I have always been intimidated by traditional macaroons. Every recipe I read differed so greatly, and they all had that "if you don't do this exactly as I say they will fail" vibe, so I never even bothered trying them myself. Until a friend offered to help me start up a bakery. Then I thought to myself, well, I can't own a bakery and honestly say I have NEVER tried to make a macaroon... So, after days of research, and even more days planning, prepping, and testing, I've come to learn that they are a lot more forgiving than most recipes state.

I've tried many different ways to make them. Every kind of egg whites you can imagine, aged, cold, room temp, farm fresh, and even carton egg whites. I have bought almond meal, and tried grinding my own (messy, but much cheaper!). I've sifted, and not sifted. I have let my macaroons sit for anywhere from 20 minutes to 4 hours (oops, forgot them on the counter...). And I haven't had a batch fail yet.

So, do not be intimidated by the naysayers! Just give them a try! They are a very interesting cookie to say the least!
 
 
Little Jase is turning 1! His mommy and I used to work together, and I was so excited when she asked me to make his cake! He is just the cutest little guy <3

3 tier Mickey Mouse cake, made with chocolate and vanilla cakes, filled and frosted with Buttercream icing. Mickey ears made out of frosted rice krispie treats.

Smash cake made out of marbled vanilla and chocolate cake with buttercream icing.
 
 
I love getting orders for birthday ideas! I recently made another birthday bouquet, as well as some "funfetti" strawberries. This weekend I have an epic first birthday cake planned out, too.

These bouquets are quickly becoming my favorite thing to make. They come out beautiful, and everyone is always happy with them! They look stunning on an office desk! Free delivery available within Springfield, IL.
And then there are these beautiful Funfetti strawberries! Perfectly ripened strawberries hand dipped in white chocolate, then covered in colorful sprinkles. Super cute!
 
 
If you ask anyone I have worked or hung out with what my favorite place to go is, they'll quickly blurt out STARBUCKS! I can usually always be seen carrying around a drink with that famous green straw sticking out. Now, to be completely fair to myself, just because I have that green straw, doesn't mean I have gone to Starbucks that day. I save those plastic cups and straws for use at home. Sometimes I make my own coffee, sometimes I use the refrigerated Iced coffee from the grocery store. I read a post a long time ago on Pioneer Woman's website (http://thepioneerwoman.com/) about perfect iced coffee at home, and just had to try it for myself. Here are some various ways I have made my own "Starbucks" at home.

Cold Brewed Iced Coffee
    Large sized pitcher, preferably glass
    1-2 cups of your favorite ground coffee
    Hot water
    Cheesecloth or several coffee filters

    Depending on the size of your pitcher, and the strength you like your coffee, place 1-2 cups of ground coffee in the bottom of your pitcher. Pour hot water over the coffee, leaving a few inches at the top of the pitcher, and give it a good stir
(I just use the hottest water from my tap. If you are using a glass pitcher do NOT pour boiling water into it, you can break the glass). Let it sit on your counter for a few hours, or place it (covered) in the fridge overnight. Once your coffee is brewed to your liking, place a few layers of cheesecloth (or coffee filters) in a strainer, and strain into a bowl. If you are using cheesecloth you might have to strain it a 2nd time before pouring it back into your pitcher to make sure you've gotten all of the coffee grounds out.
    Serve in your favorite tall glass with ice, and add milk, 1/2 & 1/2, creamer, or whatever your heart desires. I know a lot of people like to use sweetened condensed milk in theirs, but I can't stand the stuff! Sweeten it up with a little simple syrup, or as I like to do, a bit of caramel sauce! If I'm feeling especially fancy, I will place a few opened vanilla bean pods into the coffee while it's sitting out.

Hot Brewed Iced Coffee
    Coffee
    Water
    Coffee Maker

    Brew your coffee as usual in your coffee pot. I have a Keurig 2.0, and use the carafe on the 5-6 cup setting, but any old coffee pot will work. Once your coffee is made, let it cool down a bit, then place it in the fridge in a glass pitcher. The key to perfect iced coffee is to not let your ice melt and water down your coffee, so make it in advance so it can be nice and cold before you make your drink. If you're feeling extra awesome, pour some coffee into an ice cube tray and freeze it to use in place of normal ice cubes. Once your coffee is cold, pour it into a tall glass over some ice, and stir in your favorite things. I like to add about 1/2 of a cup of 1/2&1/2 and drizzle a little caramel sauce over the top. I don't like my coffee too sweet, so I don't add any additional sugar.


Perfected Homemade Mochas
    Coffee
    Hot Chocolate Mix
    Milk product (anything works here. 1/2 & 1/2, almond milk, milk, cream, I've tried them all)
    Jar or cup with lid (such as a Tervis or a large mason jar)

    Start out by placing your desired amount of milk into your jar. I use about 3/4 of a cup of 1/2 & 1/2 for mochas, but honestly, any milk works. Place the lid tightly on the jar and shake the heck out of it, until it's nice and foamy. If you're using your tervis to shake it, make sure the top is closed... and place your finger over the little hole... Trust me.... Take the lid off and microwave the milk for about a minute, depending on your microwave. Do NOT overheat it. Since you shook it up and made it foamy it takes MUCH less time to heat up. You don't want a giant mess in your microwave! Watch it closely! After it's heated up, pour your hot coffee into the cup, leaving about 1 1/2 inches at the top of your cup. I use the Keurig for this part, and put it on 6oz strong brew for the smaller size Tervis cup. Next, add a tablespoon of your favorite hot chocolate mix (We flip flop between milk chocolate and white chocolate mixes) and stir it up. Seriously, that's it. Nothing fancy or difficult about it!


