Welcome to the vault. No clever organizational scheme here, just a massive listing of all my blog posts. If you'd rather browse through desserts instead, head over to the recipe section.
Pastry chefs tend to bounce around from one job to the next, and after three years of staying put I’m on the loose again. A little bit behind my motivation for leaving my favorite kitchen behind.
I’ve heard it said that there are no bad cooks, only bad recipes… but that’s a little like saying there’re no bad actors, only bad scripts. Being a good cook isn’t an innate quality repressed by bad recipes, it’s a skill to cultivate like any other
Inventor of ice cream sandwiches? Internet troll? There’s hardly a dessert in America whose history hasn’t been hijacked by apocryphal claims and corporate fairy tales, and Jerry Newberg is no exception.
For some of us, it’s easier to tear our work to shreds than actually stand by an accomplishment. At least, I’d always found it easier to give myself a perpetual B+ than to do the hard work of sorting out my failures and victories.
If you think one cup equals eight ounces, I’ve got some good new and some bad news for you. Bad news: you’re totally wrong. Good news: it’s not your fault. Your measuring cups have been lying to you all this time.
12 tips for making pastry bags the mess-free, stress-free kitchen tool they’re meant to be.
That most of America’s “childhood snacks” came from a factory rather than a pâtisserie doesn’t make them any less a part of our cuisine or our culture.
Through a rather convoluted series of events, I spent my weekend gearing up to decorate a cake on national television.
The problem of hollow macarons doesn’t break down into a simple list of dos or don’ts, but brushing up on a few techniques can help minimize how often you experience them, and in some cases eliminate them altogether.
About once a week, someone sends me a love letter. Not confessing to me, but confiding in me. A letter from someone thinking about quitting their job to become a chef. Thinking about dropping out of college and going to culinary school. Thinking about opening a bakery. Is that you?
Peach, apricot, cherry and plum pits all contain a delicious little almond-flavored kernel inside their hard shells. The French pitch the pits and keep the kernel, calling it noyau, but don’t follow their example. The pit itself is too tasty to toss!
Getting out of the Pastry Dungeon and into a Manhattan ballroom sounds like a Cinderella story on paper, especially with Lady Godiva herself playing the fairy godmother. But when such a thing happened to me, I didn’t go to the ball to dance with a prince, but to work.
You don’t have to have any artistic talent to make a stunning cake, but you do need a crumb coat. Here’s a short video and tutorial for crumb coating, as well as some of my favorite buttercream recipes.
So long, Baltarstar Galactica reruns. Au revoir, PS3. Goodbye, midnight TNG. And thank God I already caught Mad Men‘s finale. My days of leisure are over.
10 tips to make better chocolate chip cookies using your favorite recipe, plus my favorite recipe for thick & chewy chocolate chip cookies.
Parents of picky eaters, take heart. As a BraveTot, I hated pretty much everything; especially bananas. But hating food means, on some level, feeling passionately about it. And passionate eaters often wind up changing their minds…
No one likes to sell out, but it happens occasionally. During a late night crush on Saturday or around the holidays. But 86ing the entire dessert menu by nine o’clock on a random Tuesday night? Enough to give me heart palpitations.
I wanted to try and make my own sakura essence, cherry blossom extract, like I used to find in Japan. I’ve signed up for a lot of labor intensive, harebrained pastry experiments in the past, but enfleurage has proved the most ludicrous.
No one would call German chocolate an acquired taste. It’s an acquired sight. Why does it have to be so damned ugly? Well, because the ugly part defines its allure, that chewy, nibby, nutty, crunchy textured filling. But what if…
Speaking from personal experience here, when you’re on the phone with the editor of Food & Wine magazine, you might want to say something other than, “holy crap.”
Despite doing the work of a pastry chef for the last few years, I avoided the title whenever possible. I’d call myself a baker, a pastry girl, or on a good day maybe I’d rank myself Lieutenant Commander of the Chocolate Chip Enterprise.
I’d love to mount an impassioned defense of the scale. Implore people to rethink it. Urge everyone to go out and pick one up. But I won’t. I can’t tell you why you should use a scale, only why I do.
The most glorious part of a bowl of cereal comes at the end. A few choice morsels slowly swirl around the bowl, awash in richly fortified milk. A fleeting pleasure, gone in a few bites. In shameful desperation I try to prolong that moment, artificially sustaining it with another sprinkling of cereal, a fresh splash of milk.
Every Christmas our homes undergo a magical transformation. I don’t mean the miles of twinkling lights covering every available gutter, bush or porch column. Not talkin’ bout trees in livings rooms, candles in windows, or the sudden appearance of inflatables in the yard. No, this one happens inside the kitchen.
