Friday, March 30, 2012

52 cookies :: week 12 :: grammy's chocolate cookies

it has been the longest short week of the year. today is the first day of spring break. and i've taken the time off. so looking forward to hangin' with the girlies and taking lots of long slow breaths. and baking together too.

not by "our grammy"...

52 cookies

Grammy's Chocolate Cookies
via Martha Stewart Holiday Cookies (2001)
2 c plus 2 tblsp all-purpose flour
3/4 c Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
2 c granulated sugar, plus more for dipping
2 large eggs
2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of mixer with paddle attachment beat butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla, and beat to combine. Reduce speed and gradually add dry ingredients. Beat to combine. Form dough into flattened disk, wrap with plastic wrap, and chill until firm.

Preheat oven to 350F. Line 2 baking sheets with silpat. Shape dough into 1 1/2 inch diameter balls. Roll each ball in sanding sugar. Place on prepared baking sheets, about 1 1/2 inches apart. Bake until set, 10 - 12 minutes, rotating halfway through. Transfer to a rack to cool for 5 minutes. Transfer cookies from baking sheet to wire rack.

52 cookies

K: I would die without these cookies. I love them so much. I love them especially fresh from the oven.

E: Really yummy. Especially good when they are warm from the oven. What I like about them is that when you reach in to get one out of the cookie jar they are so big you can't get it out without turning it.

D: If you like plain chocolate cookies, well these are for you. I think they would be good with ice cream. Kinda thin and crumbly they would soak up all that melty stuff. Float around. Enjoy.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

coming soon...


cookies will be a day late. again. (feels like i am just a little late with everything these days. so looking forward to our break. thanks so much for your suggestions. xo)

see you tomorrow.

Sunday, March 25, 2012


citrus season

and just like that it's sunday night.

this weekend was a whirlwind. two school garden events. amazing communities. the little to disney for the day with friends. the time of her life. and the big to the hunger games with me. i was pleasantly impressed. a birthday party. can't believe she's 5. and that was yesterday.

today, my cold has moved on to d. we ate a lot of citrus from the farm. so good. it rained all day today. heaven. a group of parents worked the local whole foods crowd in support of raising funds for our community school park. we have been chosen for a 5% giving day! we did laundry. i did laundry. we researched adventures for spring break. here or here or here?

and we are all set to tuck in early.

good night.

Friday, March 23, 2012

happy friday

happy friday

happy friday

happy friday

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

52 cookies :: week 11 :: oatmeal raisin cookies

I attended graduate school at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario. I loved my time there. to me it represented the quintessential grad school experience and all the best of college-town life. there were great cafes, a wonderful movie house, a pub, specialty candy and coffee shop, the most amazing selection of apples a farmers' market could offer, and lots of used bookstores. I made some amazing friendships there - that i still cherish.

one classmate - jennifer - was a great cook and baker - and introduced me to the silver palate cookbook. i had never heard of the silver palate - nor Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins - but the book has become a mainstay of my cookbook shelf.

i have often substituted chocolate chips for the raisins here. (my kids - as i am sure they will reveal - are not raisin fans.) but i'll stay true to the original tonight:

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
from The Silver Palate Cookbook

12 tblsp (1 1/2 sticks) sweet butter
1/2 c granulated sugar
1 c brown sugar
1 egg
2 tblsp water
1 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 c all-purpose flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
3 c quick-oats
1 c raisins

Preheat oven to 350. Prepare two cookies sheets with silpats.

Cream butter, and both sugars until fluffy. Add egg and mix thoroughly. Mix in water and vanilla extract.

Sift together flour, cinnamon, salt and baking soda and add to wet mixture. Mix well. Add oats and raisins and mix.

Form cookies with regular sized ice cream scoop - wetting hand and flattening to 5 inch rounds.

Cook 15 to 17 minutes, until edges are done but centers are still soft. Remove to rack and cool.

Makes 25 - 30 large cookies


K: I don't really care for the cookies. Because I don't like raisins. So I just give them to my friends, who like them. If I liked this cookie, this one would be the best kind.

E: Ehh, so-so. It would be PERFECT if u replaced the raisins with chocolate chips. (If u r not a raisin fan just eat around.)

D: Now, I don't normally enjoy oatmeal raisin cookies but I got to tell you that this cookie gets me. It's chewy, sweet, salty, the oats keep it mellow, and there is the slightest bit of crunch on the edges. I put this cookie through many tests. It tastes great with wine but best with a cold beer. I just might eat all of them!

