Hotbox Hipster

a pittsburgh hippie chick's unbridled love for all things food related


Sweet tooth

basic muffin recipe ~ make it your own!

“How you can sit there, calmly eating muffins when we are in this horrible trouble, I can’t make out. You seem to me to be perfectly heartless.
“How you can sit there, calmly eating muffins when we are in this horrible trouble, I can’t make out. You seem to me to be perfectly heartless.”
“Well, I can’t eat muffins in an agitated manner. The butter would probably get on my cuffs. One should always eat muffins quite calmly. It is the only way to eat them.”
~Oscar Wilde… the trouble with being earnest.

This is a very basic muffin recipe that I have spun to my liking by using unrefined coconut oil.  I have made this recipe as is, bare bones with mini chocolate chips only.  I have added two mashed nanners and dark chips, which I show here with pics.  I have added fresh raspberries and white chips.  I have added lots of cinnamon and dried cherries.  take this wherever you like, as it is a solid, sturdy muffin mix that is wickedly adaptable. (which is a very admirable quality in my humble opinion)

Don’t ask me about nutritional value, because I can’t get wrapped up in that shit.  I know I can pronounce and see all of my ingredients, and they are fresh.  That is what I deem important. Feel good about knowing what you are feeding your wee ones and yourself.  I usually let the tots have two… and then we eat a healthy lunch.  you do you.


2 cups flour

1/2 cup sugar

1 Tablespoon baking powder

1/2 tsp of salt

1 egg

3/4 cup milk

1/3 cup coconut oil (warm it for 25 secs in microwave to liquefy)

Add ins:  (3/4 c choc chips;  two mashed nanners;  3/4 cup blueberries; 1/2 c shredded coconut;  almonds; whatever you think would be yummy.  if berries, gently stir in at last min, or better yet poke them into the muffins once poured into cups)

I usually add a dash of nutmeg over my flour as well, just for a little flavor punch.


mix it all together in a bowl in order listed…. easy peasy.  lightly grease muffin cups and evenly distribute.


ready for the oven!
ready for the oven!

400* for 18 mins.  remove from tins carefully loosening sides with butter knife- place into a lovely towel lined basket and let cool a few minutes.  Enjoy!!


quite fresh and good and comforting!
quite fresh and good and comforting!

Salty Pretzel Colossal Chocolate Chip Cookies

one very substantial cookie...
one very substantial cookie…

So i’ve been making these cookies over the past few months… and i can’t seem to get them out of my head.  i’m talking days later… i find myself wandering through my kitchen in the morning, wishing there was just one more to savor.  it’s a copycat recipe for a chocolate chip cookie from the famous Levain Bakery in Manhattan.  Actually they have three locations i believe… one on the upper westside in Manhattan, one in Harlem, and one in the Hamptons (long island) off of Montauk Highway.  Supposedly… and through research, i’ve heard this claim from more than a handful of epicurious peeps… they are said to have the largest and most delicious chocolate chip walnut cookies in Manhattan.  They are said to weigh in at a whopping 6oz. each!!   i scored this recipe from another blog i follow, brown eyed baker.  of course, in hoxbox hipster fashion, i yanked it around a bit and made it my own.  i took out the walnuts (mostly because my tots don’t dig) and substituted broken and crushed pretzel sticks… approximately one cupful.  i never measure additions such as this… i kinda just go by feel.  this ended up being both of my hands cupped together and full of pretzel fragments! -and into the bowl they went.   the recipe calls for 3 cups of bread flour… i have no clue what bread flour is- nor did i care to seek it out or spend extra $ on it- so i used a cup of self rising flour (which i had stashed in the pantry from another recipe) and 2 cups of my regular flour. (which i cut 75/25 with wheat flour as a rule, PS.)  i keep my flour in a huge glass vessel on my countertop, so when i have to replenish it with a new bag or two, i add in the wheat as well and mix it with a wooden spoon until it’s incorporated.  i’ve been doing this for years, and it just helps get a little more whole wheat into cookies and cakes, etc. – and the difference is negligible.  anywho, yes- you will likely need to purchase the self rising flour to nail this recipe- but trust me, you will be making these enough that you will burn through that bag in no time flat. just stash it in your cupboard!

