January Birthdays – Arctic Penguin Theme

Dear Friends,

Hope your year is off to a great start! We have been longing to incorporate penguins in a theme for quite some time, and this winter provided the perfect opportunity! Our favorite details were the cutest mini penguin adhesives with scarves and pom-pom hats as well as an igloo shaped cake pan. Here’s what we made:

January Birthday Sign

  • Coconut Pound Cake with Coconut Buttercream Icing
  • Gingerbread Scones with Chai Glaze
  • White Chocolate Dipped Brownie Balls with Peppermint Crunch

Coconut PC 1

Coconut Pound Cake. We just love the dense, luscious texture of pound cakes and the delicate coconut flavor in this one was wonderful. We used the Coconut Sour Cream Pound Cake recipe from Oh So Delicioso which baked up lovely in a NordicWare Anniversary Bundtlets pan. It’s been our experience that the lighter aluminum color (that most NordicWare pans exhibit) keeps the cake from getting too dark and their quality heavy-duty pans usually release the cake better. Just a helpful tip!

Coconut PC 2

Coconut PC Igloo Cake

We modified our standard vanilla buttercream icing recipe to include the thick, white portion of coconut milk and coconut extract; additions which in their unbaked state, really drew out the flavor in the cake. And, of course, we topped the cakes with toasted coconut.

Coconut PC 3

Gingerbread Scone 1

Gingerbread Scones. Oh my! Have you tried one of our scones yet? The most common feedback we receive on our scones is, and I quote: “this is the best thing I have ever put in my mouth!” We couldn’t agree more. I think we’ve found the right amounts of flour, butter, and moisture to achieve the perfect pastry. Our tender gingerbread scone includes spices like ginger and cinnamon and is then topped with a spicy chai glaze featuring cardamom and allspice. We just can’t get enough of these holiday flavors 🙂

Gingerbread Scone 2

WC Brownie Ball 1

White Chocolate Dipped Brownie Balls. I don’t think much discussion is needed when it comes to the concept of a brownie covered in chocolate, specifically white chocolate. Imagine an extra dark, lightly-sweetened brownie base, wrapped in a thin, very sweet white chocolate layer, and finally topped with a crunchy, minty accent. YUM!

WC Brownie Ball 2

We were so lucky to find an all-natural peppermint crunch at World Market with reddish pink ribbons. And, we placed them in Martha Stewart snowflake mini cupcake papers. The only tricky thing for us was dipping the brownie balls. We really wanted to do them in white chocolate as opposed to the white melting discs which are cheaper and easier. It was time consuming and more expensive, but I feel the sacrifices we made were worth it.

WC Brownie Ball 3

Enjoy!

corrie @ Peachie’s Treats

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December Birthdays – Holiday Flavors

Dear Friends,

We can’t believe that this year is just about over! We hope it’s been a good one for you! Peachie and I have been looking forward, as we do every year, to eating specific treats with holiday seasonal flavors: cranberry, gingerbread, and mocha.

We had the pleasure of making:

  • Chocolate Gingerbread Cake with Silky Chocolate Ganache Filling and topped with Ginger Buttercream Icing
  • Cranberry Swirl Bread
  • Mocha Nut Balls

Chocolate Gingerbread Cake

Chocolate Gingerbread Cake. The picture really doesn’t do this cake justice. Imagine the most incredibly moist gingerbread you’ve ever had laced with chocolate. Add to that, two layers of ganache. And, top it all off with luscious fresh ginger buttercream – sweet with an unexpected twist. Yum!

Cranberry Swirl Bread

Cranberry Swirl Bread. We gave this bread a permanent place in our repertoire after making it last year. That cranberry filling is to die for!

Mocha Nut Ball 1

Mocha Nut Balls. These cookies also have a permanent place as both Peachie and I consider them our go-to cookie for ultimate satisfaction! They might not look like much, but the balance of flavors is perfect and they literally melt in your mouth. They are moist, buttery chocolate and coffee cookies studded with walnuts and rolled in powdered sugar.

