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Flourless Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

 Flourless Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies are naturally dairy and gluten free, take 5 minutes and one bowl to throw together. 

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There is really nothing simple about my life these days. Between two blogs, freelance work, a book, a book tour, another super secret project I hope to tell you about soon, and (oh yeah) a family, I’ve officially crossed over into complex living. As a result, my food has become more simple. Beautifully simple. Fewer (but better) ingredients, less waste, more time with that family who gives me so much support. These cookies are a great example. My favorite cookie recipe ever (on the planet) takes 3 days to make, inspiring the name Thursday Night Cookies because if I want them for the weekend, I need to start making them Thursday night.

But right now, in this crazy phase of my life, I want something that can give me near instant comfort and gratification with just a few ingredients I already have. So that someday I can get back to those lazy days and Thursday Night Cookies.

Flourless Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 12 minutes

Total Time: 17 minutes

Yield: 12 cookies


  • 3/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup whole oats
  • ½ cup chocolate chips
  • 1 large egg


  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. In a large bowl gently stir together all ingredients.
  3. Using a cookie scoop, add golf ball size mounds to a cookie sheet that has been covered with parchment paper, evenly spaced. Flatten to one-inch circles using your hand.
  4. Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes or until the edges turn golden brown. Pull the parchment paper off the cookie sheet and onto a flat surface. Allow to cool.


A lot of oat companies process their oats with machines that also come in contact with gluten, making the contamination rate high for store bought oats. If you need these to be gluten free, make sure to buy oats labeled "gluten free."

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Super Soft Strawberry Cookies

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Last month California Strawberry Commission generously paid my way to BlogHer Food conference in Austin Texas. As conferences usually go, the memories of the people and food stand the brightest in my mind. The bloggers from all over the globe, the friends I usually only see online, and the food I’ve been reading about for years were right in front of me.

BHF CThe highlight of the actual conference sessions was a fantastic workshop on food preservation and how to use more food, and waste less. This was not only a reminder to me of how much food I waste, but a call to action on what can be done with those food scraps that usually go in the trash or compost bin.

Kate from the Hip Girls Guide to Homemaking is a brilliant source of knowledge on the subject and taught us how to make fruit vinegar (amazing in salad dressing!) like this Strawberry Vinegar on her site. I got me thinking about a strawberry extract, or a strawberry syrup. I love baking with strawberries and I love Italian Sodas, but those syrups always have so many chemicals!

Super Soft Strawberry Sugar Cookies4

Syrup is also a great use of in-season strawberries. Those giant flats of gorgeous berries are being sold at bargain prices right now, but sadly, the berries don’t stay beautiful as long as we’d like. Once the berries start to lose their luster, you don’t have to toss them! There are a lot of fantastic ways to use those up, like making a beautiful syrup that you can store in the fridge, or even freeze for use in colder months when strawberries are harder to come by.

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At the farmers market last week, I came into ownership of about 3 pounds of strawberries, much to the delight of my strawberry obsessed daughter. Once the shine started to fade, I used most of what was left to make this syrup and froze what was left.

These cookies turned out beautifully, just as soft as I wanted with a hint of fresh strawberry syrup.

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Super Soft Strawberry Cookies with Strawberry Mascarpone Frosting


For the Cookies:

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tbs strawberry syrup
  • 3 ¼ cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • pinch salt

For the Frosting:

  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 8 wt ounces mascarpone
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tbs strawberry syrup
  • 1/2 cup chopped strawberries for garnish


  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer add the butter and sugar. Beat on high until well incorporated. Add the eggs and strawberry syrup, mix on high until light and fluffy.
  2. In a separate bowl add the flour, baking powder and salt, stir to combine. Sprinkle the dry ingredients over the butter and slowly mix until the dough comes together, scraping the bottom to make sure the butter is full incorporated.
  3. Place a sheet of plastic wrap on a flat surface. Dump the dough into the center of the plastic wrap, form into a disk. Wrap with plastic wrap and chill until firm, about 1 hour.
  4. Preheat oven to 325.
  5. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to about ½ to ¾ inch thickness. Cut into shapes.
  6. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the shapes on the parchment paper and bake until the top no longer looks wet but has not started to brown, about 12-15 minutes. Immediately pull the parchment paper with the cookies onto a flat surface. Allow to cool to room temperature.
  7. To make the frosting add the butter to a stand mixer with a paddle attachment (or a whisk attachment), beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the mascarpone and softened cream cheese, beat on high until full incorporated. Add the powdered sugar and beat until well combined. Add the syrup, mix on high, scraping the bottom to make sure the frosting is fully incorporated, until well combined.
  8. Allow cookies to cool completely before frosting, garnish with sliced berries

Strawberry Syrup


  • 4 cups chopped strawberries
  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar


  1. In a saucepan over high heat, add the strawberries, water and sugar. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently, for ten minutes.
  2. Place a fine mesh strainer over a large bowl (reserve pan). Pour the strawberry mixture into the strainer and allow to all the liquid to drain into the bowl.
  3. Use a spatula or wooden spoon to press the solids into the strainer to extract as much liquid as possible.
  4. Put the liquid back into the sauce pan and simmer until reduced and thickened, about 5 minutes. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

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Chewy Lemon Blueberry Cookies

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This post is evidence that I am a totally sucker. Twice.

