Thursday, March 17, 2011

Spring fever!!

It's a beautiful day here in New York, and I've got Spring fever! Actually I've had it for a couple of weeks now. I'm not sure if it's all spring fever, I think part of it is pregnancy cravings. Yup, that's right, I'm pregnant. 18 weeks and a day to be exact........We're very excited. But back to the spring fever/ cravings.It all started with a lemon. I was craving something really lemony. I guess I needed to get out from under the mounds of chocolate I've been eating. So I went back and forth between lemon pound cake or lemon cupcakes, not really too much difference, but it was still a hard choice. Anyway, here's what I made.

lemon cupcakes with a lemon cream cheese frosting. MMMmmm, good!

I used a recipe that I found on Smitten Kitchen.
It is the best yellow cake recipe I have ever used, I was so happy when I found it. I added lemon zest and extract to it to give it a nice lemon kick.

4 cups plus 2 tablespoons cake flour (not self-rising)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons pure lemon extract

Zest from 1 lemon

4 large eggs, at room temperature

2 cups buttermilk, well-shaken

bake @ 350 till golden. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until pale and fluffy, then beat in vanilla. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well and scraping down the bowl after each addition. At low speed, beat in buttermilk until just combined (mixture will look curdled). Add flour mixture in three batches, mixing until each addition is just Incorporated.

Lemon cream cheese frosting

1 1/2 lbs cream cheese
12 oz confectionery sugar
10 oz butter room temp
1 tbsp lemon extract
1/2 lemon juiced.
With a wisk attachment on a mixer, beat the cream cheese till smooth. Add the sugar. Mix. Add the butter,lemon extract, lemon juice, beat till smooth.

Hope you enjoy, I did about a dozen times!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Dare I say S'more!!

With all this cold weather, I am in the mood for some real comfort food lately. Okay, more like comfort dessert. After making the marshmallows I decided the only logical thing to do next would be to make s'mores. Not your typical s'more but something a little more ooey gooey chocolaty good. Now this is a dessert I've made countless times before at several different restaurants I've worked in, and its always been a home run. I've changed some of the recipe's but I promise its only made this dessert even better.

First start with the marshmallow. Follow the recipe from Here but instead of pouring it into a pan, place it in a piping bag and pipe out 3" diameter circles. You may want to cut down the recipe or you will be piping for days.

Next make the graham cracker discs.
6-8 graham crackers sheets
1/2 cup of sugar
4 tblsp butter (melted)
In a food processor place the graham and sugar. Pulse till crumb. Add the melted butter and mix the mixture till slightly wet and hold its shape . (as if you were squeezing wet sand. It should hold shape but crumble easily)
Place the graham in a thin layer of a greased sheet pan. Pack it tight. Bake about10 mins. at 350 till golden. Remove from the oven and quickly and gently cut circles using a 3" cutter. Pack the center of the cutter with a flat tool as you create the ring. Set aside to cool.
For the cakes, I used Paula Deens lava cake recipe. Its easy and fool proof.
  • 8oz bittersweet chocolate
  • 10 tablespoons (1 1/4 stick) butter
      • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons orange liqueur
  • Grease and sugar (8) 4oz ramekins. Melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler. Add the flour and sugar to chocolate mixture. Stir in the eggs and yolks until smooth. Stir in the vanilla and orange liqueur. Divide the batter evenly among the ramekins. Bake for 14 minutes @ 425 degrees.

  • The edges should be firm but the center will be runny. Run a knife around the edges to loosen and invert onto graham circles.

  • The final part is to add the marsmallow to top it off. I held the marshmallows over an open

  • flame to get a quick toast on them.

  • Hope you enjoy!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Sweet, Fluffy Marshmallows!!

All this snow has me going CRAZY!!.....Marshmallow crazy that is! The snowflakes were so big that they actually looked like marshmallows falling from the sky. YUM!! The best part about making them is that I had all the ingredients right in my pantry. Good thing, because I was snowed in.
I just love marshmallows. I'm not sure when it all started but I do remember Rosie O'Donnell mentioning (many moons ago on her show) that marshmallows were Free on Weight Watchers. I think that's when the real LOVE started. Since then I have made all kinds of marshmallows, and eaten even more. And I'm pretty sure these aren't the Free point ones Rosie was talking about.
So I recently found this very easy recipe on Cookies and Cups, and I just added to it for different flavors.
Marshmallow Recipe
4 envelopes unflavored gelatin
3/4 cups cold water
3 cups granulated sugar
1 1/4 cups light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3/4 cups water
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar to toss
Place the 3/4 cup water and gelatin in a mixing bowl to bloom.
In a pot place the other 3/4 cups water, sugar, corn syrup, and salt. Bring to 238 degrees. Or soft ball stage.
**This is kind off the tricky part because I never use a candy thermometer. Instead I use a cup of very cold water. When the bubbles start to really boil and look very small, I drop a spoonful of the boiling sugar into the cold water. When I am able to pull it out and the consistency just slightly holds its shape enough to form a soft ball, I'm ready.
Pour that mix into the bowl with the gelatin, and mix well.
Continue to mix till mixture is somewhat cool. Abo
ut 10 mins. Add the Vanilla, and mix a bit more.
Once the mix is ready, I folded in 3 cups of chocolate chips...YUMMY!!
Once that is done pour the mix into a 9X13 baking dish that has been sprayed and lined with parchment. Spray the top of the parchment too. Let the Marshmallows cool and set about 3 hours. Cut and toss on confectionery sugar.
*** I made this twice and on the second batch instead of chocolate chips I added 1/2 cup of cocoa powder. I liked them even more!!
The marshmallow can be very sticky and hard to work with. Spray everything with cooking spray so hopefully not too much sticks!
Sorry about the lack of pics. New camera that apparently I don't really know how to use.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Bread, bread, bread...pudding!

