SOOOO my co-worker and friend, Ashley was having a birthday and I figured, why get her a store-bought cake when I could make one especially for her? Her favorite cake is yellow with chocolate frosting, and fortunately, I stumbled across this. Smitten Kitchen's "Best Birthday Cake". I used her exact recipe, so I won't post it here, but it turned out amazing...especially the frosting, which wasn't too sweet but had an incredible flavor! So anyway, the pictures below are just the process, but it turned out fabulous and I highly recommend this recipe!
Wow guys, I really can't wait to talk to you guys about this one... I've had my first encounter with making macarons AND I have a fantastically sweet giveaway going on! So a couple of months ago, I discovered this amazing website that sells all kinds of kitchen stuff (like pretty much anything you can think of!), called Big Kitchen. You can find it by clicking here. So I tweeted to them to see if maybe we could work out some kind of review/giveaway treat for the OinK readers and they agreed! (yay!) I was given a few different options but when I saw the "Macaron making set" on the list, I was sold. I've never tried making macarons before, frankly because everyone else who blogs about making macarons talks about how hard they can be and how the first time never goes well. I will admit, these are not perfect. There are definitely some improvements I could make and I will explain that below in the Verdict section.
But FIRST let me tell you about the items they sent me that one lucky OinK winner will WIN! I got the silicone Macaron baking sheet and this phenomenal pastry bag set!
The Macaron baking sheet is awesome. I don't know about y'all but whenever I'm told how much to put of dough/batter/anything on a cookie sheet, I always put more than I'm supposed to and it can be very annoying. With macarons it would not only be annoying, but would probably turn these little guys into total disasters. This silicone sheet makes it so easy to know exactly how much of the macaron batter you need for each half of the shell and it has ridges so you really can't mess it up too bad! Plus it makes clean up super easy! I mean seriously, the only part of my macarons that could use help was the batter itself (I'm not sure I folded correctly or if I didn't sift the flour properly). All human error basically, so if you already know how to make macaron batter you are golden! Even if you don't, this silicone sheet at least makes it super easy to ensure you have the right shape and size for your perfect macarons! I truly loved it.
Now...on to the pastry bag. I'm obsessed. like incredibly obsessed. obsessed. okay I'll stop, but seriously it is AMAZING. I wish all of you could win this. I will never use my other pastry bags again. I don't even know where to begin! First off, they are silicone, which makes cleaning them pretty much the easiest thing ever. It also comes with this darling little brush that helps you clean the thinnest part so it's easy to get all the icing/batter/whatever out! Also, it comes with a stand. A STAND! No more trying to wrap my pastry bag over the top of a glass to fill it. This bag stands up so easily in the stand (thanks to the silicone I'm sure). Also, it comes with multiple shapes/heads (6 to be exact) that easily attach and detach without couplers! You don't need couplers anymore! Seriously amazing. Also, when it is standing up in the stand you don't have to worry about batter or icing dripping out as you are filling it because it comes with a little cap that you just easily take off before using. Not only are there 6 tips but there are 3 bags (two 17.5 oz and one 8.8 oz) so you can use more than one at a time and there is a clasp for sealing the bag so icing/batter doesn't come out the top! Seriously, whoever wins this is super lucky, and I wish you all the best of luck! I'm so happy I have this little set because I plan to use the pastry bag set for everything (cakes, icing cookies, etc.) and will definitely be making many macarons this summer, both to perfect my technique, and because I think they make the perfect little dessert, especially in the summertime when you don't want something especially heavy.
Here's what it looked like while making it and on the baking mat:
And out of the oven:
Definitely not perfect, but much better than what I was expecting! I can't wait to make more and get better at this! Without the baking sheet and the bag I probably would have pulled my hair out trying to do this!
I used this basic macaron recipe (although the macaron baking sheet comes with a raspberry macaron recipe that looks amazing but I didn't have raspberry preserves). I filled half of the macarons with a basic buttercream and the other half with nutella (swoon). They were both delicious but I'm leaning more towards nutella. I really want to make more this summer and jazz them up with some fun fillings, like raspberry etc. Any ideas y'all have would be great! Anyway, although they didn't turn out perfect, that was clearly human error and I think that these products are fabulous. I think I either didn't fold the batter right or I just didn't sift the flour enough. I'm not really sure, but I think that macarons are kind of a "practice makes perfect" kind of dessert and I plan to practice a LOT with this set. So now that I've gabbed on for like a million years as to why I loved these products, you can actually find out how to enter! Simply read the instructions below and post a comment to enter.
How to Enter:
Required First Entry: Go to Big Kitchen and pick out something you'd like! It can be anything... a new knife, a food processor, anything!
Extra entries (leave a comment for each!)
Like Big Kitchen on Facebook
Follow Big Kitchen on Twitter
Like Order in the Kitchen on Facebook
Follow Order in the Kitchen on Twitter
Tweet the following: "I just entered a giveaway from @orderinthekitch to win a Macaron making set and you can too! http://tinyurl.com/cwzqq9r "
Giveaway ends June 10th at 11:59 pm. A winner will be chosen by a random number generator. Duplicate comments will be deleted. Winner will have 48 hours to confirm or an alternate winner will be selected. Please leave your real email address in order to be contacted! While I did receive this product for free to review, the opinions and statements regarding the products are my own and I was not compensated for them.
