Sunday, December 27, 2009

a chocolate cake so decadent, it gets its own bath...

nigella! i love the woman... soft focus on film, curves, english accent, large appetite, domestic goddess to all. i got her cookbook from my secret santa, and i got it just in time to try something for xmas day at the bon bons (should i just rename this blog 'keeping up with the bon bons' ??)... i looked through the whole thing twice and the cake that seemed the most irresistible was her chocolate mousse cake. it's a lot of egg, a lot of chocolate, and a water bath!

i decided to bake it in the morning before heading over, and it really was quite easy for a cake this rich. i enjoyed melting the chocolate and butter in a double boiler--- breakfast of champions! the recipe (if you don't have the book) can be found here.

then the cake pan took a little bath...

and: MMM!

this cake went over very well at the bon bon xmas! also the next morning the bit i had left was destroyed by melissa, who consumed it all and demanded i make her her own cake next time.

a very merry jewmas indeed.

AND... the next day we went to buttercup bake shop for cupcakes. tasty weekend! jojo was NOT complaining.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

CHRISTmas cookies for butter lovers and vegans too!

happy holidays ya'll! this week has been busy! parties, gift swaps, going through holiday hate mail at work (it's not a HOLIDAY tree, it's a CHRISTmas tree), spending time with old friends, spending time with new friends, and baking my little heart out!

i decided to make cookies for the guys that work in my building. i was going to make classic butter cookies for all, until i discovered my 50-something dominican handyman is a VEGAN (upon saying my handyman was a vegan all my friends pictured a young skinny hipster--- but this is not the case). i have had some pretty delicious vegan desserts, but i have never gone out of my way to bake something vegan before. this cookie making extravaganza also gave me a chance to make some brooklyn bridge cookies (YESSSS).

for the butter cookie dough, i used martha's recipe. i added a tiny bit of maple syrup and brown sugar to add a bit more sweetness to these.

for the icing- i combined 2 cups of confectioners' sugar with one egg white and 1/3 cup of water. i beat this until it looked smooth (like paste) and then i added one drop of food coloring.

i also added some snow flake sprinkles to the sugar cookies with icing. WOOT! snowflakes.

i made nutella sandwiches out of some of the sugar cookies as well. i want to nom nom all of them. also some sugar for dusting... gorge.

some of these are going to my doormen, but some of them are going to my lovely bon bons, who i spend christmas day with every year. when i gave my super his box of cookies, he said ' i am going to eat them all- none for my children or my wife'... what an awesome man he is. i also discovered one of my doorman is a vegan as well--- so i am happy both the vegans in my building were taken care of... especially after i stressed how delicious kangaroo tastes to one of them (adorable AND delicious).

for the vegan cookies, i decided on a mexican wedding cookie. i combined the following in my lovely electric mixer:
2 sticks unsalted vegan margarine (room temp)
2 1/4 cups flour
2/3 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup ground pecans
1/2 cup ground walnuts
nice pinch of salt
2 big spoonfuls of maple syrup
splash of vanilla extract
pinch of cinnamon

after i mixed this together, i wrapped in cling film and put in the fridge for 2 hours. after that, i rolled the dough into small dough balls, and placed on a baking sheet. bake it at 350 for 15-18 minutes. after that, let them cool for a few minutes. then, while they are still a tiny but warm, toss them in confectioners' sugar until well coated. let them set and cool. then... nom nom nom your vegan sweets for days.

the packaging for my cookies were courtesy of blue ribbon general store and a cook's companion. i LOVE both those stores--- i could spend hours debating between sprinkles, stickers and gift boxes...

a very merry brooklyn chrismakkah to all!


Sunday, December 13, 2009

egg nog cake + kelby: a love story

egg nog is just so delicious. because i grew up jewish, i never had it in the house... but i would always go to the bodega and get some which i would hide in the back of the fridge until my mom found it. she always seemed somewhat dissapointed that i liked it so much, as if it was a sign i might start going to church or something. i just like the egg nog! i mean, non jews eat bagel and lox, right?

let me tell you about some of my favorite people: the bon bons are a rowdy group of siblings that are my close friends--- practically family. they are michael, jojo and marianne; and they are fabulous. michael bon bon was turning 21, so i made his favorite- egg nog cake with cinnamon icing and pumpkin filling. i made it for the bon bons on christmas last year, and michael consumed nearly the whole thing in a weekend.

