Tuna Avocado Sushi

I’m never completely full after eating sushi. It’s just not something that happens. Reason being, the most I’ll ever order is three rolls; otherwise it gets too pricey. I’ve wanted to try making it at home for a long time to solve this issue (I always imagined making a sushi boat’s worth), but hesitated because I didn’t know where to find sushi grade fish*.

*I live on an island so I really should have thought harder on that one.

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In a moment of serendipity my friend and I decided to make it a few months ago. I volunteered to get most of the ingredients so long as he got the fish. HEE HEE HEE, the fish problem was off my hands. He bought pre-packaged sushi grade tuna at Whole Foods and neither of us died, so I decided to make it again today with my friend Lauren. I got my sushi grade tuna from Fairway since that’s closer to me than Whole Foods– though I only realized Fairway had sushi grade tuna AFTER chatting with multiple Whole Foods fish department representatives about their sashimi inventory over the phone.

If you’re going to make this recipe, only do so if you can find safe, sushi grade tuna!! Do not go rogue!

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Makes 3 rolls

INGREDIENTS:

5 oz. sushi grade tuna

1 cup (uncooked) sushi rice, prepared according to package instructions — you will need 2 tablespoons of rice wine vinegar for this

3 sheets nori, prepared according to package instructions

1/2 cucumber, thinly julienned

1/2 avocado, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

Soy sauce, if desired

Pickled ginger, if desired

Wasabi, if desired

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DIRECTIONS:

Roll out a sushi mat or a clean kitchen towel. Place one sheet of the prepared nori on the mat or towel. (If you’re using a towel you may want to cover it in nonstick saran wrap to assist with the rolling process).

Put a third of the cooked rice on the nori and press it evenly into the seaweed, keeping it about a half inch away from the edges. Sprinkle a third of the sesame seeds over it. Lay the cucumber, avocado, and tuna at the edge of the nori that is closest to you. Using the mat/towel to guide you, gently roll it away from you.

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Once it is fully rolled up, squeeze the mat/towel to tighten the roll. Remove the towel/mat and slice the roll into 5 or 6 pieces.

Serve with soy sauce, wasabi, and/or pickled ginger if desired.

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Hummus

Hummus is a divisive subject in my family. Some of us like it creamy, some like it a little chunky (I’m with you; I think the chunky hummus lovers are crazy too). Some adore store brand hummus such as Sabra, while others scoff at its pasty texture (yeah, this is the chunky hummus lover).

Personally, I’m fine with store bought or homemade, but I recently had a hummus awakening that drove me to make some myself and to try a couple new seasonings. “What could this revelation have been?”, you wonder. Answer: I went to a restaurant on the west side a few months ago called Hummus Kitchen. And. Their. Hummus. Was. Phenomenal. Like, can’t stop talking about it phenomenal. Like, told my coworkers that they have no option but to go there phenomenal. It was warm, covered in chicken shwarma, and drizzled with olive oil. The addition of olive oil to the top of hummus is probably completely normal but my family has never made it that way, so it was a lightbulb moment for me.

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The restaurant itself was frigid because of its petite size and my table’s proximity to the street, but the food and friendly waitstaff completely made up for it. Oh, and did I mention their freshly made lemon-mint lemonade? I’m a sucker for flavored lemonades. Lavender, mint, whatever… I’m there.

This recipe is ever so slightly adapted from Bon Appetit.

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INGREDIENTS:

1 15½-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed, drained

½ cup tahini, well mixed — this will take a couple minutes but don’t despair, it will become smooth!

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 garlic clove, finely grated (I used a garlic press)

¾ teaspoon (or more) kosher salt

10 cranks freshly ground black pepper

¼ teaspoon ground cumin

3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling

2 tablespoons water

1 teaspoon sesame seeds

1 pinch dried oregano

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DIRECTIONS:

Combine the chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, garlic, salt, black pepper, cumin, and water in the bowl of a food processor. Process until smooth, about 1 minute. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil as you continue to process the mixture for about a minute more.

Put the hummus in a shallow bowl or a plate with raised edges. Drizzle a tad more olive oil over the hummus and sprinkle on the sesame seeds and oregano.

Enjoy with veggies, pita, or on a spoon!

