Thursday, December 23, 2010

Peanut Butter Toffee Grahamwiches

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It's been a REEEEAAAAALLLLLLLLYYYYYYYYYY long time since I blogged. Oy. I'm so sorry! It gets a little hectic around here sometimes. Can I get an assistant? Preferably someone willing to work for $1/hour? Plus all the baked good leftovers they could want? Fat chance. Sigh.

I wanted to post the latest grahamwiches. The grahamwiches come out most frequently for the Grandview Hop, during which they sell out. Between last-minute prep for the Hop, and no leftover inventory, photo ops are slim. I recently had an order for an artisan open house and was able to take some pics before pick-up time. These are peanut butter frosting filled grahamwiches, dipped in chocolate, and sprinkled with homemade toffee bits.

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Yeah, tasty little things, aren't they? The order also included key lime grahamwiches, which are my personal favorite combination.

So that's the lastest. Grahamwiches, taking over my kitchen. With the holidays here now, there's a different item taking over, and that's MARSHMALLOWS. Sticky, marshmallow goo EVERYWHERE. Nothing in my kitchen is safe (especially not me or my hair)! At least it cleans up easily after a little soak. This year I'm making Earl Grey-Lavender Marshmallows and Salted Caramel Marshmallows. If the Salted Caramel variety turns out well, I'm guessing those will be the crowd favorite. No one can turn down salted caramel, no matter how much they try.

I guess that's a sign I should go tend to my mallow mess. Until we meet again, have a safe and happy holiday season, friends!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Caramel Pecan Cheesecakes

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Who doesn't like cheesecake?? Actually, plenty of people. I used to be one of them. I know, shocker, right? It was a rough life. Cheesecake's for dessert—what do you do? Luckily, I make a mean cheesecake...cupcake. It's so simple, but it's perfect—loved by cheesecake lovers, enlightens non-cheesecake lovers and opens their world to the creamy confection. It was the cake that converted me. I am a hater no more.

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The cheesecakes were for a wedding reception a few weeks ago. The super sweet client had a short timeline and basically said "Whatever you can do would be amazing." She needed 6 dozen of... something. I already had cheesecakes in the works for the Grandview Hop (yup, both events were the same day. OY.), so I said, "Hey, what about these?" Like I said, they're so simple, a large batch would be easy-peasy. I split them up into two varieties—caramel pecan cheesecakes and strawberry-studdened cheesecakes topped with chocolate drizzle. They all have a chocolate-chip-cookie-crust which, I'm not going to lie, is pretty freakin' delicious. :-)

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The cherry adds a cute, festive touch, no? They're so stinkin' cute, I can hardly handle it!

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I don't have photos of the strawberry cakes. Pick-up time was approaching, so I had to box up my little sugary delights.

A word of advice: when ordering for an event, order extra. Not a ton, but a dozen or two (depending on the size of the event, of course). Especially if it's easy to eat, like these cheesecakes. A lot of times, I've been a guest at the event for which I've supplied the dessert. I've witnessed the depletion of the supply. The extras always go, especially if there are different varieties. People want to try a little bit of everything. A lot of people are surprised when I say "You have a wedding of 100 guests? Well order 10 dozen, not just 8 or 9." "Really??" And yup. They're glad they did. It's not hard to get rid of sweets. Vegetables, maybe. But cupcakes? Never. ;-)

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Vanilla Lavender Meringue Menagerie

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So. Meringues. It's meringue madness over here! It all started a few weeks ago at work. Someone brought in a container of Trader Joe's meringues, which were staring me in the face all during lunch that day. I held off for awhile. I was convinced I was going to say no. I bake stuff all the time! I don't need more sweets! I can turn away—no problem! By the end of lunch, the perfectly shaped little white puffs were singing their siren song so loudly that I finally decided "Eh, what the hell? I'm going to give it a whirl." I've had meringues before, don't get me wrong. It's just been awhile. I was trying to do the healthy thing and resist the little white puff of sweet, crispy egg whiteness, but what's the harm in one little meringue??

