Monday, May 20, 2019

Banana Pudding

Growing up in the northwest, we would have "a barbecue" and that might mean a picnic or gathering or potluck, whether it included meat or fire or not. Here where I live in the south, we would never use the word barbecue that way, and barbecue is serious business. In my state of South Carolina alone, there are four different bbq regions (with different sauces) and even a BBQ Trail Map. One of my coworkers has been trained as an official bbq judge. Only in the last few years have I even eaten meat, so I'm still learning about the difference in meat styles. But up to that point (and part of me may still believe this now) I thought that bbq was like Thanksgiving - it's important that the meat centerpiece is good but that people are more interested in the sides.

One side you see everywhere in the south is banana pudding, from seafood shacks to the finest dining establishments downtown (ten years ago I made Soby's White Chocolate Banana Cream Pie for friends visiting from Oregon, and I think that was intended as an elevated banana pudding.) But just like macaroni and cheese, a side-dish I also made from this same cookbook, you never eat the same pudding twice. Everyone has their own take, their own technique. This recipe has you assemble the pudding and bananas and cookies at the last minute, where many southerners would have had you put the pudding and cookies together overnight so everything is soft. Maybe we all find our own way.

Banana Pudding(from BBQ&A with Myron Mixon)

Makes 6 servings


5 large egg yolks
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/3 cup sugar
Dash of kosher salt
2 cups whole milk (do not use skim)
2 tbsp unsalted cold butter
2 tsp vanilla extract*
18 Nilla wafer cookies, coarsely crushed
3 ripe bananas, thinly sliced*

In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the cornstarch, sugar, and salt. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, gradually bring the milk to a boil. Gradually whisk the milk into the egg yolk mixture until smooth. Transfer the pudding mixture (back) to the saucepan. Cook over moderate heat, whisking, until the pudding is thick, about 3 minutes. Scrape the pudding into a bowl and whisk in the cold butter and vanilla. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, at least 4 hours, or overnight.

When you are ready to serve the pudding: spoon the pudding into 6 bowls. Garnish with the thinly sliced bananas and sprinkle all over with the crushed Nilla wafers. Serve cold, right away.

Note: You can serve the cookies without crushing them - just allow 3 per bowl. You can also add a couple tbsp of banana or almond liqueur (or a combination of both) into the pudding mixture right after you transfer it to the saucepan.

*Notes from JennyBakes - I substitute banana liqueur for the vanilla because I've always thought it was strange that the only banana in banana pudding is the bananas! I wouldn't cut the bananas until right before serving, OR put them in a dish and smother with the pudding to chill, and top with the Nilla wafers so they get a little soft... this seems more standard for southern pudding. This recipes leaves the Nilla wafers pretty crunchy.

BBQ&A with Myron Mixon came out May 7, 2019, from ABRAMS Books, and has a lot of practical how-to information, diagrams too, that should be an asset to anyone wanting to up their barbecue game.

This post is sponsored by ABRAMS Books, as part of the ABRAMS Dinner Party.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Bread Pudding French Toast with Bacon and Rosemary-Orange Maple Syrup

Peter Sherman is the founder of BarBacon in NYC, a restaurant centered around bacon. His new cookbook, The Bacon Bible (by Peter Sherman with Stephanie Banyas,) came out April 23rd. It has a lot of what you might expect but also some surprises. I'm relatively new to eating meat again but of course one of the great pleasures of a meat eating life is bacon. BLTs! Cobb salad!  I wanted this bacon to be special so I bought local, from the Swamp Rabbit Butchery

I found I had marked a bunch but I kept coming back to this sweet and savory brunch recipe and decided to give it a try. Since not everyone in my household eats bacon, I made a half recipe by cutting everything in half and just using 4 eggs, and cutting back on cooking times a bit (20-25 minutes with the foil, 15 without) and it worked perfectly. The bacon is present but not overpowering, and overall the dish is not too sweet and has a lot of balance (don't skip the orange rosemary syrup which helps with this.)

Bread Pudding French Toast with Bacon and Rosemary-Orange Maple Syrup

1 loaf semolina-golden raisin bread, cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) cubes*
7 large eggs
2 cups (400 g) sugar
2 cups (480 ml) whole milk
2 cups (480 ml) heavy cream
2 tsp finely grated orange zest
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
8 thin slices bacon, cooked until crisp, finely chopped

Rosemary-Orange Maple Syrup (recipe below)
Confectioners' Sugar for serving (optional)

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Spread the bread in a single layer on a baking sheet and toast in the oven until a pale golden blond color, turning once, about 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly. Increase the oven temperature to 350 F.

Grease a 9x13-inch baking dish with butter and nonstick spray. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar. Add the milk, cream, orange zest, and vanilla, and whisk until smooth. Stir in the bacon. Add the bread to the custard mixture and stir well to combine. Let the mixture sit, stirring a few more times, for 20 minutes, or until the bread has absorbed all the liquid.

Transfer the bread mixture to the prepared pan, cover with aluminum foil, and bake for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking until puffed and the top is golden brown, about 30 minutes longer.  Cut into squares and serve with the Rosemary-Orange Maple Syrup and a sprinkle of confectioner's sugar.

Rosemary-Orange Maple Syrup

1 cup pure maple syrup, preferably grade B
Zest of one large navel orange
3 sprigs fresh rosemary

In a small saucepan, combine the syrup, zest, and rosemary, and bring to a simmer over low heat. Cover, remove from the heat, and let steep for thirty minutes. Remove the zest and rosemary and reheat before serving, if needed. Makes 1 cup.

*If you prefer your french toast made with brioche or challah, feel free to use either, just add 1/3 cup golden raisins and 1/4 tsp fennel seeds to the egg mixture. (Or if you're like me, just wing it... I found a challah with regular raisins and called it close enough.)

I had a few pieces of bacon leftover so I made chocolate covered bacon from the candy section of the cookbook.