i followed this egg nog cake recipe. i followed this basic buttercream frosting recipe (but added cinnamon). i also put some pumpkin filling in the center with some frosting. i decided to do this brooklyn bridge design as a tribute to mr bon bon, who is also a born and raised brooklynite. the cake came out great.

i also purchased some amazing candles and party hats from annie's blue ribbon, which i LOVE. the candles are perfect for someone like michael, who thinks life goes downhill after 21.

everyone was oohing and ahhing over the cake... unfortunately, we left it unattended for minute too long, and kelby, the bon bon's akita, got a bite, broke a glass, but looked adorable when caught in the act (as usual). kelby had cake fever bad after that, he really wanted more- we wouldn't give in!

Friday, November 27, 2009

let's eat 'till we pass out from tryptophan!

thanksgiving! one of my favorite holidays! i love all the foods and flavors that make up the thanksgiving feast. turkey, gravy, brussels sprouts, cranberry, chestnuts, sweet potato, and mexican pie! mexican pie may just be a tradition at my thanksgiving :) for as long as i can remember, my family has been celebrating thanksgiving with 4 other brooklyn families. we meet up in a lovely brownstone in carroll gardens, we pot luck and each year we look forward to certain signature dishes. our host prepares the bird and a series of delicious apps. i really look forward to the spinach stuffing puffs every year. that and a glass of white wine is breakfast. i hang out with these boys that i used to play soccer with when i was 5 (simon is the gentle giant in the picture below). we still sit at the 'kids table' even though we are all nearly 30... sometimes people sneak outside pre-dinner for herbal assistance...

this year i was on dessert... as always. i couldn't decide between my orange saffron ricotta pound cake OR pumpkin chocolate chip cookies; so i made both!

ricotta pound cake with orange and saffron: follow this recipe, but also soak some saffron in a few tablespoons of boiling water... add this to the wet mixture before you add the dry ingredients. i also add a bit of cardamom and cinnamon to this recipe. i know i say this all the time, but i think changing recipes to fit your personal tastes should be encouraged... painting outside the lines is FUN.

i made cupcake versions of this recipe just to try it out. you should cook them around 20-25 minutes at the recipe's suggested temp.

i also made these AMAZING pumpkin chocolate chip cookies (totally LOVE this baking blog- joy the baker). i am so in lust with these cookies. i never would have thought that chocolate and pumpkin would go together so well, but the combination (especially when the cookies are warm) is all sorts of earthy/rich/sweet goodness.

the desserts were a hit. this is good news, because i might be selling my baked goods at cafe 457 in park slope! i should probably start promoting this blog. fa realz.

gobble gobble gobble x

Sunday, November 15, 2009

the brooklyn flea... dumbo

i love the brooklyn flea! mostly, i'm in it for the food... i mean there are some cool crafts/clothes/jewelry etc, but that stuff is sometimes out of my price range. on the other hand- i always have $5 to spare for a papusa or some asia dog with kimchi! today it was nearly 70 degrees, so Jojo BonBon and i headed to Dumbo, coffee in hand, sunglasses on--- in NOVEMBER. Jojo and i took a long walk around before we decided papusas were the right choice. the tables inside the flea were packed, so we took a walk to the Dumbo park by the water... i really LOVE this park, and have a soft spot for the tobacco factory in the background. Jojo and i grew up in Brooklyn, so i think sometimes we forget how nice it is to take advantage of places like this-- i don't come here enough.

so, i got a chicken and a bean & cheese papusa with cabbage, tomato sauce, jalapeno and sour cream- the works!

it was delicious as always! Jojo and i listened to some lady gaga and solange. we had some good chats and sat in the park until we got kicked out... i love you brooklyn. can't you be 70 degrees every autumn sunday?

also- i made a second batch of the pumpkin cream cookies, but i used a pastry bag to make them look a little 'fancy'... they taste delicious either way. i was mostly looking for an excuse to make them again because i thought they were so yummy.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

condiments and cookie sandwiches

you know how you always have left over sauce after ordering in from your favorite take out place... for me that place is a toss up between lemongrass grill and bombay dream. i have to say--- that the biryani from bombay dream is seriously delicious and may induce food coma. i always get some paratha and chutney with any meal. i always have leftover sauce and feel someone guilty just throwing it out. this time i used my leftover sauce to make something for lunch the next day. i had some baby potatoes and an onion.
i chopped them up and tossed them with the tamarind sauce (courtesy of bombay dream), masala spice, salt, pepper, chopped garlic, olive oil, and black sesame seeds. i baked them in the oven at 400 degrees for around 30 minutes.

