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Entries in seattle (182)

Sunday
Jul032011

Sweet Summer: Apple and Bing Cherry Galette Recipe from Macrina Bakery

Image: Macrina BakeryHappy July, indeed: it's time for Macrina's recipe of the month! This time, it's for something that sounds delectable even to those (like me) who are wary of fruit-based desserts: Apple and Bing Cherry Galette. Sweet with a bit of sour? Sounds pretty summery, and perfect to be paired with ice cream. Here's the recipe introduction:

I have fond memories of the first time we made this dessert. My friend Kay Simon, wine maker and co-owner of Washington's Chinook Winery, had stopped by the café with some bottles of Merlot that we'd ordered. She also brought along a surprise gift - five pounds of sweet, sun-ripened cherries from her neighbor's farm in Prosser, Washington. We popped a few into our mouths and started daydreaming of all the wonderful pastries we could make with the fruit. The end result was one of my favorite desserts.

Apple and Bing Cherry Galette Recipe

Serves 8 to 10

  • 6 Granny Smith apples 
  • 1/2 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour 
  • 1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 2 cups fresh Bing cherries, stemmed and pitted
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract 
  • 1/2 recipe Flaky Pie Dough, chilled (recipe follows)
  • Egg wash made with 1 egg and
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • 2 tablespoons coarse raw sugar
  • Vanilla ice cream, for serving

 

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Peel and core apples and cut into 1/2-inch slices (approximately 12 slices per apple).

Place apple slices and lemon juice in a large bowl. Add sugar, flour and cinnamon and toss until slices are evenly coated. Spread apples into a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and dot with pieces of butter. Roast on center rack of oven for 15 minutes to release some of the juices and intensify the flavors. Set aside to cool.

Increase oven temperature to 385°F. In a large bowl, combine cooled apples, cherries and vanilla extract. Mix gently with a wooden spoon and set aside.

Coat your hands with flour and shape the chilled piece of dough into a ball. Working on a floured surface, flatten the ball slightly and roll it into a 14-inch circle, about 1/8 inch thick. Gently transfer rolled dough onto a parchment-lined, rimmed baking sheet.

Pile fruit onto center of the dough, leaving excess liquid in the bowl, and spread to cover about 8 inches, leaving a 3-inch border of dough around the filling. Lift border on top of the filling, tucking and folding the dough to create a gathered or pleated finish. Lift each of the folds up and brush underneath with egg wash to seal the crust. Brush all exposed dough with egg wash and sprinkle with coarse raw sugar.

Chill in the freezer for at least 30 minutes.

Place tart on center rack of oven and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 375°F and bake for 40 minutes more or until crust is golden brown. If the apples start to burn before the crust is ready, cover them with a small piece of aluminum foil. Let cool on the baking sheet for 20 to 30 minutes. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

Flakey Pie Dough
Makes enough dough for 2 double-crusted (9-inch) pies, or 2 (10-inch) rustic galettes or tarts.

 

  • 5 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1/4 - inch pieces
  • 1 3/4 cups solid vegetable shortening, chilled
  • 1 cup ice water

 

Combine flour and salt in a large bowl and toss together.  Add butter and cut it into the flour until the texture is coarse and crumbly.  You can use a pastry cutter or your fingers, but I like to use 2 forks.  Break up the shortening and add it in small pieces.  Cut in the shortening until the dough is crumbly again.  Add ice water and mix just until the water is incorporated and the dough sticks together when pinched.  This dough will be quite sticky, so dust your hands with flour before handling it.  Pull dough from bowl onto a lightly floured work surface (chilled marble is ideal) and pat it into a block.  Wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before using.  Since this recipe makes enough dough for 2 pies or tarts, I recommend cutting it in half before chilling.

Flakey Pie Dough will last for up to 4 days in the refrigerator and for up to 1 month in the freezer.  If you freeze half or all of the dough, it’s a good idea to double wrap it.  Frozen dough needs to be fully defrosted before it’s used, and my preferred method is to transfer the dough to the refrigerator 1 day before I plan on baking with it.  The dough can also be defrosted at room temperature, but it needs to be re-chilled in the refrigerator for 1 hour prior to using.

Thursday
Jun302011

Berry Delicious: Strawberry Festival Cupcakes at Cupcake Royale for July

Image: Cupcake RoyaleThere's some serious sweetness afoot at Seattle's Cupcake Royale.

