Better than Box Mix Brownies Recipe If I’m being completely honest, box mix brownies have always been my favorite brownies. Until I discovered this Better than Box Mix Brownies recipe! These are even better than box mix brownies. Related Recipes Fudgy Chocolate Chunk Brownies Super Fudge Brownies Oreo Brownies with Vanilla Buttercream Ingredients unsweetened cocoa […]
Easy Vanilla Bread Pudding Recipe This Easy Vanilla Bread Pudding is by far the best bread pudding I’ve ever eaten. The vanilla cream sauce that goes on top is out of this world– my family is obsessed! I used Rhodes Warm-n-Serve Artisan French Rolls to make this recipe extra quick, easy, and delicious. Related Recipes Pecan […]
These Almond Joy Bites are delicious, bite-sized treats that pack in the healthy fats and wholesome grains. They are a great way to start the day. Or grab a few later for an afternoon snack! Related Recipes: Homemade Chewy Peanut Butter Granola Monster Cookie Granola Quick & Easy Vanilla Almond Granola Ingredients 1/2 cup almond […]
Strawberry Banana Oatmeal Bake
One of my favorite make ahead breakfasts! Simple ingredients, super low in sugar and really easy to make. This is also great for kids (Luca loves this for breakfast or an after nap snack). The mini chocolate chips don’t hurt either 🙂
Strawberry Banana Oatmeal Bake
- 2 cups rolled oats
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- dash of salt
- 2 large ripe bananas (1 cup mashed)
- 3/4 cup nut milk
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup sliced strawberries
- 1/3 cup of mini chocolate chips
- preheat the oven to 350° f.
- mix the dry ingredients in one bowl and the wet in another.
- add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix. fold in half of the sliced strawberries.
- pour into a greased or lined 8 in square baking pan. add more sliced strawberries and mini chocolate chips on top.
- bake at 350° f for about 35 minutes.
- cool for 10 minutes before slicing.
Spinach for Breakfast https://www.spinach4breakfast.com/
Made with mostly pantry staples, this chocolate cobbler comes together quickly for a warm and comforting dessert. Serve with generous scoops of vanilla ice cream.
Chocolate cobbler is one of those old-school recipes that has endured for decades because of its genius simplicity and seemingly magical transformation in the oven. It is also one of the most deliciously warm and comforting desserts you'll ever find. It's easy enough to throw together on a weeknight, but you'll want to make it for company. It's good any time of year, but it's especially good to tuck into on a cold winter's night.
Also called Half-Moons, these rich, buttery cookies have a cake-like texture and colorful frosting. The classic black and white version is glazed with vanilla and chocolate frosting, but this version is dressed for the holidays in red and green.
It seems strange to call these 'black and white cookies' when they are so obviously not black and white, but I couldn't resist giving this New York native a holiday spin. Contrasting colors of thick glaze covers each side of a large lemon-scented half dome. It's not cake, but I also hesitate to call it it cookie. It's somewhere between the two. What I do know for sure is that their size and heft will power you through any intense gift wrapping marathon you may be gearing up for this week.Continued, click to read more…
These elegant mini trifles have big holiday flavor! Layers of rum-soaked cake and spiked vanilla bean custard are layered in small glasses and topped with fluffy whipped cream.
No matter what size your guest list is this year, it always helps to have recipes that can be made ahead. There's so much to do even with a small dinner gathering – mains and sides to arrange on the buffet, glasses to fill, naughty little pugs to shoo out of the kitchen – it always helps to have a trick or two up your sleeve (and in the refrigerator).
The Syndicate | Facebook | T: @syndicateohio | IG: @syndicateohio
213 S. Main St. (map it!)
Bellefontaine, OH 43311
Open Wed-Thurs, 4-9p; Fri, 4p-1a; Sat, 10a-1a; Sun, 10a-9p (brunch served Sat & Sun, 10a-2p)
Vegetarian/vegan/gluten free? Y/N/Y
Visited: Saturday, November 7, 2020 at 10 a.m.
