May Flowers

One of the best parts about living in Northern California in the spring is…the spring!

Having lived in South Florida for most of my life, I am more acquainted with the Floridian four “seasons:” Hot, Hellish, Hurricane, and Slightly Cool Sometimes. But here? I’m happy to say that I slept with my window open and woke up to the sound of birds chirping, while the scent of flowers wafted in on the breeze.

Fields and fields of flowers…

Oh  yes…did I mention the flowers? I love flowers. Roses. Orchids. Baby’s Breath, even. The little Dutch girl in me goes mad every time I see a tulip. And then there are the birds of paradise.

The coolest flowers pretty much…ever.

Amazing. Unique. Perfect. While winter is undisputedly my favorite season, April showers and (almost) May flowers make spring my close second.

And with spring also comes some equally amazing and unique produce…which, of course, it would be a culinary sin to leave out from any spring cookie recipe. Produce like rhubarb.

Never heard of it? Don’t worry: I hadn’t either; at least not until I first came upon the strange pink stalks at a New York City farmer’s market a few years ago. The stalks are the only edible portion of the plant (the leaves, however, will kill you…), and when reduced to a gel in an oven along with a little strawberry, sugar, and cornstarch or flour, they produce an absolutely delicious sweetly tart filling that’s perfect for pies, crumbles, crisps, and…cookies!

I came up with these cookies back in NYC, after my rhubarb discovery. They are based on a Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble, which means that they have a brown sugar and (vegan) butter crumble on the top. They have a tendency to spread while baking, so I like to make them in mini-muffin tins–but don’t be fooled when they look more like tarts than cookies! The strawberry rhubarb filling just adds a great level of flavor and consistency to an already awesome sugar cookie, and the crumble is an added bonus.

Rhubarb season, like those perfect spring days on which I have time to bake with it, is short-lived. But man, oh, man, if you can get your hands on a stalk or two, do NOT pass up the opportunity.

YUM.

Love and cookies,

KP

Cockadoodledo!

I’ll be honest, I haven’t much felt like baking cookies lately. In fact, I haven’t been near my oven in two weeks. I’ve also been rather down in the dumps (which is silly, because I live on a freaking mountain–how can anyone rightfully claim to be sad when she lives on a mountain??).

I realized that I would need a little kick to get out of my funk and back into the kitchen. And that kick delivered itself in the form of sriracha.

Food porn. Yes, I said it.

If you’re not familiar with sriracha (or colloquially referred to as “rooster sauce”–because of the picture on the bottle of the most famous brand, not because it’s made with rooster, you silly geese!), you need to immediately find yourself a Vietnamese restaurant, have a bowl of pho, and fix that. I’m one of the crazy ones who believes that food isn’t spicy unless it makes you cry, so sriracha is my magic go-to sauce at ethnic restaurants when the waiters think that the pasty Dutch-American girl really only meant to make her order “spicy.” Well, hold the air quotes, I say, because a dash, a dollop, or a heaping quarter cup of this stuff quickly restores the dish to its sweat-and-pain-inducing glory, exactly as it should be.

So what does this have to do with cookies? Well, I’ve been feeling uninspired, and so I figured it was time to think outside of the box. My friend Alex had mentioned the peanut and sriracha combination several months ago, and I figured that now would be the best time to experiment.

I bought a bottle of sriracha (and this brand is vegan, although next time I’d like to go all Bonzai Aphrodite and just make my own all natural sauce) and had Whole Foods grind me some raw peanut butter (and trust me, you can taste the difference when it’s raw and freshly ground. Although again, next time, I’m looking forward to doing it myself instead of expensively–though more conveniently–outsourcing the job) and set to work.

Oil free and freshly ground? Yes PLEASE.

In under 25 minutes, I had concocted a perfectly balanced blend of sweetness and spice, perfectly moist and with a warm heat that creeps up and hits you at the very end. These little “Rooster Cookies” were most definitely a surprising success.

But the most surprising part about these cookies was the response. I’m known for pushing the boundaries on my cookie flavors (garlic hazelnut cookies, anyone?), but I was honestly concerned about how these cookies would be received.

Sharing is caring.

The vast majority of my coworkers who braved the break-room caution sign came back with rave reviews–only a few were a bit skeptical, but mainly because they just weren’t sure how to “contextualize” the sensation, as my friend Amir put it.

These cookies were definitely the kick I needed to get my day going and get my back in the kitchen–a proverbial rooster crow to kick the morning off right.

The proud parents pose for a family portrait with their deliciously spicy offspring!

Love and Cookies,

KP

Another Day Without Cookies…

Unfortunately, I don’t have any cookies for you today.

Again. I know.

Blame a six day stretch at work, laziness, or the fact that I haven’t found a good vegan sriracha recipe I want to try. (And I’m going to leave it at that so you can stew in the suspense of what kind of cookie could possibly taste good while laced with sriracha…)

But I thought you could all use a little update on life. And cookie trucks.

Mainly cookie trucks.

Because that’s what I’ve decided I’d like to do. Drive a cookie truck, that is. Because you cannot believe how incredibly cool and exciting the Bay Area food truck community is. I’ve spent the last couple of months getting to know as much as I can about the food trucks and the food truck organizations and personalities in the area–and I’m seeing a serious lack of vegan cookies.

But they DO have a karaoke ice cream truck...and that's all kinds of AMAZING.

So I’ve started doing the research, and, besides the fact that it’s going to be exponentially more financially difficult to start up than just a regular ol’ farmers market type business, it’s the best route to take for growth, versatility, and exposure.

My goal is to spend some more time getting to know the Bay Area food truck world and to start building a business plan that will help me conquer the cupcakes, one cookie at a time.

