Bowl and Spoon

I landed my first boyfriend with a cold call.

That’s right. I spotted him playing the trombone at a band convention, noted the initials “FMS” on his teeshirt, and swiftly borrowed my friend’s yearbook (she also went to Frenchtown Middle School). There he was, sk8r boi hair and all, sitting among the brass section. I cross referenced his name with each grade to confirm he was my year – 8th grade. I scanned the phone book, luckily there was only one family in Frenchtown with his last name, and I cold called.

I pitched myself to him and soon, he sent me a text message embedded with the picture of a single red rose saying, “Will you go in with me?” His flip phone changed “out” with “in.”

Before long, my mom was dropping me off in her Toyota Sienna at the bowling alley to meet Quinn, truly, for the first time.

I should feel like I’ve closed the deal of all deals, that the calls I’m making to strangers daily on behalf of my company are trifling in comparison. Eh, no.

Like waitressing for all of college and learning to be a good tipper, inside sales has taught me: never be coarse to anyone, ever, on the phone.

This lesson is why I recently told a woman at Bank of America, “I’m sorry for being a total wench, I know this is not your fault.” She gave me a nervous pity laugh and quickly moved on.

I’ve been packing killer lunches to get through the abundant sales calls. My roommate owns Sara Forte’s Bowl and Spoon. Though elaborate, the recipes are imbued with healthy and vibrant ingredients.

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Here are some memorable recipes I’ve made from this book:

The Last Meal Salad//Serves 4 to 6

Note: Cook the lentils prior to starting

  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil or coconut oil
  • 1 large leek, halved and cleaned
  • Sea salt
  • 4 cups arugula
  • 1 head chopped red leaf lettuce
  • 1 English cucumber, finely diced
  • 1 cup pitted and halved cherries (or 1/3 cup dried)
  • 1/2 cup cooked black lentils
  • 2 avocados, pitted and diced
  • 1/2 cup Marcona almonds, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup crumbled sheep milk feta
  • Every Day Green Dressing

In a large pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Slice the leek into thin half circles and add them to the hot pan. Add a pinch of salt and cook, stirring off and on for 6 to 8 minutes. Let the edges get crispy. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

Wash and dry your greens. Put them in a large salad bowl. Add the cucumber, cherries, lentils, half of the avocado, the almonds and feta. Once cool, add the leeks. Toss everything with the dressing to your desired consistency. Top the salad with the remaining avocado and serve. There will likely be leftover dressing. Save it in a jar and use it on any other salad.

Ever Day Green Dressing//Makes 2 cups

  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3 green onions, white and green parts
  • 2 tablespoons drained capers
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Zest and juice of two lemons, preferably Meyer
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup whole Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups firmly packed basil leaves
  • 3/4 cup flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 cup cilantro
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

In a food processor, pulse the garlic, green onions, capers, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, zest and juice of the lemons, and honey to combine. Add the cider vinegar, yogurt, Parmesan, basil, parsley, cilantro. With the motor running, drizzle in the olive oil. Taste and add more of the ingredient you find lacking. For me, this is always salt.

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Herbed Falafel Bowl//Serves 4

For the falafel

  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 Medjool dates, pitted
  • 1/2 yellow onion
  • 2 cups cooked and well-drained chickpeas
  • 1/2 cup toasted pistachios
  • 1 small bunch, chopped cilantro (about 1 cup)
  • 1/3 cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped mint leaves
  • 2 tablespoons flax seed meal
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

For the salad (you could really use anything – I made it with avocado, cucumber and sweet potato + lettuce)

  • 1 head romaine, finely shredded
  • 1 English cucumber, sliced thin
  • 1 pound tomatoes, sliced in wedges
  • Tahini citrus miso dressing
  • 3 cups cooked brown rice

For the falafel, in the bowl of a food processor, add the garlic, pepper flakes, cumin, sea salt, pepper, olive oil, lemon zest and juice, dates, and onion. Process until well mixed. Add the chickpeas and pistachios and pulse until chunky. Add the cilantro, parsley, mint, flax seed meal, and baking soda – pulse until the herbs are just incorporated. This process can be done in advance and kept in the fridge.

Place a rack on the upper third of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Rub a little oil on your hands and form 2-inch balls with the batter. Arrange them on the baking sheet: you should have about 20. Brush a thin layer of olive oil on top and bake 22-25 minutes, until the tops are browned. (I like my falafel a little softer, so I baked them for only 20 ish minutes.

Toss the romaine, cucumber and tomatoes with the dressing. Arrange bowls with brown rice, salad and falafel.

