Early Happy Easter? Dorie’s Cookies Meringue Vanilla Snowballs

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I was meeting up with some friends around Easter last year [yes, I am posting this a year late…], and I wanted to bring an Easter-esque treat that didn’t involve chocolate. Don’t get me wrong – I love chocolate more than the average person, but Easter tends to be pretty choco-ful and I wanted something a little different.

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Enter the Meringue Snowballs.

I figured if I made these “cookies” (can they really be called cookies?!) in pretty springtime pastels, they would fit with the Easter theme – and nary a cocoa bean in sight.

I have made meringue a few times before, and Dorie’s version is decidedly unfussy. It’s relatively quick, easy, and foolproof – at the expense of perfection. My meringues cracked a little and yours might too, but they still looked good and – most importantly – tasted like the perfect little sugar clouds that they are.

The ingredient list for meringues is short and sweet (hey… kind of like the final product!): granulated sugar, icing sugar, egg whites, cream of tartar, and a wee bit of sea salt. The Dorie’s Cookies cookbook offers some flavourful variations – mint chocolate chip! rose! green tea and pistachio! Wanting to add a little something – but not wanting to make a trip to the grocery store – I opted to make the Vanilla Snowball iteration (just add vanilla… easy as that).

Although the recipe is easy, you do have to be a little careful in the preparation. For one, the sugars must be sifted. Second, all of your baking gear must be perfectly clean – fat is the murderer of meringues, so be ultra careful when separating your whites from your yolks. I always break each egg individually before putting them in a communal bowl – that way, if you mess one up and break the yolk, you won’t contaminate all the other whites.

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The whites, cream of tartar, and salt get sent to the stand mixer, where they whisk away until they start forming soft peaks. At this point, all but one tablespoon of the sugar is slowly added until the mixture is stiff and perfectly shiny. (This is where I added the vanilla, too.)

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I always mix a little longer than I think I’ll need to – otherwise, I tend to end up with a mixture that is slightly too runny. I think I nailed it on this go. Once the mix is looking good, you gently – gently – fold in the last bit of sugar.

At this point, I divided the glossy goop into a few different bowls and played around with some of the colours. The book suggests spooning the meringue out onto your silicone mat-covered baking sheet, but I knew they were look prettier if I took a little extra time to pipe them. I didn’t bother washing out the bags between colours because I figured a little marble/tie dye effect would look kind of cool and very dip-dyed Easter eggy.

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Don’t these look like these dot candies from your childhood?

I couldn’t decide whether the tame the little cowlicks or to leave them as is. I tried patting a few down (I do this by wetting my finger and tapping the tops), but ultimately I decided to leave most of them up. I kind of like the look.

Slow and steady is the name of the meringue game: these puppies baked at 250 degrees for 75 minutes, then I propped open the oven door and left them in there overnight.

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They kept their colour nicely and didn’t brown at all.

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What do you think? I think they’re a cute – if not quite traditional – Easter option. Bookmark this one for next year, perhaps?

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Dorie’s Cookies’ Peanut Butter and Fudge Brownies: Good – But Not the Best

I am sad to report that my KitchenAid stand mixer is still broken.

[Update: I am happy to report that I got a new one for Christmas 2018!!! However, I am sad to report¬†that this post¬†has no photos. I’m publishing it anyway.]

Depending on when I actually come around to publishing this post (which, let’s be honest, could be half a year after I write it at the pace I’m going) […yep], that means I have been several months without my trusty mixer. Considering how much I love to bake, that is a big deal.

But the good stand mixers aren’t cheap (I need the high quality ones to handle my bread baking needs!), and between general life expenses and preparing for a baby (who, weird to think, might be born by the time I post this) [… yep], a new mixer isn’t in the cards for the time being.

While that may have slowed my meringue and macaron production, it hasn’t stopped my baking altogether. I’ve just started looking for recipes that require little to no mixing – anything I can do by hand is fair game. After all, isn’t that what our grandmas did?

