Saturday, December 25, 2010

What Now?

To pour salt on the wound my little sister requested Crème Brule. I don't know about you but it seems I'm being challenged by the very people who support me. But you know what I accept that challenge. Lets add Crème Brule to the mix. Now I'm not saying those two dishes will be the next two items to grace this blog. But watch out because I am coming for them. I will defeat one Soufflé and one Crème Brule if its the last thing I do. I will do it and its going to be big and loud!

Step It Up

So I have been thinking about what I can do next. Actually with all of the chaos and cookies of Christmas I wasn't really thinking about it at all, but my boyfriend asked me. It just figures I finally sit down to relax after taking my 845th batch of cookies out of the oven and he asks "So Adrienne, what will you make next." And his tone was just so accusing. As if I haven't just gone through the cookie gauntlet this week. As if I haven't made hard desserts or something. Like everything up till now has been child's play and I need to step it up. In the heat of the moment I blurted out something that will haunt me for the rest of my life. Or at least until I accomplish it. Soufflé I said casually. In a equally dagger like tone. A tone that screamed I make those all day every day with my eyes closed and this time will be just as easy. Only its not easy. Its one of the hardest things to accomplish. Great bakers have been brought to their knees by this dessert. Tossed aside and added to the pile of the many failed Soufflé makers. And its not like if you fail you get to go home with some parting gift and call it a day. No. If you fail you get a soupy mess that will just stare at you with disappointment from the bottom of the pan. So in that second of frivolity I did it. I sealed my fate. I signed my life away to this dessert. And the only way to get it back is to master this thing. Man I hope this works. Soufflé here I come.

Cookie Press Dreams!

This is another cookie I made with my cookie press. My older sister requested this flower shape. They came out pretty despite the fact that the cookie press was growling a little. The dough may have been too hard for it to handle. But at least I know for next time. Everyone enjoyed eating them and breaking them into tiny cookie bites. I can't believe its Christmas and I'm still making cookies!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Polvorones/Mexican Wedding Cookies

Wow this really is cookie week. I guess with the Christmas spirit in the air mama wanted to make cookies. And when I say that I mean wanted me to make cookies. This is a cookie my mom used to eat as a kid. She called them Polvorones, but they are also known as Mexican wedding cookies. Out of all of the cookies I have made these were the easiest. Aside from rolling each cookie into a ball everything else was painless. And once they were baked I rolled them in powdered sugar to get them dressed for their photoshoot. I tried one and really enjoyed it. It was smooth and creamy inside with a sweet outer layer that contrasted nicely with the semi-sweet center. They were like little clouds melting in my mouth. No wonder they are served at weddings, they are beautiful and delicious. I will definitely keep this recipe in my baking arsenal. They are sure to be a crowd please and are easier than pie.

Cappuccino Cookies

I guess its cookie week. This is another cookie for mama. It seems mama always has another recipe she wants to "try." But actually she wants me to just make them so she can enjoy. I don't mind making them. It helps me fill my blog with great recipes and gives me experience in all kinds of baking. I have a feeling this isn't the last recipe mama has printed out. I took a look on the fridge and saw a couple more cookie recipes hidden. Tisk tisk. This recipe was easy to get together. As most cookie recipes are they come together quickly once the prep is done. I have gotten pretty good at sifting the dry ingredients together and creaming the butter and sugar. This recipe of course had its own variations but nothing too complicated. The dough smelled like a fancy coffee drink and mama tasted it and said it was good. Once the dough was complete I had to roll two logs out of it and freeze for two hours. Yet again more waiting!!!! Once the dough was frozen I cut it into slices, topped the slices with chocolate sprinkles and baked. The finished cookie was good looking and mouth watery. They tasted the best right out of the oven, so soft and warm. That coffee drink smell translated into sweet coffee cookie. These cookies would be the perfect partner to a cup of coffee. I can already imagine mama enjoying them with a cup. I even had extra dough which I kept in the freezer for later.  Mama did a great job picking this cookie.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Hazelnut-Chocolate Linzer Cookies

This is another cookie I made for my team. I served these along with the sugar cookies you saw previously and my famous chocolate chip. This recipe was one I saw while checking out the Food Network website. It was presented on the 12 days of cookies. I thought they looked interesting because they weren't just one cookie but two sandwiched together with chocolate hazelnut spread between them. Now if that doesn't sound delicious to you then you don't have a pulse. Hahaha. The recipe was a little more involved then the cookies I'm used to. I had to create a kind of flour out of the hazelnuts by grinding them up in the food processor. And did I mention I do not have a food processor. I had to use a food chopper and pure strength to get the powder I needed. After the chopping war was over the dough had to rest for 1 hour. I've noticed that the recipes that make me wait seem to be the hardest, mostly because I am impatient and can't wait to get the cookies in the oven and into my stomach. When the waiting was over and the cookies were baked and cooled I spread them with hazelnut spread and left them with the sugar cookies. I tried a couple bites of one and it was great. I loved the combination of the hazelnut and orange zest inside the cookie dough and the hazelnut spread. Yummy. Of course everyone at worked couldn't wait to get their hands on them. I was glad they turned out so great.