OK here’s what you’ll need:

2 cups  regular flour

1 cup self rising flour

1/4 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp kosher salt (if not kosher, just use a 1/4 tsp)

2 sticks butter, COLD and cut into cubes

3/4 cup + 4 tsp light or dark brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs, cold, lightly beaten in a separate bowl

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup of broken up salted pretzel sticks (the itty bitty sticks- not the rods)  if i had to give you instruction here- i would say to do this in a large ziplock bag, and half of them crush pretty well- and the other half, leave as larger -maybe one inch pieces)

1 cup of dark or semi sweet choc chips (go with the dark if you’re going out and buying a bag special)

1/2 cup of white chocolate chips (if you only have all chocolate- it will be fine- just do a cup and a half of straight chocolate)


line two baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.

in a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, bkg powder, bkg soda and salt; set aside.

using an electric stand mixer- beat the cold butter (make sure it’s cold) on medium speed until it comes together in a cohesive mass, about a minute. Add both sugars and continue to beat for another two mins til all of the sugar is incorporated into the butter.  graduallly add the beaten eggs and the vanilla, and beat another minute or so, stopping to scrape down the bowl once.  batter WILL be lumpy.  with mixer on low, add your dry ingred’s little by little until just a bit of flour remains not completely mixed.  stir in the pretzels and the choc chips with a strong spoon or rubber spatula.  (this batter is STIFF yo… this takes some muscles.)  i usually resort to my clean bare hands at this step, and make it happen.

once mixed, Levain bakery then divides this dough into twelve sections – making HUGE cookies.  i think i got about 18 or 19 out of my last batch- and i still felt they were adequately large. 🙂  so take a nice handful of dough- and form it into a loose ball- these will not be smooth… you want the rustic and bumpy appearance.  slightly smaller than a tennis ball is what you’re aiming for.  arrange them on two cookie sheets- and refrigerate them for 30 minutes. < (this is an important step… do not skip it)  – about 2o mins in, preheat your oven to 375*.  take these out of the fridge and into the oven.  ONE SHEET AT A TIME PLEASE. Bake for 20 minutes- and immediately take them out and let them sit on the pan for five mins.  then move them off of the pan and onto a cooling rack to finish cooling.  they keep well in an airtight container for 4 days.  i would bet the FARM they will NEVER EVER stick around that long.  🙂  enjoy!!!

sixteen beauties... all in delicious rows.
sixteen beauties… all in delicious rows.

jacked up banana bread yo!

“If there’s no chocolate in Heaven, I’m not going.”
―    Jane Seabrook,    Furry Logic Laugh at Life


olympus master 2 020

so i had totally planned on making my mom’s classic sour cream coffee cake this afternoon, but i got to clicking around on some food blogs… and it took about twenty seconds for me to decide to make this ‘jacked up banana bread’ recipe i came across. i was looking at a blog called Everybody likes Sandwiches… and she was talking about adapting this recipe she had enjoyed from Smitten Kitchen, another blog i enjoy.  well, clicking further into recipes on the sandwiches blog, (which i often find myself doing) i discovered she has made three different banana-ish type of breads that left me drooling.  i pulled up two of them, and clicked back and forth- yanking them around a bit and taking ingredients from each… tweaking as i went. the result was the most amazing banana bread i have ever repeat  E-V-E-R  had.  best part, to hell with vanilla… we went Rogue and added Captain Morgan tattoo rum. a whole Tablespoon of it.  i think you’re gonna dig it.

you will need:

3 brownish bananas (mashed)

3/4 cup brown sugar

1 stick butter (semi melted)

1 egg (beaten)

1 T. captain morgan spiced rum

1/2 t. cinnamon

1/2 t. nutmeg

1/4 cup sweetened flaked coconut

1.5 cups flour

1 t. baking soda

1 T. cocoa powder

1/2 cup chocolate chips

Combine first 8 ingredients (through coconut) in a mixing bowl and combine on low until incorporated.  in a separate bowl whisk together flour, bkg soda and cocoa powder. add slowly to mixer bowl- combine on low speed.  add chocolate chips and finish mixing by hand.  add to a greased loaf pan and bake in a 350 degree oven for 57 minutes. test with a toothpick- when comes out clean, it’s done!  cool in pan for fifteen minutes, and then remove to a cooling rack or soft towel to cool completely on the counter.  prepare to be blown away yo!

“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt.” ― Charles M. Schulz
“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.”
― Charles M. Schulz
“Seize the moment. Remember all those women on the 'Titanic' who waved off the dessert cart.” ― Erma Bombeck
“Seize the moment. Remember all those women on the ‘Titanic’ who waved off the dessert cart.”
― Erma Bombeck
“The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you've got to have a what-the-hell attitude.” ― Julia Child
“The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you’ve got to have a what-the-hell attitude.”
― Julia Child



insanely healthy cookies… with great taste!

say YES to these cookies!

so these cookies are an adapted recipe from a nursing buddy of mine, who saw them on Dr. Oz – if i remember correctly. the most fantastic part is… there is literally, nothing awful for you in these cookies. nothing. the worst thing is a 1/3 cup of brown sugar… which is hardly contraband, considering it’s white, refined, processed partner in crime. i have added 3/4 cup of Dark chocolate chips (i used Hershey- i think their flavor is far superior to Nestle even on the semi-sweet option) – Dark chocolate is said not only to have antioxidant properties, but can help to lower both blood pressure and insulin resistance.  it’s also been known to decrease our cravings for unhealthy foods, thus aiding in weight loss when added to a healthy diet.  this recipe came together in minutes, and is not fussy at all. it bakes up in ten minutes per batch- and within thirty minutes, you have a batch of healthy cookies to be enjoyed for several days.

