Wednesday, March 31, 2010
My Easter decoration box consists of these three caged rabbits (which I found a few years back at Robert's), and that's pretty much it. So I decided to improvise with what I already have around the house to make it more Easter-esque around here. (Do you like that word I made up? Easter-esque?)
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
EASTER EGG NEST CAKE
For the Cake:
· 8 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped
· 1 stick unsalted softened butter
· 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
· 6 eggs: 2 whole; 4 separated
· 1/3 cup plus ½ cup superfine sugar: 1/3 cup for the yolk mixture; ½ cup for the whites
For the Topping:
· 4 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped
· 1 cup heavy cream
· 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
· 1 cup of robin’s eggs or other small sugar-coated pretty little East eggs
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line the bottom of an 8-inch springform pan with parchment paper or, better still, Silpat but do not grease the sides of the pan.
Melt the 8oz chocolate with the butter in either a double boiler or a microwave and then set aside to cool slightly.
Whisk the 4 egg whites until firm, then gradually add the 1/2 cup of sugar and whisk until the whites are holding their shape and peak gleamingly – but not stiff.
Remove this bowl (if you're using a standard mixer, as I do, though a hand-held job would do fine) and set aside while you whisk, in another bowl, the 2 whole eggs and 4 egg yolks with the 1/3 cup of sugar and the vanilla extract, and then gently fold in the chocolate mixture. Lighten the mixture with some of the egg whites – just dollop a large spoonful in and stir briskly—and then fold in the rest of the whisked whites gently, in about three goes.
Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 35-40 minutes or until the cake is risen and cracked and the center is no longer wobbly on the surface. Cool the cake in its pan on a wire rack; the middle will sink as it cools and the sides splinter. You want this to look like a cake with a crater in it, so do not panic at the vision of imperfection in front of you. That's one of the reasons this cake is so unstressful to make.
To finish the cake, carefully remove it from the pan and place it on a plate or cake-stand, not worrying if bits fall off here and there. Put them back in a loose fashion.
Melt the chocolate for the topping and leave it to cool a little. Whip the cream until it is firming up and aerated but still soft, and then add the vanilla and fold in the melted chocolate. Fill the crater of the cake with the chocolaty cream, easing it to cool a little. Whip the cream until it is firming up and aerated but still soft, and then add the vanilla and fold in the melted chocolate. Fill the crater of the cake with the chocolaty cream, easing it out gently towards the edges of the cake with a rubber spatula, and then arrange the little sugar Easter eggs on top.
Monday, March 29, 2010
Saturday, March 27, 2010
Sunday, March 14, 2010
Grocery shopping with the two littlest...Olivia had never been in a "car cart" before and she had never been so happy! We topped it off with free cookies at the bakery (and a bag of Cadbury mini eggs for me...shhh...).
Saturday, March 13, 2010
1 pkg. (14 oz.) shredded sweetened coconut
2/3 c. sugar
6 Tbsp. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
4 egg whites
1 tsp. almond extract (can substitute vanilla or coconut extract, or use a little of each)
Mix coconut, sugar, flour and salt in large bowl. Stir in egg whites and almond extract until well blended. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto a parchment-lined (or greased and floured) cookie sheet.
Bake at 325 degrees for 20 minutes or until edges of cookies are golden brown. Immediately remove from cookie sheets to wire racks to cool completely. Dip cookies halfway into melted chocolate, if desired.
Makes about 3 dozen.
P.S. I recently saw a great idea in a magazine where they made cookies like these, then put an almond on top, then covered the whole thing in melted chocolate...homemade Almond Joys! I think I'll try it next time.
Friday, March 12, 2010
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Once a week I have a rare opportunity for complete and total solitude. That one day a week, Nina has preschool in the afternoon (the other two days she goes in the morning), and Olivia usually takes a nap at the same time. I look forward to that little snippet of time so much that I almost panic as to how I should best spend it! It's not that I don't love being with my kids (I do) and I know that one day I'm going to miss all the craziness of having little kids at home...but you know, it sure is nice to sit down by myself once in a while.
Saturday, March 6, 2010
I discovered Polly Dunbar books a few years back and it was so fun to stumble upon this series of hers at the library. The illustrations alone make me happy, and combined with the simple stories they are collection-worthy! Nina loves these, and I can't wait to add these to our bookshelves. Make sure to check out others in the series (Happy Hector, Pretty Pru, Where's Tumpty?, Goodnight Tiptoe, and Doodle Bites).