Archive | cookies

Late Night Cravings: Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

I get a lot of random late night cravings, anything from cherry clafoutis and fresh homemade margarita, down to the basics like fudge brownies. Alone in the house one night, going through unanswered emails, I had the strongest need for chocolate chip cookies. I had to stop what I was doing and bake some stat.

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I make different kinds all the time, but I tend to favor this recipe because the resulting cookies remind me of the palm-sized ones you grab from bakeries right before you pay–you just couldn’t resist getting them. Comfort me with big, chewy mouthfuls of chocolate goodness, please.

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I almost forgot to tell you that it takes under an hour to make and you don’t need any special equipment — just your able arms and a good-sized bowl and trusty spatula. It’s just perfect for those last-minute cravings.

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Triple Chocolate Cookies with Cherries & Cashews

Between us two, Jens & I consume a fair amount of chocolate on a daily basis. When they’re not in the form of bars, truffles or chunks, they are in something baked. These brownies have certainly been on rotation to help keep up with our quota, but there’s always room for more.

Triple ChocolateCookies with Cherries & Cashews

I had my heart set on this cookie recipe since I got Alice Medrich’s book last year. What’s stopped me from making them was the need to refer to another page in another section of the book for the chocolate wafer recipe. This stresses me so.

One evening a couple of weeks ago, the need to bake something chocolate-y overruled my cookbook pet peeve. I just wish it happened sooner. The original recipe called for pecans and sour cherries, but I stuck to what we had on hand at midnight: cashews and dried bing cherries. J would have preferred hazelnuts, but we were out of them, too.

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Posted in baking, chocolate, cookies, quick & easy4 Comments

Jan Hagels | Cinnamon Almond Wafers | Dutch Almond Cookies

You know the type…the type of recipes that don’t quite wow you, but are worthy to take note of because it has the beginnings of something much better. This is one of those recipes. It’s like a flaky sugar cookie spread on a cookie sheet and topped with cinnamon sugar and sliced almonds. If you do not have a sweet tooth and/or need something to go with your light tea, then this could be one of the better contenders for you sugar-limited bite.

Fresh out of the oven and with just a glass of warm water (can I remind you that I bake after midnight and that I drink water before bed?), it was good! The next morning, the taste was almost like a buttery version of graham crackers, plus the cinnamon and nuts. I like it. Some didn’t care for it. It’s not something they would ask from me again, and definitely not something they would look forward to receiving. My  nephews, on the other hand, enjoyed noshing on them. I know these mostly sound too unfavorable for these cookies, but I do believe that given a few changes, this could be everybody’s new favorite cookie before they even realize it was the one they looked down upon.

So why am I even mentioning this to you if this is not “the best” yet? Two reasons:

(1) You might actually like it as is! Jan Hagels is a traditional Dutch cookie that is close to the hearts of a lot of people. I’ve looked online and it seems that these little cookies have been part of a lot of families’ holiday traditions. Like I said earlier, if you are not too much into the sweet stuff, this could be all the sugar quota for dessert or snack you will need. And…

(2) Perhaps you would like to try it and find inspiration into transforming it into another recipe. I, for one, think that a variation of this could make for a great crust under fruit or nut bars. I’m even thinking of making it into a sandwich cookie. The dough itself could hold a host of different flavors, and sturdy enough to hold crushed nuts (yum). I’m all for experimenting with food and within the next few weeks I will have a date again with this recipe, hoping for a spark of yumminess.

I almost forgot to tell you that what lured me into baking these at 2:00 am was how easy it was to make. The ingredients are easy to find, if they’re not already in your pantry, and you could possibly even make it with kids. This cute Ikea baking set comes to mind just for the occasion.

At the end of the day or week, when the cinnamon lover in you is looking for a quick and easy bite, give this recipe a try. Wrap them up in parchment with a box of tea for a dear friend. Pack them up to share at work. Or on a day like today, when you’ve had enough of Valentine sweets, these Dutch Almond cookies would be a welcome break from all that!

