October 29, 2011

Happy Halloween!

September 17, 2011

The Lengths I Go...

oh the lengths i go to bake! i have been living in an itty bitty studio in NYC since july. i have loved every day here, but i am counting down the days till i move back to CA (21!!!). as someone who lives to be in the kitchen, i feel a bit like a fish out of water when i am in my apartment because my 'kitchen' is a kitchenette. kitchenette is to katie as typewriter is to computer engineer... no bueno!

i thank my lucky stars for the people at breville for creating what i now call my 12x20 inch lifesaving machine.... aka toaster oven. The box it came in also plays the role of counter, dining table, step ladder, and mouse hole cover (don't ask).

so here is a peek of what i have been living with for 3 months....

my kitchenette. 12x20 lifesaving machine is bringing an almond tart to life.

i was living more glamorously in college than i am right now.
granted... i do work monday-friday doing what i love in a beautiful bakery. so i really shouldn't complain.

can't wait to get back to the west coast where a kitchen awaits me and i can develop more recipes to share with you all. hang with me

July 19, 2011

Best Friends & Dessert

There are a few things I am missing right now... Best Friends, Dessert, and Fog.

three of my best friends and i

well... i'm actually enjoying dessert a lot lately... its the making desserts that i miss. i've recently moved from San Francisco to New York for an incredible internship with an even more incredible 'bakery'. there is just one problem though... my 'apartment' is lacking one very important appliance. an oven. i can understand no dishwasher... but no OVEN?? i'd like to talk to the geniuses who built this place! it's more like living in a glorified closet. while expressing my lack of oven concern, most people tried to convince me that i wouldn't want to bake after being in a bakery 40 hrs a week. they are all wrong. im dying to bake something. i did invest in an extreme easy bake oven... which has a lot of potential. but i have none of my baking equipment! blah blah wha wha, i could go on for days. truth is, i feel unbelievably fortunate to be where i am, doing what im doing.

New York has been real good to me so far BUT i would do just about anything for some SF weather right now. the thermometer says it's 90 degrees outside in Manhattan today, but with this east coast humidity bull crap…it feels closer to about 400 degrees. like... omg!

Stay tuned for some possible adventures in extreme easy baking and some photos of omg worthy desserts im enjoying in NYC... for now here are some pictures from my last baking endeavors.

All photographs by Ashley Batz Photography

June 3, 2011

Pink & Chocolate

two favorite colors and two favorite flavors...

 Chocolate Devils Food Cake with Vanilla Raspberry Buttercream

May 26, 2011

Cookie Dough Ice Cream... Sandwiched

i've been on a a bit of an ice cream kick recently. i don’t know what it is, but i loose ALL my self control when there is a batch of freshly made ice cream in the freezer. especially, when the ice cream is filled with cookie dough. the temptation is worse than knowing where mom is hiding your birthday presents, and not taking a peek. Its 12:30 in the afternoon right now and im fighting the little voice inside my head that tells me ice cream is a good option for lunch. when thinking about how to photograph the ice cream for this post i came up with the idea of sandwiching it. i had never made ice cream sandwiches before, but i think i might have found a new freezer staple. perfect to have stored away for impromptu dinner parties or some delicious alone time. i introduce to you… cookie dough ice cream sandwiches…
Vanilla Bean Cookie Dough Ice Cream 
Lets start with the cookie dough
*this cookie dough has no eggs… making it worry free eating. It also makes enough for about 2 batched of ice cream… but who doesn’t love having some extra cookie dough around?
1 ½ sticks of butter, room temp
¾ c. sugar
¾ c. brown sugar (light or dark… whichever you have or prefer. I used light)
2 tsp. Vanilla
2 ¼ c. Flour
1 tsp. Baking soda
1 tsp. Salt
1 ¾ c. dark chocolate chunks or chips
cream together the butter, sugar and brown sugar in a mixer on medium speed till it is smooth and well blended together, a minute or two.  Add the vanilla and mix till well combined
stir together the flour, baking soda and salt, then add it into the creamed butter and sugar, mix on low speed till all the flour has been blended in. If the mixture is too dry and crumbly to form together in a cohesive dough, add just a tiny dash of milk or water till it comes together (add only a little at a time!! You can always add more, but ya cant take it out)
stir in the chocolate chunks.
Wrap up the dough with some plastic wrap and stick it in the freezer till you need it!

