Autumn Spice Snickerdoodles

It is officially autumn.

Autumn Spice Snickerdoodles

I’m living in giant sweaters and boots, and just got a new coat.

Autumn Spice Snickerdoodles

I painted my nails red this weekend and settled in for a Gilmore Girls marathon (that burgundy pre-Instagram filter on the opening credits just instantly puts you in the fall mood).

Autumn Spice Snickerdoodles

And I’ve had my favorite Christmas-y smelling candle lit all weekend.

Autumn Spice Snickerdoodles

So obviously this weekend when I settled in for some baking, I knew I needed cinnamon and browned butter involved, and it seemed the logical next step to throw in some other winter/autumn spices: cardamom, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, and ginger. They are crisp on the outside and cakey on the inside–the perfect snickerdoodle.

Autumn Spice Snickerdoodles

The real reason I baked was because I have a friend coming over for a visit, but even though I normally have pretty good self-control over leaving my baking be after a taste test, I just cannot stop eating these things. (Cleverly, I made them bite-size so even though I’ve had at least half a dozen already, it looks like I’ve barely made a dent. Pro baking tip from me to you!)

Autumn Spice Snickerdoodles

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Speculoos Cookies

Told you I’d be back! I couldn’t resist this recipe from this month’s Bon Appetit. You say speculoos, Dorie Greenspan, or spice cookies, and I say a big YES.

Speculoos Cookies

The recipe includes a very simple powdered sugar icing. But if, like me, you only have dark brown sugar and dark molasses in your house (the recipe asks for light in both cases), I don’t think you need the icing. The cookies will turn out a bit darker, a bit spicier, and sweeter. Use your favorite sanding sugar (I used gold but any raw crystal sugar will do) and you’re good to go.

Speculoos Cookies

The best part is that you can freeze the dough, roll the log in sugar when you’re ready to bake, and just slice off a baking sheet full of them and have them fresh whenever you want. They would be great holiday cookies–easy to make, and perfect after big dinners with a cup of coffee.

Speculoos Cookies

I’m starting to feel like baking again, and have plans to make lots of holiday cookies (wishful thinking, but worth hoping!)–so do you have any favorite treats you like to make over the winter holidays? I’m especially excited about this

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Tasting Tuesdays: Gingersnaps


Well, guess what?


“Winter is here!” … Says the weird, adorable beaky bird guy from Anthropologie.


Guess what else?


Winter calls for a sea of warm, spicy, snappy cookies. Like these.


They’re as fragrant as a candle and will make your whole apartment smell the way winter should smell: dense, nutty, sweet, spicy.


These are almost like an uber-ginger-butter-cookie. The dough is a lot like a shortbread, although still crisp. Although I had some serious frustrations with the recipe (see below), the flavor is deep and dense and really wonderful. Adjusted below, these are a keeper.


Thanks as always to the fabulous ladies of Anthropologie: Shannon, Annie, Kim, Tera, and Kim’s talented intern, Katelyn, who created this beautiful display! (Full disclosure: This month’s Tasting Tuesday was totally a Tasting Wednesday. The snow was way too crazy here in Milwaukee to venture far from home on Tuesday!)


Come join me next month on February 21!

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Tasting Tuesdays: Gingerbread Muffins


That gingerbread candle from last month’s Tasting Tuesdays really did me in.


I was going to make something gluten-free, I swear, but then I opened up Home Made by Yvette van Boven… and that was it. I was done.


Yvette van Boven is a super-talented cook-baker-artist from the Netherlands. This book is gorgeous–half illustrated diary, half recipe collection. The gingerbread muffins recipe was so ridiculously adorable looking (evidence above) that I couldn’t resist baking it.


And the muffins are really lovely: moist, spicy, sweet, simple, and extremely easy. Although she suggests a cream cheese based frosting, I whipped up an easy royal icing for some crunch to balance the softness of the muffins.


By the way, you might be wondering: really, Chelsea? You’re calling these muffins? They look like cupcakes to me… Shh. Muffins are much easier to eat five in a row of than cupcakes. So they’re muffins. Just spiced, sweet muffins.


These keep well in an airtight container, so you should make them for holiday brunches… for pre-Thanksgiving snacks… for Christmas morning… to leave for Santa… For every night of Hannukah… Oh man, I’m getting a little too excited about the holidays, aren’t I?! I’m blaming Anthropologie’s pretty displays–I got a preview of the holiday windows: just you wait, people, Kim’s windows are going to be amazing! (Not to mention what’s in store right now… I mean. Have you seen these tea towels used in the display? They’re sparkly teacups in the shape of a Christmas tree. Too much.)


As always, thanks so much to the Milwaukee Anthropologie! The display was lovely and all the staff were so sweet, especially Emily and Lynn! (Last, can I just share? When I popped in for a bit of shopping earlier that week, the ladies called me “our baker” at the cash register. Yes, that totally made my entire month!)


