Tuesday, February 24, 2009

TWD - Caramel crunch bars

Today's TWD recipe was chosen by Whitney from What's Left on the Table

Whitney chose the Caramel Crunch Bars and they're fabulous!

As in fabulously easy,

fabulously quick,

and fabulously delicious.

There is touch of coffee and cinnamon in the shortbread crust together with Dorie's beloved touch of salt, to cut the sweetness.

Chocolate chips are melted on top the smothered in skor bits. Did I mention they were delicious?

Just perfect with my beloved vanilla soy latte.

Or just on their own. . . or with an ice cold glass of milk...or as dessert...or with a banana...or for breakfast...or...or...or........

Thank you Miss Dorie!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Iron Cupcake - Coffee

WEEEE!!!! It's the first Iron Cupcake challenge I'm participating in and the ingredient chosen for this month is COFFEE!

This is a worldwide competition where bakers come up with original cupcakes and compete for the fabulous prizes listed at the end of this post.

I came up with a Mocha Cappuccino White Chocolate cupcake. The cupcake is a chocolate mocha cake with a white chocolate espresso ganache filling with a chocolate covered espresso bean in the centre. The cupcake is iced with a Swiss Meringue buttercream with some of the ganache whipped into it and a shot of coffee liqueur for good measure. It's then topped with chocolate "steam" curls.


Here is a cross section showing the ganache centre with the chocolate covered espresso bean:

Voting is open from Sunday, March 1 at 8pm to Friday, March 6, at 12:00 noon.

Please vote for my little cupcake here:

Our February ETSY PRIZE-PACK is from artists:

As an added bonus for February, SWEET CUPPIN CAKES BAKERY AND CUPCAKERY SUPPLY will be tossing in a variety of cupcaking supplies, http://www.acupcakery.com/index.html.

Last and certainly not least, don’t forget our corporate prize providers: HEAD CHEFS by FIESTA PRODUCTS, http://www.fiestaproducts.com, HELLO CUPCAKE by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson, http://blog.hellocupcakebook.com, JESSIE STEELE APRONS http://www.jessiesteele.com; TASTE OF HOME books, http://www.tasteofhome.com; a t-shirt from UPWITHCUPCAKES.COM http://www.upwithcupcakes.com/. Iron Cupcake:Earth is sponsored in part by 1-800-Flowers, http://www.1800flowers.com .

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

My apologies

Dear Tuesdays With Dorie bakers - this is two weeks in a row without something from the book and I am extending my deepest apologies. I will be back next week, I promise.

This past week's schedule was a bit of a mess and scrunched up because I AM ATTENDING MY FIRST CONVENTION EVER!!!!!

I am posting this from my lovely, by-the-eight-lane-highway-so-you'll-get-a-restful-sleep--not hotel. It is FABULOUS!
This is my pretty view at night.

WARNING: This post has a bit of cussin' 'cause, I WAS PISSSSSED - but now I'm good....

It was a nightmare of a drive - and the weather was good - so it was just the assholes on the road (oh yeah, and the completely incorrect instructions from the hotel) that screwed it up for me.

I was cut off not once, not twice, but three times by transport trailers!!!! Our next car is going to be a Hummer, I swear to God! (But seriously, I do love my Echo to bits and would never, ever trade her for another car...unless...they make a hybrid Hummer for $15,000 that gets 100k to the litre, there, I said it and I mean it)

By the way my trip was supposed to take approx. 2 1/2 - 3 hours from my place to St. Catharines - near Niagara Falls in Ontario Canada.

SOOOO - anywhooo- 4 1/2 hours and two stops for directions later, I get here, it's dark outside and as I turn onto the road where my hotel is supposed to be, I pull into a completely blacked out Comfort Inn. 'Cause I'm not stressed out enough - WTF????? I'm staying in the haunted Comfort Inn of St. Catharines???? Sweet Jesus, could this day get any worse? Yes my friends, it does....

The woman at the spooky check-in with a flashlight tells me because I booked my room over the net - there's no real correlation between what I booked and what I get. I had asked for a room with a fridge and microwave, so I could just grab a couple of frozen dinners and eat in the room. Ummm, sorry, no.


Here are your keys (cards really, but we still call them keys - how charming), more directions and off I go. But guess what - there's no fuckin' electricity - so you can't really get into your room! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Directly across the 8-lane highway- I spy a CHAPTERS!!! I love Chapters and nothing bad ever happens there...so off I go.

Call the husband, who isn't home from work yet, use the facilities, call the husband, who isn't home from work yet and start some angry and upset browsing. Can't...... find...... anything.....why....are.....all.....Chapters........set......up.....differently????????

