Pistachio and Dark Chocolate Krispie Treats

Pistachio and Dark Chocolate Krispie Treats

Pistachio and Dark Chocolate Krispie Treats

You know my tricks.  You know the games I play around here.  The more browned butter, sea salt, and chopped pistachios, the better! It’s just that… pistachios are the best, browned butter reigns supreme, and I think good sea salt is my secret weapon in my baking pantry.  I’m not wrong.

We’re keeping it simple by shoving all of the good things into one pan of rice krispie treats.  Fancy rice krispie treats are totally my go-to party trick.  They never disappoint.  Also consider Salty and Malty Rice Krispie Treats.  So much win.

I’m traveling these next few weeks to meet you and celebrate the release of my cookbook Homemade Decadence.  I’m in Philadelphia Tuesday 10/21 and you should totally come say hi!  Keep in mind that for some reason I’ve been listening to the Once soundtrack nonstop for the past week, so… just so you know where I’m at and that I’m weird.  Ps. Do you know how easy it is to cry to the Once soundtrack?  Like crazy easy.  I don’t know what’s going on with me.  I really am in a happy place, I promise.

I’ve said too much.

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Vanilla Bean Confetti Cookies

Vanilla Bean Confetti Cookies

Vanilla Bean Confetti Cookies

Six years in and I feel like throwing confetti (on my cookies)!  Thank you for your patience this weekend as my site was down to launch this new look.  That that you’re here and I’m here… why not take a look around… beats awkward eye contact.

Here (pretend I’m pointing) you’ll find cookies.  Not just any cookies, but the most colorful and buttery delicious cookies I could dream up.  This recipe happens to be from the cookbook I wrote that comes out TOMORROW!  You can still pre-order the book and receive a lovely print.  It’s not too late and you might be surprised by my stamina when it comes to pestering.

Vanilla Bean Confetti Cookies Up at the top you’ll find a navigation bar that will take you to the many many recipes on the site, the cookbooks, the podcasts, and Bonkers Awesome videos.  It’s all there!

If you’re looking for New Orleans recommendations, click on the pretty water in the sidebar.

The site is not aaalll that different from our previous arrangement.  I want this still to be a place that feels familiar, delicious, and easy to navigate.  Big up (like, the biggest) to Kristin and Leah for making website dreams come true.

Tomorrow I’m going to be back yelling (probably literally) about Homemade Decadence.  Thank you in advance for understanding.

I love you.  Don’t make it weird.

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Maple Spiced Almond Milk with a hint of Pumpkin

maple spiced almond milk with a hint of pumpkin

maple spiced almond milk with a hint of pumpkin

Can you feel it, too?  Can you feel ALL the feelings happening to us? Is it the giant full moon hanging over our heads?  Is it something having to do with Mercury and retrograde and yadda yadda yadda?  The real question is, is there enough bourbon in the cabinet to make it right?  Of course there is.

I made this most lovely and comforting almond milk.  It required forethought and intention because despite (and because of) ALL of the feelings, I’m still a maker of delicious things.  This combination of delicious is creamy and sweet with a hint of spice and pumpkin.  Drink it from the jar.  Go for a milk mustache.  Howl at the moon.  (Too weird?)

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Weekend Casual Cinnamon Sugar Popovers

weekend casual cinnamon sugar popovers

weekend casual cinnamon sugar popovers

Can we talk about churros for a quick minute?  Churros are a fried doughnut often made with a light and eggy choux pastry dough.  They’re often fried in long strips, drowned in cinnamon and sugar, and wrapped in paper before devoured.  Most of my churro experience has come from childhood visits to the county fair or some Disney-themed amusement park where I would enjoyed churros roughly as tall as I was.  They were never exactly fresh, or warm, or particularly delicious but they were still fried dough with sugar and thus…. AMAZING!

It’s hard to make proper churros at home.  Most of us don’t have the ability to make 2 foot long strips of fried dough a reality.

Nooooo problemo.  I might have life-hacked us a baked churro!  These light and eggy popovers are doused in butter and cinnamon sugar and happily mimic the elusive churro.  Light, eggy, warm, and sweet.

