Beans, Icebox Cookies, Science

Last week, I broke my No Weeknight Drinking rule for reasons I probably don’t have to explain, but as of Sunday, I’m back to my old routine — my FaceTime wine date last night was postponed — and it reminded me about how much better I sleep when I haven’t had a cocktail or a glass of Chardonnay. When I wake up in the middle of the night these days, it’s impossible to shut my brain off. And it feels good to at least attempt to adhere to old rules. (Fast forward to tonight’s instagram story where I’ll be pounding martinis.) Anyway, yesterday wasn’t a huge cooking day — we made cheeseburgers with Impossible meat for dinner with an rice-wine-vinegar and soy-sauce-y slaw, and afterwards, started that insane documentary Tiger King on Netflix. (Abby: “What even is this?”) Here is today’s Pantry, Project, Purpose…

Pantry: All The Beans

In “Burning Questions,” my cooking column for Cup of Jo, I answered the question on many a cook’s mind, i.e. “What do I make with all the beans I panic-bought?” Head over there for a few ideas, including what to do with these crispy-spicy garbanzos above.

Project: Mexican Chocolate Icebox Cookies

As you might have guessed by the name, these cookies require some chill time in the freezer, at least six hours. (Unless you decide to mix in the dough into vanilla ice cream, which I’m 100% OK with.) But that might be a nice way to structure your day. Make the dough in the morning, slice and bake the dough in time for dessert after dinner. Note: These were also in my first book, Dinner: A Love Story, and were adapted from a classic Maida Heatter recipe.

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 
3/4 cup cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1⁄4 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 1/2  teaspoons vanilla extract
1 egg

Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon, cayenne, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Beat in the vanilla and egg.

Using your mixer, gradually add the dry mixture to the butter mixture until dough is uniform in color and no unmixed flour remains. Using lightly floured hands, divide the dough into two pieces and shape each half into a log (about 8 inches long). Wrap tightly in wax paper or plastic wrap and freeze inside two tall drinking glasses on their sides (so cookie dough doesn’t flatten on one side) for at least six hours and up to 6 weeks.

When ready to use, preheat the oven to 375°F. Slice the frozen dough in rounds (about 1/4-inch thick), place in baking sheets, and bake for 8 to 10 minutes. The cookies are ready when they feel a bit firm at the edges. Monitor them closely because the cookie’s dark color makes it hard to detect when they’re burning. Store in an airtight container when cool.

Serve with vanilla ice cream if you have it.

Purpose: Follow the Scientists

I know I’m not alone when I say that one of the most enraging things has been watching our President lie to a scared and vulnerable public every single day of this crisis. (I don’t know a lot, but I know for certain this is not ending by Easter…or Halloween or Christmas.) It’s not easy to listen to the people who are telling it straight, but it’s crucial to stay informed and to follow the scientists. My college roommate Ingrid Katz is a doctor and faculty director at Harvard’s Global Health Institute, and here are a few of the experts she recommends following on Twitter:

Marc LipsitchCeline GounderMeg DohertyEric TopolPeter HotezPreeti MalaniSue Desmond-HellmanLaurie GarrettJohns Hopkins School of Public HealthHarvard Global Health institute.

Stay safe, stay home.

The goal of the Project, Pantry, Purpose series to keep us sane, distracted, and connected. Please continue to comment below with suggestions for recipes, projects (for kids and adults), good deeds, donation ideas, stories, movies, games, puzzles. Or just tell me how you’re doing, what you’re up to, and how DALS can help you or people in your community. You can also email me directly at

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So crazy that this even needs to be said! But I’m not surprised. Yes- listen to the scientists and doctors! Loving Governor Cuomo’s press conferences, he is a realist and a good leader.

I like to mix canned black beans and chickpeas with quinoa, canned diced tomatoes with green chilis, and then throw in some leftover protein or saute some shrimp. It’s an easy batch lunch.

Mom of Boys

Thanks for the post Jenny! To routinize our morning, I’ve been making the boys a cup of cha: Warmed milk with a little sugar, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, and ginger. We are never able to do this on real school days because there is always the morning rush out the door and preparing chai takes no effort but a good bit of time. We are learning to slow it down a little, starting in the morning. I hope this is what the boys will remember when they look back on this time in 10 years from now. I hope they will forget our anxiety (as parents) to get food reliably delivered, to try to keep work going and to keep everyone we care about safe and healthy.


