Posts Tagged ‘cookies’

Cookies, Literacy Signing, RWA 2012

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

I will be at the RWA Literacy signing from 5pm to 8:00pm, Wednesday Jul 25: Anaheim Convention Center, 3rd Floor Ballroom.

Here are the two things you need to know:

  • Table 600
  • Cookies

My Dangerous Pleasure – New Recipe AND a Contest

Sunday, May 15th, 2011

The Contest is officially Over

Thank you so much to everyone who entered. I LOVED reading your cooking stories. They were just wonderful. Thank you for sharing those stories. I’m off to pick the winner.


I’ve made this post sticky for the duration of the contest. There’s a new recipe (this time, chocolate mousse) and a link to Chapter 3 of My Dangerous Pleasure. Also, since I was late getting out my newsletter, I’ve extended my contest deadline to Midnight Pacific June 4th in order to give them time to enter.

The Contest Info

As some of you may know, the heroine of My Dangerous Pleasure, Paisley Nichols, owns a bakery. In honor of that and in shameless promotion of the book (it’s out May 31, have you bought your copy yet?) I’m going to be giving away a slew of cooking supplies to one lucky winner. The supplies will include, among other things:

  • Baker’s Sugar
  • Cake Flour
  • Chocolate (assortment)
  • Dutch Process cocoa
  • Vanilla
  • Parchment paper
  • Flour
  • A cookbook or two

If the winner is in the US I will also arrange to ship some awesome butter to the winner. If I find out that butter can be shipped internationally, I will so do, but I cannot guarantee that will be possible. I will also include some other baking-related surprises.

But Wait! There’s More!

Over the next three weeks my publisher will be making chapters 1-3 of My Dangerous Pleasure available for you to read:

  1. Chapter 1 (pdf).
  2. Chapter 2 (pdf).
  3. Chapter 3 (pdf).

What Would I Do With All That Baking Stuff?

Well, you could make some awesome desserts . . .

The week before last, I posted a recipe for Chocolate Chocolate-Chip Cookies. download a pdf of the Chocolate Chocolate-Chip Recipe. Last week’s recipe was for download a pdf of the Butter Cookies recipe

This week? Chocolate Mousse. download a pdf of the Chocolate Mousse recipe

Notes on the Mousse

The higher quality the chocolate, the less tolerant this is to inattention, over-beating, cheating and timing. I recommend making this once with cheap chocolate, as it is less prone to seizing and will still taste really good. (but not to-die-for good) that way you’ll understand the steps involved and will not be as tense when you’re using the good chocolate.

Also, despite the cautions, this doesn’t take all that long to make. You can do it!

Notes on Ingredients

Heavy Whipping Cream: Get the highest fat content you can find. Not the cheapo grocery brand unless you happen to know it’s high quality.

The Chocolate

You have to look really, really hard to find chocolate without soy lethicin in it. Sadly several formerly high quality chocolates have started adding soy lethicin. If you find chocolate without it, almost by definition, you’ve found a high quality chocolate.

You should be able to pronounce all the ingredients in your chocolate: cocoa, cocoa butter and not much else. Look to the Belgian or Swiss chocolates.

A note on separating the eggs

There CANNOT be EVEN A DROP of egg yolk in the egg whites. This means you need three bowls. One for successful egg whites with no yolk, one for the egg yolks and one to use when you’re separating an egg. That way if the egg is old and the yolk is runny or what have you, you only need to discard one egg and won’t contaminate the successes.

Seized Chocolate

Seized chocolate gets instantly grainy and lumpish. You can try stirring your way out of it, but you’re likely to get mousse with an unappealing texture. This actually happened to a friend of mine. It was sad, and she cried.


16 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped or as chips.

2 cups cold heavy whipping cream

6 large eggs, separated


1. Whip the cream to soft peaks, put aside in a new bowl and refrigerate

2. Melt the chocolate.

You can do this in a double-boiler (over-but-not-in hot but not simmering water). Stirring often. With this method you will almost certainly end up having to wait for the chocolate to cool down to warm.

It’s far easier to do this in the microwave:

Put your chocolate in a bowl, and NEVER nuke for LONGER THAN 30 seconds.

Stir. Nuke again for 30 seconds.

Stir and nuke, stir and nuke etc until the chocolate still has a few lumps.

Now, you just stir continuously until the rest of the chocolate melts. It doesn’t take long and the chocolate will not be all that hot. Dab some chocolate on your lower lip. It should feel warm but not hot. If it’s too cool, the chocolate will seize. Same if it’s too hot.

