Archive for the ‘Desserts’ Category

Hear Ye Food Blogga Startin ‘One Word Wednesday’ Here Yo.

November 9th, 2011 No comments



Smile It’s As Good As It Looks: La Espiga De Oro Panaderia.

October 12th, 2011 1 comment

Check it out — La Espiga De Oro Panaderia.  Remember what we said about it?  And the verdict is… It’s as great as it looks and relatively inexpensive for the quality and splendor.

All that’s pictured totaled $8.55 — Why not take a box of this to the office instead of Donuts?

There’s a lot more to choose from than what you see here.

This fine Panateria is off 19th and Placentia in Costa Mesa.  Have a nice day!

La Espiga De Oro Bakery Panaderia: Bienvenidos 19th Street Amigos.

October 11th, 2011 No comments

I’m gettin’ some asap, Mexican Sweet Bread (and Cookies) from La Espiga De Oro Bakery Panaderia and do believe I’m about to get hooked — I should’ve bought a few pieces when stumbling upon them the other day, but all seemed too busy to acknowledge the gringa.

Hhmmm, it’s okay — I studied the baked goods (in amazement) for a fair amount of time and can now be purposeful and confident when gettin’ my Panaderia on.  It all looked so faultless.

Unfortunately no pictures were taken inside La Espiga De Oro and the photos outside do it no justice.  The pictured Mexican Sweet Breads are borrowed from Texas Cooking.  Our soon to be obtained and photographed Panaderia will convey what I say one fine day.

Kids In The Kitchen: Chef Lexi And Pillsbury’s Funfetti Whoopie Pies.

September 22nd, 2011 1 comment

Chef Lexi of Kids in the Kitchen loves the Funfetti Mix Kits by Pillsbury and recently made their Whoopie Pies for a Pool Party.  They were a hit  — Everyone was excited to see and eat them.  They are much better than the Whoopie Cushions she usually brings to a party.  Thanks Lex.

Katella Deli: A Favorite For Years And Years And Years.

September 21st, 2011 No comments

Katella Deli, Bakery and Restaurant (established in 1964) has been a favorite for a long time, since the South Street Deli days, if you recall it in Los Cerritos Center (aka Cerritos Mall).

Though only the Bakery is captured here, Katella Deli is a quintessential Jewish Deli.

Impressive Bakery too, as shown here.

Wouldn’t it be fun to take a bite out of each!?

They also have a full Bar, a counter, booths and patio, generous portions, excellent Meats, good Cucumber Dressing, fresh Bread, a nice atmosphere, etc.  I’m glad they’re still around.

Cookies and Cinnamon Sugar Bagel Chips are packed to go.

And last, but should be first, I LOVE their Pickles. 🙂

Katella Deli is down the street from the Los Alamitos Race Track, if of interest.

Spotlight On Front Porch Pops: A Stand Amongst Popular Food Trucks.

September 3rd, 2011 No comments

We loved the fresh intense flavors of the Grilled Pineapple and Blueberry Lime Popcicles sold by Front Porch Pops, a small stand amongst several popular Gourmet Food Trucks.

We also tried the Mini Pops Sampler of Lemon, Mango, Strawberry Lemonade and Watermelon.

Surprisingly the Tangy Lemon Cream Pop (white one) was our favorite — TASTE-Tee!

It’s happiness on a stick, Front Porch Pops says — To me it’s sweet, handmade refresh-ness.  I once made unconventional Peaches & Cream Popcicles that tasted pretty good.

Popular contenders of The Great Food Truck Race were also present this Thursday in Irvine.

We really liked this Pulled Pork Taco from The Lime Truck too.  Menus vary.

Bonafide To Blog: Who’s On First (Twice), Third Place.

August 4th, 2011 No comments

It’s an exciting year at the Orange County Fair — More Culinary Arts Competition ribbons won.

In the 2nd Show, I happily accept another First Place Ribbon for my Snickerdoodle Scones and a Third Place Ribbon for my Blackberry Mascarpone Cheesecake.  And still delighted about the First Place Ribbon received for Blondies prepared for the 1st Show — I feel lucky.

