Category Archives: peanut butter

Well, folks, this is what four dozen cupcakes looks like.

Soon they will be on their way to 48 Lounge…

GIT Cupcakes

And, really, it was kind of an atypical LL baking experience in that there were no real crises (although maybe that’s a dangerous thing to say as I still haven’t transported them yet…I didn’t mean to tempt fate — really…)

I mean, I think the icing on the orange carrot cupcakes could probably be a little thicker and the frosting on the chocolate peanut butter cupcakes could probably be a little thinner (but I already added two extra teaspoons of whipping cream and didn’t want to go overboard, you know?), but otherwise, everything turned out pretty much okay.

The only other snafu was that I went to the grocery store yesterday and forgot to get eggs…so had to buy a dozen this morning at the bodega around the corner…and I used quarters because I couldn’t be bothered to go to an ATM. But, I mean, they were $1.79, so it was only eight quarters…so it wasn’t that bad, was it?

So…all of this is to say I don’t really have anything else to say…making this a shockingly short post, no? And with visuals, too, no less! I’m really shaking things up here. Be prepared for *anything* next time.

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Filed under cupcake, eggs, gadgets, peanut butter

My Big Baking Week

Well, wow, after such an overwhelming response to my post about maybe leaving New York, the next is sure to be somewhat of a letdown…but, those of you who have been with me from the very beginning may be comforted to see me return to my roots: Next week is going to be a BIG baking week.

At 6:45 on Tuesday, for example, I have to drop off four dozen cupcakes for an Ad Week event sponsored by Girls in Tech. I got a cupcake carrier at Target yesterday that holds 24 (I LOVE these kinds of gadgets…and welcome any excuse to scoop them up)…and I think I can make do with existing Tupperware for the other 24. The question now is what *kind* to make. I could always fall back on red velvet…and the organization seems to like pink, so I could easily dye the frosting and/or not use as much food color to instead create pink velvet. Or there’s…

Carrot Cupcakes with Orange Icing

Zucchini Ginger Cupcakes…but I don’t really want to buy crystallized ginger.

White Chocolate Cupcakes with Candied Kumquats (which, let’s face it, I would totally make just to be able to say, “Oh, those? They’re white chocolate cupcakes with candied kumquats” as if it was no big thing…)

Carrot-Coconut Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Black-and-White Cupcakes

Brownie Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Cupcakes

And…Orange-Cardamom Cupcakes with Vanilla Frosting are indeed intriguing…but, orange-flower water? Give me a break.

(I also just noticed you can now print a shopping list from recipes on Epicurious.com — good move, guys.)

I think at this point, I’m going to plan on Carrot Cupcakes with Orange Icing and Brownie Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting. They both seem to have the best tastiness to uniqueness to ease-of-prep to ingredients-I-already-have-on-hand ratios.

THEN…September 24 (just two short days before, you know, the 26th) is National Punctuation Day which (admittedly odd) is celebrated this year with a baking contest. (It also brings me no end of joy that there is a link on the Web site for the Official Meatloaf of National Punctuation Day…which I implore you to seek out because — related — this may be the best thing I’ve read all day: “I thought, what if someone scooped the ground beef into an aluminum tin in the shape of a punctuation mark?”)

I think this is a no-brainer though: If ever there was a time to make chocolate chip cookies, this is it. PLUS, I don’t have to settle on just one punctuation mark with these cookies…I can mix and match commas and periods to create semicolons, colons, ellipsis…and *that* is a great relief to the Libra in me.

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Filed under birthdays, chocolate, cookies, cupcake, entrees, gadgets, parties, peanut butter, red velvet

Cupcakes, Cakes, Cookies & Some Combination Thereof.

PeepsNo news this time. Just a little catching up.

So…there was an auction earlier this month for Social Media for Social Change and my baking lesson was won by a woman who had a birthday around the same time, so…long story short, I made some cupcakes to say thanks for bidding on me. She apparently really likes vanilla…but her husband already had a cake in the bag, so I ended up doing yellow cake with white frosting. And it was a convenient excuse to use up more of those heart-shaped decals from Auntie Leslie. (The winner, like, Auntie Leslie also happens to be a big Peeps fan…so I think we’re going to make Peeps pie during the lesson…even though it requires melting down some Peeps and I wasn’t sure how a diehard fan would feel about that.)

