Wednesday, December 21, 2011

French Macarons!

Hello blog world! Do you remember me?! I know it's been way too long since I have posted on here. It's been a crazy few months balancing my internship, graduate school, and work. It's left me with no time to bake :( But in addition to my crazy life right now one of the most amazing things happened in November... My boyfriend of 9 years proposed! So I have been kind of wedding planning here and there (but school is most important and I'm trying to focus on that ;-) I'm excited to really get wedding planning when I graduate in May because now I can really gather ideas from all the wedding and event blogs I love to read! hehe...

The fall semester has come to an end and I have a little more time on my hands during my winter "break" (which is less than two weeks! boo).... so I am trying to take advantage of that time. Yesterday was my first day off from the semester so I decided to tackle French Macarons. As you may recall I took a macaron class back in September for my birthday. I finally had time to make them on my own yesterday. I was so nervous! I've heard so many horror stories about macaron making that I researched extensively on the blogs as well before I started my endeavor. I won't bore you with every detail of my macaron experience or with a tutorial (because you can find plenty of them on the blogs out there) but here are a few things I found useful...

1. Prepping is worth it! That includes aging the eggs and weighing ingredients. I did all this the day before.
2. Magic bullet. I love this thing! I do not yet have a good food processor but there is nothing I have done yet that the magic bullet has not been able to handle. I made the almond flour with this amazing kitchen tool. The only thing is you may have to sift the flour a few more additional times.

As for the recipe, I used the recipe they provided us from the class which uses an Italian meringue technique. I made the basic macaron shell recipe - I was too nervous to add extra ingredients for flavor or food coloring that may throw off the recipe so I decided to make the basic recipe for my first time. This way I was also able to make different fillings to try out. Here are the results:

Filling: Grand Mariner dark chocolate ganache
Decor: Painted with diluted gel food coloring

Filling: Mocha swiss meringue buttercream
Decor: Sprinkled cocoa powder before baking

Filling: Dulce de leche swiss meringue buttercream
Decor: sprkinkle Wilton gold stars before baking then brushed
with edible gold shimmer dust after

I can't believe my first time was a success!! I'm glad I took that class back in September... I could only imagine if I tried these before then lol. I'm excited to try all the fun flavor combinations. They are a bit time consuming but worth the meticulous effort. Hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday season... if I don't post before then, have a happy new year too! ~Cara Lee

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Happy Birthday Mom!

I am dedicating this weekend's post to my mom! It's her birthday Sunday October 23rd. I made her a simple little cake with fun sprinkles - it reminded me of my childhood. It was my mother who instilled my love of baking. Here I am with my little pink mixer... scrambling eggs was what I did best at 4 years old ;-)

Aside from baking, my mom has always been there for me. She is a strong woman I've always looked up to. She made sure my brother and I had all the opportunities we could growing up.
But lately my mom has been going through a tough time this year after losing her job. I never really thought much of the economy these past few years, but when it affects your family you then realize what many other Americans are going through right now. I just want to say I know it can be hard, but I hope you can enjoy your special day. And each day find something that brings you joy! Love you mom & Happy Birthday!! ~Cara

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

S'mores Cupcakes

This past weekend's wedding cupcakes included a s'mores cupcake with a toasted marshmallow frosting. I was so excited to use my new creme brulee torch from Bed, Bath and Beyond LOL. I liked them so much I made them for a football party Sunday and I'm going to make them again to bring in to school for my teacher friends this week lol. Here's the recipe I used, but of course you can modify it to your liking.

For the graham cracker crust, you can use pretty much any homemade recipe. I just mash up a pack or two of graham crackers in a food processor (aka my "magic bullet"). Add a few table spoons of butter and sugar til it's slightly moist. Press it in the bottom of each cupcake liner - I use a small glass to press it down evenly.

For the cake, and for my chocolate cake recipes I love to use Martha Stewart's Devil's Food Cake recipe. It makes at least 36 cupcakes and I usually cut the recipe in half. I do a little less than an ice cream scoop full. Pour into each cupcake liner and cook for about 15 minutes (depending on your oven).

