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Entries in books (29)

Thursday
Nov202014

Tastes Like Joy: Creme de Noisettes Recipe

Hazelnut chocolate creme

See that thing? Up there in the jar? That creamy, chocolatey looking stuff? Well, guess what--you now officially have the recipe. 

Not to break you out of the reverie, but I suppose I should tell you what it is, exactly. That little mason jar is filled with a chocolate-hazelnut slurry known as (doesn't it always sound better in French?) crème de noisettes. I never tried this when I was in France, but stateside, I've tried a little something called Nutella which brings it to mind. Ever heard of it?

This lovely recipe is excerpted from French Bistro: Restaurant-Quality Recipes for Appetizers, Entrées, Desserts, and Drinks.

PS: want to read more about my overseas adventures? Here's a roundup of my last trip to Paris.

French Bistro Maria Zihammou

*crème de noisettes*

Hazelnut and chocolate crème

Hazelnut and chocolate is an unbeatable combination that I downright love. My kids do too! Here, I’ve blended the two flavors into a rich and dangerously delicious crème, which my kids love to eat on baguette dipped in hot chocolate. I prefer it on a croissant, dipped in café au lait.

Makes 1 Jar 

  • ½ cup (100 ml) Nutella
  • 7 oz (200 g) dark chocolate, 70% cacao
  • 3½ tbsp (50 g) butter
  • ¼ cup (50 ml) cream
  • 2 tbsp molasses
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 3½ oz (100 g) hazelnuts

Procedure 

  • Place the Nutella in a saucepan. Coarsely chop up the chocolate and place it in the pan. Cut the butter into small pieces and add it too, along with the cream, molasses, and water. Warm over low heat to make a smooth sauce. Move the saucepan off to one side.

  • Roast the nuts in a dry pan for 3–4 minutes. Mix them well and blend them into the sauce. Pour the crème into a jar with a tight lid. If stored in the fridge, it should keep for at least one week.

Enjoy!

Saturday
Oct042014

Coconut Pistachio Gateau with Marzipan Filling

Photo via The Everyday Art of Gluten-FreeI'm not anti-gluten; I'm pro-delicious. This cake happens to be gluten-free, but that doesn't stop me, because just look at the thing. It is a guest post featuring a recipe from The Everyday Art of Gluten-Free: 125 Savory and Sweet Recipes Using 6 Fail-Proof Flour Blends. It is inspired by a recipe from Austin pastry chef Sandy Reinlie, a "genius" when it comes to combining flavors. 

Coconut Pistachio Gateau with Marzipan Filling

For the cake

  • 2 1/2 cups "cake and muffin" blend (link here)
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • scant 1 cup finely ground roasted salted pistachios
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup pure olive oil
  • 6 large eggs, separated
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons almond extract
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons coconut extract
  • 1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut, plus more for garnish
  • 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar

For the icing

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 egg whites 
  • 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the marzipan filling

  •  1 pound gluten-free almond paste
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • green food coloring (optional)
  • confectioners' sugar, for dusting

Garnish

 

  • 2 cups salted pistachios, chopped
  • toasted coconut

Procedure

  1. Start by making the cake. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 10-inch springform pan with butter and line the bottom with parchment.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour blend, sugar, pistachios, cornstarch, and baking powder. Beat briefly to combine. 
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, oil, egg yolks, sour cream, and extracts until very smooth. With the mixer running on medium-low, add the egg yolk mixture to the dry ingredients in a slow, steady stream. Beat the batter on high for one minute, or until thick and smooth. Add the shredded coconut and mix until just combined.
  4. In the clean bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar until they attain stiff peaks. Using a wooden spoon, fold this mixture into the batter until there are no more white clumps remaining.
  5. Pour the batter into the pan. Bake for 45-55 minutes, until the top cracks slightly and the edges have pulled away from the sides.
  6. Let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack for at least an hour.
  7. Make the icing now. In a small, heavy saucepan, combine the sugar and 1/2 cup water.  Clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pan and set the pan over medium high heat. Bring the syrup to a boil, whisking to make sure the sugar dissolves, and cook until the temperature registers 239 F (115 C, soft ball stage) on the thermometer. This will take several minutes. 
  8. Meanwhile, in the clean bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the egg whites until opaque and frothy. Add the cream of tartar and beat on high until the whites are thick and foamy.
  9. With the mixer on high speed, pour the hot sugar syrup into the whipping egg whites in a slow, steady stream being careful to keep the hot syrup between the bowl and whisk to prevent sprays of sugar on your skin or beautiful face. Beat the meringue for 7 minutes, or until the egg whites are very shiny and hold deep folds. The mixer should be cool to the touch on the bottom. Beat in the vanilla just til combined. 
  10. Make the filling. In a food processor fitted with the "s" blade, combine the almond paste with the corn syrup and one to two drops of the food coloring, if using. Mix them until the paste is very smooth. If the almond paste is crumbly, add a bit more corn syrup, a teaspoon at a time, until it folds in on itself. 
  11. Lightly dust your work surface with confectioners' sugar. Turn out the marzipan mixture and roll it into a circle 1/4 inch thick and 11 inches in diameter.
  12. Assemble the thing. Invert the cooled cake onto a wire rack and peel off the parchment paper. Wrap a thread or piece of unflavored dental floss around the circumference of the cake, halfway from top to bottom, and draw the floss tight, using it to cut the cake in two layers (or do it the normal way with a serrated knife).
  13. Set one layer on a serving plate or cake stand. Place the marzipan disk on top. Dollop 2/3 cup of the icing on to the marzipan and spread it twoard the edges. Top with the second cake layer. Ice the cake with the remaining icing. Press the pistachios on the sides of the cake, and sprinkle the top with toasted coconut. Keep the cake under a cake dome for a few days, or in the fridge for up to a week.

