School, Seattle, The Northwest… The World?

October 9, 2009 at 10:40 am 1,595 comments

I think the first time it happened was near the end of April last year.

I was standing in line for lunch, feeling bored and hungry and a little irritated, when someone tapped me on the shoulder. I turned around and faced a girl I didn’t recognize, whom I’d never met before. She looked a little nervous and said, “Sorry, I just had to ask – are you the girl with the food blog? My mom and I really like your photography.”

It was such a strange feeling and such an unexpected moment, to be recognized. It didn’t feel like fame, but I had no idea how else to put it. I thanked her, gave a real smile because I was grateful and honored, and went on with my day in a much better mood. But it’s happened over and over again since then.

On Facebook, I have an album called “Food Photography.” It has around 250 comments and is “liked” by 40 people, many of whom I never talked to until they complimented me on my baking. I’ll be sitting in environmental science when someone will quietly complain, “I’m so hungry!” and give me a meaningful look. The sophomores who ride my bus smile at me and ask if I’ve made anything neat recently. And teachers stop me in the hallway to say they’ve heard about my blog, and could I please write down the address for them?

Even though I’m a senior and my high school is relatively small, I’m not well known. I have classes with the same people over and over, and I’ve never been much of a social butterfly. And I know I’ve said this before, but it’s true – when I first created 17 and Baking I didn’t tell anyone about it because I thought it was embarrassing. I didn’t think it would be cool to have a food blog. I thought people would think I was weird. So I kept it to myself and tried to hide it from the world.

I only showed it to one of my friends when I’d written about him, and I thought he would get a kick out of seeing it. To my surprise he ended up making a blog of his own (suited to his own interests) and linked to mine. Unlike me, though, he wasn’t shy about sharing, and soon many of my classmates had seen his blog – and through it, mine. (If you are interested, he has a great economics blog called the Marginalist.)

To my surprise, people didn’t think it was uncool or strange. Food is universal. Food brings people together. Because really, when it comes down to it, who can resist anything warm and fresh from the oven, whether a sweet chocolatey cookie or a soft chive-studded cream cheese biscuit?

As I began to write this post this morning, I received a message on Facebook from an old friend I haven’t talked to in four years, N-. “Hi Elissa,” she wrote. “I don’t know if I’ve told you this before, but my big sister goes to Berkeley and she loves to bake, and she likes your blog.” N- continued on to tell me that her sister decided to have a bake off with her new roommates. One of them suggested a certain cookie recipe from “this blog… seventeen something…” to which N-‘s sister (whom I’ve never met) exclaimed, “That’s Elissa!”

It was one of the most incredible things I’ve ever heard, to have spread not only through school and the food blogging world but to college students in California simply having a bake-off. It lifts me off my feet and makes the sun shine out of my heart. Thank you for reading my blog – thank you, thank you, thank you!

Normally I wouldn’t, but I’ve got to ask – if you’re reading this, please leave a comment! Whether it’s your first time visiting or I’m welcoming you back, I’d really appreciate it if you left your location. I’m just curious to know where my readers are. I’ll start… Seattle, WA!

I don’t often opt for savory over sweet, but breakfast is one of those things where I crave salt over sugar. I’d had my eye on these Chive Biscuits for a while when I decided to make them. Part of the appeal was the inclusion of buttermilk and cream cheese. More than anything, that made me think of soft, flaky, and savory biscuits. They didn’t get as tall as I expected, but with chives from our own backyard and a squiggle of clover honey, they felt like home.

Cream Cheese and Chive Biscuits
From Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook
Makes 12 biscuits

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh chives
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, cold, cut into small pieces
4 ounces cream cheese, cold, cut into small pieces
1 1/4 cup buttermilk

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar, and chives. Using a pastry blender, cut in the butter and cream cheese until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs with a few larger clumps remaining.

Pour in the buttermilk; using a fork, mix in buttermilk until incorporated and the dough just comes together. The dough will be slightly sticky; do not overmix.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. With floured fingers, gently knead about four times, until all the crumbs are incorporated and the dough is smooth. With a lightly floured rolling pin, gently roll the dough to a 8-b-11-inch rectangle, about 1 inch thick. Using a bench scraper or long offset spatula to lift the ends of the dough, fold the rectangle into thirds (like a business letter). Give the dough a quarter turn. Roll out the dough again (to the same dimensions), and repeat the folding process. Wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Return the dough to the work surface. Roll out as before, and repeat the folding process. Give the dough another quarter turn; roll out dough one more time, again into a rectangle about 1 inch thick. Using a sharp knife, divide the rectangle into 12 equal squares or rectangles. Place on prepared sheet about 1 1/2 inches apart. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Bake, rotating the sheet halfway through, until the biscuits are golden and flecked with brown spots, 15 to 18 minutes. Transfer the biscuits to a wire rack to cool.

