Chai-Almond Thumbprints, a Sweden Workshop, and your worth as a food blogger

Chai-Almond Thumbprints, a Sweden Workshop, and your worth as a food blogger

This post has been taking shape in my head for over a year now. It began with my first EatingWell shoot, had some well-established roots by the time I ditched my cookbook deal, and became a topic I realized I wanted to address last fall, after Eva and I discussed professional photo shoots and rates with our upstate NY workshop attendees. It sat in the back of my mind up until a few days ago, when hearing Alanna briefly revisit her own very similar cookbook experience and talking with Eva about how nice it is to be responsible for just one thing on a shoot brought it to the forefront. So let’s have at it, because there’s no time like the present. (Note, if you have absolutely zero interest in this topic and only care about workshops and/or cookies, skip way ahead.)

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Flourless Mexican Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

Mexican Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

The title I’ve given this post is a bit of a misnomer. These cookies aren’t made from Mexican chocolate. But they are inspired by some crazy delicious cookies I was obsessed with a couple years ago. It was a short-lived romance, as the baker had a limited supply of Mexican chocolate that she brought back from a trip abroad, and it ran out far too quickly.

I hadn’t thought about those cookies in a while, but they came to mind when I was working with this recipe. The two are nothing alike, texturally, but once I got the thought of chocolate + warm spices into my head, there was no turning back.

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Smoky Cardamom Ginger-Molasses Cookies (& A Giveaway!)

Smoky Cardamom Ginger-Molasses Cookies (+ a giveaway!)

Hey guys! I hope everyone that celebrated Thanksgiving yesterday had an awesome one. As I mentioned on Tuesday, I had a great giveaway (and cookies) in the works for Small Business Saturday. SBS became a thing a few years back as an alternative to the madness of Black Friday (which has apparently turned into Black Thursday this year — honestly, WHAT?), and encourages everyone to shop small and/or locally. If ever there was an admirable shopping holiday, it’s this one. And I am so excited to be featuring a giveaway this weekend from one of my favorite shops: Season with Spice!

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Ginger Cookie & Carrot Cake Ice Cream Sandwiches

Ginger Cookie & Carrot Cake Ice Cream Sandwiches

It, in my mind, is already fall. It might be 83° out right now. I might be sitting at my desk downing cold fizzy water and avoiding stepping out of the path of my fan for more than a few moments. It doesn’t matter, because none of this can counteract the mental shift that began last week, when my body sensed a chill in the air and the faint, unmistakeable smell of autumn. It’s that first hint of season change that makes my brain snap out of a its whiny I-am-so-over-summer-and-all-its-oppresive-grossness dormancy and come alive, in an unstoppable way. It feels like every little bit of me is vibrating at an alarming frequency, starting in my synapses, traveling down my spine, and radiating out through the rest of my body. I speak louder and faster. I fidget excessively. I get crazy eyes. I’m so edgy that I actually scream when I catch sight of a stray thread hanging from the dishtowel above the sink because I assume it’s a spider. (A spider that presumably intends to lay eggs in my face, because that’s a thing I’ve been afraid of since I was little — thanks a lot, Alvin Schwartz and Stephen Gammell.)

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Chocolate-Raspberry Icebox Cake

If there is any dessert worthy of the description “hot mess,” it’s the icebox cake. It is really difficult to go wrong with this cake. If you can pile whipped cream on top of cookie wafers until you’ve made a mountain of crazy, then stick the whole thing in the fridge, go to bed, and wake up the next day, then you can make an icebox cake. You leave all the work to time and your fridge, where crispy wafers become cream-softened cakey layers while you sleep. Having said that, there are a couple of ways things can go wrong, especially if you’re me, and you decide to take the easiest thing in the world and complicate it. Allow me to explain……

One morning a couple weeks back, as I was lying in bed trying to muster the courage to fling off the covers and sprint downstairs to the warmth of the wood stove, I started thinking about Valentine’s Day posts. Last year, there were savory things. So this year, I wanted to do something sweet. And simple. No candy making or chocolate tempering or anything fussy. Just some chocolate. And something pink. Then my mind wandered to ombre things. (Is the ombre craze over? I feel like I might be a little late to the party on this one, but I love it and I don’t care!) And then I had a vision of a towering pink ombre icebox cake. Which then quickly morphed into lots of tiny little pink ombre icebox cupcakes. And then it changed again, just slightly, to larger cupcakes. Mini cakes. Whoopie-pie sized. YES. I was psyched.

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