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Chocolates and Cake!

Yes.

Anastasia is still, indeed, alive. NO WAY!? Yuuuuup. Missed me, didn’t ya’ll?😉

I’ve had the most crazy 3 weeks of my LIFE it feels. My last semester in college has been insane… awesome, but insane.

I’ve some fun pictures to share. They aren’t vegan or gluten-free products… but this blog was meant for everything I make; for all of my culinary creations. There will be a mix of chocolates, candies, and lots of other baked goods!

 

This week I worked on some chocolates for a Bakery Day at school. In one of our classes our final project/capstone is managing the college’s bakery for 2 days. It’s tough work and really shows a student whether they really want to own their own business or not… it’s also uber fun and I am PUMPED to do mine (2 weeks from today, baby!).

ANYWAYS.

We each get a theme for our bakery day and this week’s theme was Chocolate (angel choirs singing)! I am taking an independent study for Chocolate and Confections with another chef of mine and I was asked to make some truffles and chocolates to sell. Um YEAH?

First was an Amaretti Truffle dipped in milk chocolate and drizzled with white chocolate:

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Second was a Tiger Chai ganache in a dark chocolate mold. Delish:

 

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The third was by far my favorite… Peppermint White Chocolates filled with raspberry goodness.

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I was pretty happy with them. They were…. so good. But I won’t make ya’ll drool. Too much.

 

Here’s an extra photo…. a shot of my “Under The Sea” themed cake I made for a cake contest the other weekend. Just vanilla cake (butter-cream filling) with chocolate and fondant decor. It was for the Saranac Winter Lake Carnival (which I happen to be the 2013 Princess for… pretty awesome deal. Check it out when you have a free minute: http://www.saranaclakewintercarnival.com/).

I thought she was pretty awesome for my first fondant sculpture. :p

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K. May The Passion of Baking Be With You. Deuces.

 

-Anastasia

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Blue Goodness

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I wanted to post something today, but by the time dinner rolled around and no one mentioned dessert I just decided I wouldn’t be baking.

Then while cleaning up the kitchen and I hear Mums say from across the room “Poots” (yes… I have a few weird nicknames. Poots isn’t even the worst of them) “I am having a hankering for…. blueberry muffins. You, uh… wanna bake some? Maybe?”

Don’t have to ask me twice.

So, people of the internet… I present Vegan (of course) Blueberry Muffins. I think they are splendidly moist n’ delicious.

From the basic muffin recipe I cut the sugar a bit and did half+half brown and white. I also did half+half white and prairie gold flour. Applesawse (haters don’t be hatin’… I like that spelling and pronunciation) was my substitution for eggs. I like it much better and it’s WAY cheaper in the long run.

I sprinkled raw sugar on top before popping these babies into the oven. Adds a nice crunch to the tops and it was the perfect sweetness for them. Can’t WAIT to have one for breakfast tomorrow before heading out to work.

K. Our Geoffy is coming home tonight for a visit. SOEXCITED. It’s like a big brother coming home.
On that note, my real big brother is coming home tonight as well. He has been in Texas visiting a sorta-adopted sister. But I say she is my true sis. Blood related or not.
You might find soon that everyone is family. And I like it that way.

So hugging, chatting, and muffin-eating will take place here in about 37 minutes. Good times.

Muff.. er.. Brownies?

You aren’t mistaken. I definitely posted today already.

So why am I posting again? CAUSE…. I decided to bake somethin’.

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Somethin’ yummy, too.

Mums asked me to start eating the avocados that were getting uber ripe on the kitchen island. I could have made guacamole… or maybe just sliced it up and gobbled it down with salt and pepper.

But who does that (besides me sometimes..).

So instead, I kinda whipped up some Vegan Chocolate Avocado Brownie Bites.

Yup. Avocados and chocolate. You’d be uh-mazed.

They were originally supposed to be more on the page of muffins. Yet they turned out so incredibly moist and dense that they dubbed themselves more of a fudgy-brownie-sorta-thingy.

