Double Chocolate Cookies


I’ve come to the conclusion that most people want to eat better or the best version of something they grew up eating.  This is why I try to stick to just improving the basics until they are the best.  Don’t even get me going on the “basic” chocolate chip cookie.  Sure, I tailor the best item to the recipient – I know my dad wants a buttery cookie to have with his espresso and my husband is always going to say the gooier the better.  However, I feel confident that regardless of your preferred flavor/texture profile, this cookie will exceed all expectations.  First of all, they are huge.  The recipe is not lying when it says that it makes 9 cookies.  Also, I have a major sweet tooth and i cannot eat more than one.  One is so satisfying.  And if you just need a nibble, half is pretty dang satisfying too.

This lovely recipe came from Blue Bottle Cafe (awesome coffee – seriously if you are on a coast, go) and was published by Joanne from Eats Well With Others.  She has a fabulous blog and I thank her for giving me this recipe.

A few notes about the recipe.  It makes HUGE cookies.  9.  That is no joke.  Just do it.  Each one is like eating a chewy, soft, chocolate dream.  It’s the chocolate cookie that will live up to expectations.  Which brings me to my next point: USE QUALITY COCOA.  Don’t use that garbage from the dollar store and expect these to turn out well.  Same for the chocolate pieces.  I have found that chips are fine to use, make sure they are quality.  At a minimum, I use Ghirardelli.  Usually, mo’ money, better chocolate.  Finally, you can triple this recipe, but any bigger than that, your artisan stand mixer from Kitchen Aid cannot hang.  Tripling is pretty intense for it as it is.


I can’t stop writing about these cookies.  I just watched Billy Eichner and his manic energy inspired me. Just know that everyone loves them and they are the best.  Make them for your cookie trays for Christmas or make them for the nice firemen down the street.  Be nice to each other and do something for something for no reason other than love.

Oh yeah, and these cookies were what I made for the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap. You get some pretty awesome cookies from awesome bloggers (Michele at Alwayz Bakin’, Erika from Nommable, and Melissa from Ice Cream Inspiration) and you donate money to Cookies for Kids’ Cancer.  What could be better?

Blue Bottle Double Chocolate Cookies

Yield: 9 cookies


  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • ⅓ cup natural cocoa powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 5 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp good quality coarse salt
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 3.5 oz dark chocolate, coarsely chopped



  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, and baking soda. Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter, sugar, and salt on medium speed until fluffy, about 5-6 minutes.
  3. Add the egg and vanilla to the bowl, beating on medium speed, until well-incorporated, about 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and then mix again for another 30 seconds.
  4. Scrape down the bowl and then add the flour mixture. Mix on low until combined and uniform in texture. Scrape down the bowl and add the chocolate. Mix on low until just combined. Refrigerate the dough for at least 3 hours or overnight.
  5. When you are ready to bake the cookies, heat the oven to 350F.
  6. Divide the dough into 9¼ cup portions and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet (or two) at least two inches apart.
  7. Bake for 11-12 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through. Let cool for 10 minutes before moving to a wire rack to cool completely.



Croissants are probably one of my favorite foods.  I am really not a bread person.  I don’t really buy it and I don’t miss it.  I will make a cinnamon roll or the like, but I consider that to be a sweet.  I prefer a savory breakfast and eat eggs in some form every morning.  However, if I am having a rough time of it, a croissant is in order.  When I was working in NYC, every time I departed from the subway in the morning, I passed a bakery that had bagels, rolls, and fresh croissants.  It was so easy to dip in, get my warm, buttery, flaky croissant, and continue the route to work.  Also, my favorite place to eat in NYC is City Bakery.  They take the classic croissant and step up the game with a Pretzel Coissant.  They use a salt wash on the outside of the pretzel and it is a bit dryer (in a good way) than a classic croissant.  The croissant at Starbucks is not great, but not bad, and it will do in a pinch.  Also, it has less calories than most of the stuff in their pastry case.  So, croissants are a health food.


I am currently in transition from one job to another and I have some extra free time.  It is just so much easier to devote your time to these lengthy project when you know you have limited distractions (like a job – hah).  I was inspired by Dominique Ansel’s Cronut recipe that has been recently published.  However, I thought if i were going to ever attempt making the cronut, I needed to make a classic croissant first, to understand the basics of a laminated dough.

I did some research and was pointed to the Cooks Illustrated method.  I read about other home baker’s errors and made a game plan to avoid them.  I loaded up on King Arthur All Purpose flour (not an ad), just recommended since it has a slightly higher gluten content than other all purpose flours.  I also loaded up on Plugra, a high fat content butter.  I scoped our house for a cool spot for the final rise.  I was concerned about this, being in the desert, but I found a closet that is nice and cool.  I watched the Cook’s Illustrated video about a million times and got to work.  The process was lengthy, but straightforward.  I was nervous at the end, just because so much work went into the pastries, but they turned out great.  When I was rolling them, I put some 60% chocolate into some of the croissants, and gruyere sticks and prosciutto in others.  I left more than half plain and wish I had filled more, but all were wonderful.  I found the process a lot less tedious than making a pie.  I think that says something about me, not sure what!


