Baking Me Crazy!

I have some exciting news! I created my own Etsy Shop to spread my sweet love of sweets across the country! The name is so easy for me to come by because I do love to bake myself crazy, literally. I will be listing previously decorated sweets & random designs that I bake to showcase. There might not be a design you like because you’re just so fancy, contact me and I’ll get my creative mojo working. Hosting any sort of party or get together can get really expensive & hectic. Which is where I come in for all your baking needs! Let me do all the stressing for you! Purchasing cookies at Publix is awesome, I love their bakery, but something about homemade cookies is just on another level. More variety of treats will come with time & demand. I’m working on cupcakes & customized chocolates! All treats are handmade by me & decorated by me. A one woman show! When I bake for my fellow friends & family, they just love my sweets & creativity & I’m sure you will too! Try them out for yourself!

Halloween Coooookies 👻🎃🕸🕷

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays besides my birthday. As usual, you call you friend & figure out what you guys are doing & who’s invited. This will definitely involve a pot lock or a Halloween party! Sweets come in all shapes & flavors to celebrate Halloween. I chose my favorite Sugar Cookie Recipe. Very easy & short cooking time meaning you can make more batches! I ended up making 2 batches of the sugar cookies & decorating them as I please. To decorate these cookies, Royal Icing is the perfect way to go! I wanted to design the cookies with as few colors as possible. For every color I want to use, I have to make 2 consistency: floss consistency & a thick consistency. So I decided to go with all the predictable Halloween colors: orange, white, black, purple, & green. For cookies, I like to keep the royal icing thickness on the thin side just because I don’t want a thick layer of royal icing on top of the cookie. For this reason, I use a Wilton tip #2. The tip is small enough to flood the cookie, but not too much. Once I traced my cookies & flooded all of them to specific color. I let all the cookies dry with room fans. Be careful how close to position the fans & not too high of a speed. I let them dry on my kitchen island for 30-45 minutes. Now comes the fun part!!!! Decorating & being creative is my favorite! But once again, at the end of the day the best part of making these cookies is being creative & being able to eat your finished product! These cookies are now being sold at Cafe Gelato in Pompano Beach, FL! Life’s short, easy dessert first!

🎀Ladies In The Industry: Breast Cancer Charity Luncheon for REMAX Services🎀

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I had the pleasure of customizing cookies for Ladies In The Industry: Breast Cancer Charity Luncheon for REMAX Services. The event hit really close to home so I was very excited to make 80 cookies! This was my first order of cookies that someone besides my mama purchased from me! Shoutout to my best friend Rebecca, the marketing goddess, who works at REMAX Services of Boca Raton for ordering cookies! All I was told were to make them appropriate for a Breast Cancer charity event & I had the perfect idea!

I’ve already made Breast Cancer ribbon cookies previously for my mother, so I figured I’d do it again! This time I had to make 80 cookies! I got so organized & planned everything from start to finish. As per usual, things didn’t go as planned. The cookies actually came out better than expected because of the mistakes a made throughout the way. I baked homemade sugar cookies made in my kitchen, made with love.

I designed 80 sugar cookies with 4 different designs using Royal Icing Doing the same design for a cookie can be boring so I’m glad I mixed things up. Packaging the cookies was also fun to make. I wanted to create a foldable paper with my logo & info as well as a breast cancer related quote to staple to the clear round baggie. I created this on a number of apps. Rebecca created my logo which I’m so happy about! Pinterest helped me find a quote that was appropriate for the event.

Since I wanted to fold the paper over & stapled the bag to keep it secure, I took my logo & flipped it upside down. This would create the look I’m looking for, trust the process. After I had those images, I went to an app that creates photo collages. It’s a long process & I will definitely do a blog post about it one day in the future.

The bagging of the cookies were bought from Michaels, perfect My favorite place to be! I packaged the cookies individually in clear round bag & they look amazing! The one thing I would do differently would package the cookies in a shallow box that fits 10 cookies rather than a bag. That would eliminate the staking of cookies. Some cookies broke, which I am ashamed of, but that’s the way the cookie crumbles. The cookies were placed on all the tables at each place setting! Super cute idea! This was my first of many customized cookies. Would I do it all over again after all the sleep lost for cookie?!? Yes, I definitely would! So excited to see where my baking takes me!

