Thursday, April 16, 2015

Tiny Chocolate Cake (GF)

Hello! I'm here! I haven't disappeared.  I've just been a bit quiet and taking things easy over the past few weeks. I think I'm just in need of a break of sorts.  I'm not really even sure what I need, but having slowed down recently has been nice, I'll admit.  I've been taking some time to think about this space I've carved myself online, and reflect on how I've spent the last four years (almost) of my life.  The time really just flew by, and it's amazing to me how quickly it's gone.  Over 300 posts, more photographs (both good and bad) than I would ever want to count, and so much time have gone into this.  Creating content on such a regular basis and maintaining a site has been more work than I could have ever imagined, but it's been incredibly rewarding at the same time.  Despite that, I'm starting to drive myself crazy. 

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Strawberry Galette

The weather has finally been improving, and it's getting warmer (if only slightly), and the sun has been out (I'll take two days of sunshine a week!).  Things are looking brighter, and I can't wait for spring to really arrive with full force. For now though, these mild improvements are a very welcome change.  Since this past weekend was the first that kinda sorta resembled spring (aside from the crazy howling wind on Saturday), there was nothing better than embracing a new set of seasonal flavors.  In my mind, nothing says "spring is here!" quite like the arrival of fresh strawberries.  Fresh, colorful, and beautiful, strawberries are one of my all-time favorite fruits.  There's nothing more disappointing than eating fresh strawberries in winter, simply because they don't taste like anything.  So when an abundance of strawberries arrive at the grocery store and farmer's market, and they really taste the way they're supposed's just a wonderful thing.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Carrot Cake

No cake makes me think of Easter or spring more than carrot cake.  I LOVE it. It's the best flavor outside of vanilla and chocolate cake, and that's saying a lot, because I love nothing more than a perfect slice of moist, rich chocolate cake. This is something else though! Carrot cake has been a treat that I've looked forward to ever since I was little.  It's not that I remember ever having a particularly good carrot cake when I was younger, but I do remember that whenever my dad brought a slice home, it was a cause for celebration (in my mind, at least; no one else seemed to love carrot cake as much as I did).  I love all types of carrot cakes, from a the most basic to the one with all the mix-ins.  This carrot cake took a middle of the road approach.  It's got a fair amount of extras stirred in (shredded coconut and crushed pineapple), but lacks the raisins and nuts that would make this a hefty, fully-loaded cake.  Nevertheless, it's an incredible cake. 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Chocolate Babka

For the past few years, my sister has taken it upon herself to request an unconventional birthday treat.  A regular birthday cake is never good enough for her. She's requested homemade Chocolate-Glazed Yeast Doughnuts, a sky high New York Style Cheesecake, and last year, she wanted an entire week dedicated to breakfast treats.  This year, however, I beat my sister to the punch.  I thought "birthday babka" had a nice ring to it, and she immediately agreed.  I'd been wanting to make a babka for years, but I was never brave enough to go through with it. The yeast, and the folding, and the swirls! It all seemed like too much.  I had already opened my mouth though, and she was set on her birthday babka, with lots of chocolate swirls. There was no turning back now.  

I went straight to Smitten Kitchen, because I knew Deb had simplified Yotam Ottolenghi's chocolate krantz cake recipe into one that was foolproof. If I've learned anything from working closely with Clarkson Potter over the past few months, it's that Ottolenghi is a brilliant, brilliant man. I figured that if Deb had worked her magic on an Ottolenghi recipe to improve it, the final result had to be spectacular.  Her recipe seemed completely doable, and as I was reading it through, I wondered why I hadn't ever given myself chance to actually make a babka.  It didn't seem that hard. 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Birthday Cake Ice Cream

My sister is the best at picking unconventional birthday treats (stay tuned for her pick, next!).  As excited and ready to take on her birthday request as I was, I wanted to make something else too.  Something that combined my sister's favorite things all in one.  I wanted to make Birthday Cake Ice Cream. My sister loves nothing more than a simple, classic yellow cake with sprinkles, and because birthdays and ice cream go hand in hand, the combination is a winner.  It's obviously been done before, but I wanted to make the ice cream for myself, because ice cream is one of those treats that is always better when it's made at home. And there anything happier than cake flavored ice cream with sprinkles? It's the happiest treat imaginable. 

Friday, March 20, 2015

Buttermilk Waffles (Gluten-Free)

I have a special place in my heart (stomach) for waffles.  I grew up with the frozen kind; I had two for breakfast everyday, all the way up through high school.  I never tired of having the same breakfast, and while I eventually switched up my routine in college, there were a few moments where I caved and bought myself a box, for old time's sakes. At restaurants, if an ice cream-topped waffle is on the dessert menu, it's the obvious choice to finish off my meal. A special breakfast out calls for a waffle.  Basically, I'm crazy for them.  I don't make them all that often though, and it's mostly out of laziness (I'm not a fan of standing over a hot iron making one waffle at a time).  However, when the mood strikes, I just have to make myself a batch at home.  There's nothing like a freshly made waffle. 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Baileys and Shortbread Milkshake

And the booziest day of the year has arrived! I've never been much of a St. Paddy's gal, and since I've been commuting to work or from school over the past few years, I've come to associate the holiday with nothing more than a mass transit and commuter nightmare. Penn Station is awful on its own, but it transforms into this hellish, rowdy black hole, the kind of place where all you want to do is head in and head back out, as fast as you possibly can. I think based on those facts alone, it's clear that I'm no St. Patrick's Day partier, but it doesn't mean I'm a party pooper either.  I just celebrate with food instead of booze! Marrying the two and incorporating my one true love, ice cream, is the best of both worlds. 
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