Thursday, December 15, 2011

Easter Chocolates - More Than Just Eggs

Easter and chocolate go hand in hand. When the season rolls around there are candy bunnies and Easter eggs galore. However, most of the goodies you find in the local stores just taste like regular candy in an Easter wrapper. For the best Easter candy, consider shopping at a specialty candy store. If you don't have one close to you, look for one online. The treats you can get make the extra effort worthwhile.

Specialty stores make hand made confections and eggs that were common years ago before plain old mass produced Easter candy took over. Do you remember finding a big chocolate Easter egg in your basket and excitedly cutting it open to find out what flavor was inside? You can give the same thrill to your kids with gourmet eggs filled with cream centers in flavors like mint chocolate chip, buttercream, coconut, vanilla, fudge nut, cookies n' cream, peanut butter, and chocolate marshmallow.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Icing a Wedding Cake With Butter Cream Frosting

 You will need a turntable, a spatula designed for spreading icing, cardboard rounds, plastic wrap, a firm cake, a good butter cream icing recipe and patience. My first most important tip is always use a very cold cake. In fact I recommend freezing the wedding cake layers prior to filling and frosting them.

My second tip is to use a soft (but not too soft) butter cream recipe. My favorite frosting recipe is called an Italian Meringue. It is light and fluffy and not too sweet. After your cake layers have cooled, you will wrap them in plastic wrap and freeze for at least a few hours, overnight is even better.

(Note) You can cut one cake to make two layers if you bake them in the higher sided pans, which you can get at your local craft store. Wilton is a good brand. If you choose to do this, then cut the cakes after they have cooled, but before they are put into the freezer.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Wedding Cakes - 3 Steps to Choosing Your Wedding Cake

Both the centerpiece of your evening and the delicious dessert, your wedding cake is a significant element of your wedding reception. It should be eye-catching and fabulous. (tasty too!) I've narrowed the process of selecting your wedding cake into three easy steps. Follow these, and you will have the confection that suits your personal style and budget.

Step 1: Determine your Wedding Cake Style

As the focal point of your reception, your cake should represent the theme of your wedding and reflect your overall vision. Consider the style, shape, color and adornments. Browse and collect photographs of cakes that inspire you. Make a list of qualities you like and don't like.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Dessert Recipes for Crockpots

Crockpots aren't just for meals! There's all kinds of desserts you can make with your crockpot. Two are listed below. Be sure to see our website for other crockpot recipes.


* 3 lbs. cooking apples

* 10 slices of bread, cubed (about 4 cups)

* 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

* 1/4 tsp. nutmeg

* 1/8 tsp. salt

* 3/4 c. brown sugar

* 1/2 c. butter or margarine, melted

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Wedding Cake Trends 2011

Do you know what the most stylish wedding cakes will look like this year? Are cupcakes still in? Is fondant still king? Here is everything you need to know about 2010 wedding cake trends.

A new simplicity is ruling the bakeries this year. Overly ornate and precious cakes are taking a backseat to those which are simple, elegant, and above all, delicious. After seasons as the hot wedding trend, brides are finally cooling towards cupcakes, and instead opting for a real wedding cake, usually with three tiers. Very elaborate frosting made to mimic the wedding gown and bridal jewelry is less popular than frosting which looks like...well, frosting.

Speaking of frosting, move over fondant, buttercream is back! Now this is not to say that the smooth texture of fondant is totally out of style for 2010, but with simpler cakes, there has been a definite shift back towards traditional buttercream frosting. One reason for the renewed interest in buttercream is that it looks more like icing, as opposed to the almost plastic-looking artificial effect of perfectly smooth fondant. (I once attended a wedding where a young boy simply could not be convinced that a fondant covered cake was anything but a plastic fake!) The best thing about buttercream, though, is its flavor. It just tastes delicious, which is something that no one has ever claimed about fondant.

Since delicious is a big cake trend this year, that surely means that chocolate wedding cakes will be popular, right? Right! No longer reserved for the groom's cake, rich dark chocolate has made its way to center stage on the main wedding cake. It is being used in elegant cake designs which feature architectural detailing, fresh flower accents, and a swanky use of ribbons. If you are in love with the idea of a crystal monogram to coordinate with your bridal jewelry, have it made as a flat plaque which is on the side of a tier instead of a big fanciful cake topper. Chocolate cakes are one wedding trend which your guests are guaranteed to love!

Streamlined geometric wedding cakes are also in style for 2010. A three or four tier cake with square layers will look chic this year. Motifs with clean lines suit this modern cake design, as do bands of horizontal stripes. Emphasize a minimalist chic by keeping the cake itself pure white. Festive touches of color in the motif will keep the cake from looking too plain. Symmetry is also in, by the way, so stack those square tiers with the same orientation; none of that topsy-turvy stuff that was popular a couple of years ago. The Dr. Suess look is definitely out this year.

