Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies




If you are lucky enough to actually like the family you were born into, I highly recommend not leaving the city they live in. Because if you do, the chances of you falling in love are very high. With a person, or with a city, or with a job and then you will be stuck. Stuck in a city, with a person and a job that you are in love with, which is, by most measures, is a pretty fabulous situation to be in. But if you are lucky enough to actually like the family you were born into, there will always be a part that is missing.


That’s how it is for me at least. I absolutely love Vancouver, and I can’t put into words how wonderful Jordan is, and I get giddy every time I think about how I work for myself. But it is tough sometimes, and never more so than right after I’ve visited home.  I’ve been super lucky lately, my Mom came out to visit this summer for a whole week, and then I got to visit my whole extended family in Boston a month ago, and last weekend I was back in Toronto for a family wedding. By all accounts, I’ve seen more of my family than I usually do, but somehow that just makes it harder. It’s always so perfect when we’re all together, and now I’m here thinking about how I’m not sure when I’ll see them again, Which is a miserable situation.


And whenever I’m this hopeless and lonely, the only thing that does any good is to make cookies. Not fussy cookies, not fancy cookies, and not anything wild or crazy cookies. The kind of cookies I can imagine my Mom baking, the kind that you just drop on a pan and they turn into soft and caramel-y and glorious sweet bits of comfort that make everything a little bit better.


These cookies in particular are especially comforting. They are full of brown sugar and chocolate and copious amounts of peanut butter and sprinkled with Maldon salt on top for crunch. It will make you feel better when you’re sad, and that’s about all you can ask for from a cookie I think.




Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies


1 cup Butter, room temperature


2 cups Brown Sugar


2 Eggs


1 ¼ cup Peanut Butter


2 tbsp Vanilla Extract

2 1/2 cups All Purpose Flour


2  tsp Baking Soda


1 ½ cups Chocolate Chips


Maldon Salt for sprinkling.




Preheat oven to 400F.


Cream together butter and sugar.


Add the eggs one at a time stir in between.


Slowly mix in the peanut butter until it is totally combined.


Mix in all the other ingredients except the Maldon salt. Chill dough for an hour.


Line baking sheets with parchment paper or a Silpat.


Roll dough into 2 tbsp pieces. Press them down a bit on top and sprinkle them with maldon salt.


Bake for 8-10 minutes until they are slightly browned but still very soft in the inside.


Cool for at least 20 minutes before eating too many at once!

Tuesday Tutorials- The Mighty Macaron!


Oh le macaron. Those perfect jewel toned cookies that take you entirely out of where you are standing and promptly in front of Pierre Herme in Paris.

They are a glorious little things aren’t they?

Except when they’re not. And sometimes they really, really aren’t.

Sometimes they are dry little meringues with a sad dollop of filling that makes the whole thing downright miserable.

Macarons done right are magnificent. Done poorly, are no good at all.

So today, I’m going to show you how to make macarons, the proper way.

I have made literally every mistake I think it is possible to make with a macaron. I have sat on the floor and wept not understanding what it is I have done wrong, and that is sadly, not at all an understatement. I’m not being dramatic. I have wept.

But here’s the good news. I have made every one of those mistakes so that you don’t have to. I can tell you every trick I’ve learnt so that you can do them perfectly.

Let’s get started shall we?


Recipe from Pierre Herme

  • 300g Sifted Ground Almonds
  • 200g Icing Sugar
  • 110g Egg whites
  • 300g Sugar
  • 110g Egg Whites

Filling of your choice (I’m a sucker for ganache- try this recipe!)

Sift the ground almonds and icing sugar into a large bowl.

Add the 110g of egg whites but do not mix them.

Put the remaining egg whites into the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.

In a small pot mix the sugar with a small amount of cold water so that the sugar has the texture of wet sand. Put a lid on it (if you don’t have a lid an upside down frying pan works well!) and put it on a burner over medium low heat.

When the mixture is boiling rapidly and all the sugar has dissolved you can remove the lid. You’re doing this so that the sugar doesn’t crystallize. By keeping the lid on, which encourages condesation in the pot, the sugar won’t crystallize against the edges. It’s a bit of a cheaters trick, and it works brilliantsly.

Now put your candy thermometer into the pot and turn the temperature up to medium high.

Cook the sugar mixture to 118C.

When the sugar get’s to 115C turn the mixer on medium and whisk the egg whites.

When the sugar gets to 118F carefully remove it from the heat and slowly pour it into the mixer with the motor running. You want to make sure you’re not pouring the sugar onto the whisk which it turn is splashing it on the side of the bowl. You’ll lose too much sugar, instead drip it down the side of the bowl in a thin stream.