🎀Team Ella🎀

With October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I myself will be participating in a 5k! As some of you may know from reading my blog, my beautiful mama was diagnosed this year with Breast Cancer & is still receiving chemotherapy & soon radiation. I really wanted to do something with my family & friends to support my beautiful mama, I’ve walked for causes before in high school & with my dance studio, but this walk is super special. Finding a walk on a Sunday, my one day off, was really tough to find! With luck, my mama found a walk on a local University campus! Making Strides of South Palm Beach. If you live in South Florida & are interested in walking for a purpose, please join us! So there will be tons of people there & I wanted Team Ella to wear something where everyone knew we were walking for Team Ella. As I thought of some ideas, I finally made my mind up & choose to make shirt pins! The main reason was because it was the most inexpensive project to make for a group of 10, so far.

All I needed were a few materials!

Materials

  • Customizable Pins 2.25in. x 5.7in
  • Pink Ribbon 1 1/2 in x 4yds
  • Scissors
  • Picture of person
  • Pencil

I started to plan my trip to the store, I check my Michaels App, Joann App, & Walmart App. If I don’t go to the store without a list, I will be indecisive & look at everything & feel overwhelmed. I searched each app for the pins & ribbon. I wasn’t quit sure which store would have them for sale. Michaels is 0.5 miles away from my home so I decided to go there! The app also told me which isle to go to & there they were! There were just the amount that I needed, So convenient! The ribbon section had just the right size ribbon I was looking for, I personally wanted to use a thick size ribbon so it would be big & resemble the Brest cancer ribbon. The pins came in a package of 4, I bought 3 packs for $2.99 each. The ribbon was $4.99 per roll, just incase I bought 2. Everything else I had in my crafting closet. Yes a whole closet for crafting rather than clothes. I spent $20.09. Its not about the money though, it’s the thought that counts. I know my mama will appreciate whatever I make for her.

Before I even begin to start crafting, I like to clean up my area and make sure the counter top is clean so shmutz does not get on it for some reason. I (meaning my boyfriend Jeremy) first wanted to trace the pin around the picture of my mama. This way it would fit exactly inside the pin.

I cut around the picture exactly where I traced the line.

I printed out the picture too close together so that’s why it’s cut off more on the edges. I popped the picture in and it fit nicely, even though there is space on the sides with the big pink ribbon behind it.

I then attached the back part of the pin by just clicking it in gently. This plastic pins are fragile. I broke 2 while separating the front & back part of the pin. Half of the project is completed! Now it was time for a snack break! I made Jeremy & I PB&J sandwich’s! We have them pretty much everyday. Now to the final part, create the breast cancer ribbon.

The first thing you want to do is measure how long you want the ribbon to hang. I wanted mine pretty long so I measured it at 3 inches.

At this point, you want to fold your ribbon. Very simple right!

Now, carefully fold the ribbon forward. You can fold it in front of the ribbon that’s already there or fold it towards the back. There’s no right or wrong way to do it. But there only 2 ways to do it! You do want the ribbon to hang at the same length. I always cut longer so I’m always able to cut more if necessary.

The final step is so add the pin to the ribbon! The pin will keep the ribbon at the shape you want & it will pin to my shirt. You first want to poke the ribbon as far right as you want to go. As you can see from the picture above, you can see that my pin poked through both ribbons so it will stay together. You can tell cause the ribbon lines from behind the ribbon.

Lastly, I poked the ribbon from the back to the front so the pin would be tight & secure. You don’t want to grab too much ribbon or not enough ribbon. You don’t want the pin to be hanging off & you definitely don’t want to wrinkle the ribbon by taking too much. And now I’m finished!

So easy & fun to make! Now I gotta make 9 more! Thank G-d my boyfriend Jeremy was able to help me cut all the pictures for me. He loves helping me craft which makes me think he is so perfect! I’m so happy how these came out! My mama will love them! Now all the people on our team can wear what they want & wearing thesec pins puts the cherry on top of the cake! Go Team Ella!

Making Strides for Team Ella

On March 28, 2018 Ella, my beautiful mama, was diagnosed with breast cancer. We all know that early detection is key, & she is greateful that is her case. She’s  currently undergoing 8 rounds of chemo, which will be followed by 5 weeks of radiation. Both will be completed by New Year.

She cannot walk this year, as she’s  undergoing chemotherapy, and cannot be among large crowds of people due to infection.

We ask that you walk with Ella’s family and friends  and support our team and the cause.

Donating to Making Strides for Breast Cancer Team Ella is also a way to support not only Ella, but millions of woman & men diagnosed with Breast Cancer.

Click any of the pictures above to be directed to Team Ella’s Donation Page!

