CEiMB: Triple Chocolate Cookies

Maybe my Tuesdays with Dorie experience has spoiled me, but I’m just not that into Ellie’s Triple Chocolate Cookies.

TRiple Chocolate

The cookies came out kinda flat and the crackled a little around the edges (even on my silpat), so they weren’t especially cute by themselves.  But they added a lot of color to the cookie basket I brought to my uncle’s home on Christmas day, and that can’t be undervalued. The basket also had blondies for the kids, eggnog bread, and some of Dorie‘s buttery jam cookies made with cherry jam and pumpkin pie spices. A separate box had mock turtles (pretzels topped with a melted Rollo candy and half a pecan) so that the nut oils couldn’t contaminate anything else that might otherwise be enjoyed by one allergic guest.

It’s not secret that I’m not a huge fan of overly chocolate stuff, but I thought the cookies had potential.  I wasn’t thrilled with them, but the kids were!  They were gone before we all got up from the table!  Points to Ellie for getting the kids to eat whole wheat flour after a H-U-G-E Italian dinner of stuffed shells, meatballs and sausage.

You can find the cookie recipe at The Feast Within, including the blogger’s improvements to make less flat cookies. Her photos highlight her beautiful cookies and successful modifications.

CEiMB: Curried Squash Soup

I’ve never been a fan of squash (I’m not sure exactly what it tastes like, but I’ve never found it enjoyable, however it’s been disguised) but I had high hopes for this soup. I thought the combination of curry and honey would help me choke it down.

Now, I recognize that I had the same high hopes for the squash mac ‘n cheese that Ellie gave us a few weeks ago, and I was sadly disappointed, but I’m trying to eat more vegetables of different colors, and so I tried the soup.


Meet me in the Kitchen made this week’s selection, and you can find the recipe at her blog.  Some of the comments suggested that the curry made the soup too spicy or that the honey made it too sweet, but I don’t necessarily agree with either reaction.

I added apple chicken sausage and oyster crackers to disguise the  stuff, and still it was squash soup.  I liked it, but I’ll never crave it. I might make it again when I am swept by a wave of health consciousness, but I’m not gonna hold my breath for that day to come.

It looked nice in the bowl, though, don’t you think?  And the Other Eater in my Household enjoyed it very much.

I think next week may be the final test for Ellie’s book. None of the recipes have really bowled me over so far, and I’m beginning to lose interest in the book.  We’ll see how the cookies recipes stand up.

Omelettes anyone?

Armed burglars demand egg beater, reports the Tampa Tribune (and my mother) in a bizarre story from Dec. 14.  Two Florida men were charged with armed burglary after authorities found them outside a home where the victim reported the incident.



The sheriff’s office said the two men came into the victim’s home about 3:35 a.m. (The suspect) armed himself with a folding knife while (a second suspect) held a chrome pistol, arrest reports said.

(The suspect) held the knife against the victim’s neck and demanded the metal egg beater which was found in his left back pocket when he was arrested, the sheriff’s office said.

The report also said the victim knew both men.

I don’t think that last part makes me feel any better about the whole thing.

The suspects are being held without bond.

TWD: buttery jam cookies

These cookies are good!  They are nearly cake-like, and thus not very popular with the other TWD bakers who like a few snaps in their cookies. But both the Other Eater and I are HUGE fans. These are buttery and sweet – but not too sweet – and delicate tasting but still dense and sturdy in your hand.  I’ve been popping the little devils like popcorn with whatever beverage I have in my hand – red wine, morning coffee, I’m not picky. I would never have tried these in my own (Thanks Randomosity!), but I am so glad to have found them!

a nice evening

The recipe is sort of a standard cookie base, with the expected butter, sugar and egg, but then you throw in a scoop of jam (I used apricot) and some ginger. Wow! I used Smuckers  Simply Fruit jam, and I’m not sure if that’s why they’re not as sweet as I expected them to be, but I really like these biscuits.  The ginger is subtle, but brings out the jam just enough so that you say “what’s different about these?” rather than “please pass me that pitcher of water.”

The dough rose just a little in the oven, but didn’t smooth out at all when baking, so the first tray I did came out just as spiky and uneven as they were were I dropped them from the spoon on to the cookie sheet.  For the second tray I chilled the dough (mostly because I was getting ready for an unexpected visit from a realtor – have I mentioned my house is still available for purchase?)and them rolled little balls of cold dough between my palms like meatballs to make them cuter.  They got dusted with a seasoned sugar before baking, and now they look like something you might purchase  by the pound from a plump lady in a hairnet, apron and white orthopedic shoes.