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Sprinkles Vanilla Cupcakes

I remember the first time I heard of the California based cupcake bakery, Sprinkles. I was watching acclaimed reality show “The Girls Next Door”, the fairytale saga of Hugh Hefner and his collection of girlfriends. Bridget, his number 2 GF, was throwing a birthday party and brought in Sprinkles cupcakes for the occasion. “Doesn’t everyone order cake for a birthday? What’s the big deal?”, you ask confusedly. Well when you have your own kitchen staff like the Playboy mansion, you don’t have ANYTHING brought in unless it’s really spectacular.

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Several years later when I was interning at “E! News” in LA, I finally laid my paws on one during an event at the office. Little did I know that by then, a Sprinkles had opened in my home state of New York. It was everything I dreamed of: moist and delicate, with dense, creamy frosting. So when I found a recipe online, of course I wanted to try it. The recipe I found is for their peppermint cupcakes, so I adjusted it slightly to be plain vanilla, and to make 24 cupcakes rather than 12. I also used this fondant recipe to make the heart garnishes. Yes, I know they make the cupcakes look vaguely boob-like, for better or worse.

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Servings: Makes 24 cupakes

INGREDIENTS:

For the cupcakes:

3 cups all-purpose flour , sifted

2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. coarse salt

1 cup whole milk , room temperature

4 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter , room temperature

2 cups sugar

2 large eggs, room temperature*

4 large egg whites, room temperature*

*If your eggs are warming too slowly, gently place them in a cup, then fill the cup with lukewarm (not hot) water until they reach room temperature

For the frosting:

2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter , firm but not cold

1/4 tsp. salt

7 cups confectioners’ sugar , sifted

2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 tsp. milk


DIRECTIONS:

For the cupcakes:

Preheat oven to 350°. Make sure the racks are in the lower two thirds of the oven. Line 2 cupcake tins with liners.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.

In a small bowl, mix together milk and extracts; set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter on medium-high speed, until light and fluffy. Gradually add sugar and continue to beat until well combined and fluffy. Reduce the mixer speed to medium and slowly add egg and egg whites until just combined.

With the mixer on low, slowly add half the flour mixture; mix until just blended. Add the milk mixture; mix until just blended. Slowly add remaining flour mixture, scraping down sides of the bowl with a spatula until just blended.

Divide batter evenly among prepared cupcake liners. Gently shake the tins so that any raised batter flattens. Transfer muffin tin to oven and bake until tops are just dry to the touch, 22 to 25 minutes– I know this is a super scary way to test them as opposed to the toothpick method, but they’ll keep cooking in the pan so take them out as soon as you can touch the top without getting any residue on your finger. Rotate tins once while baking. Transfer tins to a wire rack and let cupcakes cool completely in tin before icing.

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For the frosting:

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and salt on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

Reduce the speed to low, gradually add the confectioners’ sugar and beat until incorporated. Add the extracts and milk and beat until smooth and creamy. Do not overmix or the frosting will incorporate too much air; it should be creamy and dense, like ice cream. Add additional milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, if frosting does not have a spreadable consistency.

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To assemble:

While gingerly holding a completely cooled cupcake, scoop a large amount (thing about a half a tennis ball) onto the top of the cupcake using a spatula. Then, swipe the sides of the cupcake in a circular motion until the top looks flat and the sides are smooth, almost like a volcano. Place any decorations on top, then eat!

These can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for about 3-4 days.

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Boloco Buff Chick Burritos

When I was going to school in Boston, the ultimate treat was heading over to the Boloco on the corner and snaggle-snagging one of their hot and tangy buffalo chicken burritos. If it was a really special occasion I’d get the biggest size, but usually I stuck with a regular, or a mini if I was feeling particularly guilty about my purchase. For those of you who aren’t familiar, Boloco is a New England based chain restaurant that specializes in non-traditional burritos and shakes. And it’s amazing.

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The blue cheese and hot sauce look so happy together

Even now when I visit Boston I always stop by. I still relish the sound the tinfoil makes when it’s gingerly peeled back to reveal a steaming tortilla, ready to burst with hot sauce and blue cheese dressing. Just as you can hear the ocean when your ear is to a conch, you can hear the song of Boloco foil when your ear is to a ‘rito.

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My mouth waters every time I look at that sauce!

Since it’s not entirely feasible to drive to Boston every time I have a hankering for this edible bundle of joy, I made this copycat version. And if I do say so myself, it’s pretty darn close. It’s not a science, so these measurements are not exact. Add more or less of what you do or don’t like. Also, if you’re wondering why I used tofu instead of chicken,it’s because I’m just not in a meat mood this week! And this burrito is fantastic either way.

