FUNFETTI CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

It’s my childhood friend Maggie’s 26th Birthday. I am a broke but woke lady, so I decided to make her cookies as her birthday gift. I’ve tested this chocolate chip cookie recipe throughout my years. I’ve made Sally’s Baking Addiction cookies, Jacques Torres’ cookies, and the Buzzfeed chocolate chip cookies by Lindsay Hunt, and I settled on a combo that is most heavily inspired by the Buzzfeed recipe… mostly because I love her way of using melted butter to get rid of the need for a stand mixer. It makes the cleanup process so much easier, and makes the recipe a ton more accessible to everyone. You could make these cookies in your dorm room for fricks sake, and I LOVE IT.

My recipe uses bread flour, a ton of vanilla extract, and a 63% bittersweet chocolate chip: resulting in the best damn cookies you’ll ever have in your life. I feel very strong about this.

These cookies are crunchy on the outside, chewy and soft on the inside, and all around tasty AF. If you’re not into the FANCY SPRINKLES (they do change the texture of the cookie a bit) feel free to omit them.

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Guess what friends?! I’ve decided to start making my recipes into full-blown YouTube vids so you can follow along as I make the recipe and get to know me a little bit more. I want you to understand who I am and sometimes I feel like it’s hard to fully express myself through writing and pictures. I’m an extremely visual person, always have been (WONDER WHY I GOT INTO FOOD?! lol), so video is a medium that I have always preferred. The moving picture, what a magical creation (said in an old timey voice).

Please let me know what you think of my videos, I’m going to try to release a new one every Wednesday (wish me luck haha), but the only way I can get better at these videos is if I hear from all of you. So be sure to subscribe to my page and throw my videos a thumbs up if you do indeed like them. What the hell, leave a comment so we can get even more specific!

makes 16 cookies

ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups bread flour

  • 1 cup AP flour

  • 1/2 tsp baking powder

  • 1 tsp baking soda

  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract

  • 2 tsps kosher salt

  • 1, 11.5-oz. bag of semisweet chocolate chips

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, melted and cooled

  • 3/4 c granulated sugar

  • 1 1/4 c light brown sugar

  • 2 large eggs

  • colorful sprinkles

steps:

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

In a medium bowl, melt the butter, stirring out any extra clumps, set aside so the butter can cool back to room temperature.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt).

Add both sugars to the cooled butter, quickly whisk the sugars for about 1-2 minutes. you’ll want to form what looks like a paste.

Add in each egg, one at a time, stirring in between to fully incorporate into the sugar mixture.

Whisk in the vanilla extract.

Add in half of the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, using a spatula to incorporate.

Add the chocolate chips to the remaining flour mixture, and coat the chips in flour. This helps the chocolate chips evenly distribute throughout the cookies without sinking to the bottom.

Add the remaining flour and chocolate chips to the batter, mix until just incorporate.

Cover with plastic wrap and set in the refrigerator for 10 minutes to let everything set. You can chill the dough overnight if you’d like, it may be harder to scoop out so let the dough come to room temp before you scoop it.

Place sprinkles in a small bowl. Using a 2.5-oz. scooper, scoop the cookies, roll them in your hands, and drop them into the sprinkle mixture, coating the top of the cookie.

Place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the cooking process to ensure even baking. Every oven has a different temp, so if the cookies are looking golden brown on the outside but raw on the inside, lower the temp by 15 degrees.

Place on a wire rack to cool, be careful as the inside will be delicate as it needs time to set.

Enjoy these cookies on their own, with a glass of milk, or an ice cream sandwich… what the hell, eat one of these bad boys for breakfast.

Store the cookies in an airtight container for 3-5 days. If you want them to last even longer, pop the container in the freezer and thaw the cookies by placing them in the microwave for 15-30 seconds.

CURRIED BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP

It’s squash season, and that my friends is a beautiful season indeed. I’m finding myself enjoying all types of squash prepared in ton of different ways. Delicata, butternut, acorn, spaghetti, kabocha, the options are truly endless.

But one of my favorite things to do with squash is turn it into a soup. Soup is so cozy, it makes me want to get in comfy clothes, put on some slippers, turn on my computer fireplace, and watch a movie. This recipe is, like all my recipes, very simple… and very delicious. Get ready for something you can be super proud of that requires little to no skill at all.

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My favorite trick, adding in a carrot to the mixture to create more depth of flavor and make the orange color even more vibrant.

