17 March 2014

Irish I Had More Cookies...

I figured if I titled this post with a pun, then I wouldn't have to explain my love of green beer, leprechauns and Lucky Charms. Just so we're all on the same page here, I am celebrating extra hard and wearing extra bright green today because I need some luck of the Irish! Lots of exciting things happening for Littlest Love right now... The website has a temporary page up right now for those locals that would like to place an order! Just check out my current menu. In the next month or two, you should see a very official website!

To celebrate St. Paddy's this weekend...I baked. What did you expect? I figured what better way than with sugar cookies in the shape of shamrocks. And how better to dress them than with Bailey's frosting? You know it!



Tonight is the night for green beer, and I may have purchased a few articles of festive attire...


...but I think we can all safely say that nobody wants to see those pictures! Hope everyone has a fun, safe St. Patrick's Day! Remember to drink green beer (or Irish car bombs or Guiness... or...) responsibly and call up Uber if you end up practicing Irish yoga! Sláinte!


04 March 2014

Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler!

For those that don't spend their time learning Cajun phrases, Laissez les bon temps rouler means "Let the good times roll!" And for those that don't know me well, I spent the better part of 2010 - and a few months of 2011 - living in New Orleans. There are few things I love more than (kosher) gumbo, po'boys, the Saints, go-cups, and of course KING CAKE!

The past few years, Justin and I have celebrated by putting on beads, wearing green, yellow and purple, and drinking Abita beer. Even Bo wore beads!

2012


2013

But we all know it's just not the same. This year, I decided that we were going to go all-out and do it right! Because we were invited to a Mardi Gras party tonight, we decided to make red beans and rice last night. And of course, I made a king cake, but saved it for co-workers today!

Delicious red beans & rice with beef sausage (don't worry dad, it's kosher!):



I have sadly attempted king cake before, and while it was unbelievably delicious, it fell on the floor and so I drowned my sorrows by dipping the non-floor touching parts in the bourbon icing. Needless to say, it was high time I made another attempt. This one went far more smoothly, as Justin assisted me as it went from the cookie sheet to the cooling rack. Success!

Since my trip to Argentina back in August, I've had a can of dulce de leche cooped up in our pantry. It's time had come to share it's joy with the world, so I opened up that bad boy and spread it all over that king cake before I rolled it up into a neat circle, baked it, and poured whiskey icing and sanding sugar all over. I have to say, even I was impressed with the outcome!








Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler! Happy Mardi Gras y'all!


19 February 2014

Ode to Valentine's Day

About six months ago, I realized I had very few cookie cutters. I mean, for all the cookies I bake, you'd think I had one for every holiday/shape/occasion. Alas, I had some really strange shapes. Who has 3 mustache cookie cutters and one, giant rocket ship cookie cutter?? This girl. And yet, no heart cookie cutter? No heart?!?!?! Littlest Love needs a heart. A tiny, littlest heart. Just look at that cute, little guy...


Fast forward to last week. Turns out, my purchase came in quite handy. This little rockstar turned my Valentine's treats from pretty, to adorable with just a little push of the hand and a few drops of food coloring. And push and drop I did. I pushed (and dropped) it real good.


Sorry, I always get so carried away with these hilarious puns. Back to the Valentine's treats! I found this BuzzFeed "39 Absolutely Perfect Comic Sans Valentine’s Day Cards" list, and like every other BuzzFeed list, I went down the rabbit hole. About an hour later, I had clicked my way into a circle, and found myself at this list once again. And I thought, "Well, #26 is clearly the best thing I've ever seen." And it was. So I saved the image, printed several copies, and vowed to use it for at least 30 people (that's how many I printed).

I figured my client wouldn't appreciate this the way it needed to be appreciated, so I made them for my boyfriend's office because he works at an ad agency. And if anyone hates Comic Sans more than me, it's them. And if anyone loves butter more than Paula Deen, well, you need a triple bypass.

