Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Holiday Treat Tins Available for Order

I know, it's a little scary: it's already mid-November.
It hurts every fiber in my being to talk about December holidays before it's their turn, but sometimes you just need a couple extra weeks to plan ahead. Specifically, I mean to entice you with some of my holiday offerings, now available to order. You can check out my Holiday Treat tins at This year's line up:

Holiday Cookie Collection
A balanced variety of flavors including spiced, chocolatey, fruity, and nutty; great for pleasing a crowd. Flavors include:
  • Molasses Chews - Warm spices with a hefty ginger zing are the striking flavors of these chewy cookies.
  • Black Forest Biscotti - Rich dark chocolate biscotti studded with chocolate chunks & sweet dried cherries.
  • Spritz - A simple, buttery flavor is the hallmark of this classic cookie.
  • Buttered Rum Meltaways - Delicate, shortbread cookies flavored with rum that gently melt in your mouth.
  • Pignola - A classic Italian cookie made with almond paste and covered in the warm flavor of toasted pine nuts.
  • Fig Swirls - A figfilling flavored with orange, honey and spice is elegantly enrobed by a warm butter cookie.
  • Chocolate Hazelnut Crinkles - Rich, chewy cookies made with hazelnuts and chocolate, and coated in powdered sugar.
  • Raspberry Linzer - A nutty, spicy, crispy cookie sandwiching a tart raspberry jam filling, then sprinkled with powdered sugar.
Toffee & Brittle Tin
Crunchy, sugary bits of brittle, packed with tasty nuts and/or seeds. The toffee is not my own doing, but the mother/daughter team who makes this English Toffee holds their family recipe close, and there really is nothing like it.
  • English Toffee (by Mütti's Munchies) - buttery toffee filled with almonds, and topped with milk chocolate and chopped almonds
  • Maple, Chipotle, Pecan Brittle
  • Pumpkin Seed & Cocoa Nib Brittle
  • Vanilla Cashew Brittle

Caramel Popcorn
Enlisting the assistance of Mütti's Munchies once again, I have included this family's special recipe for homemade caramel popcorn into the gift tin options for this year. Sweet and salty, with a buttery crunch, this caramel popcorn is difficult to put down once you've started.

Spiced Nuts
2 unique varieties of nuts fill this tin.
  • Spanish Spiced Almonds - very savory, roasted, almost smokey in flavor, these crunchy almonds are a perfect pre-feast snack.
  • Chili Lime Cashews - an amazing combo of zesty lime, sweet brown sugar and sea salt completed with a little finishing kick.

And of course, you can order each tin individually, or go all out and get the 3 tier "Treat Tower" which includes the cookies, toffee/brittle, and your choice of the caramel popcorn or the spiced nuts.

Photography for these is by my friend Carol @

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Halloween Partay Treats

Ok, this wasn't any official thing, but I made some fun treats for the Halloween get together Jonathan and I hosted last weekend, and wanted to share. No recipes are posted, but I could dig them up if you send me a message to that effect.

So, the non-baking prize of my spread was the cheese graveyard. The week I was coming up with the poached pear cupcakes with brie frosting I was looking at the little triangle of brie and had a revelation that with a few importantly placed cuts, you could transform that lovely brick into the perfect coffin shape. So wahlah: the brie graveyard was born... well... came to be ...

Anyway, I found a bunch of other fun recipes that were somewhat Halloween themed including cheddar "spiderweb" crisps, "devils on horseback" (prosciutto wrapped dates), deviled eggs (I gave mine little cyclops faces), devil's food cupcakes with little tuilie wafer flames, pumpkin woopie pies (omg), and caramel/pretzel/caramel bars (more like gobs than bars though).

A very tasty evening.

Poached Pear Cupcakes

Last week, I attended Iron Cupcake SF for the second time. So far, both times have been fun, sugar-loaded experiences, and again I took home a prize winner (well, actually I left them all there, in the bellies of the judges). I managed to pull off 3rd place, amongst some steep competition, as well as a duplicate poached pear cupcake entry.

My camera battery died, so my evidence of the event is minimal. There is this one picture Jonathan captured of me holding the tray of contestants.

In any case, there were some very notable entries. Winner was the pumpkin curry cupcake, which was very deserving of the prize. Second came the Chinese 5 Spice chocolate cupcake; a very unique flavor experience. One that didn't win, but I will remember forever was the chocolate raspberry pink peppercorn.

My recipe though, was a combination of a spiced almond cake filled with pureed poached pear and topped with brie frosting. I'm pretty sure this recipe made more than enough pears to fill 12-16 regular cupcakes. (Ok, I don't remember exactly how many it made)

  • 4-6 pears, peeled & cored
  • 1 bottle of red, fruity wine
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp lemon peel
  • 1 clove
- Combine ingredients and simmer in large pot for 25-40 minutes, until tender.
- Remove pears and cool.
- Reduce wine mixture until syrupy.
- Puree pears with some of the reserved syrup.

Almond Spice Cupcakes
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup almond flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp clove
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, room temp.
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 tsp almond extract
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
- Whisk dry ingredients together in small bowl.
- In separate bowl or stand mixer beat butter & sugar together until smooth.
- Add eggs one at a time until incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl.
- Add extracts.
- On low speed, alternate adding dry ingredients and milk to butter mixture, beginning and ending with dry ingredients, until batter is smooth. Do not overmix.
- Pour into prepared cupcake tin.
- Bake for 20 minutes.
- Remove from pan and Cool.

  • 1/2 cup butter, room temp.
  • 6 oz. brie, rind removed
  • 2-3 oz. mascarpone cheese
  • 1/2-1 cup powdered sugar
- Beat butter and brie until smooth.
- Add powdered sugar slowly, beginning with half a cup and adding more per your preference.
- Add in mascarpone until just incorporated.

- Cut holes in tops of cupcakes and add puree.
- Pipe frosting onto each.
- Garnish with slice of poached pear if desired.