Tasting Tuesdays: Salted Vanilla Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Tasting Tuesdays: Salted Vanilla Chip Oatmeal Cookies

This post is sweet… and bittersweet.

Tasting Tuesdays: Salted Vanilla Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Sweet because of these cookies. They’re pretty great. Super sweet, tons of vanilla flavor, and a good combination of chewy inside and crunchy outside! And, bittersweet not because of chocolate (these are made with white chocolate, folks), but because I have some news to share.

Tasting Tuesdays: Salted Vanilla Chip Oatmeal Cookies

You’ve probably noticed that posts here have been a little few and far between lately. I’d been in a nice rhythm of one batch of goodies plus one blog post a week. But since I started graduate school (woohoo!), and have to do a lot of traveling for it–it’s one weekend a month in New York, one of my favorite cities in the world–I must admit baking has fallen a few notches down on my to-do list.

Tasting Tuesdays: Salted Vanilla Chip Oatmeal Cookies

I’m not complaining. I love school and learning and my program. I am not ashamed to tell you that even after just two weekends I am continually geeking out over things like imaginative education, visitor experience surveys, and good old John Dewey. It’s the best.

Tasting Tuesdays: Salted Vanilla Chip Oatmeal Cookies

But it does mean that my weeknights and weekends are full of reading and writing and emailing and organizing in a way that they weren’t before. One of my friends recently told me that she thinks there are only a certain number of things we can keep in our mind at one time–and it’s usually only what you can count on one hand. So true. And thus, to stay sane and happy, I had to take something off my plate!

Tasting Tuesdays: Salted Vanilla Chip Oatmeal Cookies

So, the news is: Tasting Tuesdays is, for now, on hiatus. (And though I’ll still be baking and blogging, the posts around here will be a little sparser too.) I can’t believe how much this little blog has grown over the past two years. Tasting Tuesdays has been, without question, one of the highlights of my year. It still blows my mind that the ladies at Anthropologie actually let me borrow a cookbook and share some treats from it once a month.

Tasting Tuesdays: Salted Vanilla Chip Oatmeal Cookies

So: A big, warm, heartfelt thank you to Anthropologie Milwaukee–to Shannon, Tera, Lyn, Kim and the whole staff for making my year a blast, filled with sugar, butter, flour, smiles, and giggles. For letting me sit in the Home section of the store once a month going through all the cookbooks. For getting me out of bed every third Tuesday of the month with the excitement of seeing what amazing display you’d dream up next. You’re all simply wonderful!

Tasting Tuesdays: Salted Vanilla Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Now let’s go make some cookies!

Continue reading

Browned Butter Snickerdoodles

Browned Butter Snickerdoodles

There’s nothing like a snickerdoodle, is there?

Browned Butter Snickerdoodles

So sweet, super cinnamony, and using browned butter in your dough adds a depth and nutty flavor that makes these feel a bit more grown-up and special.

Browned Butter Snickerdoodles

My favorite part of this recipe is the texture. These are fluffy, caky, and chewy, with a crisp exterior. Definitely a new staple recipe for me!

Browned Butter Snickerdoodles

Continue reading

Malted Chocolate Madeleines

Malted Chocolate Madeleines

And now back to our regularly scheduled programming.

Malted Chocolate Madeleines

Leave it to the guys at Baked, that storied Brooklyn bakery that I have yet to visit (I know, I know), but whose cookbooks I simply adore and whose recipes have never failed me, to get me out of my baking slump.

Malted Chocolate Madeleines

Their new cookbook, Baked Elements, was released seemingly out of nowhere a couple of weeks ago (did anyone else know they had another cookbook coming out!?). This one is organized by flavors: cinnamon, peanut butter, booze, pumpkin, and… MALT.

Malted Chocolate Madeleines
We all know how much I love malt powder, right? Only a recipe from Baked combined with malt powder could pull me from the baking doldrums into the glory of afternoon tea with a chocolate madeleine.

Malted Chocolate Madeleines

As they note in the cookbook, these are definitely not traditional madeleines. If you’re a madeleine purist, ye of lemons only, stay away. If you’d like to experiment, however, these are for you. The malt flavor is not overpowering–just adds a bit of depth to the chocolate–and the texture has the perfect fluffiness. You might want to add more malt powder if you like a very malted flavor.

