Category Archives: Cookies

Lola’s of Littleton on Best Candy List

LolasSugarRush-capTravel & Leisure magazine’s recent selection of “America’s Best Candy Shops” included Lola’s Sugar Rush of Littleton. If I lived anywhere near there, I might be haunting this cheerful shop at 2490 West Main Street. Here’s what this prestigious national magazine published about what they call “a shrine to sweets” — largely nostalgic old-timey sweets, really:

Lola’s Sugar Rush, Littleton, CO

“Perhaps it was inevitable that a woman whose nickname is Sugar would open a shrine to sweets.”  About 200 glass jars line the shelves of Lola Salazar’s fanciful pink and white boutique. “We serve every single customer, and we welcome them and tell them how it works. We want to make sure everyone who walks through the door has personal assistance,” she explains. Besides the gummies, jelly beans, and other bulk candies in the jars, the store sells nearly 900 types of novelty and retro treats like candy cigarettes, Astro Pops, and Sky Bars, as well as ice cream and cookies.”

Beaver Creek’s Cookie Contest

Beaver Creek selects this season’s official chocolate chip cookie.

Beaver Creek ResoBeaverCreek-logort opened on November 26 with 589 acres of terrain, six feet of snow in November and the new Centennial Express combination gondola/chairlift.  But for chocolate chip cookie addicts, perhaps the best part was the afternoon taste-testing of 5,000 cookies at the 11th annual World’s Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Competition.

Cookie bakers submitted their entries to Beaver Creek Resort Company back in October, and the five finalists were chosen by local judges. Entries came from all over Colorado plus Texas, California, Wisconsin, Georgia, Oregon and elsewhere. Conveniently, the finalists all came from Colorado, because each one had to bake 1,000 cookies to be judged. Finalists were Lori Lavicka of Avon, Cassie Sewell of Eagle, Kristen Gorrell of Gypsum, Hannah Bailey of Lone Tree, and Julianna Kopec of Avon. After sampling all of the cookies, guests had the opportunity to vote on their favorite recipe. Kristen Gorrell and her “baker’s Dozen” recipe took home the top honors and $1,000.

Her recipe is the new “official” Beaver Creek cookie for the season. Second place winner, Hannah Bailey won third place and $750 for “Hannah’s Mile High Chocolate Morsels,” and third place winner, Julianna Kopec  took home $500 for “Cookies of Prey.” Fourth place recipient, Lori Lavicka’s “2015 Champion Chip Cookie” earned her two tickets to Dancing Like Pros Live performance at the Vilar Performing Arts Center, and fifth place netted Cassie Sewell two tickets to the Cirque Mechanics Pedal Punk at the Vila for her Cassie’s World Class Chocolate Chip Cookies.”

Beaver Creek's signature daily cookie service begins on day one of the ski season.
Beaver Creek’s signature daily cookie service begins on day one of the ski season.

Cookie Time is Beaver Creek’s guest service program daily at 3 p.m. when Cookie Time chefs in chef whites serve warm, fresh, chocolate chip cookies on silver trays.  The tradition started in 1985 and evolved into the cookie competition in 2004 providing opening day guests with a village celebration. More than 500,000 cookies are served annually and the new Beaver Creek Cookie & Crepe Company, located by Beaver Creek Lodge, now allows guests to purchase their favorite Beaver Creek cookies to take home  or to their resort accommodations.  

Kristen Gorrell’s Baker’s Dozen Cookies

Ingredients:
2 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 cup unsalted butter, partially melted
3/4 cup granulated white sugar
1/2 cup tightly packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons additional brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 egg yolk
1 1/2 cups  semi-sweet chocolate chips

Beaver Creek did not provide baking instructions, but typically all ingredients are combined (I’m guessing first dry ingredients, then butter, then sugars followed by eggs and finally chips). The dough is dropped in balls about two inches apart on cookie sheets often lined with parchment. Without instructions, I’m mystified by the divided brown sugar, but perhaps you will figure that out and post a comment. Bake at 350 to 375 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes until the edges begin to brown and crisp. Remove to a wire rack to cool slightly. Devour.

Cheese Importers: A Place for Foodies

Cheese, tabletop items and more in historic Longmont utility building

P1050018Longmont’s Cheese Importers was located originally in a warehouse not far from the railroad tracks. It’s a good thing that they moved to the repurposed history electric company building on the south end of Main Street, because it’s likely that their old location was flood during the Big Rains.

Long before it was repurposed to house a gourmet cheese emporium, this building was the home of Longmont's municipal electrical utility.
Long before it was repurposed to house a gourmet cheese emporium, this building was the home of Longmont’s municipal electrical utility.

