Tag Archives: dessert

my old favorite thing

Belgian Sugar Waffles from Bonté.

When we lived in Virginia, I used to make S. stop in downtown Philly for a waffle every time we visited. They’re crunchy on the outside, gooey on the inside, and have big chunks of caramelized sugar throughout. This morning I had my first waffle since we’ve lived here. It was delicious!

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i heart dip

You guys. I was in Di Bruno Brothers today trolling for samples, and I came across the MOST AMAZING balsamic vinegar (White Balsamic Seasoning Premium Bittersweet White Grape Balsamic Seasoning) and olive oil (Extra Virgin Olive Oil “Florido” and “Mosto”). Amazing. I’m not kidding. I didn’t buy any but only because they want a small fortune for what amounts to a dip, and if I brought this home, I would probably eat bread, vinegar, and olive oil exclusively until it was gone. I will daydream about these for a while and then go back and buy them. When I win the lottery. Or get a job. Whichever happens first. If you’re not in Philly, you can find L’Acropoli di Puglia olive oil and balsamic here.

They also had this, which is, well, more dip. Served with pretzels…pretty honkin’ delicious!

La Salamandra Dulce de Leche (um, YUM! and it’s from Argentina!) is here. You can thank me later.

**Sorry about the photos. I only had my iPhone, and I need an upgrade.

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the toffee chocolate chip cookie

These are not my go-to chocolate chip cookies. These are a little more laid back, a lower maintenance cousin to the Fancy Pants cookie, which calls for extra bittersweet gourmet chocolate chips that I have to order online. These, on the other hand, are made from ingredients you should be able to buy at a regular grocery store (as opposed to Whole Foods). They are neither finicky or expensive, and they’re pretty delicious!

When I first took a look at the recipe on America’s Test Kitchen website, which I surfed my way to via one of the blogs I read (can’t remember which one),  I was intrigued because it didn’t read like any cookie recipe I’d made before. It was the browning of the butter and the use of dark brown sugar instead of light brown sugar that sold me, and I knew I had to try it. I also liked that I didn’t have to use my mixer. I told you, easy-peasy.

The toffee pieces were a bit of inspiration from Karen, who once made S. and I cookies that had little surprise pockets of caramelized perfection. Karen and I decided that it may have been toffee. (She says it was probably a Karen experiment, so we’re not 100 percent on what that ingredient was.) I added the toffee bits to this recipe because I just wasn’t convinced that this chocolate chip cookie could hold its own against the Fancy Pants. The jury’s still out on that.

I’ll share the Fancy Pants with you at some point too, but let’s ease into this cookie-making magic with an easy-going number, shall we?

Before we get started, I should tell you that I took several liberties with the original recipe that I will explain here. The major change was I “aged” the batter in the refrigerator for 24 hours before baked them. The result was a thicker, cakier cookie. When I cook them again, I think I will bake them right away. So I will give the recipe as if I did that.

For those of you who want a cakier cookie and opt to refrigerate the batter for 24 hours before baking, I use an ice cream scoop to spoon out balls of batter. I would also recommend letting the batter warm up for 10 minutes at room temperature before scooping.

I used regular old bleached all-purpose flour instead of unbleached because that is what I had, and I don’t have enough cabinet space to be buying unbleached flour when I have a full bag of bleached. I’d love to try these with unbleached flour, though. I also added toffee and sea salt, and while I say that the sea salt is optional, I don’t think it’s something you want to miss.

Okay, let’s get on with it.

Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookies

Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen, with a heaping dose of inspiration from Karen Suderman.

1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (8 3/4 ounces)

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

14 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 3/4 sticks)

1/2 cup granulated sugar (3 1/2 ounces)

3/4 cups packed dark brown sugar (5 1/4 ounces)

1 teaspoon table salt

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 large egg

1 large egg yolk

1  cup semisweet chocolate chips or chunks

1 cup Heath toffee bits (These if you can find them. I couldn’t and had to individually unwrap mini Heath bars, put them in a plastic Ziploc bag,  and beat them with a mallet. Such was my commitment.)

Sea salt to sprinkle on top (optional)


Makes about 18 cookies.

Put your oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees. Whisk flour and baking soda together and set aside.

Over medium-high heat, melt 10 tablespoons of butter in a 10-inch skillet. Once butter is melted, swirl pan and cook butter until it browns and smells nutty. Place remaining (solid) butter in glass bowl. Remove browned butter from heat and pour it into the glass bowl. Mix the butter until it is all melted.

Add sugar and brown sugar, table salt, and vanilla to butter and whisk together. Add egg and yolk and whisk until smooth, about 30 seconds. Let mixture stand 3 minutes, then whisk for 30 seconds. Repeat this two more times. Using a rubber spatula, stir in the flour mixture until it is just combined (about a minute). Fold in chocolate chips and toffee bits.

Place parchment paper on two cookie sheets. I make big scoops of dough, with only six cookies on each cookie sheet. While cookie size is a matter of personal preference, the larger the cookie the more opportunity for varying degrees of consistency – a crunchy outside that gets chewier and softer toward the middle. It’s hard to argue with that. Sprinkle some sea salt on top of each scoop of dough. Place one sheet in the oven at a time. Cook 10 to 14 minutes, turning cookie sheet halfway through. Cookies are ready when edges are brown and center is soft and puffy. Remove cookies from oven and cool on wire rack. Repeat.

Voila! Enjoy!


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sneak peak

(photo by Steven Stanek)

Can you guess what my next post is going to be about? Stay tuned!


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