Wednesday, January 25, 2012

S'mores-stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies

So my lovely friend Dana came down from New Jersey to visit me in DC and we made these scrumptious S'mores-stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies

Just picture a pile of warm, gooey, chocolatey goodness. They are super easy to make, yet the results are beyond amazing. Plus you get the best of both worlds, s'mores and a chocolate chip cookie. I feel like these would be amazing to take on a camping trip and warm up by the fire. Yumm!

I originally got this recipe from the Picky Palate blog and it turned out great. 

  • 2 sticks softened Butter
  • 1 Cup Granulated Sugar
  • 3/4 Cup packed Light Brown Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 Tablespoon Vanilla
  • 3 1/2 Cup All Purpose Flour
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 2 Cups Semi-sweet Chocolate Chips
  • 24 Graham Cracker quarters 
  • 3 Hershey Bars, broken into rows of 3 bars
  • 12 Stacker Marshmallows 
1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line a large baking sheet with parchment or a silpat liner.
2.  In a stand or electric mixer, beat the butter and sugars until light and fluffy.  Add eggs and vanilla and continue to beat until well combined.
3.  Place flour, salt and baking soda into a bowl; mix to combine then add slowly to wet ingredients along with the chocolate chips.
4.  Layer a graham cracker quarter with 3 Hershey chocolate squares and 1 marshmallow stacker (These are so awesome! Someone finally figured out that it would be easier to make flat marshmallows for s'mores. Genius).  
5. Close with another graham cracker. 

6. Top s’mores with a large scoop of cookie dough.  

7. Place in hands and place another large scoop on bottom then front and back sides as needed.  Form dough around s’mores.  This will be massive so don''t freak out!  

8. Place large cookies onto prepared baking sheet and bake for 15-17 minutes or until edges are golden and centers are cooked through.  Let cool for 10 minutes before transferring to cooling rack or serving plate.

Makes 12 large stuffed cookies.
Side Note: be sure to make these with friends and have a good time with it. My friend Dan was also helping us make them and was the best part of the whole process. Between forming pieces that were falling apart everywhere

and nearly catching himself on fire!

it was quite fun. needless to say! 


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Time, Time, Where Do You Go??

I have sooo many blog posts in my head that I need to write (It's Restaurant Week in Washington DC!) but haven't seemed to find the time to do it lately. Between Christmas craziness at work and no sleep, going to California for Christmas and now trying to finish this darn homework manual for school I'm totally lagging. *Sigh* I promise to do better. But first...back to homework. And NOT  blogs, facebook, email, pinterest, twitter, and every other distracting thing on this glorious/horrid internet that consumes my life! Wish me luck!


Thursday, December 1, 2011

You Picked a Good Roomie When...

So do you want to know the ultimate test on knowing that you picked the right roommate? It's when you come home to this bad boy! An Apple Cobbler Cupcake from Crumbs! Apple Cinnamon Cake with Apple Preserves, and covered in a Vanilla Cream Cheese frosting and Streussel topping. Yummmm

 Ok so maybe that's not the ultimate test, but it does solidify the fact that when I move back to New York in 2 months I will miss having a roommate that shares my affinity for yummy food but doesn't go to school with me. It's quite refreshing actually. I feel that usually the only people who like exploring different bakeries and talking about food constantly are my friends I go to school with. But Jenny and I gab about food all of the time and I love it! 

 For dinner, I made Taco Pockets, which is like a burger and a taco all in one. My mom and I have been making this for years after seeing it on Rachel Ray a long time ago. It's quite simple to make even. You just take anything that you would top a taco with (cheese,lettuce, tomato, guac, sour cream, taco sauce, etc) , make a burger patty, put them all in the center of a tortilla, and fold the outside corners into fours to create a square "pocket". Just put a little bit of butter in a pan, and place the pocket seams down into pan to seal everything inside. Cut diagonally into triangles and you have a taco pocket!

Work this week has been crazy because we are officially producing for our Christmas season. I am working on-site at parties Saturday and Sunday so no breaks for me until...who knows when! But I'm loving it and I actually just got moved into the chocolate room this week so I'm making all things chocolate. It's hard not to eat everything, it all looks and smells so yummy ;) 


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Snickers Caramel Cheesecake

It is finally favorite time of the entire year! There is just something about the months of November and December that can instantly put you in a great mood. But I have a total confession about November in general. My absolute favorite day is the day after Thanksgiving for two simple reasons. 1. This is typically where I get most, if not all, of my Christmas shopping done in one day with the most amazing deals imaginable available at my fingertips...or, at the end of a very long line, rather ;) and 2. This marks the day that it is completely acceptable to start watching Elf (aka the best Christmas movie ever filmed) and listening to an endless supply of Christmas music. I must admit, I tend to overdo it with the whole watching Elf all month long thing (would you consider every day excessive??? ...kidding, sort of).

