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PRODUCT: Cookie Lady Treats

We read in the newspaper last month that the trend among costly summer sleep-away camps was to forbid “care packages” from home. That’s because the one-upsmanship from parents was getting out of hand. (And perhaps, all those calorie-laden treats were offsetting the health benefits of summer camp.)

But now that the kids are home from camp, you can send them—and adult cookie lovers—some homemade cookies from Cookie Lady Treats.

Laura Weinstein had two master’s degrees, one in chemical engineering, and couldn’t find a job in her field. So she started to bake cookies, and now sells a thousand of them each week.

The cookies are made of top ingredients, including Callebaut chocolate chunks and Madagascar bourbon vanilla. The flavors beckon:

After Dinner Mint, Blueberries & Cream, Caramel Apple, Cherry Cordial, Chipotle Chocolate, Dreamsicle, Fluffernutter Dream…you get the picture.

There are plenty of classic flavors as well: Chocolate Lovers, Lemon, Maple Walnut, Mocha, Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk, Triple Chocolate Chip, and more flavors than one could eat in a cookieholic marathon. Check the many luscious flavors and figure out where to begin.


Red Velvet, Chipotle Chocolate and Carrot Cake join more conventional cookie flavors like Triple Chocolate Chip.Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.


The cookies are individually shrink wrapped and packed into your choice of colorful boxes, bags and ribbons.

Customizable orders are available for special events. We can’t think of anything we’d rather get in a gift bag.

Visit and treat yourself.



RECIPE: Kahlùa Ice Cream Float

Cool off with coffee liqueur and ice cream.
Photo courtesy Polar Seltzer.


We’re in for another few really hot and humid days. A cup of hot coffee has no appeal, but we could really go for a Kahlùa ice cream float.



  • Kahlùa or other coffee liqueur
  • Coffee or vanilla ice cream
  • Coffee soda, vanilla (cream) soda or club soda

    1. ADD Kahlùa to the bottom of a tall glass. Add two scoops of ice cream.

    2. TOP with soda, pouring slowly. Serve with a straw and a spoon.



    How about a shot of tequila, rum, vodka or liqueur in your float or ice cream soda? It gives new meaning to the concept of an ice cream social.

    Turn it into a party: Pick a date, choose your “menu” from these recipes and invite the guests! Those who don’t consume alcohol can enjoy their ice cream soda “virgin.”



    TIP OF THE DAY: Iced Tea Ice Cubes

    Iced green tea with green tea ice cubes.
    Photo by Tomo Jesenicnikc | IST.


    It’s National Iced Tea Month, so we‘re repeating one of our favorite tips for iced tea lovers:

    Make your ice cubes from the same tea.

    This way, you can keep your iced tea ice-cold without diluting it. It’s a more elegant solution than brewing the tea extra-strong, anticipating that it will be diluted by regular ice cubes.

    You can also use the tea ice cubes in lemonade, creating an “Arnold Palmer” effect; or use them to add a different flavor nuance to any cold drink, including cocktails.

    And it’s a great use for leftover tea.


    While it sounds like a no-brainer, here’s the recipe:


  • 3 cups water
  • 8 tea bags of your choice (or 24g loose tea—each tea bag has the equivalent of 3g of tea)


    1. BOIL the water and pour over tea in a heat-resistant pitcher. Allow to infuse for the variety’s recommended steeping time.

    2. REMOVE tea bags or loose tea; allow tea to cool to room temperature. Pour tea into ice cube trays and place in freezer.

    3. KEEP ice cubes in the tray or remove to a freezer bag or other container so you can freeze more ice cubes. Make black, green and herbal tea ice cubes, depending on what you typically drink.



    ST. PATRICK’S DAY: Green Marshmallows Recipe

    This recipe for Matcha Green Tea Marshmallows has a provenance: We got it from The Republic of Tea, which seems to have picked it up from, which adapted it from an Alton Brown recipe. In terms of Alton’s inspiration: No doubt it was a confectioner or pastry chef.

    Whether you’re a marshmallow fan, a matcha tea fan or simply want to whip up something green for St. Patrick’s Day, you’ll have fun with this recipe.

    You can use the rest of the tin to make a green tea latte, matcha cookies, matcha ice cream, macarons, madeleines, pound cake, and of course, hot or iced matcha tea.



