That’s all I have to say after this Valentine’s Day.
You know when you plan to visit your Italians and surprise them with donuts, but instead you spend all day in the ER with your BFF because her eyeball is exploding, and then you sit in traffic for hours because Toronto has a congestion problem, and then when you finally arrive in suburbia you find out that one of your Italians took a sick day so you don’t even get to see him, and then a douchebag who used to like you, but doesn’t like you anymore, ignores you completely (cue Gotye soundtrack) and makes you sad when you’re supposed to be a strong independent woman like the Good Wife, and then you go to a bar (and by this time you’re starving) only to find out—Surprise! Happy Valentines Day! They’re only offering a $50 prix fix menu that you can’t pay for because you’re on a money diet, so, instead, you just sit under a cold draft drinking an overpriced warm draft feeling completely miserable?
Thank god for tequila.
So, that’s the backstory to these adorable little pastries.
But let me rewind a little.
So, Elyse had the fantastic idea that we take a day off, bake treats and go visit our Italians. Turns out Valentine’s Day was the perfect day, not only because I love my Two Dads the most, but because Macaroni Rascale’s love life is… how do I put this gently… in shambles? So showering him with love on the most romantic of days seemed like the right thing to do.
Plus, hugs from Bossman make us squee like schoolgirls. You haven’t been hugged until you’ve been hugged by a giant Italian man.
The night before, we gathered all our ingredients to make mini donuts. It was a long night, and there was a point when we suffered from a very serious hangry episode, but in the end we drank wine, ate greek food, chilled in my new condo and used my new stand mixer.
But those mini donuts we planned to make? They puffed up too much and formed a little hat like a cupcake. So… we renamed them Cupnuts. We made two types: one with a Nutella glaze and one with a vanilla glaze. Then we decorated the shit out of them.
We’re seriously thinking about signing up for Toronto Underground Market with these babies, because Toronto hipsters love when two things become one thing.
Especially when that thing has a cute name.
And especially when that name sounds kinda perverted.
Overall, Valentine’s Day wasn’t that bad. I spent it with the one I love the most: Elyse. And we ended up eating sausage and drinking beer and everything was fine.
I mean, there were long Freudian discussion about why I’m only interested in unattainable men who will dispose of me… and Elyse’s eye is still exploding…
Well, I guess healing takes time. Until then, how about a Cupnut?
CUPNUTS WITH NUTELLA OR VANILLA GLAZE
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour 1/2 cup sugar 1 1/4 tsp baking powder 3/4 tsp salt 1/2 cup buttermilk 1/2 tsp vanilla 1 large egg, lightly beaten 1 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
For the Nutella glaze:
1/2 cup Nutella, at room temperature 1/3 cup heavy cream
For the Vanilla glaze:
1 cup confectioners sugar
1 1/2 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
Assorted sprinkles, chopped nuts, coconut, chocolate, whatever your heart desires.
Preheat the oven to 425°F and grease the mini-donut pan.
In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Whisk in the buttermilk, vanilla, eggs and melted butter just until combined.
Fill each pan cavity approximately 1/3 full (or completely full for Cupnuts). Tap the pan on the counter to release any air bubbles and level out the batter.
Bake the donuts for 4 to 6 minutes, or until the tops of the donuts spring back when touched. Let the donuts cool in the pan for 5 minutes then transfer them to a cooling wrack to cool completely while you make the glazes.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the Nutella and heavy cream until combined. If the glaze is too thick, whisk in an additional 1 to 2 tablespoons heavy cream.
In another medium bowl, whisk together the confectioner’s sugar, milk and vanilla until combined. If the glaze is too thick, whisk in an additional milk. Use immediately, as it will start to harden.
Dip the tops of the donuts into the glaze, shake off any excess and immediately sprinkle with decorations.
Let’s take a moment to be thankful. Thankful that we live in an age where all our information lives in a magical little cloud, so that when douchebags steal our phones, we can get all our important stuff back.
Like pictures these delicious toffee bars!
The other night I went to the bar with work folks to celebrate my new gig (because the best way to celebrate anything is by drinking too much beer and crossing too many boundaries) and at some point during the evening some douchebag stole my phone.
This was extremely stressful. Without my phone, how am I supposed to know what time it is? Or the weather? I can’t listen to music. I can’t take obnoxious pictures. I can’t find my way out the city. I can’t calculate tips. I can’t track my period.
You know, I thought I was a pretty self sufficient human being and, overall, a moderately impressive adult, but boy was I wrong. I’m completely useless.
I have a feeling the culprit was this random dude who shimmed over to dance with me. Which upsets me because I bet he was thinking: Bitches be sooo desperate and dumb. This girl thinks I’m soooo into her, but I’m just rubbing my crotch on her ass to distract her while I steal her phone.”
When in reality I was just dancing with him to be polite! In fact, I was trying to get the attention of a big headed man at the bar, and this bro was totally getting in the way.
… I’ve made this whole scenario up in my head.
Whatever. Now I have an iPhone 5 that will take better pictures of all my baked things.
So lets talk about baked things.
These are Toffee Bars. They’re basically a bigger, better, more buttery Skor bar. It’s a pretty simple recipe: A layer of shortbread, followed by an indulgent smear of dark chocolate, and topped with a torrent of toffee bits. It’s heaven in under thirty minutes.
I made these for the company barbecue and they were a hit. The barbecue was also a hit, considering I was drunk on wine by 6:30pm and had a tummy ache worse than a ten year on Halloween.
Toffee Bars 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar 3/4 tsp pure vanilla extract 1 cup all purpose flour 1/4 teaspoon salt
Toffee Topping 1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips 1/2 cup toffee bits
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and place oven rack in the centre of the oven. Line the bottom and sides of an 8 inch square baking pan with aluminum foil.
