My husband calls me fearless when I am in the kitchen. A few days ago we were talking about a recipe I made over the summer. Despite not having a good half the ingredients, I decided to make the recipe anyhow. I swapped out a lot of the ingredients.  And it turned out good…whatever it was. 

That story is not an intention to brag about my savvy in the kitchen. I love cooking and I love baking. I love trying new recipes— even more so when we are having friends over for a dinner party. Really early on when my husband and I started cooking together we had the agreement that if something didn’t turn out we would simply order a pizza. There was NO pressure for something to be amazing, but there WAS space to experiment and practice. Over the years that has developed into a true passion for cooking and baking. While I love cooking for Tom and me, I truly love sharing our kitchen with friends and family. 

I have always told people that I am just following the directions when I make something. Someone else did all the hard work of figuring out what to put together in what order and for how long. But lately I have started experimenting and it has been a whole new layer of fun for me in the kitchen. Does it always work out? Of course not, but we haven’t ordered pizza yet either! 

This past weekend I decided to do something I have never done before with baking— make up my own recipe. Chocolate cherry cookies are a family favorite during the holidays. I am pretty anti-cooked fruit, so I have never really been a fan of them (and until Tom started helping me with the ganache they were a pain to make, too!). In a moment of weakness, I decided to try one again and I was shocked that I really liked the flavor. My husband commented that they reminded him of his mom’s chocolate cherry cheesecake. YES! And with that I was inspired to to create a cookie that was truly a cookie version of her famous cheesecake.

I started with the chocolate cherry cookie recipe and combined it with the filling that my husband puts in his magic cupcakes (1 package of softened cream cheese, ¼ c sugar, 1 egg and ¼-½ c dark chocolate chips). I decided to use a mini-muffin pan with liners just in case the batter melted all over the place. I rolled the dough into a small ball and pressed it into the bottom of the liner and pressed my thumb into it to make an indent. Then I scooped a small bit of (maybe a tbsp) of the cream cheese filling. Top it with a cherry and then pipe the ganache over it. These were baked for 10-12 minutes at 350. When they came out, I was sure they were a failure. There was no structure to them. They were tasty, but they just fell apart. I left them on the counter and went about my day. Later in the day, I tried one again and was shocked that they had solidified into a delicious bit of joy that tasted just like mom’s cheesecake! 

I am not so naive to believe that all my experimentation will result in beautiful success stories like this one, but I am emboldened to continue with my experimenting. No idea what form that will take, but I am sure it will be fun and if it fails…well there is always pizza! 

In the meantime, oodle on! 

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