Thanks to all who entered the minted giveaway! The winner, chosen by random number generator, is:
September 21st, 2012 · 9 Comments · Breads, Cookbooks, Recipes, Reviews
Thank you to all of you for your well-wishes and e-mails. It means a great deal to me to know there’s so much support coming from all over the web. I go between excited and nervous, often within the space of minutes, and oftentimes simultaneously, so it’s definitely never dull here. I also didn’t mention that while I haven’t been able to report any outlandish food cravings, my sweet tooth has really diminished! Which is weird and disconcerting, and of course not the best news for a dessert-themed blog. I still want to bake, but many times I just don’t know what I want to make. Maybe it’s nature’s way of telling me I’ve already accumulated enough sugar in my system over the years and I need to put some other foods in it?
August 27th, 2012 · 6 Comments · Reviews, San Francisco, Sweet Spots, Sweet Spots
While the macaron craze may have have subsided slightly in the blogosphere, they’re still popular here in the Bay Area – no self-respecting patisserie would be without a rainbow-hued selection of these little sweets. My choice for satisfying my macaron cravings is Chantal Guillon – a little shop tucked away in San Francisco that featured some of the most elegantly formed and decorated renditions of this French confection. I loved her version so much I even had ordered them for my wedding reception, a highlight I still remember fondly.
So I was thrilled to receive notice that Chantal Guillon had opened a second store down in Palo Alto, and even better, I was invited to visit the shop and chat with Mme Guillon herself! I sped down the Peninsula on a sunny Friday afternoon get a look at the brand new store.
July 9th, 2012 · 10 Comments · Cookbooks, Fruit, Recipes, Reviews
When a great deal of your personal and professional life revolves around baking, you forget how much of the vernacular you’ve absorbed over time. When I taught a few enthusiast classes at Tante Marie’s, it was a reminder of how easy it is to take all I’d learned in pastry school and over the years for granted. That you need to have butter at room temperature before attempting to cream it. That you use the beater attachment for creaming and the whisk attachment for whipping (doesn’t sound quite as obvious when spelled out that way, does it?)
Although I try to gear most of the material on my site towards home bakers with at least some baking experience, it’s always good to have a reminder to look at the craft through a neophyte’s eyes, and refresh my perspective. Sometimes I get asked how I come up with the recipes for my site. Well, of course, when I started, I made recipes straight out of cookbooks I admired. It wasn’t until I became more confident in my baking skills that I became brave and curious enough to experiment. To me, if a recipe is tricky or difficult, it doesn’t necessarily turn me off. It means it’s a challenge to see if I have the skill to execute it. But I realized for many people who aren’t perhaps as baking-obsessed as me, that baking can seem like a stressful, dry venture where if you don’t have your ingredients in exactly the right amounts or the oven at the right temperature, you’ll end up with a flat cake, tough crust, burned custard – or worse. Being creative? Who knows if you add that extra ingredient to a cake, that it won’t deflate? or explode?
Since it’s just about pie season, I thought it would be a good time to review a cookbook that’s been on my to-do list for a while: Gesine Bullock-Prado’s Pie It Forward: Pies, Tarts, Tortes, Galettes, and Other Pastries Reinvented.