Archive for the 'cookies' Category


two-bite chocolate cream pies

A few weeks ago, H and I had dinner with some friends – a finger food potluck.  H loves to create appetizers and I love making mini desserts so we were both looking forward to what we were going to make.  I scoured through my cookbooks and magazines trying to find something that jumped out at me when I remembered seeing these mini chocolate cream pies in the February issue of Sunset magazine (one of my favorites). Not only did these look yummy, but the recipe looked pretty straightforward too.

My only advice is don’t over press the cookie crumbs and don’t over bake the crusts.  I was intent on making sure the crusts didn’t fall apart so I did both.  The result was VERY hard crusts that were almost impossible to bite into. I didn’t really think about the fact that egg white would probably provide a much stronger bind than melted butter. Well, they were still delicious even though everyone had a hard time biting into them.

Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers

cookies, sugar, salt, egg white whirled to make the crust

10 lb. slab of chocolate

breaking into the slab

melted chocolate and butter

sugar, cornstarch, cocoa, and milk

cook over medium heat

add melted chocolate and butter

ready to bite into

Two-bite Chocolate Cream Pies

From Sunset magazine, February 2010

Makes 24

  • Cooking oil spray
  • About 30 chocolate cookies, such as Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers
  • 3/4 cup sugar, divided
  • 1/2 tsp. course salt
  • 2 large eggs (1 separated)
  • 1/2 cup chopped bittersweet chocolate
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 2 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 5 tsp. Dutch-processed unsweetened cocoa powder, divided
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray 2 mini-muffin trays (12 muffin cups each) with cooking spray.  In a food processor, whirl cookies into fine crumbs.  Measure; return 1 1/2 cups crumbs to food processor, along with 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp. sugar, the salt, and 1 egg white.  Pulse to blend evenly.

Spoon 1 tbsp. crumb mixture into each muffin cup. Press crumbs over bottom and up sides of cups. (Don’t press too hard.) Bake until set, 15 minutes. (Don’t over bake.)

Put chocolate and butter in a microwave-safe container and heat in 30-second intervals, stirring often, until melted.

In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup sugar, the cornstarch, and 4 tsp. cocoa. Pour in a few tbsp. of the milk and whisk into a smooth paste; whisk in remaining milk.  Transfer to a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until thickened and large bubbles appear, about 3 minutes.

Put reserved yolk and remaining egg into a medium bowl.  Whisk in about 1/2 cup hot milk mixture.  Scrape egg-milk mixture into milk mixture in pan and cook, whisking, until just starting to boil, about 30 seconds.  Whisk in melted chocolate and butter.

Spoon hot filling into chocolate shells.  Press plastic wrap over surface of mini pies to prevent a skin from forming. Chill until set, at least 1 hour and up to 2 days.

Remove pies from trays. Whisk cream with remaining 2 tbsp. sugar into soft peaks. Spoon a dollop of cream onto each mini pie. Dust pies with remaining cocoa.


the best one-bowl chocolate chunk-pecan cookies

H and I were watching a movie a few weeks ago when I started craving chocolate chip cookies.  I needed a fast and easy recipe; no way was I going to wait for the 36-hour chocolate chip cookie.  I found a recipe for one-bowl chocolate chip cookies in Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey.  The 36-hour chocolate chip cookies are still my favorite (hands down), but these were perfect for a quick cookie, with little clean-up required afterwards.

toast the pecans

stir granulated and dark brown sugar into melted butter

stir in salt, vanilla, and eggs until smooth

stir in flour, baking soda, and baking powder into batter

just until incorporated and a soft dough forms

fold in chocolate chips and cooled toasted  (chopped) pecans

mmm…cookie dough

use a 2-ounce scoop to measure out the dough

place dough balls on a baking sheet

Ok, there is some waiting time for this cookie – but only 45 to 60 minutes.  I washed the dishes and watched more of the movie during this wait.

refrigerate until firm

place 6 dough balls on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees


The Best One-Bowl Chocolate Chunk-Pecan Cookies

Modified slightly from Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey

Makes 18 Large Cookies

  • 2 cups pecan halves
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Place the pecans on a baking sheet and toast until they are warm and fragrant, 6 to 9 minutes.  Let cool completely.

Place the butter in a large microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high for 1 minute.  Remove from the microwave and stir until completely melted.  Using a large wooden spoon, stir both sugars into the melted butter.  When combined, add the salt, vanilla, and eggs.  Stir until smooth.  Stir the flour, baking soda, and baking powder into the batter just until incorporated and a soft dough forms.  Carefully fold in the chocolate chips and cooled toasted pecans.

Use a 2-ounce self-releasing scoop or a 1/4 cup measuring cup to measure out the cookie dough.  Place the cookie dough balls on a baking sheet and refrigerate until firm, 45 to 60 minutes. Toward the end of the chilling time, return the oven to 350 degrees.