First, my three-year-old lifts a huge tub of blueberries into the shopping cart and says, "Can I have the blueberries? I love them." I agree. Sucker.

The next day, she climbs in my lap and says, "Can we please make cookies?" I agree again. Sucker.

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I would show you the picture of her helping me scoop the dough into the cookie sheets, but she did so naked. She’s in a naked phase, as soon as we walk in the door she strips off all her clothes, yells, "Naked lady on the loose!" and runs through the house. I’ve decided not to fight this battle, we’ve just had to come to an agreement about when it is, and is not, appropriate to be naked. Which makes me say things like, "Honey, we don’t get naked at the post office." I’m assuming she’ll grow out of it. Or someday find happiness at a nudist colony, preferably in a warm climate.

Chewy Lemon Blueberry Cookies1

We actually made these twice. I’ve told you this before, but my version of The Perfect Cookie is chewy, not cakey. And despite my best intentions, the first batch came out cakey:

Chewy Lemon Blueberry Cookies4

And although I was disappointed in the lack of chewyness, I still ate five (for real, don’t judge). The second round was exactly what I wanted, soft, chewy, slightly puffy, and not cakey. But I do understand there are those of you who do like the cakey version, also they would be fantastic to make blueberry whoopies with, so I’m posting both.

But the chewy ones were better.

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Chewy Lemon Blueberry Cookies (both cakey and chewy versions listed)

Yield: 24 cookies


Cakey version:

  • 2 ½ cups All Purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ¾ cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • ¾ cup sour cream
  • 3 tbs lemon juice (about 1 large lemon)
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries


Chewy Version:

  • 1 1/4 cups All Purpose flour
  • 1 cups bread flour (can use AP flour, but won’t be as chewy)
  • 1 ¼ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter, cut into cubes
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 additional egg yolk
  • 3 tbs lemon juice (about 1 large lemons)
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 ½ cup fresh blueberries


  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl mix together the flour(s), baking soda, (baking powder if making the cakey version) and salt. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer beat both kids of sugar and butter until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the egg(s), beat until very well combined, about 3 minutes. Mix in the sour cream (cakey version only). Add the lemon juice and zest mix until well combined.
  4. Sprinkle the dry ingredients over the wet ingredients, stir until just combined. Gently stir in the blueberries.
  5. Using a cookie scoop, scoop golf ball sized mounds onto a cookie sheet that has been covered with parchment paper (if making cakey version, chill for 20-30 minutes prior to baking or they will spread too much. Chewy version does not need to be chilled).
  6. Bake at 350 for 12-16 minutes or until the top just starts to turn a very light golden brown.
  7. immediately slide the parchment onto the counter, allow the cookies to cool to room temperature.

Chewy Lemon Blueberry Cookies

Chocolate Fudge Bourbon and Whipped Cream Sandwich Cookies

I had this really Idealistic feeling that once the election was over, and the Binders had spoken, we would all go back to love and cookie baking. Seems like this morning, waking up and reading Facebook, the world is more divided than it was yesterday.

Anger, hate, social media mud slinging, has never given anyone a better quality of life or made them happier. But it has destroyed friendships and divided families.

I understand the urge to express feelings of disappointment, and more than that, a feeling that you are "forced" into a decision that you didn’t make. It’s important to feel like your voice is heard, whether it be a victory cry or sobs of distain. But, please, bear in mind that expressing those feelings on social media will inevitably cause division between you and, statistically speaking, half of your friends. Is it worth it?

We need to take a step back, appreciate that no matter what outcome you expected, we had two great men fight to lead this Nation. We had a higher than expected voter turnout of engaged and passionate voters. We are lucky to live in a country that approved marriage equality in four states last night. We live in a place where we are free to post ignorant and hateful rants online, and the government protects that freedom. No matter who is president, we live in a great nation, run by leaders we get to vote for.

No one ever changes an opinion because of an angry Facebook status. But nearly every time someone posts a rant fueled update, someone loses respect for the poster, especially when half of the country dissagrees with you.

My suggestions on how to cope is find a space where like minded people dwell. Because, for the most part, what you really want is camaraderie, and people who agree with you and understand the feelings you have. Most people (in general) aren’t looking for a fight.

Instead of posting that angry status to Facebook, text it to a friend to get it out of your system, find a message board or Facebook group of people who feel like you do, or just take a cyber hiatus.

If you do need to post something controversial, take a moment before you hit send. Walk away from the computer, think about a person you love who will disagree with what you are about to post and speak in a way that is respectful to that persons feelings. Take at least one pass at it, to make it more diplomatic. The more you seek to understand the other side, the more likely they are to listen to you.

Anyone have any thoughts on how to tame the impulsive cyber rants we all seem to be close to from time to time?

Any perspective you can offer?

Or, just make some cookies. Because no matter what, we are headed into the Holiday Season and cookie swaps are almost here!

And those always have bipartisan support.

