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Mudslide Cookies

Sometimes you just need some crunchy, chewy, ooey-gooey chocolate cookies, and that’s when these Chocolate Walnut Mudslides come to the rescue. This has been one of our most popular cookies and sought-after recipes over the years, and we’re finally giving away the secret for these addictive and gluten-free treats!

We started making Mudslides at Crema back in 2009 when folks started requesting more gluten-free options. The Mudslide was born and it was an immediate sensation throughout the Cambridge cookie community. This cookie is the bomb, and even gluten-lovers become completely addicted to them!

The trick to making Mudslides is that there is no trick – it’s one of our easiest recipes EVER! Here’s the deal:

Crema Cafe’s Chocolate Walnut Mudslide Cookie

  • 4 Egg Whites
  • 1 TB + 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 2 Cups Chopped Walnuts
  • 2 ¼ Cups Powdered Sugar
  • ½ Cup Cocoa Powder Mud meez

Pre-heat oven to 300 F.

Combine walnuts, powdered sugar, and cocoa powder in a mixing bowl. Combine egg whites and vanilla, then add to dry ingredients. 

Mud add wets

Fold until batter is evenly combined.  Batter will be stiff at first, but will become an evenly moistened glossy paste. Stop mixing when this happens.  After this point the more you mix the more the cookies will spread in the oven.  Be careful not to over-mix in order to avoid flat cookies!

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Scoop rounded tablespoons of batter onto a parchment lined baking sheet.

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Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the tops are just firm to the touch. Let cookies cool, and enjoy!

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PB single cookie

Peanut Butter Cookie Time

Peanut butter is a food perfectly balanced between decadence and joy. Peanut butter reminds many of us of childhood, but it’s also so rich and delicious that we feel like we’re truly indulging. There probably couldn’t be a more wonderful food, so why not make a cookie out of it?! The Peanut Butter Cookie is our executive chef Meghan’s favorite cookie of all time, and it also happens to be National Peanut Butter Cookie Day TODAY, June 12th!!! Both of these are reasons we thought we just had to share this recipe with ya’ll. Here’s how the magic happens:

Crema Cafe’s Peanut Butter Cookie

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 stick (8 TB) butter
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 cups + 2 TB Flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp fine salt
  • 3/4 cup chopped, salted peanuts
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter chips
  • Raw sugar (for rolling)

Remember how we talked about mise-ing in our last post? Mise away! Set yourself up for success, people!

PB mise

In an electric mixer, cream the sugars, butter, and peanut butter until light and fluffy.

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Add egg and mix, scraping down the sides of the bowl.

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Add the flour, baking soda, and salt, mixing until just combined.  Add the peanuts and peanut butter chips and mix until evenly distributed.

PB mixed dough

Scoop by the rounded tablespoon and roll into balls.

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Chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour. Preheat oven to 350 F while the dough firms up. When firm, remove dough from refrigerator and roll in raw sugar.  Place on a parchment lined sheet pan and flatten with the palm of your hand or the back of a spatula.

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PB press

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Bake until edges just begin to brown, about 12 minutes, turning half way through.

Pour yourself a tall glass of milk and enjoy your decadent, joyful, delicious cookie!

PB cookies

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Make our Cajun Coconut Vegetable Soup at Home!

Well, it’s the moment you’ve been waiting for…we’re starting a series of blog posts sharing some of our most popular recipes! We’re starting off with our Cajun Coconut Vegetable Soup. This soup is perfect for Spring time – it’s not too heavy and it uses fresh corn, which we are all so excited about coming back into season! This soup happens to be vegan but it’s a really hearty meal, even for the biggest carnivores among us.

Ok, so let’s get down to brass tacks – how do you make this magical soup? The following recipe will make 6 main course servings:

Crema Cafe’s Cajun Coconut Vegetable Soup

  • 2 TB vegetable oil
  • 2 cups Spanish onions, diced
  • 1 cup celery, diced
  • 1 cup bell peppers, diced
  • 2 medium ears of corn, kernels cut off the cob (or 1-1/4 cups frozen kernels if you can’t find fresh)
  • 1 cup cooked chickpeas (or substitute canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed)
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 TB kosher salt, divided
  • 1-1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 TB fresh thyme, chopped
  • 2 tsp ancho chili powder, dried and ground
  • 1-1/2 cans coconut milk (20 oz)
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes (29 oz)
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • Cooked white rice and avocado, for serving

First, you get your mise on – “Mise en place” is French phrase meaning getting your ingredients in order. Basically, measure and chop your ingredients and get your head in the game! This is an essential part of staying organized in a busy kitchen and avoids any delays later on in the cooking process.

