Mexican Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies with Dried Cherries and Walnuts

Yes, I realize that the name of these cookies constitute their own paragraph; maybe their own zip code, but that's what they are and no one can take that away from them.  They are also delicious, pragmatic, and are great to eat while playing charades.

I stumbled upon the idea by the heuristic "kitchen sink" method.  If oatmeal cookies are made better with chocolate, then why wouldn't they be even better with cinnamon, vanilla, and coffee?  And once you have added all that, why stop there?

That's exactly where Chef Amy usually stops me, but something was in the air this time and she kept egging me on.  "We have dried cherries," she declared, "Why don't you add some of those?" So I did.  "What about nuts?  Aren't you going to add nuts?" Ergo the circle of life perpetuates.

One batch yields about 3 dozen 3 inch cookies.  You could swap the nuts out, or substitute them for another type.  You could also add chocolate chunks or chips.  If I get my druthers next time, I'll add just a hint of Cayenne pepper, maybe just a half teaspoon.

They are hearty enough to satisfy a sweet tooth with just one, or two, and they make a decent breakfast along side a cup of coffee.  Don't judge, they do have oatmeal in them...


Mexican Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies with Dried Cherries and Walnuts (printable recipe)

  • 3/4 cup butter (1 and 1/2 sticks) room temperature
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil (or add another 1/2 stick of butter if you don't have any)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 teaspoons of instant coffee/espresso, or 3 shots (or 1/4 cup of the strongest coffee you can brew)
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 3 cups oats
  • 2 cups dried cherries
  • 1/2 cup walnuts

Preheat the oven to 350F. Cream the butter, coconut oil, brown and white sugar well, this is easiest in a stand mixer.  Slowly add the vanilla, cinnamon, instant coffee, salt, and the eggs one at a time and allow them to incorporate well.

In a separate bowl add the flour, cocoa powder, and baking soda and whisk briefly to combine.  Turn the stand mixer to its lowest setting and SLOWLY add the flour mixture to the butter and sugar.  Slowly, unless you want to get antiqued.  

Once those are mixed, add the dried cherries and the nuts.  Dollop out onto a silicone or parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 11-12 minutes.

Makes 3 dozen cookies

Authordavid koch
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Lactose-free Panna Cotta with Strawberries and a Cinnamon Graham Crackers Crust

It is estimated by the American Dietetic Association that approximately 75% of the world's population is at least partially lactose intolerant.  Thus, 75% of the world's population must also be Panna Cotta intolerant.  What a drag.

That's why we jumped at Lactaid's Gourmoo Cookoff and decided to show everyone that, "You too can eat Panna Cotta without gastrointestinal discomfort!"  We made lactose-free Panna Cotta with Strawberries and a Graham Cracker Crust.  This is a really easy recipe, the only skill it requires is patience.


Lactaid Gourmoo Panna Cotta


Lactose-free Panna Cotta with Strawberries and a Cinnamon Graham Crackers Crust (printable recipe)
  • 4 cups Lactaid whole milk (or Lactaid half-and-half)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • 2 packets powdered gelatin
  • 4 Cinnamon Graham crackers
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1/2 pound of strawberries
  • 1/4 cup sugar
Prepare everything at least 2 hours ahead, that will allow time for your Panna Cotta to set up and your strawberries to macerate.  We are using 2 types of bowls, one slightly larger than the other so that when we un-mold them there is room for the strawberries.

Our recipe calls for four cups of Lactaid, we’re using whole milk but you could also use the Lactaid half-and-half.  2 packs of gelatin, 1/2 cup of sugar, and 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract.

Measure the Lactaid and add it to a saucepan but reserve a little bit in the measuring cup and sprinkle the gelatin over it.  Heat the Lactaid in the saucepan and add the sugar so that it dissolves completely.

Kill the heat, add the vanilla extract, and pour into the measuring cup.  Whisk to combine.  Pour them off into your bowls and place them into the fridge to chill and set up.  If you are letting them set up over night, cover with plastic wrap.

Process 4 cinnamon graham crackers in a food processor while melting 2 tablespoons of butter in a mug in the microwave.  When the butter is melted, add it to the crackers in the food processor and pulse a few times to incorporate well.  Pat the mixture at the bottom of your serving bowls.

Slice your strawberries and add 1/4 cup of sugar, mix well and allow them to sit and macerate while the Panna Cotta sets.

Once the Panna Cotta is set (at least 2 hours, but up to 24), run a knife along the inside edge of the bowl to separate it and invert it over your serving bowl to un-mold.  Scoop copious amounts of strawberries and serve.

