Thursday, December 15, 2005

Happy Holidays!

Chestnut Snowballs
Originally uploaded by ozdema2.
It is officially the start of the holiday season for me! I have done quite a few treats, including my favorite Turkish dessert sekerpare, several cookies and cupcakes. Stay tuned for the recipes in the coming days. Many Thanks to Belmin for my Christmas Banner, she is amazing as always! Happy holiday season everyone, eat lots of sweets!

Kestaneden Kartoplari

Bu ayki Ye'nin konusu Kestane, ben de tam yilbasi oncesi herkesin yapabilecegi, pratik ve lezzetli bir tarif bulup denemek istedim. Yilbasi partinizde bu tarifi ikram edebilirsiniz, ya da tatli seven arkadaslariniza guzelce paketleyip hediye olarak da verebilirsiniz.


1kg kestane

1/2 kavanoz şokella

2 çorba kaşığı pudra şekeri

100gr erimiş margarin

1 çay fincanı sıcak süt

1 bardak dişli çekilmiş ceviz


1 bardak hindistancevizi sutu (coconut milk) ve ya sut

4 bardak pudra sekeri




Kestaneleri yıkadıktan sora üzerlerini bıçakla çizerek içine bir tatlı kaşığı toz şeker ve 1 çay kaşığı tuz koyduğunuz kapta üstünü örtecek kadar suyla çizilen yerlerden ayrılmaya başlayana kadar haşlayin.

Kestaneleri sudan çıkarıp ayıklayın (tüylü zarı üstünde kalmasın).

Ayıkladığınız kestaneleri tekrar yeni su koyarak ve 1 tatlı kaşığı toz şeker ilavesi ile haşlayın.

Kestaneleri ezerek püre haline getirin, pudra şekerini, şokellanın yarısını, erimiş margarini ve dövülmüş cevizi katarak yoğunlaştırın. Karisimi buzdolabinda yarim saat dinlenmeye birakin.

Simdi sira toplarin uzerine dokecegimiz glazenin hazirlanmasinda. 1 bardak hindistancevizi sutu (ya da normal sut) ile 4 bardak pudra sekerini karistirin.

Buz dolabinda beklettiginiz kestaneli karisiminizindan ceviz buyuklugunde toplar yapin ve hazirladiginiz glazeyi uzerine dokun. Toplari ardindan hindistan cevizine baritin, kartoplariniz hazir! Eger vaktiniz varsa, sekilli kaliplardan minik yildizlar ya da bademezmesinden kardanadam yapin.

Umarim begenirsiniz, yorumlarinizi bekliyorum, ne demisler kestane kebap, acele cevap!

Monday, December 12, 2005

Holiday Treats (1)

Peppermint Rocky Road
Originally uploaded by ozdema2.
Here is a super easy holiday sweet treat for all the kids, young and old! It also makes a great gift as it keeps well. For those of you, who keep complaining that you don't have time to bake, the whole thing takes only 10 minutes and no baking needed!

Peppermint Rocky Road


1 bag, 12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk

2 tablespoons of unsalted butter

3 cups dry roasted peanuts or almonds or walnuts (I used peanuts)

1 bag, 10.5 oz, mini marshmallows

1 large candy cane, crushed*

* Note: If you are already maxed out with the mint -thanks to the amazing peppermint mochas, you can omit the candy cane, but the mint does add some serious kick to this holiday tradition.

Line a rectangular cake pan, (9*13) with wax paper.

1) Melt chocolate chips, sweetened condensed milk and butter in microwave, stirring, until smooth and chips are melted. Use medium power and stir every 30 seconds. If you don't have a microwave, you can use a double boiler and melt everything on the stove.

2) Stir in peanuts and marshmallows.

3) Spread the mixture in the greased pan. Sprinkle crushed candy cane on top.

Refrigerate until firm, about 2-3 hours. Once firm, you can cut the bars into small cubes and wrap them individually as gifts.

to be cont'd...

More recipes and pictures are on the way, so stay tuned!

Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Featured Article on MekanMax

I started writing articles for MekanMax, I am super excited! Only in Turkish though...

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Cinnamon Sugar Cookies

Cenk and I were trying to find a cinnamon cookie recipe we had in Istanbul on our bakery tour. They were very simple but still tasted amazing. I decided to give it a shot with this recipe from Lovescool, it was a good start, but the ones in Istanbul were less buttery and more cinnamonny (!)...don't get me wrong, these were very tasty and perfect for tea and I will keep making them...I used round cutters but you can also shape the dough into a log and slice thin rounds. Our hunt for the cinnamon cookies continues! Stay tuned!

Update: Check out the competition from my sister!

