Posts tagged ‘Baking’

March 18, 2014

Learn How to Make Artisan Bread with no Kneading

by Sandy Pollock

Editor’s note: This guest blog post is written by Jenny Corteza. Jenny Cortez recommends Homejoy to all her single friends in Chicago. As a writer, she knows it can be hard to get everything done if you’re writing articles to remove complaints about negative falsehoods on the Internet.

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                                           Photo credits:  victoriachan

Homemade bread is a wonderful addition to any meal say most food bloggers. Taking time-out to bake a delicious bread from scratch provides a wonderful opportunity for you to de-stress and create! This recipes is easy for beginners, and very forgiving. This recipes let’s you play with your food and eat it too. Here’s a simple recipe for making Artisan bread and there’s no need to knead!

4 simple ingredients:

3 cups all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon instant or rapid-rise yeast

1 ¾ teaspoon kosher salt

1 ½ cup cold water

Tools you will need:

1 large mixing bowl

1 wooden spoon

2 oven ready pots with lids (substitutes listed in recipe!)

parchment paper

extra flour

Directions:

Step 1. In a large mixing bowl, add 3 cups all-purpose flour, unbleached flour is preferred. Bleached flour is OK and bread flour is the best.

Step 2. Add ½ teaspoon of instant or rapid-rise yeast. You can use regular dry yeast by proofing it first. To proof regular dry yeast, combine and mix ½ teaspoon yeast with ¼ cup hot water, let the mixture sit for 5 minutes, and voila – instant rapid-rise yeast.

Step 3. Add 1 ¾ teaspoon kosher salt to your flour and yeast mixture. To substitute table salt for kosher, reduce the amount of salt to ¼ or ½ teaspoon. Stir the dry ingredients in mixing bowl.

Step 4. Pour 1 ½ cups cold water to mixed dry ingredients. Cold water is preferred, but any temperature will work. This recipe is very forgiving!

Step 5. With a whisk or dough whisk, mix the dry ingredients and water together to create the dough. You can also use a wooden spoon or rubber spatula to mix the ingredients by hand. Mix the dough until it reaches a soft doughy consistency, but do not overmix. This is no-knead to need bread!

Step 6. Cover the large bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit for 12-18 hours. The dough can sit from 10 – 24 hours and still be OK.

Step 7. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Find an oven ready pot with a lid and let the pot heat in the oven for at least 30 minutes. The pot must be able to hold 3 – 6 quarts. Oven ready pots include glass Pyrex dish, stainless steel pot, clay bakers, pizza stones along with two stainless steel bowls, or a heat-resistance bowl with aluminum foil.

Step 8. Remove plastic wrap from the dough. At this point, the dough will be very sticky. On a floured surface, begin to form the dough into ball. Do not knead out the bubbles, this is no-knead bread, so there’s no need to! When making Artisan bread, holes are preferred, and this pockets of air bubbles will provide authenticity.

Step 9. Ensure your surface has a good amount of flour and flour your hands. Take the dough out of the bowl and place it upon a sheet of parchment paper. Begin to smooth the surface of the ball of flour.

Step 10. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let sit for 30 minutes, (preferably while the oven-ready pots are heating).

Step 11. Remove the plastic wrap from the top of the dough. Place the dough in heated oven-ready pot with parchment paper, place lid over dough. Place covered dough in oven and let bake for 30 minutes.

Step 12. Bake an additional 15 minutes without lid. Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes and your no-knead Artisan bread is ready to serve!

 

November 8, 2013

Granny Pansy’s Baked Apples

by Sandy Pollock

Baked Apples a la Granny Pansy

Granny Pansy, there will only ever be one like her. She was sassy and confident and took nothing from no one, and just happens to have some super amazing granddaughters :)!

SCN_0001(My uncle Keith, Granny Pansy, my adorable Dad!)

