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Tuesday
Jan192010

Sweetness Down Under: ANZAC Biscuits Recipe

ANZAC Biscuits

From CakeSpy Friend Let Them Eat Cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 4oz flour
  • 6oz sugar
  • 1 cup coconut
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 2 oz butter
  • 1 tablespoon golden syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon bicarb soda
  • 2 tablespoons boiling water

Procedure

  1. Mix together flour, sugar, coconut, & rolled oats.
  2. Melt butter and golden syrup. Dissolve bicarb in boiling water and add to the butter and golden syrup.
  3. Make a well in the centre of flour, stir in the liquid. Place in spoonfuls on cold greased trays.
  4. Bake 15 to 20 minutes at 350F (180C) I would normally make them a bit flatter than those in this picture. That would make them crunchier.

 

Tuesday
Jan192010

Drop It Like It's Hot: The Famous Oatmeal Drop Cookies of 1900-1910

If you had been around on this day 100 years ago, what would life be like?

Well, you'd be fresh off of the 19-aughts, a tremendously eventful decade, marked with the opening of Fannie Farmer's Boston Cooking School, the first successful flight by the Wright brothers, and the passage of the Pure Food and Drug Act in 1906.

But even more importantly--if you had been around 100 years ago, what kind of cookies would you be eating? 

Probably Oatmeal Drop Cookies.

Per Betty Crocker's Cooky Book, this was the cookie of the decade:

Now, oats were hardly a new thing, but they had recently enjoyed some new developments in the US--according to The Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America by Andrew F. Smith,

In 1877, rolled oats were developed and trademarked by Henry D. Seymour and William Heston, who had established the Quaker Mill Company. The product was baked in cardboard boxes...In 1901, the Quaker Mill Company merged with other mills, and became the Quaker Oats Company. Directions for cooking oatmeal were printed on the outside of the Quaker box. These recipes, in turn, were reprinted in community and other cookbooks, and oatmeal became more popular as a cooking ingredient. During the twentieth century many new oatmeal recipes were published, including ones for soup, cakes, cookies, wafers, drops, maracroons, quick breads and yeast breads, muffins, scones, and pancakes. 

And so began the rise of the mighty oat in American culture.

Now, the original recipe calls for raisins, but figuring that a century of baking advances should allow for some experimentation in the name of deliciousness, I used milk chocolate chunks instead. Guess what? It worked beautifully. No, they might not be exactly the same as the ones enjoyed 100 years ago, but then again they didn't have the internet 100 years ago either--that is to say, sometimes innovation can be a good thing.

Oatmeal Drop Cookies

adapted from Betty Crocker's Cooky Book

Makes about 36 cookies 

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup molasses
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts
  • 1 cup milk chocolate (such as Lindt), cut into coarse chunks

Procedure

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees (original recipe calls for 400, but I found that 350 worked better for me).
  2. Mix butter, sugar, eggs, and molasses thoroughly. 
  3. Stir the flour, soda, salt, and cinnamon together; blend in bit by bit with the wet ingredients until incorporated.
  4. Stir in oats, nuts, and chocolate. Use either a cookie scoop or spoon to drop dough by rounded spoonfuls about 2 inches apart on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet.
  5. Bake 12-15 minutes, or until lightly browned. (original recipe calls for 8-10 minutes at 400 degrees)

 

Monday
Jan182010

Holey Yum: Doughnut Upside Down Cake for Serious Eats

Trying to improve a classic can be tricky business.

However, when it comes to Pineapple Upside Down Cake, I believe I may have actually done it--by adapting it into a Doughnut Upside Down Cake.

How did I attain this magic? Not through complicated chemistry or advanced algorithms. I simply looked through a classic recipe and replaced every instance of "pineapple" with "doughnut" and replaced shortening and milk with butter and heavy cream, respectively.

The result, scientifically speaking? Holey yum.

For the full entry and recipe, check out Serious Eats!

Monday
Jan182010

Sweet Love: A Bakery Crush on Hello Kookie, San Francisco

Love's sweet arrow (or was that the dentist's drill?) has struck CakeSpy's sweet tooth again--and its name is Hello Kookie.

Upon discovering their site through a DailyCandy Kids feature, an immediate sweet crush formed.

Hello Kookie was born when owner Dina couldn't find cute, simple and organic cookies for her son's birthday; teaming up with her buddy Wendy, they decided to create a cookie (or kookie, as they call it) which would be enjoyable for kids--but fun for parents too.

And to that point, their cookies are adorable without being too precious -- rendered in an anime style, these sweets are like beautiful graphics made edible.

But they also take taste seriously: their tagline is "cute...but not too cute to eat."

