{Chocolate Review}: Toffee Theory

October 27th, 2011 · 13 Comments · Candy, Chocolate, Field Guide to Candy, Recipes, Reviews, San Francisco, SF Events

toffee field guide candy
image from Field Guide to Candy

A few weeks back, I was invited to be a judge for TasteTV‘s Best Toffee in North America Competition. A whole boxful of toffees delivered to my door? Yes, please!

Those of you who are curious about the difference between toffee, English toffees, and buttercrunch, feel free to see my older post on buttercrunch. I became quite obsessed with untangling the various monikers of this candy while researching my candy book, if you couldn’t tell.

These days, most buttercrunch is marketed simply as “toffee”; I only saw one brand out of thirteen that was labelled “English toffee” (Which may perhaps provide some comfort to poor Brits trying to find their version of the candy abroad). For that reason, I will refer to all the candy I sampled for the competition as toffee, to avoid confusion. I will maintain, though, my abiding love for the word “buttercrunch”. If I ever make and sell my own version, I’ll call it buttercrunch, and probably confuse the heck out of everyone.

So how does one determine the best toffee?

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Another Successful SF Food Blogger Bake Sale!

May 20th, 2011 · 8 Comments · Cookies, Recipes, San Francisco, SF Events

GF brownie cupcakes - bake sale tips at dessertfirstgirl.com

Sorry all for the late update…I’m totally overwhelmed with work obligations and getting ready for my upcoming vacation – just a week and a half away! I’m trying to wrap up all the loose ends before I leave, but they stubbornly stay unraveled. Do I ever need summer break!

I do want to give a quick recap of the second annual SF Food Bloggers Bake Sale that took place last Saturday and thank everyone that turned out to help and donate. We got classic San Francisco “summer” weather that day: overcast skies and chilly breezes. Nevertheless, our volunteer bakers showed up early and eager with piles of beautiful pastries that we laid out in a truly tempting display.

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San Francisco Blogger Bake Sale This Saturday!

May 9th, 2011 · 4 Comments · Personal, San Francisco, SF Events

sfbakesalebadge3

I ‘m so excited that the bake sale I’ve been organizing with several other bloggers is this Saturday – less than a week away! Planning has been going extremely well – we now have two locations and almost 50 volunteer bakers!

If you are in San Francisco this Saturday, please come by and support us! The two locations are:

18 Reasons

593 Guerrero Street

San Francisco, CA 94110

10 AM to 6 PM

and

Kiehl’s

2360 Fillmore

San Francisco, CA 94110

12 PM to 4 PM

Please see the official blog for full directions. I will likely be going between the two locations during the day, so I hope to see you there!

If you don’t live in the Bay Area, might I direct you to the front page of our blog where you can make a direct donation? Share Our Strength is a tremendously worthy cause and I’m proud that the food blogger community has embraced it wholeheartedly. 100% of the proceeds from this bake sale will go towards funding programs across the nation to feed hungry children. If you have a moment, you can watch this official Share Our Strength video which describes the goals and various activities of the organization including the national bake sale.

Now, on to other business. I’m sure you’re all waiting to hear the winner of the Le Creuset braiser giveaway. Thanks so much for all your kind birthday wishes – I had a wonderful day and it was great to get so many comments. Now go comment on my last post on eggettes, please!;)

The winner of the Le Creuset braiser is:

creusetwinner

Reader 116, sydney85! Congratulations and thanks again to all who entered!

Some other site housekeeping updates:

- I have now updated the conversions page with information on common weight-to-volume conversions. I know there are many international readers to this blog, and I often get comments about converting my recipes to metric, or vice versa. I’m slowly working on standardizing all the recipes on this site, but in the meantime check out the page for some quick conversions you can use yourself.

- For those of you that subscribe to my rss feed, it was created from my old Typepad blog and I have created a new one for this site. Could I ask, if you are a subscriber, to subscribe to my new feed? (the subscribe button is to the right in the sidebar). I’m keeping up both feeds for now but I’d like to eventually discontinue the old one, and I don’t want to lose all you subscribers! Thanks!

