christina tosi’s cornbake

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Since receiving Milk Bar Life as a gift, I’ve been making an effort to bake my way through some of the recipes with varying degrees of success. I was most excited for the Grandma’s Oatmeal Cookies. While delicious, I have yet to get them to come out the texture that is portrayed in the book pictures, so I have not yet shared that recipe for you (though Mr. Eats is happy to keep eating the failed attempts for me). I successfully made Tosi’s gorgeous Fruity Pebble Meringues, and now I have made what Mr. Eats has deemed “the best cornbread he’s ever had.”

This recipe, like most of Tosi’s recipes, is very generous in the butter department. I followed the recipe as written, because I wanted to see how it came out. While it was delicious as-written I think that you could easily reduce the amount of butter by at least a half a stick without any issues, and I plan to make it that way going forward. If you’re too scared to make that big of a change (that’s about 1/4 of the butter called for), you can reduce it by less.

The recipe calls for a 10-inch round cake pan or a 9-inch square pan. Luckily, I own neither of those so I baked it in a 9-inch round pan with very high edges instead, which added about 8 minutes to the baking time. You will know the cornbake is done with the center is not jiggly at all and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out almost completely clean, with a few crumbs sticking to it. If the cake browns too much before it has completed baking, cover the top loosely with a sheet of foil and continue to bake until it is finished.

This cornbake is great served slightly warm, but even better the next day. You can rewarm pieces in the microwave for a few seconds, or just sneak them off of the serving dish and eat them cold while no one’s watching. Either way, a generous drizzle of honey (I’ve been a big fan of this one from Trader Joe’s as of late) is highly recommended.

milk bar life’s cornbake

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 55 minutes

Yield: 1 10-inch loaf


    Dry ingredients:
  • 1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Wet ingredients
  • 8 ounces whole-fat sour cream, room temperature
  • 1 (14.75-ounce) can creamed corn
  • 1 cup (2 sticks)* unsalted butter, melted (see note below)
  • 1 cup fresh cooked sweet corn (you may use frozen, but be sure to thaw it to room temperature first)
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup honey, plus more for serving
  • 2 Tablespoons whole milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon white vinegar


  1. Preheat oven to 400F degrees and prepare a 10-inch round baking pan with butter or nonstick spray.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients until combined.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients until completely mixed.
  4. Pour dry ingredients into wet ingredients and fold them in with a spatula until well combined and no more flour streaks remain.
  5. Pour mixture into prepared pan and bake for 45 to 50 minutes until the top is a deep golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean with a few crumbs sticking to it.
  6. Cool in its pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes, then invert out of pan to complete cooling.
  7. Bread is best served slightly warm and drizzled with honey.


* I have a feeling that you could easily reduce the butter here by a half stick (4 Tablespoons) without any issue, however I wanted to test the recipe as-written, for science.

* Make sure all of your ingredients are at room temperature. If your ingredients are too cold, the melted butter will solidify into regular butter and you will be very sad.

* Fresh or frozen sweet corn would work here, just make sure it is at room temperature along with the rest of your ingredients. I suspect a generous helping (1/4 to 1/2 cup) of green chiles would do well in this, too.

[ Recipe from Milk Bar Life ]

thursday things – a very momofuku birthday

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It happened. On Monday I officially said “goodbye” to my 20s and dove headfirst into the big 3-0. I’m officially a grown up, and I know this because I got furniture for my birthday. Yep. Furniture.

Not only did I get furniture, but I was excited about it. EXCITED. ABOUT FURNITURE. WHAT’S WRONG WITH ME?

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samoa cookie ice cream cake


December is a crappy month to have your birthday. It’s the kind of month where your birthday is often overlooked, your birthday gift is usually combined with your Christmas present, no one can come to your party because they’re all too busy doing other family and holiday things, and your cake is tucked away and forgotten about until February when things have finally started to calm down again. (Or, the pictures are at least.)

Screw you, December. Am I right?

If you asked Mr. Eats, he would tell you the other drawback of having a December birthday is that he never gets his favorite kind of cake: ice cream cake. Because it’s December and who eats ice cream in December? That’s just silly! (Or that’s what I keep telling him, at least.)

