Cake pops, and cakes and pie…Oh my!

Hi Everyone!  Surprised to see me?  Although it seems like I was in hibernation for a month…but on the contrary, these last few weeks had been such a blur from all the events going on around our house…we’ve had a birthdays and graduation and Father’s day celebrations left and right.

I’m posting here the final yummies because it seems like before I can finish a post, another project/event comes along and I can’t seem to keep up.  So I’m posting each one now and hopefully, when all the craziness dies down, I can write a separate post detailing each one.

Last post, I had mentioned that a birthday event was on it’s way.  It was for my sister-in-laws’ husband (is there an easier, shorter way to say that?!??).  Here’s a lemon ombre cake that I made for his birthday. It took a lot of time, and some really steady hands but it was worth it.

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We had an OVER ABUNDANCE of lemons in our tree so I made some lemon merinque pie for the family 🙂

Lemon meringue pie

Up next was my sister’s friend’s son’s graduation (WHEW! that’s another mouthful…I’m almost positive that I broke some grammar rules there…TSK!TSK! Please don’t tell my kids..)

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Remaining cake pop dough was made into…Mini cupcake cakepops! 🙂

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This next one was a tough one but my most favorite accomplishment…took me a few days to complete, and that’s even eliciting the help of my kiddos 😛  It’s Daddy’s birthday cake! 🙂  Can you guess what it is?

Octopus cake

Yup!  It’s an Octopus cake!…And it moves 🙂  Check out the short video below (sorry if blurry, resolution isn’t that great)   Oooops scratch that, I guess my WordPress plan does not allow me to upload a video boohoohoo…(I’m hoping that maybe I can post it elsewhere and link it here later???)

Up next…Bread pudding for the family :)… I made 2 versions: one with chocolate chips and one with raisins and both drizzled with my very own caramel 🙂Bread pudding

Lastly…and this was made for Hubby for Father’s Day…Neapolitan Mirror Glaze cake

Glass-Mirror cake

This was something that I’ve recently learned from Pinterest…seems like bakers have shown lots of interest in this type of cake, and I wanted to see what the hulabaloo was all about 🙂  It’s my first attempt so I haven’t quite perfected the look…but I think all in all not too shabby 🙂  But as my luck would have it, (and one of the reasons why I decided to blog, because we can only learn from our mistakes right???) after I made the first slice for the kiddos I had a Brilliant idea of covering it with Saran wrap to keep the cake from drying out. BAD, BAD, BAD idea 😦  Even after the cake has chilled for awhile in the fridge, the glaze stuck to the plastic like glue.

Well, again sorry for the late post…Hope all these yummies make up for my tardiness…I’ll try to get the specifics for each on a separate post.  Let me know if there’s one in particular that you are most interested in.

Thanks for visiting!

Til next adventure

~CW

 

 

 

 

Happy Birthday…(Part 2)

It’s Sister Bear’s friend’s birthday today —let’s call her Panda Bear—and my daughter requested that we make her some panda cookies!

I thought this was an awesome idea because: A) she loves pandas and she’s such a sweet girl, B) I think we have a cookie cutter that would work perfectly for making the bear and C) what a great excuse to work with cookie dough (and have a little bit of nibble for the chef :p).

For the cookie I decided to use the same recipe I used for the Snickerdoodle Brownie, except that I added 1/4 cup of butter and 1/4 cup of sugar to make it a bit more moist. Ok… I admit, these are the leftover dough from the last project which I had frozen since I didn’t use much for the brownie.  But while I was kneading it, it was very crumbly and not easy to work with especially when I needed it to be rolled out and cut into shapes.  After the addition of the creamed butter and sugar, it was the perfect consistency 🙂

I used my Mickey Mouse cookie cutter to get the shape of the bear’s head but as my daughter pointed out, it doesn’t quite match a panda bear’s head so we reshaped it a little bit by pushing down the ears closer to the head so that it wasn’t so circular.  Lastly, we used a rounded tip to create a dip on where the ears would be.