Earlier in 2020, the owners of Brewfontaine, a beer bar and restaurant in Bellefontaine’s revitalized downtown, opened an event space called The Syndicate next door. While the year’s events have curtailed plans for a full schedule of hosted events, they’ve converted some of the operations into a full-time restaurant and bar, including weekend brunch service.
In order to help spread the word, they kindly invited us to try their brunch, and we turned it into a full day of shopping, biking, coffee, and historic sites around Bellefontaine.
We started, of course, with a pair of drinks for the adults.
Both are boozy selections:
- The Wake Up Call (left) blends espresso bean-infused Watershed vodka, Kahlúa, and cold brew from local Native Coffee
- The super boozy Bourbon Brunch (right) looks like an innocent cup of coffee but hides Maker’s Mark, coffee liquor, vanilla, and heavy cream inside, and arrives with a slice of bacon and corner of waffle
But it’s not all about the booze. The brunch menu features kid’s and adults’ offerings, with a lot of creative spins on the classics.
The Syndicate’s building was home to Jackson’s News Stand for nearly 50 years, and the owners continued that newsy theme with old newspapers and decor reminiscent of a newsroom.
We tried four dishes from the brunch menu, largely relying on the advice of our server. First off was a worthy version of shrimp and cheesy grits, layering nicely seasoned shrimp with roasted poblanos and red peppers.
My favorite of the meal was the chicken and waffles. They wisely used thigh meat, which is more succulent and has better flavor. It’s expertly breaded and fried, then laid atop sweet potato waffles (again, good choice) with a drizzle of Ohio maple syrup.
Our youngest Owen is on a mission to try the eggs benedict everywhere he goes (a man after my own heart), and this traditional version (English muffin, Canadian bacon, poached eggs, hollandaise) earned his thumbs up. It came with a side of potatoes, which were a little soft and under-seasoned.
Kudos to the biscuits and gravy, too, made with zesty chorizo gravy that’s balanced by a drizzle of local Nate’s Nectar honey.
All in all, The Syndicate has a solid brunch going! It’s a big space, too, and includes a covered front patio, so there’s plenty of room to safely spread out. It made for a terrific start to a day exploring the city.
Disclaimer: this meal was hosted by The Syndicate. Photos and opinions are our own; gratuity was covered by us.
A flakey crust is filled with a decadent, dreamy, creamy, chocolate filling and topped with pillows of cream for this irresistible French Silk Pie. The filling is so smooth and rich, and then encased in a buttery crust. It’s a crowd pleaser where ever you serve it!
Homemade French Silk Pie
This pie truly is a chocolate lovers dream pie. The rich chocolaty filling can be adjusted to your level of chocolateness. And because we heat the eggs, you don’t have to worry about eating raw egg. You can just enjoy the velvety smoothness without a care in the world.
Serve this at any holiday or special occasion and watch your friends and family turn you into a hero. Everyone loves a good dessert made with love…and chocolate….and cream!
Baking the Crust
- Flour: All purpose flour is best, so it holds its structure
- Sugar: Helps as a binder and browning
- Salt: Gives it flavor
- Butter: Butter gives it that flakey goodness
- Cold Water: To add moisture
Ingredients for Creamy Dreamy Mousse Filling
- Heavy Cream: Don’t substitute
- Powdered Sugar: Using powdered sugar gives sweetness without graininess.
- Unsweetened Baking Chocolate: Or unsweetened chocolate bar
- Bittersweet Baking Chocolate: Or chocolate bar
- Eggs: Creates the binder and light fluffiness
- Sugar: Gives the sweet to the bitter
- Butter: soften the butter to room temp
- Vanilla: Divided
Whipped Cream Ingredients
- Heavy Cream: You’ll want it to whip up nice and high
- Powdered Sugar: Dissolves easily
- Vanilla: Add the sweet flavor
- Garnish: Chocolate curls
Making the Best French Silk Pie Crust
- Whisk: In a small bowl mix the flour, sugar, and salt with a whisk
- Food Processor: Place the flour mixture in the food processor and add cold cubed butter. Pulse several times till mixture is pea or bean sized.
