Posts in the 'recipe' Category

Broke-Ass DIY Tutorial: Homemade Natural Deodorant!

“Oooh, that smell! Can’t you smell that smell?” Listen closely, chickens. I’m about to let you in on what has been a life-changing recipe for me. See, my quest for the perfect deodorant ain’t because I’m scared of my own smell, or even, that someone else might find themselves in the wake of it. Oh no no no, friends, it is that “deodorant” smell that is just as sure a giveaway of a sweaty lady as her own B.O. might be. That awful, damnable powdery smell… or that floral whiff that is forever in contest with your chosen eau de toilette. Whenever I smell it on myself, or another girl, I cringe. Almost all the scents available in commercial deodorant fall into the “I would never choose that” category, the same way 90% of the perfumes at a department store counter do. There was one exception, when Secret briefly offered a “vanilla chai” scented stick, but it was discontinued, and I cursed the heavens for a long time to follow.

And on the other hand, in recent years, there’s been more and more noise about the potential dangers of aluminum, which is present in all antiperspirants, and their rumored cancer-causing properties. There’s the problem of other additives that may not be doing our skin or our health a service, but are convenient, inexpensive fillers for “big B.O.” to use in their products. And the older I get, the more I realize that knowing what I’m putting in or on my body matters to me. I’ve got far too many mysterious, incurable maladies – and the more I learn, the more it would appear that “cleaner living” can benefit our health at all levels.

So, when I learned that it was exquisitely simple to DIY my own deo with only 3 all-natural ingredients that I probably already had in my kitchen, and control the scent, I jumped at the chance to try. After all, I already exclusively use whipped coconut oil as a body lotion, and love it, so why not add 2 ingredients and call it deodorant?

DIY Natural deodorant

It’s that simple, folks. Mix together the coconut oil, baking soda, and your choice of cornstarchor arrowroot. Hit it with a hand blender, if you want to ensure a lumpless, fluffy cream, and slap it in a mason jar. If you have an old jelly jar, or spaghetti sauce jar, use that. By all means, recycle. Note: I definitely prefer the texture of the cream made with arrowroot, as opposed to the cornstarch. I find it is a softer touch, and emulsifies better into the oil. But, I recommend you experiment with both, and figure out which suits your taste better.

In this state, it has, and will impart to your pits, a very light coconutty smell. One which will not interfere with your perfume of choice. Nay, in my opinion, it will only enrich any scent it comes into contact with, like umami does for savory foods. But, if coconut just ain’t your jam, you can experiment with whatever essential oil(s) floats your particular boat.

homemade natural deodorant

To use it, just dip your finger in the salve, grab a dollop about the size of a dime, and slather it on your skin. But, in my opinion, there are a couple key tips that can improve your experience getting used to this switch, and they are thus:

1. If you can, do a 3-day “detox” before starting on your natural deodorant regimen. Simply trade out your deo for a few drops of Tea Tree Oilfor 3 full days. If you can’t, don’t sweat it (ha!), but if you can, it’s a nice way to sort of “cleanse your palate” from commercial, inorganic ingredients it’s been force-fed for who knows how many years.

2. If you’re of a more sensitive nature, you may wish to start slow. For some, putting this on immediately after shaving can cause a little irritation, due to the somewhat abrasive texture from the powders in the cream. I’ve also heard rumors of break-outs from applying it to skin just after shaving. So, wait a bit before putting it on. Maybe shave the night before. As time goes on, you’ll acclimate, and it will cease to be a problem. And the bonus is, if you ever suffered from over-pigmentation in your pits, this can actually help fade that, over time!

3. If you can, reapply once, mid-day, for maximum potency. As this isn’t an antiperspirant, you’ll still be sweating, and you’ll want adequate coverage. BUT, the good news is that, once you’re allowed to perspire freely, no longer confined by the chemicals of commercial products, and your body acclimates to this freedom, you’ll find that – over time – you actually sweat LESS. And when you do sweat, it’s much less likely to have as much of a funk as it used to. And that, my friends, is like an alchemical miracle. It’s like how they say your lips can become addicted to balm, because they “forget” how to moisturize themselves. The same appears to be true of armpits, kind of. So by lacquering ourselves in chemically-derived antiperspirants, we’re actually teaching our bodies to fight harder to produce sweat. How crazy is that?