The current Cheese Importers is a European-style marketplace that is heaven for foodies in general and cheese lovers in particular. This family-owned business boasts Colorado’s largest refrigerated cheese sales room. Artisinal cheeses from all over, plus salume, an olive bar and assorted condiments that need to be cool are on display there. Many are available for tasting, and once I tasted, I wanted to be one of everything, as well as the items above, below and next to what I had tried. I wanted one of everything. And the charming Bistrot des Artistes serves lunch and dinner in the European manner. Another large room displays colorful tabletop items, linens, accessories and books. I wanted a lot of those items as well. Self-restraint was required.

Cheese of all sorts -- 350 varieties, in fact -- are sold in the refrigerated retail area called La Fromagerie.
Cheese of all sorts — 350 varieties, in fact — are sold in the refrigerated retail area called La Fromagerie.
The olive bar and its temptations.
The olive bar and its temptations.
Although Cheese Importers does not do its own baking, a bakery counter sells terrific pastries and other baked goods.
Although Cheese Importers does not do its own baking, a bakery counter sells terrific pastries and other baked goods.
Charming and colorful outdoor seating in the back of the old power plant building underscore the transition.
Charming and colorful outdoor seating in the back of the old power plant building dramatize the transition.

Cheese Importers is open daily at 103 Main Street, Longmont; 303-772-9599.

New York Cronut Craze Spreads West

Hybrid sweet puts SoHo bakery on the map & The Broadmoor leaps on the bandwagon

French-born, French-trained pastry chef Dominique Ansel traveled the world opening outposts of Fauchon, the ne plus ultra of French pastry, and then spent six years as the executive pastry chef at Daniel, a culinary mecca in New York. Earlier this year, he was a finalist for James Beard Outstanding Pastry Chef honors. With such sterling credentials, he opened Dominique Ansel Bakery in the oh-so-trendy SoHo district of lower Manhattan, where he created the “Cronut,” a hybrid of a croissant and a donut. Each of these addictive sweets is made with thin sheets of pastry that are layered like croissants and fried like donuts, then dipped in sugar and filled with a sweet cream. And yes, there’s a hole in the middle.

Cronut

Ansel introduced Cronuts on May 10 of this year. The date might eventually be sanctified as National Cronut Day, as they went viral in Manhattan, where cutting edge can devolve into passé in a very short time. While riding the Cronut crest, the bakery was sporting lines up to two hours before opening. After all, they only bake 200 a day for the retail trade. Scalpers soon occupied the head of the morning line, buying the limit of two Cronuts for $5 each and reselling them for $20 apiece.

The name Cronut has been trademarked, so that when The Broadmoor’s executive baker, Johann Willar, heard about it, began experimenting with it at a considerably higher elevation than Manhattan and finally came up with a rendition that he liked, he called it The Broadmoor Donut. It debuted earlier this month in two flavors, raspberry and cinnamon. The process is so labor-intensive that he makes just 24 a day, which are available in the Café Julie and at Espresso’s. The price is $5 per donut, the same price as in New York at Dominque Ansel Bakery. But unlike at the birthplace of the Cronut, there have not as yet been reports of anyone scalping the sweet treat in Colorado Springs.

The Broadmoor Donut, Colorado version of the Cronut.
The Broadmoor Donut, Colorado version of the Cronut.

I’m not kidding when I describe this phenomenon as a craze. It’s been Tweeted, Facebooked and even has its own online site.

Oaxaca in the Roaring Fork Valley

Aspen’s Zocalito is restaurant, rum bar, chile purveyor and more

ZocalitoTo Aspenites and visitors hungry for south-of-the-border fare, Zocalito Bistro on the Hyman Street Mall exerts a magnetic pull whether for drinks and tapas, dinner or dessert. Cookbook aficionados page through Zocalito To the Source, a beautiful cookbook sprinkled with favorite recipes. To replicate Zocalito’s recipes, home cooks stock up on dried Oaxacan chiles, imported from Mexico ad not Oaxacan in name only.The restaurant and chile purveyor has a website page that is labeled “Oaxacan Travel,” which is a blog about the owners’ travels to Mexico.P1020098

Describing their quest for special chiles to import, chef Mike Beary wrote about “Finding the Rare Chilhuacle Chiles for Importation” on the restaurant’s blog:

“As we pulled through the gate to Felix’s house I couldn’t help wondering what his wife was fixing us for dinner. After all, we had arrived in Cuicatlan barely 24 hours ago and only met Felix early this morning. Now, after spending eight hours with him in his fields, where he was growing the most beautiful chilhuacle chiles I’d ever seen, Felix didn’t hesitate to invite perfect strangers into his home. We piled out of Roberto’s Suburban very hungry– it was 3 p.m., and we hadn’t eaten anything since breakfast. Then it hit me. The aroma pouring out of the kitchen meant one thing: mole negro!”