   Get the recipe for Jan Hagels

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Chunky White Chocolate & Almond Oatmeal Cookies

FACT: I’ve never made white chocolate chip/chunk cookies until two weeks ago.

Don’t give me that look.

I do, I do love them! But. I’ve always bought them. There’s no logical explanation or acceptable excuse for such behavior. Let’s just leave the past behind, shall we?

I opened a new chapter in my life since the inception of these disappearing cookies in August. Come September, I baked 66 of these and they were rightfully distributed among a dozen people in less than 24 hours, reaching 2 countries and 4 cities.

Say Hello to the border-crossing sweet treats.

Mmm-mmm. nom-nom-nom. yummers!

These were part of the Dana Treats we enjoyed during our stay in Seattle. They are her husband’s favorite and it was clear to us why. They are chewy, munchy, and whatever delicious cliché adjective you can think of.

If you know what’s good for you, use the best white chocolate you can find. I used white Callebaut chunks. I don’t usually try to twist your arm to use a particular brand, but trust me when I say this: People notice the quality of the chocolate. Almost everyone commented on it. Yes, dear loved ones, only the best for you.

Simply put, these are damn good.

I, hereby, propose that — unless you abhor any of the ingredients — you should, oh you definitely SHOULD make these. Now.

I take photos of bitten cookies because I want to show you what you'll be sinking your teeth into.

You can thank me later. Or not. Really, just enjoy it. That’s good enough for me. These cookies bring me joy like no other. I have to thank my friend Dana for sharing the recipe for these. Also check out my fellow Seattle crew Tracy’s step-by-step photos.

   Get the recipe for these Chunky White Chocolate & Almond Oatmeal Cookies

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Friend Request: Gingersnaps

Lately I’ve been getting weird Facebook Friend Requests like this:

A new kind of Facebook virus? Hee.

If that was possible, I’m sure I would have received a lot already, because I’m usually one to oblige.

What really happened was:

Have you baked gingersnaps?

“Hmm. I’ve never made gingersnaps.”

“You don’t like them?”

“It’s not that. I just have no opinion of them.”

“Oh, ok.”

“I’ll see what I can do.”

And then I asked on Twitter for recipes. Twitter, you see, is like a search engine that talks back to you. Real people replying to your queries. Ultimately, I was looking for one that doesn’t require too much work or ingredients I don’t have on hand. I received a handful of good suggestions, and honed in on one. That same evening, however, I pulled The Craft of Baking off the shelf just to check if it has gingersnaps, and I was won over when I didn’t see any freezer time required. It wasn’t those times when I want to make my life difficult.

Hello, instant gratification.


I’m still getting over the fact that I ate 5 of them already, in their 3-inch diameter glory.

I think that pretty much sums up how I feel about them now.

They made the kitchen–heck, the entire 2nd floor and the stairway–smell like Christmas morning. Please don’t crucify me, I’m one of those who LOVE THE HOLIDAYS. LOVE IT. I’m already thinking about things to make for family and friends, food- and craft-wise.

These cookies start out as soft balls of dough that flatten into beautiful dark rum-colored circular planes during baking. The edges stay crispy, but the centers become chewy. I’ll try making them again after freezing and cutting into thin slices to see if they become crisp. Until then, I can’t vouch for their snappiness.

Let me know if you do try it. I always love to hear how it turns out for others. If you have tips on making gingersnaps crispy, please share!

Have a great weekend!

   Get the recipe for Gingersnaps!

Posted in baking, cookies, snacks2 Comments

Blueberry-Pecan Oatmeal Cookies

This isn’t Nanay’s (grandmother) original recipe, but it’s pretty close. I really wish I had the foresight to ask for it when I was 8. Led only by my taste memory, I baked my way through numerous ingredient combinations in my long quest to replicate this taste. It was only 7 years ago that I felt I finally got it right, and my family and friends have been enjoying it since then. I miss her a lot, but baking these cookies brings me back to Nanay’s kitchen where it all began.

