When the Shelves Are Bare…We Bakers Turn Private Eye!

When the Shelves Are Bare…We Bakers Turn Private Eye!


After the Lysol, tp and hand sanitizers evaporated, certain food staples started to get sparse. I can understand milk and eggs vanishing, but I was somewhat surprised when bags of flour disappeared.

Then, the lightbulb went off. Flour makes bread. Baking bread is all about saving your sanity.

There is something about mixing, kneading, shaping and baking that says, “you’re home, you’re safe, life goes on.”

People who don’t even eat bread, are baking bread. So, bye, bye all-purpose flour! Just as I was thinking about converting to almond or coconut flour for my baking needs, an email from Carolina Ground popped into my mailbox, letting me know they are open and ready to ship!

Carolina Ground, in the Asheville, NC area is a mill that links the farmer, miller and baker. They use a cold stone milling method to grind locally grown grains into several varieties of flour. I ordered (you can too!). The flour shipped, and cookies were my first task.

And then…. as I was deep diving into my pantry, I found half a bag of King Arthur black cocoa. In the new normal and with so much time on my hands, I decided to experiment with my good-old chocolate chip cookie recipe, and modify it into a mucho decadent chocolatey, chocolate chip cookie. Boy did I knock it outta the (virtual) park.

Here’s the magic ingredient that makes ‘em so good: black cocoa and brewed coffee! Together, they bring out the dark chocolatiness of these cookies.

I used Carolina Ground’s Trinity Blend, which is a combination of hard wheat, soft wheat and wrens Abruzzi rye for the flour component. Yes, there’s a hint of orange in these cookies. Which also brings the chocolate flavor forward. It’s a mish-mosh of ingredients that just works!

You can substitute regular cocoa for dark cocoa powder if you like, but again, when you have the time on your hands to fill with baking, why not splurge a little and support our local farmers (and treat yourself) by purchasing from Carolina Ground?


Take half of the cookies and share them with someone that might not have the time to bake; someone spending their time protecting you and me!

Ridiculously Chocolatey Chocolate Chip Cookies

Makes 3 dozen

30 minute cuisine

2 cups flour (un-bleached all-purpose is fine)

½ cup black cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon dried orange zest

2 cups shortening (don’t judge!)

¾ cup granulated sugar

¾ cup brown sugar

2 eggs

¼ cup brewed coffee

1 teaspoon orange flavoring

1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats

1 (12-ounce package) dark chocolate morsels, about 2 cups

Preheat the oven to 375°. Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt and orange zest in a bowl. Use an electric mixer to combine the shortening with the sugars until fluffy. Mix in the eggs, coffee and orange flavoring. Mix in the flour in three additions. Mix in the oats and then the chocolate chips.

Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Use a medium (about 2-inch) ice cream scoop to measure batter onto the sheet. Use your immaculately clean fingers to flatten the cookie dough balls into disks. Bake until the top of the cookies spring back when touched, about 12 to 14 minutes.




‘Just a little something’ Cookies Inspired by my BFF Doreen

‘Just a little something’ Cookies Inspired by my BFF Doreen


My late best friend, Doreen was known for sporting an evil grin when, after almost every restaurant meal we had together, she’d look at the waiter and slyly ask for just a little something… perhaps a cookie for dessert? This was her way of taking a pass on that big bowl of Carolina fruit crumble, or New York style cheesecake – even if we were in the Deep South or the Big Apple at the time. She must have known there was a law and she was breaking it!

Her favorite just a little something cookies, were biscotti dipped in her cappuccino. Second favorite, were shortbread cookies.


She may be gone, but her habits live on in my world and make me miss her every day. I find myself craving just a little something after most meals too, and love that I can have a cookie, with my espresso late in the afternoon. I JUST LIKE COOKIES!

These days, I bake my own cookies rather than enjoy them dining out. I like having cookies in the cookie jar. I like sharing them with people that come around the house. I especially like taking home-baked cookies as a hostess gift when asked to dinner. My grandkids look forward to Nana’s cookies when they come over.

It’s all good, but it can always get better!

During a recent trip to the Spice and Tea Exchange, I sniffed one of their specialty sugars and got a wild idea. The sugar is wild berry and it really smelled like berries. A quick sample and yah… there is a distinctive berry taste! It was then I got the idea…. Berries and chocolate…. Chocolate and berries…. a chocolate cookie topped with wild berry sugar.

Next, I took things to a deep, dark place. A deep, dark chocolate place, I mean. I ordered black cocoa from King Arthur’s to make these the most chocolatey cookies I could bake!

Black cocoa powder is made through a process called Dutching – when the cocoa beans are washed with a potassium solution, which neutralizes the acidity of the beans. Natural cocoa powder is made from beans that are roasted and then pulverized into cocoa powder. Most supermarket brands of cocoa powder, like Hershey’s and Nestle are natural cocoa powders.

Dutching cocoa powder makes it darker and can help mellow the flavor of the beans. Therefore, extra Dutching creates black cocoa powder. Think about those dark chocolate wafer cookies that you find in ice box cake recipes or the outside of an Oreo cookie. These contain black cocoa. Most recipes suggest that you blend in black cocoa powder instead of totally swapping it out.

Long story short, these cookies are perfect with an afternoon latte, spot-on to offer to the delivery guy when he brings you your second Amazon box of the day, special to pass around to friends and as Doreen would say, it’s perfect when you’re looking for just a little something.

Dark Chocolate Cookies

With Wild Blueberry Sugar

Makes about 3 dozen

About 1 ½ hours until you are chomping on a cookie!


3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup unsalted butter, 2 sticks, room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar

½ cup dark brown sugar

⅓ cup cocoa powder

⅓ cup black cocoa powder

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

2 tablespoons wild blueberry sugar (substitute with granulated sugar)

Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Use an electric mixer to combine the butter and sugars until soft and fluffy. Stir in the cocoa powders, eggs and vanilla. Stir in the flours in three additions until well combined (no white flour showing). Stir in the mini chips.

Divide the dough in half. Roll each piece into a log and wrap in plastic wrap. Place in the fridge to chill for at least one hour.

Preheat the oven to 350°. Remove one log from the fridge and slice into ¼-inch rounds. Place each slice onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle each round with sugar. Bake until the cookies are just firm to the touch, about 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a rack and cool.