Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Sweet Tooth Salvation: Crack Pie

Recently, there's been a lot of blogger buzz about Crack Pie, the pie that doesn't crack, but is presumably as addictive as it. I finally gave in to curiosity and tasted it for myself. The results are a gooey, buttery, unlawfully sweet concoction. This pie is intense in both preparation and sweetness, so gear yourself up if you want to make it. I have to say my favorite element was the oatmeal cookie crust, which I'm excited to use in other pie scenarios.

Momofuku's Crack Pie
Recipe courtesy of the Los Angeles Times

Total time: 1 1/2 hours, plus cooling and chilling times
Servings: Makes 2 pies (6 to 8 servings each)

Note: Adapted from Momofuku. This pie calls for 2 (10-inch) pie tins. You can substitute 9-inch pie tins, but note that the pies will require additional baking time, about 5 minutes, due to the increased thickness of the filling.

Cookie for crust:
2/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon (3 ounces) flour
Scant 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
Scant 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) softened butter
1/3 cup (2 1/2 ounces) light brown sugar
3 tablespoons (1 1/4 ounces) sugar
1 egg
Scant 1 cup (3 1/2 ounces) rolled oats

Heat the oven to 375 degrees. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl using an electric mixer, beat the butter, brown sugar and sugar until light and fluffy. Whisk the egg into the butter mixture until fully incorporated. With the mixer running, beat in the flour mixture, a little at a time, until fully combined. Stir in the oats until incorporated. Spread the mixture onto a 9-inch-by-13-inch baking sheet and bake until golden brown and set, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and cool to the touch on a rack. Crumble the cooled cookie to use in the crust.

Crumbled cookie for crust
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1 1/2 tablespoons (3/4 ounce) brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt

Combine the crumbled cookie, butter, brown sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse until evenly combined and blended (a little of the mixture clumped between your fingers should hold together). Divide the crust between 2 (10-inch) pie tins. Press the crust into each shell to form a thin, even layer along the bottom and sides of the tins. Set the prepared crusts aside while you prepare the filling.

1 1/2 cups (10 1/2 ounces) sugar
3/4 cup plus a scant 3 tablespoons (7 ounces) light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup plus 1 teaspoon (3/4 ounce) milk powder
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, melted
3/4 cup plus a scant 2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 egg yolks
Powdered sugar, garnish

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, brown sugar, salt and milk powder. Whisk in the melted butter, then whisk in the heavy cream and vanilla. Gently whisk in the egg yolks, being careful not to add too much air. Divide the filling evenly between the 2 prepared pie shells. Bake the pies, one at a time, for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 325 degrees and bake until the filling is slightly jiggly and golden brown (similar to a pecan pie), about 10 minutes. Remove the pies and cool on a rack. Refrigerate the cooled pies until well chilled. The pies are meant to be served cold, and the filling will be gooey. Dust with powdered sugar before serving.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Peeps in Places

Did you know that National Geographic hosts on annual photo contest featuring globe-trotting peeps? It's such a fun idea. There's something really magical about the neon-colored confections being captured in nature. Above are some of last year's finalists.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Happy Feet

I think these bold, cheery sandals scream sundress and butter pecan ice cream. I love the bright shades of suede, the peep-toe and the fact that they're "pedestrian-minded." They may be a candidate for summer shoe solution.

Hope you have a happy weekend!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

That's a Wrap

I love this gift wrap from Kate's Paperie. Buttons, cameras and teacups should cover gifts for a variety of recipients. And wouldn't it be even better if complementary presents were underneath the wrapping paper? Say a cute cardigan, a lensbaby and a shiny new teapot.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Fantastic Film

I don't think I ever fully gushed over Fantastic Mr. Fox, but it was probably my favorite movie last year. It's charming and funny with just the right amount of Wes Anderson quirkiness, the music is great, and the detail that went into the miniature sets, characters and Mr. Fox's corduroy suit is astounding. It's out on dvd today. See it or see it again.

There's also a beautiful book on the making of the film, which I think belongs on my coffee table.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Weekend Thrills

Cherry blossoms in bloom, a grownup pizza party, a new necklace, and a bag of cookies as an afternoon snack, just a few things that make weekends so great.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Put a Ring on It

I've been obsessing over this ring for a few months now. It's a steep $359, but that's nearly half off the original price. Hmmph. Quick! Someone find me a cheap imitation.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Caroline in the City?

I take the bus to and from work every day. It's at least a half hour commute, providing ample time for awkward encounters. Here's what happened yesterday. One detail before we start, my name is Natalie.

Random man: Hey Caroline, how's it going?
Me: (No response)
Random man: Hey! Hey, are you Caroline?
Me: No.
Random man: Are you sure you aren't Caroline?
Me: Yes.
Random man: You do look a lot like Caroline.
Me: Oh.

Yet another reason to have a bicycle.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Gone Green

I'll be celebrating the holiday with Irish breakfast tea, Irish soda bread and a terrible Irish accent that borders on pirate speak. Happy St. Patrick's Day!

[Dress: DigforVictory; Necklace: Anthropologie; Curtains: Anthropologie; Shamrock: Ajawin; Checkbook Cover: BitsOHoneyDesigns; Skirt: Anthropologie]

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Milk and Sugar

Remember the episode of Seinfeld where George says he would drape himself in velvet if it were socially acceptable? Well, that's how I feel about seersucker. I love this summery blazer with its sweet lace trim. Now I just need the warm weather.

