Friday, December 31, 2010

Spotlight on: Holiday Croquembouche!

A twist on la tradition francaise. This croquembouche is covered in delicious chocolate ganache and adorned with a festive gold accoutrement. Oh la la! Pin It

DIY recipe: Smoked Salmon Pizza

Want to wow your guests this party (and every) party season? Serve them this smoked salmon pizza! This is a staple at our Christmas brunch, and whenever we have reason to celebrate. But be careful! Be sure to grab yourself a piece, because once served, this hors d'oeuvre disappears fast!!

What you need:
pizza crust (Boboli, or refrigerated dough, whichever you have/prefer!)
approx 8 oz smoked salmon, or lox pieces
8 oz cream cheese, room temp
1 medium red onion, chopped
1-2 tablespoons dill (fresh is best, but dried will do!)

Bake pizza crust as per instructions on dough and let cool completely on a cooling rack.

Mix cream cheese and onions in a medium sized bowl using a spatula or wooden spoon. Spread over cooled pizza crust.

Place salmon over cream cheese mixture and sprinkle with dill. Cut into slices and serve!
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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Happy Holidays!!

Wishing everyone a wonderful holiday season! It's hard to believe the new year is upon us! Do you make a resolution? More travel, macarons, and pilates perhaps??
Be wise and be safe!! xoxo
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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Bake Me a Christmas - New take on "traditional Christmas flavors"

As all of us plan our Christmas menus, traditional flavors such as gingerbread, peppermint and eggnog usually ride high on the list. 

But what came first, the favorite flavor or the tradition? My guess is the favorite flavor, and for that reason, I'm serving chocolate oreo cupcakes with white chocolate oreo buttercream frosting. It's quite a mouthful to say, but pop one in your mouth, and you'll have a mouthful of Christmas deliciousness that will put you in the holiday spirit!

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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Triple Chocolate Christmas Cookie RECIPE!

This recipe is full of chocolately holiday goodness in every bite! Even better: since it is a drop cookie, little baking technique is required, which makes this super kid-friendly!
2 cups brown sugar
1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), cut into 1 Tbsp chunks
1 cup milk
2 eggs
1/2 cup cocoa
3 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup semi-sweet morsels, chopped
1/2 cup milk chocolate morsels, chopped
Desired toppings such as M&Ms, Andie's mints, Christmas-colored sugars, crushed candy canes

Preheat the oven at 325 degrees

Mix ingredients in a large bowl using an electric mixer until well combined. 

Using two teaspoons, spoon batter onto 2 baking sheets, covered with a Silpat liner. Top with first layer of toppings. Bake for 6 minutes. 

Add more of the desired topping and place back into oven for another 6-7 minutes. 

Transfer to cooling racks, pour yourself a nice glass of milk and enjoy! Makes about 48.
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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Bake Me a Christmas - Gift idea #6: Microplane

Microplane 12-in. Premium Classic Series Premium Zester/Grater, Pink

This a uber-handy tool that makes life a lot easier! It is a professional quality zester that works with hard cheeses, or lemon and lime zest. You can also use it for grating chocolate or garlic and ginger. A microplane is also a great tool to have when grating fresh nutmeg!

It is made of  surgical grade stainless steel, and features a generous grating surface. Yes, it's dishwasher safe!

To order, click on the following link:
Microplane 12-in. Premium Classic Series Premium Zester/Grater, Pink
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Bake me a Christmas - Gift idea #5: Little Miss Cupcake ornament

These are adorable! Who wouldn't want a "cupcake baker" ornament?! 

Add a whimsy treat to your Christmas tree with these adorable Little Miss cupcake ornaments.
Candy Fantasy Little Miss Chef Cupcake Christmas Ornament 5

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Sunday, December 12, 2010


What could possibly be better than truffles? 
HOMEMADE truffles!
Don't be intimidated, 
they are as delicious as they are easy! 

What you need before you get started:
Small melon-baller
Silpat parchment paper
Small bowls for toppings
medium saucepan
med/large bowl
wooden spoon 
serrated knife 

1 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons of good vanilla extract
16 oz good quality chocolate**
1/4 cup + additional preferred toppings

 **It's uber important to use a good quality chocolate when making your own truffles. We used Callebaut, which can be found at Premier Gourmet. We decided on the semi-sweet, 51% cocoa chunks.  

Using a serrated knife, chop the chocolate into uniform sizes. (This helps it melt at the same time!) Place chocolate pieces into a medium/large bowl. 

After you chop your chocolate, bring 1 cup of heavy whipping cream to a simmer. (Be sure not bring the milk to a boil!) Pour the hot cream over chocolate. Stir the ganache with a wooden spoon until completely smooth and lump-free.

