Monthly Archives: September 2012

Chocolate Bourbon Ice Cream

All the cool kids drink bourbon.  At least in my mind this is true.  I want to be a cool kid, so I’ve been drinking bourbon lately, a lot of bourbon!  Not only have I been drinking a lot of bourbon, but I’ve been baking with it.  The second bourbon recipe in less than a week, I’m doing well!  I’m obviously drinking bourbon as I write this post.

I wanted to make this ice cream months ago after I bought my ice cream maker because I knew new roommate Andrea was a bourbon and chocolate fan.  Well life got busy and now it’s mid-September.  The original recipe called for a cup of liquor, but I suspected that would be too much after my first attempt at Kahlua ice cream not freezing, so I reduced the amount of Bourbon to 1/2 cup.

Right decision!  The ice cream was perfectly rich and creamy and had a super intense chocolate flavor.  You could definitely taste the bourbon but not so much so that it would punch you in the face.  I adore the deep, dark chocolate color and flavor from the almost black cocoa powder!  Chocolate bourbon ice cream is an excellent thing to keep in your freezer.

Print the Recipe!

Chocolate Bourbon Ice Cream
Adapted from Calamity Jennie
Yield – 1 quart

3 cups whole milk
8 egg yolks
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup dark cocoa powder
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup bourbon

  1. Make sure the bowl of your ice cream maker is in the freezer the night before.
  2. Add the milk to a medium saucepan and heat until warm.
  3. While the milk is heating, whisk the egg yolks and powdered sugar together.
  4. Add the hot milk into the eggs by laddlefills, whisking the egg yolks the entire time.  Once most of the milk is incorporated into the eggs and they are warm, add the mixture into the pot on the stove.
  5. Add the cocoa powder and whisk to combine.  Heat and stir the ice cream base until it thickens.  Remove from the heat and whisk in the bourbon and the vanilla.
  6. Pour the mixture through a fine sieve and refrigerate until cold, I refrigerated overnight.
  7. Churn the ice cream base according to the manufacturer’s directions.
  8. Spoon into a container and freeze until firm.
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Pumpkin Bread Muffins

Pumpkin bread was the first baked good I knew I rocked, like really rocked.  My pumpkin bread stands on it’s own as one of the best tasting things I bake and eat.  I love pumpkin bread so much I would marry it, seriously!  I’m glad fall has arrived so I can share my pumpkin bread recipe with you.

Baking pumpkin bread magically triggers the start of fall for me.  It’s so ritualistic to go into the grocery store, buy several cans of pumpkin, and plan the perfect time to make pumpkin bread.  I love waking up early on a Saturday or Sunday morning and baking; letting the apartment fill with the warm of the oven and the magical smells of deliciousness baking.  There are few things better in the world than the smell of warm cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg.

These muffins were made for a perfect ladies weekend to the North Fork of Long Island.  We wine tasted, we outlet shopped, we ate, and we laughed.  And we ate pumpkin muffins in between!

This recipe is as simple as they come – one bowl, no mixer, it takes about 10 minutes of active time.  Sift together the dry onto wax paper, and whisk together the wet.  Lightly combine, you are done.  You are left with moist, flavorful, tender, pumpkin muffins that will fill your heart with joy.  I am only poetic because I love this recipe that much!  It’s my favorite!

Print the recipe!

Pumpkin Bread Muffins
Adapted from The Healthy College Cookbook page 136
Yield – 17 muffins

2 eggs
3/4 sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla
15 ounce pumpkin, just the pureed pumpkin
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cloves
cinnamon-sugar for topping

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 F.
  2. Whisk together the eggs and sugar until well combined.  Whisk in the oil, applesauce, and vanilla until mixed together.  Finally, whisk in the pumpkin.
  3. Sift together the flour, powder, soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves onto wax paper.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir until just combined.
  5. Use a standard size ice cream scoop to evenly divide the batter between lined cupcake pans.
  6. Make cinnamon-sugar by mixing 1/4 cup sugar with a heaping teaspoon of cinnamon.  Sprinkle generously on each muffin.
  7. Bake for 18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted inside comes out clean. Do not overbake!
  8. Let cool on a wire rack until and then shove in your face!

