How to make what I made at Will Bake for Food

Another great Will Bake for Food is in the books. With a donation total of over $2500 and a wagon full of donated goods, the two Jennys have created another fun community undertaking. From the army of food bloggers that showcased their wares to the throngs of giddy customers, we had a great time and enjoyed being involved with it. Thankfully, all of the festivities were to benefit the noble efforts of the Emergency Feeding Program of Seattle and King Country. And here is how to make the baked goods I brought to the hoedown.

  • Frank’s Granola

I’ve already shared my recipe on how to make my version of granola, so please visit the post. The key takeaway; granola is easy to make and your imagination can create any combination that you like. Feel free to add nuts, dried fruit, candy, or anything else to your mix. The important part is knowing the ratios and not adding too much bulk that it won’t brown. And keep an eye on the granola after 60 minutes; this is the moment where it’ll start turning golden brown, feel free to stir to distribute the granola.

  • Brown Butter Nordy Bars

Growing up in Seattle, shopping at Nordstrom is a rite of passage. As a kid, the opportunity of having a Nordy Bar from the Nordstrom Cafe was a highlight of these trips. It was a perfectly dense, slightly rich, and delicious sweet treat. A hybrid between a blondie and a cookie, this was one of my favorite things about Nordstrom visits.

A recent twitter chat with some friends brought the Nordy Bar back into my mindshare. Naturally, it was to be made for Will Bake for Food. I did a bit of research and landed on this recipe that seemed close. Wanting to elevate it a bit, I thought of browning the butter to add that distinct nuttiness that brown butter gives.

The Brown Butter Nordy Bars were excellent. But they weren’t exactly a Nordy Bar as I remember it. I think I’ll spend some time researching the Nordy Bar and tweaking the recipe to see if I can create that perfect snack that I had growing up. And maybe start a grassroots campaign to have Nordstrom bring it back. Stay tuned.

  • Compost Cookies

These cookies have been written ad nauseum on the blogosphere and I wanted to include my take on these delicious cookies for Will Bake for Food. Made famous by New York’s Momofuku Milk Bar, the chief baker, Christina Tosi used the notion of clearing out your pantry of various sweets and savory snacks to use in a cookie. It is awesome.

I’ve had the benefit of having the original cookie at the Upper East Side Milk Bar and through their online ordering system. But the recipe for making them at home hasn’t been crystal clear. Before the recipe was released in the Momofuku Milk Bar cookbook, plenty of bloggers offered their take on how to make it. Some were close, but weren’t quite there. Then, the Amateur Gourmet found the recipe on the Live! With Regis and Kelly website, which is oddly random in its own right. So the recipe was available for all. Still, they weren’t quite right; they were close, but they weren’t the perfect compost cookie. I made a few different batches after reading the comments in the Amateur Gourmet posts and noticed that others shared my issue; the cookies ran, the ratios were a bit off, etc.

Then the Momofuku Milk Bar cookbook came out this fall. Bakers rejoiced. I was able to see Christina Tosi recently at Seattle’s Book Larder to talk about the book and her history at Milk Bar. One of the chief takeaways that I had was her use of glucose in baked goods. This bit of food science was something she picked up from kitchen experience and cooking school and something I’ve never considered in baking (she’s a pro for a reason, folks). Glucose is an invert sugar syrup that aids in keeping the cookie crisper longer and add body and texture. I wouldn’t have known this without hearing Chef Tosi talk about her baking techniques. I now think I’ll work glucose into more of my baking.

Without further ado, here is how to make the version of Compost Cookies that I made for Will Bake For Food:

Continue reading

Will Bake for Food this weekend

The 2nd Annual Will Bake for Food is this weekend. After having a great (and successful) time last year, the two Jennys, along with their food blogging friends, are back at it again to support the Emergency Feeding Program of Seattle and King County. Put on by the Jennys (Jenny Miller of Rainy Day Gal and Jenny Richards of Purple House Dirt), Will Bake for Food is an epic bake sale featuring a platoon of talented local food bloggers. It goes from 11am-2pm on Saturday, November 12 at the University Heights Center in the U-District neighborhood.

