Category Archives: Favorite Cookie Recipes

Caramel Popcorn Cookies

Start with homemade caramel popcorn.
Start with homemade caramel popcorn.

Sure, you could make this addictive caramel popcorn and just call it a day.

But come on, it’s the holidays. It’s time to take it up a notch, to revel in being over the top, to go big or go home.

So go one better, and turn that snack into “Caramel Popcorn Cookies.”

Oh, yeahhh. Instead of stirring in the usual chocolate chips or dried cranberries into your cookie dough, throw in a big flourish of caramel popcorn instead.

It’s like two treats in one.

And end up with Caramel Popcorn Cookies!
And end up with Caramel Popcorn Cookies!

This novel recipe comes from the new cookbook, “Pastry Love: A Baker’s Journal of Favorite Recipes” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), of which I received a review copy.

It’s by one of my all-time favorite bakers, James Beard Award-winning Joanne Chang, of Flour Bakery, with multiple locations in Boston and Cambridge, and the Chinese restaurant Myers + Chang in Boston.

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Caramelized White Chocolate and Toasted Milk Cookies with A Touch of Cardamom

The surprising sweet warmth of cardamom infuses these white chocolate cookies.
The surprising sweet warmth of cardamom infuses these white chocolate cookies.

My appetite always perks up whenever I spot a recipe with cardamom. Especially if it involves baked goods.

The fragrant spice with a warm, sweet, resiny character adds such a beguiling presence to anything it touches.

So when I received a review copy of the new cookbook, “Milk & Cardamom: Spectacular Cakes, Custards and More, Inspired by the Flavors of India” (Page Street), how could I resist?

The new cookbook is by San Franciscan Hetal Vasavada, creator of the namesake Milk & Cardamom blog. You may also recognize her from her stint as a contestant on “MasterChef” Season 6.

A first-generation Indian-American, Vasavada melds American-style desserts with cherished Indian flavors reminiscent of the childhood sweets she grew up loving.

The result is clever recipes such as “Ginger-Chai Chocolate Pot de Creme,” “Peanut Laddoo Buckeye Balls,” “Green Mango Marmalade,” and “Cinnamon and Jaggery Monkey Bread.”

Her “Caramelized White Chocolate and Toasted Milk Cookies” is a play on Jacques Torres’ fabled chocolate chip cookies — only with cardamom and the unusual mix of melted white chocolate and milk powder.

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Making Manresa Bread’s Terrific Tahini Cookies

Nutty, elegant tahini cookies.

Nutty, elegant tahini cookies.


Nothing beats the high of discovering a favorite new treat at a bakery or restaurant.

And nothing stings like the blow of finding out the establishment has decided to take it off the menu.

We’ve all been there, right?

When Food Gal reader Kristy W. discovered that her favorite tahini cookies had been yanked from the bakery case at the new Manresa Bread in Campbell, she was beside herself.

So what did she do? She asked yours truly if I could somehow get the recipe.

Well, Kristy, your wish is my command.

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You Won’t Believe This Cookie Is Nonfat

No fat -- yet with an explosion of ginger goodness.

No fat — yet with an explosion of ginger goodness.


I am often put off by the word, ”nonfat.”

It usually means non-flavorful, non-satisfying and non-worth-it.

That’s why I approached with trepidation the recipe for “Nonfat Gingersnaps” in the new Food52 Genius Desserts: 100 Recipes That Will Change the Way You Bake (Food52 Works) (Ten Speed Press) by Kristen Miglore, Food52’s creative director, of which I received a review copy.

The cookbook comprises more than 100 recipes that are touted as game-changers. Indeed, they span from a “Brazilian Carrot Cake” recipe in which raw carrots are blitzed in a blender with eggs, oil and sugar for the batter” to “No-Stress Pie Dough” in which the cubes of butter are pinched into the flour before adding cold water to “Vegan Chocolate Birthday Cake with Superfluffy Frosting” that uses avocado in the batter, and almond milk and brown rice syrup in the frosting for a cloud-like Cool Whip-texture.


So many people embrace nonfat because of health concerns. But every chef will tell you that fat equals flavor. It also provides satiation. Just consider how much more full you feel — and for far longer — if you choose full-fat yogurt over nonfat, not to mention the added calcium you get.

As I read over the recipe, visions of awful Snackwells nonfat cookies popped into my head. But I knew that if the recipe was published in a Food52 book, it must be good. Moreover, if it was a recipe created by pastry chef extraordinaire David Lebovitz, well, then it had to be superb.

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Jammin with Jam

A variation on the usual thumbprint cookies, and made with Jamnation jams.

A variation on the usual thumbprint cookies, and made with Jamnation jams.


As a Stanford University economics major, Gillian Reynolds was only too familiar with the law of supply and demand.

Now, she’s living it — supplying delicious jams that aficionados are demanding more and more of with gusto.

Reynolds is the founder of San Francisco’s Jamnation. With her brother Christopher, a trained chef, they make jam with local organic fruit, surprising flavorings and a big dose of wittiness.

Just get a load of some of the jam names: “Plum and Get It” (pluot with honeysuckle essence), “Midnight in Pearis,” (Bosc pear butter with vanilla and nutmeg), and “Cardamom Knows Zest” (Seville orange marmalade with cardamom).

Gotta love the cute names -- as well as the deliciousness inside.

Gotta love the cute names — as well as the deliciousness inside.

I had a chance to try a couple samples recently: “Rose to the Grindstone” (Arctic Star nectarines with rose essence), and “Sublemonal Message” (Meyer lemon marmalade with ginger).

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