BraveTart

Food and Wine Best Pastry Chef winner Stella Parks recreates and re-imagines childhood favorites into sophisticated modern desserts.

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BraveTart: Make Your Own Magic Middles

Writing about Magic Middles, making a recipe for them, makes me feel like that person at the Police Department that sketches a criminal's portrait while listening to the victim's account. You see, I have never tasted a Magic Middle or seen one in the wild. But based on eye witness reports and video footage, I've taken on the role of a forensic chef in the hunt for America's Most Wanted Cookie. More

BraveTart: Oatmeal Creme Pies

Oatmeal Creme Pies have mastered consistency in every sense of the word. It starts with the unparalleled consistency of both the cookies and the so-called creme. Together they are yielding yet substantial and neither squishy nor firm. Their flavor and texture remain consistent from edge to edge, from box to box, from decade to decade. More

BraveTart: Make Your Own Fruit Roll-Ups

Scarfing down a sugary snack without preamble definitely gets the job done, but a little delayed gratification really amps up the satisfaction of certain sweets. These sweets seem to demand a little ritual and thought: Twisting and licking an Oreo, wearing a Fudge Stripe like an edible ring, punching out the middle of a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup, or folding and nibbling a Fruit Roll-Up into a fruity snowflake. More

BraveTart: Make Your Own Brown Sugar Cinnamon Pop-Tarts

Writing a nostalgia-fueled column about childhood junk foods has some occupational hazards. Trips to the grocery now involve huge chunks of time spent roaming the center aisles ("Chips Ahoy or Famous Amos? Oh, hello Pecan Sandies..."), my notebook at work has more pages devoted to Little Debbie than Petite Syrah, and my coworkers get irate when subjected to taste-testing the same thing twelve too many times ("Soft Batch, again?"). More

BraveTart: Make Your Own Chocolate Sprinkles

Last year, Robyn taught us about a magical place called the Netherlands where people enjoy life so much that they crown even the most mundane food, buttered bread, with hagelslag (chocolate sprinkles). I don't know how this practice began, but I'd like to think that the people of the Netherlands have a sweeter constitution and dessert in the evening alone can't sustain them. To survive the long, dangerous hours between breakfast and dessert, they take chocolate vitamins to tide them over. More

BraveTart: Make Your Own Jell-O Style Chocolate Pudding

What made Jell-O pudding in the little plastic cup so exceptional compared to the instant variety, or even homemade, related directly to its texture. It had a slick silkiness that made all other puddings seem as thick and heavy as paste. You could suck up a spoonful through closed teeth, letting it flood your mouth with creamy chocolate wonder. And what can compare to the exquisite pleasure of licking clean the chocolate stained tinfoil lid? More

BraveTart: How to Make Your Own Nilla Wafers

Like loose change lurking in couch cushions, half eaten boxes of Nilla Wafers populate our cupboards; buried treasure lost amid the Seven Cs (cookies, crackers, chocolate, cereal, candy, chips, and cola). No Pantry Pirate ever sets out to find Nilla Wafers, instead, Nilla Wafers reveal themselves with the time is right. Just as despair sets in, the weary snacker sets eyes on their golden shores. More

BraveTart: Holiday Fauxreos

The mere sight of an Oreo stirs up feelings in me disturbingly like love. Not, of course, a torrid, star crossed love. Or even a simple storybook love. No, Oreos give you the kind of love only found in a long term relationship. They're familiar, comforting and pretty good in bed. (Oh, like you never eat cookies in bed?) More

BraveTart: Little Debbie-Style Christmas Tree Cakes

What I can't give you: the sound. The crisp, glassine crinkle of Little Debbie's cello wrap crumpling between your fingers. The delicate, mournful song the wadded-up wrapper sings as it slowly unfurls in the trash bin, discarded after faithfully protecting your snack for so long. What I can give you: fluffy yellow cake, silky whipped filling, and a coating of chocolate resilient enough to let you carry the whole thing around in the palm of your hand. More

BraveTart: Make Your Own Milanos

Santa and Milanos have equally substantiated merits. Santa supposedly rewards children for their behavior and Milanos ostensibly taste good. Both claims remain scientifically impossible to prove, but even so, people continue to believe in them because both point to something beautiful. More

BraveTart: Make Your Own Fig Newtons

Most of my childhood memories center around food and one of the earliest involves Fig Newtons. Before my brother had the audacity to be born on my fourth birthday, I was a painfully shy only child. So when my aunt and cousin drove in from out of town for a visit, I felt slightly terrified. My cousin was a bone fide Big Kid who could ride a bike and stuff. Don't those Big Kids pick on the Little Ones? I didn't plan on sticking around to find out. More

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