October 2010 archive

Cookbook Week: Dylan’s Candy Bar



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I think I’ve mentioned a million times before that I have a weakness for certain objects in life… shoes, handbags and cookbooks. I’m a freak for cookbooks, and quite a few truly amazing ones have been published recently {besides the Bakerella one which I mentioned a few weeks ago and you totally need to purchase asap}. I thought I’d spend the week pitching you some of my new faves.

Dylan’s Candy Bar is a New York City icon. If you haven’t been {and you’ve visited the Big Apple} then you are truly missing out on a sweets spectacle. The store itself is work of art, featuring more sugary goodness than your stomach can possibly handle. Dylan Lauren, the owner and daughter of the infamous Ralph, has a real talent for turning candy into creativity.



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Her newest book, “Unwrap Your Sweet Life” isn’t exactly your traditional cookbook. The “recipes” in this book are how to take {not just make} candy, and use it to celebrate holidays and the everyday life. There are great design ideas for decorating with, as well as entertaining with candy. There are also tons of candy craft ideas!

Stay sweet and enjoy. This book is way more than fabulous “eye candy”!

xoxo,

Niki

Cakery Friday: Spooky Graveyard Cake

Looking for a little Halloween inspiration? Search no further. This cake is the perfect addition to any Halloween soiree. Yes, it might look a little intimidating {and scary}, but broken down into steps its really not that difficult. Butbeware, eating it is messy!



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Gather all of the ingredients {for the cake}.


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In a bowl sift together 2 cups of all-purpose flour, 2/3 cup cocoa powder, 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Set aside.



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In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together 2 sticks of unsalted, room temperature butter with 1 cup dark brown sugar an 3/4 cup sugar for approximately 4 minutes, until light and fluffy.



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Add in 4 large eggs, one at a time.



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Add in 1/3 cup semisweet chocolate {melted and cooled} along with 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla. Mix until thoroughly combined.



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Add 1/3 of the dry ingredients {flour, cocoa powder mixture} into the mixer on low speed until combined then add half of the buttermilk {will use 1 1/2 cups total} mix until combined, then 1/3 dry, remaining wet, final 1/3 dry. You want to both start and end with the dry ingredients.



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Divide the batter between 2 9 inch pans that have been buttered and lined with a piece of parchment paper at the bottom. Smooth the top of the batter for even baking.



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Bake at 350 degrees for 25-35 minutes, until a tooth pick comes out dry.

Allow to cool completely.

For the frosting:

Place 5 sticks of softened, unsalted butter in the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment. Add in 2 cups of confectioners sugar and 1 teaspoon of salt. Mix on medium/high speed until mixture is very light and airy.



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Add in 2 1/2 cups of milk chocolate and 1/2 cup of unsweetened chocolate {both melted and cooled to room temperature} along with 3 more cups of confectioners sugar. Whisk on medium/high speed until smooth and spreadable.



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Assembling the cake:

In the food processor chop up half of a 9 oz box of chocolate wafers very finely.



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I chose to make “bones” and tombstones, you can make any kind of graveyard accents.

To make the bones, melt 1 cup of white chocolate {thin with melted butter if necessary}. Using a thin pretzel rod as the stem add a mini marshmallow to either end. Dip in the chocolate and allow to dry.



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To make the tombstones, I took a Milano cooking (but cookie that shape will do) and simply wrote RIP on them. You could use piping gel, but I chose to simply use food-safe markers.



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To make the tree, melt 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate. Place in a piping bag {or a large ziplock bag. It’s easiest to fill the bag if you place over a cup for stability, then trim off one corner of the bag.} Pipe the “tree” onto a piece of aluminum foil and allow to dry completely {at least over night}.



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Place the bottom layer of your cake on a cake turntable with a plate or cake-board underneath. Place one cup of frosting on top of the bottom layer. Smooth out filling.



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Place the top layer of cake over the filling. Ice the cake using an offset spatula or butter knife. Try to smooth the tops and sides as well as possible {but do not worry, no one will be able to see your imperfections!}



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Gently place the cookie crumbs all over the cake, this is the “dirt” part of the graveyard {and the very messy part}.



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Then push the chocolate tree deep into the cake and sprinkle any excess cookie crumb dirt around the base. Arrange the tombstones around the top of the cake {I also added some candy pumpkins to give it an even spookier look}. Place the “bones” in an X shape around the sides of the cake. And voila, spooky graveyard cake complete!



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For a printer-friendly version of this recipe click here: Spooky Graveyard Cake

Happy Halloween!

xoxo,

Ali

Halloween Desserts

Halloween treats can get old….. candy corn anyone? Here are a few ways to jazz up your Halloween party!

Obviously, Martha Stewart has the best ideas… I think these Spider Cakes are amazing!



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Snake cake with a venom glaze will scare {and please} all of your guests.



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This creepy, crawling no bake cheesecake will be the talk of your Halloween party!



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I am obsessed with these pumpkin cupcakes, a perfect Halloween or Thanksgiving treat!



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These Monster Marsh-Mallows are scarily easy to make!



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Bakerella’s Bat’s would definitely be a crowd pleaser!



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Happy Trick-or-Treating!

xoxo,

Ali



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