Posts Tagged dc snowpocalypse II

Weekly Roundup: Snow and Cookies Edition

Cookie Plates

Can't really begin to tell you what I've gone through to make these cookies.

There’s been a whole snow-related drama that I haven’t really been talking about this week – the drama of the cookies. Now, as many of you know, I’m selling these cookie plates for Valentine’s Day – and this week was supposed to be the big week that I sent them out. I spent a considerable amount of time trying to figure out when, exactly, I was going to make all these cookies – I couldn’t make them all at once, obviously, otherwise orders later in the week would be stale. And I was really proud of the schedule I drew up.

Enter the snow. Not only did the difficult traveling conditions and snow days completely change up my schedule, but the grocery stores were out of everything. Like eggs. And flour – yes, flour! I went to the Safeway on Columbia road Monday, and the only flour left was whole wheat – not cookie appropriate! The only white all-purpose flour I could fine was organic flour at Harris Teeter – I snagged one of the last few bags.

Of course, I’m very glad that everyone was baking up a storm during the snow days – ya’ll made some seriously tasty-looking baked goods. I just wish I had had the foresight to buy all my flour before the storm, that’s all.

Really lovely snow day recipes I want to try:

  • Tomato soup, simple and satisfying, from Sassy Radish.
  • Plum cake, another snow day baking experiment, from One Bite at a Time.
  • Bagels from The Indoor Garden_er (who, sadly, still had to go to work this week).

And in other news (both snow and non-snow related):

  • Lisa from Dining in DC is going to be a judge on the Travel Channels’ Food Wars this Sunday. Apparently the show has different chefs recreate an iconic local food item – and for DC, it’s the Jumbo Slice. You know, I really can’t argue with that. I’ll be at choir and making some epic cookies, but you can go cheer her on this weekend.
  • Over at Metrocurean Greg Engert, beer director for the Neighborhood Restaurant Group, shares good beers for cold nights.
  • I love Orangette, Molly Wizenburg’s lovely food blog. Wizenburg and her husband just opened up Delancey, a pizza joint in Seattle, which The Arugula Files visited this week.
  • Tim Carman at Young and Hungry takes a look at how supply chains affected restaurants’ ability to stay open during the Snowpocalypse.

Happy Friday!


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For the Blizzard: Spiked White Hot Chocolate

Spiked White Hot Chocolate

Mmm, white hot chocolate. This is what I had for breakfast.

I’ve never seen a blizzard until today. Outside my window, the snow is practically falling horizontally because of the high winds. I can barely see down the street, and everyone’s steps, which they diligently shoveled yesterday, are already covered in snow again.

Some of my friends are braving the blizzard and going sledding later today, but I think I’ll stay cozy and warm in my nice little apartment. But, for all of you people who are venturing out into the winter wonderland, I have a recipe to warm you up when you finally come back inside – spiked white hot chocolate.

Now, white chocolate gets a bad rap, in my opinion. Yes, it’s not exactly chocolate – it doesn’t contain cocoa solids. But the mixture of cocoa butter, milk solids, and sugar is rich and creamy. Poor quality white chocolate will taste shockingly sweet, but good quality white chocolate is like eating a bar of vanilla. I love using white chocolate in frosting and mousse, and it pairs well with ginger, dark chocolate, and berries.

This spiked white hot chocolate is lovely for a cold snowy day like today – it contains no other sweeteners besides the chocolate, so it isn’t too sweet. And the rum brings out the vanilla flavor of the chocolate, and gives the drink just a touch of bite from the alcohol. It’s white chocolate at its best – and perfect to warm you up after a snow ball fight.

Spiked White Hot Chocolate
Makes one serving

10 oz whole milk
2.5 oz good quality white chocolate, such as Lindt, roughly chopped
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbs dark rum

Heat milk on stove until hot (but not boiling). Meanwhile, melt white chocolate in a medium bowl in the microwave (microwave on low in 20 second bursts, stirring between intervals, until chocoalte is melted and smooth). Pour milk over melted white chocolate, stirring until blended. Add vanilla and rum. Serve warm, garnished with whipped cream of chocolate shavings, if desired.

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Snow Weekend Baking: Banana Muffins With Sour Cream and Lemon Icing

Banana Muffins 1

One of the things I baked this weekend - banana muffins with lemon sour cream icing.

This was a beautiful weekend. Snowpocalypse II really brought out the beauty in DC – both in the snow covered landscape, and in the sense of community and neighborliness it sparked in DC residents. Snowball fights, people walking in middle of the snow-filled streets, neighbors chatting with each other as they shoveled snow – everyone was downright friendly during Snowpocalypse II. I know it’s easy for me to say that given that I live in the city and wasn’t stranded out in the suburbs due to the lack of above-ground metro access like DC Thrifty Cook, and I didn’t lose power like Mango and Tomato. But it’s heartwarming to see people breaking out of their shells in the face of the snow.

