Tuesday, May 25, 2010

King of the Mountain

Did you ever read Highlights (or some similar type of kid's magazine?) You know how they would have a close up shot of something and you would have to guess what it was? Well, have a go:Maybe it's a furry caterpillar?

A torn up piece of carpet?

Nope! It's a coconut cookie!
You might be wondering what it's doing in the grass. Well, that's one too many questions. Sorry.

Ok...ok... It's in the grass because it has to make its way to the top of the mountain. Obviously. Sheesh.
And it has to climb the mountain, because at the top of the mountain are the other Coconut MOUNTAIN Cookies.

Coconut Mountains (these are a LOT like macaroons) (found on http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Coconut-Mountains/Detail.aspx)

1/4 cup butter, melted
2 eggs
2/3 cup white sugar
2 cups shredded coconut

Whisk the egg and sugar together until fluffy. Stir in coconut and butter or margarine. Drop dough by spoonfuls onto greased baking trays, about one inch apart.
Bake at 350 degrees F(175 degrees C) for about 10 minutes. Cool.

Erika's Extras: First of all, no matter how much you whisk, the batter will never be fluffy. Just whisk until nicely blended (about 5-8 minutes of whisking.) Also, I found that they needed much more than 10 minutes in the oven. Take out when tops are slightly browned. ALSO, if you would like more of a macaroon shape, liberally grease a mini muffin pan, fill with a spoonful of batter, and bake.
Make sure to pop them out of the pan right away or they might be hard to get out.
Bake well and prosper!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Simple & Sweet

OK people. It's beautiful outside and all I want to do is sunbathe...while eating ice cream.

So I just did. I made an easy and yummy topping to go on the vanilla ice cream that my friend and I enjoyed while sitting by the Joan of Arc statue in Riverside park.

You just need these three items:Mix equal amounts of corn syrup, chocolate syrup, and chunky peanut butter in a saucepan over heat until completely mixed. (Microwave can be used as well.)
Pour desired amount over ice cream and enjoy!

See? Simple & sweet! :)
Bake well and prosper!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Me, as told by Cupcakes

There are a lot of things I do in New York City, and there are a lot of things that seem to frequently happen to me in NYC. For instance, strangers seem to like giving me free stuff. Take last week: I went to a friend's fashion show and then to a cabaret bar after it. When leaving the bar, two guys came up to me and said they saw me at the show and liked my fashion. (Why, thank you!) They had an unopened bottle of wine that they didn't want to carry around for the rest of the night and thought they'd offer it to me. My friends who were with me confirmed that this kind of stuff only happens to me. Hmmm... (Too bad that when I was walking home with it I was looking at my blackberry and NOT the sidewalk and tripped and fell. I was fine, but the bottle of wine didn't do as well - it broke clear in half. Now there's a drunk sidewalk on Bleecker Street!)

Good thing cake mixes come in boxes.... A couple of months ago, a guy on the same floor in my apt was moving out. I bought a shelving unit from him and then he gave me 4 different types of organic cake mixes for free!I finally got around to using one. I decided to make special cupcakes with the organic chocolate cake mix. It calls for three eggs and once again, I saw a face in the cracked eggs. This time it had a mustache!
And, seeing it's me, this is how gracefully I poured the batter in the cupcake liners.
Oh, you say it's supposed to go IN the liners, not on them? Hmmmm....I will work on that.

For these special cupcakes I made buttercream frosting for the first time! It's not hard at all! Just a little messy....or at least, I was a little messy.
I also made chocolate toppings to go with the frosting. I was inspired by a cake I saw online that used chocolate bark/candy coating to make a bridge. I decided to make a couple of things with the chocolate.

