Tag Archives: chocolate

CUPCAKES…

I have often wondered when did we go crazy for cupcakes?  Personally I have been enjoying cupcakes since my Mom packed that adorable Hostess chocolate cupcake with the signature white squiggle in my lunch box.  But cupcakes are far from being a new treat…Cupcakes have been around since 1796.

Cupcakes became popular in the early 2000’s after Magnolia Bakery in New York was featured in “Sex and the City.”  Thanks to Carrie and Miranda we have been swept up in a cupcake whirlwind for over a decade…Cupcake are everywhere…their are cupcake shoppes, cupcake trucks, cupcake wars, and cupcake wedding cakes .

I love the entire cupcake experience…from walking into the bakery, standing in front of the display case,  imagining each flavor combination, visually devouring each cupcake, thinking of each of my guests and what they might enjoy and of course choosing a couple extras so that there will be leftovers.

Here are a couple of my choices from my last visit to our local cupcake shop…Rise!  Wicked Spice Cupcakes, cinnamon and spice cake brushed with butter, dipped in cinnamon sugar topped with cinnamon buttercream….They were the perfect compliment to our weekly gathering of friends.

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Filed under 2013 Photo Journal, All Things Foodie, Fall Time

Pinterest Pick of the Week

This is my Pinterest pick of the week…such a simple idea. I can hardly wait to make these for our next party. 

Stemmed Strawberries would make a very nice presentation.

Wash and dry strawberries

Fill ice tray with chocolate, dark chocolate would be my choice

Insert strawberries

Refrigerate until chocolate hardens

Enjoy

I would love to give credit where credit is due but the Pinterest pin was a link here, but not to the creative genius that came up with this idea.

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Filed under All Things Foodie, Creative Ideas, Pinterest

Christmas cookies…Sandra Lee, eat your heart out!

I really enjoy the food network show Semi-homemade.  Sandra Lee pulls her show together with all of the ingredients for entertaining!  The cooking, the presentation and the decorating.  Total eye appeal!!!

Here are a few semi-homemade ideas that I think would make Aunt Sandi  proud.  The recipes and pictures can be found on-line at Better Homes & Garden, 100 days of Holiday. 

The Cookies!!!

Three-Layer No-Bake Bars

Layers of creamy vanilla pudding and melted chocolate top a buttery graham cracker crust.

Ginger Dips

Dip store bought molasses cookies in melted white chocolate, then sprinkle on snipped candied ginger to create a sweet, fragrant dessert.

Red Velvet Cookies With Cream Cheese Frosting

The Packaging!!!

And to finish it all off there must be a special beverage from Aunt Sandi’s recipe book.  The best hot chocolate ever!

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Filed under Christmas Traditions

Oh so sweet!!!

I absolutely love stopping in bakeries and sweet shoppes.  It’s not really about the sweets.  Now don’t take that the wrong way…I love sweets!  I have the proverbial sweet tooth.  My meal is not complete until I have had a little something sweet at the end.  But the bakeries and sweet shoppes are all about that first impression.  The moment you open the door you are transported to a special dreamy wonderful place.  The air is filled with the aroma of sugary sweetness.  There are the sounds of children laughing and fountain drinks being blended.  A Sweet Shoppe is a happy place with happy people.

The moment I walk into one of these sweet shops I am swept away.  The glass cases are filled with all things chocolatey, creamy, colorful, chewy, crunchy and sweet!  There is the aroma of fresh brewed coffee.  The air is cool and refreshing like Ice Cream!  Each treat is carefully displayed to catch your eye and welcome you into candy heaven!

Sweet Shoppes and bakeries are one of the few places I do not mind waiting my turn.  I enjoy the wait. I take time to look around the beautiful displays and packages.  I enjoy the aromas.  I enjoy observing other people as they experience the candy shop or bakery.   I enjoy being in such a happy place! 

