“There’s nothing better than splendidly nourishing yourself, your friends and your family.” Tara Teaspoon, author of Live Life Deliciously.

Tara Bench, aka Tara Teaspoon has worked for decades in food publishing and was the food editor for Martha Stewart Living and the food director for Ladies Home Journal. Through these publications, she has always inspired home chefs and has encouraged everyone to view recipes as a guide and to “make it work for you.”

She discusses the changes in the publishing industry and the role that influencers play. For those aspiring culinary writers, Tara notes that there are many paths that one can take to share their stories, including podcasts, social media, blogs, websites and even self publication. She advises, “First and foremost, start telling that story. Start creating the connection with people to build your audience and get it out there. It can always be restructured into a different format down the road.”

Cooking alongside her mother instilled a love of food and culinary communication. She has special memories of making My Favorite Coconut Cream Pie recipe. While many of us are still having to stay home these days, this is a great time to gather together in the kitchen and cook together. Tara Teaspoon will help you “Live Life Deliciously.” Enjoy this special Kitchen Chat with Tara and co-hosts Margaret McSweeney and Chef Jaime Laurita.

Here are Tara Teaspoon’s Top Three Tips for the Home Chef:

  1. Get a few good sharp knives and a good cutting board will make your cooking so much more enjoyable;
  2. Try a few new ingredients each month and have them in your pantry, such as fish sauce; and
  3. Make some chocolate chip cookies. It just makes you happy in the kitchen.

Here is her delicious recipe for Soft Gingersnaps with Sweet Orange Cream Cheese as featured in her new cookbook Live Life Deliciously. Used with permission:

soft gingersnaps with sweet orange cream cheese 

MAKES 

40 MINI-SANDWICH COOKIES 

HANDS-ON TIME 

30 MINUTES 

TOTAL TIME 

1 HOUR 10 MINUTES

MY GREAT-AUNT RUTH always made soft gingersnaps when I was young, so I didn’t know traditional gingersnaps were crispy until I was much older. Mom made my aunt’s recipe often, which called for an orange-infused cream cheese spread on top. They are ridiculously good! I’ve made this family classic my own by making the gingersnaps smaller and filling them with my own version of the frosting. The problem is, now that they are small and super cute, I can’t help but eat too many!

¾ cup unsalted butter, softened 

¼ cup canola oil 

¼ cup molasses (not blackstrap) 

1 cup granulated sugar, plus more for coating cookies 

1 large egg 

1 teaspoon grated ginger 

2¾ cups all-purpose flour 

2 teaspoons baking soda 

½ teaspoon salt 

1 teaspoon ground ginger 

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 

1 recipe Sweet Orange Cream Cheese (below) 

1. Heat oven to 350˚F. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle at­tachment, beat together butter, oil, molasses, and sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in egg and fresh ginger. Add flour, baking soda, salt, ground ginger, and cinnamon. Mix at low speed to combine completely. 

2. Roll dough into ¾-inch balls (about 2 teaspoons each) and then roll balls in granulated sugar to coat. Bake in batches on an ungreased baking sheets until edges are crispy and the center is soft but starting to set, 8 to 10 minutes. Cool. 

3. When cookies are completely cool, use Sweet Orange Cream Cheese to frost the underside of one cookie with 2 teaspoons filling and sandwich with another cookie. Repeat for all the cookies. 

4. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container up to 1 day or refrigerated up to 3 days.

SWEET ORANGE CREAM CHEESE 

12 ounces cream cheese, softened

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

½ teaspoon orange zest

½ cup confectioners’ sugar

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat cream cheese with vanilla and zest until smooth, about 1 minute. Add confectioners’ sugar and beat until smooth.

TARA’S TIPI have a small cookie scoop that is 2 teaspoons in volume, and I use it here for both the cookies and the filling. If you don’t have a cookie scoop, you can measure a cookie to see the size and use it as your guide for the others. 

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.