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Archive for the tag “cookie”

Peanut butter blossoms, a Christmas Eve tradition

Peanut butter blossums

Peanut butter blossoms, December 2012

Who needs cherry, chocolate, and chili biscotti — my feature Christmas cookie from 2011? Or this year’s vanilla cookies sandwiches with a maple-espresso frosting? These peanut butter blossoms are still my favorite, being the only venue in which Hershey’s kisses are worth the hype. And the only cookie that my siblings used to routinely make on Christmas Eve. And the only cookie that my dad would scamper into the kitchen to help make — at least for the Hershey’s kisses part.

TIP: Bake the cookies for a few minutes extra after setting the kisses for extra-creamy chocolate.

– 48  HERSHEY’S KISSES Brand Milk Chocolate
– 1/2 cup shortening
– 3/4 cup REESE’S Creamy Peanut Butter
– 1/3 cup granulated sugar
– 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
– 1  egg
– 2 tablespoons milk
– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
– 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
– 1 teaspoon baking soda
– 1/2 teaspoon salt
– Additional granulated sugar

  1. Heat oven to 375°F. Remove wrappers from chocolates.
  2. Beat shortening and peanut butter in large bowl until well blended. Add 1/3 cup granulated sugar and brown sugar; beat until fluffy. Add egg, milk and vanilla; beat well. Stir together flour, baking soda and salt; gradually beat into peanut butter mixture.
  3. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in granulated sugar; place on ungreased cookie sheet.
  4. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Immediately press a chocolate into center of each
    cookie; cookie will crack around edges. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely.
    About 4 dozen cookies.

Reprinted from

“Pinky splint” Earl Grey sandwich cookie, Om Nom Bake Studio, Pittsburgh

Om Nom Bake Studio, October 2012

Om Nom Bake Studio, October 2012

If you’re like me, you’ve occasionally caved and bought a buttery Panera shortbread or a chocolate chip cookie from Subway only to wonder why all store-bought cookies somehow taste exactly the same. Who are we kidding– actual, homemade cookies, made from scratch, are hard to come by.

Fortunately, Om Nom Bake Studio works constantly to whip up original cookies and bars that are just as sophisticated as they are simple. Missing a classic peanut butter or your childhood Fig Newtons? Om Nom pays homage to them here. Want a straight up chocolate chip? Of course. Or, if you’re looking for a cookie to (finally) satisfy the gourmet foodie in you, try the “Naughty Chocolattie,” a smoked-chocolate cookie, the “Besto Pesto” with lime, pesto, and basil, or the “Holy Pinoli” of pine nuts and rich brown sugar.

This Earl Grey “Pinky Split” sandwich cookie above is my current favorite cookie in Pittsburgh: a delicate, crumbly short bread cookie hinted with Earl Grey, lingering in your mouth as if you’ve really been sipping the tea. Filled with a lightly whipped frosting tinted with orange and lemon, the cookies are then rolled in crunchy sugar and flecks of fresh lavender for an indulgence that’s light, balanced, and surprising. And since when can I say that about a cookie — that I was surprised?

Check out for a gloriously-full list of treats. Orders available online or on location.

Pittsburgh Public Market, The Strip District
1701 Smallman Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15222

Fridays 10 AM-4 PM
Saturdays 9 AM – 5 PM
Sundays 10 AM – 4 PM

Om Nom Bake Studio
5134 Clairton Blvd
Pittsburgh, PA 15236
(412) 219-2552

Prestogeorge Fine Foods, The Strip District
1719 Penn Ave
Pittsburgh, PA 15222

Delanie’s Coffee, Southside
1737 E Carson St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15203

720 Music, Clothing and Cafe, Lawrenceville
4405 Butler St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15201

Lancaster company makes Dutch stroopwafel cookies


Chocolate-dipped stroopwafel

Stroopwafels are traditional Dutch cookies that are comprised of light syrup pressed between two pie-crust thin, slightly-spiced waffles (the name literally named “syrup waffle”).  I’m familiar with this cookie because my aunt Colleen brings packs of them with each visit home to Shippensburg from the Netherlands (they’re somewhat of a family obsession), and when I visited Europe with my brother Chris when I was 15, we ate a palm-sized stroopwafel hot off a cast-iron griddle in an open-air Dutch market.