The Peanut Butter and Fudge Brownies recipe from my Dorie’s Cookies cookbook didn’t seem to require too much mixing, and best yet, it reminded me of another recipe that I LOVE: the No-Bake Almond Butter Cup Bars from Minimalist Baker.

I can’t remember how I found that recipe but it is definitely is not my usual way of doing things. I almost NEVER use online recipes for baking (there is too much junk out there), and this is one of those “healthier” recipes that uses crunchier ingredients (think dates and maple syrup instead of regular white sugar, and a ganache made with coconut milk and coconut oil). However, it is super easy to make (hence the no bake) and easily accommodates the gluten-free folks in my life, so I have made it quite a few times and I LOVE it. It packs SUCH a punch. (Note that I use peanut butter instead of almond butter – and I make my own).

I figured that the Dorie’s Cookies recipe would be at least as good as the Minimalist Baker one – if not better, because it uses more decadent ingredients. As it turns out – I actually didn’t like it quite as much. It seemed a little less flavourful than the Minimalist Baker one – each layer was a little more subdued. But it was still a very delicious recipe (I mean, peanut butter + chocolate = how can you go wrong), so it’s worth discussing anyways.

This recipe has three components:

  1. The brownies
  2. The peanut butter frosting
  3. The chocolate glaze

The Brownies

First up, the brownie base. It all starts with a little saucepan action, where you mix butter and melted chocolate over a low heat til it slowly becomes melty and delicious. Off the heat, you whisk in white sugar, vanilla, and salt by hand – no stand mixer needed (woohoo!).

Next, four eggs get added to the mix one at a time. Again, whisking by hand is the way to do it. This recipe advises to use cold eggs, which is noteworthy because I feel like room temperature eggs is the usual baking norm – cold is fine by me because half the time I forget to take the eggs out of the fridge anyways.

Once the eggs are mixed in, you gently fold in some flour with a spatula. You know what you can’t use to gently fold in flour? That’s right – a stand mixer! The final step – and, in my opinion, a very important one – is to fold in some chopped peanuts. I know not everyone loves nuts in their brownies, but I think the texture it adds is well worth it. Plus, the peanuts tie in nicely with the peanut butter frosting. Don’t skip this step.

So making the brownies is pretty easy and straightforward. The batter gets baked for about half an hour at 325 degrees. Don’t even think about adding the frosting before the brownies cool, or else it’ll turn into a melty, soaked up mess – delicious, surely, but not as pretty.

The Peanut Butter Frosting

The peanut butter frosting is what elevates this dessert from regular old brownies to something a little more special. Now, this section of the recipe begins with, “Working in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment” – discouraging! – BUT it then says “or in a medium bowl with a hand mixer” – better!

You know what’s even better than a hand mixer? A HAND! I used my brute strength and a mix of a whisk and a flexible spatula to “beat” a mixture of peanut butter (homemade) and room temperature butter, When it looked incorporated and smooth (probably not as pro as a stand mixer, but hey – I got a bicep workout), I mixed in icing sugar, a wee bit of sea salt, some nutmeg (which I’m not sure I would add in again – I didn’t love this flavour in the frosting), some milk, and some vanilla. Boom – icing complete.

If your brownies are fully cooled (no cheating!), it is now time to spread the peanut buttery frosting over the brownies.

I think that the frosting layer is the “weak” point of this recipe compared to the Minimalist Baker one. This layer of the MB recipe almond butter (peanut, in my case), a bit of maple syrup, and a bit of sea salt. It is ultra flavourful and nutty and delicious, whereas this frosting almost gets diluted by the icing sugar and butter.

The Chocolate Glaze

Because we can all agree that all baked goods are made better when coated in a layer of glossy chocolate, the final step to this recipe is adding a delicious layer of decadent chocolatey goodness.

The glaze is easy to prepare: butter + chocolate in a saucepan over low heat, similar to the first step in making the brownies. The whole thing gets poured and spread over the frosted brownies, then you have to let it sit in the fridge for a tantalizing hour and half before you can dig in.