- Water: Turn the processor on and drizzle the cold water over the dough mixture through the water hole. Add enough water for the dough to pull together. Stop and scrape the bottom to make sure the flour is all incorporated.
- Refrigerate: Turn the dough out onto the counter and form into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least an hour.
- Roll: Remove from fridge and roll into a circle about 2 inches larger than your pie dish. Use extra flour to keep dough from sticking to the counter and roller.
- Form: Place the dough over the pie dish, and lightly press the dough into the bottom and side of the pie dish. Trim excess dough leaving just enough to fold under and create a fluted edge.
- Cover: Cover and refrigerate for another 15-30 min or you can freeze for later.
- Parchment: Using a fork poke steam holes in the bottom of the pie dough and on the sides.Place a large piece of parchment over the dough and place pie weights or dry beans on top to fill the whole pie crust. Make sure the parchment is large enough to cover the edges of the crust entirely.
- Blind Bake: Place the pie dish on a large baking sheet and bake at 425 for 25 min. Carefully remove the pie and remove the parchment and pie weights. Then bake for another 5 min. Place on a cooling rack to cool.
- Melt: In a double boiler melt the chocolate and set aside to cool.
- Heat: In another or double boiler or in a small saucepan set over low heat, heat the eggs and 1/2 cup sugar till mixture reaches 160 degrees F. Whisk constantly so the eggs don’t cook, about 7-10 min.
- Remove: Remove from heat and add it to the melted chocolate whisk until completely mixed.
- Beat: In a stand mixer add the heavy cream and 1 tablespoon of powdered sugar, beat on medium speed. Stream in 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla and continue to beat till stiff peaks form. Scoop into a small bowl and refrigerate till needed.
- Fluffy: In the same mixing bowl add the softened butter and the remaining 1/2 sugar and beat till light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Ad the cooled chocolate and egg mixture, beat till completely smooth, another 2-3 minutes.
- Fold: Fold in the whipped cream and spread the mixture evenly into the completely cooled pie shell. Chill for at least 2 hours before serving.
Whipped Cream Topping
Add whipping cream and powdered sugar in a stand mixer and beat on medium speed. Stream in the vanilla and beat until stiff peaks form. Spread on top of pie and add garnishing as desired.
Making French Silk Heavenly
There are a few tips for this decadent French silk pie!
- Chocolate: This recipe creates a decadent rich chocolate flavor,if you’d like a lighter chocolate taste switch out the unsweetened for bittersweet and then switch the bittersweet for semi-sweet. I do not recommend using chocolate chips. Use a fine baking bar such as Bakers or Ghirardelli or another quality chocolate bar. You won’t regret it.
- Cream: Because you need to really whip the cream and create perfect fluffiness, I don’t recommend using substitutions for the Heavy Cream.
- Pie Crust: You can use a premade pie crust to speed the process. Bake as directed on package. You can also make an chocolate cookie crust if you desire as well.
- Eggs: Because we bring the eggs up to a safe 160 degrees, you don’t have to worry about eating raw eggs! So serve to anyone and everyone. Be sure heat it slowly however so it doesn’t cook.
- Just Beat it: To get a heavenly smooth silky texture to your chocolate filling you need to beat it more than you think you do. Beating the process for a long time ensures that the sugar dissolves and butter and eggs become light and fluffy.
Storing and Freezing Your Pie
You’ll love the fact that you can make it ahead of time and freeze it for later too.
- Make ahead:This definitely takes time to make, but it’s so worth it and what makes it better is you can make it ahead of time. Make and refrigerate up to 2 days ahead of time. Just don’t put the whipped topping on top till ready to serve.
