Two more days and October is upon us. That means Halloween cookies are in the works. I have a fun new mini pack coming up, along with the minis I did last year. The Halloween cookies will be offered a couple of times in October. Make sure you're following me on Instagram and/or Facebook for updates. You don't want to miss out. As always, thank you! I appreciate you all.
Just a quick post to introduce my mini Valentine packs. I'm so excited to offer mini packs for Valentine's Day. I have three different packs available. The mini packs are $8 each. I will also have regular-sized cookies available for $4 to $5 each. For my local customers (Ventura County), place your order through the website or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you're one of my Orange County customers, my cookies will be at Nikki's Kitchen, starting this weekend on a first come, first served basis. They freeze beautifully, if you want to pick some up early.
I have a lot of different pictures on this website, of my Valentine cookies from the past. Check Instagram and Facebook to see which ones I'm offering this year. I'm sorry, I can't do custom orders for the Holidays.
I'm looking forward to filling your cookie needs! Thank you!!
Happy New Year!!
It’s 2019 and I’m ready for a new year. I have lots of fun things planned for ML Sweets in the upcoming year. Right now, I’m working on Valentine’s Day designs. Keep checking Instagram and Facebook for the lastest news. Let me know, if you have any specific Valentine’s Day designs. It such a fun time of the year.
Just want to thank everyone again for a great 2018. As always, I appreciate you all. Thank you for the cookies and cake orders!!
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! What a crazy busy last few months I had. I’ve barely had time to breathe. I can’t complain though, it’s so much fun creating cookies and cakes for all my customers. Speaking of customers---I’ve gotten so many new ones in the month of December. I appreciate you!! For those of you that don’t know, I’m a small business. Everything is done by me, by hand--all the mixing, baking, decorating, bagging, invoicing, emails, and delivering. When I get super busy, my daughter help me bag and tie my cookies (I even got her to flood a few cookies!!). Doesn’t sound like much, but it’s a huge help.
Here's something new. I got into mini cookies!!! Starting with Halloween and through December. Why oh why have I never offered these before? My daughter told me to do sets of cookies, but I never got around to it. Little did I know how popular they would be.
These mini packs were big sellers. I couldn’t keep up with the demand. They are perfect gifts for teachers and friends. The Christmas minis were great stocking stuffers.
Here are my favorite cookies in regular size, from Halloween through December. They are the perfect cookie size. I can’t pick a favorite, but I especially LOVE the elf cookie. His rosy cheeks make me smile.
Looking forward to 2019, I’m planning on offering mini packs for all the holidays. I’m already thinking about Valentine’s Day and Easter. I know, it sounds crazy, but I have to be one step ahead. I’m still offering custom cookie designs. Just send me an email at email@example.com.
Thank you once again for supporting my business. I look forward to creating cookies and cakes for you.
If you've been following me, you know I'm branching out and testing myself with new technique and recipes. I follow a blog called Sally's Baking Addiction. September’s baking challenge is pate a choux dough. This is what cream puffs and eclairs are made of. I’m sure you’ve tasted one or two. I was really excited for this challenge. It’s not surprising to many of you, but I watch a lot of baking shows on TV. One of my favorites is the Kids Baking Challenge. When I saw these kids making pate a choux dough, I couldn’t believe it! These kids are 9, 10 , 11 years old and they’re making things I’ve never even heard of. I have heard of pate a choux, but have never attempted it. I tried it and here’s how it went. Just a few ingredients, so that didn’t sound too hard.
The first steps are done on the stove. That was something new for me. The ingredients mixed together really. Everything was looking good. I put the mixture into a piping bag and onto the baking sheet they went.
The recipe said to bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350 and bake for another 10 minutes. In my mind, I’m thinking that temperature is too high and too long to bake it. They always say, the first time you try a recipe, make it exactly as written. After that, you can tweak it however you want. Well, here’s what happened when I followed the exact directions for cooking time. Too dark!!! Over baked. Knowing my wacky kitchen it’s probably my oven and not Sally’s recipe.
So, on to the next batch. I kept the oven temp at 400, but didn’t keep them in as long. Here’s what happened to these. It’s trial and error with these fragile little pillows of dough.
I went ahead and filled the first batch with pastry cream, sprinkled a bit of powered sugar on them and drizzled them with chocolate. The bottoms were a little too done, but they were delicious nonetheless.
All in all, I’m really happy to stretch myself. The more I challenge myself, the better baker I’ll become.
Thanks for stopping by my blog. Until the next time......
My search never seems to end for the perfect vanilla cake. I’ve been on a mission for quite some time. Now that I’m making more cakes, it’s been in the back of my mind. I think I’ve found the perfect vanilla cake recipe and then I don’t like it.
Vanilla (or white) cake is a nemesis for many a cake bakers. The problem with vanilla cake recipes, is that it all too often they comes out dense and dry. Why this is, is a mystery to me. I love my other flavors of cakes. My chocolate cake I could eat all day long. My carrot cake--OH to die for. Both my chocolate cake and carrot cake have won first prize at the Ventura County Fair! I’m super proud of that. More on that on another post.
Back to my vanilla cake. I’m looking for a vanilla cake that has great flavor and a soft crumb that also holds up nicely. This past couple of weeks I’ve tried a few different recipes. Here’s one that I baked today. Don't mind the few crumbs that are coming off the cake. It just means it's super moist and that's a good thing.