Blueberry-Pecan Oatmeal Cookies

If this looks familiar to you, then that means you’re subscribed to our newsletter. Yes,  these cookies were featured in our January 2010 issue. [Plug: It’s free and features content previously unpublished on the blog. :)]

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Yesterday, in an effort to make time for myself minus work and the internet, I did a little shopping downtown and went for coffee by my lonesome (sometimes, it’s good to be left to your own thoughts).

Hockey Gold

Literally...hockey gold (taken in front of the Vancouver Art Gallery)

I blog to relax, which is what I do on some nights. Most of the time, all I really need is to step out and enjoy some fresh air to get a jump start from the creative lull. I went home with pages full of ideas, an iPhone photo (Above. Thankfully, gold has nothing to do with any of the designs.) and a clear head ready to engage in more problem solving. Speaking of work, I’ve been asked a couple of times if (food) blogging is my job. It’s not. Wouldn’t that be nice, though? Cook and bake, take photos, talk about and research food, and get paid well. Hold that thought.

Cooking and baking are “newer” passions to me compared to blogging (for most of you, it’s the complete opposite). I didn’t really get into them until a few years ago. In fact, I was only inclined exceedingly desperate to make things that I crave for from childhood, like leche flan, cheese cake and my grandma’s oatmeal cookies. The cookie recipe here is probably the first one I worked on and patiently tweaked to my liking…to my memory of these cookies from decades ago. I’ve made these more times than I can count. These cookies have been given away and mailed overseas. I used to bring these to share with my classmates in programming and I didn’t divulge the recipe even when begged for it. My god, can you imagine? I would kick my former self. Obviously, I’ve done a 180 and I keep no secret recipes anymore. Ask, and you will receive. This blog and the food blogging community has really changed the way we share food we love.

Be sure to let me know if you make these. I’d love to get some feedback! Happy baking!

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Chocolate Walnut Biscotti

I love biscotti. For the longest time, I sat back in awe, envious of friends (on- and offline) who make it look like it’s a walk in the park to prepare. For me it was intimidating, especially the fact that it has to be baked twice. I don’t know why, but just the thought of that thwart any attempt at it! Enter Karen DeMasco and Mindy Fox’s book, “The Craft of Baking: Cakes, Cookies, and Other Sweets with Ideas for Inventing Your Own“. I pored through the pages, checking the ingredients and processes, and unapologetically drooled over the sweet delights. Then, like cowlick on a well-manicured lawn of a hair, 3 recipes stood out: those of the twice baked cookie variety called the Biscotti. Hello, self-imposed yoke.

It’s crazy to think that some of us have mountains to move when it comes to baking:

  • Mt. Cake
  • Mt. Macarons
  • Mt. Pie
  • Mt. Jelly Rolls…I’m still talking about baking here…
  • Mt. Cinnamon Rolls
  • Mt.Homemade Bread

What else? What’s your baking nemesis?

My friend is leaving to go back to her new home across the border, and I wanted to give her something for their long flight. Biscotti would make a perfect travel snack: light, TSA-friendly, and will survive the journey. And there it was, my work cut out for me and I was ready to face another fear in the kitchen. Luckily, my first try worked like a charm. DeMasco’s recipe is a winner.

Of course I had to try making the chocolate first. Priorities dears.

Biscotti with coffee

Chocolate Walnut Biscotti with Coffee. The coffee was just there for props. I haven't had coffee in 13 days. THIRTEEN! Days! And I'm ok. Really. Did I tell you I'm okay?

The dough was sticky and fragile to work with, but incredibly good to eat. I’m a dough/batter-eater. I cannot resist tasting it, unless it is yeasty. It pretty much goes that if the dough tastes good, the baked product will be good, too. So I do intensive testing. With my mouth. Do you? If not, you’re missing out. Well, unless you’re pregnant, then don’t do it if it has raw eggs like this one.

The trick to transferring this dough from the floured counter to the baking sheet is the speedy lift-and-support-entire-length action. It does have the risk of sagging and breaking apart.

Biscotti

Making biscotti and proof that I may have taken Karen DeMasco's"generously floured work surface" too far. It really didn't stick. At all. I mean, how could it?

