Criticizing is easy, it comes naturally to most of us, I guess.  I’ve done my share of criticizing The Food TV Network, going on and on about the good old times when their shows were actually about cooking, not endless competitions. One example: Cutthroat Kitchen.  I mean, here we have a guy like Alton Brown, who joined the network with the goal of showing home cooks the science behind food preparation, the tricks of developing a perfect recipe. Now, he hosts a show I find incredibly silly.  And I am not alone. Hummm, did I say I was done with criticism?  Sorry, I got carried away.  I am here to actually praise The Kitchen, a weekly show on FoodTV I enjoy quite a bit. One of the things I like is the sense of spontaneity behind it. Marcela Valladolid is charming, adorable, knowledgeable, and I am a huge fan of Geoffrey Zakarian. Jeff Mauro is witty, and seems like a very genuine person, the more I watch the show, the more I like him. They have features like Tool Takedown, interesting and fun. The whole idea is to test a gadget that is supposed to perform a specific task, say peel apples. One person will use it and another will grab a veggie peeler or a regular knife, and they compete to see who does it better and/or faster. For the most part, they demonstrate that single-use gadgets are a waste of money and storage space. I also love a feature called  “You Put What in your What?”. As the name indicates, it involves unusual additions to recipes, or crazy food combinations.  And that brings me to this post. I hope you’re ready for it.


I know, it scared me too! But, please, don’t run away screaming.  These cookies are delightful, the pictures do absolutely no justice to them.  I baked them early in the morning while the kitchen was still dark and had to take pictures under very unforgiving lights.  You’ll need to make the dough at least 4 hours before baking, the day before is even better, so plan accordingly.  I found the recipe at the The Spice House website. Of course, being the spice cookie lover that I am, and reading the rave reviews of those who made them, I could not wait to bake a batch.

Curry Cardamon Cookies

(adapted from The Spice House website)

Yields approximately 6 dozen cookies

(I made half the recipe and got 30 cookies)

1 cup butter
2 cups brown sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons curry powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 cup walnuts, lightly toasted, chopped

Cream butter and sugar together. Add eggs and vanilla and beat until incorporated. Sift dry ingredients together. Add to creamed mixture, a third at a time. Stir in nuts.

Divide dough into four rolls and wrap each in waxed paper. Refrigerate at least 4 hours (may also be frozen).

Slice into ¼-inch slices and place on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven until golden brown, 12-14 minutes. Let cookies cool for 2 minutes on baking sheet, then remove to a rack to cool thoroughly.


to print the recipe, click here

I often tell our students to read the protocol carefully before starting a new experiment. Sometimes it would be nice to listen to my own advice.  The bit of “refrigerate the dough for at least 4 hours” caught me unprepared. It was 9 pm and my intention was to bake them before going to sleep. Instead, I had to stick the dough in the fridge and resort to plan B: turn the oven on at 5:30am next day…    Oh, well…

They puff quite a bit while baking and release a fantastic aroma that will fill  your home with joy and tail-wagging dogs.

Can you tell there is curry in them?  I doubt it. Actually Phil could, but I suspect he’s got a mass spectrometer in his nose, that man identify smells like nobody’s business. Our students thought they had ginger. I wish the pictures turned out better, but trust my words: these are GREAT cookies.  You know why I say that? I normally have one cookie of every batch I bake, no matter how tasty.  This was a FOUR COOKIE downfall.  I had four. One at home to make sure they were good enough to share, and the others during our lab meeting. They seem so harmless, but in my opinion they join all goodness a  cookie should have: sweetness that is not cloying, and a peppery, salty, addictive taste that mixed with the walnuts makes you go back for just one more. Maybe three.


This is another example of a cookie that will not win a beauty contest, I admit. But please, make them, share with friends, and dare them to guess the secret ingredient!

ONE YEAR AGO: In My Kitchen, March 2014

TWO YEARS AGO: The Blogger and the Shrink

THREE YEARS AGO: The Wheat-Berry Transmogrification

FOUR YEARS AGO: Curried Zucchini Soup

FIVE YEARS AGO: Roasted Onion and Asiago Cheese Miche

34 thoughts on “YOU PUT WHAT IN YOUR WHAT?

  1. First of all that’s daring trying curry in a cookie. I am intrigued and need to try them. But more importantly here since when do students ever read the entire protocol before starting their experiments? My first year student in the lab refuses to listen to this advice and just the other day realized half way through a staining protocol that she had no blocking buffer. Oooff


    • Reading anything that is not in iPhone is a big problem these days for beginning students, studying in a ‘real book’ seems like a daunting challenge for 90% of them. Another big problem is the lack of proper data keeping. “Taking notes” and keeping a decent lab book. Writing things by hand is becoming harder and harder for everybody, but for young students the problem is serious, if they want to work in a lab.

      We try to pass the importance of keeping detailed notes of what is done – the whole idea is that if someone comes back two years down the line and needs to repeat or follow up on an experiment performed by a grad students, they should be able to do it without any problems by following the student’s lab book. Yeah, right… it is a tough battle to fight, this one.