Yum. I ended up bringing a little plate of them to the bank ladies. They’re so awfully nice to me and I like to bring them a plate of desserts whenever I remember to (haha, emphasis on remember). My memory is awful. I had to go there anyways today and that’s really what made me think to bake something.

I need to write down the recipe before I forget what I did… ha! This one is a keeper after some little tweaks. Who woulda thought avocados would taste so freaking delicious with chocolate?? Not I. So happy they decided to go well together.

Vegan Yumminess

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I really love vegan stuff… the whole concept intrigues me. I also love baking vegan food because it means I can provide delicious treats for people who struggle to find edible stuff bakeries for them. That’s always a joy for me! Same goes for gluten-free baked goods…. those are super hard to find around here. Kind-of a bummer, but then I’m like uh.. no? I get to be the one to do it! So then I don’t mind🙂

I went to some friend’s house for dinner, dessert, games, and laughter the other night. I, of course, wanted to bake something. Mums bought me super cute cupcake holders for Christmas… the kind where you don’t need a cupcake pan cause they just stand up on their own. They are more like cardboard cupcake holders. I love ’em.

So I baked off Vegan Vanilla Cup-a-cakes. I got the basic recipe from this cute girl: http://whippedbaking.com/2012/04/11/very-vanilla-vegan-cupcakes/

They were pretty yummy… extremely moist and had a good flavor! I liked them. I will fiddle with the recipe, though, and make it my own when I pull it out next (which will probably be soon).

I ended up topping them with a vegan coconut frosting, which I happened to find pretty good. Frosting can be difficult to get perfect… I have yet to find the perfect vegan recipe. BUT I have one that a book I recently bought swears by so I will be trying it out asap. =)

I say these cupcakes were a success! Click on the link and give them a whirl!🙂

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Baked and Wired? Uh, ch-ya!

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Down in Georgetown when Dad and I spend hours walking around checking out pretty sick bakeries, this was one that was highly recommended to us by the friends we were staying with.

The name, of course, would kinda throw anyone off. Like, wait… what? Baked and Wired… that can’t be a bakery…
But it most definitely is! It’s in fact a duo of a bakery and an espresso cafe… hence the name. Seemed like the usual thing to do was to go buy a cupcake, biscotti, or something of the sort and then make your way through an open doorway to find yourself engulfed in the smell of coffee beans. It’s a pretty sweet (literally) set-up and the name is without doubt one of the coolest I’ve seen yet.

There were plenty of options for baked goods, but their main shindig was cupcakes. These cupcakes were a perfect size, adorably decorated, and their names were totally unique and some were even personalized, which I happen to really like. Including the people you love, workers, and the community into your baked goods is important and, these days, over-looked. There also were no regular cupcake holders, the ones you find with polkadots and stripes and pictures of snowflakes printed on them. Every cupcake was baked in a cupcake holder made of folded parchment paper. SO COOL. I used to do that in the bakery I worked at when we were out of regular cupcake holders and personally… I think they look a whole lot cooler.

Dad and I got an incredible chocolate cupcake with peanut butter frosting named “I can’t Believe It’s Vegan!”. Very dense, moist, and yummay. My favorite part was the frosting. It was amazing and I wanted to apply to work there just so I could get my hands on that recipe. Ha.
Kelly-Kookalie (a good friend in the household we stayed in) met us there on her lunch break and ordered a “Dirty Chai” cupcake. It was quite good, I was impressed they blended some spices together so well that I couldn’t pick each one out. I really haven’t had anything Chai flavored that tasted so good.

Overall impression of this place? Marvelous. We didn’t get coffee (I think we decided we would have enough of a high from eating all the cupcakes coming up… kinda goes with this bakeries name, getting baked off cupcakes ha!), so unfortunately I didn’t get to check out the cafe section, but what we had was great and I’d love to go there again and try some other cupcakes. And a biscotti. With coffee.

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Hello, Cupcake!

