Sunday, April 25, 2010

April Flowers

I've been a little distracted, by what? Flowers. Really? Flowers? Yes, seriously, flowers.

Last week I took a chocolate making class, I had a lot of fun, but it wasn't spectacular. I felt like we were just given a chocolate recipe and told to go make it. I could do that at home...I do, do that at home. It was fun to meet some new people and play with all the industrial equipment, that was awesome. I couldn't take pictures, but I did make white chocolate mimosa truffles. Would I make them again? Maybe...I probably would leave out the champagne though.

The day BEFORE my chocolate class, I did one of my most favorite things to do. I went through Boston Public Garden and took pictures of everything in full bloom.

There are a special few days, a week if you're lucky, where all of the flowering trees, and all of the tulips are at their true peak.

Almost every year for more than the last 10 years I've taken pictures of all the blooms in their glory.

I have so many pictures of tulips, flowering cherry trees, weeping cherry trees, they should last me a lifetime.

Yet, I still go down, because the act of doing it fill me with joy. It's such a special, short lived moment, to catch it at that right moment is a gift.  There have been a few years, where it rained seemingly for weeks on end, or work just took a priority and I couldn't get there before dark fell. The years that I do make it, it's a thrill and I do consider it a gift.

I took these pictures a week ago.  The flowers are still out, I walked past them yesterday and today, but they really are just passed their prime. Still beautiful, but the tulips are just a little too open, and many of the cherry trees have wept their petals.

So baking, and sugar has taken a bit of a back seat in my mind, as I enjoy the flowers of the city.

Although I did make a killer batch of mint oreo cookie ice cream...but that's another blog post.

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Saturday, April 17, 2010

Follow me on Twitter! @GrapeSugarBlog

Two posts in one day! Ok, this one doesn't 'really' count, but wanted to tell you that you can now follow me on Twitter! @GrapeSugarBlog

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King Arthur Flour Baking Store

It's been so long! I've been holding off on writing, a) because I had an insanely busy week at work and b) because I was waiting to get MY NEW MACBOOK!!! YAY! It comes next week though, and I can't wait anymore to tell you about our adventure last weekend.

My husband was nice enough to indulge me and drive 2 hours up to Vermont to the King Arthur Flour Baking Store! I love their catalogue, it always makes me want to jump up and bake, and I've always wanted to go to the store. Mission accomplished!

It was fun to take an impromptu road trip and just relax after a long, hard work week!

Two hours later, we made it!

 The store was a little smaller than I expected, but definitely did not disappoint. I have never seen so many different types of flour in my life.

 French Flour? Oui Oui! Of course I bought some, expect a French Baguette post sometime in the future. Lord help me with that one.

Grains anyone? I also bought a packet of "Everything Seasoning" like what you would put on everything bagels...yum. I don't see myself trying to make bagels anytime soon but I thought it would be great on some homemade bread, no?

They had fabulous mixes, any baking supply you could possibly need (including meringue powder!), samples, and a cafe with fabulous smells. It was late afternoon when we were there, so the case was a little empty, AND a family in front of us bought the last of the eclairs! :(

Have you ever seen a rolling pin this big? I know some cookie blog friends who could make some serious batches of sugar cookies with this big momma!

I loved looking up while in the store, lots of fun little vignettes of baking items.

Talk about a serious apron, this was made out of heavy cotton. A 'real' chef/baker in his working whites bought one while I was there.  I'll stick to the frilly ones my Grandma made for me for now :)

What else did I buy? An angel food cake slicer which looks like a long pitch fork, meringue powder, a 'bake' t-shirt, portuguese sweet bread mix (MASA!!), scone mixes, some flavor extracts and some chocolate sticks to make pain au chocolates with! Chocolate croissants here I come!

I tried the Cran-raspberry white chocolate scone mix the next morning! So easy and so yum! I really want to make my own now.

All in all, it was a great day, and if you're in the area, definitely stop by! At least sign up for their catalogue.
I was such a happy camper !

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Got Sugar?

Happy Easter!

Have you ever made your own sugar cubes? What about your own sugar bunnies?

Got Sugar? Got candy molds?
So easy!

Take a small amount of sugar in a small bowl, sprinkle some water on the sugar...literally just sprinkle! Start to mix together until you have the consistency of damp sand. Add one DROP of  food coloring and mix all together with your hands. Press into your candy molds, and let dry!

My Grandmother has been doing this for years. It makes such a fun little addition to your Easter morning tea or coffee. Truth by told, they taste pretty good as little snacks too. :)

Happy Easter to you and yours!!