Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Website Launched!

Alright. So after watching numerous commercial's for Intuit's new website program I decided to embark. I have launched a website. It is glorious. well, I think it is. But that's a given. On it you can find some brief info, a link to where you can buy cookie coup stuff, online order form, contact info, and a lot of blah blah blah. Also, there is a link back to the blog. I will continue to write about my trials and tribulations in baking.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Monday Night = Bowling + Baking

Monday has turned into my baking day. It's my day off and I have a place to take the cookies I make. Perfect combination. I always need to have a place lined up to bring cookies if I am baking. What the heck am I going to do with a million cookies? Eat them. My poor waistline. So, as part of my epic diet plan (fatten everyone else up so I look thinner), I bring them to people. On Mondays I have my bowling league, so it works out great.

Here is what I made last night:

Cranberry Chunk Bars
Soft shortbread crust with a hint of ginger, topped with a filling of cranberry & pineapple. Lastly, a crumbly cookie top sprinkled over.
Did I mention a sprinkling of white chocolate chips too? These bars had a lot going on. They were a little bit difficult to eat due to how crumbly the crust was. Maybe next time a more solid cookie on the bottom (as was suggested by one of my bowling mates). But overall, I loved these. I could have eaten the filling by the tub. This is what I love in a fall bar. Although, I'm pretty sure I could eat these any time of the year.

Punkin' Dreams

I was trying to make a cookie that tasted like pumpkin pie but was not really cakey. I do not so much enjoy cakey cookies. So I started messing around with making a recipe. Every recipe I could find had white chocolate chips and looked more like a mondo hunk of assorted fall flavors. They just weren't what I was looking for. In the end, the cookies turned out a bit cakey and really fluffy. When they came out of the oven, I smushed them down with the spatula which ended up being just right. While good on their own, they did need some help. So I frosted them with a cinnamon brown sugar frosting. I really think these come close to heaven.

Site Change

So.. It has been weighing on my mind that the name "the Cookie Diva" is a little too Beyonce for me. Every time I think about it I get that "Diva is a female version of a hustla" song stuck in my head. Which is not exactly me. Yes, I may be a hustla.. but not in my baking! So I thought really long and hard about a good name.. The Rogue Baker? Good but everyone would expect me to be putting Rogue Ale in everything I make.. Then I came upon the idea of the Dissident Baker. Free thinking, off the beaten path and separate from the pack. I thought it was a pretty good description of my baking style. I put my ideas on facebook and my friend Joanna suggested "the Cookie Coup". Ahh.. another political reference. I love it. So that is it.. The Dissident Baker and the Cookie Coup. VIVA LA REVOLUCION! So, that's it. I have changed the web address to:

Monday, October 12, 2009

Back from the tropics!

Wow.. It has been exactly 1 month since the wedding. Crazy.

So here is an update on my adventures in baking for the last month.
September 12... The wedding. FYI for those who weren't able to make it, the wedding featured a massive cookie extravaganza. Massive. I am estimating that I made about 400 or so cookies. I can't even really remember everything I made. By the time I got in to the reception area, the cookies had all disappeared. I guess they were popular.
September 13-31 Costa Rica. Adventures in Costa Rica were pretty adventurous. The highlights include a tour of a coffee plantation and a chocolate plantation. Yums. I felt very inspired to make cookies. And chocolate. Maybe it will be a
new adventure soon. We found great travel buddies in Costa Rica, Susan and Jay. While there I did a bit of baking, which was pretty fun. I honestly can't go 2 full weeks without making any cookies. They turned out.. well.. interesting to say the least. Creaming butter and sugar by hand is not recommended.

October 1-Now. We have been trying had to get everything put away from the wedding. It has been quite the chore. I've been doing some baking, some new flavors. I will continue in detail in another post.

