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Sunday
Feb232014

How to Make Colored and Flavored Sugar

Win at life when you make colored and flavored sugar tailored to your own unique preferences. Here's how to do it.

Friday
Feb212014

Baker's Dozen: A Batch of Sweet Links!

This t-shirt makes me happy. (via Etsy, spied via RecipeGirl)

I'm featured in this article about the Pillsbury Bake-Off in Philadelphia Magazine!

You knew I went to the Bake-Off, right?

Commercial cookie mix hacks: interesting.

Whitman's versus Russel Stover: relevant, even after Valentine's Day.

Buttermilk red velvet doughnuts.

Ice cream sandwiches! Made with crackers! My mind is blown.

How to make flavored and colored sugar.

Just look at this hot chocolate.

It's always the right time for brownie pops.

Five things not to put in a bacon bowl.

Remember that time I went to Paris and visited a patisserie in each arondissement?

Yumsies: mango sticky rice, a Thai sweet.

Wednesday
Feb192014

CakeSpy is in Bali!

Will the sweets be more like this?

Dear, sweet readers,

Not to get all Eat, Pray, Love on you, but by the time you read this, I will be in Bali! I have decided to do a month-long volunteer project with a group called IVHQ wherein I will be acting as a kindergarten teaching assistant. I think I'll do OK--I mean, kids everywhere love art, sweets, and writing, right? 

I decided to stay a few weeks beyond the volunteering to explore, do yoga, and immerse myself in the culinary culture of Indonesia.

How this affects you.

I'll have Wifi though, so while my posting may not be as regular, it will happen.

So that's where you come in, sweeties. Have you ever been to Bali? Do you have any regional specialty food suggestions for me? Cool cooking class suggestions? Or perhaps bakeries or sweet shops which can't be missed? 

Or, maybe you could weigh in by telling me the stuff you're curious about in Bali. Do you want me to write about the unique fruits I find? What the experience of ordering in a bakery is in Bali? Et cetera? 

Let me know, sweeties, because you're coming with me and I want to share the adventure with you.

Love, CakeSpy

Monday
Feb172014

How to Make Doughnuts from Cookie Dough Mix

DSC06332

I have done something so, so naughty. And I'd like to tell you how to do it, too.

The subject of our conversation today, dear ones, is this: how to doctor up cookie dough mix so that you can fry it like doughnuts. And then eat it in all its gooey, rich glory. 

How I got this brilliant idea

I first had this idea shortly after making doughnuts from biscuits in a tube. I thought of how you can make cake mix into pancakes, too, and I was all like, "why can't I do something like this with cookie mix?".  

So I grabbed some cookie dough mix. I used this pumpkin kind, but you could probably try it with any Betty Crocker type.

How I made it happen

So I started out with some cookie mix, and basically followed the instructions (mix with some melted butter and a pasteurized egg--this was important, as the resulting doughnuts were pretty gooey and it was nice to know that I'd killed harmful bacteria)

and then shaped the dough into little rounds and tried to fry 'em in oil. Mission: failure. They melted!

Doughnut cookie

But then, I decided to see what would happen if I froze the dough. So I put the doughnut shaped cookie dough mounds in the freezer for like 2 days. Then I was brave enough to try again.

I heated oil in a frying pan, and then added the freezing cookie doughnut rounds, a few at a time, keeping the rest in their chill.

Cookie Doughnuts

And guess what...this time, it worked. They held their shape long enough to become crisp all over, but with a gooey, oozy interior.

Cookie Doughnuts

Ooey gooey aside, though, they were rather ugly.

Cookie Doughnuts

Don't worry, there's a solution: add glaze and sprinkles! I made a simple confectioners' sugar glaze and added rainbow sprinkles. 

Cookie Doughnut

OK. So here's what you do if you want to give it a try.

Cookie Dough Doughnuts

  • Betty Crocker cookie dough mix, mixed per the package instructions (use a pasteurized egg for safest results)
  • A pan
  • enough vegetable oil to fill the pan about an inch full
  • A spatula
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1-3 tablespoons milk, to thin the sugar for a glaze
  • food coloring, if desired
  • sprinkles

Step 1: Mix the cookie dough as specified on the package instructions. Shape the cookie dough into little doughnut shapes. Now, place them on a plate or parchment-lined baking sheet and put them in the freezer for several hours or overnight. 

Step 2: Keep the dough in the freezer, but start fryin' some oil. Place it in the pan and heat it until it hovers between 350 and 375 degrees F. 

Step 3: Add the dough, a few rounds at a time, keeping the rest in the freezer. Fry until it is browned and crispy, then flip the doughnut rounds. It's ok if they slightly melt around the edges, as long as they mostly stay together. Be very gentle when flipping, as they are delicate. 

