Wednesday, February 25, 2009

squarebakery's Favorite Sugar Cookies

These cookies are delicious and usually round, but I've made them square. Vanilla and nutmeg give these cookies an earthy flavor. The topping, a combination of an egg white wash and sprinkled with a sugar mix, (granulated, raw and sparkling sugars) bakes into a crusty, caramelized crunch - perfect for tea time.

I had never used whole nutmeg before but gave it a try using my new KitchenAid fine grater. I don't think I'll ever use ground nutmeg again. The aroma and taste are incredible! I highly recommend purchasing a fine grater if you don't already have one in your kitchen drawer. Also use your grater for chocolate or zesting citrus.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Dark Cocoa Spice Cake

Yes, this is a square cupcake! This mini but mighty chocolate cake is made with root beer, sour cream and dark, decadent chocolate. Spicy undertones of anise, clove, nutmeg and cinnamon give this cake a distinctive flavor. Once the cake had cooled, I smothered it in dark chocolate butter cream frosting and garnished with chocolate sprinkles, raw sugar and a pinch of black lava salt for an interesting twist and texture.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Spicy Ginger Cupcakes

I wasn't really in the mood for a chocolaty bite or a fruity cake today. So, I ventured into my spice rack and whipped up a simple spice cake with cinnamon, allspice, vanilla and a zing of ginger.

As the cakes were cooling, I made a simple butter cream frosting. The frosting was good, but needed a little something. Back to the spice rack where I grabbed and added the following ingredients:

- 2 tablespoons of organic honey
- 3 drops of violet flower
- 3 teaspoons of orange oil
- dash of crumbled lavender
- 3 tablespoons of water

These complicated flavors blended nicely into the base of the butter cream frosting. The fragrant spread transformed my simple spice cakes into something extra special. I embellished them with a sprinkle of raw sugar and a few candy flowers.

Simple Butter Cream Frosting

1 stick of organic unsalted butter
10 X (2 lb bag) powdered sugar
1 Tablespoon of your favorite vanilla (mine is Mexican vanilla)
4 Tablespoons of milk or water

Blend together into a delicious creamy frosting.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Why So Square?

Welcome to my blog, squarebakery.

I will be sharing my favorite recipes with you, photos of what I’ve been creating and how I came up with the ideas for my handheld delights.

Why squarebakery? Well, for a couple of reasons.

1. First and foremost, I’m kind of a nerdy-square by nature.
2. Squares are fun! In my case people, not geometry.
3. At one time, I tried to make all my baked goods into squares.
4. My dream bakery cafĂ© will be a fun, square space you’d like to come and hang out in.
5. Lemon squares…need I say more?
6. My glasses are square.
7. All four angles of a square are equal.
8. I like symmetry and balance in my baking and in my life.
9. All my baked goods are made, with love, in a square kitchen.
10.When you are in doubt, start back at square one.

Cookies, Candies and Cupcakes...

This is my first entry into my new blog, squarebakery.

My name is Jen Faist and I simply love to bake. I bake at least once a week. Baking is my therapy, my communion, one of the great loves in my life.

There is something about creating a recipe from scratch that yields a small and delicious edible that will make someone smile, it's so simple. Maybe that is where the expressions “piece of cake" or "easy as pie” come from? I’ll have to look that up.

Bake goods can be the ultimate equalizer. Nothing is more disarming than a cupcake with rainbow sprinkles. It can instantly put one in a good mood and spark a childhood memory. The aroma of baked cinnamon does it for me. I’m ten, in pajamas drinking hot cocoa on a cold winter’s day.

I love to bake. I plan to share my experiments in baking on a weekly basis. My diary will include storytelling, photos and recipes of handheld goodies conceived in my living lab…my square kitchen, my squarebakery.

Take time to enjoy what you are eating, the people that surround you and engage in great conversation every day. Life will taste sweeter if you do.

Buon appetito!