It melted in my mouth. It was super sweet, no doubt, but its lightness made the sugar overload forgivable. And that started the conversations. Conversations about making meringues, as meringues for favors (I'm pretty sure they might make an appearance at my someday wedding), about different flavors of meringues, about stuffing your face with these elegant little sugar monsters. My work-neighbor was in meringue mode herself, even making some with hibiscus powder. FASCINATING! (Note to self: obtain hibiscus powder. Pronto.) To add to the madness, images of white fluffy blobs kept popping up on Pinterest, and the visuals were enough to make me want to bust through my computer screen, grab a hold of every little puff and munch myself silly. Today, I gave in.

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I had a few frozen egg whites in the freezer for just this kind of occasion (well, actually, more like making macarons, but these are much easier for now). I used a recipe by Emeril Lagasse as my guide, and just added vanilla extract and ground lavender for flavoring. And since they're lavender, why the heck not blend in some pretty purple swirls? I also couldn't resist adding some rainbow non-pareils to a few. Rainbow sprinkles in general are a major personal weakness.

Vanilla Lavender Meringues

4 egg whites
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 1/3 c superfine sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon rosewater
1 1/2 teaspoons ground lavender buds

First, preheat the oven to 350° and line a few cookie sheets with parchment. I'm not sure if it's necessary, but I spritzed my parchment with a little cooking spray just to be safe. Whip those egg whites with an electric mixer at medium speed. When they're getting nice and foamy, add the cream of tartar and keep whipping. Gradually add the sugar to the whipping egg whites, 2-3 tablespoons at a time (I actually used a shot glass for this—it's the perfect measure). After half the sugar has been added, add the vanilla, rosewater, and lavender powder, then go back to adding the sugar (again, gradually), all while still whipping the egg whites. Beat the whites until they're shiny and thick, with stiff peaks. That's it. Easy, right? Next, for shaping the actual meringue cookies, you could either fill a piping bag (my weapon of choice) and pipe out the size you prefer, or just spoon out organic little globs onto the parchment. The size, of course, will determine how many you yield. If you pipe a bunch of little ones, I bet you'll have 4-6 dozen or something. If you pipe a bunch of big ones, you'll probably get 18-24. Anyway. Pop the pans in the oven, and then turn it off. Let them sit in the oven for at least 2 hours, but preferably longer. Even overnight is okay, just as long as they dry out. In the end, the meringues will be dry and crisp.

For more meringue references, I also used this post from The Kitchn.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Buckeye and Scarlet & Gray

Live and in person.
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They were featured at last night's Grandview Hop in honor of football season starting. I'm a Bearcat myself, but I still get psyched for our hometeam. Plus, what's not to love about a team that gives you both color combos AND flavor combos that can be applied to desserts!? The Buckeye Cupcakes sold out—chocolate and peanut butter is a craving that you really can't deny.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

OSU Football Season Cupcakes! Available September-December.

Click image to view larger.
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It's football season, and we're in Columbus. You know what that means?

OHIO STATE THEMED CUPCAKES. Oh yes. That's right. Hello, Scarlet & Gray. Hello, Buckeye. Let's review the play-by-play of these flavors, shall we?

The Scarlet & Gray cupcake is red velvet cake topped with its match-made-in-heaven, vanilla malt frosting, dyed gray to match the city's favorite color combination.

The Buckeye cupcake is a chocolate cake, swirled with peanut butter. It's topped with a ring of chocolate gooey frosting, then topped with a dollop of peanut butter frosting. And because everyone likes cupcakes to look extra cute, it's garnished with a mint leaf for that extra buckeye touch.

Need them for a game? Or any ol' event? Or to fulfill that crazy craving you just got when you thought about the chocolate cake with peanut butter swirl (I know, I've been there)? Pricing for each is $20/dozen, no matter how many dozens you buy. They're available, by order, from now until December. I will still need at least one week's notice. Call or email, you know the drill!


Monday, August 30, 2010

Happy National Toasted Marshmallow Day!