Stay tuned for Thursday where I’ll give an update on what I’m making for the bake sale!

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Best Pebble Beach Food and Wine Ever (The Actual Report!)

May 2nd, 2011 · 6 Comments · San Francisco, SF Events

Scroll to down for my report on PBFW!

crabtamale

I’ve been to two Pebble Beach Food and Wine events, and they keep getting bigger and bigger. Why do I think this was the best one ever? Well, for a very personal reason involving this lady:

sherryyard

If you don’t recognize her immediately from her trademark pink jacket, this is the one and only Sherry Yard, Wolgang Puck’s longtime pastry chef. Her two
cookbooks are among the most treasured of my entire collection, and getting to meet her in person was a true highlight of my time at Pebble Beach. But the very best part? When I mentioned my site Dessert First, she said she’d seen it!! Can you believe that? Nothing else that happened that day could have topped that. SO happy I got to meet her.

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A Busy Weekend Including Bake Sale for Japan

April 5th, 2011 · 21 Comments · Cakes, Recipes, San Francisco, SF Events

Coconut Cupcakes with Yuzu Buttercream

I had an over-the-top, amazingly full weekend, the kind that starts on Thursday afternoon and doesn’t end until you’re catching your breath on a wickedly warm Sunday evening. Too much to share, and some bits I’m saving for a future post, but I did want to talk about a big part of my Saturday: the Bake Sale for Japan.

A series of bake sales around the Bay Area organized to raise money for Japan, this event brought together amateur and professional bakers in a happy mashup of cookies, pies, jams, and all other forms of baked goods. I stopped by one of the San Francisco bake sales, located at Bi-Rite, with my contributions (more on them below) and snapped a few pictures of the bounty on display:

 

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National Food Blogger Bake Sale – SF 2011 Edition!

February 24th, 2011 · 2 Comments · Personal, San Francisco, SF Events

SFbakesaleBADGE-500px_new

It's been almost a year since the first San Francisco Food Bloggers Bake Sale, and the time has come to plan for the 2011 bake sale!

Last year, food bloggers across the country banded together to hold bake sales in their hometowns in support of Share Our Strength, a national organization dedicated to ending childhood hunger. The San Francisco bake sale was a fabulous success, raising $1650 in one day. On May 14 this year, bake sales will be again held by food bloggers everywhere, with all proceeds donated to Share Our Strength.

I'm excited to be joined this year by some other local baking bloggers, who are volunteering their time and talents to make this the most well organized bake sale ever. Irvin, Shauna, and Annelies, all participants in last year's bake sale, are now enthusiastic co-organizers. Because of that, we have set up a separate page for the San Francisco Food Blogger Bake Sale where you can sign up to participate or check for updates.

We have a new, bigger location for the bake sale this year: 18 Reasons, a local community center focused on art and food. They host a variety of classes and events celebrating food throughout the year. We're thrilled to be able to hold our bake sale in their beautiful space.

What are the San Francisco Food Blogger Bake Sale details?

When: Saturday, May 14

Where: 18 Reasons, 3674 18th Street, San Francisco, CA

How can you help?

If you live in the Bay Area and you want to participate in the bake sale, please go to the SF Bake Sale website and sign up to volunteer! It doesn't matter if you have a food blog or not, only a desire to bake! We need volunteers to help bake up goods to sell, and I would love a chance to meet all you local foodies! Bring a plate of cookies or a cake, whatever you feel like contributing!

If you aren't able to bake up something, please come by and help support us! Purchase something yummy and make a donation to Share our Strength!

If you don't live near San Francisco but would still like to participate, check Gaby's page (the national organizer) to see if there's another bake sale going on near where you live.

Here is some additional information on Share Our Strength and The Great American Bake Sale.

See my recap of last year's bake sale to see a bit of all the excitement.

I hope to see you all at the new bake sale homepage, and to see you May 14 at the bake sale!

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