Tag Archives: Dessert

My Not So Strange Addition

Hi, I am the Bite-Sized Blonde and I am addicted to Crack. Well, I’m addicted to Crack Pie, which just so happens to get its name from the addiction it is sure to bring on.  If you are not intrigued, you should be.  Crack Pie is what can only be referred to as the ingenious love child of Christina Tosi, the unbelievably talented and deliciously inclined Pastry Chef at Momofuku Milk Bar.  So, back to the crack.  This is the pie that all pies aspire to be.  The crust is unlike any you have tried before, it is crunchy enough to balance out the gooey center but it maintains an element of chewiness that will pleasantly surprise your textural taste buds.  This crust won’t fall apart either – so say goodbye to your pie anxiety – which will forever be known as anxpiety, because you don’t have to worry about a messy pie, which I think we can all agree is a major buzz kill.

Not only does this pie come equipped with the most serious crust in town, it is filled with pure heaven.  The filling is made of butter, cream and sugar and resembles the inside of a pecan pie, minus the pecans.  It is sweet and creamy with a subtle hint of saltiness that will have you screaming.  Think Harry met Sally, but less acting.

As if the pie wasn’t reason enough to visit Momofuku Milk Bar, they make some of the best cookies in Manhattan.  Take it from a Cookie Connoisseur.  The cookies are out of this world.  I have three favorites; I know you aren’t surprised I couldn’t pick just one.  The Corn Cookie is totally unexpected, but that’s not what makes it so good.  It’s the perfect combination of a corn muffin and a sugar cookie.  It’s light and airy but oh so substantial, and needless to say, it’s chew-chew-chewy.  This cookie might be unexpected, but after one bite, you won’t have any idea why.

Another unexpectedly awesome cookie is the Cornflake Marshmallow Cookie.  The cornflakes add an unanticipated element of crunchiness to the cookie and the marshmallows melt into the cookie batter so beautifully.  The cookie is flecked with chocolate chips to round out the flavors.  This cookie is unparalleled, even up against the Compost Cookie.

The Compost Cookie, which is trademarked obviously, is an addictive combination of all things delicious, including coffee beans and chocolate chips, and lots of butter and sugar.  Of course, if cookies aren’t your thing – well, you should go see a doctor.  But, in the meantime you can still enjoy some of Christina Tosi’s delicacies, including Cereal Milk Ice Cream and Cake Truffles.

Christina Tosi is the Queen of Chewy.  Chewy pies, chewy cookies.  Chew Chew!! All Aboard.  First stop Chewy-Ville, next stop…well probably rehab? Someone is going to have to pry that Crack Pie right out of my hands.

Momofuku Milk Bar
milk bar east village
251 E 13th St.
New York, NY

milk bar midtown
15 W 56th St.
New York, NY

milk bar upper west side
561 Columbus Ave.
New York, NY

milk bar brooklyn
382 Metropolitan Ave.
Brooklyn, NY

Spring Cleaning

So, it’s the first day of Spring.  What are you thinking? If you are anything like this Bite-Sized Blonde there are two simple words that come to mind….Spring and Cleaning.  Sure, Spring Cleaning might not sound exciting, but then again, you’ve never spent Spring with me before.

If it’s time to clean, then it’s time to take out the trash.  And you know what they say about trash…One man’s trash, well, it just might be delicious.  White chocolate trash is one of those irresistible snacks; it’s like confetti with different flavors and textures.  Smooth white chocolate, mixed with crunchy nuts, salty pretzels and sweet cereal create a snack that will have you warming up to the idea taking out of trash more often.  White trash is truly the epitome of junk food; but if this is trash, then I’m okay with my tummy being a garbage can.

White Chocolate Trash

Ingredients
1 ½ cups of Peanut Butter Cheerios
1 ½ cup of Rice Chex Cereal
½ cup of unsalted peanuts
1 ¼ cups of salted mini pretzels
1 12 ounce bag of white chocolate chips

Directions
Line a baking tray with parchment paper.  Then, measure out all of your dry ingredients and mix together in a large bowl.  Add the chocolate chips to a separate, microwave safe bowl.  Place the microwave and cook for two minutes, removing the bowl every thirty seconds to stir.  Once the chips are about halfway melted remove from the microwave and stir until fully melted.  This will help the chocolate maintain its sheen.   Once the chocolate is fully melted, add the cereal mixture and toss. Coat evenly.  Spoon the mixture onto the baking tray and place in the refrigerator to chill for about an hour.  Remove the tray from the refrigerator and break the trash into small to medium size pieces. Serve and Enjoy!

