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the art of recipe organisation

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Ever cooked something amazing and then struggled to find the recipe next time you wanted to make it?

I certainly have.

Actually one of the reasons I decided to start this blog back in 2005, was because I wanted to keep a record of what I’d been cooking. And stop losing my favourite recipes.

I was reminded of this recently when I was contacted by a Stonesoup reader, looking for help with keeping her recipes organised.

So today I thought I’d share my current recipe organisation system. It’s a constantly evolving process – so if you have any suggestions, I’d love to hear them.

the art of recipe organisation – 3 easy steps

1. Moleskine Notebook
Whenever I’m testing recipes or just playing around and come up with something really great – I write it down in my current moleskine notebook. Not exactly searchable but better than forgetting.

2. Stonesoup & The Stonesoup Virtual Cookery School

Having a blog and a cooking school is a great way to makes sure your favourite recipes are safely stored online. I have a recipe index but I find I use the search box in the side bar all the time.

Feel free to adopt Stonesoup as your own free recipe resource or signup to the Virtual Cookery School to get access to ALL my recipes.

3. Evernote account.

Gone are the days of having scraps of recipes torn out from magazines and newspapers and dog-eared cookbooks. And forget about bookmarking recipes on blogs or even worse, copying and pasting them into a separate location.

Get yourself an evernote account and you won’t look back.

Anything I come across online, I clip into my evernote recipe file.

But that’s not all!

I also have the Evernote app for my iphone so when I read a recipe in a cookbook, or magazine or on the back of a packet, I just take a photo and upload it into my Evernote account.

And it gets even better. The evernote is able to search text in images as well as other files so there’s no need to organise your notes. A simple text search will find what you’re looking for, even if the recipe was uploaded as an image.

salted chocolate chip cookies7

salted chocolate chip cookies
makes about 10 huge cookies

Adapted from the talented Molly Wizenberg from Orangette. And I agree with Molly that these cookies are better when they’re cool. Straight from the oven they’re overpoweringly rich.

At the risk of being kicked out of the dark chocolate lovers club, these cookies are actually better with a lower cocoa content chocolate. I used a bittersweet or 58% cocoa chocolate and they were just right.

I’ve made quite a few changes to the original so please feel free to check it out over here. Basically I found it’s fine just using one type of flour and one type of sugar. I did try simplifying the raising agents as well but the results weren’t as good as using both baking powder and bicarb soda.

Be warned. These cookies are dangerously addictive.

After all these years I finally ‘get’ why some people get so excited about cookies. I’m convinced these cookies can pretty much convert anyone.

150g (5oz) unsalted butter, softened
250g (9oz) light brown sugar
1 egg
225g (8oz) plain (all-purpose flour)
225-285g (8-10oz) dark chocolate

1. Whizz butter and sugar in a food processor or stand mixer until light and creamy. Add egg and mix until well combined.

2. Add 3/4 teaspoon baking powder and 3/4 teaspoon bicarb soda to the flour and mix to combine.

3. Fold butter mixture into the flour until only just combined.

4. Chop chocolate into chunks and add to the dough. Cover and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes but no longer than 72 hours.

5. When you’re ready to bake, preheat oven to 180C (350F). Line 2 baking sheets or trays with baking paper.

6. Scoop 1/3cup balls of dough and place on the prepared trays. Allowing room for them to spread. Sprinkle liberally with sea salt flakes.

7. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes or until cookies are golden. The bottom tray may need a little longer. Cool on the tray.

video version of the recipe


{ 47 comments… add one }

  • Jade @ No Longer 25 30 May, 2011, 8:45 pm

    I love Evernote too, it’s great because I have a desktop and a laptop and travel a lot, so wherever I am I can access my notes – even on my iPhone.

    I recently started using it to gather recipes and I love that it is so easy to search, even images.

    I will be adding this to my list of recipes to try, love the sweet and salty combinations.