In a bowl whisk the flour with the salt.
In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (2-3 minutes). Beat in the vanilla extract. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and then add the flour mixture, mixing only until incorporated.
Spread the shortbread evenly on the bottom of the prepared pan and bake for about 20 minutes or until the shortbread is golden brown.
Remove from oven and immediately scatter the chocolate chips over the hot shortbread. Return the shortbread to the oven for a minute or just until the chocolate softens. Remove from oven and, with an offset spatula or back of a spoon, evenly spread the chocolate. Sprinkle the toffee bits. Place the pan on a wire rack to cool completely.
Once the chocolate has set, lift the shortbread from the pan using the edges of the foil. Place on a cutting board and, with a sharp knife, cut into 16 squares.
Store in an airtight container. These will keep for a couple of weeks at room temperature or in the refrigerator. They can also be frozen.
I offhandedly made this statement the other day and it created quite the uproar. “Not all of us!” one said. “Not true!” said another.
Oh really? Well, let’s look at the evidence:
1. Men want to take you out for food and drinks to romance you. 2. Men want to bring you high caloric presents to charm you. 3. Men upset you with their penis-induced insensitivities, which cause you to eat all your feelings.
That’s three strikes, gentlemen.
The first two I call the boyfriend-fifteen. The third? That’s where the real trouble starts. Break up with your boyfriend? Pizza and cookies. Significant other gets shipped off to Bumfuck, Ontario? Nutella and Doritos. First love pretends you don’t exist? Peanut butter jar and spoon.
And let’s not forget all the alcohol required to wash down your shame.
No more boys. I’m married to the job, I’ve got James Deen on the side, and I’m training for Tough Mudder.
Now, onto a hypocritical note, look at these delicious cookies that Elyse and I made for completely non-boy related reasons!
Over the long weekend, Elyse and I decided to wear maxi dresses, drink smoothies, and go shopping. Even though all the stores were closed that day, we still managed to buy sunglasses and clothes. We walked all around Lakeshore and down Queen West. We ate street meat and saw a crazy man get hit by a motorcycle. We drank beer and got caught in a thunderstorm. It was a lovely Toronto day.
Of course, we also baked these cookies, because why not?
If you’re having boy trouble, these should do the trick.
If you’re not having boy trouble, you should probably still bake these chewy chocolatey creations.
And, fine. I’ll admit that my vag-induced crazy likes to blame men for my problems. I know it’s not (completely) true. I learn time and time again that I’m the only one responsible for what I put in my mouth hole.
The Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie
2 cups minus 2 tablespoons cake flour 1 2/3 cups bread flour 1 1/4 tsp baking soda 1 1/2 tsp baking powder 1 1/2 tsp coarse salt 1 1/4 cups unsalted butter 1 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar 1 cup plus 2 tbsp granulated white sugar 2 large eggs 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 20 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips extra chocolate chips sea salt (optional)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium sized bowl whisk together your flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl beat butter and sugars together until light a fluffy, about 8 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating until fully incorporated. Add vanilla.
Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix until just combined. Mix in your chocolate chips.
Roll into balls and place onto your prepared baking sheet. Pressing down slightly. Sprinkle each cookie with sea salt. Bake for 12-15 minutes.
I also need to invest in some sunscreen, because there are way too many strange burns on my body right now. How am I supposed to get a man in this condition?
"Why do you have a giant scab on your thigh? Why is the skin peeling off your chest? What’s that weird mark on your hip? Why do you have a scar on your boobie?" **
…That last one was a total freak accident with my popcorn maker and not my fault.
Anyway, I’m falling apart and should probably take a first aid course. But enough about my disfigurements. Let’s talk about pie.
The other day was Abrubipityboo’s birthday! And not just any birthday. It was his 40th birthday.
He doesn’t seem like the type to have “age issues,” but he started asking me a lot of weird questions. Like, “If I hit on you in a bar, would you laugh in my face?” and “Would you have sex with a 40 year old?”
I told him I’d totally have sex with a 40 year old, but I wouldn’t call him back the next day.
That seemed to make him happy.
Abrubipityboo is all about decadent desserts, so for his birthday pie I knew I’d have to bake a chocolate wonderment.
This recipe is incredibly elegant, as it’s pretty much only made from cream, sugar, butter, and chocolate. Simplicity is luxurious. The deep-dish crust is reminiscent of shortbread and it’s smeared with a thin layer of salted caramel that will ooze out when you slice into the cake. The main attraction is a thick layer of rich chocolate ganache, which is topped with waves of subtly sweetened whipped cream.
Now. If you’re a lazy person, you could totally make this pie in five minutes by buying a pre-made pie crust, caramel sauce in a squeeze bottle, instant chocolate pudding mix, and whipped cream in a tub and then assemble it all together!
But that’s vulgar. Don’t do that. Follow this recipe and be classy instead.
**And I was just kidding, men don’t care about that shit.
Cream, Chocolate, and Salted Caramel Tart
Crust 2 ¼ cups all purpose flour (2 and 1/4 cups) ½ cup powdered almonds ⅔ cup butter, cold, cut into cubes ⅜ cup sugar (3/8 cup) 1 egg 1 pinch of salt ¼ tsp vanilla extract
Salted Caramel Sauce ⅜ cup sugar ¼ cup heavy cream 1 teaspoon butter pinch of sea salt
Chocolate Cream 2 cups heavy cream 12 oz dark chocolate
Whipped Cream 1 cup heavy cream, very cold 2 tablespoons sugar
Prepare the crust. Combine all the ingredients in a food processor to a dough. Wrap the dough and chill for 30 minutes. Roll out the pastry and line a deep 24-26 cm tart tin with it; patch any holes if crumbly. Cover and chill for at least 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375 ºF. Prick the tart shell all over with a fork and bake about 25 minutes.