Place the chilled dough balls on parchment lined baking sheets.  (The recipe said to put 9 cookies per sheet to allow for spreading; I only put 6.)

Bake until the cookies are crisp and golden around the edges, but still a little soft in the centers without being gooey, 15 to 18 minutes.  Transfer the baking sheets to wire racks and let cool slightly.  Using a large metal spatula, tranfer the cookies from the baking sheets to wire racks and let cool to room temperature.

Stored in airtight containers, these cookies will keep for 2 days at room temperature.  They can also be frozen for up to 2 weeks.  You can prepare the cookie dough balls and, after they are chilled, store the unbaked cookies in the freezer for up to 1 month.  The cookies can be baked straight from the freezer, but will take a few minutes longer.

(I still have some dough balls in my freezer for when we get chocolate chip cookie cravings.)


where to begin?

It’s been so long since my last real post that I don’t really know where to start.  I’m still working on a new header and it looks like I might have to go back and fix some of my previous photos to work with the new template (yeah…we’ll see if that happens).  Unfortunately, since it’s been so long, I can’t remember what some of the stuff is that I made and took photos of.  Oh well, I’m going to post them all anyway.

I’m planning on posting recipes now – not all of them, but a few here and there to make things more interesting.  H said that people don’t want to just look at food photos, they want to know how to make them, too.  True.  I look at a lot of baking/food blogs and I love it when I can get some recipes.  My first one, which I’ll post later, will be of some chocolate chip cookies I made a few weeks ago.

Well, I have tons to show you, so I better get started. (I promise, this ‘months of recapping’ won’t be a yearly thing…)

June 2009

pineapple upside down cupcake

vanilla cupcake w/ chocolate glaze and sprinkles

July 2009

This is a birthday cake I made for one of the older ladies at church.  I can’t remember what kind of cake it was or how I made the buttercream :(.  The flowers look kinda funny because this was my first time trying to make roses this way (not the way I learned at my Wilton class).  For these flowers I took a small ball of fondant, pressed it into a petal shape and layered it.  It wasn’t the best time for me to experiment, but I thought it would be easier than it turned out to be.  My fondant was way too soft for this.

happy birthday!

banana bundt cake w/ lemon glaze

the lemon glaze was a surprisingly nice contrast to the banana flavor

My friend asked me to make some bridal shower cookie favors for her friend’s bridal shower.  The theme was orange and purple.

T + J cookies

pile of wrapped favors

Since it was a bridal shower, my friend also asked if I could make a cake just for decoration.  Well, between the two of us, H is usually the designer/sculptor so I left it to him.  His idea was for an open gift box overflowing with bras and panties (geez, I’m embarassed to even write those words on my blog, but just remember – BRIDAL SHOWER!).  The idea seemed ok.  I imaged some classy/elegant lingerie spilling out of this box…and then I saw his creations starting to come to life and my eyes almost bulged out of their sockets.  They were more like Frederick’s of Hollywood than Victoria’s Secret.  Ahhh!!!!!  I am laughing as I write this, but I vividly remember how mortified I was.

Be warned that the following photo may be considered PG-13.  I tried to take the photo from the most “conservative” angle.   I don’t want to explain this cake, but I’m afraid if I don’t you’ll just be examining everything and getting the wrong idea.  Up front is a stacked heart G-string (I never imagined I would be writing that word), to the right is a white one, and the shiny orange thing on the right is supposed to be some leather thing.   I wanted there to be something (anything) classy on this cake so I had him make the pearl necklace.  Are you blushing yet?

H is GREAT when it comes to things he knows about (cars, kung fu panda, thomas the tank engine, etc.), but let’s just say that next time there’s a request for a bridal shower cake, I’ll be doing the designing.

Rated PG-13

Continue reading ‘where to begin?’


brown butter cookies

I experimented with the brown butter cookies 2 more times last month. The second time I made them, I modified the recipe and added some cornstarch. I figured it would make the cookie more tender and also prevent it from spreading out and flattening. The shape of the cookie came out perfectly, but the flavor wasn’t there. It was sort of bland and got really dry.

