Valentine’s Day 2014

April 12, 2014 § 1 Comment

Oops—I thought I already posted this a long time ago!  …..

I made close to 400 shortbread cookies this year for my work colleagues. Each person received a goodie bag (that I hand-cut and taped together one by one!), designed by Claudine Hellmuth (Thanks so much, Claudine!), with 3 biscuits: original, lemon and extra virgin olive oil & fresh rosemary. I used my tried and true Baking book by Dorie Greenspan for the original and lemon varieties. The olive oil and rosemary biscuit recipe is from the Blue Bottle Coffee book.

Measuring, scoring and cutting them took forever since I had to have enough for everyone!  I ended up making a second round of them the following week because so many people didn’t get any and I know I still missed some people.

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chocolate sablés

March 7, 2012 § 2 Comments

Dorie Greenspan’s chocolate sablés—-‘nuf said!  {Except its recommended to be eaten with ice cream.}

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My Sweet Valentine *^^*

March 4, 2012 § 3 Comments

This recipe, “Holiday Sugar Cookies”, is from Joanne Chang’s  flour cookbook.  My own twist was to use concentrated hibiscus tea as my food coloring, which resulted in a lavender color once it was mixed with the powdered sugar.  Unfortunately, I used an entire 16-oz bag of overpriced organic powdered sugar, but found that using a third or half of it would have sufficed.  Tant pis! 

BUT, I really loved the outcome because the cookie wasn’t rock hard.  These were much softer and a bit crumblier, which I really liked.  However, the absolute BEST part of these cookies was that the most unlikely thing happened:  the spouse helped to decorate MOST of them and thoroughly had a lot of fun doing it!  We were up until 2am getting them done so that I could take them to work in the morning for Valentine’s Day.  We made somewhere close to 80 cookies.

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raspberry hazelnut thumbprint cookies

March 1, 2012 § 2 Comments

I made these last December and they were the best thumbprint cookies I ever had (if I do say so, myself!). 🙂  I have to credit Dorie Greenspan’s recipe, though, from her Baking book—-she really has a great way of making her recipes foolproof.  I rarely go wrong whenever I use one of her recipes.  She really is quite brilliant because her detailed recipes have a way of making it so simple to follow.

These were made with a 1:1 ratio of finely ground hazelnuts to flour—yes—LOTS of hazelnuts!  I had some raspberry jam on hand that I’ve been meaning to use and I slathered a HUGE dallop of rasberry jam on each cookie—it was probably a tad too much, but I love the combination of hazelnuts and raspberries.  The recipe also called for almond and vanilla extracts, which I think, gave it so much more depth of flavor than just vanilla extract alone, which most recipes I’ve read call for only vanilla extract.

If you like thumbprint cookies, then you MUST try this recipe—you really can’t go wrong with it.  I won’t ever buy another grocery-store (even if its from Whole Foods) thumbprint cookie again!

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dark chocolate chip cookies (w/ & w/o walnuts!)

March 15, 2011 § Leave a comment

I finally made my favorite cookies after my miserably failed first attempt 5 years ago!  I must say that these were WAY better than last time!  Note to self:  do a little baking research before actual baking!  I got the recipe from Dorie Greenspan’s book, Baking, which she affectionately titled the recipe as:  “MY BEST CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES“.  Although mine did not look as nice as hers in the book, they were pretty tasty and it seems that they were a hit with my fellow work colleagues.

Classic rookie mistake….I over-baked many of the batches (no photos available for these….how convenient!), but I really do think that the quality of the ingredients made up for it.  So when in doubt, use the best possible ingredients you can and it will make a huge difference.

A little tip for making them look good:  be sure to turn the chocolate chips so that they are pointing up or the easy way would be to add 2 chips to the top of each cookie.  You will see the difference by comparing the photos below of the 1st & 2nd batches.  I think it will look nicer with hand-chopped chunks of chocolate, though.  So I already bought blocks of good quality dark chocolate so that I can put in chopped chocolate pieces for my next set of cookies.  Chocolate chips are great to always have on hand for those days you just want to throw some in the dough real quick.

Pictures really do speak a thousand words….enjoy!  (By the way, I inserted both the slide show and the gallery for your convenience.  The gallery at the bottom is labeled with each step and you can click on each photo for a closer view.)

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