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chick peascutting corn

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Once you’ve got all your ducks in a row, here’s the process:

  1. In a large stock pot, heat oil. saute vegadding spices
  2. Sauté onions with 2 tsp of salt until translucent.
  3. Add the peppers and celery. Sauté until slightly softened.
  4. Add the garlic, spices, and herbs. Cook for 1 minute.
  5. Pour in the diced tomatoes and vegetable stock, bring to a boil.
  6. Add the chickpeas and corn kernels. Cook soup for 5 more minutes.
  7. Turn down the heat and stir in the coconut milk. (Do NOT bring the soup to a boil after the coconut milk has been added – boiling will cause it to separate!) Adjust the seasonings to taste.
  8. Serve over cooked white rice and garnish with slices of avocado.

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New Menu & the Great Grilled Chicken Battle of 2015

Every year we take a long, hard look at our menu and think, “how can we make this even more awesome and exciting for our wonderful, loyal, hungry customers?” For the past couple weeks we’ve been pouring over the hard data (sales figures, units sold) and soft data (what we feel like eating these days) to answer this pressing question.

In a highly scientific process which involves a lot of hours in the kitchen and long, laborious tasting sessions of mouth-watering sandwiches, we let our hearts and stomachs guide us to the new items which we’re going to put on the menu. Sadly, this does mean that a few of our old sandwiches will be coming off the menu, but we feel confident that the new ones will really knock your socks off!

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There’s one little issue this time around though – the Spinach Artichoke Chicken Sandwich. This sandwich has been a staple at Crema since 2009-ish. We rotated it off the menu in 2010 and we received a flood of angry phone calls and emails, and customers walked out in a huff when they saw that the “Sp-Arty” (as it’s fondly called) was no longer on the menu. Needless to say, we quickly brought it back! Well, it’s 5 years later and we’re considering taking it off the menu again, but we want to know if our Crema peeps are with us this time so we’re introducing the GREAT GRILLED CHICKEN BATTLE OF 2015!!!

We’re changing over to our new menu items on Monday, February 9th, but for the first week of the menu change (February 9th-15th), we will be serving BOTH the Spinach Artichoke Chicken AND its potential replacement, the Pesto Chicken Melt so you can try them and compare their awesomeness. For that entire week we will be taking customer votes through Instagram (@cremacambridge) to see which sandwich is more popular, and the winner will get a permanent spot on the Crema menu! Follow @cremacambridge on instagram, post a picture of your favorite sandwich or yourself at Crema with the hashtag #greatestgrilledchicken and tell the world (and us) which one you want to see on the 2015 Crema menu!

This is your chance to be heard regarding your grilled chicken sandwich options, so don’t miss out! The Great Grilled Chicken Battle of 2015 is sure to be heated, exciting, and delicious. If you don’t have Instagram, download the app today so you’re prepared to place your vote, and follow us @cremacambridge to let your voice be heard.

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Welcome to Winter with Crema #lattelove

Winter is upon us… Which we all know means that it’s time to get your favorite hot beverage at Crema!! There’s nothing better than sitting down and sipping on something truly delightful in the five free minutes you might have in a day. Not to mention, we make your libation as beautiful as we can to add some pizzazz to your chilly day. Our Baristas are working hard and pouring up some pretty incredible latte art!

