ORANGE BOURBON CHOCOLATE CHIP OLIVE OIL CAKE

This baby isn't hard per say, but get ready to do some serious dishes. Also, olive oil probably sounds weird in a cake. But trust me. It works. I used Cobram Estate olive oil and it was dope. Coolest part by far is there's one of those little spout things inside of the cap. It springs out when you open it, then collapses back in. Magical.

orange bourbon chocolate chip olive oil cake

WHAT YOU NEED:

cake

1/2 cup orange juice

2 tablespoons orange zest

3/4 cup sugar

1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/4 teaspoons salt

1/2 cup sour cream or greek yogurt

3 eggs

2/3 cup olive oil

1 tablespoon bourbon (optional*)

1 heaping cup chocolate chips

orange syrup

1/4 cup orange juice

2 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon bourbon (optional*)

glaze

3/4 to 1 cup powdered sugar

2 to 4 tablespoons orange juice

1 tablespoon bourbon (optional*)

*All bourbon is optional, but seriously, just do it. Trust me.

HOW TO:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 8 or 9-inch springform pan liberally with nonstick spray. Set aside.
  2. Pour 1/2 cup orange juice into a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer until reduced by half. The final amount should be 1/4 cup. Remove from heat and let cool.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, use the back of a wooden spoon to work zest into sugar until the consistency of wet sand. Stir in flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and chocolate chips.
  4. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together reduced orange juice, sour cream, eggs, olive oil, bourbon until combined. 
  5. Fold wet ingredients into dry until just combined. Spread evenly into prepared pan. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  6. While the cake bakes, make the syrup. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine orange juice and sugar until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in bourbon.
  7. Once the cake is done, remove from the oven and use a toothpick to poke a ton of tiny holes over the entire top. Use a pastry brush to slowly brush syrup over cake. Let cake cool completely on wire rack.
  8. Once cake is cool, make the glaze. Whisk together powdered sugar, bourbon, and orange juice (add a tablespoon at a time until desired texture is reached). Pour slowly over top of cake.

Recipe via Fork vs. Spoon

WEEKLY HARVEST NO. 111

Here's what I'm loving this week:

weekly harvest

"How Grey Poupon Became Hip Hop's Favorite Condiment" / Team mustard forever. If you prefer ketchup or (gasp) mayonnaise, you are wrong.

Tortilla Towel / Absolutely crushed that this is sold out.

Westworld / On a personal mission to get everyone I know as hyped about this show as I am. Someone please discuss theories with me. Please.

Vesper / All I want for Christmas is you.

6BLACK - FREE 6BLACKForget everyone telling you how great Starboy is. This is better. Considerably better.

Snoop & Martha's Potluck Dinner Party / "Let's dump a truckload of money on the set and special guests, then edit it like a really goofy game show. The end result will be magical." And it is.

OREO TRUFFLES

Three ingredients. Stupid good. Also, these are basically infinitely adaptable. I went with Trader Joe's knockoff Golden Oreos and half white chocolate, half dark. But you could do anything. Lemon Oreos with white chocolate? Nutter Butters with dark chocolate? Possibilities are endless.

oreo truffles

WHAT YOU  NEED:

1 package sandwich cookies (about 30)

8 oz. package cream cheese, softened

16 oz. chocolate or white chocolate chips

HOW TO:

  1. Crush cookies into a fine crumb, almost like sand. You can use a food processor, blender, or even just put them in a plastic bag and use a rolling pin. 
  2. Use an electric mixer to combine cookie crumbs and cream cheese until smooth. 
  3. Roll into tablespoon-sized balls and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Freeze for 30 minutes. 
  4. Melt chocolate in the microwave in 15 second bursts, stirring after each, until smooth. Dip each ball into melted chocolate, rolling around to coat. Use a fork (like a scoop - don't stab) to remove each ball from the chocolate, shaking off excess. Place on parchment paper to set. Store in refrigerator.