Without further ado, here is a little bit about me, as told by cupcakes:
Erika Beth went to college for singing. She originally wanted to be a Broadway star, but her voice was too big and vibrato-y (or as she says, "more suited for opera.") She eventually got the hang of opera and currently sings in a lot of shows around the city.She also happens to sing in churches. Church is nothing new to her seeing she's a pastor's daughter. You know what they say about pastor's daughters... *AHEM!* Cupcakes...continue please!
Alright, alright. Well, obviously, she bakes. (Yeah, that's a cupcake on a cupcake.) She also loves to eat anything that is sugary (and it's an added bonus for her if it contains chocolate!)We also think she's crazy because she runs a lot. She claims it relieves stress and that she has always loved running. (Yep, she was a big time tom boy.) She averages about 20 miles a week. She has to burn off all these sweets somehow!
Through all these activities she still makes sure to hang out with friends. She says that lots of time the best fun is just sitting at a bar and chatting the night away. Yeah, yeah...whatever, lush.
*SCREECH* Whoa. These cupcakes sure are feisty! Here, let me finish this.

Put all of these things together and I'm a very happy girl (and a very busy one too.)
And of course, I can't forget that all these things happen in the greatest city in the world. :)
Now, time for a nap (seeing I think I'm developing voices in my head)!

Buttercream Frosting
1 stick softened butter
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk

In a mixing bowl, cream the butter. Beat in the sugar and the vanilla. Pour in the milk. Frosting should be at a good texture, but feel free to add more milk to change the consistency of the frosting.

Chocolate Toppings
Draw a design on a piece of paper, or find a design online and print it out. Put a sheet of wax paper over the design, waxy part up. Melt the chocolate bark/candy coating and put it in a plastic piping bag (or, if you don't have one, put it in the end of a plastic sandwich bag and cut the tiniest hole at the corner.) Trace the lines while lightly squeezing the chocolate in the bag. Place in freezer for about a minute to solidify and then take out. It should easily slip off the wax paper.

Bake well and prosper!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Sweet (I am)

Right now my boyfriend is running a marathon in NJ while I'm at my same old cafe spot writing this blog. I'm enjoying my omelet, fresh squeezed OJ, and chocolate chip brioche while he's sweating away running 26.2 miles.

For the past couple of weeks he kept asking me when I was going to mention him in my blog. Yep. Today's the day. I know. I'm such a nice girlfriend....pointing out my comfort and his, well, discomfort...

But I really AM a nice girlfriend. I promise. Take yesterday. Chris had to put in one easy and relaxed run to prepare for the marathon. So I told him to run to my place and I would have French Toast prepared. Awwwww! I'm so sweet. (I'm talking about sugar here people. Puhlease....like I'm nice.) ;p

While making the mixture for the French Toast I couldn't help but see something special in some of the steps. For instance, after I added the cinnamon, how cute was this giraffe measuring spoon in the liquid measuring cup?!
And how interesting was the batter when all mixed together!
Speaking of seeing something special in items, a couple of months ago I sent a twitter friend in CA some cookies in a plastic conatiner for her birthday. She wrote me saying that the "dish" I sent the cookies in was great. I was a little confused. Dish? I sent the cookies in a Chinese food to go container. One man's trash is another man's....well, French Toast dish. She said it was the perfect size for dipping French Toast. As I discovered, she's correct!
Chris finally arrived to my place and ate the French Toast faster than fast (just like he runs his marathons.)
Simple French Toast (from the always good allrecipes.com http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/French-Toast-I/Detail.aspx)

6 thick slices bread
2 eggs
2/3 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
salt to taste
Beat together egg, milk, salt, desired spices and vanilla.
Heat a lightly oiled griddle of skillet over medium-high flame.
Dunk each slice of bread in egg mixture, soaking both sides. Place in pan, and cook on both sides until golden. Serve hot.

Bake well and prosper!

*** 5/3/10 Update - Chris ran the 85 degree hot and humid marathon in 3:15:27 which is around a 7:27 per mile pace. He place 21st over all and 3rd in his age group. He's a super star (and I'm betting my French Toast was what helped him run so fast!) Check his blog out to read more about his race: http://www.beyonddefeat.com/ ***