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.



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.


Passover Brownies

Baking without using leavening or grains is difficult.  But not impossible.

This week I’m featuring recipes for Passover.  Even if you don’t observe Passover, you can still enjoys these recipes.

Friday night I had a huge craving for chocolate.  Not just chocolate, but chocolate in a baked good.  So out came the New York Times Jewish Cookbook and I began trying to figure out which Passover recipe to try first.  These brownies won.


Peanut Butter Birthday Cake with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

I bet there’s a traffic court in hell.  I don’t know of anyone who likes traffic court.

The day after my job interview I had to go to traffic court.  It was not fun.

A few weeks before I was driving R’s car.  My car needed repairs and I was trying to wait until I had a job before dropping a few hundred dollars on car parts.  In the 4 blocks I was driving, I got pulled over.  Turns out, R’s plates were expired by a little over a week.

So the morning of my court date I drove downtown.  I headed into the courthouse with the ticket and proof that he had renewed his plates the day after the ticket.  In front of the metal detectors they had a sign listing that phones were not allowed in the court room, and directing to lockers where personal belongings could be stored.  So I put my phone in the locker.  I went through the metal detector while my purse went through x-ray.  The security officer then told me that cameras were not allowed.  So I had to go back to the locker, only to discover I had used my last 50 cents on the previous locker.  Luckily there was a change machine (but it was in a different part of the building).  Finally, I got through the metal detector and into the courtroom.


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.


Red Wine Everyday Cupcakes

R and I are finally having our housewarming party.  It’s only been a month and a half since we moved in and that time has included an earthquake, a hurricane, R beginning a new job, and the opening of a show at the theatre.  August and September have flown by and now I’m enjoying the cold front that has moved in and am dreaming of fall and winter foods.

This recipe are from a site that I just recently was introduced to: Smitten Kitchen.  I wish I had found this site when I first moved into my old apartment, with it’s sad amount of counter space.

These cupcakes are the first recipe I’ve tried and they are spot on.  Rich, moist, velvety.  This recipe is quickly going to become a staple when I’m craving chocolate.  I imagine you can achieve different subtle flavors by experimenting with the kind of red wine that’s incorporated.  If you have a sweet tooth, these probably won’t quite satisfy you.  But if you love rich, velvety chocolate whip up a batch of these.  Plus the powdered sugar on top makes them look so exquisite, you’re quests will be wowed, at least I hope ours are.

Head over to Smitten Kitchen for the recipe: Red Wine Chocolate Cake.  For cupcakes I suggest baking for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  I haven’t tried the mascarpone topping… yet.

Chocolate Peanut Butter “Not” Fudge

For this month’s Daring Baker’s Challenge I attempted to make Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge.  It was not one of my best attempts.

The taste is what I wanted but the texture is not, thus why I am not really classifying this as fudge.  Granted I tried to substitute several ingredients since I did not have them in my kitchen.  Soy milk is not a suitable substitute for condensed milk, which I think is part of the texture problem.  Rather than smooth melt in your mouth texture you expect from fudge, this crumbs and dissolves on the tongue but without the satisfying velvety texture.

Also I did not let it cool enough before I stirred it.  That became immediately clear as it instantly began to form crystals and became crumbly and difficult to stir.

I do plan on attempting chocolate dipped marshmallows in the next few days.  With this hurricane I figured making actual food and making sure the apartment was weather proofed was a slightly higher priority.

R and I are moved in, still have some settling to do though.  I’ve got several backlogged posts that I’ll get up in the next few days (pending the storm).  If you’re in the path of Irene stay safe and dry!

Daring Bakers’ Challenge – Baklava

I am excited to be posting my first Daring Bakers’ Challenge.  This month the challenge was to make homemade baklava with handmade phyllo dough.

For my baklava filling I used walnuts, almonds, dark chocolate, and a few dashes of cinnamon and cocoa chile powder.  The result is a chocolatey, sticky, sweet baklava with nutty undertones.


S’mores with the homemade marshmallows = best idea ever!

Ok, maybe not the best idea ever, but it still was a great idea.

Go make your own marshmallows, what ever flavor you like best.  Toast them over a fire, or in my case my gas range top.  Stick one between two pieces of graham cracker with a bit of chocolate stuck in there.  Enjoy your sticky, gooey, delicious treat!

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!