Get Your Heart On

Valentine’s Day is all about the nostalgia for me.  It’s represented by handmade cards, usually made from doilies and construction paper, and conversation hearts.  You know what I’m talking about.  Those little heart shaped, pastel colored candies with adorable sayings written on them?  You know the ones that didn’t taste all that great but you ate them anyway? Yea, those things.  Ever wonder how such a mediocre candy became the sugary symbol of a whole holiday? Well, I do.  And since I couldn’t figure it out, I decided to give them a makeover.

Thinking outside the box, of candy that is, I decided these pasty pastel pieces need a serious upgrade.   Everyone loves cake and most certainly everyone loves chocolate, and it’s a known fact that everything on a stick tastes better.  So cake pops seemed like an obvious choice.

The best part? Other than the taste of course…By making your own conversation hearts you control the conversation.  Have something to say? Write it in edible ink.   Cause nothing says I love you like..well, a heart shaped dessert that says I love you.

And if you don’t want to say I love you…you can always go in another direction

Conversation Heart Cake Pops (makes about 26)

Ingredients
1 box of yellow cake mix
Eggs
Butter
16 ounces of container ready-made frosting, vanilla
16 ounces of yellow candy coating
16 ounces of pink candy coating
16 ounces of green candy coating
Metal heart-shaped cookie cutter, 1 1/2 inches wide
26 paper lollipop sticks
Styrofoam block
Red Edible Ink Pen

Directions
Bake the cake as directed on the box, using a 9×13 in cake pan.  Let cool completely.  Once the cake is cooled, get organized and set aside a few hours to crumble, roll and dip the cake pops.

Crumble the cooled cake into a large mixing bowl.  This is the fun part, because you get to use your hands to crumble!  Make sure the cake is really crumble, no large pieces of cake please! Add 3/4 of the container of frosting to the bowl of crumbled cake and mix until incorporated.  You can use your hands (the fun way) or the back of a metal spoon.  *Don’t add the entire container of frosting.  If you do, the cake balls will be too moist.

Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Press the cake mixture into the pan in an even layer.  Cover with another sheet of parchment paper and then place into the freezer for 15 minutes, or in the refrigerator for a few hours.  Once thoroughly cooled, remove and get ready to cut!  Prepare another baking sheet with a layer of parchment paper.  Grab your heart shaped cookie cutter and get cutting! Cut out hearts.  Make sure the heart are thick enough to hold a lollipop stick.  They should be about 1 1/2 inches thick.   If you need to add more cake mixture to the heart, now is the time! Once the heart is cut out, place it on the second baking tray.  Continue until your finish the cake mixture.  If the mixture becomes sticky, place back into the freezer for a few minutes and then continue.

Once all the hearts are cut out, place into the freezer for 15 minutes to firm them up again before dipping.  Once they are firm, transfer them to the refrigerator.  Remove a few at a time for dipping, keeping the rest chilled.

Melt one color of candy at a time in a microwave safe plastic bowl, following the instructions on the packages.  The coating should be about 3 inches deep for easy dipping.  One at a time, dip about 1 1/2 inches of the lollipop stick into the melted candy coating, and insert the stick straight into the bottom of a heart shaped cake, pushing it no more than halfway through.  Dip the cake into the melted coating and tap off an excess coating.

Let the pops dry on the styrofoam block.  When they are completely dry, use a red edible ink pen to write notes on one side of each cake pop.

Serve and Enjoy!

P.S.  If you have extra chocolate, grabs some Oreos and pretzels and get dipping!

Chai Five For Kutsher’s Tribeca

There’s a new kid on the block, and by kid I mean restaurant and by block I mean neighborhood. Tribeca welcomed Kutsher’s with open arms, almost at the same time Demi pushed him out.  But, there’s no actual relation here.  Kutsher’s Tribeca is the new restaurant brought to you by the Kutsher Family, as in the Kutsher family who owns Kutsher’s Country Club in the Catskills.

