Sunday, February 21, 2010

valentine's and other misc updates

My cousin took some "nice" pictures of my goodies on valentines (you know, the kind that uses like a realllllyyy fancy camera with some awesome lens to take small aperture pictures, and makes it all artistic?) ... But i feel like i should share some of my mediocre pictures anyways

i had an order of cupcakes for saturday, and i did a swirl for the frosting instead of my normal spatula frosting technique. i've been worried that i wouldn't have enough frosting to do it, but alas, it does sufficiently frost 24 red velvet cupcakes ... just not hopeful for the carrot cupcakes (where the batches vary depending on how much apples and carrots i decide to slice and shred). I used some sort of Ateco Tip (I have a mix of wilton's (due to michaels, sur la table) and ateco (crate and barrel, william's sonoma).

oh and it took me 10 hours of slaving baking/chocolatiering to prepare for valentines ... i love my boyfriend so.

my white chocolate shell for my chocolate ganache and milk chocolate bottom (i ran out of white chocolate to complete the shell.. hahahahahaha oops! actually i later found out that i had a stash of white chocolate set aside for this, instead i forgot and used milk chocolate -te he he he :[

my brownie pop: bittersweet chocolate and milk chocolate (i liked my first trial better, i used white chocolate and milk ...) GUITTARD'S CHOCOLATE FTW!

truffle making, it is MESSY (left: ganache ball, right: milk chocolate to coat)

dipped brownie pops in milk chocolate and YELLOW sugar sprinkles but it does not show up at all .. but gives this nice texture when you're eating the brownies, a crunch!

truffles in cocoa nibs(valrhona) and cocoa powder (whole foods)

u know macarons are a pain, and when you ACCOMPLISH such a masterpiece, who wants to think about the cream filling, i sure don't. instead i improvised: whipping cream, powdered sugar (to stabilize) and NUTELLA. who doesn't love nutella? TELL ME! but its tricky, must be eaten within a day or two of being put together, otherwise ... its a disaster, just kidding - eatable but not the best it can be.

aren't they so chubby and cute? ... fyi, as i started to whip the cream, i THEN realized that this will fall flat after a few hours! so i frantically searched online to find ways to stabilize it ... turns out you can do gelatin (which i had, but no time to do it, since i already started whipping), or the cornstarch from powdered sugar can help. so thats why my consistency is off, overbeaten, overloaded, and not prepared :/

voila - the basket. don't judge the cider, we love apple cider only because we don't have a developed wine/champagne/alcohol taste yet ... YET! (the boxes with pink bows: my individual macarons)

cousin and his wifey working their magic. she said the cloth shes holding is about a pound ... she had to hold it up for awhile, working out and working - what a great concept

intermission: my mom loves floral arrangement. we got a deal on these, $3 a branch, yes $3 a branch. HA!

done and complete (if you're vietnamese, you will notice the CHA on the right ... it was tet on sunday(feb 14)!

don't they look just lovely? *swoon* so soft and fluffy ... CHOMP!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

digital scale + brownie pops

i had two failed attempts, in one blasted day, for french macarons. Did it deter me from retrying? almost, yes. i realized the "i <3 macarons" was flawed in it's measurements and units of measurements. Considering i was making FRENCH macarons, i should have known better than to use american standard units for measurements. I had to use the digital scale. My new found love: Salter Designer Digital Scale. thank you william's sonoma. and thank you boyfriend, for buying it >:)

if we neglect that i was actually suppose to measure out 125 grams of almond flour, then we can sit and be amazed in it's beauty. (tricky thing with scale is, the weight fluctuates if you are in between! so stand still and wait for it to stay put with a number)

The last of my baking with obsolete measurements. A practice run for my brownie pops. Though i am not too found of the HEIGHT and shape of the brownies (i want to achieve a more round, bon bon like shape), it will do for now.

Did you know making these suckers are tad bit tricky? you have to bake it a certain time, then pop in the sticks, and bake it some more so the brownie will adhere to the stick. BUT if you put it in too early, your stick will fall over, and the brownie will be destroyed. You could do it the lazy way, and place some candy melts to the stick and then attaching to the brownies. Er, of course i wasn't aware of the stick dilemma, and did not prepare candy melt ahead of time. shame on me.

Anyhow, I used white and bittersweet chocolates in this recipe, and as my first go for brownies, it went quite well! (No, i did not intend to make milk chocolate by combining the two, they just happen to be the chocolates i wanted to use... )

Note to self: DO NOT ADD ANY SUGAR NEXT TIME. i used such rich and delicious chocolate, sugar was definitely not necessary at all.

Question: How do you make the brownies NOT as sweet, given that the main component is chocolate, and only chocolate basically? Hrm.

oh, do you like my new tag? it was just delivered right before valentine's :) my other one says "from the kitchen of"

Monday, February 1, 2010

gum paste flower and carrot cupcakes

I had to part with a dear co-worker (hopefully, I'll still see her around) loved my carrot cupcakes! So the super-nice-awesome person I am made cupcakes for her going away. 6 normal sizes for her and her hubby and 12 minis ones for her two kiddos. I was tired of my pearls and white sprinkles as decorations, so I finally experimented with gum paste - now my creativity will be endless! More gum paste art work to come! HOORAY! Now if only I could ice my cupcake in a perfect dome every time, I would be the master ... jk :]

3 grated carrots is a lot of hard work ... lots of elbow work!

to get perfect size cupcakes all the time, use ice cream scoops in different sizes!

gum paste dries out quickly, so only take a bit at a time, and put the rest under saran wrap. place your finish work into an air tight container, and when you need to dry it, place it out on parchment paper for a day

you can place beads into the center of your flower with assistance from royal icing to glue them on

voila - the big cupcakes

mini cupcakes in their mini tray :]