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Entries in Cookies (169)

Tuesday
Apr012008

No Fooling: Sweet Ideas to Make April Kinder

They say that April is the cruelest month. But at Cakespy, we have the perfect idea for making the month a bit kinder--sweet treats in the mail! The perfect thing to put a sparkle in the eye and a spring in your step, no matter how many April Showers you're up against. To that point, we've assembled a list of some of our favorite new discoveries in the world of shippable baked goods--delectable treats to send off, care-package style to friends and family...or perhaps to your entitled and deserving little self. Of course, once you taste these treats you might not want to share the care--but hey, sometimes you've got to be cruel to be kind.


Sugar cookie from the Sweet Tooth FairyThis is what love looks like.
The Sweet Tooth Fairy: Have you ever bitten into a cookie and had to pause and sit down before continuing? If so, then you'll understand why we're so in love with their sugar cookies, which are dense, crumbly, and frosted with a rich, decadent frosting that will keep you coming back for more. We love their rich little cake truffles too--blurring the lines between fudge, cake and truffle, these are little gems of pure pleasure in your mouth. As a bonus, everything was beautifully and securely packaged in their parcel. Sugar cookies are $28 per dozen (but they're BIG); cake truffles are $15 per half-dozen; these and more are available online at thesweettoothfairy.com.

Cakespy Note: If cake truffles intrigue you, learn more about the art of cake truffles from a very talented friend of ours, Bakerella! She'll be showing Martha (you know, THE Martha) how it's done this thursday on Martha Stewart Living--find out more here!

Ginger White Chocolate Cookie, Sugarlicious NYMoody Brownie
Sugarlicious NY: Specializing in old-school treats like cookies and brownies, these are classic home baking with a modern makeover, from beautifully designed packaging to classic flavors with just a little something different thrown in. Our favorites? The surprisingly subtle and pleasing "Red Hot" Brownies (brownies with a touch of chili and cinnamon), and the Ginger White Chocolate Cookies. Of course, old favorites like chocolate chip or oatmeal cookies are on hand too. Cookies are  $18 per dozen; $24 for 9 generous brownies; these and more available at sugarliciousny.com.


Walnut CookiesChocolate Spice Cookies, Jennie and Vera's
Jennie and Vera's Cookies: (photos above care of Jennie and Vera's with thanks) Jennie and Vera's cookies are like little works of art, equally easy on the eye as they are on the palate. From the "walnut"--which looks like a shelled walnut and a macaron had a baby (and oh, what a baby: a cookie composed of ground walnuts, filled creamy walnut filling flavored with Croatian walnut liqueur) to the chocolate spice cookie, which marries Hungarian paprika with black pepper, ground chocolate and cocoa, we're pretty much hooked. Anyone you send these to is very lucky indeed! Prices range depending on cookie style; available online at jennieandverascookies.com.

BiscuiteersBiscuiteers
But if you're in the UK, don't despair--we have a good one for you too: Biscuiteers! Basically a biscuit-and-telegram service, you choose your cookie (sorry, biscuit) and your message, and it's sent to the recipient of your choice. Far less expected and much sweeter than flowers, in our opinion! Prices range from £8.00 for an individual message and treat, and go up from there; available online.


DSC05525

 

Tuesday
Mar042008

Pretty In Pink: A Sweet History of the Pink Frosted Cookie

 

The Pink Frosted Cookie

Regional Specialties--what's up with them, exactly? Sure, you have the big famous ones--New York bagels, Chicago deep dish pizza, San Francisco sourdough. But what about those not-quite-as-famous ones, existing just a little bit under the radar? Those ever-present little food items that you might even stop noticing simply because they are ubiquitous--it might take a trip or a move from your hometown to raise your awareness. But why is this, exactly? Why is it that kolaches about in Texas but are sparse elsewhere, that black and white cookies reign in the Mid-Atlantic, but don't seem to exist in the Pacific Northwest? Yes, these are the questions that fill our minds and color our days here at Cakespy--and right now, that regional bee in our bonnet is The Pink Frosted Cookie.

