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A young and slightly ignorant woman who has always loved baking and cooking, I want to make people happy with food as often as I can. I'm here to whisk away and explore!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

I have no food to show you. I'm sorry, but I don't.
I realize this is in fact a food blog and with that comes certain expectations. One of which is food. Somewhere. Here on the webpage.
I'm still sorry.
But although I have no recipes or pictures of delicious dishes, I do have cool stuff to talk about.
Here we go people, the blog is CHANGING!
Whoo hoo! Everyone loves a blog revamp. It's like spring cleaning but without all the physical lugging of things and dusting and actual, you know, cleaning.
So I have a bajillion and one ideas for what I want to do here.
-Change my focus from cupcakes to interesting global cuisine.
-Include more cooking not just baking.
-More bloggy posts that aren't just food related, but life related.
-New layout
-Regular posts (eventually, I hope)
Anyway...There is no deadline for these things. It will be a work in progress, but I thought those two people who occasionally think about reading this little thing should know. ;)
Signing off,

Friday, November 15, 2013

Thanksgiving is Coming!!

I. Love. Thanksgiving.
Seriously, guys. It's my favorite holiday. It wins out over Christmas, Easter, Independence Day, Groundhogs Day...
Okay, I take it back. I don't have a favorite holiday per se, because whenever a new one appears on the horizon I get really excited and declare it my new favorite. So right now my favorite holiday is absolutely most definitely Thanksgiving. Let's think about this.
Christmas is the happiest...
Easter is the most meaningful...
Groundhogs Day the most under-appreciated...
But Thanksgiving is the most comfortable...
And if you know anything about me, I am always 100% about comfort. I change into Pajamas at 4 in the afternoon. I drink at least three cups of tea a day. I put a comforter in the drivers seat of my car because it's comfier than just a plain old seat. I carry an extra pair of socks in my purse (Don't judge me...) Okay! back to the Thanksgiving theme. This could get even more embarrassing if I confess anything else.
I thought, since I've done so little blogging of late, that I could tell you guys (if there is even anyone still reading my poor neglected blog) our Thanksgiving Menu for 2013!
Hurray! Huzzah! *confetti* Bravo!
Okay, fine. I might be a little too excited.

This year, because we have stupendous guests arriving on Thanksgiving day (aka my favorite person in the world) and my sister's boyfriend has his own family festivities that day our fantastic feast will be on Friday this year. I was happy with this plan because it means I have a whole entire day off to cook before hand, and we can have Thanksgiving breakfast for Thursday. Because as well as being an advocate for comfort, I am also the number one fan of breakfast. Best meal ever. So yes! Let the menu-ing begin!

- Cranberry Orange Blintzes. Every year we have some sort of crepes for breakfast. This year will be blintzes, which are rolled crepes filled with creamy ricotta custard. There will be cranberry orange sauce for the top, as well as warmed fried apples.
-Bacon. Obviously. Every good breakfast has bacon.

First Thanksgiving as Purple Door Bakery, three years ago.


- Turkey (duh) We decided no brining this year. It takes about three days to brine a turkey and that's a lot of days. And although you can taste the difference, it isn't a big enough difference for three days. :) In the good old days Grandma would make awesome turkey by just basting it every hour and putting bacon on top. Throwback Thursday this year!
- Stuffing. There is no Thanksgiving without Stuffing. And our family can be a little bit particular. My dad wants it to be cornbread, my sister insists on water chestnuts, sausage is a must. So yes. Our perfected recipe will be amazing and make everyone happy. That's the way Thanksgiving goes... 
- Garlic Smashed Potatoes with Browned Onions. This is the best mashed potato you will ever eat. There's hints of cheese, garlic, and oniony goodness. We pretty much only eat them one day a year because they are so bad for you (but good for your happy place)
- Asparagus with bacon bits and butter everywhere! Usually we have it with Hollandaise sauce, but going with one less sauce this year, phew!
- Homemade Creamed Corn. It's kinda my signature dish. When I first moved here about three years ago I made creamed corn for some people at a barbeque. I think everyone in town called me "Creamed Corn Girl" for a few months at least. Slightly embarrassing. A little flattering.
- Pao de Quejo. Because we need a little Brazilian goods on our table. Plus, any American biscuit or roll, no matter how fluffy and perfect, can't compare with little cheesy (gluten free!) bites of absolute deliciousness known as Pao de Quejo.
- Green beans. Not the casserole, not the canned kind. I'm talking squeaky teeth beans, the kind that snap even after you've cooked them. (We call them squeaky teeth beans because they are perfect if they squeak against your teeth when you chew. It's fun. :) )

