Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Great December Update

Well hello friends.  My apologies for being missing in action... I know the three people that read this blog were just LOST without it for the past few months :)  (yes people, one of those three people is my mom...another my husband...)  lolol.  So Happiest of Happy New Years to ALL of  my loyal readers! :)  Lots of updates for you.  First off, I sadly stepped down from the MS cupcake baking club in October.  I just felt like with the holidays coming up and the busy schedule I wasn't going to be able to post and bake appropriately.  With a long list of people waiting to join, I didn't want to take up the spot.  I'm hoping to continue baking along with them in the New Year and am continuously inspired by reading all of there blogs.  And yes, I will one way or another make my way through the book :)
That said, I have some old cupcakes to update here as well as a plethora of Christmas baking photos...including, my high volume, first go at ...homemade marshmallows! :)  Me and Mr. Byte gave Homemade Marshmallows and homemade spicy hot cocoa as gifts for the holidays.  Marshmallows went over like hotcakes!  Spicy Hot Cocoa...people either loved it or didn't.  Next year we'll need to figure out a way to balance the flavor out and more evenly distribute the spices in the mix.  Christmas day Momma Byte and I had a cup of cocoa and neither of us really tasted the nor there.  I guess this as good a place to start as any. 
Ladies and Gentlemen.. For the very first time in public, I present to you, Baking Bytes Holiday Marshmallows (Cue  cheesy bride and groom entrance music :) )

The ingredients.  I was surprised at the simplicity of the recipe I found...basically, sugar, sugar and sugar :)  Ok, reality is its not that "Buddy the Elf" simple.  But really, Gelatin, Light Corn Syrup, Granulated Sugar, pinch o salt, lil vanilla and Voila!  The confectioners sugar was used to coat the marshmallows along with a wee bit of corn starch.

First you "proof" the Gelatin in your stand mixer with a little cold water


 Then combine the Sugar, water and corn syrup and bring to a boil.  Pull out that good old candy thermometer.  Bring it up to 240 or softball stage

 With Big Red running I added in the hot candy syrup VERY slowly and carefully to the gelatin

Then gradually increased the speed to HIGH. and whippy whippy whippy for 15 min until you get this wonderful gooey marshmallow cream!  Much better and different than the jar.  oh, at this point add a tablespoon (yes a full TBSP) of GOOD vanilla!   Now I'm a fan of using the good stuff in all baking recipes, but here you really don't want to use the cheap stuff.  The flavor is too strong and you don't want an alcohol-y aftertaste to your marshies.  Unless we were making Marshmallow Martini's (ohhhhh thaaaaaaaats an idea!)

Then, I poured the goo into a 9x13 Pyrex.  Side NOT touch the marshmallow...i not touch the marshmallow.  You will get it in your hair and there will be a knot the size of china.  Guaranteed!


cover the top of the mallows with powdered sugar.  oops...also sift some PS generously over the bottom of the Pyrex before pouring in the marshmallow cream.  And let them sit overnight.  In the AM.  turn them out onto the cutting board and chop 'em up.  I used our handy pizza cutter for this.   Mr. Byte was a big proponent of the pizza cutter...for pizza.  I thought it was unnecessary but now see how wise he is :)  


Then, I used a zip-lock bag and about 1/4 of PS with a TBSP of corn starch.  Through the marshmallows in after cutting and go 'shake and bake" on them!!  This is important, without this you'll store the marshmallows and they'll all stick together.  ick!

Here is a fuzzy close up of the yummy finished product!  These really did go over like gang busters!  and they melt BEAUTIFULLY in a cup of hot cocoa!  I've been told that I need to sell them at the flea markets next year for the holiday.  Mr. Byte already has a spread sheet cost analysis done so - we shall see.  I really enjoyed making them and I'm eagarly awaiting spring where I'll attempt to pipe some marshmallow chicks and bunnies.  :)  stay tuned.

OH HUUUUUGE UPDATE!!! Momma Byte gave me a full set of pastry tips and bags for my birthday in November!  I'm completely excited to further explore decorating.  Coming soon a post of making the MS Christmas Wreath cupcake for Christmas using one of these tips for the first time.  Also, A post showing my use of the bags for the first time when making my very first gingerbread house!

Again, Happy "oh ten" to everyone.  Wishing you a year of happiness, good health, peace in the world and your hearts and lots of yummy baking
UPDATE:  Here is a small pic of my lil' packages of homemade marshies with Hot cocoa....posted specifically for my Uncle Jim! :)

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Challenge Numero Dos! Zucchini Spice!

So, first I was in on this challenge...I kept my eye out for the perfect zucchini....Mr.Byte kept an eye out for coupons (as he does so well) for other items like cream cheese, cinnamon that we needed to replenish etc.  We were doing great!  A grocery run and an accidental stumbling upon a great little green market at lunch one day yielded a fully stocked pantry for this challenge.  
Then - Friday at work - a last minute business trip came up that would have me out of town for the week.  so after canceling the dentist appointments and making arrangements I realized...'oh no, MSC is due this week!'  now - as much as I'm a joiner and wouldn't want to disappoint this particular challenge was going to be fulfilling multiple needs...
1.  the need of keeping me a 'baker in good standing' with the rest of the club.
2. a spontaneous 'judges table' has sprung up in the office to judge my cupcakes each month - much to Mr. Bytes dismay, we do NOT keep full batches of cupcakes in the house with me baking each month ! :) 
3.  I was going to be joining the ladies from Cupcakes Take The Cake on Saturday the 19th at a Brooklyn Flea to sell the remaining cupcakes to benefit a Childrens Cancer Charity.  
So it was a triple whammy of disappointment.  With the corners of my mouth turned deeply south, I sent off emails and made calls letting people know that I was going to have to tap out.