On Saturday night, I decided that I needed to get out of the house or go crazy with some serious cabin fever, so I put the call out on Facebook, Twitter, and the Adams Morgan listserv to see if anyone wanted to meet up at The Black Squirrel for drinks. To lure people out, I brought along banana muffins to share, and even ended up giving some to the Squirrel’s hungry servers.

Now, I have a hard time classifying these particular banana muffins – sometimes I want to call them cupcakes, and sometimes I want to call them muffins. I actually made them using my banana bread recipe, which is less sweet than a full-blown cake, and has a rich banana flavor. Since bananas are so sweet, I used half whole wheat flour, which gives them a slightly coarser crumb and darker flavor. I also upped the amount of salt, which helps balance the sweetness of the fruit. And unlike a lot of banana bread recipes, this one uses butter, which gives the cake a rich, almost savory note, and helps keep it moist and fluffy.

Because there’s so much flavor in the cake, it doesn’t need a lot of frosting to jazz it up – another reason that puts these confections in the muffin camp. I topped mine with sour cream and lemon icing, which helps bring out the sweet and salty notes of the banana cake. The icing has so much flavor that all you need is a thin layer – too much and it would overwhelm the cake.

Today is a snow day for me – the DC Federal Government is closed, most likely because the snowstorm has shut down above-ground Metro access and no one from the suburbs can get to work. So if you’re stuck at home and have some bananas going bad (as happens so often with supermarket bananas), then I think you should make these muffins. Then put the call out to your neighbors and see if anyone else is getting cabin fever. Meet up at someone’s house, at your favorite bar, at a local coffee shop, and bring these muffins to share. Maybe you’ll make some new friends, or find out something new about the people in your community. It’s a snow day – it’s time to be social.

Banana Muffins 2

You can really see the crumb here - slightly coarse, but still very light. No wonder I ate, like, four of these in a morning.

Recipe: Banana Muffins with Lemon Sour Cream Icing

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What to Bake During Snowpocalypse II

hot chocolate

They're predicting a snowy weekend, and that can mean only one thing: time to bake!

What the hell is up with this weather? I though that December’s snow storm was a fluke, but what with yesterday’s snow storm and the upcoming blizzard it seems like this winter is just itching to show us what a real winter is.

So yes, in case you didn’t know, they’re predicting a ton of snow this weekend – like, a 35% chance of 6-12 inches, and a 35% change of more than 12 inches. It’s looking like it might be a perfect chance for a snow baking weekend – you’ll be holed up in your house, with plenty of time to try challenging recipes.

I already wrote up what to bake during the first Snowpocalypse back in December, so here’s the update: what to bake during Snowpocalypse II:

  • I suggested that you try to make croissants during the first Snowpocalypse – the layered dough requires quite a bit of time and attention, so it’s good for a day when you’ll be home. So why not try to make puff pastry, another time-intensive laminated dough, during Snowpocalypse II? This would be excellent cut into strips, twisted, baked, brushed with melted butter, and then coated in cinnamon sugar for a tasty snow-day treat. Check out this puff pastry recipe from Emeril.
  • Speaking of sugar-coated dough, don’t these popovers coated in sugar from David Lebovitz look like an amazing way to start your snow-filled day? I’d serve these with scrambled eggs and bacon for a hearty breakfast before going and playing in the snow.
  • I fell in love with this New York Times recipe for Heavenly Hots – feather light pancakes with sour cream and cake flour –  and I think they’d be prefect for a snow-day breakfast. These pancakes remind me of the ricotta pancakes my father used to make us growing up – they were small, extremely light and just slightly tangy from the ricotta. They’re a perfect breakfast for a chilly day.
  • I was trying to think of a hearty cookie that would go really well with a cup of hot chocolate, and I think Laura Bushes’ Chocolate Chunk Cookies just might be it. These cookies have everything – sweet-tart dried sour cherries, chunks of chocolate, oatmeal, and just a hint of cinnamon. But they’re not overly chocolatey, so I think they would marry well with a cup of hot chocolate. For hot chocolate recipes, check up my roundup on hot chocolate recipes for the Snowpocalypse.
  • I just made Winter Citrus Cupcakes last weekend and I loved them – the cake and the frosting are a lovely use of winter citrus. But they’re definitely time consuming, especially if you make the lemon curd from scratch, like I did. I think they’d be a good snow day project, especially if you have some extra lemons and oranges on hand that you want to use up.

So do you think we’re actually going to get 12 plus inches of snow? And, if so, what are you planning to bake or cook during the snowy weekend?

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