Monday, March 19, 2012



we made pizza from scratch. and watched a movie that was a pleasant surprise.


we enjoyed every drop of rain received.


and the gifts it gave.


we stayed as cozy as possible.


and today we enjoyed lunch in the sunshine. and a really good cup of coffee.

and happy birthday moxie! hard to believe you are 2 already!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

yesterday today tomorrow


while visiting d's mom at the convalescent home (she fell and broke her pelvis a few weeks back) we met a self-proclaimed "affirmative color specialist" and "intuitive".

after asking the girls a few questions, he made some quick proclamations about their future.

k is creative and outgoing. she will be a screenwriter - or other creative writer. and she is a nurturer.


e is an intuitive (she knows things without knowing how she knows them). she is very smart. she will have "smooth sailing" and she will work with people.


d and i looked at each other and smiled (i think there was some eye rolling) - not really believing that this person whom we just met could know such things. but i had to write them down. because you never know. (and that to me is the true adventure.)

these are recent snaps the girls have taken of themselves on my phone. something about these - to me - captures who they are right now. god, i love them so.


it is raining. we have not too much on the calendar, as outdoor commitments have been cancelled. looking forward to celebrating st. paddy's with friends.


watching three (!) of our neighbors run the L.A. Marathon!

after that, who knows ;)

p.s. he said i like control. so perhaps he does know some things! (i am constantly working on my mantra "let go"...)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

52 cookies :: week 10 :: lemon cream sandwich cookies

52 cookies

E bookmarked this one a few week's back. with an abundance of lemons in our CSA box lately the time was right. (and with a st. paddy's day bake-sale at work this week - it was fun to do something a little fancy.) I doubled the recipe, and actually ended up making 2 dozen sandwich cookies, and having another dozen "plain" lemon cookies that are perfect with a cup of tea.

Lemon Cream Sandwich Cookies
from The Grand Central Baking Book

1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 c granulated sugar
2 egg yolks, at room temperature
3 tblsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tblsp finely chopped lemon zest

4 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
1 c confectioners' sugar
1 tblsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tblsp finely chopped lemon zest

Combine dry ingredients.

Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar together on medium speed until lighter in color and fluffy. Add egg yolks, lemon juice, and lemon zest and mix thoroughly. Scrape the bottom and side of bowls.

With mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients and mix until they just disappear into the dough.

Transfer dough to parchment or plastic wrap and form into a 1-inch-thick disk. Wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour - and up to 3 days. (If you don't use after 1 hour, allow the dough to warm up slightly, until it becomes pliable and easy to roll.)

Preheat oven to 350. Roll out dough on lightly floured surface to 1/8 inch. Place on silpat lined tray. Bake for about 15 minutes, rotating half way through. Let cool completely before filling.

Using a stand mixer with paddle attachment, mix the cream cheese and confectioners' sugar on low until smooth and well combined. Add lemon juice and zest and beat for one minute at increased speed.

Fill and assemble the sandwich cookies by spreading a layer of filling onto an inverted cookie, leaving the edges uncovered. Cover with second cookie and press together gently so the filling spreads to the edges.

K: Nice and lemony. I prefer it not in the fridge. They are better at room temperature. Maybe if it was a really hot day, leave it in the fridge just a little. My friend Emma said it was really really really super-duper good. I REALLY REALLY LOVE IT SO MUCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

E: The cookies were really good! Though when u bite them the cream slides out and it gets really messy. I think they are tasty room tempature . Well, AWESOME cookie. And thx 4 bakin' them.

D: These things are a delicious mess. Kinda like an Oreo but when you bite into it...squish! A burst of lemon cream that is lite and smooth that gives it it's own personality. The cookie has a hint of lemon as well. Chomp squish chomp ...yum

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

sunday night

sunday night

sunday night d and I headed towards beverly hills for dinner.

while it was a "working dinner" and not a "date night" it was fun to dress up and get out on the town.

we have the habit of parking a few blocks from our destination. too frugal for valet. and i love the walking.

busy week juggling. but the cool weather and rain in the forecast have me smiling.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

sunday morning

sunday morning

sunday morning

sunday morning

sunday morning

sunday morning

i've been battling a head cold for a week. and our schedule has been impacted by both jobs making major demands on me right now. it was good to take a few extra long breaths this morning and just soak in the quiet.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

52 cookies :: week 9 :: molasses crinkles

this is a recipe passed on from a friend some years back. in fact we refer to them around here as "cori's cookies". i usually make them at christmas - but they are a good hearty anytime winter cookie too. with a turn in our spring weather, i thought they'd be a nice change from what's been baking these last few weeks.

