My Cup Runneth Over

3 June 2014

Rosemary-Cornmeal Cracker Cups | Flour ArrangementsFor the last two weeks, the internet service at our house has worked for maybe 20 minutes a day.  Writing a post about this daisy cake took entirely too long.  Whenever the internet timed out, I lost everything.

As that frustrating exercise tested my patience, my camera began flashing error messages as I tried to photograph the little cracker cups I’d baked.  It refused to take a single picture.

Rosemary-Cornmeal Cracker Cups | Flour ArrangementsWhen my oven started moaning like a dying animal, I realized that this streak of technological decay signified more than mere bad luck.  As any English teacher will tell you, when things begin happening in threes, it’s time to pay attention.

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Flower Power

24 May 2014

Daisy Cake | Flour ArrangementsAfter last year’s gingerbread Ferris wheel project, I breathed a sigh of relief when Eliza asked for a daisy cake for her birthday this year.  I pictured a cake with no moving parts, one that required no odd-shaped pans or carving to achieve an elaborate form, and one that didn’t require an eruption to complete its effect.  This seemed almost too good to be true, so I asked Eliza to sketch the cake.  Fortunately, it looked just like I imagined it would: a simple layer cake topped with green fondant and covered with lots of little daisies.

Making the cake turned out to be as easy as I’d hoped.  I’ve had plenty of practice making fondant shapes with cookie cutters, including hearts, balloons, and even diamonds. Repeating basic shapes on a cake is an simple trick for creating a dramatic effect.

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Naked Lemons

15 May 2014

Frozen Lemon Slices | Flour ArrangementsWhen life gives you lemons, rejoice and start baking!  I’m on a citrus roll lately, partly because the streets of Albany sometimes seem like a lemon grove, but mostly because this succulent fruit gives food a tangy kick that makes you want to pay attention to every tart, sometimes puckery bite.

From quick and simple baking projects like shortbread cookies or muffins, to the more elaborate and fancy, like lemon-lime meringue pie or lemon raspberry swirl cake, I’ve consumed more lemons than I can count.   I’m also currently obsessed with this lemon-arugula pasta recipe because of the extra punch it gets from lemon in the pasta itself, but let’s face it, pasta tossed simply with zest and juice and herbs makes an awesome meal as well.  And let’s not forget lemon rosemary monkey bread.  I could consume an entire platter of this addictive pull-apart bread all on my own.

Lemons just rock.  I love them with pretty much anything.

Frozen Lemon Slices | Flour ArrangementsBecause I hate to waste any part of a precious lemon, I like it best when recipes use both lemon juice and zest.  I’ll often pass over recipes that list only one or the other.  Sometimes, though, I can’t resist baking an otherwise perfect recipe, like this one for lemon-thyme shortbread cookies.  The recipe lists three-to-four lemons — zested — with nary a word about the juice.  Gaah!

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Perfect Thyme

6 May 2014

Lemon-Thyme Shortbread Cookies | Flour Arrangements

Unable to contain their enthusiasm for our trip to Disneyland last weekend, my daughters tried to pack days in advance.  When I reminded them that they couldn’t actually put anything in their backpacks until the day we left — they’d need them for school — Tessa, who’s six, made herself a packing list. She’s particular, that Tessa, which means she categorized:  food first, clothes second.

As Tessa’s catalog of edibles grew, I managed to talk her out of yogurt and juice since I knew we couldn’t get them through airport security.  I tried to convince her to pare down even more by explaining that we could actually find food at Disneyland, but she told me that she planned to eat all of her snacks on our way.

Lemon-Thyme Shortbread Cookies | Flour Arrangements

The day we left, as I finished packing my bags, I realized that I’m not so different from Tessa;  before I tossed shorts, t-shirts, and sundresses into my bag along with a toothbrush and some sunscreen, I baked some lemon-thyme shortbread cookies to take on the plane with us.

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Triple Threat

22 April 2014

Triple Chocolate Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Frosting | Flour ArrangementsCupcakes. They’re small, awesome, and delicious. Baking a batch of tiny cakes seems like the perfect solution when, for no special reason at all, you find yourself in need of a little treat.

But then you remove two dozen cupcakes from your oven. You realize that you want to eat every single one, especially once you’ve topped them with salted caramel frosting. Your solution has suddenly created a new and dangerous problem.

Triple Chocolate Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Frosting | Flour Arrangements

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