back yard scenes and a recipe

Those are our chickens up there-- Honey and Petunia. We've been thinking about getting a couple more, but I'm not sure about disrupting the order these girls have in the yard right now. They seem pretty happy to be the only girls out there. We got these as adult birds and so they are most definitely not pets. As in, they don't want us to touch them. They do come running when we go in the back yard, though, because we like to bring them treats. One day I wouldn't mind raising some from chicks so that I could hold them....There's something really nice about petting those feathers.

The last photo is Ruben's smoker. He's been smoking cookie ingredients lately, with good results. At first he was smoking the butter, which involved freezing it first and keeping it on a bed of ice in the smoker, so as not to melt it. That worked pretty well, but the resulting cookies had only a very faint smokiness. Our chef friend suggested smoking the flour instead, and that has been great. MUCH more smoky and delicious! Ruben usually uses some cherry charcoal that his friend makes, but you could try it with other wood types and I bet it would be fun to do a taste test and compare them.

To smoke the flour you just immerse a bowl of flour in a smoky environment for a while -- you could make a homemade smoker like ours (just an overturned metal tub on the grill, over smoldering coals) or use a real smoker. You may want to stir the flour a few times, to increase the smokiness.

Here's the recipe we've been using and loving. Our families request these cookies pretty often.

Smoky and Salty Chocolate Chip Cookies
Recipe slightly adapted from this recipe from Not Without Salt.

2 sticks unsalted butter, room temp
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup turbinado sugar
1 3/4 cups light brown sugar, packed
2 eggs, room temp
2 tsp vanilla
3 1/2 cups smoked all purpose flour
1 lb high quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped into 1/2" chunks
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
fluer de sel, for sprinkling

Cream butter and sugars until light. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Continue mixing while adding the eggs, one at time, being sure to mix well between each egg. Add vanilla. Scrape down the bowl again. Whisk the flour, baking soda and salt in another bowl. With mixer on low, slowly add the flour, mixing just until combined-- take care not to over-mix. Fold in the chocolate with the rubber spatula.

Place spoonfuls of dough on parchment-lined cookie sheets, sprinkle each with fluer de sel, and bake at 360 degrees for about 12 minutes. They should be lightly golden but still look a bit wet. Cool on the baking tray for 5 minutes, and then move to cooling racks. Enjoy!


  1. Your chickens are adorable. Do they lay eggs? If yes, what color?

  2. so wonderful! i have never heard of smokey cookies!? sounds delicious.
    i would love some chickens myself, have you seen the mark lewis documentary, The Natural History of the Chicken, made for PBS?? It is one of my all time favorites (it can be viewed currently via netflix instant). it's a must see for chicken lovers! xo

  3. E- They do lay eggs! One of them lays brown and the other pale green. I've never figured out which is which, though.

    Haylie- They are delicious! And, I actually have seen that movie! I remember it was quite hilarious.