But! The Peeps don’t end there. On Friday, the biggest frosting fan I know and I (but mostly the frosting fan) put together a cake party at our very favorite restaurant at 27th & 3rd (like the pie ones…but instead with, you know, cake). I saw a recipe for a Peeps sunflower cake on Easter Sunday, so on Monday I hit up all the CVSes and Duane Reades and Rite Aides in the area…but all I could find were pink Peep chicks. So…I decided that maybe I could still do something floral? (You can see for yourself. It was a bit ridiculous. Though individually placing those chocolate chips in the center wasn’t as time-consuming as I thought it would be.)

I also brought along the cookie recipe I was hoping to enter in the Pillsbury Bake-Off. I did an informal poll and it seems peanut butter is what a lot of people like in cookies…and so I tried to put a fun spin on chocolate-peanut butter cookies…but then one of the cake guests pointed out that the winner last year did a peanut butter cookie and so the odds of them picking *another* peanut butter cookie are probably slim…so I did some wild last-minute tweaking and created what I think is good combo of two of my favorite Epicurious recipes: Raspberry Cheesecake Brownies and Peanut Butter Pie. We’ll know in September whether I’m going to Orlando again!

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Filed under brownies, chocolate, cookies, peanut butter

Delicious Mayhem.

I make more to-do lists than I, well, know what to do with. It sort of makes me feel better to start off a day knowing what I *have* to do and what I *should* do so I can adjust accordingly to try to squeeze in as much stuff as humanly possible.

The last two weeks have been doozies. Don’t get me wrong — I’m really happy to be so busy…but filling in for publications in New York and London meant I was working some pretty zany hours. So…believe me when I say that blogging about preparations for National Pie Day (and the day itself!) was on my list allll week. Unfortunately, I just haven’t gotten to it until now.

So, without further ado…let’s pick up where I left off:

Day #3 of Pie Week.

This was officially Pickle Pie Day. I wanted to do the cobbler as well, but I didn’t take the peaches out of the freezer to defrost early enough…

After everything, I gotta say pickle pie looked a LOT like pumpkin pie. It was well-received by everyone who tried it (and I baked 14 pies for them…so it damn well should have been, or they really *would* have been some ungrateful bastids [me with a Boston accent]). It had sort of a gooey middle part…so I guess I didn’t cook it long enough…but the top sure looked done and I didn’t want to risk burning it. (In fact, several people asked what the middle layer *was* and I had to confess that it was all the same thing…) It would be interesting to try again, I suppose…though there weren’t a lot of recipes out there for this thing. Not a single one in any of my pie books…though I guess that isn’t all that surprising.

By Day #4, things were really getting serious. Only one more day until the *actual* Pie Day. I was up at 4:30 to write about European retail asset management…which was a good thing as I had a LOT of baking to do.

First thing? The cobbler that didn’t happen the night before. And I cranked that sucker out in no time.

I *finally* used the Sur La Table gift card Auntie Leslie gave me for Christmas 2007 to purchase a fluted pastry wheel (When I told Carmen I had to go to Sur La Table to buy a fluted pastry wheel, she got that look she gets when I am speaking Greek to her. Oh, how different we are…and yet I love that ridiculous broad.) as I kind of love lattice crusts…and the first lattice crust I attempted was this summer for a housewarming party but I just used a knife and I felt it was missing a certain je nais se quois. With the pastry wheel, however, the strips were almost perfect (Carmen would say, “Perfecto”) except that one was *slightly* thinner than the others. I decided that would be the strip that went in the center and I could pretend that it was some sort of purposeful artistic move.

Then somehow the day got away from me. I had some deadlines, sure, but I don’t know what else happened because all of a sudden it was super-late. I was *supposed* to go to a taping of the Daily Show, but I had to be a jerk and write the guy and ask him if he’d hate me if I bailed out. He understood…but then I felt guilty, so I decided to add a banana cream pie to my list to make it up to him. (Which I ended up making around 2:00 am because I am crazy…and then I was up again at 5 [oops — overslept a little] to write about asset management again…and Thain had just been forced to resign, so every paper in America had something to say about it and it was a loooong one to summarize. [As Franimate would say: le sigh.])

Both the chocolate cream pie and the banana cream pie required making my own pudding. It’s safe to say I’ve never made so much pudding in my whole damn life. And — you know what? It’s good stuff. And it’s not even that hard. I don’t know why I don’t ever think to make it when I’m not making a pie. Eggs, cream, cream of tartar…maybe some vanilla? Cook on stove. Strain. Bada boom.

