Well Done, Bien Cuit!

PC: Yelp

PC: Yelp

After visiting Bien Cuit, you’ll never look at pastries the same way again. Is it possible to love something without even trying it yet? That’s how I felt about this little bakery.

To preface this review, I have a short story…
As most of my family/friends know, I hardly ever watch TV. But when I do it’s usually a show about food of some sorts. This brings me to my next point: “Unique Sweets” featured Bien Cuit on one of their episodes and whenever I watch these shows, I make sure to make a mental note to visit ESPECIALLY when it’s close by. Just from the images and descriptions, I knew I had to visit. Their featured item was the elusive Chocolate Almond Croissant… double baked in brandy. I’m such a visual person and was immediately enticed when watching the show. More or less, I was sold.

Bien Cuit, meaning “well done” is certainly appropriate. All of the desserts here are carefully crafted down to the very last bite. Upon arrival, the storefront is simple/minimalist and reflects the rustic nature of the inside. Although its spacious, there isn’t much seating to go around. I was there on a mission. My friend was cooking me dinner that night and I can never go empty-handed. So I asked the girl at the counter for suggestions (she was very helpful) and I ended up deciding on three pastries:

-Huckleberry Danish with Yuzu Curd, Huckleberry Jam: Flaky, tart and very flavorful. Those berries certainly packed a punch. This was my wildcard if you will. It’s hard to describe if you haven’t had this fruit before, so take a chance on it. It’s good.

-Apple Cardamom Danish with Pureed Apple and Cardamom Strudel: Second favorite of the night. I’m a HUGE fan of apple desserts so this was a win-win. The unique pairing of flavors certainly works.

-(The true star of Bien Cuit) Chocolate Almond Croissant/Twice-baked with Brandy: If you have to pick an item, CHOOSE THIS. You can thank me later. It’s everything a croissant should be — flaky, soft, buttery, nutty (from the almond paste)… you get the idea. And the fact that its baked in brandy? Say no more. It’s a true showstopper.

Bien Cuit-Assortment

Yes, Bien Cuit may be a tad bit on the pricier side. But I can guarantee the quality is there within every single bite. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

120 Smith St
Brooklyn, NY 11201

(718) 852-0200

biencuit.com

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Chewy Double Chocolate Cookies

 

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Who doesn’t enjoy a warm chewy chocolate cookie? I know that during college I always needed a sweet treat to kick my energy level up a bit. I think this is a pretty simple recipe packed with rich chocolate good-ness. The cookie is moist, tender and those extra bits of chocolate just melt in your mouth.

Chewy Double Chocolate Cookies

Yield: 40 cookies

Ingredients:

2 1/4 sticks of unsalted butter softened

1 cup white sugar

1 cup light brown sugar

2 eggs

2 tsp vanilla extract

2 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour

3/4 cups of unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

2 cups of chocolate chunks/chips (any flavor you prefer)

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Add butter and sugar in a large bowl and beat with a hand mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla extract (one at a time) until well incorporated.

In a seperate bowl, add flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt together. With the hand mixer on low, slowly incorporate the dry ingredients to the wet, scraping the sides of the bowl if needed. (To make sure nothing gets left behind.) The cookie batter may be a bit thick. Take the chocolate and cut it into chunks and add to the batter. Drop cookie mix onto the baking sheet (tablespoon size).

Bake 10-12 minutes. Or until cookies have puffed up a bit and look done. Cool for 5 minutes and then transfer to cooling rack.

Lemon Raspberry Cream Cheese Cookies

rasp

Sorry I have not posted in a few days! Life has been flying by, but I want to make sure I keep up with my blog. I figured these would be perfect for a sunny warm day like today. Lately, the weather has been a bit on and off. Rain here, clouds there. But this weekend with Mother’s Day coming up… is nice a bright. This cookie is not only refreshing but tasty too. This is the kind of recipe that uses fresh ingredients and it’s a twist on a regular cookie. I hope you enjoy.

 
1/2 C butter
1/2 C cream cheese
1/2 C sugar
zest of  lemon (1/2 of a big lemon)
2 tsp lemon juice
1 egg
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 C flour
1 C raspberries (fresh, preferably not frozen)
 
Preheat the oven to 350. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside. Cream the butter, cream cheese and sugar until it is fluffy and smooth. Blend in the lemon zest, lemon juice and egg. Gradually incorporate the dry into the cream cheese mixture. Once all the dry is incorporated, fold the berries into the dough. Place the dough in the fridge for a few minutes. After the dough is chilled, place drops of cookies onto a cookie sheet. Bake for 11-13 minutes. They will puff slightly and start to almost crack. Alas, they are nonetheless very tasty, light and fruity!

