Chocolate Shortbread Cookies


These were my favorite cookies as a kid. They’re a whiz to whip up because there’s no need to chill the dough before rolling, cutting and baking.

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup powdered sugar (no need to sift, just fluff it up a bit)
  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Put everything in the food processor and process until combined. It will be dry at first, keep going until it starts to darken and clump together (the sound of the processor will change slightly). You may need to scrape down the sides, or pulse a few times to incorporate all the dry bits.

Empty onto wax paper, form into a ball, and roll out between two pieces of wax paper until 1/4 inch thick. Cut into 2-inch circles. Prick with a fork. Bake on parchment or silicon lined cookie sheets for 20-25 minutes until the tops are dry. Cool on racks. These will keep for a couple weeks stored in any container and be just as tasty.

Toast, Tomato and Cheese


I imprinted on this sandwich at a very young age. This was and still is a mainstay of the Spencer household every summer (usually several times a day) when the tomatoes are at their peak. The harmony of the ingredients is perfection – do not under any circumstance add or subtract any ingredients. You may think, “bacon would be great on this”. You would be wrong – it actually messes with the harmony. You might want to skip the mayo, which is a downright sin. This is not a time for improvisation. Stick with the classic. Follow the recipe exactly.

  • One slice of decent bread
  • One or two ripe tomatoes – homegrown or farmer’s market only
  • Two slices cheddar or other decent cheese
  • About 2 TBSP mayo – Hellmann’s or Dukes.

1. Toast bread.

2. Scald tomatoes – boil water in a small pot, electric tea kettle, or microwave. Place tomatoes in boiling water for 5 seconds. Remove from water. Remove skin from tomatoes and slice into very thick slices.

3. Spread mayo onto toast. Fit as many thick slices of tomato on the toast as you can. Top with cheese.

4. Place sandwich on a cookie sheet and place under the broiler on high for up to 5 minutes- watching closely until the cheese starts to bubble and turn slightly brown.

5. Eat.

– This recipe is easily doubled-