So I made the best sugar cookies in the world, and then I made two kinds of royal icing: strawberry (pink) and raspberry (purple). And they were these tiny little bites of heaven. Just perfect for my little Valentine's treat bags, which were filled with raspberry flavored Hershey's Hugs and the ultimate York Peppermint Patties (heart shaped!). Needless to say, these treat bags were hugely successful. Paula Deen, you butter believe it.




In the midst of all this heart-shaped madness, Justin and I decided to keep our Valentine's Day low-key. However, I still love this day, and I always want to do something special. So we planned an indoor picnic (because there was freezing rain, and because it's easier). I got to thinking about picnics, which led me to think about the "outdoors." And then when I was thinking about the outdoors, I started thinking about camping. And then my brain lit up like a Christmas tree in February and I was all "I'M GOING TO MAKE S'MORES!" Which I realize is not a picnic-y thing. But, I don't care because I love s'mores and you can't stop me. Also, I have a kitchen torch, so you should really stand back.

I grabbed my Littlest heart cookie cutter and got to work... I needed to make marshmallows, graham crackers, and chocolate. And so it began with strawberry-flavored, heart shaped marshmallows for the win!


Then, I searched high and low for graham flour in Nashville to rock some homemade graham crackers, but sadly, all 10 grocery stores that I called either said "What's that?" or "Sorry, we have every kind of flour but graham flour." And it's true, so my mission semi-failed. However, I went for the next best thing, which are cinnamon-honey shortbread cookies. Spicy, sweet, and crunchy? I'll take it. Two down, chocolate to go. 

If you know anything about Nashville, you know that we are spoiled rotten by our incredibly talented local artisans. And if you've ever seen the beautifully branded, epic-sized chocolate bars, then you know Olive & Sinclair is what is up! They are flavorful, and masterfully crafted to make your taste buds say "whaaaaat!" That being said, I didn't even pretend to try and make my own chocolate. I grabbed a few of the more intense chocolates (Sea Salt & Cocoa Nibs) and there you have it. Homemade s'mores!







Justin was super excited about his gift, and I was even more excited about the dinner he prepared! Our picnic was a foodie success! We enjoyed pasta salad with chicken & roasted veggies and fresh out of the oven homemade sweet potato biscuits with Tru Bee "Tennessee Snow." Between that and the s'mores, we went to bed full and happy.


And the next morning, we woke up early and ran the Hot Chocolate 15k! Luckily we ran, because we got even more chocolate afterwards! I hope everyone had a wonderful Valentine's Day weekend! A special shout out to MY funny valentines: Bo & Justin. <3



12 February 2014

Bake Sale & the Return of Love!

Oh my, it's good to be back! How I've missed writing and picture taking and sharing all of my treats with all of you readers (all? some? a few?)! I took several months off - about 3 to be exact - and I'm not even sure why. After Thanksgiving, I started getting a lot of orders, my full-time job picked up big time, and quite frankly, I just kept getting bogged down in the day to day. But I'm back, and I've got lots of fun, exciting news to share and delicious goodies that are calorie-free if you just LOOK these pictures. No touching. See? I'm looking out for you...

Last weekend I was lucky enough to be part of a very important bake sale. The lovely founder of Tiny But Mighty Fund reached out to me to help with a Puppy Love Bake Sale. And if you didn't know, I love dogs. LOVE. DOGS. So supporting the fund, which donates to the Nashville Humane Association, through my treats was a no-brainer.

So, I got my little thinking cat on (right, meow)....


I decided on a combination of seasonal treats that would be fun, simple, and tasty, so I made my Mardi Gras cupcakes - because duh! - and my oatmeal cookies with white chocolate chips and raisins (which tasted like yogurt covered raisins, bonus win). 

 Here are the beginning stages of those cookies...


Look at that nutty, brown sugary goodness! Yum!


And the final product, all dolled up with a sprinkle of kosher salt on top for good measure.


And then there was whiskey caramel...

Which, is what I like to call, angel sauce. Because it tastes like what I imagine heaven to be. And that goodness was mixed with toasted pecans and well, that's what's inside these almond flavored cupcakes. And yes, that's cinnamon cream cheese frosting. You're welcome.




