Fall Treat: Family & Friends Tickets To CAKE EXPO!

copyright Tanaya Ghosh

As most of you know, I’ve got a major sweet tooth. It’s not the healthiest so I don’t do it often, but I could totally eat a small meal or an appetizer just to have room for a proper dessert!

That’s why I’m so excited that CAKE Expo is coming to the Orange County Fair & Event Center this Saturday… and I bet a lot of you are, too, if you enjoy all the dessert pics on my Instagram.

Here’s what you can expect this weekend at the first CAKE Sweets & Party Expo:
  • Tons of sweet samples from talented vendors
  • Demos on the main stage every hour
  • Win prizes on the main stage every hour
  • Classes & private demo tickets available to learn tricks of the trade
  • VIPs get 2 exclusive hours 9am-11am Saturday morning, and get access to the VIP Lounge
  • A meet-and-greet and book signing by author Gemma Touchstone
  • A special Kids Create Zone hosted by Club MomMe
  • Check out the Cake Expo official website for the full schedule
If you want to check out the biggest sweets party happening this weekend and discover some cake tricks, I’ve got a major early Halloween treat for you! Here’s a Friends & Family ticket link to get your regularly priced $45 tickets for $5 a (cake) pop. Just scroll down and choose the Friends & Family ticket option here.

It’s going to be a sweet weekend for sure. Stay tuned for realtime updates on social media, on the Tanaya’s Table Instagram and Twitter accounts. Hope to see you there, my sweet-toothed friends!
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Tanaya’s Table On Live Bakespace Video Chat + Throwback Thursday Cookies

UPDATE: Here is the link to our full live chat recording… hope you find our creative baking chat and tips fun and useful!

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Hey guys! Here’s a little Throwback Thursday post to gear up for my Tanaya’s Table guest speaker gig on Bakespace this Sunday, April 19 at 2pm PST.

We’ll be discussing Creative Baking with a few other awesome food bloggers and bakers on a live Google Hangout, so bring your questions, recipes and photos!

You can follow along with the #GetBaked hashtag on social media. Just tune in live right here, or just re-visit the page for the recording of the video afterwards. Here’s all the info you need:

Join me on the Bakespace #GetBaked live chat this Sunday at 2pm PST!

Join me on the Bakespace #GetBaked live chat this Sunday at 2pm PST!

I’m pretty excited to be a guest panelist on my first live Google Hangout. Looking forward to chatting with you all!

Without further ado…

Here’s that Bourbon Pecan Pie Throwback Thursday recipe. Enjoy!

Tanayas Table Bourbon Pecan Pie Cookies 1

What’s better than cookies and pie? How about cookies AND pie, wrapped up in one delicious and decadent cookie?

Pecan pie is a favorite with my family during the holidays… and really, almost any time of the year. So I thought, why not blend our favorite pie into cookie form for my first year participating in The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap for a great cause?

These Bourbon Pecan Pie Cookies are gooey, sticky and nutty with a a hint of chocolate and the aroma of vanilla and bourbon to bring it all together. I thought they would make great batches to send to three of my fellow food bloggers to whom I was assigned to send a batch of cheer, in the form of cookies.

I also baked some more of these cookies to share with my fellow Los Angeles-based food bloggers at our annual cookie swap. Last year I made red velvet gooey butter cookies, and these pecan pie cookies seemed to be just as big a hit! In fact, all my fab food blogger friends brought something irresistible to the table.

Check out this one-minute Tastemade video for some baked goods highlights!

The most delectable cookies made in L.A. all crammed into a 1-minute video!

The most delectable cookies made in L.A. all crammed into a 1-minute video!

Being especially short on time this year due to a major family emergency, instead starting from scratch in formulating this cookie-pie mashup recipe, I decided to do a little background research first. After all, reinventing the wheel is not the greatest use of time, right?

Thank goodness for this Spend With Pennies recipe, because it provided me with a solid base and allowed me more time to adapt the recipe to my taste… and to dress it up with a little bourbon love!