then - i decided to still make a 1/2 batch so that the zucchini wouldn't go to waste.  That, and it would be a nice little treat to leave poor Mr. Byte who would surely be so sad without me all week! :)
So this morning I hopped to it- attempting to get everything done early in the AM so I had time to pack later in the day and relax.  Well , at least I'd fulfill my clubs requirements now....except.....I forgot to take the pictures of the stages in all the rush.  The above photo marks the point in which i realized I'd forgotten this vital step to blogging baking adventures.  It also serves as proof that yes, i really did make them :)
A quick attempt at capturing the 'process' is my 3/4 full cups ready for the oven.  This batter is SUPER moist and wet - nothing thick and manageable about it.  aka - be ready to clean up the top of your cupcake pan if you're a lil messy like I am! :)  
Side note - Big Red wasn't even required in this recipe - so if you are sands hand or stand mixer you're all set...just get those shoulder muscles stretched and get the whisk ready to roll!
And here we have the final.   And now the fun part, about 5 minutes prior to frosting these moist spicy cakes - I was told I no longer was going to need to go on aforementioned business trip!  Mr. Byte and I did the dance of joy as I really wasn't looking forward to going.  So it was truly perfect timing for a cupcake to celebrate!  Good news is - The judges table will be reviewing these cuppies as promised on Monday.  Bad news - I'll be baking them again later in the week to get enough for the bake sale next Saturday! 
So - I Followed the recipe to a T.  The cream cheese frosting is the perfect blend of tart and sweet and cuts through the spices of the zucchini cake perfectly.  These are very similar to Mr. Bytes #2 favorite pumpkin spice cupcakes (not a Martha recipe).  I have a slight preference for the pumpkin as well as I simply cant refuse that wonderfully flavored  gourde! :) 
here nor there - they were loved in our household as the individuals they are.  I'll post a follow up with comments from the work 'judges table'  

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Top Scallop?!

My favorite Top Chef contestant ever, once said on the show
'...this is Top Chef, not Top Scallop...'
so in honor of the new Top Chef Las Vegas premier night Mr. Byte and I decided to honor said favorite contestant guessed it....scallops for the dinner viewing.
I was just IMing with an old friend - (who HAPPENS to work for Google - and i HAPPENED to mention that I can't figure out how to post my pictures in order...yeah he was no help! kidding D! :) ) and realized I never posted up the 4 pics that I took still with the same horrible camera phone. So - we're veering a bit from cupcakes here...whats that you said? that its going away from baking all together? well friend - to keep it eligible for a 'baking' post ... i whipped up a lil desert as well ;)


Bay Scallops with A Garlic and Shallot infused wine reduction (aka wine sauce) over fluffy Jasmine grain bed (aka Rice)

Scallops post pan - pre-sauce with some seasoning

aaaaand....some pâte à choux
filled with chocolate pastry cream and some messy but yummy drizzles to finish it off!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

MS Cupcake Club - First Assignement!!

DISCLAIMER- All photos were taking my my camera phone - so they're not fabulous :(
and please excuse the train wreck spelling - yes, I did just see that I wrote "Moose" to describe the frosting" rather than editing I figured I'd leave my first blog post ever in its pure for for historical purposes :) !!!

Ok - I just can't figure out how to edit photos and post them in order. so look at them backwards for now :)
so - above you see all the steps that are documented.
at the end of the day I'm not a huge fan of these as cupcakes...they're more of a candy to me. maybe if they were a larger size? "Mr. Byte" however - loves them! Hope you enjoy!

I will say - the cake is delicious, nice deep chocolate flavor. great moist crumb!
the Caramel - DELISH!!!! more of fa caramel chew rather than a sauce. But a bit too soft to eat as a candy. make sense? Either with or without salt - I'm not afraid of making caramel anymore! super easy and yummy! I'll do this again for sure!
Frosting...more of a moose type of consistency. not super sweet and has that really rich chocolaty taste. which is perfect for this combo with the sweet caramel. but, in my heart, I'm a butter cream type of girl! again - Mr. Byte really loved this!

Align Centera nice pretty shot all done!

and a nice shot of the caramel-ie inside!!!

ready for their close up!

I turned my back to get the fancy salt to garnish and came back to this mystery wrapper! 'Mr Byte' was that you????

Step 3...turn it all over to big red!

Step two..melt it on my make shift double boiler

Time for frosting - step one...GOOOD chocolate!

Carmel filled cuppies

all smooth and just added some flur de sal

and we have caramel folks

starting to turn that yummy amber color
just about there
bubbly bubbly bubbly
and caramel bubbling away

Sugar and water - beginning stages of Caramel
And please note the coffee maker on and ready to go in the background :)

Ingredients all set out and ready to go!

'Big Red' all done mixing wet and dryDry Ingredients ready to go

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Cupcakes from Months Past

Margarita and Pina Colada Cupcakes for Kelly's Beach Party Bachelorette in July

Monday, August 10, 2009

Premier Post

So After many suggestions from my facebook page, friends and family, and after discovering my initial blog name was taking....Its my pleasure to introduce to bring you a sort of combo name winner....Baking Bytes...get it, so - Thanks to Teri D. an old friend from high school...she' gets 1/2 the credit for the 'bytes' concept.
I'm sticking to "Baking" rather than more specific Cake, or that I'm covered for other culinary adventures in the sugary rhelm.

So - I'm looking forward to participating in the Martha Stewart Cupcake Online Baking club with Eat My Cupcake. In advance, thanks to everyone for their patience as this whole process (blogging, online baking club etc) it's allll new! so suggestions welcome and expect grammar and spelling train wrecks! It's all a part of my charm! :)