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Cool Article of the Week – 9/30-10/8

Photo Credit: Starbucks U.K.’s Facebook page.

This cool article of the week comes from Eater.

As soon as I saw this, I thought to myself: “Duffin? What’s that? I must read on.”

The article is called “Starbucks UK’s Sad Take on the Hybrid Pastry: The Duffin.”

Now, I’ll admit, I don’t agree with what my cool article of the week is saying, which ironically, is why I picked it. I don’t think the duffin is a “sad take” on the hybrid pastry at all.

I actually think it’s really cool that the U.K. is experimenting with pastries, just like chefs like Dominique Ansel are with his cronut here in the U.S.  Right on.

So to cut to the chase, what is a duffin?

Starbucks U.K. recently released this pastry, which is a mix between a donut and a muffin. It has raspberry jam inside of it. To me, it actually sounds really cool, like you’re getting the donut with the jelly inside, but a little bigger, that’s all.

Its website says: “Our Duffin is filled with a raspberry jam; we’ve added just a hint of nutmeg to our buttermilk base and then covered it in sugar once baked.”

So the floor’s open to you all, would you try a duffin?

Enjoy!

DAYTON: Happy Fall (& National Ice Cream Cone Day!)

Ah, Fall.

The time for leaves, apples, pumpkins, corn mazes, hay rides, Halloween (!), and so much more.

Happy Fall, friends.

And today is also a very important day in the foodie world: it’s National Ice Cream Cone Day!

So who invented the all-mighty cone that holds our delicious ice cream scoops?

The International Dairy Foods Association names a few different people, here’s what they say on their website:

“The first ice cream cone was produced in 1896 by Italo Marchiony. Marchiony, who emigrated from Italy in the late 1800s, invented his ice cream cone in New York City. He was granted a patent in December 1903.

Although Marchiony is credited with the invention of the cone, a similar creation was independently introduced at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair by Ernest A. Hamwi, a Syrian concessionaire. Hamwi was selling a crisp, waffle-like pastry — zalabis — in a booth right next to an ice cream vendor. Because of ice cream’s popularity, the vendor ran out of dishes. Hamwi saw an easy solution to the ice cream vendor’s problem: he quickly rolled one of his wafer-like waffles in the shape of a cone, or cornucopia, and gave it to the ice cream vendor. The cone cooled in a few seconds, the vendor put some ice cream in it, the customers were happy and the cone was on its way to becoming the great American institution that it is today.”

Marchiony’s the main person who was granted a patent in December 1903, but at a World’s Fair a year later, Hamwi made his wafer-waffles, hence, the waffle cone’s birth.

So I thought today, here’s a list of ice cream places with Fall flavors, so you can combine the best of both fantastic worlds:

1) Graeters (multiple locations): Pumpkin Pie (limited edition)

2) Ritter’s Frozen Custard (multiple locations): Ritter’s has a few different Fall flavors, including pumpkin, to check out.

3) Dairy Queen (multiple locations): I definitely saw on one of its signs recently something about a Pumpkin Pie something or another (perhaps a Blizzard?)

4) Cold Stone Creamery (multiple locations): One of its seasonal flavors is Pumpkin, so it should be there by now…And you could always get the “Apple Pie A La Cold Stone” creation too! 🙂

5) MaggieMoo’s (Centerville): On its flavors list are Pumpkin and Pumpkin Cheesecake.

6) Young’s Jersey Dairy (Yellow Springs): The week of Sept. 30 they’ll have pumpkin as its “Flavor of the Week.” Check its website too for when it’ll come back!

7) JD’s Frozen Custard (Englewood): JD’s has a slew of holiday flavors to check out…You can even start ordering holiday flavors to take home (which includes Pumpkin!)

Any other ones you spot with Fall flavors? Please let me know, to add to this list 🙂

Enjoy, and happy Ice Cream!

Cool Article of the Week – 9/11-9/14

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This cool article of the week I just found today via my Facebook news feed.

It’s from one of my favorite foodie sources, The Daily Meal.

Have you been to your state’s fair? Did you have any fun foods-you-only-get-at-the-fair-once-a-year?

I moved to Ohio from New York, and have had the pleasure of attending the Great New York State Fair twice. My favorite parts: the food, and the wine tent.

Yes, there’s a huge tent, full of local wineries. Samples. Yum. (#ILoveWine)

So the following article is for you state fair lovers.

It’s titled “America’s 50 Most Outrageously Insane State Fair Foods.”