Even though I was making it to make it up to the guy (who then bailed on *me* on Pie Day because he had a headache…making me feel very much like a husband in a bygone era who just asked his wife if she was in the mood) and there really was no pressure in real life, I guess I felt some in my head…and the crust was an absolute disaster. I used way too many graham crackers and not enough bananas or butter…and so even though I tried to push the crust up the sides of the springform pan, it just sort of sunk into the middle and was really, really ugly. Obviously I was able to cover it up with pudding…but I knew that super-ugly crust was there underneath. (One of the first Pie Day revelers told me this pie looked like papier mache. And one of the guests who *followed* brought me half a springform pan that had been sitting in his office — dirty, mind you — for over a year…and was missing its bottom. “Hey!” I said. “Where’s the rest of it?” To which one of our *other* coworkers said, “I told you she’d notice.”)

I also squeezed in the American Pie Council’s January Pie o’ the Month on Day 4 — chocolate chip bourbon pecan. The recipe distinctly said to bake it for 30 minutes and that it would continue to bake after it was removed from the oven. However…I think I should have left it in longer because it was one goopy pie. I also needed but a tablespoon of bourbon…and now I basically have a whole damn bottle of Jim Beam left (and am sounding kind of like my grandma…aww…).

Day #5 — PIE DAY! — began just like the others: at 4:30ish with some asset management. Then, sweet potato. Which is super-easy. I already had half a crust left over from the night before. I rolled it out, zapped my sweet potatoes, scooped them out and into my Cuisinart along with the rest of the stuff. Baked. Voila.

Then I sort of got carried away with last-minute details…I had to make cards for each pie (as opposed to saying over and over and over again, “That one is…”) and I had to get *dressed* and all those other pesky things that I didn’t especially have time for during the week. So…the peanut butter pies were sort of an after thought. (Oops.) I’ve made this recipe about a thousand times (a lot of old coworkers are fans of this one…despite the recent scare that led one smartass friend to suggest the “fun” name for this pie — as I promised in my Top Ten list — should be “Salmonella Surprise”)…and I always remember it yielding enough for two pies, but this time the filling seemed kind of wimpy. Carmen was due over early with PBR to settle the ol’ nerves, but she left her green card application until the *very* last minute (ay, chica, when will you ever learn??) and so there was some panic about that as I changed my clothes and straightened my hair. I *also* wanted to decorate the peanut butter pies with peanuts (but was careful not to turn them into boobs…as I accidentally did for one of my coworkers once)…and Carmen and I were hungry, so I told her she could eat some nuts and she reached for the jar, but I thought she was going to take them directly off the pie…and so I was sort of horrified and she laughed and said she’s not *that* uncouth.

Then she called a car service…and it was off to the races. And as we sat in the car, surrounded by pies, I said, “You know what? I think this is the most outlandish thing I have ever done.”

And she agreed.

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Filed under bananas, chocolate, gadgets, holidays, peanut butter, pickles, pie, pudding

Pie Day plans are in motion…

I will surely be able to come up with something far more eloquent as the pie-making begins next week (I think two pies day for three days…?), but a rough sketch:

On Friday, January 23 at Greenwich Village Bistro (around 7), I will have pies to celebrate National Pie Day: peanut butter, sweet potato, apple, chocolate cream and chocolate chip bourbon pecan.

Peanut butter seems to be a broad favorite. Plus, the Bistro has come up with beer pairings…and the Kelso Nut Brown Ale is supposed to be a good fit for this one. (I understand there is some apprehension about pie and beer…but, to those who are fearful, I implore you to check out Charlie Papazian’s blog.)

Obama’s favorite pie is allegedly sweet potato…but then that story surfaced that he *also* likes a peach cobbler at a Chicago diner and so now I feel like I can’t properly pay homage to the inauguration if I don’t make that as well.

What’s more, I’ve sold my first pies…so I will be making not one but FOUR apple pies next week…so I have to buy something on the order of 12 Granny Smith apples. (That might be skimping it…but I have to use throwaway tins or I’ll never get my Pyrex back…and too many apples means the pies will bleed and the crust already has a tendency to get funny in the tin — just ask an ungrateful Hooman.)

I really like one of the chocolate cream pies from Epicurious.com. You make your own pudding. It’s…wow. (Though I’m not entirely sure about the raspberry lambic they’re pairing with it.)

And…a good friend of mine is helping me out PR-wise and *she* really liked the sound of the American Pie Council’s January pie — the bourbon pecan — and so that partially explains why it is on the menu as well.

Just about a week to go!

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Filed under chocolate, holidays, peanut butter, pie

Who Knew Camping Recipes Had Such Fabulous Names?

