Sunday, October 31, 2010

Monster Finger Cookies With Ghetto Fabulous Fingernails & Octobers LOL Food Blogger Posts

I have always loved that Bugs Bunny Cartoon where Bugs does a makeover on the angry monster and gives him a "permenanent" with TNT.

"My stars! If an eenteresting monster can't have an eenteresting hairdo, then I don't know what things are coming to!"

Cracks me up every time.

Today, on All Hallow's Eve, I  also channeled my inner monster makeover artist.

I have seen these monster finger cookies on other food blogs. I've even made them before. However, the diva in me always wanted to give them a manicure.

So I did :-)

I love how creative nail art has become over the last years. It was slow to hit here in Germany but it's in full swing now. The German gals are gettin' their ghetto fabulous on and it was my inspiration.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Halloween Treats - Mummies, Devils, Bones and Witch Legs, Oh My!

It's hard to describe how much I love my friends Arnold & Fabio. Their house and their hearts are always always open to everyone. Fabio is a fabulous home cook and baker. His cakes are the epitome of elegance. Arnold is always the motivator and life of the party.

Tonight they are hosting a huge Halloween party for about 80 guests. The theme -  Disguise the Limit. So cute. No? When I knew I wold be in the States to attend I volunteered to make some treats to add to the fun.

Most of these ideas I got from other bloggers.

First off I made Mummy cupcakes. I have seen several versions of these from other bloggers over the last years. Basically you frost a cupcake, cut strips of fondant and lay them over the cupcakes like bandages. I made the eyes out of fondant as well. I used the Magnolia Bakery's vanilla cupcake and vanilla buttercream recipes.

What was fun was changing the expressions of each by changing the eyebrows. I did unibrow and cross-eyed versions as well.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Orange Velvet Cupcakes With Halloween Swirl Frosting

I had planned months before on making orange velvet cupcakes for Halloween and was going to improvise a recipe. Much to my delight, almost by accident, I found this one over at The Swell Life.  They came out really delicious. The only change I made was to add a bit more gel food coloring (Wilton's  Orange). I wanted to deepen the color a bit.

For the frosting, I used Magnolia Bakery's vanilla buttercream recipe. I colored one half with Wilton's Orange and the other with Wilton's black loaded them side by side into a disposable pastry bag and swirled away.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Hunks of Flesh Rice Krispie Squares. The Grossest Halloween Treat Ever...

I know I know. Disgusting, but I love me some Halloween. It's my favorite holiday and I adore creative and disgusting Halloween treats.

Halloween is not really celebrated in Germany and it's one of the things I miss most being an expat. Ok, so we do have Octoberfest and Karneval in Germany but there is no where else I would rather be than in NYC on Halloween for the parade and the parties. This year I am lucky enough to be there.

These treats were inspired by the craziest thing. Several months ago I saw this google generated ad for how to lose belly fat illustrated with a cross section of belly fat.

Some people think, "hmm maybe I should check into losing some belly fat".   Me?  I saw a rice krispie treats opportunity and found inspiration to gross out my readers in October.

Because that's how I roll.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Laptop MACarons with Apple Buttercream

Ever since I have been participating in the MacTweets challenges, I'm hooked on making macarons, or attempting to and I have some pretty wacky ideas. I made these last May but wasn't so happy with the results.

I am spending the next six weeks in the Big Apple.  My last post was an Apple Dream Torte, I guess I am in an Apple/NYC state of mind.

But mostly because I am (ahem) so behind on my Halloween baking ideas due to all the traveling, all of a sudden these looked good enough to post.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Apple Dream Torte

Dr. B picked up a baking book for me recently. It was basically a big hint as he loved everything in it. It's called, Großmutters kleine Gebäcke which means "Grandmothers Small Pastries." As we were turning the pages together, we came upon these and laughed our heads off.

Amerikaner is a popular bakery treat here in Germany. It's basically the size of a black and white cookie you would find in New York but in Germany most of the time, the frosting is all white instead of half chocolate half white.  We were laughing at the way they decorated these cookies. Some food stylist was definitely taking the piss out of Americans when they created this picture. I mean the cookies even look overly friendly and superficial.

OK. Maybe it wasn't that funny. Only to us. Or maybe I have been spending too much time in the kitchen and am now reading too much into baked goods.

