Birthday Treats

May 8, 2010

Narcisssm fuels many blogs, and while I refrain from self-absorbed posting here on So Fraiche, So Clean, humor me while I detail my birthday from a culinary point of view.

First, I ordered a cake from Lyndell’s bakery. Golden cake with chocolate frosting. The chocolate frosting was deliciously fudgy, but the cake itself could’ve been a little more moist. They did a good job decorating it (lavender—my favorite!); however, I haven’t found anything on their menu that I enjoy as much as those “half-moon” cookies.

Sundae, Bloody Sundae: Hot Fudge Sundae with Cookie Dough topping

Another birthday treat: JP Licks Ice Cream Sundae! And the best part? It was FO’ FREE! (Chicken Sandwich and Waffle fries not included) By joining their frequent shopper program, you earn a free ice cream sundae in the month of your birthday. Pretty nifty, yeah? Just ask for one of the JP Licks Cards. It’s absolutely free, so you have nothing to lose.

Homemade French Chocolate Macaron

I also went to Burdicks in Harvard Square to get my macaron fix. Burdicks sells a variety of flavors—from chocolate to pistachio to lavender—but they’re a dollar each. It was tasty, but like most baked goods, it’s cheaper and more rewarding to make it at home.

Turning twenty is kind of boring. Nothing exciting happens; If anything, the twentieth birthday is mildly saddening. No longer a teenager, I am forced to reckon with that nagging feeling that I should be doing something bigger and better. I’ve traded in the vestiges of my teenaged years (awkwardness, acne, and obligatory high school slow dances) for mortgages and marriage and stuff. But you know what? The birthday cake makes every birthday just a little more bearable…

The Ballad of the Black and White Cookie

September 29, 2009

Look at that layer of frosting!

This nasty Fall weather has me in a real slump. The rain really dampens my days, literally and figuratively. The fact that everyone on campus seems to have developed a case of the black lung this past week has me rather paranoid as well. All this ballyhoo over swine flu has me in quite the tizzy. So what are you suppose to do when the world is collapsing around you? Eat comfort food! For me, that means hearty soups and sweets. And since I don’t have a stockpot here at Tufts, I took the dessert route.

I made a plum upside down cake using recipe I provided for you earlier. It was decent, but the plums lacked flavor. I wanted peaches, but the grocery store (read: the cafeteria) didn’t have any.

Curse ye Dewick Hall for not having more flavorful fruit to steal!

Curse ye Dewick Hall for not having more flavorful fruit to steal!

I decided that a trip to a bakery would put some much-needed pep in my step. So on Sunday, I ventured over to Lyndell’s Bakery on Broadway. This shop has been around almost as long as Somerville itself. Since its opening in 1887, Lyndell’s has changed hands only 4 times. Pretty incredible. Lyndell’s still has that old school 1950s feel, which was a nice change from the hipster/gourmet vibe thrown off by so many other places these days. My trip to this venerable establishment proved to be quite successful. I ordered one black and white cookie and a cupcake.
The cupcake (chocolate with vanilla frosting) was a little dry for my liking, but at $1.25, it was hardly a financial fiasco. The buttercream frosting was quite nice. The real treasure was the Black and White cookie.

Inside of Lyndell's
I’ve never enjoyed B&W cookies (or half moon cookies, as they’re known to some), but that hasn’t stopped me from ordering one at every bakery I visit. Most often, the ratio of cookie to icing is disappointingly large. I’m a guy who needs his icing. The flavor of the icing is rarely suspect; it’s the cake gets fudged up. It should have the texture of a cake, but a lot of places ruin it by cookifying (yes, as in to cookify—make or become a cookie) the cake. Yes, it’s called a cookie, but that’s not the point! I’ve been places that flavor the cake—I’m looking at you Mike’s Pastries. Mike thought it would be a great idea to turn it into lemon cake. So lame, Mike. You’re lucky you make really freaking good canolis, or there’d be hell to pay. Maybe it has to do with region. After all, B&Ws started in New York.
This ain't yo daddy's fondant icing!
Well, Lyndell’s prides itself on its B&W cookies, so I figured I’d give ‘em a try. The first thing I noticed was the thick layer of frosting. Even without taking a bite, I knew this was gonna be tasty. After admiring the beauty of it for a good minute or so, I dove in mouth first, taking a bite right along the frosting meridian. The frosting was more of a buttercream than a traditional fondant. While this may not be wholly traditional, I didn’t take umbrage because the frosting was just so good. The cake, which was fluffy and moist, had had a sugar coating on the bottom. This crunchy layer texturally contrasted well with the rest of the cake. This small detail took the cookie to a whole different dimension.

Best of all, the cookie cost me a mere $1.75. This is a full dollar cheaper than a Kickass Cupcake, and like three dollars less than a JP Licks ice cream, so it leaves your wallet and your belly full! So next time Fall–or anything really–has you down, just hit up 720 Broadway here in Somerville.

Falling leaves=trees on chemo. And where's the fun in that?

Falling leaves=trees on chemo. And where's the fun in that?