This dish is made with chicken stock, but you’re welcome to swap in veggie stock to make the soup vegan. :)

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curried butternut squash soup

makes 2 quarts

ingredients:

  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

  • 1 yellow onion, diced

  • 1 shallot, finely chopped

  • 1 3-4 lb. butternut squash

  • 1 large carrot

  • 2 tbsp coconut oil

  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

  • 2 tsp curry powder

  • 3 tsp kosher salt

  • 1 8-oz. container stock (chicken or veg)

  • 3 sprigs thyme

  • 1 bay leaf

  • black pepper

  • optional garnish: purple radish, walnuts, basil

steps:

In a stockpot over a medium heat, add coconut oil and saute onion until translucent, about 8-10 minutes.

Add in shallot and garlic, cook an additional 2-3 minutes.

Add in cubed butternut squash, carrot, bay leaf, thyme sprigs, and 2 tsps salt, stir around all ingredients several times to combine.

Cover butternut squash with stock, the exact amount will differ depending on how large your squash is, but you want the liquid to just cover the top of the squash.

Cook over a medium heat about 10-12 minutes, or until you can easily insert a fork into the squash. The squash should be soft.

Transfer the mixture into a blender or food processor (you may have to do this in two batches), removing the bay leaf and the thyme, and blend until smooth and creamy. Add in curry powder and any additional salt, adjusting to taste.

To keep the soup hot, transfer back into the stock pot and keep on a low heat.

To serve: garnish with purple radish, basil, toasted walnuts, and a drizzle of olive oil.

Enjoy.

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ICE CREAM HACK #3: DARK CHOCOLATE COCONUT

I love ice cream.

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dark chocolate coconut ice cream

ingredients:

  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes, toasted

  • 1 pint vanilla ice cream

  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate, melted

steps:

Let your ice cream soften a bit, about 5-10 minutes.

While your ice cream is softening, using a offset spatula or a spoon, spread your melted chocolate in a very thin layer on a parchment lined baking sheet. Chill in the refrigerator until hardened.

Once hardened, break up into shards of chocolate.

Combine all ingredients together in a bowl.

Return to the freezer and freeze for 2-3 hours or up to overnight.

Enjoy.

dark chocolate and espresso magic shell

ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes, toasted

  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips

  • 1.5 TBSPs coconut oil

steps:

Combine all ingredients in the microwave, microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring in between, until melted.

Be careful with your chocolate, as it can easily burn.

Drizzle over ice cream and watch the chocolate magically harden!

assembly

scoop ice cream onto a cone or bowl of your choice, drizzle chocolate shell over the top, garnish with toasted coconut, enjoy.

BESSER'S BASICS: PANTRY ORGANIZATION

Having a clean, organized pantry is an absolute must when you are a chef. If you can’t see all of the paints in the paintbox, then you can’t make the most vibrant and creative painting you know you’re capable of. Same goes for cooking.

In NYC, space is limited, and it can be infuriating. What I would do for a gorgeous walk-in pantry where I could really see everything in my pantry and add even more items to my pantry. Alas, I have to make due with what I’ve got— which is a small cabinet.

The first thing I did in my pantry organization journey was measure my pantry cabinet. Then I thought about biggest frustration with my pantry, it’s that it is very deep so things can get lost in the back. How to solve this problem? Answer: rolling racks.

So I went on Amazon and I ordered these rolling racks. When they arrived, I worked with my amazing intern Sage to empty everything out of my pantry, wipe down the shelves, adjust the shelving height, and install the racks.

At first, I thought I’d be able to use both tiers of the racks but then I quickly realized that the height of my pantry, even if I adjusted the shelving, wouldn’t allow me to reap the benefits of both tiers, so I sacrificed one.

The next thing I did was I thought about the items that I use the most and how I could most easily access them.

Top Shelf: Place to store my equipment

Middle Shelf:

  • Oils (olive, coconut, walnut, peanut, avocado, canola)

  • Vinegars (red wine, aged balsamic, champagne, white wine, apple cider, yuzu, sherry)

  • Pastes (tomato paste, anchovy paste, red thai curry)

  • Sauces (hot sauce, raos)

  • Syrups (pomegranate, date, honey, maple, corn)

  • Cooking Wines (sherry, white, red, etc.)

  • Condiments (unopened ketchup, mayo, etc.)

