About Jesicakes

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A BFA Painting and Drawing graduate gone cookie designer and decorator.  I bring my knowledge of art, composition, and color to pastries to create the perfect cookies and cakes for your events or occasions.
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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Snowmen Decorations

Winter cookies are some of my favourite to create.  This year I wanted to do a cookie that would be good for all my friends and family that was just winter themed instead of holiday themed.  I decided I wanted to a scene with snow falling and a snowman, instead of just doing snowman shaped cookies.  I also wanted them to be able to be used as decorating for your home or if you celebrate Christmas for you tree so when I baked them I cut out a little hole in the top to place ribbon in later.  These vibrant, cheery, snowmen will be sure to brighten up their recipient's day!

Snowmen Decorations
Decorating level: Medium-Advanced
Concept, design, and execution by Jesika Rose
  • Gluten Free Chocolate Sugar Dough Recipe
  • Royal Icing Recipe
  • 4" Circle Cutter
  • 9 Decorating bags, couplers, tips, and rubber bands
  • Two #3 round tips
  • Two #2 round tips
  • Five #1 round tips 
  • Toothpicks 
  • White or Opal sanding sugar
  • Gel food coloring:
    • Sky Blue
    • Royal Blue
    • Fushia
    • Regal Purple
    • Orange
    • Chocolate Brown
    • Black

Monday, November 26, 2012

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes

Every year for Thanksgiving I always make Pumpkin Bread and Cornbread.  This year though, I wanted to make pumpkin cupcakes instead.  I wanted to do something a little different than typical Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Icing.  I decided on makes Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with White Chocolate Buttercream and Cranberry Syrup.  I also wanted a crunchy element so I added Candied Pepitas as well.  The tartness of the cranberry sauce contrasts the sweetness of the white chocolate buttercream.  The pepitas are sweet and crunchy and full of spices.  The cake is full of pumpkin flavor and warm spices like cinnamon and cloves.  They're the perfect pumpkin treat.

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes
Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart
Made Gluten Free by Jesicakes
Makes 2 dozen cupcakes
Print Recipe
Ingredients
- 1 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2/3 cup brown rice flour
- 2/3 cup sorghum flour
- 1/3 cup white rice flour
- 1/3 cup tapioca flour
- 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp ginger
- 1/2 tsp cloves
- 1 15 ounce can of pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie mix)

Monday, November 12, 2012

Baby Cookie Tutorials: Onesies and Teddy Bears

I recently welcomed a new baby cousin into my family. As you can tell by the cookies his name is Zackery.  I wanted to make onesie and teddy bears to celebrate.  I've done tons of onesies while I was decorating for a living, and I wanted to do something different.  I once did a baby shower order that was jungle themed with monkeys and lions and elephants and I thought it would be really cute to do those images but on the onesies.  The great thing about this design is you can alter them and do any decoration you want on the onesie.  You can go to my flickr and see some variations on baby cookies like punk rock baby cookies or jungle baby shower, .  Also, you can do variations on the bears.  Last year for the holidays I made them into polar bears with scarves!

Safari Onesies and Teddy Bears
Decorating level: Medium
Concept, design, and execution by Jesika Rose

Monday, November 5, 2012

Peanut Butter Cookies Two Ways

A while back, Julie911 on tumblr posted a recipe for gluten free peanut butter cookies and ever since I had been wanting to try my own version of them.  These type of peanut butter cookies (I always called them fork peanut butter cookies since the impressions on the top of them are made with a fork) are so reminiscent of being a child.  They're sweet, chewy, and full of peanut butter flavor.  Peanut butter is possibly my favourite food, I eat a spoonful of it for a snack sometimes.  Needless to say, these cookies are addicting if you're a peanut butter lover.  I wanted to do something a little more special too on top of doing just plain peanut butter cookies.  I did milk chocolate filled, semisweet chocolate filled, and jelly filled (like a pb&j) versions as well.  They add a nice little surprise to the cookie and add even more flavor to the already delicious unstuffed versions of the cookie.

When I made the first batch, the plain cookies were absolutely delicious, but the filled cookies, especially the jelly one, stuck the roof of your mouth slightly.  So I developed a different recipe based off the first.  The first recipe is completely gluten, dairy, and all flour free.  The second is gluten free but uses butter and gluten free flours as well.  The recipe with flour and dairy is much better suited for stuffed the cookies.  The flour ones are delicious plain as well, but plain I definitely prefer the flour free ones.  I'll post both recipes for you to decide which ones you prefer!


