Whisk & Flour October 2016: Matcha White Chocolate Chip Shortbread Cookies

So apparently being a big giant ball of stress can result in you catching the plague yet again.  I find myself once again best friends with a bottle of NyQuil, so today I decided to add some sugar to make my medicine go down.  The awesome folks at Whisk & Flour sent me a baking box to review.  For reference, I love baking.  I have a giant cabinet full of different cookie cutters and baking pans.  I even have a 90th anniversary cherry red Kitchen Aid.  So you can imagine I was super excited to try a monthly baking box.

A little about Whisk & Flour:
“Whisk & Flour was founded by Donna Doktorcik with the belief that artisanal baking should be within reach for everyone.  The Whisk & Flour team has focused on bringing unique recipes and ingredients to everyone. We love hunting down creative ingredients and creating yummy treats for everyone to share!”

How It Works:
Whisk & Flour curates recipes with artisanal ingredients like matcha, candied ginger, dulce de leche.  No fancy equipment or techniques required.

You sign up for monthly deliveries.  (First box ships the 15th of the following mont h and you can cancel at any time).

They send all the dry ingredients pre-measured along with a recipe card and easy to follow instructions.  You provide the butter and eggs.  Every few months they will include a Baking accessory.

The cost is $28 per month. Delivery is free and they use eco-friendly packaging.

A cute little box arrives with an adorable label:
box-label open-box-1
I can’t wait to see what recipe I’ve got…and then…
open-box-2
Matcha?  Cookies?
I’ll admit I was immediately disappointed.  Green tea tastes like medicine to me and this wasn’t what I was expecting.  I had anticipated a recipe to match the season – some Fall flavors like cinnamon or ginger.  But I had to give it a chance.
ingredient-bag ingredients gift
The box was packaged adorably and the ingredients came in a cute little sack that I’m going to reuse to hold some cookie cutters.  All the ingredients had lovely labels and were pre-measured.  Included was a half-sheet pan silpat.  Silpats are great for baking and I already own the full size, however,  I was confused by this inclusion.  You couldn’t use this for the included recipe as it makes too many cookies. (You need a regular size sheet pan).  I also feel like a half sheet pan size is not something everyone would own.  Silpats are great, baking accessories are awesome, but this one didn’t quite make sense to me in this box.

So now it’s time to start the actually baking.
creaming dry-ingredients
For this recipe I needed to provide 5 Tbsp of butter and 1 egg yolk.  We cream together butter and the included powder sugar and sift together the dry ingredients in a separate bowl.
mixing adding-chips
We add in the dry ingredients to the butter mixture, then fold in the white chocolate chips.
matcha-log sliced
We shape the dough into a square log and refrigerate for 1 hour.  The chilled log gets sliced and the cookies get put on a baking sheet with a mat and baked in a 300 degree oven for 18 to 20 minutes.
baked-cookies cooling
They get removed from the oven and chill on a baking rack.
And when I’m done this is the finished product:
matcha-shortbread-cookies
So what did these taste like?  Delicious buttery cookies with the faintest hint of basement.  Seriously, I can’t get past the Matcha taste.  For me it took away from what should have been a delicious cookie.  Don’t’ get me wrong they still got eaten, because there’s still butter and sugar goodness.  Unfortunately, I thought the Matcha detracted from the cookie rather than enhanced it.

OVERALL
whisk-flour-matcha-white-chocolate-chip-shortbread-cookies
Verdict:
Lots of Potential.
I’m going to start with the positive.  I love the idea of this sub and how everything is so nicely packed and pre-measured.  I also appreciate the approach with the artisanal ingredients, but I wish they had matched the season more.  I think at this time of year we should see maple, cinnamon, ginger and more Autumnal flavors.  I also think that $28 a box is steep, if you’re not getting an accessory every month. I think the box should include a small accessory to use in the provided recipe.  For example, maybe maple butter cookies with a maple leaf cookie cutter, or maybe a cake slicer to make a lemon layer cake in the Spring, or specialty sprinkles for cupcakes and so on.  Even though the Matcha wasn’t a fit for my palate, Whisk & Flour has a ton of great looking recipes on their site that I think I would have loved.

What types of treats would you want a baking subscription to include?

THE BACKSTORY
Each month Whisk & Flour sends a beautiful recipe card with step-by-step instructions, all the shelf-stable ingredients pre-measured, and some fun facts about the recipe you are making. Plus, they add baking accessory every few months as a bonus! You bake, {maybe share}, and definitely enjoy!

Monthly Cost: $28 per month
And shipping is always free!

Jennifer Love Hewitt Fancy Box: November 2013

For more on Fancy  subscription boxes and a coupon code, jump down below, but now let’s get right to the main event the November Jennifer Love Hewitt Fancy Box.

