Buttercream. There's no part of it that is wrong. I mean, a word that consists of the two parts "butter" and "cream"...what's not to love? But even as perfect a foodstuff it is, there are some ways to make it even better. I've put together a nice roundup of simple ways to elevate and flavor your buttercream for extremely delicious results. Read the full article here.
Greetings from sunny Puerto Rico, my sweet readers! I don't know if I have ever told you this, but my parents have a house here, in the lovely beachside town of Rincón. I realize that this might make us seem wealthy or something, but it's really not like that. My dad, who has been a surfer since his teens, scrimped and saved and was able to make this house happen. Isn't that cool?
While that is inspiring, that is not the point of this post--it's just to explain why I am here. It's a nice and quiet place to spend time, write, and do artwork.
I have been doing a ton of work on my potential memoir (as referenced in this post), and have been really pleased with the result so far.
But that's not all I've done, so I thought I would share a few snapshots of the tasty times I'm having. Consider it a virtual series of postcards, from me to you!
I mastered a yoga pose I've been trying to get for weeks, just in time for my dad to capture a beach shot. Woot! A huge thanks goes to my teacher Leia Hays for helping me master this one.
The treat I speak of is cupcake-sized macaroons known as "Besitos de coco". They are made by a local wholesaler and are available at many of the bakeries. They're rich as all get-out. I love them.
After my dad left, I decided to bake a cake, a sort of adaptation of basbousa, but made with olive oil for a mediterranean feel. It came out quite well, and I shared some with my neighbors.
On a rainy afternoon, I did a series of teeny tiny paintings on seaglass.
While going to the aforementioned panaderia, we had noticed a new bakery in town, called Dulcis Vita. They do more American-style cupcakes and cakes. I went back a few days later, and I got an Oreo cupcake and some chocolate cheesecake.
Living up to my "dessert confession" I put salt on the cheesecake before devouring. Was it ever good. I was impressed by both the cheesecake and cupcake. Very good, better-than-mom-made type of stuff.
I checked out the art walk downtown, which was very sweet. One of my favorite sights was a truck that pulled up to sell lanterns. It looked like a truck full of rainbows, and it made me smile.
I did a series of "sweets and yoga poses" illustrations, just for fun.
And, OK, yes, there was maybe a tropical cocktail involved somewhere in all this.
So, you're getting the idea behind my tasty adventure in pretty Puerto Rico. If you'll excuse me, I need to go to the store to pick up some supplies to make my own besitos de coco...stay tuned for the recipe next week!
Make your popsicles, well, pop--with a fantastic gradient of color. This lovely specimen is made with layers of vanilla, French vanilla, coffee, and chocolate ice cream, and tastes sort of like the best parts of a mocha frappuccino in lickable form. Here's how to make them.
To some, the idea of a "single serving dessert" seems sad. Like, poor you, you don't have anyone to share dessert with.
I don't find single serving desserts sad at all. I see it as a definite reason not to have to share. It only makes one! So you can see, it's a decision that you can make to treat yourself and no one else. The recipe which follows is for a quirky little single-serving chocolate cake which you can make in the microwave. I stuffed mine with hershey's kisses so it would be a little gooey inside, but you can do whatever you want, from topping it with ice cream or fruit (if you're into health food) or even some buttercream frosting.
If you started to feel panicky there, don't: you won't be sharing the toppings either.
If this all sounds quite terrible of me, so be it, but I wasn't planning on sharing dessert with you anyway.
I'm going to try something a touch different today and put all of the photos before the recipe, so that if you want to follow the recipe, you can easily follow it without picture breaks. Which way do you prefer?
All right, here we go.
Next time you're feeling greedy and want something all for you that nobody else can have, here's how you do it.
First, you'll mix up a couple of wet ingredients.
Then you'll add some dry ones and mix til it's smooth.
If you want, add a generous handful of (unwrapped!) chocolate candies such as Hershey's Kisses.
Then you'll put the bowl you mixed it in right in the microwave for a few minutes. It will puff up and pull away form the sides of the bowl. Actually, it will kind of look ugly. But...
Go for it. Don't share. What do you think?