The Verdict

I pretty much made these brownies for no real good reason – it wasn’t anyone’s birthday or anything, I just wanted to have something on hand for when I needed to satisfy my sweet tooth. I cut them into small squares and wrapped most of them in tin foil, then put them in a plastic bag and froze them. This made it easy to pop them into lunches or the like.

I actually enjoyed them more out of the freezer (and thawed) than fresh out of the oven – I think it gave the flavours a chance to settle in more or something.

I have to admit that I was a little disappointed overall at these brownies because I couldn’t help but compare them to my beloved Minimalist Baker recipe. However, those who tried them who HADN’T had the MB recipe seemed to really enjoy them. They certainly weren’t a bust or anything, I just don’t know that I will be quick to make them again.

Dorie’s Cookies’ Chocolate and Walnuts Bars – the Not Brownies

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A little while ago, I made a brownie-with-walnuts recipe from the Dorie’s Cookies cookbook, which was very delicious. However, here’s something intriguing I noticed: another recipe in the same chapter was for something called “chocolate and walnut bars”.

Chocolate brownies with walnuts. Chocolate and walnut bars. How different could they be?!

The only way to resolve this kind of riddle, of course, is to bake both and experience each recipe firsthand. So, with the brownies already ticked off my list, it was time to tackle the rather un-inspiringly named Chocolate and Walnuts Bars.

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There are three things to know about this recipe. One: it calls for a lot of chocolate – 12 ounces total, between the cake and the glaze. Two: it calls for a lot of eggs – 8 total. For one recipe. Three: it calls for a lot of dishes.

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Not discussed: the many dishes used in the mise en place.

First dish: the heatproof bowl in which you melt some of the chocolate.

Second dish: a small bowl in which you place some chopped (but not melted chocolate) and some chopped (… but not melted…) walnuts. These two ingredients get mixed together. Chocolate and walnuts for the Chocolate and Walnut bars – makes sense, right?

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Third dish: the food processor bowl (a.k.a. my least favourite dish for cleaning purposes) in which you process some of the walnuts alongside some flour. Then, after dumping out the walnut-flour (fourth dish), the butter gets pulsed with some sugar, salt, and eight whopping egg yolks (one by one).

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Third dish continued: the food processor bowl in which you combine all the components (so far): the melted chocolate, the walnut-flour, and the eggy butter sugar (already in third dish – are you keeping track here?).

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Fifth dish: a stand mixer bowl in which you whip up egg whites – eight of them (you guess it!) – into a foamy opaque cloud of goodness, which turns into a stiff, glossy mixture after adding some sugar. [Note: okay, busted – this post is from FEBRUARY, back when my mixer worked. #rip]

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The whites are then added to the rest of the ingredients (see: third dish) in two ways. First, you plain old mix a quarter of the whites into the chocolate and stuff – then the rest of the whites get folded in properly. We’re chasing after a light and fluffy texture here, folks.

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Now, it’s baking time: the cake gets baked for 25 to 28 minutes (I think mine was more like 30 – I used the toothpick test to make sure it was fully cooked). Then, it’s time for…

Sixth dish: You didn’t think we were done with dishes, did you? Dish number six is a saucepan, in which cream, sugar, and water comes to a boil to make the base of a delicious topping.

Seventh dish: Almost there now, folks. Dish number seven is another heatproof bowl in which chocolate is placed, then the boiled cream-sugar-water is added while it is still hot. The heat melts the chocolate into a glorious, shiny, decadent glaze. Pouring this over the cakey part is incredibly satisfying.

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And that’s how you make Chocolate and Walnut Bars. Now, it’s time to discuss how Chocolate and Walnuts Bars differ from walnut brownies:

  1. Colour: the C&W bars are much lighter in colour than the rich, fudgy brownies.
  2. Texture: while the brownies are very dense, the C&W bars benefit from the folding of the eggs whites. Dense is the opposite of what these are: think fluffy and airy like a delicious cake.
  3. Chocolately bits: The addition of the un-melted chocolate chunks (see second dish) is DELIGHTFUL. It’s like bonus chocolate chips in an already wonderfully chocolatey dessert.
  4. The glaze: Oh, the glaze! While the brownies were a quick-and-easy icingless recipe, the C&W bars get a gorgeous glaze (at the expense of extra dishes). The glaze takes it to the next level – do not skip under any circumstances.