Other recipes I've marked to try include:

Bacon Ramen
BarBacon Cobb
Skillet Pasta Carbonara
Peanut Butter and Bacon Bars

This post is sponsored by ABRAMS Books, as part of the ABRAMS Dinner Party.

Monday, May 06, 2019

Mexican Chocolate Tres Leches Cake

By the time you see this cake, it will be 364 days until the next Cinco de Mayo, so write it down and come back. Or make it sometime this summer, whatever the reason. It is super moist, not too sweet, and refreshing. I made a half recipe and baked in a 9x9 pan for 30 minutes and that worked out great!

Mexican Chocolate Tres Leches Cake

Yields 9x13" cake

    For the cake:
  • 1 cup hot coffee
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/3 cups whole milk
  • 3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped

  • For the milk mixture:
  • 1 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 cup chocolate milk

  • For the whipped cream topping:
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Grease 9x13" baking pan with butter or cooking spray.
  3. Combine hot coffee and butter in medium bowl, stirring until butter is melted. If the butter doesn't melt all the way, microwave for 30 seconds.
  4. In a large bowl, combine eggs, milk, vanilla, and sugar, stirring until well combined.
  5. In a medium bowl combine flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, stirring until well combined.
  6. Add flour mixture to egg mixture, stirring until about halfway combined, then add coffee mixture, stirring until well combined.
  7. Stir in chopped chocolate.
  8. Pour batter into the pan.
  9. Bake in preheated oven for 45-50 minutes, until a toothpick comes out with some loose crumbs on it.
  10. Let the cake cool completely.
  11. Once cake is cooled, combine condensed milk, evaporated milk, and chocolate milk and stir well to combine.
  12. Poke lots of holes in the cake with a toothpick or a fork - the more the better, so it soaks up all the milks!
  13. Pour the milk mixture over the cake.
  14. Refrigerate at least an hour.
  15. Make whipped topping by combining heavy cream, cocoa powder, cinnamon, and whipping until stiff peaks form. I use my electric mixer for this but if you want a good arm workout - use a whisk and your arm!
  16. Spread whipped topping over chilled cake.
  17. Dust with powdered sugar, cinnamon, and a sprinkle of more cayenne, if desired!
  18. Slice and enjoy!
Recipe adapted from How Sweet It Is

Monday, April 29, 2019

The Power of Sprinkles Cake Experiment

I have had this cake cookbook on my pile for a while to try and finally pulled all the pieces together! Amirah Kassem is the personality, baker, and cake decorator behind the sprinkle explosion cakes at Flour Shop. Her new book, The Power of Sprinkles, shows the method behind making the cake. Really The Power of Sprinkles is more of a decorating book, because it only contains one cake and one frosting recipe, but then goes on to demonstrate a bunch of variations, from the unicorn cakes to the sushi cakes to the cakes that look like other things (pizza, pancakes, etc.) Because of the one recipe issue, I am not including it in this post; please take a look at the cookbook!

It felt to me like sprinkles were the important thing, so I decided to make a small explosion cake. I had ordered fancy sprinkles already! I used the basic suggestions for the sushi roll cakes, which divided one cake recipe into two 9x13 pans (two colors) and used a half recipe of the icing. Amirah has very clear directions in her book, with pictures for each step. This is how I remembered to put holes in my cakes but not the top layer, and to remember to fill the cake with sprinkles before putting that top layer on! She also has helpful recommendations for timing, scaling up or down, or other variations.

I had been poking around the cake decorating part of the internet (a huge rabbit hole) and decided to try out the watercolor technique on the outside. 

I definitely used too much food coloring in the watercolor stage, but liked how this technique required less icing (I was worried I shouldn't have halved the batch!) and lets you use up all the dregs in the watercolor process, which is basically random blops that get smoothed to a vaguely abstract look (or in my case - almost smoothed. I really need a cake turner!)

This post is sponsored by ABRAMS Books, as part of the ABRAMS Dinner Party. 

The Power of Sprinkles came out April 9, 2019.

You can use the book for a whole host of ideas for seasonal parties or fun themes, or even just as a jumping off point for your own creative ventures. The cake I made is not exactly pictured, but I pulled inspiration from some of her versions and used her primary cake and frosting recipes.

Check out her website and Instagram too, which may be the two most colorful places on the internet!

Monday, April 22, 2019

Double Dark Chocolate Banana Muffins

I follow a bunch of bakers and other foodie types in Instagram, and one of my favorite is the Table for Two account. Her daily espresso stir into milk is mesmerizing (watch her stories, you'll see what I mean.) I saw these muffins come up the other day, was home for the day, and totally craving chocolate. I also had a lone wonky banana that wasn't going to make it to the weekend. These muffins start with a trick that makes a big difference - high heat to lift the height of the muffins. Please visit the Table for Two blog for answers to FAQ about this recipe, detailed picture instructions, and all her other content. (This is not a paid advertisement by the way, I just like this account a lot.)

Double Dark Chocolate Banana Muffins
(from Julie Wampler at the Table for Two blog)

3 ripe bananas, mashed
4 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg, room temperature
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup plain greek yogurt, room temperature
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup dark cocoa powder, sifted
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2/3 cup dark chocolate chips, more for topping


Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a muffin pan with muffin liners and lightly spray them with cooking spray. Set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together bananas, maple syrup, vanilla extract, egg, coconut oil, and greek yogurt. Set aside.

In a medium bowl whisk together flour, baking soda, cocoa powder, and salt.

Carefully pour in the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix until just incorporated and no flour is left at the bottom.

Fold in the chocolate chips.

Using a large cookie scoop (or ice cream scoop), fill the muffin cups 3/4 full and add additional chocolate chips on top, if desired. Repeat until all the batter is used up. You may get more than a dozen, that's okay.

Bake for 5 minutes at 425 degrees Fahrenheit then turn down the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and finish baking for 12 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffin comes out clean.