So, sure, it might take a bit of dedication to acclimate your body to a new means of odor control, but not only is it safer, more natural, and infinitely cheaper (at pennies per jar versus several dollars per stick), but it’s absolutely worth it for all the same reasons. I can safely say that I’ll never go back. And if you’re a friend of mine, don’t be surprised when I gift you a small jar for yourself, and try to convert you. ‘Cuz I’m preaching the gospel of DIY deodorant to anyone and everyone who will listen!

What do you think… would you give it a shot? If you do, come back and let me know how it works for ya!

I made Cronuts, and you can too!

It’s like a donut and a croissant are having raunchy, sloppy sex in your mouth. Need I say more?


OK.  Well, to be more specific, it’s a donut-shaped, deep fried croissant; oftentimes filled with flavored crème; and/or rolled in sugar; and/or topped with glaze.
Is your mouth watering yet?

If you’re late to the game on the nationwide Cronut craze, let me briefly enlighten you. It all started when Dominique Ansel bakery in New York introduced these flaky/creamy/crunchy/doughy delights, resulting in (and I kid you not), people lining up around 5am to procure these precious pastries due to the limited number available each day, and the fact that they sell out in like, 5 minutes. Word of these tasty treats swept the nation, and just like that, a culinary craze was born.

Now, bakeries around the US are launching their own take on the Cronut – dubbed with other unfortunate portmanteaus such as the “doughssant” and “frisant” and “crullant.” BUT, my intrepid friends, rather than wait in line for hours and hours and paying between $3-5 per pop for a hyped up pastry hybrid… why not make them yourself? If I did it, being the least baking-savvy person I know, and succeeded… YOU CAN TOO!

And the dozen or so tasty treats that were the fruits of my 3-day long labor? WORTH IT. Worth every minute of prep. Worth every ounce of stress. Worth the look on my boyfriend’s face when he tried it. Worth the pleasure that radiated from my lips down to the nethers of my very groin at the taste, texture and “HOLY SHIT I MADE THIS THING THAT TASTES SO GOOD”-ness of it all. If you don’t believe me, check out the video at the end of the post :)

Now, would you like the recipe? Well, then. Here you go!

There are several parts to the process.

THE DOUGH.
(Start this step first, because while it’s not complicated, it takes for-EVER.)

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons softened butter (I used salted butter for this. I like salty sweets)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon dry active yeast
  • 1 cup (ie: 2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled
  • 5 cups grapeseed oil

In a small saucepan, combine the milk and water and heat to just about 100 degrees. You’ll know its ready when you stick a finger in and its only a little warmer than your skin – kind of like the baby formula test. Then introduce the yeast, mix well, and let stand for about 5 minutes. While you’re waiting, lug out your stand mixer and slap on the paddle attachment. Combine the flour, sugar, salt, and softened butter on low speed. Add the yeasty milk to the stand mixer and blend just until combined, scraping the sides of the bowl to ensure everything gets some mixer love. Pat your dough into a ball, place into a greased bowl, lay a damp tea towel over the top of the bowl and set it in a warm spot. Let rise until doubled in size, about 45 minutes. Then, use your fists of steel to punch that dough down a bit and refrigerate it for 1 hour or so. You can wait longer, just not shorter.

During this hour, you might find it handy to proceed to THE CRÈME. (see below)

After the dough has chilled for an hour or more, put the butter between 2 pieces of parchment paper and use a rolling pin or wine bottle to flatten and shape into an 8×8-inch square. Don’t worry if it’s not perfect. And if your butter gets too gooey and won’t cooperate, throw the whole thing in the freezer for a few minutes to firm it up.

