Welcome to The Sweet Shoppe of Houston! We started this blog to keep a record of all our baking endevours and the things that keep us going. You may find some of our recipes, decorating tips, some pictures of new things or maybe even some giveaways. When you think of sweets we want you to visit The Sweet Shoppe of Houston!
|Posted by Dana Santillan on February 17, 2014 at 6:40 AM||comments (0)|
We are going to show you a few trade secrets to making a perfect looking dipped strawberry. With these few tips you can impress anyone at a family get together, romantic dinner or just because. However, they can be time consuming so remember that you can always let The Sweet Shoppe of Houston take care of them for you!
GET ORGANIZED BEFORE YOU GET STARTED
I always recommend laying out all the things you will need to finish your strawberries before you get started. It is time consuming, but when you get started the last thing you want to do is stop to get something you should have already had. What we recommend for you to do this at home is get your strawberries, high quality chocolate, a melting pot, 4"-6" skewers, a wire rack, a Tuffboard Cake Board or something similar, and a cookie sheet lined with either a Silpat sheet or parchment paper. Once you have all that ready to go it's time to get started!
FIND THE BEST LOOKING STRAWBERRIES
Remember that the strawberry is going to look exactly the same when it is covered in chocolate so find the best shaped ones in the bunch. You may actually hunt through alot of stawberries to find the ones you like the best, but it will be worth it. Also, try to find the ones that are firm, but also nice and ripe, to make sure you get the texture and sweetness your looking for when you bite into them.
GET HIGH QUALITY CHOCOLATE
Did you know that cocoa-buttons, or melty's that you find at your local craft store are most likely not chocolate. They are really just a candy that is easily melted to dip things in and make them look nice. However, they are not what you want for the perfect chocolate dipped strawberry.
Go to a fine food store or purchase your chocolate online through a number of different places. One of our favorite online stores is Chocoley.com. The high quality chocolate cocoa-buttons work perfect for dipping strawberries, because they are easily tempered and most can be melted in a melting pot. What you are looking for is a high percentage of cocoa and cocoa liquor, but expect to pay between $4.00-$15.00 per pound.
HOW TO DIP THE STRAWBERRIES
There are two ways that you can dip a strawberry and both work fine. It's really a preference. The first is simply melting your chocolate, dipping the strawberry using your fingers or a fondue fork and placing them on a cookie sheet lined with a Silpat or parchment paper sheet. The downside to doing your strawberries this way is that when you lay the strawberry down on the cookie sheet it will have a flat bottom of chocolate that really doesn't look as nice as our other method. However, it will taste JUST AS GOOD, so don't be afraid to do this!
First thing you want to do is set your wire rack on a hard surface and place you Tuffboard Cake Board on top of the wire rack. This is where you will place the skewered strawberry once they are dipped. I would recommend poking holes into the cake board about 2 inches apart to make things easier.
Now that you're ready for the next step skewer the strawberry into the green stem part of the strawberry. Try not to pierce the red fleshy part of the strawberry if you can to avoid having the juices run out if stored for a few days. If you pierce the flesh of the strawberry it will also make the strawberry go bad faster.
Next dip the skewered strawberry into the melted chocolate and get off as much of the excess chocolate as you can to avoid making a messy looking strawberry. After you've dipped your strawberry and taken off the excess chocolate, you can add coconut, nuts or any other toppings you would like. If you're adding toppings you have to do it while the chocolate is still wet to get it to stick. Once you have or have not added toppings, with the strawberry pointing up, slide the opposite end of the skewer into the holes in the cake board that is sitting on your wire rack. Continue doing this until your cake board can't support any more and let the chocolate set for about 5 minutes. Now you have a perfectly covered strawberry without the flat bottom of chocolate. Then you lay them on your cookie sheet that's lined with a Silpad or parchment paper and place in the refrigerator for another 5 minutes.
