I’m in big-time fall mode, cooking up as many things as I can for Thanksgiving. This year I really want to BRING IT. But oddly enough, I’m kind of a classics girl when it comes to Thanksgiving. I want classic Thanksgiving. I want a classic pumpkin pie. I kinda don’t like too many crazy twists.
Are you in the twists, weird interesting Thanksgiving foods?
Are you a classic Thanksgiving foods human?
Leave a comment below.
If you’re a classics, maybe I’ll do a whole post on making suuuuper fluffy potatoes. Maybe I’ll try and make the BEST classic Thanksgiving stuffing everrrr.
It would actually be fun content to create either way!
OK, let’s talk about these cookies because these scream fall. My friend, Matt, works in one of those hip cool communal workspaces in New York and he texted me a few months ago and was like CHAI CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES.
Apparently a baker drops off chai chocolate cookies to his workspace and he was obsessed wit them. I though the sound of chai in chocolate chip cookies sounded AMAZING…so here we are.
I like to consider myself a fairly interesting person but when fall arrives I’m as basic as they come! I want to go apple picking, wear flannel, drink lattes with pumpkin flavors in them. And I wanna bake everything I can.
But real life quickly sets in and all my fall-aspirations and goals usually fall by the wayside and I do about one fourth of the activities I actually intend on doing. This fall I’m trying to make things very easy on myself.
For this post, I teamed up with Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk because I looooove their product. I also use sweetened condensed milk A LOT and theirs has such good flavor and texture.
Let’s talk about sweetened condensed milk for a quick second:
Sweetened condensed milk is milk which has water removed and replaced with sugar. Basically it’s milk and sugar—simple!
To make fall baking a bit easier on myself, last week I made two batches of dulce de leche and I have it in the fridge just chilling, ready for all sorts of recipes that I can’t wait to use to add it to.
The first up are these cookie bars that take ONE BOWL. I feel like one bowl things are the saving grace of baking because it means less dishes and less mess and just the sound of it is encouraging.
Also cookie bars are my new found love. There’s no scooping out cookie dough nor is there rolling out dough and stamping it out with a cookie cutter. It’s simply spread in an even layer in a 9×13 pan and baked—that’s it! Also, there are no batches of cookies that need to be baked up. In about 25 minutes, you’ll have all the bars you’ll need.
I spent this past weekend in Seattle, chilling at Create + Cultivate, where I spoke on a panel about food and digital media. It was loads of fun and I met so many cool, interesting, awesome people.
I also spent the weekend biting my finger nails, worried about Florida. It looks awful and I think it’ll take a day or so to really know the extent of the damage. Hoping and praying for everyone’s safety!!
OK, let’s talk about cookies. I love cookies. And recently I shared the Cozy Chocolate Chip Cookies with you and they are pretty much one of the top recipes of 2017 on this lil’ blog.
A lot of people have made them and it makes me so happy. I met someone at the conference and she told me it’s her family’s new go-to cookie recipe and that made me so happy. One of the bonuses that we both agreed on: it doesn’t require to soften any butter so there’s really immediate satisfaction involved.
The vibe of Friday is the best, isn’t it? It’s that feeling of almost being able to hang out and chill TFO.
I don’t have any crazy plans this weekend but it might consist of us taking a trip to the vet because Amelia is favoring/licking her left toe obsessively and she won’t let me look at it. Every time I get close she starts to show her teeth at me like a psycho. So, hopefully it doesn’t cost a million dollars/her toes are a-ok.
Moving onto cookies…
Remember when I did that nerdy post all about chocolate chip cookies? Well, that post was actually SO much fun to execute and write because I learned a whole lot about CC cookies. And I figured out how to get closer to the cookie I had in my dreams/brain.
I really love doing these types of baking experiments because I learn so much. I’m thinking of doing a post on the perfect white cake because while I’ve made a ton of cakes, I’m still searching, still learning what makes a white cake hella special. Let’s learn things together!
Also, before we begin, I’d like to give a special shout-out to my friend and helper, Billy. In case you don’t know, Billy helps me pretty much every week with helping create content for this space and he extra helped with these cookies because he loves nothing more than to talk nerdy about chocolate chip cookies.
Here’s the breakdown of the choices I made (AND WHY!) with these chocolate chip cookies.
