Milk and Cookie Shooter

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By now, even my 87-year-old grandmother has heard of the Cronut, the croissant-dougnut hybrid brought to life by New York City baker Dominque Ansel. Well, a month or so ago, he was at it again, creating a Chocolate Chip Cookie Milk Shot, a shot glass made of chocolate chip cookie dough and filled with vanilla-infused milk. The idea is to sip the milk and eat the cookie bit by bit, as one might eat a taco salad or soup in a bread bowl.

The minute he heard about it, my husband wanted me to make it. Sometimes I get the impression he doesn’t realize how hard certain things are to create. Has he not seen the numerous Cookie Bowl Fails that litter the Internet? Cookie dough doesn’t necessarily want to hold a particular shape– it likes to spread and puff and do all sorts of other things that are great if you want a cookie form, but not so good if you want, say, a shot glass form.

Luckily, myriad food bloggers have taken it upon themselves to duplicate this sweet treat and the talented baker over at Wanna Come With? came up with a fantastic recipe and tutorial, which I used to create the confection in the above photo.

I didn’t tweak Wanna Come With?’s recipe at all, so I urge you to follow it if you want to create these yourself. I do recommend that whatever vessel you choose to use as a mold (Rum Baba molds worked very, very well for me), pick up at least four of them. I bought two and it took me FIVE HOURS to make 14 of these suckers. Save yourself some time and buy four.

The verdict from my husband? Well, to quote him directly, “Well, I don’t need to go get a real one because I can’t imagine it tastes any better than yours.”

Winter cocktails for the never-ending winter

It’s been one heck of a winter, huh? Spring has officially sprung (though I personally think March is still firmly winter), and parts of the country are still seeing snow showers and downright chilly temperatures. And nothing is better on a cold night than a roaring fireplace, a warm Corgi on your lap and a tasty, tasty cocktail.

Well, I have two out of the three at least. Sadly my new apartment did not come with a fireplace. New apartment, you ask? Why, yes! In January, an apartment in the neighborhood we have been scoping out for at least a year dropped out of the clear blue sky and fell on our heads. We weren’t planning to move until next year at the earliest, but it was an offer we couldn’t refuse. So now we call Cobble Hill home and I’ve got a whole new kitchen to navigate. Fun fact: the oven door does not fully open because it hits the refrigerator. So far this hasn’t been a problem. There also wasn’t room in the new kitchen for my much loved baker’s rack that stored nearly everything in our old place, so we had to get creative. And where do New Yorkers go when they want to get creative?

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i had determined that I wanted some sort of bar in the new place. I was tired of hiding all our liquor in a cabinet and besides, cabinet space was at a premium in the new joint. So we braved the crowds in Red Hook and picked up this little number.

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The top shelf of the dresser holds our stemless wine glasses, beer sampler glasses, beer coozies, coasters, a lemon juicer and various other bar-related items. But the bottom two drawers… oh, those drawers hold all my baking accoutrements. I am amazed at how much stuff that dresser holds. It’s been a godsend in the new apartment.

But on to the liquor!

Once we got the new apartment in some semblance of arranged, we invited our friends Jon and Lori over for cocktails. A while back, I was fortunate enough to receive a copy of “Winter Cocktails” by Maria Del Mar Sacasa to review.

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There are a lot of fantastic classic and not-so-classic drink recipes contained in this book. I chose to go with something old and something new.

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An Old-Fashioned.

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And What a Tart.

The Old-Fashioned is a classic combination of bourbon (or rye whiskey), bitters, sugar, orange and cherry. It’s a strong drink, but surprisingly drinkable. It’s a great standby recipe to have on hand as it tends to be a crowd pleaser, at least among people who drink those darker liquors.

The What a Tart is a little more adventurous. It combines applejack, apple cider, lemon zest, lemon juice, ginger, cardamom and mace. I ended up buying a spiced apple cider as it was all I could find in the market I was in, so I skipped adding the cardamom and mace. This is an incredible delightful little drink that is a little too drinkable. It’s a great punch of apple flavor that I could see perfectly working in all seasons. The fruity flavors make it light and refreshing, while the spices give it just a touch of warmth. It’s honestly like drinking apple pie and apple pie knows no season as far as I’m concerned.

“Winter Cocktails” also features a few food recipes for desserts, garnishes (marshmallows!) and appetizers, and the drinks range from simple White Russians to complicated mulled drinks. There are hot and cold drinks alike, something to suit every drinker at your party. It’s also a beautifully photographed book and it comes with a ribbon bookmark to highlight your favorite recipe. I’ve already spilled applejack on my favorite recipe, so now I can use the ribbon to mark another!

Don’t let this last little bit of chilly weather get you down. Pick up a few ingredients and whip up a delicious drink that’ll get you through till April.

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread Recipe

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Don’t let anyone try to tell you that pumpkin season ends at Thanksgiving. They’re fools. It’s still technically fall for like, 10 more days, and fall is prime pumpkin season. To celebrate this fact, here is a recipe for Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread, a perfect way to use up all that leftover canned pumpkin puree you bought back in October. It’s a delicious, moist bread full of chocolate chunks that’s just as good to eat for breakfast as it is for dessert.

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread

Makes two 9×5 loaves

The Ingredients

3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 TSP salt
2 TSP baking soda
1 TSP baking powder
1 TSP ground cinnamon
1 TSP ground nutmeg
1 TSP ground ginger
1 TSP ground cloves
3 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable or canola oil
4 eggs
15 ounces canned pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie mix)
2/3 cup water
2 cups chocolate chip (I prefer Ghiradelli’s 60% cacao chips)

The Process:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease two 9×5 loaf pans.