You See Old Bananas? I See Banana Bread.

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So, I work in New York City and every week I go to my “fruit guy” and pick up a few items for the work week. Since bananas are so cheap 4 for $1 I usually pick up a bunch. That being said, I always bring some home because I have leftovers! The thing with bananas is that they have to be just right in order to be eaten normally or incorporated into recipes. Like for example: plantains have to be unripe. And for this bread they have to be SUPER ripe…brown spots and all. Most people would throw them out and that causes waste. I’m all about preserving food and purchasing only what’s necessary. I know a lot of families that purchase in bulk and they don’t realize how much food they are getting rid of each year. So my personal mantra is to use as much as I can when cooking. Use the products in as many ways as possible, get creative!

Also, below is a great article if you want to know more. If not, continue to the recipe. 🙂

http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-01-10/living-in-the-united-states-of-food-waste

Banana Bread With A Twist (Chocolate Chips & Walnuts)

1 1/4 cups of all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

2 large eggs, room temperature

1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 stick of unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup white sugar

2-3 very ripe bananas (depending on size, should be about 1 cup)

1/2 cup walnuts & chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix together the flour, baking soda and salt into a medium sized bowl. In a separate bowl, cream the butter (softened) and the sugar until light and fluffy. And in another container whisk together the eggs and vanilla extract. Take ripened bananas and mash them with a fork until a very smooth consistency is made. (It’s okay if it’s a bit lumpy.)

Take the egg/vanilla mixture and incorporate that into the butter/sugar batter. Slowly add the ripened, mashed bananas. Do not worry if the texture looks “curdled”.

Then slowly add the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda and salt) into the wet and if you would like, fold in about 1 cup combined of chopped walnuts and chocolate chips. *Be careful of those with nut allergies. Take batter and transfer to a lightly greased 9x5x3 inch loaf pan. (I use Pam but regular butter and a bit of flour will do.)

Bake for approximately 55-60 minutes periodically checking on the bread by testing it out with a toothpick. If you insert it into the center of the bread and it comes out clean, it’s ready! Cool the banana bread in the pan for about 5 minutes before transferring it to a wire rack to cool more.

And there you have it! Old overly ripe fruit = garbage? Nope! Try making some delicious, moist banana bread. Enjoy!!!

Margarita Cupcakes

margarita

 

Tequila!

I believe I made these around January for a friend’s 21st birthday. What’s a more fitting thing to make than a Margarita inspired cupcake?! These definitely packed a punch. You’re all probably thinking… Okay this is the second post and this girl has only been posting alcoholic themed items. Ha! I cook other types of foods I swear. 🙂 Anyway, these were a huge HIT! I think the only different I would change in this recipe is to add a lime/lemon curd to fill the cake. Otherwise, there was just enough of a splash of tequila to make this really zing. The recipe does not call for the lime zest, but I thought that was a pretty touch.

Margarita Cupcake:

1½ cups all-purpose flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
Juice of 1½ limes
2-3 tablespoons tequila
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup buttermilk

Tequila-Lime Frosting:

1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2¾ cups powdered sugar
1-2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons tequila

*Pinch of salt & lime zest. For appeal and taste!

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line tins with cupcake liners.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt; set aside. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the butter and sugar together until light, and fluffy. Then add the eggs one at at time, mixing thoroughly after each addition. Scrape the sides of the bowl and add the lime juice, vanilla extract and tequila. Mix until combined. (If it looks a little lumpy, don’t worry!) Slowly add the dry ingredients in three batches, alternating with the buttermilk in two batches. Mix until just incorporated.

Bake for approximately 25 minutes or until just slightly golden.

Allow cupcakes to cool for 5 to 10 minutes. Brush the tops of the cupcakes with the 1 to 2 tablespoons of tequila. (There’s that extra zing!) Set the cupcakes aside to cool completely before frosting them.

To make the frosting, whip the butter on medium-high speed. Gradually add the powdered sugar, mixing and scraping the sides of the bowl until all is incorporated. Add the lime juice, tequila and salt mix on medium-high speed until incorporated and fluffy. If the frosting appears a bit too soft, add some additional sugar, one spoonful at a time until desired consistency is reached. Frost cupcakes and garnish, if desired, with lime zest, an additional sprinkling of salt and a lime wedge.

