Cookies & Cream Tart

White Chocolate Mascarpone Oreo Tart with Oreo Whipped Cream // Glazed & Confused

I started my junior year of college this week. 

Junior.... COLLEGE.... Um... WHAT

It's bizarre, really, how fast we grow up. It feels like just yesterday I was running to the office in middle school because I ripped my shorts straight down the middle because I dropped it like it was [a little too] hot on the playground. (True story; I was a wild 5th grader.) I can vividly remember the first day of 8th grade at my high school, exactly what I ate and where I sat at lunch that day, how my mom picked me up and I immediately proclaimed how much I hated it. I remember the first day of senior year, thinking about how ready I was to graduate, but how equally scared I was to leave my comfort zone. Just as vividly, I remember walking blocks upon blocks from my dorm in the East Village with the most painful blisters on the backs of my ankles for the hot minute I was attending college in New York City. and now, here I am... only two years away from being done with school forever. (Don't you dare mention grad school, just no.) 

The first day back at school after summer break has always been my least favorite day of the year. Almost routinely, my first days have always been marked by so much knowingly unnecessary, yet unavoidable anxiety. This time around was no different. I was awkward when I introduced myself, my voice started shaking whenever I had to tell my teachers that I went by Graham and not Anthony (my actual first name), and once I got home, I may or may not have chugged a watermelon martini and went to bed at 9pm out of pure exhaustion. But this year, I was actually, wait for it .... excited to go back. I guess I really am getting old. 

To celebrate my second-to-last first day of school, I decided to whip up something special. Remember: it's scientifically* proven that sugar can calm your nerves on the first day of school. 

* Disclaimer: Though Graham Blackall likes to believe he is a scientific authority, he is just a lowly boy with a sugar addiction. 

White Chocolate Mascarpone Oreo Tart with Oreo Whipped Cream // Glazed & Confused

Well, attempted to whip up something special. I don't know whether or not it's because of school, but I'm having an off week in the kitchen. In 24 hours, I have ruined three different recipes. I had this lovely idea of celebrating back-to-school with a peanut butter and jelly dessert. Cute, right? Well... my oven didn't agree. First, I made a peanut butter pavlova — the meringue fell. After that, I decided to make a big giant vanilla cake that I would going to cut into a giant pb&j — my eggs scrambled when I added them into the batter. Finally, I had the genius idea of making a concord grape cake (strange, I know) with peanut butter mascarpone frosting. I had spent hours perfecting the recipe and as I was taking the cakes out of their pans, every single one of them cracked in half. This is when I realized that PB&J just wasn't going to work out. 

Luckily, I've had this recipe waiting, ready to be posted since last week. It's the most delicious white chocolate mascarpone tart in an Oreo crust. Aaand it's no-bake, so you have less chances to mess it up! To top it off, I made an Oreo whipped cream and covered the whole tart in cookie pieces and white chocolate shavings (not pictured). Absolutely amazing and pretty damn painless to make. 

White Chocolate Mascarpone Oreo Tart with Oreo Whipped Cream // Glazed & Confused
Oreo Whipped Cream // Glazed & Confused
Oreo Whipped Cream // Glazed & Confused

Oreo Crust 

  • 10 oz. Oreo cookies
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/8 tsp. salt

In a food processor or blender, process the whole Oreo cookies (including the cream) until they turn into fine crumbs. Add the crumbs to the melted better and the salt. Mix until they form a workable crust. Press the crust into your tart pan. Freeze the crust while making the filling. 

White Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse

  • 8 oz. high-quality white chocolate, chopped
  • 3/4 cup plus two tablespoons heavy cream 
  • 8 oz. mascarpone, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup icing sugar 

In a large bowl over simmering water, melt the white chocolate until smooth. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. 

Whip your cream until soft peaks form. 

In another bowl, mix together the mascarpone and confectioner's sugar until combined. Add in the cooled white chocolate and combine. Fold in the whipped cream. 

Pour the filling into the prepared crust. Refrigerate overnight to set. Serve with Oreo whipped cream, cookie pieces, and white chocolate shavings. 

Oreo Whipped Cream

  • 10 Oreo cookies
  • 1-1/2 cup heavy cream
  • sugar, to taste
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

In a small bowl, cover the oreo cookies with heavy cream. Let sit for 1-2 hours in the refrigerator to infuse the cream. Strain the infused cream into a bowl and whip with the sugar and vanilla extract until you reach your desired consistency. Use immediately or store in the fridge. 

Nectar Cream Sodas

Nectar Cream Soda, a New Orleans tradition // Glazed & Confused

In New Orleans, we live to eat.  

That should come with no surprise; New Orleans is a cultural capital, a foodie's utopia bursting with endless cuisines, flavors, quintessential dishes, and culinary traditions and histories. From Creole to Cajun, red beans & rice to po' boys, gumbo to jambalaya, our tastebuds are spoiled. But what about dessert? Though the staples of New Orleans cuisine largely cater more towards those with a more savoury palette, the city also has a much sweeter side, equally as rich in vibrant histories and unique traditions. In the coming months, I'll be posting dozens of recipes showing off the sweeter side of New Orleans. 

Summer in New Orleans is hot, really freaking hot. Once August rolls around, the humidity becomes pretty much unbearable. Try going outside for more than ten minutes and you'll start drowning in the humidity. No, I'm not being dramatic, it's actually that bad. Luckily, we have our fair share of cold desserts to cool down with, like nectar soda. 