 

Friday
Sep262014

Giveaway: Decorating Cookies Party by Bridget Edwards

UPDATE: WE HAVE A WINNER!!

 

It's Joanna, whose comment was chosen at random: "My favorite cookie EVER is a bar cookie that's a family recipe called "Revel Bars" ... they're an oatmeal cookie with a thick layer of fudge, and topped with dots of salty oatmeal cookie on top and they're to DIE for. Starbucks used to make a version of it that was not nearly as good."
Sounds like a tasty cookie to me!



Listen up. I want to give you a book!

 

I don't know if you're familiar with Bridget Edwards of Bake at 350, but if not, you're in for a treat. She is a cookie decorator ROYALE. And she is willing to teach you her secrets in two books: her previous release (which I loved) entitled Decorating Cookies: 60+ Designs for Holidays, Celebrations & Everyday, and now, her brand new book, Decorating Cookies Party: 10 Celebratory Themes. The new book includes 50 designs to be made from a few master cookie recipes (one of them is even gluten-free, people). 

So, you want to win the book?

All you have to do is tell me the following:

What is your favorite cookie in the world and why? 

Yes, that's an open ended question. It could be a store bought cookie, your grandma's recipe, or one you make. Just tell me why it's so special!

I'll choose a winner one week from today (that's Friday, October 3rd). Meantime, you can buy the book here if you need it ASAP! Since the publisher is sending this out directly, I'm honoring their request that the entrants for this giveaway have US or Canadian shipping addresses, please.

Saturday
Oct192013

Buy it Now: Trophy Cupcakes Book

Cupcakes at Trophy Cupcakes

It's not every day that a business I've illustrated in cupcake form releases a book.

But when it does happen (and it has!), I am going to tell you "buy this book now." Please.

The book in question is by beloved Seattle bakery and one of my first supporters, Trophy Cupcakes. The book is entitled Trophy Cupcakes and Parties!: Deliciously Fun Party Ideas and Recipes from Seattle's Prize-Winning Cupcake Bakery.

A mouthful, I know. But nowhere near the mouthful of tastiness you'll experience once you bake one of the cupcake recipes in the book. Seriously--this is good stuff. 

But the book isn't just cupcakes, I learned upon opening my review copy package. This book is designed to party.

Trophy cupcakes

As I unwrapped the tissue, I found not only a book but a built in party... Trophy cupcakes

including... a tiny dancer!

Trophy cupcakes

The party theme corresponds to the book, which is full of party ideas, including recipes, crafty decor and activities, and all of the style you need to pull off a cool event. I love it--it really celebrates not only the cupcake, but the happy culture which should always surround the cute foodstuff.

Trophy cupcakes book

A respectable cache of recipes, of course, is present, with beautiful photos.

Trophy cupcakes book

It's really a lovely book, and I think you should buy it right now. In case you've already forgotten the title,  it's Trophy Cupcakes and Parties!: Deliciously Fun Party Ideas and Recipes from Seattle's Prize-Winning Cupcake Bakery. Do it now!

Saturday
Sep142013

Triple Chip Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Dip from Peanut Butter Comfort

Cookie dough dip

When I think of peanut butter, visions of happiness, butterflies, unicorns prancing, and cotton candy clouds dance in my head. I love the stuff that much.

