Chocolate Nut Clusters with Sea Salt & Raw Sugar

Chocolate with nuts is my absolute favorite chocolate combination EVER. As both a chocolate addict and a nut lover, when they collide, I am euphoric. You may as well call me powerless before a bag of dark chocolate covered almonds. Specifically the ones from Trader Joe’s.

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And as far as sweet treats go, chocolate and nuts aren’t such a bad thing. Nuts are full of healthy fats essential for brain function and dark chocolate has all sorts of antioxidants, as well as more fiber, protein and iron than you’d expect, which is why I feel no remorse enjoying a daily cup of hot cocoa.

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That’s why when the Recipe Redux challenge for February was to share a recipe involving your favorite chocolate pairing, while I could think of a million chocolate combinations I enjoy, none could trump chocolate and nuts.

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Take that a step further with chocolate covered nuts with salt. That extra punch brings out the best of both worlds, and you can bet your bottom dollar I will buy anything with the words “chocolate” “nuts” and “salt” in the title. Done. Sold. Gimme.

Here I add another element of crunch and intrigue with some raw sugar. It has the same gritty yet pleasant textural appeal as salt, but adds another depth of flavor to the treat.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup chopped dark chocolate or dark chocolate chips (I used Trader Joe’s 72% Pound Plus chopped)
  • 1 1/2 cup nuts of choice (I used a mix of equal parts pecan and walnut)
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil (can also use butter)
  • 2  tablespoon maple syrup or honey
  • 1/4 cup raw sugar (like Sugar in the Raw)
  • 1 tablespoon fine sea salt

Directions:

1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Chop nuts and place in a large bowl. In a small bowl, microwave coconut oil until melted. Add maple syrup and sti. Pour onto nuts and mix until nuts are evenly coated. Sprinkle raw sugar and mix again. Allow to sit until coconut oil has cooled and sugar is sticking to nuts, about 10 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, microwave chocolate in a small microwave safe bowl in 30 second increments, stirring after each increment, until melted. Allow to cool slightly, about 3-4 minutes. Pour chocolate over nut mixture and mix well until nuts are covered with chocolate.

3. Using two spoons or a small ice cream scooper, transfer small amounts of nut mixture onto baking sheets in clusters of desired size. Before chocolate has set, sprinkle more raw sugar and raw sea salt over the top of the clusters.

4. Place clusters in the fridge and allow chocolate to set, at least 15-20 minutes. Remove from fridge and enjoy!

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For more Chocolate Goodness from other members of the Recipe Redux, click around below!

Vegan Chocolate Silk Pie with Coconut Almond Cream

Are you sitting down? Because if not, I think you should for what I’m about to say: this pie was possibly one of the best pies I’ve ever made, let alone eaten. This is a serious statement considering how many pies I’ve sampled and/or birthed in my lifetime. It was that good. Like, need-to-keep-eating-past-uncomfortably-full-ness-good.

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Creamy. Silky. Chocolately. Coconutty. Almondy. A little crunchy thanks to the graham cracker crust and the shredded coconut. Yet fluffy thanks to the whipped topping. Sweet, yet rich and bitter. Delectably chocolately. Thick. Luscious. Smooth. One of those pies where you finish your slice and wonder where it went and proceed to lick your plate and fork and the serving utensils and then go back for another slice. What dreams are made of.

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Here’s a plot twist to make this dessert even more flawless: it’s one of the easiest pies you can possibly make. It’s no bake, minimal ingredients, minimal mess, and few ingredients.

And just when you thought this pie could not be any better, it proves you wrong. It’s like this pie the Beyonce of pies. Okay are you ready for this? It’s ridiculously healthy. And you’d never guess. Ever. I make a lot of “healthier” versions of desserts or meals or snacks and a lot of the times they do taste, well, healthier. I like this, but not all people do. You could feed this to the most anti-health-food glutton and they’d never know it was healthy, let alone vegan, or in a million years guess a main ingredient is tofu. You really really can’t tell. My mom agreed: she said she would have never guess and that it was one of the best pies she’s ever had.

I made this pie spontaneously for Thanksgiving. No it is not a typical Thanksgiving pie. This year, it was only my mom and I for Thanksgiving and so we did our own atypical vegan Thanksgiving and made some traditional food like rolls and Brussels Sprouts and roasted vegetables, and some interesting other random stuff, like an Italian-Asian Braised Boy Choy dish and Rosemary-Infused Cranberry Sauce and tempeh.