Certainly not I…

Look what I found while looking for kid-friendly snacks at “work” today…

All these babies are thanks to KOA Kampgrounds:


Chocolate Scotcheroos

* 1 c sugar
* 1 c light corn syrup
* 2 c chocolate chips
* 1 c peanut butter
* 6 c Rice Krispies

Directions

Combine sugar and syrup in saucepan. Cook over moderate heat, stirring often, until begins to bubble. Remove from heat. Stir in peanut butter, mix well. Add Rice Krispies, stir until well blended. Press mixture into buttered 13 x 9″ pan. Melt chips over very low heat, stirring until well blended. Remove from heat and spread evenly over Rice Krispie mixture. Cool until firm. Cut into bars. Makes about 48 bars 2 x 1 inches.

Fudge-in-a-Bag

* 1 pound(s) powdered sugar
* 3 oz. cream cheese
* 1 cube margarine or butter
* 1/2 c cocoa
* 1 tsp vanilla

Directions

Place all ingredients in a Ziploc bag and mush together until done (5-10 minutes). May need to cool to set up before eating.

And…look! You can even have pie at camp!

Apple Pie on a Stick

  • 1 c sugar
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 4 cooking apples
  • 4 dowel or roasting sticks

Directions

In a small bowl, mix together sugar and cinnamon and set aside. Push the stick or dowel through the top of the apple to the bottom until the apple is secure. Roast the apple 2 to 3 inches above the bed of hot coals and turn frequently. (As the apple cooks, the skin starts to brown and the juice dribbles out.) When the skin is loose, remove the apple from the coals but leave it on the stick. Peel the skin off the apple, being careful not to burn yourself because the apple is very hot.

Candy Bar Pie

* 1 large container Cool Whip
* 1 extra large chocolate candy bar
* 1 graham cracker or cookie pie crust

Directions

Crumble candy bar (reserve a small portion for garnish) in a pan and melt (if microwave available use microwave). Pour melted candy bar into Cool Whip (reserve 1 tablespoon of Cool Whip for garnish) and fold together. Pour candy bar and Cool Whip into pie crust, add reserved Cool Whip on center of pie and sprinkle reserved candy bar on top of Cool Whip. Set in ice chest or refrigerator to cool for a few minutes.

I also have a bunch o’ bananas to use up and was kind of excited about the following recipes:

Peanut Butter S’more Quesadillas

* 4 – 6 Tbsp peanut butter
* 2 9 – 10 inch flour tortillas
* 1/2 c tiny marshmallows
* 1/4 c miniature semi-sweet chocolate pieces
* 2 medium firm, ripe bananas, thinly sliced
* cooking oil
* sugar and ground cinnamon (optional)

Directions

Spread 2 to 3 tablespoons peanut butter over half of each tortilla. Top each with half of the marshmallows, chocolate pieces and banana slices. Fold tortillas in half, pressing gently to flatten and seal slightly. Brush both sides with a little oil.

Place a 10-inch cast iron skillet over medium-high heat on a camp stove, grill rack or grate over an open fire. Cook tortillas for 2 to 3 minutes per side or until golden and chocolate is melted, turning once halfway through grilling. If desired, sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon. To serve, cut into wedges. Makes 4 servings.

And…who knew banana chips took *4* hours??

Banana Chips

* Bananas
* Non-stick cooking spray
* cookie sheet
* baggies

Preheat oven to 150F. Spray cookie sheet with non-stick coating spray. Slice bananas into thin slices and place on the cookie sheet. Cook for 2 hours with the door slightly ajar. Flip slices with a fork. Cook for 2 more hours. Bananas should be only slightly pliable.

I also came across the recipe below…which is from the First United Methodist Church of Kearney, Mo. and is *identical* to a recipe in the Sweet Potato Queens’ Big-Ass Cookbook and Financial Planner. Except the folks in Kearney don’t call them “catshit cookies.” Funny that. (That’s them there cookies above.)

No Bake Cookies

2 cups sugar
1 stick butter
3 cups quick oats
3 Tbsp cocoa
1/2 cup milk
2/3 cup peanut butter

Put sugar, cocoa, butter and milk in saucepan and boil hard for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and add oats and peanut butter. Beat until stiff enough to drop on wax paper. Let cool.

Now! Time to venture out into the great outdoors?

(Better Boz?? If it wasn’t for you, I might have given the bananas their own entry…)

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Filed under bananas, candy, chocolate, cookies, peanut butter, pie