Cookie Quest

4 Aug

So there is this bakery in Anchorage that we love, and they make the best chocolate chip cookies I have ever had. As a result, I’ve been trying to mimic them, and quite unsuccessfully.

The Fire Island cookies are slightly puffy, with a crisp outside and a soft and wonderfully rich flavor inside, with notes of brown butter and caramel. I tried several recipes for “puffy” chocolate chip cookies, and had no luck. They were either pale with a soft exterior and too cake-like, or melted down like regular cookies, or had too much of a baking powder taste.

I then came across this article, with some good science behind the ingredients in chocolate chip cookies. It was attached to this recipe which I adapted below. I really really like how these came out, although I think I may try them next time by replacing one of the eggs for two egg whites, and using 3 ounces of white sugar and 7 ounces of brown. The below recipe is still a bit chewy, but they do have a bit of rise, are wonderfully moist, and a great salty bite.

8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter
10 ounces (about 2 cups) all-purpose flour
½ t baking soda
¾ t baking powder
2 teaspoons kosher salt or 1 teaspoon table salt
10 ounces brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips, mini

Beat butter until fluffy. Add sugar and beat again until sugar is very well incorporated and it has a light texture. Add eggs and vanilla and beat again until really really fluffy! Add dry ingredients (which you have pre-mixed) and mix on low until just incorporated. Add chips and give another couple of stirs. Refrigerate at least overnight, but preferably 2 or 3 days (really, this helps. I know most of us do not pre-plan our cookie baking but being patient in this case will have its rewards). Form dough into golf ball sized balls and place on parchment paper or silpat on baking sheet. Bake at 375 for 13 – 16 minutes, until lightly brown. I did find with this recipe that the cookies were easy to underbake, so bake them just a little more brown than you normally would.



Sweltering Renovations

23 May

I’ve been in NC for the last month, working slowly on getting the inside of my house in shape. I thought it would be all done by now. How I always seriously misjudge the length of time these tasks take. It turned out I needed to strip all my trim due to failing paint. This is a mind numbing, seriously tedious, and extremely hot and dusty task. It’s even worse than repairing drywall, and that hasn’t been much of a fun time either. Unfortunately another trip will be needed in August, to finish (hopefully) what remains when I leave. Someday I hope I can come down here and just enjoy being here – seeing friends and visiting the beach. Someday!

I’m ready to get home. I am definitely looking forward to a summer of hiking and long summer days. If anyone wants to see the most beautiful state in the Union, come on up…..

Some Advice

11 Apr

Do not use a hairdryer to extinguish a candle, “just for kicks”. Molten wax is not immune to the effects of hot air traveling at a high speed.

Catch Up

29 Jan

Amazingly, a couple people have asked me about updates on this thing. Surprised, because I thought nobody read it anymore haha. I really have no updates, at least not ones I would post on a public blog, so if you want a real update you’ll just have to call or email!

This winter has pretty much sucked, and the whole month of January has been warm – as in, above freezing, snow has dissipated, can’t ski, can’t skate, slushy dirty mess kind of warm. Should have spent the winter in NC, would have had more snow this month. 🙂

I have a little extra time on my hands these last couple of months, so have been getting back into artsy craftsy things. Fun!

I’m going to try to start taking pictures again, as I think I’d rather tell a story in pictures rather than words on this thing. 

I have nothing else to add. Send me your news. Its likely more interesting than mine. 



Summer is Over. Whatevs.

8 Sep

Seriously. I pretty much missed it. Work was so manic that I had maybe 4 days off the entire summer, and had really long hours to boot. Pity, as the weather was amazing. And now autumn is here. I’m kind of glad for it though. Cool air, the days are shortening, the light is changing. 


I had to go to Homer today for work, and it was nice. Quiet as most of the tourists have left, green, friendly, a breath of fresh air. As I walked along the beach after my meeting and was admiring the driftwood and litter of smooth sea stones, I thought about what I would like to tell some friends about what I was looking at. Which made me think I should write something in here, and that it has been many months since I have done so.

Three months is too long to fill in, but here’s a picture of Kenai Fjords National Park from a trip I took last week. Better than words anyway.


Hope you had a slightly more relaxing summer than I, and are ready to embrace the fall!


Evening Job

6 Jun

This evening I had to travel to Seward for a quick work meeting. I forgot how great summer can be, the long hours of daylight, and even better the extended hours of that soft evening light that is so peaceful.  This was around 11.30pm.Image


Proof Positive

30 May

Time to start planting….