Have a Happy Easter!
Have a Happy Easter!
Remember the good ol’ Christmas days when all we had to worry about was waking up in the morning and opening gifts? We never had to worry about presents because we had our grade school teachers to take care of that by helping us craft endearing Christmas cards, snowflakes and picture frames.
I’ve always been a giver and have no problem getting something nifty for my loved ones, but its just so damn hard sometimes to figure out what they want or incept their minds to make them think they want what you got them.
I usually like to gift some decorated cookies along with my main gift so that I can give my friends and family something they need along with something made with love (cheesy I know, but this is how I really feel!). In the spirit of the holiday season, here are some holiday themed goodies I whipped together for my Greek affiliated loved ones. Happy Holidays from the BakeGreek Team!
If I could sum up the holiday season in a few words, those words would include: Michael Buble Christmas, white elephant gift exchanges, and mom’s homemade pecan tarts with a cup of hot cocoa by the fireplace! We at BakeGreek sure do hope that your holiday experience is filled with all of the above & more! The Christmas season is my personal favorite time of year…it’s also filled with decisions; decisions on what Christmas cookies to bake, how I should decorate them, and the most important question of all, “What should I get Marley (my dog) for Christmas?”
We know (from experience) that Christmas is also a selfless holiday. We know we spend a lot of time looking for the perfect gifts for our loved ones, so to give you some ideas, we wanted to introduce you to our friends over at Shabby Apple! They’re a small boutique that sells some cute dresses which resemble the sophisticated yet sexy styling’s of Betty Draper from Mad Men. Shabby Apple hooked us up with a 10% off code to pass along to our readers. Enter “bakegreek10off” upon check out to get 10% off. Thanks Shabby Apple!
If you need a stocking stuffer for your big or little sis, make sure to visit our shop and grab a cookie cutter or two! Whether you’re using them for baking, ornaments in a tree or as a gift, a BakeGreek cookie cutter is the perfect way to show love to your sister!
HOW TO ENTER:
The winner will be selected through a random drawing of all the names entered.
2) Post on the BakeGreek Facebook wall which dress (see listing of dress choices below) you want and the name of your Greek organization. If you aren’t part of one, no worries! You can still enter by posting the dress you want.
Giveaway ends at midnight (pacific time) on Monday, December 19th, 2011! Valid for US residents and addresses only. No purchase necessary to enter. Winner will be randomly selected. I’ll announce (and contact by email) the winner on this post and the winner will have 2 days to get back to me for delivery details.
My personal favorite Shabby Apple dress is Spanish Steps! It might be too chilly to wear for this holiday season but its comfortable-yet-elegant style will be perfect for the spring!
Wishing you a very Merry Christmas & a festive New Year!
Happy Halloween to all of our BakeGreek readers! When I think of Halloween one of the first phrases that comes to my mind is “TRICK OR TREAT!”. Well today you’re in for a special treat because I hope to teach you some new tricks in preparation for making some Halloween treats for your October 31st festivities!
I made these Chocolate covered caramel twist pretzels for the Halloween get together my best friend & I will be hosting at our place on Halloween. I decided to make these because I’ll be out of town this weekend, and these taste great even after a few weeks out. Not to mention they’re super cute, extra chocolately-delicious, and they are easy to make even though they may not look it!
What you’ll need:
- Pretzel Rods
- Melting Chocolate (Any brand will work, I use Merckens melting milk chocolate…it tastes great!)
- Bulk Caramel (I use Peter’s brand caramel which is VERY easy to work with…you can’t go wrong with a 5 lb loaf of caramel!)
- Halloween Decorations (Sprinkles, royal icing decorations, sanding sugar, nuts, etc)
- Cookie trays lined with Parchment Paper (I highly recommend parchment paper over wax paper for this project because the caramel will stick to the wax paper but it will not stick to the parchment paper)
Step 1: Separate a small portion (smaller than the size of a golf ball) of caramel, and roll it in between the 2 palms of your hands to create a string of caramel that will then be twisted around the top half of the pretzel rod. Repeat this step for every pretzel rod and lay them down onto the lined cookie sheet.
