Wednesday, May 27, 2009

You are the apple of my eye....

The May Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Linda of make life sweeter! and Courtney of Coco Cooks. They chose Apple Strudel from the recipe book Kaffeehaus: Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Caf├ęs of Vienna, Budapest and Prague by Rick Rodgers.

My work has been keeping me busy and I kept putting this challenge off till the 11th hour. This baking challenge was fun, but for some reason I was not excited or as motivated as I usually am to do it. I had to attempt this challenge twice as the dough was giving me a bit of problem. I kept rolling, and stretching the dough, but it did not stretch as far as I hoped nor was as flaky as I wanted it to.

It was a tasty challenge as usual. Even though if it did not come out as well, Papa Bear ate half the strudel.

The Verdict

Papa Bear:
Papa bear ate half the strudel. He suggested making it with strawberries and cream cheese. Ooh..that does sound mighty tasty.

The other bears
: I let my two little bears have a taste. The boy dog could careless about the apple and left it on the ground. My little princess was very eager to eat the apples so she took it upon herself to clean the floor for me.

It was very nice. Very tasty with coffee. With coffee, I had two pieces.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Can you hear that????

That is the sounds of all French bakers cursing at me or shaking their finger at me. Welcome to May's cookie carnival challenge! I present to you hazelnut macaroon sandwich cookie.

Kate at The Clean Plate Club really threw down the challenge this month. This has been on my "to bake" list for ages. A friend told me, these are the very difficult since the ingredients consist of egg whites and beating them until stiff. She also indicated that they are very expensive about $3 bucks a piece. Yowza! I didn't believe her. Come on how hard can making a cookie be. I was sooo wrong. This cookie challenge kicked tush really hard. Here is a picture of the anatomy of a perfect macaroon.

Picture from:

See how its suppose to have the foot. Notice how its flat and smooth. That is a perfect macaroon. Are you ready to see mine? I am so embarrassed. I am even getting all red as I write this post.

None of the cookie had that foot at the bottom, nor did they have that egg shell like crust. I decided to tweak the recipe a bit. I added cocoa powder to give it a chocolaty taste. I was unable to locate hazelnuts, so I used the traditional almond flour. Instead of regular ganache that the recipe asked for, I used nutella. If you have not had nutella, you must have been living under a rock. Nutella is a chocolate hazelnut spread. It is great on just about anything.

Practice does make perfect. I think the French pastry chefs out there would pick me up and dust the poweder sugar off me. They would tell me to get my tush back into that kitchen and try again. I might just do that.

The Verdict

Papa Bear:
He ate a couple cookies. He had nothing much to say as this was his first time eating a macaroon. I might have to splurge and buy him a real one to taste.

The other bears
: Sorry babies. Chocolate and nutella do not mix in your diet.

It was very nice. I was on the same boat as Papa Bear. I never had one. I think I need to make a trip to the local bakery for the real deal.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Holy gnocchi!

The crew at the daring bakers decided to roll out a new adventure called the "Daring Cooks Challenge." I immediately signed up since I love to explore new foods. The first ever challenge was gnocchi.

When I first the challenge, I thought oh cool its gnocchi made with potatoes. Oh no my friend, this gnocchi is made with ricotta cheese. I am going to share some of my wisdom with everyone. Before starting a challenge, read through the whole posting. I mean read everything. The ricotta cheese was suppose to be dry so that it easily forms into a dumpling. My ricotta cheese was still a bit moist. So the first batch was cheese bit soup. I finally read through the posting and found a remedy to fix soggy dumplings. Add egg whites. The light bulb turned on.

Once the gnocchi hit the boiling pot of water and began to float to the top. I starting doing my happy dance. Even the two hungry bears joined in on my dance. Sorry I didn't take any pictures of us dancing.

I decided to do a little twist to this gnocchi. Normally, gnocchi is suppose to be boiled like pasta. I decided to pan fry my a little bit so that its crispy. What person does not love some fried cheese?
The gnocchi was pared with a chicken, mushroom, onions, and tomato sauce.

The Verdict

Papa Bear:
Papa bear had two servings. I guess I got the green light from him.

The other bears
: Sorry babies. It has onions in it. Onions and doggies do not mix.

It was very nice. I kept sampling the pan fried ones to make sure they were in quality condition.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Thank You Tom!

My dear friend Ada is part of a wonderful not for profit organization called The Forgotten International (TFL). TFL focus is to develop programs that alleviate poverty and suffering both in the US and through out the world. TFL held a fundraiser about a week ago. Their special guest was the Dalai Lama.

As a "Thank you" for helping pull off a fabulous event, all the volu
nteers were treated to a special dinner. My contribution, cupcakes of course! Ada threw in a surprise challenge for me. She wanted a cake for the founder of TFL, Tom to cut. If you know me, I am not the greatest when it comes to decorating cake. I didn't let fear stop me. I decide to put my big girl pants on and take the challenge.

Lucky me, I just recently purchased a printer that allows me to print on edible paper. I thought to myself since TFL is an international organization, why not say "Thank you" in many languages. I present to you my creation.

I was jumping up and down when I saw the finished. I was all smiles.

You can't forget the cupcakes!

I am happy to report that the cake and cuppies were a hit. Tom was very surprised and pleased with everything. Thank you Tom!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Who let the dogs out??

Can you tell that I love dogs? Did my two furry ones give it away? Maybe a majority of the pictures that I have on the page include a dog in it?

My co-worker bday was today. Someone suggested that I bake cupcakes for her. I was jumping up and down because I knew that this co-worker loves loves loves dogs. So I present to you my creation!

One large cupcake for the birthday girl

It looks like the Pt. Isabel dog park. Look at all the dogs running around.

Everyone loved the cupcakes. Birthday girl was very happy too. I took back my fondant dogs as some people were only interested in eating the cupcake. Does this mean they are considered "rescue" dogs? Ha ha! I crack myself up.