Monday, February 28, 2011

Colored, Flavored Sugar Shapes for Tea & February's Food Blogger LOL Posts

I saw a few posts this past month featuring adorable colored and flavored sugar cubes. The best tutorial I found was from Always Order Dessert. She did a brilliant job so head on over there if you wish to give this a try.

I happen to have among my often mentioned embarrassingly huge collection of cookie cutters several mini ones. 

After reading her post I imagined all the possibilities of making my own.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Oscar Cupcakes and Hollywood Walk of Fame Cookies - The Rerun

I posted these cookies and cupcakes I made for a film festival benefit last July. On Oscar eve, I thought they were worth a rerun.

These are a fun addition to any Academy Awards viewing party. The party in July was a benefit for a local film festival. Attendees were asked to come as their favorite movie star. It was more of a classic Hollywood theme so I put the names of iconic film stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame cookies. These of course can be tweaked to add the names of friends attending your party or the names of the current Academy Award nominees. Eating your friends or favorite stars can provide added entertainment value for your viewing party.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Cherry Chip Brookies & A Visit to Clinton Street Baking Co.

This is the second time I have made Brookies. The first batch was for a party a few months ago. I thought I put too much salt in them but the Brookies were gobbled up in no time and people still are talking about them. I decided to give this a go again and this time added these cherry chips I found in the supermarket.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Performance Coaching Tips for Your Food Blog Video From a TV Professional

In my long international career as an Emmy nominated TV producer/host coach, I have worked and trained many celebrities, TV personalities, sports, pop and movie stars. Today I am sharing a bit of my professional wisdom with food bloggers out there who are making, thinking about making or aspiring to make better videos for their blogs. This information is geared to bloggers wanting to do more personality driven videos, not straight technique demos.

I could create a series of posts discussing writing, shooting and editing videos as well. Eventually, maybe I will. Because in addition to 100s or segments and hours of television, I have produced a large number of cooking segments in my career. There's a huge learning curve to share from those segments as well. Today I will focus on performance.

After watching the food blogger video entries for the Food Buzz Project Food BlogI became even more motivated to write this. But as we all know, post ideas can run ahead and we can chase after them for months before we finally nail them down to the computer. 

As I watched the videos, the coach in me was alternatively cheering, correcting and cringing. I would never critique another blogger's recipe because compared to many food bloggers, my work here is laughable and holding food bloggers to professional host standards is not fair. But if you are interested in making videos, below is some of my professional expertise to help step up your game a bit. 

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Nutella Mini Napoleons

Originally I wanted to make these in time for the premiere challenge for Dessert Wars  and also also to coincide with World Nutella Day, but I missed the deadline. Not being at home and at the mercy of borrowing someone else's kitchen did me in.

I forged ahead after missing the deadline mostly because I had never made Naopleons before. I just hoped it wouldn't be my Waterloo.

Thankfully, making these were way easier than I anticipated and the improvised Nutella custard was a real treat. It's the kind of thing you do not want to have leftover because you will inevitably find yourself in front of the fridge at 11 pm digging into it. Not me of course. Just you.

These napoleons are not perfectly pretty (mostly due to a little pysanka decorating disaster), they could use some improvement in the looks department. I do however like they way the colors match my blog ;-)

Regardless, they were delicious.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Momofuku's Milk Bar NYC

I finally had a chance to stop by Momofuku Milk Bar in the East Village. I did so on my way home from a jaunt out to Baked in Brooklyn. Can you say "sugar coma"? I was already on sweet overload but I just had to see what all the fuss was over cereal milk soft serve ice cream. I just had to.

That was my intention. But then I got there...

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Sea of Love Macarons - A Mactweets Challenge

Once I was a TV producer as stressed as could be
I always found peace while diving in the sea
Criss crossing the world, exploring reef by reef
Utterly transported by beauty beyond belief

One fateful Costa Rican underwater escape
My diving adventures took an entirely new shape
Single and excited I boarded the OKEANOS without dread
I was just jonzin' to see hammerhead after hammerhead

Everyone's tanks were hooked up to Nitrox with care
I stood there blinking because I really wanted to dive Air
Hmmm, a 36 hour crossing was time enough to take the test
But all I really wanted to do was go to my cabin and rest

Monday, February 14, 2011

Rosebud Bouquet Chocolate Cupcakes

I admit, I must have been a little mad to create these labor intensive cupcakes. As I was rolling up what seemed to be thousands of fondant rosebuds, I did seriously question my sanity. I didn't even know if the idea would work. I imagined myself chasing rolling rosebuds all over the kitchen floor as they fell off the cupcakes while trying to secure them into place.

