Too Much Butter is Bad for Cookies

For people who know me and are a frequent patron of my snacks, you know I sometimes bring in chocolate chip cookies. They are of course no other than the Otis Spunkmeyer ones I get from Costco. I’ve been a big fan of the Otis Spunkmeyer cookies, not only because they taste great, but they’re easily to make. They already come in little balls where I just dump onto my baking tray. I’ve tried the Nestle Toll House ones twice and was disappointed in the fact that I had to wait for it to defrost before I could start scooping out the cookie dough, which made baking them a lot less fun, especially if I wanted cookies immediately.

Anyway, I got a new batch of Otis Spunkmeyer chocolate chip cookies several weeks ago and baked the 1st batch from it this weekend and the cookies came out weird. They were still delicious, but they were flat:

Otis Spunkmeyer Chocolate Chip Cookies

I’ve baked tons of their cookies before and they’re typically quite plump coming out of the oven and then they flatten a bit. However, these came out flat shown in the above picture and were flatter than normal. I thought maybe they forgot to add yeast.

So I went to to their website and tried to find an email to contact them. Unfortunately, I was only able a mailing address and phone/fax numbers. So I shot an email to the email address listed in the whois info:


I apologize if this isn’t the correct email address to forward my concerns. I wasn’t able to find any customer service email address on your website ( If there’s a customer service department you can forward this email to, please do so.

I recently purchased some Otis Spunkmeyer Chocolate Chip cookies from Costco. I’ve been a long customer of Otis Spunkmeyer Chocolate Chip cookies and this was the 1st time I noticed the cookies were flat and didn’t rise. See attached image.

I’ve baked Otis Spunkmeyer cookies before and they typically rise after baking and slowly flatten a bit afterwards. However, these cookies were fresh from the oven after baking for 20 minutes at 325F and were flatter than even cooled down cookies.

They were still delicious, but I was wondering if it could possibly be a batch that yeast was forgotten to be added.

And the next morning I get this reply:

Hi Tom

This was forwarded to me by our distribution department. First, let me clarify our website, which is There is a link for customer service questions/concerns on the site.

Addressing the cookie issues, after looking at the picture, it appears the cookies may have too much butter in them, which will cause them to bake up flat and thin. This would be caused by the dough not being mixed enough for all ingredients to be fully incorporated.

Please provide to us the stamped number printed on the bag inside the Costco box. That number will tell us which plant and what day the product was made on (ex. 8S250). Also, please provide us with your mailing address so that we can issue you a refund.

Thank you for allowing us to correct this issue for you.

I’ve already sent a reply back thanking for the clarification and the awesome customer service.

But I have to ask you guys, do you see a difference between: and And if anyone’s able to find a link for customer service questions/concerns? Update: As Xyon pointed out, I misspelled the domain in my original email, and that may have caused the confusion. However, I’m still not able to find the customer service link.

And I feel really stupid with my yeast remark. Haha, who knew that cookies didn’t need yeast to make them rise and be plump. I guess most people besides me. According to Ungsunghero, cookie dough doesn’t actually “rise”. And from now on folks, you know too much butter makes cookies flat.

Side Note: This has been the 3rd or 4th time someone’s referred to me as Tom/Thomas in an email reply. Does my name really map to Tom? I’ve checked my emails and it lists my first/last name correctly as well as my signature. Oh well.

Birthday Hot Pot

Birthday Hot Pot Photosleeve Album A bunch of friends and I celebrated my birthday last weekend doing hot pot. I took some pictures and posted them on Photosleeve: Birthday Hot Pot. Unfortunately, I didn’t take any pictures of myself, but Sathana took a few pictures with me in it: Just another day in Seattle#4.

It was rather fun. Valerie cooked some yummy crabs. We even had 2 different soup base: Chicken stock and Kimchi. Like always, we end up with too much food and I still have left overs ;p I found out today that deep fried shrimp is actually pretty good.

After hot pot, we rocked out on some Rock Band 2. Everyone’s getting good. Perry can even play at expert guitar and drums now!

Young Lady

So I was at Costco this past weekend at one of those sample booths trying out their guacamole and chips. Anyway, I was so surprised to be referred to as “young lady” when she handed me the sample. Seconds later, she realized she made a mistake and began apologizing profusely and said it was the long hair and she got confused. I wanted to tell her not to worry and but the first word that popped into my head was 気にしない (kinishinai), which means don’t mind/worry in Japanese. It took a second or 2 before I remember what the English phrase was, accepted her apology and walked away. I guess my anime vocabulary is mixing up with my real life.

