Saturday, September 10, 2016

Bouchon Bakery TKO Cookie

One of the best dining experiences I've ever had was when my mom took me to Bouchon Bistro in Beverly Hills for my undergraduate graduation dinner. I remember sashaying in with my stole still around my neck, then nomming on some french bistro-style gnocchi with my proud mama. That dinner was during my last few days in Los Angeles. I haven't been back to LA since graduation, but I always think of that dinner fondly as marking the end of an incredible college experience.

Fast forward a few years later: I went to a cooking class at my local Williams-Sonoma a few weeks ago to learn some pizza-making tips. Before the class started, I dug around in the clearance food section comme d'habitude, and I found this boxed mix by Bouchon Bakery! Totally snagged a box for nostalgia purposes, obvi. Also because I wanted to try out the recipe, which made what look like gourmet (read: "bougie") Oreos.

This is called the "TKO" cookie, although I'm not quite sure what the name stands for (Technical Knockout? Thomas Keller Oreo?). They say ignorance is bliss, and man, is that SO TRUE in the context of knowing what's inside your favorite baked goods. These cookies are like 90% butter.

But if you're gonna splurge, these are so totally worth it. The ingredients are super-premium, like Guittard cocoa. Along with the fancy ingredients comes a more complicated recipe, however. For example, I had to melt chocolate chips for the filling. But again, #worthit.

I did a mix of star shapes and mini sakrua (cherry blossom) shapes.

I wasn't able to get the icing quite as beautifully beaded as shown on the package, but I'm still really happy the way my cookies turned out. My mom loved them, and she is a hard-core sandwich cookie connoisseur.

The flavor of the cookies is what makes them really great. The high-end ingredients really do shine and work together to create a simple-yet-complex, exotic-yet-familiar, delicious cookie.

If you'd like to sample these delectable cookies yourself, you can go about it one of three ways:

1. Grab yourself a box of mix like I did from Williams-Sonoma (or other fine retailers...if others carry it? Not sure.)

2. Go get a cookie from a Bouchon Bakery. Click on the link for locations.

3. Try this recipe for TKO cookies which appeared in the Bouchon Bakery cookbook (click link).

And there you have it! The perfect cookie for the kidult in us all. An epicurean way to enjoy an old standby.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Handmade Onionskin Envelopes

I'm at a challenging point in my life where I want to be a "lady" (or, to be gender-neutral, a "g"), but I occasionally lack the combination resources and know-how to execute some of my more elaborate aspirations. Case-in-point: A few weeks ago, I had to send out a lot of letters. I needed to send thank-you notes for law school graduation gifts, a note to my alma mater, etc. But all I had were some cheesy thank-you notes my Dad bought me from Staples like 8 years ago, and a weird floral print stationery set so old that I truly have no idea from when or where it came from. Totally not classy or "g"-like.

We all know from American Psycho that along with a snazzy outfit, the right paper goods can act as a calling card, letting the world know what you're all about. Even in this digital age, sending a well-crafted note on attractive stationery makes others take notice. It separates the "g"s from the boys. In a recent issue of Town and Country, I read about a stationer, Nancy Sharon Collins, who makes beautiful stationery crafted from out-of-print vintage onionskin paper. The pale pastel colors and the subtle texture of the thin-yet-durable onionskin paper called to me, so I sought out her website. This is the kind of stationery, I thought to myself, that would make the right kind of statement.

Apparently, so did many others. Not only is the stationery fairly pricey, but at the moment it is all sold out (out-of-print vintage paper, remember?). And that's just for your run-of-the-mill stationery set. A customised set will run you north of $300.

So, I decided to make my own stationery set. I won't bore you with the research, but I decided to make myself a hand-carved stamp for personalization purposes, and I looked up templates for envelope making. I ordered a sweet set of 25 sheets of watermarked seafoam green onionskin paper off of Etsy, which only set me back $6 and change, shipping included. Finding vintage onionskin paper online is doable, but finding onionskin envelopes can be a challenge. To make sure I had a matching set, I decided to make my own.

Along the way, I discovered I really love crafting. Who knew. What started off as a means of getting something I wanted on the cheap turned into a really relaxing and fulfilling hobby.

I made the stamp first, which came out looking like a seal, which I rather like. :)





Then, I made the envelopes.

Gizmo will lay on anything made out of paper...

Patrick Bateman would approve. 

The template for the envelope liner. 

The paper is thin, so it needs a nice lining. 

After I made the little notecard, I tried a different template for a larger, mailable envelope. I also stamped a few notecards with my custom stamp after dipping the stamp in some nice shades of green ink.

First I tried a sheet of paper with just the stamp. A more modest look. 

Next, I used my Stabilo pens to draw a little laurel wreath. The onionskin paper is AMAZING, my pens don't bleed at all!

The perfect size for a gift card or a little note...

 And there you have it! One day I'll probably post about the stamps I made for my mom and sister, which came out even better than mine (or you can just check my insta: lazeez90).  I hope you all enjoyed this post! A big thank you to the following bloggers and site runners for sharing this DIY goodness with me:

Envelope templates
Envelope liners →