Chocolate Guinness Cake

chocolategunnessscake

Here’s how you know I’m the real deal: whereas most food publications will cram an upcoming holiday down your throat in hopes that you’ll link to their page as you plan your holiday meal, I’m not so clever or strategic. I wait until the holiday’s over, when the post will no longer be relevant, and then I blog about it. This means: (1) I’m not very smart; and (2) I’m pretty authentic. And so it is that I share with you now a cake that would’ve been very nice to bring to a St. Paddy’s Day Dinner this past weekend (as I did) but which you will probably not make anymore because the holiday’s over.

Continue Reading

Is “The Best Chocolate Cake In The World” The Best Chocolate Cake In The World?

IMG_1691

About a year ago, a place opened up in SoHo/Nolita called “The Best Chocolate Cake in The World.” A tongue-in-cheek act of hubris, sort of like the novel “Winner of the National Book Award,” foodies were skeptical. Many who went there dismissed it as overrated. Me? I forgot about it. But last week, after having lunch with my friends Leland Scruby (of the French Culinary Institute) and Bao Ong (whose name you may recognize from the the New York Times Diner’s Journal blog) I asked if they wanted to check it out because it was right around the corner from where we were eating (Falai). They gladly assented.

Continue Reading

The Warm Chocolate Chip Cookie at Jacques Torres

IMG_0653

Citizens of America, it is my duty to inform you about something unholy, something sinful that is going on in that wicked city known as New York. Deep in the bowels of a village known as “West” is a veritable Sodom & Gomorrah of chocolate whose creator, a Frenchman!, is trying to tempt our children into evil with a contraption known as the “cookie warmer.” This sick device results in the dangerous, corrupting specimen you see above!

Continue Reading

Mississippi Mud Pie (From The Sky)

IMG_1807

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No it’s me, The Amateur Gourmet, blogging to you live from Delta flight 2243, en route to Atlanta, Georgia.

Yes, this is an absolute first for me, my first blog post written from a plane. And I choose, as my subject matter, a dessert that I made back in December, before it got wicked cold out. And it’s a cold dessert so you might be thinking: why would we eat something from the freezer when it’s 0 degrees on the thermometer? Patience, people, I have my reasons.

Continue Reading

Chocolate Gingerbread Cake

IMG_1893

It’s pretty comical to come to Bellingham, Washington for Christmas. Comical because, for this Boca Ratonian Jew, it’s like stepping out of a noisy deli into a Christmas card. I’m writing this right now in a coffee shop with a Yule log burning on the fire and several people sitting around me who look like Santa Claus. Last night, when Craig and I stepped out of the car after driving up here from Seattle, a crowd of people stood around a bonfire singing Christmas carols. He’s not even dead but I’m pretty sure the rabbi who oversaw my Bar Mitzvah is rolling around in his grave.

Continue Reading

Pfeffernussen, Orange Sables & The Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookie of Your Dreams

cookiespread1

The Baking Bug isn’t a ladybug, it’s a wasp: once it stings you, you’ve been stung.

Such has been the case with my friend Josh Hume, director of my show on Food2 and a recent convert to the world of baking. He loves it. He calls himself Man Martha because of his love for Martha Stewart’s recipes and, most recently, he represented me at a Bon Appetit Magazine blogger bake-off. (Check out his bouche!) It’s no surprise, then, that Josh approached holiday baking this year with a fervor; not only did he bake cakes for several friends’ birthday parties (big, elaborate cakes) but he planned an enormous Christmas cookie exchange and assigned each person a different cookie to bring. My assignment? Pfeffernussen.

Continue Reading

How To Make a Chocolate Souffle

One of the highlights of making our Amateur Gourmet show for Food2.com, was the day we got to visit the kitchen of Le Bernardin–one of the nation’s, if not the world’s, great restaurants–to learn how to make a chocolate souffle from revered pastry chef (and blogger!) Michael Laiskonis. What follows is the video we made, with step-by-step instructions that result in a chocolatey souffle that’s as ethereal as it is delicious. Hope you enjoy! [For the full typed-out recipe, click here.]

Barcelona, A Reflection

IMG_1.JPG

Before I left for Barcelona, two weeks ago, I created a three-ring binder of essential information. The first tab said “Hotels” and there I printed out the confirmations for the Hotel Banys Orientals, where we’d stay for most of the trip, and Hotel Coral Playa, where we’d stay when we went to Roses for dinner at El Bulli. (Note: both hotels were great choices, thank you all for your tips.) The second tab said “E-mails” and there I kept all the direct e-mails I received about where to go and eat in Barcelona. Tab three was “Comments” and I printed out all your comments from this post, highlighting the most commonly reoccurring restaurant suggestions, and then, in Tab Four “NYT,” I printed out profiles of those highlighted restaurants from the New York Times Barcelona page. Suffice it to say, I arrived in Barcelona fully prepped and ready.

Continue Reading