Tuesday, June 30, 2009

French Toast with Almond Crust

My 'specialty' when I'm asked to baby-sit my brother and make him some food, is usually a crepe. He always asks me to make one for him when I have a chance, so when he recently asked me to make him one, which would have been around the 50th time I would have made him one, I decided to upgrade onto something different. Crepes are something sweet, can be eaten for both breakfast and dessert, and will fill you up. Something that seemed to fit in all three catergories was french toast with an almond crust. At first my brother remained stubborn and wanted a crepe, but when I made the french toast his mind was quickly changed.

For the bread part of french toast, I always think challah bread works best, but since I didn't have any on hand, I had to use hamburger buns and just thinly cut of the seseme seed coated top. I soaked it in a mixture of eggs, milk, a very small pinch of slt to bring out all the flavors going in, a drop of vanilla, powdered sugar to sweeten it, and some cinamon to go with the sliced almonds, in which I also tossed in some cinamon, sugar, and brown sugar.

Each slice of bread got soaked into the egg mixture

And then they got tossed into the sliced almond mixture

I also made these the morning after my cousins slept over for breakfast which meant lots and lots of french toast

I found some sandwhich bread to make it when my cousins were over. Still I can never quiet get as many almonds as I would like to stick onto the soaked bread.

I also mixed up some powdered sugar with cinamon to dust on top

They tasted great dipped in maple syrup as well

Anyhow, both times seemed to be a succsess considering from these faces

Vanilla Cookies with Chocolate and Lots of Sprinkles

A couple of months ago I decided to make a pie with a vanilla wafer crust (unfortunatly I wasn't taking pictures of what I baked at that time so I have none to post). Anyways, I didn't have any on hand, and even if I did, I'm pretty syre I still would have tried this recipe http://bakingbites.com/2008/07/mini-vanilla-wafer-cookies/ from http://bakingbites.com/. To call these cookies vanilla wafer cookies are an insult. These cookies were beyond what you would find in a box/package of vanilla wafers. These were more flaky yet still crispy..and just plain delicious! They also held there shape really well especially when you add a little extra flour which made an unnoticable difference within the texture of the cookies.

My little cousins birthday was coming up and I wanted to bake her something simple, easy to grasp, yummy, and a little more than simple. I thought of making letters that would spell out her name and used the vanilla cookie recipe knowing it would hold its shape and taste delicious.

The taste and texture of the cookies definitally didn't dissapoint, but I wanted to add some color to them to really get my newly 3 year old cousin's attention. And whats more simple and tasty then chocolate (as the glue) and lots of colorful sprinkles.

This recipe was such a hit that when my neighbors invited us over for their monthly pizza night, I used this recipe again to bake them these amazing cookies.
This time I shaped them a bit differently, piping them into little 'S' swirls.

I also added some cocoa to the second half of the batter to add some variety which tasted just as good..I mean, what doesn't chocolate taste good in?!

Knowing a majority of the people would be kids, in my attempt to making the cookies look even more kids friendly, I again gave them a coating of chocolate and sprinkles

^sprinkles & ^ chocolate & ^cookies...oh my!

I used a bit of a different design with the chocolate/sprinkles for the chocolate cookies

Even when these cookies were covered in sprinkles and where placed next to more elegant cookies the neighbors had bought, all the adults had at least one of these cookies instead, and a decent amount ate 2 of them, using the excuse of having to sample both chocolate and vanilla flavors ;p

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Jump for Hearts Brownies and Cookies

Jump for Hearts is a heart foundation and my little brother's school was asked to raise money for it on there own. I love bakesales and always try finding excuses to have them at my age. Luckily my brother agreed and even though it was a cold day, we still sat outside for a few hours determine to get donations and sell our treats!

Going with the whole heart theme, I made a batch of brownies and with a heart shaped cookie cutter, cut the brownies into the shape of a heart.

Of course, what's a bake sale without chocolate chip cookies?! I have gone through so many chocolate chip cookie recipes, and tried a new recipe. Although their appearance looked a bit flat and the edges to dark, they had an amazingly chewy but still soft texture. Definitally how i love mine.

The ones towards the right side ^^ had chunks of walnuts in them

^ This was from when I was tryng to keep my little brother busy with pictures while we were waiting for someone to pass by on this chilly chilly day

Berry Parfait

My friend slept over on a school night, and knowing how crazy the following morning would be (in our rush to get to school after a night of no sleep), I thought of a tasty, quick, and easy breakfast to put together. A Parfait. Parfaits can always vary in the types of fruit going in and flavored yogurt. There usually served with a side of granola to sprinkle on top.

I started with a scoop of vanilla yogurt in each cup. Then came on berries i got from a package of Trader Joe's Frozen Mixed Berries. I didnt have enough vanilla yogurt left for the second layer of yogurt, and all I had was plain yogurt and greek yogurt (a very thick yogurt). I mixed even amounts of both yogurts together, added a small drop of vanilla, and mixed in some sugar to sweeten them. Problem Solved. After the second layer of yogurt went in I dropped in some fresh raspberries I had on hand and a dollop of the leftover yogurt went on top of that. Since I didn't have any granola i picked out clusters from my vanilla almond clusters cereal which was a perfect match to bring out the flavor of the vanilla yogurt.

