the temperature at which sweets happen

Month: October 2009

Happy Halloween 2009

Happy Halloween 2009

Happy Halloween! All that is left is to wait for the doorbell to ring, pass out treats to the little ones, and watch scary movies. Here are some fun, some scary, and some delicious, all blood red – drinks to enjoy this Halloween when the […]

Award Speech

Award Speech

I’m just so amazed at how vast the blogging world is. I thought it was just about writing, but there are challenges and conferences, feed burners and followers, get togethers and giveaways, politics and photography, and now I’ve discovered there are awards! Blog awards given […]

Do You Have What it Takes?

Do You Have What it Takes?

After adoring the movie: Julie and Julia I immediately came home, made Julia’s Reine De Saba Cake and gushed over the movie for months! I begged my sister to see it with me, and when she couldn’t lock down plans, I hijacked her while her youngest was in school for the 2 hour and 3 minute running time of the film (she loved it too – of course!). My mom brought me the book, My Life in France and I danced idly through the following days and months dreaming of beautiful food, french excursions, and life in the 1950’s with my own individually seasoned pitched accent.


Regarding Julia Child, my mother observed:

“Julia Child never
cringed at a
baking challenge!”


So, in honor of Julia, she and I made a pact to eng
age in a Macaroon Baking Endeavor. My mother doesn’t live exclusively down the street from me, so it wasn‘t until this week that she came to visit, and it just so happened that her visit not only provided us with the opportunity to finally complete our Macaroon Baking Endeavor, but it also coincided with this month’s Daring Bakers’ Challenge!


The 2009 October Daring Bakers’ Challenge was brought to us by Ami S of Baking Without Fear. She chose macarons from Claudia Fleming’s The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern as the challenge recipe.

Unfortunately, the first batch and the second batch didn’t turn out to be macaroons; they more resembled flat, overcooked, round mounds of blob. We tried the DB recipe and several different cooking methods: none successful! We baked, and stirred, and pulverized, and whisked, and glared at the oven violently for six hours, and by then it was past both our bedtimes. She went home, and I went to bed sleeping fitfully. When I wasn’t asleep I was trying to determine what went wrong, and when I was asleep I was dreaming of puffed, footed, colored macaroons.


She couldn’t come back the next day, so I attempted this feat alone. I decided even if I had to finish with a pile of macaroons resembling Julia’s pile of crying onions, before I accomplished the necessary end result, I would do it. Luckily I only went through one more batch before I got some results, and that was good because I was out of ingredients! (So much for the pile of onions…)

I still have a lot of questions, such as: Why didn’t I get a crispy outer shell? Why did I not achieve a distinct foot? Did I not cook long enough? Did I not whip my eggs long enough?

Help!

Macaroons:

2 cups almond flour

**Tip: You can grind your own almonds, but make sure they result in resembling flour, not crumbs

2 ¼ cups powdered sugar
Sift together until powdery and super fine
(I added 2 tablespoons cocoa powder to create chocolate)

5 egg whites
Whisk until foamy
Add 2 tablespoons sugar and continue to whisk until light and meringuesque

**Tip: Do not over beat, you want stiff peaks, but not hard peaks (so I read)

Lightly fold egg whites into flour/sugar mixture in thirds
Pour into piping or plastic bag, with a one inch tip
Pipe small mounds onto parchment paper, or baking sheet
Let rest for 15-30 minutes
Bake at 280°F, 15-18 minutes

Finalè:
Fill with the buttercream of your choice, and sandwich two macaroons t
ogether

I made a lemon cream cheese buttercream, and a pumpkin cinnamon cream cheese buttercream.


Still, mine aren’t perfect – but they are tasty! and I am proud of them! Though I’m hell bent on making some perfect scratch made macaroons!

I’ll leave you with this: “Noncooks think it’s silly to invest two hours’ work in two minutes’ enjoyment; but if cooking is evanescent, so is the ballet,” Julia Child.