Whisk together the first eight ingredients in a medium bowl. In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar and the oil. Add the eggs and whisk to combine. Add the pumpkin and whisk to combine. Add the flour mixture and the water in alternating steps, beginning and ending with the flour mixture, whisking to combine. Add the chocolate chips and stir to combine.

Divide the batter between the two loaf pans and place them on a rack set in the middle position of your oven. Bake until a cake tester or chopstick inserted in the middle of the loaves comes out clean (or just with chocolate smeared on it but no bread). Now here’s the only tricky part. Baking times vary wildly on this recipe, so I would start checking the bread at 45 minutes, but be prepared for it to take longer. The loaf pictured above took a full 70 minutes to cook thoroughly in my oven.

Let the bread cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove it from the pan (careful, it’ll be hot!) and place it on a rack to finish cooling completely. Slice and enjoy! It’s especially good with a little cream cheese smeared on top, but great just on its own. Wrap any left overs in plastic wrap and they’ll hold at room temperature for a few days.

The New York Times Pie Issue

Stars in Your Eyes Whiskey Apple Pie

Lovers of pie, The New York Times has got you covered. Check out today’s Dining & Wine section for a variety of articles about pie, including 20 summer pie recipes, a pie debate and an amazing graphic to teach you how to build a better apple pie.

This month’s Largehearted Lit

You love books, right? And of course you love baked goods. If you’re in the area, stop by Greenpoint, Brooklyn’s Word bookstore this Tuesday, March 26th for the latest in the Largehearted Lit series.

This month’s event will feature Michelle Orange and Teddy Wayne and will also feature Pink Lemonade and Chocolate Stout cupcakes by yours truly!

For more information, click here.

Cookbook Giveaway

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Hey everyone! I am doing my very first giveaway and wanted to invite you all to participate!

I’m giving away cookbooks to three lucky winners. Two people will receive a copy of “Cake Pops” by the talented Bakerella and one person will receive “Whoopies!” by Susanna Tee.

To enter this contest, all you have to do is “like” The Brooklyn Baker on Facebook! Already like it? Then you’re already entered to win! Want two chances to win? You can get an extra entry by sharing this post on your own Facebook page. Just hit the “Share” button under the post to post it to your own Facebook page.

Contest will end Friday, April 27th at noon EST. Three winners will be selected at random and will be notified Monday, April 30th via Facebook. The winners will also be announced on this blog. The books will be mailed out the following week.

Book review: “Marshmallow Madness” by Shauna Sever

You might think you know marshmallows. Those big, puffy white pillows that come in a Jet-Puffed bag or those tiny, crunchy blue stars and red hearts in a box of Lucky Charms. Think again.

Shauna Sever (of the blog Piece of Cake) brings you a myriad of delicious and delightful marshmallow recipes in her new cookbook “Marshmallow Madness”. The recipes range from classic Vanilla Marshmallows to boozy Margarita Marshmallows to fruity Key Lime Pie Marshmallows (rolled in crushed graham cracker crumbs)!

I set out to try one of the recipes and settled on Root Beer Float Marshmallows.

Root Beer Float Marshmallows

These marshmallows are made with actual bottled root beer. Root beer is mixed with the gelatin and it’s also added into the sugar/corn syrup mixture, which gets whipped along with the gelatin to within an inch of its life.

Shauna’s recipes are clear, concise and easy to follow. I was skeptical that the liquidy mess I was pouring into the bowl of my KitchenAid mixer would turn into marshmallow, but sure enough, it tripled in volume and became a gooey, sticky, delicious confection. Wary of getting a spatula coated in marshmallow, I simply coated my hands with cooking spray and scooped the marshmallow goo into a greased 8×8 glass pan by hand.

The hardest part of the whole marshmallow-making procedure is waiting six hours for the marshmallow to cure and set up. But set up it does! These marshmallows aren’t anything like those Jet-Puffed ones; they’re light and airy but with a little bit of jiggle. The people who tasted these marshmallows compared their appearance to tofu or flan, but I think that had more to do with the slightly tan color that came from the root beer.

I only had two issues with my marshmallows. The first was that the root beer flavor was just a little too subtle. Shauna writes that root beer extract is optional if you’re using a high-quality root beer. I went with Virgil’s, which is an amazingly flavorful root beer, but the intensity of the flavor just didn’t carry over. When I make these again (and I will make them again), I will definitely add the root beer extract for the added oomph of flavor.

The second problem was that my marshmallows seemed to absorb the powdered sugar and cornstarch coating that they were dusted with. The coating helps to keep the marshmallows from sticking together, but my coating just got absorbed. I’m not sure if I should have dusted them and then laid them all out single file on a baking sheet instead of throwing the in a Tupperware bowl (which is what I did). I will play around with this coating in my next few marshmallow attempts until I get it right.

Root Beer Float Marshmallows

There are so many wonderful recipes in this book that I can’t wait to try. I’m especially looking at the aforementioned Key Lime Pie marshmallows and the vegan ones for my sister-in-law.

And, just in time for Easter, Shauna has linked a couple of videos on her blog that will teach you how to make your very own Marshmallow Peeps! I’m already committed to bringing an Angel Food Cake to my family’s Easter dinner, but those Peeps were second on my list!