Orange Cornmeal Cakes with PB Chocolate Buttercream

After a much needed break (AKA my job was basically forcing me to take daily afternoon naps…ask Roberto, he’s come home to me asleep more times than I can count), KBB is back in action!

While I knew that this incredible baking job that I started back in November would be hella rewarding, I did not think that would still be struggling this bad with the 2:30am wake-up time! We allllll know that this girl LOVES the morning, I mean, I was waking up to do marathon training runs at 4am last summer, but to actually think at 4am is a totally different ballgame!

Anyways! No one really needs to hear me rambling on and on and on…

I hope that everyone had an eventful few months—even though January-March have never been my favorite of the year, at least they’re just about over and we can focus on the best ¾ of the year!!

Hi Spring! Hi Summer! Hi Fall!

So, as we get into the most lovely, colorful, fully in bloom months, I have learned that here, in Atlanta, Spring isn’t exactly what I’m used to. To me, it’s rain, then SO MANY FLOWERS, cool mornings, mild days…but oh no, it was 85˚ this week…it’s still March. Ahh, at least there’s already beautiful tulips all over! Another plus to this wildly early summertime weather? Farmer’s Markets! They all begin April 1st! What?! YES!

The bakery I work at is all about dem markets, meaning 3 days a week you can see us Lil’ Tarts representin’ our baked goodies around the city! Woo! Bring on busy season from April-December, I’m ready—insert muscle emoji here.

Oh…but this isn’t just a blog where I chit chat for 3 pages, it’s actually about baking. And recipes. And slightly interesting content. So, while I mayyyyy have been MIA (or asleep) for that past few months, at least I came out of hibernation with this bomb recipe—a not-too-sweet cake with a surprise filling and an irresistible frosting!

As (I hope) you all know, my cornbread is amazing. I’m not one to toot my own horn, but, like, it’s so good that I normally eat about half of it, mainly sneaking bites so that I don’t get that girl, are you going to leave me any?!?! look from my darling husband! Now this may be the next best idea I’ve had aside to my cornbread—turning it into CUPCAKES! Whaattttt. Dessert cornbread you say?!

As it warms up, my sweet tooth goes down ever so slightly just because I’m too hot to consume anything that’s not butter lettuce, a green smoothie, popsicles and cold, cold pizza. Okay, sort of exaggerating but you get the idea, right? I came up with this subtly sweet dessert for moments just like described above, and it helps that it’s packed with orange zest to give a refreshing element to it! Hmm, how can we make it even better? Adding a Maine blueberry jam to the center? OKAY! Last, but not least, I had to add something chocolate, because, come on, it’s me…who are we kidding, right?! So all of this goodness is topped with a chocolate peanut butter buttercream…excuse me while I go scarf one down.

So, as I came up with this ingenious idea to turn my cornbread slightly sweeter and force it to become a cake, I’ve also accepted the fact that it’s going to be a bit hotter than I’m used to for a lot longer than I thought possible, but, hey! Give me a box of popsicles, maybe a pint or two of Ben & Jerry’s and these cupcakes that are bursting with citrus, jam and chocolate, and I think I’m on board!

Yield: 1 dozen cupcakes

cornmeal cake ingredients

Brown Sugar—4.25 oz, or ½ C

White Granulated Sugar—2 oz, or ¼ C

Flour—4 oz, or ¾ C

Cornmeal—2 oz, or ¼ C + 2 TBL

Salt—1 tsp

Baking Powder—1½ tsp

Cinnamon—1 tsp

Orange Zest—1 TBL, or 1 large orange

Eggs—1

Milk—4 oz, or ½ C

Olive Oil—2.25 oz, or ¼ C

 

process

Preheat your oven to 350˚ F.

In a large bowl, combine both sugars, the flour, cornmeal, salt, baking powder and cinnamon.

In another bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, olive oil and orange zest.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry, mixing until just combined.

Like a 12-count cupcake pan with liners.

Fill each up about 2/3 of the way.

Optional: sprinkle with coarse turbinado sugar for a nice crunch/texture before you bake.

Put in your preheated over for 12 minutes, rotate, then another 15 minutes.

Allow to cool completely before frosting them!

