Cric! Crac!

Reese's Pieces Cocoa Krispie Treats | La Pêche Fraîche

Where are the songs of spring? Ay, Where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

—John Keats, from To Autumn

Reese's Pieces Cocoa Krispie Treats | La Pêche Fraîche

If given my choice of candy, with all calories nullified, I would always choose something milk chocolaty and, preferably, somewhat salty or, at the very least, not purely chocolate.
I do like truffles, but they rarely have enough salt for me—and with those, I have a very strong preference for milk and white chocolate, even though I know dark chocolate is technically better for you…
Among cheap candy, KitKats, Reese’s peanut butter cups, Whoppers, Junior Mints, M&Ms reign supreme.
It’s always so baffling to me when someone I know prefers fruity candy to chocolate candy.

Nati has an affinity for Sourpatch, which I can stomach and will even absentmindedly munch on, but there’s no way those are better than Goobers or M&Ms.
No wayyyy!  No how.
BUT celebrating Halloween with someone with opposite taste is lucrative, as I’m sure we all know.

I have so many memories of getting home after a long night of trick-or-treating (at, say, 9pm…!) and sorting through all my candy in my little plastic pumpkin to see which ones were best.

Perversely, and tellingly, I would always save the best for last, forcing myself to eat the “bad” candies first.
I still do this today—save the best bite for last!
I am a two marshmallow kid to the bone, people.
To the bone.

Reese's Pieces Cocoa Krispie Treats | La Pêche Fraîche

Today, I have some double chocolate cocoa krispie treats loaded with white chocolate chips and Reese’s pieces, because duh, PB+chocolate forever.

They’re as easy to make as regular rice krispies.
Melt, stir stir stir, press, eat.

Here, we use cocoa krispies and add an extra pinch of salt, with a hunk of dark chocolate to up our cocoa game.
White chocolate chips, milky and sweet, contrast the dark chocolate, and Reese’s pieces are salty, sweet, and crunchy.
The mix-ins totally make these rice krispie treats.  They add just the right amount of surprise to every bite!

(Plus this is a way to use up any ~extra~ Reese’s pieces that you might just have lying around post-Halloween.
Although if you do, who even are you?)

Reese's Pieces Cocoa Krispie Treats | La Pêche Fraîche

Reese’s Pieces Cocoa Krispie Treats
makes 16 bars

20 grams (3/4 ounce, 1.5 tablespoons) butter
30 grams (1 ounce) dark chocolate
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
150 grams (5 ounces) marshmallows, mini or otherwise
4 cups cocoa krispies
1/2 cup Reese’s pieces
1/2 cup white chocolate chips

Line an 8×8 inch pan with parchment or wax paper.
Place butter, marshmallows, salt and chocolate into a bowl and microwave until all ingredients are melted.
Mix well until fairly homogeneous.
Stir in the cocoa krispies gently, followed by the Reese’s pieces and white chocolate chips.
Firmly press krispies into prepared pan and allow to set for at least 2 hours.
Cut into squares and serve.
Bars will keep in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Grey Matter

Apricot Pistachio Lemon-Chamomile Scones | La Pêche Fraîche

All we have to decide
is what to do
with the time that is given to us.

—Gandalf the Grey

Apricot Pistachio Lemon-Chamomile Scones | La Pêche Fraîche

Nary a single complaint nor excuse will I launch about how long I’ve been away from this space.
It’s been ages. Epochs.  I know.
But I’m not going to harp on the time that has passed.
Know that I wanted to be here and know that I was thinking of it constantly.
OK, I can’t resist: I just got wifi back, friends. I wasn’t just being neglectful.

I fear my mind is wasting away, lately.
The part of my brain that is fed by my own explorations, that is fattened by a good story or a poignant quote or a resonating piece of music, is greying at the edges, fading in a most unpleasant and quiet manner, so that I barely even notice it.
The encyclopedic filing cabinet of my mind that is more full up with facts that I love, rather than mandated ones, is seeming barren as a field left to fallow.
That part.  That wild, soulful, curious part.
I worry.

I need a good book to soothe my soul; I need more classical music and less coffee in the mornings.
I mean, good Lord, I sit in front of a screen all day.  I know this isn’t ideal.
I think that in order to return to balance and some sort of an even keel, some serious non-screen time is necessary.
I took a nap outside on Sunday, which was heavenly even if I was laying on the hardest lounge chair of all eternity.
Next weekend I intend to do the same, with a book thrown in the mix.
And sometime between now and then I’m going to get in the kitchen and make a wonderful mess.