I’ll also say that there is no perfect chocolate chip cookie because we’re all after different things. Some people like thin and chewy, some like crispy, some like super soft. Those recipes are good too.
This one is soft in the center that is slightly chewy and a teeny bit crunchy around the edges. They are not cake-y but are a little fluffy.
Ok, here is the breakdown:
Most cookie recipes begin with you creaming room temperature butter with sugar(s). But melting the butter vs. using room temperature butter will lead to a chewier cookie. I’m am very down with a chewy cookie so I went the melted butter route.
BAKING POWDER + BAKING SODA:
The baking powder in this recipe gives it a bit of a lift, while the baking soda helps these cookies spread. A lot of recipes you see that only have baking soda are on the thinner side. There is nothing wrong with this but I like a bit of both.
I added a bit more flour in this recipe to make it a little bit thicker cookie but not too much because I didn’t want it to be dry. I love the thickness of this cookie. It’s not too thin and not too thick/cake-y/dry. It my opinion, this has a super good ratio of butter to flour.
I LUUUV chocolate chip cookies. If there is one cookie that I can eat over and over and over, it’s hands down, the chocolate chip cookie.
I also believe that chocolate chip cookies are the perfect foray into baking. They are simple in their preparation. They don’t take a million years to make. And the bake time is only 8 to 10 minutes. There’s some very immediate satisfaction!
SO, I’m so excited to share this experiment where I bake chocolate chip cookies, substitute and change certain elements to the cookies themselves and then eat them ALL and give you my final thoughts.
As many of you know, I’m a self-taught baker and cook. I often joke and say I’m Google-taught. Seriously, most things I’ve learned about cooking is just from massive amounts of Googling. When I first started cooking and baking, I’d Google everything. And honestly, I still do.
For this post, I’m teaming up with Google Home. The great thing about Google Home is that I can verbally Google all the time (and more!)…without a computer, while my hands are messy and I’m in the middle of baking and cooking.
There were so many times when I’d have to clean my hands, wipe them dry and then Google measurements, fractional math (not my strong-stuit) but now I get to be just like, “HEY GOOGLE!”
It’s also perfect for random fun, very random facts that have nothing to do with anything and have no real importance like what Kris Humphries has been up to lately. (Google it though but let me warn you it’s not exciting.)
To start this whole lil’ experiment, I asked Google, “hey google, when were chocolate chips invented?!?!”
You may know this, you may not…but the answer is that chocolate chips were created with the invention of the chocolate chip cookie in 1937 by Ruth Graves Wakefield of the Toll House Inn in the town of Whitman, Massachussets.
Think of this as the beginning of designing my favorite chocolate chip cookie (final recipe coming soon!).
And hopefully with these results, it might make you feel confident that you, too, can customize your own. This is how recipe writing starts! IT’S COOL!
Here are my results.
CONTROL COOKIE: Slightly crispy on its edges and soft in the center. A very quintessential chocolate chip cookie experience. This cookie begins with butter, white sugar and brown sugar all beaten together.
ALL WHITE SUGAR: These were crispy and lace-y. Definitely thinner and a lot more chewy. And noticeably blonder. Look at the raw cookie dough shot, that one was kinda fascinating to me.
MELTED BUTTER with WHITE SUGAR + BROWN SUGAR: A lot of good chocolate chip cookie recipes use melted butter. Why? Well, melted butter usually results in a chewier cookie. A lot of people favor the melted butter route. I personally love melted butter in chocolate chip cookies because I love the texture but the biggest attraction is that I don’t have to have softened butter around and can make cookies on a whim—woohoo!
CREAMED BUTTER WITH 1/4 CUP MORE FLOUR: More flour means a bit thicker cookie. I feel like it almost could’ve even benefited from more flour for a nice chunky cookie. I love all cookies and chubby cookies have a place in my heart, too. Chubby cookies could use some crunch like walnuts or pecans.
MELTED BUTTER WITH 1/4 CUP MORE FLOUR: Melted butter really results in a chewier texture. The flour results in a thicker cookie. I liked this combo a lot.
CREAMED BUTTER WITH HALF BAKING POWDER + HALF BAKING SODA: The control only has baking soda. Baking soda helps give cookies a nice color and a bit of a lift. Why would we put both in a cookie? Well, a lot of cookie recipes include both so that the cookies have more of a lift, while the soda really helps with that light brown color we love our cookies to have.
