Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies

Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies

Everyone loves Chocolate Chip Cookies.  It’s the world’s most popular cookie!  Last week I shared the recipe for The Neiman Marcus Chocolate Chip Cookie.  It is one of my favorites!  But sometimes I get a craving for more chocolate and that’s when the Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies come in handy.  They are simply delicious!

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I’m sure you’ve seen them at Starbuck’s and other retail bakeries.  I think there are even some packaged ones by Pepperidge Farms.  But nothing comes close to my Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies.  They’re definitely chocolaty but the white chocolate morsels I add give it that extra yum!  They like crunchy brownies with a kick of delicious white chocolate.  They go great with a cold glass of milk!

I use a chocolate cookie dough, milk chocolate chips, and white chocolate chips, that’s why they’re a triple treat!  I use the best ingredients I can find to make these cookies, skimping is not an option.  I use Guittard Unsweetened Cocoa Powder or Vallrhona Cocoa Powder.

Another tip for making bakery quality cookies is to have the proper tools.  In this case to make really good looking (and tasting) cookies you’ll need a measuring cups and spoons, mixing bowls, an electric mixer (a standing mixer is easier but costlier so a hand mixer works too), a 1 Oz. Scoop (they make the cookies all the same size) and a Silicone Baking Mat (or you can use parchment paper, either one works well, but the mat ends up cheaper in the long run and is definitely more eco-friendly).  I know it seems frivolous to buy these things specially if you don’t bake often.  I remember back in the day when we really didn’t have the extra money to spend on them (they were much more expensive then) I used to make do with whatever I had.  But these days with online shops and big box stores baking equipment has become much more affordable!

But you don’t have to rush out and buy mats, scoops, and whatever.  Use what you have or borrow from a baking friend or your mom!  Just make sure you use the best ingredients that you can find, that’s the most important thing!

Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies
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2 Dozen
2 Dozen
Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies
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2 Dozen
2 Dozen
Servings: Dozen
  1. Cream butter and sugars together using medium speed of an electric mixer
  2. Beat in egg and vanilla
  3. In a small mixing bowl mix together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cocoa powder
  4. Mix into egg mixture - dough will form
  5. Stir in milk and white chocolate chips
  6. Pre-Heat oven to 300 degrees
  7. Using 1 Oz. scoop or a 2 tbs. measure drop a ball of dough onto a silicone mat or parchment covered baking sheet about 3" apart
  8. Gently flatten each ball with the back of a spoon to make a 2" circle
  9. Bake for 25 minutes - do not over bake
  10. Remove from oven and let cool on sheet for 5 minutes
  11. Transfer to cooling racks and let cool completely
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Almost Homemade Chocolate Cake

Almost Homemade Chocolate Cake

We love Chocolate Cake!  It’s one of my favorites!  I mean seriously what’s not to love?

So whenever I get hungry for a quick fix of chocolate cake I grab a box of my favorite mix, add a few extras, and bake an almost homemade chocolate cake. Of course I could make it from scratch, but sometimes I just don’t have the time.  When I’m pressed for time it’s either box mix or make a run to the store and many times it’s just easier to use the cake mix.

But just because I use a cake mix that doesn’t mean my cake has to taste like it came out of a box.  By adding and substituting a few things anyone can make a box mix cake taste like it was made from scratch!

Here’s how I make my almost homemade chocolate cake.  I’m pretty sure you’ll have the ingredients in your kitchen.  I usually have a box or two of cake mix, one yellow and one chocolate, and a couple of cans of frosting in my pantry; I like to stock up on them when they’re on sale.