#NOFEARONLYFAITH

Dx 3/28/2018, IDC, Right, 1.5 cm, & .9 cm Stage mT1N1(biopsy proven)M, Grade 2, 10/19   nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-

Summer All Year Round

Living in South Florida, pretty much everyday is summer! I felt like I needed to keep the summer vibe going in my house. I recently bought the Sweet Sugarbelle Cookie Cutter Set with imprint stamp. I purchased it at Michaels with my 40% coupon. My purse is full of coupons & such, that’s why it’s so big! Always have them in your purse! The cookie cutter imprint set is very easy to use & super helpful for outlining the cookie specifically by color! Most the time I would design free hand, but this time all I had to do was stamp each cookie! *Tip: Putting the stamp in flour before imprinting the cookie works better to remove it from the cookie. I didn’t have flour for the first few cookies & the cookie was stuck to the imprint. I eventually peeled it off, but had to put the cookie dough in my scrap pile. I would personally buy more cookie supplies from this company.

Royal Icing is a type of icing that is used to decorate sugar cookies, gingerbread houses, cakes and other desserts. Royal icing can be made many ways using either raw egg whites or meringue powder. I used meringue powder in my royal icing recipe along with powdered sugar, salt, vanilla extract, lite corn syrup and water.

4 Cups confectioners sugar

5 Tablespoons meringue powder

1/2 Teaspoon of salt

½ Cup room temperature water

2 Teaspoons vanilla extract

2 Tablespoons lite corn syrup

By adding small amounts of water to the icing, you can get many different royal icing consistencies. A spray bottle filled with fresh water comes in handy when you need to add small amounts at a time to get the consistency needed.

Stiff consistency is the consistency that the icing is when you mix the initial batch. This is the thickest consistency of royal icing. It is used to glue gingerbread house pieces together, pipe roses, borders and other things that require the icing to hold a very stiff shape.

Piping consistency is thinner than stiff consistency but is still able to hold its shape when piped. Think of the consistency of Greek yogurt when you stir it. When you pull your spoon out of the icing you should see a soft peak. You’ll be able to use this for piping outlines on larger surfaces that you want to flood, piping letters and borders, and royal icing transfers.

Flood consistency is the thinnest consistency of royal icing. It can be anywhere from 5-20 second consistency royal icing that is used to fill in the larger areas of a cookie.

15 Second consistency is what I use the majority of the time to outline and flood sugar cookies. If you drag a knife through the icing, you should be able to count to 15 before the line disappears and the surface is smooth.

TIP: If you want more working time the with royal icing, you can double the amount of meringue powder to 10 tablespoons in the recipe. This will avoid it from crusting over for a longer period of time so that you can move the icing around before it sets up. Meringue powder can get expensive so once I was comfortable, I backed it down to 5 tablespoons in my recipe.

Your main goal is to make the border on your cookie. The purpose for this is when you fill it in with the flood consistency royal icing won’t pour over your cookie. It will give your cookie a glossy look you’re looking for. I use a Wilton Tip #4. It works quite well for me. I’ve tried to use ziplock bags with a small cut at the very tip. The royal icing cake out like ribbon width. That’s not what you want. You want round & circular like a rope. Once the outlining is finished, you definitely want the icing to dry completely. Ideally you can wait 24 hours for the border to dry or 6 hours. Your decision. I personally waited 24 hours.

Store your royal icing in an airtight container either in the refrigerator or on a counter-top at room temperature for up to three weeks. This is only if you are using meringue powder to make your royal icing, NOT raw egg whites. If you are using REAL egg whites, the frosting with stay good as long as it’s covered correctly. I personally put my icing in pastry bags with specific tips. With project like decorating cookies, planning is very necessary! It helps you brain storm & collect all your ideas. I like to change my mind a lot so if I have a plan, I stick to the plan! Practice makes perfect as well as patience! Have fun & don’t forget..eat dessert first!

Baking For The Boobies

Being in my kitchen is one of my favorite places. My mama raised me in the kitchen to help her with meals and help set the table. The picture above is my Mama & I at 2 years old circa 1994. It’s definitely something a woman should be familiar with. Baking has always been so fun for me and I always loved the whole process. The before and after pictures during my baking are my favorite part to do. I have learned a lot on my own, through the internet, magazines, and friends. Instagram makes it so easy for you to look up anything you want and there are videos and websites to go along with it. It’s just so fabulous! I’ve been stalking royal icing Instagram accounts and I started to follow Corianne’s Custom Cookies. She is a self taught baker whom creates masterpiece cookies! She decorated her special ordered sugar cookies from children’s cartoon characters, wedding theme, sports, glitter, she is a pro at it all! Corianne provides tips & tricks for baking, royal icing consistency, & words of encouragement! Come on, everyone loves a pick me up when baking doesn’t go the right way sometimes. You pick yourself up, learn your mistakes, & do it again! Practice makes perfect! Corianne has her own blog where she posted every so often & she shared her Sugar Cookie Recipe! I had to try it out for myself.