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We had already had a “classic” style Thanksgiving meal with all the fixings a few weeks earlier, so this was more our play-time and excuse to try new things.

So since I had already made a pumpkin pie this year (I made a pie inspired by Minimalist Baker’s Vegan Pumpkin Pie and it turned out great), but with graham crust because I love graham crust and have always thought it’d go well with a pumpkin pie. So since pumpkin and apple and pecan pies have already been on my plate in the past few weeks, I wanted to try something else. And yesterday, I really really wanted chocolate. And graham crust. And a layer of fluffy whipped goodness. With coconut. And almond. I wanted all these things. So I combined them into this perfect, precious, beautifully delicious and wonderful pie.

Protein and fiber and B vitamins from the tofu. Extra protein and fiber and flavonoids from the cocoa powder. MUFAs and PUFAs from coconut fat. The almond extract and sugar don’t add much nutritional value, but they add boat loads of flavor and taste, and compliment the rest of this basically-super-food pie. Ugh. Stop being so flawless, pie. I can’t stop staring/eating.

You must make this. Like I said, it’s the Beyonce of pies. Ridiculously delicious. Coincidentally healthy, and vegan, and almost too easy to make to believe. But one bite, and you will believe. And come knocking at my door thanking me for this recipe, which might be one of my favorites to date.

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Enough talking, I need to polish off the remaining sliver of pie currently sitting in my fridge. Wouldn’t want that one piece to be lonely, now would I? And with that, I leave you with this message: EAT ALL THE PIE! 😀

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Prep Time: 10 minutes

Bake Time: 0 minutes, but needs at least 1 hour to set in the refridgerator

Level: Easy

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Ingredients – Crust:

  • 10 graham crackers (about 1 + 1/2 sleeves)
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons coconut oil, melted

Ingredients – Chocolate Filling:

  • 12 ounce package silken tofu
  • 3/4 cup high quality cocoa powder (I used Godiva)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup almond milk

Ingredients – Coconut Almond Cream:

  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk, left in refrigerator overnight (if you’re short on time and/or not vegan, using a container of regular or non-dairy cool-whip topping would also work well)
  • 2 teaspoons almond extract
  • 1/2 cup coconut shreds, divided (1/4 cup for topping, 1/4 cup for garnish)
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar (omit if using cool-whip topping)

Directions:

1. Break graham crackers into small pieces and create crumbs from the crackers by either pulsing them in a food processor or mashing them with a large spoon in a plastic zip-lock bag. I like to leave mine a little crumbly, instead of pulsing to a fine powder. I dig texture/the crunch. But you can do what you want. Dump graham crumbs into a small bowl. Melt coconut oil for a few seconds in the microwave and add to the graham crumbs. Add sugar, and mix until all crumbs are moist and the mixture adheres to itself. If you need to add more melted coconut oil, go for it.

2. Press crumb crust mixture into a lightly oiled pie pan, covering the bottom and the edges. Set aside.

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3. In a food processor or blender, combine tofu, cocoa powder, sugar, and almond milk. Puree until smooth. Pour into pie pan on top of crust. Cover and set in the refrigerator.

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4. Open can of coconut milk. Drain off top half and save for another use (great for smoothies, stir-frys, on oatmeal, etc). There should be a solid mass at the bottom of the good fatty stuff. Remove this and place in a bowl. To this, add almond extract and powdered sugar. Whip with electric beaters until light and fluffy. Fold in 1/4 cup coconut flakes. Spread fluffy mixture all over chocolate pie. If you are using a cool-whip substitute instead of coconut milk, simply fold in 1/4 cup coconut flakes and almond extract. This option will also be tasty.

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 5. Garnish with remaining 1/4 cup coconut shreds, and extra shredded chocolate if desired. Eat pie. Try to remember to breathe. Eat more pie. Enjoy life. 🙂

{Healthier, Vegan} Pumpkin Muffies

I love Panera. “Meet me at Panera Bread” is one of my favorite phrases to hear. Perhaps it’s a nostoglia thing (I ate a lot of Panera growing up) but p-bread forever has a soft spot in my heart. Those sourdough rolls. The baguettes. Their Strawberry Poppyseed Salad. Dat soup. The bread bowls. The bagels. The Med Veg sandwich with the cilantro-jalepeño hummus. The fact that my bestie Sarah Cath worked there. The unlimited in-house coffee refills. I could go on forever.