There’s an article and a complete slideshow with pictures for you to browse through.

Here’s a link to the article

And here’s what I’d love to try on the list  (without saying which state it’s from):

-Salad on a Stick: Salad that’s easy to eat and easily accessible? I’m in!

-Shrimp Corn Dog: It sounds like Fried Shrimp, except a corn dog instead of fried shrimp batter. YUM!

-Fried Pickles and Chocolate: The salty and sweet combo sounds intriguing, and the flavors likely balance each other out. That way, you can have your chocolate fix while having your fried savory fix. Mmm!

-Viking on a Stick: A DEEP FRIED MEATBALL. AMEN. 🙂

-Deep Fried S’mores: This sounds heavenly.

-Deep Fried Bubblegum: Well, it’s not actually bubblegum. But it sounds really tasty.

Deep Fried Goo Goo’s: Never heard of these until I read this article…It’s a chocolatey cluster deep fried. Chocoholics, rejoice 🙂

-Hot Beef Sundae: I actually saw something similar to this at a fair near me recently (the picture is above). It sounds SO good: roast beef, mashed potatoes, cheese, cherry tomato.

Deep Fried Cookie Dough on a Stick: Woah. I love deep fried Oreos, but this sounds like heaven too…. A fried ball of chocolate chip cookie. Wow.

Spaghetti Ice Cream: I’ve seen this in Syracuse before at Peter’s Polar Parlor. It sounds fantastic: a whimsical ice cream sundae. Mmm.

-Fried Jelly Beans: It sounds like it would be extra sweet, but it also sounds like it would likely be fruity, crispy and delish.

-Do-e-Oreo: I want you to go to the article and read what this is. Sounds sweet tooth approved. Sign me up!

-Pancake Burger: Oh. My. Gosh. A huge fluffy pancake for a bun. Om. Nom. Nom.

 

Weigh in: Which ones off the list would you try from the article? Comment below!

Cool Article of the Week: 9/1-9/10

Photo credit: spoonful.com
Photo credit: spoonful.com

This cool article of the week comes from an email my mom sent me (hey mom!), and its for all of the sweet tooths out there!

She knows I LOVE these two things: Disney, and cupcakes.

So when I saw that it was the top 45 Disney cupcake recipes, from Spoonful, I was beyond excited to page through the photo gallery!

In this gallery you will see all sorts of Disney character goodness formed into cute cupcakes, including the aliens from Toy Story, the cars from the Cars movies, and one of my personal faves from the list, which I have pictured here: Cogsworth from Beauty & the Beast!

Enjoy, and please let me know which one(s) are your favorites!

SWEET TREATS: Oreo Brownies

My brother and one of my best friends are coming to town this evening via road trip. Love you both 🙂

In the past day or so, I’ve been envisioning in my head what I could bake them as a “Welcome to Ohio” surprise.

My mind immediately went to Oreo’s.

I’m very, very close with my family. I love my family very much. I love my brother very much, and one of the things we always do together when we see each other is late at night, we watch TV shows, hang out, and have cookies and milk. Usually, it’s between Oreo’s, some sort of chocolate chip cookies (be it Wegman’s brand, Pathmark brand, etc.), some sort of dessert with chocolate in it. We’ve inducted Aisha into this tradition as well. 🙂

So as I LOVE brownies, I thought, why not make some Oreo Brownies?

When I was younger, there was a boxed mix of Oreo Brownies that were probably some of the best brownies I’ve EVER had. I ALWAYS looked forward to those brownies. Soft, moist, fudgy, warm (!) chocolatey brownies, with a glaze on top. Heaven!

But ever since then, I’ve never seen that boxed mix in stores. I’ve seen pre-packaged wannabes (already baked), but nothing compares.

So tonight, I attempt to make some yummy Oreo brownies, via one of my new favorite hobbies, Pinterest. 🙂

Thank you so much, Suburban Coupon Mom, for your post, and for the inspiration!

Here is her recipe for Oreo brownies:

2 boxes of brownie mix ( I used Ghiradelli) and bought a family sized box of Oreos because they were on sale!!

1/2 Cup of Water

2/3 Veggie Oil

2 Eggs

1 sleeve of Oreos crushed

CREAM TOPPING

1/2 Stick of Butter

1/2 teaspoon Vanilla

2 Tble spoons of Milk

1 to 1 1/2 cup powder sugar.. add gradually and check for consistancy

I’ve made a few modifications. Instead of using two boxes of brownie mix, I went for one. My favorite go-to brownie mix I’ve been using as my base at the store is Betty Crocker Ultimate Fudge (with Hershey‘s Fudge, yum!)

