miso peanut butter cookies

1.09.2021


File this under one of the best and easiest cookies on planet earth. The first time I made them I doubled the batch and was very happy that I did. I found the recipe on the New York Times Christmas cookie roundup. Of the 24 or so listed there were many that seemed very enticing.... but this is the only recipe I could get in front of the paywall.

The other benefit is I only needed one more ingredient in order to make them - miso paste. One quick Amazon Prime delivery later I was ready to make these cookies. 

I'll absolutely consider these to be my favorite peanut butter cookie on record. There is something extra special about the flavoring and they taste AMAZING fresh out of the oven. They are wonderfully, perfectly, heavenly soft and chewy. 
  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix butter, light brown sugar and granulated sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add miso and peanut butter to the mixing bowl, and continue to mix at medium speed, about 1 minute. Scrape down sides of the bowl to make sure all of the ingredients are evenly incorporated, and mix a bit more if needed. Add egg and vanilla extract, and mix until just combined.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda and baking powder, and whisk until incorporated. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the mixing bowl, and mix on low speed until flour mixture is incorporated. Repeat with remaining flour mixture in two batches until all of it is incorporated.
  4. Place 1/2 cup sugar into a small bowl. Working with one piece at a time, scoop out about 2 tablespoons of dough, and roll each portion between your hands until it is nice and round. (If the dough is too soft to roll, you can pop the mixing bowl in the refrigerator for 5 to 10 minutes to firm the dough up slightly.) Drop the piece of dough into the bowl of sugar and turn to coat. Transfer each ball to a parchment-lined baking sheet, arranging them about 3 inches apart. Repeat with all of the dough. I used a small cookie scoop and it was the perfect proportion.
  5. Refrigerate for 2 hours and up to overnight. This is important. It helps the flavors meld and what not.
  6. When ready to bake, heat oven to 350 degrees. Bake cookies for about 12-17 minutes total. When the edges are crisp and slightly puffed in the middle, pull out the baking sheet and hit it against a counter. This might be about 10 minutes or so. Bake for a couple more minutes and pull from the oven. Pull them out and again hit the baking sheet against the counter. The cookies should appear flat and crinkly at the center.
  7. Let the cookies cool on a baking sheet for a few minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack. Store fully cooled cookies in an airtight container; they should retain their chewy texture for a few days.
Shopping List
1 ¾ cups/225 grams all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ cup/115 grams unsalted butter (1 stick), at room temperature
1 cup/220 grams light brown sugar
½ cup/100 grams granulated sugar
⅓ cup/80 milliliters white miso paste
¼ cup/60 milliliters chunky peanut butter
1 large egg
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
½ cup/105 grams sugar, plus more as needed

my christmas + new years card

1.03.2021

What a weird year. I had "Christmas Card" on my list for literally months. I normally start gathering pictures in early November, sent to the printer by Thanksgiving and cards in the mail shortly after that. I'm so eager to get them in the mail that I put regular stamps on the cards instead of postcard ones. 

This was a different year - not a bad one, just different.

My phone is filled with pictures but not of anything really. We essentially stayed home from March on and so there are no football games, trips to Maine, or random lunches out. But that didn't make it any less special of a year. 

After years of using Minted for my cards, I actually designed my own with Canva. I wasn't trying to be more affordable - but it certainly was :-). I love this years card. It feels very appropriate. Here are some quick thoughts on the pictures starting with the top left and moving clockwise.