INGREDIENTS:

2 small whole wheat tortillas

1 cup cooked brown rice

1 stalk of celery, sliced

1/2 cup cooked tofu or chicken

2 tbsp Frank’s buffalo hot sauce

2 tbsp lite blue cheese dressing

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To cook tofu, simply sautee in about a tbsp of oil and seasoning for a few minutes on medium-low. I used sesame oil since tofu is so bland on its own.

DIRECTIONS:

Lay each tortilla on its own square of tinfoil. Split all ingredients between the two tortillas. With a spoon, swirl each pile of ingredients so that everything is mixed in. Tuck the flaps on the left and right sides of the tortilla inward, then roll away from you while continuing to tuck the sides in. Wrap in tinfoil. Eat!

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Served with hibiscus rooibos tea– very refreshing

 

 

Fudgy Cheesecake Brownies

I’ve been craving cheesecake brownies for upwards of two weeks. I had off from work today, it’s raining, and my uterus hurts*. Three prime reasons to make them on this fateful Tuesday afternoon. These particular cheesecake brownies have a very fudgy chocolate brownie base, and a creamy cheesecake layer that sits on top like a duvet on a mattress. (Yes I’m in bed writing this, SO WHAT?!).

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As much as they’ve been on my mind, I was only able to eat 1 1/2 because they’re so intensely rich and gooey. If you think about it, cheesecake brownies are kind of an epic dessert; essentially the lovechild of two gold medalists at the dessert olympics, brownies and cheesecake.

*If you think it’s gross of me to mention this in a post for a food blog, I don’t know what to tell you.

This recipe is derived from this brownie recipe, and this cheesecake brownie recipe.

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I use Hershey’s unsweetened cocoa powder, which makes the brownie base a little bittersweet

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The shiniest brownie batter in town

INGREDIENTS:

For the brownie layer:

10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter

1 1/4 cups sugar

3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or Dutch-process)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 large eggs, room temperature

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

For the cheesecake layer:

8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1 egg, room temperature

1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

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This is already looking decadent

DIRECTIONS:

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F. Line the bottom and sides of an 8×8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper or foil, leaving an overhang for easy removal. Spray with non-stick baking spray, or butter lightly.

Combine the butter, sugar, cocoa, and salt in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for one minute intervals, stirring in between, until the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth. Be careful not to microwave it on high if you have a powerful microwave (mine is quite strong so I heated it on level 6). Set the mixture aside until it cools slightly and is no longer hot to the touch. It’s okay if it looks a little gritty– this is normal.

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This paper, which truly makes me smile, is from Paper Source

Stir in the vanilla. Add the eggs one at a time, stirring to combine after each one. When the batter looks thick, shiny, and well blended, add the flour and stir until you cannot see it any longer, then beat vigorously for 40 strokes. Dump into the lined pan–I say “dump” because that is essentially the noise it will make when you pour it in–and spread out using a spatula. Wiggle the pan if necessary to flatten the batter more.

Combine the cheesecake sugar, cream cheese, vanilla, and egg in a bowl, and beat with an electric mixer on medium-low until everything is combined and there are no lumps or watery areas. Pour onto the brownie batter. Spread out with a spatula. Using a knife, swirl the batter and cheesecake topping as much as possible. Because the brownie batter is so dense, it will not combine with the cheesecake layer very much.

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It’s not gonna look perfect, and that’s okay!

Bake for 35-40 minutes, checking every 5 minutes after the 25 minute mark. Brownies are done once a toothpick is inserted and comes out with only a little bit of moist residue. It will not crumb like a cakier brownie would, so do not look for crumbs as a sign that it is done! The cheesecake layer never completely hardens, so just because it’s soft doesn’t mean it’s undercooked.

Let cool on a wire rack, then place in the refrigerator for about an hour. Cut into 16 squares. Will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for about 3 days for optimal freshness.

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Classic Chocolate Cake

During my elementary school years, I could always count on coming home to a snack and a glass of milk in the afternoon. We had a snack drawer, which evolved into a healthier snack drawer over time, then eventually ceased to exist as we got older and more in tune with nutrition. But back in the snack drawer’s glory days, we also kept one Entenmann’s treat on the counter at all times. At the dawn of our family snack habit it was the yellow cake with chocolate frosting, or the full blown chocolate cake with chocolate frosting. That gradually morphed into chocolate cake with marshmallow frosting because we wanted to *shake things up*.

