Passover Chocolate Chip Cookies

Frozen cookie dough is an essential part of baby meal prep!!!! And just because Passover is around the corner doesn’t make this any different. Well, it actually kind of makes it easier because these cookies are, like, stupidly simple to make. One-bowl, three-minute simple. Remember this Passover cookie cake from a few years ago? Magic, right?! So chewy, delicious, and satisfying, and easy enough that some people asked if there was a typo and if there should have been more steps (no typo!). So these chocolate chip cookies are just hand-held versions of that cake that kind of take on a new life of their own because when they’re in this smaller shape and rolled in sugar, they get a crisp crunchy shell but stay so amazingly chewy inside. And also, you can keep this dough in the freezer and bake off only one or two cookies at a time as needed, so the convenience is real. And the flavor is awesome too, thanks to a tasty nut flour base. If you’d like to change things up and add dried fruit or M&M’s or other candy or chopped nuts, you can totally do that with these. Happy almost Passover! 


Passover Chocolate Chip Cookies

makes 12

ingredients 

1 c (112g) almond flour

1 c (112g) hazelnut flour, or 1 more cup almond flour

1/2 c (100g) lightly packed light brown sugar 

1/2 c (100g) sugar 

3/4 tsp kosher salt 

1 large egg 

1 tb vanilla extract 

1/2 tsp almond extract 

3 oz chopped chocolate or chocolate chips (any kind!)

Coarse sanding sugar or turbinado sugar

Clues

If baking immediately, preheat the oven to 350ºf. If preparing for the freezer, see below for directions. Line a baking sheet with parchment and set it aside.

In a large bowl, combine the flours, sugars, and salt. Add the egg, vanilla, and almond and stir to combine and then stir in the chocolate. The whole mixture might seem dry at first, but keep on stirring and it will come together. Roll balls that are slightly larger than golf balls and roll them in sanding sugar. Flatten them slightly and then place them on the baking sheet, 1” apart.

If baking immediately, bake for 15 minutes, until lightly browned on the bottom. Let cool slightly and enjoy! They will be super gooey when they come out of the oven but they will get chewy as they cool.

If preparing to freeze, stick the baking sheet in the freezer until the dough is frozen, about an hour or so, and then transfer to a ziploc bag. Label and freeze for up to 3 months. Bake cookies 1” apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment at 350ºf for about 20 minutes, or until lightly browned on the bottom. Let cool slightly and enjoy! They will be super gooey when they come out of the oven but they will get chewy as they cool.


spinach and artichoke chicken and biscuits

My quest to fill every inch of all of our freezers continues this week with a mashup of two great things: chicken and biscuits and spinach and artichoke dip. The chicken and biscuits part is inspired by one of the first dinner recipes (after mac and cheese) that I remember making with my mom, the chicken and biscuits from Rick and Lanie’s Excellent Kitchen Adventures. We used that book all the time growing up! And I remember that in the process of learning to make their chicken and biscuits, I learned that a roux can be used to thicken milk for purposes other than making mac and cheese. This was mind blowing to me! So rather than adding a bunch of cheese and noodles to the sauce, we added chicken, herbs, and veggies, and then topped it with biscuits and baked it all so that the tops of the biscuits got golden and the bottoms soaked up all of the delicious creamy sauce. It was the best. Especially during long dark homework-saturated Chicago suburban winters. A marked up version of this recipe is in the homemade cookbook that my mom made me awhile ago for Valentine’s day, and it is one of my favorite nostalgic things to make.

When it comes to meal prep for Poppy Seed’s arrival, I was advised early on to bring on the comfort foods, so chicken and biscuits jumped to the top of my list. But I also wanted to sneak in vegetables, which is where the spinach and artichokes come in. Spinach and artichoke dip is the best form of balance, no? You get vegetables but they’re blanketed with creaminess and cheese, so yes, I’m all about this. I typically don’t love chicken and cheese together but cream cheese is different, it’s milder and adds its signature subtle tang, so I’m letting it be a part of this. The result is really reeeeeeally good. It’s heavy on the comfort, carbs, and veggies, three things I plan to load up on during Poppy Seed’s first days, and dairy milk adds to the nutrition factor. 

The hardest part about this recipe is opening the can of store-bought biscuits, which remains the scariest kitchen task of all time. It’s so loud! And unpredictable! But I’ve opted to go this route in the interest of convenience since I still have a bazillion things to do before my due date. You can, of course, use homemade biscuits.

