April 18, 2023

Platinum Engagement Ring Cookie


Recently my friend Jesse commissioned a cookie order to celebrate the upcoming nuptials of her soon-to-be sister-in-law.  I suggested a Platinum Engagement Ring Cookie as the design, selfishly on my part because I haven't made or decorated that shape before.  I bought this cookie cutter set from Amazon and used my favorite sugar cookie and royal icing recipes.  

Aren't the packaged favors so cute?  They would be beautiful for a bachelorette, bridal shower or wedding reception.

April 13, 2023

Lemon Pudding Cakes


I recently had a friend over for lunch and for dessert I made these individual Lemon Pudding Cakes.  As a lemon lover I will gravitate towards citrus flavors any day over something like chocolate.   The recipe comes from America's Test Kitchen and while it's very simple to make, it packs so much delicious flavor.  

Miraculously, when the batter bakes you end up with a thick pudding on the bottom of the ramekin and a light, fluffy cake on the top.  Don't ask me about the science of how that works because I have no clue.  All I know is that it's divine!  Will definitely be keeping this recipe on hand.

April 9, 2023

Coconut Pineapple Cake

The Duncan Hines Dolly Parton coconut cake mix has become a recent favorite of mine and I'm finding even more ways to incorporate it into my baking.  I wanted to thank a friend for a recent act of kindness and I thought the cake would be a nice and delicious gift.   This time I took a tropical turn and made a Coconut Pineapple Cake.  Who doesn't love the combination of coconut and pineapple?  [You have the right to remain silent if you don't!]
The first time I made Dolly's coconut cake I filled and frosting it with cream cheese ermine frosting.  While that cake was delicious, to reduce the sweetness on this cake and let the pineapple flavor really come through, I made a small batch of vanilla pastry cream for the filling.  I then added homemade pineapple compote which was spread between the cake layers.  On top of the pastry cream layer I also applied another thin layer of the pineapple compote.  You can never have enough pineapple in my book.

Lightly sweetened mascarpone whipped cream enveloped the cake which was then finished with a flurry of dessicated coconut.  As I was gifting the cake on Easter Sunday I added a few holiday themed sprinkles.  I can attest that this coconut pineapple cake not only looks good, it tastes amazing!

April 7, 2023

Hot Cross Buns


Yesterday (Holy Thursday) I decided to make a batch of Hot Cross Buns, which are traditionally eaten on Good Friday, but I like to enjoy them throughout the Lenten season.  To make the buns I used my all-time favorite fluffy dinner rolls recipe from Cook's Illustrated. The only revision I made to the original version was to add cinnamon, nutmeg and plenty of raisins.  

While I was making the buns an idea came to me that I think was quite ingenious.  As I finished shaping the buns it just so happened that my dishwasher beeped, signaling the end of a recent cycle.  When I opened the dishwasher door I was reminded of how warm and humid the interior was.  EUREKA! Why not proof the dough buns inside the turned off dishwasher since it had the optimum conditions?  
After only 30 minutes the dough doubled in size beautifully and validated my hypothesis.   Normally the ambient temperature in San Francisco is too cold to proof dough without some assistance so the dishwasher solution is perfect.  Who says you need an expensive dough proofer?  Not me!  I will definitely be using this funny technique going forward.   

April 6, 2023

Lily of the Valley Easter Table


The theme for my Easter table this year, Lily of the Valley, came courtesy of tablescape extraordinaire brand Mrs. Alice.  Setting a beautiful table gives me so much joy and upon discovering the brand in 2020 I've been a super fan ever since. Their raison d'être is "take the hassle out of hosting" and they certainly do with all of the beautiful products they sell. 

In previous years I'd leaned towards cute critters for inspiration, but I took a more floral turn this year after seeing this lily of the valley linen set.  The baby blue and green color scheme is very versatile and can be used not only for Easter, but for spring too. 

I decorated the table with moss green bunnies, tiny lambs, pastel colored eggs, ceramic dishes and lots of Easter candy.  
Wishing you a very Happy Easter!

April 5, 2023

3D Bunny and Basket Rice Krispies Treat

Since 2020 I've been making a 3D Rice Krispies treat bunny centerpiece for my Easter table.  It always elicits ooohhhhs and aaaahhhs when people see it, but in actuality it couldn't be simpler to make.  My "secret" is to use Nordicware's bunny cake pans.   I've collected two (so far!) and usually nab them at Williams-Sonoma in their post-Easter sale.  

The pan I used for this year's centerpiece was a bunny holding a basket.  To make the basket part really stand out I relied on Cocoa Krispies.  I absolutely love how the chocolate basket is such a nice contrast to the spring-colored bunny.   All the bunny needed was a final accessory of a ribbon necklace and it was ready to grace the table.
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