Showing posts with label peanut butter. Show all posts
Showing posts with label peanut butter. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Spread PB Reinvents an American Staple

by guest blogger @iam_robot

If you’re like me, I think Peanut Butter Jelly Sandwich is the most perfect sandwich. It’s simple, convenient, and it pleases all the taste palate. Now comes the good news. What if I tell you there’s a place who’s willing to listen & personally make your fantasy-fueled bigger-than-life ambition PB sandwich? Yup, it’s time to put on the big boy pants! We’re moving on from your Mom’s stingy swipe of Skippy and Smuckers on white. Instead, we’re going to pile the condiments high enough that you’ll be eating a sloppy (ridiculously good) mess & smiling ear to ear (or seeing double rainbows) by the end of the meal…A little nutty?
While I serenely believe two pieces of bread topped with peanut butter and jelly is always good enough, I think some moderate tweaks could elevate its status to Super PB. Think of honey, banana, bacon, curry or chocolate sauce to complement the perfect duo, and I think I just had my “Whiplash” moment – yes, my mind is all over the f-king Happy Meal and not on pitch. Anyways, Spread PB, the humble concept by Katie Kerr & Dustin Alpert, is not some swanky PB Jelly place. There’s no artisan bread or jelly made up from seaweed, instead, you get all the flavors you’re accustomed to. Anyone from a 3 year old to a 93 year old would really appreciate this!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

John Kelly Chocolate Truffle Fudges and Visiting the Chocolate Factory!

I first had John Kelly chocolate (truffle fudges) at Corkbar and remember really liking it. I didn't know where their storefront is, so I never had it after that - until I was invited to a tasting at their new Santa Monica store on Montana.

These chocolate coated "truffle fudges" are not a traditional fudge, and the richness and creaminess are closer to a ganache.
Their most popular item is the Dark Chocolate with French Grey Sea Salt.

The fudge is made with 86% dark Belgian chocolate, topped with Sel Gris de Guerande sea salt. Sure, you see a lot of chocolates with sea salt these days, but John Kelly was one of the first, and this chocolate won the Sofi Gold Award for Outstanding Chocolate in 2009. My favorite, though, was the Chocolate and Caramel with Hawaiian Alaea Sea Salt. They use bigger sea salt grains for this one to stand up to the caramel.

Their newest products are two spicy fudges: Dark Chocolate with Chipotle and Ancho Chile, and Dark Chocolate with Habanero and Jalapeno Chile
The first is the milder of the two but it still got quite a bit of heat (at least for me!). You get the spiciness at the end, although it does not really linger. The second is even spicier, and more of a slow burn than a sudden kick. Neither was overwhelming though and you still can taste the sweetness and creaminess of the chocolate.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Cookie Party at BakeLAB + Secret Tips for a Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie

When a former Clementine and Providence/La Mill pastry chef opens a bakery ... Well, you can be sure she'll make some good stuff. But Kristin Feuer, a Le Cordon Bleu graduate, goes beyond. With painstaking experimentation, Kristin at BakeLAB has perfected cookies.

Timed perfectly on National Chocolate Chip Cookie day, BakeLAB held a cookie party for some media and bloggers. All girls. It's a dessert party, mister.

Kristin Feuer (right) and her partner Jill (left)

I meant to just eat a little bit of cookies, I really did. But then ... they were unexpectedly good. I mean, ridiculously good.

From the iced oatmeal cookies that are like an upscale Mother's cookie...

... to the best ginger molasses cookies I've ever had.
It's the moistness of the inside of the cookie, juxtaposed with the nice sugar crackle on the outer layer. It's that chewiness, that nice gingery fragrance.

Of course, it won't be a proper Nat'l Chocolate Chip Cookie Day without chocolate chip cookies.
Kristin has perfected these chocolate chip cookies. Kristin demonstrated to us how to make them, giving us secret tips along the way and the science behind them. These are things you and I never think about while baking a cookie, but Kristin has spend all her time doing just that. This is a BakeLAB after all! (More on these tips later!)

Ultimately, it was the Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookie that everyone raved about. Peanut Butter Sandwich? Yes, she makes it with a dollop of cookie dough, topped with peanut butter, and topped that again with cookie dough. Sandwich, see?
Now it's chewy cookie dough, creamy peanut butter center, and that nice sugar crackle crust. Oh, my ...

Bakelab also sells cupcakes, cakes, etc, all decorated with Kristin's cool artistic sensibilities -- their awesome science-themed shirts and aprons can attest to this.
I didn't get to try any of their cupcake/cake, but considering their amazing cookies, these are probably pretty good as well. I am inclined to order their Shark Attack! cupcake that's decorated with a sharkfin-shaped fondant ...

After we stuffed ourselves with these little morsels, Kristin and Jill took us to their kitchen/"lab" and gave us a little demo to make the perfect cookies.
You don't need a special recipe of list of ingredients to make way better cookies than you've ever made before. She made chocolate chip cookies using the basic recipes you can find on the back of any mass-produced chocolate chip packages.
The key is the little things Kristin had discovered after countless experimentations. Luckily, you don't have to go through the same effort and trials as she shared these amazing tips with us:
  1. Don't cream the butter & sugar any longer than 1 1/2 minutes. Too much air from overcreaming=a flat cookie.
  2. Beat the dough for a quick "one, two" count just beyond the point when the flour is incorporated. You'll make a little more gluten for plumper cookies.
  3. Chilling the dough overnight allows subtle nutty and toffee flavors to develop.
  4. Bake cookies from frozen dough; cookies will be much rounder.
  5. Pull cookies from the oven when there is still a pale circle in the middle of the cookie.

You can order BakeLAB's treats online at or or call (310) 330-9055. Cookies are $2 each with a minimum order of a dozen.

You can also find them at (in Playa Vista, Santa Monica, West Hollywood), Oaks Gourmet in Franklin Village, and the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City.

Oh, they're also holding a series of classes in the summer from cookie baking to decorating to S'mores!

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