Soft Sugar Cookies

I wanted to make some cookies for my team at work. I am going to be leaving them soon and I wanted to do something nice. These are just some basic sugar cookies that I first made in a high school cooking class. They always turn out so soft and delicous. I used to make them all the time for Valentine's Day with pink frosting on them but this time I just made them plain. I thought the recipe was pretty simple but as I finished up and saw the dough I realized I forgot to use self rising flour. The recipe calls for baking powder and cream of tartar unless you use self rising flour. Since i forgot the dough came out a little dry and made cookies that were crunchy rather then soft. I was a little upset and was debating whether or not I should serve them. I kept having nightmares that people would break a tooth or throw them away so I tried to put a slice of bread in the container to soften them up. When I got to work they were a little softer and I gave them to my team. Needless to say cookies are cookies and they were loved by my co-workers. I guess I'm just hard on myself because I always find something wrong that others just overlook. I was glad everyone enjoyed them despite their crunchy texture. At that point it crossed my mind that maybe some people like crunchy cookies. Although when I was going thru my panic I could not seem to think of one cookie that was served crunchy. But my memory flooded back to me when I saw the cookies get devoured. Another crisis averted and another happy crowd.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Coconut Cake

Even with it being the eve of my birthday I am still making cakes. Not my birthday cake of course because that will be taken care of but a simple cake for my mom. She loves coconut and saw this recipe on TV. She wanted me to make it yesterday but I was too tired. So today I went into the kitchen and baked away. The recipe was fairly simple and even with the substitute foil pans I had to use it turned out good. The cake was tender to the touch, like lamb's fur and the frosting was sweet but not too sweet. It was complemented nicely by the flaked coconut around the sides if I do say so myself. I was actually glad I tried this frosting recipe because after my last failed attempt at buttercream I was a little hesitant. This recipe turned out more like the frosting I'm used to. It was thick and creamy but without the butter-like texture. Of course my mom loved the cake, but so did everyone else who happened to stop by and have a slice. It was a real hit. I think I've found yet another winner that can have a home in my bakery any day. Of course I will have to tweak it a bit, just to make it mine. : )

Sugar Cookies

These are the first cookies I pressed out of my brand new cookie press. It was really exciting to see the design come out of the press. It took me a couple of attempts to get the hang of it, but after two mistakes I started getting flowers out one by one. My cookies looked similar to the ones on the box. I say similar because my cookies puffed up and were fatter than they should have been. This led to the design getting lost in the fluff, but oh well they tasted good. I even tried to decorate one with frosting to make the design pop. This was a failed attempt of course because the black frosting pout a damper on mood of the cookie. But black was all that I had. Despite everything my little sister was excited to eat them, although she had to run and left a real pile of them as you can see. I'm sure they will get eaten later tonight. They always do. Hehe

Thursday, December 16, 2010


This is the first thing I have made in my new cookie press. i have made churros before and the process is pretty easy but I usually have to use a plain plastic bag to pipe them into the oil. And every time I do this they end up being too fat and too doughy in the middle. This time I have the cookie press and I was so grateful I did. I got the perfect churro look and they were cooked thru evenly and crispy. I was delighted to see my churros looking like the ones from the restaurants. Thank you cookie press and thank you family.

Birthday Cookie Press

I got this cookie press for my birthday from my family. I was so happy to see it when I unwrapped the paper. This tool will allow me to make professional looking cookies and it also works for frosting and decorating. It is the perfect all in one tool for any baker. I can't wait to get started.

****First Paid Bake Job***

Horary!!! This is a moment to remember. This is the first cheesecake I made for a client and was paid for. I am so proud that I told everyone I know. I was asked by a friend at work if I could make a cheesecake for her friend's birthday. I immediately said yes without even thinking about making any money. But my friend was interested in my delicious cheesecake and interested in paying me for it. I was so excited to do this. So excited that I wanted to take it to the next level. I wanted to make it look professional and perfect. My friend requested a plain cheesecake with a brownies crust. I used my good old faithful recipe and the brownie crust I made before. I even bought a cake carrier from the store. I made my own chocolate shards and decorated the top of the cake. This is my best work yet and I am so proud of it.


Here is the break from cheesecakes we have all been waiting for. Cookies always put a sunny view on things. These cookies have been something I wanted to make for some time. I refrained from doing so because they come from the dreaded Ina Garten. Yes the butter queen. And yes I did say she was cut from my blog and baking life, but I think everyone deserves a second chance. This recipe was more time consuming then I thought with all the chilling, dough making, forming, and rolling but in the end I was please. The cream cheese dough made a moist cookie that stayed fresh for days after they were baked. To be honest I found a small batch a week later and they were still as moist as the day I made them. I would definitely make these cookies again. I think Ina has redeemed herself. Just as long as we never talk about sticky buns again.

Chocolate Espresso Cheesecake

Ok guys. I know, I know. Its another cheesecake. But hey, people love them and I can't seem to resist making them. This was yet another recipe from my new cookbook. Which I feel the need to say at this time has a section devoted to cheesecakes. This is why I continue to get enticed into making them. This one caught my attention because instead of a regular graham cracker crust it has a brownie crust. And not just crushed up brownies, but an actually thick, fudgey brownie layer. Its such a great idea that I'm jealous that I didn't think of it. Not to brag, but hey this is my blog, the recipe came out wonderfully. It was everything the other cheesecakes were and more. The brownie stayed moist and fudgey and added so much decadence to the dessert. I loved it and so did my friends and family. Who continue to "motivate" me to make desserts. I'm still not sure whose benefit they are working for but hey everyone wins with cheesecake!