She made this dish a lot, but when I think of this dish I go back to a very specific memory with Granny. Once a year, just before Christmas, she would have us (me and my sisters) over to the house and we would spend the day making Christmas crafts and eating baked apples. We glittered and glued and painted and ate until we could do no more. It was at this point that she would send the four of us back home covered in glue, sparkles, and brown sugar!  It was awesome and a time I will always and forever cherish. Will still adorn the family tree with some of the crafty decorations we made with Granny Pansy back then.

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½ cup sugar
1 cup water
6 apples
1/3 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon cinnamon

IMG_8407Preheat oven to 375F

In a saucepan over medium heat combine 1/2 cup of sugar with 1 cup of water. Heat until sugar dissolves.

Pour this syrup in the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch casserole dish.

IMG_8411Core the apple, but don’t go all the way through to the bottom. (This will help keep sugar filling in the apple.)

IMG_8413In a medium bowl, mix the brown sugar, butter, and cinnamon thoroughly.

IMG_8416 Divide the mixture equally between the 6 apples. Place filled apples in the casserole dish.

IMG_8424Cook for 45 minutes to an hour, or until a knife can be easily inserted into the apple. Let cool for 5 minutes.

IMG_8440Serve with vanilla ice cream.

Baked Apples a la Granny Pansy

Serves 6

½ cup sugar
1 cup water
6 apples
1/3 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375

In a saucepan over medium heat combine 1/2 cup of sugar with 1 cup of water. Heat until sugar dissolves. Pour this syrup in the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch casserole dish.

Core the apple, but don’t go all the way through to the bottom. (This will help keep sugar filling in the apple.) In a medium bowl, mix the brown sugar, butter, and cinnamon thoroughly. Divide the mixture equally between the 6 apples. Place filled apples in the casserole dish.

Cook for 45 minutes to an hour, or until a knife can be easily inserted into the apple. Let cool for 5 minutes. Serve with vanilla ice cream.

November 6, 2013

The Great Cannoli Casserole Challenge!

by Crystal Cook

The Casserole Queens were recently in the Kansas City area to present at the 2013 Hen House Market Holiday Celebration! We are big fans of the Hen House Market and all the terrific folks of Kansas. Everyone is always so welcoming and they truly makes us feel like royalty.

In preparation for the event, our dear friend Jasper Mirabile, the owner and proprietor of  Jasper’s in Kansas City AND one of the nicest guys you’ll meet, had us on his weekly podcast. It was just on the heels of National Cannoli Month and Jasper was still on a cannoli high! During the entire month of September, Jasper was on a mission to spread his love of the cannoli by hosting events at his restaurant, going on local TV and radio shows, as well as holding a cannoli recipe contest for his guests. The grand prize you ask? Well, cannoli’s for a year of course! Oh, and did we mention that Jasper’s also displays the world’s most expensive cannoli, designed by cake designer Cary Iennaccaro? It’s true, and the value is over $26,000. It features an antique diamond necklace from Tom Tivol Jewelers. Now that is one dazzling cannoli!

So naturally,  it comes to no surprise that while we were on the show, Jasper challenged us to create a Cannoli Casserole! We were nervous about creating a cannoli casserole for a man who loves the cannoli so, but we accepted the challenge and think he will be proud of the end result.

We walked into the challenge knowing that we needed to capture all the flavors of the classic cannoli, but still work within our beloved 9 x 13 inch casserole dish. We made certain to have all the traditional ingredients present and accounted for, but also switch it up a bit (as we like to do) to make this version our own. You’ll see that we replaced the crunchy cannoli outer shell with a scrumptious chocolate chip cookie base, infused with traditional cannoli flavors of orange, chocolate, and ricotta cheese. Then, we perfected our casserole-friendly cannoli by adding a sweetened ricotta cheese mixture on top, with toasted almonds and Maraschino cherries – super tasty and easy to whip up!

Challenge complete.

Enjoy!

