Partly because it’s Harry Potter’s birthday, but mostly because I wanted some chocolate cake 😆
Wednesday, April 26, 2023
Margarita Manzke (co-owner and pastry chef at République in LA) is a 2023 James Beard Award Finalist.
République is one of my favorite restaurants, and the first time I ever went there, they had a mountain of butter out and I mused aloud, “What’s all this butter for?” and one of the workers was like, “PIE.”
Go if you’ve never gone before, or better yet, take me with you!
Name a better duo than strawberries and rhubarb. I’ll wait.
I baked my mom a pie, but her love for strawberry rhubarb doesn’t run as deep as mine. Good thing we got her sold-out Adele tickets as a back-up!
The highlight of my weekend was seeing my mom jump up and down and scream like a fangirl when she opened her gift. A very close second would have to be getting carded at the casino. Apparently, I look like I’m under 18 (#stillgotit). I was with my parents and Pammie who was not carded. And highly offended.
Recipe from Smitten Kitchen.
Tuesday, December 8, 2015
CRANBERRY BLISS COOKIES
Adapted from Gimme Some Oven
FOR THE COOKIES:
3 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup dried cranberries
FOR THE FROSTING:
1 (8 oz.) bar cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup white chocolate chips, melted in the microwave or double-boiler
2 tsp. orange extract
3 cups powdered sugar
FOR THE TOPPING:
1 cup dried cranberries, roughly chopped
1/4 cup white chocolate chips, melted in the microwave or double-boiler
TO MAKE THE COOKIES:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt until well-blended. Set aside.
Using an an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add vanilla and the eggs one at a time, beating in between to incorporate. Then reduce the speed to low, and slowly add in the dry ingredients. Increase the speed to medium, and continue beating until well-combined. Fold in the white chocolate chips and cranberries, and mix until just-combined. (Do not overmix.)
Cover and refrigerate dough for at least 1 hour. Then place dough by rounded tablespoon-fulls onto a baking sheet that has been prepared with parchment paper, at least 2.5-inches apart. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the cookies are lightly golden around the edges. Remove pan, and transfer the cookies to a cooling rack until cool. Repeat with remaining dough until all cookies are baked. Wait until cookies reach room temperature before adding frosting and toppings.
TO MAKE THE FROSTING:
Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat together the cream cheese and melted white chocolate until combined. (**Be sure that your cream cheese REALLY is at room temperature before adding the white chocolate. Otherwise the chocolate could seize up.) Add in the orange extract and mix until combined. Then reduce speed to low and add the powdered sugar. Mix until incorporated. Then use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl, and beat once more for 1 minute on medium speed until the frosting is smooth. You can add more powdered sugar for a thicker frosting.
Spread the frosting on the cooled cookies. Then immediately sprinkle the frosted cookies with the chopped dried cranberries. And use a fork to drizzle on the frosting, swishing it back and forth over the cookies.
Strawberry rhubarb empanadas in the making (or shall I say, mmmpanadas!).
Because when one of your friends has surgery after a career-ending fútbol injury, you bake them a little post-op pick-me-up!
These tasted like heaven… I still have to drive them down to San Diego this weekend, and I don’t know if they’re gonna make it, tbh.
Get the recipe HERE.
Did you donate because of the animals or because of my cute packaging, be honest.
I’ve reached 70% of my fundraising goal! Help me get to 100% HERE and receive a bag of these homemade beer bones (they’re dog tested and Rocky approved, if that helps sway you at all).
Make a donation of $10 or more to sponsor my participation in San Diego Humane Society’s Walk for Animals and receive a bag of homemade beer bones made with repurposed spent grain locally sourced and generously donated by LA craft brewery, Progress Brewing!
You can donate HERE. Please put your address in the “Personal Note to Walk Participant” field if you want dog treats. If you’re in LA or SD, I can probably just meet up with you 🙂
I battle my obvious love of dogs on a daily basis.
