Ladurée is a 149 year old luxoury cake and pastery shop based in Paris that purportedly invented the macaroon.  This amazing little bakery is one of the most famous macaroon shops in the world – they sell fifteen thousand every day!  These macaroon have become even more famous since they were used in both Gossip Girl and in the movie Marie Antoinette. Tourists and locals can both be seen proudly toting the pale green shopping bags, full of hundreds of dollars worth of sweets, up and down the Champs-Elysées.  Since macaroons are one of my favorite foods, I obviously had to check this place out while I was in Paris.  I have to say it was well worth the 30 minute wait and the jarring 1.65 euro price tag (that would be for one two-bite treat!)

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chocolate raspberry cupcakes


These should really be called Ganache Filled Dark Chocolate Cups of Amazingness with Fresh Raspberry Buttercream Icing.  But that was a bit lengthy.

I have not made cupcakes, or even a cake for that matter, from scratch in a very long time.  There is just something so tempting about a boxed mix and I always seem to be in some huge hurry to whip up cupcakes for some reason or another.  Always completely unnecessary of course, I mean I can’t think of a situation that could be considered an actual cupcake emergency.  Maybe forgetting you own child’s birthday would qualify….

I think the other intimidating thing about baking cupcakes is the limitless possibilities that you are faced with when choosing a flavor.  There are chic, trendy cupcake shops everywhere these days (How long it this fad going to last?! How can you survive a financial crisis only selling cupcakes?) full of inspiring colors and combinations.  I decided to ease myself back into baking with the tasty duo of dark chocolate and raspberries. Maybe I’ll try something a bit more innovative next time.

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key lime pie

Ok I will be the fist to admit that I am a bit of a key lime pie snob.  I think I have a right to be since I grew up in Florida…right?  I think that’s how that works.  Like when New Yorkers come down to to the south and laugh at anyone who thinks Panera bagels are good.   Ummm I’ll keep my grits, mint julep, barbecue, pecan pie, sweet tea, and bread pudding and you can go back up north.  Also, Panera bagels are good.

I remember growing up my family would drive down to the Florida Keys every summer for vacation.  On one particular trip we decided that we would eat key lime pie at as many restaurants as possible to try to find the best one.  This was my favorite trip, for obvious reasons.  Unfortunately this experiment was not well documented (understatement) and we are not sure which pie was this winner.  I am pretty sure one of the best pieces was from my favorite restaurant in Key West, Blue Heaven, and looked something like this.  It was the tallest pie I have ever seen.  The meringue was a solid 4 times taller than the filling and it was simultaneously fluffy and crisp.  If you want to see more of this pie check it out on the Key Lime Pie episode of Food Wars on the food network!….or Rachel Ray, or Man vs Food.  This pie is a pretty big deal.

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