dessert Archive

Recipe Swap: Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie

For thirteenth installment of the Burwell General Store Recipe Swap, we’re switching things up!

For the past year, we’ve been remaking recipes from a funny old cookbook (and hymnal!) called All Day Singin’ and Dinner on the Ground. I don’t personally own the book, but I feel a connection to it as I’ve been making (or re-making) recipes from it for a year now. I love how old timey the book is and how utterly simple the recipes are. For most of the recipes, the instructions are a few mere sentences.

As you may recall, last month was the year anniversary of the Recipe Swap. To celebrate, all the recipe swappers were asked to make our own versions of a Maple Syrup Cake. I went with a Butternut Squash Layer Cake with Maple Cream Cheese frosting (and yes, it tasted every bit as good as it sounds). The cake was the perfect way to celebrate the year anniversary of a group I’ve grown so fond of.

However, going forward, we’re going to be making recipes from a new book: The Second Ford Treasury of Favorite Recipes From Famous Eating Places.

I’m not what you would call an inflexible person, but some might describe me as stubborn. When I heard that we were going to be using a new cookbook, I was dubious. I’d grown rather fond of our funny little cookbook! I wasn’t quite ready to say goodbye to All Day Singin and Dinner on the Ground. But, then I realized that introducing a new book to the group only further encourages creativity in the kitchen and will bring a whole new set of interesting recipes to recreate. I’m all for creativity in the kitchen, and so I set aside my hesitations and decided to embrace the new book.

It probably didn’t hurt that the first recipe that Christianna selected from the new book was a recipe for the classic Tollhouse Cookie. I mean, seriously, what’s not to like about the Tollhouse cookie? It is the epitome of classic recipes; it is the ultimate chocolate chip cookie.

I was slightly flustered by the idea of remaking such a classic, so I decided to give the Tollhouse cookie a slight twist. I didn’t want to do anything TOO crazy, as I’m a big fan of the original Tollhouse cookie. I wanted to make something that paid proper homage to the original recipe, and yet updated it at the same time. So, I made one giant whole wheat chocolate chip cookie in a cast iron skillet and sprinkled it with sea salt.

The cookie was rich, chewy, dense, and was the perfect marriage of sweet and salty. The whole wheat flour added density and flavor (and I’d like to pretend that it means this cookie is healthy). At the end of the day, I loved this recipe because it tasted like everything I want out of a chocolate chip cookie. The dark chocolate, whole wheat, and seat salt work so well together. This is the perfect (giant) cookie.

I didn’t attempt to improve on the original Tollhouse cookie as I believe that is an impossible feat. But, I took the spirit of that recipe and I made it my own. I baked it in a cast iron skillet. I sliced off a big old wedge of cookie and ate it warm with vanilla bean ice cream. And I was happy (!).

All that to say: happy recipe swap, y’all. I hope you found as much happiness in your Tollhouse recreations as I did. I certainly had a good time.

“Cast Iron Skillet Cookie”: Whole Wheat Chocolate Skillet Cookie
Adapted from 101 Cookbooks

3 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
8 ounces (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes, plus more for buttering the pan
1 cup dark brown (or muscovado) sugar
1 cup white sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
6 ounces bittersweet or dark chocolate, roughly chopped into small pieces (I used lightly salted dark chocolate from Lindt)
High quality sea salt, for finishing

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a 10 (or 11″) cast iron skillet, that is at least 2″ deep (this is important! if the skillet isn’t deep enough, it will overflow).

Sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl.

In another large bowl (or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment) add the chilled butter and the white and brown. Mix just until the butter and sugars are blended (low speed), about 2 minutes. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl along the way. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing until each is combined. Mix in the vanilla. Add the flour mixture to the bowl and blend on low speed until the flour is barely combined, about 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.

Add most of the chocolate to the batter and mix until the chocolate is just incorporated. Use a spatula to scrape the batter out into the skillet, pressing it into an even layer. Sprinkle any remaining chocolate across the top and sprinkle a bit of high quality sea salt over the top.