52 cookies

Molasses Crinkles
from Cori

1/2 c butter
1/4 c blackstrap molasses
1 c sugar
1 egg
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 t allspice
1 t ground ginger
2 c unbleached flour
2 tblsp additional sugar

Preheat oven to 350. Prepare cookie sheet.

Melt butter over low heat and transfer to medium mixing bowl. Beat in molasses and 1 c sugar. Beat egg separately then add to mixture.

Sift together dry ingredients (except additional sugar) then add to wet mixture, stirring until well combined. Use your hands to form 1 1/2" balls of dough. Roll balls in sugar before placing on cookie sheet. Flatten balls slightly. Bake for 12-15 minutes.

Makes about 3 dozen cookies

52 cookies

K: It is so good and you can see the sugar on it. But I prefer it fresh from the oven because it is warm and soft! Take it fresh from the oven! Mmmmmm looks tasty!

E: Ok, awesome cookies! I really like them. They are excellent with the sugar! I have a hint* for you!

D: I heard that these were t.d.f fresh out of the oven. Well the true test is after they cool down. Drum roll please. It's a two thumb super yum!! The granulated sugar crust forms a bit of hard shell that cracks just a bit when you bite into it. Underneath is a soft and chewy texture that has a really comforting breathy flavor. Is there also a ginger or anise thing going on? Oh yeah... What did the squirrel smell when it got stuck in the underground animal traffic jam? Molasses!

*hint: For everyone who reads my mom's blog: Do you like hard, or soft cookies? If you like hard then wait a little bit until they are not warm. TADA! But if you like soft cookies (like me - well I kind of like hard too!) then eat them hot from the oven!

Sunday, March 04, 2012

leap of faith




i just had to share these images e's teacher took of her at camp. i am so crazy proud of her.

i have tried very hard with both girls to lead by example and brave some of my own fears. (i am not comfortable swimming in the ocean - but i want them to be - so in i go.)

heights are one thing they know i fear. my girl conquered this challenge in herself. she can do anything she sets her mind to. she inspires me.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

52 cookies :: week 8 :: almond anise biscotti

my sister-in-law is a professional pastry chef. she is amazing. made us a beautiful and delicious cake for our wedding. and her biscotti (or mandelbread) is a mainstay at family gatherings. d's father joey would ask for it as soon as she walked in the room.

52 cookies

i have never tried to make biscotti - intimidated i think by the prowess of my s-i-l, and the twice-baked process which i thought sounded too time consuming. these were actually very easy to make. i carried out all the steps through the first baking one evening, and did the second baking the next morning, in time to add a cookie to k's lunchbox.

i think they are really yummy. (especially paired with a nice glass of wine.)

Almond Anise Biscotti
from The Grand Central Baking Book

3 1/2 c all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 c granulated sugar
1 c olive oil
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 tsp almond extract
1 1/2 c sliced almonds
2 tblsp anise seeds

Preheat the oven to 350 and prepare two cookie sheets with silpats.

Whisk to combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl.

Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the sugar and olive oil on medium speed until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is lighter in color, about 3 minutes.

Crack the eggs into a measuring cup and add the vanilla and almond extracts. Add to the mixer while running, pouring slowly and letting the eggs fall in one at a time, incorporating the first completely before adding the second. Scrape the bottom and sides and mix well.

Slowly add the dry ingredients with the mixer on low speed. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl and mix for about 20 seconds, just until mixed. Add the almonds and anise sees and mix until combined.

On a lightly floured surface, divide the dough into 4 pieces and roll into a log 10 x 3 x 1 inch thick. Bake the logs for 25 minutes, until firm and golden, rotating the pans half way through. Cool completely before second baking.

Preheat the oven to 250 and prepare two cookie sheets with silpats. With a serrated knife, slice the logs at a 45 degree angle into 1/2 inch biscotti. There will be a lot of crumbs - yummy for snacking, and we thought perfect for ice cream. Bake, flat side down for 45 minutes or until completely dry. Let cool on baking sheets.

Makes around 3 dozen biscotti.

52 cookies

K: a little toooo much tang. but a very good choice.

E: still at camp! but don't worry... we saved her some! (check out this photo of her - taken by her principal - up on the high ropes! i am so proud of my girl!)

D: Thank god these things are not fattening cuz I've already eaten like a hundred. I think it is in my chemical make-up to scarf these things down. The power of Joey compels me! xo