Apricot Pistachio Lemon-Chamomile Scones | La Pêche Fraîche

I have things I want to share with you—photos, too.
I have willful thoughts and questions that I am trying to coax out of my brain by smashing words together, head-on.

Today, I’m hopping on the scone wagon.
I actually made these scones a while ago, and now would you just look at THAT everyone and their mother posted a scone recipe last week.  Fantastic timing on my part.
And everyone else’s are so beautiful and delicious and photogenic.
Mine are a bit craggier and are up to their necks in a pool of glaze, but trust me—flavor-wise, they’re well up to snuff.

Apricot Pistachio Lemon-Chamomile Scones | La Pêche Fraîche

These have the most ridiculously long name (even longer than the kingly titles of Game of Thrones…) but they need it because they are a little self-conscious of their cracked, flaky tops, okay??!!

Whole-wheat apricot pistachio lemon-chamomile scones.
Whole wheat pastry flour, soft-milled and nutty, meets butter in the best way possible, becoming a flaky, sweet, slightly-crumbly base.
Each bite is studded with chopped pistachios, the grassiness of which offsets the pieces of sweet Turkish apricots that are strewn throughout the dough.
A generous coat of egg wash and even more generous sprinkling of sparkly sugar and the scones are ready to meet an extremely hot oven, which puffs them up proudly and creates the craters and canyons that will secret away rivers of glaze until bitten into.
The glaze itself, poured over the cooled pastries generously, is made of delicate floral chamomile tea and tart lemon juice.  A pinch of salt tempers the sugar, as always.

Persian flavors are very subtly melded into these scones, which last for days and make for a fantastic breakfast or tea.
You can make the scones ahead and freeze them like you would cookies.  When you want a hot, buttery scone with a cup of tea, you can simply pop a few in the oven straight from the freezer.

Apricot Pistachio Lemon-Chamomile Scones | La Pêche Fraîche

Whole-Wheat Apricot, Pistachio, Lemon-Chamomile Scones
scone portion adapted from
Makes 8 large scones

for the scones:
2 1/2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt or kosher salt
8 tablespoons (1/2 cup) butter, cubed
1/3 cup granulated sugar, plus more for topping
2/3 cup milk (I used almond milk)
1 egg plus 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash
10 dried apricots, chopped
1/4 – 1/3 cup pistachios, chopped

for the glaze:
1 tablespoon hot water
chamomile tea
juice of 1/2 lemon
3/4 cup powdered sugar, or as needed
pinch or two coarse sea salt or kosher salt

Make the scones: preheat oven to 400 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Put flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl and add the cubed butter.
Using a pastry blender or your fingers, smash the butter into small pieces until the largest bits are the size of a pea.
Add the sugar and stir gently.
While stirring, pour in the milk of your choice.
Before the milk is completely incorporated, add in the apricots and pistachios and gently fold to incorporate.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gently pat into a circle.
Cut the dough into 8 wedges and place on the baking sheet.
Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes, or freeze for up to a month, well-wrapped.
When ready to bake, whisk the egg and water together and brush over the tops of the scones.
Generously sprinkle sugar all over the scones, and bake for 12-14 minutes, until the tops are golden brown.
Allow to cool.
To make the glaze, brew a very strong (and tiny) amount of chamomile tea—I used about a tablespoon of hot water and a tea bag that I allowed to steep for 10 minutes.
To the tea, add in the lemon juice and the salt.
While whisking, add in the powdered sugar 1 tablespoon at a time, until the glaze reaches a pourable but thick and opaque consistency.
Drizzle or pour the glaze over the scones and allow to set completely before serving.
Scones keep for up to 4 days, tightly sealed.

For Sansa


Valar morghulis.
Valar dohaeris.


Finally, finally, finally.
After months of agonizing waiting, frenzied reading, and greedy marathon-watching, Season 4 of The Best Show Ever Made is here.
It premiers tonight.  HBO.  Don’t miss it. (Have you seen the new trailer?)

It’s April 6th.  Game of Thrones.  Season 4.  Premiers. Tonight. Be still, my beating heart.