Coconut Chocolate Toffee Cowboy Cookies


Cookies and Christmas.  It’s like football and dip.  Movies and popcorn.  Champagne and celebrations.  Good news for you, today is the reveal of the Great American Cookie Swap, so the internet is awash with fabulous cookie recipes to make your Christmas celebration complete.

The premise of the Great American Cookie Swap is pretty simple, donate a small amount to Cookies For Kids Cancer and receive the names of three lovely food bloggers (is that what I am?) to send a dozen cookies and receive 3 dozen cookies from three other food bloggers!  I received one dozen spicy oatmeal raisin cookies from Chris at Hye Thyme Cafe,  one dozen cornmeal and olive oil  biscotti from Cheryl at Crazy World of Cher, and Pfeffernussen from  Simply Sweet Justice.  YUM to all!

If you are compiling your “cookies to make” list, I encourage you to consider this Kicked Up Cowboy Cookie.  [Even though at this point in the season, the last thing you need is more ideas on what to make.  I’d take an elf to bake everything while I watch “Love Actually” on repeat.]  After eagerly waiting almost a year to participate in the Great American Cookie Swap, I obsessed over the perfect cookie to send.  I settled on this Kicked Up Cowboy Cookie because it can be a meal.  Oats, Coconut, Chocolate, and Toffee, what else do you need?!   These would be a perfect bake sale cookie too, there is nothing weird in there, just good stuff!

I made these the day before Thanksgiving (always wise to tear up the kitchen the day before a major meal) and basically had cookies for lunch.  Someone had to eat the ugly ones.  One relative had to evacuate the kitchen for fear of eating a full tray.  These are chewy and chocolatey, with enough salt to keep you coming back.  They come together quickly, all you need is some elbow grease to mix in all the ingredients.   These are barely adapted from Former First Lady Laura Bush’s recipe and they are award winning (in my opinion)!

Coconut Chocolate Toffee Cowboy Cookies

adapted from Laura Bush’s Cowboy Cookie


3 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 tablespoon baking soda

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cup butter (at room temperature)

1 1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

3 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

1 cup toffee pieces

3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

2 cups sweetened flake coconut


Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in bowl.

In large mixing bowl, beat butter on medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute.

Gradually beat in sugars; beat to combine, 2 minutes.

Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each.

Beat in vanilla extract.

Stir in flour mixture until just combined. Add chocolate chips, toffee pieces, oats, and coconut.  Refrigerate dough for one hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 

For each cookie, drop 1/4 cup dough onto ungreased baking sheets, spacing 3 inches apart. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until edges are lightly browned; rotate sheets halfway through. 

Remove cookies from rack to cool.


Pumpkin Cream Cheese Bread


Halloween and I are at a stalemate.  It is one of mom’s favorite holidays and we really got into it.  I had some pretty cool costumes and most memorable was when I dressed as the tooth fairy.  We always made our costumes from scratch and my mom passed her talents on to me so later, I would sew everything.  Some might find that more tedious, but I loved having control over the process, fit of the costume, and the overall look.  I made some pretty elaborate costumes in college, including Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, and Eve (of the fated couple) with hand sewn leaves.  After college, I dabbled in costumes here and there, but with my old age, I have found myself at home (or at the gym!) on more than one Halloween, happy to be snuggled under a blanket and watching something non scary.

Just because I am not in a costume making phase of my life doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy other aspects of Halloween.  This year it took me a little longer to get into the pumpkin baking scene.  This is probably due to the fact that I am living in Arizona and it is still in the 80s here on most days!  However, the siren call of pumpkin finally lured me in and I made this lovely bread.  Let’s not kid ourselves, it is cake through and through.  The recipe I used called for 2 loaf pans but the batter is enough for 1 full 8×4 loaf and a little 4 inch round.  This cake is to die for.  The pumpkin bread is delightfully spicy and the orange favored creaminess of the cheesecake marbling complements it perfectly.  This bread reminds me of the Cheesecake-Filled Pumpkin Cupcakes that are a big favorite too!


Pumpkin Cheesecake Bread

adapted from


8 oz cream cheese

1/2 c white sugar

1 tablespoon all purpose flour

1 egg

zest of 1 medium sized orange

1 2/3 cup all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoons ground ginger

1/4 teaspoons nutmeg

1/8 teaspoons ground allspice

1 c pumpkin puree

1/2 c vegetable oil

2 eggs

1 1/2 c white sugar


Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Butter an 8×4 loaf pan and a 4 inch cake round.

