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!

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Tasting Tuesdays: Champagne Cupcakes

Tasting Tuesdays: Champagne Cupcakes

It’s the start of a new year–a new school year, a new fiscal year (at my job, at least), and a new year of Tasting Tuesdays!

Tasting Tuesdays: Champagne Cupcakes

So, since this is the first anniversary of the event, this month, naturally, we celebrated.

Tasting Tuesdays: Champagne Cupcakes

Not only were there cupcakes (champagne flavored, of course), but also sparkling strawberry mocktails, made by Caitlyn at Anthropologie Milwaukee! (Don’t worry, recipes for both are at the end of this post.)

Tasting Tuesdays: Champagne Cupcakes

I combined an “old” recipe with a new one. The cake recipe is from Vintage Cakes, and it’s so lovely! Extremely moist, quite light, very sweet, with a definite champagne flavor. The original recipe is for a full-out cake but they transformed easily into mini cupcakes.

Tasting Tuesdays: Champagne Cupcakes

For the new, I used the reliably amazing Sweetapolita’s whipped champagne frosting recipe. This is seriously the fluffiest, prettiest frosting ever–it takes on almost a shimmery visual quality from the whipped butter base, and the texture is almost identical to the much fussier swiss buttercream frosting.

Tasting Tuesdays: Champagne Cupcakes

It’s such an honor to be involved in this event and I am really excited to announce the plan for next year’s Tasting Tuesdays! As long as my schedule doesn’t get too overwhelming (I’ve just started graduate school part-time in New York City), I’ll continue Tasting Tuesdays with a new twist. Though I may sometimes bake from particularly awesome cookbooks (I’ve got my eye on this one), I’ll also expand my inspiration to the whole store!

Tasting Tuesdays: Champagne Cupcakes

This means you might see recipes based on a concept in the store’s beautiful displays (shout out to Kim!), a candle scent, the season, or even a dress. I really love the idea of experimenting with unusual inspirations for my baking (for example, if my day job wasn’t so art-heavy, I think the art-inspired section of this site would be much bigger!). Plus, I think this will keep the blog posts more interesting too. If there’s anything in store you’re interested in seeing me interpret in baked goods form, leave me a comment or a tweet!

Tasting Tuesdays: Champagne Cupcakes

As always, a huge thank you to the lovely ladies of Anthropologie, including Tera and Shannon (pictured here, with me in the middle!), Kim (she’s taking the picture–can you spot her?), Caitlyn for the beautiful display (those suitcases!), Lyn, and the rest of the awesome team! Who, by the way, all gamely wore adorable aprons all day in honor of the anniversary!

Hope to see you next month on October 23!

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One Year of Tasting Tuesdays

I can’t believe I’ve been baking for Anthropologie for a full year. I’m excited for another year of sharing desserts galore with you, and we have some creative ideas coming your way too, so stay tuned!

I hope some of you have been able to stop by this year! If not, now is your chance: Below is a little invitation (complete with all of this year’s treats) to the anniversary event on September 18. Come down to the Third Ward and celebrate with us! You can RSVP for the official Anthro event on Facebook right here.

Find all of the above recipes/posts here! Hope to see you next week!

Tasting Tuesdays: Peanut Butter Milk Chocolate Chip Muffins

Tasting Tuesdays: Peanut Butter Milk Chocolate Chip Muffins

I know the title says muffins.

Tasting Tuesdays: Peanut Butter Milk Chocolate Chip Muffins

But can we go ahead and call them muffinscones instead?

Tasting Tuesdays: Peanut Butter Milk Chocolate Chip Muffins

Yep–that’s a made up word. But this was one of the weirder recipes I’ve tried and I can’t quite figure out why, so they get a name that’s equally as odd as the finished product itself.

Tasting Tuesdays: Peanut Butter Milk Chocolate Chip Muffins

This is from a super pretty English book called The Perfect Start to Your Day. Tonia George is a food writer and photographer and man, it shows! The photographs in this book are really stunning, and the rest of the recipes sound delicious.

Tasting Tuesdays: Peanut Butter Milk Chocolate Chip Muffins

And don’t get me wrong–it’s not that these muffins aren’t delicious–they’re just not very sweet, and they don’t really look like muffins. Truly, they’re like soft mini-scones.

Tasting Tuesdays: Peanut Butter Milk Chocolate Chip Muffins

I tend to like my baked goods on the very sweet side, so I think that could be why these weren’t a hit for me. Then again, the British baking recipes I’ve used tend to be less sweet than American ones are, so it might just be my taste buds.

Tasting Tuesdays: Peanut Butter Milk Chocolate Chip Muffins

I wonder if it’s because I used Greek yogurt instead of regular old yogurt that they turned out more scone-y? Or perhaps it was the crunchy peanut butter? (Which, by the way, despite my confusion over the title…really does go well with the milk chocolate chips. Mmm.)

Tasting Tuesdays: Peanut Butter Milk Chocolate Chip Muffins

Either way, if try your hand at the recipe below, let me know if they turn out muffin-y or scone-y. I would love to know what I did to make them turn out this way!

