Recipe: Jacques Torres Chocolate Chip Cookies


I’ve been meaning to try Jacques Torres’ famous cookie recipe for quite some time now, and decided to finally give it a go. It was kind of annoying having to buy cake flour, bread flour and chocolate disks when I typically have AP flour and regular chocolate chips on hand, but honestly, it was all worth it.

These cookies are amazing. My go-to chocolate chip cookie, for sure. Don’t cheat when you make these though. Let the dough sit in the fridge for at least 24 hours before baking. Seriously. Do it.

Makes about 18 cookies.


  • 2 cups minus 2 tablespoons (8 1/2 ounces) cake flour
  • 1 ⅔ cups (8 1/2 ounces) bread flour
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons coarse salt
  • 2 ½ sticks (1 1/4 cups) unsalted butter
  • 1 ¼ cups (10 ounces) light brown sugar
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (8 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract
  • 1 ¼ pounds bittersweet chocolate disks or fèves, at least 60 percent cacao content (Note: I substituted about 1/2 cup of chocolate disks for chopped walnuts) 
  •  Sea salt


  • Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Set aside.
  • Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars together until very light, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla. Reduce speed to low, add dry ingredients and mix until just combined, 5 to 10 seconds. Drop chocolate pieces in and incorporate them without breaking them. Press plastic wrap against dough and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours. Dough may be used in batches, and can be refrigerated for up to 72 hours.
  • When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. Set aside.
  • Scoop 6 3 1/2-ounce mounds of dough (the size of generous golf balls) onto baking sheet, making sure to turn horizontally any chocolate pieces that are poking up; it will make for a more attractive cookie. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and bake until golden brown but still soft, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer sheet to a wire rack for 10 minutes, then slip cookies onto another rack to cool a bit more. Repeat with remaining dough, or reserve dough, refrigerated, for baking remaining batches the next day. Eat warm, with a big napkin.


Hearty Vegan Beanless Minestrone

I love minestrone, but I usually wind up picking around the beans. That’s what’s great about making my own: no beans to pick around! Of course, if you like beans, add ’em on in. I won’t stop you. Honestly though, there’s so much going on in here that they’re not even necessary. The swiss chard gives it a rustic heartiness that’s great for winter.

This soup can be prepared vegan if you opt out of the Parmesan cheese on top.

Servings: 6-8


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3/4 bunch swiss chard: ribs removed and chopped, leaves torn into pieces
  • 28 oz. can whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 3 tsp. all-purpose seasoning
  • 2 cups arugula
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1.5-2 cups small pasta (e.g. elbows, shells)
  • Pepper to taste
  • Grated Parmesan cheese (optional)


In a large pot, saute onion, carrots, celery and garlic over medium heat for a few minutes until soft, then stir in tomato paste.

Add swiss chard (ribs and leaves), whole peeled tomatoes (with juice), 8 cups of water, salt, and all-purpose seasoning. Bring to a boil and then simmer uncovered for about 35 minutes.

Bring the soup back to a boil and mix in the arugula and pasta. Boil for 5-10 minutes, or until pasta is al dente. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve topped with grated Parmesan if using.

Honey Garlic Shrimp with Coconut Jalapeño Cauliflower Rice | Paleo / Whole30

My partner is giving the paleo diet a try for a month, so I’m on a mission to find delicious meals to cook for him. Here’s my first one. It was super easy to make and he loved it.

Disclaimer: If you are strict paleo/Whole30, you may want to review the ingredients to confirm that they’re in line with your diet. As I’m new to this method of cooking, it’s possible that some of these ingredients aren’t strict paleo/Whole30 approved. 