Remove from oven and let cool in the muffin pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Notes from JennyBakes:

Julie at the Table for Two blog is pretty adamant that you can use a neutral oil like avocado or grapeseed instead of coconut, but says not to use olive or canola or vegetable. I didn't want to wait for my other cold ingredients to warm to room temperature (necessary when working with coconut oil, otherwise it resolidifies) - I used vegetable oil, and thought it was fine.

I used regular flour instead of whole wheat.

I used sour cream instead of yogurt.

I made 1/3 of the recipe because I had 1 banana!

Monday, April 15, 2019

Whole-wheat spelt, date, and molasses scones

I served these scones as an accompaniment to another recipe from A Modern Cook's Year: More than 250 Vibrant Vegetarian Recipes to Get You Through the Seasons, which I will discuss below. It was a good decision because these are not very sweet, but add a nice contrast to the dish I prepared. I didn't have quite a full cup of spelt flour so I used a little bit of all-purpose in the same amount, and it worked just fine. You can actually substitute all-purpose flour entirely, but the texture will be a bit denser.

Whole-wheat spelt, date, and molasses scones

Makes 6

1 cup (125 g) pitted dates
5 fluid oz (150 ml) freshly brewed strong black or earl grey tea
1 cup (125 g) whole-wheat spelt flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp flaky sea salt
2 tbsp (30 g) cold unsalted butter, cubed
1 tbsp molasses
1/3 cup (75 g) buttermilk or thin natural yogurt

For the glaze:

1 organic or free range egg
1 tbsp milk
a pinch of sea salt
a handful of rolled oats

Preheat the oven to 395 F (200 C.)

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Soak the dates in the hot tea for 15 minutes, until the tea has cooled a little. Mix together the flour, baking powder, allspice, and sea salt with your fingertips, then add the butter until the mix looks like bread crumbs. You could also do this by pulsing it in a food processor.

Drain, then roughly chop the dates and add them to the mix, along with the molasses and buttermilk. Mix slowly and lightly until the mixture forms a soft but not too sticky dough. Shape into a rough round ball, place on a prepared baking sheet, and use a knife to score across the top, to mark out six portions, stopping before the knife reaches the baking sheet. It should look a bit like a loaf of soda bread.

Mix the egg and milk for the glaze with a pinch of salt and brush it over the top, then sprinkle with the oats, pressing them into the dough lightly to stick them down.

Bake for 15 minutes, then turn the baking sheet and reduce the heat to 360 F (180 C) and continue to bake for about 10 more minutes, until the top is a dark golden brown and when you turn the scone over and tap it, it sounds hollow. Serve warm from the oven and break up as required.

I served this scone loaf with Cauliflower rice with eggs and green chutney from the same cookbook. As skeptical as I have been about cauliflower pretending to be other things, this treatment of it was delicious and we will have it again!

A Modern Cook's Year: More than 250 Vibrant Vegetarian Recipes to Get You Through the Seasons by Anna Jones is one of the books from ABRAMS that I've been procrastinating on because it has so many recipes I want to make! As a former vegetarian still married to one, I know the suffering of most vegetarian options at restaurants and even the offerings in vegetarian cookbooks - so many pastas, and so many portabella "steaks."

This cookbook comes from a different philosophy. First of all it is very seasonal, but it is also British in all the best ways. The recipes feel like they come from a country garden with rotating seasonal produce but also influenced by current eating trends and international cuisines. Sometimes Anna Jones provides a recipe, but other times she provides a formula. There are two pages of curry formulas that I can't wait to try, and the springtime dishes have me searching for ramps already. This is definitely going on my permanent shelf for endless inspiration.

This post is sponsored by ABRAMS Books, as part of the ABRAMS Dinner Party.

Monday, April 08, 2019

Banana Pancakes with Cardamom Spiced Berries from Pescan

I made Spicy Buffalo Tofu Fingers from the Pescan Cookbook last month, but I had a few more pages marked to try. One morning we had berries in the fridge and bananas that were past their prime, and I remembered this recipe.

Banana Pancakes with Cardamom Spiced Berries

Spiced Berries
1 cup blackberries
1 cup raspberries
1 tbsp filtered water
2 tbsp maple syrup
1/4 tsp ground cardamom

2 ripe bananas
1/2 cup almond milk
1/2 cup filtered water
1 cup old-fashioned or gluten-free rolled oats
1/2 cup almond meal
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp kosher sea salt
2 tbsp chia seeds or 1 large egg
2 tsp coconut oil

Make the spiced berries. Place the blackberries, raspberries, and water in an 8-inch pan. Cook the berries over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the raspberries begin to break down, about 3 minutes. Stir in the maple syrup and cardamom, lower the heat to medium-low, and cook for about 3 minutes more, until the raspberries have broken down into a sauce. The blackberries may stay intact depending on how firm they are. The sauce will continue to thicken as it sits.

Make the pancakes. In a blender, combine the bananas, milk, water, oats, almond meal, baking powder, vanilla, cinnamon, salt, and chia seeds or egg. Blend, starting on low, then bringing it up to medium-high speed, until smooth, 30 seconds to 1 minute.

Heat a large nonstick skillet or griddle over medium heat, add 1 tsp of the coconut oil, and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan. When the pan is hot, after about 1 minute, make 2 pancakes using half of the batter (about 1/2 cup each), spreading the batter out with the back of a tablespoon. Cook until set on the bottom and a few bubbles appear on the surface, about 2 minutes, then flip and cook on the second side until lightly browned on the bottom, about another 2 minutes. Transfer the pancakes to a plate. Swirl the remaining teaspoon oil into the pan and repeat with the remaining batter.

Meanwhile, reheat the berry sauce over medium-low heat. Transfer the pancakes from the pan onto individual serving plates and top each with one quarter of the berry sauce. Reheat the first two pancakes in the pan over medium heat for 30 seconds per side, then transfer to serving plates and top with the rest of the berry sauce. Finish with a bit of softened coconut butter on top.

