Monthly Archives: February 2011

My Favorite Cookbook

My most favorite most used cookbook is this one:

This book really does contain the very best treats to bake and to share! Along with that, it has huge, beautiful photos of every recipe.

I’ve made at least 7 recipes from this book in the short time that I’ve had it, and they’ve all turned out absolutely delicious!

Today I baked Brown-Butter Toffee Blondie’s and Carrot Cake Cookies

I wasn’t able to find toffee at the grocery store today, so I used butterscotch chips instead.

And the Carrot Cake Cookies

Cream Cheese Frosting

I never thought I could love non-chocolate desserts so much! These both turned out amazing.

Not only does this cookbook have wonderful recipes, but it also has a technique section, tools section, decorating and packaging ideas. I recommend this book to every baker!

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Nutella Rugelach

I don’t have any special rugelach memories. I don’t think I even tasted rugelach until a few years ago. Growing up I only wanted one type of dessert- anything with chocolate and- no nuts or fruit! Now that I’m older, I’ve expanded my dessert horizons and I’ve learned to appreciated a variety of desserts and sweets. One being rugelach and one being Nutella. What a great idea to put the two together and make one really delicious dessert!

I’m going to let the photos speak for themselves and there’s a link to the full recipe at the end. Enjoy!

Yum! So rich and delicious.

What foods or desserts have grown on you now that you’re a grown up?

http://thepioneerwoman.com/tasty-kitchen/recipes/desserts/nutella-rugelach/

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Product Review: BeaterBlade

One of the best gifts I received at one of my wedding showers is my KitchenAid Stand Mixer. It is not just a prop on my counter, I use it at least once a week.

The only thing that I do not like about the mixer is stopping it to scrape down the sides while mixing.

If you only bake every once in a while, it probably doesn’t bother you. I bake a lot and when I heard about this BeaterBlade, I knew I had to have it!

The BeaterBlade is basically a flat beater plus a scraper all in one. So as it mixes, it scrapes the sides and the bottom of the bowl.

I ordered it from Amazon.com the other day and waited patiently to receive it. I was so exited to try it out this weekend.

Of course I thought it was going to be life changing, and of course when I first started up the mixer, I noticed that it didn’t work perfectly. There was still batter on the sides of the bowl that I had to scrape down. When I did stop it and scrape it down, I could tell that it wasn’t nearly as thick as it normally was.

I started it up again, and it started working really well. It saved me so much time! I love this BeaterBlade and recommend it to anyone that bakes a lot.

There is an adjustment that I can make on the mixer- I can lower the blade little, but that requires a screwdriver…. so we’ll see if I get to that or not. If not, I’m still very happy with this product!

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Chocolatier-ing

A few months ago I purchased a Groupon for a Chocolate Making class with chocolatier Michael Canady. He has a shop at 824 South Wabash and another at the French Market.

With Valentines Day coming up, I thought it would be a great day to cash my Groupon in!

The class started off with a lesson on where chocolate comes from and how it is made. After the slideshow presentation, we finally got in the kitchen to start chocolatier-ing.

Michael started off by showing us how temper chocolate the old fashioned way, by hand.

Tempering chocolate by hand seems like a long tedious process. A process that definitely gives you an arm work-out. A lot of work for a small amount of chocolate.

He then moved on to show us how they temper chocolate these days- by machine.

This was like a ginormous chocolate fountain : )

Michael only uses the highest quality chocolate for his shop

First step in making the chocolates was making the fillings

I helped make a dark chocolate ganache using dark chocolate, heavy cream, butter and salt.

We also made a raspberry white chocolate filling, milk chocolate, mint and mango.

Next step was filling the moldings with the outer chocolate layer shell. We got to use the “chocolate fountain” for this part. There were specific ways to fill the molding, hold it (so it doesn’t drop in the chocolate) and pound it on the table to settle the chocolate.

After the outer layers had hardened, we scraped off the excess

And started filling

This is caramel that two of the girls made from scratch. Making the batch of caramel took about an hour or so. I will not be doing that at home anytime soon!

Mango filling

This filling was much better than it sounded!

After topping the chocolates with the bottom layer of chocolate, we stuck them in the refridgerater to harden.

And then was the best part! Seeing our finished products and of course tasting them.

