Friday, April 18, 2014

Stacked Donuts Pop-Up Shop {Boston, MA}


This past weekend Dan and I visited Stacked Donuts at Mei Mei Street Kitchen in Boston. Stacked Donuts is currently a pop-up shop. It has popped up at several different restaurants in the city so make sure to follow along via twitter or instagram to find out where it will pop up next. Stacked Donuts is run by Stephanie Cmar, a contestant on season 11 of Top Chef. Although she was eliminated from the show, Stephanie's endeavor into the world of donuts has been a massive success. Donuts often sell out within 20 minutes of opening the shop each weekend.

Dan and I showed up early to make sure we got a full selection of donuts. Just to give you perspective, there were only three people in line 35 minutes before opening but then there were about thirty people in line 20 minutes before opening. It wasn't long before there was a line down the street and around the corner. A staff member handed out free donut holes to everyone waiting in line which I thought was really nice. 

We tried all three of the donuts offered that morning. First up was the blueberry pie donut. I thought Stephanie captured the flavor of blueberry pie perfectly with this one. I would definitely order it again.


I also loved the cookies and cream donut. All of her donuts all light, airy and baked to perfection. Donuts are $3 each which is a little bit pricey but similar to the price at other specialty shops in the Boston area. I didn't love the green tea donut, but to be fair I have never liked the flavor of green tea.


Stacked Donuts recently joined forces with Trademark Tarts, which sells really fun homemade poptarts.   We sampled the birthday cake poptart, as well as the cherry limeade poptart. My favorite was definitely the birthday cake- so good!


Rumor has it that Stephanie will open an actual donut shop sometime in the next year. If that's true, I can't wait to visit and sample more of her fun donut flavors. 

If you want to visit Stacked Donuts, make sure to follow Stephanie on twitter and instagram for updates on the shop's next appearance. And don't forget to show up early!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Salted Double Chocolate Chunk Cookies



There is something about the combination of sweet and salty that I find to be irresistible. Perhaps that's why I love the combination of chocolate and peanut butter so much. When Dan and I visited the Chocolate Bar a few months back, I went up and got a cup of popcorn several times throughout the morning. The salty popcorn was the perfect complement to the dozens of chocolate desserts we sampled. Which brings me to these cookies- another great example of my love for the combination of sweet and salty. 


This receipe calls for 20 ounces of semisweet chocolate. At first I thought that seemed like way too much chocolate for one batch of cookies, but really is there such a thing as too much chocolate? There is sea salt mixed into the batter, as well as sprinkled on top of the cookies. If you love the combination of sweet and salty as much as I do, then these salted double chocolate chunk cookies are definitely worth a try. 

Salted Double Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Recipe from Annie's Eats (originally from Martha Stewart Living) 

8 oz. semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp sea salt, plus more for sprinkling
2 large eggs, at room temperature
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
12 oz. semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

Combine the 8 ounces of chocolate and butter in heatproof bowl set over a a pot of barely simmering water. Heat until the chocolate and butter are melted and smooth, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside. 

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the eggs, brown sugar and vanilla extract. Mix on medium- high speed for 4-5 minutes or until the sugar has completely dissolved. Reduce the speed of the mixer and add the melted chocolate mixture. Add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Turn off the mixer and add the remaining chocolate. Gently fold with a rubber spatula. 

Using a medium-sized cookie scoop, drop balls of cookie dough onto the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until slightly soft in the center and crackly on top. Sprinkle with additional sea salt.  Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Clear Flour Bread {Brookline, MA}




Last weekend Dan and I visited Clear Flour Bread, a small bakery located just outside of downtown Boston. Although we arrived only a few minutes after it opened, there was already a small line down the street. Clear Flour Bread is a popular neighborhood bakery known for its amazing bread and breakfast pastries. As soon as I walked through the door, I wanted to order one of everything. 

The morning bun is one of the most popular items on the menu at Clear Flour Bread. Winner of a "Best of Boston Award," these cinnamon pastries often sell out before noon. Make sure to get there early so you don't miss out on this one. 


A freshly baked croissant is my all-time favorite breakfast pastry. I still think that Flour Bakery has the best croissant in Boston, but this one is pretty darn good too. 


There is a large assortment of cookies, including chocolate chunk, oatmeal raisin and various seasonal flavors. I loved the chocolate chunk cookie the size of my head. It is definitely one of the best cookies I have had in the city. 


If you visit the bakery on Saturday or Sunday, you can pick up a soft German pretzel. Don't forget to ask for a side of mustard butter. 

I also couldn't resist the homemade brioche bun filled with chocolate. The chocolate was a little bit too rich for me, but the brioche itself was really good. 