Serves 4

As a promotion with the Foodbuzz Tastemakers Program, we received a thing of Lactaid milk. 


Authordavid koch

Three of my favorite things, chocolate, coconut, and almonds make these little bundles of [Almond] Joy my new favorite go-to treats.  They can be assembled in less than a half-hour with only a mixing spoon, a bowl, a microwave, a pan, a stove, a non-stick surface (ideally a silpat), and a fridge.

Toasting the coconut makes for a great crunch and adds a caramel-like flavor to them.  The sweetness of the coconut is balanced by using semi sweet chocolate and the almond, like Lebowski's rug, really ties the whole thing together.


Coco Dumps (printable recipe)

  • 2 cups of sweetened coconut
  • 7 ounces of semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup of whole roasted almonds

Place the coconut in a dry pan over medium heat and toast, turning frequently, until it browns lightly and a heavenly smell permeates your kitchen.  While the coconut toasts, place the chocolate chips in a microwave-safe container and nuke for 1 minute.  Stir the chocolate, microwave again for 20 seconds, and stir again.  Continue in 20 second increments until the chocolate is uniformly melted.

Once the coconut is browned and the chocolate is melted, add both to a large bowl and stir well to combine.  When they are mixed well, use two teaspoons to pull out your haystacks, shape into little spheres, and place in your non stick surface.  If you don't have a silpat or parchment paper, lightly grease some aluminium foil.

Place an almond on the top of each haystack and place them all in the fridge to set up, about 15 minutes.  Store in a airtight container in the fridge until they are eaten, about 2 days (but really though, up to two weeks).  Makes about 20. 


Authordavid koch
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Blueberry Zinfandel Ice Cream Topping

This luscious ice cream topping only takes about 20 minutes to prepare and catapults plain-jane vanilla ice cream into a dessert worthy of a deluxe honeymoon suite with ocean view.  We added walnuts which added crunch and some nuttiness to balance the sweetness of the topping and the ice cream itself.


  • 1 - 11 ounce package of bluberries
  • 1/4 cup zinfandel wine
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

Combine everything in a pan over low-medium heat and allow everything to cook down into a syrup-like consistency, about 15 minutes.  Allow to cool for 5 minutes before pouring over the ice cream unless you want ice cream soup.  Just kidding, don't do that, you don't want ice cream soup.  Add nuts.

If anyone out there can tell me why my blueberries come in 11 ounce boxes, I'd love to know.  What an odd quantity.

Authordavid koch

Avocado Almond Cookies

The idea for these cookies came to me when I got shocked by a bolt of static electricity getting out of my car on a hot day in Riverside, CA.  I was thinking of a way to replace some of the butter in a cookie and yet still keep the richness; the green glow they emit was only a cool side effect.

We started with a basic Peanut Butter Cookie recipe as the baseline.  We added the almond extract because after tasting the dough, we needed something to bring out the subtle creamy flavor of the avocado.  The chopped almonds add great texture.

These make for a light, fluffy, almost cake-like cookie.  It you are looking for a dense, crumby cookie with a snap, then look elsewhere.  They are also not ridiculously sweet, I might go as far as to call them, "an adult cookie" - with no XXX connotation intended.

Avocado Almond Cookies (printable recipe)


  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup smashed ripe avocado
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 cup chopped almonds plus 24 almond slices to top each one
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


Preheat the oven to 375.  Cream the butter, avocado, and sugar together for 2 minutes; a stand-mixer works well for this or you could do it with a whisk and get your daily workout in for the day.  Once they are well incorporated, mix in the egg, the vanilla, and the almond extract.

In another bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt well.  Add this dry mixture to the stand mixer in three batches so that you don't make a flour explosion.  Mix just until they come together, do not over mix.

Use 2 teaspoons to portion out each cookie onto a baking sheet; we lined it with parchment paper so that they wouldn't stick.  Place an almond sliver into the top of each one before you pop them into the oven.  Bake for 5-8 minutes or until they develop a nice golden brown crust on the outside.

Makes about two dozen cookies.

More Avocado Almond Cookes

Authordavid koch
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Chocolate Dipped Cardamom Biscotti

This is a fabulous twist on the more common anise biscotti.  The cardamom gives the cookie an exotic taste and matches perfectly with the chocolate.  It goes great with coffee, tea, or even ice cream.  You can eat it for breakfast, as a dessert, or even a mid-afternoon snack. 

