Matt’s favorite chocolate chip cookie – AKA the wedding cookie

Matt and I got married recently & while everyone talked me out of baking my own wedding cake, I did bake a cookie for every single one of our guests. The recipe is loosely based on a chocolate chip shortbread cookie in NYT, though I made a few tweaks to the process & ingredient list. Most importantly, these are lactose free if you can find lactose free butter! If not, regular salted butter will do.

Huge shoutout to my best friend & theoretical matron of honor Megan for confirming that turbinado sugar would be more molassesy while I was stressing the day before the wedding, for pairing it with one of my fave coffees in SF, and for the seemingly only surviving photo of the goodie bags at the wedding (& for all the other wonderful things she does for me).

Matt’s Favorite Cookie – Chocolate chip shortbread

Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time18 minutes
Keyword: chocolate chip, cookies, dessert, salty desserts
Servings: 24 cookies


  • 1 Stand mixer


  • 255 grams salted lactose-free butter, cold & cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 100 grams granulated sugar
  • 55 grams light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanila extract
  • 320 grams AP flour
  • 3 ounces semi sweet chocolate
  • 3 ounches bittersweet chocolate
  • 1 large egg
  • Turbinado sugar for rolling
  • Maldon salt for topping


  • Chop up the chocolate bars into chunks. Optional: using a slotted spoon, filter out the tiny pieces of chocolate. By using only the larger chunks you'll have a prettier cookie. Set aside chocolate chunks.
  • Using the paddle attachment of your stand mixer, beat together the butter at medium high speed. Introduce sugar and vanilla 1/3 at a time so that the sugar doesn't whip out of the mixer. Using a silicone spatula, occasionally scrape the side and bottom of your mixer. Beat for 3-5 minutes until fluffy.
  • With the mixer on low, slowly incorporate the flour until just barely combined. Using a silicone spatula, occasionally scrape the side and bottom of your mixer.
  • Continuing with the mixer on low, mix in the chocolate chunks.
  • Divide the dough in half.
  • Place half of dough in plastic wrap and roll into a log shape. Make sure to push it so that it is compact and dense. It should be 6 inches in length. Repeat this for the other half of the dough. Chill dough for a minimum of 1 day in the fridge.
  • Heat oven to 350*. Remove the dough logs from the fridge and set out for 10 minutes.
  • Whip the egg. Brush the log with the egg mixture then roll in the turbinado sugar
  • With a serrated knife or sharp chefs knife, slice each log into 1/2 inch thick pieces, 12 pieces per log.
  • Place cookies on a baking sheet 1 inch apart. Chill in fridge for 15 minutes before baking to minimize spreading.
  • Sprinkle the cookies with maldon salt. Bake for 22 minutes. OK to turn the cookies at 15 minutes.


*Inspired by NYT salted chocolate chunk cookie

Baking cookies with Kulinarya Live!

I had the honor of baking Christmas Cookies for the Filipino Food Movement’s Kulinarya Live. “The Filipino Food Movement is [a non-profit] dedicated to preserving, promoting, and progressing Filipino cuisine in North America & around the world.” Their Kulinarya Live! series features Filipino chefs and foodies from around the world.

I was super nervous to do a full hour of cooking, but the crew at Filipino Food Movement made me feel right at home. The recipes featured ube powder, muscovado sugar, and Oodaalolly chocolates that can be found in their Patikim Boxes.

Ube White Chocolate Chip Macadamia


  • 160 g Bread flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp corn starch
  • 113 g butter softened
  • 100 g white sugar
  • 50 g brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup ube halaya
  • 2 tbsp ube extract
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup salted macadamias


  • Whisk together dry Ingredients in a bowl
  • In a separate bowl, using a mixer with a paddle attachment on medium high, cream the butter until it is light and fluffy. Add sugars and mix for 30 seconds.
  • Add the egg and mix for 30 seconds.
  • Add the ube halaya and extract to the mixture and beat on medium high for at least 2 min.
  • With the mixer running on low, slowly Incorporate the dry ingredients until the flour Is worked In.
  • Add white chocolate chips and macadamia nuts until just combined.
  • Set the oven racks into the top third and bottom third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350* F. Cover and place the dough In the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  • Scoop the dough Into balls, approximately 2 tablespoons per cookie.
  • Bake for a total of 13 minutes. After 7 minutes rotate the pans for even baking.
  • Cool for 5 minutes on the pan then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.


