Sweet Melissa Sundays

Archive for June 2009

7519LI read the P&Q about the delicious double chocolate cherry cookies, and it looks like many of you don’t have access to dutch processed cocoa powder.  I use this Valhrona dutch processed cocoa powder and LOVE IT.  I get it at this awesome LA store Surfas.  I am jealous that Wendy gets to shop there in person, I have to order on-line. 

Anyhow, to thank all of you for baking along with me, and for putting up with my sometimes very deliquent adminitrative efforts, I wanted to do a giveaway for this cocoa powder.   One lucky SMS member will be the proud owner of 1lb of this awesome cocoa powder.   


  • Open to SMS members only. 
  • Open until Thursday, July 3, 2009 at Midnight (PST). 
  • I will post the lucky winner on the 4th of July (before heading out of town until the 13th). 
  • To enter, leave a comment with a link to the #1 dessert/baking post of yours (or someone else’s but preferably yours) that you would like me (and other SMS’ers) to try!

Good luck and THANK YOU!

Happy 4th of July everyone.


Chocolate Chip Cookies with Toasted Almonds

Chocolate Chip Cookies with Toasted Almonds

Hi, all you wonderful SMS’ers!  It’s Elyse here.  Our fearless and fabulous leader Lorelei (of Mermaid Sweets) may or may not be rockin’ and  rollin’ out on the high seas right now (okay, that’s a round-about way of saying, lucky Lorelei spent last night cruisin’ (and sleeping) on a boat!).  So, she graciously asked my land-bound self to put together this post.  Um, but of course!  (I’d like to throw out a quick thanks to Lorelei.  Week after week, she makes this awesome baking group come alive.  Thanks to her master coordination skills (and slight anal retentiveness), we all get to participate in this wonderful group.  So, thanks, Lorelei, for making all this happen.  And thanks SMS’ers; getting to read your blogs each week is truly a pleasure.)


Melissa's first copy of her own book!

Melissa's first copy of her own book!

As you all know, this is a super special week for Sweet Melissa Sundays.  We have been steadily baking our way through the wonderful Sweet Melissa Baking Book, and now we get to reap a super sweet reward for our diligent baking.  You see, we have a celebrity in our midst!  That’s right: Melissa herself–THE Melissa–chose this week’s recipe.  Melissa, thank you so much for taking the time from your busy schedule to select this week’s recipe and to bake along with us.  We can’t rave enough about your book: your recipes are fabulous and heart-felt–not to mention, they all yield divine treats.  It is such an honor to have you baking along with our group!  We hope you’ll come back to bake with us often!  And now, onto the delectable Chocolate Chip Cookies with Toasted Almonds (p.58)…after a few words from baker extraordinaire, Melissa Murphy!   ~Elyse, Confectionary Creations

Cookies 2

It is thrilling for me to have you all blogging about my book,  I feel so honored!   However, when Lorelei told me you wanted me to demo the chocolate chip cookie recipe, I felt like I got off easy!!  Turns out , it was the perfect day for an easy recipe.  I spent the entire day out in the rain, and got home 6 hours later than expected. Knowing that I only needed to bake these cookies when I got home was a blessing, and something to look forward to.

At Sweet Melissa’s I usually leave out the toasted almonds, due to nut allergies, and I miss them everytime I do.

I think it must be impossible to over-toast the almonds, for as soon as you say “mmmm, that smells so good, what is that?”  It’s time to pull them from the oven.   The toasty aroma sets the mood for the yumminess to come.

I like to use callebaut semi sweet pistoles (#835) for my cookies. 

These make fantastic ice cream sandwiches!

Chocolate Chip Cookies with Toasted Almonds, p.58

Makes 24 Cookies

1/2 cup whole natural almonds, toasted (See below)

10 TBS unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 large egg

1 2/3 cups AP flour

3/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

8 oz. best-quality semisweet (58%) chocolate, coarsely chopped into 1/4- to 1/2-inch chunks

Before you start

Position a rack in the center of your oven.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

(1) Roughly chop the almonds into large pieces.