Didn’t win anything in the Blog Post Competition on display above, but maybe next year.

Our Guest Blogger, Bonnie won a Second Place Ribbon for her professional table design.

And thought the above was adorable — Entered in the Crafts & Hobbies Competition is a mini replica of the Table Design Competition.  It’s rightly a First Place and Division winner.  Congratulations Donna!  The OC Fair is happening now through August 14, 2011.


Mmmmmm Monday: Save Me, Save Me, Save Me From This Squeeze.

August 1st, 2011 No comments

Ice Cream in the summertime on a Sunny Afternoon.

Unknown Blondies N/K/A Award Winning Blondies: The Recipe.

July 19th, 2011 1 comment

Would you believe I just learned what a Blondie is?  It’s like a Brownie without Chocolate.  Did you know that?  Since I’m one of the few people in the world who doesn’t care for Brownies, this year I chose to make Blondies for the Culinary Arts Competition at the Orange County Fair.  Having never made (or ate) one before submission time, I practiced by varying three different recipes to ultimately create the award winning Blondies pictured here.  And it’s a good thing I did, since the first few batches didn’t turn out well at all — Then at last I was happy with the ingredient combination, taste and texture.  Following is the final BLONDIES RECIPE.  It’s a winner, literally.

1 Cup of Flour

1 Teaspoon of Baking Powder

1/2 Cup of Butter (1 Stick)

1/2 Cup of firmly packed Light Brown Sugar

1/2 Cup of firmly packed Dark Brown Sugar

1 Large Egg

1 Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract

1/2 Cup of chopped Pecans

1/4 Cup of Milk Chocolate Chunks (Chocolate Bar rustically cut)

Preheat oven to 350°.  Combine the Flour and Baking Powder in a small bowl.  In a separate bowl, melt Butter and stir in the Light and Dark Brown Sugar until well blended, then whisk in the Egg and Vanilla.  Add the Flour mixture until all is incorporated, then stir in the Pecans and Milk Chocolate Chunks.  Pour batter into a 8 X 8 baking dish and bake until the Blondies are set in the center, about 25 – 30 minutes. Let cool, cut and dig in.

How To Make Lychee Ice Cream: Recipe For Your Ice Cream Maker.

July 11th, 2011 No comments

Rock Salt and Ice are no longer needed to make homemade Ice Cream.  I’ve been wanting a new Ice Cream Maker for years, but really didn’t need one since my old fashioned one is still trucking along.  That’s great, but the pictured Ice Cream Maker was on sale for a price I couldn’t pass up.  I feel a little guilty about it, since it’s nicer than the one I bought my Nieces last year for Christmas, though roughly the same price.  Hopefully they skip this post. 😉

Homemade Lychee Ice Cream — I found a simple recipe online that was varied slightly to make the pictured Lychee Ice Cream.  It can (and should) be made in any Ice Cream Maker, because it’s fabulous and couldn’t be easier.  I lightened the recipe with Milk and less Cream.

Ingredients:  (1) 20 ounce Can of Lychees, 1 3/4 Cups of Whole Milk, 1/4 Cup of Heavy Cream, 1/4 Cup of Sugar and the Juice and Zest of (1) Lime — All with an Ice Cream Maker.

Directions:  Reserve the Lychee Syrup and puree the Lychee Fruit, then combine both with the remaining ingredients listed above.  Place ALL in an Ice Cream Maker and churn for 30 minutes.  That’s how long it took in this Cuisinart.  Pictured is the first batch made in it — A success.  The consistency and flavor couldn’t have been better.  The photos don’t do it justice.

On A One Day Hiatus Counting The Blessings I Do Have.

June 5th, 2011 No comments

Southern Living’s Big Book Of Cupcakes: Monkey Bread Jumbo Cupcakes.

April 25th, 2011 No comments

I appreciate the opportunity to test out Southern Living’s Big Book of Cupcakes.  It became available April 12th and timely arrived, as I had just begrudgingly returned Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes cookbook that was loaned through Bookswim.  And I’m still not done with Cupcakes.