In addition to plain croissants, Clear Flour Bread also sells chocolate croissants, gruyere cheese croissants and even raspberry and apricot croissants on special occasions. My favorite was the chocolate croissant- add this one to your list of must-try pastries in Boston!

If you want to check out Clear Flour Bread, you can find more information here:

Clear Flour Bread
178 Thorndike Street
Brookline, MA 02446

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Chocolate Easter Nest Cupcakes



For whatever reason, I started thinking about Easter this past weekend. In addition to spending time with family, one of my favorite things about Easter has always been the dessert. Since I am always in charge of putting together the dessert table, I started thinking about what I might make this year. I am constantly planning ahead and decided to do a test run of these Chocolate Easter Nest Cupcakes. It didn't help that I had a serious craving for chocolate cupcakes. 


These Chocolate Easter Nest Cupcakes use my favorite one-bowl chocolate cupcake recipe. Easy, delicious and very little clean-up involved- definitely a recipe that I turn to over and over again.  They are then topped with a light and fluffy chocolate frosting, toasted coconut and Easter egg candies. These Chocolate Easter Nest Cupcakes definitely have Easter dessert table written all over them. 

Chocolate Easter Nest Cupcakes
Recipe from the Baker Chick (cupcakes originally from Martha Stewart, frosting adapted from Savory Sweet Life)

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup warm water
3/4 cup buttermilk
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract

Frosting:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
4 tbsp heavy cream

2 cups sweetened shredded coconut
Easter egg candies 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two muffin pans with paper liners and set aside. 

In a large bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder, flour, granulated sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add the eggs, warm water, buttermilk, vegetable oil and vanilla extract. Mix until full combined, about 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared muffin cups, filling each about 2/3 full. Bake for about 20 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Allow the cupcakes to cool in the pan for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. 

For the frosting, add the butter to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat until light and creamy, about 3-4 minutes. Add the powdered sugar and cocoa powder. With the mixer on low speed, mix until combined. Increase the speed of the mixer and add the vanilla extract, salt and heavy cream. Mix until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Frost the fully cooled cupcakes as desired.

For the coconut, preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and toast the coconut for 10-15 minutes or until evenly browned. Stir occasionally. Top each cupcake with coconut and candy eggs.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Guinness and Irish Cream Cupcakes


Just when I began to think that winter might never end, we finally had a nice weekend with warmer temperatures and lots of sunshine. I still need a few more days of nice weather before I am convinced that spring is just around the corner, although another snowstorm in the forecast for later this week won't help the situation. Even though I really want to fast-forward to spring, I don't want to miss the opportunity to do a little St. Patrick's Day baking first. Because everyone loves chocolate desserts made with Guinness and Bailey's Irish cream. 

Although I wouldn't drink a pint of Guinness by itself, I love the subtle kick that it gives these otherwise moist and flavorful chocolate cupcakes. And the Irish cream ganache and buttercream? Definitely my favorite part of these cupcakes. I have seen these cupcakes named Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes and although I have never had the drink that they are named after, I can tell you that the cupcakes are really good and need to go on your St. Patrick's Day baking list. 


Guinness and Irish Cream Cupcakes
Recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen

1 cup Guinness
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2/3 cup sour cream

Irish Cream Ganache:
8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tsp Irish cream

Irish Cream Buttercream:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3-4 cups powdered sugar
4 tsp Irish cream
Pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two cupcakes pans with paper liners and set aside. Combine the Guinness and butter in a medium saucepan set over medium heat. Allow the butter to melt completely Add the cocoa powder and whisk until smooth. Remove the saucepan from the heat and allow to cool slightly.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, granulated sugar, baking soda and salt. Whisk until combined. Set aside. In the bowl of a electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs and sour cream until combined, about 1-2 minutes. Add the Guinness mixture and mix until combined. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients to the bowl. Mix until just combined. Divide the batter between the prepared muffin cups, filling each about 2/3 full. Bake for about 17-18 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pans for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the ganache, place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl. In a small saucepan set over medium heat, warm the heavy cream until it simmers and then pour it over the chocolate. Let sit for one minutes and then whisk until fully smooth. Add the butter and Irish cream. Stir with a wooden spoon until combined. Set aside and allow the ganache to cool. Using a small paring knife, cut of a portion from the center of each cupcake using the cone method. Once the ganache is cool and thickened, transfer it to a piping bag and pipe it into the cupcakes.

To make the frosting, place the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat until light and creamy, about 3-4 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the powdered sugar. Mix until combined. Add the Irish cream. Increase the speed of the mixer and mix until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Frost the cupcakes as desired.
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