From Scratch

I try to challenge myself in the kitchen.  Maybe it's my competitiveness (I never lose at Scrabble or dominoes--that I can remember, at least); maybe it's my risky side (who else would major in English in college with no plan for a career).  Between those less-than-ideal personality traits and my impatient nature combined with a control-freak attitude in the kitchen, a recipe that requires it's ingredients to boil, chill, rest, chill, rest again, roll, chill, rest, and then finally bake was really pushing me over the edge of my kitchen sanity.

It's not like all I do is cook or bake.  I have hobbies.  Gardening--I'm still coming to terms with our community garden failure but our herbs are growing like weeds.  Sewing--would you make your mutt a dress to wear to a parade?  Reading--just finished a good one and am taking suggestions for the next one.  My dogs--if you had dogs this cute they would be your hobby, too.  Wine--I started a ladies wine club to keep up on my wine education since I'm no longer in the business

While I was making these Black and White Swirl French Butter Cookies from America's Test Kitchen, I was wishing I was doing anything else.  Weeding the garden--really hated doing that.  Shaving my legs--isn't that just the most annoying thing that women have to do?  Waiting at the mechanics to get my oil changed--I still don't understand why it takes so long but that's why I'm not a mechanic.

Since this made nearly 50 cookies, I definitely needed to get rid of some of them so Tim and I don't eat every single one.  I work in a small office, but I decided to take a little container of them in to share.  I placed them out on the front of the desk with a little post-it that read, "Have a cookie!"  While I was in another room, the night employee came in to relieve me.  I asked him if he'd like a cookie, and he replied, "Oh, I've already had two."

I said, "I'm glad you like them.  I'm never making them again because they took so much work to make the vanilla dough and then the chocolate and then roll them out them out individually and chill them and then roll them together and then chill them in a log overnight and then slice and bake them this morning..."

He looked at me with wide eyes and said, "You made these from scratch?  They are awesome."

And that, folks, is why I will keep on challenging myself in the kitchen. 

I'm not going to torture you with the recipe, but if you'd like to wow your coworkers with your home-made cookie skills, I'd suggest you buy the cookbook and make sure you have plenty of patience, parchment paper, and a half a day to dedicate to baking.


  1. Jen, I've been following your blog, and gardening travails, for a while. Kudos on your persistence on all fronts. If you'd like to challenge yourself and exercise your competitive side, I'd like to invite you to join in a friendly little cooking/blogging contest that goes by the name of Culinary Smackdown. Newcomers are always welcome(I'm pretty much of a newcomer myself). Since I managed to win last month's contest, I'm hosting the new one for July. Details here: http://eggplanttogo.blogspot.com/2010/06/july-culinary-smackdown-announcement.html

    I'd love to see what you might come up with!


  2. Jen, in answer to the question you commented about on my blog: No, there is no requirement that you make a completely original recipe. I will be very curious to see what you come up!


  3. I totally know the feeling - sometimes baking drives me crazy, but the results are worth it. these cookies look great!

  4. hi Jen
    that is one of the best perks of cooking, when you amaze people with what you made...sometimes that makes all the effort worthwhile, and other times like you said it just fun to make something to know you can do it!
    I bet they were darn good cookies though!

  5. Eggy, thanks for letting me know!

    Dennis, thanks so much for saying hello!


Thanks for sharing your thoughts!