But no so fast, my friend. I quickly realized I needed to bake something new for this bake sale. And there was no one more pleased with my choice than my big, silly Bo Dog. That's right, I made dog treats! Pumpkin and peanut butter to be exact, and they were a hit!




So coming up this weekend is another post about - you guessed it - Valentine's Day! Love is in the air with Littlest Love, and usually, love means butter...and sugar. May your Friday be filled with sweet excitement, if for no other reason than the fact that it's Friday! And if it's not exciting to you, then hopefully this will cheer you up... 



21 November 2013

Thanksgiving Pie Giveaway!


If you couldn't tell by my pumpkin obsession, I absolutely love this time of year. The leaves are changing and falling, the air is crisp and cool, and the kitchen always smells like cinnamon. Humans were hardwired to love cinnamon. Ever met someone who was all "Gross, what's that smell? Oh, cinnamon? I hate cinnamon." Me neither. Because they don't exist.

However, the holiday season, despite it's rosy glow of delicious food, snowflakes, and pumpkin everything, comes with it's stresses. After all, it also includes family, cooking all day, and planning for 10 of the world's pickiest people in a 1,000 square foot apartment with an 80-pound dog, 3 kids, a restless father, and no cable TV. What? No, I love the holidays! Not stressful at all!

I'm sure plenty of you are singing the same tune, so I figure, why not share in the joys AND the pain? Or better yet, why not alleviate the pain altogether? Anyone stressed enough about hosting their very own Thanksgiving meal? Headed to a friend's place and not sure what to bring? Just want to sit at home with a fork and a bottle of wine and eat a free pie? Well, this contest is for you! Keep reading...

I am DELIVERING a FREE pie to one lucky Nashville local! Here are the rules:

1. Like my Facebook page, @LittlestLove.
2. Post a link to this blog on your Facebook with the reason you are thankful this holiday season, and tag @LittlestLove.
3. Contest winner will be announced on the evening of Tuesday, November 26. Pie delivery will be Thursday morning!






Happy thanking!

17 November 2013

Purple Velvet and Vanilla Bourbon

Well, followers, it's been a pretty big year for me so far! And it's not even over! Littlest Love has been making some big moves into the baking scene, all thanks to the support of friends and family, and of course, butter. I really couldn't do it without butter.

I am officially operational, and my website is in the creative stages - i.e. I have finally begun working on it! So I'm hoping to have that in full swing starting January 1. Yes, January! It's so soon! I'm already placing local, small-batch orders and am available for all of your partying needs. 'Tis the season!

And if all of this weren't exciting enough, I'm also finalizing a pretty exciting R&D cupcake. I've decided to share it with the masses, because quite frankly, it's too dang delicious not to. I have created a PURPLE VELVET cupcake. Think southern charm meets Prince. Oh, and did I mention there's salted caramel involved? Why yes, I did. Earlier this week on my Facebook page, I had a spoiler alert.


It held the test of all things delicious. It was purple, and it was silky smooth and had the perfect crumb. In fact, It was so good, I held it up to the "Wall of Motivation" that we have up in our tiny apartment. It held up nicely, don't you think?


And as boyfriend dug in, he was stoked to find that it was bright purple (the pictures don't really do it justice!) and the perfect combination of flavor. That salted caramel that I poured into the frosting just took it over the edge into cupcake greatness.


Seriously, look at that caramel going into the cream cheese frosting. Can you think of anything more decadent and delicious?? Seriously, I cannot. Drool....


Wait! The fun isn't over! Yesterday I got a little excited and pulled out the Bulleit Bourbon. It might be my favorite new ingredient. The quality of the bourbon is flat out ridiculously good. It's sweet but not overwhelming, and it's just down right smooth. I knew it would be the perfect element for my homemade bourbon vanilla extract.



Look at that caramel color. It's beautiful!




Yum! It will be about 8 weeks until it's fully infused and ready to use, but that means it'll be ready just in time for Mardi Gras season! Like you need an excuse for bourbon vanilla?

And last but not least - the biggest, baddest news of all. I am going to have my very first giveaway! Stay tuned, because it involves some geography, some nostalgia, and some Thanksgiving love!