Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Whoopie Pies at Joyce's in Prospect Heights

Black and White Cookie
I wasn't aware of Joyce's Bakeshop in Prospect Heights until I was doing research on the city's best black and white cookies. I liked their take on the black and white, using frosting instead of fondant, though that does make it a little hard to save the cookie for later. While I was there, I made a mental note to come back and try more treats, and a few months later--when an Ample Hills visit went awry--I stopped by Joyce's again. This time I spied a whoopie pie.

Whoopie Pie
Brownie is definitely more of the whoopie pie expert, but I think I've been downing quite a number of them in the past few years. Joyce's is medium sized, enough for a few bites, but not sickeningly large. Their cake part has moist with a good rise--I believe every whoopie pie needs to have that quintessential bump. My problem landed with the filling. I think it was all marshmallow creme--no buttercream or shortening added in. Whoopie pie filling does not equal marshmallow creme! I'll still stop by when walking around Prospect Heights, there are a few more things I'd like to try out there.

Joyce's Bakeshop
646 Vanderbilt Avenue
Prospect Heights
(718) 623-7470

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Ricotta Toast at 61 Local

Honey Ricotta Toast
I don't get to 61 Local that much. Well, at all, really. That's a shame since it's literally 10 steps off the G at Bergen. I stopped by a few Saturdays ago for the Eat-to-Blogversary, and even though it was covered with babies--just babies everywhere--I stayed awhile to have something to eat with my Steve's Ice Cream. I chose their Honey Ricotta Toast. I chose wrong.

Honey Ricotta Toast
It should have worked according to the description: Salvatore BKLYN smoked ricotta, buckwheat honey, PISTACHIO DUST! But when it arrived, it just didn't. The honey overtakes the subtle ricotta flavor, and the pistachio dust throws everything off. It did get better once I let the honey soak in a bit. I was epically sad. Is there something else I should have been trying?

61 Local
61 Bergen St
(347) 763-6624

Monday, February 27, 2012

Win a Copy of Marshmallow Madness!

The giveaway madness continues. Up for grabs this week? A copy of Shauna Sever's new book Marshmallow Madness: Dozens of Puffalicious Recipes. If you love marshmallows this book has it all. Chock full of easy-to-follow recipes to make marshmallows of all kinds from classic vanilla and Concord grape to Creme De Menthe, Margarita and Maple Bacon. Yes, Maple Bacon. Click the jump for the Maple Bacon recipe and more info on how to win a copy...

First up, let's talk about winning the book. Leave us a comment to tell us your favorite way to enjoy marshmallows. You can get an extra entry by liking us on FB. I'll pick a winner Friday afternoon and post the winner here, so be sure to check back! Contest disclaimers: Copy is being provided by the publisher. Contest is open to US and Canada only.

Now here's that recipe...

Maple-Bacon Marshmallows
Makes: About 2 dozen 1 1/2-inch mallows

4 1/2 teaspoons unflavored powdered gelatin
1/2 cup cold water

2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup Grade A dark or Grade B maple syrup*
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup (about 1 1/2 ounces) finely chopped candied bacon**
1/2 cup Classic Coating, plus more for dusting
*The key to getting real maple flavor is using a dark amber Grade A or Grade B syrup,
which are bolder than lighter Grade A varieties.
**To make candied bacon, lay 6 or 7 bacon slices on a wire rack set over a sheet pan
lined with foil. Combine ¼ cup light brown sugar with 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon.
Rub over both sides of bacon. Bake at 350°F until deeply caramelized, 30 to 35 minutes.
Let cool before chopping into bits

Lightly coat an 8-by-8-inch baking pan with cooking spray.

WHISK TOGETHER the gelatin and cold water in a small bowl. Let it soften for 5

STIR TOGETHER the sugar, maple syrup, corn syrup, water, and salt in a medium
saucepan. Bring it to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally, until it hits 240°F. Be
prepared to lower the heat as needed—this syrup likes to bubble up. Microwave the
gelatin on high until completely melted, about 30 seconds. Pour it into the bowl of a stand
mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Set the mixer to low and keep it running.