What you’ll need:

1 Box Devil’s Food Cake Mix – or any type of chocolate – any brand will work

1 Cup Milk

1/3 Cup Butter, melted

5 Large Eggs

2 Tsp. Vanilla Extract

2 Tsp. Instant Espresso Powder

2   9″ Round Pans

Raspberry Preserves

1 Can Chocolate Frosting

Cooking Spray

Here’s what to do:

Heat oven to 350º

Grease the 2 pans

Substitute the water the box mix calls for with milk, and use melted butter instead of the oil

Use 5 eggs instead of however many the box mix calls for

Place the mix, milk, butter, and eggs in a bowl and mix on medium speed with electric mixer

Stir in vanilla extract and espresso powder

Pour equal amounts of batter into the 2 pans

Bake in oven for 25 minutes or until a tester comes out clean

Remove from oven and let cool about 10 minutes

Flip cakes onto a rack and cool completely

When cakes are completely cooled use a wire or sharp knife to level the tops and make them flat

Dust off any crumbs

Place 1 layer on cake plate, bottom side on the plate

Spread a thin layer of raspberry preserve on top to seal the crumbs

Spread a thin layer of raspberry preserve to the top of the second layer

Spread a layer of chocolate icing on the first layer

Flip the second layer over and place it on top of the first layer – your cake should be top sides together

Spread a thin layer of raspberry preserve on the top and sides of your cake – this seals in any crumbs

Frost the top and side of your cake

Garnish with fresh fruit or whatever you like before serving.


This cake is really great with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a cold glass of milk!



The Chocolate Chip Cookie

The Chocolate Chip Cookie

A chocolate chip cookie, the ultimate comfort food.  Who can resist them? But do you know its history?  Most of us don’t and it’s really quite interesting no matter which version you believe!

For starters the chocolate chip cookie is a true American concoction that came to be quite accidentally when its original baker ran out of Baker’s chocolate, or nuts.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Ok back in 1930 a dietician named Ruth Graves Wakefield and her husband Kenneth purchased a Cape Cod style house in Whitman a town between Boston and New Bedford,  Massachusetts.   The house was originally built in 1709 and was used by travelers to rest, change horses, have a meal, and pay any tolls needed to use the road.  Ruth and Kenneth soon turned their home into a lodge which, with a nod to its past, they named “The Toll House Inn”.

Now Ruth was a skilled baker and soon drew in visitors from all over the northeast.  Many came to sample her delicious baked goods.  One of her favorite desserts were Butter Drop Do Cookies and her recipe which dated back to colonial days called for Baker’s chocolate.  So one day in 1937 Ruth was making these Butter Drop Do Cookies and found herself lacking the chocolate, so she chopped up a bar of Nestle’s Semi-Sweet Chocolate into tiny pieces thinking that the chocolate would melt and spread throughout the dough.  When it didn’t the chocolate chip cookie was born!  Well that’s one version; another version is she ran out of nuts and substituted the chopped chocolate; still another version claims she accidentally dropped a bar of chocolate into the dough and it broke into tiny morsels.  Whatever the version it’s all part of chocolate chip cookie history!

The new cookies were a hit and Ruth called them “Toll House Chocolate Crunch Cookies”.  Her recipe was published in news papers all over New England and the sales of Nestle’s Semi-Sweet Chocolate bars rocketed.

Then in 1939 when “Betty Crocker” (she was a fictional character who had a radio show) featured them on her radio series “Famous Foods from Famous Eating Places” the chocolate chip cookie went big time!  Ruth being a shrewd gal approached Nestle’s and struck a deal, they could print her recipe on all their semi-sweet bars and later bags in exchange for a lifetime supply of chocolates.  Lucky lady!

In the 1940’s Ruth sold Nestle’s the name “Toll House” and the cookies were widely known as Toll House Cookies.  Nestle lost the trademarked rights to the name in 1983, Toll House is now legally the generic name for a chocolate chip cookie.

The cookie has become the most popular cookie worldwide and is the official cookie of Massachusetts.  As for Ruth and hubby they sold the Toll House Inn in 1966 and it burned down on New Year’s Eve 1984.

