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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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 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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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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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.

Homemade Marshmallows

These morsels are delicious.  But be warned the process may turn your kitchen into a gooey, powdery mess.


I’ve never been a huge fan of marshmallows.  S’mores yes.  Plain marshmallows no.  Summer when I was a kid was full of campfires at the cottage.  I’d sit around the campfire with marshmallows on sticks trying to get the perfect golden brown without burning them.  My cousin on the other hand enjoyed catching his on fire and blowing it out only after the outside was nicely charred.  But I have never been fond of plain marshmallows or marshmallow fluff.

These have me reconsidering my view on marshmallows only being good in s’more form.  Homemade marshmallows are amazing.  I realized this halfway through licking the bowl of fluff clean.


The final result is delicious.  They turned out very fluffy and very sweet.  The honey and vanilla give it a hint of flavor, but I wouldn’t instantly identify either the vanilla or honey in them.

I bet s’mores with these would taste awesome.  Well, I’m off to procure some graham crackers and chocolate.  Enjoy!

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Ode to Joy

The last few weeks I’ve been working doing data entry for a local non-profit.  If you’ve never done data entry you are lucky.  It turned my brain into goo after 6 hours of typing names and addresses from a list into a database.  Seriously, I couldn’t form coherent sentences by the time the end of the work day rolled around.

But then I discovered podcasts.  If you don’t know Joy the Baker go over to her blog, great recipes and she is always an entertaining read.  She also now has a podcast.  This got me through a good chunk of a day last week.  I had to try not to laugh out loud and disturb the people in the surrounding cubicles, and occasionally failed.

These pancakes are inspired by her Raspberry Oatmeal Pancakes.

The oatmeal added a heartiness that really makes these pancakes stick to your ribs.  I substituted blueberries, and found that gave each bite a sweet, tart burst.

My parents are in town so I surprised them with these one morning and everyone was contently leaning back in their chairs with satisfied smiles on their faces by the end of the meal.

 

Cover them with butter and syrup and enjoy!

 

 

 

Thanks Joy!