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Tuesday
Jul132010

Cool and Sweet: Homemade Pudding Pops for Serious Eats

rowing up, in the 80's, I was pretty sure what made Jell-o Pudding Pops so delicious: every batch had been lovingly made by Bill Cosby, naturally.

Now that I'm older and (arguably) wiser, I know that the secret behind that singular texture and flavor isn't Bill's secret family recipe. But what I didn't know was that these sweet summertime treats are--seriously--the easiest thing ever to make.

Even better? At-home varieties also offer the freedom to showcase less-celebrated pudding flavors (butterscotch or rice pudding pop, anyone?), or to create your own new flavor by making two-tone pops in complementary flavors--I had great success with the chocolate-pistachio combination shown above.

For the full entry and recipe, visit Serious Eats!

Monday
Jul122010

Taste the Rainbow: Kaleidoscope Cookies Recipe

Sure, you could get a sweet thrill from checking out the pretty patterns in a kaleidoscope.

But it's much more delicious to taste the rainbow--delivered via crumbly, buttery, colorful Kaleidoscope Cookies.

These cookies were a hit at Crafty Wonderland when Sara Bir served them to go along with Joe Ryckebosch's colorful tape art, and so I knew they'd be the perfect choice to serve at this past weekend's Urban Craft Uprising.

Plus, they were from my BFF cookbook, Betty Crocker's Cooky Book. Yes!

They were a nice echo to the colorful melange of t-shirts with my artwork, and the crowds--no pun intended--ate them up. I made a big batch--perfect for a big crowd. Here's the recipe.

Kaleidoscope Cookies

Adapted from Betty Crocker's Cooky Book  

Makes many (like 60)

 Ingredients

  • 1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 pound 6 ounces (about 4-½ cups) all-purpose flour
  • Various colors of food coloring paste or gel
  • 1 cup or so sprinkles or colored decorating sugar

 

 Procedure

  1. In an electric stand mixer, beat the butter with a paddle attachment until it is creamy. Add the confectioners' sugar and salt and beat for several minutes, until all of the ingredients are well incorporated and no lumps of powdered sugar remain. Beat in the vanilla extract, then add the flour and beat until a soft dough forms.
  2. Divide the dough into 3 parts. Incorporate the food coloring or gel of your choosing into each color--be sure to make the colors quite vibrant, as they will slightly fade in the oven (not much, but a little), and knead until the color is evenly distributed. I left one part white, used a little red food coloring for a pink section, then more red for a red section for mine.
  3. Roll each tinted segment into a log about a foot long. Then squish the three logs into one long log and roll until they form one roll (I got a nice wavy design when I did this).
  4. Gently roll and squish the finished log until it’s about a foot long. Then cut it in half to form two logs and roll each one of those until you have a number of logs that are 1-1/2 to 2 inches in diameter--it will be quite a few. If desired, place the sprinkles or decorating sugar on a large, shallow plate and roll each log to coat. Wrap the logs in wax or parchment paper and chill overnight or freeze up to a month.
  5. Remove the dough from chilling--if it was in the freezer, let it warm up just until you can handle it, but not until it is soft Preheat oven to 375 F.
  6. Unwrap the logs and, with a sharp knife, slice them into coins about 1/3-inch thick. Place on ungreased cookie sheets (the cookies will not spread much as they bake).
  7. Bake two sheets at a time for about 7-9 minutes, rotating halfway through baking, until the cookies have firmed up but are not browned. Remove the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

 

Monday
Jul122010

Taking the Cake: The Exquisite Pain and Joy of Eating an Entire Birthday Cake

Have you ever eaten an entire birthday cake? Have you ever wanted to?

If you have, as one site says, it's probably for one of two reasons: A) You want to keep others from your birthday cake, or B) You're trying to impress a girl.

But sometimes, it just happens.

Picture the scene: evening, your kitchen, the night before someone's birthday for which you've made the cake.  You are putting it in the fridge, to sit, covered. And it looks so...pretty. Surely nobody would begrudge you just a bite? There are so many frosting flowers. Too many flowers. And since your equipment is still out, you use a spatula and you gently extract a single, entire, rose. And eat it.

And it tastes so, so good. Too good. Like butter and sugar, a vague whisp of birthday memory.

You fetch the cake top (the one you'd cut off to level the cake) which is resting nearby. Or maybe it's not. Maybe you rescue it from the trash (nobody can see you). You scrape the frosting left over from the bowl right on to it. And as good as that finished rose was, this is. Even. Better. The butter seems as if it was invented solely for this moment, to melt on your tongue. Maybe your eyes close a little, for a moment.

Then, maybe without realizing it, you take a fork to a teeny tiny corner of the cake. One that you can easily replace with frosting. and you eat it. Yup: it's even better than the scrap.

And then you cut a slice. There is a moment, here, when  you could smooth over the frosting. But no.

You eat that slice.

You never cut out a second slice, because suddenly, the remainder of the cake is slice #2 (it's a very big slice).

