Welcome to Natasha's Creative Confections! If you have stumbled upon this blog page, then you're in for a real treat! One of my favorite things to do is bake. If you choose to read on you will find pictures and recipes of some of the fabulous treats that I have created. So take a look around and enjoy!
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas! We were very blessed to spend the day with my family and we're off to see Chad's family this week for more celebrating! It was very fun to see family and eat some yummy food!
I, yet again, outdid myself with the baking this season. I had a wacky idea to bake cookies for my WHOLE family--4 different type of cookies to be exact, and pack goody bags to pass out to everyone. AND I was bringing a cake that I had never made before as one of the main desserts. I made one batch of cookies on Wednesday evening, but Thursday I spent ALL day in the kitchen baking. I didn't think cookies could be so much work, but when you're dealing with cookies that have to be refrigerated, frozen, rolled, frozen again, cut into shapes and then baked....yeah, it gets hectic! However, everything got done, and I was pretty happy with the way all of the cookies and the cake turned out.
I made gingerbread cookies, white chocolate peppermint cookies, snickerdoodles, Greek butter cookies, white chocolate macadamia nut cookies (for my sis!) and a white chocolate cranberry cake! Lots and lots of baking...but I wouldn't have it any other way :)
Sunday, November 28, 2010
...seems to be the pace I move at! Oh well...it's hard to find the time to sit down and write, especially since I want it to be creative and well thought out.
This past week was Thanksgiving! We had Chad's family over at our house...our first time hosting Thanksgiving. I admit, I was slightly nervous, but everything turned out so well. Chad was in charge of making the turkey--delicious (and I am honestly not a big turkey fan). I prepared the mashed potatoes, green beans, stuffing, cranberry sauce and desserts! We had Caramel Pumpkin Pie and an Apple Crisp. I did have the advantage of making some of these things ahead of time, which gave me all of Thanksgiving to mainly relax and enjoy our family!
One of my favorite things about Thanksgiving has to be the cranberry sauce. I know, it's usually something that gets overlooked, or even completely forgotten about, but I love it! I love the tartness of the cranberries and how it complements the turkey so well. I also love the intense color that it brings to the plate! I made it from scratch this year and it was delicious! It is so simple to make--everyone should have homemade cranberry sauce on Thanksgiving! I made mine with 1 package of cranberries, 1 cup of orange juice (I used freshly squeezed) and 1 cup of sugar. You combine the juice and sugar in a medium saucepan on med-high heat and cook until the sugar dissolves, then just add the cranberries and cook until the begin popping! (around 10 minutes) It's so easy to make from scratch, but if you prefer the can, I suppose that's fine too. I actually do like the taste of the canned cranberry, but it looks too much like beets, so I prefer the homemade sauce!
I have been baking other goodies as well...speaking of cranberries, I made a cranberry loaf last week that was delicious! The brown sugar made it very sweet and tasty! I also recently made some red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting for a friend at work. I heard they tasted amazing, but didn't try one myself because I am not a big red velvet fan. I'm currently looking for more pumpkin recipes...the season for pumpkin is almost over so I have to find some more things to bake! Perhaps another pumpkin chocolate chip loaf...? We'll see! :) Hope to update again soon
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Ahhhhh....I need to dedicate time to write! I have so many things to share and show pictures of! This is just going to be a short, shall we call it a "preview" entry, so hopefully I will find some time tomorrow to really update this blog! I've been baking...quite frequently, which is always fun. I mentioned before how much I love the fall season, and now it is definitely upon us! Halloween is in 4 days...crazy! And soon it will be Thanksgiving and then Christmas! Oh, how I love the holidays. I am going to have a lot of time (hopefully) to get some holiday baking in! :)
Oh, and to make this fall season even better, the GIANTS are in the World Series!!! Black and Orange everywhere! It's been so fun watching them and cheering them on, well at least for me. I can't say the same for my husband since he is, unfortunately a Dodger fan :) Our friends Savannah and Greg came over to watch Game 1 of the World Series tonight. It was fun to hang out and watch the Giants defeat the Rangers 11-7. GO GIANTS!
Alright...I must be getting to bed soon, but shall return, with hope, tomorrow to really discuss the tasty treats I have been concocting! Mmmmm...well, until then...I leave you with warm, cinnamon sugary thoughts of delicious Snickerdoodles :)
Thursday, September 16, 2010
I can't believe it's been so long since I've updated my blog! Craziness!! I haven't planned on what to write...I just know that I haven't been on here since July. When I started this blog I thought I would make a new entry everytime I baked something. I planned on having a detailed description of what it took to make the pastry, cake, pie, etc. as well as a picture to go along with it. However, I have failed to follow through on that. Don't think that I've stopped baking, because that will never happen! I am currently in the process of obtaining my Baking & Pastry Certificate, so there is always plenty to be done!
