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Showing posts from 2012

Order your Christmas Cake Balls today!

The Holidays are fast approaching and in case you are still looking for something fabulous to give your loved ones, how about some yummy cake ball gift boxes?!

Failed Toffee Making = Toffee Cookies

Have you ever made homemade toffee? Well I recently attempted to make homemade toffee and it was semi unsuccessful the first round with my toffee separating from the butter creating an extra greasy layer around my toffee. However, the toffee itself was very good. So I managed to clean up most of the excess butter and chopped the toffee to be used in my favorite chocolate chip recipe, and so we have toffee chip cookies!

Toffee Chip Cookies, adapted from America's Test Kitchen

2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup toffee
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (I used Hershey's Special Dark)
Sea salt for garnish

(1) Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

(2)Whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl. In a separate bowl, beat the melted butter and sugars together with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth.

(3) Beat in the egg, e…

Homemade Toffee - Live and Learn

This is for you Kym!

Recently, a coworker of mine asked if I had a tried and true homemade toffee recipe. I hated to tell her that I have never made toffee before... And of course, with me all you have to do is plant a baking seed in my brain and sure enough it will blossom.

This is a fairly long blog post with very few pictures, sorry about that but the toffee making process happens so quick that I just didn't have time to capture individual steps. I set out my toffee making adventure with this recipe from The Coterie Blog. All toffee recipes start out with butter and sugar but then there are several various, some with corn syrup, some without, some with almonds and some with pecans. The possibilities really are endless. Heather's recipe called for 1 1/2 cups of butter. Since this was for experimental purposes only, I cut the recipe in thirds and only used 1/2 cup butter.  All was going well as the kitchen began to smell like delicious browned butter and sugar! But then it ca…

A Ladybug Birthday

UPDATE: Added more pictures of the cake!

A lot of my orders lately seem to revolve around babies and toddlers. Cute little rascals. This particular order was for precious little Isabella's 1st birthday party :) An old friend and colleague of mine called me a few weeks into my new job and was asking how things were going and if I was enjoying the work.  Asking about the move and how me and the ole boyfriend were doing. It did not take long before he admitted that he called with ulterior motives....

His baby girl's birthday was coming up and they wanted to place an order, but the catch was he needed me to deliver the cake to Houston and let me remind you that I just moved to Austin.  I sighed and asked what the date of the party was, and I guess it was his lucky day! I already had plans to go back to Houston that exact weekend for a friend's engagement party. Of course I teased him about this being his last order but that I would be happy to help.

The theme of the party was…

Taking a turn for Savory - Garlic Basil Wings

I hope that everyone had a great Thanksgiving and got to spend quality time with their loved ones, I know that I sure did!! I got back from Denver on Saturday after spending a whole 6 days with some awesome people who I am happy to call family! But since I was away for the holidays, and there were tons of us trying to cook in my cousins kitchen, I unfortunately do not have any fun Thanksgiving recipes to share with you. Although there is no turkey today, I have another great poultry recipe perfect for Game Day.

I may refer to football a lot on here, but really that is just because I live with a football fanatic and I am just along for the ride and honestly, don't know what the heck is going on half the time, so I play on my iPad make dinner or bake while the game is on. This is a glamed up chicken wing dish for those football days, yes I said days with an "S". Apparently football comes on more than just Sunday and Monday... he watches football all day Saturday, Sunday, M…

More Pancakes - Strawberry!

The boyfriend is so spoiled. After our successful Sunday breakfast last weekend, we were grocery shopping on Friday evening and he said so what are we gonna make for brunch this weekend...

He proceeded to ask how we could spruce up the pancakes this week, and he said strawberries. And he got strawberries, spoiled.

Strawberry Pancakes, adapted from Pumpkin Pancakes

2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 large egg
3 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 cup Strawberry Compote (recipe below), cooled to room temperature

Strawberry Compote:
1 lb. fresh strawberries, diced
1/4 cup sugar

The first thing I did for this recipe was to make the strawberry compote because I mixed the compote directly into the pancake batter. You can opt to make regular pancakes and then use the compote as your syrup. But we don't like soggy pancakes around here so we rarely poor sweet goodness over our pancakes, I just bake…

Welcome Home - Pumpkin Pancakes

Let's start our November blog catch-up with a some simple pumpkin pancakes. The bf and I are making progress with our unpacking and this weekend, we broke in our new kitchen and made a nice Sunday breakfast followed by a long day at Ikea and back home for steaks and Sunday Night Football. We were discussing what to make for breakfast and I said I would make pancakes and the bf asked if we could spruce em up and what better for the month of November than PUMPKIN!

Because of our chaotic unpacking and running errands weekend, we forgot to buy syrup for our pancakes. Which is fine by me because I personally only use a tiny bit for just a touch of sweetness. Therefore, since we didn't have any maple goodness to put on the pancakes, I upped the amount of sugar that I would normally put. If you will be using syrup, reduce the amount of sugar to 3-4 tbsp of sugar.

