Thursday, April 26, 2012

Milk Bar Grasshopper Pie

I have a wicked crush on a girl.  And my husband is ecstatic about it.  (And no...don't even go there.)  This is not a crush born of carnal need or lust.  It is a crush born of sugar, chocolate and a woman who is so full of baking genius it makes me gush with love.  Many of us are familiar with her, and if you are, you probably have a crush too.  Christina Tosi is simply amazing. 

Best baking cookbook I have ever laid eyes on.
I have seen Christina's (we can be on a first name basis, right?) recipes flying around the Internet lately.  After I saw the first one I knew I was in love.  Her recipes are incredibly involved with a multitude of steps to get to the final product.  Making one of her recipes is challenging and time-consuming and exactly what I crave when I devote my day to the kitchen.

These desserts are why my husband is happy about my crush.  He isn't jealous and he doesn't feel displaced in the least bit.  Desserts have been pouring into this household, and he's never one to complain about having sweets around.

The Grasshopper Pie was the first thing I chose to make when I got my grubby little hands on this book.  Regarding the level of difficulty, this was one of Christina's easier recipes. It still took some time, but it was fairly straightforward as far as baking techniques go.  I'm not going to lie...this pie was incredibly rich.  Like make-your-head-hurt sugary sweet.  It was awesome.  We figured out that if it is served from the refrigerator rather than at room temperature though, it mellows the sweetness and suddenly it is not just awesome, but swoon-worthy.


Milk Bar Grasshopper Pie

Graham Cracker Crust:

1 1/2 cups (90 g) graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup (20g) dried milk powder
2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup (55g) heavy cream

Grasshopper Pie:
4 1/2 ounces 72% chocolate, roughly chopped
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 large eggs
3/4 cup (150g) sugar
1/4 cup (40g) all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons dutch-process cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup (110g) heavy cream
2 tablespoons (20g) mini-chocolate chips
1/2 cup (25g) mini-marshmallows

Mint Cheesecake Filling:
2 ounces white chocolate
2 tablespoons grapeseed or canola oil
2 1/2 ounces (75g) cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 drops green food coloring

Mint Glaze:
1 ounce white chocolate
2 teaspoons grapeseed or canola oil
scant 1/8 teaspoon peppermint extract
1 drop green food coloring

Preheat oven to 350F.

Make the graham cracker crust: Whisk graham cracker crumbs, milk, sugar and salt in a medium bowl to thoroughly combine.  Whisk the butter and cream together and add to the dry ingredients.  Using your hands, toss all the ingredients together to evenly coat.  As you are tossing, it will start clumping together.  Press it together with your finger tips and it should hold its shape.  If it doesn't, add up to an additional 1 1/2 tablespoons of melted butter until desired consistency.

Add 1 1/4 cups (110g) of graham cracker crumb mixture to a 10-inch pie pan.  Working with your hands press the mixture on the bottom and up the sides of the pie pan.  Set aside.

Make the chocolate filling: Combine butter and chocolate in a small bowl and microwave for 30 seconds.  If mixture is not mostly melted, microwave an additional 20-30 seconds.  Use a spatula to stir ingredients together until silky and smooth. 

Combine the eggs and sugar in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk and whip for 3-4 minutes.  You will know they are done when they reach the ribbon state, which Christina describes as this: detach the whisk and dunk it into the egg mixture.  Wave it back and forth like a pendulum and the mixture should form thick silky ribbons that fall and then disappear into the mixture.  Continue whipping mixture until it reaches this state.

Change stand mixer attachment to the paddle.  Add the melted chocolate mixture into the eggs and paddle briefly on low and then increase the speed to medium for one minute or until the entire mixture is completely brown with no streaks remaining.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.

Add flour, cocoa and salt to the egg and chocolate mixture and paddle on low for 1 minute or until no lumps of dry ingredients remain.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. 

With the mixer on low, slowly pour in the heavy cream and mix for 30-45 seconds or until the cream is fully incorporated and no white streaks remain.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.

Remove mixer bowl from mixer and gently fold in 1/4 cup (45g) of remaining graham cracker crust crumbs.

Make the mint cheesecake filling: In a heat proof bowl, combine the white chocolate and oil and microwave for 30 seconds. If mixture is not mostly melted, microwave an additional 20-30 seconds. Use a spatula to stir ingredients together until silky and smooth. 

Combine cream cheese and powdered sugar in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle and mix on medium-low for 3 minutes.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl.  With the mixer on low, slowly add the white chocolate mixture and paddle for 1-2 minutes or until completely combined.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl. 

