Thursday, December 15, 2011

Sugar Baby Cookbook

I thought that this one was worth posting again.  For some reason I just can't get this cookbook out of my mind today.  Maybe some of it has to do with reminscing on my journey for this past year & how exciting it's been to chronicle my cooking, baking and sweets adventures.

Well so much to a wonderful year & hopefully many more happy, fun, bakiemesweet exploring adventures.


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Chicken & Cheese Enchiladas!!!

Okay...I am SO EXCITED(!!!) about this!  Call me crazy but this is one of those Campbell soup's recipes that I have been longing to make!  Someone made these for us (or something very similar) a few years ago when we had our daughter and ever since then I've thought, "Wow, wasn't that such a good recipe?"  It seemed fairly simple to make & I know that it warmed up great and tasted great too! 

*Note to self & reader: Now let me just stop and say that I know what you're thinking...if I am a chef and my husband and I cater then "why would a simple recipe such as this be of such an interest to me?"  And I will tell you why.  It's quite simple actually.  I am a chef, in my own right, a confectioner, and a caterer if you will but on the other days...I am just a mom.  Meaning that when we're not doing parties or cooking for somebody's event, I am just living your typical day-in and day-out existance of taking care of home and family.  You know what I mean ;-) 

So to find something so simple and so delicious as this darling recipe, when I don't have to be "the chef" or the caterer-of-the-hour and I am just "mama" then I need something simple and easy that I can fit in between making sure that the laundry and dishes are done, and that there aren't too many crayons on the floor! (smile)

So back to what I was saying about this yummy, delicious, all-in-one recipe..

I made it just as the instructions said, the only difference was I threw in a small handful of fresh spinach leaves with each roll and put about and 1/8 cup water around the bottom (just because as a chef, I can't imagine that that rice is not going to dry out baking for forty minutes without it :-).  So, are you ready for the recipe?  Here goes:

Easy Chicken & Cheese Enchiladas
1 can (10 3/4 ounce) Campbell's Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup Pace Picante Sauce
2 tsp chili powder
2 cups chopped cooked chicken
1/2 cup shredded Monterey jack cheese
6 flour tortillas (6") warmed
1 small tomato, chopped *
1 green onion, sliced *

*-I skipped these two items.

 Directions: Combine the soup, sour cream, picante sauce and chili powder in a medium bowl.

Stir 1 cup of the picante sauce mixture, chicken and cheese in a large bowl.

Evenly divide the chicken mixture among the six tortillas.   Roll up the tortillas and place them seamside up in a 2-quart shallow baking dish.  Pour remaining picante sauce mixture over filled tortillas.  Cover baking dish.

Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until enchiladas are hot and bubbling.  Top with tomato and onion. 


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Christmas Cookies-In-A-Jar

Here are my quart size mason jars (24 of them to be exact).  All lined up & ready to go!  Into the dishwasher first for sterilization.  Then we'll move on to filling them up & get the back labels ready.  Not to mention the special "Christmas Cookies-In-A-Jar" button tags that I had made up.  Ready to go!
We'll see how it works out :-)


Friday, September 30, 2011

Caramel Apples & A Few Other Treats

Okay, so I loved this recipe that I tried today.  First of all, things did not go the way that I had initially intended in that I thought for sure that I would find a recipe for homemade caramel (for apples) made with heavy cream rather than sweetened condensed milk, since:

1) That's what I had (heavy cream) and
2) I swore that I saw someone online (either a recipe or a YouTube video) making
it with just the sugar, butter & heavy cream...

I just knew that I had all the ingredients.  But sure enough, lo and behold, when it came down time for me to make it...I didn't  really have all of the ingredients, so...I just had to wing it! 

I started out with a few of my apples & I boiled them, just slightly to get rid of the waxy outer layer.  Then I put my sticks in them.
I got my chopped pecans lined up because I know that I would be using those later.

