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Pretzel Crusted Chocolate Beer Fudge Cookies

Pretzel Crusted Chocolate Beer Fudge Cookies #beer #chocolate #cookies #pretzels #recipe

I’ve never really been the girl with the sweet tooth. I’ve had a meat tooth. A salt tooth. A beer tooth. I could eat my weight in guacamole or tater tots and it takes a small act of God to get me to stop eating sushi. But sweets don’t give me the mad rabid cravings that get me to lose my mind. I love chocolate, and pie and cake, and I’ll always eat dessert if it’s around. I’ll take a small slice of every single pie at the Thanksgiving table, but those late night cravings that come after a few IPA’s are almost always of the salty variety.

But every once in a while something will hit the right note. Like this toffee that I ate the entire batch of before I could share and then lied and said it fell on the ground when really it just fell into my mouth. The perfect combination of sweet and salty will get me every time. A little sea salt sprinkle on a danish before it’s baked, or salted caramel, or candied bacon, it’s hard for me to really fall in love with a dessert that doesn’t kick me some salt. Which is why pretzels seem to make it into my desserts more often than fruit does. Maybe you like this too, after all, chocolate and pretzels go perfectly with beer.

Pretzel Crusted Chocolate Beer Fudge Cookies #beer #chocolate #cookies #pretzels #recipe

Pretzel Crusted Chocolate Beer Fudge Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup bread flour
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp espresso powder
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 10 wt oz (about 1 ¾ cups, chopped) good quality dark chocolate (60% cocao)
  • 4 tbs unsalted butter (cut into cubes)
  • 2 tbs vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup black IPA (stout or porter will also work)
  • 1 large egg plus 1 yolk
  • 2 cups mini pretzels
  • 2 tbs golden brown sugar

Directions

  1. In a bowl add the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt, espresso powder, and sugar, mix until well combined. Set aside
  2. In a microwave safe bowl add the chocolate, the butter and the oil. Microwave on high for 30 seconds, stir and repeat until melted. Don't over heat or the chocolate will seize.
  3. Stir in the beer.
  4. Add the chocolate mixture, egg and yolk to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined, some lumps are OK.
  5. Cover and refrigerate until the dough as has set, about 1 hour and up to 36.
  6. Preheat oven to 350.
  7. Add the pretzels and brown sugar in a food processor. Process until pretzels are broken up but large pieces still remain.
  8. Using a cookie dough scoop, make balls just a bit smaller than golf balls, roll into shape with your hands. Place dough balls into pretzel mixture, press until pretzels are coated.
  9. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, add cookie balls
  10. Bake cookies at 350 for 8-10 minutes or until the edges have set but the center is still soft. Cookies will firm up as they cool. Don't over-bake or the cookies will be dry and crumbly.
https://domesticfits.com/pretzel-crusted-chocolate-beer-fudge-cookies/

Pretzel Crusted Chocolate Beer Fudge Cookies #beer #chocolate #cookies #pretzels #recipe

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. 

flourless peanut butter oatmeal chocolate chips cookies 2

 

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.

 

Homemade Beer Burger Buns

Yield: 8 buns

Ingredients

  • 2 ½ cups All purpose flour
  • 1 envelope rapid rise yeast (2 ½ tsp)
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • ¾ cup wheat beer
  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • 1 tbs raw honey
  • ½ tsp salt plus additional for topping
  • egg wash (1 egg plus 1 tbs water, beaten)
  • 2 tbs sesame seeds

Directions

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment, add the flour, yeast, and onion powder. Mix until combined.
  2. In a microwave safe bowl add the beer. Microwave on high for 20 seconds, test temperature with a cooking thermometer and repeat until temperature reaches between 120 and 125 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. Add the beer to the stand mixer and mix on medium speed. Once most of the dough has been moistened, sprinkle with the salt, honey and add softened butter.
  4. Turn speed to medium-high and beat until dough is smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes.
  5. Transfer dough to a lightly oiled bowl, tightly wrap with plastic wrap. Allow to sit in a warm room until doubled in size, about 45 to 60 minutes.
  6. Preheat oven to 400.
  7. Remove from bowl and add to a lightly floured surface, knead a few times. Cut into 8 equal sized pieces.
  8. Form each piece into a tight ball. Add evenly spaced over a baking sheet that has been covered with parchment paper.
  9. Cover loosely and allow to rise until almost doubled in size, about 20-30 minutes.
  10. Brush with egg wash, sprinkle with sesame seeds and salt.
  11. Bake at 400 for 12-15 minutes or until light golden brown.
https://domesticfits.com/flourless-peanut-butter-oatmeal-chocolate-chip-cookies/

flourless peanut butter oatmeal chocolate chips cookies 3

Pub Cookies

Pub Cookies made with beer, pretzels, chocolate chips and peanuts

I want to put a beer cooking trick up your sleeve. A secret skill to help maneuver the beer cooking universe with deft dexterity. I like to call this a Beer Extract, made by reducing that bottle of beer to a small but mighty beer syrup that fits nicely into a recipe that wants some beer flavor but is without the capacity to handle large volumes of beer right out of the bottle.