Malted Chocolate Madeleines

In conclusion, thank goodness for Baked–my sweet tooth is back.

Continue reading

Cinnamon Oatmeal Cookies

I finally tried out Bakewise!

Oatmeal Cookies

And… well… I have to admit, I was a little bit underwhelmed. I did leave out the raisins in the recipe (seriously. raisins? yuck) so maybe that did it… I think these guys do need a bit of something–like currants maybe? Or dried cherries?

Oatmeal Cookies

Either way, the recipe is definitely not bad. In fact, it’s a lovely basic oatmeal cookie, if you need a lovely basic oatmeal cookie (honestly, though, these are better). But it is pretty basic. Nice cinnamon flavor, decent texture though very cakey.

Oatmeal Cookies

I think these would be amazing, however, if you made them into whoopie pies. Because they’re so cakey, they would be PERFECT–seriously, perfect–with a big dollop of cream cheese frosting in between, or even a salted caramel frosting. Or maybe even ice cream–though I don’t know if these are sturdy enough for more than a small scoop. Let me know if you try them out as whoopie pies!

Oatmeal Cookies

In other news, I think I’m in a blog rut. I’ve been pretty tired lately (I taught a lot at work this summer!) but I’ve also been feeling kind of ho-hum about my blog and baking lately. It might be in part because it’s so darn hot out–turning on the oven sucks in 90 degree weather. But I’ve also been feeling kind of uninspired in terms of photography and recipes. Should I add different, non-foodie posts? Should I try to bake my way through a single cookbook (I admire folks who do it though I’ve never had a strong desire to do so myself, but maybe it would motivate me)? Any of you fellow food bloggers out there have any tips for blogger’s/baker’s block?

Continue reading

Thumbprint Sprinkle Cookies (Giant Eagle/Pittsburgh Style)

Thumbprint Sprinkle Cookies (Giant Eagle/Pittsburgh Style)

Displaced Pittsburghers, and other lovers of the Steel City: this one’s for you.

Thumbprint Sprinkle Cookies (Giant Eagle/Pittsburgh Style)

When I saw the recipe for Giant Eagle-style chocolate thumbprints on Brown Eyed Baker about two weeks ago, they went straight on my “must bake as soon as humanly possible” list.

Thumbprint Sprinkle Cookies (Giant Eagle/Pittsburgh Style)

Just looking at the photos on her blog made me homesick.

Thumbprint Sprinkle Cookies (Giant Eagle/Pittsburgh Style)

The grocery chain in Pittsburgh is Giant Eagle (Iggle if you speak Pittsburghese). (And before you scoff at the name of our grocery stores, Wisconsinites, I raise my eyebrows at “Pick n’ Save”–giant eagles might have nothing to do with groceries, but at least it’s more creative than Pick n’ Save. Sheesh, who comes up with these names? The more I think about them, the sillier they sound.)

Thumbprint Sprinkle Cookies (Giant Eagle/Pittsburgh Style)

Anyway… One of my fondest memories growing up is going to the grocery store. Sounds a little odd until you know that every single time we went, my mom would pop us by the bakery counter where the baker would give me a free thumbprint cookie. I remember being jittery with excitement as my mom slowly wheeled the cart through the produce aisles, picked out lettuce and whatnot, then stopped at the meat counter, all in what seemed like slow motion to my seven-year-old brain, waiting not at all patiently for us to finally hit the bakery.

Thumbprint Sprinkle Cookies (Giant Eagle/Pittsburgh Style)

And then, there we were. A thumbprint. Chocolate or vanilla. I’m not sure what my favorite flavor was, but I do know that I ate my fair share of both. I also know that, being totally indecisive, I probably annoyed my mom on the majority of our grocery trips by being unable to choose between the two. (The really great days were when the baker gave me both, probably to help my mom get on with her shopping.)

Thumbprint Sprinkle Cookies (Giant Eagle/Pittsburgh Style)

This cookie has a weirdly crunchy but also soft dough (poor description, I know–Brown Eyed Baker’s is better) that pairs well with both the denser, fudgey frosting and the sweet, vanilla icing, which hardens on the top like royal icing but is perfectly oozy when you bite into it. And using different flavored sprinkles gives each cookie a totally different taste, even though you’re using the same dough.

