Ginger Chocolate Cookies

Ginger Chocolate Cookies

This is more than a cookie recipe: It is the story of the recipe and, because they are intertwined, it is also the story of  Lola’s.

I made my first batch of ginger chocolate cookies more than a decade ago, in my KitchenAid mixer at home. I had seen a  recipe that wasn’t quite right in my view, and instinctively knew what I wanted to do with it. Right out of the oven these cookies were winners — soft and slightly puffy when warm, artfully cracked on the surface, with a deep molasses chewiness. Not at all like a ginger snap. I loved the thickness, the texture, and the chocolate. Especially the chocolate.

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Mocha Midnights

Mocha Midnights

To their fans at the bakery, these cookies went by many names: Mocha Madness. Moonlight Mocha. Mocha Mania.

We just smiled at the alliterative misnomers, knowing that by any other name they would taste as sweet.

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Gingerbread Cake

Gingerbread Cake

This is my new favorite holiday cake — and I love the creative process that inspired it.

It started last year when a former Lola’s employee made a paper snowflake with “Ho Ho Ho” cut into it. It looked great, so this year I urged my daughter to make something similar for our windows. And when she did, I realized this wasn’t just a snowflake: It could be a powdered-sugar stencil, too, perfectly sized to cover … a cake!

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Pecan Bars

Pecan Bars

Over the years I’ve become best known for a few recipes in particular. Several are the treats for which I won my very first baking awards, back in the early days of Lola’s. These Pecan Bars are on the list, as are my Belgian Fudge Brownies (recipe here) and my Ginger Chocolate Cookies (recipe coming, I promise).

In each case, fans were smitten on their first bite — and stayed smitten. It was like a relationship where you meet someone new and instantly know they’re special.

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Pumpkin Muffins (aka “Pumpkin Yum”)

Pumpkin Muffins (aka “Pumpkin Yum”)

Among my bakery staff, these handfuls were known as “Pumpkin Yum.” I bake ‘em Texas size, which means — in case you didn’t already know — BIG.

Like my Pumpkin Scones, this is another recipe that works great as breakfast or in a seasonal bread basket on the dinner table.

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Pumpkin Cupcakes

Pumpkin Cupcakes

Thanksgiving in America has always meant a few things:

  1. Turkey;
  2. Family & Friends; and
  3. Pumpkin pie.

But times change. Now we can have vegetarian and vegan Thanksgiving, blended families, and friends from different backgrounds who add a twist to tradition.

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Pumpkin Scones

Pumpkin Scones

I ♥ pumpkin. As a child, I once pleaded for pumpkin pie instead of birthday cake (wish=granted). And my birthday is in July!

My love isn’t limited to pie: Pumpkin scones, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin bread, pumpkin cake, pumpkin cupcakes — love ‘em all. Savory dishes, too: Pumpkin ravioli, pumpkin soup, pumpkin curry … I’d better stop before I sound like Bubba Blue.

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Caramel Apple Cupcakes

Caramel Apple Cupcakes

Caramel apples are a wholesome symbol of fall, timeless and delicious. But it’s murder finding a good one: The apple must be fresh and crisp; the caramel must be soft but not drippy; the coating must be smooth and even.

Homemade caramel apples are no cinch, either. I tried to make them years ago and found it surprisingly difficult. The caramel must be just so, or it won’t coat well. Very frustrating!

My solution: Caramel Apple Cupcakes.

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Caramel Sauce

Caramel Sauce

This sauce is great for drizzling on cupcakes or ice cream; it makes any day better. I once made a Chocolate Texas Sheet Cake and covered it with this: Man, oh man. That was a good day.

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Rainbow Cake

Rainbow Cake

In the psychedelic era, simple things could blow people’s minds. Listen to Mick while you’re baking and get inspired: Vanilla cake needn’t be vanilla — it comes in colors.

My vanilla cupcake recipe is a great palette for color, and a rainbow cake is the ultimate trip: When you cut the first slice, you’ll alter reality for your party guests.

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