Chocolate Fudge Bourbon and Whipped Cream Sandwich Cookies


For the Cookies

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp espresso powder (this intensifies chocolate, it does not make it taste like coffee)
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 4 tbs unsalted butter
  • 3.5 oz chocolate, broken into chunks
  • 2tbs bourbon

For the whipped cream filling

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips


  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the eggs, vanilla and both kinds of sugar. Whip on high for ten minutes to create a frothy meringue like texture.
  2. In a separate bowl, add the flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder and salt. Stir until combined.
    In a microwave safe bowl, add the chocolate and the butter. Microwave on high for 30 seconds, stir and repeat until melted.
  3. Gently fold the chocolate and the bourbon into the eggs until mostly combined (some streaks are fine).
  4. Sprinkle the dry ingredients over the chocolate/egg mixture, stir until just combined. Place in the fridge and allow to chill until set up enough to scoop, about 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 375
    Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Using a cookie scoop, drop equal amounts of dough evenly space on the cookie sheet.
  5. Bake for 9-11 minutes, don’t over bake. Allow to cool.
  6. In the bowl of a stand mixer add the whipped cream, powdered sugar and vanilla. Beat on high set up, about 3-5 minutes. Gently fold in the chocolate chips.
  7. Assemble sandwich cookies. Makes 12-16

Brown Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

I spent the morning interviewing ex-cons.

For them, the employees of Homeboy Industries, it’s a second chance and fresh start. A non-profit that works with gang members, fresh out of jail, provides culinary training, GED prep, job placement, parenting skills and so much more. "It’s like a big family, but everyone believes in you." Said one guy, back for a second chance at his second chance.

But sitting at the front of the Homegirl Cafe, interviewing and photographing the employees, it felt like a second chance and fresh start for me too. I was hired to write an article about food. Paid to go there, talk to people and take photos. A rare opportunity it seems for me to bulldog my way into this food writing world that I’ve been fighting so hard to be  a part of. An article I hope to do justice to, undoubtably spending the better part of the next week working on.

So here we are. Me and them. My transformation so much less dramatic, so much less important to my survival. They inspire me. When I asked the man I met, the one who is back for his second time and only 3 days out of jail, how he is going to do things different this time around, he shrugs, "I’m just going to keep showing up. That’s all."

I think he’s on to something there.

Brown Butter Oatmeal Cookies


  • 1 1/2 stick unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 2/3 cups white sugar
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup bread flour
  • 2/3 cup cake flour
  • 1 1/2 cups quick cooking oats
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips

Makes 2 dozen


  1. In a pot over medium high heat, add the butter. Stir until butter has melted. Continue to cook, swirling the pot continuously, until the butter has turned an amber brown color and remove from heat. This will take about 5 minutes. Allow to cool to room temperature.
  2. In a bowl, whisk together the eggs and the sugar. Add the vanilla and the browned butter, stir until combined.
  3. In a separate bowl add the remaining ingredients and stir until well combined.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until just combined, don’t over mix.
    Line two baking sheets with a Silpat or parchment paper.
  5. Form dough into balls a bit larger than a golf ball. Place on the baking sheets.
  6. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours, and up to 24.
  7. Preheat oven to 350. Bake for about 18 minutes or until light golden brown. Keep an eye on your cookies at about the 12 minutes mark. Cookies that aren’t as chilled will cook much faster.


Compost Toffee

There is this bakery in New York called Momofuku Milk Bar that sells baked goods so perfect, they defies the laws of baking. They have this incredibly popular Compost Cookie recipe that people line up to buy fresh out of the oven.

And I’ve been missing New York a lot lately, and the time I used to spend there, before I was a mom. I miss the roof top parties, the back stage passes, the music festivals, the rock shows, chatting with celebrities, chefs tastings, my single friends with fascinating careers, and epic dinners that lasted all night.

Which might be why I wanted to a little piece of the NYC I miss, turned into a toffee.

But then last night I got to do something even better than all those night in New York during my 20-something life. I ran around the back yard playing "I’m gonna get you" with my little girl, while my husband volunteered to do the dishes, and then my daughter curled up in my lap to eat rasins and watch Sesame Street.

No passes, no list, no plane tickets.

As much as those pre-mom nights had a higher marquee  value, this is the good stuff. This is what I’ll miss when I’m old, and even my grandkids have babies.

I loved my 20’s, and I’m glad I was able to run around the world with my husband, but now I’m glad to run around the back yard with my daughter.

And if all I have left of New York is memories and cookies I turn into toffee, I’m ok with that. Because it all comes down to my life’s motto: Figure out what is great about the situation you are in and enjoy the crap out of it. 

Compost Toffee


  • 1 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 tbs corn syrup
  • 2 tbs water
  • 2 cup 60% dark chocolate
  • 1/4 cup pretzels, smashed
  • 1/4 cup potato chips, smashed
  • 2 tbs butterscotch chips
  • 2 standard sized graham crackers, smashed


  1. In a large pot over high heat add the butter (make sure to use a large pot) and stir until melted. Clip a candy thermometer onto the edge of the pot, add both types of sugars, corn syrup and water. Stir continuously until it turns an amber color and hits 300 degrees. This process will take between 15 and 20 minutes from start to finish. pour onto a baking sheet covered with parchment paper or a Silpat. Allow to cool.
  2. Add the chocolate to a microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high for 30 seconds, stir and repeat until chocolate is melted. Pour over the toffee and smooth into an even layer. Sprinkle remaining ingredients evenly over the warm chocolate. Allow to cool until set.
  3. Cut into pieces.


