While we we’re catching up talking about the pool, the poison ivy, her travel, Summer grabbed my attention. She wanted to give me a little flower she picked from the weeds in the lawn. Then she picked another and gave it to John. She told us to be careful not to drop them. We were careful while we we’re standing with her. Then as we walked towards their house, Summer said she wanted to tell me a secret. I knelt down and she whispered into my ear, “I love you.” What can a girl say but, “I love you too.”
After a few more minutes of chatting we waved goodbye and went on our way down the street for our walk. Once we turned away, Summer, said, “I love you.” Her mom smiled and I said, “I love you too Summer.”
Then with each few steps, she called out again, “I love you.” Then again, and again, and agian, “I love you, I love you, I love you!” John and I could not stop giggling over what just happened.
I suspect that she loved my cookies and wanted to make sure she was on my good side for the next set of leftovers from the next farmer’s market down the road. I’ll take it either way.]]>
Today I received an order late morning. I am very busy friday mornings but unless I have a farmer’s market, the afternoons are pretty open. I called my customer to see if she would like her order delivered today. She was tickled that she might get it today but this afternoon/evening she wouldn’t be home. I asked if there was somewhere else I could deliver to?
She hesitated and then said that she would be at MGH, Mass General Hospital, all afternoon and wondered if I could bring them there. After some texting, she gave me directions for how I would find her.
When I learned that I was delivering the order to a hospital I decided to include a few extra in case she felt the need to share with a nurse or two. I didn’t know her situation but I thought it was the smart thing to do, just in case. When I was on my way, she called to ask if I might be able to include a few extra cookies on top of what she ordered. I told her, “Already done.” Perfect!
She was worried about how I would find parking but I pulled onto the street that the hospital is adjacent to and swung right into an open parking spot with 30 minutes already on the meter. I thought to myself that this was completely meant to be.
I went up to the special care nursery as directed and left the cookies with reception. As I was walking out of the hospital, I was stopped in my tracks with a text. The text showed a photo beautiful little baby boy sleeping with a note below, “He will enjoy the cookies as milk!”
This is why I love my job, my company and why I get up at 4am most days. Cookies make people happy!]]>
Mix up some butter and brown sugar…breathe in deeply.
After that, add rest of the ingredients for whatever cookie your making and start baking up some happiness.
Cookies bring people together. Cookies help make friends. Cookies show that you care.
Here are a few tips to make your rolling escapades a lot easier:
If you’re rolling cookie dough, start by placing the dough between two oversized sheets of wax paper. Pin one end of the two sheets of wax paper between your hips and the counter. You heard it here… hips can be handy! Roll away from your body.
By keeping the paper in place, you can roll a nice even slab of dough with a smooth surface. Fold in the sides of the dough to re-roll if your dough thickness needs evening or adjusting. The wax paper keeps the mess relatively contained.
This technique makes rolling pie crust much easier too. Using the wax paper prevents the dough from drying out with added surface flour. In addition, when you’re ready to put the crust in a pie plate, you can flip the crust into the plate in one piece and then peel off the outer piece of wax paper.
When cutting out shapes with cookie cutters, place your slab of dough in the refrigerator or freezer first. The chilled dough will be easier to work with and your shapes will pop out of the cutter more easily.
Now you’re cookin’!]]>
When I was a young, Nestle chocolate chip cookies were every family’s cookie recipe of choice. It was so easy. You didn’t have to even open a cook book. The recipe was right there on the package.
One day while mixing up my cookie dough by hand, I added a little more flour than the recipe called for by mistake. I must have been yammering on to my mom or a friend and I wasn’t paying attention. This was the first time I noticed what happened when I changed ingredients in a recipe. When I made my little mistake, I learned that adding an extra 1/4 to 1/3 cup thickens the cookie. They came out of the oven with some heft, some meat on their bones. This is what made my chocolate chip cookie special to my grade school friends.
I was always a rule follower as a kid. I never used a fake ID, never stole anything, never really did anything without asking first. This can be a good mind set for an early baker. You have got to learn how things work before you start playing around. You’ve got to follow the recipe, get a good result and gain some confidence. After you have made the same recipe over and over for years, it can be a lot of fun to play around with your old stand by and see what kind of results you can get. See what other people are doing for inspiration. This can be a great way to get a new idea.