I can’t watch a cute puppy video on youtube without clicking on all the related videos. Next thing I know, I’ve lost three hours of my life watching 103 videos in a puppy surprise playlist and have been crying for at least two of those hours. Just kidding. (I cried for all three.)
When Pammie asked if I wanted to do a walk for animals, I immediately said yes without knowing any details other than dogs were somehow involved. Her office organizes this huge fundraiser that includes a bake sale where homemade dog treats are sold for donations, and I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to combine my love for dogs with my love for baking and get involved.
I reached out to some local LA craft breweries, and Progress Brewing in El Monte was generous enough to donate some spent brewing grain towards my cause. I drove out to what the dude described as “east of east los” with nothing but a 5-gallon bucket and a friend to witness my death in case the dude chopped me up into little pieces and dumped my body in the mash tun (I did meet him on the internet, after all).
Kevin, the co-owner of Progress Brewing, was actually a really nice guy. He asked if I preferred “Black IPA” or “American Red” doggy biscuits! Ha. I went with American Red, obvi, since I’m not a fan of IPAs. Dogs are also allergic to hops, so if you’re going to repurpose spent grain, make sure the brewery didn’t mash hop the batch you’re getting.
It’s best to use the spent grains within the first few days after brewing, otherwise they’ll go bad. I used a FoodSaver and froze them in portion-sized bags for storing and later use, since they gave me around 40 pounds of grain.
Here’s a simple, all-natural recipe if you want to try making these at home:
- 4 cups spent grain
- 2 cups organic barley flour
- 1 cup natural peanut butter
- 2 organic eggs
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all of the ingredients and mix with your hands until a thick dough forms. Roll out the dough on a generously floured surface and cut out shapes with cookie cutters like this cute dog bone.
Line the biscuits on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, then reduce temperature to 225 degrees and continue baking for 2 hours. Cooking them the additional time at the lower temperature will help ensure they dry completely, extending their shelf life.
The dried biscuits will keep for 2 weeks in an airtight container and even longer if you freeze them in zipper bags. You can give them to your dogs straight from the freezer as a cool summer treat, or, if you’re in LA, in the dead of winter when it’s 90 degrees out!
Homemade strawberry rhubarb birthday pie for my favorite pie-lover, Jessie!
Recipe from Smitten Kitchen.
Wednesday, December 25, 2013
Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Bars
Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker
1 1/2 cups finely ground graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup white sugar
6 tablespoons butter, melted
1 can (13.6 oz.) dulce de leche (you can find this at Target or most grocery stores next to the condensed milk in the baking aisle)
2 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 teaspoons light corn syrup
1 tbsp chocolate liqueur or heavy cream
Make the crust. Position an oven rack in the middle position and preheat oven to 325F. Line the bottom and sides of an 8-inch square pan with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on all sides. Spray parchment paper with non-stick spray.
Mix the graham crackers, sugar and butter. Press mixture evenly onto bottom of baking pan. Bake 10 minutes, then place on a cooling rack to cool for 5 minutes.
Make the filling. Spread the dulce de leche evenly over the graham crust, then place pan in refrigerator while you prepare the cream cheese layer.
Beat the cream cheese on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the sugar and continue to beat on medium-high for another 2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl if necessary. Beat in the vanilla extract.
Pour the cream cheese mixture over the dulce de leche layer and spread evenly, and bake for 45-55 minutes, or until the center only slightly jiggles. Remove from the oven and cool completely-about 2 hours.
Glaze the cake. Heat the chocolate, butter, liqueur and light corn syrup in a double boiler or in a microwave at 30-second intervals, stirring until smooth. Cool for about 10 minutes. Pour the glaze over the cheesecake, tilting the pan to ensure the top is coated evenly. Chill for several hours-or at least 30 minutes before serving.
Lift the cheesecake from the pan using the parchment handles and slice into squares using a sharp knife, wiping it clean after each cut. Let the pan sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes before you lift the bars out and cut them. The chocolate glaze will crack if you cut them while they are still very cold.