Coconut Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

For years I’ve been insisting that I hate coconut. Ever since those crappy Almond Joys and Mounds bars started taking up valuable real estate in my orange plastic pumpkin during childhood Halloweens, I convinced myself that coconut was to blame.  Assaulting me with it’s odd texture that wasn’t quite crunch and wasn’t quite chewy and it definitely was not caramel.  

And with the loathsome of all Trick or Treat offerings, the Neapolitan Sundaes as a side kicks in my Trow Away pile of post Halloween candy sorting, my distain was cemented. I hated coconut. 

Even when I discover Malibu Rum in college, and I would only buy coconut scented sunscreen because the smell made me blissfuly happy, I still wouldn’t release my grudge. 

And even, after years of growing up with the idea that International Cuisine was Costco Lasagna and Taco Bell, I figured out that I adored Chicken Panang so much I wanted to bathe in it, still my aversion persisted. 

And when I waitressed in dozens of mid-level family style restaurants, with shrimp shooters and extreme fajitas avoiding conversation about my Flare, and I was introduced to the white trash joy of Coconut Shrimp, it changed nothing.

I hate it, I’m serious. 

It wasn’t until I read a post from my friend Julia that It all clicked. I don’t hate it. I hate crappy candy. Huge difference. 

I went directly to my nearest store and bought some Bob’s Red Mill Coconut and set out to bake. 

I made these for some friends who came over for a poker night, one of whom said, "No thanks, I don’t like coconut."

After I begged and pleaded for him to just take one tiny taste, he ate five cookies. Afterwards, he said to me: "I totally thought I hated coconut until I ate these cookies."

I have no idea what you mean. 

Other than the fact that these cookies rule. And so does coconut. 

My husband and I at Poker Night, not exactly winning,but having a great time. 

Coconut Chocolate Chop Oatmeal Cookies

1 stick of butter

3/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup white sugar

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup coconut milk fat (scraped off the top of a full fat can of coconut milk)

1 cup oats

3/4 cup bread flour

3/4 cup all purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp corn starch

1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut (Bob’s Red Mill strongly recommended) 

1/4 cup sliced almonds

3/4 cup dark chocolate chips

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and both sugars. Add the egg and vanilla and beat on high until well combined. Add the coconut milk and beat until well combined. 

In a separate bowl, add the remaining ingredients (other than the almonds and chocolate chips) and stir until well combined. 

Add the dry ingredients into the stand mixer and mix on low until just barely combined. Add the chocolate chips and the almonds and mix again until barely combined. 

Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper. 

Using a cookie scoop or an ice cream scoop, scoop out balls approximately the six of a golf ball and place evenly on the baking sheet. 

Refrigerate for 2 hours, up to 24. 

Preheat oven to 350. 

Bake for 20-22 minutes or until lightly golden brown. You don’t want to over cook these, so start to check on them at about 12 minutes in case your oven cooks way faster than mine. Especially if you skip the refrigeration step, room temperature cookies will be done a lot sooner. Once you pull them out of the oven, slide the parchment paper onto the counter and allow to cool. 

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Strawberry Oatmeal Cookies & The State Of Food Writing

Fish Where There Are Fish: The State of Food Writing

Amanda Hesser wrote an article last week for FOOD52 that, in summation, stated that food writing is dead. This drew critiques, criticism, praise, and response articles all over the web. When posted by a mutual friend on Facebook, Babette Pepaj (of TechMUNCH and Bakespace) disagreed, "Fish where there are fish," she stated.

This isn’t the first time I’ve been on the fringes of an idustry in the midst of a tornado like change, all the "Old Schoolers" looking down with dismay as the ripples seems to be coming from a throng of new and unexperienced talent waiting to take a stab in a new and digital format. 

When I moved to Los Angeles in the late 90’s as a teenager, my husband, then boyfriend, joined a year later with a band that had just signed a major record deal. He worked his way around the scene, taking jobs at major recording studios, tour managing bands, production, A&R scouting, drum coaching, all while the music industry was still the giant beast of the 1980’s, the A&R guys holding the keys to the kingdom with that illusive Record Contract dangling from their fingers. It wasn’t long before the beast started to crumble and the curtain was pulled from the Great And Mighty Oz.

It all seemed to start with Napster. A brilliant idea, even if illegal and poorly thought out, that brought the Music Industry Beast to its knees. First, largely ignored. Then a few lawsuits, then a few more, then Metallica chimed in. No one, save for a few smart people over at Apple, stopped to hear the cry from the public of, "This Is What We Want." I asked my husbands boss (he was working for a Recording Company headed by a well known music producer) why they didn’t pick up where Napster left off, "Why don’t you sell the songs on your own website? let people download them?" The response was lots of legal jargon, with a dash of, "artist want to sell records, not singles."  iTunes disagreed and well know how that went.