Chocolate Ginger Cookies

Chocolate Ginger Cookies
Originally uploaded by ozdema2.
From Martha Stewart Cookie Magazine, they were easy to make and worked perfect with the cut-out shapes. I made the large Turkey cookies for the Thanksgiving table settings and used my new leaf cutouts with the leftover dough. I used a small paring knife to get the details on the leaves and the acorns...They look almost too cute to eat...

Makes 4 dozen

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

3/4 cup packed dark-brown sugar

1 large egg

1/2 cup unsulfured molasses

1 tablespoon peeled grated fresh ginger

Fine sanding sugar, for sprinkling

1. Preheat oven to 325°. Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, spices, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in medium bowl.

2. Put butter and brown sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add egg, molasses, and grated ginger; mix until combined. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture; mix until just combined.

3. Halve dough; shape into disks.Wrap each disk in plastic; refrigerate until cold, about 1 hour.Working with 1 disk at a time, roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to a G inch thick. (If dough becomes too soft at any time, freeze until firm.) Cut out shapes with 3-inch acorn- or leaf-shape cookie cutters; space 1 inch apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Refrigerate until firm, about 20 minutes.

4. Score designs with a paring knife; sprinkle with sanding sugar. Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until firm, 11 to 13 minutes. Cool on sheets on wire racks. Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature up to 5 days.

Thursday, December 01, 2005


I haven't written in a week, it seems soo long, but I have a good excuse, I got sick, not too bad, just sore throat and lost my voice, but heavy Vitamin C and Echinacea with DayQuil saved me from the worse. By the way, did you know there is more Vitamin C in half a cup of parsley than an orange? I love Farm Fresh!

In between Thanksgiving rush and getting sick, I managed to squeeze in two cookies: Cranberry-Pistachio biscottis, and Cinnamon Sugar cookies. I will post the recipes and pictures in a day or so! Stay tuned!

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Gobbling Cupcakes!

I won the dessert competition at work with these! Pumpkin Cupcakes with Ginger Cream filling and Chocolate frosting...The recipe is from Martha Stewart and the decorations are from the Cupcake Calendar 2005. I stressed out way too much for this competition, messed up the frosting twice and threw away 2 bags of chocolate...sad:((( The hardest part was to find the right sized candy corns, next year, I will be stocking them at Halloween:)

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Ginger Cream and Chocolate Frosting

30 regular cupcakes or 12 regular and 24 mini cupcakes/ 350 degree oven

2 cups flour, all-purpose
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
15 ounces pumpkin puree, I used canned

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice; set aside.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together, brown sugar, granulated sugar, butter, and eggs. Add dry ingredients, and whisk until smooth. Whisk in pumpkin purée.
4. Divide batter evenly among liners, filling each about halfway. I find piping the batter easiest way to do this part.
5. Bake until tops spring back when touched, and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes, rotate pans once in 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool.

Ginger Whipped Cream

2 tablespoons cold water
1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
2 cups chilled whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup flavored simple syrup

1. First make the simple syrup. Heat 1/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup water, and a 2" chunk of ginger that has been peeled and julienned until boiling and simmer for 3 to 5 minutes. Set aside to cool and strain before using.
2. In a small metal bowl, soak plain gelatin in cold water for 5 minutes.
3. Place the bowl over a small pot of simmering water and stir until dissolved. Set aside to cool.
4. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat cream until soft.
5. Slowly drizzle in the simple syrup and vanilla, continuing to whip as you do.
6. Add the gelatin all at once and continue whipping until soft peaks form.
7. Finish beating with whisk to adjust consistency.

Chocolate Ganache Frosting

10 ounces bittersweet chocolate, I used Ghiradelli 60% semisweet chocolate chips
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup butter, room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

1. Put chocolates into a heat proof bowl.
2. Heat cream until bubbles form around the edge of the pan, pour cream over the chocolate.
3. Let sit for 1 minute then stir until combined.
4. Add butter to the chocolate (make sure its soft and at room temp) and stir until combined.
5. Whisk together sugar, salt, milk, and vanilla in another bowl until combined.
6. Pour the sugar mixture onto the chocolate mixture, then stir until combined and smooth.
7. Let sit at room temperature until thickened.
8. Beat with an electric mixer until fluffy.

Assemble, follow the below instructions for both the mini and regular size cupcakes.

