Sunday, July 31, 2011


Two weeks ago, we put out a request for you to name our new cookie.  Thanks to everyone who submitted such informative, clever, and funny suggestions!  And the new name of the cookie formerly known as the Vegan-Flourless-Peanut-Butter-Chocolate-Chip-Cookie is. . . . . .  Peanut Butter Copperfields, the name suggested by Richard - here's his magical and mindful reasoning below:

These cookies are called Copperfields.

You told me what the trick was going to be beforehand: vegan, flourless, and low on sugar. I was skeptical. I kept looking for the wires. I kept looking for the mirrors or the body double. But after three bags of these cookies I am still amazed at how it's done. They're possibly the tastiest cookies you've ever had.

That's some epic prestidigitation. I've never been so exhilarated by a disbelievable absence.

It's like David Copperfield making the Statue of Liberty disappear in your mouth.

Also consider variations, such as "The Chocolate Chip Copperfield" or "Peanut Butter Copperfields." 

Did we choose this name because it is catchy, creative, and accurate? Or was it chosen out of some sort of psychological capitulation to his initial, declarative sentence: These cookies are called Copperfields.  Either way; Thank You Richard Penner!


It's hot and humid here in Omaha.  My skin thrills me with the way it weeps, or maybe salivates, to keep me cool.  As a person who just started using air conditioning three years ago, I still feel guilty about being cool in my house, let alone the guilt that can accompany baking cookies in the middle of a sweaty afternoon.  But there resides in the sky a star whose bulk can burn skin and soil, but if harnessed gently, can also bake a cookie.  Today, I pulled out my sun oven and baked a batch of Peanut Butter Copperfields on the back patio. 
Ten minutes In. . .

Monday, July 25, 2011

A Savory Experiment

The thought of a savory muffin is appealing to me. It is a less sweet breakfast option that is still delicious with a coffee or tea accompaniment.

While looking through an old cooking magazine last month, I came across a recipe that offered the flavors of Bleu cheese, walnuts, and apples in the form of a tart. Oh my goodness that sounds goooood! And my mouth began to water at the thought of the combination of flavors: savory, nutty and sweet. Inspiration!!!

I want to include these flavors in a muffin! Or perhaps I should call it a biscuit? So I 've been experimenting over the past two weeks, adding those same ingredients to my own muffin recipe. In the first batch, I omitted the sugar from my muffin recipe altogether and added a bit more flour to compensate, plus the Bleu cheese, walnuts (toasted) and apples. However, I found the outcome to be too dry. Maybe the fact that I omitted the sugar didn't actually mean I had to compensate with flour. So, in the next batch I added just a few tablespoons of sugar and took out the flour that I had added in the previous batch. That worked much better! And another thing, should I put sugar on top? Sprinkling the tops of muffins with a little Turbinado sugar gives them a yummy sugar crust and a lovely glistening appearance. Trilety suggested a honey glaze to top these savory muffins/biscuits; a touch of sweetness doesn't always mean cane sugar is necessary. She uses other natural sweeteners in her baked goods, such as honey, molasses, and maple syrup. So I'll try the honey glaze! Brilliant! I love experimenting and I love it when things come together.

So, it's clear that I am quite excited about this idea. Does anyone share my enthusiasm?


Sunday, July 17, 2011

Name this Cookie!

It may say a lot about me when I divulge how excited I become when something of mine is put on a tongue, and the reply is closed eyes, a sigh, and an exclamation of sweetness.  This scenario occurred a few years ago when my friend, David Prince, put one of my vegan-flourless-peanut-butter-chocolate-chip cookies in his mouth.  Since that day, I bake this cookie for him whenever he passes through town, and have even sent a batch or two when he was working hard at a residency.  I don’t discriminate against my own gender though, so this vegan-flourless-peanut-butter-chocolate-chip-cookie is also the favorite of Elisabeth.  She even has the recipe.  But I only gave it to her because she is a stellar secret-keeper, and she’s also terribly persuasive, so I knew I’d likely end up tied to a chair (in the Tuesday afternoon way, not the Friday night way) and spilling my ingredients and instructions anyway.  If you know you’ll eventually give it up, then give it up quick. . .unless of course it’s a Friday night type of thing. . then I recommend anticipation. 
Anyway, back to the cookie, which for the balance of this post I will refer to by an acronym; VFPBCCC.  Or even better, VFPBC3.  These Two Birds didn't include the VFPBC3 in our original cookie lineup.  While last in Seattle, Elisabeth asked why this was so.  I explained that it was my only cookie recipe that did not use any natural sweeteners, and it had ¾ cup of organic brown sugar in it!  That amount of sugar would be alright for loved ones who had power over me to demand the types of cookies I bake, but not for unsuspecting customers who don’t need that amount of sugar in their cookie

A Sugar Aside: I used to be a fan of granulated sugar before I knew about the processing and ill effects.  I imagined living my days in a sugar cube castle with white walls that were streaked in pink from a tongue that bled after licking grains all day.