Then, roll out your chilled dough on a lightly floured surface into a 12×12-inch square. Peel away the parchment from your butter square and lay it on the center of the dough square rotated to land diamond-style (not square style). Gently wrap the corners of the dough over the butter block to meet in the middle and pinch the seams closed so the butter is completely enclosed in dough. Roll dough out into a 20×8-inch rectangle, then fold it into thirds, like you would fold a letter. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour or more. Then repeat the rolling, folding, and chilling process 2 more times. And each time, tell yourself: it’s worth it.

Once your dough has been through all 3 rounds of the roll/fold/chill process – roll it out on a lightly floured surface into a 6×18-inch rectangle. Cut into 6×6-inch squares and stack all the squares on top of each other. Roll that pile of dough into a 6×8-inch rectangle. Cut 12 round shapes out of the dough using a ring cutter (or tracing the mouth of a drinking glass and roughing the hole with a paring knife, like I did. Honestly you don’t need the hole.), and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover the dough rounds with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place (an unheated oven will do) until you can press the dough and it holds the indent, which takes roughly 30 minutes.

Place the oil in a large pot and heat to 350 degrees. Be careful not to overheat and scorch the oil! I did, and it was a literal hot mess of smoke detectors and stench. I had to throw it all out and start over again. Keep an eagle eye on that temp, yo! And remember the first pancake rule: start with one cronut, so you don’t ruin the whole batch if you overfry on your first attempt. Note how long it takes to get to the perfect golden-brown you like (usually about a minute. Maybe even less.) Fry each cronut for that long, making sure to flip them about halfway through, until they’re perfectly perfect. Place on a paper towel lined plate to cool.

(pardon my messy kitchen. But do NOT pardon my adorable pajamas. They’re from Anthropologie, and I’ve never loved any PJs more.)

Once they’re cool, use a pastry bag with a long, thin tip to pipe the CRÈME (see recipe below) into the center of each cronut. I found that going in through the bottom produced the best results. (Going in through the sides just split my delicate cronuts at the seams. No bueno.) Then roll them in the SUGAR COATING (see recipe below), and drizzle with GLAZE (see recipe below.)

Eat these suckers PROMPTLY. I’m talking post-haste, m-fers. They will not be anywhere near as good a few hours later, and by the next day, they’ll still be sweet and tasty, but the magical texture will be lost forever. CONSUME WITH PURPOSE, people.

And instagram lots of pictures to make your friends insanely jealous. Comme ça:

THE CRÈME.
(I made a simple vanilla crème and it was the bomb. If all I got from this endeavor was making this crème alone, it would have been worth it.)

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup fine sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Gently heat the milk and 1/2 of the sugar in a saucepan over medium heat, but watch that it doesn’t burn. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, the other 1/2 of the sugar, flour, and salt. When the milk is warmed through, slowly temper the egg mixture by adding in a little milk at a time, whisking all the while to prevent scrambling. When all of the milk has been incorporated, pour the mixture back into saucepan and warm it, whisking like there’s no tomorrow, until the mixture is boiling and thick. Remove from heat, stir in the vanilla extract and (if you detect any small lumps) push it through a fine strainer into a bowl. Lay plastic wrap directly on the service of the crème so a skin does not form, and stick in the refrigerator until ready to use. Good luck not eating too much of it in the meantime!

THE SUGAR COATING.
(I did cinnamon-sugar. You can do just sugar if you want. Or a different flavored sugar! Mmmm, sugar.)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1-2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

Mix it together. Simple pimple.

THE GLAZE.
(I did a simple, drippy, glazey one. you can do full-on icing if you want!)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/8 cup water

Whisk ‘em together. Easy peasy.

And this, friends, is what it looks like when I have my first bite. At 1am. After nearly 3 days of mixing, folding, rolling, and chilling and frying, and filling, and coating, and glazing.

Seriously delicious. Even my most pastry-loving friend deemed my Cronuts in his Top 10 pastry experiences ever! And having had very little experience baking, working with pastry, or deep-frying ever before – I have to say it was a really fun experience and super fulfilling challenge. With quite the rewarding end!