1. Using the back of a pastry tip, scoop out the middle part of the cupcakes and set aside.
2. Pipe ginger cream into the cavity.
3. Frost the cupcakes with chocolate frosting.
4. Pour chocolate sprinkles on a large plate and roll the large cupcakes twice on the sides to get the feathers. Roll the mini cupcakes only on one size to make hair.
5. Pipe white frosting for eyes and tap with black food coloring for the pupils. You can also use mini M&Ms.
6. Use candy corn for the beaks
7. Place the mini cupcakes on top of the regular sized ones
8. To make the feathers, attach candy corn to cookies using royal icing. I used the ultra thin swedish cookies shaped as a flower.
9. Secure the feathers to the cupcakes with a marshmallow.

That's all! Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

My New Banner!

It is time to reveal the secret talent behind the new Baking Fairy banner! Belmin did this super cute character for me last week. I am simply speechless.

I was nagging Cenk for help, he works for his own ad agency, however he was putting me off saying they were way too busy. Desperately thinking about backup plans and trying to identify professional illustrators, he called me to say he found someone!

Apparently, Belmin has been working on fairies for a while and she agreed to do something for the Baking Fairy! All it took was a few words to describe what I want, no creative memos or endless conversations on Pantone numbers:) I guess this is what they call creativity and she is so talented!

She doesn't have a website yet, but it won't be long. Don't you think?

Thank you again Belmin'cim! You are the best!

Persimmon Date Coffee Cake

I posted in Turkish earlier today for the 4th Food Blogging event organized by Melda. The theme of the month was "dates" and I was determined to bake something, despite a choppy start:)

First, I bought persimmons! Don't laugh. Those of you who are not fluent in Turkish yet (!), persimmons and dates are called the same thing in Turkish; luckily I found this recipe that has both dates and persimmons so problem solved!

Second, my plan was to bake on Sunday and take photos during daylight. However, chit chatting with Ozlem was fun and we stayed up pretty late. I had to squeeze baking to Monday night and obviously I missed the daylight. Call me a food photo snob, but, I hate taking food pictures at night. They just don't look nice. So, I had to take pictures right after the bootcamp this morning, upload them on Flickr and barely made the deadline, but I had to skip my coffee stop-ughghghhgh!

I brought some of it to work and my former Atkin's friendly team liked them a lot! Here is the recipe, I got it from David Lebovitz.


P.S. Having a deadline totally makes things more exciting and there is a dessert contest at work this Friday! Wish me luck:)

Cift Hurmali Kek

Bizim evde taze hurmayi babam cok sever, sonbahar aylarinda mutlaka mutfakta pembe tabak icinde uc bes tane turuncu hurma buludururdu. Arada sirada da anneannem ve ben ona yardim ederdik, yoksa hurmalar annemin gazabina ugrar ve copu boylardi:) Annemin hurmayla arasi yoktur, genelde daha egzotik meyvalar sever, hindistancevizi haric.
Bloglar Arasi Yemek'te bu ayin konusu hurma olunca, ben de burda eve hurma aldim. Kaliforniya'da taze hurma bulmak hic zor degil, ama en iyi hurmalar Japon marketlerinde; hem ucuz hem de daha taze oluyor... Bu arada ufak bir detayi atlamisim, megersem bu ayin konusu ramazanda yenen kuru hurmaymis, taze hurmalar da cope gitmesin diye cift hurmali bir kek tarifi denemeye karar verdim:) Degisik bir cay keki oldu. Tavsiye ederim, deneyiniz.
Bu arada merak ediyorum, bizim sirkette bu cuma bir yemek yarismasi var ve burda arkadaslarimla konusuyorduk, acaba Turkiye'de yemek yarismalari oluyor mu diye, bilgisi olan varsa lutfen yazsin. Illaki Mutfak dergisinde calismak gerekmiyor ki, yemek yarismasi duzenlemek icin...Neyse, cifte hurmali kekin tarifi asagida...

Cift Hurmali Kek

Eger benim gibi calisiyorsaniz, malzemelerinizi bir gun onceden hazirlarsaniz isiniz bayagi kolaylasir. Tabii ki sadece kuru malzemeleri (un, seker, tuz, gibi). Ben genelde kaselere ya da buz dolabi posetlerine koyuyorum. Keki yapacagim gun de televizyon programlarindaki gibi hersey hazir olmus oluyor! Yani usenmeyiniz sevgili arkadaslarim, onluklerinizin tozunu aliniz:) Haydi mutfaga!
3½ bardak elenmis un (790 gr)
1½ cay kasigi tuz (7.5ml)
2 cay kasigi kabartma tozu (baking powder) (10ml)
1 cay kasigi nutmeg (5ml)
2 bardak esmer seker (452 gr)
1 bardak eritilmis yag, oda sicakliginda (226gr)
4 yumurta, oda sicakliginda, hafifce cirpilmis
1/3 bardak rum (80 ml)
4 taze hurmanin puresi, yaklasik 2 bardak
2 bardak kavrulmus ceviz, iri parcalara kesilmis
2 bardak kuru hurma , 4'e bolunmus