Once the sugar mixture is all in, keep the mixer running until it is very thick, but still slightly warm when you touch the side of the bowl. You want it to be just about body temperature.

Now you can fold the two mixtures together. This is the trickiest part. This isn’t like normal folding egg whites in where you want to deflate it as little as possible. Instead you’ll actually whip them together with a spatula. The trick is deflating it just enough.

You want the batter to still be thick, but when you life your spatula up and let the dough fall back down, you’ll want it to melt back into the batter, although not too quickly.

That sounds tricky but here’s the nice thing; as soon as you start piping your macaron shells you’ll be able to tell if you did it right or not. If you didn’t, you can just scrape up the batter, mix it up a bit more and then pip it again. No problem. Don’t stress okay?


Now that you’ve made your batter it’s time to pipe. Fit your piping bag with a round tip about 5mm wide.

Line 4 baking trays with 4 silpats. If you don’t have silpats you can use parchment paper, but the parchment is likely to bend a bit when you’re baking and they won’t be quite as perfectly round.

Pipe your macaron shells to be about 1.5 inches and space them about an inch apart.

Now let them sit. You want to wait roughly 30 minutes, or until the soft shiny-ness of the macarons has dulled slightly and turned a bit more opaque. This hardens the shell and ensures that the shell won’t crack.

Preheat your oven to 350F.

Bake your shells one tray at a time, for about 4 minutes, then turn them, then another 3 minutes in a convection oven. In a standard oven it would be more like 5 minutes turn 4 minutes.

When you think they’re done gently wiggle the top of one with your finger: it should still wiggle but also be a little bit firm. Take them out and let them cool completely.

Cook the other trays the same way.

When they are fully cooled use an offset spatula to pick them up off the silpats, they shouldn’t stick too much.

Match them up in rows of two with ones that they are closest to in size (uless your piping skills are totally spot on there will be a few differences in size!)

Now gently push in the base of each shell- this will make more room for the filling.

Pipe in your filling, and turn the tops over and gently sandwich them together.

Le macarons! C’est Finis!


Dark Chocolate Brownies with "Candied" Chestnuts.

Does anything say cooling temperatures, red leaves, and brisk winds better then chestnuts? Those wonderful things that fall from big old trees and we roast over an open fire, but have way more purpose then we North Americans ever give them credit for.

I’m not sure I ever fully appreciated chestnuts until I went to France.

Last year I spent a month in Paris that was booked in a moment of just needing to escape and get away. If I hadn’t been  so eager to leave I might have done a little research on the weather, because 24 out of 26 days it rained. I’m not kidding. It was so grey and dismal I almost missed Vancouver, which certainly doesn’t happen often. November is not the time to visit Paris.

Unless you really love chestnuts, which fortunately, I do.

I didn’t realize until I went to Paris that you can candy chestnuts and put them in anything. You can eat them plain, you can put them in cake (gateaux aux marron glace), ice cream (creme glace avec la marron glace), anf in chocolates (marron glace avec chocolat.) Basically when the sky falls Parisiennes fall for chestnuts. So of course, I did too.

When I came back I tried to make them, and I will try again, but man oh man, this is not an easy task, and it’s one that will take some practice I think, BUT in the meantime, I can make a cheaters one and then put it in brownies and no one will know. Except you, but your alright.

Dark Chocolate Brownies with “Candied” Chestnuts

(adapted from Jamie Oliver’s Bloomin’ Brilliant Brownie recipe)


1 heaping cup of Dark Chocolate

2/3 cup Butter

2/3 cup AP Flour

1/2 cup Cocoa Powder-use the best quality kind you can get!

4 Eggs

1 tsp Baking Powder

1 cup Packed Light Brown Sugar


1/2 cup Sugar

1/2 cup Whole Chestnuts, roasted, peeled, chopped roughly.

In a small clean pot mix the sugar with just enough water to wet it, it should have the consistency of wet sand. If it’s too wet don’t worry, it will just take longer to cook out.

On high heat cook the sugar and water until it begins to caramelize. Now be careful, it will turn from light to dark very quickly. Once it starts to get auburn add in the chestnuts. It will sizzle and spit a bit, stir and stir until theirs neirly no liquid left and the sugar has crystalized all over the nuts. Put on an oven proof plate and let cool.


Preheat your oven to 350F and line an 8inch square pan with parchment on both sides. Set aside.

In a metal bowl set over a pot of simmering water on medium heat melt your butter and chocolate together.

Add in your sugar and vanilla.

Add in the eggs and stir until barely combined. Remember that eggs have a memory, if you beat them they will rise in the oven, and you want soft fudgey brownies so be gentle. Sift in your flour, cocoa, and baking powder, and then the chestnuts. Do not over mix.

