Baking and blogging have been put somewhat at a halt as a result of a super busy week! I spent last weekend up north, and it was absolutely fabulous. I got to lie in the sun, visit family, have a couple BBQ’s and even ventured out onto Georgian Bay! Let’s not forget copious amounts of alcohol consumption, but that’s an entirely different story. I’ve been back in the city and busier than ever at work! Plus I’ve been working on a super cool birthday project for my mom’s 50th!
Tonight I prepared a fondant birthday cake for my friend’s boss’ daughter (whew!) Once I got home from work, it was straight to the kitchen to prepare a double layered chocolate and vanilla cake covered with purple fondant and colourful flowers and butterflies. This gave me an excuse to visit bulk barn, so I purchased a few goodies there too! So the cake has been made, delivered and enjoyed, it’s a full day of work and then I’m heading up north again until Tuesday. Sometime in between now and Saturday I have to find an amazing, show-stopper of a dessert for my momma’s birthday! Better get thinking…
Alas! May 2-4 is just around the bend. Although relaxation sounds tempting for a long weekend, mine will contain little (if any) of that nonsense. The celebration kicks off with a Rob Zombie and Alice Cooper concert, which will be out-of-this-world-insanely-good-holy-crap! And then Saturday morning we’ll pile into a car and head up north to cottage country. I anticipate BBQ’s, beers and blackflies… can’t wait!
Of course, I will absolutely, positively participate in some baking. My future mother in-law deserves a big batch of red velvet cupcakes, so that’s just what I’ll do. The best part of the weekend festivities at my parent’s house is the food – my mouth is watering just thinking about it, and I can’t wait to bring along my camera to capture the deliciousness. Hope you all have a safe and wonderful weekend! Happy Victoria Day!
Recently I made Congo bars, recipe courtesy of Bakerella. To best describe these delights, I just gotta say – you should really taste them for yourself! They’re a mix between a cookie/bar/blondie and the recipe can be tailored to whatever you happen to have around (or be craving!) Peanut butter chips, chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, smarties, m&m’s… the list goes on. I made mine with half milk chocolate chips, half butterscotch chips and a very generous handful (and a half) of chopped pecans. They’re absolutely delicious and you can find the recipe here: http://www.bakerella.com/i-hope-you-have-chocolate-chips-handy/ I love these kinds of recipes – quick, easy, and a crowd pleaser! PLUS you’re more likely to have these ingredients kickin’ around your pantry. Next time you have a bake sale, or you just feel like munchin’ on some good shit, make these suckers!
Candy sampling, version 1.0. It’s not everyday you stumble into a retro candy shop with tons of delicious goodies. So when given the opportunity, I normally stock up on favourites, but always make sure to buy something strange and new. Take for example Walker’s Crisps – I mean, have I ever seen these in Canada before? No. A trip to England a few years back, was my only experience with Walker’s, so the nostalgia of the moment got me – not only that, but these crisps were ‘American Cheeseburger’ flavoured. Sounds… interesting? So what else did we purchase for sampling? A wonka scrumdiddlyumptious bar, dumdum lollipops, bazooka gum, extreme sour patch kids, wonka shockers, and chewy jolly ranchers.
Once we got home I unwrapped our treats and scattered them on a ‘taste testing’ tray which we then devoured. So what’s the verdict!? How did this sugary feast satisfy it’s ‘judges’. First off, wonka shockers are a pretty common candy, which I had never had before… and I can say is STOP READING THIS BLOG AND GO BUY SOME. Holy smokes, they’re super-sour chewy little discs of wonderfully fruity flavour. And then there was the wonka bar – holy chocolate batman, it was good. Crushed up peanuts, cookie pieces and toffee, enrobed in sinfully sweet milk chocolate. Yum. And what about Walker’s cheeseburger crisps? Not my cup of tea, can’t say the concept was really appetizing either, but they get a gold star for effort. Chewy jolly ranchers were not really worth mentioning. Extreme sour patch kids did not resemble kids, but rather lumpy gummies that tasted okay (I prefer the original flavour) Bazooka gum was a no-fail – I purchased a few pieces because they had tropical and strawberry flavour which I had never had before. The strawberry bazooka is amazing and I wish I had a piece right now. We bought some dumdums because I had watched an episode of unwrapped that featured them – I know they’re a staple in the states, and I absolutely love them. They’re a perfect size (you don’t get that fuzzy coating on your teeth that lolli’s normally give) and the cherry and mystery flavour are my definite favourites.
So what did we gain from this? If you’re bored and want to have some fun, go on a candy adventure, pick up an assortment and taste test with friends. Super fun!
Friday evening/Saturday morning, I had the wonderful pleasure of preparing a birthday cupcake order. I love taking people’s preferences and personality and translating them into fun ideas. Dee wanted chocolate cupcakes with silver dragees and pink icing, so I did just that! These chocolate cupcakes were filled with Nutella (aren’t they always!?) and topped with my pink tinted, vanilla bean buttercream. I had a great time preparing these, and during the process developed a fondness for foil baking cups.
