Livin' in the Kitchen

Archive for the ‘Cookies’ Category

Fighting Macaron Fears

In Cookies, Macaroons, Nutella on June 10, 2013 at 7:21 pm

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Cover to Cover -“Chocolate and Vanilla”

In Chefs, Cookies, Culinary Experiences, Panna Cotta on February 6, 2013 at 5:06 am


Sometimes I have the attention span of a sugar-buzzed five year old at a birthday party. Things just tend to distract me. Which is why cooking through an entire cookbook has never seemed entirely possible to me.

But it’s on my bucketlist.

And I do love checks on my lists…

Which is why I’m currently baking through Gale Gand’s most recent pastry book, “Chocolate and Vanilla”! I’ve been interning for Gale since I was 15… she’s my pastry mama! Reading through the headnotes and the directions, I can almost hear her explaining the recipes to me.


I bake a couple of recipes out of Chocolate and Vanilla each school week. I tend to photograph the recipes the day after I make them because by the time I’m finished baking all the natural light is gone. Then I upload and post them in a photo album on Gale’s chef page called “Chocolate and Vanilla”!

22 recipes down and I’m still rolling. Come bake with me! Or come watch me bake. Either way, it’s sugar. It’s bound to be fun.


The Universal Chocolate Chip Cookie

In Cookies on October 30, 2011 at 4:49 pm

Chocolate chip cookies are so wonderful. There are a lot of different varieties with a lot of different opinions. I think just maybe I’ve found one that will satisfy all tastes…. It was voted 4 1/2 stars out of 5 stars by over 5,000 people.




And when you realize you’ve finished the entire batch by yourself,



Then when those disappear, too:





Universal Chocolate Chip Cookies
* 2 cups all-purpose flour
* 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
* 1 cup packed brown sugar
* 1/2 cup white sugar
* 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
* 1 egg
* 1 egg yolk
* 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.
Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.
In a medium bowl, cream together the melted butter, brown sugar and white sugar until well blended. Beat in the vanilla, egg, and egg yolk until light and creamy. Mix in the sifted ingredients until just blended. Stir in the chocolate chips by hand using a wooden spoon. Drop cookie dough 1/4 cup at a time onto the prepared cookie sheets.
Cookies should be about 3 inches apart.
Bake for 15 to 17 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the edges are lightly toasted. Cool on baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

Culinary Schools and Sugar Cookies

In Chicago, Cookies, Culinary Experiences on July 26, 2011 at 4:39 am

Today I visited The French Pastry school! I can’t really describe the feeling of being there better than this: I was in deep love. I am in deep love. And I will always be in deep love. During the school’s longest pastry program (6 months) students cover over 600 recipes in two different textbooks. Like I said, I’m in love. I made sugar cookies the other day and thought to myself : not a whole lot of things could light up my day more than a flower sugar cookie with sprinkles. These textbooks the exception.

Here’s the recipe I used… The reason I’m not posting it in full is because I followed it directly and just wasn’t impressed with the result. The cookies weren’t super moist and they didn’t make any further appeal by flavor. The cookies ended up serving as less of a treat I wanted to indulge in, and more of a canvas for art. I’ve yet to find my perfect royal icing recipe. I’ll keep trying. But in the mean time I can’t help but wondering; maybe it’s hidden somewhere in those 600 recipes.

Homemade Crackly Red Velvet Cookies

In Cookies on July 20, 2011 at 12:47 am

When I find a song I love I keep listening to it. Over, and over, and over again.
These cookies are like my favorite song obsessions, I just can’t get enough! The two differences?
a. Cookies have calories,
b. ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ has yet to make me feel like a fat fish.

Unlike song obsessions, truly good cookie obsessions never come to an end. Honestly, I could see myself replacing the original chocolate chip cookie with these. Now that’s a good cookie!

Red Velvet Cookies

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon red food coloring
3/4 cup milk chocolate chips
1/2 cup white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375.
Mix butter and sugars together.
Add the egg and beat for about a minute, add food coloring. (I was out of red, so I used this marroon-looking color and it worked fine!)
Add dry and mix until just incorrporated
Fold in chocolate chips.
Lay parchment paper over 2 cookie sheets.
Roll cookie dough, this should make around 16-20.
Bake 15 minutes, NO MORE, NO LESS! These will look crackly, and the insides will look like brownies not quite done. Trust me, once they cool off and you bite into them, you’ll know you took them out at the right time. Take the sheets of parchment paper off the trays immediately.


