Dealing with life is a piece of cake.

Posts tagged ‘Baking’

In the meantime, I’ll munch on macaroons.

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A few mornings ago, I opened my eyes, accepted the sunlight coming through the window, and began my lazy morning ritual of scrolling through Facebook, double-tapping pictures of my friends’ lunches on Instagram, and pinning outfits I can’t afford on Pinterest. Suddenly, I received a text from my roommate, who I can only assume had just woken up as well.

Yes, we text each other from just a few feet away. Don’t judge.

The text went as follows:

Bri: Hey boo do you have any plans for today?
Kate: Nope, I need to work out and go to the bank but that’s it.
Bri: Just curious, I have so many things that I want to do today but the day doesn’t have enough hours, plus I love laying in bed!
Kate: What do you have to do?
Bri: Nothing I have to do, just things I want to do. 🙂 I have an eye appointment at 3:30, I’d like to get adjusted, I want to get a massage and a facial, I want to go to the street fair, I want to lay out, I want to do my laundry, I want to go see a psychic. 😉

Okay, so she’s a bit of an overachiever, but I was on board.

It was too cold for the pool or beach, the massage place was booked up until late-afternoon, and who really wants to do laundry? Answer: NO ONE.

Ultimately we decided to a.)Definitely make it to the Huntington Beach street fair. It’s every Tuesday, and I had never been, despite the fact that I’ve lived in Southern California my whole life. b.) We were totally into this psychic idea.

I’ve hit a bit of a rough patch in life, and I’m currently in search of ANY input. This is includes a psychic reading, apparently. I mean, why not, right?

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So we set out for the day. I won’t bore you with the details of how long we searched for a psychic that wasn’t going to charge each of us $100, homemade Panini for life, and the rights to our first-born children. Eventually, we ended up going to a lady located very close to our apartment.

Now I don’t know if this psychic thing is real or a bunch of applesauce, but it was pretty interesting nonetheless.

I won’t share what she said to me, but if she’s right, I have a lot of changes headed my way, in almost all aspects of life. Some sounded pretty darn exciting, others…quite scary.

Regardless, it opened my mind up to possibilities. Who knows where I’ll be a year from now, whether or not I’ll be single, what career path I’ll have chosen, or which people will still be in my life.

I can hope, though, that my roommate is one of them. If it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t have ever thought to seek input from a complete stranger. My roomie is da bomb.

Therefore, I made her some cookies. While we were at the street fair later that day, we passed a booth that was selling cookies. Macaroons, to be exact. And she just happened to mention that she loves them.

Uhh..okay. Easiest cookie ever. Next to snickerdoodles, her other favorite. She’s easy to please.

Poor thing had a rough day, so after I cleaned out our fridge and cupboards, I whipped some up. Just for her.

For you too, of course, but shhh…don’t tell her that. 😉

While I wait to see if the psychic’s predictions are true (one thing already happened, by the way), I’ll be here, munching on these delicious macaroons.

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Easy Peasy Coconut Macaroons

14oz (1 pkg) shredded coconut
14oz sweetened condensed milk
3 tsp vanilla extract
2 egg whites
pinch of salt

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees

2. Combine coconut, vanilla, and condensed milk in a medium bowl. Set aside.

3. Beat egg whites and salt on high until medium-firm peaks form.

4. Fold egg whites into coconut mixture until thoroughly combined.

5. Place 1 3/4 inch balls onto a foil-lined cookie sheet.

6. Bake for 30 minutes. Transfer to cooling rack.

If you decide to dip them in chocolate, allow them to cool completely, melt the chocolate in the microwave for one increment of 30 seconds, stir, another increment for 45 seconds, and stir until everything is melted. Dip the macaroon in the chocolate and set on foil. Don’t touch until it’s completely set, Cookie Monster!!!

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Bon Appétit! 

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The most honest cupcake you will ever eat.

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Something weird happened this week. I’m talking borderline supernatural…

I played with a baby, and it was a lot of fun.

Umm…okay…what’s your point…

If you know me but at all, you know that children, specifically babies, make me extremely uncomfortable. I never really knew why, but the idea of holding a baby made me shiver. Yes, they’re cute, but I think it’s because they’re so freaking honest. And small.

As an adult, it’s hard to tell sometimes if other adults like you or not. They’ll tell you how adorable your skirt is, laugh at your jokes, and then go talk to Suzie Gossipsalot about how that is the ugliest effing skirt she’s ever seen, and how that joke wasn’t even funny…and that you’re probably a racist. Great. You’ll never know. Unless Suzie Gossipsalot comes back to tell you what a witch Patty is for talking about you behind your back.

