Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Happy National Cookie Day!

In honor of today's historical importance (for sweet tooth lovers worldwide) I plan on making a batch of Neiman Marcus cookies.  Thanks, Brown Eyed Baker.  

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

French Macarons

Mommy in law got me a kitchen scale a few months back and I've been trying to find a reason to use it.  So here we are with my post for French macarons.  I'm a bit late on the macaron craze.

Macarons are very intimidating to make.  Many of the recipes I've looked at emphasize weighing the ingredients instead of using volume measurements.  Annie's Eats has her recipe for chocolate macarons and gives detailed instructions for making these bite size delights.  However, I opted with using David Lebovitz recipe instead.  He doesn't weigh them and I think my first batch turned out well...don't you?  

I did try making a another batch of macarons using weight measurements and tried Annie's recipe for pistachio macarons.  They came out just as nice but the flavor was a bit off to me (the cookies tasted a bit pepper-y?).  I was finally able to use the pistachio extract I was gifted and added about a 1/2 tsp of it to the cookie batter.  I forgot to take pictures so that will be another macaron post to look forward to.  

Happy baking and hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  


I tried my best to pipe the batter all about the same size. 


Chocolate Macarons
Makes about 20-25 cookies
Adapted from The Sweet Life in Paris (Broadway) by David Lebovitz
Macaron Batter
1 cup (100 gr) powdered sugar
½ cup powdered almonds (about 2 ounces, 50 gr, sliced almonds, pulverized)
3 tablespoons (25 gr) unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
2 large egg whites, at room temperature (I aged mine for 12+hours)
5 tablespoons (65 gr) granulated sugar

Chocolate Filling
½ cup (125 ml) heavy cream
2 teaspoons light corn syrup
4 ounces (120 gr) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 tablespoon (15 gr) butter, cut into small pieces

Preheat oven to 350º F (180º C). I baked mine at 300º F for only 8 min, rotating half way through.  

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and have a pastry bag with a plain tip (about 1/2-inch, 2 cm) ready.
Grind together the powdered sugar with the almond powder and cocoa so there are no lumps; use a blender or food processor since almond meal that you buy isn’t quite fine enough. In the bowl of a standing electric mixer, beat the egg whites until they begin to rise and hold their shape. While whipping, beat in the granulated sugar until very stiff and firm, about 2 minutes.
Carefully fold the dry ingredients, in two batches, into the beaten egg whites with a flexible rubber spatula. When the mixture is just smooth and there are no streaks of egg white, stop folding and scrape the batter into the pastry bag (standing the bag in a tall glass helps if you’re alone).

Pipe the batter on the parchment-lined baking sheets in 1-inch (3 cm) circles (about 1 tablespoon each of batter), evenly spaced one-inch (3 cm) apart.
Rap the baking sheet a few times firmly on the counter top to flatten the macarons, **I let the piped batter sit out for an hour prior to baking...then bake them for 15-18 minutes. Let cool completely then remove from baking sheet.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Mexican Hot Chooclate Cookies

The J-O-B threw a party in honor of Dia de los Muertos and I thought it fitting to whip up a batch of mexican hot chocolate cookies.  I love the combination of cinnamon and chocolate!  Martha Stewart has a great recipe for double chocolate chunk cookies so I knew she was my go to for this particular cookie.  This was my first time making them and it certainly will not by my last.  They were a great hit.  I can't begin to tell you how amazing my kitchen smelled while these cookies were in the oven.  This recipe will be on my holiday baking list for homemade gifts.  Happy baking! 


  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt, I used 2 tsp
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon, **I added about 1/2 tsp of cinnamon to the cookie batter
  • 1/2 teaspoon chile powder (optional), **I added about 1/2 tsp of chile powder to the cookie batter
  • **1 tsp vanilla extract, not called for in the actual recipe 
  • **1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips 


  1. Preheat oven to 400 325 degrees, with racks in upper and lower thirds ( I always bake with one rack at a time. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and 1 1/2 cups sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down side of bowl. Add eggs and beat to combine. With mixer on low, gradually add flour mixture and beat until combined.
  2. In a small bowl, combine remaining 1/4 cup sugar, cinnamon, and chile powder (if using). Using heaping tablespoons, form balls of dough and roll in cinnamon-sugar mixture. Place, about 3 inches apart, on two parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake until cookies are set in center and begin to crack, about 10 minutes (8 min for my oven), rotating sheets halfway through. Let cookies cool on sheets on wire racks 5 minutes, then transfer cookies to racks to cool completely. (Store in an airtight container, up to 1 week.)

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Halloween Treats

I wanted to bring in some treats for Kylie's class and came up with "Ghost Poop" aka homemade s'mores popcorn and jack o lantern fruit cups.  I am constantly inspired by others on Pinterest and love finding creative homemade treats.  

I was able to find free halloween printables and used this recipe for the s'mores popcorn (I added some kettle corn to the ghost poop as well).  Happy Halloween from Mommy the Chiquita Banana, Kylie the silly monkey, and Dylan our cutie banana!  

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Labor for Love: Wedding Cake Pops for Joan and O!

Its been difficult to find time to blog with two kids now, but here is a pic of my most recent cake pop order.  

 150 bride and groom cake pops

The bride is red velvet with a royal blue fondant flower and the groom is oreo truffle with hand piped bow and buttons with a royal blue fondant pocket square to match.  Congratulations again to Joan and O!  <3

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Bake it Forward

Bridget from Bake at 350 posted helpful baking/decorating tips for the upcoming holiday and thought I would share them with you.  Her post definitely puts my mind at ease and know that if I start early enough, I'll have plenty of baked and decorated goods for everyone.  :)  I'm so excited and I just can't wait to get started on my holiday baking.  

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Caramel Pecan Pie Shortbread

I like to salvage as many ingredients as I can when I'm faced with a baking disaster.  As I've mentioned twice before, I failed at making pecan pie cookies for a bake sale.  I came up with the idea of using the pecan pie filling to make mini pecan pie cookies, which was another FAIL, but was able to use the remaining filling for caramel pecan pie shortbread.  The third time really  was a charm.  (Actually, I felt sick to my stomach just thinking about trashing $10 worth of pecans and good, quality chocolate). 

I can still remember how good the shortbread was in the lemon bar recipe I posted during my early blogging days, and wanted to whip up something quick the morning of Thanksgiving.   Less than 45 minutes later, I had these decadent bad boys packed and ready to go for our holiday lunch at my mom's house:

The shortbread was perfectly baked and the filling was to die for.  It was surprisingly chewy and had the slightest hint of cinnamon.  Not too sweet and not to bitter (I used extra dark cacao baking chips and used the remainder of my semi-sweet chips) Mmm....another recipe that is up for the dessert menu for Christmas.  :)  
Caramel Pecan Pie Shortbread
adapted from Baker's Royale and Tita Terry's Lemon Bar Recipe

Caramel Pecan Pie Filling from Baker's Royale: 
1 cup pecans, toasted and chopped
4 ¼ oz  chocolate, 65% cacao, melted
1 tablespoon of corn syrup
¼ cup heavy cream
½ teaspoon cardamom (I used cinnamon)
not called for in original recipe, but I did use about two tablespoons of caramel sauce
not called for in original recipe, but I added 1/2 tsp fleur de sel
Shortbread recipe:
1/2 c butter
1 1/3 c unsifted flour
1/4 c sugar

Mix crust ingredients low speed til blended.  Pat into greased 8" square pan.  Bake at 350 near center open rack for 15-20 min. 

Pour caramel pecan filling over crust, return to oven 18-20 min or til set.