Then pour that bad boy into your prepared pan and bake it for about twenty minutes, until the top has set and doesn’t wiggle but isn’t to firm. I’d err on the side of undercooked that over with brownies, personally. And then eat and eat and eat.


Double Chocolate Cookies

I make a slight variation of these cookies at my work, and one of my very favourite things about it is that one of my very favourite people that I work with, loves them. Like, truly loves them and always walks by the oven when they’re in and breaths in the chocolatey smell and tells me how good she thinks they are. And then if there are any left over she sort of squeeks with excitement because she gets to eat one for breakfast. Which, if I’m being totally honest is what I do too, they are seriously good cookies, if not the healthiest of breakfasts. But it’s very gratifying at 7am to have someone that excited about what you do for a living. But I supposed that’s why I started baking in the first place. It makes people happy, way before they normally are in a day.

This is not the first place I’ve made these cookies at, and in fact it’s totally not my recipe. But if the fine people at the Tartine Bakery know anything, it’s how to make a good cookie, and they really do that here.

In the note before the recipe in the cookbook she notes that the amount of chocolate might look like a typo, but it’s not, it just really puts these cookies over the edge into heaven.

Double Chocolate Cookies

(Loosely adapted from the Tartine Bakery)

12 oz Dark Chocolate, either chips or chunked

1 cup AP Flour

2 tsp Baking Powder

1/2 cup Butter

1 cup Brown Sugar

3 Large Eggs

1 tbsp Vanilla Extract

2 tbsp Milk

Preheat oven to 325F

Line a baking tray with a silpat, parchment or butter, depending on what you have handy!

Over a Double Boiler, or a bowl ontop of a pot of simmering (but not boiling!) water melt 8oz of chocolate.

Meanwhile cream together your butter and sugar.

Add in your cocoa powder, your vanilla and your milk.

Add in the chocolate.

Mix in your eggs, but barely, you don’t want to over mix these or they will be cakey instead of chewey.

Add in the flour and baking powder and remaining chocolate until just combined.

Scoop out onto your baking tray.

Wet your hands and turn the little lumps into balls and then squish them into disks. It will be hard to do this with your hands dry.

Bake for about 7-11 minutes depending on the size, but err on the side of undercooked.


A few years back my sister, a few friends and I went on a croissant-athon. Basically we looked up all the places in Toronto for the best croissants and biked around the city trying one at each place (we did split them, or else we wouldn’t have been able to keep riding!) and my meticulous sister took notes.

My main criteria is what I call the crunch-to-gush factor.

This is not a technical term.

But it is important. It’s the contrast from perfect crisp exterior to meltingly tender interior. It’s something the french do very well. In creme caramel? Check. Parisian macarons? Check. Madeleines? Check Check.

Madeleines are my new obsession. I decided I wanted to make them for the baby shower I threw last week and so, because I was putting so much work in (aka was having so much fun planning it!) I decided to give myself a gift and buy a madeline pan. And then lie to my boyfriend about when I bought it because he’s threatening to leave because me if I fill our apartment with more kitchen gadgets.


Man madeleines are good! And their good because of the crunch-to-gush factor. The perfect browned edges that lead the way into the most moist vanilla scented cakey center. It’s danm near perfect. And very easy if you have a standing mixer, and of course a fancy madeline pan. I bet you could make these in a mini cupcake holder to, if your really jonesing for them, but there’s just something so wonderful about the little scalloped edges.


Adapted from 101cookbooks

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter (6 ounces)
2 tablespoons softened unsalted butter (for greasing pan)
3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
4 large eggs
a pinch fine-grain sea salt
2/3 cups sugar
zest of one large lemon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
powdered sugar

a bit of extra flour for dusting baking pan

Brown the butter: melt it on a low heat until it gets frothy on top, and the milk solids get beautifully brown and it smells like hazelnuts, be careful not to burn it!


In the bowl of your standing mixer beat the eggs on high speed until light and fluffy. Then slowly add in the sugar tablespoon by tablespoon while keeping mixer on high speed.

Now carefully fold in the flour, salt, and lemon zest, by hand.

Then fold in the vanilla and butter, being very careful not to over mix.

Then carefully pipe the prepared molds 3/4 full of batter.

Bake for about 8 minutes or until beautifully golden brown. Most recipes say to pop them out right away but I found waiting a few minutes made them come out easier!

Darn Close to Perfect Macarons

I have made macarons many times before. I’ve made them with chocolate, with raspberries, with caramel. I’ve made them at work, at home and even in a classroom in Paris, and every time I’ve made them, I’ve done them the Pierre Herme way, which is much more complicated, because I’ve eaten macarons at Pierre Herme and that man knows a thing about macarons. Seriously.