Best Ever Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies
Recipe adapted from Julie911
Makes about 2 1/2 dozen cookies.
Print Recipe
Ingredients
- 1 cup of natural, salted peanut butter (I used Nature's Promise)
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 1 egg
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1 tsp baking soda
- pinch of salt

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Sugar Skull Owls for Halloween

This year for Halloween I wanted to do a cookie that was a little less traditional.  I've done skulls and spiders and mummies and things like that in the past.  At first I wanted to do a whole bunch of decorative owls, almost look like they were made of cut paper possibly in Halloween colors like oranges and purples.  Then I really wanted to do sugar skulls, but I feel like everybody is doing sugar skulls now.  Then the thought came to me to do a very decorative sugar skull inspired owl design.  I used a chocolate sugar cookie base to really make the design pop on the cookie and I couldn't be happier with the results.  They're something a little different than what I normally see for Halloween cookies and that's exactly what I was going for.  And like always, they're gluten free.  If you want to make these too, here's what you're going to need.

Sugar Skull Owls for Halloween
Decorating level: Advanced
Concept, design, and execution by Jesika Rose
  • Gluten Free Chocolate Sugar Dough Recipe
  • Royal Icing Recipe
  • 4" round cookie cutter
  • 12 Decorating bags, couplers, tips, and rubber bands
  • Two #3 round tips
  • Nine #2 round tips
  • Two #1 round tips 
  • Toothpicks
  • Gel food coloring:
    • Regal purple (or Violet with a dash of Fushia)
    • Lemon Yellow
    • Leaf or Neon Green
    • Sky Blue
    • Deep Pink
    • Orange

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Go-To Chocolate Sugar Cookies

Right now I'm working on two decorating projects that I plan to also do tutorials for.  Both designs involve lightly colored icing or white icing for the base color.  I really want these designs to pop though, and those colors can sometimes look bland on a regular sugar cookie.  So I really wanted to find the perfect chocolate sugar dough recipe to give these cookies some contrast.  After looking at at least a dozen recipes, I decided this recipe by Georganne at LilaLoa appealed to me the most.  Nice crisp shapes, and tons of raving reviews about how delicious they are. 

So I converted it to be gluten free and I was not disappointed!  Great, rich chocolate flavor and with the help of just three-four drops of black dye the perfect contrast color I was looking for (don't worry! that little dye does not give it a bitter taste).  They roll out great and they hold their shape perfectly.  They seem like the perfect ground for decorating, and they're also great plain or just sprinkled with a little bit of sugar.  So if you don't want to go all out with royal icing decorating, even using a cute cutter and just sanding them with sugar will make a delicious treat.

This will be your go-to chocolate sugar dough.  And I dare you to not sneak any bites of this raw!  That is just how delicious it is.

As with most sugar dough, you need to let this dough rest.  When you're done mixing it will be very sticky and soft.  Georganne suggests if you need to use it right away add 1/2 cup more flour.  While I did not try this, if you need to go with more brown rice or sorghum flour.  I did not try this with gluten free flours though so it may not work the same as with wheat flour.  If you try the extra flour and it works let me know!  Otherwise just a few hours in the fridge will make it the perfect texture for rolling out without any problems with it being too soft or stick

Chocolate Sugar Cookies
Recipe adapted from LilaLoa
Makes about 1 1/2 dozen 4" cookies
Print Recipe
Ingredients
- 1 1/4 cup unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla, gluten free
- 1 tsp salt
- 3/4 tsp baking powder, gluten free
- 2/3 cup non dutch-processed cocoa, I used Hershey's
- 1 cup brown rice flour
- 1 cup sorghum flour
- 2/3 cup tapioca flour
- 1/3 cup white rice flour
- 3/4 tsp xanthan gum
- Black gel dye, optional

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Ocean Themed Decorated Sugar Cookies

A few weeks back I decided to have some fun after work and make some ocean themed sugar cookies.  I hadn't decorated in a while and missed it...so I picked up some new cookie cutters along with some marine ones I already have and decorated cookies of my other great passion, marine animals and the ocean.  I had so much fun doing this cookies.  Especially the octopus and the whale which I designed myself on a round cookie (I wasn't liking the whale cutters I found and I didn't have an octopus).

