Weekend Baking


I was looking forward to my day off with my sweetie all week. I decided that I would surprise him by baking a batch of yummy cinnamon rolls for us to share during our lazy Sunday. I started the process Saturday night. After the dough log firmed up in the freezer I sliced it up and put 10 pieces in a greased 13×9 pan, covered it with a towel, crossed my fingers and went to bed.


It’s still weird for me that such an easy dough works so perfectly, especially since I was using the Milk Bar Mother Dough with the Brioche Cinnamon Roll recipe from the Craft of Baking book. I was worried that I would wake up to small little slices, but was greeted instead to a full pan of fluffy dough-love. I used the leftover filling that oozed out during the rolling/wrapping process by spooning it on top of each roll.


While the rolls baked I made the glaze and set up a handy little drizzle station with a plastic tray and a cooling rack. After about 30 minutes they were all set. I was so happy that my romantic brunch turned out so well. What did NOT go quite as planned, however was the fact that my husband was called into work bright and early on our ONE day off together. He got dressed and left, leaving a sad husband-shaped empty spot in our bed.


Baby G was still asleep so I got up to see if I had totally wrecked my cinnamon rolls or not. The funny thing was, since my honey wasn’t around to enjoy them with me I didn’t really care they turned out or not. But my bakers’ ego was definitely thrilled to see how puffy and beautiful the rolls had become overnight.


I decided to make the best of eating breakfast alone by putting on The Smiths and making a good strong pot of coffee.


Even though I was really disappointed that my honey would have to come home to cold cinnamon rolls, I was pretty happy with the way they turned out….and so was Baby G. πŸ™‚



Casual Baking


Tonight my sweet husband made tacos for dinner and after we were through looked around and said ‘anything for dessert?’ I’ve been working lately on expanding my baking techniques and trying to master new skills, but sometimes it’s nice to know I can whip up a quick batch of regular cookies.

I have a lot of tried and true basics that work every time. This time I made a classic chcoolate chip cookie, but added 2 tbs. espresso (ground beans) and a cup of oatmeal.


At the same time I was making the cookies I decided to use up the batch of Mother Dough I had on hand. You’re supposed to use it within 3 days and that would be tomorrow. I had planned to use 1/2 for kimchi/blue cheese croissants but ended up using all of it for cinnamon rolls.

Mother Dough: It’s alive!


As I was rolling out the dough I realized I was going to have to use the whole batch. When I poured the filling over the dough it ran all over the place. I tried not to panic and I used the bench scraper to get runaway filling into a bowl to pour over the rolls tomorrow when I bake them.


I awkwardly and messily rolled the dough and the filling into a cylinder and wrapped it in plastic wrap. It was an oozy tube but luckily I have a baguette pan so I slid it on there and threw it in the freezer.


It took quite a while to clean up everything from dinner, clean up dirty dishes from cookie-making and clean up after my cinnamon roll situation, but there is nothing as satisfying as going to bed with a clean house. I even folded a load of laundry and took out the trash for good measure.

It’s about time for me to check on the cinnamon rolls. If they are firm enough I can slice them and put them in the 13×9 pyrex dish so they can rise one more time. If everything goes well they’ll be ready to throw in the oven in the morning.

Can you believe I’ve never made cinnamon rolls before?


Milk Bar: Ritz Crunch


I actually have no idea why I’m making this (other than the fact that I had all the ingredients) as I have no immediate plans for it. It is used in the Milk Bar cook book in the Grapefruit Pie recipe, but try as I might I can not work up any interest to make that pie yet. (although the blog post that I linked the recipe to actually made it seem like something I may want to consider later in the summer)


The recipe for the crunch alone is super super easy and the same for all of the Milk Bar crunches: corn flake, fruity pebble, pretzel, etc. I will probably end up using this in a new batch of Compost Cookies.


You start with a sleeve of crackers. The recipe says to crush them with your fingers, but I have soft lady hands that do not like the feel of sharp crackers in their palms so I use my rolling pin to crush them instead. Crushing things with the rolling pin is super fun, but you do have to be careful because you don’t want to get carried away and pulverize the crackers. They need to be roughly 1/4 their original size.