they were super delicious!


i came across this recipe on friday and knew that i had to make them! the season has me craving pumpkin and squash all the time. i had almost all the ingredients, so this was going to be an easy sunday baking sesh. i followed the recipe but added a few extra things to make it more to my taste. a bit of maple syrup and clove spice for the cookies and a bit of cinnamon for the cream filling. i am heavily debating eating these all while i watch the season finale of mad men--- some of them just might make it into the office.

the cookies themselves cook super fast and have a similar texture to black and white cookies (yum)- very cake like. the only unpleasant part of this very easy cookie baking experience was that my smoke alarm went off. i think my poor cat gombotz is still recovering. my cookies were not burned (in fact-- perfectly cooked), so the smoke alarm incident remains a mystery. maybe the guys of bored to death can help me out :)

Sunday, November 1, 2009

popcorn, marshmallows, chocolate and cinnamon... oh my

happy halloween from sookie stackhouse! one of my favorite days/nights of the year. a chance to dress up, play pranks, watch old horror films, be a little naughty and eat candy... popcorn balls has always been one of my favorite halloween treats. i had never made them before, but i discovered the recipe is almost the same as rice krispie treats. i decided to try adding some chocolate and cinnamon to make them a little more exciting, after all halloween is about sugar overload, so why not go ALL THE WAY.

what you'll need:
half a stick of butter
bag of marshmallows
3 quarts of popcorn
1/4 cup of light brown sugar
1/4 cup hot chocolate mix (cadbury for me)
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
1/2 cup chocolate chips

in a LARGE pot, cook the butter, sugar and marshmallows. melt them down till you have a big pot of ooey gooey melted marshmallow goodness. after that, turn the heat to low. in a large bag mix the popcorn, hot chocolate mix, cinnamon and chocolate chips. add the bag of 'seasoned' popcorn to the marshmallow goo. stir till well coated. coat your hands with butter and roll the mixture into tightly packed popcorn balls. let cool on wax paper and serve. i added a few smarties for fun.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

mahalo! civil liberties fighters collab on calamondin cookies.

i work for a very special organization that i love. we protect civil liberties. we defend those that have no voice. we take on the man. bill o'reilly hates us, we are keeping the human rights on lock, and rachel maddow (LOVE HER) is our friend. also- we have affiliates all over this great big U.S of A! recently, on a trip to hawaii, i got to hang out with our hawaii affiliates. they are super awesome. one affiliate in particular, who always sends sunshine in her emails, also mailed me some delicious calamondin jelly she made herself! i had never tried calamondin. it's sweet and tangy and looks like honey. i have enjoyed it on crackers- but i wanted to attempt baking with the jelly.


*also- my co-workers and i watched obama land today- i guess these cookies are also in his honor- son to hawaii!

i used a very basic butter cookie recipe.

i made thumb prints. i added the calamondin jelly, which was sticky (not easy)-- i decided to make a few blueberry jam cookies on a whim.

15 minutes later:

i should also mention i work in an office of culinary savages/foodies/cookie monsters. get ready kids.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

squash this!

it's fall, so squash is in season! i plan on making a lot of squash and pumpkin deliciousness in the next few months, but this was my first squash celebration. it's a warm, sweet, gooey, earthy and somewhat healthy dessert. not that i care about that... i mean, i can remember at least one occasion where i had tunnocks for breakfast. to be fair--- manda and i were waiting for a train in st andrews scotland and it was that or cigs. i think i took the healthy road.

your journey to a yummy maple acorn squash bake:

cut squash in half
remove seeds
sprinkle salt
brown sugar (to taste)
maple syrup (to taste- i fill it up good and coat the sides)
spices (cinnamon, clove, nutmeg are what i go for)
place in dish
put a bit of water on the bottom so the skin does not burn
bake at 400 for 1hour 15 minutes.

so easy. and so good. happy fall!