Sweets & Treats Gallery

Friday, February 15, 2008

happy heart day...

"Love is the answer. Now, what is your question?" -Author Unknown

I was surprised with a tray of take-out sushi, S. Pellegrino sparkling water, cookies-n-cream drumsticks, and a gorgeous red, handpicked flower. I love my hunny!

Hope you had an inspired Valentine's Day!


strawberry cupcakes...

The giant strawberry cupcakes, filled with organic strawberry puree and topped with strawberry and lemon frosting turned out beautifully, until I had two casualties on the car ride into work. Still, I think the surviving four will taste great! And I rather like my new pink carpets in the car.


Thursday, February 14, 2008

a perfect marriage: champagne & truffles...

I really like homemade goodies for holidays.  Chocolate truffles ALWAYS taste better homemade.  I found a recipe on marthastewart.com for chocolate-champagne truffles.  They turned out beautifully and they are delicious. This is the base recipe, but like always, I tinkered with it significantly and came up with something so rich and sumptuous, it should be illegal to eat it... and they're sugar-free, minus the sprinkle coating.

the recipe from marthastewart.com
bowl o' sugar for rolling the truffles
the little cups waiting for their truffles
the final product: heaven on earth!
This is a very easy truffle recipe and I highly recommend it.

spicy chai cupcakes...

the cupcakes. do you see one missing?  ;)  every serious baker must insure quality!

a chai cupcake all dressed up with no where to go

They turned out well.  I'm sure  my co-workers will be delighted tomorrow!


Tuesday, February 12, 2008

chai cupcakes...

My friend Maria gave me a fabulous tear-away calendar with a new inspiring cupcake recipe for every day. Maria is good a giving gifts, thoughtful gifts.  She's also good at laughing from her soul and making me smile.

The recipe on the tear-away calendar for today sounds delicious. I’d like to share it with you.

White Chocolate & Vanilla Chai Cupcakes 
From the book 500 Cupcakes
Yields 1 dozen cupcakes

Cupcake batter:
2 cups self-rising flour
¼ tsp. baking powder
Pinch of pink salt
1 Tbsp. chai tea powder (however, who would argue if you doubled it?)
¼ cup (½ stick) sweet butter, softened
¾ cup packed light brown sugar
2 egg whites
2/3 cup butter milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
½ cup (3 ½ oz.) white chocolate chips


For the Frosting:
1 cup cream cheese, softened
1 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. vanilla extract


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place 12 baking cups in a muffin pan. In a medium bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, salt and chai powder. In a separate bowl, beat the butter and sugar until smooth. Add the egg whites slowly, beating well. Slowly add the flour mixture, and finally the buttermilk, vanilla extract and white chocolate chips. Mix until just combined. Do not over mix. Spoon batter into the cups and bake for 20 minutes. Remove pan from the oven and cool for 5 minutes. Then remove the cupcakes and cool on a rack.

To make the frosting, mix the cream cheese and confectioners’ sugar together in a medium bowl and beat. Add the lemon and vanilla, and beat until smooth. Spoon the frosting over the cupcakes. Store unfrosted in an airtight container for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.


 For Cinnamon & Orange Chai Cupcakes, replace the white chocolate chips and vanilla extract with 2 tsp. of cinnamon to the dry ingredient mixture and 1 Tbsp. orange zest to the mixture with the buttermilk. Yummy! Take it one step further by exchanging orange juice (and by adding a little orange zest) in the frosting ingredients for the lemon juice.

I will be baking cupcakes tonight. I realize that creating doesn’t have to be a tangible thing I can give in a box or sell for extra money. I couldn’t pinpoint that before. I can now. I love my 8 hour job because I’m good at it, it’s meaningful and I have to pay my bills. Moreover, this job provides and opportunity to foster leadership skills, positive youth & adult partnership and plant seeds of change. I don’t claim to be perfect in my work. Heck, they usually end up teaching me infinitely more than I'll ever teach them. I certainly don’t claim to be their best friend, or 100% successful 100% of the time. But I can tell you that caring adults who believe in youth can, will and do make a difference. That makes me feel empowered and I hope they feel empowered too.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

a beginning...

Creativity comes in many packages. My mother’s aesthetic creativity is stunning. She, like my grandmother, can make a purse out of not just a sow’s ear, but anything that can be sewn and embellished. Her mastery can only be described as perfect, impeccable.

My father's creativity appetizing. His passion for cooking turns out delicious creations daily. "You eat with your eyes," he says, as he delicately places grape tomatoes in a symmetrical pattern around the taco salad he has effortlessly created from ingredients he has on hand and a dressing idea he's altered from those fancy Food Network chefs.  All told, he's probably better than most of them--an opinion he attributes to me merely "being accustomed" to his cooking.
My creativity is a culmination of practice-makes-perfect moments, mess up, and personal interests. I heavily rely on my world, my friends, my pup and hubby and my parents for continuing inspiration and ideas. I find my true creative passion is, and has always been, baking. I also weirdly like to clean and organize. I'm not suggesting those are creative endeavors, however. Sure I have a lovely apartment, tastefully (I think) crafted from things I love. Sure I like to entertain for small groups of friends. True I love to scrapbook, craft and take photos. But, baking, it fuels my soul.

Cupcakes offer the structure of baking and the creativity in flavors, toppings and decorations. I happened upon the cupcake craze early, before it reached its pinnacle of fanaticism. My grandmother is whom I owe my affinity for baking. Her attention to detail, precision and knowledge of traditional baking applications were amply supplied to me through countless baking sessions as a child on her twice annual visit at Christmas and in the summer. These skills came to fruition early--I was entering multiple baked goods in both the county and state fair before I was 10 (a few blue ribbons to boast about too!).
I should tell you that this blog’s theme is life and creativity, not cupcakes. Here, on this blog, I will humbly aim to share my passion not only for baking, but for living a creative and inspired life.  Thanks for taking a few to get to know a little bit about me... and my VIPs too!

Free Blog Template by June Lily