After the cupcakes are cooled I top them with Trophy Cupcakes Toasted Marshmallow Frosting. It's basically a meringue frosting that I use the creme brulee torch to "toast". The recipe on the site says it makes enough for 2 dozen... when I think it makes enough for 20 dozen!!! I cut it down and this amount makes really makes a smaller amount good enough for 2 dozen or so.

Marshmallow Frosting
Modified from Trophy Cupcakes/Martha Stewart

3 egg whites
3/4 cup sugar
Dash of cream of tartar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  1. Place egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar in the heatproof bowl of an electric mixer. Set over a saucepan with simmering water. Whisk constantly until sugar is dissolved and whites are warm to the touch, 3 to 4 minutes. (I make sure they reach at least 140 degrees F)
  2. Transfer bowl to electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, and beat, starting on low speed, gradually increasing to high, until stiff, glossy peaks form, 5 to 7 minutes. Add vanilla, and mix until combined. Use immediately (it cannot be saved for later use)
  3. Optional: use a creme brulee torch to toast the frosting like a marshmallow :)

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Rona & Greg's Wedding

I had the pleasure of making the cake and cupcake tower for my friend's Rona and Greg's wedding this weekend. It was held at Glen Echo Park here in the DC area. What a fun location! It is so rich with history and has that vintage feel. Little fun fact: Glen Echo was built in 1891 and was the premier amusement parks in the DC area until the late 1960s. The wedding itself was held in the "Bumper Car Pavilion."

The entrance to the park with an old trolly from the 1900s

The Bumper Car Pavilion in the early 1900s
(I love seeing old pictures from past history)

The Bumper Car Pavilion today!

The cake and cupcakes were simple and fun. The cake was a basic yellow cake with amaretto ganache while the cupcakes included red velvet and a toasted s'mores cupcakes (a fun cupcake for the fall weather!).

The wonderful beautiful bride and groom

And last, I made a groom's cupcake with the old school Redskin's "R." I am not a skin's fan, but I'll do what I gotta do for my friends ;-) Congrats to Rona and Greg!! I had such a great time and thank you for letting me be apart of your special day.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins

I'm so behind on my blog these days... grad school has consumed me! Hopefully will find time to post some of the things I have done recently as well as one more upcoming wedding for a friend next week. In the meantime, I found an hour of my morning to bake some tasty yet healthy muffins. I had some very brown bananas that needed to be used. I like banana bread but it takes forever to bake in the bread pan and I usually burn the sides and the middle is not cooked. So I used my large muffin tin to make big muffins instead. The BF couldn't even tell they were whole wheat ;-) This recipe is a keeper!

Whole Wheat Banana Muffins w/ Chocolate Chips and Pecans

Adapted from the blog Fat Girl Trapped in a Skinny Body

Makes 1 loaf (or 9 large muffins)

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup AP flour

1/4 cup canola oil

2 eggs

1/2 cup buttermilk (can substitute regular milk which I did)

1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

2 cups mashed very ripe bananas (about 3 large or 4 small bananas -
I was short one banana and I subbed a few tablespoons of canned pumpkin in its place)
1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup sugar

1 cup mini chocolate chips (I put extra of course)

1 cup Chopped pecans (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray 8×4-inch loaf pan with cooking spray (I used a large muffin tin). In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt. In a separate large bowl, mix sugars and oil with a whisk or fork until well blended (about 1 minute). Add eggs one at a time, whisking well after each addition. Add banana, buttermilk, and vanilla. Add flour mixture; mix with a whisk or fork just until moist. Fold in mini chocolate chips (and pecans if you want). Don’t over-mix. Spoon batter into prepared pan or two ice cream scoop fulls per muffin tin. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes (or 30 minutes or so for the large muffin tin) or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 15 minutes in pan on a wire rack. Remove from pan and cool completely on wire rack.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

French Macaron Class in DC

French macarons. I know they are so trendy right now, but I have been wanting to learn how to make them forever. I'm usually good at reading a recipe and teaching myself, but these always have intimidated me. As I searched for a pastry class about French macarons, I came across the seasonal classes they offer at Adour in DC (located inside the St. Regis Hotel - so posh!). As one of my birthday presents to myself this year I decided to sign up for the class this weekend. Each class Chef Fabrice teaches you a different flavor macaron as well as an additional french pastry. This class we learned how to make macarons filled with a lemon chocolate ganache filling. I never new chocolate and lemon could work together, but it did!. We also learned how to make a basic french financier (for those of us who don't speak French like myself, it sounds like "fin-on-see-ay" ;-).