Weekend Casual Cinnamon Sugar Popovers

 They’re best enjoyed hot from the oven, barely held by two fingers, standing over your kitchen counter, with your third cup of coffee because I’m thinkin’ about your weekend.

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Roasted Tomato and Pesto Grilled Cheese

Roasted Tomato Pesto and Brie Grilled Cheese

Roasted Tomato Pesto and Brie Grilled Cheese

Here’s what we’re going to do:

We’re going to go to our refrigerators and gather all of the delicious things.  If those things are roasted, pesto-ed, and melty… that’s ideal.

Truth be told, sometimes all I have in the fridge is orange juice and bendy celery… that’s why God invented bourbon and those Chinese take-out menus at the bottom of my junk drawer.  Orange juicy and bendy celery aren’t allowed in this sandwiches.  Not on this day… when there is precious Brie and pesto in the refrigerator.

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Vanilla Bean Sweet Potato Waffles

vanilla bean sweet potato waffles

vanilla bean sweet potato waffles

It’s pretty amazing how the body’s cravings start to change as the we move through the seasons.  I sauntered (as I do…) past the sweet potatoes in the grocery store last week and they called out to me!  I collected an arm load and nestled them in my basket, but wait… whaaat!?  I haven’t thought of a sweet potato in months.  I’ve only had eyes for watermelon, pink wine, strawberries, and other such brightly colored summer delicacies.

The days they change and our bodies want to change along with them.  That’s pretty cool.  Until next year watermelon!

Vanilla Bean Sweet Potato Waffles

First there were Mashed Potato, Cheddar, and Chive Waffles.  Proof positive that smashed potatoes can and should be waffles.  These waffles are tender, sweet, and the prettiest breakfast!

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Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Soup

creamy roasted red pepper soup

creamy roasted red pepper soup

I’m notorious for making a giant pot of something-or-other and eating it (sometimes begrudgingly) all.week.long. Soups are good for long-term consumption especially if you add a small pat of butter and a splash of heavy cream after each subsequent reheating.  Did this soup get more delicious?  It sure did!

I can make it through four straight days of soup consumption before I revolt and treat myself to (really, anything but soup) a giant cheeseburger, french fries, and all of the bourbon.

Since we’re staring this Monday straight in the face, I thought I’d start our week off with a staple.  Something savory and healthful to get us through the week with grace and strength.  I’m rooting for us.

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Sausage, Cheddar and Grits Frittata

Sausage, Cheddar, and Grits Frittata

Sausage Cheddar and Grits Frittata

I fell down such a strange Internet rabbit hole this week.  There were makeup tutorial videos, doomsday prepper podcasts, and a weird amount of frittata recipe googling.

While I still don’t know how to properly apply bronzer or survive the apocalypse, I can make one damn fine frittata.  Award-winning  (according to me).

Frittata is Italian for “I’m too lazy to make quiche crust.” It’s a simple baked egg dish that can house just about any filling that you can dream up and can be served morning, noon, or night.  Wow.  Frittata is also Italian for “Eat this. You’re welcome.” Don’t worry.  I’m fluent.

Whatever we do, can we not call it a crustless quiche?  That just sounds sad and lazy and makes me wonder who is enjoying crust without me.

Let’s talk about this frittata, because I sure did put grits in it, and I’m not even sorry.

Sausage Cheddar and Grits Frittata

 This frittata (as the name above would suggest) is home to spicy Italian sausage and cheddar cheese.  Eggs of course, because a frittata isn’t a frittata without eggs.  The HECK YES elements of this frittata are the dollops of cheesy chives grits that stud the dish.  Soft creamy eggs meets cheesy baked grits?  Spicy and sausage, too?  It’s a very good idea.

Weekend breakfast idea complete.  You should drink more coffee and keep your pajama pants on until at least 3pm.  For sure.

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Roy Choi’s Furikake Kettle Corn

Roy Choi's Furikake Kettle Corn

Roy Choi's Furikake Kettle Corn

I’m don’t have a cool party trick.  I’m not double jointed.  I’m not a gymnast or former cheerleader.  I can’t curse in Russian.  I never could do one of those beer funnel things.  My tap dancing skills really need some work (mostly because I never had them in the first place).  I can play a few jazz tunes on the piano, but that always ends up being more embarrassing than impressive.

