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Wednesday
Apr072010

I'd Crumble For You: Blackout Crumb Bars Recipe

So. There may be something that makes me happier than a good bar cookie, but just at the moment, nothing is coming to mind.

That having been said, let's discuss the Blackout Crumb Bar, a recipe I discovered on the inside label of Love N Bake's "Chocolate Schmear" filling. 

But first things first. What is this chocolate schmear business? I came into this bounty not long ago when aforementioned company sent me a sample. It comes in a can sort of like almond paste that you'll find in the grocery store baking aisle--only it's chocolate. It's got this incredibly thick texture, and in the name of science I felt it necessary to take a spoonful before baking with it (it tastes good on its own. Whew!).

But it has found its perfect vehicle with the Chocolate Blackout Crumb Bar. Kind of like a cross between crumb cake and fudge bar cookies, these babies are dense, chocolate, crumbly and buttery--that is to say, pretty delicious. And while it's a slight stretch, I still think these bars are a very appropriate way to celebrate National Coffee Cake Day.

Chocolate Blackout Crumb Bars

Adapted from Love N Bake

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • ¼ cup brown sugar, tightly packed
  • 1 teaspoon salt (original recipe calls for just 1/4 teaspoon but I like salt)
  • 1 can (minus a spoonful or two) Love'n Bake Chocolate "Schmear" Filling

 Procedure

Grease a 9-inch square pan with butter and line with parchment paper. Set aside. Beat the butter in a large mixing bowl until creamy. Beat in the flour, sugar and salt until well mixed. Reserve ½ cup of the crumb mixture. With floured hands press the remaining crumbs into the bottom of the prepared pan.

Bake in a preheated 350ºF oven until edges are golden brown, approximately 10 to 12 minutes. Spread the baked crust with the "Schmear" Chocolate Filling. Sprinkle the reserved crumbs over the chocolate. Continue baking the pastry until the crumbs have browned approximately 25 to 30 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack then cut into bars.

Tuesday
Apr062010

Sweet Art: Dip for Illustration Friday

Not to alarm you, but I'm pretty sure Cuppie just double-dipped. Not cool, Cuppie.

Done for this week's Illustration Friday theme of Dip.

Monday
Apr052010

Cake Byte: The Saveur Blog Awards Winners!

Dudes, dudettes. So, remember how I was nominated for the Saveur Blog Awards, in not one but two categories?

Well, turns out I pulled a Susan Lucci: I didn't win either. But you know what? It's really hard to feel bad about this when such an awesome collection of sweet (and savory) dudes and dudettes did win the awards.

Plus, I am kind of feeling like I win at life lately, what with a new retail gallery in the super-cool Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle (it was even mentioned on DailyCandy!) which will have its grand opening party on May 8 (oh please, please come to it if you're in Seattle!!).

Here's the full roster of winners from aforementioned Saveur awards:

BEST BAKING AND DESSERTS BLOG

David Lebovitz

BEST WINE BLOG

Good Wine Under $20

BEST FOOD PHOTOGRAPHY

Smitten Kitchen

BEST REGIONAL CUISINE

Homesick Texan

BEST SPECIAL INTEREST BLOG

La Tartine Gourmande

BEST CULINARY TRAVEL

Cafe Fernando

BEST INDIVIDUAL POST

Smitten Kitchen

MOST INNOVATIVE VIDEO CONTENT

Food Wishes

BEST KITCHEN TOOLS AND HARDWARE COVERAGE

Apartment Therapy: The Kitchn


...thanks again to Saveur for nominating sweet, sweet CakeSpy!

Monday
Apr052010

Cake Byte: Safeco Field Debuts Cupcakes at Baseball Game Concessions

You know what this photo means? 

It means that I now officially like baseball.

