Thursday, April 29, 2010

Jean Philippe Patisserie at City Center's Aria Hotel- Las Vegas

The next stop on our whirlwind Vegas cookie tour was the Jean Philippe Patisserie at City Center's Aria Hotel. I settled on a chocolate chip walnut cookie for $3.95 and a Madeline for $1.50- relative bargains for this high-end store where you can also buy crepes, chocolates, ice cream, and coffee.

The chocolate chip walnut cookie will satisfy any craving. It was thick, buttery, and slightly chewy. Every bite was filled with mini-chocolate chips and similarly sized walnut pieces. Next time, if I can wait before digging in, I will microwave it for a few seconds for a gooey treat.
The puffy Madeline was average and had a slight lemon flavor. Starbucks Madelines are just as good.

Jean Philippe Patisserie (Aria) on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Vosges- Forum Shops at Caesar's Palace- Las Vegas

These next few posts are based on some samplings of cookies from a recent weekend getaway to Las Vegas.

Vosges is a popular chocolate shop at the Forum Shops at Caesar's Palace. They also have a small selection of cookies. I went for the Costa Rican Chocolate Chip cookie. For an average-sized $5.50 cookie, I expected the finest cookie I had ever tasted. Instead I had what tasted like a baked ball of butter and brown sugar (not horrible- who doesn't like butter and brown sugar). Large chocolate pieces were sparsely mixed in. The cookie was very crumbly and difficult to eat. Obviously the cookie was made with high-quality ingredients, but that couldn't save this cookie. Next time I'll pass, and I encourage you to save your $5.50. I'm sure you can find plenty of other uses for that money in Sin City.

Vosges also makes a caramel toffee cookie and a naga cookie (pumpkin base with chocolate chips and Indian curry). Visit the Vosges website for more information. You can buy their chocolates at some grocery stores.

Vosges Haut Chocolat on Urbanspoon

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Lemon Cake Mix Cookies

Unbelievably delicious! They make your kitchen smell great, too. 
These cookies were a breeze to make and opened the door to a world of endless possibilities- devil's food cookies, red velvet cookies, carrot cake cookies... Of course, you have to like soft, cake-like cookies. I used Duncan Hines Lemon Supreme cake mix, but any regular-sized box of cake mix will work.

Do you know of any other quick cookie recipes? Send them my way!

1 package lemon cake mix
2 eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix.
Drop tablespoonfuls of dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake for 12 minutes.

Yields 3 Dozen.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Dolly's Donuts & Cookies Too- Orange

I'm not sure how long the cookies had been sitting there, but 70 cents per cookie was a small price to pay to perhaps discover a fabulous cookie. With "cookies" being included in the name of the store, I was very hopeful, even when I saw their small selection sitting on a covered tray on the end of the counter.
The chocolate chip cookie was an average, crispy chocolate chip cookie. The peanut cookie (not peanut butter, like I had hoped) was just a crispy cookie with peanuts on top. I took only a few bites of this tasteless cookie.

Cookies are definitely an afterthought at Dolly's. The highlight of this experience was biting into the donut hole included with every purchase. If they put half as much effort into their cookies as their donuts, they would have some seriously good cookies. At least I found a good donut place...

Dolly's Donuts & Cookies Too is located at 350 South Main Street in Orange.

Dolly's Donuts & Cookies Too on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Coconut Oatmeal Cookies

These cookies are super soft and chewy. The cinnamon is apparent in every bite, and it mixes well with the coconut. The coconut texture and flavor dominates, though. If you have a craving for coconut, these cookies will certainly satisfy. I will say that these cookies need a little crunch. Next time I will top with toasted coconut.

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon milk
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 cup quick cooking oats
1 cup shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)

Preheat oven to 350F.
Sift together flour, soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in a medium bowl.
Cream butter and sugars in a large bowl until well combined. Beat in vanilla, milk and eggs until light, about 2 minutes. Stir in flour mixture. Add oats and coconut.
Drop by tablespoonfuls onto a parchment lined baking sheet.
Bake for 11 minutes at 350F. Cookies will be lightly browned.
Let cool for a few minutes on baking sheet, then move to a wire rack until completely cooled.

Yields 36 cookies.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Platine Bakery- Culver City

I recently made a trip to the Platine Bakery in Culver City. All of their offerings were rather petite. Each cookie was roughly two inches across. I tried three of the artisan cookies and two fancy cookies.

The chocolate chip artisan cookie was essentially a crispy Toll-House cookie. Nothing special. Same goes for the chocolate gingersnap and signature cookie. The chocolate gingersnap tasted like a soft, chewy gingersnap and lacked any chocolate taste. The signature cookie tastes like an oatmeal raisin cookie even though other ingredients (chocolate chips, nuts, currants) are mixed in. At $1 each, these cookies were over-priced.

The fancy "Platino" cookies I sampled were much better. The "Platino" is Platine Bakery's version of an Oreo. The chocolate Platino tasted exactly like a soft Oreo and was my favorite of all of the cookies I tried. More filling would have been appreciated, though. The other "Platino" was made with sugar cookies. The sugar cookies were soft and perfectly sugared. These cookies will set you back $2 each.

Even though it wasn't a cookie, I did try the hoho. It was unbelievably delicious. I would return for those, but I will skip the cookies.

Platine Bakery ( is located at 10850 Washington Blvd in Culver City.

Platine Cookies on Urbanspoon

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bars

If you have to quickly satisfy a peanut butter and chocolate craving, these bars are the way to do it. The bars are very thick and cakey. This filling treat tastes better when completely cooled.