Showin a little #lattelove

Some serious #lattelove

2012-12-28 06.18.36There are so many different drinks to chose from that you’re bound to find one to fit your mood. If bright, nutty espresso mixed with warm steamed milk doesn’t cheer you up, we know what might… Crema’s homemade hot chocolate!! Go ahead and get the whipped cream AND the homemade ginger marshmallows (we wont judge you). Feeling frisky? Try the Felipe’s hot chocolate which has Mexican chocolate mixed with dried chili peppers for a warm kick. Feeling nostalgic for your mornings as a little kid eating pancakes with real maple syrup? Try our Maple Latte. It’s got just the right amount of seasonal sweetness and all the caffeine you need to greet the day with vigor and vim. If you can’t decide, just go for a classic! The Golden Crema is the best latte in New England, but we may be biased. Perfect amounts of sweet honey and warm cinnamon mix with your favorite milk and espresso. Don’t forget that we have ALMOND now which seems to be all the rage with the kids…and the kids at heart.

We don’t want all you tea-lovers to feel left out – we’ve got tons of beautiful and delicious lattes for you, too! The Red Crema is probably one of our proudest accomplishments and it actually preceded the Golden Crema (little known factoid). All we’re saying is, rooibos tea is meant to be sipped with honey and cinnamon. It’s highly addicting so please be prepared that once you try the Red Crema you’re going to want it…. ALL. THE. TIME.  We’ve also got the sweet-n-spiciest Chai Latte around, an earthy & savory Mate Latte, and Marley & Liza’s personal favorite from their college days in Ann Arbor, the Almond Earl Grey! Get it with aforementioned almond milk for the ultimate nut experience.

Post your favorite drinks on instagram and don’t forget to shout out @cremacambridge and tag #lattelove!

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All the World is a Birthday Cake

We just love celebrations of all shapes and sizes at Crema Cafe.  We also firmly believe that it isn’t a celebration without cake.  Whether it’s a bite sized cupcake or wedding cake for 300 guests, that ‘lil bite of goodness is an invitation to have fun and enjoy the simple pleasures in life.  Sharing cake is pretty much the same as sharing happiness, and that’s what a celebration is all about, right?

Welcome to our Signature Cake Series, where we’ll be highlighting some of our favorite flavors and the inspiration behind them!

Of all of the cakes out there, few are as iconic as confetti cake.  I mean, c’mon! Cake by itself is a beautiful thing, but add rainbow sprinkles and it’s truly a party!  Try cutting into a confetti cake without smiling.  I dare you.

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Our version of confetti cake, the Birthday Cake, is our longest running signature cake.  In fact, it’s one of the first cupcakes we ever made after opening our doors in 2008. It’s hard to dispute its appeal – it starts with buttery vanilla cake enveloped by vanilla bean buttercream, and then gets exponentially more awesome with all of those little bursts of color.  The beauty is in the simplicity. And the rainbow sprinkles. 

While it’s consistently been a fan favorite for birthday cakes and cupcakes, we’ve seen a growing number of couples choosing confetti cake for their wedding cakes and we’re just tickled pink with the trend.  Whether it’s frosted in simple white frosting or adorned with bright colored florals, it’s bound to get a smile out of your guests when you cut your first piece as a married couple and reveal the colorful surprise beneath the frosting.

Confetti cake is also highly customizable.  Vanilla too boring for ya?  Add a filling!  We adore it with passion fruit curd.  Or, you could just leave it as-is and enjoy the simple pleasure of feeling like a kid on your 5th birthday. Yum!

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Love is in the Air!

It’s officially February (can you believe it!?) and Valentine’s Day is right around the corner!  Need to find a unique gift for someone special?  What’s better than a sweet treat, made with love at your neighborhood bakery & cafe? Our bakers don’d need
Financiersan excuse to make adorable pastries (have you seen our signature heart shaped financiers?), but something about Valentine’s Day brings out the romantic in all of us.

Want something timeless and loveable?  Grab a Cupcake 4-pack!  This February’s flavors will be Lemon Chambord, Red Crema (honey soaked cinnamon cake with roobios buttercream), Chocolate Strawberry, and Carrot Cake. Finished with a ribbon and a heart stamped tag, these are guaranteed to make your sweetie swoon. $12.

 

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Looking for something more elegant?  Well, you’re in luck!  We have a trio of romance inspired French macaron flavors for your gifting pleasure.  Our gift boxes include two of each of our Valentine’s Day flavors: Pink Champagne, Chocolate Chili (aka Hot & Spicy Love), and Passion Fruit!  Packaged in our signature kraft box, they’ll make the perfect gift for that special someone.  $11.