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So, the day may be almost over, but the spirit of toasted marshmallows will live on! I just learned late this afternoon that every August 30th is dedicated to a sweet weakness of mine, the toasted marshmallow. If the mallows are untoasted—just plain, white and fluffy—I can do without. I can turn around with my nose in the air and wave them away. But if they're toasted? Oh sweet mother of pearl, this girl melts as if that marshmallow has the irresistible charms of Zack Morris.

I have to admit, my enthusiasm for National Toasted Marshmallow Day takes root in my latest obsession. Or an addiction, maybe? Craving? Anyway, I am a sucker for fresh chocolate chip cookies topped with a squishy, brown and toasty marshmallow. It all started at the Movie Tavern on the west side, with a little dessert called The Ultimate Cookie. My boyfriend was originally the interested party—I was more along the lines of "Igh.. I guess. Why not?" I'm telling you, that plate of three cookies was so much more than I could've ever imagined. A hot, melty, gooey chocolate chip cookie (with cake-like qualities) topped with a golden, toasted marshmallow. Sounds simple, basic even. But the flavors of both are just meant to be—they compliment each other beautifully. Ever since that fateful day in early summer, those cookies have been haunting me and my attempts to eat healthily.

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So today, in honor of Mr. Toasted Marshmallow, I broke out the cookie dough (that's right, even bakers use ready-made dough for a quick fix). I baked them until they were golden but still undercooked, heated up that broiler, squished a jumbo marshmallow on top, and toasted until they were a smokey, golden treat.

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I highly encourage you to try this at home. Grab a bag of mallows, a pack of cookie dough, and hunker down for the evening with a big fat glass of milk. Happy National Marshmallow Day, everyone! And to all, a good night.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Farmer's Market Blitzkrieg

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Saturdays can be a little rough around here. When it's a busy month, it's usually b/c I'm up late on Fridays and up again early the next Saturday morning baking away. Then between the usual monthly visit home to the fam and whatever other events are going on, a lazy weekend is SOOO EXCITING. Thankfully, this is one calm weekend for me and my bf George. We haven't gotten over to the farmer's market yet this year so that's how we started our Saturday. There are a lot of local farmer's markets here in Cbus, but we prefer the popular Clintonville Farmers' Market. Not that we live there, but it's close enough and we usually see a friend or two... or three. Yay for local, right? :-) The market goes from 9-12. We got there a little after 11:30. But that didn't matter. We still did plenty of damage in record time! Our tally:

• one green zucchini
• two yellow zucchini
• 6 peaches
• small basket of blackberries (score!)
• basket of green beans
• two cheeses: string cheese and a chipotle something or other
• one 12 oz. bear of honey
• one yellow watermelon (personal-sized)
• one super juicy red watermelon (also personal-sized)
• one cantaloupe
• one honeydew
• three patty pan squash
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Everything...for the most part.
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PLUS we stopped at a BBQ cart/stand outside of Global Gallery on High St for one BBQ pork sandwich and 4 ribs. Hey, shopping for fruits and veggies works up quite the carnivorous appetite! Hah. Hello fruits, veggies, and meats! Good-bye, cash!

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We're psyched though. I am particularly excited about the Patty Pan squash. All morning I've been randomly yelping "Patty Pan!" Just b/c it's fun. And they're funny looking. What's not to love about that? I had some last night at the restaurant DeepWood so I was kind of on a mission for it this morning.

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Sadly, I don't think I'll be baking with any of this stuff. I'm tempted by the blackberries, but they're too precious. I think we'll just be savoring them in their natural state.

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Although, you know, I may just have to muddle a few of these babies into a cocktail. Nothing's every too precious for a cocktail. ;-)

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Miami Vacation 2010

I've been gone a long time, but with good reason! My boyfriend and I took a little vacation to Miami, FL. Sun, sand, food, drink, what's not to love?? I know one thing. I'm in love with Miami and I'm itching to go back. We took a little over 1,000, but here's the best of. It's still a good 240-something, but that's a fraction of 1,000, right? ;-)

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Lush Blossoms.