Pub Cookies made with beer, pretzels, chocolate chips and peanuts

It’s easy, really. Just simmer the beer long enough to remove the water, leaving all those other great flavors in a compact bite of beer essence. When a recipe, like these Pub Cookies, can only take a little bit of liquid and you want a bit o' that beer flavor to come through at the end, all you need to do is reduce the beer to remove the water and you’re all set.

While this might not bring you the large amounts of beer taste you might want, there is a subtle malty finish to the end flavor, along with those pretzels that always seem to love to tag along for the beer flavored ride.

Pub Cookies made with beer, pretzels, chocolate chips and peanuts

Pub Cookies

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

4 hours, 35 minutes

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces imperial stout or porter beer
  • 3/4 cup butter, cut into cubes
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg plus 1 yolk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup bread flour (this will make them chewy)
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips (60%)
  • 2/3 cup mini pretzel twists, broken into pieces
  • ¼ cup honey roasted peanuts

Directions

  1. In a pot over medium high heat add the beer and cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced to about 1 tbs, about 8 to 10 minutes.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the butter and both types of sugar, beat until well creamed. Add the egg and the yolk, beat until well combined. Add the 1 tbs of beer, and vanilla extract and beat until well combined, scraping the bottom to make sure all the ingredients are well combined.
  3. In a separate bowl, add both types of flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt. Mix well. Add dry ingredients to the stand mixer and mix on medium/low speed until just barely combined, don't over mix. Add the chocolate chips, pretzel pieces, and peanuts, and stir until incorporated.
  4. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper, scoop golfball sized scoops of dough, roll them into round balls and place on the baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 4 hours.
  5. Preheat oven to 350.
  6. Bake for 18-22 minutes or until light golden brown, don't over bake. (If you don't chill the dough, or if you make smaller sized cookies, the cooking time will be much shorter. Start to keep an eye on your cookies after about 12 minutes.)
https://domesticfits.com/pub-cookies/

 

Spent Grain Cookies & Dry River Brewing: Kick Starting a Brewery

DRV family

Homebrewer turned brewery owner isn’t a new phenomenon; in fact, it’s historically the path most commonly taken by those who head our favorite breweries. With the advent of Kickstarter, beer making business men and women everywhere are getting a leg up to their dream job. Today, thousands of campaigns for brewery owning hopefuls exist and the Los Angeles craft beer scene is no exception. With so many craft beer devotees vying of a place in the market, a few shining hopefuls stand out from the crowd as truly innovative and destine for success. Dry River Brewing is one of those elite few that stand head and shoulders above the pack. Due in part to how incredibly likeable the couple is, but largely because of how inventive the beer is. From Rio Secco Pale Ale, and  Horchata Cream ale to Camomile Honey Wheat, this is a brewery that brings solid accessible beer as well as pushes the limits of what’s previously been done with craft beer.

Owners Dave and Vanda have a Kickstarter campaign underway now, to get in on the ground floor of what is poised to be a exciting and dynamic brewery, check it out before it’s too late.

I was able to catch up with Dave and Vanda, ask a few questions and even sample their truly stellar beer. Vanda even gave me the recipe for her fabulous spent grain cookies.

LTR - Dave and Vanda 2

 

1.      How long have you been brewing?

We started Dry River Brewing in 2012, after home-brewing for years.  We have both been interested in craft beer forever and we’re big loca-vores, so it was kind of natural for us to get in to home brewing.

 

2.      When did you realize that you could make the leap from home brewer to brewery owner?

We were initially thinking of opening a craft beer bar, but we were getting great feedback on our homebrew and as we were out talking with bar owners we realized that the big opportunity was on the production side.  LA is way underserved in terms of local breweries — we see tons of pent-up demand for locally produced beer.   I work in green real estate and my wife Vanda comes from a hospitality background, so Dry River Brewing really brings all of our interests together.