Transfer to a rack and let cool.
Prepare the caramel sauce. Place sugar a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Look for the caramel to turn a rich amber colour, then remove pan from heat and whisk in butter and cream (the mixture will bubble up, so be careful!). Pour caramel into cooled tart shell and let cool slightly; refrigerate 1 hour.
Prepare the chocolate cream. Chop the chocolate. Bring heavy cream to boil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Put chocolate into a medium bowl and pour in the hot cream. Let sit for a few minutes, then stir until smooth. Pour ganache evenly over tart and refrigerate 24 hours .
Before serving, prepare the whipped cream. In a bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the cream with the sugar until firm. Pipe the whipped cream on top of the pie.
Dust with unsweetened cocoa powder or chocolate shavings!
And when things get tough. This is what you should do. Make good art.
Or in my case, make good pie.
Pie is nurturing. From rolling out the crust, to the buttery aroma, to the end result of golden brown perfection.
So when you’re an emotional train wreck, make pie.
With Comrade recently out of the picture I was walking around work looking like I stumbled out of a mental institution. A conversation with Macaroni Rascal went like this:
"Yo, what’s wrong with you?" "Nothing… I look pretty…" "No, man, you look fucking miserable."
Oh, okay. THANKS.
To make matters worse, it’s Pam’s last day. Now who’s going to advise me on what shoes to wear? Or what restaurants to eat at? Or how to dress like a House Head?
Anyway, her departure is the the real reason I made this pie.
So, when you think about it, this is probably the saddest pie ever made. Conceived in sadness. Devoured in sadness. But goddamn, it was delicious. I combined a classic crumble with ground almonds and peanuts to give it a nutty kick and sprinkled it with slivered almonds for an addicting crunch.
Apple Filling 8-10 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, sliced 1/4 inch thick 2/3 cup sugar 2 tablespoons all purpose flour 1 tsp ground cinnamon 2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
Almond Peanut Crumble 2/3 cup all purpose flour 1/4 cup chilled unsalted butter, chopped 1/4 cup brown sugar 1/3 cup roasted whole almonds 1/3 cup unsalted roasted peanuts, plus extra 2 tbs chopped 1/3 cup flaked almonds
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Combine apples, sugar, flour, cinnamon, and melted butter in a bowl. Fill your chilled pie shell with the mixture, mounding in the middle.
Cover pie completely with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the crumble. Combine flour, butter, and brown sugar until it resembles course cornmeal. Pulse roasted almonds and peanuts in a food processor and add to crumble.
Take your pie our of the oven and remove foil. Cover with crumble. Sprinkle with slivered almonds and chopped peanuts. Reduce heat to 375 degrees and bake for 40 minutes more.
Lovin’ Oven Experiments: The Perfect Single-Serving Oatmeal Cookie
So I spent the afternoon trying to create the perfect, healthy-ish single-serving oatmeal cookie. Why? Because that’s what I like to do for fun. Baking, mocking Comrade, insulting Italians, Instagram… these are my hobbies. I’m a very cultured person.
So. Sometimes you want a cookie. Sometimes you need a cookie. And you don’t want a store bought cookie because that shit is bush-league. The best cookie is a homemade cookie. And you know what? You deserve a homemade cookie.
But… you’re a young twenty-something gal living alone in the city and you can’t make a batch of cookies because you have no will power so you’ll eat all the fucking cookies and then your jeans won’t fit comfortably and you’ll be cranky.
So in the name of portion control, I set out to make the perfect single-serving oatmeal cookie, the most classic and delicious of cookies.
Now I don’t usually bake healthy things because I think it’s stupid. It’s usually not worth the effort or worth putting in your mouth. If you’re going to put something in your mouth make sure it’s worth it. That’s advice for the kitchen and the bedroom, boys and girls.
Anyway, I decided to try to make the cookie healthy-ish. The “ish” lets you eat an awesome cookie and not feel gross about it. Did I accomplish this task?
All of these cookies were disgusting.
Don’t put any of them in your mouth.
I like to think of myself as a pretty good baker. And when I say “baker” I mean recipe follower. I can follow the shit out of recipes. But that’s not enough. I want more. I want to create my very own dessert delights. I’ve just started experimenting, and you know what? It’s not turning out so well. I kinda suck.
Here is the tragic tale of seven crappy cookies:
Perfect Single-Serving Oatmeal Cookie ROUND ONE
For round one I used the same base ingredients for every cookie and then tried different fats and sweeteners to find a combination that would give me the best flavour and texture. Those ingredients were: Oats, buckwheat flour, baking soda, flax seed, vanilla extract, cinnamon, salt. In fairness, I think the downfall of all these cookies was the buckwheat flour. Fuck you buckwheat.
Cookie I - “Classic Oatmeal”
Ingredients 1 tbsp quick oats 2 tsp buckwheat flour ¼ tsp baking soda ½ tsp flax seed 2 tsp vegetable oil 1 tsp brown sugar ¼ tsp vanilla extract, dash of cinnamon pinch of salt.
Verdict? Crumbly, flake, delicate, falls apart, granola-esque, good overall taste, but followed by a weird aftertaste (buckwheat?).
Wouldja put it in your mouth? Maybe, if I was drunk and desperate. We’ve all been there.
Cookie II - “Honey Oatmeal”
Ingredients 1 tbsp quick oats 2 tsp buckwheat flour ¼ tsp baking soda ½ tsp flax seed 1 ½ honey ¼ tsp vanilla extract, dash of cinnamon pinch of salt.