Vanilla bean Ice cream
1 c. whole milk
¾ c. sugar
2 c. heavy cream
pinch of salt
1 Tbls vanilla bean paste (can be found at Williams Sonoma)
6 large egg yolks
To start, Have your egg yolks ready in a bowl to temper. And have 1c. heavy cream in a large bowl with a mesh strainer on top. The heated custard will be poured through this strainer into the cream.
Heat the whole milk, remaining 1 c. heavy cream, sugar, salt, and vanilla paste in a sauce pan over medium heat till it is warm and the sugar has dissolved. Temper the yolks by pouring a little of this warmed mixture over the yolks while whisking quickly and constantly. Then pour the tempered yolks back into the saucepan and heat over med, stirring with a wooden spoon or silicon spatula constantly! If you stop stiring, the eggs touching the sides of the pan will cook… ick. The mixture is done when it is thick enough to coat the spoon. You should be able to swipe your finger across the coated spoon, without the custard flowing back together. Immediatley pour this mixture into the cream waiting with a mesh strainer on top. Pour through the strainer to catch any cooked egg. Stir over an ice bath to bring down the temperature, then stick it in the frig till it is cold. This will take several hours. Its best to let it chill out overnight.
Freeze accourding to your ice cream makers instructions. While the ice cream is doing its thing in the maker, chop up the cookie dough into little chunks. Once it is finished in the ice cream maker, stir in the pieces of cookie dough. Cover a sheet pan (the kind with 1/2'” high sides) with plastic wrap and pour the ice cream onto it, only spreading it out to about ½" thick. Cover with another piece of plastic wrap and freeze immediately. Keep it in the freezer at least 8 hours before assembling the sandwiches.
The reason to freeze the ice cream on a sheet pan is so that when it come time to assemble the sandwiches, you can use a round cutter, to cut rounds that fit perfectly into the cookies. If this sounds like too much work, just forget about it and freeze the ice cream in a container and scoop it out for assembly, no biggie.
Chocolate Cookies
makes 18 (enough for 9 sandwiches)
1 stick of butter
1 c. sugar
1 egg
1 teas. Vanilla
1 teas. Amaretto liquor
6 tbls. Dutch process cocoa powder
1 ½ c flour
1 tsp. baking powder
pinch of salt
Preheat the oven to 350 and line 2 cookie sheets with parchment
Beat the butter and sugar together in a mixer on medium speed till smooth, light in color, and airy. Beat in the egg, vanilla, and amaretto
In another bowl, stir together the cocoa powder, flour, baking powder, and salt.
Add to the butter and sugar mixture, and mix on low speed until all combined and no streaks of flour remain.
Form golf ball sized balls of dough (or weigh them out to 34 grams if you want to be precise and uniform). Line them up on the cookie sheets, 3 down the sides and 2 down the middle. Take a flat bottomed cup and press down the dough balls to about ¼” thick so you have a flat cookie. Sprinkle the tops with sugar and bake for about 10-13 minutes. You want the cookies to be a bit underdone and soft. Let them cool completely before you assemble the ice cream sandwiches.
To assemble.
Place 1 cookie, bottom side up. Using a round cutter about the same size as the cookie, cut a circle out of the sheet of ice cream and place onto the cookie. If you froze the ice cream in a container, rather than a sheet pan, simply place a scoop on to the cookie. Place the second cookie on top of the ice cream, bottom side down. Smoosh them together a bit, wrap individually in plastic wrap, and freeze.
Let the sandwiches sit out at room temperature for about 5-10 minutes so the ice cream and the cookies have some time to soften a bit.
 omg YUMM
** Ice cream and chocolate cookie recipes adapted from David Lebovitz**

May 21, 2011

Addicted to Mason Jars...

hi my name is katie and i am addicted to mason jars. 
yes, those glass jars most usually filled with sweet jams or pickles. to me, they are perfect… for everything. i use them as water glasses, wine glasses, champagne glasses, salad dressing shakers, vases, change collectors, bug catchers, and my latest… cake servers. if you are familiar with my other blog, the practicing foodie, then you know i'm a big fan of banana bread. breakfast, brunch, lunch, dunch, or dinner, hand me a slice of banana bread and i'm a happy camper. but for dessert… hand me this version.
this is how i feel about mason jars
really, its just banana bread dressed up with some cinnamon cream cheese. but with some sugar crystal sprinkles on top, its ready for a night out (or in).
this might be my best use of a mason jar yet. at least till tomorrow.

Makes about 9 mason jar cakes
Banana Bread 
3 Tbls unsalted butter, melted 
1 c. almond flour  (I found almond flour at Trader Joe’s, if you can’t find it, all-purpose will work too…) 
1 c. all purpose flour 
3/4 c. sugar 
3/4 tsp. baking soda 
½ tsp. salt 
2 eggs 
1 ½ c. mashed bananas (3 bananas) 
¼ c. 2% greek yogurt 
1 tsp. vanilla
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a 8 x 8 baking pan with parchment.

Melt the butter in the microwave slowly, set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, whisk together the almond flour, flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt.
In another bowl beat the eggs together with a fork a bit. Add the mashed bananas, yogurt, butter, and vanilla and mix well.

Pour the wet mixture into the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.

Scrape the batter into the pan.

Bake until it is a deep golden color on top and a toothpick comes out clean. Start checking after about out 30 minutes. cool completely.
Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
12 oz. cream cheese, at room temp
3 oz. (3/4 stick), unsalted butter at room temp
9.75 oz (3 c.) confectioners sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. ground cinnamon (add to taste… you may like more or less cinnamon flavor)
Cream together the cream cheese and butter on a stand mixer for about a minute, until it is all smooth and creamy.
Sift the confectioners sugar into the bowl and mix on low till it is all incorporated. 
Add the vanilla and cinnamon and beat on medium speed for another minute.

To assemble
Using a 2 1/2” round cutter, cut pieces of the cooled banana cake. Place one round in the bottom of the jar.
Place the cream cheese frosting in a piping bag (or Ziploc bag), cut a hole in the end and pipe a layer of frosting.
Place another round of banana cake on top. Add another layer of frosting and voila!
Dig in right away or refrigerate till time to serve.