Random fact: the word "seersucker" originates from the Persian words "shir o shekar" which mean "milk and sugar." I like it even more. Thanks, Wikipedia!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Happiness is an Ice Cream Sandwich

Yesterday called for a treat. It must have had something to do with that springing forward business. I whipped up a half batch of these lemon cookies. I still prefer this recipe, but these served their purpose. They were firm enough to fulfill their greater destiny of becoming ice cream sandwiches. I used Ciao Bella's coconut sorbet for the filling and savored each bite in the prolonged afternoon sunshine.

PS - Jen of Haute Whimsy is the giveaway winner!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Thoughts of the Week

Thank goodness I can't buy Girl Scout Cookies year round.

Mad Men teams up with Mattel. Does this make it okay to play with dolls again?

Next time I'm craving cinnamon toast, I'll aim a little higher.

This year's Oscar fashion lesson: blush is the new black.

Sipping is worlds more fun with a pretty straw.

Seeing people visit Savannah makes my heart happy and seeing the food they're eating makes me a little jealous.

Also, read my interview over at Lovely Little Things and check out the rest of the blog while you're there. A very big thank you to Michelle!

And enter this week's giveaway if you haven't already!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Happy Birthday Momma!

A very happy birthday to my mom, beautiful in every possible way. This is my absolute favorite picture of us. It pretty much sums up our common interests.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Wednesday Giveaway!

Update: Jen of Haute Whimsy is the winner!

I have a giveaway for you this week courtesy of Xenotees. This Etsy shop is filled with lovely screen-printed tees, totes and scarves. There are designs for nature lovers, lobster fans, foodies, geeks, and Francophiles. That should pretty much cover everyone.

Check out the shop, then leave a comment below before midnight on Sunday, March 14th. You could win your choice of one of the fabulous scarves! (I'm partial to the lobster.) Each scarf is made of a sheer jersey cotton and looks unbelievably soft -- perfect for wrapping up in. One lucky winner will be chosen at random.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Office Space

I'm completely impressed by this closet converted into a home office. So clever and chic.

[Spotted on: Sunset]

Monday, March 8, 2010

Ingredients for a Perfect Weekend

I had a lovely, relaxing weekend, much of which involved eating in front of the TV, but sometimes that's exactly what a girl needs.

Saturday morning: French toast, Irish breakfast tea and season 2 of Arrested Development

Saturday afternoon: Walk by the water on an unseasonably beautiful Seattle day

Sunday night: Oscars, pajamas and homemade pizza

Friday, March 5, 2010

Alice in Wonderland Inspiration

Are you going to see Alice in Wonderland this weekend?

[Teapot Lamp: Anthropologie; Napa Rose Bag: Valentino; Kimchi Blue Chiffon Dress: Urban Outfitters; Toadstool: Anthropologie; Rabbit Dress: NYhop; Mug: micolie3; Headband: theartisann]

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Winning White Chocolate Brownies

I've had white chocolate brownies on the brain ever since Olivia planted the idea in my head a few weeks ago. I finally caved to my curiosity and taste buds and made a batch. They were rich, had a perfect hint of white chocolate, and were so gooey if eaten warm. And if you can resist a warm brownie, I'd like to meet you and shake your hand.

White Chocolate Brownies
Recipe courtesy of Cooks.com

1 cup butter
10 ounces white chocolate
1 1/4 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 325 F. Line a 9x11 inch baking dish with foil, leaving an overhang around the edges. Grease the foil. Break the chocolate into small pieces. Melt the butter with the chocolate, stirring frequently, over low heat. When melted and smooth, remove from heat. Using a wooden spoon, stir the sugar into the melted chocolate. Add the eggs and vanilla. Then add the flour, salt, and chopped pecans. Stir quickly until just mixed. Pour the batter into the pan. Bake at 325 F for 30-35 minutes, until top is lightly golden but center is still a little soft when pressed. Let cool to room temperature. Refrigerate the brownies at least 3 hours. Using the foil, lift them from the pan and cut into 20 to 25 squares.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Necklace Knot

For months, I had a tiny knot in the chain of this necklace. Is there anything more frustrating? I picked at it with a straight pin for hours with no success. Finally, I thought to search the internet for some assistance. I found it. Use oil to loosen up the knot. Baby oil and any type of cooking oil are said to work equally well. I went with canola oil since it was at the front of my pantry.

Lay the necklace on a flat surface. Provide a small pool of oil for the knot to sit in and then use two straight pins to unknot the chain. I had it done within a minute flat. Use a cloth to wipe the excess oil off the necklace and the flat surface. Triumph! Necklace restored. Let me know if you get a chance to try it out!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Calendar Girls

So I know it's a little late to be talking about 2010 calendars, but I just flipped to March in mine and am in love with the accompanying photo. Call me a sucker for all things ballerina. The image and calendar are courtesy of Amy and Ann, a fabulous pair of food photographing bloggers and moms from Texas. Their images are so full of personality and charm. It's not too late to buy a calendar or a larger print, which might just be my next purchase.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Flower Power

Cherry blossoms are beginning to bloom around Seattle. The splash of pink against a blue or gray sky makes me very happy.


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