Well, this weekend marked the start of this joyous occasion, and to kick start it I had a few friends over for Elf and dessert. My friend Max had asked me before about making cheesecake so I decided to try out a new recipe that I had found on another blog (Picky Palate) that looked delightful! I changed the quantities slightly to my liking but the method is the same. She had originally made them using a muffin top pan. However, since I didn't have one, I decided to make them a bit bigger and in mini pie tins. They are quite simple to make and definitely worth the wait! 

Snickers Caramel Cheesecake:
Yield: 6 Individual Cheesecakes (or 12 if using the muffin top pan)

3 Snickers Bars
2 Cups Graham Cracker Crumbs
2 Tablespoons Granulated Sugar
6 Tablespoons Melted Butter
2 (8oz.) packages softened cream cheese
1 Cup Granulated Sugar
2 Eggs
1 Tablespoon Pure Vanilla
3 Tablespoons Caramel Sauce
Preheat Oven to 350 degrees F
Place chopped Snickers Bars into a bowl and set aside
Grind up graham crackers until they become thin crumbs. (I used a regular blender on the crumb option)

Combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter until all of the crumbs are moistened by the butter. Add more if necessary
Add a couple (heaping) spoonfuls of the crust mixture into each pie tin and press down and up the sides until evenly spread 

Bake for 5-6 minutes or until just browned. Remove from oven.

With a mixer, beat the cream cheese and sugar until smooth and creamy (One thing that I learned at school is to make sure there are NO lumps before going to the next step. Once the eggs are added, you can no longer remove lumps, so mix as long as necessary)

Add in eggs, fully incorporating the first egg before adding the second one. 

Add vanilla and mix until well combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.

Mix in caramel sauce until well combined. 

Pour cheesecake mixture into crusts until almost full. I was able to distribute all of the mix among the 6 pie tins. 

Top evenly with chopped Snickers pieces. 

Bake for 55-60 minutes. (I suggest checking it periodically during the baking process, however, in case your oven bakes at a different speed than mine). Remove and let cool completely.

Once cool, top with caramel sauce and ENJOY! Perhaps with some wine like we did =) My friend Jake brought the "Pinot Evil" wine. Pretty clever if you ask me.


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Externship - Weeks 1 and 2

So, I have officially been working at my externship site for 2.5 weeks now and I could not be happier! I have such an amazing chef that I want to learn so much from, some great co-workers who I get along with and plenty to do at all times. It has definitely not been a walk in the park, but I am loving every minute of it. Today I was told by the Assistant Pastry Chef that I put his faith back into interns since I was doing so well. That totally made my day! Also, our Executive Pastry Chef seems to notice how hard I am working at this, so it is really nice for it to not go unnoticed. Since I am working for a catering company, we tend to produce products in MASSIVE bulks. I could make a batch of creme brulee for a small party with only 25 people or make it for a huge event and need to make 900! Needless to say, it is quite different than the smaller quantity producing and slower pace of my classes at school. But it is great because I am able to work on my speed here, which I noticed was the main thing that I wanted to work on as a personal goal before going back to school. Being able to create a high quality product that not only looks great, but tastes great also, while doing so in a timely matter is something that I want to master. I don't want to just simply get faster if the quality of my product will suffer. 

I am on the custards and mousses station first, which is where all of the interns start out. However, I get to work with people at other stations all of the time whenever they need some extra help and I am finished with my production list for the day. This is a great time for me to see other people's styles of producing various products and to learn through them. I think that I have definitely picked the right extern site for me. I am getting the exact learning experience that I had hoped for while also being an important part of the team and creating great products.

Center piece made for an event and shown at a client's tasting

Sugar showpiece that my chef made and Christmas tree made from cookies for a client's tasting

Pumpkin-Ginger Mousse with fresh whipped cream, cinnamon and candied ginger

S'mores pots with graham cracker crumbs, chocolate mousse 
and toasted marshmallows in mason jars

 S'mores Pot de Creme with graham cracker crumbs, 
dark chocolate pot de creme and toasted fresh marshmallow topping

Timbales of chocolate mousse and chocolate sponge covered 
in ganache and coated with praline crunch

Ice cream sandwiches made from spice cake and pumpkin ice cream

 Chocolate Pot de Creme with fresh whipped cream and cocoa nibs

Blueberry Tarts with lemon coconut cake topped with lemon rinds

Vodka infused chocolate mousse with raspberry compote and topped 
with fresh whipped cream and raspberries

Cheesecake shooters with graham cracker crumbs, cherry compote and cheesecake

Layers of hazelnut creme brulee, pumpkin cheesecake 
and carrot cake coated in praline crunch

Individual cheesecakes topped with lemon rinds and gold paper

 Plated dessert that I got to help the chef with for a client's tasting

Plated dessert for another client tasting


Triple Chocolate Mousse with white chocolate, milk chocolate and dark 
chocolate mousse, topped with fresh whipped cream and chocolate curls

Pumpkin-Ginger Mousse with fresh whipped cream 
and candied ginger in mini pumpkins

Apple tarts with frangipan and apples in a chocolate tart and coated with praline crunch


I will continue to keep everyone updated. It can only get even better from here! 


