Wednesday Cute: The Bento Box

Categories: Wednesday Cute

Today’s installment of Wednesday Cute was written by editorial intern Perry, who would totally eat her vegetables if they were cut into tiny stars.

If you have ever watched anything inspired by Japanese culture, be it anime, a Miyazaki movie, or even Pokemon, you will at some point have seen something that looks like this:

Bento 14

This is a bento box, otherwise known as the cutest lunch box ever. While every culture has its own version of the packed lunch, the bento box goes above and beyond in the cute department. Many mothers, hoping to make their child smile when they open their lunch, go out of their way to create tiny, edible works of art that are both nutritious and adorable.

Bento boxes can range from the simple…

Bento 21

… to the complex:

Bento G

Animal-themed bentos are quite popular…

Bento 13

Bento 6

Bento A

… as are bentos inspired by popular characters:

Bento 3

Bento 17

Bento D

Some bento boxes are silly….

Bento F

… some are pretty…

Bento 7

Bento 4

… but they are all definitely cute!

SONY DSC

Bento 2

Bento 1

These fabulous lunches are hugely popular and there are all kinds of specialty tools and accessories out there to help make these incredible works of art. There are molds to make hard boiled eggs into different shapes, seaweed punches to help make facial expressions, and tiny cookie cutters to make vegetable flowers and stars. And of course, there are the adorable picks to hold food together and squeeze bottles for soy sauce:

It’s shaped like a little piggy!

And the boxes themselves are pretty cute too! Styles range from traditional lacquered wood boxes to more sleek, modern designs. My favorite, of course, are the brightly colored ones covered in cartoon characters.

Maybe you’re on board with the bento boxes but worry that you don’t have enough lunch ideas to fill one? Fret not, we’ve got an e-book for that! Bring Your Lunch is full of great recipes, helpful tips, and easily bento box-able lunch ideas!

Available from the following e-retailers:

AMAZON KINDLE | APPLE IBOOKS | BARNES & NOBLE | GOOGLE PLAY | KOBO

 

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#TravelTuesday – Queensland, Australia

Categories: News

12-16-14

Today’s Travel Tuesday destination is Queensland, Australia, courtesy of the 1,000 Places to See Before You Die Page-A-Day Calendar.

Top Attractions:

1. Cape Tribulation: Queensland’s Wet Tropics rain forest and the Great Barrier Reef come together on Australia’s northeast coast at Cape Tribulation. Protected within the Cape Tribulation and Daintree national parks and believed to have been the evolutionary cradle for much of Australia’s unique wildlife, the rain forest here contains trees that are 3,000 years old, including 85 of the 120 rarest species on earth.

  • Where: 70 miles.113 km north of Cairns.
  • Best Times: May-September for the “dry” season.

2. Fraser Island: Here on the world’s largest sand island you can swim in freshwater lakes, walk through the ancient Valley of the Giants rain forest, join rangers to track down some of the island’s 350 species of birds, or just enjoy the uninterrupted 75 miles of broad coastal beach—the world’s most unusual “highway.”

  • Where: 230 miles/370 km northeast of Brisbane.
  • Best Times: Weather is warm year-round; August-November for whale-watching.

3. The Great Barrier Reef and the Coral Sea: It’s often called the Eighth Wonder of the World, and that might be selling it short. The Great Barrier Reef is the only living organism on the planet that’s visible from outer space. Located between 10 and 50 miles off the continent’s northeast Queensland coast and stretching for more than 1,400 miles, actually it’s not one coral reef but an association of approximately 2,900 separate fringing reefs, with about 600 tropical islands and 300 coral crays sprinkled among them. The largest marine preserve in the world, it’s home to a stupefying profusion of sea creatures, including 360 species of brilliantly colored hard corals, one-third of the world’s soft corals, 1,500 varieties of fish, and over 5,000 kinds of mollusks.

  • Where: Cairns is 1,219 miles/1,961 km north of Sydney.
  • Best Times: May-November for ideal sea conditions and weather.

4. Heron Island: Unlike many of the other islands near the Great Barrier Reef, Heron Island, situated on the Tropic of Capricorn, is a coral cay—literally part of the reef itself.  There are 20 dive sites within 15 minutes of shore; snorkelers and those opting for a semi-submersible ride can catch their own glimpse of fish, turtles, mantas, reef sharks, and endless varieties of invertebrates.