Starting tomorrow, they've got a special roster of Strawberry Cupcakes! Here's the 411, from their blog:

The 4th of July is just around the corner which means that summer can officially begin in Seattle. To celebrate, we're having a Strawberry Festival during the month of July! Our neighbors to the north, Skagit Sun, have supplied us with locally-sourced, organic strawberries that we incorporated into each of this month's four cupcake flavors. Our bakers have been busily consulting with grandmothers and country fair winners alike to come up with the most delicious flavor combinations and we think you'll love them as much as we do!

Strawberry 66 is our classic vanilla buttercake topped with Strawberry buttercream. The ingredients for this delicious cupcake are over 66% local, which we think makes it the most local cupcake around. Frank Bruni would be proud.

Chocolate Dipped Strawberry starts with our moist chocolate cake, then we add our strawberry buttercream and dip it into fine chocolate vermicelli.

Strawberry Shortcake has a sweet strawberry puree baked into a vanilla cake with a whipped cream strawberry frosting and topped with graham cracker crumbs.

Strawberry Velvet updates our classic red velvet cake with a whipped cream strawberry frosting.

 

I know, they all sound delicious. But...why decide? They make it super easy to try them all with the Strawberry Festival 4-pack, for $13.50. For more information or locations, visit cupcakeroyale.com!

Tuesday
Jun282011

Cake Byte: Molly Moon's Makes Sweet Merger with Chocolate Box in Downtown Seattle

Watch out, Seattle: you're about to get a whole lot sweeter. Molly Moon's is opening its FIFTH (yes, FIFTH!) Scoop Shop in Seattle--but this time, it's sweet fusion: they're making a merger with Chocolate Box, a confectionery shop a stone's throw from the Pike Place Market! Here's the official press release:

SEATTLE, Tuesday, June 28, 2011 – Molly Moon Neitzel today announced the opening of her fifth Seattle-based scoop shop to be located inside the already established Chocolate Box retail space at 108 Pine St. in downtown Seattle.

This business licensing agreement between Molly Moon’s and Chocolate Box owners Michel and Valerie Brotman is yet another example of Neitzel’s innovative business plans to grow the Moon’s brand in an exciting, but sustainable manner.

“I’m excited to be partnering with Michel and Valerie on the newest member of the Molly Moon’s family,” said Neitzel. “Expanding to downtown Seattle is an amazing opportunity for us and I look forward to sharing our signature ice creams and sorbets with its residents, professionals and tourists. It truly is a dream to showcase our flavors, which are made and inspired by local and seasonal ingredients, so close to Pike Place Market.”

“Our hope is that Chocolate Box becomes downtown Seattle’s favorite dessert destination,” said Brotman. “We're thrilled to be teaming with Molly and her crew, and know that Molly Moon’s ice cream will help us reach that exciting goal!”

But wait, there's more! In celebration of Moon’s downtown Seattle grand opening, kids 12 years of age and under, who visit the shop on Friday, July 1 between 3 and 5 p.m. will receive a complementary kid-sized scoop of their favorite flavor. Molly Moon’s at Chocolate Box will be open daily from 12-noon to 11 p.m.

For additional information about Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream, please visit mollymoonicecream.com. To learn more about Chocolate Box, please visit sschocolatebox.com.

Thursday
Jun232011

Five Reasons Seattle Dessert Lovers Must Buy Keren Brown's Food Lover's Guide to Seattle

If you live in Seattle, you pretty much need to buy the newly released book Food Lovers' Guide to Seattle: Best Local Specialties, Markets, Recipes, Restaurants & Events by Keren Brown.

If you don't know Keren Brown (if you live in Seattle, and are involved with food at all, you probably do), she basically knows everything about the Seattle food scene. And this book is her love letter to the city and food she loves. 

In the book, she shares "the inside scoop on the best places to find, enjoy, and celebrate these culinary treasures. A bounty of mouthwatering delights awaits you in this engagingly written guide, as well as a rich array of other, indispensable food-related information including Favorite restaurants and landmark eateries, Specialty food stores and markets, Food festivals and culinary events, and even recipes from some of Seattle's top chefs."

But for sweet-lovers, I'll give you five good reasons why you should buy this book.

  1. CakeSpy Shop is featured! A self-serving reason, yes. It is featured as a spot for gifts for foodies (although my store does not sell food!). OMG!
  2. There is an entire section dedicated to the city's best baked goods. Really, this reason alone would probably be enough to make the book worth buying, but please, see reason #1.
  3. You might just learn about a new specialty shop. I know I did! For instance, although I had vaguely heard of Punjab Sweets in Kent before, Keren's detailed listing of this confectionery shop has now made it a high priority on my to-do list!
  4. There's a section on sweets on the Eastside too. As an urbanite who often "doesn't go over there", it was nice to have a short-list of some of the best for when I do venture over the water.
  5. There are recipes from local chefs. For drinks, main courses (from the likes of one of my foodie heroes Kurt Dammeier)...but also desserts. One I can't wait to try? The Chocolate Ganache Cakes recipe from local celebrity chef Maria Hines. 

