Dominique Ansel's Cookie Shots

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Shortly after the cronut frenzy began, Chef Dominique Ansel said that he wouldn’t let the commotion take away from his desire to continually push the envelope with what he can create. True to his word, he has been serving up one whimsical treat after another – Frozen S’more, Magic Souffle, and now the Cookie Shot. After my attempt at making cronuts I decided to try Chef Ansel’s recent creation, inspired by his first experience eating an Oreo. I have not been back to the bakery to try the cookie shot yet so I’ve based my attempt off of blog write-ups.

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Bouchon Bakery: Hot Cross Buns

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To celebrate Easter I made Hot Cross Buns from the Bouchon Bakery Cookbook. Prior to this I had not eaten nor made them before so it was a brand new experience for me. Traditional buns are made from a yeasted dough with currants and cinnamon icing. Thomas Keller’s recipe uses a brioche dough and incorporates cranberries for a bit of tart contrast and cardamom is in the icing for a more pronounced spice flavor.

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My Take on Sombitch Cookies

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As my farewell to How I Met Your Mother and all its inside jokes and catchphrases, I salute the show with one of my favorite gags, Sombitch Cookies (see: Season 9 Episode 1 when Lilly met the mother). All we got from the dialogue was that the cookies has chocolate, peanut butter and caramel. Visually they were dark in color and thin. From that I decided to experiment and make my own version.

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Bouchon Bakery: Mille Feuille

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I was about 10 when I had my first mille feuille, shared with my family in a little cafe in Paris…Epcot. I know I know, really now, a theme park? After a re-visit a few years later armed with a bit more pastry know-how, surprisingly, their mille feuille was rather authentic. The patisserie did get a remodel back in 2012 so I’m not sure what the establishment is like now but I hope there is mille feuille for others to experience and fall in love with like I did.

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Bouchon Bakery: Pithivier

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Pithivier also known as a Galette des Rois (King’s Cake) pops up in French patisseries after the New Year in preparation for celebrating the Epiphany on January 6th. The concept is similar to the cake made for Mardi Gras. A little trinket is hidden inside the pastry and when found, he or is she is king or queen for the day.

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Bouchon Bakery: Palmiers a la Framboise

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Despite their appearance, these are in fact palmiers. I like the change from the heart shape, but that isn’t the only difference. To make these pastries extra decadent, they are sandwiched together with raspberry jam and dusted with powdered sugar on the top. Oh la la.

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Bouchon Bakery: Puff Pastry

Happy 2014! I’m kicking off the new year making my second favorite pastry dough, puff pastry. It loses out to pate a choux for the sole reason that it takes SO LONG to make. I’m specifically talking about inactive time, which may not sound bad but when it is in intervals, 2 hours each x 4 in this particular recipe, you really need a day at home for this project. Perfect snowed-in activity.

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Model Bakery English Muffins

Gracing the front cover of the Model Bakery cookbook are the Napa bakery’s famous English muffins. I’ve made muffins before but they look authentically like store-bought ones versus these golden puffy pillows that sell out every morning at the downtown St Helena shop.

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When I tasted my first Model Bakery muffin it was unlike anything I’ve ever had – this is how it’s supposed to taste? – I thought. The muffin had been in the freezer for about a week and I placed in a toaster oven to re-crisp. It was so flaky, crisp and buttery. Thank goodness for the book, because I had to have them, at any time I wanted. Lucky for me, shortly after my experiment I got to meet the owners of the bakery so I could see firsthand how the muffins were made and get some tips in the process. So here we go, my muffin adventure!

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