Mocha Nut Ball 2

Enjoy!

corrie @ Peachie’s Treats

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November Birthdays – Coffee as Inspiration

Dear Friends,

Hope this entry finds you well. I don’t know about you, but coffee inspires me. It warms my soul. I love thinking about its richness and warmth, the way it allows you to slow down and savor life, and of course, all the happy memories it generates.

November Sign - Coffee as Inspiration

Growing up in a family of tea drinkers, I rarely tasted coffee or felt the need to do so. The only exception was a significant one: my maternal grandparents would prepare it every morning and when we spent the night as kids, our first moments awake would involve smelling that haunting aroma.

I don’t remember liking the taste, but I always associated the smell with them, whom I love so dearly. When I got older, I’d have the occasional ice coffee at their house, but I think that it was more a matter of their love for me that made it special rather than the drink ranking high among my taste experiences.

Chocolate Hazelnut Tart 1

I also tried it again in college, attempting to use it for all-nighters. But, it left me so jittery that I couldn’t study, and then on top of that, I also hadn’t slept. Not exactly a recipe for success. So, I was very surprised to fall in love with it in 2010 on a trip to Costa Rica. I just loved how they prepared it with equal parts coffee to milk and sweetened like a dessert. On the trip, we were able to tour the fields, learn about the importance of slope and sun, and open the tiny, bright red seed pockets that usually contain two distinct coffee beans. Hearing about all the preparations necessary to bring this treat to the world is truly amazing. What an incredible little bean! I’m hooked, well, sort of! 🙂

Chocolate Hazelnut Tart 2

We tried to knit various meaningful aspects of coffee – richness and warmth, and a break from the grind, and the memories – into a cohesive unit of deliciousness for this month’s order. To convey the richness of this prized drink, we used hazelnut flavor – my favorite coffee accent – to point us towards a decadent Chocolate Hazelnut Tart. In order to recreate the greatly anticipated afternoon coffee break experience, we went with a simple, lightly sweetened dessert that truly lets the coffee shine: our intensely satisfying New York Style Crumb Coffee Cake. To evoke memories associated with coffee, we used it in the both the filling and the icing for our Iced Cappuccino Rolls. Finally, we tied it all together with packaging details like burlap, coffee bean paper (with a neat pattern of raised bean-like spots), coffee-stained parchment paper with indistinctive cursive writing, and ribbon with repeating coffee mugs and steam.

Chocolate Hazelnut Tart Slice 1

Chocolate Hazelnut Tart. This tart is AMAZING! The crust is buttery and sweet with a fudge center containing the hazelnut liqueur, Frangelico, and a top layer of toasted hazelnuts. The recipe is from the beloved Tartine Bakery in San Francisco. See San Fran – Bakery Tour & Other Highlights for more fun details.

Chocolate Hazelnut Tart Slice 2

Crumb Coffee Cake 1

New York Style Crumb Coffee Cake. This afternoon treat appeared faithfully (and was devoured faithfully) on my childhood kitchen table. You could say that it has stood the test of time. Perfect with tea or coffee, and for nearly any occasion.

 Crumb Coffee Cake 2

Crumb Coffee Cake 3

Iced Cappuccino Rolls. These rolls are a variation on our very popular Iced Cinnamon Rolls and really hit the spot! Though, if you’re consuming them with coffee, I don’t believe the coffee filling is especially noticeable. So, these are best if you have no coffee around and really need a fix. 🙂

Cappuccino Roll 1

Cappuccino Roll 2

Enjoy!

corrie @ Peachie’s Treats

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San Fran – Bakery Tour & Other Highlights

Dear Friends,

I had the wonderful opportunity to travel to San Francisco in October! In addition to a lengthy list of tourist stops, I decided to make the trip my first bakery tour of the area. The bakery highlights included: Tartine, ACME Bread Company, and Noe Valley Bakery.