Single Serving Chocolate Cake in a Bowl
- 4 tablespoons sugar
- 1 egg
- 3 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 tablespoons flour
- 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa
- 3 tablespoons milk
- a handful of chocolate candies
- Mix together the sugar, egg, oil, and vanilla in a bowl. And by "a bowl" I mean the one you indend on microwaving. Use one with decently high walls, so that the cake has room to rise.
- Add the flour and cocoa. Mix until incorporated. Add the milk and mix until smooth. You can use a fork, spoon, or mini spatula for this.
- Fold in the chocolate candy.
- Put the bowl in the microwave and heat on high for 3 minutes (if you know your microwave is a lower powered model, go four minutes. It will puff up, and then deflate once removed from microwave.
- What are you waiting for? Top it, if you want to, and eat.
What's your favorite dessert to not share?
What's your favorite way to color in your artwork? Here's an exploration of several of my favorite ways. You might be amazed at what a difference the medium in question can make on a finished piece. You'll learn mroe about how to make your art come to life with this fun roundup. Read the full article here.
Hear thee, hear thee!
I have alarming news about the world: it is overrun with locally produced, artisan desserts. It's a frightening time to be alive, when where bearing a Twinkie or Snowball in your hand is viewed almost as disdainfully as smoking a cigarette in front of an elementary school.
Why is it so terrible to take deep pleasure in sub-standard, commerically produced desserts? After all, life is short, and we have the right to derive pleasure both from high quality, lovingly baked desserts, as well as the ones that don't have any benefit but our gratification.
What follows is not just a series of commandments about guilty pleasure desserts, but an ode to their very essence! Follow these commandments for a life filled with guilty yet pleasurable sugary bliss.
Thou shalt not be local
A guilty pleasure shouldn't be a locally made food, unless you happen to live down the block from the Pop-Tart factory (in which case, I've been meaning to ask, can I move in with you?)
Thou shalt not be organic
If it has the word "organic" on it, be immediately suspicious of its guilty pleasure capacity. I've never in my life seen a package of Goetze's bullseye caramels labeled "organic"...have you?
Thou shalt not bear the word "artisan"
"Artisan" is a sure fire sign of quality that is not in the sphere of guilty pleasuredom. It is not a common attribute of a guilty pleaure dessert.
Thou shalt be pre-packaged
If a dessert item is in plastic packaging, this is a very good sign. I am not talking about plastic wrap here, but the kind of plastic cello packaging that is sealed by machines. All the better if units are individually packaged and then put in a common box, such as Little Debbie brownies.
Thou shalt possess a list of ingredients totaling one mile long
If you are in doubt about whether or not a food can be considered a guilty pleasure, take a look at the ingredient list. If it is short and you can pronounce every single word on it, immediately put it back on the shelf and keep looking. Your guilty pleasure item should contain an impressive list of ingredients, most of which you do not recognize and/or cannot pronounce.
Thou shalt not be classified as health food, ever
If anything about a dessert item smacks of health food, give it a wide berth. I'll be the first to admit that there are exceptions: Little Debbie's oatmeal creme pies might sound fairly virtuous, and I suppose the orange content in creamsicles could lull you into a sense of health security.
Thou shalt not possess colors readily found in nature
We eat with our eyes first, so guilty pleasure desserts benefit from a healthy dose of color. But watch out: if the color looks suspiciously like one found in nature, it might not actually be a guilty pleasure. If it has a palette which vaguely resembles the colors of a Lisa Frank trapper keeper, you're in business.
Thou shalt not cost an arm and a leg
Have you ever anyone saying "these $4.25 a pop cupcakes made with all local organic ingredients are my guilty pleasure"? No. Twinkies are a guilty pleasure, and if you shop right, you can get two whole boxes for that price.
Thou shalt not possess nutritional benefits
What kind of nutritional benefits should a guilty pleasure dessert have? It should have zero. I firmly believe that the primary benefit of a guilty pleasure dessert is on a mental level and you shouldn't sully it with physical benefits. Or, put it this way: nobody in the history of ever has eaten Snowballs because coconut is high in manganese.
Thou shalt feel right at home in a child's school lunchbox
Here's a good test for whether a dessert classifies as a guilty pleasure or not. Would a six year old kid be psyched to find it in their lunch box? If so, you may have a guilty pleasure dessert on your hands.
What is your governing law of what constitutes a guilty pleasure? Leave a comment!