You can definitely modify the recipe below however you would like, depending on how much time you’ve got to do your baking this year. Hope you enjoy these as much as we did. Perhaps you can even start your own cookie swap tradition!

Tanayas Table Bourbon Pecan Pie Cookies 2

Bourbon Pecan Pie Cookies

Ingredients

    • 1 prepared pie crust (check out Crazy for Crust’s all butter from-scratch recipe here)
    • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
    • 1/2 cup pecans, lightly toasted & chopped
    • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
    • 1/4 cup corn syrup
    • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
    • 2 large eggs, beaten (set aside 2 tablespoons for egg wash)
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 1/4 cup bourbon (or more, if desired!)
    • 1/4 cup semi sweet or milk chocolate chips (optional)
    • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar (optional)

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a large non-stick pan, combine butter, pecans, brown sugar, corn syrup, maple syrup, bourbon and salt. Over low heat, slowly stir in eggs (minus the 2 tablespoons for egg wash). Continue to slowly stir on stove over medium-low heat just until slightly thickened (just about the consistency of pudding). Stir in vanilla, remove from heat and set aside.
  3. Roll out dough and use a 3″ cookie cutter (I used the rim of a glass) to cut out circles. Gently fold the edges in, about 1/8-1/4″
  4. Brush the egg wash around the pie crust edges for a glossy finish. Sprinkle with granulated sugar for a golden brown crust, if desired.
  5. Spoon about 1 heaping teaspoon of the pecan pie filling into each circle. Top with chocolate chips, if desired.
  6. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes or until filling is just set and crust is lightly golden brown. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.
  7. Enjoy!

Speaking of cookies, check out the L.A. Cookie Con & Sweets Show & Baker CakeMaker behind-the-scenes coverage!

L.A. Cookie Con Official Blogger Badge Tanaya's Table

VIDEO: Sweets, Food Stars + Demos At L.A. Cookie Con

Check out highlights from L.A. Cookie Con!

Highlights from L.A. Cookie Con are right here in this one-minute video, including a shoutout to you guys from MasterChef & Food Network stars!

This past Sunday, I was honored to cover the magnificent first annual L.A. Cookie Con as an official blogger. It was a sold-out convention for sweet lovers, featuring a ton of baked goods and other delectable treats. A dessert fanatic’s heaven!

The event, held at the Pasadena Convention Center, featured special guest Ron Ben-Israel of “Sweet Genius” on Food Network, along with “MasterChef” fan favorites Ahran Cho, Daniel McGuffey and Monti Carlo. The immensely talented child chefs also represented, with “MasterChef Junior” stars Dara Yu (better known as “Dara the Bow Girl”), Troy Glass and Sarah Lane taking part in the panel discussion involving all culinary TV personalities. Stacey Poon-Kinney of “The Next Food Network Star” also joined them, along with other talented stars.

Stacey, Monti, Ahran, Daniel, Sarah and more!

Stacey, Monti, Ahran, Daniel, Sarah and more were in attendance

There were tasty pastries of all kinds, from the good old traditional kind, to organic, raw, gluten-free, sugar-free, local and other types of specialty creations. There was something for everybody… and then some!

Some of my favorites (although really, there were way too many to list!) included the newly opened BakerCakemaker, as they were serving their buttery Filipino ensaymadas (they even looped my video feature on them throughout the entire day!). I also loved the unique and rare Baba Raspberry Jam crafted by Coldwater Canyon Provisions, and the perfectly chewy cookie bars that J & D Catering served.

LA Cookie Con Peacock Table

The peacock-themed entry into the dessert table design competition. My personal favorite!

It was wonderful to not only support my friend and L.A. Cookie Con producer Nancy, but also to see so many of my food blogger friends and a lot of my Tastemade family there at the event! We had fun exploring the demos, VIP lounge and photobooth!

Check out the one-minute video above for highlights, including a beautiful peacock dessert table display, photobooth shenanigans, and a hello to all of you from the talented food celebrities in attendance.