WEEKLY HARVEST NO. 110

Here's what I'm loving this week:

"Selling a $5 Million, Seven-Story Basket is No Picnic" / I used to live in Columbus and saw this behemoth IRL. No photo can even do its ugliness justice. Also a fascinating story.

Pendleton Blankets / They last forever, they're warm enough to handle Chicago winter, and dope enough to hang on the wall. Shoutout to my mom for nabbing this one for my birthday.

Joey Bada$$ - "Front & Center" / Yes, that's a sample of the Narcos title theme.

Bon Iver's 22, A Million Flannel / So appropriate. 10/10.

Saba - Bucket List Project / I'm on board with any album that has a Twista feature.

Novelty Socks / We're about to be knee deep in holidays. No time like the present to hit the Dollar Spot at Target and grab a bunch of dumb socks. Bonus - you can now go an extra few days without doing laundry.

PUMPKIN CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

Seasonal, or whatever.

pumpkin chocolate chip cookies

WHAT YOU NEED:

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

6 tablespoons pumpkin puree

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

3/4 cup chocolate chips

HOW TO:

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the melted butter and both sugars. Add in vanilla and pumpkin and whisk until no lumps remain. 
  2. If you're a perfectionist, sift together flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and spices before adding them to the wet mixture. Otherwise, gently mix everything together until no flour-y streaks remain. Fold in chocolate chips. Place dough in refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place heaping tablespoon-sized balls onto prepared baking sheet. Press down the tops slightly with the back of a spoon or your hand. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until edges are just beginning to set. Let cool for 10 minutes on cookie sheets before transferring to wire rack to cool completely.

Recipe via Sally's Baking Addiction

WEEKLY HARVEST NO. 109

Here's what I'm loving this week:

weekly harvest

2 Dope Queens / If you're still sleeping on this, wake the hell up. The comedy is consistently good, the guests are bomb, and if you don't also want to marry Jessica Williams, there's something wrong with you.

The Smiths Family T-Shirt / I am wearing this today. I have never felt more alive.

"Generation Adderall" / You and me and everyone we know.

Lizzo / I don't even know where to start here. Ultimate lady anthems. The new cornerstone of my "put on some pants and pretend to be stoked" playlist. Also, her videos are everything.

NxWorries - Yes Lawd / Continued adventures in Anderson .Paak crushing it.

Fleabag / I watched this in a single sitting. It's hilarious in the darkest, most painful way.

NUTELLA BROWNIES

Duh.

nutella brownies

WHAT YOU NEED:

1/3 cup (5 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 1/4 cup (370g - the smaller jar) Nutella, divided

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 cup chocolate chips

HOW TO:

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Spray an 8 or 9-inch square pan with nonstick spray. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar using an electric mixer until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs, vanilla, 1 cup of the Nutella and salt, beating until well-mixed. With the mixer on low, add the flour until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips. 
  3. Spread evenly into prepared pan. Drop dollops of remaining Nutella over top, using a knife to swirl through batter. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center comes out with only a few moist crumbs. Let pan cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.

Recipe via Sally's Baking Addiction

WEEKLY HARVEST NO. 108

Here's what I'm loving this week:

Bon Iver - 22, A Million / No, this post is not unfinished. This is all that matters. I've played this through at least 37 times at this point. It's beautiful. You may cry. Embrace it. Is this the best album of the year? Maybe? Probably not. But unless Beyoncé swings by to personally drop a new project at my home, this is my frontrunner. Nothing else even comes close.

FALL 2016 PLAYLIST

Just going to leave this here...

Constantly updating, but you can listen/subscribe on Spotify if you're into that kind of thing:

FALL 2016 PLAYLIST

Banksy wanted me to tell you he is still really into the Young Thug album and also he's super excited for another fun costume this year because outfits are the only thing in this life worth living for.