Now that Amelina's party is over, I find my self with tons of left over candy- (that won't be hard to get rid of) and bread. After giving it away, freezing some, and making garlic bread, there was still more. I really can't believe it. It's like Mary Poppins' purse, every time I reach in that bag more bread comes out. So what else could I do but make bread pudding!
I absolutely love bread pudding. I was raised eating at every family function that involved my Aunt Gloria. She is the "Queen of Bread Pudding". It's nothing fancy, like you would find an upscale restaurant filled with crazy ingredients, but it is just plain GOOD.
I think part of the secret lies in the golden caramelized sugar that coats the pan, like that of a flan.

Now this is a loose version of my Aunt Gloria's recipe....... she really doesn't follow one.
8-10 kaiser rolls or whatever bread you would like. It should be stale, not sure why, but that's how she makes it.
5 cups 1/2 & 1/2
14 oz sweetened condensed milk
1 cup sugar
9 eggs
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup raisins (Optional)
2 cups sugar
caramelize the 2 cups of sugar and coat the bottom of an oven proof baking dish.
cut up the bread and place in a bowl.
mix the milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla, cinn. and cond. milk together.
pour over bread and let soak for about an hour.
once all the bread is saturated pour into prepared pan.
place in a water bath, cover and bake for half an hour at 350 degrees.
uncover after 30 minutes, and bake uncovered for another 30 minutes, or until firm in the center.
Once cooked let cool, then flip over into a serving dish.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Mellie's Birthday Bash Part 2

Here is part 2 of Little Miss Amelina's 2nd birthday party. I can't tell you how happy I am the the day was a hit.....and that its over. (Kidding, kind of!)
The kids were all treated to face painting and some really amazing balloon animals from Cupcake The Clown. Too bad Amelina isn't a fan, just yet!, I'm not to worried though.
How cute are these YGG cut-outs!

The party was so action packed and filled with so many of her friends, I was barely able to get a photo of her standing still.
I just can't stand how CUTE!! those Foofa high top Vans are!!!!

The favor table was filled with Yo Gabba Gabba party bags, Playdoh, and Mellies YGG songs for the kids to take home. Not to mention all the candy from the dessert table. Between the paydoh and the candy, I'm sure the parents were really "Loving " me!!
We all had a great time and are so thankful to all the friends and family that shared in this special day with us!!!

A Very Special Thank You to all the great people who added their very special touch to Amelina's day!!!
Party bags & balloon stickers by Ry Creation
All Cupcake toppers, CD & Playdoh labels by Oh My Gluestick
YGG cut-outs by Daisy's Creations
Mellie's Supersweet birthday shirt by Sew Sweet Too

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Mellie's Yo Gabba Gabba Party

Yes, I'm finally BACK!! It's been so many months since I've written a post. What happened in that time, you ask. Life... I guess. The holidays, a horrible stomach bug, cookie swaps, a new year, many many birthday parties, and tons of baking. Yes, all bloggable moments, but I've been so wrapped up in everything, there just hasn't been enough time.
So here I am starting a new year, and hoping to make it agood one!!
And what better way to start it than with my precious Amelina's Yo Gabba Gabba Party!!

Just a couple days shy of the new year, Amelina turned 2!!! Last weekend we got our sillies out and celebrated in Yo Gabba Gabba Style.
There are sooo many cute YGG cakes out there, here's my version of one.
Kandy Kones filled with popcorn
Chocolate covered Oreo's by The Pastry Chick
Loving the way these labels and cupcake toppers cake out!

Strawberry shortcake rainbow cake was definitely a party in everyone's tummy......If I do say so myself!

A Special "Thank You" to all the great party people who help me with this event.
Banner, labels, cupcake toppers by Oh My Gluestick
Balloon stickers by RY Creation
There were so many great contributors and details to this party that I'm going to have to post the rest tomorrow, so stay tuned for part 2 of the parrtay!!!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Playdates and Parties

Have you heard of Playdates and Parties Blog,, Well you should check it out. My friend Sara aka JC's Mommy is the talent behind this adorable blog and some unbelievably adorable birthday banners!!

(Etsy shop coming soon) I'm already getting Mellie's pictures together for her party in January. I can't wait to see what she will do with them! Check out all the creativity that is this fab mama has up her sleeve, you won't be sorry!!