Now, eating an entire cake is not a quick process. You have the luxury of time to reflect while you're eating on various subtleties of the flavor. Too dry? To oily? Should more vanilla have been added? You can think about these things as you take bite after bite. Really, it's making you better able to examine the cake.

Then, about 3/4 of theway in, something unexpected happens: you feel like you can't do any more. Too. Much. Cake. Maybe you lay down. Maybe you sit. Maybe you even walk away. But then you rally.

When the cake is gone, you don't need to lick the last of the frosting or clean up the last crumbs with the tines of your fork, those things that you do when you don't want a dessert to end. Because you've had your fill.

Alternately you feel euphoric, numb, and incredibly uncomfortable. You burp birthday cake for hours, which is more pleasant than burping, say, spicy Indian food, but not exactly comfortable. Your tummy feels taut. Your head feels fuzzy.

But still, you fall asleep quickly. Is this sugar crash, or a rush to sweet dreams? Maybe a little of both. One thing's for sure, though: you'll bake another cake--a better cake--in the morning.

So there you have it. Ready to experience this sweet nirvana (or fresh hell) for yourself? Pick up some professional eating tips here.

Sunday
Jul112010

Sweet Stuff: How to Make Cupcake Bath Fizzies

How to Make Bath Bomb Cupcakes from Soap Queen on Vimeo.

Memorandum

From: CakeSpy

To: Cupcake Lovers Anonymous

RE: Sweets, but not to eat

It hurts me to say this, but you can only eat so many cupcakes per day. 

However, if you need a sweet fix at any time of that day that won't wreck your appetite for dinner, why not learn how to make Cupcake Bath Fizzies from this sweet tutorial from CakeSpy buddy Anne-Marie Faiola? They're delightful, and though they aren't delicious, they sure will make you feel (and smell) sweet. 

And everyone deserves a treat!

For the full tutorial and supplies needed, visit The Soap Queen!

Friday
Jul092010

Crust or Crumb? A Cake Vs Pie Showdown at CakeSpy Shop!

Hey, Seattle. Brace yourselves, because come August 9, it's time to bring it on.

CakeSpy, Edible Seattle and Jenise Silva present: Cake vs Pie.

We're encouraging bakers from both sides of the fence to show off your favorite cake or pie at the CakeSpy Shop on Monday, August 9. The contest is open to amateur and professional bakers alike!

Judged by "Pie & Cake Masters" Brittany Bardeleben, Jill Lightner, Kate McDermott and Jessie Oleson, We'll award prizes based on overall appearance, taste and texture (crust or crumb).

Prize sponsors include Art of the Pie, Cupcake Royale, Edible Seattle, Chef Shop & more! All pies & cakes must be made from scratch and pans/plates marked on the bottom with your name and contact information.

How do you get in on this awesome? To enter, rsvp by Monday, August 2 to jenisesilva@yahoo.com. Please include your name, if you'll bake cake or pie, phone number, and email. Given space and time limits, we can only accommodate the first 20 entries received. Please, one entry per contestant. Registered contestants will bring their wonderful baked creations to the CakeSpy Gallery 415 E. Pine on Monday, August 9 between 6- 6:45 pm. Judging will begin at 7 pm.

Friday
Jul092010

Sugar Sweet: Sugar and Meringue Presents Cookies for a Cause

Image c/o Sugar & MeringueDid you know that today is National Sugar Cookie Day?

I know. Awesome, right?

But what's even awesomer? How 'bout this sweet online book featuring the sweetest collection of recipes, lore, and info about sugar cookies, designed by Emily (who you may remember from her Star Wars Cookie guest tutorial here!) of Sugar & Meringue.

Not only is this e-book filled with sweet stuff, but it also contributes to a sweet cause. Several pages have a link to donate to The Great American Bake Sale, a sweet (literally!) organization which works to make sure that no kid in America grows up hungry!

Why do this? Well, according to Emily, "I had to create some on-line flip book style catalogs for work, and I thought it would be fun to create a little cookbook or project book for National Sugar Cookie Day. I also wanted to make National Sugar Cookie Day a little more meaningful by tying it to a charity and The Great American Bake Sale seemed like a fitting choice. "

So why not enjoy some cookie dough...and then donate some (non cookie) dough?

Check it all out here.

Friday
Jul092010

Baker's Dozen: A Batch of Sweet Links

 

These links won't ease the heat wave, but they may bring on a sweet wave! Happy Friday!

Not to brag, but...my artwork is totally featured in the Stranger's spread about Urban Craft Uprising (coming up this weekend, people!). 

When Can meets Sandwich: The Candwich. Which begs the big question: How soon til they make an Ice Cream Candwich?

Pake: Pie inside of a Cake. Discovered via This is Why You're Fat.

What's really in a Twinkie? Find out here. 

Speaking of Twinkies, remember when I killed a bunch of them?

How hot is hot enough to make Garlic Ice Cream sound like a good idea?

