August Birthdays – Doughnuts!

Dear Friends,

We are nearly through the summer which means we need one more extra fun dessert to finish it out. Doughnuts have been all the rage so we easily found a number of fabulous recipes and a great themed paper from Paper Source. This is what we selected:

August Doughnuts

  • Pumpkin Spice Doughnuts with Cinnamon Sugar
  • Lemon Lavender Doughnuts with Lemon Icing and All-Natural Sprinkles
  • Samoa Doughnuts with Caramel Coconut Topping and Chocolate Dip

August Birthday Sign

Pumpkin Spice. Oh baby, these are good! The canned pumpkin keeps these doughnuts moist and the cinnamon sugar covering is so satisfying. And, they’re easy to make. They also look quite official when you pipe the batter into Wilton doughnut pans.

Pumpkin Spice 1

Pumpkin Spice 2

Secretly, I eat pumpkin treats throughout the year. I really can’t just limit this flavor to fall. And to be true to our readers, I feel it is my duty to share this recipe with you. We used the recipe from Cooking Classy, adapted from King Arthur.

Pumpkin Spice Packaged

Lemon Lavender 1

Lemon Lavender. These delicious treats combine elegance with adorability! They feature a sophisticated lavender sugar and cute pastel sprinkles. All-natural sprinkles (Let’s Do…Organic Sprinkelz Confetti, courtesy of My Organic Market) that actually tasted good, I might add 🙂 In fact, the best feedback we received on these doughnuts was a guy who said he’d arm wrestle a grandmother for one of them! I’m not joking!

Lemon Lavender 3

Adding lavender to your treats is easy to overdo. You want the flowery scent and a few purple specks in your bake, but how do you know when it’s too much. I tend to go with the less-is-more mentality meaning that I use less than the recipe directs. One way to do this is to combine the herb with the right proportion of sugar. This also helps even out the flavor. In this instance, place 1-1/2 cups granulated sugar and 2 tablespoons culinary-grade lavender in a glass jar. Keep sealed for at least one day. Then only take out the amount of sugar called for in the recipe.

Lavender Plant

Lavender Sugar

In addition to lavender, we included plenty of lemon zest in the doughnut batter and fresh-squeezed lemon juice in the lemon icing. I chose a lemon base for the lavender because it accompanies most herbs so well, neutralizing the earthiness and brightening the flavor.

Lemon Lavender 2

Samoa 2

Samoa. My all-time favorite Girl Scout cookie in doughnut form – yay! Caramel, coconut, and chocolate, what’s not to love?! 🙂 These treats are also a well-documented part of my strategy (or conspiracy) to bring on more coconut. The base is a buttery, yeasted doughnut that is dipped in melted semi-sweet chocolate and topped with a mixture of toasted shredded coconut with a batch (actually, make that two batches!) of homemade caramel drizzled in more melted chocolate.

Samoa 1

Samoa 3

Enjoy!

corrie @ Peachie’s Treats

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Baseball Baby Shower

Dear Friends,

We had the fun opportunity to make some treats for a baseball themed baby shower!

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The treats, Lemoncellos (Lemon Sugar Cookies with Lemon Buttercream) and Madeleines (French Sponge Cookies with Vanilla Buttercream) looked quite like baseballs and bats, don’t you think?!

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We absolutely love the patriotic red, white, and blue and the adorable baseball stickers from Michaels topped them off.

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Enjoy!

corrie @ Peachie’s Treats

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French Birthday Mini Eclairs

Happy Summer to You!

For a very special little girl’s 2nd birthday, we made mini éclairs with vanilla pastry cream, chocolate ganache glaze, with raspberry pick accents decorated with lots of pink watercolor, scalloped edges, and Eiffel tower icons. Ooh, la, la!

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Homemade choux pastry – which includes cream puffs, gougeres (choux with cheese in the batter), and éclairs – is so delicious and easy to make that you won’t want to go back to the store-bought versions! Actually, you won’t be able to go back – it’s that big of a difference. And, the crisp, buttery shells will beg to be filled with something commensurate in quality and taste. This is where the rich pastry cream comes in 🙂 I used the recipe (and inspiration from her cute tutorial!) from Frosting and a Smile for the pastry cream. The recipe calls for the addition of butter at the end; I highly recommend this step! Leave plenty of time to chill your cream before you need it. There are many slight ingredient variations available online for the choux, but I’ve used the Better Homes & Garden’s version here repeatedly with great success.