Intro

cookie bar

Final

CQ Cannoli Bars

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup whole-milk ricotta, at room temperature
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
  • 1 recipe Cannoli Cream (see recipe below)
  • 5 maraschino cherries (more if you love’em)
  • ½ cup sliced almonds, toasted
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Spray a 9×13-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and ricotta on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the sugar, orange zest, and vanilla; beat until blended, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. On medium speed, add the egg and beat until blended. On low speed, add the flour until mixture comes together. Pour in the chocolate chips and continue mixing until just incorporated.
  4. Pour cookie dough into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with the spatula
  5. Bake cookie bars for 45 minutes or until the top of the bars are light golden brown and the edges start to pull away from the pan
  6. Allow bars to cool completely
  7. Frost the top of the cookie bars with the cannoli cream (recipe follows)
  8. Top with cherries and toasted almonds 

CQ Cannoli Cream

  • 3 cups whole-milk ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 2 ounces chocolate chips
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the ricotta cheese, confectioners’ sugar, and orange zest – until smooth.
  2. Stir in chocolate chips until incorporated evenly into cream

jasper

JASPER J. MIRABILE JR.

Chef Jasper J. Mirabile Jr. of Jasper’s commands the helm of his family’s 59-year-old restaurant, consistently rated one of Kansas City’s best Italian restaurants. In addition to running the restaurant with his brother, Mirabile is a culinary instructor, founding member of Slow Food Kansas City and a national board member of the American Institute of Wine and Food. He hosts many famous chefs on his weekly radio show Live! From Jasper’s Kitchen on KCMO 710 AM and 103.7 FM, authored two cookbooks and sells a line of dressings and sauces.

October 24, 2013

Pumpkin, Butternut Squash and Sage Soup

by Crystal Cook

pumpkin shot final

There is something magical that happens in the fall: pumpkin-flavored foods are suddenly everywhere you turn. There are pumpkin spiced lattes, pumpkin breads, pumpkin beer, and hold on…there are even pumpkin flavored pop tarts!  To all of those things, I say: yes please! I love fall for this pumpkin flavor explosion, so I decided that I wanted to cook something that celebrates the pumpkin in all its natural glory. Behold the glorious Pumpkin, Butternut Squash and Sage Soup, served in a pumpkin bowl of course!

Typical me, I always seem to make things a lot harder than they need to be, so just know that this soup is delicious even without all the bells and whistles (but hello! sage oil and homemade crème fraîche) so it is up to you how crazy you want to get (that goes for the pumpkin bowls too)! But if you want to go all out (and trust me it is worth it!) then know there is some prep involved.

As seen in the previous two posts, the first thing I did was make my crème fraîche and sage oil the day before. This garnish is optional, and you can always buy the prepared product at the store if you don’t want to make it from scratch. I promise I won’t tell.

Now onto pulling out all my soup ingredients! Pie pumpkin, butternut squash, olive oil, vegetable oil, unsalted butter, onions, fresh sage, shallots, garlic, chicken broth, Salt and freshly ground black pepper. Are you hungry yet? You should be.

Ingredient shot

Cut pumpkin in half to seed pumpkin, then cut each half in half again (so your pumpkin is now quartered). Rub flesh with olive oil, salt and pepper. Peel butternut squash and cut in half to remove seeds. Cube squash into about 1-2 inch pieces, toss pieces in olive oil and salt and pepper. Bake each on a baking sheet lined with foil for 30 minutes. Set aside to cool.

roasting veggie Collage

Melt 6 tbsp. of the butter in a heavy stockpot over medium heat. Cook onions, garlic and 1 cup of the shallots in butter until translucent about 15-20 minutes. Meanwhile, scrape flesh from pumpkin (I used a melon scoop to do this) and add to the onion mixture. Also add the butternut squash. Cook for about 5 minutes.

saute onion garlic shallots Collage

Add 6 cups chicken stock, 1 tablespoon chopped sage and salt to taste. Bring mixture to a boil and then simmer for 30 minutes.