- Freezing: Make the pie as directed but don’t put the whipped topping on, refrigerate for 2 hours. Cover completely with plastic wrap, then cover with foil, and freeze up to 2 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight. Make whipped topping and garnish as desired.
More Chocolate Desserts to Conquer
Because chocolate is always the right answer to what’s for dessert.
- Decadent Rich Chocolate Torte
- Chocolate Lava Cake
- Death by Chocolate Cheesecake
- Flourless Chocolate Cake
- Deep Dish Skillet Brownie Cookie
French Silk Pie
- 1 and 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 rounded tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1/4 rounded teaspoon kosher salt
- 5 ounce unsalted butter cold & cubed
- 2 – 4 tablespoon cold water
Chocolate Mousse Filling
- ¾ cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
- 3 ounce unsweetened baking chocolate
- 3 ounce bittersweet baking chocolate
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup granulated sugar divided
- 12 tablespoon unsalted butter softened to room temperature
- 1 and ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract divided
Whipped cream topping
- ¾ cup heavy whipping cream
- 2 tablespoon powdered sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Chocolate curls shaved chocolate, cocoa powder, chocolate sprinkles
Make the pie crust
Add flour, sugar and salt in a small mixing bowl and mix thoroughly with a whisk. Transfer flour mixture to a food processor fitted with the dough blade. Add cubed cold butter to the flour mixture, pulse several times until butter is about pea and bean size. Variations in size are okay.
Turn the food processor to “on” position and drizzle cold water over the dough mixture through the water hole, as soon as the dough starts to pull together turn the food processor off. You may need to stop the food processor in between and get a spatula to mix up the flour at the bottom.
Turn the dough out on the counter or cutting board, and shape into a disk. Wrap in plastic and rest in the refrigerator for at least an hour.
Take the disk of pie dough out of the fridge and roll into a circle about 2” larger than your pie dish. Use extra flour to keep the dough from sticking to the counter and roller.
Carefully place the dough over the pie dish, lightly press the dough into the bottom and side of the pie dish, let the excess dough hang over the side. Trim the excess dough leaving just enough to fold under and create a fluted edge.
Cover the pie dish with plastic wrap and keep refrigerated, or freeze (preferred), for 15 – 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 425°F.
Remove pie crust from the freezer and use a fork to poke steam vents on the bottom of the pie dough and on the sides.
Place a large piece of parchment paper over the frozen pie dough, place pie weights on top or pour dry beans on top to fill the whole pie crust. Make sure the parchment is large enough to cover the edges of the crust entirely.
Remove the pie crust from the oven and let it cool completely on a wire rack.
Make the filling
Heat the eggs and ½ cup of granulated sugar in a double boiler or in a small saucepan set over low heat until the mixture reaches 160°F, whisking constantly so the eggs don’t cook. This will take about 7 – 10 minutes. Take it off the heat and add it to the slightly cool melted chocolate and whisk until thoroughly incorporated. Set aside to cool.
Add ¾ cup of heavy whipping cream and 1 tablespoon of powdered sugar to a stand mixer bowl, beat on medium speed. Stream in ½ teaspoon of vanilla and continue beating until stiff peaks. Scoop it into a small bowl and refrigerate until needed.
In the same mixing bowl, add the softened butter and the remaining ½ cup of granulated sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 – 3 minutes. Add the cooled chocolate and egg mixture, beat another 2 – 3 minutes until completely smooth.
Fold in the whipped cream and spread the mixture evenly into the completely cooled pie shell. Chill for at least 2 hours before serving.
Make the whipped cream topping
Add ¾ cup of heaving whipping cream and 2 tablespoons of powdered sugar to a stand mixer bowl, beat on medium speed. Stream in ½ teaspoon of vanilla and continue beating until stiff peaks. Spread the whipped cream on top of the pie and add garnishing as desired.
For a sweeter chocolate filling, you can use all bittersweet baking chocolate instead, or even semisweet baking chocolate.
