Search the Happy Baker blog:

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Sweet Corn Spoonbread and Tomatillo Salsa

Today was a lovely day. I don't know if it could have been much better. I slept well last night. I had a luxurious afternoon nap. I met with an old friend for lunch and had a fantastic turkey sandwich over discussion of life lessons and reminiscing. We went window shopping. Kiddo played outside with his friends and came home with a soaked shirt and chugged a glass of ice water. Brainfreeze. It was one of those perfect summer days.

So what makes the perfect summer day even more perfect? How about a spicy, flavorful dinner made with locally grown vegetables and fresh herbs, paired with a side of something soft and sweet? Oh yeaaah. That'll do it.

I had three tomatillos sitting in my produce basket for a week now, feeling lonely and unloved. Truth is, I just had them wrapped up really well and forgot about them, which is a shame because they're SO wonderful. They may not look like much from the outside. If you've never worked with them, chances are good you probably pass them in the grocery store and never even pay them a passing glance.

That just won't do.

Buy one. Or six. And make salsa. They're fab.

The size of the tomatillo you use is up to you. The small ones, about the size of a ping pong ball, are sweet. The larger, more plum-sized ones, are more tangy and have more acidity. On the outside, tomatillos look a little like papery, dry bulbs. (Did you know they're actually a member of the Nightshade family? Unlike its cousins, Belladonna and Jimsonweed, a tomatillo won't kill you. Don't mention the family reputation to the tomatillo, though. okay? It's a really awkward situation at reunions.)

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Death by Chocolate, part 2

I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say something I don't usually say. Ready?

Cake isn't always best when it's tucked into cute little cupcake liners.

Now. That's not to say it isn't completely awesome in little cupcake liners. It is. I'm just saying that sometimes, an old fashioned layer cake might be the way to go. Especially if you're dealing with a moist, fudgy chocolate cake, arranged into four gorgeous layers, stacked up tall with whipped ganache. Oh yes. I'll take a slice of that.

If you've linked to this post from somewhere else, or just happened to stumble across it (hi!), you can find the original recipe and photos here, at Death By Chocolate, part 1

I used this exact same recipe to make a layer cake for my friend Kassia's Dirty Thirty birthday. In fact, I made this right alongside the cupcakes in the above post. You really can't have enough chocolate on your birthday. It's a fact.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Death by Chocolate, part 1

Buckle up, peeps.

We're gonna go on a crazy ride. We're gonna make cake. But not just any ol' cake. No.

Cake with cocoa. And chocolate milk.
Filled with whipped ganache.
Crowned in a cloud of chocolate buttercream.
Dipped in dark chocolate ganache.

Holy moly, right?

Shockingly, these cupcakes, as explosive as they are with chocolatey goodness, are not too rich to eat. The bittersweet chocolate counteracts the sweetness of the buttercream and gives you a nice balance, so it's decadent, but not cloying.

The cake is fudgy and thick, a bit like a brownie. It holds up well to all this deliciousness. When I first saw the recipe, I was a bit taken aback to see the addition of boiling water, but the reviews were awesome, so I went with it. And I'm so glad I did. These things are tremendous.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Butterflies are Love

It's 2:09am.

This is why I can't sleep. I'm FAR too busy playing.

Melted chocolate and a piping bag is open invitation for insomnia. So many fun things to do.

My project tonight was a mess of little purple candy butterflies, perched on top of ganache-dipped chocolate cupcakes. Ohmigosh.

...did I mention that under the ganache is a fluffy cloud of fudge buttercream? Oh, and did I also mention that the INSIDE of the cupcake is hollowed out and filled with whipped ganache? No? Oh. Well it is.

That's one super happy butterfly.

These got tucked into a plain brown hatbox and tied with a purple ribbon. They're going to my son's school in the morning. Teachers need love. Especially teachers who deal with pants-wetting, tantrum-throwing, boogey-eating preschoolers all day. Bless their wonderful little hearts, Lord knows I couldn't do it.

...not without a hefty dose of Xanax and a cocktail.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

New Updates

Hello, friends!

You may have noticed, my blog's got a whole new look. Also, it has caught up to the 21st century and joined Twitter as well. I'm still a tweeting novice, so if you have any tips or recommendations, send them my way! Any awesome groups I should join? Any fabulous websites or blogs to follow?

Also, I have a link on the right to my storefront on Etsy. Now, I hate to be so blatant about merchandising, but I tried the Adsense thing, and frankly, I just hate having ads on my site. It looks awful, and I don't want to spam you guys, ever. You deserve better.

So if you have an event coming up and would like to order some goodies, send me a message. If not, just keep on reading, and send me some comments! I love the interaction, and it's been feeling kind of dead in here lately. I will -always- reply to your comments or questions. And if you tried a recipe, or want to share one of your own, send it along! I'll post it! I love to see what's brewing in your kitchens. <3

Until then, have a safe holiday, and happy eating!