So tell me…. What do you think? Will you try making your own Cronuts?

{DIY or DIE} We’re Baking Up Delicious Cherry Pie Pop Favors With Bella Baker!

Today we’ve got an especially tasty treat for our BABs today – our guest blogger Lauryn Cohen from Bella Baker has provided us with her signature pie pop recipe! What could possibly bowl over your wedding guests better than pie pops?! Lauryn vends made-to-order sweets, wedding cakes, and wedding treats to the good people of NYC and beyond! (We STRONGLY encourage our NYC  BABs to give Bella Baker your business! Her work is top-notch!) So without further ado…

I just got married a little over a year ago so I know firsthand how quickly costs can add up. One thing I had my heart set on was providing my guests with special favors at the end of the night. I loved the idea of giving guests a little gift to take home with them as a thank you, but after shopping around online, I found that adding a favor would add on a good chunk of change to my budget. Maybe it was all that bridal adrenaline, but I decided I would make my own favor…and since I am a baker, after all, I settled on making something that was not only sweet looking, but sweet tasting as well.

I love these pie pops as a favor at a rustic style wedding. And I promise you, any bride can make them! If you’re not into baking from scratch you can easily sub in store-bought pie crust and filling, and don’t worry, it will be our little secret (and the pops will still be just as adorable)!

These pie pops work great for wedding favors, bridal showers, engagement parties or any other occasion where you want to add a little sweet touch to the event! 

Flaky Pie Crust

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons sugar

1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cold (or frozen) and cut into 48 small pieces

1/2 cup vegetable shortening

6 – 7 tablespoons ice water

Instructions:

Put flour, salt and sugar in the bowl of a food processor and combine. Add the butter and shortening and pulse until mixture resembles coarse peas or cornmeal. There will still be chunks of butter and that is fine. Sprinkle the water, one or two tablespoons at a time over the mixture and pulse a couple of times in between each addition of water. Test the dough by pinching it. If it holds together it is ready, if not, add some additional water until the mixture begins to clump together. Remove the dough from the food processor bowl and lightly knead it into two flat disks. Wrap each disk in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Dough can be made and refrigerated up to 3 days ahead of time.

After the dough has chilled, remove it from the refrigerator. Sprinkle flour onto a clean work surface and, using a rolling pin, gently roll out your dough, lifting the dough from underneath and sprinkling additional flour if the dough begins to stick slightly on to your work surface.

Once the dough reaches 1/4 inch in thickness, use a 2 or 3 inch round biscuit cutter or a heart shaped cookie cutter to cut shapes out of the pie dough.

 

Cherry Filling

Ingredients:

5 to 6 cups fresh pitted cherries

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 – 2 teaspoons lemon zest

2/3 cup sugar

3 tablespoons cornstarch

1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Instructions:

In a saucepan over medium heat combine all ingredients except for the vanilla extract. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and continue to simmer for about 15 minutes. Stir in the vanilla extract, remove from heat and cool before using.

To make your pie pops:

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Place half the dough circles or hearts onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Place a 6 inch lollipop stick on top of each circle, pressing gently so it sticks into the dough circle, going about half way up the circle. Add about a teaspoon of filling to each dough circle or heart and place another dough circle or heart on top. Use the tines of a fork to carefully crimp together the edges of the dough. It is important to make sure that your dough it securely closed around the entire circle so that your filling does not leak out.

Egg Wash

Ingredients:

1 large egg

1 tablespoon milk or heavy cream

Instructions:

Beat egg and milk (or cream) until combined and brush on the top of each pie pop.

Bake pie pops in oven for 10 – 12 minutes. Crust should look golden brown. Remove from oven and cool completely, then decorate with personalized tags, like the “Sweetie Pie” ones I made, with ribbon or fabric.

Thanks, Lauryn! BABs, how badly are you dying to try these? I wanna cram like three of these into my gob like RIGHT NOW.