 

peanut butter chocolate buttercream ingredients

Peanut Butter—2.25 oz, or ¼ C

Butter (room temperature)—2.5 oz, or 5 TBL

Confectioner’s Sugar (sifted)—6.25 oz, or 1 ¼ C

Cocoa Powder (sifted)—1.25 oz, or ½ C

Milk—2 TBL

Orange Extract—½ tsp

Vanilla Extract—1 tsp

 

process

In the bowl of your mixer, cream together the butter and peanut butter until very smooth.

While this is creaming, sift together the confectioner’s sugar and cocoa powder.

In another measuring cup, combine the milk and both extracts.

Once your butters are nice and smooth, slowly add half of your sifted ingredients.

Scrape down the sides of your bowl.

Add in half of your wet ingredients.

Add the final amount of confectioner’s sugar and cocoa powder, then the remaining milk/extracts.

Scrape down the bowl.

Turn your mixer up to about medium speed and allow to whip for a good 10 seconds, making your buttercream smooth and fluffy.

Once your cupcakes have cooled completely, you may use this to frost with!

 

assembly

As this first step you may omit, I highly recommend that you don’t!

First, using a paring knife, cut out small little cones out of the center of each cake.

Fill them with jam—I have used a Maine blueberry jam, but any kind will work! I find that orange + blueberry complement each other oh so well!

Once each center has been filled, use either just an offset spatula or piping on a nice dollop of buttercream using a round tip, to both completely cover the jam as well as add a good 2 TBL of it on top!

This can be as messy or as clean as you’d like—all depending on your technique and preference!

I have used a medium-sized round tip in my pastry bag to cover the jam with the buttercream, and then also to put enough on before spreading out with the offset.

Finish with any type of sprinkle or sugar that you’d like, or just leave plain as is!

 

Bon Appétit!

Whole Wheat Cookies Stuffed with Dulce de Leche

Happy New Year!

How were everyone’s holidays?!

I hope that they full of lots of family, friends, love, excitement—now let’s make 2017 even better than last!

Ohh 2016, you were quite a sassy little thing weren’t you, so moody, yet so wonderful. While there were many ups and downs, full of pounds of butter and sugar and chocolate chips, some loss, lots of growth and gain, quite a few running blisters, a wedding, a move, a new puppy, some really tough moments, followed by many unbelievably beautiful ones…I’d say 2016 is a year that will never be forgotten.

But the obvious question here: are y’all big New Year Resolution people?!

I used to be, always the normal “go to the gym more often,” “eat more whole foods,” “be more positive.” But I’ve slowly strayed away from that and moved more into the self-love: respecting yourself and your body, finding happiness, etc. One huge thing that I learned over the last year was that you can’t always control what happens, but you can control how your react to it, which is how I try and stay most centered.

So there. Voilà. My updated life outlook!

Along with that, baking will always be my most relaxing activity…I mean unless you want to include cuddling on the couch the pup and Roberto an activity…

I want this year to include a lot more wild experiments in the kitchen, whether it’s testing a recipe 500 times, or seeing how huge I can make a cookie and what silly thing I can stuff it with next, or how tall I can stack a cake, who knows—there will be no fear this year!

The first recipe of 2017 is a more simple one, slightly healthy (what’s up, whole wheat flour?!), but also packed full of homemade dulce de leche and dipped in chocolate…so nevermind with the H word.

As you know, I get random cravings, then I need to get into the kitchen and just bake until they are satisfied! Remember the caramel corn? All started with my need to go to an amusement park…sometimes I even surprise myself… Anyways! This recipe was exactly that: I wanted something salty dipped in chocolate, and a pretzel or a chip just wouldn’t do! Then it was something like oh, a cookie? But hmm, I bet it would be great stuffed with caramel, so let’s make dulce de leche! But still, hello, where’s the covered-in-chocolate part?! Right, a cookie, with all sorts of chocolate chips, a gooey inside, dipped in milk chocolate, sprinkled with salt, AND SPRINKLES!

Oh. Whole wheat flour for a slightly different taste, texture and maybe added nutrients?! It is the New Year isn’t it?           