Then I got my sugar boiling.  (Sugar and water that is).
Next, I moved on to add my butter (about 5tablespoons, and one cup of heavy cream)
and I just continued to cook, and cook, (and stir) and cook it down until it was about this color.
I turned the heat off on the caramel & got my plate ready to begin dipping my apples.

Set them aside.
Now next, I turned to start making my drizzle with these (wilton melts)...
Now, I can't tell you what else I added to this.  All I will say is that just melting the
wilton melts in the microwave, like I've done before to make candies, did not work here.
Then I drizzled them on top of my apples.
And sprinkled on my nuts.
And Voila! Delicious!

With the leftover caramel and sauce, I came up with a few other treats.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Milk Men

Whew!  It's been a whole summer since my last post and I've got a lot of catching up to do!  In the meantime, let's kick off the fall and approaching winter with a little 'Ode to Christmas (for my mind is already there :-)  Today's post is dedicated to "milk men".  I've seen them on some different sites, and they've inspired me and given me different ideas and I want to share them with you!  Here goes:

(as seen on
They're smart and simple.

Snowman Milk Glasses. A perfect mix of winter and whimsey.

You may have seen them already, they were inspired by some that Amy Atlas made on the Today Show after being inspired by Celebrations at Home who was inspired by these from Better Homes and Gardens. (Check them out.)

(These were made by one of Bakerella's friends, Julie.  How cute?)
And here are my other favorites:
(As seen on Celebrations at <-love that site!)


All you need:small milk glasses (these from Target work great)
powdered doughnut holes
milk, of course

To decorate, you can use chocolate jimmies to press into the doughnuts for the eyes and mouth. The noses are orange coated sunflower seeds pressed into the dougnut and attached with a tiny bit of frosting.
You can decorate their felt scarves with the same color striped straws. And to finish them off, glued a few small buttons right on the glass.

Fun & delish!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Lemon Curd

I have officially made my first batch of lemon curd! 
I would have to say that it was a lot like making hollandaise with the whole double-boiler, egg-and-butter-thickening method...

Now these, (well not all of them) are for my scrumptious White Chocolate Lemon Cupcakes that I am making today, we'll actually I am not making them today but I will be making them soon.  This batch of lemon curd was so that I could have some curd ready when I do go to make those cupcakes (which will be next week).  And also for my "test" cupcakes that I making today.  I am testing out my icing tips and want to see if my swiss buttercream icing holds up as well with my other Bake It Pretty tips (and not just the large round one). Well, here we to go clean out the bowl from the curd and get my egg whites going.

See you soon!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes-Part II

Alright, my cupcakes are all done.   I've got the kitchen cleaned.  And now it is time for me to face the daunting task of making the swiss buttercream.  I have to admit..I am a bit intimidated by it but it is one of the goals that I set out to do in re-embarking on this cupcake adventure so here we go...

4:38pm Swiss Buttercream
That was not nearly as bad as I thought it would be.  (It was like going for your immunization shots before you begin kindergarten & the fear of the shot is greater than the actual pain).  I must admit, without my stand-mixer, I would never, ever been able to make this buttercream.  I mean seriously, that whisk attachment works true wonders.  And our buttercream is done.  Yay!  The cupcakes have also been frosted, another daunting task that is behind me:-)

My closing thoughts are: (1) that I will have to try this again, the next time with my camera along the way, (2) I'd like to try icing some cupcakes with the other tips that I have in my icing kit to see how it turns out.

Thanks for following the journey!

Have a sweet day!