I adapted this recipe from Martha Stewart's but increased the cardamom and added the chocolate to give it more of a kick.  Some may be intimidated to make biscotti but I think you will find that they are actually very easy to do.  You don't even need an electric mixer.  Give these a try for your next dinner party and watch your friends be impressed!


  • 1 1/4 cup AP flour
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 cup blanched almonds, chopped
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 6 oz chocolate (I used Ghiradelli 60% cocoa bittersweet chocolate chips)

Instructions: Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In a large bowl combine flour, baking powder, salt, cardamom, and sugar. Using a whisk, mix ingredients together so there are no lumps in the flour and everything is incorporated. Add the almonds to the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl whisk together the eggs and vanilla. Using a spatula, fold egg mixture into the dry ingredients until it forms a dough.  On a parchment lined sheet pan form dough into a long flat log, about 2 inch X 10 inch.

The Biscotti's first bake

Place in the top third of the oven and bake for about 35 minutes, or until crispy on top but still soft in the center. Let cool for 10 minutes. Using a long serrated knife cut into 1 inch slices on a slight diagonal. Lay slices back onto the sheet pan and bake 7-8 minutes. Turn biscotti and bake for an additional 7-8 minutes. Let biscotti cool for 10 minutes before dipping in chocolate.

Slice and bake again

Melt chocolate in a glass bowl using either a microwave or a double boiler. In a microwave, heat for 1 minute, then stir with a heatproof spatula and heat for an additional 30 seconds. Dip cooled biscotti cookies into the chocolate halfway down and place on parchment/wax paper to dry.  Once chocolate has hardened serve or store in airtight container.

Dip Biscotti in Chocolate

Makes 20-30 cookies.

AuthorAmy Koch

I was inspired by a canister of sprinkles. Inspired to make 6 dozen cookies for a Halloween party we were hosting. Inspired because my daughter is 19 months old and I figured she'd love the colorful sprinkles upon the adorably shaped cookies. So, with the sprinkles, I purchased cookie cutouts and a rolling pin.

I found a sugar cookie recipe on, made sure I had the ingredients and then procrastinated. Luckily, the night before Halloween, as I was making some pumpkin muffins (from a box, thank you Trader Joe's!).

I scanned the sugar cookie recipe and noticed that

AuthorHeather Ward

OK, so they aren't very scary but it is Halloween and Simple Ginger Snaps doesn't sound very cool.  I adapted the recipe from Brown Eyed Baker sans the molasses because we didn't have any in the "test kitchen."  I also added Black Pepper and Grains of Paradise to make them a little more spicy and savory.

I recently purchased a second pepper mill and some Grains of Paradise and I have been experimenting with them.  The little known spice is reminiscent of black pepper but also lends a pie-spice nuance that I thought would go well with

Authordavid koch
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Dad's Balboa Bar with Chocolate sprinkles - photo by Dave Koch

4th of July Weekend is sheer mayhem in Newport Beach, CA.  There are beach cruisers, boaters, kayakers, strollers, sparklers, and stand-up paddle boarders adding to the general riff-raff of the holiday.  Sometimes, your only solace is to sit on a sidewalk bench and dive your senses into the chocolate-dipped goodness they call a Balboa Bar.

Balboa Bars begin as blocks of vanilla ice cream...

Authordavid koch
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This is the Recchiuti Chocolateria - [pronounced "ri-cutie"], located in an unassuming industrial complex in San Francisco's Central Waterfront District, only steps from the Bay.  (It is also home, by the way, to Crush Pad - a state of the art DIY wine making facility.) 

You may never have guessed that on the second floor of this building they are making some of the most exquisite chocolates the world over... but they are

I was recently brought here for a preview for what Michael Recchiuti is calling "The Taste Project."  Many thanks to the Foodbuzz team for inviting me, I was one of about 25 friends and journalists invited and the event was a class-act, all the way.

When I walked in, I was handed a glass of sparkling wine [bonus!] and seated.  They didn't seem to mind that I was 40 minutes late having been stuck in traffic driving back from Napa.

I was immediately handed a tasting menu of what we would be going through:


Dip-it-yourself Graham Cracker Breadsticks
Featuring Recchiuti's custom-blended Valrhona 64% chocolate
on a Himalayan salt block

Salt Course
Stone Fruit Pizza -Puff pastry with fresh peaches, cherries and
shaved chocolate.  Finished with Roasted Korean Bamboo Salt.

Spirits Course
Cherry Bombs - Semi-sweet chocolate shells filled St. George
Spirits Kirsch.  Topped with a chocolate-coated Amarena cherry.

