This Weekend: Chocolate Crisps & Fuzzy Socks

via Martha Stewart

This week kicked my ass. Not that things were particularly busy, or any task remarkably difficult, but it was one of those weeks where my skin was a little too thin to be dealing with some of the people that came my way. Difficult people will always be difficult, and haters are always gonna hate, so this weekend I’m focusing on rebuilding some of that skin.

via Pinterest

My to do list for the weekend includes:

  1. Make these dark chocolate cookie crisps.
  2. Make something with blood oranges – it’s citrus season and I want to take full advantage of it!
  3. Wear leggings, fuzzy socks and lay on the couch with some bourbon. Guilt free.
  4. Clean my apartment. Because I’m incapable of enjoying or doing anything unless my space is completely clean.
  5. Order Valentine’s day cards/flowers/gifts for all the special ladies in my life – single or coupled, I’m taking this opportunity to remind them of how much I love them.

What are you guys cooking and doing this weekend? If you have a blood orange recipe that you love, please share in the comments! I’m on the hunt!

via Design Sponge


Lemon Ricotta Cookies

One of the things I wax poetic about most is that someday I want to have a house (preferably in a place like this) where I have a huge farm table (preferably one like this) and an open door where friends and family are welcome to come over any time to eat, have a glass of wine and talk or hang out. I love the idea of having a full house and, even more, I love the idea of feeding people really good food.

I’m an overachiever only child type though, so I often let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Why am I waiting for this magical house in the middle of nowhere and a farm table that will likely cost me a lot of money? I have an apartment. And a perfectly nice coffee table.

So a couple of Sundays ago I decided to make that goat cheese cheesecake, send a mass email out and invite people over. For about four solid hours I had people coming in and out of my place, eating cheesecake, drinking wine and having a generally great time. Old friends met new friends, I caught up with everyone and folks seemed to enjoy. (Added bonus: it forced me to clean my place and make sure my laundry was up and out of the way.)

Last weekend was the third or fourth installment of my Sunday Open House and I made a crap ton of cookies. Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies, Cranberry Cake and these lemon ricotta cookies. All three were a huge hit, but people swoon annually over these Giada cookies. Yeah. I said it. Giada. Judge me if you will, but not only are these cookies easy but they’re tasty!

I didn’t modify anything in the recipe, it’s perfectly fine as is. But if you wanted to get fancy you could substitute the lemon for any citrus fruit – orange, lime or even grapefruit if you really wanted to. Not really grapefruit, I think that sounds pretty awful actually.

Do you guys entertain much? How about you city dwellers…are you entertaining in a studio apartment with total disregard for spatial limitations? Any tips or tricks for me? I’m hoping to keep this up into the new year. It just feels so good to have people I love around…stuffing themselves silly with my food no less!

Recipe for the lemon ricotta cookies after the jump!

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Guest Post: Oreo Balls

This is a guest post from my co-worker and good friend Dave. If you remember the Cran-Orange Scones I made…it was Dave’s tried and true recipe that I used. I tweeted out that I’d had Dave’s Oreo Balls for breakfast one day last week and it was met with such enthusiasm (and some jealousy) that I asked him to guest post! Here we go:

Mmmm! Dave's Oreo Balls!


Like many of my friends, I learned a lot of my culinary skills from my mom.  While I’ve tried (and mostly succeeded) a number of her recipes, the one I’m most proud of are the Oreo Balls.

Let it be known that this is not an original from my mom (I’ve seen other recipes online), but it is easy, fun and a real crowd pleaser (just ask my office mates)

  • 1 package of Oreos
  • 1 block of cream cheese (softened)
  • 1-2 bags of semi-sweet morsels

Before the ball making begins, line either a cookie sheet, or whatever pan would fit into your freezer, with wax paper and set aside.

In a food processor (very helpful but you could use a rolling pin if that’s all you have) grind the whole package of Oreos into as fine a texture as possible (no large chunks please).

Add the softened cream cheese to the bowl and start mixing.  I’ve found this to be much easier with my stand mixer, but the hand held one worked great for years.  You’ll want a smooth, shiny texture to the mix.

Using a round teaspoon, scoop a full amount of the mixture into your hand, rolling it into a round ball.  Place onto the wax paper lined pan.  Continue this until your pan is full or you’re out of the Oreo mixture.  Freeze the balls.  Overnight is preferred but if you’re short on time, three hours will do.