Ocagi 350F'da (175C) isitin. Ben genelde eve gelir gelmez firini aciyorum, malzemeleri karistirken firin isiniyor ve en fazla yarim saatte kekler firina girmis oluyor.
Kek kalibini iyice yaglayip, un ile kaplayin, bunu da bir gun onceden yapabilirsiniz.
Un, tuz, kabartma tozu, nutmeg ve sekeri elekten gecirerek karistirin ve ortasinda bir kuyu acin.
Erimis tereyagi, yumurta, likor ve taze hurma puresini sira ile karistirin, cevizleri ve kuru hurmalari ilave edin. Spatula ile un gorunmeyinceye kadar karistirin.
Yaklasik bir saat pisirin. Kekin oldugunu anlamak icin ortasina bir kurdan batirin, kurdan eger temiz cikiyorsa olmus demektir. Kek soguduktan sonra uzerine pudra sekeri serpin, ben bir de sekerden yaptigim yapraklari koydum, ama vaktiniz yoksa bir iki tarcin cubugu da cok yakisir.

Orjinal tarif David LeBovitz'den....

Monday, November 14, 2005

Baking Fairy Cupcakes for Sale!

I had the best time ever this Saturday at the Dance in the Sprit. My good friends Marc and Christine were working on this project for months and it was a huge success with amazing DJs and Christian music that I haven't really listened to much before.

I just made plans to check out the music and the venue (it was this movie set in Building 3 at Treasure Island)but a miracle happened -no worries, I am not converting to any other religion again:) Christine told me that I could sell stuff as a vendor! It was huge! My first ever bake sale!

I could not me more unprepared though! I am so upset with myself, you don't need an MBA to figure out the basics; like change, those dollar bills are sooo valuable (!), table cloth, lights, BUSINESS CARDS!!!...and I do have an MBA, sorry Dad!

Luckily, I have friends who live on the island and got a table and a table cloth from Ozlem and Ahmet, thanks guys! I had to write my contact information on napkins....Oh well, I so will laugh at this post, in a couple years when my business picks up...:)

I made these chocolate and vanilla cupcakes with vanilla buttercream. Check out the pictures on Flickr, I love the one with Matthew digging right on to the frosting...Whew, the ultimate taste test! He liked it and even got a second one!

I know you are curious, I did make money! I could have made more if listened to Eric and Natalie:) Leftovers went to church, for good karma:)

Now, I have some cash to spend on my business cards! I'm loving this!

Friday, November 11, 2005

Holiday Cookie Baking is ON!

I've officially started my holiday cookie baking. Yay! That part is easy, the hard part is to decide which of the 150 cookies in the latest Martha Stewart Cookie Magazine is going to make it into the cookie boxes. And before I could even try any of the recipes from Martha, I had to do these biscotti's that I saw on Heidi's site, slightly revised.

Why biscotti? My mom is a big fan of biscottis and she is very particular about them" too soft, too almondy, too crunchy, too thin, too thick..." But, no complains, I like playing around with the recipes, trying to perfect them. So, here is the first batch hot of the oven!

Super Healthy Pistachio-Chocolate Biscottis

Biscottis are baked twice with a considerable amount of prep work. A rainy day or a fresh cup of cofeee in the afternoon are great reasons to spend time in the kitchen!

2/3 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/3 cup wheat germ
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon baking powder

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
2 large eggs, room temparature
zest of one orange
1/4 teaspoon almond extract

1/3 cup shelled pistachios
3/4 good quality semisweet chocolate chips chopped fine

Preheat your oven to 325 and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Sift the whole wheat pastry flour, whole wheat flour, wheat germ, salt, and baking powder in a small bowl.

Using a mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until creamy for two minutes (Kitchen Aid @ 6).

Add the eggs, zest, and almond extract. Mix until well combined, scaping down the sides with a spatula to make sure you get a good mix.

Add the dry ingredients to mixer and continue mixing with slow speed (Kitchen Aid @ 3) until the dough comes together. Stir in the shelled and roughly cut pistachios and chocolate chips.
Shaping the biscotti:

Wax paper comes handy for this task as the dough is pretty stiff and sticky. Get the dough on the wax paper and using a ruler as a guide, don't laugh, I like to be precise as much as I can, flatten the dough into a log shape about 4-inches wide by 12-inches long.

First Baking:

Place the dough on a baking sheet lined with parchment and into the oven for 30-35 minutes. It will get its shape in this round and and brown a little. Take the log out from the oven on a cooling rack and reduce the oven temperature to 300F.