Use baking bars or baking wafers or your favorite eating chocolate, don’t use chocolate chips.
After removing the pie weights and before putting the pie crust back into the oven, if you notice that that edge is already getting too brown, put a pie shield or a few strips of foil around the edge to prevent burning.
Welcome to part three our of 2020 gift guide! This is certainly a year like no other, and so we’re sharing ideas for local gifts and experiences. Small businesses all need our support more than ever, and our four-part gift guide follows our travel mantra of Food, Park, Drink, & Art. Read part one, all about food and part two, all about parks/plants/outdoor activities!
So now we present part three: DRINK!
Watershed Distillery Holiday Bourbon Bundles
Watershed released a perfect little three-pack of 175 ml bottles bundling their bourbon, Old Fashioned mix, and new barrel-strength bourbon. Their full lineup of spirits is available, too, including a 375 ml Old Fashioned (perfect stocking stuffer) or a big 1.75 liter jug of it. watersheddistillery.com/holiday-bourbon-bundles
Bottles of Ohio Pop Co. Pop
Remember, we’re in Ohio. It’s pop, not soda. Give the pop collector in your life a selection from this new company producing flavors like cherry, lemon-line, orange, root beer, cola, ginger beer. They’re made with Ohio-grown beet sugar. ohio-pop.com
Middle West Spirits Bourbon Cream
Middle West Spirits has been on a roll, too, launching a couple new whiskeys meant to pair with BrewDog beers. Their big addition this year is a smooth and creamy bourbon cream. middlewestspirits.com/spirits
Coffee Beans, Canned Brews, & Subscriptions
Coffee is a constant on my Christmas list. I always love getting new beans to try. Order bags from local roasters like Thunderkiss Coffee, Crimson Cup, Brioso, Ramble Coffee, Mission – many of which offer local delivery or easy pickup at their stores. Granville Coffee has gift packs, while Florin Coffee offers coffee subscriptions, for the gift that keeps giving. Many places are doing canned or bottled coffees, like Thunderkiss cold brew, ROST bottled coffees, Jennings Java canned drinks.
Spritzers and seltzers are enjoying their day in the sun, and deservedly so. They’re refreshing on their own, perfect for mixing, and offer a lighter and usually gluten-free alternative to sipping beers. We’re getting plenty of local options these days, too, including Spritz Tea. Spritz features flavors like Bright Citrus, Pink Guava, Golden Peach, and Wild Acaí. spritztea.com
Root 23 Simple Syrups
For folks who love to mix their own drinks at home, Root 23’s all natural flavored simple syrups are a must. They come in individual flavors like blueberry mint, cherry almond, vanilla ginger, plus little mixer and starter kits. root23.com
Simple Times Mixers
The same goes for Simple Times Mixers! The all-natural pre-made mixes allow you to create a variety of drinks by just adding your preferred booze. Look for seasonal flavors or mainstays like the pineapple mule or blueberry basil lemonade. simpletimesmixers.com
Just like coffee, beer is a standing item on my Christmas lists. So many more breweries have turned to bottling and canning their beers in 2020. Random Precision bottles their sours, Wolf’s Ridge has created a huge list of bottles and specialty bundles, Seventh Son cans and delivers, Olentangy River Brewing just started canning, Nocterra has tons of stuff in cans, Zaftig features stouts and other big beers. You get the picture.
A Sip + Play Night
Wolf’s Ridge Brewing and Kingmakers joined forces to create Sip + Play nights. You and your group sign-up, receive a pack of WRB brews, then log in virtually for a combined beer tasting and game night! kingmakersfun.com/sip-and-play
One of the good things to come out of 2020 is the permanent law allowing bottled cocktails and drinks to-go. That means that, while we can’t belly up at our favorite bars, we can savor (and pass on as gifts) cocktails to go from spots like Lawbird, Service Bar, The Bottle Shop, Huli Huli Tiki Lounge, and many others.