Friday, June 26, 2009

More Brownies...

Well, my family had some friends over, so we decided to make brownie sundaes!  As usual, I used the Baker's One-Bowl Brownies recipe, but this time I made them in a different pan.  I used a 10-1/2 inch spring-form pan with parchment paper in the bottom, and I greased it with butter-flavored Crisco.  I baked it for 30 minutes, and voila!  Brownie pie!  We had different ice-creams, sprinkles, toppings, and whipped cream, too.  It  was a huge success, and a tasty one at that.  You just can't go wrong with this recipe.  And the retro-riffic cake tin is from Glitterville.  

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

My uncle's wedding!

My uncle got married last week, and my mom volunteered the two of us to make the desserts for the reception, as well as, the cake. I was very happy that they said yes, but then, I thought of something important...How on earth were we going to transport everything all the way to Nebraska?! Well, we decided to freeze everything before we had to go, and then pack it all in a hardside suitcase with bubble wrap for the plane ride there, and it worked out perfectly!!!

My soon-to-be aunt's dress was a short, casual white one, with a tropical pink and brown flower print, and those were their wedding colors. The next thing that we did was plan the dessert menu. They asked us if we would make sandwich cookies, small things for people to munch on, and they requested either white or yellow cake with a fruit filling. My uncle kept asking for kiwi desserts, but since we didn't have experience with any we told him 'sorry'.

This is what we ended up doing:

(Pictured above - starting at the bottom, and moving clockwise) Greek Almond Cookies, Butter Cupcakes with Wilton Buttercream Frosting, Butter Cake with Crushed Pineapple Filling and Wilton Buttercream Frosting, Bakerella's Vanilla Oreo Cookie Truffles, and Brownie Cutouts with Melted Chocolate and Raspberry Almond M&M'S. Not shown: Fancy Flours No-Fail Sugar Cookies filled with raspberry jam. YUMMY!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Greek Almond Cookies are my mom's own recipe, and they are a delicious, simple cookie. On their own, they aren't sweet, but once you roll them in confectioner's sugar they are perfect! Here is her recipe:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
1 cup butter, room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup almonds, toasted and ground
Confectioners sugar, for rolling
1. Toast almonds at 350 degrees for 6 minutes. DO NOT BURN! Remove from oven and let cool. Grind these either with a nut grinder or the smallest side of a box grater, but do NOT put these in your food processor, as it will turn it into a flour, rather then a coarse meal.
2. Cream butter, sugar, and vanilla
3. Add flour and ground almonds; mix well.
4. Scoop out balls with a cookie scoop, in your size choice. Roll the balls smooth in your hands, and then place them on a light-colored cookie sheet. For mini-cookies, cook them for about 5-6 minutes. For regular size cookies, cook them for about 8-9 minutes. For large cookies, cook them for about 12-13 minutes. Take them out of the oven and set them on a cooling rack.
5. Once the cookies are cool to the touch, pour a large amount of confectioner's sugar into a small bowl. One at a time, roll the cookies in the powdered sugar until they are completely covered, and transfer them to your serving tray of choice for everyone(or just you, of course) to enjoy!

For the sandwich cookies, I halved the Fancy Flours recipe for No-Fail Sugar Cookies, and cut them out with a 1-3/4 inch biscuit cutter. I baked them for about 5 minutes, froze them afterward, and when we got to Nebraska we filled them with sugar-free raspberry jam and wrapped them in cellophane so that they could be passed out as favors. Tricia-Rennea created a fabulous wrap for the cookie packages, but we ran out of time before we left and weren't able to print them out. You can see from the picture above and if you visit the link for the wrap, that it really would have made the favors pop. We were amazed at how closely Tricia-Rennea was able to mimic the dress pattern.

For the Oreo Truffles, we used Bakerella's recipe, but substituted Golden Vanilla Oreos instead of the chocolate ones. We dipped them into white candy bark and topped them with chocolate jimmies for added cuteness.

For the brownie cutouts, I used the Baker's One-Bowl Brownie recipe, and I baked them in a small cookie sheet lined with buttered parchment paper. Once they were cool, we cut them out with a 3/4 inch biscuit cutter and froze them. When we got to Nebraska, we melted some chocolate chips, poured a small amount on each brownie, and topped them with the specialty M&M's.