Mushroom Course
Panini Fungi - Shiitake malt chocolate ice cream on grilled brioche. 
Topped with pan fried batons of shiitake.

Bread Course
Bread Pudding - Acme croissant soaked in rum custard.
Finished with Burnt Caramel Sauce.


Here is a rundown of the tasting events they are going to run this summer and fall:

Salt, Caramel & Chocolate with Mark Bitterman
Saturday, May 30th, 2-4:30pm

St. George Spirits & Chocolate with Lance Winters
Saturday, June 13th, 2-4:30pm

Chocolate Obsession 2 - Serious Chocolate
Saturday, June 20th, 2-4:30pm

Olive Oil & Chocolate with Fran Gage
Saturday, July 11th, 2-4:30pm

Piccino Dinner 2
Saturday, July 19th, 6pm

Cheese & Chocolate with Doralice Handal
Saturday, August 1st, 2-4:30pm

Far West Fungi & Chocolate
Saturday, September 5th, 2-4:30pm

Beer & Chocolate with Magnolia Pub
Saturday, September 19th, 2-4:30pm

Bread & Chocolate with Acme Bread
October - date and time TBD


Michael is a great speaker and a natural teacher, I'm positive all the events will be both delicious and inspirational.  I was also completely overwhelmed by the pint of homemade Burnt Caramel Ice Cream they sent me home with.  Only five ingredients (so Michael Pollan would eat it too):  milk, cream, eggs, sugar, vanilla.  The best ice cream I've ever had, too bad you can't buy any. 

Authordavid koch

photo by Antoinne von Rimes

Summer is almost here and that means that the pushers will be back on the streets en force.  You can hear them clanging their little bells in their motorcars from hell, offering innocent little kiddies a fix of their favorite treat in a variety of addictive flavors.  While uptown their parents dart into chic gelaterias and get a fix for themselves.

Yes, I am talking about ice cream, that subversive cohesion of cream, sugar, and (if you are a purest) eggs.  The devil’s ambrosia designed to get you on the slippery slope to cane sugar servitude.

Ice cream seems so innocent, but it is the one addictive substance that no law has been enacted against.  It is the one mood altering drug that everyone refuses to admit is illicit.  And, it all began at childhood.  What is the one (I’ll bet the first) treat your parents used as a tool to solicit your good behavior? 

It was not cookies.  Those were teething biscuits: machine stamped, sugarless, starch slabs designed to alleviate incoming tooth itch.  No. The first true treat you got your little mouth around was a dose of the frozen demon dairy treat. 

It was soft enough for you to gum, and a familiar taste.  Familiar because they primed us with

AuthorAntoinne von Rimes
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photo by Dave KochI found these in the refrigerator of a friend of mine and was so shocked, I had to tell the world.  First of all, the Buttered Popcorn Jelly Beans are the grossest, sickest excuse for a candy I know.  I would rather eat a handful of the Harry Potter Bertie Botts Earthworm flavored Jelly Beans than then a single Buttered Popcorn.

They are so horrible, they knock the wind out of me; I can't breathe.  My eyes roll into the back of my head when I eat them.  I begin to have visions of Hieronymus Bosch's Hell in The Garden of Earthly Delights.  Blood runs from my eyes, my head swivels on my neck, my world goes dark.  I may be exaggerating a little, but I really don't like them at all.  

Continuing on.  I didn't eat the pudding but I imagine it tastes like a pile of vomit at a movie theater.  I'm simply amazed that they would take something as disgusting as a buttered popcorn jelly bean and try and market it in different forms.  What's next?  Jelly Belly Buttered Popcorn Non-Dairy Creamer?

To exacerbate my shock of finding these in the home of someone I know, this culprit went to culinary school!  She shall remain nameless so as to protect her identity, possibly her job, and definitely her standing in the community (could you imagine the shame?).  

"So ______, I hear you eat Jelly Belly Buttered Popcorn Pudding Snacks..."

"Uh, yea."

"You're fired!"

Now I'm just teasing her - but nevertheless, here is a rundown of the ingredients in them (there are no less than 15 mind you!):

"Nonfat milk, water, sugar, modified food starch, vegetable oil (contains one or more of the following: soybean oil, canola oil, sunflower oil), contains 1% or less of the following: natural and artificial flavor, salt, xanthan gum, disodium phosphate, sodium stearoyl lactylate, yellow 5.

Contains: milk"

Did you notice it does not contain butter OR popcorn...?


