Hello, May! {Good-bye, April!}

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April was a great month! From celebrating Passover, to some of my favorite things, to participating in a wonderful bake sale, it has been packed with lots of great events with fantastic friends! May is already getting packed with wonderful things, and I am taking on another month challenge. In the past I have made desserts with the Daring Bakers, and participated in NaBloPoMo. This May, I am taking on a new feat, the Photo A Day May. It includes taking a picture everyday and posting about it. I am excited about this challenge, since I have not only been looking for a way to take more photos, but it will give me a chance to try more photo editing as I will be putting the photos across the Interwebs. I also love this challenge because it allows me to think about photographs in a more creative way and, like the month challenges I participated in before, it makes me have to blog more often. In case you want to participate, too, and to make it easier to follow along, here’s what I will be taking photos of:

NaBloPoMo: 3

This is post number 3 of the NaBloPoMo. Today, I am going to write based on the prompt given on their website: “Which author made you want to be a writer (or blogger)?” I was inspired to blog because of many other dessert/food blog(ger)s out there. The first blog I read was Dessert First, and then started reading many others including Bakerella, The Girl Who Ate Everything, Use Real Butter, and many, many more. (These and others listed on the right-hand column) I am also inspired by food writers including the former editor of Gourmet magazine, Ruth Reichl, who is the author of many books including Garlic and Sapphires, which is about her life as a food critic in disguise. I really like reading about food and travel and someone’s adventures in both aspects, so I decided I could write about my “dessert adventures”. Whether it was baking at home, baking at work, eating dessert at a restaurant or somewhere else, I would write about it. If people found my recipes and found my blog interesting, that is great. (If you are one of them, and reading this now, please leave a comment!) If it was just for me to document the recipes I’ve tried and desserts I’ve eaten to re-read what I’ve wrote and see what I’ve accomplished, then that’s fine and that’s all it needs to be. It turns out that starting this blog lead to many other things. It lead to being a Featured Publisher on Foodbuzz, which lead to events such as the convention in November, and an interview with a chef, and The Daring Bakers, and many other contributions to the food writing world. Also, I am happy to be a part of a very large and friendly (food) blogging community both online and in person. I have been able to meet other bloggers that share my passion for both baking and writing and it is a special group of people that I have come to love. I am happy I started this blog even though I do not update it as often as I would like and hopefully that will change after completing this challenge.

Daring Bakers’ Challenge: Chocolate Marquise

The May 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Emma of CookCraftGrow and Jenny of Purple House Dirt. They chose to challenge everyone to make a Chocolate Marquise. The inspiration for this recipe comes from a dessert they prepared at a restaurant in Seattle.

This challenge was mainly about the marquise, which is basically a frozen mousse. It was served with meringue and caramel and spiced almonds.

This was somewhat similar to the other mousse/meringue challenges we’ve had, but what made this one different, and had something I hadn’t really done before, which were the spiced nuts. I couldn’t find whole almonds, so I used slivered, and used extra cinnamon instead of adding cayenne. They were awesome! I even used some leftovers to top some cupcakes! I didn’t take a picture of everything, but I’ll share what I’ve got!

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March 2011 Daring Bakers’ Challenge: Yeasted Merigue Coffee Cake

The March 2011 Daring Baker’s Challenge was hosted by Ria of Ria’s Collection and Jamie of Life’s a Feast. Ria and Jamie challenged The Daring Bakers to bake a yeasted Meringue Coffee Cake.

This was my first time baking a cake like this. I have made cinnamon buns, which are similar in that they are yeasted, and have the same cinnamon-sugar-chocolate chip (and nut) filling, but what makes this different is the meringue and the shape.

I think it came out well and since I am typing this while they bake, I can only tell that they smell delicious already! The Daring Bakers also offered a different filling, one that used saffron and other spices. I stuck to the typical filling since this was my first time to make it, and those ingredients are just a bit cheaper.

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February Daring Bakers’ Challenge

The February 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Mallory from A Sofa in the Kitchen. She chose to challenge everyone to make Panna Cotta from a Giada De Laurentiis recipe and Nestle Florentine Cookies.

I found both the cookies and the panna cotta to be easy to make and involved ingredients I had on hand. Both items were well-liked by my roommates and were eaten almost instantly.


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January Daring Bakers’ Challenge

The January 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Astheroshe of the blog accro. She chose to challenge everyone to make a Biscuit Joconde Imprime to wrap around an Entremets dessert.

A joconde imprime is the outside cake wrapper of the Entremets dessert. (See photo below – the striped cake at the bottom of this dessert is the Joconde imprime)

Joconde imprime /entremets. A joconde imprime (French Baking term) is a decorative design baked into a light sponge cake providing an elegant finish to desserts/torts/entremets/ formed in ring molds. A joconde batter is used because it bakes into a moist, flexible cake. The cake batter may be tinted or marbleized for a further decorative effect.

This Joconde/spongecake requires attentive baking so that it remains flexible to easily conform to the molds. If under baked it will stick to the baking mat. It over baked it will dry out and crack. Once cooled, the sponge may be cut into strips to line any shape ring mold.

Entremets (French baking term)- an ornate dessert with many different layers of cake and pastry creams in a mold, usually served cold. Think Trifle in a mold vs. a glass bowl.

The above-mentioned information and photo came from The Daring Kitchen website.

I colored my cake a dark purple, which only got darker, almost black, when baked. I recommend using a light/bright color. Or the chocolate version would be cool. I filled my cake with two mousses, one dark chocolate, and one white chocolate. I got the recipes for the mousses from the cookbook Baking, by James Peterson.


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November Daring Bakers’ Challenge

Yes, I am posting this late, but I did not have time nor internet connection to post this on Saturday. Since there’s only, on average, five people that read this blog, I am not worried that this lateness will matter much. I would also like to take this time to apologize for my lack of baking/posting as I would love to be doing more of both. I look forward to December to be full of happy baking and therefore happy blogging.

The 2010 November Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Simona of briciole. She chose to challenge Daring Bakers’ to make pasta frolla for a crostata. She used her own experience as a source, as well as information from Pellegrino Artusi’s Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well.

I made my crostata with blood orange marmalade. It was really easy to make the dough, especially in the food processor. It is a sticky dough to roll out, but I am assuming it would have been easier to handle if I let it chill longer. The overall tart was very tasty.

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