Feeling Toasty

Feeling Toasty

I never quite got around to making last month’s Daring Baker’s Challenge. I have to admit, I was extremely intimidated by it, (yes! that is the purpose of the DB) and every time I walked into the kitchen to tackle it… I ended up instead […]

How to Create Your Own Cookie Recipe

How to Create Your Own Cookie Recipe

A few years ago, Mrs. Fields and ivillage hosted a cookie contest to celebrate Mrs. Fields 30th anniversary. Prompted by my friends, I decided to enter. I was careful to start experimenting early, and submit ahead of the deadline, but somehow my entry was never […]

Healthy Alternative

Healthy Alternative

I’m certainly not the source to go to for eating healthy all the time, but I do try my best. I’m not vegan, I’m not even vegetarian, but I have no problem transitioning to a no meat option. In fact, yesterday my sister and I went to eat at the Olive Garden and I got the Fettuccine Alfredo sans chicken,… avec broccoli.


One of the things specifically that I do love vegan is muffins and cupcakes. The emphasis in these treats is on natural foods, such as fruit and grains, minus all the extra business that often just acts as filler. The aroma and taste is exemplified resulting in a much richer flavor and experience.

I created these muffins the other morning, simply because I was out of eggs. Because you can’t rely on the eggs to give your treats a full top dome, you have figure out the science in the method, which makes experimenting that much more fulfilling!

Banana Peanut Butter Muffins


These muffins are a fabulous and delicious alternative to the peanut butter banana sandwich, and a healthy alternative to boot!

¼ lemon juice
½ canola oil
½ peanut butter
Whisk together until smooth

Add
½ cup brown sugar
2 ripe bananas, mashed
Stir together

Add
½ cup wheat germ
1 cup wheat flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ carob chips
Stir to combine

Pour ¾ batter into greased muffin pan, or into cupcake liners
Bake at F350°, 12-15 minutes
Remove and transfer to wire rack


What are your favorite healthy alternatives?

Happy Birthday Tipsy!

Happy Birthday Tipsy!

There was no mindless pawing, crying or whining the first night we brought Tipsy home. Unlike Danger she knew right away how good she had it. She strutted around the house and tore into Danger’s toys (and hind legs) straight away. We rescued Tipsy from […]

Annoucement! Announcement!

Annoucement! Announcement!

I don’t know about ya’ll, but I’ve been having a blast hosting 3 giveaways in just 3 weeks! It’s been a nice reprieve since both my camera and my dishwasher broke! The infamous hike/dropping camera incident that happened over our Anniversary weekend finally caught up […]

Last Chance for Spooky Giveaway

Last Chance for Spooky Giveaway

Today is your last chance to enter the
Sisters that Spook Halloween Fest Giveaway!
Contest ends October 13, 11:59 pm
Just scroll down to the
Hallelujuah Halloween Giveaway to leave a comment.

Up for grabs is this signed portrait of Frankie, by Gabriel Olson

and one 8oz. Pumpkin Sweet Log…

plus – all the essentials for completing the
Sisters that Spook Halloween treats including –

Piping gel for your Witch Hats and Brooms
Candy sticks for your Caramel Apples
Jar of Halloween confetti sprinkles for your Pumpkin Cake
Oversized Pumpkin cookie cutter for your Pirate Doughnuts
Rubber Spiders for your Goblin Feast
Pumpkin Hershey Kisses for your Hot Chocolate

Contest open to everyone in United States and Canada
Each person can earn up to 5 entries each
1 entry for leaving a comment
1 entry for tweeting (please leave #handle in comment)
1 entry for entering Pammy’s Giveaway
2 entries for becoming a dessert guest (follower)
Please leave all info in just one comment!
Good luck!
Winner chosen at random.org

**Giveaway closed! Winners announced soon!**
Hallelujah Halloween Giveaway

Hallelujah Halloween Giveaway

Sisters that Spook is coming to an end… but not before we share one last set of tricks and treats to put all that Halloween candy to good use! Little Runt Pizza A few months ago, Pammy posted a family favorite of ours from our […]