Apple pie is pretty delicious most of the time, no doubt about it. But in the fall, when apples are in season, it gets heightened to a new level of awesome. But which apples are best suited for baking?
Thankfully, the kind people at Pillsbury, who currently have a "Love the Pie" campaign going on to promote making, eating, and sharing pie recipes (love it!) were kind enough to make a field guide detailing which kind of apples are best suited to baking, snacking, freezing, cooking, and so on. It's a keeper!
You can find more pie ideas (including recipes, contests, and general pie deliciousness) at the Pillsbury Pie page.
Candy corn topping, of course.
For this week's entry on Serious Eats, I decked out the decadent Canadian treat with a sweet Halloween topping, swapping out the typical chocolate topping for melted candy corn. The result is a treat that is unforgivingly sweet and unabashedly rich: that is to say, completely awesome.
These pint-sized decorative cupcake wrappers are ideal for special occasions--cooing is guaranteed when you serve your cakes using them!
Plus, they're made by a really cool local company (read the CakeSpy interview with owner Carrie Middlemiss here).
Cupcake wrappers available for purchase at bellacupcakecouture.com.
Here's a shout-out to all of the Seattle sweeties out there: a bonus Cupcakes at the Space Needle holiday card design! It's the newest item in the CakeSpyShop.
Here's the basic info:
This is a boxed set of 10 cards and envelopes. The cards measure 4.25 x 5.5 inches folded. All ten are the same design: sweet little wintry cupcakes at the Space Needle in Seattle! The envelopes are plain white, and empty canvas to draw little snowflakes, hearts and Santa hats on for the recipient!
Inner Greeting: "Sweet holiday wishes"
These cards (as well as a bunch of other sweet stuff for the holidays!) are available for purchase at CakeSpyShop.com.
This time, it's a set of Christmas rubber stamps featuring Cuppie in all sorts of sweet wintry scenes! This set of unmounted rubber stamps is a collaboration between CakeSpy and Taylored Expressions, and it comes just in time for either making your own holiday cards...or for giving them to a crafty friend as a holiday present! The set would usually retail for $21.95, but one lucky winner is getting a set for free!
To put your name in the running, just answer the following in the comments section(because it's never to early to start thinking about these important things):
What sweet treat are you most looking forward to this holiday season?
This is all, of course, to say, that I have had a lifelong relationship with chocolate--as a consumer. And while my tastes may not be so refined that I can calculate cacao percentages upon a single bite, I do know what I like. And I definitely like Coco & Co., a Portland-based chocolate company specializing in a variety of truffles, barks, and mendiants (fancy chocolate medallions). Want to learn more? Here's a brief interview with Sarah Leoni, the owner and head chocolate girl, who developed a deep love of chocolate in Lyon, France:
CakeSpy: What did you do before you started this company?
Sarah Leoni: I've done lots of odds and ends jobs, everything from being a barista to working in a Microbiology lab to teaching French and Italian and most recently as manager of a salon and spa. Each one taught me a little about what I wanted to do with my life and how to start a business.
CS: What took you to Lyon , France?
SL: I had always dreamed of living in Europe, so when I was in school I gravitated towards languages. I studied French and Italian and was able to spend a year abroad in both Italy and France. The majority of that year was in Lyon.
SL: If you count eating chocolate all the time, then yes, I studied chocolate there. But no, not formally. I was there to study French language and culture.
SL: In part, I think the inspiration for me to start a business has been there all my life and my love of chocolate was innate. But being in France definitely guided a deeper appreciation for savoring life's pleasures - for taking the time to really enjoy what we eat and drink and do. Also, the chocolateries and the patisseries in France felt like home for me - I could see myself behind their counters. Going into them wasn't just about buying a sweet, it was a way to daydream about the future.
CS: How has chocolatemaking affected how you look at other chocolate? Has it deepened your appreciation, made you more critical, etc?
SL: Making my own chocolates has made me more critical and more appreciative. I have less tolerance for chocolate that is mass-produced, over-flavored and too sweet. I can notice subtle nuances in chocolate that I couldn't before, so I'm very happy when I find chocolate that is obviously made with care.
CS: What is your ultimate chocolate dream?
SL: In terms of chocolate, my dream is to participate in the growing, harvesting and hands-on production of the cocoa beans. I want to make my own chocolate from bean to bar. I want to see that the people growing the trees are getting paid a living wage - I want to connect with the birth of chocolate, the rich history, the cultures it comes from and the lives it supports.
- November 7: Hip Happening, from 11am-5pm at the Sellwood Masonic Lodge, 7126 SE Milwaukie
- November 20: Handmade NW Holiday Market, from 10am-6pm at the World Trade Center Plaza, Downtown Portland
- November 24th: Moreland Holiday Farmer's Market, from 3PM-7PM at the Boys and Girls Club at 7119 SE Milwaukie
- December 6: Handmade NW Formal Holiday Artisans Fair, from 11am-6pm at The Chelsea Ballroom
- December 13: Crafty Wonderland Super Colossal Holiday Sale, from 11am - 7pm at the Oregon Convention Center, Exhibit Hall D, 777 NE MLK Jr. Blvd.
Dear Bredenbeck’s Bakery:
I've never met you, but I love you. Why? Because recently you sent me the adorable following recipe / Halloween craft idea: Ghoulish Cupcakes! I'm happy to report that it is as easy in practice as it is in theory, and all parties to which they are served are completely delighted--and satisfied by the taste, as well. It's no trick: these are a real treat!
P.S. To all others--do you want to recreate this magic at home? It's easy. Just do this:
Ghostly Halloween Cupcakes
-recipe kindly donated by Bredenbeck’s Bakery in Philadelphia -
- A dozen of your favorite cupcakes (I used this recipe)
- 16 oz. vanilla icing (I used this recipe)
- 22 oz. (two packages) white chocolate chips or candy coating, plus a generous tablespoon of vegetable shortening (the shortening is my addition)
- Gel icing
- Start with your favorite cupcake recipe and bake according to instructions.
- Flip your cooled cupcakes upside down, and spoon a dollop of icing on top (of the upturned bottom) to add height
- Place the iced cupcakes in the freezer until icing is firm
- Melt white chocolate and shortening in a double boiler
- Place frozen iced cupcakes on a wire rack
- Spoon melted white chocolate or candy coating over top of iced cupcakes, allowing excess to drizzle through wire rack
- Create beady eyes and scary faces with black shoestring licorice or gel icing
If you happen to be in Philadelphia, you can also try the original Bredenbeck’s version of these tasty treats. I hear a rumor that for the month of October, customers who say “Boo!” will receive a ghost cupcake for a discounted price.
Care to hear more about the bakery? OK! Here's the 411: A Philadelphia tradition since 1889, Bredenbeck’s Bakery bakes its delicious cookies, cakes, pies and pastries with the finest all-natural ingredients. Located in the heart of Chestnut Hill, Bredenbeck’s is famous for its delicious butter cookies, fancy miniatures and gourmet wedding cakes, all baked on premises. The historic shop is located at 8126 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia, PA, 215-247-7374 or online at bredenbecks.com.
This week's Illustration Friday theme is "Fast", which immediately made me wonder how quickly a cupcake might run a marathon. As evidenced by this illustration, all that buttercream certainly does make for a sugar "rush"!