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Banana Bread Cookies

A few weeks back, I had bought a bunch of bananas and forgot about them.  They got too overripe to eat, which makes the perfect for banana bread.  Justin was about to visit his family, and I wanted to make a treat for him to take with him that everyone could enjoy.  While banana bread is delicious, I wanted it to be something a little sweeter, and I had cookies in mind because they're easy to travel with, and normally stay fresh in a container for a few days.  So then the idea of making banana bread cookies came to me.  They're light, fluffy, almost cake like texture perfectly captures the texture of banana bread while still being a cookie.  The banana flavor really comes out and balances perfectly with the coconut and chocolate.  Banana bread has a comforting taste, there's just something so warm and homey about it.  These cookies capture that feeling.

Banana Bread Cookies
Recipe adapted from my Sweets Treats and More
Makes about 2 dozen cookies
Print Recipe
Ingredients
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 1 cup of butter (2 sticks)
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp gluten free vanilla
- 3/4 cup brown rice flour
- 3/4 cup oat flour
- 1/4 cup white rice flour
- 1/4 cup tapioca flour
- 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 3 ripe bananas
- 2 cups gluten free rolled oats
- 1 cups chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut plus extra for topping

*These would probably be delicious with chopped walnuts as well, but I recently became slightly allergic to them so I didn't include them.  But if you like walnuts I definitely recommend you try it!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Gluten and Sugar Free Devil's Food Cake

When I was a kid, more times than not there was an Entenmann's Devil's Food Cake with Marshmallow Icing in the freezer.  It was always my dad's favourite cake (and eating it frozen was the only was to eat it).  A few years back though he found out he had diabetes so he couldn't really eat the cake anymore.  This year for his birthday I wanted to take a stab at trying to recreate it not only gluten free, but also completely sugar free.  The devil's food cake recipe and the way I alter it to make it gluten free yields a moist, rich, delicious devil's food cake.  I actually would love to try this recipe again for myself with real sugar.  I used Splenda, which I do have to admit has a little bit of an aftertaste, but I think because of the flours I chose to use it was an extremely minimal aftertaste.  The icing is what through me off.  At first I tried to make my traditional marshmallow icing I make which is basically whipped egg whites and add basically a boiled homemade simple syrup, but that was a bit of a disaster with splenda instead of sugar.  So I did some research, and someone recommended using Sugar Free Jello Instant Pudding with heavy whipping cream and to my surprise it worked out great!  It actually was pretty damn close to Entenmann's for being Gluten Free AND Sugar Free!  And like I said, if you're not sugar free this would probably make a great just gluten free devil's food cake!

Gluten and Sugar Free Devil's Food Cake
Cake recipe adapted Food Network Kitchen
Made Gluten Free and Sugar Free by Jesicakes
Makes about 2 9" round cakes
Print Recipe for Cake and Icing
Ingredients for the Cake
- 1 cup brown rice flour
- 1/2 cup almond flour
- 1/2 cup tapioca flour
- 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 12 Tbsp butter, room temperature
- 2 cups + 2 Tbsp Splenda for baking*
- 3/4 cups cocoa powder (I use Hershey's...any that isn't Dutch processed is fine)
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 3 eggs, room temperature
- 1 1/4 cups water
- 1/4 cup almond milk, or milk of choice

*It is important to use the baking Splenda because it is a 1:1 replacement...if you use regular granulated Splenda this will be intensely too much sugar.  Just make sure if you buy the Splenda to check it's recommendations for the ratios.  And if you want to make this with regular sugar you can replace the Splenda with the same amount (2 cups + 2 Tbsp).

Ingredients for the Icing
Icing Recipe by SugarEd Blog
- 1 Large box of White Chocolate Sugar free Jell-O pudding mix
- 1 cup low fat milk
- 2 cups heavy cream

Monday, August 13, 2012

Earl Grey Madeleines

Jesicakes' second Madeleines!  I visited my mom and grandma this past weekend and wanted to bring them a treat.  Since I just made the Triple Chocolate Brownie Cookies for my mom the week before, I wanted to make something a little more on the lighter side for her this time.  She didn't get to try my last batch of Madeleines so it seemed like the perfect treat.  I wanted to use Earl Grey tea as the flavoring this time.  They came out light, fluffy, and cake like but with the perfect touch of sweetness and delicate floral notes from the Earl Grey tea.  I made some changes from my original recipe.  I substituted out some of the sugar for honey for a more subtle sweetness.  I also added vanilla to marry with the Earl Grey flavor.  There's still lemon in there but slightly less.

