No one's hangin' stockin's up,
No one's bakin' pie,
No one's lookin' up to see
A new star in the sky.
No one's talkin' brotherhood,
No one's givin' gifts,
And no one loves a Christmas tree
On March the twenty-fifth.

- Shel Silverstein

Pastillage Cake Stand by Sarah K.


He's Going To Ask For A Glass Of Milk.

Just wanted to show you what I made at school this week:

It's a cake stand! Made of pastillage!

Pastillage. Pah-stee-YAHJ. It's really just a paste made from sugar, cornstarch, vinegar and gelatin - you roll it out like pie dough and cut it into shapes, and it dries hard. Then, barring any major disasters (this stuff is de-li-cate. It likes to crack and shatter), you can glue your shapes together with royal icing or isomalt, and voilà!

Cute little guy, isn't he?

You know, I'm sort of sensing a trend with these showpieces. I think someone has a Peter Pan complex.

Oh, what, you think it's me? Just because I happen to like chocolate chip cookies? And adorable mice? Tiny little sugar mice who like to wear overalls and cookie crumbs?

...Fine. But I mean come on - have you ever read If You Give A Mouse A Cookie, by Laura Joffe Numeroff (great name, by the way)?

If you haven't, you should. And if you have, you sorta like my cake stand, don't you?

Admit it. You want a cookie.

I wonder what happens when you give a blog-reader a cookie. Let's find out, shall we?

Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 sticks butter
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt, such as fleur de sel, for sprinkling
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • About 2 1/2 teaspoons sea salt, divided
  • 10 ounces unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup vanilla sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 12 ounces bitter chocolate chips

  • Directions:

    Working in a large pan over medium-high heat, brown the butter. Just swirl the pan of butter over the heat until the milk solids start to separate and turn brown. Once the butter is browned, pour it into a metal bowl and put it in the freezer to cool.

    Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

    Sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt.

    Once the butter has completely cooled to room temperature, whisk it vigorously with the sugar until it is light and pale yellow. Whisk in the eggs one at a time until thoroughly blended. Mix in the vanilla, then stir in the flour mixture gently, until combined. Fold in the chocolate chips.

    Using an ice-cream scoop or two spoons, drop the batter by the tablespoon onto the prepared baking sheets. Sprinkle each of the cookies with some sea salt, and then bake for about 12-15 minutes, until the edges have browned and the cookies are golden. Allow to cool, about 5 minutes, before enjoying... with a glass of milk, naturally.

    Makes about 50 cookies.

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • About 2 1/2 teaspoons sea salt, divided
  • 10 ounces unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup vanilla sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 12 ounces bitter chocolate chips
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • About 2 1/2 teaspoons sea salt, divided
  • 10 ounces unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup vanilla sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 12 ounces bitter chocolate chips
  • 3.21.2010

    Really Quite Wonderful

    Here in New York City, Spring is springing. Want to see?

    Also, there are people outside. All kinds of people, just hanging out! Strolling, even! No one's hurrying down the street, hands clutched over the collar of a big jacket, heavy boots clunking and head bent down against the wind. Today, heads are turned up, bare arms are swinging, and faces are soaking in the sunshine. It's really quite wonderful.

    True it's only March, and this gorgeous sun is bound to hide away again, giving us only peeking glances of its uplifting warmth until its usual playtime sometime around May, but for now it's putting me in a damn good mood, and I just can't be bothered to care.

    Or to eat anything that's not this:

    I can't decide if I should call it pasta or salad (pasta salad? Just seems too pedestrian for something so light and fresh), but it's a perfect, effortless meal for these warm, breezy days, however fleeting.

    Whole Wheat Pasta with Tomatoes, Arugula, and Pine Nuts

    My cousin Katie made this for me for dinner last week, and I haven't been able to stop thinking about it. It's healthy and fresh, and takes only minutes to prepare - the whole thing comes together effortlessly while the pasta water is boiling. We gobbled this up as-is, but it would be great mixed with some grilled chicken or shrimp for a heftier meal.

    • 1 box whole wheat spaghetti
    • a few large handfuls fresh arugula
    • one half pint cherry tomatoes, chopped in half
    • 1/4 cup pine nuts
    • olive oil
    • chopped parsley, for sprinkling
    • parmesan cheese, for sprinkling


    Boil a large pot of salted water for the pasta, and cook as directed on the box. While the pasta is cooking, place the pine nuts in a single layer in a large, dry sauté pan over medium heat, and toast until fragrant and lightly browned, stirring occasionally. When the pasta has finished cooking, strain it and add some olive oil to coat the noodles. Throw in the arugula, tomatoes, and pine nuts, and sprinkle some parsley and parmesan on top, to taste. Give the pasta a toss and serve in large bowls with extra cheese, if you like.

    Serves about 4.


    Kiss Me, I'm...

    A brunette? Hmm, no. ...A person who likes cheese? Yeah you're right, that's probably not it. Oh wait, wait, I got it:



    Yeah... I'm not really that into this holiday. Notwithstanding my name, I'm not Irish and, if we're being totally honest here, I suppose I'll just admit that I don't really know who St. Patrick was or what he did to land himself a holiday. To me, St. Paddy's Day is less of a holiday and more of an excuse for dressing monochromatically and day-drinking. Which is fine by me. I'm just saying.

