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.
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
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
2 1/4 sticks of unsalted butter softened
1 cup white sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
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)
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.
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.