Now you are ready to decorate your strawberry with a perfect drizzle, if you didn't add any toppings. This is the fun part and you can get very creative. Keeping it simple is a good start, however. If you have a squeeze bottle of any type that would give you the best looking drizzle. Add some melted chocolate white or dark chocolate, depending on what your strawberry is dipped with, to your squeeze bottle. Then simply go back and forth on each strawberry till you have a great looking desert and you are done!
(Don't have a squeeze bottle? Just dip a spoon into the melted chocolate and drizzle it over the strawberries going back and forth in a constant motion. They don't look as even, but it gets the job done.)
Hope this helps. Enjoy!
|Posted by Dana Santillan on February 5, 2014 at 4:45 PM||comments (0)|
Who has a great banana nut bread recipe or any specialty bread recipe, but it seems to always fall? Banana nut bread is a very dense bread, but also very moist. That being said there can be a few easy fixes you can make. The biggest thing you will need to make it work is a little bit of patience and some trial and error.
DON'T OVER MIX
We have had to work on our recipe as well, but it is fantastic now! It took some time, but hopefully our little tips will help you. One of the biggest mistakes made is to over mix your batter. After you add your dry ingredients to your wet ingredients you should only mix them till they are wet. If you over mix your batter your bread will come out flatter and won't rise correctly.
Even though banana nut bread is as dense as it is, one of the easiest fixes to stop it from caving in is to add more flour. Start with 1/8 cup of flour and see if it helps your bread rise. If not then add another 1/8 cup of flour the next time you make it. You will be amazed that this simple tip will help. There could be a problem with this however; dry bread. After you get the bread to rise correctly add an egg if your bread is a little dry and that should even it out.
BAKING POWDER/BAKING SODA
Baking powder and baking soda are extremely important to a perfect bread. First things first; make sure your using fresh baking soda and baking powder. The next recommendation we can give is to add the exact amount your recipe calls for. Too much baking powder can make your bread rise very quickly and then fall because it didn't rise over the time it was supposed to.
Just a few tips on making the perfect bread. We hope it helps! If you have any questions please simply ask us and we will do our best to give you the answer.
|Posted by Dana Santillan on February 3, 2014 at 12:00 AM||comments (0)|
So we decided to run a special for the Superbowl to help get our name out there. So far seems to be working well. Tell us who your pick is on Facebook and if your right you get a free order of chocolate dipped pretzel rods! Sometimes you have to give a little to get alot. https://www.facebook.com/Sweetshoppehouston" target="_blank">http://https://www.facebook.com/Sweetshoppehouston
|Posted by Dana Santillan on January 29, 2014 at 1:00 PM||comments (0)|
Just thought we would share a little bit about our experience in starting The Sweet Shopp of Houston for all of you looking to start your own business. We being, Ruben Santillan, Dana Santillan and Eva Peña. Eva and I, Dana, have been baking and cooking since they were young girls, learning many recipes from their family that have been passed down form generation to generation. Eva has leaned more towards cakes and cupcakes as her strong point, while my skills are mainly in chocolates and pastries. After years of people telling us to open a business and to really go for it we decided it was time! Starting your own business can be a stressful, time consuming and a scary thing to do. If your thinking about starting a business stay focused, stay positive and look for the light at the end of the tunnel you can get through it; just like we did!
The first thing I will say is to do your research. Know what your getting in to and what you will need in order to make it in these hard times. We did months of research and preperation prior to jumping in to make sure that we would be successful and profitable in a resonalbe amount of time. We got our business plan together, all the certifications we needed, our LLC, our DBA, our tax information straight, and our commercial kitchen rented. Just doing that can be overwhelming for many, but it can be done! Find yourself a great attorney and CPA. I would not recommend trying to do this without expert help. We got tons of help from our corporate attorney, Alicia Matsushima, and our CPA, Kenny Effinger, in making sure that we started our company the right way. I'm really not sure where we would be without them.
Of course there is more to opening a business, but this is a just a quick glimpse into how we got started with more to come.