It’s always fun to read my ridiculous thoughts, isn’t it? I did happen to bring a test batch of these cookies (that’s 30 of them…) to a relatively intimate NYE party, and they were all eaten! So, if that’s not proof that these are addicting and delicious, go grab a bottle of Champagne, then you’ll definitely be convinced!

 

ingredients

Butter (room temperature)—12 oz, or 3 sticks

Brown Sugar—12 oz, or 1 ½ C

White Sugar—4 oz, or ½ C

Eggs—3

Vanilla—2 tsp

Baking Soda—1 tsp

Salt—2 tsp

Whole Wheat Flour—17.5 oz, or 3 C

AP Flour—10.25 oz, or 2 C

Chocolate Chips—14 oz, or 2 C

Dulce de Leche—recipe here

Milk Chocolate Chips (melted)—2 cups

 

process

In the bowl of your mixer, cream together the butter and both sugars until light and fluffy.

Scrape down the sides of your bowl.

Add in the eggs and vanilla, mix until combined.

In a separate bowl, sift the flours, baking soda and salt.

With the mixer on low, slowly add in the dry ingredients.

Add in your chocolate chips.

Mix until all is combined.

Wrap the cookie dough in plastic wrap and allow to chill for at least an hour or two, until it has firmed up a bit.

While the dough is chilling, you can make your dulce de leche sauce—found here! This will take between 2-3 hours, so it’s a great time to get it done!

 

When you are ready to bake your cookies, preheat your oven to 350˚F.

By this time, your dough should have firmed up, and your dulce de leche should be finished and cooled.

Make dough balls that are about 1 oz, which is around a tablespoon—this can be eyeballed!

Flatten them out and make them into little “bowls” so that the filling will have a nice place to sit.

Put about a ½ tsp of dulce de leche in the middle.

Take another ball that is the same size, flatten and make another bowl out of it, this will be the top to your filled bottom cookie bowls.

Cover the filling with this second flattened piece, press the edges so that it seals in the dulce de leche, and then gently roll it in your hands so it makes a completely closed cookie dough ball.

This is one!

Do this with the remainder of your cookie dough and filling.

Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through.

It will be hard to tell when they are finished baking due to the color of the whole wheat flour, but they should be completely set on the edges and just slightly underbaked in the centers.

Allow to cool completely before dipping them in chocolate!

 

To make the chocolate for dipping, make a double boiler and melt about 2 cups of chocolate chips.

When the chocolate is completely melted and smooth, remove from the heat (make sure to wipe the bottom of the bowl to remove any of the warm water!), and dip each cooled cookie about halfway with chocolate.

Before the chocolate sets, sprinkle with just a little bit of salt and some sprinkles for extra color, crunch and excitement!

Whether or not you allow to chocolate to cool and set entirely…

 

Bon Appétit!

Brown Sugar Sprinkle Cookies

Today’s Date: December 21st.

What I thought the date was: November (basically).

There’s some kind of sorcery going on here because the fact that Christmas is in 4 days completely blows my mind. I swear last week was Thanksgiving, 2 days ago was Roberto’s birthday, tomorrow can’t be Thursday…

I can keep going!

Between lots and lots of work, some afternoon naps, and my marathon training—just to keep in shape while I eat so many croissants at work—I have lost track of time completely. It’s wonderful that my work schedule is so crazy compared to almost anyone else’s (4am start time, random weekdays off, etc.) because it keeps me relatively busy and I absolutely love Trader Joe’s runs at 10am on a Monday, no one is there! Then there’s the flip side, I’m rather tired about 90% of the time I’m not at work, so this whole baking outside of work thing gets tough.

The month of December for KBB has consisted of about 10 failed attempts at a cake that I insisted I make work—the recipe seemed flawless! But alas, I decided that a new cookie recipe was needed, one that almost screams “Katie,” and of course it turned out to be magically delicious (cookies are definitely my strong suit!).

So below you have another game changing, swap-out-the-gingerbread-men-for, sprinkle loaded cookie.

All brown sugar? Check!

Oats for “health?” Check!

Sprinkles galore? Check!

Chocolate on chocolate on chocolate? Check check check!

You’re probably thinking Girl, those oats aren’t doing a damn thing! WELL, listen up, this cookie is so soft, like your teeth just sink right in, it’s an incredible thing, so I wanted to add oats because not only do I love the taste of a toasty oat, but a fun texture piece is brought, too.