I recently finished A Dance with Dragons, the 5th book in the series.
George R.R. Martin takes no prisoners.
I am so transported by his writing, and the show even more so, I dare say.
I’m really glad that I watched part of the show before reading the books, which is a first, because the sets that they dream up are truly magical and fantastic, arguably better than what my imagination would have filled in.
This way, when I read the books, I can visualize the characters and their homes and country very clearly.
Normally, I’m an advocate for experiencing a series the opposite way, books first, then movie/T.V. show, but Game of Thrones is special.
It’s a cinematic masterpiece.

I’ve rewatched season 3 for the 90th time, and I have this on repeat while I study daydream all day and snack on these cakes.
I am so ready, y’all.  I can’t even express it.


Sansa: “Lemon cakes are my favourite!”
Lady Olenna: “So we’ve heard.”

(Our first introduction to Lady Olenna, that marvelously dry and brutal little bird.)

Poor, miserable Sansa.
We can only wait for her luck to turn around and her life to stop constantly falling to pieces (or die, knowing G.R.R.M).
She really does love lemon cakes, as is made abundantly clear by all the mentions of these little treats.

In honor of her, I made dainty lemon cakes to share today.
These are incredibly quick to make, about 40 minutes from start to stuffing them in your face.
These have only seven ingredients, and no chemical leavening!  If we are really trying to be accurate, these cakes come incredibly close to ingredients available in Westeros.


The cakes are light and delicate, crumbly and ever so slightly sweet, buttery and full of lemon, the glaze sticky and luxuriously tangy.

Where the glaze sinks into the warm cake, pockets of puckery sweetness form, prompting a finger licking so as not to lose any of the precious, sticky icing.
The cakes themselves are redolent with butter, vanilla, and lemon, with a fine textured crumb and crisp edges.
I think they’d go over quite well with Lady Sansa of House Stark, and they will fit right in as a snack during the premiere tonight.

These are best served with a piping hot cup of milky black tea and the heads of your enemies.


Sansa’s Lemon Cakes
makes 15-18 small cakes

for the cakes:
6 ounces (1 1/2 sticks) butter, plus extra for greasing the pans
4 eggs
2/3 cup sugar
pinch sea salt
zest of two lemons
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup flour

for the glaze:
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
5 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon water
2 tablespoons dried milk powder
1 tablespoon butter

Make the cakes: first, brown the butter until very dark, almost burnt, then strain out the solids by pouring the butter over a mesh sieve lined with 2 paper towels.
Allow to cool, then squeeze out the extra butter in the paper towels and set aside to cool to room temperature.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and butter your mini muffin tins or mini tart shells very well with melted butter– be sure to get in all the grooves.
Place eggs in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment with a pinch of sea salt and begin to beat on high.
Meanwhile, zest 2 lemons into a bowl with the sugar and rub very well with your fingertips to release the essential oils.
When eggs are beginning to become light colored and fluffy, start to slowly stream in the lemon sugar.
Whip for about 6 minutes, until quadrupled in size and very light colored.
Pour in the vanilla and beat until combined, 10 seconds.
Sprinkle the flour on top of the eggs, then pour the cooled butter over the flour.
Gently fold batter to combine, being sure to incorporate any pockets of flour.
Batter will deflate slightly, but still be very light when you are done folding.
Scoop rounded tablespoons into your pans, filling them 2/3 of the way full.
Bake for 15 minutes, until deeply golden and springy to the touch.
Immediately turn the cakes out of their molds, and set aside while you make the glaze.

Make the glaze: place sugar, lemon juice, and water in a small pot.
Heat until boiling and bubbling, cook for 1 minute, then whisk in the milk powder and butter.
Whisk very well; glaze should be sticky but homogeneous and still pourable when hot.
Pour a teaspoon or so of glaze over each warm cake, then set aside to cool and set.

Enjoy with tea!

So Question


Much wonder.
Such searches.

“my olive oil bottle had some slimy things”

“is little debbie oatmeal cream pies good for chakras”
Probably not?

“lets make marscarpone ourselves for once”
Yes, let’s.  God.


“dumb jokes”
“dysfunctional family funny”
“dumb shit jokes”
I think you’re in the right place, my friend.