Years later, sitting in a bar called The Short Stop, chatting with a small-band-trying-to-make-good in Silverlake, California I asked about that illusive record deal. "We don’t need one, " said the guitar player, "I can get my songs onto iTunes, I can book my own shows. I don’t need to give anyone 90% of my money." He was right. They went on to be the biggest band ever to come out of Silverlake, although I now only see them on Guitar Hero or the Grammys, they will always be the guys (and girl) I used to buy beers for and chat about literature & music with.

Fish where there are fish. Although the sad reality is that the music industry is a ghost town to us now, the mighty and wealthy clamoring to get jobs, moving out of town to find work or wallowing on unemployment, we have a few friends who are making money. For the most part, those are people who started businesses to help artist help themselves. À la carte services that help the musicians maintian control, while assisting them in doing things they don’t know how to do for themselves. PR people, managers, booking, pressing of collectable vinyl, merch, all overseen by the artist. Of course the days of multi-million dollar musicians are largely behind us, more people are making a decent, but modest living, fishing where there is fish.

How does this translate to food writing? We’ll see. Will the only people that make money those who assist blogger with tech help, running ads, photography tutorials and book deals? Amanda Hesser may be right about HER food writing world being dead, and those mighty giants have started to crumble, but what will rise up in its place? What will the dawning of the new food world look like? The truth is, people will always write about food. How and where the money will be made is a different issue.

I’m not going to pretend to link this to cookies, so here they are:

Strawberry Oatmeal Cookies For Two

(makes only 6, because the last thing I need is 48 cookies just sitting around my house)

1/4 cup butter

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 egg

1/2 tsp vanilla

3/4 cup oats

2/3 cup flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp cinnamon

3/4 cup chopped strawberries (feel free to use those un-pretty ones on their last legs)

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and the sugar. Add the egg, and beat on high. Scrape the bottom of the bowl and add the vanilla and beat again. Add the oats, flour, baking powder, cinnamon and beat until combined. Stir in the strawberries.

Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper (or spray with cooking spray) and drop large spoonfuls of dough on to the sheet, leaving space between each cookie.

Preheat the oven to 350.

Place the baking sheet in the refrigerator to chill for 20 minutes.

Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes or until the cookies turn a light golden brown and are cooked through. Slide the parchment paper off the baking sheet onto the counter and allow the cookies to cool. 

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Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe Ever

Here I am with a super bold statement of "Best Ever."

Finding the perfect cookie recipe for what you love in a cookie is a bit of a personal journey. Figuring out what you want, and how to make that happen. For me, I love a cookie to be soft, chewy, puffy without being cakey and the perfect amount of chocolate chips.  

I did my research. Years of baking, problem solving, reading and asking people.

Consulting pastry chefs, New York times articles, Grandmas, kids, chocolate companies, and my big Sister.

It all finally paid off. This recipe is based on the famous and ground breaking New York Times 36 hour, Jaques Torres recipe with a bunch of additional advice and changes.

I like to call them Thursday Night Cookies, because if you want to have them over the weekend, you should probably start making them on Thursday night. The wait is worth it, I promise.

If you like the kind of cookies that I like, you will love these. 

Thursday Night Cookies


  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 1 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 1 tsp corn starch
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt, plus 1/2 tsp divided
  • 1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 egg
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 cups dark chocolate chips

(makes about 30 cookies)


  1. In a large bowl, combine both types of flour, baking soda, baking powder, corn starch and 1 tsp salt. All types of flour have different properties and will produce difference results, the combination of these two different types gives you cookies that are both soft and chewy. You won’t get these results if you just use one type or if you use all-purpose flour.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter with both types of sugar, scraping the bottom of the bowl periodically to ensure the ingredients are well combined. Add the eggs, one at at time, and then the vanilla, beat very well and scraping the inside of the bowl between addition.
  3. Reduce speed on the stand mixer to low and add the dry ingredients until just barely combined, making sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl to ensure that the butter and flour are all combined. Add the chocolate chips and stir until incorporated. You don’t want to over mix or your cookies will be tough.
  4. This is where you will need some self control. The butter needs to reconstitute as a solid or the cookies won’t cook well. Place a sheet of plastic wrap over the bowl and press it against the top of the cookie dough, making a tight seal.
  5. Place the cookies in the refrigerator to chill for at least 24 hours, preferably 36 hours. This is important, don’t skip this step or the cookies will spread and become dry and crispy.
  6. Preheat oven to 350. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and using a cookie scoop, or an ice cream scoop, make balls of dough that are a bit larger than a golf ball. Place on a baking sheet, with ample space between each cookie. Sprinkle lightly with the remaining salt. (Only about 6 cookies will fit on a standard cookie sheet.)
  7. Bake each cookie sheet one at a time for 21-23 minutes (*Note: Jaques Torres and I got this cooking time, but I hear from others that they are getting much shorter cooking times. Keep a close eye on your first batch) or until the cookies are just starting to get a light golden brown. Don’t over bake, the cookies will continue to bake about an additional 10 percent after being removed from the oven. Immediately transfer to a wire rack or a row of paper towels. (Here is a great tip from Michelle Tepper: Try cooking on parchment paper and just sliding the whole sheet off of the cookie tray and onto the counter to cool.)