Place in refrigerator for about 1 hour, or until firm but still pliable. Using a small melon-baller and teaspoon, scoop out truffle. At this stage, you can either place onto Silpat or parchment paper and use your hands to coat the chocolates, or use the teaspoon to help coat the chocolate in your desired topping. The choice is how "hands-on" you want to be!!

For the coating, be creative! We decided to use:

1. Ground Oreos
2. Coconut
3. White non-nonpareils
4. Bacon bits (YES! Bacon bits!)
5. 2 tsp of pumpkin pie spice + 4 Tbsp cocoa powder (adjust to taste)

6. 2 tsp cayenne pepper, 4 tsp cinnamon + 4 Tbsp cocoa powder (adjust to taste)

To differentiate the two flavors, we topped the pumpkin pie spice truffles with edible gold glitter, and red to the cayenne pepper truffles!

BEHIND THE APRON: The sky is the limit when it comes to flavor combinations for your truffles. Why not try mixing peppermint extract to the chocolate and roll your truffles in crushed candy canes??

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Thursday, December 9, 2010

Bake Me a Christmas - Gift idea #4: Cupcake Nutcrackers

Set of 2 Mom's Kitchen Wooden Cupcake Kingdom Christmas Nutcrackers 17.5

When I stumbled upon these, I couldn't resist putting them on the wishlist! 

These vibrant nutcrackers look like they came straight out of the Cupcake Kingdom Nutcrackers hold colorful candy scepters in one hand and wear cupcake hats Embellished with glitter, "frosting", "cherries" and gemstones!

Click here to order your set of 2 Mom's Kitchen Wooden Cupcake Kingdom Christmas Nutcrackers 17.5" Pin It

Spotlight on: Gingerbread Cupcakes

Topped with lemon cream cheese frosting 
and crushed candy canes

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Ask LP: Double Boiler?

We were recently asked what to do if a recipe calls for a double boiler, and you do not have one.... The answer is simple! Use a glass bowl! 

The bowl must be heat-proof and be big enough to rest atop of the pan. But make sure the water is not filled too high so that it touches the bottom of the bowl! 

Also, be careful when handling the bowl, because it will be hot! Use a pot holder! Pin It

Bake Me a Christmas - Gift idea #3: Hello, Cupcake!

Hello, Cupcake!

This is a great book for inspiration and DIY tricks. The authors,  Karen Tack and Alan Richardson, are creating an quite an empire with their "Hello, Cupcake" confections. To order, click here
Hello, Cupcake!

Also available: 2011 Wall Calendar! 

2011 Hello Cupcake Wall Calendar 
To order, click here
2011 Hello Cupcake Wall Calendar
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Bake Me A Christmas: Gingerbread House - Recipe for Dough

Looking for something festive to do this weekend? Why not a gingerbread house?? While some people prefer to use the store bought walls, try this recipe if you want to make it yourself! 

6 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups light corn syrup
1 1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup margarine

Combine wet and dry ingredients with a wooden spoon. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill until cool. 

Preheat oven at 350 degrees

Flour your countertop. Roll out dough into 1/8 inch thickness. Cut into desired shapes. Bake for 12-15 minutes. 

Cool completely before assembling house. For our royal icing recipe, click here! Pin It

Bake me a Christmas - Gift idea #2: Beater Blade

Meet the Beater Blade. 
BeaterBlade 5-qt. Tilt Beater Blade Mixer Attachment, 
White   This guy is like a successful blind date! It's a hunked up version of the original paddle attachment and you probably didn't know it existed! It scrapes the bowl as you work, eliminating that pesky batter roll up!! 
 PERFECT holiday gift for the woman on your list who loves her Kitchenaid mixer!   Click on the link below to order!
BeaterBlade 5-qt. Tilt Beater Blade Mixer Attachment, White
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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

DIY Gingerbread House - INSPIRATION

Looking for inspiration for your gingerbread winter wonderland?? Check out these amazing gingerbread houses from "Gingerbread...Gifts...Glitz... At Gilda's Club"  last weekend!

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Bake me a Christmas - DIY: Reindeer Cupcakes

In search of something extra to your cupcakes? This is a great way to show off your skills and gain admiration from your guests! These reindeer cupcakes look so adorable! Using melted chocolate and a ziploc baggie, pipe out antlers (on parchment paper) and add to your chocolate cupcakes for an festive treat!
Here's a close up on Rudolph: 
Behind the Apron Tips: DIY: 
Head: Chocolate Frosting
Nose: Mini spice drops
Eyes: Mini m&ms or smarties and green frosting Pin It

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Bake Me A Christmas RECIPE: Rice Pudding

Some people prefer this dish warm, some like it to be chilled. Whichever your preference, it's most enjoyable in a sundae glass! :) 

This is a delicious twist on the traditional recipe:

Bring to a simmer: 
2 cups coconut milk 
1 1/2 cups rice
1/4 tsp salt

Cook on medium heat, covered for about 40-45 minutes or until the rice is at your desired consistency. Remember to stir occasionally (to make sure the rice does not stick to the bottom of the pan!)