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Beautiful, silky frosting

The other day I had a craving for chocolate on chocolate cake with a cold glass of milk. Truth be told, I’ve just been craving milk in general and I think making a cake seemed like the perfect excuse to drink more of it without causing any suspicion. Conveniently, a few days before my mom’s birthday, she asked me to make her cake. “What kind”, I responded, silently hoping that she would tell me to pick. Which she did. Chocolate on chocolate it was.

I found this recipe on a blog called Add a Pinch. I adjusted it slightly; I used instant coffee powder instead of espresso powder, so I diminished the amount in the frosting. If you like your chocolate frosting to err on the side of mocha, feel free to add a touch more.

INGREDIENTS:

For the cake:

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups sugar

¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Hershey’s)

2 teaspoons baking powder

1½ teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon instant coffee powder

1 cup whole milk

½ cup vegetable or canola oil

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup boiling water

For the frosting:

1½ cups butter (3 sticks), softened

1 cup unsweetened cocoa

5 cups confectioner’s sugar

½ cup whole milk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon instant coffee powder

DIRECTIONS:

For the cake:

Preheat oven to 350º F. Prepare two 9-inch cake pans by spraying with baking spray.

Add flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt and instant coffee powder to a large bowl. Whisk through to combine.

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Add milk, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla to flour mixture and mix together on medium speed with an electric mixer until well combined. Reduce speed and carefully add boiling water to the cake batter. Beat on high speed for about 1 minute to add air to the batter.

Distribute cake batter evenly between the two prepared cake pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick or cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes, remove from the pan and cool completely.

Slice off any uneven tops if you wish. Normally I do, but with this cake the domed top can give it a nice homemade charm.

For the frosting:

Add cocoa to a large bowl or bowl of stand mixer. Whisk through to remove any lumps.

Cream together butter and cocoa powder until well-combined.

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Cute baby sticks of butta.

Add sugar and milk to cocoa mixture by adding 1 cup of sugar followed by about a tablespoon of milk. After each addition has been combined, turn mixer onto a high speed for about a minute. Repeat until all sugar and milk have been added.

Add vanilla extract and espresso powder and combine well.

If frosting appears too dry, add more milk, a tablespoon at a time until it reaches the right consistency. If it appears to wet and does not hold its form, add more confectioner’s sugar, a tablespoon at a time until it reaches the right consistency.

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I love how the rainbow sprinkles pop against the milk chocolate!

Assembly:

Frost the cake. Throw some sprinkles on there. Stand back, admire. Eat. Maybe one more slice.

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There’s nothing like decade-old birthday candles

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Imagine that with a cold glass of milk… yes, please.

 

Joy the Baker’s Confetti Cookies

Every once in a while, I stop by Joy the Baker’s site to see what she’s been up to. And by “once in a while”, I mean at least once a week. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Joy, she is the epitome of what it means to be an enjoyable food blogger: witty, knowledgeable, and direct. When I found myself on her site this week, two recipes gave me pause. Strawberry rhubarb pie, and these vanilla bean confetti cookies. I’ve ogled both before but had yet to make either.

Initially I chose to make the strawberry rhubarb pie, but it’s still so cold outside that I wasn’t sure that my Fairway would have rhubarb yet. It’s also so cold outside that I did not, in fact, want to go outside. I had all the ingredients for the confetti cookies, so confetti cookies it was. And I am VERY content with my choice. They’re playfully colorful and so soft that eating them is probably the closest one could come to safely consuming a tube of raw cookie dough. I said safely. They also have a depth of flavor that other sugar/butter cookies don’t have, due to the vanilla bean and their chilling time.

The one warning I must give before you embark on your confetti cookie journey is that the dough needs to be refrigerated prior to baking. SO. If there isn’t a lot of time before you want these cookies to meet your face, I would pick a different recipe. Or at the very least find something to distract yourself for two hours while they chill.

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INGREDIENTS:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon cream of tartar.. all of mine is from the 80’s and has expired.. shh.. don’t tell

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

3/4 cup granulated sugar

Seeds from 1 vanilla bean

1 large egg

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup sprinkles, more if you want to throw them in the air joyfully while you bake

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DIRECTIONS:

In a medium bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the vanilla bean seeds, then the egg and vanilla extract, and beat until thoroughly combined.