A few weeks ago, I celebrated one year of life in the Pastry Dungeon. Some might call it the restaurant’s one year birthday. While I’ve certainly changed my share of proverbial diapers these last twelve months, 310’s not my baby.
Maybe it’s from watching Fight Club too much in college, but I feel like those rules apply to food blogging. “The first rule of Food Blogging is you do not talk about food blogging. The second rule of Food Blogging is you do not talk about food blogging.” I’ve got some bad news, though. I’m gonna talk about food blogging…
You don’t need a food blog, a fancy camera, a professional kitchen or a culinary school degree to make macarons. You do need a mixer, a piping bag, and a willingness to learn from your mistakes. Here are 15 photos from real people who’ve done just that.
I used to love watching after school cartoons and eating Soft Batch cookies, so I had to figure out how to make my own. It’s spooky accurate in flavor and texture. Perhaps a little too accurate. While I’m still a Ninja Turtle loving kid at heart, my palate has grown up and I need more than the signature Soft Batch je nais se crap.
“When the autumn days are coming, And it’s getting cool o’ nights, Then I love to take a ramble, When the pawpaws are ripe.” Yes, that’s right. Pawpaw poetry from James Buchanan Elmore. And pawpaw ice cream from me.
Every year Ace Weekly, Lexington’s indy newspaper, conducts a survey of its readers to uncover the eponymous best of Lexington. The categories run the gamut from the obvious, “Best Restaurant,” to uniquely Kentucky matters, “Best Hot Brown,” and snarky entries like “Best Hipster Crossing” too. This year, Table 310 came away with three honors and I couldn’t be more thrilled.
Over a year and a half ago, Rosco started telling me about his desire to shoot a cookbook. I told him I wanted nothing to do with a cookbook, but if taking pictures of food would scratch the itch, he could drop by my kitchen any time.
There are two kinds of chef, but you’ll never find the definitions written in a dictionary. I’m talking about your grandpa’s “there are only two kinds of…” armchair philosophy, applied to the microcosm of the restaurant industry.
Floats, made of nothing more than sugar and bubbles and cream, embody frivolity. Excess. Indulgence. Playfulness. And sometimes a mop and a tube of red lipstick?
Americans have enjoyed Oreos since 1912; yet our generation seems to have a uniquely powerful nostalgic yearning for them. Perhaps we feel this way because not only did we grow up with Oreos, they grew up with us.
It takes seven ingredients to make soda at home, and three of them are water. No newfangled carbonators. No tricky restaurant techniques. Ditch your Coke and overpriced hipster colas and join the club.
Dressy casual French American with a nuance of Japan? I don’t know how else to classify a blueberry violette custard in white chocolate yuzu crust. Unless “freaking tasty” is a proper category. . .
A Creamsicle, or a Dreamsicle if you prefer, incarnated as a Float. Creamy vanilla bean ice cream, orange soda, and just a shot of Aperol. Because we’re all grown up now, and this ain’t your childhood float.
If you have an ice cream maker, stop throwing away delicious scraps. Don’t toss out cake scraps, cookie crumbs or brownie bits. Ask, “Would this taste phenomenal stirred into ice cream?” If you answer yes, your inner Ben and/or Jerry is on to something!
Rosco and I got together on a sweltering hot, summer day to scoop ice cream, shoot fireworks, and take pictures. Don’t try this at home. Well. You can try the ice cream part.
Does ice cream made with local, organic dairy & eggs truly taste better than a batch made with conventional ingredients? In a blind test, would you be able to tell? Twenty total strangers got together to help me find out.
Most people already realize that macarons make a perfect gluten-free treat, but did you know that with only a little tweaking, they can also be made entirely free of nuts? Really! Macarons for everyone!
No country holds the humble pastry in higher esteem than Japan. Rather, Japan’s better known for technological prowess.And it’s just that technical skill that let Beard Papa to improving upon the classic pâte à choux. Can I do it too?
I hate it when people judge a food they’ve only eaten in its worst form. Like people who claim they’re not “chocolate people” but have only eaten Hershey’s or Godiva. They don’t hate chocolate. They hate bad chocolate. Likewise, there’s no shame in hating overcooked rhubarb, but don’t shun the good stuff.
Are you ready for a Total Eclipse of the Tart? Instead of watching the earth’s shadow creep across the surface of the moon, watch a crispy layer of sugar brûlée creep across glistening surface of delicious lemon curd.
Like any girl-child raised in the 80s, I had an obsession with Rainbow Brite. Mostly, I just wanted to eat the Star Sprinkles. This lead to a lifelong disappointment with sprinkles, fun colors aside, they all tasted the same: like crap. Now I’ve found a solution.