Whisk together:
1/4 cup milk 
3 eggs
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup brown sugar 
1/2 cup craisins
1 /2 cup yogurt covered cherries

Combine egg mixture into saucepan and stir on low for approximately 6 minutes. Top with cinnamon and whipped cream if you desire! Pin It

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Bake Me a Christmas - Gift idea #1: Silpat

Do you know the Muffin Man? Well, the Muffin Man sleeps in Silpat sheets!
Silpat 11.5 x 16.5-in. Silpat Baking Sheet Liner

This is a definite must have for all bakers, at every skill level. The non-stick surface helps make everything come out beautifully! In fact, LP recommends this for anyone who uses a baking sheet!

Click on  the link below to order! 

Silpat 11.5 x 16.5-in. Silpat Baking Sheet Liner
Photo courtesy of
BEHIND THE APRON TIP: Reading this and don't have a Silpat yet? Parchment paper works just fine!
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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Bake Me A Christmas: Gingerbread House - Recipe for Royal Icing

Many people have asked what icing is best for making gingerbread houses... While it is very tempting to go to the grocery store and purchase canned frosting, nothing beats homemade! 

Here is a great frosting that will keep the walls of your gingerbread house up so you can admire and, of course, devour!!

Royal Icing: 
3 egg whites
1 (1 lb) package of powdered sugar
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
**Food coloring (if desired)

In a medium bowl, combine first 3 ingredients. 
Beat at low speed with an electric mixture, until blended. Increase speed to high, and beat 8 to 10 minutes, or until the mixture holds a peak. 

Separate into bowls and add food coloring.

BEHIND THE APRON TIP: Cover with a damp cloth when not using the frosting! Pin It

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Bake Me A Christmas!

'Twas the weekend after Thanksgiving, and all through the house, Christmas lights and red bows emerged from about.
This year, to help celebrate and countdown towards Christmas, LP is presenting "Bake Me A Christmas". 

From now until December 25th, our posts will be designed around the ultimate baker's Christmas. Whether you need to buy something for that special baker, or are looking for things to add to your wishlist, we've got you covered! 

We will also be posting recipes and ideas for DIY presents, table settings, and holiday spreads! Be sure to sign up to follow the blog! You don't want to miss what's planned! Pin It

Celebrity Post: Monkey Cake!!

Happy 1st Birthday, Jonas!! 
 This beautiful cake was sent to us by our dear friend Heather, who made this completely dairy AND egg free!! It was delicious!! :)
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Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope that everyone had a great Thanksgiving with their loved ones on Thursday, and is recovering nicely from the fixings-overload!

What was your favorite pie? Mincemeat, apple, pumpkin, cranberry....

xoxo Pin It

Monday, November 15, 2010

DIY Dessert: Rich Chocolate Souffle!

First of all, the Silver Palate cookbooks are a definite must have! The recipes are easy to follow, and oh so delicious! At a recent dinner party, I served their "Rich Chocolate Souffle". It was the first time I've ever made a souffle and it came out beautifully! I accompanied the dessert with Martha's Caramel Anglaise. Delish!

My first souffle!
Send us a picture of your latest baking triumph! 

Elf note: Order the cookbook I used on for only $10.85! Pin It

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Behind the Apron: Macaron vs Macaroon

2011 has been an incredible year for the macaron. But is it the same as a macaroon? YumSugar to the rescue! From the genius blog:

"It's high time I set the record straight: macaron is not an alternate spelling of macaroon! In fact, the two terms refer to distinctly different things. Both macarons and macaroons are confections, and both names are derived from ammaccare, which is Italian for "to crush" — but that's where the similarities end. 

A macaron specifically refers to a meringue-based cookie made with almond flour, egg whites, and granulated and powdered sugar, then filled with buttercream or fruit spread. The delicate treat has a crunchy exterior, and a weightless interior with a soft ending that's almost nougatlike in its chewiness. To add to the confusion, it's often called a French macaroon.

In contrast, the word macaroon is a generic phrase that is applied to a number of small, sweet confections. Mostly, the term is equated with the the moist and dense coconut macaroon, which is composed of egg whites, sugar, and dried coconut, piped with a star-shaped tip, and often dipped in chocolate. The coconut macaroon, or congolais, as it's known in France, is frequently served during Passover because it contains no flour. Which would you rather eat?"
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