Easy Kahlua Panna Cotta

Today was a big first for me – my first food photo shoot with a photographer OTHER than my husband. Between being SUPER Type-A, kinda OCD, and opinionated on the best of days… I was pretty stressed out going into it.

I’m kinda spoiled, having a photographer in-house, and never having to worry about the logistics of bringing a hot-out-of-the-oven upside down cake to the other side of the city, preferably to be shot while fairly warm, and fresh! The basement studio is just SO much more convenient, LOL!

Anyway, I managed to behave myself, not contributing ANY opinions, barking NO orders, and managing not to go totally “Rain Man” in the process!

I’m very much looking forward to seeing the results when the magazine comes out next month! Right now, I’m enjoying one of the best parts of doing this shoot – leftovers of the yummy Kahlua panna cotta I made for the shoot!

This dessert is not only ridiculously creamy and delicious, it’s probably the easiest dessert ever. It takes about 5 minutes of work, and the results are just spectacular. Give it a try!


Holiday Cookies – Noelles

When I was a little kid, my favorite thing about the holidays wasn’t Santa, the music, or the tree. While other kids mostly looked forward to the gifts… I looked forward to my aunt making my favorite cookies.

She made them every year, as part of a larger, varied cookie tray. I honestly couldn’t tell you what else was on that tray, as my favorites – “Noelles” – always grabbed my attention in a very moth-to-the-candle sort of way. The presentation of that cookie tray, in my warped memory, involved a light shining down from the heavens, with angels singing the “Hallelujah” chorus.

These cookies were only made once a year, and in insane numbers. Baggies of them were frozen, for us to raid later on. So, so good. Mmmm. I think my eyes are actually glazing over at the thought right now…

Anyway, when I was writing “The Spirited Baker“, I knew that I had to include a variation of those favorite cookies from my childhood. In keeping with the theme of The Spirited Baker, these are flavored with a small amount of Amaretto, rather than the almond extract used in the original recipe.

I hope you enjoy these as much as I do! Also, if you’re looking to fill out your own cookie tray with even more show-stopping yummies that will leaving your competitors in your dust .. um.. your friends and family feeling fat, happy, and in awe of your prowess, you should also try my “Sweet Ecstasy Cookies“. Insanely addictive!


First-Time Author Heartbreak

I’ve just returned from the post office. I’m confused, angry, hurt, and feel used. At the same time, I’m thankful for my friends, colleagues, fans, and everyone else that, you know.. Doesn’t try to screw me over.

Let me start at the beginning of the whole sordid ordeal.

On October 31, just 2 short weeks ago, my husband and I returned from a trip to Chicago. We were still basking in the afterglow of the great time we had, when I checked my email. I always dread sorting through a pile of email when we return from a trip. This time, we had an email that sent my heart soaring.

It was sent by Megan, the book buyer for Joseph-Beth Booksellers in Cleveland Ohio. She had come across a postcard for my book – The Spirited Baker and wanted to include it on their cookbook table for the holiday season!


Brandied Apple Upside Down Cake recipe

Hey everyone!

Still recovering from this weekend’s trip to Chicago, so I’m posting today’s entry without a ton of commentary 🙂

This Brandied Apple Upside Down Cake is one of the recipes from our boozy cookbook, The Spirited Baker. (Have your copy yet? If not, what are ya waiting for?!). The aroma of the cake – even while still in the oven – evokes warm images of Thanksgiving, Christmas eve, seasonal get togethers, etc. Yum!

Oh, and this cake is ridiculously easy to make – anyone cake do it! – and requires absolutely NO decorating!Bonus!


Hop Flavored Dark Chocolate Truffles

If you saw yesterdays’ blog entry, you have already had a preview of the kind of yummy, twisted thinking that an unfortunate fall ended up inspiring. This is the second half of that epiphany: Ladies and gentlemen, I present you with Hop Flavored Dark Chocolate Truffles!


Hop Flavored Beer Lollipops Recipe – LolliHOPS!

This morning, I took a pretty nasty fall. If you follow me on Twitter, you know that I’ve been dealing with a particularly stubborn hip injury. Long story short, I spent the day first in extreme pain, then high as a kite on Codeine.

Why am I telling you this? Well, it had a big part in inspiring today’s recipe! They say “In Vino veritas” (In wine, truth). Yeah, well… In Codeine, Inspiration!


Upcoming Book Signings!

Hey all,

Just a quick heads’ up – we have a few more market dates for selling and signing our new – and completely awesome! – cookbook, The Spirited Baker: Intoxicating Desserts & Potent Potables!

Wednesday Sept 8th (Tomorrow!)St Cloud Urban Marketplace
6th Ave N @ W St Germain, St Cloud. 11 am – 2pm

Saturday Sept 11thNE Minneapolis Farmers Market
University and 7th Ave, Minneapolis. 9am – 1pm

Tuesday Sept 14thMinnetonka Farmers Market
Minnetonka Civic Center Ice Arena B parking lot, 14600 Minnetonka
Blvd., Minnetonka. 3-7 pm

Thursday Oct 7thMaple Grove Farmers Market
Community Center parking lot, 12951 Weaver Lake Road, Maple Grove. 3-6 pm

Hope to see you at one of em!

Shot Tectonics – The Science of Layered Shooters

Layering shots is not only a pretty way to pour delicious drinks, it’s also a lot of fun. A bit of flavor mixology, some math, some experimentation, pretty colors… that’s always a recipe for entertainment! It’s a shame that it seems to be a technique that’s gone out of favor – the fast paced environment of today’s clubs has put a kibosh on the previous popularity of layering. Bah! Let’s bring it back!


The Spirited Baker!

Gonna warn ya in advance… this is a very photo-heavy blog entry!


Homemade Kiwi Liqueur Recipe

Back when we were shooting for The Spirited Baker, most of the shots were “bake and eat”. One shot, however, gave us something to look forward to in the future!

The first chapter of the book deals with how to infuse spirits, as well as to make various syrups, bartender mixes, etc – grenadine, sour mix, lime cordial syrup. When shooting the divider shot for that chapter, we infused FIVE LITERS of vodka with various flavors. We made coffee vodka.. strawberry, jalapeno, earl grey with lemon, and more. Not only did it make for a great photo, it left us anticipating the tasty finished products that would come.

This weekend, we made liqueurs from all of our infused vodka, and had some friends over to sample. I’d love to share the recipe for one of the biggest hits – Homemade Kiwi Liqueur. This is a very smooth, drinkable liqueur with great flavor.

In addition to the 100+ dessert recipes, kiwi is just one of the many liqueurs you can learn to make from buying The Spirited Baker, due out on August 31. Preorders still available, hint hint!


Photo courtesy M. Porter Photography