Chocolate Cheesecake

Yes. I know I said I was cheesecaked out from my last cheesecake fiasco. But in all fairness I made this cheesecake before the Thanksgiving cheesecake demand. This was made for a different potluck at work and is another recipe from my new favorite cookbook. I know what your thinking...bookfair, potlucks, when do you actually work. I know we do have many events but I always see it as a chance to practice my skills and test them out on unexpecting eaters. Haha. This was another success. Maybe with no help from me. I mean the words chocolate and cheesecake just seem to lure people in. It was of course demolished by the monsters at work, but then again what wont those people eat. But I have had several requests for this exact cheesecake so I take that as a personal compliment. And please ignore the slice removed in the picture a hungry co-worker couldn't help themselves. Note to self: take the picture before you get to work next time. Lol. Alas, another cheesecake down and another happy group of people.

Swashbuckling Pirates!

I bet you never thought you would hear the word pirates on this blog. And I never thought I would be making a pirate cookie. But my sister wanted these special for her birthday and so I delivered them. I guess I should mention this was another recipe from the new cookbook I have. My sister was looking thru the book, saw the pirate cookies and wanted them. She was so excited when they turned out as good as they did. Of course they were not too nice looking to eat. And when we did eat them we were pleasantly satisfied. So soft and moist. And the decorating gave me some more practice in that area. I just followed the pictures as best as I could. Surprisingly I did not need any fancy gadgets or piping bags. Everything I needed could be found in the baking section at any local grocery store. This was another success and I was happy to make my sister happy.

Apple Pecan Cheesecake

OMG! This recipe is genius. Its delectable and such a crowd pleaser. With that said I will never make it again. Ha. Funny contradiction there huh? Well let me start by saying I got a new cook book. A cookbook devoted to baked goods. The book actually called to me while I was wandering thru a bookfair at my job. I heard the sprinkling sound of dusting sugar and turned to my left. There sat a super thick book with the best looking cakes, brownies, cookies, and cupcakes I'd ever seen. Now I love all cook books, but a word to the wise any cook book with delicious pictures in it can suck me in any day. Aside from the enticing pictures the recipes looked easy and it was perfect for me. A huge book filled with all the things I love to make. Anyone who knows me would say that has Adrienne written all over it. I went thru it about 10 times in my cube and decided I would make all of the recipes I could. Now back to the cheesecake. It was the first recipe I attempted from the book. I love cheesecake and even think about substituting it for my wedding cake sometimes, but then I remember all the cake tastings I've been to and change my mind quickly. Anyways, this cheesecake was the best I have ever had. It was moist and delicious and melt in your mouth goodness. The apples and pecans on top made it the perfect festive treat.Almost like a cinnamon sticky bun cheesecake. And now we get to the part about me never wanting to make it again. I wasn't the only one who thought this cheesecake was great. I shared with my co-workers and friends and was requested to make it again and again. I made it for a friend's Thanksgiving dessert and for a potluck at work. I even was sucked into adding it to my mother's Thanksgiving spread. I was cheesecaked out after all of that. And with all the chopping and prepping it will be a while before I make this recipe again. The good news is I have a great cheesecake recipe that I can convert into any type I like. Stuart Little was right there is always a silver lining.

Papa's Birthday Cake

Now I did make a pie for my dad's birthday but what would a birthday be without a cake. This cake was originally my mom's recipe. She makes a great yellow pudding cake that everyone loves. I simply put my creative touches on it with the decorating. This is my first attempt at decorating a cake. Yeah its pretty amateur but I'm proud.

Chocolate Banana Pudding Pie

This pie was created for my little sitter. She said she wanted a banana pudding but in pie form with chocolate pudding. And so my brain went to work. It may be simple but I am very proud of it. This is my first creation from scratch. No recipe, no direction. Just me and my own thoughts. And it turned out great. So great that my dad asked for it for his birthday dinner. Needless to say it was devoured by the family. This project gave me faith that I can create things people want to eat. Whew. What a relief.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Chocolate Cream Cheese Flan

This recipe came to me when I was searching the internet one day. I always stop to look at cool posts about food and this was one of my findings. The recipe made a rather large batch so I managed to make a full round pan and a small square pan. Two flans for the price of one. I freaked a little when the flan came out and I saw cracks on the bottom of the pan. I thought the pans were cracked so I got angry and didn't want to enjoy the flan at first. My mom soaked the pans in water overnight to discover it was just the caramel cracked on the bottom. After that I was able to enjoy the flan. The process was so simple I made the recipe the very next day for a Hispanic Heritage Tasting at work. Everyone loved it. And of course my mom enjoyed it everyday until it was gone. I hope I'm not stuffing my family with too many sweets. HeHe.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

These are the good old dependable cookies I have been making for quite a while. They always turnout just as I want them too. Unfortunately no one really got to taste them because they are my boyfriends favorite and he gobbled them all up like The Cookie Monster. At least one person got to enjoy them

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

So I was on Facebook and I saw this recipe on the delectable Curtis Stone's page. He is such a handsome Aussie Chef. I had been wanting to make peanut butter cookies and these included chocolate so how could you go wrong. It was a simple cookie recipe and I made them very fast. The cookies came out soft and chewy just like I like them. My family and friend devoured them. Aside from the ones my mom gave to the new neighbor. They were so good I made them a second time and took some to work for a friend of mine who loves peanut butter cookies. He of course loved them as well. They were so good that when I left some on a friend's desk who missed work that day he returned to find one missing. My friend's just couldn't resist. Hehe. This was a sure fire hit. Thank you Curtis. At least I can still put my trust in someone.(NOT INA)

Raspbery Syrup

This was a simple recipe for raspberry syrup. Just raspberries, sugar, and lemon juice. I gave this to a friend for a present. She loves raspberry soda and will use this to make it! This turned out really good.