BTW.. the pic is me hugging an organic shade grown Costa Rican coffee plant. The tree of life.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Verdict For The Evening

So tonight I have produced 4 different types of cookie/dough. Let me introduce you to my new friends:
  1. Sarah-n-Dippity: My Sarah Palin delight. Super nutty without tasting like a peanut butter cookie. Kinda a "grown up" version of a classic peanut butter cookie.
  2. Triple Chocolate: My classic. Probably the first original cookie idea I have done. Dark chocolate with hints of espresso and cinnamon. Studded with white chocolate chunks.
  3. The Pub Crawler: Finally got the "beer reduction" down pretty well. Beer dough base with peanut butter chips, peanuts, and pretzels. Rolled in pretzels.
  4. Afternoon Delight: Honey Lemon sugar cookie with earl grey tea leaves and plump blueberries.
Pub crawler turned out amazing. Much better than before. The honey based cookies really flattened out when baking. In the future I might try to add more flour. I also will see if cooking the dough cold will make any difference. But, flavor was really tasty. I think next time I will add more tea to the Afternoon Delight.

Um.. and I was going to take pictures of the cookies when they came out, but.. yea.. I remembered that after we had already eaten them. :( Pictures will come. I promises.

The Sarah-n-Dippity

Watching "Countdown with Keith Olberman" is one of my nightly routines, washed down with the Rachel Maddow Show. It is a pretty typical occurance for Countdown to highlight some of the little "bits of genius" that come from the cereal box that is Sarah Palin's mind. Then suddenly it hit me. A Sarah Palin Cookie!! HOO RAY!

So I have it. The Sarah-n-Dippity cookie. Sweet and totally nuts. It is naturally sweetened with honey, with almond butter and toasted hazelnuts. Studded with bits of crushed Heath bar.

Wedding Cookies

Countdown.. t minus 4 days. Starting today to work on making the cookie dough which I will bake up on either thursday or friday for the wedding on Saturday. I haven't quite decided what types of cookies I will be making yet. I bought a bunch of ingredients at Winco, where the bulk section is my muse.

Here's my preliminary thinking on cookies I will be making:
  • Triple Chocolate Chip
  • Peanut Butter cookies (with Reeses centers)
  • Lemon & Blueberry
  • Lemon Lavendar
  • Pub Crawlers
  • Toffee Nut
  • Cranberry Ginger Oatmeal
  • Cranberry White Chocolate Chunk
  • Molasses Orange
  • S'mores
So far.. I think that's what I'm making. We'll see. I am so bad about cookies. If I have the ingredients.. I keep baking. I don't know how Tim isn't a chubby hubby yet.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Please Sir.. can I get S'mores?

Time is counting down. A cool Oregon monday night and I am getting ready to get married on saturday. But somewhere in the middle of folding programs and packing favors, I took some time out to make some more cookies for my friend Jake. Jake, it should be mentioned, is pretty much the only reader of my blog. So.. I bake him cookies. It is a fair trade.
3 batches are in the works. Batch number one is an ode to S'mores. It is basically a chocolate cookie recipe with 1/2 of the flour replaced with ground graham cracker. Next, I rolled the cookie dough in graham cracker crumbs before putting it on the baking sheet. Baked for 13 minutes, then pulled the cookies out and topped them with mini marshmallows. This proved more difficult than I had anticipated. I don't know what will be the easiest method for doing the marshmallows, I feel more trial (and errors) are needed. I put the cookies back in for about 30 seconds with the oven on broil to toast up the marshmallows. Lastly, I drizzled melted chocolate over the top. And, TA-DA! S'mores. I have to admit, however that I think these cookies are just as messy as the original treat. But, that is the price you pay for delish.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The #1 most asked question.

Often I get asked if I make these cookies to sell. Do I own a bakery? Is there a place where you can get a large quantity of my cookies? The answer is no. I do not own a bakery and there really isn't a place where you can get my cookies. Well, at least not so far. I will extend this offer out: If you want some cookies, you can purchase them from me. They will be made at my home. I do not have access to a liscensed kitchen.