MELTED BUTTER WITH HALF BAKING POWDER + HALF BAKING SODA: I’m not gonna lie, this was maybe my favorite combo. I love what melted butter does to CC cookies and I love the combo of half baking powder and half baking soda. I think this is where I’m going to begin with my development and go from here.
Growing up, we never had Easter baskets filled with money and candy. And my mom never coordinated Easter egg hunts. I think Latino humans don’t do that; mainly because Easter is super serious business. There’s no time for mascots and games. He has risen! You know?
Instead we’d have lots of cooking and family over and we’d always, always go to mass. It was the most crowded long mass of the entire year and usually I was dreaming about the free donuts that they’d hand out in the parking lot.
And when we’d get home, I’d happily change out of my often-times-dressy outfit and put on shorts and a t-shirt and start eating. It was always the best day ever and I’m sort of excited about maybe having a bit of an Easter brunch next weekend. We shall see if I can get it together…
Apparently Kylie Jenner is having a pop-up shop this weekend in the valley and a large, morbid, embarrassing part of me sort of wants to go. I won’t go because shrieking teenagers might drive me to take a vallium, but I want to, you know?
Instead I’m putting on my coziest sweater and going to my friend Teri’s holiday party. I also might watch A LOT of Fixer Upper because I love watching it and seeing people buy houses for 100k. It feels like another world, seeing as I live in LA and all.
When I was little, I didn’t need fancy holiday cookies. All I needed were Keebler Fudge-Striped Cookies. I’d put on my fingers like rings and bite ‘em off.
My mom would go grocery shopping every Friday and it always made my brother and I SO excited because that meant the pantry was filled with cookies and Capri-Suns and Sun Chips (omg remember those?
She always had to regulate our eating because if it was up to us, we would eat all the best food all in one day.
I made Amelia into a cookie! And then ate her. Sounds a little dark, doesn’t it?! It’s not I promise. She’s alive and thriving.
These corgi cookies are inspired by Stephanie’s cookies that she made last year. When I first saw them my eyes popped out of my head and immediately turned into heart shapes.
I figured it’d be a good time to share one of my favorite recipes from A Cozy Coloring Cookbook, which are chai sugar cookies. They are so spicy and flavorful and taste like, well, chai-like. In the book they’re in the shape of snowmen and Christmas trees and chai gingerbread men. You obviously don’t need a corgi cookie cutter to make these but if you do want to buy one, here’s where you can do that.
CAKIES! I learned this term from Izy’sbook. I’m not sure if she invented it or if it was around before then. It’s hard to pin-point the origin of very sophisticated terms like that…but if you’re unfamiliar, it’s when a cake meets a cookie.
These are delicious spongey-cake-like cookies that are super floral thanks to olive oil. I used average-ly fancy olive oil. It’s hard for me to buy a bottle of $30 of olive oil AND THEN USE IT, you know?
When I bake with olive oil I still use stuff that’s not THAT expensive. Josh tries to talk me into using nicer stuff but it’s so so hard. I leave the fancy stuff for drizzling on salads or veggies.
I’m currently (trying) to stock pile recipes for fall. I have a feeling the season is going to swallow me whole so this was one of the last summer-ish recipes that I wanted to make.
I’m obsessed with adding fruit to glazes and frostings. You may think that some sort of artificial coloring was added to this frosting but think again, my friends.
I think I’ve been using too many sprinkles lately. I’m sorta insecure about it because I used to not be THAT much of a sprinkle-whore but lately it’s all I reach for.
I think part of it is all the cool looking sprinkles I bought and brought back from Denmark. The colors are so pretty and interesting over there.
A very long time ago, when blogs first started I remember Joy the Baker posting a recipe for minty oreos. I never made them at the time (not sure why, what other non-important things was I doing?) but they have always lived deep in my brain on my to-make-soon list. Well, years later, here we are…except I made them birthday-driven, even though I didn’t know anyone who was having a birthday.
We made these, tested these, shot these AND then I remembered my friend Michael’s birthday was the very next day so I packed them up in the fridge and brought them to the birthday picnic where a 3 year old liked them a whole lot. WIN-WIN!