Fairy Princess Cake Pops

Fairypops1I haven’t been hired for a baking job in a while. But to my surprise, I was contacted a few weeks ago by a friend of my sister-in-law. She wanted me to make cake pops for her daughter’s first birthday. The catch? She wanted start shaped ones to look like a fairy wand. I had never made shaped cake pops before, but I was up to the challenge. I even practiced making some tulip shaped cake pops, which I brought to work for Parkinson’s Awareness Month.

I’ve made cake pop displays before that look like wedding cakes, but this time I tried using heart-shaped cake dummies, since this was a little girl’s birthday party. The top-down view is so cute!

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I found this adorable trim at M&J trimming in the city, and I thought it was just perfect.

Fairypops5I used sanding sugar to make the pops sparkly. Each pop was bagged individually and tied with pink and purple ribbon.

Fairypops3I was really happy with how these came out. And now I’m totally inspired…Fairypops7

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I need to find other shapes I can make!

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Tulip cake pops for Parkinson’s Awareness Month

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Just wanted to share some cake pops I made for Parkinson’s Awareness Month. You might wonder why they are shaped like tulips. That’s because the tulip is a symbol for Parkinson’s, and has been for over 35 years. It’s an interesting story, and you can read about it here.

I had never made shaped cake pops before, but wondered if I could use cookie cutters to shape the dough. So I mixed up cake and frosting as I normally would, and then took a piece of dough and packed it down in the cookie cutter. Then I flipped it over and made sure the other side was nice and smooth. Then I added the lollipop sticks and dipped in chocolate as usual.

They came out really cute, and were fun to eat! Next month, I’ll be doing another shaped cake pop project, so stay tuned…

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Hoppy Easter! What better way to celebrate than cookie dough blondies?

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Since I haven’t baked anything in the new year, I wanted to bring something sweet to Easter this year (even though my job was to bring a veggie side dish… I went rogue!). I looked through my cookbooks for inspiration, and realized that I bought a signed copy of Lindsay Landis’ Cookie Dough Lover’s Cookbook and never actually tried a recipe. Here is me meeting Lindsay and getting my book signed.

Cookie_Dough_Book_SigningThis book is awesome. It is contains  recipes that all use a specially formulated cookie dough created by Lindsay. What is special is that there are NO raw eggs in the recipe. So you have all the yumminess of cookie dough without the salmonella.

I can’t believe I went nearly FOUR years without trying a single recipe. Since hubby hates chocolate, I decided to try the white chocolate-macadamia nut cookie dough blondies. But I didn’t use the macadamia nuts because we have a nut allergy in my family. I was worried they would be missing something , but I just added a little more white chocolate chips instead, and they were perfect. Seriously, they were SO good. Everyone loved them and there were only a few left.

They were soft and cakey, and the cookie dough topping was the best. I decorated mine with pastel sugar to make it festive for Easter. Can’t wait to try more recipes from this book!

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White chocolate cookie dough blondies (modified from Cookie Dough Lover's Cookbook)
 
Makes 16 blondies, or more if you cut them smaller
Ingredients
For the blondies:
  • 5 ounces white chocolate, chopped
  • ⅓ cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract or paste (I LOVE vanilla bean paste so I added this option)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
For the cookie dough:
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 2 tsp granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 TBSP milk or cream
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract or paste
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ⅛ tsp salt
  • ⅓ cup of mini white chocolate chips (or if using macadamia nuts, use ¼ cup chocolate chips and ¼ cup nuts)
For the topping
  • 2 ounces white chocolate melted
Instructions
To make the blondies:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line the bottom of an 8x8 pan with parchment paper, leaving a slight overhang of paper on two sides. Rub butter over the parchment paper.
  2. Melt chocolate and butter. I did this in the microwave (30 second intervals at 50% power and stir in between), but you can also use a double boiler.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in granulated and brown sugars. The batter should cool to just above room temperature by now.
  4. Whisk in eggs and vanilla until smooth. Then add the flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir until all the dry ingredients are incorporated.
  5. Pour into the pan. Bake 25-30 minutes until the top is golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Move to a wire rack to cool completely.
To make the cookie dough:
  1. While the blondies are cooling, beat the butter and sugars in an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add the milk and vanilla and mix well.
  3. Add the flour and salt and mix until incorporated.
  4. Stir in the white chocolate chips and macadamia nuts (if you are using them).
  5. Spread the dough over the top of the blondies, and drizzle the melted chocolate over the dough.
To serve:
  1. Remove blondies from pan by taking the edges of the parchment paper and lifting out of the pan.
  2. Place on a cutting board and use a large knife to cut 2-inch squares.You may need to trim the edges first to make the blondies nice and even.
  3. Blondies can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days (but they won't last that long!).

 

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Happy 2016!

NYE-cakeHappy New Year, everyone! Goodbye, 2015. I can’t wait to see what 2016 brings!

I made the cake above for a NYE party, and I didn’t love the recipe. I can’t put my finger on it, but there was something I didn’t like. One of my New Year’s resolutions is to figure out why, because I hate having cakes go wrong. The scientist in me should be able to work it out 🙂

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Pumpkin bread pudding

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I’m a bit behind in posting, but now that the holidays are over (except NYE), I have some time to catch up. I made this pumpkin bread pudding for Thanksgiving, and it was really good. It had a very subtle pumpkin flavor, but I think the pumpkin puree gave it a nice texture (so I wouldn’t omit it from the recipe). So this is perfect if you like pumpkin, but don’t LOVE pumpkin.

I used fresh pumpkin, as I always do, but you can use canned as well. I actually made the puree in October and froze it for a month, since there are never any pumpkins around by the time Thanksgiving comes. It worked out fine, and I think you can probably freeze fresh pumpkin even longer. We’re going to experiment next October and freeze some pumpkin for about 10 months so we can use it in a beer. Stay tuned!

Pumpkin bread pudding (adapted from tahnycooks.com)
 
Ingredients
For the bread pudding:
  • 6 eggs
  • 1½ cups whole milk
  • 1¾ cups half and half
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 1 cup fresh pumpkin puree (can use canned)
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 6 cups of cubed bread (I used Challah bread)
For the butter sauce:
  • ½ cup light brown sugar, packed
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ⅓ cup light Karo syrup
  • ¼ cup half and half
Instructions
To make the pudding:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Beat eggs in a bowl by hand. Then add the milk, half and half, sugar, vanilla bean paste, pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, and pumpkin pie spice. Whisk until combined. Stir in the cubes of bread.
  3. Spray a 9x13 Pyrex baking pan with Pam cooking spray. Add bread pudding mixture and let sit for about 20 minutes so the bread soaks up the egg and milk.
  4. Bake 45-55 minutes, until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
  5. Serve with warm butter sauce. You can make the pudding ahead of time and make the sauce a day later to serve, but make sure you bring the bread pudding to room temperature before pouring on the sauce, so it soaks in. You can even make little slits with a knife before pouring so that it gets absorbed. No need to do this if you pour the sauce on when the bread pudding is fresh out of the oven.
To make the sauce:
  1. Heat the brown sugar and butter in a saucepan until it melts.
  2. Then add the Karo syrup and half and half. Stir constantly over medium-low heat until all the sugar is dissolved. This takes 1-2 minutes. Pour evenly over bread pudding and serve.

 

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