For years Jacquee fought off the feelings of intimidation she felt whenever thoughts of baking and decorating beautiful confections would arise. She preferred creating with fabrics and her sewing machine. The kitchen was a place for Jacquee to avoid at all costs. Recently however, armed with her love of chocolate and her insatiable sweet tooth she fought back her insecurities and discovered with great delight, that her creative skills were transferrable. Since taking some decorating courses and studying up from some confectionery authors who are now her idols, she has never looked back. Jacquee has even decided that she is now confident and adventurous enough to explore the realm of sugar art. In August of this year this young baker began sharing her weekly adventures of the sweeter side of creating with her hands with her Facebook following and with her readers of I Sugar Coat It. Her first attempt at creating anemone flowers did not quite satisfy her and she was determined to better her technique. She was very successful! Jacquee is always looking to learn as much as she can now about decorating and be it from books or trade shows full of the latest in techniques and *how to* sessions, she is eager to devour as much as she can. No doubt, those who are fortunate enough to avail themselves of her own creations are just as eager to dive right in and devour the samplings! In fact at a recent fund-raising bake sale, her products (shown below) raised $300 in less than half an hour! I am very happy that Jacquee is here today sharing her story and recipe with us.
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Yesterday we celebrated Thanksgiving here in Canada and writing this post reminded me of all the wonderful things in my life that I am truly thankful for – my health, family and friends top the list. Many thanks to Paula for spearheading this project and allowing me the opportunity to contribute to an important cause. A heartfelt thanks to the bloggers who have posted before me, and those scheduled to post in the coming months, for sharing such personal, heartfelt stories and recipes. I have cried for those who lost their battle, cheered for the survivors and sated my sweet tooth over the last nine months.
I am so honoured to be a part of this unique way of bringing awareness to a disease that impacts so many – a bitter-sweet undertaking. I read the daily heartfelt accounts of my fellow bloggers/bakers/women and realize how fortunate I have been. I say this with some degree of guilt and full awareness of how easily my fortune could change.
The only time I have been personally impacted by the disease happened to be very early in my life, while I was too young to fully comprehend the events. Catherine, my great-grand mother, after a long battle in which she surrendered both her breasts in an attempt to beat her ruthless opponent, died at the age of 55. By all accounts, Catherine, affectionately called mam (mom) by many, was a gentle, loving soul – an angel really. Her love and affection did not end with her thirteen children, but extended to countless others in her community. Although I was too young to have formed any memories of her, there has been no shortage of accounts from family members about the impact Catherine, my great-grand mother, has had in each of their lives.
My grand mother is in her seventies and my mom in her fifties, neither has had to face this disease – I hope it remains that way for them and all my loved ones.
In honour of all the women who have had to fight this battle, and in support of the CURE Foundation for breast cancer, we held a little bake sale at work last week. Here are some photos and recipes I made for the event.
3 cups gluten-free flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 cup carob powder
3/4 cup honey flavoured greek yogurt
3/4 cup molasses
2 tsp. vanilla beans
Mix together flour, soda and carob powder. Add remaining ingredients and blend well. Cut dough in half, roll into logs, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least an hour. Roll out to 1cm think and cut into shapes of your choosing. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes. Yields about two dozen cookies, depending on size.
Cool cookies once out of the oven and…
decorate to your liking…I used royal icing to flood cookies topped them off with pink sanding sugar.
Vanilla Bean Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks/6 oz./170g) unsalted butter, softened
6 large egg whites
3/4 cup whole milk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 vanilla beans, halved lengthwise, seeds scraped and reserved, beans discarded
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F/180 degrees C. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper baking cups; set aside.
Put butter and granulated sugar into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add egg whites, milk, vanilla extract, and vanilla seeds; mix until combined, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Add flour, baking powder, and salt; mix until just combined.
Divide batter among paper baking cups in muffin pan, filling each cup about 3/4 full. Bake in preheated oven until very light golden brown, approximately 24-27 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack; let cool completely. Frost with Vanilla Bean Buttercream Frosting. Cupcakes can be stored, covered loosely with plastic wrap, in the refrigerator.
Makes 12 cupcakes.