Saturday, March 19, 2011

Feeling Grateful (Outrageous Chocolate Butterscotch Cookies)

Outrageous Chocolate Butterscotch Chip Cookies

Thanks for your thoughtful comments on my last 2 posts mentioning the situation in Japan. Right now there's certainly no less to be concerned about than before, especially with the latest news that milk and spinach with abnormally-high levels of radiation have been found up to 90 miles from Japan's nuclear sites. But I've also noticed many positives to be found in the aftermath of this disaster.

My blogger friend E, who lives in Japan, demonstrated this in her beautiful description of the interactions around her...she saw unprecedented challenges yet not chaos but community. And here is another lovely example via my friend, Prerna. Those of us who are further away have also felt a strengthened sense of unity and compassion, as we seek to help our Japanese brothers and sisters however we can. Beyond that, the startling developments of the last week and a half have knocked many of us out of the blurry haze that had become our day-to-day. Reminded us to treasure each moment, to make time for the people and causes most dear to our hearts, and to be thankful for all the wonderful gifts in our lives.

In addition to my wonderfully supportive family and longtime friends, I've been especially grateful for the talented women and now new friends I've met recently through blogging and photography. These include lovely ladies such as Trissa (who sent me the latest issue of my favorite magazine all the way from Australia!), Sala, Lisa, and Joy. Last but definitely not least is my friend Crystal, who I met through Flickr.

As you might sense from her self-portrait above, Crystal's a sweet, gorgeous girl who adds joy to all around her through her personality and her photography. Her Flickr photostream is full of creative self-portraits as well as her adorable crafts and bento lunches. As if that weren't enough, she surprised me this winter with an adorable chocolate caramel cookie stuffed doll made just for me! I squealed when I saw her photo of it (below) and again when I got it in the mail. Wouldn't you have, too?

Cookie Toy
Photos via
CrystalHPhotos

As soon as I finished geeking out over the adorableness of her gift, my first thought was to repay Crystal for her thoughtfulness. The thing was...I can't sew (or even draw) a straight line to save my life. But baking...baking I could do. And it was easy to decide on the treat I'd make -- an edible version of my new felt friend, of course! These cookies were just what I'd wanted -- dense and fudgy, like a brownie in cookie form (based on the few I had to eat for quality control 8p). Crystal, thanks for being such a great friend even though we've never even met face-to-face. I hope these cookies make you as happy as your gift made me!

Now I'd love to hear about any unexpected acts of kindness you've performed, received, or even witnessed. And, of course, any thoughts/feelings you're having due to what's going on in Japan. Thanks to you guys, too, for being there for me. It's been an honor to "meet" you!

PS - I
finally caved and joined Twitter. Stop by and say hi!

Outrageous Fudgy Chocolate Butterscotch Chip Cookies [Printable Recipe]
Adapted from Martha Stewart
Makes 2 dozen cookies

8 ounces semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped
4 Tbsp (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
2/3 cup all purpose flour [spooned and leveled to measure]
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/3 tsp salt
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup PLUS 2 Tbsp packed light brown sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup butterscotch chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 1 or 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicon baking mats, if you have them. Heat chopped chocolate and butter in a microwave-safe bowl in 20-second intervals, stirring in between, until almost melted; do not overheat since chocolate burns easily. In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.

In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs, brown sugar, and vanilla on high speed until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low; beat in melted chocolate. Mix in flour mixture until just combined. Stir in butterscotch chips. Refrigerate the dough for about 15 minutes.

Drop heaping tablespoons of dough 2 to 3 inches apart onto baking sheets. Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until cookies are shiny and crackly yet soft in centers, about 11 to 15 minutes total. (Do NOT overbake these, as these cookies can easily become dry.) Cool on sheets 10 minutes; with a thin spatula, carefully transfer cookies to wire racks to cool completely.

53 comments:

  1. Its amazing how people we have never met become such support system for us in time of need. Sometimes I really feel blessed for being part of this wonderful blogging community. It really is such times that shake us and make us realize what really is important. The condition in Japan is as bad as it can get but the courage that people are showing is unbelievable. A friend shared with me this link http://everydayisawesome.com/?p=6966 a couple days back. Just wanted to share it with you. This letter might help you feel a little better!
    Hugs to you!

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  2. I agree completely. Your words are truley inspiring and truthful. I believe always that we should focus on the positives rather than the negatives. We always have something to be greatful for.

    My blessings go to those in natural disaster areas.

    I like the first photo, these look scrumptious!

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  3. What gorgeous cookies! They lookaddictive.

    It is always better to see the glass as half-full rather than half-empty or look on the bright side of life...

