There is just something about the smell of fresh chocolate chip cookies baking that just makes me happy and content. The scent of them just fills the house, wafting through each room until the whole house smells like a bakery. Add the lovely tropical scent of coconut to the mix and it’s just sensory overload, in a good way. I can barely keep my hands off them as the finish baking. There are empty spots where cookies should be on the baking sheets. I would love to blame the kids but they are not even home. It’s just me…and cookies. Life is good.
When I asked Kayle to do me the honour of interviewing her for my Burning Down The Kitchen series I just knew I would be making one of her cookie recipes. Kayle can cook and bake like a dream. Yet it’s her cookie recipes that appeal to me the most. I actually do not bake cookies very often, there is a complete lack of cookie recipes on my blog. It’s odd as I love cookies. I think I know if I bake them I’ll gobble them all up too quickly. With things like ice cream and cheesecake I can pace myself so I never fear having them in the house. Cookies are a whole different thing. I cannot resist a hot cookie. The temptation is too strong for me. I can resist them once they cool, but if they are still warm all bets are off.
Kayle blogs at The Cooking Actress. I love her site for so many reasons. First of all this gal can bake her ass off. Secondly she loves TV and movies so we’re like soul mates. Thirdly she is just the sweetest person you could meet. Kayle is always friendly, bubbly, and positive. She cares about her blogging friends and her visits will always put a smile on your face. She is funny and quick-witted which I love. It’s like visiting a friend when you visit her blog. She welcomes you into her world and you will love being part of it.
I have bookmarked many of Kayle’s recipes over the time we’re known each other. I have her Waffle Iron Hash Browns saved to make for brunch one day. Her Mini Cinnamon Sugar Popovers are also on my brunch to do list. She made Peanut Butter Hot Chocolate which totally blew my mind. I mean who does that? It’s genius. Her Loaded Mashed Potatoes are being made the next time I make Roast Chicken. Her Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes are a thing of beauty, that’s my fave way to make them. I adore her Fluffy, Buttery Rolls, I could eat a million of those things. Her Garlic Butter Chicken is something I’ve been eyeing up for a while now, it looks like a two plater to me. Her Pizza Caprese looks amazing and I can see myself eating a whole pie all by my lonesome. She made Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Brownies which may have made my heart skip a beat. I think one of my all time favourites is her Mini Raspberry Swirl Cheesecakes. Everything she cooks and bakes looks utterly amazing. I hope you all love this gal as much as I do.
BURNING DOWN THE KITCHEN WITH KAYLE OF THE COOKING ACTRESS:
1. What inspired you to start a blog?
Well, I had become pretty obsessed with collecting recipes when I was in conservatory (AKA actor’s college where you get a pretty piece of paper after 2 years, not a degree :P), and then when I discovered food blogs I became obsessed with them. When I started my blog I was in a sorta down, sorta bored period of my life-I was living with roommates who I did not get along with, I didn’t work a lot, my boyfriend wasn’t here (he was still living in Ohio at the time, along with everyone in my family), and pretty much all I was doing was reading food blogs and making food. So I thought “Hm, maybe this could be fun”-I really did not expect anyone to like…ever read it, lol.
2. What’s your favourite aspect of blogging?
I love the camaraderie amongst bloggers. I have made so many friends, and I just adore each and everyone one of you :). I also enjoy how much my skills in the kitchen have improved and the bragging rights that are coming with that.
3. You are also an actress, what inspired that as a career?
Well I was about 2 years old and all I did was perform everywhere (a big belated “I’m sorry!” to my little brother! I sort of stole his thunder at his baptism. I was upset I wasn’t getting more attention so I stood on the steps in front of the altar and sang Frère Jacques. That got me the desired attention.) Then when I was about 4 I decided to be a “moviestarballerinasinger” then when I was somewhere around 8 I narrowed it down to a singer, who maybe acted on the side. Then when I was 13 I realized I wasn’t that great of a singer (sorry everyone who had to listen to me!), and acting sort of just took over. I’ve always been really interested in trying to imagine what it’s like to be a different person, and I have a bit of a fondness for performing, and I’m a complete TV/movie junkie, so…yeah. I did theatre in high school then moved to NYC to go to acting conservatory and the rest is history.
4. How do you balance the two careers?
To be honest-so far it hasn’t been a big issue. I haven’t had to go away to do any long film shoots since I started the blog, most of the things I’ve worked on haven’t filmed for more than a day or 2. And, I have jobs where I have extremely flexible schedules and don’t work a lot so that I can take all the acting opportunities available-and that, luckily, leaves me with some time to cook and bake and blog!
