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Alma Chocolate Macaron Box Mix

(Note: Yes I’ve been absent for a few months, as culinary school and work consumed all of my time…I’m talking about 15-17 hour days! But now I’m on summer break from school, so I suddenly have my life back, albeit for a brief 2 months. I will try to take advantage of this time and update this blog more!)

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Recently I was given a box of chocolate macaron mix from France.  The fact that in France boxed macaron mix is available only increases my fondness for the country.  I have a dream that someday American grocery aisles will be home to such conveniences as boxed macaron mix, alongside our quick bread and cake mixes.

As macarons are one of my most beloved baked goods (that are gluten-free, THANK HEAVENS!!), I was excited to try it out. With my limited knowledge of the French language, I deciphered the instructions to the best of my ability, and set out to make macarons for the first time.

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Dirty Blonde Scookies

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The other day I had an incredible urge to bake.  Sometimes, if I have not cooked or baked in a week or so (and heating up frozen fish fillets or baking potatoes are not things I would consider to be “cooking”), I just have this urge to make something.  Part of it stems from baking being a form of entertainment–I enjoy putzing around the kitchen.  Also, I like creating something useful–everyone uses food.

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Nutella Sandwich Heart Cookies (Gluten-free)

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Well guys, I finally did it…I have been swept up by the mass hysteria and have outlawed gluten from my diet.  GASP!!!  How can this be?  (You may wonder.)  The simple thing of it is, I have long suffered various chronic digestive symptoms that typically were not crippling enough to warrant any serious evaluation.

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S’mores Cake

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There is something about the combination of graham crackers, toasted marshmallow, and chocolate that speaks to me.  While I enjoy their combined taste, I find I am compelled towards them also because of positive associations I have with the idea of a s’mores and youthfulness and frivolity.  S’mores are a carefree snack that oftentimes reminds people of their childhood even if they never made s’mores growing up.

It is also one of the few quintessentially American foods, and I think anyone who considers themselves American needs to have had a s’more at least once.  If I were running the show, during the swearing ceremony for U.S. citizenship, it would be mandatory to eat a s’more.

(Don’t worry, there would be imitation s’mores available for those unable to eat an authentic s’more because of dietary restrictions.)

Anyway, it was my brother’s birthday recently and when I asked him what kind of cake/pie/dessert I should make to celebrate it did not take him long to decide he wanted a s’mores cake (I also suggested cookies and cream cake and plain chocolate cake, but he was most into s’mores pitch).

I looked online for a while trying to find a recipe for a s’mores cake.  I found some, but none that really delivered exactly what I was looking for.  Some were more along the lines of a s’mores pie, while others featured graham cracker flavored cake (why would you want this over chocolate cake base?), and I found the use of marshmallow fluff over actual marshmallows to be in bad taste.

Long story short: I came up with my own game-plan.  I found a chocolate cake recipe and added graham cracker pieces to it.  Then I put a layer of toasted marshmallows in between two layers of cake and covered the top with melted Hershey’s bars.  Along the sides I ‘glued’ on graham crackers with toasted marshmallows.

It turned out ok (my brother loved it) but it definitely took on that ‘homespun’ sorta look.  ‘Lop-sided’ is a word I might use in describing it.  But hey, it was from da heart people…

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Coconut Bread

Freshly baked coconut bread with Trader Joe’s Mango Butter, the perfect tropical compliment.

Hey everyone!  Or who ever it is that reads this.  I have not abandoned this blog, though it would appear that way.  I cannot believe my last post was from the beginning of July!  Man, how times flies.  I have just been so busy with life that I kept putting this blog on the back burner.  Aside from taking a few trips and working, I have also started culinary school!  I am now on track to become a pastry chef, and I could not be more excited!

But I am glad to be returning to this blog finally, it is about time.

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Tiramisu

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Ciao a tutti!

After short kitchen exile, I am back and ready to bake!  Just in time for the humid summer heat no less.  Also, I was spurred back into the kitchen because this last week at work two of my c0-workers had birthdays.  Though I sometimes lament the passage of time and the inevitable doom of aging, I do enjoy celebrating birthdays.  No reason to be down in the dumps about turning another year older, as most of us wouldn’t rather have the alternative…

Anyway let’s talk tiramisu

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Banana Nut Mini-Donuts/Cakes (VEGAN)

I don’t like waste, and in the food service industry it is not uncommon to see food go to waste, as not everything always sells before it becomes unsalable.

This was the case with some bananas that were in our fruit basket.  They had simply become too ripe.  The were headed for the trash can, unless someone wanted them.  They did not seem to be in high demand amongst my fellow employees, so I volunteered to find a higher purpose for them than the landfill.

And thus I created this vegan (I still have a whole box of egg replacer!!) banana bread.  You could bake it into a load like a typical bread, or you could follow my lead and make petit muffins or mini-donuts.

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