Tahini Citrus Miso Dressing//Makes about 1 cup

  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 2 tablespoons white or yellow miso
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons Sriracha or hot sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • Juice of 1 large orange (about 1/3 cup)
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Lemon juice, to taste

 

 

 

Clam Chowder

 

 

This past Sunday I went to my dad’s house on Lake Washington to celebrate his birthday. I will save the details of this tako yaki showdown for another time, but it prompted a memory of the clam chowder we made on Christmas – worth mentioning right now.

Rewind 3-ish months to when my dad, brother and I slathered bagels with cream cheese and layered each side with lox, savoring Christmas morning.

While my brother and I unpacked the too-skinny stockings my grandmother knit when we were born, my dad roared with laughter from his lawn chair (yes, he has a beautiful house but doesn’t have any furniture in his living room).

My brother pulled out a shirt that said “I love spam.” My dad threw his head back, bringing his fist to his mouth and teetering the feeble chair on its hind legs. (I remember this so clearly, and then I realized I even have a picture of this exactly moment!)

I ripped open into the tissue paper wrapping to find nail clippers with a magnifying glass attached from his trip to Japan. He laughed so hard his face was purple. I didn’t know presents could be so amusing, but he was getting a kick out of each one. Next came the surfboard beer opener, the crab cracking device and a re-gifted box of fleur de sel. Though, as random as this seems, I do love any form of fancy salt.

For Christmas dinner, we made a big pot of clam chowder. This nostalgically fatty meal, in one form or another, has always been major in my family. I grew up eating it: to-go from QFC before toddler ballet class, at seafood restaurants my dad took us to when we visited him in Seattle, and mostly, from a Progresso can.

My dad and I tried and failed to make it when I was 7.

Because of that experience, I hadn’t tried to make it again, until last Christmas. The three of us poured over ingredients in the kitchen – Duncan vigorously chopping for mise en place, my dad washing the clams and steaming them in white wine and herbs.

My dad took a break to hacky sack, which he claims is the way he is going to get in shape in 2016.

The three of us sat down to the dinner table with a loaf of homemade bread and bowls of the most perfect clam chowder. We’re all snobs, and there is nothing we would have changed about it. True to his form, Thomas Keller wrote a high maintenance recipe. I followed most of it and ditched a few things. Here is the simpler version.

Serves 6 (Makes 3 quarts)//Ad Hoc at Home

  • 8 ounces bacon (preferably slab bacon)
  • Canola oil
  • 2 cups coarsely chopped leeks (white and light green parts only)
  • 2 cups coarsely chopped onions
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 2 thyme sprigs + 1 bay leaf + 1 smashed garlic clove
  • 2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 4 pound littleneck clams or Manilla clams
  • 1 1/4 cups kosher salt for the clam washing
  • 4 1/2 tablespoons (2 1/4 ounces) unsalted butter + 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup chopped shallots
  • 2 thyme sprigs
  • Kosher salt and finely ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped chives for garnish

*Note: All of the clam washing seems tedious, but there is truly nothing worse in a clam chowder than grit.

Cut the bacon into small 1/2 inch thick pieces. Heat some canola oil in an 8-to-10 quart stockpot over medium heat. Add the bacon and reduce the heat to low, letting the fat render for 20-25 minutes. The bacon should color but not become crispy. Using a slotted spoon, remove the bacon from the pan.

Add the leeks, onions and garlic to the pan and stir. Sprinkle with salt and cover with a lid, cooking slowly, until the vegetables are tender.

Put the potatoes in a large saucepan with 1 smashed garlic clove, 2 teaspoons of salt, 1 bay leaf and 2 sprigs of thyme. Cover with cold water and bring to a simmer, cooking until just tender.

Drain in a colander and run cold water over them to stop the cooking process. Discard the garlic and herbs.

Clean the clams with a scrubby brush, removing any sand. Place in a large bowl with 8 cups of water and the salt, stirring to dissolve. Make sure there is enough water to cover the clams, and let them soak for about 5 minutes, drawing out any leftover sand from them. Take the clams out of the water and rise one more time in a colander.

When the vegetables are tender, increase the heat to medium and add the 4 1/2 tablespoons butter. Once melted, add the flour to coat the vegetables and continue to cook for 2-3 minutes. Whisk in the milk and cream, season to taste with salt and pepper and bring to a low simmer.

Melt the 2 tablespoons of butter in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and thyme sprigs, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring for about 1 minute until tender. Add the wine, bring to a boil and cook for about 2 minutes to evaporate some of the alcohol. Add the clams, cover the pan, and cook for about 4 minutes, removing the clams as they open. Strain all of the clam liquid through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl.

Shell the clams and set aside.