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Tasting Tuesdays: Pumpkin Cranberry Cookies

Is there anything better in the fall than pumpkins?


(Actually, let’s not answer that. The answer might be apples, cinnamon, or molasses, depending on my mood, which would not really work out for the pumpkin focus I’m trying to set in this post.)


Pumpkins, turns out, are pretty versatile. They can be many things. For example, they can be jack-o-lanterns. They can be Thanksgiving pies.


They can be bedazzled. (That’s right. I said bedazzled. If Anthropologie can do it, so can you.)


And, of course, they can be cookies. Soft, cake-like, spice-filled cookies, with bursts of tart, chewy cranberries for texture.


These cookies are absurdly easy. The cookbook, a pretty little volume called Milk & Cookies, says to bake them instead of pie, to make your Thanksgiving more manageable. I don’t know if I’d go that far (holidays and celebrations call for statement baked goods!)… But if it’s, say, October and you’re craving the best part of Thanksgiving–the pie, of course–these definitely are the things to whip up on your weekend.


And if you really want to go nuts, make them into whoopie pies with this cream cheese frosting. They’re lovely on their own–but they’d be killer with buttercream in the middle.


It was so great to once again have friends and customers come to Anthropologie and taste these goodies, so thanks to all who came out! If you were there, you probably smelled not only pumpkin cookies, but also the ridiculously amazing smelling gingerbread candle that was near the display. (Looks like it’s not online yet, so you’ll have to run into the store and grab one to make your house smell like cookies all the time.) Fair warning–its not-so-subliminal scent may have affected my baking plans for next month’s Tasting Tuesdays… stay tuned!


Thank you so much to Kim for the gorgeous display (for real–those bedazzled pumpkins), as well as Shannon and Lyn for being wonderful hostesses, as always. Once more, the ladies at the Milwaukee Anthropologie made today’s Tasting Tuesdays pretty much the highlight of my month. I hope you’ll come visit too next time if you’re in the Milwaukee area!


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Pearl Sugar Molasses Cookies


Pearl sugar–hands down one of the best Scandinavian inventions ever–is one of the primary reasons why I am proud to be Norwegian.


People know within a few weeks of meeting me (okay, a few days) that I am Norwegian. This is because my heritage is the excuse reason behind many of the quirks of my personality.

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My pale skin? Norwegian. My bizarre love of cold weather? That Scandinavian blood. My obsession with cardamom? A childhood of baked goods filled with it.

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My love of pearl sugar? Yes. Norwegian.


I love chewy cookies. I’m not big on raw dough, but an undercooked cookie is my kind of baked good. But every so often even I need some variety in texture. (Check out the cooking lingo I’m learning from Top Chef Desserts!) That is why pearl sugar is genius. It holds its crunch and bright glowy whiteness when baked. And you probably know this, but it is pretty difficult to make a cookie that is crunchy-crisp on the outside and chewy on the inside.


That is where substituting pearl sugar for regular sugar is a genius move: you get the undercooked, thick, dense texture, the intense dark-molasses-brown-sugar-cinnamon-cloves-ginger-allspice flavor, and a super-sweet crunch of sugar every time you take a bite.


So until I can visit the fjords and northern lights of my ancestral homeland, I will just make some molasses cookies. I’m pretty sure the history of this recipe has nothing at all to do with my Norwegian heritage, but I don’t care: adding pearl sugar makes them Scandinavian enough for me. Continue reading

Homemade Poptarts

Here’s an epic one. POPTARTS.


All caps are definitely necessary. I am indeed internet-shouting about POPTARTS. POPTARTS!


If I’m being honest, I actually like the artificial, goodness-only-knows-what’s-in-them poptarts you buy at the grocery store. But these guys are a whole different breed. They probably shouldn’t even be called poptarts. More like handheld pies. Or little pockets of heaven. Either way.


First you make a pie dough–super simple, very easy, as long as you keep the butter cold. (By the way, might I suggest splurging on butter for this one? Go for the fancy European kind, like Kerrygold. It is such a joy to bake with. OK, unintentional advertising done.)


Then you fill the pie dough with whatever you want. Like raspberry preserves, mixed with a bit of flour to thicken things up. Or cinnamon sugar, which turns gooey and delicious when baked. Or if you’re Norwegian like me, you make a little Scandinavian spice mix just for kicks and put it in a couple. You could even put nutella inside if you’re feeling really adventurous.


Then you bake them. Let them cool (good luck not eating one hot out of the oven and burning yourself). The non-fruit-filled ones need a little something on top, so make yourself some killer browned butter glaze, which happens to be my favorite thing to put on cupcakes, cookies, on a spoon… and decorate!


Seriously, the recipe below might be long, but it is actually super easy. And the payoff is great. (You just may want to double the batch though: a dozen is not enough.) Continue reading