in search of the “one”

back in college, i would show my boyfriend the different flavors where i come from. he would love it because it was not your typical tuna-out-of-the-can meal with pop-tarts for dessert. hey. i think tuna and pop-tarts are delicious. not together of course.

i had cable tv then. i was hooked on the food network and would fantasize about doing an internship in new york city. or maybe with martha stewart? i thought, what an experience that would be? i went back and forth between the food network and the crafty/cook/baker mogul. to this day, i still want to be part of either :)

when i first made fried plantains, the bf fell in love with the flavor. and when i introduced grilled flank stake with chimichurri, it was the icing on the cake. (linked recipe has basil and oregano which i disapprove of. i also use lime instead of lemon and red wine vinegar instead of sherry).

“a woman who eats stake is the greatest thing the world can have,” he would chant between bites.

then i made one of my favorites: crêpes. let’s just say he was grateful for my cooking abilities. he absolutely loved those as well.

one day, he tells me that he wants a truly american dessert.

“what are you thinking?” i asked.

“it’s a no-brainer.”

“apple pie?”

“no,” he said.

“umm…what is it?!?”

“chocolate chip cookies… how don’t you know that?”

“they are just too ordinary,” i said looking at him in the eyes.

he was about to defend the lovely cookies when i bursted out laughing and said “i’m kidding, hahahahaha, i love chocolate chip cookies, they are the best!”

his heart rate went back to normal.

i refused to make that recipe from the back of the chocolate-chips bag. you know which one i’m talking about, right?  hint. hint. it is a yellow bag.

so we went to the library and out of all cooking books existent in the giant building, we found the “one.”

we proceeded to go to the copier and duplicate that pretty page – immediately!

i made the recipe that same day. wow! they were d.e.l.i.c.i.o.u.s. !!! so much, that the bf was the human version of the cookie monster from sesame street.

after graduating college, i moved away and lost the precious recipe. or so i thought. a year went by, and after the vast search, i managed to find it. score!

well, i have moved once again. and, yes. i have lost it. i can’t find it anywhere. i seriously don’t know what’s up with that. it seems like the recipe is running away from me, as if it wants to go back to its original home. really recipe? i’ve loved you with all my heart.  don’t worry, i’ll keep you posted if i ever find it.

one minor huge detail i didn’t mention to you is that i am that kind of girl who likes her cookies chewy. and the “one” delivered chewy cookies. just to think about it makes me sad.

i consulted with my friend google to look for the “one” yet again. i came across alton brown’s chewy cookies recipe and they are great! oh, and the bf says that they are the best ones, yet!

i’m still trying to figure out the cooking time because the cookies aren’t that chewy if i leave them in the oven for the time the recipe says.

i have adapted the recipe with 1 1/2 cups of brown sugar instead of 1 1/4 cups, and reduced the oven temperature to 350 degrees f., as i use a dark baking cookie sheet.

chocolate chip cookies by the baking cup

chocolate chip cookies by the baking cup

chocolate chip cookies by the baking cup

chocolate chip cookies by the baking cup

chocolate chip cookies by the baking cup


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sprinkled buttercream

when my office decided to do a white elephant gift exchange during christmas, i offered to bake some cupcakes. they asked for vanilla cupcakes filled with nutella and buttercream frosting on top (my specialty!). more on the nutella later.

one of my male co-workers asked me “what do you make the frosting with?”

puzzled by the question i asked, “what do you mean?”

“is it real?” he replied.

ha-ha! at that point, i was unsure if we were still talking about frosting.

“um, i make it with butter. does that count?” … “oh, totally. i thought it was store-bought you know.”

in my head: oh no, no. no. no. no. no. no.

“if i could make the butter myself, i would,” i said.

it was a windy, cold and snowy (insert -15F here) commute back home. but first. pit stop at grocery store #1 (it’s common to stop at several in fargo). got most of the ingredients. it felt awesome. went back outside, fighting the wind and cold with my grocery bags, making sure i didn’t fall because it’s so slippery that i sometimes wonder why don’t we wear ice skates instead of shoes?

get to store #2 and the only missing ingredient was sold out there, too. um, what am i going to do without nutella? it’s not like i can buy a substitute. right? you know how you can make buttermilk out of milk and lemon or vinegar? i wish there was such a thing for nutella! maybe not.

it’s okay. my co-workers won’t be mad at me, i think?!? after all, i offered to bake.

at home, i look in the cover and see a green and red sprinkles container that i have barely used. how convenient, i thought. they are the universal christmas colors. i covered the top of the cupcakes with the sprinkles before baking them to reassemble a christmas cookie. that is me improvising, as one of the best foods on planet earth was sold out.

i made the “real frosting” and sprinkled that too. ’tis the season. i sang to myself. ’tis the season. haha. don’t judge.

when you are missing a vital ingredient it’s okay to go ahead and substitute. it will feel that you have cheated on that key ingredient you love, but it will make sure you get your baking done.

sprinkled vanilla cupcakes by the baking cup

sprinkled cupcakes by the baking cup

sprinkled cupcakes by the baking cup

off we go!

back in october i decided to start this blog. months went by and between the demanding job and the holidays, i just didn’t get to do it.

why this blog? well, i don’t know how to explain this. but i adore food. yes. i just said adore. i really care for it. i dream about it and fantasize about going to another city and check out the local cuisine. i make that extra trip to one two grocery stores for that curried beef with apple couscous dinner i sooo want to make.

baking on the other hand…it’s heaven. pound cake and oreo milkshakes were my favorites growing up. i was so obsessed that i would make them on a weekly basis. the perfect after school snack – not! oh well, i was just a kid. in my defense, i haven’t had an oreo milkshake in months! sort of.

so, i’ve been baking since the summer of 2010. on a weekly basis that is. i said to myself – more like all of those who surround me – that if you never start the baking process you’ll never get to open your own custom dessert boutique. a.k.a. my dream.

the plan is to start taking orders from home and then open the boutique. easy, right? um, i found out that it takes more than that. it takes tons of time and funds to get started. not to mention some frustrations when the cupcakes were in the oven too long and come out dry. but that’s another post.

i have lucked out with family and friends. i tell you. they have helped and given me the support to take on this adventure. i have learned some techniques. learned that if you use a dark baking cookie sheet or any other dark pan you need to reduce the oven temperature by 25 degrees. score! no more dry cupcakes.

well, that’s my first tip to you. i’ll be back tomorrow. i hope to do this as long as i’ve liked oreo milkshakes.

ruby red velvet cupcake by the baking cup

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