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Mix the brownie mix as per usual using the ingredients listed on the box (water, vegetable oil, egg, fudge packet, mix).

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Tonight I decided to use my brownie pan for the occasion. As it has three rows (for easier slicing), I greased the pan with butter, then put some of the mix in my pan.

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You could get creative with exactly what kind of Oreo to buy (there are so many flavors now). My brother loves Double Stuf’s, but tonight at Kroger I discovered there are Oreo’s a step up from Double Stuf, called Mega Stuf! (Can you believe it?!) 🙂

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I layered a row of Oreos into my pan and then put the remaining brownie mix on top. You’re going to have to make a judgment of how much to put in each row. This time around for me, there wasn’t enough batter left to cover the Oreo’s, but that’s okay. We’ll see how the batter forms around the cookie.

I’m also not following a specific “done” time. My first aim was at 25 minutes at 350. From then on, I kept checking with a fork into the middle (if it comes out clean, it’s done!).

As of 12:53 a.m.: 25 minutes baked at 350 degrees, stuck the fork in, came out a little covered in batter.

Put timer on for 7 more minutes.

Second check: 1:01 a.m. – still not 100 % there yet. Putting on another three minutes.

Third times the charm: 1:05 a.m. – dunzo!

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While I’m letting those cool down a bit, I’m starting up the glaze. Instead of making the glaze directly in the pan, I’m going to do another double boiler, only because I don’t want the glaze burning or sticking in a pan.

I mix all ingredients as per the recipe above and put it in the double boiler:

IMG_4048I put the half stick of butter in the bowl and melted it on close to high temperature on the stove…

IMG_4049Then I got the vanilla out. 🙂

IMG_4050As soon as the butter melts, mix the vanilla, and milk together, stirring constantly.

Then, add the confectioners sugar slowly. It’ll turn into the glaze-like consistency, like this:

IMG_4055IMG_4056I tested the glaze, it is DELICIOUS!

IMG_4057Here is the final product. I poured the glaze on the brownies and spread evenly.

Let cool, slice up and serve.

Enjoy!

 

SWEET TREATS: Buckeye Brownies

One of the first things I heard about when I moved here to Ohio was this:

Buckeyes.

I knew of the sports team, but what I didn’t discover until I was physically here in Ohio   were the chocolatey peanut butter desserts sold here.

Here’s an instance of a Buckeye foodie discovery I had while out and about.

I go to one of the local supermarkets here (Dorothy Lane Market), and am browsing around one of the cases of desserts. I’m seeing all of these Killer Brownies it makes (that could be a whole other post by the way: these are these thick, moist brownies with gooey delicious layers in the middle), and then lo and behind I see a Buckeye.

Thinking about it now, here’s something coincidental about this.

The size of the buckeye I tried there, at least circumference wise, is the size of an O you form with your hand. O for Ohio! Eyyy! 🙂

If you haven’t tried a Buckeye before, it’s a peanut butter ball covered in chocolate just enough so the peanut butter is still sticking out.

It looks just like the nut that comes off of a Buckeye tree.

The other night I was thinking about something I could bake (and surprise!) for a dear coworker whose last day was Monday. She is moving away from Ohio, and so I went to Pinterest for some inspiration.

I love baking brownies. While browsing for brownie ideas, I by chance came across this recipe.: (thank you My Patchwork Quilt!)

Buckeye Brownies

19 1/2 oz. pkg. brownie mix
2 c. powdered sugar
1/2 c. plus 6 T. butter, softened and divided
8 oz. jar creamy peanut butter
6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips

Prepare and bake brownie mix in greased 9″ x 13″ baking pan according to pkg. directions. Let cool.

Mix powdered sugar, 1/2 c. butter, and peanut butter in a bowl.

Mix well (I used electric mixer) and spread over cooled brownies.

Chill for 1 hour.

Melt together chocolate chips and remaining butter in a saucepan over low heat, stirring occasionally.

Spread over brownies.

Let cool; cut into squares.

Makes 2-3 dozen.

I modified the recipe just a tad: I used a brownie box mix that wasn’t 19 1/2 oz (honestly, I couldn’t find one that big!), so I used an 18 oz box.

Another thing I did that’s different from the recipe: the brownie box I got didn’t have the cooking time for the brownie pan that was required in the recipe (9 x 13), so I played with the timing with my trick below.