squash broth sage salt Collage

If you decided to make pumpkin bowls, here is how I did it, but remember this step is completely optional (but completely adorable). When the soup is simmering, it is a perfect time to get these made! I chose a few smaller pie pumpkins than the size of what we use in the soup recipe – they were more around 2-1/2 lbs instead of 5. I guess you could do 5 pound pumpkins, but you had better be really hungry! All you have to do is cut off the tops of the pumpkin or cut a large circle around the stem of each pumpkin. Remove the lid and scoop out the seeds and fibers. I then coated the inside flesh and outside of the pumpkin with olive oil and then seasoned with salt and pepper. Place the pumpkins and lids on a baking sheet cover with foil and roast in a 350 degree oven for about 35 minutes.

bowl Collage

Using a large measuring cup take batches of soup and purée soup in a blender or food processor until smooth, then return to pot. Repeat as necessary. It is ok to have some chunky pieces. I actually enjoy that texture in the soup!

Puree Collage

Take the remaining ¼ cup of shallots and the 20 sage leaves and fry in 1 cup vegetable oil until crisp (you will see the shallots turn a nice golden color). Drain on paper towels.

fry sage and shallots

Now that your soup is done, let the garnish games begin.  I promise each one counts! First drizzle on some of the sage oil. Just look how lovely that green color is! The drizzle with crème fraîche, and finish with the crispy shallots and 2-3 sage leaves.

Garnish Collage

Now celebrate fall with your loved ones!

Final pumpkin 2

Pumpkin Bowls: (See method in post)

4 or how ever many small baking pie pumpkins you want to make – up to 2.5 pounds each
Olive Oil
Kosher salt & Cracked black pepper

 
Pumpkin, Butternut Squash and Sage Soup

Serves 8

1 small (about 5 lbs.) pie pumpkin, cut in half then quartered
1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeds removed, cubed
4 -5 tbsp. olive oil for roasting pumpkins and squash
6 tbsp. unsalted butter
2 medium onions, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh sage leaves, chopped + 20 sage leaves for garnish
1 1/4 cups diced shallots, divided
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
6 cups chicken broth
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup vegetable oil
Sage Oil for Garnish (optional)
Crème fraîche for Garnish (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Cut pumpkin in half to seed pumpkin, then quarter. Rub flesh with olive oil, salt and pepper. Peel butternut squash and cut in half to remove seeds. Cube squash into 1-inch pieces, toss pieces in olive oil and salt and pepper. Bake each on a baking sheet lined with foil for 30 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  3. Melt 6 tbsp. of the butter in a heavy stockpot over medium heat. Cook onions, garlic and 1 cup of the shallots in butter until translucent, about 15-20 minutes. Meanwhile, scrape flesh from pumpkin (I used a melon scoop) and add to the onion mixture. Also add butternut squash. Cook for about 5 minutes.
  4. Add 6 cups chicken stock, 1 tablespoon chopped sage and salt to taste. Bring mixture to a boil and then simmer for 30 minutes.
  5. Using a large measuring cup take batches of soup and purée in a blender or food processor until smooth, then return to pot. Repeat as necessary. It is ok to have some chunky pieces – I actually enjoy that texture in the soup!
  6. Take the remaining ¼ cup of shallots and the 20 sage leaves and fry in 1 cup vegetable oil until crisp. Drain on paper towels, then garnish each serving starting with sage oilcrème fraîche and then the crispy shallots and 2-3 sage leaves.
September 30, 2013

Merry Mushroom Bread Pudding

by Crystal Cook

My dish addiction is no secret. We have discussed it here on the blog many times before. So it should come as no surprise that I have an impressive selection of vintage casserole dishes—from Pyrex to Fire King, and a whole lot of everything in between. One of my favorites happens to be a Corning Ware dish with the “Merry Mushroom” pattern on it. The orange, yellow, and brown color palette screams 70’s, and I love it! The dish keeps me inspired and I am constantly creating new mushroom recipes to proudly serve up in this dish. Trust me, nothing perks up a buffet table like a “Merry Mushroom” painted casserole pan!

Since I just learned that September was National Mushroom Month, I jumped at the chance to make something in this dish! Unfortunately I didn’t find out about this until the next to the last day of the month, so I had to act fast! I picked up my trusty Make-A -Meal cookbook from The Cassserole Queens (maybe you have heard of it?) and immediately turned to the Merry Mushroom bread pudding—one of the finest mushroom masterpieces around! The combination of portobello and button mushrooms makes it especially earthy and super comforting.