This post is sponsored by ABRAMS Books, as part of the ABRAMS Dinner Party. 
Pescan is available March 26, 2019.

Monday, April 01, 2019

Funfetti Cookie Dough Cake from Cake Confidence

I received a review copy of this cookbook  - Cake Confidence by Mandy Merriman - from the publisher through Edelweiss. I was excited to look through it because I have followed the baker in Instagram for a while now (@bakingwithblondie) where you can watch videos of her perfect cake decorating. My cake decorating is not so perfect, and I didn't have all the supplies on hand that she uses, but I still made a delicious cake to celebrate a staff member's pending new job at another library. I picked this for her because she wears a lot of vibrant colors and although she is an adult, she is younger than the rest of us, so cookie dough and sprinkles made sense to me. I added a bunch of notes to the end of this post about the changes I made. Pictures are of my cake; definitely check out the more perfect and taller version in the cookbook itself!

Funfetti Cookie Dough Cake

Funfetti Cake
3/4 cup buttermilk
2/3 cup sour cream
1/3 cup vegetable oil
4 egg whites
1 Tbsp. Mexican vanilla
1 box Duncan Hines white cake mix
1/2 cup rainbow jimmies

Eggless Cookie Dough
1/2 cup butter, slightly softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 Tbsp. milk
2 Tbsp. vanilla extract
1 cup flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1/2 cup rainbow jimmies

White Chocolate Ganache
1 cup "Very white" Wilton or Guittard white chocolate
1/4 cup heavy cream

Vanilla Buttercream
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
pinch of salt
1 Tbsp. Mexican vanilla
1/4 cup heavy cream
5-7 cups powdered sugar, sifted

cookie dough balls
rainbow jimmies

Sara and her cake (photo by Libby Young)

Funfetti Cake
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prep 6-inch cake rounds with a wipe of shortening and dust of flour.
  2. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, sour cream, vegetable oil, egg whites, and vanilla until combined. Sift in white cake mix and sprinkles and stir until just combined. Don't overmix!
  3. Bake for 25-27 minutes until center is baked through - don't overbake! Remove from oven, let cool in pan for 5 minutes, then flip out onto a cooling rack until room temperature.
Eggless Cookie Dough
  1. After the cake is finished baking, clean out the pans you used for the cake rounds, and press two layers of plastic wrap in an "x" in two of the pans, remembering to press the plastic wrap into the corners, and leaving about a few inches of overhang on all sides. Set aside. This will help you shape the cookie dough layer into the same size round as your cake.
  2. In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy, which should take about 3 minutes.
  3. Add the milk and vanilla and mix for about 30 seconds.  
  4. Add in the flour, salt, chocolate chips, and jimmies. The dough will be slightly sticky. Add in flour by the tablespoon as needed.
  5. Roll the dough into tiny balls (think marbles or a tad larger) for the top decor of your cake. Store those in a plastic bag or small Tupperware with lid. Set aside.
  6. Divide the remaining dough into two separate balls and press one ball in the two prepared cake pans. Using the bottom of a 1 cup measuring cup or the bottom of a drinking glass helps a lot! The dough should be 1/4-1/2 inch thick. Wrap the overhang over the dough and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.

White Chocolate Ganache
  1. In a small glass bowl, add in chocolate melts and heavy cream. Microwave for 30 seconds, then stir with a small whisk until smooth. Add to a squeeze bottle for ganache drip on the side of the cake.

Vanilla Buttercream
  1. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, whip up butter for about a minute until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  2. Add the salt, vanilla, and heavy cream until combined. Slowly add in powdered sugar, about a half cup at a time. Add in more heavy cream if needed for a thinner consistency. 
  3. Add in pink coloring if desired. Whip on high for 1 minute to create a soft buttercream.
  1. On a cake turntable, tape a 6-inch cardboard round on top of an 8-inch cardboard round. Top with a small amount of buttercream and spread it around to act like "glue" for holding the cake onto the board. 
  2. Place on first cake round and carefully top with the first cookie dough layer. Add on about a cup of buttercream, spread it flat with an offset cake spatula. Add on next layer of cake, and repeat with remaining two layers.
  3. Crumb coat the cake, place in the fridge to set for about 5 minutes.
  4. Add sprinkle rim on the bottom, freeze for a minute or so to set, then add on ganache drip.
  5. Place the cake in the freezer for 5 minutes to allow the ganache to firm before adding on the buttercream decor and topping them off with cookie dough balls.
Notes from JennyBakes:
  1. I don't have 6" cake rounds. I baked this cake in 2 9" cake rounds and made only one cookie dough layer. I made my tiny balls too big so almost didn't have enough for that layer.
  2. Because of time, even though I had the ingredients, I skipped the white chocolate ganache step.
  3. I had ordered a set of Fancy Sprinkles, so had to separate them out a bit before using them in this recipe. I tried to keep the tiny balls and jimmies for the cake batter and cookie dough and used the larger pieces on the outside and top. 
  4. I do not like this buttercream and if I made this cake again would use one of my old standbyes that have a more silky texture. Once you go Italian/Swiss buttercream there is just no use for powdered sugar buttercreams in my opinion.
  5. Even with all my modifications and less than perfect execution, this was hugely popular among my co-workers, who called it a unicorn cake and princess cake. The cookie dough inside really is a treat.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Spicy Buffalo Tofu Fingers from Pescan

A southern restaurant chain used to have buffalo tofu on the menu, and we would drive out of our way just to have some. A few years later they opened a restaurant in our town, but by then, they had removed the buffalo tofu from the menu. As I looked through Pescan: A Feel Good Cookbook by Abbie Cornish and Jacqueline King Schiller, several recipes caught my eye, but when I hit this recipe in the last section ("Party Food,") I knew what I would try first.

