Sunday, August 2, 2015

A Little Sunshine

A Little Sunshine
  Wow...It's been quite a while since my last blog so today I'm going to share A Little Sunshine.A couple of weeks a ago I made a cake for my friend's granddaughter's 1st birthday. Everyone loved the cake. I had her send me pictures as I forgot to take some.
 Everyone needs a little sunshine in their life. Someone or thing to put a smile on your face, to give you inspiration, and to push you forward to each new day. My friend's granddaughter is her sunshine.  How do I know, well, the smile on her face tells all when she shares her new photos or a recent video.  They are so darling. 
 I made a three tier cake 6,8,and 10 inch.  Vanilla cake with fresh strawberry filling. A butter cream frosting covered by marshmallow fondant. Yum, yum!  Decorated with a yellow chocolate sun and pink gum paste flowers. To which I might add was my first time using both for decorating. 
Today I'm going to share A Little Sunshine- my recipe for Marshmallow Fondant. 
   Marshmallow Fondant Recipe 
16 oz. package of Marshmallows (small or large, I use Jet Puffed)
1/2 cup Shortening (I use Crisco)
2lb. Powder  Sugar ( I use 2lb bag of C&H or Walmart brand)
4-6 tbsp. Water 
This makes approx.  3lbs. 
I used one batch to do this cake and just made it.
For Storage -wrap in plastic wrap then place in Ziploc bag. I store mine in my cupboard and stays fresh for at least two weeks .
Place shortening in counter top mixer bowl and set aside (I also coat my dough hook with shortening. The fondant seems to come off easier when finished).Place marshmallows in a large glass (microwave safe) bowl. Sprinkle  5 tbsp. of water over marshmallows then microwave for 2 minutes.  With a spatula, scrape and blend them quickly until all lumps are out (I coat my spatula with shortening the marshmallow sticks a bit less). Next,scrape marshmallow into the mixer bowl.  Blend on low about 30 to 60 seconds then add powdered sugar, half bag.  Scrape bottom then the add other half. If the dough seems dry and not picking up off bottom of the bowl then add another tbsp. of water (and more if needed.)  The dough should come together and form on the hook (like bread dough). 
On a clean working surface sprinkle powdered sugar and knead fondant till smooth (sometimes little sugar crystals don't blend in and leave tiny little bumps that's why I look at the dates on the marshmallow packages.  The older dates seem to leave more crystals). Don't worry if dough seems to soft you can just knead in more powdered sugar as needed. 
The color is an off white.  You can tint to any color you like.  I use the Wilton Gel colors in the little round containers. I get them at Jo Ann's, Michael's or Walmart.  If I'm doing all one solid color while the fondant is still loose in the beginning I put the color in. It saves time, you won't have to knead it in later.When I first started making this I adjusted the water and powdered sugar here and there until the right consistency.
We learn by trial and error and thus making the recipe our own...right.
This fondant taste good on sugar cookies as well.. 
Well...I hope I didn't leave anything out!  If I did sorry and I will adjust it later.  There are so many recipes out there so take your time and research them.  Combine two or three that you like the most, whatever makes you smile. 
Remember, have fun and make it yours.  
A Little Sunshine
The table setting with the cookies and cute.
    And that's the Dish for today!     

Monday, August 25, 2014

Time Time Time

Time Time Time

Out the an hour glass it's all precious.
Cherish the time you have.
Tomorrow may be another day, if only at an arm's reach.
It's yours to take, waste not what you have.
Invest it, make it what you will.
Be proud and give yourself Time Time Time

By D T Martins

Monday, February 10, 2014

Home Baked Goodness

Wow, it's been a long time since my last post. To get started once again I'm just going to share with you some pictures of home baked goodness. Some are recent baking and some are last years baking projects. Though I'm not listing any recipes I will definitely be making comments by my pictures.

This week is the week for LOVE! Valentine's Day is just days away. So make something for that special someone from your heart to theirs. Remember it' the thought that counts.