Step 2: Melt the melting chocolate in a round, flat bottom microwave safe bowl. There are a few different methods of melting the chocolate, the easiest is microwaving the bowl of chocolate in 30 second intervals and stirring the chocolate each time. Repeat this step until the chocolate is smooth and creamy. If you have a heating plate you can set your bowl of melted chocolate onto it to keep it consistently warm throughout the entire process. Try to resist the temptation of wanting to eat the entire bowl of melted chocolate!
Step 3: Bring each pretzel rod (one at a time) above the bowl of melted chocolate. Using a tablespoon, cover the top half of the caramel covered pretzel completely with the chocolate. Hold the pretzel in one hand and the spoon in the other, and turn the pretzel in a 360 degree turn while you are covering each section in chocolate. Note: Once you’ve covered the top half of the pretzel in chocolate, rock the pretzel up and down above the bowl to remove any excess chocolate from dripping when you transfer the covered pretzel back to the cookie sheet.
Also, although it might seem like a good idea I would not recommend trying to fill a deep bowl with chocolate so that you can just immerse the top half of the pretzel in chocolate. Perhaps if you are making these in bulk it would work, but otherwise if you are only making a small batch it will require a lot more chocolate to do it that way and you would constantly be refilling it.
Step 4: Once the top half of the pretzel is covered completely, lay the pretzel back down onto the lined cookie sheet for decorating. Here are some examples of how you can decorate your chocolate covered caramel twist pretzels but feel free to let your imagination soar. I recommend emphasizing the twists of the caramel by adding sprinkles!
Allow your chocolate covered caramel twists pretzels to dry completely (this will take a few hours). You can then wrap them individually for gift giving, arrange them on a festive serving tray, or just eat & enjoy them straight from the cookie sheet!
A few other Halloween treat ideas: I used the leftover melting chocolate from making the pretzels and also some white melting chocolate to make some Frankenstein & Pumpkin chocolate lollipops using candy molds.
If you want to get fancy with these chocolate pops you can use colored melting chocolate (melting chocolate is available in just about every color), or you can also “paint” the details on the mold using a thin paint brush (ex: the pumpkin’s leaves, Frankenstein’s eyes, tooth, scar, etc.) with the colored melting chocolate, allow the “painted” details to dry, and then fill the rest of the mold with chocolate.
You can’t tell from the front view, but I also added some Halloween sprinkles onto the backs of the lollipops after pouring in the melting chocolate in the mold:
I hope you enjoy making homemade Halloween treats this week and have a safe and exciting Halloween!
Feel free to comment to the post if you have any questions about any of the above Halloween Treat ideas, and feel free to share a Halloween treat idea of your own!
The month of August marks the beginning of a new school year! For most students, a new school year means back-to-school shopping for new school supplies and new outfits, and also, my favorite, making new friends! Although I won’t be starting school with you, consider me your new friend in baking! I’m Jenice and I just recently joined the amazing BakeGreek team. I look forward to following along with you throughout the school year, making new friends, exploring the world of baking and cookie decorating, and sharing adventurous stories over BakeGreek cookies.
Enough about me…you’ll get to know me better through each post, it’s late August and that means time to get prepped for Recruitment. After being apart from your sorority sisters over the summer, a great way to welcome them back and to welcome potential new members is to put your BakeGreek cookie cutters to use. Inspired by the Truly Sisters website http://www.trulysisters.com/ which sells cute sorority stationary and gifts (and also invitations and free downloadable computer wallpaper), I decided to decorate some BakeGreek cookies using polka dot and stripe designs inspired by the website.
1. Prepare your work surface and get all of your tools ready. I want to highlight a few key items that I use for baking roll out cookies – parchment paper which provides a disposable non stick surface, and “The Smart Rolling Pin” which ensures precise thickness on all of your cookies.
2. After baking your BakeGreek cookies (see http://www.bakegreek.com/baking-a-bakegreek-cookie/ for a tutorial on how to do this), you can use the Imprinting technique to create designs on your cookies before baking them that will assist you when decorating. This technique is especially useful if you’re not great at freehand decorating (like me!).
To use the Imprinting technique, use other cookie cutters or a pairing knife to lightly imprint designs onto your pre-baked rolled out cookies. I used a small circle cookie cutter to create polka dot designs onto my cookies. When using this technique, be sure to apply light pressure to create only an imprint of the design onto your cookies. If you place too much pressure, you’ll end up with cut out shapes on your cookies (which is also another option for decorating).
