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Best Cotton Candy | Los Angeles

Today is National Cotton Candy Day! While you used to have to wait for a carnival or fair to enjoy these treats, you can now find creative cotton candy confections around Los Angeles. In celebration of these big bright puffs of sweet spun sugar, here are three of my favorites:

Bon Puf

Bon Puf offers cotton candy catering, yes it is a thing! They offer organic and all natural cotton candy with fun flavors like mango chile, chai tea or salted caramel. A childhood classic elevated.

 

Culina Affogato

Culina at the Four Season puts an Italian spin on cotton candy in the form of an affogato. You morning coffee never looked so good. Vanilla bean gelato waits patiently underneath a large white cotton candy cloud. Espresso is then poured over top slowly dissolving the spun sugar into your coffee. That is an affogato I can stand behind!

 

Barton G's Marie Antoinette Cotton Candy

Taking it up a notch is the Marie Antoinette’s Head cotton candy concoction at Barton G. Adding a theatrical twist to fine dining, Pastry Chef Luis Vasquez artfully crafts yards of pink cotton candy in the shape of an over the top two-foot edible cotton candy wig. It is a sight to see!

Coachella 2014 Dessert Guide

Coachella Weekend 2 is upon us. For those of you planning your weekend eating and drinking, I have a guide to some of the best Coachella dessert options!

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Located in the Terrace dining area near the Do Lab and those awesome fish tacos are an array of artisan purveyors. I particularly enjoyed the refreshing selection of handmade popsicles from Sweet Clementines. Lemon Buttermilk was tart and light and their Strawberry Rose was just blissful ($5).

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If you haven’t discovered already on this blog, Le Bon Garcon are my favorite French style caramels. It was such a pleasant surprise to find them in the Terrace Dining area. You can grab a pocket ful of these carames ($5) and enjoy a sweet little bit throughout the day. The sea salt caramels are soft, smooth and satisfying.

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Portand darling Salt & Straw is at Coachella this year offering their delectable ice cream and they are stationed right next to Stumptown – double win! Their Arbequina olive oil is one of my favorite flavors so I was stocked to find it on the menu. Paired with Coffee bourbon and you are set. Single scoops are $7 so opt for the double $10, you deserve it.

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An LA fave dessert shop has found it’s way to the desert – Creme Caramel LA. You can take a little mid day breather and treat yourself to the mid day sweets break and enjoy the BEST creme caramel EVER! Other menu options include, upside down pies, frozen vanilla custard bombs and some jazzed up rice crispy snacks. Go!

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For those who like their sweet a little savory, you can enjoy an awesome arepa treat from multiple stands throughout the field. Sweet griddle corn, ooey gooey mozarella with a health drizzle of honey. It’s the honey that makes it.

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And of course the best for last… Coolhaus. A Coachella VIP favorite, regulars come back for ice cream sammie goodness year after year and for good reason – it’s good! I opted for a Strawberry Mojito scoop last weekend, but this weekend I’m going for the gold and getting a Potato chip butterscotch cookie + Fried Chicken Caramel ice cream sammie. Bring it.

Enough sweets to fill your entire week. Happy dessert-ing.

#FreeConeDay Touring Ben & Jerry’s HQ

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Did you hear? Today is Ben & Jerry’s Annual FREE CONE DAY! Some may say the happiest day of the year and I wouldn’t disagree, it certainly is the Ben & Jerriest day of the year.  Scoop shops around the world will be dishing out free cups and cones* TODAY! This annual event actually began 35 years ago when Ben & Jerry’s wanted to say “thank you!” to their beloved ice cream fans and the community that supported them after their first year of business. And thankfully this awesome day has been a tradition ever since.  I recently had the privilage of spending two days in Burlington Vermont with the Ben & Jerry’s team on a press trip. Here is a glimpse into those magical ice cream filled days…

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We went to the Ben & Jerry’s Headquarters and met the team. Everyone was so welcoming and kind (and they all get 3 free pints a day!). We toured the offices, ate ice cream, went down a slide and learned more about the company in Scoop U! I think one of my biggest take-aways from this trip was really understanding the Ben & Jerry’s social mission. It is truly impressive to see how involved in social activism and values of Fair Trade sourcing the company is. Read more here.

