Archive for August, 2010

takes a bite, looks at the chocolate inside and says, “well hello”

this recipe was a doozie. mainly because i’m not one to read instructions thoroughly. i much prefer to scan a recipe or whatever it is i’m reading. however, that tends to not be in my best interest especially when it’s a recipe that’s pretty involved.


3 sticks butter, softened at room temperature

4 cups all-purpose flour, approximately

2 tsp salt

2 Tbsp sugar

2 packages dry yeast

1/4 cup warm water

1-1/2 cups milk, warmed to 80°F to 90°F

1/2 cup half-and-half, warmed


2 – 3.5 oz dark chocolate, bars

egg wash

1 egg

1 Tbsp water

– – – – –

1 gallon sized zip-lock bag

1 damp tea cloth

pizza cutter

cookie sheets

13 x 9″ pans

1 glass pan

1 silicone brush/spatula

dough – in a large mixing bowl blend 2 cups of the flour with salt and sugar by hand. in a separate but small bowl, dissolve the two packets of yeast in the 1/4 cup of warm water. this takes about 8 minutes. once dissolved, add the flour along with the warm milk and warm half and half. with a wooden spoon, blend together to form the batter. do this for 2 minutes.

after the two minutes, at a 1/4 cup at a time, add the rest of your flour. stirring well after each 1/4 cup. as you are mixing, the goal is for the dough to be soft but not sticky. (for some reason mine was more on the sticky side. not really sure why) after all the flour has been added, knead for 5 minutes or with a bread hook with your electric mixer. i used my mixer.

cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rest in the refrigerator for one hour. this will allow the bread to rise. about 30 minutes into the resting period, take out the butter to soften.

once your dough is finished chilling, make sure that the dough and the butter are about the same in temperature, 65 degrees. take your butter, cut each bar in half and then cut each half into 5 slicess longways. you will have 30 slices of butter once finished cutting. on a floured workspace, roll your dough out to a rectangle about 12 x 8″. take all 30 slices of butter and lay them out on your rectangle leaving about 1/2″ perimeter of dough exposed. layer slices of butter on top of one another if you’ve already covered the surface of your rectangle. fold your dough as if you were folding a letter, in 3rds. pinch your sides together so that the butter is not exposed. cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 15 minutes. we don’t want the butter and dough to be warm when we start to turn the dough, you always want it chilled.

when your 15 minutes is up place back on your work space and roll out to an 8 x 18″ rectangle. fold into thirds, then roll back out. fold back into thirds. you’ve just turned your dough twice. place back in the fridge for 15 minutes and repeat. do this one last time for a total of 6 turns ending on being folded in 3rds. this is how your dough gets its layered, flaky texture.  after the 6th turn and fold you will need to take a damp tea cloth and wrap your dough loosely and place in a gallon sized zip-lock bag. place in fridge anywhere from 4 hours to overnight. i left mine in the fridge for about 24 hours and the dough was quite large and the zip-lock bag was completely blown up and tightly full of air. i thought it was going to explode :D

once your dough has finished resting, place on the counter for about 15 minutes. on a floured workspace roll your dough out to a 10 x 38″ rectangle so that your dough is about 1/4″ thick. cut down the middle of your dough to make two 5″ wide strips. using a pizza cutter cut triangles that have 5″ bases, cutting the strips horizontally. take these triangles and place them onto cookie sheets and put in the fridge for 15 minutes.

filling – while dough is chilling, take your bar of chocolate and cut the squares into small strips. these small strips need to be a good size so that when you roll your croissants, the chocolate won’t be sticking out the sides. take your triangles of dough out of the fridge, place your chocolate on top and roll into traditional croissant shapes. cover with a 13 x 9″ pan and set to the side for 1 – 2 hours so that your croissants double in size.

egg wash – in a small bowl crack one whole egg and add 1 T water. scramble. after resting, using your silicone brush/spatula, brush egg wash over top of the croissant. this will give your croissants a beautiful finish.

bake – preheat your oven to 425 degrees. fill a glass pan with water, and microwave until boiling. 5 minutes before you place your croissants into the oven, add the glass pan of boiling water to the bottom most rack in your oven. when you’re ready place your croissants in the oven and turn the heat down to 420 degrees. bake for 10 minutes. turn your cookie sheets and bake for 15 more minutes or until golden brown.

this is an extremely involved recipe, but don’t be scared. once you have defeated this monster dough you will be very satisfied and happy you made the effort.

enjoy and have a great weekend,


p.s. as always, don’t hesitate to ask us questions if you need further coaching/explaining.



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battle of the bread

stayed tuned for this friday’s chocolate croissant recipe. it’s a monster, but it’s so buttery and delicious once you slay it.