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Then off to the oven they go which was preheated at 325F.  Since we were making panda bears, I wanted to make sure that the cookies stay light in color and not brown too much as they bake.

While the cookies were baking, I placed about 1 c of semi-sweet chocolate in a piping bag and 1 tbsp of shortening.  I microwaved the bag for 30 seconds and as it softens I “massaged” the shortening into the chocolate so that it is mixed in completely.  You may warm up the bag again in 10 seconds interval until you get the desired consistency.  Be patient (there’s that word again, it keeps popping up every time I’m in the kitchen)…do not rush the process of melting the chocolate because you can actually end up burning it.

Once your remove the cookies from the oven, allow to cool.

Once it has cooled long enough, you can start to pipe the chocolate to form the ears, the eyes (I used white chocolate to dot the eyes) and the snout.

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What I would’ve done differently?  Hmm, I think that it would look much better if I had used a layer of white chocolate on top of the whole cookie before adding the darker accents to make it really stand out like a panda bear…as it is, it kinda looks like a racoon! Hahaha

But the most important thing was that Panda Bear liked it, which equals Sister Bear being happy which ultimately equals Mama Bear being Happy 🙂

Anyway, til next adventure… Would love to hear back from you guys…Happy Birthday (Part 3) is in the works.

~CW

 

 

 

Double Trouble…

Last Sunday, my family and I went to the Fish Market for Mother’s Day lunch (thanks sis 😀) and of course at the end of the meal my daughter decided to order some Snickerdoodle Brownies.  I’ve never heard of them before so I tried to imagine it as best as I could. When it came out, it looked yummy (especially topped with vanilla ice cream and drizzled with chocolate syrup 😏) but it wasn’t what I had expected. It was literally a Snickerdoodle flavored brownie as the name suggested (after some research I found out that they are more commonly known as Blondies) but for some reason what I had imagined was a chocolate brownie with chunks of Snickerdoodle cookies….so that’s what I decided to make in my kitchen only because I’ve already set my mind to it: I am making a Double Trouble Snickerdoodle Brownie 😜

Now some of you may already have your own favorite brownie and Snickerdoodle cookie recipes and if you so, then yit is perfectly fine to use that.  But for some who are unfamiliar with Snickerdoodle cookies, please check out Sally’s Baking Addiction.  The recipe that I used was very similar to hers except that I skipped using the cream of tartar since I didn’t want the cookies to be too fluffy.  Her recipe is PERFECT for cookies as themselves but for the brownies I wanted to keep it a little less fluffy, more dense to match the fudge brownie texture.

For the Snickerdoodle cookies:
Cream 1/2 c butter and 1 1/3 sugar then add 2 tsp vanilla and 1 egg.

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On another bowl mix together the dry ingredients: 3 c flour, 1 tsp baking soda, a pinch of salt and cinnamon.

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Gradually, in 3 batches, add your dry ingredients into your wet ingredients and mix until well-combined. This would be a little chunky with the consistency of cookie dough.

Scoop about a rough tablespoon of dough (I like mine with big chunks of cookie dough 😀), and form into balls.

In a small bowl combine sugar and cinnamon.  This will be your cookie coating.  Depending on your preference you can decide the ratio of cinnamon to sugar.

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Set aside and prepare the chocolate brownie. This would also be the perfect time to start preheating your oven to 325F.

For the fudge brownie:
Mix 1 c sugar and 3/4 c unsweetened cocoa powder. (sorry it’s too dark to see anything after I’ve added the cocoa powder but trust me they’re all there 😜)

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Add 2 eggs one egg at a time, and mix well each time.

