Tuesday, 23 February 2010

TWD: Chocolate Chip Cookies!

Having just looked around I see that I got my weeks mixed up! I had thought I was making these the right week, but seems I'm behind. In any case these are some delicious cookies! No they are not tollhouse in all its perfection- but still a very strong contender an soon there will be no more trace of them in our house!

So if you haven't already made them last week- get these in.. very nice chewy chocolate chip cookie!

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

TWD: Brownies for Julia

Hello again!
Well after a hiatus of eons I've finally managed to bake something! I'm really glad I made these brownies as they are delicious fudgy and super chocolatey!
I remember the last dorie brownie recipe I made was a dud in comparison to my old standby one bowl brownies and while these are not a new favorite they were a good change.

I wasn't sure just how gooey they should be out of the oven so I cut a small corner- while the top was done it almost completely filled up again with seeping brownie goo.. So I put it in for another 10 minutes which seemed to do the trick.

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

TWD: Cafe Volcano Cookies

This recipe was one that I had my doubts about.. i thought- surely a meringue cookie must need to have whipped egg whites?! I cast my doubts aside and followed Dorie's recipe and found that ah ha.. the volcano action is in the oven - where my little scoop of sticky nuts turns into hot lava and finally solid rock.. i mean cookie.

I had high hopes for these cookies to become my new 'what do I do with all these egg white leftovers' recipe- but alas neither I nor the husband thought them all that great- as further testified by the neglected jar of cookies for over a week (usually 2-3 days is max for baked goods around here!)
However perhaps its just us- the cracky, dry, chock full o nuts cookie is against are usually chewy, moist, chocolaty likes...

Monday, 14 December 2009

Wedding Cake (and Pics!)

Holy S*&T! Did We make that?!

When I was greeted with the above upon arrival.. I was thrilled! It really all came together- The cake topper I made, the Wood slice cake stand from etsy, and the just married sign my Maid of Honor made! (not to mention the fact it was there at the venue assembled- -when as I left for the ceremony it was still in my aunt's fridge)
The coordinator even found some nifty up lights which gave it a really professional feel on the night. We got so many compliments and people went bake to try and taste all the flavors with the most compliments going to the pumpkin chocolate chip cake.

It was a sweet end to a great day!

ps if you want me to post more wedding pics- just leave some comments.. (I've only got like 940 from the photographer!)

Daring Cooks: Vegetable en Croute

The 2009 Daring Cooks challenge was hosted by Simone of Junglefrog Cooking. Simone chose Salmon en Croute (or alternative recipes for Beef Wellington or Vegetable en Croute) from Good Food Online.

To be honest for a vegetarian- this recipe needed alot more help! It was really bland- no seasonings in the spinach and just a few thyme leaves in the crust did not save it! I suppose I should of realized this as I was going along but i blithely followed the recipe- hoping that some stilton would be strong in the end... it wasn't- in fact the layering technique was very bad for me hardly room for any cheese- not knowing how big to cut the base circle (we were just instructed 2 circles- one 10cm larger than the other ((which seemed excessive at the end)) left me wondering. I did get it all together though and it looked pretty- it just was not very tasty... bland in fact
Oh well- lets just hope next month is more 'daring' and tastes better!

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Wedding Cake pt 2

Part 2. This thing done yet?!
After a full day of cake assembly its now crunch time = drafting in the bridesmaids. as you can see this intruded on the beer drinking time, but was necessary. Here are my to lovely L &L bridesmaids getting down on melting the chocolate for the panels. My other BM B has at this point run to the grocery to buy yet more white chocolate for our too runny ganache.

Note the stress level here I tried to tell them off for too much stirring... yes of chocolate.. i know.. but then I was one day until the wedding and the guests were coming in a few hours for the welcome dance!

So here I am putting the wood graining tool into action. Using the nicely melted chocolate and some overhead transparency films cut to size (if any one actually knows where you can buy acetate sheets I'm all ears as that's what you're supposed to use!)

First goes on the chocolate coat.. i made 2 tiers with dark grain and white background and the middle tier with white grain and dark background. After applying the chocolate grain I let them set up anywhere I can either on the counter or in the fridge..

BM B having returned from the grocery with more white chocolate I can now get to filling in these white grain with dark chocolate planks. We eventually finish and I run from the kitchen to my rehearsal which takes way longer than planned and leaves me throwing on my party clothes and arriving late to my own party! But its a good time for all.
My cake fairy, L finishes the cakes while I am rehearsing and after I explain cake stacking with straws she agrees to come back in the morning while I'm at my 9am hair/makeup appointment to put any finishing touches on them, prepare them for stacking and put them in their boxes ready for the caterer to assemble at the reception venue! Whoo!

Saturday morning I wake up before anyone else in the house (I'm at my aunties to keep with tradition of not seeing the groom..) and I investigate the chocolate planks- which I remove from their acetate and make into foil packets for each tier of the cake....

Fast forward to.. my parents and I are waiting for the carriage to come back from taking the BMs up to the chapel... when we notice that the cake is still boxed and in the fridge.... (everyone's at the chapel already but us!)
now.. i could leave this a cliffhanger.. but . i won't.. suffice to say wedding vendors and having good ones are really important!
My mom made a panicky phone call to the caterer- gave them directions (it was only 3 blocks away) and stay tuned for the final chapter to see what happened next!

Friday, 11 December 2009

The Wedding and Cake! pt one

Making your own wedding cake....
First let me say is well worth it if you normally take pride in making cake for your family, yourself, friends etc.
Also let me qualify that with its not to be undertaken lightly! As I live in UK and got married in USA I couldn't bake the layers and freeze them ahead of time as I did with the trial wedding cake this spring.. so with much pleading, photo sharing and phone calls- I convinced my mother that yes she could whip up 9 layers no problem.. which after all this is the woman responsible for my cooking/baking love- she did.. and it was fabulous! BUT.. there is still a lot more to wedding cake than baking the cake. And it does mean you have a bit less chill out time- but perhaps I would of spent that stressing about something else silly.. at least this was a real challenge to worry about!

We got married on a Saturday, so all of Friday was devoted to 'assembly'! My mom and I had make the tricky Praline Silk Meringue Buttercream on Tuesday so we would have one last thing to worry about and everything had been coming to room temperature since Thursday night.

Cue the miracle worker..the wife of one of the groomsmen- she makes my cake making hobby look like mud pies in the back yard. almost completely self taught she loves making cakes- so much so she was tickled pink to get to ditch her kids and be put to work basically all day until the evening dinner on Friday.. so here she is in action...

Here I am trying my best to reassure her that yes I do want her to stack my cakes as I know that without her ingenious leveling I will get a sloped saggy masterpiece!
Witness here our fridge full of partially completed cakes and white chocolate ganache- see those bits on the corners of the top cake.. i would have never done that... but she did and I have level layers to show for it!

Note its the bottom tier on the bottom of the fridge (a 12' chocolate butter cake with silk praline meringue buttercream) and the middle tier on top with waiting bowls of chocolate ganache and white chocolate! (a 10" vanilla buttermilk cake with homemade raspberry jam and white chocolate ganache)

At this point I thought.. hooray we're almost done.. then remembered I still had to make all the chocolate faux bois coverings.. and there was still one more tier to assemble and it needed its filling made too.. and we had a rehearsal to get to, party dresses to change into and a party to go to!

part 2 coming soon!