Also he said you should just go steal the rest of the new Bon Iver album from the depths of the internet because you'll have a great cry on public transportation and catharsis is important and cannot wait until it officially drops on the 30th.

WEEKLY HARVEST NO. 107

Here's what I'm loving this week:

weekly harvest

Margarita Cake / I want to live a life where making homemade citrus curds is in my wheelhouse. This doesn't even look that hard, but for some reason layer cakes are just not happening in my household.

"Books Just for Grownups!" / Dying. So good.

"I Used to Be a Human Being" / Same.

Kllo - Well Worn / Very nice in a non-boring way. I've been working to this all week.

KAYTRANADA - 0.001% / Kaytranada just won the Polaris prize for his killer 99.9%. If you're not hip that that, start there for sure. (He collabs with everyone from Mic Vensa to Little Dragon.) Also, he's coming to Chicago in two weeks. Go or you're an idiot.

High Maintenance / My brother first told me about this web series a few years ago, and I brushed it off as a dumb niche thing about weed dealers. HBO adapted it, and wow. I was so wrong. The first episode alone is an emotional roller coaster, while still being light and fun. Highly recommend.

TUSCALOOSA TOLLHOUSE PIE

Remember cookie cake? That flat, kind of soggy cookie with borderline-gritty chemical frosting? This is sort of like that, but also nothing like that.

Imagine molten cookie dough in buttery pie crust with a shot of whiskey. It would 100 percent still make you the birthday hero if you brought it to a party, though.

tuscaloosa tollhouse pie

WHAT YOU NEED:

1 9-inch pie crust*

2 eggs

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened and cut into cubes

1 tablespoon whiskey

3/4 cup chopped walnuts

1 1/4 cups chocolate chips

*Either make your own or use store bought. Per usual, I strongly endorse Trader Joe's frozen crust if you're short on time or freshly floured work surfaces.

HOW TO:

  1. If using homemade, roll out dough into pie pan, crimp edges and freeze until firm - at least 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
  3. In a large bowl, use an electric mixer on high speed to beat eggs until foamy, about 3 minutes. Turn mixer to low and beat in flour and sugars until combined. Beat in butter, then whiskey, scraping down the sides until everything is incorporated. Fold in walnuts and 3/4 cup of the chocolate chips.
  4. Spread mixture evenly into prepared pie crust. Top with remaining chocolate chips.
  5. Bake on center rack for 25 minutes. Remove from oven, cover the crust edges with foil to prevent over-browning, and bake for an additional 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack before slicing.

Recipe via Laura's Sweet Spot

WEEKLY HARVEST NO. 106

Here's what I'm loving this week:

weekly harvest

Honey Glazed Cornbread Donuts with Bacon / One of the few times where bacon on a donut doesn't sound like a cheap gimmick.

"Framed: A Mystery in Six Parts" / Holy longread perfection. You couldn't make up something this juicy if you tried.

"The 24-Year-Old Coca Cola Virgin" / Amazing.

Better Things / Pamela Adlon (that lady from Louie and a huge help in making Californication watchable) has her own show now. It's good. Really good.

Atlanta / I wanted to hate this so much, purely based on my non-fandom of Donald Glover's alter-ego, Childish Gambino. Well, I was wrong and irrational. It's the most nuanced and quiet show about hip hop I've ever seen. Seriously. Watch it.

Young Thug - JEFFERY / I was extremely tardy to the Young Thug party. Learn from my mistakes. While you're at it, read this profile.

BUCKEYES

Remember that time I went to a football school? Yeah, me neither...