Servings: 4-5

Ingredients (Cauliflower Rice)

  • 1 crown cauliflower, chopped then blended into rice-sized pieces for about 7 seconds
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 2-3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 jalapeno, diced (optional)
  • Juice from half a lime

Ingredients (Honey Garlic Shrimp)

  • 1 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1.5 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 tablespoon oil (I used olive oil)
  • 8 tablespoons honey
  • 6 tablespoons coconut aminos
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic

To make the honey garlic shrimp:

  • Combine the honey, coconut aminos, ginger and garlic and stir well. Cover the shrimp with about 1/4 cup of the sauce and marinate in the refrigerator, setting the rest of the sauce aside for later. (Note: I marinated the shrimp for about 2 hours, but you can do anywhere from 10 minutes to 24 hours.)
  • When the shrimp is almost done marinating, make the cauliflower rice (see below)
  • Place broccoli florets in a small bowl, sprinkle with a few teaspoons of water and steam in microwave for 2 minutes
  • Remove the shrimp from the marinade and discard the marinade.
  • Add 1 tablespoon of oil to a large, heavy duty skillet and heat over high heat.
  • Add the shrimp to the skillet and sear on each side until browned, about 1-2 minutes per side. (Note: I did 2 minutes per side, flipping after each minute.)
  • Add the broccoli to the pan and drizzle with the remaining sauce (Note: You may not need to use all of it.)

To make the cauliflower rice:

  • In a large bowl, mix the blended cauliflower pieces and the coconut flakes
  • In a large skillet, heat the coconut oil over medium-high heat
  • Add the cauliflower and coconut flake mixture to the skillet and cook, stirring frequently until it’s throughly heated through
  • Remove from burner and stir in the almond milk and jalapeños. Squeeze in the lime juice.
  • Set aside until the shrimp are ready

To assemble:

Scoop a generous helping of cauliflower rice onto a plate, topping with 4-5 shrimp and several pieces of broccoli. Spoon some sauce from pan over the shrimp for added flavor.

*Recipe adapted from: Easy Honey Garlic Shrimp and Broccoli*

Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore with Rice


Photo Credit: Cafe Delites

Servings: 6


  • 6 skinless chicken thighs, bone-in
  • Salt and pepper to season
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 teaspoons minced garlic (or 8 cloves)
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 small yellow pepper, diced
  • 1 small red pepper, diced
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and diced
  • 10 oz. white mushrooms, sliced
  • ½ cup pitted black olives
  • 8 sprigs of thyme
  • 2 tablespoons each freshly chopped parsley and basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 5 oz.  red wine (Note: I used Pinot Noir)
  • 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 7 oz. Roma tomatoes, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (or more for added spiciness)
  • 2 cups dry white or brown rice

Add all ingredients to the slow cooker, stirring to combine. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours, or low for 8 hours, until the chicken is tender and falling off the bone. (Note: I cooked mine on high to save time.) Add in the mushrooms in the last 30 minutes of cooking. Season to your tastes.

Cook rice according to package. Serve chicken cacciatore over rice.

*Recipe adapted from Chicken Cacciatore* 

Slow Cooker Beef Stew


I’ve been on a mission to find healthy crockpot recipes to make for my fiancée, who is not a vegetarian. I find that if I make him a crockpot meal over the weekend, there’s enough leftover for him to eat it all week. He said this is one of the best beef stews he’s ever eaten.

Servings: 6


  • 2 pounds beef chuck, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika, plus more for garnish
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for coating
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound small white potatoes, halved
  • 1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, halved
  • 3 medium carrots, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup red wine (Note: I used Pinot Noir)
  • 2 cups low-sodium beef broth
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed parsley leaves, chopped


Toss the beef with the paprika, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Coat in flour and shake off any excess. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the beef and cook undisturbed until it begins to brown, about 3 minutes. Continue to cook, turning the beef as needed, until mostly browned, about 3 minutes more. Remove the skillet from the heat and transfer the beef to the insert of a 6-quart slow cooker; add the potatoes, mushrooms, carrots and onions and stir to combine.

Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in the skillet over medium heat. Add the tomato paste and stir until the oil begins to turn brick-red, about 1 minute. Add the flour and wine and whisk until thick (it’s OK if there are some lumps). Add the beef broth, thyme, caraway if using, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper and bring to a simmer, whisking; continue simmering and whisking until the gravy is smooth and thick, about 4 minutes.