“homogeneous motor for milk and mango juice”
“gothic baking dishes”
“fairy hand cream mango butter switzerland”
“brass triangle fruit ripener”
“picture of willy wonka marshmallow pillow”
“ready to bake cheese marscapone croissants wholesale”
“kids throwing cookie dough on ceiling”
“plate with some fruits two toothbrush one small pot drawing in pencil”
“lime green fat baby boots with white fluffy stitching on the toe”
What?  No.  How did you manage to end up here?


“comfy belly pumpkin roll”
“christina tosi maple”
“nigella frangelico tiramisu grams”
“michael laiskonis silpat”
“dorie greenspan is too soft and crumbly cheesecake”
Nope nope nope not me.  Wrong person.

“why is my mississippi mud pie still runny in the middle”
“2c heavy cream 4 tsp matcha 3/4 c sugar 6 egg yolk 1 c milk where is it books”
“how to bake cake in a 5 burner gas cooktop candy”
“660grams of chocolate buttons = cups?”
“should a pumpkin roll cake be wet still when you take it out of the oven”
“why do my meringue cookies always end up with a syrup like crust on the bottom???”
“can u use buttercream piping for a dummy cake or will it rot? cake central”
“creme brulee didn’t set congeal can i freeze it”
“3cups cocoa powder 4sticks butter layer cake”
“why gateau cake didn’t rise”
“do they have pumpkin butter in sweden”
“why does creaming butter and sugar in more than one direction, get curds”
“260 grams flour and sugar and butter cake making how many eggs i use”
“i like to make it my own pomelo powder tall me how”
“i am looking for a recipe that used nutter butter cookies and butter as a crust, and then you melt marshmallows then make a layer of candy using cornsyrup and peanut butter chips”
I wish I could tell you the answers to all these existential questions, but…


“best ice cream scoopers activated by body heat”
“brown butter cookie nutella fill kitchen dink w/ 2″ of cold water”
“waterproof nut pie crust”
“she made a graham with childish decorated toppings”
“pressure ulcers cooker de leche condensed milk”
“glitter sprinkle french macaron vanipla”
“whot. can. you yes. hef. coleur perpar”
“no egg no milk no butter cookiesh ki,o.lpo.ol”
“cheese lava guna kracker magic”
“like golden ray butter”
“drama psheat”
“pepar fool ke banana”

“la peche fraiche”
“lapechce fraiche”
“la pache frasche”
“la pilche frache”
“peche freche”
“la peche peach”
“rachel sally pastry blogs”
“rachel sally blog”
“ithaca rachel sally”
Lol hai.  Welcome.


You guys search such silly things and manage to end up here, at my doorstep.
I can only begin to understand my readership through searches like “cheese lava guna kracker magic.”
Conclusion: you guys are weird.  And poor typists.  And are therefore in good company.

These cookies are delicious, fat, bakery-sized peanut butter sandwiches, filled with fluffy marshmallow and rolled in honey roasted peanuts, in honor of whoever searched
“i am looking for a recipe that used nutter butter cookies and butter as a crust, and then you melt marshmallows then make a layer of candy using cornsyrup and peanut butter chips”
Sadly, this is the best I can do for you.  I hope you enjoy them, mystery googler.
(I have a feeling they’re more delicious than this suspect nutter butter-corn syrup pie…)

The cookie base has edges that are crispy and crunchy, like a nutter butter, but a thick, soft center.  Perfect for sandwiching, and not too brittle or crumbly, like most PB cookies.
A cookie with bite.
Even better, they can be frozen for later!  Only use what you need, and stick the rest in the freezer for emergencies.
The marshmallowy filling is a billowy Italian meringue, whipped to sticky perfection.
Annnnnd this cookie sandwich is then rolled in
salted honey roasted peanuts.

These are like fluffernutters, only made with cookies.
Fluffernutter cookies.  Do I need to say more?

Perhaps just this: make these, you weirdos.  Ok.  That is all.


