Tag Archives: Cookies

Soft Ginger Cookies

ginger cookies

I need to be straight with you guys. I was off my kitchen game last week, hence my absence from the blogosphere. It wasn’t for a lack of trying. Oh no, I thought my persistence would pay off eventually, but sometimes a girl doesn’t know when to quit.

It all started on Saturday when I went to Joann Fabrics to look for feathers for my Halloween costume. I left without feathers, but with a donut pan (cause that’s the same). Sunday morning I woke up and was all, “I’m going to make pumpkin chocolate donuts with orange sprinkles in my new donut pan! Yay Halloween!” I then proceeded to make two batches of “donuts,” which looked awfully nice, but the texture was like bread and the flavor was like…well nothing. To the trash they went.

ginger cookies stack

Then I decided to make pizza dough so I could have it ready for baking throughout the week, and maybe sneak in some cooking photos before the early sunset (shorter days make life hard for the food photography perfectionist). I bought some pizza ingredients on Monday after work, then came home to find that the boy surprised me by coming back from “Deer Camp” early. Whatta guy. Instead of a new experimental dish, I used my pizza dough for our tried-and-true calzones, and decided to jazz things up by making a balsamic glaze for drizzling. Do you know what happens to balsamic glaze if you bring it to a boil and then forget about it? It turns to a solid…a solid that looks like a lava rock, and sticks to the pan like one too.

ginger cookies molasses

On Tuesday the boy’s mom brought us a Halloween treat basket with Trader Joe’s pumpkin bread mix. “Perfect,” I thought, “I’ll make some pumpkin chocolate brownies to bring into work on Halloween! How festive!” I baked them, tried a corner, and thought they tasted great. Fast forward 13 hours, when I grabbed one after lunch on Halloween and I realized the bars were under-baked, under-sweetened and…wet. Yes, wet. Embarrassed, I removed them from the communal kitchen and hung my head in shame.

ginger cookies sugar ball

It may have taken three failures to make me see the light, but I finally realized that it was just not my week in the kitchen, and certainly not my week to try to guide others on how to succeed in the kitchen. Rejection and defeat finally set in. As a golfer might say, I had a case of the shanks.

I was trying to figure out how to rebound from my week of failures when I received my first daily holiday cookie email of the season. I decided the best way to recover would be with an old favorite: soft ginger cookies that I make year-round, but more often around the holidays. I know it’s the first week of November, and that may seem a tad early to bring up “holiday” talk, but in my book it’s never too early for festive treats or feeling jolly. As a side note, I’m also a person who has already checked if my local Christmas music station has started up the seasonal tunes, so take my “too early” radar with a grain of salt.

ginger cookies stack halved

My college cafeteria had the most amazing ginger cookies, but you could never count on them being in the dessert aisle when you needed them. My friend Emma introduced me to them, and once I got my hands on one I was hooked. I don’t know if they didn’t make them everyday, or if they just didn’t make enough of them to keep up with the demand, but Emma and I would often be disappointed when we scoped out the ginger cookie situation. The recipe below is as close as I’ve come to replicating those evasive cafeteria cookies. They’re fluffy, soft, and full of warm spices.

soft mini ginger cookies

Since I made these baby-sized, they’re the perfect amount of sugar for a little bite of after-meal sweetness. However, if we’re being honest, I really wanted to make these baby-sized because mini foods are just so darn cute. I’m such a girl.

ginger cookies candles 2

And yes, those are Christmas candles in the images above. Yes, I just bought those this weekend. Yes, it’s just the beginning.
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Choose Your Own Adventure: Almond Butter Cookies

Almond butter cookie 2

Hey fellow kids of the 90s – remember those Choose Your Own Adventure books? You’d get a few chapters in, start caring about the story, and then WHAM you need to make a decision that would completely color the remainder of your book experience, or end the book quickly by killing you. I actually kind of hated those books because, well, I hate decisions. What’s wrong with normal books where you get passively lost in a story instead of having to choose the story yourself?

These wishy-washy books came to the front of my mind recently when a weekend-long baking mission left me with choices…too many choices. I knew I wanted to make almond butter cookies, because almond butter is one of those things that I could eat any time of day, in any situation: scooped right out of the jar, melted in oatmeal, slathered on an apple, grilled in a sandwich with nutella, mixed into in a smoothie, etc…the point is that I really don’t care, as long as I get to eat it. Due to my versatile almond butter love, I couldn’t decide what kind of cookie to make. I imagined soft oatmeal cookies made with brown butter, but from there I could not commit to one direction.

I ended up going through three different cookie “Adventures,” if you will (and I think you will), which means that this post is a three-fer…yes, three recipes in one post, so you get to choose your own adventure! …and I get to make three different cookie variations instead of picking just one. Everyone wins!

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Guilty Pleasures and Cookie Wars

Triple dark chocolate avocado mint cookies

Let’s talk guilty pleasures, and for once, this isn’t about food (yet). Okay, I’ll just say it: I have a problem with reality TV. “A problem” in the addictive sense, that is. For instance, I jokingly started watching Keeping Up With The Kardashians when nothing else was on, and at some point my viewing crossed a line to…well, needing to actually keep up with the Kardashians. Trash TV like this puts me in a trance that I can’t fully explain…a calm, brain-dead trance, that keeps me coming back for more.

Naturally, this trance expands to food-centered reality TV as well, and my latest “problem” is Cupcake Wars. Here’s the gist: Four bakers compete to have their cupcakes displayed at a grand event (fashion show, broadway opening, hollywood party, etc.), and that event becomes the theme of the competition. The themes come with crazy ingredients too, like vegetables, spices and absinthe (that was just one time, but it made an impression on me), that the bakers need to transform into delicious cupcakes. Food blogger Baker Bettie decided to do her own spin-off of the TV contest, and with COOKIES, no less. I’m much better-versed in cookie experimentation than with cupcakes, so this was the perfect opportunity for me to try something risky and adventurous, and feel like I was actually IN Cupcake Wars. How cool, right? Of course, there would be no actual cupcakes, stressful time crunch, or $10,000 prize, but hey, bring it.

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Carrot Cake Whoopie Pies, A Love Story

Carrot Cake Whoopie Pies Cookies

Like most forms of love, my love for carrot cake is complicated, because I don’t even really understand it. As a vegetable, I kind of hate carrots, and as far as desserts go, I’m usually a chocolate girl, but there’s just something about carrot cake that gets me. I thank my good friend and former roommate, who I will annoyingly refer to as “The Bride” in the remainder of this post, for introducing me to my carrot cake love. When carrot cake day rolled around in our college cafeteria freshman year, she insisted that I try it. Being the way I am, I had of course thought that putting carrots in cake was for the birds, or at least people who like carrots. When I begrudgingly loaded up my fork and gave it a go, I knew I’d found a new dessert love outside of the chocolate realm. Yes, that’s right people, I’m a dessert polygamist. Deal with it.

Anyway, for this friend of mine, The Bride, carrot cake is nothing short of food crack. When she sees it, she needs it, regardless of time, place, or level of hunger. Her mom makes an amazing traditional carrot cake: fluffy, layered, and bursting with buttery, thick cream cheese frosting. It will knock your socks off and put you in a food coma. So, naturally, when The Bride’s bridal shower approached, I knew I needed to invite our mutual love, carrot cake. Since the festivities began midday, I didn’t want to make a huge, intimidating cake, so I decided to go the cookie route…well, the double cookie sandwich with thick cream cheese frosting squeezing out the sides route, but still, it seemed like a lighter option.

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