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Showing posts from 2013

Taking Home the Prize this Halloween!

Some of you may recall last Halloween and my close call to winning the dessert contest at work, but getting robbed! I was hesitate to sign-up for the contest again this year, in fear that I would be disappointed again... Luckily, the competitive person that I am, I wanted to win first place and the only way to do that is to compete! I decided to stick with a "Fall" theme and whip out the pumpkin recipes. I decided to go with a basic pumpkin cupcake recipe and to spruce it up with some spooky eyeballs and cute pumpkins.

Unfortunately, I did not capture a good picture of the final product. I cut the cupcakes in half horizontally and filled with a cinnamon whipped cream cheese frosting, topped with more frosting and a bed of crushed oreos to represent dirt. The idea I was going for was a "pumpkin patch" with some eyeballs mixed in. I gave my dish the clever name of "iPatch" to represent a pumpkin patch full of eyeshehe I'm so cheesy and proud of it! I am …

Strawberry Banana Bread

Let's continue the last of the summer berries recipe month with a great quick bread. My boyfriend can tell you that I have a tendency to buy bananas and forget to eat them all before they start speckling and then I just use the excuse that I wanted to make banana bread even though I really just forgot we had bananas. I really should start putting them in a more noticeable location in the kitchen. I didn't want to make my normal banana bread since I have been forgetting about my bananas a lot lately... so I looked around in the fridge and we had some fresh strawberries and I thought strawberries, bananas, of course those flavors go together!

I normally put plain Greek yogurt in my banana bread as well but this week, we didn't have anymore of the plain yogurt, but guess what?! We had strawberry Greek yogurt!

Strawberry Banana Bread, adapted from America's Test Kitchen

2 cups flour
¾ cup sugar
¾ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1½ cups very ripe mashed bananas (approx. 3 banan…

Not ready for fall yet - Lemon Berry Muffins

With most bloggers getting ready for fall and posting pumpkin this and that, I am not ready to go into the fall season yet. Summer berries have slowly started going off sale at the grocery store, and this makes me sad. Not only because it affects my green smoothies in the morning but because I love baking with summer berries as well. I am making this month the last of the summer berries recipe month! Let's start if off with a simple breakfast muffin.

Lemon Berry Muffins, adapted from America's Test Kitchen

3 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 tbsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1½ cups plain Greek yogurt
1 tsp. lemon zest
2 large eggs
½ cup butter, melted and cooled

1½ cups fresh mixed berries
1 tbsp. flour

Pandan Coconut Ice Cream

Pandan, have you ever heard of it? Growing up, I ate many sweets flavored with Pandan, although I didn't really learn what it was until my early 20s. It is a common flavor used in Southeast Asian desserts, similarly to how Vanilla is used in most American baked goods. If you have ever been into an Asian bakery and seen bright green cakes and such, that gorgeous green hue is attributable to Pandan. I ate many green desserts as a child but honestly never knew what that distinct flavor was and always just thought the green color was from food coloring to make things more exciting.

However, in my adult years I started to see trendy Asian restaurants serving Pandan flavored desserts, and not until then did I realize I had been eating Pandan my whole life. My sister and I started to become obsessed with ordering beignets with pandan ice cream at one of our local sushi restaurants in Houston. Now that I live in Austin, I don't get to enjoy those delicious pillowy beignets and ice cre…

The Art of Perfecting Macarons

Sometimes you fail, and it happens to everybody, don't let it get the best of you. Macarons are one of those things that I thought I would never get right... Two years and three attempts later, I finally have hope that maybe I can get it right. Yes, two years. Every time that I failed, it was a blow to my ego. I know that I said don't let it get the best of you, but it did steal a little from my motivation each time I failed. But then like everything, the feeling passed and I was ready to give it another go. I have to admit, I documented each journey of macaron failure with the thought that I would never get to share my progress.

I am extremely happy to say that I made such progress today with this batch of macarons that I just had to share the bad and ugly along with the good.

Attempt #1: Cracked shells, No feet, and Hollow

Attempt #2: No feet and Hollow (Yay, no cracks!)