Lastly, add 1/3 c flour and a pinch cinnamon. If you used lots of cinnamon on the cookie recipe then you can skip the cinnamon on the brownie.  If you’re a cinna-holic (yup, I made that up), then add to your heart’s desire…😜

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Stir until combined but do not over mix.  Pour the brownie batter on a greased 8 x 8 pan and spread evenly.
Finally, the fun part! Drop those Snickerdoodle cookie dough into the pan.

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Bake for about 20-25 mins., until the brownie slightly cracks or if a toothpick comes out clean after inserting into the brownie and cookies.  Allow to cool for another 10 mins. …tick tock, tick tock…

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You may serve them as is…which is what we did for ours since we have no patience whatsoever 😀…or you can serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream 🙂

Til next adventure….

~ CW

 

Helpful links:

http://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2013/05/19/soft-thick-snickerdoodles-in-20-minutes/

 

Greek Butter Cookies (Kourabiéthes)

Some of you are probably wondering: “Hmmm, did Willyummsbakery decide to call it quits from the world of blogging?”  The answer: a big fat NOPE! But I am truly sorry if it seems that I have completely forgotten about my millions of followers…Hahaha! One can dream right?

Actually I’ve already had something planned to write about 2 weeks ago, but that 4-letter word got in the way of me actually posting it…WORK!  😛

Anyway, I am glad to say that I finally got a chance to have a minute to myself and compose this blog.

I would like to give our 8 yr. old boy credit for this project because it was actually his idea to make these yummy cookies!  He came home one afternoon and said: “Mom, I took (I’m hoping he meant borrowed :p) a book from our library  and it’s about foods from around the world.  We should pick something and make it!”

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Awww isn’t he cute?!?! He could’ve picked a comic book or some other fictional book to entertain him but instead he picked something that he can do with Mommy 🙂 so, here we go…

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose floor
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 ts salt
  • 1 c (2 sticks) of butter, softened
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract (we used less because Sister Bear hates anything with nuts and we were hoping we could mask it, without going too far off from the original recipe)
  • Powdered sugar for sprinkling

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 oF.
  2. In a small bowl, combine all dry ingredients.
  3. In a medium bowl, cream butter and sugar.
  4. Add egg and beat until light and fluffy.
  5. Add vanilla and almond extract.
  6. Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until well blended but do not over stir.
  7. Using your hands (which was probably the funnest part, if you ask Little Bear), form the dough into balls.  Traditionally they are shaped into crescents or S-shapes but we were not very good at shaping (the dough was a little crumbly) so we decided the balls would be just fine :p

    rotated s.jpg

  8. Place the dough 2 in. apart on a cookie sheet and place in the oven for 15-18 mins until the edges a slightly browned.
  9. Remove from the cookie sheet and allow to cool in a wire rack for 5 mins.
  10. Once cooled, use a sifter (or in our case a mini strainer) to sprinkle with powdered sugar.

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According to the book, these cookies are eaten year round but are most popular around Christmas time.

I think that this recipe was a perfect, simple project with my Little Bear and the result was yummy!!! It is similar to a sugar cookie which most of us in the US are familiar with but not as sweet, which is just the way we like it. He was pretty happy with himself for baking these cookies and I was a proud Mama Bear.  It was definitely baked with LOVE ♥

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Anyway,til next adventure…and thanks to everyone who has followed my blog (through thick and thin :P), and have been very gracious with all the likes and comments…You are awesome 🙂

~CW

Related literature:

Baruth, P. E. (1988). Holiday cooking around the world. Minneapolis, MN: Lerner Publications Co.

 

Liebster Award

 

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Hi guys!

