Category Archives: my cookie jar

for all the Santa facilitators

the day after, i feel like i am the ultimate kulelat of the Boston Marathon, all beat up and crawling to the finish line.
and i feel like giving all the Santa “facilitators”,a great big hug! you know who you are! give yourselves a standing ovation, for helping Santa deliver his presents to all the nice kids and/or not too naughty ones.
christmas morning i made buttery scones for breakfast, having stumbled upon a prettily,accessibly priced jar of clotted cream in one of my favorite salvage storeshaunts.
clotted cream dream
buttery scones
then i made this really easy yet delicious apple walnut spice cake–everyone overlooked the patchiness of it especially when i hand-whipped the calvados vanilla cream at the party venue (i didn’t want to make a fuss or noise at the hostess’ kitchen, ssshhh!).
Christmas dessert table
apple walnut spice cake
it diminished in size so quickly, #1son made sure he scored two leftover slices to take home. i’ll make you some more, promise!
as usual, recipe will be posted upon request! please, bug me if i neglect to respond. my life’s like that!

i hope your Christmas was a joyous one.

epilogue: raspberry chicken

pertaining to the preceding recipe for fresh pickin’ raspberry chicken, by Coolio, the ghetto gourmet:
we’ll rate it a “must try,” based on the quantity consumed(all) and the speed by it was consumed (zoom zoom).
it’s a must try, especially considering the novelty of the way it was cooked (sauteing floured chicken in a vegetable mirepoix) but when i questioned the children on whether they’d like to have it again, they all said, hmmmmm. the flavour? tangy fruit with meat though unusual can be delectable (husband just made pork chops with apples, that was a hit in this household–recipe soon!).

verdict: when the mood strikes, we will try it again, if and only if, raspberries are on sale again.
with raspberry sauce
i served it on the side, for the children to decide whether they wanted the fancy catsup or not. for that is what it seemed like, fancy raspberry catsup.

“99”, and the things i did this past summer vacation…

[this was meant for’s just too ironic that the day that i finally decide to blog again, the website suddenly went kaput. ay buhay. c’est la vie. such is life.]

HELLLOOOO? anybody home?

well i’m here, and i want to wish me myself and you a happy 9-9-09 day, and to reveal that my favorite number is 99, and the only explanation i can think of is Agent 99 of GetSmart, one of my favorite spies on television as a kid growing up. (Barbara Feldon, to Don Adams’ Maxwell Smart.) (i also adored Toto, the group, the dog, etc.)

barang i promise to post the links up to the hazelnut pavlova ASAP!

i was having too much fun this summer vacation, which seems a lot longer than our previous ones, no doubt due to the lucky placement of labor day on the calendar this year.
sadly, we only had a total of–what? three “heatwave” days? of 90 degree Fahrenheit weather? (which we never ever complained about!)–to sudden bone chilling 60 degrees these very early school day mornings.

more to come in the days ahead…i’ve successfully relaunched my kids to their back-to-school routines, with nary a scratch or a bruise on myself or them. *heehee that’s a JOKE* :drunk:

back to school cookies! (oatmeal chocolate chip, from Cook’s Illustrated.)

85th birthday cake

no, not mine! Julia Child’s, that is. i now declare myself officially “forever 25” years old. :grandma:
she would have been 97 years old this year, and her birthday is on August 15, but one bite of this cake and you’ll see why i had to make it.
this was concocted by Marcel Desaulniers–serious foodies will remember him, he’s one of the real chefs who truly deserved a cooking show, *sniff.
the description of the cake alone will convince you to try and make this cake. the combination of flavors truly honored the very essence of the woman to whom it was dedicated: butter. almonds. liqueurs. raspberries. chocolates. cream.
it took me two days to put it all together–due to time constraints, much to my children’s chagrin. i finally assembled the 4 9-inch cake layers with the mousse and ganache and served it to my favorite kids.
it only comes once a year (thank goodness) and though it’s alarming how aged we feel now, the joy of birthdays that the kids feel is quite contagious. the thrill of waiting for their birthdays makes my kids so ecstatically happy that it somehow makes up for the glaringly real ageing process their parents must go through now.
i’ll be the first to admit that it looks nothing like the photograph in the book–i think it suffered quite a lot from the very warm 90 degree days, so anomalous for spring, as much as from my amateurish baking skills, but here it is….mommy’s birthday cake, dedicated to the children i birthed.
Julia Child's 85th bday cake
4 layers of chocolate almond cake, filled with chocolate red raspberry mousse, and smothered with a combination of 12 ounces of dark chocolate and 4 ounces of unsweetened chocolate ganache.
you want to make?
let me know and i’ll type in the recipe.
recipe follows: Continue reading

a blondie i’ll never be

i’ve just survived another harrowing visit to the hairdresser for a much needed haircut. i truly dread going, because they almost invariably end up sighing heavily at the sight of my thinning hair. but i figure, i’m a paying customer and i don’t want to look like a hag anymore.
the guy is a bona fide hair artist and i only regret i don’t have more hair to offer him. he charges a fair amount for his talent, and i justify the cost by going only twice a year at most….hence the hag look.
this time around, he looked at me and said, “why you not color your hair?”
i almost backed out and ran out the door, but i just smiled and said “no thanks, i’m afraid it will just ruin my hair further,” and marched on to the shampooing area.