For example, my chocolate chip cookie today has a pinch of coarse salt on top. I loved this idea when I first noticed it in an a story in the New York Times. Chocolate covered pretzels are immediately what came to mind. This salt trend is popping up everywhere from salted caramels to bacon flavored chocolate bars. Salt is one little secret that enhances the taste of my chocolate chip cookies today.
Another small adjustments from my childhood chocolate chip cookie is using high quality mini chips. The smaller chip covers more surface area in each bite therefore you get a bigger chocolate taste. In addition, never compromise on the quality of your chocolate. Nestle is ok but you can do so much better. A higher cocoa content makes a less sweet, more bitter chocolate. This contrast can add depth to your cookie.
Start experimenting in your own kitchen. Let me know how your experiments are going.
Before moving to Lexington, I made a weekly pilgrimage to Wilson Farms. They have always had the best fresh and local produce along with delicious breads, fresh squeezed juice, and affordable flowers. This time of year, I go for fresh english peas and Japonaise challah rolls.
Wilson Farms has been growing for over 127 years. They grow veggies, fruits, flowers and make many delicious treats. I fell in love with tangerine juice, pasta salad, green zebra tomatoes, shallots and homemade bread crumbs for my own mac and cheese for the first time by having it there.
You can tell that their staff loves working there because they are always very friendly and smiling. When I first met Jimmy Wilson, he shared a story about his boyhood growing up on the farm and in my new neighborhood. He’s just that kind of man. Mr. Wilson’s bakery manager, Scooter, is a sassy, knowledgable and fun person to work with. He cares greatly about the quality and diversity of his bakery. He will also be the first person to tell you what he doesn’t like… and you should listen. He’s got something special going.
I am very honored that Wilson’s farm will count ButterGirl as one of their bakery suppliers starting this wednesday. You’ll have to look hard for my treats because I will have to start on the back wall until things start selling. Help me get a better spot, buy some.]]>
Now that we are in Lexington, there are lots of things to appreciate that we hadn’t experienced before.
Who knew that there we’re so many kinds of birds and animals just outside your window? We were used to squirrels, robins and the occasional skunk. We have seen over a dozen kinds of birds, rabbits, chipmunks, fox, a llama (on a leash), chickens, and wild turkeys. We have heard coyotes and great horned owls. What a place! I am captivated.
I was a little intimidated about living in Lexington. From the outside, it felt a little hoity toity and thick walleted for me. It is an expensive place. The schools are some of the best in the area, but you pay very high taxes for them (3 times somerville). All that aside, the people are warm, welcoming and very smart. There is not much pretension here that I have experienced. Lex residents may be doing well for themselves but it’s because they are smart and successful, not because they inherited it.
We moved to Lexington to live in our dream house. It is a 1947 Bauhaus style modernist house built by The Architects Collaborative. We love and hate our house at the same time. It is a stunning glass house set in the woods. Unfortunately all that glass is thin, drafty and wildly expensive to replace. This is just one of our many challenges but simply put, we have a crush on it and we’re not giving up easily until it loves us back.
Our neighborhood is very special. It was created with two key ideals in mind: community and modernism. We all care about modernism and keeping it in tact and alive in Massachusetts and we care about each other. On our first day in the house, we were invited over to our neighbors house. Since then, there have been progressive dinners, gatherings in warm homes when the power was out in most, pool clean up parties, and great conversations over tea. There is a lot of history here as most of the original residents lived here until they passed away. Many of them include architects, scientists, and even a few nobel prize winners. Luckily, for me, everyone likes cookies too.
Lexington was founded in 1713, 300 years ago next year, and the towns people are proud group. It is the home of the first battle of the revolutionary war where first shot was fired known as the ”Shot heard ’round the world.” Every year, on the third Monday of April, the town observes Patriots Day events that begin with Paul Revere’s Ride with a special re-enactment of the Battles of Lexington and Concord. These people know how to reenact. At christmas, they have their own modest tree lighting celebration that includes caroling by several groups on street corners in different parts downtown, late night (until 9pm) christmas shopping, and a variety of other activities. It’s a very New England kind of place.