  • Where: 40 miles/64 km northeast of Gladstone, which is 691 miles/1,113 km north of Sydney.
  • Best Times: June and July for clearest water; coral spawns typically occur sometime  between the 2nd and 6th nights following the full moon in November.

5. Sailing the Whitsundays (pictured above): It would be hard to conjure a more splendid destination for setting sail than these idyllic islands in the Coral Sea. Cradled by the Great Barrier Reef midway along Australia’s Queensland Coast, these 74 islands (of which only eight are inhabited) are a sailor’s dream and also offer glorious, deserted palm-fringed beaches, scenic bushwalks, and superb snorkeling and diving amid teeming coral reefs.

  • Where: Hamilton Island is 560 miles/900 km north of Brisbane.
  • Best Times: July-September for whale-watching; October-November for favorable sea conditions.

Read more on 1,000 Places to See Before You Die and the calendar line here.

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Colossal Fun with Colossal Paper Machines

Categories: Behind the scenes, Crafts and hobbies, Live by the Book, News

Colossal Assembly Party_LORES_114

Here at Workman, we like to live by our books. And when it comes to paper crafting books, we’re especially enthusiastic. So when the editorial team sent out the call to help test-run the new book Colossal Paper Machines, we Workmanites rose to the occasion.

Colossal Paper Machines is a whopping over-sized book of interactive paper models to appeal to every kid who loves big machines—which pretty much covers all of them.These are the coolest big machines that kids love—each re-created in an oversize paper model that, once built, really moves (yes, you read that right, paper machines that roll, swivel, and spin!). The book has everything you need to pop out, fold, and create a full-color model of ten big machines. And perhaps best of all? This book was created by Workman’s very own Production Assistant, Phil Conigliaro, who is also an incredible gifted paper engineer and artist!

With the machine mechanics firmly in hand (mechanics are the final layouts of the books), we set out to test all ten machines to make sure the tabs and numbers lined up correctly and could be easily replicated by fans at home!

 

Full disclosure: while some of may have initially had our interests piqued by the promise of free pizza, by the end of lunch we were all rolling, chugging, and digging with the best of them.

Here are a few photos from our colossally fun afternoon:

Colossal Assembly Party_LORES_080

First things first: punching out all of the pieces.

 

Colossal Assembly Party_LORES_009

So many machines to build!

Colossal Assembly Party_LORES_044

Coleen tackles the concrete mixer.

Colossal Assembly Party_LORES_049

 Editor Daniel offers some sage advice on paper truck construction.

Colossal Assembly Party_LORES_097

 The concrete mixer comes together piece by piece.

Colossal Assembly Party_LORES_116

Phil, Danny, Steve, and Liz put the finishing touches on the front loader and dump trunk.

Colossal Assembly Party_LORES_085

Rachel and Sam find out what all the steamboat fuss is about.

Colossal Assembly Party_LORES_113

Page and Moira give the stamp of approval: this ladder truck is ready to hit the road (complete with swiveling ladder)!

Colossal Assembly Party_LORES_120

Author Phil (left) and Danny admire a beautifully-built front loader.

Having fun on the job — just another day at the Workman Publishing offices!

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Colossal Paper Machines is available for pre-order from any of the following online retailers:

AmazonBarnes & Noble | IndieBound Workman

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Sunday Cookie Swap: Chewy Gingersnaps

Categories: News

This blog post was written by editorial intern Rachel, who definitely recommends cookies as a means to christen a new kitchen, but advises you to keep an eye out for mice.

Chewy Gingersnaps

Chewy Gingersnaps

‘Tis the season for holiday parties, potlucks, gifting, Christmas lights (e.g. the ones all over my apartment), and, of course, cookie swaps. What is a cookie swap, you might ask? If you missed editorial intern Perry’s Bittersweet Decadence Cookies post from last week, let me catch you up a little: every year at the Workman holiday party, we all bring in a batch of homemade cookies, put them all out on a table, and then everyone can put together a box, providing families, roommates and (let’s be honest) ourselves with an assortment of homemade cookies for the holiday.

In honor of this delicious tradition, we’ll be posting a cookie recipe every Sunday from one of our cookbooks to provide you inspiration for your own cookie swaps! We’ll provide the recipes and talk a little bit about our cookie-baking experiences. Sound good? Then let’s get started!