Once you have the crackers all set you just dump in the rest of the dry ingredients: 1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 cup milk powder, 1/2 kosher salt.


7 tablespoons of melted butter binds it all together and creates tasty little clumps that you transfer to a silpat-lined sheet pan and bake for 20 minutes or until they look toasted and smell buttery.


They are in the oven right now and when they are finished I will cool them and store in an airtight container. They will keep fresh at room temp for 1 week or in the fridge or freezer for 1 month.


Update: Oh, god. This is NOT going to last in my house. I just went over to the cooling pan and prepared to store the crunch, I noticed big yummy pieces that looked like flakey nut brittle and grabbed one to try. HOLY MOTHER…it was good. So delicious and addictive–it took me completely by surprise. I handed my sweet husband a piece and he did the holy shit double take. Tiny G even approved. Yum, yum, yum.




DIY Feuilletine


I just found a way to make feuilletine at home. I am super excited about this. It was one of the ingredients (glucose being another) that I was going to have to special order if I wanted to follow some of the Milk Bar recipes to the letter.

I haven’t ordered the glucose yet, I have been subbing light corn syrup in the cookie recipes. The cookies I have made have all been super chewy and yummy so I will be interested to see if the glucose improves the taste or texture in any noticeable way. (of course it is an Amazon item..what can’t you get from there?!)

One of the other huh? ingredients was feuilletine. I had never heard of it before, but apparently it’s fairly common in culinary schools. (which makes me feel a little giddy in my little personal culinary home-school adventure) Christina Tosi says in her book that it is toasted crepe bits. Apparently it’s flaky texture is out of this world. With all of her crumbs and crunches you can use them alone over ice cream, with milk, or mixed into baked treats. I’m excited. πŸ™‚

Bagel Bomb PS:

So the second batch of bombs is in the oven right now. I was able to do the whole process, egg wash, sprinkling with bagel mix, etc. (little G is asleep with Daddy)

Here are a few pictures that I didn’t have last time:

Cream cheese plug in a dough round:


Bring each corner up, seal around the plug then roll the ball around in your palms to smooth into a dinner-roll shape:


Egg wash time!:


My everything bagel mix was just enough for two batches of bombs, or 16. (C and I ate 2 each already even though neither one of us was particularly hungry!)

I am already obsessed with ways to customize these. Clearly I need a fresh batch of mother dough (once I wash my mixer bowl) then I can try these guys with strawberry/cream cheese plugs and a dusting of confectioners’ sugar. Yummmmm….

Ok, the second batch just came out of the oven and they are perfect! They stayed much more round than the first batch and there was NO oiliness. They were completely dry the whole time and browned really nice and evenly. I can’t wait to have some with my littles in the morning over coffee and chocolate milk!!


Bagel Bombs Part 2


I froze my bacon, scallion and cream cheese plugs for a couple of hours until they were frozen solid. Then I cut my mother dough in half and cut 8 pieces with my bench scraper (first time I’ve used it since I bought it!!!) Each piece was hand-stretched into a 3″ circle then each circle was introduced to a frozen blob of happiness.


It was easy to stretch the dough around the plugs and pinch closed. I smoothed each out so they’d be fairly the same size.


I had just finished this step when my Baby G woke up missing me. My sweet man took over at this point and handled egg wash/bagel mix sprinkling duty. Once they were coated with everything bagel fixins’ then they were popped into the oven for 20 minutes.


While they were baking I made a second round of plugs so I could use up my second half of mother dough and second package of cream cheese. I think these will go quickly. I noticed when I cooked my bacon this time it didn’t make nearly as much grease, so I had less to add to the cream cheese. It blended up much easier and was scoopable right after mixing in the bacon and scallions. I think the first batch had too much grease in them and I could see fat oozing off of them as they cooked.