Agree 100% with your thoughts on our President and following the scientists. I will may a twitter account tonight to follow some of the experts you have here. Thank you!

Today I took some elderly Fuji apples and made spiced apple muffins. Perfect for the freezer. I used a recipe from a book I got as a young bride nearly 27 years ago. Son is home from college and left his “dorm” room to ask “what’s that smell? I have to eat one!” I have 9 left. Not sure if any will make it to the freezer. I’d call it a keeper!

Thank you for your daily content. Stay well and safe!

Amanda Brown

Your series has been a highlight and ray of hope through this whole crazy time. Checking your latest posts just makes me happy. We are in Canada and feeling scared.
Not sure if you’ve heard of the Whitewater Cooks cookbook series but it’s based off a cafe from a Canadian ski hill and their cookbooks are my favourite. They make an amazing veggie burger and it’s also a great way to use up some black beans. Made a double batch today.

Thanks again for posting and being a ray of hope. 🙂

Lindsay Arvin

Thank you so much for this series. Since “all of this” started, I get a brief period of time to myself in the morning (before the 1.5- and 3.5-year-old come barreling into the day), and I so enjoy reading your posts. We’re baking (and I’m eating) everything these days, and the chocolate ice box cookies will be a good mix-up from our usual chocolate chip.

You said it best in your last paragraph. Enraged is the perfect word. I use posts like yours to forget how helpless I feel right now, and prevent myself from circling the drain of despair. So thank you, again!


Just wanted you to know how much I’ve enjoyed your posts. I’ve been a longtime follower and use your cookbooks all the time. Love seeing you over on COJ too! Thank you for the twitter follower ideas. It is so important that we listen to the smart people in the room! And these are amazing people you have put together. If anyone is not on twitter I highly recommend it. It truly is a hub for up to the minute information. I first got on twitter when I was living in SOCAL and an earth quake woke me up at 1am. Twitter was the only news source that was up to the minute with information about what had just happened. Just my two cents but its worth it to be informed in today’s crazy world.


Love seeing Bean guarding the oven, but where is Iris??

I am trying NOT to bake cookies, but I have made those Mexican icebox cookies to rave reviews!

100% with you on Follow The Scientists!

I hope the next stimulus Congress passes includes funding for rehab. We are going to need it. (Cheers?)


Awads – haha. Bean seems to have taken to lying in front of the oven whenever it’s on. She loves the warm air that vents from the bottom. Iris has never shown any interest in this for some reason but is always the first to steal the square of sunlight when it first appears in the living room. Honestly, I don’t know how anyone is getting through this without dogs.

Linda S

For garbanzos, look for the old Mark Bittman recipe (the column was titled: a Dinner Date with India & Spain, I think) for garbanzos with chorizo & spinach. It is quick and delicious.


Thank you for these icebox cookies! I was hankering for something chocolate and staring at all these chocolate chip cookie recipes I couldn’t make due to a lack of, well, chocolate chips…this was perfect. The kick of heat at the end is fantastic.


Thank you so much for your list of good COVID resources. I’m a primary care doctor, and my heart and brain ache when I hear lies from the federal government.

Stephanie Gutierrez

Jenny, my sentiments exactly on the virus and our leadership. Thank you for the lists of experts.

Tiffany Weir

Trying the cookie recipe right now! These will be the perfect little pick-me up in the 3:00 pm duldrums.
Thanks for the daily updates, they do definitly lift the spirits in these difficuit times.

Katherine Han

This is my first time commenting here, but I have to say I always love reading these! They’ve become a highlight of my day. You’ve struck the perfect balance between commentary about life these days and interesting recipes that I can use. I also think blog posts like this are more valuable than ever because they are a record of life during what will be remembered as a major historical event. Our grandchildren will be learning about this in school one day.

I especially agree with your purpose section today! The anti-intellectualism that is running rampant these days is scary and sad. We are being gaslighted on a daily basis by our president, and I am glad some people are aware enough to be horrified. I anticipate you may get some nasty comment coming your way from a Trump supporter, so I wanted to preemptively say I agree with you. And as a health-care worker, I appreciate your message.