Attempt #3: No cracks, with feet but Hollow (Yay, no cracks and WITH feet!!!)

Now, I must learn to battle th…

Fun & Simple Birthday Cake

Sometimes the best decorations are the simple kind. Like good ole polka dots! And why stop at polka dots on the outside of the cake? Let's put polka dots on the INSIDE of the cake!! It really is quite simple, the first time I saw this technique it was from Snowy Bliss, check out her great tutorial. Bake cake balls in one of the many pans available these days, electric or oven will work. Then you just drop them randomly into your cake pan before you bake up the cake. Yes, add the cooked cake balls into the raw cake batter and then bake.... It might seem weird, but I promise everything works out just fine.

A Beautiful July 4th Wedding

Destination weddings are so exciting. Not only do you get to celebrate the joyous day of a couple's love joined together, but you also get a small vacation!

I was recently asked to attend a beautiful summer wedding in Washington, D.C. Not just any summer wedding but a July 4th weekend wedding in the Nation's Capital city! And it doesn't end there... I was also asked to make all of the wedding favors. You can't say no to the bride, right? But of course, I was happy to make the cake ball favors.

The week leading up to the trip was obviously more stressful than attending just any old wedding since I had to plan for the cake balls and how to travel with them. My biggest fear for the trip was Texas summer heat.... and then traveling to D.C. summer heat, which really isn't much cooler than Texas. Because cake balls are coated in chocolate, the recent 110 + degree temperatures in Austin were a HUGE threat to my precious little cake balls. We made sure to cool down the car…

Princess Glass Slipper Cookies

Every princess needs her own pair of glass slippers. One that fits perfect just for her. One that sparkles and shines. One that tells the world "I'm a Princess!"

I was asked to make little Princess Shayne some glass slipper cookies for her birthday party. Little glass slippers for all of her friends to take home, because every good princess knows how to share. All the girls loved how shiny and sparkly the cookies were. That is all thanks to my silver sanding sugar and then for that final touch of glam, I topped them off with a dash of edible glitter.

Apparently Princess Shayne only agreed to have a birthday party because Mom promised her there would be presents... Oh such a princess! Hope you had a lovely birthday Shayne!

Graduation & Hello Summer!

Oh Graduation time. A time to rejoice in the accomplishments and hard work of the past years. A closing of a chapter. I still feel like it was yesterday that I closed my chapter of graduate school, but then sadly I realize that was 3 years ago.... not yesterday. Does that make me old?

Anyway, I had the opportunity to make one awesome, super fun cookie for a college grad. They wanted a 12 inch portrait cookie for the grad's big day.... err you want a 12 inch human portrait? I was nervous, but as always willing to accept the challenge.

I knew this one would really require the creative juices to flow. I have never "cartooned" anybody before. Thankfully with the help of the best boyfriend and assistant ever, we came up with this beauty. We had several sketching competitions to see which cartoon version of Chris would win. I hate to admit it, but the bf won in the end, and I transformed his sketch into a cookie masterpiece, and I do mean MASTERPIECE! Check out this handsome…

A Baby Shower & My Favorite Frosting Recipe

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It must be that time of year, adorable baby shower time! This time It's a Girl    The theme colors were purple and white. I love doing treats in my favorite color, purple. For this particular order, my wonderful boyfriend helped to put together an adorable set of cupcake toppers. I even got him to whip out the glue and sticks and actually assemble, hehe. I'm spoiled and he's THE best! 

For these cupcakes, we went with a classic vanilla bean cupcake with my favorite cream cheese frosting. And speaking of my favorite cream cheese frosting, I realized that I have never shared it with you guys. So guess what that means?! Sharing is caring, recipe below.