These turned out absolutely delicious!

And you can tell that amateurs made the ones on the left because of the air bubbles that had formed. That shouldn’t normally happen in the hands of a professional.

I really enjoyed this class. It was very interesting and I’m now more comfortable with the idea of making ganaches and truffles. I don’t know that I’ll go as far as purchasing moldings or tempering chocolates on my own. But it was a fun experience!

I would recommend taking one of Michael Canady’s classes. They’re a little expensive, but if you can get a Groupon, it’s well worth it. He also makes gelato at his shop and seems very passionate about it. And… how about some good timing… I saw a Groupon today for the gelato class. So take advantage of it if you’re interested!

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I heart Trader Joe’s

I love everything about Trader Joe’s. My most favorite thing? Free samples!

Now don’t get Trader Joe’s free samples confused with Costco free samples. Scoring a free sample at Costco can sometimes be a little intense. Huge crowds of people staring down the sample person for a bite of the frozen meal that has been cooked up in the toaster oven.

At Trader Joe’s on the other hand- free samples are always something creative, delicious and are much easier to come by. I have been inspired more than a few times by a sample from TJ’s.

Last night for example- Naan Bread Pizza’s.

I’ve purchased these frozen Tandoori Naan from TJ’s many times before. This is the first time that I’ve had it in pizza version.

One tip on the Tandoori Naan- don’t ever follow the cooking instructions on the back of the bag. Heat oven to 400 degrees and cook for 1 to 1-1/2 minutes. What??? I’ve never once had a fully warm piece of Naan after 1 to 1-1/2 minutes.

Since I was prepping a pizza tonight- I started by following those instructions just to thaw the Naan.

After a quick 90 seconds in the oven, I topped the Naan with TJ’s Vodka Sauce.

I had this sauce left over from our pasta dinner last night.

Then- sprinkled on my new favorite cheese

(My only issue with this cheese is that this small little container is 28 servings!!!! I’m afraid that I may turn that into 3…)

Back in the oven for about 5 minutes, then broiled until cheese was bubbly.

Yum yum!

This was the best personal pizza I have ever had!

It was definitely the combination of these three ingredients that made it so good.

And it was such a quick dinner to throw together.

I can’t wait to make this again!

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Ch-Ch-Changes

Hello!

Welcome to my new and improved blog! You may not see many changes just yet, but you can look forward to seeing them in the near future.

Change #1: my name!

Hopefully you’ve already noticed that I’ve renamed the blog. Basically my old name was way too long and I was ready to purchase my own domain. I will now be known as the Sugar Coated Chef! The reason for this name- well I’ll still be focusing on baking, but I’d also like to feature some of the meals that I cook (mainly dinners). So hopefully this new name implies that you’ll see some of both.

Some of the other names I considered:

sweettreats.com: already taken

sugarsheri.com: I decided that it made me sound too much like an adult film star

getbaked.com: well this was also taken already- but I thought this also may imply that I made “special” brownies

So I settled on Sugar Coated Chef. I hope you like it!

Some of the changes to come:

1. Featuring both baking and cooking adventures

2. Posting more often. Right now I only post whenever I bake something new and exciting. I’d like to commit to posting at least once or twice a week (if not more often).

3. Because I’ll be posting more often, I’ll be doing more than just featuring my baking and cooking adventures. I’ll also be including restaurant reviews, product reviews and cookbook reviews.

I don’t eat out too often, but when I do, it’s typically someplace special (I don’t go to Portillo’s or Pockets as much as I used to!). Some of these meals are so fantastic that I’d love to share them with you! I photographed all of my special meals in Hawaii- and I’m ready to take that on here on the mainland!

Product reviews will consist of any new product that I use for baking or cooking, any products that I recommend for the kitchen (I will feature some of my awesome wedding gifts), and also any new food products that I try out and love. Hello Trader Joes!

I have a number of cookbooks in my kitchen. I mainly use one or two of them (Martha Stewart cookies and cupcakes anyone?), but I’d like to get some use out of the other’s as well. I will post my reviews on them and let you know if I recommend them or not.

I hope you stick with me through these changes and enjoy them! Hopefully I can expand my readership and find my place in the blog world.

Wish me luck!!!!

Sheri

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