Thumbprint Sprinkle Cookies (Giant Eagle/Pittsburgh Style)

Thumbprint Sprinkle Cookies (Giant Eagle/Pittsburgh Style) Thumbprint Sprinkle Cookies (Giant Eagle/Pittsburgh Style)

And just so you know–unlike in all other parts of the country, thumbprints never have jelly in them. Ew. Just don’t do it. Please, put frosting in there instead.

Thumbprint Sprinkle Cookies (Giant Eagle/Pittsburgh Style)

Also, full confession time: I’m not ashamed to say that when I was home for college breaks and tagging along as my mom did her shopping, I would wander up to the bakery counter even then. If you have ever met me in person, you know that I look about 5 to 10 years younger than I actually am, depending on the amount of makeup or height of heel I’m wearing. So, more often than not, as my sneaky 20-year-old self eyed the cookies, the baker would fork over a free thumbprint, obviously assuming I was 12 years old. I can honestly say that these are the only times in my life that I have ever felt grateful for looking so ridiculously young (and before you mention it, yes, I know I’ll be thrilled when I’m 40 years old and look 25. You don’t need to say it. Seriously. Don’t say it).

Thumbprint Sprinkle Cookies (Giant Eagle/Pittsburgh Style)

If we weren’t in a rush and the cake decorators were working at the window, Mom would let me watch as they spooned piles of fluffy frosting onto cakes, twirling the stand rapidly to smooth it out, then piped delicate roses and birthday wishes on top. It all seemed like magic to me–how could they make it look so beautiful so quickly? I’d stand on my tiptoes, mesmerized, until we finally had to go. I could have stayed there all day.

Thumbprint Sprinkle Cookies (Giant Eagle/Pittsburgh Style)

Funny how cookies like this–just from one person’s blog post and countless recipe tests–can make all these great memories come up, isn’t it? Although most cookbook authors introduce their baking chapters with nostalgic memories of baking with family, I never really thought about baking as a particularly memory-laden experience for me, since we didn’t do a whole lot of baking in our kitchen (except perhaps the holidays). But I guess there’s a nostalgia to my grown-up love of baking after all: it just was in the form of Giant Eagle and thumbprint cookies rather than a mixing bowl on my own kitchen counter.

Thumbprint Sprinkle Cookies (Giant Eagle/Pittsburgh Style)

Continue reading

Tasting Tuesdays: Chocolate Chip Cookies with Sea Salt and Hazelnut Flour

You know how everyone is always searching for The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe?

Tasting Tuesdays: Chocolate Chip Cookies with Sea Salt and Hazelnut Flour

To that, I say: Whatever!

Tasting Tuesdays: Chocolate Chip Cookies with Sea Salt and Hazelnut Flour

I know, I know. That’s enough to make other folks who love to bake cringe and loathe me. What self-respecting baker isn’t constantly searching for the perfect chocolate chip cookie!? Let me explain.

Tasting Tuesdays: Chocolate Chip Cookies with Sea Salt and Hazelnut Flour

I was once in search of the perfect chocolate chip cookie, too. I thought I’d found it in a sea-salted recipe, which I made for months straight. I thought I’d found it in a browned butter variety, because nutty, caramelly browned butter makes everything better. Then I made a crispy, thin, buttery version that I thought must be the ultimate. So many cookies–and so many conclusions that just didn’t stick when the next best thing came down the pike.

Tasting Tuesdays: Chocolate Chip Cookies with Sea Salt and Hazelnut Flour

And this weekend, I made THESE. And my lord, they are the most delicious mix of crispy and chewy and nutty and salty all at once.

Tasting Tuesdays: Chocolate Chip Cookies with Sea Salt and Hazelnut Flour

As I was downing five of these in a row (I’m a very thorough taste tester), mulling over what makes a chocolate chip cookie perfect, here’s what I realized. It’s pretty darn hard, actually, to find a not perfect chocolate chip cookie.

Tasting Tuesdays: Chocolate Chip Cookies with Sea Salt and Hazelnut Flour

So, in light of that, here’s my advice. Forget the search. Just keep making TONS of chocolate chip cookies. Chances are good they will all be delicious, especially if other people say it’s their perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe, and then you will have a bunch of tried-and-true recipes under your belt. Then, when a friend or coworker begs you for a certain kind of cookie–crispy! chewy! salty!–you will know exactly which one to bake them. You’ll be like Netflix but for cookies. Who doesn’t want a friend that’s a walking Cookie Netflix?!