Cake-y Banana Cookies and Conquering Fears

In Cookies on July 17, 2011 at 7:12 pm

I sat next to a kitten, an animal I feared more than spiders, for a 6 hour car ride home from our cabin. I zip lined without being afraid of falling. I went to camp and met a girl who spoke from one of the purest hearts I’ve ever heard,  and we listened as she shared the hopelessly hard life she leads on the south side of Chicago. We all have fears and imperfections, take them away and you see who a person really is. Which is how I felt about these cake-y banana cookies. They weren’t true to their flavor with frosting, so why add it?

These are absolutely delicious and just like banana bread, only in cookie-form! They’re moist and soft, but still have the strong taste of banana bread. I even had one for breakfast with some eggs. Why not, right?

Banana Cake Cookies
2 3/4 cups flour
1 cup butter (2 sticks), cut into small chunks
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon (heaping) baking soda
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 hard boiled eggs, peeled and diced finely
3 medium bananas

Preheat oven 350F
Use a food processor
Pulse together the flour and butter until the butter has formed small balls
Add the peeled bananas, sugars, vanilla extract, boiled eggs, salt and baking soda.
Pulse until everything just comes together, take out blade and fold the mixture together to make sure everything has been fully incorporated.
Line pans with parchment, use a tablespoon to scoop balls onto the sheets(they will still be very batter-y, this is how they should be!)
In middle of the oven, bake a pan for 15 minutes. No shorter, no longer!
*These won’t feel completely done when they come out, let them sit on the sheet trays until they’ve cooled!

These taste exactly like banana bread, but have that soft moist texture of banana cake. They’re like whoopie pies, only without the unappealing (I think) sponge texture that a lot of the recipes have. Now, whenever we have people over for easter or for brunch, I’ll make these! It’s amazing how much easier it is to serve a cookie than a piece of bread!

Food flowers and Sugar Cookie Flowers

In Cookies on June 12, 2011 at 3:31 am

I figure everyone needs a few more flowers in their lives…

Particularly edible flowers…

When I say everyone, I mean everyone. Which is why, when my 9 year old brother’s best friend slept over and we baked something (like we always do when he’s over) we made roses out of frosting! Put the color in the hands of 9 year old boys and the product turns out to be blue roses.

Sugar Cookies
Recipe slightly adapted from i am baker
1 1/2 cup unsalted butter
2 cups Sugar
3 whole Eggs
4 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
1 teaspoons Almond Extract
4 cups all-purpose Flour
1 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/4 teaspoon Baking Soda
Preheat oven to 350F
Whip the butter and sugar together. Slowly add the eggs, then the extracts. Sift and mix the dry ingredients together.
Roll out between parchment paper and allow to harden in the fridge for an hour or more.
Cut out the cookies in their desired shapes, bake for 6-8 minutes, no longer!

2 cups powdered sugar
4 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon light corn syrup
1 teaspoon milk
Ice onto cookies and allow to harden.

Slightly adapted from i am baker
4 cups confectioners sugar
1/2 cup butter
5 tbsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1-2 teaspoons neon blue coloring (or any food coloring desired)
Whip the butter and confectioners sugar then slowly add milk and vanilla.
Add food coloring and pipe away!

These were a hit for the sleepover and so simple! 9 year old boys have short attention spans, so it was nice that they could walk away for an hour to play videogames, which let me clean up too. Then they came back to finish the cookies.

Sinfully good White Chocolate Chunk Coconut Cookies

In Cookies on June 4, 2011 at 4:29 am

I like to think that I’m my own boss, and my parents are there for guidance when it’s needed. It’s a teenager thing, I guess. Yesterday afternoon my mom left for soccer games and said no baking exotic things, just chocolate chip cookies.

This is where the BMOB *being my own boss* comes in handy. See, I took that guidance and decided that I would definitely follow half of it: White Chocolate Chunk Coconut Cookies.  These are sinfully good. Try them out, you won’t be disappointed. 

White Chocolate Chunk Coconut Cookies
2 sticks salted butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 small package stove-cooked powder vanilla pudding
2 1/2 teaspoons coconut extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour, unbleached
1 cup sweetened shredded sweetened coconut
2 cups white chocolate chips
3 squares almond bark

Heat oven to 350 degrees
Cream together the butter and sugars for about 2 minutes or until smooth with sugars
Slowly add eggs and extracts, beat on medium, scrape, and then beat until incorporated
Add the dry ingredients minus coconut, chips, and almond bark-and slowly mix until just incorporated
Mix the coconut in with a wooden spoon, then mix in white chocolate chips with a wooden spoon, roll into inch balls
Cut the almond bark up into pieces, some small than others, and sprinkle it on to of the rolled out balls
Bake for 12-14 minutes, they’ll look underdone when they come out, if so, cool on the baking sheet.