I have a kooky oven and they took longer than usual to bake (it usually bakes too quickly) and I think part of that was the bacon grease situation. I think the second batch will be a little different.


Holy mother these things were fantastic. I do think round 2 will be even better, but…omg yum. It’s 11pm and all I could think was that I’d love to be on a patio around noon somewhere with one of these and a pitcher of mimosas. It makes me want to hold a brunch at my house….

Bagel Bombs Part 1


Ok so I have the mother dough on stand-by. The only thing that kept me from making bagel bombs sooner was a trip to the store to get the dry ingredients for the everything bagel mix. I didn’t want to skip this step because I love everything bagels and wanted to make the recipe exactly as is for my first time.


Once the mix was made I got to work on the cream cheese plugs. The cream cheese was creamed alone in the stand mixer with the paddle attachment while I cooked the bacon. A slice was a little less than an ounce and the recipe calls for 1 3/4 ounces. I love bacon and so does my family (especially my Moomers) so I used 3 slices. I know I just said that I wanted to follow the recipe exactly but I thought that since I had more bacon and therefore would have more bacon fat that I should use the full package of cream cheese (8oz.) instead of the 7 the recipe called for.


I was a little nervous pouring still-warm bacon grease into the softened cream cheese and at first it was an oily mess. Then the miracle of emulsification occurred and it turned cohesive and glossy, like buttercream. Bacon buttercream. Swoon.


Next in was the bacon, sugar, salt and scallions. I really need a digital kitchen scale because I have no g.d clue how much 2g of scallion greens is–so I chopped up a few pieces until it looked about right. (I’m guessing about half a tsp. is about right, but since the pieces are big-ish it’s hard to gauge that way)

I decided to freeze the finished mixture in the deep freeze for 30 or so minutes so I can scoop out more firm balls instead of an oozy puddle.

Once the plugs freeze for a few hours (may take less in the badass deep freeze) then I can go on to the next step: baking the bombs!!!! We will have bagel bombs for breakfast!!!!

Everything Bagel Mix:

3/4 tsp kosher salt
1 Tbs white sesame seeds
2 tsp black sesame seeds
2 tsp poppy seeds
1 Tbs dried onion
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder

Mix, store in an airtight container. Keeps for 6 months or so.

Bacon, Scallion, Cream Cheese Plugs:

1 3/4 smoky bacon
7oz cream cheese
2 g scallion greens
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp kosher salt

Cook bacon until auburn and crunchy. Remove, chop. Save bacon far. Cream cheese on medium, add fat, mix til blended. Add rest of ingredients then mix briefly. Scoop into 8 even lumps, freeze til solid 1-3 hours. Once frozen they are ready to be used or can be stored for up to 1 month.

To be continued….

8/8 8th Birthday

This year my boys turn 8 on 8/8…how cool is that?!

Our birthday parties for them have been essentially Halloween parties for the past few years. They love monsters and scary stuff and (even though they haven’t gotten to watch them here) horror movies. They told me that this year they want their theme to be Pyscho Killer.

What this means for me is I’m going to take that idea and dial it wayyyyyyyy down. I don’t want my fellow parents thinking I am raising little axe-murderers who are a bad influence on their littles, and besides–my guys are quite sweet and gentle, despite their bloodier interests.

I found a lot of cool ideas from grown-up Dexter parties (I don’t watch the show but the fact that shows like it exist leaves me no hope that my guys will outgrow their obsession with creepy stuff) and while some of it is either too mature or doesn’t apply, I think I have enough ideas to be able to adapt the general theme to a kids’ party.

What makes a good kid’s party, anyway?
This is what I have figured out thanks to trial and error and from going to lots of kids’ parties.

1. Lots of physical activity. I think we will have it at home this year and our backyard is equipped with a sandbox, swing set and trampoline but we have room for a bouncy inflatable. Since their birthday is in the heat of the summer I found one that has a water slide.


2. Fun crafts for post-playing chillout time or for kids who want a more quiet activity. Also good for filling spaces between playing and eating. Since this is a scary party I think I will have lots of white t-shirts, red splatter paint and fabric markers so kids can make their own blood-splattered t-shirts.

