Where to begin? Well let's just say it all started with this crazy idea I would bake for a couple of my friends...which somewhere along the way turned into baking bags filled with goodies for 14 families! There were 'Maple Pecan Buttons (a.k.a. Russian Teacakes)', 'Soft Sugar Cookies with Buttercream Frosting', 'Chocolate Mint Cookies dipped in White Chocolate topped with Crushed Candy Cane', and last but certainly not least 'Chocolate Whoopie Pies filled with Peppermint Filling'. About halfway through all my baking, I stopped and thought to myself "I can't wait for the day I can do this EVERYDAY!".
I'm in LOVE with how these bags turned out...there will definitely be more in the future
And finally...Santa came!
I hope everyone has enjoyed their holiday season...I know we sure have! May you all have a safe and happy end of the year...bring on 2011!
I promise I haven't neglected the blog...I've just neglected my camera. And, I HATE posting without pictures (yet here I am doing it). I'm sad to say I have to put pumpkin baking on the back burner....It's officially Christmas baking time. For Thanksgiving, though, I put the pumpkins front and center. I baked up probably almost 100 pumpkin whoopie pies and TONS of Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies...YUUMMMMMYYY!! My favorite quote of the night was my sister telling our friend that the cookies were "not bite size"..he didn't care. The faster they got in his mouth, the more he could enjoy.
And the latest thing I baked was homemade chocolate chip cookies for a Christmas party. They weren't made from the Toll House classic recipe (which I trust, treasure, and love), but rather from am excellent recipe book I have called "In the Sweet Kitchen". I doctored it up a bit using chopped up Hershey's bars. A new trick I definitely will be using again!
Sometimes I'm really ambitious...a little too ambitious. For example, the time I was determined to make freshly pureed pumpkin. Yes, that's right, fresh. So there I was at the local Agway buying a small sugar pumpkin. Small, cute, round, orange...and a pain in my butt!! I found these great instructions, and off I went. I knew when I had to try 6 different knives to just cut the pumpkin in half it wasn't going to go well. Despite my cursing and complaining, I trucked on. And about an hour later my pumpkin had been baked and I was ready to start mashing it away by hand...because I don't have a food processor. (Oh Santa, I would truly love one for Christmas ;> )..But I DID IT!!! I made Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies with my fresh pumpkin. That trusty old recipe has surfaced once again. They were very yummy! I have to admit it was a lot of work, and I truly appreciate the price of canned pumpkin now. I probably will not be doing it again anytime soon, but I am glad I can proudly, successfully say I made my own freshly pureed pumpkin!
I'm taking a break this post from the much loved fall baking. While I am so happy I can now enjoy my Dunkins pumpkin coffee everyday and I've been buying the grocery stores out of their pumpkin...I needed to switch it up. So I thought this would be the perfect post to share with everyone what we have been up to around here.
As most people know, October is breast cancer awareness month. Myself and countless friends I know have loved ones that have been affected. It's so important that we are all aware of it. So next weekend, Foss Motors will be giving away a 2010 Jeep Wrangler to help raise money for On Belay! On Belay is an organization in NH that helps children who's parents are dealing with cancer. As you can see, the Jeep is pink!! It's actually black and shrink wrapped in Pink. Foss Motors has teamed up with WERZ 107.1, and the drawing will be Sunday October 17th, 2010! Your odds are really good, and someone in the seacoast will be driving home in a BRAND NEW PINK JEEP next Sunday!! So stop by Foss Motors by Wednesday to enter...it's free, what do you have to loose?? While you're there, you should buy one of the t-shirts we are selling (see below). They're $20 and ALL proceeds will go to On Belay.
OK, now to baking. I've had this Jeep and the t-shirts on my brain lately and all I can think is pink. I was itching to bake the last couple of days, so I decided to make chocolate cupcakes with strawberry frosting. They turned out really yummy!!! Sometimes all you need is a simple chocolate cupcake to make everything better.
Please THINK PINK this month...and DROP YOUR TOPS FOR A CURE!
It's officially fall...which means it is officially PUMPKIN BAKING SEASON!! I love this season!! Actually I love all the seasons, but I really look foward to fall for all it's lovely baking. Something about the air cooling off and all the leaves changing get's me itching to bake. I just want to bake so I can fill the kitchen with the oven warmth and the sweet smells of apples, cinnamon, and pumpkin. So, heres to the pumpkin season kick-off!! So far I've baked pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, pumpkin whoopie pies, and mini pumpkin pie bites. All super yummy!! But the favorite was without a doubt the pumpkin whoopie pies. They will defitenetly be a Messy Kitchen staple. I hope everyone is enjoying this fabulous season!