  • Maldon Salt

  • Collagen Powder

  • Stocks (unopened chicken, beef, vegetable)

Bottom Shelf:

  • Grains

  • Legumes

  • Starches

  • Flours

  • Sugars

  • Nuts and Seeds

  • Dried Foods (Dried chilis, mushrooms, fruit)

Watch the full video on how I chose to organize my pantry here.

Hopefully this post inspires you to take control of the space you have and make the most of it. xx, Elena

If you want to purchase any of the equipment you see, you can find all the products on my products I love page.

ICE CREAM HACK #2: STRAWBERRY COOKIES AND CREAM

It’s time for the second installment of Ice Cream Hack series: strawberry cookies and cream. Yes, you heard that right. Strawberries and cream is a classic, but how about strawberries COOKIES and cream?!?

Want to watch the full assembly? Peep the video on my instagram :)

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strawberry cookies & cream

ingredients:

  • 1 cup strawberry preserves

  • 1 pint vanilla ice cream

  • 1 cup chocolate sandwich cookies, crushed

  • to garnish: freezer dried strawberries

steps:

Let your ice cream soften a bit, about 5-10 minutes.

Combine all ingredients together in a bowl.

Return to the freezer and freeze for 2-3 hours or up to overnight.

Enjoy.

cookies & cream magic shell

ingredients:

  • 1 cup chocolate sandwich cookies, into a fine powder

  • 1 cup white chocolate chips

  • 1.5 TBSPs coconut oil

steps:

Combine all ingredients in the microwave, microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring in between, until melted.

Be careful with your chocolate, as it can easily burn.

Drizzle over ice cream and watch the chocolate magically harden!


assembly

scoop ice cream onto a cone of your choice, drizzle chocolate shell over the top, garnish with freezer dried strawberries, enjoy.


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NUTTY FENNEL GRANOLA

I love granola. A lot. My all-time favorite granola brand is Purely Elizabeth salty chocolate and blueberry hemp (not sponsored btw, I just frickin' love this female-owned business). I had never made granola before so I decided to take a look at what was in my pantry and try it out. 

This granola combines honey, maple syrup, olive oil, oats, walnuts, almonds, pistachios, pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries, raisins, coconut flakes, and spices to create something magical. The key spice: fennel seed. Fennel has a mild licorice taste but the seed has a depth that plays super well. 

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nutty fennel granola

makes 5 cups

ingredients:

  • 1 egg white, beaten

  • 3 c old fashioned oats

  • 1 c chopped nuts (I used pistachios, almonds, pumpkin seeds, and walnuts)

  • 1 1/2 c coconut shavings, unsweetened

  • 1/4 c honey

  • 1/4 c maple syrup

  • 1/2 c olive oil

  • 2 T fennel seeds, crushed

  • 1 1/2 t flaky salt (I used Maldon)

  • 1/4 t dried ginger

  • 1/8 t nutmeg

  • 1/2 t ground cinnamon

  • 1/2 c dried cranberries

  • 1/2 c raisins

  • 1/4 c candied ginger chips

supplies:

steps:

Preheat your oven to 300°F. 

Combine all ingredients and place on a baking sheet that is covered in parchment paper. 

Bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes, removing the tray from the oven every 10 minutes to stir around the granola for even toasting. 

Enjoy. 

Serve with Greek yogurt, citrus slices, a drizzle of honey, fresh mint, and flaky sea salt. 

TANGY CARDAMOM MILK PANNA COTTA WITH ROSE WATER SYRUP

Every time I see panna cotta on a menu it’s a done deal, I’m ordering it. The creamy yet light texture, the beautiful simplicity of it all, I’m obsessed. Panna cotta is one of those dishes that seems super fancy but is honestly insanely easy to make. It’s essentially a creamy jello and it doesn’t have a ton of ingredients.

What I love about this specific panna cotta is that is doesn’t have any artificial, high sugar ingredients. I used coconut sugar in the panna cotta, giving it a healthy-er twist and a surprisingly nice caramelized finish. However there is granulated sugar in the rose water syrup to keep the rose water syrup’s transparent color. I’d love any suggestions on another sugar alternative that would keep the rose water syrup clear, let me know below in the comments if you know of any alternatives!

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Otherland Candles is a dope female-owned candle company and I am truly obsessed with everything they have created. Their candles make my apartment smell like heaven. So, when they launched their fall candle collection and I saw their Cardamom Milk candle, I was inspired to create a dessert that reminded me of the candle. Hope you enjoy this dessert as much as I do.