*from Etsy.com

We could also do construction paper Jason masks or Freddy gloves.

3. Yummy treats: (enough “real” food to balance out the sugar) Since our colors here are red and black I thought I would make red velvet cupcakes and red velvet ice cream with dark chocolate cookies for sandwiches or I could make dark chocolate sundae bowls with tartlet pans. Cheese and pepperoni pizza to eat and clearly fruit punch to drink.

20130312-210544.jpg *from polishthestars.com

4. Festive/spooky ambience: Pandora scary music station, red and black balloons, blood-splattered streamers sounds about right….and is super easy/cheap to do.

*From popbetty.com

5. Proper timing: We want to have enough time for the kids to all play and have fun but not too much time to where everyone gets cranky and/or bored. Since we are serving food we should have it at lunch time-ish. Maybe 1-4 or 2-5pm. We also want plenty of daylight but not enough sun to scorch the tender kid-skin. I need to be sure to have lots of bug repellant and sunscreen (natural, of course) on hand.

6. Cool goodie bags: This is a tricky one. For the most part, goodie bags are bags of assorted crap that may make obnoxious sounds and *may* get “accidentally” lost before it makes it into the house. It also may include nasty sugar-laden treats that also need to “mysteriously disappear.” I was thinking I could just make confetti cookies with red and black sprinkles instead of rainbow and send a few home with each kid. They are big and tasty and the grownups will probably eat them when the kids go to bed later that night. πŸ˜‰

7. Food and beverages for the grownups: Tacos and sangria, anyone?


I think this is going to be a fun party…too bad it’s still so far away! I guess I can get started on my ideas for my honey’s upcoming 38th (!!) birthday. πŸ™‚

Confetti Cookies


I have loved every cookie I have made from the Milk Bar cook book. I love the giant chewy cookies the recipes produce and am not really sure I can go back to “normal” cookies. I used to scoff at prep work for baking. Freeze the dough first? Pfffft….but now I don’t mind starting the process ahead of time. My favorite thing is to start around G’s bedtime so I can prepare the dough, throw it in the freezer, then clean up from the day (random baby toys, discarded snacks, dinner dishes) for the hour it needs to get ready for the oven. Milk bar cookies have a super high butter-to-flour ratio so if you threw them right in the over without freezing the scooped-out dough first they would melt into a sad cookie-puddle.


One of the unique aspects of the Milk Bar technique is the addition of crumbs. They literally have a section in the book on how to make different flavored crumbs. After living with kids for 7+ years I never imagined I would have to do anything special to have crumbs laying around but in this case they are used to create depth and texture in cookies and cakes and can be sprinkled on dessert plates or on top of ice cream.


This is the second cookie I’ve made that has required a crumb mix-in (the first being the chocolate-chocolate cookie) and I almost forgot to add the crumbs in before I baked the cookies. I’m glad I remembered because I do think it adds to the flavor. You get little chunky-sandy bits of vanilla and sprinkles that almost tastes like little leftover birthday cake pieces when you take a bite of a soft snickerdoodle-inspired cookie. (the difference between a plain sugar cookie and a snickerdoodle is the addition of cream of tartar. On a classic snickerdoodle you roll them in cinnamon-sugar but that is omitted for this cookie.

Confetti Cookies:

Yield: 15-20 large cookies (I got 18)
Cook Time: 18 minutes (in my oven it’s more like 13-15 so keep a close eye, they are meant to come out still very pale!)


(for the confetti cookies)

2 sticks butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 Tbs. glucose (or 1 Tbs. corn syrup–do not omit!!)
2 eggs
2 tsp. clear vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups flour
2/3 cups milk powder
2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. baking soda
1 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 cup rainbow sprinkles
1/2 recipe of birthday cake crumb, recipe below

For the birthday cake crumb:

1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 Tbs. tightly packed brown sugar
3/4 cup cake flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
2 Tbs. rainbow sprinkles
1/4 cup grapeseed oil (all I had on hand was canola…just make sure it’s a clear-colored oil)
1 Tbs. clear vanilla extract


(for the crumb)
Heat oven to 300 degrees.