 

If you don't live in Seattle, you might not even know about this cookie (while it exists elsewhere, we've never seen it in quite the same proliferation in our assorted travels); even if you do live in Seattle, you might not have stopped to question why it is that this confection is always around--gas stations, delis, grocery stores, drugstores--everywhere! What makes this relatively simple cookie, comprised of a rich shortbread base and a very generous, very sweet frosting topcoat, so popular? Luckily for you, we found out about its history so you don't have to.

On our path of discovery, the first thing we discovered is that the "original" pink frosted cookie was sold under the name Uncle Seth's Cookie--while various takes on it exist (including a company we like, Bite Me, Inc.), this Uncle was the Founding Father. The company (and recipe) was sold to Seattle wholesaler Mostly Muffins in 1996, and this is where we discovered this story:


Uncle Seth’s Cookie was a concept developed from a passion of fun and feeling good. From the high mountain tops of Bali came the inspiration for the feel good cookie. Danny Brown, the originator and inventor of the Original Pink, also known as an Uncle Seth Cookie, found a kindred spirit in a man named Seth. Seth moved from a crazed urban setting better known as the City, to live his dream of peace in the mountains. The namesake of the Uncle Seth Cookie gave tribute to this man named Seth who changed his life for the sake of fun and happiness. To bring a bit of that passion and fun to light, Danny created a cookie that says eat me because you can. This cookie has a good aura. After nine years of hand rolling this Danish Shortbread, Danny too, decided to head for the hills. Mostly Muffins purchased Uncle Seth’s Cookies in 1996 and Danny was off to live in Hawaii!

 

Mostly Muffins now proudly carries on the tradition of fun and feeling good by serving the Original Pink to the entire Northwest community. Eat one of the Original Pink Cookies and you can’t help but smile!

Okay, so it proves that fact can be stranger than fiction--without, of course, explaining why the cookies are so popular, or why they thrived in the Seattle region. Our theory? So happy you asked. In our minds, the first aspect is timing: the cookie got its start being sold in coffee carts just as the coffee business was starting up in earnest in Seattle; naturally, they would appeal for the same reasons that coffee is so popular in the area--the climate just begs for rich treats and coffee during those rainy days that take up oh, eight months of the year. The second and perhaps more important aspect? Duh--The frosting color. there's no secret that pink frosting tastes better than any other color.
See? You've learned something new today! And while the pink frosted cookie itself seems to be a Seattle phenomenon, we do believe that the concept behind the regional specialty is universal, so approach your local treats mindfully; whether it's strange, cute or plain scary, there's bound to be a story behind that confection!

For more information on the pink frosted cookie, visit mostlymuffins.com. Not in the Seattle area but want a pink frosted cookie? We hear you: similar-looking products can be found online here and here, or--even better, we found a recipe which is said to yield a very similar taste to the original Uncle Seth's Cookie, right here at allrecipes.com.
Cakespy Note: Want our Cake Gumshoes to research a particular baked good in your area? Let us know! Feel free to leave a suggestion for us to sleuth in the comments or via email to jessieoleson@gmail.com.

 


 

Thursday
Jan172008

Holy Cowvin: A Good Cookie (Which Happens to be Vegan)

Photo credit goes to Greg Schaler Photography; thank you to Sticky Fingers Bakery for permission to use the image!

The subject of vegan pastries really brings out some passionate feelings. There are those (usually non-vegans) who swear that they don’t taste as good as dairy desserts; there are those (usually vegans) who insist that they taste a whole lot better. As for the Cakespy crew? While few of us eat a strictly vegan diet, perhaps our vegan vs. non-vegan cupcake tasting best sums up our feelings: while they can sometimes taste different than their dairy counterparts, vegan pastries are often good--really good--once you get past certain preconceived notions.

However, sometimes a baked good comes along that is just so good that it defies labels: vegan, non-vegan, who cares—it’s just good.

