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Family Hour

Gluten Free Pâte à Croissants

Posted by on Feb 27, 2013 in Family Hour, Gluten Free, Pastries and Viennoiseries, Tutorials | 40 comments

Gluten Free Pâte à Croissants

I adore a warm buttery flaky croissant with a strong cup of coffee.  A friend, Nancy  asked me if I could bake some gluten free croissants (she has celiac disease) I was hesitant, but she was persuasive. Sydney explained I should go out of my comfort zone and try to create a flaky gluten free croissant, the worst that could happened is the gluten free croissants would not turn out. I reminded Sydney I am a perfectionist and have a problem with failure, I become panicky. Sydney replied back the only way to learn anything new is to fail and learn from the mistakes. She also repeated my own...

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Mint-Strawberry Macarons

Posted by on Feb 13, 2013 in Family Hour, French Macarons, Gluten Free, Home, Tutorials | 10 comments

Mint-Strawberry Macarons

This past weekend a customer (M.B.) threw a baby shower for her friend, and she wanted aqua colored  macarons. MB gave Sydney and me carte blanche in choosing flavors. First call was to Sydney, she is the  macaron connoisseur of our shop, within 3 minutes Sydney proclaimed strawberry mint! We had our flavor. In order to achieve the aqua color  I mixed sky vert pomme & citron; however the color turned a beautiful full body green due to the pink color of the strawberry powder. Panic consumed me, MB wanted aqua, they needed to be more blue. After I calmed myself down I remembered PME blue...

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Sweet Strawberry Angel Food Cake

Posted by on Jan 16, 2013 in Cakes, Family Hour, Home, Inspirational, Tutorials | 4 comments

Sweet Strawberry Angel Food Cake

This past week Sydney and I did not have an opportunity to bake together; it was time to move her to George Washington University, her new home while she finishes her undergrad years. It seems strange to start a baking project alone in my kitchen, I find myself missing her idiosyncrasies that once made me crazy. As most of my readers know Sydney is more than my daughter, she is my best friend, business partner, and my inspiration! She continually surprises me with her hidden inner strength and resolve. I realize most mommy bloggers write  about younger children, but we parents don’t...

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Guest Post: Mommies Saving Dough

Posted by on Jan 12, 2013 in Family Hour | 0 comments

This is a guest post from Michele of Mommy Blogger Directory. If you’re like most parents, you probably spend a lot of money on your children. Not just keeping them fed, but also keeping them entertained and educated. There are many ways you can “have it all” while saving a few dollars here and there along the way.   First, you must be proactive. Consider where you are likely to spend money you were not expecting to and prevent it from being a budget-crusher. Throughout the year, take note of clearance items at department stores. If you find a neat toy on clearance, use...

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A Baking Year in Review

Posted by on Jan 2, 2013 in Cake Decorating, Cakes, Family Hour, French Macarons, Inspirational, x | 6 comments

A Baking Year in Review

Sydney and I are presently working on a very special post, but in the meantime we thought it might be fun to revisit 2012. We were blessed with an amazing friend who travels home, to Japan, twice a year, and generously brought us back a plethora of cherry blossom flavors. We spent an entire month using cherry blossom extract, sugars, and compounds in array of treats, by far the favorite was the Cherry Blossom Macarons. And Strawberry-Blossom Macarons. This summer Sydney turned 20 and wanted us to design  Butterfly Orchids out of gumpaste for a tiered birthday cake. We spent a good 5 days...

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Poinsettia Cake, A Peek into our Holiday Traditions

Posted by on Dec 26, 2012 in Cake Decorating, Cakes, Family Hour, Gluten Free, Inspirational, Tutorials | 19 comments

Poinsettia Cake, A Peek into our Holiday Traditions

Poinsettias have become a staple during the holiday season, the plant is sold every year, and most homes have a few. It has become a family tradition to design a special cake that represents the season, last year we created a Buche de Nöel (Yule Log), I suggested we design another this year, but Sydney wanted something spectacular! Thinking of a spatular cake isn’t as easy as you think. As I was thumping the front of my head saying “think, think, think,” yes just like Winnie the Pooh, I glanced over to fireplace and saw…a poinsettia plant. Eureka! I had a dazzling...

