Monday, November 29, 2010

Happy Anniversary to Me!

This week marked the second anniversary of Dvora's Cookie Creations first public offering (not a stock offering and not our first jobs, rather the first time I publicly advertised and did the Shabbat tray concept). The anniversary flavors were among the favorites of many customers, plus a little bonus came along with the trays.
They included Sacher torte sandwiches, chocolate dipped pecan shortbread, orange-cranberry-white chocolate cookies, molasses cream sandwiches, mint brownies, and chocolate thumbprints. What do you think of the angle of the picture?

What about this one? I kind of feel like I am in the eye doctor's office: "Better one or better two?"

Then there were the variations. First, sugar cookies for a bar mitzvah kiddush.

They topped a couple of platters

for a festive touch.

Also, a gift platter for a family with a new baby girl.

Whoa, maybe a little too much natural light there. I guess there can be too much of a good thing.Finally, in addition to a coupon for a discount off of a future purchase, each customer received a couple of chocolate cake pops, drizzled with pink chocolate to match the Cookie Creations logo. The pink chocolate itself is something of an eighth wonder - the fact that I was able to color it is nothing short of defying the laws of chemistry as I know them, but I am okay with that.

Looking forward to many more years of sweet celebrations!


Saturday, November 27, 2010

Going incognito

This cake will have to go nameless. That is, without revealing the name on top. Why? The client was (probably rightfully) concerned that people would see the cake and (mistakenly) believe that the family has valuables in the house or on their persons. So with a little assist from the editor on my camera, I give to you, the anonymous birthday cake. This is one you will not be seeing on Facebook, so enjoy it here.

The decorations may be hard for you to identify - believe me, without inspiration photos from the client, I would not have had a clue of what to create for this cake! They consist of a jeweler's loupe, pink and white "diamonds," and a cricker bat and ball. And now, here for your enjoyment, close-ups.I love how this came out - so true to the real thing, or at least to its photo. In this next shot, you get a better view of some of the diamonds.And here are the cricket pieces, which I had never seen before, but somehow Shana was able to look at them and identify them immediately - which, truly, she did not know how she did.I hope you enjoyed seeing this cake, along with the air of mystery that accompanies it. And happy birthday wishes to ????????????????.


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Nothing is as we plan it

This cake worked out just fine - do not fret. It's the plans of the birthday girl - and her adorable daughter who ordered the cake (along with her father, of course) - that went awry. Lenny ordered this cake on the orders of his daughter Elana, who loves her mom, and loves cake, I am sure in that order. But when Lenny came to pick up the cake, he informed us that Chaya, his wife, was in the hospital with Elana, who had broken her finger a few days before in an untterly ridiculous way, and now required surgery. Thankfully, the surgery went well, and Elana was able to have some cake in the hospital when she woke up and recovered. The cake is vanilla with pink vanilla buttercream and topped with fondant flowers. Happy Birthday Chaya - hope this is a happy and HEALTHY year for all of you!


Pretty in pink

Girls like pink. It's not a stereotyping thing. It's just that (most) girls like pink. I am neutral on the subject, but when a customer tells me her daughter loves pink and the cake should be pink, I listen up. Unfortunately, the photos I took do no accurately reflect the colors - my camera is acting a little hinky, which is WAY frustrating as it is not very old. The cake itself was white cake with apricot preserves and buttercream in between the layers, and pale pink buttercream on top. The decorations were an extremely hot pink, but it looks far more delicate here. The birthday girl, Rina, loves her Crocs (must be her father's daughter!) and her guitar, as well as a few other things her mom did not want to include on the cake...

And it was her eleventh birthday, so we added a cute number 11 on to the front. The guitar gave me no end of agita, as the stupid thing broke - the neck part cracked in TWO places! - as I was putting the cake together, about ten minutes before pick-up. But we "glued" it back together and propped it up with frosting, and being quite honest, pointed it out to the mom, who was perfectly happy and gracious, and everyone was happy. And as from most challenges, I have learned from it a will adjust accordingly.
Yom Huledet Sameach!


Monday, November 22, 2010

A little at a time

Giant blog posts are exhausting. So many words to think up, so many pictures to upload. So let's try a few short ones instead. Oh, but then I have to come up with all those stupid titles!!! Well, let's not whine, let's just go with it.
Last Shabbat was a study in flexibility. Every platter had slight variations, whether due to flavor preferences, allergy issues, or special requests. Here is one sample:

thin mint sandwiches, apple-cherry crumble bars, espresso double chocolate chunk cookies, chocolate dipped chocolate chip cookies, peanut butter brownies (slathered in chocolate peanut butter ganache - so rich and decadent!), and oatmeal raisin cream sandwiches (Little Debbie eat your heart out!).

This platter of yummy cookies left Chashmonaim and ventured far, far afield - to Modiin. Note the cute business card attached to the ribbon; designed by the talented Shana.

This one held a double portion of thin mints, for those who love their Girl Scout cookie flavors!