  • Sunrise // I made it to less sunrises this year I think than in 2019. I think that is in part because I skipped all the ones with questionable weather. 
  • boat // Some really picturesque boat rides in the harbor this summer. "Thankfully" my brother lost his internship to covid, so he was around for nearly all of them. Half way through the summer we started a "boats and bagels" trend which was very productive. A morning cruise of the harbor with bagels and then the rest of the day to enjoy summer.
  • ginger on the beach // Ginger is very consistent. Her tail is always wagging. She always wants to be on the beach and she always wants to make friends with people. 
  • Kerrianne on the vineyard // In June, Kerrianne and I slipped away to the Vineyard for a couple days. It was one of the best moments of the entire year. We explored a trail that we had never been on despite having been to the Vineyard for nearly 30 years.
  • fresh air walk // this might have been the year that I spent the least amount of time on the trails. I'd like that to be better in 2021 but honestly any time spent getting fresh air is better than no time.
  • sunset stroll // a whole lot of time spent walking around my neighborhood. Depending on when I took my walks, I would often run into my dad in the morning or my mom in the afternoon. One of my favorite things was honestly just see them walking together and not even say hi. It felt like spying.
  • eleanor on the porch // year two of our beloved screen porch. I was working more this year so less time scrolling the internet with morning coffee, but still super peaceful and one of the best investments of 2019.
  • grandfather's birthday // who doesn't love a good cake? I can't remember what I made here. This is why I need to be better about writing down the recipes.
  • garden time // I spent probably more time in the garden this year than others, but absolutely no time writing about it. My flowers did really well this year. Less butterflies than in 2019 but I've got a plan to improve that for 2021. Goal is to get less bee stings however. I did not enjoy those.

vegetarian bolognese

1.01.2021


To be clear, I still love bacon and eat meat - but I'm trying to improve my diet. Normally I would have made a traditional bolognese like this one but was inspired to make a vegetarian version. And that is the reason why I bought tofu for the first time in my life. I figured that when I started to look for a vegetarian option I was going to get stuck with lentils, but that was not that case here. This recipe came from Camille Styles.

An expected win for this meal was that it is super affordable. The unexpected win was that it was INCREDIBLY delicious. I was beyond surprised at how flavorful and tasty this was without meat. I even made the jump to a vegan cheese - and that was good too. While it will be hard to get some people in my life to knowingly eat tofu, I think that I can trick them into it. 

I do think there are a couple things that you really must do to have success here. One is chop the veggies relatively small. Not mince them or anything like that - but small, especially the mushrooms. The second key is to actually let the mixture simmer for a full 45 minutes. I was surprised at how much the consistency changed. This recipe will absolutely be on a regular rotation in my house going forward.

  1. Drain the tofu between paper towels for 10 minutes, squeezing out as much excess water as possible. Crumble into small pieces and set aside.
  2. In a large dutch oven, warm the olive oil over medium-high heat, then add onion, garlic, carrots, celery, mushrooms, crumbled tofu, salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning. Stir everything together, and cook until vegetables are softened and tofu is turning golden/brown, about 20 minutes. (The mixture will start out looking way too wet, and by this point it should have mostly dried out and developed some caramelization, and tofu should be crumbly, not mushy.)
  3. Add tomatoes and sugar, then let simmer over medium-low heat, partially covered, for 45 minutes. Stir in butter.
  4. Cook pasta as directed and divide among bowls. Top with bolognese, parmesan, and basil. Season with salt and pepper, and eat!
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 package extra-firm tofu
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 large carrots, chopped small
2 celery ribs, chopped
2 cups chopped mushrooms (chopped small, but not too fine)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon butter
1 pound pasta
for topping: lots of freshly grated parmesan, basil leaves, salt and pepper

salted brownie cookies


It's really been a year without much blogging. I can't believe that it's been literally months since I documented something that I had cooked - and I don't like that. In part because some of these things have been really tasty! and it's so much easier to share a recipe that I've got on my own site.

These are the cookies that I made for my friend Becca's Christmas cookie swap. I wanted something that was a tiny bit different, not complicated, and would ship well. These cookies are absolutely all that and delicious too. They are best a day out of the oven but also still good a couple days later - just crispier and less fudgy. 

Prior year swaps? 2019 was peppermint meringues. 2018 was matcha green tea cookies.

