Friday, January 29, 2010

Ginger Snaps 1/28

Baked goods bring joy and friendliness. As I walked into my office I was greeted by a co-worker with a "Good Morning! How are you?" Later she admitted that she was talking to the cookies.
This recipe is for the Double Ginger Snaps from Williams Sonoma. We chose it because it uses both ground ginger and chopped candied ginger. We like ginger. There's a recipe for making your own candied ginger at home but we didn't have that kind of time as most people don't.
Guess we're amassing quite a collection of baking ingredients as all we needed was the candied ginger and the white sugar crystals. We found both at Bristol Farms.
The recipe says it makes 4 dozen. We ended up with a little less than 3 dozen. This seems to happen a lot... It could be for the best though. These cookies came out not so snappy as soft and most co-workers/tasters liked that.
Lesson learned: Smaller dough balls will probably make crunchier cookies.

2009 Throwback

These beauties are from Christmas '09 but they came out so well, they inspire cake pops to be in a lot of the baking we've done so far this year. We'll probably refer to them so here's this post so you know what we're talking about. The recipe and other non-christmas ideas for them can be found at

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Birthday Baking: Brandon 1/17

Brandon is our brother-in-law. A week before his birthday we were having dinner at a restaurant and we got Boston Cream Pie for dessert. He had never had it before and quickly proclaimed it his new favorite dessert.
We decided that we should make him Boston Cream Cupcakes for his b-day. We used a Cook's Illustrated recipe because it looked better and sounded tastier than the other recipes we found online.
It gets made in three parts and then put all together. We made the filling first, the night before the rest of it. Then came the cake and the chocolate topping. It was odd that the cake mixture came out more like bread dough than batter but it baked just fine, maybe a little tough though.
We refrigerated it for the minimum amount of time because we cut it a little close to when we had to leave.
As Gordon Ramsay says "Taste everything", we did. We tasted the pudding, the cake, the chocolate and then all of it together. We were very sugared up but feeling that the cakes came out tasty but little thick.
We didn't have any of them right away. They were consumed that evening after we went home. As I understand it, multiples were consumed by each person.
Lessons learned: Letting the pudding soak into the cake may be the key. Next time, we may try to use cupcake papers to keep the cake soft even though the recipe doesn't call for it.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Birthday Baking: Rick 1/12

Rick works with Erin. He likes the Eagles. We went a little creativity crazy on this one but didn't get a good close-up pic. Sorry. Will do better in future.
These are cake pops like the reindeer meant to look like the helmets for the Philadelphia eagles. They are stood up on florist foam designed to look like their field. It was pretty fun to do.
We used chocolate coating from NY Cakes West. They come in all colors. These did not come out so well this time. The reindeer were very smooth, these ones not so much. The wings were outlined in food coloring pen, also from NY Cakes West and then filled in with Wilton's cookie frosting so it would harden.
Very strict criteria existed to see which would make the team. Not all of them were up to snuff. Pictured are the ones who made it. Rick knew what they were right away so it was a success. He bit into one and the rest immediately fell to the floor. Then we discussed if the pop was on the injured list or was that considered a fumble.
Lessons learned: Always have extra in order to field a full team.
Questions: Is Mom's stove better at melting the chocolate so that it's smooth?

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Birthday Baking: Mom 1/9

Mom loves The Wizard of Oz, so we decided to use a theme from the movie for her birthday cake. We decided on blue birds flying over a rainbow cause "Somewhere over the rainbow, blue birds fly. Birds fly over the rainbow, why then oh why can't I?" (Strangely enough, some people didn't get it.)
The first cake was a disaster. Prime candidate for The reason was that we used canned frosting. Crumbs from the cake kept breaking off and getting stuck in the frosting. Twas a mess.
Take 2: Make our own frosting. Ah yes, that's the ticket. Tastier too. We also used a metal sandwich spreader and heated it in hot water to make sure the frosting would slide off. Worked like a charm.
Cue the birds: There's a great website called that has great instructions on cake pops. Their recipe makes over 40 cake pops but we only wanted a few birds so we chose their oreo cookie truffle recipe instead thinking we would waste less. The truffles came out alright but we wanted to put them on a stick so that they would "fly." Well, a lot of these baby birds were not ready for it. Only one got off the ground but the effect is worth it.
Lessons learned: Make frosting, don't buy. Truffles are not cake pops. Have Sara do the writing on the cake.