Pour the gravy into the slow cooker, cover and cook on low for 8 hours OR 4 hours high + 1 hour low (Note: I do the later to save some time). The meat and vegetables should be tender.

Season with salt and pepper and stir in the parsley.

*Recipe adapted from Slow Cooker Beef Stew*

Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Scone Bread

The original recipe called for currants instead of chocolate chips, and it’s not that I dislike currants or anything, but if I have a choice of using chocolate in a recipe, I’m using chocolate. I happen to really love chocolate and cinnamon together, so this was a no-brainer for me.


For the streusel filling:

  • tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • tablespoons granulated sugar
  • tablespoons brown sugar
  • teaspoons cinnamon
  • tablespoon heavy cream

For the bread:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar, plus more for sprinkling on top of loaf
  • tablespoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cocoa powder (or cinnamon) 
  • cup heavy cream, plus more for brushing on dough
  • large egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract


  1. For the streusel: Mix together the flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Stir in the cream to make a streusel. This is not a chunky streusel. It’s more of a sugary blend. Set aside.
  2. For the bread: Preheat oven to 375° F. Grease a parchment-lined 9 x 5-inch loaf pan.
  3. Place the dry ingredients in the bowl of a KitchenAid mixer and stir to combine.
  4. Add the butter and stir for about 1 minute. You want to retain some small pieces of butter. Transfer the flour mixture to a large mixing bowl.
  5. In a small bowl, mix the chocolate chips with the cocoa powder. Add to the flour/butter mixture, and toss lightly.
  6. In a large measuring cup, place the heavy cream, egg, and vanilla. Mix well. Pour into flour mixture. With a dinner fork, fold the wet ingredients into the dry as you gradually turn the bowl. It’s a folding motion you’re shooting for, not a stirring motion. When dough begins to gather, use a plastic bowl scraper to gently knead the dough into a ball shape. If there is still a lot of loose flour in the bottom of the bowl, drizzle in a bit more cream, a teaspoon at a time, until the dough comes together.
  7. Transfer the dough ball to a generously floured board. Pat dough into a 6- by 14-inch rectangle.
  8. Now the fun part. Please refer to the photos on the original recipe site for reference. Cut the rectangle into 12 equal pieces. Brush with cream. Sprinkle streusel on 6 pieces. Flip a non-streuseled piece onto a streuseled piece and continue to build the layers. It’s easiest to transfer the layers to the pan in sections. Lay them in the pan, like a sideways lasagna. Continue layering until fully assembled. Brush top with cream and sprinkle with sugar. (Note: I didn’t end up using all of the streusel.)
  9. Bake on the center rack for about 50 minutes, covering with aluminum foil of the final 10 minutes. Loaf is done when a cake tester comes out clean. Make sure to poke it into a cake layer and not a streusel layer.
  10. Let cool 15 minutes and serve warm. Either rip the bread apart with your hands or cut into slices.

*Recipe adapted from Cinnamon Scone Bread*

The Best Vegan* Macaroni and Cheese Ever

I don’t maintain a strictly vegan diet, but copious amounts of dairy upsets my stomach. As you can imagine, that makes it challenging to satisfy my mac & cheese craving. I’ve tried numerous vegan mac & cheese recipes over the years, and this one is the only one I’ll eat. I like it because it doesn’t call for nutritional yeast, which I’ve never been crazy about.

Here’s the deal: While this doesn’t taste exactly like mac & cheese, it 100% fulfills my mac & cheese craving. I’ve served it to plenty of non-vegans and no one has ever been disappointed.

*Asterisk included because I make mine with real butter. It can easily be made entirely vegan if you use margarine or Earth Balance though.


