Baklava, A Daring Bakers Challenge

Just saying it makes you crave that nutty sweet happiness that is a square of baklava.   I joined the Daring Kitchen (Bakers) just under a month ago so this is my first challenge, and with the week I am having a challenge it is!  I started a new job, which has a new store opening at the Mall of America, meaning we are spending the first 3 days just unboxing everything and merchandising the store.  Also, my very best non-friend’s boyfriend is having a birthday party and I offered to make the cake, his favorite, german chocolate.  I also found out a week ago that he loves baklava, so guess who’s birthday party this is going to!

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DIY $30 Ego Light/Tabletop Softbox

In the last year my husband has taken a deep interest in photography, now add my cooking/baking interest into that he’s now becoming more into food photography. One thing that can make or break anyone treading into the deep sea that is food photography is lighting. In the early stages of my blog, the iPhone was all we had, but now we are finally on a roll. Since getting into food blogging one thing that me and my husband agreed on was the quality of pictures, we eat with our eyes, more so online. Since this DIY light box was made, in May, you can see the quality of photo’s improve and grow as we both grow and learn.

What made the photo’s finally take off in the way of quality, is making the light box. Those days when we need the extra light but don’t have the space in our tiny garden level uptown apartment, or the finical means to spend on an elaborate one, this was our best option. I had found a few websites that had DIY Ego Lights, but after some consideration and sketching ideas out. My husband came out with his own version for just under $30. I was waiting for him to create the DIY post for his own blog site, so I could share with my readers and fellow food bloggers.

Please, read over his post, it is very well executed in the way of a step by step process, and the materials needed with example pictures. We hope it is helpful for those looking to take their blog photo’s one step further at home. We hope you find it helpful.

Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Coconut Cupcakes with Vanilla Swiss Buttercream

Yes, I know, recycled pictures, Sorry!  However this is not about pictures this post is about the awesomeness that is this frosting.  It is the best and I think easiest frosting I have ever made.  Most people say it is too complicated, however I don’t think it is.   I have added my technique of doing this recipe and some flavor options to make it match what you need it to.  Words just cannot describe the wonderfulness that this frosting is. It’s light, fluffy, smooth, sweet, and just melts in your mouth. It is hands down the best frosting I have ever had. A reason it is such a huge hit is because it not only keeps well at room temperature but it has that richness of a buttercream with out tasting like you are just eating a stick of butter dipped in sugar.

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Irish Car-bomb Cupcakes, Revisited

Revisiting the cupcakes because of picture updates and some slight recipe changes. The changes in the recipe to make it a little more dense and moist. I took them to a BBQ and they were devoured! I actually ate some, which is a big deal. I might have a bite of cupcakes but never much more then that, these I ate I think two this is a big, deal for me. This recipe will not change and is utter perfection. Please, if nothing else, the cake and the frosting are complete bliss, and a must try.

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Coconut Macaroons

I asked my brother for some ideas as what I should make, and he mentioned coconut macaroons. There was this bakery in downtown area of Mt.Vernon, WA. We used to get these big coconut macaroon mountains from there with our mom, and he said make those.  I still had some coconut in the pantry and I finally got around to making them.  I wanted to use the left over condensed milk I had from making ice cream, and I didn’t want to use half of an egg white because it would just waste an egg.   So, instead I put some marshmallows in the microwave until puffy with the milk just before folding in the coconut and it turned out great.  I dipped the bases in melted semi sweet chocolate just like they did at the bakery. Surprisingly they didn’t end up overly sickly sweet which what I was in fear of, but they ended up amazingly perfect. I am not proclaiming this recipe to be healthy, but it is gluten free and delicious.

Food to me should bring you back to a memory, or create a new one. This recipe, this cookie, brought me back to walking down the street to my mom’s boat of a car, a ’78 impala, nibbling the chocolate off the base of these knowing they would not make it home. I was very pleased with the results.  I think you will be happy with how easy and simple this recipe turned out. I know now, that I will never buy them at the store again.

Coconut Macaroons
Makes 12 Cookies

  • 1/2 c Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 1/2 c Mini Marshmallows
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 2 1/2 c Shredded Coconut, unsweetened
  • 2 oz Semi Sweet Chocolate, chopped (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silpat.

In a microwaveable bowl combine the milk, marshmallows, and vanilla. Microwave for 10 seconds, stir, repeat in 10 second intervals until smooth. Stir in the shredded coconut combine until all the coconut is completely moistened by the milk mixture. Drop by spoonfuls on the cookie sheet, forming drops into mounds, and bake for 15-17 minutes.  Cool on a wire rack.  Store in air tight container 2-3 weeks.

Optional: Melt chocolate in a double boiler or microwave.  Dip the cooled cookies into the melted chocolate and decorate as desired.

Rocky Road Ice Cream

It is National Chocolate Ice Cream Day, but it’s not like anyone needs a day to enjoy chocolate ice cream.   Well just to celebrate I wanted to post this recipe for amazing Rocky Road Ice Cream.   Rocky Road Ice Cream is the one thing me and my mom share in common.  Since I had the quick chocolate ice cream recipe I wanted to adapt it to make Rocky Road. It was probably the best I have had in weeks. For about 15 minutes of effort, and 8 hours of waiting which is the hard part, you get creamy rich ice cream with out a machine.

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Japanese Christmas Cake, a little Early

Japanese Christmas Cake, Anime Strawberry Cake, Strawberry Cream Cake, whatever you call it, it is amazing.  Simple and delicious, sweet and tart, I can go on and on about this recipe.  I like many others searched for this cake because I always see it enjoyed in anime’s yet never knew the name.  All I knew was, while watching anime’s the characters enjoy this lovely layered cake with strawberries and cream.  It looks like perfection, so elegant looking yet simple and delicious.  I found the name of the cake, largely in part to anime fansites, so I went on a hunt.  I wanted to keep it on the Japanese side, so I went with the japanese style of this cake from the sponge, to the trick to thickening the whipping cream, by using agar agar.

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