That being said, since we were making an effort to make his birthday extra awesome this year, after many years (six, to be exact) of him asking… I finally made him an ice cream cake for his birthday.

Not just any ice cream cake, but a Samoa Cookie Ice Cream Cake. Which is relevant again in February, because hey guys! It’s Girl Scout Cookie Season! I know because they have set up shop outside our local grocer, and I’ve had to bury my face in my phone when I leave the store to prevent from being assaulted. WHO CAN SAY NO TO TINY GIRL SCOUNTS? My sister even offered to ship me boxes if I need them because, you know, that’s totally normal.

ice cream cake 2

So here is my belated (but still relevant) Samoa cookie ice cream cake. If you have never had a Samoa before, I feel bad for you, but let me explain to you what this involves. The cookie is a layer of shortbread, covered with a caramelly-coconut layer, then finished with a layer of chocolate drizzle. I made a bar version of them last year, too.

For this “cake”, you have a layer of shortbread cookie crust, which I guess is optional but I wanted to be able to move the thing. That is topped by a layer of salted-caramel shortbread ice cream, which is topped with more salted caramel and chopped up samoa cookies, then a layer of milk chocolate ice cream that has been swirled with Samoa cookies and chocolate.

I’m drooling just thinking about it.

Now, before we get to the recipe, let me warn you. The recipe is long. It is long because it is actually like six recipes combined into one amazing recipe. DO NOT LET THIS SCARE YOU. I am super lazy and I made it which means YOU CAN MAKE IT TOO!

So, before we get started, here are a couple of things to keep in mind: 

1. If you have the type of ice cream maker that requires a 24-hour chilling period before you spin, you will want to build that into your recipe. Most likely, you will have to spread out your ice cream making over two days.

2. While I made my ice creams from scratch, you could absolutely use your favorite store-bought ice creams as stand-ins. Just let them soften on the counter for about 15 minutes before attempting to mold them into cake form.

3. Likewise, you could make, spin, and package the ice creams way ahead of time, then soften them and mold them into cake form one day in advance.

4. No Girl Scout Cookies? No Problem! Nowadays they even have all those brand name NON-girl-scout cookies, which means you can actually make this cake any time of year, regardless of how many Girl Scout cookies you have hoarded in your stash. I promise I won’t tell.

5. Overwhelmed? Don’t be! Break the process up into parts that you are comfortable with. Here is what my process looked like?

  • I made both of my ice cream bases and the cookie crust on Day 1.
  • I made the sauces and spun my first ice cream on Day 2, then washed and chilled my container for another 24 hours (which meant Day 3 was out of bounds).
  • I spun my second batch of ice cream on Day 4. Day 4 was a workday but it didn’t matter because it took like 20 minutes to pour my pre-made ice cream base into the spinning canister and let it work its magic.

6. In a Jam? Tweet me! I try to keep an act on all modes of communication, but my phone alerts me when you tweet at me, so just tweet me with your questions and I’ll be happy to help!

Now go get ‘em, tiger!

samoa cookie ice cream cake

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 12 hours, 40 minutes

Yield: 1 10 by 5 inch loaf cake

While I made my ice creams from scratch, you can definitely substitute you favorite store-bought flavors and sauces as well. You will not use all of the sauces, and that's ok because it means you will have extra to drizzle over the cake slices when serving!


  • 1 recipe cookie crust (optional)
  • 1 recipe chocolate ice cream
  • 1 recipe cookie ice cream
  • 1 box samoa cookies
  • 1 box trefoil cookies
  • 1 recipe salted caramel
  • 1 recipe chocolate shell
  • 10 by 5 inch loaf pan
  • For the crust
  • 1 1/2 cups shortbread cookie crumbs
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • For the salted caramel
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon fleur de sel
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • For the chocolate shell
  • 12 ounces chocolate of your choice, chopped
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • For the shortbread ice cream
  • 2 2/3 cups whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 2 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup light corn syrup
  • 3/4 cup shortbread cookies, roughly chopped
  • For the chocolate ice cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 2 ounces bittersweet (70% or more) chocolate, chopped
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 2/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt


    Make the cookie crust
  1. Wrap the inside of a loaf pan with saran wrap, allowing for some overhang. This will make it much easier to remove the ice cream later, trust me.
  2. Melt butter and pour into cookie crumbs. Stir until crumbs are the texture of wet sand, and press into saran or parchment-wrapped loaf pan. Place into freezer to chill.
  3. Make the salted caramel
  4. In a small saucepan, combine the cream and fleur de sel. Bring to a simmer over very low heat until the salt is dissolved. (I hate dirtying extra pans, so I cheated and warmed mine in the microwave for just under a minute, stirring to ensure the salt dissolved).
  5. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan combine 1/4 cup water, the sugar, and corn syrup, stirring them together carefully so you don't splash the sides of the pan.
  6. Cook sugar mixture over high heat until an instant-read thermometer reads 350 degrees F*(see note above), 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool for 1 minute.
  7. Add the cream mixture to the sugar mixture. Whisk in the sour cream. Let the caramel cool to room temperature, then transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate until you are ready to spin the ice cream This can be made up to two days in advance.
  8. Make the chocolate shell
  9. Combine coconut water and chopped chocolate in a bowl and set over a saucepan of simmering water. Stir until chocolate is almost completely melted. Remove from heat and continue stirring until completely smooth.
  10. Alternatively, you can melt the chocolate and coconut oil together in a microwave-safe bowl in 30-second intervals at 50% power until almost completely melted. Remove from microwave and continue stirring until completely melted. Set aside until you are ready to use.
  11. Make the shortbread cookie base
  12. Mix 2 tablespoons of milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl. In a large bowl, mix the cream cheese and sea salt until smooth. Fill a separate large bowl with ice water and set aside.
  13. In a large saucepan, combine the remaining milk, cream, sugar, and corn syrup. Turn heat to medium-high and bring to boil. Boil for 4 minutes, then remove from heat and gradually whisk in the cornstarch mixture.
  14. Return the pan to the heat and bring to a boil for another minute.
  15. Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese until smooth. Add the chopped cookies and set aside while the cookies steep, about 5 minutes.
  16. Force mixture through a sieve, then pour into a gallon-sized ziploc bag. Submerge in ice water until chilled, then transfer to refrigerator until ready to spin.
  17. Make the chocolate ice cream base
  18. Mix 2 tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl (this is called “making a slurry”). Set aside.
  19. Chop chocolate and put it into a medium bowl. Fill a separate large bowl with ice water.
  20. Combine the remaining milk, the cream, evaporated milk, sugar, and corn syrup in a large saucepan and bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat. Add the cocoa, whisking until well-mixed. Continue boiling for 4 minutes.
  21. Remove the pan from heat and gradually whisk in the cornstarch slurry. Return to heat and bring back to a boil, stirring with a spatula, until slightly thickened (about 1 minute).
  22. Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the chocolate. Add salt and whisk until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.
  23. Pour mixture into a 1-gallon freezer bag and submerge sealed bag in ice water until cold (appx 30 minutes). *See note
  24. Refrigerate the base until you are ready to spin your ice cream.
  25. Spin the shortbread ice cream
  26. Pour shortbread base into ice cream maker and spin per manufacturer's directions.
  27. Chop 1/2 cup shortbread cookies, and add to ice cream in the last 30 seconds or so of spinning.
  28. Remove shortbread crust from freezer and pour shortbread ice cream on top of the crust, alternating with salted caramel, until you have reached about halfway up the loaf pan - I did not use all of my shortbread ice cream and packed the rest away separately (I had about a 1/2 pint left over).
  29. Place loaf pan back into the freezer to harden for at least four hours, covering with saran or parchment to protect from freezer burn.
  30. Spin the chocolate ice cream.
  31. Once the shortbread ice cream layer has set, spin the chocolate ice cream per the manufacturer's directions.
  32. Chop 1 cup of the samoa cookies and set aside. Melt the chocolate shell and set aside.
  33. Mix half of the samoas and a few tablespoons of the chocolate shell into the ice cream at that last 30 seconds or so of spinning.
  34. Remove the loaf pan from the freezer and remove any protective parchment or saran.
  35. Drizzle a layer of caramel, and chocolate on top of the shortbread layer, and sprinkle with remaining chopped samoa cookies.
  36. Pour chocolate ice cream over this and cover with saran or parchment and return to freezer for 8 hours to harden.
  37. When ready to serve, remove ice cream from loaf pan and set onto a cutting board. Remove saran and slice crosswise into pieces.