    At any rate, if you're interested in paying homage to St. Patrick in a way that doesn't involve salacious t-shirts or green beer, I know of something that may help. It's called Irish Soda Bread.

    I recently thought that I didn't like Irish Soda Bread, until we made it at school and I promptly scarfed down an entire loaf. You'd think there's something off-putting about the combination of caraway seeds and dried currants, but it's actually kind of inspired. And it turns out that the term Irish Soda Bread is a bit misleading, given that, in texture and crumb, this loaf is exactly like a giant scone.

    Even if you're not into day-drinking, don't you think this sounds like something you can get behind? Erin Go Bragh, Lads!

    Irish Soda Bread

    This makes enough dough for two 6-inch round loaves. Make two, freeze one? Or eat both. I won't tell anyone.

    • 390 grams all-purpose flour
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
    • 50 grams granulated sugar
    • 25 grams butter, cut into small chunks
    • 110 grams dried currants (raisins are a fine substitute)
    • 1 tablespoon caraway seeds
    • 280 milliliters buttermilk


    Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

    Combine the all-purpose flour, salt, baking soda, and cream of tartar in a large bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment. Cut in the butter, using two knives or a pastry cutter, or the paddle attachment of a stand mixer, until the butter is the size of peas.

    Add the currants and caraway seeds. Add the buttermilk, and mix just to combine. The dough will still look a bit shaggy, but that's okay.

    Shape the dough into two round loaves, and cut a deep, broad "X" in the top, approximately 1 to 1 1/2 inches deep.

    Bake the loaves on a large sheet pan (or two), lined with parchment paper, for 30 to 40 minutes, until a brown crust forms and a skewer comes out clean.

    Enjoy with a few pats of soft butter. And a green beer, if you're so inclined.


    Oh, Bother

    "I like Rabbit," said Pooh.

    "...Because he uses short, easy words, like 'how bout lunch?' And 'help yourself, Pooh.'"

    I've always been a big fan of A. A. Milne and his friends from the Hundred Acre Wood. Eeyore, Piglet, Owl, Rabbit, Tigger, Kanga and Roo - and of course, the rumbly-tumbled Pooh Bear himself. And here he is! Isn't he cute? So cute you could just eat him, I think.

    Yep, that's our friend Winnie the Pooh, in chocolate form. Entirely edible! The base is white chocolate with a flower-patterned transfer sheet print, the hunny pots are molded dark chocolate, filled with white "chocolate plastic" hunny, and Pooh Bear himself is a creamy milk chocolate cutout. His shirt and the bumblebee on top of his head are also modeled from chocolate plastic. ...Don't worry, it's not actually plastic - it's made from sugar, water, corn syrup and melted chocolate - more like a very flexible tootsie roll. At any rate, it's great for small decorations on chocolate showpieces. Like, say, for molding a silly old bear's t-shirt.

    Or a bowtie and apron for the pizza man.

    made by Sarah K.

    Gahhh - don't you just love chocolate?

    In the comments from my last post, someone asked if I have a recipe for homemade marshmallows. I like to use this one from Alton Brown. It makes a lot of marshmallows though, so you may want to cut it in half. You could flavor them simply with vanilla, as Alton suggests (listen, in my head we are on a first name basis, ok? Shut it.), or you could throw in some cinnamon or use peppermint extract to spice them up a bit. Either way, enjoy these fluffy mallows with some hotta chocolatta!


    Hotta Chocolatta

    (Please listen to this while reading this post).

    This week at school, we learned about chocolate. Cacao. Chocolat. We learned pretty much all there is to know about it - how it's made, where it's from, the difference between brands of milk, dark and white chocolate, and how to work with each. We tempered and we tasted, and I must say, it was a delicious week.

    We made chocolate cake topped with chocolate leaves!

    We made little chocolate squares filled with crispy hazelnut feulletine.

    We made truffles,

    And chocolate boxes to put them in.

    But, there's always room for more chocolate. So I wrote a chocolate poem (it's not made of chocolate, though, so don't try to eat it):


    Choco-late, choco-late,
    Choco-late, choco-late,
    It is great!
    When I get to eat it.

    Hot Chocolate (Hotta Chocolatta):

    Adapted from Ina Garten

    "Hotta, hotta, chocolatta - flip a dip a whip-a-cream in the middle of a hotta, hotta, chocolatta - pick her up and drink her down!"

    • 4 1/2 cups whole milk
    • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
    • 4 ounces milk chocolate, chopped
    • 1 tablespoon sugar
    • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    • 1 teaspoon instant espresso or coffee powder
    • cinnamon and marshmallows, for garnish

    Heat the milk in a saucepan on medium heat to just below the simmering point. Remove the pan from the heat and add both chocolates. When the chocolates are melted, add the sugar, vanilla extract, and espresso and whisk vigorously. Reheat gently and serve immediately. Serve with a splash of cinnamon and a handful of marshmallows!

    Yield: 4-5 servings