Friday, January 6, 2012

Internal Blog Up and Ready

So many transitions....launching my site was huge and I have been doing my best to keep up. This blog was accessible through the website but the intention was always to have an internal blog on the site and gently, slowly phase this "blogspot" one out.

Here is the first internal blog entry from

The only thing this really means to you, the end user, is that when you click on the Dede's Blog link on the right hand side of the website, it will now take you directly to the internal blog, and not here. Don't worry, you won't miss any posts! I will make sure to tell you Here, whats going on There.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Cake Balls!

So this is the first time I am publicly talking about my upcoming Cake Balls be published this coming fall by Harvard Common Press. Cake pops and cake balls are everywhere - even at Starbucks - so they are no longer new BUT, I do have what I think is a new take on them. The majority of information out there on cake balls starts with boxed cake mix and canned frosting and focuses on the decoration. As always, I am much more interested in Taste, so my book focuses on made-from-scratch recipes using the best ingredients.

I'm not going to be posting any cake ball recipes for a while, but you can see my Dulce de Leche Cake Ball on the Home page of here's another pic just to whet your appetite. These are Nutella Cake Balls with Caramelized Hazelnuts: white cake combined with Nutella, dipped in milk chocolate gianduja and topped with caramelized hazelnuts.

The photo shoot for the book is happening as I type. Very exciting! The pic above was one I just snapped at home during recipe development.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Angie's Thumbprint Cookies

Remember Angie? My friend who is stumping to be President of my fan club? (This is all completely unofficial and I am the only judge and voter, by the way). She has been busy! This is the first blog post of fan's pics - so send them to me!

Angie made Thumbprint Cookies and I have to say, she definitely put her own spin on them. She filled some with Strawberry jam and some with Raspberry but then she also filled some with Peach Butter and the green is Jalapeno jelly! With a sparkle of green sugar. I love the twist. What did you fill yours with?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Soft and Silky Whipped Cream

We are all in a baking frenzy this week; it's part of the fun! Mixers whirring, knives chopping, room being made in the refrigerator and freezer. And trips to the Dollar Store for cheap but pretty airtight tins for all of our cookies. (One of my favorite dollar store items).

Many desserts are enhanced by a dollop (or more) of whipped cream. A silky mound on top of chocolate mousse, wedges of flourless chocolate cake or on slices if lemon tart. Sometimes it can be the star on top of a chilled pie, swirled with a spoon. What all of these should have in common is properly whipped cream.

Whether it is the crowning finale or you are folding it into a dessert, the texture of your whipped cream is of prime importance. Take a look at this picture:

The cream on the left is soft and silky. Perfect. The cream on the right was over-whipped. See how it is "curdy" almost looking like cottage cheese? Not good. The inherent silkiness of perfectly whipped cream is lost - what a shame! If we are spending the calories, let's make them delectable in every way.

I do usually reach for my electric mixer when I am whipping a lot of cream. If it is 1-cup or less I do it by hand. When using a mixer I usually stop short of it being "done" and finish it off by hand with a balloon whisk. It allows me much more control. You want the peaks to just softly fall over on the rest.

When you are shopping, look for Heavy Cream (it has the highest butterfat), as opposed to Whipping Cream, and if you can find it buy pasteurized and not Ultra-pasteurized. The Ultra is not only harder to whip, but it has been exposed to super high heat and sometimes you can detect a slightly cooked dairy flavor.

IF you over whip the cream you can add some liquid heavy cream, stir it in and possibly achieve the proper texture. Of course if you needed a certain amount for folding into a recipe, that amount is now skewed a bit, but it is a nice cheat to know about. Best bet is to stop whipping early to check.

In terms of sweetening, you have many choices, but I will simply address plain sugar (as opposed to maple syrup or honey or something of that ilk). Granulated sugar will give you pure sweetening. Superfine sugar will dissolve extra-fast. Confectioner's sugar has a bit of cornstarch added to it to prevent clumping and it can sometimes taste faintly starchy in whipped cream, but the benefit is that it helps stabilize the whipped cream. If I am whipping last minute or folding into a recipe, I use superfine or granulated. If the cream-topped pie has to travel to Grandma's house, I will use the confectioner's. The choice is yours.

Enjoy your cream filled holidays and Happy whipping!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Cranberry White Chocolate Chunk Cookies

I found a bag of Craisins in the pantry! Time to make Cranberry White Chocolate Chunk Cookies. This is the week when there can Never be enough cookies. The dough freezes well too. Make a batch, bake some up this week, freeze the rest and bake those up after January 1st to help start the New Year off right.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Working from the Pantry

In an effort to be frugal and use what is at hand, I have been digging in my closet searching for ingredients that have been pushed aside. Ok I know my pantry is a little fancier than most but still, the sentiment is there. I found a can of chestnut purée and make a chocolate chestnut cake yesterday that I put in the freezer for next week. There were also some dried cherries and some almond paste in the frig. With those I made a pound cake. I soaked the cherries in Amaretto and added the almond paste to the batter....all these recipes will be forthcoming.

I can't be the only one with "fancy" stuff lying about. What's in your pantry that you should be using? I really want to know.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Angie....Everyone Needs a Friend Like Angie

I think my friend Angie is angling to be president of my fan club. She is a one woman support system. She has been Facebooking about my Baker's Field Guide to Christmas Cookies and the new site all week. She just posted that tonight her baking frenzy begins. Looking by her pic she is all ready to go!