The Big Book of Cupcakes bakes up 150 recipes and provides tips to satisfy any sweet tooth.  It’s reported that its author, Jan Moon transforms basic Cupcakes into brilliantly creative Dreamcakes with the whip of a whisk, although no whisk was needed for the pictured.

I have several pages tabbed, but started with the Monkey Bread Jumbo Cupcakes.

I first chose the Monkey Bread Jumbo Cupcakes, due to ease and the love of Monkey Bread.

No batter is prepared, since they’re made with Biscuits cut into fourths.

The recipe says to spray the Cupcake liners with a non-stick spray — I’m not sure if it’s necessary, but did it anyway.  If I didn’t, would they stick to the paper?  I’m not sure.

The Caramel Sauce aka Syrup mixture is made with Orange Juice, Brown Sugar, Butter and Cinnamon that thickens after boiling — The Biscuit quarters are then coated with the Syrup.

And then placed into Cupcake liners, as shown.

Instead of making 24 Monkey Bread Jumbo Cupcakes with (3) cans of Biscuits, I tested the recipe using (1) can, which produced 6 Cupcakes and leftover Syrup for another batch or two.  Since unsure of its yield, I sprayed more Cupcake liners than necessary.

I saved the Syrup for the next Biscuit purchase — I’ll update this, if something new is learned.

After assembly, they’re baked in the oven for 20 minutes at 350°.

And they’re more beautiful in person than in the book — My co-workers fought over them.

They were easy to make, but a little messy when dunking the Biscuits into the thickened Syrup.  The recipe says to shape the Biscuits into balls, but I found that step unnecessary, since the shapes change when dipping ’em into the Syrup.

Like all Southern Living cookbooks I’ve tried thus far, the Big Book of Cupcakes is a winner.  If you want to make these Cupcakes, the recipe is pictured above, or I recommend buying the cookbook for it and other delicious looking recipes.  Thanks for the review copy!

Quick Dip Mickey Moused Chocolate Dipped Oreo Cookies.

April 14th, 2011 No comments

Quick Dip — Is that an oxymoron?  Chocolate was melted in the microwave and Oreo Cookies were being dipped 5 minutes from commencement.  And Mickey Moused, because Chocolate wasn’t tempered, nor mixed with wax, cream or butter.  Instead, Milk and White Chocolate Chips were separately melted at 50% power, in approx. 50 second intervals and stirred in between.  It was fast and turned out good, but not as great as those you buy, or the ones my friend Loretta makes.  I don’t think she’d approve of these, but we’re always experimenting.

I was most proud of the design I created on the White Chocolate Dipped Oreo above.

Dippin’ leftover Oreos in Chocolate, from the Cookies and Cream Cheesecakes we made.

Haphazard about thickness and decoration, but wanted to make ’em quick.

All was made in about 10 minutes, which is obvious looking at some.  Next time I’ll pipe the Chocolate through a baggie tip rather than use a spoon — Better design control, less sloppy.

Funny thing, growing up I wasn’t an Oreo Cookie fan and when I did have them, I’d eat the outsides and throw away the middle.  I hadn’t purchased them in years and this time didn’t need to ditch the middle.  Is there less than there used to be, like too many things?

Oh Oh O’ReeO: Martha Stewart’s Cookies And Cream Cheesecakes.

April 13th, 2011 No comments

Have you heard of Bookswim?  It’s the Netflix of books.  The library that comes to you.  I love it.  It’s a great way to test out books, or read a lot of them for less money.  Through Bookswim I checked out Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes cookbook and chose to make the Cookies and Cream Cheesecakes.  The recipe is in her book and it’s also been reported about by several food bloggers, as found here and halved here.  It’s an easy and luxurious dessert.

Since I REALLY didn’t need 30 Cheesecakes, I halved the recipe, which worked very well.

Start with a Muffin tin with paper liners and an Oreo Cookie for the bottom Crust.

Combine the other ingredients as specified and pour over each Oreo Cookie and bake.

They look special in B & W, color and upside-down, and taste great too.  I’ll make ’em again.

Nothing Bundt Cakes: So Yummy, You’ll Wish It Didn’t Have A Hole. What?

