Jehosephat, it’s Christmas! II

As Christmas comes hurtling toward us, I’m getting geared up for baking and cooking and baking and cooking. Also, some baking, and then some baking.

I bake sandwich breads and sweet almond bread and cinnamon rolls. I make caramel corn and Chex mix. I make dips and paté and savory jams to take to parties and family gatherings. I make butterscotch sauce with bourbon or brandy. I make brittle (peanut brittle, natch, but last year I also tested out chili-spiced pumpkin seed brittle and a garnet-colored Shiraz and almond brittle) and chocolate-covered almond toffee.

And then there are cookies.

Every year, I envision giving friends and families beautiful platters all kinds of cookies and sweets… and every year, I end up making one giant batch of biscotti and calling it good, and then I daydream about next year, when I’ll surely make chocolate sandwich cookies and jam thumbprints and frosted sugar cookies and shortbread and and and…

If you, like me, dream of a giant platter with a half-dozen kinds of cookies but always run out of time and patience, consider a cookie swap as a way to amass a cache of cookies without all the planning and the work and the cursing oh the cursing. (… or is that just me?) Continue reading


For me, a perfect dessert is a careful contradiction, a balance of textures and tastes, of sweet and salty and an undertone of something tart or bitter.

And sometimes you can hit that balance by happy accident. That’s what happened here. As a finishing touch for our recent Sandwich Party, I tried another blogger’s recipe for chocolate sandwich cookies. The flavors sounded promising, but something in it rang alarm bells for me.

And rightly so. My dough didn’t come together as promised — or at all — so I had to improvise. A little melted butter here, a little extra flour there, and a rest in the fridge did wonders. Thanks to instinct and accident, I ended up with a winner of a recipe, one that I know I’ll make again and again. (And then laziness, inattention, and a power outage delayed my posting. But you have it now, my sweeties, and I have the accidental recipe archived here for many future occasions, so let’s count our blessings.)

I love this cookie. I call them “fauxreos,” but they deliver so much more than an Oreo: more chocolate punch, with a rich, almost bitter undertone, more crispy crunch and creamy lushness. The crispy chocolate wafers are deeply, darkly chocolatey and faintly sweet, with a slightly salty edge that makes them the perfect foil to the rich sweet filling. The assembly process is a bit of a chore, but when you bite into the first cookie, you’ll know it’s worth every moment. Continue reading

“Jehosephat, it’s Christmas!”

Christmas came early ’round these parts!

A few weeks ago, I discovered The Alchemist’s Blog, where Alchemy Gen writes about food and its attendant issues with real thoughtfulness and verve. When I came to her entry asking for tips and tricks on hosting a cookie exchange, of course I waded right in, because who doesn’t like to give advice? Especially advice that lingers lovingly on sweet, sweet cookies and holiday fun?

And that brings us to the early Christmas: today, Alchemy Gen emailed to notify me that she’d be sending me a sweet cookie-making kit, complete with moveable type for embossing personalized slogans. I couldn’t be more tickled! I know for sure: next Christmas, I’ll honor family jokes..

[Note: Uncharacteristically salty language ahead!]
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ice cream chocolate chip son-of-a-&!%*#wich

ice cream sandwich
curse-inspiring cookies
Once in a great while, you have a bite of food that so transports you, that so delights your tastebuds, that (not to put too fine a point on it) tastes so #^@%ing good you just have to swear. When faced with perfection, the imperfect human resorts instinctively to rage.

These cookies may trigger that atavistic urge to rage. They have no business tasting this good, and I’m both angered and thrilled that they do.

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