Hello, pretties!
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This morning I filled an order for a girl's 13th birthday party. There was much brainstorming between her mother and me, but in the end we decided on some brightly colored flowers for the 12 vanilla-vanilla malt cupcakes in the order.
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I call these little babies "Lush Blossoms." You may remember them from a post a few months ago. They're not a technical method of flower piping—they're not roses, they're not begonias or pansies, they're not chrysanthemums. They're just...really cute flowers. If you ask me, they're a cross between a dahlia and a mum. A "dalimum," maybe? A "chrysanthlia?" No. Too complicated. Forget it. I call them "LUSH BLOSSOMS." Why? B/c I'm Sugarlush. My brand is Sugarlush. My tagline varies between "Be a lush," or "Are you a lush?" and b/c I created these little ladies. So they're mine. At least, I think they are. I'm owning it, gosh darn it! And "blossom" is kind of generic for "flower," plus it sounds so much better. So "Lush Blossoms" it is!

The party is this afternoon so I'm just hoping all goes well. It should... right? For some reason I'm always still so nervous after my orders are picked up. One of these days, I'll get over it.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Alert! Updated Menu and New Items! :-)

Hey all. I've recently updated my menu and the new PDF is available for download. You can download it on the top right side of the page in the CUPCAKE MENU section, or you can click here. It will take you to Mediafire, and you can download from it from there.
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So what's new? Why an updated menu? First, the Grahamwich has been added as an official item. Grahamwiches use the same frostings as the cupcakes, except for ganache and lemon glaze, of course. But aren't you excited?? ;-)

Next, the Frosting family has grown! The chocolate ganache selection is more plentiful with original, spicy, orange, mocha, and mint. Oh, how to choose?! Furthermore, two brand new frostings, key lime and coconut, have been added!

Welcome to the family, Key Lime! Glad you could join us, Coconut. :-)

And the key lime? It's quickly becoming a fan favorite. So much so that this month I'll have key lime cupcakes at the Grandview Hop on Saturday, June 26, so come on out and grab one! I'll also have cinnamon toast cupcakes, strawberry grahamwiches, and s'mores with homemade marshmallow filling. It's like the original grahamwich, just augmented to awesomeness! Plus, I'm planning on having a cookie that'll be 2/$1. Those always go over well. But what kind of cookie—now that's the question!

Alright guys, back to the grindstone. I have some baby shower cupcakes to get ready for. Until next time...

Sunday, May 30, 2010

At the Hop: Cupcakes for all at the Grandview Hop.

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Long time no blog, eh? What's up with that? It's been a little hectic over here, plus my birthday was just a few weeks ago so blogging had to take a back seat for awhile. But I've still been baking! Boy, have I been baking. Most recently for the Grandview Hop. I know, you're like "What's the Grandview Hop? I've never heard of it." The Grandview Hop, for you locals here in Columbus, is like the Short North's Gallery Hop. It's a neighborhood affair with vendors & artists lining the streets, people milling up and down Grandview Ave checking out the shops and general goings-on, maybe taking a walk after going to dinner. The dance studio has free lessons. It's a really quite a nice affair. It happens the last Saturday of everything month from April-November. This past Saturday was my first Hop—actually, it was my first public vendor appearance period!

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The idea came from a friend who said "You know, we were talking and we think you should sell your cupcakes at the Grandview neighborhood thing that they have." Well, he didn't say it exactly like that, but you know. So that meant the Grandview Hop. And a lot of times when people say to me "Hey, why don't you do this?" I groan because it's usually some cockemamy, hair-brained idea that would take oodles of time and effort that they just don't understand, especially while holding down a full-time job plus the side business. BUT THIS IDEA??? I sat there, eyebrows furrowed, saying "You know... actually... that would work. That really would make sense... YES!!!" EUREKA! The location is perfect. The frequency of the event is perfect. The clientele is perfect. These are my peeps! Plus, I know a super sweet shop owner who would let me have a space outside her store, which is perfect. It just made so much sense! So I went for it. I contacted my shop-owner-lady-friend who was equally excited. We're a perfect match!