Verdict? Very chewy, hard, burnt, looks unappealing, taste okay, honey manages to cancel out buckwheat aftertaste
Wouldja put it in your mouth? I’ve put worse things in my mouth. Ba-doom-tssh!
Cookie III - “Chocolate Maple Oatmeal”
Ingredients 1 tbsp quick oats 2 tsp buckwheat flour ¼ tsp baking soda ½ tsp flax seed 1 tsp whey protein 1 tsp maple syrup ¼ tsp vanilla extract, dash of cinnamon pinch of salt.
Verdict? Disgusting, chocolate flavour is bitter and taste artificial, not sweet enough, no maple flavour, Styrofoam texture
Wouldja put it in your mouth? Oh hells no.
Cookie IV - “Honey Banana”
Ingredients 1 tbsp quick oats 2 tsp buckwheat flour ¼ tsp baking soda ½ tsp flax seed ⅛ frozen banana ½ tsp honey ¼ tsp vanilla extract, dash of cinnamon pinch of salt.
Verdict? Horrible, texture is soft, delicate, and spongey, not sweet enough, and leaves a horrible after taste
Wouldja put it in your mouth? We are never ever getting back together.
Cookie V - “Chocolate Peanut Butter”
Ingredients 1 tbsp quick oats 2 tsp buckwheat flour ¼ tsp baking soda ½ tsp flax seed 1 tsp chocolate whey protein 1 tsp peanut butter ½ tsp honey ¼ tsp vanilla extract, dash of cinnamon pinch of salt.
Verdict? Good taste, peanut butter win, chocolate is subtle, texture satisfactory, crumbly, but soft instead, protein still gives a slight Styrofoam texture
Wouldja put it in your mouth? Uh, hello, it has peanut butter in it.
Cookie VI - “Classic Oatmeal 2”
Ingredients 1 tbsp quick oats 2 tsp buckwheat flour ¼ tsp baking soda ½ tsp flax seed 1 tsp melted butter 1 tsp brown sugar ¼ tsp vanilla extract, dash of cinnamon pinch of salt.
Verdict? Unbearable. No sweetness, bitter, I can’t even remember the texture because I was too overwhelm by the horrible taste.
Wouldja put it in your mouth? If someone makes you these cookies, it’s probably because they hate you.
Cookie VII - “Banana Oatmeal”
Ingredients 1 tbsp quick oats 2 tsp buckwheat flour ¼ tsp baking soda ½ tsp flax seed ⅛ frozen banana, mashed ½ vegetable oil ¼ tsp vanilla extract, dash of cinnamon pinch of salt.
Verdict? I spat this cookie out. I can’t remember the last time I spat something out. Mushy, bitter, yuck.
Wouldja put it in your mouth? Give these cookies to Hitler in hell.
Perfect Single-Serving Oatmeal Cookie ROUND ONE RESULTS
Results? Garbage. (Literally, I threw them in the garbage.)
Learnings 1. Don’t use buckwheat flour. Ever. 2. Honey caramelizes the cookie, too much and it will harden and burn. 3. Peanut butter is good. Always good. 4. Banana will give you a a very soft, mushy, cookie. 5. Oil will give you a very crumbly, crystallized cookie. 6. Protein power creates a Styrofoam texture. 7. Banana (1/8th) is not enough to sweeten the cookie alone. 8. Maple syrup (1 tsp) is not enough to sweeten the cookie. 9. Don’t bother with butter. 10. Don’t leave your oven mitt on the oven element when it’s on.
Next round we’ll omit: buckwheat flour, flax seed.
Next round we’ll play with: yogurt, apple sauce, almond milk, dried egg whites.
We are going to make the perfect oatmeal cookie, goddammit. Until then, this bachelorette is sticking with peanut butter and a spoon.
When I first met Comrade he told me that he “Didn’t like sweets.”
1. That’s not a thing. 2. I’m a pretty open minded girl, but I gotta draw the line somewhere. (I have a baking blog for God’s sakes! I have pastry flour on all my clothes. I spend my money on unsalted butter over toilet paper. I’d rather get an offset spatula for my birthday than jewellery!) 3. Challenge accepted. (What can I say? I liked his face).
Was this foreshadowing some kind of incompatibility? Nope. Turns out we’re quite the dynamic duo in the kitchen. Comrade is an inspiring chef. Let him loose in the grocery store and he’ll put together flavour combos for a meal that will blow your mind. Then I’ll serve a sugar-butter delight for a one-two punch that will leave you in food coma for days. That’s my definition of a power couple.
You’d think having two people in a tiny mid-town kitchen with no counter space would result in someone getting stabbed with a fork. This is easily avoidable if you: clean as you go, drink wine, play catchy tunes, and grab a handful of ass whenever you can.
We were making dinner for his sister, her husband, and their two adorable babies, whose little angelic faces had a tendency of blooming up at me and melting my heart. (I made these yogurt banana pops for the babies. Babies fucking love sprinkles.) It was my first time meeting his sister. I don’t know if she liked me. But she liked my cheesecake and that’s close enough.
And by the way, my pie totally won over Comrade.
…Or… maybe Comrade won over my pie?
Either way, make this cheesecake and you can win over your friends and family at your next shindig.
MINI CHEESECAKE WITH RASPBERRY SAUCE
Graham Cracker Crust 1 cup graham cracker crumbs or crushed digestive biscuits 1 tablespoon granulated white sugar 55-65 grams butter, melted
Cheesecake Filling 2 - 8 ounce packages of full fat cream cheese, room temperature 2/3 cup ) granulated white sugar 1/8 teaspoon salt 2 large eggs, room temperature 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 1/2 cup plain yogurt, room temperature
Raspberry Sauce 1/4 cup of water 6oz raspberries 2 tsp brown sugar
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C) and place oven rack in the centre of the oven. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.
In a small bowl combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and melted butter. Press a heaping tablespoon of crumbs onto the bottoms of the 12 muffin cups. Cover and refrigerate while you make the filling.
In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the cream cheese on low speed until creamy and smooth. Add the sugar and salt and beat until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until incorporated. Add the vanilla extract, and yogurt and beat until incorporated. Remove the crusts from the refrigerator and evenly divide the filling among the 12 muffin cups.
Bake for about 18 - 22 minutes or until firm but the centres of the cheesecakes still wobble a little. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack. Let cool and then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a few hours or even overnight.
To make raspberry sauce add raspberries, water, and sugar to a small sauce pan over medium-high heat, reserving a few raspberries for garnish. Bring to a boil and then simmer for ten minutes or until it starts to thicken. Place in refrigerator to cool completely.
To serve, gently peel off the paper liners and place on your serving plate. Serve with raspberry sauce and fresh berries. These cheesecakes can be covered and stored in the refrigerator for several days.
Doesn’t that sound depressing? Well it wasn’t. Not even a little. It was madly delicious.
For my birthday I wanted all my favourite flavours to come together in a sweet and salty showstopper. That meant pretzels. That meant chocolate. That meant peanut butter. That meant heaven on a cake stand.
I couldn’t even find the cake of my dreams on the internet, so I invented my own, and unveiled the rich and decadent manifestation of pure pleasure at my birthday party.
At first I thought I would invite everyone out to [super awesome hipster bar] to drink an obnoxious amount. But then I thought, “No. I want to throw a dinner party.” Dinner parties are a very important part of white people culture, after all. So I invited everyone over to get obnoxiously drunk in my itty-bitty apartment instead.
I asked my Comrade, “Are you nervous to meet all my friends? All at once? In a really tiny space where there’s no escape?”
He said, “No. I’m excited”
I was surprised, “Really?”
"Do you want me to be nervous?"
"I’m more concerned about what we’re going to put on the menu."
It took ALL day. I learned that Comrade is a really slow chopper. He learned that I will spaz the fuck out if we don’t follow a recipe exactly. In conclusion, turns out that wine and handsome Russian men are really good at curbing my stress levels in the kitchen.
And by the way, he admitted that if the friend situation got hairy, he’d jump off the balcony. We’re only on the fifth floor after all. And he’s a strong man.
PEANUT BUTTER FILLING 8 ounces cream cheese, softened 1 cup chunky peanut butter 1/2 cup sugar 2 tsp pure vanilla extract 1 cup well-chilled heavy cream 3/4 cup salted roasted peanuts, chopped Kosher salt
CHOCOLATE TOPPING 4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped 1/2 cup heavy cream
GARNISH Crushed pretzel and peanuts
Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F) and grease a 20cm springform tin and line the base with baking paper. Place pretzels in a food processor and pulse to a fine crumb. Add sugar and melted butter and pulse to combine. Press mixture into the bottom of the prepared tin, pressing tightly into an even layer. Bake for 10 mins or until just going golden brown on the edges. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.
In a large bowl, using a handheld electric mixer, beat the cream cheese with the peanut butter, sugar and vanilla extract until blended. In another large bowl, using the same beaters, whip the chilled cream until firm. Fold one-third of the whipped cream into the peanut butter mixture to loosen it, then fold in the remaining whipped cream and 1/2 cup of the chopped peanuts. Spoon the filling into the crust, smoothing the surface. Sprinkle lightly with salt and refrigerate until set, about 3 hours.
Place a heat proof bowl over a pot of boiling water, combine the chocolate with the heavy cream stir occasionally until the chocolate is melted and the cream is hot. Remove from heat and allow to cool, stirring occasionally until barely warm.
Spread the chocolate topping over the peanut butter filling and refrigerate until just firm, about 15 minutes. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of chopped peanuts and pretzels around the edge of the pie. Carefully run a thin knife around the pie crust to loosen it, then remove the springform ring. Using a sharp knife, cut the pie into wedges. Run the knife under hot water and dry it between each cut.
Make Ahead The pie can be covered and refrigerated overnight. Garnish with the chopped peanuts before serving. Serve the pie chilled or slightly cooler than room temperature.
If you want to bake an authentic Irish dessert for St. Patty’s day, look no further. These cookies are made with Guinness.
I know what you’re thinking, “Hey, that’s not authentic. That’s a racist stereotype.”
And to that I will say, “So? these cookies are fucking delicious. And racist stereotypes are funny.”
Can’t argue with that.
Just like buying a guy a pint at the pub, these cookies are going to make you a lot of friends. They have three different types of chocolate chips AND beer. That’s a combination that will win anybody over.
Ever since I went to Hip and Urban Girl’s Cookies + Champagne party (which I haven’t written about yet because I’m lazy) I’ve been obsessed with cookies. I just want cookies… all the time.
I also want beer all the time, which makes these cookies such a wonderful invention.
Now, if you’re an Irish girl like me, pouring two tall can of Guinness into a pot and boiling it until it’s reduced to only 1/3 cup of syrup will probably break your heart.
But don’t worry. Getting drunk off the fumes and biting into one of these warm cookies will definitely start the healing process.