The entire cookbook is plant-based and dairy-free (with the addition of seafood in some of the recipes.) I did not make the Avocado Ranch Dressing they have listed with this recipe because I did not have immediate access to nutritional yeast at my grocery store (this is still considered a specialty ingredient here in the south.) Instead I bought commercial Avocado Ranch that does contain dairy, and also made a sour cream blue cheese dip since that is what I think of with buffalo flavor. Please consult the cookbook for that part of the recipe.

Tofu can sometimes be a struggle, and I've had a hard time bringing flavor into baked tofu. I really like the technique in this recipe, and would probably adopt it with other marinades/sauces as well. The only step I added was using my tofu press to remove even more moisture from the blocks of tofu.

Spicy Buffalo Tofu Fingers
(from Pescan)

2 (16-oz) packages super-firm tofu (I used extra-firm)
1/4 cup virgin coconut oil
1/4 cup hot sauce (any that lists vinegar as an ingredient; I used Frank's)
1/4 cup sriracha
3 tbsp honey*
2 tbsp fresh cilantro leaves

Preheat the oven to 400 F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut the tofu into fingers about 3/4 inch wide on all side and 3 inches long. Lay the fingers on the baking sheet so there is a little space between each one and bake for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small pot, melt the oil over medium-low heat. Add the hot sauce, sriracha, and honey and whisk to combine. Turn off the heat. Remove the tofu from the oven and brush with the sauce on all sides. Bake for 15 minutes more.

Turn the tofu fingers in the oven and brush with any remaining sauce. Bake for a final 15 minutes, or until lightly browned. If the tofu has not browned after 45 minutes, you can place it under the broiler 2-4 minutes before serving.

*The cookbook is plant-based and dairy-free but I'm noting that honey is still present. If you are completely vegan you of course will want a different ingredient here, maybe molasses or agave.

Pescan: A Feel Good Cookbook
 I like this way of cooking, and having seafood in the mix means the recipes include everything we eat in my house. The pictures in the cookbook are vibrant and really invite you in. Some seem to require a better juicer/blender than I have, and I would probably be more likely to buy nut milks than make my own, but I like the from-scratch mentality for sure.

Other recipes I have my eye on:

Golden Tea for Two
Strawberry-Lemon Chia Seed Jam
Banana Pancakes with Cardamom Spiced Berries
Spring Salad with Green Goddess Dressing
White Bean and Celery Salad with Pesto Grilled Shrimp

This post is sponsored by ABRAMS Books, as part of the ABRAMS Dinner Party. 
Pescan is available March 26, 2019.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Chocolate Cake with Mascarpone and Praline

I recently read Save Me the Plums: My Gourmet Memoir by Ruth Reichl (this comes out on April 2,) about her years as Editor in Chief at Gourmet Magazine. It fits nicely between her other memoirs, and goes up until Conde Nast closes the magazine with little warning.

Early on in her time there, as she was building relationships with the staff, they were working on a chocolate cake recipe for a YAFI (or a "You Asked For It") feature. She recognized the cake and was able to show them she really knew her stuff in that moment.

Of course I wanted to make the cake. It's a bit of an unusual technique, with boiling fats, water, and cocoa powder together first, then mixing those with sugar and chocolate, then letting the batter cool before doing more with it. I didn't have a high enough round pan so I baked it in an 8" square, and it worked just fine.

This recipe is more of a one-shot, make for a dinner party cake. If you assemble it too early, the praline will go soft, the mascarpone will need to be chilled, and the cake will dry out in the fridge. To bring it to my co-workers tomorrow, I'll bring everything separately.  

Chocolate Cake with Mascarpone and Praline
(recipe from Gourmet Magazine, April 1999, now available at, originally from Cafe Mezzo in London. Recipe is also included in forthcoming memoir.)


  1. For praline
    • 1/2 cup whole blanched almonds
    • 1/2 cup hazelnuts
    • 3/4 cup sugar
    • 1/4 cup water
  2. For cake
    • 3 ounces fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened)
    • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
    • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
    • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
    • 2/3 cup water
    • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
    • 1 large egg
    • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
    • 2 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1/3 cup well-shaken buttermilk
    • 8 ounces mascarpone cheese (about 1 cup) at room temperature
    • 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar


  1. Make praline:
    1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
    2. In a baking pan toast nuts in one layer in middle of oven 10 minutes, or until almonds are lightly colored and hazelnut skins are blistered. Wrap nuts in a kitchen towel and let steam 1 minute. Rub nuts in towel to remove any loose hazelnut skins (do not worry about skins that do not come off) and cool completely.
    3. Line a baking sheet with foil. In a small heavy saucepan bring sugar and water to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Boil syrup, without stirring, washing down any sugar crystals that cling to side of pan with a pastry brush dipped in cold water, until it begins to turn golden. Swirl pan until syrup is deep golden and remove from heat. Stir in nuts and pour praline onto baking sheet, spreading evenly. Cool praline completely and break into pieces. Transfer praline to a sealable plastic bag and with a rolling pin coarsely crush.
  2. Make cake:
    1. Preheat oven to 300°F. Generously butter a 9-inch round cake pan (at least 2 inches deep) and line bottom with wax or parchment paper. Butter paper and dust pan with flour, knocking out excess.
    2. Finely chop chocolate. In a small saucepan combine cocoa powder, butter, oil, and water. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring until smooth, and remove pan from heat. Add chocolate and sugar, whisking until smooth, and transfer to a bowl. Cool chocolate mixture completely and whisk in egg. Sift flour and baking powder over chocolate mixture and whisk until just combined. Whisk in buttermilk and pour batter into cake pan, spreading evenly. Bake cake in middle of oven 45 to 50 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean, and cool in pan on a rack 5 minutes. Run a thin knife around edge of pan and invert cake onto rack. Discard paper. Cool cake completely and transfer to a plate. In a bowl stir together mascarpone and sugar. Spread mixture over top of cake and generously sprinkle with praline.