Printer Friendly Version – Cream Cheese and Chive Biscuits

Entry filed under: Breakfast/Brunch. Tags: , , , , .

From Blogs to Applications Seastar

1,595 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Hannah  |  December 12, 2011 at 12:39 pm

    26 and from Glasgow, Scotland
    Love your blog – it’s making me nostalgic for when I was studying at university although a castle in Holland is a lot more impressive than the red bricked English uni I went to!!

  • 2. Liz  |  December 16, 2011 at 3:02 pm

    New Bern, NC

    Now you can add Food and Wine to the list of places you’ve been featured! :)

  • 3. Omal  |  December 16, 2011 at 8:24 pm

    Studying in Syracuse, NY, originally from Long Island, NY!! love your blog :) we are around the same age

  • 4. Kelly V  |  December 17, 2011 at 12:50 pm

    Grand Rapids MI :D

  • 5. Barbra & Jack Donachy  |  December 18, 2011 at 8:02 pm

    Baking, cooking, and living well off the beaten path. Point Hope, Alaska.

  • 6. Denise  |  December 18, 2011 at 10:46 pm

    Lake Worth, FL :-)

  • 7. Annette  |  December 19, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    Sault ste Marie, Ontario, Canada

  • 8. Patrice  |  December 19, 2011 at 5:34 pm

    Stumbled upon your Boston Cream Pie ; can’t wait to see where your cooking and inspirations take you ( and me!) good luck.

  • 9. Patrice  |  December 19, 2011 at 5:37 pm

    Patrice from Santa Rosa, Ca by way of N.Y.C.

  • 10. vballer  |  December 21, 2011 at 6:30 pm

    bay area, california.
    i really enjoy reading this blog!

  • 11. Arelis  |  December 22, 2011 at 1:05 am

    yonkers, ny! i follow on twitter, too. i make pumpkin bread every fall ever since i saw the recipe on your blog =]

  • 12. VaneCouponLovingChicks  |  December 22, 2011 at 10:53 pm

    Miami, Florida!

    Love your blog!

  • 13. lesley  |  December 26, 2011 at 10:35 pm


    saw you in food & wine and instantly went to your site. LOVE the photography and the user friendly format.

  • 14. TJ  |  December 27, 2011 at 11:31 am

    Atlanta, GA

    Love your passion for travel and food! You’re a very vivid writer. Keep up the good work!

  • 15. ione  |  December 29, 2011 at 12:41 pm

    Love your blog…I just found it yesterday and have been reading and enjoying several posts. I love your writing style. I am in Richmond, CA.

  • 16. Mikaela  |  December 30, 2011 at 5:22 pm

    Bellingham, WA (:
    By the way… I’m taking the above recipe to use in my cookbook as a school project… (:

  • 17. cakebeatssteak  |  December 31, 2011 at 6:00 pm

    Boone, NC
    I love your blog! It inspired me to make one of my own! (:

  • 18. saltandserenity  |  January 1, 2012 at 7:55 pm

    Loved the Gelato post! Really enjoying reading about your semester abroad! I am in Ottawa, Canada.

  • 19. Laura @ A Healthy Jalapeño  |  January 1, 2012 at 10:11 pm

    Hi Elissa,
    I just read about you in Food & Wine magazine and funny enough… I was so happy to know that I already knew your blog! I have stopping in plenty before but I was overjoyed to see you featured as the young and upcoming baking diva!
    Danbury, CT

  • 20. Lara  |  January 2, 2012 at 10:44 pm

    mckinney tx found you in food&wine

  • 21. Kristin  |  January 8, 2012 at 5:29 pm

    Elissa- my New Years resolution is to cook/bake/make any new recipes from food blogs. So I linked to your blog from another blog and I am book marking it for future use. I was excited to read your piece on Edinburgh, having lived abroad for my junior year in Glasgow, Scotland (and then dropped out here in the US and finished my college education in Scotland). I hope you enjoyed it all…it sounds like you did! Keep baking and blogging and photo-ing!

  • 22. Sharon  |  January 11, 2012 at 4:01 pm

    Read about you and your blog in a Family Circle magazine. I just added you to my favorites.

    Nashua NH

  • 23. maddie  |  January 13, 2012 at 8:12 pm

    Virginia Beach, VA and those biscuits look delicious!

  • 24. Cindy Wolcott  |  January 13, 2012 at 10:20 pm

    Beaverton, OR

  • 25. dustybuster  |  January 14, 2012 at 3:36 pm

    Baltimore, MD
    I am interested in becoming a blogger,, so I am reading through yours and others to kinda figure out how it works, you write beautifully.

