Chocolate Chip Cookies

 

This week has been a really busy week so I’m going to keep this post short and sweet. :)

When I first started my food blog, it was really a vehicle for me to archive our family’s recipes and create a life journal of sorts for my Bebe to one day enjoy.

Out of my curiosity for good food, I joined a food blog community and I met a few really great people that I’ve mentioned on my blog in the past. One of my favorite food blogs is the Hungry Artist and I recently had the wonderful opportunity to meet the Hungry Artist, Melissa, in person!

She is an illustrator and also an author of children’s books. She was visiting Southern California to promote her book, Soup Day. You can stop by her website to learn more about her work as an illustrator and her latest books.

Melissa and I share roots in Southern California and we were surprised to find that we had mutual friends. Such a small world! I never imagined meeting any of my food blog friends, but luckily, the day after Valentine’s Day, Melissa was driving through my part of town and we made plans for a coffee date! I had the chance to meet her wonderful son, husband and mother too! It was so nice to meet and get to know her family. I got to introduce her to my Bebe E.

Bebe E at the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf having fun making new friends.
Photo compliments of Melissa’s husband, Denis. 

Melissa is genuinely sweet and down to earth. I wished that we had more time to chat and get to know one another. We had so much to talk about, but in all of the excitement I forgot to tell her that I’ve tried a few of her recipes and really enjoyed them. Most recently, her cauliflower zucchini soup and her mom’s chicken enchiladas! She’s really creative in the kitchen, and thanks to her, I’ve expanded my repertoire in my own kitchen. :)

You can visit Melissa’s blog, the Hungry Artist to learn more about her cooking, or visit her website to learn more about her work as an author and illustrator.

Photo: Judy (left) and Melissa (on the right).
Photo compliments of Denis, Melissa’s husband. 

Because I knew Melissa and her family would be on the road for a while, I baked some of my favorite cookies for her and her family to enjoy on their long drive. As an alternative to chocolate chips I used half of the cookie dough to make dried cranberry and yogurt chip cookies.

Before I started baking these chocolate chip cookies, I tried many recipes in search of a good cookie that I liked. My favorite chewy cookie recipe I will save for another post but forget Nestle Toll House cookies because Ghiradelli Chocolate Chip cookies are currently my favorite!

Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 2 1/4 cup bread flour*, unsifted
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (or 1 12-oz bag Ghiradelli milk chocolate chips – my favorite)
recipe adapted from Ghiradelli

1. Preheat oven 350° F. (Original recipe calls for 375° F)

2. Combine butter, sugar, and dark brown sugar and mix until creamy.

3. Add eggs and vanilla extract. Mix.

4. Add bread flour, baking soda, salt and mix until creamy and incorporated. Stir in chocolate chips.

*NOTE: I learned from Alton Brown that using bread flour helps the cookie to retain moisture, creating a more moist cookie.

5. Chill dough for 2 hours or overnight.

6. On parchment paper, drop heaping tablespoons of cookie dough and bake for 9 minutes. I tend to bake until the tops are just barely golden brown. Baking the cookies until they are still a little pale but this ensures a softer cookie, which I prefer. If you like your cookies crunchy, by all means bake them for 12-plus minutes. :)

 

It was so nice to have met my foodie friend, Melissa. If it wasn’t for my food blog, I would have missed this opportunity to make a new friend. :) Please don’t forget to check out Melissa’s book Soup Day. :)

Thankful for new friends,

Judy

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Dried Cranberry & Yogurt Chip Cookies

This recipe post is related to my chocolate chip cookie post in that it uses the same Ghiradelli cookie dough recipe. I just substituted chocolate chips with dried cranberries and yogurt chips.

Chocolate chips are occassionally processed on equipment which also processes peanuts or other tree nuts and I thought that using yogurt chips (which the label indicated were not processed on equipment associated with peanuts) would be a good alternative to chocolate chips.

It turns out one of Bebe E’s favorite snacks, dried cranberries, goes well with yogurt chips. :)

I made these cookies, along with chocolate chip cookies as a gift for my foodie friend, Melissa of The Hungry Artist food blog, and illustrator and author of Soup Day whom I had the chance to meet recently.

Continue reading

Kumquat Shortbread Thumbprint Cookies

It’s finally that time of the year!!! It’s Lakers season!

A week ago Saturday, I went to a pre-season Lakers game at the invitation of my family friend. I like to call my friend M-kun, my “lil’-brotha-from-anotha-motha.” (Apologies for my lingo, but I couldn’t help it!) His Dad is like a 2nd father to me and his Mom is like a 2nd mother to me. His older sister, Aya-chan, is like the little sis’ I never had and she was one of my bridesmaids. We celebrate all of our family holidays and special events with their family and we often forget that we aren’t blood relatives, but we really might as well be!

M-kun has access to great season tickets (roughly 10 rows back from the floor), and once in a while I am very fortunate to receive a text asking if I’m available to go with him to a Lakers game. I have to admit, that those are my favorite kind of texts. :) Earlier this year, on New Year’s Day, we went to a nail-biting game where the Lakers beat the Sacramento Kings by 1-point, thanks to a 3-point shot by Kobe with only 4 seconds left in the game. It was a great way to start 2010 and the season ended with yet another Lakers Championship.

I’ve posted this photo before, but it’s still one of my favorites. :) It’s a reminder of the excellence of this season.

Although Saturday night’s game was  a pre-season game, Continue reading

Strawberry Shortcake Cookies for Mother’s Day

 

When I was younger, I loved to bake.  I didn’t care to cook and help my mom make “regular meals”, but I loved to bake cookies.

My good friend, AJ, in elementary school lived down the street from me and every Friday we had a play day, each week alternating whose house we would go to. On Fridays where we played at her house, we always baked chocolate chip cookies.  We never strayed from this routine.  She had a pool in her backyard, and on warmer days we would swim, but not even the pool would deter us from our baking routine.  We always stopped swimming later in the afternoon so we could bake chocolate chip cookies before it was time for me to go home.

As I got older, my love for baking cookies continued to grow as I tried many, many different types of recipes, but eventually I only baked during the Christmas holiday.  I always did this with passion, however, baking 5 to 6 different types of cookies and making cookie bags to give as gifts.

My favorite cookie to bake was an oatmeal crisp cookie that my jichan (my paternal grandpa) loved to eat.  Every time I visited my grandparents in Japan I would bake these cookies and take them to him.  I was fortunate to visit often, but when I couldn’t, I would send them via Airmail at least twice per year.

About 10 years ago, just before my jichan passed away, I sent a batch of his favorite cookies even though I knew he really couldn’t eat anymore.   Continue reading