  • 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch

    Matcha marshmallows are color-appropriate for St. Patrick’s Day and an elegant snack any day of the year. Photo courtesy

  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon matcha powder, divided
  • Nonstick spray
  • 3 packages unflavored gelatin
  • 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon ice-cold water, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

    Fine matcha is a vivid green color. Photo
    courtesy Tafu NY.



    1. SIFT confectioners’ sugar, cornstarch, and one teaspoon matcha powder together in a small bowl. Lightly spray a metal baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Add a little of the green confectioners’ sugar mixture to the pan and lightly tap to coat the bottom and sides. Return any remaining mixture to the bowl for later. Also lightly coat the offset spatula with nonstick spray and set aside for later.

    2. WHISK together the gelatin and 1/2 cup water into a small bowl and let sit for five minutes until the gelatin is dissolved. In a small heavy-bottom saucepan, combine 1/2 cup water, granulated sugar, corn syrup, and salt. Cover and cook over medium high heat for three to four minutes. Uncover, clip a candy thermometer onto the side of the pan, and continue to cook until mixture reaches 240ºF, approximately seven to eight minutes. Immediately remove from the heat.

    3. TURN the mixer on low-speed and slowly pour the sugar syrup down the side of the bowl into the gelatin mixture. Increase the speed to medium high and allow the mixture to whip for six minutes. Meanwhile, create a slurry with one tablespoon of matcha powder and one tablespoon of water. Mix until no dry parts remain. If the mixture is too dry, add another teaspoon of water.


    4. TURN speed up to high and whip another six to eight minutes, or until mixture becomes very thick and is lukewarm. Add matcha slurry during the last minute of whipping. Quickly pour the mixture into the prepared pan, using the lightly oiled spatula to spread the mixture evenly in the pan. Generously dust the top of the marshmallow with the sugar and cornstarch mixture. Reserve the rest for later. Allow the marshmallows to sit uncovered for four to eight hours.

    5. TURN the marshmallows out onto a cutting board and use a pizza wheel to vertically and horizontally cut marshmallows into one-inch-square pieces. Dust the newly cut marshmallows with the remaining sugar and cornstarch mixture. Store in an airtight container for up to three weeks. If marshmallows become too moist over time, redust them with any leftover sugar and cornstarch mixture to “refresh” them. Makes about 50 square marshmallows.

  • If you like the flavor of matcha, add an additional teaspoon to the confectioners’ sugar and cornstarch mixture. It will also intensify the green color of the marshmallows.
  • Do not attempt to add the matcha powder while the mixer is on high-speed. The powder will fly everywhere, and your kitchen will be coated in green! Making a slurry prevents a mess from occurring, so take the time to do it!




    GIFT: Handmade Candy Canes

    Handmade candy canes are available in five
    flavors. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE


    Most of us are used to sugary candy canes with intense mint flavor.

    But Laughing Moon Chocolates turns out artisan candy canes that dial down the sugar and the intense flavor, reinterpreting the candy cane as an elegant confection.

    Even better is the flavor selection: Cinnamon, Maple, Peppermint, Spearmint or Wintergreen.

    They make delicious party favors (tie one up with the napkin for Christmas dinner).

    Candy Canes are available in different shapes and sizes. A 6″ candy cane in the traditional shepherd’s crook shape is $4.50.

    Laughing Moon can create candy canes in the shape of initials or hearts.

    Order online at

    Check out the history of candy canes, plus six ways to use candy canes.




    TIP OF THE DAY: Try A Different Tea

    At this moment, somewhere, the kettle calls. Somewhere the cup waits. Somewhere a person smiles, watching the leaves unfurl.

    We grew up in a “tea family”; coffee was brewed for special occasion meals. A “cuppa” was our go-to respite. So we love this sentiment from the Republic Of Tea.

    Over years of tea-drinking, we honed our preferences—Assam, Dragon Well, Earl Grey, Jasmine—to the point where we don’t spend enough time with other great teas.

    And there are many of them. While all tea comes from one plant, Camellia sinensis, the terroir (pronounced tur-WAH), growing season and finishing technique yield hundreds of varieties. Think of wine grapes: the same Cabernet Sauvignon or Chardonnay grape produces very different wine in different locations and in the hands of different vintners.