Happy Valentine's Day!

I made this Mickey Mouse Cookie for Mikey's 2nd birthday. It was made with sugar cookie and homemade marshmallow fondant. I used two 6inch cake pans for the ears and one 10inch cake pan for the face. He loved it!

Sugar Cookie
(covered with fondant)
Our Nephew little Mikey's  2nd Birthday cookie for October.

I made this two tired birthday cake for my sister in law Mary. Simply decorated with a frame for the topper, ribbon & broach for trim and bead wire bent to spell Sixty. Not only did she get cake but an added bonus... the frame. She enjoyed it very much and thanked me many times for it.
2 Tier cake
My sister in laws 60th birthday cake in April.

I made this simple all American Apple Pie! Added hearts giving that special touch for Valentine's.

Valentine Apple Pie
A golden heart crust.
Watching the 49er's football game... nothing goes better with it than Pepperoni & Cheese Pizza.
They won that game to go to playoffs.
Next year 49er's.. we got this!!!
49er Pepperoni & Cheese Pizza
This is my Gingerbread House for December 2014.
Usually I would just freehand cut out the patterns. This year I finally made a pattern. The only problem is they're too cute to throw away. Oh well it has to be done. I'll have someone else do it so I want be to sad. There's always next year, right!
My Gingerbread House  December 2014

 This year my dad turned 75 in January. We had a big pizza party (home made of course we're Italian). I decided to make my Italian Rum Cake. I used a white cake with rum simple syrup, a vanilla cream filling and whipped vanilla topping with a sea of Maraschino Cherries so everyone could have one. A huge swipe of white chocolate for writing the greeting.

My dads 75th birthday cake.
Italian Rum Cake

Italian Rum Cake
A sea of Maraschino Cherries
(OMG! You just want to take a bite or put your finger in the frosting ...mmm.)
Well that's it for now, when your baking,
Remember have fun
 Make it yours.
And that's the DISH for today!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Brownie Chocolate Mousse Cake


At first sight across the room
Looking so rich & smooth, deep brown and fudgy in color
You could tell by the layers of different textures this was going to be tempting and irresistible
Your mind start to wonder, 'should I make the first move'
I felt as though I was drooling, for just looking was making my mouth water
I stand up and make my way forward to the table
Trying to hurry as I see the girl across the room going in the same direction
I start to walk faster staying one step ahead of her
I reach the table first
In excitement I grab it!
From behind me I hear a sigh
Just one bite is all it took and I was in heaven
This creamy, chocolaty, decadent dessert coated the inside of mouth
No words I could speak, as my eyes closed and my mouth muttered "mmm"
Ready for the next bite, I knew this wouldn't last long
But I loved every minute of it!

Brownie Chocolate Mousse Cake..............

Rich, fudgy, chocolaty Brownie Chocolate Mousse Cake! Let me tell you, this cake is irresistible. I came up with the recipe working in my bakery. When I made the sheets of brownies, I would always cut off the edges. As I saved these scraps I had to think of a use for them and so this recipe was born. It's easy and quick. You can buy some of the ingredients already made. Many of my recipes I post, I always try to use what I have on hand in the cupboards and improvise. This recipe I'm going to share, you can make the size and filling as little or as big as your heart desires. If you have some left over ingredients, I would just refrigerate them till your ready to make another one or just make two and bless someone with the second one. I basically doubled the recipe so I made two, one 8 inch and a 9 inch. One I took to work and the other my son took to share with his coworkers. I have also written that little poem, it might be fun to share, so pass it on if you like. Be creative with your chocolaty craving and desire. Enjoy and make it yours.

A suggestion for a different flavor is.  Red Velvet Cream Cake

Substitute graham crackers for Oreo's, vanilla cream filling or pudding for chocolate mousse and red velvet cake for brownies.