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Chocolate & Bourbon Cupcakes

Two cupcake recipes in a row?!?!  Crazytown!  This is what happens when you have two friends with birthdays on the same day.  I saw the recipe for these bourbon cupcakes ages ago on Pinterest and knew they would be perfect for Nicole’s birthday.  She is one of the coolest ladies I know and loves a good, dark drink like Guinness or whiskey AND she loves pastry cream, like she loves pastry cream a LOT.  Nicole also has one the cutest babies around!

I was interested in this recipe because it has so many steps!  I love cupcakes with fillings, topping, and an excuse to use my mini blow torch.  These cupcakes are no joke but I have an admission to make – I never ate an actual cupcake!

I know!  I don’t know what happened.  I sampled the cake, the pastry cream, and the frosting while I was baking, but I just never got around to trying it all together.  Honestly, it’s awkward for me to eat something I’ve made in front of other people, so I didn’t eat one at Nicole’s party at the new beer garden, and I may have been full from delicious German beer, whoops.  I usually save a cupcake for myself to eat privately at home, but this time I forgot!

These opinions are a collection of my personal opinions based on my sampling of the parts and the opinions of others.  The cupcakes are awesome!  The cake is super rich, chocolately, and moist.  I was worried at first that the cake would be too tender to hold the rich pastry cream, but the cake held it just fine.  Bourbon pastry cream is wonderful – it’s rich and creamy and full of vanilla bean goodness.  The bourbon flavor is present, but not over powering. And now that bourbon is my new favorite thing ever, I appreciate the flavor it brings to the cupcake.  The meringue frosting is light and a great contrast to the rich pastry cream, no heavy buttercreams here!  Any day I get to use my blow torch is a good day!

Print the Recipe!

Chocolate and Bourbon Cupcakes
Adapted from Chasing Delicious
Yield – 24 cupcakes

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate
3 ounces unsweetened cocoa (I used the dark chocolate powder from Sahadi’s)
5 ounces flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
10 ounces sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup buttermilk (or juice of 1/2 lemon with enough whole milk to equal 3/4 cup)

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. Melt the bittersweet chocolate in the microwave.  Use short increments and stir in between.  Let cool.
  3. Sift together the cocoa, flour, soda, and salt onto wax paper.  Set aside.
  4. Beat together the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
  5. Add the eggs in one at a time and beat to fully incorporate.  Beat in the vanilla.  Beat in the cooled, melted chocolate.  Scrape the bowl as needed.
  6. Turn the mixer on low and add in half the dry ingredients.  Add in the buttermilk and then the rest of the dry ingredients.  Mix until just combined.
  7. Use a standard size ice cream scoop to portion the batter among lined cupcake tins.
  8. Bake for 20-22 or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  9. Let cool fully on a wire rack.

Bourbon Pastry Cream

1 1/2 cups whole milk
vanilla bean
2 ounces sugar
1 ounce corn starch
2 eggs
1/4 cup bourbon
1 ounce (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter

  1. Split the vanilla bean in half and scrape out the seeds. Add the seeds and the vanilla bean to the milk in a medium saucepan.  Heat the milk until it reaches scalding.
  2. Whisk together the sugar, corn starch, eggs, and bourbon in a medium bowl.
  3. Add 1/2 cup of the hot milk to the sugar mixture and whisk continually.  Add a little more hot milk while you keep whisking.
  4. Once the eggs are warmed add to the rest of the milk on the stove and heat until the mixture thickens.  Stir the entire time.
  5. Once thicken, add in the butter and stir to combine.
  6. Push the pastry cream through a fine sieve into another bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap, letting the plastic touch the top of the cream. Refrigerate for at least an hour.

