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doing the work

Thursday, June 9th, 2022

Recipe: baked oats

Time is doing strange things because of my intense focus on my health, diet, and exercise of late. I feel as if all the moods of spring have been smashed into the past few weeks. As we stare an approaching heat wave in the face, it’s hard not to reminisce about the late May snow just two weeks ago. And then there is the delirium of morel season, getting buzzed by countless hummingbirds, bright green new growth popping up at every turn, and all of the baby animals we catch glimpses of in the woods. It’s dizzyingly wonderful.


emerging sunshine melts snow off our weather station

brilliant crimson columbine in bloom

friends gave us baby asparagus seedlings from feral seeds

never certain if the morels will come up, but always jubilant to see them



As with any first batch of morels, I’m tempted to reserve some for the express purpose of frying and shoving them in my pie hole. But I’ve worked hard to wean myself off of sugary, fried, fatty, and refined carb foods the last three months – so much so that many of these foods have lost some of their once irresistible appeal. I made a morel bourbon cream sauce for Jeremy to enjoy on steak (his reward for finding the first morel of the season!) and reserved a dozen morels to fry. Instead of the usual flour-based breading, I opted for fine cornmeal as a healthier whole-grain alternative. They were good, but I stopped after a few when that initial fried deliciousness gave way to mindless consumption.

cornmeal-coated fried morels



Some folks have asked what I’ve been eating since I learned I am diabetic. That’s a hard question to answer. It was all pretty overwhelming at the start as I had to educate myself on type 2 diabetes, blood sugar levels and how they are affected by different foods and exercise, nutrient requirements, and the best way for *me* to lose weight. I now have a decent set of recipes in my quiver to get me through a good month of meals and have begun to tinker with new recipes that don’t require much effort and are hugely convenient for breakfast or a snack.

baked oats with huckleberries



I came across baked oats in my search for healthier snacks which led me to i am a food blog’s baked oats. Apparently this recipe was all the rage on TikTok a million years ago and I was completely unaware because social media is a garbage hole time suck that I am treating like added sugar: unnecessary and not good for me. The claim is that this is like having cake for breakfast, but “healthy” because it is made from rolled oats (or oat flour). I made it healthier by omitting the sugar, using almond milk, opting for add-ins like fruit instead of cookies or candy or cream cheese, and reducing the serving size. I really like that it is highly customizable.

the base recipe: almond milk, vanilla extract, rolled oats, eggs, bananas, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, oil (for greasing the vessels)



If using rolled oats (don’t use steel cut oats), a high speed blender is needed to get the batter to a smooth consistency. If you don’t have a high speed blender, you can use the equivalent weight (not volume) of oat flour and mix everything together with a food processor or hand mixer. Just be sure to mash the heck out of those bananas. And if you have no issues adding sweetener to your baked oats, you can use sugar, honey, maple syrup or other substitutes in the appropriate amounts, since some are not 1:1 sugar replacements. I don’t have any experience with sugar replacements like Stevia or monkfruit sugar other than unknowingly buying an iced tea that was sweetened with Stevia and pouring it out after one sip. It was disgusting. Not sure if you want to omit the sugar? I think if you can enjoy unflavored oatmeal with just added fruit and no other sweeteners, you will be fine with this. The banana does contribute some sugar to the base recipe.

into the blender it goes

a smooth batter



**Jump for more butter**

sandwiched, dipped, and sprinkled

Tuesday, January 25th, 2022

Recipe: bakery-style butter cookies

I hope you all had a restful holiday and were able to recharge as needed. After all of the cookies were baked and distributed, we holed up in Crested Butte as 100 inches of desperately needed snow fell on us during Twixmas week. That kind of snow is the stuff of dreams. It was both magical and an enormous amount of work to clear by hand as our snow thrower was at the snow thrower doctor until the last day of the storm cycle. We did manage to crank out another year-in-photos digital card here: Jen and Jeremy’s Year in Photos.


welcome to 2022!

skating through a winter wonderland on the nordic trails

high avalanche danger meant low-angle backcountry fun



The plan was to resume documenting my latest favorite recipes in the new year, but I came down with Bell’s Palsy a couple of weeks ago. It was alarming at first as we tried to determine if it was a stroke (it was not). Despite having a thankfully mild case of facial palsy, my daily functionality was limited for a couple of weeks, mostly by my leaky left eye. Now I’m finally feeling nearly normal after finishing the mega dose of steroids and antiviral medications. Normal is a good thing. Even almost normal feels supremely wonderful right now.

uphill skiing = human-powered fun

we are getting lots of miles with the pups



A few years ago Deb had posted a photo and link for some cheerful golden nubs that were sandwiched, dipped in chocolate, and rolled in sprinkles. My memory leans photographic and her cookies tickled my brain: a pink cardboard box filled with a variety of cookies, some of which conveyed a similarly happy vibe as Deb’s.