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tangy cardamom milk panna cotta



ingredients:

  • 1/3 c coconut sugar (or granulated sugar)

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  • 1/8 t Himalayan sea salt (or regular sea salt)

  • 1/8 t freshly ground cardamon

  • 2 c greek yogurt

  • 1 c heavy cream

  • 1 packet gelatin

steps:

take 2.5 tablespoons of water and sprinkle your jello packet over it. let bloom for five minutes.

in a small saucepan combine heavy cream, cardamom, vanilla extract, coconut sugar, and salt to a simmer.

in a large bowl, whisk greek yogurt until all large lumps are removed.

off the heat, add the bloomed gelatin to the cardamom cream mixture and mix until the gelatin has dissolved completely.

slowly add the mixture to the greek yogurt and mix until combined.

pour the mixture into six glasses or ramekins and chill for at least 3 hours in the refrigerator or 15-20 in the freezer.

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rose water syrup

  • 1/2 c water

  • 1/3 c granulated sugar

  • 1 t rose water

  • 1 Hibiscus tea bag

  • for garnish: 1/3 c dried rose petals

steps:

heat 1/2 c of water until boiling, add hibiscus tea and steep until the water reaches your desired pink consistency (this takes barely any time so keep an eye on it.

remove the tea bag and add in granulated sugar and rose water. mix to dissolve sugar. bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook about 10 minutes until syrupy.

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to serve

IN THE RAMEKIN: if keeping in the ramekin, drizzle cooled rose water syrup over the top and garnish with dried rose petals

OUT OF THE RAMEKIN: if removing from the ramekin, dip the ramekin in hot water for several seconds to loosen the panna cotta and invert onto a plate. drizzle with rose water syrup and garnish with dried rose petals. enjoy, it’s lit :)

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ICE CREAM HACK #1: ESPRESSO & MINT ICE CREAM

I love coffee. I love chocolate. I love mint.

My three favorite foods are cheese, bacon, and ice cream. When I’m trying to be creative but taking the easy way out, I love to take vanilla ice cream and hack it to create my very own flavor.

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In the first installment of my Ice Cream Hack series, I’m making a chocolate covered espresso mint ice cream WITH a fab espresso chocolate shell.

All of these recipes have a shell on them, because it reminds me of childhood. I have the fondest memories eating ice cream and pouring the magic chocolate shell on top (remember, the bottle with the turtle on it?! Oh the good old days!) so I wanted to re-create that childhood experience for these recipes too!

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espresso & mint ice cream

ingredients:

  • 1 cup chocolate covered espresso beans, crushed

  • 1 pint vanilla ice cream

  • 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, chiffonade (cut into thin strips)

  • 1 tsp mint extract

steps:

Let your ice cream soften a bit, about 5-10 minutes.

Combine all ingredients together in a bowl.

Return to the freezer and freeze for 2-3 hours or up to overnight.

Enjoy.

dark chocolate and espresso magic shell

ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup chocolate covered espresso beans, crushed

  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips

  • 1.5 TBSPs coconut oil

steps:

Combine all ingredients in the microwave, microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring in between, until melted.

Be careful with your chocolate, as it can easily burn.

Drizzle over ice cream and watch the chocolate magically harden!

assembly

scoop ice cream onto a cone of your choice, drizzle chocolate shell over the top, garnish with fresh mint, enjoy.

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ROSEMARY BUTTER CAKE WITH FRESH APRICOTS

I love butter.

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Infusing butter can be so damn useful. you can infuse it with any herb you'd like: basil, rosemary, thyme, tea, cannabis (😎). For this butter I just took a handful of rosemary and placed it in a saucepan with a stick of butter. 

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rosemary butter cake

makes 1 cake

 

ingredients:

  • 3 cups Flour

  • 2 cups Sugar

  • 1 tsp salt

  • 1 tsp baking powder

  • ½ tsp baking soda

  • 1 cup buttermilk

  • 1 cup melted rosemary butter

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  • 4 eggs

steps:

Put a handful of rosemary and 1 c of butter into a small saucepan. Melt over a medium heat and let the rosemary sit in the butter overnight. 

Preheat oven to 325 F, grease 2 9-inch cake pans.

Large bowl, mix flour, 2 cups sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda. Blend in buttermilk, 1 cup of butter, and 2tsps vanilla and 4 eggs. Beat pour 3 mins. Pour into pan.

