Every Halloween when my boys come home with their pillowcases full of candy, I always bargain to get the peanut butter cups. It is my candy weakness, well, one of the many. Chocolate and peanut butter is a great combination, but for some reason not the picture of sophistication. Peanut butter is thought to be something that you spread on bread and serve to kids when you are in a hurry. But, why not use it for something beyond PB&J? Thus: chocolate macarons with peanut butter filling!Read More
For those of you who follow me on Twitter, you know that I’m a dedicated coffee drinker. I was very loyal to illy for a time, while Costco carried it, but now my heart belongs to LavAzza. Many of you recommended it to me, but honestly I never tried it until I went to my friend’s bakery. At the Salty Tart Michelle creates pastries that inspired Andrew Zimmern to say it is the “best bakery in the World!” The coffee she serves is LavAzza. The coffee is excellent, worthy of her treats and good enough to make me switch from illy!
So when I wanted to make coffee ice cream I used Lavazza beans and a recipe from David Lebovitz, which I found in a recent copy of Fine Cooking magazine. The coffee flavor is so deep and intense that it almost has a bittersweet chocolate taste to it. If you’ve ever had Vietnamese ice coffee, this ice cream is reminiscent. That rich flavor just begged for something bright, so I paired the coffee ice cream with rosemary shortbread. A new addiction is born! Read More
Passover is coming up soon and there are a few desserts that are ubiquitous for this holiday. Coconut macaroons, “fruit slices” and caramel covered matzo are my favorites. All of them can be found wrapped tight in the “kosher” section of the grocery stores, usually sealed to sit there for months, if not years. When you peal the plastic off you are left with overly sweet, dense and utterly flavorless versions of these wonderful treats. So I make my own! None of them are particularly complicated and after making them yourself you will be forever ruined to the Manischewitz versions.
When I was growing up I looked forward to Christmas morning at my Granny’s house. It seemed like magic how I’d go to bed at night and wake up with a stocking stuffed with goodies at the foot of my bed. Later I learned that this was her way of keeping us kids in bed for an extra hour. Smart lady! My Granny had rituals that she never strayed from and one of them was making Christmas cookies. I remember tins of them all over the house. On every table, in every room there would be a different kind of wonderful sweet. I would search all over for my favorite, the maple brown butter shortbread cookies that had a sticky caramel coconut topping and a rich buttery bottom. It always seemed to me there were less of these lying around than the others. It turns out they were my father’s favorite as well and he beat me to the tins.Read More
For those of you who have been visiting with me on Twitter, you already know that my day doesn’t begin until my first, or sometimes second, cup of coffee. It was a happy day for me when my local Costco started carrying Illy coffee. I first had this smooth, rich, deep cup of “liquid life” when I attended a pastry conference at the CIA in Napa Valley a few years ago. I was hooked, but it is awfully expensive and I rarely splurged. Now I can have it and not feel as though I’m exploiting my bank account. My Twitter friends are very vocal about their coffee preferences and say they like illy but prefer Caffe Kimbo and LavAzz. What is your favorite bean?
My 1st Anniversary of Zoe Bakes is coming up and I’ve ordered a special apron in honor of the event. I’ll be giving it away as soon as it arrives. One Year, how time flies!Read More
Salty and sweet is a classic combination. I’ve always upped the salt in my cookie recipes. Together they create just the right balance for the perfect cookie. I was intrigued by the the use of sea salt in the Jacques Torres chocolate chip cookie recipe that was featured in the New York Times last month. At the bitter end he sprinkles the cookies with course sea salt as they enter the oven. Great idea! I have to say his recipe is fantastic and I’ve made them a bunch of times with great reviews. Then I added a secret ingredient that made them something truly unique and absolutely addictive: Bacon.
Yeah, bacon. I’d gone to Cooks of Crocus Hill to pick up some kitchen essential and there it was at the check out counter, the Vosges Mo’s Bacon Bar. I’d had smokey bacon as a garnish on a caramel sundae and loved it, but in chocolate. This was something as a culinary professional I was obligated to try.Read More