With the mixer on low add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients in a few doses. The dough will become quite thick– don’t worry, this is correct. Fold in 1/4 cup of the sprinkles.

Place the remaining 1/4 cup sprinkles in a bowl. Scoop up 2 tablespoons of dough and roll into a ball– I was using about 1/4 of dough at first, so I quickly ran out of dough. Gently roll the ball in the bowl of sprinkles to cover lightly. Put the balls on a plate. Repeat with the remaining sprinkles and dough. Chill the soon-to-be cookies for at least 2 hours in the refrigerator.

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Place racks in the center and upper third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Transfer the chilled dough balls to the prepared baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches of space in between each ball.

Bake until the cookies have spread very slightly and are just beginning to brown around the edges, but are mostly pale and pillowy, 8 to 10 minutes.* Let cool on the cookie sheets for 5 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely, then transfer to your  mouth ASAP.

*I took mine out a bit before they browned on the edges, since I like my cookies to be very soft and chewy. If you want more of a crisp exterior and a soft interior, stick with Joy’s directives.

 

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Et voila!

Spaghetti with Butter-Roasted Tomato Sauce

One of my biggest pet peeves is having leftover ingredients from a recipe and not knowing what to do with them. I made roasted leek and garlic toasts with minced anchovy filets as part of Christmas dinner; they were delicious, but left me with a jar full of anchovies in the refrigerator. I came across this recipe in Bon Appetit and noticed that it called for a couple of my fishy friends. I was concerned that their taste would be too strong since a lot of people don’t like their very distinct flavor (they’re reminiscent of low tide), but the little guys really just round out the 8 cloves of garlic and robust tomato flavors in the dish.

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The roasted garlic and leek toasts from Christmas!

Even though it’s a hearty, comforting meal, its bright scent reminds me of summer and picking tomatoes in my aunt’s garden.

INGREDIENTS:

1 28-oz. can whole peeled tomatoes

8 garlic cloves, peeled, crushed

2 anchovy fillets packed in oil, minced

¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes plus more for serving

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

12 oz. bucatini or spaghetti (I’ve also used papardelle… anything that can hold up to the jammy sauce is fine) 

Finely grated Parmesan or Romano (for serving)

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Post-roast

DIRECTIONS:

Put on an apron– this recipe will splatter!

No really, put on an apron.

Preheat oven to 425°. Combine tomatoes (crushing them with your hands), garlic, anchovies, butter, and ½ tsp. red pepper flakes in a 13×9” baking dish; season with salt and black pepper. Roast, tossing halfway through, until garlic is very soft and mixture is jammy, 35–40 minutes. Using a fork, mash to break up garlic and tomatoes.

 

Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Drain, reserving ½ cup pasta cooking liquid.

 

Return pasta to pot and add tomato sauce and pasta cooking liquid. Cook over medium-high heat, tossing until sauce coats pasta, about 3 minutes. Serve topped with Parmesan and more red pepper flakes (and salt, if you have a salt problem like I do).
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The finished product. I wish you could smell this picture.

Nom nom nom, dig in!

Brie En Croute

Halloween is over, so that means Thanksgiving and Christmas are in full swing. At least according to mall decorations and Galleries Lafayette in Paris, which already boasts a giant Christmas tree that looks like a beautiful upside down ice cream cone. With the exception of a harvest-decorated townhouse on the upper west side, I haven’t seen any indications of the imminent holiday season here in New York.

The brie and the cranberries look SO BEAUTIFUL together!!

Obviously if you’re asking me, one of the best things about the holiday season is the food. UGH. THE FOOD. The box stuffing, the turnips with butter and mounds of salt, the canned cranberry sauce, the fresh haricots verts, the buche de Noel, the parker house rolls, the pumpkin pie, the butterscotch oatmeal cookies, and not last and also not least, the brie en croute. Or as my family calls it, baked brie.

My high school was near a Whole Foods, so my mom started shopping there sometimes while waiting to pick me up after rehearsal or whatnot. One fateful day, she purchased a pre-made baked brie. And my family went NUTS. Ever since, it’s been a must-have appetizer on Thanksgiving and Christmas. And just like, casual Tuesdays.

Brie En Croute is perfect for holiday celebrations.

