Jacques Torres’ Chocolate Spirals

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It was my birthday yesterday. I am now 40 years old. When I talked about my upcoming birthday with friends I did so with disappointment in my voice. After all, I’m not supposed to be happy about getting older, right? The truth is though, I have never been so excited for a birthday in all of my life. I love my birthday. I love feeling special for the day. I also love to make wishes and resolutions, and what better day to do that then on one’s own personal New Year’s Day. Sure I had some anxious feelings about being in my forties. I’m not young anymore. Youth is long gone, and that makes me feel sad, but I’ve never felt as complete in my life as I do right now. I spent my 40th birthday with the best people that came out of my thirties–my husband and my babies. I kept Aron company in the kitchen while he cooked us dinner. We drank beer, made each other laugh, and then dissected each joke to see whose was funnier. I made a vegan birthday cake so that all of my boys could enjoy it (blasted food allergies!), and topped it with a crown of Jacques Torres’ chocolate spirals. We sang Happy Birthday, ate more than we should have, and went to bed without cleaning up.

I don’t know what the next decade will bring, but right now, at 40 years of age, I am at my happiest. Continue reading →

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Strawberry Cake

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 I went to a painting and drinking party at my friend’s church the other night. Below is my masterpiece. 

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I know what you’re thinking, “My goodness, she’s talented!”. Couple of things to notice before we get on with the baking. First of all, that sick looking seaweed in the bottom right corner is an olive branch. Yeah… poor thing. Secondly, the birds at the top are flying upside down. They’re supposed to look like M’s not W’s. Finally, that stick figure lady at the bottom is my self portrait. I call this piece “Giving Up”. Let’s make strawberry cake! Continue reading →

Chocolate Fleur De Sel Caramel Tart

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Since I began this blog in April of 2014 I have learned so much about baking. I’ve also learned a lot about my taste preferences, and my taste buds scream for caramel, chocolate and salt. Gesine Bullock-Prado’s Chocolate fleur de sel caramel tart from Pie It Forward checks off all of my flavor cravings. The chocolate crust is crunchy in texture with a lovely mocha flavor. The filling has a salty and deep caramel taste which is softened by vanilla. The piece de resistance, however, are the chocolate truffles. They are soft in texture and big in chocolate flavor–a perfect last bite to a perfect tart. Well… almost perfect. I made this tart 3 times and each time it didn’t hold up well after being cut into. This yummy caramel filling oozed off of the crust and  onto my plate every dang time. Sure, I licked it clean and yes it was completely delicious, but it did not make for a pretty photo. Where did I go wrong? How can I make the filling more stable? Still, chocolate fleur de sel caramel tart is going in my favorites folder. And in my failures folder. Gotta keep it real. Continue reading →

Chocolate Truffles

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I’m a terrible mother. I’ve been neglecting my third child (Project Pastry Love). It was her 2nd birthday on the 12th of April and I didn’t even acknowledge it. No cringe-worthy singing of the Happy Birthday song. No gifts to open. No cake, for goodness sake! And I love cake–to bake and eat it too! In my defense, I’ve had a lot going on with my 2nd child, Wesley. He has been delayed in speaking for quite a while now, and we’ve been working with many doctors to figure out what might be going on. Some good news has come our way, however. We found out that Wesley has been accepted into a language-enriched preschool. Yippee! Hopefully, he’ll start speaking clearly, become very articulate, go to a pricey college on a full scholarship, study all languages, and become a world renowned professor of linguistics. Now, I just need to get Project Pastry Love to start talking to me again and then I’ll be good to go. Maybe these chocolate truffles (lemon white chocolate macadamia nut and bittersweet) will do the trick. Continue reading →