Pirate Kitchen


Baking, Cookies, General | February 12, 2012 | By

Anise Seed & Cracked Pepper, Dried Cherry & Chocolate Chunk Biscotti

I’ve had this bag of dried cherries for a bit and thought how great it would be to use them for Valentine’s Day.  Hmmmmm…time to try the recipe for Cracked Pepper, Dried Cherry and Chocolate Chunk Biscotti. I grew up on biscotti that was usually anise, which has a mild licorice flavor, or lemon flavored, but this new recipe sent a definite, “wow gotta try that!” to my brain.


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Pecan Pie Bars

Baking, Cookies, Desserts, General, Holiday | December 4, 2011 | By

Pecan Pie Bars

Cookies are a sentimental journey and my favorite thing to bake for the Holidays. There was a great variety of homemade cookies when I was growing up and they were bright spots on the visiting map – Phyllis’ Butter Cookie Press Cookies, Donna’s Jam Thumbprints, Aunt Anna’s Italian Wedding Cookies (for Christmas AND Easter!) and Grandma’s Pepper Cookies. I had one aunt who made Rice Krispies Treats for the kids and the grownups got all the other cookies! I remember being offended by that. Even though I loved the treats, I didn’t understand the distinction being made, but never said a word. I might be over it 40 years later!


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Sugar Cookie Love

Baking, Cookies, General | September 4, 2011 | By

Sugar Cookies

I have an extraordinary amount of patience for cooking and baking. Technology not so much. Cooking and baking give me a sense of accomplishment and well-being that never EVER happens with technology which then becomes counter-intuitive and awkward. It always feels like I’ve met my match in some way, don’t know the secret password/handshake or someone is yelling, “put up yer dukes and fight!” That’s when I call in the Big Gun:  my very own personal IT department. I’m damn lucky.


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Million Dollar Chocolate Chip Cookies

Baking, Chocolate, Cookies, Desserts, General | September 5, 2010 | By

Remember the myth of the Neiman-Marcus Chocolate Chip Cookies? How about the $250 Cookie Recipe? Well, at the height of this myth/controversy/craze I got sucked in and made the $250 Cookie Recipe. Why? Because it had an 8 oz. Hershey bar listed in the ingredients. I missed the word “grated” next to it and 4 cups of flour and 5 cups of oatmeal, etc! However, I tackled this beast of a recipe in that same tiny kitchen from my youth with tenacity, naivete and inexperience. It was a good cookie, but a better learning experience and not worth the effort and frustration caused by the fact that my kitchen was not the size of a football field.

In the late 1980’s, early 1990’s, I worked in Center City, Philadelphia and just happened to be right around the corner from The Frog Commissary storefront which is no longer there, but they continue to thrive in other incarnations. May it Rest In Peace. They made and sold an amazing oatmeal chocolate chip cookie. Of course, The Frog Commissary Cookbook is still one of my favorites and thankfully the recipe for that cookie (among other fantastic recipes) is in it.

My recipe hits the “million dollar” mark because I add a secret ingredientcinnamon. Whoa. I noticed that the Neiman Marcus recipe used espresso powder, but since that’s not really my favorite flavor combination with chocolate, I thought I would try cinnamon. It adds a warm richness and your whole house will smell divine when they’re baking in the oven.

The recipe is large enough to make a substantial amount (3 dozen), but not so big to become an exercise in frustration.  It also supports those stealthy cookie dough eaters.

Million Dollar Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
Even better than the stuff of urban myth and legend

Makes 3 dozen


  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 Tablespoons milk
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats (not instant)
  • 12 ounces (2 cups) semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cream the butter with the sugars. Add the vanilla, milk and eggs. Combine the dry ingredients in a separate bowl and blend. Add to the creamed mixture and combine. By hand, stir in the oats, chips and nuts. Drop the dough on parchment lined baking sheets, using a nifty 1 3/4-inch-diameter ice cream scoop or a rounded tablespoon. Flatten lightly to make them a bit more compact and bake for 12-15 minutes. Let sit for 1 minute, then remove to cooling racks.

I like to store these in large zip top bags and they freeze well. For that just-out-of-the-oven goodness, pop one (or 2!) in the microwave for about 10 seconds. Try substituting other nuts like pecans or macadamias.

Credit: Recipe inspired by The Frog Commissary Cookbook’s Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookies

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