Category Archives: Cookies

Strawberries ‘n Cream Cookies {+ A Few Thoughts from a PokéTrainer}

You know those incredibly frustrating people walking around on the streets and into traffic and over cliffs and right smack dab on top of your newly-polished dress shoes because they’re too busy playing Pokémon GO?

I have a confession to make.

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I am one of those incredibly frustrating people playing Pokémon GO.

I apologize if I ever trampled over your dog in my haste to catch an Arcanine. It was (probably) an accident, unless you just happened to be in my way while a Squirtle is loose nearby and a mad, mob-mentality stampede that would make any Black Friday vet proud seized hold of me. Then it was probably deliberate. But I realize that being part of a cult(ural phenomenon) doesn’t make me any less of a Poké-jerk, so please excuse my trangresses…

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There are many downsides to living in a college neighborhood. Blasting music at 3 in the morning, piss-drunk but holier-than-thou undergrads whom you hope to never see in your classes, zero parking…

But there are also upsides, one of which is that when geeky pastimes hit home, they hit hard. For the past 7 days or so, seriously over half of the people walking around campus are fueling up at Pokéstops, catching Pokémon, talking about Pokémon, dreaming Pokémon. We shuffle casually up to spots where those glorious purple lure modules have taken over our AR screens, grinning sheepishly around at the other folks around us who have stationed themselves on the same block as we swipe our fingers upward in an all-too familiar motion, swiping in harmony with every other index finger in a 30-foot radius, warmed by the knowledge that we are all part of the same cultural moment–that even though we are strangers, we are a community, too.

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It’s easy to make fun of Poke-players as geeky eccentrics or even fanatics, but there is also something strangely democratizing about the game that should not be ignored, even at this early stage of the craze.… Read more

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White Chocolate Cookie Butter Pecan Shortbread Cookies

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #BiteSizedBitsOfJoy #CollectiveBias

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My favorite phrase of the year: oldies but goldies!

As the de facto ancient dinosaur/matriarch of every one of my friend circles–I’m officially like a 22nd grader or something this year–I now love this phrase because it makes me feel…classic. And let’s be honest here: some things really do get better with age. Wine, cheese, dad jokes…my students’ end-of-year evaluations, which from now on I will only read while I am double-fisting these gorgeous White Chocolate Cookie Butter Pecan Shortbread Cookies, because these retro treats make everything better.

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Why retro? For one thing, these rich morsels are no-bake and take only 5 minutes to make, which is for some reason something that I imagine saying when I’m wearing a 50’s sweetheart red-and-white-polka-dotted apron and heels in my kitchen. For another, I was browsing the cookie aisle at Ralph’s last week when I stumbled upon an entire shelf of these classic gems:

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KEEBLER!!! To my five-year old self: you’re so welcome.

Growing up, Keebler was the eye candy of the TV commercial world. The food porn before food porn was a thing. The sacred key to unlocking my refined preschooler palate.

There are, however, definite perks to revisiting these cookies as an adult. The biggest perk is, without a doubt, that you get to enjoy all of the stuff that you loved as a kid, except now you can eat it at any time of day for any meal you want and your parents won’t pounce on you in the kitchen to tell you that you’re going to spoil your dinner, and nobody else is allowed to judge you because you’re an adult, dammit, or do I need to bust out my snazzy driver’s license and show you that I am a real bona fide grownup?… Read more

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Chocolate Chip Toffee Walnut Cookies

Raise your hand if you’ve ever gone grocery shopping at an absurd hour of the night. Say…..4 AM? No? Anybody?

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I realize that there are a lot of things that I take for granted as an unmarried, mostly unemployed, highly mobile grad student. Free pool access, on-campus groups, friends living within walking distance, and yes–spontaneous 4 AM grocery shopping trips, apparently. Which may or may not be coupled with–ahem–the 5 AM baking sprees that yielded these chewy, amazing chocolate chip toffee walnut cookies.

