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Sunday
Jun222014

Chocolate Chip Cookie Milk Shooters

Forget Algebra. THIS is a skill which will serve you well for the rest of your life: how to transform chocolate chip cookies into little cups that you can fill with milk. Here's a tutorial and recipe.

Sunday
Jun222014

Tips for Creating Beautiful Painted Illustrations

When it comes to illustration painting techniques, the sky is the limit. In fact, there are so many ways to tell your story in painted images that it can just about make your head spin. But we can help you manage the creative madness. Get ready to prep, sketch and paint: Here are the must-know techniques for amazing painted illustrations! Check out the full post here.

Friday
Jun202014

Baker's Dozen: A Batch of Sweet Links!

Inspired by Jameson FinkLattice entertain you: how to make an easy yet impressive lattice crust.

AMAZING: cinnamon rolls stuffed with chocolate chip cookie dough.

FYI: you don't need an ice cream maker to make ice cream at home.

Who says these limes are only for pie? Key lime white chocolate cookies.

Baltimore versus the Big Apple: look to the cookie(s).

Definitely love this: apple pie tacos.

Ever heard of "Trench Cake"? An old timey wartime treat.

Why drink one color of tea when you can have several in one cup? Thai iced tea. 

Seriously love: German chocolate banana bread

Pop-rocks cookies. Perfect for your upcoming 4th of July celebration!

What are cake stamps and impression molds, and how do you make cake decorating magic with them?

Interesting read: what it's like to be the chief baking officer at Magnolia Bakery.

For those who love drawing as well as sweets: Tips for making your pen and ink illustrations super sweet.

Book of the week: The Harvey House Cookbook: Memories of Dining Along the Santa Fe Railroad. Have you ever heard of Harvey Houses? This book details the fascinating story of self-starter Fred Harvey, who literally changed the way the West ate. Many of the recipes from his establishments have remained favorites. This book beautifully melds history with food, which in my opinion is a very winning combination. I can't put it down!

Thursday
Jun192014

Cool DIY Project: How to Make Permanent Marker Mugs

Permanent marker mug

You probably shouldn't believe everything you read on the internet, but usually I do.

So when I came across a tutorial that told me that I could draw on a plain ceramic mug with permanent marker, pop it in the oven for a spell, and when it came out the ink would be baked in, I believed it enough to grab the closest sharpie. My friend, a unicorn named Creampuff, was eager to jump in and help.

Permanent marker mug

By the way, as an aside, if you're wondering how Creampuff got her name, it had to do with this incident:

But I digress. Back to the mugs. Before, this one was plain and boring. Permanent marker mug

So together we drew all over the mug, then popped it in the oven for a while.

When it came out, it was too hot to touch, but after a half hour or so it had cooled. Lo and behold, that ink wasn't going anywhere! (For best results, hand wash). So I'm comfortable passing on this sweet trick I learned from the internet, to you, dear readers!

Permanent marker mug

How to DIY Mugs Using a Sharpie and Not Much Else

Supplies

  • Plain ceramic mugs (colored or white is fine)
  • A baking tray (we used a pie plate)
  • Sharpies

Procedure

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. While the oven preheats, get artistic. I had help from a unicorn, who whispered clever sayings in my ear, but you do the best you can if you don't have a unicorn around. Try not to smear anything--it's somewhat tough on the curved surface!
  3. Permanent marker mug
  4. Place the mug in the center of a baking sheet or pie plate and put in the preheated oven.
  5. Permanent marker mug
  6. "Bake" for 30 minutes. Remove the tray gently. Even though this looks like a mug that you want to touch, DO NOT. It is very hot. I know this sounds dumb but you just wait. You will be tempted to touch it.
  7. Once its' cooled, use as you normally would.Permanent marker mugSo far, mine has proven dishwasher and sink-washing safe. 

UPDATE: After four washings in the dish washer, the pen started to fade off. So for best results, hand wash.