Bake the cookie for 35-45 minutes, or until until the dough is a deep golden brown along the edge, and the center has set. Remove from oven and let cool before slicing. Cut into wedges (or squares). Best served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Please see below for all the other fantastic contributions to this recipe swap!

Meyer Lemon Curd & A Handmade Holiday

This post is only slightly different than my handmade holiday post from last year. I was reading over last year’s post (to gain inspiration for this year) and I realized that it said everything that I want to say. I liked it so much that I just decided to repost it for this year. However, I changed out the recipe – last year I made Spicy Brown Mustard, and this year I went with a Meyer Lemon Curd. In addition, I’ve updated and added to my list of homemade and DIY gift ideas. Lastly, I’ve included a few links to organizations that you can donate to in lieu of giving gifts. I think that about covers it, so please read below.


This time of year is just so overwhelming. It seems that every year, the advertisements get louder, the Black Friday lines get longer, and the things I love about Christmas are seemingly lost in the throes of American consumerism. It all just seems so Charlie Brown, if you know what I mean. And I get so discouraged by insanity of it all! I feel like I need my own personal Linus to come remind me what Christmas is all about.

At the end of the day, I believe that Christmas is about a Savior who came to earth. It’s as simple as that. And whether or not you share my beliefs on Christmas, I do hope that we can all agree that there is something disconcerting about the modern American Christmas. The holiday has become a hallmark of greed, materialism, stress, waste, and so much more. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

For the past few years, my family and I have participated in the phenomenon that is known as The Advent Conspiracy. The Advent Conspiracy is trying to change how we do Christmas. Their motto is simple: Love All. Spend Less. Give More. I was struck by the simplicity of the statement: so much truth in so few words. To expand upon the motto, essentially The Advent Conspiracy challenges people to change their Christmas spending habits. Instead of spending bunches of money on traditional gifts, they challenge people to instead use that money to do good. They do not suggest that you forgo all gifts entirely, rather they encourage people to give thoughtful and handmade gifts, the gift of time (i.e. babysitting for someone, cooking a meal for someone), and other such gifts. (For more info, watch their fantastic promo video here.)

So, my family and I have done just that. We’ve gotten really creative with our gifts – it’s usually a combination of handmade items, secondhand items, or things purchased from local businesses. There are no hard and fast rules, we just do the best we can. And maybe I’m crazy, but I take so much joy in the process. For me, this is what Christmas is all about (Ahem…Charlie Brown). It is about taking the time to invest in those that you love, to gift meaningful and thoughtful gifts, and to use your resources in a way that will benefit others.

That’s my reasoning for making a lot of my Christmas gifts, anyway. I’m not particularly crafty, but every year I challenge myself to try something new. This year, I’m making a few darling yarn wreaths, as well as Meyer Lemon Curd, Crema di Limoncello, Apple Butter, and a few other fun things that I’m not allowed to mention (yet). I haven’t personally tried all the recipes and/or crafts on this list, but they’re all on my list of “things to eventually make”.

I hope that you’re inspired this holiday season, and a happy handmade holiday to all of you.


*Yarn Wreaths with Felt Flowers
*Homemade Creme de Menthe
*Grapefruit Cranberry Marmelade
*Crema di Limoncello
*Cute Little Marble Magnets
*Homemade Vanilla Extract
*The Cutest Little Holiday Snow Globes
*Moss Terrarium | Tiny Terrarium | Hanging Succulent Terrarium
*Chai Tea Mix
*Ina Garten’s Chipotle and Rosemary Spiced Nuts
*Hot Chocolate on a Stick
*Vodka Infusions (Rosemary Lavender & Rhubarb)
*Pumpkin Butter
*Basil & Wine Jelly
*Balsamic Fig Thyme Jam
*Hazelnut-Lavender-Coconut Granola
*Maple Cinnamon Granola
*(Really Cool) Vintage Tin Candles
*Spice Blend: Herbs De Provence
*Vanilla Sea Salt
*Homemade Curry Powder
*Slow Cooker Apple Butter
*DIY Reed Diffuser (Air Freshener)

I highly encourage any/all of you to give back this holiday season. Here are just a few (of many) organizations that could benefit from your charitable donations:

Give a goat to a family in need (via Oxfam)
Clean Water for Haiti
The International Justice Mission
The Oregon Food Bank
Women for Women: The Women of South Sudan
Chickens for Christmas
No Kid Hungry: Share Our Strength

And finally, here’s one of my absolute favorite recipes for gift giving!

