Archive for February, 2008

New Sugar Cookie Designs

Thursday, February 28th, 2008

I got my cookies into another store…yippee! The name of the store is Naples Gourmet Grocer and it’s located right near my house in Belmont Shores, CA. They carry high end gourmet products and now they are carrying me too…crazy! Well, I have been doing some more cookie designs for this store and for a wedding trunk show that I did, so here are the cookies!

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Oh, and one mini cake too!

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That Takes the Cake Art Show & Competition

Tuesday, February 26th, 2008

The reason for the lack of blogging these past couple of days was because I had the opportunity to go to the Capital Confectioner’s Cake & Sugar Art Show in Austin, Texas.  Basically I conned my mom into coming with me for the weekend, and she of course said yes, since she is the best mom in the world!  I have to give a big thanks to Kyla who stopped by my blog and let me know about this great convention…without her I definitely wouldn’t of gone.  The convention had a competition side and a class side to it.  I got to watch Bronwen Weber, Autumn Carpenter, Steven Stellingwerf, Nicholas Lodge, and Earlene Moore do demos for a whole day…I was in heaven, expect for the fact that the day before the trip I came down with a dreadful cold and was sick the whole trip, but nonetheless I learned a lot and got to see a bunch of great cakes.  I will hopefully be trying out some of the new techniques that I learned from the trip later this month and sharing them with you, but for now I just want to share all of the cakes I saw with you.  Enjoy the photos…there’s a lot of them!

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Mini Brownie Wedding Cakes

Thursday, February 21st, 2008

About a month ago I got my hands on the new Martha Stewart Wedding Book that is filled to the brim with gorgeous photos, recipes, and techniques. This book is a definite buy for anyone who is into cakes, party planning, or weddings. I would highly recommend it! One of the photos in the book caught my attention because it was so adorably cute, and yet seemed easy at the same time…it was the mini brownie wedding cakes. Martha did a variety of designs on her brownie wedding cakes, so be sure to check the photos out in the book, but since I have been crunched for time lately I went with my favorite look and called it a day. These would make great wedding favors or a yummy bridal shower dessert…you could even ditch the wedding idea and throw a candle on top and use them as mini birthday cakes; the ideas are endless. Anyways, I hope you try these at home because they really are a ton of fun and are definitely worth the little time and effort you put into them.

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I tried out a new brownie recipe (Double Chocolate Mocha Brownies to be exact) that I found from epicurious.com and I actually got really good reviews from my taste testers (aka my family & friends), so I would recommend trying it if you get a chance. My friend said that she loved that there was chocolate chips still in the brownie…just a side note, I used mini chocolate chips instead of regular size ones since I thought they would cut better with my cookie cutters. I also baked the brownies in a slightly large pan than they recommended…a half sheet pan to be exact, although it didn’t really make too much of a difference…they would’ve been thin brownies either way. So the first step is to bake your brownies and let them cool. Once they are cool, you can cut out your desired shapes. As you can see from my photos, my brownies were a little thin, so I stacked two of the same size brownie circles on top of each other and sort of smushed them together. You can play around with the exact size dimensions to make YOUR perfect brownie cake.

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Once each round has been formed you need to lightly brush the cut edges with water. Then dip the brownie rounds in sanding sugar. After the rounds have been rolled in sanding sugar you can add a small filling, frosting, or just a tiny dab of plain corn syrup to the center of the rounds so that they stick when you stack them on top of each other. Note: make sure the side that was on the bottom during baking is now on top, since it is much smoother than the other side and will make your brownie cakes look crisp and clean. Now your brownie cake is technically done, but you can add other details to it if you want. I piped on small dots of royal icing and added dragees on top so that they made a monogram, but try anything and have some fun with it!

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You can package the mini brownie cakes in these plastic boxes from Garnish and they would be perfect for a gift. I also added a color cupcake liner at the bottom of the box to make the cake look even more cute. Hope you are inspired to try Martha’s idea like I was!

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Easter Sugar Cookie Designs…Plus Some Extras!!!

Tuesday, February 19th, 2008

Sorry for the lack of posting!  I actually had one post almost ready to publish and then when I went to save it the whole thing got deleted somehow…lets just say after that I was a little discouraged.  I got over it though and tried out some new cookie designs for Easter.  I am trying to get my cookies in a couple shops down where I live in Belmont Shores, CA and so I thought Easter would be the perfect opportunity to try to get them selling…wish me luck!

  

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Here are some packaging options I tried out.  You can get the long white box at Garnish, the clear box at Garnish or Clearbags.com, and the clear bags at your local Michael’s or online at Clearbags.com.

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I had some extra dough so I thought I would try out a couple more cookie designs…hope you like them!

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If you have any feedback, I would love to hear it!

 

 

More Valentine’s Day Treats

Thursday, February 14th, 2008

Life has been quite hectic these past couple of days with Valentine’s Day orders…lots of fun, but little sleep.  I thought I would share with you some of the photos of the final products I did for a couple clients.  Hope you enjoy them!  These first photos are some new cookie designs I tried out and brought to my hair dresser as an early Valentine’s Day present.  I love this packaging from Garnish and so did she!  I really think that cute packaging makes all the difference when you are selling a product or giving a gift…first impressions really do count.  Garnish also liked my idea and blogged about it again…yippee!  

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Here a few more cookies & cupcakes that I did.

 

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Here is a Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie I did for a client…yummy!  It has an oreo crust, peanut butter mousse-like filling and chocolate ganache on top.  I also personalized it for him so that it would be extra special!

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

My Favorite Vanilla Buttercream Recipe

Wednesday, February 13th, 2008

I have had a couple viewers ask about the type of buttercream that I mainly use, so I thought that I would share it with you.  I had many buttercream woes leading up to this fantastic find of a buttercream.  Either the buttercream was too sweet, too artifical tasting, grainy looking, not thick enough to pipe with, or had some other quality that led me to turn my nose up to it, but once I tried Elizabeth Falkner’s vanilla buttercream from her book Demolition Desserts my buttercream nightmares were over.  This, in my opinion, is the perfect buttercream to use on everything from cakes to cupcakes.  I love her addition of salt to the recipe, which I think takes away that overly sugary taste, which I am not a fan of.  Also her addition of lemon juice aides in this as well.   However, I don’t add quite as much lemon juice to my buttercream as she does.  This is not the recipe that I use for buttercream roses though, so please don’t try it, instead go to my posting on “A Dozen Rose Cupcakes” and click on the link for Martha Stewart’s swiss meringue buttercream recipe.  Anyways, I hope that you enjoy this recipe as much as I have and let me know if you try it and what your opinion is.

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Vanilla Buttercream

as adapted from Demolition Desserts

Makes about 2 cups

Ingredients:

4 oz. unsalted softened butter

2 1/2 c. or 10 oz. powdered sugar

1/2 t. kosher salt

1 T. plus 1 t. whole milk

1 t. pure vanilla extract

1 t. fresh lemon juice (I put 1/2 t.)

 Directions:

In a stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter & salt for about 30 seconds and then add half of the powdered sugar and the milk to the butter and beat again until combined. Scrape down the bowl.  Add the rest of the powdered sugar, the vanilla, and the lemon juice and beat until combined.  Scrape down the bowl again.  Beat on high speed for 5-6 minutes or until the frosting is fluffy.  She says that she prefers to use it the same day, but that it can keep in the refrigerator for 3 days if tightly wrapped.  I have also left it out at room temperature overnight (if I was going to use it in the morning) and it was just fine.  Make sure and stir the buttercream well though before using to get the air bubbles out of the frosting.  


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