Tasting Tuesdays: Chocolate Chip Cookies with Sea Salt and Hazelnut Flour

So. Back to these guys. These have it all. Crispy on the outside. Chewy on the inside. Hazelnut flour makes them a little nutty. Finely chopped chocolate chips infuse every bite with melty semisweet chocolate. Chilling overnight deepens all those flavors and brings everything together. And that final sprinkle of fancy grey sea salt puts them over-the-top on the deliciousness scale (see video evidence below).

As always, I am so grateful to Anthropologie Milwaukee for giving me the chance to sample so many different cookbooks and recipes for our Tasting Tuesdays events! The cookbook I used this month, The Sugar Cube, has been making the rounds on food blogs lately and, happily, for good reason! I had a very difficult time choosing which cookie to make. Everything sounded so good and Kir Jensen’s voice is funny and charming. It makes me want to go to Portland and get something from her food truck.

Tasting Tuesdays: Chocolate Chip Cookies with Sea Salt and Hazelnut Flour

Also, I would be remiss if I didn’t, as usual, betray my adoration for all things Anthropologie by mentioning that they’re having a big sale right now (expect the tea towel version of this little pretty to pop up in future posts soon)…

Tasting Tuesdays: Chocolate Chip Cookies with Sea Salt and Hazelnut Flour

Thank you so much Shannon, Tera, Lyn, Kim, and the whole Milwaukee Anthro team! And a special shout out to reader Connie, who stopped by the store especially for Tasting Tuesdays! (Next time we’ll cross paths, Connie!) You all have put a smile on my face for the rest of the month. Continue reading

Brown Sugar Cookies with Buttermilk Glaze

These cookies had big dreams. Big aspirations. They were going to a bridal crafting party. They were going to be gifts for wonderfully helpful coworkers. There were tons of them! Dozens, I say!

Brown Sugar Cookies

Sadly, these cookies did not make it to the party. They did not become gifts. Because I became sick.

Brown Sugar Cookies

Has that ever happened to you? I made these cookies exactly a day before I got hit with a flash cold. The cold lasted about a day and a half. And then I was totally better. It was pretty bizarre. (I’m blaming the supermoon.)

Brown Sugar Cookies

Anyway, since I was out of commission for just over 24 hours, I figured the cookies were similarly contaminated. So their dreams were burst. Their aspirations crumbled. I couldn’t give my friends and coworkers the gift of a cold. Ah, contaminated cookies–appetizing, huh? (I know. This is probably the worst blog post ever. Don’t judge me. I’m just being honest here.)

Brown Sugar Cookies

Anyway, fear not. Although MY cookies were under the weather, yours, I guarantee, will not be! (Unless you get the supermoon bug too. For which I take no responsibility.)

Brown Sugar Cookies

I know they will turn out amazingly because I taste tested them before I got sick. And they are SO GOOD. Certainly one of my new favorite recipes.

Brown Sugar Cookies

They have the texture of a white sugar cookie but the deeper, more caramel-y flavor of a brown sugar. They keep their texture well and the drizzle of just-a-little-bit-tangy buttermilk glaze gives them the right amount of sweeter lightness. They would be great for shipping or a picnic. And you could add chopped up crystallized ginger to them and they would be simply phenomenal.

Brown Sugar Cookies

So, in conclusion, if you’ve got a kind soul, you’ll make these cookies for yourself or, better yet, someone you love. And in doing so, you’ll be giving these cookies their dreams back. Their big aspirations of being gifts and making smiles. Now doesn’t that sound a whole lot more appetizing?

Continue reading

Matchbox Kitchen S’mores

I am so excited I don’t even know how to start this post! How about with a picture!?

IMG_6947

Yes. Those are s’mores. With homemade graham crackers and homemade vanilla marshmallows from my friend Sara at Matchbox Kitchen!

IMG_6935

I have followed Sara’s lovely blog for a long time–way before I started my own–so I was pretty thrilled when she commented on one of my posts back when I was just beginning to blog. And even more excited when she recently suggested we do a treat swap after my baking blogger’s lament.