I’ve been referred to as ma’am on the phone a lot, which I can understand since I talk in a semi-higher pitch than most guys. But this was a first I’ve been referred to as a lady in real life. I just found the situation mildly amusing.

Along the same lines, at another sample booth, there was a guy who would not give the sample to what I would say to be a 11-year old kid because his parents weren’t around. When I was small, I’ve confronted this situation many times and had to always drag my dad or mom with me to get those samples. However, I always thought it was because I wasn’t old enough to purchase it, so in order to try the samples, I needed someone who is capable of purchasing to request a sample with.

However, this guy gave a different and much more logical response than what I had believed in. It turns out they’re not allowed to give samples to children who aren’t accompanied by adults because they would be liable for anything that happens to the kid. His example was allergies. I agreed that this was the correct action Costco needed to enforce to protect themselves. The kid then insisted he’s not allergic to the 7 layer dip, but the sample guy would not relent. It was a pretty awkward situation and I blame America for being so sue happy. Whatever happened to parents taking responsibility of their kids and making sure they’re not wandering off trying stuff they’re allergic to.

Thanksgiving Weekend

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I assume some of you are still recovering from being overstuffed.

Thanks to Carolynn for planning out this year’s Thanksgiving dinner. It was a lot of fun helping prepare the food. Of course it was also fun eating it. There was a pretty good show up this year: Carolynn, Joe, Perry, Sathana, Felix, Tom, Jim, Saran, and Pita (sorry if I misspelled your name). Valerie also showed up later to join in the festivities. We had turkey, stuffing, green beans with onions and bacon bits, mashed potato, yam and marshmallows, pumpkin pie. The stuff was delicious. Now I’m hungry just thinking of it.

After eating, we played some Xbox 360: PES 2009, Rock Band 2, Lips, Gears of Wars 2, and even some 8 person Halo 3.

I took some photos which you can view in the photo album:
Thanksgiving 2008
Thanksgiving 2008

I even recorded a few Rock Band Sessions (posted with permission):
Perry and Pita - The Offspring - Pretty Fly (For A White Guy)Joe - Duran Duran - Hungry Like The Wolf

Unfortunately I ran out of disk space during Perry’s and Pita’s performance.

I picked up Lips earlier in the week at the company store, here’s my semi-review. Since I’ve been an semi-avid Rock Band player, I’ll probably be making many comparisons to it.

The game comes with a good selection of songs. All 40 songs are unlocked at the beginning, so you don’t have to go through some tour mode to unlock them. Given that, we’ve found that even though there were 40 songs, not every song was something people wanted to sing. Unlike Rock Band where singing is optional (where you can choose to play guitar or drums), Lips requires someone to actually sing, and people always have a fear of singing songs they’re not too familiar with, especially when you only know the chorus.

You can’t actually fail in this game, but since you’re the center of attention, people become self conscious. It helps if 2 people are actually singing or if the whole crowd joins in like at a real karaoke.

Additional songs can be purchased at 160 points (about $2) each, but the selection is pretty weak right now, but more are supposed to be coming.

It comes with 2 wireless microphones, which is really neat. However, it’s sad that the microphones do NOT work with Rock Band, which apparently requires a patch from Harmonix. It’d be sweet if I were able to use the wireless mics with Rock Band sometime in the near future. The wireless microphone includes motion sensors similar to the Wiimote and you can use it to swing and make noises and so on. It also required to enable star power or overdrive or whatever Lips calls it.

The singing part uses the the center area for lyrics in big text and jumpy balls like at karaoke, and on the top and bottom are the pitch lines for 1st and 2nd player, which includes another set of lyrics, similar to Rock Band. However, different than Rock Band is that the lyrics move along with the pitch lines vertically, making it hard to read ahead. I can look at the lyrics in the center screen, but then my eyes have to jump back and forth between the lyrics in the center and the pitch lines above. Another pet peeve I have is pitch marker. In Rock Band, there’s this triangle that tells you exactly where your current pitch is. In Lips, they have a ball which is very hard to see, making it difficult to judge if I should increase or decrease my pitch in an instant.

