Copycat Shake Shack Burgers

Dinner, DIY, Summer

If you’re on the west coast, you’ve most likely been asked that dumb question that everyone loves to ask: In-N-Out or Shake Shack?”

It’s not really a fair question because the price point on a Shake Shack burger is WAY higher than an In-n-Out Burger AND most diehard LA people will never, ever say Shake Shack. They’d almost rather root for the Yankees.

And while I love LA, I will admit, I always choose Shake Shack. The meat at In-N-Out always makes me feel kinda ill. I once got the grilled cheese and I didn’t feel sick at all so it’s def the meat. So, for me, I’ll always go with Shake Shack because the quality of ingredients sits with me a bit better. But In-N-Out will always be near and dear to my heart and remind me of young childhood and driving up the coast of California.

BUT, we’re not making a copycat In-N-Out burger, we’re making a Copycat Shake Shake burger. WHY?!

BECAUSE THEY ARE DOPE. There have been some good posts on this subject, notably here and here. But luckily, for me, and you, Shake Shack has come out with a book, giving us all a better idea of how things should be constructed and made. Most importantly: the special sauce.

The first step is to butter your Martin’s Potato Rolls. If you’re unfamiliar with Martin’s potato rolls just know they are soft and luscious and so very delicious. You can buy them on the east coast at a whole lot of places and if you’re psycho, or you order them online here.

I searched very far and wide for Martin Potato Rolls in LA and couldn’t find them. It was really annoying. A big part of me even thought of being crazy and buying eight burgers at Shake Shack, hold the meat and sides, so I could get the buns for this post…but then the normal, frugal part of me kicked in and immediately told my-sometimes-irrational-self that she was psycho for even thinking of that.

If you’re lucky enough to live on the east coast, go get them. If you’re a west coaster, you can order them online or just use white buns that are small. 🙁

Either way, you gosta butter them and then pan-fry them. This is what dreams are made of.

Then there’s the meat.

So we made our own blend, with the guidance of their book. BUT you don’t need to. Just go to your grocery store (that has a meat counter) and ask for a blend. OR you can use ground chuck that is 85/15. It will still taste good.

But I did as follows:

I got one pound of sirloin and one pound of chuck.

I chopped them up into cubes and fed them through the meat grinder with the largest opening. And then I put them through again with the smaller opening.

And then we formed round pucks. Not patties. Pucks.

Another thing that I found interesting was that you want the meat COLD. When the fat hits the pan you need it to be cold so it makes a really nice crust.

We pan-fried them on a cast iron with a bit of oil. We also used ghee on one patty and it was a bit too rich for me. But I’m also a baby when it comes to foods with too much fat.

When you flip the patties over, you then flatten them. You will feel like a short order cook. And immediately feel like you should be wearing a hairnet and have a cigarette hanging from the side of your mouth, just like Paula Deen.

You then drape slices of American cheese over the burgers. And that American cheese will melt gloriously.

And then you assemble in this order:

1. Special sauce on toasted, buttered bun.
2. Green leaf lettuce
3. Two slices of roma tomatoes, cut a lil’ on the thicker side.
4. The patty with the cheese
5. Two slices of pickles

And there you have it, a copycat shake shack burger.

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Beer Ice Cream Floats + Burger Party!

Adventures, Desserts, Dinner, Drinks

It’s almost summer, which means it’s beer ice cream float time!

Last weekend, I invited Billy and Steve over and we made some copycat Shake Shack burgers (recipe coming tomorrow!) and served them with beer ice cream floats using some delicious ice cream from Coolhaus.

The first time I had a beer ice cream float was a few years ago, and I’ll admit that before I tried it, I thought it might be a little gross. But, umm, it was the exact opposite.

Beer and ice cream go SO well together, especially when paired properly. And of course, if you have a little kid around or someone who doesn’t drink, you can substitute the beer with cream soda. Cream soda universally will go with all of these flavors of ice cream.

For this post, I teamed up with Coolhaus. I first had Coolhaus back in the day when food trucks were new and cool. I’d go to these food truck parties and I always finished my grazing with some ice cream or an ice cream sandwich from the Coolhaus truck.

Now you’re able to find Coolhaus in nearly every grocery store—it’s so amazing to have watched them grow from small ice cream truck to what they are now. Coolhaus is a woman-owned, LA born business, straight out of the recession—YAS!

I figured I’d do the very difficult job of paring a handful of their ice creams with different types of beers.