TRIPLE CHOCOLATE GUINNESS COOKIES makes about 3 dozen cookies
Guinness Syrup 2 (12-ounce) bottles of Guinness extra stout 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
Triple Chocolate Cookies 2 3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder 1 teaspoon espresso powder 1 teaspoon baking powder 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon kosher salt 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature 3/4 cup granulated sugar 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar 2 extra large eggs 1 extra large egg yolk 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract 2 cups white chocolate chips 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips 1/2 semi-sweet chocolate chips
In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, reduce the Guinness and the brown sugar, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching, until thick and syrupy and measures 1/3 cup, about 30-45 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, espresso powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer, cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs and yolk, one at a time, until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Add the vanilla and mix until combined. With the mixer on low, gradually add the cooled beer syrup, mixing until combined. Gradually add the dry mixture until no flour is visible. Fold in the chocolate chips.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 3 hours, preferably overnight. Well wrapped or stored in an airtight container, dough will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. To freeze, scoop the dough into portions and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Freeze until firm, then place in a freezer safe plastic bag for up to one month.
Preheat the oven to 325° F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Scoop out portions of the cookie dough with a 1/8 measuring cup (2 table spoons) onto the prepared baking sheet spaced 3 inches apart. Bake the cookies until the edges are set, about 15-17 minutes (a minute or two more if frozen). Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 2 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Why? Why would you put something so ridiculous on something so beautiful? I understand leaving something to the imagination or bringing emphasis to a sexual body part, but they’re just so… silly.
Pasties are okay.
So for Valentine’s Day my Comrade took me to a burlesque show at the Gladstone. Beer, chocolate hearts, fake German accents, and a brief glimpse of a ball sack? I couldn’t ask for a more romantic evening.
The performance was done by Skin Tight Outta Sight and it was fantastic. I highly recommend going to one of their shows. So entertaining. So funny. So many nipple tassels!
Afterwards we did tequila shots and danced to swing tunes. I also took Comrade for some Chinese food around 2am.
WHICH HE HAD NEVER DONE BEFORE.
How can that be?
It’s such an important part of the drunken ritual.
He was very curious (entertained? confused? offended?) by how a late night Chinese joint turns into a zoo for women in slut gear after they’ve stumbled out of da clubs in their four-inch stilettos.
Funny enough, we were eating a place called New King Hos.
Anyway, the point is, that for Valentine’s Day I made a Valentine’s Day themed pie! I tried out a new crust recipe from my new book The Pie and Pastry Bible. It’s was a much more time consuming affair than my usual recipe but I was really happy with it.
The pie filling and crust design was inspired by from Martha Stewart’s Pie and Tarts. It’s a striking pear and raspberry combination and it is fucking delicious.
Man Rating: I just ate your pie and orgasmed. Your skills are cockblocking you.
PEAR-RASPBERRY HEART PIE
Flaky Pie Pastry 9 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold 1 1/2 cups + 1 1/2 tablespoons pastry flour or 1 1/2 cups (dip and sweep method) bleached all-purpose flour 1/4 teaspoon salt (for savory recipes, use 1 1/2 times the salt) 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 tablespoons ice water 1 1/2 teaspoons cider vinegar Optional 1/8 teaspoon baking powder (if not using, double the salt)
Pear-Raspberry Filling 1/2 cup granulated sugar 3 tablespoons cornstarch 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon 3 pounds (about 6) ripe Bartlett pears, peeled, core removed, and cut into 1/4-inch slices 6 ounces (1 1/2 cups) raspberries 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces 1 large egg yolk 1 tablespoon water, plus more for brushing Sanding sugar, for sprinkling
Divide the butter into two parts, about two thirds to one third. 3 ounces and 1.5 ounces (or 6 tablespoons and 3 tablespoons)
Cut the butter into 3/4-inch cubes. Wrap each portion of butter with plastic wrap, refrigerate the larger amount and freeze the smaller for at least 30 minutes. Place the flour, salt, and baking powder in a reclosable gallon-size freezer bag and freeze for at least 30 minutes.
Place a medium mixing bowl in the freezer to chill.
Use a pastry cutter or rub the mixture between your fingers to blend the larger portion of the butter into the flour until it resembles coarse meal.
Spoon the mixture, together with the cold butter, into a resealable gallon-size freezer bag. Expel any air from the bag and close it. Use a rolling pin to flatten the butter into flakes. Place the bag in the freezer for at least 10 minutes or until the butter is very firm.
Transfer the mixture to the chilled bowl, scraping the sides of the bag. Set the bag aside. Sprinkle the ice water and vinegar onto the mixture, tossing it lightly with a rubber spatula. Spoon the loose mixture back into the plastic bag.
Holding both ends of the bag opening with your fingers, knead the mixture by alternately pressing it, from the outside of the bag, with knuckles and heels of your hands until the mixture holds together in one piece and feels slightly stretchy when pulled.
Wrap the dough with plastic wrap, flatten it into or discs— in a ratio of two thirds:one third — use about 9.5 ounces for the shell and the rest for the heart top, flattening the smaller part into a rectangle— and refrigerate for at least 45 minutes, preferably overnight.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees with rack on the lowest third.
Whisk together granulated sugar, cornstarch, salt, and cinnamon in a large bowl. Add pears, raspberries, and lemon juice, and toss to coat. Spoon mixture into pie shell, piling high in the centre. Dot with butter.
Tuck overhang under dough so edges are flush with rim. Brush lightly with water. Arrange hearts around edge of pie: Press hearts gently on edge, alternating direction and overlapping slightly. (To help hearts stick, lightly brush each with water as needed.)
Whisk yolk and water in a small bowl. Lightly brush entire pie crust with egg wash, then sprinkle with sanding sugar.
Place pie on a rimmed baking sheet, and bake until crust turns light gold, 20 to 25 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees. Bake, rotating halfway through, until crust is golden brown and juices are bubbling, about 1 hour and 25 minutes.
DOUBLE CHOCOLATE ESPRESSO POUND CAKE CUPCAKES WITH CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
The other night my Comrade came over promising we could could bake cupcakes and get white girl trashed. In my opinion alcohol and baking are the perfect combination. They just go together. Like Bert and Ernie. So, we had vodka and beer for dinner and licked the batter off of spoons while being serenaded by euro trash from my shitty macbook speakers.
