Thursday, December 15, 2011

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Holidays Smolidays

Oh the joy of the holidays.
It's just so jolly, it makes me want to barf.
Actually the thing that really makes me want to barf is the traffic and people that are driving like absolute maniacs trying to get all their holiday chores done. Why don't we all just take a couple deep breaths, bake some cookies, and drink some hot toddy's. It would be a lot less stressful world with much happier people in it.
Anywoodle! Enough Bah Humbug for now... here are some delicious recipes to enjoy!

Salted Chocolate Shortbread Cookies

Yield: 3 dozen cookies

Prep: 10 minutes | Chill Time: 3 hours | Bake Time: 12 minutes

1¼ cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 stick plus 3 tablespoons (11 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup light brown sugar
¼ granulated sugar
½ teaspoon fleur de sel or ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt, plus extra for sprinkling
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Whisk together the flour, cocoa and baking soda in a small bowl; set aside.

2. Beat the butter on medium speed until soft and creamy. Add both sugars, the salt and vanilla extract and beat for 2 minutes more.

3. With the mixer off, add the dry ingredients. Turn the mixer on and off low speed (pulse) for a second or two about 5 times so that the flour mixture gets incorporated. Then mix on low speed for about 30 seconds, just until the flour disappears into the dough (the dough will look crumbly).

4. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and divide it in two. Shape each half into a 9-inch log. Wrap the logs in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours. (The dough can be refrigerated up to 3 days or frozen for up to 2 months. If you’ve frozen the dough, you don’t need to defrost before baking – just slice the logs into cookies and baking the cookies 1 minute longer.)

5. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.

6. Using a sharp thin knife, slice the logs into rounds that are ½-inch thick. Arrange the rounds on the baking sheets, leaving about 1 inch between them. Sprinkle a small amount of extra salt on top of each round.

7. Bake the cookies one sheet at a time for 12 minutes – they won’t look done, and won’t be firm, but that’s how they should be. Transfer the baking sheet to a cooling rack and let the cookies rest until they are only just warm, at which point you can serve them or let them reach room temperature. Store the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature.

Homemade Peppermint Patties
from: Epicurious

  • 2 1/2 cups confectioners sugar (less than 1 pound), divided
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure peppermint extract
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable shortening (preferably trans-fat-free)
  • 10 ounces 70%-cacao bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

Make filling:
Beat 2 1/4 cups confectioners sugar with corn syrup, water, peppermint extract, shortening, and a pinch of salt using an electric mixer (with paddle attachment if using a stand mixer) at medium speed until just combined. Knead on a work surface dusted with remaining 1/4 cup confectioners sugar until smooth. Roll out between sheets of parchment paper on a large baking sheet into a 7- to 8-inch round (less than 1/4 inch thick). Freeze until firm, about 15 minutes. Remove top sheet of paper and sprinkle round with confectioners sugar. Replace top sheet, then flip round over and repeat sprinkling on other side.

Cut out as many rounds as possible with cutter, transferring to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Freeze until firm, at least 10 minutes. Meanwhile, gather scraps, reroll, and freeze, then cut out more rounds, freezing them.

Temper chocolate and coat filling:
Melt three fourths of chocolate in a metal bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water. Remove bowl from pan and add remaining chocolate, stirring until smooth. Cool until thermometer inserted at least 1/2 inch into chocolate registers 80°F.

Return water in pan to a boil and remove from heat. Set bowl with cooled chocolate over pan and reheat, stirring, until thermometer registers 88 to 91°F. Remove bowl from pan.

Balance 1 peppermint round on a fork and submerge in melted chocolate, letting excess drip off and scraping back of fork against rim of bowl if necessary, then return patty to sheet (to make decorative ridges on patty, immediately set bottom of fork briefly on top of patty, then lift fork straight up). Coat remaining rounds, rewarming chocolate to 88 to 91°F as necessary. Let patties stand until chocolate is set, about 1 hour.

And finally:

Peppermint Patty Macarons
  • Chocolate-Peppermint Shells
  • Peppermint Patty Filling from above
  • Chocolate Ganache

Friday, November 11, 2011


UGH!!! Worst two days of my whole life. Went to the doctor and found out that I don't have the flu but instead I have STREP! What the eff. It's the worst.