But they eventually came together and I was more than pleased with the result.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Chocolate Love Poem Cookies for a Valentine's Wedding Weekend

One of my dearest friends got married yesterday in Los Olivos, CA. I am so thrilled for her and her new husband. It was a small, beautiful ceremony in a private garden. Each of us were asked to read something.

Since the bride and groom are Australian and South African respectively, we had people far and wide joining the ceremony by Skype. Even Dr. B checked in from Baghdad.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Pink Lip Marshmallows for Valentine's Day

This was my first attempt at making marshmallows. I've seen such beautiful ones on other bloggers sites but hesitated because most warned they were quite a mess to make.

I actually didn't have such a mess which is a surprise because I can be very Lucy-ish in the kitchen.

I couldn't decide what flavor to make them so I left them plain. However I had to do something to give them some pizzaz so I colored them pink and used a lip shaped cookie cutter. 

Friday, February 11, 2011

Dark Chocolate Ganache Folk Heart Brownies With Sugar Candy Roses

These brownies are my entry for February's Dessert Wars. The Theme this month is dark chocolate and hearts.  During my travels in the past months, I picked up this folk heart brownie cutter.

It did the trick perfectly.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Dorie Greenspan's Cookiebar Pop Up Cookie Store NYC

Let me just start by saying it's a good thing I have absolutely no aspirations to be a professional baker. Because if I did, after today I might as well just throw myself under an Entemann's baked goods truck.

What can $10.75 buy you in NYC? 

"Not much" most people would say. Maybe a (very) short taxi ride or a carton of organic milk.

Well today I proved that wrong. 

$10.75 bought me perfection, people. 

Perfection in the form of four of the most perfect cookies I have ever tasted in my life at Cookie Bar, Dorie Greenspan's pop up cookie store at Mizu salon (Park Ave between 59th and 60th streets.)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Pretty Fondant Heart Sugar Cookies

This is an easy peasy way to decorate cookies. The cookies are very sweet but as delicious as they are pretty. Ok not so easy peasy if you want to make your own fondant but if you have some homemade or store bought handy, these come together fast.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Valentine's Day Cherry Vanilla Hi Hat Cupcakes

Ever since I saw these wonderful ice cream cone shaped cupcakes on other bloggers sites I have wanted to make them. I used the upcoming holiday to give them a colorful Valentine's day spin.

I did cheat a bit and used red and pink candy melts for dipping instead of coloring the chocolate myself.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Valentine's Linzer Cookies with Chocolate Cinnamon Ganache

When I found these adorable Valentine themed Linzer cookie cutters, I couldn't wait to use them.

For the cookie part I added a citrus flavor using orange zest in the batter and lemon extract.

To make the cookies look more Valentine-y I mixed powdered sugar with some pink hologram dust to give it a pink hue and a little sparkle. 

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Heart Shaped Doughnuts with Raspberry Glaze

This is the first of several posts I will be sharing between now and February 14th of dedicated to Valentine's Day treats. 

Friday, February 4, 2011

Lavender Kipferl

Ever since I picked up this bag of organic lavender at a Hamburg Christmas MarketI have been looking for an opportunity to bake with it.

I know Kipferl is an Austrian cookie and mostly found at Christmas time. Yep, still on somewhat of that Christmas cookie tangent. Also I thought kipferl would be the perfect lab rat cookie for my first attempt at baking with lavender.

And they were. Fragrant, sugary, buttery, crumbly perfection.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Pioneer Woman's Book Signing NYC

For all three food bloggers out there who don't know who Ree Drummond is, she writes The Pioneer Woman.  Ree's new book Back Heels to Tractor Wheels hit the stores this week. The book chronicles the love story between her and her husband, how they met, fell in love, got married, etc. Before it was a book, the story's first incarnation was initially a set of weekly posts on her blog.  I did read the entire first part of the story she posted on the blog and bought the book to catch up on the rest.

Ree left her big city job ambitions behind and married her hot cowboy. I can relate to her initial fish out of water life on the ranch, living in our small village in Germany. I can also relate how meeting the person of your dreams comes along so unexpectedly and so profoundly, it knocks you off your feet and changes the direction of your life forever.

In person Ree was just like she writes, funny, quirky, self deprecating,  a bit nervous and rambling. She said she was more comfortable answering questions and interacting with people than "orating" and it shows. Ree was great with audience questions aside from a few tangets she went off on which she made fun of herself over and was very, well Pioneer Woman like.