Category Archives: soft & chewy cookies

Almond poppy seed cookies with pink blackberry sugar for babe

Exactly two weeks ago, after waiting 9 long months and holding “big family” aspirations for decades, I held her in my arms for the first time.  People would ask, “how many?”  I would say 3, but in my heart I knew it was 4.  And now she is – that magic number – all whole body stretches, suckling dreams, 20 inches of her.  My beautiful last child.

Labor started slow and ended fast.  While my husband and I walked the halls of the hospital, hoping for labor to progress, I was reminded in small ways of the birth of my first child, Linnea.  This time, Chris didn’t need to stop every two minutes to massage the tension in my lower back, but we did spend the day – like before – alone with each other and our private jokes in the crowded hospital.  Romantic, almost.  Mostly because an impending birth always brings fear.  I try to breathe through it, deflect by calling it a natural body process, but it’s there, waiting for me to face and conquer.  Hopefully, that occurs with a dose of serenity and also kindness for the nurses that always seem to catch the right cloud in to attend to me.

There were no complications, just the tricky breathing and mind games through the transition stage and the pushing – which came in a rush – versus the marathon of a first child’s birth.  We called it “Linnea Light.”

And so our baby Ren Inez came to be.  She’s kept me underwater a bit over the last two weeks, managing nursing and sleep and endless diaper changes – and oh – the rest of the family.

Chris took a week off and then went in late for a week, all to help me.  Romantic, for real.

Just today I managed it by myself, fell into my old tracks of school drop offs, child care and extracurricular activities.  The magnet in me gripped the road with enthusiasm.  I could feel the slow ascent from the valley and am now catching a breath before bracing for another loop-de-loop.

That breath gave me time for the one thing that I will always make time for…COOKIES!  Also, I needed an easy reason to announce the birth of my baby.  Because this is a baking blog, I figured the baby pics had to accompany something that spent time in the oven.  So I made a chewy favorite.

While I am quite fond of the decorated variety, my husband won’t touch them.  He prefers a chewy cookie, slightly under baked.  Because this basic recipe is easy and a loved by many, I made them.  And because this time, they’re in honor of Ren, I coated them in a girly-pink blackberry sugar before baking (1/2 cup sugar mixed with juice from frozen blackberries.  Don’t saturate.  Mixture should feel like concrete.)

The blackberry sugar is completely unnecessary for the cookies, but then I was never one to leave an accessory in the jewelry box…

Chewy Almond Poppy Seed Cookies

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 1/4 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 large egg
1 1/2  teaspoons pure almond extract
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon poppy seeds

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt and poppy seeds.

2.  Place butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Mix on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy.  Add egg and extracts.  Mix until smooth.

3.  Reduce speed to low; gradually mix in flour mixture until combined.

4.  Using a 1-inch ice cream scoop, drop dough onto cookie sheets lined with parchment paper.  Bake until golden and just set, 8 to 9 minutes.  Cookies will appear underdone.  Immediately remove the cookies from the pan and let cool on parchment on wire racks.


Filed under soft & chewy cookies

Almond macaroon daisies and dots (and amoeba)

For every city I have lived, and most that I’ve visited, I can tell you exactly where to find the best almond croissants available for public consumption.  It is an evolving list, updated on occasion after significant research on my part.

Because croissant baking is an art in itself and more time-consuming than a normal baking session allows, I have found a quick alternative.  The almond macaroon offers almond paste lovers pure, chewy almond goodness without the rise and roll required of a flaky croissant.


snowy powder shapes

cookies seeking coffee

I made these cookies for a dear friend, Kate, who also appreciates all things almond.   Over the years, Kate has given me both advice on the fly as well as the long-term commitment and comfort that the messy crises of life demand.  I know she loves me.  It’s as simple as that.

So like many gestures in life, this one is small.  Thank you, Kate.  I’ll get you those fancy almond croissants real soon, I promise.


Margin Notes: This is a basic, easy-peasy recipe.  I mixed it up a bit by piping out daisy shapes with the batter in hopes of getting some contrast with the drop-a-dollop-from-a-spoon, typical rounds.   As you can see, my flowers sometimes look like something under a microscope.  Of course, the rounds are equally delicious, so I’d advise sticking to the drop and bake method.

added work

Also, while baking, use your nose to guide you.  If the sweet scent of almonds begin to surround you in the kitchen, check out your cookies, because they’re probably perfectly browned and dangerously close to burning.  Finally, when done, be sure to let them cool for at least 30 minutes (longer is fine) before pulling them from the parchment paper.  As you can see, these cookies have sticky bottoms:

Man overboard!


Filed under soft & chewy cookies