This past year I decided to make it from scratch, since I figured that would be cheaper and dare I say, even more delicious than the store bought version. I used the framework of Paula Deen’s recipe; the changes I made were basically omitting the nut topping and replacing it with a tart yet sweet cranberry-apple mixture, as well as cutting the amount of brown sugar added to about half, though that alteration can be left up to your palate.

You might find that you don’t need the kitchen string, which both the original and my adapted recipes call for. Sometimes the brie you find will be slightly wider, and will therefore not leave enough excess dough to tie. If this happens, it’s totally fine. Just press the dough down onto the cheese firmly so that it doesn’t open up while baking.

Before baking, tie any excess puff pastry with kitchen string.

INGREDIENTS:

1 sheet pre-packaged frozen puff pastry, thawed

1 tbsp unsalted butter

1/2 cup diced and peeled granny smith apple

1/4 cup fresh or frozen cranberries

1/8 tsp cinnamon

1, 8 oz. wheel of brie

1/8-1/4 cup light brown sugar

1 egg, beaten

Special tools:

*Kitchen string*

Ingredients for Brie En Croute

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat your oven to 375 F. Take out a baking sheet and set aside. You do NOT need to spray it.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the apples and cranberries and let cook for 6-8 minutes, or until the apples are slightly translucent and the cranberries are no longer hard. Add the cinnamon and stir until the fruit is evenly coated. Set aside.

Place the puff pastry onto the baking sheet. Place the brie in the center. Gently pour the  fruit mixture on top of the brie. If some falls off onto the puff pastry, that’s fine! Sprinkle the brown sugar over the fruit topping.

Fruit topping on Brie En Croute

Starting with a corner, roll up the puff pastry onto the brie, working in a circle. Using a pastry brush (TBH you can use your fingers if you don’t have one), lightly coat the puff pastry in the egg wash. Tie up any excess pastry with a piece of kitchen string.

Place in the oven for 20 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown.

Finally done! Ooey gooey delicious Brie En Croute.

Enjoy!

Leslie

Haystack Rice Krispie Treats

As I write this lying in bed on a Saturday morning, I’m debating a few things. A) Do I eat the Trader Joe’s mini peanut butter cups that are lying next to me? (And YES, they are in a package, not loose). B) Do I knock on my wall to let my neighbor know that she’s playing her music too loudly? (I woke up at 7:46 am to “Glory” by Common and John Legend, a magnificent song that is not meant to be used as an alarm clock). C) DO I eat the peanut butter cups??

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See, life is full of hard decisions. But one thing that wasn’t hard to decide was whether or not to make these pumpkin candy corn rice krispie treats. I know that a lot of people think candy corn is disgusting, considering that it’s carnauba wax and all, but so are sprinkles, people. And we eat those all the time. Plus I love candy corn, especially when it comes in the pumpkin shape because that means more to bite into. Pumpkin candy corn also brings up fond childhood memories of trick-or-treating on my block. The elderly couple who (is it who or that in this context? I never know) lived across the street used to hand out small zippy bags filled with popcorn and a couple pumpkin shaped carnauba treats. I never saw them anywhere else so I thought that the couple was especially cool for having the hookup.

You might be a-wondering why I added vanilla to the pre-existing rice krispie recipe. That’s because vanilla is already the prominent flavor in marshmallows and candy corn, so the extract enhances it and makes the end result more robust.

Also, how cute are these pumpkin Peeps?! I’ve always been into Peeps, so they were an exciting find for me.

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INGREDIENTS:

6 cups Rice Krispies cereal

4 cups mini marshmallows (these melt more easily than the large ones)

3 tbsp butter

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Orange food dye (just enough to make the marshmallow-butter mixture slightly orange so that it looks more hay-like)

1 bag pumpkin shaped candy corn

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DIRECTIONS:

Spray a 9×13 inch pan with non stick spray.

Melt butter in a large saucepan set over medium heat. Don’t turn the heat too high, or the butter and/or marshmallows will burn. Once the butter is melted, add in the marshmallows. Stir until a shiny, smooth mixture has formed. Add the orange food dye and vanilla, and stir until evenly distributed. Remove from heat.

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Add in the rice krispies, and stir until combined. Move mixture into the 9×13 pan, and press down using wax paper or an off set spatula that’s been sprayed with non-stick spray. Push the pumpkin candy corn into the top of the krispies. Let cool.

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Using a sharp knife, cut into squares that are the size that YOU WANT THEM TO BE.

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Enjoy!

Leslie