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So here's the set-up! I'm stationed in front of Peabody Papers, for future reference (Hint Hint: Come see me in action!). It's a great brand partnership. Gorgeous, sophisticated paper & stationery mixed w/ gorgeous (just go w/ it), delicious cupcakes. What could be better? And Brooke, the owner, is quite possibly the nicest person with whom you could ever cross paths, so if you come by, make sure to stop into Peabody to check it out.

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On the menu for the event was two cupcakes, two grahamwiches, a butter sable cookie, plus some frosting free for all to try. Who doesn't love a sample?? So for cupcakes I had red velvet with vanilla malt frosting since it's delicious, relatively safe and standard, but just intriguing enough. Next was the chocolate cupcake with raspberry amaretto frosting topped with a thin lemon cookie. A little usual but very delightful combo when it comes to fluffy little cupcakes. Just enough to make people stop, look, and really think about the baked goods they're craving. The frosting sample though? Brilliant. I would without a doubt say that I make a darn good frosting. I kick a lot of frosting behind, if you know what I'm saying. Why not let everyone try it out?

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And now for the sables. A sable is a buttery, French shortbread. It's so much better than your everyday shortbread if you ask me. Much richer with a much better texture. These were filled with orange zest, chopped roasted and salted pistachios, and chopped chocolate—both bittersweet and milk. Plus, I throw in a little extra salt for good measure. ;-) Thankfully, I have a few leftover that I'll probably munch on in a few minutes here.

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And last but not least, the newly revised menu! I'll be posting this soon—I just have to adapt a downloadable PDF version. But this has an updated list of frostings plus TWO NEW FLAVORS! Key lime and coconut, welcome to the family! Grahamwiches have also been added to the offering.Speaking of grahamwiches...

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The grahamwich selection? A salted caramel grahamwich, dipped in chocolate, and dipped in roasted, salted pecans (and some without nuts if that's your preference.) Also, a key lime grahamwich dipped in chocolate and shredded coconut (and of course, some without the coconut). The key lime frosting tastes just like key lime pie, just an eensy bit sweeter (due to the sugar in the frosting, of course). But my God, it's good. Seriously. You're going to have to try it.

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So what's next? Well there will be another Hop at the end of June on the 26th. Remember, the last Saturday of each month. I'm usually set up about 5:30 and stay around til 10 or until I sell enough to make me happy—whichever comes first. :-) On the menu will be key lime cupcakes (another chance for you to get that frosting!), cinnamon toast cupcakes (intrigued? you should be!), and of course a grahamwich or two. Just have to decide on which ones!

This coming weekend I have a graduation party to bake for. The menu consists of vanilla cupcakes with lavender-lemon-vanilla bean frosting (a custom request) and probably some with key lime frosting, strawberry cupcakes with strawberry frosting dipped in chocolate, and brown sugar cupcakes with chai spice frosting. Maybe that will inspire me for the next hop!

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Meet the Grahamwiches.

Everybody, I would like you to meet The Grahamwich. Grahamwich, I'd like you to meet... everybody.
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Grahamwich. Say what? GRAM-wich, like sandwich. Noun. A sandwich made of homemade graham crackers (yes, really homemade) with frosting in between, then partially dipped in chocolate and garnished with...something else.

It all started one day at work when I was in desperate need for a snack. I was rummaging through my desk drawer (where I have a hefty snack supply, let me tell you), and I came across a leftover bag of little bitty graham cracker sticks. Or as Kroger refers to them, Graham Stix (Clever using that "x," guys). Anyway, I digress. It was late in the afternoon and I needed a snack and I needed it right that second. The graham sticks were a good start, but it wasn't enough. Luckily, I also keep a jar of peanut butter at work because 1) it's delicious 2) it's full of protein 3) it's delicious. Graham cracker sticks + peanut butter. This could work. So in the peanut butter the graham sticks went and it. Was. Good. Really good. Surprisingly good, actually. That's when I had an idea. THE GRAHAMWICH.

