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Showing posts from 2015

Happy New Year ~ 2016

Here is wishing everyone a very happy and prosperous new year.  May your 2016 be filled with a lot of laughter, good eats (savory and sweet), good health, and good times with family and friends.  I'm not one for the usual resolutions that many people make during this time, but there are some goals which I hope to reach.  Will you be making any resolutions? Cheers and well wishes in the new year! David

Holiday Eggnog Cake

There is no time like the present to make a Holiday Eggnog Cake for your festive gathering.  Eggnog is one of those seasonal drinks that many of us enjoy in small quantities during Christmas parties, but if you have never had the pleasure of eating eggnog in the form of a cake, I highly recommend that you try some this year.  You don't need to have homemade eggnog on hand to make this if you aren't so inclined to use something that is spiked with alcohol. A good store bought eggnog will suffice for a cake meant to serve the entire family, but if you do have homemade eggnog, by all means use it! This is the type of cake that you will want to bake in your favorite bundt pan so that it sits pretty on top of a cake stand when it's ready for serving.  It's up to you whether or not you want to add a glaze to it or some type of icing.  I think it looks superb with a simple sprinkling of confectioners sugar.  And if you need even more proof of how good it is, I've al

'Here Comes Santa Claus' Cookies

Here comes Santa Claus right down Santa Claus Lane with some tasty cookies for special individuals in my life.  This year's Christmas cookies were made with a favorite gingerbread cookie recipe of mine, and were decorated with royal icing tinted in seasonal shades.  I took out some heirloom cookie cutters that I had my eye on, as well as some easy-to-find shapes that I knew would capture the spirit of Santa bringing all sorts of good things. If you want to invoke some of that magical Christmas spirit in your household, I don't see how you could go wrong with these charming cookies in the shapes of Santas, sleighs, snowflakes, holly leaves, gift tags and snow globes.  They make great additions to any dessert buffet, but they make excellent holiday gifts for friends and family.  Choose one of these designs and make a few cookies or use all of the designs to make dozens this week. This is how you do it. For these cookies, make a couple of batches of my gingerbread co

Red Velvet Cake Recipe

If you're looking for a special cake to bake for a celebration, try making a red velvet cake.  It's the perfect cake for a birthday, but it's also great for the winter holidays because of its hue.  Think Christmas parties, a Hanukkah feast or a get together with friends and family.  I've made this batter on numerous occasions as cupcakes, but I only recently started using it for cake layers and shapely bundt cakes. Paired with either a classic cream cheese frosting or a Swiss Meringue Buttercream , the cake is bound to become a favorite with you.  You can even make a simple milk glaze if you want a decadent bundt cake. Rather than writing a long, detailed post, I thought I'd show you a few photos of what the layers look like on my cake decorating turntable, and then give you a link with a printable recipe so that you can make one in the coming weeks.  Easy! Red Velvet Cake Recipe (click on link above) You can see how wonderful the cake layers l

Happy National Cookie Day!

Gingersnap Cookie Recipe (click here) I've always enjoyed eating cookies, baking cookies, and sharing cookies  with friends and family.  From lighter-than-air morsels,  to rich & dense bites,  I hope you attempt to bake a cookie or two  in the future  and come to understand my love for the cookie jar. Nutella Brownie Cookies Below is a list of those essential how-to posts and my favorite recipes that I go back to time and time again.  They are the recipes you've come to trust.  It's so nice to hear from readers who have made a particular cookie recipe of mine (including my mom's cinnamon orange recipe) a part of their baking tradition.   If you're new to the blog, I encourage you to take a closer look. How To: Baking Essentials Checklist (printable list) The Best Way to Roll Out Cookie Dough Cookie Packaging Essentials Perfect Royal Icing Favorite Cookie Recipes: The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies Chocolate Cherry Cookies Ci

Gingerbread Cookie Recipe

This recipe is a sure way to bring the flavors and aromas of the holiday season into your home. With delicious ingredients like butter, eggs, flour and molasses, a medley of spices gets combined to make a dough which captures the spirit of Christmas or whatever holiday you celebrate.   I created some simple cookies this morning for a very special client of mine, which is why I wanted to reintroduce you to the recipe.  You're going to want to try it in the coming weeks!  Gingerbread Boy The cookie dough is typical gingerbread dough, which is to say that it is a bit difficult to handle if you let it come to room temperature while working with it.  I like to roll and cut out my cookie shapes while the dough is still cold from the refrigerator;  you will see that it is still malleable regardless of having been chilled. Gingerbread Christmas Tree Once baked and cooled, the cookies will hold their shapes, the tops will dome slightly, but their texture will have you a

