Tag Archives: New York City

An Old Favorite

3 Feb

West 10th Street Brownies

In 2011, I took a baking class at The Institute of Culinary Education (ICE) at 50 West 23rd Street in New York City (Amazing class! I would recommend any of the classes offered at ICE. Check them out at ICE). The class was called “The Best Brownie Workshop” and was a collection of Nick Malgieri’s brownie recipes. Nick is the former Executive Pastry Chef at Windows on the World, is a 1996 inductee into Who’s Who of Food and Beverage in America. His twelfth and latest book is NICK MALGIERI’S PASTRY: FOOLPROOF RECIPES FOR THE HOME COOK. He was voted one of the ten best pastry chefs in America by Chocolatier and Pastry Art and Design magazines in 1998 and 1999, and he is the director the baking program at ICE. Check him out at Nick Malgieri.

Of course, I keep all the folders and pamphlets from past classes I take and these brownies have been a ‘go to’ for me for years now. I haven’t made them in quite some time, but it was a colleague’s birthday and these brownies were the perfect solution.

Story behind the West 10th Street Brownies:

“The name of this recipe is because I found it in Greenwich Villiage a few blocks from where I live. As I walked east on Tenth Street, I saw a yellowed index card lying on the sidewalk. When I picked it up and saw written in spidery hand in blue fountain pen ink a recipe for ‘The Best Brownies in the World.’ Well, I put it aside in a miscellaneous recipe file, and a few months later tried it. They turned out to be sensational and certainly a contender for the title.” – Nick Malgieri

I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!


Prep Time          Cook Time          Total Time
15 Minutes          30 Minutes          45 Minutes
Yields: ~24 2-inch Brownies


  • 16 tbs (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tsp of Cinnamon (*my personal addition the the recipe*)
  • 1 cup (6 ounce bag) semisweet chocolate chips
  • 19 x 13 x 2-inch pan


  1. Set a rack in the middle level of the oven, preheat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and butter the pan well
  2. In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Once melted, remove from heat and add the 3 ounces of unsweetened chocolate. Let it sit for 2 minutes, then whisk until smooth. *If not all the chocolate has melted, add back to very low heat and stir constantly. Chocolate can burn rather quickly, so make sure to remove from heat  just before it is fully melted*
  3. In a large bowl whisk together the eggs, salt & vanilla until just mixed.
  4. Whisk in the sugar in a constant stream
  5. Whisk in the chocolate butter mixture
  6. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour and cinnamon, switch to a rubber spatula and fold into the chocolate/egg mixture.** Fold technique: The reason the flour is folded into this recipe rather than just mixed is to keep the air inside. This is what creates the airiness and volume in cakes and brownies. To fold in the flour make horizontal sweeping motions, like you’re folding what’s already in the bowl over the flour that you’ve added. Each time I do one sweeping motion I rotate the bowl slightly so that I’m folding from different angles and making sure I haven’t missed any of the flour. Make sure to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as well.** Careful: One of the biggest mistakes people (including myself sometimes) make when it comes to brownies is over mixing. **
  7. The batter may still be warm from the melted butter and chocolate. If so, set it aside until it has cooled to room temperature (test it with your fingertip). Once cooled, fold in the chocolate chips until just combined.
  8. Pour into the prepared baking dish and level with an offset spatula
  9. Bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  10. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let them cool completely, roughly 1 – 2 hours.
  11. Wrap the pan in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight is best.
  12. Once cold, transfer to a cutting board, measure two-inch squares and cut into pieces and eat them!






A Special Day to Celebrate!

6 Jan

Happy Birthday Mom!

I couldn’t be happier that my first cake of the new year is for my fabulous mom! Another year at 29 and I can’t wait to celebrate tonight!


I have to say, I’m pretty lucky to have grown up with my mom at my side and even luckier to have her as my friend as an adult. Things like: “clean up your room before the cleaning lady comes” and “I’m going to make chicken tonight for dinner” all seem to make sense now when I look back, but I have to admit, when I was younger I thought she was crazy!

