Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Shake Shack's 2013 Custard Challenge

Happy New Year’s Eve!  I can’t believe that the sun is setting on another year.  2013 flew by and I am looking forward to 2014 with all of the resolutions to be broken and adventures to be had.  Speaking of resolutions, I have kept one resolution in my life and, unsurprisingly, it involved food.  Many of you who follow my Instagram account (@thenewtonienne) know that, besides pictures of Newt and other food adventures, I have been inundating your feed with pictures of custard from Shake Shack.  Shake Shack is my favorite burger place in New York and, although the restaurant has expanded to quite a few cities in the world, it made its humble beginnings in a ‘shack’ in the middle of Madison Square Park.  We are lucky enough to live just twelve blocks from the Upper West Side Shack.  The custard is their version of ice cream and, each month, they release a new Custard Calendar, one for each day of the week.  My goal this year was to try all 84 custards – dubbed the Custard Challenge.  So without further ado, here they all are, in one place.  Those italicized were my favorite each month.  And to answer your question, yes, I am now super-famous.

Have a happy and sweet New Year!

January 2013

February 2013

March 2013

April 2013

May 2013

June 2013

July 2013

August 2013

September 2013

October 2013

November 2013

December 2013

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Marshmallow Chocolate Cookies

For the second year in a row, I participated in the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap and for the second year in a row, it was well worth the anticipation, excitement and thrill to receive (and send) three dozen cookies.  This year did not disappoint.  I received some beautiful Sand Tarts from Spinach Tiger, some delicious peanut butter cookies with chocolate chips (a solid combination if I may say so) from Munching in the Mitten, and a batch of Maple Oatmeal cookies from Kristie at Kristie's Creative Touch -- these were practically breakfast for me for two days.   And the best part was that the Cookie Swap raised over $13,000 for Cookies for Kids' Cancer.  

When looking for a recipe for this year's swap, I knew it had to include chocolate (because I would be sampling the cookie and cookies with chocolate are my favorite) but also easy enough to make in a small oven, with a batter hearty enough to last through several batches and a recipe that would require minimal math.  I stumbled upon this recipe from Real Simple and, although mine look nothing like theirs (where did my marshmallows go??), they were still quite tasty and chewy (probably thanks to the disappearing marshmallows).  The melted marshmallows created an almost caramelized texture around the edges that, when removed (because they weren't the prettiest) were a delicious reward.

I sent these cookies to QuyenKarla and Mary Ellen who, I hope, received them prior to leaving for their Thanksgiving travels (poor planning on my part) and was able to enjoy them amidst all the holiday madness of a shorter-than-normal-length-of-time between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  

Marshmallow Chocolate Cookies
Adapted from Real Simple

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
24 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups mini marshmallows

Heat oven to 350° F. Line several (or as many as you have) baking sheets with parchment. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Set aside. In a microwave-safe bowl, combine the butter and half the chocolate. Microwave on high in 20-30 second increments until melted, stirring between until smooth; let cool slightly. Whisk the sugar, eggs, and vanilla into the chocolate mixture until smooth. Add the flour mixture and mix until just combined. Fold in the marshmallows and the remaining chocolate chips.  Let cool for 15 minutes. Drop tablespoon-sized mounds 2 inches apart onto the prepared baking sheets, keeping in mind they will spread. Bake 12 minutes, rotating the baking sheets halfway through.  Cookies should be firm around the edges.  IMPORTANT - Let cool nearly completely on the baking sheets before moving them or they will fall apart.  They can cool completely on wire racks.