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DC was… Incredible.
It was a lot for me to process… I spent much of the time just being quiet and taking it all in. The Family loved going to all of the Smithsonians, and I more enjoyed my time strolling down the capital’s streets and sitting in Starbucks and admiring pastries in windows.

The best day of my vacation was Thursday. Dad and I dropped off Mums and The Brother in front of the Capital Building. I climbed into the navigating seat (aka the passenger seat) and took out my list of bakeries and directions. We made out way to the gorgeous Georgetown and spent hours walking around on cobblestone finding bakeries to go in and critic. It was wonderful! Too many for me to bunch into one post. We took many pictures to document our visits, purchased baked goods at nearly every place, and I kept packaging boxes and bags I received (after my bedroom walls are re-painted, the bags and business cards will find a place on them).

But THIS bakery was called (you guessed it) Hello Cupcake! After Dad and I maneuvered our way to the location I jumped out and hopped in the doors. It was simple, cute, and I loved it! Lots of pink, so it was well embraced by me (I used to HATE pink. Now, against all odds… I adore it. Craziness.). I, of course, chose and purchased one of the vegan options. A vanilla cupcake with strawberry frosting. I was delightfully delicious… The frosting was quite incredibly smooth and light. They used real strawberries to flavor it, inviting one of the most beautiful forms of flavor into the dessert. It was the 3rd cupcake I tried that day and unfortunately I couldn’t finish it. I almost cried as I gave the last few bites to The Brother. He enjoyed it, at least.

I have a box, business card, and a good memory from this bakery. One of my favorites I visited! Very quick, but I won’t forget it and I look forward to going there again sometime!

There were a total of 7 or 8 bakeries we enjoyed going into. I won’t be baking this week, so I will just post pictures and dwell on the wonderful places I went to. It did nothing but strengthen my passion for one day opening my own bakery…. I am quite excited for the future!

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“Our Daily Bread”

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My early afternoon was filled with hours at the Smithsonian National Space and Air Museum. Definitely some stuff worth seeing… It wasn’t quite my cup of tea, but I enjoyed seeing really old wooden planes the most! I reunited with a dear college culi friend there and we spent a few hours catching up and strolling around; time much enjoyed!

Leaving the museum I just wasn’t feeling so great… Stomach hurt, headache, feet were in a lot of pain. So after parking in front of the Washington Monument I parted ways with The Family in an attempt to find Starbucks or a bakery to sit in and read quietly.

Is is so nuts that every Starbucks was closed today? I was shocked. On a day that I would deem especially popular for people to tour and want fantastic coffee.
‘Tevs.

I just kept on walking and eventually happened upon this cute bakery-cafe-restaurant. Le Lain Quotidien, meaning Our Daily Bread. I fell in love as soon as I walked in the door. I saw the fresh loaves of gorgeous bread sitting on shelves behind the counter, croissants, tarts, pies, muffins, mousse, and so much more. Every menu was written on a chalk board and each piece of furniture was made from reclaimed wood. Beautiful! All of the food was as organic as it could get and they had vegan and gluten-free options… Something I love seeing.

I found myself a little table by a window looking up at the streets of Washington DC and I ordered a black coffee and a vegan chai muffin. It was… mouth watering delicious. I love finding a GOOD vegan option and this was a winner. I sat there for over an hour reading Anthony Bourdain and being completely content. The Family joined after and Mums ordered an Avacado Tartine… So yum!

We passed by Borders on our way back to the vehicle and I marched right up to the cooking section. I found this book Babycakes– I had to splurge and purchase it. All for the purpose of my future business, of course😉
This book is full of vegan, (mostly) gluten-free, and (mostly) sugar-free recipes. I am PUMPED to read through it fully. I’ve glanced through and I love it already. That’s what I’ll be doing this evening before bed!

It was a good day. Glad I found a bakery to enjoy and collect more ideas from. Mums also bought me a big neon green sketchbook, yay! Tomorrow I’ll be hitting up the Botanical Gardens and doing some sick drawings. So excited.

May the Passion of Baking be with you,

-Anastasia