Eat & Watch: Homemade Baby Ruth Candy Bars & The Goonies

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If you’re not feeling trick-or-treating or going out to any Halloween parties this year, spend the night at home watching classic Halloween movies (or horror films, if you’re into that) and making homemade candy. Since Halloween falls on a Saturday, your entire day can be filled with spooky festivities or spending time by the stove stirring caramel and layering sugary sauces to indulge in that evening – I prefer the latter.

I’ve always wanted to try making homemade candy. After watching the 1985 adventure comedy film, The Goonies, I figured this was the perfect time to give homemade candy a go. The Baby Ruth candy bar makes an appearance in one of the scenes that involves Chunk, one of the young boys in the group of friends. The Goonies is about a group of young friends who find a treasure map and attempt to find the treasure where “X” marks spot. A group of criminals, the Fratellis, is also after the pirate treasure, creating a challenge for the group of friends along the way.

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The scene that involves the Baby Ruth candy bar is when Chunk is captured by the Fratellis and tied up to a chair in the basement next to Sloth, the deformed brother of the Fratelli sons. Chunk befriends Sloth by offering him a Baby Ruth, and together they break free and escape the basement. Though there is a variety of food in the movie (mainly because Chunk likes to eat), the Baby Ruth stands out because it is how Chunk and Sloth become friends, which ultimately saves their lives.

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In my attempt to make a homemade Baby Ruth, I set aside a good three to four hours. Candy takes time to make, so start it when you have plenty of time to do things right. Many recipes will say to use a candy thermometer, but I share David Lebovitz’s belief that “there’s nothing like your senses to tell you when food is prepared to your liking.” When the caramel becomes the color of an old copper penny you’ll know it’s ready. The mixture will get frothy and thick, so when you see those things you’ll know you’re doing something right.

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Baby Ruths consist of nougat, caramel, peanuts, and chocolate – this is my take on the beloved candy bar:

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That’s a Wrap!

popbar

For the most part, the temperature has significantly cooled. Last weekend, however, was so warm that it warranted indulging in a strawberry sorbet popsicle from Popbar. I am eager for the holidays, which in my mind officially begins on Halloween. From then on it’s a whirlwind of excitement, holiday lights, hot chocolate, and festive activities. Oh, and there’s also this. It’s not a truly fulfilled holiday season unless Bill Murray’s in it. Until then, let’s wrap up the week with a recap…

RUN THE SHOW: Hollywood’s top showrunners.

MY BEST FRIEND’S WEDDING: Is being turned into a TV comedy series.

CAT CORA: And how she overcame sexism in the kitchen.

LOBSTER LOVE: Behind Maine’s mysterious lobster bonanza.

MAKEOVER: Written recipes get a new look.

SELF-PUBLISHING: Why Hollywood keeps turning to it.

SMARTIES: The retro candy is thriving.

POTAYTO, POTAHTO: How to make potatoes.

SUCCESS: How to succeed in Shondaland.

Have an enjoyable weekend!

Image by Lauren Jessen

Eat & Watch: Baked Apple Cider Doughnuts & Good Will Hunting

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The official first day of autumn may not be until September 23rd, but I’m already over the summer season and am starting to embrace the cooler weather and changing color of the leaves.

One way to get into the spirit of the season is to partake in autumn activities, one being apple picking. In an attempt to escape New York City for a little while, to reconnect with nature, and to get fresh apples for a recipe, what better way to spend a Saturday morning than to pick fruit from trees?

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I visited Fishkill Farms in the Hudson Valley and both the farm and Valley were gorgeous. It was my first time out to the area, and it’s no wonder people plan their weddings there. It’s an hour and a half drive from New York City, and it’s so refreshing to be surrounded by trees and grass instead of skyscrapers and concrete, even if just for a day.