Elisabeth laughed abruptly at my reply about too much sugar in a cookie.  As she exited the kitchen, with her lovely chin over her shoulder, she looked back to me and said, “Then just reduce the sugar.” An epiphany! It hadn’t occurred to me.  The cookie seemed good as is.

So, three batches of  VFPBC3 later, I managed to reduce the sugar from ¾ cup to ½ cup.  They were then tested.  Richard’s vote was for the least amount of sugar, and Elisabeth is quoted as saying: "As a devotee of the first incarnation of the cookie, I was aghast when Trilety said she thought it was just too sweet. Why take a perfectly delightful healthy-ish cookie and make it healthier? After trying the new, lower sugar version, I was thrilled to discover I could hardly discern a difference. The rich peanut butter flavor may even get to shine a bit brighter in the new version. More, please!"
 Long story short, these Two Birds plan on adding the VFPBC3 to our roster, but first we need a name!! Take the next two weeks to send us Cookie Names, or post them below, and we’ll announce the Winner and the Prize on 31 July 2011.  
Regis already suggested this cookie, or at least a cookie, be named the Soundbite (which I love)!  What are your suggestions???
~ Trilety

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Northern California Travel

Vacation was great! On Tuesday I got back from Arcata/Eureka California; that is Humboldt County for those of you who might be more familiar with that reference.
Mom shipped out there in September and decided to ship herself back to the midwest. In exchange for helping her drive the long way back to Omaha, I got a plane ride and short visit with precious friends whom I don't get to see often. Done deal!

A view of the recent flooding of the Missouri River. 

While in Humboldt County, there were several important stops to make: the Redwood Forrest and the Pacific Ocean...
This is me, hugging a tree. Mmmmmm!

So, I did visit a few of my favorite restaurants/bakeries as well...
There's Renata's Creperie in Arcata where I had a breakfast crepe stuffed with egg and basil and garlic and topped with a dollop of sour cream. Delicious!
And I also stopped into Ramone's, a bakery and coffee shop hat is favored by the locals. I actually used to work there! It's a big production bakery that makes everything under the sun: croissants, sourdough bread, tarts, tortes, cookies, pies, cheesecakes, muffins, coffeecake, and beautiful wedding cakes. Wow. I tell you what, Wow!
 40-quart mixer at Ramone's. Holy mass quantity cookies!

And after the visit was over, it was down to business- the business of driving 1800 miles over a period of 3 days. Yeesh

Out of the Cascades and on to Reno

Salt Flats in Utah

My personal favorite, Wyoming and it's sky

Back in Nebraska. I love you, trees!

If you have the time to drive instead of fly to your destination, do it! The US is a vast array of landscapes and colors. Photographs don't hold a candle to the real thing... sort of like our muffins and cookies!


Monday, July 4, 2011

Bird on Vacation

It's my fourteenth, and last day in Seattle.  A firework show is sure to entertain over Lake Union with the Olympic Mountains as a backdrop.  Only a bit of my trip has been devoted to baking, so here's a quick picture tour for those of you who have yet to visit this amazing city. 

Clouds made of the sea, and pink with insulation hues, greeted me on my first morning in Seattle. <left>

Elisabeth was an art fair vendor at the Redmond Town Center Sidewalk Sale & Art Fair, so the first four days of my trip was spent in the safe and clean city of Redmond, Washington where the leaves appear lacquered in an attempt to repel dust. <right - check out her site by clicking on her name to enter into a giveaway>

While I didn't do much baking, I did voyeuristically watch others bake.  If you walk by Le Fournil in the morning, you can see aesthetically pleasing men rolling dough and stacking skin-thin layers of ham onto sticky croissant squares. <left>

For two years, Elisabeth and I have talked about going on the Theo Chocolate tour in the Fremont neighborhood.  We finally took the tour and sampled myriad flavors of chocolate and confections.  But the best part of the tour; the attire!

Another tour I recommend is the Underground Tour which I enjoyed with Julie.  We also took a trek through the Sweater Tree Forest.

But the best tours, are ones given by dear friends.  Without rain, Regis took us on a tour of the details and design of downtown Seattle.  We touched terracotta and rode an elevator, complete with operator, to the top of Smith Tower where Mt. Rainier showed itself off like a woman usually kept behind a curtain. 

The one day I baked was devoted to a sugar-reduction experiment.  Three batches of vegan-flourless-peanut-butter-chocolate-chip-cookies with three separate amounts of sugar were baked and the least amount won out!

Since arriving in Seattle, I've eaten Thai food and street food, but my favorite way of consuming calories is to watch other people eat.  Confession, Richard wasn't the only one to consume a veggie-chipolte-dog with a "squirt" of cream cheese.  

While this bird was in Seattle, the other Bird was in California, so I can't wait to hear about her trip.  And for those of you who prefer mental meanderings about baking rather than traveling, stay tuned as we always have batter filled dreams to share about our future!

~ Trilety