But if you would like to buy some cookies, just let me know and I will make them for you. I suspect I could probably also ship them if it ever became requested.

I think right now the most fair way to decide on a price is per batch. It's a pain in the arce to make a bunch of different cookies so somebody can get a couple of each kind. I suggest if you want to try a few different kinds, get together with some other people and split costs. For example: 4 people each buy 1 batch, then divide up the cookies so each person gets an assortment. If anybody ever wanted to do that, I could easily pack the cookies into an assortment pack.

So.. the details:
$15 per batch. Each batch will make between 18-30 cookies depending on the size.
If you really want a specific size of cookie, let me know. Otherwise, I will use my best judgement.

Particular Flavors Available:
  • Sugar
  • Peanut Butter
  • Classic Chocolate Chip
  • Triple Chocolate
  • Chocolate Peanut Butter (1/2 peanut butter cookie, 1/2 triple chocolate)
  • Molasses Spice
  • Snickerdoodles
  • Oatmeal Raisin
  • Oatmeal Butterscotch
  • Frog Stomps: Spicy molasses cookie with dates, orange zest, and rum
  • Toffee Nut: Nutella cookie with toasted hazelnuts and toffee chips
  • Zinger: Oatmeal cookie with cranberries and candied ginger
  • Black and White Mocha: Triple chocolate cookie with strong flavors of espresso
  • Holy Roller: Sugar cookie with cinnamon & brown sugar spiral throughout. Topped with a cream cheese icing glaze.
  • Pub Crawler: Beer, pretzels, peanuts and peanut butter chips
  • Red Velvet: Light chocolate flavor cookie with white chocolate chips, topped with cream cheese icing and crushed candied pecans
  • What's Up Doc?: Lightly spiced with carrots, pineapple, and toasted coconut. Can also add in walnuts if desired.
  • Mud Puddles: Dark chocolate cookie with a filled Hershey's Kiss (peanut butter or mint) melted in the middle.
  • Or any crazy flavor you can think of.

And yes.. I am also willing to make my brownies, if desired. Brownies $20. I make these as a double batch.
  • Triple Chocolate
  • Uber Fudgey
  • Ange's: Classic brownies topped with peanut butter cheesecake
  • Chocolate Cheese Cake: Classic brownies topped with plain cheese cake
  • 7 Layer Brownies: Brownie on the bottom, chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, toasted coconut, walnuts, toffee chips and sweetened condensed milk
  • Chocolate Peanut Butter: Classic brownies, a layer of crushed reeses cups, topped with peanut butter cookie
  • Uber Blondie: Blondie with coconut, macadamia nut, and white chocolate chips
  • Maple blondie: Maple blondie with walnuts, topped with cream cheese frosting
  • Or whatever your heart happens to desire.
Okay, that's about all I got.

Is there anybody out there?

I don't know if there is anyone reading this. Maybe, but probably not. Being the chronic optimist, let me throw out an idea based on the notion that maybe somebody reads this thing.

I just published a bunch of "crazy cookie" ideas. Post comments on which cookie you would like to see me try out. I will bake the most demanded cookie. And if you live in the area, I will invite you over to try it out. Or, if you have a crazy request, let me know.

If it is true and nobody reads this, I will just make some weird type of cookie. And then I'm just really talking to myself on this thing.. so.. yea.. that's just more fodder for the "weird-o" case.

Thinking of new ideas

A big part of making cookies comes down to thinking about new ideas for cookie flavors. I guess I'll just hash through some ideas for cookies that might be tasty. Let's see... Okay. I have my thinking cap on. Dusty though. I don't use it very often. Thinking is so over rated. But anyways. Okay.. I have my "ah-ha" lightbulb as well. I think I'm set.

#1. Creme Brulee
The Idea: Creamy vanilla bean sugar cookie. Make an indention right out of
the oven, such as with jam thumbprint cookies. Fill with a custardy pastry cream. Then top with raw sugar and torch to a crunchy top. Yum. Maybe even put a bit of ginger into the pastry cream. Ginger vanilla creme brulee? fab.