But I have to admit that my favorite part of the entire experience is when it is finally my turn to make my selections.  I know what I like!  There is no indecision on my part! I enjoy watching as each of my choices are wrapped in a piece of special pastry tissue and placed in a special box.  There is usually a pot of fresh brewed coffee or something cold from the soda fountain to accompany my sweet selections.  And of course there is the moment when I arrive home with my sweet treats.  I open the carefully packed box and gaze at my sugary sweet, creamy crunchy, yumminess!

Unfortunately or fortunately depending on how you look at it, there isn’t a sweet shoppe within miles of my house.  I have a couple of favorites, La Kings Confectionery and Crave, both are about an hour from my home. 

However, we can not allow the Holidays to pass us by without a visit to the candy counter.  Christmas and Candy go hand in hand!  So I have created our very own mini version of a candy counter.  We have soft peppermints and white chocolate covered pretzels.  We have white M&M’s and yogourt raisins.  We have dark chocolate hershey kisses and peppermint bar!  There is a pot of coffee close by and soda’s in the fridge depending on your prefrence.  All to be enjoyed by family and friends and of course ME!  Merry Christmas  and Happy Holidays!

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Christmas things that make me smile…day 2

CHOCOLATE…LIQUID CHOCOLATE!  I am talking about a big mug of creamy hot cocoa or hot chocolate! 

The love affair with the cocoa bean began around 1200b.c. with equatorial Central and South American monkeys that enjoyed the sweet flesh surrounding the cocoa bean.  Mayans were the first true chocolate aficionados treasuring cocoa as a restorative, mood changing cure-all. I agree with the Myans…chocolate is definitely a restorative, mood changing, cure-all in my book!!!

Williams Sonoma has a nice selection of both Hot Cocoa and Hot Chocolate

According to Williams Sonoma, Hot chocolate is a distinctly different sip than hot cocoa. Inspired by the famed Café Angélina in Paris, where steaming pots of velvety hot chocolate are served with bowls of whipped cream alongside, ours is intensely chocolatey, rich and smooth.

Also, available at Williams Sonoma, From MarieBelle, the popular cacao bar in New York City, this is a true hot chocolate. It’s made from the richest, single-origin Colombian cocoa with a 63% cacao content – not cocoa powder. Preparation is simple: Just add boiling water for a full-flavored, European-style hot chocolate; or substitute hot milk if you prefer American-style hot chocolate. 20 oz. (12 to 14 servings).

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craving cupcakes….

Last summer, my husband’s 50th birthday was fast approaching and I was anxious to find an alternative to the standard birthday cake.  I was in full search mode when I stumbled across the sweetest little bakery…Crave Cupcakes.  Crave Cupcakes makes nostalgia feel new again. Their Uptown Park shop features vintage touches like old-fashioned milk fountains, retro mixers and an open-air kitchen where guests can catch the action. “It’s kind of like watching your grandmother bake“, says co-owner Brad Dorsey.

They have taken a nostalgic favorite and added a gourmet twist.  They start every morning with pure Madagascar Bourbon vanilla, luscious European chocolates, seasonal fruits from Napa Valley, and dairy from Texas farms and blend them together to create delectable cupcakes and creamy frosting. Thier homemade treats are crafted without preservatives or hydrogenated oils and baked in our store in small batches throughout the day to ensure they are at their finest. Try them with a chilled bottle of ice-cold milk, a cup of Bakery Blend brewed-to-order coffee, or a Crave Coffee Chiller. 

The selection of delicious cupcakes begin with cake donut, gingerbread, lemon-blueberry and maple walnut which are served for breakfast.  The other choices include but are not limited to carrot, coconut, crave chocolate and creme, lemon, pumpkin and my favorite red velvet.  Deciding which flavor to choose will be difficult.  I recommend you buy a dozen assorted flavors and while your there pick up a pound of hill country pecan coffee and invite your friends over for an afternoon of cupcakes and coffee. You will be glad you did…and you will be craving Crave Cupcakes just like me!

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