WHEN THE SYRUP reaches 240°F, slowly pour it into the mixer bowl. Increase the
speed to medium and beat for 5 minutes. Increase to medium-high and beat for 3 more
minutes. Add the cinnamon, increase to the highest speed, and beat for 1 minute more.
Quickly fold in the bacon bits. Pour the marshmallow into the prepared pan. Sift coating
over top. Let it set for 6 hours in a cool, dry place. Use a knife to loosen the marshmallow
from the edges of the pan. Invert the slab onto a work surface. Cut it into pieces and dust
them with more coating.

Up for more Marshmallow Madness? In honor of the book, Quirk is sponsoring a true sweet sixteen pitting regional food bloggers against each other in the ultimate marshmallow showdown. Check out all the recapping action at Serious Sweets.

Recipes and photos courtesy of Marshmallow Madness: Dozens of Puffalicious Recipes by Shauna Sever, copyright 2012, reprinted with permission from Quirk Books

Friday, February 24, 2012

Sweetheart Cake

V-day cake slice

Sometimes I feel a bit like Mister Toad. I'll get wild food idea in my head and I can't shake it, I just really have to see it through. I was like that with some of my more infamous cupcakes (Lady Gaga! Liza!), my 101 pie Pi Day contest entry and this Sweetheart Cake I made for my menfolk in advance of V-Day...

V-day cake interior shot

Inspired by the Rainbow Layer cake I saw on the Martha Stewart show, I was stuck with the idea of making a Valentine's themed rainbow playing with lots of reds and pinks. The cake would be heart-shaped, natch, with cream cheese frosting between all the layers.

Sweetheart cake

Constructing this cake is actually really simple. You just use a couple boxed white cake mixes, food coloring and lots of love. It's fun to make and even more fun to eat. Not to mention a great way to say "I love hue" on V-day or any day.

Full instructions are up on Instructables.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Pok Pok Winging It

Pok Pok Wings
Pok Pok Wing opened on the Lower East Side a little more than a month ago, and when I found myself passing by and in need an afternoon snack recently, you know I went for it. What's a couple of chicken wings right before dinner? Not much when you've barely eaten all day. And dudes, these wings are gooooooooood.

Like garlic, fish sauce, salty, sweet, fried chicken awesome. Pok Pok originally started in Portland, supposedly offering more authentic Thai cuisine, before opening up shop here, much to the delight of many. It's probably the best fried chicken wing in town right now--fabulously crunchy and the garlic fish sauce coating is addictive. But don't think this half order of three wings will be cheap. It's $7.25! I don't know why it's $7.25. The whole place is sort of on the expensive side. Maybe because of rent?

Pok Pok Wing
137 Rivington Street
(212) 477-1299

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Maple on My Mind

Maple Syrup Grading Sampler
This year for Christmas Mama Brownie gave me a Pure Vermont Maple Syrup Grading Sampler. What’s that you ask? A tasting kit for maple syrup. Sweet! For those of you still recovering from Fat Tuesday or craving pancakes, this maple-y goodness is for you...

While we generally see the grade A liquid gold in grocery stores, maple syrup actually comes in several different grades and this little box has them all. The lightest is “Vermont Fancy,” next is “Grade A Fancy,” followed by “Grade A Dark Amber, and last but not least, is the rich “Grade B.” Personally, I’d give the “Grade B’ an “A, ” I’m always in favor of MORE maple flavor. But different strokes for different folks, believe it or not, Lawman strongly prefers the fake stuff (I'm looking at you Vermont Maid--and you, too, Aunt Jemima!) to pure maple syrup. Unfortunately in my experience Grade B syrup isn't easy to come by in the city (or most places outside VT). Got a tip on where to pick up some? Feel free to pass it this New England gal's way! In the meantime, I'll go back to panicking about the mild winter potentially leading to a syrup shortage...

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Travels with Brownie: Revisting Dunkin Donuts in Colombia

Colombian Dunkin Donuts
¡Hola, amigos! ¡Que rico verte! Lawman and I have returned from Little B's first trip to Colombia. I have lots of pics of tasty Colombian food to download from my camera, but in honor of Fat Tuesday, let's talk donuts, specifically Dunkin Donuts because in Colombia it's a whole different ball game...