Fluffernutter Cookies
makes 6 very large cookie sandwiches, or 12 cookies
cookie portion adapted from Miette

for the cookies:
113 grams (8 tablespoons) butter
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
100 grams (1/2 cup) granulated sugar
70 grams (1/3 cup packed) brown sugar
1 egg
160 grams (1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons) smooth peanut butter
1 teaspoon baking soda
180 grams (1 2/3 cups) flour

for the Italian meringue:
1 egg white
50 grams (1/4 cup) granulated sugar
pinch of salt
15 grams (1 tablespoon) water

to assemble:
about 3/4 cup honey roasted peanuts, chopped
pinch or two kosher salt

Make the cookies: beat butter on high speed until softened, about 2 minutes.
Add in the salt and sugars and beat for 3 minutes, scraping the bowl halfway through.
Add the egg and beat for 3 more minutes.
Scrape the bowl and add the peanut butter; beat for 1 more minute.
Scrape the bowl and add in the flour and baking soda all at once.
Mix on low speed until homogeneous.
Scoop out generous (1/3 cup) portions, then roll into smooth balls.
Press a cross-hatch pattern onto the cookies with a fork (or gently press them with a meat tenderizer) to flatten them slightly.
Place on a baking sheet and freeze for at least 15 minutes, and up to a month, wrapped very tightly in plastic and aluminum foil.
When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Bake cookies for 12 minutes, rotating the sheet halfway through.
Allow to cool completely, then assemble the sandwiches.
Make the Italian meringue: place egg white in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk.
Place the salt, sugar, and water in a small sauce pot.
Begin to whip your egg white while heating the syrup on medium heat.
When your syrup reaches 200 degrees F, the egg white should be all foam; at 240, it should be at soft peaks.
Carefully pour the hot syrup into the egg white; beat the meringue until cooled to body temperature, about 5 minutes.
Spread onto one cookie and sandwich with another.
Mix the honey roasted peanuts with the extra salt, then roll the edges of each cookie in the mixture.
Enjoy with milk!



“Tomorrow is Saint Valentine’s day
All in the morning betime,
And I a maid at your window,
To be your Valentine.”

Hamlet, Act IV, Scene V


Happy Valentine’s day, sweet, dear readers o’ mine.

How hilarious are these Valentines?  I love them all.

I’ll be playing this all day.  All hail Queen Bey.


Since we’ll all be eating chocolate all day (as is our god-given right, damn it), we might as well snack on gorgeous, semi-healthy, bejeweled treats.

Enter the French mendiant, which means medal or medallion.  Commonly made around Christmastime, these are the absolute fastest chocolate candies to make.  I think they’d be perfectly appropriate as a last-minute valentine.

The premise is simple, and really doesn’t require a recipe: melt dark (or white) chocolate, dollop it in (imperfect) circles, decorate with dried fruit, nuts, etc.   Allow to set (an hour or two), then enjoy crunchy-yet-melty chocolates with bursts of flavor.

Here, I chose what has become a favorite combination: pomegranate, pine nuts, and sea salt.
Antioxidants!  Fruit!  Healthy fats!  The picture of good health, practically!!!

It works equally well with dark and white chocolates; just be sure to choose good quality chocolate.  I used Callebaut.
I made my mendiants quite small, about a teaspoon per candy, which makes them mini and totally snack-able.

Common toppings are pistachios, dried apricots, dried figs, coconut, cashews, almonds, dried cranberries, etc.
The possibilities are endless.


And here’s a sweet little design I made as a desktop background, that I thought I would share with y’all.
Feel free to download it from my flickr.

Have a marvelous day.  I hope it’s filled with chocolate, love, flowers, and, most importantly, happiness.


Be Mine.jpg



Oh, I know how it is in the spring
when Japonica’s in bloom
and rivers of many waters bring
life to the unplucked fruit.
Then the vineyards of the Maidens flower
on every shaded vine;
all flourish in that restful hour—
but, oh, this can’t be mine!
All seasons are the same to Love,
it’s always time to storm;
thunder is always flashing over
my head, and there’s a swarm
of desiccating furies in my mind.
Love chews away my heart
from the roots, in the dark.

Ibycus, Fragment 286


It makes me sad when people say they hate Valentine’s day.

I love Valentine’s day!  Not because I spend it with anyone special (womp womp) but because I love the idea.

I love love.


I guess I can see the strikes against Valentine’s day (too mushy, too commercialized, too silly, too much effort) BUT my gosh just how wonderful of a concept is it, honest and truly?

A day to celebrate love: a day to show your appreciation to those who make your life a little bit better every day.
A day to share tokens, sweets, and affection with your sweetheart, with your friends, with your family.
A day to honor a man who accepted illicit love, who just wanted people to be happy and content.

Appropriate, with all that’s going on in Sochi at the Winter Olympics.

People are people.  Love is love.
Everyone deserves to be loved; everyone deserves to give love.


Regardless of whether you like Valentine’s day or not, I know y’all like cake.