(Here's the recipe for the swiss buttercream should you want it ;-)

No Shortcuts: Another Lesson Learned

Here's another lesson to put in my belt buckle: Take no short-cuts, no matter what.  Quite honestly, I have made my share of mediocre cupcakes...I've made some good ones too, but I've made some mediocre ones.  Which I am not proud to say but nonetheless, one lesson that I have learned in this new process with new beginnings is that I don't need to take any shortcuts, regardless of the cost

As I am working on this Double Chocolate Cupcake recipe as part of my Chocolate Raspberry Cupcake recipe I found a part of the instruction that I quite honestly glazed temperature eggs.  Ugh.  Well inspite of the fact that I want to get these cupcakes done, and give myself enough time to get them done right, what I have to acknowledge in all of this is that a very important part of this process is not taking any shortcuts, including this request for "room-temperature" and not "refrigerator-cold" eggs, as mine are :-)

So, I guess that I've got some time on my hands... Off to taking care of a few other things that need to be done while I wait (patiently) for my eggs to get warm.  And there you have...

Lesson #2.


Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes

It's 9 am and this morning I get to make another one of my cupcakes..what a pleasure & what a joy! Unfortunately, my camera is reading, "Batteries Exhausted" and I don't have any other AA batteries so this (post with no pictures) will just have to do.  Hopefully by the time, I've got my cupcakes complete I will
at least have photos of the finished product!  Well so far, I've already got my raspberry coulis ready.  I just took:

one cup fresh raspberries
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tbsp of lemon juice

And brought them to a boil in a medium saucepan.  Based on a recipe that I found here.

I then added 1 tablespoon of that coulis to my chocolate ganache which is also done & the rest of the coulis went to the fridge.  For that amount of berries, it couldn't have made more then 1/2 cup of liquid after I drained the seeds out through the sieve.

The chocolate ganache was:

2 egg yolks
1 1/4 cup evaporated milk
10 oz. 60% cacao reserve chocolate

But I will get to how I made that later.   Now we're on the making the cupcakes.  I want to get them done so that I have time to work on my buttercream, chocolate swiss buttercream that is ;-)  Hope hat you're enjoying the journey! :-)

(Btw-my professional dark chocolate brown cupcake liners have come in, but since these cupcakes are for a men's meeting, I am going to use some of my store-bought powder blue liners first).

Here's the recipe that I am using for the cake part of this cupcake.

First, I started out with 4 heaping tablespoons of regular classic roast Harris Teeter-brand ground coffee.  Then I added that (a coffee filter obviously,) and 2 and 1/4 cups water to the coffee maker.  Now I am going to start on melting my chocolate.

Okay, I've just blended together all of my dry ingredients-the cocoa powder, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  And now I am going to get my paddle attachment and stand mixer ready to do my eggs and such...the wet ingredients.

(1 hour and 22 minutes later...)

We're ready to go.   I've got my eggs in my mixer & I am getting ready to add the rest of my wet ingredients.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Next Cupcake

So I've got a request for a chocolate raspberry-flavored cupcake with a little kick!  To let you in our a secret, here's what I am going to do: I am going to go with a chocolate or double chocolate cupcake, a raspberry and chocolate ganache center & then a chocolate swiss buttercream to top. I now have all of the ingredients that it takes to complete this task.  All I have to do now is to begin to put it together.  That's it for now.  I've got to go put groceries away but I will let you know when I get baking :-)


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Lesson Learned

My lesson is learned...about these cupcakes.  I guess you could call it, Lesson #1 (which is one area that I've failed in the past):  These cupcakes are not the type of cupcakes that you just "throw-together".  They're not the cupcakes that someone sees and says, "Oh, I want some of those..." and you just magically work up
some sort of spell and make them appear.  They take time.  I repeat, they-take-time. 

After making these, I found myself tempted to quickly make up some more but that is not what God wanted for me here.  He wants me to know that these recipes & cupcakes are jewels.  Jewels that he has bestowed upon me to steward and not to take lightly.  Although on tv (and the internet) they can almost seem common-place...but they're not.  Not everyone can make them.  So to me, it was given, and to me I will guard and give it my trust.  Thanks for reading,

Happy Baking!

Monday, June 6, 2011

My Dream Cupcakes!