1 cup Wheat Flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 pinch Salt
1 cup Peanut Butter
1/3 cup Brown Sugar
1 Egg
1/2 cup Milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup Milk Chocolate Chips 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Coat an 8" x 8" baking dish with cooking spray.
Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl. Stir with a fork.
In a mixing bowl, combine the peanut butter, sugar, and egg. Stir until creamy. Add the milk and vanilla. Stir until smooth. Add the flour mixture, stirring until well combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.
Pour the dough into the baking pan and pat the top to smooth. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until slightly puffy and very lightly browned at the edges. Remove and allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before cutting. Store at room temperature, tightly covered with foil.

Yields 16 squares.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Big Island Candies

A co-worker brought our office back Big Island Candies shortbreads from a trip to Hawaii. They were so good that I had to buy some for myself!

The shortbreads are buttery, slightly crispy and melt in your mouth. The chocolate dipped corners (milk, dark, or white) are an added bonus. I could eat these every day for the rest of my life and not grow tired of them. If anyone knows where I can find them on the mainland, PLEASE let me know.

I decided I had to try their bite-sized chocolate chip macadamia nut cookies, too (for research purposes, of course!). The cookies were very crispy with the right amount of small chocolate bits. I had to check the box to make sure I had ordered cookies with macadamia nuts in them, though, since I couldn't taste the nuts at all. Next time I will skip these. I could buy Famous Amos or Mini Chips Ahoy and be just as satisfied.

Unfortunately, you have to buy through their website (unless you live in Hilo, Hawaii) and have them shipped to you. The cost does add up ($7.00 for a box of about 20 bite-sized cookies, $17.75 for about 33 dipped shortbreads, $15.00 for shipping). For an occasional treat, the shortbreads are definitely worth it.

For more information and to place your order, visit

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

These are great chewy cookies with a lot of flavor. Using egg whites, only 1/4 cup of margarine, and mini-chocolate chips makes these a lighter option, but you will not sacrifice flavor. They do not spread, so make sure you shape them how you prefer before baking. I preferred the thicker cookies.

1/4 cup margarine
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 granulated sugar
3/4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 3/4 cups rolled oats
3/4 cup mini-chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cream butter and sugar. Add egg whites and vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, salt, and baking soda. Slowly add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients. When it is fully incorporated, mix in the rolled oats and mini-chocolate chips.
Drop by rounded tablespoon-fulls onto a cookie sheet. Bake for 12-14 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. 
Makes 18 cookies.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Butter Pecan Shortbread

Very addictive! Toasting the pecans really makes a difference and adds a new level of flavor. The cookies were very crumbly, so be prepared to add extra butter. The dough needs to be chilled for at least two hours before baking. It can be frozen as well if you prefer to bake later.

1 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup pecans, chopped and toasted

In a large bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar. Mix in vanilla extract, flour and salt, until just combined. Do not over-mix. Stir in pecans.
Put dough onto a large sheet of wax paper. Form the dough into a log about two inches in diameter. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Slice dough into 1/4 inch thick slices. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. 
Bake for 15 minutes, until cookies are lightly browned.
Cool on the sheet briefly and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Yields 2 dozen cookies.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Trader Joe's Chocolate Chip Cookies

Baking a few of these cookies is the fastest way I know to satisfy a fresh cookie craving. The mini-hockey pucks of dough (stored in the freezer) require no thawing. Simply bake however many you want for about 15 minutes. You will be rewarded with a chewy, gooey cookie.

At $3.99 for a box of 16, it's a small price to pay for a cookie security blanket.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Apple Pie Cookies

These are very cakey cookies and will satisfy any apple pie cravings. I used Granny Smith apples. When I was mixing the apple pieces in, I feared I had added too many, but the cookies come out just right and could actually use a little more. The pecans are lost, though, so you can either add extra or eliminate them entirely.

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 egg
2 tablespoons pancake syrup
1 1/4 cup apples, diced
1/2 cup pecans, chopped and toasted

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and syrup. Gradually blend in the flour mixture. Stir in apples and pecans.
Drop large tablespoons of dough onto prepared baking sheet.
Bake for 15-18 minutes, until cookies are browned around the edges. Cool for about 5 minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Yields 16 cookies.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Extraordinary Desserts- San Diego

Also on my recent San Diego weekend getaway, I picked up three cookies from Extraordinary Desserts. Save your taste buds and money, and skip these cookies.

The unique flavors options seemed promising as did the presentation (in a box with tissue and rose petals) and size (large and heavy). I went with White Chocolate Granola, Dark Chocolate Tea, and Cherry Chocolate Chip. 

All three cookies were dense and obviously made with high-quality ingredients. I tasted no chocolate in the White Chocolate Granola cookie. It tasted like an over-priced granola bar disguised as a cookie. The Dark Chocolate Tea cookie had such an overwhelming tea flavor that the dark chocolate was lost. The Cherry Chocolate Chip was the best of this sorry bunch. If the cherries weren't so large (nickel-sized dried cherries), I might actually go back for one of these.   

Cookies are $2.50 each. If they tasted good, they would be a great value since one cookie will fill you up to the point of making you wonder why you like cookies in the first place.

Extraordinary Desserts ( has two San Diego locations (2929 Fifth Avenue in Balboa Park and 1430 Union Street in Little Italy).

Let me know where I should go on my next trip to San Diego...

Extraordinary Desserts on Urbanspoon