Showing posts with label Caffe Milan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Caffe Milan. Show all posts

Friday, December 10, 2010

Mystery Cookies: Getting in on the fun!

Have I ever mentioned how much I love libraries? I've been incredibly fortunate to get to know a couple of local librarians who have hosted me for author dinner visits. I just love these because we get to enjoy some of Ollie's recipes and tea room offerings from Grace's beloved Marshfield (prepared by wonderful caterers) and talk about books.

Tuesday night I was very excited to return to the Tinley Park Public Library to talk to Partners In Crime - their mystery discussion group - and Fran, the incredibly energetic and bubbly librarian who organized everything. Fabulous people. So much fun. And great food.

One of the dessert options was Crisp Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies, from State of the Onion. Not to disappoint you, but this recipe doesn't call for anywhere near as much chocolate as Krista's Monday recipe does :::grin:::

Now, I'd made these cookies before, but they didn't taste like the ones I had Tuesday night. The cookies (as prepared by Caffe Milan) were fabulous. They were fatter, thicker, and just plain tastier than when I'd made them.


Couple this realization with all the crave-inducing cookie posts here on Mystery Lovers' Kitchen lately. Really, what's better than a cookie? Perfect for a quick, handy, delicious snack. Providing, of course, you have some in the house.

Which I didn't.

That was enough to convince me it was time to get in on the fun of baking some Mystery Cookies! What more did I need?

Well, as a starter, white chocolate chips. Milk chocolate chips. A dark chocolate bar.
Can you say "deprived"???

What I did have were semi-sweet chunks and a bag of dark Dove. I figured that was good enough and I decided to improvise.

What follows is the recipe as it appears in State of the Onion.
After that, I'll tell you how the improvisation turned out.


2 cups flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

1 cup butter, room temperature

1 egg, beaten until yellow

1 cup brown sugar (light or dark)

¾ cup white sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

1 six ounce package milk chocolate chips

1 3 ounce bar dark chocolate, diced into chunks

1 six ounce package of white chocolate chips

Parchment paper to cover cookie sheets

Preheat oven to 350° F

In a medium bowl sift together dry ingredients.

In a large bowl, cream softened butter and sugars. Stir in vanilla until smooth. Stir in egg until smooth. Add dry ingredients 1 cup at a time, stirring to incorporate. Dough will be soft and uniform. Stir in chocolates.

Shape into in quarter-sized balls. Place on parchment paper covered cookie sheets, in widely spaced rows of three—this batter will spread during cooking! Bake until cookies are browned and flat, roughly 15 minutes. Cool on cookie sheets. Remove cooled cookies from parchment paper and store in a tin.

(Hint—these are excellent crumbled and served over ice cream)

* * *
First of all, I must admit, I usually prefer my chocolate chip cookies thin, soft, gooey. These cookies are none of those things. They're thicker, substantive, and crisp.

I smashed the Dove Chocolates (10 of them, about 1/3 of the bag) into small pieces. I also skipped the white chocolate completely because I didn't feel like leaving the house. That meant these cookies were shorted 6 oz of chocolate. Personally, I don't think they suffered for the lack. I like white chocolate just fine, but I'm not crazy about it. Your mileage may vary.

In any case, I think the semi-sweet chunks were a good choice. I could barely taste the dark chocolate, but I believe its presence helped cut the sweetness a bit. I liked that.

The recipe also calls for rolling the dough into quarter sized balls. These turned out a little small, I thought. I preferred the cookies that came out thicker (rolled into half-dollar sized balls). But again, YMMV.

(Channeling my inner Cleo - trying to get cool close-ups!)

Have fun, happy cookie eating!

Happy reading, too!

Make someone happy with a book they'll love and help support independent booksellers at the same time. A two-fer!

* * * * * * * * *

Congrats to Krista on her new release this week!
A holiday mystery!

And in honor of Krista Davis celebrating this upcoming release,
she's holding a delicious contest!
Send Krista your favorite cookie recipe
Krista at KristaDavis dot com and you might win!

Find out more
clicking here

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Cucumber Slices Stuffed with Feta and Pine Nuts

I know I learned a lot during Egg Week and I hope you did too!

Very soon we'll be announcing our next winner in our Secret Ingredient contest. It's not too late to send us your ideas and you could win .... chocolate!

Send us your suggestions at and sign up to follow our blog. It's that easy. We'll be choosing the next winner very soon!

In the meantime, I thought I would share this recipe with you. As I've mentioned before, I'm fortunate to have a "Ghost Chef" for the White House Chef novels. Thank goodness! She's great, and very creative. Still, when this recipe originally appeared in STATE OF THE ONION, I have to admit I never thought I'd like it.

The Tinley Park Public Library and Caffe Milan, however, changed my mind when they served these as part of the holiday book discussion dinner in December. The caterer followed this recipe and loved the outcome so much that she's added these slices to her regular menu. I can see why. They were an enormous hit at dinner. I can't even tell you how many people said, "And I thought I didn't like feta cheese!"

When I made these, they didn't "stick" together too well, so I added an extra dollop of mayonnaise. Problem solved. These make a great veggie appetizer... they're light and full of flavor. And they're pretty, too!

Cucumber Slices Stuffed with Feta and Pine Nuts

½ cup feta cheese, crumbled

2 tbsp. mayonnaise

3 drops Worcestershire sauce (I used vegetarian Worcestershire)

¼ cup toasted pine nuts, chopped

1 clove garlic, crushed and finely chopped

½ tsp. dried dill weed.

Salt and cracked pepper to taste.

¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped

Three large chilled cucumbers, sliced thinly

Kosher salt

Combine cheese, mayo, Worcestershire sauce, pine nuts, garlic, dill, salt, and pepper. Spread filling between two slices of cucumber. Place on platter. Continue until filling and cucumber slices are gone. Garnish with chopped parsley and sprinkle with salt. Serve cold.

Maybe I'm just in a hurry for better weather, but don't these have a Spring-y look to them?