Currently these cookies are available via special order in the Bay Area; however, orders can also be shipped in the US. For more details, check out their FAQ page or keep updated on their progress via their blog!

 

Sunday
Jan172010

CakeSpy Undercover: Mount Bakery, Bellingham, WA

In Washington, there is a mountain of keen interest to outdoorsy types called Mount Baker.

But to cake gumshoe-ing types, Bellingham's Mount Bakery is a much more palatable proposition.

This place isn't strictly a bakery--it is also a cafe serving breakfast (including a gorgeous Eggs Benedict, if you're into that savory stuff) and lunch items. But we're here to talk about the sweet stuff right now.

On our recent visit, after the requisite period of analyzing the choices, we settled on some solid choices: the black bottom muffin and the Linzer Cookie.

Now, for those who have not been initiated into the black bottom muffin club, they are basically one of the best muffins out there (with a possible rival in the doughnut muffin), in that they don't even pretend to be healthy: they're largely comprised of cream cheese and chocolate. Dense and moist, taster Nicole commented that she was impressed how the cream cheese taste permeated the entire muffin--definitely a decadent treat.

And as for the Linzer Cookie (the cookie version of the famous tart by the same name)--oh, what a cookie.

For one thing, it already wins points because it's a sandwich cookie--and everyone knows that sandwich cookies are basically the best excuse to eat two cookies at once and not be judged.

But it's even better when the cookies are excellent, like these: they're lightly crumbly (not quite as much as a pecan sandy, say, but slightly more than a sugar cookie), extremely buttery, and nicely complemented with a layer of slightly tart preserves and a sweet layer of confectioners' sugar on top.

(Oh, and as a P.S. -- right next door is a cupcake shop which says "coming soon" called Icing on the Cake!)

Mount Bakery, 308 W Champion St, Bellingham, WA 98225; online at mountbakery.com.

Mount Bakery on Urbanspoon

Sunday
Jan172010

Sweet Art: Custom Save the Date Cards

What's sweeter than somebody getting married?

The wedding cake, duh!

And what better (and sweeter) way to ramp up for the big day than with CakeSpy Save The Date Cards?

This was a custom commission done by request--the customer submitted a file including the type layout, and I did the rest by adding the cupcake illustration and the decorative border, and getting them printed up on nice, heavy 4x6 cardstock.

Do you have a sweet occasion for which you'd like custom invites or save the dates? Just drop a line! I'm happy to take on custom orders; just let me know what you have in mind and I can look into it for you!

To inquire, contact me here.

Saturday
Jan162010

Feed Me: Please Update Your Readers for CakeSpy Updates!

Cupcakes checking their Facebook

Hey there sweeties!

It recently came to my attention that CakeSpy readers who have been subscribing via RSS have not received updates since the site transitioned from Blogger to Squarespace.

If you have not been receiving your regular updates, please update your reader by entering this address (either click the highlighted, or copy and paste the below):

feed://www.cakespy.com/blog/rss.xml

Or, if you simply remove cakespy.com from your RSS subscriptions and re-enter the URL, that should work too (It did for me when I entered it in Google Reader!). 

Sorry for the inconvenience--I don't want you to miss one sweet little thing!

Saturday
Jan162010

Show Your Pie-triotism: Upcoming Events for National Pie Day in Seattle

Put on your fat pants: starting next Friday, you're in for one sweet weekend of eating! There are several events coming up in celebration of National Pie Day on January 23rd--here are just a few of the things going on around Seattle, one of the most enthusiastic pie-eating cities in the nation:

Friday, January 22

Pie Party 2010 in Ballard, Seattle: This annual pie eating event and fundraiser is in its 10th year in Seattle! Here's the blurb from their Facebook invitation:

Come enjoy the 7th Annual National Pie Day Pie Party! Bring a pie to add to the pie buffet for admission or donate $10 at the door to The Marsha Rivkin Center for Ovarian Cancer Research. Sweet or savory; it's dinner and dessert. Enjoy a set by pie song cover band The Fillings, shop for pie-pharnalia at the silent auction and snap up a limited edition t-shirt custom created for PP10 by the lovely Cakespy (tee design pictured at top)! Children are welcome. Full bar available at the Eagles. Let's roll out some dough!

The details: Friday, January 22, 2010, 7:00pm - 11:00pm. Location: Salmon Bay Eagles, 5216 20th Ave NW, Seattle, Wa, 98107

Saturday, January 23

High 5 Pie Debuts New Flavors: Per an email from Dani Cone, the baker and coffee genius behind High 5 Pie:

National Pie Day is coming right up on January 23rd and we've got some great specials, discounts, and new flavors coming, too! We'll be introducing our new Chocolate/Oatmeal/Craisin and Broccoli/Mushroom/Cheddar flavors plus a one-day-only Pie Day special flavor: Apple/Cheddar/Rosemary....it's pretty off the hook!

