Fun work always includes cooking. And people. And music blaring. Fun work is equally as exhausting as lame work but way more satisfying and fulfilling.
I’m ok with my feet hurting if the work I’m doing is fun.
Lame work is the annoying, petty shit I have to do to keep my stuff together like taxes and emails and paperwork and organizational things. I love for things to be organized but I’m not the best at keeping them that way. I’m bad at the maintenance part. That is for another post but I’m hopefully going to put some systems into place so I don’t have my prop closet overflowing with stuff.
Over the weekend, I shot a little Memorial Day content for you all, coming at the end of this week! And I shot some bomb cinnamon rolls that at first did not want to participate in this thing called life but I finally got the filling right…thank you, cinnamon roll gods!
I know that Memorial Day is this weekend and we’re supposed to be about that bbq-life and we are! So please consider this the breakfast thing you should eat before ribs.
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.
My favorite brand of mint chocolate chip is Talenti. Duh. But when I was a kid? I wasn’t fancy, so it was Breyers. Or Dryers. I forget. Or maybe even the Publix brand? Have you ever had a Publix sandwich? Childhood right there.
I think my love of mint chocolate chip had to do with the fake green color that was so pretty…or maybe it was the shards of chocolate vs. chocolate chips. They were so crunchy and delicious!
This cake is born from that love.
I thought of using chopped up milk chocolate chips instead of cacao nibs but I’m so glad I went with my gut because the frosting is a sweet buttercream and the bitterness from the chocolate is so very welcomed.
The cake is delicious and moist and everything you want from a simple chocolate cake. It is a my one-bowl chocolate cake so it’s literally the easiest thing to make, cake-wise.
I love the mint chocolate chip profile SO much that I even started to make my morning smoothie flavored as such. Of course, it’s healthy so it has kale, peppermint extract, collagen/whey, cacao powder, cacao nibs and almond milk. IT IS MY FAVORITE THING IN THE WORLD. I was thinking of sharing the recipe at one point but I sort of just did so there you have it!
When I was doing some brain-storming a few weeks ago, I turned to Billy and said, “What if I made a big-ass biscuit and layered it with strawberries and sweet, softly whipped cream?!” He nodded YAS.
And here we are. You might be mentally preparing for Mother’s Day brunch. It’s actually one of my favorite times of the year because brunching is in high gear. And we’re not all sweating yet.
I made these gigantic ol’ biscuits in two 8-inch cake pans to “guide” the size of the biscuit but really you can do it on a baking sheet.
I love the debate of egg vs. no egg in biscuits. I nerded out on that Food52 article and was VERY flattered they used my biscuit recipe as an example.
I’ve been really itching to try a shortening + no egg biscuit. But for this one, it definitely needed an egg so that it had a better structure. Because it’s so big, it needs some help in that department.
ALSO, the trick to assembling this is to really let the biscuit cool completely so you can slice it and move it around.
A bread knife really helps with slicing this biscuit.
This week has been a lil’ bananas. I’m doing a video series for a project today (YAY!) and just getting everything in order from location to what I’m putting on my body has been a good amount of mental work. I’m used to just making things and taking photos of them, not really concerning myself with how my hair looks. ITS HARDER THAN I THOUGHT!
In other more important news, Amelia is about to be wrangled by a new trainer, that we consulted with over the weekend, because she’s caught a bit of separation anxiety, i.e., has a full-on toddler meltdown when I put on my shoes. It’s made leaving the house a bit challenging. If you know corgis, then you know that they’re kind of wild, feral animals.
She also had to turn down an opportunity to be in a commercial for The Crown because the requirements were that she actually had to obey all commands while being in front of camera, while being next to a herd of corgis. She. Can’t. Do. This. It’d be too stressful and the experience of taking video of her in this environment did not outweigh the stress. ANYWAY, my best friend works for Netflix so I’ve kindly asked for an invite to set that day.
NOW, let’s turn our undivided attention to these gorgeous slushies from my dear friend Lily’s gorgeous new book KALE AND CARAMEL.
They are seriously the dessert I will make over and over this summer because:
#1. They are so easy to throw together. Seriously, all you need is an ice cube tray and a blender.
#2. They are healthy-ish. They’re sweetened by honey and orange juice, they’re dairy-free and are so so delicious.
