Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Chocolate Chip Cookies

You may or may not know this about me, but I am not a raging chocoholic (shocker, I know!). My tastes run more to oatmeal raisin, anything cinnamon-y, a good old-fashioned coffee cake - you get the gist.

But last week, for some really strange reason, I had a desire for chocolate chip cookies. I had recently run across a recipe from Nigella Lawson that looked terrific. As I do, she likes chocolate chip cookies that are neither too thin/crispy, nor too fat/doughy. She claimed to have perfected the ultimate cookie. And since I was having this totally out of the ordinary (for me) craving, I thought this would be THE recipe to try. 

Her recipe calls for milk chocolate morsels, but when I saw espresso chips in the store, I had to have them. I’m glad I made the swap. The espresso chips give the cookies a much deeper, richer flavor (highly recommend!).

This recipe makes 14 large cookies. Another cookie pet peeve of mine is the  trend toward BIG cookies - I just don’t get it. I made them according to the directions, but I think next time (yes, these were so good there will be a next time), I will make them a tad smaller.

Besides the chips, the only other change I made was to add a 1/2 teaspoon of salt, which I think is essential. 

The cookies have the perfect texture and flavor that I want in a chocolate chip cookie. Whip up a batch and let me know if you agree! All chocolate chip cookie opinions are welcome here.

Chocolate Chip Cookies (adapted from Nigella Lawson)


1-1/4 sticks soft, unsalted butter

2/3 C soft light brown sugar

1/2 C superfine sugar (I used regular granulated sugar)

2 t pure vanilla extract

1 egg (fridge-cold)

1 egg yolk (fridge-cold)

2 C all-purpose flour

1/2 t baking soda

1/2 t salt

1 9 oz bag espresso morsels


  1. Preheat oven to 325°F
  2. Line a baking sheet with baking parchment.
  3. Melt butter and let it cool a bit. Put the brown and white sugars into a  mixer bowl, pour the slightly cooled, melted butter over them and beat together.
  4. Beat in the vanilla, the cold egg, and cold egg yolk until your mixture is light and creamy.
  5. Slowly mix in the flour, baking soda, and salt until just blended, then fold in the chips.
  6. Scoop the cookie dough into a 1/4 C measure or a quarter-cup round ice cream scoop, and drop onto the prepared baking sheet, plopping the cookies down about 3” apart. You will need to make these in two batches, keeping the bowl of cookie dough in the fridge between batches.
  7. Bake for 15-17 minutes in the pre-heated oven, or until the edges are lightly toasted. Cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to wire racks.

Make ahead: the cookies can be made up to 3 days ahead and stored in an airtight container. Will keep for a total of 5 days.

Freeze: the baked cookies can be frozen in an airtight container or resealable bag for up to 3 months. Defrost for 2-3 hours at room temp. Unbaked cookie dough can be scooped onto parchment-lined baking sheets and frozen until solid. Transfer frozen dough to resealable bags and freeze up to 3 months. Bake direct from frozen, as directed in the recipe, but adding an extra 2-3 minutes to the baking time. And you could always freeze the spare egg white (bag it, label it, freeze for up to 3 months) for meringues at a later date. Use within 24 hours of defrosting.

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Martha Stewart's One-Pan Pasta

Greetings, dear readers!

I hope things are well with you in your part of the world.

So, I’ve had this recipe from Martha Stewart for awhile now (clipped from food52.com). The one-pan thing intrigued me — throw everything into a pan, including the uncooked pasta, and cook. Couldn’t be easier, right? I decided to give it a go last night. And I have to say, it came out really great! No boiling water first, no sautéing the onions or garlic; just throw it all into a pot, bring to a boil, and 9 minutes later, voila! I especially think this is a great summer dish because a) it’s quick, b) it doesn’t heat up the whole house, and c) you may have fresh basil and cherry tomatoes growing in your garden. What could be better?


You must try this! Pair with a glass of crisp sauvignon blanc and you’re good to go!

Martha Stewart’s One-Pan Pasta

Serves 4


12 oz linguine

12 oz cherry or grape tomatoes, halved or quartered if large

1 onion, thinly sliced (about 2 cups)

4 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced

1/2 t red pepper flakes

2 sprigs basil, plus torn leaves for garnish

2 TB EVOO, plus more for serving

Coarse salt

4-1/2 C water

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving


  1. Combine pasta, tomatoes, onion, garlic, red pepper flakes, basil, olive oil, 2 t salt, 1/4 t pepper, and water in a large straight-sided skillet (the linguine should lay flat).
  2. Bring to a boil over high heat. Boil mixture, stirring and turning pasta frequently with tongs or fork, until pasta is al dente and water has nearly evaporated, about 9 minutes.
  3. Season to taste with salt and pepper, divide among 4 bowls, and garnish with basil. Serve with drizzle of olive oil and Parmesan.
I call this "Still Life with Pasta." :-) 

Saturday, June 5, 2021

Blueberry Buckle!

It’s June and you know what that means (cue the song “June is Busting Out All Over!” - Google it)? Blueberries! Of course, you can get blueberries anywhere and almost anytime of year nowadays, but for big, fat, juicy, super-fresh, farmer’s market blueberries, you’ve got to wait for June. And to celebrate official blueberry season, I made this gorgeous Blueberry Buckle

Originally, this recipe from the ever-reliable folks at King Arthur Flour, was gluten-free (made with Measure-for-Measure gluten-free flour), but my version was made with regular AP flour. Other than that, and the addition of a bit of nutmeg, the recipe remains the same. Adding some chopped pecans to the streusel wouldn’t hurt…

The cake bakes up so light and fluffy, with a fabulous streusel topping. I added a light dusting of confectioners’ sugar right before serving, because why not? It freezes very well, too, so if you’ve got the time (and the berries), make it now, cut into squares, wrap it well, and freeze. Then when a friend drops by for coffee, you can pull out a few squares and be ready in no time.

Happy Fresh Berry Season!

Blueberry Buckle (adapted from King Arthur Flour)



1/3 C sugar

1/2 C AP flour

1 t cinnamon

1/2 t nutmeg

1/8 t salt

4 TB butter, at room temperature, at least 65°F


2 C AP flour

2 t baking powder

1/2 t salt

3/4 C sugar

4 TB butter, softened

1 large egg, room temperature

1 t vanilla extract

1/2 C milk, room temperature

2 C fresh (or frozen) blueberries


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Lightly grease an 8” square, 9” square, or 9” round pan; make sure your pan of choice is at least 2” deep.
  2. To make the streusel topping: mix the sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in small bowl. Work in the butter until the mixture becomes evenly crumbly. Set aside.
  3. To make the cake: in a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  4. In a separate bowl, beat together the sugar, butter, egg, and vanilla.
  5. Add the flour mixture and the milk alternately to the sugar/butter mixture, beginning and ending with flour. Gently stir in the berries.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the streusel on top.
  7. Bake the cake for 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick or knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
  8. Remove the cake from the oven, and set it on a rack to cool for 10 minutes. Serve right from the pan. Or to transfer to a serving plate, loosen the sides with a knife or spatula. Holding the pan in one hand, gently tip the cake out onto your other hand, remove the pan, and turn the cake topping-side up onto a serving dish. 
  9. Store cake, covered, for a couple of days at room temperature; wrap securely and freeze for longer storage.