In the absence of a party trick there is this:  Roy Choi’s Furikake Kettle Corn.  Praise the Lord above.  This is SO FOR REAL GOOD.

Roy Choi's Furikake Kettle Corn

There’s a lot we need to talk about.  I know that I’ve mentioned the work ‘furikake’ like it ain’t no thing and you might be like.. um, WHAT!?

Furikake is a sweet and savory Japanese spicy that is meant to be sprinkled over white rice.  In furikake you’ll find, dried fish flakes (bonito), seaweed bits, sesame seeds, sugar, salt, and (in the case of my furikake) wasabi.  It’s a magic seasoning that encompasses every sweet, salty, savory, and umami desire.  Find Wasabi Furikake (with fish flakes) here.  Find Furikake (without fish flakes) here.

To our kettle corn we also add Corn Pops (YES a cold cereal), finely chopped bacon (burnt is best), finely chopped dried pineapple, red pepper flakes, chives, and browned butter.

Should I step back a bit and let that sink in.  Those are some crazy flavor combinations.

This recipe comes from Roy Choi, the god-father of the food truck movement in Los Angeles.  This magic popcorn is served at his restaurant A-Frame in LA.  Happy Hour, get to it!

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Apple + Fennel with Pistachio + Apricot

apple + fennel with apricot + pistachio

It feels like we’re in the middle of things.  Like we have to begrudgingly set down our watermelon and water balloons and pick up our infinity scarf and pumpkin spice latte.  Seasons don’t happen in a snap.  There’s a transition period… a kind of grace that allows us to take a deep breath, absorb our days of sunshine and beach breezes to ready ourselves for the crisp nights and spiced cider.  What we crave in the transition can be tricky.  I find myself gobbling all of the peaches and dreaming of apple fritters.  Truth be told, I’m always dreaming of apple fritters, that’s no surprise.

apple + fennel with apricot + pistachio salad

This salad feels like a lovely transition.  Fresh apple and fennel make it easy to move into Autumn.  It’s no time to crank up the oven for a roast when I find myself still craving fresh and bright flavors.

We’re also adding fresh arugula for its peppery notes, salty roasted pistachios, sweet dried apricots, and salty parmesan cheese.  It’s all about balance!

This recipe is inspired by Chef Nathan Lyon.  His seasonal cookbook is a staple in my kitchen.

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Beer Brownies

Beer Brownies

Beer Brownies

I have a soft spot for brownies.  Well… actually, don’t we all?

Brownies were the first thing I learned how to bake in the kitchen.  My parents kept the flour, sugar, and those gnarly bars of unsweetened chocolate in a little cabinet just within reach of my little 8 year-old body.  It only took me one nibble of the unsweetened chocolate to figure out that it was not at all suitable for sneak-snacking… but the box of unsweetened chocolate had step-by-step instructions on how to turn the dark blocks into something entirely delicious, aka BROWNIES!

In our house filled with whole wheat fig bars and date rolls, I felt like a wizard… like an actual wizard… because I could make brownies.

Beer Brownies

I still feel like a wizard.  I mean… brownies are magic! Dense, moist, waaay chocolate-y, chewy at the edges, earnest, and everything!

There are so many great Fall cookbooks hitting the shelves this year!  I need to make us a list.  There’s just too much good!

One of the books I’ve been looking forward to most is The Kitchy Kitchen by Claire Thomas.  Claire is the beauty and brains behind the blog The Kitchy Kitchen and she’s turned all of her amazing food-brain-thoughts into a lovely cookbook!  Among the goodness in this book (it has an amazing soup chapter) are these BEER BROWNIES!

Think about it.  Dark stout beer with all of its earthy bitterness + dark chocolate with all of its deep sweet fruit undertones.  This is a very good marriage.  Right on, Claire!

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Oatmeal Cookie Granola

Oatmeal Cookie Granola

Oatmeal Cookie Granola

I always have the best intentions of making myself some sort of celery and grapefruit juice for breakfast.  Maybe a green smoothie… with extra green.  A protein powder something-or-other.  A green powder this-or-that.  Something very Gwyneth Paltrow-y.  I have the best of intentions, really.   The very best.

