Tag Archives: desserts

My first week at The Loco Bean

12 Jul

I don’t think I will ever have to say “I’m bored” ever again. This week has been so crazy and busy that I have literally been falling in bed every night and passing out from exhaustion…..but I love it! Its so exciting and scary at the same time to start a new business but I love setting things up the way I want. I opened the coffee shop officially this last Tuesday and I already have regular customers! Its been fun meeting new people every day and creating fun new drinks to try out. 

Some of the best drinks and desserts are created from mistakes and accidents and we’ve definitely had a few of those. Yesterday instead of house coffee, we put Chocolate Macadamia Nut coffee in a mocha frappe and it was so good that we are adding it to the menu. 

I also forgot how much I loved working downtown and I’m so glad to be back there again. There is never a dull moment and I work in front of huge windows so I get to watch and see everything going on. 

My favorite compliment today was when a woman ordered an iced mocha and said she loved it and it was better than where she usually gets it from. I hope each week can be like this one and that we continue to meet new customers so we can stick around for awhile!  

When things settle down a little, I will be posting from the coffee shop and taking pictures of drinks I create and hopefully some new desserts also. I’m thinking the color of the place is a little too calm for my liking so my next post will probably be pictures of the new paint…..because I had too much extra time on my hands 😉

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The Loco Bean

7 Jul

I can’t remember if I mentioned it here or not, but I’m opening a coffee shop! I’m sharing space with B. Loco, a mexican restaurant, and I thought “The Loco Bean” would be a perfect name.

This new venture is moving pretty fast and I may be open as soon as this week. I will be going in today to get my menu up on the board and I’m thinking I will use tomorrow as a trial run. The building we are in has eight floors so I’m hoping to have a lot of coffee drinkers. I will be adding things as I go along because I don’t want to start out with too much going on. For now it will be coffee, espresso drinks, iced coffees, teas, smoothies, frappuccino style drinks and pastries. That alone will keep me busy for awhile. The place is a little different than other coffee shops because I will be working from a coffee cart instead of a counter. It provides a few more space challenges, but its unique and more fun this way.

The way the place is set up will be very convenient not only everyone in the building, but the surrounding areas also. You can come in the morning and grab a coffee and muffin and at lunch time run in for some mexican.  It is set up similar to Chipotle and you have choices of wraps, fillings, etc. I sampled one of the burritos they offer and it was delicious!

Okay, back to the coffee 🙂 If you’ve been paying attention you know that I’m pretty much a coffee freak. I used to only drink brewed coffee or an unsweetened latte but lately I’ve been branching out and sampling all different kinds. I know, my job is so hard. My goal is to make and sample everything on my menu in the next couple days. The other night I went in and played around with some new things and they came out pretty good. My husband is going to have to peel me off the ceiling.

We will also offer muffins and other pastries that I will either bake fresh myself or buy from other local bakers. I may at some point offer a couple “diet-friendly” options, but the majority of my pastries will be made with sugar, flour, butter and of course a few secret ingredients. I think desserts should be mouth watering and special. Not that some low fat or sugar free can’t be good, but I would rather spend money on a rich, gooey piece of dark mocha cake and have to fit in an extra workout that week. I will however be continuing my search for a low carb cheesecake that not only doesn’t suck, but that is delicious.

Nerves are now taking over and I think I will head into the shop and get some things ready. I have a few pictures I took when I stopped in the other week and they aren’t very good but I promise to add more as soon as I get it together.

This is right after we moved the cart in and before I put any of my stuff in.

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Flower Cookies

26 Feb

I won’t even try to make excuses about why its been so long since I’ve posted, so I will just jump back into it. I’ve been doing lots of projects….mostly painting, but lots of cookies too. I hate decorating cookies so I’m not sure why I keep doing it. Sometimes I think I just like to torture myself.

The last cookies I made I didn’t actually mind doing. My sister in law just had a birthday so I made her a cookie flower bouquet. I had fun with it since I didn’t have a deadline I had to follow and honestly, its more fun for me when I’m not getting paid to do it. Weird, I know.

The recipe for these rollout cookies  is the best one I’ve found so far. I make the dough, chill it in the fridge for an hour and roll between 2 pieces of wax or parchment paper and then cut out. The cookies hold their shape pretty well and don’t spread. They come out thick and chewy, which I love. If you are looking for the thin, crispy buttery kind then these are not for you. I pair them with a basic buttercream icing and easy peasy. A lot of times I make the icing without the shortening and it turns out good

Once the cookies cooled, I separated the icing in to bowls, tinted the color I wanted and put into pastry bags. I used a small star tip to add texture. I let the cookies sit overnight and then placed into cookie bags. I was looking for a cute container to put the cookies in and found this one in the Easter section of Target.

