Monday, December 26, 2016

baileys ice cream

Last year before the Holidays, Bailey's sent me a beautiful bottle of their delicious Irish cream, and it was delicious just added to our coffee at Christmas. We also made use of it on New Years Eve, when I decided to make ice cream with it! 

I loosely used this recipe, except that I modified the amounts (I used 1 cup heavy cream, 1 cup whole milk, 3/4 cup Bailey's, and 3 egg yolks), but the technique was the same.

It turned out super delicious, and I amped it up even more by drizzling Bailey's directly over the ice cream just before serving!

I may have to make it again this year!

Here's to Happy New Year!!!

Sunday, December 18, 2016

champagne glass cookies

You may remember that a few years ago I made a variety of goodies for Cherish's wedding (my first wedding dessert table!), which included Hello Kitty macarons, football and tooth cookies, mini s'mores cupcakes, and potted plant chocolate puddings. And recently, she asked me to make cookies for a bachelorette party that she was putting together! She was going for a classy and elegant bachelorette party vibe, so we decided one design would be champagne glass cookies.

Since I had no champagne glass cookies cutter, and could not find one that I liked online, I asked my handy hubby to make me another custom copper cutter! (Aren't I lucky??!) So I made a few batches of my favorite sugar cookies recipe (from my book, The Hello Kitty Baking Book) and used my shiny new cutter to cut out my shapes.

After baking the cookies until golden brown (350F for 10-12 minues), I whipped up a batch of royal icing (recipe also in my book!) and used ivory gel-based food coloring to get the perfect shade of champagne. Then I used stiff ivory icing to outline the top part of the champagne glass, filled it in with ivory runny icing, and then did the same with white icing for the bottom part of the glass.

The final touch was piping stiff white icing for the "bubbles" in the champagne!

I thought they turned out super cute and festive, and would also be perfect for a birthday of a  New Years celebration as well!

I also made a second cookie design to go along with the champagne glass cookies - floral brush embroidery cookies! Stay tuned for the tutorial!

Sunday, December 11, 2016

coffee chiffon drip cake with espresso whipped cream and dark chocolate ganache

For my good friend Helen's birthday last September, we decided to meet up for Sunday brunch with our hubbies and kids in tow, and I decided to surprise her with this coffee chiffon cake! I knew she liked coffee chiffon because I made a Mickey Mouse version for her daughter Marni's birthday earlier this year, and she told me it was her favorite yet :D

I decided that it would be a small 6-inch cake, the perfect size for her and her family to enjoy, so I made four layers of coffee chiffon in 6-inch round cake pans. Then I filled each layer with espresso-tinged whipped cream.

Next I covered the top and sides of the cake with the same espresso whipped cream, smoothing it with an offset spatula.

I've been drooling at all the drip cakes out there on Instagram, so I decided to try it out again with Guittard dark chocolate (I first tried it with a Blogiversary cake a few years ago), although I still need to work on my drippy ganache technique because it still wasn't drippy enough!

I waited for my not-drippy-enough dark chocolate ganache to set before adding the final touch ...

... Little piped droplets of more of the espresso whipped cream. Don't they look like little meringue kisses?

Hope you had a fabulous birthday, Helen! So glad we got to spend that Sunday with you!

Sunday, December 4, 2016

lovebird cookies

This past summer, my little brother got married! And it was such a beautiful wedding! He and his wife were married on a beautiful ranch in Carmel, among beautiful scenery, a view of the ocean, and grazing sheep nearby. And all of our family were there to celebrate with them. It was a beautiful day. And I had the privilege of making cookies for their wedding favors!

My brother and his wife love birds, so we decided on these lovebird cookies. I saw the original design at Little Wonderland, and thought it would be perfect for them! Their wedding colors were robin's egg blue and coral, so we decided on blue and white birds, with a coral beak and feet. I used my favorite sugar cookie recipe, which you can find in my book, and this heart cookie cutter which I found on Amazon. (I actually purchased several different heart cookie cutters, because I was looking for the perfect size and shape of heart! Some were too narrow, or too small, but this one was perfect!)

After the cookies were baked and cooled, I started on the royal icing (recipe also in my book!). I used white stiff icing and a small round tip to pipe the outline for the white bird, and then I filled it in with white runny icing.

Then I did the same for the other half of the cookie, using stiff blue icing for the outline, and then filling in with runny blue icing. (I used this gel-based food coloring get the perfect robin's egg blue!)

I let the cookies dry for several hours, before adding the details. First, I used brown semi-runny icing to create the branches.

Once that was dry, I used coral icing to create the beaks and the feet.

Then I used black stiff icing for the eyes, and then stiff white and blue icing for the wing details.

Aren't they sweet?

My brother's wife even made cute little cookie tags for me to package them up with!

I'm SO happy for them! Here are some pictures from their amazing day.

Congratulations Michael and Robin!!!

Sunday, November 27, 2016

apple tart with olive oil crust

I follow Amanda Hesser on Instagram (love her!), and about a year ago I was drooling over a post of a pie that she made, which had a press-in crust made with olive oil instead of butter. I was intrigued because it sounded so simple and yet looked so fancy! So I looked it up, and while the original recipe was for a peach tart, the comments suggested that the apple version was just as good. I just had to try it!

The crust was super duper simple, as promised, and actually the part that took the longest was peeling, cutting, and arranging the apples!

Instead of a top crust, the recipe uses a topping of sugar, flour, and butter (to which I also added some cinnamon), which is just sprinkled over the top. So easy!

When it came out of the oven, bubbling and delicious-smelling, it was hard to resist cutting into it right away!

After the tart had (finally cooled) and we were able to dig in, it was definitely pretty tasty. And even though I prefer a traditional pie crust (this crust was more of a crumbly/sandy crust rather than a crunchy flakey crust), I would definitely make it again especially given that it was super quick and easy.