Chat With Me Feature

Hi everyone. Apologies for my recent ghost mode. I was featured as a guest on a cooking show. This special feature was a panel about a unique topic. Please click the pictures below to go to the site and check out her other “Bake With Me” content!

Local Treats (Winter Garden Edition): David Ramirez’s Chocolates & Macaroons Review

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Macaroons are everywhere, and they should be. This decadent French treat has been around for centuries and has not lost its *insert trendy French word here to describe anything cope/cool/wavy/sassy, followed by a suffix of -ness*. These petite treats, of so very delicate and challenging to make are competition to many other baked goods, and you can find a variety in the Orlando, Winter Park and Winter Garden Area.

David Ramirez’s chocolates, a Winter Garden Plant Market vendor, has decadent varieties of macaroons. They’re honestly one of the best I’ve ever tasted, amongst my favorite (another favorite being Le Macaroon, in Winter Park). My first time there, I noticed the generous sizes and fun flavors, such as mango raspberry, staple flavors like vanilla, chocolates, strawberries, rose and lavender to fun fall flavors, like pumpkin and apple pie. My first out of three was the birthday cake. The “upper shell” and bottom tasted like a standard macaroon vanilla flavor, but the cream filling was a perfect replica of cake batter with fun sprinkles.The texture was pillowy.

Image may contain: foodThe pumpkin, my favorite, was spicy in terms of fall flavors, with a great combo of sweet and last- the mango raspberry, my favorite, has a perfect balance of mango and tart raspberry. On another visit, I tried bacon and peanut butter. Addicting. I love anything salty and sweet, and found this eccentric pairing a winner. Salted caramel was also memorable. The caramel having a deeply buttery aftertaste to dance with the salt.

 

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The chocolate varieties are a fun and colorful assortment. I decided to give the cinnamon habanero chocolate a try. Perfection. The dark chocolate subtly hugs the cinnamon and the habanero peeks its head out. Not at all overpowering.

 

 

Have you ever tried this chocolatier or the macaroons/gelato? What were your thoughts? Don’t forget to rate, comment and subscribe!

Chocolate Pretzel Donut

Dunkin Donuts. Hi. Remember that one time our friendship was compromised when you created the vanilla truffle donut? You’ve redeemed yourself when you make the chocolate pretzel, and now, we’re besties again. Yay for forgiveness!

    I’m a sucker for salty and sweet flavor combo in sweets, and it’s an exciting thing. You’ve managed to catch on very well. The donut features a chocolate cake textured donut, fluffy and decadent. Then you guys take it to level 2 with your fancy pretzel bits. But that’s not all. No sir. You guys add caramel. Well played, Dukin Donuts. 

    I love this donut because it has layers of flavors that are both strong and enticing. The chocolate cake almost mimics a dark chocolate depth on the tongue; the caramel is infused with the salt from the pretzels, and the tastebuds comes alive. Thank you. 

    TheTalkingSpoon Yumfactor: 4 tongues and a tastebud. (4 and a half stars out of 5). This has become an addiction. That is all. 

    What are your thoughts? Love it? Dislike it? Wanna marry it like me? Do tell! Don’t forget to comment, like and subscribe. ūüėä

    Vanilla Truffle Donut

    Dunkin Donuts new donut sounds fancier than it tastes. The vanilla truffle donut launched a few weeks ago, alongside a salted whipped cream cold brew coffee, grabbing foodies attention everywhere. I gave the truffle donut a try, but wasn’t quite won over. 

    The truffle donut features curled milk and white chocolate shavings atop a bed of milk chocolate glaze. Inside wasn’t a delicate, vanilla Bavarian silken custard as I hoped for. No. Inside was what tasted like a condensed whipped cream filling. Perhaps I expected more (and how could you not with such a sophisticated name), but I wasnt thrilled. I actually gagged a bit. 

    TheTalkingSpoon Yumfactor: 2 tongues, 1 tastebuds (2.5 stars out of 5) The presentation is artful, and I love the shavings. The chocolate on The donut is always enjoyable. The filling was a bit boring to me.
    What are your thoughts?

    Tropical Arnold Palmer Drink Idea!

    Since it’s summer, iced teas and lemonades are popping up more frequently. For those of you who frequent Publix grocery stores, you’ll find lemonades in all varieties– from strawberry lemonades, to raspberry lemonades, blackberry lemonades, and so on. They even began selling Arnold Palmers, a beverage comprised of half lemonade and half iced tea. I decided to make it unique.