Homemade grahams, in progress.

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Homemade graham cracker, topped with peanut butter, dipped in chocolate, and then covered in sprinkles... or toffee, or nuts, or anything, really. Because hungry or not hungry, those cheapy little Kroger brand "stix" with the Smart Balance Peanut Butter (Shout out to Smart Balance PB) were awesome. How could you go wrong with this concept? There is no going wrong.

Ever since I gave birth to the idea of the grahamwich, I was dying for a chance to actually BAKE the grahamwiches. There was just no time or opportunity. Until it happened. A friend at work asked if I could bake "something delicious" for a birthday for a friend of hers. I gave her two choices, because the request came pretty late in the game. Option 1 was the glorious invention of the grahamwich. Option 2 was the standard cupcake, but preferably with a frosting like vanilla malt or salted caramel--something quick and easy. This girl is no newbie to the world of fine baked goods. She knows a thing or two, and she's also always ready for a culinary adventure. The idea of "homemade graham cracker" reeled her in and got her hooked on the idea of the grahamwich, which made me super excited because FINALLY! I CAN TRY THIS PUPPY OUT!

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While creating the components, I was thinking... it doesn't necessarily have to be peanut butter frosting. It could be anything, really. Vanilla malt would be fantastic in this case. Classic, but with a twist, and perfect with the graham. My friend/customer, was of course, up for two flavor options. Seriously, the baker is willingly offering you a variety--who's going to turn that down?!?

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So here they are. My little grahamwiches. Delicious and cute as a stinking button. Remember Dunkaroos?? Yeah, like that, sort of, only BETTER. But you know what I'm most psyched about?? THE POSSIBILITIES. THINK OF THE POSSIBILITIES, PEOPLE!! I am brimming with excitement! Graham + salted caramel frosting + chocolate + homemade toffee. Graham + chai frosting + white chocolate. I mean, I could go on and on but I'll try not to. So when I'm able, I think I'll be revising my menu to include the grahamwich. I'll be working on some suggested combos as well. They're available for order, folks, and I highly recommend it! The Grahamwich. Coming soon to a party tray near you!

Monday, May 03, 2010

Bread & Butter

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I have to admit, as much as I love the adorable cupcakes, chewy cookies, and other delectable sweets, I REALLY REALLY love bread. And salted butter. With the bread toasted, preferably. It's simple but SOOOO GOOD. Throw a glass of wine in there and I'm a happy camper. (Does the wine make me sound pretentious? It's most often Trader Joe's Charles Shaw, aka 2-Buck Chuck. There. Unpretentious.) This weekend I didn't have many obligations, so Sunday was a primo time to try baking something new. That led me to a recipe I found in ReadyMade Magazine for a simple baguette. Besides sounding delicious, it also sounded pretty easy.

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First off, THE POOLISH!!! That's pronounced "poo-LEESH," fyi. The poolish is a fermentation starter that (while sitting around for several hours) develops a complex flavor as well as a better texture for the bread dough. I could try to educate you and drone on and on, or I could just send you to the Wikipedia explanation. Or this one here from the blog Baking And Books. They'll explain it a lot better. The poolish for this recipe is one part water, one part flour (1 cup of each here), and one tbsp active dry yeast. What you're seeing above is right after the poolish has been sitting for 4.5 hours and I just added the salt.

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Next, after adding the remainder of flour, yeast, water, and salt, you let the dough sit and rise for an hour. That leaves you with a big giant blob of dough. After that first hour, you punch the dough w/ the heels of your hands to get rid of the gas/air the dough has collected. I was pretty psyched. The dough was big and puffy and I couldn't wait to punch that thing. However, silly me, I forgot that just maybe I should've floured my hand first... yeah, smooth move, ML. Brilliant.

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After letting the dough rise yet ANOTHER hour, you shape the dough into loaves and then BAKE AWAY! But first, I made sure to put a lovely egg wash on the loaves and coat those puppies in tasty sea salt and pink himalayan salt! Oh, salty bread, I'm drooling just at the thought.