I did say “adult”…right? *sigh*

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But babies…babies don’t hold back. If they don’t like you, they won’t go near you, they’ll glare at you, they’ll avoid you at all costs. That is, until someone hands them over to you, in which case they scream bloody murder.

I’m pretty sure I’d get the point if I walked up to someone and they started screaming and crying. It doesn’t get much more blunt than that. Awkwaaard.

But that was my fear with babies. What if they don’t like me?! And, what if I break it? <– Although that’s a different issue.

This baby, my cousin’s beautiful, happy, silly baby, was such a joy. And I realized how incredibly obsessed I am with her when I woke up this morning. Instead of repinning crafts I’ll never make on Pinterest, I was looking at baby clothes to send to this adorable little muffin. What has happened to me?!

Oh shiznit. I think I’m growing up. Yikes.

I’m not ready to grow up. I still want to live in my own little Kate world, do my own little Kate thing, and be my own little selfish Kate person…for now. Crap! There I go again.

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These cupcakes have the honesty comparable to that of a baby: Chocolate Chip Cookie Cupcakes. What you see is what you get. There’s even a cookie on top, for cryin’ out loud! If you don’t like chocolate chip cookies, you will not like these cupcakes. If you don’t like chocolate chip cookies…I can respect that, but…what the heck, man?

In all seriousness, though, these are pretty darn good. Chocolate chip cookies are my favorite, and I turned them into a miniature cake that tastes like you’re eating the dough right out of the bowl (without the risk of salmonella – score!). Tell me how that can be a bad thing.

They’re comfort food, they’re sweet, they totally hit the spot, and they won’t judge your adorable vintage skirt…

…because it’s a cupcake. Come on.

Be honest, you want these.

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Chocolate Chip Cookie Cupcakes

Cupcakes:

2 sticks unsalted butter
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup milk
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line muffin pan with cupcake wrappers.

2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

3. Beat butter and sugars together until creamy and pale.

4. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until just blended.

5. Add vanilla.

6. Alternate adding the flour mixture and the milk, starting and ending with flour. Beat until combined.

7. Put about 1 tsp of flour in a ziplock bag with chocolate chips. Shake the bag around to ensure each piece is coated in flour. (This helps the chips from falling to the bottom of your cakes.) Fold chips into batter.

8. Bake for 15-18 minutes, and allow to cool completely before frosting.

Frosting:

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
2 tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup flour
2 tbsp milk
2 1/2 – 3 cups sifted confectioner’s sugar

1. Beat butter until creamy.

2. Add sugars and beat until smooth.

3. Add flour and beat until combined.

4. Add milk and vanilla.

5. Add powdered sugar in 1/2 cup increments until desired consistency is reached.

6. Frost!

I used my cookie recipe to make the miniature cookies on top, but I baked them for about 10 minutes, let them cool, and placed them on my cupcakes for an added treat.

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And, incase you’ve forgotten, Event Blossom’s blog is kicking butt! It’s full of great craft ideas, as well as tons of products to put that finishing touch on your next party. Look how adorable those striped cupcake wrappers are from the Cupcake MOD Party Kit! The blog has been up for ONE YEAR! Happy anniversary, and congratulations, guys!!

Bon Appétit!

Courtesy cupcakes and well-mannered meringue.

I often think about how I would act in front of the Queen of England.

The term “lady-like” does not come to mind when I think of myself — I hate sitting with my ankles crossed. It’s not natural! Or curtsying? Yikes…I don’t know about that one either — I don’t think I’m coordinated enough to lightly shake her fragile hand and do a half-pliet at the same time. Also, what the heck do you talk to her about? Do you talk to her at all? Am I supposed to dance for her? Make balloon animals? Perform my rendition of Broadway’s “Cats”? That’s a lot of pressure. She might prefer The Lion King…

In my fantasy world, the Queen and I would be sitting in two giant comfy chairs in her extravagant living room, where there is a faint background hum of subtle classical music. While she tells me story after story of her past romantic affairs that no one knows about, we sip tea and coffee out of tiny delicate gold-trimmed cups that sit beside some scones that I made for her. She loves them. She ate six. It turns out that she finds me so charming and charismatic that she wants me to move to England for the sole purpose of our weekly afternoon gossip sessions. I do this. Life is cool.

Sounds reasonable. I’m sure this happens. It’s…casual.

I’ve made a list. A list of behavioral faux pas I’ve observed over the past few weeks. Imagine if we all had the courtesy and politeness required when interacting with Her Majesty?

