As I type this there are chaffing dishes to fill, beverages to ice, and appetizers to be plated.  I'm so happy that my family is coming over for a big Sunday dinner.  There's no better feeling than feeding the ones I love, so forgive me if this post seems rushed.  Lots to do!

The June 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Dawn of Doable and Delicious. Dawn challenged the Daring Bakers’ to make Chocolate Pavlovas and Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse. The challenge recipe is based on a recipe from the book Chocolate Epiphany by Francois Payard.

This dessert is chillin' out in my freezer just waiting for July 4th to arrive.  For once I'm a little ahead of the game!  Life has been busy lately, and it didn't help having a big fat cake FAIL during Father's day preparations.  The cake was Pop's special request and the recipe is from a little old lady who makes and sells the cakes from her home.  She's been making them for decades, and I suppose it was a little presumptuous of me to think I'd get her method right with my first try.  My second attempt was spot-on, but I was exhausted and having mental burnout by the end of the day.  Next time, I'll be placing an order with the expert!

I have another busy week ahead with the husband's birthday and family plans.  It's times like these that I'm thankful for "No-Bake".  This recipe is really easy to throw together, and in patriotic spirit I've added a red layer and topped it with fresh blueberries.

I was recently browsing a specialty foods store when I spotted some very unusual caramels.  I was instantly a fan of the salty pretzel and sweet caramel idea, but to infuse the whole mix with beer?  Was this crazy talk or the best idea ever?  I'm always up for trying innovative treats, and it wasn't long before I was standing over a boiling pot of ale-infused caramel in my own kitchen.

After a little trial and error I finally came up with a soft, chewy caramel that is easy to make and eat (it won't stick to your teeth).  It's salty and sweet, and has a distinctive ale flavor that melds perfectly with the caramel. Very, very YUMMY!

Things like this make me smile.  Giggle, even.  I love that mustaches are trending and lately I have been browsing for a mustache themed piece of jewelry to wear.  Wouldn't you know it!  The notion has made it's way into my baked goods -and just in time for Father's day!

The mustaches are made out of homemade chocolate modeling clay and the recipe could not be easier.  Just two ingredients and you're set to make just about anything you care to try!

The cake recipe has been bookmarked for over a year in an old "church lady" cookbook (the best cookbooks on earth!).  There was no secret ingredient or special technique that piqued my interest,  but rather the footnote at the end of the recipe that says: "This Cake Is VERY MOIST........Men Really Like It."  The lady who submitted this recipe obviously thought this was a valuable piece of information.  I had to find out for myself if it was true.  Do men like it?  And what about women?  Do we like it too?

I have an orange-flavored chocolate bar stash that I contemplated sharing with you, but reconsidered when I realized how much I actually have.  It's a little excessive. I need to stop collecting them and start eating them.  At the moment I particularly like Lindt's Excellence Orange Intense.  The texture of the orange peel inside the dark chocolate is just perfect.  I decided to put my own chocolate-orange creation together in the form of pots de creme.  Candied orange peel was in the works for a topping, but these little jewels were calling to me from the produce shelf.  I used them instead.

 (From my stash:  Chocolove has a love poem printed on the wrapper- sweet!)

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