I recently made a fabulous Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread. I wasn't sure how it was going to turn out...I've heard from many people that pumpkin and chocolate go well together, but I was hesitant. I love pumpkin and chocolate separately; just wasn't sure how well they would taste together. It was scrumptious! And very easy to make. One thing I love about pumpkin bread is that it doesn't take very much time to make and you have a big loaf to last you for awhile afterward. This is my kickoff to the fall season (my favorite!) Once you smell pumpkin baking in the oven, you'll wish everything you ate was pumpkin flavored...well...that might be a little extreme, but the smell of pumpkin brings a smile to my face. It makes me think of fall in every way and how the holidays are coming up---and who doesn't love the holidays without fresh baked goods?
I also made my mom, for her birthday, a White/Lemon Cake with a Lemon Buttercream Frosting. This I actually surprised myself with because I wasn't expecting the frosting to be what I wanted. However, it actually surpassed my expectations. I sort of improvised this recipe because the cake recipe I found called for a lemon curd filling, which I wasn't sure my mom was going to like after our Limonada Sift Cupcake tasting :) That was totally okay, but the frosting called for some of the curd in the recipe. So, I, with my dazzling wits, had to come up with a makeshift frosting incorporating lemon into it somehow. It was actually easier than I thought it would be--just add lemon zest and some lemon juice, right? This was good, but not lemony enough, so I added some handy dandy lemon extract! This, I actually have a picture of to post. It's a 3-layer 8" cake (2 layers are white cake, 1 layer is lemon cake) with lemon buttercream frosting topped with yellow sugar sprinkles and dark chocolate shavings! YUM. It was good!
So, if there are any readers out there...don't panic, I'm still here! :)
Thursday, July 22, 2010
I've been wanting to make cheesecake from scratch for a long time now, but I've never had a springform pan. I have a few small heart shaped ones, but never a full size before. But my husband recently bought me the 9-in springform pan from the Martha Stewart collection :) So, I decided it was time to have homemade cheesecake (with graham cracker crust, of course!)
There are a lot of cheesecake recipes out there and it was hard to choose one to try. I ended up choosing one I found online (honestly because it sounded simple). It really was simple to make, so I wasn't sure if it was going to be good or not. I made a graham cracker crust because the best cheesecake needs a graham cracker crust! Mixing the crushed grahams with the melted butter and sugar smelled SO good. And then I blended everything else to make the filling. I baked it for awhile, but got a little nervous when it didn't seem as if it was finished after almost an hour. The recipe said the edge would be brown and the middle soft, but the edges looked too brown and the middle didn't look done at all! I was nervous, so I covered it with foil and put it back to bake for a few minutes. It had also risen so high that it cracked around the edge :( I thought it was going to be a disaster. I took it out after the extra 5 minutes and let it cool. I went to check on it after it had cooled for a bit and it settled down and looked really good! The edges were a little dark, but not burnt! I was happy with the way it ended up looking.
I had it chill in the refrigerator overnight so we could have it for dessert tonight. Before serving it I made a strawberry coulis sauce to have with it to add a little color and flavor. I originally wanted to make raspberry coulis, but could not find raspberries anywhere! I decided to use strawberries instead, and it turned out really good! I just pureed strawberries and a little sugar in the food processor and it made this tasty sauce to put on the cheesecake!
It was fluffy and soft and the crust was really good. And the sauce made it! Next time I will make the graham cracker crust thicker, but I was still REALLY impressed with how it all turned out! It tasted very refreshing! :)
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
I had an urge to make Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies today. They are one of my favorite things to make because I always know that they'll turn out. It's comforting to know that there are things you can make and always know they'll turn out just the way you want them to. I actually wanted to make Oatmeal Raisin Cookies because they are my favorite cookie, but I didn't have any raisins, so I settled for chocolate chips which are almost just as good. They are very fast and easy, another plus!
I think I had the desire to bake something because I'm reading the book, Eat, Pray, Love right now. Let me rephrase that, I'm not reading the book, I am skimming the parts I like about this woman's journey with food in Italy. I just read the most amazing description about pizza in Naples. I now want to go to Naples and eat at this pizza place. I want to go to Italy and eat all of the food they have there. Anyway, I made Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies instead of pizza because they are much quicker, and I doubt I would be able to recreate this pizza she talks about in the book!
I love reading and learning about all different foods. I actually went to pick up my copy that was on hold of Julie & Julia, the book. I was so excited that it came in today--I couldn't wait to pick it up even though I'm in the middle of reading two other books right now. I can't help myself. The movie has become one of my favorites and I am definitely looking forward to reading the book that it was based on. Hopefully I will learn some more tips about cooking!
