Cooking During Quarantine: The World’s Most Amazingly Delicious Chocolate Chip Cookies

As this is most definitely not a food blog, I will not bore you with a lengthy diatribe about where this recipe came from or the deep spiritual awakening I feel when I take a bite of these soft and rich chocolate chip cookies.

I’m a shopkeeper, not a food writer, so I will stick to the basics for The World’s Most Amazingly Delicious Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Without further ado…

The World’s Most Amazingly Delicious Chocolate Chip Cookies

Preheat oven to 325° F

Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream together the following ingredients, mixing well before adding the next ingredient:

  • 2 sticks butter, softened with time or 30 seconds in a bowl in the microwave
  • 1 cup brown sugar (213g)
  • 3/4 cup sugar (164g)
  • 1.5 eggs beaten together (yes, 1 whole egg, plus half of another yolk, and half of another egg white)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

In a separate bowl, gently mix together:

  • 3 cups of flour (360g)
  • 3/4 tsp. kosher salt (6g) 
  • 3/4 tsp. baking soda (5g)

Slowly add the the flour mixture to the butter/sugar/egg mixture in the bowl of the stand mixer, mixing before adding more flour.

This cookie dough should be really dry and not at all sticky, though it should still be able to stick together. When you pinch the dough, it should not stick to your fingers at all. If it does, add a little bit more flour until it’s no longer sticky.

Mix in 3/4 of bag semi-sweet chocolate chips; I just eye ball this. Something I never thought I would write: adding a whole bag of chocolate chips is almost too much chocolate, but if you’re feeling wild, feel free to dump that whole bag in, friend.

Chill the dough, or don’t. I never do, but it doesn’t hurt.

To bake the cookies, I use a Silpat mat or parchment paper on my cookie sheet. To form the cookies, I use about 1/4 of a cup or so of dough; again, I eye ball this. Form the dough into a tall pyramid and most importantly: DO NOT PRESS THE DOUGH DOWN BEFORE BAKING.

Bake cookies at 325° for 11-13 minutes. Be careful not to overcook them. The cookies should come out looking on the undercooked side, but ever so slightly brown on the edges.

These are usually even better the next day… if they last that long!

While you’re here, feel free to browse Bonboni Mercantile’s new online shop. 🙂

Bonboni’s Gift Guide 2019

Can you believe that it’s nearing the end of the Christmas shopping season? Are you feeling a little uninspired for the last few gifts you need to complete your list? Here are a few ideas from Bonboni Mercantile Co. that would be meaningful gifts to the hostesses or fashionistas in your life, plus a few stocking stuffer ideas.

Bonboni Mercantile Co. is open 3 more days this holiday season: Friday from 10-3, Saturday from 10-5 (join us for a Sip + Shop event with complimentary mulled wine!), and Sunday from 11-4. We are located at 2246 Klemm St. near the Missouri Botanical Gardens.

Shop Small in Shaw on 11/30/19

The historic Shaw neighborhood in South St. Louis City is a vibrant community filled with tight-knit neighbors who go out of their way to support each other. Small Business Saturday on November 30 is no exception. In a world of competition for shoppers’ limited dollars, local Shaw businesses are, instead, working together to bring customers to their neighborhood to encourage holiday shopping at small, local businesses.

Positioned between the long lines and traffic snarls of Black Friday and one of the biggest online shopping days of the year, Cyber Monday, is Small Business Saturday, which celebrates American small businesses. First observed in 2010, the national holiday encourages shoppers to patronize the small, local, brick and mortar businesses on Main Street that constitute the backbone of the American economy. Shoppers can expect to find great deals on unique products and services and fun events focused on us interacting – and valuing – our neighbors. The economic impact is powerful. When shopping locally $68 of every $100 spent stays in the community, while only $43 stays in the community when shopping at a national chain, per the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies, a nonprofit that advocates building strong local economies (Source: Forbes, November 2017). 

Shaw Small Business Saturday participants give shoppers even more reasons to shop local, including in-store incentives and special discounts, plus complimentary refreshments, holiday cookies, and hot chocolate. 

Santa will be making a special appearance at The Wagamama, located at 4102 Shenandoah! Bring your kids (human or furry ones – or both!) from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and have photos taken by Lynn Terry Photography for $15, or you can take your own photos at no cost.

Shaw shoppers can pick up a map at participating businesses in November. Shaw Small Business Saturday is organized by the Shaw Neighborhood Improvement Association.

Click the images below to view a map and list participating businesses.

How to Make a Vintage Plate Wall with Cheap DIY Plate Hangers

If you’re like me and you’ve been stumped as to what to do with your vintage china collection that has been accumulating in your kitchen cabinets, here’s a cheap & easy DIY idea for making a vintage plate collage to hang on your wall.

I discovered that plate hangers from stores can be expensive at $3-4 each if you want to hang a large number of plates like I did. I came up with a way to use binder clips instead of plate hangers.