We had more dessert than actual food on Thanksgiving, and this chocolate croissant bread pudding I made tasted like a slice of heaven! I’m pretty sure I saw the face of Jesus while eating it. This will probably happen again for Christmas.
Chocolate Croissant Bread Pudding
Adapted from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook
3 extra-large whole eggs
8 extra-large egg yolks
5 cups half-and-half
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
10 chocolate croissants (I used a box of 10 from the Vons bakery)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the whole eggs, egg yolks, half-and-half, sugar, and vanilla. Set the custard mixture aside.
Slice the croissants into 1-inch cubes. In a 10 by 15 by 2 1/2-inch oval baking dish, distribute the cubed croissants evenly. Pour the custard over the croissants and allow to soak for 10 minutes, pressing down gently.
Place the pan in a larger one filled with 1-inch of hot water. Cover the larger pan with aluminum foil, tenting the foil so it doesn’t touch the pudding. Cut a few holes in the foil to allow steam to escape. Bake for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake for 40 to 45 more minutes or until the pudding puffs up and the custard is set. Remove from the oven and cool slightly. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Wednesday, October 2, 2013
I followed this gluten-free banana bread recipe, but I cleaned it up by subbing coconut oil for canola oil and agave nectar for sugar. I don’t really have much of a sweet tooth (ignore my contradictory donut post below), but this was def worth writing home about.
Monday, December 10, 2012
I baked this chocolate babka over the weekend, and it tasted exactly like the chocolate strudel from Extraordinary Desserts! Even with my new stand mixer, food processor, and Pammie’s forearms, it took hours to make. I’m pretty sure time started moving backwards as I waited for this shit to rise (twice!). I literally pulled them out of the oven at 2am and was too tired to have my way with it till morning.
Here’s Martha Stewart’s recipe if you have two pounds of chocolate and five sticks of butter laying around. This recipe yields three loaves, so I think you should make some and share it with your neighbors. Especially if you live near me.
Sunday, December 25, 2011
I was doing everything short of bending time and space to get these damn flans out of my supposedly nonstick brioche pans when my aunt turned to me and said, “It’s so hard being Martha Stewart, isn’t it?”
It really is.
Sunday, December 11, 2011
I always wish for two things during the holidays:
- A KitchenAid Stand Mixer
- Starbucks’ seasonal Cranberry Bliss Bars
I figured out how to make my own bliss bars, and now I can have them anytime I want! These were good, but they would taste even better if they were made with a KitchenAid stand mixer 😉
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
I made bourbon pumpkin spice whoopie pies for Thanksgiving this year. They’re filled with cream cheese, love, and that mini bottle of Maker’s Mark that I keep in my purse.
I love baking with booze… and sometimes I even put it in the food 😉
Run Into Flowers:
Mayan made these delicious chocolate chip cookies with an oreo cookie inside. Ummm sham wow! I’d have to say that her cookies beat the #1 cookies in San Diego, Uncle Biff’s Cookies.
Friday, December 24, 2010
Chel gave me this awesome idea to put red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting inside jars for the holidays! Could these be any cuter???
I’ve made cupcakes for a few of Kristin’s parties, so she asked me to make a Hello Kitty cake for her niece’s birthday. I can make cupcakes in my sleep, but I’ve never actually baked and decorated an entire cake before. I decided to make a practice cake first, just in case I was in over my head.
Isn’t this a pretty kitty? (That’s what she said.) Too bad this cake won’t stay fresh till next weekend! I’ll have to make another one on Friday, and now I’m left with a Hello Kitty cake that I’m not going to eat… How weird would it be if I showed up at my uncle’s retirement party with this thing?
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
I made chocolate peanut butter cupcakes for Kristin’s birthday last night. It took me three trips to the grocery store—I don’t know where my head’s been lately. I had too much
vodka fun at her birthday party. It’s a good thing my coworkers were too distracted by the leftover cupcakes I brought them to notice all that fun seeping through my pores this morning.