Colombian Dunkin Donuts Selection

On my last trip to Colombia I discovered that Dunkin Donuts is a hugely popular spot in Bogotá's El Dorado Airport. I grew up with Dunkin, so even if my tastes these days tend towards the intensely flavorful, puffy doughnut wonders from Dough in Brooklyn, I still have a good bit of nostalgia for good ol' DD. The thing about the Dunkin Donuts shops in Colombia is that they are a veritable playground of highly processed donut goodness mixed with local flavor--think donuts in arequipe (a Colombian caramel spread similar to dulce de leche), mora (Andean blackberry), guayaba (guava) and arequipe (a caramel spread similar to dulce de leche). They have a donut called the "dunkin" that even has a little handle presumably for dunkin' action.

Colombian Dunkin Donuts Shop

On our various inter-Colombia flights I gazed somewhat longingly in the direction of the mini Dunkin Donuts kiosks. Alas, there wasn't time to stop, so I saved up my trip for our long layover before our return trip when we nabbed an arequipe and a mora donut. This proved to be a poor choice because of the hour. I should have realized that a donut bought at 9:00pm in a non-baking location would not be as fresh as it should be. The arequipe held up better than the mora.

Picture 009

Next time I'm going for the choco-mani (chocolate peanut) and I'm going early!

If all this donut talk has you longing for some fried delights closer to homecheck out these recent recipes I posted for Maple Bacon Long Johns and Pączki for some make-your-own donut madness.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Win Cupcakes, Cookies & Pie, Oh My!

Cupcakes, Cookies & Pie, oh my!
If you loved Hello, Cupcake! and What's New, Cupcake?, then you know that the authors have come out with a new book, Cupcakes, Cookies & Pie, Oh My!. And this week, we're giving away a copy to one of you lucky readers! Apparently, it's giveaway month here on B&B!

Cupcakes, Cookies & Pie, oh my!
One flip through this book, and I can tell you that Karen Tack and Alan Richardson are a definite fount of creativity. You can do some looking inside here on Amazon. If I tried some of these things, it would end up looking like a frosting covered Blob. So that's why we're giving it to you! All you have to do is email us at blondieandbrownie (at) gmail (dot) com. Contest is open to anyone in the lower 48, and I'll pick a winner late Thursday night!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Phoning It In

Yasai Ramen
You know that feeling when you wake up in the morning wondering how a bus hit you and razor blades managed to scratch up your throat *while* you were sleeping? Well, that's exactly how I felt yesterday morning. And with Brownie and Lawman off playing Joan Wilder and Jack Colton, I'm phoning this one in and going back to sleep, guys. I'll leave you with gratuitous shots of ramen, including the Yasai veggie ramen I had for lunch yesterday.

Fried Chicken Ramen

Special Ramen from Ippudo

Hakata Kuro Ramen

Ramen from Kenka, St. Marks

ZuZu Green Curry Ramen

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Did You Go Get Pancakes Yet?

Clinton St Pancakes
Here we are, smack dab in the middle of February. Valentine's is over, Ash Wednesday is next week, St. Patty's Day is on the horizon, and you probably haven't stopped by Clinton Street Baking Co. to eat pancakes yet. But I have! And they were goooooooooood.

Clinton St Pancakes
When the month's menu came out, I knew I wanted in on the Raspberry and Almond Frangipane pancakes. They actually fold almond frangipane into the pancakes! They were only available Tuesday through Thursday of last week, so when I had a spare hour for lunch (that's becoming an increasing rare thing in my life), I hurried on over. Sweet raspberry sauce soaked into every layer of fluffy cakes, and as you can see, the entire stack was covered with generous amount of slivered almonds. Between the sauce, sugar, almonds, and sweet pancakes, I rarely needed a dip into their almond butter. It was sweet heaven, and I loved every minute of it. Even the slight food coma that existed after.

I noticed that there has been a slight change to menu. This Friday's flavor is now *mystery* to be revealed tomorrow. How exciting!

