Friday, October 24, 2008

My Favorite Things

I will defend my thesis one week from today!!! Unfortunately, that means I have been way too busy writing my thesis. But it's officially done (well, until my committee asks me to make changes.). It's 115 pages of...scientific nonsense!

A few weeks ago my cute niece Jenny, at Jenny's Spot, tagged me to list 5 of my favorite things. So here they are...

1 - Cereal!!! Ok...let's be honest. I don't just "like" cereal, I am absolutely addicted to it. I have no food in my house right now but I don't feel a need to go to the store because I have cereal and milk. What are my favorites? Frosted Mini-Spooners (Original, Vanilla and Strawberry) and Life (Cinnamon and Honey-Graham). Mmmmm!

2 - Music! I love listening to my iPOD. What are my favorite songs? I really like Vive la Vida by Cold Play right now. But I'll be honest and make a huge confession...I have been listening to Christmas music on KOSY 106.5 since it started on Nov. 1. (I know...I'm pathetic!)

3 - My blue and red blankets from Bed, Bath, and Beyond. I can't remember what they are made of but they are the softest blankets in the whole entire world. I love them. My favorite thing is when my room is cold in the mornings but I am nice and toasty inside my sandwich of yummy blankets!

4 - Twilight. I love when the sun sets in the fall and winter. The light shines from the west and fills the room with a yellow light that makes everything look like it's been painted with gold.

5 - Color (as you can tell by this post). When I was little I had a huge collection of crayons. They always had to be in "rainbow" order. I think that's one of the reasons I love cake decorating and painting so much. You get to use lots and lots of fun colors!

These are just a few of my favorite things but there are many many more. Thanks for the fun tag Jenny. We will have to play again.

I tag Maria at Two Peas and their Pod.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Basket O' Strawberries

One of my colleagues (M) is getting married on Saturday so we decided to throw a little surprise party for her at the last minute.

I was asked to make a cake for the party at the last minutes so I knew it had to be quick and easy. M likes chocolate so I used Dorie Greenspan's infamous Devil's Food Cake smothered in a chocolate buttercream. The outside is decorated with Pirouette cookies.

M is getting married in the Grand Tetons National Park so I thought the rustic decorations were perfect! Congratulations M!!!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Wedding Cake???

My friend Lisa D. called a few months ago and asked me to make her wedding cake. There was only one catch...she wanted it to be made of Rice Krispie Treats.

She wasn't too particular about the design. Her colors were navy blue and yellow (go Orem Tigers!!!). She wanted fresh flowers and multiple tiers. So I drew up a little sketch and she approved.
The next step was to try to visualize how it would all look. I couldn't decide how tall to make the layers but finally decided on about 3.5" each.

My tower fell down very soon after i took that last picture!!!

I figured it would take about 4 batches of RK Treats for the whole cake...boy, was I wrong!!!

It took 7 batches! That's 7 lbs. of marshmallows, 1 lb of butter, and 49 cups of Rice Krispies. (I had to run to the store at 9pm just to get a couple more bags of marshmallows!)

Here are the RK Treat "cakes" all finished. My cake pans are only 2" high so I had to use cardboard collars to get the cakes as tall as I wanted.

Gratefully, the flowers arrived on time at the flower store. I could barely fit them in my tiny fridge for their overnight stay!

It's amazing what a little ribbon and a few flowers can do to make RK Treats look quite elegant!

Congratulations Lisa and Spencer!!!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Maria's Wedding

I have a few more picture from Maria's wedding. The reception was so perfect. I loved her Damask pattern and the food...delicious!!!
Maria had lemon tarts and chocolate tarts...they were both yummy but the lemon was my favorite.
I loved all of her platters!

All the food was so amazing!

Mmmm! Shrimp Cocktail!

The candy jars were so cute!

Check out Maria's cute shoes...they are Damask!

Maria and friends!

B-day Apron

Rosie (Sister Aston) sent me an apron from my Birthday!

It is bright and colorful! And I love it!!!

Thanks Rosie!!!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Damask Dejour

Maria's wedding had a black and white theme with a damask pattern.
I tried and tried and tried to figure out how to get a damask pattern on her cake.
I finally decided the best way would be to paint it on. So this is a dark german-chocolate cake with chocolate chips. It had chocolate filling and was covered in fondant. I hand painted the design with a special food coloring.

It took 14 hours plus one catastrophe at 1:30 am in the morning...but it was so worth it! Maria loved it and that's all that mattered.


Maria's wedding has come and gone so I thought I would catch up on some of the fun baking I got to do for her wedding.
Three batches of Soft-Chocolate Sugar Cookies (a Dorie Greenspan recipe, of course) made ~105 cookies.
They first had to be outlined.
Then they got a Royal Frosting coat. I had a minor catastrophe and so about 10 of them had to be sacrificed (not that it was a big sacrifice since that meant we got to eat them!)
I added the specialized L for Lichty!

And finally, Maria put them in individual bags with ribbons.

It took three days to make all of them...but it was definitely worth it! How cute!!!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Ebony and Ivory

I have been working on Maria's wedding cake. Maria has a favorite baker named Dorie Greenspan who is the author of numerous cook books including Maria's favorite, Baking: From My Home to Yours. Maria wants her wedding cake to be from Dorie's book so we have tried a few different chocolate cake recipes to find the perfect one.

We first tried a milk chocolate cake with Vanilla Swiss Meringue frosting. The cake was not quite chocolaty enough and frosting (though fun to work with) was like eating raw butter (not too tasty!)

Next up: we tried a devils food cake with chocolate frosting. This cake has four different kinds of chocolate (cocoa, bittersweet, semisweet, and unsweetened). It has a dark, fudgey, moist interior spotted with chocolate chips which is perfectly contrasted by the fluffy chocolate frosting. (I took this cake to a ward party...hence the decorations.)