Add peppermint extract, salt and food coloring to the mixer bowl and paddle for 1-2 minutes or until thoroughly combined and the mixture is consistently green.

Assemble the pie: Place the graham cracker pie shell on a baking sheet.  Pour the mint cheesecake filling into the pie crust and spread evenly over the bottom.  Pour the chocolate mixture on top of the mint filling and spread evenly to the edges.  Sprinkle the mini-chocolate chips in a bulls eye around the center and then the marshmallows around the outer edge of the pie. 

Bake for 25 minutes until the edges are slightly puffy and the center still jiggles just a little bit.  The marshmallows will be tanned and the chocolate chips will have just started melting at this point.

Cool the pie completely before adding the mint glaze.

Mint Glaze: In a heat proof bowl, combine the white chocolate and oil and microwave for 30 seconds. If mixture is not mostly melted, microwave an additional 20-30 seconds. Use a spatula to stir ingredients together until silky and smooth.  Stir in the peppermint extract and food coloring until completely homogeneous in color.  Allow to cool for 15-20 minutes.

Using a fork, dunk the tines into the mint glaze and dangle the fork over the pie to create crisscrossing lines on the pie.  Put the pie in the fridge for 4-6 hours before serving to thoroughly chill (Christina doesn't say to do this, so it is a preference on my part, but we found the pie was significantly less rich and much more delicious eaten this way).  Once the pie is thoroughly chilled, cut it into slices and...


I caught a little pie-snatcher in the act!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Kitchie Tip: Chopping Basil & Sage

Hello Friends!  I have been gone too long.  Waaay too long, and I miss you so much!  I have a good excuse, I promise.  I am not quite ready to share this excuse with you, but will soon.  Another promise. Its a fun, good, and really exciting excuse.  Now I am just torturing you and will shut my trap and move on to my next task.  A quick and simple Kitchie Tip.

I hate chopping herbs.  Hate it hate it hate it.  It is an annoying task and one I try to pawn off on others as much as possible.  I still don't have a great solution for the likes of cilantro, parsley and tarragon; but basil and sage?  I've got you covered.  

I learned this from a friend of mine, Taren, who is a Pampered Chef consultant and always has great tips and tricks for cutting down your time in the kitchen.  So here goes...

1. Stack the basil leaves
2. Roll the leaves
3. Slice the leaves crosswise
4. Done!  Ta-da!


Do any of you have any tips for chopping other fresh herbs?  Cilantro especially is my nemesis, which sucks, because I love it so much.  Love/hate relationship big time.


I am loooong overdue for returning some major blog award love from some of my very favorite bloggers.  Please forgive me for my delayed thanks, and know that I am eternally grateful and full of love and pride for these awards.  Its amazing that even though I haven't written a food post in almost a month, the blog community love is still rolling in.  I adore you guys.

I received, not one, three, or five but SIX Versatile Blogger Awards!!  (Fainting... )  These kept rolling in from these lovely ladies, whom I adore for more reasons than giving me thank you my dear friends....Anna at Crunchy Creamy Sweet, Pennie at Passioneats, Jules at Bananamondaes, Kayle at The Cooking Actress, Jessica at A Kitchen Addiction and Kim at Treats & Trinkets.  Upon acceptance of this award I am supposed to share seven random facts about myself and then pass the award along to 15 of my favorite bloggers.  So, here goes:

1. I never had a huge sweet tooth until I got pregnant with my daughter Anna.  Now my sweet tooth has a tendency to be insatiable.
2. I wear sunscreen every single day of the year...sunny, rainy, cloudy or snowy!
3. French fries are my favorite food in the whole entire world.  And I do not discriminate.  No french fry is bad, there are just some that happen to be phenomenally better than others.  In fact, I usually pick where I want to eat out based on their french fries.  I love them.
4. I have a love/hate relationship with running.  I hate the thought of getting my butt out the door, but when I am done I find that runner's high and fall in love again.
5. I am an accountant, but I want to be a pastry chef. 
6. A good glass of wine and snuggling up with Mace and Anna is the perfect end to any day (and you might as well throw a few cookies in there to really top it off).
7. I am always cold.  When others are sweating, I am usually wearing a sweater.

I am having a hard time finding bloggers I love that haven't already received multiple Versatile Blogger Awards, so this one if up for the taking.  If you haven't received the Versatile Blogger Award yet, you're a blogger, and you're reading this, consider yourself awarded!  Please grab the badge below and continue spreading the love!