I learned how time consuming these suckers can be. Some important tips I learned for making French macarons:
-temper the eggs for at least 24 hrs
-it is best to weigh your ingredients (so I guess my next purchase will be a scale)
-the dry ingredients must sit out over night to "dry" more (becuase of the oils in the almond flour).
But in the end it is totally worth the wait for these little delicious French pastries. I am excited to try them for myself with all the endless flavor combinations you can create.

Here are the finished products...

Lemon Chocolate Ganache Macarons

Lemon Financiers

Details about the class if you are interested:
-Held at the Adour restaurant located at the St. Regis Hotel D.C.
-Cost was $75 for this class
-When you arrive there are pastries, coffee and tea to munch on
-You get to go home with a box of fresh made French Macaroons

Monday, August 29, 2011

Indian Wedding Cake

This weekend I did a cake for one of my friend's - Erika and her husband Sam. It was an Indian inspired wedding cake with an alpana design that she created. That puts a lot of pressure on a person (me! who is no professional) to try and re-create it, especially in sugar form. The alpana was used on the invitations, programs, and I had to incorporate it on the cake. I was so nervous!!
The program

To add to the tension, hurricane Irene was threatening nasty weather. I've delivered cupcakes in a blizzard - I can deliver a cake in a hurricane!! lol... In the end, the cake made it safely to the venue - Meadowlark Botanical Gardens. I wish I took pictures of how they transformed this place, but it was amazingly beautiful with red roses and purple hydrangea. The trees were sprinkled with red roses and tea lights. I was nervous my cake wasn't going to do enough justice!! But after I stacked it and added the finishing details it came together. I also got to see the bride and show her the cake - she was happy with the final result so I could finally relax!! Here are a few shots I took... can't wait to see professional pics :)

My cake getting it's glamor shots on ;-)

My favorite shot!

Congrats to Erika and Sam!!! Thank you for letting me be apart of your big day!!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Ruffled Cake

I know everyone has done this cake by now.... but I think it is so cute and simple, I wanted to try my hand at it too. With the upcoming wedding, I had to test a cake recipe before hand and this was the perfect opportunity to test the recipe and my piping skills. I can't wait to do this cake again sometime :)

I ended up with a vanilla buttermilk cake with peach and black berry swiss meringue buttercream. Very summery! For the peach SMBC, I put a few tablespoons of peach preserves in the food processor before adding it to the frosting to ensure there were no peach chunks to get caught in the tip of the piping bag.

I love the contrast of the blackberry frosting inside the cake too!

Had a little batter left over to make a few cupcakes as well :)

Tonight I will begin preparation for this weekend's wedding! No life this week, but hopefully worth all the hard work in the end ;-)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Wedding Cake Inspiration

Been awhile since I've blogged. It's been a busy summer with weddings, vacation and work. So I decided to blog about the upcoming wedding cake I am working on for the end of the month.

I'm getting excited to start working on my friend's wedding cake. Her soon to be husband is Indian and they will be having both the traditional Indian ceremony and a modern one the same day. I will be making the cake for the reception. Here are some of the inspiration ideas I have been gathering the past few months.

One of the main inspirations of the overall wedding is the Alpana she designed. She also designed the invitation for our other friend's baby shower back in May. The Alpana design was used on the invitations and will be incorporated at the wedding. I learned that the Alpana is an important symbol in Bengali events such as weddings.

The flowers that will be used in the wedding are red roses and purple hydrangeas. I think I'm feeling fresh flowers on to be incorporated on the cake :)

And here are some cakes that have caught my eye along the way...