Meyer Lemon Curd
Confession: I’ve already posted recipes for Lime Curd and Grapefruit Curd on my blog, so at this point I think I’m what you’d call a “curd enthusiast”. But, my aunt gave me a whole bag of Meyer Lemons from her trees in Palm Springs, California. I had no choice but to make Meyer Lemon Curd!

1 and 1/2 Cups of fresh squeezed Meyer lemon juice* (from 10-12 lemons)
10 tablespoons of chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
6 eggs, plus the yolk of one egg
Zest of 2 lemons (cut into large pieces for easy retrieval)
1 cup of sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

*If using normal lemons instead of Meyers, you may need to add a touch more sugar.

Juice the lemons. Rolling the lemons with your palm on the counter will yield much more juice. Pour juice through a strainer or cheesecloth to remove any seeds and large bits of pulp.

In a saucepan, whisk the eggs (and yolk) together. Add in lemon juice and sugar, and whisk until well combined. Turn your stovetop on, and gradually heat up the mixture over medium-low heat, whisking constantly. Once the mixture is warm, turn the heat up to medium and add in the strips of zest. Next, begin to add the butter pieces, bit by bit, whisking the whole time. Continue whisking, adding butter all the time, until you’ve added all the butter. Continue whisking, being careful not to burn (or allow the eggs to curdle), and cook for 7-10 minutes, or until curd is thick and creamy.

Remove from heat and cool at room temperature for an hour. I put a piece of plastic wrap over it (so a film doesn’t form on top). Transfer to sterilized jars. These can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.

Recipe Swap: Grapefruit Cupcakes

They say time flies when you’re having fun, and I think its rather true. Somehow, I blinked and magically it was February. The holidays have long since come and gone, the NBA playoffs are looming in the distance (come on, Blazers. you got this!), and I am beginning to let my myself dream of all that I will be planting this year in my little garden.

Last but certainly not least, the third installment of The Recipe Swap is upon us! Just a few months ago, CM at Burwell General Store approached me with the idea of doing a recipe swap. She picked up an old cookbook at a swap meet, and asked if I wanted to join her in re-interpreting recipes from the book. We started by reinterpreting Autumn Spiced Persimmon Pudding and had such a good time that we decided to keep up with the swap. Soon after, the lovely Boulder Locavore joined our ranks and the 3 of us did our interpretations of Fern’s Apple Fritters.

And now for our 3rd swap, our little group as exploded. We now consist of seven bloggers! How incredible is that? For this swap, CM picked a recipe that we all agreed would be in line with the upcoming Valentine’s holiday: Company Time Lemon Cake. For starters, I absolutely love the name of the cake. Its so self-explanatory: This is the cake you make when you’re having company over. Its as simple as that!

So, here’s the thing. It took me all of two minutes to decide on my concept for this swap. We were asked to re-interpret a lemon cake for Valentines day, which seemed altogether too fitting. You see, I served lemon cupcakes at my wedding (with coconut cream cheese frosting!). And while cupcakes may be the hip new thing for contemporary weddings, my reasons for choosing to serve cupcakes were simple. For one, I love cupcakes with my whole heart. Back in the days when Nich an I were dating, he would surprise me with a cupcake (from my favorite little bakery, Saint Cupcake) whenever I was having a bad day. And secondly, Nich proposed to me with a cupcake. He got down on one knee, held out a cupcake, and there was a ring on top (in the frosting!). I said yes, of course, and the rest is history! (Engagement cupcake photo below:)

Since cupcakes are such an integral part of Nich and I’s story, I thought it would only be fitting to make cupcakes for this Valentine-themed Lemon cake recipe swap. I didn’t want to exactly replicate the recipe – or my wedding cupcakes, for that matter – so I came up with something that I felt paid homage to both recipes. After some brainstorming and scouring of the internet, I decided upon Grapefruit cupcakes. Grapefruit is my absolute favorite of all the citrus fruits and I was excited about the possibility of turning this zingy citrus into a sweet little cupcake. I’d never had a grapefruit cupcake before, so I knew I was taking somewhat of a risk with this recipe: but I was so thrilled with how they turned out. They were sour, without being too sour (and sweet, without being too sweet!). So balanced, so light, and so lovely.