Secondly, I was given the Happy Blogger Award by Neshanne at Oishii Treats and Anna at Crunchy Creamy Sweet.  There are no special requirements for this award but to pass it along to 10 other bloggers.  I imagine it should be bloggers that exude happiness and sunshine, like the little award guy below!  :-)

I am passing this award on to ten very happy and sunshiney favorite bloggers of mine.  Thank you my friends for always bringing a ray of sunshine to my day!  Pennie at Passioneats, Kayle at The Cooking Actress, Chocolate Chip Uru at Go Bake Yourself, Leanne at Around the Table: Loving Food in RI & Beyond, Alyssa at Mom de Cuisine, Colleen at The Smart Cookie, Laura at Sprint 2 the Table, Krista at Cucina 49, Erin at Dinners Dishes and Desserts, and Stefanie at Sarcastic Cooking.

And finally...I was given two awards in one pretty little package, The Kreativ Blogger Award and the the Sunshine Award, by the Chocolate Chip Uru herself at Go Bake Yourself

For the Sunshine Award I am supposed to answer the questions below and then pass it along to 10 other bloggers.  For the Kreative Blogger award I am supposed to give randon facts about myself and I will defer to the above so as not to bore you all to death with an enormous amount of facts about me!

  • Favourite Colour – Blue, any shade
  • Favourite Animal – Dog
  • Favourite Number – 8
  • Favourite Non-Alcoholic Drink – Seltzer Water
  • Prefer Facebook or Twitter – Facebook, I still don't totally "get" Twitter.
  • My Passion – Being in the kitchen, especially baking
  • Prefer Getting or Giving Presents – Ah crap, I love em both.
  • Favourite Pattern – I don't get it...Is chocolate chip cookie a pattern?
  • Favourite Day of the Week – Friday, its the beginning of my weekend and I know I have a nice long weekend ahead of me every Friday morning when I wake up.
  • Favourite Flower – It so happens to be gerbera daisies which is the flower pictured in the award badge.  Nice.

  • I am passing this cute little award package on to the following bloggers: Neshanne at Oishii Treats, Anna at Crunchy Creamy Sweet, Rachel at My Naturally Frugal Family, Amy at Gastronome Tart, Kim at Treats & Trinkets, Jessica at A Kitchen Addiction, Tammi at Momma's Meals, Kyleen at Sixteen Beans, Aylin at Glow Kitchen, and Stephanie at Eat. Drink. Love.

    Friday, April 6, 2012

    My Dad is Amazing

    This is my dad.  And he is AMAZING.  Truly amazing.

    Why is he amazing, you ask?  Well, besides his obvious good looks, charm, and being one of the most thoughtful, caring, loving human beings I know, he's also written some books.  Some really good books.

    My dad, Spike, started off first as a school teacher, then switched to carpentry and finally worked his way up the ranks at The Family Handyman magazine to become Executive Editor.  Then, he took the bravest step of all...he quit his financially secure dream job to pursue a writing career.  For so many people this could have been a dead end.  Not for Spike.  He is the hardest working, most persistent man I know.  And now, just a handful of years later he has not one, not two, but three books in publication.

    If you have a woodworker, aspiring woodworker, or wood enthusiast in your life, then these books are the perfect gift for them.  Actually, even if you don't know any of these kinds of people, I am pretty sure you'll get a kick out of these books.  And I'm not just saying that because he's my dad either.   Check them out and you'll see why...

    He wrote this book:

    Photo from

    A Splintered History of Wood was voted one of NPR's ten best books of 2008 as chosen by small book shop owners.  It is the fascinating story of wood throughout history and examines how wood has changed the course of our daily lives throughout the ages.  He takes a subject that could be dry and dull and turns it into something truly enchanting and fun to read.  I mean seriously, did you know that there is such thing as belt sander races??  And that there are some truly talented blind woodworkers out there?  That's some pretty cool stuff there.

    He also wrote this book:

    Photo from
    Ridiculously Simple Furniture Projects is chock full of simple, yet useful furniture ideas.  And, there may or may not be an awesome recipe stand contained within named after one of his daughters.  I use this recipe stand on a daily basis.  Obviously.

    And because these two books were both so wildly successful, he was asked to write another book.  This book just became available for purchase on Monday:

    Photo from

    Woodworking FAQ: The Workshop Companion  "has everything you want to know, whether you're a beginner planning your first project or an experienced crafter putting in cabinets or making furniture. This book is like a master carpenter standing at your elbow to answer questions as they arise" (from  I am still patiently waiting for my copy to arrive in the mail, but cannot wait to check it out.  You should too!

    He's also started a blog which is cleverly titled Spike Carlsen, which you can find here.

    I am so proud of you Daddio!!  You are an inspiration.  Congrats on book #3, and I can't wait to see what your next 3 (6? 9?) books have in store.