Just a quick, “Hi” to everyone, thanks for following my blog. A new post is in the works. Happy Fall!
A gift basket filled with delectable desserts is the perfect way to sweeten one’s day for their birthday, anniversary or any celebration. If you like to bake, this gift will be just as much fun for you as it will be for your recipient who gets to enjoy it! Or, if you don’t bake, you can choose from the best gift baskets online.
I’ve never seen anyone frown after eating a freshly baked cookie. Cookies have a talent for making people smile. Putting together a cookie gift basket for someone is an easy way to show them you care because you took the time to bake them something special. You can get ideas for arranging a cookie gift basket from gift baskets featured online. You can see which cookies are the most popular and how they are presented in gift basket form. You can also get ideas for different containers aside from the classic basket, such as a gift box or cookie tin.
If baking is not your thing, but you know your recipient loves to bake then a baker’s gift basket is a perfect way to indulge their passion for baking. What is a baker’s gift basket? It’s a gift basket created for someone who enjoys baking. It is also an opportunity for you to personalize a gift basket without actually having to bake. Start off your gift by choosing a container. A large mixing bowl or cookie jar are great dual purpose gift basket containers. You can fill your gift with measuring cups, spatulas (rubber for scraping batter and an off-set for spreading frosting), a whisk, wooden spoons, an apron, towels and the list goes on. You can color coordinate all these items as well. Filling your gift basket with dry ingredients will get your recipient started on their baking adventures a lot faster. Start with a few classic recipes (include these in the gift too!) and build on from there. Ingredients such as chocolate chips (semi-sweet, milk and/or white), brown sugar and flour are some great basics.
Finishing off the look of your baker’s basket is just as much fun as putting it together. Use a cellophane bag (sold at most craft stores) to keep your entire gift together. Tie off the top of the bag with some ribbon and a bow. Cookie cutters make great decorations if you loop them through the ribbon before tying it off. Your baker friends are sure to love this gift! The best part is you’ll reap the benefits if they bake you something in return!
A short while ago I was invited by Donsuemor a local dessert company and asked if I would take part in National Dessert Month with Donsuemor’s “Dessert a Day” Celebration. I was ecstatic to be a part of such a great celebration. Especially, one that celebrates something I love so much…dessert? All, I had to do was choose from one of their many tasty products and create a recipe the, post it to my blog. So, what did choose, you ask? I chose their Cute Cakes. A Cute Cake is a baby cake dipped into chocolate or white chocolate. As a Mom, I thought that something that can be made as a quick and easy to make treat would be best. So, I thought up a few ideas then, I forgot them all! Hopefully, you guys enjoy this treat. I used alcohol to make them but, you can omit the alcohol for a family friendly version. And, in honor of the Fall season I named them Happy Hollows, because you have to hollow them out & what you fill them with should make you happy, or at least put a little smile on your face.
First you hollow out the Cute Cakes using an apple corer, remove the center pieces, feel free to eat them as a snack while you work.
Then, pour about a tablespoon or two(depending on how strong you like it), I poured two. You can let them chill in the fridge while you make your whipping cream.
While the Cute Cakes marinate in the brandy, make you whipped cream. Take your heavy whipping cream and beat it until stiff peaks form. If you chill a metal bowl & the beaters it’ll help to speed this process along a bit. You can even add a few drops of the brandy to the whipping cream in the early stages along with a tablespoon of granulated sugar and a teaspoon of vanilla. Be careful not to over beat. For those of you who prefer not to make your own, you can substitute Reddi-wip and I won’t tell.
Next, take your freshly made whipping cream and pipe(if you want it to look pretty) into the hollowed out Cute Cake. You can also, grab a tablespoon and spoon it in, it’ll still taste yummy! sprinkle the almonds onto the whipping cream. And, for the finishing touch, drizzle the chocolate ganache on top. They were really delicious, I’m the worst photographer so don’t let my last image fool you. Kick your feet up and enjoy.
One of the questions I get asked a lot is, “Do you write your own recipes?” Sometimes, I do but I always put my spin on things I bake. Even when I remake something my Mom used to make. I think we all should. Writing/creating a recipe hmmmh, what can I tell you? Although I love doing it, it’s not as easy as some think it is to create a recipe. I think baking it isn’t just about putting your spin on desserts, which is also not as easy as it sounds. There are so many options and changes you can. We want to add our special touch that’ll give it that “wow” factor and give it a chance to stand out.
Back to the recipe. I’ll share the story of how I made my Mocha Mousse recipe.
While baking I was unhappy with the texture of the Mocha buttercream so, I decided to whip up my own and call it Mocha Mousse. I use it to top our Mocha Cupcakes.
I was prepping & had a dozen things or more on my TO-DO List. Sad to say, I was even running behind. As I shared with you I was baking and decided that I was unhappy with the texture of our Mocha buttercream. I thought to myself, I can whip up something even better with a great fluffy texture. I began thinking of how I love chocolate mousse. But, I couldn’t find a mocha mousse recipe I liked. And, since I love chocolate and enjoy a good cup of coffee from time to time. I began working on my recipe. Even though this was not the best time to work on a new recipe I figured it’d be better than taking something I wasn’t completely happy with. I think made two to three batches before I was happy with one. The first batch was too strong the second batch was too grainy and I think there may have been a third batch that was too runny!
