Tag Archives: Baking

Valentine’s Day Heartbreak(er)

Stuck on You'sI blew it.  For all of you out there who thought about this day, and actually planned for it, well done.  Never mind that I am a total scrooge about this [silly] little “holiday.”  Never mind that my boyfriend thinks February 14th is no different from February 15th.  I came across Brooklyn-based Heartbreaker Baker and am kicking myself for not having discovered it 72 hours ago, because then I would be happily feeding my, ahem, Valentine these heart-shaped, insanely delicious-looking cookies that come from the best part of the cookie: the center.  I am particularly drawn to Stuck on Yous, chocolate cookies with oozy caramel and sea salt, and Hunka Chunka Burnin’ Love, oatmeal bars with peanut butter filling and chocolate drizzle.  And for something tart, the Lemon Two-Timers.

I might just order them anyway.  After all, when you’re in love, every day is Valentine’s Day (somewhere, someone just gagged).

Lemon Two-Timers

Heartbreaker Baker: 920-644-3278, eleanor@heartbreakerbaker.com

Visit Hearbreakerbaker.com

Facebook: Heartbreaker Baker

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You Can Bake This Easy, Pretty Thing. Yes, You.

I made this apple galette for a recent dinner party.  To my complete surprise, it came out looking like the picture on epicurious.com, and it tasted as good as it looks.  I served it with vanilla-almond infused whipped cream (make whipped cream, add a touch of vanilla and almond extracts to taste).  I’m sharing the recipe here because any idiot can make it.  Here are my tips: make sure the dough is rolled out to 14 inches, even though that might seem thin.  The dough will puff up.  Don’t overdo it with the preserves as mine bubbled up a bit.  Do sprinkle LOTS of sugar on the apples.  Next time I’ll add more for that magical crystallized look all the reviewers were bragging about.

Galette Before

Galette Before

Galette After

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Dessert: Double Lemon Bars

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You want something easy and delicious to bring to your next barbeque?  Try this recipe for Double Lemon Bars.  Buttery shortbread and bright, tart and sweet lemon curd spiked with zest come together in the lightest of summer treats.  Here’s the recipe from epicurious.com– my one suggestions is to cut the sugar to 1 1/4 cups.

ingredients

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup powdered sugar
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour

2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
7 tablespoons fresh lemon juice with pulp
1/4 cup finely grated lemon peel (from about 6 large lemons)
1 teaspoon baking powder

Additional powdered sugar

preparation

Preheat oven to 350°F. Using electric mixer, beat butter in large bowl until fluffy. Beat in 2/3 cup powdered sugar. Add 2 cups all purpose flour, 1 cup at a time, beating until moist clumps form. Using back of fork, press dough over bottom of nonstick 13x9x2-inch metal baking pan. Bake crust until light golden, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, beat 2 cups sugar and eggs in medium bowl until blended. Beat in fresh lemon juice with pulp, lemon peel, and baking powder, then remaining 1/4 cup all purpose flour for filling.

Pour lemon filling over hot crust. Bake until filling is set in center and begins to brown on top, about 20 minutes. Transfer pan to rack and cool completely. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

Cut pastry into 24 bars. Transfer lemon bars to serving platter and dust with additional powdered sugar.

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Sunday Morning

 

Strawberry Croissant and Latte from Joyce Bakery in Prospect Heights; my windowsill

View from my window

1. Wake up, aim to run three miles with the reward being a pastry of my choice from Joyce Bakeshop. Successfully achieve goal and hightail it to bakery.

This croissant can be found here at www.joycebakeshop.com

This croissant and other luscious baked goods can be found here at http://www.joycebakeshop.com

2. Enjoy a buttery, crispy croissant filled with strawberry preserves and a nice warm latte.

3. Look at contents of refrigerator and note with mild amusement the disproportionate amount of champagne (5 bottles) to other beverages (a bottle of Ronnybrook milk and a half-empty bottle of some ginger tonic).  Decide to do something with a little bottle I received as a party favor.

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4. Cut 2 oranges, juice them, add Piper-Heidsieck champagne.  Enjoy the perfect mimosa, because it’s Sunday and I have nothing else to worry about.

5. Turn on CBS Sunday morning and chill out.  Resolve to go out and buy NY Times, and read it in the park.  

At First Bite wants to know… what’s your perfect Sunday?

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Cupcakes in Bloom

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I love spring!  It’s time for flowers and fresh vegetables and green leafy trees and, well, pretty cupcakes!  These are from the Cupcake Cafe, and while I have to admit they’re not my favorites (the cake was a little dry), they are so nice to look at. Just like real flowers!

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For a rundown of the city’s best cupcakes, check out this story on nymag.com.  Nancy Olson, the pastry chef at Gramercy Tavern, rates 15 different spots, from Magnolia to Baked to Cupcake Cafe.

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Salt Chocolate Goodness

 

Vosges Haute Chocolate

Vosges Haut Chocolate

 

I work at a magazine, and every July comes the onslaught of holiday gift guide pitches (we work 3-4 months ahead).  The office is flooded with press releases and samples and, surprisingly considering we’re a fashion magazine, food.  Peppermint bark, flavored nuts, gingerbread cookies…it’s dubbed, somewhat tiresomely, as Christmas in July.  

However, this afternoon, Christmas in July came true for me, in the shape of a long rectangular box from Vosges Haut Chocolate. In my excitement over the arrival of really good chocolate, I completely forgot to read the press kit, so I can’t tell you anything other than how incredibly good these taste. Pictured is an organic peanut butter chocolate bonbon sprinkled with Maldon salt crystals.  It’s the most satisfying sweet-salty bite I’ve had in a awhile…pungent crunchy salt, smooth creamy peanut butter, rich chocolate.  Plus they’re organic so you should feel good about yourself when eating 4 of them. This is just a hunch, but I think it would make the perfect stocking stuffer for a really sophisticated person who wants more than a Reese’s Cup.

De-lish Peanut Butter

De-lish Peanut Butter

 For more info and where to buy, click here.

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Attempted Healthy Eating: Bonobo’s

 

the case at Bonobo's

the case at Bonobo's

 

I had a deep need to eat healthy at lunch today, no doubt fueled by the gross intake of candy and peppermint bark that had occurred only moments before at an appointment (a holiday preview).  Bonobo’s Vegetarian, on a charmless stretch of 23rd street just across from the park, beckoned.  I had heard about it from a photographer at work, who raved about the coconut chai.  I’m not a vegetarian, nor am I an impressively healthy eater.  But I am intrigued by the idea that very healthy things can taste as good as very unhealthy things, and at present I am still waiting to be won over.  

However, Bonobo’s did a pretty good job.  I was feeling inspired and bought fresh young coconut water, coconut chai, avocado-cilantro soup, and a “nutmeat” salad.  The coconut water was wonderful, just as fresh young coconut water should be (with that addicting nutty flavor) and not filled with the weird grape juice flavor you find in mass market juices like Vita Coco or Zico.  The avo-cilantro soup was, at first taste, amazingly delicious, yet when faced with a large cup of it, I realized it was basically pureed guacamole and would be much better off with chips.  The nutmeat salad was fairly unsatisfying, and the zesty sweet basil dressing I poured over it only mildly improved the nutmeat (essentially a nut pate).  Now the coconut chai…that deserves special attention.  Its creamy texture is much like eggnog, and the flavor- spicy masala chai tempered with smooth coconut- is almost like a coconut pumpkin pie (that’s a good thing).  It sounds like a winter drink but poured over ice was like a nice dessert.  Oh, wait, I was supposed to be eating healthy.

Love the simple label

Love the simple label

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