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Mr. Freeze, The Holiday Cake that Came to Life

Posted by on Dec 18, 2012 in Cake Decorating, Cakes, Family Hour, featured, Tutorials | 6 comments

Mr. Freeze, The Holiday Cake that Came to Life

Sydney was looking through Alan Dunn’s, Christmas Cakes (A perfect gift for any cake enthusiast) when she came across a cake of the most adorable snowman. She insisted we create a snowman cake of are own. Alan Dunn’s cake inspired Sydney and I to design our own version. I knew the cake would be a fun project for us, but I must admit I was caught off guard at the amount of excitement that came over us as we began bringing the cake to life. We found ourselves giggling like first graders as we added the parts of the snowman’s body and apparel. As we added the last snowflake a...

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Stollen, A Christmas Family Tradition

Posted by on Dec 12, 2012 in Cakes, Family Hour, Home, Pastries and Viennoiseries, Tutorials | 2 comments

Stollen, A Christmas Family Tradition

Every year at this time, for the past eighteen years, Sydney and I bake a Christmas Stollen. When Sydney was small, her job was to roll the almond paste (her favorite flavor) and pour all the ingredients, as she grew up so did her baking capabilities! This year as we were baking our Christmas Stollen I realized it would be the last time we would bake a Stollen together for at least six years; Sydney has been accepted to The George Washington University for the spring semester, she leaves the first week of January. Next year I will be baking most of the Christmas indulgences for her...

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Christmas Cranberry Pound Cake

Posted by on Dec 5, 2012 in Cakes, Family Hour, Pastries and Viennoiseries, Tutorials | 18 comments

Christmas Cranberry Pound Cake

  I am going through a fresh cranberry phase, Sydney and I have been finding ways to develop recipes that incorporate cranberries; putting them in stollens, brioche pockets, cookies, and a cranberry white chocolate cake. I believe we have started a new family holiday dessert tradition. This past Sunday we had friends over for dinner, the dinner consisted of bolognese, warm pancetta spinach salad, garlic bread, steamed green beans, and to finish the meal we had cranberry white chocolate pound cake. I must admit I was on “pins an needles” waiting to hear their opinion of the...

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Caramelized Pear Almond Tart

Posted by on Nov 28, 2012 in Family Hour, Pastries and Viennoiseries, Tarts and Pies, Tutorials | 2 comments

Caramelized Pear Almond Tart

The day after Thanksgiving our family’s tradition is put up the trees and decorate them and the whole house while waiting for Sydney’s favorite holiday tart, an almond cream tart. The recipe has been handed down from my great great grandmother, through the years I am sure each generation has changed the recipe a little. My change was to use crème frâche versus mascarpone, but this year I also caramelized the pears. I actually added crystalized sugar and flamed them with a torch. I must admit neither Sydney nor I had intended to flame the pears, but I accidentally didn’t...

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Apple Cider Cupcakes with Acorns and Oak Leaves

Posted by on Nov 21, 2012 in Cake Decorating, Cakes, Candies, Family Hour, Tutorials | 4 comments

Apple Cider Cupcakes with Acorns and Oak Leaves

This year for our Thanksgiving  Sydney and I thought Apple Cider cupcakes with gumpaste acorns and oaks leaves would be fun and festive place tags that will adorn our table! Apple cider starts the holiday, once you begin to see gallons of it in the food stores you can’t help but start thinking of the festivities. Thanksgiving is the first  of the holiday meals, family and friends gather together, while cooking, baking, and of course eating! Sydney and I wait all year to host Thanksgiving at our home, and we try to show our appreciation for our guests with special edible place...