March 6th, 2011 1 comment

Making its way out from Las Vegas is Nothing Bundt Cakes — They say it’s so yummy you’ll wish it didn’t have a hole.  Wow, provocative.  It and the love of Bundts compelled our visit to their latest franchise that opened in Costa Mesa (off 17th/Santa Ana) this week.

We tried three Bundtlets — Cinnamon Swirl, Carrot and White Chocolate Raspberry.

Free Cake Samples are baked fresh and available daily.

Nothing Bundt Cakes sells a little more than Bundts — The service here was excellent.

They’re open now with Grand ‘O’pening VIP and Charity Events happening this Thursday and Friday — A Ribbon Cutting, Wine, Jazz, Cake, CHOC DAY, face painting and more.

Pick a Bundt — 40 designs and 10 flavors.

Our favorite today was the Cinnamon Swirl.

We’re happy to see Nothing Bundt Cakes in the neighborhood.

Turn A Banana Into A Banana Soufflé In Minutes: It’s Miraculous.

February 17th, 2011 No comments

I had one Banana left, too ripe to eat.  I like them fairly green.  Always on a quest to well utilize everything I buy, I turned a Banana into a Banana Soufflé.  Thank you Lord for blessing my hands and humble kitchen — A delightful Soufflé is minutes away.  Here’s the recipe I used.

Since I only had one Banana, I halved the recipe, mashed the Banana and continued…

Boil Sugar and Water together to make a Simple Syrup, then set aside to cool.

Butter and Sugar small or medium baking ramekins.

Whip Eggs Whites with Sugar and a dash of Salt until soft peaks.

Add the Simple Syrup to the mashed Banana, mix, then fold into whipped Egg Whites.

Ready to bake in the blurry photo above.

Voila — It’s a beautiful thing. 

However, I discovered that I’d prefer Lemon, Orange, Raspberry or Chocolate.

The Banana Soufflé was a bit rich for me, but it’s amazing that it can be whipped up and cooked up quickly.  It only takes 10 – 12 minutes to bake, plus the time to assemble — As shown, it’s simple, but looks impressive.  Here’s the recipe posted by Sugar Laws. 🙂

The Cocoa Lounge Playing At The Island Hotel In Newport Beach.

February 15th, 2011 No comments

Did you know there’s a Cocoa Lounge in the Palm Terrace Restaurant at The Island Hotel in Newport Beach?  Everything is made of Chocolate and you get to eat as much as you can.  It felt like Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory — I started to lick the wallpaper until they stopped me.  Good thing there wasn’t a river.  You can have it all too throughout February.

We learned of this fabulous find while having Executive Chef Bill Bracken’s famous Truffle Mac & Cheese in the Palm Terrace Lounge.  I enjoyed it a couple years back and had a good excuse to have it again, as a friend wanted to tour the hotel for a party she’s organizing for her dad’s 90th birthday.  It was funny, the Chef came over to talk to Bonnie about her party and recognized me from Facebook.  After I wrote about his tasty Mac & Cheese, he befriended me.  That was pretty cool, but it’s been a long time.  It was fun to meet him in person.

We thank Chef Bracken for access to the Cocoa Lounge — We had such a great time.

As mentioned, almost everything was made of Chocolate, centerpieces, card holders…

It’s a unique buffet that’s happening Tuesdays through Saturdays, from 6 to 10pm.

The Cocoa Lounge is complementary to guests who order a two or more course dinner.

It’s otherwise $18 per person — Executive Pastry Chef Michael Owens, the tall one above, created them all, with necessary help from other capable professionals.  Thank you two too!

It was awesome, just wish I could’ve taken home a to-go box, as I could only eat so much.

And I now think of all I should’ve had — Why didn’t I eat a rose or a finger?

We had a grand time exploring the Chocolate options and meeting other people.

Mini from scratch Candy Bars, like Almond Joy’s (below).

One of my favorites was the warm Bread Pudding made with Croissants and Chocolate.

Continuing the homage to Candy Bars was the Snicker’s Cake with Cream Cheese Icing.

I don’t recall the exact name of the Berry Tarts below and wish I had one.