Warning! Don't Attempt This Recipie Unless You Want To Send Someone To A Butter Death In A Buttery Grave

This will be the first blog that doesn't include the recipe name in the title. But I didn't want to fool you with a great picture and the inviting title of Sticky Buns and make you think this was a good recipe. It was awful. And I think I actually lost a year of life with every bite I took. But here comes the story. So I saw this recipe on Barefoot Contessa. Yes. Ina again! I trusted her to play a part in my culinary exploration yet again only to be disappointed. I think it may have had something to do with the fact that I got a successful savory recipe from her recently. A recipe that turned out so good I completely forgot about the 10 sticks of butter buttercream she tricked me into frosting my chocolate cake with. Well I didn't completely forget but it was enough to get me to attempt another one of her recipes. But after this disaster Ina will have to come to my home and beg and plea to me in person to ever grace this blog again. Surprising the recipe looked very good on her show, which is why I wanted to try it in the first place. I mean Sticky Buns, how can you go wrong. But trust me. Please don't let the picture fool you. I almost didn't want to include the picture but after much thought I realized the picture followed by this story will be the perfect way to express the trickery of Ina Garten. The luscious sticky buns sitting on the wax paper tray just calling your name mixed with the painful story of butter overload. The plan almost wrote itself. But back to the story. I want to make it very clear that I followed the recipe. To the exact measurements. I am very anal and precise when it comes to recipes so I can assure you this was no error of mine. Nope. It was all Ina, or shall I call her Barefoot Contessa to lesson the slander of her real name. I creamed the butter and sugar, placed 1 of the 12 tablespoons the recipe called for in to each cupcake mold. I melted even more butter and brushed it onto the already butter puff pastry and added sugar, cinnamon and rolled up my dough. Everything I did was just like I saw it on the TV show. Now I saw how much butter was in each cupcake mold and I thought it was a lot and I know that puff pastry is 50% butter but I trusted Ina. Foolish me. When my sticky buns came out of the oven they smelled delicious. My house filled with the scent of cinnamon and sugar which is never a bad thing. That scent was only a facade because when I un-molded my buns they were not that puffy. They looked very sticky which was to be expected but they also looked greasy. One bite and I was in butter shock omega. I could not taste anything but butter. Not the cinnamon, not the sugar, not anything but butter. My mother tried to be nice and eat one but I saw the life slowly slip out of her as she took each bite. My dad, the baker, said they were not that bad but I know it was his attempt to make me feel better. It would be as if Picasso told you your finger painting my kindergarten was "not that bad." After all was done I stabbed a knife into one sticky bun and called them dead. I had to kill then before they could kill me. Ina-This recipe nearly killed me. Readers-Do Not Attempt

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Apple Cake Tatin

Another great recipe from Barefoot Contessa!!! This is one she has made a couple times on her show. It is always a crowd pleaser. The method was so easy I would consider making it again but tweaking some of the ingredients. The crucial point was the flip over. I had to flip the cake pan over onto a plate in order to make the pretty apple design I created end up on top of the cake. I was nervous it wouldn't turnout and I think I chanted something along the lines of "Ina's is going to hear from me if this doesn't turn out." Lucky for her and my hungry family it did. With the sound of a plop the cake was free from its chamber and ready to eat. With some homemade whipped cream and powdered sugar! It was really delicious, so good in fact my sister's boyfriend stopped by and had two slices before leaving. But not without saying "I can taste the egg" and making me self conscious about me cake. But what does he know it was good and he had two slices so he must have liked it. Overall the dessert came out beautiful and delectable. I would definitely consider making this for a party. No wonder Ina always does! Hehe

Ina's Chocolate Cake

This is the simple chocolate cake I wanted to make from the beginning. Of course the recipe came from Barefoot Contessa. Her famous chocolate cake. I actually enjoyed making the cake until it came to the frosting or should I say buttercream. It had the consistency of butter in your mouth. Maybe that is why people don't typically like it. But as with the other chocolate cake it got better once it was refrigerated. This cake lasted a little longer in the house but was soon eaten up.

Chocolate Eclairs

These were made on the fly with some extra ingredients I had around the kitchen.They turned out so good. My family liked them so much they ate them all up. Mmm Mmm Mmm.

Guinness Stout Chocolate Layer Cake

This is an old recipe my mom had on the fridge forever. I wanted to make just a plain chocolate cake but mama wanted this one. This recipe was really involved but it came out great. I did used raspberry jelly instead of currant jam however to accommodate my family's taste buds. The frosting was supposed to chill over night but I didn't realize that until it was too late. It set up but was a little watery so I chilled the cake overnight. This really helped out the cake's frosting so the next day the cake was better. My family and friends love it. This was an overall good experience in the kitchen.