So when I received the book Peanut Butter Comfort: Recipes for Breakfasts, Brownies, Cakes, Cookies, Candies, and Frozen Treats Featuring America's Favorite Spread, I was pretty psyched. Especially since I happened to have plenty of peanut butter around at the moment.

Naturally, I was drawn in pretty instantly by this recipe because it had pink thingies in the photos. But then, upon futher review, I found that the recipe was for something amazing: Triple Chip Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Dip. Like, OMG. That's a dip I can get into!

Cookie dough dip

Even better, the dough is egg free, so that dough can get right in your mouth.

What would one use cookie dough dip for, you ask? Well, that's kind of a dopey question because I really hope you already have some ideas. It would be a great, indulgent frosting, or a nice dip for graham crackers, or...you know, great by the spoonful. Yum.

Here's the magical recipe.

Peanut Butter Triple Chip Cookie Dough Dip

Adapted from Peanut Butter Comfort: Recipes for Breakfasts, Brownies, Cakes, Cookies, Candies, and Frozen Treats Featuring America's Favorite Spread

Makes 4 1/2 cups dip, or 2-3 servings (kidding)

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened to cool room temperature
  • 2/3 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened to cool room temperature
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups old-fashioned whole rolled oats (not quick cook or instant)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup m&m candies--plain, peanut, or peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup butterscotch chips

Procedure

  1. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the cream cheese, peanut butter, and butter, mixing on high speed for 3 to 4 minutes until nice and smooth and creamy. Pause to scrape down the sides of the bowl. 
  2. Add all the sugars and the vanilla, and beat for 2 to 3 minutes on medium high speed. Start slowly, then increase the speed to keep from having a sugar snowstorm. Pause to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  3. Add the oats and salt and beat until incorporated, 1 minute on medium high speed. Stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the flour, one tablespoon at a time, mixing after each addition. Only add enough to give it your desired dip consistency.
  4. Fold in the m&m candies and all those chocolate and other chips by hand or with a couple swipes of the mixer on low speed. Serve right away, or keep chilled. Keep this tastiness in the fridge for up to a week.
Sunday
Jul282013

Sweet Book: Cake Decorating with Modeling Chocolate

Modeling chocolate book

A while ago, I received the book Cake Decorating with Modeling Chocolate in the mail as a review copy. I blame myself for taking so long to post about it, but I've been doing a ton of travel for book tour and, you know, for fun--Seattle, San Francisco, Portland, Chicago, Philadelphia, New Jersey, New York, Los Angeles, and probably several places I've neglected to mention. It's all been a lot of fun but sheesh--time for me to get back to spyin' sweet stuff. So, back to the book, which is coming at you from Kristen Coniaris of the website Wicked Goodies.

Have you ever worked with modeling chocolate? If not, it might be about time to expand your cake decorating repertoire. To me, modeling chocolate is sort of like working with modeling wax--if not in taste, at least in texture. It's a malleable substance that is easy to use in a myriad of cake decorating projects. And this book is here to teach you how to make them. I'll go ahead (spoiler!) and tell you about what I consider the most vital skill to be learned in the book:

Important tutorial

Yes! How to make a camo booty out of modeling chocolate! Everyone needs to know that, because you never know when you'll need such a cake. 

Joking aside, though, this cake is action-packed with all sorts of modeling chocolate information, lore, and projects. If you choose not to go for the camo booty (mistake!), there are also wonderful tutorials such as this:

Modeling chocolate

aren't those flowers gorgeous?

There are also plenty of tips for the beginner, including troubleshooting for if things go wrong:

Modeling chocolate

and tips on how to successfully tint your modeling chocolate like all the colors of the rainbow.

IMAG5306

And, of course, many tips that you'll learn when you buy the book.

I found myself very drawn to the more unusual tutorials in the book, such as this pig lounging in mud.

Modeling chocolate

Of course, the rainbow and unicorn-loving side of me loved tutorials such as this, for a rainbow zebra print cake:

Important tutorial

C'est fantastique!

As you can see, this book wonderfully melds education (teaching you what modeling chocolate is, and how to use it) with creativity (refer to camo booty). It's a great volume on modeling chocolate, and if you've been interested in adding this skill to your decorating repertoire, I suggest this book!

Buy it here:  Cake Decorating with Modeling Chocolate.

Monday
Jun102013

Secret Lives Tour, Part Two

Anthropologie signing

Part two of my book tour supporting The Secret Lives of Baked Goods: Sweet Stories & Recipes for America's Favorite Desserts is now complete! Philadelphia and Chicago...you were great!

