Poofless Puff

7 Oct

I am a few days late on my DB challenge and a little underwhelmed.

It did not go well. I made the dough on Saturday night but put off the laminating until Sunday…

Maybe the dough was to warm, or I missed a turn, but my puff seriously lacked poof.

It was an interesting experience though, and I had fun with it in my own way. I took my poofless puff and  tried out three recipes: cheddar squirrels, banana/dulce de leche puffs, and palmiers.  The palmiers were awesome as were the cheddar squirrels…the banana puffs in the DB challenge vols-au-vents left something to be desired. They tasted awesome but vols did not vent so they were short but flaky.

So here is what I did ….

Cheddar squirrels.

P1010236If you have the Martha Halloween special magazine, I used the recipe for flaky pumpkins – spreading mustard and cheese on the one layer of puff covered it with a second layer and brushed it with paprika butter. Cute and tasty – grilled cheese for grown-ups.

Banana Dulce de Leche puffs.


I blind baked the vols-au-vents  for 10 minutes and then added a dollop of dulce de leche and a slice of banana rolled in vanilla/cinnamon  turbanado sugar and continued to bake them for another 10 minutes. The puff never materialized but the caramel banana was awesome especially with a “hat” of whip cream.

Dulce de Leche Recipe ( Martha Stewart, Halloween Magazine 2009)

14 0z can of sweetened condensed milk

place sweetened condensed milk in a heat resistant bowl over a pan of simmering water (a double boiler) and simmer, stirring every 15 minutes or so for 2 -3 hours until the milk turns to caramel.

Dulce de Leche Palmiers


I had some dough scraps and left over dulce de leche so I made my favorite puff pastry treat….palmiers.  Maybe it was the extra day of rest but the palmiers puffed up lovely and they were golden, crisp, and flaky.  This was the best of the three.

I still have half of the puff dough in the freezer, so I think I will try some other puffy treats and may even try the vols-au-vents again just to see if a few days rest will make a difference.

The September 2009 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Steph of A Whisk and a Spoon. She chose the French treat, Vols-au-Vent based on the Puff Pastry recipe by Michel Richard from the cookbook Baking With Julia by Dorie Greenspan. Her site will give you all you need to know on making puff pastry that I have neither the patience nor the inclination to do on this site.

Thanks to Steph for the challenge, to Lisa for posting the comment that encouraged my to complete this challenge,  and to DB for pushing the limits of my baking skills.


Wait for it….

30 Sep

I have been so busy these last few months…

It is not an excuse, just a reality.

Baking 4 days a week (well actually cake decorating) while working my corporate job 2-3 days a week has kicked my a**. I LOVE the (baking) work, but it is a whole new ball game for me with a bit more of a learning curve than I was expecting. Ah well the rewards are worth it (  I hope).

On to the DB challenge. I have all necessary ingredients in the fridge…ready to go… just waiting for me to put them together, bake them off, photograph them and post them here.

I have set a goal for this Sunday. I want to do this, I have to do this. The DB challenge is what keeps my creative juices flowing. It makes me happy and forces me to engage with the world.

I will post, I will, I will, I will!!!

Challenge coming…

25 Aug

It is two days before a DB challenge release and my *sigh* monthly blog post. I so wish I had more time for this stuff…

However, this month I may not even make it to finishing the challenge. My first real opportunity would be Saturday, so maybe there will be a surprise late post.

Why am I so busy I can’t even bake you ask?!?!

Because I am in the process of leaving the corporate world behind. For the last month I have been moonlighting as, well, a baker!!! Yes, that’s right people I am headed back to the kitchen, and I am so excited!!!! The transition (and loss of corporate stability and benefits) is daunting but the rewards…oh the rewards. I LOVE the change, I am excited for the challenge, I am ready to move on.

So for now I guess I’ll be baking every, single, day. But I promise the DB challenge will not lose out in this. I hope to rededicate my efforts to this blog and revamp, expand, and refocus to create a platform for my baking excursions and start the honest road to my final destination…. MY OWN BAKERY!

Hang on people this is going to be one hell of an awesome ride!!!!!!!!!

Mallow Cupcake?

27 Jul

This months DB competition was just brilliant. I am working on honing my marshmallow skills and this project left me with lots of practice.

I decided to play with the concepts a little and added some cherry margarita curd to lighten the mood. It was a perfect treat for a friend’s 50th birthday party and the cakes held up well on our 2-hour midsummer Casco Bay boat ride.

Mallow 3

Mallow 4

The recipe yielded 4 dozen treats and as such my “taste tester’s” co-workers also had a chance to sample these delights.

This time I stayed true to the recipe. Following the cookie, marshmallow, and chocolate guidelines to a tee. I did shape the cookies and baked them in mini cupcake pans (next time I think I’ll cut down on the baking powder and baking soda to keep the dough from rising). After baking the cookies I filled them with cherry curd and topped them with a pipe of marshmallow. After everything set up I dipped them in chocolate.. and viola light fluffy, sweet and tart….perfect summer treats.

For more photos see my flickr account and view the army of mallowcakes we had on hand….

The July Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Nicole at Sweet Tooth. She chose Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Cookies and Milan Cookies from pastry chef Gale Gand of the Food Network.

Follow the break for the recipes…

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Welcome Baby S

22 Jul

My dear, dear friends – P & J – welcomed their baby girl into the world on Friday July 17.

She is too cute and looks just like her mum and dad – a perfect blend of a lovely couple. What an adorable family they make.

I have been working on this little gift for a while but couldn’t finish it until S was born as P & J decided to be surprised by their babe and thus didn’t have a name picked out.  I think this is a lovely thing, in this age of ultrasounds and instant gratification…I think I too would want to wait and let nature surprise me….

So here it is a wonderful receiving blanket with a patchwork edge that uses material from the diaper bag I made for P as well as some fun K Fassett fabric and other things I found here.


Can’t wait to meet the little one….must plan a trip down south soon!

sew? what’s new?

17 Jul

I have been on a little sewing frenzy and i thought I’d share with you all my latest creations….

1. Slippers




Aren’t these just the cutest shoes ever?! They were so fun to make that I made two pairs. only problem, they are too small for me and my gal and the gals i was going to give them too….but it didn’t take long for 2 other friends to snap them up.  The pattern is from Weekend Sewing by Heather Ross.

2. Long and thin: the tale of a dachsi bag….


My mom’s (and my) dear friend turned 50 this week and his two little ones turned 28 (that’s 7 to us humans). In honor of the special day I made this bag. Too cute, eh? It is based on a pattern from my fav sewing book by Lotta Jansdotter with a few minor edits to suit my needs and the material I had on hand.

For M

28 Jun

My dear friend M visited me last weekend. This is an annual tradition in which we get drunk (and regret it) and talk about life – our hopes and dreams – and give each other a little kick in the pants to reach our goals over the next year.

It is probably one of the most wonderful parts of the year for me. I look forward to it so much and I treasure our friendship and our candor with one another. We are so alike, yet so different, it is a perfect match.

As part of our weekend, we cooked Indian food (lots of it). Wonderful meals made better by having a native in the kitchen to teach me the tricks of the trade. This year we cooked from the Bollywood Cookbook which documents cooking from all over India through the eyes of famous Indian actors.

So in honor of her stay, I present

Mango Pickle Egg Salad

5 eggs, hard boiled

2 Tablespoons Mayonnaise (more or less to taste)

1 green chile finely chopped

2-3 Tablespoons Mango Pickle, finely chopped (more or less to taste)

Mash eggs, mayo, chile, and Mango Pickle together with a liberal dash of salt. Serve on lightly toasted wheat bread. enjoy!