Sunday, September 19, 2010


So I know you read the bread pudding needed a chocolate drizzle and seeing how the bread pudding was a disaster I decided to take the ingredients needed for the drizzle and make truffles. These were easy to make but also time consuming. I had to wait for the chocolate to harden over night. But when I returned I had the most luscious chocolate ever. I made balls and rolled them in cocoa powder. After resting in the freezer for some time we enjoyed them. So great. And only four ingredients. Semi-sweet chocolate chips, butter, cream, and cocoa powder. Plus any additional ingredients you may want to roll then in. I just used cocoa, but powdered sugar and coconut would have worked well. But I don't plan on using coconut for a while. Sayonara for now!

Warning!! Bread Pudding Bites Back

I planned for this weekend to be a baking spree. I wanted to make two special recipes I saw on TV. The crisp you saw in the last post and this was supposed to be my second dish. I saw this bread pudding on Paula Deen. I love her country cooking and excessive use of butter. However sometimes the dishes are even too rich for me. This dish was featured on an episode where her and her son Jamie went all out with some incredible desserts. I am not a huge fan of bread pudding, there is something about the texture I can't really get down with. But this was coconut and cream and had chocolate drizzle.Plus I knew my family would like it so I forged on. The recipe was very easy to follow and the ingredients were common enough. Just like a good old southern recipe. The worst part was the waiting. An hour to soak, an hour and 15 minutes to cook, and then 15 more minutes. All coupled with foil on, foil off and poke holes to vent the steam. But I followed every strict rule, even using a water bath, which I have never done before. I was so excited when each step drew me closer to the finish line. Now listen carefully because it may be hard to believe the first time you read this. You may not understand why my dish looks the way it does after reading the beginning part of this story. But if you don't get it the first time, or if you are in shock from what you've read please feel free to back up and re-read. Now remember I said this was coconut bread pudding. And we all know coconut is white, as is bread. And that wouldn't make an ascetically pleasing dish. So being the great cook that Paula's is she requested popping the pudding under the broiler for 1-2 minutes to allow the top to brown. I remember thinking this was genius. After seeing my bland blah pudding come out after its 1 and 30 minute journey I felt that I owed it to the pudding to follow the recipe and give it a tan. So I put on the broiler, took the pudding out of the water bath and popped it in. Meanwhile I was talking with my friend on the phone who was glad to hear about my baking extravaganza and was wishing me well. Now here is the part where I give you all advice. NEVER EVER WALK AWAY FROM A BROILER!!! NEVER!! and NEVER EVER TALK TO A FRIEND ON THE PHONE IF YOU DECIDE TO WALK AWAY!!! I walked into the kitchen to check it but was too late. Smoke was billowing out of the oven and when I opened the door I saw all of my hard work go down the drain. All of the waiting and planning was for nothing. Following the recipe couldn't help me now. Paula didn't include instructions for what to do when you burn your pudding. Because that would never happen to Paula. In a matter of 1 min and a couple seconds my pudding was burnt to a crisp. Even crisper than tanned girls at the beach. I remember yelling to my friend "I have to call you back" and slipping the oven mitts on so fast I could have gotten rug burn. I got the pudding out and nearly dropped it on the ground trying to find its resting place. I called my friend back and said "Booby Flay would never burn anything." I was disappointed. I remember her saying something about all good cooks make mistakes. But I was still upset. I worked so hard. For crispy burnt bread! Now your probably wondering why this picture doesn't look burned to you. Well that's because in a fit of rage and an attempt to disguise my mistake I pulled off all of the burned pieces. I left it on the stove and pulled myself together enough to figure out what to do. I would cool it, refrigerate it and serve it tomorrow. Surprisingly it wasn't too bad. Just ugly. I will try this one again. But maybe not coconut. I think chocolate bread pudding sounds more up my alley. Whew!

Peach Raspberry Crisp

So I was again watching the Barefoot Contessa and got sucked in to one of her decadent recipes. Now I have made crisps and crumbles before but they have always turned out too sweet and I have thrown them away. But for some reason I can't seem to remember the overly sweet crisps I have made when I see a piping hot gorgeous dessert pop out of the ovens on TV. So I ventured out to make a crisp again. This recipe seemed so easy when I saw it on TV. But then again everything seems easy in The Hamptons for Ina and her friends. To be honest the most difficult part was peeling the peaches. I used the boiling water trick but my peaches didn't peel too easily. I am glad I used the less ripe peaches however. They really stood up to the long cooking time. After everything was assembled and an hour of baking went by I had this lovely bubbling dish to show off. My family, happy to be receiving treats, devoured almost the entire thing in one day. And I am proud to say, as I am eating some of the leftovers right now, it was a success. Not to sweet, crunchy, and delicious. Just as beautiful as the one Ina had at her potluck. Thank you again Barefoot Contessa for another home run!

Spongebob RidingThe Pineapple

Here is the birthday boys special cake. He loved it!!

The Pineapple

This cake was made using a pineapple mold. Which just happened to be downstairs in my friend's house. Many of the cakes actually stuck to the intricate pineapple pan but we managed to salvage two good chocolate ones to decorate. After they were out we just used our creative talents and went to town. I'd say they came out pretty good.