Japanese Tea Garden 2

Tartine. After a visit to the peaceful and beautifully detailed Japanese Tea Garden, I found Tartine on Guerrero and settled into the lengthy line. The shop was cozy, each table nearly touching the next, with a few open seats. After ordering the Idiazabal & Membrillo (“lightly smoked sheep cheese with quince jam”) for lunch, and items to-go (Banana Cream Tart and Frangipane Tart), I shared a table with a couple from Oregon, also trying the bakery for the first time.

Japanese Tea Garden 3

Japanese Tea Garden 4

The sandwich bread was outrageous – complex, chewy, with the haunting aroma of freshly-made artisan bread. I just loved the simplicity of the sandwich – cheese, fruit paste, and bread. When you’re using high-quality ingredients, there’s no need to overdo.

Church on Castro

This particular lunch was one of the best on record, not just for the delicious food, but because I was able to talk with people that love bread. They love eating it, making it, sharing it with others, discussing technique and benefits of consumption, and distinguishing differences between commercial yeast and using starter ferment. And, speaking of that, I purchased some San Francisco starter to try when I got home. The couple was emphatic that I wouldn’t be able to go back to commercial yeast after using the starter. We will see – I will keep you all posted!

Pretty Skyline

So, onto the desserts I selected. It is extravagant, even by my standards, to consume two entire desserts after a large lunch. But, this was a special occasion. I mean, it isn’t like I can drop by a bakery of this caliber any old time I want. Actually, I did save the Frangipane Tart for breakfast the next morning.

Tartine’s Banana Cream Tart

“Flaky pastry coated in dark chocolate with caramel, pastry cream, and lightly sweetened cream.”

Banana Cream Tart

Tartine’s Frangipane Tart

“Light almond-cream filling baked in a flaky pastry shell with seasonal fruit.”

Frangipane Tart

Both of these tarts were beautifully crafted, however, I was rather underwhelmed. While the fillings were delicious and properly balanced, the tart crust disintegrated immediately after I was able to cut through using a sharp knife. Pieces of the crust landed across the table which was slightly embarrassing.

The only tart I regretted not getting was the Chocolate Hazelnut Tart. However, when I returned home, I found a copycat recipe that turned out beautifully. I made it for the November Birthday Order and got some very positive feedback. It was, as my mother-in-law described it, “dessert cart-worthy.” The recipe, from the blog, What’s On My Plate, is an adaptation of Tartine’s recipe. It was straightforward and fairly easy to make. The only negative was that I tried to whip the eggs with my electric hand-mixer and nearly rendered my right hand unusable for the remainder of the day (oops!) But next time, I won’t have that problem – I’m (finally!) investing in a stand mixer. Yay!

ACME’s Olive Bread Roll

ACME Olive Roll

ACME Bread Company. I went to the Ferry Building on The Embarcadero and got two rolls – Cranberry Pecan and Olive. They were both really, really delicious. I tried to set aside the Cranberry Pecan one for Jeff and only eat the Olive one myself, but that didn’t work out so well 🙂  These hearty rolls kept me company during my exploits in Oakland, visiting one of best friends of over 20 years!!! They stayed fresh, wrapped in paper, over multiple days – they were truly a lifesaver.

Rachel Austin Performance

Lake Merritt Oakland

Noe Valley Bakery. This bakery, booed by many, was by far, my favorite! This neighborhood bakery was nestled between the most adorable flower shop and the friendliest salon on 24th Street. This place was styled EXACTLY how I hope to style my future tea room/bake shop – with clean lines, plenty of wood details, and woven baskets of decorative breads! Unlike the other bakeries I visited, the staff at Noe was genuine and extraordinarily helpful. I think the atmosphere in a bakery is second only to the quality of the baked goods; and Noe hit it on the mark. I just barely passed on a local’s recommendation that I get the Milky Way Bombe (sounded interesting and completely decadent), and instead ordered the Apricot Ginger Fruit Bread and a mini Babka. I ate the Babka right away – it was great! I saved the fruit bread for later – it ended up having a lovely cross-section being jammed with succulent apricots and made me look forward to lunch each day for the next week. It was delicious toasted with cheese or plain. I will definitely try to experiment with more fruit breads next year.