I’m so pleased to have partnered with Milk Life on this recipe! Dairy milk has always played a starring role in my kitchen and also in my most cherished memories with family and friends. I can’t wait to make new memories with Poppy Seed and these chicken and biscuits!!


Spinach and Artichoke Chicken and Biscuits

Makes 8 individual servings

Ingredients

3 tb unsalted butter

1 large onion, finely chopped

Kosher salt

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 c (33g) all-purpose flour

2 c (472g) 2% or whole milk

2 tsp chicken soup bouillon (just the bouillon itself, not diluted in water)

1 lb boneless skinless chicken thigh or breast, chopped into 1/2”-3/4” pieces

1/2 tsp dried thyme

Black pepper

1 (8 oz) block light cream cheese

1 (10 oz) block frozen spinach, thawed and drained

1 (14 oz) can artichokes, drained and chopped

1/2 bunch parsley, finely chopped

Hot sauce

8 store-bought flaky buttermilk biscuits (or homemade biscuits)

Egg wash: 1 egg beaten with a splash of water

Flaky salt, for sprinkling

Clues

If baking immediately, preheat the oven to 400ºf. If planning to freeze, see freezer directions below.

In a large skillet or pot set over medium high heat, melt the butter and add the onion and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring until soft, about 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Stir in the flour so that it gets evenly distributed and cook for an additional minute (it’s ok if the pan looks dry at this point). Add half the milk, stirring continuously with a whisk or wooden spoon until thickened, and then repeat with the other half of the milk. You’ll know it’s thick enough if it coats the back of a spoon. Reduce the heat to medium and stir in the chicken soup bouillon and then add the chicken, thyme, and a few turns of pepper and simmer, stirring often, for 10-15 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and no longer pink. Add the cream cheese, spinach, artichokes, parsley, a few good shakes of hot sauce, and a few turns of black pepper. Stir until the cream cheese is melted. Taste and adjust as desired.

If baking immediately: divide into eight 8-oz oven-safe ramekins or foil containers and top each with a biscuit (squish the biscuits a little bit so that they’re wide enough to cover the whole top). Brush the tops of the biscuits with egg wash and sprinkle with black pepper and flaky salt. Place on a baking sheet (in case any of the mixture overflows) and bake until the biscuits are golden brown on top; begin checking for doneness at 15 minutes. Let cool slightly and enjoy!

To freeze: let the mixture cool slightly. Divide into eight 8-oz oven-safe freezer-safe ramekins or foil containers and top each with a biscuit (squish the biscuits a little bit so that they’re wide enough to cover the whole top). Brush the tops of the biscuits with egg wash and sprinkle with black pepper and flaky salt. Cover with foil and freeze for up to 3 months. To reheat, place it on a baking sheet, and bake at 400ºf covered for 30 minutes, remove the foil and continue to bake for about another 15 minutes, until the biscuits are browned and the whole thing is heated through. Let cool slightly and enjoy!


-Yeh!

Thank you, Milk Life, for sponsoring this post!

Photos by Chantell and Brett Quernemoen.

apple and peanut butter green smoothie

We had the best weekend ever in Fargo!! We were there for the first annual Fargo Hotdish Festival which was the greatest thing in the world. We ate 11 different hotdishes that were all unique and amazing. There was a spätzle hotdish, a hotdish with gigantic homemade tater tots, a hotdish with lingonberries, a kugel (!!!!), and so many other incredible interpretations that filled me right up, physically and inspirationally. We also got to Fargo in time for the Unglued Craft Fest, where I fell in love with these gnome watercolors and mind-blowing cow-to-cone gelato from Duchessa. And somehow we also found the stomach space for ramen at Slurp, knoephla at the HoDo, thick squishy toast at Youngblood, and an Ube cupcake and some gummies from Yeobo. It was delicious in every way and felt like a mini babymoon! Now I’m back and continuing to chug along with meal prep, baby prep, and recipe testing for recipes that I’m planning to post during my maternity leave and recipes that will go in the remaining episodes of season 3 of Girl Meets Farm.

This week I have a freezer friendly version of my regular breakfast routine for you! For years now I have been the biggest fan of loading up on veggies at the start of my day. It makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something first thing in the morning and like I’m ahead of the game for the rest of the day. I feel like superwoman when the rest of my meals for the day are heavy on the vegetables, which is what I always strive for, but in the event that I have a big cake testing day and end up accidentally taking too many test bites and then barely have an appetite for dinner, I feel a little bit less bad knowing that I ate at least some type of plant in the morning. In the summers when our garden is bursting, I love making breakfast salads with tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, fresh herbs, lemon, and olive oil or tahini sauce, piling them over a plop of greek yogurt, and scooping them up with toast. But when it’s not the summer, I’ve been having this here green smoothie!