This week’s recipe comes from the book that inspired our office tradition: Lauren Chattman’s Cookie Swap!

Cookie Swap

Lauren Chattman’s recipes have appeared in Food & Wine, Bon Appetit, Cook’s Illustrated, The New York Times, and Redbook, among others. This particular cookbook features over 35 cookie recipes, even savory ones (my roommate and I are clamoring to try to Savory Rosemary Pecan Sandies). In honor of the holiday season, I chose to make Chewy Gingersnaps. They’re not exactly “snaps” per se—hence the “chewy” name—but they do have the lovely spiciness of gingersnaps, so the name is still appropriate.

Full disclosure, I moved into my apartment only two days before making these cookies, so this was my first real culinary attempt in this kitchen. Luckily, I had my handy assistant/roommate, Michaela, to help me. Michaela declined to be photographed for this project, but just know that she was there, reading out steps and reminding me that molasses does not taste very good on its own, so I probably shouldn’t lick that spoon.

As with any significant cooking endeavor, we started by gathering our ingredients (listed, along with the complete recipe, at the end of this post):

Ingredients

 

Pro-tip: read ahead in your recipe. This one calls for the butter to melted and cooled. This is most likely because you will be mixing your melted butter with your eggs, and if the butter is too hot, the eggs will cook in the bowl. You don’t want that. So melt your butter a little bit in advance so that it has time to cool down.

...or do what I did and just put in the fridge.

…or do what I did and just put in the fridge post-melting.

 

While the butter was cooling, we mixed together our dry ingredients—consisting of flour, ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves, salt, and baking soda—in a medium bowl.

Pretty!

Pretty!

 

Next, in a large bowl, we mixed the melted butter (again, make sure it’s not too hot!), sugar, and molasses…

molasses is weird, you guys

Molasses is weird, you guys.

…until smooth, and then added the eggs.

Wet Ingredients

 

The recipe says you should beat in the eggs with an electric mixer, but we don’t have one of those. A wooden spoon may take longer and is certainly more of a workout, but it worked just fine. Once the mixture is smooth, we stirred in the dry ingredients (just dump ‘em all in there at once) until just incorporated, making sure not to over-mix.

At this point, we needed to chill the dough for about ten minutes, but that’s all right because it gave us an opportunity to clean up the mess we had just made all over the counter…

you can't really tell, but there's molasses on everything in this picture.

You can’t really tell, but there’s molasses on everything in this picture.

…and to clean some dishes.

We do not own a drying rack.

We do not own a drying rack.

 

Once the kitchen was clean(er) and the dough had firmed up a little, we dropped batter by tablespoonfuls onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Well, okay, we ate some of the batter, and then we dropped some onto the baking sheet.

Note: this one turned out a little too big.

Note: this one ended up a little too big.

 

Make sure there’s enough space between the cookies, because they’ll spread a little bit.

Before oven

 

Then, pop them in the oven! The recipe says to leave them in for ten minutes, but we ended up putting them back in for a minute or two longer. When they are firm around the edges but still soft in the middle…

Looks something like this

Looks something like this

 

…take them out and let them rest on the baking sheet for about five minutes.

Another pro-tip: try not to touch the baking sheet when you’re checking how firm the edges of your cookies are. Otherwise, you will be walking around the rest of the night with a paper towel full of melting ice clenched in your fist. Not that I’m speaking from experience…

Anyway, after about five minutes, slide the parchment paper and the cookies onto a wire rack to cool.

Or, you know, the counter.

Or, you know, the counter.

 

This recipe should yield 36 cookies, but if you’re eating the batter while you’re making them, you’re going to get more like 32 cookies. Just putting that out there. They should keep for a few days in a dry container.

OR, if you have mice, you might wake up the morning after you bake your chewy gingersnaps and notice that the container is open on the counter and that there are bite marks in your cookies, even though you and your roommate only had a chance to eat three of them between the two of you. Sigh.

That’s right. These cookies are so delicious that the mice in my apartment pried the lid off a sealed container just to get a bite or two.

If you’d like to make these cookies for your mice (or yourself, I guess), follow the recipe below. If you’d like to see what other excellent recipes Cookie Swap! has to offer, follow the links at the very bottom of this post to get your very own copy!

Enjoy and let us know what you think in the comments!

(And also maybe store your cookies in the refrigerator to keep them safe from rodents.)

