Posts Tagged 'wedding'

Actually, we are already married – K&B’s Engagement

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Hey heyyy, models. Hey heyyyyyyy, blog readers.

I’ve been procrastinating posting this engagement shoot because like, two weeks after I took them, the two subjects ran away and married each other. So what is the point of even trying to be current on relationship statuses on social media??

No point. But I’ll still post them, because would you just look at this beautiful, creative couple! What a blessing to be able to catch up on life and see you two interact. All the very best, K&B!

L

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Pipe Dream #286: To Get Gussied – Bachelorette Brownies

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My best friend’s wedding was this July. This picture is so true to them. Very people-focused, loving. They make a good pair. And a handsome one.

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Before they were officially and for sure and no takebacks a couple of marriage, I threw her a bachelorette party. And these were the brownies that were there. Flavored with a hint of mint to pair with her wedding color of choice. How perfect.

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The KA Flour recipe actually tries to sell this recipe in the description like:

“Fudgy, cakey, fudgy, cakey… can’t make up your mind? If you’re looking for a brownie that’s right in between those two styles, you’ve found it. These brownies combine a fudge brownie’s ultra-moist texture with a subtle cake-like rise, for the best of both worlds.

Our guarantee [bolding not mine]: These brownies, deep chocolate brown inside with a lighter-colored top crust, will be about 3/4″ to 1″ tall when cut. They’ll be ultra-moist without crossing the line into gooey/underbaked.”

I want to say, “I DON’T WANT THAT DUMB GUARANTEE.”

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Apparently, dissolving the sugar a bit in the butter makes a crackly top to the brownies. (See also, this recipe for crackly-topped brownies. Weirdly, I flavored both of these with peppermint. I must have a thing.) For best results, I would do this part on the stovetop instead of the micro so you can see what’s happening. I don’t know that I dissolved the sugar long enough; it was still quite separate from the butter.

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To compensate for their correct baking time and texture, I gussied them up with garter belt-esque  frills. Downside of this: I really can’t report whether out crackly-topped at all. What I can report is that they did turn out somewhat cakey. And it was fine. Maybe it can imitative of wedding cake. How perfect.

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The only guarantee I will offer is that I remain your

Lauren

Bachelorette Brownies

Adapted  from King Arthur Flour

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup + tablespoons Dutch-process cocoa or regular cocoa (I used a mix)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon instant coffee
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract + 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line an 8×8 pan with parchment and grease the parchment.

Crack the eggs into a bowl, and beat them with the cocoa, salt, baking powder, espresso powder, and extracts till smooth.

In a medium-sized microwave-safe bowl, or in a saucepan set over low heat, melt the butter, then add the sugar and stir to combine. Or just combine the butter and sugar, and heat, stirring, until the butter is melted. Continue to heat (or microwave) briefly, just until the mixture is hot (about 110°F to 120°F), but not bubbling; it’ll become shiny looking as you stir it. Heating the mixture to this point will dissolve more of the sugar, which will yield a shiny top crust on your brownies.

Add the hot butter/sugar mixture to the egg/cocoa mixture, stirring until smooth. Add the flour, stirring until smooth. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake the brownies for about 30 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, or with just a few moist crumbs clinging to it. The brownies should feel set on the edges, and the center should look very moist, but not uncooked. Remove them from the oven and cool on a rack before cutting and serving.

If desired, frost with half a batch of this stuff, flavored with peppermint extract.

 

The time I pruned and got pruned + the worst cocktail

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My best friend got married. The day was so lovely and happy.

I didn’t bake for her wedding, but I did practice some floral skill-building. The easiest part was staring at all the beautiful colors. The hardest part was de-thorning the roses. Roses have to be trimmed under running water to increase their chance of maintaining a youthful bloom, and you have to get rid of the thorns so that more water can get to the flower itself. The thorns steal the water from where it is needed most.

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After I stripped the thorns and leaves from the roses, I had to remove the sepals and a couple layers of petals to keep the blooms looking fresh for the next day. The outer layers were kind of beat up already, past the peak of their beauty. They would never have survived all the bear hugs, bouquet tosses and other bridal revelries. Tearing them was a little tragic to me. I thought the sepals kept the flowers looking rustic and charming, but it would have been only a short term gratification to keep them.

Les fleurs were another gentle reminder of why it’s good that I be pruned too, you know, just in life. Get rid of the things that I might think are pretty now, but will get shabby later and prevent new growth. I want to bear much fruit! Or at least a blossom or two.

P.S. My hands are not maintaining any kind of youthful bloom after the trimming, but it was worth it.

P.S.S. Speaking of prunes, the worst cocktail I ever made was prune juice and vodka. Don’t you ever.

Lauren

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“The grass withers, the flower fades, When the breath of the LORD blows upon it; Surely the people are grass. The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever.”

Tegan and Matt’s Wedding, Lessons Learned

I managed the dessert portion of my friend Tegan’s wedding this past October. I wish you could know what a cool gal she is. Besides being a super actually fun dance party wedding, Tegan’s wedding was notable for its relaxed atmosphere. It was one of the smoothest events I’ve done, cake-wise, mostly because I followed these rules of thumb generated from past experience:

-Spring for decent carriers.

-Drive really slow.

-Don’t try and bake for 8 hours barefoot.

-Don’t drive two hours with a frosted, tiered cake.