Spongebob Cupcakes

These cupcakes were a gift for my friend's son. His 4th birthday party was this weekend and he loves Spongebob. We wanted to make all chocolate cupcakes but to be fair to everyone at the party we added some white ones too. The process was pretty easy because I make chocolate cakes all the time. The icing was a little tricky to apply. My friend wanted the cupcakes to be special so we used a icing tool to get the perfect look. Then we added sprinkles and a topper.They looked so professional when we were finished. You would swear they were store bought. We also attempted a pineapple which offered a pretty cool vessel for the Spongebob candle. I had so much fun in a new kitchen cooking with a friend. Surprisingly it wasn't as stressful as I thought it would be making cupcakes for an event. I would do it anytime! Check out the pictures above to see the other cakes. So much fun.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Double Chocolate Almond Cookies

So I was resting after a long day of booking loans when I came across this recipe on Barefoot Contessa. I love that Ina Garten!!! And nothing takes the edge off a long day like watching the Food Network. Now I know these are cookies, and I have made cookies before and am very good at the drop dough method. But I was caught off guard by the delicious looking chocolaty delights. I was tired and wanted to relax after almost losing my mind in booking Hades. So I rushed to the store to get the ingredients. While at the store I was so delighted to find the dark cocoa powder that I started to do a salsa jig to the Spanish music at the Bottom Dollar. I was immediately halted when I felt the eyes of a creepo spying on my dancing. I guess he wasn't offended since he stopped to spy. After rushing to the cash register to avoid seeing the creepo again I was out. Ready to bake. The recipe was easy. I have creamed and sifted one hundred times and yet the motions were so peaceful I lost myself in the chocolate world. The smell of cocoa powder, and creaming butter and sugar took over me. That is until the flour and cocoa powder jumped up out of the bowl and onto my shirt. The finished batter was thick and rich, just like I expected. After the 15 min baking time I was more than happy that my creations came out exactly as I saw just a few hours ago on TV. I felt as if I watched a celebrity come to life before my eyes. I loved this recipe and so did my family. Who by the way reminded me of the fox, pig, and other animals in The Little Red Hen who refused to help get the ingredients but were ready to eat once the work was done. Alas I love to bake and this experience was effortless. What a lovely day for some chocolate cookies! P.S-Next time I will omit the white chocolate chips. Although they do give the cookie a visually stunning appeal they added too much sweetness. Until next time...: o D

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Homemade Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

These oatmeal cookies were the brain child of my mom. She wanted me to make them for her to subdue her craving. She provided the ingredients and the recipe and I provided the baking skills. With the help of my retired baker father I got the temperature and cooking times just right. They didn't turn out too bad. Not to toot my own horn. He He He. I love baking. Especially when its for others who supply the ingredients. Another task down. P.S in case your still waiting for that list of thing I'm going to bake I'm still working on it. Patience please.It will come soon.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Cocoa-Nut Cupcakes

This is an original creation. No recipe, just imagination and flavor to guide me. They turned out so good my mom ate 3 in one sitting. This is definitely going on the recipe list for my bakery. My Bakery. I am so happy to be able to say it again. My dreams are within reach.

Cheese Danish

So I saw this recipie on Barefoot Contessa. I have always loved danish and the cheesy filling is irresistable. It didn't look too dificult. I am proud of this dish. It reminds me of the danish my father would bring home from work. Yummy!!


Two new cupcake books from my boyfriend. I'm so happy. I will work thru these books along with my list. Horray for books. They can teach you everything you need to know! : o D

Rat Cupcakes

This is my first attempt at Rat Cupcakes. This project was so much fun. Although I stayed up all night in order to get it right. I still have a lot of practicing to do. But for my first attempt I am happy.

Back In Action..With A New Direction

Well guys. I guess you've been wondering why I haven't made any recent posts. Aside from the huge disappointment that I did not win the big scholarship of my dreams I was finishing up my semester. I graduated from my college with a degree in Business Management and tried to tie up the loose ends needed before attending the pastry school. The semester was so close I could taste it and I wanted to make sure I had everything in order. Except for the fact that my job wasn't budging on my schedule change request and I couldn’t make any financial decisions until I knew my class schedule. I had to wait until mid-July to get my schedule and figure everything out. But I did it. I figured out a plan that would work for me and allow me to stay financially stable during the semester. But as I maneuvered through every hoop the school put me thru I soon found out that lack of scholarships and the dreaded thought of gaining thousands of dollars of debt from student loans was the least of my worries. I encountered a new obstacle. A new dark eyed monster that would put a huge damper on my dreams. I was denied for the student loan!!!! The thing I tried so hard to avoid, that I thought was always a last resort was snatched from me just moments after I finally accepted that idea of taking one out. So I needed a co-signer, that wouldn't be too hard right. I mean as much as I didn't want to drag anyone down with me I also really wanted my pastry degree. At this point with the semester so close I was willing to do anything. So I applied with not one but two different co-signers and was still denied. I don't know what this says about me or my co-signers credit but I felt horrible. I mean I thought anyone could get a loan. I thought banks were handing loans out like free toasters. But I guess with the down turn in the economy people are getting sketchy about who they lend to. And so my dreams of attending BIC and learning the art of show pieces and international bread was crushed. Crushed like a mint leaf in the bottom of a mojito glass. For a while after this shocking reality hit me I was upset. Of course any human being with a soul would be upset if they knew that everything they worked for was gone. Never to be seen or dreamt of again. I figured I would work at my job until the day I died. That was it. I could start my life now, no pastry degree just loan modifications, office parties, and cubicles. That was until I found out my job may be closing. I guess that plan is not an option either. This whole experience and my boyfriends "never say die" attitude drove me to my new goal. My new plan. Being a planning person I was finally excited to have something new to work towards. This is the beginning of my attempts to make my dreams come true for myself. I'm going to practice baking skills more than ever. I'm going to learn everything I can about pastries and sweets for FREE. I will take my future into my own hands and make my dreams into reality. Now how to do this.. I will bake and bake and bake all day. I will practice recipes over and over until I get the right mix of ingredients and textures. I can't wait to start. In order to learn everything I can I have to start making things I'm not used to. So I'm making a list. A list that I will supply later. A list of all the pastry, deserts, cakes, and cookies I have always wanted to make but haven't been able to. I will work my way down the list learning to make every item the best way possible. I will have my bakery one day and the path starts here…