For the uninitiated, these are basically better versions of Reese's cups. Sort of like how they make the Reese's eggs and trees, and they are somehow remarkably tastier than the normal cups? Better peanut butter to chocolate ratio. Or something. That's the secret.

peanut butter buckeyes

WHAT YOU NEED:

1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter (not natural)

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

3-4 cups powdered sugar

2 cups chocolate chips

HOW TO:

  1. Use an electric mixer to beat together peanut butter and butter until completely smooth. Beat in salt and vanilla until combined. Beat in powdered sugar half a cup at a time until a thick dough forms. I used about 3 1/2 cups. 
  2. Cover a baking sheet with parchment or wax paper. Scoop tablespoon-sized pieces of dough and roll into balls. Place close together on prepared baking sheet. Refrigerate for 10 minutes.
  3. Melt chocolate chips in the microwave in 30 second bursts, stirring after each, until smooth. Remove peanut butter balls from fridge. Use a fork or toothpick to dip each ball into the melted chocolate about 3/4 of the way in so it resembles a buckeye. Place back on baking sheet. Repeat. You'll probably have to remelt the chocolate throughout. 
  4. If desired, use a wet finger or the back of a spoon to smooth out the toothpick/fork holes. Store in refrigerator or freezer.

WEEKLY HARVEST NO. 105

Here's what I'm loving this week:

Kanye Deconstructed: The Human Voice as the Ultimate Instrument / In case you wanted to relive the 808's & Heartbreak years (among other things).

Bouquet / So dreamy. These guys need to put out more stuff. ASAP please.

Inside the Church of Chili's / The perfect long read.

@architectureoftinydistinction / Instagram now recommends me an entire category of accounts just titled "tiny."

Janooz You Can Use / I get a lot of newsletters. A lot of them are similar versions of the same thing. This is not. It's weird and wonderful. Go subscribe.

Giant Pop Tart Cake / Looks dope, probably tastes mediocre. Someone make a s'mores version of this.

PLUM CAKE

Use up those stone fruits before the pumpkin takes over! No really. It's coming. The Halloween aisle is up and poppin' at your local Walgreens.

plum cake

WHAT YOU NEED:

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

pinch of salt

10-12 small plums, halved and pitted

juice of one lemon

2 teaspoons cinnamon

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

HOW TO:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9-inch pan with nonstick spray. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar using an electric mixer. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Stir in flour, baking power and salt until just combined and no streaks remain.
  3. Spoon batter into prepared pan, smoothing the top. Arrange plums on top of batter. Sprinkle with lemon juice, then cinnamon and sugar. 
  4. Bake for 45-55 minutes, or until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.

Recipe via Smitten Kitchen

WEEKLY HARVEST NO. 104

Here's what I'm loving this week (special hip hop only edition):

weekly harvest

DJ Khaled - Major Key / I slept on this. It's entirely bangers. ENTIRELY.

Frank Ocean - Blonde / The amount of tomfoolery around this release was absurd. But in the words of Ryan Lochte: "whatever." You might cry on the train. It's okay, let it happen. Catharsis is important.

Vince Staples - Prima Donna / So this is a cute lil' EP. Nothing mind-blowing. More importantly, now seems like the perfect time to talk about how amazing Vince Staples is in interviews. If you haven't gone down that wormhole before, I strongly suggest starting here. Or here. Or here.

PARTYNEXTDOOR - PARTYNEXTDOOR 3 Homeboy is dangerously close to beating Drake at his own game - circa 2011, but still. The apprentice becomes the master?

Gucci Mane - Everybody Looking / Post-prison Gucci is the best Gucci. And if you haven't read the A+ New Yorker profile, there's no time like the present.

Roy Woods - Waking at Dawn / In case you need new additions to your slightly upbeat but still kind of dirty bedroom playlist.

NUT BUTTER CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

I used Trader Joe's Crunchy Salted Peanut Butter with Flax and Chia Seeds for these babies. The result was something like a sweeter, more complex trail mix. That being said, if you want something less crunchy (in both senses of the word), use Skippy or whatever.

