Monday, November 16, 2009

Milano Cookies

I have wanted to try this recipe for Milano Cookies for quite a while. I think I have procrastinated trying them because I thought they would take a long time to make. But when I made them last night they only took about 2 hours from start to finish (and this included breaks to watch The Amazing Race). They were also super yummy. I would definitely make them again.

Biscotti Milano

Cookie Dough:

6 Tablespoons cool unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 ¼ cups confectioners’ sugar
Scant ½ cup egg whites (from about 4 eggs)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon pure lemon extract
¾ cup all-purpose flour

Mint Glaze:

1 egg white
About 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
A few drops of mint extract

Chocolate Glaze:
4 ounces semisweet chocolate

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Make the cookie dough: Cream the butter until smooth in a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix in the sugar. A little at a time, mix in the egg whites, then add the vanilla and lemon extracts. Add the flour and mix just until incorporated. Transfer the dough to the pastry bag with a plain ¼ inch tip.

Prepare two cookies sheets with parchment paper. Pipe 1-inch long sections of dough onto the sheet pans, spacing them 2 inches apart (the will spread sideways). Bake until golden on top and brown around the edges, about 10 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the pan.

Make the mint glaze: Whisk the egg white with 1 ½ cups of the confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Whisk in more sugar a little at a time, just until you have a thick, smooth glaze. And mint extract to taste.

Make the chocolate glaze: Melt the chocolate. Spread the flat sides of half of the cookies with chocolate. Spread the flat sides of the remaining cookies with mint glaze. Sandwich together and set on a clean sheet pan. Let the cookies sit at room temperature until firm, at least 1 hour.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


I wanted to do something a little different for Jenny and Katy's birthdays this year. I made them some individual cakes in their favorite colors.

I got the idea from Confetti Cakes for Kids book. I think they turned out pretty cute!

Friday, July 3, 2009

From Failure to Success

One of the technician's in our lab recently had a birthday so I decided to make him a birthday cake at the last minute. I had a recipe for a filled genoise cake that looked super yummy so I started mixing and baking. A genoise cake has no leavener (baking soda or baking powder) so all of the volume comes from gently heating and then whipping your eggs until they are really fluffy. My batter turned out perfect and when I put my cake into the oven the batter was at the top of the pan. After 28 minutes in the oven I was so excited to see the results...

As you can see, the cake didn't do too well! This is the third time I have made a genoise and I have never had one work. If any one out there has advice for a genoise, please send your comments my way.

For my second try, I made a simple sour cream vanilla cake. I sliced off a little of the top and then hollowed out the middle.

I filled the cake with strawberry and cream cheese/whipping cream.

I put the top back on to hide the yummy filling!

And then topped it with more of the cream cheese/whipping cream mixture. I sprinkled on some of the cake I hollowed out from the middle and topped it with a strawberry. The result...a deliciously light and refreshing summer cake!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Brownie Cookies

I made some super yummy cookies this weekend. They were very easy to make and everyone loved them. They taste a lot like a bite-size brownies...give 'em a try.

Chocolate Drop Cookies
Adapted from "The Essence of Chocolate"

Beat together with a paddle attachment at medium high speed 2 eggs, 1 1/3 cups sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla for 10-12 minutes. You want the egg mixture to be light in color and very fluffy (don't skimp on the mixing time). Meanwhile melt together 4 oz of unsalted butter and 6 oz 99% chocolate (unsweetened chocolate). Also, sift together 1/4 teaspoon of baking powder and 1/3 cup all-purpose flour. When you egg mixture is whipped turn the mixer to low and slowly drizzle in the chocolate mixture. Mix for 2-3 minutes on low and scrape the sides of the bowl as needed. Then fold in the flour mixture by hand. I also added 1/2 cup of peanut butter chips but you could add more chopped chocolate or nuts or nothing at all. Drop tablespoon size balls onto a parchment lined baking sheet and cook for 10-12 minutes or until the tops are just starting to crack and cookies have lost their shine. The cookies will be really soft when done (don't over cook them or they will be hard). Let cool for a few minutes on the cookie sheet and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. And then...enjoy!!!!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Clogging Fun

Last fall I participated with a few of my friends in the ward talent show. We put together a "production number" to the song The Devil Went Down to Georgia. We had two girls fiddling, two girls lip sinking, a few more playing random instruments, and then Amy and I did a bit 'o clogging. We had soooooo much fun!

I was going through some of my pictures last night and remembered that my dad recorded it for me. (The camera accidently stopped in the middle so it is in two parts.) So here it is. I hope you enjoy it!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Pink Lady

This cute cake was made for my friend Heidi. Her colors were pink, pink, and more pink.

I love the Gerbera Daisies. They are one of my favorite flowers!

But probably the best part of this cake is what was on the inside. The top and bottom layers were dark chocolate cake with chocolate frosting and the middle layer was a tangy lemon cake with vanilla-bean frosting. The chocolate cake uses four different kinds of chocolate. I loved seeing all of these chocolate bars lined up in my cupboard before I started baking. It just made me happy to look at them!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Straberries, strawberries, and a little bit o' chocolate

I think all of the practicing paid off. The cake turned out great. Most importantly, the bride and groom loved it.

One of the bride's friends made the strawberries.

Yes, it was super tricky to get the ganache to drip...but not drip, drip, drip too far. The ganache had to be just the perfect termperature.

I loved the table-scape with all the strawberries around the cake...soooooo cute!