 

3.      Tell me about the beer you’ve made that you are most proud of?

At Dry River Brewing we’re brewing sessional beers with non-traditional recipe and a local flavor. Our Horchata Cream Ale will be our flagship beer, and I think it’s a really good example of our style.  It starts as a traditional Cream Ale, but we add flaked rice to the grain bill, add vanilla beans and spices to the boil, then dry hop it with Japanese hops that accentuate the vanilla flavor.  We also do a tart Jamaica-Weisse with hibiscus flowers, and a Smoked Agave Wheat.  There are so many great beers out there, we’re always inspired to try new things to stand out and be different.

 

4.      What vision do you have for the brewery? What type of place will it be?

Dry River Brewing will be a destination brewery/seafood restaurant, with a big patio where people can sit outside and enjoy the river. The vibe will be super casual and the décor will play off of the river/nautical theme – think kitschy yacht-club meets urban brew-pub. Live music will be a big part of it, and we’re planning a bunch of programming to keep it interesting.

Patio mock-up 2

5.      How does the LA River tie on?

We were scouting possible locations and were really drawn to the LA River.  It’s mostly paved over and covered with graffiti, but the river is a really interesting part of LA’s history — and now there’s an amazing vision to revitalize the river, dig up the concrete, reintroduce native plants, and build bike trails, parks, and other amenities to make the river a real destination.  We wanted the name of our brewery to get people thinking, and for our brewery to be part of that revitalization effort.

la-river-kayaking-paddle-summer-2012

6.      You have a lot of support from the Los Angeles craft beer community, how important was that for you?

Huge!  We want to be a truly local brewery – we don’t have plans to expand outside LA County – so local support is super important to us.  We are really collaborative by nature, so it’s awesome to be part of a scene where people support each other rather than tear each other down.

7.      What breweries or brewers do you admire?

Locally, I really admire Browerij West — I think 3 of my 5 current favorite beers ever are by them.  I respect the brewer’s (Brian Mercer) emphasis on simplicity in his recipes, and how he stays so true to his vision.  They only produce Belgian styles, no IPAs or anything else, and they started before Belgians were in style – I think that takes a lot of guts.  I also love their branding and aesthetics.  Brian has a great eye.

As far as breweries outside LA, I am a huge fan of Mikkeler.  He puts out a ridiculous number of beers each year, and pretty much every one I’ve had has been amazing.  I think it’s cool how he partners with other breweries around the world, not just because he comes up with such interesting recipes but also because he can use such a broad range of fresh local ingredients.

8.      Do you have a favorite ingredient when it comes to making beer?

We use lots of non-traditional ingredients in our beers, but I would have to say hops and Vanda would probably say tea.  I love to experiment with different hop varieties, especially new or unusual ones, to see what results I can achieve.  Vanda does a lot of amazing tea infused beers, like her Chamomile Honey Wheat, her Roibos Dubbel, and an Elderflower Blonde that we call the LA Cougar.

9.      What do you do with your spent grains?

Vanda makes cookies!   She blends the spent grains in a food processor, adds some coconut oil, dried fruit, chocolate chips, a few spices, and throws them in the oven – they’re super tasty.  When we open the brewery we hope to use the spent grains to create energy, but if that’s not feasible we will donate them to a local farmer for feed-stock.  There’s still tons of nutritional value left in the grains after the mash, so we want to make sure not to waste it.

10.   What do you want Dry River Brewing to be known for?

We want Dry River Brewing to be known first and foremost for our beer, but we also want Dry River Brewing to be a landmark in LA.  We also hope that we can help to raise awareness of the LA River and the efforts to recreate it as a system of parks connected by bike trails.  We think that when people experience the LA River and see the potential for what it can be that they will get as excited about it as we are.

Spent Grain Cookies- Dry River Brewing2

Chocolate Cranberry Spent Grain Cookies

Ingredients

  • 3 cups spent grain (aromatic Victory, Caramel, Caravienne or other light sweet malt preferred)
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg (for vegan option, use 2/3 cup coconut oil in total)
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries (or dried cherries)
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour (plus additional, as needed)
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Directions

  1. preheat oven to 375.
  2. Add the spent grain to a food processor, process until about 1/3 as course as before.
  3. Add spent grain to a large bowl, stir in remaining ingredients. If the dough is too moist to stick together, add additional flour.
  4. Using your hands, make 2 inch wide by 1/2 inch high disks.
  5. Place on a cookie sheet that has been covered with parchment paper.
  6. Bake at 375 for 25 minutes. Immediately pull the parchment paper and the cookies off the hot cookie sheet onto a flat surface, allow to cool.
https://domesticfits.com/spent-grain-cookies-dry-river-brewing-kitschy-yacht-club-meets-urban-brew-pub/

Spent Grain Cookies- Dry River Brewing

 

 

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.