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We spent some time with the R&D team learning more about their super premium ice creams. We cut into some pints to test quality, consistency and distribution of chunks and swirls. This was my first meeting with their Milk and Cookies flavor (see above) and it was love at first bite. I will never forget you Milk and Cookies xoxo!

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Then we got a chance to divide up into teams and create our own fantasy flavor! My team consisted of SoCal pals Cathy, Matt and Erin. While our creation wasn’t the winning flavor, it was a winner in our hearts and bellies!

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We also toured the Ben & Jerry’s facility in Waterbury. We got a peak into the factory and enjoyed ice cream fresh off the production line. We even got a chance to literally cut right into all of the NEW Core flavors.

All in all it was an incredible two days in Vermont. I met knew bloggers and enjoyed the company of old blogging pals. We ate well and the ice cream never stopped flowing.  I left an even bigger fan of chunks and swirls!

Now off to get my #freeconeday ice cream cone!

* To confirm Free Cone Day participation and hours, make sure to check out the Scoop Shop Locator at http://www.benjerry.com or contact your local Scoop Shop in advance.

Valentine’s Day Sweets (Los Angeles)

It seems like Valentine’s Day presents are usually centered around something sweet. Of this I approve. Nothing says I love you like dessert (at least in my sweets loving opinion). Here are some sweet ideas for that sweet someone in your life.

Unexpected Sweet

cooks vday

A romantic dinner is to be expected, but how about surprising your boo with a pre-Valentine’s day dessert tasting. YES! The talented pastry chef, Roxanna Jullapat of Cook’s County has a dessert tasting menu that will say I love you in four different sweet bites. The Chocolate Fonduette with a splash of Turkish coffee and Arabesque dipping treats is calling my name.

Heart Shaped Affection

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If heart shaped Valentine’s Day sweets are your jam, this just might be the sweetest one. Sweet Rose Creamery is offering heart shaped Raspberry Semifreddo Valrohona desserts this week #icecreamlove

Classic Sweet

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You remember those black and white boxes from your childhood. Picking out your favorite chocolate bite. Mine was always the almond square with that layer of sticky sweet caramel on top. And scotch mallows don’t event get me started. Take the classic approach and gift your loved one a box of See’s candies.

Homemade Love

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When I need inspiration for the perfectly planned, exquisitely executed sweet or diy project for a special occasion I always turn to one of my favorite bloggers Freutcake. For Valentine’s Day she takes puts a vintage spin on sweets with a mini jell-o mold. It is cherry cream jello, raspberry jellos and whipped cream and they are beautiful. Who wouldn’t want a big spoonful? I know my guy will! Check out the recipe here.

Sweet Getaway

Valentine's Day cocktail

I know some of the lucky few get to take their honey on a romantic getaway for Valentine’s Day. I can’t say that I have ever had the time, but if I did boy Los Cabos would be calling my name. I’ve been fantasizing about this getaway because it is so close to LA it can easily be a long weekend. If I was here for Valentine’s Day I would love to enjoy the romantic package at the Westin Resort Los Cabos - view of the Sea of Cortez, sipping on rose martinis and enjoying a beautiful dinner. I’ll just dream away!

A SWEET Holiday Gift Guide

Nas - Holiday Gift Guide

1.  Compartes Love Nuts make me nuts! There are no words to describe just how absolutely amazingly delicious and addicting they are. A thin toffee coating covers your favorite nutty delight and is rolled in cocoa. It is pure bliss.

2.  Pretzel rods dipped in chocolate, who wouldn’t love these? But beyond the sweet simplicity of pretzels dipped in chocolate, Fatty Sundays offers amazing flavor combos that will make your sweet heart go pitter-patter. My favorites are Toasted Coconut and Spicy Almond, but I’m dying to try Pumpkin Spice and Banana Cream.