Timing is key. If there was one thing about myself, that really bugs me, it would be the timing of ideas! They pop into my brain at the worse time. Usually it happens when I’m busy working on a totally different project or baking and trying to focus. But, being a chocoholic and a true scratch baker, I decided to go for it anyway. I’m drooling just thinking about it..oooooo chocolate mouse. It’s one of my favorite desserts. Come to think of it, I haven’t made it in years. So, I whipped it up & thought it would be nice to share my recipe. Recently, I stopped at Surfas(love this place) in Culver City and purchased a bottle of Nielsen-Massey Coffee Extract. I haven’t tried the recipe using it yet, but I will give it a test run and post the results. If you beat me to the punch feel free to share your results. Let me know how it comes out for you.
1/2 cup strongly brewed instant coffee
2 cups heavy whipping cream
4 ounces your favorite semisweet melted baking chocolate
2 tablespoons(you can add 2 more if you prefer it sweeter)
Melt chocolate in the microwave using a microwave safe bowl, if you have a double broiler feel free to use it. I prefer the time-saving method; microwave a few seconds and beep beep it done. Set the melted chocolate aside to let cool for about 10 minutes. I place a clean metal bowl & the beaters into the freezer for about 20 minutes to chill before I use them to make my whipped cream. Using hand-held mixer with beaters mix heavy whipping cream and sugar until medium peaks form. Then add the melted(but cooled) chocolate. Gradually add the cooled coffee and beat until stiff peaks form. Stiff meaning if you swipe the beaters or a spoon through the whipping cream the peaks will stand up firmly. Be careful not to overbeat. Chill until ready to use. Or after it chills for about 20-30 minutes I fill a plastic pastry bag and pipe this fluffy on top of our mousse mocha cupcakes. Chocolate and coffee are great together. Thanks for reading.
Cheer People Up with a Gift Basket Filled with Homemade Baked Delights
Contributed by Diane, a gift basket blogger and writer of gift basket reviews.
It’s necessary for our young ones to leave home and explore the world. Leaving is the only way one can exercise independence and enjoy all that life has to offer. Unfortunately, independence has a price: being away from friends and family. Young people in colleges and universities leave their loved ones behind to get an education and as much as they hate to admit it, there will be times when they will miss home more than they expect.
Parents usually stay connected with their college kids through phone calls and emails. Some may even send cards or letters. However, the best way to remind college students of what they have back home is through a gift basket. Not just gift basket will do, though. The package must be an expression of love from family members and friends, something that would help ease homesickness. Instead of a ready-made gift basket, the package to be sent could be a personalized selection; this means that the items truly mean something to the receiver.
Nothing reminds people of home better than homemade baked delights, so these edible treats are the best things to include in a gift basket for individuals away from home. It is a fact that cafeteria food and fast food fare are no match for homemade dishes. Because entrees are difficult to ship, homemade snacks will do. If you have a loved one who is in college, try sending him or her the best baked goods made in the kitchen: cookies, cakes, cupcakes, muffins, brownies, cinnamon rolls or pies. It would be better if you send the person his or her favorites.
However, a gift basket filled with homemade baked delights does not only cheer up those who are away from home. This basket is also guaranteed to improve the mood of anyone who is feeling down. If a friend breaks up with a long time love, you can send him or her a basket full of mouth-watering cupcakes. You can also send a gift basket with an assortment of delicious cookies to a co-worker who has had a tough week at work. With a basket full of delectable baked goods, it is possible to forget one’s problems even just for a little while.
It’s been a roller coaster ride folks. I’ve been working my butt off to get Sweet Dreamery back to business and working even harder to keep it that way. It takes time to respond to endless emails, blog, take care of family, network, prep for events, research possible opportunities, respond to client inquires & orders, not to mention time to bake. I’m not complaining I’m just sharing a portion of my life as a small business owner. When people hear that you are a small business owner, they think lucky you, darn entrepreneurs. I love my business but, it takes village(at least a few good friends & fam) to keep a business running. Funny but true conversation I had with my mechanic the other day. He said when people learn that you are a small business owner they assume that you must be raking in the dough. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Most small business owners don’t drive a BMW. Most of us drive gas friendly vehicles that can get us safely from one networking/vendor event to the other. Or we may drive a car/truck that can hold all of our tables, displays & products safely. We love what we do but, we don’t usually pay ourselves much if anything at all. We don’t want more debt or bad credit, we love tax write-offs and seminars that teach us something new & useful. And, we love to network with hardworking, like-minded people. I love getting the swag bags.
One of my favorite things is meeting newer small business owners, they are so excited and ready to take on the world. I respect that optimism. I enjoy meeting them because, as my fellow entrepreneurs have told me, they bring a new, positive energy and they help reinvigorate some of us that may have been at it for awhile. Most people who know me or may have met me will say that I’m a pretty positive person. And, even when I’m tired or something that I was hopeful about doesn’t work out the way I’d hoped, I pretty much keep a smile & a positive attitude. I think it feels better to stay positive. That works for me but, when you’re staring at your typing tons of emails & not always receiving that one you’ve hoped for, positive thinking helps. Stay strong fellow small business owners. There will be someone who comes along & tries to say that they know of someone(or themselves) that can do everything you’re busting your butt to do. And, they’ll have the nerve to say they can do it better. Try tuning that negativity out & focus on what you do best, and that’s being you and sharing your love for your passion, your business. My one tip, if you’re a vendor at an event, even if you haven’t made a dime that day, please keep a smile or at least a look of “I’m glad to be here” on your face. We’ve all been there and we know it’s not easy.
Wishing you all success from Sweet Dreamery Desserts