And so that is what I’m bringing you.
I’m sharing love and cake.  Doesn’t that just sound like the best combination ever?

Cake, love, and pocky.  Sign me up.

Isn’t this little cake the cutest!  Oh!  It makes me so happy.  Happy cake love.  Happy, pinky, red velvet cake love.
It abounds.

Pink for all!  All the pink.  This cake doesn’t have to be only for Valentine’s day.  Pink is a year-round color
(Although perhaps especially appropriate for Wednesdays.)


Speaking of pink…
Have you ever had Japanese Pocky?
They’re little biscuit sticks, dipped in chocolate.  They’re crunchy, creamy, and utterly addictive.

In fact, true story: I have been planning on making this cake for ages, not even necessarily for Valentine’s day.
I purchased a bunch  of Pocky from Amazon, but kept stalling making the cake (and munching on Pocky).
Eventually, I had eaten all the Pocky!!!!!
So, another bulk order later, I decided to make the cake ASAP.
Since we’re in the depths of Valentine’s day themed posts on this blog, I knew the pink would be perfect.

And what a pink it is!  Pale and not too orangey, it’s the color of cherry blossoms (sakura-iro).
A lovely contrast to the vivid cake within.


Red velvet brownies, rich and a touch chocolaty, are dense and moist, somewhere between a cake and a true brownie.  They make a perfect base for our cake.
They get a generous swirl of cream cheese frosting, fluffy, tangy, and sweet, and a heap of fresh sliced strawberries, which are a nice foil to all the richness going on in the cake and frosting.

The whole deal is ringed with strawberry/white chocolate pocky sticks and tied with some baker’s twine.

A bite with a little of everything is a myriad of flavors and textures:
toothsome and rich brownies
tangy and soft cream cheese frosting
fresh, bright strawberries
crunchy sprinkles
crisp, creamy pocky!

Cuteness (and deliciousness) to the max!


All the red and pink going on in this cake make it quite fun; the pocky sticks are visually exciting and make this cake a real statement piece.
This is a bold cake.
Cutting into it is a surprise; the bright red velvet is a stark contrast to the pastel exterior.
It would make a great birthday cake, especially for a little girl who loves pink. Omg.

If you can’t tell, I’m mildly obsessed with this cake.  I can’t stop using exclamation points.
IT’S JUST SO CUTE!!!!!!!!!

I want to stick Pocky on the outsides of all my cakes, from now on.
(Another perk: no need to worry about the neatness of your frosting job.  Score.)


Anyways, be mine?

Parce que je te kiffe!


Red Velvet Brownie Cake
for the red velvet brownie layers:
8 tablespoons (1/2 cup) butter
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons red food coloring
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon flour
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder

for the cream cheese frosting:
8 tablespoons (1 stick, 1/2 cup) butter
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
8 ounces (1 package) cream cheese
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, or as needed
1/4 cup powdered milk
drop of pink or red food coloring
to assemble:
7 or 8 packages of strawberry pocky, inspected for broken sticks
10 strawberries, sliced thickly
sprinkles, for the top (I used sugar pearls)
Make the cake layers:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease and flour 2 6-inch pans.
Beat butter with sugar and salt until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes.
Add in the eggs and yolk and beat for 4 more minutes; mixture should be very glossy and not grainy.
Whisk the buttermilk, food coloring, and vanilla together.
Whisk all the dry ingredients together.
Scrape the bowl with the butter and add in the wet and dry ingredients while mixing on low.
Beat on high to fully homogenize the batter, then spread into prepared pans.
Bake for 20 minutes, until a tester comes out with only a few crumbs.

Make the frosting: beat butter and salt on high speed for 5 minutes, until fully softened and fluffy.
Add in cream cheese and beat for 4 more minutes; the mixture should be very fluffy, light colored, and homogeneous.
Scrape the sides of the bowl and beat for 2 more minutes; add the powdered sugar and powdered milk and slowly beat to combine.
Add more powdered sugar if the consistency is too runny still (up to another 1/2 cup).
Tint frosting to desired shade with food coloring.

