Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookie

July 21, 2014

In one of our past posts, New York Favorites, Morgan talks about the delicious cookies from Levain Bakery.  While I visited Morgan I was able to try one of these mouth watering cookies, and lets just say it was love at first bite.  They always have warm fresh cookies which is one of my all time favorites.  

Since being home I have been craving a Levain Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookie. I went on a hunt for a recipe that would feed my craving.  I found one that is pretty similar to the cookies in New York and wanted to share it so you could experience these delicious treats if you already haven't.

| Ingredients |

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup bread flour (do not substitute)
5/8 cup high-quality cocoa powder (you can increase to 3/4 cup of cocoa for a slightly darker cookie)
5/8 tsp. baking soda
5/8 tsp. salt

1 3/4 sticks unsalted butter, cold, cut into small pieces
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/4 tsp. vanilla
1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk

1 cup peanut butter chips

1 cup small chunks of good quality semisweet chocolate (I prefer Ghirardelli and used their chocolate chips)

| Directions |
Sift dry ingredients together; set aside.

Beat cold butter until pasty.  Add sugars and beat until incorporated.  Add vanilla and eggs. Beat just until ingredients are incorporated so as not to warm the butter.

Add dry ingredients and beat just until the flour mixture is incorporated.  Add peanut butter and semisweet chunks (or chips) and fold in until evenly distributed.

Roll the dough into a cylinder about 2 inches in diameter.  Cut into twelve 1.5 inch or so segments.

Rip each segment in half and conjoin the smooth ends, leaving the ragged ends exposed.  The whole point is to increase the raggedness of the surface area to maximize crunch in the final product.  This step is a common practice to produce a cookie top with a craggy surface and really does improve the cookie.

Place all the uncooked cookies on parchment paper and cover loosely with plastic wrap.

Freeze for 1-2 hours.

Cook in center of oven for 17-18 minutes at 375o.  Adjust oven racks as needed to make sure the bottoms don’t burn. 

Cookies are done when they are mostly firm on top as opposed to doughy.  They will still be delicate. There should still be some darker spots here and there of not-quite-done cookie dough in most of the cookies.

Place on rack immediately.

Recipe from: www.fransfavs.com

Peanut butter chip cookie, Levain Bakery

Peanut Butter Chip

Enjoy!  We can't wait to hear what you think. 

A New York Minute

July 14, 2014

This past weekend I had the opportunity to take a girls trip to New York to visit Morgan. We had one short weekend to see all that New York has to offer. It was my first time and I absolutely loved it! 

It was the most fun filled, food filled, tiring weekend. We walked the city from sun up till sun down!

Hair Tie, Indoor Market, New York
These two were our cute tour guides for the week!

There is something about being in the city that I just can't help, but love. The cute little fruit stands on every corner, along with the cutest ice cream trucks on every block, and being surrounded by huge buildings for miles around is a such a thrilling experience. 

New York, Street Fruit Stand

Street Fruit Stand, Ice, New York City

New York, Sundaes, Shakes, Soft Serve

Hotel Empire
We were able to see two Broadway shows, Matilda and Newsies.  Matilda was a cute children's production. The kids were amazing! Newsies was awesome. The dancing and music was incredible!

Broadway, Shubert Theatre

Time Square is the most busy buzzing place. It is definitely a part of the city that never sleeps. There are so many lights that walking at night you still feel like it is day.

New York, The City, The Big Apple
I am one who loves to people watch and New York may be my favorite place to do it. There is such a diverse crowd in the city you are bound to always see something new and exciting.

The Metro, New York
We went to the 9/11 memorial museum which was amazing to see, if you ever get the chance to go TAKE IT! There is a part of the museum that goes through each hour of 9/11. They have hand written love letters found from people that were lost, personal belonging, fire trucks and ambulance that were on scene, and a huge quilt hand sewn with the faces of everyone that passed from the horrific tragedy, it is truly a spiritual experience.

9/11 New York, Twin Towers
We went to Chelsea Market, which is an indoor market filled with delicious food, like this cute donut shop, People Pops (how cool is the way they do shaved ice!), a lobster bar, and cute clothing and jewelry boutiques.

Chelsea Market, Sprinkles, Powdered Sugar

New York, High line Park

After making our way through Chelsea Market we walked along High Line Park which is a park that runs along an old railway. It is a beautiful park that overlooks the city and is lined with flowers and shrubbery!

New York City Pizza
The most amazing pizza at Grimaldi's! A must try if you ever make it to the city.

Being in one of the food capitals of the world we felt like we had to try everything! The Shake Shack was on the top of our list and lets just say I am already craving it! It is the cutest out door restaurant in the middle of Madison Square Park, and the burgers and shakes are to die for! 

