Wednesday, July 23, 2014
I've always been attracted to the weird and different. Consequently, at Farmers Markets, I'm the person who gravitates to all the strange and exotic looking produce. So when choosing herbs for my deck, why would I go all garden variety all of a sudden?
Lemon verbena, spearmint, apple mint, orange mint, pineapple mint, lemon thyme, purple basil, box basil, lemon basil, curry, variegated sage, pineapple sage are some of the weirdo herbs that live harmoniously side by side on my NYC terrace.
Monday, July 21, 2014
It's embarrassing to admit this but I found a half empty jar of Biscoff creamy spread while I was looking for something else in my kitchen cabinets. I mean who leaves a half empty jar of amazing goodness and forgets about it?
To make up for it, I filled these delicious French macaron shells with the creamy goodness that is Biscoff. I may or may not have finished the rest with spoon.
I hoard these flavor sugar packets from Germany. These needed to be used up before expiring and they definitely got sacrificed for a good cause.
Friday, July 18, 2014
My entire relationship with corn syrup has changed. Earthshaking, people.
When previously making marshmallows I've followed instructions to the letter. The only ingredients I ever switched out were the easy ones, flavor and color.
Wednesday, July 16, 2014
Aaand the herb harvest continues this week with these lovely scones. Right about now everything is growing like crazy in the garden. I don't know why I get so much pleasure out of using fresh herbs in baking. Maybe it's because I find endless inspiration and flavor options right outside my door.
Back in the reality of my kitchen there is always what seems to be the endless problem of using up buttermilk. I had bought some to create chocolate mini cupcakes with rainbow frosting for a local Gay Pride event and there I was, stuck with half a jug.
I admit scones are a copout sometimes because they are so easy to throw together. In this recipe the buttermilk adds especially good flavor.
Monday, July 14, 2014
So of course I waited until the most humid day so far in PA to go on a French Macaron making marathon. Humidity and making macarons do not mix but I had way too many Cinderella egg whites in the fridge that needed to go to the ball.
Friday, July 11, 2014
A few weeks ago I had the privilege of a private tour of Kara Walker's Subtlety exhibit at the soon to be knocked down Domino Sugar Factory in Brooklyn.
The exhibit ended this past weekend. The building will be replaced with a waterfront park.
I will especially miss the nostalgic view of the factory when crossing the Williamsburg bridge.
Since it's premiere in May over 130,000 people have viewed these sculptures, three of which were Beyonce, Jay-Z and little Blue Ivy. Domino donated 80 tons of sugar. About half was used for the creation of these glorious sculptures fashioned as a tribute to generations of sugar workers.
Wednesday, July 9, 2014
Sixty of these mini eclairs were created and donated recently to a worthy cause in our local PA community. Last year I gave French macarons and mini red velvet cupcakes to the same organization. This year the theme was specifically French and although I toyed with the idea of sending macarons again, in the end I decided to do something a little different.
Every time I make choux pastry I am always surprised with how easy it is to create and then how making eclairs impresses whomever is the recipient. A dessert that looks complicated but is super east to create with endless flavor combination options.
I chose flavors I thought perfect for a benefit summer garden party. The delicious lemon pastry cream was just the right filling for these little beauties.
Monday, July 7, 2014
When I made root beer flavored tootsie rolls recently, I had a good amount of milk powder leftover so of course I tried using it as a macaron flavor.
While the taste definitely has a more dairy like flavor, during baking, the feet just wouldn't come out and play. Consequently, these are not so great on looks but the flavor is big and wonderful and fully deserving of a post on it's own. Forget the flat feet. Flavor is the ticket here.
Although I have stalked numerous recipes for chocolate chip cookie dough frosting for years, this is my first time making it. What took me so long? It's fantastic.
Thursday, July 3, 2014
A few weeks ago, for the third time in a row, I joined hundreds of other bakers in sending cookies of US troop stationed in Afghanistan with Operation Cookie Takeover. Over 13,000 cookies in total were sent to the soldiers.
|Mosaic made from all the cookies that were sent in this last shipment.|
Mine are second row right, first picture.
Wednesday, July 2, 2014
As a result of all the French macaron making that goes on in my kitchen, I usually have an abundance of egg yolks lying around waiting for me to find a creative solution for. This time I had extra egg whites on hand I needed to use up before they spoiled.
Not counting French macarons, it's been awhile since I've made flavored meringue cookies just to eat by themselves and not worry about growing feet. So. Much. Easier.
Since I discovered these flavor packets from Duncan Hines, creating fun flavored meringues are even more of a snap and a great way to use up leftover egg whites.