And then there’s sprinkles, and chocolate…and if you decided to dip the cookies in chocolate and throw on more sprinkles, it’s just a glittery, wonderful winterland of a cookie you have created!

I did all of the above, and I must say it was the best decision this month. As posted on my Instagram, we had a little work outing where we went to Beautiful Briny Sea and make sprinkle blends! My boss, of course, was doing it for the shop for our peppercorn meringues, but the rest of us spent the hour or two making bags and bags of colorful, crazy little blends to bring home!

My Holiday Sprinkle Mix is featured on these cookies—and yes, this activity was even more fun than you can imagine! I’m thinking this is what I want my adult job to be…

ANYWHO! Back on track…got sprinkle distracted…

After a crazy month of work, being a new(ish) dog mom, still adjusting to life in Atlanta and then, surprise!, it’s Christmas, this recipe is exactly what we all need in our lives.

It’s quite simple, yet will bring ease to anyone’s day, especially if you’re as unprepared for this upcoming weekend as I am!

IMG_7325.JPG

ingredients

Butter, room temperature—12 oz, or 3 sticks

Brown Sugar—16 oz, or 2 ¼ C

Vanilla Extract—1 tsp

Eggs—3

Baking Soda—1 tsp

Salt—1 tsp

Flour—26.25 oz, or 5 ¼ C

Oats—3.75 oz, or ¾ C

Chocolate Chips—14 oz, or 2 C

Sprinkles of choice—3-4 TBL

 

process

In the bowl of your mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

Add in the vanilla and the eggs, one at a time.

Once all combined, scrape down the sides of the bowl.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda and salt. Add in the oats.

Slowly add the dry ingredients to your creamed mixture.

Add in your chips and sprinkles.

Either transfer your dough to another bowl or use the mixing bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.

When you are ready to bake your cookies, preheat your oven to 350˚ F.

Scoop out tablespoon sized cookies, or I do 1.5 oz, and place on a baking sheet lined with either parchment, a Silpat, or spray with nonstick spray.

Bake for 14-16 minutes, until the outside edges are just slightly browned and the centers are still very light—makes for a nice soft cookie!

Allow to cool and enjoy!

*Note: If you want to dip them in chocolate—over a double boiler, melt about 1 cup of white chocolate until smooth, dip half in the chocolate and cover in sprinkles before the chocolate firms up!*

 

Bon Appétit!

Apple Bacon Bread Pudding

Happy Holiday Season, my friends!

We have made it past Thanksgiving, so I can officially be as annoying as possible with my over-the-top Christmas spirit! Yay! Woo! Candy Canes! Gingerbread!

As I write up this blog post, I may or may not be snuggled up on the couch with Mr. Raleigh, wearing a shirt covered in gingerbread men, listening to some Christmas tunes while drinking coffee with a candy cane swirling around in my big mug…

If you don’t recall from last holiday season, this time of year just speaks to me—it’s truly the time when everyone’s love just comes out, no questions asked, and that makes me even more warm and fuzzy than usual! And if you’re at my house for Christmas, it’s going to be gingerbread house making, Bad Santa watching, spiked eggnog and Cognac drinking, and I-spy Christmas ornament playing. Things get pretty wild up there.

ANYWAYS! Let me stop rambling about the upcoming excitement in Maine, but instead about this even bigger thrill of the recipe below! Bacon. Apples. Spices. Bread. Crumb Topping.

I think I should have had you at bacon, but had to add in the crumb topping incase you’re nuts and your mouth doesn’t water at the thought of bacon.

Alright, so I have a small confession…the idea of bread pudding hasn’t always appealed to me. I see it on a brunch menu, a dessert menu, I’m kind of like well…pancakes, waffles, chocolate cake…they’re all higher up to me. But then after the past few weeks at work of making savory bread pudding almost everyday, I decided to put aside all of my past feelings and give it another shot. See, at work, we use day old savory pastries—croissants, gougeres, ham puffs—and that’s when I realized it can’t be that bad if there’s flaky, buttery pastry in it.