For the cake and cupcakes, I used a Better Homes and Gardens recipe that I doubled to make to round cakes and just over 2 dozen cupcakes. They were both frozen after they were done, and when we got to Nebraska, we spread crushed pineapple in between the two layers and decorated both the cake and cupcakes with Wilton's Buttercream Frosting. When I made the frosting, I made 1 1/2 batches, and I added 2 tablespoons of meringue powder for stiffness. We frosted everything with a smooth layer of white frosting, and then added flower designs in hot pink frosting.

Everything came out wonderful, and everyone was 'oohing' and 'aahing' over the cute desserts. The highlight was when the bride and groom went to cut their cake - they couldn't get through it because it was still frozen. HAHAHAHA! We didn't take it out of the freezer early enough. I enjoyed myself immensely, and I look forward to doing things like this in the future.



Thursday, June 4, 2009

Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale

Found out about this through Post Punk Kitchen's blog...Who the Atlanta Vegan Bake Sale Helps:
"We chose CatSnip to be the recipient of the proceeds from the Atlanta Vegan Bake Sale because on average, about 8 out of every 10 cats that enter Metro Atlanta shelters are euthanized. Sterilization is a non-lethal method of reducing cat overpopulation and the most humane way to prevent the birth of unwanted, homeless cats. CatSnip offers very low cost spay/neuter services using a mobile feline surgical unit, so low cost spay and neuters are easy and affordable for everyone. CatSnip is a project of the Atlanta Animal Alliance, a nonprofit 501(c) 3 charity. The vehicle CatSnip uses costs $150,000 to purchase and $250,000 annually to operate. CatSnip's non-profit, low-cost spay/neuter operation is sustained by private donations."

A little about the Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale:
"On June 20 through June 28 (two weekends and the weekdays in between), groups from across the world will hold vegan bake sales. Each participating group gets to choose its venue, what to sell, and how it uses the proceeds. We invite you to participate! You can hold the bake sale on any day during the period—or on more than one day if you like. Just about anyone can join in. Read on...

WHY participate?
It's a fun way to introduce people to the joy and tastiness of vegan foods.
Raise money for your cause.
Be part of an event that will publicize the many benefits of an animal-free diet.

HOW do you participate?
Plan to hold a vegan bake sale sometime between June 20 and June 28.
Let us (and the world) know by using our handy signup form (preferred) or emailing us at
Hold the bake sale.
If inclined, please let us know how you did. Send a photo, or a link, whatever you'd like—celebrate and inspire.
It's that simple.
If you want to participate but cannot do so during the "official" time period, get in touch with us—we've got you covered. We're striving to be as inclusive as possible.

There are only two rules:
Goods sold must be vegan. For baking, most importantly this means no dairy or eggs.
Don't sell or distribute anything during the bake sale (books, brochures, etc.) that contributes to the intentional harming of animals.
You don't have to be a vegan group or even an animal group to participate. We're inviting school clubs, Girl Scout troops, church/temple/mosque organizations, even bunches of friends who want to join.

It's an easy and enjoyable way to raise funds, and to raise awareness about food that is delicious and satisfying but does not involve exploiting or mass-killing animals. (Note that animals are slaughtered in huge numbers, and at all ages starting at newborn, in the dairy and egg industries). In addition, many people are allergic to dairy or eggs, and holding a vegan bake sale shows that you can make super-tasty versions of cakes, pies, cookies, and other desserts without these ingredients.

The Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale is sponsored by Compassion for Animals (CfA), a Washington, DC-area grassroots group that “works to reduce human-caused harm to animals, primarily through educating people on animal-friendly lifestyles and cultivating empathy and respect for the nonhumans with whom we share the earth.” Our website (under construction) is

CfA is handling the national publicity, and we've already got some well-known authors, chefs, activists, and humane groups ready (or starting) to promote the event. We're gradually adding content to the web site, and soon it will have a plethora of information, along with a roster of who's participating. Also a tiny bit of useless frivolity."

Go.  Buy tasty goods.  Help the animals.