Although I mentioned the last batch was best fresh because they were glazed, these I just dusted with powdered sugar.  They actually tasted better after they had rested a day or two, and even got softer and more moist than when first out of the oven.  The flavors all seemed to burst the day after I baked them.  It may be that I needed to let my dough rest more in the fridge, but either way they still wound up being delectable.  And of course, they're perfect to dip into or pair with a nice warm cup of Earl Grey tea.

Earl Grey Madeleines
Recipe adapted from my Lemon Thyme Glazed Madeleines, which were adapted from Annie Eats
Made Gluten Free by Jesicakes
Makes about 2 dozen standard Madeleines
Print Recipe
Ingredients
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 1/2 Tbsp honey
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1/3 cup brown rice flour
- 1/3 cup sorghum flour
- 1/3 cup white rice flour
- 1/4 cup tapioca flour
- 1/4 tsp xanthan gum
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 9 Tbsp butter, melted and cooled to room temperature- zest of 1/2 a lemon (or to taste)
- 3 tea bags of Earl Grey tea (I used decaf since my grandma and I both avoid caffeine)

-extra melted butter and white rice flour to grease and dust the Madeleine mold.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Triple Chocolate Brownie Cookies

If I could only have one dessert, it would probably be a brownie.  I'm a sucker for anything chocolate, but there's something about the moist, dense texture of a brownie combined with the rich chocolate taste that makes them irresistible.  Last weekend my family went on our annual wine tasting trip, and I wanted to make a treat to bring along.  I wanted to make something that everyone would like and something that would also travel well.  While I love brownies, they're not the best thing for traveling.  Even dense, fudgelike ones can tend to be smashed and squished while being carried unless they're in their own separate container or bag.  

I looked through all my cook books and found the answer in Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook.  Her Double-Chocolate Brownie Cookies (pg. 75) were the perfect solution.  A cookie is sturdier than a brownie because its whole exterior has been baked, almost like it has a protective shell, whereas a brownie really only "set" on the top (or sometimes sides if it was on the edge of the pan.  This cookies are similar to the Andes Fudge and Peppermint Bark Cookies I made, except those definitely had a texture and taste more like fudge (hence the name), while these have dense cake like texture very similar to a brownie.  

I decided to alter her recipe a bit, using a mix of granulated sugar and light brown sugar instead of just granulated.  I also decided to make them Triple-Chocolate Brownie Cookies instead of double-chocolate.  She suggests that you can add walnuts or any kind of nuts really, but since I have a mild allergy to walnuts I left nuts out altogether.  And of course, I made them gluten free.

Triple Chocolate Brownie Cookies
Recipe adapted Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook Double-Chocolate Brownie Cookies (pg. 75)
Made Gluten Free by Jesicakes
Makes about 30 cookies
Print Recipe
Ingredients
- 3 oz semi sweet chocolate chips
- 2 oz 60% cocoa bittersweet chocolate (I use Ghiradelli), roughly chopped
- 3 oz unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
- 6 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 3 large eggs
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1/4 cup sorghum flour, sifted
- 1/4 + 1/8 cup brown rice flour, sifted
- 1/4 cup white rice flour, sifted
- 1/8 cup tapioca flour, sifted
- 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 4 oz 60% cocoa bittersweet chocolate chopped into 1/4" chunks

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Chocolate Chip Cookie Brownies


When Justin and I lived in Philly, there were these brownies by BT Baking that were pretty much the greatest idea ever.  They were Chocolate Chip Cookie Brownies.  What could be better than that?  Chocolate Chip Cookies and Brownies are pretty much the two ultimate comfort foods and combining them is simply bliss.  I always keep some chocolate chip cookies frozen in individual balls in the freezer for cookie emergencies, which is the easiest way to make the cookie brownies.  If you don't have chocolate chip cookies on hand, you'll have to make a small batch of chocolate chip cookies as well as a batch of brownies.  And what makes these special is they're completely gluten free!!  They combine crispy, chewy chocolate chip cookies with soft, rich, decadent brownies.  They're the ultimate indulgence!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Brownies
- 16 1 oz chocolate chip cookie dough balls from Jesicakes' original Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe
- 1 full recipe of Gluten Free Blissful Brownies

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Butterfly and Circles Decorating Tutorials


 This weekend I helped out at Compost for Brooklyn's Block Party.  I donated packs of decorated gluten free sugar cookie butterflies with gluten free chocolate chip cookies for their bake sale.  I also helped out at the booth then lead a decorating demo for the kids at the block party and let them have their go at decorating!  Afterwards I came home and made video tutorials for decorating butterflies.