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Persian Love CakeWe will also be offering our favorite Valentine’s Day treat: Persian Love Cake!  Saffron and rosewater infused whipped cream is sandwiched between layers of pistachio dacquoise to create a cake so light and exotic, it might make you fall in love on the spot.  We are so in love with this combination, we created a cupcake inspired by it for the Food Network’s Cupcake Wars!   Get it by the slice or pre-order a 6” by 8” cake by Wednesday, February 12th. $25, serves 6-12.

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Email us at cremacambridge@gmail.com by Wednesday, February 12th to pre-order your Cupcake 4-pack, French Macaron box or Persian Love Cake! <3

 

Fall time is the best time!

Fall is most definitely our favorite time of year here at Crema! Between Octoberfest, Head of the Charles and Harvard football games, there is so much happening and we are thrilled to be here in the square for it all. We’ve got Halloween this week and Thanksgiving will be here before we know it!

Pour over Spooktacular!

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On Halloween we will be serving Chemex pour overs of our current guest coffee – Coava’s El Comun, Costa Rica – paired with a homemade chocolate walnut bark from 9:30-11:30am. We will be discussing the Chemex brew method, flavor notes of the coffee and having an all around good time drinking fab coffee and having fab conversations. We will also have brewing equipment for sale to get you all set up for making amazing coffee at home!

pourover spooktacular!

Lets talk Thanksgiving!

We have a delicious line up of Thanksgiving desserts available…tarts, banana bread, and cookie + brownie platters. Order now and pick up between Monday (11.25) -Wednesday (11.27)! Ordering couldn’t be easier, just throw us an e-mail at cremacambridge@gmail.com with your order request and phone number and we’ll call you back to discuss and confirm.

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New bakery offerings, fresh swag and catering options galore!

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This fall we’ve added a bunch of new items to our bakery, retail and catering offerings – and we’re pretty stoked about it! Who can eat just one French Macaron or Truffle?! We’ve decided to tackle this ‘problem’ by putting together packs of Macs and Truffles. Each box contains 6 French Macarons or 5 Truffles. The current flavors are Lavender, Chocolate Bourbon and Earl Grey Macarons. Grand Marnier and Hazelnut Rose Truffles. They make perfect little gifts or are perfect for a midday snack attack. We also have our delicious granola packaged up and ready for you to take home or to the office.

As for retail, ’tis the season to get your Crema swag on! We’ve got t-shirts to keep you lookin fly, hoodies to keep you warm and tumblers to take your beverages with you in style.

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2013-10-02 14.12.01 crewneck    vneck

fruitncheeseloresAnd lets not forget about catering! We’ve added some tasty new savory options to the menu – Pretzel bites with various dipping sauces, a Charcuterie Plate, a Fruit & Cheese Platter and Canapés. As always everything is freshly made right here in our kitchen. Check out the new menus here. We have TWO catering menus to choose from, Casual and Celebrations…pick your pleasure!
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Oh and also…

Just a few quick reminders:
– We now have almond milk as an option for all milk beverages
– We have introduced the DELICIOUS maple latte
– Ciders, Chaiders (cider + chai), Almond Earl Greys and Ginger Steamers are perfect fall beverages

Crema Flash Mob Proposal!

It’s the summer of love and we’ve got mad love flowin’ through the cafe! On Sunday August 18, we hosted a flash mob for one of our managers – Amy. It was amazing. Check it out:

Our summer staff party wasn’t exactly what we had planned…the rain thwarted our field day activities, but that didn’t stop us from bangin out one heck of a party! With hula hoops in hand, we took the party to Charlie’s Kitchen…where Marley and Claire proceeded to create our own Crema Karaoke. And if I do say so myself, we have one talented crew. I mean, from Jordan and Nate captivating us all, to Meghan doing the tequila dance and Merissa and Marley rounding it out with One Direction…it was a pretty solid show. And just when we thought karaoke would be the highlight of the night…BAM! we are hit with the #YearOfLove idea of the summer! Claire threw around the idea of a flash mob at Crema, Marley got ridiculously excited and Amy decided a flash mob proposal was the perfect way to propose to Kate. And just like that, the Crema flash mob idea was born.

