Milk Chocolate Chip Rose Water Cookies

If I were a better food blogger, I’d buy a big bouquet of plump pink roses and some bright pink glitter. I’d put these cookies on a turquoise napkin, arrange them just so, drop crisp rose petals around them like a courtship in a romantic comedy, and then festoon them with glitter.


But I must admit… Even though I think of these fanciful displays of food photography for you, my dear readers (whoever you might be–hello out there, internet world), the actual act of tossing rose petals around cookies just makes me giggle. I mean, I sure pin lots of pretty food styling pictures to Pinterest and admit to drooling over Martha’s magazine spreads, but when it comes down to it I really can’t bring myself to take a picture of my baking that isn’t the honest-to-goodness way I actually ate it. (Except for the fact that most of the time the plate’s sitting on a chair in my living room. Natural light, people. It’s my one vice.)


So that’s why you’re getting pictures of these insane milk chocolate chip rose water cookies in snowflake gift bags, which are very much not pink at all. Because that’s honest-to-goodness how I packaged them for thank you gifts.


They might not be covered in rose petals and pink glitter, but these cookies are still pretty out of this world.


They’re kind of weird. I’m going to tell you that straight off. Let’s call them quirky. I was inspired by the most amazing chocolate I have ever had in my life: Rococo Bee Bar in milk chocolate + rose. Beyond the stunning packaging, this chocolate is unspeakably good. As in, you can’t form words after you taste it because there simply are no words to describe its awesomeness.


My stash is running low–one bar left, be still my heart–and so I decided I needed a replacement until I can get back to Pittsburgh to get some more. These are the perfect solution. The dough is infused with just enough rose water to scent them with a soft, floral essence; milk chocolate chips melt together with the rose. The flavor is intense, so keeping the cookies small is key.


If you want some quirkiness in your life… if you need just a little weirdness… if you feel like experimenting in the kitchen… make yourself some rose-flavored chocolate chip cookies. And hey, if you want to strew them with rose petals before you eat them, no judgment, just admiration, here. Continue reading

Gooey Butter Cookies


Yes. These are real.


Cream cheese! Sugar! Butter! So much butter!


When I saw these on Lottie + Doof a few weeks ago, I knew I was done for. I had to make them during my holiday break. And here they are.


These are, indeed, so gooey that you must keep them refrigerated. It’s like eating handheld cheesecake covered in powdered sugar. They are the goody-two-shoes older sibling to the rebellious younger chocolate crackle cookies.


I’m pretty sure the only thing that could make these better is if you added a generous heaping of lemon zest and maybe a dash of lemon juice to cut the sweetness. Then again, that might make them so irresistible that you’d do nothing but eat them all day–which I’m pretty sure would give you one heck of a stomachache. So save yourself: make these as gifts or for a party so there’s only a half-dozen in your fridge at any given time, then station yourself far away (or, okay, let’s admit it, as close as possible) to the dessert table.

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Gingerbread Cookies


Allow me to be non-nondenominational for just a few more posts, won’t you?


Everybody likes pretty gingerbread cookies, right?


The answer is yes. Of course.


All the dough mixing, fussy rolling, cookie cutting, icing organizing… it’s all worth it when you pipe pretty pastel lines of sugar and dot them with delicate sprinkles and pearls.


I highly recommend making one of your icings an untraditional Christmas color. My baking cohort (you’ll remember her from three separate cakes) made the prettiest mauve color which totally works with Christmas cookies. Trust.


Go crazy and attack your flooded royal icing with toothpicks. It might not be symmetrical, but it will definitely be pretty.


And would you like to see EVERY single cookie we made? (Okay, not every single one. Just the ones deemed prettiest for food photography.) Good. GO!

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Tasting Tuesdays: Double Chocolate Cherry Cookies


I have a confession to make. I have thus far been a bit of a Scrooge this holiday season.


I think it was because I got sick on the weekend I was planning to make holiday cookies for gifts for coworkers, faraway friends, and neighbors. It might also have been because I skipped American Thanksgiving (fondue and macarons were a fine replacement, don’t get me wrong). But it’s probably because I’m not able to go home to see my family for Christmas–although my cats will be good company, it won’t quite be the same as as having Norwegian cookies and buckeyes in the living room, wearing a goofy Christmas sweater stolen from my mom, and pestering everyone by repeatedly singing the only verse I know of my favorite Christmas song.


But I am Scrooge no more. For real, thank the lord for Tasting Tuesdays or else I might have been Scrooge-y until after New Year’s. I am so full of the Holiday spirit it’s ridiculous, and here are the reasons why.