The rest of the weekend was spent as one should – enjoying the sun and fluttering around the city. Unfortunately most of the bakeries we ventured to were closed, but we did have the chance to enjoy some delicious Gelato, which I had a love/hate relationship with. I really hadn’t had it before, only small tastes, so I went for the gold – 3 scoops, yes three. Now, these weren’t monster scoops or anything, but they were substantial enough to give me a belly ache. I decided on pistachio, terrone, and tiramisu. Absolutely amazing, I tell you, but my body doesn’t like when I ingest copious amounts of dairy, so I’ve been paying for it since, with an upset tummy. But time to get serious – go to this place ASAP, it’s called Il Gelatiere and everyone has rave reviews that it’s the best gelato in the city!
Saturday evening we went to see Monster Truck. I don’t really have to get into detail, since I’m pretty sure I’ve already posted a thousand blogs that share my MT experience… but as per usual the show was fucking awesome, and I have an incredibly sore neck today from rockin’ out.
Lastly, I had the lovely pleasure of visiting McEwan – an amazing grocery store owned by Mark McEwan, himself. I already knew to expect quality foods, but I was pleasantly surprised at the array of gourmet items waiting to be oogled and awed at by yours truly. It was great and in order to protect my credit card balance, I kept the purchases to a minimum, but our supper last night was made with the sweetest and plumpest plum tomatoes ever, and I happened to pick a very peculiar item, which I am setting aside to be sampled when the time is right – Pumpkin Pie soda. Seriously…. Yes and when I try this obscure delight, you can bet your boots I’ll share the experience.
Today I shall skip the typical ‘baking project’ post and instead get down to what’s really important: eating. Today during lunch hour I needed to visit my local kitchen store for some supplies and on the way found myself wandering into a couple bakeries… The first being a local favourite – The Cupcake Shoppe and the second, a new addition to the neighborhood – Jedd’s Frozen Custard Patisserie Café.
I am not overly fond of the Cupcake Shoppe. I really appreciate that you can see the bakers diligently icing cupcakes but none of them ever seem overly enthused about the whole idea, plus I find their cake to be a little too dense and dry for me. However, their Swiss meringue buttercream is perfect – the right amount of sweetness and light as air. I picked up 3 cupcakes: cookie dough, vanilla with vanilla buttercream and lemon. I got the lemon for myself – which was pretty good… nothing fabulous about this one, but the flavour wasn’t that over-powering, which is good for lil’ lemon loves… but I like BIG lemon flavour.
And then there was Jedd’s… upon entry I was greeted by an extremely friendly man who I will assume is the owner. Immediately I was forced to try their frozen French vanilla custard, and I really wasn’t about to protest a free sample, which I would like to add was ‘out-of-this-world-fucking-delicious’. Sorry for my curse words, but if you know me, I have the mouth of a sailor… Anyways, they had a few yummy looking pastries, so I grabbed a couple maracons and a pain au chocolat (my favourite pastry… ever) The macarons were… okay. I had the chocolate, which wasn’t ‘chocolate-y’ enough, and then I had a caramel, which was fabulous – a sticky and sweet homemade caramel sandwiched between two light and chewy meringue discs. Jedd’s doesn’t do justice on La Bambouche macarons, but they get an E for effort. So at about this point in the day I’m buzzing on sugar, because this morning after breakfast I pounded half a box of chocolate covered almonds (damn those cute kids) But there’s still a pain au chocolat looming in the background, waiting to be devoured. Best I’ve ever had (while in Canada) The croissant was buttery, rich and flakey and the chocolate inside was a perfect balance of sweetness – although I wish there could have been more (I’m greedy!)
If you haven’t already, check out the websites for the two places mentioned above, or better yet, come down to Yonge and Eglinton and sample some for yourself! http://jeddsfrozencustard.com/ AND http://www.thecupcakeshoppe.ca/welcome.htm
Happy Mother’s Day! Unfortunately I wasn’t close enough to my dearest mama to spend time celebrating this oh-so necessary day, but I did get around to some baking. The weekend was spent quite wonderfully – relaxing to the utmost, and getting things done. Got the chance to see Iron Man 2, which was okay and could best be described as ‘predictable’. We took a visit to Ikea for a new bookshelf, since our DVD collection grows exponentially every day… ended up finding the cutest, smallest, tallest cupcake pan EVER, and to my luck, some super cute liners. This inspired me to whip out a batch of cupcakes – nothing new, but very-much-so appreciated chocolate cupcakes filled with nutella OR peanut butter and topped with vanilla buttercream. Quite honestly one of the best combo’s out there, which is why I make this combo so often – instalove.
I’d like to use the tale-end of my blog to commemorate one of my all-time favourite websites: http://www.sickanimation.com Mark M. makes the best cartoons ever, which I have avidly praised and shared since 16. Love the guy and his incredibly obscure/so right but so wrong sense of humour. Me and my boyfriend bought matching Mershaq t-shirts… better arrive soon!