3.  Not all jams are made equal, I’ll tell you that. The jams from m. greenwood are just exceptional. Delicate, subtle and sweet. Pear ginger is one of my favorites, but you can opt for a standby classic like Strawberry and be equally satisfied. Not in the mood for jam, how about the sweet gift of Apple Butter. A little sweet something for everyone!

4.  Bottega Louie macarons are almost too beautiful to eat. Everything about these petite precious sweets is perfect from their production to their packaging. A box of these will let anyone know just how sweet and special they are!

5.  Z Confections‘ generously coated kettle corn with the perfect sweet crunch, that’s what you get from Z Confections. While I can’t get enough of their Salted Caramel corn, the Coconut Curry and Rosemary can easily steal your heart. Perfect for the adventurous sweets lover in your life.

 

special thanks to @amccullaugh for the awesome sweet guide graphic!  ❤

The BEST Pumpkin Pie Milkshakes

It’s that time of year when everybody is talking about pumpkin. Seeing as Thanksgiving is only a few days away, I imagine we all have pie on the brain. Pumpkin pie. Or is it just me? While I do love pumpkin pie, I think pumpkin pie milkshakes are even better! Are you with me? Creamy and delicious ice cream, pumpkin, spices blended together in a cool and satisfying shake – now this is Fall LA style. Shake it up a bit, get your pumpkin pie fix in a glass. Here are some of the best Pumpkin Pie milkshakes in LA:

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The Counter changes up the formula a bit. They use vanilla bean ice cream and blend in pumpkin puree and spices. The vanilla and pumpkin are perfectly balanced and the freshly grated nutmeg topping takes this shake to the next level. Simple, sweet and satisfying. Save room for one of these after your burger!

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The Oinkster knows how to make a great shake. While I’m usually a die hard Ube Shake girl, it is hard to resist their Pumpkin Pie shake. They use Fosselman’s pumpkin ice cream and blend in crust. The result is a thick shake with real character. Spicy, sweet with big chunks of graham cracker crust. Yum!

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All the  wonderful qualities of pie in cold ice cream form. Sweet Rose Creamery makes a light and not too sweet pumpkin ice cream. They use all organic ingredients and Strauss dairy and the quality shows through in the ice cream. This pumpkin pie shake topped with freshly whipped cream is decadent perfection. You will not want to share so make sure everyone orders their own.

 

The Counter

2901 Ocean Park Blvd #102

Santa Monica, CA 90405

 

The Oinkster

2005 Colorado Blvd

Eagle Rock, CA 90041

 

Sweet Rose Creamery

225 26th Street #51

Santa Monica, Ca 90402

 

 

 

 

The Best Apple Pie

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Pie. It’s on my mind. As the air gets cooler and the leaves begin to change color, my mind turns to pie. Pie and the holidays just go together. Warm smells of spices, buttery flaky crusts – it evokes comfort and cozines. So let’s talk pie. Apple pie to be more specific. This is the BEST apple pie there is, are you ready for it?

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I recently had the pleasure of attending an incredible Pie Making Class at the New School of Cooking in Los Angeles. Teaching the class were Sherry Yard and Evan Kleinman. I mean pause and think about just how awesome that is and how amazing pie made by their hands would be. I did and I jumped at the opportunity to be a part of this class. The pie – it was life changing. While you may not bake quite as well as Sherry Yard, you can certainly give her recipe a go. Here it is (below) and if you need some pointers the New School of Cooking offers fun classes for all levels. They’re gearing up for the next session of their 6-month advanced professional culinary and pastry programs kicking off January 6th (hmm sounds like a good Christmas present eh!).