Outside Noe Valley Bakery

Noe Valley Bakery’s Chocolate Babka

Babka - Noe Valley Bakery

On a side note, when researching bakeries to visit, I nearly skipped over the Noe Valley Bakery, finding the website dated and not very user friendly (though, I think the logo is whimsical and adorable). In fact, the look of the website and look of the retail space are completely inconsistent. I wonder if that’s why people discouraged me from trying it. Or maybe it was because it wasn’t trending now, like Tartine. Well, whatever it lacks in outside popularity, it more than makes up for in substance. Very happy I walked multiple steep blocks in my new cranberry suede wedges for the pleasure 🙂

Cable Car

Best Friend at Pier 39

Dinner at Pier 39

Very much looking forward to other culinary destinations in 2015!

corrie @ Peachie’s Treats

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October Birthdays

Dear Friends,

I have been so looking forward to fall and all the usual fall flavors. We made the very popular apple cake swirled with cream cheese that has been all over Pinterest as well as a variation on pecan pie and a decadent sweet roll commonly eaten in various countries around the world on Fat Tuesday, just before Lent. And, we used a chalkboard print with scripted “Happy Birthday” text and a black and gray chevron print, both from Paper Source for packaging.

October 2014 Birthday Sign

This was the line-up for October:

  • Apple Cake with Cream Cheese Tunnel and Praline Topping
  • Bourbon Pecan Pie Bars
  • Chocolate Covered Sweet Rolls with Whipped Cream (Spanish Bambas)

Apple Cake 1

Apple Cake 3

Apple Cake. What a delicious and festive cake! This moist, spiced cake is loaded with sweet Pink Lady apples and resembles a quick bread in terms of texture. This specific texture ends up being critical structurally to the suspension of the cream cheese filling. But, the crowning element of the cake is, without a doubt, the Praline Topping, which consists of brown sugar, butter, and vanilla extract. There really isn’t a better icing out there.

IMG_7738

Bourbon Pecan Pie Bars 1

Bourbon Pecan Pie Bars. We tried several variations on our standard pecan pie recipe, making a shortbread crust, which happily meant that it made my favorite dessert much more mobile! And, adding bourbon as an additional flavor was a no-brainer. Lastly, we used honey, maple syrup, brown sugar, and eggs to achieve the luscious, quintessential gooey filling, which also incidentally allowed us to reduce the amount of corn syrup needed. We were super pleased with the result.

Bourbon Pecan Pie Bars 2

Bambas 1

IMG_7795

Bambas 2

Bambas. In making these little gems, we inadvertently made Boston Cream doughnuts! The chocolate glaze, the sweet, chewy roll, and the thick, homemade whipped cream culminated in our favorite guilty pleasure 🙂 We used a starter for the rolls – this was a first for us – which produced a complex flavor. These doughnuts are definitely sweeter than our other desserts, and messier, and therefore, more fun!

