Black and White Cookies

Everyone has that special thing they do when life gets hard or overwhelming or sad. In my case, I bake. And this week I needed to bake more than ever before. I received some tragic news on Monday, and I couldn’t even make it through the afternoon before making these cookies. Even now I’m still trying to process what happened, but taking the time to keep my hands busy and to concentrate my mind on something else helped me immensely.

I have a confession: I’ve been in New York for nearly four years, but I have yet to try an authentic Black and White cookie. I know, bad me. However, after making this recipe from Tracey’s Culinary Adventures, I will make a concerted effort to find and sample a real one. I thought these were pretty good, even though I didn’t have any lemon extract, so I can only imagine how tasty the genuine article must be.

The cookie component came together easily, and I’m impressed with how long they have remained fresh. I heard that black and white cookies dry out quickly, but that’s not the case for mine. The last one is still going strong three days later, but I can safely say it’s not going to have the opportunity to become stale.

As for the icings, I prefer the plain over the chocolate. The chocolate is wanting for something, perhaps some salt to round out the flavors? I liked to combine the two sides when I ate the cookies, though, saving for last a big bite in the middle with both icings. It took me a couple of cookies to work out this strategy, but it’s a keeper, just like this recipe.

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Mini Ice Cream “Cake” Pies

It was my roommate’s birthday recently, and all she wanted was to eat the garlic pizza crust I make and to go sing karaoke. She’s not one for desserts or sweets, with the exception of Oreos, ice cream, and Snickers. I figured I would just make the pizza crust and call it a day . . . until fate took over and I found this: Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream “Cake” Pie. Omit the peanut butter cups, and it’s the perfect birthday dessert for my roommate. The concept is so simple I don’t know why this didn’t come to mind before.

Rather than use Oreos, which can cost an arm and a leg in the city, I used Trader Joe’s Joe-Joes. I can definitely tell a difference between the two cookies–Oreo cookies are crunchier–but they still passed the roommate test. I also halved and miniaturized the recipe, because a giant ice cream cake is just too much for two girls to consume by themselves. Four girls, no, two, yes. I ended up making six mini pies in a muffin tin, which was perfect for three nights of portion-controlled dessert.

The pies looked so sad with just crust and ice cream, so we broke out the caramel sauce and then topped them with an additional Joe-Joe. These little treats hit the spot, so much so that my roommate was thinking about them all day until she could eat another the next night. I’d say they were a success!

Peter and the Piecatcher

After watching the Tony Awards, I found myself with a desire to go to  a show and a Broadway Buddy to go with. My friend had been dying to see Christian Borle in Peter and the Starcatcher, so she suggested we try entering the lottery for tickets. We got to the theater a bit before the lottery began, entered our names, and watched as more and more people came during the half hour that sign-ups were open. I wasn’t sure how much of a chance we stood with so many entries, but we remained optimistic and didn’t even think about what we would do if we didn’t get tickets. I definitely need to keep in that mindset whenever I enter these drawings, because it seems to be working. I won tickets for Wicked last summer, and then my friend’s name got called for Peter and the Starcatcher!

Tickets in hand, we had some time to kill before the show started. We headed over to Pie Face to grab some food to go. Pie Face is an Australian chain, and their NYC location is currently the only one in the US. After this first time, I absolutely want to go back and try more of their delicious pies. Aussies certainly know how to sell pies, don’t you think? Doesn’t it just scream adorable? And it’s all so delicious, too!

I got the chunky steak pie and the mini lemon pie, and the two were the perfect amount to keep me full for the rest of the night. It’s a good thing, too, because the two together set me back about $10. Despite the price, the taste has ensured that I won’t hesitate to open my wallet for them again. I didn’t snap a picture of my steak pie because I somehow managed to get the one pie with a gigantic bubble on it, which marred the look of the pie. However, isn’t the packaging cute?

Oh my goodness, the mini lemon pie was to die for! It was a perfect blend of tart and sweet, with a bit more tart than sweet. The lemon filling towered over the little cup crust, and I was in heaven with every single bite. If only I could get the recipe to replicate at home, I would be one happy camper.

After dinner we headed back to the theater. The play was wonderfully hilarious, and Christian Borle was fantastic as the pirate  Black Stash. I think the beginning of the second act sealed the deal for my love of the show, but I won’t spoil it for anyone that wants to see it. Once the show was over, the two of us dashed over to the stage door and lined up to meet the cast and get autographs/pictures. My friend succeeded in meeting and getting a photo with Christian Borle, so her night was made. She was hyped up and going a mile a minute once we parted ways at the end of the night.

With school over, I hope I can finally get to more shows in the future. I keep forgetting how much I enjoy the whole experience. Seeing shows may or may not also serve as an excuse to hit up Pie Face again. The lemon pie is calling my name, as are the cherry and chocolate ones!

Snickers Cupcakes

Before this year, I had never actually sat down to watch the Tony Awards. I never really had a reason to watch the actual ceremony. I mean, I like Broadway and all, but I’ve never been truly invested in it. However, I was invited to my friend’s Tonys party this year, so I thought I’d give it a chance. It was a blast! Friends, good food, good sangria, a Playbill puzzle (!), and the Tonys. It was a potluck affair, so of course I offered to bring dessert! I keep looking for reasons to bake and try out new things for an audience, so this was a fun opportunity.

At first I was really excited to bake up some lemon cupcakes, but then I texted my friend and horror of horrors, she’s not a big fan of lemon! I was a bit crushed, but I quickly bounced back and found a different recipe that would hopefully please everyone.

Enter these Snickers Cupcakes from Tracey’s Culinary Adventures! So sinfully rich. The cupcake base is especially delicious, with a deep chocolate flavor and a tender crumb. And such lovely little domes! I broke up the process and made the caramel sauce the day before and then the cupcakes and frosting the day of.

I waited to assemble everything until I got to my friend’s apartment, because I knew it would be a disaster on the subway if I did otherwise. Once I got there, I gave the frosting a good whipping  and then put together the surviving cupcakes. Despite my care, there were still a few casualties, but we’ll get to those next.

Since there were a fair few crushed cupcakes, I had filling and frosting left over. A couple of the girls at the party solved that little problem by just eating the two straight! Can’t say I blame them, though, as I was tempted to do the same.

I didn’t want to just eat the cupcake crumbs alone, so I combined them with the remaining frosting, and make cake balls with a chocolate coating. Such a good idea!