Step 1: Create the layout

Creating a layout that you like is made much easier by using a long piece of paper and spreading it out on your table or floor. I used a roll of brown kraft paper, but you could use the back side of wrapping paper.

Lay the plates on your paper and keep moving them around until you find an arrangement that you like and fits your space. I wanted to find a balance between symmetrical and whimsical, so arranged mine in a sort of cascade.

Make sure to keep the paper level with your design, as you will be using this as a template and hanging it on your wall.

Step 2: Trace around your plates

Once you’ve settled on your layout, use a Sharpie or other marker to quickly trace around your plates. This doesn’t need to be perfect, as you’re just creating a template to hang on the wall. You can see my tracing in the image above.

Step 3: Attach plate hangers

Instead of buying a dozen or so plate hangers, I used a box of binder clip I found in my desk drawer. Squeeze one side of the wire clip handle to remove from the metal clip. You will be able to get two wire pieces from each binder clip.

(I did use a few plate hangers in this collage that I already had laying around the house.)

Flip your plate over and use a nail file to rough up the rim on the back of the plate. This will help the hot glue adhere better. I used Gorilla Glue hot glue.

Place a generous amount of glue on the back of the plate on the rim. Stick your clip into the hot glue and push it down into the glue gently. Then add a bit more hot glue on top. So, add glue, add clip, more glue on top.

I used the binder clip without it’s “handles” to prop up the clips while the hot glue was cooling. Remove that part of the binder clip after the hot glue has set.

Step 4: Mark your nail holes

Flip each plate back over so they are right-side-up and inside the lines you traced for each plate.

Use a sharpie to make a little mark on the paper where each nail should be right under the clips that you just glued on. Do this for each plate.

Step 5: Take a picture of your plate collage

Standing above your layout, take a picture of your collage so you can more easily remember which plates go where.

Step 5: Hang your vintage plate collage

Take your plates off of the paper and move to the floor. I found it helpful when hanging them on the wall to lay them out in the same way I had them on the paper.

Using painters or masking tape, hang your paper template on your wall, making sure it’s centered for your space and level.

Using the marks you made for your nails as a guide, hammer nails into your wall through the paper. Once all of your nails are in, gentle tear the paper off of the wall. The nails will remain in the wall.

Now hang your plates in their spots. Use the photo you took of your layout as a reference guide.

Voila! Now you have an easy and cheap way to display your vintage plate or china collection.

Disclaimer: I did have one plate fall off the wall, but I didn’t do the nail file method. Please don’t use this method to hang your heirloom china or anything that you would be devastated if it fell off of the wall and shattered. Invest in some actual plate hangers for special pieces.

Disclosure: I use affiliate links in my posts. This allows me to receive compensation for my reviews, recommendations, affiliate links and/or any other method of influencing I do that results in obtaining a benefit for myself.

Lauren’s Home Tour: Second & Third Floor

Thank you for all of your enthusiasm for Part 1 of my home tour that I posted last week. If you didn’t catch the first part, you can read it here.

As promised, here is part 2 of my home including our 2nd and 3rd floor. In case you were wondering, yes, it does feel a little pompous to call out the fact that we have a third floor. However, that was just how homes were built in our neighborhood 120+ years ago. The plots of land were smaller (I believe that home prices were based on the width of the plot), so buildings tended to be tall and skinny, as is the case with ours.

We’ll start with the stairs leading up to the 2nd floor, because I just can’t resist that woodwork. I’m thankful that it managed to fend off a paintbrush for so many generations. The window on the left used to be a stained glass window, but sometime in the 80s or 90s it was replaced. I know this because I have completely stalked every reference of our address on and found a real estate listing from 1983 that mentions a stained glass window.

Vintage Eclectic Historic Home

The portrait at the top of the stairs is of my husband’s great uncle, Paul VandenBerg who was a WW2 pilot who saved his and his fellow soldiers’ lives by hanging his parachute out his bomber’s window which allowed him to land safely. That parachute was sewn into a baptismal gown that 44 or so of Justin’s family members have been baptized in. Here’s the story on my father-in-law’s blog.

At the top of the stairs, we have 3 bedrooms including our master suite and a hall bathroom. We also have a 2nd floor laundry area which I’m so thankful to have so I don’t have to trek up and down all of our stairs for clean clothes every day.

We just had our master bedroom painted a deep navy, which I adore. This is the first time in our marriage that our room finally feels “put together”. It always seemed to be the lowest priority.

Our master bathroom has a walk in shower. My next project will be to paint this bathroom (i.e. hire someone to paint it), but it leads into our walk-in closet, so it won’t be a quick task.

My four-year-old son’s room is next. His room is a collection of vintage pieces and his artwork from pre-school. His bed is part of a set of twin beds that were my grandmother’s (so his great-grandmother’s) that I also used when I was a little girl. The green chair was my grandparents’ from probably the 70s.