Another September has come and gone. It seemed to go by so slowly and yet it flew by. This year it was filled with pulling boats out of the water, our annual family NASCAR trip, my sister's beloved birthday carrot cake, school starting, GNO starting, leaves turning, pumpkins ripening, and so much more.
Let's start with my sister's beloved carrot cake. Every year we do a family trip to NASCAR. We meet up with our friends and it turns into a "6 motor-homes, drink sipping, story telling, laughing till your belling hurts, eating too much food, taking too many but never enough photos, and reluctant goodbye hugs on Monday". This is by far one my utmost favorite weekends of the entire year. We have such wonderful friends to share it with and each year brings new and amazing memories...How does the cake come in? Well, my sister's birthday has fallen on NASCAR weekend for a couple years now, and I think she thinks it's a sign or something. I'm not really sure, but it gives us another excuse to party and eat cake. She loves carrot cake, and last year I surprised her by making my first carrot cake in my dorm at college and showing up with it. She loved it! So, this year the tradition continued with carrot cupcakes. A huge hit, and much easier than a cake when you're camping. Happy Birthday Kate!! <3
And, let's just say it's fall baking time!!! I've already whipped out the pumpkin chocolate-chip cookies for our first Girl's Night of the season. DELICIOUS!! And I've have a little network of friends I am sharing my baked goods with. I love it because I like baking, I have someone to share it with, and I get really good feedback for when the bakery opens! So no fear, much more baking to come. I hope everyone has enjoyed their first day of October.
I mentioned a while back...a WAY while back...that I wanted to have a "Whoopie Pie Palooza"...Well I think it has officially started. Last week I had a fantastic week. Just an overall good week. And once Friday hit...I started to feel a hiccup in my happiness, so I decided to bake. I headed for my sister's kitchen and started to bake. And bake. And bake. And bake. I ended up baking 2 batches of classic whoopie pies using a recipe I found online (one of the many I've filed away for days like this). And I also baked 2 batches of Martha's Peanut Butter whoopie pies.
Let's just say...there were a LOT of whoopie pies...and I was like the whoopie pie fairy driving through town and dropping them off at various locations. And then some even managed to make it to the lake this weekend. Boy was my family happy!!
They turned out really great and I've gotten some useful feedback. If you got any from these batched...PLEASE let me know what you think. I'm on the hunt for the 'Perfect Whoopie Pie' and I can use all the feedback I can get. I hope everyone enjoyed their Labor Day weekend...and welcome to September!!! =)
This post is about a week and a half late...but better late than never.
**The best way to start this is by saying...HAPPY 40th BIRTHDAY DEANNA!!!!!!!!**
I was asked a while back to make a 40th Birthday cake for a really good friend of mine. She's one of the fabulous girls in our GNO crew, and I watch her kids...actually her and her whole family are more like family than friends. And I like it like that.
Anyway the short of it, I got to be as creative as I wanted to be...I just needed to be able to feed approximately 100 people. So I decided to make a two tier cake, chocolate on the bottom (12inch) and vanilla on top (9inch). Then I added some coconut cupcakes with chocolate creamcheese frosting on top...YUM! (and also one of her favorites)...It went over really well and everyone loved it! By the end of the night we had skipped cutting the cake and using plates...we all grabbed forks and went at it. A really fun and great night for a dear friend who deserved every minute of it! Happy Birthday Deanna! <3
A couple of days ago, I ventured into Sam's Club to get a couple things. Venture is an understatement, because it was me and the store...all by myself. This doesn't happen very often. I never go there by myself, and for good reason. I was like a 5 year old let loose in a candy store wandering the aisles. I stood next to the shelves and looked up to what seemed to reach the 20ft ceilings. I walked and wandered each aisle wondering "could I use that??" As a baker, it was hard to resist the giant bags of chocolate chips...that I KNOW I could bake endless cookies with! But, I was doing a good job using self control. I did really well, but when I saw the 2lbs of fresh strawberries for $3.98...I couldn't resist! So I bought them. All the way home from Sam's I kept glancing at the 2lbs of strawberries that sat on my passenger seat next to me. All the possibilities of baked sweetness were streaming through my baker's brain. Then I realized the absolute best way to use the strawberries was in a birthday cake for my momma!