Assemble the cake:
Place a dollop of frosting on cake plate, then place first cake layer on top.
Spread a thick layer of frosting onto the top of the first cake layer, then arrange strawberry slices over.
Spread a thick layer of frosting on the bottom of the second layer, then gently place it over the strawberry slices.
Frost the rest of the cake generously, making sure the sides have plenty of frosting to stick the pocky to.
One at a time, press the pocky sticks into the side of the cake, biscuit side up.
Add sprinkles to the top, if desired, and tie with a ribbon (remove to cut).
Serve with cold milk and extra strawberries!

My Kind of Town


Warning: cliché tourist-y Chicago pictures ahead.

It’s weird to think that I live in a city now.
I’m a small town girl, born and raised in heaven Ithaca.
Living in a city is different.  I’ll grow used to it (I already have) but there is a lot more hustle and bustle and many fewer friendly faces.  (It’s true!)


I miss Ithaca.  I love my hometown.  It’s, well… my home!
This weekend, I missed the apple festival, which is my favorite fest in Ithaca.
I miss fall/nature.  Cities are kinda weird for me in terms of the absence of animals.
I’ve seen, like, 3 squirrels since I’ve been here.
I miss my fam.
I really, really, really miss my dog.
And I kinda sorta miss my cats.


So I’m still getting used to being away from home, and also being in a city.
Pretty standard college stuff… I ain’t stressed.
I must say, though, the architecture in Chicago (and uChic, but that’s for another post… Coming attractions!) is amazing.
I love walking around this city.  It’s inspiring and so, so beautiful.
So, photos.  Tourist-y photos.  Sorry not sorry.

The cake you see here was the first thing I made upon arriving at college.
It was for someone in my house; their birthday was in the middle of o-week.
It was a disaster.
The first batch I made didn’t seem to be setting up, and was overflowing like crazy out of the pans.
Aside from new kitchen jitters, I knew something else was going on.
Upon further inspection, I realized I had used whole milk in the batter, which had added enough fat that the gluten never properly formed, resulting in overflow and explains the never-setting-up part.
Oh well.  My friends and I ate the molten cake and I made up another batch the next day; only one of the first cakes was salvageable.
The frosting is a simple Italian meringue buttercream with a few ounces of chocolate mixed in.

P.S. You can see some more Chicago/tourist photos on my flickr, in the Chi-Town set.

Click here.


The recipe for the cake is here.
I spread raspberry jam in between the layers.
For chocolate Italian meringue buttercream, halve this recipe and, right after whipping in the butter, add in 4 ounces of melted and cooled chocolate.


Part III.  Gird your loins.
Here’s an easy fix for any (and all) cravings.
Puppy chow/muddy buddies are a classic childhood treat.
I remember making these when I was in elementary school.
Melt (peanut butter), chocolate, butter, add Chex, finish with a heaping pile of confectioner’s sugar.
They couldn’t be easier.  Really.
In this case, I’ve swapped the peanut butter for cookie butter.
Now, these little guys are sweetly spiced, but still crunchy, sweet, and very addictive.
It’s important not to zone out around puppy chow- before you know it, the whole batch is gone! 
And then you have to make more…
Rather than going with all semi-sweet chocolate, I swapped half for milk and half for white chocolate.
The milkiness of this combination really plays off of the deep brown sugar in the cookie butter.
They’re divine and so simple to make!
More good news?  I have an even easier cookie butter recipe coming stat.
Two more recipes, and I think my speculoos reserve will be all used up!

Biscoff Muddy Buddies
adapted from Chex
9 cups Rice Chex or other Chex cereal

2 ounces (1/4 cup, 4 tablespoons) butter
1/2 cup biscoff spread (make your own!)
2 milk chocolate bars, coarsely chopped, or about 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
enough white chocolate chips to make 1 cup of chocolate when combined with the roughly chopped milk chocolate (chop the milk chocolate and add it to a 1 cup measure, then fill to the top with white chocolate chips) (approximately 1/2 cup)
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Brown the butter in a heavy bottomed saucepan.

Add in the speculoos spread and the chocolate and stir to melt and combine.
Pour mixture over the cereal and stir very well until every piece is coated- this will take a little while, maybe 3 or 4 minutes, gently folding with a spatula, as the mixture is very thick.
Place 1/2 cup of powdered sugar in the bottom of a gallon ziplock bag.
Add in 1/2 of the coated cereal, then add another 1/2 cup powdered sugar over the cereal.  
Add the rest of the cereal, and put the last 1/2 cup powdered sugar over that.
Zip the bag and gently toss around so that all of the cereal is coated with powdered sugar.