The hardest part in making these is the baking time. Your kitchen and its surrounding open spaces will be filled with the come-hitherto aroma of brownies baking in the oven, and a hint of something that tickles your nose, trying to let you in on a little secret. You know what it is? Espresso. The book says the cookies will fall flat in taste without it, and I’ll have to agree. No, I don’t even want to try it without!

Biscotti Council

The Biscotti Council

These biscotti are not too sweet, and would make a perfect companion to coffee or plain milk. Thinking of tea? This is your mate. It’s not too overpowering, even for a light tea.

There are only a few left of this batch, and the generous bag of biscotti I gave my friend for the trip is on the verge of missing the flight, I was told. If that isn’t the best compliment for it, I don’t know what is.

If you’re looking for a biscotti recipe to start you baking, look no further. This newbie approves. And for the seasoned biscotti bakers, this is a worthy addition to consider for your repertoire of old favorites.

For me, honestly, I can’t wait to make more that will last long enough to make it past the front door without being eaten, so I can mail them to friends! I love sending care packages of food, and it almost sounds selfish because I get such sheer pleasure in doing so. :-)

The full recipe can be found online (it’s the 3rd recipe down), and that’s the exact one in the book. I thought I’d just link to it because it’s a long one, plus I didn’t change anything in the recipe.

Happy baking this weekend!

Posted in baking, books and publications, chocolate, coffee buddy, cookies, dailies, dessert, snacks, sweets18 Comments

Sunflower Butter Sandwich Cookies

Yumm.

Okay, okay… we’re back! Missed us? :-) We apologize for the unannounced sabbatical. Life just got in the way and whenever we think of updating, boy we just wish the brain could just blog for us on its own. We’re back in business, so to speak, except that I can’t really speak physically because I’ve been stricken with some virus that makes my head heavy, my throat painful and sore, and also makes me sneeze like I’m sneezing for the entire human rice…’r race. Anyway, don’t want to gross you out. To sum it up: things have been busy, guys and gals. We’re so sorry for being MIA and thank you so much for hanging in there and for sending us messages to ask if we’re still alive or something.

Dan and I actually cooked and baked a lot with the intention of putting them up on the site. And they obviously haven’t made it to the site yet. These cookie sandwiches are just one of them. When I’m in AZ, I have the TV on as background noise until noon when I’m working and one of the shows during that time is Martha’s. They actually made these during the show and caught my attention [note: the episode is here if you”d like to watch it]. Dan loves peanut butter and other nut butters so I thought I’d make these for him.

They’re not that fast and easy to make because there are extra steps to prepare the oatmeal for the dough, and the dough itself. The pay off is a kitchen (and in our case, the entire apartment because it’s small) that smells really good from the toasted oatmeal. Oh, and for those with food allergies (e.g. eggs and peanuts), this one is actually eggless!

The original recipe is for peanut butter, but we’ve really been into sunflower butter ever since Dan’s dad gave us jars of the organic one. Love it, love it. They’re less denser than peanut butter so that probably added to the fragility of the final outcome of the cookies. Still worth making, in my opinion. What a lovely tasting treat!!! It’s so good if you keep it in the fridge then enjoy it later on with warm milk. Oh, yummy. Wish I had these right now, because God knows li’l sickie me could use some cookie lovin’.

One more thing, the filling recipe below could easily be used for 24 sandwich cookies. We had a lot of leftover filling. You can keep it in the fridge for your next batch of cookies, but I have to warn you that it hardens because of the butter content so you have to leave it in the counter for a bit to soften before piping again. I actually used the fresh homemade butter for this recipe. Deeeelish!

Okay, I’ll stop talking now and get some rest. Who would have thought I’d be up all night when I’m sick?

On to the recipe: Continue Reading

Posted in baking, coffee buddy, cookies, dailies, dessert7 Comments

Low-Fat Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Low-Fat Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Let me tell you now that these are by far THE BEST CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES I’ve ever made and tasted, even better than the full-fat ones. And I really wish I have myself to credit for the recipe, but alas, no. It’s from Cook’s Illustrated Light Recipes. This is the 2nd recipe of the two that I’ve tried from that issue and I’m continued to be impressed with it.