Sunday, September 18, 2011

Green Eggs Cafe in Philly

I was staying with my cousin in Philadelphia a few days ago when she suggested that we wake up in the morning to get breakfast at a great little cafe a few blocks away. It is safe to say that I was not fully prepared for the food that I was about to encounter.
Green Eggs Cafe is nestled within the neighborhoods of South Philly and a popular spot with the locals. When we got there, we did not have to wait to be seated, which was nice, but it was still busy none the less. It turns out that it has become so popular in the short time that it has been open that they added on another room for seating to accommodate customers, which is where we were seated. I was told that normally, one can expect to wait about 45-60 minutes to be seated, so we seemed to have lucked out with that. 
Once seated, I expected to see just your typical breafkast menu like at any cafe. Conventional, however, is not what you receive. Instead, I was greeted with a menu filled with rich culinary flavors and combinations. How can a girl even choose?? You have everything from "The Kitchen Sink" which, indeed, lives true to it's name, to eggs every way, waffles and pancakes or sandwiches and salads if you are feeling more like having a lunch or dinner. One thing to note is that they may run out of something, so getting there early is advisable if you have your heart set on trying one of their specials like we had wanted to. But no problem there, since instead we ordered the Red Velvet Pancakes as an appetizer for the table.
These were hands down, the best  pancakes that I have ever had! They are red velvet buttermilk pancakes with chocolate morsels layered with strawberry mascarpone and topped with fresh strawberries, maple syrup and chantilly cream. Pure goodness on a plate. I am so glad that they were out of the special appetizer of the day. Needless to say, we finished those with no problem. Next, for my main course, I ordered the Creme Brulee French Toast.

Again, I am graced with tasty food and great flavor combinations. The french toast is drenched in a vanilla bean custard, and topped with a berry compote, drizzled with vanilla anglaise and warm maple syrup, and then topped with chantilly cream and fresh berries. I found the berry compote quite flavorful and a nice touch to the lightness of the anglaise and chantilly cream. This is definately one of those dishes where you want to pile every component of the dish onto your fork and open up wide!

Green Eggs prides themselves in being eco-friendly and practicing a sustainable way of life. They buy their products locally, which not only provides their customers with a high quality dish at a resonable cost, but also helps to support their local merchants.They also both recycle and compost all of their food product. One thing to note, however, is that they do charge for their to-go containers, which are biodegradable and safe for the environment.  

Overall, Green Eggs Cafe was a pleasant surprise. They offer great food at a reasonable price (nothing on the menu was over $12). I will definately be visiting again soon. I think next time I will try the breakfast burrito, which has a habaƱero tortilla filled with eggs, olives, corn, house made chorizo, potatoes, peppers, onions, tex mex cheese and topped with pico de gallo, sour cream, avocado, and fire roasted red pepper black bean sauce. Whoa! I'm going to need to brace myself for that one.


Thursday, September 15, 2011

Trend: "Designer Cupcakes"

So the other day, I was in Washington DC looking for an apartment to rent out during my internship that I am about to start next week. I was staying with some family friends who kept talking about this cupcake place that has a tv show, Georgetown Cupcakes. I had heard about them before, but had never seen the show. Quite frankly, I find most of these reality restaurant shows to sort of be a joke. Don't get me wrong, I love reality tv...probably more than the average person...but when they make a drama fest out of something that you are passionate about, it can get frustrating. But I digress! The people that I was with told me how they had tried to get cupcakes there twice but had not made it in yet. So I decided to get them a box as a thank you for letting me stay with them for the weekend. Ohmygoodness. That line was so long!

It went all the way down the block. I ended up standing in line for 45 minutes until I got to the front of the line.

Once there, I was allowed to go into the shop and stand in another short line before putting my order through. The place is quite small, so I understand the system that they have going. They offer a pretty good list of various cupcake flavors to try. The only thing that I did not realize at first is that there are only certain flavors available each day. So Monday has select flavors, then Tuesday and so on. So that instantly elimanted two of the flavors I wanted to try.

Their flavors of the month, however, were Caramel Apple and Apple Cinnamon. Those were a no brainer. It sounded so good! I also got Carrot, Peanut Butter Fudge, and Lava Fudge.

The main thing that I found sort of silly about this place is that each cupcake was $3. I think that's a bit ridiculous for a normal sized cupcake, but hey...the line is out the door every day, so it works. We had a great dinner of grilled bacon wrapped shrimp, steak and chicken. Oh, delicious! But I made sure that I saved some room for my cupcake.

I, of course, had to try the caramel apple cupcake. I'm a sucker for anything with the word caramel in it ;) It is an apple cupcake with dulce de leche center, topped with a vanilla cream cheese frosting and drizzled with more dulce de leche. Mmm... the cupcake was very moist and good. My favorite was the caramel center...shocker, I know. It was veeery sweet, so I almost was not able to finish the whole thing. But that would just be unacceptable, so I pushed through. I got some good apple and caramel notes, so the flavors were balanced very nicely. Overall, I enjoyed my Georgetown Cupcake experience. I am not so sure that I would stand in a 1 hour line and pay $3 a cupcake again, but I would recommend others to experience it if in the DC area, especially if you are a fan of the show.