Clinton Street Baking Co.
4 Clinton Street
(646) 602-6263

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

You Know You Want Chocolate Today

Scharffen Berger
Happy Valentine's Day! Call everyone you love and let them know it! And then let yourself eat chocolate all day long. It's like Thanksgiving, but you don't have to travel and no one has to make turkey! Wins! And if you want to get some free chocolate (free is always sweeter) head on down to 14th Street & 9th Ave because Scharffen Berger has a tent full of choco-liciousness!

From 8am to 3pm today, Scharffen Berger's tent of love--as I like to call it--will have sample flights of their chocolate tasting squares, warm cups of hot chocolate made with their semisweet chocolate, chocolate grams that you can personalize and mail to friends and family across the country courtesy of Scharffen Berger, and last-minute Valentine’s Day gifts! Everything's free and open to the public, so stop moping and get yourself some chocolate!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Chobani Giveaway Time!

Chobani Giveaway!
A funny thing happened two weeks ago. On Saturday, I stopped by my small organic grocery store and noticed new Chobani flavors. I picked one up, the apple cinnamon, ate it when I got home, and fell in love! I like both big brands of Greek yogurt, but I do prefer Chobani's fruit on the bottom--as opposed to a separate well--approach with individual flavors. Well, the following Monday morning, we were contacted by the good people from Chobani about doing a giveaway! And here it is.

Chobani Giveaway!
This week, we're giving away one case of Chobani's new flavors: apple cinnamon, blood orange, and passion fruit! All you have to do is email us at blondieandbrownie at gmail by Thursday evening. I will pick our winner sometime after 8:30pm that night, and Chobani will send you the case. I already got my case; yes, gratis, but you guys all know I only take free stuff when 1)you're given the chance to get it too and 2)I already love the product!

P.S. if that's not enough yogurt for you, they are giving away free yogurt for a year over on their Facebook page!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Saturday Doughnut Numero Dos

Black Raspberry Orwasher's Doughnut
Van Leeuwen's brioche doughnut was not the only doughnut I had last Saturday. As I was walking around the Upper East Side, written in chalk on the sidewalk was "Doughnuts, this way" and I just happened to follow the arrow. Then there was a sign "Doughnuts here!" It was the famous Orwasher's Bakery. No one told me there would be doughnuts!

Black Raspberry Orwasher's Doughnut
At Orwasher's, you chose between regular yeast doughnut, or chocolate-covered ones. Since I love chocolate, I went there. Then you get to chose your filling! The fillings are mostly-fruit based--I was so excited, I forgot to take a picture--and come from Beth's Farm Kitchen. I had the hardest time trying to choose between black raspberry and sour cherry! I went black! And oh man, do they fill this doughnut! I couldn't eat mine right then, so I gingerly kept it in my bag throughout the afternoon. Thank goodness I was careful with it--one squish and it would have been all over. Don't attempt to just eat this willy-nilly or you'll have filling everywhere! That said, it was freaking delicious--wonderfully fluffy and unbelievably big! I do think that next time I'll skip the fondant chocolate frosting though.

Orwasher's Bakery
308 East 78th Street
(212) 288-6569

Thursday, February 9, 2012

I Heart Pancakes!

Heart Shaped pancakes

Pancakes. I love 'em. Love them for breakfast. Love them for lunch. Love them for dinner and dessert, too. As I kid, I always loved when my mom would my pancakes in the shape of bears with chocolate chips for features, but it wasn't until I checked out the book OMG Pancakes by Jim Belosic that I discovered all of the possibilities pancakes provide...

Three hearts
The main tools you need to create awesome pancakes are squeeze bottles (think like those red and yellow colored ketchup and mustard squeeze bottles), a touch of color, and a sense of fun. Last weekend I made these heart shape pancakes for my guys. The key with the thinly outlined pancakes is slow and low so they don't get burned or discolored.

Heart pancake plate

The book has lots of tips and instructions for creating really awesome pancakes for the little (or big) pancake lovers in your life. Perhaps with time I'll graduate to making Millenium Falcons...