 

Experience all that awesome at Fuel Coffee locations (and keep updated on any further developments via Twitter!).

Mini Empire Makes its Grand Debut at Porchlight Coffee, Capitol Hill, Seattle: Aren't you dying to try Mini Empire's lilliputian baked goods (which were recently announced via Capitol Hill Seattle and Seattle Weekly)? Happily, this special order bakery is making its retail debut on January 23rd, when they start selling their sweets at Porchlight Coffee in Capitol Hill. The Mini Empire crew will be giving out free cup-pie samples from 12-5, and some lucky souls will win their pies in mason jars!

Of course, if this isn't enough pie related goodness for you (or if geography is going to keep you from attending any of these awesome events), check out upcoming pie events on the American Pie Council (yes, it exists) website, or check out some ideas for other ways to celebrate.

Saturday
Jan162010

Sweet Art: Wilderness for Illustration Friday

What happens when a cupcake ventures out into the wilderness?

While I can't tell you the rest of this story (it's so much more fun to have you choose your own adventure), one thing is for sure: this is certainly where the wild and sweet things are!

A perfectly sweet contribution to Illustration Friday's theme of wilderness!

Friday
Jan152010

Baker's Dozen: A Batch of Sweet and Cute Things!

Hungry for something sweet? Well, there's only one solution for that: eat a delicious baked good! And then, to tide you over til you're hungry again, enjoy these sweet (but not sugary) treats:

To have and hold:

Baker Ninja by Shawnimals: This adorable plush toy (pictured left) is the perfect collector's item for the stealthy sweet tooth. As cute as it is, even more fun is the backstory: "Working deep in the maze of caverns under Mt. Feroshi, the Baker Ninjas not only have the unique skill to craft the secret Ninja Star Cookies, they can also withstand the deadly heat and toxic fumes. They wear special quilted, anti-lava Ninja robes, an inch-thick visor, and a fancy apron, too." (thanks to Bethany of Boofy Cakes for the tip!)

Speak Sweetly Stationery: Speaking of the multi-talented Bethany of Boofy Cakes, check out the new line of sweet stationery she's selling on Etsy--it's all handmade and largely cake and baked good-themed.

Miss Cupcake Mini Series by Kid Robot: Sweet but not delicious, these cupcakes are a delight to have and hold (pictured left).

Donut Plushies by Heidi Kenney for Kid Robot: Who doesn't love Heidi Kenney's adorable work? These donut plushies remain sweet long after the breakfast donuts have gone stale.

Crochet Black and White Cookie from Bluebottle Art: Even if you're not in NYC, you can enjoy the iconic treat whenever you like with this handmade crochet back and white cookie by artist Alicia Kachmar. (pictured top, top center)

CakeSpy ornaments: Not just for Christmas, these plush sweeties would look great hung from a rear view window, or in your cubicle! Make every day sweeter! (pictured top, bottom left)

To wear:

Aaron Meshon Zipper Pulls: You'll want to zip it good with these coo-worthy zipper pulls designed by artist Aaron Meshon.

Let's Mix it Up Tee by Loyal Army: Love to bake? Let the world know with this tee, featuring anthropomorphic ingredients. (pictured top, top left)

Girl Scouts Cookie Time Pin: This embroidered pin (pictured left) is better than any watch, because it always has the right time: Cookie Time!

To hang or decorate:

Girl Scout Cookies Magnets: Of course you love Girl Scout Cookies, but what about the sad times of the year when they're not available? You can comfort yourself by hanging up recipes or notes on the fridge with these Girl Scout Cookie-inspired magnets. (pictured top, bottom right)

Lemon Meringue Pie Print by Christine Larsen: Seattle-based illustrator Christine Larsen is a CakeSpy soul mate, frequently painting robots and delicious sweets. A favorite pick? How 'bout this double decker dose of deliciousness to hang in your house: a print featuring a sweet slice of lemon meringue pie! (pictured top, top right)

Steve Morris Gnome and Cake Print: Everyone loves cake...but throw a gnome and ladybug into the mix, and you've got some sweet art on the table (or on the wall, as it were). These limited edition prints would look great in a kitchen. (pictured left)

Justin Richel Prints: While we're talking about cake art, it would be remiss not to remind you of how awesome Justin Richel's delicate cake and confectionery paintings are (an absolute CakeSpy favorite! pictured top, bottom center).


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