Small Business Saturday

I highly encourage all of you to shop locally at a small business today and help support your fellow friends and neighbors.  Some of the things that I love doing on this particular day is to visit some antique shops and pick up anything that catches my eye, stop at a local cafĂ© to sip a latte for energy, and then grab something to nibble on from the farmers market.  You should also consider the many individuals that have online shops through Etsy, their own websites and through word of mouth.  Don't forget those caterers who are at the ready to help you entertain in the coming weeks.  Shopping small and shopping locally is a very wise thing to do throughout the year, but it's especially prudent to do so during the holiday season.  Cheers!

Happy Thanksgiving

This is the time to gather around the dinner table with friends and family so that we can be reminded of all the good things in our lives.  Let's be thankful and grateful for what we do have.   May you have a warm place to enjoy a good dinner with friends and family no matter where you happen to be.  Happy Thanksgiving! Sincerely, David  

Thank You for Five Amazing Years!

As the blog marks its fifth anniversary, I want to take a moment to thank every single reader, well-wisher, supporter and friend, who has taken the time to read a post or two over the past five years.  Back in 2010 when I was encouraged to start a blog by several friends, I really didn't know what I was going to be writing about, where this blog would lead me or what doors it would help open up for me.  What I can say with a certainty is that these five years have led me to some wonderful experiences. Over the course of these five amazing years, I have made many friends and acquaintances, and it is because of your kind words and encouragement that I have managed to create content which I hope is informative.  I can't tell you how fulfilling and rewarding it is to me to hear from someone who has had success with a recipe that I've grown fond of, or to hear that I've helped solve a collector's mystery for an individual.  When a dear reader writes telling me that

A Beautiful Acorn Wreath

If you have an abundance of acorns covering your yard or if you happen to know of someone who has a bumper crop that they want to get rid of, make a magnificent wreath with them this season.  My friend Chris, created one of the most beautiful acorn wreaths that I've ever seen, and its symmetrical beauty, along with its rustic charm, is worthy of any home large or small.  I asked Chris how he made the wreath from start to finish, because I wanted all of you to be inspired to create something wonderful to adorn your home for the holidays.   The instructions from Chris are straightforward and easy, so if you want to make your wreath just like the one gracing his beautiful Connecticut home, gather the tools and materials, and begin this weekend. Acorn Wreath Tools & Materials 14" Tubular Styrofoam Wreath Form (solid) brown paint (spray or acrylic) matte lacquer spray hot glue gun (with sticks) Approximately 2-1/2 - 3 gallons of acorns craft paper (to

Cauliflower and Apple Soup

If you're looking for an appetizing and elegant soup to serve at your next holiday feast, try this recipe from chef Daniel Boulud.  I have made a couple of variations of his Curried Cream of Cauliflower and Apple Soup for the past week, and I have to say that it is quite delicious.  Chef Boulud uses a blend of saffron and Madras curry powder, which makes for a spicy soup that is perfect for cool weather.  My versions of this soup don't include saffron and curry powder.  I've made it using a small amount of ground cinnamon (1/4 teaspoon) so that it doesn't overpower the flavors of the apple and cauliflower, and I have included some freshly chopped tarragon to complement the warmth of the cinnamon.  Using vegetable stock and absolutely no cream whatsoever, you can make a vegan version of the soup that is absolutely delicious!  I love using these Wedgwood drabware pieces to serve the soup.  For Chef Daniel Boulud's recipe, click here. Whether you

Creating a Pumpkin Shaped Cake

Pumpkins are everywhere now that it's Fall, and many of us are using them throughout our home as decor or attractive dinnerware, but have you ever made a cake in the shape of one?  Last week I decided to make my first pumpkin-shaped cake for a Halloween party as a surprise for guests, thinking it would be a piece of cake to do.  Well, it was and it wasn't. Pumpkin Shaped Cake on a Caramel Glass L.E. Smith Cake Stand The first order of business was to take out my pumpin-shaped cake mold out of storage, and get it ready for baking.  This wonderful, heavy cast-aluminum cake mold was produced exclusively for the Martha by Mail catalog many years ago, and I was fortunate to have purchased one when they were around.  I'm glad I finally decided to use it. Martha by Mail Pumpkin Cake Mold This past month I wrote a post about the mold providing all of you with the recipes and detailed instructions for making the MBM version, right from the recipe card.  T