Bake for 60 mins or until stick comes out clean

Cool before removing from the pan.

*Unfrosted cakes can be made a day in advance, just wrap tightly with plastic wrap to store. 

 

rosemary butter sauce

 

ingredients:

  • Rosemary sprigs in 3/4 sugar

  • ⅓ c butter

  • 3 TBSp water

  • 2 tsps vanilla extract

steps:

Combine ¾ cups sugar, ⅓ c butter, 2 tsps vanilla, and water. Cook over a medium heat until just melted.

 

mascarpone whipped cream:

 

ingredients:

  • 8oz mascarpone cheese, room temp

  • 1 cup heavy cream

  • ½ c confectioners sugar

steps:

Whisk heavy cream stiff peaks form

In a separate bowl, whisk mascarpone and confectioners sugar

Gently fold whipped cream into mascarpone mixture.

garnish:

  • 6 apricots, halved (you can use any fruit you'd like though)

  • 1-2 sprigs rosemary

 

assembly:

Using a serrated knife, slice off the tops of the cakes to level them. 

Now, it's time for the rosemary butter sauce. Using a pastry brush, brush the butter sauce onto the tops of the cake. The sauce will further flavor the cake and help it stay extra moist (sorry if you hate that word). 

Next, place the cake on a plate or cake stand, top-side up, and add 1/3 of the mascarpone frosting. Using the back of a spoon or a pallet knife spread the frosting into an even layer. 

TIME FOR THE NEXT LAYER. You ready? I am.

Top side down, place the second layer onto the cake. Now you'll have a gorgeous flat surface. Frost the top of the cake and gently spread the excess frosting along the sides, creating a rustic feel. Top with halved apricots and rosemary sprigs, slice, and ENJOY!

This cake will fresh up to 2 days at room temp. 

 

EPIC BLT BOARD

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I love bacon. Bacon might be my favorite food, other than cheese. August is REALLY peak tomato season, and with the stunning fresh tomatoes at the farmers market of course I had a hankering for a BLT. 

So, I decided to raid my fridge and create a big a** BLT board, that also happens to be awesome for entertaining. Create this board and you'll be sure to impress your guests!

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BLT Board

Serves 8-10

Ingredients: 

  • 1 package uncured bacon
  • 3 heirloom tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 avocado, pitted and sliced
  • 3 eggs 
  • 1 loaf sourdough bread
  • mint
  • basil
  • chives
  • olive oil
  • flaky sea salt (I use Maldon)
  • mayonnaise 

Steps:

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Place the bacon on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake in the oven until crispy, about 10-15 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate. 

Boil water. Place eggs in the water and set a timer for 6 minutes. Get an ice bowl with a bit of water. When the eggs are done, place into the ice bowl to shock them and stop the cooking. Peel eggs and slice. 

Place all ingredients on the a board and choose your own adventure. Enjoy. 

Hot tip: tryna be healthy? Skip the bread and create a salad. 

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CHERRY COMPOTE

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Let me tell you a love story... a love story between a girl and a yogurt company. I am the type of person that loves to walk down the aisles of the grocery store ingesting all of the different offerings and different brands on the shelves. On one particular day, I was making my way through the dairy section and I came across a gorgeous yogurt with a compote at the bottom in a short and wide jar with the drawing of a moustache on the lid. I looked at the price and it was 6 DOLLARS. 6 DOLLARS?!? HOW COULD I POSSIBLY SPEND THAT AMOUNT OF MONEY ON A JAR OF YOGURT. I was disappointed, and I left the grocery store without purchasing the yogurt. 

Every time I went back to the store, I would wheel my cart past the dairy section, and my eyes would still go to the yogurt. I would read the flavors: quince, sour cherry, orange blossom. They were fascinating to me. But, I didn't buy it. 

Finally, one day, when I was in the dairy section I read the label a little closer, it said "made in Brooklyn," I decided to do more research and I learned that this company is a female-owned, small-batch yogurt producer. NO WONDER WHY IT COST SO MUCH. This was a lesson in doing all the research of a product, because once you understand all the hard work that goes into it, you appreciate it more and you're more willing to invest in the product. 