LA Cookie Con Macaron Garden

Stay tuned for Dine L.A. coverage of Prova Pizzeria coming soon. Go check it out while you can, there’s only a week left!

 

VIDEO: An Italian Food Tour In The Heart Of Los Angeles

Enjoying spumoni push-pops in front of the historic IAMLA building.

Enjoying spumoni push-pops in front of the historic IAMLA building.

Lately, I’ve been missing many aspects of my past trip to Europe… and especially the robust flavors of the simple yet divine food I found in Italy. So the Taste of Italy, held this past weekend in downtown L.A., came at the perfect timing. It was the Italian mini-vacation I needed, right here in Los Angeles!

I covered the event two years ago, and was excited to see what had changed or remained the same since. What didn’t change was the lively atmosphere full of live entertainment and merriment, I’ll tell you that much!

Of the multitude of authentic Italian restaurants and wineries serving and pouring throughout the night, there were a few that really stood out to me. What makes a bite of food special for me at an event is a combination of the taste, originality, balance of flavors and textures, and– last but not least– the service. (It also helps if the item looks pretty on the plate, as it makes the eager food photographer in me very happy!)

Garganelli pasta with pork sausage and fennel pollen

Garganelli pasta with pork sausage and fennel pollen

A couple dishes I really enjoyed were served at the joint booth by Italian restaurants Celestino and Drago Centro, with brothers Calogero and Celestino Drago personally serving guests. They served garganelli pasta with pork sausage and fennel pollen, and plated it right out of a giant, hollowed out cheese wheel (also featured in the video below). The panzanella salad they also served with a smile was refreshing, and a good counterbalance to the flavors and textures in the pasta dish.

Drago Brothers Chefs

The Drago brothers, Celestino and Calogero

Another standout was The Jonathan Club, which served tiramisu and cannoli-inspired donuts that were absolutely scrumptious, and really tasted like their respective classic dessert inspirations. They even included tiny droppers to inject the accompanying espresso or the cherry sauce into the donuts for an interactive experience. They also served spumoni push-pops with pistachio and cherry swirls, which were just as fun as they were tasty (also featured in the video below). Loved the innovative twist on those classic Italian flavors!

Cannoli Tiramisu Donuts Jonathan Club

Tiramisu and cannoli donuts

Di Stefano Cheese served a creamy burrata topped with a smooth pesto sauce, nutty pumpkin seeds and a soft square of focaccia bread to sop up all that goodness. It was one blissful bite! Other dishes served throughout the night included onsite oven-fired pizza, gnocchi with mushrooms, and plenty of cold seafood dishes.

To wash it all down, we sipped on top quality Barolo red wine, long known amongst Italians as the “King of Wines.” I learned that the wine originates from the Piedmont region of northern Italy, and is traditionally made from the native Nebbiolo grape, which is quite thick-skinned and tannic. There was also plenty of Italian coffee on hand, along with cannoli, gelato, and even amaro, which is an Italian digestif.

Barolo Wine

The famed Barolo, also known as “King of All Wines”

With all the hearty food and drink, I found samples of Eden’s Savory Sap to be quite refreshing. It is an elixir made from plants and roots, and I tried their Turmeric-Almond-Rose and Sage-Rosehip-Elderflower flavors in soda water. They tasted like a healthier, aromatic and elevated version of your typical soda, with almost none of the sweetness. I could see them mixed into cocktails as well.

And now, I present you with the best bites in action, right here in this one-minute video packed with Taste of Italy highlights:

Spumoni push-pops and more at Taste of Italy 2014!

Spumoni push-pops and more at Taste of Italy 2014!

It’s also important to note that the annual event is held in support of the Italian American Museum of Los Angeles, to help raise funds to preserve Italian American history for future generations.

The Taste of Italy was as close as I’ll get in a while to physically being back in Italy, but it definitely transported me back mentally and filled me with nostalgia… all while infusing the event with an innovative L.A. twist. Until next time… ciao!