It's amazing what a plate covered in raspberries and few sprints of mint leaves can do...

Brownies with Caramel & Chocolate Frosting & Nuts..oh my!

My cousins birthday was a couple of weeks ago, and of course he wanted a big batch of brownies made just for him. In our family, we never mind going to the extreme with our sweets, so since i could quickly prepare some chocolate brownie frosting with nuts and caramel on hand...

For the brownie base you can use any of your favorite brownie recipes but i wouldn't recomend a real thick and fudgy brownie since the brownies are going to have a layer of frosting and caramel on top. I added some nuts and chocolate chips to mine and a little bit of coffee, which is something I usually add to chocolate for the extra flavour when I'm baking with it.

When the brownies were cooled down i frosted them, although the chooclate brownie frosting I used wasn't as thick as i would have liked, but still complimented the brownies nicely.

Next came the layer of chopped nuts...

And then the swirls of caramel...

Then they got taken out of the pan and into a box to take to my cousins house =]

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Biscotti with Chocolate and Nuts

Treats were running out in the house, so I used that as my oppurtunity to bake biscotti, something i had wanted to do for some time, especially after i discovered a great recipe from http://bakingbites.com/

She posted a basic recipe of biscotti in which she added strawberries which i thought was a brilliant idea and delicious combination, but with my huge sweet tooth, i took the chooclate route with them. The recipe I found was http://bakingbites.com/2009/02/chocolate-covered-strawberry-biscotti/, and instead of strawberries I added chocolate chips and nuts (roughly chopped walnuts and almonds).

Yea I know, i see that bight in it too...but hey, taking pictures of them made me hungry...=D

I also added some cocoa powder to half the batter, turning it into chocolate biscotti, as well as some fresh coffee for the extra flavor. Just like the other batch i made, i added the chocolate chips as well as the nuts as well as some chopped up chunks of dark chocolate.

The only mistake I made was taking it out of the oven when they still wern't super crisp, expecting them to get crunchier as they cooled, but the cooling process barely made a difference.

I took the pictures a couple days after i made them..of course all the picture perfect ones were gobbled up by the time i waited to take the pictures but the taste...oh that crispy, chocolatey, slightly nutty flavour....that hadn't gone anywhere :)

That's right, the ends got dipped into some velvety smooth melted chocolate and then dipped in a coating of chopped nuts...In the words of Rachel Ray "YUMMO"

Berry Tart

Back in early June it was my mom's birthday and I was planning on baking tiramisu, thinking that was her favorite dessert. She told me, however, that her favorite dessert is a berry tart with a thin crust and even though i wasnt 100% sure what type of crust she was talking about i did my best to find a decent one that could play that role.

Fortunatley, I found a perfect recipe from http://www.sugoodsweets.com/blog/ and used this recipes I found on her fabulous blog http://www.sugoodsweets.com/blog/2007/02/nutella-tart/

...The only thing i would have changed was sweetening the dough with some sugar, since I like my berry tart crusts a bit sweet, but no worries, because i just brushed some melted chocolate onto the crust once it was cooled which sweetened it perfectly and added a wonderful chocolately flavour to the whole tart.

I told my mom I would try making the tart as 'low calorie' as I could, so instead of a real heavy custard I whipped up some vanilla pudding which firmed nicely in the tart after spending overnight in the fridge.

Some cream (the white stuff) is on part of the tart because just as I was putting the layer of cream over the pudding/custard I realized I hadn't taken a picture with just custard on it , so scooped as much as I could of

Over the layer above i whipped up some heavy whipping cream adding enough powdered sugar to sweeten it up and some vanilla for flavor

Finally, came the layer of berries. I used a package of forzen mixed berries which in the future I do not recomend, because due to all the liquid the frozen berries contained, it made the tart a bit messy when it came to cutting and eating it.

I also had some fresh raspberries to top it all of and a sprint of mint...Happy Birthday Mom :)

My First Post..Woo Hoo

Hi, my name is Doreen, and I'm the creator of this blog. I'm using this first post to pretty much inform you about the basics of my soon to become 'improved blog.' Many of the treats i bake that I'm going to post are the base of a recipe I really liked most likely created by someone else tweeked with my own personal touches. I decided to create my own blog, when i realized my phone's camera memory was all taken up with lots photos of things i had previously baked and decided to post them all up on my own blog. I love to bake with any oppurtunity i have, so I'm hoping to post a new treat at least once a week, but knowing me, I might come across techinal difficulties with transfering the photos from my camera (i usually take pictures with my phone's camera which isnt the best quality) which might slow down the number of posts i can do per week. <---Also reminds me to mention that the pictures of things i baked that I'm posting may have been made a while back, but I never had the oppurtnunity to post them until now, which is why they may not be posted from the order in which i baked them. Unfortunately i have baked many more things before, but never thought of taking pictures of them, so I won't be able to share as many desserts as I would have liked but there will always be more to come.
-Doreen :)