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk together flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Place chopped chocolate and butter in a double boiler or in a heat-proof bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water. Slowly melt the chocolate, stirring occasionally until smooth. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool slightly.
  2. Combine eggs, sugars, and vanilla in a large mixer bowl fitted with a whisk attachment and whisk together on medium speed for 5 minutes. Reduce speed to low and beat in melted chocolate for 1 minute. Add flour mixture and mix on low speed for 20 seconds, just until combined. Fold in andes chips (dough will resemble a gooey brownie batter).
  3. Use a cookie scoop coated lightly with nonstick spray to form the cookies – invert the scoop just above the baking sheets, spacing cookies 3 inches apart.
  4. Bake, rotating pans halfway through, for 12 to 14 minutes, until tops are shiny and crackly. Remove from oven and sprinkle with flaky salt. Let cookies cool for 10 minutes on baking sheets, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Shopping List
2/3 cup (94 g) flour
2 Tbsp (12 g) unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
1 tsp (4 g) baking powder
1/4 tsp (1.5 g) salt
8 ounces (226 g) semisweet chocolate, finely chopped 
1/4 cup (57 g) unsalted butter, cubed
2 large eggs (100 g), at room temperature
1/2 cup (100 g) sugar
1/2 cup (92 g) light brown sugar
1 tsp (4 g) vanilla extract
flaky salt, for topping
1 cup andes peppermint chips

very delicious tahini chocolate chip cookies

7.14.2020

As previously documented, I've grown quite a fondness for chocolate chip cookies... and specifically having them at the ready in the freezer. I'm currently on my second batch of these tahini cookies and see many more in my future.

I found these by pretty much just looking for unique chocolate chip cookies. There is a New York Times recipe that gets top billing on Google, but I hate paywalls.... so I ended up on Food52. The real hidden gem of this recipe is that it has no dairy in it. It could not be easier. Often when getting ready to make cookies I find myself waiting for frozen butter to defrost. A rather terrible punishment. 

The only bad part of this recipe is that tahini is not normally on my grocery list. I'm not quite sure where to find it at my local grocery store. A problem that I'm willing to solve because these are just that good.

8 ounces tahini (1 scant cup)
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
3 tablespoons cold water
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups bittersweet chocolate chunks 
  1. Heat the oven to 375° F. Line a couple sheet pans with parchment or silicone mats.
  2. Combine the tahini, sugar, and brown sugar in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium for a couple minutes, scraping down with a rubber spatula once or twice. It will be crumbly, not creamy.
  3. Add the eggs, water, and vanilla extract. Continue to mix on medium for another couple minutes, again scraping every so often. 
  4. Add the salt and baking soda. Mix on low just to combine. Add the flour and mix until almost combined. Now add the chocolate chips and mix again.
  5. Scoop rounded tablespoons of dough onto the prepared sheet pans. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes until the edges are turning golden brown but the centers are still tender. 

rhubarb blueberry anytime cake

7.09.2020

Fun fact? I've had some rhubarb in my fridge for quite some time just begging for a tasty recipe. But it wasn't until I was on a random Zoom call this week for a consulting project that I got the right inspiration. A girl I was meeting with commented that her morning was starting off great because she had just eaten some rhubarb cake ... and with that I was off and running.

The original recipe comes from Smitten Kitchen but I tweaked it a bit to fit what I had in my house. I was out of sour cream and I didn't have any lemons. I also love blueberries in baked goods so it was a must they be added. The blueberries are actually left over from last year's harvest. I always get a kick out of eating from my freezer.

I believe this cake is best eaten with a little bit of ice cream or whip cream. I have eaten it at every time of the day and can confidently say that all you need is a fork to enjoy it. Whip cream is just a nice added bonus.

Cake
1 pound rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch lengths
1/3 pound blueberries
1 1/3 cup granulated sugar, divided
1 tablespoon lemon juice 
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 large eggs
1 1/3 cups  all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon table salt
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/3 cup heavy cream / whole milk (something like that)

Crumb
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 tablespoons butter, melted
  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F. Coat the bottom and sides of a 9×13-inch baking pan with butter or a nonstick cooking spray, then line the bottom with parchment paper, extending the lengths up two sides.
  2. Stir together rhubarb, blueberry, lemon juice and 2/3 cup sugar and set aside. 
  3. Beat butter, remaining sugar and lemon zest with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at at time, scraping down the sides after each addition. Whisk together flour, baking powder, 3/4 teaspoon table salt and ground ginger together in a small bowl. Add one-third of this mixture to the batter, mixing until just combined. Continue, adding half the milk, the second third of the flour mixture, the remaining sour cream, and then the remaining flour mixture, mixing between each addition until just combined.
  4. Dollop batter over prepared pan, then use a spatula — offset, if you have one, makes this easiest — to spread the cake into an even, thin layer. Pour the rhubarb mixture over the cake, spreading it into an even layer (most pieces should fit in a tight, single layer).
  5. Stir together the crumb mixture, first whisking the flour, brown sugar, table salt and cinnamon together, then stirring in the melted butter with a spoon or fork. Scatter evenly over rhubarb layer. Bake cake in preheated oven for 50 to 60 minutes. It will be golden on top. 

