I contemplate daily the type of home cook I am. More so, what type of website and business I am presenting to the public. Is it one of theory or feeling? In cooking both exist. In creation both exist. You can’t have one without the other. The best idea for me is to not choose; to embrace and continue to grow in both aspects. My recipes are where theory, tradition, and true identity meet. There are equal amounts of ratios and relationships in my cooking. I didn’t go to cooking school. I was raised cooking in a church kitchen and growing up at the welcoming sides of my parents and other adults I strained my neck to look up at.
I watched Lady Betty running her restaurant as I patiently took in the smells and sounds and waited for a taste of ice cream with my cousins during her breaks. Aunties taught me how to cut garlic and onions without shedding a teardrop. Mother Hester gave me my first bread baking class and opened my mind to cooking for large groups catering style. Mother Walker and my cousin Dalerie reminded me how to exude confidence in self and skill; and that the best cooks never hide their sass and wit. Sister Earline showed me how to be tender with a meatloaf but take no shit in the kitchen. Sister Barbara displayed examples of kindness while cooking; sharing stories to pass the time while properly cleaning chicken. My Uncle’s taught me how to fry chicken and BBQ- as they smirked with a cool beer and chanted “tender as a mother’s love” when the ribs were just right. Grandma reminded me to trust the nature of good and healthy ingredients. Dad taught me to embrace “test kitchens”; some things will be successes others will need work. Mom reminds me of style, culture, and inspiration beyond the recipe and never fails to give me honest feedback and send me new literature to broaden my knowledge. All that cooking with love nurtured me and my interests and I hope I have many opportunities to do the same for others.
Over the past few weeks I have been on a baking frenzy, creating holiday inspired goods. My boyfriend jokes that every time he walks into the kitchen it seems he finds a new dessert on display. One recipe that I was most proud of this week are these Christmas themed cookies. There’s a little bit of Christmas in each bite and the vibrant colors effortlessly add to the holiday aesthetic. This recipe makes about 16 cookies per color.
Red Velvet Ingredients:
- All-purpose flour (1 1/2 cup)
- Cocoa powder (4 teaspoons)
- Baking soda (1/2 teaspoon)
- Salt (1/4 teaspoon)
- Unsalted butter (1/2 cup, softened)
- Granulated sugar (1/2 cup)
- Light Brown sugar (1/4 cup)
- Egg (1, large to extra large)
- Red Food Coloring ( 2 teaspoons) * will repeat all the ingredient prep with Green food coloring (2 teaspoons)
- Vanilla Extract ( 1 1/2 teaspoon)
- Milk Chocolate Chips (1/3 cup)
- Jumbo White Chocolate Chips or your favorite Hershey kiss candies ( 1/3 cup) * set aside a handful of jumbo chips for toppings after baking
- Peppermint candy pieces/candy canes (1/3 cup, assorted crushed/cracked shapes- do not over crush into powder) * set aside a little extra for toppings after baking
Red Velvet Instructions:
- In a medium bowl mix together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.
- In another bowl with a hand or stand mixer cream together butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar.
- Add an egg, vanilla, and red food coloring.
- Come the flour mixture from your first bowl to the red mixture.
- Fold in chocolate chips and peppermint.
- Cover bowl and chill your first batch of dough for 30 mins – 2 hours.
- While the red velvet cookie dough is chilling you can prepare the green velvet dough.
- Repeat above ingredient steps for Green Velvet Cookie Batch while Red Velvet dough chills.
- Pre-heat oven to 350°.
- Scoop dough out or roll into desired shape and place on cookie sheet. The larger the ball the larger the cookie. If hand rolling a measurement tip to achieve at least a dozen cookies per batch is about 2 – 2 1/2 tablespoons worth of dough per cookie.
- Bake cookies for 10 mins.
- Remove cookies from the oven and gently press some of the jumbo chips and crushed peppermint into the cookies.
- While Red Velvet cookies cooling with toppings repeat steps for green velvet cookies.