 

Pumpkin Ale Cheesecake with Beer Pecan Caramel Sauce

Ingredients

    For The Cheesecake
  • 9 standard sized graham crackers
  • 2 tbs brown sugar
  • 4 tbs melted butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 16 oz cream cheese (softened)
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 cup pumpkin ale
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tbs flour
  • For The Caramel Sauce
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin beer
  • 1/4 cup corn syrup
  • 1 tbs butter
  • 1/4 cup cream
  • 1/3 cup pecans

Directions

  1. In a food processor add the graham crackers and brown sugar, process until only crumbs are left. While the food processor is still running, add the melted butter and process until it resembles wet sand. Dump into the bottom of a 9 inch spring form pan. Press into the bottom until well compacted.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the brown sugar, white sugar and cream cheese. Mix until well combined. One at a time, add the eggs and vanilla, mixing until well combined, scraping the bottom, before adding more.
  3. Add the pumpkin puree, cinnamon nutmeg and salt, mix until very well combined.
  4. Add the beer and stir until combined.
  5. Sprinkle the flour over the bowl, stir on medium speed until just combined.
  6. Pour over the crust.
  7. Bake at 350 for about one hour or until the center no longer jiggles when you shake the rack the cheesecake sits on, it will still look wet in the center. The secret to a great cheesecake is not to over bake it, it's better to slightly under bake it for a smooth mousse like texture.
  8. Chill until set, about 3 hours.
  9. To make the caramel sauce, add the sugar, beer and corn syrup to a pot and stir over medium high heat for about 1 minute. Stop stirring and allow to boil, untouched, until it turns an amber color, about 10 minutes (230 on a candy thermometer). Add the butter and cream, stir until combined. Add the pecans and stir. Allow to cool to approximately room temperature before serving over chilled cheesecake.
https://domesticfits.com/brown-butter-oatmeal-chocolate-chip-cookies/

 

 

 

 

 

 

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. 

 

Chili Beer Chicken Wings

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 lbs chicken wings and drumsticks
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • 2/3 cup beer
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tbs honey
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp red chili flake
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbs rice wine vinegar

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425.
  2. Rinse the chicken wings in cold water and dry well.
  3. Sprinkle chicken on all sides with cornstarch and rub to coat.
  4. In a separate bowl, add the beer, soy, honey, chili powder, garlic powder, red chili flake, salt, and vinegar, stirring well to combine. Add the chicken, toss to coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for ten to twenty minutes.
  5. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  6. Remove the chicken from marinade and arrange wings on the baking sheet and bake at 425 for ten minutes.
  7. While the chicken is baking, add the remaining marinade to a pot over medium high heat, stiring frequently, reduce until thickened and syrupy, about 8-10 minutes.
  8. Once the marinade has reduced, remove the chicken from the oven and brush with the thickened marinade, turn them over, brush with marinade on the other side.
  9. Return to the oven and allow to cook for an additional ten minutes, basting again.
  10. Allow chicken to bake until cooked through, an additional 10-15 minutes.
  11. (Note: the total cooking time for the chicken will be approximately 25-35 minutes, requiring basting every ten minutes)
https://domesticfits.com/compost-toffee/

Chocolate Chip, Stout & Beer Nut Cookies

 

If you live in the Los Angeles area, I’m going to need you to do me a favor. I’ve somehow been booked on CBS, Los Angeles mid-day news with a cooking segment this Friday, August 31st. They want me to do a quick Cooking With Beer segment on the news at noon. People will be hungry, naturally, it is lunch time, and my hope is that this will persuade them to ignore any brief moments of nervousness that I have.

But If you could tune in, and support me, that would be great. I’m not really nervous, I keep waiting for that to set in, but it hasn’t yet. When it does, I would love to know that people who have been visiting me here on this little blog for the past year are out there cheering me on.

That would be great.

In the meantime we’re going to make some cookies. These call for the classic Beer Nuts, which I found myself in possession of after a particularly round night of cards at my house. Several bags of Beer Nuts left by an anonymous donor.  And I can’t just leave them in my pantry, I need to find a use for them.

We are also going to revisit that crazy idea I have of making beer extract. Because vanilla is just too…well, vanilla.