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Here are my final thoughts about the Chocolate and Walnut bars: these are not meant to be bars. This recipe is really meant to be a torte of sorts. It should be baked in a round dish, then served topped with delicious raspberries. I feel like Dorie had this amazing recipe and was like, “Hmm, how can I fit this into my latest book? I know – bake ’em in a square pan, cut ’em up, and call ’em a cookie.” Don’t get me wrong – it’s delicious – but it definitely feels like a cake in disguise.

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I Shall Never Eat Biscotti Again: Dorie’s Cookies Chocolate Chip Not-Quite Mandelbrot

Bad news: I’m pretty sure I can never make biscotti again.

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And these cute looking “Chocolate Chip Not-Quite Mandelbrot” cookies are to blame.

You see, I whipped this batch of cookies up for a book club meeting I had early in my first trimester juuuuust as my food aversions were starting to hit. [PS – I am posting this during my third trimester – my lagging blog post trend continues.] Thankfully, this stage only lasted a week or two – but at the expense of my love of biscotti*.

*These are technically not biscotti. They are technically not even Mandelbrot, which is what the recipe is supposed to be modeled after. But they are an awful lot like biscotti – twice baked and everything – and so the entire biscotti genre of cookie shall suffer.

I enjoyed eating the ends and broken bits of the cookies as I was baking them, but as soon as the whole thing was done, suddenly they seemed awful to me. I can’t explain why – all I know is that when I brought them to book club, I wanted absolutely nothing to do with them, and the thought of them today makes my stomach turn a little.

It’s not the recipe’s fault – I promise! Everyone else who ate them said they are fantastic.

Anyways, this blog post is devoted to the memory of biscotti. I didn’t eat you very often, but I will probably never eat you again for the rest of my life.

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Dorie’s Cookies Parmesan Galettes: Ooh La La

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Here’s something delightfully intriguing: the Dorie’s Cookies cookbook has a chapter devoted to savoury cookies. I’m not used to seeing non-sweet things in my baking cookbooks, but there are plenty of interesting (and weird: I’m looking at you, hot-and-spicy togarashi meringues and honey-BLUE CHEESE madeleines) recipes here.

(I am never going to make those madeleines. I hate blue cheese.)

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A little while ago, I was supposed to head to a friend’s house for a pre-dinner birthday gathering. I thought the Parmesan Galettes sounded perfect for an appetizer, so I decided to try my hand at my first savoury cookie.

(I ended up having to turn the car around and skip the party because the roads were horrible – so I had these all to myself.) (Note: I wrote this post back in February when snow was still a thing…)

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The ingredient list is short and sweet: all-purpose flour, butter, Parmesan cheese, and a bit of sea salt. If you’re reading this, I probably don’t have to tell you to buy the kind of Parm that you have to grate yourself. But just in case… there you go.

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This recipe doesn’t require a mixer; it uses the food processor to mix the butter, flour, and Parmesan. Here’s how the dough is described: “process in long bursts until you have a moist curds-and-clumps dough”. Although that sounds incredibly vague and non-scientific, somehow, I knew exactly what Dorie meant when the time came.

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I’m pretty sure this is what moist curds and clumps looks like?!

It’s super easy to smush the dough into a log. I was surprised at how teeny tiny the log was, but the recipe yielded 15 galettes, as the book said it would. Before slicing, you pop the log into the fridge for a couple of hours (or the freezer for just one hour, if you’re of the opinion that time is money).

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After the dough has chilled, it’s time to slice and dice. The sidebar of the recipe says that these galettes pair nicely with a variety of herbs and spices, so I experimented (conservatively) by grinding a bit of fancy pepper over each galette. (If you’re wondering what fancy pepper is, it comes from France and includes tasting notes – thanks Mom and Dad!!!)

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Note: If you look closely, you can see that some of my galettes have a tiny hole in the middle. This is because I didn’t roll my log quite tightly enough. Lessons learned!