Burgers, Fries, Cheeseburger, Shake Shack Burger, New York

Skirt, Sandals, Snake Skin
My sore little feet from walking around all day long! Thank goodness for my comfy sandals from H&M.

Brooklyn Bridge, Row Boats, Bikes
We also rented row boats in Central Park, and biked the Brooklyn Bridge while we were there. I would definitely recommend both!  

We had the best time! Touring the city was just as magical as I could have imagined. There is so much to do and see there! I am already planning another trip back to visit all the spots I was not able to see. Thanks for a great week Morgan!

West Village Review

July 6, 2014

A favorite of this week was my afternoon spent in West Village. I had heard how magical the area was, but didn't realize it until I experienced it myself. It is a cute, quiet, tree filled burrow in New York City. The area is filled with tree lined streets, ivy covered brown stones and cafes on each corner.

American Glob, Ice Cream, Chocolate dipped, Caramel, Pretzel, Cone
We stopped by an ice cream shop right in the heart of the West Village. They are famous for their unique twist on soft serve. You can roll it in pretzels, Nilla Wafers, marshmallows, nuts, or sea salt. They then dip it in chocolate and drizzled in caramel if wanted. Not to mention you can have a Biscoff cookie spread, Nutella or Peanut Butter filled cone.

Park, Garden, Christopher Park
There is a small park in the middle of the busy intersection with benches and gardens to enjoy!

Cafe, Food, The Little Owl

Candy, Gummies, Fruit, Sugar, Scandinavian
We made sure to stop by the famous Scandinavian candy store Sockerbit. The adorable white store is lined with bright colored candy and a sweet smell. You can enjoy chocolate and fruity candy, all of which originated from the Scandinavian countries and are made with high quality ingredients. The bright colors come from nature rather than chemicals in a lab. The candy is GMO and trans fat free!

Garden, Courtyard, Flowers, Green
If you look between fences and down alleys you will find surprises like this. Quiet and peaceful garden filled courtyards.

Brick, Brownstone, Ivy, Flowers
If you are looking for a day to escape the busy city, just make a quick trip to the West Village and explore the story book streets. There are adorable shops and cafes to enjoy. I am anxious to make my way back and try some of the cafes.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Oreo Ice Cream

July 2, 2014

If you haven't noticed, we have a slight obsession with ice cream and frozen desserts.  July just so happens to be ice cream month, and there is not a better way to start off National Ice Cream month than with this delicious recipe using the limited edition Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Oreo's. If there is one thing to be said I have a love for anything with the words peanut butter or coconut in it. So when I saw these Oreo's I HAD to taste them and create a delicious frozen treat out of them. They definitely lived up to my expectations and so did the ice cream!

Oreo, Peanut butter cup, homemade ice cream, chocolate, dessert

| Ingredients |

3/4 cup cocoa powder, sifted
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
pinch salt
1 cup whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
About 2 sleeves reese's peanut butter cup oreos (limited edition)

| Instructions |

In a medium bowl, whisk together the cocoa, sugars, and salt.  Add the milk and, using a hand mixer on low speed or a whisk, beat to combine until the cocoa, sugars and salt are dissolved.  Stir in the heavy cram and vanilla.  Optional: Cover and refrigerate 1 to 2 hours, or overnight.  I did not do this step because of lack of time.
Using a Cuisinart ice cream maker (or any ice cream maker that you have, just adjust time based on your machine); pour the mixture into the frozen freezer bowl and let mix unit thickened, about 15-20 minutes. Once ice cream is thick transfer ice cream into a medium sized bowl and mix in desired amount of crushed Oreo pieces (I used about 2 sleeves). The ice cream will have a soft creamy texture.  If a firmer consistency is desired, transfer the ice cream into an airtight container and place in the freezer for about 2 hours.  Remove from freezer about 15 minutes before serving.

Hope you enjoy! Let me know what you think and of course since it is National Ice Cream month we would love to hear some of your favorite ice cream recipes!



Weekly City Favorites

June 29, 2014

Its another week of favorites and as I am sitting here going through my pictures I am quickly realizing this is becoming more of favorite city treats. There is so much good food in this city it amazes me.

Brooklyn Bridge | Making a stop at the Brooklyn Bridge and snapping a few photos is a must. We decided to go at dusk and it was beautiful all lit up. The next time we go we decided it would be fun to rent bikes and ride across the bridge. 

Here are a few recommendations that were given to us after we had visited. We were told that the park on the Brooklyn side is a joy to walk through, we heard there is a great pizza and ice cream shop just on the other side and we were told we must go to the Brooklyn Flea Market. So it looks like we most definitely will be making a trip back to the bridge.