Now for something on a much lighter note.


I've decided that Halloween is my favorite holiday. It's all my favorite things. Fall, pumpkin flavors, costumes... pretty much you can get away with looking absolutely ridiculous for a whole day and no one can question it. This year was pretty epic because it was my first year being able to sew my own costume. I made it my mom's job to brainstorm ideas for me. She ended up sending me this adorable baby costume where he was a bowl of spaghetti. The wheels started turning in my head and I got so excited! I went to Joannes and bought some large red check gingham (inspired by a napkin you'd find at a classic Italian restaurant), lace table cloth fabric that had that plastic finish on it for the skirt, and a ball of noodle looking yarn for the head piece.

Spaghetti Costume
  • Red Check Gingham Corset and matching bloomers
  • Lace table cloth skirt
  • black tights
  • large plastic bowl
  • cream chunky yarn

Noodle headpiece with one meatball

Gingham Corset

gingham bloomers

As for the treats.. they were equally as awesome! I made some pumpkin cream cheese truffles, homemade salted carmelos, and caramel corn macarons. So so so tasty.


For the carmelos and the filling in the macarons I used this "Salted Caramel Sauce" from Klutzy Chef . It's delicious. The process is very simple to make your own filled candies. You can make anything you want! I've made homemade reeses peanut butter cups too and they are DELISH.

  • Whatever type chocolate you like, I used 60% dark.
  • Salted Caramel sauce

Melt chocolate in 30 second intervals until smooth. Do not over heat. Spoon melted chocolate into either mini or regular cup cake liners brushing the chocolate halfway up around all sides. Put in the freezer until the chocolate sets. When the chocolate is set, spoon you choice of filling into the center of the cups. Put in the freezer for another couple minutes. Use remaining melted chocolate to cover the filling. At this point sometimes it is easier to put your melted chocolate into a ziplock, that way you can control the piping easier. Put back into the freezer until set.

Makes about 30

These truffles pair pumpkin with gingersnap and graham cracker crumbs. For the best results, chill truffles until you're ready to serve them.


2½ cups white chocolate chunks
1/3 cup gingersnap cookie crumbs, plus more for garnish
1/4 cup canned pumpkin purée
1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs, plus more for garnish
1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon orange zest
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of fine salt
2 ounces cream cheese, softened


Melt 1/2 cup of the chocolate in a double boiler over medium-low heat or in the microwave for about 1 minute. Stir often to keep the chocolate from burning. Transfer to a large bowl. Add gingersnap crumbs, pumpkin, graham cracker crumbs, sugar, zest, cinnamon, salt and cream cheese and beat with an electric mixer until smooth. Transfer to a shallow bowl, cover and chill until just solid enough to roll into balls, about 2 hours.

Line a large sheet tray with parchment paper. Melt remaining 2 cups chocolate and transfer to a small, deep bowl. Roll 1 heaping teaspoon of the pumpkin mixture into a ball in your hands, then drop into the chocolate. Working quickly, gently spoon chocolate over to coat. Using a small spoon or fork, lift the truffle out of the chocolate, shake off excess and transfer to prepared sheet tray. Dollop a bit of extra chocolate on any parts that remain exposed, then sprinkle a few gingersnap or graham cracker crumbs over the top, if you like. Repeat process with remaining pumpkin mixture and chocolate, then chill truffles until chocolate is completely set, about 1 hour.

  • Pecan Shells
  • salted popped corn
  • caramel sauce
  • chocolate ganache

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


As I lay in bed, sicker than I've been in my life, my mind begins to wander and think of things that could be completely unattainable.
Would I, for instance, be able to sell baked goods and clothing items on the side?
Can I deliver Macarons to an adorable coffee shop on a Monday so they can have "Macaron Monday"?
It sounds totally possible to me. I mean there is the legality of it too. I would have to get a membership to this place called the "Kitchen Incubator". And who knows how much that is... Any sponsors out there??? It's a kitchen that makes it possible for people who don't own or have access to a legal kitchen, to go in there and bake their little hearts out and then sell their goods.