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there were no words….unless “om nom nom nom nom” counts

i feel like a detox is in order. this blog has been nothing but sweets for far too long. top that with the fact that i ate at 8 different bakeries on monday (see NYC research)…..we must put a stop to all the sugar! back to bread…my first love. a while ago my sis posted about a bagel recipe she came across that i have been wanting to try out for a long time…and she raves it’s delicious and so simple….so, why not?!

bagels have become one of many traditions in my family. when i moved to texas i moved into a saturday morning routine of bagels, coffee and sister time. with the three of us now in different cities, though, this gathering only happens from time to time. waa waa. but perhaps…if i can make the perfect bagel….i can lure them back to dallas….mwaa ha ha. the flaw in the plan being that this recipe came from one of them…hmmm….so she’s capable of making bagels for herself….BUT she also just had a baby…which means less time on her hands to do so….which means the upper hand is mine again! success!…now on to the bagels.

from itsallbananas:
1 Tbsp. active dry yeast
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. canola or olive oil
4-5 cups bread flour, or bread and half whole wheat (all-purpose four will also do instead of bread flour)
2 tsp. salt
Sesame, poppy or caraway seed to sprinkle on top (optional)
1 Tbs. baking soda

in a large bowl, stir yeast and brown sugar into 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water until it dissolves; let it stand for 5 minutes until it gets foamy.

stir in the oil and a cup of flour into the yeast mixture, add the salt and slowly begin adding in flour (i used half whole wheat flour for mine….mix the two flours together before you begin adding to mixer) i use my stand mixer and bread hook for easier clean up….but if you need to get your hands dirty….once you can manage the dough fold out onto a floured surface and continue kneading until you have worked all the flour in that you need. dough should be stiff.

divide the dough into 10 pieces. roll into balls. (if you are adding fruit or chocolate chips or whatever you wish….roll into your dough at this point) set aside and let rest for 20 minutes. use your thumb to make a hole in the middle of the ball and work the hole out so that you have a ring of dough. set aside and cover with plastic or a towel. let them rise for about 20 minutes while you boil a big pot of water (add in baking soda to water) and preheat the oven to 500 F.

when the water comes to a boil gently place a few bagels at a time into the water. boil on one side for 1 minute, then flip them over and boil for another minute. remove them with a slotted spoon and place on a wire rack to drain. once they have all been boiled, place them on a cookie sheet that has been lined with parchment paper and sprayed with nonstick spray.

bake for 5 minutes and then rotate the cookie sheet 180 degrees and flip bagels over. Add toppings at this point, like poppy seeds or cheese. Reduce heat to 450 degrees and continue to bake until bagels are golden.

remove from oven, transfer to cooling rack….toast, butter or add cream cheese and enjoy…..oh, and you will enjoy!….mmm.

for toppings/flavors i went with:
1. chocolate chip
2. blueberry
3. hatch chilies (thanks to central markets annual promotion) topped with asiago cheese
4. cinnamon chip topped with cinnamon sugar mixture
5. plain jane

extra tips:
there are versions of the bagel recipes that involve letting your dough sit overnight….i did this….but anna did not….so she can vouch for it not being necessary if you’re in a pinch. apparently letting the dough sit adds to the flavor…so here are the instructions:

after forming the dough into bagel rings, let rest for 20 minutes at room temperature. next, fill a large bowl with cool to room temperature water and drop in your bagel. if the bagel floats to the top in 10 seconds or less…it is ready to be refrigerated for the night….if not….continue to let it rest at room temperature until it passes the float test. i don’t know about you….but my bagels popped right up to the top. i’m not sure what kind of crazy dense bagels don’t pass the test….but that was just my experience.

after refrigerating, you can move on to the boiling step.

as far as toppings go….once you have your bagels in the oven….the next steps happen pretty quickly. do yourself a favor and have your toppings ready to go…..that means shred your cheese beforehand. for the cinnamon sugar….use two bowls, one with melted butter and one with a cinnamon sugar mixture. once the bagels have cooled after being removed from the oven (but are still warm) dip your bagel in the melted butter and then the cinnamon sugar. if using frozen fruit, like i did, don’t let them thaw…and work quickly. frozen blueberries like to turn into a goopy mess if you don’t act fast enough.

this was such a success. the process isn’t time consuming and all the ingredients are things you would typically have on hand. the coworkers were pleased…it was a bagel frenzy this morning that started at 9 and ended at 9:30…22 bagels diminishing to 3 and a half in a mere 30 minutes (who eats a half anways?! jenny!)…there were high fives, fist bumps and side hugs. i will definitely be making these again.