And if these reasons haven't enticed you to buy my friend's book, then I am not sure we can be friends anymore. Buy it here. Keep up with Keren via her website, franticfoodie.com.

Wednesday
Jun222011

Pastry Profiles: Fisher Fair Scones of the Pacific Northwest

Recently, Fisher Flouring Mills celebrated their 100th anniversary. Why is this of interest, exactly?

Because, for anyone who has ever attended the epic Puyallup Fair in the Seattle area, you may know them as the makers of the famous Fisher Fair Scones. Let's take a few minutes to learn a bit of the backstory behind this company and their signature product, shall we? I'd like to thank Nick at Team Soapbox who was so helpful with getting me much of this information.

The Fisher Flour Mills opening invite, from 1911First off, why the Pacific Northwest? This company, which initially focused mainly on flour, settled in Seattle in 1911 because it was “the most promising city on the coast.”

The Fisher booth in 1923How did they start making scones as a fair food? William H. Paulhamus, president and general manager of the Puyallup Fair (Western Washington State Fair) pitched the scones idea to Fisher and said he’d donate jam made from his raspberry farm in Oregon. The scones debuted at the fair as a chance to showcase and promote the company's flour flour. They were a success, going for just a few pennies each. Today, they are still a Northwest favorite and a tradition of Washington fairs.

Current CEO Mike Maher has a long history with the company, too:

“My connection to the fair goes back three decades. As a teenager, I started working in fair operations for Fisher, driving the trailers to each venue, training staff and making scones for customers myself. I learned quickly about the magnetic appeal of a fresh-baked scone slathered with whipped butter and raspberry jam. It didn’t take long before I became hooked on the idea of delivering smiles to our customers, one fresh-baked bite at a time.”

Michael Maher began with the company in 1978 (then Fair Scones, Inc.) and has risen up the ranks as the company has grown over the past 30-some years.  

Current CEO MikeHow did current CEO Mike rise to floury fame? Mike’s career began as a high school student in Portland, OR when he was hired by Fair Scones, Inc. to work its concession booth at the Rose Festival.  From 1979 to 1984, he worked summers as a concession manager, operating various events in Oregon,Washington, and British Columbia.  After graduating from the University of Oregon in 1985, he came on board full time as the general manager, overseeing all festival operations.  In 1995 Mike became vice president—operations and directed the company’s expansion into retail scone products and wholesale baking to the airlines.  In the late 1990s Mike led three specialty food company acquisitions and expansion into private label products.  He was named president and COO in 1999.  He joined the Board of Directors in 2003, and was later promoted to his current post as president and CEO.

Old Fisher Flouring Mills truckHow did the scones gain such popularity? What started as a promotional tool eventually expanded to became a signature food item at 39 fairs and festivals throughout the Northwest, but the company is still family-owned (and even the Fisher family still has a stake in the company) committed to local community. Today, Fisher owns the raspberry farm in Oregon and still uses the same simple jam recipe (berries, sugar & pectin) to accompany the scones. The scone recipe has remained largely unchanged, except for a few tweaks to the salt and sugar amounts to accommodate modern tastes.

The scones represent the company’s commitment to a tradition of local, Northwest deliciousness by utilizing local ingredients and tastes—showcased at local fairs. This commitment has now come full circle in a world where people are thinking and shopping local.

Some more little tidbits of interest, sent along by Nick of Team Soapbox:

  • Fisher Scones debuted at the 1915 Puyallup Fair, in the very same corner booth under the grandstand where they are still sold today.
  • The scones originally were free or just a few pennies, promoting Fisher Flours.
  • Today, Fisher serves up more than 40 tons of raspberry jam each summer to top the scones.
  • 1.5 million scones are sold each year
  • This fall, Fisher will serve its 100,000,000th (yes, one hundred millionth!) scone at the Puyallup Fair. 
  • Mike Maher, Fisher’s CEO started out by making scones at the fair himself. Mike’s been with the company three decades. Nobody's sure how many scones he’s eaten.
  • Fisher supports Northwest farmers through a partnership with Shepherd’s Grain, a cooperative of 33 local farmers who use sustainable agriculture farming methods. They’re also connected with the Food Alliance of Oregon, which provides the most comprehensive third-party certification for social and environmental responsibility in agriculture and the food industry in North America.
  • For almost 100 years, Fisher Scones have been a tradition at fairs and festivals throughout the Northwestern United States. These triangular shaped biscuits, baked fresh and smothered in honey-whipped butter and tart raspberry jam, have created unparalleled loyalty.
  • Scones can be yours year round, at home. Fisher brand scones are available by a home mix line; on the mix subject, this year, the company plans on introducing new packaging for the scones (and new all-natural Pancake & Baking Mix, Biscuit Mix, and Cornbread Mix).