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And here you have it! About 22 minutes/loaf later, you have crusty bread that's super soft on the inside. HELPFUL HINT: How can you tell when bread is done? It's not like you can poke this thing with a toothpick and "see if it comes out clean," you know what I'm saying? Turns out you can use a thermometer. The internal temp should be about 190°. You could also try some sort of old school method of turning the loaf upside down and hitting it and seeing if it makes a "thumping" sound but 1) that sounds archaic and I have a thermometer and 2) that might knock off my tasty salty topping so forget it. Trusty thermometer it is.

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Do I really need to convince you that the bread is delicious? I mean, look at it. It's a beautiful crusty baguette. Unless you hate on baguettes on a regular basis, this simple loaf will win you over, especially if you're a salt fiend like yours truly. And that salt on top? The crusty outside + the sea salt is similar to a soft pretzel, only better in my opinion!

Now, the recipe will give you 3-4 loaves. What do you do then? I opted for drenching some slices in dipping olive oil, toasting some and slathering them with Nutella, or my first aforementioned love, covering them in salted butter (after toasting them, of course!). I also brought a loaf and a half to work b/c let's face it. This little lady can't consume three loaves of white bread herself! Yikes! I imagine this would also be delicious in soup and it could make some killer appetizers (tomato, basil, mozzerella, DONE). So what do you think? Will you go for it? Are you going to bake some bread??? You know you want to... ;-)

Monday, April 19, 2010

Soda Fountain Fave: Chocolate Root Beer Hi-Hats

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My boyfriend just turned 30 a week ago. This past weekend was a big giant party to celebrate his not-really-over-the-hill-but-big-enough-to-make-a-fuss-over birthday. This, of course, gives me a reason to bake something fun and exciting. YESSSS! George, aka Mr. Boyfriend, loves peaches. Like... L-O-V-E LOVES them beyond all imagination. I'm a strawberry fan myself so this love is not shared, but since I love him (Go ahead, I'll give you a second to "awwww"................ and we're done) I made mini peach cheesecake cupcakes in his honor.

But that's not what's pictured here. What's pictured here is the second cupcake option. I struggled a little bit with what cupcakes to make. I knew I'd make the peach cheesecakes, but the second option was still up in the air. What do I do? Do I even do a second option? What should it be? So as of Tuesday, I was still debating until it hit me!!! HI-HATS. Glorious, poofy, yet-to-be explored HI-HATS.

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Have you heard of hi-hats? They're apparently an old school New York favorite. That, of course, makes them cool in my book. It's basically chocolate cake, a fluffy marshmallow/7-minute frosting "filling" that's really more of a mountain on top of the cake, then you dip that in chocolate. I know, right? HOLY MOLY! I've always wanted to make them, but haven't had the chance to just do it for fun. This time, it's PERFECT! Only, do I just fill them with plain ol' marshmallow filling? Just sugar-flavored? That's so not like me! So first I was thinking maybe coffee-flavored. That'd make them unique and quite charming to the adult palette. But then DUH. I remembered the root beer concentrate I've had sitting in my refrigerator for a year and a half. HELLOOOO. ROOT BEER HI-HATS! Perfect! Brilliant!!!!!

George was game. Sometimes he's into my whacky ideas, and sometimes he gives me a weirdo look like I'm crazy and he's all "I dunnoooooooooo" and I just yell "TRUST ME. WHY DO YOU STILL NOT TRUST ME????" Luckily, this didn't take any convincing.

The baby hi-hats (low-hats??) were a HUGE hit at the party. Everyone loved them, and even a few non-root beer fans were digging them too. Seven-minute frosting has a serious sugar-flavor so if you flavor it, you really have to kick it up a notch. That sugar-strength actually helped the root beer concentrate so it wasn't too strong. I mean, don't get me wrong, I made sure there was some serious root beer flavor in there, but it wasn't over the top. It blended beautifully.

I'll give you more details (and of course, pics!) in the next post. Until then, friends...

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