Cookie Cream Tart

Cookie cream tarts are so versatile, you can make any shape or size you want.  I chose to make an apple tree because it reminds me of autumn and let’s face it, there’s something special about apple trees.  They stir up so many emotions of happiness and childhood like innocence.  What is it about apple trees? Maybe it’s the way they look in picture books and paintings? It makes you feel safe and it’s just so very comforting.

My cookie cream tart has a sweet layer of protection to keep the cream from making it soggy.  I also use a tiny trick to keep the french macarons from getting soggy as well.  I sometimes wonder if I would have had finished this on time in the tent.  There are so many components to this bake but it’s totally worth it!



I know it seems like I know absolutely nothing about baking because I keep starting off with the sentence, “I had no idea what this was until I was given the assignment”, but I can assure you, I simply live under a rock.  I don’t travel or watch regular television enough to know what’s out there in the world.  I just experiment in my kitchen and never leave the house unless I’m going to the grocery store or orchard.  Enter, rugelach.  Another thing I had never tried until I made it but now, I can’t go back.  Why would anyone ever want to make dough without cream cheese? I’m going to start putting cream cheese in everything I make from now on.

Rugelach is a sweet cookie/pastry (?!) I can’t.  I can’t call it a cookie.  Sorry, it just feels wrong.  It traditionally has dried fruits and nuts but I chose to go rogue and made a savory one.

To those of you who hate goat cheese, give it a chance! I can understand why people might be repelled by the mere thought of it but hey, I think beer is disgusting and repulsive, so to each his own.  Speaking of haters, if you don’t like Taylor Swift, we can’t be friends.  I don’t hate but I hate haters.

I don’t know why my rugelach video turned into a Taylor Swift rampage but there you have it.  I’m a crazy Mary Berry and Taylor Swift fanatic.  Furthermore, I love Ellen.  I first saw Ellen on her sitcom when I was a teenager and have been an Ellen maniac ever since.  I digress.  What is it about rugelach that makes me want to veer off topic?!




Having to come up with a recipe for something you’ve never even tried before is tough to do but when you have to perfect it so you can do it on national television under a time restraint, that’s a whole different ball game.  I had never even tried an éclair before creating these recipes but they’re actually quite simple to make.  My favorite part is making little cream puffs with the leftover choux.  Which I’ve never had before either until I made them!

The story behind these éclairs go back to my childhood.  My g-ma on my dad’s side was my bestest friend in the whole world.  I miss her dearly.  I started baking when I was 15 and back then, I didn’t know that you could make a cake from scratch.  I know.  How naive (or just plain stupid).  So, I used to make her these awful cakes and cookies out of bags and boxes but my poor grandmother, she ate them anyway and said they were delicious.  If I can give one advice to anyone reading this, take cookies out of the oven before they look well done! Cookies bake as they cool and if you think they’re still raw and leave them in, you’ll end up with teeth chippers.  That was a long time ago and I’ve made thousands of cookies ever since but I will never forget how confused I was back then.  Anyway, I really wish she were alive today so I could bake her things from scratch.  Her favorite fruits were grapefruits and pomegranates so it was only fitting to make grapefruit and pomegranate éclairs.

My g-ma on my mum’s side, wow.  What an incredible human being.  She is the most generous and loving person out there who feeds the homeless and absolute strangers.  She literally gives the clothes off her back (and my grandfathers for that matter).  I remember she used to drink coffee every evening after dinner and she gave me my first sip when I was 5.  I remember she used to tell me coffee was for adults and I shouldn’t drink it but she still let me finish her last sip occasionally.  She moved back to Korea a few years ago and I miss her so very much.  If I could send her a case of hazelnut coffee creamer, I totally would.  She always made food for us and fed us like we weren’t ever going to eat again.  I so wish I could make her something in return.  So, these hazelnut coffee éclairs are for her.


Peacock Pie

I’ve never even heard of a slab pie before I was given this assignment.  The explanation is in the name.  It’s just a slab of pie!  I think my goal was to come up with something unusual and interesting for the judges to taste.  This pie is wonderfully aromatic from the amount of fruits it contains.  The sweet caramelized filling is hit by a flavor of warmth coming from the bourbon and cocoa and leaves a hint of spice from the cayenne pepper.  It truly is one of a kind!

Ginger and lemon cakes

When I was first given the assignment to make 18 classic american mini cakes, I was stumped.  There are so many flavors and so many combinations! How do I choose?  I didn’t want to go the classic carrot cake route or even chocolate cake (which I LOVE).  I wanted it to be classic and american yet different.  These ginger cakes have a rich and sweet ginger flavor with a tangy twist.

At peace

So, the first two episodes of The Great American Baking Show aired last night and it was fantastic.  I thought it would be tough to watch but it was rather exciting to see how happy all of my fellow bakers were.  My husband pointed out to me once the show ended that I sighed about 87 times while watching and at one point it looked like I was about to hyperventilate but it was lovely to see what everyone else baked compared to mine.

I let the kiddies stay up to watch about 20 minutes of it and they already have their favorites.  Well, my son does.  Full disclosure, he wants John or Andrea to win because of the bond we shared but my daughter surprisingly watched it in slight contempt and said “Mommy, you would have won.  You’re the best.”  I promise I did not make her say that.   She’s just my biggest fan.

I know it’s been a roller coaster ride of emotions and meltdowns but I am so happy for each and every one of the contestants and I hope none of them went through what I did when they get eliminated.  I know I never got eliminated but I think that would have almost made it easier for me to accept than what happened.

On a separate note, my videos are coming along and I am so looking forward to sharing my bakes with everyone.  Or that one person that accidentally stumbles upon it.