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Saturday, January 28, 2012

New Year, New Challenges ...

First post of the year!  It's been a while since I last made anything worthwhile to post.  So here it is...

Swan-shaped whipped cream puff in a lake of chocolate ganache

First cooking challenge of the year ... DONE! The face is a bit burnt but at least I didn't set off the smoke detector again. This was supposed to have been a "gift" for a friend but he never showed up. Had to eat it myself. Can't let good fresh whipped cream go to waste, ya'know!

This was inspired by something found many months ago online.  This wasn't an "original" idea.  To whomever originally made this, I apologize for not having copied down the link to give you proper credit.

Recipe for pâte à choux and whipped cream filling taken from "America's Test Kitchen's Family Baking Book".  Chocolate ganache is a 2-to-1 ratio of chocolate chips and heavy cream with a pat of butter and 1 tsp. of vanilla. 

Also new to my postings ... my first crochet project of the year:  a basic beanie cap.  This was made out of necessity to keep a balding man's head warm in the winter nights.  You can find the pattern on many sites so not gonna bore you with the details on that. 

Friday, September 9, 2011

Waste not, want not ...

... or something like that.  I once told my co-workers the story about my year of finding the "perfect" cheesecake recipe.  Like with any experiment, there are "good" results and there are "bad" results.  I worked through all different types of recipes -- dense ones, fluffy ones, recipes with dozens of ingredients, and ones that had only a handful.  Going the scientific method, I meticulously reviewed each recipe I found and went through the process of elimination of finding a recipe that worked just right for the way I like to bake.  When my co-workers learned that entire "bad" cheesecakes went into the trash, they looked like I just ripped their hearts out right in front of them! 

So, when I made the hidden heart cupcakes last week, I was very conscious of not being wasteful.  As such, instead of carving the cake into hearts over a trashcan, I carved over a bowl.  At the end, I had a huge bowl of what essentially was cake crumbs!  After all my decorating, I also ended up with a lot of cream cheese frosting, as well.  So, what to do with all this? 

I decided to try my hand at making cake pops.  When I found out how to make cake pops, the idea did not appeal to me at all.  Cake pops are just cake mashed together with way too much frosting to make a Play-doh like consistency and free-formed into a ball and placed on a stick.  But since I had basically had everything already, why not just try. 

I've read on another blog that cake pops at coffee shops are a little greasy because of the type or amount of frosting they used as the binder.  So I was very mindful not to add too much frosting to the mix.  Normally, cake pops are covered in a candy-like shell made of brightly colored white chocolate chips. But I didn't have any of that in the house so I decided to just melt all the semi-sweet chocolate chips I had leftover (which was a surprising amount). I mixed in a few pats of butter to make the chocolate a bit smoother and easier to dip in.  The result was a very fudge-like coating once it cooled in the fridge.

Oh ... and in case you're wondering ... the best NY-Style cheesecake recipe I've found is found here:  And my coworkers seem to like cheesecake topped with salted butter caramel sauce.  That recipe is found here: .  The cheesecake recipe found on this site is much more light and fluffy.  It's good but I prefer cheesecake to be more dense.

Monday, September 5, 2011

A Year of Decorating Challenges: #2 ...

In the year of 2010, my challenge was to find the perfect cheesecake recipe.  I baked cheesecake after cheesecake until I couldn't stand the sight of cream cheese in my fridge.  Seems that this year, aside from picking up crocheting, "extreme" cake decorating is the 2011 baking challenge.  ("Extreme" being relative since I'm nowhere near an "Ace of Cakes" or a "Cake Boss" by any means but extreme in that it's not my uusal psuedo Boston Creme Pie mini cupcakes.) 

As a refresher, it started with a request a coworker made for his birthday at the beginning of the year:  a Weinerschnitzel Chili Cheese Dog made completely out of cake.  I don't think he was serious about it or expected that I would even try.  But try I did.  Aside from making my kitchen a tornado of cake crumbs, I did manage to end up with this ... his entire usual order at Weinerschnitzel made out of cake (Dr. Pepper really is a can of Dr. Pepper soda): 

buns = yellow loaf cake
cheese = vanilla pudding
hot dog = white cake colored red and carved into a hot dog
chili = chocolate frosting mixed with a little milk and chocolate sprinkles as the beef
mini corn dogs = hot dog, corn bread batttered and fried
yustard = vanilla frosting colored yellow

This time, I was given the challenge of making a celebratory dessert for Tuesday Music Night that covered all the things one of my music partners loves:  anything pink, anything heart shaped, and anything with Hello Kitty.  Here's how it turned out ...

I don't know if you can see it but that's a heart inside the cupcake.  I didn't put enough food coloring into the batter so the pink is very light but it's definitely in there.  And I didn't forget to include accents of Hello Kitty.  It's not quite as pretty as the inspiration by  but I modified it so that I wouldn't have to worry about which side to eat from.  Plus, the cake batter isn't from scratch.  It's all by Mr. Betty Crocker so it's very fluffy and not made for carving.  And I didn't use fondant for decorating but rather a pink cream cheese frosting taken from  This time, kitchen is not only covered in cake crumbs, but also frosting and I'm covered in sugar.  O_o  So much for cleaning all this weekend.  Have to start all over now.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Judgement Day ...

I suppose there's no better day to post my first entry than today being "Judgement Day", as stated in Terminator (I). Now, normally, this is not something I would ever know but today is also one of my co-worker's birthday who loves the Terminator series and won't let anyone forget how his birthday also coincides when "Judgement Day" is.

This blog site was created at the insistance of two other co-workers who wanted me to display/chronicle some of the things I make which up until now, could only be seen by friends and only through Facebook.  I was, and still am, kind of resistant to the idea of having a blog.  I feel it's quite redundant since I post most things to FB anyway.  So, since I am not expecting anyone else to read this other than those two, I'll just keep this short. 

Tuesdays is music night and I'm in charge of bringing dessert.  For tomorrow, I made oatmeal cranberry chocolate chip cookies as directed by this recipe found here:

Here is a picture of my result:

Is someone going to be receiving a "Daily Treat Special" tomorrow?