Jun 202014
 

In my post on Craft Pizza Company, I mentioned that they were selling cookies from The Cravory there. I’ve had cookies from The Cravory before at their farmer’s market stand, and they were buttery and rich, with lots of interesting flavor combinations. I was super happy to see that Craft Pizza was offering these cookies and recently purchased a few to try out.

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(Photo from my previous visit to Craft Pizza.)

Cookies & Cream; Sea Salt Caramel; Lemon [$2.75 each]

Cookies & Cream Milkshake; Salted Caramel Cream; Lemon Bar [$2.75 each]

I got the C&C Milkshake because I knew that S would want to try it. It’s made with malted milk, hand-chopped malt balls, crushed Oreos, and Guittard white chocolate – I was initially worried that it’d be overly sweet, but both of us ended up really enjoying it!

Cookies & Cream Milkshake

Cookies & Cream Milkshake

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Jun 112014
 

I’ve been really fortunate lately to receive several food gifts from friends who have traveled abroad, and I wanted to remember them all, and what better way to document than write a post about it? Haha. 

First, a box of chocolates from Japan that a friend shared with me:

Royce Chocolate

Royce Chocolate

 

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These champagne truffles were rich yet not overly heavy, and were so creamy and luscious. There is a subtle champagne flavor that paired really well with the bittersweet chocolate. My friend said that these are some of the best chocolates he’s ever had, and I must say that it’s at the top of my list, too.

 

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Royce’ Chocolates originated in Sapporo, Japan, and are now quite famous throughout Asia. In fact, when I just checked their website, I noticed that they now have three boutiques in New York City! Hopefully they will be opening up shop on the West Coast as well. 

Thank you V for these chocolates!

I’ve posted about Mister Donut before, my favorite donut store EVER. I guess my obsession is so well-known by my friends now that they actually bring it back for me from Asia!

Strawberry Pon de Ring

Strawberry Pon de Ring

Original Pon de Ring

Original Pon de Ring

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Jun 092014
 

I was at my local Vons store the other day and noticed that there were a LOT of new Asian grocery items, including tons of Wei-chuan products, sauces and seasonings, drinks, etc. It made me really happy to know that if I now need some gochujang or mirin in a pinch, I don’t have to worry about driving all the way to Kearny Mesa (or what’s usually the case, I give up on making whatever it was I had planned to make and end up at Rubio’s. Haha.) Anyway, I was really surprised to find that the store carried Maeda-En matcha green tea powder – Kirbie of Kirbie’s Cravings has recommended this brand to me before, and it’s always slipped my mind to look for it at Mitsuwa or Nijiya. But when I spotted it at Vons, I immediately grabbed one. It wasn’t cheap – $14.99 for a 1 oz. canister – but I really wanted to try it out since desserts made with it turn out to be a beautiful green hue.

Green indeed, these were!

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Slightly overbaked, and therefore less green batch:

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I wanted to make something simple that would showcase the flavor of the matcha, and the idea for making shortbread cookies popped into my mind. Plus, I had just bought a set of really cute heart-shaped cookie cutters and wanted to use them.

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Just hearts was a little cheesy, though. So I added some stars, too… haha. I’m so weird.

The dough comes together really quickly, then chilled well before rolling out and cutting. To minimize it warming up too much, I worked with just a third of the dough at a time. I only chilled it in the freezer for about an hour before baking it, but you can prepare the dough and keep it in the fridge for a day, too.

The matcha powder imparted a strong flavor into the cookies, and I was quite happy with them. The dough itself doesn’t have a lot of sugar, and I added a simple icing on top for decorative and sweetening purposes. Some of my friends thought that it wasn’t sweet enough, but it was just right for me. Also, as you can see, I am not so good at making the icing pretty. I’m learning…

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Hope you guys enjoy!

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Dec 232013
 

As I mentioned a couple of posts ago, I’ve been doing a bit more baking these days as part of my “getting into the holiday spirit”! Haha. I decorated our apartment a bit – a tabletop-sized Christmas tree from Trader Joe’s, stockings on our wall (no fireplace though), snowflake-shaped lights on our porch… it’s been quite fun! Here’s a photo that I stitched together of some our the decor:

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Anyway, I was in the baking mood and decided to try making holiday cookies. I bought a set of holiday-shaped cookie cutters and really wanted to try them out. Previously, the only type of cookies I have ever made were drop cookies – for example, the basic chocolate chip cookie, where you just “drop” rounds of batter onto the baking sheet, and the cookie will spread into a circle. However, these usually can’t be used with cookie cutters to make fun shapes – for that, you’d need a more solid dough that can be cut. And being my ambitious self, I decided to try making Nutella sandwich cookies on my first attempt.

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Aug 262013
 

Short and sweet baking post today! A friend of mine recently wanted to try his hand at baking, and so our first venture was actually cookie butter white chocolate chip cookies (boy, that’s a mouthful). After his success, he suggested that we come up with a recipe for cookies with green tea, since he had green tea cookies in Japan and wanted to make his own. I told him that I couldn’t promise to re-create the experience, but we’ll make cookies. Haha. I found matcha tea powder from Ranch 99 (forgot which brand), and we decided to also add some white chocolate chips.

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For these cookies, we added 2 tablespoons of green tea powder for 2 dozen cookies. They did not turn out as green as I had hoped, so next time I would definitely add some more powder just for the color. The green tea taste was there, though, and it complemented the white chocolate chips quite well.

