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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Sablés: Classic, Espresso Dark Chocolate and World Peace

August 9, 2013 § 1 Comment

These are the Valentine’s Day cookies I made for 2013 (I know, this posting is super late!).  All the recipes are from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking book. Unfortunately, my World Peace cookies did not turn out perfectly.  It was most likely due to the type of cocoa powder I used…..here’s what these World Peace Cookies should have looked like…

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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“almost classic” brownies (with espresso, dark chocolate & walnuts…of course!)

August 12, 2011 § 4 Comments

I made brownies with our teenage niece that just visited from Korea.  She really loves brownies and loves cooking, especially baking.  She rummaged through my cooking utensils and gadgets with fascination and excitement.  She especially liked my rolling pin, which I have to say is one of my favorite things in the drawer.  I was quite surprised since in Korea, an oven is not really standard.  These days, the newer places that are being built do come with ovens, apparently, but baking things in the oven is not something that has been incorporated in every day Korean cooking.  I was even more impressed that she seemed to be well-versed in some standard baking techniques, especially since she’s never baked anything before these brownies, much less ever held a hand-mixer!

Again, I used one of Dorie’s trusted recipes from her Baking book.  Her twist on the “classic” is adding espresso powder, of which I’m a huge fan of marrying together—chocolate and coffee.  The only thing I did different was that I used only bittersweet chocolate.  The recipe called for some bittersweet and some unsweetened chocolate, which I did not have on hand (we decided to bake at 11pm!).  Fortunately, the brownies still tasted deliciously decadent, but not too sweet despite the fact that it was probably more than 95% chocolate!  My only critique of these brownies is that they seemed a tiny, tad bit dry…..

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mocha-walnut marbled bundt cake

August 12, 2011 § 2 Comments

I made this after I came back from my trip to Korea.  I was so jet-lagged and sick when I got back that I wanted to go back to my life ASAP!  So I started flipping through Dorie Greenspan’s book again.  I love reading her recipes because she “takes me back to Paris” and especially my love for French culture.

I picked this recipe because I had everything I needed on hand—not to mention that I had been eyeing this recipe since I first got the book!  As always, I added a ton more walnuts than what the recipe calls for, but it was still pretty moist.  However, my marbling didn’t work out as she showed in her book (of course!).  To my defense, I did use one of the techniques she recommended.  Unfortunately, my marbling didn’t look like a ginko leaf in the middle—ooppss!  I looked online for other ways to marble, so this bundt cake might be revisited at a later date.

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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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