In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese, 1/2 c sugar, 1 tbsp flour, 1 egg and orange zest; beat until smooth.  Set aside.

Sift together 1 2/3 cup flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves and pumpkin pie spice; set aside.

Place pumpkin, vegetable oil, 2 eggs and 1 1/2 cup sugar in a large bowl; beat well. Stir the pumpkin mixture into the flour mixture just until combined.  Pour 1/2 of the pumpkin batter into the loaf pans. Spoon cream cheese mixture on top of this layer and then pour on the remaining batter.  Use a butter knife to swirl the pumpkin and cream cheese mixture.

Bake in preheated oven for 30-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into center of the loaf comes out clean. Cool bread in pans for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Happy Halloween, ya’ll!

St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake

My Dad is from St. Louis, so needless to say, we were eagerly anticipating  the start of the World Series last night with the Cardinals versus the Red Sox.  We made yearly pilgrimages to visit family (drove from NC to MO) and always spent an evening at Busch Stadium.  In addition to having a space in my heart for the St. Louis team, having lived in NYC, it’s virtually impossible to find anything redeeming about a Boston team, so the allegiance is easy to maintain!

In these times of sporting trials, I tend to turn to food, namely a theme food.  I decided that I needed to make a Gooey Butter Cake, since they originated in St. Louis.  I have made the Paula Deen version with the cake mix and it is delicious (linking to the pumpkin version because it is fall and that is what I made).  Although the Paula Deen version is fast (and dirty), my internet research yielded another, more traditional recipe with yeasted dough.  I was just in luck because Deb at the Smitten Kitchen tried her hand at it.  Oh, this was going to be great.


I started the process last night, just about when the starting pitch was thrown.  Obviously, the game was a massacre but perhaps because my fabulous Gooey Butter Cake had not been consumed by two fair weather fans in Tucson, AZ.  The cake was finished after the game was over, but we were the true winners.  Nate wants me to be clear that he thinks that this cake is one of the best desserts I have ever made and it made him do the happy dance.  If you are afraid of sweet (hi, Mom), this is probably not the dessert for you.  But, as a yeast-avoider (as in I avoid using it), don’t be scurrred.  You can do it.  Obviously, you need some time to make it all happen, but once that dough is rising, go make dinner or something while the dough does its thang.  I used high quality vanilla and I could really taste it, so that would be a strong recommendation.

Gooey Butter Cake

Also, I read to heed a warning on the type of pan used.  Because I live on the wild side and I have limited resources, I used a metal pan and set the time for 25 minutes.  My oven runs slow, so I needed about 7 more minutes in the oven and the topping was plenty gooey.  We like gooey, so I knew it would be fine.  When I took it out of the oven, it immediately began to sink and crust over on the top.  Science. The edges are key!  They taste like chewy, classy, custardy heaven.  Make this for someone who is suffering heartbreak, because they will forget.

St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen



3 tablespoons half and half at room temperature, or slightly warmer (around 110 degrees F)
1 3/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
6 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 large egg
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

Gooey Butter Topping:

3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon light corn syrup
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 large egg
1 cup plus 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Confectioners’ sugar, for sprinkling

Butter, for greasing the pan



In a small bowl, mix half and half with 2 tablespoons warm water. Add yeast and whisk gently until it dissolves. Mixture should foam slightly. I gave it 1 tablespoon of the sugar to feed it a bit.  Remember to subtract this from the total 3 tablespoons of sugar for the dough.

Using an electric mixer with paddle attachment, cream butter, sugar and salt. Scrape down sides of bowl and beat in the egg. Alternately add flour and the milk mixture, scraping down sides of bowl between each addition. I beat this dough with a dough hook on medium for about 10 minutes, until it started pulling from the sides of the bowl.

Press dough into a greased (with butter) 9-by 13-inch baking dish at least 2 inches deep. I used a metal 9×13 and it worked for me.  Cover dish with plastic wrap or clean tea towel, put in a warm place, and allow to rise until doubled, 2 1/2 to 3 hours.

Gooey butter topping:

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a small bowl, whisk corn syrup with 2 tablespoons water and the vanilla. Using an electric mixer with paddle attachment, cream butter, sugar and salt until light and fluffy, 5 to 7 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl and beat in the egg. Alternately add flour and corn syrup mixture, scraping down sides of bowl between each addition.

Spoon topping in large dollops over risen cake and use a spatula to gently spread it in an even layer. Bake for 25-35 minutes, or until it has a golden top, but still gooey in the center.  Don’t worry if the cake immediately sinks when you take it out of the oven.  The magic is happening.   Try to stop yourself from cutting into it at that moment and allow the cake to cool in pan before cutting and sprinkling with confectioners’ sugar for serving.

Enjoy and GO Cardinals!