Shall we?

casserole_cvr_resize

Ingredient list

Yummy ingredients: Milk, rustic bread, portobello mushrooms, vegetable oil,  button mushrooms, garlic,  fresh parsley,  fresh rosemary, salt, freshly ground black pepper, eggs, and Gruyère cheese.

Pour milk

First take your bread and cube it into 2-inch pieces. Any rustic bread will do, but I used Ciabatta and I liked it a lotta! 🙂 Pour 2 cups of milk over the bread and refrigerate for 30 minutes – stirring occasionally. 

Meanwhile, using a spoon, remove the brown gills from the undersides of the portobellos and remove the stems; discard the gills and stems, slice mushrooms. Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet set over medium-high heat. Add the portobello and button mushrooms and sauté for 4 minutes, until the mushrooms start to release their juices.

mushrooms saute

Stir in the garlic, parsley, rosemary, salt, and pepper, and cook for 1 minute.

add garlic rosemary and parsley

In a medium bowl, whisk together the remaining 1 cup of milk, the eggs, and the egg white.

whisk eggs

Spoon 2 cups of the bread mixture from the fridge into the prepared casserole dish.

layer

Top with the mushroom mixture.

layer mushroom

Sprinkle with ⅓ cup of the cheese.

cheese layer

Top with the remaining bread mixture and the remaining ⅔ cup cheese. Pour the egg mixture over top.

last layer

bread pour

Bake for 45 minutes, or until set. Let cool 5 minutes before serving.

in the oven

final mushroom dish

final from above

Gorgeous and delicious! Happy National Mushroom Month (or in this case – day!) Better late than never, right?

Merry Mushroom Bread Pudding.

Serves 6

Cooking spray

3 cups whole milk

8 cups rustic bread, cut into 2-inch cubes (I used Ciabatta)

2 (4-ounce) portobello mushrooms

2 teaspoons vegetable oil

6 cups quartered button mushrooms (about 12 ounces)

2 garlic clove, minced

½ cup chopped fresh parsley

2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

3 large eggs

1 large egg white

1 cup shredded Gruyère cheese (4 ounces)

1.  Preheat the oven to 375°F. Spray a 9 × 13-inch casserole dish with cooking spray.

2.  In a medium bowl, combine 2 cups of the milk and the bread. Cover and chill for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3.  Meanwhile, using a spoon, remove the brown gills from the undersides of the portobellos and remove the stems; discard the gills and stems, slice mushrooms. Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet set over medium-high heat. Add the portobello and button mushrooms and sauté for 4 minutes, until the mushrooms start to release their juices. Stir in the garlic, parsley, rosemary, salt, and pepper, and cook for 1 minute.

4.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the remaining 1 cup of milk, the eggs, and the egg white. Spoon 2 cups of the bread mixture into the prepared casserole dish. Top with the mushroom mixture and sprinkle with ⅓ cup of the cheese. Top with the remaining bread mixture and the remaining ⅔ cup cheese. Pour the egg mixture over top. Bake for 45 minutes, or until set. Let cool 5 minutes before serving.

January 23, 2013

HAPPY NATIONAL PIE DAY! How to make a chess pie

by Sandy Pollock

Happy National Pie Day!

Lord have mercy, I love my mom’s baking. I am always in awe of her ability to either have something delicious going into or coming out of the oven at the perfect time!

This chess pie is THE pie of my childhood. I have no idea where the recipe came from, but it is the recipe she’s always used and it is the recipe I love.

Chess pies are also known as pantry pies because most people would have had all the ingredients needed on hand (these days, not many people keep buttermilk, but that’s about all you will need to grab at the store). Chess pie is a super versatile pie and can really take on lots of great flavors, so get creative and experiment! Some popular variations include lemon chess pie, chocolate chess pie, and various fruit chess pies. (Let us know any favorites in the comments.) Though these variations are great, I am a chess pie purist, and prefer my mom’s classic recipe below.