Meringue Frosting

6 egg whites
4.5 ounces of corn syrup by weight
9 ounces sugar
6 tablespoons water

  1. Separate the eggs and add the whites to the stand mixer with the whisk attachment.  Leave it alone for a few minutes, you’ll need it soon.
  2. Add the corn syrup, sugar, and water to a small saucepan and stir to combine.  Heat until the syrup reaches 230 F.  Once the syrup reaches this temperature, start whipping the egg whites until they reach a soft peak stage.  Keep heating the syrup until it reaches 240 F.
  3. At this point you need to put on your game face – turn the mixer on medium speed and slowly pour the hot sugar syrup into the mixer trying to not get the syrup on the whisk or the side of the bowl.
  4. Turn the mixer on high and whisk until the bowl becomes cool and fully whipped.  This takes about at least 10 minutes, if not longer.

Assembly

  1. Cut a cone out of each cupcake and cut off the tip of the cone.  Place the cones aside, do not eat them!
  2. Add the bourbon pastry cream to a ziploc bag and squeeze into each void left by the cone.
  3. Replace the cones.
  4. Add the meringue to a pastry bag with a large star tip and pipe on each cupcake.
  5. Using a small blow torch, torch each cupcake to your heart’s content!

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Sour Patch Kid Cupcakes

I have wanted to make these cupcakes for a VERY long time.  The fruit curd was made over a month ago, but I never found the appropriate time or event to create these cupcakes!  I told you Wednesday that the lame post would be worth it for what I had ready to give to today!  I hope these cupcakes are worth the wait.

And by today, I really mean yesterday since I’m obviously not writing posts at 4 am.  It’s surprising how many people ask me how I manage to post so early.  WordPress makes it so easy, I just choose the day and time to post and it does it automatically for me.  Basically, that’s how I pay my bills too, thank goodness for small conveniences, otherwise I’d be a big, hot mess!  When I’m on my A-game, I have a full weeks worth of posts ready to go by Sunday, but this past week I’ve been writing all of my posts the night before.  Am I really that different from my students?

Aaaannnnnndddddd, it’s even more funny when people ask to sample something I’ve just posted.  I’m always like dude, I ate that 2 weeks ago, there is a blogging queue!  This blog may be filled with real life, but there is little real time going on here!  Most treats have been eaten at least 2 weeks before I get around to posting the recipe and pictures.

So let’s talk about these cupcakes, they are a little bit on the side of ridiculousness!  They have numerous steps and are bright neon yellow, orange, and green.  Considering the number of steps, I wanted to make these cupcakes for someone who would appreciate them and that person would have to be another baker, obviously!  Christine is sweet and sassy, so I thought a sweet and sour cupcake would be perfect for her birthday.  Christine and I have taken cake decorating classes together and worked on the Candy Land Cake.  Clearly, this is a lady that appreciates a fine baked good!

The top sprinkles are SOUR!  Beware!  If you like sour things, this is the perfect cupcake for you.  If you’re intimidated by sour, add less citric acid and don’t lick the top.  I’m not the hugest fan of sour, but when you take a bite of the cupcake as a whole, it totally works!  The cake is light and moist and the fruit curd in the middle provides flavor and even more moisture.  The whipped vanilla frosting isn’t overly sweet but still provides a perfect balance to the tart top.  At the end of the day, this is a FUN cupcake!  It’s hard not to be excited by something bright and fruity!

Print the Recipe.