There’s also a mode where you can connect a music player (i.e. iPod or Zune) where you can play your music and sing along to it. I haven’t tried this mode yet, but apparently it also does the pitch lines, but without the lyrics, it becomes hard since most people don’t really know the words outside of the chorus for most songs.

Issues with Lips
I’ve hit into a lot of issues with Lips and I haven’t been able to find anyway to troubleshoot the issue. If anyone’s experience the following issues, I would like to know if you have a way to get around it. I’m pretty sure it’s an issue with the game itself, since I haven’t hit into any of these issues with the other games I play, but it could be that my Xbox 360 is finally dying.

  • When playing 2 players, one of the mic’s lights do not blink according to the music. I’ve tried changing the batteries, resyncing the mics, but the lights will not come on. If I hold the power button, the lights will blink, but supposedly they’re suppose to blink according to the music’s rhythm during game play.
  • Once in awhile, the music becomes out of sync with the game. Other times, there’s a lot of static in the music. And both of these are precursors to the game freezing, which I would then have to reboot. I verified it’s not actually the song or using custom videos as replaying the same song in the same mode has no problems after a reboot.
  • There’s probably a way to get around this, but I haven’t figured a way yet. Once in awhile, I add a song in Sing mode and decide not to sing it, and I can’t seem to get rid of it. Every time I finish singing a song, instead of returning to the main list, it shows this song. Does anyone know how to remove that song so after singing, it returns me to the main list?

On Saturday, I caught dinner with Andrew and watched Milk. The movie was decent. Interesting information about gay history which I never knew about, but it was quite clear who their targeted audience were. I do have to say Josh Brolin once again outdid himself and gave an amazing performance. I didn’t realize it was him until halfway through the movie. After seeing him in No Country for Old Men and W. and now Milk, not only can he act like the person he’s portraying well, but he can LOOK like the person he’s portraying well. Andrew also mentioned, it would’ve been interesting to hear Dan White’s side of the story on this whole affair. Apparently Dan White was the first one to use the Twinkie Defense.

White Rabbit Candies Contain Melamine

So this was posted on The Consumerist awhile back, but looks like I finally get a chance to share it with you guys: Rabbit sweets toxic, too. These White Rabbit-brand Creamy Candy is a very common Chinese sweet, usually consumed during the holidays (i.e. Chinese New Years). According to this news article, it appears that Melamine was found inside the candy, which can cause kidney problems and ultimately cancer. Just shouting a warning for those who still consume white rabbit candy. I remember eating a bunch of these when I was a kid.

Since we’re on the topic of food, here’s another snack soon to be gone also reported on The Consumerist, is Mother’s Cookies abruptly shut down. I’m deeply saddened by this news as I’m a big fan of their circus animal cookies. Those frosted cookies were like crack and I could probably down the whole bag in 1 sitting. Of course I’d get super sick because of that. Maybe I should start stocking up on these cookies. *sniffs*

Valerie’s Potluck Dinner Party

Why is it so freaking hot?!?! Last week we were still in the high 60s low 70s. Last night I went to bed at 6:30am and guess what, I woke up at 11am because I was sweating. I guess I can’t really complain:

krunk4ever: it’s so freaking hot
ungsunghero: )(#*%()#*$()*!(#@$*())(!$*!)(!*!!!
ungsunghero: DIE
ungsunghero: NOW
krunk4ever: haha
krunk4ever: good thing i didnt tell you our temp
ungsunghero: let me guess
ungsunghero: 83?
krunk4ever: close, 82
ungsunghero: DIE
ungsunghero: you are banned from IMing me
krunk4ever: haha
ungsunghero: for the next three minutes

I did my biweekly (that’s every 2 weeks) Costco run today and there was a section where there were fans and air conditioners and that area was crazy! I swear practically every 1 in 3 shopping carts had either a fan or a/c unit. The drink area was crazy too. I guess if Costco had anticipated this heat wave, they wouldn’t have discounted their Snapple and Gatorade. I also picked up so Lipton iced tea and Sobe Orange Carrot Elixir (both were 10 for $10 at QFC). I also picked up some Dibs ice cream since my sister recommended it to me. It wasn’t on sale, but I needed ice cream and those darn bite-size ice cream is awesome!

So back to the main to topic. Valerie had invited us to a potluck dinner party over at her place and I was contemplating to go or not since I had to put a couple more hours at work this weekend. I decided since I had to do my Costco run and do my laundry this weekend, I would try to complete the work on Sunday.

