Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Bake-N-Blog: Holiday Edition

I was really excited to participate in the Bake-N-Blog: Holiday Edition- never mind that I waited until 2 days before I had to be done to get my act together. Here's my Bake-N-Blog story... from the beginning.

Back during the summer, really awesome Staci Edwards decided it would be a great idea to go through Ming's Cupcakes, bake 'em and blog about it. Graciously, I crashed the event and baked and blogged about Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes. Because it was such a fun time and there was a great turn out, Kelly at JAX does design took her turn at promoting and here we are... a Holiday Bake-N-Blog. 

Now, Kelly reached out to me only minutes after announcing the Bake-N-Blog(well maybe not minutes, but it makes me feel special nonetheless) to make sure that I would participate. I think I was the only dude that did it and you know how ladies are around handsome fellas that cook(me, duh). 

So I agreed to make some cookies and Kelly reminded me(more than once) to get registered and pick out a recipe. Two days ago I decided I should get my act together.

It was Monday and I was not totally focused on getting my recipe and baking. In fact, all I could think about was how good a pepperoni Hot-N-Ready pizza from Little Caesar's would be for dinner. 

It was getting down to the wire and I was not sure that I could choose a recipe from the bazillion that Kelly posted, go to the market for any ingredients I might not have, watch Monday Night Football and eat my pizza. 

What was I going to do? I did what any Bake-N-Blog girl(or me, cause I'm the only dude, I'm sure) would do... I conned a professional in to baking for me. 

It certainly doesn't hurt that I'm related to the Auburn University Pastry Chef. Of course, all I had to do was mention that I was getting some Hot-N-Ready's and it was on! The chef picture above is my little sister, Tiffany- she does pretty good stuff and recently has developed a pro page of her own where you can see some of her treats. Go look when you have a chance. 

Since I had full intention of doing little more than watching her cook, I let her choose the recipe. She chose a Chocolate Thumb-print with a Earl Grey/White Chocolate Ganache. This is perhaps the longest cookie name I have ever run up on. 

This is the scene:

Notice the VERY important Hot-N-Ready pizzas very handy to the cooking area. 

So Tiffany and I cooked the cookies(I did help, some). It was nice to eat my pizza, drink a Diet Coke and lick a zillion calories worth of cookie batter. We did stray on the recipe a bit in the middle with the ganache- 10 tea bags to steep 1/2 cup of cream was too much in my opinion, so we just used 6. That leaves me just 3 Earl Grey tea bags... sad day. Also, we didn't sprinkle the cookies with sugar as the recipe suggests- to me, it was just for looks. The cookies are already super-rich and needed nothing else. 

They pose well for pictures and seem to be a perfect snack for Santa. The Earl Grey and White Chocolate go great with the very chocolaty goodness of the thumbprints.

Chocolate Thumbprints
from Martha Stewart Living magazine
Makes 60-ish

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
2 teaspoons coarse salt
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/3 cups sugar, plus more for rolling
2 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350◦ Sift flour, cocoa powder, and salt into a small bowl. Cream butter and sugar with a mixer until pale and fluffy. Reduce speed to medium, and add yolks, cream and vanilla. Scrape sides of bowl. Beat in flour mixture until just combined.

2. Roll balls using 2 teaspoons dough for each, and roll each in sugar. Place 1 inch apart on parchment-lined baking sheets. With the handle of a wooden spoon, press gently in the center of each to create and indentation. Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until cookies are set, about 10 minutes. (If indentations lose definition, press centers again.) Let cool slightly on baking sheets. Transfer cookies on wire racks, and let cool.

3. Spoon warm ganache into center of each cookie. Let stand until firm, about 15 minutes. Cookies will keep, covered, for up to 3 days.

Earl Grey-White Chocolate Ganache
from TS

½ cup heavy cream
8 ounces white chocolate, cut into small pieces
10 teabags Earl Grey tea
2 Tbsp butter, softened

In a small saucepan, start heating heavy cream on low. Add tea bags. Let steep on low until tea flavor has been extracted, approximately 10 to 15 minutes. Remove tea bags. Add warm cream to white chocolate and stir until chocolate melts. Add butter and continue stirring until incorporated.


Lots of fun baking with my sister(she just ate one piece of pizza) and appreciate Kelly for getting the Bake-N-Blog organized. Here are some links that you'll want to check out.

Staci Edwards - Original Bake-N-Blog instigator.
Tiffany the Famous Chef - Check her page and click that 'Like' button, why don't ya?


  1. impressed :) they do look yummy and liked your sisters FB page :)

  2. OMG, I laughed all the way through your post! It's hilarious!! :-D

    I totally understand your dilemma - pizza... cookies... pizza... cookies... how do you decide!? You're lucky you have a sister who's a pastry chef!

    Your cookies with the really long name look delicious. I love chocolate and I love white chocolate, so the two together = PERFECTION! :-)

    Thanks for being the only Bake-N-Blog dude, and thanks to Tiffany for being a good sport and helping you out :-) I'm off to check out her web page...


  3. OK... those look super fancy! I wish I had a pastry chef in the family!

  4. Green Door- Thanks for the like over at Tiff's, I know she appreciates it!

    Kelly- Glad you laughed through it... better than crying! Ha!

    Carissa- They are super fancy! Having a pastry chef in the family is like a double-sided sword... desserts are always extra-yummy, but elastic waistbands are almost necessary for holidays. ;-)

  5. Sooooo, after this post gets around, and the ladies discover you are a handsome (duh) dude who bakes, how will you ever have time for lounging with a pizza again? You'll spend so much time answering that phone in your left hand! "Oh, hi (breathless voice). Is Baker Boy Nick there? I want to send him a picture of myself...eating a cookie."

  6. Alexandra- *blush* Oh who am I kidding, I already get those calls... don't you have my number? ;-)

  7. I don't have your number! Send me your number! ;-)

    The only thing my hubby bakes are Ghirardelli brownies from a box. Which actually are quite yummy, so I guess I won't complain :-)

  8. Thanks everyone for looking at my page. It is a work in progress so keep a check on it. It will probably change pretty soon. Thanks again Nick for letting me be apart of your Bake-N-Blog. I really enjoyed the time we spent together!

  9. Wow, this was a really quality post. In theory I’ d like to write like this too – taking time and actual effort to make a great article… but what can I say… I procrastinate a lot and in no way appear to get something done.

  10. Kelly- Call me anytime, Lady! Number is on the sidebar!

    Tiffany- Thanks again for your help!

    DGC- Secret to my success? Procrastination... It's best when you just throw it together than over-think it. At least that's my opinion. ;-)


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