  • Stacy 30 May, 2011, 9:33 pm

    I’ll have to check out Evernote but I have the problem that I collect some great seasonal recipes from friends, food co-op, or family and then forget to use them. Then I get into a recipe rut. So I organized them by seasons in two binders- fall/winter and a spring/summer. This way when fruits and vegetables are available local I can just pull out the binder for those seasons to page through less recipes to find what I need. I even put them in a chronological order of how they grow in our area and in page protectors so I don’t get them dirty.

  • Lisa Fine 31 May, 2011, 12:23 am

    Thought you and your readers might be interested in the Moleskine journals I sell on Etsy, which are all inspired by local and organic foods:

    Love the look of those cookies!

  • Jana 31 May, 2011, 12:38 am

    Salt and chocolate…my favorite!

  • Michelle 31 May, 2011, 1:25 am

    I have a major recipe disorganization PROBLEM. It is a crazy mess and in about 4 different locations. ARG. I will look into Evernote. I love the cookies from the New York Times. They are my go to cookies, I will have to pair down the ingredients like you have and give it a whirl.

  • Robin 31 May, 2011, 2:19 am

    Evernote…where have you been all my life??? Being (not so) mildly OCD about filing, I can’t believe I haven’t come across this before. Thanks and keep up the general awesomeness! :)

  • Alison 31 May, 2011, 2:56 am

    @Stacy – The cool thing about Evernote is that you can organize recipes, etc by tags. So, just upload the recipes and tag them by season, and you can still browse through them that way.

  • Lucy 31 May, 2011, 4:33 am

    Yum. I need to make these pronto. I looooove chocolate chip cookies and these look divine and simple. Also, I just got an evernote account the other day and im in love.

  • bianca 31 May, 2011, 6:22 am

    I love salt and anything sweet- my friends thought I was crazy 2 years ago; but now that salted whatever is everywhere I suddenly look like an innovator, lol- it’s nice!

  • Sas 31 May, 2011, 9:16 am

    Yum Jul! Little Jack peeked over my shoulder when I was checking this out so we are off to the kitchen to make some now. He was rubbing his tummy and saying ‘Delicious biscuits’ so as usual your pics are wonderful too. Love Sas xoxo

  • Emily @ Relishments 31 May, 2011, 9:27 am

    Evernote has been one of my favorite things for a couple years now. I’ve got over 1500 recipes stored in it and I use it all the time. I can’t imagine my life-or my cooking-without it. I even wrote about it: http://www.relishments.com/blog/2009/05/new-favorite-site-evernote/ (and I’ve mentioned it a bunch of times since then). Even with all the use, I’ve never had to pay for premium. Highly recommended.

  • Sandy 31 May, 2011, 9:36 am

    I use onetsp.com for my recipe storage. It is searchable by recipe name or tags or ingredients. If I have something in the fridge that I need to use I can search for a recipe by ingredient.
    You can also add a recipe to a shopping list. There is a mobile app, so I now have a paperless shopping list.
    It’s free too.

  • Sasha 31 May, 2011, 10:38 am

    Make these cookies this afternoon and they were fantastic. I made them smaller (got 25 out of the recipe) and subbed out half of the white flour for almond meal to give it a fuller flavor. Can’t wait to take them to the office tomorrow and hear the comments!

  • Tracy Willans 31 May, 2011, 11:12 am

    I have a list of food types on a fortnightly rotation, eg, pasta, rice, roast etc so it is very basic and I have a file with each category on a sleeve and the recipes inside or notes on recipes in books. So in the morning or sometimes the night before I pull out the appropriate recipes have a nice browse , choose what will happen for dinner which is often a hybrid combo of more than one recipe and make a list if I need anything and thats it, easy peasy. Best thing I ever did.

  • Allison [Haute Box] 31 May, 2011, 12:43 pm

    The ingredient list is so small for these cookies. I’m in LOVE!

