Thursday, November 17, 2011

Chocolate snickerdoodles, and another houseguest

Strikeout: After Nestle Tollhouse chocolate chip, snickerdoodles may have been the first kind of cookie I learned to make. They're so simple it's no wonder that little kids can master them. And who doesn't like a sweet mouthful of cinnamon and sugar?

When I recently saw a recipe in Food & Wine for chocolate snickerdoodles, I knew I had to make them. Because while I always liked the original recipe, they can be a little boring. Chocolate seemed like a fantastic idea.

I regret to say that this recipe was terrible and I vehemently recommend you do NOT make it. The baking time was way off and the cookies turned out hard as rocks and as bland as can be. I choked down two, the husband one, and the rest hit the compost bin.

Too bad, because they were pretty as a picture, as the husband might say.

But I can't eat pretty. Recipe: fail.


Sophie's BFF: A few weeks ago, Sophie's friend Ruby came to stay with us for a few days. The two pups are about a year apart in age and have developed a rapid little dog friendship. They wrestle and romp until they collapse, exhausted, for about five minutes. Then they're at it again.

Seeing them reminded me of the time we took care of Django, who was Ruby's older brother. He and Frances didn't play together--at that point, Frances was 14 and Django was probably 13--but they did seem to enjoy each other's quiet company, much like a contented old couple. Neither one of them could hear much by that point, which meant they could easily ignore anything we said. They did, however, seem to have a sliver of hearing reserved for the clinking of pots in the kitchen, which always brought them running for scraps. Our friends lost sweet Django a few months ago, and while their world and the animal kingdom still suffer his absence, there is always hope in the next generation.

There's also tug-of-war...

Gazing into each other's eyes...

Watching TV together...

And straight-up snoozing.

We had the best time with Ruby. She is, like her name, a little gem and welcome any time!


Be thankful, be generous: Given my rate of posting these days, I suspect this will be my last post before Thanksgiving. We're not hosting this year (going to Ruby's house!) but I will be doing some cooking: cauliflower gratin,  pumpkin chiffon pie, and, if I'm feeling froggy, stuffed mushrooms.

Although I would like to think I am the kind of person who spends each day being thankful for everything I have and never feeling fussy or greedy or envious,  I know in my heart that this is not true. So, around Thanksgiving, I do try to really appreciate what I have. This year, I am deeply thankful for: my husband, my dog, my family, my friends, my health, my work, and my home, not necessarily in that order. 

I wish you all a wonderful holiday! May it be filled with delicious food in outrageous proportions and spent with those you treasure. Also, I encourage you, if you have anything to spare, to give to your local food bank. If you're in the Bay Area, here are links to food banks in San Francisco (now merged with the Marin Food Bank), San Mateo/Santa Clara, and Alameda. I'm sure I don't need to tell you about the staggering need. And, as someone who fundraises professionally, I can tell you that whatever you're able to give, either in money, groceries, or volunteer time, will make a difference.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all!


  1. Love the puppy pictures! I'm thankful for much the same things and Thanksgiving is the best holiday because it reminds us of all the good things in our lives. Happy Thanksgiving to you, too.

  2. Aww, cute doggie pictures = WINNING. I wish Indy would play nice with other dogs. She's such a brat and gets grump-a-saurus rex when other dogs are around. Doggie Fail. And thank you for the Cookie Fail warning on that recipe. Get down with your Thanksgiving-self. The gratin sounds lovely!

  3. I never had snickerdodles growing up but love the ones at Teacake Bakeshop. They're big, chewy and delicious! Your picture of the chocolate one threw me off, then I read your story. BTW, I have had mixed success with FW recipes. I love the fisrt photo of the two dogs. You could have renamed them chocolate snickerdoodle and traditional snickerdoodle! LOL. Have a fun and funny Thanksgiving!!

  4. Well, at least the cookies LOOKED good. I think that's a testament to your baking skills.
    I die of teh doggie cute!
    Have a wonderful holiday feast. See you soon.

  5. How can something that looks that good be bad? Maybe they might have made a good crumbs for a crust?
    I can't believe how those dogs are snuggling together!

  6. zoom: Yes--definitely the best holiday of them all!

    wasabi: the gratin IS delicious--I suggest you try it (soon!)

    Ben: Wish I'd thought of that caption! :) Yes, I can never decide about F&W recipes--they are really hit or miss for me. I have to wonder what is up with their test kitchen...wishing you a funny thanksgiving too--best kind!

    Sue: We couldn't believe the snuggling either--our old dog was not really like that, so it's cute to see these two together.

  7. I was so taken with your gratin that I ran right out and got the ingredients and made it this evening. A winner! Thanks and, again, Happy Thanksgiving!

  8. So beautiful, I love the watching TV photo :) Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family, dear. It truly sound like you appreciate all you have already and not many people are that aware. Enjoy the holidays and I'd love to hear more about pumpkin chiffon pie!

  9. Zoom: That's fantastic! So glad you liked the recipe.

    shaz: Isn't it cute? And yes, I will definitely post about the pumpkin chiffon pie, it's a family fave.

  10. Happy Thanksgiving to you, too! Bummer about the cookies, I hate it when stuff doesn't turn out as fab as it should.

  11. i think sophie needs a permanent friend--those pictures are too cute!
    and never fear, i'll never contaminate my snickerdoodles with chocolate. :)

  12. camille: Yeah, total disappointment. Happy Tday to you too, will you roast a turkey in Paris?

    grace: I think you're right--she would love a perma-buddy!

  13. Can't believe its almost Thanksgiving, and soon it will be Christmas and then 2012!?!

    Have you and your family have a wonderful holiday, love the pictures of the snuggling pups!

  14. Hi HD! I wish you a happy Thanksgiving. One of the things I'm grateful for this year is YOU!! We were really sorry to miss you when we were in SF. Next time...

    Too bad about these cookies! But after all, pretty is as pretty does. I'm glad you binned them.

  15. Connie: I know, every year whips by faster. Happy thanksgiving to you & your family!

    Kate: Was sorry to miss you as well! Next time we'll make it happen (perhaps when we next get to Europe!)

  16. Happy TG HD. Love the new puppy. He's a beauty. The cookies were lovely, I guess they didn't test the recipe.
    Shall we try to get together again? I'm flying SFO this December.

  17. Don't the dogs look cute together? sorry the cookies were a flop. They sure LOOK good!

  18. hi Pam! Yes, let me know when you're coming into town!

    Barbara: Well at least I got a good picture out of them, right? :)

  19. We've roasted a couple of turkeys here, but for the last year or two, we've switched to a breast roast - prepared by the butcher, all wrapped up in hog fat to keep it moist - which is much more manageable for smaller crowds.

  20. camille: Wow, turkey wrapped in hog fat, that sounds amazing. Only the french would think of that!