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When it comes to the baked goods Panera has to offer, Pumpkin Muffies also have a special place in my heart. To me, pumpkin muffies represent surprises my dad would bring me if he had grabbed lunch there during work, a (welcomed) treat on rare school mornings, or special weekend breakfast noms. I remember the excitement I’d feel every time I’d get that signature brown paper bag with that Panera criss-cross pattern and could see the bottom had a slight greasy oil circle at the bottom. At that moment, I knew: it was a Pumpkin Muffie, just waiting to give me a powder sugar mustache.

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Fluffy, sweet, pumpkin-y, and with those strange powder sugar balls, these babies are incredible and I love them unconditionally. I don’t quite know why I’ve never tried to make them at home before, but yesterday morning for whatever reason I just needed to do so. And that’s just what I did.

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I made mine with oat flour because it results in super soft baked goods, which is exactly what I was aiming for, and they’re whole grain, so they feel less junk-y than the original ones. The muffins themselves are super fluffy, almost bouncy, cinnamon-y, and are a bit less sweet than the Panera version.

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I used chia seeds + water as an egg substitute/nutritional booster, but you can also use flax, applesauce, or an egg if that’s more your style. The topping? That’s still pure sugary goodness. And that is totally fine.

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How do you make them muffies you ask? I placed a biscuit cutter on my baking sheet, put two generous spoonfuls of batter into it, allowed to batter to kind of adhere to its shape for a hot second, then lifted the biscuit cutter and repeated this 12 times until I had 12 muffies. You could also use a circular cookie cutter, pipe in a circle using a wide-tipped pastry bag or plastic bag with a large corner end snipped off, or do your best and try to spoon the batter into circular shapes. It’s up to you. Even if you bake them in a muffin tin as regular muffins, they will still taste delicious, don’t you worry. 😉

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Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 15-20 minutes

Level: Easy

Ingredients – Muffies:

  • 2 1/4 cups oat flour (all purpose would also work)
  • 1/2 cup almond or soy milk
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar (any kind will do)
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds or flax seed + 2 tablespoons water (can also use 3 tablespoons apple sauce)
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • dash of salt

Ingredients – Topping:

  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. In a small bowl, combine almond or soy milk and vinegar. Set aside and allow to curdle for at least 10 minutes. In another small bowl, combine chia seeds + flax seeds and water and set that aside too.

3. In a large bowl, combine oat flour, baking powder, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Whisk until well combined.

4. Add canned pumpkin, sugar, almond milk + vinegar mixture, and chia seeds + water into the bowl with the dry ingredients. Use a spatula or spoon to fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.

5. Place a silicone baking pad or sheet of parchment paper on a baking sheet. Place a biscuit cutter or circular cookie cutter down on the sheet. Place two generous spoonfuls of batter into the biscuit cutter. Allow the batter to form to the shape of the circle. Lift the biscuit cutter, and repeat 12 times until you’ve made 12 circular muffies.

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6. Place muffies in the oven for 15-20 minutes, until puffy, fragrant, bouncy upon touch, and a toothpick placed in the center of the muffies comes out clean.

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7. Place muffies on a cooling rack and allow to cool. Meanwhile, combine powder sugar and brown sugar in a small bowl and mix together.

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8. Once muffies have cooled, sprinkle topping all over them. I recommend doing this right once muffies are COMPLETELY cool, and/or preferably right before eating, otherwise the powder sugar may absorb into the muffies and they’ll look shiny and weird. Store in plastic baggies or an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. These also freeze and reheat well. Especially in the toaster. Yummies = when you have toaster muffies. Hooray! Muffies all week long. Happy Monday everyone :)!

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Funfetti Cookies with Birthday Cake M&Ms

*~*cue katy perry song*~*

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I love healthy food. But sometimes I like really love to bake and eat things that are simply for fun and make me feel like a 5 year old because mental health is as important to physical health sometimes and feeling like I’m 5 makes me oh-so-happys! 🙂 So yesterday I wanted a mood boost so I made some very silly but delicious Funfetti Cookies with Birthday Cake M&Ms. To be honest, I am a sucker for all things “cake batter” flavored. My absolute FAVORITE cake batter flavored thing is the vegan soft serve from Lula’s Sweet Apothecary on East 6th street in NYC. It’s mindblowing and unlike anything else on the planet. You should try it. But I’m always down to try cake-battered flavored things – froyo, M&Ms, that cream cheese from Thompkin’s Square Bagels that’s all over Instagram right now, etc etc).


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And cake flavored things are super trendy right now – I feel like every time I turn around there’s another random cake battered or birthday cake flavored thing. No complaints from me.

dough.
dough.