Authordavid koch
CategoriesDesserts, Humor
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photo by Dave Koch

Mixing chili and chocolate was the status quo in Aztec times and has always been popular in Mexico but has only recently become more prevalent in the US.  I see the pair frequently at chocolate boutiques and really enjoy how well they work together.  After a long week of work, the sweet-tooth fairy came out to play and we decided to make some Hot Brownies last night.  

We didn't have everything planned ahead of time but we based this recipe on Brownies Cockaigne from of the Joy of Cooking.  We didn't have unsweetened chocolate like it called for, and doing it over, we may omit some of the sugar.  I guessed at the amount of chili to add and I think it was a good educated guess because it worked out.



4 eggs
2/3 cup flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
4 ounces milk chocolate chips
6 tablespoons butter
2 cups sugar (this looked like too much)
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup walnuts
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
2 tablespoons cayenne chili powder


"The Joy" recommends that everything starts out at room temperature, which is fine - unless you are making them on a whim like we did.  

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a 13 x 9-inch baking pan with butter or spray.  

In a double-boiler (or a metal bowl over a pot of boiling water) combine  the chocolate chips and the butter and melt slowly.  Beat the eggs in a separate bowl.  In another bowl, mix together the flour, cocoa powder, walnuts, white chocolate chips, and cayenne chili powder.

Once the chocolate and butter mixture is melted set aside to cool.  Once cool enough to handle, mix in the vanilla, sugar, and then the eggs. Incorporate the dry ingredients and be careful not to over mix. Working the batter too much at this point will begin to form gluten and make the brownies tough, not gooey.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, begin checking them at 25 minutes.  They are done when a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean with no wet batter stuck to it.  Allow them to cool for 15 minutes before trying to remove them from the pan.


photo by Dave Koch

The chili flavor is barely perceptible while the heat is coy; not noticeable at first, but sneaking up after a few bites.  The burn is like seeing someone who you think you recognize.  You exchange glances, holding your gaze longer than normal, wondering if you can find what it is about them you recall.  Then it hits you - yes!

One very "cool" effect is that the warmth lingers for a few minutes after you have finished your last bite, warming you from the inside.  If you were to add only 1 tablespoon, the chili would add only a subtle nuance.  I'd be willing to bet that no one would be able to pick it out.

But what would be the fun in that?

Make mine hot!

Authordavid koch

photo by Dave Koch

Adapted from Ina Garten's Chocolate White Chocolate Chunk Cookies from her book Barefoot Contessa Parties!  I cut the recipe in half (because it makes 40 cookies) and instead of putting all the white chocolate chips in, I used half macadamia nuts from our friend's tree on the Big Island of Hawaii...

You can just buy some macadaima nuts from the store if you don't know anyone with their own tree.


  • 1/4 pound unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, well packed
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup white chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup macadamia nuts


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Cream the butter and sugar in a bowl of an electric mixer with a paddle attachment. Add the vanilla, then the eggs until incorporated well. Stop the mixer, add the cocoa continue. 

Sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt into another bowl. Slowly add the dry sifted ingredients to chocolate batter with the mixer on low. Stop the mixer, pour in the macadamia nuts and white chocolate chips, and mix again briefly.

Drop about a tablespoon of dough for each cookie on a baking sheet with a Silpat (or lined with parchment paper).

With your fingers, press down each cookie slightly and top with a few more white chocolate chips.  Bake for 12-15 minutes.

Remove cookies from the oven and allow to cool a few minutes on the pan as they will still be a little soft.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. 

AuthorAmy Koch

Celebrichef Joanne Weir served this up to my wife for breakfast the other day and she whipped up some for me.  It is delicious and light, and at the same time satiating.  It only takes minutes to prepare and can keep you energized for hours.

Apples and Yogurt

  • 1 apple per person
  • 1 cup of plain yogurt (Greek-style is tasty)
  • 1/4 cup of slivered almonds
  • dusting of cinnamon to taste

Cut apples into bite sized pieces - preferably Pink Lady Apples which I describe as firm but not hard, and tart but not sour.  Add the yogurt and slivered almonds on top.  Dust with cinnamon.  Enjoy.


Interestingly enough the term "Pink Lady" is a registered Trademark of Apple and Pear Australia Limited.  The cultivar is the result of hybridizing the Golden Delicious and the Lady Williams and is experiencing a boom of sorts.   It was developed by John Cripps in the 1970's and read below how complicated the fruit industry has become... (from Wikipedia)

"The Cripps Pink variety is owned and licensed by the Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia (DAFWA), which has Plant Breeders' Rights in multiple countries.