Nectar is a flavor pretty much exclusive to South Louisiana. Though most would figure something with the name nectar to taste like a tropical fruit, nectar syrup is a neon-pink concoction overflowing with almond and vanilla flavoring. I.L. Lyons, a local pharmacist who relocated from South Carolina to New Orleans following the Civil War, developed the flavor in the late 19th century and began selling it to local soda fountains. The syrup became an instant hit, and local K&B soda fountains made Lyon's syrup their signature flavor. As soda fountains came into decline and ICEE deemed the flavor too regionally specific to produce into frozen treats, the flavor vanished from the scene until the late 1990's when it was revived into a line of syrups and bottled sodas. Though nectar syrup and nectar soda were pulled from supermarket shelves in recent years, the flavor still lives on today, predominantly at local snoball stands.

Here are my top picks to celebrate the Nectar love in the 504: 

a Cream of Nectar snoball from Hansen's Sno-Bliz. Always with condensed milk! 

a Cream of Nectar snoball from Hansen's Sno-Bliz. Always with condensed milk! 

Nectar Cream Macarons from Sucre. Can you say amazing? 

Nectar Cream Macarons from Sucre. Can you say amazing? 

Nectar Soda Gelato from Sucre

Nectar Soda Gelato from Sucre

Alas, I know that many my readers are from outside of Louisiana, so I've developed the perfect recipe to recreate this classic New Orleans flavor at home. And it couldn't be any easier — ten minutes over a stove and bam, you've got some of the Big Easy in your kitchen. Once you have your syrup, the possibilities are endless. You can use it as:

1) a soda — just add some club soda/sparkling water

2) a cream soda — achieving this by repeating the process above, mixing in a tablespoon of condensed milk, and topping it with vanilla ice cream 

3) a flavoring in cakes, ice cream, frostings — you name it.

You can even sneak a teaspoonful when nobody's looking! I'm not one to judge. 

Nectar Cream Soda, a New Orleans tradition // Glazed & Confused

Nectar Syrup

(makes about one pint) 

  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons almond extract
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp red food coloring

Directions

Over medium heat, bring the sugar and water to boil in a saucepan. Let boil for 10 seconds. Remove from heat and let cool. Once cool, add in the extracts and food coloring. Refrigerate. 

For sodas, pour about an inch of the syrup into a glass before adding soda water.

For cream sodas, repeat the above process, add a tablespoon of condensed milk, and serve with vanilla ice cream. 

Balsamic Roasted Cherry Brownies

Balsamic Roasted Cherry Brownies // Glazed & Confused

I have a really guilty conscience.

Since high school, I've routinely found myself feeling guilty over silly things, important things, pretty much all of the things. When I was younger, I used to feel an excessive amount of guilt about anything and everything that didn't go 100% the way I would want it to. Everything was my fault. Unsurprisingly, this was also the period in my life when I personally diagnosed myself with OCD. During my sophomore year of high school, I was so wrapped up in my obsessive-complusiveness that my days were made so unnecessarily more difficult by the random routines I would force myself to complete. Every morning, after brushing my teeth, I would brush my tongue a minimum of 300 times. Whenever I would wash my hands, I would mentally sing happy birthday to whichever Facebook friends were having a birthday, in alphabetical order. Fun times! 

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As time passed, my OCD gradually disappeared. But still, the feeling of guilt was a constant. It wasn't until last year that I made an effort to rid myself of all negative forces and energies holding me back from happiness and serenity. I know I sound like one of those crazy spiritual hippie types right now. (Maybe I am one?) I discovered chakra meditation and even though everybody makes fun of me when I tell them that I'm "breathing in green to open my heart chakra," I like it and it makes me feel better. That's all that matters, right? Since starting meditation, I've found myself much more in tune with myself, my actions, and those of the people surrounding me. And luckily, the guilt is gone. 

Balsamic Roasted Cherry Brownies // Glazed & Confused

Well, most of it. 

Sometimes, I still feel a little guilty about stupid things, like seasonal produce. I had all of these plans to go blueberry picking, fig picking, strawberry picking over the summer, but they never really materialized. So here I am, rushing to post summer fruit recipes. I'm making it my personal mission to not repeat my stupidity this fall. Instead, my blog is going to be nothing but sweet potatoes and pumpkins. (What if!)

In the meantime, these roasted cherry brownies are my last hurrah to summertime. And no lie, they're one of my favorite things I've ever baked. This brownie recipe comes from Alice Medrich and is one of the best and easiest – there's no actual chocolate, just cocoa powder. But don't worry, the chocolate flavor is still insanely rich and deep. The balsamic roasted cherries (and a dash of cherry liquor) add the most complimentary of flavors and provide extra moistness to the crumb. I'm not feeling guilty anymore. 

Balsamic Roasted Cherry Brownies // Glazed & Confused

Balsamic Roasted Cherry Brownies

  • 1 cup cherries, pitted and halved
  • 1-1/2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar

Preheat oven to 450 F. On a parchment-lined baking tray, place pitted cherries and sprinkle with sugar and balsamic vinegar. Roast until the cherries start releasing their juice, about 10 minutes. Remove from oven and refrigerate while making the brownie batter. 

  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar 
  • 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour 

Reduce the oven temperature to 350 F and line an 8x8 baking pan with parchment. 

Add the butter, sugar, cocoa powder, and salt to a medium sized bowl. Microwave on high power for 45 seconds. Stir. Continue with 10 second bursts until the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth. Add the vanilla and eggs and stir, stir, stir. Stir until the batter becomes thick and shiny. Mix in the flour until just combined. Fold in cherries. 

Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan and bake until set, about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool in pan. Dust with icing sugar before serving. 

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