    I often buy flavored syrups, and create fun concoctions with them. I bought a mango syrup, and a pineapple-flavored syrup (you can find them at Home Goods, Marshalls or TJ Maxx), and decided to create a fun spin- what I’d like to call a “tropical Arnold Palmer”. This drink is simple. It’s made up on an Arnold Palmer (which can be ready mixed, such as the ones at Publix, and in other grocery stores, or you can mix it yourself, like I did), mango syrup, and pineapple syrup.

    Method:

    I took a half gallon of lemonade and a half gallon of iced tea, and mixed them evenly to create the base for the drink. Then I decided to make a single serving (8 oz to 12 oz), pouring the drink into a cup. I added a cap full of mango syrup, and a cap full of pineapple syrup, mixing it steadily until the syrup was dissolved. And voila! Your Arnold Palmer is pimped out, with a Caribbean accent! You can always add more or less syrup to taste. Other variants include: Blackberry Arnold Palmers, Pineapple or mango Arnold Palmers (independently) blueberry,strawberry, peach, or even raspberry.

    Have you made a twist to your lemonade? Not ¬†fan of Arnold Palmers, or iced tea? Know someone named Arnold Palmer you’re not a fan of? Do tell, and please don’t forget to rate, comment and subscribe!

     

     

    Ihop’s Cupcake Pancakes ūüėć

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    If you haven’t tried Ihop’s limited time cupcake pancakes, you’re missing out. Inspired by bakery-themed sweets, this item is part of a trio of treats, including a cinnamon swirl brioche French toast and red velvet crepes. I have yet to try the other two, but the cupcake pancake features a cake-flavored batter, sprinkles and a sprinkled frosting, that is surprisingly appropriately sweet for both children and adults.

    I highly recommend the combo featuring eggs, bacon and sausage (in my case, turkey bacon and sausage) with the red potato hash versus the hash browns. These are cubed potatoes with onions and peppers. Translation, a party on a plate.

    Cupcake Pancake Yumfactor: 4 tongues. Addicting and fun.

    Red Potato Hash Yumfactor: 4 tongues and a taste bud. A great alternative if you’re not into hash browns like me.

    Please rate, comment or subscribe for more fun food-related posts!

    Cherry Blossom Frap Review

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    For a limited time, Starbucks is offering a Japanese-inspired beverage in honor of spring. Debuting in Japan, the cherry blossom frappachinno features a strawberry and white chocolate flavor combination with a matcha powder undertone.

    The flavors are well balanced, however I was expecting a cherry and white chocolate combination versus strawberry hence the name. I think the cherry flavor would add a bit of tartness to balance the white chocolate flavor and dance evenly with the green tea (matcha) powder.  It would have made more sense to me and the flavors would have still been a bit balanced enough to create a delicious drink.

    The Talking Spoon Yumfactor: 4 tongues. It’s refreshing and although the title isn’t literal, the flavors pair well together.

    What are your thoughts and opinions on this drink? Don’t forget to rate,comment and subscribe.

    Coconut Oil in My Coffee?

    Sleeping Moon–one of my most favorite and frequented local independent coffee shops‚ÄĒmaintains an eclectic menu and fun coffee concoctions. In the past, I‚Äôve tried Turkish coffee, lavender coffee (imagine, the acidic¬†taste of coffee, with a subtle floral finish on the last sip) and today, coconut oil coffee. This coffee has a strong base of espresso, milk and an almond flavor, with the texture of coconut oil creating a delicate drink. All favors are well combined, the espresso containing the core of the punch this coffee has, balanced with the almost sharpened nuttiness of almond; the layer of flavors is a tug of war of sweet and earthy. I added a bit of sugar, as the almond flavor was strong but not overpowering, which made for an even smoother blend of flavor.

    Sleeping Moon is an artsy coffee shop in the Winter Park area known for its weekly poetry readings and local artwork. The establishment combines a global and urban mood with diverse music and a warm atmosphere. Unique treats included here are Thai tea milkshakes, and an array of exotically-flavored paninis (such as the New Zealand Bistro–a turkey panini flavored with a tangy-sweet kiwi sauce) sure to delight your spirit. The¬†pleasant staff is knowledgeable and caters to customer’s questions and needs. I’ve also heard of people adding butter to their coffee, as well as a crushed, raw egg before brewing the cup of coffee. Have you had any interesting, out of the ordinary items added to your coffee beverage? Don’t forget to comment, rate blog posts and subscribe for more food stuff!