  • 4 quarts of water
  • 8 ounces macaroni
  • 2 slices of bread, toasted and torn into pieces
  • 1 tablespoon + 1/3 cup butter (or a vegan alternative)
  • 2 tablespoons shallots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup red or yellow potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1/4 cup carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1/3 cup onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup raw cashews
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper


  1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add macaroni and cook until al dente. In a colander, drain pasta and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
  2. In a food processor, make breadcrumbs by pulverizing the toasted bread and 1 tablespoon butter to a medium-fine texture. Set aside.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a saucepan, add shallots, potatoes, carrots, onion, and water, and bring to a boil. Cover the pan and simmer for 15 minutes, or until vegetables are very soft.
  4. In a food processor, process the cashews, salt, garlic, 1/3 cup butter, mustard, lemon juice and black pepper. Add softened vegetables and cooking water to the food processor and process until smooth.
  5. In a large bowl, toss the cooked pasta and blended “cheese” sauce until completely coated. Spread mixture into a 9 x 13 baking dish, sprinkle with prepared breadcrumbs. Bake for 30 minutes or until the cheese sauce is bubbling and the top has turned golden brown.

*Recipe adapted from Veg News*

Zucchini Lasagna Boats


Serves 2.


  • 2 medium zucchinis, sliced in half lengthwise
  • 1/2 cup ricotta
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan
  • A couple tablespoons marinara sauce
  • 5-10 mini mozzarella balls, sliced thinly
  • A couple basil leaves, sliced
  • A couple tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
  2. Using a spoon, scoop out the insides of the zucchini, leaving about a 1/4-inch. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix the ricotta, 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan and Italian seasoning.
  4. Brush both sides of your zucchini halves with olive oil and place side by side in a 9 x 9 inch baking dish.
  5. Scoop your ricotta mixture into the zucchini halves and top with salt and pepper. Top with marina sauce.
  6. Cover with tin foil and bake for 30 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven and place mozzarella slices on top. Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan and put it back in the oven for 5-10 minutes, until mozzarella is melted and zucchini is tender.
  8. Remove from oven and top with sliced basil.

Bakery Style Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies

Makes about 18 cookies.

Ingredients: Screen Shot 2016-03-08 at 1.56.20 PM

  • 2 cups + 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ sticks (6 oz) butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1½ cups dark chocolate chips
  • ½ cup chopped pecans


  1. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cornstarch, and salt. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, beat together the cooled melted butter and the sugars for about one minute. Then, add in the eggs and vanilla extract. Beat until just combined.
  3. Slowly add in the dry ingredients and mix briefly, just until there are no flour clumps left. Fold in the chocolate chips and pecans.
  4. Cover and refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes to an hour.
  5. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and preheat the oven to 325 degrees, making sure you have the racks in the middle of the oven.
  6. Scoop ¼ cup of cookie dough at a time and roll into balls. Then, tear the balls in half by pulling gently on both sides. Smush the two halves together again, but this time have the lumpy, torn sides face upward. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, making sure the cookies have plenty of space to spread.
  7. Bake for about 14 minutes, rotating half-way through, or until the cookies have spread out and the edges are golden, but the center of the cookie still looks soft and just slightly under-cooked. Let cool on the baking sheets until the cookies are firm enough to remove.

*Recipe adapted from Host the Toast


Vegetable Sandwich with Dill Spread

Makes 4 sandwichesIMG_6160


For the dill spread:

  • 1/2 cup whipped cream cheese
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • 1 to 1.5 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1.5 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
  • fresh cracked pepper

For the sandwich:

(All measurements are approximate, as different sized bread requires different amounts. You get the idea though.)

  • ~2 tomatoes, sliced
  • ~1 avocado, sliced
  • ~1/4 red onion, sliced
  • ~1/2 cucumber, sliced
  • ~2-3 radishes, sliced
  • 4 slices Provolone
  • 4 leaves romaine lettuce
  • 8 slices good quality bread (I used onion foccacia bread here)
  • Salt + pepper to taste


  • Add all the ingredients for the dill spread to a food processor and blend until smooth.
  • Smear dill spread onto each slice of bread. Top with lettuce, Provolone, tomatoes, a sprinkling of salt and pepper, cucumber, onion, radishes and avocado. Cover with the remaining four slices of bread.

*Recipe adapted from Food & Wine*