Bambas 3

Enjoy!

corrie @ Peachie’s Treats

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September Birthdays – Up, Up & Away

Dear Friends,

As we look ahead to the fall, we’re excited about cooler weather and all the baking motivation that comes with it! One of the experiences that tops my bucket list is a hot air balloon ride, and this month I was able to take one virtually using paper from Paper Source and making my own balloon out of an embroidery hoop (see page 36 of Kirsty Neale’s book, Hoopla). Hopefully, this will tide me over until I can take an actual one 🙂

September Hot Air Balloon Birthday Sign

Embroidery Hoop Hot Air Balloon

We made the following treats for September:

  • Sticky Date Cake with Bourbon Brown Sugar Buttercream and Toffee Sauce
  • Pumpkin Cranberry Twists
  • Snickerdoodles

Sticky Date Cake 1

Sticky Date Cake. I am ashamed to reveal how many pieces of this cake I “tested” (i.e. consumed) in preparation of this order 🙂 If I say that this is my new favorite cake you won’t believe me, as I seem to make that assessment every month. What I can say is that I am developing radar for the types of cakes that I really enjoy. And, those types are ones that exhibit a moist, dense crumb and a rich, balanced flavor. Usually, the moist dense crumb is due to the addition of butter, but in this case, it comes from the fruit.

Sticky Date Cake 2

I wanted to pair this vintage, uniquely-flavored cake with an icing that I have been pining over for some time: Bourbon Brown Sugar Buttercream; a grown-up icing for a grown-up cake. Lastly, I wanted to include a buttery toffee sauce to round out the sweetness and the bourbon. Martha Stewart has a recipe for one that is very good – a little more buttery than sweet.

Sticky Date Cake 3

Pumpkin Cranberry Twist 1

Pumpkin Cranberry Twists. These fun little breads are my attempt to pave the way for fall. The recipe calls for pumpkin, maple syrup, and pumpkin pie spices – yum! It was difficult to keep them in a twisted shape before they went in the oven, but no matter their appearance, they were delicious. We think these treats will be a nice addition to our Bread of the Month Subscriptions for next year!

Pumpkin Cranberry Twist 2

Pumpkin Cranberry Twist 3

Snickerdoodle 1

Snickerdoodles. These cookies need no explanation! They are fabulous in their simplicity (flavored only with butter, cinnamon, and sugar) and satisfying beyond their cost – each one is just 8 cents! Make up a batch and bask in the warmth of all the smiles you receive 🙂

Snickerdoodle 2

Snickerdoodle 3

Enjoy the ride!

corrie @ Peachie’s Treats

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August Birthdays – Nautical Theme

Dear Friends,

Hope you’ve had a great summer and were able to take some vacation time! Peachie and I went to Garden City Beach, South Carolina at the end of July, trying to fill our sun and salt water quotas 🙂 On that note, as if we needed an excuse, we went with a nautical theme this month with ropes and ships!

August Birthdays - Nautical Sign

Here’s the line-up:

  • Lemon Poppy Seed Pound Cake
  • Blackberry Handheld Pies
  • Creamy Lemon Shortbread Bars
  • Blueberry Buttermilk Muffins

Lemon Poppy Seed Pound Cake 1

Lemon Poppy Seed Pound Cake 2

Lemon Poppy Seed Pound Cake.This cake, with its dense texture and rich and lemony flavor, is my new favorite. I found the recipe in a Martha Stewart wedding magazine; the lemon zest and poppy seed garnish catching my eye. I usually shy away from Martha Stewart recipes only because they call for more ingredients (usually butter and eggs) than I feel are necessary. But, this time, she is right on. And, these cakes are as adorable as they are delicious.

Lemon Poppy Seed Pound Cake 3

Blackberry Handheld Pie 1

Blackberry Handheld Pie 2

Blackberry Handheld Pies. These irresistible little pies have that vintage air due to a blackberry filling. Very few recipes these days call for blackberries as they aren’t very sweet and can be somewhat grainy. But, pie crust has a way of elevating humble fruit into a nostalgic and most-satisfying dessert. Yay pie!

Blackberry Handheld Pie 3

Blackberry Handheld Pie 4

Creamy Lemon Shortbread Bar 1

Creamy Lemon Shortbread Bar 2

Creamy Lemon Shortbread Bars. These addictive little bars have a thick, creamy lemon layer which perfectly complements the shortbread. However, we made an interesting distinction upon tasting them. I assumed that my husband, being the citrus lover that he is, would devour these bars on the spot. But, he didn’t! He was looking for the pucker-factor which was too bad, seeing that my ultimate goal is creamy, melt-in-your-mouth goodness.