On Sunday night, that’s exactly what I did. My friend and I had stayed up late talking about life things, and after all of that emotional cogitation, we were starving. So–bless our fatigued minds–we decided to strap in and drive to the store at 4:05 AM and buy ourselves some groceries, along with some much-needed post-midnight snacks. It was a testament to my tired brain that I had to walk back to the cereal aisle four times–for my friend’s cereal, then peanut butter, then the oats, then…well, I dunno why we walked back that last time. But I also made sure I grabbed a bag of toffee bits because things were getting real, and cookies were on the mind…

“Nothing good happens after 2 AM”–but apparently very, very good things happen after 5 AM.

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Let me tell you about these cookies: the dough, which bakes up soft and chewy but lightly crispy-edged, is based on my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe. I didn’t feel like making plain old chocolate chip cookies though–go big or go home at 5 AM, I say–so I decided to throw in a generous stash of walnuts and toffee alongside the chocolate chunks before folding it all into the fluffy dough.

5 AM baking, guys. It’s totally worth the half-exasperated, half-“omg is this what it’s like to date a baker” bleary look that your significant other will give you when s/he trundles into the kitchen amidst your banging pans and mixing bowls.… Read more

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Lemon Meltaway Cookies

I’m posting and running today–after all, it IS spring break around here!

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We visited San Diego Zoo this weekend and oh my gosh, I’ve forgotten how much I miss my old zoo days–yes, I worked at a zoo for four summers in high school–surrounded by discussions of conservation and environment and animal enrichment. We also got to stay at the SD Welks Resort, and I swam at a pool for fun for the first time in years. Bliss!

I even made it back to LA in time for an impromptu dinner with friends and way, way too much good food in mah belly.

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And then there’s spring break baking. We’re talking massive, massive amounts of lazy baking and…absolutely no photos. None, zero, zip. What.

As penance (i.e. when the realization hit me that it’s been almost 2 weeks since my last post, eeps!), I decided to dig up some old photos of these amazing Lemon Meltaway Cookies I made last month and completely forgot to post. Sometimes I’m so grateful to my lazybum self–otherwise, you would have missed these gems!

They’re a complete cinch to make and perfect for the citrus lover in your life. Sweet but not-too-sweet, tart but not-too-tart, these meltaway lemon cookies, well, melt away in your mouth at first bite. Perfect for sharing!

Or you, know…not.

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I’ll be back to regular posting next week! Until then…

Who’s the lemon lover in your life? (Hint: make these for him/her!)

Ala

Lemon Meltaway Cookies

These lemon meltaway cookies are easy to whip together and perfect for the lemon lover in your life. Sweet but not-too-sweet, tangy but not-too-tangy, and bursting with sunshiney citrus flavor!

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Additional powdered sugar (for dusting)

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, beat butter until light and fluffy.
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Baymax Sugar Cookies

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I rarely fall in love at first sight, but if I had to make an exception, it’d be Baymax. Or should I say Bae-max? <3

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If you’ve never seen the movie Big Hero 6, a) I have a lot of questions for you, most of which are not particularly innocuous in nature, and b) unless your house is burning down at this very minute, I want you to drop everything you’re doing and watch the movie. Wrangle in a couple of five-year olds for the cause if it’ll make you feel better.

Then you can come back and keep reading this post with what I hope will be newfound appreciation for humanity, the world, and (most importantly) these adorable cookies.

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One of the reasons why Baymax is so lovable is because he is the world’s best friend. Sure, he’s programmed to be a health care companion–but (and here’s a vague spoiler for those of you who completely ignored my advice above–I’m not even going to feel bad about sharing this!) by the end of the film, he’s so much more than that. Whether he’s giving fa-la-la-y fistbumps or the best hugs ever, Baymax gradually learns the value of everyday compassion and empathy for others, and that lesson is definitely part of the reason I love this film so much.

This weekend, I finally had a day to spare and decided to put that lesson into practice with a bit of a gratitude exercise. The mission: deliver these cookies to friends before the start of finals week!