Here’s what I paired and loved:

1. Dirty Mint Chocolate Chip with a stout – I accidentally and unknowingly bought a coffee stout. It was surprisingly SO amazing with the Dirty Mint Chocolate Chip, which uses real spearmint and little delicious bits of chocolate.

2. Bananas Foster with a hefeweizen – The bananas foster might be my favorite flavor because I love bananas and the dulce de leche swirl is bomb. It pairs well with a hefeweizen because a lot of hefes have banana-like-tasting notes and the tartness works well with the sweetness of the dulce de leche.

3. Chocolate Molten Cake with a cream ale – At first I thought that the chocolate molten cake would go well with a stout and I tried it that way but it was a bit too rich for me. I liked it better with a cream ale that has some oat-y, malt-y notes that pair well, but isn’t too overpowering, with the rich chocolate molten cake flavor.

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Spiced Babka with Rhubarb Glaze

Breakfast, Desserts, Spring

This weekend was full of fun work.

Fun work always includes cooking. And people. And music blaring. Fun work is equally as exhausting as lame work but way more satisfying and fulfilling.

I’m ok with my feet hurting if the work I’m doing is fun.

Lame work is the annoying, petty shit I have to do to keep my stuff together like taxes and emails and paperwork and organizational things. I love for things to be organized but I’m not the best at keeping them that way. I’m bad at the maintenance part. That is for another post but I’m hopefully going to put some systems into place so I don’t have my prop closet overflowing with stuff.

Over the weekend, I shot a little Memorial Day content for you all, coming at the end of this week! And I shot some bomb cinnamon rolls that at first did not want to participate in this thing called life but I finally got the filling right…thank you, cinnamon roll gods!

I know that Memorial Day is this weekend and we’re supposed to be about that bbq-life and we are! So please consider this the breakfast thing you should eat before ribs.

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Cozy Chocolate Chip Cookie Guide

Chocolate, Cookies, Desserts

I LUUUV chocolate chip cookies. If there is one cookie that I can eat over and over and over, it’s hands down, the chocolate chip cookie.  

I also believe that chocolate chip cookies are the perfect foray into baking. They are simple in their preparation. They don’t take a million years to make. And the bake time is only 8 to 10 minutes. There’s some very immediate satisfaction! 

SO, I’m so excited to share this experiment where I bake chocolate chip cookies, substitute and change certain elements to the cookies themselves and then eat them ALL and give you my final thoughts. 

As many of you know, I’m a self-taught baker and cook. I often joke and say I’m Google-taught. Seriously, most things I’ve learned about cooking is just from massive amounts of Googling. When I first started cooking and baking, I’d Google everything. And honestly, I still do.

For this post, I’m teaming up with Google Home. The great thing about Google Home is that I can verbally Google all the time (and more!)…without a computer, while my hands are messy and I’m in the middle of baking and cooking. 

There were so many times when I’d have to clean my hands, wipe them dry and then Google measurements, fractional math (not my strong-stuit) but now I get to be just like, “HEY GOOGLE!” 

It’s also perfect for random fun, very random facts that have nothing to do with anything and have no real importance like what Kris Humphries has been up to lately. (Google it though but let me warn you it’s not exciting.)

To start this whole lil’ experiment, I asked Google, “hey google, when were chocolate chips invented?!?!”

You may know this, you may not…but the answer is that chocolate chips were created with the invention of the chocolate chip cookie in 1937 by Ruth Graves Wakefield of the Toll House Inn in the town of Whitman, Massachussets. 

I used the most basic and classic of chocolate chip cookie recipes to use as my “control” cookie. And then changed a whole lot of things with different batches. 

Think of this as the beginning of designing my favorite chocolate chip cookie (final recipe coming soon!). 

And hopefully with these results, it might make you feel confident that you, too, can customize your own. This is how recipe writing starts! IT’S COOL!

Here are my results. 

CONTROL COOKIE: Slightly crispy on its edges and soft in the center. A very quintessential chocolate chip cookie experience. This cookie begins with butter, white sugar and brown sugar all beaten together. 

ALL WHITE SUGAR: These were crispy and lace-y. Definitely thinner and a lot more chewy. And noticeably blonder. Look at the raw cookie dough shot, that one was kinda fascinating to me. 

MELTED BUTTER with WHITE SUGAR + BROWN SUGAR:
A lot of good chocolate chip cookie recipes use melted butter. Why? Well, melted butter usually results in a chewier cookie. A lot of people favor the melted butter route. I personally love melted butter in chocolate chip cookies because I love the texture but the biggest attraction is that I don’t have to have softened butter around and can make cookies on a whim—woohoo!