And the Cowvin Cookie from the Sticky Fingers Bakery in Washington DC, is definitely one of these exceptional baked goods: a cookie bar comprised of a rich oatmeal cookie crust cradling a generous dollop of rich, creamy, delicious, dairy-be-damned frosting in the middle. In fact, it was an experience so pleasurable that East Coast Cake Gumshoe Jenny described it as so good that she saved the second half til later so that she could continue to savor the experience all day (got to love that restraint!).

 

And certainly, the Cowvin can be loved for its story as well as its taste: the name is inspired by a real-life veal calf by the same name who was rescued from becoming a special of the day by do-gooders in the DC metro area. The little guy was placed in the Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary in Poolesville, Maryland, where he lived out his days in bucolic bliss. Cowvin loved oats, so it seemed appropriate to name an oatmeal cookie-cream bar in his honor--especially since it is dairy-free!

Now that’s what we’d call a sweet treat—one you’ll enjoy whether you’re vegan or not!

Want to make ‘em? Well, you’re on your own there—the recipe’s top secret! However, the kind folks at Sticky Fingers wouldn't leave you hanging; they'll ship them nationwide for $18.50 per half dozen (so worth it) plus shipping and handling; order them (and other pastries too!) by phone: (202) 299-9700, or order online at stickyfingersbakery.com .

Or, if you're in the DC area, just go visit! They're located at 1370 Park Rd. NW, one block north of the Columbia Heights metro stop.


Sticky Fingers Bakery in Washington

 

 

 

Thursday
Dec132007

Memoirs of a Forbidden Cookie

Forbidden Cookie
It was a dull Monday, this past one. Until they arrived. None of us even saw them coming, until there they were, in an unassuming priority mail box from somewhere in Texas.

We opened the box, and there they were: the cookies of our dreams.

We were first drawn to these cookies via the seller's Etsy store, where the photo kind of made them look like a cross between a slab of cookie dough and a scoop of ice cream. Intriguing. A bag cost $12.99 for 8 cookies, and came to about $20 after shipping charges. Were they really worth it?

Resoundingly, yes. These cookies were somewhere between cookie dough and cookie, a wonderfully moist and dense cookie that had a wonderful "toothfeel": not so sweet as to make your teeth hurt, and with a gorgeously yielding texture. The cherry and chocolate chips were subtle but identifiable, and one of our spies actually closed their eyes while eating; they were that good.

The one downfall? When we emailed to inquire about featuring a photo from their Etsy site, we were told that they did not like to have their photos put up on blogs. Fair enough, we reasoned--so we took our own photo. But we wouldn't be so brash as to tell you that all you'd need to do to buy these cookies is go to a web site that has letters contained in the phrase Full Jasper but with no space, followed by etsy.com.

Because that would be giving away the forbidden secret.

Black Forest cherry cookies are available somewhere on the internet.

Saturday
Nov102007

Short and Sweet: Cupcake Shortbread Cookies by Teacake Bakeshop

What could be nicer with afternoon tea than a couple of shortbread cookies?

Shortbread cookies decorated to look like cupcakes, that's what.

And now that can be an everyday treat, thanks to the Bay Area-based Teacake Bakeshop, whose vanilla bean shortbread cookies are each decorated with a simple but charming cupcake drawing rendered out of icing. The 1.5" diameter mini-shortbread cookies are a little spendy ($44 for 48) but each one is hand decorated, sweet and buttery; just think of how many people you could make smile with a box of 48 of these happy little treats. Seriously, we're smiling just looking at the pictures!

Just more proof that cupcakes make everything happier.

Available online at teacakebakeshop.com. Or, if you're in the Bay Area, visit their retail store at 5615 Bay Street, Emeryville, CA.

Tuesday
Nov062007

Easy As 1-2-3: ABC Cookie Cutters by Fred

The gingerbread man has got to be up there amongst the most smug of cookies. A perpetual smirk, flashy decorations...even in literature, he's laughing at us: “You can’t catch me, I'm the Gingerbread man!”. Kind of makes you want to teach them a lesson.