*if you absolutly CAN NOT wait 36 hours, here is the only shortcut I will allow, although the cookies won’t be AS good:
Once the cookie dough is made, scoop the large golf ball sized cookies onto the cookie sheets, cover and then chill them for at LEAST 4 hours. Not one second shorter. This will only work if the dough is in a ball on the cookie sheet, not if it is still in the bowl.

Salted Caramel Pecan Linzer Cookies

I’m reading What Alice Forgot. It’s about a woman who has no memory of the past ten years of her life. She thinks she is a blissfully in-love newly wed, pregnant with her first child when she is really a mother of three going through a nasty divorce. And she isn’t proud of the type of woman she has become: "a point-making hussy who went to the gym and upset her beloved sister and hosted cocktail parties…" 

It got me thinking. What would the 2001 version of myself think of the 2011 me? Would she be proud? I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t think of myself as a point-making hussy. So that’s a win.

What would surprise me? What would disappoint me?

I’m pretty sure I would be shocked that I make Linzer cookies and have a food blog. Ten years ago I was just trying to figure out how to cook, skipping steps and trying to cheat recipes.

Am I going to be proud of the 2021 version? That older model with the inevitably fancier techno-gadgets and an 11 year old daughter? What would she tell me? What would I remind her?

She: "Even though you want to kick people in the shins when they tell you to "enjoy the baby years, they go by fast!" They are right. ENJOY chasing your naked toddler around the house before bath time because that will end"

Me: "Don’t forget how much work it took you to get where you are an appreciate it."

Who knows what else.

Where do you want to be in 2021? Or even the end of 2012?

What is stopping you? Make yourself proud, that 2001 version, the 2008, 2010 version. 2021 is going to come whether you like it or not. Where do you want to be?

Think about those goals you have neglected, like books on a dusty shelf. Those ones you would be embarrassed to have to answer to 2006 for not having even attempted.

They seem overwhelming, but you don’t have to do it all right now, just take a step. One today, one tomorrow. Order a catalogue from a college that has the major you have been thinking about. Start a business plan for that small business you want to start. Or just buy the domain name (about $10 at for inspiration.

Leave that boyfriend that treats you like crap.

Take that photography class because you know that photo is in your blood you just have to figure out what aperture means.

Take on a part-time job so you can save for that trip to Europe that you are always talking about.

Actually volunteer.

Be the person you wanted to be ten years ago.

It takes work, but it’s worth it. If was easy it wouldn’t make anyone proud.

Linzer cookies are a sign of progress in my life, I never would have tried this ten years ago. And the look so fancy!

Salted Caramel Pecan Linzer Cookies


1 cup (2 sticks) of Butter

3/4 cup sugar

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp baking powder

2 cups of flour

1 tsp salt


4 tbs butter

1/2 cup brown sugar

4 tbs light corn syrup (like Karo)

2/3 cup chopped pecans

2 tbs heavy cream, brought to room temperature

1/4 tsp kosher or sea salt plus 1/8 tsp salt, divided

Plus 1/4 cup powdered sugar for topping, if desired

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar. Add the egg and the vanilla and beat until well combined. In another bowl, add the flour, baking powder and salt, mix with a fork until combined. Add the flour to the stand mixer and mix until the flour is just incorporated into the butter mixture.

Form into a disk and wrap with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until cold, about 1 hour. It is important that the sugar cookie dough is cold or the cookies will spread too much during making.

Preheat oven to 350.

Once the dough is chilled, roll out and cut into 2 1/2 inch circles. Use a small cookie cutter to cut out a small window in the middle of just half of the cookies.

Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes or until the edges just barely start to brown. It will probably look as if they need another minute or too, but cookies continue to bake once they are out of the oven and you don’t want these to be too crispy.

Allow to cool. Top the window cookies with powdered sugar, if desired.

In a large sauce pan over medium high heat, combine butter, brown sugar, and corn syrup. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently until the sugar has dissolved.  Allow to boil, without stirring, for about 5-7 minutes or until the sauce has turned an amber color. Remove from heat, stir in the pecans, vanilla and the cream and stir until combined. Allow to cool until thickened, but not hardened.

You don’t want to make the caramel sauce too far in advance because it will harden in the pan once cooled, making it impossible to add to your cookies.

Add about 1 tsp of the caramel mixture to the middle of the solid cookies (the ones without the cookie cutter windows) be very careful not to touch hot caramel, it will burn the crap out of your fingers. Use two spoons to get it into place without needing to touch it. Top immediately with a cookie with a cookie cutter window. Sprinkle a few grains of salt in the window. I used a super fancy large grain salt my sister bought me for my birthday. Yes, I am now the sort of person who gets excited to receive a box of super fancy salts from all over the world as a present. Take that 2001.

Allow to chill in the fridge until the caramel has set, about 30 minutes.

Santa Hat Cookies & Why I Hate Santa

I guess HATE is too strong, but I don’t like Santa.

Except maybe this Santa. He’s awesome:

(Photo taken by my brother-in-law, and Hawks fan, Austin Metz)

It all started years ago when I was working at a group home with teenage foster and probation kids in South Central Los Angeles. I know, the white girl from the farm, in South Central.

I loved it.