I did it, I did it, I finally...did it!  I made my first batch of dream cupcakes.  What do I mean by that? Well, it's not just the type of cupcake I made but for the first time in my life, I made a batch of cupcakes that I would ideally like to buy; the ones that look appealing to me when I walk in a bake shop.  And here they are:
They've got that perfect little "soft pillow" top, just like I like and these are my first batch!  These are the kind that I've admired whenever I have seen them (this style) on some of my favorite sites and shops like The Blushing Bakeshop (which is also on my favorite "sweet spots" list, I might add ;-)  So here's how I made them:

I used this recipe and began with:

Preheating my oven & lining my pan:
Then adding my wet ingredients to the stand mixer:

Then I sifted and added my dry ingredients.  When it was time to get to the food coloring, we ran into a little "oopsie..."  Looks, like someone hasn't bought any gel food coloring in a while.  But we made do ;-)

There's my blue velvet mix.
I got my cupcake scoop and begin to fill 'em in...

All done.  Baked at 325 degrees for about 25 minutes.
Started on my curd.
Thoroughly cooked and mixed.

Let it cool and then headed to the refrigerator.
I took the centers out of my cupcakes.
Got out my homemade pastry(a.k.a. a mini ziploc)
 bag ...
Added the cooled curd filling.  (By the way, the blackberry curd set in the fridge for about an hour).
Not to mention that it tastes, absolutely delicious!
Got my piping bag ready to do my icing (Thanks Bake it Pretty!) We are also using the round tip today.
Twist tight...
And we're ready to frost.
All covered.
Add the blackberries and there you dream cupcakes!

Happy Baking!
-Bakie (Chemeeka)

In the meantime...

In the meantime, while I am waiting to begin embarking on my journey of making some swiss buttercream and making some really nice core of the cake part of the cupcakes, I am going headed down another road.  Don't worry, this road is headed in the right direction...the direction that we're picking up on in the first place from the last time cupcakes took over my eyes and mind ;-)

I am going to attempt to make Blue Velvet, Blackberry Curd, Blackberry Lemon Cream Cheese Cupcakes.  Where did I get that from?  A friend of mine, made these and had them at a bake sale and they were absolutely delicious & I have to give a try at making them. 

So here goes, last night I went online to try and find what even would look like a similitude of what that recipe might be, and I found this.  These cupcakes were featured on Food Network.  They were done by Cakeology and were one of the cupcakes that won on Cupcake Wars (I "think"... don't quote me on that).  But I know that they were on there.

Long story short, this tells me two things.  Number One: This is a good recipe to try!  Number Two: Cupcake Wars is a good place to start pulling cupcake recipes.  That's what I need and that's the direction I am going in.

So now the plan is two-prong: (1) Make swiss buttercream, and (2)  practice making some really good cupcakes. You ready?

Sunday, June 5, 2011

A couple of other things that I recently bought in my cupcake journey are a hand-held sifter, and an ice cream scooper.  (It looks like a will also have to get an apple corer now for filling the cupcakes).

The Next Step in My Journey

So the next step in my (cupcake) journey is picking up where I left off last year.  "What are the things that I did?"   Back track my steps..and let me start over again.

Well, last year, I:

* Looked into a website called, "Bake It Pretty".com.  Looked over some things, nothing really stood out.
* I also went around to a series of cake and cupcake shops (and also to their sites) and started asking questions.
* Last but not least, I entered a craft fair to sell my cupcakes...but didn't actually end up selling any of my
cupcakes, but rather cupcakes in a jar.  Like these.  In fact, these were the site that I got my recipe from and
I sold some of them there (at the craft bazaar).

But I never took the time to actually perfect the "making" of the cupcakes.  So, here we go.

Picking up from then, the first thing that I did was I went back to my original site where I looked for my supplies at Bake it Pretty.

Second (just last week) I ordered one of those "Best Ever Cupcake Icing" Kits that they have on their site.
Now, let me say that I had (since last year) gotten one of those cupcake kits from Michael's and it never worked for me...or maybe I should say, that "I" never worked it enough, but I think that this one will do.  I do have one of the tips that already comes in this kit but I don't know, it might not be the same size.  Also, this kit offers a 16inch featherweight bag which I don't have. 