Whipped Cream
    1 pint Heavy Whipping Cream
    1/2 teaspoon Vanilla or Vanilla Bean Paste
    A few heaping spoons of powdered sugar

    For best results, chill the bowl and beater attachment of your stand mixer in the freezer for 10 minutes or so (or if you're using a handheld mixer, the bowl and the beaters).
Pour your whipping cream into bowl, and using the wisk attachment, whip your cream on medium-high until it's nice and thick. Spoon in some powdered sugar and a little vanilla. Again, I don't like things too sweet, so I always start out with one or two spoons of sugar, and add more as needed. Mix again until incorporated. Taste your whipped cream, and add more sugar/vanilla if needed. Store in the fridge and use within a few days.


I usually have vanilla beans or vanilla bean paste on hand, and use it to make my coffees have a vanilla flavor often. If you want to add vanilla beans to your brewing iced coffee, just slice them down the middle length wise and open them up slightly, then plop them into the pitcher while your coffee is "brewing". If you are using the paste, just add a teaspoon or two to your pitcher of coffee after you have strained it.

After I started making my own mochas and iced coffees, the number of times I visited my favorite "green straw" coffee house greatly diminished.
I usually only go now when I am out and about for the day, or I receive a gift card. My glass full of reused green straws is stating to look sad now, I might need to make a few trips to replenish it ;)

 
 
St. Patrick's day is quickly approaching! How about some adorable rainbow cupcakes and some cookies?

Vanilla bean cupcakes with a fluffy cream cheese cloud frosting and lemon vanilla sugar cookies.
 
 
You read that right. Shamrock Shake, in cupcake form. I very rarely eat fast food, but the other day while I was at Walmart with one of the kiddos, I saw the big, giant poster advertising Shamrock Shakes were back at McDonald's. It doesn't count if you JUST have a shake from a fast food place, right?? I'm going to stick with that argument.

So, I went with my 2nd most requested recipe of all time for the cake portion of the cupcake: Vanilla bean. It's a very fluffy cake, with lots of butter in the batter, and speckled with vanilla bean seeds. Then I filled the cupcakes with a slightly minty whipped cream. The Shamrock Shakes themselves aren't overpowering on the mint side of things, so I only used a few drops of mint extract. And a little green food coloring to match the shake color.

Instead of using a buttercream for frosting, I went with lightly sweetened vanilla bean whipped cream. I wanted it to be as close to ice cream as I could get it! Then i drizzled some with a slightly mint icing, and some with green sprinkles.
Just look at those glorious sprinkles. They are just so pretty!
 
 
My favorite flavor combination: Chocolate and peanut butter. Reeses Peanut Butter Cups. Ice cream. Cookies. Cake. Mochas. You name it, it just works. Peanut butter might just be my favorite thing...

Last week I got a text asking for the same PB cake I made for a friend's birthday last year. He had actually sliced the cake up and vacuum sealed it, and froze it so he could eat the cake all year long. I got a text about 6-7 months later saying he had finished it. Sure enough, he has done the same thing this year!

This cake follows an odd recipe. The cake batter is VERY watery and takes a very long time to cook (a 9" pan filled half way took just over an hour), the result is a mix between a brownie and cake. I'm not a cake fan at all, I don't like the texture, but I have been known to have a slice or two of this one!

So we have a dense, rich chocolate cake, filled and frosted with a thick, creamy peanut butter frosting, and topped with a thick chocolate peanut butter ganache. Reeses Peanut Butter Cup in cake form! But inside out :p
 
 
So this week has been pretty nice to me! I received a few cake orders, and sold the last of my strawberry bouquets. My advertising on facebook has helped spread the word about my little business, so hopefully getting my name out there will bring in some clients!

I have a few new ideas up my sleeve, so be prepared for something awesome within the next week! Shamrock Shake cupcakes. More beer cupcakes. Maybe something summery?

In addition to the two cakes I made today, I tossed together these super cute cupcakes.

 
 
I finally got all of my Valentine's Day orders filled, packed up, and ready to be delivered! I must say, the bouquets were a GREAT idea. They looks so pretty sitting on my kitchen table!

It's not too late to get a last minute order in, I can probably have it done tonight or by morning. Send me a message on facebook (https://www.facebook.com/treyalynnsbakery) for information.
 
 
Red velvet and vanilla bean cake are my two most ordered cakes. After I baked this cake, I couldn't decide how I wanted to decorate it. Pretty icing, ganache, crumbs... decisions decisions!

I ended up going with a ganache, AND chocolate covered strawberries! It sure is a pretty cake!