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With the variety of apples I picked (Fuji, McIntosh, Spartan, Jonamac), I made baked apple cider doughnuts inspired by the emotional film, Good Will Hunting. Not only does the movie take place in the fall, but there’s a scene when Will Hunting, a highly intelligent young man who comes from working-class South Boston, gets the number from a woman he fancies and brags about it to a rich kid from Harvard (Clark) who insulted him earlier in the Harvard bar. Will approaches a restaurant window where he sees Clark sitting and through the window asks him if he likes apples. Clark says yes, and Will slaps the woman’s number on a napkin up against the window and proclaims, “Well, I got her number. How do you like them apples?”

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Autumn, apples, a great movie. Apple cider doughnuts were the way to go not only because they are a staple at most apple picking farms, but also because watching a movie while eating doughnuts is a winning combination. I chose to bake the doughnuts, and I added in little chunks of the freshly picked apples. I used coconut sugar instead of white sugar (a great and easy substitute!), and used apple cider from Fishkill Farms. Fresh and delicious. Don’t forget a doughnut pan and you’ll be all set for making these autumn treats.

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That’s a Wrap!

yhh and bon appetit

Happy September! The past couple of weeks have been a whirlwind. On a totally unrelated food and film note, my sister and I released our first book, Youth’s Highest Honor. Getting it out into the world and promoting it has taken up a lot of time and energy, but it’s all worth it and I’m excited to finally share it with you. I’ll be taking the weekend to rest and catch up on movies. For now, let’s wrap up the week with a recap…

FOOD STYLING: An interview with a seriously talented food stylist and photographer.

HISTORY LESSON: The secret history of women in television.

SOCIALLY GOOD: How the social mission of Ben & Jerry’s survived being gobbled up.

BREAKING OLD-SCHOOL RULES: These female showrunners are changing the game.

COMING THIS FALL: Mindy Kaling shares what’s headed to the small screen this season.

STUNNING: 129 of the most beautiful movie shots in history.

TO BINGE OR NOT TO BINGE?: How do you consume television shows these days?

COOK SHORTAGE: Good cooks are getting harder to come by.

YIKES: What happens in your body one hour after drinking Coke.

Have a great Labor Day weekend!

Image by Lauren

Around Town: Mary’s Milk Bar – Edinburgh, Scotland

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There’s no better way to conclude a castle exploration than with creamy, delicious gelato. After roaming around Edinburgh Castle in Edinburgh, Scotland, I descended the hundreds of stairs to the historic market place (Grassmarket) where Mary’s Milk Bar welcomes visitors with open doors.

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Mary’s Milk Bar is incredibly cozy and old-fashioned. Milk Bars, which promoted wholesome milky products, were popular in Britain between the 20s and 60s. Mary, who trained at Carpigiani Gelato University, makes sure all of her products are fresh. The chocolate she sells have a shelf life of no more than six months, and each week she offers new gelato flavors.

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I loved the Dark Chocolate gelato. It’s smooth and rich and tastes even better in a crunchy waffle cone. The best part about indulging in gelato at Mary’s Milk Bar? The insane view of Edinburgh Castle (which you can see in the background of the first photo).

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There are only a few tables at Mary’s Milk Bar, so if there isn’t room to sit, take your gelato to go and explore Grassmarket, Edinburgh Castle, and the other many winding streets in Edinburgh. It’s a gorgeous and historic city.

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Mary’s Milk Bar
19 Grassmarket, Edinburgh EH1 2HS, United Kingdom

Images by Lauren Jessen

Everything Bagels

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When I say this Everything Bagel is everything, I mean it. It’s been a while since I’ve had a good bagel, and I figured since I wasn’t finding anything tasty in cafes or restaurants that I’d try making my own homemade bagels. Though intimidating at first, breaking down how to make bagels step-by-step is helpful and reassuring.

Interestingly, you boil bagels before you bake them. I wanted my bagels to be soft and chewy on the inside so I only boiled them for 45 seconds on each side. Use a timer when doing this so you don’t over-boil.  I found making homemade bagels to be fairly manageable, which works out nicely since I’m tempted to make these every weekend.