Decorating using "pulling" is such a fun way to decorate.  I think every butterfly I made was different.  It's such a great way to experiment with what you can do with royal icing!  It's a process that requires speed though, so I couldn't really do photo tutorials so I tried my go at videos!  Unfortunately I didn't put my camera quality on high, so the video isn't HD (by any means) but I think you can still see everything fine and hopefully I explain it well too.  So the first video is the butterflies above, and also these "monarch" style butterflies:
I also did a second video for decorating circles with pulls to make borders and starbursts.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Butterflies for the Community

This Sunday (June 3rd), I'll be donating 24 packs of gluten free cookies with one chocolate chip cookie and one of these butterflies to Compost for Brooklyn.  It's a local community project about ecological restoration and reducing and recycling waste with their compost program.

They're having a block party this Sunday:
If you're in the area you can stop by, buy some delicious baked goods, enjoy live music, and even get a free tree!  Also, I'll be doing a decorating demonstration! I'll show how to make these butterflies, how to make monarch style butterflies, and basic techniques in pulling. 

If you can't make it out, Justin will be taping the demo and I'll post it as my first video tutorial! This is a technique that requires immediate action once you've flooded the cookie so it's difficult to take step by step photos. 

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Lemon Thyme Glazed Madeleines

Madeleines are one of my favorite treats.  I have to admit, the first one I ever had was when I was working at Starbucks.  And I thought they were great until I went to Paris and rediscovered them there.  Since then, I've only had them a few times in the states because I never really see them in bakeries.  I've always wanted to bake them and I finally got myself a madeleine pan so I could do so.  I've wanted to make something a little different from just the classic ones...Earl Grey, Lavender, something along those lines.  I recently had dinner at ABC Kitchen in NYC, and for dessert we got their doughnuts of the day, one of which was a Lemon Thyme Glazed one.  I knew instantly that was the flavor profile I wanted for my first madeleine attempt!  They came out great.  Spongey, light, delicate, yet moist.  The cake itself is very light with a bit of the lemon flavor, and the glaze just puts it over the edge into heavenly territory.  It'll be nearly impossible to eat just one of these sweets!

Lemon Thyme Glazed Madeleines
Recipe adapted from Annie Eats
Made Gluten Free by Jesicakes
Makes about 2 dozen standard Madeleines.  Most likely double that of the minis
Print Recipe - For Madeleines and Glaze
Ingredients for batter
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1/3 cup brown rice flour
- 1/3 cup sorghum flour
- 1/3 cup white rice flour
- 1/4 cup tapioca flour
- 1/2 tsp xanthan gum*
- 1 tsp gluten free baking powder
- zest of 1 lemon (approx. a packed Tbsp)
- 9 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature

Ingredients for glaze
- 1 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- zest of 1 lemon (approx. a packed Tbsp)
- approximately 1 1/2 tsp fresh thyme chopped finely

Extra melted butter and white rice flour to grease and flour the madeleine pan

*I accidently used too much xanthan gum in my batter.  I used about 3/4 tsp and it was definitely too much.  So I'd say at most use 1/2 tsp.  You can even try a 1/4 tsp and see how the batter feels.  Mine was way too sticky (but didn't really affect the outcome).

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Individual Baked Oatmeal Cups

So last month I got tested for celiac (negative! But I still want to be mostly gluten free because I just personally feel better when I don't eat gluten).  The hardest part is cutting out things that I had started eating daily during the two months before testing.  One of those things is granola bars.  They're just so easy and convenient to carry around except most of them have some form of gluten, soy, or dairy in them.  I just started using Pinterest and I saw a pin of Personal Sized Bake Oatmeal from Sugar-Free Mom and was inspired to use these to replace granola bars!  I made them in cupcake pans not muffin tins and got 3 1/2 dozen little oatmeal cups out of it!  That's part of my lunch for 42 days.  Not only is it going to cut granola bars and help cut soy, dairy, and gluten back out of my diet, but it'll probably save me a lot of money too!  I made fourteen different varieties too to try new flavors and so I don't get tired of them.  I use Chia Seeds in them which have lots of Omega 3 fatty acids, protein, antioxidants and much more.  I topped them chopped nuts and fruits to add to add more protein and for more energy.  So if you try these get creative with your toppings and see how many different varieties you can make!

