More Testing, This Time with Frosting

oreo cookies with peppermint frosting

This week in Cookie Book Testing, I once again became acclimated to the pastry bag.

We are still working away at the unforgiving sandwich cookie chapter. I say unforgiving not because they are terrible—the opposite—but because they each have more than one component and all of the components (and their yields) have to be in harmony for the recipe to work every time. [click to continue…]

Testing: A Cookie Book in Progress

measuring cups

The Mindy Cookie Project is moving ahead with winds of gale force. This is one pastry chef who is not short on creative ideas.

Such as:

  • hot fudge as jam for thumbprints
  • brown butter in graham cookies and citrus shortbread
  • halvah pureed into a vanilla filling for sandwich cookies
  • Brazil nut cookies that pair magically with milk chocolate
  • Goat butter every which way

I spent a good part of yesterday mixing doughs for the sandwich cookie chapter. I don’t have enough room for major production in my tiny kitchen, so I packed up all of the ingredients and schlepped them to my folks’ house. This has the added benefit of being able to spend time with my favorite dog and take a short break in the garden. (Seasonal allergies be damned.) Still, making a cookbook isn’t  a tidy process. Black cocoa–which is super fine and super concentrated–gets everywhere if you’re not careful. (I promise I scrubbed the place down after.)

Here’s a peak behind the curtain: [click to continue…]

Little Butter Buns from Nordic Bakery

Little Butter Buns from Nordic Bakery Cookbook
I used to be one of those feed-the-starter every day — sometimes twice a day—types of bread bakers. Part of me misses those days. But another part of me knows that I am rarely in the same place for enough consecutive days to reliably water a houseplant, let alone feed a sourdough starter.

I still want to try making the sprouted-grain pan loaves in Tartine Book No. 3, but the reality is that I have a very real cookie book deadline looming; any projects involving a string of spare days will have to wait. So breads that are less of a commitment to make have become more of a priority.


These sturdy rolls comes from Nordic Bakery Cookbook, a collection of recipes from London’s Nordic Bakery, which has three locations in the city. [click to continue…]

Heavenly Hots

heavenly hots

The chefs who eat up a lot of media attention today tend to be relatively new in the field— around 30 years old, with slick hairdos and nice sweater collections. But what happens 30 years later? [click to continue…]

Almost Worldess Wednesday

Oakland kitchen
Spring is in motion in Northern California. I’m about to leave it for a week to return to the polar vortex and attend the IACP conference in Chicago. But before I do some seasonal time travel, I thought I’d borrow a line from food writer and recipe developer Nicole Spiridakis’s playbook and try my hand at a near-wordless post.

Nicole is a California expat who lives in Morocco. Each week she runs a wordless Wednesday post on her blog, Cucina Nicolina, that shows what’s been catching her eye. For those of us who have more to read than we can keep up with, indulging in a minute of photo-based storytelling offers a welcome break from word crunching.

I’ve  gone over the word count for a genuinely wordless Wednesday post, so here is my almost-wordless Wednesday post: A partially rainy, partially sunny week in early March.

flowering manzanita [click to continue…]

Pinipig Cookies

pinipig cookies
One outcome of working on a book about cookies with Mindy Segal is how it’s made me want to make cookies all the time. If a day goes by without a new cookie recipe, I feel somehow incomplete, like a runner does when she misses her morning run. Although I suspect what I’m feeling is probably just sugar withdrawal.

I am also a sucker for cookie ideas that come from unexpected sources. When I was in Chicago, I paged through my friend Cecile’s cookbook Memories of Philippine Kitchens. [click to continue…]

The Mindy Cookie Project

leopard shortbread

I ‘ve been working almost daily with Mindy Segal on her book on cookies (due out next year with Ten Speed Press). When I was in Chicago, I acted like her shadow. It must have driven the James Beard-award winning pastry chef nuts (and maybe her staff, too, since I was often in the kitchen while they were trying prepare desserts and savory food for the restaurant), but she always took care of me. The thing about cookbook work is that you rarely go hungry doing it.

using all the cookie dough

About the cookies. [click to continue…]