    Terroir comprises altitude, soil composition, aspect, hours of sunlight, rainfall and humidity, among other factors. The same rootstock will produce different tea flavors, aromas and quality when grown in different places.


    Oolong tea. Photo by Shizhao | Wikimedia.


    As with coffee, elevation is key: whether the plants are low-, medium-, or high-grown. Although good teas are grown in lower elevations, the highest elevations produce the greatest teas. The higher the altitude, the thinner and cleaner the air is and the closer to the sun the tea plants are.


    In our quest to expand our tea choices, we purchased some quality oolong, a tea developed in China more than seven centuries ago.

    Called wulong in some dialects and meaning “black dragon tea,” oolong is a traditional Chinese tea. Depending on terroir and processing, it can be sweet and fruity with honey aromas, woody with roasted aromas, green and fresh with floral aromas or somewhere in-between.

    Some oolongs famously have the aroma of orchids. Subvarieties produced in the Wuyi Mountains of northern Fujian Province are among the most famous and sought-after Chinese teas (look for Da Hong Pao).

    Oolong teas occupy a unique place in the tea spectrum: They are neither black nor green, but are oxidized to a point between the two, in a unique roasting process that can last from 12 to 36 hours, starting with withering the leaves under the strong sun and oxidizing them before curling and twisting. The degree of oxidation can range from 8% to 85%, depending on the roduction style.

    The leaves are formed into one of two distinct styles. Some are rolled into long curly leaves (the traditional style), while others are wrap-curled into small beads.


    1. Heat fresh water to a rolling boil. Use filtered water if your local supply isn’t clean tasting.

    2. Use one teaspoon of leaves per six ounces of water. Steep tea for 5 to 7 minutes.

    3. The leaves may be infused multiple times—keep infusing until the flavor wanes. It brings down the cost per cup!

    Learn more about tea in our Gourmet Tea Section. You may enjoy browsing through the Tea Glossary.



    FOOD HOLIDAY: National Nachos Day

    Homemade nachos. Photo by Chee Hong | Wikimedia.


    Who doesn’t enjoy a hearty plate of nachos for a snack, or even for a main course? They’re the easiest Mexican dish to make at home.

    At the most minimal, you can simply cover tortilla chips with shredded Cheddar or other semihard cheese, with or without salsa; then use the microwave or broiler to melt the cheese. Serve the nachos with a beer or a Margarita, of course.

    You can get creative with your nachos, adding anything you have on hand. Our favorite add-ons to nachos:

  • Adobo sauce
  • Black beans and corn kernels—or use a bean and corn salsa
  • Chili (bean, meat or combination)
  • Chopped chives, cilantro or parsley
  • Chopped gherkins
  • Diced avocado
  • Sliced jalapeños, fresh or pickled
  • Sliced olives
  • Shredded chicken or pork or crumbled ground beef (a great use for leftover hamburger)
  • Sour cream

    For visual and flavor interest, use a mix of yellow and blue corn tortillas (for Independence Day, use red, white and blue).

    And for a more legitimate main course, here’s a recipe for Nacho Stuffed Shells, “nacho pasta.”


    Nachos are an example of necessity being the mother of invention.

    As the story goes, in 1943 a group of Army wives from Fort Duncan, in Eagle Pass, Texas, had gone over the border to Piedras Negros, Mexico, on a shopping trip. By the time they arrived at the Victory Club restaurant, the kitchen was closed.

    But the accommodating maître d’hôtel, Ignacio “Nacho” Anaya (Nacho is a nickname for Ignacio), threw together a snack for the ladies from what was available in the kitchen: tortillas and cheese. He cut the tortillas into triangles, added shredded Cheddar cheese, quickly heated them and garnished the dish with sliced jalapeño chiles.

    When asked what the tasty dish was called, he answered, “Nacho’s especiales,” Nacho’s Special.


    In Mexico, nachos are called totopos, the word for tortilla chips (totopos). French fries, potato chips and even popcorn are sometimes substituted for the tortilla chips.



    TIP OF THE DAY: Make Spice Tea

    Many people buy spiced tea as a fall and holiday favorite; perhaps the most popular is Constant Comment.

