Suzi's Blog

Chili Mocha Frosting

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Sometimes life does get better. And easier. For example, a couple of years ago, a Starbucks opened on our block. It’s around the corner, to be true, but in a short walk of 400 feet we can have our java anytime we want. There is no excuse, no matter how wet or snowy or windy, for missing out on one of life’s necessary pleasures.

Before this Starbucks opened, we had to travel very far to get our fix. Four blocks, which on a snowy day does in fact make you think twice.

Hot coffee can be drunk. Or it can be eaten. Here’s a sublime Mocha Frosting that calls for blending cocoa powder with hot coffee.

Mocha frosting in the morning? Sure. Dip some of those Walker’s Shortbread cookies — often on the shelves at Starbucks — into this frosting for an extra morning caffeine jolt.

This frosting is delightful on cakes, cupcakes and cookies. There is nothing like a warm browning with hot mocha frosting.

Chili Mocha Frosting  

Yield: fills and frosts one 2-layer 8- or 9-inch cake


  • ¼ cup butter at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 ½ cups sifted powdered sugar [plus more if needed to get the desired consistency]
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons hot coffee


In a mixing bowl, cream the butter. Add the cocoa powder, salt and chili powder. Add the powdered sugar ¼ cup at a time. Periodically, add teaspoon portions of the vanilla and coffee as you strive for frosting consistency.

Too much liquid? Try beating the frosting on high speed. If necessary add more powdered sugar, one tablespoon at a time.When all the ingredients are in the bowl, beat until smooth.

Source: Adapted from Chocolate Cookery by Mable Hoffman


Still and Forever: The Best Chocolate Chip Cookie

The Good Cookie

How many times have you made chocolate chip cookies?  Honestly?  Yes, you have to start counting from childhood, when you tugged on Mom’s apron and got one big serious lick of cookie dough.  That’s when our common addiction started.  Long after Mom is gone, that craving for dough, for the smell of baking cookies and, of course, that taste of a warm cookie out of the oven will awaken memories deep inside.

Suzen is having a private party this weekend at Cooking by the Book. Her client has requested a supply of the best chocolate chip cookies possible. We knew immediately where to turn for the recipe. This post, originally form 2010, is timeless. You can never have enough chocolate chip cookies, and you certainly can never have enough of the very best ones. Once you have made this recipe, you will always, always return for more.

To be honest, that recipe on the back of the package of chocolate chips is good.  It really is.  As time has gone by, whole books have been created about chocolate chip cookies.  I’ve blogged about one of those books [].

So, truly sans ego, I am going to claim that I am chocolate chip cookie expert.  And that is why I can say with great confidence that I have found the world’s very, very best chocolate chip cookie recipe.  It’s from Tish Boyle in her book The Good Cookie.  The recipe is below and I will tell you her key secret: use melted butter.  Oh, and you make them big.

Suzen and I have made these a dozen times now, tested them on friends and family.  The first response is always something like, “Oh, my God, ..”  Quickly followed by, “Can I have the recipe?  Is it a big family secret.”

I am happy to share Tish’s extraordinary recipe here.

Funny thing, I found this recipe by accident.  The book was published in 2002 and I have been using it for years.  There is a colorful forest of Post-it notes sticking out all over the place — and I will blog in the future on more of those recipes.

But I just found the chocolate chip recipe.  I am embarrassed to say, it is the very first recipe in the book.  I usually just pick up a book and start flipping pages somewhere.  I rarely start at the beginning, with that first recipe.  If I had with The Good Cookie, then for eight years I could have been savoring this masterpiece recipe.

Please, don’t wait eight years.  Give this one a try and let me know how you love it.


Soft-Baked Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Yield: 18 Cookies


  • 2 ½                  Cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1/2                   Teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8                   Teaspoon salt
  • 3/4                   Cup melted butter [1 ½ sticks]
  • 1                      Cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • ½                     Cup granulated sugar
  • 2                      Large eggs
  • 2                      Teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 10                    Ounces chocolate cut into ¼-inch pieces [The chocolate can be bittersweet, semi, or milk]
  • ¾                     Cup pecans, chopped

Preheat the oven to 350° F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking, soda and salt.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the melted butter and sugars.  Whisk in the eggs one at a time, whisking until well blended.  Whisk in the vanilla.  Using a wooden spoon, stir in the dry ingredients until combined.  Stir in the chocolate and nuts.  [The dough can be refrigerated, well wrapped, for up to 4 days or frozen for up to a month].

Using a ¼ cup measure or ice cream scoop, drop the dough onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing them 2 inches apart.  Bake, two sheets at a time for 15 to 18 minutes, until the cookies are just brown around the edges; switch the position of the sheets halfway through the baking.  The centers of the cookies should be soft and slightly puffy.  Let look completely the on the backing sheets or wire racks.

Store in an airtight container for up to 2 days [which would be a miracle].

 Source: The Good Cookie by Tish Boyle