Around Town: Levain Bakery, New York City

levain bakery

Whenever I’m on the Upper West Side, I always make a stop at Levain Bakery. Though it’s very popular, I’ve only had to stand in a long line once. I go just for the cookies, but their bread, pastries, and coffee are frequently ordered items. I find myself dreaming about the Chocolate Chip Walnut cookies, and if I’m really in the mood for chocolate, the Double Chocolate Chocolate Chip (pictured above) hits the spot. The latter is a mix between a fudge brownie and cookie.

The cookies are heavy and dense, but incredible. They are crispy on the outside, but soft and doughy on the inside. Though the cookies certainly aren’t inexpensive ($4 each!), they’re huge and are worth every bite. Visit Levain with a sweet tooth and an empty stomach – you won’t regret it.

Levain Bakery
167 West 74th St
New York, NY, 10023

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Images by Lauren

Around Town: Morgenstern’s Finest Ice Cream, New York City

Morgenstern’s Finest Ice Cream is a contemporary twist on the traditional ice cream parlor, which is clear in their shop design, delicious ice cream, and the overall vibe of the place. I first enjoyed Morgenstern’s ice cream last month, and when I was in the neighborhood recently, I couldn’t resist going again.

I’ve enjoyed the Chocolate and Cafe Latte so far, but I can’t wait to try some of their other flavors such as Green Tea Pistachio, Black Strap Rum, and Maple Syrup Vanilla. Pro tip: get a couple of flavors with toppings (a few include honey, pickled pineapple, and toasted coconut) in the Monster (waffle) cone for a well-rounded treat. Also, they only take cash.

Morgenstern’s Finest Ice Cream
2 Rivington Street / NY, NY 10002

Images by Lauren

That’s a Wrap!

grahams

I usually have some sort of sweet every day, but my treat of the moment are these chocolate covered grahams from Russ & Daughters. The chocolate is decadent, the grahams are crunchy…it’s the perfect combination. Needless to say, I’ll be going back for a whole lot more than .27 lbs worth (about 4 grahams). This week involved a lot of catching up on work and sleep due to last week’s major deadlines, and this weekend I look forward to escaping NYC for a short while (follow me here for behind-the-scenes of all things food and film). Until then, let’s wrap up the week with a recap…

* In honor of the Tribeca Film Festival kicking off on Wednesday (and film festival season starting!), here are 15 travel-worthy film festivals around the world.

Orange is the New Black has (already) been renewed for Season 4!

* Even astronauts need espresso.

* 10 wedding cake trends.

* The state of ramen.

* I love that there’s going to be a Wonder Woman movie. A new director was just announced for the film.

* Ice cream innovations for spring. Yum!

* HBO to Netflix: bring it on. Oh boy.

Have a relaxing weekend!

Photo by Lauren

Flourless Brownie Cupcakes

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I was inspired to try making flourless brownies while standing in the middle of the baking aisle at the grocery store. I was curious as to what flourless brownies would taste like and decided right then and there that I was up for the challenge. Turns out, it’s not so challenging, and these flourless brownies were more delicious and rich than brownies I’ve ever made with flour. This was also my first time using coconut sugar (a sugar produced from the sap of cut flower buds of the coconut palm) and arrowroot powder (a starch that comes from the rhizomes of several tropical plants) – very exciting. The top of the brownies are crispy/crinkly (insert word here for ‘top of brownie perfection’) and the insides are soft and decadent. Chocolate lovers, you won’t regret making these.

I wish I could capture the smell from the oven when these brownies were baking – it was unbelievable (and a good sign that my brownies were turning out alright). Try them for yourselves – they’re a healthy alternative to white sugar-loaded brownies and you’ll feel a little less guilty for eating four or five of them fresh out of the oven.

No butter, no flour, no problem. But – if you are craving brownies with flour, these are a winner.

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Ingredients

6 Tbsp. coconut oil
7 oz. semisweet chocolate chips
2 eggs
2/3 cup coconut sugar (or granulated sugar)
2 ¼ tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3 Tbsp. arrowroot powder
A dash of salt

How to Make Flourless Brownie Cupcakes

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and prepare your cupcake tin with liners.
2. Over low heat, combine coconut oil and semisweet chocolate chips until melted. Remove from heat and set aside.
3. Combine the eggs, vanilla, and sugar for 3 minutes with a handheld mixer.
4. Add the melted chocolate and coconut oil and mix.
5. Add cocoa powder, arrowroot powder, and salt to mixture. Use the handheld mixer to combine all ingredients until the batter is smooth.
6. Scoop batter into cupcake liners until they are each half filled. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven and let the brownie cupcakes sit in the warm baking pan for a couple more minutes. Remove brownie cupcakes and enjoy warm!

Flourless 5

Flourless 1

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{Photos by Lauren}

That’s a Wrap!

Pac Man Cookies

This week I finished up the first half of Mad Men Season 7, and now I am even more excited for the second half of the season to air next week. I also went to visit an exhibit that had a couple of sets from the show, as well as many of the characters’ costumes, script notes, and props (more on this next week!). If you haven’t seen Mad Men yet, you’ve got a little over a week to watch all of the episodes on Netflix. Go ahead and binge watch, which would be made infinitely better with these Pac-Man cookies. Until then, let’s wrap up the week with a recap…

* Every Tom Hanks movie in seven minutes.

* Because even astronauts get cravings in space!

* Where are all of the good meet-cute places in NYC anymore?

* Things you never knew about Pretty Woman.

* Sushi lovers, this is your dream towel.

* This happens to me way too often.

* Amazing women in the director’s chair.

* All I’m craving now are these.

* Don’t forget to follow me for more behind-the-scenes!

Have a great weekend filled with food and film!

{Photo by Lauren}

Thanksgiving Desserts

Thanksgiving Desserts

Now that tomorrow is Thanksgiving, I can’t wait to spend the morning in the kitchen baking one (or two) of these delicious desserts. When it comes to Thanksgiving dinner, you can really have fun with the types of desserts you make. Apple, pumpkin, pear, cranberry…the options are endless!

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Rose Apple Pie with Bourbon Glaze | A Cozy Kitchen

Rosemary Cranberry Sorbet | Country Living

Coconut Pumpkin Pie | Heather Christo

Pear Crisp with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream | A Dash of Cinema

Have a very happy Thanksgiving!

Flavor of the Month: Butterscotch

butterscotch fom

1. Cookie Butter Butterscotch Fudge |2.  Boozy Banana Butterscotch Ice Cream | 3. Butterscotch Eclairs |4. White Butterscotch Buddies | 5. Butterscotch Sundaes with Caramel Popcorn

Made primarily of butter and brown sugar, Butterscotch can be used for a variety of treats. The butterscotch eclairs with a plaid design are super creative and would be fantastic as a party snack. Similar to toffee with a honey color, butterscotch can be devoured as a syrup or a hard candy. October is the perfect time to whip up some butterscotch desserts and candies since it’s the designated candy month (okay, maybe that’s every month). But, you won’t go wrong with making butterscotch goodies for trick-or-treaters this coming Halloween.  Make your autumn even more special with this sweet flavor, and since it’s  simple to make as a syrup, you can pair it with pretty much anything. Nothing wrong with a little butterscotch on butterscotch!