Let the biscotti log cool for about 10 to 15 mins so you will be able to slice it with little damage.

Use a serated knife to cut the log into 3/4-inch biscottis. I think mom likes them diagonal, so I always cut them this way but you can also do smaller straight cuts.

Second Baking:

Arrange the slices cut side up on the baking sheet and return to the oven for another 30 minutes. They might be slightly soft coming out of the oven, but will firm right up as they cool off on the counter.

For step by step instructions, check out the pictures on Flickr.

Ok, now back to cupcakes:)

Afiyet Olsun!
*Turkish for Bon Appetit!

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Matcha Buttercream

I am addicted to green tea in my sweets, ice cream to soft caramel candies. It goes back to 1997, Japan where I had at least one package of these green tea candies daily, thanks to a young monk who was a regular at the temple I was staying. My Japanese wasn't good enough to say anything close to "Please don't spoil me this much, we don't have these back home!", instead I kept saying "Arigato gozaitmasu (thank you very much)". As expected, years gone by without them. After coming to San Francisco, I re-discovered the same flavor with the green tea mochi ice creams from Trader's Joes. I even found the candies on Clement Street, at that amazing Crepe place across the street from the infamous Burma Super Star.

Note to self and the v-ball crew: We should eat there pretty soon and I need to get some more of those candies and post pictures:)

So, all this green tea background was actually the warm-up for the real deal among the pastry world: Matcha. It is the green tea leaves in powder form. A couple weeks ago, Cenk, my ex-roommame* who is back in Istanbul now, saw this amazing cake from Keiko and asked me to send some matcha for him. Of course I had to buy one for myself, too!

I started playing with it this weekend and came up with something simple but very tasty. Matcha Buttercream … Just mix a teaspoon of matcha with a cup of vanilla buttercream and there you have it….It blends wonderful with dark chocolate and luckily, I had some leftover chocolate cupcakes from the Plaid Party!

A quick tip: Do not try piping with ziploc or this happens and you will have to start over again...these metal tips work best with a pastry bag!

So, try it…I know green tea is not everyone's favorite and that's ok but seriously, it really looks very pretty and it tastes so good, you might even like the flavor!

Oh, before I forget, here is an extra tip: You can also use matcha powder in place of green food coloring and also dust sugar decorations; think leaves, trees or grapes....

Next up are Matcha Chocolate Pudding from 101 Cookbooks and the famous Green Tea Opera Cake from Keiko.

*Update: not only my ex-roommate but he is also my best friend in the whole world even though he left me all alone here and has no plans coming back any time soon:( Better?

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Plaid Party and Plaid Cupcakes

Mac and Melissa had their 7th, (Mac's 2nd), annual Plaid Party this weekend. Plaid is "ekose", my Turkish friends, don't go crazy trying to figure out what the hell plaid is...
Over the last couple of weeks, maybe months, there must have been some serious plaid shopping going around the stores on Haight and the Mission. People were serious about this party, there were even out-of-towners:)

Napoleon Dynaplaid and Deb were my favorites, though Mac won the "Plaidest of all" medallion, his wife was the judge, hello!!! My outfit was rather plain, a headband and a wrap plaid skirt...Oh well, I already started thinking about next year:) Check out the plaid craze yourself! Pictures!

The Chocolate-Coconut Cupcakes:

Decorating the cupcakes for the party was as hard as finding stuff to wear...I had to do some serious pattern search to understand what exactly counts as plaid.

I knew checkers wouldn't qualify, but had no idea there was also argyle?!! A seriously dressed up couple actually disqualified from the contest because of that, so heart breaking:(( Anyways, here is what I did for dessert; Chocolate-Coconut Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream from Collette's book.

This was by far the easiest cake I have ever done. Even if you don't like coconut, try this moist cake, you can simply omit the coconuts. It is also a no-mess recipe, all you need are two bowls and some basic pantry items. All mixing is done by hand, so you can give your Kitchen-Aid a break. If omitting coconut, try adding orange zest for a citrusy twist or ground coffee for a mochalicious treat!

* Makes 24 cupcakes or 2-8 inch round cakes

I suggest measuring the dry ingredients a day in advance. It makes the whole process much more simple and relaxing.

2 cups of all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

2 cups of sugar

1 3/4 cups strong coffee (hot)
1/4 cup Kahula (original recipe called for Bourbon, but I had none)
5 ounces of unsweetened chocolate, chopped into small bites for even melting
2 sticks of butter (113*2, 226 gr)

2 eggs at room temperature (very important)
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

1/2 cup sweetened coconut flakes

On the day you plan to bake the cake or the cupcakes, heat the oven to 275F. Note the low temperature.