Gently stir the clam liquid to taste into the soup pot (avoiding adding any visible sand if possible). Season the chowder with salt and pepper to taste. Add the potatoes and about two thirds of the clams.

Garnish the soup with remaining clams, bacon and chopped chives.

 

 

 

 

Bacon Scallion Scones

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I grew up in a household where both my brother and I were asked at the dinner table whether we liked any boys or girls at school. No, this doesn’t mean did my brother like girls and did I like any boys. It meant, simply, do either of you like anyone of any gender? My mom was probing to say the least. As I got older, I rolled my eyes at her and ran off with my football player boyfriend.

A few months ago when I told my mom I was dating my co-worker Erika, she exclaimed over the phone, “Oh, I have always wanted a lesbian in the family.”

Was the fact that I nursed until I was two years old a self-fulfilling-prophecy for my love for boobs or love for food?

I am dating my co-worker lady best friend at a food delivery company. Heh.

Last fall, I took my favorite sweet scone recipe and tried to make it savory. It turned into a confused pastry that was strangely endearing and impossibly addicting – not unlike my relationship.

Erika and I ate nearly the whole batch while sitting on the couch watching The L Word. That’s right – screw you Jenny Schecter.

Makes 8 scones//Not really, but kind of, from America’s Test Kitchen

  • 16 tablespoons unsalted butter, frozen whole
  • 5 slices of thick cut bacon (cooked and crumbled or chopped)
  • 1/2 cup chopped scallions
  • 1/3 cup sharp white cheddar
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg yolk
  • Maldon Sea Salt (optional)

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees.  Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

Score and remove half of wrapper from each stick of butter. Grate unwrapped ends on large wholes of box grater (grate a total of 8 tablespoons). Place grated butter in freezer until needed. You will not need the remaining 8 tablespoons, so go ahead and put it away.  Whisk milk and sour cream together in a medium bowl and refrigerate until needed.

Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in medium bowl. Add frozen, grated butter and toss with fingers until thoroughly coated. Fold in chilled milk mixture with a spatula until just combined. Fold in scallions, bacon bits and cheese. Do not over mix.

Turn dough and any floury bits out onto a well-floured counter. Lightly flour hands and dough and then knead it 6 to 8 times until it just holds together in a ball.

Flour your surface again because my dough stuck to the counter at first and made a huge mess. Roll dough out into a 12-inch square. Fold sides in to make a long rectangle. Then fold sides in again to make a 4-inch square. Transfer dough to a lightly floured plate and put in freezer for 5 minutes (do not over chill).

Transfer dough to lightly floured counter and roll again into 12-inch square. Loosen dough from surface and roll it into a log, then pinch the ends closed. Lay dough seam side down and press into 12 by 4-inch rectangle. Using floured chef’s knife, slice dough crosswise into 4 equal rectangles. Then slice each rectangle on a diagonal into 2 triangles.

Place scones on prepared baking sheet. Beat 1 egg yolk with a splash of water. Brush with the egg wash and sprinkle lightly with Maldon sea salt. Bake until scone tops are golden brown, 18 to 25 minutes. There may be grease from the cheese/bacon/butter spilling into the pan, but don’t worry, that will just create crispy cheese bits. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

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Split Pea Soup

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The longer you go without blogging is similar to going without exercise or making pie crust. It seems more daunting and doesn’t come as naturally. You have a squishy butt and empty countertop. I’ve experienced all three of these recently. While trying to make my coworker a pie, I rolled out my dough onto the counter right above the dishwasher that was running. The steam melted the butter chunks so quickly, I had to peel it from the hot counter. The crust grew tough. Whatever happened to baking pie for a living? Oh, right.

I got a 9-to-5 job managing restaurants for a food delivery startup in downtown Seattle.

I used to have my hands in dough daily and drift into my own thoughts, usually crafting a blog post or article to pitch. I would stroll the short walk home and have half the day to sit at my computer to transcribe the thoughts I had while sifting flour and pulling pies from the oven.

Now, I sit at my computer every day and instead, I stare at spreadsheets comparing enchiladas to burritos to quesadillas – not that I am complaining.

In an attempt to get back to last December – when I was writing an article about holiday cheese balls – I made split pea soup.

Thomas Keller, who’s book this is from, seems to overcomplicate many of the steps. What should be a really simple pureed soup is made fussy. There were several moments where I grew frustrated and went rogue. My boss used to work for him at The French Laundry, and today she said her few grey hairs are from him. Surely, if you follow his recipe exactly, you will be salt-and-pepper-chic. I preferred not to prematurely grey and instead found a much simpler, likely as good, version.