What bread is in my sweet variation? Cinnamon bread and challah, thank you very much. Luckily, homemade OR store bought is just fine, and day old is even better. And then I just added almost every favorite ingredient of mine: bacon for some savory-salty action, apples for a tart crunch, cinnamon and nutmeg—I mean, it’s Christmas, brown sugar for that wonderful sweetness, and a buttery, big crumb topping for even more little flavor bursts.

After making my own bread pudding and seeing how fun it is to experiment with flavor combinations, there’s absolutely no reason why this incredible custard shouldn’t move up in your ranking, too! One of the best parts? You can make this and let it sit overnight in the fridge, and then bake it fresh in the morning—hello simple brunch!

Oh, and I heard Christmas is on a Sunday this year, the day of brunching…so here is one less thing you need to plan!

crumb ingredients

Brown Sugar—1 oz, or 2 TBL

Flour—0.75 oz, or 2 TBL

Cinnamon—¼ tsp

Nutmeg—pinch

Butter, cold+cubed—1.5 oz, or 3 TBL

 

process

In a bowl, combine all of the ingredients.

Either using a fork, a pastry cutter, or, my favorite, your hands (!!), work the butter into the dry ingredients.

You want to have large and small crumbs of the topping, this will give you little buttery, spicy pockets once the bread pudding is baked!

When you are ready to bake your bread pudding, sprinkle this all over the top before putting into the oven.

 

ingredients

Bacon, cooked—8-10 pieces

Apple, diced—1

Bread—10 oz, or 4 C (packed!)

Milk—8 oz, or 1 C

Eggs—4

Vanilla—1 tsp

Brown Sugar—2.5 oz, or 1/3 C

Salt—¾ tsp

Cinnamon—2 tsp

 

process

In a large bowl, combine the bacon, diced apple, and bread.

*For bread, using day old is great, really soaks up the liquid. You may also use whatever type you’d like—but a sweet challah or cinnamon raison are the perfect flavor combinations!*

In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, vanilla, brown sugar, salt and cinnamon.

Pour your liquid mixture over the bread and mix well.

Once thoroughly mixed, pour all into a baking dish—I used a pie dish, makes it look pretty!

Cover with plastic wrap and allow to sit in the refrigerator to soak for at least 2 hours to overnight!

When you’re ready to bake, preheat your oven to 350˚F.

Sprinkle the crumb topping (recipe below) over the bread pudding.

Bake in the oven for 40-50 minutes, until you can see that the custard has set and there are no more runny eggs.

Remove from the oven, allow to cool slightly, and enjoy!

 

Bon Appétit!

Tahini Apple Coffee Cake

Okay, so I have SO MANY NEWSES!

·      15 days until Thanksgiving

·      16 days until the Gilmore Girls reunion

·      6 ½ weeks until Christmas (woah…)

·      WE HAVE A NEW FAMILY MEMBER—Mr. Raleigh, the handsome little Chihuahua terrier, is the newest man in my life…and I’m obsessed beyond words with him! He loves walks, playing with his Cat In The Hat toy, peanut butter, puzzle pieces (learned that when I found one in his mouth…).

·      Oh, and hey, here’s a new recipe for you below!

It’s been quite a week if I must say. It all started with last Thursday when I went to the animal shelter to just look, and then I fell in love with Raleigh and adopted him right away! I may have just called Roberto and been like, hey dear...I got a dog...that okay? THANKS! I mean, little Raleigh was hugging my arm, yes hugging my arm. I didn’t know dogs could do that, but he did and I never want him to let go!

Yes. I am one of those dog obsessed people, and this is the first pup I’ve gotten outside of family dogs, so I’m even MORE excited! Prepare for Raleigh to be in every single post, all over Instagram, all over everything! I just can’t get enough of his little face and snuggles.

Okay, well, besides all of that excitement, I start a new job today—hello 4am baking shifts, woo! If ya’ll are ever in Atlanta, check out Little Tart Bakeshop, so jazzed to be a part of this incredible team! Hmm, I also am part of that annoying Puts Christmas Decorations Out on November 1st club. So yeah, what’s up Nutcrackers, Christmas lights, pine tree candles, Christmas Spotify…we’ve got it all here in this apartment! I totally appreciate Thanksgiving and all it has to offer, but I want to enjoy the entire holiday season for 2 months…so I basically throw up holiday music, decorations, food, you name it, until January 1st!

