Spiced Double Chocolate Cookies

I woke up Saturday morning with Eric sleeping soundly next to me and Maki curled up at the end of the bed.  It took me a moment to realize what was so strange about this: it had been 2 months since I'd been home on a weekend.  Maybe all that travel is why this summer has flown by.  I took this as an opportunity to relax a bit, which meant baking cookies, followed by a day of eating and drinking and time spent outdoors with friends (eating and drinking, of course).  It was exactly what I needed.  A chance to decompress a little.

While I sat at the table, dropping heaping tablespoons of dough onto the baking sheet, Eric walked into the room and inspected the cookies that were cooling on the wire rack.  Always eager to be my taste-tester, he snatched one up and took a bite.

These are great!  Where did you get the recipe?

I looked up.

What do you mean?  I created it.  

They're really, good. There's some kick there. Cayenne?  

Yup. And some cinnamon too.

I love that.  Gonna post these on the blog?

Of course.



Spiced Double Chocolate Cookies

Servings 2 dozen cookies


2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

3/4 cup packed light brown sugar

3/4 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs, at room temperature

1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 pound bittersweet chocolate, shaved using a chef's knife


1. Place the oven rack in the center of the oven.  Preheat the oven to 325°F.

2. In a bowl, stir together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa powder, cayenne pepper and cinnamon and set aside.

3. In the bowl of a food processor (or this can be done with a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment) add the butter and both sugars and pulse until combined. This may require that you stop the machine periodically and, using a spatula, pull the butter/sugar mixture from the sides of the bowl. Add the eggs and vanilla to the bowl and pulse to combine.

4. Carefully add half the dry ingredients to the bowl of the food processor and pulse to combine. Repeat with remaining dry ingredients.

5. Transfer the dough to a mixing bowl and, using a spatula, fold in the chocolate.

6. Scoop heaping spoonfuls of dough into the palms of your hands and roll into two and a half inch balls.  Place dough balls onto a non-stick baking sheet (or one lined with parchment paper) and space them about 2 inches apart.  Bake for about 15 minutes, or until lightly browned around the edges.

7. Remove from the oven and let sit on the tray for 3 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.  Let cool completely before serving.

Honey, Ricotta and Berry Muffins

It occurred to me as I sat on the plane to Vegas that I hadn't read a book in a while.  Like, a really long time.  Articles in The New York Times or pieces in The New Yorker, yes.  But an actual book?  It'd been over a year.  Before our trip, though, I purchased the latest David Sedaris book, thinking that maybe he could set things right.  And, you know what, he did.  As always, I found his words engaging, his stories honest and hilarious.  Just what I needed to get back on the reading wagon.  As I finished the book and flipped the last page (or, in this case, tapped my phone), I gave myself a pat on the back.  And now I'm searching for another great piece of literature (any suggestions are welcome).

Memorial Day marked the start of my family's annual summer reading contest, where we see who can read the most books.  When it was just the four of us participating (meaning my parents and sister) the race was tight.  Over the last few years, though, we've invited other relatives and friends to join in and I've pretty much given up any notion of winning.  It's still a lot of fun, though, and I'm so happy that we've continued this tradition.

Books and breakfast seem like the perfect summer pairing.  Mornings are when I get most of my reading done, either in bed or sipping on a cup of coffee at our kitchen table, the windows open to let a warm breeze in.  Leisurely mornings like that make every day feel like vacation.  While I'm kind of a scone fanatic, sometimes a muffin is what I crave.  As we roll into berry season, I feel the need to pack all of my morning treats with them.


Honey Ricotta and Berry Muffins

Yield: 12 muffins

Tools Whisk Regular muffin tin (not mini)

Ingredients 2 cups all-purpose flour 2 teaspoons baking powder 1/2 cup sugar 1/2 teaspoon salt 2 large eggs 1/4 cup honey 1/4 cup, plus 2 tablespoons whole milk 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract 1/2 cup ricotta cheese zest of 1 lemon 1 1/2 cups mixed fresh berries (chopped strawberries, whole blackberries, and blueberries)


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. with rack in the center position. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with fluted paper liners or grease the cups with butter.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs and honey until they are blended together.  Whisk the milk and vanilla extract into the wet mixture.
  3. Mix the wet mixture with the dry ingredients and stir to combine.  Fold in the ricotta cheese and mix in the lemon zest.
  4. Fold in the berries.
  5. Spoon the mixture into the greased muffin cups so each is filled a little more than halfway.  Add a blackberry to the top of each and push in slightly with your finger.
  6. Bake for approximately 20 minutes, or until a toothpick is inserted and comes out clean.  Let sit for 5 minutes before taking out of the pan.  Transfer to a rack to cool before serving.


Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Let's call this "bread" what it really is.  It's a cake... a chocolatey cake that I've shaped into a loaf and thrown some zucchini into just so I feel a little bit better about eating it at all hours of the day.  Sometimes chocolate is what we crave.  Don't resist it.  Give in.  Make one for yourself and give the other to a friend or tuck it in the freezer for the next time you're hit with a craving.  And don't feel guilty when you slice into it for a quick breakfast... or a mid-morning snack... or right before bed.  We all deserve a little chocolate every now and then.


Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Yields 2 loaves

Ingredients 4 cups grated zucchini 3 eggs 1 cup olive oil 2 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 1/2 cups sugar 3 cups all-purpose flour 1/2 cup unsweetened, natural (not Dutched) cocoa powder 2 teaspoons cinnamon 2 teaspoons baking soda 1 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease two loaf pans with butter or baking spray.

2. In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, olive oil and vanilla.

3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.

4. Using a wooden spoon, combine half of the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients.  Repeat with the remainder of the dry ingredients.  Fold in the zucchini and chocolate chips.

5. Transfer half the batter into each of the loaf pans.  Smooth out with a spatula.

6. Bake for 50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of the bread.

Rosemary, Lemon and Greek Yogurt Scones

Snow falls outside as I type.  As much as I dread this weather, I'm also grateful for it.  We're forced to take a break from running around and slow things down a bit.  On these days, Eric and I sit in front of our coffee table, reading the paper and nibbling on scones.  I like to use this time to get some cleaning done, but after a few hours, we hunker down for a midday nap.  These last few months (that is, since November) have been a bit hectic.  Any open days have been packed with trips, parties, and family visits (which I love, but---you know---once in a while it's nice to have a little alone time).  As miserable as it may be to trudge through three feet of snow, it's some much needed relaxation.

As you may have noticed, I'm a scone fan.  Some folks are into brownies.  Some are pie fanatics.  Some folks deep-fry everything they see. Me? I'm into scones. Kind of strange, I know.  So, if you're getting tired of seeing scone recipes on here... well, I'm sorry to disappoint you, but I'm not even close to being done with playing around with different kinds.  You're going to have to put up with them for a while longer.

This is the first time I've branched outside of my typical butter/milk/heavy cream combo and have included Greek yogurt (we had a few large tubs of plain Chobani in the fridge).  The tang it provides is something I should have expected, but for whatever reason it never occurred to me and I was pleasantly surprised when I bit into them.  They're a little less flakey than my previous incarnations (most likely due to the moisture for the yogurt), but, nevertheless, I'm sold on these and I've already made them a number of times.


Rosemary, Lemon and Greek Yogurt Scones

makes 8-10 scones


2 cups whole wheat flour

1/2 cup sugar

1 1/4 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold and cut into small chunks

1/2 cup Greek yogurt

1/2 cup milk

5 tbsps chopped fresh rosemary leaves

Zest of 1 lemon

Juice of 1 lemon

2 tbsps honey

All-purpose flour, for the work surface


1. Place rack in middle of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees.

2. In a large bowl, mix together the first five ingredients.  Add the butter to the bowl and, using two knives or a pastry blender (you can even just give it a couple pulses in the food processor), cut into the dry ingredients until the butter has mixed in, but there should still be a few pea-sized pieces of butter still in there.

3. Stir in the yogurt and mix until it is fully incorporated.

4. Slowly add the milk to the mixture, stirring to make sure it is fully incorporated.  If the dough looks like it is moist enough, you can leave out a little of the liquid.

5. Stir in the rosemary and lemon zest.

6. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead a couple of times.  Flatten the dough out until it is about 1 1/2 inches thick (should be about 8 or so inches wide).  Cut into 8 to 10 triangles and transfer the wedges to a baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper.

7. In a bowl, whisk together the honey and lemon juice.  Brush the top of each scone with the lemon-honey mixture.

8. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown.  If they don't brown, you can place them under the broiler for a minute, but be sure to keep an eye on them to make sure they don't burn.

9. Let cool on wire rack and enjoy!

Tags: Bake, Breakfast


Raspberry Crumb Bars

I used to be really big into Valentine's Day.  Giving gifts, chocolates, flowers, cards (yeah... not just one but two, maybe three).  I'd make dinner reservations at expensive restaurants and plan out a night of activities. Over the years, though, I've toned it down a bit.  Eric and I don't exchange cards.  We don't buy each other presents or flowers.  There are no chocolate-covered strawberries.  Instead we stay at home, eat lobster and drink champagne, followed by a decadent dessert (like these raspberry bars that we're obsessed with... which contain three sticks of butter).  We spend the rest of the evening curled up on the couch with Maki, the three of us wrapped up in blankets.  It may seem boring to some, but I want nothing more than a little quiet time with the man that I love.