Cream Cheese Frosting, adapted from Glorious Treats

8 oz. Cream Cheese, softened
1/2 cup Butter, cold but slightly softened
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
1/2 tsp. Butter Vanilla Emulsion
4-5 cups Powdered Sugar, sifted

(1) Place softened butter and cream cheese in a large mixing bowl. Whip together until f…

Austin Bakes for West

Whenever tragedy hits close to home, it always makes you think twice. When people you know are closely affected by the accident and you see their tears of sorrow fall from their eyes, you see things in a different light. And then you wonder how you can help. Recently, in the small town of West, TX a fertilizer plant exploded and hundreds were injured and many killed. Knowing friends of mine had lost close friends due to the explosion, made we want to help. 
When I saw that there were going to be 8 bake sales going on around the Austin area to raise proceeds for West, I knew I had to contribute. The big day was Saturday, May 04, 2013, and it sure did sneak up on me fast.
I volunteered to bake for 3 of the locations around town and to table the bake sale in Round Rock. When I originally signed up to volunteer, I think I was overly ambitious... I ended up not sleeping the night leading up to the sale because I was still buried in un-decorated cookies. I was stuffing cookies into bags just…

Kickin' Into Spring!

With a pair of Jordans! I am just full of cheesy puns this month

This has definitely got to be one of the more detailed cookies that I have ever done. But hey I love a challenge and it feels that much better to successfully overcome a challenge, esp a cookie challenge! Seeing how happy my customers are definitely make my day. This was also my first time to hand-cut a cookie shape. Finding a cookie cutter in the exact shape of a Jordan shoe is not exactly easy to come by.

So you may wonder what occasion would spark Jordans cookies? Well this order actually came to me via an old High School friend who saw my cookies floating around facebook. We haven't spoken in years and I was so excited to hear from her! Her goddaughter was celebrating her 7th birthday and she happens to be a HUGE fan of Jordans sneakers. My friend sent me a picture of Jordans that the birthday girl actually owned and asked if I could replicate it. I was extremely nervous to accept such a task but as I mentioned,…

April Showers

In a very literal sense, we'll start the month off with a Baby Shower! Elephants must be a popular shower theme these days... I feel it was yesterday that I made these elephant baby shower cookies. When my client said the theme was elephants and I asked her to send me an image of the invitations. I was happily surprised when the elephants on the invitation looked almost exactly like the elephants I had made previously, minus the hearts for ears. So here they are again, round two of the baby shower elephant cookies! I have to say that I think the hearts for ears is the perfect little adorableness needed for any baby shower theme.

P.S. Be on the look out for an amazing post regarding the BEST birthday present a cookie girl could ask for! Yes, that's right, my birthday was this past Friday but I have been so busy celebrating and making cookies that I haven't had the chance to stop-in and tell you all about it, but soon, very soon! But of course, after April 15th..... I, the CP…

Angry Birds Birthday

We continue with the March Birthdays around here. These cookies required a little more creativity and planning than usual, but I absolutely love how they turned out! I posted this picture on Instagram while I was making all their eyes, and I was asked if they were suppose to be mean angry eyes or cute googly eyes. I laughed because it was going to be both! Just goes to show how important facial expressions are. Bushy angry eyebrows are enough to make a cute face into a mean one. But I have to say that the green googly eyes piggies are definitely my favorite! I love how quirky they look, it's hard to believe that they are the exact same eyes used on the Angry Birds but yet their expressions look so different.

Thanks Karen for such a fun order! Hope you guys have a blast at the birthday party!

Toy Story Birthday - Jessie Theme

This month has been so hectic, but I guess it's not a bad problem to have. I have had at least one order a week all month long and am behind on posting pictures for them. One of my favorite orders this month was a Toy Story birthday party. I don't know about you guys, but Toy Story was by far, one of my favorite Disney movies. Even when the sequels came out and I was well into my teenage and early adult years. I loved how the sequels showed how Andy grew-up and it seemed to be mostly in line with my growth as well. Truly a GREAT movie, all three of them!

But back to cookies, my all mighty faithful customers in Houston are still reaching out to me for orders and I am so thankful to have their support but it has forced me to learn some of the hassles of shipping cookies. These Jessie cookies were the first order that I have ever shipped. Normally, I only accept Houston orders where I know that I will be back in town for the delivery. But when my customer insisted that I deliver …