Sour Patch Kids Cupcakes
Adapted from Tie Dye Cupcakes
Inspired by Cookies and Cups
Yield – 16 cupcakes

1 cup sugar
1 3/4 cup cake flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
2 eggs
1/3 cup non-fat Greek yogurt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon vanilla
2/3 cup whole milk
Gel food color paste in neon yellow, orange, & green

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. In the bowl of a mixer add the sugar, flour, powder, soda, and salt, mix slowly with the paddle attachment.
  3. Add the butter and beat for several minutes until the mixture becomes nice and crumbly.
  4. While the mixer is mixing, whisk together the sour cream, oil, eggs, and vanilla.  Pour this in the mixer and combine.
  5. Slowly add the milk in and turn on high for a few seconds.
  6. Divide the batter between 3 small bowls and add a squirt of food coloring to each.  Mix each batter well.
  7. Use a standard size ice cream scoop to portion the batter into lined cupcake pans.
  8. Bake 14-17 minutes until a toothpick in a center cupcake comes out clean.  Cool on cooling rack.

Whipped Vanilla Frosting
Yield – enough to generously decorate the cupcakes + extra

1 1/2 cups whole milk
7 1/2 tablespoons flour
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
neon orange, yellow, and green gel food coloring

  1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, whisk together the milk and flour.  Keep whisking until the mixture becomes smooth and thick resembling pancake batter.
  2. Remove from the heat, stir in the vanilla and allow to cool completely.
  3. Beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy – beat for 8 minutes
  4. Add in the cooled flour/milk mixture and beat until the entire frosting is light and fluffy, about another 5-8 minutes.
  5. Divide the frosting into three bowls and add food coloring to each.  MIx well to combine.

Assembly
1 1/2 tablespoons citric acid, divided (I bought mine from King Arthur’s Flour)
1 1/2 tablespoons each of green, orange, and yellow sprinkles
lemon, orange, and lime curd
Sour Patch Kids

  1. Once the cupcakes are cooled, pipe the curd into each cupcake, matching the appropriate color; lime with green, lemon with yellow, and orange with orange.  I used an injection piping tip and plastic bags.
  2. Pipe a circular blob on each cupcake.  Again, match colors!
  3. Mix 1 1/2 tablespoons of sprinkles with 1/2 tablespoon of citric acid in a cupcake liner.
  4. Smash the top of each cupcake into the sprinkle/acid mix.
  5. Top each cupcake with a sour patch kid.

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Fruit Curd

Let me start by saying I know this is lame post.  Fruit curd?  Who cares?  The reason fruit curd receives its own post is two-fold: one, this is an easy post to write, edit, photograph, and two, it’s a critical step for Friday’s post.  Blogging is a lot more work/time than I anticipated.  The hardest part is not the baking or thinking about what I’m going to make next.  The hardest part is not the photos or the photo editing, I’m actually starting to enjoy and appreciate the process.  The hardest part is not typing the recipes or writing the blurbs to say.  The hardest part is finding the time to complete the six previous steps!  When I started this baby, and this blog is my baby – my friends are starting to have actual human babies, so naturally I had a blog baby – I was coasting at work.  It was my fifth year of teaching the same grade/subject, I was done with grad school, my life had purpose and direction, and I wanted to show off my baking, naturally starting a blog was the next step in my life!

Here’s the problem; I still want to show off my baking but my life has too many directions.  I’m teaching a new grade with two new curriculums with a new classroom and a new principal.  Giving 90% at work isn’t going to cut it this year.  Don’t judge me, I know I’m never going to be teacher of the year.  After only working for two weeks, I’m struggling to find balance between the job I love that pays my bills and the hobby I love that costs me a buttload of money.  What I’m trying to say, rather ineloquently is, I may have to reduce my posts per week to two.  The saddest part of this situation is I’m not cutting back my baking, just the time for writing about it.

Doing this, this blogging thing, has made me incredibly satisfied.  I have improved in my baking and writing skills and learned new skills like food photography and photo editing.  I have gone from being a lurker to someone who is participating in social media.  I have direction and I have purpose.  I have found an engaging and time consuming hobby, I have finally been able to put my passion into the literal world.  It kind of stinks when work gets in the way of life.