I’ll be helping out again and look forward to this year’s event. I have an idea of what to make and it should be tasty. Last year, I made Meyer Lemon Cookies from a recipe that my mom wanted to keep a secret. Until I posted it to the internet. Good food should be shared!

Be sure to join myself, the Jennys, and our blogging friends as we do our part to benefit the Emergency Feeding Program. Please bring non-perishable goods or monetary donations. And bring an appetite, I have a feeling my food-writing brethren will step up their game.

McVitie’s S’mores

In the world of ingenuity, this doesn’t exactly push sliced bread out of the way, but it is pretty great; McVitie’s S’mores. That’s correct, a simple little British biscuit with a toasted marshmallow. First, I’ll have to give credit to my friend Tea for coming up with it. Last summer, in a moment of craving, she yearned for a McVitie via Twitter. And not just any McVitie; the chocolate dipped one. And what is a McVitie you ask? It’s a biscuit (what the Brits call cookies), that’s sorta similar to a Marie Lu cookie, but so much better. For McVitie’s have their own unique crumb. And they are delicious in a way that you have a craving that needs to the satisfied now. Which explains Tea’s wants. Then in a moment of ingenious innovation she mentioned that she likes to make s’mores with them.  Here’s how:

First, you get yourself a McVitie. They’re not exactly easy to find; in Seattle, you can find them in the British section at Metropolitan Market. If you’re not in Seattle, good luck. There are two different types of McVitie’s. One is the standard biscuit. It’s okay, but when you have the other option you must go with it; Milk Chocolate. It’s the standard and it has been augmented with one side of the biscuit coated in chocolate. It is awesome.

Next, get some marshmallows. Self explanatory in making s’mores really. Now if you can get your hands on homemade marshmallows even better. The wonderful Ashley Rodriguez shows how to make them yourself. As for the chocolate, the McVitie already has chocolate so you can skip this step of s’more building.

I think at this point, you should have an idea of how to make s’mores. But if you’re not near a campfire, you can toast it over the burner on your range. If you don’t have a gas range, you can use your imagination. Be safe. At the very least, you have a chocolate dipped cookie.

There you have it. A quick way to enjoy a time-honored snack in a clever new way. And we have our friend Tea to thank. (Thanks!)

Update – For a more formal recipe format, here you go:

McVitie’s S’mores

Ingredients:

  • 2 McVitie’s – Milk Chocolate version
  • 3 Marshmallows

Directions

  1. Take one McVities and place chocolate side up on a plate
  2. Place marshmallows onto fork or other lenghty device, a skewer would be swell
  3. Over open flame (goes without saying to be careful), toast marshmallow to preferred doneness
  4. Remove from flame (extinguish flame if need be) and place newly toasted marshmallows onto McVitie
  5. Take other McVitie with chocolate side down and squeeze marshmallows and remove fork
  6. Enjoy

Note – This recipe can be scaled up.

 

Ping’s Lemon Cookies; my contribution to Will Bake For Food

If you had an ear to the food blogging streets of Seattle, you may have heard about Will Bake For Food this past weekend; a benevolent event brought to us by the Two Jennys (Jenny Richards and Jenny Miller)  to support Northwest Harvest. If you were there, you were able to take in the sights, sounds, and smells of a room full of delicious baked goods. All created by your friendly neighborhood food bloggers. On behalf of all of us, thank you for your support and I hope you enjoyed your treats. As promised during this weekend’s Will Bake For Food, here is my recipe for the Meyer Lemon Cookies that I brought. Continue reading

Will Bake For Food – benefiting Northwest Harvest

Tomorrow will be a bake sale of epic proportions. It’s not one the likes of Seattle has seen often. It is known as Will Bake for Food and it will be awesome, and not just because I’ll be helping to support it.