On my way over there, the 520 floating bridge came to a complete halt. Apparently there was some motorcycle accident in front and given that the bridge doesn’t really have shoulder space, a lady came and told use to move as close edge as possible so emergency vehicles can get through. We literally sat around for 15 minutes enjoying the beautiful setting sun and lake. People were taking pictures so I thought why not:


When I passed the accident, both parties seem to be okay. The guy in the leather suit (I assume is the motorcyclist) was standing there was some young Caucasian guy, which looked very scared (presumably he was the one who crashed into the motorcycle).

I finally get there and there’s tons of delicious stuff! I also met some new friends. Monique made these fried yucca and fried bananas and they were delicious. Valerie also baked some bread which was yummy. There was awesome fried battered corn which was actually really good. Now I have new ideas to try with my deep fryer. I discussed this over with Ungsunghero and here’s a set of new things I might try:

  • yucca
  • banana/plantain
  • taro
  • chicken wings, drumsticks, thighs

After dinner, Stanman got around teaching some people how to play BANG, a card game which is similar to Mafia in some way, but not really. We played several rounds of it and I was surprised how sneaky Anja was on her initial game. I was completely stumped.

Afterwards, Sathana insisted on playing this drinking game called Bitches Bitches (which appears to be a combination of Tap Tap and The F*ck Game). The rhythm was tap tap clap clap. While you’re tapping, you say your assigned name (which could be Bitches Bitches, Fuck Me Fuck Me, On The Table, Doggy Style, etc.), basically a naughty 4 syllable phrase. When you’re clapping, you say anyone else’s name and they have to continue. Whoever breaks the flow or screws up has to drink. It was rather hilarious to watch. I declined to play since I had to drive home and don’t exactly like to drink, but they said I could play with ice tea, but I felt a drinking game isn’t really fun unless you’re drinking (sort of like playing poker for “fun”).

And therefore my night ended there.

Here are some pictures from the photo album:

Explaining Bang's Rules (___, Felix, Anja, Joe, Sathana, Perry)Explaining Bang's Rules (Perry, Sathana, Pita, Philipp)Sathana scooping vanilla ice creamMaking vanilla ice cream with taro balls (Valerie, Sathana)Valerie's vanilla ice cream + taro ballsPlaying Bang (Felix, Anja)Playing Bang (Philipp, Joe)Sticking tongue out (Saran, Pita)Chatting (Carolynn, Monique, Valerie)(Sathana, ___)Felix drinking soda(Perry)

More Deep Fryer Goodies

So last weekend, I went to Costco and picked up some chicken nuggets (or as they call it, Breast Nuggets) and also some Minh egg rolls. I was thinking about picking up some Ling Ling egg rolls, but once again their box didn’t have any instructions for the deep fryer. I think Ling Ling has something against using the deep fryer. Oh well. The most shocking of all, is that apparently Costco doesn’t carry frozen french fries. The closest thing resembling frozen french fries was either the hash brown or the potato wedges. They also had some battered fish and shrimp that I’m thinking of trying out next time.

Here’s how they turned out:

Chicken NuggetsChicken NuggetsFried Eggrolls

I had also baked some cookies to put it into the penguin cookie jar that Cari had given me. Otis Spunkmeyer chocolate chip cookies are just so awesome!

Chocolate Chip CookiesChocolate Chip CookiesChocolate Chip CookiesChocolate Chip Cookies

I also found it interesting that the hot oven rails get captured as magenta color.

Last bit about food. I had just started watching the 3rd season of House, M.D. and one of the earlier episodes was a case about twins. How does this relate to food. When I was about to fry some eggs for dinner tonight, I cracked open an egg found this:

Twin Fried Eggs

I guess chickens can have twins too!

Deep Fried Pot Stickers

So after enjoying my 1st deep frying experience, I’ve been itching to use it again. However, my fridge is lacking in things I could deep fry. Ungsunghero has recommended that I DO NOT deep fry eggs. I’ll heed his advice for now, but I’m interested in see what the outcome is.