So now you know its history.   I’m sure you also know many versions of the chocolate chip cookie recipe have popped up, you may even have your own, I know I do!  But have you ever tried The Neiman Marcus Chocolate Chip Cookie?  It’s one of our favorites!  You can order it for dessert at their Mariposa Restaurant where you get a boxed set of 3 cookies and a recipe card, very cute!  Or you can buy the giant sized cookie at their Bistro.  And you can also buy tins of them from the Neiman’s gourmet food department at Christmas time.  We do all 3!  A box of 3 from the restaurant costs $6, the giant cookie at the Bistro is $5, and a tin of them will set you back about $20+.

But Neiman’s is nice enough to share their recipe, remember the boxed set at Mariposa comes with a recipe card.  So if you don’t feel like shelling out $5 or more for a cookie or two; or if you’ve never tried the Neiman Marcus Chocolate Chip Cookie then read on because I’m sharing it today!

The Neiman Marcus Chocolate Chip Cookie
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2 Dozen
2 Dozen
The Neiman Marcus Chocolate Chip Cookie
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2 Dozen
2 Dozen
Servings: Dozen
  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees
  2. Cream the butter with the sugars using an electric mixer on medium speet until fluffy - approximately 30 seconds
  3. Beat in the egg and the vanilla extract for another 30 seconds
  4. In a mixing bowl, sift together the dry ingredients and beat into the butter mixture at low speed for about 15 seconds
  5. Stir in the espresso coffee powder and chocolate chips
  6. Using a 1 oz. scoop or 2 Tbs. measure, drop cookie dough onto a gr eased cookie sheet about 3" apart.
  7. Gently press down on the dough with the back of a spoon to spread out into a 2" circle
  8. Bake for about 20 minutes or until nicely browned around the edges. Bake a bit longer for crispier cookies.
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Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

Everyone loves Chocolate Chip Cookies, it’s been a staple at our house ever since I can remember.  Of course everyone has their favorite recipe for chocolate chip cookies.  I have to admit I’ve gone thru several over the years.  But in recent years we’ve had to tweak our favorite recipe for my grandson Jett who is allergic to eggs, dairy, and nuts; all ingredients of the ever popular chocolate chip cookie.  Of course the nut thing is the easiest one to deal with, just don’t add them to the cookie dough; the dairy and egg part proved a bit more challenging.  After some trial and error and lots of reading, we finally came up with a recipe for Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies!  One that everyone can enjoy!

Most people think, myself included, think that it’s easy to convert favorite recipes into vegan recipes by simple substituting the allergens with vegan products or omitting those that you don’t have a substitute for.  This usually works out well so long as you know exactly which items to omit or substitute; you have to remember some ingredients have hidden allergens meaning unless you’re super vigilant you might miss.  In this case the chocolate chips, it has milk a dairy product!

So what exactly do you substitute or omit to make Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies?  In our case since Jett’s allergic to eggs, dairy, and nuts we must omit the nuts, that’s easy.  Then we must substitute the diary (butter) and chocolate chips, then deal with the egg issue.  Thankfully there are lots of vegan products that will work.  We use Earth Balance Buttery Spread instead of butter and Enjoy Life Semi-Sweet Mini Chocolate Chips instead of the regular chocolate chips like Nestles.

As for the egg we decided to simply just omit it, it works fine.  (If you feel like you must substitute the eggs you could try using 1/4 cup applesauce per egg or 1 Tbl ground fllax seed dissolved in 3 Tbs Water per egg.)  But honestly for Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies you can just omit the eggs, it works just fine.

So here is what you need for Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies!

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2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup Vegan Butter like Earth Balance Buttery Spread
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups Enjoy Life Semi-Sweet Mini Chocolate Chips


PREHEAT oven to 375° F.

Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt in small bowl.

Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy.

Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in chips.

Drop by rounded tablespoon onto parchment or silicone mat covered cookie sheets.

BAKE for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown.

Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Buckwheat Pancakes

Buckwheat Pancakes

Meet my new favorite pancakes, buckwheat pancakes. I’ll admit they aren’t the sexiest pancakes around, but they make up for their humble appearance with wonderful flavor and texture. Buckwheat, a gluten-free relative of rhubarb, has a delicate, almost nutty flavor all its own.Thanks to the buckwheat flour, these pancakes possess a light and airy consistency that quietly surrenders to the pressure of a fork and soaks up maple syrup like a sponge.