All of this cake batter-y sprinkly trending fits appropriately to the release of the new “Birthday” song by Katy Perry. I actually just love Katy Perry in general as a person and you cannot deny her music is catchy. You should listen to that song while you make these cookies. It will put you in a bubbly mood.


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Anyways, back to the land of sugar, these are simple, classic, homemade funfetti cookies (with vegan options listed) full of artificial colors. #yum #health I’m sure there are non junky sprinkles out there, but I used Wilton because they were around. And they worked for aesthetics and to make a softer cookie by cutting the gluten strands as they were mixed in (as all mix-ins do! #foodscienceminilesson).

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Birthday Cake M&Ms are relitively new, but available at Target and CVS and probably lots of other places. While you’re there you should pick out some big balloons (song reference) and party hats.

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Prep Time: 12 minutes
Bake Time: 12-15 minutes
Level: Easier than pie so I’ll say easy as Birthday Cake 😉

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter or non-dairy butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 eggs or one mashed banana
  • 1.5 teaspoons real vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract (optional, but I dig)
  • 2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1.5 teaspoon baking powder
  • dash sea salt
  • 5 tablespoons sprinkles
  • 1 8oz bag Birthday Cake M&Ms

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Allow butter and eggs to come to room temperature. Zap butter for 10-30 seconds in the microwave until soft if you’re impatient like I am.

2. In a large bowl with an electric mixer or wicked arm, beat butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula regularly. This will take 2-3 minutes.

3. Add mashed banana or eggs and vanilla and almond extracts to butter mixture, scrapping the sides of the bowl as necessary.

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4. In a separate bowl combine flour, baking soda and salt. Mix until well combined. A cup at a time, gently fold into butter mixture until just combined. Add sprinkles and mix again.

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5. Roll dough into small balls (lol) and place on a baking sheet. This baking sheet from Crate’n’Barrel is my favorite ever! My sister gave it to me for Christmas. Love it! Nothing ever sticks to it and cookies always turn out BEAUTIFULLY. Thanks Jenn!

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6. Press 3 Birthday Cake M&Ms into each cookie. If you want a different look you can just mix them into the dough before rolling into balls. This will totally work, but just make note that Birthday Cake M&Ms are quite large. And in charge ;-).

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7. Bake 12-15 minutes until fragrant and slightly browned. Eat and dance and party and feel 5 years old. Share if you’re feeling nice. Or if you have your cranky pants on eat them all yourself, however this may result in a slight tummy ache (you have been warned).

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Shortcut Mini Vegan Banana Cake Donuts with Almond-Coconut-Vanilla Glaze

It was a very humid day today here in Milwaukee. One of those days where when I left the mall after a fail-boat shopping trip to look for a dress for my friend’s wedding, I literally felt like I had to swim through a wall of heavy wet air to reach my car. MmmMmm, sweaty.

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As I write this post, I hear thunder rumbling in the near distance. Today’s inevitable storm is on it’s way! Get excited folks, according to this morning’s news it might get dramatic. And who doesn’t love a dramatic storm (unless of course, you’re Millie, in which case, you may refuse to even step on damp concrete).

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I was bored and restless so naturally, I found myself looming in my baking pantry. As I rummaged through my goodies, I noticed a dusty old box of fancy cake mix in the back corner of the pantry. Cake mix (or any baking mix) in my household was considered worse than dropping a four-letter word. My mother and grandmother could have cared less if I screamed the F bomb as a kindergardener, but would thrash out irrationally if I dared bake anything not from scratch.

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To be honest, I couldn’t recall why the box was even there. I mean, it was a nice fancy Cherrybrook Vanilla Cake Mix from Target, probably purchased as a back-up at some point, left here by another human, or for some purpose that currently evades me. Anyways, the mystery cake box stared me down, daunting me, saying, “figure out how to use me, you beyotch. let’s get creative.”

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Game on. I decided I’d do something different than use it for cake. Honestly, when it’s a nice, preservative/junk-free cake mix like the ones Cherrybrook makes, I don’t really even think it tastes bad, as long as you don’t think of it in the same category as homemade cakes that ooze with butter and love. These mixes create pastries that more airy/fluffy orbes of sugary chewy goodness. If you take them for that, they are good. This is also how I advise meat-eaters to think about veggie burgers. Don’t think it’s going to be the same as meat. Take it for what it is and appreciate it’s different deliciousness. So I must agree with my heritage, no box mix will even come close to a from scratch cake. I wasn’t even going to blog these because they seemed like such a cheat, but I had a few inquires after I Instagramed them, so I figured I’d share my recipe. Apparently people want their vegan banana mini cake donuts, and who am I to deny them?