* The easiest way to transfer your liquid base to a ziploc bag is to press the bag into a 4-cup measuring cup and pour the base into there. That allows you to support the bag while pouring. If you have a friend who can help you out, that always works too.

* You may need two boxes of trefoils, but if you buy the Keebler shortbread cookies you will only need one box.

[ Ice cream recipes from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home & Jeni’s Splendid Desserts ]

[ Salted caramel recipe from Baked Sweet & Salty Cake FROM: BAKED: New Frontiers in Baking ]

salted caramel pumpkin roll

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Pumpkin rolls are one of my favorite desserts and it kinda sucks because I only get to eat them once a year. For some reason it’s less acceptable to enjoy a pumpkin roll from January through October, but November? November is fair game. I think I’m going to make an effort to bring it back in 2015. This March, PUMPKIN ROLL BIRTHDAY  CAKE! You heard it here first, guys.

I took a big risk making this for Thanksgiving. We’ve talked about it before, the fact that Mr. Eats has a deep love for my praline pumpkin cake. I mean, I love it too, but I also like to not eat the same exact thing every year for Thanksgiving. This meant that a regular old pumpkin roll just wasn’t going to cut it. I needed to kick it up a notch. I

First thought? I know! Praline pumpkin roll! Which did seem like a good idea until I realized the praline would just crack off of the roll, assuming I was able to even roll the cake with hot, molten, drippy praline all over it. So I used my second thought instead: salted caramel.

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Initially I thought a beautiful salted caramel layer swirled between the cake and frosting would be gorgeous and delicious, and maybe it would have been, except for one small issue… You see, caramel is liquid and so it did what liquid does and oozed out… all over the counter. I really wish I had been able to snap a picture but I was too busy trying to fanangle my pumpkin roll and yelling “I MADE A MISTAKE” and “OH GOD NO” in the kitchen, so there was no time.

Back to the drawing board.

The solution, of course, was to beat the caramel IN the frosting. That way you get all of that salted caramel flavor and zero mess on the counter. Well, not zero mess. Pumpkin rolls are a bit on the messy side, but the mess won’t be caramel, so at least you’ll have that going for you.



This is the part where I tell you how to roll up your pumpkin roll without it cracking. And I would really love to tell you that, except that I’m 0 for 3 at the moment… However, I did some research (read: talked to some pumpkin-rolling masters) and we decided that I was most likely rolling the cake too tightly. So when you’re rolling, roll it loosely and gently and with care. Then say a prayer.

The good news is that if you do crack it, it will still taste just as good. And if you use some artistic liberty in your photos and angle the roll “just so” and crop out most of the cracks no one will ever know it cracked to begin with! Well, except the people who are actually eating it. Just slice it before you serve it and those dummies won’t know any better anyway.

pumpkin roll 0116

salted caramel pumpkin roll

Prep time: 

Cook time: 

Total time: 

Serves: 1 10-inch roll

  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ⅔ canned pumpkin puree
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar
Salted Caramel:
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspooon fleur de sel
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons light corn syrup
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 1 (8-oz) package cream cheese
  • 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup salted caramel
Make the cake:
  1. Preheat oven to 375F. Grease a 10 by 15-inch jelly roll pan and line with parchment.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In a large bowl, eat the eggs and sugar on medium speed until thick and foamy.
  4. Add pumpkin puree and continue to beat until combined. Stir in flour mixture and pour into prepared pan.
  5. Bake 10 to 15 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  6. Dust a dish towel with ¼ cup powdered sugar and invert cake onto towel. Starting from the short end, loosely roll the cake until a spiral and place on a wire rack to cool completely.
Make the salted caramel:
  1. In a small saucepan mix the water, sugar, and corn syrup. Stir to combine.
  2. Mix heavy cream and fleur de sel in a small measuring cup and heat in the microwave for about 1 minute until it is hot. Stir to dissolve the salt.
  3. Heat over high heat until it reaches about 340F and is dark amber in color. Remove from heat and allow to sit for 1 minute.
  4. Carefully pour the heavy cream into the sugar mixture (it will bubble and spit), whisk to combine. Add the sour cream and continue whisking until it is incorporated. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside to cool completely.
Make the filling.
  1. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter at medium high until combine. Add the vanilla and powdered sugar and continue beating until light and fluffy.
  2. Add the salted caramel and beat to combine. (You could also probably just stir the salted caramel in for a more swirly effect but, whatever)
Fill the cake:
  1. Carefully unroll the cake, if it breaks just keep going, you've come too far to stop now.
  2. Spread filling onto cake leaving one inch un-frosted at the end and re-roll into spiral. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and place into refrigerator to chill for at least 4 hours.
Once chilled, you can move the roll to the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw roll overnight in the refrigerator prior to serving.