After the frozen stage, melt your morsels either in a double broiler or in a glass bowl in the microwave.  You’re looking for a smooth consistency.  Get ready, ‘cause it’s time to dip your balls!

The rest of the directions are after the jump!

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Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies

I know we’re only 48 hours away from Thanksgiving. But like Starbucks, I’m ready to start celebrating Christmas. And what does that mean? That means making cookies until I turn into one.

When I was little my mom would pop in a Johny Mathis tape (tape) and we would bake cookies. All kinds of cookies. Actually, a recurring recipe was one for Candy Cane Cookies which never really came together…but we fixed that last year.


Cookie Plate (From the ever-talented Pnzr242)


I’m continuing the tradition in my own home, so I bought Martha Stewart’s Cookies magazine in preparation. I also listen to Now! Thats What I Call Christmas…not Johny Mathis. Not that he isn’t lovely. Call it an update.

When I was in college in Tucson, AZ at the University of Arizona (that would be the Wildcats! Not the Sun Devils.) my friends and I would head over to a late-night coffee/breakfast/sandwich shop to study. The place closed my senior year and I was fairly devastated about it. Not that I didn’t love their pancakes, but I was completely in love with their Mexican Hot Chocolate.


Cookie Dough (From the ever-talented Pnzr242)


I know what you’re asking. Even my mother asked, “What’s Mexican Hot Chocolate?” Sigh. Mom. Mexican Hot Chocolate is regular hot chocolate with cinnamon and ancho chili powder in it. It has a smoky, spicy punch to it. And it is so good!

I was excited when I saw Martha had embraced the concept, but a few changes are definitely needed. Her recipe didn’t have nearly enough of the smoky, spicy I wanted it to have. Easy enough to fix – I’ve included the changes in the recipe below.


Getting to roll dough (From the ever-talented Pnzr242)


Now, aren’t those photos beautiful?! My friend @pnzr242 came over and took pictures while I was baking. If I could do this every time I cook/bake, it would be great…much less stressful than being cook and photographer. A big thank you, for the pics and the great company!

Enjoy! :)

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Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies

Remember when I went to Austin? Yeah…I remember all that bacon!! Bacon everywhere in everything…bacon!!

What an inspiration. That bacon. Franks had that bacon chocolate chip ice cream sandwich and I really fell in love with it. So, much like the mascarpone pancakes, I wanted to recreate them. So here we go! I feel like I’m using the Bake Sale buyers as guinea pigs…I’m sorry guys…but I promise these are good!


PS – Oh I can’t wait to take pictures of these! Maybe even a few pictures of happy bake salers enjoying them?! Maybe?!

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Crinkly Lemon Cookies

When life gives you lemons…you make lemon cookies.

I saw a few iterations of this recipe and then read a great tip about how to make crinkle cookies more crinkly with the confectioners sugar…and that’s when I decided that these cookies were mine to make.

The good news about these cookies is that they are super easy to throw together, quick to bake and have great taste. I say they’re a crowd pleaser, the empty storage box on my desk when I bring them to work says they’re a crowd pleaser.


PS – Like I said…I’ll post some pics of these after the Bake Sale!

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Caramel Apple Cider Cookies

Do you guys read The Kitchn? If you don’t, you should!

So one day I was checkin’ on the ‘ol Google Reader and this post about 9 Cookies the blog writer wanted to bake soon was glaring me in the face…one of the the recipes were these AMAZING sounding caramel apple cider cookies.

Fast forward to the end of the day and I’m perusing my grocery store aching for a recipe to jump out at me and like a beacon in the night there was a box of apple cider mix. DONE!

These are great…it’s like mmmm comforting…and then ah! a surprise!


PS – I’ll post pictures of these amazing diddies (shout out, Linds!) after the Bake Sale for Haiti (where I’ll be selling them!).

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Christmas Is For Candy Canes

There’s a story to these little delights! I grew up baking with my mom pretty often (I’ll address this more later)…and one of the many recipes in her big box of recipes was a recipe for candy cane cookies. We tried to make these twisty gems over a few years but they never worked out. Chemist and pastry chef I am not, so I can’t tell you if there wasn’t enough baking soda, or too much flour, etc.

But about two years ago, for the heck of it, I hopped on and poked around to see if another such recipe existed. Well, lo and behold, it did! Sandra Lee of Semi-Homemade fame had tackled the candy cane challenge with a recipe worth tackling.

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