The Others: Some others have done the creme brulee cookie. Target has a creme brulee cookie. But it's the "out of the box, tastes like cardboard" variety. Not for me. Park 19 has a creme brulee cookie. They put the crunchy sugar on top. Looks killer. But I feel like it is missing the creamy custard that it such a part of the dessert.

#2: S'mores
The challenge: replicate the graham cracker flavor, have lots of chocolate, and make the marshmallow component taste like it came straight from the campfire.
The Idea: Replace about 1/2 of the flour with finely ground graham crackers. Add a bit of honey to the dough. Incorporate in chocolate chunks, maybe even chopped hersheys bar. Bake it up and fresh out of the oven top with marshmallows. Once the cookie is cooled, take the torch to it and toast up the top of the marshmallows on the cookies.
The Others: So I found quite a few s'mores cookies on the net. Paula Deen has a recipe, but it's more of a Smore made with 2 chocolate chip cookiees. There are also quite a few s'mores bars with recipes on the net. There is also, of course, a Park 19 S'mores cookie. So this is not too original of an idea, but I think my way of doing it may be a bit different. It needs to have that toasted and almost burnt taste on the marshmallows to really embody the treat, in my opinion.

#3: Chai Tea Latte
The Challenge: Make a cookie that embodies the flavors of a creamy chai latte without actually using a chai concentrate. Bring not just the flavors, but the creamy goodness of a steaming latte.
The Idea: Process some black tea leaves in a food processor until very finely ground. Use a sugar cookie base. Add in the actual spices of chai, such as cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, anise, cloves and a bit of pepper. I saw some
recipes that rolled the cookie in cinnamon and sugar like a snickerdoodle. But I think instead I would top it with a honey flavored frosting/glaze to help bring the creaminess to the cookie.
The Others: There are quite a few Chai tea cookie recipes, but they all use a chai concentrate in them. I don't like adding too much liquid to my cookie recipes, so I felt it needed to be spicy
without adding extra sugar and liquid. Also, the other cookie recipes treat it more like a flavored snickerdoodle and I feel it misses the creamy element of the latte.

#4: Tropical
The Challenge: Make a cookie taste like a tropical vacation.. or at least a very tropical drink.
The Idea: Cookie with bits of dried pineapple, toasted coconut, toasted macadamia nuts, and rum. Maybe top the whole thing off with a rum
The Others: There are quite a few cookies like this out there as Pina Colada cookies. Most use extracts to come up with the flavors. I prefer the idea of using the real ingredients to bring the flavors out.

#5: Cup of Earl Grey
The Challenge: Make a creamy and ultra sophisticated cookie that almost makes you feel like you are sitting in a coffee shop wrapped in a cozy sweater. An ultimate morning cookie.
The Idea: A creamy sugar cookie base with finely ground earl grey
tea leaves. Add in lemon zest, a touch of honey, and a small amount of finely ground lavendar. No chips, no chocolate. Process some sugar, lavendar, and lemon zest together until finely mixed. Roll the cookie in the lavendar sugar before baking.
The Others: There are quite a few recipes on the net that give recipes for earl grey cookies. Some add chocolate to them as well. I think the difference with my idea is that mine will bring together a bit more flavors to add some complexity.

#6: Poached Pear
The Challenge: Create a cookie that brings together the flavors of red wine and oregon pears. I make a poached pear pie in the fall that has cranberries in it. There is almost no sugar, as all the sweetness comes from the pears and wine. I want to try and bring this same idea into a cookie.
The Idea: A not-so-sweet cookie to start with. Reduced red wine, chopped dried pears, toasted hazelnuts, and dried cranberries. Accent with some grated orange zest and a bit of cinnamon. The idea of this cookie, to me, is distinctly "Oregon". As such, I think it's important to to have the toasted hazelnuts too.
The Others: I found some recipes for italian red wine cookies online, but I can't really find anything that brings in the pear aspect. I always come up with my ideas first, and then look to see if there is anything else like it. At least that way, in my own mind, I can sort-of claim that it was an original idea. Sometimes I have found that there are others that think like me, and have many of my same recipe ideas. Maybe this is a true original?