OK, let me back up. In case you haven't heard, Seattle's Safeco Field (home of the baseball team the Seattle Mariners) has just revamped their concessions menu and will be offering several food options beyond the expected nachos and cheez whiz and hot dogs (although, as they were quick to specify, "Not to worry, garlic fries, Ivar’s clam chowder and hot dogs are still available, but for the more adventuresome palate, Centerplate, the exclusive caterer for Safeco Field, offers fans a variety of new offerings."). It's an ambitious new menu, including crab cakes, pasta, and organic smoothies.

And cupcakes.

There will be house-made cupcakes and caramel apples, as well as chocolate dipped Rice Krispie treats, and cookies from Hope's Country Fresh Cookies.

Unfortunately I was unable to attend the preview event at which they let some of us newsy types taste this array of awesome (alas I was held up in a meeting about floors for my new gallery!), but from what I hear, these cupcakes are "huge and good". Concise, but alluring, no?

Check out the cupcakes at Safeco Field when you go see the Seattle Mariners; for more information on upcoming games, visit the official Mariners site.

Monday
Apr052010

Sweet Seconds: Leftover Easter Candy Cookies for Serious Eats

In my mind, Easter candy falls into one of two categories. There are the show pieces—the chocolate bunny, Cadbury Creme eggs, and those addictive Reese's peanut butter eggs, for instance—which tend to disappear rapidly. And then there's the filler—the jelly beans, the Peeps, and those little malted eggs, which look pretty in the basket but aren't consumed quite as quickly.

But I feel for the filler, really I do, and so I tried my hand at designing a desirable delivery vehicle for these assorted pastel leftovers: the Leftover Easter Candy Cookie. I started out with a basic drop cookie recipe and added in a cup of assorted leftovers, including Easter corn, jelly beans, cut-up Peeps, and malted egg candies.

To read the full entry and find the recipe, visit Serious Eats!

Sunday
Apr042010

Stock Up on Delicious: Economic Crunch Cookies by Sugar Bakery and Cafe, Seattle

The phrase "economic crunch" is pretty common these days, and usually it does not have a positive connotation.

However, at Sugar Bakery + Cafe in Seattle, the economic crunch is delicious.

"Economic Crunch Cookies" as they call them, are of one of the tastiest cookies I've sampled in a while: a crunchy sugar cookie made with almonds, toffee, chocolate, coconut, all of which is coated in coarse, sparkly sugar.

They are crunchy, savory, sweet, lightly salty, and chewy, all at once: this is to say, basically, they hit all the bases of what makes a cookie awesome...simultaneously. 

Or, as owner Stephanie Crocker (no relation to Betty), so aptly puts it: "They are like crack cookies so watch out…".

To taste the crunch for yourself, visit Sugar Bakery + Cafe at 1014 Madison Street, Seattle (be sure to call ahead to ensure availability of the cookies); or check 'em out online at sugarbakerycafe.com.

Sunday
Apr042010

Sweet April: Trophy Cupcakes Debuts Three Flavors This Month

 

April is officially going to be the awesomest month ever: Trophy Cupcakes has not one but three special flavors!

Want to know more? OK. Per their newsletter:

Three new flavors start this month! Tiger Tails, our coconut cupcake topped with raspberry buttercream, rolled in coconut and drizzled with raspberry sauce! Peanut Butter and Jelly (one of our most requested flavors) is back from a little vacation. PB&J is our Vanilla Butter Cake filled with Peanut Butter and Strawberry Jam then topped with swirled Peanut Butter and Strawberry Buttercreams. Last but not least, Salted Caramel is our Valrhona Chocolate Cake topped with Caramel Buttercream drizzled with house-made caramel and a sprinkling of fleur de sel.

Total yum, right?

Here's the schedule of availability for the three flavors:

Tiger Tails: Sundays, Mondays and Wednesdays 
PB&J: Tuesdays and Thursdays 
Salted Caramel: Fridays and Saturdays

For locations and more information, visit trophycupcakes.com.