    Why you could add coconut oil to your coffee: http://thecoconutmama.com/coconut-oil-coffee/

     

    Recipe Testin’: Crescent Roll Apple Dumplings (Adapted from the Pioneer Woman)

    appleI love Pinterest for its multitude of awesomeness. It’s no surprise it’s an extremely popular interactive vision board many use for ideas on an array of categories–food included. I often utilize Pinterest’s food boards and pins for cool recipes. Deciding after much procrastination to try a perfect fall¬†treat incorporating basic ingredients, I found a simple, yet delectable recipe using sprite, crescent¬†rolls, apple, butter, sugar and¬†cinnamon. The original recipe¬†comes from¬†The Pioneer Woman, whose¬†version includes 2 cans of crescent rolls and Mountain Dew. I had to improvise by adding Sprite and 1 can of crescent rolls, but it did the trick.¬†(Click on this link for the original recipe. This has step-by-step¬†pictures, and some of you may prefer that.)

    The following is Pioneer Woman’s recipe with a few tweaks I added for creativity. It takes 10 minutes to prep, 40-45 minutes to cook (depending on oven and browning) and serves 6-8 people. The recipe is straightforward, the dessert is undeniably scrumptious and this is sure to be a crowd pleaser.

    Ingredients:

    • 2 Granny Smith apples
    • ¬†2 cans of original crescent rolls. I used one can and it worked just fine.
    • 2 sticks butter
    • 1 1/2 cup sugar
    • 1¬†teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 8¬†oz/ 1 cup¬†Mountain Dew or sprite.
    • Cinnamon to taste. I added¬†nutmeg as well. (To put it in quantative terms,start with 1/2¬† of¬†1/4 of a tsp. I eyeballed it, and this is the best I’ve got.)

    Directions: (Preheat over to 350 degrees)

    • Peel, core¬†and cut apples into 8 slices. This is an opportune time to use that apple peeler and corer if you have one. If not, it’s a great investment.
    • Open box of crescent rolls, and separate them into triangles. Place dumplings into a 9 x 13 inch pan. I used a round clear pan, lightly greased with butter.
    • Roll each apple slice in a crescent roll, starting from the top of the triangle, rolling downward to the tip of the crescent roll. Secure by applying gentle pressure to create an adhesion.
    • Melt two sticks of butter over medium-low heat. Add vanilla, sugar, and gently stir. Mixture doesn’t have to be smooth.
    • Pour butter and sugar mixture over the apple crescent rolls, thoroughly¬†covering apples. Pour Mountain Dew on the sides of the pan, around the appley crescents.
    • Sprinkle with cinnamon. (I got creative and used¬†nutmeg and sugar in conjunction to cinnamon. I thought a good idea would be¬†apple pie spice¬†or a¬†dash of sugar and ginger for next time.)
    • Place into oven and bake for 40-43 minutes, until apples are soft, butter bubbles and the crescents¬†are golden brown and crispy.

    Serve while warm. Toppings may¬†include: ice cream, whipped cream, or whatever works for you! Why not try¬†both versions/substitutions and incorporate the optional ingredients for variety? I’d love to hear your experiences in your comments.

    S’mores Coffee+ Goldfish Strawberry Shortcake=Worth the Diabetes

    Summer time is in, and that means flavors of s’mores, strawberries and fresh berries that will infiltrate the snack isle. I scored a few fun snack items today: a bag of strawberry graham crackers by Goldfish, ¬†and s’mores-flavored coffee via Archer Farms. But first, I’d like to express my gratitude for the Target. Yes, I meant to say the Target. I go there and constantly find myself amazed with the glistening fun items they parade on the shelve. Just a few days ago, there were flavored sugars (chai, vanilla, maple). This is relevant because this is where I found two blessings:

    • S’mores coffee (Archer Farms): For a limited time, you can find the summer-celebratory flavor of s’mores coffee. I’ve had other s’mores-related coffee concoctions, and what I like about this one is there is a balance of chocolate and marshmallow flavors. In previous situations, s’mores coffee flavored items have been too heavy on the chocolate, smelled like graham cracker, but I didn’t get much marshmallow. The downside is if you’re expecting graham cracker flavor (yes, this can be detected in SOME coffee flavors, depending on the brand), you won’t find much here, but this is worth a try. ¬†4 out of 5 tongues. (4/5 stars) Just a note, International Delights released a s’mores coffee creamer that was rich and indulgent; however¬†there was more chocolate and very¬†little marshmallow. It was good, but not as balanced as this coffee in my personal¬†opinion.¬†
    • Goldfish Strawberry Shortcake Graham Crackers: These, for me, are more enjoyable than the vanilla cupcake flavor. Why? The strawberry provides a fresh and fun burst of flavor, and doesn’t come across as artificial as other strawberry flavors. 3 tongues (3/5 stars).

    What are your thoughts? Comment below. Image