Individual Baked Oatmeal Cups
Recipe adapted from Sugar Free Mom
Makes 3 1/2 dozen individual baked oatmeal cups in cupcake pans, or about 1 1/2 dozen in muffin pans
Print Recipe
Ingredients
- 2 large eggs
- 2 cups unsweetened applesauce
- 5 cups rolled oats (gluten free)
- 1/4 cup chia seeds
- 1 banana, mashed
- 2 1/2 cups almond milk (or milk of choice)
- 1/2 cup of honey
- 1 Tbsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp vanilla, gluten free
- 3 tsp baking powder, gluten free
- 1 tsp salt
- toppings of choice: dried cranberries, chopped almonds, peanut butter, chocolate chips etc.


Monday, April 30, 2012

Chocolate Dipped Coconut Macaroons

So I know it's been a while.  I've had a crazy month.  I moved from the suburbs to Brooklyn, had to deal with all the fun of moving into a fourth floor walk up, had to change jobs, so why not get back in the grove of things with a gluten free recipe so easy anyone can bake these?  Coconut macaroons are a great little indulgence.  Sweet with a hint a salt to balance them out, and if you dip them in dark chocolate the bitter notes are a perfect complement for the sweetness of the coconut.  This recipe takes about five minutes to complete and couldn't be easier.  The result will be delectable macaroons, crispy outsides with a smooth, soft, center.

Chocolate Dipped Coconut Macaroons
Recipe adapted from Ina Garten
Makes about 2 dozen macaroons
Print Recipe
Ingredients
- 1 14 oz bag of sweetened shredded coconut
- 1 14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk
- 2 egg whites room temperature, whipped
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 1/4 tsp salt

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Decorating Tutorial: Tutus and Flowers

For my little cousin Samantha's 3rd birthday, I wanted to make Tutu cookies for her because she loves ballet.  When I cut and baked all the tutus I needed I still had a lot of extra dough, so I cut the rest into flowers.  Now, I was limited for time, so these are not gluten free, but I'm sure you could find plenty of recipes for gluten free dough on the web.  I haven't perfected it yet with my own flour, but at work we just substitute Bob's All Purpose Gluten Free Flour in our regular recipe and it works great!

But back to the point, this is Jesicakes first decorating tutorial!!  I'll show you how to make these flowers and those tutus.  And the great thing about decorating, is once you learn principles like layering, you can apply them to make any cookie you want.

Royal Icing
Recipe by Martha Stewart
Ingredients
- 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- 5 Tbsp meringue powder or 2 large egg whites
- 1/2 cup of room temperature water
- 1-2 tsp lemon juice

In the bowl of a mixer with a paddle attachment.

Add the water and lemon juice and using the paddle mix the water in enough so it is mostly saturated.

Turn on the mixer on low until it is fully saturated.  Then turn the mixer to medium high and beat for about 8 minutes.  The icing should hold it's peaks when you turn off the mixer and raise the paddle.

I find it easier to thin icing than to thicken it, so I'd make the base batch thick.

Transfer to a sealed plastic container to keep the icing in while mixing the colors.  The icing will dry out and harden if you leave it exposed.
 
Icings Colors and Decorating
-Pink Gel Food Dye
-Yellow Gel Food Dye
-3 #2 round tips
-1 #13 star tip
-4 couplers and 4 coupler rings
-4 pastry bags
-Loose Icings: Light Pink, Dark Pink-Thick Icings: Dark Pink, White, Yellow
-Opal or White sanding sugar and a paper plate (optional)

Monday, March 5, 2012

Lemon Poppy and Apricot Almond Hamentashen

Hamentashen have always been a pastry that I wanted to love but mostly found them lacking in something that made them special.  They sound like the perfect package: slightly cakey, slightly crispy, filled with jam...but always tasting kind of bland (ESPECIALLY those bites without jam!).  Coincidentally the week at work we decide to try making hamentashen ourselves, my friend Jessica sent me a gluten free hamentashen recipe so I took it as a sign of having to try to make them for myself.  At work we made strawberry walnut (which I couldn't have because of the walnuts), chocolate, and lemon poppy. 

