Category Archives: Favorite Cookie Recipes

Cookies to Cha-Cha About

Cookies full of chocolate and dried cherries to make your stomach dance with joy.

When my husband and I first met, he wooed me with dancing — even though both of us have two left feet and moves that win more points for sympathy than grace.

We had been friends for a short span, when he asked me to be his swing-dance partner, as he wanted to take lessons.

I had always wanted to learn, so I eagerly said, “Yes!”

We’d meet after work once a week at a local club for lessons. Each week, we’d master a new step or turn — much to our own amazement.

After more than a month, we’d not only become semi-decent on the dance floor, hand in hand, but we’d also started dating.

Flash-forward to after our engagement: With our relationship more serious now, my soon-to-be husband feels the need to tell me that when he asked me to be his dance partner way back when, it wasn’t a scam, nor any kind of scheming on his part to find an excuse to ask me out. Oh no, he merely needed a dance partner. That was it, plain and square.

Flash-forward again to shortly after our wedding: I’m sitting on an airplane, flying home from Chicago with a gabby male seatmate next to me. He tells me a funny story about how he met his wife, then asks me how I met my husband. I tell him about the dancing lessons, and how my husband had asked me to be his partner on pure innocent whim.

My seatmate recoils in laughter, then looks me square in the eyes: “Your husband told you THAT? Listen to me — there is no way any man is going to take dancing lessons without an ulterior motive. Trust me on that!”

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New See’s Chocolate Chips

See's makes chocolate chips now. Woo hoo!

Imagine this: See’s Candies and chocolate chip cookies — all in one.

If that doesn’t get your lips smacking, I don’t know what will.

Now, you can enjoy the truly blissful taste of the two together with See’s Candies new semi-sweet chocolate chips. There’s even a cookie recipe included on the back of the package to make baking a batch super easy.

The chips are larger than your usual ones — about 1/2-inch in diameter. What that means is when the cookies come out of the oven, you get so much more ooey-gooey chocolate in every bite.

Bigger than your average chip.

The recipe makes perfect chocolate chip cookies, too — crispy on the edges, chewy in the center and with a load of chocolate chips throughout.

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For the Love of Cashews

A delicious, sweet solution for all those cashews.

Is it just me? Or does every Costco shopper end up buying those huge tubs of cashews because they’re just way too tempting?

Even among my own family members, I can count quite a few who have a weakness for those lovely, whole crescent-shaped nuts crammed generously into those big plastic containers. Indeed, when I visit, I can’t help but notice the tub sitting on a coffee table or kitchen table, ready to be opened at the slightest hunger pang.

I’m definitely guilty of that. But I also wanted to do more with my hoard of cashews than just shovel them into my mouth.

Leave it to Martha Stewart to come to the rescue.

Her “Butterscotch-Cashew Blondies” are tender with a touch of crunch and a wonderful caramel-toffee-vanilla flavor.

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Cherries for the Fourth — and Beyond

Rasberry-Cherry Crumble Bars. You can't eat just one. Trust me.

Fourth of July might be the ideal time to celebrate the last of the season’s fresh cherries with a bang.

Those sweet, crunchy orbs come and go all too soon, don’t they?

But Payson Fruit Growers has a way to let you enjoy them all year-round.

Founded in 1964, the farmer-owned business processes tart cherries that are grown on local farms in the Payson, Utah area. Recently, I had a chance to sample some of their products.

Some of the tart Montmorency cherries are turned into Tart Cherry Juice Concentrate ($18 for 1 quart). The thicky, syrupy concentrate is fabulous for adding to smoothies or to pan sauces for duck, pork or chicken.

Make your own tart cherry soda.

I stirred two tablespoons into 8-ounces of carbonated water, then garnished with fresh cherries and a rosemary sprig to make a refreshing summer soda. It’s super fruity and not overwhelmingly sour. But if you like it sweeter, you can add a tablespoon or two of simple syrup.

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Chocolate Chunk Cookies — That Even Opposites Can Agree Upon

Bread flour makes these chocolate chunk cookies extra tender.

It’s a good thing that opposites attract.

We often joke that my husband is the Nasdaq to my “flatline.” His personality tends to be more volatile than mine, which is fairly even-keeled.

And when it comes to cookies, he favors a soft, cakey texture to my fondness for crisp and chewy.

So, when Harvard-educated pastry chef Joanne Chang of Boston’s Flour Bakery & Cafe came out with a recipe last year for chocolate chip cookies that promised to be chewy with the addition of bread flour in the dough, I was intrigued whether it would somehow satisfy both my husband’s likes, as well as my own.

The recipe, “Chocolate Chunk Cookies” is from Chang’s cookbook, “Flour: Spectacular Recipes from Boston’s Flour Bakery & Cafe” (Chronicle Books), of which I received a review copy. The cookbook includes more than 100 recipes from her bakery, where 1,500 customers come to get their sweet tooth fix every day.

The dough calls for both milk chocolate and semisweet chocolate. I used a sample of Taza Semi-Sweet Baking Squares that I had recently received. Unlike other chocolates, Taza’s products are processed minimally and made from stone-ground beans. The result is chocolate with a much rougher texture, but deep flavor. The baking squares are earthy, with a noticeable acidity and slight bitterness. An 8-ounce container is $10.50.

Taza's rough-hewn baking chocolate squares.

It comes in a resealable can.

The dough is a mix of all-purpose and bread flour, along with both granulated and light brown sugars, and plenty of butter. Chang recommends letting the dough firm up in the refrigerator for at least a day before baking the cookies to let the ingredients meld, which is what I did.

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