I love this pie so much! Make it and then eat it with your face.

IMG_5920

Before we can start on the filling, we gotta make some super great pie dough! Easy easy easy.

Pie Dough

1 ¼ cups vegetable shortening

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 large egg, well beaten

1 tablespoon white vinegar

5 tablespoons ice-cold water

IMG_5921

IMG_5923

In a food processor, pulse together the shortening, flour, and salt until it’s the consistency of sand.

IMG_5925

Add the egg and vinegar to the food processor and pulse. Add ice-cold water 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough comes together in the bowl

IMG_5926

IMG_5927

Dump dough onto a lightly floured surface and form the dough into a ball. Wrap well in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour.

You will only need half of the dough for this recipe, so wrap well and freeze the extra dough for up to 3 months (if wrapped well).

IMG_5940

After an hour, take half of the chilled dough ball and roll out to a 12″ circle.

IMG_5942

Line the inside of a pie dish with the dough and place in the refrigerator until ready for use.

IMG_5943

Time for the pie filling!!!

IMG_5930

Chess Pie

1 pie crust, uncooked (recipe above)

2 cups sugar

1 tablespoon cornmeal

3 eggs, beaten

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 tablespoons flour

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

½ cup buttermilk

IMG_5931

In a large bowl…

IMG_5935

mix…

IMG_5936

All ingredients…

IMG_5933

until…

IMG_5938
well blended. 

IMG_5947

Pour the creamy filling into the waiting pie crust.

IMG_5949

Place in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for about 50 minutes or until the top has crusted over and is a golden brown color.

IMG_5956

It will be difficult to wait, but let the pie cool for at least 20 minutes to allow pie to set-up completely.

pie

Pie Dough

1 ¼ cups vegetable shortening

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 large egg, well beaten

1 tablespoon white vinegar

5 tablespoons ice-cold water

In a food processor, pulse together the shortening, flour, and salt until it’s the consistency or sand.

Add the egg and vinegar to the food processor and pulse. Add ice-cold water 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough comes together in a ball.

Remove dough from food processor. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour.  You will only need half of the dough for this recipe, so wrap well and freeze the extra dough for up to 3 months (if wrapped well).

Chess Pie

1 pie crust, uncooked (recipe above)

2 cups sugar

1 tablespoon cornmeal

3 eggs, beaten

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 tablespoons flour

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

½ cup buttermilk

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl whisk together all ingredients until well blended. Pour mixture into an uncooked pie shell.

Cook for 50-55 minutes or until the top of the pie has formed a crust and has become golden brown.

Allow pie to cool for at least 20 minutes to allow pie to cool and set-up completely.

August 21, 2011

Casserole Queens Cookbook Tour Schedule – Yay! (UPDATED)

by Casserole Queens

Check out our updated book tour schedule!

Some exciting stuff coming up next week: our Aug 23 appearance on The Today Show and our Aug 25 book release party at BookPeople.

We’ll be keeping this schedule up-to-date as more stops are confirmed. Stay tuned. If we’re stopping in your town, please come see us!

February 11, 2011

Can you feel the love?

by Sandy Pollock

My dashing man of 12 years and I don’t do Valentine’s Day. We never really have. We typically try to find a place to grab some dinner and drinks that would normally be packed if it weren’t for it being Valentine’s Day.

When February popped up on the calendar, and isles at the grocery store started to look like cans of red paint threw up everywhere, I thought I should try to embrace the holiday and post something Valentiney! So, in my attempt to be more valentine-focused, I rocked out some love cookies. They are crazy easy to make, super yummy and all around awesome.

Here’s how it went down:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

1 cup butter (softened)

1 cup sugar

1 large egg

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 cups flour

Cream together butter and sugar


Add the egg and vanilla and mix

Sift together the baking powder and flour

Add flour a cup at a time. The dough will be stiff, but if it is too stiff and does not hold together in a ball just add some water (a teaspoon at a time).

That’s what you’re looking for.