Already these were improvements from the plain sticky apricot filling that the hamentashen  I'm used to have.  So I decided to also go with Lemon Poppy and also went with a Apricot/Peach Almond filling.  I also added some orange zest to the dough, egg washed them, and gave them a dusting of cinnamon and sugar to add some more flavor and complexity to them.  The dough was a little tough to handle but once I got it down these were a breeze. 

And let's throw modesty out the window for a moment: These will make you completely forgot the awful, chalky, dry, sticky cookies super markets have the nerve to call hamentashen!  The dough is the perfect middle between cakey and crisp.  The flavor of the dough has a bit of brightness from the orange zest but not too much orange flavor so as to outshine the filling.  The cinnamon sugar dusting gives them a warmth and spice.  And the fillings are delectable.  The Lemon Poppy is the perfect balance of sweet and tart and the Apricot/Peach Almond has it's own bit of tartness from the apricot, sweetness from the peach and crunch from the almonds.  They're the perfect twist on the traditional plain poppy and plain apricot fillings.  Hamentashen are traditionally a Jewish pastry eaten during Purim (which is Wednesday night), but once you try these you'll be wanting to make hamentashen year round!

Lemon Poppy and Apricot/Peach Almond Hamentashen
Recipe via Beth Warren Nutrition from Special Diets for Special Kids by Lisa Lewis
Made Gluten Free by Jesicakes
Makes about 32 4'' hamentashen
Ingredients for Dough
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 cup canola oil (can substitute vegetable oil)
- 4 eggs
- 1 tsp gluten free vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups brown rice flour
- 1 1/2 cups sorghum flour
- 3/4 cups white rice flour
- 3/4 cups tapioca flour
- 4 tsp gluten free baking powder
- 2 tsp xanthan gum
- 2 tsp of orange zest (about one orange's worth)
- 1/4 tsp salt

- 1 egg, beaten
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp sugar
- extra white rice flour for dusting

Ingredients for Filling*
- 1 cup of lemon curd (I used Dickinson's 10oz jar of Lemon Curd...of course you can make your own but I wasn't feeling that ambitious!)
- 2 tsp poppy seeds
- 1 cup of Apricot/Peach Preserves (I used Smuckers naturals...when picking a preserves I make sure the only ingredients are the fruit, sugar, pectin, and citric acid...no starches or additives).
- 2/3 cups of finely chopped almonds

*this was not enough filling...I needed about another cup or so and happened to have other preserves in my fridge.  Overall I'd say you need 3 cups of the preserves of your choice total.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Honey, Lavender, and Lemon Cupcakes

Winter is often a time when meals are heavier and heartier, and the flavors tend to be heavy as well.  This weekend, I wanted to make something light, floral, and a little more complex than traditional cupcake flavor combinations.  I worked at a chocolate shop in Philadelphia for two years, and the entire time I worked there, my favourite truffle was the Honey Lavender one.  A few months ago I was in a spice market in Murray Hill, and I saw a packet of lavender and knew I needed to created a dessert with it.  So this weekend, during a light snow, but very grey morning we had Saturday I decided to brighten up the day with Honey, Lavender, & Lemon Cupcakes with a Cream Cheese Icing (which is also sweetened with honey and flavored with lavender and lemon).  The bases of these cupcakes are light and fluffy due to the use of just egg whites.  This texture along with the brightness from the lemon, the light sweetness from honey, and the floral notes of the lavender makes the cake delicate yet flavorful.  The icing adds a little bit of extra punch of those flavors while still remaining overall a light and bright cupcakes.  These cupcakes will brighten up your cold winter day, and come spring and summer I'm sure they'd be the perfect cupcake for a light dessert on a hot summer day.

Honey, Lavender, and Lemon Cupcakes
Recipe adapted from a combination of Hooray For Weekends and Blissfully Delicious
Made Gluten Free by Jesicakes
Makes about 1 1/2 dozen cupcakes
Ingredients
- 3/4 cup sorghum flour
- 3/4 cup brown rice flour
- 1/4 cup white rice flour
- 1/2 cup tapioca flour
- 1 tsp xanthan gum
- 1 Tbsp gluten free baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
- 4 large egg whites
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature (one stick)
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp dried lavender flowers
- 3 Tbsp clove honey
- Zest from 1 1/2 lemons (about 2 Tbsp)*

*Zest both lemon completely and set aside zest from half of one for the frosting

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Get ready for Valentine's with Red Velvet Cupcakes!