MVI_3685…Now, as we all know, many brilliant, even genius, ideas are started semi-drunkenly in a bar and are never seen to fruition. This is not one of those ideas. The flash mob proposal happened, and it was AWESOME. Claire choreographed the dance (in full on leotard gear!), taught us all the moves, hosted 3 practice sessions and held a full dress rehearsal. It was legit. And then it was Sunday, August 18th – the day the deed was to be done. Everyone showed up excited, a little nervous (though no one was as excited and nervous as Amy, obviously!) and ready to dance it out for the ultimate summer of love proposal. After a bit of a parking debacle, Amy entered the cafe and everyone took their places. Claire magnificently distracted Kate, and Amy went to start the music. And BOOM, just like that the dancing started, Kate had no clue what was going on. The entire front of the cafe was filled with spectators and everything happened just as planned. Right on cue, Amy came out, some tears may have been shed, she got down on one knee, pulled out a ring and, drumroll please……..Kate said YES! Everyone cheered and the smiles on Kate and Amy’s faces were priceless.

MVI_3686To round it out, the celebrating continued at Charlie’s, the very place the flash mob proposal idea was born. Seems pretty appropriate.

Amy, thank you so much for letting Crema be a part of your special day! We are so happy for you and Kate! Congratulations!! (and let us know if you need any catering for the wedding, because, ya know, we do that sort of thing 😉 )

Introducing Sharitive! Start giving on Crema’s dime!

Last month we partnered with Sharitive, and on May 1st the app launched in the cafe. We are super pumped about the partnership and are excited to see Shartive grow here at Crema and beyond! I (Liz Cohen) sat down with Lizzie Bildner, founder of Sharitive to talk about the app, giving, community and the future. Here’s a preview: It’s awesome. 

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The Crema crew loves Sharitive!

LC: What is Sharitive and why should people get involved?

LB: Sharitive is a mobile app that creates a new way to help give back to your community. The app allows you to allocate a portion of the money you are spending at Crema to a local non-profit. It’s the feel good app that makes giving easy (and doesn’t cost you a dime)!

LC: So Sharitive is a fool–proof way to give, huh? How does it work?

LB: Exactly! Check-in on your smart phone, make a purchase at your favorite local business (Crema!) and funds are automatically loaded into your account. Login and donate Crema’s dollars to your choice of our vetted portfolio of nonprofit partners. You also have the option to match donations with your own money and/or sign up to donate your time.

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Lizzie helping a customer get setup with Sharitive

LC: I love it! Could this get any more convenient? I think not. So, how do you get started with Sharitive?

LB: To sign up, visit www.sharitive.org/app (in your browser, not the app store…yet). Bookmark Sharitive to your home screen so that you can easily access it. Every time you make a purchase at Crema, whether it’s your morning coffee, lunch, afternoon snack, or all three, use the code at the register to check-in. Immediately, you’ll see a dollar added into your Sharitive account that has been donated by Crema on your behalf. At any time you can donate those dollars to our nonprofit partners or even choose to match that gift; plus over time you can track all of your donations and see the impact you have had on your community.

LC: So, every time I check-in with the code at Crema, a dollar is added to my account that I can then donate?! That’s awesome. I think Sharitive is a really great gateway for consumers to start thinking about engaging with the non-profit community in a way that fits easily into daily routine. What’s your favorite thing about Sharitive?

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LB: Sharitive is designed to connect community stakeholders in a conversation around support for their community’s most critical issues. By making a purchase at Crema with Sharitive, you’re not only supporting your local business, but you are then empowered to further give back to your community. By partnering with Sharitive, Crema doubles their charitable impact in the community by not only giving back but by engaging their customers in giving back as well. Our nonprofit partners, with the reception of new Sharitive funds, then deliver their incredible programming back to the community. It’s really this triple win cycle that I think is our secret sauce.

LC: Where did the need for Sharitive come from?