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Nomming Van Leeuwen's Brioche Doughnut

Van Leeuwen's Doughnuts
A while back, I became aware the there were Saturday mornings where Van Leeuwen's ice cream shops had brioche doughnuts and doughnut holes. Unfortunately, I kept forgetting to stop by until it was too late, and even when I did remember, it was always one of the off weeks. But late last week, they tweeted out doughnuts were going be on this past weekend, and I wrote myself a note to remind myself to get a doughnut. That, my dears, is the current state of affairs here at B&B; we need to physically write notes on our mirrors to remind us to eat deliciously unhealthy amounts of fried dough. This was just one of two that were eaten by yours truly on Saturday.

Van Leeuwen's Doughnuts
The O is the middle of the doughnut was saying "Oh, don't you want to eat me now!" So I did. The dough is sweet enough that you don't need more than the sugar coating, which does get completely all over you. I am no brioche doughnut expert so I can't say where this falls on that scale, but it was a doughnut so I loved it. Brioche doughnuts are great because they're a little heavier than yeast doughnuts, but airier than cake ones. It's the perfect doughnut for when you need a little something extra for your Saturday breakfast, but don't want to wait two hours for a table. At $3 a pop, this is definitely on my "sweet treat because you managed to roll out of bed and going running this week" list.

Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream has three stores in New York, all selling these doughnuts on Saturdays. They can also be found on the truck with pastries.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Eli's Big Spud, the Student Surpasses the Master

Big Spud from Eli's

New Haven pizza has it's big three--the triumvirate of Pepe's, Sally's and Modern. Three of the oldest, three of the best. Bar Pizza in downtown New Haven burst onto the scene in the nineties, serving up classic thin crust plain 'za (no mutz) and clam pie, but writing a new chapter in the Elm City's pizza history--the creation of the mashed potato pizza and now, a pizzeria in Hamden is showing signs of besting Bar at their own signature pie...

Mashed potato pizza. It sounds gimmicky, but it truly is glorious. It's a white pie, topped with a layer of garlicky mashed potatoes sprinkled with oregano and thyme. You can get it at Bar with or without bacon, but why would you deny yourself crispy, piggy goodness.

Big Spud Slice from Eli's

Eli's in Hamden
also makes a mashed potato pie that they call "The Big Spud" which consists of mozzarella, mashed potatoes, sour cream, garlic, bacon, and cheddar cheese. The addition of cheddar seems gratuitous, but it adds just the right amount of sharpness to the potatoes. Eli's Spud is heavy on the garlic and the sour cream lends an ethereal lightness to a what should be a gut-bursting pizza. It's not gut-bursting, it's habit forming. And if I stack up my last couple of visits at Eli's with my last couple of visit at Bar, I've got to say, the student has surpassed the master: Eli's wins the battle of the mashed potato pizza. While the big three (+ Bar) get a lot of the press as New Haven pizza musts, Eli's is well worth driving the few extra miles down the road.

Eli's Brick Oven Pizza
2402 Whitney Avenue
Hamden, Connecticut 06518

Monday, February 6, 2012

Get Hot & Bothered for Valentine's!

Hot and Bothered
Goodness, wasn't that Super Bowl exciting! Now it's time to look forward to the next holiday o' eating: Valentine's! Don't act like us single ladies can't get in on the Valentine's fun, and no, I won't be drowning my sorrows in chocolate! I ain't got no sorrows to be drowned! In celebration of Cupid, we're giving away this gift set courtesy of one of our newest favorite sites, With Love, From Brooklyn. Keep on clicking to find out how to get all Hot & Bothered and what "With Love" is all about.

With Love, From Brooklyn went live a few months ago, featuring sets of delicious food all made right here in Brooklyn. I've spent more than a couple hours going through the site saying "Oh, I want that" repeatedly. We are the artisanal capital of the world. This gift set includes Jacques Torres' Wicked Hot Chocolate and Wicked Chocolate Bar, Nunu Chocolates Mezcal Chili Truffles, and Spoonable's Chili Caramel, and it can be all yours! All you have to do is email us at blondieandbrownie at gmail (there's a button at the top left,) and I will randomly pick a winner Thursday night!