I don’t have real speakers, because mine caught fire a few months ago. (Serves me right for listening to 99.9 Virgin radio?)
Comrade wasn’t too shabby in the kitchen either. I put him in charge of the hand mixer, since men love power tools, and he pipped the frosting. Don’t they look wonderful, everybody?
Most cupcakes are airy and fluffy, but this recipe is adapted from the recipe of a pound cake, so they’re very dense and rich with a cookie-like texture. The frosting is made with cream cheese (the king of all frostings), so you know, even before you bite into it, that they’re going to be undeniably delightful. (And they were.) I also picked up some chocolate covered coffee beans and ground them up to dust the tops and help marry the flavours of the frosting with the espresso flavours in the cake. Winning.
Did we pig out on cupcakes? Not even. We only ended up sharing, like, half of one. All that time and work, but we were too full from our liquid dinner. It happens.
I sent him on his marry way with a dozen or so and he told me later that he would have attracted less attention if he was naked on the subway than with cupcakes. Well of course! I’ve mentioned this before, if you’re carrying baked goods you will get checked out twice as much, if not more. It’s a scientific fact. Trust me. I’ve done a lot of field research.
So I guess ya’ll can expect more cupcakes. Because I can’t wait to try a recipe from the book. Especially the peanut butter and jam cupcake! That’s right. The most amazing sandwich in the world has finally transformed into the most amazing dessert in the world. (Does that make it a breakfast food?) Sounds fantastic. Although I should probably post all my Christmas baking first… I’m a slacker.
3 ½ tbsp Dutch-processed cocoa powder 1 tsp instant coffee powder or espresso powder ¼ cup boiling water 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract 3 large eggs 1 ¼ cups all purpose flour ¾ cup + 2 tbsp granulated sugar ¾ tsp baking powder ¼ tsp salt ¾ cup + 1 tbsp (184 gr) unsalted butter, softened 1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Whisk to combine the cocoa powders, coffee powder, and boiling water. Let cool to room temperature.
Once the chocolate mixture is cool, whisk in the vanilla and eggs until combined and set aside.
In the bowl of a mixer, combine the cake flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Mix to combine.
Add the softened butter and half of the chocolate mixture to the flour. Mix on low until the flour is moistened and then increase speed to medium and beat for one minute to aerate.
Add the remaining chocolate mixture to the batter in two additions, beating for twenty seconds after each addition. Finally, mix in the chocolate chips.
Divide the batter amongst the paper cupcake moulds, filling each about 3/4 of the way.
Bake in the preheated oven for about 30-40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack.
CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
½ stick butter, at room temperature ½ tsp vanilla extract 2 ½ cups powdered sugar 8 oz. cream cheese, cold
Beat the butter until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add the vanilla extract and mix until combined. Beat in the powdered sugar.Gradually add small chunks of the cold cream cheese, beating well after each addition.
I stayed up till 3am decorating these little bastards.
I’m not usually a fan of decorating. Pipping, sprinkles, fondant flowers… it’s not for me. Maybe I’m too impatient. Maybe I just suck at it. Either way, it doesn’t matter, because I’m a pie girl. I don’t think there’s anything prettier or more elegant or more romantic than a pie.
Sugar Cookies are different. Sugar cookies I can decorated for hours. Simple and childlike, it’s like baking a colouring book. There’s something really soothing about that.
But back to business. When baking sugar cookies, it’s best to be overprotective. They’re only in the oven for 8-10 minutes, depending on the size, so keep an eye on them and when the edges start to brown, yank ‘em out. Or the bottoms will burn and you’ll be sad.
It’s the last day before the Christmas holidays, it’s not even 10 am, and I’m already sugar high and tipsy on Baileys. God damn, why does everyone at my agency bake so good. And so much. Our production manager baked five different types of shortbread. FIVE. I mean, it would have been rude not to try them all, right? But try explaining that to my thunder thighs.
So every Christmas I go balls out. Last year I exhausted myself (and won a contest!) with peppermint whoopie pies, peanut blossom cookies, mocha white chocolate shortbread, candy cane cookies, sugar cookies, and gingerbread men.
So I held back a little this year. A little. When it comes to Christmas, I like to keep it classic and stick with cookies. No frou frou macarons. No pretentious cakes. No candy bar monstrosities. Just tradition and nostalgia. I put together little packages for my coworkers and each one contained:
I was carrying this pie on the TTC this morning and thought to myself, “Does this pie look delicious or does it look like someone hurled into a pie shell?”
Maybe it’s a pie only a mother could love, but it all ends up the same in the end, right? Besides, it tastes phenomenal.
This is like Pecan Pie for the distinguished gentlemen. Grandpa taste buds only. A classic with a sturdy upgrade. It’s spiked with dark rum and made with crystallized ginger, which is such an unexpected ingredient; chewy like dried fruit, seriously potent, and covered in sugar.
This pie was for the Macaroni Rascal’s 35th birthday, who goes nuts for pecans and sugar goo. But I was almost embarrassed to bring it in because I burnt the crust. (It’s not my fault! My oven is haunted. I can’t wait for the day that I can buy myself a big glorious kitchen.) It was so dry and flaky that Abrubipityboo asked, “Why’d you make your pie with a phyllo pastry?” Ugh, just take away my 50’s style apron, I don’t deserve it. But, in the end, it was a success, because this baby was gone by lunch time.
Also, I’m officially declaring a new meal of the day: Breakfast dessert.
Wake up in the morning, eat your cheerios, drink your coffee, and once the most important meal of the day is out of the way, help yourself to breakfast dessert. That’s how you start the day off right, motherfuckers.