So here I go, blog post #5 billion, which really feels like #1 again.

Serves 6-8//A much simpler version than Ad Hoc at Home’s

  • 3 tablespoons canola or olive oil
  • 2 cups thinly sliced carrots
  • 2 cups coarsely chopped leeks
  • 2 cups coarsely chopped onions
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 smoked ham hock (about 1 pound)
  • 3 quarts chicken stock
  • 1 pound (about 2 cups) split peas, rinsed and picked for stones
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups peas (2 pounds in the pod) blanched (optional)
  • 1/2 cup creme fraîche
  • Mint leaves

Heat the oil in an 8 to 10 quart stockpot over medium heat. Add the carrots, leeks and onions with a generous pinch of salt. Reduce the heat to medium low and cook until the vegetables are tender.

Add the ham hock and chicken stock, bring to a simmer, and continue to simmer for 45 minutes. Remove about half of the cooked stock vegetables and toss.

Add the rinsed split peas and bring to a simmer once again. Cook for an hour, or until the split peas are completely soft.

Remove the soup from the heat. Take out the ham hock and set aside. Season the soup with 1 tablespoon of vinegar and salt to taste. Use an immersion blender (or transfer in batches to a blender) to puree completely.  Taste for seasoning, adding salt, pepper or vinegar if necessary.

Keep on low while you pull the meat off the ham hock, tossing the fat and skin. Cut the ham into small pieces and stir into the soup (or reserve some to put on top).

Serve the soup with creme fraîche, chopped mint and extra ham hock. If it’s spring time and you can find fresh peas, sprinkle those on top as well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pecan Butter Sandwich Cookies

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I was sitting with my mom and her coworker, digging into my gomaae salad, thinking about how I could smash sesame seeds to replicate the dressing at home.

My mom casually mentioned she has started taking the antioxidant that gives flamingos and salmon their pink flavor. Bite of salmon belly.

They bonded over their shared love for miso dressing, and I ordered a single mango mochi ball. As it does, the powdered sugar that once coated the ball was all over my lap.

The next morning, my mom moved her furniture out of my apartment, and we fought over whose glassware was whose.

She packed up her 16-food Uhaul and drove to the nudey hot springs that she took us to as kids.

I went back into my house emptied my underwear drawer into a box and my spices into another and then went to my new apartment in Fremont.

Trudging up the smurf-colored stairs, I made my way through the hallway, which, so far, has continually smelled like a tuna melt.

All of this is completely irrelevant except that during this visit from my mom, she repeatedly mentioned her new infatuation with pecan butter. It reminded me of the time I put toasted pecans and butter in the food processor and smeared it between two rich chocolate cookies.

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Makes about 24 sandwich cookies//Dahlia Bakery

For the filling

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup toasted, cooled and chipped pecans
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

For the cookies

  • 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons Dutch-process cocoa (This is a really important detail for full flavor)
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup toasted, cooled and finely chopped pecans
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

To make the filling, brown the butter by placing it in a small saucepan over medium heat. As the butter melts, stir it continuously until it turns golden brown and smells nutty, about 3 minutes. The butter will foam, but continue to cook it until it reaches a slightly darker brown, not letting it burn. Remove from heat.

In a food processor, combine the brown butter, pecans, powdered sugar, vanilla extract and salt. Pulse until a paste forms. Cover and chill while you make the cookies.

To make the cookie dough, sift the flour, cocoa and baking soda together into a bowl.

Combine the butter and sugar with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Add the egg on medium-low speed until incorporated. Scrap down the bowl and add the pecans, vanilla extract and salt.

Add the dry ingredients on low speed in a few additions until just combined, careful not to over mix.

Chill the dough for 1 hour or longer.

When you are ready to bake the cookies, heat the oven to 375 degrees F. Portion the dough to about 2 teaspoons per cookie. You should get about 48 cookies. Place the cookies 3/4 to 1 inch apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Use your fingers to press them flat to about 1/4 inch thick.

Bake the cookies until they have set, about 7 minutes. (Dahlia Bakery says don’t open the oven door while baking, but who can help themselves?)

Remove the pan from the oven and allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

To make the cookie sandwich, spread about 2 teaspoons of filling on the flat side of a cookie and press the flat side of another cookie on top. Repeat until all the cookies are sandwiched together.

Apple, Pear and Cranberry Pie

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Since I last posted, I had my last day as a professional baker, got a job working at a tech company that connects local restaurants to people in offices who want lunch, joined a new fitness community that twerks for a workout and was featured in the food + drink section of The Seattle Weekly.