Pumpkin Pancakes, adapted from America's Test Kitchen

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 tsp. baki…

Falling Behind

Looking at my blog lately, I realized that I am majorly falling behind on my posts. A little over a year ago I updated my blog design and was really trying to kick-start my baking presence. However, for the year 2012 I have barely maintained 1 post per month compared to my 19 posts for 2011. I honestly have no excuse for the lack of posting except that I have been busy completing orders and then loose motivation to post about them because I am so tired. But it is time to really bring it home before 2012 ends. In order to make up for my neglect, I am going to try and post one entry every week during the month of November, eek. And, if I'm feeling really ambitious, I may even try to continue this goal through December.

The pressure begins.

Barely made it - Happy Halloween

The trick-or-treaters have come and gone. We just moved into our new place and are still living out of boxes, but that does not stop the ghosts and goblins from coming to our door screaming "Trick-or-Treat!" There were more kids than we expected, even with 7 large bags of candy and $50 dollars worth of sugar, we ran out of candy just after 8PM. The porch lights have been turned off and now I am sitting here trying to get my Halloween blog post in before the holiday comes and goes.

We had a Halloween potluck contest at work and of course, I entered the dessert category. When in doubt about what to bake, I tend to lean toward my good ole Tiramisu. This contest was no exception. But this time, I put a spooky twist on things and made my favorite dessert more Halloween-ie :)

I made individual servings of tiramisu topped with a dark chocolate Oreo-style cookie. The theme for my dessert was the song "Monster Mash."

♫ It was a graveyard smash, ♫ they did the mash, the mons…

Yellow and Gray Baby Shower

One of the last orders that I took before moving to Austin was a lovely yellow and gray themed baby shower.  A friend of mine was throwing a baby shower for her sister who, bless her heart, has been on bed rest since about month 5 of her pregnancy.  The least we could do was throw her an awesome baby shower!! :) The theme was cute elephants and color scheme of yellow and gray.

This was the first time that I experienced the dreaded color bleeding between dark and light colors. It may be hard for you to tell, but as the creator I can tell you that the gray bleeding into the white stands out like an elephant in the room, hehe, at least to me. Given that I made these cookies in the thick of Houston summer heat, I will choke it up to the humidity in the air, but honestly I have no idea what the cause is. I will have to investigate the color bleeding situation further, and I'll report back.

Welcome Baby Ethan!!

Classic Yellow Cake

When it comes to celebrating a kids birthday sometimes it just calls for a good ole fashion yellow cake with chocolate frosting! That is exactly what my coworker requested for his nephew's birthday along with some yummy sugar cookie truffles :)

Nothing super fancy but a darn delicious and good looking cake! I used a simple technique commonly referred to as the "petal effect."  You can find a great tutorial here by The Hungry Housewife on how to achieve this simple yet elegant decorating technique. This was my first time trying this technique and I will say that it absolutely will not be my last! :)  I also made some sugar cookie truffles (not to be mistaken for cake balls) dipped in milk chocolate, yum yum! Sugar cookie truffles are essentially like the all popular "oreo truffles" but I used my own homemade sugar cookies instead of the Oreos.

BIG News!!!

It is with very mixed emotions that I announce this week was my last week working in "The Big 4" and I am MOVING!  Unless you are familiar with the accounting world or know somebody who is, "Big 4" really doesn't mean anything to you, but if you are knowledgeable of the accounting field, then you are well aware that Big 4 is a demanding, vigorous and rewarding place to work.  You endure stress, sweat, tears, and joy while struggling to also find your own work/life balance.

I started my career in Big 4 two years ago when I was fresh out of grad school. I came in with tons of ambition and really took the job on 110%. I have to admit that I have enjoyed the past two years thanks to my amazing co-workers even through all the headaches and stress, my co-workers made working in Big 4 that much better. I have truly enjoyed the company of my co-workers over the past two years, so much so that there were tears of sadness shed as I told my goodbyes... I truly have come t…

First Wedding Order

Another first for The Cookie Counter, a wedding! My brother's best friend, aka my other big brother, asked me to make a cake ball cake for his wedding reception.  I was overwhelmed by him just asking! Thankfully, they were going to have an actual wedding cake as well, and the cake balls would just be an added touch.  They wanted a 200 cake ball display that looked like a cake, but they did not want it to actually be cake.

The weeks leading up to the wedding consisted of calculating out what size structure would fit 200 cake balls and then creating the structure.  We went with styrofoam since that would be easy to stab sticks into.  The day before and the morning of the wedding were pure chaos!! Thank goodness that I have the best boyfriend ever, and he put up with my madness and helped bring me back to earth when I started to get away from myself. The assembling of the cake balls was suppose to be easy, but of course, roadblocks!

I had spent hours planning out the dimensions and m…

Baby Shower Treats

Some of you may recall the holiday "dump" of pictures that I posted a couple months back where I was too busy to write a post but I shared some pictures of what I have been up to. Well it's time to rewind a little and talk about the adorable baby shower cake that I made. I was approached to make my friend's baby shower cake and my only direction was a color scheme.  She told me that she trusted me and the decorations were free range as long as I included baby blue, pastel green and deep brown.

For anybody who has been asked to make a custom design for somebody who doesn't know what they want, you guys know the feeling.  I was going crazy trying to research designs and ideas and I would go back to my friend and ask what ideas she liked and the only response I would get was, yea any of those would work or they all sound great.... really not helping here. After enough pestering I was able to get her to decide on baby blocks as a "theme."  She also proceede…