The duck print above his bed is a vintage textile pattern for a stuffed duck that has been framed. I found it at Indigo Rustic‘s booth at Treasure Aisle Antique Mall

I have a love affair with the wallpaper in my two-year-old daughter’s room. It’s the Watercolor Flora Wallpaper from Anthropologie. We moved to this home when she was 6-months-old, and this wallpaper was actually in her first nursery. I decided that she I loved it so much that we would also have it installed in her new room.

Last is the third floor. It’s quite roomy and is actually a second master suite, which is perfect when we have guests (and when we rent out our home on airbnb). When we moved in, there wasn’t a door leading up to the third floor, which was problematic since my husband works from home and his office is also on the 3rd floor. We could all hear each other all day long, and it just wasn’t working.

I found this old farmhouse door with lovely original hardware on Facebook Marketplace and drove an hour each way with my kiddos in tow to pick it up. It adds a lovely touch of character to this space. That floral painting was an alley find. Seriously.

Our third floor is bright and airy and feels a bit like a tree house. I have big plans to make over this room, but I think it’s still lovely as-is.

And there you have it! We also have a finished basement that is used as a playroom, but it’s not quite ready for it’s grand reveal yet! Just picture a bunch of unorganized toys and an Ikea couch!

Lauren’s Home Tour: Main Floor

If you’re anything like me, you love peeking into the lives of other people homes. It’s part curiosity (nosiness?) and part a desire to be inspired by others’ ideas.

I have a treat for you! Katie Prestemon recently visited and took some beautiful images of our home for our Airbnb listing. That’s right: we Airbnb our entire home! I can do a whole separate post on Airbnb, but the most common question we get from friends is “But where do you go?!”

When our house is booked, we go on vacation or visit family. It works out well for us, as it pays for our trips, and then some. If you are visiting St. Louis, MO or have family visiting and need more room, we’d love to host you in our Airbnb.

I just love our home, and the history of it. It was built in 1897, and as you can imagine has seen many families call it home throughout the years. I’ve had several former owners reach out to me after finding the shop online, and they have shared pictures and stories with me about their time growing up.

Here’s a shot that a sweet woman shared with me of our home from the 1950’s. You can see the shop before it was Bonboni on the left side of the picture behind the house. It looks like the garage hadn’t yet been built. The exterior looks very similar, except our sycamore tree sure is a lot taller now!

Here’s a glimpse into my home. We’ll start with the living room.

Most of my furniture is vintage or thrifted. I don’t think I have more than 2-3 pieces of furniture in our house that we’ve bought brand new! I’m always on the hunt for new pieces, and furniture gets moved around often. The beautiful wooden staircase is one of my favorite features. They certainly don’t make houses today like they did 122 years ago.

Next is the dining area and kitchen at the back of the house.

The dining area is open to the kitchen. Our island has a bar. One thing that I would like to change in our home is making the island all one height. The bar is so high for the kids that it doesn’t get used much.

Last but not least, we have a tiny powder room off of the living room. It has the World’s Tiniest Sink™(I’m guessing). I found this roll of wallpaper on clearance at Anthropologie last year, and snapped it up in a hot second, and figured for $20, I could definitely learn how to install it. (I did!) I thought I was going to have enough wallpaper to finish this room, but I ran out and have one wall left.

After lots of phone calls and emails, turns out I bought the literal last roll of this pattern ever made. Cue deep sadness. I check eBay occasionally to look for an extra roll, but so far no luck. If anyone happens to see a roll of Sketched Ikat wallpaper from Antrho, please let me know!

I hope you enjoyed taking a peek inside of our home! I’ll be back soon with a tour of our other floors. You can read Part 2 here.

PS- Have you heard that I’m expanding into a collection of clothing in early 2019? The clothing will be whimsical and fanciful pieces that are ready for your adventures, whether scouting a new playground or adventuring in a foreign land. Embrace a mix of colors, patterns, and textures to create a style that is uniquely you. To stay in the loop, join the Bonboni Style Facebook Group.

Creating a Cohesive Home: Using a Color Palette throughout Your Home

My husband, Justin, fairly regularly rolls his eyes at me (with love) whenever I bring something new into the home. Not because of the cost or that we don’t really “need” anything new, but because there’s a 99% chance that it’s in my go-to color palette.

When new friends come into my home, I often hear how “put together” it feels. That’s not because everything was bought at the same store. My decor isn’t even all the same style! I shoot for an eclectic mix of rustic, bohemian, shabby, and modern. Are you ready for my decorating secret?

To create a cohesive home, I stick with the same 5-6 colors for most pieces. This allows me to mix styles, patterns, and textures to create a style that’s all my own. It brings together disjointed items and makes them look like they belong together.

Here are my go to colors. You’ll probably recognize these colors from my shop. Shocker! There’s a lot of overlap since the shop is curated from items that I love.

Favorite Home Decor Color Palette

Do you have any go-to colors? What are they?