Enjoy the pics! I didn’t get one of the cake-cutting this time–do forgive me.

L

Rando Tuesdays: Leftovers, Wedding Edition

This is what happens with leftover wedding cakes. Cake of any sort makes for happy co-workers. Using up leftover fillings makes for happy Lauren. One of my biggest issues with these cakes was figuring out how much filling to use. When it was all said and done, there was much to use up. Heaven knows I could not eat all of it by myself, especially since my family was like, “Lauren, what do you expect us to do? Funnel it into our mouths like water?” Why yes, family, yes I do.

You can find the scaled-down recipes below. The whipped chocolate ganache was especially amazing.

Happy trails,

L

Whipped Chocolate Ganache

Adapted from The Kitchn

This is useful for filling, piping or spooning. For additional tips, read my how-to post.

1 pound bittersweet or dark chocolate, chopped roughly
3 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream (I used maybe two cups)
Pinch salt
1 tablespoon brandy, rum, vanilla, or another flavoring (optional)

Put the chocolate in a large, heatproof bowl — ideally the bowl of a stand mixer. Heat the cream to boiling and pour over the chocolate. Let it sit for about ten minutes, then add the salt and flavoring, if desired, and blend with the whisk attachment of a stand mixer or just stir by hand with a spatula.

Refrigerate for about two hours, or until firm all the way through. Whip with a stand mixer or beaters until soft, whipped, and slightly lightened in color.

Raspberry Pastry Cream

2 cups milk
1/4 cup white sugar2 egg yolks
1 egg
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/3 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (I omitted this and stuck with 1/4 cup of raspberry puree, or a little more)

In a heavy saucepan, stir together the milk and 1/4 cup of sugar. Bring to a boil over medium heat.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and egg. Stir together the remaining sugar and cornstarch; then stir them into the egg until smooth.

When the milk comes to a boil, drizzle it into the bowl in a thin stream while mixing so that you do not cook the eggs. Return the mixture to the saucepan, and slowly bring to a boil, stirring constantly so the eggs don’t curdle or scorch on the bottom. When the mixture comes to a boil and thickens, remove from the heat. Stir in the butter and vanilla, mixing until the butter is completely blended in. Stir in 1/4 cup of strained raspberry puree, or to taste.

Pour into a heat-proof container and place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until chilled before using.

I Got It Right (For Once): Summer Wedding Edition

I figured I should kick off August right. And what better way to seize the day than to post a wedding post? It is summer, after all. I did another cake for a friend’s wedding. And this wedding was pretty over-the-top for a number of reasons.

1) The couple is sweet awesome. (And when I say ‘sweet awesome,’ I mean that they are sweet in both senses of the word and that they love Jesus like whoa.)

2) They had a rad dance party. I mean, it was really something; even the mix was great. After weeks of planning this cake, I really let loose on the dance floor. (And when I say ‘let loose,’ I mean that I may have broken a sweat as I was breakin’ it down. But it was a really hot day too, so.)

3) The cake actually turned out so well. This is not even me bragging. I was astounded, given the number of mishaps I have had in the past. Like the time I flipped a whole box of cupcakes cruising down 94. Or that other time I drove two hours with a tiered and frosted cake. (Why, why did I think that would work?)

This time,  not a single thing went wrong. It was the best cake I have ever made. Ever. It was super moist. The frosting didn’t melt off. The portion sizes were perfect. I drove 50 minutes with all the cakes in a car that essentially has no shocks. (But it does get 50 miles to the gallon on average. Not that it helped me.) I was amazed. And after that, I had a really good time and was glad.

Kicking off August right,

L

P.S. Big big thank you to the girls who helped me cut the cake and to the staff that served it. You were all darlings.

Pipe Dream #88: To Feel My Way Places – Swiss Meringue Buttercream

My dad is good at driving. He is less good with following directions while driving. We’ll get to talking about how the head gasket is breaking for the third time this year, and suddenly he’ll realize that we’ve missed our exit. The thing is, my dad never gets lost. He feels his way places. It annoys some people, but it’s really not such a bad way to live. You always end up where you’re supposed to be.

Some people are intimidated by bain-maries. I count myself as one of them. I don’t think this is because I am bad at using them necessarily, it’s just that all the things that require double-boiling are usually delicate and easily wrecked.

That being said, I’ve made this frosting three times with perfect results, even though this recipe is more of a feeler recipe than a lab recipe. It doesn’t require an exact temperature for the sugared egg whites and you just have to whip it ‘til it’s good. And by “perfect results,” I mean an extremely smooth, light and buttery frosting. It kind or reminds me of a boiled buttercream, but I would say that this is even more fine.

I flavored the frosting for the brownies with peppermint (because it is winter and I’m addicted) and flavored the frosting for the walnut blondies with vanilla.

With vanilla and feeling,

L

Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Adapted from smitten kitchen

For a 9-inch cake and filling:

1 cup sugar

4 large egg whites

26 tablespoons butter, softened (3 sticks plus 2 tablespoons)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Whisk egg whites and sugar together in a big metal bowl over a pot of simmering water. Whisk occasionally until you can’t feel the sugar granules when you rub the mixture between your fingers.

Transfer mixture into the mixer and whip until it turns white and about doubles in size. Don’t get any water in the bowl, now.

Add the vanilla.

Finally, add the butter a stick at a time and whip it ’til it looks like frosting and not a curdled mess.


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