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I didn’t glide around San Fransokyo on my own personal Baymax (boohoo) so it took a while longer than I anticipated, but in the end 20 cookie care packages were delivered between 2 and 9 PM on Sunday! I was so exhausted after the non-stop excursion that by the time 11 PM rolled around, I was basically half-asleep on the boy’s couch and no amount of wheedling or teasing would rouse me from my pillow-hugging position.… Read more

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Peanut Butter Chocolate Swirl Cookies with Easter PB Eggs

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #EasterSweets #CollectiveBias

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It’s funny what small things can make an ordinary week great! Aside from a smattering of rain (which caught us as we walked back from Spotlight on Saturday night–and okay, it’s pouring outside right now but I love it), the weather here has been beautiful and the days have been a real lark. There’s been quite a lot of baking going on, not to mention lazing around and generally being as sloth-like a creature as humanly possible–which, if you know my track record with stress and manic workaholicism, is nothing short of a miracle.

On Wednesday, I decided to do a bit of impulse shopping and ended up walking out of Target with a big, beautiful woven Easter basket lined with yellow and pink cloth. Even better, I got to say “no” to the cashier who asked if I needed a bag–“nope! I’ve got a basket,” I informed him–and skipped out of the store carrying a basketful of Easter goodies, all the while feeling like Little Red Riding Hood on her way to her grandmother’s house. Word to the wise: if ever you need a pick-me-up for an otherwise gloomy day, try carrying a bright cheery basket! There’s nothing equal to it (well, except some chocolate and maybe these cookies, which I’ll get to in a sec).

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As you can see, I decided to raid the candy aisle at Target quite thoroughly in preparation for assembling the most epic Easter basket to date (pictured above), which included an adorable DOVE Milk Chocolate Bunny, Starburst Sweet & Sour Jellybeans, Starburst Original Jellybeans, and a bag of M&M’s White Strawberry Shortcake for good measure, since it’s only being sold for a limited time (and exclusively!) at Target.… Read more

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Red Velvet Chocolate Chip Cookies for Galentine’s Day

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, and I couldn’t imagine a better excuse to celebrate a day early than with some of the most amazing gal out there – so happy early Galentine’s Day, everyone!

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I made these red velvet chocolate chip cookies last week for a group of friends’ picnic, but I’m sharing them today as part of our Galentine’s Day festivities. For those of you who aren’t familiar with this special holiday, it’s a big round-up of all your best gal pals and celebrating each other on the big day of love! It’s one of my favorite times of the year, and I’m sure you won’t want to miss all of the amazing recipes the other girls are sharing today.

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Confession: I wasn’t actually present when my friends apparently dispatched this batch of cookies quicker than a stampeding horde of wildebeests, but the multiple texts that I received in the wake of their disappearance were enough to confirm my suspicions.

Oh, and warning: both of them mention dyed vampire-esque red teeth, so you might not want to eat these right before a big fancy shmancy date. But soft, packed with chocolate chip cookies, and perfectly fudgy–they’re SO worth it!

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 What are your plans for Valentine’s/Galentine’s Day tomorrow? (Whatever they are, hope you have a YUMMY one!)

Ala

Red Velvet Chocolate Chip Cookies for Galentine’s Day

These red velvet cookies are soft, chock filled with chocolate chips, and perfect for your Valentine's (or Galentine's!) Day celebration this year! They taste fudgy and look absolutely adorable on any cookie platter. Slightly adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon milk or soy milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1.5 tablespoons red gel food coloring
  • 1 1/4 cups chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 cups + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. Cream together in a large mixing bowl, cream together butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until fluffy.
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Fluffy White Chocolate Cranberry Scones

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I never used to love scones. They always looked so bland sitting on the tray of continental breakfast pastries that I never gave them a second glance as I reached for an apple Danish or blueberry streusel muffin—poor dry, dusty hockey pucks!

Then a few years ago, I had my conversion moment. It happened during one of my friend’s weekly movie nights. We had all just settled down for the opening sequence of Singin’ in the Rain when she brought out a tray of scones—warm, buttery, fragrant scones that resembled their hotel counterparts about as much as Dobby looks like Hagrid. The heavens parted, choirs sang, and Gene Kelly stepped right out of the screen to claim the first one. For the rest of the movie, which I was watching for the first time, we hummed and sang and made up the words and munched on another melting scone, and yet another.