The third attempt turned out much better. I substituted cake flour in place of regular all purpose flour (H’s great idea) and also added a little more than the recipe called for. The flavor and texture were both pretty good.
brown butter cookie dough
brown butter cookies

These are becoming one of my favorite cookies.  They’re so easy to make, too.  I was pretty happy with this last batch, but unfortunately, I don’t remember where I put my modified recipe.  Oh well, I’m still planning on modifying it a bit so I guess it’s ok.


brown butter brown sugar shorties

A few weeks ago I tried some brown butter cookies from a local company.  They were a little pricey ($3 for 3 small cookies), but H and I both thought they were pretty good.  I decided to search for cookie recipe that would be similar and came across this recipe for brown butter brown sugar shorties on smittenkitchen.  I had seen this post before and couldn’t believe I had just passed over it.  Now that I had a brown butter cookie craving I just had to make it.

brown butter bits
brown butter bits

creamed brown butter and brown sugar
creamed brown butter and brown sugar
rolled in raw sugar
rolled in raw sugar

They didn’t come out looking exactly like the ones on smittenkitchen, but they were still delicious.  Some people who commented on her website said that they flattened and spread out so I wasn’t too surprised.  I was grateful for the warning she posted at the end of the recipe – otherwise the flattened cookies would’ve been a bummer.  These were really easy to make and I’ve decided to keep tweaking the recipe until I get the texture that I want.  I’ve since made 2 additional batches which I’ll have to post later, but I have to say that the smell of browned butter and brown sugar is becoming one of my favorite things.


december – a recap

Ok, I’m finally getting around to posting December…

Cookie Exchange

I made french macarons and magic cookie bars for a cookie exchange party.  I’ve tried making french macarons a few times now and am very frustrated that my macarons never rise with a “foot”.  I’ve read a few other blogs and am looking forward to trying them again.

french macarons – no feet 😦
magic cookie bars

Yule Log

I finally made a yule log!  I’ve been wanting to make this buche de noel from a Martha Stewart Holiday magazine that I’ve had for years.  I skipped some of the ingredients but it still turned out delicious.  Next time, I’ll probably skip the rum soak – H didn’t like that too much.  The white chocolate mousse was so good and the little meringue mushrooms were cute.

buche de noel
buche de noel

Chocolate Chunk Pecan Pie

I made a chocolate chunk pecan pie for a potluck.  I needed to make something quick and easy because it was during the same week that I was starting to crank out Christmas cookies.  There were three types of chocolate in this pie – milk, semi-sweet, and white.  We ate slivers of this pie b/c it was so rich.

chocolate chunk pecan pie
chocolate chunk pecan pie

Christmas Cookies

I made a lot of cookies this year for Christmas gifts.  I originally made a list of 8 types that I planned to make, but of course got in over my head and made way more.  Most were successes, but some were disasters.  I just can’t help it.  I love to try new recipes and have a hard time limiting myself to making only a few types.  As it always is during December, my kitchen was a mess and I was exhausted from staying up late every night baking.  It was worth it, but sadly I didn’t have time to make any royal icing cookies.  I don’t know why – I made several types of cookies last Christmas in addition to approximately 75 snowmen cookies.  I don’t know how I had time to do that last year.  I guess I spent a lot more time this year trying out new cookie recipes.

no snowmen this year 😦
the original list that i didn’t stick to
the original list
most of what i made
most of what i made
package of goodies
package of goodies

Christmas Potluck

Just like there’s 2 parties to go to for Thanksgiving, there’s also 2 parties to go to for Christmas.  My parents, sister, brother, H, and I went to my mom’s extended family on Christmas Eve.  I made some peppermint s’more cupcakes.  I didn’t bring all the equipment I needed to my parents house and was so frustrated with my cupcakes.  I don’t know if it matters, but I used an electronic hand beater instead of my stand mixer and the marshmallow frosting didn’t set up as much.  To try an avoid a runny mess, I just piped little gobs onto the cupcakes – they still turned our really cute.

mini s’more cupcakes
mini s'more cupcakes

On Christmas day, we all went to see my dad’s extended family – it’s basically a HUGE party with TONS of food.  I brought cheesecake bars – which I didn’t get a picture of AND didn’t get to try!  I guess they were good though :).  I also made homemade empanadas with my grandpa’s secret recipe.  My dad was doing a lot of frying with all my empanadas and H’s crab rangoon.


crab rangoon
crab rangoon

We had some excitement during the empanada frying/crab rangoon making frenzy.  H microwaved his crab rangoon sauce to dissolve the sugar.  Well, I think he forgot that 1) my parents have a new microwave that’s more powerful than the old one we have and 2) it’s very easy to speed past the time you want to set using the little spinning knob on their microwave.   Basically, I think he accidentally set it for 02:00 instead of 00:20…oops.  So there we all are in the kitchen when my brother suddenly points to the microwave and there’s black smoke coming out of it.  It was hilarious and classic.  The smell didn’t stick around for very long; the inside of the microwave is just a little yellow now. 🙂


Kara’s Cupcakes – 1st Time

On our way back to the central coast,  H and I stopped at Kara’s Cupcakes in San Jose.  We tried the sweet chocolate, sweet vanilla, chocolate velvet, and pumpkin.  I think so far this is my favorite cupcake shop (we’ve actually been 2 more times since then!).

kara’s cupcakes
kara's cupcakes

november – a recap

If you read my last post, you’ll know that I am WAY behind and am still trying to catch up.  I’m quite proud of myself for getting started on this so soon after my last post.  This is my recap of November.  I need to get started on December ASAP –  H made a Kung Fu Panda cake last week and he’s itching for me to post it.