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While I have made choux before, I had never put together an entire éclair. Using silicone mats with inch measurements around the edge helped me create mini, but not too mini éclairs, of the same size. After baking these and poking holes in both ends to let dry, I made the chocolate ganache glaze using cream and semisweet chocolate. The glaze made dipping the éclairs a cinch, but proved to be difficult down the line when it didn’t dry entirely. In hindsight, leaving them in the refrigerator unwrapped for a couple hours dries the outside perfectly without compromising the moist filling. There were two tricks, in my opinion, for making the éclairs look professional. One is to fill the éclair on both ends, weighing it as you go to a desired fullness. Two, fill each with pastry cream BEFORE dipping in the glaze in order to seal the ends.

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What an incredibly fun project to work on! I wanted the details to be simple, but elegant and distinct and include a lovely light pink in keeping with a young girl’s birthday. Using a few brush strokes of light pink watercolor and black stamps featuring the Eiffel tower, an Eiffel tower souvenir postmark, and the name PARIS, I removed these little gems with a scalloped edge punch.

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I lined each serving tray with the same shade of light pink paper scalloped with special scissors and ran a wide piece of black grosgrain ribbon down the center on which to hang a little image of watercolor and stamp. I placed each éclair in a mini white doily which was then placed in a white eclair paper. The accent, a four inch wooden pick with a pearl on the end, was supposed to hold the raspberry just below the pearl. It didn’t quite work, but that fact didn’t dampen my pleasure with the overall look. Just seeing and tasting these treats transported me to another place that afternoon, complete with rose-tinted glasses, French café music, and a call to savor the moment.

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Enjoy!

corrie @ Peachie’s Treats

 

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April Bread of the Month

Dear Friends,

We had the pleasure of making Iced Hot Cross Buns in celebration of the Easter Holiday and Provencal Herb Bread, which we baked in tiny terracotta pots.

April BOTM Sign

Our Hot Cross Buns are one of the best things we make – soft, fluffy, lightly-spiced and lightly-sweetened buns, studded with raisins, and topped with vanilla buttercream. This family recipe has marked my favorite holiday for decades, making it very special for me. How the Easter holiday reminds us of the new life that’s possible, just as we’re seeing new plant life come up from the ground and all around never ceases to delight me!

Provencal Herb Bread in Terracotta Pot

And, speaking of new plant life, how about all those happy gardening memories (let’s forget the weeds for the moment :)) of digging in the dirt, seeing delicious vegetables and herbs grow, and then getting to eat the things you’ve grown. While we didn’t harvest our own herbs for these breads, we did use plenty of dried Herbs de Provence, including lavender, as well as parmesan cheese, and Yukon Gold potatoes. This bread is heavenly, toasted and dipped in olive oil! It’s my favorite way to bring on the warmer weather 🙂

Enjoy!

corrie @ Peachie’s Treats

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April Birthdays – French Café with Newsprint Theme

Dear Friends,

As nicer weather approaches, I look forward to my all-time favorite outdoor activity of sunning myself at a neighborhood café while savoring a decadent pastry 🙂 It is only natural, then, that I would try to evoke those same happy feelings for our customers in the Peachie’s baked goods experience!

April Birthday Sign - French Cafe

I found French Café embellishments at Michaels that included a rolled newspaper on a scrolly metal café chair, which motivated the newsprint packaging details that you see, as well as the red, black, and white color scheme.

Almond Frangipane Tart 1

Our treat selection included:

  • Almond Frangipane Tart with Blueberries
  • French Madeleines with Vanilla Buttercream
  • Black Forest Brownies with Cream Cheese Frosting

Almond Frangipane Tart 2

Almond Frangipane Tart 3

Almond Frangipane Tart. Wow! It is really a shame that it took me as long as it did to make this amazing and totally satisfying tart. Filled with almond cream which and plump, juicy dried blueberries (yes, you read that correctly – they’re from Costco), you can justify eating it for breakfast (I did!). And, the little dog with the adorable red beret was most fitting to adorn this elegant, but casual treat.

French Madeleine 1

French Madeleine 2

French Madeleines. These delightful sponge cookies have long been a staple of our treat repertoire. The addition of the buttercream is not at all necessary, but I find it to be especially delicious, more so even than a glaze. See our last write up for more details. Actually, the other flavor combination vying for first place is All-Natural Strawberry Jam from Costco sandwiched between the cookies with a dusting of powdered sugar. Ooh la la!