The cookbook says that you can either bake the sliced galettes in a muffin tin (for a perfect circular shape and satisfying edges) or free-standing on a cookie sheet.

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I baked 12 in the muffin tin and the rest on a baking sheet, and while the muffin ones looked prettier, I found they took a little longer to bake than the designated 15 to 17 minutes. They were more like 20 minutes.

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Here’s the verdict on the galettes:

I LOVED them. They reminded me of dinner parties when I was younger. I feel like my mom used to serve cheese straws or something that were just like this. I loved the slightly crumbly texture and I thought they tasted just the right amount of Parmesan. I like Parmesan, but usually as a side cheese, not as a cheese on its own. Like, I wouldn’t typically eat Parmesan alone on crackers. These galettes were fantastic and felt fancy to me.

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Cedric did not like them. I did not see this coming from a mile away – in our relationship, I am the one who favours sweets and he likes all things savoury (though he’s never met a chocolate chip cookie he didn’t like). Not only that, but he LOVES cheese – including Parmesan. He will gladly slice Parmesan and put it on a panini (which is exactly what he did with the leftover Parmesan from this recipe). But for whatever reason, this recipe didn’t do it for him.

Oh well. More for me!

Dorie’s Cookies Classic Brownies – Far Better than a Convenience Store Treat

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I thought the brownie looked very small and lonely on a plate, so I put it on a coaster.

We live dangerously close to a convenience store. When the craving for something sweet hits, it can be awfully tempting to run over and get a candy or a chocolate bar.

When this happens, I often feel myself underwhelmed with the same old mediocre-tasting options – sometimes I just go back home because nothing is calling to me. When I do find something I like, most of the time the enjoyment is merely fleeting. Blaaaaah.

Here’s an alternative I prefer: something easy to whip up – preferably something deliciously decadent – that involves little to no grocery shopping and that takes long enough to make to build anticipation, but is fast enough to enjoy within the hour.

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The Classic Brownies recipe from the Dorie’s Cookies cookbook that I’ve been dipping into is the perfect recipe for this. While I wouldn’t say this is the best brownie I’ve ever had (that honour goes to any brownie from Purebread – all hail Purebread!), it certainly hits all the criteria I listed above.

You probably already have butter, sugar, eggs, salt, flour, and vanilla on hand in your pantry. If you do, you’re most of the way there. The only other two ingredients needed are chocolate (bittersweet or semi-sweet) and optional walnuts. We opted for the walnuts, and I’m glad we did. I don’t trust people who don’t enjoy nuts in their brownies. (Unless, of course, those nuts would kill them or something.)

I always like it when a recipe starts by telling me to preheat the oven – that means there won’t be much waiting around. So far, this recipe is off to a solid start, right?

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With the oven doing its thing, the next step is to melt the butter and chocolate over a double boiler, then once it’s just about finished, you take it off the heat and stir in the sugar. Then the eggs go in, followed by the salt and vanilla.

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The last step is the flour: unlike the previous ingredients, which get mixed in with no abandon, the flour needs to be gently folded in. The last items to get added to the batter are the delicious (and optional) walnuts.

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If you’re reading between the lines here, folks, you’ll realize that this recipe does NOT require a stand mixer (or an electric mixer of any sort). THIS is what a call the perfect quick recipe – minimal waiting, minimal dishes.

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Pre-baked…

Finally, the brownies get baked for 27 to 29 minutes – I put mine in for 29 and they were perfect. These brownies are dense and squat – they’re not the prettiest, to be frank, but I like that they’re firmly in the brownie category, not in the cake category.

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Post baked (droooooool)

Of course, the brownies are delicious while warm, but we managed not to devour the entire pan straight out of the oven. I can attest that they are indeed good after a few days if you take care to store them in a tupperware.

