March 24, 2019

Happy Bee-Day Cake

How cute is this Happy Bee-Day Cake?  I really love how it turned out.  The occasion was for Laura's birthday party and her mom Julia had sent over some ideas with a bee theme.  I've been making celebration cakes for Laura even before she was born so I was happy to continue the tradition and make one for her second birthday.  Here's what baby shower and first birthday cakes looked like.

The cake is comprised of Stella Parks' White Mountain Layer Cake and Swiss Buttercream in vanilla and strawberry flavors.  Stella's white cake recipe is one of my absolute favorites.  The crumb is so moist and tender.  If you haven't already bought her cookbook you need to!  The buttercream is a traditional Swiss meringue style.  I flavored half of the frosting with ground up freeze-dried strawberries which gives you an intense fruit flavor without the additional moisture.  The perfect balance of sweet and tart. 

Happy Birthday Laurita!

March 17, 2019

Raspberry Hamantaschen

Purim is coming soon so it was the perfect excuse to make Raspberry Hamantaschen, one of my favorite cookies.  I love this shortbread cookie filled with the sweet and tart jam.  I used Sarabeth Levine's recipe for mandelbrot for the cookie and homemade raspberry jam for the filling but you can use store bought. 

Shaping the cookies in to the traditional triangles couldn't be simpler.  I cut circles out of the dough using a 3-inch cutter and filled each with one teaspoon of the jam.  Then just pinched three sides together to form the triangle shape.  Happy Purim!

March 10, 2019

Cheddar and Chive Biscuits

The Charleston Wine and Food Festival took place these past few days and while I didn't attend, after seeing all the posts on social media, I wish I had!  Seeing all the pictures of the amazing looking food had me hankering big time for Southern cuisine.  What could be more quintessentially Southern than the buttermilk biscuit?  In Charleston there is none more famous than Callie's homemade biscuits so I had to give them a try for myself.

According to Carrie Morey, the owner of Callie's and its namesake's daughter, the secrets to their delicious biscuits are White Lily self-rising flour and cream cheese.  Some of you may recall that I brought back several bags of White Lily when I was in Florida last year.  Luckily I still had a few bags tucked safely away in my freezer so I had all the ingredients ready to go.  I ended up making Callie's Cheddar and Chive Biscuits because I wanted something savory.

Seriously the most strenuous part of this recipe was grating the cheese and chopping the chives.  Everything else was easy peasy since it doesn't require any appliances like a food processor.   The biscuits came together in no time.  Hot out of the oven and with a pat of butter I can't think of anything more simple and delicious!  If only I had some fried chicken to accompany them! 

March 3, 2019

Levain Style Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookies

In all the times that I've traveled to New York City I never managed to make it to Levain Bakery.  If you ask my why I couldn't tell you, I guess it just never crossed my mind.  There was always someplace else that took priority.  But recently I'd been seeing their famous chocolate chip walnut cookies featured countless times on social media.  The clincher was when Stella Parks posted on her Instagram Stories that she was working on a Levain style cookie recipe for Serious Eats.  That was it, I had to try these cookies for myself.  Immediately I emailed Stella asking if she might perhaps share her recipe with me and she was kind enough to send a preview.  [Look for the actual recipe to be posted soon on]

The one thing I noticed immediately about her recipe was the high ratio of chocolate chips and walnuts compared to other chocolate chip cookies.   These ones are not for the faint of heart...they are stuffed to the max!   Another thing is that they are H-U-G-E, each one weighing about six ounces.  The recipe yields eight gigantic cookies, each one could easily be split with two or three people if you're so inclined to share.

Now I must admit that chocolate chips are not my favorite kind of cookie but these were pretty damn good, if I do say so myself.  I broke in to one while it was still warm and the bittersweet chocolate was just slightly melted and oozing with the crunchy walnuts serving as a really lovely complement.  On my next trip to NYC I'll be sure to stop by the bakery that started it all!
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