CREAMED BUTTER WITH 1/4 CUP MORE FLOUR: More flour means a bit thicker cookie. I feel like it almost could’ve even benefited from more flour for a nice chunky cookie. I love all cookies and chubby cookies have a place in my heart, too. Chubby cookies could use some crunch like walnuts or pecans.

MELTED BUTTER WITH 1/4 CUP MORE FLOUR: Melted butter really results in a chewier texture. The flour results in a thicker cookie. I liked this combo a lot.  

CREAMED BUTTER WITH HALF BAKING POWDER + HALF BAKING SODA: The control only has baking soda. Baking soda helps give cookies a nice color and a bit of a lift. Why would we put both in a cookie? Well, a lot of cookie recipes include both so that the cookies have more of a lift, while the soda really helps with that light brown color we love our cookies to have.

MELTED BUTTER WITH HALF BAKING POWDER + HALF BAKING SODA: I’m not gonna lie, this was maybe my favorite combo. I love what melted butter does to CC cookies and I love the combo of half baking powder and half baking soda. I think this is where I’m going to begin with my development and go from here.

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Vegetarian Sweet Potato, Poblano + Black Bean Enchiladas

Dinner, Quick and Easy, Vegetarian

My weekend was so fun! There was a lot of running around. I first arrived in Florida to spend a day or so with my mom and then I flew to Maryland for the day to visit some Jersey cows and then I returned to Florida to spend Mother’s Day with the fam, it was a lot. But it was worth it!

When I got back and checked the mail, I was super excited to see my friend Kate’s new book LOVE REAL FOOD. Do you know her blog? Whenever I need a delicious vegetarian recipe, I always go there. And Cookie (her dog) is so adorable, I want to squeeze her. If you follow Kate on Insta Stories/Snapchat you know that Cookie is as mischievous as Amelia and they very similar in their ambitions for stealing all blog creations. I don’t blame them.

This enchilada recipe is from her new book and it is SO good. I ate it for lunch yesterday and am eating the leftovers as we speak.

The filling is super easy to throw together because it’s roasted sweet potato and poblano peppers, mixed with canned black beans and a bit of sour cream. You could definitely use yogurt, if you wanted to make it a bit healthier.

The tortillas are whole wheat but you can absolutely use corn tortillas, if you like.

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Tres Leches Liege Waffles

Breakfast

My autocorrect likes to change “leches” (aka “milks”) to leeches. VERY DIFFERENT, OK. Leeches also remind me of that gross scene in “Stand By Me” when all the boys decide to go swimming in the pond and then…EW.

These are the opposite of those. I should’ve never even mentioned my autocorrect…because I’ve sort of grossed myself out. SO MOVING ON.

I’m currently on a flight to the east coast for a fun-filled weekend where I run around with my head cut off and (hopefully) pet some farm animals and hang out with my mamí and abuelita. Ideally, there will be baby farm animals. We shall see.

I’ve been trying to make these waffles for a while and finally did it! They’ve been on that list to-make for long long time. I love anything tres leches but I’m pretty certain that in order to “tres leches” something, you really need to make sure that it can stand up to liquid. The point is for it not to be soggy.

My typical go-to crispy Belgian-style waffles wouldn’t stand-up to the extra sauce. (I’ll share those one day!)

So I needed to find something that was thicker and tougher (not in a bad way!). I think I found it with this Leige-style waffle. Josh had been testing waffles a lot and he really loved this recipe from The Kitchn.

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Mother’s Day Brunch Round-Up

Adventures, Breakfast

MAMA’S DAY is this weekend!

Admittedly, I won’t be cooking but I will be with my mama. I’m headed to Florida this weekend with a pit-stop in Maryland for a trip to the farm of Organic Valley! I’m incredibly excited to hang out with cows and milk and goats and bees. It’s a quick trip but I’m super excited about that farm-life.

I have one more recipe up my sleeve for Mother’s Day but I wanted to give you this round-up so you could start your planning.

Let’s start with these Roasted Rhubarb Scone Sandwiches with Vanilla Bean Glaze. These would be bomb.

Fluffy Ricotta Lemon-y Pancakes. YES BISH.

Braided Cardamom Bread. When I made this it was so WARM but Josh and I polished off one of those loaves in like 15 minutes. Shameful.

Overnight Beignets with Strawberry Powdered Sugar. Best part about these is that you can make them the night before. Best part about these is that you can eat them straight from the fryer when they’re all warm and delicious.

Baby Dutch Babies. If you have mini cast irons you can make them baby-like. But if you don’t, don’t stress. Make a big one!