Inevitably I end up standing in front of the pantry shoveling a bag of granola into my face by the handful.  It’s not pretty but it does feel right.  I sweep up after.  I’m not a complete heathen.

Oatmeal Cookie Granola

It feels like we’re making oatmeal cookies and, while I relish the idea of eating cookies for breakfast, we’re taking a slight right turn and making a hearty granola from all of our oatmeal cookie ingredients.

This recipe was inspired by the new and deliciously awesome cookbook by Jessica of How Sweet Eats.  She’s the master of tacos and cocktails and adding neon sprinkles to every dang thing.  Get yourself a copy of Seriously Delish!

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Vegan Banana Pecan Muffins

vegan banana pecan muffins

vegan banana pecan muffins

Yesterday we talked about my favorite Vegan Egg Substitutes because I feel like I should know what the heck is going on when it comes to egg-free baking.

Today we’re putting our new lessons into action and making Flax Seed Eggs for tender Banana Pecan Muffins.

It’s simple!  While we aren’t necessarily glazing everything in chocolate ganache or drenching everything in browned butter, this still feels pretty great!  Let’s go let’s go!

Vegan Banana Pecan Muffins

I want these muffins to be as healthful as they are delicious.  That shouldn’t be too hard.  Bananas are sweet and forgiving, pecans are perfect, and maple syrup is always right.

White Whole Wheat flour adds an additional heartiness and nuttiness to the muffins and cinnamon and nutmeg balance all of the flavors.  We’re breakfasting!

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Vegan Carrot Jalapeño Soup

vegan carrot jalapeno soup

vegan carrot jalapeno soup

Soup is my barometer.

Soup tells me how much a restaurant cares about the details of their dishes.  It’s not the daily fish special or the fanciest steak on the menu that can tell you everything about a restaurants menu… all of the details and love and care  (if they are there) are in the soup.

I’m talking about in the development of flavors, the house-made stock, the onion dice, the thorough puree, the texture, the garnish, the temperature.  And… since soup is not one of those glitzy menu items like pork-belly-this or fried-brussels-sprout-that… soup sits around waiting for just the right amount of salt and heat and garnish to make it shiiiine exactly bright.

Vegan Carrot Jalapeño Soup

Last week I ordered Carrot Jalapeño Soup at Sylvain, one of my very favorite New Orleans restaurants.  On point.  The soup was perfectly creamy (probably laden with an ample amount of heavy cream), and juuuust spicy enough to make me question and affirm my choices.  The soup had so much love and care, it really could have outshined any type of bacon fat on the menu.

Because some of a good thing is never enough, I made my own Carrot Jalapeño Soup, vegan and with feeling.

This soup is spicy, creamy, filling and delicious!  Dang near as delicious as this Vegan Cream of Mushroom Soup, but maybe that’s just me having a thing for raw cashews.  Let’s discuss.

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Baked Brown Butter and Pistachio Doughnuts

Brown Butter Baked Pistachio Doughnuts

Brown Butter Baked Pistachio Doughnuts

That first bite of doughnut… that very first taste is success, surrender, satisfaction, joy, and celebration all wrapped up into one bite.  It’s the anticipation that makes it so great!  And the brown butter, obviously.

These doughnuts feel like an extra special treat because they’re topped (as all things should be, really…) with browned butter glaze and chopped salted pistachios.

Where brown butter and pistachios combine, the gates of Heaven open wide and welcome you in with open arms.  Not literally… but that sure is what it feels like!

Baked Brown Butter and Pistachio Doughnuts

It’s time to make an extra pot of coffee.  Call a friend.  Pull up a few chairs and relish in it all.  What a lovely life when doughnuts are fresh and pretty.

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Muffuletta Pasta Salad

muffuletta pasta salad / joy the baker

muffuletta pasta salad / joy the baker

Some might say that you haven’t lived until you’ve had a muffuletta sandwich at its birthplace: Central Grocery in New Orleans.

For those of you who have yet to live (dramatic,right?), a Muffuletta is a sandwich made when a soft loaf of Italian bread is topped with olive spread, a pickled Italian vegetable medley called giardiniera, salami, mortadella, ham, and provolone.  The sandwich is also often has parsley, vinegar, and olive oil, and is pressed together to marry the flavors.  It’s a dang good sandwich.  There’s no denying it.  The muffuletta was made popular back when New Orleans was just a youngin’  by the lunch habits of Italian immigrants, and ooooh how thankful we are for (among other things) their sandwich sensibilities.

Muffuletta Pasta Salad by joy the baker

Before I dive into full-blown muffuletta-land, I’m doing to tinker around with a pasta salad version.  There’s lots of chopping and cubing.  It’s meditative, don’t fight it. I cubed salami, ham, roasted chicken, and provolone.  Crisp celery and raw onions and garlic for kick.  Olives.. a lot, and sliced.  Parsley and dried spices.  Dignified and delicious, all of it!

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Homemade Steak Sauce

Homemade Steak Sauce

Homemade Steak Sauce

I’m not the meatiest of carnivores.  I’m in it for the toppings.

I’m most interested in a steak when it is topped with a ludicrous amount of A-1 sauce and/or bleu cheese.  Hamburgers with exactly toooo much cheddar cheese.  Yes, please.  I’ll sign up for lobster because of the clarified butter.  And most every East LA taco truck is amazing because of its seasoning, sauce, and salsas.

Join me in saucing just about anything and everything.

My refrigerator is filled with a menagerie of little jars filled with sweet, sour, and spicy sauce concoctions.  Butter too… obviously lots of butter.

Steak is a special occasion in my refrigerator.  Because it’s Summer.  Because I’m experimenting with being a grown-up lady who grills over charcoal.  Because I made a fancy-pants Homemade Steak Sauce…  it’s a very special occasion.  STEAK!

Homemade Steak Sauce

Serving suggestion:  on grilled skirt steak, in abundance, like a BOSS.

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Dipped + Crisp Peanut Butter Cookies

Chocolate-Dipped Crisp Peanut Butter Cookies

Chocolate-Dipped Crisp Peanut Butter Cookies

Some things change:  the city I live in / the friends I visit on a lazy weekend / the view from my living room window / my mega longing for California Mexican food / the frequency with which I eat fried oyster po’boys.

Some things stay the same:  the endless amount of cookies coming from my oven / my desire to eat every doughnut in town (any town) / my fear of spiders large and small / the hope that you’ll invite me to your house so I can share this giant batch of Chocolate-Dipped Peanut Butter Cookies with you and maybe make a few new friends in the process.

Dipped Crisp Peanut Butter Cookies

Crisp.  Golden.  Peanut Butter-y Cookies.  AKA  How To Make New Friends And Not Be A Weirdo At A Pool Party.

Edible social tools are my specialty.

Dipped Crisp Peanut Butter Cookies

I wasn’t sure how to tell you that I have a brick-red wall in my dining room so I just took a picture of it.  Ok?  Ok.

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Roasted Tomato and Feta Guacamole

roasted tomato and feta guacamole

roasted tomato and feta guacamole

I wish there was some sort of Willy Wonka-style candy factory that produced savory avocado delights instead of candy.  In addition to that statement making me sound stone-cold craaaazy, the reality of that sort of factory would be absolutely AMAZING!  Don’t lie.  You want in.

I’d totally Veruca Salt my way all up in there.  No shame.

Since there is no fantasy-land avocado factory I’ve settled for roasting a big ol’ bunch of cherry tomatoes, and tossing them (along with just a little too much feta) into a batch of creamy do-no-wrong guacamole.

Roasted Tomato and Feta Guacamole

Don’t roasted cherry tomatoes look a little bit like candy?  If candy were vegetable.

Related and rhetorical:  why won’t I shut up about candy!?

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Weeknight Cobbler For Two

weeknight cobbler for two

weeknight cobbler for two

This is a safe place.  This is the place you can openly admit to watching Bachelor In Paradise and eating chocolate chips for dinner.

It’s Monday and the sheer fact that we’re making it through the day means that anything goes including chocolate for dinner and super easy crumble cobblers for dessert.  It’s as simple as that, really.

Peach and Strawberry Weeknight Cobbler for two

Hopefully you have a peach and a few strawberries.  Maybe you have a plum and a few cherries.  Maybe there are a few blackberries and raspberries in your fridge.  Noooo banana… save that for smoothie tomorrow morning.

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