Cookie Archive

Friday, December 21, 2012

cashew butter balls

messy, buttery, tender cookies

The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook Book Tour ended its 2012 run on Monday evening at the New York Public Library in Midtown, as fine of a place to call a finish line as any, and with great company to boot. I know I should say something here that sums up this sprawling, incredible last couple months in one neat paragraph. There’s so much we haven’t had time to talk about! But, it feels too soon to get my head around all of it and I’d rather talk about this here site because as overwhelmingly grand the last few weeks have been, once I got reunited with my kid/husband/bed, it’s this place I’ve missed the most — fiddling in the kitchen, sharing things we’re excited about and chatting in the comments. So thank you for being part of it. I can’t wait to catch up.

toasted cashews
grinding the cashews with flour

I’d like to tell you that my first foray back into the kitchen was a raging success, alas, this is no time to start teetering on the edge of facts. The second was not much better, and only cemented my hunch that cookbook book tours and cooking are, quite ridiculously, mutually exclusive activities. The third, however, must be shared, despite the fact that the technical errors I encountered were largely avoidable had I, 800-plus site recipes and a cookbook later, yet learned to go with my gut. Why be hasty, right?

the dough before it is chilled

Continued after the jump »

Monday, August 20, 2012

my favorite brownies

one-bowl, chewy-fudgy brownies

I understand that when a website but 5 11/12 years old boasts not one or two but eleven brownie recipes that it’s possible, perhaps, or at least worth considering that the brownie category: it’s been exhausted. The brownie beat reporter can retire. The archives are full. I get it, I do. Shouldn’t we be discussing blueberry pie, summer harvest tians or backyard grillery? Probably.

unsweetened chocolate
butter

But the thing is, I really wanted a brownie. And more so, I wanted my favorite brownies. And despite having an alphabet of brownie recipes on this site from Adorable Hearts to Baked Bakery to Cream Cheese, Cocoa, and Creme de Menthe, I actually haven’t shared my go-to brownie recipe in its purest form, what I dub my Forty Minute Naptime Brownies. And for that, we need to talk about, well, Jacob.

melting the chocolate and butter

Continued after the jump »

Friday, August 3, 2012

pink lemonade bars

pink lemonade bars

Last year, not seconds after putting the final touches on what I certain was The Lemon Bar To End All Lemon Bars, a recipe intended for that little cookbook I wrote, I couldn’t quite change the station and became immediately absorbed in making something I wanted to call a pink lemonade bar. They’d be as awesome as a summer carnival, the kind that rolls into town with sketchy rides that your parents forbid you to go on but you do so anyway (or so a friend once told me!), or maybe a play date at the friends house whose mom served prettier, thus cooler, lemonade than what you had at home. I had great plans for these bars, I just had one tiny problem: I had no idea what made pink lemonade pink.

plopping in the dough
pressing in the shortbread

I don’t mean that I am naive; I was aware that in 99 percent of the iterations of pink lemonade out there, the pink was supplied by food dye. I was also bummed to learn that some other people had thought to make pink lemonade bars first — being the type who still clings to the silly notion that there are new, uncharted waters to bake our ways through — but the vast majority of the recipes called for red food dye too. Surely, before pink lemonade was made with red food dye, it was made with a fruit of sort, like strawberry or raspberry or cherries, right? Since last summer, this article has been written but even it doesn’t come to a singular conclusion as to what should make pink lemonade pink. The only thing that is apparent among its discussions of clothing dye and red hot candies is that if you can make it with something natural and/or tasty, you’re probably improving upon its lineage.

pureeing raspberries for a natural pink

Continued after the jump »

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

classic ice cream sandwiches

definitely homemade ice cream sandwiches

Look, guys, you’re never going to see my living room on a design blog. As lovely as the walls in landlord-chosen sallow yellow-beige are, as handsome as this coffee table once was (before the finish chipped off the top and we decided to ignore it until it fixed itself), and as charming as the explosion of half-deflated balloons, overturned fire trucks and other toys (some not even wooden, organic, or in sync with our decorating scheme, which, by the way, doesn’t exist) might be, this is hardly the stuff of Pinners’ Envy. Our parties are equally uncoordinated. There are no Mason jar cocktails with homemade bitters, flour sack table runners, or dishes sprinkled with fresh herbs from our window box garden (which also, uh, doesn’t exist, although if you saw the grime that accumulates on our windowsills from the avenue below, you might thank us). We’ve never sent guests home with a party favor aside from a hangover and we usually forget to make coffee at brunch. Our poor toddler has been deprived of organized birthday parties thus far, as I secretly hoped to stick with family brunches and homemade cakes (of course) until he was capable of expressing even the slightest interest in a more elaborate affair. (Although this year, he’s already made his intentions clear: “Jacob turn three. With cake. And guitar. And cake.” Noted!)

what you'll need, plus ice cream
let the mess begin!

But, I do have my moments of high obsessiveness, such as my longstanding affair with creating homemade versions of things you normally buy at the grocery store, be they Oreos, goldfish crackers, graham crackers, fudge popsicles, pop tarts or marshmallows. I can’t help it; the homemade versions always taste a zillion times better and contain no mystery ingredients. So, when I spied a recipe for ice cream sandwiches in a new book about parties, even I knew I’d probably never make the gold luster cookie Oscar statuettes, Walk of Fame brownie stars or glitzy gold curtains in the chapter that focuses on creating an old-fashioned Hollywood-style movie night party, there wasn’t a chance they wouldn’t be in my freezer by that very weekend.

big, chunky cookie dough

Continued after the jump »

Thursday, March 29, 2012

raspberry coconut macaroons

raspberry coconut macaroons

Every year around this time, behind the scenes, I go through my annual Macaroon Marathon, in which I decimate bags and bags of coconut in an effort to find a variation on the lowly macaroon worth noting, publicly. As evidenced by the fact that my archives are virtually coconut macaroon-free, I hadn’t thus far succeeded. But it wasn’t for lack of trying.

this week's macaroon marathon
rolled in coconut chips, prettiest

Two years ago, insistent on making something my coconut-loathing but chocolate-adoring husband would find palatable, I made multiple attempts at chocolate-coconut macaroons. They were… brown. And tangly. And rarely chocolaty enough. I don’t remember them fondly. Last year’s experiments centered on whatever appallingly bad home economics had led me to having three (3!) bags of unsweetened coconut in my pantry, and my determination that they would leave my kitchen in cookie format. They were… okay. I am sure more skilled macaroon makers than I make excellent macaroons from unsweetened coconut, but I found them consistently more dry and scratchy than those that began with sweetened coconut. This week’s coconut macaroon trials were the most obsessive yet, with versions rolled in unsweetened coconut chips (gorgeous, but man, are those chips unpleasant to chew), chopped almonds (tasty, but hardly noteworthy), thumbprinted with the intention of filling the indentation with jam or chocolate down the road but I lost interest before I did (a sure sign that they were a snooze) and even flattened, with designs on a sandwich cookie. Were it not for the one in which I’d actually pressed a whole raspberry inside a sealed ball of coconut macaroon, I wouldn’t be here discussing macaroons today because although it was fussy and odd to construct, the flavor smacked unmistakeably of cookie destiny: coconut and raspberries were meant to be together.

coconut snow

Continued after the jump »


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