Will Bake for Food is a bake sale event to benefit Northwest Harvest and the goods will be provided by various food bloggers around town. And I will be one of them. Thankfully the skill and talent bar will be much higher than my capabilities, so you’ll be able to find all sorts of wonderful baked goods that suit your sugar cravings. In fact, the talented Eric Rivera tweeted last night that he’ll include a golden ticket into one of his treats for a private dinner cooked by him, which is pretty awesome. Now I need to find a way to step up my game, thanks Eric.

But the biggest thanks should go to my friend Jenny Richards and Jenny Miller. The “Jennys” got this rolling and accrued quite the roster of food bloggers to lend a hand (or a cookie… or a cake…) to the event to benefit Northwest Harvest. They will also be accepting non-perishable food donation; so the goal of hunger relief will be carried through one way or another.

Look forward to seeing you at the University Congregational Church tomorrow morning from 10-2pm. I’ll be there and so should you. Oh, as for what I’m making, there will be Meyer Lemon Cookies and Bibingka Bites. Bon appetit!

Saturday, November 20th, 2010
10am-2pmish

University Congregational Church
Ostrander Hall
4515 16th Ave. NE
Seattle, WA 98105

Pouding Chômeur ice cream

A few weeks ago we went over to our friend Viv‘s ‘dorm commons’ for a good ol’ fashion ice cream social. What made this decadent dessert party unique was that the other guests of the day were local foodies with equally unique perspective on food; all ready to bring their A game with their ice creams. So I needed to step up and bring something clever, fun, and most importantly delicious. Enter Pouding Chômeur ice cream.

What is Pouding Chômeur you ask? It’s a rich, sweet dessert native to Quebec. It takes a simple cake that is baked along with a sauce that uses a hefty amount of heavy cream and maple syrup. Translated it means ‘poor man’s pudding’ and the humble ingredients reflect that moniker. We had pouding chômeur during our trip to Montreal and our dinner at Martin Picard’s famed Au Pied du Cochon. Prior to the trip I knew nothing about this dish. After an epic dinner, our server recommended the pouding chômeur. Out came this amber-hued dessert that sat with a scoop of ice cream. It was delicious; endlessly sweet, highlighted by the distinctive notes of the maple syrup.

So when the invite to the ice cream social went out, I wanted to do something with pouding chômeur. After scouring the Internet, I never found a recipe for pouding chômeur ice cream. Lots of recipes with interpretations of the dish served it a la mode, but nothing combined the two. So from necessity comes innovation; I decided to make one up myself. Besides, it’s just a twist on a bread pudding ice cream.

As for the ice cream base, I ended up using a mascarpone ice cream. My thoughts were that the cheesy tang of this ice cream would provide a nice contrast with the sweetness of the pouding chômeur. And the mascarpone ice cream recipe is ridiculously easy to make.

In the end, the pouding chômeur ice cream came out really well; dense chunks of the cake, swirls of the maple cream throughout. It made for a clever take on two things I’ve enjoyed and a delicious and unique dessert to boot.

So you want to take a stab at making your own? Follow along after the jump: Continue reading

Frost Doughnuts in Mill Creek

Donuts are one of the foods that reach down to the very core of my food-loving self. If I were to classify the foods that got me to this level of food geekdom it would be fried chicken, dim sum, ice cream, chicken adobo, and donuts. Perfectly healthy. Perfectly awesome. Growing up, all of these framed my love of food.

In the case of donuts, the local grocery store did the trick; grab a couple of maple bars, maybe a bismark and I’d be rolling. And if I could hit that maple bar in the microwave? Hell yes. But as I’ve developed my palate and started thinking about what I eat, the grocery store donuts don’t really cut it anymore. Odd, off flavors, inconsistent, super sweet. Locally there were some OK donuts; Top Pot is pretty good – but the Surly Gourmand isn’t a fan. He did turn me on to a place in New York called the Doughnut Plant. Which has some of the best donuts (heck, best eats) I’ve ever had. But since I don’t live on NY’s Lower East Side, I needed to shift my attention and cravings to local offerings. And I’m happy to say that I think I’ve found a donut place that I’m happy to indulge in on a regular basis. Frost Doughnuts, welcome to my food decision-making process.