Ingredients

1 Cup (2 sticks) Unsalted Butter

1/2 Granulated Sugar

1/3 Cup Powdered Sugar

1 Egg

2 Tbs. Vanilla Extract

1/2 Tbs. Almond Extract

2 3/4 Cup All Purpose Flour

Directions

1. Mix room temperature butter with granulated sugar.

2. In separate bowl mix egg, vanilla extract, & vanilla extract.

3. Combine egg mixture with butter mixture.

4. Sift flour & powdered sugar together in large bowl.

5. Combine flour mixture to butter mixture. Add in small amounts.

6. Continue to mix until tough dough starts to form and becomes one dough ball.

7. Preheat oven to 390 degrees F.

*NO NEED TO REFRIGERATE!

8. Roll out dough on parchment paper to 1/8 of an inch. Use any cookie cutter your heart desires!

9. Bake cookies for 7-9 minutes.

*This will result in white cookies perfect for decorating.*

I decided to make Breast Cancer Awareness cookies for my beautiful mama who is battling cancer now. She has completed 4/& rounds of chemotherapy. I bake every chance I get because desserts are the only taste buds she hasn’t lost. She tells me everything tasted funny. Some days she doesn’t eat anything besides desserts. I figured these would put a smile on her face. I decided to decorate with some royal icing. The key to royal icing is the consistency! It will make you or break you, write that down. I used a royal icing recipe from a Pinterest account that I follow, but I honestly don’t know which one to cite. Sorry not sorry.

Ingredients

1 1/2 Cup Powdered Sugar (sifted)

1 1/2 Tbs. Milk (almond, soy, whole)

2 Tsp. Light Corn Syrup

1/2 Tsp. vanilla or almond extract

*I doubled recipe due to the amount of cookies to cover.

Directions

1. Sift powdered sugar into mixing bowl.

2. Add milk, extract, & syrup.

3. Mix all together with spatula.

4. Mix together with paddle attachment on standing mixture, on low speed

5. Mix for about 3-5 minutes.

*At this consistency, you will use it to border your design on each cookie. *

6. Put half of batter in a medium bowl. Set aside.

7. Mix the remaining royal icing on low. Add 1 tsp. of water at a time to find the flossing consistency.

*Not too thin, but thick enough to hold its form after 10 seconds. *

8. Add coloring gel before putting into pastry bag.

*Don’t add too many colors because your icing will turn grey. I’ve learned from experience.*

Drawing your border is the first step to decorating your cookie with royal icing. You will you the mixture that you did NOT add water to. Once this is done, let them cookies rest to dry for a few hours. 24 hours is ideal but 2-4 hours is enough learning from experience.

The ribbon cookies are outlined with white with the white circle for the center of the ribbon. I thought it would make it look realistic. Then there would be pink royal icing in my white royal icing border I made. The round cookies, I know I just want to write word on them with the letter “O” and replace them with a pink ribbon.

I really had fun making these even though it took me 3 days! So worth it! They aren’t perfect but they came out amazing & I’m so proud of myself! I will definitely be making more cookies in my future! Practice makes perfect in anything you do! Have fun practicing!

If you don’t like ice cream, we can’t be friends

When you think about dessert, what is the first thing that comes to mind? (Comment below) I love cold, sweet & chocolatey desserts. I’m talking about the good stuff, cheesecake, ice cream, tiramisu, I love them all. But ice cream is literally my guilty pleasure. There is always some sort of ice cream in my freezer, not like my boyfriend whom eats the whole carton of ice cream at a time. Luckily we tend to like different flavors so we don’t have to share! I like to always share everything with my loved ones, but in this case I won’t mind to keep to myself. My favorite ice cream is mint chocolate chip served in some sort of cone. I’m not a ice cream in a cup kind of person.

My family, meaning my mama, Papa, & I, & also my boyfriend of 7 years, run Cafe Gelato in Pompano Beach, FL. We are walking distance from the beach which is primo location. The variety we have is not like any other mom & pop ice cream store. We may not make our product, but we for sure use good quality companies. Our ice creams are delivered directly from Blue Bell. Their ice cream has transformed for the better since their fiasco a couple years ago. Everything is delicious. The one thing I am trying to convince my Papa to buy is a soft serve ice cream machine! I usually get my way so I’ll just be patient & wait.