With any brownie or cake, what you want to do to tell it is done is to stick something in the middle of it (normally I’d go for toothpicks, but since I don’t have any right now, I used a fork). If it comes out clean, your baked good is done, if it comes out with dough stuck to it, you need to cook it some more. This is when you keep a close eye on the oven, these final minutes.

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Another modification I did was I added more chocolate chips instead of just 6 ounces (because I ran out when it was just 6 ounces), and added some more butter in when I added the extra chocolate.

A good trick for melting ANY chocolate (and thank you Culinary Arts class in high school for this tip), is to melt it in a double boiler (pictures above), not just in the saucepan alone. That way, there is no chance of your chocolate burning. A double boiler is when you boil a pot of water (or in this case, I put it to medium heat), and put a bowl on top with the chocolate in it, and melt it / stir it up that way.

Another thing I did was I chilled the brownies overnight in the fridge after putting the melted chocolate on top.

Pouring the melted chocolate on the brownies!
Pouring the melted chocolate on the brownies!

Now I’ll admit, it was a little hard to cut them today, but I will tell you, these brownies are SUPER delicious, chocolatey, fudgy and moist. I especially loved the chocolate with the fluffy peanut butter frosting/filling concoction in the middle. My now former coworker enjoyed them too, which I am so glad about :). I made them especially to remind her of home before she leaves for another coast :).

I officially really really really love Buckeyes :).

Enjoy!

DAYTON: Dixie Dairy Dreem

IMG_3792 IMG_3790This afternoon I took a nature walk/hike at one of Dayton’s MetroParks. And afterwards, my mind, being the sweet tooth that I am, went to wanting some ice cream.

My first thought on where to go?

The Dixie Dairy Dreem.

My co-workers have been raving about it to me ever since I started my new job out here. I’ve been wanting to try it since, but just hadn’t gotten to this Dayton establishment yet. But here I am this afternoon, with the perfect opportunity.

The atmosphere:  IMG_3791This purple and off-white walk-up counter you can spot from down the road. It makes me think of candy, and the Willy Wonka chocolate factory from glancing at it. The Dixie Dairy Dreem has been around for 50, yes, 50 years, in Moraine, a suburb of Dayton. There’s parking on both sides of the building, and two counters to order ice cream (or food) from the outside. When I left, I also realized there’s a side entrance where you can eat inside (I didn’t go inside, so I cannot give my opinion on the inside, but the outside is awesome!). On a summer day like this, why not eat outside?

What I ate: A twist soft-serve ice cream cone in a waffle cone.

Price: $2.75 (according to its website).

My thoughts: It’s no wonder people love this place. The soft serve ice cream was light and airy, but had the perfect amount of thickness at the same time. The vanilla and chocolate tasted authentic and not overly sweet, it did NOT taste artificial. The waffle cone was delicious too, a nice crunch. With the ice cream in it, it didn’t get soggy. The only thing I would note is you’ll have to peel that paper wrapper off the waffle cone, and be careful of pieces of paper sticking to the cone (I didn’t eat all of my cone because of that, but I enjoyed it nonetheless).

What else is on the menu:  I’ll start with the frozen first. Besides chocolate, vanilla and twist soft serves (the “traditional” flavors, there are 24 additional flavors of soft serve and frozen yogurt to pick and choose from, including Amaretto, Butter Pecan, Peanut Butter, Kahlua, Key Lime, Cheesecake, and more. If you don’t want a cone, there are slushies, milkshakes, malts, freezes, ice cream sodas, sundaes and Arctic Swirls (like Dairy Queen’s Blizzards). If you want to eat some savory, regular food, there’s an assortment of hot dogs, burgers, sandwiches, appetizers (such as broccoli cheese bites, chicken fingers, fried mushrooms), and sides of french fries, onion rings, potato chips and cole slaw.

Why you should go: The first reason and foremost, the ice cream. On a summer day, you want some of that creamy goodness, and at those prices, you’ll be back again. Second, you have the choice of dining in or eating outside (although I didn’t eat in, on a summer day you’d want to eat outside). Third, the place itself is full of nostalgia where you can drive up and get your food. It’s a locally owned store, not a chain.

Location/Hours:

4542 S. Dixie Drive

Dayton

937-293-2479

Summer Hours

Memorial Day – Labor Day
Mon-Sat
11:00am to 10pm
Sun
Noon to 10pm
Spring & Fall Hours
Mon-Sat
11:00am to 9pm
Sun
Noon to 9pm

Cool Article of the Week — 7/13-7/20

This week,  it isn’t exactly an “article” per se that struck me as my cool article of the week.