Creamy Lemon Shortbread Bar 3

Blueberry Buttermilk Muffins

Blueberry Buttermilk Muffins. These muffins are really good! I very rarely make muffins for personal consumption, let alone for business purposes, but these meet our high standards. They are moist and stay moist for multiple days and hit the right balance of tart fruit and sweet batter. Plus, they’re loaded with crumbs 🙂

Blueberry Buttermilk Muffin 1

Blueberry Buttermilk Muffin 2

Enjoy!

corrie @ Peachie’s Treats

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July Birthdays – Picnic Theme & Homemade Peanut Butter Cups

Dear Friends,
Hope you had a wonderful 4th of July holiday! We chose a picnic theme for our treats this month with a picnic basket, gingham prints, watermelons, and lightning bugs. Our line-up included:

• Mini Strawberry Breads
• Cream-Filled Coffee Cake
• All-Natural Peanut Butter Cup Brownies

Mini Strawberry Bread

Mini Strawberry Breads. These breads are our go-to summer treat – sweet, light, and brimming with fresh fruit. We packaged them in the picnic basket with gingham print papers and a watermelon garland that was decorative as well as useful, maintaining an upright angle.

Picnic Basket with Breads

Cream-Filled Coffee Cake with Sign

Cream-Filled Coffee Cake. This was our first time making this recipe and we were pleasantly surprised. This cake is a bit unusual in that it is yeasted, resembling bread more than cake. And, the brown sugar crumbs blend right into the top. Served fresh, this coffee cake is one of the best I’ve had. Unfortunately, it just doesn’t keep, since it must be refrigerated (which dries yeasted treats) due to the decadent vanilla sugar cream stuffed in the middle. But, oh, that cream!

Cream-Filled Coffee Cake 1

Cream-Filled Coffee Cake 2

All-Natural Peanut Butter Cup Brownies. Have you ever made a peanut butter cup? Now we can finally say we have! When I started the order for this month, I was unable to find the all-natural Unreal brand peanut butter cups that I had previously depended upon. Honestly, I wasn’t looking for adventure this time, just the easy way out. But I’m thankful that I had to end up trying them. I think that it is because they are my absolute-favorite candy that I hesitated to walk down this road. This knowledge could be very dangerous 🙂

Homemade PB Cups 2

Homemade PB Cups 3

The results of my candy-making were both positive and negative. Positive in the sense that they are easy to make and delicious to eat. But, negative in the sense that only commercial ones baked properly for brownie recipe I was using. My first attempt at the brownies was on par with my baking experiments while first starting out – brave, however, unworkable and unattractive. A big part of my trouble was the ratio of chocolate to peanut butter; the dense chocolate didn’t behave well in the brownie batter. The reason I adore Reese’s cups is because the ratio is decidedly in favor of the peanut butter filling. The chocolate is a garnish, accenting the part that we’re really after 🙂 The moral of the story is that making them homemade is perfect if you’re serving them straight. Otherwise, use a plastic mold and paint on the chocolate layer for use in baked goods.

Homemade PB Cups 4

Homemade PB Cups 5

For those interested in the recipe, I used the one from The Comfort of Cooking website. Two notes: one, double the amount of powdered sugar in the peanut butter filling to provide more structure, and two, add 2 tablespoons butter to both semi-sweet chocolate mixtures so you can bite into the cups minimizing some of the fall-out. And, I happen to think milk chocolate would be better than semi-sweet, if only because Reese’s have accustomed us to it, and to use less of it, though for the pictures, it is quite becoming.