Reason One: Double chocolate cherry cookies–this month’s Tasting Tuesdays treat! These little guys are good… until you hit the chewy, tart cherries hiding in the dough. Then they are AMAZING. The secret is getting yourself some excellent, dark, extremely rich cocoa powder–I like Valrhona!


I covered them in glittery gold sanding sugar for a bit of festiveness.


The recipe is from Marguerite Marceau Henderson‘s Small Sweet Treats, and they could not be easier or more delicious.


Reason Two: The spirit of giving (aww)… in the form of Black Forest Truffles. Morgan Shaw, a friend of mine who is an excellent candymaker, conspired with me to concoct an extra treat for this holiday Tasting Tuesdays: truffles! Naturally, they had to pair with the cookies, so Morgan made an impressive amount of black forest truffles, dark chocolate ganache filled with white chocolate and tart cherries.


The idea was that customers could have a cookie while they’re there and bring back a truffle for a friend (or for a post-shopping treat for themselves–no judgment here). We even put gift tags on them!


And finally, Reason Three: The girls at Anthropologie Milwaukee, from their killer visual display skills to their incredible sweetness. Not only did Kim create an adorable winter wonderland forest display–I mean, birds and jingle bells!? Too much awesome–but Shannon and Tara also gave me a present (beautifully wrapped, of course)! Which was so incredibly sweet of them. I can’t thank you guys enough!


So when I got home after work, I unpacked my camera and the present, and I looked around my apartment. I needed a place to put the gorgeous gift… and a way to remind myself not to open it till Christmas Eve. Then I did something I had actually been considering not doing at all. I got my stepladder, climbed to the top of my closet, and unpacked the tiny fake Christmas tree my mom dug out of our basement for me the first year I moved to Milwaukee. I strung it with some faux pearls and dotted it with candy canes (which may or may not have been in the box for a year along with the tree–whoops).


I only have two ornaments–a little crystal teardrop whose origins I can’t recall, and an awesome Hoops & Yoyo ornament which is missing a ribbon. The teardrop got pride of place and Hoops & Yoyo are currently sitting under the tree until I can craft something to hang them up with. And last but not certainly least, I put my first present of the season–from the sweet ladies of Anthropologie–underneath it, patiently waiting for Christmas Eve.


And so, I’m happy to say that Scrooge has been fully exorcised from my system… And it finally feels like a lot like Christmas.


A giant heartfelt thank you to Morgan for donating his time and candymaking skills, and as always to Shannon, Tara, Kim, and Lynn!

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Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookies

If you have read 5 or more posts on this blog, you have probably noticed two things about my baking habits. One: I really like cookies. To the point that I rarely bake much else. Two: I like baked goods that are soft, chewy, and dare I say undercooked. But… One of these things is about to change. Behold:


Look! Look at that! That, in front of you, is a thin, crispy, and all-around glorious, not to mention addicting, chocolate chip cookie.


You can thank Tate’s Bake Shop for converting me. I went to New York City in November, was convinced by my crispy-sweets-loving grandmother to “just try” the Tate’s chocolate chip cookies, and well, a few hours later the dozen I bought was diminished to nothing but crumbs. (Which I am not at all ashamed to say I also ate.)


Although Tate’s cookies are sold around the country as well as on their website, I instead said to myself: Self. You are a baker. They have a cookbook. Make the darn addictive things already.


And voila. Baked to a dark golden hue, the dark brown sugar gives them an almost nutty flavor, a heaping of salt keeps them from being too sweet, and tiny chocolate chips are the finishing touch. Plus, if you bake them just a little less than called for, you can get a crunchy outside and a chewy, softer inside. So basically: they are perfect. Go make them and join me as I down half-dozen after half-dozen, leaving nothing but crumbs behind.

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Interlude: Paris & Lucerne

Oh… Hey there. So… I went on vacation and didn’t tell you. I just snuck off on a big plane and ate my weight in macarons, chocolate, and fondue. I’m sorry. I hope these photos of my trip make up for it. (By the way, I came home from Paris, France and Lucerne, Switzerland with, inexplicably, the Momofuku Milk Bar cookbook. It is glorious. There might be homemade crack pie coming your way soon to make up for my absence.)

Hotel sweets

View from hotel

Evening in Paris

Someone lives here

Arc de Triomphe

Gold and grey

A hint of La Tour Eiffel

Eiffel Tower

View from the Eiffel Tower

La Defense

3 euro


Pont des arts


Mona Lisa and paparazzi

Key on a frame

Photography class in the Louvre

Above: Paris

Below: Lucerne

Swiss chocolate

Lucerne, Switzerland

Lucerne, Switzerland

Lucerne, Switzerland

Lucerne, Switzerland

Lucerne, Switzerland

Lucerne, Switzerland



Pilatus Kulm

Lucerne from 7,000 feet