What makes a perfect vanilla cake? Is it the addition of buttermilk? extra vanilla?, oil? Do you mix it for a long time or do you not mix it? It’s more scientific than you would think. Again, why just vanilla cake? I couldn’t tell you. I just know that we bakers have banged our heads against the wall more than once, when it comes to vanilla cake.
Here is the cake all frosted and decorated. I love the beautiful flower on top and the sprinkles.
One of my goals this summer was to challenge myself and go outside the cookie and cake world. I wouldn’t say I’ve been in a baking rut, because I love what I do, but honestly, I haven’t baked anything but cookies and the occasional birthday cake in about two years. That needs to change.
For years I’ve followed a woman named Sally. Sally writes a blog and has the most mouthwatering pictures of desserts. Her blog is sallysbakingaddiction.com In the past, I believe I’ve used some of her recipes, but that was on a rare occasion. One of her Facebook posts caught my eye about a month ago. She has a monthly challenge for all her followers. I thought this was a great idea! All she asks is that you try the recipe, post a picture of it on social media, using #sallysbakingchallenge, and one person is the winner each month. Now, I really don’t care about winning. Hmm, well maybe I do a little, but I thought "what a great way to challenge myself and broaden my baking horizons".
For the month of July, the challenge was apple hand pies. I’ve heard of hand pies, but certainly have never tried them. Homemade pie crust is an art and something I’ve never mastered. The ingredients have to be chilled to the right temperature and you have to be careful not to overwork your dough. Very temperamental. My aunt Carolyn used to make the best pies. She would bring one to every Thanksgiving dinner. I’m so sorry I never asked her for her recipe or her pie making technique before she passed away. I’m sure she’s with me in spirit though.
At a recent family gathering, there was no better time to try these little beauties. I could make up a bunch, pass them out at the party and get opinions. Also, I wouldn’t have a bunch of little hand pies sitting around the house, begging to be eaten.
I started out with the making the filling. It called for an addition of cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg. I wasn’t keen on the taste of the allspice and nutmeg, so I thought I had ruined the whole thing. But, I kept on. They say, when you’re trying a new recipe, whatever it may be, to make it just as written the first time and then you can tweak it, so that’s what I did. But I made a mental note to leave out the allspice and nutmeg the next time I made them.
Here are the finished pies. I was so surprised at how they turned out. I thought they’d be a little on the dry side, but they were delicious and just perfect!! I’m looking forward to making these again. They are the perfect individual size, hence the name hand pies, for bar-b-ques, beach parties, summer get togethers or just about for any occasion. I’m thinking of other fillings too. Apple is my favorite, but cherry, peach or even a savory pie would be delicious.
I’m very happy I stumbled upon this challenge. I can’t wait to see what the August challenge is. I’ll be sure and write about it.
Thanks for reading and, as always, if you are in need of a special dessert, please don’t hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or www.mlsweets.com
If you haven’t noticed, unicorns are everywhere! When did this craze begin? Who knows how long it will last? Usually, trends come and go, but unicorns have outlasted any trend that I can think of. Well, maybe except for gnomes. People go crazy for gnomes, probably as much as unicorns, possibly more. I think gnomes are loved more by adults than children. I remember as a kid, thinking and dreaming of unicorns. What is it about these magical, mythical creatures? According to Wikipedia, the unicorn dates back to 1555, (I take this statement with a grain of salt, but they’ve been around for eons.) I wonder if people loved them as much back then, as they do today. They say the unicorn is a symbol of peace and beauty. I think that’s what has always drawn people to them. Children LOVE unicorns. Maybe it brings out the child in all of us, with it’s beautiful colors and magical qualities.
The baking world is no exception. It’s filled with unicorns or every shape and size and the demand is not letting up. I’ve made unicorn cookies for the past couple of years and now I’m excited to say that I just made my first unicorn cake. It was so much fun, from the fondant ears to the horn that I painted gold. I’ve seen unicorns in every color imaginable. This is what makes decorating them unique. Their mane can be any combination of colors, the more the merrier. Like I said, people go nuts for them. As long as they bring a little happiness to our lives, I don’t see them going away any time soon.
Sometimes I make cookies and love them so much, I can't stop looking at them. I want to keep them for myself, but of course, I always let them go, in the hopes that they will brighten someone's day.
This mermaid is one of those cookies. I just love the colors and I love her sweet little face. These cookies were for my sweet niece, who turned 18 and graduated from high school in May. I just got around to making them for her. I hope she didn't mind the wait.
I have a few other "under the sea" cutters that I'm dying to try out. I'll keep you posted on that.
Is this a salad or a cake? A friend of mine sent me a salad cake video on Facebook and asked if I could make it for her son's birthday. I love a challenge (and the fondant work looked forgiving), so I said yes. It was such a fun adventure for me. I don't work with fondant very often, so covering a cake is super scary to me. With this cake, it really didn't matter, because the cake is in a bowl and the top is covered with "lettuce". The lettuce leaves are made out of wafer paper, which I have never worked with. It was really easy and it looked just like lettuce. I finished the cake and she loved it. Now, I'm looking for some new projects with cake. Stay tuned.
Head over to my Instagram page, www.instagram.com/mlsweetsofficial/ to see the cake after it's been cut. Tag me with cake you'd like to see me make or cookies. ;)
Mary Liz, baker of all things good.