Tasting Tuesdays: Peanut Butter Milk Chocolate Chip Muffins

As always, major thanks to the lovely ladies at Anthropologie Milwaukee! The set-up was so beautiful this month (seriously, those marble cake stands!? I think they must be sold out since I can’t even find them online), and you guys are just the sweetest.

Tasting Tuesdays: Peanut Butter Milk Chocolate Chip Muffins

By the way… I am really excited because next month is the FIRST ANNIVERSARY of Tasting Tuesdays!!! (Caps and excessive exclamation points entirely necessary.) I can’t believe I’ve been baking my way through Anthro’s cookbook collection for a whole year! We have some super exciting things planned for the celebration, as well as for next year, so mark your calendars for September 18! I hope to see you there!!

Tasting Tuesdays: Peanut Butter Milk Chocolate Chip Muffins

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Tasting Tuesdays: Brownie Crumble

Tasting Tuesdays: Brownie Crumble

Whoo! It’s been a while!

Tasting Tuesdays: Brownie Crumble

I was out of town for my birthday… eating my way through Toronto. As I do when I travel.

Tasting Tuesdays: Brownie Crumble

But I’m coming back… with brownies. (And cake–two cakes! But that’s for another post.)

Tasting Tuesdays: Brownie Crumble

Let’s talk about these brownies. I was so furious at the Miette cookbook when I went to cut these brownies the next day and found that they went completely to crumbles the minute you put your knife in them.

Tasting Tuesdays: Brownie Crumble

But then I typed up the recipe for this blog post… and realized that it advised you to cut them while still warm, only about 20 minutes. Well, guess I learned my lesson!

Tasting Tuesdays: Brownie Crumble

Luckily, you can make a pan of messed-up brownies into adorable brownie crumble by popping them into “nut party cups” that you have lying in your cupcake liner shelf. (What–you don’t have a cupcake liner shelf?)

Tasting Tuesdays: Brownie Crumble

And, whether you read the directions properly or not, these brownies have a deep, rich chocolate flavor. I’m sure it’s probably due to the fact that there are four bars of melted 70% cacao chocolate in there, but still–it’s so good. (That dash of espresso powder just adds that extra oomph to chocolate desserts, no!?)

Tasting Tuesdays: Brownie Crumble Tasting Tuesdays: Brownie Crumble

Really, this recipe is par for the course with the Miette cookbook: all their recipes turn out lovely flavors, but the directions drive me crazy and often produce not-quite-right treats. Imperfect, fussy recipes… pretty incredible flavors. Worth the fuss? I still can’t decide! It’s just a good thing this book is so darn pretty.

Tasting Tuesdays: Brownie Crumble

As always, a huge thank you to the lovely ladies at Anthropologie Milwaukee! It was great to hang out with you (and be tempted by the brand-new stock and displays!). Also, did you see there’s a new table in the dressing room!? It’s blue. And so cute. The food styling geek in me is pretty excited for a new string of photo shoots!

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Tasting Tuesdays: Maple Bran Muffins

Maple Bran Muffins

How about a muffin!?

Maple Bran Muffins

I’m gonna be honest with you here… I was reeeal skeptical of this recipe.

Maple Bran Muffins

I mean. Bran cereal. Unprocessed oat bran. Whole wheat pastry flour. Natural cane sugar. Oof. These things are all very, very healthy.

Maple Bran Muffins

In fact, the only thing that was recognizable and acceptable to me in this recipe was butter. (And I’m pretty sure it’s the only sweets recipe in this whole book that uses butter instead of coconut oil. Woah! I am not that brave–although the carnival cookies with popcorn, peanuts, chocolate chips was pretty tempting.)

Maple Bran Muffins

Despite all the healthy grains, I DID like the idea of maple syrup. And I have heard so many great things about Heidi Swanson. So I figured, well–there is still butter in it–so it can’t possibly be THAT bad!

Maple Bran Muffins

Ooh. Ooh man. These guys are great. They definitely taste healthy–but they are still moist and light, and they have a lovely dense maple aftertaste that just echoes a little bit in the background. It’s not too sweet, it’s not too granola-crunchy-healthful. It is really a perfect in between.

Maple Bran Muffins

It’s hard to find baked goods with an array of flavors like this–so in my book these muffins are winners. If you happen to have all this healthy stuff in your pantry, by all means make these for breakfast! I know I will be. If not–I bet you could fiddle with a creative adaptation or just invest in the whole wheat bran business. It’s good for you.

Maple Bran Muffins Maple Bran Muffins

My thanks, as always, to the lovely ladies of Milwaukee Anthropologie–who were sweet enough to reschedule this month’s Tasting Tuesdays AND let me come in super early to set up. You guys are stars.

Maple Bran Muffins

And one more thing… if I type it in a blog post, that means it’s true, right? I think (gulp) I might try making macarons for next month’s event. Eep! Let me know if you have any tips…!

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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