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As I continued to voyage through my mountains of baking supplies, I noticed my good old Wilton Mini Donut pan for baking mini donuts in the oven. The stars were aligning. Cake mix. Cake donut pan. I decided to use it to make cake donuts because mini things are instantly adorable and more fun.

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I nixed the additions on the cake mix box and replaced them with some vegan tricks. I used bananas to replace eggs because it works well and tastes great. The sweetness and flavor from the banana also complimented the vanilla flavors of the mix quite well. I also used carbonated water because from lots of experimental vegan baking I’ve learned it gives a nice, springy texture to things, which is what I was looking for in these cake donuts. I used other things I had around for glaze because who wants to go to the storm in a rain storm, am I righttt?

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Anyways, these turned out adorable and yummy and vegan and I added sprinkles because sprinkles make everything more fun and fix all the ugliness on your baked goods and in your life (important life lesson I learned at work). Enjoy these tiny Millie-sized treats. They are almost too cute to eat but nothing actually is because let’s be honest food is yummy.

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Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Decoration Time: 10 minutes
Level: Easy Peasy

Ingredients:

  • one box Cherrybrook Vanilla Cake Mix (or other cake mix, apparently Dunken Hienz is also dairy-free) ——> TELL NO ONE A BOX OF MIX EVEN EXISTED IN MY HOUSE PLEASE!
  • one ripe banana, mashed
  • one 12-ounce can of sparkling water [I used plain from my soda streamer, but any flavor LaCroix or a white soda would also work!]
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil

Glaze Ingredients:

  • 2 cups powder sugar, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons coconut milk (I used canned for richness/flavor, you can omit these fancy milks and use any plain non-dairy milk if that’s what you have on hand)
  • 2 tablespoons almond milk

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Peel banana and mash in a small bowl.

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3. Pour cake mix and sparking water in a bowl and add mashed banana and coconut oil. Mix.

4. Place a small amount into mini donut pan, so donut hole is only about 1/2 full. Less is more otherwise these turn out really awkward shaped.

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5. Bake for 12-14 minutes, until golden brown on the bottoms.

6. Pop out of pan and cool on a cooling wrack.

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7. Assemble glaze: sift powdered sugar (yes it is essential here) and add a drop of vanilla extract. Slowly add coconut milk and almond milk one tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is reached.

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8.Dip the top each donut into glaze and then into sprinkles or coconut shreds.

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9. EAT!

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10. Also avoid holding too close to puppies with extreme jumping skills, because they might do what Millie did and snatch it out of your hand (seriously…she got lucky this morning).

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“But mommy, it’s just my size !!”

 

 

DIY Cronuts link (a recipe by me) && an explanation of my disappearance

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direct link to recipe here

hey everyone!

sorry i have vanished from my blog for quite a while. like has been crazy. once school got going, i ended up kind of tossing my blog to a backburner on my priority list and quite honestly even forgot about it for a while. but i plan to update it a bunch this winter break, and hopefully not to neglect the poor thing from now on. i’ve been home from school for a few days now and have literally been baking non.stop. cookies. more cookies. even more cookies (can never have too many cookies, right?). italian rainbow cookies (my fav – swoon). cookies for my dogs and my sister’s dogs (damn so many cookies!). cakes. candy. barks. eclairs. and i got a buche de noel on the way. so now i have quite a bit of inspiration for some posts. on top of that, i have a bunch of stuff i did over the semester that i can slap up here over the coming weeks. 

the semester was awesome. busy, but awesome. i finally felt like i’m at a place in my education where i enjoy all of the classes i am taking, and it was such a thrill to find enjoyment in doing my schoolwork, and actually enjoy lectures and reading. 

in case you are wondering, here is what i took:

  • Intro to Food Science
  • Human Anatomy (at a graduate level…it was a bit of a challenge but i ended up doing it anyway!)
  • Diet Planning & Assessment (a nutrition class, part of the DPD sequence) 
  • Lab in Psychopathology
  • Social Psychology

so that was it. five classes (one a graduate science class that met at 8am). i also wrote all semester long for NYU Spoon. it was great. all of it. especially NYU Spoon. i don’t think those kids realize how humbled i feel to be a part of it. they all seem so legit (journalism majors, working at E! and CNN, etc) and here i am, just some premed (although i’ve been having doubts about med school – more in a future post) and nutrition minor like “oh hey, i like food.” but whatever. i’m thrilled to be a part of it.

which brings me to my first post. 

here is a link to my original article on NYU Spoon on how to make cronuts

truly, it’s not as hard as it sounds. sure, it takes a long time and its repetitive. but it’s not, ya know, hard. give it a whirl and impress your family or someone special for christmas or new years breakfast this season. personally, i have a taste aversion to donuts, so even thought i knew these were good, it was hard to enjoy them, but everyone else seemed to go CRAZY for these babies. and i hope you will too!

happy holidays everyone! and hello again blog world! 

sweets from abroad

here’s an article i wrote for NYU Spoon magazine. see it published and check out the whole site here !