Or what about clothing? There is a place down the street that you can get a little section of their store and sell your clothes in it. There is always etsy too, but I would rather not deal with how easy it is to steal designs on there or keeping up with tracking orders...

Maybe it's all far fetched and it just seems possible because I'm sick as a dog. Maybe this is all one big hallucination????!

Just some thoughts....

Now onto some cool things I've been making.
I had a little bit of free time a couple weeks ago when I traveled home for my mother's surgery. It was perfect fall weather and it totally got me in the mood for fall. When I feel that crisp cold air in my lungs for the first time of the season, I immediately want to knit or crochet something. I found this adorable Ascot pattern on Martha's website and I thought I would give it a try.

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Love Child of Pumpkin and Snickerdoodle

Once upon a time there was a beautiful cookie named Snickerdoodle. She was a great cookie. Not too sweet. But debate-ably plain to some. All men loved her simplicity and classic style. She liked to roll herself in cinnamon and spice, to make everything nice. One day a fancy little guy named Pumpkin stumbled into her life. She had never thought she would be the type of girl to go for such an "out there" flavor... (Especially with all her plain Jane morals.) Pumpkin was more the type of Miss Butterscotch or Miss Double Chocolate Chunk... (He really likes the Chunk... She's got more to love.) But on this special fall day, the leaves were turning and the air was fresh and she was feeling festive. He took her on a stroll. Mr. Pumpkin said all the right things. And was even nice to her plain friend, Mrs. Shortbread. Before she knew it she was one fat cookie, with a middle that was about to blow. A love child was born. The little goddess was called, PUMPKIN SNICKERDOODLE. She was perfect. A soft, tender, gentle little cookie with a pecan squished on her head. She took after her mother and enjoyed rolling herself in sugar and spice. But took a bit of her fathers characteristics and got a little crazy with some pretty "out there" spices like, Nutmeg, Cloves and Ginger. It made her special. They lived happily ever after in a place that was forever fall.

Pumpkin Pecan Snickerdoodles
Adapted from Annie’s Eats
Makes about 3 to 4 dozen cookies

For the cookies:

  • 3¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1½ tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • ¾ cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract

For the coating:

  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. ground ginger
  • Dash of allspice

Topping (optional):

  • Approximately 48 pecan halves (one for each cookie)



In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Whisk to blend and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the butter and sugars on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Blend in the pumpkin puree. Beat in the egg and vanilla until incorporated. With the mixer on low speed add in the dry ingredients and mix just until incorporated. Cover and chill the dough for at least 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Toast the pecans in a dry skillet over medium-high heat until fragrant. Line baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper. Combine the sugar and spices for the coating in a bowl and mix to blend. Scoop the dough (about 2½ tablespoons) and roll into a ball. Coat the dough ball in the sugar-spice mixture and place on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough to fill the sheets, spacing the dough balls 2-3 inches apart. Place a pecan on top of each dough ball. Dip the bottom of a flat, heavy-bottomed drinking glass in water, then in the sugar-spice mixture, and use the bottom to gently flatten the dough balls slightly. Recoat the bottom of the glass in the sugar-spice mixture as needed.
Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes, or until just set and baked through. Let cool on the baking sheets about 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with the remaining dough. Store in an airtight container.


Saturday, October 15, 2011


*Looks at the calender
I don't even remember living through September... Yikes! I better get on it.
By "get on it" it I mean enjoy my favorite season of the year! Not that we get a whole lot of the real fall weather down here in the strangest city in the world, but I can still enjoy the flavors and colors of fall. No, not the fall colors like everyone else in the United States gets to enjoy with the fall foliage, but for me in the inspiration of let's say.... a leotard or a fall dress!

Fall is wonderful. My favorite colors, tastes and smells dazzle my senses. Gold, rust, dark green, deep red, for colors... PUMPKIN, apple, roasted root vegetables for flavors and the wonderful smell of autumn spices.

I go to New York on a week layoff in a couple weeks and I CANNOT wait. I hope that the colors are changing and I still get to get my fill of fall. For now, I'll just make some Pumpkin Cupcakes and sew some fall inspired clothes!

