Archive for the ‘Neat Things’ Category

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Mad About Macarons Part Deux

Way back in January of ‘08 we tackled French Macarons.  They were successful and we wanted to taste them before we went to France where they are so amazingly popular.  There are shops devoted only to Macarons!  And that idea has made its way across the big pond as well, I hear.  Very cool.  Anywho, here are the Chocolate w/Buttercream filling Macarons I made for a dear friends birthday today.




The middle picture is where I was playing around trying to decide how to package them when I remembered I had mini cupcake carriers and they fit perfectly!  I had to taste of them and they were good…now my tummy hurts but I think it was worth it.  I hate having food allergies.  Hate it.


Friday Baking with NotQuiteJuneCleaver Recipes for July 3- July 10

Welcome to this week’s challenge recipes!  All the same rules apply. You have until 8a.m. CST to get your recipes from the last challenge posted.  I am a little early with these but we have a slightly busy weekend ahead!  As I am sure you do too.  Have a LOVELY 4th of July.  Be safe.  Eat too much.  Take a nap.

If you have a sec click on the Madsen Cycles link in my right side bar and help me enter to win that VERY cool bike! You can read all about the contest when you get to their website.  Heck, you may want to throw your name in the hat as well.

Oh…and one more thing.  BIG Vintage GiveAway will be announced Monday…so stay tuned! This giveaway has nothing to do with the Friday Baking – its a just because giveaway!

First up the savory recipe.  Thanks to Rachel I can tell you these are some fine pretzels. Why don’t you mosey over and take a look at her blog while you are at it?  Great photos and some awesome recipes.


Soft Pretzels

Makes 12

* 2 1/4 teaspoons dry active yeast (1/4 ounce)
* 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
* 2 teaspoons sugar
* 1 cup warm water
* 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for surface
* 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
* 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
* Vegetable oil, for baking sheets
* 3 tablespoons baking soda
* 1 tablespoon pretzel salt
* Assorted mustards, for serving


1. Mix yeast, coarse salt, sugar, and warm water in a small bowl, whisking until sugar dissolves. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.
2. Mix flour and cayenne in a large bowl. Using a pastry cutter or your fingers, cut butter into flour until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
3. Slowly pour yeast mixture over flour mixture, stirring to combine. Using your hands, gather dough together. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead until it is no longer sticky, about 5 minutes. Cover with plastic, and let rise for 30 minutes.
4. Cut dough into 12 pieces, and roll each into an 18-inch rope. Form a U shape with 1 rope, and twist ends together twice. Fold twisted portion backward along center of U shape to form a circle, then gently press ends of rope onto dough to seal. Transfer to an oiled baking sheet, and repeat. Let rise for 20 minutes.
5. Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and add baking soda. Boil pretzels in batches until puffed and slightly shiny, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Transfer to wire racks to drain. Return to baking sheet, sprinkle with pretzel salt, and bake until golden brown and cooked through, about 15 minutes. Pretzels will keep, uncovered, at room temperature for up to 12 hours. Rewarm in a 250-degree oven if desired, and serve with mustards.

Now for your yummy sweet recipe…German Chocolate Cake.  I picked this because I am constantly amazed at the peeps who only ever use cake mixes.  Don’t get me wrong…cake mixes are GREAT and I do use them.  I have about 3001 Bundt cake recipes that use cake mix.  Plus cookie recipes and cake pops.  But you really should have a repertoire of good from scratch cake recipes for special occasions.


This is usually the cake we make for Husband’s birthday. It just maybe his favorite.

* 4 ounces Baker’s German’s Sweet Chocolate, melted and cooled
* 2 1/3 cup cake flour
* 1 1/2 cups sugar
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 2/3 cup butter, room temperature
* 1 cup buttermilk, divided
* 1 teaspoon vanilla
* 2 eggs
* Coconut pecan frosting and filling, below

Grease two 9-inch layer cake pans and line bottoms with waxed paper. Sift together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Cream butter; add flour mixture, 3/4 cup buttermilk, and vanilla. Stir until dry ingredients are moistened; beat at medium speed of electric mixer for 2 minutes, scraping bowl from time to time. Add melted chocolate, eggs, and remaining 1/4 cup buttermilk. Beat 1 minute longer. Pour batter into prepared cake pans. Bake in a preheated 350° oven for about 35 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pans on rack for 15 minutes. Remove and cool completely on racks. Frost with coconut pecan frosting, below.