Sunday
Apr042010

Sweet Love: A Bakery Crush on Daisy Mae Treats, Los Angeles

Photos c/o Daisy Mae TreatsThank you, internet. For various reasons, of course, but most recently for introducing me (via DailyCandy) to my newest bakery crush: Daisy Mae Treats, an online bakery based in Los Angeles.

And happily, several of their items can be shipped nationwide.

The primary object of desire? Their signature "Daisycakes", a most delectable-looking gourmet cookie sandwich which comes in flavor combinations like chocolate cookies filled with sea salt caramel frosting as well as ginger molasses, peanut butter chocolate, and lavender. 

Of course, the caramels--which come in flavors like sea salt and lavender--don't look so bad themselves.

While they don't have a retail space (yet), if you're in the LA area you can also receive deliveries of all sorts of treats from their menu, including the aforementioned cookie sandwiches and caramels, as well as a full array of cupcakes (in flavors like lemon curd, honey mascarpone, chocolate sea salt caramel, and red velvet), brownies, blondies, sour lemon scones, and a most alluring-looking chocolate chip coffee cake (pictured left).

Browsing the internet has never been so sweet.

Daisy Mae Treats can be found online at daisymaetreats.com.

Thursday
Apr012010

CakeSpy Shop: The Artists on Show at CakeSpy Shop!

So, I have this little place on Capitol Hill, Seattle, called CakeSpy Shop. It's a retail gallery where I sell no actual cake, but totally sweet artwork featuring it--and occasionally, pie, doughnuts, and other sweet stuff. But it's not just my artwork on show--the store features over 70 artists, many of them local to the Pacific Northwest. It's a wonderful place to discover great new art, and be inspired and amazed by what artists are capable of--and maybe even pick up a sweet gift for a loved one (or your sweet little self!). Much of it is available online here.

Here's a sampling of the artists whose work you can find at CakeSpy Shop:

AbbeyChristine: Pop culture-inspired handmade felt finger puppets.

Adorn Jewelry

Art Star Philly

The Beautiful Project

Berkley Illustration: Anthropomorphic portraits of stately animals.

Bored, Inc.

CakeSpy

Charmingwall

Cyn City Pendants

Dutch Door Press

Fernworks: Lovely resin jewelry

Francesca Berrini: Prints and cards featuring irreverent retro imagery.

Gold Teeth Brooklyn

Heather Gill

Idle Hands Design:

Julie West

JULZ by Julie Briggs

justJenn Designs

Kiku

Kris Garland

Libby Chenault

Matthew Porter

Mike Egan

Mike Geno: Painterly food portraits

Mucho Design

Paper Parasol Press

Partybots

PenguinBot

Pirouette

Rampage Toys

Rachel Pfeffer:

Rubina Design

Bethany Schlegel

This Charming Candy

Toni Yuly

Yellowcake Crafts

Wednesday
Mar312010

Cake Byte: CakeSpy the Gallery Owner!

So, friends, it's official: as of tomorrow, April 1, we're gallery owners: we purchased Bluebottle Art Gallery in Capitol Hill, Seattle. Booyea!

So what happens now?

OK. So the shop will remain open as Bluebottle Art Gallery for the next month or so as I move in CakeSpy art, make some improvements and renovations to the space, and even host an awesome Capitol Hill artwalk show with the amazing paintings of Ryan Berkley on April 8 from 5-8 p.m (if you're in the area stop by!).

Since the shop will remain open, please do stop by during April! The shop may seem like a bit of a work in progress, but there will be a lot of awesome local (and some not so local!) art, jewelry and generally cool stuff on show.

And then, on May 8, I've got a totally sweet Grand Opening party planned as Bluebottle Art Gallery officially merges with CakeSpy Shop! It's going to feature many cupcakes, an art opening featuring my artwork, and assorted other awesomeness.

CakeSpy Shop = sweet, wonderful times ahead.

Come visit--I'll be at 415 East Pine Street, Seattle WA 98122; email me at cakespyshop@gmail.com!

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