This is a beginner’s green smoothie, or a green smoothie for people who in their heart of hearts would really rather be eating scrambled eggs with ketchup and extra crispy hash browns and toast with butter at Darcy’s Diner every morning, but are looking to add some reasonable nutrition without going full on brain dust. It’s made with a simple set of ingredients that I stock up on at the beginning of every week (the gigantic bag of pre-washed kale, the bulk bag of honeycrisp apples, and Smucker’s all natural peanut butter or, if I’m splurging, unsweetened almond butter). In the beginning of my green smoothie journey, a little over a year ago, I’d also add some celery, a small piece of ginger, and a few shakes of turmeric, but when I was in my first trimester and suddenly needed to simplify a lot of the flavors entering my mouth, I scaled back to the bare basics and haven’t gotten around to reintroducing these other things. I like the straightforwardness of apple and peanut butter flavor in a blanket of green. It’s sweet, nutty, creamy, and fresh! And delicious.

Also when I got pregnant and read about the increased importance of Omega-3s, I started sprinkling on Trader Joe’s super seed mix at the end which is a nice crunchy mix of flax, chia, quinoa, and a few other seeds. I’m going to call these sprinkles.

One important step that makes this smoothie (or any smoothie really) extra good is blending it into oblivion in a high powered blender. If you feel like your blender is going to launch into outer space, you’re doing it right. I use my Vitamix and blend it until it’s as smooth as possible, milky almost. Blending for too long could warm it up though, so I typically blend for the time it takes me to refill my ice tray, place it back in the freezer, and then retrieve my cups and straws. When I look in the top opening of the blender and see that it’s very smooth, I know it’s ready.

A few fun things that have made my morning routine cuter include: these pretty silicone straws, this sprinkle ice tray, my Marian cups, and the lid that I always use to cover up Eggboy’s half so I can stick it in the fridge for when he comes in for lunch. These aren’t necessary obviously but, like I said, they’re fun and cute.

I’m posting this now because I’m planning to prep a bunch of blender-ready packs for my freezer before Poppy Seed’s arrival! These are great for the freezer and make blending a breeze (assuming that baby isn’t sleeping…). Directions for freezing and blending from frozen are below.


Apple and Peanut Butter Green Smoothie

Makes 1 large or 2 small smoothies

Ingredients

1 honeycrisp apple, chopped

1 squeeze of lemon juice

2 heaping tb (40g-ish) unsweetened peanut butter or almond butter

1 oz (about 1/2 c firmly packed or a nice big handful) fresh spinach

3 oz (about 1 1/2 c firmly packed or 3 big handfuls) fresh chopped kale

6 large ice cubes

1/2 c cold water (I just stream water in from my tap for 2 seconds)

Optional additions: a few shakes of turmeric, a small chunk of ginger, 2 chopped celery stalks

Super seed mix, for topping, optional

Clues

In a high speed blender (and in this specific order), add the apple, lemon juice, peanut butter or almond butter, turmeric/ginger/celery (if using), spinach, kale, ice cubes, and water and blend on high for about the time it takes you to refill your ice cube tray and stick it back in the freezer, or until very smooth. Pour into glasses, sprinkle with super seed mix, if using, and enjoy.

To make these freezer friendly: in quart sized deli containers or quart ziploc bags, pack in the apple, lemon, peanut butter or almond butter, turmeric/ginger/celery (if using), spinach, and kale. Make a bunch at a time! Seal and freeze for up to three months. When ready to blend, add the contents to the blender along with 1 cup of water. No need to add ice. Let it sit for a few minutes so that it can defrost slightly and then use a butter knife to carefully break it up into slightly smaller chunks, just so it’s not one huge mass. Blend on high, using the tamper to help everything incorporate, until very smooth. Pour into glasses, sprinkle with super seed mix, if using, and enjoy.


black and white donuts + behind the scenes of a blog post!