Still using regular measuring cups like a jerk? Matryoshka measuring cups are far cuter.

Accent on cute: Dri Dri Gelato opens in London, and has a very cute aesthetic!

Shoe-in: A cake that is shaped like Converse is adorable, and likely tastier than its sneaker inspiration. (thank you Sarah!)

A sweet interview: Cupcakes Take the Cake asks Jace Robinson of Lick It Bite it Or Both the hard-hitting cupcake questions.

Best Breakfast: Caramel apple french toast.

In case you didn't know (don't worry, I didn't): there is a Cinnabon Cereal.

Stracciatella: is there a sweeter word in the summer?

 

Thursday
Jul082010

So Bad, But So Good: Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Filled Funfetti Cupcakes

Nobody's going to challenge the idea that cupcakes are delicious. It's like, fact.

But you know what? They're even better when stuffed with cookie dough.

I learned this, of course, when I found myself with a boatload of extra Funfetti cake mix and cookie dough from making a Cookie Cake Pie, and decided to make a batch of cupcakes with a dollop of dough dropped in each cup of batter before baking.

Now, if you've never done it yourself, here's what you can expect.

First: A heads up: the cookie dough will sink--the cake will bake around and over the dough. But this is OK, because each one has an unexpected, gooey little sugar bomb inside.

Note: It will be gooey, by the way, so if you are worried about things like, oh, salmonella, use an egg-free cookie dough.

Second, and perhaps more importantly: It will delight you and your friends to eat them.

Now, I'm going to confess: my favorite delivery method is with either Funfetti or Rainbow Chip cake (a mix. Yup, I said it). But please, please, please: Make your own frosting. It's so easy, and it adds an extra dimension of delicious to this ever-so-slightly trashy (but delightfully so) treat.

Here's the recipe I used.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough-filled Cupcakes

 Components

  • 1 box Funfetti or Rainbow chip cupcake mix
  • 1/2 batch of chocolate chip cookie dough (um, bake the rest as cookies)
  • 1 batch fudge buttercream (recipe below, as found on AllRecipes)

Procedure

  1. Prepare cupcake batter per box instructions--but before baking, fill the cups about 2/3 full, then give each one an added dose of awesome by adding a generous spoonful of cookie dough.
  2. Bake as directed on box instructions.
  3. Remove from oven and let cool. 
  4. Meanwhile, make the frosting (recipe below). When the cupcakes are room temperature, frost liberally, and enjoy.

Chocolate Fudge Buttercream

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 cup hot fudge topping
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Procedure

  1. Cream together the butter or margarine with the shortening.
  2. Sift the cocoa with the confectioners' sugar and add to the creamed mixture. Mix together adding 1 tablespoon at a time of milk to keep mixture smooth. Don't add more than 1/4 cup of milk.
  3. Add the hot fudge topping and the vanilla extract. Blend until smooth and creamy.

P.S. In case you were wondering how the Cookie Cake Pie came out? Delicious.

Thursday
Jul082010

Cake Byte: TV Show Kid in a Candy Store Debuts 

OK, so watching TV is pretty awesome. And I have to confess that I'm pretty excited about this new show which is debuting on Monday, called Kid in a Candy Store, which is described thusly:

This July, Adam Gertler (The Next Food Network Star), uncovers the most outrageous, most innovative, and most loved sweet treats in Food Network’s new primetime series, Kid in a Candy Store premiering Monday, July 12th at 8PM ET/PT with back-to-back new episodes each week.  From food truck fare and down-home delights to wacky twists on traditional favorites like deep-fried cupcakes and sweet beet ice cream, this series celebrates the most scrumptious and creative candy, cakes and snacks.

With upcoming shows centered around cake balls, cake shakes, and Dessert nachos, not only does the dude seem like he might be a soul twin to all sweet tooths, but it also sounds like we might learn about some cool desserts and baking trends around the US. Sweet!

Let's all see for ourselves if it's as good as it sounds: the show debuts on the Food Network this Monday at 8pm.

Thursday
Jul082010

Cake Byte: Urban Craft Uprising is This Weekend in Seattle!

OK, friends. Don't, like, pee your pants or anything, but it's almost time: Urban Craft Uprising is this weekend! And you'll see my artwork everywhere: I designed the posters/postcards for this awesomeness!

That's right: this weekend over a hundred indie artists of the highest caliber will be showcasing their wares at Seattle Center (including CakeSpyThis Charming CandySecret Stash Sea SaltsMucho Design, and so many more!)--and, in case I didn't mention it, it's on the same day as the Mobile Chowdown! Like, hello awesome!

Guess what: I'll have a ton of new products, including new mugs, Seattle-themed art, and cards! Yes!

Here are the details:

Urban Craft Uprising

July 10 & 11, 2010 (Sat. and Sun.)

Seattle Center

For more details, visit the official website! And you might also like to check out the Crafty segment going on at The Stranger's Questionland!

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