Wednesday, February 18, 2009

I am back!!

Today is the start of a new era. For the last 7 months, I have pined for cooking and baking, have yearned to write my weekly blog entries in Whisk and Wander, and we have traveled, which usually warrants a few entries and some photos. but life has changed so much in the last 7 months, that I have been tired, not rested and frankly, not too motivated to do much of anything aside from caring and doting over my baby boy.

But, the tides are changing. I have finally figured out how to get my son to fall asleep on his own. I feel like my world is opening up again, especially my free time in the evenings. So what do I do, a week after I started ‘sleep training’ him and am getting a little more rest myself? First, I have a celebratory beer and then, I cook. (tonight, its coconut curry with halibut) For the first time in several months, I have felt the urge and the energy to get back in the kitchen. Not to say that I haven’t done any cooking…but, I know, I know, potstickers and edamame don’t count now do they?

My first blog back was going to be a re-creation of the famous French Macaroon cookies that we had from Laduree in Paris. But, I admit, I am rusty and they were not blog worthy, believe me. The extent of my baking as of late has been easy stuff like scones and chocolate chip cookies.

I have been an avid walker since Z was born, and often, my walks take me into a cafĂ© for a halfway point coffee and a cookie. I have been to quite a few cafes around, so I have made it my quest to find the best and worst chocolate chip cookies out there. (not really, but as a frequent buyer and eater of CCC’s, I find that I am getting duped…but am still spending the money on these things anyway..) I hate to sound like a CCC snob, but there are some doozys out there…

If I had to describe my perfect CCC, it would have a slight crunch on the outer edges and give way to a chewy interior. And, unless they are toasted pecans, I hate nuts in my cookies…and brownies and banana bread.

Place #1: This place is known for its coffee, which is roasted in small batches in house…and I love their coffee, think they make the best lattes in Seattle, but their baked goods are….pretty mediocre. Their scones are almost always underdone and their cookies are always falling apart. Whenever I ask for one, the poor barista cant seem to grab just one from the case. Most times, I get a broken one, and part of an extra one, which is nice….if only they didn’t taste so much like bananas.

Place #2: This place is known for its grilled sandwiches and soups and they serve a decent latte, but again, their baked goods are ALWAYS doughy…. ‘the baker is afraid of the oven’, doughy. But, I admit, I have been known to like an underdone cookie now and again. Not bad, I like the chewy factor…but, recently, I saw the owners walk in with a huge tub of ‘Otis Spunkmeyer’ cookie dough…so, this kind of changed everything for me…

Place #3: This place is known for its Asian inspired pastries and they all actually look delicious, but for some reason, I order a CCC instead. Their cookies are the worst texture, dry and sort of chewy, in a stale way…and, they have walnuts. Yuk. I know that they make most of their things from scratch, so I am surprised that the baker pulls these out of the oven, takes a bite, and thinks they are heaven. They are not. (bonus minus point in my book since the walnuts were rancid in my last cookie...)

Place #4: I wasn’t going to get a CCC here, but I didn’t have cash and they only accepted debit cards with 5$ or more, so I gave in. They are a Cuban coffee shop and I think are known more for there unique atmosphere and coffee than their baked goods, but I have to say that I actually liked the cookie. I wasn’t expecting much, as it was wrapped in plastic, which usually says to me.. “Day Old..” and, did I mention that it was 2.00$ ? geez…But, a Double bonus, it had chocolate chips AND m&m’s…no nuts and although it was a dense cookie, it had a good dense yet chewy texture.

I am a baker by trade, so I have to be critcal when trying out these places. But, of course, I have been to most more than once, and I have again and again ordered the same cookie, so they are hardly inedible, but I am still on the search for the best, and I guess not having found it so far keeps me baking my own at home..
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Bonny said...

Well,it looks like your neighborhood needs a new CCC baker-maker.There are a lot of us out there who do like toasted nuts in their CCC's,so I suggest making them with and without. And while you are at it, make some of your Double Ginger-Ginger biscotti.YUM!!!!

Sara said...

yeah, I would make them with nuts too, but only pecans!! :) just made some of the ginger biscotti last night...the more fat ladened variety. I will have to make those for you..I think that they are better than the ones I made in Kauai!

CraftMafia said...

Haha...I just posted to your last entry saying that I love the Laduree macaroons and then I read this. If you perfect your recipe, let me know! They're my favorite.