Inspired by Teachers’ Bakes, Alton Brown, and Mrs. Fields

Curly Top Peanut Butter Blossoms


  • 228 g AP flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 113 g butter
  • softened
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 100 g granulated sugar
  • 100 g light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 5 dozen Curly Tops
  • Muscavado sugar


  • In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt.
  • Using a mixer on medium speed, cream together butter, peanut butter, and sugars until light and fluffy. Add egg, milk, and vanilla. Mix until well combined.
  • Reduce mixer speed to low. Gradually add flour mixture, mixing until Incorporated.
  • Chill the dough for 1 hour.
  • Preheat the oven to 375*F.
  • Roll or scoop dough out with a 1 inch scoop
  • Unwrap the Curly Top chocolates and set them aside.
  • Roll the cookies In muscavado sugar and place 2 Inches apart on the baking pan.
  • Bake for 6 to 8 minutes, until light brown.
  • Remove the sheet from the oven and press In the Curly Tops In the center. Return to the oven and bake for 3 more minutes.
  • Remove from oven and cool completely on the pan.


This recipe is adapted from the Gerraro Family on NYT Cooking. The minor changes are to the baking time, sugar, and chocolate toppings.

Arroz Valenciana

Arroz Valenciana

This is Chicago's Fat rice meets the Arroz Valenciana of my childhood. Don't have all the ingredients listed here or perhaps you don't like seafood? That's ok! Feel free to sub in whatever sausages, seafood, and meats that you enjoy eating.


  • .5 lb longganisa
  • .5 lb chicken thighs, diced
  • .25 lb chorizo de bilbao
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 5 cloves of garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • .5 tbsp turmeric
  • Pinch Saffron
  • 1 cup sticky rice optional
  • 1 cup jasmine rice
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 2 medium-hard boiled eggs, sliced (boil for 9-10 min)
  • Optional: shrimp


  • Heat a large pan, at least 12 inches in diameter,on medium high heat. Heat 1 tbsp of vegetable oil.
  • Once oil is shimmering, brown the longganisa and chorizo. Remove from the pan.
  • Brown at least one side of the chicken thighs in the longganisa oil. Remove from the pan.
  • Add 2 tbsp of coconut oil and sautee the onions until softened. Add the garlic and sautee until golden brown. Stir in the spices to bloom them in the oil for 1 minute.
  • Add jasmine rice, sticky rice, chicken, longganisa, and chorizo (optional shrimp) to the pan and stir it in with the spices until well combined, about one minute.
  • Pour 2 cups of water and 1 cup coconut milk evenly over the top of the rice.
  • Cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook for 20-25 minutes.
  • Remove the lid and add bell peppers. Cover again and steam for an additional 5 minutes.
  • Serve with sliced egg on top. The rice at the bottom of the pan is the best – crispy!


A few ideas for mix-ins:
  • Gochugaru 
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Raisins (boil them in sherry vinegar for 8 minutes or until all vinegar evaporates)
  • Fermented black beans 

A Guide to a DIY Filipino Food Menu For Your Holiday Wedding

My first featured piece is here! Over the last month I have written, cooked, and photographed my way through a three-course Filipino wedding menu for a collaboration with Sinta & Co. I found Sinta & Co. and their sister company Cambio & Co. after scouring the internet for Filipino-made jewelry. They’re the only online shop that sells my new fave brand, Amami Ph, a jewelry company that specializes in lifting up Filipino artisans and preserving their traditions. To accompany the article on published on their website, I’ve put together a printable grocery list, some helpful tips, and tutorials to make this three-course meal a breeze. Print out the menu on cardstock if you’re feeling extra fancy!

First Course: A Super Cute Filipino Charcuterie Board 

Drink pairing: Sparkling lychee cocktail

Second Course: Arroz Valenciana 

Drink pairing: Filipino Sangria

Dessert: Beautiful, Bare, and Blossomed Bibingka 

Drink pairing: Naughty tsokolate (Bailey’s hot chocolate)

To get started, print out this grocery list or paste it into the Notes on your phone. Almost all the ingredients can be found at a Western store except for the bibingka mix, lychee, queso de bola, and tableas. I’m trying very hard to re-route my dollar from Amazon to other Filipinos in the community so grab those Pinoy items at your local Filipino market or order them online at Sarap Now!

Grocery List for a Three-Course Filipino Wedding Menu That’s Perfect For The Holidays


  • Three six-inch cake pans
  • Parchment paper
  • Large pan for arroz valenciana – at least four quarts
  • Straight edge or cake scraper
  • Board for serving charcuterie and cheeses


First course: Charcuterie Board

  • At least one soft cheese such as brie, camembert, roquefort, feta
  • 1 Queso de bola (edam cheese)
  • 1 apple
  • 1 handfull Cashews
  • At least one cured meat such as salami, proscuitto, pepperoni, or chorizo
  • Honey or fruit jam

Second course: Arroz Valenciana

  • 1/2 lb chicken thighs
  • 3 pieces chorizo de bilbao
  • 1/2 cup sticky rice
  • 1 cup jasmine rice
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 3 eggs, boiled to your preferred texture
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 pinch saffron (optional)

Third Course: Bibingka

  • 1 box bibingka mix
  • 1 1/4 cups unslated butter, room temperature
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 5 cups powdered sugar
  • 6 tbsp coconut cream
  • optional – shredded coconut
  • Edible flowers for garnish