  • 26. Kat  |  January 14, 2012 at 4:46 pm

    Indonesian, now studying in Netherlands

    Just arrived in your blog today. I like your writing style, so smooth and enjoyable. I don’t cook, I want to, but I never really try. Reading your posts, maybe I will start to bake later! :D

  • 27. berryjoe  |  January 14, 2012 at 6:02 pm

    This is really lovely.
    Way to go Girl

  • 28. ♥, Ange  |  January 14, 2012 at 7:10 pm

    Philadelphia, Pa :)

    I’m not sure how I found your blog, but I absolutely love it & I’ve been following you for about a year now :)

  • 29. plaidoak  |  January 14, 2012 at 11:54 pm

    Canton, GA

    You have a great blog– and what a good “location” idea! I hope you don’t mind if I copy it… isn’t that the best form of flattery? (o:

  • 30. heartwoodhomesteads  |  January 16, 2012 at 8:47 pm

    Decatur, Alabama

    I was drawn in by the pleasant Moroccan plasters around the doors in your photos & pleasantly surprised by the story you are weaving there among them.

  • 31. Andy  |  January 16, 2012 at 9:40 pm

    Boston, MA USA

  • 32. tc  |  January 17, 2012 at 8:03 am

    Dar es salaam,Tanzania East africa ;)

  • 33. Linda  |  January 17, 2012 at 4:42 pm

    Phoenix, Arizona, United States

  • 34. Patty Winter  |  January 17, 2012 at 7:12 pm

    Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada!

    Keep up the great work! You are inspiring!!

  • 35. Claire Salling  |  January 17, 2012 at 7:16 pm

    Chicago, IL

  • 36. brooke guevara  |  January 17, 2012 at 9:25 pm

    Bay Area, California <3

  • 37. puret0ne  |  January 19, 2012 at 11:38 am

    Gibraltar/Spain, Europe

    Very intriguing. I’m navigating your blog now.

  • 38. Can't live without....  |  January 19, 2012 at 11:57 am

    Indianapolis, IN.
    Glad I stumbled here. You have some incredible stuff here!!

  • 39. Tarryn B (@sonneillon)  |  January 20, 2012 at 5:53 am

    Cape Town, South Africa.

    I love this blog. LOVE. I’ve made the red velvet cheesecake twice now… And oh my gosh.

  • 40. mavi  |  January 20, 2012 at 6:22 am

    love your blog :D

    from izmir, turkey (Türkiye)

    keep up the good work :D

  • 41. fishchipsandsalsa  |  January 20, 2012 at 9:37 am

    Hi. Mexican American (me) Filipino American (husband) from Texas and now living in London with our 3 children. We love food and photos. Love your blog. Keep up the good work! Thanks for sharing.

  • 42. newyorknewhome  |  January 20, 2012 at 12:14 pm

    New York, NY!

  • 43. Claire Lopez  |  January 22, 2012 at 11:16 pm

    Fort Worth, Texas…..where the West begins!

  • 44. Allie  |  January 25, 2012 at 12:12 pm

    Sevile, Spain!!
    on a 2 moth student exchange program, origonaly from Providence, RI :)

  • 45. Sandy  |  January 27, 2012 at 2:23 pm

    Philadelphia, PA
    My husband’s favorite cookie is gingersnaps, which he begs me to bake every fall. I lost my original recipe, and will have to try yours – I love your mouth-watering photos!

  • 46. Beth Urban  |  January 29, 2012 at 11:57 pm

    Suttons Bay, Michigan hailing from Hudson, New Hampshire,

  • 47. Claire  |  February 1, 2012 at 10:15 am

    Asheville, NC

    Love your blog!

  • 48. Sabina  |  February 3, 2012 at 6:35 am

    Seville, Spain !
    cool blog!

  • 49. Bea  |  February 4, 2012 at 4:07 am

    Greetings from Miskolc, Hungary! Lovely blog :)

  • 50. Laura  |  February 4, 2012 at 5:43 pm

    Hello Elissa,
    I read about you in the January 2012 issue of Food and Wine magazine. Congratulations to you! Such a talented young lady.
    My daughter is also your age and in college. We both love to bake, and I mentioned to her that she must visit your website. Keep up the good work, your website is a pleasure to visit.
    Laura in Kenosha Wisconsin.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed

Elissa Bernstein

I'm Elissa: a 17 (now 21) year old baker in Seattle Boston juggling creative nonfiction workshops, subway maps, and my passions for writing, baking, and photography. Photo above © Michelle Moore

Subscribe to 17 and Baking via RSS! Become a fan of 17 and Baking on Facebook! Follow @17andbaking on Twitter! Follow elissabernstein on Instagram! Email me at!

Leave Your Location


The Fine Print

Locations of visitors to this page

Site Meter

Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

Thank you for reading!

All text, photos, and logo
© 17 and Baking 2008 - 2013

%d bloggers like this: