So- true story, I was in a sorority in college. I did my undergrad at Johns Hopkins University, so the nature of Greek life was pretty toned down in comparison to other schools. We didn’t have a house. I wasn’t constantly decked out in apparel. And I definitely was not hazed. It was rather low key due to the fact that everyone had schoolwork on their mind first.  But it still felt like a cohesive group. I made some of my best friends from college in that sorority- girls that I still see often and am in constant communication with, girls I anticipate being friends with for the rest of my life. I also made a ton of other close friends, either through long nights or silly activities, that when I see now I still have that special connection with. I’ll be the first to admit that the whole “sisters” and “sisterly bond” thing doesn’t really describe the nature of my experience in a sorority, but nonetheless the friendships I made still matter very much to me.

Lucky for me, there are probably 25+ girls from my sorority living in the NYC area. In June we started doing monthly get togethers. We rotate homes, everyone brings food, and then we just hang and chat. When I went in June there were girls there I hadn’t seen in close to five years (since I graduated), and just the sound of their voices brought back a flood of memories from the time we had spent together in college. It was kind of unreal. And it made me realize just how valuable this network of girls I have in my life is. I know sororities can get a pretty bad rap, and truthfully, had I been at another school I likely would not have joined one. But now being able to experience having this rich group of friendships in close proximity, I’m so thankful for having been in one.

Oh, so this cake? This is what I brought to last night’s get together. It’s a spin off of the buttermilk cake I made a few weeks back. I might like this version a bit better, mostly because it’s generously topped with a luscious cream cheese icing. Have I mentioned I detest frosting cakes? I’m all about recipes where you thickly slather the top of the cake with icing, rather than all around. Makes life way easier. Also, I simply cannot get over the crumb of this cake. It is so incredibly tender. Your guests won’t be able to either. So whichever version you choose, I urge you to make this buttermilk cake in some form or fashion this summer. Enjoy!

Strawberry Buttermilk Cake with Strawberry Icing

Make the strawberry purée:

  • 10 medium to large strawberries, cut in half
  • 2 T sugar
Preheat oven to 375°. Toss together the strawberries and sugar in a shallow baking dish and bake for 10 minutes. Let cool slightly before puréeing until smooth in a Cuisinart. Set aside purée.

For the cake (cake slightly adapted from the Joy the Baker Cookbook):

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 6 T unsalted butter softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup strawberry purée

Preheat the oven to 375°. Butter and flour a 9 inch cake pan or cast iron pan and set aside.

Whisk together the dry ingredients. Using a stand or hand mixer, on medium speed beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy- about 3 minutes. Add in the egg and then the egg yolk, beating until just combined after each addition. Lastly add in the vanilla and beat until just combined. Lower the mixer to low speed, add in half the flour mixture, and beat until just combined. Add in the buttermilk and beat just until the flour disappears. Add in the remaining flour and beat until the flour disappears. Use a rubber spatula to bring together the batter and ensure everything is well incorporated. Lastly, fold in the strawberry purée and stir until just combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, spread evenly. Bake for about 30 minutes, until the cake is a deep golden brown and a cake tester or tooth pick comes out clean. Let cool completely.

Make the frosting:

  • 8 T unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 T cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 5 T strawberry purée

Beat together the butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add in the sugar and vanilla and beat until light and fluffy. Fold in the  strawberry purée. Place the frosting in the fridge for 20-30 minutes to firm up before spreading thickly across the top of the cake. Serve immediately.

Friends, all I can say is- prepare for an onslaught of strawberry recipes. After Sarah’s lovely post on Tuesday, all I can think about is how to work this sweet berry into my diet. I’d say strawberries are bordering on my favorite fruit, so the fact that their season is only a few weeks long makes my obsession during this period that much greater.

First strawberry recipe- ice cream, of course! I haven’t made any other strawberry ice cream recipes other than this one, but I can tell you I probably never will. This one is genius. The key to its success is the fact that instead of putting slices of strawberry into the ice cream base, which only results in rock hard flavorless chunks, you make a flavorful purée which you then fold into the cream. On top of that, it also includes buttermilk, which provides the perfect tang against the sweetness of the sugar and berries. Genius, right? Enjoy!

More ice cream: Vanilla Bean and Cookies and Cream

Roasted Strawberry Ice Cream from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home

Makes about 1 quart

  • 1 pint strawberries, hulled and sliced 1/2 inch thick
  • 1/3 c sugar
  • 3 T fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 c whole milk
  • 1 1/4 c heavy cream
  • 1/4 c buttermilk
  • 2/3 c sugar
  • 2 T light corn syrup
  • 2 T cornstarch
  • 4 T or 2 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1/8 tsp fine sea salt

Roast the Strawberries: Preheat the oven to 375°. Place the strawberries and sugar in an 8 inch square baking dish and toss to combine. Roast for 8-12 minutes until just softened. Let cool slightly.

Purée the berries in a food processor with the lemon juice. Measure 1/2 cup of the puréed berries; refrigerate the rest of the purée for another use.

Make the Ice Cream Base: Mix 2 tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl to make a smooth slurry. Whisk the cream cheese and salt in a medium bowl until smooth.  Set both aside.

Combine the remaining milk, the cream, sugar, and corn syrup and a sauce pan and bring to a rolling boil over medium high heat. Boil for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and gradually whisk in the cornstarch slurry. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium high heat and cook, stirring with a rubber spatula, until slightly thickened- about 1 minute. Remove from the heat.

Chill: Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese until smooth. Mix the buttermilk into the strawberry purée, then gradually whisk into the ice mixture until well blended.  Fill a large bowl with ice and a bit of water to create an ice bath. Pour the ice cream mixture into a 1-gallon Ziploc freezer bag. Submerge the bag in the ice bath. Place the bowl in the fridge and let chill until very cold- at least an hour, or up to overnight.  Once cold, pour the ice cream into the frozen canister and spin until thick and creamy- about 25 minutes.

Pac the ice cream into a storage container, press a sheet of parchment directly against the surface, and seal with an airtight lid. Freeze until firm, about 5 hours.

Hello! I have to admit, I’m still brimming with excitement over the new design. It truly feels like such a fresh new start, pretty optimal timing for spring I suppose. I’ll stop talking about the new look though and get on to telling you about this incredible ice cream, but I did want to mention one quick thing- we’re still working on the “You might also like” links at the bottom of each post, hence the reason you don’t see anything there. So hold tight, it’s coming! Lastly, I’m facing a few issues with the sharing buttons when you actually open a post so hopefully that will be sorted out soon, too.

Now, on to ice cream. Since purchasing this book I’ve been utterly obsessed with making ice cream at home. After trying my hand at vanilla bean, I was ready to move to the next level- mix something in. Brandon was the brilliant mind behind trying Cookies and Cream and once he said out loud, I couldn’t think of a better flavor. The best part about making this specific ice cream at home is you can add as many oreos as you would like. Let’s just say, I was very generous with the oreos. Enjoy!

Oreo Lover’s Cookies and Cream Ice Cream adapted from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream at Home
Makes about 1 quart

The method outlined below provides the basic recipe for Jeni’s ice cream base. Feel free to add any mix ins or cookies you like!

  • 2 cups whole milk (I used organic)
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon corn starch
  • 3 tablespoons cream cheese, softened
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream (I used organic)
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1 row of Oreo cookies from the package broken into large chunks

Prep: Make sure the canister of your ice cream maker has been in the freezer for at least 24 hours before making the ice cream. Mix 2 tablespoons of the milk with the corn starch in a small bowl to make a smooth slurry. Place the cream cheese in a medium size bowl (large enough to whisk together all the liquid later on). Fill a large bowl with ice- that will later become the ice bath.

Cook: Combine the remaining milk, the cream, sugar, and corn syrup in a medium size sauce pan. Bring to a roiling boil over medium high heat, and boil for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and gradually whisk in the corn starch slurry. Bring the mixture back to a boil over medium high heat and cook, stirring with a heat proof spatula, until slightly thickened- about  1 minute. Remove from heat.

Chill: Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese, stirring well to make sure there are no lumps. Once combined, pour the mixture into a ziploc bag and submerge in the ice. Add water to the ice to create an ice bath. Let chill until the mixture is very cold- about 1 hour.

Freeze: Pour the ice cream base into the frozen canister and turn on your machine. Let it run for about 25 minutes, until the ice cream is thick and creamy. Once spun, pack the ice cream into a tupperware container, mixing in the oreos as you go. Press a piece of parchment paper directly against the top and seal with an air tight lid. Place in the freezer for at least four hours or overnight if possible.


Good morning! How have you been? Thank you all for being so patient during my stay-cation spring break. I actually did take a little trip home this weekend, and while it was nothing out of the ordinary, a massage, many uninterrupted hours of Bravo, and having my mom cook for me for three days straight made it feel like a little vacation. It was exactly what I needed!

I’m feeling refreshed and excited to share all I’ve been eating, cooking, and doing. I thought I would start the week off on a sweet note and provide a full report on my first homemade ice cream making experience. In case you didn’t catch this post, a few weeks back I purchased an ice cream maker and a cookbook to go with. I opted for Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams as I had heard such good things about her cooking process for making incredible ice cream at home. It certainly lived up to all the hype, as this batch of vanilla ice cream I made was truly some of the best ice cream I’ve ever had.  I also love the book because it provides a great balance between technique, ice cream recipes, and homemade toppings and mix-ins for the ice cream. To go with the vanilla ice cream, I made her caramelized white chocolate shell. Do you remember that chocolate sauce you could pour on ice cream, and then once it hit the ice cream it would harden? This is exactly that! Who knew you could make it at home with just chopped chocolate and coconut oil? I’ve shared that recipe below, too.

This is truly just the beginning with this book. Now that I’ve got the technique down, there are so many more recipes I want to try. Luckily I’ve got  a handful of parties coming up and I already know exactly what I’m bringing. I’ll, of course, share everything here. Have a great week!

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams

Makes about 1 quart

  • 2 cups whole milk (I used organic)
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon corn starch
  • 3 tablespoons cream cheese, softened
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream (I used organic)
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped out, seeds and bean reserved

Prep: Make sure the canister of your ice cream maker has been in the freezer for at least 24 hours before making the ice cream. Mix 2 tablespoons of the milk with the corn starch in a small bowl to make a smooth slurry. Place the cream cheese in a medium size bowl (large enough to whisk together all the liquid later on). Fill a large bowl with ice- that will later become the ice bath.

Cook: Combine the remaining milk, the cream, sugar, corn syrup, and vanilla seeds and bean in a medium size sauce pan. Bring to a roiling boil over medium high heat, and boil for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and gradually whisk in the corn starch slurry. Bring the mixture back to a boil over medium high heat and cook, stirring with a heat proof spatula, until slightly thickened- about  1 minute. Remove from heat.

Chill: Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese, stirring well to make sure there are no lumps. Once combined, pour the mixture into a ziploc bag and submerge in the ice. Add water to the ice to create an ice bath. Let chill until the mixture is very cold- about 45 minutes.

Freeze: Remove the vanilla bean. Pour the ice cream base into the frozen canister and turn on your machine. Let it run for about 25 minute, until the ice cream is thick and creamy. Once spun, pack the ice cream into a tupperware container. Press a piece of parchment paper directly against the top and seal with an air tight lid. Place in the freezer for at least four hours or overnight if possible.

Caramelized White Chocolate Bombe Shell

  • 12 ounces white chocolate (chopped or chocolate chips)
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil

This stuff is a little tricky- you really have to watch it while it cooks so it doesn’t caramelize too quickly. If you’d like to make just a white chocolate shell (or any other chocolate for that matter), use the same proportions and just heat the chocolate and coconut oil until melted. If you’re feeling ambitious, this can also be used to dip cones!

Combine the white chocolate and coconut oil in a sauce pan and cook over medium low heat, stirring until melted and smooth. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture reaches a deep amber color- 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from the heat if the chocolate seems to be getting lumpy and caramelizing too quickly. Serve immediately or store in the fridge up to one month. It will harden once in the frideg so to melt it, place the container in a bowl of hot tap water and stir occasionally, just until liquified and smooth.


Things I’m not good at: making desserts that don’t include sea salt. How can you resist? Ever since I made these bars I’ve been craving a sweet and salty confection in bar form. I think I’ve become a bit of a lazy baker, but why go to the trouble of scooping out cookies when you can just put all the dough in one pan? WAY easier. And pretty, don’t you think?

This recipe calls for a full cup of creamy peanut butter and a whole bag of chocolate chips, tucked within a 9×9 pan. That translates into a very thick and decadent bar, so consider yourself warned! I recommend having plenty of regular milk or almond milk on hand before making them.  Enjoy!

Salted Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bars inspired by the Brown Eyed Baker
Makes 12 bars

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • ¾ cup light brown sugar
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 12 oz bag semisweet chocolate chips
  • flaked sea salt for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9×9 or 9×8-inch baking pan, set aside. (Tip: I like to use the wrapper from the butter to grease the pan!)

In a small bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt, set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the brown sugar, peanut butter, butter and granulated sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla extract and mix until combined. Reduce speed to low and add the dry ingredients, mixing only until the flour is just incorporated. Using a rubber spatula, mix in the chocolate chips.

Turn out the mixture into the prepared pan and press into an even layer. Sprinkle the top with sea salt. Bake for 25-28 minutes, just until the center is set and top is golden brown. Cool completely in the pan. Cut into bars and store at room temperature in an airtight container.