They say that three is a magic number, and that is true for wedding cakes in 2010. A pretty way to make a statement with a simple cake is by making it in multiple. Make one medium sized cake with several tiers as the centerpiece, and then flank it with two matching mini-cakes, one on each side. This is a great idea for brides who want to keep the design of their cakes clean and modern, yet want to have a cake display with some "oomph".

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Delicious Crockpot Recipes For The Family

For the working family these recipes work a wonder. Come home, relax, and enjoy a meal you only slaved 10 to 20 min prep in the morning.

Recipe #1:

To Die For Pot Roast

3 1/2 to 4 LB Rump Roast

1 Bag Of Baby Cut Carrots

3 Large Onions

5 Potatoes

1 Can Of Cream Of Mushroom Soup

1 Packet Of French Onion Soup Mix

1/4 Cup Water

Friday, August 5, 2011

Tips Cake Decorating For Buttercream Frosting

Buttercream frosting is probably the most popular cake decorating ingredient. It is light and fluffy, and with a modest amount of practice is easy to use with basic kitchen tools, a decorator's bag, and a variety of tips. Following are ten basic buttercream cake decorating tips:

1.    Use the right icing consistency. For example, stiff icing works for roses and carnations; medium icing works for covering the cake, borders, and stars; and thin icing is good for writing and making leaves.
2.    Remember the undercoat - spread a thin layer of icing onto the cake to seal in the freshness and to prevent crumbs from mixing into the main layer of icing.
3.   Cover the bowl with a damp towel to keep the icing moist.
    Always refrigerate leftover icing as it is perishable. It will keep for up to two weeks if well sealed. Rewhip any icing that has been stored before trying to put it on the cake.
4.    Shop for cake decorating supplies at a major craft store or a cake decorating supply store for the best selection of colors and other supplies.
5.    Items to include in your starter tool kit: pastry bags, couplers, icing spatula, serrated scraper and a variety of icing tips. With the correct tips you can create decorations such as twisted ropes and leaves, stars, swirls, scrolls, embroidery, shells, dots, and zigzags.
6.    Never color icing with liquid food color as it will alter icing consistency - try a gel or paste.
7.    Add color carefully, gradually mixing in very small amounts at a time - stop when the color is almost the shade you want - the color will get darker with time.
8.    Purchase tubes of pre-colored icing - handy when you make multi-colored decorations. You can even purchase ready-made icing for the whole cake when you are pressed for time.
 9.   Buttercream will melt if the temperature is too hot - something to keep in mind if you are planning a summer garden party.

Bonus Cake Decorating Tip - How to Learn More

The main skill needed for decorating with buttercream frosting is knowing how to use a decorator's bag - knowing what pressure to apply and the angle to hold the bag is crucial, as is becoming familiar with the many different tips for creating different effects. Another skill that will help you make impressive cakes is transferring patterns to a cake by tracing them with piping gel.

The best way to acquire cake decorating skills is to attend classes in the community or online. Some people can learn from books, but this approach isn't for everyone. The advantage of courses is that you connect to an instructor and other students - you'll find that over time you will share many cake decorating tips and ideas with your new friends.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Quintessential Foods of New Orleans

At mid-day, how about a sandwich? Po' boys were created as a serious meal of a sandwich for "poor boys" with little money. Fillings vary from roast beef, alligator sausage, ham, shrimp, or french fries with gravy; but the bread is always crunchy crusted New Orleans French bread with a lighter than air center. On the other hand, the mighty muffuletta sandwich uses Italian muffuletta bread, smeared with marinated olive spread; it's densely packed, in submarine fashion, with tempting Italian meats and cheeses.

Feeling peckish? Try praline candy: pecans, brown sugar, cream and butter fused in a delightfully crunchy, sweet way.

Evening meals could be boiled crawfish, étouffée, jambalaya, shrimp creole or gumbo. If it's Monday, the time honored tradition is red beans and rice.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Quinoa Recipes - Simple Guidelines For Cooking Quinoa

Quinoa isn't actually a newly discovered health grain that is revolutionising the health industry, but a very ancient staple crop that was cultivated some 5000 years ago by the ancient Incas. They understood its nutritional value even then and actually worshipped the grain in their culture. The correct way to pronounce it is 'keen-wah' and has been recognised quite recently as one of the healthiest foods there is, which is why people are now beginning to include it in every-day meals.

Today many people categorize it as a grain, but in actual fact it is a seed that is part of the swiss-chard and spinach family. Because it is a seed and not a grain means that it has an outer waxy coating called 'saponin', which if not removed prior to cooking can result in your meal tasting very bitter? It is highly recommended to pre-soak the grain for about 7-8 hours or over-night, then wash it and rinse off, this will ensure the coating is removed correctly, it also allows the grain to become a little softer which makes it easier for cooking.