3. Once your cookies are done baking and have cooled off, it’s now time to outline them. For my imprinted BakeGreek cookies, i’ve outlined both the outside of the cookie as well as the imprinted design. This is where the pre-imprinted designs come in handy!
4. After giving your outlined BakeGreek cookies about 10 minutes to set, you can now fill & flood them. I used the stationary on the Truly Sisters website to help me decide what color pairings I wanted to use for my cookies.
As you can see I used several other techniques to create a variety of cookies that you can use for recruitment including sinking the icing (piping a design freehand while the flooded icing is still wet), as well as the opposite technique which involves piping a design freehand after the flooded icing is dry to creat a 3D effect.
On the bottom left corner you’ll see a “Zeta” cookie pop…cookie pops make great gifts, and with the rising popularity of cake pops and cupcake pops, it’s a must that BakeGreek cookies join in on the lollipop fun. We will make these on a future post in the very near future!
How cute are these!
I’m so excited to have them (thanks, secret santa!).
Yumbots silicone cupcake molds are made by Fred and come in a set of four colors – Steely Blue, Galaxy Gold, Gearshaft Green, and Mars Red.
Added Bonus: the head swivels!!
MAN these are cute.
The box is clearly marked “NOT A TOY” but I get to differ! They’re sitting on my desk with all the other toys and trinkets.
For the cupcake, I used this recipe from Cinnamon Spice & Everything Nice:
And for the frosting…is courtesy of Miss Betty Crocker, because I was lazy.
The holidays have turned me into a full fledged sloth.
Tied neatly with a bow.
For the sake of my own sanity, I like to think that everyone’s family gatherings involve the level of chaos and absurdity that I observe on holidays —
* Dad taking us back to the days before calculators and imploring the younger generation if “you even use pencils anymore.”
* Multiple parents pleading me not to sell my kidney for cash (note to self: need to be more careful about subject of jokes), but please try for safer alternatives, like selling my eggs.
* My younger sister vowing to marry before me, because the first wedding will be “more special for everyone.” Fair enough; I did get the privilege of being born first, and enjoyed three special years of undivided attention. I will give her the first wedding.
* Say parents, hands clasped tightly forming a united front: “We will write her out of our will if she gets a tattoo.”
This is my Christmas Day. And Thanksgiving, and Fourth of July, Mother’s Day, and Father’s Day.
And I wouldn’t have it any other way: full of crazy & full of love.
Our family dog, Chelsey: 8 years old and acts like a lazy cat.
I turned to Smitten Kitchen’s Garlic Butter Roasted Mushrooms for the big dinner. It’s so good!
On the morning of Christmas Eve, alone in my Los Angeles apartment, embracing the calm before the storm.
I remember feeling supremely blessed in this moment, surrounded by gifts for and from the people I love.
Merry Christmas Eve, everyone!
In a few hours I’ll be driving southbound on the 405 to my family and friends. If I’m lucky I’ll be going over 6mph. Merry, merry holiday traffic.
I’m not quite sure what the curly Q on Rudolph’s forehead is supposed to be. At first I tried to pipe a healthy tuft of hair, but it looked like a pigeon had pooped on his head.
Small tale of tragedy: I had originally made a dozen cookies, but only 4 made it to the end alive. This is because one night, well into the AM, I entered the apartment in the dark and tossed my 15lb purse onto the table. I woke up the next morning to find that I had effectively smashed most of them.
Wishing everyone a safe holidays!
Happy hump day, everyone!
I love things from Japan. So cute, so well made! I’ve put together a small box of cute things that I’ve brought home from my last trip as a big thank you for supporting this blog & BakeGreek this year
Details on how to enter is at the bottom, and here are some things in the goodie box:
mini strawberry tin cups
cookie cutter trio: dolphin, penguin, & turtle
Hello Kitty charm in a bunny suit. Sitting on a cake!
Lilo & Stitch goodie bag
There’s much more in the box, but I want some of them to be a surprise!
I’m also throwing in BG cookie cutter of your choice. Yay!
Leave a comment with the answer to this Q, by FRIDAY 12/17, 10:00am PST.
There will be a random drawing, and the winner will be e-mailed.
If you could take 2 weeks off from life and visit any place in the world, where would you go?
*yes — everyone is eligible to enter, even if you live on the moon!