Homemade Halloween: Making “Twix” Bars

October 22nd, 2014 · 33 Comments · Candy, Photography, Recipes, San Francisco

Homemade Twix bars stack
 

With Halloween coming up next week. I'm finishing all my preparations, which mostly involve putting together Isabelle's costume and moving all the pumpkins in the house back to their designated places, after she's moved them all again for the twentieth time. Apparently pumpkins are way more fun than her regular toys - who knew?

I've stocked up on candy for trick or treaters, but I couldn't resist going into kitchen to make some sweets from scratch. This year, it's a homemade rendition of one of my favorite candies from childhood - the Twix bar.

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Chocolate Cake with Salted Caramel Buttercream and Apples

October 14th, 2014 · 54 Comments · Cakes, Recipes

Apple Salted Caramel Chocolate cake closeup
 

Indian summer continues on in full swelter here in the bay area. It's honestly the hottest it's been here for the last six months: the mornings start out promisingly grey and overcast, and then by mid-morning it's just cloudless sky and shimmering heat. Not-so-little-Isabelle is growing out of her summer t-shirts and shorts, clothes I thought I could safely pack away by now but instead I'm desperately hoping will still fit until cooler weather finally arrives.

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A Tribute to the Queen of the Daring Bakers

November 15th, 2013 · 13 Comments · Personal, Recipes, Tarts

Chocolate Caramel Tart 2
The Chocolate Caramel Tart, from Daring Bakers August 2007

I've been busy for weeks with pre-trip madness, but on Tuesday I got a sudden, sad reminder of how fragile and precious life is. Lisa, the blogger behind La Mia Cucina and one of the founders of the Daring Bakers, unexpectedly passed away, leaving behind a community of baking bloggers that she helped create.

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In Time for Halloween: Pumpkin Spice Caramel Lollipops

October 22nd, 2013 · 1 Comment · Candy, Recipes

pumpkin spice caramel lollipop

I’m not really a pumpkin spice latte fan. But I do like big mugs of hot, comforting drinks to sip slowly while watching autumnlight dwindle. And a long-handled stirrer to twirl pensively (I’m an inveterate fiddler). So it suddenly dawned on me last week: why not make an edible stirrer? One that might produce a pumpkin-pie-spiced coffee to my liking?

Autumn is for caramel: that cozy golden hue fits the season perfectly. I’ve been cooking a lot of sugar lately, so I’m surprised I didn’t think of spiced, Halloween-appropriate candy sooner.

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The Brownie-Cake Borderline

February 27th, 2012 · 20 Comments · Cakes, Chocolate, Recipes

brownies sideshot

So I was leafing through the latest issue of Donna Hay and came across this nigh-irresistibly named-and-photographed Caramel Crunch Brownie. A brownie covered with a crunch-filled caramel and a layer of chocolate ganache sounded like something that needed to be coming out of my kitchen posthaste.

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A Little Night Circus Cake

November 21st, 2011 · 31 Comments · Books, Cakes, Chocolate, Recipes

Darkness to Light Cake inspired by The Night Circus on dessertfirstgirl.com

I rarely mention my non-food-related reading here (and judging from the pile of new cookbooks on my kitchen table, leisure reading time is at a premium these days), but I thought I’d have to mention The Night Circus as I haven’t made any literature-inspired recipes recently . (By the way, for all you Song of Ice and Fire fans, this is the most amazing fansite out there.)

The Night Circus is a novel about magic, but a kind of magic far removed from the carefully delineated, all-encompassing sorcery of the Harry Potter world. Magic in this world is a mysterious, shadowy phenomenon practiced by a rare few. Although at least one character has certain “systems” for wielding magic, no elaboration follows. I found this nebulousness frustrating, but in the end I realized that the author wasn’t really interested in exploring the hows and whys of the feats of fancy in her book. Magic is a conduit to create some fantastical and evocative imagery, and lead the reader into a world where everything is deliberately, delightfully, extraordinary.

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