 Notes from JennyBakes:

-I used all hazelnuts because that's what I had... I also made shards from my praline instead of smaller pieces
-I used Guittard bittersweet chocolate discs
-I added an extra egg based on a discussion Ruth relayed in the book

Monday, March 11, 2019

Brown Butter Blondies

I needed a recipe to use up some chocolate chunks, and went searching for a good blondie recipe. The flavor of the brown butter elevates these cookies to possibly the best thing ever, ever, ever. Ahem. Make these. Add chocolate chips or chunks or don't but make them today.

Brown Butter Blondies
(recipe courtesy of Carrie Vasios Mullins on Serious Eats)


  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Grease pan with butter. 
  2. Place butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until melted. Continue to cook (the butter will foam) until it is fragrant and a nutty brown color. Take off the heat and pour through a sieve into a large bowl. Let cool to room temperature.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
  4. Add brown sugar to bowl with butter and whisk until smooth. Add egg and vanilla and whisk to combine. Stir in dry ingredients until just incorporated. Pour batter into pan and smooth top. Bake until a cake tester inserted into the middle comes out clean, 20-30 minutes. Let cool at least 15 minutes before cutting.

Monday, March 04, 2019

Salted Peanut Bars

I was feeling baking ennui and came across an Instagram story from Deb at Smitten Kitchen about everyone making her salted peanut tart, in tart or bars form. I went through my mental inventory and realized I had all the ingredients, even the plain sour cream she recommends serving with it. Unlike the other recipes I'd encountered in books that would require a trip to the store for one essential ingredient each, this would only require me walking to the kitchen. Sold!

I made one random change - I have this giant bag of peanut flour that I bought ages ago to try out as another option for lower carb baking. I replaced half the flour with it, and it made everything extra peanutty, but I actually found that distracted from the top layer's flavor. I used golden syrup and light brown sugar because that's what I had on hand, along with exactly two cups of roasted salted peanuts!

Salted Peanut Tart

(recipe from Smitten Kitchen, with gorgeous step by step photos you should check out)
  • Servings: 8 to 10
  • Source: Smitten Kitchen, but inspired by Houseman Restaurant
You could also make this tart as bars! Line an 8×8-inch square baking pan with two pieces of parchment paper, each extending up two sides. Press the crust dough evenly across the bottom and 1/4-inch up the sides of this pan. Parbake at 350 (no weights or freezing required) for 15 minutes, until very pale golden. Continue with topping as written; topping baking time is the same as tart. Once cool, cut into 16 square bars.
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (150 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea or table salt
  • 1/3 cup (40 grams) powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces or 115 grams) unsalted butter, cold is fine, cut into a few chunks
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Filling
  • 4 tablespoons (2 ounces or 55 grams) unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup (125 grams) packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup (110 grams) honey or golden syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups (about 10 ounces or 285 grams) salted peanuts
  • Flaky sea salt and plain sour cream to finish (optional)
Heat oven to 350°F (175°C). 
 Make the crust: Combine the flour, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a food processor. Add butter and vanilla to the bowl, then run the machine until the mixture forms large clumps — just keep running it; it might take another 30 seconds for it to come together, but it will. Set a marble or two of dough aside, and transfer the rest of it to a 9-inch round tart pan with a removable bottom set on a large baking sheet (for drips and stability of use) and press the dough evenly across the bottom and up the sides. Transfer to freezer for 15 minutes, until solid.

Parbake crust: Once firm, prick all over with a fork. Coat a piece of foil with nonstick spray, and press it oiled-side-down tightly against the frozen crust, so it is fully molded to the shape. Bake tart with foil (no pie weights needed) for 15 minutes, then carefully, gently, a little at a time, peel back foil and discard. If cracks have formed, use the marbles of dough you set aside to patch it. Return to oven for 5 minutes, until just barely golden at edges and dry to the touch. Set aside.

Meanwhile, make filling: In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat and continue cooking it, stirring frequently, until it smells nutty and brown bits form at the bottom of the pot. Whisk in brown sugar and golden syrup or honey and cook at a simmer, whisking constantly, for one minute. Pour into a large bowl, scraping out all of the browned bits from the pot that you can, and place in the fridge or, as I did, on your very cold patio, for 10 minutes, until it has cooled somewhat. Whisk in apple cider vinegar (with cuts the sweetness and adds complexity, not a vinegary flavor, promise), vanilla, and eggs, one at a time, then stir in peanuts.

Bake tart: Pour filling into prepared tart shell, top with a little flaky salt, if you wish, and bake for 23 to 28 minutes, until just faintly jiggly in the center and golden brown all over. Cool on a rack to room temperature, or, like me, you can rush this along in the fridge, but don’t let it fully chill.

Serve: Decorate (if you wish) with powdered sugar. Serve in wedges at room temperature (not cold, which can be too firm) with a dollop of sour cream.

Monday, February 25, 2019

Scallion Pancakes

One of my favorite things to order at our local Chinese restaurant is the scallion pancake. Flaky, greasy, salty, delicious. I had a review copy of the Double Awesome Chinese Food cookbook and out of all the recipes, could not pass up the chance to try my hand at scallion pancakes. The recipe is below, but in the cookbook, there are very helpful step by step photos for the recipes.

This is my second attempt making scallion pancakes. The first attempt was cong you bing back in 2012, which I definitely did not master. These are much thinner and flakier and closer to how they should be, but still not quite there.  Someday I hope to visit China and take our friend's Old-Shanghai Breakfast Food Tour and taste the real deal.

Scallion Pancakes

1 recipe Hot Water Dough (see below), rested
1/4 cup (52 g) toasted sesame oil
1 1/3 cups (80 g) thinly sliced scallions
neutral oil, such as canola, for cooking
kosher salt
soy vinegar dipping sauce (I used just straight soy sauce!)

Make the pancakes.