I wanted to articulate the aspects of macaron making that do matter since my macaron myths focused on the things that don’t. These “commandments” hold true no matter what recipe or kitchen you use.
Thoughtless, stupid garnishes, even ones made of pure gold really irk me. Where others see a mere sprig of mint, I see a lazy baker still drawing inspiration from a yellowing stack of cooking mags from the 80s. Let’s do one better, eh?
Every year, the Kentucky Derby brings the national spotlight to my home state, even if only for two minutes. Every May, people all over America try out a Mint Julep and feign interest in the ponies. This year, have your Mint Julep for dessert instead.
Assembling a cheese plate means taking a little bit of time to think things through, to consider the elements as a whole. Contrasting textures, temperatures, and flavors all work together to make an outstanding cheese plate. A pound of sugar helps too.
The set up: One restaurant, two kitchens. Upstairs, Team Savory. Downstairs, Team Pastry. Savory has six players, only two full timers. Pastry has, well, me. And let me assure you, being me is a full time job.
Sakura bloom, even in Kentucky. So Rosco photographed these sakura and I’m working on another way to preserve them and remembering the Japan I love.
This year, April 1st is no joke. An amazing, wonderful, vibrant family owned business will close its door forever. Because we didn’t support them.
Foodbuzz is raising money for the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund by hosting a virtual tea party. So here are two of my favorite tea party treats: lacy chocolate Florentines and quick fruit scones.
As you know, macarons have taken over the world and rule with a sugared fist. I’ve noticed widespread recipes & blogs advocating all manner of trickery to turn out perfect macarons, but these tricks are both stupid & ineffectual.
From imported wheels of Parm to domestic produce, why buying local is still important even when you’re not eating local. Invest your money in the community where you live and support local businesses.
Sassafras doesn’t get a lot of credit in the culinary scene, yet this plant is responsible for everything from root beer to filé powder and some unexpected things in between. If you ever come across any, you can use it to make a whole lot more than sassafras tea!
There’s only two hours between the time you decide, “Heck yeah, I’m making beignets!” to the moment you’ll unleash a snowstorm of powdered sugar over them. Beign-yay!
Mont Blanc, a classic pastry that dates back to the 17th century. A sweet confection of chestnut cream and chantilly named after a mountain but with an appearance more like a bowl of spaghetti. My favorite dessert in the world.
I don’t know why chestnuts haven’t caught on with Americans. Here in Kentucky, chestnut trees grow all over the place, but no one seems to care. Americans only love the idea of them roasting on an open fire, it seems.
Valentine’s Day wouldn’t feel right without champagne and roses involved. So why not reduce their essence into a sweet macaron love bite? A V-Day treat for those not so crazy about chocolate.
Vanilla bean marshmallows with a pink peppermint swirl, tripwire, and a whole lotta love. Cos love is a battlefield.
Valentine’s Day and Pop Tarts have a lot in common. They’re both sugar sweet and a little too cute for their own good. Neither has a drop of nutritional value, and both tend to divide people into love it or hate it camps. What about you?
A guest post from Mark, from pru-NOUST sha-BLEE. He attended this year’s Cochon 555 in Boston and writes of what it’s like to wine, swine, and dine, as a VIP at the event.
Of course, you can’t trust a pastry girl to make dessert for the Super Bowl. Instead of whipping up a batch of cookies or brownies, I ended up with green tea and passion fruit dessert bars. Proof positive I have no instinct when it comes to the game time vibe.
As a huge fan of hazelnuts and chocolate, Nutella just doesn’t cut it for me. Have you read the label? Mostly not-chocolate and not-hazelnuts. Fortunately, making your own Nutella couldn’t be easier. It all starts with a batch of hazelnut brittle…
From the moment I started BraveTart, I knew we must eventually conquer the Pop-Tart. Not by updating it, but by making one that would scream “I ♥ the 80s and/or possibly the 90s!” One that looked as if it came straight out of a box in the pantry.
Ah, the macaron. Supposedly this year’s answer to the cupcake. Except macarons have already stood the test of time and held our culinary imagination for hundreds of years. The macaron is no more the “new cupcake” than Megan Fox the next Sophia Loren.
Adventures in experimental baking: beer in cupcakes, beets in buttercream, and candied coffee. My entry into the Scharffen Berger Chocolate Adventure Contest.
Butter and Biscotti have had a sordid affair here in America. Check out almost any baking book and you’ll find them canoodling in the recipe section. I think it’s time they parted ways.
Pears have become, like apples or bananas, a grocery store staple that seemingly knows no season. But their season is now. Celebrate by making a pear layer cake with caramel pear buttercream!
Growing up, I never believed in Santa Claus. I did, however, believe quite firmly in cookies. Here are a few simple recipes for cookies fit for jolly old elves and humans alike.
