Tuesday, July 28, 2009

TWD Vanilla Ice Cream, delicious.....

I'm finally back and what a whirlwind of baking the last few days; I needed to bake, churn and post for TWD, SMS and the Daring Bakers, fun but tired. This weeks cold and yummy recipe, Vanilla Ice Cream, was chosen by Lynne of Cafe LynnyLu. What can I say, simple and delicious, really, with egg yolks, cream, vanilla and sugar, how hard is that. DH and I loved it; we were trying to decide what to put on it and the final vote was, NOTHING, wonderful by its self ! The vanilla flavor was just right and the ice cream was very smooth and creamy. Will make again!!!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Daring Kitchen, Mallow Cookies.....

The July Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Nicole at Sweet Tooth. She chose Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Cookies and Milan Cookies from pastry chef Gale Gand of the Food Network.

This was indeed a challenge, not that it was difficult, just the components had a few glitches, for me anyway. The first glitch was the dough, it was VERY soft, even when cold, and was difficult to roll out. Instructions indicated a lightly floured board, my dough stuck like glue; so I added a bit of flour to the dough and rolled it out on floured parchment paper with saran wrap on top; I also rolled it out a bit thicker; that seemed to work. The recipe stated it made about 24 cookies, right, I rolled half the dough out and already had 42 cookies; that's where I stopped cutting the dough and froze the other half. Maybe they meant the recipe would feed 24 people, LOL.
I have made marshmallows before, using Eileen Talanian's book Marshmallows, Homemade Gourmet Treats; this is a wonderful book and the instructions are very clear with many options for flavoring your mallows, I highly recommend this book. The recipe for marshmallows in our challenge was a bit different so I used Eileen's recipe for vanilla marshmallows and had no problems. The second glitch was with the chocolate glaze, it just would not set up, no matter how long you waited; I even put it in the refrigerator, as soon as you took it out and TRIED to pick one up you got chocolate all over your fingers. Although the cookies tasted good they were just too messy to eat, so into the trash they went!!! All 42 of them!

Not to be put off by either the baking gremlins or perhaps a recipe with a few minor errors, I tried again. This time I used part of Eileen's recipe for mallow cookies, she uses a graham cracker cookie as the base, the recipe is included in the book; BUT she has a shortcut, just soften graham crackers with a damp towel, cut with your round cookie cutter and then pop them in the oven for 5 minuets to crisp them back up; worked like a charm! I then decided to use Merckens Chocolate Melting Wafers for the glaze, that's what they are made for and there were no problems AT ALL with it hardening.
All in all a fun recipe to make, even though I had to throw away the entire first batch. If at first you don't succeed, try, try again!!!

SMS Strawberry Grapefruit Preserves, yummy.....

My post will be a bit short, we just got back from vacation and I need to post for SMS, TWD and the Daring Bakers, whew, what a homecoming. This weeks recipe, Strawberry-Ruby Grapefruit Preserves, was chosen by Margot of Effort to Deliciousness. Our recipes are from The Sweet Melissa Baking Book, we try a new recipe each week with the option of participating or not, as long as we make a couple of recipes each month. This is an awesome group with a limit of 50 bakers, easy to visit each week and comment.

I love making jams, preserves, marmalade and just about anything you are able to put in a jar and can!!! This combination of strawberries and grapefruit was delicious, easy and made 5 pint jars, enough but not too much. Melissa has a master recipe with several options and I would definitely make this again.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

First Anniversary Blog Give-a-Way.....

I can't believe I have been blogging for a year, time flies when you are having fun!!! And I've been having fun with all baking I have been doing. It all started with Tuesdays with Dorie, then the Daring Bakers (now Daring Kitchen) and finally Sweet Melissa Sundays. So, in honor of my one year anniversary, I am having a give-a-way. It's easy and won't take you away from your kitchen for too long, just answer two questions, that's all; I said it would be easy.

Here you go:

1. Do you prefer Boy (with nuts) or Girl (without nuts) Brownies?

2. What do you like most about your kitchen?

I will use a random number generator to pick the winners, yes winners, I have two prizes to give a way!!! The first is Enlightened Cakes by Camilla Saulsbury, and the other prize is a Tovolo Ice Cream Sandwich Mold set.

You have a great change to win because I don't get a lot of traffic on my blog. I will announce the winners on August 1 and let you know who won!!! Good luck!!!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Katharine Hepburn Brownies.....

This weeks yummy recipe was chosen by Lisa of Surviving Oz, thanks Lisa!!! I don't normally make boy brownies (that's what I call them if they contain nuts) but since I can't even have a bite of these wonderful goodies I made the recipe as written. DH really liked them and gets to eat the whole batch, damn him!!! Just so you know I will be gone from blogging for a couple of weeks, I am competing in the Masters Nationals Bodybuilding and Figure competition in Pittsburgh; so, needless to say, I am on a very strict diet plan and baking and not tasting is just not right, boo hoo. Enough about poor me, the brownies were easy to make, all in one pan so it was easy clean up and they cooked in the time stated.
I let them cool and they came out of the pan with ease; DH had his brownie with the brown sugar vanilla ice cream and fudge sauce we made at Sweet Melissa Sundays.

The brownies smelled wonderful and even though they had nuts I just might make them again, nuts and all; how about macadamia nuts?

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Giant Cupcake.....

The Giant Cupcake pan from Wilton is too cute!!! I would probably not have purchased a pan if a friend had not asked me to make one for her daughter's birthday; but why not? The pan was on sale and I just couldn't resist. I googled for any comments on using this pan and was lucky to find lots of useful information. The main problem is that the base section cooks much slower than the top and then the top is overdone; some suggested cooking the sections separately so the top doesn't dry out or over cook. I tried about three times to see what worked and what didn't, DH enjoyed all the practice runs. I found that cooking the sections separately worked but the sides of the base are dry by the time the center is done; they would be covered with frosting and that might help, but if you cover the base with frosting you loose the cool design. Again, back to the internet and I found the answer at

You make a candy liner out of the base, make a 4" or 5" cake and fill the base with the cake, fill the void between the cake and liner with frosting and voila!!! This turned out great and is a perfect solution. I used candy melts for the candy liner and just followed the directions from the above link.

SMS Brown Sugar Vanilla Ice Cream with Hot Fudge Sauce.....

My intention was to make just a half version of this recipe but then I got that "look" from DH and decided to make the full version! My reason, to make the smaller amount, is purely selfish; I am competing at the Masters Nationals Bodybuilding and Figure Competition in Pittsburgh in two weeks and I can't have ANYTHING that's not on my diet, waaaaaaa!! I am now doing two hours of cardio a day, eat 1200 calories (a day) and must eat fish at 8:00 AM, yuck. But, it is only for two more weeks, so if I don't post for awhile, that's what is going on. Anyway I digress, back to the ice cream; WOW, DH has eaten about half of the container, gave it two thumbs up and wants more!!! The custard took longer than 5 to 10 minutes to come to 185 degrees in the double boiler and I had to put it in a sauce pan, whisk like hell and the custard finally thickened. Worth the effort and it was really an easy recipe; I added about 2 tablespoons (heaping) of Skore toffee bits just before the ice cream was done churning, very yummy, according to DH of course. I made the Hot Fudge Sauce with no issues except it was very thick and I needed to reheat it to pour over the ice cream; another thumbs up from DH!!!

A big thank you to Karen of Karen's Cookies Cakes & More for a perfect recipe for the 4th of July!