The Cookie Equation and a Cookie Cake

In Cookies, Cookies on May 18, 2011 at 4:29 am

Culinary school. I’ve been dreaming of it. But specifically, I’ve been dreaming of the Culinary Institute of America’s CA, Greystone campus. With finals coming up day dreaming is bad. I just can’t help it…. Did I mention it’s not more money to out-of-state? My motivation in school is quickly taking a dip…. actually, it’s more like a dive. I know what I want to do. Is there such thing as culinary high school? Because if so, I’m transfering.

These cookies remind me of why I have to keep going until finals are over. Everyone wants to hire a ‘smart cookie’ right? Well, smart cookies bake all the way through, they’re easy to get out of a pan, and they’re delicious. Which is why this makes the perfect cookie cake. Well I need to keep going strong through finals, and end well so that I can slide into summer and enjoy it. 

The cookies were delicious and are now my go-to cookie for cookie cake. They slide out of a pan super easy and will cook all the way from the sides to the middle without having burned sides and an underdone middle. I’d definitely say that, despite the amount of sugar, this cookie does not taste sugar-y. So get out your pipes and pipe on some frosting decorations!

 Cookie Cake
Recipe from Handle the Heat
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons hot water
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven 350F
In the bowl of a stand mixer or using a hand-held electric mixer, cream together the butter, white sugar, and brown sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Dissolve baking soda in hot water then add to batter along with salt. Mix in flour until incorporated. Fold in chocolate chips with a rubber spatula. Using a spring-loaded ice-cream scoop, drop even and large spoonfuls of dough onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet.
Bake about 15 minutes, depending on your pan. Check for browning edges.

These are seriously amazing…. they cooked all the way through in a short amount of time, and they baked all the way through. I think dissolving the baking soda is what did the trick. But check out how thick it is…

Delicious! Just make sure you don’t over-bake these! Happy eating!

4 Sweets, 1 Day

In Cake, Cookies, Donuts, Jello on March 30, 2011 at 6:02 am

There are no beaches involved in my Spring Break. No good weather filled with warm sun. No trips to Disney or Mexico. Instead I’ve taken a much shorter trip, approximately three rooms away and about as much fun. My kitchen! Come take a trip through my day…

First on the agenda this morning was definitely jogging. Good thing too, because it dramatically reduced my guilt for what was soon to come… Donuts! Altogether the dough for these donuts took (a minimum) of 9 hours. I’m super impatient, so making the dough right before going to bed last night cut down a lot of waiting time.

Totally worth the wait. You can’t even compare these babies to Dunkin’ or Krispy Kreams because these knock those out of the park. I didn’t include the recipe, I think that Flour by Joanne Chang should be sitting somewhere on everyone’s cookbook shelf.

Next on the agenda was jello! I pre-made the jello with a few of the different colored packages I found yesterday afternoon and made it last night so that this morning I could get right to it.

I just cut all my colors of jello into squares and put them all into one large — preferably see-though since, let’s face it, jello’s pretty!

 Then just combine 1/2 cup cold water and sprinkle two packets of gelatin over it, allow to sit for 1 minute. Add 1 1/2 cups of boiling water, stirl. Finally, stir in sweetened condensed milk and allow to cool before pouring over your piled jello.

Then refridgerate for at least 7 hours (and if you’re like me, do it either overnight or busy yourself making something else!)

Done! This jello gives me a whole new, possitive look on hospitals.  Generally when I think of hospitals I think of two things. 1. White walls, 2.  Jello. Uhm, having a doctor wearing all white telling me I can only eat jello the rest of my stay? No thanks. But this jello is actually pretty cool! Not that I could eat it as a meal. Ever. Anyway, I’m calling this my hospital jello.

Next I made cake! I knew I wanted to do something cool with it, but wasn’t sure what. Fondant was out of the question. That’s something that’s more of an all-day project for me. The base of the cake wasn’t my favorite and I made up the frosting recipe on the spot. I could kick myself for not writing it down because it’s one of my favorites.

To do the hearts all I did was melt semi-sweet chocolate in a double boiler, transfered it right after it was melted- not too hot- to a pastry bag, and made hearts/designs with the chocolate onto parchment paper. They went into the fridge for about ten to tweleve minutes, then pealed off and put around the cake. It’s SUPER easy and so much fun! I’ll be doing this again!

Recipe-to-come. My friend Claire came over and between her and Nicky they got these cookies done and they were delicious!

Finally the day is done, it’s already morning again and I’m just finishing my yesterday-day. But that’s alright! Because it’s Spring Break!!

My day summed up in one picture:

Thank God I was blessed with super generous parents who get me 25 pound bags of sugar and Kinnect Sports. They know me so well.