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“I signed up for a skinny girlfriend”

In the name of research and in the spirit of vacation….darci took me on a tour de NYC bakeries. she mapped out a plan covering the city and out we went. the plan was one treat at each spot…knowing the sugar would take over quickly and our list might diminish a bit as the day grew old.

ben is darci’s number one fan and boyfriend. over the weekend I heard the phrase, “whatever makes you happy” followed by a loving smile and kiss in regards to a necklace at the brooklyn flea, dinner plans, etc. However, the bakery tour idea did not provoke the same support. Instead we acquired the nicknames tubby and lumpy for the rest of the trip (we did, however, upgrade to “little” tubby and “little” lumpy when he found out we couldn’t even eat the last couple cakes) our hope was that all the walking would counter all the calories…..well…..maybe some of the calories…..the rest just get written off to vacation and send us back to the gym……no harm done :)

sugar sweet sunshine
spicy pumpkin: $1.50

i hate the word moist….but it’s the only way to describe a really good cupcake….so putting aside my complex for the sake of an honest post…..this cupcake was delicious. the cake was moist and fluffy. the frosting was cream cheese….super sweet….with crushed walnuts (it seemed) on top.

the decor of this spot is wonderful. estate sale furniture, flowered wallpaper and a top ten list of reasons to eat a cupcake. (not that i would ever need ten reasons) not many of the shops allowed for sitting and relaxing….this one, however, does…..which i appreciate.

butter lane
banana cupcake with cinnamon honey frosting: $3.00

this cake was amazing….so light and fluffy with a perfectly baked top….you know the kind…that has a slight crunch to it. banana flavor was distinct, but it wasn’t so overwhelming that the frosting flavor took a backseat. the frosting…..so delicious…..cinnamon flavored…with a little pool of honey in the middle….yuum. however…it was super rich and sweet….i could have done just fine with half the frosting. it was definitely one that made the jowls cringe a bit….but i almost didn’t even care because it was so so tasty (i can’t say the same for my cavities)

decor was bright and shiny…yellow walls and fresh flowers…adorable and friendly.

momofuku milk bar
grasshopper pie: $5.25

“this is my last bite, otherwise I will die”
oh whoa butter graham crust…this pie was delicious but a lot to handle…..two of us couldn’t even finish one slice….it was dangerously rich. the pie was a brownie mint cream cheese…we believe that marshmallow was added to the top…but that was just our best guess. the filling….perfect…very rich but oh so tasty. the crust….holy butter….it really was a lot for the two of us to handle….and a smidge salty as well….once i realized it was the crust that was overwhelming me…i resorted to scooping out the inside.

spot dessert bar
vanilla yuzu lemon cupcake: $2.75

oh man…im pretty sure this was my favorite…best frosting in the world! the frosting was lemon flavored and it was crazy light, fluffy and tangy….i feel like after a cupcake you usually feel like your teeth are coated with sugar for the rest of the day…but definitely not the case with this little guy. the cake was light, moist and yummy…..all until we came upon a lemon filling….this i was not a fan of. it was SUPER zesty and took over the rest of the flavors….didn’t slow us down though :) just left the filling to the side and devoured the rest of the cake.

this was a sit down and order off a menu spot…..we felt a little bad that we were only ordering one cupcake and two waters…..but what are you gonna do?

s’more cupcake: $2.75 for premium flavors
$1.50 for regular flavors (but why would you)

yum yum yum….this was probably the last cake we could fully eat, as we were hitting our sugar limit. we had already stopped at a fruit stand to grab a banana and help level our sugar levels out a tiny bit….or at least feel like we had consumed something relatively normal. i think what was so amazing about this cupcake was that the marshmallow topping had been toasted and you got that “just off the campfire” taste. there was also a chocolate ganache filling….mmmmm. the cake flavor had little to write home about. we believed they were going for a graham taste….but the other flavors were just too amazing for the cake to make much of an impression.

crumbs bake shop
caramel apple cupcake: $3.75

these cupcakes were huge…and we had definitely maxed out our sweet levels for the day. crumbs seems to be more of a novelty cupcake shop….lots of candy toppings. i’m not so sure all the flair is necessary for a really tasty cupcake….but i’m also never opposed to having another excuse to eat m&ms. we chose the caramel apple cupcake….to go. we did snag a bite each before boxing it back up. once we ended the day and got back home we gave this guy another shot to win us over…and mmmm….time was what we needed to appreciate this one. the cake was a cinnamon apple flavor with the kicker of a little pocket of cinnamon apple bites in the middle. the apples in the middle made the cake nice and ooey gooey. the frosting was buttercream with caramel drizzled over the top….still too sweet for my poor little teeth…but tasty none the less. This cake won darci’s top pick.