November was a great baking month – mostly because I made a bunch of pies for Thanksgiving.  I love pumpkin pie and I’m pretty sure I would have been able to eat a whole pumpkin pie by myself in my younger days.  Actually, I’m sure I could eat a whole one now if it wasn’t for the fact that now I know how many calories are in one slice.  I know, it’s not all the time but if you add up all the different pies I did eat it’d probably add up to one pie.

I’m bummed that I often don’t get pictures of my final products.  I’m usually in such a hurry at the end that I either forget or don’t have time to take a picture at the end – you’ll see a few examples below.  Another problem may be my lighting situation since I usually bake at night and my pictures don’t turn out that great.  H made me a light box a few weeks ago so I guess I don’t have that excuse anymore.

Wedding Cake

I made my first practice wedding cake.  It turned out ok.  It was a white cake filled with layers of apricot jam, raspberry jam, and whipped cream.  I also covered it in whip cream so it wouldn’t be too sweet.

cake layerscake layers

Peanut Butter Bars

I’ve had this recipe for peanut butter bars for years.  I got it from my grandpa and still have it on the same napkin I wrote it down on.

peanut butter bars
peanut butter bars

Baby Shower Cookies

One of my friends had a baby shower so I decided to try to make these again after my last failed attempt at baby shower cookies.  These turned out good and they were a hit at the shower.  I love the pink and brown combination – they were the same colors H and I used for our wedding.  We had made some Thank You cards which we never got around to sending, but I’m hoping to use them if and when we ever have a baby girl.  I can’t see those cards go to waste after all the time we spent on them.

baby shower cookies
baby shower cookies

Pie Crust Prep

I was hoping to avoid being stressed out the day before Thanksgiving so I made all of my crust in advance and just froze them.  It looks like it takes a ton of fat to make a good pie crust, but not to worry – I got 8 pie crusts from all that fat.

how much butter and shortening do you need for pie crust?!
how much butter and shortening do you need for pie crust?!

Pumpkin Pie Bars

I made some pumpkin pie bars to take to work right before Thanksgiving.  I was craving pumpkin pie but didn’t want to actually make a pumpkin pie because I knew that I, and probably most, would be eating pumpkin pie later that week.  I tried a recipe from Libby’s that was just as satisfying.

oat crust
oat crust
pumpkin filling
pumpkin filling

Pie Mania

I made 7 pies for Thanksgiving – 1 pumpkin cheesecake, 4 pumpkin pies, 1 pecan pie, and 1 apple pie.  Even though I had tried to prep as much as I could beforehand, I still stayed up until 3am the night (er, morning) before Thanksgiving.  I tried Cooks Illustrated’s Pumpkie Pie and LOVED it.  The flavor had more depth and the texture was richer and silkier.  Too bad I didn’t realize that it took way longer than the recipe on the back of Libby’s canned pumpkin. That’s part of the reason why it took me so long.  By the time I started my cheesecake it was almost 10pm.  Add the time it took to bake, plus the 2 hours it needed to stay in the oven with the door cracked open and I had almost pulled an all nighter.  Other than being absolutely exhausted the next day, I had fun.  H even stayed up with me and we watched The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants II while we waited for the cheesecake.

cheesecake crust
cheesecake crust
cheesecake mise en place
cheesecake mise en place

My brother prepped these apples using the nifty apple peeler one of my co-workers gave me.  She had seen it on clearance at Bed, Bath, and Beyond and thought of me – it was right after I had made the apple pie and apple slab pies in October.

apple pie filling
apple pie filling
(almost) all the pies
all worth it
cooks illustrated pumpkin pie
cooks illustrated pumpkin pie

For the last 5 years or so, I’ve been making Thanksgiving dinner for my immediate family on the Friday after Thanksgiving.  It all started the year we barely had any “traditional” Thanksgiving food at both of the get togethers we go to.  I have a pretty big family so on Thanksgiving there is always 2 parties to attend.  For lunch, we all visit my mom’s extended family and for dinner we visit my dad’s extended family.  I remember one year there was mostly filipino food and my sister, brother, and I were bummed that there hadn’t been any mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, or any of the usual things we looked forward to eating on Thanksgiving.  Ever since then I’ve been re-doing Thankgiving dinner for us the next day.  This year H and I made turkey,  gravy, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, smashed sweet potatoes, stuffing, and of course pumpkin pie.  (I won’t forget to mention that my brother and sister helped prep!)  I decided to make the Libby’s pumpkin pie for our Friday Thanksgiving because it would take less time.

libby’s pumpkin pie
libby's pumpkin pie