It seems fitting that the Lexington has such a successful well supported and diverse farmer’s market because the town began as a farming community 299 years ago. The market is held every Tuesday from 2-6:30 on a grassy patch of park right off the minuteman bike path. More than fifty volunteers help coordinate events and support the market in a variety of ways. I love participating in the market in my new home town and getting to meet it’s cookie loving residents. I am a lucky ButterGirl.
We’re very happy to be a part of this community.]]>
When I was a kid, I lived in a divided family. First, my parents divorced. Second, one parent loved butter on everything and the other loved margarine. I lived with my mother, the margarine mama. If there was butter in the fridge, it inevitably had a taste that mimicked the smell of the fridge. Ick!
One day I decided to make some popcorn and melt butter on it. The butter smelled funny so I decided to use margarine. This was a terrible mistake. The margarine had melted into oil and the popcorn had turned a wet greasy mess. From that day on, I vowed to only use butter in any food I cooked or baked.
And baked I did! I baked for every track meet, every soccer game, every party. I began to build a reputation for yummy baked goods.
Butter in my mother’s house had become a precious commodity. In order to avoid that “funny” taste, I carefully placed the wax paper wrapped sticks of joy in airtight baggies to protect them. As a result of this careful attention to my butter, my step dad assumed I ate a lot of it and started calling me the “Cholesterol Queen”. I didn’t actually eat that much of it (not that I remember) but the name stuck.
When I started brainstorming names for the bakery, one thing I knew was that butter had to be in the name. It is the most important ingredient in any bakery treat! Eggs, flour, spices, sugar, vanilla can all be substituted for a something else but BUTTER is essential. And since I am the “Cholesterol Queen” then, I thought, I could also be called the ButterGirl.
People liked the name. I became the ButterGirl and a bakery was born. Yeah!
My best friend’s parents owned a small deli/ convenient store in Rochester, New York. In their home kitchen cupboards, they had giant boxes of the candy they also sold in their store. One afternoon, after school, Lois and I sat on the kitchen floor and devoured 6 or 7 packs of Reese’s peanut butter cups each. First, I slowly ate around the edge of each cup to peel away the waxy chocolate that would take away from the sugary PB center. Then, I would pop the entire middle into my mouth. I was in love.
After finalizing my fudge brownie recipe, I set out to come up with a peanut butter version that included a gritty sweet peanut butter like the filling of a Reese’s cup. I prefer using the Jiff creamy peanut butter because it has a fresh and salty peanut taste. Then, I add confectioner’s sugar, dark brown sugar and salt. Voila! The perfect marriage of ingredients.
I am in love again.]]>
When I set out to make my double chocolate cookie, I had my memories of the chocolate part of an Oreo in mind. I was the kid that didn’t lick the “creamy filling”. Instead, I cut the filling out and just ate the cookie. I wanted to my chocolate cookie to have a dark, rich chocolate taste but with a soft yet dense body. Dry is not in my vocabulary.
The key to a delicious chocolate cookie is a high quality chocolate. Do not compromise on this. Pay the extra money! After many years of working for Lindt and Sprungli, I was educated to appreciate quality chocolate through tasting with my 5 senses. I have tasted dozens of high end brands. Unfortunately, your choices are limited in your average supermarket. You may find Guittard in whole foods or Ghirardelli in other markets and those are both decent choices. You can also purchase a Lindt dark chocolate bar or any of your other favorite chocolate and chop it yourself. Mini chips or smaller chopped bits cover more cookie and enhance the chocolate taste in each bite.
Our Double Chocolate Cookie includes Callebaut mini chips, Penzy’s dutch processed cocoa, and a hint or instant espresso or coffee to enhance the dark chocolate taste. If you’re a chocolate lover, you have to try this cookie. Make your own delicious Oreo by adding vanilla ice cream in between two of BG’s double chocolate cookies. This will live up to your childhood memories.]]>