To check out With Love, From Brooklyn's other offerings, click here.
*Contest is open to residents of the lower 48. We can't guarantee that the set will arrive in time for Valentine's Day.* jump

Friday, February 3, 2012

Shopsin's Mo' Pete

Mo' Pete

With Shopsin's on my brain, I had to make a visit. While I was tempted by the Mo' Betta (try as I might, there's no substitute for the real deal), in the end it was the Mo' Pete that caught my attention....

Like it's fellow "Pete" brethren, the Mo' Pete has 3 poached eggs on top. But this Pete is a little sweet--plenty of brown sugar sausage, and sauteed spinach, oh and did I mention the layer of mac & cheese(!!!) over Shopsin's awesome multi-grain bread? The chorizo/garlic bread fest that is the Santana Pete, is still the king of all Petes in my book (closely followed by the Sneaky Pete), but if you like a little sweet with your savory breakfast this is one's for you!

Essex Street Market
120 Essex Street
New York, NY 10002

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Trying Gorilla's Turkey Grilled Cheese

Gorilla Cheese Truck
Now that we're writing a book about NYC's street meat scene, I've been trying to take every additional opportunity to eat at food trucks and carts. Yes, more than I normally was already. So when I found myself starving in Union Square last weekend, and saw the Gorilla Cheese truck--a truck I've had yet to try--I chomped at the bit. I am currently trying to get my running up to par in order to complete the NY Road Runners 9+1 challenge and I needed a little extra lean protein that day, so I went with their turkey with cheddar.

Turkey Grilled Cheese
And this is what I got. A decent sized sandwich if it had had more than two slices of cold cut turkey! It wasn't even deli-sliced, something I find a little unacceptable seeing as we live in the Boars Head capital of the world. Not that Boars Head is okay with me (nitrates give me headaches.) It was fine enough, the cheese was gooey deliciousness and I loved the texture contrast from the multi-grain bread, but I guess I was expecting a little bit more for $8. I've not given up on Gorilla Cheese or any of the other grilled cheese trucks yet, but when I can get this for $10, the bar is high.

You can follow Gorilla Cheese via their Twitter @gcnyc1 or the weekly schedule on their website at

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

In Which Brownie Attempts to Recreate Shopsins Mo'Betta in Her Own Kitchen

Homemade version of the Mo'Betta
I LOVE the Mo'Betta from Shopsins (that's a maple bacon and eggs sandwiched between mac & cheese pancakes). It's fracking delicious. Alas, with a little dude it can be hard to get to Shopsins for brunch as much as I'd like (aka at least once a week). So the other day when confronted with leftover mac & cheese and no hope of getting to the Lower East Side any time during normal brunching hours, I decide to attempt the Mo'Betta at home...

To make this breakfast sandwich you either need a lot of pans going at once or precise coordination. First I fried up a couple strips of bacon. You can make your bacon into maple bacon by drizzling a bit of real maple syrup while the bacon gets crispy. Set bacon aside (you can keep it warm by placing it on some foil in a warm toaster oven). Then use reserved bacon to fry two scrambled eggs. Again, you can use the toaster oven to keep these warm. Next you'll need to whip up some pancake mix. I use complete buttermilk pancake mix (all you need to add is water). Mix enough batter for a couple of decently sized pancakes and set aside. Next, you'll need about a cup of homemade mac & cheese. I found it was best to do one pancake at time. Add half of the mac & cheese to a greased or buttered frying pan. Let macaroni get slightly crisp then pour pancake batter on top to form pancake. Flip when the top of the pancake gets bubbly. Cook until both sides are a warm golden brown then top with eggs and cheese and finish with the other pancake. Serve tricked out with real Maple syrup and hot sauce.

The verdict? De-freaking-licious, but come on, I my Mo'Betta can't hold a candle to the real deal made by Zach or Kenny Shopsin. It was a challenge for me keeping everything as warm and fresh as at Shopsins and I think my mac could have definitely used more cheese. It was a tasty effort, but I can't wait for my next trip to Shopsins.