 

Chocolate Chip, Stout & Beer Nut Cookies

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup stout beer
  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 3/4 cup bread flour
  • 1/2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips (60%)
  • 3 oz bag Beer Nuts
  • (Makes 10-12 cookies)

Directions

  1. In a pot over medium high heat add the beer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced to about 1 tbs.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the butter and both types of sugar, beat until well creamed. Add the egg and beat until well combined. Add the 1 tbs of beer extract and beat until well combined, scraping the bottom to make sure all the ingredients are well combined.
  3. In a sperate bowl, add both types of flour (these two types of flour are very important to the end result of your cookies, regular all purpose flour will not give you the same results), cornstarch, baking powder and salt. Mix well. Add dry ingredients to the stand mixer and mix on medium/low speed until just barely combined, don't over mix. Add the chocolate chips and Beer Nuts, and stir until incorporated.
  4. Resting the dough is an important step in this recipe. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper, scoop golfball sized scoops of dough, roll them into round balls and place on the baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 4 hours.
  5. Preheat oven to 350.
  6. Bake for 20-22 minutes or until light golden brown, don't over bake. (If you don't chill the dough, or if you make smaller sized cookies, the cooking time will be much shorter. Start to keep an eye on your cookies after about 14 minutes).
https://domesticfits.com/chocolate-chip-stout-beer-nut-cookies/

 

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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Salted Peanut Butter Caramel Bars with Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Shortbread Crust

Peanut butter was named one of the Top 5 Foods That Should Have A Place Your Diet by CNN.

Whoever wrote that probably wouldn’t have wanted you to mix it with butter and sugar, but regardless of the increased amount of calories and fat, you can still feel good about giving yourself a healthy dose of antioxidants. And eating a Super Food that has protein and fiber,  lowers cholesterol and your risk of heat disease.

Because, like I told you at the beginning of the year, I’m trying to seek a balance in my life. If I am going to have a fabulously delicious dessert, I also want it to have some good stuff in it too.

I have also decided to cut food dyes out of my diet all together by the end of the year. Because, unlike peanut butter, they have zero benefits, lots of risks and are known carcinogens. I’ll write more about that later once I’ve figured out how to conconct an all natural red food dye.

I don’t want to be perfect, I just want to find a balance in my life. Peanut butter caramel bars are a great balance, giving you a dose of healthy goodness with an incredible dessert. But don’t misunderstand me, this is in no way a diet food. They are high in calories and a treat that you should enjoy every once in a while, but at least you have the peace of mind that there are also health benefits.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Shortbread:

For the shortbread crust:

¾ cup Brown Sugar

1 sticks of Butter

½ cup Creamy Peanut Butter

1 tsp vanilla

1 tsp Salt

2 cups Flour

1 tsp Baking Powder

1 ½ cups Dark Chocolate Chips

Peanut Butter Caramel Sauce:

1/2 cup heavy cream

¼ cup Creamy Peanut Butter

1/2 cup sugar

1/3 cup light corn syrup

1 stick of butter

½ tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp course sea salt

Line the bottom of an 11 x 7 inch baking dish with parchment paper, allowing the paper to go up and over the edges of the pan.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar. Add the peanut butter and vanilla and beat on high until well combined. In a separate bowl combine flour, salt, and baking powder, stir to combine. Add the flour mixture to the stand mixer and beat on medium speed until mixed well with the butter mixture, scraping the bottom of the bowl occasionally. Gently fold in the chocolate chips.

Press the shortbread into the bottom of the baking dish in one even layer. Chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350. Bake for 25 minutes or until the edges have turned a golden brown and have started to look dry. Allow to chill in the fridge for 10-15 minutes.

In a pot over medium high heat, add the peanut butter and the cream. Stir continuously until the peanut butter has melted and is well combined with the cream. Remove from heat, add the vanilla and set aside.

In a separate pot over medium high heat, combine the sugar, & corn syrup. Stir until the sugar has dissolved. Allow to boil, without stirring, until the mixture reaches 230 degrees, about 5 minutes. While the caramel is cooking, do not stir, but swirl the pan every 30 seconds to redistribute the caramel sauce evenly. Once 230 degrees is reached, add the butter, stirring to allow it to distribute and melt, then remove from heat. Stir in the peanut butter cream, adding slowly as it will bubble up furiously.

Pour the caramel over the shortbread and refrigerate for 4 hours, or until set. Sprinkle the top with the sea salt. Remove from pan using the parchment paper and cut into squares. 

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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 godaddy.com) 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

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

Filling:

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

Hat:

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.


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.