But here’s the thing of it, I’ve made all these macarons in all these places, to great success, except in my own home. They never work.

Sometimes I blame myself, but mostly I blame my oven and the ridiculous rain in Vancouver, but I thought today that maybe I would try blaming the recipe and try another one.

I have never thought of myself as practical so this seemed like a totally logical solution.

BUT bam. Miracles do happen, and they worked.

Maybe I was feeling the Cinco de Mayo feeling but I made them coconut and lime macarons, and they were darn good. I found fresh grated coconut at my Chinese grocer which gave them that really fresh coconut taste but these would also be lovely with dried coconut I reckon.


2 cup Icing Sugar

1 cup Ground Almonds (sometimes called almond flour)

3 Egg Whites

2 tbsp Sugar

Sift together the almonds and the icing sugar into a bowl.

In your standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment whisk the egg whites until frothy.

Slowly add in the sugar while whisking and then let run on high until stiff peaks form.

Carefully fold the egg whites into the almond mixture. This is really the only tricky part because you want to mix it until the batter is soft enough to spread out a bit when you stop stirring it.

Put mix into a piping bag and pipe into 1 inch circles and spread about 1 inch apart, they will spread out a bit as they bake.

Let them sit at room temperature for at least 20 minutes or until a soft filmy skin has formed on the top the cookies.

Preheat oven to 350F

While the cookies are cooling make the coconut buttercream.

Coconut Buttercream

1 Egg White

1/4 cup Sugar

1/2 cup Butter, room temperature

3 tbsp Freshly grated coconut or dried unsweetened coconut flakes

1 tbsp Coconut Cream

1/4 tsp Lime Zest

 Get a small pot of water on the stove with 2 inches of water in it.

In the bowl of a standing mixer mix together the egg white and the sugar

Place the bowl over the pot and whisk the egg mixture into it is hot to the touch.

With your standing mixture fitted with the whisk attachment whisk the egg mixture until its smooth and glossy and holds stiff peaks

Slowly add in the butter, tablespoon by tablespoon until it’s all incorporated.

Add in the coconut and the lime zest.

Put icing into a piping bag and carefully pipe onto half of the cookie shells

Place the top cookie on top.

Gently pick up the cookie and press both sides together, again gently.

If you have the patience, chill them overnight in the fridge and then bring back to room temperature the next morning, for the very best texture.

But of course, you can eat one now. They look too good not to don’t they?

Tea and Cookies

Sometimes, when it rains for 7 months straight you so sick of your hair being frizzy that you don’t want to leave your house, and your rain boots have holes in them from to much wear, and even though it’s getting warmer and there are flowers coming up you just don’t care because everything looks grey. It happens. There was an odd sunny day last week and I saw the mountains and thought “They really look bigger then I remember” and then of course I realized that I hadn’t seen the tops of them in months and I was used to thinking that they stopped where the clouds started.

Which is all a long way of saying that today I made lavender oatmeal cookies and I am staying inside and drinking tea and reading my book. (which is “Say Her Name” by Fransisco Goldman by the way and it is fantastic. Click here if you want see it’s review in the New York Times.)

Sometimes you just have to accept the rain and make the most of an inside day. These cookies are perfectly melty and crumbly and the oats give just a little more substance and nuttiness and the lavender is not at all perfumey but just gentle and floral. And these go exceptionally well with earl grey tea.

Lavender Oatmeal Cookies

(adapted from a Martha Stewart Recipe)

1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp Oats

3/4 cup AP Flour

1/3 cup Sugar

3/4 tsp Dried Edible Lavender

1/2 cup Butter

Preheat the oven to 325F

Line a 8inch loaf pan with parchment

Spread the oats on a baking sheet and bake until just golden and toasty, about 5 minutes.

In a food processor pulse the sugar and the lavender until the lavender is broken up, the sugar is fine and it smells a little perfumey from the lavender.

Add in 1/2 cup of the toasted oats and pulse again until they are broken up into very small pieces.

Add in the flour and pulse to combine. Add the Butter

Pulse about 10 times until the mixture just comes together.

Press into your prepared pan. If its too sticky get your fingers a little wet and then try.

Sprinkle the remaining oats on top. 

Bake for about half an hour or until the cookies are just beginning to get firm to the touch and the outsides are lovely and golden brown.

As soon as they are out of the oven use the parchment to help lift out the cookies and cut them. if you ct them when they are cool thy will crumble.

Then do NOT eat them while they are scorching hot like me because you will burn your tongue. Or do, that’s fine too, they are super delicious.