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While I appreciate these no-nonsense brownies for what they are, I am a little intrigued with some of the variations proposed for them:

  • Rum raisin (not so much)
  • Chopped-chocolate brownies (with chunks of chocolate inside – yes, yes, yes)
  • Ginger brownies (sounds weird but probably delicious)
  • Orange brownies (as an avid Terry’s Chocolate Orange fan, sign me up)
  • Cinnamon-mocha brownies (could be interesting)
  • Peppermint brownies (saving this for Christmas)

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Dorie’s Cookies’ Vanilla-Brown Butter Madeleines: A Two-Bite Cupcake

There’s something about madeleines that seems so wonderfully precious to me. Maybe it’s because they share a name with the little French private school character. Maybe it’s because they require their own special pan for baking. Maybe it’s because they’re just so gosh darned dainty and cute that it’s a wonder they haven’t blossomed into macaron-territory popularity. (Mark my words: madeleines will be the on-trend dessert of 2019 or 2020).

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My own history with madeleines is somewhat hazy. Until Christmas morning, I didn’t own madeleine pans, so I never got the chance to try to bake my own. Until now, my exposure had been limited to some store bought ones I tried when I was around 10. I can’t remember especially liking them – but I also can’t remember not liking them.

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Nonetheless, I was eager to put my new pans to work and decided to test them out with the most simple and classic of madeleine flavours: vanilla-brown butter, from my Dorie’s Cookies cookbook.

Here’s the thing with madeleines: Dorie stresses that they should be consumed as shortly after being baked as possible. I was preparing these for an evening book club meeting, so I started to bake them just as the sun was going down. This means that the pictures get progressively worse – sorry for that. Is anyone else counting down eagerly until the days get long again?

Step one is to prepare the special madeleine pans by greasing them and flouring them. Check and check. Next, you whisk the dry goods together: all-purpose flour and baking powder. So far so good.

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Now, the butter. The butter gets melted and swirled on the stove top for a little while – after all, this recipe is called vanilla brown butter. When the butter is amber-esque and smells nutty and delicious, it gets pulled off the heat.

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Meanwhile, you mix white sugar with eggs, vanilla, salt, and honey – the wets.

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For those keeping track, we now have three bowls going on: the butter, the dry, and the wet. It is now time to unite them as one: you gently stir the wet with the dry, then fold the butter, bit by bit. Finally, you add a bonus ingredient. The bonus ingredient is a tablespoon of either Scotch, bourbon, dark rum, or milk (… one of these things is not like the other…). I had some bourbon left over from the sticky toffee pudding I made somewhat recently, so I threw it in there – and you know what? The boozy kick was pretty noticeable, considering it was only a tablespoon! I’d like to see how the taste differs if I use milk instead.

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The batter then gets poured into the mad-pan. The recipe says it yields 12 madeleines, but mine made 20 (bonus!!). They bake at a high-ish temperature (400 degrees) for a short-ish amount of time (12 minutes), then you have to tap them out of their shells right away.

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Aaaaand this is about where the sun had totally gone down and the pictures really suck.

(I’m not sure why it’s so urgent, but the recipe told me so. Maybe because they would keep baking and they’d dry out quickly? Who knows.)

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I decided to kick my madeleines up one final notch by dipping them ever so slightly in some melted dark chocolate. This was not part of the recipe directions, but it was the right call – otherwise the madeleines may have been just a bit too plain.

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The last step: a dusting of icing sugar (this step was called for by the recipe).

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I tried to get an inside shot so you can get a sense of the texture. Kind of springy, kind of bouncy – very tasty.

Now, I don’t know exactly what madeleines are supposed to taste like, but I’ll do my best to sum it up and someone can let me know if I made them correctly. They kind of taste like a mini two-bite cupcake – they’re light, and they have a nice springy texture. They’re not overly sweet, but they’re not terribly exciting either. Or maybe that’s just because I picked a boring flavour. The good news is that I’ve got some more exciting varieties to try both in this cookbook and another. Stay tuned – exciting madeleines coming your way soon.

Dorie’s Cookies Chocolate Creme Sandwiches: a.k.a. Homemade Oreos, Baby

My new Dorie’s Cookies cookbook is seriously daunting.

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There are so many cookie recipes. I get it – that’s the point. After all, it is a cookbook about cookies. But if you want to make cookies – any cookie, no particular kind specifically – it can get overwhelming.