Then when I finally find MY SECTION (baking, surprise, surprise)....there's a freakin' party going on. Two chicks camping out on the floor with their mondo grande no whip haf calf chocolate sprinkled energy drinks, and one other woman in MMMMYYYYYYY SSSSEEEEECCCCCTTTTIIIIOOOONNNNN!!!!!!! Now I'm going to cry. I just want the familiar, the comfort of my baking books and I can't get near them. All right, I tell myself, no one has to get hurt. If I can just get to one book - I'll be fine...So I excuse myself, stepping over the younguns, grab a book, pass the next woman and make it to the end of the row. I did it.

Ahhhh, comfort as I open to gaze upon pure chocolate Obsessions - my porn, at last. Now I can breathe.

Then I start evesdropping on the younguns - they're pastry students....and I love them.

Because they seem to love baking as much as I do, I have to butt in.

We talk for over an hour and I am soooo happy. Having worked in this industry for most of my adult life, it's so wonderful when you meet passionate people who care about what they do - and when they're so young, it just makes me that much happier. We talked industry stuff, what they want to do and where they want to go - it was just awesome. We exchanged email addresses and they offered to give me good directions for the city while I'm here - lovely, lovely girls. My whole day changed thanks to them. We said our good-byes, I finally get in touch with Doug, drive back to my now lit hotel and life is truly good again.

So what is my convention for you might ask? Why, it's the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Convention! Huzzah and hurrah!! Actually it's the Ontario Farmer's Market Fruit and Vegetable Convention. I am pretty excited, let me tell you! Really I am! It's like I'm all grown up - and yet not so much.....

I should really get to bed -I just want to show you the essentials I brought, to make my stay complete...

That's right, my espresso machine and grinder and since I don't have a fridge (like I'm supposed to), I've taken all the ice from the machine opposite my door, and am chilling my vanilla soy milk, for my morning latte, bitches....cause that's how I roll!!!
I'll report on the day one activities tomorrow.

Good night!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Cupcake decorating class

Things at The Sweet Kitchen have been surprisingly busy for the beginning of the year. A few of my Farmer's Market regulars asked if I would be interested in teaching them something, anything...and I said yes.

Last Thursday evening I hosted 3 lovely ladies for a cupcake icing and decorating class. It was the first class (besides swimming) I have ever taught and I think it went well.

I pre-made the cupcakes, but we covered ganache (the miracle worker) and Swiss Meringue Buttercream, basic piping skills, paper cones and a bit of chocolate work.

A good time was had by all and the girls left with a dozen cupcakes each.

They did beautiful work and I don't think by looking at their cupcakes, anyone would guess that they had no previous piping experience. Talented ladies indeed!

Things almost got ugly when Janet's apron was still sparkling white, while Barb's and Helene's had some chocolate smudges. But Janet's quick talking averted a crisis and everyone was friends again!

Things I learned were: follow the plan you made, narrow your subject matter down, but keep it interesting and stick to a time limit. I was way too ambitious in what I thought we would get to and forgot some of the basic things I should have covered, but all in all I think we did well.

For the next class - I think we'll do a chocolate tasting. Anyone interested????

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

TWD - World Peace Cookies - A Story

Once upon a time, long, long ago, there lived a horrible band of PIRATES! Their sole purpose was wreck havoc upon those less fortunate.

They would roam the seas, looking for thinks to steal and people to enslave.

One day they happened upon an island where gentle, industrious folk were going about their business. The pirates were intrigued and came ashore, looking to take over...

The island folk were terrified and hid together in the shelter of what they produced...cookies. These folk had been making these cookies for centuries without any influence from the outside world. These cookies made them happy and peaceful and they called them, peace cookies.

The pirates figured they could make a fortune selling these cookies and made plans to make the island folk their slaves, producing these cookies. The pirates could then sell them to countries worldwide, who would then become peaceful. As the countries were lulled into a false sense of security, the pirates could swoop in and loot every country in the world!!!! Muahhaaa, muahhhaaa, muahaaaa!

Their dastardly plot was flawless....until. they. ate. a. cookie...

Suddenly, they were overcome with feelings they had never had before...what the $%#@? They felt calm and suddenly no one could remember the evil plot. These cookies were THAT GOOD!!!

But pirates, being pirates, suggested a few small changes...perhaps, just perhaps, we could add Amaretto instead of vanilla? "We don't see why not" said the island folk.

"And perhaps, we could add some milk chocolate chips too?" Why not? replied the island folk. And so it came to pass.

Peace was restored to the island once again.

The pirates decided to sail the world looking for countries in need of peace, with the now renamed - World Peace Cookies and they really didn't have to go too far. Instead of selling them - they just gave them - in the spirit of world peace. They expected nothing in return except some peace and happiness and maybe, just maybe a little less conflict in the world.


Please try baking your own World Peace Cookies -You can find this recipe here on Jessica's blog "cookbook habit".