 

Ingredients

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon of salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup dark (not light or blackstrap) molasses

2 large eggs

 

Recipe

1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line several baking sheets with parchment paper. (We only have one baking sheet, so we just baked in batches.)

2. Combine the flour, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, salt, and baking soda in a medium bowl.

3. Place the butter, sugar, and molasses in a large bowl and stir together with a wooden spoon until smooth. Add the eggs and beat with an electric mixer on low until smooth. (Again, a wooden spoon works fine, but takes longer.) Stir in the flour mixture until just incorporated. Place the bowl in the refrigerator, uncovered, to let the dough firm up, about 10 minutes.

4. Drop the batter by tablespoonfuls onto the parchment-lined baking sheets, leaving at least 2 inches between each cookie.*

5. Bake the cookies until they are firm around the edges but still soft on top, about 10 minutes. Let them stand on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, and then slide the parchment with the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Chewy gingersnaps will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for 3 to 4 days (if they don’t get eaten by mice first).

*The dough can be frozen at this point. Freeze the scoops on the baking sheet, then transfer to a ziplock plastic freezer bag. Frozen, they can be stored for up to 1 month. To bake the frozen cookie dough, transfer to parchment-lined baking sheets and bake a minute or two longer than directed.

Cookie Swap! is available now from any of the following online retailers:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound | Workman

Cookie Swap

 

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Friday Link Round-Up!

Categories: News

Happy Friday, book lovers! The shortest day of the year is a little more than a week away, making the next several days a perfect time for getting cozy and reading by the light of the fire. Or by the light of your laptop at any rate. This week, editorial intern Rachel shares some reading material for you to enjoy during this holiday season.

1. J.K. Rowling Just Posted New “Harry Potter” Writing via Buzzfeed. If, like me, you’ve spent the last few years since the final movie came out clamoring for more Potter, you’re in luck. Over the twelve days leading up to Christmas Eve, Rowling will release new content about the Potter universe, available on pottermore.com.

Rowling

2. A Day in the Life of Scott Wiener, NYC’s Professional Pizza Expert via The Gothamist. Not only have Scott Weiner’s Pizza Tours been featured on National Geographic and The Travel Channel, but he is also the holder of the Guinness World Record for the largest pizza box collection in the world. As marketing manager Moira put it, “Don’t we all wish we could be professional ‘pizza experts?'”

Pizza Expert

3. Christmas Parties: A Survival Guide via The Guardian, this piece takes a humorous look at the awkwardness that comes with a month of holiday get togethers. Complete with celebrity guests, Olivia Colman, Jarvis Crocker, James Corden, Piers Morgan, and others, who reveal their top tips for being the life and soul.

Christmas Parties

4. The Real Lolita via Hazlitt Magazine, many people aren’t aware that Vladimir Nabokov’s classic novel was inspired by the true story of 11-year-old Sally Horner, who was abducted by a man named Frank La Salle in 1948. Sally Horner never had a chance to tell her story; this fascinating and well-researched article does it for her.

The Real Lolita

5. A Prediction for How ‘Serial’ is Going to End via NPR. Unlike many of the countless analyses of the podcast phenomenon, this piece posits that the real story isn’t about who did it, but rather about a justice system that did exactly what it was supposed to but still failed to provide anything that looked remotely like justice.

Sarah Koenig

6. Stuff You Missed in History Class (podcast) On a related note, if you’ve blazed through all eleven episodes of Serial, aren’t sure what to do with yourself after the final episode is released next Thursday, and are in more of listening mood than a reading mood, try Stuff You Missed in History Class, from the creators of How Stuff Works. It isn’t true crime, but it provides an engrossing insight into a wide range of historical events that you may not even have heard of.

missed in history

Have a great weekend, and happy reading!

 

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A Gift Guide For Your Book Lover

Categories: Holiday

This post was written by Editorial Intern Perry, who is tired of getting bookmarks for Christmas. Sorry, Mom.

BOOK TREE

Dear Readers, I come, like the Lorax, to speak for those who often choose not to speak for themselves: the Book Lovers. We are a quiet people, happy to sit out of everyone’s way with a novel or a kindle and immerse ourselves in a story. We are a passionate people, obsessive in our love-affair with literature. We are also fairly easy to buy presents for, or so it would seem. Many a Christmas, I have been overjoyed when unwrapping the new book I wanted or receiving a gift card to Amazon that would eventually become the new book I wanted. But every year, like clockwork, I have spied a familiar small and rectangular package at the bottom of my stocking. And every year, I have smiled wanly as I unwrapped yet another bookmark.