you can also sit and eat at crumbs…they have a bar at the front window and tables in the back….be warned that if you stay to eat…..you might end up ordering more by the time you leave

baked by melissa
peanut butter cup: $1.00

it’s a lot of taste for such a tiny cake. it may be that darc and I were past the point of bottoming out…..or maybe we just picked the richest cake on the menu but this tiny bite of cupcake was a little too much to handle. my guess is it was the peanut butter that topped the cake and made an extra appearance as a filling….cause that’s always gonna coat your mouth and throat. but this late in the day…you can’t have a cake like this without a glass of milk to wash it down. the menu consisted of teeny tiny cupcakes with wild flavors including cookie dough, peanut butter and jelly and chocolate chip pancake…if we weren’t so full at this point we probably would have consumed more of a variety at a 3 cupcakes for $3 deal.

vanilla: $2.75

again…this little buddy had to be boxed up and taken home….we didn’t even dare take a bite before leaving. the shop was packed and an NYC hot spot. after letting our tummies settle and giving the take home cakes another shot….i can’t say this one lived up to the hype. (sorry) the frosting was sweet sweet sweet…which is probably what pushed it over the edge for me. the cake was good….it was pretty dense though, not so fluffy…but i still enjoyed it…darci, not so much. after a few bites my belly was already telling me no more.

So there you have it…..lazy bird in the big apple. research has never been so delightful.


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mother knows best

“she should call these ‘yes, yes, yes’.”

i’m so lucky to have my family close by. so close by that my mom stops by my work occasionally to drop off some mail, that after all these years still finds its way to her house, along with the occasional baked good and $ to buy a drink for my husband and myself. she’s so silly and sweet and yes, i work with my husband. but, i digress. let’s be honest, she’s really no stranger to my fellow co-workers because everyone seems to know who she is or at least know that she bakes really well. that’s how close we are! so, this weekend she experimented with cream filled cupcakes and she’s so kind as to let me share with all of you how she did it! too bad L is out of town to enjoy this one.  ;(

1 chocolate cake mix (follow as directed)

1 can chocolate icing

1 can whipped vanilla icing

– – – – – –

24 cupcake liners

1 apple corer

1 pastry decorating bag and large tip

first things first, bake cupcakes as directed on the box then cool. once cool take your apple corer and remove some of the center of the cupcake. fill your pastry bag with the whipped vanilla icing and fill the hole of the cupcake. take your chocolate icing and ice the tops of each cupcake. that’s all it takes. this is simple, delicious and probably cheaper than buying pre-packaged filled cupcakes. however, those are delicious too! :D please enjoy and impress all of your friends with this little cupcake.

happy monday,


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“wow. i was going to eat this after lunch, but i can’t stop.”

i had no idea that cola and chocolate would be such a wonderful pairing. if you love fudge, then you will absolutely love this cupcake and adore the icing. it’s so sweet and delicious, it makes me sleepy just thinking about it. yay for cocoa cola cupcakes!

part 1 – cake

1 cup coca cola or other cola drink
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup powdered cocoa
22 large marshmallows

part 2 – cake

2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs, beaten

part 3 – icing

1/4 cup powdered cocoa
6 tablespoons coca cola or other cola
1/2 cup butter
3 and 3/4 cup powdered sugar (one 1 lb box)
1 cup chopped pecans (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla

preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

let’s get this cake started with part 1. in a large saucepan mix the first part of deliciousness, cola, butter, vegetable oil and powdered cocoa. i set my stove in between low and medium. i’m always afraid i’m going to scorch my chocolate. so just be patient. eventually your butter will melt and once that happens turn up the heat slightly, bringing this mixture to a boil. once it reaches it’s boiling point lower your heat back down somewhere between low and medium and add your 22 marshmallows and cover. as these melt, stir continuously.

in your mixing bowl mix part 2’s ingredients, flour, sugar and baking soda. followed by the buttermilk, eggs and vanilla. mix together well. now add part 1’s mixture to this mixing bowl and mix together well. line your cupcake pan with paper or foil liners and pour your batter into each liner between 1/2 and 3/4’s full. bake for 20 minutes or until a knife inserted comes out clean. once baked set off to the side to cool and begin your icing.

part 3 is the best part of this recipe. in another large saucepan mix together cola, butter and powdered cocoa. same as before, set stove between low and medium until your butter is melted then turn up the heat slightly to bring to a boil. once boils, turn off the stove and set to the side. i then added my powdered sugar one cup at a time, mixing thoroughly each time before adding the next cup and so on. once this is all mixed up set off to the side to cool.

once your cupcakes and icing have cooled, ice them. this batch makes 24 cupcakes and plenty of icing to spread. when it’s all said and done you will have dense fudgey brownies that are sure to make your jowls tingle!  :D

have a great weekend!!!!


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cola isn’t just for drinking. apparently it makes a tasty cake. we’ve had a few requests for cupcakes so we hope you’ll be excited for this unexpected twist.
stay tuned for these cup cakes of the cola variety, coming to your taste buds this friday!

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