Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Spring 2015 CSB, Week 2

Cupcakes are so much fun!  The CSB is a great opportunity to sample several different cupcake flavors.  When I'm baking for so many people on the same day, minimums can be waived, and nobody has to take home a dozen of just one variety.

Today CSB members take home 6 assorted cupcakes.  Flavors are:

~Irish Cream:  Chocolate cake, Irish Cream French buttercream, chocolate ganache drizzle, and naturally colored green sprinkles.

~Thin Mint:  Chocolate cake, mint flavored creme filling (featuring local mint oil!), chocolate ganache, and naturally colored shamrock decor.

~Vanilla Latte:  Vanilla cake, vanilla espresso French buttercream, chocolate covered espresso bean.

~Hazelnut Mocha:  Chocolate cake, hazelnut espresso French buttercream, chocolate ganache drizzle, toasted Oregon organic hazelnuts, and a chocolate covered espresso bean.

~Coconut, Green Tea, & Ginger:  Coconut cake, green tea cream cheese icing (featuring organic matcha), toasted coconut, candied ginger.

~Coconut Lime:  Coconut cake, coconut pastry creme filling, fresh squeezed lime French buttercream, toasted coconut, and candied ginger.  (This cupcake should be kept refrigerated.)

Happy St. Patrick's Day!!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Spring 2015 CSB, Week 1


My cannoli have acquired an almost cult like following as the years have passed.  While it's certainly flattering to be behind such a successful dessert, I can't take full credit.  It's about the circumstances that led up to me making them in the first place, and also the quality of ingredients…probably the amount of time and attention that goes into them as well!

Many of my clients are familiar with our family's "Cannoli Story," but for those who may not have heard me tell it, here goes.  I first tried cannoli in New York as a child.  I wasn't blown away, and they certainly weren't something I would seek out (and actually, I'm still fairly indifferent, haha…I make them for YOU and for my husband mostly…although I do love the filling!).  Fast forward to 9 years ago, when my sister and I were showing my husband around NYC.  He sampled his first falafel (a big hit), and a little while later we found ourselves in Little Italy.  I knew he would love cannoli, so walked into the busiest bakery and picked up a freshly filled one for him.  He was smitten, and after that if he saw them on any menu anywhere, he would order them.  The following Christmas I slipped some cannoli forms into his stocking, with a promise to tackle them myself.

Storebought ricotta is grainy in texture, and is often filled with emulsifiers, preservatives, and other things.  I had a hard time wrapping my mind around using that in a cookie filling.  How could something that doesn't taste awesome on its own be used in a dessert?!  Then I learned how to MAKE ricotta, and now there is no going back.  Ever.

To make ricotta from scratch, I use a gallon of organic whole milk and a touch of nonGMO citric acid.  That's it!  The resulting cheese is soft, fluffy, and delicious, with a melt-in-your-mouth feel.  It's perfect as cannoli filling, and so much better than the grainy substitute!  The finished, cooled ricotta is mixed with a little sugar, organic citrus zest, locally brewed vanilla, and a sprinkle of mini dark chocolate chips.  I fold some freshly whipped cream in, and voila!  It's a three day process by the time it's all said and done.

Cannoli shells are a classic Italian tube shaped cookie, made with sweet wine in the dough and fried for crispness.  Once filled, they do not keep well, and are best enjoyed within a few hours of being prepared.  They must be kept refrigerated.

Thank you for participating in this spring's CSB (community supported bakery) baking club!  It's going to be so fun making goodies for you!

P.S.  Cannoli is the Italian plural spelling.  I have never seen it written singularly, although it seems the correct form would be cannolo?  Haha.  I smile (but never judge!) when someone asks for one cannoli or some cannolis.  :)