I was able to see these kids as more than just Gang Members with horrible parents, but human children with potential, talent, hearts and brains. Being raised by grown-up damaged children.

It changed me.

I was teased, laughed at, listen to, and trusted.

I’ve posted so many serious posts lately, I’m no going to go into great detail about that first year, the first christmas. The kids who, at 16 years old, received their first Christmas presents of their lives, or how none of the parents came to our "Holiday Party."

But I will tell you this: Nearly every kid had a story about thinking he was bad because Santa didn’t bring him presents. After all, that’s the story, right? "Santa brings presents to good boys and girls. Bad kids don’t get any."

Or knowing that Santa wasn’t real because the Christmas after he turned 5 he sat in the living room, all alone on Christmas morning with no presents because Mom was on a bender and never came home.

This probably doesn’t apply to you. You will probably never have a Christmas when your kids don’t have presents. Hopefully.

But this year, more kids than ever won’t have presents. And the last thing I would want is for my daughter to carry that message with her to the kids at school who didn’t get presents, for her to think the reason those less fortunate kids didn’t get any gifts during the holidays was because they were bad. 

And I would never want ANY kid to think that the reason he didn’t get presents was because he’s bad.

We don’t need this.

Even though I don’t like the message that comes along with Santa (and I won’t even go into my fear of Mall Santas and their inherent creepiness) Santa is still an iconic symbol of Christmas. He is a great decoration. Which is why I made these Santa Hat Cookies.

I even have one Santa decoration at my house. Just one. I bought it in Paris a few years ago because I really wanted a Christmas Ornament from France and this was all I could find in September.

Links to donate to those in need, if you want:

Toys For Tots

Salvation Army

Angle Tree

Donation Town

These Cookies are pretty adorable, and really easy to make.

Santa Hat Cookies

Sugar Cookie Base:

1 cup (2 sticks) of Butter

3/4 cup sugar

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp baking powder

2 cups of flour

1 tsp salt

Cream Cheese Frosting:

1 package of cream cheese (8 oz) softened

1 stick of butter, 1/2 cup, room temperature (very important)

1 tsp vanilla

1/8 tsp salt

1 cup powdered sugar


24 large strawberries, stem and leaves cut off

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar. Add the egg and the vanilla and beat until well combined. In another bowl, add the flour, baking powder and salt, mix with a fork until combined. Add the flour to the stand mixer and mix until the flour is just incorporated into the butter mixture.

Form into a disk and wrap with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until cold, about 1 hour. It is important that the sugar cookie dough is cold or the cookies will spread too much during making.

Preheat oven to 350.

Once the dough is chilled, roll out and cut into 2 inch circles (or just larger than the base of your strawberries).

Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes or until the edges just barely start to brown. It will probably look as if they need another minute or too, but cookies continue to bake once they are out of the oven and you don’t want these to be too crispy.

Allow to cool.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the cream cheese on high for about 2 minutes. Add your room temperature butter and mix until combined. Add the vanilla and beat again until combined. Turn the mixer off and add the powdered sugar, return mixer to a low speed and mix until the sugar is incorporated into the cream cheese.  Add the frosting to a piping bag. If you don’t have a piping bag, add to a large, heavy duty, zip lock bag and cut about 1cm off the bottom corner of the zip lock bag, this can be used as a make-shift piping bag.

Pipe a dime sized amount onto the cut end of the strawberry and place in the middle of your sugar cookie.

Pipe the frosting around the base of the strawberry, as well as a pea sized amount on the tip of the berry to resemble Santa’s Hat.

Pumpkin Cranberry Cookies

I’m beginning to wonder about people who HATE pumpkin. I can see hating a particular pumpkin dish, but ALL pumpkin? Maybe you just haven’t had enough different types of pumpkin. I love pumpkin, but probably because I love anything that can blur the lines of what we expect. Pumpkin can be sweet, salty, savory, pie, pasta, tart…It’s a vegetable that can masquerade as a dessert! That’s pretty fantastic.

Here is my recipe for pumpkin cookies, with the added tartness of cranberry.

Pumpkin Cranberry Cookies

Pumpkin Cranberry Cookies


Yield 24


1 1/2 cups of flour

½ teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ginger

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup dried cranberries

3 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened

3/4 cup white sugar

1 cup brown sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup pumpkin puree



1 cup powdered sugar

2 tablespoon orange juice (no pulp)

(makes about 12 cookies)


  1. Preheat oven to 350.


  1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, salt and cranberries, whisk until combined.


  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and both types of sugar on high speed until well combined. Add the egg, vanilla and pumpkin puree, mix until well combined. Turn the mixer on low and add the flour until just incorporated.


  1. On a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray, drop about 2 tablespoon of the batter at a time, evenly spaced.


  1. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until the edges start to turn golden brown and the cookies are cooked through.


  1. Allow to cool.


  1. To make the glaze, add the powdered sugar and orange juice to a bowl and mix well with a fork until combined. Spoon onto the top of the cooled cookies.