These cupcakes are delicious... They are insanely easy to adapt and make your own favorite recipe. I added mini chocolate chips to the batter because today is the Saturday of a very long week and we just need that BOOST to push us into our weekend... I think next time I would leave them out JUST because pumpkin can dominate as a flavor on it's own. It don't need no freakin' chocolate to steal the spotlight. The cream cheese frosting I made was SUPER DUPER DELICIOUS and I kind want to eat it on everything... Including steak and pizza. I threw in some freshly ground nutmeg and cinnamon to the frosting and it tasted like a spoonful of fall.

Spiced Pumpkin Cupcakes:
Makes 24
3/4 cup butter softened (1 1/2 sticks)
1 3/4 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin
1 cup milk
2 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350°F. Place baking cups in muffin pan.
Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine pumpkin, vanilla extract and milk in a separate bowl. Mix flour, spices, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl. Add to butter/sugar mixture alternately with pumpkin/milk batter, mixing thoroughly after each addition.
Divide evenly among the cupcake liners and bake 20-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool completely before frosting.

Fall Cream Cheese Frosting:
1/2 block cream cheese
1 stick of butter
1-2 cups powdered sugar (to taste)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

In an electric mixer, Cream together cream cheese and butter until combined. Slowly add powdered sugar and the rest of the ingredients. Beat until combined.

As for the wardrobe, the biggest change for fall may be switching my shorts from a denim to corduroy... I'll take what I can get down here...You can't win em' all!

These are a pair of corduroy shorts I made from a vintage pattern.

As for the leo, a beautiful sweetheart neck line in a chocolate and rust color pallet. I LOVE IT. So Fall and feminine.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Peanut Butter and Jelly Time

I knew I shoulda stayed away from the kitchen and stuck with the sewing machine.
Now I've got myself addicted to baking again.
I foresee many more sugar overdoses in my future.

My dad came to visit over the weekend to "see my shows" but I know the real reason he came down was to see his beloved VANDAL football team get their buts kicked against the AGGIES.
(Sorry Billy Boy but it's the truth, ain't it?!)
I'm just happy as a clam with the fact he was able to visit... no matter the reason!
We always have a great time.
Mostly spent laughing.
Or telling childish jokes.
And as for the Huckleberry Macarons??
They were a hit.
He also brought me a carry on full of garden grown veggies... zucchini, yellow squash, red onion, garlic, potatoes, and carrots... HOORAY!

Now for a couple days on my own and then the next batch of family flies in for Giselle!
I can't wait for them to see Giselle.
They are going to love it.
You know what else they are going to love?
PB&J Macarons.

I got the inspiration for these little buggers from this adorable new place that opened a couple weeks ago.
It's called "Petite Sweets".
They serve tasty little one bite sweets like macarons, cake balls and mini cupcakes and also have really really yummy frozen custard!
I go like 4 times a week..
I'm not gunna lie.
They also serve coffee from the best roaster in the universe, Amaya Roasting Co.
It's a happy place....

One day they had a pb&j mini cupcake.
It was soooooooo tasty.
I got the urge to make it into macaron form.
So I did.

Half I made with:
Peanut shells
Peanut Butter Buttercream
Huckleberry Buttercream

The others:
Peanut shells
Mom's garden fresh rhubarb- strawberry jam
Peanut Butter Buttercream

As for the Zucchini...

It was made into a glorious little cupcake/muffin.

Adapted by Martha Stewart's Sweet Zucchini Cupcake

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, (spooned and leveled)
  • 1 cup packed dark-brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 zucchini (10 ounces), coarsely grated (1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Streusel Topping:
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cups of a standard (12-cup) muffin tin with paper or foil liners. Set aside.

  2. In a medium bowl, mix together flour, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. .

  3. In another bowl, combine zucchini, oil, eggs, and vanilla; add to flour mixture, and mix just until combined (do not overmix).

  4. Divide batter evenly among cups. Combine all the Streusel ingredients until crumbly and sprinkle over tops of the cupcake batter. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. (MINE DID NOT TAKE 40 MINS! More like 25 so keep your eyes peeled!!!)