Box

Cookbook Cookie!

One Sweet Cookie by Tracy Zabar (Fancy Retail: $30.00; Amazon Retail: $20.79)
Verdict:  Hit!
When it comes to cookbooks, I’m as easy as an easy bake oven.  I love to collect them and typically can find at least one useful recipe in most of the volumes that end up on my shelves.  This book is for fancy pants cookies – the kind you see at tea parties or bridal showers.  I love baking, but I favor cakes and pies, since my oven doesn’t understand that pesky concept of temperature.  It’s so old the numbers on the dial have rubbed off, so there’s only a deep scratch where 350 degrees *should* be.  If you want any other temps, you’ll just have to guess.  It also won’t stay on any one temperature for too long (it, like me, is a fickle bitch). But I digress.  Anyway, these are super fancy cookies so they’d be nice for Christmas gift boxes or to serve at parties.  I think I’ll start with something less temperature sensitive, like a bar recipe and hope for the best.

Trinket BoxTrinket
French Macaron Trinket Box: (Fancy Retail: $14.00)
Verdict:  Gift
When I first saw the card for this little trinket box I thought it was glass, but it’s actually made of some type of resin.  It’s cute, although the color is slightly disappointing.  (I was hoping for a cheerful pastel in lieu of poop brown).  Once I realized this item wasn’t breakable, I thought it’d be something cute to tuck into my niece’s Christmas gift.  She loves baked goods and little things and hiding little things in other little things so this should be perfect.

Creme
Archipelago Botanicals Soy Milk Cream (Fancy Retail:$18.00; Amazon Retail: $14.28)
Verdict:  Hit!
Surprisingly I don’t actually have much in the way of body lotion  and I don’t have any soy milk based body products so this will be fun to try out. This is another great giftable since it seems like a subtle scent that would appeal to a lot of folks.

Spatula
Pop Chomp Spatula:
(Fancy Retail: $12.00; Amazon Retail:$8.94)
Verdict:  Hit!/Gift
Okay, okay it’s a spatula.  But it’s a *cute* spatula and pretty darn sturdy to boot.  I own quite a few spatulas so I’m not sure if I’ll be adding this to my collection or including it as part of a Christmas gift.  Pair it with an upscale baking mix for an adorable hostess gift.

Tea Rest
Steep Up to the Plate Teabag Rest:(
Fancy Retail:$10.00)
Verdict:  Gift!
So for years I have tried to convince myself that I could be a tea drinker.  Whether loose tea leaves or bags, green or oolong, I just can’t drink more than a few sips.  Oddly, I’m also not much of a coffee drinker either.  Truthfully, I’m just a heathen who drinks diet soda in the morning.  (Listen, I won’t comment on your caffeine fix, if you don’t comment on mine).  This little tray is whimsical and charming and paired with some fancy teas it’s a perfect gift for someone who actually drinks (or likes) tea.

Open Box
Overall

With shipping, and minus a few referral dollars (thanks again!) I paid $44.95 for this box.  The total retail value on Fancy came out to $84.00. If you factor in the cheaper prices I found on Amazon for a couple items, the cost would be $68.01.

Cards
I’m satisfied with this box as a great way to pick up some holiday gifts, although there wasn’t a single item I absolutely loved.  I was also slightly disappointed that the cards didn’t really link back to JLove (although the psuedo cookies and milk theme was appealing.)

I really want to see more of a link between the celebrity and their box items since the big draw of the curated subscriptions are the celebrities involved.  I thought last month did a great job of giving us info about Jennifer Love Hewitt (her favorite cocktail) while providing a fun cohesive box.

So what do you think?  Do you want more celebrity in your celebrity themed boxes, or is it enough to pick up some cool swag?

THE BACKSTORY

Fancy Box is a monthly subscription service that curates items that are popular on the Fancy website.  There are a few different subscription options.  They all cost $39 plus shipping (an additional $7.95).

#1 –Fancy box (Original)
This box features a collection of some of the most fancy’d items, curated by the fancy community. Each box includes $80.00+ of products in the categories of your choice.
The categories you can choose from include: Men’s, Women’s, Kid’s, Home, Gadgets & Media.  It also lets you customize your Tshirt size and your cell phone type.

#2 Fancy Food Box
Each Fancy Food Box includes five or more food products – anything from cookies and chocolates to teas and sauces – along with a selection of tasty recipes and pairing suggestions.

#3 Celebrity Curated Fancy Box
There are seven celebrity curated boxes to choose from.  Each box includes $80.00+ of products.  Most boxes are geared toward men or women though they do include unisex items.

They include:

 

COUPON CODE:  FOLLOWUP10 to Save 10%