Coarsely chopped almonds...

Coarsely chopped almonds...

(2) In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla until fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Add the egg and beat for another minute.

Creamed butter, sugars, and egg...

Creamed butter, sugars, and egg...

(3) In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.

(4) With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in three batches, mixing until no flour is visible after each addition.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

(5) Remove the bowl from the mixer.  Stir in the almonds and chocolate.  Refrigerate the dough until firm, about 1 hour.  (If you’re really impatient or hungry, spread out the dough on a tray or cookie sheet, lay a sheet of plastic wrap flush against the surface of the dough, and freeze so it chills up fast.)

A quick freeze before "logging"...

A quick freeze before "logging"...

(6) Once the dough has chilled, turn it out onto a clean work surface and divide it in half.  Roll each half into a log about 12 inches long.  Refrigerate the logs for at least 30 minutes before slicing.  (At this point, you can wrap the logs tightly in plastic wrap and then aluminum foil and freeze for up to 1 month.)

"Logging" it up...

"Logging" it up...

(7) Cut the logs into 1-inch slices, and place them about 1 1/2 inches apart on each cookie sheet.  Bake for 13 to 14 minutes, or until the centers no longer have a glossy look of raw dough.  They should be chewy, so do not overbake.

Heading for the oven...

Heading for the oven...

The magic happening...

The magic happening...

The cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.  For longer storage, refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 5 days, or freeze for up to 3 weeks.  Do not uncover before defrosting.

To toast nuts

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Spread the almonds (or other nuts) in a single layer on a cookie sheet.  Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until lightly gold and you can smell them.  Remove to a wire rack to cool.


I just heard back from Melissa Murphy – she’s going to host the chocolate chip cookies with toasted almonds (hercules, hercules).  She doesn’t have a blog yet, so she’s going to send me her pictures and text and I will put up the post here on the group site.  So please link back to the post that will be put up on the group site Sunday Morning. 

Thanks Melissa – and thank you all.


Hi all, as you can see by the results of the poll below, the chocolate chip cookies narrowly won over the take a week off.  Although if you count the votes for baking something, it seems the majority was for baking rather than breaking.  That said, I know some of you posted that a week off is needed, and by all means, take it.  I really don’t want people to feel stressed out by this group it is for FUN.   If you are skipping this week, you could always do a “rewind” some week if you can’t or don’t want to make the recipe of the week and make these cookies, they are bestsellers at the bakery.

No word back yet from Melissa, so I will host the recipe (and make them and post early Sunday) unless I hear from her.   Either way, I’ll let you know who to link to for the recipe by Friday.

Thanks everyone.  As always, let me know if you have any questions or concerns.


So, I haven’t heard back from Melissa Murphy on what she wants to host for next week – she did post a comment asking us for suggestions, but when no one responded, I asked her to go ahead and pick something.  I know next week is around the corner and many of you like to plan ahead (unlike me!), so I have put together a poll to see how the group wants to address this.  I will go with which option gets the highest vote although because it is so late, everyone can have a free pass to skip if they want.  I am still hopeful Melissa will be able to participate and host the chosen recipe (if the skip a week doesn’t win) but if not I will host it (hope that is OK).

Poll will close at midnight PST tomorrow night (Monday night) – so people have time to make the recipe if applicable.

Thanks for your patience and understanding – Lorelei

Just a few days late this time – back from Hawaii.  Will be making the google reader rounds soon.  And hope to be able to report Melissa Murphy’s pick for the following week soon.  Stay tuned.

This blog is a baking group using The Sweet Melissa Baking Book. We are in no way affiliated with Melissa Murphy or her bakery Sweet Melissa Patisserie. We're just fans of the cookbook and bakery!

Membership Openings

Sweet Melissa Sundays is now closed.

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August 7: Cinnamon Peach Preserves hosted by Tess of Cookin Chemist

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