  • jules 31 May, 2011, 1:02 pm

    wait till you try them allison!

    great idea to use some almond meal – will have to try it too

    and glad to hear there are lots of evernote converts already out there!

  • Amanda 31 May, 2011, 1:42 pm

    I absolutely love Moleskine and Evernote! Moleskine actually makes a recipe journal now! It’s wonderful! Swoon!

  • Joss 31 May, 2011, 10:04 pm

    thank you for the evernote link. I’d never heard of them but wow, I will be using this great tool.
    walk in beauty,

  • Rivki Locker (Ordinary Blogger) 31 May, 2011, 11:08 pm

    I discovered Evernote recently and it’s hands-down my favorite tool for organizing recipes. I snap photos of recipes I clip from magazines (and then throw out the paper) and copy and paste online recipes right in. That’s just what I’m going to do right now, with this choc chip cookie recipe. Looks GREAT.

  • Mary @ Delightful Bitefuls 1 June, 2011, 6:07 am

    Did you say salt? I’m in. These look AMAZING.

    New to your blog; happy I found you!

    Mary xo
    Delightful Bitefuls

  • Bakerbynature 1 June, 2011, 10:19 am

    I seriously have about 6 moleskins in all those important places (purse, kitchen, desk, bathroom…) They are the bestest of the best; as are miss Molly’s cookies. They look sensational!

  • Casey 1 June, 2011, 11:52 am

    WOAH. Those look scrumptious!!

  • jules 1 June, 2011, 11:53 am

    I didn’t know moleskine made a recipe journal – will have to check it out… although mine tend to get stuffed with everything.. to-do lists, recipes, notes, shopping lists, you name it.

    yes miss molly certainly knows a thing or two about cookies…. and I love that you have moleskines everywhere.. wonder if they’d ever make a waterproof one for the shower?

  • Cookie and Kate 1 June, 2011, 1:45 pm

    I am thoroughly obsessed with Evernote. I use it to organize and categorize recipes, keep grocery lists and to-cook lists. I don’t know what I’d do without it!

  • Amanda 1 June, 2011, 3:09 pm

    As soon as I read this I downloaded Evernote and saved this page on it. I’m still working out how to use it, but I’m eating one of the cookies from your recipe while I’m doing it and they are lovely.

  • jules 1 June, 2011, 4:27 pm

    glad to hear you’ve made the cookies already amanda!

  • Denise 1 June, 2011, 10:05 pm

    Tried the cookies last night …. awesome! I’ve been visiting your site off/on for quite some time but just signed up to receive emails, etc. While the dough was cooling I downloaded one of the two e-book cookbooks (the baking one wouldn’t download) but I did show my daughter the other book and she was totally pointing out recipes to try. She is very interested in cooking & baking — as she was quite the help in making the cookies — and I belive your simple ingredient items will help me help her in the kitchen. S

  • Kristi 2 June, 2011, 9:38 am

    I use a 3 ring binder with clear sleeves that you can slide paper copies into. My laptop always goes to sleep or ends up with flour on it and it drives me mad. I still clip recipies from magazines and print them from websites so I need something tangible. It’s also where I put my take-out menus and instructions for things like beans and pasta that I store in glass jars. I love it!!!

  • Georgia 2 June, 2011, 6:06 pm

    Hii thanks sooo much for this recipe!! Just made them with a friend and though my dough wasn’t as light as yours (I’m thinking i could have creamed the butter+sugar for a little longer?) They are amazing!!! And exquisitely gooey in the middle *drools*


  • jules 2 June, 2011, 7:00 pm

    thanks for subscribing.. I had a problem with the baking ebook but it should be all fixed if you want to try downloading it again

    so glad the cookies worked well for you!

  • Jana 7 June, 2011, 6:12 am

    ohmygoodness….these are amazing. They look beautiful, crunchy on the top, soft inside. Incredible. When I made the recipe, I ended up with 9 large cookies. The 1/3 cup scoop of dough per cookie is not a typo…they are perfect.