I am so pleased (and quite shocked! to be honest…) that I was nominated for the Liebster Award.  I looooove food…and so far, I looooove blogging as well.  However, being that I’m such a newbie and have very few posts and followers, it was really quite a surprise when Taylor told me that she had nominated me for the award.  What an honor! especially from such a gifted writer…If you guys haven’t checked her out, please visit her page at https://peasromainecalm.com…I know you would love her posts and my favorite characters Samson and Mona 🙂

So for those who are not familiar with the Liebster Award (like myself until up about last week :P) it is a way of connecting bloggers, new and old, so that we can help build and discover each others page…what a cool idea 🙂

Here are The Rules :

  1. Thank the person who nominated you and link back to their blog.
  2. Copy and paste the Liebster Award badge to your post.
  3. Nominate 10 new bloggers.
  4. Answer the 10 questions the person who nominated you asked you.
  5. Create 10 new questions to ask the bloggers you nominate.
  6. Notify the bloggers you have nominated by leaving them a comment on their blog.

My Nominees:

  1. Greencookingblog
  2. Foodbycamilla
  3. Dosirakbento
  4. Cooking without Limits
  5. Twin Days
  6. GrowTasteCreate
  7. Mrs. Twinkle
  8. Lazymomcooking
  9. Mercer Creative
  10. IceCreamMagazine

OHHHH so many, many more talented bloggers, and food photographers out there…wish I can nominate more…

My Questions for the nominees:

  • What made you decide to blog?
  • What do you think is your most important blogging tool (except for the internet ;p)?
  • Who is the most influential person in your life?
  • If you were only to rely on one thing, do you enjoy food that looks good or smells good?
  • When making decisions, do you go with your gut or do you like to research every detail?
  • What is your favorite past-time, other than blogging? (I’m borrowing this from Taylor :))
  • What was your first project?
  • Was it a success or a failure? Either way, what did you learn from it?
  • What was the most important decision you’ve made so far?
  • What was your most favorite project?

Peas Romaine Calm’s Questions:

Why did you start this blog?

~I wanted to have a place where I can chronicle my baking projects.  Initially it was just something that I wanted to be able to share with my family, especially my kids when they got older, but I was lucky to find other bloggers out there who have visited and appreciated my musings.

What is a great memory from your past?

~ Oh, there’s really way too much that I can’t even begin to decide which one to write about.  I have selective memory :p I remember tons of happy events and forget about everything else

If the sky’s the limit, what would you like to do next?

~ I would like to be able to open my own bakery business someday…but at this time, I think I’m spread out too thin to be able to focus on such a big project…

Are you a planner? Or are you spontaneous?

~ I am both actually…is that possible?  I like to plan for important things or things where other people will be affected by my actions…For myself, I like being spontaneous and I guess “flexible” is a better way to describe it.

What makes you smile?

~ Nice people make me smile.  Seeing that there’s goodness in a lot of things, in a lot of people, out there makes me happy.

What was your greatest failure and what did you learn from that?

~ Hmmm, I can’t say it was a failure…but not taking the time when I was younger to really think about what I am passionate about, and to go for it.  I learned that sometimes, a bit of a risk might be necessary to get what you want in life.

What do you do in your spare time? (besides blogging😛 )

~ I love reading…and spending all day watching movies with my Hubby…working on some projects with our monkeys (a.k.a kiddos)…and of course baking 🙂

Favorite place you’ve visited?

~There’s lots of places that I’ve visited that I liked a lot…probably Japan being on the top at the moment.

What are your favorite sweets?

~Anything  with dark chocolate and ice cream 🙂

If you were stuck on a desert island and could only have 3 items what would they be?

~ Just 3??? a picture of my family (I’m assuming, I’m alone in the island?), something to make fire with, and my cellphone (hope there’s WiFi hahaha j/k)…although quite frankly, I don’t think I’ll survive too long on a desert island :P…if it’s a DESSERT island then count me in 🙂

Thanks again for the nomination…and hopefully you guys can visit all the other bloggers that’s been mentioned here.