Now, if you're curious about what happened on the first leg, check out this post; for still-upcoming dates, look at the left side bar of this site! 

Now, let me tell you about what I saw, what I did, and very importantly, what I ate on leg 2 of the tour, in New Jersey, Philadelphia and Chicago.

First, I headed down to New Jersey. I didn't have an event here but I was staying with my parents, and using their kitchen to bake treats for the Anthropologie book signing in Philadelphia. I made three batches of Katharine Hepburn Brownies from the book. I had a little assembly line going!

Philadelphia - Anthropologie

Philadelphia - Anthropologie

Oh, yum. Then, we packed up the car and went to Philadelphia. I was greeted by this sign...I felt pretty cool...

Anthropologie signing

Here I am getting out of the car and getting ready to share brownies and fun!

Anthropologie signing

Wow, what an amazing event! Not only was it excellently attended, but there were brownies and prosecco. Lots of prosecco.

Anthropologie signing

The crowd was enthusiastic and we had a lot of fun!

Anthropologie signing

Here I am with my big sister Kelly.Anthropologie signing

I also got some unexpected treats at the signing. Bredenbeck's sent over some cookies just for me...

Anthropologie

and (big hero moment!) Zoe (there's an umlaut in her name, but I can't find the symbol on my computer) from Whipped Bakeshop came, too! For an example of how awesome she is, just look at one of her cakes:

and Ginny of LivyLu's Gourmet brought some treats, too!

Cookies

This was a signing that just made me feel great to be alive. Thank you, Anthropologie!

Anthropologie signing

Let's just say I slept well that night, and it was a good thing, because I had to get up pretty bright and early to head to Chicago!

On my way to the airport, I had a surprisingly tasty (considering its healthy status!) cookie called the "Shazaam", purchased in Spring Lake Heights.

Shazaam cookie

Next stop...Chicago! My reading was actually in Vernon Hills, but I had some time to spend in the Windy City beforehand. I made good use of it.

I popped in an Anthropologie store in Chicago...and guess what they had? My book! yay!

Chicago - Anthropologie

My first stop for sweets in Chicago was Glazed and Infused. You can read more about my visit there if you read this post, but suffice it to say I left fat and happy and SO excited to have finally met my (until now, online-only) friend James. 

Glazed and Infused

Next, I headed over to Swirlz Cupcakes. Wow, Pam of Swirlz is so supportive! She had a little altar to me out to make me smile and share my work with her customers! AND she was kind enough to donate cupcakes for my event later that day.

Swirlz Cupcakes

Here's a picture of me with owner Pam!

Me and Pam of Swirlz

Before I headed to Vernon Hills, I simply had to drop by to say hi to my friend Stephanie, owner of Angel Food Bakery. She has the same birthday as me, and she bakes cupcakes. What's not to love? We chatted and I picked up a few treats, including a brownie and a flourless chocolate cake. For later.

Angel Food Bakery

Then I headed to the Aspen Drive Library! I was greeted by this beautiful sign:

Vernon hills signing

And then got to unpacking the sweets from Swirlz!

Vernon Hills, IL

HERE'S WHAT WAS IN THE BAG. OMG ALL CAPS NEEDED.Vernon Hills, IL

Putting together this stand was easier said than done, but we figured it out (yes, it took more people than just me).

Vernon Hills, IL

I had a great talk with a large audience at the library, and Lake Forest Book Store was on hand to sell copies of my book. Here I am doing my reading--don't I look like a kindergarten teacher?

An especially meaningful guest was my friend Sandy, who drove all the way from Milkwaukee. I miss this girl! We were able to have dinner and catch up. <3

Now, I know you're concerned that I'm getting enough calories, so I am happy to tell you that I was able to make one more sweet stop before I left the next morning, to pick up a cinnamon glazed old-fashioned doughnut at Do-Rite Donuts. Whew!

Do-rite donuts

Do-Rite Donuts

By the way, it wasn't til that night that I got to one of my other goodies from Angel Food Bakery, the brownie. Hold on to your hats, sweeties. It might look like just a brownie, but it is nothing ordinary once it's in your mouth. It's fudge-filled chocolate overload decadence awesometown, the experience of eating this brownie. I think they're some of the best in the nation!

Angel Food Bakery Brownie

Whew! So glad to have had these awesome tour times, but I'm happy to be home, too! See you next time, sweeties!

Places Mentioned:

Anthropologie, multiple locations; online here.

Bredenbeck's, 8126 Germantown Ave., Philadelphia; online here.

LivyLu's Gourmet; online here.