I heard a fair bit about Frost before visiting. They were talked about on Twitter often and were recently a hit at the Seattle Food & Wine Experience. What I like about them is that they opened up in the North End, particularly Mill Creek. I have a soft spot for places that open up in Snohomish County; good for the area and good for me when I go back home. But I reserved my excitement for Frost. I knew that donuts could be great, most are good, many are awful. Where would Frost fit?

Well, when I finally visited, I really enjoyed their donuts. Jonathan Kauffman (formerly of the Seattle Weekly) wrote a great post about the Frost experience and what he had. I did love their cruller; that thing is like a delicate drop of fried heaven. And they have a lot of clever and creative flavors. For bacon lovers, they have a bacon maple bar. Sweet, savory, bacon-y, what you’d expect with a bacon donut. On their menu, they mention a bunch of their flavors that are unique. When I visited in March, they had a few flavors that were St. Patrick’s Day inspired. One thing to consider, these donuts aren’t cheap. It’s a premium product, so be prepared to shell out a couple of bucks for some of these donuts.

A few other things to know about Frost; they donate their end of night donuts to a local food bank. Very noble and I would like to see more restaurants/eateries do this. The place has a lot of polish to it, so you can see that they have grand goals with branding and merchandise. And be prepared for a lot of brown & pink when you step inside. And if you do make the trek to Mill Creek for Frost’s donuts, be sure to check out their Twitter for the latest.

Another thing for donut lovers to keep an eye on; the unbelievably talented Lara Ferroni is working on a donut book. And yes, it’s just as awesome as you’d think it’d be. And lastly, another link for people to go nuts over donuts. My friend Tracy Schneider went crazy with donut posts lately. If you want to learn about the fried deliciousness of donuts, check out her Choice Morsel blog.

Frost Doughnuts on Urbanspoon

Momofuku Milk Bar is ready to ship

On the heels of last week’s gift guide comes news that makes for one of the best gifts to the sweet tooth in your life: Momofuku Milk Bar is shipping their cookies and pies. As a result, a nation of food lover’s rejoice.

Momofuku Milk Bar is the dessert arm of Chef David Chang’s empire. Connected to Momofuku Ssam Bar in the East Village, it’s where pastry Chef Christina Tosi works her magic. And all of their treats are unique, innovative, and most of all delicious.

We were able to visit Ssam Bar and Milk Bar during a trip to NYC in October. We heard of the unusual concoctions that they make at Milk Bar, so our anticipation to try their stuff was high. They didn’t disappoint. And the cookies, oh the cookies. I’m a bit of a cookie freak and we ordered a half dozen cookies for the walk back to our hotel and to snack on for breakfast in the morning. My personal favorite was the appropriately named Compost Cookie. Made of a hodgepodge of ingredients that include potato chips, pretzels, coffee grounds, chocolate chips, graham crumbs, and butterscotch chips; this cookie is weird, tasty and interesting. Order this. And laugh gleefully when you get to enjoy it.

Now we have the ability to eat these at the ready. Thank you David Chang and Christina Tosi for opening up the Milk Bar doors to share their treats with fans across the country. Right now it’s the cookies and crack pie that they’ll be shipping. I don’t know how quickly they’ll ship before Christmas time; regardless, they will make an awesome gift for any season.

Word of warning though; shipping prices are notoriously expensive, so consider this before your order. I played around on the site and it can be very expensive. Couple this with keeping the cookies fresh, expedited service will drive the shipping cost up.

Click here to order.

Photo from Momofuku

Ben and Jerry’s Flipped Out

Ben & Jerry’s is blowing my mind right now. Did my check up on the latest cool food news that Serious Eats drops on us, and they shared this bit of info about the latest from the good ice cream folks in Vermont. Basically, Ben & Jerry’s is starting to make some in carton sundaes as their latest product. But it’s not just the product that’s cool; their entire marketing campaign is freaking awesome. This new treat is called Flipped Out and I’m on board.