Hope you had a sweet Shabbat!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Climbing Everest

Everyone has his or her great white whale - a mountain to climb, a stream to ford (getting very Von Trapp-ish here, sorry!) - that challenge that must be surmounted. For me, it is the French macaron. Not to be confused with the Passover macaroon, a coneshaped explosion of oversweetened coconut, or the Oberlander macaroon, not even sure what it really is, the French macaron (pronounced Ma-ca-Rone), in its contemporary incarnation, is a delicate sandwich cookie. Two cookies, with a crisp meringue shell and soft inside, with some sort of filling gluing thw whole mess together. With a minimum of ingredients, skill and technique is what makes these special. Or so I am given to understand. I had only tasted them once or twice, but I was determined to make it happen. After about a year and a half of procrastinating, I finally went for it yesterday.
AND IT WORKED! (Pardon my shouting; I am just a little excited.)
I followed the directions of many a macaron maker, finding that it was slightly less terrifying than I had anticipated. Both batches baked up exactly as they were meant to: crisp dome, merigue foot - AWESOME! (oops, sorry, got loud again). I stuck to the basic flavor - almond - and filled them with chocolate ganache. I felt accomplished and virtuous and wondering if it was just beginner's luck all at the same time. I enjoyed the process so much that I am looking forward to trying again, and also to trying different flavors and fillings. You will have to tune in to find out what happens next!

Here's to all of us making molehills out of our mountains.


Elbow deep in buttercream

Two more cakes submitted for your approval, gentle reader. The first, a 17 birthday cake for Lital, sho loves the color purple. Lital is a cake decorator herself, but as I said to her mom, I guess it would be awkward to ask her to make her own birthday cake - make that, surprise birthday cake.

This was a one layer chocolate chip cake, covered in vanilla buttercream. The sides display the same theme as the top - purple circles and hoops with tiny flowers.

The final cake for last week was a family cake - a cake to celebrate my father-in-law's 70th birthday. It is three layers of moist chocolate cake, filled with mocha frosting and covered in vanilla buttercream. The design added a challenge I have rarely dealt with: because there was no border on the top, the edges had to be perfectly squared. It came out quite well, better than expected.

As an added bonus of nachas, the names of the grandchildren are inscribed on fondant leaves around the sides.If any of the grandchildren want to see the names, they can pick them out from the small photos below.

Mazal tov to all the birthday celebrants!


Saturday, November 13, 2010

Mazal tov l'Eden

This was a cake-filled weekend - three on Thursday! The first was for a bat mitzvah girl in Modi'in. Her mom gave me a list of things that she likes, and I ran with it.
That was the top - now let's do a tour of the sidesOkay, now for some detail shots of the props on the top:
This was a tremendously fun cake to make - I mean, honestly, how could anyone who enjoyed playing with Play-Doh as a kid (and yes, as an adult, too! if I am going to be thoroughly honest here...) not love doing this?! And then you can eat it, and it tastes delicious, not all salty and grainy like Play-Doh. The cake itself was chocolate with fudge filling, topped with vanilla buttercream - pink her favorite color - and all the props were edible. I hope Eden and her friends and family enjoyed it as much as I did!
The other cakes will follow in another post...
Shavua tov!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Naaleh! Naaleh!

First and foremost, a little more parental pride. This month was the infamous Chodesh Irgun, with the B'nei Akiva insanity that makes it something you can not describe to those who have not experienced it. I have waxed poetic about it before, so I will not do so here, but I will share with you the video of Ayelet and her shevet - newly christened "Naaleh" - doing their daglanut. They did an awesome job. It is hard to describe in words, and probably sounds funny, but the emotions that the kids dancing with the flag stirs up are very powerful. Call me an old-fashioned American, but seeing someone wear a flag upsets me to no end. It feels disrespectful. But see a bunch of kids twirling and waving the same flag to rousing music, now that's patriotism! I can't point Ayelet out to you, but she is there in the thick of things. Enjoy! (BTW, if you don't get the full picture in the embedded version, click on it to head straight to youtube for a better view.)

Dani's shevet also did a great job on their dance, and had a fun BA Shabbat. Of course he was chosen to bring a dessert for his arucha shivtit, so we made a giant (11" diameter) chocolate chip cookie drizzled with chocolate. Which we failed to photograph, so I guess things are just about back to normal. And now back to our regularly scheduled life.

Some new mini-desserts made their debuts recently - banana cream pie tartlets - bananas in pastry cream, topped with whipped cream, all in a cutie pie little crust,

mini chocolate cream tarts - a larger crust, chocolate ganache, pastry cream and whipped cream,and lemon raspberry parfaits, lemon mousse layered with white cake and raspberry sauce. So yummy!!

Boston cream cupcakes also made a reappearance, accompanied by some acceptable photography. They look rather unassuming,

but everyone knows you can't judge a book by its cover; you have to open it up and see what's inside.

Then there was the birthday of Josh S., who is possibly the world's biggest whoopie pie fan. Arica ordered him a tray of his faves, topped by a sugar cookie.

Finally, there were cookies. In between all the craziness, painting, rehearsing, no one home for dinner, late classes, early classes, chugim, we still had to make the cookies!

Robin is a friend and a great customer. She is also a woman with a discriminating palate. When she orders cookies, she wants what she loves and she knows what that is - first and foremost Linzer cookies, then she has a few additional favorites. So this week, she had Linzers and alfajores, to make both her and her husband happy.

The regular assortment was delicious too!Chocolate espresso cream wafers, hermit sticks, linzer cookies, double decker brownies, and triple chocolate cookies.

In other news, my baking life has taken a small turn for the better - Dani has been retested for allergies, and CAN eat peanuts. Probably. And I can age five years every time he does, even though nothing happens and he is fine. So go ahead, order peanut butter bites without any guilt or worries! I didn't worry anyway, but I do not want my customers to fret... That news makes sending him off to bar mitzvahs slightly less scary. Which is good, since he has one tomorrow night!

And that's all the fun here. I have several cakes to work on, so my hands will likely be too messy for the keyboard for a few days. Will post a sneak peak IF I have a chance...

Have a great week!


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