The century old resort is infamous, well infamous to Jewish families in the tri-state area.  It’s been a second home to hardworking families, focusing on community, tradition, and of course, good food.  Just like its upstate predecessor, Kutsher’s Tribeca has the same goals of creating good food, which is exactly what it does.

Kutsher’s is reinventing what it means to be a JAB – Jewish American Bistro.   The menu is filled with nostalgic dishes that have a modern twist.   Chef Mark Spangenthal is turning old classics into new favorites.

One of my old favorites dates back to my camping days.  Kutsher’s put its spin on Bug Juice, to make an adult friendly drink for the kid inside of us. Although it’s normally made with Vodka, I ordered mine the Bite-Sized way, with tequila instead.  Tequila, home-made fruit punch and grapefruit bitters. But the most noteworthy part of this cocktail are the punch ice cubes.  As the cubes melt, the juice dissolves so the drink doesn’t get watered down.  Now that mixologist is a real mench!

We started with the Wild Halibut Gefilte Fish, which was plated with beet and horseradish tartare and garnished with a micro arugula and parsley vinaigrette.  Beet and horseradish tartare might just be a fancy way of saying horseradish, but there was nothing snooty about this dish.  The wild halibut is mild which gives the gefilte fish a subtle flavor, unlike the jarred stuff you might be used to.

I couldn’t pass up Milton’s Short Rib & Brisket Meatballs with caramelized onions and creamy horseradish sauce and can you blame me? Such a whimsical spin on an old classic cannot be ignored! My hopes were high for this dish, and I definitely wasn’t disappointed.  The meatballs were tender and intensely flavorful.  They were totally reminiscent of mom’s brisket.

You know how much I love latkes, so of course I also ordered the Crispy Potato Latkes at Kutsher’s.  Well, really I asked for two orders of them, one with apple sauce and sour cream and one with caviar, in true Bite-Sized fashion.  They were crispy and dense, which made them the perfect vehicle for sweet apple sauce and salty caviar.

I have a hard time turning down Challah, so when I saw that the Country Club Chopped Salad had challah croutons, I decided it also had to be ordered.  Chickpeas, apples, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, walnuts and challah croutons were mixed together on top of a bed of butter lettuce.  Tossed in a lemon honey vinaigrette, this salad was a delight, emphasis on the light.

We also ordered the Crispy Artichokes alla Judea.  The artichokes were lightly seasoned with lemon, garlic, parsley and paired with a salad of greens and shaved parmesan cheese.   The crisp greens balanced the salty artichokes and creamy cheese.  This small dish with big flavor was one of my favorite appetizers.

The Grilled Romanian Steak was intensely flavorful.  Caramelized onions and a well developed glaze made this steak unusually robust.  Each bite was better than the last.  It was served with a roasted garlic and mushroom knish that was less than stellar, but the steak was so delicious the knish was quickly forgotten.

Some girls might run at the first sign of schmaltz, but not this Bite-Sized Blonde.  A little rendered fat never hurt anyone.  Okay, it might hurt someone.  Schmaltz and Svelte are not exactly words that go together.  But in the case of Schmaltz verse Svelte, Schmaltz always wins.   So, I ordered the Duck Schmaltz Fries.  They were perfectly crunchy on the outside but light and airy on the inside, the way all good fries should taste.

I ordered the Brussels Sprouts, because let’s face it, after the schmaltz, I needed a little green. The Brussels Sprouts were roasted with rosemary and olive oil for an earthy taste.  Simple sprouts, simply good.

Dinner isn’t over until the fat lady sings, or I get dessert, but after this meal, I was quickly on my way to becoming the fat lady.  Good thing I don’t sing.

We started with the cookie plate, and yes I just said started.  You didn’t think that’s where dessert was going to begin and end did you? This was no ordinary cookie plate though.  Hamentashen, rugelach and macaroons filled this plate.  Another whimsical item on the menu that was so cleverly delicious!

The Rainbow Cookie Hot Fudge Sundae was calling my name, and I don’t even like rainbow cookies.  Well, I don’t love rainbow cookies.   You know how I feel about cookies.  Covered in vanilla ice cream and marshmallow fluff, these rainbow cookies transformed into heavenly sweetness.

But, the star of the dessert menu was the Chocolate Babka Bread Pudding.  It was creamy and seriously decadent.   I would say this was one of the best things I ordered all night, but the truth is, everything I ate was one of the best dishes I ordered all night.    Forget two thumbs up, Kutsher’s gets a Bite-Sized Chai Five.