Seriously. Make this. It’s worth the hassle of cooking and straining the dried pitted dates. You read that right. I know it doesn’t sound so palatable now, but trust me on this: You won’t even know it’s there but boy oh boy this tastes magnificent. It’s like the magical switcheroo, which will have you clamoring for more.

The recipe makes 18 big cookies and it only contains 3 tablespoons of butter and 1 and 1/4 cup of light brown sugar. The chewiness is phenomenal, the full chocolate-y and there’s-something-else-so-good taste is something you’ll remember for days and weeks to come.

I just made this again while I’m here in Vancouver. I would have to emphasize the importance of using a really good cookie sheet to get the best results. When I first made it, these chocolate-y mounds came to life on an insulated cookie sheet [we got ours from Crate & Barrel and I highly recommend it!] and they came out PERFECT — as perfect as gourmet cookie store-bought cookies can be. I used regular cookies sheets the second time around and the results weren’t as stellar. It was disappointing. So, please, invest in a good insulated cookie sheet or use your trusty silpats and bake away. You won’t regret it and the cookie lovers in your household will love you more for it.

I’ve taken the liberty to take step-by-step photos for your viewing (and learning/cooking) pleasure.

Go bake ‘em! This is sure to be a hit at your next picnic. Or just enjoy it at home or pack it in your brown bag and make your co-workers jealous.

Here’s the recipe: Continue Reading

Posted in bakeware, baking, chocolate, coffee buddy, cookies, dailies, dessert, healthier choices, snacks, sweets16 Comments

Healthier Oatmeal Cookies

Last March, in the midst of my Cinnamon Roll baking frenzy, I picked up a copy of Cook’s Illustrated Light Recipes when I saw the recipe for Guilt-Free Cinnamon Rolls [which I haven’t tried, of course]. What I ended up making first from the magazine were the Healthier Oatmeal Cookies, and let me tell you — they wowed me. I can’t help but take a bite…then the next, and another one, and before I knew it I ate 2 cookies already. They’re sweet, chewy and somewhat lighter without sacrificing that great texture with each bite.

Healthier Oatmeal Cookies

Healthier Oatmeal Cookies

To be honest with you, when I was comparing its ingredients with that of my beloved Blueberry Pecan Oaties [I’ll share that with you sometime in the future], I didn’t expect much considering that there are only 4 tablespoons of butter and 1 cup of (brown) sugar for 24 cookies. According to the magazine, the brown sugar made them moist — “because of its unique properties, brown sugar holds on to water during the baking process”. If you want to get technical about it, it’s caused by the “invert sugar” (found in brown sugar, but not in white sugar), which is hygroscopic, or pulls water from wherever it can be found.

Healther Oatmeal Cookies

It contains a cup of old-fashioned rolled oats, which I just love eating for breakfast. I like having something to chew on instead of just gulp down. For cookies, it’s no different — it makes it heartier, and gives it better texture. Yum..munch, munch.

Instead of raisins, I used dried cranberries. Dan and I don’t like raisins, and would rather have dried cranberries or blueberries. I also added nutmeg to the recipe. It’s a must for every oatmeal cookie I make.

Healthier Oatmeal CookiesI have to tell you, this is the ONLY cookie recipe where the number of cookies I made matched what’s on the recipe. I thought that was pretty cool. [I’m easily amused.]

For those who are curious on how to make balls out of the dough, here’s a pic for you. I use a plastic tablespoon to measure it, then have a teaspoon to scoop and mold with it.

A 15″x20″ insulated cookie sheet would hold 20 cookies. And I really would suggest using one. Or a Silpat baking mat if you have it.

Healthier Oatmeal Cookies

I baked the last 4 cookie dough balls on a regular cookie sheet with parchment paper and they did not spread as much, and it turned out browner. You can see the considerable difference below:

Healther Oatmeal Cookies
Hope you get to try them. They’re definitely a great alternative to your usual oatmeal cookie recipe. Continue Reading

Posted in baking, coffee buddy, cookies, dailies, healthier choices, snacks15 Comments