So anyway, lets talk about fruit curd.  Why make just lemon curd when you can make lemon, lime, AND orange curd!  I promise you there is a purpose behind the excess of making three different fruit curds.  These curds are all rich and creamy and are flavored with their respective juice/color.  It’s not difficult making three different fruit curds, it’s just time consuming.  You can totally do what you want, but if you’re going to (I was about to type “when you go through and do it,” but only a few of my college chemistry friends would get the inside joke!) go through the effort of making your own fruit curd, you might as well make three different flavors.  Trust me, you’ll see why Friday! And, this can totally be done weeks ahead of time!

Print the Recipe!

Fruit Curd
Adapted from Baking Illustrated, page 394
Yield – 1 cup each

1/3 cup lemon juice (or lime or orange)
2 eggs + 1 yolk
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of salt
yellow, green, orange food coloring if desired

  1. Heat the juice in a small saucepan until hot but not boiling.
  2. Whisk the eggs with the sugar until pale yellow. Slowly add the hot juice into the eggs to temper them.  Add the egg/sugar/juice mixture back to the saucepan.
  3. Cook and stir until the mixture reaches 170 F and is thick enough to cling to the back of a spoon.
  4. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the butter, cream, vanilla, and salt.  Stir until the butter is melted.  Stir in the appropriate color of food coloring at this point.
  5. Pour the mixture through a fine sieve and cover with plastic wrap so that the plastic wrap rests directly on top of the curd.
  6. Refrigerate until cool.
  7. Repeat the process for each different juice.

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Dark Chocolate and Pistachio Cookies

Some days you just need to bake.  Maybe you don’t have those days, but I do.  It’s been over a week since I last baked and it makes me a little sad.  How does my life get so busy that I have don’t have time to do the one thing I enjoy over all other things?  Between setting up & cleaning my new classroom, visiting with a friend over Labor Day weekend, and the start of a new school year, I just have not made the time to bake something wonderful.

After my first full day back I needed the comfort of baking.  I am teaching on a new floor this year and it’s a little strange.  Usually I see the same people everyday and we talk and laugh together, it’s surreal to go a full day of work and not even see these people now.  Cookies are comforting.

Cookies are effortless to throw together.  Cookies are not like cupcakes which have frosting components and filling components and cake components – with cookies you mix, you scoop, and you bake.  That’s it.  You’re done.  That’s my level of baking today, simple, but with complex flavors, obviously complex flavors.

I love the texture the pistachios provided to the cookies – toothsome, yet soft.  The subtle pistachio flavor is magnificent.  And have I mentioned the large disks of dark chocolate throughout the cookie?  Well, they are there!  Break open a cookie and watch the decedent dark chocolate ooze its way out.  This is a recipe for a perfectly tender, chewy, melty, chocolately, interesting, and fantastic chocolate chip cookie.  My only change – more smoked sea salt.  Make sure you’re generous with the sprinkle of sea salt.  You don’t have smoked sea salt?  No worries, using any flaky salt!

Print the Recipe!

Dark Chocolate and Pistachio Cookies
Adapted from Joy the Baker via Smitten Kitchen
Yield – 30 (2 tablespoon cookies)

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 cup shelled pistachios, chopped
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips (Guittard 72% dark chocolate wafers)
smoked sea salt (I bought mine through King Arthur Flour)

  1. Preheat the oven to 300 F and line three baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Cream together the butter, sugar, and brown sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment until pale yellow or about four minutes.  Beat in the egg and vanilla until well combined.  Scrape the bowl as needed.
  3. Whisk together the flour, soda, and Kosher salt.  Add to the wet ingredients and beat until just combined.
  4. Chop your pistachios and add them to the mixer with the chocolate chips.  Mix until everything is combined.
  5. Use a 2 tablespoon scooper to portion dough on a baking sheet.  Sprinkle each cookie generously with sea salt.
  6. Bake for 18 minutes and cool completely on a wire rack.

I love this plate – it says “It’s okay.”  It’ll all be ok!