So, my friends, now let’s get to the slightly less exciting part of the post—this coffee cake! I only say less exciting because I want to continue to talk about Raleigh for another 500 pages, please.

This all started when I saw tahini at Trader Joe’s and decided to get over my fear and just buy it. My darling culinary school girlfriend, Alex, is obsessed with this. I mean, maybe it’s because she’s Armenian, or maybe it’s because it’s SO freaking good! I was a hater for years, and then after eating a spoonful of this, I yelled at myself for missing out on it for so long. Next I thought I would spice this up, literally. After receiving my copy of Molly On The Range—her blog, and cookbook, are must reads!—I was inspired beyond belief to make some hawaij and use it in something (the recipe for it below can be found in her cookbook!).

Note: hawaij is a beautiful combination of every good spice that you can imagine! Literally, think of holiday spices, and boom, you've got hawaij! The combination of nutmeg, cardamom, cloves, ginger and cinnamon will make you believe in love.

So, that’s when tahini + hawaij = DING DING coffee cake!

There are also some apples throughout it to add another level of flavor and moistness. This cake is totally different from your typical coffee cake…but it pretty much is a perfect match with coffee (kinda like Raleigh and me!). But don’t worry, there is still that crazy buttery, sugary, yummy crumb that should be in and on every coffee cake ever—I could never leave that out!

Now, as we celebrate all of the exciting things to come in the next 7ish weeks, you have this new recipe to try out as well! It will pair amazingly with any Thanksgiving table, Gilmore Girls party, holiday gift shopping breakfast, brunch…oh I can go on and on! So stop being an idiot like I was so long, get a few jars of tahini, and get to baking!

crumb ingredients

Flour—2 oz, or 1/3 C

Brown Sugar—1.15 oz, or 2 TBL

Salt—1/8 tsp

Hawaij (see below)—1 tsp

Butter—3 oz, or 6 TBL

Oats—1.5 oz, or ½ C

 

process

In the bowl of your mixer, combine the flour, brown sugar, salt, hawaij, and oats.

A tablespoon at a time, add the butter.

Mix until the butter is about hazelnut size.

Set aside until ready to use for the cake.

 

hawaij ingredients

Nutmeg—½ tsp

Cardamom—2 TBL

Cloves—½ tsp

Ginger—2 TBL

Cinnamon—½ tsp

 

process

Combine all ingredients and store in airtight container until ready to use.

 

cake ingredients

Butter (room temperature)—4 oz, or ½ C

Tahini—3 oz, or 1/3 C

Sugar—6 oz, or ¾ C

Eggs—2

Vanilla Extract—1 tsp

Yogurt—4 oz, or ½ C

Flour—8.25 oz, or 1 ½ C

Baking Soda—¼ tsp

Baking Powder—¾ tsp

Salt—½ tsp

Hawaij—½ tsp

Cinnamon—1 tsp

Apples (sliced)—2

 

process

Preheat your oven to 375˚ F.

In the bowl of your mixer, cream the butter, tahini and sugar.

Once light and fluffy (after about 5 minutes), add in the eggs and extract.

Make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl after each egg addition.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, hawaij and cinnamon.

Alternating with the yogurt—I use full-fat—add in the flour.

Once all of the ingredients have been added, spray a loaf pan with nonstick spray.

Put about half of the batter in the bottom of the pan.

Sprinkle with some of the crumb that was made before—about ¼ of it.

Lay half of the sliced apples on top of the crumb.

Use whatever your favorites are! I used a Granny Smith and a Gala, a nice contrast of tart and sweet.

Sprinkle about another ¼ of the crumb on top of the apples, followed by the remainder of the batter.

Layer the rest of the apples on top and sprinkle with the rest of the crumb.

Place in your preheated oven for 35 minutes.

After the 35 minutes, cover the pan with aluminum foil so that the top will not brown any more, and just the cake will bake.

Bake for another 25 minutes—test with a toothpick to check doneness.

Remove from the oven, allow to cool completely on a cooling rack, and enjoy with a lovely morning or afternoon cup of coffee!

 

Bon Appétit!