On behalf of all book lovers, I am here to tell you that giving us a bookmark for Christmas is the equivalent of giving us socks. Yes, they are useful (though their utility is rapidly declining as ebook usage increases), but exciting they are not.

I’ll be honest, though I know they are given with the best of intentions, I have never in my life actually used one of the twenty bookmarks that I have received over the years. Though some of you will cringe, I confess, I save my place in a book by turning the corner of the page.

So to save both myself and my fellow book lovers from yet another year of lackluster stocking stuffers, I present to you a list of far more interesting gifts for your book lover:

Bookshelves and Home Decor

1. Bookshelves

Readers love bookshelves! They are a practical way to get our enormous book collections off the floor and when done right, they can be a fun way to display the books we love so well. Here are a few unique options:

2. Bookends

Bookends are awesome! They can be funny, they can be serious, and most importantly, they can be customized to reflect the personality of your book lover. Here are a few ideas:

KnobCreek Bookends

3. Literary Posters and Art

For the reader who considers the written word a work of art, a literary poster or print can be a wonderfully unexpected gift. Here are some of my favorites:

Obvious State Literary Prints

4. Room Fragrance

Paddywax Room Fragrance, Library Collection

Solutions To Problems You Didn’t Know You Had

Some of these will seem silly, but trust me, your reader will thank you. The struggle is real.

1. Problem: The pages of my book fly everywhere when it’s windy!

Solution: Try these handy gadgets!

2. Problem: I strain my neck when I’m reading in bed!

    Solution: Put on these magic glasses!

3. Problem: I have so many books and can never find what I’m looking for!

Solution: Whether you want to go old school or high tech, these products will help you keep your library organized.

Literary Clothes

For the literary equivalent of a band t-shirt, try some of these great finds!

1. Literary Clothing

Out of Print Clothing

2. Book Themed Bags

2. Literary Jewelry

Tech Accessories

If your reader prefers digital books, help them protect their precious book collection with a case!

1. E-reader/iPad Cases

2. Phone Cases

Out of Print iPhone Cases

Redbubble Phone Cases

Just in case you really, really, really want to continue the book mark tradition, here are some unique options are an interesting play on the genre:

Slightly More Acceptable Bookmarks

And finally, if you know that your reader loves a certain series, go fandom specific! Explore Etsy for all of your Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, and Game of Thrones needs! And if nothing on this list has caught your eye, you can try your luck over here or take a look at Workman’s Gift Guide on Pinterest. Happy holidays!

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Wednesday Cute: Subway Dance Party Edition

Categories: Wednesday Cute

Today’s installment of Wednesday Cute is brought to you by editorial intern Rachel, who is going to force her roommate into a dance party when she gets home.

 

Does this sound familiar to you? You’re on your way home from a long day of hard work. The subway is crowded, noisy, and, let’s be honest, pretty dirty. You find yourself thinking that there must be some way of making this experience more fun. If your next logical thought was something to do with subway platform dance parties, then boy do we have a video for you.

 

 

This video of a pink-coated dance prodigy shaking it to a Grateful Dead cover on a Brooklyn subway platform has gone viral since it was first posted last week and is sure to bring an outrageously large smile to your face.

 

Let us know in the comments how you find ways of enjoying your daily commute!

 

 

 

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#TravelTuesday – Anatolia, Turkey

Categories: News

12-9-14Today’s Travel Tuesday destination is Anatolia, Turkey, courtesy of the 1,000 Places to See Before You Die Page-A-Day Calendar.

Top Attractions:

1. Cappadocia (pictured above): Countless centuries of wind and water have sculpted Cappadocia’s surrealistic landscape from the soft volcanic terrain: Minarets, cones, spires, “fairy chimneys,” and rocky pinnacles in shades of pink and russet brown soar as high as five-story buildings.

  • Where: Urgup is 41 miles/66 km southwest of Kayseri, the closest city with an airport.
  • Best Times: April-June and September-October for nicest weather.

2. Pamukkale: A beautiful freak of nature, Pamukkale (Cotton Castle) resembles a series of bleached rice terraces as you approach. The white travertine tiers, joined together like huge water lilies by petrified waterfalls and gleaming stalactites, are a result of hot mineral springs, whose calcium-rich deposits have been accumulating for millennia.