Cut the dough into 4 equal pieces. Take one piece and cover the rest with a damp cloth. Roll the piece into a ball, flatten it slightly, then use a rolling pin to flatten it into a circle about 8 inches in diameter. Use a brush (or your fingers) to cover the dough circle with 1 tbsp of the sesmae oil, then sprinkle with 1/3 cup of the scallions.

Roll up the circle into a snake, then twist the snake into a snail-like spiral and tuck the end underneath. Flatten slightly with your hand, then use the rolling pin to roll out again into an 8-inch circle. Repeat with the remaining dough to make 4 pancakes.

Cook the pancakes.

Heat a thin layer of neutral oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Don't skimp on the oil; ample oil is part of the charm of this dish. Carefully slide the pancake into the pan and fry on each side until golden brown, about 3 minutes per side.* Sprinkle lightly with salt and place on a paper towel to cool. Repeat with the remaining pancakes. Cut into wedges and serve with soy vinegar dipping sauce.

Hot Water Dough

2 cups (240 g) all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp (1 g) kosher salt
1 cup (240 g) water, boiled and let cool for about 1 minute

Mix the flour and salt in a large bowl. Using a wooden spoon, slowly stir in 3/4 cup (180 g) of the hot water until a ball is formed and all the flour is incorporated. If the flour in the bottom of the bowl is not sticking to the ball, slowly drizzle in more water 1 teaspoon at a time and continue to stir.

When all the flour has come together into a ball and the dough is cool enough to handle, place on a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, 3-5 minutes. If necessary, add a sprinkle of flour to keep the dough from sticking to your hands or work surface. Place back in the bowl, cover with a damp cloth, and leave to rest for 30 to 60 minutes so the gluten can relax and the dough is easier to shape. When making in advance, the dough can rest in the fridge a day or two wrapped in lightly oiled plastic wrap. Bring to room temperature before using.

*Jenny's notes - the instructions say you can repeat the snail roll out for even more flaky layers, but my pancakes were flakiest if I only did it one time. (My dough was a bit dry though.) I tried medium-high heat for 3 minutes but on my electric stovetop, this was too hot and too long. I ended up on medium heat for 1-1.5 minutes per side.

I received a review copy of this cookbook from the publisher through NetGalley. It came out February 5, 2019.

Other recipes I am interested in trying:
-Dan Dan Noodles with Crispy Pork Belly and Brussels Sprouts
-Carrot Coconut Soup
-Hot and Sour Borscht
-Harvest Moon Curry

Monday, February 18, 2019

Chocolate Mascarpone Bundt Cake

I originally bought mascarpone for a meringue roll cake I intended to make over the holidays, but never did. In searching for a recipe that used the exact amount I had on hand, I came across this recipe. I fear I overbaked it, or perhaps I should have used oil instead of butter, because it was a bit dry. But tasty just the same.

Chocolate Mascarpone Bundt Cake
(Recipe from The Baking Fairy)

2/3 cup (10.5 tbsp) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
8 oz mascarpone cheese (about 3/4 cup)
1 1/4 cup sour cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Butter and flour a bundt cake pan very well.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until creamy.
  3. Add in the eggs and vanilla, and beat until fluffy. Stir in the sour cream and mascarpone, and mix until combined.
  4. Add in the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt, and beat until creamy and fluffy.
  5. Finally, stir in the chocolate chips.
  6. Pour the batter* into the prepared bundt pan, and bake for 60-70 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  7. Let cake cool slightly in the pan, then invert onto a serving platter. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Top Pot Doughnuts (Seattle, WA)

"Begun in February 2002 out of a small brick storefront on north Capitol Hill in Seattle, Top Pot pair[s] a vintage aesthetic with a gourmet spin on the traditional coffee and doughnuts pairing." (I stole this description from their website.)

I was recently in Seattle for the ALA Midwinter Meeting, and my Mom came up to stay with me a bit. I always like to go on some kind of bakery or baked goods adventure, and found Top Pot Doughnuts. The 5th Street location was charmingly lined with books (happy librarian here!) and had an additional layer of seating upstairs.

I was pleased to find the variety of both glazed and cake varieties, and happily without the silly trends of ingredients like breakfast cereal that you can find a few hours south at Voodoo (see my previous posts of Portlanders Standing in Line for Donuts episode 1 and episode 2.) Also impressive - the shop was busy but not over busy. We didn't have to stand in line or wait for a seat.

Maple bars are one of my favorite doughnuts but I swear they can't be found outside the northwest. Maple doesn't come from there, it's a northeast thing. But still, maple bars are a standard traditional doughnut everywhere you go for doughnuts in the northwest. Why? No idea. But I couldn't even take a picture before taking a bite, very satisfying.

My other favorite doughnut is a really good chocolate cake. Top priority is coconut, but without coconut, I'll go for glazed. Top Pot had both "old fashioned" (pictured, half eaten, whoops), and a more standard variety. This was an incredibly tender and chocolatey doughnut and I was a happy doughnut wanderer.

The latte I had was fine but not the star of the show. It was... fine. I used to think of Seattle as the best coffee city but I'm going to say that isn't true in 2018. Half the places I went served Counter Culture, and I like Counter Culture just fine but it is prevalent in the south as well. And Starbucks really dominates everything to an extent that it is difficult to find non-Starbucks places. At last Top Pot had their own!

Monday, February 04, 2019

Kauk Mote | Crepes with red beans and coconut (Burma/Myanmar)

I'm reading books from Asia this year, and alongside that will be baking and cooking some new recipes from various countries. For Burma/Myanmar, the three most frequently mentioned dishes are the tea (see at the end of this post!), fermented tea leaf salad (difficult to track down in the states,) and mohinga, a seafood-curry-noodle soup that is frequently consumed for breakfast. I struggled to find the right ingredients so I decided to make this interesting crepe, a street food often found in this region. It could have had more ingredients in the filling, like coconut cream, chopped roasted peanuts, or savory ingredients, but I went with the red bean and coconut.