As for the easter paper behind the mug in the pictures? What can I say, the unicorn chose it. They think it should always be jelly bean season. 

Thursday
Jun192014

Desserts That You Should Try During Your Sharm El Sheikh Vacation

Desserts That You Should Try During Your Sharm El Sheikh Vacation

If you're looking for a vacation where you can relax in perfect weather, while indulging your taste for good food, one place stands out. Sharm El Sheikh holidays are perfect if you like to soak up the sun, relax in a beach setting, enjoy sumptuous meals and delectable desserts, and basically enjoy your summer break. It has everything you could want.


 
Egyptian food includes influences from several countries such as Syria, Turkey, the Lebanon, Greece and France. Some desserts have a lot in common with similar dishes in the Levant, but the Egyptian ones have developed a little differently. They use natural ingredients, but have a high sugar content - but, then, you're on holiday, so why not?


 
Egyptian Sweet Couscous Dessert
 
You're probably familiar with couscous, even if you've never travelled to the Middle East or North Africa, but have you tried it in a dessert? Use this opportunity to get acquainted with the sweet variety. Expect to taste almonds and pistachios, rose water and fruit juice, butter, cinnamon, and of course, sugar. It will come to you garnished with fruit, candy-coated almonds (kufeta) and pomegranate seeds. Drink it with a glass of cold milk, or a small cup of Arabic coffee.
 
Ataif (Arab Filled Pancakes)
 
If you have a fondness for pancakes, try these! Stuffed with sweetened chopped walnuts, flavoured with cinnamon, and soaked in a sweet syrup of rose water and lemon juice, they are delicious hot or cold.
 
Ancient Egyptian Date Candy
 
Don't worry, this isn't a dish that's past its sell-by date, but one that dates from a time when dates, figs,pomegranates and grapes were all that could be grown in the heat - that would have been around 1600 BC. The current recipe was found on an ostraca, or piece of pottery. The sweets are formed from a mixture of dates, cinnamon, kardemon seeds, and ground walnuts. Each one is covered with warm honey and ground almonds.
 
Umm Ali (Egyptian Bread and Butter Pudding)
 
Also spelt as Omm Ali, which means Mother of Ali, this is nothing like the traditional Western version. A concoction of crumbled pastry, cream-enriched custard, chopped nuts, raisins and egg, it's served with more cream, and sprinkled with cinnamon.
 
Egyptian desserts will definitely tickle your taste buds and stimulate your sweet tooth, for this reason you shouldn’t forget to visit the top-notch cafes and restaurants when your Sharm El Sheikh pushes through. This is one of the best things that you can do!

Thursday
Jun192014

How to Make Ice Cream Without an Ice Cream Maker

You heard that right. You don't need an ice cream maker to make ice cream at all! It comes out creamy and delicious. Here's how to make ice cream at home without an ice cream maker!

Wednesday
Jun182014

Tips for Making Your Pen and Ink Illustrations Sparkle

Now, most of you know me through my writing about sweets. But as it turns out, I have valuable thoughts on illustration and art methodology as well! Check out this post with 7 stellar tips for making your pen and ink work sparkle.

Sunday
Jun152014

How to Make Any Chocolate Chip Cookie Better

Choco-belly chocolate chip cookies

When is the last time you thought about the bottom of your chocolate chip cookie?

People have debated for years, decades, close to a century about how to make already-good chocolate chip cookies even better. Toast the nuts. Don't toast the nuts. Forgo the nuts entirely. Rest the dough. Add more brown sugar.

While well-intentioned, I humbly have to submit that this is the easiest, least controversial, and most taste-pleasing to make your cookies better: coat the bottoms of the cookies with chocolate.

Choco-belly chocolate chip cookies

Say what?

I know. But it is truly the gateway to chocolate delight. 