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Day 15

Well..Today was doomsday. I waited for weeks to see if I would win..I entered more than 3,000 points for the scholarship drawing..And guess what..I didn't win. Some Kyle guy won. Probably some unappreciative kid who is going to fail out of school the first semester. My only wish is that he will have no access to a computer for the next 3 days so he can't claim his prize. Then they will be forced to pick again and with my 3,000 plus entries I'm bound to win this time. That may be a little harsh but I'm in a state of anger. After all of the time spent working and applying. After every day of logging on and now nothing..It just makes me want to quit. And it's not just this one that set me off. Because this was a chance thing I understand. I have applied for several scholarships with no return. I see now why many of my colleagues have chosen the loan path. It's not worth the stress and work to get absolutely nothing. Maybe this is just the anger talking but this might be the end of my mission. I might just quit here and now. Leave the game while my nothingness still has not harmed me.....We will see

Day 11, 12, 13 and 14

Finally got a response from my financial aid advisor. The conversation seemed a little one side towards student loans rather than anything else. I believe the exact phrase was "go ahead and send in those loan applications and I will get started on them." No thank you. I'm still on my mission. So I asked her about anything else that could contribute to my award letter. Her response included scholarships. Yea I know I have been looking for them I said. Its tough out here. I kept pressuring her for more assistance but it seems all she can offer are loans. I'm starting to look at the reality that this may not happen for me the way I wanted. Loans may be in my future. And another special suprise from my advisor was that they are not offerring the cheapest room anymore. I will be stuck choosing the 3 person room for more money. This is starting to get ridiculous.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Day 12

Still no response from my financial advisor today just as I suspected. I logged onto scholarship points again to get a free code and 30 more points. The drawing is coming up soon and I can't wait to see who wins. Unless that person isn't me and then I could care less. It's not looking hopeful as many of the scholarships I have applied for have come and gone and still no magical phone call about free money I have won. This search is a never ending abyss that is sucking my life away. If only after 2 weeks of this I feel this way I can only imagine what's to come. I don't even sleep pleasantly anymore; I just toss and turn over dreams about scholarship deadlines chasing me. I forgot in the madness to mention that I have only until September to gather the necessary scholarships as that is when I will be starting at the pastry school. Something tells me this may all be in vain. But none the less I carry on...Into the abyss. I applied for a "Three Sentence Essay" scholarship today. At least I think I did since the submission medium was more than impossible to figure out. I was to post my response (no more than 280 characters) in the comments section of the scholarship info page. However that section wouldn't accept any submission. I tried several times and even my extended my response to exactly 280 characters and still nothing. So I gave up and posted my response on my profile page instead. I hope that is good enough. The topic "My very best failure." Not wanting to think about my unsuccessful search for scholarships I chose to write about something else; a more pleasant failure.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Day 11

So I spent the weekend not thinking about scholarships but on Monday morning it's hard not to think about them. After getting back two awesome test scores I was pumped and excited. I logged on and started applying like crazy. I am now actively working on a total of 3 scholarship applications which all include a personal reference. I haven't decided which one of my esteemed professors to ask. But since I attend every class and stay in the "A Student" bracket it shouldn't be hard to find one. I hope. I tried to get my name changed for my diploma and was denied. Apparently my legal name must be used. Although all thru my first 2 years of college my preferential spelling was acceptable. I am now on another mission to get my name changed in time for graduation, which by the way I will be attending since I found out today my application was accepted. I prefer the look of Adrienne to Adrian on my diploma. Also after reviewing my "award letter" again I noticed that the per semester housing fee and meal plan are not even included. This means that an extra $5,000 will be added to my running total. So to inform you that is now a total $29,000 of scholarship money to find. I tried to contact the oh so helpful financial aid advisor but was unable to. She is out of the office today. I left a message for her. Lets see if I get a response. Other than this its back to scholarship points for some last minute crunch for the March 14th $10,000 drawing. Every time I think about this I smile. Can you imagine if I won. We will see soon. : o )

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Day 10 3/4

Ok. So I know I said I was appreciative of the grants I am getting. And I do appreciate the work the financial aid advisor put into getting everything together for me. But since when is a student loan financial aid. I mean it doesn't sound like financial aid to me. I will have this huge loan looming over my head for all eternity and that is not aiding me in any way. When I hear aid I think of assistance, help, and I don't mean helping me into eternal debt. But that's just me. And on top of that, the biggest loan offered was a federal loan that my parents would have to take out for me. So since the poor college student may not have the credit for this let's trap the un-expecting parents who would do anything for their child. Wrong. Not for me. I will not be falling into this trap. If nothing else this letter has put a fire under the bridge of my scholarship search. I will stop at nothing to get as much "real financial aid" as I can.