Raspberry Crumb Bars

(very minimally adapted from Joanne Chang's Flour)

makes 9 large bars, or 16 small bars


1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

1 cup granulated sugar

3 tablespoons confectioners' sugar

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 tsp baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

2 egg yolks

1 tsp vanilla extract


1 1/2 cups raspberry jam (with seeds)

1/4 cup confectioners' sugar


1. Add the butter and sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Beat on high for 5 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl periodically.

2. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

3. Add the egg yolks and vanilla extract to the butter mixture and beat at medium speed for another 2 minutes.

4. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture.  Beat to incorporate.

5. Wrap 1/4 of the dough in parchment paper and the remaining dough in a separate piece of parchment paper.  With the larger piece of dough, gently press it into an 8-inch round disk.  Place the smaller piece of dough in the freezer for 2 hours (or until hard) and the larger one in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

6. Once the dough is ready, set a rack in the center of the oven.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

7. Remove the dough from the refrigerator.  Cut two large pieces of parchment paper and lightly flour each side of the disk.  Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough between the two sheets of parchment paper until it is 13 by 9 inches.

8. Transfer the dough to a 13 by 9 inch baking dish.  Even out the dough across the pan by pressing down gently with your fingers.

9. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until the shortbread is light brown.  At this point, remove from the oven and let cool.

10. Once it has cooled, spread the raspberry jam evenly over the shortbread.

11. Remove the dough from the freezer and shred the dough using a grater.  Sprinkle the grated dough over the raspberry jam.  Bake in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the top is lightly browned.

12. Remove the baking pan and let cool completely.

13. Once they have cooled, sift the confectioners' sugar over the top.  Cut into 9 bars (or smaller if preferred).

Tags: BakeDessert


Whole Wheat Carrot Bread

Love is a shelter.

Love is a cause.

Love goes on forever.

Yeah, love will lead us all.

Love! It is our honor.

Love! It is our all.

Love goes on forever.

Yeah, love it is our home.

That's What's Up//Edward Sharpe + the Magnetic Zeros

Carrot Bread3.2

Whole Wheat Carrot Bread

makes 1 loaf


2/3 cup vegetable oil

2 eggs

1 cup sugar

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

2 cups grated carrot

1/2 cup raisins

1/2 cup chocolate chips


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Grease a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan.

3. In a bowl, whisk together the oil and eggs.

4. In a separate bowl, sift together the sugar, flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Mix in the oil and eggs.

5. Fold in the grated carrot, raisins, and chocolate chips.

6. Pour mixture into loaf pan. Bake in the oven for 50 minutes, or until a toothpick is inserted and comes out clean.


Chewy Ginger Molasses Cookies

I know... these may not look chewy, but they are. I promise. If they weren't, I wouldn't put them up here. Cookies are meant to be served the way salmon or a steak should be prepared, a nice sear on the outside, but raw in the middle. I just don't mess around with cookies. If there's too much crunch, I can't eat them. But what's so great about these is how the rim is crispy, making for the most wonderful sound as you bite into them. Then, you get to the good stuff. The blend of sugar and spice; the festive flavors of ginger, cinnamon and clove. It brings to mind lazy weekends... curled up on the couch with a cup of tea and a book: the lead in for an afternoon nap.  I've been making these ginger molasses cookies for years, altering the recipe slightly as I prepare each batch.  I hate to use the P-word, but I can't help it... these are kind of perfect.

Chewy Ginger Molasses Cookies

(Note: This recipe will make 3 dozen smaller cookies, if the dough is rolled into 1 inch round balls, as directed below.  However, I also like them a bit larger. In which case, you will get fewer cookies, but they will be bigger (not that size matters or anything))
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1 cup sugar 1/4 cup dark molasses
1 egg
2 1/4 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt 4 ounces crystallized ginger, chopped coarsely
Granulated sugar, for rolling dough balls

1. Preheat oven to 375°F.2. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter, vegetable shortening, sugar, molasses and egg.3. In a separate bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients.  Add to wet mixture and beat until combined.  Stir in crystallized ginger.

4. Depending on the size you would like your cookies, form into 1 or 1.25 inch balls.  Roll dough balls in granulated sugar.

5. Place dough balls onto a non-stick cookie sheet (or a sheet lined with parchment paper) two inches apart.  Using a spatula, gently press down the tops of each cookie dough ball.

6. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until outer rim is golden brown.

7. Let cool for a few minutes before transferring cookies to a cooling rack.