[ Pumpkin roll recipe source: Libby’s Pumpkin ]

[ Salted caramel recipe source: Baked Sweet & Salty Cake FROM: BAKED: New Frontiers in Baking ]

pumpkin pie bites

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What is a pumpkin pie bite, you ask? Well, imagine all of the flavor and texture of a pumpkin pie in one tiny bite-sized snack.

It all started with this recipe, which is a spin on a thing called “impossible pies” which I guess were a thing before I was around. You take Bisquick (or any standard all purpose baking mix) and mix it with some pumpkin, sugar, and egg, throw it in some cupcake tins and bake it. Once it’s cooked you cool it and store in the fridge and it magically becomes the texture of a pumpkin pie.

Halloween is the perfect time for magic, don’t you agree?

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If Mr. Eats were here he would tell you that they are also delicious fresh out of the oven. He would then tell you that they really do taste like pumpkin pie when you put them in the fridge. Then he would tell you that he hates white chocolate and that I tricked him into eating these by telling him it was “just white coating” and definitely not white chocolate.

He would then tell you that he forgave me for my indiscretion because after I came clean about tricking him into eating white chocolate, he decided to start coating everything within arm’s reach in the stuff. He even said that it “was actually really good, especially for white chocolate.”

For dipping, I decided to finally try out Chocoley’s white chocolate. If it sounds familiar, you may remember them as the chocolate I used for my peanut butter eggs back in April. If you’re having a hard time deciding between the “dipping and coating” or the “candy and molding” varieties, you can see a better example there of the differences in finish. I used the dipping and coating formula for these because I just wanted a thin, matte shell and it did the job perfectly.

Mr. Eats still thinks he hates white chocolate, but I guess this is an exception to the rule since he devoured this stuff.  In fact, after I finished dipping the pumpkin bites, he joined me in the kitchen and started dipping apple slices and pretty much anything else within reach into the stuff, which I think is even more proof of the recipe’s magical powers.

pumpkin pie bites

Yield: 12 mini "pies" or 48 "bites"


    For the pumpkin pies
  • 1 cup All-Purpose Baking Mix (I used Bisquick)
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree
  • 2 tablespoons very soft butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk (whole or evaporated)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • For the bites
  • 3 cups white chocolate coating (I used Chocoley's white chocolate)
  • Sprinkles, for decorating
  • Parchment-lined baking sheet


    Make the pies
  1. Preheat oven to 350F and line a cupcake tin with liners.
  2. In a large bowl mix together the dry ingredients. Add the butter and whisk to combine. Add pumpkin and continue to mix until blended.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, and vanilla extract until the eggs are blended. Pour into the pumpkin mixture and stir until the batter is smooth (it will be pretty thin).
  4. Fill cupcake liners about 3/4 full and bake about 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan completely, about 30 minutes, then remove from the cupcake tin and transfer to the refrigerator to chill for 2 to 4 hours until cold.
  5. You could enjoy them as-is, but why do that when you could turn them into adorable little bites?
  6. Make the bites
  7. Cut each "pie" into 4 wedges. Melt white chocolate in a double-boiler or melt it in 30 second intervals at 50% power in the microwave, stirring in between intervals, until completely melted.
  8. Dip each wedge into the chocolate coating until completely covered, remove with a fork and shake off excess chocolate.
  9. Set onto parchment-lined baking sheet and sprinkle with desired decorations.


Recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour


pumpkin pie bites |