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My friend and I enjoyed these chewy and soft green tea cookies. I hope you like them too! Continue reading »

May 272013
 

It has been almost a month since the SD Food Bloggers’ Bake Sale, and I really wanted to write a post about it but kept forgetting… haha. It was a lot of fun for me, and I baked three treats to sell: Cookie Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies, Cream Cheese Brownie Bites, and White Chocolate M&M Cookies (recipe at the end of post). 

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My little station at the sale

Some photos from the sale:

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May 152013
 

During my college days, I had a friend, A, who always had some sort of baked good with him, at all times. (And for you guys out there who need some motivation to get into baking, he was usually accompanied by at least one girl. Hehe.) Brownies, key lime pie, lemon bars… you name it, he baked it. S, who doesn’t have much of a sweet tooth, always raved about the desserts that A made – even ice cream, which S never likes that much. I admired this friend a lot, and we always had a lot to talk about – he introduced me to some pretty cool kitchen gadgets and had lots of helpful baking tips.

Well, a while ago he paid us a visit in San Diego, and he thought we should bake something together. We were a bit short on time, so we didn’t want to do anything too fancy – and that’s when he brought up “cream cheese brownies.” S, who was sort of passively listening to the conversation at the time, got really excited because he loves cream cheese desserts. So A dug up his recipe, and we proceeded to make these super yummy cream cheese brownies.

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I’ve made this recipe several times since then, and I made a batch for the SD Food Bloggers’ Bake Sale earlier this month. I cut them into bite-sized pieces for the sale, but of course feel free to cut yourself as big a piece as you like. Promise you won’t regret it.

Unfortunately, I was in quite a rush when I made these since it was the night before the sale, and I had to package and label everything, so I didn’t get a chance to take pre-packaging photos. So here are a couple of pics that my friend snapped at the bake sale.

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Mar 252013
 

When it comes to cookies, S isn’t a huge fan of chocolate dough, and to be honest double chocolate chip cookies aren’t usually my go-to – my favorites are always the classic chocolate chip cookie and peanut butter cookie. But a craving hit the other day, so I made a batch of double cc’s. I actually tried to stuff some of them with these new “cookie chips” that I picked up from Von’s – basically they are half-dollar-sized, really crunchy cookies.

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They’re quite delicious on their own, but stuffing them into another cookie didn’t work so well. I guess after being in contact with the wet cookie dough, these cookie chips softened quite a bit, so I didn’t get the textural contrast that I had wanted. The peanut butter flavor went really well with the chocolate, though – gives me some ideas for new things to try…

Well, even though the stuffed cookies weren’t that successful, I thought I’d share the recipe for the double cc cookies anyway. They still turned out really well and are very chocolatey.

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Feb 142013
 

Happy Valentine’s Day, dear readers!

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Okay, I admit, I didn’t prepare anything special for Valentine’s Day. S and I usually don’t go out since restaurants are pretty crowded, and I’ve been too busy to come up with something creative and delicious for the holiday of love.

I did, however, make cookies! Cookies are good for holidays, birthdays, good days and bad days, rainy days, hot days… basically every day.

A while back, I received a jar of Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter from CC. If you don’t know what that is, you’re seriously missing out. Also called Biscoff or Speculoos spread, it’s made with speculoos cookies, which are brown sugar cookies that have a ton of spices, including ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, etc… These cookies are crushed and then mixed with vegetable oil to create a creamy, smooth spread that brings out all of the spices and is just addictive. I have a ton of recipes for using it, but honestly, I’ve just been eating it out of the jar with a spoon. (Don’t judge. Okay, you can judge. But seriously, it’s so good.)

Anyway, finally, I got around to baking some cookies with cookie butter.

Cookie butter cookies. That has a ring to it.

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Jan 082013
 

I recently had the pleaure of interviewing Agent Snickerdoodle, the founder of The Secret Cookie Service, a late-night cookie delivery service in San Diego. For those of you who haven’t heard of this phenomenon, it’s exactly what it sounds like: got a midnight sweets craving? Call up the SCS and get your cookie fix delivered to your door!

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This business was started by a former Ph.D. student at UCSD’s Department of Chemistry. He left the program after earning a Master’s and started this cookie delivery business – at first, sort of as a joke since he always said that he’d just sell his mom’s chocolate chip cookies. He started out with a few hundred Ziploc bags, 500 chocolate chip cookies, and some flyers around UCSD advertising home-baked cookies for sale. A few days later, he got his first order – and things just got big from there. Soon enough, he was baking out of a commercial kitchen, with a handful of hired staff for deliveries and baking. They started out at the UCSD campus area, but now have expanded to SDSU, and will be starting their delivery service at University of San Diego soon. I am incredibly impressed with how well his business is run; he oversees everything in the operation from new recipes to greeting customers at their front door.

As a Chemistry graduate student myself, I quickly connected with Agent Snickerdoodle and joked about our days in the lab. When I asked him how he manages to keep every batch of cookies consistent, he remarked that baking cookies is like a finely tuned science experiment – and it just takes practice. Once you’ve baked a few thousand cookies, it becomes second nature.

He was gracious enough to have me sample a few of their most popular cookie flavors:

Clockwise from top left: Snickerdoodle, Mint chocolate chip, Chocolate chip, and Cookies 'n Cream

Clockwise from top left: Snickerdoodle, Mint chocolate chip, Chocolate chip, and Cookies ‘n Cream

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