The Cocoa Lounge is in the Palm Terrace Restaurant’s private dining room with the Wine.

The now (and temporary) Cocoa Lounge is dimly lit and decorated in Chocolate brown.

Above is one of our plates.

View before heading back for more Chocolate (above).

View from a suite at The Island Hotel near Fashion Island pre-Chocolate.

Pool and Tennis Courts — The Island Hotel in NB used to be The Four Seasons.

View of Fashion Island and the ocean beyond (above).  And to top off the Chocolate, the view, and meeting the Chefs, look who we ran into in the Ladies Room… It’s Sheree Whitfield visiting Newport Beach from The Real Housewives of Atlanta.  Looks like I’m wearing She by Sheree.

Who’s gonna check me boo?  ATL inside. 🙂

Café Du Monde (Original French Market Coffee Stand) Beignets At Home.

February 10th, 2011 2 comments

I had Beignets on the patio at Café Du Monde in New Orleans about seven years ago.  Café Du Monde is the Original French Market Coffee Stand that serves Café Au Lait and Hot Beignets aka French Doughnuts 24 Hours a day, year round.  Love ’em when they’re HOT!

Café Du Monde has been a familiar New Orleans landmark in the French Market since 1862.

You can get Café Du Monde Beignet Mix at Cost Plus World Market just in time for Mardi Gras (on March 8th) or any time of the year — I celebrate with special indulgences on a whim.

Although I don’t love frying things, every now and then it’s necessary to make certain tasty treats, such as Onion Rings, Tortilla Chips, Fried Chicken and these French Doughnuts.  They’re easy to make — Just Mix, Roll, Fry and Enjoy, as the package states.

Roll and cut into 2 1/4 inch squares as the original or into any shape you want.

A few Beignets were oddly shaped, but tasted the same.

Fry until golden brown, then sprinkle generously with Powdered Sugar.  YUM!

And since it’s easy to make and tastes so good, I prepared fresh Whipped Cream too.

All was served as an after dinner dessert with previously prepared Lemon Curd, Coffee & Milk.

It’s as simple as Un, Deux, Trois, Quatre — Check the back of the box.  Au revoir.

Pinkberry Swirly Gram: A Different Idea For Valentine’s Day At The Office.

February 8th, 2011 No comments

I like that Pinkberry is always coming up with something new — Right now they’re making hearts swirl by introducing the Pinkberry Swirly Gram.  It’s a unique Valentine’s Day Treat that’s delivered.  You can send one now through Valentine’s Day.  Learn how to here.

Pre-Valentine’s Day I happily received a Cupid’s Swirl with a Swirly Spree, respectively translated, a Chocolate Frozen Yogurt with Brownie Bites, Raspberries and Shaved Milk Chocolate, and a gift-wrapped Pinkberry Gift Card — All was hand delivered to my office with balloons and a smile. 

Didn’t get a photo of Cupid’s Swirl before melting, but you can tell it’s good.  Senders choose from 3 flavors — Chocolate as described, or Blood Orange Yogurt with Blood Orange Pieces and Waffle Cookies, or PB’s Original Yogurt with Toasted Almonds, Strawberries and Dark Chocolate Crisps.  All combinations sound perfect to me.  I have to try the Blood Orange.

Thank you Pinkberry — I only inhaled the helium from one balloon.

Three who shared in the delivery experience and consumption agreed the Yogurt and toppings were excellent and it was a fun distraction at the office.  Valentine’s Day falls on a Monday.

The day looked brighter as I went back to my office.

I sent the Swirly Spree to a nostalgic friend who reported to like Pinkberry this very day.  Good timing for him — It went to a good home.  Enjoy!  We sure did.  See earlier reports here.

The Blackmarket Bakery Wants You To Decorate Your Own Cake.

January 28th, 2011 2 comments

The Blackmarket Bakery is a true find — First you have to find it, and then you’ll discover that the somewhat hidden treasure offers high quality, unique baked goods.  It’s quirky and stylish like its CIA-trained Pastry Chef Rachel Marie and my kind of place.  It can be found off Sky Park Circle, near John Wayne Airport for those passing through.

