I woke a few weeks back to an email from a fellow food blogger, Barb from Profiteroles and Ponytails, informing me she had nominated/awarded me with the Versatile Blogger Award. What a lovely way to wake up.
Barb’s take on food is refreshing, convivial and it’s tremendously obvious that she adores cooking (and baking, oh her baking!) home-cooked, soul-soothing meals for her husband and the ponytails (a nickname for her adorable daughters). Thank you, Barb, for sharing the love with me. It’s truly an honour.
So in true Versatile Blogger spirit, I would also like to share the love (before I share some badass cookies with you!) and nominate a few folks I think are truly deserving of the award.
A Heartful Mouthful; Kaitlin and I have become friends in the last little while and I’m so proud to call such an innovative, talented, well spoken woman my friend. She continually impresses and delights with her culinary prowess and kitchen expertise. Her blog is thoughtfully written, fun to read, and delicious to look at.
It Ain’t Meat Babe; Jennifer’s blog houses such a superb collection of expertly written vegan recipes, but that aside, the stories she tells make you feel like you’ve been friends with her forever. She’s well spoken and an obviously passionate writer. I am so looking forward to reading more of anything and everything she writes.
Pretty Plate; One look at Jennifer (yes, another Jennifer. Turns out they are a talented bunch) blog and you’ll see why I’m nominating her. Her blog is beautiful to look at, fun to read, and her recipes are delightfully inspired.
In order to complete my portion of the Versatile Blogger award, I’m not to tell you 7 things about myself that you might not already know. This is a difficult task for me since I’m typically such an open book. But here is my stab at it…
1. I have a hard time reading books.
Books and I, we don’t always see eye to eye. Literally. I am easily distracted by shiny things and find myself reading the same sentence umpteen times before finally absorbing what I’ve actually read. It takes a REALLY good read to draw me in.
2. I didn’t start cooking until I was about 2007/2008.
I didn’t really grow up in a family that was mad about food. We did have dinner together as a family most night, but the food wasn’t really the spotlight of our meals (not that it wasn’t delicious! Don’t kill me Mom & Dad!), it was about family. And so, food’s entry into my life has been quick and dirty and passionate.
3. I’m far too easy to please.
I sometimes joke that I would make a terrible, complacent food-critic as I tend to just like everything. I can tell if something is under-seasoned, over-cooked, or just plain bad…but there is a pretty good chance I’ll happily eat it anyways. I just love food. In all it’s forms. I imagine this is a result of growing up with a father who, upon finding mold on food, would just cut it off and continue eating. Waste not, want not. Right? No?
4. I’ve lived in Western Canada twice.
Never for very long, as my dad pokes fun at me often about. I lived in Fernie, BC and Canmore, AB for about 4 months each time. It’s been an escape of mine when things get tough here at home in Ottawa. I haven’t run away in a long time, but if I were going to again, there is a good chance you could find me in the mountains.
5. I drink a lot of tea.
Usually before bed. I drink about 2-3 pots of tea to myself most days. I know full well, while drinking it, that I am going to end up paying for it at 3am, but I can’t help myself. The Toasted Walnut tea from David’s Tea is my most favourite and I am never without it for very long.
6. I am painfully shy.
Despite my loud and chatty exterior, I am really very shy with new people. I tend to overcompensate for it by awkwardly talking non-stop. Going to new events and networking is something that shakes me right to the core. I’m working on it.
7. I am a homebody through and through.
I enjoy going out at times and often feel disappointed in myself when I miss events and gatherings when I don’t, but I really just love being at home. Give me a bowl of pasta, a glass (bottle) of wine, and a good movie and I am at my happiest. Add my boyfriend and our 2 cats and dog, and I’m in heaven. Home is truly where my heart is.
And now… for the GREAT part. The part I’ve been thinking about all week. Double Chocolate Chili Cookies. You hear that? Let me say it louder. DOUBLE.CHOCOLATE.CHILI.COOKIES. For real. That just happened.
I got this recipe from Elizabeth of Guilty Kitchen. I doubt there is much I have to tell you about since you and everyone you know already know her and her awe-inspiring blog. She consistently gives me something to work towards. Something to keep raising the bar for. Her photos, her writing, her recipes…they are everything I’d someday like to be.
These cookies are the Johnny Depp of cookies. They are dark, rugged, and deliciously bad. You want to hoard them all to yourself in a dark room and have your way with them. A few times. And then again in an hour.
Oh no. I think I’ve stopped talking about cookies. I’m sorry. I digress. Make these. As soon as you can. They are spicy, but not enough to make you break a sweat. Just enough. Dark, cocoa-y, gooey and a touch salty from the salted caramel dark chocolate I used in them, they are the perfect companion to a BIG, cold glass of milk.
Double Chocolate Chili Cookies
adapted from Guilty Kitchen
I used a Mexican chili powder that I got at a natural food store and Camino cocoa powder in the cookies. Use what you like best, but try to use the best quality products you can afford.
1 1/2 cups pastry flour
1 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp chili powder
1 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup unsalted butter, \t room temperature
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
7 oz dark chocolate, cut into small chunks
Pre-heat oven to 375.
Sift the first 6 ingredients into a medium bowl.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream the butter until fluffy. Add the sugars and cream until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, and scrape down the sides of the bowl after each is mixed.
Add half the dry ingredients and mix on lowest speed. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the remaining dry ingredients and mix again until fully incorporated.
Stir in the chocolate chunks using a sturdy spoon, the batter is quite thick.
At this point you can do one of three things;
1. place the dough in the fridge for 12-24 hours. This helps produce a thicker, chewier cookie.
2. Place batter in the freezer for 1 hour. This isn’t as effective as the fridge method, but it’s what I did and I was happy with the results.
3. Bake right away. The cookies might be a little on the flat side, but I’m sure they’ll still be delicious.
When you’re ready to bake, roll the dough into golf-ball sized portions and place on a baking sheet.
Bake for 15-17 minutes being very careful not to burn, because they will. Quickly.
Let cool for 10-15 minutes, pour a big glass of milk or tea, and enjoy!
I decided I didn’t need them all, so decided I would gift a few. Not because I’m nice, but mostly because I’m looking out for my own ass. Literally.