Cake Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4

We have an idea sketched out... but you will just have to wait and see! ~Cara Lee

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

My friend Ashley (the one who we had the birdy baby shower for) just had her baby last week! The sweetest little boy named Brayden :) Whenever I go to visit them I try to bring some treats with me. This week request was peanut butter! I looked around and came across this recipe for peanut butter chocolate chip cookies. It got rave reviews from mama Ashley and everyone else I gave extra cookies too.
When it comes to cookies I LOVE soft baked cookies. I'll eat crunchy ones, but they have to be dipped in milk to soften them up. This recipe makes a very soft cookie that is still soft the next day (if you have any left). They also don't spread very much so you can fit a lot on one pan ;-) Enjoy!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
Recipe modified from All Recipes


  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (I subbed 1 cup whole wheat flour for o ne of the cups of all-purpose flour)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups chopped semisweet chocolate (I used Nestle's new semi-sweet/white chocolate swirl chips)


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, peanut butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the corn syrup, water, and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt; stir into the peanut butter mixture. Fold in chocolate chunks. Drop by 1/4 cupfuls 3 inches apar t onto ungreased baking sheets (I used my small cookie scoop which drops them in tablespoon fulls, which I baked for about 9 minutes).
  3. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes in the preheated oven, or until edges are golden. Allow cookies to cool for 1 minute on the cookie sheet before removing to wire racks to cool completely.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

One Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes

Here is an easy chocolate cake recipe if you need a quick dessert. It doesn't use a lot of utensils either (because you all know we hate doing dishes!). And you can top it with whatever you like (I topped these off with a quick vanilla cream cheese frosting)... Enjoy :)

One Bowl Chocolate Cake
From All Recipes
Makes about 36 cupcakes or 2, 9in Rounds

  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour two nine inch round pans.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla, mix for 2 minutes on medium speed of mixer. Stir in the boiling water last. Batter will be thin. Pour evenly into the prepared pans.
  3. Bake 30 to 35 minutes in the preheated oven, until the cake tests done with a toothpick. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

A few things about this chocolate cake recipe: it is a soft lighter cake, almost like a box mix texture (so I don't think it would be very sturdy for stacking or anything like that); if you are making cupcakes like I did, fill the liners no more than 2/3's of the cupcake liner because anymore than that and you will have cupcakes with overflowing "muffin tops" and that ain't pretty (basically when I used my ice cream scoop to portion the cupcakes, right where the metal thingy is that swoops across to release the ice cream/batter is, that is the line I used to fill the scoop). Also, this recipe is easily cut in half (I made 17 cupcakes when I cut in half :).

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

9 years

The key to a man's heart: bacon & bourbon

Today marks our 9 year anniversary together! That is my boyfriend and I ;-) Crazy huh?! Were not really into gift giving but we do always try to go out to a nice dinner somewhere and maybe give a creative little gift. This year I decided to surprise him with this dessert I saw in the latest issue of Food & Wine Magazine. He's not really a sweets person yet he complains I make things for everyone else and not him. Seriously... men?! lol.

I love the irony of the card next to the bacon brownies

I instantly wanted to make these Bacon Bourbon Brownies when I saw them in the magazine. I love the sweet and salty combo and he loves bacon and alcohol just brings it all together. I find homemade brownies hit or miss for me. I've made a batch before that came out rock hard and others that were just okay. I'm actually a fan of the box mix becuase they always turn out right and taste damn good! So anyways... These were actually really good but just a few things: After I baked these, I don't know if I over baked them a few minutes or what, but the outside ones were a little dry. These are definitely a dark chocolate kind of brownie and it needed a little something sweet (maybe that's just me). I whipped up some Maple Bourbon Cream Cheese Frosting to top it off with which married perfectly together with the brownie. In the end the BF liked them and that's what matters the most. Happy anniversary babe!

Bacon Bourbon Pecan Brownies
From Food & Wine


1/2 cup pecans

1/2 pound sliced bacon

8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped

1 stick plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 packed cup light brown sugar

3 tablespoons bourbon

4 large eggs

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Line a 9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper, allowing 2 inches of overhang on 2 opposite sides. Spray the paper with vegetable spray. Spread the pecans in a pie plate and toast for about 8 minutes, until fragrant. Let cool, then coarsely chop the nuts.
  2. In a skillet, cook the bacon over moderate heat, turning once, until crisp, 6 minutes. Drain on paper towels and let cool; reserve 3 tablespoons of the fat. Finely chop the bacon.
  3. In a saucepan, combine both chocolates with the butter and stir over very low heat, until melted; scrape into a large bowl. Using a handheld electric mixer, beat in both sugars with the reserved 3 tablespoons of bacon fat. Beat in the bourbon. Add the eggs and salt and beat until smooth. Sift the cocoa and flour into the bowl and beat until blended.
  4. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle the bacon and pecans on top. Bake for about 50 minutes, until the brownies are set around the edges but slightly wobbly in the center; a toothpick inserted into the center should have some batter clinging to it. Transfer the pan to a rack and let the brownies cool completely. Lift the brownies out of the pan using the parchment paper. Cut into squares or rectangles and serve.