Kutsher’s Tribeca
186 Franklin Street
New York, NY
212.431.0606

Is There Sugar in Syrup? Then Yes.

There are so many reasons I think Buddy the Elf and I could be friends.  For starters, he loves to smile.   Me too.  Also, he likes to sing even though he has a terrible voice.  Sounds familiar.  But mostly, I like him for his love of maple syrup.  So honest, so sincere and so damn honorable.

Maple syrup is the only kind of syrup in my eyes.  Sure, Aunt Jemima makes her own special brand, but the way I see it, there are two kinds of people in this world: maple syrup aficiandos and then there are just people with poor tastebuds.  It’s as clear a distinction as dog people and cat people, dog clearly being the better, cuter, more cuddly choice here.

Although maple syrup is one of the sweetest treats in your kitchen, I bet you don’t use it for much.  Pancakes and waffles, so good but how often are you really making them?  It’s time to start getting more from your syrup.  You owe it to yourself, and I know just the person to help you with this sticky situation.  Me, of course!

Nutmeg-Maple Cream Pie
Inspired by Smitten Kitchen
Adapted from the New York Times

Ingredients
3/4 cup maple syrup
2 1/4 cups heavy cream
4 egg yolks
1 whole egg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 9-inch pie crust

Directions
First, par bake the pie crust. Preheat oven to 350°F.  Poke holes in the pie crust with a fork so that it doesn’t puff during bake.  Then place in the oven for approximately 20 minutes or until golden brown.  If shell puffs during baking, press it down with back of spoon. Cool on wire rack. Lower temperature to 300 degrees.

Then, prepare the filling. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, reduce maple syrup by a quarter.  This should take approximately 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in cream and bring to a simmer and then remove from heat.

In a medium bowl, whisk together egg yolks and egg.  Then temper the mixture to make sure the eggs don’t scramble from the hot cream mixture.  Tempering is done by gradually increasing the temperature of one recipe component by adding another.  To temper this mixture, add a touch of the hot cream to the egg mixture, while whisking continuously.  Once this is completely incorporated, slowly drizzle in the rest of the hot cream mixture while whisking.  Again, you must whisk constantly to avoid the eggs cooking! Strain mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a cup or bowl with pouring spout. Stir in salt, nutmeg and vanilla.

Pour filling into crust and transfer to a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until pie is firm to touch but jiggles slightly when moved, about 1 hour. Let cool to room temperature before serving.

Click here to see the original recipe by Smitten Kitchen
http://smittenkitchen.com/2007/11/nutmeg-maple-cream-pie/

Feast Week

Today begins Feast Week, like Fleet Week – but think less sailors, more stuffing – face stuffing to be exact.  The eating doesn’t start today, but the preparation sure does.  And since it would be totally selfish to prep my feast and not help you prep yours, I’m going to share my Thanksgiving menu with you.

The Bite-Sized Thanksgiving Menu, which is anything but Bite-Sized includes… in serving order:
Baked Brie
Autumnal  Salad
Turkey Breast
Drunken Cranberry Sauce
Coconut Ginger Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Apple Pie
Brownie S’mores Pie
Vanilla Gelato

I’ll start by sharing my dessert recipes, partly because I have already shared these recipes and partly because pies can be made in advanced…like the day before.  Any earlier and you risk having a stale pie – uncool, totally uncool.

Apple Pie is a classic Thanksgiving dessert, and the classics are classics for a reason.  This is the pie that the phrase easy as pie was born from.

Click here to see the recipe for Easy Apple Pie.

Brownie S’mores Pie is another dessert I’m serving for Thanksgiving this year for a couple reasons.  This pie was a big hit at last year’s Thanksgiving, and it’s a perfect use for marshmallows, since I’m not using them on the sweet potatoes.

Click here to see the recipe for Brownie S’mores Pie.