Anyway, he’s suggested a bunch of things such as cream cheese wontons, breaded chicken breast chunks, breaded vegetables, spring rolls, etc. I said those seemed like a lot of work. He said then I should just do the whole chicken breast. Haha. The topic of deep fried Twinkies and deep fried Snickers also came up. I actually had a deep fried Twinkie in Las Vegas. It was pretty good, though for those that know me, I have a sweet tooth that can’t be satisfied. You’ve probably heard me say there’s no such thing as “too sweet”. I also asked Ungsunghero about deep fried tofu (mmmmm 揚げ出し豆腐 Agedashi Tofu), but he said those were messy.

Anyway, I recalled I had deep fried gyozas at Sushiland and they were pretty good, so I asked him about deep fried pot stickers and he said those are amazing. I had a big bag of Ling Ling’s Pot Stickers, but unfortunately they didn’t have instructions for deep frying, just pan frying. Ungsunghero says as long as the outside turns golden brown, it should mean its ready.

I didn’t want to over fry the outside and not have the inner get hot enough, so I tried frying at 325°F for 5-6 minutes, which the outside had started to turn a golden brown. Tried one and it wasn’t as good as I expected. Ling Ling’s Pot Stickers skin is a bit too thick to be deep fried, but it was still pretty good. Next time I’ll pick up some pot stickers or dumplings with a thinner skin.

Deep Fried Pot StickersDeep Fried Pot Stickers + Dinner
(from Food album)

Hmmmm, I think I may have eaten too much fried food lately as my throat is starting to feel dry and irritated.

Deep Fried Fries

Awhile back, I picked up a Euro Pro deep fryer from Linen ‘N Things for either $10 or $20 after rebate. I never got a chance to use it till today. When I first wanted to use it, I noticed it said not to use olive oil, which was the only type of oil I had around. They said corn oil, peanut oil, vegetable oil , canola oil, etc were all fine. So later, I picked up a giant jug of canola oil from Costco, since that appeared to be the healthiest of the bunch. Speaking of which, did you know that canola stood for: “Canadian oil, low acid”? I had always thought canola was a plant! Also, wouldn’t the world oil be redundant here, sort of like ATM machine (automated teller machine machine).

Anyway, I had the giant jug of oil and it just sat around as I was too lazy now to test out the deep fryer.

I was talking to Xyon today about how even if we had a bread maker, we’d be too lazy to use it. I then said that’s probably why I haven’t used my deep fryer ever since I got it a couple months back. He commented and said aren’t deep fryers meant for lazy folks. That got me thinking… how do I clean it up? Is it messy? It turns out that I can leave the oil in there for years and reuse it. If it starts turning brown or black, I should change the oil, but given that I won’t probably be using it that much, it might even last a lifetime.

Anyway, I got hungry tonight and decided to give it a try:

Deep FryerFrozen French FriesDeep FryerDeep FryerDeep Fried French FriesDeep Fried French Fries
(from Food album)

I have to say, these deep fried fries are 100x better than anything that can come out of the oven, microwave, or even pan fried! Mmmmmmm. Now I just need to find more things to deep fry!

Speaking of which, I guess now would be a good time to put in a word about a new photo service my friend Derek and Tekman have started: photosleeve. If you look at my sidebar, you’ll notice I have a new link: PhotoSleeve which has all my digital photos from 2002 to 2008. There are problems with my 2001 digital photos which I’m fixing before I upload them. It’s still being beta tested, but you can sign up on their homepage or if you send me a message, I can probably speed up your application. 😉 Maybe I’ll delve more into their features when I get a chance to write a dedicated post for it.

Lychee Jello Cup

So while drinking my 3rd bottle of Lipton Green Tea with Citrus, it finally hit me what it reminded me of. Previously when I mention it reminded me of ice pops was due to desperate measures. The taste was so familiar and my brain was aching to make an association, and it finally did, but even after that, I wasn’t too sure that was what I was looking for.

When I popped open my 3rd bottle today and I took my 1st sip, I knew exactly what it reminded me of: Lychee Jello Cups

They also go by other names such as Lychee Pudding, Lychee Jelly, Konnyaku Jelly, Konnyak Jelly, etc. They’re those little jello cups that have a small chunk of fruit inside it. It started out with Lychee, but later on, other fruits like grapes and mango were also added to the variety. I believed coconut was also involved, but I forget if that is true or not.

Apparently it was later recalled due to chocking hazards.

Here’s some pictures of it:

lychee pudding
(from The Gluttonist)

lychee flavored coconut jelly
(from A Lot About Nothing)