Happy Tuesday, friends! Today I’m taking you behind the scenes of a blog post because behind the scenes stuff has always fascinated me and also because sometimes I get asked what a typical work day is like and by the time I’m finished explaining my answer I’ve usually lost whoever I’m talking to because it takes too long. My days are always different, one day I might be watching TV all day and making cake, other days I might be lying on the floor with all of my cookbooks open, reading about chicken. Ideally I’m wearing sweatpants but sometimes I brush my hair and put on lip gloss and we will get into when and why. Even though each individual day is different, the arc of creating a blog post, which typically happens over the course of a few weeks or months, is generally the same and fun though! So hold onto your butts because we’re about to get detailed. 

I’m partnering with Intel® on this post because their new Intel NUC Mini PC has helped me streamline the blog post writing process and make it even more fun and organized. 

Phase 1: brainstorming and research. I keep a list on my phone of recipes I want to make and add to it often. These are recipes that are inspired by my heritages, my travels, things I’ve learned about around town (like Funeral Hotdish!!), upcoming holidays, seasons, nostalgic food I grew up with, new ingredients, things I see on Instagram, and things I’m just really gosh darn craving. I schedule them out for blog posts based on what makes sense for upcoming holidays and seasons, and if there’s a recipe I want to make but there are already a million recipes for it on the internet and I don’t feel like I have anything to add to the world of, say, pumpkin blondies, I get rid of it.

When I commit to a recipe, I have a brainstorming session of what the outcome should be. It looks like me sitting on the couch, meditating on the theme of… well in this case, the donut. I think about how it should taste, what it should look like, ideally how it should be made, and, importantly, why I’m evening daring to take up space on the internet about it. Each recipe should serve a purpose, whether it’s to share a new idea or new-to-me ingredient or technique, tell a story, create a new design, or put my spin on an already existing idea. 

In the case of these black and white donuts, I’d never seen a black and white donut before and they sounded tasty and cute looking, so that’s the purpose! In terms of flavor, they should reflect the black and white cookie, which is cakey and flavored with vanilla and lemon, maybe a tiny bit of almond, and has a light tang thanks to either buttermilk or sour cream in the batter. The glaze should be thick and it should dry nicely, providing a sweet delicious shell.

Also coinciding with this brainstorming session is a research phase where I read all about black and white cookies and their history, as many recipes for them as I can find, I look at the #blackandwhitecookie hashtag to get design inspiration, and basically try and do everything short of rewatching the entirety of Seinfeld in order to find the black and white cookie mentions, because at that point that’s safely considered *getting sidetracked*. 

Basically I become one with the black and white cookie/donut. 

And then I write a first draft of a recipe, buy any necessary groceries, and start the best part, phase 2: making stuff!

What used to be constant battles of Molly versus the missing/oil-stained post-it note with all of the recipe scribbles or Molly versus counter space versus a laptop that’s balanced on top of the flour canister is now a streamlined system of pulling up the recipe on my TV screen, which is hooked up to the NUC Mini PC. (You’ve rarely seen my TV screen because I always hide it when my photographers, Chantell and Brett, come to photograph recipes! But it’s how I stay sane working by myself most days, because I can have Bojack on in the background and then toggle over to my word doc to make recipe notes.)

I make a version of the recipe according to the draft, taste it, record any notes, and then copy and paste a new recipe draft with any recipe changes in bold. And I also bring in backup in the form of Eggboy. He may not know the first thing about making a donut but he is a really good taste tester! He is not afraid of telling me when a recipe sucks and is articulate in telling me what needs to change. And then it’s up to me to figure out how to achieve those changes. So then I get back to work and continue to test until it’s basically so good that Eggboy just doesn’t have any words and continues to take bites because he can’t help it and it’s as if the donut has taken over his brain. It might take 26 versions, it might just take 3 or 4.

This recipe didn’t take too many versions because I already had a vanilla baked donut recipe that I liked (in Molly on the Range) and my primary focus was on sneaking in the lemon flavor and paying close attention to how that added acidity affected the rise of the donuts. I honed in on baking soda amounts and played around with a few different measurements there. I also tried a couple of different methods of glazing the donuts and found that a combination of dipping the donuts into the glaze and using a spatula to help it onto the donuts created my fave aesthetic.

After this testing period, leftovers get wrapped up and given to people or stuck in the freezer. These donuts will get defrosted and put out for beet harvest next week!