Okay, I agree, that’d be a bit much, and pretty boring, but really all I’m talking about is common courtesy, people. Basic manners. Simple things that seem like common sense, but for some reason, I’ve noticed that apparently, they’re not. Taking a general interest in someone’s life, when they are constantly interested in yours, is common courtesy. Smiling when you see someone instead of frowning or having a scowling look…common courtesy. Asking how someone’s day was…common courtesy!

THINGS YOU SHOULD OR SHOULD NOT DO WHEN YOU ARE A FUNCTIONAL MEMBER OF SOCIETY

1. Saying “hello” to the person behind the counter before starting to speak – GOOD

2. Not reciprocating a “How are you” question – BAD

3. Holding the door open for someone, even if its your dog (especially if its your dog) – GOOD

4. Holding the door open for someone, only to let go at the last possible second to make it completely awkward and unmanageable for the person about to walk through, resulting in pain. – BAD (was that too specific?)

5. Remembering names – GOOD

6. Forgetting names – BAD

7. Using “please” and “thank you” on a regular basis – VERY GOOD

8. Interrupting someone when they talk – VERY BAD

9. Asking how someone’s day was – GOOD

10. Chewing with your mouth closed – GOOD

11. Batting someone’s face when they’re sleeping – BAD (I think it might just be Kitten that does this, but if you do it…stop it. Weirdo.)

12. Complimenting someone – GOOD

13. Telling someone they look like Jane of the Jungle because they’re having an “off” hair day – BAD

14. Giving (welcomed) hugs – GOOD

15. Answering phone calls or texts in the middle of a deep face-to-face conversation – BAD

16. Referring to someone’s hobby as “stupid” to their face – VERY BAD

17. Asking about someone’s hobby because you really care – VERY GOOD

18. Baking lemon cupcakes – GOOD

19. Pairing the cupcakes with a blueberry compote – GREAT

20. Topping the cupcakes with an airy meringue – EXCELLENT!

There are a lot more where that came from. But these are truths. Necessary truths. Specifically the last three…and number seven. And eleven…

These cupcakes came together better than I imagined. I got home from work, took off my blazer, and got to baking. There was no recipe written down anywhere, and I never even tried to look up suggestions on how to make a perfect compote. I simply looked at the recipe for my mom’s favorite lemon cookies and made it into a super moist, fresh, lemon cake. The flavor is perfect. The texture? Lighter than freaking air.

Mama was happy. And we all know that when Mama is happy…say it with me…everyone is happy!

I topped it with a perfectly sweetened blueberry compote, and whipped up some meringue. And as you can see, I had a little bit of pyro fun with a small torch. 🙂

The Event Blossom theme this week is Something Blue. Adorable! These cupcakes with the blue wrappers are a perfect pair for a summer engagement party. Make sure to take a peek at what Kim did with this kit on her blog!

Perhaps the Queen might enjoy them too…I’ll consider making them for her for next week’s afternoon tea.

Now, please, try these cupcakes.

Come on…I said please!

Lemon Cupcakes with Blueberry Compote and Meringue

1 3/4 cup flour
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup non-fat half and half
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup butter
1 tbsp lemon zest
juice of two fresh lemons

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and line muffin pan with papers.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Set aside.

3. In a medium bowl using an electric mixer, beat butter until smooth and pale.

4. Add eggs, beat well on high.

5. Add vanilla, beat well.

6. Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture. Beat for about 30 seconds.

7. Add half and half, lemon juice, and zest until evenly distributed. Do not over mix.

8. Fill cups 1/2 full and bake for 18 minutes.

Note: These rise a LOT. I was not expecting this. So you’ll notice that this says to fill the cups 1/2 full instead of 3/4 full. There’s a reason for that. Do as I say. (Please..)

Blueberry Compote

2 cups fresh blueberries
3/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp water

1. Simmer all ingredients in a small saucepan for about 8 minutes. The blueberries should start to pop and the mixture will begin to thicken. Stir occasionally.

2. Remove from heat and let cool. If it is not thick enough, add 1 tbsp corn starch and place back on the heat for another couple of minutes. Let cool completely before using on cupcakes.

Meringue

6 egg whites
5 tbsp sugar
3/4 tsp vanilla

1. Beat egg whites until frothy.

2. Add sugar until stiff peaks form.

3. Add vanilla, continue to beat on high.

4. To test if the meringue is ready, you should be able to hold the bowl upside-down for 30 seconds. Yes, 30 nerve-racking seconds.

Bon appétit!