In learning more about Flipped Out, I was pointed to Ben & Jerry’s Facebook page. They had a little page dedicated to Flipped Out. On it, they talked about the new flavors that are a part of this launch; Vanilla Fudge Brownie, and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. What’s funky about Flipped Out is that it’s a contained sundae. When you open the lid you’ll see a layer of brownies, then the ice cream, and then fudge! Will this contribute to America’s weight problem? Absolutely. Will that stop me? No! You can either start your ice cream attack, or follow the Flipped Out lead and push out the ice cream like suggested.

While digging even deeper, I learned of the marketing that Ben & Jerry is executing for Flipped Out. And it’s quite the plan. In fact, it’s pretty awesome. First off, they’re Facebook page has this quirky little application that flips the text upside down! In fact, check out their twitter to see some examples. It’s crazy.

Also (and this is where it gets cool), the Flipped Out truck is on a nationwide tour doing its thing and giving out ice cream! To quote them, ‘it will be unflipping believable!’ Here is the line-up of where they’ll be. In fact, RSVP via their Facebook to get in on the action.

  • 6/27-28 – Brooklyn, NY – McCarren Park (27th), Prospect Park (28th)
  • 7/2-5 – Rothbury, MI – Rothbury Music Festival
  • 7/11-13 – Seattle, WA – Victor Steinbrueck Park (11th), Seward Park (12th), Westlake Park (13th)
  • 7/15 – Portland, OR – Pioneer Courthouse Square
  • 7/18-22 – San Francisco, CA – Union Square (18th), Golden Gate Park (19th), Justin Herman Plaza (21-22)

There you have it. The perpetual greatness of Ben & Jerry’s continues this summer. I’ll be sure to be at the Seattle stops. Next up is to go to the store and load up on this stuff.

Celebrating National Doughnut Day in Seattle

When I was in high school my diet pretty much consisted of milk, cookies, and donuts. How I was able to clock in at 165 for those years is still a scientific miracle. If you were to look back at foods that you could identify with at points of your life, my teenage years would include donuts, college = teriyaki, post-college = unbelievable amounts of beer. And pizza. The last few years? Still to be determined. Donuts brought me to where I am today and they are part of my food DNA. Which is why I’m excited to find out that next Friday is National Doughnut Day.

It took the good folks at Seattlest to bring to my attention that Tangletown’s own Mighty-O will be celebrating National Doughnut Day by giving out free mini donuts. (Doughnuts and donuts are the same thing; the shorter version is pretty much colloquial; both are fine. Stop being uptight, no one likes a grammar nerd.) Of course, this is cool and free food is the best kind.

I love donuts and it’s awesome that Seattle has two of the finest purveyors of donuts around; Mighty-O and Top Pot. What’s great is that each is very different.

Mighty-O exclusively plays in the cake donut world. Dense, yet still light, and satisfying. They also are very proud at being organic, vegan, and using natural ingredients. Noble indeed. If I had a favorite Mighty-O flavor it would be the Vanilla Cake Cinnamon Sugar. Simple, delicate, and awesome.

Top Pot is different because they play in the entire world of donut goodness. Cake, fried, they do all the good stuff. With several locations around town, you won’t have to search very far for your donut fix. I like a lot of their stuff. When I feel overly ambitious, I’ll go for the Boston Cream Pie; a calorie-laden treat consisting of a chocolate-topped, custard-filled yeast donut. Delicious. But my de facto favorite is their Apple Fritter. I first had it at a Starbucks (back when I still went to SBUX, I think my last visit was in ’04), and they offered to heat it up. A warm donut? Of course! Back to the high school connection, I would always microwave my maple bars before school. About 13 seconds to heat up and soften the maple and you have a warm doughy delight. But back to the Apple Fritter – heated up a touch, it’s gooey, pliable, and delicious. Plus, it has apple, so it’s healthy.

Enjoy National Doughnut Day! It always falls on the first Friday of June, so be sure to swing by your local doughnut/donut shop. In fact, get a dozen to bring them into the office. You’ll be the hero for the day and make the workday that much more enjoyable.