Til next adventure

~CW

 

Old fashioned Apple Pie

There is nothing better than a warm apple pie on a weekend…and the best thing about it, is that it is one pie that is super easy to make 🙂 Whether you feel like making your own crust or just want to use a store-bought, ready-to-use pie crust, the gooey goodness of sweet, cinnamon apples will definitely make your mouth water 🙂

If you are up to the “challenge” of making your own dough (it isn’t really much of a challenge, because it is really very easy :P), here’s a recipe for a pie dough which I found from Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook:

  • 2 1/2 c all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 sticks (1 c) of unsalted butter, cold, cut into small pieces
  • 1/4 cup of ice cold water, or more as needed

Combine the flour and the salt in a food processor (or hand mix) by pulsing for a few seconds.  Add the butter and pulse for another 10 seconds until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Add the water in slowly while your blender is running but make sure not to add to much or too quickly so that the crust does not get too sticky.  Do not mix for more than 30 seconds. Ball the dough and cut in half and wrap each piece with plastic wrap.  You can refrigerate the dough overnight or freeze for as long as 1 month. If frozen, allow to thaw overnight in the refrigerator prior to use. Use a rolling pin to flatten the dough into 2 circular discs: one disc to be used as the bottom crust and the other disc will be used as the top crust.  Make sure to have about 1 1/2 inch allowance in circumference compared to the size pie plate. Place the rolled dough on top of the plate and allow to “drop in”. Working from the center of the plate towards the sides, fit the dough into the plate and cut off any excess dough.

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I like to use a fork to press down on the edges of the crust against the pie plate to secure them in place.

To make the filling, you would need:

  • 5-7 apples (you can use a mixture of different kinds of apples: McIntosh, Fuji, Honey crisp, etc. however I later learned that some apples are better than others for baking, if you wish to keep them sturdy :P).
  • juice from 1/2-1 lemon
  • 1 tbs cinnamon
  • 1/2 brown sugar

Peel off skin and cut your apples into even slices.  Add the lemon juice and stir.  Add the cinnamon and brown sugar. Stir until evenly incorporated.

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Arrange the slices onto your pie plate (Note to self: overfill and use more apples as they tend to get smaller as they cook).

apple slices

Cover the pie with the second disc as prepared earlier. Crimp the edges by pinching and use a fork to decorate. Also, cut some slits to help steam to escape as the pie cooks.

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Oh! I forgot to tell you…but as an experienced baker, you should already know that you need to preheat your oven to 400oF  while preping your pie 😛

Ok one last step while your oven is preheating, this is not necessary as you can get the desired flavor without this step but it makes it look prettier when it cooks, brush the top crust with egg wash and sprinkle with sanding or granulated sugar.

Place in the oven, at the 3rd lower rack and bake for 20 mins then lower the oven temperature to 350oF and bake for another 40-45 mins. I set the timer and wait….usually though my nose brings me back to the kitchen before my timer goes off as the smell of butter, sugar and cinnamon wafts through the house.  This is literally how I look like…:)

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Image from: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/FollowYourNose

Anyway, hope you guys try this recipe and hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

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Til next adventure…

~CW

Related resources:

Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook. 2005. Clarkson Potter Publishers, New York.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/FollowYourNose

 

 

 

Happy Easter!

H! Hope everyone had a great Easter weekend.  It was such a busy weekend for us so I don’t have much to post here but I will be posting more this week. I promise…

We were lucky enough to have nice weather this weekend and we met with family and friends at the local park for a little picnic.

LGP

For our Easter celebration, we had both candy filled and decorated hard-boiled eggs and the kids had a blast searching for the eggs.

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We had lunch with three-bean salad, honey ham, quiche (more eggs?), and mac-n-cheese followed by a light and fruity dessert of pineapple upside-down cake topped with fresh berries and whipped cream.  However, with all the hubbub, only the bean salad made it to the photo shoot 😛

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To finish off our trip, we took a short train ride around the park to enjoy the scenery.

Train ride at LGP

Anyway, I know it’s late but I sincerely wish that everyone had a great Easter and weekend overall…

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Hope, Believe, Peace, Faith, Imagine, Live, Dream, Love, Smile, Laugh, Wish, Inspire

Til next adventure….

~CW