IMG_6926

Since I haven’t had much time or energy to bake lately, it was a bit of a godsend for my stressed-out sweet tooth this week when I got Sara’s gorgeous little package.

IMG_6919

Not only was it perfectly packed and adorable (complete with a pom-pom in my favorite shade of green), she included a note on one of her beautiful handmade cards.

IMG_6924

(The cats were excited about this too. The packing fluff was a big hit and is now in a safe hiding place under the couch after a few hours of quality wrestle time.)

IMG_6929

Sara runs an online shop and I would definitely recommend treating yourself to a s’mores kit if you ever need a gift or even a pick-me-up for yourself! They are so tasty and pretty and will put a smile on your face for sure. I was even inspired to make a little video…

Now… let me describe how delicious these guys are.

smoreslong

The marshmallows are fluffy and just a little bit sweet and get so wonderfully gooey when they melt. I find marshmallows hard to make, but I love them, so I’ve been savoring these all week long.

IMG_6966

And the graham crackers! They are so thin and crispy with great flavor, and have this great sprinkle of cinnamon sugar on the top. Even though they’re delicate, they magically still hold up to the hot marshmallows. As you can see from the half-eaten evidence above. (It took all my willpower to pause and take that picture, by the way.)

IMG_6971

Thank you SO much to Sara for the treat swap!! It’s definitely been a highlight of my month! And all of you should go check out Sara’s lovely blog for yourself–her photography is gorgeous, her food is super tasty and inspiring, and she’s a great writer to boot! And as for me… I’m off to have some more s’mores.

PS: Not only did I make a silly YouTube video, but I also made a silly animated GIF (I was being really techie today, apparently). Check it out here 🙂 (And let me know if you like it and think I should do more!)

Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

This post will be short and sweet.

IMG_6727

I have one question for you.

IMG_6731

Why would ANYONE go through the painful trouble of making caramel

IMG_6736

…When they could just brown butter and put its nutty, caramel-y wonderfulness in every baked good known to man, instantly making it five million times better?

IMG_6725

Chew on that. And on these lovely Joy the Baker cookies. Continue reading

Tasting Tuesdays: Honey Drop Cookies

IMG_6658

Can I toot my own horn for a second?

IMG_6647

Let’s ignore how silly that phrase is, and talk instead about how ah-mazing these cookies are.

IMG_6660

Okay, okay. I can’t take the credit. It’s all Donna Hay. Donna Hay, my new Australian buddy. Mate. Whatever you’d prefer, Miss Donna. I’ll call you whatever you like. Because your recipes are insane.

IMG_6665

Insane in a good way. A great way. Let me list the reasons why they are so insane.

IMG_6676

They are so super duper easy. These lovely cookies (biscuits if you’re Aussie) are made of ingredients I guarantee you have in your kitchen right now. So you can go make them at this very moment if you wanted. Which you should probably go and do. These pictures are nice, but they’re nothing compared to how lovely they taste.

IMG_6653

Which, speaking of, is another reason why they are so insane. Who knew that these simplest of ingredients could create such a pleasing little cookie? They are soft but not too sweet, with almost an almond extract flavor–despite the fact that they have no almond in them. Aussie magic.

IMG_6639

Donna (we’re on a first name basis at this point in the blog post) calls for creamed honey, which sounds just delicious, but unfortunately is not readily available in Milwaukee. So make yourself some brown butter honey glaze–my icing secret weapon–and fill these little guys up. The icing is heavy and creamy and dense and has a lingering honey aftertaste that goes perfectly with the subtler vanilla cookie.

IMG_6645

So there you have it. Easy, simple, tasty cookies… perfect for the first day of spring! Which I didn’t even realize until I got to Anthropologie this morning and saw Kim’s adorable sign. Not to mention the bright tulips and the bee plate (also insane: insanely cute).

IMG_6677

Have you noticed, by the way, that I’m a fan of this Donna Hay cookbook? I might just buy it for myself because everything I’ve made from it has been a total hit. Plus the photos are beautiful. And the headers are handwritten. Lovely.

IMG_6657

I know I said last month’s display was my favorite yet, but this one might have taken its place in my heart… so a big thanks to the super talented Kim for her work putting this together, as well as Shannon, Lynn, and the entire Milwaukee Anthropologie team, as always, for welcoming me into the store again this month! Hope you can join us next month on April 17!

Continue reading