Form a ball with the dough and turn it out on a lightly floured surface.

Roll the dough out. You are looking for 1/4-inch thick cookies (they will rise in the oven a little)

Using your favorite cookie cutter, start stamping out your shapes. I was being kinda nutty and went with a heart shape. I know it’s out of the ordinary, but I’m an artist.

Time to make the icing:

2 cups powdered sugar

2 tablespoons light corn syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 tablespoons water

Food coloring

Stir confectioners’ sugar, corn syrup, vanilla and water together. Stir in food coloring if desired. This glaze must be stirred each time you use it. If it is not stirred before each use it will dry with a mottled look instead of a solid color.

It’s true.

I had some sprinkles so I rolled the uncooked dough in the sprinkles and into the oven they went. I think they are simple and pretty (and yummy).


The end.

December 6, 2010

Inside the Queens Studio: Meet Olivia!

by Casserole Queens

Drawing inspiration from James Lipton (or maybe Will Ferrell playing the part of James Lipton on SNL), we periodically interview someone we find interesting and inspiring. In our second installment, we talk to cupcake cutie Olivia Guerra O’Neal.

Tell us a little about yourself.

I am Olivia Guerra O’Neal, owner of Sugar Mama’s Bakeshop.


I have always had a love of baking and as I got older I realized that it was more than a passion, it was something I wanted to pursue as a career. I love creating and baking desserts and watching people’s reaction when they have that first delicious bite of cake. I also love being a part of our customer’s birthdays, weddings, and “just because” celebrations.

What is your “recipe” for success?

My recipe for success is that I truly have a passion for the industry I am in and I work hard to ensure that I have an equally passionate team. All of our staff truly cares about the product we are creating, along with making sure that our customers have a great experience when they come into our shop. We have a very low turnover rate for the restaurant industry and I think it’s because we all love what we do and what Sugar Mama’s stands for.

If you weren’t a pastry chef you would be…

A rockstar! I recorded music back in the day and have always wanted to have a singing career, lalala!

Your spouse called and his Aunt Edna is in town and coming over for dinner. Quick – what is your go to meal?

I can bake a cake, but cooking is a whole other ballgame for me. With that said, we love Taco Night at the O’Neal household, along with an ice cold Margarita and my famous guacamole.

If your personality was described by a casserole – what would it be?

King Ranch casserole for sure! A little bit spicy, a lot cheesy, and everyone would have a strong opinion about me one way or the other.

Name one kitchen disaster you’ve had.

Just one? The one that comes to mind is the day we opened Sugar Mama’s Bakeshop and I realized that I didn’t know how to run a convection oven. There were lines out the door and we were in over our heads! I called a fellow baker in Las Vegas and she gave me some pointers, and Sandy of Casserole Queen fame spent opening day at Sugar Mama’s saving my behind! The Casserole Queens aren’t just amazing cooks, they’re superheros on the side.

What dish from your childhood brings you the most comfort and why?

My dad makes a soup that he named Hobo Stew. You take all the veggies from the kitchen along with some lean sirloin and cook it over a hot stove for about 8 hours. Hobo Stew and a some crusty San Francisco sourdough makes everything right in the world.

Who was the most fun/interesting person you cooked for?

We’ve had celebrities and notable personalities come through our shop, but I get the most pleasure from baking for my three-year old. He is in love with everything I make and when I watched him eat his first piece of chocolate cake his eyes actually rolled back into his head. It was fantastic and he’s a great eater – from Ethiopian food to Sushi it’s so fun exposing him to new cuisines and he loves them all. The other day he told me he wants to be a chef.

What would I find in your refrigerator right now?

Off the top of my head we have roasted red pepper soup, plums, roti, veggie burgers, a bottle of sparkling red and a drawer full of peppers, onions, tomatoes and other yummy veggies.

If someone wrote a book about you, what would the title be?

A Woman and Her Whisk

To learn more about Olivia and Sugar Mama’s Bakeshop, visit her website at http://www.sugarmamasbakeshop.com/.

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