Coconut Pecan Frosting and Filling

* 3/4 cup evaporated milk
*1 cup sugar
* 1/2 cup butter
* 1 teaspoon vanilla
* 3 egg yolks, slightly beaten
* 1 1/3 cups Baker’s Angel Flake coconut (3-ounce can)
* 1 cup chopped pecans

In a saucepan over medium heat, combine milk, sugars, butter, and vanilla. Bring to a full boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat (mixture might appear a bit curdled). Quickly stir a small amount of the hot liquid into the beaten egg yolks; return egg yolk mixture to the hot mixture in saucepan and blend well. Return to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in coconut and pecans. Cool to spreading consistency, beating occasionally.

NOTE: The original recipe called for 1/2 cup light brown sugar and 1/2 cup white sugar for the frosting.  HOWEVER, Rachel found the frosting gets too hard if you use brown sugar.


Magpie Monday says a magpie is an incessantly talkative person; noisy chatterer; chatterbox. A person who collects or hoards things, esp. indiscriminately.

Chatterbox?  Husband would tell you YES!  Indiscriminate Collector of Things? Well I wouldn’t say indiscriminately. Not really.  I can’t help it if I fall in love with things like aprons and Pyrex and sewing notions and kitchen witches and bottle caps and wine corks and cookbooks and anything with the Eiffel Tower or cupcakes on it. I have even looked long and hard at cupcake tattoos! I remain markless unless you count stretchmarks and having both knees scraped when I missed a step up the other day going to get my hair cut.  Yeah, I fell. Down. In town.  In public.  Hey, I got up by myself so :p!  But back to collecting.   I mean indiscriminately would lead one to believe I would just collect anything and everything and that every nook and cranny in my home is full.  Ooops.  The last part of that sentence is pretty spot on.  I really do have too much stuff for the size house we live in.  Which is not to say we need a bigger house.  I just need to clean out some things.  And just maybe I will. Another day.

The catering went very well this weekend.  I think customers were very pleased.  You can follow the link and see for yourself.  Bookmark Rachel’s site – she will be putting up the recipes today I think.

You know, if you visit here very often, that we are a bit food obsessed.  Just a bit.  Gesikah made something I have always wanted to try but just wasn’t brave enough.  Let’s just say “sprinkles”.  Her post is not up just yet, but I have glimpsed the fruit of her labors and OH MY.  I am very impressed.  And a bit miffed that I didn’t get a taste.  I can’t believe one of my three favorite daughters would not drive 30 miles to share something so lovely with her mom.  You might like to bookmark her site as well, I hear the post will be up today and I am assuming it will be in a tutorial form, recipe and all.  I don’t know that for a fact, but I hope so.  I think maybe it is something Husband would like to tackle.

I told you a couple of days that I had an impromtu hen party Friday evening.  And my dear friends Tami and Karen (Karen you really need a blog!) had been antiquing and brought me some goodies…well here they are!

goodiesThe apron is pristine!  And the chicken hot pads CUTE!!! And the watering can had a rose on it, for Rose Cottage … awww … and a CUPCAKE cookie press!  The other press is a gift box…both adorable!  If y’all read this, THANKS again!

Rachel and I are taking a day to clean the kitchen today.  Really straighten our cabinets and such.  We have all our catering supplies (dishes, containers) to wash and put away. I figure it will take all day.  There is quite a layer of flour and confectioners sugar on the floor! We were so pooped when we got home from the recital,  we just put everything down and crashed.  I even went so far as to serve sloppy joes for supper! They sounded so good, but I have to admit…not as tasty as I remember.

So, catch you all later!  Be sure and check out Rachel and Gesikah later today, as usual there will be good stuff there!  I really need to get a button from these two to place in my blog roll!

Have a great Monday! Oooo I almost forgot…here is your overall picture of the day:


Poor little Ben.  He kept a black eye or busted lip.  He was a climber!

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