coconut cake with marshmellow frosting

7.07.2020

I had the great honor recently to make a gender reveal cake. I spent a good amount of time thinking about this task. My primary goal was to make a delicious cake that didn't immediately reveal whether it would be blue or pink inside. I didn't want the recipient to know immediately once the knife hit the cake.

The end result was a funfetti coconut layer cake. I only made the middle layer blue so as to minimize the excessive amount of food coloring. The other special part of this cake was the marshmallow frosting. I have never made this before and will absolutely be making it again soon. The frosting was very easy to make provided you have a candy thermometer. This cake provided a great opportunity to baptize my offset frosting spatula. 

This cake is rather unique but really quite great. It's been about a month since I first made the cake so it is hard to remember exactly but it has a slightly different texture given it is dairy free and uses only egg whites. When combined with the marshmallow frosting it is really a home run. I made myself a little cake bite with the leftover trimmings and dear lord was that delicious.

coconut cake ingredients (from Baking A Moment)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt (scant)
13.66 fluid ounces coconut milk (1 can)*
1 cup oil (any neutral-flavored oil that is liquid at room temp will work)
2 egg whites (large)
1 1/2 teaspoons coconut extract
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F, lightly mist three 6-inch diameter cake pans with non-stick spray, and line them with circles cut from parchment.
  2. Place the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl, and whisk to combine.
  3. Place the coconut milk, oil, egg whites, and coconut extract in another bowl, and whisk to combine.
  4. Add the coconut milk mixture to the flour mixture, and whisk together until smooth.
  5. Divide the batter equally between the 3 prepared pans, and bake the cakes until a toothpick inserted in the thickest part comes out clean (about 35 to 45 minutes).
  6. Cool completely, then fill and frost the cake with marshmallow frosting and coat it with shredded coconut.
marshmallow frosting ingredients (from Baking A Moment)
5 egg whites, large
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
pinch of salt
2 cups sugar, divided
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2/3 cup water
  1. Place the egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt in a large mixing bowl and whip on medium speed until foamy.
  2. While continuing to whip, add 1 cup of the sugar in a very slow and steady stream (about 1 teaspoon at a time).
  3. Once the entire cup of sugar has been added, continue to whip until the meringue can hold stiff peaks.
  4. Whip in the vanilla extract, and continue to stir the meringue on low speed while you prepare the hot sugar syrup.
  5. Place the remaining 1 cup of sugar in a small pot, along with the water.
  6. Place the pot over medium heat and cook until the syrup boils and reaches 235 degrees F.
  7. In a very slow and steady stream, add the hot sugar syrup to the meringue, while continuing to whip on low speed.
  8. When all the syrup has been added, turn the mixer up to high speed and whip until very stiff and glossy.

seasonal love affair

7.06.2020

I'm not sure if peony season came on schedule this year or not, but it did show up and that is frankly all that matters.

My peony plants on the South side of the house had such a strong showing in their second year. Very proud of those babes. The only downside is they get so much sun that the season for them feels faster than the rest of my neighborhood. The good news is that I have other peonies that I can easily access to get my sniff on. My Aunt kindly lets me steal time with her peonies ... which we've since learned Siri autocorrects to "panties". 

My peony inventory:
  • 6 on the South Side, year 2 of blooming. bought from Lowe's. added cages for support this year. fertilized with a low nitrogen fertilizer in the spring and fungicide last fall.
  • 2 on the North Side, year 1 of blooming. bought them from Whole Foods last year. Minimal blooms but it was the first year. added cages for support this year. fertilized with a low nitrogen fertilizer in the spring and fungicide last fall. 
  • Recently added 2 more to the North Side. bought from Lowe's
For reference, here are some prior peony posts: 20172016201520142013, and 2012.
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