dulcis serenus

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Day off October 17, 2013

Filed under: cake decorating,candy,cookies,novelty,nuts,white chocolate — dulcisserenus @ 2:09 am
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Occasionally I spend my day off baking, and my favorite of baking-days-off are spent with the Purma twins. They’re three, and amazing! Today we made Halloween bark and ghosts out of paper plates. It was an awesome afternoon. (Sorry for any fuzzy picture: the twins seem to never stop moving)

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Photo issues October 15, 2013

I hit my first speed bump in photo blogging today: I forgot to take photos! Oops. I’ll just have to take more photos on Thursday. Here’s the one photo I managed to take today of chocolate chip cookie dough truffles:

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Adventures in Pastry School January 26, 2012

So, I’ve been slacking a bit on this whole blog thing, but I have a really good reason: last October I started pastry school!  I am currently enrolled in a six month program at Escoffier School of Culinary Arts, and it is amazing.  I’m having so much fun and learning all sorts of new tricks.  There are days when I get frustrated with my abilities, or lack there of, but most days it’s a blast.  I can’t wait to go to class each day and see what I’m going to learn.  I don’t really have a lot of free time to write posts most days, so I’ve been saving up pictures of all of my finished products to share with you now.  Enjoy!

 

Vegan Shorbread Cookies March 24, 2011

Theses Vegan Shortbread Cookies are the second installment in a short series entitled: “What I’m Baking for the Online Bake Sale for Japan,” and they are amazing!  They are like pecan sandies without the pecans: they are crunchy and slightly crumbly with the buttery goodness of a regular shortbread cookie, but without the dairy and eggs.  I love them and I know you will, too.  I sent some in my boyfriend’s lunch yesterday and he texted me after lunch to tell me that they were “of the chain.”  They get their buttery taste and flaky crumble from butter flavored vegetable shortening and are made with raw sugar to give them a little more crunch.  They’re especially good with a little jam on top!  (Which will be the subject of my next post.)  If you win these cookies in the silent auction on March 30th, you will receive 20 shortbreads in a decorative tin.

Here’s what you need:

1 cup sugar (I used raw sugar)

2 2/3 cups flour

1 cup butter flavored vegetable shortening, very cold (I put mine in the freezer for a couple of hours)

4 Tbls water

1 Tbls vanilla

Here’s what you do:

Place the dry ingredients into a large bowl.  Cut the vegetable shortening into the dry ingredients using a pastry cutter until the shortening is in very small pieces.  Add the water and vanilla and mix well.  I usually start out mixing with the pastry cutter and finish by using my hands to combine everything into a ball.

Roll out the cookie dough on a floured surface until it is about a quarter inch thick.  Cut out rounds with a cookie cutter, re-rolling the dough a couple of times to use it all.

Dip the top of the cookies in sugar sprinkles and place on a greased cookie sheet.

Bake 350 degrees for about 18-20 minutes.  The cookies will puff up slightly and be lightly browned around the edges.  Remove to a wire rack to cool completely.  While they are warm, they will be soft and slightly doughy in the center, but will crisp up as they cool.

Makes about 20, 3 inch cookies.

 

Bake Sale for Japan Contributions! March 23, 2011

I have finally decided what I will be contributing to the Online Bake Sale for Japan!  I thought I would give you a little sneak peak of my contributions with some info on each.  Recipes will follow shortly.  Be sure to check the site in the days leading up to the auction on the 30th to see all of the treats up for bid.

The first time I made this Whole Wheat Vegan Banana Bread I fell in love with it.  I now feel the need to make it about once a week.  Sometimes I even make two and store one in the freezer in case I’m having a banana bread emergency and just need to eat some…right now.  This bread is moist and slightly dense, as any good banana bread should be, and completely free of eggs and dairy.  (Two loaves available.)

If you love the crunch, crumble, and buttery goodness of shortbread cookies, but don’t eat dairy or eggs, these Vegan Shortbread Cookies are for you.  They get their buttery taste and flaky crumble from butter flavored vegetable shortening,  are completely egg and dairy free, and made with natural, raw sugar.  They’re especially good with a little jam on top!  You will receive 20 shortbreads in a decorative tin.

Jam is something I always have in my pantry.  It’s so very versatile.  I particularly love to use it to dress up cookies.  This Set of Four Jams would be a perfect addition to your pantry.  The flavors include: Strawberry Balsamic, Lemon Curd, Mango Cinnamon, and Blueberry Lime.  These jams have been canned and will last up to a year, but I expect they will be long gone before then.  Except for the Lemon Curd, they are egg and dairy free.  (Four sets available.)

Whenever an overwhelming urge to bake cookies starts to come over me, I make Blackberry Jam Thumbprints.  They are seriously delicious and everyone loves them.  They are soft, crumbly cookies with a sweet jam center.  The cookies are rolled in white sparkling sugar before baking to give them a little crunch.  These bite-sized cookies are so good I could easily eat a dozen in one sitting, so I am going to ship you three dozen in a decorative tin.