If you’d like to support my efforts, you can always donate at my GoFundMe page (&, trust me, every single penny is appreciated!!).

So there’s that. Until next time, you can find me at the Moveable Feast,

Love & Cookies,

KP

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A Blogger’s Lament

I remember a time when I was good at keeping up with a blog.

It was easy: the content was available, the time was plenty, and the schedule was actually mandated by my employer. (I think that last part helped the most.)

I was writing for the Columbia Arts Initiative blog, and I was seeing 3-4 pieces of theatre a week–and on weeks when I saw less, I was being sent by the CUAI to various events around the city to review. Blogging was a piece of cake.

And then I started a blog about baking (speaking of cake).

I read a lot of baking blogs. A LOT. And the one thing that goes through my mind consistently as I flit from blog to blog, recipe to recipe, is: “How the hell do these women have the time or money to come up with a new recipe, write about it, and still have a life and/or a job and/or a family every single day?” I am confuzzled. (Which is like being confused, but cuter.)

I work in retail. That means that my schedule is dictated by the mall’s hours, the demands of the store, and the season, as well as the availability of my coworkers. That means that my wallet is often only as full as paying off my college loans and my car and my gas and my monthly expenses will allow. That means sometimes I work “clopeners” and get a few hours of sleep (and blog reading time) in between night and morning shifts. That means that I can’t always afford to have a batch of Garlic and Hazelnut cookies in the oven.

But, for all of my complaining, there are women (and men!) out there who somehow manage to keep up with their cooking blogs on a usually-daily basis–despite the fact that they have children and jobs and sometimes even reasons to leave their houses that don’t involve running errands. So I’m going to work on that.

I may not always have another cookie recipe for you, but I’m going to do my darndest to keep you up to date on the growth and development of KP’s Cookies…

So look forward to more. I’ll be here, ready and waiting for ya!

Love & Cookies,

KP

PS If any bloggers out there want to share some tips on blogging time management, I’m all ears. Or eyes, I suppose, if you reply in the comments section…

Persian Love Cookies!

I find this hard to believe, but it’s been over a month since last I blogged. I’m sorry to have left you cookie lovers hanging, but I’m back, and I’m going to do my best to get back into the kitchen for you!

Before we get into the meat of today’s post (get it? Meat? On a vegan blog? Shenanigans!), I just wanted to give you a little insight into my disappearance and the progress of KP ‘s Cookies: the last month(+) has been a little hectic because of my retail job; the post-holiday kibosh on my customers’ spending has been lifted, and so I’ve been dedicating a little more time and energy to the job that’s putting food on the table and cookies in the oven. And speaking of ovens, all of the commercial kitchens I’ve been exploring are either out of my current financial league, or else unable to partner with me for one reason or another. My GoFundMe account is still active, if anyone wants to help me make a push toward affording those services–without a kitchen, I can’t go ahead and apply for my liability insurance or health permits, and without those, there’s no need for the business license, because I won’t be allowed to operate.

I have still been baking (for proof, check out my friend Amir’s blog), and beside the old standards (Divine Vegan Chocolate Chip, anyone?) I’ve put together a few new recipes, like my absolutely irresistible Meyer Lemon Shortbread cookies, which came to be when one of my managers brought in a bag of lemons picked fresh from the lemon tree in her backyard.

Meyer Lemon Shortbread Cookies

Today’s recipe, however, draws its inspiration from a far less local source: the Persian love cake. Back in the summer of 2009, I discovered the recipe for the Persian love cake, and knew instantly that, should I ever get married, it would be the cake featured at my wedding.

A cake I baked (and tried to decorate) for the Palm Beach Shakespeare Festival in 2009. The top layer was a Persian Love Cake!

And before I go any further, I should state that this isn’t a wedding announcement for myself–because the only thing I’m wedded to is my job, and the only child I intend to have has floppy ears and four paws–but the cookies that follow were developed to celebrate someone else’s engagement!

A few days ago, my friend Dana went on a cruise…and as soon. As she disembarked, I received a fairly mysterious voice message: “Call me back. I have news!” Assuming that she hadn’t won the Mega Millions while off at sea, I indeed called her back–and found out that her long-time boyfriend had proposed on the ship. So, I decided to write a cookie recipe in honor of Dana’s big step closer to a life of wedded bliss.

The Persian Love Cake is a chiffon cake spiced with cardamom, iced with rosewater frosting, and garnished with pistachios. It’s bliss in cake form. I set out to recreate it, and came up with this:

Persian Love Cookies

The Persian Love Cookie is a cardamom and pistachio shortbread with a rosewater and lime frosting. It’s light but bold, and has a taste unlike any you might have encountered.

I’m so excited to share these with Dana, and with all of you. They’re just one more reason to #savethecookies!

On that note: I’ve decided that, ultimately, I’d like to join the growing ranks of Food Truckers in the Bay Area. I went to my first Moveable Feast last week, and I can’t wait to participate in more. I’m also hoping to check out Edgewood Eats in Palo Alto, and I’d really like to get up to San Fran for a couple of Off the Grids. All of the food trucks around here have SO much personality and so many great menu items…I’m hoping that someday very soon I can join their ranks.

The future home of the future KP’s Cookies Truck…

That’s why I HAVE to get KP’s Cookies off of the ground as quickly as possible–the sooner that I make the cookies’ presence known at farmers markets around the Bay area, the sooner I can start really fundraising for the KP’s Cookies truck. I need your help to #savethecookies. It’s only if we all get together and spread the word that cookies are the true spotlight (and food truck) deserving dessert that we can take down the cupcake empire!

Love & Cookies,

KP