Ice Cream Donut Sandwich
Holey Cream | This right here my friends is what we like to call a donut ice cream sandwich. If you can even fathom that! They really know how to do dessert at this little shop.

Here is how it works -
1. Get a donut, slice it in half.

2. Choose three scoops of ice cream from their amazing selection. We chose 2 scoops of their famous sea salt and caramel ice cream and 1 scoop of their caramel cookie dough ice cream.

3. Choose your icing. They have chocolate and vanilla icing. Not to mention the icing becomes like a hard shell against the soft and chewy donut. It makes for an amazing combination.

4. Pick your toppings. You can choose three topping, but we just chose to put crushed up peanut butter cups on top.

5. Enjoy the most delectable dessert in the world!

Thank you Holey Cream for making the best Anniversary dessert in the world!

Burger, Fries, Chocolate Shake
Shake Shack | So, I am not the biggest burger and fries fan, but I was told by countless people I have to go here and get a burger, fries and a chocolate shake. I must say I enjoyed my meal. I mostly enjoyed the fries and chocolate shake. Its another one of those must do's at least once when you come to the city. 

Over the past month I have had the amazing opportunity and privilege to work with prop stylist Kendra Smoot. This week was my last week following her around and seeing the magic she can create. What a talented individual she is! We were able to work on set with two magazines and the opportunity was once in a life time. I feel so lucky to have been able to do this and my eyes have been opened to so many new experiences and opportunities. 

Chocolate Chip Cookie
Clementine | This week on set we were fed some pretty amazing meals. One day our lunch came from Clementine. I was told that I have to try their chocolate chip cookies. Yes! Can you believe it, another chocolate chip cookie. I wasn't going to pass down the opportunity. It was pretty darn good. They make more of a cakey cookie rather than my favorite, a doughy warm cookie. But it was still delicious and worth every calorie!

I hope everyone enjoys another great week! If you have any recommendations or must do's I would LOVE to hear them!

New York Favorites

June 24, 2014

I think I wore myself out the first two weeks running around the city. So I tried to enjoy the nice warm weather and high humidity (Boy am I not used to feeling wet all the time) this last week.

I spent most of my time right here. On this beautiful pier. This is the place I go when I need a break. When I need to escape the business of the city and collect my thoughts. It sounds so funny, but you really do need a break from crowds and sky scrappers. Or at least I do. Not to mention I got a little sun while doing it.

I snapped this photo in the entrance of a shop waiting for torrential rain to stop. I sat there for about 20 minutes waiting for the rain to let up. It never did. So I decided to make a run for it. Pencil skirt, sandals, shopping bags and all! Doesn't matter how beautiful of a day it is, because in New York the weather is crazy and you always need an umbrella on hand. After 2 fails I think I learned my lesson!

I enjoyed another Levain cookie this week. This time chocolate chip walnut. I think I will stick to my dark chocolate peanut butter chip. It is more satisfying to my taste buds, but this cookie was delightful.

Rockefeller Center | This building would be my husbands office and believe it or not he works on the very top floor. He has the best view in the entire city. People pay $25 to see the view he sees everyday. Hopefully one day I will make it up there! Until then I will sit down below and look up, wondering how he is doing.

I was feeling very healthy one evening and discovered this vegetarian cafe around the corner from me. No I am not vegetarian it just sounded good. And let me tell you, it was delicious. I have now gone two days in a row. Basically I crave it for every meal! They even give out testers of their falafel balls in tahini sauce and I will purposely walk past every chance I get to snag a sample.  

This week is already off to a great start and I can't wait to share some of my favorites!

Stripes and Denim

June 22, 2014

Denim Jacket, Strip Dress, Saltwater Sandals
Summer is in full swing and we are thinking about skirts and dresses to stay cool this summer. With stripes and denim as a huge fashion trend right now we created an outfit that shows off both and is fairly inexpensive. Which we are all about! 

Denim Jacket, Strip Dress, Saltwater Sandals
Not only is this outfit perfect for a summer evening BBQ, but it would look awesome at Fourth of July festivities. It would be fun if paired with red accessories like this necklace or these sandals (also check out these) for the Fourth of July.  It is also comfy enough to run around in on daily errands.

Denim Jacket, Strip Dress, Saltwater Sandals
We always love an outfit that is versatile. With this you can add a splash of color or go simple.

Denim Jacket, Strip Dress, Saltwater Sandals, Peonies
Dress | Target    Denim Jacket | Gap   Sandals | Saltwaters


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