Homemade marshmallows are a necessity in life; they are just so much better than store-bought.  They’re soft and pillowy and just slightly chewy, plus they make the cutest S’mores!  Homemade S’mores are the most requested sweet from all of my friends.  I’ll be shipping a dozen of these in a decorative tin to ensure the marshmallows stay fresh.

 

 

Oatmeal Scotchies March 3, 2011

Filed under: baking,butterscotch,cookies — dulcisserenus @ 11:35 pm
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I have to say that my favorite dessert is Oatmeal Scotchies.  I love them so much I have to make a double batch, mainly because I feel the need to eat an entire batch by myself.  I’m a little ashamed of that fact, but apparently not enough to keep it to myself.  You try to stop eating them after you’ve had that first warm, gooey, butterscotch-laden cookie right out of the oven; I dare you.  Because I love them so much, I only make them about once a year, usually around my birthday.  If I made them more often, I would probably be about twice my size.  To understand just how much I love these cookies, first you have to know a little something about me: I don’t really eat many desserts.  Weird, right?  Without question, I love to bake, but I rarely eat very much of what I make.  After a couple of freshly-baked cookies, one cupcake, or a slice of pie, I make my family eat the rest or give it away.  My old co-workers can attest to this by the sheer amount of baked goods I used to force upon them.  So, to say that I can eat an entire batch of scotchies before slipping into a sugary coma is quite the statement, and I think a testament to how wonderful they truly are.  They are absolutely perfect by themselves, but made into an ice cream sandwich with some homemade Mexican vanilla ice cream is what I hope heaven is like.

Here’s what you need:

(Don’t worry, I’ve doubled the recipe for you)

1 cup margarine or unsalted butter, softened

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

1 1/2 cups flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

3 cups oatmeal

1 bag butterscotch chips

Here’s what you do:

In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter and sugars until creamy, then add eggs and vanilla.  Mix together the dry ingredients and add them to the creamed mixture then add the butterscotch chips.

At this point, you have two options: scoop out the cookies now or refrigerate for about an hour.  I go back and forth on this step.  They scoop better when they are chilled, but sometimes an hour is just too long to wait.

Either way, drop by rounded tablespoons onto a greased cookie sheet.  If I have chilled them, I use a rubber cookie scoop from Bed Bath and Beyond.

Bake at 350 for about 10 minutes.  They will look slightly under baked in the centers, but this will set up as they cool.   Do not over bake them or they will be crunchy instead of chewy.  Cool for about one minute on the sheet then remove to a cooling rack.  Store in an air-tight container.

This makes about four dozen.

 

Cake Mix Cookies January 21, 2011

I had a very eventful holiday season with tons of baking (I promise some recipes soon) and lots of traveling.  It has taken me a while to get back into the groove of being home again, but I think, today, I’m finally there.  I was sitting at my very messy desk earlier thinking about how I should clean it sometime in the foreseeable future when I was suddenly struck by the urge to bake something.  Since baking is my favorite procrastination activity, I searched out something to make.  Let me tell you that our house is not lacking in sweet treats to eat.  This week was my birthday and, thanks to the wonderful man in my life, I have not one but two birthday cakes in the fridge.  However, I still felt the need to bake something, so I went for a tasty treat that is, not only easy to make, but as far from chocolate birthday cake as I could get.  I first made Cake Mix Cookies in college when I didn’t have a lot of money or spare time to spend on baking.  They are so super easy, versatile, and taste amazing.  The basic cookie recipe is: a cake mix, oil, and eggs.  That’s it.  Nothing more needed to have a great, and tasty cookie.  However…why stop there?  Why not add in a few more things to make these cookies even more amazing?  Some chocolate chips?  Sure.  How about some nuts or fresh fruit?  Definitely!  The combinations are endless.  I think this is my favorite, though.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with a lemony cookie filled with white chocolate and little bits of fresh cherries.  The first bite is just heavenly.

Here’s what you need:

1 boxed cake mix (lemon)

1/2 cup oil

2 eggs

1 cup add-ins (1/2 cup white chocolate chips plus 1/2 cup, or so, quartered fresh cherries)

Here’s what you do:

In a large mixing bowl, combine the cake mix, oil, and eggs.  I start out with a whisk to get things going and finish with a wooden spoon to make sure everything is well combined.   Next, mix in your choice of add-ins until they are evenly dispersed throughout the batter.  Spoon onto a cookie sheet, leaving about two inches between cookies.  Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 10 to 15 minutes, until golden brown.  The plain cookies will take about 10 minutes, but ones with fresh fruit will take closer to 15 minutes.  Let the cookies rest on the cookie sheet for about a minute and remove to a wire rack to cool.  Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

 

 
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