• Black and White Cookies

    Two days back into work after a long weekend, I am almost feeling back to myself. The only downside of long weekends is how much longer it takes to readjust to work, don’t you think? Anyway, I hope all your holiday weekends were lovely and filled with lots of snacks. I myself made guacamole and a pitcher of VERY strong watermelon mojitos, plus a cherry pie and a flag cake for dessert. I couldn’t make up my mind so why not make both?? That, combined with a morning at the beach made for a very sleepy me, and you BET I slept late into the morning on Friday. Buuuuut, then I recovered enough to return to the kitchen for……..black and white cookies!!

    I think about black and white cookies a lot, they are the superior cookie for sure. A cross between a cake and a cookie, with a half vanilla, half chocolate glazed top that snaps when you break it, what’s not to love? These cookies are a staple of New York City, and TBH I feel like I owed it to myself to try these out. I adapted from this recipe on Smitten Kitchen, with a few changes here and there.

    As luck would have it, my cousin Raymond was over while I made these, and we got to plotting about the country’s first ever all-black and white cookie bakery. He’s a decade younger than me but has more business savvy than anyone I’ve ever met, we made a logo and flavors and everything!! So if this idea takes off everyone better get ready. I don’t wanna brag, but we discussed flavors like maple bacon, coffee caramel, and strawberry.

    Before we bake, here are 5 things to be happy about today:
    ONE. Group traveling.
    TWO. Free admission.
    THREE. Having your coffee in the park.
    FOUR. Two shakes of a lambs tail.
    FIVE. Bursting into song.

    Let’s bake!!

    Black and White Cookies

    Prep Time1 hr
    Cook Time20 mins
    Total Time1 hr 20 mins
    Course: Dessert, Snack
    Keyword: chocolate, cookie, vanilla
    Servings: 36 cookies

    Ingredients

    Cookie Base

    • cups white sugar
    • 1 cup unsalted butter; at room temp
    • 4 eggs; at room temp
    • cups milk
    • ½ tsp vanilla extract
    • cups cake flour
    • cups all-purpose flour
    • ½ tsp baking powder
    • ½ tsp kosher salt

    Black and White Glazes

    • 4 cups confectioner's sugar
    • ½ tsp salt
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • ⅓ to ½ cup boiling water
    • 3 oz bittersweet chocolate
    • 1 tsp light corn syrup

    Instructions

    Cookie Base

    • Preheat your oven to 375°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
    • In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping the bowl down after each addition.
    • Slowly drizzle in the milk (to avoid splatters), then the vanilla and mix until combined.
    • In another large bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, and salt. Add the dry mixture to the wet ingredients a little at a time, until all has been added.
    • Using a cookie scoop or 2 large spoons, scoop roughly ¼ cup portions out onto the prepared cookie sheets, leaving at least 2 inches of space between each cookie. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until the cookies are only just beginning to brown. Allow to cool completely before icing.

    Black and White Glazes

    • In a large heat-safe bowl, add in the confectioners sugar, salt, and vanilla, then slowly add in the boiling water, a little at at time, until the desired thick consistency is reached. Keep in mind that you probably won't need all the boiling water, and it's difficult to fix a glaze that's become too thin.
    • Spread the vanilla glaze on one half of the flat side of each cookie. After every cookie is half iced, put the bowl with the remaining glaze over a double boiler (a small pot of boiling water that the bowl can fit in without touching the water), and add the chocolate pieces plus the corn syrup. Continue to stir until the chocolate melts and the frosting is thick and spreadable.
    • Ice the other half of each cookie. The chocolate frosting has a tendency to dry up faster than the vanilla, so if you notice that happening, feel free to stir a bit of boiling water in to keep the frosting shiny as needed. YUM!

    Looking for more cookie recipes? Try here, here, and here!

  • Buttery Double Vanilla Cake

    Hello and happy Tuesday my friends, today we’re slowing things down with a simple tea cake. But when I say simple, I am referring only to the level of skill required to make this cake, and not at all to the depth of its flavor. I love recipes with a catch, and this recipe’s catch is that it’s got not one, but TWO types of vanilla in it. Classic vanilla extract is necessary, but the secret is an additional teaspoon of vanilla bean paste, which adds an extra punch of vanilla as well as flecks of vanilla bean so you KNOW what you’re getting before you even eat it. I used the very last of both my fancy vanilla extract AND my fancy vanilla bean paste, but I can’t imagine a better way for them to go. Taken from this recipe here by Posie Harwood, this cake is the perfect complement to a cup of tea- it’s buttery and dense and rich, and because the cake pan is lined with sugar instead of flour, it’s got a delicate, caramelized crunch on the outside.

    To match the simplicity of this recipe, I will keep it short and sweet here as well, because we all know why you’re here and it’s to BAKE not to read! Thank you love you for reading, here we go!

    But of course, before we get started, here are 5 things to be happy about today!
    ONE. Hot drinks in clear glass mugs.
    TWO. Teaching yourself calligraphy by practicing the alphabet over and over.
    THREE. Mini succulents in individual pots.
    FOUR. The idea that everything happens for a reason, and sometimes not planning is the best way to be.
    FIVE. Mint green kitchen appliances.

    Let’s bake!!

    MAKES: 1 8-inch round cake
    PREP TIME: 15 minutes
    BAKE TIME: 35-40 minutes

    INGREDIENTS

    1 cup granulated sugar, plus more for the pan
    3 eggs, warmed
    1 tsp vanilla bean paste
    2 tsp vanilla extract
    ½ tsp salt
    1 cup flour
    14 Tbsp butter, melted and cooled slightly

    STEPS

    ONE. Preheat your oven to 350ºF. Line an 8-inch cake pan with a parchment circle, then grease the sides and bottom of the pan with butter. Coat the buttered pan with white sugar and shake around until it’s evenly coated.