The next thing that I did, last year, was I looked around to see what kind of icings were out there from the good bakeries that I'd want to buy cupcakes from.  And the one thing that I found that was the common denominator was somewhere along the lines of a swiss buttercream, if you will.

Now that brings me back to something else.  Last year, my hubby sent me up to a speaking event uptown by a former food Food Network's star, now sucessful cake business owner, Warren Brown.  Well, long story short, I bought his book, Cake Love, got it autographed, took a picture with him and took the book home to then, literally eat it up!  I was facsinated and amazed by his vast knowledge of cakes and how to make them from scratch as well as his recipe for the meringue (icing).  I left off last summer, with saying that I was going to perfect some of his cake recipes (and later incorporate them into my cupcakes).   And honestly, I made one cake and that is where I left off..

It is from there that I will now pick up.

As of today, my Best Ever Cupcake Icing Kit, has officially arrived in the mail!  (It must have arrived yesterday because we all know that mail doesn't come on Sundays:-).  So it's here.  I am excited to open it and see what's it in.  Secondly, I am awaiting my chocolate brown cupcake liners.  I think that all cupcakes, to look professional, must or should be either in a solid black or solid chocolate brown liner.  That's just my thought.  So, I've got my muffin liners on the way-and they should be here soon.  In the meantime, I just need to get a handle on what's in the bag (from Bake It Pretty) and then next move on to making my cupcakes and swiss buttercream, and then the actual icing of the cupcakes...that is the area that I have failed in the past.

I am taking this slow because I want to be complete and finish my course.  So in case you got lost, the next step is opening my best ever kit, getting my liners, and heading to the icing.

This all takes courage but I believe that I can do it.

Sweet dreams,

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

What happened to My Dream???

A year ago, right about this time last year, the Lord had put it in my heart to start making cupcakes again & professionally.  Back when I was a teenager in high school, my dad and I would make cupcakes for community 100-300 cupcakes per event.  Well years and years later, the youth pastor and worship leader at our church got on the microphone during on Sunday morning service and said, "he felt like there were people in the room that had allowed their dreams or something that they were believing for to die but that that dream could be ressurected and re-realized."  And that was me.  I felt like for days and days God had been speaking to me about cupcakes and doing them again...not to mention the at-the-time (Summer 2010) upcoming and very popular two new shows to about cupcakes on tv (DC Cupcakes on TLC and Cupcake Wars) on Food Network.  Between these two shows, I felt very inspired.

I told my husband about it and last August he found and sent me to a Chamber of Commerce event uptown where Warren Brown of Cake Love would be speaking.  So I went, I bought the book, had it signed and autographed. Talked to him about how he got into cakes and tried to take from there.  Afterward, I thought that if I took his book and studied it and began making those cakes, (how to make cakes from scratch) I could master a few of those get the point.

Well anyways, a few days ago I went to a church picnic and there they were, someone had brought in cupcakes and my dream that had been forgotten all came back.  "What have I been doing all this time?!"   I thought to myself.  I had not been working on my cupcakes.  I had not been perfecting my recipes.  And in fact where last year I had put my services for making cupcakes up online for a low cost I allowed myself to get side-tracked in doing cakes, and shower cakes.  Not that those aren't good, but "whatever happened to my cupcakes?"   I have to do this.  I have to take this up again.  I have to allow
my dreams to be good (and to make good) cupcakes come to life!  I have recipe ideas that I have come up
with that are original to me, a year ago that are ready to be made.

And I am going to do them all here.  So what do you say, are you ready to follow me on this journey?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

This one's new to me (The Sugar Baby Cookbook)

Sugar Baby: Confections, Candies, Cakes & Other Delicious Recipes for Cooking with Sugar

This one's new to me!  I just ran across it when I was searching for something (else) on one of
my favorite sites, and what do you know...there's another yummy cookbook out there.

Gotta check it out!