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I decided to try the Chocolate Creme Sandwiches for a friend’s birthday because they seemed pretty easy to make and I thought they would appease most palates – after all, this is Dorie’s approach to the classic Oreo. She describes her sandwiches as “a little less brittle and a little less sweet than the originals, but they’re just as snackable”.

There are two components to this recipe: the cookie and the “creme” (i.e., the delicious cream filling that is arguably the best part of an Oreo).

The cookies require perfectly average ingredients: all-purpose flour, cocoa powder, butter, sugar, salt, vanilla, and an egg white. The filling is even easier: butter, icing sugar, vanilla, and salt. You can colour and flavour your filling to your heart’s desire (anyone remember neon Oreos? The best!), but I decided to keep mine original for the first bake.

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Making the cookie dough, I got the feeling that something wasn’t quite right. I mixed the butter, sugar, and salt without any issues, added the egg white and vanilla as directed, and then introduced the dry ingredients. The whole thing seemed really dry – like I was missing a key liquid ingredient to bind the whole thing together. But after reading Dorie’s thorough cookbook introduction, she has convinced me that all of her directions are just so for a specific reason. I decided to have a little faith. Plus, this line helped me accept that this wasn’t going to look like a traditional cookie dough right away:

“… until you have a dough that holds together and forms clumps when pinched – it shouldn’t come together in a ball.”

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I dumped the crumbly contents onto the counter and kneaded the mass, and wouldn’t you know – it came together beautifully! Sorry I ever doubted you, Dorie.

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I split the hunk of dough into two and rolled each out between sheets of parchment paper – it felt somewhat wasteful, but it made it wonderfully easy and non-sticky. (I used the parchment dough for the actual baking of the cookies, too.)

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The flatted dough rectangles rest in the freezer, then it’s time to stamp out the circles. I have a decent collection of cookie cutters, but oddly enough, I don’t have plain circles, so I used a little heart cookie cutter instead.

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The recipe says it makes 22 sandwiches, so 44 cookies total, but I was able to get way more out of my dough. (I re-rolled the scraps into fresh dough while the first two trays were baking).

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Pre oven

These cookies are chocolatey, so it’s hard to tell when they’re done. I trusted the cookbook’s guide of 12 to 14 minutes and kept mine in for about 13. The cookies maintained their shape nicely, though a few of them had little bumps of air.

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Post oven

After they cooled, they had a satisfyingly crisp texture and tasted almost like a chocolate shortbread.

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This is the whole recipe?!?!

In the meantime, I got to work on the cream filling. It came together easily, but it didn’t look like an awful lot of cream. I prefer my Oreos on the double-stuff side of things, so I wasn’t sure how this would fare.

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I doled out my cream conservatively among my cookie pairs. In hindsight, I may have been better off only making 22 sandwiches as instructed – this would have meant more stuffing per cookie (but it would also have meant many naked cookies). Since my cookies were heart-shaped, not round, it was a little tricky trying to spread the cream inside the cookie.

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It’s hard to describe the finished product. It tasted a lot like an Oreo, but also somehow different – a little more flavourful, maybe? The stuffing tastes more like vanilla icing than Oreo creme, but it works wonderfully with the cookies. They’re sturdy, too – mine survived a little jostling in my backpack before I shared it with the birthday party-goers.

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There were a few that I overcooked in the final batch. I skipped the cream and went directly to the milk.

So far, Dorie is 2 for 2. Maybe as I bake a few more cookies, I’ll stop being so overwhelmed at the massive quantity of delicious recipes to choose from.

Dorie’s Cookies’ Chocolate Oatmeal Biscoff Cookies

Christmas was very good for me this year. In addition to plenty of quality time with many of my favourite people, I was also lucky enough to land some pretty swell gifts, including a few tantalizing cookbooks. Among them was this one:

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Meet Dorie’s Cookies. Yes, a cookbook exclusively about cookies – I LOVE it! In fact, this book contains more than just your traditional cookie: it has brownies, bars, madeleines, and lots of other nice things – but everything is generally cookie-like in nature and, by golly, the recipes looked darned good.