A different angle view

Brownie Chocolate Mousse Cake

13x9 tray of baked brownies (I baked a package as directed for Ghirardelli Triple Chocolate)
1 carton of Rich's Chocolate Frosting or Filling, Thawed ( purchased at Smart & Final)
3 cups ground Oreo's (1 package of regular Oreo cookies ground up )
3-4 tbsp. real butter (melted)
3 cups of semi sweet chocolate chips (I had Hershey's on hand)
1 cup heavy whipping cream (I had Great Value on hand)
1tbsp corn syrup

Pre heat oven to 350 degrees. You will need baking sheet to place the pan on for baking. Take a 9 inch spring form pan, spray the sides and bottom with cooking spray (I used parchment paper for the bottom, lightly sprayed the sides and top of paper too). Set aside and in a mixing bowl place the ground Oreo's then add butter. Mix with fork. Then pour the Oreo's in the spring form pan. Using a large spoon press and spread the mixer up the side (usually it goes at least half way up the sides, as even as possible. It doesn't have to be perfect because that little uneven look is what makes it look rustic. Well in my opinion..LOL) and completely covering the bottom of the pan as well. Place on baking sheet and bake.

Bake on middle rack for 12-15 minutes. When the crust is done remove from oven and let cool. While the crust is cooling, whip up the chocolate filling. Pour the carton of filling in the counter top mixer and beat with whisk attachment. You want it to be real thick so you need to over whip the filling so it's tight, not loose like for frosting. When done with the filling refrigerate until ready to use.
 For the gnache place whipping cream in a 2 qrt. sauce pan and heat it up till its scalding,(then take off the heat). Add the chocolate chips, whisk until the chips are completely melted and then add the corn syrup. Set aside till needed.

Assemble the cake as follows:
While the crust is still in the pan place some gnache on the bottom enough to completely cover the crust and up the side of the crust just a little. It shouldn't be real thick, but thicker than a drizzle stage . Then I place the pans in the freezer for about 10 minutes or so that way the gnache can set.
Next add some of the chocolate mousse filling and spread evenly. Then take some brownies and crumble some with your hands and spread evenly over the chocolate filling pressing them slightly down. Add one more layer of gnache, not too heavy but enough to coat the brownie layer. Last but not least add the final layer of chocolate filling. This layer usually will come close to the top of the pan. Spread as evenly as you can then place the pan in the freezer to set at least for an hour ( I let mine set overnight and then plate or box it up in the morning.).

For plating I usually place mine on a cake board first (for boxing or to take it somewhere). You can use your favorite cake plate or stand. release the spring form pan being careful on the sides when removing it.  Before I take the cake off the bottom piece of the cake pan or after it's on the board I will do a drizzle of gnache across the top then plate it (you can do which ever way is more easier or convenient for you). I usually take a butter knife and gently lift the bottom of the cake off the bottom pan piece. It usually helps transferring the cake. Then you all set. I know this looks like a lot of information but it's truly simple.

A little note, you can prepare the majority of these items days before and then just assemble the day you need it. Sorry I don't have too many pictures.
I always get a wonderful feed back from my family and friends on this awesome Brownie Chocolate Mousse Cake. Some have even posted comments on their Instagram. No matter how your cake looks, you are going to love the flavors. For storage you can freeze this which is what I do, then I take it out an hour or more before I serve it.

Remember, have fun!

And Make It Yours!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Valentines Day Gifts (made at home)

 Well, tomorrow is Valentines Day! I hope your planning something special for the special person or people in your life. Does this mean you have to go out an buy an expensive gift or spend a large amount of money to eat out? In my opinion, my answer is no. Some of the most meaningful gifts and gestures of love from the heart can be made at home.
 So as I was making waffles for my husband this morning I thought why not make his breakfast special this morning(since we are so busy getting ready to leave for camping at Pismo Beach tomorrow on Valentines). I made heart shaped waffles. I garnished with raspberry syrup, whipped topping and fresh strawberries. Something so easy, can taste so delightful. You could garnish this with any of your favorite fruit or syrups. Another idea is: on the plate using the syrup, you can write BE MINE, I LOVE YOU etc. around the edges or across the middle, then place the waffles next to it. Use your imagination and be creative. Sorry I didn't get any pictures today but I'm sure you'll get the picture by reading this(laughing)..