1) Make the hot coffee, I just boiled water used instant coffee, you can use drip coffee as well. Add butter cubes, chopped chocolate and coffee liquor (or bourbon) and let it melt in 15-20 minutes. Cover the bowl with a plate upside down. Add the sugar, whisk well (10 strokes) and let it cool for another 10-15 minutes.

2) Add the flour mixture in two batches and add eggs and vanilla and then the coconut. That's all.

3) Fill the muffin pans lined with cupcake liners, or the 8 inch cake pans lined with parchment paper. Bake the cupcakes for 20 minutes, (45 minutes for the larger cakes) and let them cool in the pan. Once cooled you can start decorating as you wish...

No more plaid for me for a while...Enjoy!

Monday, November 07, 2005

Breakfast from Sicily

Originally uploaded by ozdema2.
This morning, I had a cannolo for breakfast from Pasticceria Minotauro-hand delivered!

Eric just got back from Sicily yesterday and he was able to sneak in one of these, (was really surprised and literally jumped of bed). Of course, I tasted it immediately and left some for breakfast. It was great after this morning's bootcamp. Oh, yes, I am doing this crazy bootcamp every morning.

Oh, now the bets
are on for the best cannoli in town:) I already have the metal tubes to make the shells, all I need is good ricotta cheese, maybe this recipe from Heidi would do...

Cannoli adventures are coming up soon, but I still suggest we all go and eat the original where it all started! I am sure Eric will post pictures from his trip soon, so come back for more, I will update the post then!

P.S. Jack, you need to plan a visit for tasting:)

Sunday, October 30, 2005

All about Pink! Lemon Layer Cakes

It was Carrie's birthday like two weeks ago and I was such a "busy" friend, running around partying with the "Turks", I forgot her birthday:( Bad! and Even worse because I always and always want to bake cakes and look for opportunities, and here I am missing Carrie's birthday! Good news is I got a chance to bake an apology cake this weekend when we decided to get together and catch up after my Chicago trip. I got inspired from an episode of Firefly, a sci-fi/western TV show, where one of the main characters, Kaylee, wears a pink dress all in ruffles and her friends call the dress a "layer cake":)

Lemon cake is Carrie's favorite and it worked perfect for the blog after getting quite a few complaints about my comments on friendship and chocolate last week! So, here is a correction, I have many non-chocoholic friends and a slice of lemon goodness is as good as a fudgy, soft and chewy cookie! (not better though:))) I made four small ruffled dresses and everyone seemed to enjoy it. I usually don't buy all that jazz about how great my cakes taste, but today I got double approval. Carrie's husband who only eats fruit as dessert said it was good and Aidan got his hands into the whole cake and finished his second big piece in less than 5 minutes! I am happy and pink!

P.S. Don't you think Carrie is a trooper with that husband of hers? I wouldn't be able to survive more than a couple dates leave alone marriage with a guy who doesn't eat desserts. Happy Birthday again!!!


If you like baking, check out the Whimsical Bakehouse Cookbook Mine has many pages with food stains, a good sign for a crazy cookbook owner like me, (good ROI, for those investors among you). Anyway, I highly recommend it.

For the lemon cake, I used their basic yellow cake recipe with a citrus twist, added 2 tablespoons of lemon rind and 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice. Their buttercream is absolutely fantastic; if you need the recipe, email me. That's all...More tips on the second episode of my Odeo show, check it out here:
My Odeo Channel

Monday, October 24, 2005

Chocolate Clouds-Sapirt!

Victory! After months of resistence to my insane baking habits, some friends at work finally gave in and asked me to bake again! Atkin's bankruptcy also helped:) How could I say no (!) As these guys are true dark chocolate and coffee lovers, I tried these chocoholic friendly cookies. If you are not one, are you sure we are friends?

Also, I am creating a new show and calling it "Flourless Chocolate Cake", compliments of this new tool from ODEO. You can now listen to a quick summary of tips and tricks for this recipe on Episode 1. Here we go!
My Odeo Channel I know I sound like a fairy:)

Chocolate Clouds with Turkish Coffee

3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chop as small as the chocolate chips so they can melt at the same time, I use Ghirardelli.
2 cups (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips, I use Ghirardelli.
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, diced into 8 pieces
3 large eggs
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
3 teaspoons finely ground dark-roast coffee beans, such as Italian-roast (I used Turkish Coffee)
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup walnuts

(optional: 1/3 cup Cocoa Bits from Scharffenberger)

1) Preheat oven to 350F and line with parchment paper.