Whipped Bakeshop, 636 Belgrade Street, Philadelphia; online here.

Nature's Corner Natural Market, 2407 Hwy 71, Spring Lake Heights NJ; online here.

Glazed and Infused, multiple locations in Chicago; online here.

Swirlz Cupcakes, 705 W. Belden, Chicago; online here.

Angel Food Bakery, 1636 Montrose, Chicago; online here.

Aspen Drive Library, Vernon Hills, IL; online here.

Lake Forest Bookstore; online here.

Do-Rite Donuts, 50 W. Randolph Street, Chicago; online here.

Thursday
Feb072013

Twice as Nice: Two Books about Pie

Pie Books

Now, this is a truly great moment in life. Right now, recipes by me are featured in not one but two books about pie.

I'm very happy about this, because I consider both of these books worthy of purchase--and not just because of my presence. Although that doesn't hurt, of course.

A Year of Pies

First is A Year of Pies: A Seasonal Tour of Home Baked Pies by Ashley English. This beautiful book features pie for all seasons of the year. It includes recipes which reverently reflect seasonal produce...and then my recipe, for Saltwater Taffy Pie.

A Year of Pies

Hey, I'm here to make it FUN! Joking aside, it's a fantastic book and ideal for creating pies that really will make your year far awesomer. 

Pieography

Next is Pieography: Where Pie Meets Biography-42 Fabulous Recipes Inspired by 39 Extraordinary Women by Jo Packham of Where Women Cook. This book poses an interesting question: "what does your life look like in a pie?".

Pieography

Well, me and several other female food writers and bloggery types contributed with an essay and a recipe. Mine is a particularly lovely essay about the fleeting and beautiful nature of life and a delightful "Frisbee" pie that you toss and let the pieces shatter, deliciously, as they may.

Other recipes include Blueberry Ginger Pie, White Chocolate Buttermilk Pie with Warm Raspberry Sauce (OMG), and more. It's a sweet read.

Buy the books here:

A Year of Pies: A Seasonal Tour of Home Baked Pies

Pieography: Where Pie Meets Biography-42 Fabulous Recipes Inspired by 39 Extraordinary Women

Thursday
Jan312013

Sweet Cookbook: Petite Treats by Christy Beaver and Morgan Greenseth

Petite Treats

I love small things, and I love cute things.

Curiously, though, this doesn't always extend to the world of dessert, where I like quantity, preferably mass. But in the case of the new book Petite Treats: Adorably Delicious Versions of All Your Favorites from Scones, Donuts, and Cupcakes to Brownies, Cakes, and Pies, I'll make an exception, figuring that I'll just eat a baker's dozen of everything.

This volume is the follow up to Mini Pies: Adorable and Delicious Recipes for Your Favorite Treats, and like that title, this book is  just too cute! 

Here's what you have to look forward to in the new book:

Morgan and Christy's new book

Let's dig in, shall we? First off, I was so glad to see these mini scones.

Get Sconed

Why? Because I've actually tried them, in person. They're tiny and delicious.

Scookie: Scone Cookie from Mini Empire Bakery

I also want to eat cranberry orange rolls. Yum.Want to eat it

Pies! Of course there are pies. These girls are pie-making maniacs!

 Pies

But my favorite thing? Definitely this...

Piecaken

Yeah, that's right. 

Piecaken

It makes me think of my friend Megan, and also of the Pumpple I ate. Both good things to think of, at any time.

I think you should buy this book! Here's the link again: Petite Treats: Adorably Delicious Versions of All Your Favorites from Scones, Donuts, and Cupcakes to Brownies, Cakes, and Pies.

Saturday
Nov102012

Sweet Book: Decorating Cookies by Bridget Edwards

This is cute!

I've got to tell you, this book is cute. And I *know* cute.

It's called Decorating Cookies: 60+ Designs for Holidays, Celebrations & Everyday and it's by Bridget Edwards of Bake at 350. It's a great blog, and she's a great girl. I've met her, so I'm allowed to say that.

After looking through this book I have decided that you need it. Too bad Halloween's over, cos you could have made these:

Love it!

But don't panic. Just promise me you'll get it before Thanksgiving, because it also has Pumpkin Pie cookies!

Love it!

But if you can't get it together by then, promise me you'll get it by Christmas, because these holly-jolly cookies are contained, too:

Yum!

...but if not, you'll enjoy this book for the kind of "everyday" cookie needs such as:

and: 

Cookies! Yum!

Buy it here: Decorating Cookies: 60+ Designs for Holidays, Celebrations & Everyday.

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