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Epic Day of Sweets

This day started with vision and a plan.  The day ended with sore feet, full bellies, sweaty skin, and a triumphant sense of accomplishment.  Ten hours, 8 dessert spots, 4 subway lines, 2 ferries, and miles of walking – completely do-able!  I’ve joked about doing a cupcake crawl for awhile now and my friend Lynn’s visit over Labor Day weekend seemed like the perfect excuse.  The spots listed here are a bit biased based on my own past experiences and my desire to try out some new places.  The one thing I realized on this dessert crawl was how many places I missed!  Here is a recount of our journey:

1. Juniors –  386 Flatbush Ave Ext, Brooklyn, NY – Strawberry Cheesecake

We started here because I knew we could get a delicious breakfast that would keep us going the whole day.  Girls cannot survive on sweets alone!  Breakfast started with a basket of mini pastries that were sweet and just the right start.  There was a couple of cinnamon ones, cheese filled danishes, and nut filled danishes.  For dessert we split a slice of the strawberry cheesecake.  Juniors definitely houses my favorite cheesecake in NYC and this sample was no exception!  The cheesecake portion is rich and creamy, the strawberries fresh and sweet, and instead of a traditional graham crust, there is a flaky pastry crust.  If you want the best cheesecake in NYC go to Juniors!

2. Ample Hills Creamery – 623 Vanderbilt Ave, Brooklyn, NY – Salted Crack Caramel, Mexican Hot Chocolate, Sweet Cream & Cookie Ice Creams

You know when you hear something and then you hear about it 10 times in a week?  That was Ample Hills.  My roommate mentioned it, someone at my ice cream making class mentioned, it was everywhere!  I have to admit, although the flavors are very creative and interesting, I was a little disappointed.  I thought the ice creams were a little icy and could be creamier.  However, the flavors were really intense, almost too intense.  The salted crack caramel tasted as though the caramel was burnt and the Mexican hot chocolate was really spicy.  Although spicy, it was addicting and the flavor was well balanced.  Lynn ordered the sweet cream & cookie and thought there were perfect chunks of chocolate but also too watery.  If you’re in Prospect Heights, I would recommend hitting up Ample Hills, it’s good, but not great.

3. Butter Lane Cupcakes (Brooklyn location) – 240 7th Ave, Brooklyn, NY – Chocolate Cupcake with Vanilla Frosting, Vanilla Cake with Salted Caramel Frosting

I have been to Butter Lane multiple times and have even taken their cupcake class.  The frosting at Butter Lane is one of the best American buttercreams I’ve ever eaten!  It is perfectly sweet and flavorful.  The cake is a little dense for my liking.  Bakery cupcakes are not my favorite, but Butter Lane is one of the best I’ve had.  The cakes were both moist and simple.  The salted caramel buttercream is sweet, but outstanding!  You can’t beat salted caramel, it tastes good on everything!

4. Baked – 359 Van Brunt St, Brooklyn, NY – Pistachio Cupcake, Sweet & Salty Cupcake, Brownie

I’m not going to lie here, going into this epic day of eating, Baked was my favorite bakery.  Ending this epic day of eating, Baked is still my favorite bakery!  Lynn said the atmosphere was the best of the day!  I tried their brownie for the first time and it was amazing, or as I wrote on my note sheet – Amazeballs!  The brownie was fudgy, yet not dense.  The textures and flavors you expect from a brownie were all perfectly there.  The sweet and salty cupcake was fabulous – moist, chocolaty, and with delightful salt on top.  This my friends, is the best. cupcake. ever!  The pistachio cupcake was pretty fantastic too.  The cupcake is not overly sweet and the frosting is light and tastes just like roasted pistachios.  Baked is totally worth the trip out to Red Hook.  You can walk, go by car, or take the ferry, just do it, treat yourself!

