Sunday, September 6, 2009


Making praline paste can hurt - if you're clumsy like me. I pushed a lone hazelnut into the 370-degree F caramel (I measured the temperature before pouring it), and now I have a blister to remind me not to repeat that maneuver.

My girls keep wanting to earn money, and a way that we've brainstormed is to bake and sell cakes. I'm not talking about the usual birthday cake from a mix; I never even tasted one of those until I was almost grown up. In my home, I grew up on European tortes, cakes baked with pecans and blanced almonds and walnuts, icings made of praline creams laced with Frangelica and mouthwatering chocolate tinged with rum. What I thought was a normal birthday cake in my family is something only the fanciest bakeries can produce.

The idea of selling cakes sprang from tea and cake that I served the youth group after a mission training meeting at our house last winter. As one mother picked up her son, I handed her a piece of George's birthday cake.

"Where did you get this?" she asked after one bite.

When I told her I baked it, she asked whether she could order one for her next party. She still hasn't, but the seed was planted.

So before we dive back into school and (hopefully) launch the girls' baking business, I'm testing out a few new recipes. The girls learn them right along with me. Yesterday's Chocoloate Truffle Cake was a real hit at today's barbecue at my sister's house. And tonight's test cake is has praline buttercream. But I had to make the praline paste.


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What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.”
— Albert Pike, Scottish Rite Freemason (1809-1891)