PB Cup Brownie 1

PB Cup Brownie 2

Finally, I found that Whole Foods Market features three all-natural peanut butter cups: Justin’s Organic Milk Chocolate, Nectar Nugget, and Newman’s Own. I randomly went with Justin’s and the brownies turned out great. Cut to reveal the candy cross-section and topped with a miniature dollop of peanut butter frosting and a lightning bug pick, they were ready to go.

Enjoy!
corrie @ Peachie’s Treats

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June Wedding – Seasonal Dessert Table

Dear Friends,
Hope you’re enjoying the nice summer weather – with wickedly hot days and blissful evening thunderstorms! I’m saying this in a somewhat sarcastic tone as I think about needing to haul the enormous tree limb that came down the other night during one of those “blissful” storms 🙂

Wedding Dessert Table

Peachie and I had the pleasure of baking an array of wedding treats for a long-time family friend. After reconnecting with my father several months ago, our friend became interested in our business and in the possibility of us baking for his stepson’s wedding in Cleveland. We’re thrilled that this possibility turned into reality!

Wedding Dessert Table 2

As we went through the ordering process, I got to know Nate for the first time and hear all the stories from happy days past. I was so encouraged by his enthusiasm for our treats and amazed at his desire to do whatever he could to make his stepson (Rich) and stepson’s fiancée’s (Cary) day special.

Wedding Dessert Table 3

The wedding colors were coral, bright green, yellow, and ivory – some of my all-time favorite colors to work with! With this information, we then chose the treats based on seasonal fruit (peaches), vegetables (zucchini), and flowers (roses).

Wedding Dessert Table 4

The dessert table consisted of the following treats:

Tropical Zucchini Breads
with Rum Glaze & Toasted Coconut

Tropical Zucchini Bread 1

Tropical Zucchini Breads 2

Tropical Zucchini Breads 3

Orange Creamsicle Cookies
with Candied Rose Petals

Orange Creamsicle Cookie 1

Orange Creamsicle Cookie 2

French Madeleines
with Lime Glaze

French Madeleine 1

French Madeleine 2

Lemoncellos
with Luscious Lemon Frosting

Lemoncellos 1

Lemoncellos 2

Rustic Almond & Peach Tarts
with Vanilla Almond Glaze

Rustic Almond Peach Tart 1

Rustic Almond Peach Tart 2

We had three neat projects with this order. The first was with making candied rose petals. Now, our Orange Creamsicle Cookies are delicious and in no need of “help” once they’re in your mouth. But, we thought that a bit of embellishment would serve as a catalyst to the devouring process 🙂 The rose petals seemed a natural choice for embellishment with their coral undertones highlighting the orange in the cookies. And, as luck would have it, our peach-colored roses started blooming at the beginning of June, just as we were beginning the baking.

Rose Petals

Candied Rose Petals 1

Before starting this project, I did some cursory research and came away with a few requirements. I wanted the roses to retain their shape (some recipes call for dipping in hot syrups – delicate flowers and hot liquids don’t mix), be sweet to the taste (needed to apply sugar) but that would dry properly, and not run the risk of salmonella (some recipes call for regular egg whites). I decided on the directions from the article on Tori Avey’s site, The Old Fashioned Way: Sugared Roses. I had never thought about using pasteurized egg whites before but this saved the day – allowing me to maintain the petal shape, properly apply sugar, adequately dry, and be safely edible for enjoyment by all.

Candied Rose Petals 2

The only tools needed were scissors, a synthetic bristled paint brush, pasteurized egg whites, granulated sugar, and, of course, homegrown, unsprayed rose petals. The basic steps are:

1) Snip off the yellow tip of each petal (where it attaches to the stem).
2) Use the paint brush to wet each petal (front and back) with egg whites.
3) Coat front and back of petal with sugar.
4) Let petal dry on parchment paper or SILPAT mat overnight.
5) Store in airtight container. I froze the container until I needed them with success.