Shortly after my sister turned 18, we road tripped from Virginia through Syracuse, New York, her birthplace, to Michigan where she would start her freshman year of college. Snowflake Bakery was on the “must visit” itinerary in Syracuse. Mom said they used to stand in long lines out the door at the bakery when Kris was an adorable toddler, and that the staff would sneak outside and hand Kris a cookie. It was my first time trying them in my 12 year old life. Delicate, delicious, not too sweet. Sharing cookies with Kris in the backseat of the Chevy as we sped west to Niagara Falls then onward to Ann Arbor, I tried to relish the time I had with my big sister and my best friend, dreading the trip home without her. Fast forward 38 years and I’m making these butter cookies from scratch and with all the feels.


flour, sugar, salt, butter, eggs, chocolate, vanilla extract, almond extract, sprinkles, raspberry and apricot jams



I can’t tell you if these bakery-style butter cookies are the same as Snowflake’s cookies because I don’t remember. Snowflake Bakery is now permanently closed, but I plan to send some cookies to Mom because she has excellent taste memory and gives unflinching feedback. I can tell you that I love this version for so many reasons. It’s got fruity jam, and I love fruity things. It’s a sandwich, one of my favorite food forms. The hints of almond, lemon, vanilla, and butter create pure magic. There is just enough chocolate to be enjoyable without regret. And finally – sprinkles. That said, the dough can be fiddly.

adding eggs and extracts to the creamed butter and sugar

mix in the flour

load the piping bag with dough



**Jump for more butter**

no whammies

Monday, June 28th, 2021

Recipe: gluten-free chocolate chip cookies

June went from lovely to horrid and (thankfully) back to lovely. I’m sure we have several swings of the pendulum ahead, but right now I’m truly grateful for the current cool and rainy pattern that is sitting on our faces and keeping smoke from the wildfires at bay.


the pups love hiking season

spring was late, but glorious nonetheless

wildfire smoke from the west made for dramatic evenings

the heat wave melted yuki and everyone else



My cousin moved to Colorado during the pandemic, but we haven’t had a chance to see one another since becoming fully vaccinated. However, two of my aunts (my mom’s younger sisters) were visiting my cousin recently and we met up for a short hike in Boulder. I can only hope to be as physically and mentally fit as these lovely ladies in 20+ years!

mom’s family has good genes

the wildflowers are having a good show this year



Originally, I was planning to post another recipe that wasn’t gluten-free chocolate chip cookies, but our neighbors did us a favor a while back and I wanted to thank them with some cookies. Except a 2-week heat wave crushed our souls and I couldn’t even *think* of baking. So when this cold front blew in from the north and brought our overnight temperatures into the 40s this weekend, I began testing these gluten-free cookies. My neighbor is gluten-free and I figured she was tired of the two or three recipes I kept sending over. Besides, it’s always good to expand your repertoire of baked goods. Jeremy, my neighbor, her husband (who can eat gluten), Canyon Erin (celiac) and her husband (eats gluten) all gave the recipe the thumbs up. And my neighbor asked if it was on the blog. That’s why you’re not getting meatless meatballs today.

bittersweet chocolate, vanilla extract, almond flour, sugar, brown butter, light brown sugar, vanilla bean, egg, baking soda, flake sea salt, kosher salt



Recipe testing baked goods at elevation sucks, because it doesn’t take much for things to go sideways at 8500 feet. The first rule of recipe testing is to try the recipe as is. Despite a few minor discrepancies between the volumes and weights (I follow weights), this one is pretty stable. I tweaked about with chilling the dough and cooking times and some other flavor enhancers, but all in all I feel this is a solid recipe with some of the best results in flavor and texture. Now, I do recommend chopping the chocolate over using chocolate chips. Even if you use chocolate chips, chop them up because the shards of chocolate mixed into the dough promote a creamier interior. And unsalted butter works just fine, but… use brown butter if you want it to be a little *extra*. If you make your own brown butter for this recipe, start with a half pound of unsalted butter which will yield enough brown butter for your needs. And let it cool to room temperature before using it.

start with 16 tablespoons of butter

melt it over medium heat and stir *constantly* until the milk solids turn golden (5-8 minutes)

immediately empty the brown butter into a bowl to cool before using



**Jump for more butter**