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Holiday Baking: Fondant Kitchen Mixer Fun

Posted by on Nov 7, 2012 in Cookies and brownies, Family Hour, Tutorials | 14 comments

Holiday Baking: Fondant Kitchen Mixer Fun

With Thanksgiving and Christmas quickly approaching  Sydney and I thought it would be adorable to create some treats of baking essentials. Over the summer I had found an awareness ribbon cookie cutter for pinktober, and I  just happened to come across a kitchenaid cutter with inset and a matching rollin pin cutter. Bonus they are all handmade copper cookie cutters, and will last a life time, (you can find the cutters here!) Sydney’s palate is addicted to fondant so we decided the mixer cookies would be completely decorated with fondant. I used my kitchenaid professional 600...

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Happy Halloween Cupcakes

Posted by on Oct 30, 2012 in Cake Decorating, Cakes, Family Hour, x | 4 comments

Happy Halloween Cupcakes

Halloween is as entertaining for adult as it is for children; Sydney and I are no exception. We become completely engaged in decorating, dressing-up, and baking treats to give to family and friends. These amusing cat, bat, pumpkin and ghost cupcakes are just one of many mouthwatering goodies we are packaging to hand out. With just a few materials and imagination an ordinary cupcake becomes a boolicously, unique Halloween pastry, that is irresistible to all. Sydney and I baked an extra batch for the preschoolers she is observing for her development class. The kids frosted, with help, and...

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Just in Time for Autumn Mini Pumpkin Bundt Cakes

Posted by on Oct 24, 2012 in Cakes, Candies, Family Hour, French Macarons, Fruit Desserts, Tutorials | 2 comments

Just in Time for Autumn Mini Pumpkin Bundt Cakes

This time of year pumpkins and gourds are everywhere; we plan trips to arboretums to find that perfect pumpkin worthy of carving and placing on or near the front porch. I vividly remember carpooling a car of excited three and four year olds for their first arboretum. Sydney and her friend’s energetic excitement  became contagious and exhilarating; we began going each year as a family.  Sydney and I were reminiscing our Autumn arboretum ritual and thought creating mini pumpkin shaped bundt cakes, orange flavored, would be a great way to honor a sweet memory and have a delicious...

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Fleur de Sel Caramel Apple Macarons, The Perfect Halloween Treat

Posted by on Oct 17, 2012 in Family Hour, French Macarons, Gluten Free, Mousses and Pudding, Tutorials | 15 comments

Fleur de Sel Caramel Apple Macarons, The Perfect Halloween Treat

I am so excited to share this flavor of macarons with you; Fleur de Sel Caramel Apple Macarons. Every year in mid September to early October we pick apples and dip them in caramel to hand out to the special people in our lives; this year Sydney and I wanted to create the luscious flavor in a macaron. The fist step was to write down the essence of a caramel apples, the first taste to the last on our palates. That first crisp apple sensation, followed by the sweet gooey caramel, and finally the fleur de sel lingers on your taste buds. Now we had our challenge, to fabricate the exquisite...

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Bewitching Dulce de Leche, Brush Embroidered Cupcakes

Posted by on Oct 10, 2012 in Cakes, Family Hour, Tutorials | 4 comments

Bewitching Dulce de Leche, Brush Embroidered Cupcakes

The holiday season has officially begun with the month of October and Halloween; from now until Jan 1st celebrations will be happening each month. This month we have the opportunity to dress in costume, eat amazing goodies, help with school Halloween parties, and decorate our homes with scary witches, skeletons, webs, and spiders. When sydney was young I couldn’t wait for this time of year to start, Sydney and I baked up a plethora of treats for her parties. Now we have the opportunity to bake for other little one’s parties. This year we thought it might be fun to create brush...

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Blood Orange and White Chocolate Chunk Pound Cake

Posted by on Sep 19, 2012 in Cakes, Family Hour, Tutorials | 37 comments

Blood Orange and White Chocolate Chunk Pound Cake

Pound cakes are so popular I decided to welcome the changing season (early September 22, 2012 the Fall season begins) with a blood orange white chocolate pound cake. As many of you already know DF enjoys pound cake; Sydney and I were lucky to be able to photograph this cake before he cut himself a piece. He reminded me of a young boy waiting for the release of a new version of a video game. Sydney was having a hard time styling the pound cake, she was so distracted by DF’s behavior, she began to tease him. Finally I had to explain to my husband the longer he pouted around the photo...