And another….

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Since then, I’ve been experimenting with no end of scone recipes. Oftentimes I’ll polish off an entire batch for the week’s breakfast without finding the time to photograph them—whoops!—but then at a recent Friendsgiving dinner, I had a fun conversation with my UK friend about the British naming of baked goods, which rekindled my dormant scone fanaticism…

From what I gathered, British cookies correspond with a very specific type of American cookies (your traditional round baked cookie, e.g. chocolate chip “cookies”), whereas everything else sweet falls under the category of the British “biscuit.” Of course, this begged the question of what the American biscuit—the fluffy, buttery kind eaten with jam and butter—was named, to which he pleasantly replied: “Those are sort of like scones, I think!”

(Which is about the most adorably British thing that any Englishperson could utter, by the way! Just FYI.)

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Of course, being the slightly obsessive-personality-disordered individual that I am, “scone” was a trigger word, and I immediately went home that night and whipped myself up a batch so that I could hoard them for the coming week.… Read more

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Mexican Wedding Cookies { + writing about difficult issues }

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While I never intended for this blog to be a space for me to share and sort through difficult emotions, it’s funny how much I’ve come to rely on WG as that kind of outlet in a few short years. I’ve never been able to sustain a trusting relationship for more than a few months, yet here I am pouring out my soul to hundreds and thousands of readers whom I have never met–many of whom will never meet me. I have always loved writing, and writing about these issues offers relief and newfound clarity, more often and not in the form of the comments I receive, which offer new perspectives and insights that I would not otherwise have had the courage to solicit.

I know I’m not alone in this endeavor, either. In the web comic world, writing about depression is a major issue, like this deeply impactful post from Hyperbole & A Half that first introduced me to the complete story of what it’s like to be depressed. (She’s gone largely off the radar since publishing that post.) Closer to home, some of my blogger friends have revealed incredibly intimate, painful, and sometimes dark moments from their lives:

Courtney from Neighbor Foodie, who is one of the bravest people I know, wrote this post about the road to recovery and personal healing after her miscarriage

Dorothy from Crazy for Crust shared her all-too-real story about struggling with weight, body image, and self-love

Nancy from Gotta Get Baked is one of my favorite gals of all time, and we’ve had dozens of conversations since we met two years ago about the problems of self-loathing, being true to oneself, and life outlook. I love every single post she cranks out, but one of my favs was this eye-opening post about how we deal with cycles of internalized negativity.… Read more

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Oreo-Stuffed Peanut Butter Cookies

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #RoadTripHacks #CollectiveBias #Vons

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These days, I’d like to sit down for a tete-a-tete with good ol’ Father Time. I don’t know who thought it’d be funny to land us smack dab into the second half of August already (say whaaaaat?), but I sure as heck am not ready for the summer to be over just yet!bet

One big reason is because I haven’t gotten the travel bugs out of my system yet this summer. Between research and work and baking and blogging and attempting to maintain a semblance of a social life, I have definitely come down with a bad case of cabin fever. And that can only ever amount to one thing in my book, the BIG question I ask everyone around me every single day…

Road triiiiiiiiiiiiiip?!?!?

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I don’t know about you, but I’m one huge ball of emotions when it comes to the entire lengthy process of planning a road trip. I’ve basically broken down my 5 Fundamental Emotion-based Stages of Road Tripping to a science. Observe:

Stage 1: The Casual Reference. Almost every road trip begins with a light conversation that may or may not directly relate to roadtripping. At this point, no serious thoughts about actually embarking on a trip are actually entertained. The seeds of thought, however, are sown at this stage. Example:

(Casual conversation, over a cup of Joe at Starbucks)

Me: “I love food.”

Friend: “No way, me too!”

Me: “I hear Seattle has some killer maple glazed donut bars.”

Friend: “That’s so cool! We should totally go sometime.”

Me: “YES! Also, speaking of donuts, we should work on that donut-propelled jetpack that we talked about last week.”

Friend: “TOTALLY.”

While no concrete commitment has been formed, note that the idea of roadtripping has garnered a mutually-recognized level of excitement from all parties involved.… Read more

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