BCM: Palets de Dames | Fall in San Diego

I’m jealous of all your stunning landscapes with changing leaves, your picturesque apple orchards, your warming scarves and coats.

We’re still wearing shorts here in mid-November while biking to the beach, spotting tables full of colorful heirloom tomatoes at the farmers market, and sleeping with the windows open. San Diegans love their year-round mild weather, and sure, there are some great things about it, especially when walking the pup, but, I really do miss the familiar fall back East.


A Saturday afternoon hike up Black Mountain; and beautiful views of sunsets from our neighborhood.

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Grandpa Bob’s Date Nut Pinwheel Cookies

I wrote this piece for a food writing course at JMU, and then adapted some of it for a newspaper article about cookie exchanges. These treats were my contribution to this year’s Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap. Date Nut Pinwheels are my absolute favorite Christmas cookie, for they are soft, subtly sweet and sentimental. I hope you enjoy.


Dozens of tins cover the wooden table in the dining room at my Aunt Margot’s house. The unlabeled tins, stacked on top of one another, beg to be opened so we can see — and sample — what’s inside. Every year, we see many of the same types of Christmas cookies: crunchy peanut butter topped with criss-crosses; hard biscotti from my Sicilian uncle; bite-sized “world peace” made with rich chocolate; chocolate chip, simple but familiar; almond cookies drizzled with chocolate; Mexican wedding cakes dusted with powdered sugar. Every branch of the Thisdell family brings an assortment of cookies for the piles to grow, and after we are all done snacking for the few days in town, we fill up our own tins to take home the fruits of the season. But despite the variety, there’s only one kind I yearn for year after year: date nut pinwheels.

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TWD: Double Chocolate Cookies


This cookie dough is practically fudge, and the resulting cookies like the richest brownie you’ve ever bitten into, a cakey version of your favorite holiday chocolate truffle, or bite-size overwhelmingly chocolate tartlets. They’re a cookie solely in name and shape.

The double chocolate cookies from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking with Julia are likely some of the most decadent you’ll ever bake. With more than one pound of chocolate in the batter, these cookies could make a bad day awesome with just one bite.

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Triple chocolate cookies cure bad days

Sometimes, a warm, decadent, overwhelmingly chocolate cookie is just what you need.

Maybe you’re watching a Planning Commission meeting on TV and just can’t handle too much more discussion about proffers. Or maybe your dog has destroyed yet another belonging of your roommate’s, each one more expensive than the last to replace. Or maybe, you’re overwhelmed with everything in the world, everything in your own life, everything affecting those you love.

If that’s the case, I’d recommend this recipe from the Pioneer Woman.

And If it’s not the case, and you’re having a wonderful day, I’d still recommend them. The word “chocolate” is in the name three times, so it has to be good, right? They certainly won’t make you feel any worse. (Well, unless you eat the entire tray. But you can go for a run tomorrow. It’s okay.)

The chocolate cookies are loaded with semisweet chocolate chips (I chopped up a bar that was in the pantry) and white chocolate chips. And Ree Drummond says you have to drink milk with them; I’d heartily agree.

Find the recipe here, and enjoy! I hope your day improves, too.


Second annual cookie party: Cranberry bourbon sours and Almond Crunch Cookies

I may be a little obsessed with Christmas cookies. I wrote about them last year for the paper. And again this year. I think I even used cookies as a topic for my college application essays.

So of course, when my roommates wanted to host a cookie party last year, I was all for it. The tradition continued this year, with about a dozen women coming to our house with tins full of cookies.


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