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Orchids for Sydney

Posted by on Sep 5, 2012 in Cake Decorating, Candies, Family Hour, featured, Gluten Free, Tutorials | 2 comments

Orchids for Sydney

If you’re familiar with my blog you know each member of are little family unit has a birthday week; 2 weeks ago it was Sydney’s 20th birthday. She requested a very special cake decorated with gumpaste Butterfly Orchids; I was so excited to be creating this special “Sydney cake” with her. Butterfly Orchids have a very special place in her heart, and she wanted sugar paste butterfly orchids to adorn her cake (the cake will be continued on another post). I had ordered butterfly orchid cutters and veiners when the summer began, I thought I was prepared to teach her how to...

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Ruffle Blossom Cupcake

Posted by on Aug 15, 2012 in Cake Decorating, Cakes, Family Hour, featured, Tutorials | 9 comments

Ruffle Blossom Cupcake

Sydney and I are always on the look for new tips/tubes for our kitchen; I happened to purchase a set with a #070 ruffle tip/tube. We had worked with quite a few of the ruffle tips/tubes, however we hadn’t had the opportunity to work with tip/tube #070, coincidentally I came across an Ombre Cake that caught my eye.  The cake was monochromatically decorated in pink tones of rosettes, but I was enthralled with the idea of violet ruffles on a cupcake. I wanted the ruffles to have a fabric sense to the eye almost as if the cupcake’s frosting was in constant motion. It would seem I...

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Taking Time to Be with Your Children, Can Make A Titanical Difference?

Posted by on Feb 11, 2012 in Family Hour, Home, x | 3 comments

Taking Time to Be with Your Children, Can Make A Titanical Difference?

Sydney and I have been designing everything form Valentine’s Almond Cookies to Cassis-Cherry Marshmallows. I realize this will most likely be the last Valentine’s Day Sydney and I will have the opportunity to bake together for the next few years; Sydney has decided to transfer to Goerge Washington University (in DC). I want her to spread her wings and fly solo, experience the world, but it would be deceitful of me if I did not admit I am melancholy (a tad). Letting go has to be the hardest parts of parenting, but necessary, in-fact since her birth our job has been to guide her...

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Strawberry-Rose Macarons, A Little Girl’s Favorite Snack

Posted by on Feb 1, 2012 in Family Hour, French Macarons, Gluten Free, x | 2 comments

Strawberry-Rose Macarons, A Little Girl’s Favorite Snack

I was writing a check today and asked Sydney what the date was; I couldn’t believe January is over and February has begun. I was reminded of the day Sydney was born, and like most parents I calculated the year she would graduate from high school (2010). That evening, when she was born, while I watched her sleep in our hospital room I wrote letters for the milestones she would encounter through her life; her first day of kindergarten, the first day of middle school, her high school graduation, college graduation, her wedding day, ect… I tucked those precious letters away till...

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The Miracle of Nature, a Recipe for Life

Posted by on Jan 25, 2012 in Family Hour, Home, Inspirational, x | 0 comments

The Miracle of Nature, a Recipe for Life

Anytime I feel melancholy or stressed I pull  a few photographs from our past. When Sydney was three years of age during a cold January day; I allowed her to play “hooky” from Montessori. We had a day of Colorado nature; we started at the Butterfly Pavilion, next stop was the Denver Zoo, we ended our fabulous day with lunch and a hike outside of Breckenridge. The memory of that amazing day always brings a smile to my face. The Butterfly Pavilion exhibits 5 areas, including four indoor exhibit halls, gardens and nature trail outdoors.  Filled with thousands of alluring...

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A Final Farewell; To a Dear Friend

Posted by on Jan 13, 2012 in Family Hour, Home, Inspirational, x | 1 comment

A Final Farewell; To a Dear Friend

For 43 years of my 46 year life I have been a faithful fan of One Life To Live; yes, the soap opera. If you are not familiar with the daytime show it debuted in july 1968;  All My Children, in 1970, was a spin of One Life  To Live. As I mentioned I was three when I began to watch OLTL, my grandmother would take care of me during the week days and she was inthralled with OLTL. We would have our lunch and sit down to see who did what to whom, was Vicky herself, or Nicky. There were actual times when my life paralleled the show (with out the heighten drama). I think it is obvious an...

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Behind the Mother and Daughter Team

Posted by on Jan 11, 2012 in Candies, Family Hour, Home | 1 comment

Behind the Mother and Daughter Team

Normally Bobbie writes the posts that are published on Bobbie’s Baking Blog, however, today I am going to be writing a post. As long as I can remember I have been in the kitchen with my mom, we have had so much fun learning to create new treats for the special people in our lives. As my life transitioned from teenager to adulthood I have had the opportunity to share my feelings with my mom, and even when I thought I couldn’t overcome an issue that was happening in my life my mom was there to help me and encourage me. I am very close to my mom, I count her as one of my friends, and...

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How I Love You So, Holiday Traditions

Posted by on Dec 3, 2011 in Family Hour, Home, x | 2 comments

How I Love You So, Holiday Traditions

The very first Christmas DF and I celebrated together while trimming the tree I had an asthma attack (a 911 asthmas attack). After a long four hour visit to the the ER it was diagnosed between my allergies for pine and cats (which we had a kitten) my lungs felt they needed to give a awake up call. The ER doctor explained I could keep the kitten, if we took the fresh pine tree down, but it was unadvisable to have both. I was so disappointed; DF went straight to “St Nicks” and purchased a tree that was perfect for us with a few new ornaments . In 2007 we purchased a new home; I was...

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The Start of the Holidays; How We Keep Christmas in Our Hearts

Posted by on Nov 26, 2011 in Family Hour, Home, x | 0 comments

The Start of the Holidays; How We Keep Christmas in Our Hearts

This picture was taken two days after Thanksgiving 1995; we were having one of those sunny 50 degree days. Sydney and I were waiting outside for another family (we are still friends with to this day). Every year until Sydney was ten we all would go to Santa’s village in Manitou Springs, the highest fairest wheel in the US resides there (before you go checking my facts, it is the highest because the wheel was built on a mountain). The village has kid friendly rides and a very jolly Santa. We generally would stay for most of the day, drive up to Castle Rock for the star lighting, dinner,...

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Thanksgiving Countdown, How to Keep the Kids at the Table

Posted by on Nov 22, 2011 in Family Hour, x | 1 comment

Thanksgiving Countdown, How to Keep the Kids at the Table

Sydney and I were reminiscing Thanksgiving and Christmas’ past, she remembers having to sit through the entire meal, while her cousins and friends were allowed to leave the table to play. Though I strongly disagreed, and thought it was insulting to the host (besides sending the wrong message to their children I kept my opinions to myself). My mom would needle me and try to persuade DF or I to allow her to play with the other children. I wasn’t trying to be the “mean mommy” on contrary I wanted to teach Sydney etiquette and table manners. DF and I would keep Sydney...

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The Little girl On The Stoop

Posted by on Oct 14, 2011 in Family Hour | 1 comment

The Little girl On The Stoop

Many years ago there was a little girl, from the windy city, who would wait on her front stoop every Friday afternoon, awaiting her father. For her parents had divorced by the time she was six,( like many marriages of the 70′s) Friday nights to sunday afternoons were granted the man’s visiting time. She would wait from the moment she came home from school, sometimes she would wait for hours, the sun would go down yet still she would wait, her mother would scream, yell, and hit her, yet still she would wait. It was a happy moment when the yellow volkswagen bug would appear and the...

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Bonding through the culinary arts

Posted by on Feb 6, 2010 in Family Hour | 4 comments

I have loved cooking and baking most of my life, it was a way to work any problems. When I was BLESSED with my daughter I brought her in the kitchen with me, I guess it would not be an exaggeration to say Sydney has been working with me from a baby carrier.  It is strange, because it feels like yesterday she was 24 months old peeling ginger with a grapefruit spoon, and now she is almost 18 and she has excellent knife skills.  Friends, teacher, and other parents always ask me how it is that Sydney is so untainted from all the bad stuff in the world. The only two answers I have is we share a...

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