If I had my way we would be consuming two types of creme brulee, four pies, and some sort of cookie. My family doesn't let that happen, which would be a sad story, except they are probably all saving our waistlines from a terrifying future. ;)
-Pumpkin Pie. People are asking for the same old classic, but I want to shake it up a little tiny bit. Whether it's by adding a gingersnap crust, a maple glaze, or something else I haven't decided yet. One thing for sure: whipped cream will be there. Pumpkin Pie without chipped cream might be the saddest thing to ever happen in the pie world.
-Apple Pie. My dad really hates pumpkin things. He's just one of those people that isn't a pumpkin fan. So I'm making his favorite pie. Apple Pie with strudel topping. Vanilla ice cream will also be making a guest appearance, I'm pretty sure.
- Sweet Potato Creme Brulee. Both me and my mom are avid fans of yams. I could honestly eat sweet potato casserole for days. FOR DAYS. I'm excited about this one. :)
These are pumpkin Creme Brulees, but they are going to be awesome with yams!
-Gingerbread Leaf Cookies. I'm making these as place markers on the table. I'm going to pipe names on in fancy royal icing. They should be fun...
Back when I couldn't take pictures...yay!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Not Dead Yet! Ginger Snaps with Cream Cheese Icing

Dear dear world,
I write to convey my sincerest and warmest apologies. I know that the internet says that you shouldn't apologize for the neglect of one's blog. But I really really am so remorseful! However, here I am. I am alive. I still have mobile limbs. My kitchen did not blow up in a freak accident. I am not dead yet!

I merely went to school. 
I live in this really great building with 75 other women and NO LEGITIMATE KITCHEN. I mean, we have one. But there isn't a fridge to keep things like butter and eggs and whole cream. And no baking dishes or mixer. You can only bring so many things with you to a dorm room. 

(Yes. I live in a dorm. I'm almost 24 and too stinking poor to live in an apartment. It's a sad story.)  
But there is this really happy ending to the story. :)

Here we go.
Once upon a time there was an average girl who loved to bake (that's me!) She moved out and went to school so that she could be learn all sorts of fascinating things about how to be a great teacher. She got really excited about having her own classroom, creating bulletin boards, even lesson planning. She met all sorts of wonderful people and learned to love them. She stayed up late and laughed. She went to bed early and slept like a rock. Her life was suddenly filled with late night fast food, early mornings, long papers, and many social engagements. But it wasn't all beautiful and good. She didn't have a kitchen. :( She was in despair because of the lack of kitchen in her life. But then she went home on weekends, took over her mother's kitchen, and was happy once more. What's even better (and gives this story a wonderfully happy ending) is now she had an entire floor of college girls to share her baked goods with. One plate of cupcakes was gone in an hour! No more cajoling family members to "Just try one! It doesn't even need to be a frosted one..." just set down a collection of sugar and butter creations and BAM! Gone within a day. It was a lovely existence.

This past weekend's baking adventures? Homemade Gingersnaps with Cream Cheese Icing. And pumpkin muffins, too, but that's another blog post for another day. :)

You'll have to forgive the not-so-spectacular photos. I have no access to a proper camera currently and some of them are children of the instagram (blech). But the cookies were stellar. Everyone said they tasted like Christmas...and Christmas tastes like joy, spice, and comfort.

Gingersnaps with Cream Cheese Icing
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup molasses
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
pinch of salt
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 cup butter
8 oz cream cheese
4 cups powdered sugar
zest and juice of one orange

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. In your mixer cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the egg and mix thouroughly. Add molasses and mix until well combined. In a separate small bowl, mix dry ingredients with a fork and gradually mix into the butter and sugar mixture, scraping down sides of the bowl as necessary. Chill dough 15 minutes.

Scoop onto a cookie sheet in rounded Tablespoon balls. Press lightly with fingers or back of the spoon to flatten. Bake 9-11 minutes until cookies are golden brown. Cool on wire rack before frosting.
Cream together butter, cream cheese, and orange zest and juice. Add sugar one cup at a time until smooth. Once cookies are cooled place a generous amount of icing in between cookies creating sandwiches. Store in the refrigerator for the best results. ;) That is, if you leftovers to store.

Monday, August 12, 2013

True Love: White Chocolate Raspberry Cake

The things my parents have done for each other are amazing.
The kinds of hardships they've pushed through to become stronger is astounding.

Their love is the most mind blowing.
And they are just darn cute.

If I am half as awesome as you guys when I've been married 25 years it will be an honor (and probably a miracle...ha!)
Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad!

I've always thought that chocolate and berries were a good way to celebrate true love.

This cake is small, only 6 inches, which is perfect for the world's best couple and their lucky kids. ;) And it is probably the best white chocolate raspberry concoction you'll ever manage to consume.