5. How do you manage to keep yourself svelte for Hollywood but still cook such amazing food?
Ha…ha…ha! Svelte. Um…I don’t. I need to lose weight but that’s neither here nor there. I suppose the point is I’m not ginormous, which is sort of a feat given how much I eat. I was blessed with a pretty good metabolism, so…that’s annoying I know, but it helps. I also do attempt to make healthier choices with my food, particularly my non-dessert food. Whole wheat, some healthier sub ins, etc. It’s a constant struggle, since I’m naturally more inclined towards unhealthy foods, but I’m working on it. I walk around NYC a lot too, and I’m starting to attempt to like…do crunches and stuff again because I’ve gotten waaay out of the habit of any kind of actual exercise (not that I ever liked it to begin with) but I really do need to tone up a bit, haha.
6. If you could have your dream job in either field what would it be?
The old cliche’-I’d love to be a very successful actress (not like ridiculously famous, but you know…known. And making decent money). I’d absolutely love to be on a television show (preferably a comedy/sitcom, I’m like hilarious n stuff), but I adore being in films as well. Really, I’d be happy if I could make a living making commercials even, I’d just like to be able to do what I love. As far as the food world, I have no idea what sort of job I could have outside of blogging and making food for people I care about, cooking and baking is therapeutic for me and I think it would lose it’s fun if I made it a real job.
7. You have Italian, Irish and German in you blood, so which type of cuisine is your favourite?
Italian! Easy question-I tend to relate more in general with my Italian heritage.
8. Is there any food you positively will not eat?
Heheheheeee. I’m such a picky eater we could be here all day. Although I do try foods-I’m not one of those people who says they don’t like something but they won’t try it. I can say seafood just…doesn’t happen for me, at all (I’ve tried it though *shudder*)-the smell alone makes me nauseous. I have a bad time with spicy foods too. And most green vegetables (I have only recently made friends with spinach…somewhat). And of course entrails and brains and stuff…gross.
9. Do you have any kitchen disaster stories you would like to share with us?
Hmmm…whenever kitchen disasters happen I get so upset and cry and I feel like I almost block them out, they’re so traumatic to me (Michael’s always so confused “Why are you so upset? It’s just food!”). Most disasters I sort of manage to work out or they just don’t turn out quite right. I’ve made 2 different chicken noodle soup recipes so far, for instance, and they both were sooo incredibly bland. And they were huge recipes so poor Michael had to try to eat it for days (boyfriends=garbage disposals, right?) Or, once I tried to make that mac n cheese recipe that cooks in it’s own milk or whatever? I had to throw it out, I used the wrong kind of noodles or something because they were just a disgusting soggy mess. Blech. Or, once I made these whole wheat pancakes and it wasn’t until I’d finished making them, all of them were cooked, all the dishes were dirty, that Michael said “These pancakes taste funny”. I tried to reason with him that they shouldn’t taste funny. Then he smelled the milk-”the milk is really bad!” Oh you mean that milk that I just used to make the batter for all those pancakes? Great. Everything went into the garbage and I was so upset. 1-time and effort wasted. 2-I was starving. 3-dirty dishes for no reward! *sob* See-traumatic.
10. Describe your kitchen for us? Best thing about it, worst thing about it?
It’s small, kind of long and narrow with a window on the far right side by the oven. There’s a nice tall pantry and a decent amount of cabinets. Pretty much no counter space (and what I have I have because my mom built me a counter-top on top of a roll-y cabinet unit thing). I mean, I love it because it’s mine and I’m used to it but yeah I would love a bigger kitchen with even more light and lots more counter space.
11. Milk, white or dark chocolate?
Dark chocolate! It used to be milk but I made an effort to eat more dark chocolate and now I prefer it :). I don’t like white chocolate, but it’s not really chocolate so :P.
12. Brownie or Blondie?
13. Is there any dish that you think your boyfriend makes better than you do? For me it’s pancakes. Hubs makes better pancakes in a big bad way.
I can’t really grill but that is Michael’s specialty-he makes amazing steak! I totally miss having a grill, it’s something to look forward to, the day Michael can make me burgers and steaks to my heart’s content :).
14. Sweet or savoury when snacking?
Usually sweet, if I want a snack I’m more likely to grab a cookie than chips. My mom is the complete opposite, every time she visits me she brings like 10 different kinds of snacks (chex mix, cheez-its, potato chips, pretzels, etc. etc.) and I’m like “Um, I’ll just have a brownie, thanks.” Hehe.
15. Soup or salad with lunch?
I usually get a salad, it’s lighter and doesn’t fill me up before the main event like soup.
