Katie Lee On Brownie Binging After Billy Joel + Her New Cookbook, Cooking Classes (At Newport Beach Next Week) & A Chocolate-Cherry Holiday Cookie Recipe

When you're young, beautiful and Billy Joel's ex-wife, apparently you can get away with sitting on the stoop of your four-story Greenwich Village pad, casually nibbling peanut butter cookies while pretending to read the newspaper. And offering authoritative statements about the holiday cookies in your latest cookbook such as: "I nicknamed [Mexican wedding cookies] snowballs because that's what they look like" -- when references to the cookie by that name hark back to Sheila Hibben's circa 1932 edition of The National Cookbook.

Outside the celebrity bubble, 28-year-old Katie Lee is actually quite charming in person, and not much different from the rest of us when it comes to holiday baking. In a recent interview she explained that she prefers to bake "comfort food classics" like peanut butter, chocolate chunk and those snowball cookies, occasionally dressing them up with dried fruit and nuts. She also admitted to self-medicating herself with sweets in the weeks following her split from Joel. "It was a very hard time. I had many nights of making brownies -- late nights, eating way too many."

Get her chocolate chunk-dried cherry cookie recipe after the jump, plus details on her "Chrismukkah" holiday cooking class and book signing at the Newport Beach Sur La Table next week.

Katie Lee's "Chrismukkah" class: Holiday entertaining cooking class will be held at Sur La Table Newport Beach (832 Avocado Ave.) on Friday, December 11 at noon, and at the Los Angeles Farmers Market store (6333 W. Third Street) on Sunday, December 13 at 4 p.m.

Menu items will include recipes from Lee's new cookbook, "The Comfort Table: Recipes for Everyday Occasions" such as mini potato-leek latkes with apple chutney, wild mushroom soup, spinach and three-cheese pie, and Mexican wedding cookies (specific recipes may vary by store). Reservations required, class size limited to 16 students, $79. Book sold separately with book signing after the class. Advance registration required.

Dark Chocolate Chunk and Dried Cherry Cookies

Adapted from The Comfort Table by Katie Lee Joel, the first book in Lee's Comfort Table series (at the time of the first book's publication, she still went by the last name Joel).

Makes: three dozen cookies

2 1/4 cups flour

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar

2/3 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

8 ounces dark chocolate, coarsely chopped

1 cup dried cherries (about 6 ounces), coarsely chopped

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Position a rack in the middle of the oven. Grease two cookie sheets, or line both with parchment paper.

2. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment (or using a handheld mixer), cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time until well incorporated. Beat in the vanilla. Mix in the dry ingredients with the mixer on low speed until just combined. Stir in chocolate and cherries with a wooden spoon.

3. Scoop the dough by the heaping tablespoons onto the cookie sheets. Bake until

golden brown but still soft in the middle (so they are chewy), about 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer the cookies to a rack and allow to cool. Store in an airtight container.


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