The peak industry body for Australian apple and pear growers - Apple and Pear Australia Limted [sic] (APAL) - owns and manages globally the intellectual property in the trade mark PINK LADYTM, which is registered in more than 70 countries.

Only the highest quality grade of apple can be sold under the trademark of PINK LADYTM."

When they mention how only the highest quality grade can be sold as "Pink Lady" - according to Orange Pippin, 65% of annual production does not meet the standards and are then sold under the name Cripps Pink.  They are the same variety.

Authordavid koch

Samoas vs. Caramel deLites

Have you ever wondered why are there Samoas AND Caramel deLites?  

  • Do-si-dos AND Peanut Butter Sandwiches? 
  • Trefoils AND Shortbread?  
  • Tagalongs AND Peanut Butter Patties?  
  • All Abouts AND Thanks-A-Lots?  
  • Lemon Chalet Cremes AND Lemonades?

The reason is there are 2 major companies that produce the cookies for the Girl Scouts and they keep some of the names to themselves.  There is Little Brownie Bakers - and there is ABC Bakers both making Cookies for the Girl Scouts.

From Wikipedia: "Little Brownie Bakers (LBB), a subsidiary of Keebler (which is owned by Kellogg's); and ABC Bakers, a subsidiary of Interbake Food (which is owned by George Weston Limited.)  ABC Bakers has been making cookies for the Girl Scouts since 1939."

I always thought the different names were regional (like places with a heavy Pacific Islander population had somehow rejected the name "Samoas."  However, I found another juicy tidbit on Yahoo! Answers posted by Shahid who seems to have an inside scoop:

"[Samoas are] one of the few cookies in the group that has differences depending on the bakery. The reason there are two names is because while similar, the cookies have some differences.

Samoas are made by Little Brownie Bakers. They are circular, with an orange color and are thicker from top to bottom, usually they also contain more caramel per coconut, and they are made with dark chocolate.

The Caramel deLites, made by ABC Bakers, are actually hexagonal, with a more yellowish tinge, are made with milk chocolate rather than dark chocolate, and more of the cookie comes through in the flavor because of the lower caramel content."

 Caramel deLites



So there you have it.  Case closed.






What can we expect in the coming months from the Girl Scouts?   Cinna-spins and Sugar Free Chocolate Chips were introduced in 2008.  Cinna-spins are cinnamon-flavored cookies that come in 100-calorie packs and Sugar Free Chocolate Chips are exactly that.  

For 2009, they will introduce the Dulce De Leche, a Latin inspired caramel cookie.  


Dulce de Leche



Authordavid koch
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The Roasting Plant - Chocolate Chip Cookie - photo by ccho

I have an "Aunt" Alice, with whom I have absolutely no relationship to, but I care tremendously about - and she makes the most phenomenal chocolate chip cookies.  They are crispy around the edges and gooey in the middle.  They are packed with awesome chocolate chip goodness.  They really are the BEST chocolate chip cookies.

I asked her for the recipe one time and she confided in me how she came to develop them.  She said that she took the Original Nestle Tollhouse Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe and she added 50% more butter and 50% more chocolate chips.  Basically, add more of what makes cookies delicious.  Was that a surprise?  Done and done.  So here in all its glory is "Aunt" Alice's "Secret" Recipe:

 The BEST Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 2 1/4 cups  flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 sticks softened butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 cups (12-oz. pkg.) Nestle Toll House Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels
  • 1 cup chopped nuts

And instructions from the Nestle website 

PREHEAT oven to 375° F.

COMBINE flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels and nuts. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets. 

BAKE for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. 

PAN COOKIE VARIATION: Grease 15 x 10-inch jelly-roll pan. Prepare dough as above. Spread into prepared pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool in pan on wire rack. Makes 4 dozen bars. 

 dough as above. Divide in half; wrap in waxed paper. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until firm. Shape each half into 15-inch log; wrap in wax paper. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.* Preheat oven to 375° F. Cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices; place on ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. Makes about 5 dozen cookies. 

* May be stored in refrigerator for up to 1 week or in freezer for up to 8 weeks. 

FOR HIGH ALTITUDE BAKING (5,200 feet): Increase flour to 2 1/2 cups. Add 2 teaspoons water with flour and reduce both granulated sugar and brown sugar to 2/3 cup each. Bake drop cookies for 8 to 10 minutes and pan cookie for 17 to 19 minutes."


Authordavid koch