    TWO. If your eggs are at anything other than room temperature, warm them in a bowl of hot water for a few minutes, this will help when you’re whipping air into them later. In the bowl of your stand mixer, beat the warmed eggs and cup of granulated sugar for 4 to 5 minutes, until they are doubled in size, pale yellow, and fall in thick ribbons when the mixer is turned off.

    THREE. Add the vanilla bean paste, vanilla extract, and salt. If you don’t have any vanilla bean paste, just add an extra teaspoon of vanilla extract to make it three total. Sift the flour over the egg mixture and fold in with a rubber spatula. It’s important to fold gently in order to maintain the air beaten into the eggs and not deflate them!

    FOUR. Drizzle the melted butter into the batter and mix, again gently, but until it’s totally incorporated. Pour the batter into your prepared pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes. The cake will puff in the oven and then sink a little when it’s removed, but that’s normal!

    FIVE. Remove the cake from the oven and run a knife around the edges, then allow it to cool for 5 minutes before removing it from the pan. Turn the cake onto a wire rack and continue to cool completely.

    This cake is best enjoyed slightly warm with a cup of tea!! xoxoxoxoxoD

  • Bourbon-Vanilla Bean Challah Bread Pudding with Creme Anglaise

    Wow this is a mouthful. Both phonetically and literally, huh? This week’s recipe is brought to you accidentally by Ina Garten again. I promise this isn’t a Barefoot Contessa-only blog all of a sudden, I’ve just been in such a mood and this bread pudding looked like exactly what I needed and I couldn’t get the thought out of my head once it was in there. Classic D.

    This is the simplest of bread pudding recipes, altered slightly from Ina’s brioche to use challah from a local bakery, and because I like to give myself more work whenever possible, a side of Creme Anglaise to go with it. That sounds much fancier than it actually is, to be honest it’s really just vanilla custard, but for some reason it takes this dish to the absolute next level. I really don’t think you can ever have too much vanilla, and it makes me sad when people say it’s a boring flavor. Vanilla is my favorite, there, I said it!! Vanilla ice cream? I’ll take that any day. Vanilla tootsie rolls were clearly the best ones, vanilla cake is classic for a REASON people! Anyway, now that we’re all hungry, let’s get down to business. This recipe is really easy, although waiting an hour and a half to eat it will be the most difficult thing you do all day. While you’re waiting, might I suggest doing a face mask or some other form of self-care, watch an episode of your favorite show, and then make some Creme Anglaise (but not too early, otherwise you’ll want to drink all of it before the pudding is done).

    Another fun thing to do while you wait is think of some things to be happy about, and speaking of which, here are your first five. I apologize in advance, I am my fullest form in the Christmas season and it begins NOW:
    ONE. The first Christmas song of the season.
    TWO. Drinking iced coffee long after it gets too cold to be acceptable.
    THREE. Peppermint hot chocolate.
    FOURStaying in for a movie night.
    FIVE. Half-priced Halloween candy on November 1st

    Serves: 8 to 10 people
    Prep Time: 20 minutes
    Bake Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

    Bread Pudding Ingredients
    adapted from Cooking Like A Pro

    1 Challah loaf plus another half loaf
    3 whole eggs
    8 egg yolks
    4 cups half-and-half
    1 cup whole milk
    1¼ cups white sugar
    2 tsp bourbon
    2 tsp vanilla extract
    1 tsp vanilla bean paste/ seeds from 1 vanilla bean
    Confectioners’ sugar; for serving
    Crème Anglaise; for serving (recipe below)

    Steps

    ONE. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Cut the half loaf of challah into roughly five slices ¾” thick and lay them on a sheet pan. Trim the crust off the full loaf and dice into roughly 1-inch cubes. Spread the cubes on a second sheet pan and toast both pans in the oven for 5 minutes.

    TWO. To make the custard, whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, half-and-half, milk, vanilla extract, and vanilla bean paste/ seeds in a large bowl. Set aside.

    THREE. Line a 10 x 12 inch baking dish with the toasted slices of challah, trimming as necessary so that they fit neatly and cover the bottom of the dish entirely. Evenly distribute the cubed bread pieces on top. Pour the custard over the whole thing and gently press down so that the mixture is absorbed. Allow to sit for 10 minutes.

    FOUR. Place the baking dish in a roasting pan large enough that the dish fits flat, and add an inch of boiling water to the roasting pan (avoid getting water in the pudding). Cover the whole thing with tin foil, poking a few holes here and there to allow steam to escape. Bake, covered, for 45 minutes. Remove the tin foil and bake for an additional 45 minutes, until the custard is set.

    FIVE. Serve warm, with a dusting of confectioners’ sugar and a generous drizzle of Crème Anglaise.


    Crème Anglaise Ingredients

    1 cup milk
    ¾ cup heavy cream
    1 tbsp bourbon (optional)
    2 tsp vanilla bean paste/ seeds from 1 vanilla bean
    4 egg yolks
    1/3 cup white sugar

    Crème Anglaise Steps

    ONE. Add the milk, cream, bourbon, and vanilla bean to a saucepan and heat on medium until small bubbles appear around the edges and steam begins to rise. Separately, in a large mixing bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until pale and combined.

    TWO. While whisking continuously, slowly drizzle the hot milk mixture into the eggs, a little at a time so as not to scramble the eggs, until all is incorporated. Then, transfer this mixture back to the saucepan.

    FOUR. Cook this mixture on low heat. whisking constantly, until it becomes slightly thickened and coats the back of a spoon. Strain the thickened mixture through a sieve and then allow to cool before serving.

    YAY!! xoxoxoxo