Although the colorful store front is small, it packs in a variety of fresh baked (and baking) goods and other cool items.  I love the tie dye chef’s jackets too.

In addition to the weekly baked treats, they offer Cooking Classes – Here’s the current schedule.  Recipes, baking tips and generous samples are included with all.

As you can see, Blackmarket Bakery has won a lot of awards.

I was recently invited there to decorate CAKES with other local, fabulous food bloggers.

The Cakes were frosted by Chef Rachel in the flavor of our choice and bloggers were paired to create their own masterpiece.  The Cakes were then split in half for each to take home.

As you can see, pre-frosted it’s no ordinary Cake — They’re delicious and we got to decorate and take ’em home.  How fabulous!  And YOU now get to do the same for a birthday, event or any day.  Order a simple two or three tiered Cake with the flavors of your choice.  You pick the Cake, filling and frosting, then take it home to decorate it however you please. 

Most of us here opted for the Vanilla Buttermilk Cake with the Vanilla Buttercream Frosting.

The professionals added our chosen Cake borders and we decorated the rest.

It was a pleasure to meet other talented food bloggers at this event — Joseline of Daydreamer Desserts, Kimberlin of Rustic Garden Bistro, Quyen of Kitchen Runway, Priscilla of She’s Cookin’ and Anne of Orange Coast Magazine.  My Cake decorating partner was Todd, who will need to provide his link info — I think our Cake turned out pretty good.

This post provides a few ideas for this DIY concept — It’s fun dressing a naked Cake.

We could run amok with the options, but ultimately learned that simple is often best.

You really don’t need much to make them look good.

The above is our final CAKE, by Team Todd and Shelly.  It turned out better than expected.  Chocolate curls and sugar flowers go a long way — Hooray.

Every Cake looked great and it was the first time decorating for most.

What fun!  Thank you Blackmarket Bakery and Chef Rachel.

Build Your Own Cheesecake: This Round With Homemade Lemon Curd.

January 18th, 2011 No comments

Since learning about the Create Your Own Cheesecake link at Fine, we’ve had fun making and tasting a variety of combinations.  This time it was a Blueberry Cheesecake, made with fresh puréed Blueberries and finely grated Lemon Zest.  What would you create?

The preparation of the Lemon Curd was inspired by the ravine in this Cheesecake — It’s okay, because toppings come in handy when your Cheesecake isn’t pristine, and for this one I found and will keep this easy Microwave Lemon Curd recipe that turned out beautifully.  Good taste and consistency.

Trying to hide the crack down the middle. 🙂 Admittedly the chosen topping didn’t do much to disguise it, but aside from that, it was cheerful and fantastic tasting.  Other Cheesecakes can be seen here and here.  Check back to see the next round or build your own here.

Toaster Oven S’mores In Less Than A Minute — Guy It’s Easy To Win It.

January 15th, 2011 No comments

Toaster Oven S’mores can be ready in less than a minute.  Do you even need instructions?

Layer as shown, then broil/toast the exposed Marshmallows and top with other Graham Cracker half.  They couldn’t turn out better!  Keep an eye out not to burn the Marshmallows and learn more about making S’mores here.  And if you want to head the opposite direction and make everything from scratch, The Cilantropist does it beautifully — Until then, these will do.  Make a bunch in the oven for a crowd.  No fire circle or wire hangers necessary.

Holiday Treats: Bûche de Noël And Gingerbread Houses, Oh My.

December 23rd, 2010 No comments

Bûche de Noël is a traditional French Yule Cake and the pictured is from Gelsons.  We received a lot of tasty deliveries at the office this week and I tried my first Bûche de Noël — YUM!  It’s now on my “To Make” list to be displayed during a future Christmas post.  Perhaps next year.

And with respect to the Gingerbread House from Torrance Bakery (and Sarnoff), we love it and can’t wait to dig in with a swift karate chop to the snow covered roof — We’re admiring it for now, but once Christmas passes, it’s scheduled to be devoured, if not too dry.  The Gingerbread man is already missing.  Who ate it?

Merry Christmas to YOU and your family!