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.