  • 1 can fruit salad
  • 1 bottle red wine
  • 1 orange for garnish
  • 1/3 cup brandy or citrus liqueur
  • Hot cocoa mix or tableas
  • Bailey's irish cream
  • Milk (I prefer soy or oat for non-dairy alternatives)
  • Optional: mint for garnish
  • optional: whipped cream

Designing a charcuterie board

  • You will be able to get more bang for your buck at the deli counter. I like to have 2-3 cheeses and 2-3 meats minimum. To save on money and waste, I skip the pre-packaged selections and ask the deli counter to give me 0.1-0.25 lbs of each item.
  • Pick the right sized board: you don’t want it to be so large that the food is spread far apart. I live by the rule that you shouldn’t be able to see any of the board until people start eating items off of it! A dinner plate will work in a pinch.
  • Start from the largest items and work your way down: I place small bowls of jam and olives on the board first, followed by large slices of cured meat, crackers, and cheeses. Lastly, I fill in the empty spaces with nuts, apples, an grapes.
  • Mix up the textures: have hard cheeses and soft cheeses, hard sausages and soft prosciutto. Pour gooey honey on top of your brie to give it a smooth glisten. An assortment of nuts provide a textural contrast and crunch.

Cooking arroz valenciana

My favorite arroz valenciana has al dente rice and lots of different textures mixed with whatever seafood or meat looks freshest at the market. OK, so I don’t have my own arroz valenciana recipe written down because I am always changing it up to suit what I am craving that day. I know this is just as frustrating when you ask for your mom’s adobo recipe and she shrugs and tells you that she doesn’t measure anything… but that is what I am telling you now. Since we all need to start somewhere, I’ve included links to a couple of recipes.

I like the use of 2 different types of rice from Panlasang Pinoy’s recipe and the over-indulgent toppings of Chicago’s (now-closed and controversial) Fat Rice. Hard-boiled eggs are a hallmark of the Filipino adaptation of paella, but I prefer medium-boiled and slightly gooey yolks that act as a rich sauce. For extra color and flavor, place your peeled eggs in a bath of this quick red onion pickle juice the night before serving. The yolks become more gelatinous and the whites take on a gorgeous magenta hue with a slightly acidic flavor to balance the richness of the arroz valenciana.

Tips for a successful bibingka naked cake:

  • To convert the bibingka box mix from two 8-inch cakes to three 6-inch cakes, I added 2 more minutes to the bake time. Rather than baking for time, remove the cakes from the oven when you can press down lightly on top of the cake and it springs back.
  • I learned to frost a naked cake through Sugar & Sparrow. It is so elegant and also the easiest way to decorate a cake. Your prettiest cake layer should be on top.
  • Make sure you have enough frosting in between each layer of cake for a stark white contrast to the bibingka. Bonus: any lopsidedness can always be fixed with frosting!
  • Springle shredded coconut in the layers for added texture and more coconut flavor.

Please do share if you make anything on this menu! You can find my post here!

Beef and Farro Umami Soup

I know we shouldn’t be eating that much beef because ruminants are horrible for the environment, but when we go on our quarterly Costco run we typically pick up a pack of steaks. A Costco pack of anything is far too much, so we have 1-1.5 lbs of leftover steak that has been seared to perfection with butter and aromatics. Knowing it won’t ever be brought back to its original glory, I add it into this beef soup!

Beef & Farro Umami Soup

There are 4 different sources of umami in this soup: tomato, fish sauce, parmesan, and miso! This is what I call a "Day 2 food," meaning it repurposes another dish. In this case, this is Day 2 of steak, typically flank or NY strip. You can use stew meat or chuck, but bear in mind you will need to simmer the beef for 1.5-2 hours to soften.


  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 1 leek, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 plum tomatoes, diced
  • 9 cups chicken stock
  • 1-1.5 lbs leftover steak
  • 3 sprigs aromatics, such as thyme, rosemary, sage
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1.5 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp white miso paste
  • 1 1-2 inch chunk of parmesan rind or parm
  • 2 cups farro
  • 1 bunch of kale
  • 3 carrots, peeled and chopped into 1/4 inch pieces
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped into 1/4 inch pieces


  • In a dutch oven, sautee shallots and leeks until slightly translucent, then add garlic and continue to sautee until the garlic is golden. Add in the paprika and tomatoes and sautee for 1-2 minutes to bloom the spice.
  • Add chicken stock, steak, aromatics, bay leaves, fish sauce, miso paste, and parmesan rind. Bring to a boil.
  • Add the farro and simmer with the lid on for 15 minutes.
  • Add kale, carrots, and celery and simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Remove aromatics and season with salt and pepper as needed. Serve hot!


Adopted from Food & Wine’s Beef and Farro Miso soup

This recipe is adopted from Food & Wine