Maple Bourbon Cream Cheese Frosting


1 stick of butter (room temp)

1/2 block of cream cheese (4oz.) (room temp)

Powdered Sugar

2 tsp. bourbon

1 tsp. maple extract


1. Mix together butter and cream cheese in your stand mixer until combined.
2. Add about a cup of powdered sugar and the bourbon and maple extract and continue to mix.
3. Add a little more powdered sugar until it is the consistency you desire. (I never measure my powdered sugar).
4. Put in a ziploc bag, cut off the corner of the bag and drizzle onto the cooled brownies.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th of July

This is one of the first years we aren't hosting a 4th of July BBQ and I must say it's been quite a relaxing day! We are headed to a friends house to BBQ later today and I always have to whip up something to bring. I picked up fresh blueberries, strawberries and rhubarb at the store last night and concocted this cake with the inspiration of Martha Stewart.

I used Martha's Strawberry Cream Cake recipe but instead of just plain strawberries to layer the cake with, I made a strawberry-rhubarb compote between the layers. Garnished it with fresh blueberries. Hopefully it won't be a pain to transport to the BBQ tonight... Happy 4th of July!The cake is made in 3 parts: the cake, the whipped cream and the compote. This recipe makes 2 8 inch layer cakes, if you want a 3 layer like mine, make and additional half of the cake recipe. Once the cakes and compote are cool you can layer away. I did have to torte the tops of the cakes to make them flat before layering. Compote and whipped cream can be made the day before. What I love about this cake is that rustic, simple look. Enjoy!

Strawberry-Rhubarb Cream Cake
Adapted from Martha Stewart

Cake Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for pan
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs plus 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 1/2 tsp orange extract
  • 1/2 tsp lemon extract
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
Cake Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter bottoms of 2 8-inch round cake pans, and line with parchment paper. Butter and flour paper and sides. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

  2. Using an electric mixer on high speed, beat butter and 1/2 cup sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Add eggs and yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla bean, orange and lemon extract. With mixer on low, alternately add flour mixture in 3 parts and milk in 2, beginning and ending with flour mixture; mix just until combined. Spread batter in prepared pans. (I like to use an ice cream scoop to divide the batter evenly between the pans. All you have to do is count how many scoops you do in each pan ;-)

  3. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, about 18 - 20 minutes. Cool in pan 10 minutes; invert onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Whipped Cream Ingredients:
  • 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin (from a 1/4-ounce envelope)
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste (optional)
Cream Directions:
  1. Place 2 tablespoons cold water in a small saucepan, and sprinkle with gelatin; let soften 5 minutes. Place saucepan over very low heat, and stir until gelatin is dissolved. Remove from heat; let cool.
  2. Using an electric mixer, beat cream and remaining 1/4 cup sugar in a large bowl until very soft peaks form. Continue to beat, and gradually add gelatin mixture; beat until soft peaks form. Add vanilla bean paste and mix for a few more seconds.

Strawberry-Rhubarb Compote
From Martha Stewart

  • 10 ounces (2 cups) fresh strawberries, rinsed, hulled, and chopped
  • 1/4 cup plus 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 10 ounces trimmed rhubarb, cut into 1/4-inch pieces (about 2 3/4 cups or 2 large stalks)
  • 2 tablespoons water
  1. Stir strawberries, 1/4 cup sugar, and lemon juice in a small nonreactive pan; bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook, stirring often, until softened, about 3 minutes. Remove strawberries with slotted spoon; place in a bowl and let cool. Set aside pan with strawberry liquid.
  2. Meanwhile, in another small pan over medium-low heat, combine rhubarb, remaining 1/3 cup sugar, and the water. Simmer gently, stirring often, until sugar is dissolved and rhubarb is almost tender, about 6 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer rhubarb to bowl with strawberries. Add strawberry liquid to pan.
  3. Raise heat to medium and simmer until thickened and reduced to 1/2 cup, about 10 minutes. Let cool. Stir into strawberry-rhubarb mixture.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Semi-Homemade Mini Lemon Tarts