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  4. aw that's great to hear of all the good friends you have made by blogging! and i woud imagine your friend would be more than impressed by your delicious present to her!

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  5. That is the cutest cookie doll!!

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  6. p.s: it has been an absolute pleasure and so much fun knowing you!

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  7. I love butterscotch and chocolate together, they are such a great pair! These cookies look amazing Xiaolu! :)

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  8. Great post xiaolu...:) lovely looking cookies too!

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  9. One of the few heartening things that can be taken from all the tragedy that has struck Japan is the way victims and survivors have demonstrated such calm, patience, and kindness. In the face of such a disaster, it doesn't take much to imagine a much more chaotic aftermath. But the earthquake and tsunami, though tragic and devastating, also serve as great demonstrations of human strength and kindness. I can only hope that, when future disasters hit, those affected can follow the example being set today to reduce further devastation. Thanks for such a great post and recipe too!

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  10. This post got me so emotional. So beautifully put. I wanted to post the silent post for Japan, but had my server down. Praying in my heart for the healing of all those affected. i cannot even imagine the difficult times out there.

    It is blessing to be part of this community where love extends without having met physically, the connections and vibes so strong.

    as for the cookies, they are gorgeous as always!

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  11. Awesome cookies, loved the butterscotch flavor !

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  12. I always feel like the good things to come out of tragedies like these is a renewed sense of gratitude and love in the world. I know we should appreciate every day but sometimes we forget, and these events serve as a reminder.

    I swear the people I've met through the blogosphere are like no others. These cookies and that cute stuffed cookie look fabulous!

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  13. Love the cookie pillow! Totally adorable. And it's true -- one of the greatest benefits of blogging are the people you get to know. ;)

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  14. What a wonderful thank you gift :)

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  15. I agree, Japanese are strong and resilient people but let's not abandon them in such a time of need. Xiaolu, this is a lovely and humorous post. The adorable cookie pillow nonetheless and your perfect baking :)

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  16. Thanks for your lovely comments! I continue to be awed by the strength, courage, and generosity of so many around the world right now.

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  17. What a wonderful way to pay back your friend! I love reading about RAOK-it makes me so happy reading about lovely people :)

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  18. Such a lovely post!! Made me all mushy. I have met such fabulous people through blogging, it is such a great experience. Japan is on my mind and Middle East trouble is around us, it breaks my heart.

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  19. It's hard to imagine staples like milk to have that level of radation..and reading about people waiting in the longest of lines to get their food supply :(

    on the other hand, the rest of the world got to witness their unity and strength and learn from them i hope! Guess only thing we can do is pray and provide financial support to them!

    those cookies look delicious - choc + butterscotch = win!

    glad to have discovered your blog...read so your previous posts too and i'm inspired by your beautiful photos and recipes!

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  20. Beautiful post and gorgeous cookies! Welcome to Twitter!!

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  21. What a fantastic post - thanks for sharing the links to those lovely stories of human perseverance as well as the wonderful recipe!

    As for random acts of kindness, the most recent one was at the supermarket last week when I was scrambling around in my wallet for correct change to buy some milk (I didn't want to break a $100 note) - the person behind me tapped me on the shoulder and gave me coinage to make up the difference!

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  22. I finally had time to stop over your blog and I must say: Your pictures are beautiful! The chorizo frittata looks delicious even though you were not quite satiesfied with the picture. No idea why. And definately I have to try once the caramel pocorn cupcakes, the spinat feta pretzels and the salted caramel choc cake. Wow! I found your blog by accident a few days before when I was searching the internet for Infos of DMBLGIT. On the site of Andrew Barrow I read the instructions for participants and then for hosts...Quite a labour-intensive work! So, thanks a lot for hosting DMBLGIT.

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  23. It's really sad what happened to Japan - there is a very large Japanese community here in Brazil, and we are all praying for everyone there.
    These cookies are amazing, Xiaolu! You make everything look so beautiful, always!
    xx

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  24. Cute cookies...including the pillow :)

    Days before the disaster in Japan, I also heard sad news of a friend who passed on in an accident. All so sad...

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  25. i got a warm and fuzzy after reading this one. Thank yoU!

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  26. These cookies look amazing! I am humbled by everything that has gone on in Japan these past weeks and everything that has yet to happen. It is such a good reminder to hold those we love near and dear and to make sure we spend each day living fully. These cookies would certainly make my day a bit brighter!

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  27. This food community really is the best, isn't it? :)

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  28. Butterscotch was the way to go with these. Yummy! PS Welcome to twitter!

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  29. Agreed! Love this post. Counting my blessing everyday.

