Chocolate Mousse Methodology: Day One

April 10th, 2012 · 13 Comments · Chocolate, Cookbooks, Recipes, Reviews

choc mousse board

Sometimes you find yourself in an inspiration drought. I know that seems practically impossible these days, when Facebook and Twitter and Pinterest means there’s all sorts of inspiration for the taking, all the time, but sometimes I find the reverse happening. When you’re surrounded by everyone else’s cool ideas, and it seems like everything original has already been done, it’s hard to have room for creative thoughts of your own in your mind. Sometimes I find I need to step away from the overstimulation and let my brain wander and percolate ideas on its own. Like the classic writers’ advice, to stop reading when you’re trying to write your own book, so you don’t let other voices drown out your own.

I can’t guarantee that the project I came up with is wholly original, but at least it was a happy kickstart.  I tried to re-organize my bookshelf for the tenth time (I keep coming up with new algorithms for determining hierarchy) and ended up picking out Cooking with Chocolate: Essential Recipes and Techniques, which was a nominee for IACP best baking book of 2011. I concur with the short-listing: it’s a comprehensive compendium of classic chocolate techniques, easy to follow, and written in English – that last criterion can be a real killer when searching for advanced/professional level baking books!

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{Cookbook Review}: 2011 Holiday Baking Cookbooks

December 8th, 2011 · 7 Comments · Cookbooks, Reviews

It’s that time again for one of my favorite posts of the year – the baking cookbook roundup!

I’m guessing that everyone is in holiday shopping mode, so if you’re still looking for a gift for your favorite baker, or maybe for your own bookshelf, there’s a great selection of baking cookbooks looking for an eager home. Some of my favorites from this year are listed in the sidebars to the right of this post, but let’s take a look at some of the latest releases – there’s truly something for every taste. May you all never run out of bookshelf space!

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{Cookbook Review} Cookie Time: Linzer Cookies and A Slew of Cookie Cookbooks

December 5th, 2011 · 13 Comments · Cookbooks, Cookies, Recipes, Reviews

linzer cookies

Happy December! Thanks to all who entered the Teacake Bake Shop giveaway. The winner of the cookie sampler, chosen at random, is:

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Reader #10, Amy! Congratulations and hope you enjoy!

For everyone else, no need for sadness, as we are entering the prime cookie-baking season of the year. My fab friend Annelies just threw a cookie swap party over the weekend – keep an eye out for some truly tasty cookie recipes popping up on the blogs in the next few days. I have to admit I was a little unoriginal with my entry: I used one of my favorite linzer cookie recipes (making them always puts me in a holiday frame of mind), but I changed up the presentation with some little alphabet cookie cutters.

I’m going to be really nerdy and point out that we were asked to bring a dozen cookies to the party, and the phrase I chose worked out to a baker’s dozen. Sweet, yes? I also inadvertently provided some of the party entertainment by essentially bringing edible anagrams; obviously bloggers will be ardent wordsmiths, and I’ll let you figure out how we got from “Happy Holidays” to “Laos”.

For those of you looking for some more cookie inspiration, there are quite a few new cookie books out for the holidays. Let’s take a look (FYI, my full cookbook roundup will be following soon!)

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{Cookbook Review} CakeSpy Tour de Sweet

October 13th, 2011 · 3 Comments · Cookbooks, Cookies, Recipes, Reviews

TdSgraphic

 

Cupcakes, unicorns, and rainbows. Today I’m excited to be part of CakeSpy’s Tour de Sweet blog tour! Cakespy is one of my favorite sweet blogs – the adorable graphics and quirky fun recipes definitely make it one of the most distinctive sites out there. I love Cuppie the cupcake – his smiling face and his group of equally delicious friends always makes me smile when I visit the website.

I was honored to get an advance copy of Jessie (head CakeSpy)’s new cookbook, Sweet Treats for a Sugar-Filled Life, and I’m happy to say it’s just as captivating as her site. It contains over 60 recipes for some wildly outrageous concoctions like Cinnamon Rolls Stuffed with Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Cupcake Stuffed Cupcakes, and Red Velvet Cake Shake. I wish my dessert dreams were as creative as Jessie’s. The cookbook is liberally sprinkled with artwork of Cuppie and his companions. As someone with zero drawing ability, I love her art – it really helps set the cookbook apart from all the other cookbooks out there and adds to the zany and whimsical feel of the book.

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{Cookbook Review} I’m Back! With Apricot Lemon Hazelnut Bars

June 15th, 2011 · 18 Comments · Cookbooks, Cookies, Recipes, Reviews

Apricot Hazelnut Lemon Bars on dessertfirstgirl.com

Hello all! I’m back from a 12 day Mediterranean cruise – Rome to Venice, with a bunch of Greek isles in between. I finally got to tick quite a few places off my travel wish list; I’m eager to share a recap with you in the next few weeks!

But first, thanks for your patience during my absence and thanks to all who entered the contest for Alice Medrich’s newest cookbook. The winner of a copy of Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy is:

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