Black Forest Brownie 1

Black Forest Brownie 2

Black Forest Brownies. These brownies are chewy, moist, and not-too-sweet! Consistent readers of this blog know how highly I regard brownies. They are serious treats. These are filled with plump, juicy Tart Montmorency cherries from Costco, white chocolate, and a cherry chocolate liqueur. The recipe called for the addition of slivered almonds which I would’ve happily added if I was consuming them singlehandedly, but I wanted to provide two nut-free options this time.

Black Forest Brownie 3

There were other scrumptious details surrounding this particular treat. We piped a Cream Cheese Frosting swirl with an open-star tip on top of each one, which we further embellished with all-natural Maraschino Cherries (hooray for fun, non-chemical color!) with stems. Rounding it all out, we placed newsprint confetti on each paper treat holder.

Hope you enjoy the details as much as we had finding and putting them all together!

corrie @ Peachie’s Treats

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March Bread of the Month

Dear Friends,

Hope this post finds you well! We were so excited for our bread selection this month as it was inspired by both my Irish heritage and my top desired travel destination. We made Irish Brown Breads and Croatian Sweet Walnut Bread.

March 2015 BOTM Sign

The Irish Brown Breads are flavored with molasses, honey, and coffee and are very similar to the kind I had on my trip to Ireland years ago. These small loaves are chewy and are awesome for sandwiches or to go along with your dinner. Spread with plenty of butter and enjoy!

Irish Brown Breads

Povitica 1

Delicate layers of dough create a web through a nutty, chocolate filling in the Croatian Povitica, or Sweet Walnut Bread. Our version is not official, but it’s delicious! One day we will achieve the paper-thin layers, but for now, we are getting there 🙂

Povitica 2

Povitica 3

We also included some Mint Mocha Cookies with each of our subscriptions. You can find a mouth-watering description of these gems here.

Mint Mocha Packaging

Shamrock Logo

Shamrock Packaging

Hope you enjoy the shamrock packaging – Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

corrie @ Peachie’s Treats

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March Birthdays – Bee Theme with Lemon Overload

Dear Friends,

It’s still winter here in Alexandria as I write this entry. When I was planning the menu for the year, I thought surely, the first signs of Spring would be revealed this week in March. Even though Spring feels very far away, making lots of different lemon treats has brightened my outlook (and made my kitchen smell nice). In fact, it’s been a bit of lemon overload if such a thing exists.

March Birthday Sign

Lemon Tart 2nd Version 1

Lemon Tart 2nd Version 2

Candied Lemon Peel 1

Candied Lemon Peel 2

In addition to our menu:

  • Lemon Bar Cheesecake with Homemade Lemon Curd Topping and Candied Lemon Slices
  • “Bee” Cream Puffs with Honey Cream, and
  • Millionaire Bars,

we also made a number of lemon tarts with various fillings and tart doughs as well as candied lemon peel with leftover previously squeezed lemons. What we were after was a “showstopper” dessert – sorry, Lemon Tart.

Lemon Tart 1st Version 1

Lemon Tart 1st Version 2

Lemon Tarts are completely delicious and elegant, but we were going for more wow factor this time. And, did we ever find it, in this cheesecake from Southern Living’s Cakes & Pies Special Edition 2014. The cheesecake contains four (!) packages of cream cheese and a swirled layer of Lemon Curd (recipe included and is made in the microwave if you can believe it) which is also used to top the cake, and finally, a crown of Candied Lemon Slices (recipe included is both quick and easy). While this cake is straightforward, delicious, and beautiful, it takes a LONG time to put together, making it perfect for a really special occasion.

Lemon Bar Cheesecake

Lemon Bar Cheesecake Display Pic

The inspiration for this month’s treats evolved from a roll of gold and black honeycomb print washi tape. I’m always looking for ways to include a bee theme each Spring, so naturally I was excited to find the tape. But, the dramatic color scheme did prove more of a challenge this time with coordinating other flavors and treats.

Cream Puff 1

Thankfully, I also came across an idea for transforming macarons into bees and thought the idea might work well with cream puffs. Voila! Our second treat materialized! We used sliced almonds for wings and melted chocolate stripes for their segmented bodies. And, we modified a custard filling, eliminating the eggs and substituting fruit for honey to pipe in the puffs. The result was a cloud of super creamy, lightly-sweetened, sophisticated deliciousness. Yum!