In late February, my two pie muses representing the East and West Coasts came together to join me for a pie class and drink. We bantered back and forth about pie apples and the future of food writing. Kate Lebo, my Washington pie princess, and Ellen Gray, my best pie soulmate from New Jersey, made the perfect pitch for Seattle Weekly.

I emailed food + drink editor Nicole Sprinkle and a couple weeks later had a spread. The night before the issue went on the stands felt like Christmas Eve. On my way to work on 1st ave., I skipped over to the news stand to grab a fresh copy. And then another.

Nicole later told me my article had been in their top ten for overall views that week. A proud moment? Ah, yes. To honor the great muses in my life, here is Kate Lebo’s pear and cranberry pie recipe that I made for Christmas last year and never posted. The golden brown beauty was a treat on our Christmas dinner table. Though my mom was a skeptic, I promised her Kate knows her sweet to tart ratios.

Makes 1 pie//Kate Lebo

  • 1 double pie crust
  • 2 Gravenstein or Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
  • 2 pears, cored and thinly sliced
  • Juice of 1/2 medium lemon (about 1 1/2 tablespoons)
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped candied ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Big pinch of salt
  • 3 tablespoons of flour
  • 2 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • Egg white wash (1 egg white beaten with 1 tablespoon water)
  • Turbinado sugar for sprinkling

Follow your pie crust recipe and refrigerate for at least an hour. Roll out the bottom crust and place it into a 9-inch pie plate. Tuck the edges into the pie plate and trim the edges. Refrigerate while you make the filling.

Heat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Put the apple and pear slices in a large bowl with the lemon juice. Stir in the cranberries, granulated sugar, candied ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Taste the filling and adjust to your preferences.

(In Kate’s pie classes she says if you don’t want to eat the whole bowl of filling on its own then it needs adjusting. Add lemon. Add spice.)

Stir in the flour and set aside.

Roll out the top crust and retrieve the bottom crust from the refrigerator.

Pour the filling into the bottom crust and rearrange it in the plate as necessary to reduce air pockets. Dot the filling with butter. Drape the top crust over the filling. Trim, tuck and flute the edges. Cut steam vents in the middle of the pie. Brush the crust with the egg wash, and sprinkle it with turbinado sugar.

Bake the pie in the middle of the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the crust is lightly golden. Reduce the heat to 375 degrees. Bake for 35 to 45 more minutes, until the crust is dark golden brown and the filling bubbles.

Cool for at least an hour before serving.

Brownie Cookies with Espresso Buttercream

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While my friends used my kitchen to make their first cioppino the other night, I took this test. Author Gary Chapman wrote a set of questions to help determine a person’s “love language.” Perhaps you feel loved when your partner holds your hand? Your love language is most likely “Physical Touch.”

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My results were as I expected. My love language is “Quality Time,” meaning I feel adored when people I care about make special time for me.

Though The 5 Love Languages are “Words of Affirmation,” “Acts of Service,” “Receiving Gifts,” “Quality Time,” and “Physical Touch,” I can’t help but think food is the 6th.

I mean forget a dozen red roses this Valentine’s Day, I feel most admired while sharing sweetbread agnolotti from Altura or Columbia City bread with butter and black salt.

Sharing food, giving food, making food and receiving food are some of the best forms of human connection. This Valentine’s Day, I decided to make these brownie cookies in heart shapes. I realized they needed frosting solely so sprinkles could adhere to them. The espresso in the frosting actually made the cocoa in the cookie taste more prominent.

Makes a lot of cookies

Ingredients

  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling out
  • 2/3 cup Dutch process cocoa, unsweetened
  • 3/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the frosting

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tablespoon whipping cream, half and half or milk
  • 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder

Whisk the flour, cocoa, salt and baking powder together in a bowl. Beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time. Scrape down the bowl and add in the vanilla. Slowly mix the dry ingredients into the butter. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least an hour.

(Meanwhile you can make the frosting below)

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Remove dough from the fridge and let it sit on the counter for 10 minutes to warm slightly. If it’s too hard and crumbly, grab a chunk at a time and squeeze it with your hands to soften it.

Divide the dough into 4-6 chunks and roll out on a flour work surface, until it is about 1/2-inch thick. Cut into any shape you’d like using cookie cutters.

Bake on a parchment-lined baking sheet for 8-11 minutes depending on your thickness. Transfer to a rack to cool.

Frosting

With an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar together for about 3 minutes, until fluffy. Dissolve the espresso powder in the milk in a separate bowl. Add this to the butter mixture. Beat for another minute or so until it is a spreadable consistency. Cover and keep in fridge until cookies are cool.

Frost the cookies and dust with sprinkles if you’d like.