Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Connecticut Style

Today I carried a hot pink cake through Penn Station to travel to Connecticut for a TV show called Connecticut Style. The hosts were lovely, delightful, hilarious, and the show was really fun. Being in a huge kitchen, even though fake, was really fun as I pretended I was Julia Child for a moment. 
Here is the link, thanks so much for everyone who helped make it happen! On a funny note, check out the link name (organic and cheap)! Clyde and I had the giggles over that one!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Mini Chocolate Chip/Pantry Raid Ice Cream cookies

My brother and I threw a dinner party for 10 close friends that I miss and see less often now that they all moved to Los Angeles. It was up to me to plan dessert. Without much time and a bit of jet-lag, I decide to go easy on myself and do something that is half store-bought (but could be 100% homemade if one makes ice cream from scratch) and half made by hand.

I decided on mini chocolate chip cookies filled with a variety of ice cream, since I was positive half my friends have been brain-washed by anti-carb/sugar anxiety. To be safe, I thought a bite-size portion would be perfect for them. Since it is such a small bite and I wanted great flavor, I included salted and toasted almonds, walnuts, bittersweet chocolate chopped up, and semi-sweet chips. To be honest it was somewhat of a pantry-raid style cookie, but topping it with a pinch of fleur de seul brought all the elements together perfectly.

Rolling dough out (note the Meyer Lemons in the background...)

Cutting into small bite size cookies...

The batter is thick, and the cookies are meant to keep their shape. You can roll them much thinner, or exchange some of the "bits and pieces" that you include. As for the ice cream filling, I chose a vanilla and espresso ice cream as two options, keeping along with the simplicity theme. The best part is that if you get tired of filling the cookies, you can always just eat them plain with a scoop of ice cream.

Mini Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Cookies

for the cookies:

2 1/2 sticks unsalted organic butter (8 1/2 ounces)

1 1/2 cups packed organic dark brown sugar

2 organic large eggs

1 teaspoon baking powder mixed with 1 teaspoon water

pinch of salt

3 1/2 cups organic all purpose flour

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

a little over 1/2 cup chopped bittersweet chocolate

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

2/3 cup mix of chopped salted roasted almonds and walnuts

fleur de sel

1. Cream butter and sugar together until mixture is light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.

2. Add eggs, one at a time and mix on medium speed until mixture thickens.

3. Add vanilla and baking powder/water mixture

4. Slowly add flour until combined. If beaters get stuck, you can mix with your hands.

5. Add chocolate, chocolate chips, nuts, and whatever goodies you are in the mood for! (toasted coconut, other kinds of nuts such as Brazil or macadamia could be good too)

6. Spread mixture on baking sheet covered in foil. Roll to 1/4" thickness and chill in freezer or refrigerator until firm.

7. Preheat oven to 375. Use small cookie cutter to cut shapes out onto ungreased baking pan. Sprinkle fleur de sel on half the batch of cookies.

8. Bake 8-10 minutes until browned.

9. Set aside on wire rack to cool.

For the filling:

1 pint favorite ice cream (buy multiples if you are planning to offer a variety of flavors)

1. Let ice cream soften either by sitting out in hot kitchen, or in microwave for a few minutes.

2. Use a tablespoon to scoop a mound onto one cookie
3. Place cookie with fleur de sel on top and squeeze slightly to sandwich cookie.

4. Serve immediately or chill in freezer, covered in plastic wrap.

L.A. Trip

I am on the last day of my wonderful trip in Los Angeles. It has been an exciting month of travel and seeing old friends and family, so there will be bits and pieces of my trip coming out soon. Even thought I grew up in Southern California, being in NYC for so long its easy to forget how lush and almost tropical things feel here.

My brother lives in Silverlake, a community where most of my friends live too; cute houses, curving roads, and a spirit similar to where I live back home. Walking down the street I was floored by all the lush plants, flowers, and trees that greeted me. Just thinking about all the things that grow here threw me into a tizzy, I could really live, or bake, off the land.

First a passion fruit bush...

Then the neighbor's fig tree...

Then a grapefruit tree...

These were all in a half-block radius from my brother's house. I thought about fig galettes, passion fruit mousse, grapefruit chutney, and then I just decided to sit and watch the view.
Later in the day, we had our visit to my parent's house. In 'Organic and Chic' I mention how I raid their Meyer Lemon tree. Silly me, now they were on to my game plan so I was on my best behavior and took only a dozen. I still have to raid the kumquat tree and lemon tree in my brother's front yard, so my suitcase will only be able to hold so much, unfortunately.

The infamous Meyer Lemon tree...I picked that juicy sucker on my way out...

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Chicago whirlwind

scribble scribble

I have been in Chicago doing press and book signings, and it has been quite fun to bake for loads of people and to talk about organic recipes.

I had my first television appearance on WGN Chicago news. It was really fun, and the building had huge sound stages, and an employee of the month parking spot. Loved it!,0,3005729.story

Saturday was two book signings, the first at the Bookstall in Winnetka; a charming and wonderful bookstore with friendly staff that harks back to another time where books feel important and magical. It has been around for a long time, and my husband told me that you really make it as an author having a signing there. Lots of wonderful family and old friends came by.

It was also Clyde's birthday, hence the strange candle hat in the photo.

Saturday afternoon was a signing at Anthropologie in downtown Chicago, on State Street.
I was blown away by the visual manager, Abigail, who had spent the previous day baking 200 cupcakes with her mom, and hand-sewing linen aprons for kids to decorate. I found out the fun fact that each Anthropologie store has their own visual team so each one you visit is utterly unique.

The gorgeous set-up with a board announcing the signing. They even made homeade lemonade to go with the treats!

How cute were the girls all in aprons?

the swarm

Harriet, to whom the book is dedicated to, stood by my side! She continues to be my inspiration and biggest fan. She would shoo away anyone who was chitty-chatting too much and would ask if they were buying the book! It was very cute.

And today, my interview on NPR with Liane Hansen, whew what a week!

We are heading up to rural Wisconsin for the rest of the week, but when I return there will be some exciting new baking ideas brewing...Thanks to all who stopped by the signings! xoxo Sarah

Sunday, July 5, 2009


Ever since the cookbook came out, its been so nice to hear how much people love it. But the true test of any cookbook is how the recipes taste, how they look, and what the eaters really thought of it. Here are some pics that bakers have sent to me, and it really fills my heart like a cream puff seeing them.

Cristy's cupcakes (Boston, MA)
Cristy made these for a bridal shower, how chic is the 3 tier? I bet there are so few on the bottom because the bride-to-be ate the rest. That happens to me sometimes.

Sarah (Minneapolis)
Sarah made vanilla bean cupcakes, lemon curd filling, homeade whipped cream top, and fresh market fruit for a 4th of July BBQ. Holy smokes! Sort of like deconstructed fireworks made out of fruit.

Noel (Colorado).
Noel ingeniously used a ziploc bag for piping. And she ate one before bed which gave her really good dreams.

Its so great that people are baking from the book and are feeling happy and sweet from the results. Love seeing all the beauty, keep it hot in the oven!