Choco-belly chocolate chip cookies

You see, the brilliance behind this method is that from the top, it looks like just an everyday chocolate chip cookie, but then when you bite into it, you're greeted with a delightful taste surprise. If you ask me, it tastes even better because there is the aspect of joy of discovery: you bite into a cookie expecting, you know, awesome chocolate chip cookie, and then--OMIGOD! It is so chocolatey that your head may be tempted to spin. 

Choco-belly chocolate chip cookies

It's an easy method to employ in your baking, and between you and me, it could be used for cookies other than chocolate chip. Some cookies such as chocolate dipped macaroons or sugar cookies are thinking along similar lines, but they lack the ninja-like stealth of the choco-bottom in terms of delightful taste surprise. 

I've elected to call these cookies "Choco-belly chocolate chip cookies" because indeed, this method of preparing cookies does take the oft-overlooked underbelly of the cookie and raise it to a thing of celebrated beauty.

So how do you do it?

I could be totally snarky and tell you "simply melt chocolate and brush or spread it on the bottom of your cookies", but I won't do that, because I want to share the cookie recipe, which is quite good, too. It makes a nice cookie: crispy on the edges, chewy on the inside. I liked 'em. DO listen to the chilling part of the recipe, because if you don't your cookies will spread considerably.

So here goes. Prepare your taste buds for a deliciously wild ride. 

Choco-belly chocolate chip cookies

Choco-belly chocolate chip cookies

adapted from a chocolate chip cookies recipe on Craftsy

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup walnuts or pecans, some coarsely and some quite finely chopped
  • 2 cups chocolate morsels, divided

Step 1:

Cream the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add in both the brown and white sugar and mix to combine. Stir in the egg and egg yolk, one at a time, until fully incorporated. Stir in the vanilla.

Step 3:

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, salt, baking soda and pecans. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet until just combined. Fold in 1 cup of the chocolate chips.

Choco-belly chocolate chip cookies

Step 5:

Refrigerate dough for 30 minutes.

Step 6:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Remove dough from the fridge and scoop onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, about 2 inches apart. Bake for 12 minutes and remove from the oven. Cookies will look slightly underdone, but will continue baking on the hot cookie sheet. Once cooled, transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Choco-belly chocolate chip cookies

Step 7:

Once cooled, melt the remaining chocolate in the top of a double boiler.

Step 8:

Brush or spread a layer of chocolate (fairly thin, but enough to be opaque) on the bottoms of the cookies. Place them back on the wire rack, bottoms up. Let them cool until the chocolate has set. 

Choco-belly chocolate chip cookies

Enjoy. Like you needed to be told.

Saturday
Jun142014

Easy Lattice Crust Tutorial

Lose your fear of the crust! Increase your pie prowess with this easy, yet (importantly) impressive-looking lattice crust. Here's how to do it! I promise, it really is easy!

Friday
Jun132014

Baker's Dozen: A Batch of Sweet Links!

Look at this dress my mom made for me based on one of my sketches! OMG! Buy her stuff (illustrations, not fashion design) on Etsy!

Obsessed with this 2-ingredient no-bake cake.

Is Hummingbird the best cake ever? Bake this one, and decide.

Only YOU can prevent dessert desertion

Things that are not dessert

STILL AMAZING: 50 Ways to Kill a Twinkie.

These brownies have beer! And mole! They are officially PARTY brownies! Woot!

A loving look at the hazy history of the Nanaimo bar.

Chocolate chip cookies with avocado. No, really.

If you are what you eat, be magical and sweet. These "magic bars" will help.

Rainbows! Unicorns! Cookies! Madness!

I'm crazy about this pie dress.

I love Federal Donuts, and they are doing some good. Won't you support them?

Curious about what they ate for dessert on the Titanic? Find out here.

Book of the week: CakeSpy Presents Sweet Treats for a Sugar-Filled Life. Because I wrote it, and you know what? It holds up. If you don't already own 12 copies, buy it!

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