White Chocolate Raspberry Layer Cake
3 c. flour
1 TB baking powder
1 tsp salt
12 TB butter
4 eggs
4 tsp vanilla
1 c. buttermilk
2 c. frozen raspberries
Pint of fresh raspberries
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Using a mixer, beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time. Beat in vanilla. Beat in the dry ingredients with the buttermilk in three additions. Fold in berries. Pour into two greased and floured 6 inch cake pans. Bake 40-45 minutes or until the cake springs back when lightly pressed. Let cool slightly on a wire rack and then turn out onto a plate to fully cool.
8 oz. white chocolate shavings or chips
1/4 c. cream
1/2 c. shortening
1/2. c. butter
2 tsp vanilla
4 c. powdered sugar
Extra cream if needed
Warm the cream in a saucepan until boiling, pour over the white chocolate, stirring until melted. In a mixer beat shortening and butter with the vanilla. Add sugar, beating to combine. The frosting will be dry and crumbly. Add the melted chocolate mixture and beat until smooth. Add extra cream one tablespoon at a time until desired texture is met.
Assemble the cake by spreading a layer of white chocolate frosting over one of the cakes and sprinkle raspberries over the top, crushing them slightly with a knife to bring out juices. Top with the remaining cake layer and frost all over with white chocolate butter cream. Decorate with fresh raspberries.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Nothing Better Than a Garden: Homemade Herb Syrups


Is there any place better than a garden?
I don't know, I think I would be hard pressed to find one. Except maybe a tea house, or a forest, a sledding hill, a big bed full of fresh fluffy pillows, a hammock in the sun, a cliff looking over a sea...
Okay. So an herb garden is one of many perfect places.

But really, try and be unhappy when you take a handful of something herb-y and crush it in your fingers. It's impossible.
There is a monstrous bush of mint in the back yard. It really is huge. Gigantor, King of the Mint. There isn't anything that's bigger, unless it's the bush of lemon balm.
A month or so ago my sister and I tied bundles and bundles of the herbs and hung them to dry on racks.

11 bundles of lemon balm? What on earth am I going to do with all that lemon balm? 9 bundles of Mint? A person can only drink so much tea before going crazy. (I can't believe I said that. I never thought my limits of tea drinking would be tested. But here we are.)

So I brainstormed and eventually set out to make syrup. Syrup is great fun. It smells awesome and you can use it in so many things.
Coffee drinks
Mixed Drinks
Iced Tea
Plain old Club Soda
((Also, everything always looks prettier in jars. It's a well known fact of life.))

Really, anytime you want to feel homemade and herbaceous you can add it to whatever your eating/drinking at the time and be awesome. You'll feel like Martha Stewart except not creepy and way cooler. (Am I allowed to say that? Because I do think that Martha is creepy and un-cool. I hope that's okay with everybody because c'mon. That fixating glued on smile and even-toned Stepford wife voice thing? Creeps me out. Heebie Jeebie levels off the charts stuff.)

Herb Syrups
3 cups water
3 cups sugar
3 cups of packed dried herbs or spices (mint, lemon balm, lavender, rosemary, cinnamon sticks, whole anise seeds, basil, ginger root, or rose petals)
For lemon balm syrup, you can also add lemon slices or lemon juice, depending on your preference.

Also, a drop of green food coloring will make the mint syrup a pretty color if you don't want them all to look too similar.
In a high sided pot bring sugar and water to a boil. Lower heat to low-medium and simmer until the sugar is dissolved and the syrup is clear about 3-5 minutes. Stir constantly! No burning sugar, that's no fun.
Add your herbs (and fruit slices if that's the route you're going. I used four small lemons sliced and one lemon's juice.) and simmer an additional minute.

Strain the syrup through a cheesecloth lined sieve and ladle into jars or bottles. You can choose not to line the sieve with cheesecloth, but you'll have a few leafy bits swirling around on the bottom of your jar. They don't harm anything, but if you want to avoid them for presentation purposes, stick with your cloth o' cheese.
Refrigerated, these will keep for 6 months. On the counter it's best not to keep them out for more than a week.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Fruit of the Spirit: Coconut Citrus Meringue Pie

Remember a few days ago when I vaguely promised that there would be more pie before the month of July was up? Yeahhhhh...here's me delivering on that promise.
It was a toss up regarding flavors. It's summer, so something heavy and rich wasn't my favorite choice. Wasn't in the mood for chocolate, but I had made a few fruit pies already this month.
I was really going for strawberry pie, just because I hadn't eaten it in about six years or something, which is an absurd amount of time to go without strawberry pie.
But I had just made mint syrup that I wanted to use so I added Grasshopper Pie to the options. Whoohoo, it was getting better by the minute.
And then I knew that I had two cans of coconut milk in the pantry that had been sitting there forever...and who could say no to creamy coconut?