Cream Puff 2

Last, but certainly not least, were the Millionaire Bars. Or, as we affectionately call them, “Billionaire Bars” 🙂 These bars are essentially a homemade version of Twix bars and are, therefore, highly addictive. The swanky name refers to their richness and decadence.

Millionaire Bar Display

Millionaire Bar 1

With the homemade version, you can control the sweetness, and that’s what we did. Though, come to think of it, if we had added more sugar, we probably wouldn’t have eaten so many! After reading through a number of recipes, we used the one from the Little Spice Jar which calls for a shortbread base, a thickened sweetened condensed milk caramel layer, and a melted chocolate topping. We added butter to the melted chocolate so it was easy to bite into.

Millionaire Bar 2

Enjoy!

corrie @ Peachie’s Treats

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Flourless Fudge Cookies

Dear Friends,

We made Flourless Fudge Cookies as a special Valentines treat to go with our Bread of the Month selection of Cinnamon Raisin Whole Wheat Bread and Cherry Orange Scones. These cookies have been all over Pinterest and deserve every bit of the hype. These chewy, chocolate cookies are delicious!

February BOTM Sign

Flourless Fudge Cookies 1

Not only are these cookies flourless (gluten-free), they are also dairy-free and contain no fat. This is great news for those with allergies!

Flourless Fudge Cookies 2

Using the Makr logo/branding app, we created labels to embellish these gems. The app is super fun and user-friendly; there’s no limit to what you can create with it!

Flourless Fudge Cookies 3

Flourless Fudge Cookies 4

Label for Flourless Fudge Cookies

Enjoy!

corrie @ Peachie’s Treats

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February Birthdays – Raspberries and Watercolor

Dear Friends,

We had a lot of fun putting the order together for this month! Using bright pink XOXO lettered paper from Paper Source as inspiration, we decided to make sugar cookie cut-outs to go with the chocolate cake we had planned on. Because, the one thing we always count on for Valentines is chocolate!

February Birthdays 2015 Sign

The February treat selection included:

  • White Velvet Sugar Cookies
  • Chocolate Layer Cake with Raspberry Buttercream

Chocolate Cake with Raspberry Buttercream

Chocolate Layer Cake. This was definitely one of the prettiest cakes we’ve made! And, the cake tasted really good too 🙂 We used the recipe in the book, “Vintage Cakes” by Julie Richardson. It includes plenty of sour cream and butter – yum!

White Velvet Sugar Cookies - Watercolor Hearts

But, really I think I could devour just about anything enrobed in all that luscious raspberry buttercream frosting. We mashed previously frozen raspberries in a sieve to release the juice which we used to flavor and color the frosting. While being all-natural has its limitations, the raspberry has always come through for us!

White Velvet Sugar Cookies

White Velvet Sugar Cookies. These cookies are fantastic! Not only do they taste great, but they stay soft for days. “White velvet” refers to the addition of cream cheese, which keeps them soft and chewy. We decorated the cookies in “X” and “O” letter shapes as well as hearts with a diluted royal icing that actually created a watercolor effect! We were super pleased with that as we LOVE anything watercolor 🙂 The beautiful color comes, of course, from the raspberry puree that we made for the cake icing.

White Velvet Sugar Cookie X Shape

Enjoy!

corrie @ Peachie’s Treats

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January Bread of the Month

Dear Friends,

Here are the pictures from our Bread of the Month selection for January. We made Kaiser Rolls topped with Poppy and Sesame Seeds as well as Glazed Cheesecake Bread.

 Kaiser Rolls 1

The rolls are quite versatile – great for sandwiches or toasting with jam. Our family has affectionately named them “Coney Rolls” for my grandmother who has transformed them into magic pillows of deliciousness. Hers look so much different than Peachie’s or my own – I guess we have each placed our unique stamp on them – but the taste remains consistent.

 Kaiser Roll Sesame Seeds

Kaiser Roll Plain

Kaiser Roll Poppy Seeds

Kaiser Rolls 2

The Cheesecake Bread is quite like a cheese Danish in taste and appearance. It is truly impossible to eat just one piece! We top this dessert bread with a vanilla glaze.

 Glazed Cheesecake Bread

Enjoy!

corrie @ Peachie’s Treats

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