2) Melt unsweetened chocolate, 1 cup chocolate chips (recipe calls for 2 cups, one cup will be melted, one cup will be added in the last step), and butter using a microwave or a double boiler, stirring until smooth, and let it cool while mixing the other ingredients. If using microwave, make sure to check the power and do not use anything more than 50%.

3) In a bowl with an electric mixer beat eggs, sugar, and ground coffee on high speed (10 with Kitchenaid) until very thick and pale and mixture forms a ribbon when beaters are lifted, about 5-7 minutes, (longer if using hand mixer) and beat in the melted chocolate mixture. Make sure to stop every 3 minutes and scrape the mixer.

4) Sift in flour, baking powder, and salt and stir until just combined with a whisk. Sift in the mixture and fold gently, it is better if you do it in two steps.

5) Stir in remaining chocolate chips and walnuts (and cocoa nibs if using).

This is the easy part. The hardest part is the baking. Make sure your oven is preheated to 350 already. Do not place your baking sheet into the oven beforehand or your cookies will be flat as wheat thins:)

Drop batter by heaping tablespoons about 6 on one sheet and bake in middle of oven 8 to 10 minutes, or until puffed and cracked on top. Cool cookies on the baking sheet for 1 minute and transfer to a cookie rack to cool completely.

As usual, this is not an original recipe, I just got inspired from an old Gourmet magazine and made some changes.


Here is Purple Green!

Purple Green
Originally uploaded by ozdema2.

I just uploaded a bunch of pictures from the class. Check them out at Flickr! Colette called the cake "Wacky! and Fun", Colette's mom called it "Whimsical"...I call it "Purple Green" I am just in heaven."

Friday, October 21, 2005

Day 5: i did this!

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Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Day 3: A day in Kindergarden

Today was all about color, we started playing with the airbrush tool, oh my god, it was such a blast. It is the same thing as spray paint, but its hard to believe you can eat a cake decorated with it. You can cover a cake in seconds with this tool. I have spent hours coloring fondant in the past and it never looked this perfect.

Next was coloring the decorations we made since Day 1 using several different techniques. I had to skip lunch to finish my lilies, sweetpeas, orchids and grapes and at the end of the day they looked horrific!!! It is hard, really. The picture above is supposed to be an Orchid, well not quite botanically correct:) I need to read on flowers...I didn't even know what a lily looked like and painted 6 stems in 3 different colors thinking they would be paired. Too bad my lily is not coming to SF with me:) After the class, I went down to the local Michael's to get colored pencils and now I am working on some designs for that three tiered cake. Still no clue what I am going to do...Where is my baking fairy???

Monday, October 17, 2005

Day 1: Making Sugar Flowers

Playing with sugar...

I am in Darien, IL attending a 5 day Advanced Cake Decorating Class with Colette Peters. She is so amazing....We start at 8:30 in the morning and work all day...there is even a final project, a three tiered cake. So far, this is just a dream come true, playing with sugar dough and making flowers, leaves, reading cake decorating books and eating ice-cream for dinner. I even wake up before the alarm goes off-that hasn't happened for a loooong time. Wow! Life is pink and happy, even without cell phone coverage or fast speed Internet.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

First delivery!

First delivery!
Originally uploaded by elcaseo.
We just got the first box from Farm Fresh and more apples!!!! Another apple cake is on the way, stay tuned!

Monday, October 10, 2005

Vegan Cake Trial

Vegan Cake Trial
Originally uploaded by ozdema2.
It is apple season and everyone (Heidi, Fortune and Tara) is writing about apple these days...So, I gave this vegan recipe a my surprise the cake did have some texture and taste...
I used the pistachios that I brought back from Turkey, but the taste wasn't distinct at all, next time I will try walnuts...

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

A Surprise Visitor

He came from somewhere I've never been and told me that he is looking for nothing and I really liked him! It is a happy day!!! I just have to find him a name. I am thinking Osman:)))

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Housecafe Istanbul

Originally uploaded by Hande_Lenis.
Great hangout place in Istanbul...

Monday, September 12, 2005

I am home!

I am home!
Originally uploaded by ozdema2.
Enjoying my vacation at home...This photo is from Guliz, she was just in Cesme...The weather is warm, friends are all here and we are partying non-stop with my family!

Friday, September 09, 2005

Going home @ JFK

Carmen and I were on the same flight! She is now wondering around Istanbul and I am getting ready for our boat trip tomorrow...

Monday, September 05, 2005

Sorry! I have a girlfriend!

Originally uploaded by Mochi83.
(thank god!)

This was the funniest thing that happened to us this weekend...My sister and I were just strolling on Haight and this random guy approaches us with a smile, gets close and then suddenly his face changes and says "sorry, I have a girlfriend!" We kept wondering what he would have done if he were single! Darling, don't look back!! he he he!