NYU Spoon is really awesome! so many talented writers and photographers. seriously worth some creeping for recipe ideas and food porn regardless of where you live or go to school. they also have an instagram, @nyuspoon. follow for shameless food pics!!

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Have you been missing all those foreign candies you ate while studying abroad? Or perhaps you’re just a regular candy buff looking for something new to tantalize your taste buds. Either way, shake up your candy routine by trying out two new candy shops, GUNZ Fine European and The London Candy Company, each of which have brought imported goodies to village.

 

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GUNZ opened in mid-September on University Place at the corner of 12th street, where University Restaurant once stood. The store clean and spacious, and has a unique selection of candies and snacks, primarily from Belgium and Austria, all at extremely reasonable prices.

 

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Described by the employee as “like a Crunch bar on crack,” the Choc’n’Rice bar is a customer favorite. Puffed rice cereal is molded with smooth milk chocolate, and is noticeably softer – and more addictive – than the American version.

 

 

Other must-tries include the milky Matres Truffout Chocolate Seashells, which boast a velvety texture that practically liquefies in your mouth. The Schoko Bananen candies have a pillowy layer of banana filling and a thin and malleable chocolate coating, creating a compelling banana-chocolate mashup.  Like all the products at Gunz, these are not too sweet, nor too expensive, creating the perfect easy-to-snack-on treat to bring to Bobst.

 

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When you run out of sweets from Gunz, head to the West Village to The London Candy Company at the corner of Bleeker and Morton St. A five minute walk from campus is all you need to have your taste buds hop the pond. Opened on August 10th, this tiny but bright store is quickly growing in popularity. The sign on the floor reads “Keep Calm and Eat Candy,” but with the overwhelming selection of delicious goodies, its near impossible to contain your kid-in-a-candy-store excitement. London Candy Co carries an unparalleled selection of British sweets, including an extensive selection of Cadbury products, European Kit Kats (think Peanut Butter and Hazelnut flavors), as well as potato “crips” in flavors like Ketchup and Beef & Onion. They also serve Stumptown Coffee at very fair prices, and are one of five places in the city that has Stumptown Cold Brew on tap.

 

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If its nostalgia you’re craving, the shop also carries Crispy M&Ms. A former American favorite that was discontinued in the US in 2005, a movie sized pack rings up at 8 US dollars. While this is admittedly a bit steep, they make a worthy splurge and great accompaniment to a PB&J on days when facing inevitable adulthood is overwhelming.

 

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Don’t leave without releasing your inner wine-snob by sampling a pack of Wine Gums. With the texture of Jujubes and flavors reminiscent of sweet wine aromas, these intriguing gummy candies are undoubtedly one of the most unique candies in the shop, and has quite the finesse for a chewy candy. Wine Gums are a socially appropriate way to satisfy wine cravings any time of day, whether it be in class or at work, even for the under-21 crowd.

 

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So put down the Reese’s at Duane Reade (for now) and try something new. Get your sugar buzz on while getting cultured too, at Gunz Fine European Foods and The London Candy Co.

 

 

Fresh Berry Salad with Basil

I made this at my sister’s bachelorette party, and it’s a very easy and crowd-pleasing way to amp berries from plain to sophisticated by adding one simple thing: chopped fresh basil. You can use any berries you want, even other fruits like peaches or cherries, and add fresh basil. It adds a freshness and contrast to the sweetness, and adds a second dimension of flavor.  You can add lemon juice and sugar is you’d like, but this dish is magic even without it.

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For the salad:

  • 4 cups mixed (i used strawberries, bluberries and raspberries)
  • 1/4 cup chopped basil

Directions:

  • Wash berries! (produce is one of the top offenders for food borne illness! so this is a must!)
  • Chop berries that require chopping (like strawberries)
  • Give basil a fresh chop
  • Combine in bowl.

See? Easy, delicious, and loved by all. Make yourself seem fancy by simply adding basil to your berries.

Enjoy!