Use your favorite waffle mix and make your waffles( my waffle iron is square). Place the waffle on a plate or cutting board. Take a heart shaped cookie cutter, place in the center of the waffle and press down firmly. Then place your heart shaped waffle on dish of your choice, garnish and serve.

Some other great ideas for homemade gifts might be, heart shaped cookies and cake pops.

Enjoy time with your loved ones and Happy Valentines Day!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

'Twas The Day Before Christmas...And I Had To Work

'Twas the day before Christmas 
  and I had to work!
With a strong cup of coffee
  I headed out my front door
I started my drive
  for a long haul it seemed
Christmas songs playing
  I had a smile on my face
As cars cut me off
  they had no grace
With cheer in my heart
  I sat at my desk
Helping one customer
  to the next 
As the time passed by slowly
  I thought the day would never end
The next thing I new
  the clock had struck five
I rushed to clear off my desk
  and headed for the door
I forgot to grab my jacket
  and my scarf fell on the floor
As I reached my car
  my keys I could not find
So I peered through the window
  I couldn't see my keys anywhere
It was dark now 
  And all the cars were gone from the lot
As I shivered and shake
  I thought, "Wow I'm in a spot"
I kept my head down
  hiding my face from the night's mist
I didn't have my phone
 I didn't know what to do
Then I looked up 
  and I knew
Before me stood a man
  as he said," Ho Ho Ho"
White haired, red suit
  a face of glow
My eyes opened wide
  my heart beating fast
I thought, is this real
  is this Santa, at last
With white gloves on his hands
  he touched the lock on my door
Magically, it opened
  and there my keys laid on the floor
With tears in my eyes
  I gazed with wonder
I thought," how could this be"
  as I turned from the car
No one was there
  just the still of night
Then I heard bells jingling
  as I looked to the sky
I saw what appeared to be
  a sleigh flying by
With a wave of his hand
  and a twinkle in his eye
I heard him say
"Ho Ho Ho Holy Night"

It was a true blessing
  God sent him in my time of need
A lesson to learn
  We should all BELIEVE!

by D T Martins

Merry Christmas to All
      God Bless


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Chewy Chocolate Chip Bars

Chewy Chocolate Chip Bars

Chewy chocolate chip bars...What makes these so different, is the brown sugar. After these bars are baked they have a beautiful crackling brown color. Really... as you begin to cut the bars, you can hear the crackling from the brown sugar crusted top. It's the sound of delicious.
Today I am going to share my recipe with you for these easy chewy chocolate chip bars. They are very doughy and you can serve them plated on a platter or individual. You can serve it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, a drizzle of chocolate or Carmel, a scoop of whipped topping and fresh fruit.Try substituting the chocolate chips for butterscotch chips, peanut butter chips or another chip of your choice. How about trying some fresh raspberries with a chocolate gnache drizzle.....Mm. Just use your imagination and enjoy.

Chewy Chocolate Chip Bars


4 eggs
1 lb. brown sugar (1 box)
3 tbsp unsalted butter (soften)
3 tbsp vanilla
1 1/2 cup flour (all purpose)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup chocolate chips(I used semi sweet)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

In a large bowl (or counter top mixer)mix together eggs, brown sugar, vanilla and butter. Next add flour, baking powder, salt and mix well. Then add chocolate chips (the batter will be thinner then what a cookie dough would look like). Now using cooking spray, coat a 13x9 pan or baking dish, then spread the batter evenly. Bake for 30-35 minutes (or to your preference).
You will see the top forms this hard crust from the brown sugar. Remember the centers are going to be really doughy. If you would like something more firm, I suggest baking the bars a little longer then stated and to your preference. You could almost call these brown sugar bars too!

Remember, have fun and make it yours.

And that's the "DISH" for today!