Step 4: Fry side two, and transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to blot excess oil. Don't put them on a cooling rack because they will melt through (they will be fragile until they set). 

Step 5: Grab more rounds from the freezer and continue frying. Repeat til you've fried 'em all. Let cool.

Step 6: Once set and cool, mix up the confectioners' sugar, enough milk so that it is pourable, and food coloring, if desired. Drizzle over the cookie doughnuts, and immediately garnish with sprinkles (they stick best when the glaze is freshly applied). 

Step 7: Enjoy. Die(t) another day.

Have you ever fried something unexpected for dessert? 

Friday
Feb142014

Baker's Dozen: A Batch of Sweet Links!

Thursday
Feb132014

Lovin' in the Oven: Aphrodisiac Foods for Valentine's Day

Make love, not war, in the kitchen Here are some tasty ideas.

Wednesday
Feb122014

DIY Conversation Hearts: It's Easy!

Learn how to make your own sweet treats and personalize what they say. Recipe here.

Monday
Feb102014

Pop Tarts for Valentine's Day: Pop-Hearts

In this toothsome homemade take on a commercial classic, a tender, flaky heart shaped crust is filled with Nutella, then baked to crispy-on-the edges, soft-on-the-inside perfection. A healthy dollop of confectioners' sugar glaze with rainbow sprinkles makes these treats as adorable as they are sweet. Recipe here.

Sunday
Feb092014

Make Mornings Magical: Unicorn Pop-Tarts Recipe 

Unicorn pop tarts

I would be lying if I said I wasn't proud as a prancing unicorn about my latest creation: Unicorn Pop-Tarts.

To be completely honest, this wasn't the first time the combination had occurred to me. I mean, Pop-Tarts employ rainbow sprinkles and taste like happiness. Unicorns are trailed by rainbows and are the embodiment of happiness. See? They have loads in common. 

But there are some real technical issues with making Unicorn Pop-tarts. Mainly, the shape of unicorn cookie cutters. They're generally thin in places, which is fine, but not conducive to filling pastry with jam or chocolate. I didn't want these to just be double-decker pie crust cookies. I wanted them to have filling, and taste like pop-tarts. Homemade, of course.

Cookie cutter

I figured that a unicorn bust would be perfect, as it would have the horn but be a larger shape to hold together, but such a cookie cutter was not easy to find.

So I dealt with that issue by making my own. I'll post a tutorial soon on how to do that, but rest assured it required a trip to the hardware store, which is DEFINITELY not my natural element. 

Cookie cutter

It was worth it. The cutter was easy to make, and within hours I had unicorn pop-tarts, which are truly the most magical start to the day. Any day. 

Unicorn pop tarts

Here's the recipe. 

Homemade Pop Tarts

Makes about 6 unicorn-shaped tarts; adapted from wonderful, wonderful Culinary Concoctions by Peabody

For the crust
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 3 tablespoons cold water

For the filling

Jam, about 1 heaping teaspoonful per pastry (your choice of flavor)

For the icing

  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • heavy cream, to thin (you could use milk...but I like cream)

Procedure

  1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set to the side.
  2. Combine flour and salt in a large bowl. Add butter and blend with a fork, pastry cutter, or your impeccably clean hands. Blend until the mixture is fairly coarse. Add the water, bit by bit, gently mixing the dough after each addition, until the dough is cohesive enough to form a ball.
  3. Place dough on a lightly floured surface and roll into a rectangle, about 1/8 inch thick. Cut out using your unicorn cutter. Re-roll the scraps and cut out more unicorns. You should get 10 to 12 cutouts, which means 5 or 6 tarts.
  4. Unicorn pop tarts
  5. On half of the unicorn heads, place a small spoonful of the jam of your choice in the center. You don't want it to be too thick or the top crust will mound on top of it. Spread it where it makes sense (easy on the horn).
  6. Unicorn pop tarts
  7. Place the remaining unicorn head cutouts on top of the ones with jam. Crimp all four edges by hand... Unicorn pop tarts or with a fork to ensure that your filling won't ooze out. I also poked the top of each with a fork, to vent them.
  8. Place the tarts on your prepared baking sheet, and bake for 7 to 8 minutes, or until light golden on the edges. Remove from the oven and let them cool completely.
  9. While the tarts cool, prepare your icing; make sure it is fairly thin but not so thin that it will just drip off. Once the pop tarts are cool, drizzle it on top. Garnish with sprinkles.
  10. Unicorn pop tarts
Friday
Feb072014

Baker's Dozen: A Batch of Sweet Links!

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