so that’s how i escaped becoming a chunky blonde, and how i segue into this recipe which i made really quickly one afternoon before heading out to our daughter’s dessert potluck at the non-profit service volunteer group she joined…it was easy to put together but i didn’t have enough time to let it cool completely before cutting into bars, that’s why it looks soggy and gooey.
i doubled the recipe, and you can put in any other add-ins you want instead of the chocolate chips, walnuts, shredded coconut and butterscotch bits.
chewy chunky blondie brownie

    chewy, chunky blondie

from Dorie Greenspan’s “Baking From my home to yours,” 2006.
2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temp.
1 &1/2 cups light brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
6 ounces bittersweet/semisweet chocolate, chopped into chips, OR 1 cup store-bought chocolate chips (i used Ghirardelli 60% cacao)
1 cup butterscotch chips or Heath Toffee bar bits (i used a combination of butterscotch chips and caramel bits)
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1 cup sweetened shredded coconuts

butter a 9″ by 13″ baking pan and put it on a baking sheet. preheat oven to 325F.

whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth and creamy. add both sugars and beat for another 3 minutes, or until well incorporated. add the eggs one by one, beating for 1 minute after each addition, then beat in the vanilla. reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients mixing just until they disappear into the batter. using a rubber spatula, stir in the chips, nuts, and coconut. scrape the batter into the buttered pan and use the spatula to even out the top as best as you can.
bake for about 40 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center of the blondies comes out clean. the blondies should pull away from the sides of the pan a little and the top should be a nice honey brown. transfer the pan to a rack and cool for about 15 minutes before turning the blondies out onto another rack. invert into a rack and cool the blondies to room temperature right side up.
cut into 32 bars, each roughly 2 &1/4″ by 1&1/2″.
i think serving it a la mode with a premium vanilla ice cream would be just perfect…and i solemnly swear, i did not eat too much of this or of the other items in the dessert buffet…that would have been suicidal.

dessert buffetdessert buffet, Boston

chicken and basil fried rice

our bodies are almost cold and numb now from the unforgiving winter (we all forgot how cold it normally is in Boston and vicinity). we do get a little reprieve and they’re calling it a non-snow weekend.
comfort food, hot and spicy, it is then.
this is one dish that all three kids like. we usually order this whenever the mood for Thai food strikes us, at the little take-out place round the corner. my usual complaint is the sparsity(sparseness?), scarcity, kakuriputan?, of ingredients. i mean come on! i can understand skimping on shrimp and shellfish but chicken? tasty as it may be, and easy as it is to just call for an order, i thought i’d try and make this at home. anyway a bunch of fresh Thai or holy basil is only about $1.50 a bunch.
and i can drown it in chicken.
strip away the leaves from the stems…the scent is intoxicating.

i didn’t put in a lot of chilies. i chopped up a third of a serrano chili and then the rest i put in a dipping bowl with a squeeze of lemon and fish sauce.
jasmine rice
make sure rice is cold and dry and fluffed, to keep grains separate.

i forgot to take pictures until we had finished dinner–this is the portion we saved for our college boy.
chicken basil fried rice

i used skinless and boneless chicken thighs. (or use sliced lean pork or beef if you like).
this recipe was the guide, except that i decided to marinate the sliced bite size chicken in light soy, dark soy, fish sauce, and sugar instead of adding them on later.
over medium high heat, in a wok, stir fry 6 finely crushed garlic cloves until golden, then add the chicken. stir fry till the chicken is no longer translucent. add shallots, onions, chilies, green onions.
mix well then add the rice. season to taste then add the basil leaves and toss it about for a bit until the leaves are wilted.
your kitchen should be very fragrant at this point.

miniature raspberry almond tarts

it seems like a lot of work, but you can do things in steps, or, like i did something, like in this order:
wrap presents, grind almonds; address envelopes, make dough; pick up kids, make filling; shovel snow, bake cookies….you get the idea.

