Tag Archives: baking

Thin and Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookies

I am one of those people who prefer to ease gradually into the holiday season when the time is right, and I can’t bring myself to listen to a single tune of Christmas music until after Thanksgiving. On the other hand, I’ve been planning and preparing for our annual Christmas Eve party since September. There are paper lists floating around the house of ideas for our menu, ingredients and items I look for in the circulars, and I’ve even starting a rough draft of a timeline for the week leading up to the big event.

One long list is dedicated solely to the cookies I plan on making to give to family and friends as the holiday approaches. There are some standards, like buttery, spritz cookies and my favorite Snickerdoodle recipe. I do like to throw some curve balls, though, so I’m doing my best to find unique options that have have “wow factor” while still being traditional enough to spread the holiday cheer.

One can’t go wrong gifting chocolate chip cookies, and I am pretty loyal to the classic Nestle Tollhouse recipe. Still, curiosity got the best of me when I came across a recipe that focused just as much on the texture of the cookie as the flavor. Read More…

Whopper Cookies

One of my best friends, Mary E., has gatherings that Martha Stewart would want an invite to: all of the food looks and tastes perfect, a signature cocktail is served in a big, beautiful punch bowl, and items are served on coordinating platters and plates. Mare always has something for everyone, but the item that always catches my eye on the dining room table is the classic glass cake plate, covered with the dome lid protecting stacks of cookies like they were gold doubloons. It’s no secret that, before I can even sample the punch or make myself a dinner plate, I sneak one of her famous Whopper cookies to start things off.

“What makes a cookie perfect?” Posing this question to a group of people could result in a dangerous debate, much like religion or politics could at your company’s holiday party. Those from the “crunchy” school of thought just cannot imagine where the “chewy” group is coming from. The folks who love thick, cake-like medallions don’t see eye to eye with the wafer-thin lovers. I, for one, have always been a slave to the soft and chewy; there once was a time where, fortunately, I stopped myself just short of scarfing an entire package of Keebler Soft Batch Chocolate Chip Cookies. Had they been homemade, I would not have been so disciplined. If they were Mare’s Whopper cookies, well, I’d be a goner. Read More…

Butterscotch Cupcakes

There is a lot to celebrate this month: my boyfriend’s mother and grandfather, my father and I are all May babies; graduation season is upon us; and Memorial Day is around the corner. Not to mention with the first sign of nice weekend weather comes last minute invitations to impromptu barbecues. Normally, I offer a dip or side dish as a contribution to a party menu; however, I find people are pleasantly surprised (and impressed) when I bring a homemade baked good. To be honest though, baking intimidates me.

It’s not that I don’t enjoy it; I appreciate baking for its precise, scientific measurements; however, this can certainly be frightening. When I’m making a marinade or sauce, I often use a recipe as a guide but alter it to my liking. This is not the case with baking: if you add a tablespoon of salt instead of a teaspoon, there’s little you can do after the fact to salvage your now salty cake or cookies. Still, when you take the time to get it right, the end result is rewarding. Not only do you have a sweet treat to eat, it’s almost just as fun to watch the smile that comes to people’s faces when they sample the dessert you made.

For some reason, the smile is twice as huge if what you’ve made is a cupcake. They’re just as delicious as a piece of cake, except they’re not rationed off in smaller pieces to a crowd. Holding a perfectly made, delightfully decorated cupcake is one of the best feelings in the world. Second only to the feeling you get when you take that first bite. This recipe for butterscotch cupcakes is something worth celebrating. Read More…

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