Friday, December 23, 2011

Happy Holidays everyone!

snowflake sugar cookies for Graham's classmates

I've been busy, busy working and shopping and crafting and baking and candy making and party throwing, but unfortunately can't seem to do all those things and still take interesting photos and blog about it. Oh well, there's always next year...

In case you still have some baking to do, here are my favorite recipes from the season:
1. Homemade peanut butter cups - to D-I-E for! I used milk chocolate and topped off with crushed peanuts and Maldon Salt.
2. Peppermint Bark - I doubled the recipe for a 1/2 sheet pan and added half the oil. Make sure to wrap them it and store in the fridge.
3. Penuche fudge - I tried this recipe with both dark & light sugar and they were both equally as yummy. Make sure to not over cook or it will be crumbly.
4. Gingersnaps - I subbed the cardamon for black pepper and left out the fresh ginger because I didn't have any. I rolled the cookies in raw sugar before baking.
5. English toffee - Using chocolate chips makes this so easy, I prefer it will almonds
6. Mexican wedding cakes (or Russian tea cakes) - my husband's favorite. I added a 1/2 teaspoon of salt because every cookie should have salt.
7. Gingerbread caramels - Perfect!
8. Vanilla Bean marshmallows - I add the seeds from two vanilla beans as well as adding the extract.

I hope your holidays are merry and bright! See you next year...


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Gingerbread Decorating

I hosted a gingerbread decorating class yesterday at Zut! and it was such a blast. I purchased fabulous prebuilt houses from Spun Sugar in Berkeley and provided bowls and bowls of festive candy. Each group was given a tool set and bowls and bags of royal icing. To be honest, I didn't have to do much teaching. After a few quick instructions on how to hold a pastry bag, everyone dug in and started creating their candy masterpieces. I was so impressed with the creativity and passion of each group. To give the houses a finishing touch, we dusted them with disco dust that made everything super sparkly. I can hardly wait to do it again next year! Special thanks to the front of the house crew at Zut! for scraping all the royal icing off the tables and cleaning up the sticky mess after we were all done.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Graham's Pumpkin Patch Party, part II

As you can see by the wonderful photos by Sherry Heck, full was had by all at the pumkin patch. Special thanks to my partners in crime, Becca of Cake. and Sherry for all of help and support!


Graham's Pumpkin Patch Party - part 1

I know that Halloween is soooo 3 days ago, but I am finally getting around to posting all the pictures from Graham's party. When we visited G&M farms with his preschool class last year, I decided it would be the perfect spot for a party. Their party "rooms" are an amazing deal (only $20 for 2 hours) and hosting it away from home meant I didn't have to clean up or plan any activities. When the kids arrived, they immediately ran off to the straw bale maze, petal cars and giant corn box (like a sand box, but with corn kernels). After a bit, I rounded up the kids to dig in to their "wicked good" boxed lunches that included PB & J, Pirates Booty, apples and juice. It was definitely a little tricky getting kids (especially mine) to eat their lunch when they were surrounded by goodies! For the sweets, I made chocolate + orange cupcakes, baked pumpkin donuts, and Halloween sugar cookies (the bats were my favorite). The orange cotton candy had unfortunately melted before anyone got to taste it, but the swirly lollipops were a hit. With the added energy from the sugar rush, the kids headed out with wagon in tow to pick out to the vast patch to pick their pumpkins. In addition to their pumpkin, the kids took home a muslin favor bag an adorable hand knit finger puppet, a ghost cookie and a cd of Halloween music.  Stay tuned for more pictures of the fun!
Cake.:invitations, cd labels, & "wicked good" boxed lunch labels (available for purchase), assisted with styling 
Sherry Heck: photography
Cakewalk Baking: baked goods, concept & event styling
WeeKnit: hand knit finger puppets
G & M Farms: location
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