I will post the recipe of the Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies below:
- 1 cup butter
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 1/4 cups flour
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 3 cups oats
- 1 cup chocolate chips
- 2 tsp. vanilla
- 1/2- 1 tsp. cinnamon (optional--I personally like them w/ cinnamon!)
1. Heat oven to 325 degrees.
2. Cream butter and sugars in bowl. Beat in 1 egg at a time. Stir in vanilla.
3. Combine the flour, baking soda, salt & cinnamon into separate bowl. Stir mixture into butter/sugar mixture until blended.
4. Mix in oats and chocolate chips.
5. Spoon onto baking sheets.
6. Bake ~12 minutes. Let cool on cooling rack.
Sunday, July 11, 2010
Friday night I was SO excited to make these amazing looking (and sounding!) white chocolate brownies w/ raspberries. I had picked out this recipe earlier in the week to make on Friday and was really looking forward to it.
So, I am usually not a white chocolate person. Honestly, when I think of white chocolate I think of those Hershey's Cookies & Cream bars that were popular several years ago. Those were my first introduction to white chocolate and I was convinced that I didn't like it at all. However, I have come to enjoy it in small doses through white chocolate macadamia nut cookies and TCBY's delicious white chocolate mousse frozen yogurt. I realized that it's not white chocolate that I dislike--it was just that specific candy bar. I am so glad it has pleasantly surprised me :) I also am not a brownie person. I don't really know why--there are just other desserts that I prefer I suppose. But, when I saw a recipe for something so different that was classified as a "brownie", my curiosity got the best of me.
Another amazing thing about these brownies is that they have a meringue topping! I was nervous to make meringue because the last time I attempted to do so was for a meringue cookie recipe that did not turn out so well. They were runny, probably because I didn't whip the egg whites enough. It's something that I am always afraid of screwing up. But, I was going to challenge myself to do it correctly.
So, I began my baking adventure by preparing all of my ingredients. I got to use my new mini food processor to grind almonds that were part of the flour mixture. It was fun to use the food processor! It chopped those almonds so quickly...I was impressed! The next step was to melt the white chocolate with butter in a bowl over boiling water. I carefully (or what I thought was careful) followed the directions. White chocolate is difficult to melt because it burns easily and doesn't move well unless you are there mixing constantly. I was so scared that it was going to harden and burn (because that has happened to me before!) that I didn't pay enough attention to the fact that if the butter and chocolate get too hot, they will separate. I was just about to take the melted ingredients off of the boiling water when I noticed that it looked very yellow (from the butter) and there was this big lump of grimy chocolate sitting beneath it. Whoops...it separated. Of course I didn't have any extra white chocolate so I had to go to the store to pick some more up. I was frustrated because I was all ready with everything to just make the brownies--which really weren't supposed to take very long!
I came back with the new white chocolate bar, chopped it up in the food processor and started the melting process once again. This time I watched it VERY carefully and didn't let it get too hot. So after all this, I was able to proceed in completing the recipe. I got everything mixed up for the batter, added the raspberries and then made the meringue topping. I was very impressed with the meringue. It turned out AMAZING! After the brownies baked and cooled, I added a little powdered sugar to the top. I was looking forward to trying them because they looked good (from the cookbook) and they also looked interesting--like nothing I've ever had before. They were very good. I was glad that they turned out well, after everything :) The only thing that I wish was different is that they looked more professional like the picture in the cookbook. Oh well...I'm still learning!
Monday, July 5, 2010
Yesterday was the 4th of July! I usually make some kind of dessert to bring to my family's house, most times it's a homemade pie. This year I wanted to do something different--and a little more festive. I was really excited to try out a new recipe I found from Martha Stewart. I made Blueberry Cupcakes with a sweet cream frosting. They came out so tasty! I was very impressed. I topped the whipped cream frosting with fresh blueberries and strawberries, to give them a little red, white and blue flair of course, and a little powdered sugar. I think most everyone enjoyed them, which made me happy! They were very fun to make. These were a great, refreshing dessert to enjoy on the hot day that it was. Hope everyone had a very happy 4th of July! Look for more recipes and pictures to come soon :)
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Hello everyone! My name is Natasha and welcome to my new website: Natasha's Creative Confections. I am really excited to start up a blog dedicated to one of my favorite things: BAKING! I am looking forward to posting pictures and recipes of my creations. I am definitely new to blogging, but have included a few things so far on my page. If you look around, you will notice I have added my 2 favorite cookbooks, a profile about me, and a poll for you to take! I hope to be adding more information as soon as I learn more about blogging. If you have any feedback, feel free to leave comments. I would love to have readers :)