Desserts,Recipes »Peach Crumble Bars

photofrom Brown Eye Baker

I feel like I completed a mom right of passage: First school bake sale! Delicious summer peaches at the markets inspired me to make these Peach Crumble Bars that taste like a dense crumbly pie.

Once the peeling and slicing is done, these are super easy and they are good enough that I bought a couple myself.

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Posted on July 14, 2013

Desserts »Homemade Pop Tarts from Anarchy in a Jar

at Smorgasburg

Jim and I aren’t the only ones that look forward to our Smorgasburg Saturdays.

When I ask Van if he’s ready to eat a pop tart by the water his eyes light up and he shakes his head yes vigorously.

The pop tarts in question are not those grocery store guilty pleasures though. No, Van loves the homemade ones from Anarchy in a Jar.

They have mixed berry, blueberry and strawberry and all are delicious. I know because I usually manage to get a bite in before he’s wolfed them down.

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Posted on May 7, 2012

Desserts »Pumpkin Bread at Eataly

20111012-122722.jpgat Eataly

I’ll be honest, when Mike brought this seed crusted loaf to dinner last night, I didn’t have the highest hopes. It looked like it might taste too healthy.

But like most things from Eataly it impressed. In fact, it is possibly one of the best pumpkin breads I’ve ever had.

I’m itching to get more since it’s perfect for these brisk autumn afternoons and would be so comforting with cider or spiced tea.


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Posted on October 12, 2011

Desserts »Julia’s Best Banana Bread on the Planet

Kahekili Highway, Wailuku, HI

How, you may wonder, did I end up eating a slice of Julia’s Best Banana Bread from a green beach side shack in Hawaii?

No, there was no last minute flight to Maui to escape Irene but we are lucky enough to have a very generous neighbor with an exciting travel life.

Julia boasts her bread is the best on the planet. It’s a bold statement but I’m not sure that I can disagree.

The loaf is moist as can be and when coupled with a small glass of whole milk (which I probably haven’t had since I was a teenager), wow! Real late night (and again in the early morning) decadence.

Thanks Brad!!

(right photo found here)

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Posted on August 31, 2011

Desserts »Payne’s Donuts and Aldo’s Bakery

on Block Island

Our recent visit to Block Island was a blast (more info coming soon). I expected a great time with the family, the ocean, and seafood but was surprised to come home raving about donuts and pies.

Aldo’s Bakery supplies the pies – we had an excellent blueberry one with a buttery crust that was heaven a la mode with their homemade ice cream.

The true gem though, are the fresh “killer” donuts from Payne’s in the New Harbor. Now, I have had many a great donut in my time, but these warm, sugar dusted treats rank among the top five at least.

I had three(!) in one sitting, truly living it up when on vacation.

These are so addictive that they could make anyone fat within a few months, so it’s a mixed blessing that they aren’t available closer to home.

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Posted on July 13, 2011

Drinks »Veronica People’s Club

105 Franklin St, Greenpoint, Brooklyn

In this day in age, in this neighborhood, you can’t turn a corner without running into a good cup of (usually) Intelligentsia coffee. (You can still get a really bad cup, but the place is so tiny, cute and friendly, I’ll just leave it unnamed, but it’s bright green FYI).

So, as a late comer to the good coffee party, Veronica People’s Club is probably most exciting to those who live closest to it.

While I wholeheartedly welcome it to the neighborhood, it only garners major enthusiasm from me for two reasons:

1. the Ovenly baked goods. A small but dizzying display of goodies great you with tiny hand written placards reading such intriguing words as “blue cheese, pistachio, cinnamon, fig…”

As it was morning time, I went without the chocolate chip cookies and chose the equally delectable but slated for breakfast treat of a fig and thyme scone. yum.

2. During the day the place is empty, as in I startled the sole employee when I walked in, empty.

If you’ve ever been to Cafe Grumpy at the height of I-am-writing-my-first-novel-but-actually-just-checking-facebook-over-and-over hour or are smacked in the face with the reality that you are far from being the only unemployed person who thought they could just waltz into Five Leaves, you know how appealing a quiet, easy going spot with a decent i-pod selection playing can be.

Now I just need to find people who are either willing to trek to my area or want to quit their jobs to hang out over a long, scone filled coffee break with me and Van…

While I am writing up the coffee bar, I am lead to believe that VPC, opened by the people from Heather’s (the bar, not the movie, though the movie inspired both bar names) functions primarily as a bar bar.