Once the recipe is where I want it to be, I move on to phase 3: prepping its photo shoot. I write down any particular steps I want to document, think about what angles will make the finished product look the best, pick out props and a wardrobe that will match everything, clean the kitchen, prep ingredients and complete any steps of the recipe that I won’t be showing on camera. For these donuts, I made some finished donuts, some unglazed donuts, some that just had white glaze on them, and a bowl each of chocolate and vanilla glaze. This prep usually happens the day before a shoot and I typically am prepping a few recipes at a time since shoot days often include a handful of recipes. I often have an assistant help with this but my kitchen assistant, Grace, just moved to Michigan :(

Phase 4: photo shoot! The morning of a shoot, I brush my hair and put on makeup! The first time in probably a while. And then Chantell and Brett arrive from Fargo and we get to work! Shoot days are fun because it’s so satisfying to play with finished recipes and we listen to music or have movies on in the background and at the end of the day I try to send them home with as many donuts and cakes as they’ll allow me to give them. 

Once I receive the photos, I sit on my couch and do phase 5: write the post. This is great because it’s cozy and also because I can have the NUC Mini PC hooked up to the hot tub-sized TV that Eggboy *had* to get last year to watch bike races. It’s great though because it’s big enough to see clearly from my couch and the NUC is powerful enough to deal with tons of photos on a regular basis without slowing down.

By this time I’ve been thinking about whatever my post is about for so long that ideally the words just flow right out. Sometimes—ok a lot of times—they don’t though and that might be when I get up and walk to the refrigerator, eat a piece of cheese, take a shower, or look at my phone. This is when 90% of procrastination happens. It’s gotta happen sometime!

Once the post is written, I organize which photos I’m going to use and how they’ll be laid out, and edit the recipe. Those get put into the backend of my site either by me or my assistant Hillary, along with any tags and links. And then it’s posted!

Ta da!

*Eats a donut*

black and white donuts

makes 12-16 donuts

Ingredients

Donuts

1 3/4 c (228g) all-purpose flour

1 c (200g) sugar

3/4 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Zest of 1/2 a lemon

1 large egg

1/2 c (120 ml) buttermilk

1/4 c (50 ml) flavorless oil

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp almond extract

1/4 c (59 ml) water

Vanilla Glaze

2 1/4 c (270g) powdered sugar

1 tb light corn syrup

3-4 tb whole milk or buttermilk

A pinch of kosher salt

A splash of vanilla extract

Chocolate Glaze

2 c (240g) powdered sugar

1/4 c (20g) unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tb light corn syrup

3-4 tb whole milk or buttermilk

A pinch of kosher salt

Clues

To make the donuts: preheat the oven to 375ºF. Coat a 12-cavity donut pan with cooking spray and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and zest. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg, buttermilk, oil, vanilla, almond extract, and water. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and stir until just combined. Fill a piping bag or ziploc bag with a corner snipped off with the batter and pipe the batter into the donut pans, filling each cavity halfway. If you have any remaining batter, you can bake it in a second batch.

Bake for 12 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into a donut comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Remove to a rack and cool completely. (A mini spatula helps remove them from the pans!)

To make the glazes, first make the vanilla glaze: mix together the sugar, corn syrup, 3 tablespoons of milk, salt, and vanilla. Add additional milk little by little until the mixture is pourable (you might not need the full remaining tablespoon). You want to be careful not to add too much milk because you want the glaze to be thick and opaque, but if the glaze is too thick it will have a hard time sticking to the donuts. You can always make adjustments by adding more powdered sugar to make it thicker or more milk to thin it out. Place a baking sheet or piece of parchment paper underneath the rack with the donuts and dip each donut halfway into the vanilla glaze, scraping off any excess glaze from the bottom and returning to the rack to dry. Let the vanilla glaze dry, 20-30 minutes if you’re impatient like me, but more like an hour or so if you want it to really be nice and solid, and then make the chocolate glaze.

To make the chocolate glaze, use the same method as mixing the vanilla glaze, and then carefully dip the unglazed half of the donuts into the chocolate glaze. With the chocolate side, I find it’s helpful to use a spatula to help the glaze nudge right up against the vanilla. Scrape excess glaze off of the bottom, place back on the rack, and let dry.

Enjoy!

These are best the day of, but can be kept for an additional couple of days at room temp in an airtight container.

-yeh!

photos by Chantell and Brett Quernemoen

Thank you, Intel, for sponsoring this post! The Intel NUC Mini PC is a small but mighty computer that is shorter than a tennis ball and ready to make photo editing and content creation a breeze. It’s equipped with Windows 10 and the latest Intel Core processors, and videos and movies can be viewed in 4k Ultra HD!