Thursday, July 31, 2008

Garage Sale Treasure



This little gem was found at a garage sale in Chatham. The lady that sold it to me was so nice. It had been her grandmother's and I believe she said that she kept her sewing on it. I really love rustic pieces of furniture that look like they have been used often and loved for a long time. This table really charmed me and I knew exactly where to put it! I painted it a very, very pale avocado and stained the top a dark walnut. It really compliments the truffle boxes and gift bags on the table. This table really fits in nicely at the store and I hope it is here for a very, very long time. What a find!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Bathroom Makeover - The Before

Here are the before pictures of my bathroom makeover. Clearly you can see why I was so desperate to redo it!

Bathroom Makeover

This bathroom makeover was done last summer but I've decided to post it anyway. After many a morning showering in the dungeon that was my bathroom, I got fed up enough to actually tackle this project during the start of my busy season at the store. Probably not the best idea because of all the late nights it took to get it finished. Well, I say "finished" but there still are a few touch-ups in the paint to complete. Here is the finished product!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

Once in a while we make chocolate chip cookies at the shop. I love a good chewy chocolate chip cookies the only thing that really makes or breaks a good chocolate chip cookie for me is the sweetness level. I love my sweets, don't get me wrong but I have never liked that headache-inducing sweet that usually accompanies mass-produced baked goods and confections. The recipe I like to use is adapted from an Alton Brown recipe book (my favourite Food Network chef). Here it is:

1 cup butter
2 1/4 c bread flour (really important if you want nice chewy cookies)
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 c. sugar
1 1/4 c. brown sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 tbsp. milk
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups 70% chocolate chips or chunks (really important if you like a not too sweet cookie...worth the splurge!)
1 cup toasted pecans (I sometimes candy mine with a little maple syrup and cayenne a nice usually like this addition)

Heat oven to 375 degree F. Melt the butter in a heavy-bottom saucepan. Sift together the flour, salt and baking soda (set aside).
Pour the melted butter in the mixer's bowl. Add the sugar and brown sugar. Cream the butter and sugars. Add the egg, yolk, milk and vanilla until well combined. Stir in the chocolate chips and pecans. Chill the dough. Spoon out onto silpat sheets (6 per sheet) and bake for 14 minutes or until golden brown. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Ice Cream Run

When I was apprenticing in Toronto at a chocolaterie, I would walk by an ice cream parlour that had all different flavours of delicious ice creams. I would stop quite frequently and partake in the sub-zero sweet (my favourite is Coffee Toffee). Well, when I opened up the shop I wanted to serve ice cream to help with the softer chocolate sales in the summer. There was only one problem, I had to have Greg's Ice Cream..nothing else would do! Well, fast-forward four years and I am still driving up to Toronto (3 hours away) to pick up this ice cream. It is sort of a mad dash up and back and every time I still panic that I'm going to hit a major traffic jam and it will all melt. I really need to sort out a better way. That's all today...I'm off to get my ice cream.

Greg's Ice Cream Flavours to try: Roasted Marshmallow, COFFEE TOFFEE, Strawberry Lemon, Chocolate-Mint Oreo, Green Tea, Mango...ah, the list goes on and on!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

5 Years....

I can't believe it but this October 25th will be my 5th wedding anniversary! Time flies when you are having fun and we sure have had fun in the last 5 years. To honour this special occasion we are taking a trip to Italy. We plan to tour the northern part of the country. I would be truly grateful for any suggestions on sites to see or day trips to take. I would love to see authentic Italy and visit the markets and possibly stay in a country villa. We are leaving in early September...October is way too close to my busy season in the shop so we'll have to celebrate a little early. Ciao!

Mushroom Claire

Miss Mouse celebrated her 1st birthday!  I'm trying to learn more about cake decorating. This one was my first attempt at a character cake.  It was a fun adventure and I hope to post more soon!  

French Provincial

Provence...the word hints of the smell of a beautiful perfume.  The smell of lavender warming in the sunshine and the sounds of birds chirping a romantic French tune.  It makes you want to stroll through the fields with a basket and a lost sense of direction.  
"Beauty of whatever kind, in its supreme development, invariable excites the sensitive soul to tears."  Edgar Allan Poe


Bonjour and welcome to my first post!  I thought I would kick-off the blog with one of my favourite things...Parisian Macarons.  I have never been to Paris, but these little petite gems are like a trip to the capitol of pastry and chocolates.  I've been meaning to include them in my production at the shop but have yet to find the time...(busy little bee making all her sweets for all her sweet customers).  But I did get a chance to bring some in from a pastry shop in Toronto for our "Marie Antoinette - Let Them Eat Cake" weekend at the shop.  They were delicious and a real inspiration for creation!