Guinness Cupcakes With Bailey’s Frosting

Homemade Guinness Cupcakes With Bailey's Frosting

I absolutely love experimenting with different flavors and unique combinations.  For this past St. Patrick’s Day I really wanted to try out Guinness Cupcakes.  From channeling my inner Irish, this brought me back to when I studied abroad in Ireland.  If you have ever been across the pond, you’ll know that Guinness Stout tastes VERY different from the beer imported in the United States.  In Ireland it’s more of a thick/creamy taste whereas in the states it can be pretty bitter.  What can I say?  I’m spoiled.  I absolutely LOVED this recipe.  The cake was light and fluffy with that “hops” taste.  And the cocoa really brings out that rich flavor.  As for the frosting, the Bailey’s complimented the buttercream perfectly.  This cupcake is truly a match made in heaven.  Warning: There is alcohol in both the frosting and cake batter.  Also, depending on how much Bailey’s you add, it can get a bit strong ;). Enjoy!

For the Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes:
1 cup Guinness beer
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
3/4 cup cocoa powder
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
2/3 cup sour cream

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line your cupcake pans with liners. Combine the Guinness and butter in a saucepan over medium heat until butter is fully melted. Add the cocoa powder and whisk until smooth. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the eggs and sour cream to blend. Add the Guinness/butter mixture. Mix in the dry ingredients on low speed until well incorporated. Fill cupcake liners about 3/4 way full. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 16-18 minutes. Allow to cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

For the Bailey’s Buttercream:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
6-8 tablespoons Bailey’s Irish cream

Place the butter in medium bowl (softened). Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Gradually add the powdered sugar until it is all incorporated. Mix in the vanilla and Bailey’s until smooth. Add more Bailey’s if necessary. Frost the cupcakes as desired.

Yields 24 cupcakes.

A Little Bit About Me!

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Welcome everyone! To introduce myself, my name is Katie. I’m 24 years old, recently graduated from SUNY New Paltz and I am now working in the hustling-bustling world that is New York City. What a difference! Going from a small town on Long Island to an even smaller community up in New Paltz to now the big apple! I’m in the stage of my life where I cannot anticipate the future but live in the “now” and chase after my dreams… small or big. I don’t know what the next step is.  But to me, that’s exciting! I feel like the cliche saying that the “world is at my fingertips”.

As you can probably tell from the name of this blog, I love to cook. You’re probably thinking okay… can this girl really cook? I’d like to think so!  Cooking is not only a hobby but a passion.  My mother told me that I began to cook at the age of four (with plenty of supervision of course.)  The first real item I ever made was an omelette… at four!  Ever since then there’s been no stopping me.  I can’t even begin to tell you how many omelettes I have made since that very first time.  Whereas some kids were sucked into video games, expensive pocketbooks or playing cards… my heart was in experimenting with all different foods and flavors.  It’s without surprise that my all time favorite toy was the Easy Bake Oven.  It still blows my mind that I could produce a baked good with a light bulb.  It’s genius!

But as I grew older, my culinary confections evolved from strictly cooking into the world of baking.  I know many people say that baking is the toughest because everything has to be exactly right.  The measurements, the order in which the ingredients are mixed, and even when folding in the “dry” with the “wet” counts tremendously.  I don’t know what it is about baking, but it’s just something that I get.  When I do what I love, it brings me into a world where I can concentrate on one thing and escape from everything else.  If I’m stressed, I bake.  (Which coincidentally is convenient for my friends and family… free baked goods.)  We are told to do what makes us happy, and I am.  One of my many life bucket list items will be checked off when I complete this first post.  I have always wanted to do a blog.  I studied abroad in Ireland for 4 months and did a traveling one.  It truly enabled me to take every thought, experience and moment and document it.  With this blog I hope to do the same.

A Treat To Eat is not restricted to a genre or a specific style of cooking.  This blog will be about me and all of my wonderful experiences traveling around both Long Island and NYC.  I am an avid writer and want to focus this blog on reviewing restaurants, eateries, hidden gems and more. With my new found passion for food writing/critiquing I want to share my journey with you all.  Throughout my posts, I hope to make you laugh while making your taste buds tingle and your stomach rumble. One of my biggest goals with this blog is to move forward with my love of the culinary community and do something that reflects my personality/essence. Whether it’s a review on your already favorite establishment or a new finding of a restaurant you’ve been dying to go to… maybe my experiences will fuel your inspiration in whatever form that may be.

Thank you.

Katie