Chocolate Orange Creamsicle Cookies

I originally titled these: Chocolate Shortbread Cookies with Orange Cream and Chocolate Orange Ganache. Although that is much more descriptive, it was just too dang long. I wanted something to bring to the Los Angeles Food Bloggers Meeting, and this is how these things evolved in my brain:

I should try to make chocolate shortbread cookies, but I want to put something on top. I’ll make them like the Mini Lemon Meringue Tarts, but use orange. And Ganache instead of meringue. Orange ganache. Hope this works.

Chocolate Orange Creamsicle Cookies

For The Chocolate Shortbread:

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened

1 1/4 cups powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

For The  Orange Cream:

2 tbs orange zest

5 egg yolks

1/2 cup white sugar

3/4 cup orange juice

5 tbs unsalted butter, cut into cubes

For The Orange Ganache:

1 cup dark chocolate chunks

2/3 cup heavy cream

2 tbs orange zest

1 tablespoon Cointreau or other orange-flavored liqueur

Preheat oven to 325.

Cream the butter and powdered sugar until well combined, about 3 minutes. Add the vanilla and beat until combined. In separate  bowl, whisk the cocoa and flour together until well combined. With the mixer on low, gradually add the flour mixture.

Put about 2 tbs of the dough into each well of a muffin tin (spray with butter flavored cooking spray before hand), forming the dough up onto the side to make a cup with a large well in the center.

Chill the dough in the muffin tin for at least an hour.

Bake at 325 for 15 minutes. Allow to cool

Make the orange cream. I love this, it’s based on my lemon curd recipe but the orange is awesome.

Add the orange zest, orange juice, sugar and yolks to a bowl and mix well. Add the orange mixture to a pan over medium/low heat along with the butter.

Whisk until thickened, about 8 minutes. Once the mini tart shells are cooled, spoon in the orange cream.

Place the chocolate and the orange zest in a heat safe bowl. In a separate bowl, heat the cream and the orange-flavored liqueur until hot and steam, but not boiling (microwave is fine but you can also heat on the stove) and pour the hot cream over the chocolate. Stir for about 3 minutes or until well combined. If you have never made ganache or chocolate sauce, you may get a bit concerned about half way through. It is completely normal for your sauce to look like chunky chocolate milk for the first few minutes, just keep stirring and it’ll all work out.

Allow the ganche to cool a bit, then add it to the top of the cookies.

Homemade Twix


I’m not a big candy bar eatin' person, but there is something about Twix that I love. It really is pretty simple when you break it down: shortbread, caramel and chocolate. That’s it. I also added chopped pecans and salt to a few. Yum.

Homemade Twix



1 cup of flour

1/3 cup powdered sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1 stick plus 3 tbs unsalted butter (11 tbs)

2 tbs granulated sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp butter extract


1/2 cup of granulated sugar

1/2 tbs light corn syrup

2 tbs room temp water

1/4 cup of heavy cream, warm

2 tbs unsalted butter

1/2 tsp vanilla extract


1 cup chocolate, broken up into chunks (I used 56%)

2 tbs butter

1 tbs heavy cream (plus up to 2 tbs more, if needed)

1 tbs light corn syrup

In a bowl, add the flour, powdered sugar and the salt, whisk until well combined. In a stand mixer cream the butter until light and fluffy. Add the sugar slowly, then the extracts, beating until well combined. Add the flour mixture, about 1/4 a cup at a time, and beat as little as possible until your dough is combined and the butter is mixed through. You can also finish by squishing with your hands to make sure the butter is well incorporated. Your dough will look like course meal.

hmt-crust-in-kaPlace the dough on a sheet of plastic wrap and form into a log about 10 inches long. Wrap the plastic wrap around your log and CHILL FOR AT LEAST 3 HOURS.

Super important that your dough is cold before cooking, I’ll talk about this over and over, but it’s so true. Cold dough cooks better.

Once the shortbread is cooled, cut off about 1 inch circles

hmt-s-circlesand mold into little logs, about 3 inches long and the width of a finger,

hmt-sfand then make a well down the length of the shortbread finger.

hmt-sf-wellThis recipe should make about 24. Place on a cookie sheet covered in parchment paper and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

hmt-poHeat the oven to 300. Bake for about 8-12 minutes or until the shortbread starts to brown along the very bottom edge.

hmt-ooCaramel sauce. This can be scary if you’ve never made it, but it’s pretty simple. put the sugar, corn syrup and water in a sauce pan and stir over high heat until everything is well combined and the sugar starts to boil (use a wooden spoon of a spatula that is very heat resistant, cheap plastic will melt). Stop stirring completely and allow to boil undisturbed. Watch until the caramel turns amber, then remove from the heat and add the warm cream slowly (you can heat it in the microwave or on the stove) while stirring. Then add the butter and the vanilla and stir until smooth.

Once the cookies are cool, spoon the caramel sauce along the well

hmt-caramel-filland place on a wire rack over parchment paper. In a microwave safe bowl, add the chocolate, corn syrup, 1 tbs cream, and butter

ccp-chocolate-ingredients-premeltand microwave for 20 seconds, stir and repeat until smooth and creamy. You can add more cream if the chocolate is not smooth enough to pour. Spoon the chocolate sauce over the cookie and allow to drip over the sides.

hmt-chocolate-pourAllow the chocolate to cool before serving.