It was perfect! If you read my previous post (I'm in Love!) you'll know that I am not a big cake fan but this was absolutely delicious. Yea!

Sticking with the black and white theme. I made some chocolate crinkle cookies with chocolate chips and a dollop of raspberry jam in the middle. They were very rich...but absolutely delicious!

Little Cuties but Big Flops

I have made a bunch of cute little treats here and there but haven't posted them...all of them turned out super cute but were not very tasty!
Maria and I are always trying to perfect our French Macaroon Recipe. I tried to make Martha Stewart's Macaroon frosting for these was disgusting! But they looked oh so cute!

If you haven't hear, I am helping with my friend Maria's wedding. She is having a black and white theme so we thought these Black and White Stripe cookies might be good.

The dough was a chocolate/vanilla shortbread that was pressed together and then accurately sliced (this was pretty fun such I'm such a scientist at heart!).

The cookies looked oh so cute when they were finished...but the taste was very...blah!

These little appetizers were made for the cooking contest we had for FHE. The choux pastry was filled with a mixture of eggs, mayo, bacon bits, and Dijon mustard. They looked so cute when they were plated...but they were absolutely disgusting!!!

I'm in Love!

Holy cow! I didn't realize that it had been so long since I posted something on my blog. I have been so busy with finals and presentations and etc. etc. etc. Hallelujah that summer has finally arrived!

So I have titled this post "I'm in Love!" and it's totally true! I have finally found what I have been looking for for the past 15+ years...the perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe.

It may be surprising for people to learn that Chocolate Chip Cookies are my favorite dessert. You might think that cake is my favorite since I make so many of them but I don't really like to eat cake...I just think they are fun to decorate.

Chocolate Chip Cookies are the most perfect dessert. A little bit of chocolate mixed with a buttery soft cookie...what could be greater? The dough is yummy before it's cooked and the cookies are yummy when they are warm and gooey right out of the oven but I think they are even yummiest when they are frozen and dunked in ice cold milk!

There's only one problem...the post-oven fall. Don't tell me you haven't experienced it. You put your delicious balls of dough in the oven and then watch as they spread and rise. They look so perfect and golden and then you take them out of the oven and...splat...they go flat. How depressing!

But recently I found a recipe that is perfect. It is chocolaty and buttery and crisp and soft. But best of all the cookies stay poofey when they come out of the oven...I think my life is complete! Sigh...

One Pot Chocolate Chip Cookies
By Abigail Johnson Dodge in The Weekend Baker

Makes 26 cookies

8 tablespoons (4 ounces/113 grams) unsalted butter, cut in 4 pieces
½ cup (4 ounces/113 grams) firmly packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup (2 ½ ounces/71 grams) granulated sugar
1 ½ cups (6 ¾ ounces/191 grams) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup (6 ounces/170 grams) semisweet chocolate chips (feel free to substitute white chocolate or bittersweet chocolate chips)
½ cup (2 ounces/57 grams) coarsely chopped nuts (walnuts are my favorite – no need to toast), optional

1 – Position an oven rack on the middle rung. Heat the oven to 350 degrees (180 C). Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment or nonstick baking liners (I like the Silpat).

2 – Put the butter in a medium saucepan and set over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the butter is melted. Slide the pan from the heat and add the brown sugar and granulated sugar. Whisk until no lumps remain. Set aside to let cool, about 5 minutes.

3 – In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Whisk until well blended. Once the butter mixture has cooled, add the egg and vanilla and whisk until blended. Pour in the flour mixture and stir with a rubber spatula until blended. Stir in the chocolate chips and the nuts, if using.

4 – Using a small ice-cream scoop (about 1 2/3 inches/4.25 cm in diameter) or 2 tablespoons, drop scant 2-tablespoon mounds of the dough onto the prepared cookie sheets, arranging them about 1 1/2 inches (4cm) apart. (At this point, the loaded cookie sheets can be slipped into the freezer until the cookies are frozen, about 1 hour. Then transfer the cookies to heavy-duty freezer bags and freeze for up to 3 months. To bake, remove from the freezer, arrange on lined cookie sheets, and leave on the counter to thaw slightly while the oven heats.)

5 – Bake 1 sheet at a time (make sure to use a cooled sheet for the second batch until the cookies are light golden around the edges and puffed, about 12 minutes. If these cookies are over baked, the won’t come out chewy. Transfer the cookie sheet to a rack to cool for about 10 minutes. Using a spatula, lift the cookies from the sheet onto a rack and let cool completely.

Storage: Layer the baked and cooled cookies between parchment or waxed paper in an airtight container. They can be stored at room temperature for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. You don’t even need to thaw them completely. They’re just as delicious cold.

BIG Cookie Variation: Scoop 1/4 – cup portions and arrange 3 inches (7.75 cm) apart on prepared cookie sheets. Flatten the mounds slightly with lightly floured fingertips. Bake 1 sheet at a time until the cookies are light golden around the edges and puffed, about 13 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool as directed for the regular sized cookies. Makes 10 cookies.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Kymmie's Fun Cakes

Here's a few more of the fun cakes that I have done!

For Maria's Christmas work party!

My first try with fondant for the 4th of July!

Just for Christmas! Looks like a music box!

For Betty's birthday!

Just because petite fores!

Easter fun!

The rest of the cakes below were for a stake enrichment that Maria and I helped with when I was serving in the stake. We served over 200 women!!! How fun!!!

Vanilla-Almond Cake with Raspberry Filling!
Chocolate and Vanilla cake with Raspberry filling!
Dark chocolate cake with Silky-Fudge Frosting!
This was definitely the favorite!
Lemon cake with vanilla-cream filling!
That's a lot of yummy food!