Sherry Yard’s Quintessential Apple Pie

Ingredients

  • 4 lbs. Braeburn Apples, peeled, quartered and cored
  • 2 Tbsp Calvados
  • the zest of one lemon, chopped fine
  • 4 Tbsp Lemon juice
  • ½ cup Sugar
  • ¼ cup All Purpose Flour
  • 1 tsp Salt, Maldon
  • ¾ tsp Cinnamon
  • ½ tsp Nutmeg
  • 1 recipe 3-2-1 Pie Crust, well chilled
  • Egg Wash: 1 egg plus 1 yolk, beaten

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F
  2. Cut the apple quarters in thirds crosswise. Combine in a bowl with the Calvados, lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar, flour, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.
  3. Roll out half the cold dough and drape it over a 9 or 10 inch pie pan. Let the dough hang over the rim by about ½ inch. Don’t pull or stretch the dough. Doing so will make the crust uneven.
  4. Fill the pie shell, mounding with the apple mixture.
  5. Brush only the edge of the bottom pie crust, along the rim, with the egg wash. Water works well here, too. This step will help the top crust adhere firmly to the bottom crust.
  6. Roll out the remaining dough. Top apples with this second round of dough. Trim the edges so that they hang over the rim by 1 inch.
  7. Gently tuck edge of top crust under the bottom crust and crimp the two together with your fingers.
  8. Brush entire top crust with egg wash. Sprinkle with sugar. Cut air slits.
  9. Place the pie on a sheet pan and place in oven. Bake 10 minutes at 425, then turn oven down to 350 degrees and bake for 1 hour to 1¼ hours, until crust is browned and the juices begin to bubble out. Serve warm.

Sherry Yard’s Master 3-2-1 Flaky Pie Dough

Ingredients

  • 8 oz Unsalted Butter
  • 3 cups All Purpose Flour
  • 2 Tbsp Sugar
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • ½ cup Ice Water, plus extra if needed, up to ⅔ cup
  • ½ tsp White Wine Vinegar or Champagne Vinegar

Instructions

  1. Cut the butter into 1 inch pieces and place it in the freezer to chill for 15 minutes.
  2. In the bowl of a standing electric mixer, sift together the flour and sugar.
  3. Fit with paddle attachment. Add butter and salt. On low speed, mix for about 2 minutes. Stop mixing and by hand pinch flat any large pieces of butter that remain.
  4. Combine the ice water and vinegar in a small bowl.
  5. Turn the mixer on low and add the liquid all at once. Pulse mixing just until the dough comes together, about 15 seconds.
  6. Remove the dough from the bowl and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill for at least 1 hour.
  7. After properly chilled, roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to desired thickness.

Sherry: Always, always…ALWAYS pre-bake your pie crust for a custard filled pie, like pumpkin for example. I use a clean daisy-shaped coffee filter sprayed with oil out of an aerosol can to line the shell. Then another one on top, also sprayed lightly with oil. Then I put the beans or pie weights in the filter. Bake the shell at 375-400 degrees till it’s almost done. The pie weights lift out easily with both filters. Then pour in your custard and finish baking at a lower temperature. 300 degrees.

Evan and Sherry: We agree that a slice of pie has the perfect filling to crust ratio. Miniature pies often have just too much crust. In this case, bigger really is better! We both love Pyrex to bake our pies in.

Sherry: People like to crimp the edges of their pie, but I like to cut mine with scissors. That straight edge shows off all the hard work you did to create a beautifully layered, flaky masterpiece.

This mini master class in perfect pie making drew to a close and I’d completely forgotten that I needed to go home. Fortunately I did not get pulled over for driving under the influence of too much pie! Evan and Sherry were delightful. Their blend of craftsmanship, technique, wisdom, encouragement and fun (the lol kind) was as balanced as any one of their delicious creations. Remember to go to KCRW.com/goodfood  and enter your pie in this year’s cookoff. Evan’s final tip…make sure the bottom crust of the pie is cooked! The End.

 

—  p.s. if you didn’t hear I got a little piece of the pie (so to speak too) and I was featured on Good Morning America talking about instagram and food…

Breaking News

National Donut Day!

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Everyday is National Donut Day isn’t it? Well, I guess technically it is not, although it certainly feels like it or maybe it’s more that I make everyday National Donut Day. But today is in fact National Donut Day, so happy National Donut Day!

