Mini Tartlets

When I saw these in the store, I knew I had to get them! I love all things mini. There’s just something about the small size that grabs my attention more than the full-size version. Mini Snickers bars that somehow only make an appearance on Halloween. Mini muffins or cupcakes. Mini loaves of bread. Mini. Easy. One or two bites. An amuse bouche. A petit four. Mignardises. How ever you put it, I love it!

I used these to make tartlets for New Year’s Eve this past year (2011-2012). I made chocolate ganache and orange curd tartlets. I sprinkled the chocolate ganache ones with white sugar crystals (the sort of sugar that does not dissolve) and the orange curd ones with homemade candied orange zest.

Cover of "Baking"

I got the recipes from one of my favorite cookbooks, Baking, by James Peterson. I like this book because it not only gives you great recipes, but because it shows you steps by picture and gives you more than one technique to doing something. For example, the tart/pie dough recipe can be made with either water, heavy cream, or eggs/egg whites as the liquid (or any other liquid–maybe orange juice). It also says how to mix the dough by hand (on a table or in a bowl) or by mixer. It is a great book for all of the basic baking you might want to do.

P.S. This post is a part of my catching up series.

Distictive Cookies. {Homemade Milanos}

You read that right. I made Milanos. The beloved chocolate sandwich cookies from Pepperidge Farm. We added orange zest to the cookies themselves, rather than adding an orange curd-type layer like the orange flavored ones, which gave ours a bit of uniqueness…all in all, they tasted similar to the originals, which is to say, quite good.

We brought them to a party, so we decided that we would have to package them like the real thing, in the white paper cups. We also put them in a white bag, but the Pepperidge Farm packers/people who made their packaging really know what they are doing and can make their cookies stand up. Our tower of cookies got all lopsided once in the bags. Nonetheless, our cookies made it to the party in one piece and were enjoyed by all!

P.S. This post is a part of my catching up series.

5 things I LOVE!

Inspired by one of the things I love, I bring you this list of 5 Things I LOVE.

1. The Joy The Baker Podcast (love you Joy and Tracy!)

Image (also, I loved meeting you at your book tour in SF, Joy!)

2. Dandelion Chocolate. Obsessed! I can’t wait for their shop to open! (in the meantime, I’ll just continue to buy bars at Bi-Rite.)

3. TOMS. I have 3 pairs now. Yes, I am crazy. But I think it’s a good crazy. Also, while on the subject of shoes, I really like my new find (thanks to a certain someone) Feiyue shoes. So comfy!

Image (here I am wearing a pair and with said someone.)

4. Rock Climbing. (of the indoor kind; also thanks to that same certain someone) I just learned how in the past few months and I love it!

5. Finding new things to love everyday. Yes, I cheated a little on this last one, but it’s so true, I just had to mention it. If you haven’t tried something new lately, do it! It will make you happy, I promise!

Breakfast for dinner

We’ve all done it. Don’t act like you haven’t had pancakes or waffles for dinner before. You won’t admit it (or maybe you will) because you are afraid that it is wrong. Like eating dessert for breakfast. Who hasn’t had a piece of cake for brekkie? Why am I using this British word? (because it’s English–ha ha–get it?) Anyway…last night I had pancakes for dinner and it was fantastic. They were chocolate chip pancakes. No syrup required. These were more like chocolate chips with pancake batter. Uh, yeah…that was actually just the last one because all the chips sank to the bottom of the bowl and didn’t pour out evenly like I wanted. I should’ve just added them as I went, but clearly, I was being lazy. But it didn’t matter because I was the only one eating them. Pancakes for one. Which reminds me of a song. And since I’ve been about posting videos lately, I will post a video of the song it reminds me of. Maybe next time you have pancakes (no matter what time it is) you’ll think of this song. Or not. Whatevs. Enjoy your breakfast.

NaBloPoMo: Post 2

Ever since I moved to San Francisco, and I have told people that I graduated from the CIA with a degree in Baking and Pastry Arts, I have been asked what my specialty is/what my favorite thing to bake is. I have almost a different answer every time because I like to bake just about anything and don’t really have a “specialty”. I do, however, have a few favorite recipes that I like to turn to, and since this post is a part of the NaBloPoMo, and the theme this month is fan, I bring you a list of my favorite things to bake, and their recipes:

  1. Better Than Brownie Cookies. They are a great chocolaty cookie recipe that I found on another blog a couple of years ago and I like baking them every so often. I have come up with different variations of the recipe such as using butterscotch or peanut butter chips instead of the second cup of chocolate chips. I think, like brownies, these cookies allow you to have a very creative license. Last night I dreamed about making them with a sprinkle of sea salt on them. (Yes, I dream about dessert!)
  2. Pie Pops. Also found on a blog a couple of years ago. Every time I make them or bring them up in conversation, people get pretty excited about them. I mean, what’s not to like? It’s a mini pie on a stick.
  3. Chocolate chip cookies. I have always liked using the recipe from the back of the Nestle chocolate chip bag for as long as I have been making chocolate chip cookies (which is a long time). I also like adding different things to them. This recipe has oatmeal and bananas in it.
  4. Ice Cream. I have yet to buy an ice cream machine/attachment for my KitchenAid (though my birthday is coming up in November; hint, hint, nudge, nudge) but I love making ice cream. I love that this is also one of those things you can get really creative with. By the way, while it’s not on my favorite list, it is National Rocky Road Ice Cream Day!
  5. Brownies/Blondies. So easy and so chewy and good. Love to make brownies in a smaller pan than what is called for. Usually, brownies are baked in a 9×13 pan and I bake them in a 9×9 or an 8×8. This makes them more fudgy and gooey and that’s what you want in a brownie, right? I know it’s kinda weird, but I also only like the middle-no edges for me!

So there it is. The top five things I like to bake. My turn to ask: what’s your favorite thing to bake/what’s your specialty? (you can answer in the comments)