And by light of day, I can see how it could be a nice place to drink. Just the right amount of nonchalance in the decor and a sign listing house cocktails let me know it’s heart is in the right place.

While I am not able to bar hop at the moment with little one in tow, you might want to check it out. Or maybe I’ll head back on the early side (unlike many places, they start serving around 3 on weekdays, 1 on weekends) some day soon for an afternoon beer before the hip young things who (understandably) don’t want to be drinking with a baby in the room invade.

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Posted on February 17, 2011

Desserts,Recipes »Banana Bread With Chocolate Chips

from Simply Recipes

Finally! An excellent banana bread recipe!

While I had some luck with a fancy lemon glazed coconut version a while back, I have struck out twice in the last year with banana bread.

I gave it one last chance tonight facing a few over ripe bananas and decided to wisely go to one of my favorite recipe sources, Simply Recipes this time.

Well, the third time’s a charm – this Basic Banana Bread with Chocolate Chips is sweet, moist, and pretty perfect.

The chocolate is my own addition, and I added a handful of chips after adding and mixing in the flour. You can adjust and add to your own taste (maybe some coconut, walnuts, cinnamon?)

It’s really simple and there’s no need for any mixers beyond your own hands and a wooden spoon.

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Posted on January 31, 2011

Desserts »Pretzel Croissant

From City Bakery

Oh, City Bakery is there anything you can’t do? Your cookies are a baking delight, your hot chocolate is borderline insane and now you introduce me to the pretzel croissant.

It’s as tasty as it is pretty (just look at that golden brown crust, those swirls of soft white center…) These were made even better by the fact that Shaun got them for free.

It’s an insiders trick I’ve never took advantage of myself – but often, if you stop by near closing time – complimentary left over goodies might be offered.

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Posted on January 13, 2011

Desserts »Handmade Snoballs

From Sage General Store, 24-20 Jackson Ave, Long Island City

On my way to the doctor, taking the awkward and on this day, cold outdoor transfer to the 7 train, I often wonder about the adorably hip, quaint Sage General Store, a new-ish shop that reeks of old timey goodness but with a staff of tattooed transplants serving mouth watering comfort foods.

Since yesterday was the first snow (OK, so it didn’t accumulate, but there were flakes) I was even more tempted by the handmade snoballs in the window (choice pink or white) and just had to take one home to split with Jim for dessert.

It’s a hefty dense white cake (probably made denser by my putting it in the fridge) with sugary, yummy frosting both in and outside and big chunks of coconut. To compare with the store bought, processed version is unfair. It’s an entirely different beast – and, for the record, I still have a soft spot for that weird Hostess puck, at least in memory since I haven’t had one in a while, but I do know that it is nowhere near as tasty as this hand made decadence.

The store features all sorts of sweet and savory goodies and will now be the highlight of that train route for me, beating out the one hundred steps it takes to get to the train.

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Posted on December 7, 2010

Recipes »Rootbeer Float Cupcakes

From Mike

Readers of my blog are probably familiar with my friend Mike and his culinary ingenuity (he’s made home made White Castles, churros donuts, a Momofuku menu, and Oktoberfest pretzels in the past) but at work, he’s somehow never won a prestigious bake off… until now! This creative Root Beer Float cupcake comes from a modified Food Network recipe below. I was lucky enough to try one before they went to the office and fond it much like a nice gingerbread cake with home made frosting, yum!


Root Beer Cake:

1 cup butter
1 2/4 cups granulated sugar
1/4 molasses
3 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon ground sassafras root
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 1/2 teaspoons root beer (I used Virgil’s or Manhattan Special’s Sarsaparilla, skip the fake sugar low grade sodas)
4 eggs
1 tablespoon root beer extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup milk
Vanilla Cream Frosting:

3 3/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 1/4 cups butter
2 1/2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two cupcake trays (this makes about 24 cupcakes).  I flour the bottoms with cocoa powder since this is a brown cake, so not only does it not show the white flour spots, but it also adds a toasted chocolate taste).

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter; then add the sugar and molasses, and continue mixing until light and fluffy.

Meanwhile, sift together together the cake flour, baking powder, salt, sassafras root and cloves.

With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the eggs one at a time, and then the bottled root beer to the butter mixture until blended. Mix in the root beer and vanilla extracts. Alternately add the flour mixture and milk to form a smooth batter.

Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake until just set, about 15 to 18 minutes. Let cool in pans for 5 minutes, and then invert onto cooling racks to cool completely before frosting.

In a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the confectioners’ sugar and butter. Mix on low speed until well blended; then increase speed to medium and beat for another 3 minutes. Add the cream and vanilla and continue to beat on medium speed for 1 minute more, adding more cream if needed to reach spreading consistency.

Place the frosting into a pastry bag or a ziplock bag with a corner cut off.  Then pipe the icing like a soft serve ice cream on top of each of the cup cakes.  I then chilled the cupcakes for 30 minutes to let the icing set and finished them off with a 1/3 of a cut drinking straw and a 1/2 of a mini pretzel rod on top of each.

Click here for the rest of Rootbeer Float Cupcakes

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Posted on October 14, 2010

Recipes »Churros Donuts

Homemade via Mike

Thanks to Mike for the following recipe and bringing them to my party!!

The churro donuts were a modified recipe, but here’s a edited version with my additions

1 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoons mexican chili powder
1 lime
3 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup buttermilk
3 eggs
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 cup butter, melted

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Lightly grease a donut baking pan.

In a medium bowl, mix sugar, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, chili powder and flour.

Mix buttermilk, eggs, honey, zest from the lime and the juice from one half of the lime and butter in a separate medium bowl, and stir into the dry ingredients. Spoon the mixture onto the prepared pan filling them halfway.
Bake 8-9 minutes in the preheated oven, until golden brown.
While donuts are still baking, prepare two bowls.  one will have the lime juice from the other half of the lime, and two tablespoons of buttermilk.  the other will have a mixture of 2 parts sugar, one part cinnamon.
while the donuts are still warm roll each one in the liquid mixture followed by the sugar mixture. let cool and enjoy.

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Posted on August 29, 2010

Desserts »The Breads of El Beit

158 Bedford Avenue

This delicious, moist slice of banana walnut bread is not the first baked good from El Beit, the gourmet Bedford Ave coffee shop, that has made my day. Another day offered a candied ginger version that was divine. I am pretty sure the breads are house made and they do tend to sell out, a hard fact I learned one day trying to get some much later in the day. I wish I could take home entire loaves.

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Posted on August 15, 2010

Recipes »Dutch Babies

Puffy Pancake

Puffy and slightly custardy, my friend Shaun bakes a mean Dutch Baby, a breakfast treat that we concluded must be simply called “Our Children” in Holland. While Shaun’s recipe is his own, you could probably safely start with this Alton Brown one then add in any fruits you desire – we had fresh blueberries.

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Posted on July 25, 2010

Recipes »Coconut Banana Bread with Lime Glaze

from Cooking Light

This Coconut Banana Bread with Lime Glaze is one of the highest rated and most popular recipes on the myrecipes website for a very good reason: it’s absolutely delicious. Plus, it gave me an excuse to use my (sadly) underutilized fancy mixer, which is always great.

The site indicates that you can sub apple juice for the rum, but come on teetotalers!

Click here for the rest of Coconut Banana Bread with Lime Glaze

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Posted on February 14, 2010

Desserts »Pumpkin Pie

The perfect fall dessert, Pumpkin pie is usually associated with Thanksgiving, but after finding the best version I've ever had at Blue Stove (with home made whipped cream and a rich, caramelized bottom-crust with a hint of chocolate) I'm hoping to grab a few of them for my lucky Halloween party guests – we'll just call them dead jack-o-lantern pies.

Of course, if you are not near a bakery as good as ours, the classic Mrs Smiths has served me well for years.

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Posted on October 26, 2009

Recipes »Carrot Cupcakes

carrot cupcakesCarrot cake is in the air. Both my friends Grace and Mike have baked up the veggie goody this past week. Mike used a recipe from The Barefoot Contessa that to my joy omits those pesky raisins. The frosting calls for obscene amounts of confectioners sugar and butter.

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Posted on September 28, 2009

Desserts »Apple Pie

mcdonalds apple pieYou can't get more American than (sort of) fresh apple pie from McDonald's. There's lots of online controversy about the rumor that the nearly seventy year old fast food chain uses potatoes flavored like apples rather than real apples; people cry foul play, but I say: what ingenuity! And what kind of genius can make a potato taste like an apple anyways?

I hadn't had one of these cinnamony desserts in years and years and I thank Jim for waiting patiently while he got cut in line by vicious girl teenagers over and over to get one for me.

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Posted on June 29, 2009