PECAN PIE WITH RUM AND CANDIED GINGER
2 cups pecan halves (7 ounces) All-purpose flour, for dusting 1/2 recipe Pâte Brisée 1 cup lightly packed light brown sugar 1/4 cup light corn syrup 1 tablespoon unsalted butter 1/2 teaspoon salt 3 large eggs 2 tablespoons rum 1/4 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spread the pecans in a pie plate and toast for about 8 minutes, until fragrant. Let cool.
Increase the oven temperature to 400°F. On a floured work surface, roll out the dough to a 13-inch round. Transfer to a 9-inch glass pie dish and gently press it into the pie plate. Trim the overhanging dough to 1/2 inch. Tuck the edge of the dough under itself and crimp decoratively. Line the dough with foil, shiny side down, and prick all over with a fork, piercing the foil and pie dough. Freeze for 15 minutes.
Fill the pie with pie weights or dried beans and bake in the lower third of the oven for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and weights. Return the crust to the oven and bake until lightly browned, about 12 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a heatproof bowl, combine the brown sugar, corn syrup, butter and salt. Set the bowl over a saucepan filled with 1 inch of simmering water and whisk in the eggs 1 at a time. Cook, whisking gently, until the filling is warm to the touch. Remove from the heat and whisk in the rum.
Arrange the pecans in the pie shell and scatter the crystallized ginger on top. Pour the filling over the pecans. Bake for about 25 minutes, until the filling is jiggly but not cracked; cover the edge of the crust with strips of foil halfway through baking to prevent over-browning. Let the pie cool on a wire rack.
Do you have a sweet tooth? Well, you won’t after you eat this cake, because all your teeth are gonna fall out.
This masterpiece is made with two pounds of butter and more than 6 cups of sugar. It’s got rum, it’s got corn syrup, it’s got whipping cream, it’s got diabetes written all over it. And damn, diabetes, you’re delicious.
I don’t have a stand mixer so I made this cake completely by hand, (with the assistance of a sad hand mixer that I thought was going to die on me) and it was exhausting! I don’t recommend it unless you’re a badass. Although… I am developing a sweet baker’s bicep.
Also, I carried this cake around on the TTC for an hour. It’s like 5 pounds! I need a nap, now.
So, I made this cake for Bossman’s 40th birthday. He’s a butterscotch guy. He told me a story once about how his favourite flavour is butterscotch (some tart tried to sell him caramel ice cream instead of butterscotch. No dice, sweetheart. It’s not the same!) and I stored it away in my baker’s brain. You’ve got to know your audience: Dad is cheesecake, Mom is strawberry rhubarb and classic pies, Sarah is lemon, Macaroni Rascal is pecan pie and other corn syrup relatives, Abrubipityboo is chocolate and peanut butter, and of course Polish Prince is pumpkin.
Bossman was so excited when he saw his cake that, when he hugged me, he nearly broke my ribs. And this cake is SO good. I almost skimped out on the pecans, but I’m really glad I didn’t, they add an excellent dimension to the dense cake and super sweet butterscotch buttercream. I highly recommend that you make this sugarbomb showstopper for your next big soiree.
Man Rating: Marry me.
CAKE 1 1/4 cups butter, softened 2 1/2 cups dark brown sugar, packed 2 tablespoons canola oil 4 large eggs 2 tablespoons dark rum 1 tablespoon vanilla extract 4 cups flour 1 teaspoon baking powder 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 1/2 teaspoons salt 1 1/2 cups sour cream 1 1/2 cups finely chopped pecans
Preheat the oven to 325F degrees and grease two 9-inch cake pans with butter and flour.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter with the brown sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
Beat in the oil until well combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition and stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Beat in the rum and the vanilla.
Add the flour mixture to the batter in two additions, alternating with the sour cream. Mix in the chopped pecans until combined.
Divide the cake batter among the pans, filling about 2/3 full. Bake for 40-50 minutes, until it is golden brown and a cake tester inserted emerges clean. Transfer both the cake to a wire rack to cool completely.
BUTTERSCOTCH BUTTERCREAM 1 pound butter, softened 2 cups dark brown sugar, packed 1 cup heavy cream 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 tablespoons dark rum 2-2 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
Melt 8 tablespoons of the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat until it turns deep golden brown and fragrant, about 6 minutes.
Add the brown sugar, cream, and salt, stirring constantly until the sugar dissolves. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly, and cook for 3 minutes longer.
Transfer the mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, and beat it at high speed until the bowl feels cool to the touch, 8-10 minutes.
Beat in the rum.
With the mixer running on medium speed, add the remaining butter, one tablespoon at a time, beating until incorporated. Continue to beat the mixture until it is smooth and creamy. Add enough confectioner’s sugar to the mixture to achieve a thick and spreadable consistency. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
BUTTERSCOTCH SAUCE 3/4 cup dark brown sugar 6 tablespoons butter 1/2 cup light corn syrup 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup heavy cream
Place the brown sugar, butter, corn syrup, and salt in a medium saucepan set over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until the sugar dissolves.
Bring the mixture to a boil and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
Remove the mixture from the heat and mix in the cream. Return the saucepan to the heat and cook for 2 minutes more; let cool to lukewarm.
Once everything is completely cooled, place a layer of frosting on one top of a cake, followed by a thin layer of the butterscotch sauce. Place the other cake layer on top, and spread a thin layer of frosting over the entire cake. Refrigerate for at least one hour (this will help “glue” crumbs down and serve as a nice, smooth canvas for you to apply the “real” frosting later.) Once set, finish frosting the cake. Drizzle with butterscotch sauce and garnish with extra pecans.