3. Whip the egg whites in a very clean bowl until they are foamy and beginning to hold a shape. Beat until soft peaks form. Soft peaks should fold over and not be rigid.

4. When the chocolate is at the proper temperature, add about 1/4th or less of the whipped cream.

Add the egg yolks. If you don’t add the whipped cream first, the chocolate will seize when you add the yolks. (It will also seize if the chocolate is too hot.)

Fold by hand until mixed. Do this fairly quickly because you don’t want the chocolate to seize. (Fast, but not too fast!) Too slow and the chocolate will seize.

Gently fold in the rest of the whipped cream. You need the fluffiness, so be gentle.

5. Fold in half the egg whites until just incorporated using a whisk, then fold in the remaining whites, switching to a spatula. Be gentle. There should be no chunks or bits of white, but you need this fluffy so don’t over-work.

6. Spoon the mousse into a serving bowl or individual dishes and refrigerate for at least 8 hours.

How to Enter the Contest

Leave a comment on this post in which you mention your fondest, funniest, saddest or most embarrassing cooking memory. Feel free to make one up. If you have one involving Elves, demons, fiends or other supernatural creatures, that would be pretty darn funny.

Leave a comment by midnight Pacific June 4, 2011.

Contest void where prohibited. No purchase necessary. People related to me can’t win. Sorry.

Winner will be chosen at random on or shortly after June 5.



Live, From New York!

Monday, November 8th, 2010

My son and I arrived in NYC Saturday at 6:00 am. When we got to my friend Megan’s house in Brooklyn, we said hi and went to sleep for several hours. I got a lot of writing done over the weekend, plus hung out at the NYC Marathon and had two amazing meals.

Today, we walked around SoHo and the Village, met up with the amazing and talented Liz Maverick who bonded with my son over World Of Warcraft stories. Then Megan took the boy shopping for a coat as he felt his borrowed coat was “too puffy” and I had lunch with my Berkley editor Kate Seaver. He came back with a very decent coat. Not puffy.

When we came home, I made chocolate chocolate chip cookies and now I am going to write some more.

Tomorrow, more sights then a late lunch and recording session thingee with my GCP editor Michele Bidelspach.


A Cookie Disaster

Sunday, August 19th, 2007

Today, while I was busy procrastinating I made cookies. Twice. The first batch was Chocolate Chip, which I can now make without consulting the recipe. They came out great as always. Then I made sugar cookies. The dough needs to be refrigerated so I didn’t suspect the looming tragedy until much later. Then I went grocery shopping.

Flashback: This morning I went rowing with another of the novices from my class. Two hours in a two-man (two-girl) skull. Fun. But our novice status was pretty apparent. We managed to get out of it whenever we rowed too close to the shore and ended up in the mud. The hardest part was dealing with the low tide and the wind. Whoa. I will say that being generally more fit (as opposed to actually fit) than the general population is an advantage. I don’t seem to poop out… And, my very low key weight training with push ups and the like continues to be another incredible advantage. I’m floored by how little time and effort it takes for the perceived and, it seems, actual, benefit. Two days a week, probably 30-40 minutes total time when I exclude the stretching. That’s it. I’m up to 22 push ups per rep, not including the really hard ones where you make a triangle with your thumbs and index fingers. Those are hard and I can only do 12 or so right now. It’s hard work. But the free weights are a nice little break… Seriously.

OK. So now the groceries are put away. My son and I have taken down the garbage and recycling and walked down the road to where he’ll pick up the bus. I timed it, and it’s a 15 minute walk. Turns out it’s much further away than I thought. But walking 15 minutes won’t kill him. It’s a busy road, though, and I worry a bit because cars are going slow along there at 55 mph. Back at the house, I decide to bake the sugar cookies.

Oh. My. Gosh. Total.Disaster.

The first batch looks, seriously, like fried eggs, without the yolk. They’re so flat and bubbly I have to wait for them to cool down in order to get them off the cookie sheet. I know this because the first one crumpled up into so much gunk and then slowly melted down off the cooling rack. I made the rest twice as big, thinking maybe they wouldn’t spread out, but all I got was bigger egg whites.

So, what went wrong, you might be wondering? I think I know. Apparently, somebody who wasn’t me, poured flour into a container that had in it a white powdery substance that was, in reality, powdered sugar. Therefore, the flour I used was probably half powdered sugar.

Yeah. Cookie. Disaster. They tasted good. I mean, come on, they were mostly sugar and butter so how bad could they taste? But it was still a disaster.

Then I re-wrote my outline for Scandal and now I’m going to bed.