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  30. What a gorgeous friend you have there (and lots of lovely friends form around the globe too!). How sweet. These cookies are the perfect way to display how thankful you are :)
    Heidi xo

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  31. What a beautiful gift :) I followed you on twitter, though I am not so active now.

    The situation in Japan have demonstrated the Japanese' incredible strength and civility, they are truly a role model to everyone.

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  32. Your words make my day, literally. And of course the cookies are a bonus!

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  33. bless your heart for your contributions to the cause!
    also, butterscotch chips excite me more than they should. :)

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  34. Aw you guys are so sweet! You're the ones who make my day =D <3.

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  35. You are such a sweet and considerate gal!
    The cookies look fabulous, actually your recipes and photography are always great!

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  36. Gratitute is indeed a much needed commodity in today's society, I constantly remind myself to be grateful for what I have instead of think about what I may not...

    Fantastic looking cookies and of course love your handmade backdrop :) I would never have thought of using dark grey with chocolate!

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  37. I feel so blessed to have met you, your words of comfort and lifting have kept me "sane" and I think I was running on endorphins but I slept in till 11 am... and I normally never, ever do that... What a beautiful and tasty post = )

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  38. So glad to hear that, dear! That's what friends are for =D. I feel the same way <3.

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  39. Sips and SpoonfulsMarch 23, 2011 at 12:38 AM

    What a sweet post. Yes that's what I love about blogging. I've met some wonderful people who I've never ''met'' as such, but can call my friend. Yummy cookie...i thought they were cupcakes first :)

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  40. Hi. I'm a stylist in LA and I'm totally obsessed with your blog. I'd love if you visited my new blog for multiple posts a day on all things celebrity fashion. I just moved to California after graduating back in south with a degree in visual merchandiser and in order to get my heel in the door, I've started a celebrity fashion blog. Check out what Brad, Rachel Zoe's former associate shared with me and check out my latest trend report. I'd love the support. I'm following you, I hope you'll do the same. Thanks so much.

    www.fashboulevard.blogspot.com

    And don't forget to follow us on Twitter for all the latest celebrity fashion news, from an LA stylist.

    http://twitter.com/FashBoulevard

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  41. These cookies look to die for! I LOVE butterscotch, combining them with chocolate cookies is an excellent idea. The photos are beautiful too :)

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  42. I have a quick question, why did you call them outrageous? They look amazing by the way.

    Our hearts go out to the people who've lost friends or family in Japan, I have helped the Japanese society in my university collect donations. Every little helps!

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  43. Xiao I am so happy that I was able to meet such a beautiful and talented lady as yourself! I look forward to knowing each other for many years to come. These cookies are indeed outrageous I could eat a dozen in one sitting so thank god you don't live too close or you'd be responsible for my third ass :)

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  44. Thanks, lovelies!

    Fash Boulevard - I always check out the sites of my commenters :). Will definitely give yours a visit very soon! Thanks for following me!

    XingyMingy - Actually I admit I just took the "outrageous" moniker from Martha Stewart herself ;). I would guess they named the cookies so for being "outrageously" rich, fudgy delish!

    Joy - aw hun you're making me emotional here :). I definitely look forward to a long and wonderful friendship with you. LOL 3rd ass, first time I've heard that!

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  45. Its lovely to 'meet' so many great people in cyber space. Especially 'cause you get to meet people you already have something in common with.
    The cookies sound delectable. Yum..

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  46. You have such wonderful friends. Lovely, lovely post. The cookies look amazing too!

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  47. Thank you for leaving a comment on my blog. I'm really pleased to find yours too !

    The cookies look awesome, but I love the photo of Crystal laughing her head off. Excellent :-)

    Sarah-Jane
    siliconemoulds.blogspot.com

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  48. Sorry I press the wrong button :(

    Oooh...Xiaolu, What a lovely post! It just made my day.Very inspirational :) Beautiful friendship + gift. And I loving the "outrageous" cookies :)

    Cheers,

    Aldy.

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  49. Wow, these cookies really do look delicious. I want them now!

    Ps. This is such a nice post. It's been an honor, and pleasure, to meet you (and your recipes) as well :D

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  50. Thanks my dears -- you guys are the ones that inspire me to keep blogging :)

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  51. Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed browsing your blog posts. In any case I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write again soon!

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  52. That cookie stuffed doll is so adorable! I was just thinking today about how I want to try and do more random nice things for people because it will be a chain reaction.

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I love hearing from you all! Please leave me a message if you have questions, advice, or just to let me know you stopped by. Your feedback is always very much appreciated. Thanks! <3 Xiaolu