Hey y'all... I'm doing the holiday thing early (or right on time, in blogger world). I realize that I posted my 4th of July cake ON the 4th of July, and my holiday cookies on December 30th (oy vey) and that does not give readers enough time to make these holiday items for the actual holiday (unless they have a time machine...if you do, please let me know). I wanted to make mini-cakes for St. Paddy's day that reminded me (and hopefully you too!) of little lucky pots of gold! (I have recently been informed that it is actually St. PADDY's day and not St. Patty's day...learn something new every day huh?!)
Hey all, I promised to post my holiday cookies and I know they aren't much use to you now but at least you will have this reference if you want to plan ahead for next year! I made a few different kinds. I made gingerbread cookies for Matt's boss (who is a judge...that's why they are wearing robes) and sugar cookies for everyone else!
Let me back up and tell you a little Christmas story. I was unfortunately scheduled to work on Christmas Eve and was very upset at the thought of not being able to be with my family during that time. I found two lovely ladies to cover my shift so that I could be with my family. I dubbed them my Christmas Angels, and made them cookies for being so sweet to offer to do it. That is what Christmas is really about to me-- being with your family, and doing kind things for others when you know it will mean a lot to them.
Now that you have a little background, I'll show you all the cookies and you can keep them as a reference for next Christmas.
Remember when THIS happened??
And THIS had already happened in preparation for that?
Well THIS is what happened next!:
Well, as promised, I made Champagne Cupcakes! I had promised to make this in the exciting event that I passed the North Carolina Bar Exam, and lucky for you (AND ME!) I passed and made treats for you all to celebrate with me! One of my favorite cocktails in the world is a Kir Royale. I discovered this delicious cocktail at Christmas last year and thought that transforming them into a dessert would be an absolute delight!
I adapted a recipe for Champagne Cupcakes from my friend Yuri of Chef Pandita. She made lovely champagne cupcakes with lycee for her birthday and I've been dying to make my Kir Royale version, but I was waiting for that letter! Well I finally got it and it was good news! I already had a backup plan in case it wasn't (another cocktail) but I'm happy I can share these with you instead! Now that it's the weekend and I had time to go buy ingredients, I got everything I needed, including champagne and Chambord.
I am oftentimes amazed at the ability of social networks to bring people together. Just a few months ago I decided to launch this blog and join twitter. I discovered not only a slew of amazing food blogs to drool over but also some incredible twitter friends. You may laugh at my usage of "friends" but that's what they feel like to me. When my grandmother passed away, I had countless tweets with kind words and the same was true when I took the bar exam. I received at least as many "good luck" tweets as I did real life comments.
Today, food bloggers around the world are gathering together to make Peanut Butter Pies. Why? Because one of our own has suffered a tremendous loss. While I do not personally "know" Jennifer (Jennie) Perillo, I follow her blog, In Jennie's Kitchen in my RSS feed and therefore, I feel as if I know her in a way. We are connected, even if through a love of food. This past week, Jennie suffered a kind of loss I don't even want to imagine. Her husband passed away suddenly of a heart attack. Jennie posted a beautiful video of him dancing with his daughter, and you can just see what kind of a man he is. He reminded me of my father in that video...the one who adores his daughters.
This blog post will be rather quick, as I have a lot of work to do for Bar Exam stuff, but I just wanted to wish everyone a happy 4th of July!! Happy Birthday America! This year, I decided to try out the "American Flag Cake" created by 17 and Baking with a great version by Glorious Treats. Below, I have included an instructional video on how to make and assemble the cake, and it's a nice way for you to get to know me better! Please check it out! I will also post some pictures from the process and let you know how it went. The picture above is after the cake had melted for about 3-4 hours so if you served it cold it probably wouldn't be so messy but sometimes I think messy is more beautiful than perfect.
I know, I know...I have this horrible habit of making things that are supposed to be good for you (bananas, apples, etc.) terrible for you (by adding sugar, nutella etc.). I hope you can forgive me. This dish is another simple one that you can make on the fly as long as you have some fruit around and baking essentials in your pantry (e.g. sugar and flour). I got this recipe from my friend, Karen, who made it for us one evening for dinner. It was so delicious, I asked her to send me the recipe, and thankfully she did! I have tweaked it just a little to incorporate my obsession for cinnamon. Give this simple recipe a try next time you want a quick, easy to make dessert!
Hey guys...just a quick post for you tonight. I posted a picture on facebook and twitter earlier about these adorable little nuggets of deliciousness and have received a few tweets and instagram comments requesting the recipe. Truth be told, I wasn't really going to post this recipe because it is so simple that I didn't really think it worthy of the food-blog-world that normally intrigues me beyond belief with the creativity that exists amongst those people. But since you asked... of course I will share! :)