I’m already thinking about flavor substitutions.  I have some sour cherry jam in the fridge that might be nice with allspice or cloves rather than ginger, but several of the comments posted by my TWD colleagues suggest that the color was weird when they used raspberry jam.  I think I can live with that – it’s at least worth a shot. I think the apricot ginger cookies would be nice with champagne for New Years, and maybe the cherry cookies with a bourbon-based cocktail. (Sandra Lee must be rubbing off on me.)

**Also, many thank to my secret elf (via elfster) for the lovely holiday card and gift, which you see beside my plate of cookies.  The towel looks darling hanging on the oven!

Ginger chocolate chip bars: buy good spices!

I really like trying recipes I find in magazines, and I highly recommend  you seek out the cookie recipe I clipped from Real Simple magazine last weekend. You’ll find the recipe here.

Ginger chocolate chip bars

The cookies are flavorful like a gingersnap, cake-y like a good Toll House bar, and also a little bit chocolate-y. I used half semi-sweet chips and half white chips because that’s what I had in the house, but I think I would do that again – the white chocolate goes nice with the spice.

This is once instance where it totally pays to buy good spices – and you’ll know when you have good spices because the old stuff in your pantry will smell like the plastic bottle it’s packed in.  I buy all of mine from The Spice House, an Evanston store (well, there are several, actually) that reminds me of the land that time forgot.  The whole place is kinda musty, with spices and potions and herbs in big apothecary jars.  You have to ask someone to get you a small bottle from the bulk supply, but the people are all so nice and knowledgeable that it’s kinda nice to have their undivided attention while they fulfill your requests.  They also have some amazing blends for different meats vegetables, but I digress….

CEiMB: Cornmeal-Crusted Roasted Ratatouille Tart

I appreciate Ellie’s efforts, but I still don’t like eggplant.

This week the bloggers who crave Ellie in their Bellies worked on a roasted vegetable tart, built in a cornmeal and wheat flour crust. You’ll find the recipe here.  The combination of eggplant, zucchini and tomatoes, all roasted before being slathered with cheese and herbs and baked, really appealed to me. But the execution fell short. It’s still a bunch of winter vegetables that I really don’t care for. (But I ate it with a glass of this Michigan wine, which makes everything go down more smoothly.)

All I tasted was eggplant

I shopped for this kind of on the spur of the moment – thus, without a list – and did pretty well. But I was baking in my pajamas early Sunday morning when I realized that I had forgotten the mozzarella.  I had two choices: get dressed and run to the store, or punt.

Refusing the change out of my pajamas that early in the day, I rescued some leftover ricotta from the back of my fridge. It worked like a charm!  It won’t melt and spread, though, so use your finger and a spoon to make tiny little drops of choose to dot each layer of the tart.  It’s super creamy when you bite into it, like lasagna, and makes the tart’s texture great.

I would be proud to carry this dish into someone else’s home, but I fear that the leftovers will sit in the back of my fridge for a while before we throw it down the garbage disposal.

TWD: Grandma’s All Occasion Sugar Cookies

Between my passion for eating sugar cookies (my favorites are the ones my office occasionally gets when Trotter’s To Go caters our events) and my last week spent away from the kitchen due to a near-deadly cold, I was fairly excited to work on this week’s Tuesdays with Dorie selection of traditional sugar cookies. AND I had a stash of colored sugars and sprinkles in my pantry that I’ve been ready to part with for a while, so I was ready for action when I pulled out the ole’ KitchenAid this weekend.

I made the cookies exactly as Dorie recommended, and it totally paid off. The cookies are the perfect creamy color, they taste clean and simple. I would buy them from a bakery if I didn’t know how to make them myself.

But here’s the thing: I used this experiment as a reason to clean all the old sugars and sprinkles out of my pantry. And while I share the Engineer Baker’s aversion to frosting and piping and rolling and cutting, I was prepared to go the extra mile this time for something cute. Well, maybe the extra half-mile.

Sugar Cookies, Two Ways

I rolled the logs of chilled dough in sprinkles before slicing some of the cookies, and for others mashed individual slices of  dough in a pool of sprinkles.  For me, this IS festive. Next time I need to find some prettier things to roll the dough in.

My TWD colleagues, however, went all out!  Check out their finished products.  for some great ideas. (The embedded links will take you to a few of my favorites!) Click over to this German TWD blogger for the recipe, and then visit the comments section of the TWD site hfor some great ideas for improvements, too.