I really struggled to come up with an idea for my mom’s birthday cake. I mean, what do you make for one of the most important women in your life? It has to be fantastic! I wanted it to be elegant, but fun with a bit of flair. She mentioned a while back that she thought the cakes that look like presents are really cute, so I started with that and expanded from there.

As you know from my previous New Years post, I love the contrast of black and gold with a pop of color. I knew I would cover the cake with black fondant, but then had to work out the details from there.

The cake is my ‘go to’ vanilla cake recipe which you can find Here with chocolate buttercream filling. Needless to day, I cannot WAIT to devour this cake tonight!

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Manhattan in the Fall

1 Oct

The Best Time of Year

Fall is hands down my favorite time of year in the City. It’s nice enough to sit outside in a cozy sweater with a glass of wine without the heat of summer on the pounding on the pavement (aka: the stench of garbage on the streets). Farmers markets have all the BEST things: apples, pumpkins, pears, squash, etc. and this only means… It’s time to break out the nutmeg, cinnamon and delicious spices that I LOVE to bake with! While it is unseasonably warm and muggy on this last day of September, I’m totally ready for a hearty slice of pumpkin bread for breakfast!

My original plan was to make two loaves of pumpkin bread: 1 for Rob to bring to his office and 1 for me to bring to my office. Well, as usual, in my small NYC apartment, I somehow misplaced my 2nd bread pan, so to improvise, I made a bundt cake!  That’s what’s great about this recipe, it can be used to make so many varieties of pumpkin goodness: bread, bundt cake and cupcakes! Have fun with toppings too! I used a simple powdered sugar topping for my bundt cake, but you can top with a salted caramel sauce, maple syrup frosting, the list goes on. There’s very few pieces of the baking process you can “play around with”, but the flavors are DEFINITELY one of them!

Fun Fact: Whenever I think of bundt cake, I can’t help but laugh. All the comes to mind is that scene in My Big Fat Greek Wedding when Toula’s mother doesn’t know what a bundt cake is and she “fixes” the hole in the cake with a potted flower. Such a great movie!

big fat greek wedding

Photo from Half a Tablespoon

Pumpkin Bundt Cake

finished slice

Prep Time:  30 Minutes
Cook Time: 1 Hour
Total Time: 1 Hour, 30 Minutes + cooling time
Yields: 12 – 14 servings

What You’ll Need:

  • 3 1/4 Cups of All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 Tsp of Baking Powder
  • 3 Tsp of Ground Cinnamon
  • 2 Tsp of Ground Cloves
  • 2 Tsp of Ground Nutmeg
  • 1 Tsp of ground allspice
  • 1/2 Tsp of Baking Soda
  • 1/2 Tsp of Salt
  • 2 3/4 Cups of Granulated Sugar
  • 1 Cup of Vegetable Oil
  • 4 Large Eggs
  • 1 Can (15 Ounces/1 3/4 Cups) of Pumpkin Puree


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and arrange the rack in the middle. Coat the 12-cup Bundt Pan with melted butter and coat lightly with flour. Tap out any excess flour. Set aside.
  2. Combined dry ingredients: Flour, Baking Powder, Baking Soda, Cinnamon, Cloves, Allspice, Nutmeg and Salt in a large bowl. Whisk until combined and any clumps are broken up.
    dry ingredients
  3. Using the paddle attachment to your standing mixture (or just handheld), mix the sugar and oil on medium speed until the sugar is incorporated. This will take roughly 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  4. Return the mixer to medium speed, add the eggs, one at a time, beating well between each addition.
  5. Reduce the speed to low and add in the pumpkin. Beat until just combined, roughly 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  6. This step, I prefer to use a hand held silicone spatula, but you can keep using the standing mixer on low speed if you desire. Fold the flour mixture, in 3 batches, into the pumpkin mixture until just incorporated. Scrape the bottom of the bowl to make sure all of the flour has been mixed.
    add flower
  7. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick comes out clean, roughly 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes depending on your oven.
  8. Remove the pan to a wire rack and let cool for 15 minutes. Turn the cake out onto the wire rack and let it cool completely.
    Un sugared
  9. You’re now ready to top with whatever your heart desires! I picked powered sugar:

finished uncut   Finished Cut   finished slice


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