Want to continue getting sconed? Check out their website here, and find them on Facebook here.

Friday
May272011

10 Reasons to Be Excited About The Confectional's Second Location in Seattle

A new bakery in town is ALWAYS a reason to celebrate. But here are 10 reasons, in no particular order, to be extra-excited about the opening of a second location (in Capitol Hill!) for The Confectional, a specialty mini-cheesecake seller with another location in the Pike Place Market:

  1. Passionfruit Cheesecake. With Seeds. On Purpose. So, though he is American, one of the owners, Paul, spent a few years living in New Zealand, and as such is inspired by the flavors of his for a while hometown. And he's bringing a popular NZ flavor to this stateside sweet: Passionfruit! But unlike many passionfruit-flavored sweets to be found in the US (which are pretty rare to begin with), he's made the decision to include the seeds, because, as he says, "that's where the flavor is!". This sweet flavor will debut at the grand opening on June 4.
  2. Bigger facilities. This means they have more room to experiment and dream up new flavors--they have thoughts (nothing definite yet) of further exploration into owner Paul's past in New Zealand (ANZAC biscuit crust, anyone?), and there was even some crazy-talk of possibly adding savory cheesecake to the menu.
  3. Everything's like, totally natural, ingredient-wise. Cage Free Eggs and all that business. When they told me that there were no trans fats or hydrogenated oils on their menu, I was all like "Duh", because we are in Seattle and the Granola People Will Not Stand For That. But, you know, it's still impressive.
  4. I can tell you a secret: bakery owners never tell you the truth when you ask "what's the best thing here?" because, you know, they take pride in your product. But I have a pretty good idea based on the way that they talked with extra love about certain flavors that the favorites of the owners (respectively) are the Mint Cookie Cheesecake (above) and the Caramel Cheesecake (below).
  5. Gluten-Freedom. The chocolate-coated cheesecake truffles are all gluten-free, my wheat-wary friends! They can do gluten-free (crustless) cheesecakes too, upon request.
  6. A Good Crust to Filling Ratio. Don't know about you, but huge slices of cheesecake often have too much cheese, and too little crust to offer a flavor and texture complement. When served in mini portions though, there's plenty of crust to add a nice cookielike dimension to the creamy cheesecake flavor.
  7. Colombian Hot Chocolate. Description: "This delightful concoction, created by owner Paul Verano, is an homage to a recipe passed down from his Abuelita Tutu. Paul’s version is the thick European-style drinking chocolate that satisfies serious chocolate cravings." This stuff is good, and now they have a coffee adaptation of it. Yeah!
  8. Everyone who works there is extremely attractive and nice. This does matter.
  9. More mail-order. Even if you're not in Seattle, the bigger space is allowing them to expand their mail-order business. Cheesecake by mail? You bet your bottom dollar. 
  10. If I really need to give you one more reason to be excited about a new sugar-shilling establishment in Seattle, we have Big Problems.

Go there! The grand opening is on June 4. In the meantime, the opening is soft, but the cheesecake is HARDCORE on Broadway, right next to Poppy restaurant. Hit 'em up at theconfectional.com.

Friday
May272011

Biscuit Time: Skillet Diner, Seattle WA

It is possible that a new word needs to be invented for the level of happiness that is to be attained by eating a biscuit at the newly-opened Skillet Diner in Seattle.

Skillet Street Food gained a following tooling around town as a mobile fancy food truck, with its bacon jam, poutine, and epic burgers gaining an almost cult-like following.

But I am telling you, you must eat the biscuits. Recently I hit up the brick-and-mortar location with my friend Nicole, and ate some savory food (it was very good) to warm up for the carb-fest.

And what a carb-fest it was. This biscuit was all things at once: flaky, buttery, dense, light, sweet, salty, and oh, so good. Oh dearie me, what was in it? I'm not smart enough to guess ingredients, so I have no idea, but it had something that made it different (lard?). It had flecks of brown sugar. It had nubbly little bits on the craggy exterior, making for a perfect outer crunch. It was like a biscuit party in my mouth. 