5. Kumquat Cupcakery at Smorgasburg at the Brooklyn Flea (Sundays only) – Red Velvet Cupcake, Bacon Cupcake, Blueberry Cupcake

Kumquat Cupcakery is a place after my own heart!  They only sell at the Brooklyn Flea and through custom orders.  Places like Kumquat inspire me and show how it is possible to follow your dream without having an actual bakery.  Their cupcakes were awesome!  I, like most folks, love a miniature cupcake! Mini cupcakes are so much easier to eat and they come with so little guilt.  The cupcakes were excellent!  Despite having made bacon cupcakes several times myself, I have never tried someone else’s bacon cupcakes before.  These bacon cupcakes had an intense flavor and the perfect balance of maple, crunch from the bacon, and depth of flavor.  The blueberry cupcake tasted a lot like breakfast and had exceptionally tasty cream cheese frosting.  I most definitely want to try more of these bacon cupcakes!  The red velvet cupcakes were too sweet and subpar.  When in Brooklyn on the weekends, you must hit up the Brooklyn Flea and get yourself some cupcakes!

Lunch – Lynn – Choncho’s TacosFish Tacos

After walking all over Brooklyn and using 2 different ferries, Lynn and I were feeling tired.  Luckily Smorgsburg had some great savory snacks as well as the sweet stuff.  Lynn chose Baja fish tacos and said they had a nice blend of flavors and the lime really brought out the fish.  Just look how good the taco looks!

Tracy – LandhausGrilled BLT

I did not go for the light and healthy option, I went for the BLT!  Baked may have had the best sweet of the day, but Landhaus had the best savory of the day.  This was the BLT to end all BLTs, the tomato was fresh and thickly cut, the bacon was more pork belly that was thick and meaty, the bread toasted and crispy, and there was the perfect amount of mayo to tie it all together.  I want another BLT now.

6. Levain Bakery – 167 W. 74th, New York, NY – Chocolate Chip Cookie with Walnuts

There is only one picture of this cookie – why? We each took a giant bite and then quickly put it on our plastic container to take home.  And yes, we traveled the day with our own plastic containers to take home leftovers!  Levain Bakery has hands down, the best cookie ever.  Somehow they are always warm and freshly baked.  The cookie is moist, crispy on the outside, doughy on the inside, gooey, and complex.    If you’re ever on the UWS and are on your way to Central Park, please stop and get yourself a cookie!

7. Baked by Melissa (UWS location) – 2325 Broadway, New York, NY – Various Mini Cupcakes

I’ve had Baked by Melissa a couple of times and they are fun and cute.  Perfect for a little gift or for when you just don’t know what to bring to a party.  Here is a quick list of all the cupcakes we tried, all 6 of the them!  Chocolate peanut butter – nice and peanut buttery.  Cinnamon – BAD!  Too sweet and way too much cinnamon.  Tye die – tasted like a box mix, too sweet.  Mint chocolate – the best cupcake there, moist chocolate cake, rich, minty, and delicious!  Cookie dough – very rich, toothsome.  Double cookie – has an angel food cake base, cookies and cream frosting, and a piece of cookie dough on top, good, but very sweet.

8. Il Laboratorio del Gelato – 188 Ludlow St, New York, NY – Lime, Rosemary, Banana Chocolate Chip, and Fresh Black Mission Fig Gelato

The instructor at my ice cream making class raved about this place so I wanted to include it in the epic day of eating.  The gelato here is no joke – it’s fantastic!  Despite the poor atmosphere according to Lynn, it’s the best gelato she has ever had!  After a day of eating sweets, it was great to have a rich, silky treat that was flavorful but not overly sweet.  The lime tasted like lime zest and the rosemary was surprisingly excellent.  Both had the flavor you would expect, but just more so.  The banana chocolate chip and the fresh mission fig were fresh and delightful.  I really enjoyed the taste and trying something different.  As an unknown bonus, Il Laboratorio del Gelato is right next to Katz’s Deli, so you can totally have what she is having!

All opinions are my own and Lynn’s.  If you have a differing opinion, please comment below and share your thoughts!  That’s it, we’re full!

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