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Shastacilar at Lake Berryessa

On the way...
Originally uploaded by ozdema2.

We went camping this weekend to Lake Berryesa compliments of Shastacilar. This group is just plain crazy, very funny and seriously challenged with organization skills. Plans change every 5 minutes and you just have to hang loose and just laugh. Otherwise it could get a little too chaotic.

Saturday was fun with a lazy day on the lake followed by low action volleyball game and BBQ. Food was amazing, only if we had more lemons and eggplant in the eggplant salad (!), less salt on Kisir, a little more chicken for Can and a couple volunteers to make Smore's. Here is the Turkish version of smore's making: Everyone sits around the table, one person stands next to the fire and serves! Ughghgh! I am way too much "Americanized", this really got to me!

Yuko disappointed us by not singing one single Japanese song (since when Japanese are shy in singing) and Can really hurt her feelings by not dancing Salsa complaining that he did not have his salsa shoes...Meeeeeeeeen!

However, the song of the night was "You come from Kyoto and wear your Kimono".
We also had two secret romantics in the group, one brought a sheet cover, 500 Egyptian cotton (he forgot his tent but sleeping under the stars was even more romantic), the other brought incense, no one will ever figure this one out...(hint: "not big" in French)

We also learned that cups are important to stock up as we ran out real fast:)

Finally, if you ever step on to a boat, just make sure there are no ropes hanging around your leg. The stupid rope tangled around my leg and now I have a permanent reminder of this trip with me for a while.

Check out the pictures on Flickr!

Friday, August 26, 2005

Visiting Pixar

I had Friday off to spend time with my sister and we invited ourselves to lunch at Pixar. It was a blast! More pictures will follow but if you happen to know Erdem, just bug him a million times and mention my name and he will get you in:))

Here are the pictures from our visit...

Monday, August 22, 2005

excellent up!

excellent up!
Originally uploaded by ozdema2.
playing v-ball in Santa Cruz!

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

My sister is in town!

I should bake her something but what??? Hmmm, any ideas???

Posted by Blogger for Word…it only works when Outlook is closed!

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Update: and it doesn't support images and tables! Come'on you guys!!! :)))

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Cagla's Birthday Cake

Here is the latest from the kitchen: Swedish Meringue cake with Strawberries and Blueberries covered with Fondant! It was Cagla's 30th birthday and after long hours of thinking and numerous email exchanges with the birthday planners, I decided to make this cake for her...

It is an interesting recipe, there are no egg whites in the cake but instead the whites are whipped with sugar and almonds and baked on top of the cake batter, creating a crunchy layer. The filling is French pastry cream, (pastry cream lightened with whipped cream and raspberry liquor) and folded with berries. The cake is then covered with light vanilla buttercream and finally with fondant to get that smooth looking texture.

Oh, my modeling skills are getting slightly better, now I am using black sesame seeds for the eyes and it seems to be working fine. That is Cagla's husband Baris, with his gift box:)

More on flickr...Cake pictures and party pictures, for those of my friends who have been requesting to see more people pictures than my creations:)))

Monday, August 01, 2005

Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes with Marshmallows on Top!

These were ok, not much zucchini flavor but still tasty...I used my lovely culinary torch to blow the marshmallows, even better:) Check out Dom's pictures, it was fun to play with fire!

Weekend Projects: Failed!

Coconut-Chocolate Granola Bars
I was looking for a project for the weekend and Natalie suggested these Coconut-Chocolate Granola Bars, from The Chicago Diner. She tried them before and had some trouble with the consistency. Something is totally not right with this recipe. The bars don't hold their shapes. The taste is not that amazing either...but I am going to give them one more chance and try adding butter or oil to the crust. She really likes them and that is enough of a reason to perfect this recipe:))

Oh, I also put sunflower seeds and but was not a great idea...

Check out pictures from this weekends projects @ Flickr!

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Living with Jerry

Originally uploaded by ozdema2.
Jerry and I are getting along great these days. He is sleeping with me, I just can't wait when my sister comes over and stays with us...She is so not a dog person:)

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Schneebergers back in town!

Schneeberg's back in town!
Originally uploaded by ozdema2.
Stefan and I go looong back, its been almost 6 years by now that we know each other. He moved back to Switzerland 1.5 years ago..It was a blast to see him and his family. I even got a chance to show off my wonderful apartment and Jerry!

Blueberry Lemon Tart

Blueberry Lemon Tart 2
Originally uploaded by ozdema2.

Blueberry Lemon Tart with Meringue Topping

Blueberry Lemon Tart 3
Originally uploaded by ozdema2.