A Poll was organized, family members and twitter followers were surveyed anddddd. Coconut won out in the end. Go coconut! (It is an astounding nut, I have to say.)
But even in its astounding state, I didn't want to make plain old super delicious coconut cream pie. Depth and dynamic was needed. *hunt around the kitchen ensues* I considered putting the strawberries in, but that might not be the best flavor combo. Raspberries? Better...tart and sweet would be nice.

But then when lemons and limes were found in the bottom of the veggie drawer, I was sold. (I'm always sold when it comes to lemon lime. Citrus is kind like my spirit animal, except it isn't an animal, it's a fruit. So it's my spirit fruit? Fruit of the Spirit? Citrus is love and joy and peace. YES! Wait, no...confused.)
So, zesting and juicing and boiling, whipping, and folding. Hours later I sneak down to the kitchen to eat my appropriately chilled citrus coconut meringue pie and this happened.

I smiled. Someone had taken a slice already. It's good news when your family eats pie in the middle of the night.
So yes, you can practice your fruit of the spirit (mainly self control) while waiting for your pie to chill properly. Or you can just get straight down to "goodness" and slice into it early. No harm done. :D

Coconut Citrus Meringue Pie
1 pie crust, blind baked
1 1/2 cups coconut milk
1 1/2 cups half-and-half
5 egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
4 Tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups flaked coconut
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
Juice and zest from one lemon and one lime
For Meringue:
3 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
6 Tablespoon sugar

Pour coconut milk, half-and-half, and lemon and lime juices into a large bowl with the egg yolks. Whisk together until smooth. Add sugar and cornstarch to a saucepan over medium heat. Slowly pour the milk and egg mixture into the pot, whisking as you go. Bring this custard mixture to a boil while whisking. Switch to a wooden spoon and boil one minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla, coconut, and lemon and lime zest. Spread the custard into pie crust. 

For Meringue:
Beat egg whites and cream of tartar on medium speed in a stand mixer until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in sugar one tablespoon at a time on high until stiff glossy peaks form and the sugar is dissolved. Spread over the pie filling, sealing the edges to the crust. Sprinkle the top with flaked coconut and a teaspoon of citrus zest. 
Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes or until the meringue is golden. Cool on a wire rack for one hour, and then refrigerate for at least 3 hours before serving. 

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Pee-Aie-Eee: Whats that spell? Pie! (Or awesome...)

This has been a month of pies.
So many tasty pastries with crusts and fruits have been happening.
Let us take an instagram adventure in the world of PIE.

First pie that happened was a really ugly lemon blueberry concoction that happened in the evening after a long day of work. Boy was it hideous. And absolutely delicious! I probably ate 3/4 of it on my own...within a two-ish day time period? Yeah....once I figure out how to make this pretty and tasty there will be an awfully exciting pie recipe up here.

Blueberry Lemon Ugly Pie = Blueberry Lemon TASTEE.  

Thennn...Thursday happened! Thursdays are Farmer's Market days. It's unavoidable. There is all this delicious produce sitting in the sun and there are happy kids drawing with chalk and dogs on leashes straining at all the lovely smells coming from the stalls, someone is playing guitar and singing folksy acoustic songs. One thing leads to another and Candice finds herself buying way too much fruit and making a rustic pie tart thing that tastes phenomenal.

Peppers and Pie Ingredients! Peaches, two kinds of cherries, and blueberries. 
But now this is when it gets crazy fun. Hold on to your hats, kids, because our instagram adventure of pie is leaving the Purple Door Kitchen and heading to New Jersey! Enter Pie Master 2.0. Now, sometimes a girl just plain lucks out and finds out that her staggering good looking, incredibly smart, hilariously funny, and perfectly sweet boyfriend also likes to bake pies. (I know, RIGHT?) Tada! Pumpkin Pie was made in Jersey and Candice thanked Jesus for pie making men. ;)

A few days after the ridiculously successful pumpkin pie was eaten, David called me while he was in the grocery store hunting for apple pie ingredients. (Oh, look the Candice-O-Happy Meter went off the charts...) and a couple of hours later pie flavored skype date! Gosh darn it, we're cute.

And David was thoughtful enough to document our pie adventure, of course. (look! There I am being really happy to watch David make pie for three hours or so) He's always thinking of genius things like that. :) The only bad thing about this arrangement is that I couldn't actually taste the amazing apple pie he made, but watching him bake/eat it made up for it.

Good news about July being the month of pie? Tomorrow I am completely free all afternoon and I think I'm going to make more! Flavors up for debate.