I was ecstatic when I discovered Stroopies, a Lancaster-based company that caught onto the trend of stroopwafels in America and now makes their version of the famed Dutch cookie. Here, you can buy two kinds of stroopwafels — either traditional (plain) or dipped with an American-sized portion of decadent dark chocolate. (My Dutch family may never let me visit again if I admit this, but I always buy the one with the chocolate.)

To eat a stroopwafel, tradition mandates that you first rest the cookie on the top of a hot cup of koffee or thee (tea) for a few seconds to gently heat the cookie and the syrup, as shown in the photo above.  After heating, the syrup loosens along with the cookie’s flavors of caramel, hazelnut, and cinnamon.  In the case of the chocolate-dipped stroopwafel, the deep, slightly-warmed chocolate melts into a gooey mess that complements the cookie’s spice.

I love stroopwafels because they encompass what I appreciate about Holland: they are cookies that you’re meant to take time eating. My Dutch uncle, as hard-working as my father, owns a business and works in a carpenter’s shop at his home, but he never fails to come inside mid-morning and mid-afternoon for a cup of coffee, a bit of conversation, and occasionally a slice of cake.  Similarly, it seems to me that you can’t eat a stroopwafel on the run; you have to sit down with it, wait for the coffee to be brewed, and allowed the cookie to awaken.

I buy my stroopwafels individually or in packs each time I visit Folklore Coffee & Company in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania, but Stroopies are also available from a variety of local cafes and businesses including Groff’s Candies, Lancaster, and the Hershey Lodge, Hershey.

Stroopies have been profiled and approved by the Netherlands-America Association of Delaware Valley, Inc. in their spring 2012 newsletter, De Brug.

Folklore Coffee & Company
1 North Market Street
Elizabethtown, PA 17022

Groff’s Candies
3587 Blue Lock Road
Lancaster, PA 17603

Hershey Lodge
325 University Drive
Hershey, PA 17033

Friday Photo: The Cookie that Made Me Proud to Be American

Sinful Sweets

Peanut Butter Cup Cookie

This cookie is truly worthy of a Friday photo because I only purchase it at the end of a week.  Made at Sinful Sweets, Broad Street Market, the peanut butter cup in the center is this cookie’s highlight — salty, chocolately, and moist.  I’ve been addicted to these cookies ever since moving to Harrisburg, claiming (when I first purchased one), “I think I was meant to come home from France just to eat this.”

In France, the sweet-and-salty combinations that so dominate American food (think chocolate-covered pretzels or caramel popcorn) aren’t so prominent; neither is, as a matter of fact, peanut butter.  In Talange, for example, peanut butter was available but in small 8 oz. jars for around $7, and only a small handful of my colleagues had ever tried Reese’s peanut butter cups.  (An adjective assignment I used for my seventh grade students was to write to my French friend in Paris who had spent a year teaching and eating Reese’s at Susquehanna University; my students and I sent her letters describing the cup’s taste, flavor, and texture and included a handful to satiate her craving.) When I was home for Christmas from teaching in France in 2007, my parents gave me a bag of Reese’s minis to use in the classroom, but when I returned to France, I stashed the bag in my apartment for weeks, feeding them only to myself.

Because of this, if there’s one thing that I love about being in the States, it’s peanut butter cups — and cookies like these.  If a cookie this simple can be worth a continent, it’s definitely worth your time.

Sinful Sweets
Broad Street Market, Brick Market Building
1233 North Third Street
Harrisburg, PA 17102
(717) 232-0440

Thursday-Friday: 7am-5pm
Saturday: 7am-4pm

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