Archive | May, 2010

copycat pie

31 May

Text message from my brother:

“Can you make a caramel pecan french silk supreme pie like baker’s square for sunday?”

I don’t think I’ve ever been asked for such a specific dessert before! I told him to give me a minute as I googled the info. I’m not a Baker’s Square frequent so I didn’t even know what this pie was like, but of course, my fellow Internet bakers were helpful as always. I immediately found this recipe from recipelink.com and told my brother I would be able to make the pie. It was for his girlfriend’s mom’s birthday and that is her favorite dessert.

The fun thing about this recipe was that I got to play around with a brand new recipe. I pretty much followed it, and now that I’ve made it I can see how it could be altered for many other delicious summer desserts. Plus, aside from the 5 minutes crust baking, there was no oven usage, which is great for hot weather. I decided to buy a graham cracker crust instead of using a homemade one because I wasn’t sure exactly how this recipe would work and wanted to make sure I didn’t screw it up.

First came the caramel pecan layer, melted caramels, chopped pecans and cream:

Next, the chocolate french silk, my favorite part:

Then a layer of a cream cheese-whipping cream combo:

And finally I got my decorating bags and tips out to use the whipped cream, chocolate, pecans and caramels to make the pie look amazing, I decided not to decorate it exactly like Baker’s Square does and I’m pretty sure there were no complaints 🙂

I asked my brother to get a pic of the inside the next day when they ate it:

Erin said her mom loved it, so that made me happy! Also, my parents were happy because every time I made a layer there happened to be a bunch leftover, and so they were allowed to enjoy the “extra” caramel pecan french silk layers atop of vanilla cake base:

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Cupcakes!

25 May

I pulled out my favorite recipes and frosting tips for a double cupcake week! First was my friend, Jessica’s, birthday. I can’t let a good friend’s bday pass by without some desserts, so I dedicated Thursday morning to baking. I was planning to make her a giant pink frosted sugar cookie, but plans changed when I got a call for a cupcake order for Friday night  – 34 cupcakes frosted in chocolate and vanilla buttercream. So, Jessica got cupcakes too, pink for her though. All of the cupcakes were from my favorite vanilla cake recipe from Paula Deen. The trick with this recipe is that you HAVE to let the butter cream alone for a few minutes and then cream the butter and sugar for ten whole minutes. That sounds like a very long time, but it makes such a difference in the cakes, honestly that are amazingly fluffy and moist and perfectly round on top. However, if you don’t let the mixer run for that long, you can uneven, semi-dry cakes and that’s not good at all. Just make sure to keep them in an air-tight container and these cakes will last you a few days.

For Jessica, I layered pink sprinkles and batter in the cupcake liners and then frosted with pink buttercream, my fave frosting had to go under a few changes because Jess loves cream cheese, so I pretty much invented this frosting, rave reviews though 🙂

And for the cupcake order, I stuck to my favorite frosting for the vanilla cakes and then added melted semi-sweet chocolate and cocoa powder to get the chocolate ones. All lovely and delicious and I got some great pictures of them too!

My dad was pretty happy, too – he got the leftover cupcake, with a frosting duo:

mother’s day cheesecake

18 May

I know it’s a little late, but here is my mother’s day cheesecake post!

I worked the morning of mother’s day and all weekend so I didn’t have time to prepare any dessert ahead of time, lucky me I can brainstorm a dessert on the spot…

enter: mother’s day lemon-blueberry no-bake cheesecake!

The entire cheesecake took about 20 minutes to prep and about the same amount of time to devour! The crust was made from: 1 sleeve of graham crackers, 1/2 stick melted butter and a few spoonfuls of dark brown sugar.

I threw all of that into my mini chopper and set to grind until it formed a sandy texture. I spread the mixture in a cooking sprayed pie pan and baked at 350 degrees for about 12 minutes.

Next I took one 8-oz block of reduced fat cream cheese, the other 1/2 stick of butter (softened), 4 heaping spoonfuls of powdered sugar, one 4-oz container of Blueberry Activia Light yogurt and the juice of one lemon and again threw it all in the mini chopper on grind. I was amazed at how quickly and deliciously this concoction came together. I spread the filling on top of the cooled crust and refrigerated it for a few hours, then I topped it off with thawed frozen blueberries.

As I said before this was all an experiment and I pretty much had no idea how it was going to taste. Luckily it was amazing. My mom loved it and between my parents and I we devoured the entire plate in less than a half an hour. Yum, and I don’t even like cheesecake! Hope everyone had a Happy Mother’s Day!

Surprise Carrot Cake

9 May

In addition to being Cinco De Mayo, last Wednesday was also our chef, Lenny’s, birthday at work – and since his girlfriend is such a good friend of mine, she “ordered” a cake from me for the big day. She said his favorite is Carrot Cake, so since I wanted to do my best work for Lenny (he’s a dessert chef, too!) I decided to go with a Paula Deen recipe since I always get rave reviews from Paula recipes. The only thing I did different than the recipe was that I didn’t add the nuts into the frosting, but instead decorated the edges with them. The only un-positive comment I received was that there was a lot of pecans, but many people really like that part – and Lenny loved it, and Jessica was super happy with the result and with our surprise in the wine room!

love making people smile!

2 May

You know I usually bake on Saturdays, well this week was different because I wasn’t going to be off of work Saturday night, instead I enjoyed the day out in Lincoln Park with my parents celebrating that my mom is a Pancreatic Cancer survivor at the 2010 PurpleStride Chicago PanCan 5K and after party (feel free to continue to donate!) So I changed my baking day to last Thursday. This was three-fold. 1) I worked Thursday night soI still brought treats to work, 2) My parents were going to dinner at my aunt & uncle’s so they had some extras with them and 3) I pulled a fun cookie recipe from Wednesday’s Daily Herald food section so it all went together pretty well. The recipe was the sidebar to an article about emptying the pantry, which has been a recent theme in my baking, so I thought I’d mess around with this recipe too. I stuck with the same base: butter, flours & coconut for texture, but changed the ratio os sugars (I subbed in 1/4 cup of white sugar), used pure vanilla, accidentally swapped the baking powder and baking soda, and chose a mix of semi-sweet and milk chocolate chips & chunks, and used Hershey’s toffee pieces instead of nuts.

As with most of my recent baking experiences, this was a complete success and really made me realize why I like to bake – just to make people smile. I know that sounds so silly but it’s very true. I mean, yes I LOVE raw cookie dough and leftover cake batter and frosting and chocolate chips, but really I will bake anything anyone asks for just to make people happy, which you will see next week when I bring peanut butter cookies to work just because I was asked for them! This wee will have a few recipes and lots more happy tummies! Mmm…..

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