Smoke & Fire Cookies (Vegan!)

I know I’ve waxed poetic about Fix and Fogg before, but really, these guys are my favorite. When I was back in Wellington I made sure to stock up on some of their excellent peanut butter, and when I went to their adorable storefront to buy a jar, the guy working offered me a sample of the new spiced peanut butter they’re making. Spiced peanut butter! It sounds weird, and it is, but it is AMAZING. Needless to say I bought a jar.

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I know what you’re thinking – that’s nice and all, but I’m not in Wellington, so I guess I can’t bake these cookies. Well, no. While I am 100% certain these would be better made with actual F&F Smoke and Fire, I actually made them with regular old chunky peanut butter and an assortment of spices to imitate the real stuff. Because that one jar of spicy peanut butter I brought back? Yeah, I ate all of that. With a spoon. In about a week. And so until Fix and Fogg start exporting (please start exporting!) this is what I have to tide me over.

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Vegan Hippie Cookies

I know what you’re thinking – more vegan baking? Already? Don’t worry, as soon as I finish this post I’m going downstairs for some more traditional lacto-ovo-vegetarian baking, but yes. I made some vegan cookies. And they were amazing, although weirdly my new coworkers here in Australia did not eat all of them. I brought a whole box and only about half went. Quite a change from bringing literally 100+ cookies into work and having people tell me I hadn’t made enough. I’m a little relieved, to be honest.

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These are not actually all that outrageous. I still used refined sugar and wheat flour, because at the end of the day I just love my chocolate chip cookie recipe too much as it is. So if, like me, you’re more of a health fan than a health freak, or if, like me, you just have a couple vegan friends and you want to give them some cookies, this is perfect. And they taste amazing. The cacao nibs (broken-up bits of raw cacao beans, and definitely part of what makes these hippie cookies) add a nice intensity of flavor and a bit of crunch. And the coconut butter adds just the right amount of coconut flavor – it’s not overwhelming, but it’s there. Equally important is the texture, which is not all that different from your standard chocolate chip cookie, though perhaps a bit softer.

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Old-Fashioned Chocolate Chip Cookies

pileHi guys! Predictably I’m behind on my posting. I’m currently living in a hostel in Byron Bay, Australia. It’s sunny and beautiful, but I’m working with a shared kitchen, a communal toaster oven, and a seriously tiny food budget, so I haven’t exactly been doing tons of baking. I’m probably more upset about it than you are. Anyway, I’m hoping to get some done in the next couple weeks, but in the meantime, I have another old post for you!

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These were born out of failure. I wanted to make Old-Fashioned macarons – you know, like the classic bourbon, sugar, bitters, and orange cocktail. But I ignored the first rule of making macarons: don’t do it without a scale. I tried. I failed. Twice. But I had some really nice Buffalo Trace bourbon left over, and some ingredients to use up before leaving Wellington, so I made these instead. They were pretty damn tasty.

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Bouchon Bakery Chocolate (Chip &) Chunk Cookies

Maybe it’s a little early in this blog to be posting duplicate recipes, but it’s my blog and that’s just how things are going to go around here. Besides, I take my chocolate chip cookies very seriously – if there’s a recipe out there better than my go-to, I need to know about it. So when I saw the Bouchon Bakery Chocolate Chip & Chunk Cookie recipe, I was intrigued. The reviews were glowing, the pictures were beautiful, and everyone seems to be obsessed with Bouchon Bakery. It’s a straightforward enough recipe, but different enough to be worth trying out.

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I’ll just skip to the end here: I still like my lovely Jacques Torres chocolate cookie better. But these were tasty and interesting and I’m glad I gave them a go. The main difference between them and any other chocolate chip cookie is the molasses. There’s not much, just over a teaspoon, but it comes through really nicely. The touch of bitterness is a welcome twist on the classic, and I think for some people this could be an instant new favorite.

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Triple-Threat Chocolate Chip Cookies

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I have a few different go-to recipes – cocoa brownies, Magnolia-inspired cupcakes, peanut butter blondies – but chocolate chip cookies are probably my favorite. They’re simple, familiar, and nearly everyone likes them. For years I swore by the recipe from the back of the Ghiradelli’s chocolate chip bag, which I still love, but then I stumbled across the famous New York Times chocolate chip cookie recipe and never looked back. Turning a simple classic into something extraordinary is the best sort of baking success.

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But the real reason I’m baking these cookies this week is because it’s so easy to make a double batch and end up with a borderline insane quantity of the things. Because this weekend brings us Wellington Rugby Sevens: beloved kiwi piss-up, winner of the Guinness World Record for the biggest costume party, and far and away the busiest weekend my coworkers and I will have this year. We’re going to need sugar. Lots of sugar.

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