So yesterday, on the beauteous day of birth of my fabulous mother, I surprised her by baking her a cake. I made a 3-layer, 8-inch white almond cake. Between each layer were an abundance of sliced strawberries accompanied by a thin layer of whipped cream frosting. It was delectable! And as I laid in my bed last night, about to close my eyes, I heard a knock on my door. My mom peeped her head in and said "Thanks for my birthday cake."...it made it all worth it! Happy Birthday Mom!! I love you, and thank you for everything you have done, given, and said to me in my life. I feel so blessed to have you as my mom.
Oh, and I didn't use all the strawberries....hmmm so I think more baking may be in order!
I was able to spend a few days at home a little bit ago, before heading back to school. And, as most of my close friends will know, Thursday night is GNO (that's code for Girl's Night Out, BOYS!!) A bunch of mine and my sister's girlfriends all get together for dinner, Grey's Anatomy, and Private Practice. It honestly doesn't get much better than these Thursday nights. We gossip, catch up on boys, and give each other love and support. Unfortunately, because I'm at school, I don't get to go to many GNOs. When I'm home, though, I make every effort to go, and I'm sure to bring the dessert. This particular week, I decided to make something summer-y and yummy....and FAST. I didn't have much time because I had also decided to book my hair appointment and a coffee date with my friend the same day (typical me cramming too much into too little time). I did it though, I did it all. I made my mom's lemon squares. They are TO DIE FOR!!! The nutty crust combined with the lemon and the cool whip will make your mouth water! I absolutely love this recipe, it's easy and quick, and always a crowd pleaser. This will definitely be a recipe I will keep for life. I just wish I could figure out a way to make it so it was easier to package and distribute in smaller portions. The second thing I made was supposed to be Raspberry Bars. I used the same recipe I used ages ago from the Smitten Kitchen. I used the recipe exactly, except when I poured the raspberries out of the bag, strawberries came out. Apparently I need to pay more attention when I'm at the grocery store....whooopppsss! Nevertheless, they were delicious!! It was good to try switching a reliable recipe up a little bit. I hope everyone is enjoying the start to their summer! =)
Do you ever have those things in your life that you see day after day, but never do. hmmm maybe like this blog. Everyday I see it on my homepage, but I never update it. It's truly sad. Life has been so busy, and unfortunately baking has been on the back burner, but definitely NOT forgotten! So, in the past month and a half, I have tackled cupcakes (obviously a college favorite), more delicious pizza.....and hermits, YUM! We ate the hermits too quickly for me to take a picture, but I will most definitely be making them again. They're super easy, and super yummy! Also....PIZZA! I have a feeling a pizzeria may lay ahead in my life. I love making pizza. It always comes out so yummy, and topping it is so much fun. Plus, it's a great excuse to get a bunch of girlfriends together for dinner.
Now on to the exciting stuff. Some of you may know that I am an Art Administration major, which basically if an art and business major combined into one. So, I have been taking lots of art classes which has been fun, but extremely challenging. Art has always been something that comes naturally to me, but now I spend more of my time thinking about my two art classes than I do breathing. YIKES! So, I would love to share a couple of my recent projects with you:
This first project was for my sculpture class. I had to choose an object, research the history of it, and then make a piece. I chose a balloon for my object. I researched it and found that balloons were originally made from cat bowels and used as a sacrifice to the Aztec gods....short of it is that I sculpted a cat's butt and then had it suspended in air by balloons...it came out REALLY cool.
Here is the second project I wanted to share. For my other art class, we were all assigned a different type of art, mine was food art. We then had to make a piece using the same main principles as our topic. I chose to make a creme brulee-ing, fire breathing, rice crispie dragon. Inside him is a propane take, and I turned it on to brulee the top of the creme brulee....YUMM
I hope everyone is enjoying their spring weather =)
It has been FOREVER since my last post! I sincerely apologize. In the past month and a half, I have been busy with Christmas things, New Years things, traveling to Costa Rica, and heading back to school. Here's a little update on my life:
Waiting for Santa
Maple Pecan Buttons
Rugelach with Cinnamon, Walnut, & Chocolate Chips filling
Chocolate Peppermint Cookies dipped in White Chocolate with crushed Candy Cane topping
Chocolate Chop Cookies
Nanny Jane's Whoopie Pies
Boston Creme Pie....Tim's Christmas Present
That's just a little update on the craziness, but it helps to explain a little why the posts have been far and few. I will be going home again in a couple weeks for vacation, which will give me ample time to bake. I hope everyone else is enjoying their winters...I know it is VERY cold up here! Bundle up, bake something yummy, and stay warm! =)