I have never been to the restaurant, and I don’t own the cookbook, but I did receive a package of chiles that I’m eager to try. It came with recipes, and I’ve also been perusing other cookbooks for a model recipe in which to use robust Chihluacles chiles, both black and red, that Zocalito imports and distributes.
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Zocalito Latin Bistro on Urbanspoon

On Making a Major Mess Instead of Pretty Pecan Tart

Putting a pecan pie filling into a tart shell was a “merry” big mistake

Drawing: Jupiter Images

I’ve often written about my proclivity for combining and changing recipes. They usually turn out all right. Not so with my planned Christmas Eve dessert, a pecan tart that became a pecan disaster — and this time I had followed the recipe meticulously. That’ll teach me! Only difference (and it turned out to be major one) was that I used a fluted tart shell with a removable bottom instead of a pie plate, and that was a major mistake. I have shared recipe successes here, so now comes the sequence of events that resulted in failure:

We had a bag of shelled pecans, purchased for a pie the my husband had talked about making. We also had an unopened bottle of dark corn syrup but no light corn syrup at all. When I took back the Christmas Eve dessert making, I was naturally going to make pecan something — and the something I wanted to make was a tart, not a pie. I figured I’d just make a tart shell and fill it with a pie filling.

Problem was, I could only find recipes using light syrup, so  I resorted to the one on the back of the dark ssyrup bottle. I followed it to the letter, made the recommended altitude adjustments, poured it carefully into the tart shell and put it in the oven. Then, sniff, sniff, what’s burning? Turned out that the filling — the goopy, sweet, syrupy filling was oozing over the tart shell, sometimes under the shell and sometimes over the rim and directly onto the bottom of the oven. Glad it’s self-cleaning.

Ready for the oven and looking good.

I took it out and set it on a rack to cool. The top soon hardened into toffee. About two-thirds of the tart looked OK, with the rest a mess. I thought I might be able to cut into squares or diamonds, but they crumbled. In the end, I cut the remainder of the original into thin wedges, and I hustled to make some emergency sugar cookies to fill in  –and also wonderful guests brought cream puffs and biscotti.

Avert your eyes if you don’t want to look at a painful sight. The lower part of this picture shows where the gooey tart filling leaked under the crust and over the edge, and then disintegrated completely when I tried to lift the tart out of the fluted pan. If I didn’t have a self-cleaning oven, I’d still be working on it.

For the record, I did Google “pecan pie, troubleshooting” — finding many sites diagnosing various things that could go wrong with pecan tarts, but nothing to remedy my mess at that late stage and all too late to solve my pecan tart dilemma.

‘Fresh Mouth’ a Family Food Blog Worth Reading

Boulder family documents its shift in eating from “ordinary” to selling at the farmers’ market

A few weeks ago I bought some lettuce starts and four tomato plants at the Boulder County Farmers’ Market. I bought one tomato plant from Patrick, a precocious and articulate lad of 9 who is also an  enthusiastic backyard farmer in a Boulder subdivision. I put in the tomatoes and surrounded them with walls of water that have so far protected them. I also stuffed into a wallet a bright card featuring a caricature of a family of five amid by plants and the words, “Fresh Mouth – Boulder, CO – familyfresh.blogspot.com”.

Today, as I finally pulled a bunch of receipts that I’d stuffed into my wallet, I found the card. Of course, I went to the Fresh Mouth blog and am quite enchanted by what I read. Right under the drawing, Eileen and Dirk, explain their blog:  “FRESH MOUTH is about one family. A dingy American diet. How we try to feed ourselves without mutiny, bankruptcy, Red Dye #40 or sounding like total locabores.” I love that, so I went back to their first post, written on February 8, 2008:

Our family diet was in trouble when the exchange rate for eating a single blueberry was four gummy frogs. One bite and an actual swallow of broccoli netted a heaping bowl of strawberry ice cream for our four- and six-year-old boys.

We’ve decided to do an experiment and teach the kids about healthy eating and real, whole food as a way of life and not as a means to scoring sugar. Our 10-month old son is motivation, too. He’s on the cusp of eating real foods, and we want to sustain his untainted palate for as long as possible.
. . .
And as a requiem to all of our lost foods and our kid favorite – the chicken nugget- we offer “Nugget o’ the Day” on each post. Those little nuggets of goodness that happen when you change the diet of a family of five.”

Four years and a couple of months and many posts later (with great photographs and recipes), they opened a family stand at the farmers’ market.  Remarkable!