I’ll admit, if you make all four of the elements for this cupcake (cupcake, candied peel, curd, frosting): it is a lot of work. I made the cupcakes over the course of two days. First, I made the cupcakes and candied the grapefruit peel. The next day, I made the grapefruit curd and then the whipped cream and curd frosting. It was a lot of work…but it was so worth it!

And so, without further adieu, my grapefruit cupcake recipe:

Grapefruit Cupcakes with Whipped Grapefruit Curd Frosting and Candied Grapefruit Peel

Grapefruit Cupcakes
(Adapted from Whisk Kid)

1 1/2 cups white flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 cup white sugar
3 tsp grated grapefruit zest (approximately one large grapefruit)
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt (I used nonfat)
4 eggs
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup vegetable oil

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a muffin tin with liners and set aside.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium-sized bowl. In another bowl, combine 1 cup of sugar and zest, rubbing between your fingers until moistened and fragrant. Whisk in the yogurt, eggs, and vanilla. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. With a spatula, fold the vegetable oil into the batter until incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared muffin pan and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

Grapefruit Curd
(Adapted from Honey and Jam)

8 large eggs yolks
1/2 cup freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
finely grated zest of 1 ruby red grapefruit
1 cup white sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 sticks unsalted butter, cold, cut into pieces
*For frosting: 1 cup whipping cream, 1 tsp vanilla, 1/2 cup powdered sugar

Combine egg yolks, grapefruit juice, lemon juice, half of the zest, and sugar in a saucepan; whisk to combine. Cook over med-high heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon, about 10 minutes.

Turn heat down to low. Add salt. Begin adding the butter, piece by piece, stirring constantly. Once you have added in all the butter (and the mixture is thick and beautiful), remove from heat. Strain through a fine sieve into a bowl. Stir in the remaining zest. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto the surface of the curd to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until chilled and set.

To make the frosting, start by whipping the cream, vanilla and confectioners sugar until you have stiff whipping cream (be careful not to overwhip!). Combine equal parts whipping cream with grapefruit curd, and gently fold together with a spatula. Spread atop cupcakes!

Candied Grapefruit Peels
(Adapted from White on Rice Couple)

1 Large Ruby Red Grapefruit

With a vegetable peeler, peel off thin strips of the grapefruit rind. Use a small pairing knife to cut strips into thin strips. Meanwhile, bring 1 part water to 1 part sugar to boil in a small saucepan (I used 1 cup of each).

Add grapefruit peels and boil over med heat for 30-45 minutes. Strain, reserving liquid (which is now a grapefruit infused simple syrup, which you can use for all sorts of delicious things.)

Pour about 1 cup white sugar in a bowl. Toss candied peels in sugar, then spread peels out on foil or wax paper to cool and air dry. These are best after a few hours of drying time. I made them the night before I used them for my cupcakes!

To assemble the cupcakes…simply frost cupcakes with the whipped grapefruit frosting. Top with a dollop of grapefruit curd and a couple pieces of candied grapefruit curd. And, of course – enjoy!

(Photos by Kari Ray)

***See below for all the other amazing creations my fellow bloggers made for this swap!

Chef Dennis @ More Than a Mountfull: Italian Lemon Pear Cake

Mari @ The Unexpected Harvest: GF Lemon Poppyseed Angel Food Cake with an Oregon Pinot Gris glaze.

Toni @ Boulder Locavore: Gluten Free Orange-Cardamom Three Layer Cake

Nay @ Spicy Living: Lemon Lavender Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
Blog address:

Sabrina Modelle @ The Tomato Tart: Brown Sugar Lemon Rosemary Cake with Rosemary Caramel

Christianna @ Burwell General Store: Meyer Lemon Curd Shortcakes with Orange Flower Water Icing