The pancakes pair well with roasted strawberries, as shown here, or with a healthy swipe of peanut butter or almond butter.This recipe was adapted from a fun new cookbook called Pancakes, by fellow food blogger Adrianna Adarme of A Cozy Kitchen. I visit Adrianna’s blog any time I need some creative recipe inspiration or a laugh, which is often.

Adrianna’s new (and first!) cookbook is bursting with 72 brilliant pancake recipes, half sweet (honey and oat, ginger pear, cinnamon-sugar popovers) and half savory (jalapeño corn cakes, goat cheese quinoa cakes, sour cream and chive latkes). If sky-high, fluffy pancakes are your jam, she offers a ton of options based on her buttermilk pancakes recipe.


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Here’s a recipe from Buckwheat Pancakes I’m sure you’ll love. Click here for recipe.


1 cup buckwheat flour (or ½ buckwheat and ½ flour of choice)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 ¼ cups buttermilk, shaken*
1 large egg
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Butter, for the skillet
Roasted Strawberries
1 pint strawberries, hulled and sliced into bite-sized quarters or halves
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon maple syrup or honey


1. Roast the strawberries: preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, gently toss berries with the sugar and maple syrup/honey. Arrange the strawberries in a single layer on the baking sheet. Roast for 30 minutes, stirring halfway, or long enough for the berry juices to thicken but not burn (watch the edges in particular).
2. Make the pancakes: in a medium mixing bowl, mix together the flour(s), sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a liquid measuring cup, measure out the buttermilk. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract.
3. All at once, add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. The batter should have some small to medium lumps.
4. Preheat your skillet over medium-low heat and brush with 1 ½ teaspoons of butter. Give the batter a light swirl with a spoon in case the buckwheat is starting to separate from the liquid. Using a ¼-cup measure, scoop the batter onto the warm skillet. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes until small bubbles form on the surface of the pancakes (you’ll know it’s ready to flip when about 1 inch of the perimeter is matte instead of glossy), and flip. Cook on the opposite sides for 1 to 2 minutes, or until golden brown.
5. Transfer the cooked pancakes to a baking sheet and place in a preheated 200 degree Fahrenheit oven to keep warm. Repeat the process with the remaining batter, adding more butter when needed. Serve immediately.
Buckwheat Pancakes
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Buckwheat Pancakes
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Sweet Potato Pie – Old Fashioned Comfort Food

Every year at Thanksgsweet potato pieiving I like to try something new to add to our Thanksgiving dinner menu.  If we like it then it becomes a permanent addition to our traditional meal.

This year my grandson Dion and I decided to try our had at a Southern Thanksgiving meal staple, Sweet Potato Pie.  I’ve never actually had Sweet Potato Pie, but Dion loves it.  He says it’s his favorite pie, specially the way his grandmother from Atlanta makes it.

Sweet Potato Pie is a Southern specialty that can be served instead of or beside the traditional Pumpkin Pie which graces just about everyone’s Thanksgiving dessert table.

So we searched online for a Sweet Potato Pie recipe; we found hundreds!  Each one touting that it was the best of course.  Well we experimented with a couple of different recipes and relied on Dion’s recollections of watching his Southern grandma make her pies.  In the end by tweaking and patching several recipes together we ended up with our own version which turned out quite nicely if I do say so myself.

We’ll share our version of Sweet Potato Pie below, but before we do here are a few things we learned along the way.  It might help you out and save you from making the same mistakes we made.

