trip to the supermarket.

So I turned to my cooking and baking bible, Cook's Illustrated, for a recipe.  For this quiche I used two slightly different recipes, one for the crust and one for the filling.  

The crust is a real time saver since it's pressed in to the tart tin, no rolling pin required.  The filling comes together super quickly.   About 30 minutes in the oven and you have a delectable tart that rivals any you'd find in France.

January 1, 2011

Mini Panettone

The year began with bread.   What better way to start 2011 than with some mini panettone?  If you haven't guessed I'm all about the carbs.  Stick me on a deserted island and the one food I can't live without is bread.  I'll take it in any form: bagel, baguette, pita, croissant, tortilla, biscuit , English muffin.   You name it, I'll eat it.  

I'd been meaning to make panettone for Christmas but all the candy and cookie making kind of took over my kitchen.  Since I'm not traveling for New Years this year and my office is closed this week I figured I'd use my free time judiciously and catch up on some baking.   As if I hadn't had enough already, right?  But what can I say?  I'm a glutton and proud of it! 

I liken the panettone as a cross between a brioche and a fruitcake.   You've got the rich, buttery egg bread of the brioche mixed with the dried fruits of a fruitcake.  

For these minis I ended up combining two panettone recipes from Martha Stewart.  The bread is from this recipe and I topped it with the crust from this recipe.   My sister suggested including the crackly top crust because she thought it would add a nice professional touch to the finished product.  I think that was good call on her part.  The paper molds I found at Sugar 'N Spice in Daly City, but you can find them at most baking supply stores or on amazon.com.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...