  2. So far my boldest cookie spices were Five Spice mix and chilli, but never thought about curry powder, though now I can’t see why not… 🙂
    The first thing I try to emphasis in every cooking demo is “read the whole recipe first, make sure you have all the ingredients and understand the procedure before starting.” From quite a few phone calls over the years I can deduct this is not always followed… 😀


  3. I rarely make or eat cookies but using a curry spice mixture sounds very interesting. I’d certainly taste test a few though I can’t see myself making a whole or half batch just because I’d have to give away all the rest. 🙂


    • I would never take something for the department that I had never made before without a taste test… can you imagine the shame if they turned out horrible? 😉


      • I’d only share if they were good cookies like you. But making a batch just to taste one, seems a bit excessive when you’re not crazy about cookies, in general. 🙂


        • Oh, I doubt I would be baking cookies if I did not have a department (or at least a full lab) to share them with, because I am not a big cookie eater. I guess I could bake cookies that freeze well, so that I would treat them as I do bread – once I bake a loaf, we enjoy a couple of slices, then slice the rest and freeze.

          But, in the meantime, since folks at KSU seem to like the stuff I take for them… I’ll keep having fun with the baking 😉

          Liked by 1 person

  4. Curry… in cookies? It sounds intriguing enough to try a half batch, sample a few and then see what the guys on the dock have to say about the “mystery” ingredient.

    Your opening comments took me back to the “good old days” when Food Network shows were about actually cooking, with accomplished chefs/cooks and real food, not just competitions and endless reruns of flash food visits (Diners, Drive-ins & Dives, etc). Maybe I have aged out of FN’s current target audience, but PBS and some food blogs make up for the programs I miss the most.


    • I ve been trying to find cooking shows in another channel, called appropriately enough “Cooking CHannel” – but for the most part what I’ve seen are shows that are more concerned with the “ambiance” and the social component of the meal than the recipe. It makes me so tired to see the beautiful table settings, the gorgeous couples, the endless smiles, the perfect dress with the perfect jewelry…. that aura of “we are such happy people, and we can cook too” – 😉

      Heck, give me a nice cooking show by an experienced chef, baker, patissier, and leave the theatrical components behind.


    • You got it! For me to eat four, that means business! It’s the spices, I tell you – I have THE weakest spot for spices in sweets. It’s the yin and yang thing, I guess


  5. So I’m way behind on food blog reading so I just now got to this…but I totally see where you’re coming from re: Food Network and the cooking competition shows. But I think we still disagree and that’s okay! 🙂

    I think it all goes back to what you’re looking for, what you’re hoping to gain from watching the show, and even your learning style. For me, I love some of the cooking competition shows because a) they aren’t trashy like many other shows on tv are, b) they are about food and I love food, and c) they are fun and allow an escape from real life. The theatrics and part of what I love about them! I think it’s great when someone is faced with a huge challenge in the kitchen and still makes a great dish like losing their butter and having to make ___ without it. Stuff like that happens in real life, right? Maybe not because my competitor paid a crazy amount of cash to steal it but still. When that happens, just go on and see what you can do now. If it turns out, great, if not, the world’s not gonna end. All in good fun, I think. 🙂

    I love cooking and baking. I know I could learn from watching a ‘serious’ cooking show but that’s not what I want to do in my free time. I want to relax. If I want to learn technique, I’ll get a cookbook, read through a tutorial (preferably with pics), or take a class. I won’t watch a video on YouTube or elsewhere…that’s just not me. Yes, maybe the shows are demeaning to what Food Network was but change happens. Maybe they’re unrealistic or unfair, but people choose to be on them and (I think) have fun. C’est la vie! 🙂


    • No doubt, vive la difference! I know that lots of people like this type of competition, including Cutthroat Kitchen, and hey, you are lucky that FoodTV is providing the type of show you like – I tend to like entertainment in the form of light comedies like Big Bang Theory, this type of show. BUt when it comes to cooking I much rather have the old fashioned approach of the good old days. So in a way yes, we are on opposite sides of the cooking show appreciation, but I doubt they will go back to my taste 😉


  6. The curry addition sounds intriguing although you pretty much had me at the cardamom, one of my favourite spices (I have an amazing cardamom spice cake recipe I haven’t done in years and really must do again). Any suggestions for a tasty switch-out for the walnuts as I’d want to make these nut-free? I’d want to do these in bulk for the café and cutting down potential allergens (and costs) is important.

    Also, so true about FN: here in Canada, you can maybe catch a couple hours of actual cooking shows if you turn it on at 5 a.m. Then it’s competition shows or hours of DD&D for the rest of the day. Ugh. Likewise HGTV; not a single gardening show on there, it’s all house buying, renovations and, of course, competitions. They may as well rename it HTV. I don’t miss dumping the cable service 6 months ago and sticking to internet only.


    • I think I would leave the nuts out, or maybe add some white choc chips? I just made some cookies with a gingersnap nature with white choc chips and was surprised by how much I enjoyed the combination – maybe you could add some here?

      You are so right, it’s competition day in, day out… however, after a tip from a friend, I tuned into PBS in search of their cooking shows and found American Test Kitchen… What a difference! I learned so much watching 4 episodes, I am in love….

      hosted by Christopher Kimball, who can get on some people’s nerves, but totally worth it…


    • Glad you did not mind – I wasn’t sure if you saw this post originally – and of course, I think you would love these cookies. They are not good looking, but it doesn’t matter. COme to think of it, when I woke up an hour ago I screamed at my image in the mirror. So to make my point, looks should not matter. Let’s be happy with the cookies we bake… 😉


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