    But you can make your own with the tea and spices you already have in the kitchen. In addition to black tea, you can make green spice tea or white spice tea, or rooibos (caffeine-free) spice tea, exactly as Ruth Bigelow did when she created Constant Comment tea in 1946.

    We’ve seen a lot of recipes for spiced tea made from instant powdered tea, a can of Tang and a can of powdered lemonade, mixed with nutmeg and cinnamon.

    With all due respect to the first three ingredients: Yuck! Make your spice tea with whole-leaf tea and real lemon juice.



  • 2 cups water
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole cloves

    It’s easy to make spice tea without special tea bags like these. On the other hand, a tin of spice tea bags makes a nice seasonal gift. Photo courtesy Republic Of Tea.

  • Optional: 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg or 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 3 tea bags or 3 teaspoons loose tea
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • Garnish: lemon wedge
  • You can keep playing with the spices until you have your perfect recipe. Consider adding cardamom, chocolate, ginger, licorice and/or peppercorns.

    Then, you can fill pouches with your signature tea blend (using loose tea, not bags) and give them as gifts to tea-loving friends.

    1. COMBINE water, cinnamon and cloves in a medium pan. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

    2. ADD tea bags; steep for 5 minutes. Remove tea bags and spices.

    3. SERVE the tea hot or iced with a lemon wedge and choice of sweeteners, although the spice flavors are so exciting that no sweetener is necessary.
    Find more of our favorite teas and recipes in our Gourmet Tea Section.



    COOKING VIDEO: No Cook Freezer Jam


    Who knew you could make jam without cooking it? That you could set it in the freezer? That it could be such a fun activity?

    And that freezer jam is low sugar, with just one-fourth of the sugar and fewer calories than conventional jam (it’s less thick and sticky, too)?

    The next time berries or any other favorite fruit are at a good price; pick up four cups’ worth. Then, you just mash it into a purée, mix in the sugar and a special pectin, No Cook Freezer Jam Fruit Pectin.

    While we haven’t tried it yet, we’re planning to mix in Splenda and see how we do with sugar-free freezer jam.

    See how easy it is in the video below. Try it and let us know how you like it.



    For the differences between chutney, jam, jelly, marmalade, preserves and more, check out our Jam Glossary.


    FOOD HOLIDAY: National Chicken Cacciatore Day

    Chicken cacciatore. Photo by Evan Joshua
    Swigart | Wikimedia.


    October 15th is National Chicken Cacciatore Day. Chicken cacciatore (cah-cha-toe-ray) is Italian country fare. Cacciatore means hunter, so the dish is “hunter-style” (in Italian, pollo alla cacciatora).

    The game that the hunter brought home was braised in olive oil with local vegetables—a light tomato sauce with garlic, herbs and onions, plus wild mushrooms, bell peppers and a bit of wine (white wine in the north, red wine in the south).

    The dish has its roots in in central Italy in the Renaissance and has many variations, both there and throughout the country. One of the more unusual is salamino cacciatore, made with a small salame.

    Chicken cacciatore has been called a “hunter’s solace,” with poultry from the yard or market replacing the pheasant or hare that got away. The wild mushrooms were foraged in the forest by the hunter.

    This recipe serves 6.




  • 4-pound chicken, cut in pieces
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 or more cloves garlic, to taste
  • 1/4 pound mushrooms*, sliced
  • Optional: 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup red wine, white wine or sherry
  • 1 can (six ounces) tomato paste
  • 1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes, drained
  • Herbs: basil, bay leaf, fennel seeds, oregano, rosemary, thyme; plus chili flakes for a spicy sauce
    Although it isn’t a tradition, we like to add olives to this dish.


    1. SEASON. Sprinkle chicken pieces with salt, pepper and flour.

    2. BROWN. Brown the chicken in olive oil. Remove from pan and set aside. Add onion, garlic and mushrooms. Stir until onion turns yellow.

    3. COMBINE. Return the chicken to the pan. Add wine or sherry. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Remove garlic. Add tomato paste.

    4. ADD. Add crushed tomatoes and herbs. Simmer for 45 minutes. If the sauce is to thick, thin with chicken broth, tomato juice or water.

    Serve atop noodles or rice.

    Find more of our favorite chicken recipes.

    *Use wild mushrooms if possible. You can also use dried wild mushrooms, reconstituted.



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