The only dessert recipe you haven’t seen from the Bite-Sized Blonde yet is Vanilla Gelato.  Sure, you’ve seen Ice Cream recipes, but we all know Ice Cream is not the same as Gelato the same way College Ball is not the same as the NBA.  So, without further ado, I give you…

Vanilla Gelato*
Ingredients
1 ¼ cup of whole milk
1 ¼ cup of heavy cream
6 egg yolks
1 vanilla bean
½ cup sugar

Directions
Whip the heavy cream until it becomes whipped cream.  Then, place in the refrigerator.  Add the milk and vanilla bean to a small sauce pan over medium heat.  Heat the mixture until it starts to bubble along the edges.  Remove from the heat and let the mixture cool down for approximately 10 minutes.  Once cool, remove the vanilla bean.  Cut the bean in half lengthwise and scrap out the black seeds using the back of a knife.  Add the seeds back into the milk mixture and discard the now empty vanilla bean shell.

Bring a pot of water to a boil.  You will be using this to heat the custard mixture you are about to make.  Make sure the water does not come up too high, because it cannot touch the bottom of the bowl.   In a large, heatproof bowl (typically glass), whisk the egg yolks and sugar until creamy.  Once the pot of water is boiling, place the bowl on top of the pot.  Add the now cool milk and vanilla mixture to this bowl and continue to whisk.  Once the mixture is incorporated, stop whisking and begin stirring with a wooden spoon.  Stir this mixture until it becomes a custard – which means that it should be thick enough to coat the back of your spoon.  Be careful with the heat as this custard should not simmer! Once the mixture is thick enough, remove from the heat and let cool.  Once cool, fold in the whipped cream.  Transfer to your ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Still craving more dish on Bite-Sized Thanksgiving dishes? Check in each day of Feast Week for more recipes.

*Pictures will be displayed at the end of the week, so stay tuned my Bite-Sized readers…

Recipe by:
Alex Barker, 500 Ice Creams, Sorbets & Gelatos

I Scream, You Scream

Except for the poor bastard who is lactose intolerant, I think everyone can agree that ice cream is one of the most sinfully seductive sweet treats around.  Oh you should know I am one of those poor bastards, but after many years of eating ice cream, I can eat it with no worries! I am not making this up; you can actually reduce lactose intolerant symptoms by eating more dairy.  True story.

Until you have tried homemade ice cream, you haven’t lived.  And this isn’t my new ice cream maker talking, although it might go down in Bite-Sized History as one of the best birthday gifts ever.  This is truth.  Homemade ice cream is so much better than store bought; it’s almost indescribable, almost.  The familiar concept is elevated to new levels of creaminess when you make it at home.   After one bite of this ice cream, the only thing left to do is be at peace with the fact that you are about to lose control.

Marmar knows what I’m talking about.  This child rapper prodigy, who raps about ice cream, is who I’d like to think I would be if I was a 9 year old boy from Compton.   Do yourself a favor, make a nice, cold pint of ice cream and watch this video.  If you do it in reverse, you will be screaming for ice cream.

Cookies and Cream Ice Cream

Ingredients
1 cup of whole milk
1/3 cup of superfine sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
2 cups crumbled Oreo cookies

Directions
Over low heat, warm the milk, sugar and vanilla together in a saucepan, stirring until the sugar has dissolved.  Let cool, then chill in the refrigerator.  Whip the cream until thick and then whisk in the chilled milk mixture.  Pour into an ice cream maker and process according to the manufacturer’s directions.  Fear not, if you don’t have an ice cream maker you can still make yourself a nice pint.*

Freeze until the ice cream is nearly firm, then add the crumbled cookies and stir through gently.  Place the ice cream in the freezer for about an hour before serving.  You can store it in the freezer for up to three months.  But the longer it stays in the freezer, the colder it gets.  Go figure! So make sure to take it out about 15 minutes before serving to soften.

*If do you not have an ice cream maker: make sure your ingredients are well chilled before they’re combined.  The mixture is then poured into a freezer container deep enough to allow space for later mixing.  The container needs to be covered with a sheet of plastic wrap or waxed paper so it can freeze more evenly, and then topped with a well-fitting lid.  Place the container in the coldest part of a really cold freezer.  Leave for about 1 hour; then, using a fork, scrape the frozen ice cream in from the edges, and then whisk to a smooth, even texture.  Cover the container again and return to the freezer for another hour.  Repeat this process one to two more times, until the ice cream is smooth and nearly evenly frozen.  Then cover and freeze until you are ready to serve!

Recipe by:
Alex Barker, 500 Ice Creams, Sorbets & Gelatos