Our Unplanned Hiatus

The blog has been DEAD for a while, hasn’t it? Well, not to make excuses… eh… whatever, I’m going to make excuses. I’ve been consumed with moving from Illinois to Wisconsin (but hurrrrrrah for being back in my home state!) & Val has been consumed with problems/issues/annoyances at work. These issues have caused our baking projects to flat line , unfortunately. We’ll be back, bakin’ up a storm, before you know it though. Until then, I’m going to share some of my favorite links, baking supplies, and other favorite things.

Favorite Baking Blogs
Bakerella – http://bakerella.blogspot.com
She is famous for her cake pops, which are basically little balls of cake on a stick covered in candy coating. Her projects are always creative and I think I may have come across the person who is MORE meticulous than I am.

Cake Wrecks – http://cakewrecks.blogspot.com
When professional cakes go horribly wrong. Trust me on this one, these cakes will bring a smile (and a cringe) to your face.

Coco Cake Cupcakes – http://cococakecupcakes.blogspot.com
Masters of fondant and cupcakes that just look so damn perfect.

Fancy Flours – http://fancyflours.wordpress.com
The blog that belongs to one of my favorite baking stores.

Joy the Baker – http://www.joythebaker.com
She is a Los Angeles-based baker that really, really knows her stuff.

Love and Olive Oil – http://www.loveandoliveoil.com
A baking and cooking blog. Every single post looks so delicious.

Pioneer Woman Cooks – http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/
Pioneer Woman (aka Ree) lives on a ranch in the middle of nowhere in Oklahoma. Her blog chronicles her cooking adventures, her photography, and how this former city girl is adjusting to 10+ years living on a ranch. She’s funny, honest, and her recipes are really yummy.

Smitten Kitchen – http://www.smittenkitchen.com
This is probably my favorite cooking/baking blog. Deb is a NYC-based woman who loves to cook and bake, has a great sense of humor, and inspires me to want to try every single freaking recipe she’s published.

Visions of Sugar Plum – http://www.visionsofsugarplum.com
Equals YUM. Trust me.

My Favorite Baking Supplies

  • First things first, you must buy a KitchenAid stand mixer. I know they are expensive (so ask for it for Christmas!), but they are SO worth it. They make your baking life easy and breezy and a little bit more fun (especially if you choose a cool color). Mine is yellow, my favorite happy color. If I couldn’t have yellow, I’d have turquoise. But I digress. Enough color talk.
  • Disposable pastry bags. Who the hell wants to clean goopy, sticky frosting out of a re-usable bag every time? I don’t.
  • Two good-quality 9″ round cake pans. And a few other crazy-shaped pans for fun (OK, I have more than a “few”, I just can’t help myself.)
  • An angled spatula for frosting cakes or cupcakes. Trust me, the angle is key and somehow makes thing so much easier.
  • Sprinkles sprinkles sprinkles and more sprinkles. It’s an addiction, really.
  • Comfort-grip cookie cutters. They’re so much easier on your hands, especially when you have to make A LOT of cut-out cookies.
  • A cookie scoop. Kind of like an ice cream scoop, but smaller. It’s nice because it allows all of your cookies to be the same size – and they’ll bake more evenly and consistently because of it.
  • A microplane grater/zester. If a recipe calls for lemon zest, do it. Don’t try to use lemon juice instead…cause that’s cheating and it just won’t taste as good!
  • A pastry scraper. Like this one.
  • Stainless steel measuring cups. For some reason, I just think that they are better and more accurate.

So there you have it, some of my favorite baking tools and supplies. I could have written for days on this topic… :) And now, for my last section:

Yays and Nays

  • Yay! Wilton is having a tent sale this summer! May 29th through June 16th in Woodridge, IL! Val and I will be there for sure.
  • Yay! Martha Stewart. I don’t really care what you think of Martha on a personal level. I’m sure she can be a bit of a bitch and she’s does some shady things (like that whole going-to-prison thing). But trust me, she knows her stuff. Her brand is consistently impressive – the recipes are ALWAYS good, her line of cookware is great, and she even has a fantastic scrapbooking line out now (whee!). I own all of her books and they are my bibles, as I am relatively new to cooking and baking and still learning a lot. I will definitely be at the bookstore bright and early on June 2nd when her cupcake book is released!
  • Nay! Silicon bakeware. Ugh. In theory, it seems so nice, but really, it’s so annoying. It’s hard to clean, wobbly, and just not very impressive. Stick with metal cookware and baking pans.
  • Yay! Summertime. Aside from the humidity, there isn’t one thing that I don’t like about summer. And it will give me the perfect excuse to make summer-y recipes like margarita cookies….and lemon cookies… and anything with delicious, in-season fresh fruit.

That’s it. We’ll be back soon with some new recipes!

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