So, I proudly made my way to the dairy aisle and I picked up the sour cherry flavor and took it home (and paid for it, obviously). I broke the paper seal and my spoon dove in for my first bite, making sure that I picked up that sour cherry compote at the bottom. HOLY SHIT, when I put this in my mouth I had no idea I would experience the creamiest, most delicious yogurt I've ever had in my entire life. It was truly exceptional. My hats off to the founder of White Moustache yogurt, Homa Dashtaki. Damn woman, you know your stuff. 

I try to treat myself to this yogurt at least once a month, but since it is sour cherry season, I decided to take a stab at my own compote recipe. Served it with Greek yogurt and I got close to the same thing! You can also serve this compote with panna cotta, on top of olive oil cake (or any cake), in a tart, or any way you'd like. CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE. 

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sour cherry compote

makes 1 quart

ingredients:

  • 1 pints sour cherries, pitted
  • 1/2 c granulated sugar
  • 1 T vanilla extract
  • 1 lemon, juice and zest 
  • 1/8 t nutmeg

supplies:

steps:

Combine all ingredients in a pot. Mix to combine

Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer. Cook for 30 mins - 1 hr or until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon.

Place a mason jar in the microwave and microwave on high for 2 minutes.

Store compote in the air-tight container for 6 months. 

Enjoy. I SURE DID.

BANOFFEE POPS

THIS SHIT IS BANANAS.

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I've been seeing banoffee cake EVERYWHERE lately. It was a mystery to me. What is this caramel banana biscuit pie and why does everyone love it so much? I needed to put this to the test but I wanted to do a creative spin on it. 

When I'm trying to eat healthy, I really need something sweet to hold me over, so my go-to is a chocolate covered banana on a stick. Tastes and feels like ice cream, but it's a banana so HEALTH. 😬🍌

THEN, it hit me. BANOFFEE POPS. Take all the goodness of banoffee pie and put it on a stick. This was a fun one. First, I took bananas and put them on a stick. Then, made my dulce de leche by putting a can of sweetened condensed milk in boiling water for 3 hours and VOILA: DULCE DE LECHE. 

Next, I took vanilla wafer cookies and I crushed them up by placing them in a baggy and hitting them with a rolling pin (this is fun and very therapeutic). I combined whole milk and vanilla extract and put the crushed cookies into the milk, resulting in a cakey yet crunchy flavor. 

I dipped the bananas in the caramel and rolled them in the cookie crumbs, messy to make but HOLY SHIT THEY WERE LIFE CHANGING. 

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banoffee pops

makes 6 pops

ingredients:

  • 6 baby bananas (if you can't find babies, cut 3 normal-sized bananas in half)
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 box vanilla wafer cookies
  • 1/4 c whole milk
  • 1 T vanilla extract

supplies:

steps:

Place can of sweetened condensed milk into a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook at a simmer for 2-3 hours. The longer you cook it, the darker the caramel will become. Place on a cooling rack. Note: you want to cool this for at least 30 mins, if you try opening it when it's too hot, the built up pressure could cause the hot caramel to shoot out. 

Place bananas on a stick and put on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place the bananas in the freezer. 

Add vanilla extract to your milk. Pour the crushed wafers into a bowl and drizzle the milk over the mixture, stirring to combine. 

Open your can of caramel and dip each banana into the caramel, then dip the banana into your cookie mixture. Repeat until all bananas are covered. Place back in the freezer to set (about 30 minutes) and enjoy. 

 

TOMATO TOAST

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I love tomatoes. especially in the summertime. the summer is all about eating farm-fresh tomatoes all day, every day, for every meal. 

I was in Wisconsin at my family's lake house the other week and we picked up some tomatoes from the farm stand near by, toasted up some sourdough bread, slathered on mayo, and topped the toast with tomatoes, fresh basil, chives, salt, and pepper. it was truly exceptional. 

the juicy tomatoes, creamy mayo, and sour bread, finished with the fresh basil and touch of onion from the chives really created a flavor experience. I am in love. 

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tomato toast

makes 1 toast

ingredients:

  • 1 slice crusty sourdough 
  • 1 handful of tomatoes, halved or sliced
  • fresh chives
  • fresh basil
  • mayonaise or veganise
  • flaky salt (I used Maldon) and pepper

steps:

Toast bread.

Spread mayo or veganaise on bread.

Place tomatoes, basil, chives, salt and pepper on top. 

ENJOY IT GURL. 

DIY EVERYTHING BAGEL SEASONING

EVERYTHING. BAGEL. SEASONING. I want to put it on everything. Toasts, salads, meat, eggs, you name it. You can buy it at Trader Joes or at Williams Sonoma, OR you can make it yourself. It's really easy and keeps in your pantry for up to 6 months. Enjoy. 

