Happy Sunday friends, I hope it’s a somewhat lazy one.
One of my favorite features which can get laid aside when things are busy, is ‘Five Questions’, it’s time for me to get to know another passionate foodie and traveler and this month lovely Kyleigh from Barley and Sage was so nice to answer some questions and even better, share a delicious cookie recipe you’ll likely have your mouth watering to make.
Check our her blog or Instagram and follow along with the food she makes and the sweet pictures she shares of her pooch Barley. Thanks so much for taking part Kyleigh and for the lessons you shared about your own failures. Your pie crust is absolutely on my list of things to make now.
1. What was the first meal you learned and mastered to make for others?
I’ve been cooking for so long that I honestly don’t remember! But I think it was probably homemade pie crust. Pies have always been my go-to for impressing people and I even won an apple pie contest when I was 15! I think I was the only person under the age of 50 who entered the contest and I received a lot of dirty looks from sweet old ladies when I won. I have a lot of great tips and tricks for making perfect pie crust on my blog!
2. As a home taught cook, what are three things you have learned through kitchen failures?
Kitchen failures definitely keep you humble!
First, I’ve learned over the years that not everything has to be so precise. I resisted starting a blog for such a long time because I very rarely measure my ingredients and it seemed like such a hassle to start doing it just so that I could write down measurements for a blog. However, I learned the hard way that a big exception is baking bread. My first few loaves were terrible so now I do get very precise about those measurements.
Secondly, just because someone doesn’t like something you’ve made, doesn’t mean it’s a failure. Everyone has different palates and preferences. You can make an objectively phenomenal dish and there’s at least one person in the world who will think it’s gross.
Thirdly, even the most experienced cooks still burn things or forget a crucial ingredient or a dish just doesn’t turn out how they want it to and that’s okay. Most people aren’t posting pictures of their mistakes and failures on Instagram but that doesn’t mean they’ve never burned a dish beyond recognition. Don’t ever let the mistakes get you down!
3. You learned to cook from watching cooking shows, what is one tip you keep foremost in your mind when in the kichen?
I loved watching all of the cooking competition shows (like chopped) when I was younger, so I think one of my biggest takeaways is that literally anything is possible. I think it’s really impacted my creativity in the kitchen and my ability to experiment with different flavors.
You can create something amazing and delicious out of the most random assortment of ingredients.
4. What is your favorite dish to make for others?
One of my favorite quick things to make for people are my dark chocolate chip cookies with brown butter and toffee! They are sooo good. The dough freezes really well so I always have cookie dough in my freezer so that I can quickly make cookies for people (or myself). Also, who doesn’t love a warm chocolate chip cookie?? I’ll include the recipe below!
5. Have you had any adventures that have led you to eat or discover foods you didn’t previously know?
This is such a great question and I have a two part answer to this one.
First, I love to travel! I’ve been to 21 countries and one of my favorite things to do when I’m traveling is eat. I’ll try anything once, so I’ve tried some crazy foods during my travels that I never would have tried otherwise and I loved 90% of them (from scorpions on a stick in Thailand to grilled Octopus in Spain). One thing that sticks out was having steak tartare in Prague. I’d never had it before and the thought always freaked me out a little. It didn’t get any better once they brought it to me and it was literally just a pile of raw ground beef on a plate. Mentally it was hard to get past the image of just eating raw ground beef, but it was surprisingly delicious!
Second, in college I took a class called Philosophy of Food and it was one of the greatest learning experiences I’ve ever had. We talked about things like the ethics of veganism, we read Descartes and Hume and related their philosophy to eating disorders and things like orthorexia, we talked about how socioeconomic status can have major health outcomes based on the cost of food. I would highly recommend all of Michael Pollan’s books to anyone who is interested in learning about food on a deeper intellectual level. But the best part of the class, was that every Tuesday night we cooked dinner together with a professional chef that was related to the topic at hand. So through that class I discovered a ton of new foods, as well as a new perspective on food in general.
Notes: Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week (they’ll definitely be gone before then though). The dough will keep in the fridge for up to a week (which is great for just making a couple of warm cookies at a time) just make sure to transfer the dough to an airtight container so it doesn’t dry out. The dough also freezes great! Freeze pre-rolled cookie dough balls on a baking sheet for 2 hours, then place in an airtight container and keep in the freezer for up to 6 months. The cookies can go straight from the freezer to the oven, just add 1-2 minutes on to your baking time.
- 1 cup (2 sticks)/226 grams unsalted butter, divided
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 2 eggs, room temperature
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 10 oz/280 grams bag bittersweet chocolate baking chips
- 1/2 cup chopped toffee pieces
- Flaky sea salt (optional)
- About 30 minutes to an hour before you want to make the dough, remove the 2 sticks of butter and eggs from the fridge. Brown 1 stick of butter (next step) and let the remaining butter and eggs come up to room temperature.
- To make brown butter, melt 1 stick (1/2 cup) of unsalted butter over medium heat, stirring frequently. Watch closely for the butter to develop brown specs on the bottom and a nutty aroma. Once you start seeing brown specs, let cook for just a few seconds longer (watch very carefully or it will burn).
- Remove from the heat and pour into a small bowl so that it doesn't continue to cook. Set aside and let cool for about 20 minutes or until it's slightly warmer than room temperature (we still want it to be liquid, but not hot enough to melt the other ingredients).
- Using a stand or hand mixer, cream together the softened butter, brown butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until smooth and creamy. Add in the eggs, vanilla extract, and almond extract and beat until the texture is light and fluffy (it should look much paler than before).
- Add in the flour, baking soda, and salt and mix until thoroughly combined. The dough should be wet and sticky.
- Using a spoon or spatula, mix in the dark chocolate chips and toffee pieces.
- Cover the dough and chill in the fridge overnight (minimum of 1 hour if you just can't wait).
- Preheat your oven to 180C/350 F and line a light colored baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Spoon a generous 2 tablespoons of dough and roll into balls. Place dough balls at least 2-3 inches apart on the baking sheet (they will spread, I usually only do 6 cookies on a half sheet pan).
- Bake cookies for 9-11 minute or until the edges are set and the centers are still soft. Remove from the oven and let rest on the baking sheet for 1-2 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.
- Sprinkle with flaky sea salt and enjoy!
Note: Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week (they'll definitely be gone before then though).
The dough will keep in the fridge for up to a week (which is great for just making a couple of warm cookies at a time) just make sure to transfer the dough to an airtight container so it doesn't dry out.
The dough also freezes great! Freeze pre-rolled cookie dough balls on a baking sheet for 2 hours, then place in an airtight container and keep in the freezer for up to 6 months. The cookies can go straight from the freezer to the oven, just add 1-2 minutes on to your baking time.
Recipe by Kyleigh from Barley and Sage