grown up chocolate chip cookie sandwiches

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Let’s face it, Father’s Day is often the forgotten parents’ appreciation holiday. Mother’s Day always steals its thunder with its flowers and chocolates and breakfast-in-beds. By the time Father’s Day rolls around, people have already Instagrammed their cutest picture with Mom and are much too busy in summer mode to fuss over what to get Dad. Another tie? A hammer to replace the one he lost or maybe some grilling utensils? You know… MANLY things!

But you know what, men like chocolate too. So here’s a dessert that I’m pretty sure will knock your dad’s socks off (those socks you got him because you couldn’t think of what else to buy). These grown up chocolate chip cookie sandwiches are sprinkled with smoked sea salt and filled with a whiskey frosting. To be honest men, women, and children (over the age of 21) can all enjoy this delicious treat! Cause GAH dad, why does it always have to be about you??

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momofuku milk bar exam no. 15 {candy bar pie}

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In the Momofuku Milk Bar cookbook, Christina Tosi describes this pie as being “a little bit of a bitch to make.” So of course, I had to try it!

And I have to say, she was not lying. This is certainly the most difficult recipe I’ve made from this cookbook, if not ever. There are a lot of moving parts and everything has to be well orchestrated before you begin. So please please please read the directions carefully and then reread them. Picture them in your mind. Carve them into your soul. Because trust me, this pie may be a bit of a bitch to make but it is so unbelievably worth it.

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momofuku milk bar exam no. 7 {banana cream pie}

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Banana pudding, Bananas Foster, banana bread… Southerners really do have a knack for turning anything remotely healthy into a decadent treat. You could put this banana cream pie at the top of that list. I’m not sure if it’s purely Southern, but it’s pretty darn delicious.

This was my first attempt at making and eating banana cream pie. When it comes to pies, I generally stick to either pecan pie or ones with berries. Again, this cookbook is proving to be a godsend for my culinary ignorance. My tastebuds are forever indebted.

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A traditional banana cream pie usually has a buttery pie dough or a graham cracker crust but I really liked the chocolate crumb crust here. It was not too sweet and provided a deep flavor that went so perfectly with the bananas. Plus you get to give a little oh-it’s-no-big-deal shrug when people ask… “you made the cookie crumbs for the crust too?”

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Happy Tax Day!

It’s springtime! The weather’s warmed up, the flowers have bloomed, and swimsuit season is in sight *screeching of brakes* *hitting of panic button*. No, no it’s okay, you’ve still got a solid two months, maybe three until then, so I tell myself. As we wait around for that annual two-piece terror season to begin, why not go ahead and celebrate your last indulges with a couple of these cute coconut macaroons! They’re just wee little things that say ‘what harm could I do? Please eat me, especially now that all your Girl Scout cookies are gone.’

My coconut macaroon obsession is really my mother’s fault. On my 21st birthday, she bought me a box of chocolate dipped coconut macaroons from Godiva that I still lust after today. Also for Easter this year, she sent me two huge bags of my current obsession: Pretzel M&M’s. She reeks of swimsuit sabotage. Anyways, this recipe is just as good as my precious Godiva macaroons. They’re dense and chewy and just the perfect sweetness. So go ahead, indulge away whether you’re celebrating the fact that you just finished your taxes or accomplished some major spring cleaning. As my mom would tell you, ‘You deserve it!’

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kickin’ it old school

everyone has their favorite old-school lunchbox treat. oatmeal creme pie had my 7-year old heart. (and at times, my 23-year old heart)

for a teachers’ luncheon at my brother’s middle school, i decided to make this updated version of the classic hostess cupcake: deeply chocolatey, cream-centered and topped with that signature swirl. perhaps this will be the very treat to strike a nostalgic chord in someone else’s inner child.

this recipe included many firsts for me. my first time making seven minute frosting and my first time filling cupcakes. i quickly realized there’s more than one way to fill a cupcake and decided to test out two methods:

(a) the cone method, which involves angling a paring knife in the top of the cupcake to hollow out a cone

then cutting the tip of the cone

and recapping the top after filling the cupcake

(b) the piping method, in which you insert a star-tipped piping bag into the top

and squeeze until the cake feels slightly heavier

in this side-by-side comparison,

(a)     (b) 

i likened (b) the piping method as it was both easier and neater (less crumbs and easier to dip in the ganache later). if you are partial to creme filling though, go for the cone method.

Homemade Hostess Cupcakes

  • 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee 

(1)  Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line 2 12-cupcake tins with wrappers.
(2)  In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. 
(3)  In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry.
(4)  With mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir to combine thoroughly, making sure to scrape to the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula (batter will be thin).
(5)  Pour the batter into the cupcake pans about 2/3 full (do not overfill) and bake for 16-18 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then place them on a wire rack to cool completely. 

Seven Minute Frosting:

  • 2 large egg whites
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup light corn syrup
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract

(1)  Combine all the ingredients with a pinch of salt in a metal bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water. Beat with a handheld electric mixer at high speed until frosting is thick and fluffy, 6 to 7 minutes.
(2)  Remove bowl from heat and continue to beat until slightly cooled. Reserve 1 cup of the filling to use for piping the swirls on top of the cupcakes at the end.
(3)  Once the cupcakes are completely cooled, fill each cupcake with the frosting (using either method shown above).

Ganache:
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 8 oz. semisweet chocolate
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

(1)  In a small saucepan, heat cream until steaming. Remove from the heat, add chocolate and let stand for 5 minutes.
(2)  Add the butter and stir until smooth. Transfer the ganache to a small bowl.
(3)  Once all the cupcakes are filled, dip the top of each cupcake into the ganache. 
(4)  Spoon the reserved frosting into a pastry bag fitted with a very small plain tip (I used a no. 3 tip) and pipe swirls or any design across the top of each cupcake.

Makes 26-28 cupcakes

fun fact: each hostess cupcake has precisely 7 ‘swiggles’ piped on top. next time you eat one, count them. or make your own and pipe as many swiggles as you want!

and to all the teachers out there…