Candied Rose Petals 3

The second neat project was learning how to emboss signs using stamps, clear ink, colored powder, and a special heating tool. I had gone into Paper Source, list in hand, looking for items needed for another decorating project, and found myself in the stamping section, bewildered. There were a number of possibilities – why would anyone need a slow-drying ink?

A friendly employee came by to see if I needed help, but she asked if I knew how to emboss. Over the years, I’ve become more comfortable with telling someone when I don’t know something and especially, in this instance, I was so happy I did. She showed me how to do it, and it’s awesome! Go into your local Paper Source and ask someone today!

Dessert Table Sign 1

The stamping takes just seconds and the effect is so professional. The heating tool makes all the difference, akin to a hairdryer, it puts off a great deal more heat actually melting the “ink” and creating the raised profile. So cool! I was so excited to use this technique on the wedding dessert table signs. Doesn’t it elevate a simple sign?!

Dessert Table Sign 2

Tropical Zucchini Breads - Dessert Table Sign

The third project was spray painting a dessert stand and sign holders. I know, I know, anyone can spray paint. But, honestly, I never had. I never really had a reason to. But, with this project, using the spray paint allowed me to bring some cohesion to all the dessert table elements and it was a lot of fun. The only problem was the trigger-happy restlessness that I had afterwards (I can see why graffiti is so prolific). But, I promise to restrain myself and wait for the next project 🙂

Much more than the things I learned and the fun I had, I was so thankful to work with Nate to help him create a memorable gift, his unique contribution to the happiness of special people in his life. Wow! I am thrilled and humbled all at once to be a part of that.

corrie @ Peachie’s Treats

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June Birthdays – Mason Jars

Happy Summer Friends!
It’s finally warm outside and we’re loving it! We chose mason jars for our theme this month after a lucky paper find in an obscure bin of discounted craft items! Then, we added a coordinating mason jar stamp from Paper Source.

Mason Jar Sign 1

Mason Jar Sign 2

Mason Jar Tag

This month’s featured treats were:

• Key Lime Jar Pies with Whipped Cream
• Mint Mocha Cookies with White Chocolate Ganache
• Fantasy Bars with Pecans, White Chocolate, and Caramel

Key Lime Jar Pies

Key Lime Jar Pie 1

The Key Lime Jar Pies are a repeat from last year, but as good as they are, I don’t think anyone minded 🙂 I found lime embellishments at Michaels which I added to picks to signify the flavor.

Key Lime Jar Pie 2

Mint Mochas 1

Mint Mochas are one of two treats that I simply cannot resist. So, needless to say, I had to fit more exercise into my week! The first time we made these heavenly combinations of mint, chocolate, and coffee was for the Italian-themed wedding we baked for in 2013. We have, however, made a slight upgrade since then to the white chocolate.

Mint Mochas 2

Mint Mocha

For the wedding, we melted the white chocolate in order to drizzle it over the cookies. But, the chocolate hardens as it dries. I wanted a soft white chocolate to match the soft, chewiness of the cookie. White chocolate is especially finicky when it comes to melting because it can seize up without any warning. We took a chance on adding just a bit of heavy whipping cream to the chocolate before melting and then stirring constantly until the cream was incorporated. This did the trick; hopefully, we can continue to achieve these results.

Fantasy Bars 1

Fantasy Bars 2

Lastly, we made a new recipe, Fantasy Bars, replicating a treat we love from the Italian Store in Arlington. In our research, the term “fantasy” seemed to refer to any bar with a gooey center and the variations were truly endless.

Fantasy Bars 3

Fantasy Bars 4

The bar recipe we used consists of two layers of chocolate chip cookie dough with a ribbon of homemade caramel sauce, pecans, and white chocolate chips. These bars are to die for – simple, satisfying, candy bar-like but without all the sugar. We added little flags and cut them small so multiple people could try them.

June Dessert Table 1

June Dessert Table 2

June Dessert Table 3

Enjoy!
corrie @ Peachie’s Treats

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