LB: The need for Sharitive is two-fold. First, there are financial limitations that often cause people to disengage with charitable giving because they don’t have time to identify organizations they are interested in or the capacity to donate. Second, businesses field an enormous amount of community and charitable requests, resulting in what we call “ask fatigue.” Sharitive addresses this need by creating a community-giving platform that allows businesses to easily engage and empower their customers to give back, on the businesses’ dime.

LC: Sharitive takes the work out of giving by setting up a system that breaks down the barriers that often stops or slows the giving process, that’s pretty amazing. How did you come up with the idea for Sharitive?

LB: The idea for Sharitive came from my own experiences with the very barriers I listed above. When I first moved to New York City in 2009, I was overwhelmed by the cost of living on my incredibly small salary, and the amount of time and effort it took me to identify and become connected to a local nonprofit that I cared about. I began thinking of ways to address what I saw as shortcomings in the charitable and community engagement space. After a couple years of mulling different versions over, I decided to finally do it and launched Sharitive in the fall of 2012.

LC: Sounds like you’ve done a great job nailing down your idea and making it a reality. What inspires you now and what has inspired you in your journey to creating Sharitive?

LB: I’ve drawn inspiration from a lot of sources – I worked in the arts and loved experiencing the ways that artists communicate ideas to an audience; I then worked closely with other founders at a branding startup where you can’t help but be inspired by the intensity and passion that founders bring to their ideas. Now with Sharitive in action, I’m inspired most by the people I work with. Plus, the seemingly endless number of ways that we can address social issues with the use of new technology keeps the wheels turning constantly. I think that’s what makes the social innovation space so exciting and rewarding.

LC: What does the future of Sharitive (and the future of charitable giving) look like?

LB: Right now, our biggest challenge is developing a more seamless way to integrate Sharitive into a consumer’s experience. I think there will be a continued interest in garnering new funding via online, mobile solutions. However, I think the success of fundraising in the future will depend on an organization’s ability to demonstrate impact (and impact defined in other ways than just the overhead rate) as well as their ability to close the loop after a donor gives, which right now, I think could use some serious improvements. That’s another shortfall Sharitive is trying to solve.

LC: Why did you choose Crema to be Sharitive’s launch partner? Why do you think Sharitive will be successful here?

LB: Because Sharitive is so closely tied to community, I wanted to launch at a location that was intricately connected to one. As anyone who goes to Crema knows, it functions very much like a community anchor for both the University community and the larger Harvard Square community. It was great luck and timing that Marley and Liza were looking for a new way to give back and engage with their customers. Crema really has become an incredible partner to Sharitive.

I think Sharitive is already successful in Crema exactly for that reason. Crema’s customers are local and are supportive of the local community, so the concept of being thanked for that loyalty and support in a way that further enables them to give back to that very community, just makes sense. The challenge for us will be expanding beyond and seeing whether that attitude and idea translates.

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LC: Yeah! Liza and Marley have been talking for a while about ways they can use Crema to help give back; Sharitve is a perfect fit! How does Sharitive build community?

LB: Sharitive enhances a community, rather than builds it. Our program allows different community participants to interact and engage with one another. As we grow, we’ll be hosting different types of events such as meet and greets with our nonprofit partners, site visits, panels, etc. We’re trying to take a holistic approach to community by emphasizing person-to-person, rather than technology-driven, interaction.

LC: I love that idea! Face to face interaction is so important for creating a real connection and helping people stay engaged and feel a part of something meaningful. Sharitive launched with Crema on May 1st. Now that it’s been a month, can you talk a little bit about how it went? Were there any surprises?

LB: Absolutely! We definitely went through every emotion and obstacle possible during the launch. Enthusiasm, energy, rejection, you name it! What was incredible however is that if I had to estimate the number of positive responses we received, I would put it at about 75%, which when you think about cold calling, is really high! I credit the community for that. The biggest surprise at the end of the month was realizing that of the $271 dollars we generated, only a quarter was donated. When I followed up with our users to remind them of remaining funds in their accounts, the majority responded to tell me that they were saving up. I think that is so cool and can’t wait to see how those funds are allocated over the next couple months. For more detailed information on numbers and thoughts moving forward, check out our recent May Recap on our blog (www.sharitive.org/blog).

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