#3. Who doesn’t love the gorgeous pink color from the hibiscus syrup.
A month ago or so I got a friend from my old friend Chris who was like, “Hey I’m getting married, will you make a cake for us.”
Of course, I responded with OMG YES!
Not only was I excited because making stuff for friends is fun–especially for such a super cute and special occasion–but because it liked the challenge of doing something I’d never done before: making an important cake and then driving up and down the hills of Echo Park with it in tow. SO STRESSFUL!
Josh’s mom was a pastry chef and early in her career she made a lot of wedding cakes. He told me that one time she delivered the cake, decorated on the wedding site and then it fell over when they wanted it moved to another table! LIKE STRAIGHT UP ON THE FLOOR.
I would cry. I’m sure she did. Josh told me she eventually had to stop because the stress of transporting the cakes just didn’t end up being worth it and I completely understand now—it’s a lot. Luckily this was a small lil’ cake so transporting it wasn’t that hard.
I’ve known Chris for a long time and as of last year, he’s kind of become Amelia’s babysitter when we go out of town. He is so very patient when she wakes him up at 6am for breakfast and he takes her on long walks and last year, when we went to Seattle, they packed her up and took her to Malibu to eat oysters.
I had a full-blown, real, non-working weekend. There was a good dose of working out, dinner at a newly-opened neighborhood restaurant (highly recommend it)! I helped my friend Hourie with her charity bakesale that was sold out in an hour (!!!). There was also loads of salsa and smoothies and working out.
Moving onto cakes, specifically this one. Easter is this weekend, which really is the kickoff to spring brunches. There’s Mother’s Day and spring weather, which makes for ideal brunching-weather.
If you love cakes but can’t find the energy/skillz to decorate them, then the whole ‘sheet cake category’ is for you. They are ridiculously easy. All you’ll need is a proper baking pan and a spatula and a handful of sprinkles.
This strawberry + rhubarb sheet cake is the complete opposite of this Neapolitan number. That cake requires a few cups of coffee and some concentration (or at least the decorating part does).
This cake is made up of the most delicious white/strawberry cake combo ever. I could eat it over and over. And the rhubarb frosting is delicious tart and smooth.
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…
Tomorrow is April Fool’s Day aka the day when Josh and I are going to start talking about wedding planning (interesting date we chose, eh? we didn’t do it on purpose I swear!).
Yeh, we’ve put that off for a while because when we first started, like, two days after we got engaged, I immediately downloaded Aisle Planner and started to put a bit of a plan together. And then…it got stressful. So many people. It adds up so quickly! And if we’re doing a destination wedding…good gracious it’s a lot. Anywayz, we told each other that maybe we need to chill out and just enjoy this time a bit and put it off for a few months. So we did. And now that date is here (ugh!). But we’ll figure it out, I suppose. I’m not that stressed out about it.
I’ll share more on that soon (like, when we know what we’re doing)!
For now I wanted to share this cake recipe I made for Epicurious. I wanted a spring-y cake that would remind people of how a strawberry malted milkshake would taste. The barley flavor in the malt powder is so delicious in the cake and frosting.
And to make it Easter-centric, there’s a nest on top that’s made up of shards of white chocolate—it truly couldn’t be easier. I filled it with Cadbury pastel-colored chocolate eggs. They are the best holiday candy our of all holiday candy in my very humble opinion!
I just spent the weekend in Palm Springs saying ‘peace out’ to my friend Whitney’s singleness. It was definitely a 30-something-year-old bachelorette party because by 11pm on Friday night all of us were in our pjs and in bed. Lol.
And then the next morning everyone got up at 7am to workout and do yoga. But I wasn’t mad AT ALL because it was super chill and relaxing and ridiculously enjoyable.
This recipe comes from my friend Joy’s (the Baker) new book, OVER EASY. It is a full encompassing brunch book. You really don’t need another. The recipes are creative and fun and so delicious-looking. And, of course, Joy’s familiar, friendly voice opens up each and every recipe.
The background of the book is Joy’s newly adopted city, New Orleans. I’ve been itching to go to New Orleans. I wanna go and eat all the beignets covered in mounds of powdered sugar and (hopefully) see Solange walking down the street looking angelic as she always seems to do.