October 27, 2011

Pumpkin Sugar Cookies

I had some extra dough leftover from a recent cookie order so I made pumpkin shaped cookies to celebrate autumn and Halloween.   Now that I look at them they may not be so botanically correct with the green leaf and vines but they still taste good!

Happy Halloween to all the little goblins, ghosts and witches out there!

October 22, 2011

Shortbread Two Ways

It's ironic that I love to bake because diabetes tends to run in my extended family, especially the maternal branch.  Whenever I make them something inevitably the first comment I get is, "Can you make it less sweet?"  I too am a fan of less sweet desserts, so I'm not one to talk, but you've got to have some sugar otherwise what's the point?

I'm visiting the relatives this weekend so my Mom suggested I bring them a homemade treat.   The main criteria being that whatever it is be low on the sugar content..big surprise!   

The first thing that came to mind was shortbread.  They're more buttery than sweet and are the perfect accompaniment to a cup of tea.   I decided to mix things up a bit so in addition to the classic version I tried Dorie Greenspan's espresso-chocolate shortbread.  If you're a caffeine addict you'll go crazy for them!

October 18, 2011

Quadruple Coconut Layer Cake

Doesn't this coconut cake look absolutely delicious?  Trust me when I say it tastes even better than it looks.  Why the "quadruple" in its moniker?  Because every component of this cake is infused with coconut: the cake, the filling, the frosting and of course the outside coating.  

If you're a coconut lover you definitely need to make this cake.  In the span of one week alone I made two of them, one to celebrate my Mom's birthday and another for my friend Angel's birthday. Admittedly you'll need to dedicate some time to the process - it's not something you can throw together in two hours - but the finished product is really worth the investment.

This cake actually combines elements from two sources: Bobby Flay and Cook's Illustrated.  I've made each recipe separately but then thought marrying the two would result in the ultimate cake...I wasn't wrong! 

Halloween Giveaway Winner

The winner of the McCormicks kit is Comment #22 from Jess, who's favorite Halloween candy is Milky Ways.  Thanks to everyone who entered!

October 14, 2011

Candy Corn Cupcakes and a Halloween Giveaway

If ever there was a king of Halloween candy it's got to be candy corn.  Love them or hate them they've been around since the 19th century and I think they're here to stay.   

Candy corn may not be my personal favorite, they were normally the last things to be eaten from my trick-or-treat loot bag, but I think I've reinterpreted them in a fun way with these cupcakes.  How great would these be for kids or kids at heart to make?   

To make my life easy I used a mix for the cake.  Don't judge!  I grew up on them and look how I turned out...lol!   

Now to the Halloween giveaway.....

The nice people at McCormick sent me their "Tricks for your Treats" kit to sample.  And the best part is I was able to procure another kit to give away to one of my blog readers.  If you love Halloween baking this is right up your alley!  

Here are just some of the things included in the kit: food colors, cupcake liners, a silicone baking mat, an oven mitt and a Le Creuset silicone spatula.

To enter, just answer the following question in the Comments section of this post by 12pm PST Monday October 17th.  The winner will be chosen randomly and announced on October 18th.  

What's your favorite Halloween candy?

RULES: Only one entry per person and you must leave your email address in the comment.   In addition McCormick's cannot ship to P.O. Boxes so be sure you have a physical mailing address in the US

October 4, 2011

French Silk Chocolate Pie

This French Silk Chocolate Pie was recently featured on an episode of Cook's Country TV.   There was something so nostalgic and retro about it that, despite my apprehension about pies, I had to make it.   

In the world of baking my Achilles' heel always seems to be pies.   You know why?  The darn crust!  I could never get it right, until now!  Cook's Illustrated has a foolproof pie crust that really does live up to its name...seriously it should be called idiot-proof.  And the funny part is that it includes vodka in the recipe, yes, vodka...genius!

I'm not sure where the "French" comes in to play, but perhaps it's describing the texture.  The chocolate filling is so silky smooth, light and delicious...any chocoholic will fall in love with it.   And don't get me started on the crust!

October 1, 2011

Hi-Hat Cupcakes

My friend Brian's birthday was a few weeks ago and as a belated gift I wanted to make him some sweet treats.  I first saw these hi-hat cupcakes on Martha Stewart and they've been on my "must-make" list for quite some time.  Aren't they fun and whimsical?

You can personalize hi-hats with any flavor combination you want for the cupcakes and frosting.  The original recipe uses seven minute frosting, but I'm not much of a fan because it's a bit too sweet for my taste.  Instead I used chocolate swiss meringue buttercream.    The main thing to remember is to pipe the frosting high!

Happy Birthday B!!!

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