  • Where: 116 miles/186 km east of Kuşadasi.
  • Best Times: May-June and September-October for cooler weather.

Read more on 1,000 Places to See Before You Die and the calendar line here.

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Picking Next Year’s Calendar, and Getting Philosophical About Another Year

Categories: Calendars, News

I’ve heard people sing the praises of the Google calendar, and I use an Outlook calendar to make sure I remember work meetings, but when it comes to personal preference, I’m firmly on Team Paper Calendar (as teams go, we’re one of the most organized ones out there). I carry a planner in my bag at all times, on my desk sits a page-a-day calendar, and on my cubicle wall hangs a 12 x 12 wall calendar.

I’m someone who tends to like routines: the routine of flipping to the next day in my calendar every morning when I get to work (or a double flip if it’s a Monday), and the ritual of marking the first day of a new month by flipping a calendar page. When someone visits my desk to talk to me about a deadline, I rotate myself to the right almost by instinct–that’s where my wall calendar is, and I need to look at it in order to visualize lengths of time that would otherwise be totally abstract. As cliche as it is, the start of a new month always manages to sneak up on me, and turning a wall calendar page feels like a fitting reminder that a period of 28 to 31 days has come and gone–or at least more fitting than having to write a rent check or pay a bill.

This goes double, or more like duodecuple, when the year ends and instead of turning a page, it’s time to replace the calendar altogether. I think of the calendars that have accompanied me at my desk for the past few years–the Shoes Gallery this year, and before that, Handbags, and Art, and it’s crazy to think that I’ve flipped at least 900 pages in my time here, at least 900 times like sands through the hourglass, so passed days of my life. And I think about how my new calendar, whichever one or, more likely, ones that I choose, will be with me for a whole ‘nother year, bearing witness to novel reactions like, “wow, can’t believe it’s 2015!” and “how is already February?,” and before long, “July!? The year is half over!”

   

There are dozens of calendars in Workman’s arsenal to choose from. Setting the right tone is important–after all, we’re going to be spending a year together. Balance is a consideration too: I want a wall calendar that complements, but doesn’t overlap with, whatever page-a-day I choose. There’s the impulse to try something new and pick a calendar I haven’t used before, but there’s also the draw of the familiar, and the thought of going back to an old favorite. Then, frankly, there’s the practical: what can I actually find when I decide it’s time to take the plunge, ideally well before December 31st?

If all goes according to plan, I think I’ve settled on my choices for the year: The New Yorker Covers Gallery on my desk and Flower Recipe on my wall. Wish me luck. I don’t know where 2015 will lead me, but I do know that wherever it is, I’ll probably have a calendar by my side.

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Sunday Cookie Swap: Bittersweet Decadence Cookies

Categories: Baking, Cookbooks, Holiday, Recipes

This blog post was written by editorial intern Perry, who once had great culinary aspirations that included Parisian pastry school.

Cookies - Finished

Bittersweet Decadence Cookies

Now that Thanksgiving has past and it is socially acceptable to be excited about Christmas, we’ve decided to share with all of you one of our great traditions here at Workman – the Holiday Cookie Swap. Every year at the holiday party, a bunch of us bake cookies and have a cookie swap. We all bring in a batch of homemade cookies, put them all out on a table, and then everyone can put together a box, providing families, roommates and (let’s be honest) ourselves with an assortment of homemade cookies for the holiday.

And now we’d like to invite you to join the fun! For the month of December, we are going to post a delicious cookie recipe every Sunday until Christmas from one of our cookbooks that you can try at home. We’ll share our experiences making them and we hope you’ll do the same in the comments section below!

This week, I chose to make the Bittersweet Decadence Cookies from Alice Medrich’s Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy Melt-In-Your-Mouth Cookies.

Cookies - CookbookThis great cook book won the 2010 IACP Baking Book of the Year. The pictures are gorgeous and it is uniquely organized by texture. So there’s a section on crispy cookies, chewy cookies, gooey cookies, etc. I was drawn to the chunky section. I’m usually a pie kind of gal myself, but you can’t beat a cookie chock full of stuff. These decadence cookies are full of chocolate chunks and nuts, all held together by a bittersweet dough. Once I got a look at the picture, I was hooked! You’ll find the recipe at the very bottom of this post, but first, let me show you how it went for me.