These would make a great gift not only for birthdays but for teacher’s gifts, baby showers, Easter, etc.

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I have moved around a lot of rooms, painted, organized, etc so I will be hopefully adding new posts this week with some before & afters.

 

I even had my little helper in the kitchen this time 🙂

 

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No Excuses Snowflake Cookies

20 Dec

I call them this because I’ve come up with every excuse in the book why I can’t make nice decorated cookies – I don’t have the right supplies, I’m not a professional, not enough time, not talented enough, they just don’t work for me, blah blah blah.

In my last post you may have picked up that I’m not a fan of the cookie….love to eat it, hate to decorate it. But yesterday I decided to put my big girl panties on and suck it up. I have to say they turned out better than I thought they would….they aren’t perfect by any means but they came out pretty cute for the teacher’s gift bags that I will put together and post later.

The problem wasn’t any that I listed above….I really believe it was because I didn’t have the right recipe or consistency for the royal icing, but thanks to my friend Tonia  I finally got it right.

Please believe me when I tell you that if I can figure this out so can you….I’ve had so many cookie disasters and ended up frustrated so many times that I almost gave up all together.

I made the cookie dough by hand….I lent my mixer out and forgot to get it back and it was hard, especially creaming the butter and sugar, and my arm felt like it would fall off but the consistency turned out great. I got the mixer back later and made the royal icing with it…..I’ve never tried that by hand and don’t think I ever will!

I’m going to give you the recipes I used and I’m hoping some of you will try it out because it really is worth it when its done.

Rolled Sugar Cookies …I got this from allrecipes.com

1 1/2 cups butter, softened  (I used Blue Bonnet)

2 cups white sugar

4 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

5 cups all purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt. Cover, and chill dough for at least one hour (or overnight).
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Roll out dough on floured surface 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Cut into shapes with any cookie cutter. Place cookies 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
  3. Bake 6 to 8 minutes in preheated oven. Cool completely.

Royal Icing: In a mixing bowl:

5 tbsp meringue powder

3/4 cup warm water

Whisk by hand until there is no more water, just foam.

Pour in a whole bag of powdered sugar and turn mixer on low/medium for about 8 minutes.

Add some of the icing to a bowl and add food coloring (I used gel) to get the right color.

Consistency for outline of cookie: it should be like gel toothpaste – thicker, but not so thick that you can’t pipe it through a small tip or bag

To outline: color the icing and put in plastic decorating bag, and cut small hole at bottom. Pipe around cookie.

To flood cookie: after you are done outlining the cookie, use a spray bottle if you have it …if not add tiny bits of water at a time until you get it to the point that you can either spoon it on the cookie like I did or put it in a plastic decorating bag with a round tip and fill it in.

Wait until outline is dry, and either spoon the icing on and spread around or put in a plastic bag and cut hole and flood in.

For the snowflakes I put the original white icing in a plastic decorating bag, cut it at the bottom a little and drew them on. But wait for awhile until cookie is dry!

I know some decorators put seconds to their icing to describe the consistency but I went by look:

I’m going to add some pictures to see if it will help….sorry about the quality – I was lazy and used my phone.

After these cookies have dried for at least a whole day or two you can stack them, or put them in clear cookie bags and tie with a ribbon or sit with a cup of coffee and eat them all.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bouquets

1 Jun

Its the end of the school year and you know what that means – teachers gifts! I’ve done various things through the years from gift cards to flowers to homemade goodie baskets. This year I had 7 teachers and I also wanted to send something in to each of my kids office staff. I’m a little bit crazy didn’t you know?

I decided on cookies since I had so many people to do at the same time and I thought it would be simple. I question my own judgement sometimes. I then had the idea that I wanted the cookies to go on sticks and make a cookie bouquet. Actually, my original idea was to make sugar cookies, decorate them with royal icing and make bouquets with them, but I pulled back a bit and made them chocolate chip.

I have a recipe for really good chocolate chip cookies, but I thought they might be too thick and heavy for the sticks. I came across a recipe that was specifically for cookie bouquets so I thought I’d try it. In the middle of the recipe, I realized they messed up on the amount of butter and put two different amounts….since I wasn’t sure which one was right, I went back to the recipe I usually use. This resulted in a mixture of the recipes and turned out awesome!

