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Monday, June 25, 2012

Tuxedo Cake

     Over the weekend I was privileged to make a special order birthday cake for my       
friend Jean's dad.  Together we came up with the idea of doing a tuxedo cake, a very 
elegant choice for his special day.  I had been wanting to try my hand at making
this cake for a while now, so I was excited to have this chance.  The cake has
 has three components:  three layers of very moist  chocolate cake, whipped
 cream frosting and a chocolate ganache finish.

The three-tiered cake with it's smooth layer of whipped
cream.  Of course there is whipped cream between
each cake layer as well!

The chocolate ganache is drizzled over the chilled cake
so it sets up quickly with lovely drips.

I love the look of the finished cake with the contrast of the
white whipped cream and the chocolate ganache.   A
cake fit for a king, or a special dad.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Cop Cookies-The Genesis of a New Cookie

A while ago I had an idea to create a pair of cookies
called cops and robbers.  While looking for inspiration for the
cop cookie, of course the first thing that came to mind is 
coffee and doughnuts

So, in between batches of caramel and biscotti,  I
played around with some cookie doughs,adding
coffee  and mixing in  chocolate covered cheerios
that looked like little donuts.

Cute little buggers.

After adding a few sprinkles to reinforce the donut theme,
I ended up with prototype #1, pictured above.
Prototype #1 looked a little strange, but more importantly,
didn't have much to offer other than being sweet.
Back to the drawing board.

I started thinking of other things associated with the police 
like this old black and white  police car.

It also came to mind that policemen are
often called "men in blue"

By the way, Do you know how the blue police uniform
came about?  Apparently it all started in London.  In 1829
they instituted the first modern police force and chose
dark blue uniforms to differentiate them from their military
which wore red and white uniforms at the time. New
York City was the first to copy this idea in 1853, with 
many other US police forces following suite.

NOW, back to the cookies...
I decided to take my original idea of a coffee
laced cookie and incorporate the black, white
and blue elements.  So, I nixed the little donuts and
added chocolate chips and white chocolate chips 
to represent the black and white police car and
dried blueberries for the 'men in blue'.
This was Prototype#2 and....it tasted good
but was flatter than a pancake.

After tweaking the flour and sugar ratios this week, I
came up with Prototype#3, which looks good 
and I think has a very nice and interesting flavor,
but I will let my customers decide whether the 'copper' is 
a 'keeper'.  I will have this cookie and many others available
at my stand this week.  And now for those robber cookies......

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Crazy About Vanilla

     I am absolutely crazy about vanilla extract.  So crazy, I have a whole closet full of the
 delightful elixir.  You see, I don't want to run out of it-ever.  And since almost all of my
pastries contain generous amounts of vanilla, the danger is real.  Not only do I need large
quantities of vanilla, I need it be really high quality, so-- I make it myself.

I use only Madagascar vanilla beans and vodka for my vanilla extract,
no sweeteners or other add-ins.  

I buy nice, plump vanilla beans in bulk

Then I cut up the beans, put them in glass jars and fill 'em up with vodka.
After steeping for several months I have a supply of wonderful
vanilla extract to use in my creations.

Soon, I hope to be able to offer my vanilla extract for sale at
my stand so others who are crazy about vanilla can enjoy it too!