Christina Tosi’s Ritz Cracker Ice Box Cake from Milk Bar Life Cookbook

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I asked my friend (and very talented stylist/photographer) Stephanie of Abbitt Collective (read my interview with her here) to make some recipes out of one of our cookbooks: Milk Bar Life by Christina Tosi for the blog.

I was first introduced to Christina Tosi through the PBS show Mind of a Chef. The first season features chef David Chang, of the Momofuku empire, and his pastry chef, Tosi, the mastermind behind Momofuku Milk Bar. They both have incredible tv personalities (don’t bother watching other seasons of the show when they’re no longer in it) and inspiring stories. Needless to say, I was hooked.

I’ve made a couple of recipes out of Tosi’s first cookbook, but fell in love with her newest release: Milk Bar Life (which we carry in the shop!). The recipes are often twists on old favorites, and feature creative plays on prepackaged ingredients. I think she modernizes baking and pushes the limit on the ways we snack in this cookbook. One Sunday afternoon I plan on reading through the whole cookbook. It’s a gem.
Milk Bar Life

See the recipe for the Ritz Cracker Ice Box Cake and Stephanie’s tips below. YUM! P.S. There are only 3 ingredients… Whaaaaaaat.


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Ingredients:
1 1/2 Cups Grape Jelly
2 (8-oz) containers Cool Whip, defrosted in the refrigerator
1 (11.3 oz) Ritz crackers

Recipe:
1. Heat the jelly in a large microwave-safe bowl for 30 second intervals, whisking after each blast, until it is just fluid but not hot. (If the jelly is hot, set it aside for a minute or two before proceeding.)

2. Whisk 1 cup of the Cool Whip into the jelly until the mixture is smooth. With a rubber spatula, gently fold in the remaining Cool Whip until completely homogenous. (This is how even the fanciest pastry chef incorporates a flavoring ingredient into whipped cream.)

3. To assemble the cake: Spread a very thin layer of the purple Cool Whip in the bottom of a pie tin or on a cake stand. Anchor in an even layer of Ritz crackers so that they touch each other but do not overlap. Top with a thick layer of Cool Whip (about 1 cup) and another round layer of Ritz. Repeat this process until the Cool Whip and crackers are used up and the tower is complete.

4. Refrigerate the cake for at least 4 hours, or, preferably, overnight before slicing and serving. Leftovers, should there be any, will keep in the fridge for up to a week.

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This is a GREAT quick dessert to make when you are running late! (Which I was.  ;)) I am ALL about simple recipes regardless, but this one is golden. My husband and I were on our way to a friend’s house for dinner and our job was to provide dessert. I love the idea of a sweet and salty dessert! I am a huge sweet tooth, but having something salty to compliment the sweet; it’s the best. I have never really worked with Cool Whip before, so this was definitely a learning curve! I actually messed the Cool Whip up the first time and it was way too runny. I was a little over zealous with my blending of the Cool Whip and the grape jelly. Once everything was mixed together (aka, I finally got it right), you put it in the refrigerator for a bit then make your cracker + grape whip tower! This recipe was a hit. My husband has been eating all of the leftovers because he loves it so much!

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Creative Friends: Abbitt Collective

Yay! Our second installation of creative friends!

I’m super excited about this one. I met Stephanie of Abbitt Collective at Gather Workshop in Atlanta last fall. She had not started her product & brand styling, photography, and lettering business at the time but it’s now in full swing and BEAUTIFUL! Seriously, go to her website and check out all the lovely projects she’s working on. Follow her gorgeous instagram feed too!

(c) Texture Photo

(c) Texture Photo

She styled and shot these photos of some of our brand swag (designed partly by the amazing Mallory Overton of Castle Paper Co).

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Read my interview with her below (I love her advice on fear) and stay tuned for some guest contributions by Stephanie on our blog!

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1. How did you get started with what you do?

Ever since I was little, I wanted to create. I loved looking at things to try to draw them or recreate them. So the desire was always there, but the focus and direction wasn’t! Two years ago, I graduated college and started my career as an elementary teacher. I devoted hours upon hours to teaching and quickly realized I wanted/needed an outlet outside of teaching. Also being a newlywed, I wanted to take “adulting” on by storm, so naturally I needed to be an amazing cook and home decorator! I started a blog as a place for me to be just that! I found out I loved creating pieces for our home while trying new recipes and figuring out what our go-to foods were going to be! I literally couldn’t get enough of it. (I still can’t!)

Abbitt Collective at Personify Shop

2. How would you describe your aesthetic?

My aesthetic is bold, fresh, genuine and warm with a kick of edge to it! I love creating and styling in a way that reflects people’s missions, values and heart- honesty. There’s something so beautiful about rawness!

Macarons styled and photgraphed by Abbitt Collective

3. What’s your favorite thing about your work?

I love the people behind it. I love hearing about people’s stories and why they are doing what they are doing. I love to see the passion in their eyes/words as they walk me through their passions. It’s crazy inspiring to me to hear the determination and strength that they show through what they do!

food styling by abbitt collective

4. What’s your least favorite?

All the legal stuff + taxes. I am just not that person at all, so even when I prep myself to sit down and try to understand it.. I’m left feeling like a rhino just plowed through me.

5. Business advice?

Don’t let fear get in the way. Your fear of failure needs to be less than your fear of not doing something that sets your soul on fire. If you love something, just go out and do it- you can figure it out along the way. It takes time and be okay with that!

6. What’s your favorite thing at Personify Shop?

Oh my, the new catch all dishes along with the tea towels. I LOVE a good patterned towel and dish for decorating and styling. They are on my to get list and I get so giddy when I look at them!

7. My favorite party question:

If you could hang out with any three people this Friday night, who would you pick? In this moment… James Cordon, Adele and Melissa McCarthy in a carpool karaoke. I’m straight obsessed.

styling by abbit collective

8. How do you know the ladies at Personify Shop?

I met Maddie in November ‘15 at Gather Workshop! I remember the moment I met her I thought she was the coolest and wanted to be her friend. I was amazed at the way she knew and owned her style in a refreshing and real way.  She is so fun, spunky and on it. She’s one rockin’ lady and I am honored to know her and cheer her on!