A happy biscuit moment indeed, and they serve them with homemade jam to boot.

Skillet Diner, 1400 E. Union, Seattle. Online here.

Skillet Diner on Urbanspoon

Monday
May162011

Sweet Bite: Cookies N Cream Truffles from Whole Foods, Seattle

Sometimes you just need a two-pound slice of chocolate cake.

But in the unlikely event that you have a lighter appetite, if you find yourself in Whole Foods, you might want to consider their made-in-house truffles. On a recent visit to the Roosevelt location in Seattle (the one most likely to see Dave Matthews, I hear), I saw cookies and cream and German Chocolate varieties; I decided to give the Cookies and Cream one a try.

A little more substantial than a typical pre-packaged truffle but not quite as heavy as a full-size brownie, cupcake, or cake slice, I found the truffle extremely agreeable both in size, quantity, and in flavor: a smooth chocolate coating (fresh, not bloomed and stale!) containing a rich oreo creme-and-chocolate filling.

A sweet little find; available by the pound, they will sell you them individually upon request; they average about $1 each depending on weight.

Truffles by Whole Foods, made on-site in Seattle (and maybe near you too?).

Tuesday
May102011

Sweet Fancy: Morfey's Makes a Fine Wedding Cake in Seattle

When it came time to get married, I didn't have a single wedding cake.

No, I had five.

My favorite one, of course, was the one my dear SpyMom made: a three tiered pink confection which was sort of like my soul, interpreted in wedding cake form. Here's a picture of it:

But my second favorite, which was obtained from a retail baker, was from Morfey's Cakes in Seattle. It was a three-tiered confection, frosted in Tiffany blue and piped with a delicate white. It was lovely, and it was delicious.

So it should come as no surprise that they are one of about six places in Seattle which I frequently suggest  to couples asking for wedding cake advice.

The Morfey's Cake, it should be said, is not an incredibly fussy affair. If you're looking for a cake with lighted effects or molded fondant to resemble the building where you met, this is probably not where you want to go (there is definitely a time and place for these cakes, of course!).

But if you're looking for a solidly good, fluffy, old-school cake with a light, almost whipped-texture type frosting, you're in the right place.

I love their simple, homey decorating style too--it looks like something that a home baker could aspire to, but, you know, it's better than you could probably do at home (no offense). And, it doesn't hurt that when you walk into their baking space in the shadow of the Space Needle in lower Queen Anne, it smells like you are walking into a cake being baked--that is to say, sort of like how I would imagine heaven to be.

When Mr. Spy and I attended a wedding this weekend, for the lovely Kim and Andy, we were delighted to see that they had obtained their special-day cake from delicious Morfey's. This baby had three tiers of awesome: Kim, who emailed me from Paris, where she was eating a croissant on her honeymoon (lucky girl!) says that "The top 2 tiers were coconut cake with white mocha filling, the bottom was chocolate with chocolate mousse filling, then buttercream frosting on the outside!" 

I didn't get to try both types, but can attest to the deliciousness of the coconut cake. (I took tasting very seriously)

So, this is all to say--if you're looking for a wedding cake in Seattle, definitely put Morfey's on your list for a tasting.

For more information, visit morfeyscake.com.

Saturday
May072011

Toast of the Town: Brioche French Toast from Oddfellows Cafe, Seattle

Recently, Danny stuffed his face with something delicious: Brioche French Toast with Mascarpone and fresh fruit from Oddfellows Cafe in Seattle.

For one thing, when you have this plate put in front of you, it's pretty impossible not to smile. It's huge. It is the size of your head. Not that quantity is more important than quality, but, you know, a big plate of food is a happy thing.

And happily, the quality is equal to the quantity, if not greater. "This is really, really good" was Mr. Spy's first comment; when pressed, he added a few notes:

The texture, while crispy on the outside, was almost custardy inside, soft and buoyant, cakey bread which porously absorbed the delicious syrup and strawberry juice that dripped from the ripe, flavorful fruit. The mascarpone added a lovely, lightly tangy flavor contrast which worked beautifully with the syrup and berries, and the bread itself was studded with bits of (orange?) zest which added a nice tart edge and kept it from being sweetness overload.

Final verdict: very good. If you find yourself in the neighborhood, you'll probably be going to Oddfellows anyway, as they have so much delicious stuff; if you happen to be there in the morning, the French Toast is going to be a Good Choice.

Oddfellows Cafe, 1525 10th Ave E. Seattle; online at oddfellowscafe.com.

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