With Valentine's Day two weeks away we've already started preparing for it at the bakery.  Our cupcake of the month is a Red Velvet Cupcake with Cream Cheese Icing.  We found a recipe that seemed more moist than others we had tried in the past with a few extra ingredients to make them more flavorful.  Red Velvet can sometimes be bland, but the addition of buttermilk and yoghurt give the cake just a little bit of tang that pairs wonderfully with the hints of cocoa and the cream cheese icing.  The weekend after we made them at work I gave it my go at making this recipe gluten free and had success!  The same great flavor, same moisture but gluten free!  So whether it's for Valentine's or just because you love red velvet try these cupcakes out for a little extra treat!

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Icing
Recipe adapted from Epicurean Mom
Made Gluten Free by Jesicakes
Makes 24 cupcakes
Ingredients
- 3/4 cup sorghum flour
- 3/4 cup brown rice flour
- 1/4 cup white rice flour
- 1/2 cup tapioca flour
- 1 tsp xanthan gum
- 3 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking gluten free powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 3/4 cups buttermilk
- 1 1/2 tsp red gel food coloring*
- 1 tsp distilled white vinegar
- 1 tsp gluten free vanilla
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 large eggs
- 3 Tbsp Greek yoghurt (I used Chobani 0% plain)

*food coloring is an estimate, I did it until I achieved the color I liked.  Use food gel colors if possible, red food dye can have a distinct taste, and to make the cupcakes red you'd have to use A LOT of unpleasant tasting liquid color.  Food gel adds more color with less gel.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Pancake Sunday!

Pancakes Sundays are a pretty motivating reason to actually get out of bed on a Sunday.  We don't do it every Sunday, but when we do it's always a cheery (and delicious) way to start the day.  Having nice warm, fluffy pancakes is especially delightful on a day like today when here in New York it's chilly and everything is covered in snow.  Now I know, pancakes are not technically a dessert or baking, but you know what, they have the word "cake" in them so I decided to post this here anyway!  This recipe is too good to not share...pancakes that are gluten free yet possibly the best I've ever had?  How could I not share.  I've done this two ways:
  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour and 1/2 cup white rice flour:  makes a very light, fluffy, moist pancake with a little extra hint of sweetness and brightness from the white rice flour
  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour, 1/4 cup white rice flour, and 1/4 cup oat flour: A rich, moist, and denser texture yet has a more complex flavor from the oat flour. 
Both ways are delicious, so it's really if you want light and fluffy or rich and dense...now onto the recipe.

Gluten Free Pancakes
Recipe adapted from Galanter's Kitchen
Makes 5 four inch pancakes
Ingredients
- 1/2 cup brown rice flour
- 1/2 cup white rice flour OR 1/4 cup white rice flour and 1/4 cup oat flour
- 2 Tbsp sugar
- 2 tsp baking powder (gluten free)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 egg
- 1 cup of almond milk*

*can substitute rice or dairy milk

The process is super simple...

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Classic Snickerdoodles

My boyfriend Justin's favorite cookies are Snickerdoodles.  Last weekend he was feeling under the weather and I told him I'd make him them to cheer him up.  I've made them once before going gluten free and I wasn't too thrilled with how they came out.  I don't know if it's just that I'm using a new recipe or if it's the fact I made them gluten free but this time they were delectable.  Justin ate seven in one day...that I know of!  They're sweet and crispy from the rolled sugar with a warm spice from the cinnamon.  They're slightly crispy on the edges with a soft chewy center (the way every good cookie should be).  There is something about that warmth and sweetness that brings me back to being a kid.

Classic Snickerdoodles
Recipe adapted from Itsy Bitsy Foodies
Made Gluten Free by Jesicakes
Makes 3 1/2 dozen cookies
Ingredients
- 1 cup butter, room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup sorghum flour
- 3/4 cup brown rice flour
- 1/2 cup white rice flour
- 1/2 cup tapioca flour
- 1 tsp xanthan gum
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp cream of tartar
Ingredients for Cinnamon Sugar
- 4 Tbsp sugar
- 1 Tbsp cinnamon