16. If you could plan the perfect foodie vacation where would you go and what would you eat?
ITALY! I just want to go to Italy in general-I want to see Rome, Venice, Florence, Bologna (oh hi city that has…mostly…the same name as me!–my last name is missing the first “o”, probably an immigration error), Verona, Milan, Sicily, Abruzzi, all of it! (Those last 2 are the regions my family’s from). I would eat pizza, pasta, bread, cannoli, drink hot chocolate, etc. etc. My best friend spent some time in Italy when she studied abroad for a semester and she got to take a cooking class in this gorgeous vineyard and I was so incredibly jealous. She told me everyone in Italy reminded her of me. 🙂
17. Fruit or Veggies for a healthy snack?
In general I prefer fruit to veggies….they’re sweeter so, no surprise there! In the summer, especially, I like to have an apple or banana or some strawberries! I have been having a lot of salads lately-but even those have apples in them.
18. What’s your favourite kitchen toy?
Someday my answer will be a KitchenAid Stand Mixer. But until the KA fairy brings one to me (haha) I probably use my rubber spatulas the most. I also use my food processor quite a bit, it was such a marvel to me when I first got it!
19. Best memory of childhood that revolves around food?
Eating it! Hehe, um, probably watching my dad’s mom make food-she’s the only person in my family I ever really saw make things from scratch (some things, not everything) and she just uses great, old fashioned techniques, that she learned from my grandpa’s mom. I also used to have a lot of fun making blueberry muffins from the Jiffy mix and narrating myself, pretending to be on a cooking show. I was obviously an entertaining kid.
20. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Is blogging still a big part of the picture?
I’ll be in California, married. Hopefully acting is going well. And I’d love to still be able to be blogging too, I think the 2 “jobs” are remarkably well suited for each other, and I know I love them both.
DARE PORTION OF BURNING DOWN THE KITCHEN:
Dare Option # 1:
Take a photo of yourself trying to stuff as many marshmallows in your face as possible!
Dare Option # 2:
Take a photo of you in your favourite section of the grocery store!
Dare Option # 3:
Show us a photo of the inside of your fridge without cleaning it up first.
Kayle says, “I feel the need to explain some of this. We always have ice cream for Michael in the freezer (currently homemade browned butter pecan ice cream), and all the frozen dinners, etc. are for him too-he eats so much sometimes whatever I make isn’t enough for him! Also, I drink out of water bottles, all the time, that is why the bottles in the fridge door. It’s actually all pretty full right now! I was also in the process of making truffles when I took this picture, so that’s the ganache chilling in the bowl on the bottom shelf. (There are fruits & veggies, in the crisper drawer which you just can’t see in these pics.)”
Okay so I totally was not kidding about how awesome she is. She is downright hilarious. I honestly did not think anyone would do the marshmallow dare but Kayle stepped up in a big bad way. Her sense of fun and adventure impressed me so much. I also love that she collaged her photos. They look amazing and it’s just so personal. It’s things like this that make Kayle such a special gal. She just embraces life and has a blast with it. I dig that.
I decided to make Kayle’s Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies. I had my eye on them for a while. I figured since they were made with coconut oil that tossing coconut in them would fun. So I totally did. And they totally rocked. These are some seriously yummy cookies. Chewy and full of flavour. Kayle suggests popping them in fridge for some extra time. She aged hers for 12 hours. It helps to intensify the taste. I was in a rush so I only aged mine for 4 hours. They were still incredible. I can highly recommend these cookies. I am a total cookie monster and super picky about my cookies, these made me seriously happy. Big, huge smile biting into these tasty cookies. So I bit into a lot of them. What? Like you wouldn’t!!
- ½ cup liquid coconut oil
- 2 eggs
- 1½ cups brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1¾ cup AP flour
- 4 oz chocolate chips
- 4 oz semi-sweet chocolate, broken into large chunks
- 8 oz shredded coconut
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. (Kayle used 400 but my oven seems to cook a bit high so I adjusted down a bit for the second batch)
- Line cookies sheets with parchment paper.
- Beat together the coconut oil, eggs and brown sugar in a large bowl.
- Add the baking soda, baking powder, vanilla and flour, and mix well.
- Add in both chocolates and the coconut. Mix again until well incorporated.
- If desired let the dough age in the fridge for a bit. I let mine age for 4 hours, Kayle let hers age for 12 hours. If you are inpatient just make them right away.
- Scoop your dough with ice cream scoop or large spoon, make them all as equal in size as possible. Place on the cookie sheet and press down just a little bit.
- Bake them for about 7 to 12 minutes depending on what size you made them. They should be golden brown. You almost want to under-bake them a touch. Much better than over-baking.
- Allow to cool if you can resist temptation. I ate a zillion and made to make more.
- Serve with a big coconutty, chocolatey smile!
I would like to thank Kayle so much for allowing me the pleasure of interviewing her. Kayle you rock, your are such a pleasure and joy to work with. Thanks so much for being you!
Toodles and smoochies! xx