Cooking with Real Simple and Dunkin Donuts

Are you a basic bitch?  Do you love your PSLs?  (That’s Pumpkin Spice Lattes to those of you who aren’t basic.)  The world didn’t all of a sudden become obsessed with pumpkin spice because it was bad.  That’s why I was very excited to attend a cooking demonstration with Real Simple and Dunkin Donuts to cook a few things that go well with their pumpkin spice coffee.

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Real Simple’s food editor, Dawn Perry, taught us to make spiced chocolate chip blondies and a spin on avocado toast.  Not only did I love these snackies, much like last time, I also loved taking home a few tips:

  1. “If you use a liquid measuring cup for your dry goods, you’re fired.”  Noted, Dawn.  (Ok, so sometimes I’m guilty of this when my other measuring cups are in the dishwasher or when I’m too lazy to reach deeper into the cabinet, but she makes a good point about accurate measurements.)
  2. If you’re baking something and line the dish with parchment paper, cut it so the paper hangs over the sides.  When it’s done baking, the paper will work as a set of handles so you can lift the dessert out of the dish and easily cut it.
  3. The difference between a cookie and a cake is liquid.  If you want to turn your blondie into something more cake-like, add some liquid like Greek yogurt or even coffee.  I know this event was all about pairing things with coffee, but I would love to eat a cake that was made with the stuff.
  4. Honey on avocado toast sounds disgusting but totally works.
  5. Food presentation tips: using a lemon “cheek” (aka: a slice off the side vs. an actual slice) can look nice in pics.  Also, putting sugar on top of brownie-type items before throwing them in the oven will make them come out looking super shiny and pretty.
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Demonstrating the parchment paper lift (tip #2, above)
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No turbinado sugar on hand, but plain old granulated sugar will get the tops of these nice and shiny/crackly (see tip #5)

So now I’ll pass along the easiest ever recipe we learned how to make at the event.  I say learned because although I know how to make avocado toast (it’s avocado and toast, duh), I learned a new flavor combo that I’ve just gotta share.  First, toast your bread.  Then top with smashed avocado (1/4-1/2 of an avocado).  Next add all your accouterments: salt, squeeze of lemon, crushed red pepper flakes, sliced red onion, and drizzled honey.  Wait whaaaat?  When she first said she was doing a red onion and honey version of avocado toast, my first thought was “mehhh I don’t really like raw red onion.”  My second thought was “Girl, you’re crazy that sounds gross even if I did like raw red onion.”  Turns out, she was right and I was wrong, which is why she has the job that she does.  The honey tempers the onion a bit and the sweetness was a nice little surprise.  With avocado toast on every NYC brunch menu nowadays, it’s rare that I’m surprised by it.  Don’t worry, thanks to the other flavors like the onion, lemon, and red pepper, it’s definitely not too sweet.

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The avocado smoosh
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A blurry shot of the honey drizzle…along with some hungry food bloggers
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Lemon cheek pictured in the top right corner (tip #5)

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