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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Breakfast Cookies

Our kitchen window looks out on the street.  Some mornings I like to just sit by the window with a cup of coffee and breakfast, enjoying breakfast and the view of the street.

Early morning is always peaceful, yet active.  Runners zip along the sidewalk.  People sleepily stroll while walking their dogs.  Birds chirp and hop along the branches of the trees lining the street.  And I sti watching it all.

These cookies are just right to enjoy while watching the morning unfold.  Full of flavor, light and filling they are easy to enjoy while sitting at home or grab on the way out the door.

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Blackberry Scones

Every morning I drive through a tunnel to get to work.  Where I live, you pretty much have to drive across a tunnel or bridge at some point.

Luckily, my route is in the opposite direction of rush hour traffic.  I really am thankful because I hate getting stuck in the tunnels.

Every morning I smile, because I’m not stuck in 7 mile back up leading to the tunnel.  Usually at that point I have “Schadenfreude” from Avenue Q running through my head.  A little cruel, I know.  But I’m thankful it’s not me because occasionally I do get stuck behind an accident in the tunnel and then all I can do is wait. (more…)

Frisky Puss Cupcakes

To start of my series of recipes inspired by plays is a cupcake inspired by David Ives’ adaptation of Georges Reydeau’s A Flea in Her Ear.


This witty French comedy is all about timing.  Characters bounce in and out of the house and hotel, often one person is walking out a door as another walks in another.  The second act takes place in the Frisky Puss Hotel, a shady place that caters to those with perhaps questionable morals.  All the characters end up in the hotel, running in and out of doors like their in an episode of Scooby Doo.

A line in the play likens the hotel to a chocolate covered cherry, a cheap chocolate covered cherry.  This was the starting point for my inspiration.

Not the cheap part, but the cherry and chocolate.


Maraschino cherry juice gives the cupcake a cherry sweetness.  Not the kind of sweetness that makes your teeth hurt, but the kind that leaves you licking your fingers for more.  It also adds a pink color to the cupcakes.  Whipped white chocolate frosting adds a playful flavor, meshing with the sweet flavor of the cherry.

This cupcake even has a surprise.

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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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Spicy Spice Cake with Orange Frosting

R made a cake while I was stuck in tech.  R made a delicious, spicy cake.  It was wonderful the next morning as breakfast… don’t worry I also had coffee for breakfast.

This spice cake is spicy.  I tried some without the frosting, the cloves and nutmeg gave a wonderful spicy heat.  The frosting is sweet, but not overly, a strong orange zest accents the spice of the cake.  You don’t need much of this cake as it is packed with flavor.  Bake this cake for someone special just because.

If you were to top this cake with a chocolate frosting be prepare for a very rich dessert.  Chocolate would go well with the spiciness of the cake, perhaps vanilla would work too.  The orange frosting would go great on a white cake as well to add some zest.

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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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Vanilla Cupcakes with Whipped Raspberry Butter Cream Frosting

I spent a good part of the baking.  And I was perfectly fine with it.  In addition to these beauties I made pizza dough and finished up the cupcakes I posted yesterday.


These cupcakes are dense, hearty vanilla treats.  Topped with a light whipped buttercream they are wonderful for a sweet tooth.  I love this recipe, the raspberry gives enough flavor without overwhelming the vanilla cake.  However, this is the first thing I’ve baked that R has not liked.  All the more for me then.

Both cupcakes I made for our housewarming were a hit.  While we had less people than we expected, it was a good night and gave us the motivation to get the apartment finished up.

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Peach Cream Pie in a Jar!

Yesterday I was bouncing around on the web and discovered the idea for pies baked in jars.  I think my brain may have exploded slightly with joy and excitement.


Oh the possibilities!  No more wishing to make a pie, but not wishing to have an entire pie sitting on my counter tempting me.  Single serving, portable pies that can easily accompany me to work.  Cute pies that can be dressed up with ribbon and a label and given as gifts.

Then my brain started pondering over the other possibilities of baked goods in a jar. Cake, cookies, cream pies, cheesecake.  Oh the possibilities!

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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.
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