Monday, August 24, 2009

Because I never know when to quit.

Because I never know when to stop, I have decided to make another batch of cookies today. I made some red velvet cookies with a mild chocolate flavor and white chocolate chips. I didn't have any red food coloring, but I had burgundy and rose food coloring gel. So.. they are more like pink velvet cookies.

To finish the cookies off they are topped with a thin layer of cream cheese frosting, red sprinkles, and a candied pecan. I think that makes them adequately southern, right?

Getting creative

Okay, so today I am getting really creative. Tonight is the last night for my bowling league and I am going to be bringing some cookies. Over the last few weeks, I have brought quite a few different varieties. I was having a tough time thinking of what kind of cookie I could bring today. So, I am going off the wall and using this as an excuse to go nuts.

Crazy Cookie #1: The What's Up Doc?
This coo
kie is inspired by carrot cake. With shredded carrot, dried pineapple, and t
oasted coconut. I tried a version of these before with white chocolate chips in them, but they were way to sweet. I cut down the sugar to help out with this problem as well. End result? The cookies came out very moist and chewy. Yum yum. Next time, more cinnamon and ginger. They are a little lacking on the spice side. Also, I added cream cheese into the dough. Although I don't think it is a noticable flavor. I'd like to figure out a way to get the cream cheese in there without putting a frosting on it. That would just be too sweet I think.

Crazy Cookie #2: The Holy Roller
A cookie inspired by cinnamon rolls. Took a sugar cookie dough and prepared it up like a cinnamon roll, then drizzled cream cheese icing on top. I used a cookie dough that was more suited for drop cookies than roll out. I think this was a problem. In the future, I will go for the roll out dough. I also used canned frosting (for pure convenience) Maybe something different next time. The cookies turned out really huge and the batch only made about 15. I think with the roll out dough, I can get smaller cookies, thus getting more.

Crazy Cookie #3: The Pub Crawler
My goal: get a beer flavored cookie. I added about 1/3 cup of Black Butte Porter, but did not end up with a beer flavor. In the dough I added crushed pretzels, peanuts, and peanut butter chips. Although not tasting like beer, the rest of the cookie was really good. The crunchy pretzels were a nice surprise and there was a salty peanut flavor as well. I think next time I will top them with a nice twisted pretzel for decoration. Again, a nice and soft cookie. Although non-alcoholic, tasty none the less.

Adventures in cookies

Those who know me know my cookies. I love to bake cookies. Not because I am madly in love with eating them, there is just something magical about creating a perfect cookie.
Maybe it's because I think so many get it wrong. All the manufacturers have. They make hard, crunchy, and listless cookies that bore both my mind and palette. Or maybe my love for cookies is in my genes. My mom was always known for her cookies. I can't say I ever even saw her use a recipe. She would just suddenly emerge from the kitchen with a batter laden bowl and dough hook (one for me, one for my brother). But either way, I love cookies. And I love pretty much everything about them.
As I have found over the years, everyone has their own taste in cookies. There are those who love the burnt ones. Those who love the crispy crunchy ones. Those who would just prefer to eat theirs raw. And then.. and then there are those who love a thick, chewy and melt in your mouth cookie. That is me. My Uncle Dale used to say the perfect cookie can be bent in half without breaking. My mission in life has been to search for that perfect cookie.
Okay, so I've explained my love affair with cookies. But the blog? I want to share my experiences with cookies. My ideas, my creations, my triumphs, and my defeats (hopefully less of these than the former). I'm not sure if I will be putting the recipes up yet. We'll see. One day I'd like to have my own little cookie shop and put out a little cookie cookbook. But as for now, my baking will be confined to my little kitchen. Their consumption, however, has no limit. :)