Anyway, I want to make everything in this book.  It showcases traditional baked goods and, the Amerikaner aside, has gorgeous styling and interpretations. I was looking for something to bake with our bounty of garden apples. so I turned to this book and found this Apple Dream torte with a chocolate base. I mean, with a name like that, how could I resist?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Orange Crystallized Ginger Cookies

When I moved to Germany I carefully culled my cookbooks to see which ones would make the jump across the pond. The Great American Baking Book, with it's title alone was a no brainer. It went into the container. I love many recipes in this book and the pictures and tutorials alone were worth the international carting around a book of this size. If you are interested, a used copy is on 75 cents on Amazon. Click on the title below the recipe to get the link.

This cookie combines my one of my favorite colors and two of my favorite flavors. For me they are fall in a cookie.  After traveling to roughly 60 countries and although I live in a picture perfect German countryside, I can still say my favorite fall memories have to be on the USA's East Coast.

Alternate gorgeous weekends with trees exploding in color at our family home in the Berkshires with crisp autumn New York City days and I have the recipe for my perfect fall.

These are chewy and flavorful with a plenty of ginger to warm your tummy. A lovely companion to tea for an sweet and spicy autumn afternoon snack.

Orange Crystallized Ginger Cookies
(Adapted from The Great American Baking Book by Patricia Lousada. 
Anness Publishing Limited 1994)

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Mactweets Challenge - Macboobies for Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Jamie and Deeba, those wonderful gals over at Mactweets dedicated this month's challenge to Pink for Breast Cancer awareness month. We were tasked with creating a Pinkaron.

These Macboobies are a tribute to the Feel Your Boobies campaign founded by fellow Ithaca College alumni, Leigh Hurst. Feel your boobies is not about just reminding women to do self examinations. They encourage women to feel their breasts often to be observant of any changes that may occur.

Once I got past the visual gag of these Macboobies shells, I thought hard about what to fill them with.  I did a bit of research on breast healthy foods. Flax seed and lemons and oranges are on the list. Butter is also there on some  as it is rich in CLA. However, it's a no no on others. I went with the butter is breast healthy peeps and created two different buttercreams for fillings.  For the pink Macboobies, I used orange and lemon buttercream. For the chocolate ones I made a vanilla flax seed version.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Autumn Seven Layer Cookies

These Italian seven layer or rainbow cookies remind me when I lived downtown in NYC. Back then (before Chinatown swallowed parts of Little Italy) I used to occasionally wander around Little Italy sampling delicious everything from various bakeries.

Ever since I saw this excellent and comprehensive tutorial on Smitten Kitchen, I had hope that these cookies were actually possible to make. They do take a long time but mostly because they have to be refrigerated for 8 hours at one point.

I followed Deb's instructions to the letter and I have to say they came out great. Moist and almond-ee.

Here are my variations:

1)  I did not have almond paste, only marzipan (for an explanation on the difference, click here) so I made my own from this recipe.

2) Instead of the apricot preserves, I used my MIL's yellow plum compote she made from the yellow plums in our garden.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Tie-Dyed Cupcakes - Peace, Love and Janis

This gorgeous design is by our friend Marina

I made these cupcakes for a surprise birthday party for my über-talented singer friend Erin. Among her many vocal projects, Erin has a tribute show called Kosmic Blues where she performs the songs of Janis Joplin. It's amaaaazing.

Erin Perry as Janis Joplin

So in tribute to her tribute show, I baked these Kosmic Blues cupcakes for her.

Sadly, she never got to eat one. It was the surprise birthday party that wasn't. Seven of us, all Erin's closest girlfriends, planned to surprise her with a little girls only soiree. I had spent three days shopping for ingredients to cook a Mexican fiesta. As expats, this is a big treat as we so miss good Mexican food. Erin and I both moved to Germany from California, a.k.a. Mexican food heaven only to find not one good Mexican restaurant in Munich.  In addition, In order to prepare Mexican food here in Germany, there is always a mad scramble to several markets to get the ingredients together. You can't imagine what we go through to find one damn fresh jalapeño.

Since it was Oktoberfest in Munich, Erin was booked solid singing almost every evening at different venues until the wee hours of the morning. The Oktoberfest closes about 10PM but the after parties in clubs and restaurants around the city go on all night. Because of this, three of us agreed with her to take her out to a nice dinner one of her rare off evenings in between gigs. But, of course, we had this other fabulous plan for a small girls only, Erin's closest friends surprise party.