Combine the sugars, flour, baking powder, salt and sprinkles in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low until well-combined.

Add the oil and vanilla and mix to combine. The wet ingredients act as a glue to allow the dry ingredients to form clusters. Continue to mix until that happens.

Spread the clusters on a parchment-lined sheet pan and bake for 20 minutes, breaking them up occasionally, as needed. Mine actually only took 18 minutes or so. Take them out of the oven before they harden; they should remain slightly moist to the touch. They will harden as they cool.

Let the crumbs cool completely before using or storing. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week at room temperature or up to 1 month in the refrigerator or freezer.


Combine the butter, sugar and glucose in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and cream on medium-high speed for 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix for 7-8 minutes. At the end of 7-8 minutes the mixture should very pale yellow and doubled in size. It should be very shiny, homogenous, fluffy and resemble a cloud. (See notes below.)

Reduce the mixer speed to low and add in the flour, milk powder, cream of tartar, baking soda, salt and sprinkles. Mix just until the dough comes together, not longer than 1 minute and don’t walk away during this step, just to make sure that you don’t overmix. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

With the mixer on low speed, add the birthday cake crumbs and mix in for about 30 seconds, just until incorporated.

Scoop the dough onto a parchment- or Silpat-lined sheet pan using a 2 3/4 ounce ice cream scoop (mine is a #16), or use a 1/3 cup measuring cup. Flatten the cookies slightly and wrap the pan in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least one hour, I refrigerated mine overnight.

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. (I normally do 345 because my oven runs hot)

Arrange the chilled dough on a parchment- or Silpat-lined baking sheet. I only bake 6 at a time. Bake for 18 minutes. The cookies will puff, crackle, and spread. After 18 minutes they should be very lightly browned on the edges. The centers will just slightly show a change in color. Leave the cookies in the oven for another minute or so if they seem doughy or the colors aren’t quite right. They will look slightly dry at the edges but and be just beginning to brown, but still be pretty pale.

Cool the cookies completely on the sheet pans before transferring to store. At room temperature the cookies will keep for 5 days.

*Recipe from Christina Tosi via Momofuku Milk Bar Cookbook


Thoughts on Banana Cream Pie


My husband convinced me to practice restraint and not cut the pie last night, so I just cut a slice to try it out.

Sadly, I think that the color just freaks me out too much to be able to love the pie. Pies are already at a disadvantage with me because when given the choice I will choose a chewy cookie or a fluffy cake any day over a slice of pie. This didn’t really apply to Crack Pie because it was so freaking tasty, but with banana cream I’m just like…meh.

Another issue I had was that although the cream filling set really nicely and seemed to be the right texture, the crust was hard for me to get out. I like a good cohesive crust and this just isn’t happening here. My cutting skillz could be suspect, so I will see how the slices my honey cuts look.

I love banana and I love pudding-y, creamy fillings so I am not disappointed here, but I may try the banana cream out in the other Milk Bar recipe it’s featured in: banana cream cake. (yes, Oprah’s favorite cake)

The funny thing is, the yellow color just made me want to make a fresh batch of corn cookies (the first recipe I tried and one of my favorites so far) instead of trying a new recipe.

Aside from just wanting to make more cookies, I’m not sure what new adventure awaits me in the Momofuku Milk Bar cook book. When I feel like I’ve sufficiently conquered it I will either go on to the Bouchon cook book or try out something from a Martha Stewart book my sister in law recently gifted me.

I do have to say, I do feel bread whispering in my ear so that just may be the next big project. My sweetie and I have been talking for months about making bread baking our ‘couple’s bonding time’–he bought me some bread cook books and a baguette pan for my birthday and I think it’s just about time. I sampled some yummy Easy Tiger sourdough at Whole Foods the other day and it definitely planted a seed.

What’s going on in your kitchen this weekend?