Strawberry Rhubarb Sheetcake. I love sheetcakes!

Big-Ass Biscuit Strawberry Shortcake. I know I just posted this but it’s truly a keeper.

Chai Tiramisu. This literally takes like 30 minutes to throw together and doesn’t require an oven at all. Buy your lady fingers. Do not let anyone make you feel shameful about that!

Homemade Cream Cheese. You will think you have had cream cheese until you make it at home and then you will be like WHY DID I EVER BUY IT. It’s SO good on any sort of carb vehicle that you choose, i.e., a bagel, piece of toast, challah, etc.


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Mint Chocolate Chip Cake

Cakes, Desserts

Mint chocolate chip ice cream is my jam!

My favorite brand of mint chocolate chip is Talenti. Duh. But when I was a kid? I wasn’t fancy, so it was Breyers. Or Dryers. I forget. Or maybe even the Publix brand? Have you ever had a Publix sandwich? Childhood right there.

I think my love of mint chocolate chip had to do with the fake green color that was so pretty…or maybe it was the shards of chocolate vs. chocolate chips. They were so crunchy and delicious!

This cake is born from that love.

I thought of using chopped up milk chocolate chips instead of cacao nibs but I’m so glad I went with my gut because the frosting is a sweet buttercream and the bitterness from the chocolate is so very welcomed.

The cake is delicious and moist and everything you want from a simple chocolate cake. It is a my one-bowl chocolate cake so it’s literally the easiest thing to make, cake-wise.

I love the mint chocolate chip profile SO much that I even started to make my morning smoothie flavored as such. Of course, it’s healthy so it has kale, peppermint extract, collagen/whey, cacao powder, cacao nibs and almond milk. IT IS MY FAVORITE THING IN THE WORLD. I was thinking of sharing the recipe at one point but I sort of just did so there you have it!

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Big-Ass Biscuit Strawberry Shortcake with Chamomile Whipped Cream

Biscuits, Breakfast, Desserts, Holiday, Spring

I love strawberry shortcake, biscuit-style.

When I was doing some brain-storming a few weeks ago, I turned to Billy and said, “What if I made a big-ass biscuit and layered it with strawberries and sweet, softly whipped cream?!” He nodded YAS.

And here we are. You might be mentally preparing for Mother’s Day brunch. It’s actually one of my favorite times of the year because brunching is in high gear. And we’re not all sweating yet.

I made these gigantic ol’ biscuits in two 8-inch cake pans to “guide” the size of the biscuit but really you can do it on a baking sheet.

I love the debate of egg vs. no egg in biscuits. I nerded out on that Food52 article and was VERY flattered they used my biscuit recipe as an example.

I’ve been really itching to try a shortening + no egg biscuit. But for this one, it definitely needed an egg so that it had a better structure. Because it’s so big, it needs some help in that department.

ALSO, the trick to assembling this is to really let the biscuit cool completely so you can slice it and move it around.

A bread knife really helps with slicing this biscuit.

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Coconut Hibiscus Orange Blossom Slushies

Desserts, Drinks, Healthy, Quick and Easy

This week has been a lil’ bananas. I’m doing a video series for a project today (YAY!) and just getting everything in order from location to what I’m putting on my body has been a good amount of mental work. I’m used to just making things and taking photos of them, not really concerning myself with how my hair looks. ITS HARDER THAN I THOUGHT!

In other more important news, Amelia is about to be wrangled by a new trainer, that we consulted with over the weekend, because she’s caught a bit of separation anxiety, i.e., has a full-on toddler meltdown when I put on my shoes. It’s made leaving the house a bit challenging. If you know corgis, then you know that they’re kind of wild, feral animals.

She also had to turn down an opportunity to be in a commercial for The Crown because the requirements were that she actually had to obey all commands while being in front of camera, while being next to a herd of corgis. She. Can’t. Do. This. It’d be too stressful and the experience of taking video of her in this environment did not outweigh the stress. ANYWAY, my best friend works for Netflix so I’ve kindly asked for an invite to set that day.

NOW, let’s turn our undivided attention to these gorgeous slushies from my dear friend Lily’s gorgeous new book KALE AND CARAMEL.

They are seriously the dessert I will make over and over this summer because:

#1. They are so easy to throw together. Seriously, all you need is an ice cube tray and a blender.

#2. They are healthy-ish. They’re sweetened by honey and orange juice, they’re dairy-free and are so so delicious.

#3. Who doesn’t love the gorgeous pink color from the hibiscus syrup.

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