  1.  Use fresh yams!  Not canned yams preserved in sweet syrup!  Don’t get me started on this, just ask yourself, would your granny use canned yams?  I doubt it!
  2. Use Large RED Yams.  Not white yams, or purple yams, or Okinawan sweet potato.  Just plain old Red Yams!  And before you ask, yes there are many varieties of yams and sweet potatoes in the markets.  So don’t get fancy, keep it simple, RED Yams.
  3. Bake your yams DO NOT boil them!  This saves you from peeling and chopping raw yams.  BTW have you ever tried peeling and chopping raw yams or sweet potatoes?  No?  Well let me tell you peeling and chopping wood might just be easier!  Most importantly baked yams make a better pie filling, it’s not mushy or watery like boiled yams can be.  And you can bake yams for your Sweet Potato Pie up to a week before you actually make your pie.  Still not convinced or it sounds too tedious?  Remember even though it takes an hour to bake the yams it’s actually a hands off hour so you can do something else like making applesauce, doing laundry, or relaxing in the tub.
  4. Baking yams – Place 3 large yams (you wash them first of course) on a parchment covered baking sheet and pop them in a 375° oven.  Bake for 1 hour then remove from oven.  If you are using it to make Sweet Potato Pie right away peel off the skin and mash the yams to make 2 cups of mashed yams then follow the rest of the recipe to make the pie.  If you baked the yams in advance you can either mash it then store the mashed yams in the fridge in an airtight container or place the whole unpeeled yams in a ziplock and refrigerate until you’re ready to mash them for your Sweet Potato Pie.
  5. Just like Pumpkin and pecan pies, a Sweet Potato Pie is considered a custard pie; hence it must have some form of milk or cream.  There are recipes out there that call for milk, cream, or half-and-half; but since it’s a truly Southern specialty you should use canned evaporated milk.  That’s what they used in the Southern states.  Trust me on this you’ll end up with a creamier and smoother Sweet Potato Pie when you use canned evaporated milk.
  6. When you bake your pie pay close attention to the timer.  Test pie before removing from oven.  First nudge the pie – the center of the pie should be slightly softer than the rest of the pie so that it jiggles a bit when nudged.  Then insert a knife or a toothpick at the center – it should come out clean but moist.
  7. Let baked pie stand for about 30 minutes before cutting it.  This will firm it up so sliced don’t fall apart.  Better yet refrigerate the pie overnight then remove from fridge about 30 minutes before serving so it warms up to room temperature.  I like my custard pies cool I feel it brings out the sweetness.

Having said that here’s our recipe:


2 Large Red Yams – Baked & Mashed to yield 3 cups (see tips for baking instructions)

1  Cup butter – softened

4  Cups Sugar

1 Can Evaporated Milk 12oz.

1 1/2 Tsp Vanilla Extract

6  eggs – beaten

1 1/2 Tsp ground cinnamon

2 Unbaked deep dish pie shells – homemade or frozen


Mix together first 4 ingredients until well blended.

Stir in Vanilla, Eggs, and Cinnamon.

Pour filling into unbaked pie shells.

Bake in a 350° oven for 1 hour or until filling is set and/or tester comes out clean but moist.

Let stand at least 30 minutes before slicing.

Garnish and serve with whipped cream if desired.


Sweet Potato Pie
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Sweet Potato Pie
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  1. Mix together first 4 ingredients until well blended.
  2. Stir in Vanilla, Eggs, and Cinnamon.
  3. Pour filling into unbaked pie shells.
  4. Bake in a 350° oven for 1 hour or until filling is set and/or tester comes out clean but moist.
  5. Let stand at least 30 minutes before slicing.
  6. Garnish and serve with whipped cream if desired.
Recipe Notes

Baking yams - Place 3 large yams (you wash them first of course) on a parchment covered baking sheet and pop them in a 375° oven.  Bake for 1 hour then remove from oven.  If you are using it to make Sweet Potato Pie right away peel off the skin and mash the yams to make 2 cups of mashed yams then follow the rest of the recipe to make the pie.  If you baked the yams in advance you can either mash it then store the mashed yams in the fridge in an airtight container or place the whole unpeeled yams in a ziplock and refrigerate until you're ready to mash them for your Sweet Potato Pie.

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