Coco-pine nut chocolate chip cookies

D has been craving homemade chocolate chip cookies of late and so a totally unexpected snow day last Monday carved out the time for me to complete such a worthy activity. I’m by no means a talented baker, but do love sweets, so was delighted when my spin on the Trader Joe’s chocolate chip cookies recipe turned out so well. Here are all the ingredients you’ll need ~

Chocolate chip cookies ingredients

I halved the butter by substituting a 1/4 cup of Greek yogurt in lieu of  the second stick. I also was amazed (as I am every time I use brown sugar) at how fluffy my stock was ~ 

Brown sugar toolDid you know, when moistened with a bit of water, a terra-cotta disk will prevent your brown sugar from packing and hardening? You can get them at any kitchen supply store, mine came from Sur la table.

Whilst pulling out all my ingredients, I felt inspired to experiment a bit and so decided to add flaked coconut and pine nuts, as well ~

Coco pine nuts ready for oven

I wasn’t sure how D would feel about the experiment and so opted halvies for flavors ~

Finished chocolate chipsThe entire experiment was a success, both flavors were delicious and moist and didn’t taste like they were missing butter. Unfortunately, Riley took care of about 2/3 of them while we were visiting D’s grandparents … 

Guilty rileyOf course we were unhappy with our 8-year-old-acts-like-a-2-year-old buddy, but next time we’ll wisen up before leaving such tempting treats on the counter!

Coco-pine nut chocolate chip cookies
You will need ~ 
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup of Greek yogurt
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 package semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup of pine nuts
1 cup of flaked cocounut

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine flour, salt and baking soda in medium bowl and set aside. In a separate, larger bowl, combine brown sugar, granulated sugar, softened butter, Greek yogurt and vanilla. Beat until creamy. Add eggs invidivually and beat into creamy mixture. Gradually add in dry ingredients and incorporate completely. Drop mixture by generously rounded teaspoons onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Allow to cool for three minutes and then eat ASAP!

Yields almost 3 dozen medium cookies or 4 dozen small cookies. 


Snickerdoodle dip

This may not look all that delicious …

but let me tell you this *snickerdoodle* (yep, you read that right) dip is the healthiest sweet treat you’ll ever taste. I wish you could taste before predicting the main ingredient, but given our platform, that would be a bit difficult, now wouldn’t it.

I’ll give you the recipe in just a moment before giving many thanks for this amazing recipe to prolific desserts blogger Chocolate Covered Katie. Katie comes up with the most amazing recipes that are so delicious that they not only tempt but practically beg you to have seconds and even thirds! The best part is, they’re healthy!

I was looking for a special treat to kick off D’s birthday last weekend, and figured this would fit the bill since we wouldn’t have to feel guilty indulging in it prior to our flourless chocolate cake. The sweetness of the dip combined with the salty Stacy’s pita chips we chose to dip it in was the perfect combination, and it transitioned well into last week. I enjoyed it warmed on toast with a sliced banana on top for breakfast. To enjoy this delicious treat, follow Kate’s simple instructions (which I borrowed from here):

Snickerdoodle Dip
(high-protein and gluten-free!)

– 1 1/2 cups chickpeas or white beans (1 can) (250g after draining)
– 3 tbsp nut butter of choice (or other fat source)
– 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
– 1/8 tsp baking soda
– heaping 1/8 tsp salt
– 3/4 c of brown sugar
– 1 tbsp unsweetened applesauce
– 1/4 cup ground flax or quick oats (20g) (you can omit)
– 2 and 1/4 tsp cinnamon
– optional ingredients: a pinch cream of tartar, raisins

Drain and rinse your beans very well. Blend all ingredients in a food processor (not a blender) until the mixture is as smooth as you can get it. Dip with salty crackers, fruit or toast!


Happy Easter and Passover, les amis ! What will you do to celebrate? We are spending a quiet weekend among friends and family, and of course enjoying the fabulous weather. I’m excited about a new recipe we’ll try for our Easter feast (more on that later today) and also some last hours of relaxation and time in the sun before it’s back to normal on Tuesday. Here are some yummy springtime treats we’ve been enjoying this weekend ~

Vegan cupcakes from Richmond organic market, Ellwood Thompson’s. All the flavors I tasted were fabulous, but my favorite was definitely the strawberry, not a fake-y pink cake, but rich and satisfying with hunks of fresh berries inside. This little guy looks just like the yellow cakes we devoured yesterday.

And with consistently warmer weather, I’m moving away from red wines into rosés and whites. We enjoyed this affordable bottle, Printemps d’Eulalie (also purchased from ET’s), yesterday evening. It was the perfect rosé, more dry than fruity, and I think will go well with our Easter feast this afternoon.









What springtime treats have you discovered recently?


An authentic French boulangerie in Baltimore

Have you ever traveled to France? If so, then you are certainly acquainted with the addicting aroma of a bakery in the morning-time. As an intern in the editorial offices of Marie Claire magazine (already 5 years ago, yikes!), the anticipation of passing by that smell every morning on my way to the office was often what pulled me out of bed in the early hours. Whether or not I purchased a croissant or a pain au chocolat, the aroma of delicious treats rising to perfection in the bakery kitchens coaxed me out of bed. If only there had been one just beneath my apartment and maybe I would have risen quicker…

Although most mornings I remain decidedly américaine in my choice of breakfast (Kashi with berries or peanut butter toast with bananas), there are some days that I just. want. a café crème accompanied by a buttery, flaky croissant. One of those cravings hit just last week. (Beware, they can come at any moment after spending any time in France). It was a beautiful day of mild temperatures (hard to imagine with the triple digits we’re enduring this week) that felt almost more like fall than summer.

I had commenced dreaming about a café crème because I’m currently going through a stage in which I don’t like coffee I make myself. Weird, I know, but it happens every three to four months. Just when I thought I couldn’t bear one minute more without said crème, I passed by an unapologetically lavender (my most favorite color!) bakery called Bonjour!. Now, I’m not going to act like I had never passed it prior (nothing lavender escapes my appreciative gaze) but that day it pulled my car over seemingly for me and beckoned me inside.

Now, before you read any further, you must know one more thing: I am unapologetically snobby about anything that claims to be “French.” I turn my nose up at most baguettes found here, poke and prod before deigning to purchase Camembert in the States and examine crêpe menus with, if not an expert, then an amateur conoisseur’s eye. So I really did not expect that much upon entering Bonjour!.

But you guessed it (or else I wouldn’t have given that lead-in, right?). It’s di-vine. The authentic French bakery smell assailed my senses upon crossing the lavender establishment’s threshold and the cases, oh the cases…

Row after row of gorgeous, shining pastries were patiently waiting their fates while croissants, pain au chocolat, and other such delights nestled next to each other. There was even a basket overflowing with fresh baguettes.

I ecstatically ordered my crème and croissant and being that I was in the States took it with me to go. Needless to say, the coffee to milk ratio was perfection, the croissant had just the right amount of flaky layers, and I, happily, succeeded in satisfying my Franco-fixation for the day.

In short, I highly recommend Bonjour! to anyone in search of authentic French pastries and goodies in Baltimore. The next time you in Charm City, take yourself there. If you’re a city resident and don’t already know about it (I bet you do, I’m a newbie), it’s in Mt. Washington on Falls Road. Also, it has a great little space for seating which seems like just the nook to enjoy a quiet, light breakfast.