I’ve left the leisurely life of a private chef to return to the mayhem of the restaurant world. Check out some photos and recipes from my new job as Pastry Girl at Table 310!
A bowl of Cheerios on Christmas seems wrong. Kicking it Christmas with a workweek breakfast smacks of bah humbug. Then again de rigueur “special breakfasts” like French toast or pancakes, lack inherent holiday charm.
In Kentucky snow comes infrequently enough that I can justify a batch of hot chocolate for every snowfall. If I lived in Minnesota, I doubt I’d bust out the chocolate bars & cream every time it snowed. Although, then again, I might.
One serving of blueberries? 2.8 ounces. If you made a dozen blueberry muffins you’d literally have to use over two pounds of blueberries to get one serving of fruit into a single muffin. Not exactly a portrait of healthy eating.
Allergic to pork, I venture to new lengths to satisfy my longings for a sweet and salty, savory combo to replace bacon at my breakfast table. Or, in bed. Because French Toast is meant for Breakfast in Bed!
Thanksgiving: from humble beginnings as a purely agrarian celebration to a gluttonous, semi-Epicurean day of culinary indulgence finalized by watching grown men in spandex wrestling over a pig skin.
I’m making over classic Thanksgiving sweet potatoes with marshmallows. Epi-cure this ailing dish with Sage Brown Butter Marshmallows. Take that, Jet Puffed!
Americans rarely use Ceylon Cinnamon, or True Cinnamon . We instead favor Cassia, it’s hotter, sharper, spicier cousin. But the gentle, aromatic flavor of Ceylon lends a beautifully floral note perfect for autumn.
A hundred years ago, American palettes only knew the taste of these birds. They didn’t call them “heritage” they called them turkeys. Now they verge on extinction. Ironically, only our willingness to eat them can keep them alive.
Individually pumpkin seeds have little value, but when their numbers climb high enough to measure in cups, they have power. Massively crunchy, toasty, nutty culinary power.
You might think apples of “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” fame beyond reproach. But the orchards they come from are under attack, and I’m here to defend their honor.
Chefs have long harnessed the powers of the Triforce (brown butter, sage, root vegetables) for the good of dinner. But this power is not for the Savory Realm alone. Even dessert should benefit from its power.
We went to Paris a month ago. There we found a certain little street where the smell of roasting coffee becomes almost tangible, dragging people by their noses, cartoon style, down the sidewalk.
A terrible post, completely bereft of awesome photography. Just some lazy point and shoot type pix from my little camera of my Haunted Gingerbread House.
I love love love the idea of a Halloween Party. But my parties always end up an awkward parade of bad timing, nervous chit chat, and excuse making. I absolutely stink as a hostess.
Yet another Jefferson street restaurant that I can’t get enough of. Kickin’ back at the Grey Goose!
I received a request to make “Candy corn that doesn’t taste like wax.” Not being much of a candy maker, I opted to instead make a candy corn inspired dessert, perfect for autumn, and nothing like wax.
It’s the campfire flame that that makes a s’more more than the sum of its parts. What’s a city bound girl to do? A gas flame gets the job done, but misses the point. My solution: Smoked Vanilla Bean Marshmallows.
Boston, New York, Chicago, San Fransisco, Lexington? You may not know it, but one of Food & Wine magazine’s top 5 natural wine shops in America is in our humble city. It was on BraveTart’s top-5 list long ago, kiddos.
I’m really curious to hear everyone’s thoughts on brownies, specifically, the great Cakey vs Fudgey debate. I mean, I’ve always felt if you want cakey, bake a freakin’ cake.
If you ever need a reminder that something pure and good still exists in this world, give a small child a cupcake. (Uh, with Mom and Dad’s permission. Otherwise, you may get a reminder from their lawyer.)
I love carnivals. Give me a warm night on a Ferris wheel with stars above, festival lights below, the sound of cotton candy powered kids screaming through the attractions, and fingers sticky with caramel corn. I love it.
When confronted with the lively, complex flavors of fruit, I find myself sipping from my husband’s teacup while my coffee grows cold. I wouldn’t say it’s over between me and coffee, just that I’m seeing someone else.
In video games, the outside of an object often belies the inside. Like Link’s ability to carry one hundred million items in his tunic pocket, or the way an entire Mushroom Kingdom nestles into a drain pipe. So too, this cake.
Ah, banana pudding. That tepid, congealed amalgam of fake-vanilla Jello pudding, sogged out Nilla wafers, Cool-Whip and bananas too ripe even for banana bread.
The challenge? Make a cake worth eating without using flour, egg yolks, butter or milk. Now, I can make a tasty cake without butter or eggs or flour, but take away all three? Like spinning straw into gold.