I’ll get back to Dorie and her cookies in a moment – but first, I want to talk about Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter.

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I adore Trader Joe’s (please, oh please, let us have TJ’s in Canada one day), and I have often heard about the infamous cookie butter, but I’d never tried it myself. Before Christmas, I did a cross-border run to the Bellingham Trader Joe’s and I picked a jar on a whim to give to my friend, Jessica. I’m not sure why I had the inclination to do so – I’ve never talked about the cookie butter with Jessica, but she shares my affinity for delicious treats and I figured if it was something I wanted, it was something she’d probably like. As I wrapped it with her other gifts, I’m not going to lie: a tiny part of me wanted to keep it for myself.

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Golden Retrievers not included.

You can probably guess what happened. Jessica gave me Trader Joe’s cookie butter for Christmas, too. No joke. The weirdest part is that this is not the first time we’ve gotten each other identical Christmas gifts. I am so, so grateful for our friendship and our ability to read each other’s minds.

After finally tasting the cookie butter, I can tell you that the rumours are true: it is absolutely delicious. It’s a sweet, gingery spread the texture of smooth peanut butter but with slightly crunchy morsels, and it is dangerously addicting. I loved it – but aside from eating it out of the jar with a spoon, I wasn’t sure how to use it.


Now back to Dorie’s. As I flipped through the recipes, tackling the impossible task of deciding which to conquer first, I came across this one for Chocolate Oatmeal Biscoff Cookies. After a bit of research, I discovered that Biscoff is the exact same thing as TJ’s cookie butter. Boom: I had my first recipe.

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This is a wonderful, weird recipe that uses all kinds of good stuff: the gingery cookie butter, of course, but also oatmeal, cocoa powder, and chunks of chocolate. I knew I couldn’t go wrong.

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One of my favourite sights. (Stained cutting board and all.)

I love cookies because, generally, they are pretty easy to make. (I’m sure that will come back to haunt me as I tackle some of the more complex recipes in this book). This one is no exception: whisk the dry, cream the butter and sugar (and cookie butter), add an egg, add the dry stuff, then add the chopped chocolate.

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I should note here my New Year’s resolution for baking: I hereby vow to ditch measuring cups, where possible, and to solely rely on my food scale instead. I know – I should have been doing it this way all along. Now, I will.

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This recipe directs you to stash the dough in the fridge for a couple of hours before baking. I read the preamble stuff in this book and my takeaway is this: if Dorie writes out a specific instruction (like pop the dough in the fridge), she does it for a reason – don’t ignore her. Another tip I liked: after preheating the oven, leave it alone for an additional 10 to 15 minutes to get it nice and hot. Since cookies don’t bake for long, the right temperature makes a big difference.

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I used an ice cream scoop to produce uniform mounds of dough, then, as directed, I rolled each into a ball and squished it a little flat with the bottom of a jar. The instructions said to space the cookies about an inch apart, which ended up being about right – I had a few that spread to touch, but most kept to their own nicely.

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Dorie says to let the cookies cool for 3 minutes before transferring them to a wire cooling rack. When I tried at the 3 minute mark, they were still too soft. I let them sit about 10 minutes total before moving them.

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These cookies taste not quite like any cookie I’ve ever had before. The oatmeal gives texture, but I wouldn’t call them an oatmeal cookie. The cookie butter is almost undetectable flavour-wise – they don’t taste like the gingery cookie spread, but there is a little something in them that’s different that would be hard to put your finger on if you didn’t know the ingredient list. The cookies are definitely chocolatey – just the right amount.

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If you follow the directions exactly, as I did, you’ll end up with an absolutely perfect cookie consistency: firm but soft and chewy, just begging to be paired with a glass of milk. Best of all, my final product looked identical to the picture in the cookbook itself – always a good sign.

Based on my first batch of cookies from Dorie’s Cookies, I have a strong feeling I’m going to have quite a nice time baking my way through this book. More cookies coming your way soon!