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everything bagel seasoning

makes 1 cup

ingredients:

  • 2 T sesame seeds
  • 2 T black sesame seeds
  • 4 T poppyseeds
  • 2 T dried onion
  • 2 T dried garlic

steps:

Combine everything in a bowl and store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

JUMBO PIGS IN A BLANKET WITH EVERYTHING BAGEL SEASONING

This. Recipe. Is. Insane. And. Very. Easy.

Everything Bagel Dog
Egg Wash

Yes, I am the person who goes out of their way to become best friends with the man holding the tray of pigs in a blanket at a party. I am the girl who gets PISSED when there isn't any ketchup and only mustard (more stories about my passion for ketchup to come). 

While I love the concept of little weenies as appetizers, I usually eat the equivalent of a full-sized hot dog. So, I decided it would be a great idea to turn my favorite cocktail-sized treat into one for adults (which means a large version, lol). 

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These dogs have the added addition of everything bagel seasoning which really elevates the dogs by giving them a garlic and onion flavor with a sesame and poppyseed crunch...and it looks pretty great too :). 

What's great about this recipe is it is really easy to make because most of the ingredients are store-bought, with the exception of the everything bagel seasoning, which you can make here, or buy at Trader Joes or Williams Sonoma

EverythingBagel_Beauty

jumbo pigs in a blanket with everything bagel seasoning

makes 6-8 

ingredients:

steps:

Preheat your oven to 375°F and then defrost your puffy pastry according to the instructions. 

Combine all of the ingredients in your everything bagel seasoning into a bowl. 

Slice your puff pastry horizontally into thin strips. 

Scramble 1 egg and add a teaspoon of water. 

Then, take your hot dogs and pat them dry. I like to use the all beef kosher uncured hot dogs because they don't contain any nitrates. Starting at the top of each dog, take your puff pastry and wrap it around the dog until you get to the bottom. Once you reach the bottom, pinch the puff pasty so it's secure around the dog. Then place the dogs on parchment lined baking sheets.

Take a pastry brush and brush the top of the dogs with egg wash (egg wash will allow the dogs to have a nice shiny texture and it acts a glue for the everything bagel seasoning). 

Top the dogs with your everything bagel seasoning and flakey sea salt (I like to use Maldon sea salt). 

Bake your dogs according to the instructions on the puff pastry packet. Serve them with your choice of condiment and enjoy!

KIWI-LIME SORBET

 I bought an ice cream/sorbet maker back in September and tucked it away in the back of my cabinet for the summer. Now that the weather is FINALLY nice enough (and I had a ton of kiwis, I mean a ton, leftover from a shoot) I decided to bring out the ice cream machine and given it a try.

I bought an ice cream/sorbet maker back in September and tucked it away in the back of my cabinet for the summer. Now that the weather is FINALLY nice enough (and I had a ton of kiwis, I mean a ton, leftover from a shoot) I decided to bring out the ice cream machine and given it a try.

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makes 2 quarts

ingredients:

  •  15 very ripe kiwis
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • juice of 2 limes

steps:

Slice the kiwis in half. Using a spoon, carve out the meat of the kiwi, throwing away the hairy exterior. 

Place kiwis in a food processor or blender and pulse a couple of times until the kiwis turn into a smooth puree. Be careful not to process too much, you don't want to pulverize the seeds. 

Pour in your sugar and lime juice. Pulse a few more times. Let your ice cream chill in the freezer for at least two hours and up to overnight. 

Following the instructions according to your manufacturer, turn on your ice cream machine, add the puree, and let it spin for 25 minutes. Place in a container and freeze for several more hours until the sorbet reaches your desired consistency. 

Scoop and enjoy on it's own, with champagne, or with a creamy panna cotta or tangy yogurt. 

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BLUEBERRY MERINGUES WITH POPPYSEEDS AND DARK CHOCOLATE

I've been making a lot of fresh pasta lately and the pasta dough I have been making has been an egg yolk dough. As a result, I have a shit ton of egg whites chilling an a quart container in my fridge. I am going to be making an egg white cupcake-cake (you know the ones where you lay out a bunch of cupcakes and frost it into a design) later this week for a birthday party, so stay tuned for that, but in the meantime I decided to make some simple meringues. 