Whether you are in LA, NYC, ATX, PDX or any other wonderful city or town there is a donut out there calling your name. Answer the call – eat a donut today!

Los Angeles, CA

DonutDay

In a city filled with donut shops, there is no shortage of options for celebrating National Donut Day, but how about we get creative. What if I told you that to celebrate you could enjoy with a donut ice cream sammie? Two wonderful sweets together as one. Two please! Today Coolhaus and Donut Snob join forces to offer a limited number of donut ice cream sammies. A vanilla glazed donut with some coffee ice cream sounds like a match made in dessert heaven!   <Available at the Coolhaus Culver City shop after 6pm while supplies last>

Austin, TX

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You can enjoy the same fun donut ice cream sammie offering from the Coolhaus ATX truck parked at 6th and Waller from 6pm-midnight! Enjoy a local farmers market fave Red Rabbit vanilla lavendar donuts paired with Coolhaus mango sorbet and Tahitian vanilla bean ice cream. Yum!

OR you can always hunt down my Austin decadent donut fave Gourdoughs. Have a Funky Monkey for me will ya!

New York City, NY

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You New Yorkers are blessed with having Doughnut Plant on your island. I’m jealous! If I lived in NY I’d likely have a doughnut a day. Do you? Break that Doughnut Plant routine just this once and celebrate National Donut Day with a different kind of donut. Head over to Tres Carnes to enjoy a double smoked churro donuts filled with crema de carmelo from Fanny Gerson (owner of LaNewyorkina). If that description didn’t make your mouth water, one look at these beauties will. I want one! Have one for me, pretty please.

Portland, OR

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I just returned from Portland. I ate A LOT… of donuts. They were so good, but Blue Star Donuts, well those are the best seriously! Bourbon Blueberry Basil was the standout donut for me. Imaginative flavors, freshly fried fluffy fat donuts. These donuts are magical. Portland go get one of these to celebrate!

 

Happy donut eating!

Gourdoughs | Austin, TX

Gourdoughs Donuts

Big Fat Donuts

I recenty returned from 8 busy days in Austin for SXSW. The highlight of my trip was definitely Gourdoughs. Big. Fat. Donuts. The name says it all, if you’re in a diet these aren’t for you. Fried to order, hefty donuts with ooey gooey toppings. My idea of heaven.

Gourdoughs Donuts

You can enjoy Gourdoughs two ways – at their Public House which is more of a sit down casual restuarant or at their vintage airstream trailer. I opted for the later, it seemed fitting. The menu is impressive with more flavors options than I would have ever dreamed of. At $4.50 a pop and given their size, it is tough to narrow your choices down to just a donut or two. After thoughtful deliberation I settled on two donuts (and took two cinnamon sugar donuts togo to bring back to LA and they microwave up like a dream).

Funky Monkey Donut - Gourdoughs Austin, TX

The Funky Monkey has grilled bananas, cream cheese icing and brown sugar. The donut is served hot out of the fryer so the exterior has a nice delicate crispiness and the inside is pillowy soft. The cream cheese icing melts into the warm donut as you cut into it. The grilled bananas are tender and the brown sugar brings the whole thing together. Eating these donuts is a loud affair. Take a bite and your eyes light up with joy and you can’t help by exclaim just how good these donuts are, at least that was my experience. That and a big scream when we pulled up to the trailer.

Son of a Peach - Gourdoughs Austin, TX

Son of a Peach is filled with peach pie filling and topped with cinnamon sugar and cake mix topping. At first I was perplexed by the cake mix topping, but it works. This is the donut version of a summer peach pie. Sweet, suple and satisfying.

Austin is an amazing city. Small enough that it is easy to navigate, lively enough that you will never get bored and packed with an inpired and delicious food scene. The purpose of my Austin trip was work. I recently got a new job! Yay! It’s still food related, but more sweets focused. You can find me working with Coolhaus (architecturally inspired ice cream sammies) so holler if you’re at a truck, find us in a market or stop by the LA shop! New job, new life direction, and new favorite donut. A lot of new and exciting changes for me, wish me luck!

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