The original recipe I found, which is copied elsewhere on the internet, has a major flaw. If you use self-rising flour, you should omit the additional salt and baking soda included in the recipe, which I imagine someone wrote down as what to add to flour to make it the equivalent of self-rising flour. I ignored my instincts and went ahead and added it, and the pancake/crepe batter was awful.

Pictured is one of the books I'm reading right now, about a man who grew up in a traditional way and made it all the way to the UK to study English.

Kaku Mote
(recipe from Hsa*ba, also posted on World of Crepes)

160g of self rising flour (.70 cup)
80g rice of flour (.35 cup)
1/2 teaspoon of salt [DO NOT ADD WITH SELF RISING FLOUR]
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda [DO NOT ADD WITH SELF RISING FLOUR]
2 tablespoons sugar
100ml coconut milk (almost half a cup)
300ml water (1.25 cups)
oil for frying

200g sweetened red (azuki) beans or red bean paste
80g fresh grated coconut
pinch of salt

Put the dry pancake ingredients in a mixing bowl. Add the coconut milk and water, stirring to form a runny batter. Rest for at least 30 minutes, preferably a couple of hours.

Lightly grease a pan with a little oil and heat on moderate heat. Using a ladle pour the batter carefully. The idea is to have an even layer of batter to cover the pan. To spread the batter, tilt the pan.

Cover and leave for a few of minutes. When bubbles appear on the surface, carefully spread the red beans and grated coconut. Remember to mix a pinch of salt with the coconut first. Cover the pan again and allow the pancake to cook for a further minute or two until the edges are golden in color.

Using a flat spatula, fold the pancake into half and ease onto a plate. Serve while warm. The outside should have a lovely crispiness and the inside soft with the filling oozing out.

 Pictured with the tea is a book of folktales from Burma, highly recommended.

Myanmar/Burmese Tea (bonus recipe!)

Brew a black tea double strength, or strong, anyway.
For every 6 oz tea, add 1 oz condensed milk and 1 oz evaporated milk. Or adjust to taste.
Delicious! I've made it three times since 2019 began!

Monday, January 21, 2019

Jam Crumble Wedges

I was poking around Instagram the other day and came across Almond Flour Strawberry Crumble Bars from Joy the Baker. It seemed like the perfect pantry clearing baked good, and I had everything on hand with a few adaptations (which I will indicate with asterisks.) Recipe and instructions are all Joy, and this recipe appeared to be in process even for her, so follow the link above for her marvelous photography and extra instructions.

Almond Flour Strawberry Crumble Bars (which I renamed to Jam Crumble Wedges!)
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Yield: 12 wedges

  • 1 large egg egg
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats (gluten free if that's a concern for you)
  • 2 cups almond flour*
  • 2 tablespoons coconut flour
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup melted unsalted butter (or melted coconut oil if dairy is a concern for you)
  • 1/2 cup good quality strawberry jam*
  • powdered sugar for dusting (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8-inch round pan* with parchment paper and generously grease. Set aside.
  2. To make the base and crumble topping, in a medium bowl whisk together egg and maple syrup until well combined.
  3. Stir in almond flour, oats, coconut flour, cinnamon and salt until well combined.
  4. Pour melted butter into the crumble and use a fork to evenly distribute and stir together until clumps begin to form.
  5. Place 2/3 of the mixture into prepared pan (the remaining mixture will be used for the topping).
  6. Use your fingers to evenly press dough to the bottom. Set the remaining dough aside for just a bit.
  7. Spread jam in an even layer across the bottom crust.
  8. Crumble the remaining oat mixture evenly over the strawberry jam. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until filling is bubbly and topping is lightly golden. Allow crumble to cool completely on a wire rack before transferring to the refrigerator to chill for 20 minutes.* Once chilled, carefully invert the crumble, remove the paper, and slice into wedges.*
  9. Slices are delicious at room temperature, lightly dusted with powdered sugar. 
*Notes from JennyBakes:
-I could have used 2 cups almond flour, but I also have some aging spelt flour so I went half and half.
-I had a half jar of lingonberry jam and used this instead of strawberry.
-I used a tart pan, which saved me having to chill or invert as described in step 8.

Monday, January 07, 2019

The Spicy Cowgirl

January can be rough for baked goods, a combination of an attempt to leave behind the indulgent holiday eating ways, and just burnout from all the baking of the holidays. So while I had a few ideas for weekend baking (a cake for book club, scones for work, a savory tart from a cookbook I need to review), I just could not make it happen.

However I did make this iced coffee concoction happen, after finally purchasing chile syrup online. I included Ree's formula for cold brew coffee but I make mine much stronger (8 quarts cold water to 1 pound ground coffee? I use 4 quarts to a pound) using the New York Times iced coffee formula. This kind of recipe is great because I regularly have cold brew on hand, so it's nice to have a few ways to dress it up.

The Spicy Cowgirl

(recipe from Ree Drummond via The Food Network)


1/4 cup heavy cream
1 ounce vanilla syrup 
6 ounces store-bought or homemade cold brew coffee, recipe follows
4 ounces whole milk 
1 ounce chile syrup (or simple syrup with hot chiles infused for 24 hours) 
1 ounce chocolate sauce 
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper 

Cold Brew Coffee:

1 pound ground coffee (a good, rich roast)
8 quarts cold water 


  1. Lightly whip the cream with the vanilla syrup in a bowl and have on standby.
  2. In a cocktail shaker, combine the cold brew coffee, milk, chile syrup, chocolate sauce and ice, then shake until frothed and combined. Pour into an ice-filled glass, top with vanilla whipped cream to cover and dust with the cinnamon and cayenne pepper.

Cold Brew Coffee:

  1. Mix the ground coffee with the water in a large container. Cover and allow to sit at room temperature for 8 hours or overnight.
  2. Line a fine-mesh strainer with cheesecloth and set over a pitcher or other container. Pour the coffee/water mixture through the strainer, allowing all the liquid to run through. Discard the grounds. Refrigerate and use as needed.