I am not a huge fan of plain meringues, they are a little too sugary for me, so I decided to balance them with a homemade tangy blueberry compote and some bitter dark chocolate. The poppy seeds add a nice toasted finish too. 

Blueberry and Poppyseed Meringues with Dark Chocolate

makes 10 meringues

for the meringue:

  • 3 (90 grams) large egg whites, at room temp (this is very important)
  • 1/4 t cream of tartar
  • 1/8 t kosher salt
  • 2 T powdered sugar (confectioners sugar)
  •  3/4 cup (150 grams) plus 1 T granulated sugar
  • 1/2 t vanilla extract
  • 2 T poppyseeds
  • 1/2 c chopped dark chocolate

for the blueberry compote:

  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • juice and zest of 1/2 lemon

steps:

* Keep the egg whites at room temp because it is what will allow the eggs to get the volume that you are looking for with your big fluffy meringues. You want to take your egg white out of the fridge 1 hour before you make your meringues. 

Preheat your oven to 250°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 

In a small saucepan over a medium/high heat, combine your blueberries, sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest. Let the mixture cook down, once it has reduced by half you know your compote is ready, be careful, the mixture is hot. You can either leave the blueberries whole or muddle them in the pan for a more compote-like texture. Set aside to cool. 

Use a stand mixer with the whisk attachment (this is easiest unless you're trying to get a big arm workout in) that is VERY clean. If there is any water or residue of any kind, your meringues might not turn out and that would suck. When you know that your bowl is thoroughly clean, add the egg whites, salt, and cream of tartar. Whip on high for 3 mins until soft peaks form. 

While the whites are being whipped, sift together 2 T powdered sugar and 1 T granulated sugar, discarding the big bits left in your sieve. Set aside. 

Once the soft peaks form, keep your standing mixer running at a medium-high speed slowly add 1 T of sugar at a time, this whole process should take you five minutes, until all the sugar has been added. Once the sugar is added, continue to whip for 2-3 more mins until you have thick, glossy, stiff peaks. 

Remove from the mixer and fold in 1/3 of your cooled blueberry compote to create a beautiful swirled effect, reserving the rest for later. Using a tablespoon, spoon out dollops of the meringue mixture onto the parchment paper, about 1/2 inch apart from each other. Taking a smaller spoon, create a divot in the middle of each meringue. Fill each divot with a small about of the reserved compote, top with chopped chocolate and poppyseeds. 

Bake in the oven for 1 hour, do not open the oven at any time. Let cool completely before you eat or the compote will fall right through the meringue. Enjoy. 

 

This recipe is based off of Dorie Greenspan's Snowball Meringue recipe with a few slight modifications. 

CHERRY AND SOUR CREAM COFFEE CAKE

As it starts to be less shitty outside, we're able to enjoy some of the great bounties of the season... and I'm primarily talking about fruit. Cherry season is May - August, and I recently got my hands on some juicy cherries. I love a good sour cream coffee cake, so I combined them in this recipe. Hope you enjoy. 

cherry coffee cake

 

makes 1, 9x5 in. loaf pan

for the crumble:

  • 1/2 c AP flour
  • 1/4 c LBS
  • 2 T cold, unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 1/4 t kosher salt
  • 1 1/4 t cinnamon
  • 1/4 t nutmeg
  • 1/4 t clove 
  • 3/4 c pecans, optional

for the cake:

  • 1 1/4 c cake flour (not self-rising)
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 1/4 t baking soda
  • 1/2 t kosher salt
  • 6 T unsalted butter
  • 3/4 c sour cream
  • 1/4 c sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temp
  • 1 t vanilla extract 
  • 1 c pitted cherries

 

steps:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease your 9x5 in. pan

For the crumble, mix together all the ingredients with your fingers until it forms a crumble.

For the cake, paddle together butter and sugar in an electric mixer until blonde (4-5 mins). Add eggs, one at a time, until just incorporated. Add in sour cream and vanilla extract. Mix until just combined. 

In a separate bowl, mix together your dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt). Slowly add to the wet ingredients and mix until it just comes together. Fold in your cherries. 

Pour 1/2 of the cake mixture into the pan, add 1/3 of your crumble, cover with the rest of your mixture. Cover with remaining crumble. 

Bake for 50 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through. 

Let cool for 30 minutes, seriously though, I know it's hard to wait but it will allow the cherries to set and it will taste much better. Enjoy. 

 

recipe inspired by my girl, ina garten.