My mother has always live by the motto “Eat dessert first.” She is so ecstatic to finally own a cafe! You can tell by her excitement in. Is phot! Her role at Cafe Gelato was to taste test everything before we made final decisions on what exactly to buy. She created a table and a rating system as she ate the product, she would jot down her notes. Very organized & sport way to remember whatever everything tastes like. How would you remember all those desserts!? It takes a lot of team work to open up a business. I should know! I’m a co-owner of 5 Girls Burgers, right next door to Cafe Gelato! Yes, you heard me right. We own 2 business right next door to each other. This is one of the best business propositions that fell into our lap. Before Cafe Gelato, there was a family who had a store full of just Italian ice. No ice cream, no bottled water, JUST Italian Ice. My Papa & I found thought very strange to limit yourself to just one type of product. That’s probably why her business was. It successful. Eight months later & she was out of business. My family & I stepped in and turned the store 360 degrees.

Before

After

Having our restaurant right next door has a lot of advantages. 1. The customers whom already dine with us will most likely walk into Cafe Gelato. 2. It’s easier to promote , as we give coupons to everyone dining inside. I’m so proud of what my papa has worked so hard on his entire life. Owning restaurant businesses for 35 years, he has been very successful & I have learned so much from him. I’ve been working with my dad since I was at the age of 13, but not on full blast until I was about 16. Restaurant business is where I grew up & all that I really know how to do. I may not know how to cook, but I sure as hell know how to run a restaurant. Food is a big part of my family & it really brings us together, as do a lot of families. The moral of the story is, I love ice cream & I love my family.

It’s Peanut Butter Cheesecake Time!

I love baking, especially when it’s for someone else. I made a date with my mother to scrapbook with her. We meet once a week to actively continue a scrapbook we started once my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. But I always see her more than once a week. I decided I would bring some goodies we could eat during our craftying! This recipe is no bake! Yes its true. I’m making peanut butter chocolate cheesecake bars! This recipe doesn’t call for any eggs at all so no need for the oven! If you know desserts, cheesecake is served cold. Cheesecake has a specific texture, in which you have to make sure the cream cheese you use for your recipe is at room temperature. There is not need to stick a thermometer in it, but definitely touch it and see if it is soft. The best part of the cheesecake in my opinion is the crust. The crust is made of graham crackers and butter. The next time I make this recipe, I’ll make an Oreo crust! Stay tuned! The middle layer has the cheesecake peanut butter sweetness. The top layer will have the sweet chocolate layer to sandwich everything together. The secret to keeping the layers to form together evenly is to sit each layer in the freezer for an hour at a time. My mother loved these and so did my boyfriend Jeremy. Enjoy these Peanut Butter Chocolate No-Bake Cheesecake Bars & make sure to share with someone!

Ingredients

CRUST:

  • 2 Cups crushed graham crackers
  • 1/2 Cups melted butter

PEANUT BUTTER LAYER:

  • 8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/3 Cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 Cup creamy peanut butter

CHOCOLATE LAYER:

  • 1/2 Cup powdered sugar
  • 1 Cup chocolate chips
  • 1/4 Cup pasteurized heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

1. Mix graham crackers & melted butter together. Set aside. Prepare a 8×8 greased pan. Pat the mixer on the bottom of the pan with a spatula. Put in freezer for one hour for the crust to set.

*Tip* I used another pan the same size to even the layer.

2. While the crust is in the freezer, combine cream cheese, sugar, & creamy peanut butter. Mix until smooth. Once combined all together, pour on top of crust. Put in freezer for one hour.

*Tip* Banging the pan on the counter will level the layer & eliminate bubbles, which will eliminate air bubbles.

3. Combine chocolate & heavy whipping cream. Melt in microwave for 30 seconds exactly. Mix until nice & smooth. Mix powdered sugar to the chocolate. Spread right on top of the peanut butter cheesecake layer. Put in freezer for two hours.

*Tip* Don’t heat chocolate too long because that will harden tour chocolate. It will also burn your chocolate, which won’t taste good.

4. Slice with a knife that is dipped in hot water. Before cutting again, cleaning the knife is necessary. This will help keep the layers clean & not destroy the layers.

Everybody whom I shared my dessert with enjoyed it. Miss Cleo loved the way they smelled! If you decide to make these, please share a final product photo to share with me! It would make my heart smile!

Enjoy!