  • jules 8 June, 2011, 5:57 pm

    glad you liked the, Jana
    and yes the 1/3cup is correct – i think big is beautiful when it comes to cookies

  • Sally 15 June, 2011, 2:16 am

    I made the cookies last night and they were wonderful! I salted half and left the other half unsalted (my friend with whom I was cooking was suspicious about the salt idea). We both ended up agreeing that they were better with the salt.

    I adore evernote as a recipe organizer. My evernote kitchen notebook is full of loads of stonesoup recipes :-)

  • jules 15 June, 2011, 10:23 am

    thanks for conducting the salt experiment and reporting back…

  • Jen 19 June, 2011, 11:26 am

    Thank you sooo much for putting me onto Evernote, read this yesterday and immediately downloaded it. Love your blog.

  • maxine 13 July, 2011, 8:31 am

    I’ve made these twice now and have found that how they turn out really depends on type of sugar/chocolate used, and how long you cream the butter/sugar for. Both times turned out quite different but thoroughly delicious. :)

  • SuZi 21 July, 2011, 5:24 am

    I tried the cookies and they are delicious. It’s the simple things you have to think of in the first place… The salt really works it’s magic on these cookies. And they really are huge. ;)
    Thanks for sharing.

  • shelvia 30 July, 2011, 8:11 pm

    these cookies were super delicious. I wonder though, how can i make sure it comes out soft and chewy rather than crunchy…

  • jules 1 August, 2011, 6:01 pm

    If you bake them less you’ll get soft and chewy – but they’ll only be good to eat that day

  • Michelle 16 September, 2011, 3:50 pm

    I know I’m a little late to the game on these, but these are definitely some of the best cookies I’ve ever made. Big. Ooey. Gooey. Love them.

  • Mash 7 October, 2011, 2:02 pm

    Oh! Did something terribly wrong or had a hard time with the measurement conversion to cups, etc… Mine look like greasy cow pies. Usually I do well with recipes but these came out to be truly sorry looking cookies for me. They don’t taste bad but just off, off, off all around! Any thoughts/suggestions? Would love to get them right as huge fan of salty/sweet and chocolate!

  • Kara 13 May, 2012, 3:15 am

    I would need to make these gluten free, and I think it would be a bit tricky. I wonder if you could sub in oatmeal flour and reduce the butter slightly. I’m not a big fan of using nut meal in cookies (I think it comes out a bit tough), but now I’m going to have to figure this out. I’m going to be dreaming about trying this salt and chocolate combo somehow… (deep sigh)

    • jules 17 May, 2012, 11:44 am

      Have you ever tried coconut flour Kara?
      It might just work…

  • Gail Plaskiewicz 14 November, 2012, 6:58 am

    I have the 3 ring binder too for all my recipes and I have a ton. Since I am a crafter and a rubber stamper, I am going to decorate the cover. I have stickers and stamps. Anyway, my family loves cookies and chocolate. When I bake, and I love to bake, my mom takes some to work for her boss and co-workers to try and then she takes them to knitting class so they can try them. I know my family will love these! It’s to bad my state says I can’t bake out of my house and sell them to people.

    • jules 19 November, 2012, 4:22 pm

      Thanks for sharing your system Gail
      And lovely to hear from a fellow baking fan!

  • Brenda Goldstone 13 December, 2012, 5:24 am

    I just love to bake, but have never understood the idea of a “bitter”sweet chocolate! And then to add salt??? But I decided against my better judgement to make these last night. I will never look back! Thank you for this recipe, for encouraging us to step out our comfort zone and try new and exciting things!

  • Hello! This is my 1st comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and tell
    you I truly enjoy reading through your blog posts.
    Can you suggest any other blogs/websites/forums
    that cover the same subjects? Thanks for your time!

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