I pulled a Sandra Lee last weekend and made "semi-homemade" mini lemon tarts garnished with fresh berries for the wedding shower. The lemon curd I had prepared a few weeks before hand for the wedding cake I did recently (which was actually for the bride to be's now sister in law ;-). The lemon curd froze really well and did not loose any of it's thickness when defrosted. This is a great recipe for summer and mini desserts are all the rage right now.

How to make "Semi-Homemade" Mini Lemon Tarts....
1. Prepare lemon curd (this can be done in advance and like I said
it freezes well. When you need to defrost it, put it in the refrigerator 24hrs before you need it.)
2. Prepare the mini shells with pre-made pie crust
3. Pipe the lemon curd in the shells and garnish to your liking (these can be prepared the night before and kept in the fridge).

Lemon Curd By The Joy of Baking

3 large eggs

3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated white sugar

1/3 cup (80 ml) fresh lemon juice (2-3 lemons) (do not use the bottled lemon juice)

4 tablespoons (56 grams) unsalted butter at room temperature

1 tablespoon (4 grams) finely shredded lemon zest

In a stainless steel bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water, whisktogether the eggs, sugar, and lemon juice until blended. Cook, stirring constantly (to prevent it from curdling), until the mixture becomes thick (like sour cream or a hollandaise sauce) (160 degrees F or 71 degrees C). This will take approximately 10 minutes. Remove from heat and immediately pour through a fine strainer to remove any lumps. Cut the butter into small pieces and whisk into the mixture until the butter has melted. Add the lemon zest and let cool. The lemon curd will continue to thicken as it cools. Cover immediately (so a skin doesn't form) and refrigerate for up to a week. Makes 1 1/2 cups

Mini Pie Shells

You can find pre-made pie dough in the refrigerator section at your grocery store. I found mine near the cookie dough. Unroll the dough on your counter and using at least a 3in circle cookie cutter cut out circles. I around 8 circles in one dough. Place them each in a muffin tin cup. You want to make some sort of well for the curd to sit in. Don't forget to pierce the bottom of the dough or it will balloon up! I baked mine on 400 degrees for 5-6 minutes (this may vary according to the directions on the box). Let them cool. Now you're ready to fill with the curd!

*I tired using the extra dough by putting all the scraps together and re-rolling it out, cutting out the circles, and everything... but when it baked it shunk up and did not make a cute little bowl/well like the others. Still tasted good though ;-)

Here is a funny pic my friend sent me of her family's dog rocking a "sombrero cookie" as her dad called them when he first saw the tarts LOL...

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Oreo Pops > Cake Pops

I have come to the conclusion I like Oreo pops much better than cake pops. Maybe it's because they're easier to make (less prep to do)? And maybe because I'm just not really down with the soggy texture of a cake pop when I bite into it. Not trying to knock the cake pops or anything - I still do love Bakerella! ;-)

Here are some Oreo pops I make for one of my best friend's wedding shower this weekend. The Oreo pops were just one of many sweets I made for the occasion.

When making them I switched it up with Golden Oreos and Peanut Butter Chocolate Oreos. Double stuff is the way to go with these! So much easier inserting the stick with out breaking it. But.... if you have to have a regular size Oreo, I found that if you insert the stick carefully, put a little of the chocolate around the base of the cookie and stick and chill it for a few minutes. It kinda glues it in place. Now your ready to dip the whole thing :)

Here's a few more of the sweet's I made for my friend's shower:

~Homemade marshmallows dipped in chocolate w/ graham crackers or toasted coconut
~Semi-homemade lemon tarts with fresh berries (I may put the recipe up later)
~ Coconut macaroons
~Key lime pie cupcakes
~Banana, nutella and coconut cupcakes

Nom Nom Nom....