spicy double chocolate cookies


the next two posts i have planned have a theme: using food to make friends.

i have told you before that i am shameless in using baked goods at the workplace. here is my latest entry . . . a revamp of a tried and true chocolate chocolate chip cookie. inspired by this recipe, i decided to up the flavor with cinnamon, super finely ground coffee and cayenne pepper.

these are serious cookies. they come to play.


clearly, they aren't the only ones.

they make an impression. this is a chewy, soft, brownie-like cookie. it isn't crisp. it's rich and fudgy.

leave out the spices and coffee, and this is as true a chocolate cookie for chocolate lovers as you can get.


add the spices?

you'll leave people wondering just what it is about those cookies. they'll ask you for the recipe. word will get around. 


mission accomplished.

Spicy Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

Adapted from Crisco – don't judge until you try them!

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cayenne
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp finely ground coffee or espresso powder
  • 2/3 cup shortening
  • 1tsbp water
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 package chocolate chips – I find I like the bigger chunks for this recipe

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Stir together dry ingredients – flour through spices and coffee – in a medium bowl.

In a larger bowl, beat shortening, water and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla.

Add dry ingredients to wet, mix at low speed until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips.

Bake 8-10 minutes or until set.

chicken larb gai


sometimes being a grown up is awesome. you can eat a bowl of ice cream for dinner. you can spend all day saturday watching bad television in your pjs. no biggie. 

sometimes being a grown up is way overrated.  like paying bills, and missing out on christmas and summer vacations.

this year, i took back the christmas vacation.  eleven glorious days of no email, no bosses, no bed times and certainly no alarm clocks.

also, i ate a LOT of ice cream.

but i'm back. it's freezing, but at least it is sunny. time to get back in the swing of things.

here's a recipe we can all feel good about for the new year. it's easy. it's tasty. it's good for you, but doesn't make you feel like you're missing out.

chicken, lime, crunchy rice . . a way more adult dinner choice. save the ice cream for dessert, as you watch the bachelor, which is really like the dessert of tv. so good, so bad for you.


if you haven't had larb gai, it is thai meat salad. that's right. meat salad. spicy stir fried ground chicken that is excellent in a lettuce or cabbage cup or just on a spoon. from the wok or fridge.

isn't this a nice little mise en place?


you do really want to have your ingredients measured and at hand for asian stir fry because the point is to get your wok or skillet really hot, so the ingredients cook very quickly and you have no time to be mucking about in the back of your cupboard for that bottle of fish sauce.

here, you just heat your pan, dump all the ingredients and you're off to the races. for reals.

i love thai food because it's such a great mix of salty, sour, sweet, and spicy. it's balanced. it's usually not too heavy. and it's really easy to make at home.

fish sauce is really the most out there ingredient you'll need. it's salty, and a little bit smelly, but adds an important extra umph to lots of asian dishes. 

but, the real secret ingredient that makes this a super standout dish is the toasted rice powder.


it's easy. take some rice, maybe that funky short grain stuff you bought out of desperation at your tiny local organic food mart that is incredibly hit or miss when it comes to normal groceries. toast it up in a pan until it is golden. let it cool and then pound the heck out of it in a mortar or a spice grinder.

you know how sometimes you're getting dressed for work and it's just really an eh sweater and skirt combo? but you add a belt and suddenly it's an outfit you're rockin' kate middleton style (if only in your head)? that's just me?

anyway these toasty, crunchy little nubs are the belt to this meal. promise me you won't a) judge my lame metaphor or b) make larb gai without them.

i went super crazy when i made larb gai and busted out a whole thai meal including (not so) green papaya salad.


and a super funky pumpkin dish that i just can't recommend. i don't even really want to remember it. fresh pumpkin isn't that awesome anyway. it's so stringy and so inferior to the butternut.  although baby sugar pumpkins sure look cool, right?


maybe my next post will be on my hands-down, favorite all-time use of pumpkin . . . from a can . . . in a baked good, like god intended.


Chicken Larb Gai & Green Papaya Salad

I'm punking out and just sending you over to Spilled Milk's recipes.  No need to mess with something that works great just as is. Just don't forget the toasted rice powder!

chipotle roasted chicken


fact: i am that boring girl who goes to fancy restaurants and just wants to order the chicken.

steak?  so . . . meaty.  duck?  eh, gamy.  i mean, you know my love of pork.

but, man, a good roasted chicken?  juicy, flavorful, gets me every time.  and the skin . . . might just be the best part.  and i know i’m not alone here.

lucky for us, fall is a great time for roasting chickens!

and this recipe is a real winner.  it starts with this:


chipotle peppers and i have been having a bit of a love affair recently.  i keep some in the sauce in my fridge.  mix it up with plan, non-fat greek yogurt and you have an amazing taco salad dressing.  or dip for veggies.  or spread for a quesadilla.  i’m not sure what it wouldn’t be good on.

try it.  do it.  get spicy.


first, you mash the chipotle up with softened butter and lots of chopped herbs.

second, you rub it all over your bird.  this is not a time to get squeamish, folks.  get up under the skin.  pretend the bird’s had a tough day and needs some deep tissue lovin’.

the result? both the bird and the chicken skin get infused with a softly spicy, smoky, herby deliciousness.

i went ahead and butterflied my bird, and roasted it with onions, carrots and winter squash.  tasty, and much faster than when you leave the bird intact.  but, really, you just can’t lose with this one.


Chipotle Roasted Chicken

Adapted from Bon Appetit

  • 1 4-5 lb chicken
  • 1/2 stick butter, softened
  • 2-4 tsp chopped chipotle in adobo sauce, depending on how spicy you want to get
  • 3 tbsp chopped herbs, I used parsley, thyme, and rosemary because that’s what I had, but cilantro would be good if you have it
  • 4-6 herb sprigs
  • Salt & Pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Rinse your chicken, pat dry and bring chicken to room temperature.  This will help create crisp skin and help the bird cook evenly.

If you’re going to butterfly the bird, do it now.  Using good kitchen shears, snip your way through the bird along each side of the backbone.  Open the bird up, pressing on it’s shoulders.  You’ll see the keel or breastbone in the center.  Cut through the membrane above the bone, and you should be able to snap the bird open to release the top of the bone, then use your fingers or a knife to remove it.  See, that was easy!

Combine the butter with chipotle, herbs, salt and pepper to taste.

Gently loosen the skin from the bird with your fingers.  Try not to break the skin.  Rub that butter under and on top of the skin – including the thighs and drumsticks.

If you didn’t butterfly the bird, place the herb sprigs inside.

If you’re roasting veggies with your chicken put them in your roasting pan and season with salt and pepper.  Top with your bird and roast for about an hour or a little longer, depending on if the bird is butterflied or not.  Take it out when your meat thermometer reaches 165 or 170 in the thigh.

Let cool and dig in!