Get your comeuppance with Fred’s ABC Cookie Cutters. Released earlier this year, the set is perfect for the forthcoming holiday cookie season: it includes three cookie cutters die cut to look as if a bite has already been taken out of the gingerbread man (and thus, ABC = Already Been Chewed). Not only is it immensely gratifying to see the Gingerbread man isn’t so sassy anymore, but bring these to a family party and watch hilarity ensue: “Did someone already take a bite of these?”. Bet you haven't had this much fun at a family function since Cousin Mark's "coming out" during the holiday season of '02.

Bring on the holidays.

Available online at calliopeboutique.com.

Tuesday
Oct162007

Don't Leaf Me: A Sweet Design Gingerbread Leaf Cookies Debut at Chocolati Stores

The leaves of fall: vibrant and speaking of the fleeting moments of life. Full of beauty; a seasonal poem.

That is, until it starts raining and they’re mucking up gutters and getting slippery, making you slip while walking to work, thus messing up your new “grown up” work outfit and resulting in nasty looks from the boss. Not that we'd know.

Here's a much more rewarding perk of the season: leaf-shaped, chocolate-dipped gingerbread cookies by A Sweet Design. This Seattle-based cookie wholesaler, headed by the friendly Pamela Rose, is known for their wonderful, thick, spicy gingerbread and sugar cookie creations (which are sold in various coffee shops in the area, including Cherry Street Coffee). And happily, they will be debuting their fall gingerbread selections this very week: leaf cookies at Chocolati in Greenwood this Wednesday afternoon, with wrapped cookies to follow next week in all three locations.

No manual labor necessary, and you’ll certainly have no trouble cleaning up this fall treat.

Leaf cookies available starting October 17 at Chocolati in Greenwood (8319 Greenwood Ave. N, near corner of 83rd); wrapped cookies available at all Chocolati stores starting next week; locations online at chocolati.com.

Thursday
Sep272007

Arriba!: Mini Mexican Wedding Cakes

Pop Quiz! Would you rather eat:

A. a Snowball
B. a Russian Tea Cake
C. a Mini Mexican Wedding Cake

Well, in truth you’d be eating the same thing: all of the above are slight variations on a small, gorgeously crumbly, nut-buttery round cookie finished off with a dusting of sweet powdered sugar. But what a difference a name makes. While there’s nothing wrong per se with a Snowball or Russian Tea Cake, you’ve got to admit that eating a Mini Mexican Wedding Cake sounds like the most fun. Traditionally made only for weddings or special occasions, they’re now an everyday treat thanks to Montlake Mousse, whose 16-ounce containers of the ambrosial treats (freshly made, preservative free) are now available in various Metropolitan Market locations.

But watch out: they have a fiesta-in-your-mouth inducing reaction which naturally makes it impossible to eat just one.

Available at Metropolitan Market; for locations, visit metropolitan-market.com.

Cakespy note: Not in the Seattle area? We also found a great recipe for Mexican Wedding Cakes, thanks to Cooks.com!

Ingredients:
2 1/2 c. flour
2 sticks butter
1/2 c. confectioners' sugar
1 c. chopped nuts
Soften butter, cream with flour. Blend in sugar. Add nuts. Form balls the size of walnuts. Bake in 350 degree oven for 12 to 15 minutes. Cool. Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar. Yield 4 to 5 dozen.

Saturday
Aug042007

Bite Me: Shortbread by Bite Me, Inc.

Talk about Flour Power.

Bite Me!, Inc. may have an unfortunate company name, but their cookies are a most exceptional find. These substantial (without being too huge) shortbread cookies are topped with an icing that gives the perfect sweet complement to the slightly salted cookie base. The consistency is dense, just the right combination of chewy but still crumbly; try the wheat flour ones, which have a slightly oaty (in a good way) taste!

In the Seattle area they're available at various locations of PCC and Metropolitan Market; if not, check out their website here for other ordering options.

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