Day 10 1/2

I got my award letter today from the school I will be attending in the fall. I'm not really sure why it's called an award letter when I've hardly won a prize. Unless you call the constant reminder of how much this school will cost a prize. But when I opened the letter the term "award" flashed into my head as I looked over the long list of what I thought was going to be free money for school. And when I saw the words "Total Remaining Cost (1,200)" I almost cried. For a second I thought my problems were over. Until I looked at the list and noticed that for my "convenience" the financial aid advisor had added in the student loans I would need to take out into the list. After really looking at the letter I realized that aside from that empty blessing I would be collecting $3,500 out of the $27,000 tuition in grants. Don't get me wrong I'm excited to be getting something. I mean that's free money I won't have to pay back. That's a step in the right direction right? Just a little less than $24,000 left to earn. This should be a cake walk. Speaking of cake I'm making brownies and desserts for my boyfriend's game night. This will take the place of scholarship searching for the day. Being that it's Saturday I think I've earned a break to do something I love. After all I should practice my baking skills for school. : o )

Day 10

I finally got some codes from the new scholarship sites. Thats 100 extrapoints and 100 extra entries. Hooray for me.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Day 9 continued

Today was a great day. I found a number of scholarships that I can benefit from. I went through the list I received from the financial advisor and its seems promising. Although much more "work" then the other "games" I have been playing I am on the mission to get this done. Remember the more scholarships I get the less loans will be needed. Aside from this bright news I logged onto scholarship points again only to sign up for two more point sites that I have yet to get codes for. But not to worry I should receive an email any day now. Lets see if this happens. Time is ticking for that March 14th drawing. I can almost taste the $10,000 scholarship and see the email with my name listed as the BIG winner. But that's enough dreaming for now, its time to get some homework done.

Day 9

Logged into scholarship points today. Just to get the 5 points for logging in. Was planning on coming back to do more surveys but was too tired after papers, projects and yelling customers to get the computer out. Tomorrow is my day. I will get them completed. My future is counting on it.

Day 8

So during my search I got some help from a financial aid officer at the school I will be attending in the Fall. Well I wouldn't call it help but more like pressured assistances. I got the impression that if I never asked about scholarships the topic would have never been brought up. Now why is it that financial scholarships are the last thing on a financial advisors mind. But at least I did get the packet. Along with the comment that "this is more work for the student of course". Well of course!!! I knew that. Trust me I know that. I have spent the last weeks slaving over applications and points. This scholarship search takes more work then my college classes require.

Day 7

Ok so I have earned a total of 4000 point codes and entered most of them into another big fish. A $10,000 scholarship drawing in March. The deadline is March 14th. I need to win this. I would do anything. Anything seems to includes reading endless survey questions and coping and pasting code after code. This has become an obsession.

Day 6

So I found a bunch of point codes and entered them all today between classes. Oh I forgot to mention in the mix of this scholarship madness I am still actively attending 4 course and working a part time job in Hell. But that's another blog. : )

Day 5

Frame my future. This is my next scholarship entry. Write about what you will do to frame your future. Well for one I will continue this blog to keep myself sane while getting through these empty scholarship applications. Alas another one accomplished and submitted. But still no answer. Oh except for the knowledge that I did not win any of the "lottery" drawings from scholarship points this month. Maybe next month.

Day 4

Its time to take this seriously. No more "fun" lotteries and one click entries. I am applying for a big fish. I have finally written an essay. On Morality of Profit. As if there is any. After all my reasoning for this blog is based on the fact that schools are over charging for an intangible product. How ethical can that be. But I wrote the essay anyway. All 700 words abstract and bibliography. I submitted it and am hopeful. Well as hopeful as one can be who has entered into a competition open to millions of money hungry college students. But we will see.

Day 3

So I braved my way thru the 300 question survey only to end up with yet another account with points that could not be applied to my "lottery tickets" account. Tricked again into giving my opinion for points that didn't matter. With no code or points to speak of I returned to my search. Geez a full hour wasted.

Day 2

The doors of hope opened as I applied to several point and click scholarships thru one of my newly created scholarship accounts. I was also directed to a site for scholarship points. It appears to be a "fun" way to look for scholarships. However I don't know how fun it is to be asked repetitive questions about companies I know nothing about nor care about. But one survey equals one entry into a scholarship drawing. That's right scholarships no longer have to be earned thru need, essays, and qualifications but can be won in a lottery. Got to love America!

Day 1

I have started on the path of scholarships, grants, and loans. Loans being the last resort of course. I found a number of valid scholarships that I was either too late for or did not qualify for. And aside from ending up with about three new accounts on different scholarship finding websites with three different passwords and user names I haven't actually made any progress.

Starting The Journey

My name is Adrienne and I'm a college student. A senior at my local community college actually. Up until now college has been dare I say "inexpensive." So I have been pretty oblivious to the dreaded monster of the student loan. But starting in September I will be attending a culinary school in the hopes of fulfilling my life long dream of becoming a professional pastry chef. I am now starting to feel the burn of just how expensive an education can be. You should know that not all the best things in life are free. And when people told you that an education is priceless they were fooling you too. It may be priceless but that doesn't stop people from putting a price on it. Trust me if a fee can be added it will and the more people want something the higher the price goes. After getting over the shock of just how much a meal plan can be and hearing "its an investment in your future" over and over again I have decided that I need to attend this school. No matter the cost. To avoid being in debt for eternity and then some I am on a mission. To gather as many scholarship and grants as I can to help pay for my "priceless" education. And the journey begins!