My Mom’s Chocolate Chip Cookies

My mom taught me to bake.  She taught me to bake along with teaching me much more.  Everyone always raved about our cookies, but my mom always insisted there was nothing special about the recipe.  But they were special, because they were homemade.


Growing up, seeing two sticks of butter sitting out on the counter always meant we would be making chocolate chips cookies.  We would pull out all the ingredients, the bowls,the sifter, and the spoon that had a strong enough handle to withstand creaming the butter by hand.  When I was little my mom would help me finish creaming the butter, as I got older we took turns.

When we would add the vanilla my mom would open the bottle, take in the warm smell of vanilla, then pass the bottle to me to smell.  Whenever I smell vanilla I am transported back to my parent’s kitchen.  Back to baking cookies with my mom and enjoying the small pleasures.


She taught me to wait until the cookies were golden, to be patient while they baked.  But not to lose track of time and let them burn.

Baking cookies also meant sharing.  These cookies came with me to school functions, to sleep overs, to friend’s houses.  When I left for college, cookies my mom or I made always made their ways into friend’s hands.  Over the years I have used these cookies to break the ice at summer stock and to make a bad day a little better.

I will always think of my mother while baking these cookies and  I look forward to the day when my mom can teach my future kids how to make these cookies.

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Chocolate Chip Meringues

This was my first time making meringues.  To be honest I’ve always been a bit intimidated by them.

It’s the part about beating the egg white, always stressed over beating them too much or too little.  But now that I’ve made them I have no idea why I was intimidated by them.

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Coconut Macaroons

Macaroons are one of the few desert recipes that are kosher for passover all on their own.

So naturally this was the second recipe I tried this week.

Never having made macaroons before I was a little nervous, but they are really simple.  Once the egg whites were beaten it just requires a gentle hand to fold in the other ingredients.

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Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

Things are changing.  News is coming in, both good and bad.


Sometimes chocolate is the answer.  If only temporarily.  These cookies were the answer last night.

Last week I received my two weeks notice at work.  It’s a hard economic environment, and the arts are often the first to go.  My company had to cut back somehow to stay afloat, and so for financial reasons I found myself holding a single piece of paper that shifted all my plans for the next few months/year.

There are two ways I could react to being laid-off.  Sink into despair and hopelessness.  Or, choose to see it as an opportunity to reassess my goals and try something different.

I choose the latter.  Thanks in a big part to R.  He took the news pretty hard, but instantly began to figure out how we could make things work.  “We’ll make it work” seems to have become our motto over the last few days.

So a door may have been unexpectedly shut on me, but I know I’ll find my open window.

In the mean time I will keep posting here.  R and I still have to eat, and one way we’re cutting back is by eating out less.  So you’ll be seeing more posts about our adventures in cooking.  And by ours I mostly mean R’s cooking and my assisting and baking.  I’m looking for sponsorship opportunities and planning a self-published e-cookbook.  So, while things may be changing it actually means I can set aside more time and effort for baking and writing.

Good news is that my toes are healing and I don’t need surgery!  Still wearing a protective boot to make sure they finish healing properly.

Now, on to those cookies.


While instability is a part of a career in the arts, these cookies are stable and comforting.

Everyone has a different idea of what the perfect oatmeal cookie should be.  My idea is soft, chewy, and chocolatey.  These cookies are exactly that.

Dark cocoa and molasses give these cookies a rich, velvety taste that’s accented by the salt sprinkled on top.  Did you know salt is a flavor enhancer?  Bite in and these are chewy, rich, and filling.  One will satisfy your chocolate craving, I won’t judge if you have four like I did last night.

So don’t let that closed door bother you.  Find your window and take these cookies with you in case you need a pick-me-up on your way.

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Gingerbread Cookies

“It’s the hap-happiest season of all…”


Yes the holiday season has begun.  Apparently the local grocery store though Christmas began before Halloween… sigh.  Since I work in regional theatre the Christmas spirit has been around for about two weeks as well.  We’ve started rehearsal for Christmas Carol!  When you work in theatre this is one of the shows that you are almost guarenteed to run into at some point in your career.  For me this is the eighth (I think) production I’ve been involved in.  Sure there are other holiday shows, but something about Christmas Carol has become a tradition for so many people.  I just discovered that this will be the first time in 35 years that some of my family have not seen a production of CC.  For me it’s beginning to feel like it wouldn’t be the holidays without this show as well.

The theatre I work for now occasionally tries to do another holiday show, but the audience quickly makes it known that we have to do Christmas Carol.  Don’t mess with peoples holiday traditions.

Messing around with a traditional holiday recipe, now that may be acceptable if the outcome is good.  And these cookies most definitely were good.

Traditional warm gingerbread, with the dark spicy undertones that make me want to curl up in front of a crackling fire.  I don’t care for gingerbread that will break your teeth so these cookies were great, they are solid but melt in your mouth.  These cookies actually were best right out of the oven still warm, but even a week later the cookies still taste wonderful.  I’ve enjoyed a few with my coffee in the morning, great for dipping!

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Chocolate Spice Sugar Cookies

I’m back!  The computer is up and running.  I still need to install a few things on it, but I can check the web, edit photos, and post again!