But it’s an intriguing thought that caught my eye, to spread into the foodie-sphere.

It’s a tweet that comes from an awesome radio morning show based in Long Island:
 Dana & Jeffrey in the Morning.

Tweet from Dana & Jeffrey!
Tweet from Dana & Jeffrey!

Isn’t it amazing how packaging for food in general has transformed itself over the years? Yes, we can thank technology for how the packaging of the one of the left compares to the one on the right. But the one on the left versus the one on the right, there are clear differences. I actually really love that the left one you can see the cookies in the packaging.

Dana & Jeffery raise a great question for the #foodies out there.

The tweet flashes me back to the Oreo commercials in the 1990s.

I’m also flashing back to when Oreo would put out collector cookie tins in the 90’s too. Myself and my family would put the cookies in there at Christmas time, as it had a cute picture of Santa Claus on it (but well, we would use that tin during the year too, Christmas all year!).

Flashing forward to this decade….and Oreo celebrated its 100th birthday last year, and now  there are so many types of Oreo’s for us all to split in half , lick the cream, put it back together and dunk it in milk then eat it.

Bottom line: I will always love Oreo’s.

And thank you, Dana & Jeffrey for the awesome reminder!

Your tweet is donned my cool article of this week.

Do you love Oreo’s? Join the conversation below!

Midnight Snack: ABO Balls

Ever since I recently wrote about the PBNO Balls I made, I haven’t stopped eating nut butters since.

(Nut butters meaning peanut and almond butter.)

After I wrote that post, I made my way to Trader Joe’s one night after work. My mission was clear: find some amazing almond butter to bring home.

I found myself in the nut butter part of one of its aisles staring at all of the different kinds of nut butters. I was fascinated. There were all kinds of varieties of not only nuts, but creamy or chunky choices too. I was then approached by a very friendly employee who guided me in my search. We spoke for several minutes about which almond butter I should choose: creamy, chunky, sea salt, no sea salt.

After showing me the several types the store had, I ended up choosing the creamy one with sea salt in it (see picture).

If you asked me if I prefer creamy or chunky nut butter, honestly I have no preference. I love both just the same.

I’ll admit, I was curious about the salt content in the butters while standing there speaking to the employee. However, the man assured me that there wasn’t a ton of salt in the salted almond butter if you’re watching your salt (if you’re curious now too, it has 60 mg of salt in a 2 tbsp serving, not bad!), and the non-salted one doesn’t have that same flavor the salty one has.

The night I bought it, I opened the jar and mixed it for awhile with a spoon (as the oil of the natural butter can separate). I haven’t had almond butter in a long time, and to take that first taste was magical. A very grainy texture, with a hint of that sweet-salt taste, but not overly sweet.

Rich.

Thick.

Delicious.

So now, I’ve been alternating these past few weeks, between having a spoonful of almond butter on occasion, or having a spoonful of peanut butter with an oreo placed in the middle of the spoon on another occasion.

Which brings me to tonight’s midnight craving. My love of chocolate was calling my name, and I immediately started thinking about the almond butter and how I could combine the two to make ABO Balls.

My next thought: “Hey, I can put these in the freezer to harden them up a bit!”

And here’s what resulted:

ABO Balls.

ABO Balls (a sister to PBNO Balls):

-1 heaping tablespoon of almond butter of your choice (I chose Trader Joe’s creamy almond butter with sea salt)

-2 chocolate sandwich cookies (I chose some Oreo Double Stuf’s. Oh, yes.)

-chocolate syrup (for decor)

Method:

1. Crush the chocolate sandwich cookies onto a plate.

2. Spoon the almond butter on top of the cookies.

3. Roll almond butter and oreo’s together to make two ABO Balls.

4. Place ABO Balls in freezer (covered in plastic wrap) for 20-30 minutes (you can even let them sit for longer if you want them a little crunchier).

5. Take ABO Balls out of freezer and spritz a little chocolate sauce on top for decor.

6. Enjoy!

These balls, like the PBNO Balls, had a great texture and a great balance of sweet and savory. Because this nut butter in particular was grainy and thicker than a regular store-bought nut-butter, it thickened up quickly and very well in the freezer. It had a good consistency to pick up in your hands and not get too messy.

You’ll still want that mug-o-milk to wash it all down!

A fun, quick, easy snack to make in the middle of the night, or any time of day.

Enjoy!

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