Practice, Practice, Practice

My old roommate and good friend asked me to make her wedding cake. She wanted to have a strawberry theme so her idea was to make a little twist on a Boston creme pie. This would include (from bottom to top): vanilla cake, strawberry filling, vanilla cake, Bavarian creme, vanilla cake, strawberry filling, vanilla cake. Then the outside would be covered with a layer of buttercream frosting, royal frosting and ganache. Yummy!

But with a cake this complicated I needed to make a couple of practice cakes to make sure it would all work out. The first practice cake I made wasn't too good. The cake was too crumbly, the frosting tasted like marshmallows, and the ganache was way too thin (depicted in top picture). I took it to a party and everyone said it was way too sweet. So I tried a second cake (depicted above). I used a different cake recipe with sour cream and an Italian buttercream. This cake was perfect. I love to decorate with the Italian buttercream (I think the flowers are sooooooo cute in this pic) but it is very very very gross to eat. Unfortunately, I didn't have time to make another practice cake so...I just had to hope everything would work out during crunch time.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Just Dinkin' Around

A few weeks ago I went down to Provo to hang out with my sister's kids. Jenny and I ran to Wally-world to get a few things and decided to try on some glasses while we were there. I took a few pictures on my phone but it has taken me forever to figure out how to get them off my phone and onto the blog. I FINALLY figured it out...and here we are...

These are my dorky glasses...or are they?

Just a little too "buggy"Jen.

These are a little better...maybe?

Jen looks great in these ones. They even match her jacket!

Maybe we should just stick with a la naturale...much better!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Another year gone.

My boss's birthday was last week so I decided to make her a cake. She absolutely loves dense chocolate cakes but doesn't like all the fluffy frosting. So I decided something with chocolate would be in order. Unfortunately, we only have 4 people working in the lab now so I didn't want to make a 9" cake and have half of it uneaten. So I decided to try Dorie Greenspan's "Chocolate Raspberry Loaf Cake with Tangy Chocolate Frosting".

The batter for this cake is extremely dense and bakes up just like banana or zuchini bread. I split it into three layers and then smothered each layer with raspberry jam. The frosting is a satiny, sour cream chocolate frosting. Very smooth and very tangy.

Although the frosting was very shiny, I thought it was a little boring for a birthday cake. So I used some of my cake dust and made it sparkle. It was pretty cute (although it's hard to see in the picture). Most importantly, it was dense and chocolaty. My boss loved it.

Chia Bust

For Christmas I got a Chia Herb garden. I was so excited to grow my own garden. It came with 6 different kinds of seeds: Basil, Cilantro, Parsley, Marjoram, Chives, and Thyme. I decided to try the Basil and Cilantro first.
I very carefully "planted" the seeds in the Chia soil mixture.
I put them on my stove to keep them warm. And even gave them plastic bag hats to give them a little green house affect.
The basil was the first to sprout.
But the cilantro wasn't too far behind.
The basil also started to grow first.
But once the cilantro got started it grew like a weed.
I was so careful to water them regularly.
I moved them to the kitchen in the mornings so they could get sunlight during the day. And then moved them into my bedroom at night so they wouldn't freeze.
But they stopped growing. This was as tall as they got.
The basil was the first to die but the cilantro wasn't far behind. Personally I think they froze to death because my house is so cold!!! I am so sad! Maybe I will have to try again in the Spring when things get a bit warmer.

A bit o' baking.

I haven't done a ton of baking in the last few months. Just a few things here and there. This is a Banana-Chocolate Chip loaf cake. It was very moist!

I had a craving to make a coffee cake with crumb topping and filling last month. In my never ending search for good recipes I found a recipe in Baking Illustrated for Coffeecake Muffins! The recipe was supposed to make 12 regular sized muffins but I decided to make mini-muffins and take them to church. I figured it would make about 24 minis but boy was I wrong. These muffins just kept coming and coming. I think I ended up with at least 40! Luckily, they were super yummy and so they were easily devoured by all of the starving college student at church.

Last year (2007) around Christmas time, my Dad and I were at Costco and I saw a beautiful bundt pan for sale. I saw the design for this "Norwegian" style pan a few years ago and have wanted it ever since! Well, evidently my Dad bought the pan for me as a Christmas gift a few days later but forgot to give it to me (hope it's not Alzheimer's setting in!)

A few months ago (December 2008), my Dad called and said that he had a Christmas present from last year that he had forgotten to give me. He told me to remind him for this Christmas (2008) so he didn't forget again! How funny! Well here it is. After years and years of waiting I finally have my own Norwegian Bundt. Isn't the design beautiful?!

To test it out, I used a simple vanilla box cake. I reserved about 1 cup of the batter and added a few tablespoons of unsweetened chocolate powder. After pouring the vanilla batter into the pan, I dolloped the chocolate better on top and then swirled up and down with a knife. The pattern turned out so cool! Thanks Dad!

Tortillas and....?

I just remembered that I took this picture when I was in the midst of writing my thesis. I was so busy that I had very little time to do the anything other than read and write. At one point I had essentially no food. So what did I eat? See the yellow package on the second shelf? Those are tortillas. I lived on tortillas with peanut butter for a few days! Yummy!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Kymmie Z PhD

I finally finished my degree! I know, it's a complete miracle. After my thesis defense we all went to dinner at Thaifoon! Yummy! Don't I have a cute family!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


Mom and I.
Mom and I.
We went shopping. Mom and I.

Do you like the hats we found?
Would you like them on the ground?

We think that they are of great use.
So we could be in a book by Suess!

Mom and I.
Mom and I.
We went shopping Mom and I!