Every baker should have an ace in the hole. For me, that never-failing treasure is my Drunk Blonde, a whiskey-soaked butterscotch blondie. Blondies can be pretty bland, but these guys pack a punch: you better eat your share before putting them out on a a platter, because people act like hawks around these things. There’s a whole lot to like about the Drunk Blonde, but what wins me over is the lack of leavening. So many blondies aren’t much more than glorified chocolate chip cookies, and have a fluffy, cakey texture. These bare-bones blondies, lacking any leavening at all, are gooey to the point of being almost fudge-like, with the alcohol adding an extra richness. I’ve made this recipe several times, and it’s impossible to mess up. Each result has been more delicious than the last.
First of all, you’ll have to pardon the bad photography of these scrumptious lemon bars — in my hurry to get them into my mouth, I didn’t much bother with taking a nice photo or two. Trust me when I say that these have the potential to look much more beautiful than they do.
Full disclosure: if I have to choose between a brownie or a lemon bar, I’m going to pick the brownie every time. But it’s summer, and today something heavy and chocolatey just didn’t sound right. While taking my dog outside this morning, I noticed our Meyer lemon tree had two lemons left. I knew instantly what baking I wanted to do.
This recipe is really easy; I barely glanced at the recipe as I threw it all together, because the steps are really that simple. The end result is much more than the sum of its parts: for something seemingly so basic, the flavor is robust, sweet, and only a little bit tart. Not to brag, but both my father and the guy I’m dating (okay, admittedly not the most objective audience) said they were the best lemon bars they’d ever eaten. Even the brownie lover in me has to admit: this was just the right dessert for such a hot summer day.
I’m almost tempted to simply say, “Presented without comment: Sables Korova.” Some things are just so good that words will never be enough, and if any cookie is that outstanding, it’s these.
I’m not much of a fan of sugar cookies. I don’t think most people lose their minds over sugar cookies, really. And at a glance, these look like your standard sugar cookies, but with chocolate. When I had wrapped some up to give to a friend, she looked at them in their cellophane bag and thought I was handing her dry, mediocre store-boughts. I don’t think she was all too thrilled about eating them. That is until she took her first bite.
These cookies are alternately known around the Internet as World Peace Cookies, because if everybody could just eat them, we’d all chill out and war would be a thing of the past. Sound like a stretch? I also call these the Crack Cookies, after giving them to another friend and seeing him wander down the hall in a daze, wondering out loud to no one in particular, “What is in these cookies? Crack?” If you don’t like making light of drug use, these can just as fairly be called the Headache Cookies, since my dad once ate so many in one sitting that he gave himself a migraine.
These sandy, buttery little morsels are sitting next to me as I type, and I’m nearly getting a high from just their smell. There’s little that is more irresistible in this world than double chocolate — I’m having a very hard time not shoveling these things in my mouth by the fistful.
Now that I think about it, I’m reticent to call these World Peace Cookies. I’m pretty sure a war could break out over them.
For a very long time, if a muffin didn’t have chocolate in it, then I considered it a waste of my time. While it was hard to go wrong with a muffin top no matter the ingredients, the puffy little cakes struck me as uninspired, pedestrian. If I was going to a cafe for breakfast, I was going to go big: chocolate croissant, brownie, cinnamon roll, not some lumpy, fruity, frequently stale ball of dough.
I can’t pinpoint when exactly the tides changed. I know that when I was trying to eat a little healthier, I went from one extreme to the other, switching out my chocolate chip cappuccino muffins for raisin bran. For a while I force-fed myself the things, but over time there was a shift in me. Now I want my muffins stuffed full of berries, be they raspberries or strawberries or cranberries or, best of all, blueberries.
This recipe makes fluffy, light, and not-too-sweet muffins that go well with a creamy latte or a hot cup of chai. Not only are they low in fat, but they’re low in calories, too (approximately), meaning you could easily eat two or three in a sitting without it being a diet buster. Calories aside, I won’t extol the health virtues of this muffin, since you’d have to be living under a nutritional rock to be unaware of all the benefits of blueberries. The most important thing, after all, is the flavor. (In the end, a food can be the healthiest thing in the world and not be worth eating because of a foul taste. I’m looking at you, natto.) Even my younger sister, who is an extraordinarily picky eater, was happy to get her nosh on with these muffins. If you like a subtle sweetness and a burst of fruit flavor, these muffins are more than worth a shot.