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Ingredients

1 1/4 cup warm water
1 1/2 tablespoon sugar
1 package of active dry yeast
3 1/2 cups bread flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
Sesame seeds (white and/or black)
Poppy seeds
Caraway seeds
Dried garlic (minced or flaked)
Dried onion (minced or flaked)
Coarse grain sea salt
1 egg

Method

1. In a bowl, combine the water and sugar and stir to dissolve. Pour in the yeast and allow to sit for 6-8 minutes.
2. In a larger bowl, whisk together the bread flour and 1 1/2 teaspoon salt.
3. Once the yeast mixture has had time to activate, pour it into the flour mixture until a crumbly dough forms.
4. Turn mixture out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 minutes. The dough will be pretty firm. You can knead by hand or in a stand mixer.
5. Place the dough in  a lightly olive oiled bowl and allow to rise in a warm place for one hour.
6. Turn the dough out a few times on a lightly floured surface and divide into 8 equal pieces.
7. Shape each piece into a ball and press your thumb through the center to create a hole. Make this hole a little bigger so that when it boils and bakes it will be visible.
8. Once you have shaped the bagels, let them rest for 10 minutes with a damp paper towel covering them.
9. While the bagels are resting, boil a pot of water. After 10 minutes of resting, pop the bagels into the water (one by one or two at a time). The bagels should float in boiling water.
10. Let each bagel boil for 45 seconds to 1 minute on each side. If you boil the bagels for a shorter amount of time, the bagels will rise in the oven and have a softer texture. If you boil them for longer, the bagel will have a denser interior. Remove bagels onto prepared baking sheet covered in parchment paper.
11. Whisk the egg plus one teaspoon of water together in a small bowl and brush mixture over each bagel. The egg wash will help the seeds stick and give them a nice brown sheen.
12. Add the seeds and salt! My order: caraway seeds, dried garlic, dried onion, poppy seeds, sesame seeds, coarse salt. Be generous with how many seeds you put on each bagel.
13. Bake bagels for 20 minutes at 425 degrees F.
14. Serve bagels warm with whipped cream cheese. Store any leftovers in an airtight container for 4-5 days.

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The dough will be firm – at first I was worried that I had added too much flour or messed up the yeast ratio, but bagel dough is actually supposed to be less elastic than other breads. This makes it harder to knead, so focus less on working with your dough and more on making sure the ingredients are combined.

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Using an egg wash (1 egg and 1 teaspoon of water) helps the goodies stick to the bagels. Don’t skimp on the seeds – the more the yummier!

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Bake only for 20 minutes – for my bagels this was the perfect amount of time to ensure a crisp exterior and chewy interior.

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Bagel B

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Serve the bagels warm with whipped cream cheese and enjoy!

What type of bagel is your favorite?

Images and recipe by Lauren Jessen

That’s a Wrap!

heart pizza

This week was all about homemade meals. From clam linguine to an improvised Farmers Market meal to a heart pizza, there was no shortage of trying new recipes and experimenting with fresh ingredients. On my radar movie theater-wise: Trainwreck and Irrational Man. After being on the verge of a cold for more than half the week, I’m looking forward to getting some extra sleep this weekend. For now, let’s wrap up the week with a recap…

GET INVITED BACK: A variety of gifts to bring every type of host/hostess.

CROSSING AMERICA: Routes from some of the greatest literary road trips.

PART II: Oh, the good ol’ Hollywood sequel.

DON’T WASTE: Use this handy chart to avoid food waste.

PARTY TIME: Throw an oyster bash.

THIRD PLACE: Jurassic World is now the third highest-grossing film in history, behind Titanic and Avatar. 

TERMS TO KNOW: A useful glossary of wine-tasting terms.

PRO TIPS: Baking tips from pastry chefs around the country.

Have a great weekend!

Image by Lauren