I needed some sort of container for the bouquets  and I found some really cute little tin buckets at the dollar section in Target. I was only going to put 3 cookies in each so these were perfect. I also put a $5 Starbucks card with some candies I made from candy melts. My teenage daughter has 6 teachers so they each got a small bouquet and I made my son’s teacher a cookie bouquet basket. I really never want to see a cookie again – or at least for a few weeks.

Happy Accident Chocolate Chip Cookies:

4 1/2 cups flour

2 tsp baking soda

2 cups brown sugar

1 cup white sugar

2 cups butter, melted

2 packages instant vanilla pudding

4 eggs

2 tsp vanilla

4-5 cups semi sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325. Mix together flour and baking soda and set aside. In a large bowl mix both sugars and butter. Batter may be runny – that’s ok. Add in packages of pudding and beat until well blended. Mix in eggs and vanilla. Slowly add flour mixture I cup at a time until mixed thoroughly. You may need to keep adding a little flour at a time so the mixture isn’t runny. Stir in chocolate chips – I added extra.

If you are making cookies on a stick, place a rounded spoonful of cookie dough on an ungreased cookie sheet. Push a cookie stick through the dough until it almost hits the top…make sure it doesn’t poke through. Press the dough to flatten it a bit . Make sure to space the cookies out on the cookie sheet – I was only able to get 5 at a time. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned. Wait about 15-20 minutes then transfer cookie sticks with a spatula to a plate or rack to cool. Make sure the cookies are cooled completely before you even think of using them….if not, they will break apart.

Sorry about the quality of the pics….it was way too late to worry about!

To make bouquet:

Find a container – make sure it can withstand the weight of the cookies. I bought a rectangle of styrofoam and cut it to put in each container. Take your cooled cookie stick, and place it where you want in the styrofoam, pushing the stick through gently. I then placed tissue paper to fill the gaps and added the candy melt cookies.

There are so many different ways to make cookie bouquets – if you are talented or brave, you can decorate sugar cookies and use those. Or you can find a unique container…..maybe a really cool coffee mug or small flower pot, etc. I tried to wrap each individual cookie with colored saran wrap, but I couldn’t get it to stick and since the bouquets were all going to the same place , I put them all together and wrapped with cellophane .  The nice thing is that after they eat the cookies, they can use the tin for a little plant or flower it would be a cute container to keep change or crayons, etc in.

My accidental phallic basket….

18 May

So my son (7) brought home his papers from school and in it was a flyer for the school carnival with a request for bakers to send in cookies, cakes, etc. I tried to ignore it – I really did. Its not that I don’t like to help, I do, but I know myself. I go overboard and something thats supposed to be simple ends up driving me crazy. I could just bake cookies and send them in. That’s perfectly acceptable and it would only take me about an hour. But there is something wrong with me…..I absolutely have to make everything harder than it is (stop shaking your head yes Tim).

I got this great idea that I was going to send in  a cookie basket….simple right? It would have been had I not got the idea to add candy. Its not that the melting and molding in itself is difficult, but when you start baking at 7:30pm with a messy kitchen, kids that need to get homework done, showers, bed time, blah blah blah its a recipe for disaster.

I ignored my better judgement and started baking chocolate chip cookies – this cookie recipe is awesome. It uses pudding and the cookies come out cake like and chewy. When the cookies were baking I decided to start the candy….I melted the chocolate wafers, poured it in the molds and let set.

Soon it was time to put the basket(bucket) together. I got a piece of floral foam and put it in the bottom and covered it with pink grass type stuff. I then stuck the candy popsicles into the foam and filled around them with cookies. I made  some candy flowers and placed them throughout. I also added a few brownies – I made them from a mix.

It was done, looked ok and I took a few pictures. My husband came in and told me how good it looked, but I just kept feeling like something wasn’t right. Then it hit me – it looked like penises on a stick! My husband saw it too and when I posted the pic on Facebook this morning so did everyone else. So I took the candy sticks out, rearranged the basket and stuck a bow on it. I’m so glad I noticed it before I sent it in.

This is obviously the before: (lighting was bad)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The after:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I found this recipe on allrecipes and its one of my favorites:

CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES:

  • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 cups butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 (3.4 ounce) packages instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 cups semisweet chocolate chips

METHOD:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Sift together the flour and baking soda, set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar. Beat in the instant pudding mix until blended. Stir in the eggs and vanilla. Blend in the flour mixture. Finally, stir in the chocolate chips. Drop cookies by rounded spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.
  3. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven. Edges should be golden brown.