WHAT YOU NEED:

1 egg, beaten

1 cup nut butter* 

1/2 cup brown sugar, packed

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup chocolate chips or chunks

*peanut, almond, cashew, choose your own adventure

HOW TO:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together egg, nut butter, brown sugar, baking soda, and vanilla until well-combined. Fold in the chocolate chips. 
  3. Scoop tablespoon-sized balls of dough onto prepared baking sheets. Press down tops lightly with a fork. Bake for 10 minutes. Allow to cool for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Recipe via Sally's Baking Addiction

WEEKLY HARVEST NO. 103

Here's what I'm loving this week:

weekly harvest

Wednesday Addams Dress / I've spent the past three years chasing after one of these. Please help me find one. Begging you.

@doggosdoingthings / The captions. Dead.

Rae Sremmurd / Still not sure if this is garbage or not, but I can't stop listening either way.

Javier Mayoral / Nab one of this dude's originals before he blows up. So dry. So weird. So great.

PAPERMEAL / Most mesmerizing thing I've seen in a minute.

Bourbon-Soaked Cherries / Considering buying a cherry pitter just for these babies. Major upgrade from maraschino.

BANKSY'S BOOK REPORT - EVENTS, UNFORTUNATE AND OTHERWISE

Banksy's Book Report is where I give no-BS book reviews of what's been on my nightstand lately - complete with bonus food and beverage pairings! Please feel free to tell me I'm wrong/crazy/dumb/genius, as well as throw your book recommendations my way.

banksy's book report

The Secret History / Donna Tartt

The deal: A group of self-obsessed New England misfits frolic around their private college. Plot twist: murder. It's by the same lady who wrote The Goldfinch.

Is it worth it?: I'm still not sure. At some parts, yes. But at others, it was long-form prose of white people problems. If you think you may be even remotely annoyed by a male character who goes by "Bunny," this is a hard pass.

Pairs well with: lobster, benzos, eyerolling, cigarettes by the truckload

How We Are Hungry / Dave Eggers

The deal: Dave Eggers writes hella novels. This isn't one of them - it's all short stories, all the time.

Is it worth it?: Do you even like reading? These babies are super affecting in the best way. Strongly endorse.

Pairs well with: a small attention span, crying on the beach

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao / Junot Díaz

The deal: A multi-generational tale of immigration and adventure, all woven together by Oscar's goofy but tragic misfortune. But considerably funnier than you're expecting.

Is it worth it?: I bought this four years ago at an airport and ended up reading Us Weekly instead. Learn from my mistakes. Also, I ignored the footnotes on principle, and it was still dope.

Pairs well with: overall nerdery, superstition, unearthed puberty memories

The Series of Unfortunate Events / Lemony Snickett

The deal: Yes, this is a children's book series. You probably read it when you were 12. In case you were living under a rock, it's a dark tale of three orphans trying to find their way in the world, all while being passed from caregiver to caregiver, on the run from the evil Count Olaf.

Is it worth it?: The first three or four books get really repetitive, but after that, yes. It's a fun escape. Bonus: you've gotten a lot faster at reading since you last read these. A lot.

Pairs well with: alliteration, ankle tattoos, precocious children

APPLE CINNAMON DONUTS

These are not seasonally appropriate. So let's just pretend.

apple cinnamon donuts

WHAT YOU NEED:

donuts

1 egg

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons butter, melted

1/3 cup brown sugar

1 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ginger

1/2 cup peeled and grated apple

glaze

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

pinch of salt

2 tablespoons butter, melted

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3-4 tablespoons milk

HOW TO:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a donut pan. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together egg, buttermilk, vanilla and butter. Add sugar, then all dry ingredients, using a spoon to mix just until no flour streaks remain. Fold in grated apple.
  3. Spoon batter into a pastry bag (or a small plastic baggie with the bottom corner cut off), and pipe into donut pan so each ring is 3/4 of the way full. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Allow to cool in pan for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
  4. Make glaze. Whisk together powdered sugar, salt, melted butter and vanilla, adding milk a tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is reached. Once donuts are completely cool, use a butter knife to spread with glaze. Allow glaze to harden before eating (or don't).

Recipe via Joy the Baker