miniature raspberry almond tarts recipe from www. i made the almond paste from scratch to save big bucks–those blocks from odense Denmark cost almost $10 each; but since i found a source for bargain blanched skinned almonds i hauled bags and bags of them home and decided to go homemade all the way. tough times call for frugal tactics you know.
raspberry almond tarts
gooey inside, chewy almondy outside
the fillings sunk in the middle somewhat but as it did it offered up a little peek into the tart-sweet raspberry jam inside.

almond paste recipe from the joy of cooking; pili nuts would be the perfect substitute, or unsalted cashews, or even hazelnuts for a luxurious touch (my kids don’t like them too much).

merry Christmas! happy holidays! happy New Year!

after the first day of school 2008

milk and brownies
officially these are “chipster-topped brownies,” once again from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking From My Home to Yours.
i call them “jack-en-poy“* brownies.

you know the scene.
kid1: brownies.
kid2: no. cookies.
kid1: brownies!
kid2: cookies!


there used to be a third kid to break the impasse so we sort of had a democracy.
this kid’s away, at college.
i thought of making them do a *rock-paper-scissors contest.
then i saw this recipe: a perfect treat to greet my little students back home after their first day, a long long day, according to #2son.
my sleepy 3rd grader
(the college kid came running home as soon as he heard…or smelled???)
drop cookie dough scoops on top of brownie batter
chocolate chip cookie dough on brownie batter

anyone want the recipe?

from Dorie Greenspan.

for the brownie layer:
6 ozs. bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
3 ozs. unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1 2/3 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 cup walnuts (i used pecans), coarsely chopped

for the cookie layer:
1 & 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 & 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2/3 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
6 ozs. bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped, OR 1 cup chocolate chips

preheat oven to 350 with the rack on the center.

butter a 9 by 13 inch baking pan, line it with wax paper or parchment paper and butter the paper. put the pan on a baking sheet.

brownie batter:
put both chocolates and butter in a bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water. stirring occasionally, heat just until the ingredients are melted, shiny and smooth. if the mixture gets too hot the butter will separate from the chocolates. remove the bowl from the heat.
working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the sugar and eggs on medium high speed for about 2 minutes, until pale, thick and creamy. beat in the salt and vanilla extract. reduce the speed to low and mix in the melted chocolate and butter, mixing only until incorporated. scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, then, still on low speed, add the flour, mixing only until it disappears into the batter. using the spatula, fold in the walnuts, and scrape the batter into the prepared pan. set aside.

the cookie dough:
whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt.
working with the stand mixer in the cleaned bowl or with the hand mixer in another large bowl, beat the butter and both the sugars together on medium-high speed until smooth and creamy, about3 minutes. one at a time add the egg and the egg yolk, beating for 1 minute after each addition. beat in the vanilla. reduce the speed to low and add the dry ingredients, mixing only until they disappear into the dough. still on low, mix in the chopped chocolate. drop the cookie dough by spoonfuls over the brownie batter and, using a spatula and with a light touch spread it evenly over the batter.

bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until the cookie top is deep golden brown and firm and a thin knife inserted into the brownie layer comes out with only faint streaks of moist chocolate. transfer the pan to a rack and cool to room temperature.

when the brownies are completely cool, carefully run a knife between the sides of the pan and the brownies, then invert them onto another rack, remove the paper and turn right side uponto a cutting board. cut into bars about 2 inches by 1 inch.

notes from your cook:
i forgot the parchment paper called for in this recipe, but i did use a glass pyrex baking dish, which was generously greased with butter.
i also HAD to slice these while warm (you know why!) directly from the dish…no problem with sticking at all!

half of the pan was spirited away by #1son to share with his new roommate :wizard:

chocolate malted malteser drops

a new family has moved in right next door, and wonder of wonders, joy of joys, they have an 8-year-old boy!

whenever new neighbors arrive, especially this one with a kid the same age as mine, a boy!–it matters very much, you know? at this age they don’t want to hang out with kids of the opposite gender, ahem, YET– i try to do something to welcome them, because i never want anyone to feel the way we did when we first moved here. long story kept short, some of the folks nearby were openly hostile to us.
but we’ve outstayed most of them, so that’s the happy conclusion of that.

a dozen or so of Dorie Greenspan’s chocolate malted whopper drops should do it…i renamed it malteser to signify my preference for the less-sweet UK version of malted milk balls, also i used alkalized unsweetened cocoa; the recipe does not specify the oven temperature so i experimented with a batch at 350F(resulted in thin, chewy soft cookies) and all the rest i kept at 375F (resulted in thicker puffier yet still chewy soft; i kept the remaining batter chilled at all times before baking). (recipe adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking From my Home to Yours, Houghton Mifflin, 2006).
chocolate malted malteser cookies
PICT0030before smashing, in a sturdy ziploc bag

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