Cookie Night In The World’s Smallest Kitchen

Baking these went really smoothly for me. Now I consider myself a pretty proficient baker—up until about two months ago, I was seriously considering pastry school. But you don’t have to have much experience to make these little beauties! The real challenge was dealing with my tiny New York kitchen:

Cookies - Kitchen

Yes, this is literally the whole thing.

Despite the small space (my roommate Alexa—who you’ll meet later—and I affectionately call our apartment, “The Shoebox”), I soldiered on. I gathered up the necessary ingredients….

Cookies - Ingredients

You’re looking at a majority of my counter space.

… and got started! This recipe involves 3 bowls and a double boiler. I mixed up my dry ingredients in one bowl, the egg/sugar mixture in another, and melted the chocolate and butter together in the third.

Cookies - Double Boiler

Once I combined all of those together, I end up with a dough that looked like this:

Cookies - Dough

This was the exact moment that my wonderful roommate, Alexa, walked in and grabbed a spoon:

Cookies - Alexa

Alexa approves;)

I then scooped the dough out onto a cookie sheet and baked them for 14 minutes. Apparently, my oven runs pretty cold; when I took the first batch out, they were only half-baked. I ended up turning the oven up to 450°F (my oven runs really cold) and 10 minutes later they were perfect! Know your oven, people. Know your oven.

Cookies - Roommate Love

That’s me in the hat!

Needless to say, these cookies turned out pretty damn good! Fresh out of the oven, they were warm and gooey with a nutty crunch in every bite. Alexa’s boyfriend was pretty excited when he came home from a hard day at work to find a plate of awesome waiting on the counter. (Editorial intern Rachel would like to add that she was equally excited when I brought a few extras into the office on Wednesday morning.)

The best part is that these are easily customizable to your tastes – you can throw anything you want in there! Next time, I’m going to mix in crushed potato chips and see what happens!

If you’d like to see what else Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy Melt-In-Your-Mouth Cookies has to offer, you can get a copy by following the links at the bottom of this post. And if you’d like to tell us about your experience making these cookies, or if you have any other cookies you’d like to see us try, let us know in the comments!

 

Bittersweet Decadence Cookies

Makes 30-36 cookies
Ingredients
1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
8 oz bittersweet or semi sweet chocolate with up to 60% cacao or 7 oz chocolate with 61% to 64% cacao, chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 large eggs
1/2 cup sugar (plus 1 tablespoon if using chocolate with 61%-64% cacao)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
6 oz semisweet or bittersweet chocolate with any percentage cacao you like, chopped into generous-sized chunks, or purchases chocolate c hunks
2 cups walnut or pecan halves or large pieces
Equipment
Cookie sheets, lined with parchment paper
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven.
2. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl and mix together thoroughly with a whisk.
3. Place the 8 ounces of chocolate and the butter in a large heatproof bowl set directly in a wide skillet of barely simmering water. Stir frequently until just melted and smooth. Remove the chocolate from the skillet and set it aside. Leave the heat on under the skillet.
4. In another large heatproof bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar and vanilla together thoroughly. Set the bowl in the skillet and stir until the mixture is lukewarm to the touch. Stir the egg mixture into the warm (not hot) chocolate
[This is important—if the chocolate is too hot, you'll end up with scrambled eggs. And that would be super gross.]
5. Stir in the flour mixture, then the chocolate chunks and nuts.
6. Scoop slightly rounded tablespoons of batter and place 1.5 inches apart onto the lined cookie sheets. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes, until the surface of the cookie looks dry and set and the centers ares still gooey. Rotate the sheets from top to bottom and from front to back half way through the baking time to ensure even baking. Set the pans or just the liners on racks to cool. Let the cookies cool completely before storing or stacking. May be kept in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
* To Make The Dough Ahead: Refrigerate or freeze scoops of batter until hard. Place them in an airtight bag and refrigerate for up to 3 days, or place in a second freezer bag or airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months. When ready to bake, thaw frozen scoops in the refrigerator. Place scoops on lined pan, bring to room temperature, and bake as directed.
** The intern surprise: add crushed potato chips

Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy Melt-In-Your-Mouth Cookies is available now from any of the following online retailers:

AmazonBarnes & Noble | IndieBound | Workman

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