You will need:

2/3 cup of natural peanut butter

2 eggs

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup apple sauce

1 tsp vanilla

1 tsp of baking soda

2 cups oats

3/4 cup ground flaxseed meal

1/4 tsp salt

4 scoops chocolate or vanilla soy protein powder

3/4 cup dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together PB, eggs, brown sugar, applesauce and vanilla. Once combined well, add all remaining ingredients. stir in chocolate chips last. Drop by heaping teaspoonfuls onto lined cookie sheet. Bake ten minutes. Remove to platter or wax paper to cool completely. Enjoy!!

perfect with your morning coffee…


for the love of BACON…

embrace the pace. bacon has taken a hot seat over the past year or two and is showing up in a multitude of products from high end chocolate to lip balm.  it’s been dubbed “meat candy” by many… and it’s not hard to see why.  i DDD you to eat just one piece!!  Americans love their bacon, and pork is wildly popular in Italian cuisine as well.  Bacon comes from the belly fat of our portly little buddy the  pig.  there are, however, healthier- less artery coating varieties- such as turkey bacon, chicken bacon, canadian bacon (still pork- but from the back of the pig), and our hippy buddy- soy bacon.  that being said, this chick will always retain her affinity for good ol’ thick cut piggety pig BACON.  this past weekend i had the pleasure of trying the Market District’s “smokehouse” variety. it was super thick, and cooked up perfectly in the oven. (which every foodie knows is the only way to cook bacon)  i aim to convert all of you pan frying, mess making, bacon curlers out there today with this blog spill.

Start by placing your bacon onto a foil line baking sheet with sides. (jelly roll sheet) you cannot do it this way on a flat cookie sheet without some type of side, or your grease will run over the edge and cause a fire.  NOT easy like sunday morning… it will be hell’s bell’s instead. ok, lay out  your bacon. (see photo)

arrange as many pieces as you can without overlapping

Next, place this tray into your cold oven, on a center rack. Yes, i meant to type COLD oven, as in… do not preheat.  close oven door, turn on your oven to 400 degrees.  set your timer for 20 minutes, and walk away.  when you return you will have perfect bacon, ready for checking. usually it will be done right at 20, but this bacon was pretty thick, and took a few extra minutes in the hot box.  i, of course, did not walk away- but got to preparing a mean french toast for myself and hubby of hipster… and well- even curly haired daughter of hipster devoured a piece come to think of it. see pics below. it was cinnamon raisin toast sliced thick, in a basic custard of two eggs, a generous drink of half and half, a heavy drop of vanilla, nutmeg, cinnamon and a pinch of salt.  i sprinkled the finished piping hot slices with chocolate chips to allow some meltage… and then sliced some bananas and strawberries. syrup, of course without saying.  the bacon felt very at home next to this richly indulgent breakfast, and seemed to almost nestle up alongside in a spooning fashion.  it was love on a plate.  see below.  i’m hoping this blog and pics will convince many of you to put away your skillets and begin cooking bacon in the oven. next time, and forever there after.  enjoy yo.

perfectly stiff and crispy... ready to grace any bacon recipe you get into
natural partners... topping the flavor charts
focus shift... while drooling


super easy biscotti

so i finally threw together a little video tutorial on one of my family’s favorite cookies… the Biscotti. it was super fun to make, and now that i’ve gotten the initial nervousness out of the way- i’m ready for more.  there are certain cooking/baking techniques that are just too difficult to explain with words in print, so these are the ones i’d love to video blog about.  my hope is that as much fun as i find in making the videos, others will find them equally as helpful to navigate through the recipe with greater ease!

here’s the BISCOTTI scoop: 

6 large eggs

2 cups granulated sugar

1/2 tsp of salt

4 cups all purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp of anise extract

1/2 tsp of vanilla

(add whatever else you think would make a tasty biscotti.  i generally roll with almost a cup of chopped dried cranberries, and a cup of chocolate chips.)

Enjoy!! store in an airtight container for up to a week. i can almost guarantee they will NEVER make it that long without getting eaten. Two days is the max for our house.



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