The other day I had a craving for gingerbread… don’t ask me why cause I have no idea.  I thought about making gingerbread cookies.  But then I remembered seeing Christmas decorations in store already and decided I could wait another month or two for such a christmasy cookie.  Instead I decided to make chocolate sugar cookies… and then I threw in some spices.

These cookies turned out better than I expected.  They are not sweet like the usual sugar cookie, the cocoa and spices tie for first in the race to your taste buds.  Biting into one of these they have a satisfying snap and crunch that give way to a deep cinnamon chocolate flavor.  Subtle sweetness make these a very nice bedtime snack and go very well with both milk and coffee.


The dough can be kept for a few days in an airtight container in the fridge.  Which means you can make a big batch of dough and bake fresh cookies a few nights in a row or make them ahead of time and pop them in the oven if you are in need of a sweet snack.  Did I mention they make your whole house smell like cinnamon and chocolate?  You might find it hard to wait for them to finish baking.

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Grandma’s Peanut Butter Cookies

Happy Mother’s Day!


In celebration of mother everywhere I decided to make my Grandmother’s peanut butter cookies.  I remember as a kid sitting down at their table with a cookie and a glass of milk, the milk was a must, and biting into a cookie and the way it absorbed all the moisture in my mouth and melted.  Yum.

These cookies are not quite my grandmother’s since I used regular flour instead of rice flour (she had to follow a gluten-free diet for health reasons).  So the taste is not quite the same, but still close enough to bring memories of my grandmother’s warm smile to mind.


Grandma’s Peanut Butter Cookies

1/2 cup Peanut Butter
1/2 cup Butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup all purpose or rice flour
1/4 cup potato starch flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 egg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a medium bowl cream peanut butter, butter & sugars until mixture is light and fluffy.  Add flours, baking powder, vanilla & egg; beat until smooth.  Drop batter by tablespoon about 3 inches apart on a nonstick cookie sheet.  Flatten criss-cross style with a fork dipped in rice flour.  Bake 10-12 minutes.  Allow to cool on sheet before removing.  Enjoy!

Peanut Butter Cookies

Now I don’t want to seem judgmental, but I’ve noticed something that bothers me about society today.  We’re sometimes too conscious about food.  Food-snobs, diets, fads.  They drive me a little nuts.

Now I must admit, I am blessed to be a thin individual.  It does help that a lot of my work backstage keeps me active and rarely sitting behind a desk for hours on end.  I’ve done mini diets, often after holiday seasons full of cookies, to shed a few extra pounds.  But some diets and attitudes towards food I just don’t get.  What I’ve always been taught is eat in moderation, but eat.  Have a treat every now and then, a little bit of chocolate when you really want it often satisfies a craving that may leave you grumpy or end up eating everything in your pantry.

These cookies I made aren’t something that you should apologize for eating one… or a whole plate.  Really, don’t apologize for eating to me at all, I like feeding people.  They are delicious, melt-in-your-mouth, and have protein (a little bit but it still counts).  The recipe is from Joy The Baker and it’s gluten-free!

Almond Sugar Cookies

While killing time between rehearsal and a performance I wandered into Williams & Sonoma, I had been thinking about getting a new spatula for a while and discovered a Darth Vader spatula.  R and I decided it was too cute to pass up on.  I giggled and quoted “Come to the dark side… we have cookies” while R said “cooo-kie” in Darth Vader like breaths.

To break in the new spatula I made an alteration on the Sesame Sugar Cookies, a darker cousin.  Almond Sugar Cookies, they are much richer, lack the crispness of the sesames but the almonds add a moisture to the cookies and a smoky, woody taste.   The white chocolate frosting adds a touch of sweetness without being to indulgent.

Toasted Almond Sugar Cookies
(makes about 6 dozen)

2 3/4 cups flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup almond slivers
2 ounces white chocolate, melted

Spread the almond slivers on a cookie sheet and bake in a 400 degree oven for 5 minutes, or until evenly toasted.  Let cool in a paper towel to absorb moisture.  Then grind until you have a crumb-like consistency.

Mix flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl.  In a large bowl beat the butter until light and fluffy.  Add brown sugar, beat until well blended (make sure to break up the clumps).  Beat in eggs and vanilla.  Gradually beat in flour mixture and 1/4 cup of toasted almonds.

Refrigerate dough approximately 2 hours or until firm.  Shape into balls.  Roll in remaining toasted almonds.  Place on greased baking sheets.

Bake in a 400 degree oven 6 to 8 minutes or until bottoms are a medium brown.  Cool completely.  Drizzle melted white chocolate over cookies.  Let chocolate set.  Enjoy!

Sesame Seed Sugar Cookies

I found this recipe in a magazine that was used in a show.  An actor cut out letters from the magazine to glue together into a ransom note, each evening I would pull out the cut up pages.  Tried my hand at the recipe today and it was a success.

While sugar cookies are often not my favorite kind of cookie these had a simplicity that is very satisfying.  The sesame seeds adds an dynamic taste and crunch to a regular sugar cookie.  I drizzled Ghirardelli Chocolate over them, with the help of R.  My first attempt at heating the chocolate I burnt it by accident.  Then R got a snack back, placed the chocolate in it and submerged it in the pot of hot water.  The snack bag made it much easier to drizzle the chocolate across and even allowed R to monogram the cookies so each of my roommates had a designated cookie.