Chocolate Chip Cookies, with a Twist

Baking

Yesterday was National Cookie Day and Day 4 of the #25daysofcookies challenge! So I thought I’d do something classic, like a Chocolate Chip Cookie…..

Well, I don’t know how your house is in the winter, but mine is cold and butter takes forever to soften. Enter Adrianna Adarme of A Cozy Kitchen to save the day because her recipe for Bourbon Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies uses MELTED BUTTER.

So this is a slightly adapted recipe because I subbed Whiskey for Bourbon, used more chocolate chips than pecans (not a big nuts fan, as I mentioned earlier), and added cinnamon because Whiskey makes me think of my husband, and he’s a cinnamon fiend.

Lucas built us a bench for our kitchen table recently and ever since then Mathias has been climbing on top of it to go talk to our Echo Dot (he can’t talk, but figured out that there’s a button that turns it on so he doesn’t have to say “Alexa” and then he babbles at her). So this happened.

Don’t worry, the ornaments didn’t affect the baking of this cookie.

Either I did something wrong or my oven is just jacked up because they took an extra 5 minutes longer than the suggested time to bake, but they still turned out chewy which is all I really want from a chocolate chip cookie. They had a slight whiskey taste but I would add more than a teaspoon of cinnamon next time just to add more of a kick.

You can find the original recipe here and they make quite a few cookies, so I froze half of the batch to bake later!

Chocolate Pecan Cookies

Baking

Day 3 of the #25DaysofCookies Challenge meant breaking out my Dominque Ansel Cookbook. 

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I don’t use it often because, quite frankly, I’m intimidated. Dominque Ansel – for those of you who don’t know – is the creator of the Cronut, pastry chef extraordinaire, owner of multiple bakeries in different countries and a culinary genius. And his cookbook is not for amateurs. 

This is the first time I made these and I was worried the whole time that I was doing something wrong with the chocolate. The recipe calls for melting chocolate over a double boiler and then adding melted butter out of the microwave into the chocolate. It sort of thickened and freaked me out, but it hadn’t seized so I wasn’t sure if I had screwed it up or not…turns out everything was fine and I was overreacting.

I’m not usually a huge fan of nuts in my cookies. I’d go so far as to say that a lot of times I feel like they actually *ruin* cookies. Not the case here. At all.

This is in the beginner category of the DA Cookbook. I’ve ventured into the “intermediate” category, but since this is Dominque Ansel we’re talking about, I’ve been too scared to head into the Advanced category. You can visit his bakeries in New York, Paris, LA and Tokyo, or buy his cookbook, here

Olive Oil Shortbread with Rosemary and Chocolate Chunks

Baking

Hear me out. This combination is…untraditional, but this accidentally on-purpose vegan recipe from Smitten Kitchen Every Day is a little sweet, a little savory and a little Christmas-y.

It’s super simple: flour, powdered sugar, salt, rosemary, chocolate chunks and olive oil all go into one bowl, get mixed by hand, and get poured out onto a cookie sheet. That’s literally it. The perfect cookie recipe for a busy day.

Mathias was interested in helping me for approximately 30 seconds.

I love these and will keep making them! They’re not overly sweet like most cookies – they’re faintly savory and crumbly in a melt-in-your-mouth sort of way. Lucas prefers a chewy cookie, so keep your audience in mind. Liv and I love them.

PS – This is one of my favorite cookbooks. Not endorsed (I wish!). But I seriously use this cookbook at least once a week. You can find it here

25 Days of Cookies, and Life Changing Rugelach

Baking

Last week I got this crazy idea…to bake cookies every day for 25 days until Christmas.

I have always loved to bake and always had an attachment to baked goods. My dad has a pretty serious sweet tooth, and it was a way for me to gain affection from him as a child (sorry, but it’s true, just another way you screwed me up Dad). But there’s always been something centering for me about baking, and it’s something that never, ever feels like work. 

As a mom of two (with another one on the way), it’s rare that I do something for myself. That in itself is a challenge, because I always feel like I *should* be doing something else – usually, cleaning, or doing something for one of my kids or my husband. But baking was my first real passion (pre-painting, post-hundreds of hours of violin lessons). I wanted to be a baker at a very young age and have been idolizing Alton Brown and Bobby Flay for as long as I can remember. I still remember watching Jacque Torres on The Food Network, wide-eyed and amazed at the things he would do with chocolate. But as I got older, I thought a liberal arts education would suit me better, and baking became something I did just for fun or for a challenge. The challenge thing isn’t new to me.

So when the idea crossed my mind to do a 25 Days of Cookies Challenge for Christmas, I couldn’t let it go. I wanted to do it, but needed a push…something to hold me accountable. So I did what any millennial mom would do…I reached out to other moms on Facebook. Who wants to do this with me? Who’s crazy enough to keep me from giving up on a day that I’m tired, and to join in the fun with me? I got five yeses, mostly from women that I have known on social media for a long time, one of whom I have met thanks to social media and both of us living in New England. We agreed, and so on December 1st, embarked on this crazy challenge. 

Hanukkah started last night so it was only fitting that I started my cookie challenge with a traditionally Jewish cookie: Rugelach! I used this recipe by Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen, who I trust wholeheartedly because a) none of her recipes have ever failed me and b) she’s a New Yorker with Jewish roots. How could I not trust her to deliver an authentic recipe?

The Dough

I forgot to take pictures making it but all of the ingredients go straight into the food processor (yay for not having to soften butter + cream cheese!) and then into the fridge for 2 hours to chill. Here’s the post-fridge dough!

The Filling

Livia seems to be ok with baked-in dairy but not “raw” dairy (yogurt, cheese, milk etc.) so I went with dairy-free chocolate chips by Enjoy Life! I also used pumpkin seeds instead of walnuts because nuts are a total no-go for her as well. Just a tiny deviation from the original recipe.

Make Again?

YES! I’ve had a lot of rugelach in my life but never made it from scratch because I mistakenly believed that it would be a lot of work. Huge mistake. These were bomb, 10/10 highly recommend.