Category Archives: Cookies

Writing About It: Baking, Break ups, and all of the things.

I’ve been a bad blogger.

This is not new. I’m bad at a lot of things, but I do them anyway. Except for math. I don’t do math.

I haven’t been blogging because this blog has historically been a way for me to get out some frustrations while baking delicious food. However, the last few months have been mostly frustration free. I didn’t have any disastrous dates or long, lonely weekends, or nights spent eating pounds of Chinese food with my dog. Instead, they were full of new plans and hope and all of the great things that go along with a new, promising relationship. I was happy and excited, and then, just as suddenly as it began, it ended.

I didn’t see it coming, and I still don’t really know what happened. I could sit here and analyze it to pieces, but when it comes down to it, it wasn’t right, and there’s nothing I can do about it. You’d think that break ups would get easier as you get older, and in some ways they do. When I was younger – in high school – I remember how devastating a break up was. I was lacking the experience to put it in perspective, and the boy I liked not liking me back seemed like the end of the world. As I got older, I gained some perspective, and a break ups were a little easier to handle. I knew it would suck for a while but that it was just something everyone went through, and I’d find the right person eventually.

But now, at 32, it’s starting to feel like the end of the world again. It’s not specific to this most recent relationship — I’d feel this way no matter who it was, I think — it’s specific to this time in my life.  Going from being alone, to not being alone, and then back to being alone, seems like just too much to take. I’ve been dating and breaking up and dating for 16 years now, and I’m tired. I certainly didn’t expect to be single at 32, and the thought of starting over yet again, just is too much. It feels like long division. Scary and complicated and impossible.

Right now, I’m writing about it because putting some of these scattered and crazy thoughts on the internet for everyone to see for some stupid reason feels like it might help. And then, later, I’ll bake about it. After that, I’ll eat about it. I will definitely drink about it, and at some point when I don’t even realize what’s happening, I’ll forget about it.

I’ve had too many feelings to bake lately (don’t worry, this week/weekend will be full of deliciousness), but in the meantime, I’ve compiled a few of my favorites for you below.

Talking and laughing about it with Stella Louise:

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I’m so Happy, I’m so Happy, I’m so Lonely

It’s wedding season! Every summer it happens, and I get so excited. In just under a month, one of my best friends will be marrying a wonderful guy, and I’m so happy for them. The past couple weeks I’ve been busy planning her bachelorette party (or lady shenanigans night as we’ve been calling it), and I’ve kept myself busy. I put on my craft pants and got to work – personalized drinking glasses for everyone, homemade gift bags, banners, and of course… COOKIES!

scrabble tile sugar cookies

 

I’m really happy for them. I love my friends, and I think it is awesome that they are getting married, but at the end of last night, after baking all day, planning, carrying things around in the heat, and just generally being exhausted, I couldn’t help but think, “When the hell is it going to be my turn?!”

And then I feel selfish. I feel so stupid and selfish and dumb, because I don’t want to be that bitter, old girl who resents everyone else’s happiness. But mostly, mostly I just feel lonely.

It’s not all the time. I have the best friends in the world, I have the best family, and I have a dog who is always there to cuddle with me and lick away my tears. But sometimes, I just want someone to come home to. I want a guy to miss while I’m at work, and watch a stupid movie with me when I’m too tired to go anywhere. I want someone to tell me I’m being an idiot when I get too down on myself, or to eat my cookies when I bake in the middle of the night just for the heck of it. Really, I just want someone to be there.

Lately, I’ve had guys show interest. I’ve gone on dates, and for a few nights I’ve felt really special and attractive, but these haven’t worked out.  I’m not entirely sure why — either I lose interest, or most recently they just seem to change their mind. It’s easy, during times like this weekend, to feel like dating is hopeless. To feel like I’m somehow getting left out of something, and to wonder what it is I did wrong.  Why does it seem like everyone else gets to find happiness?

Luckily, it usually only takes about one night of wallowing on the couch with a bucket of fried chicken to remember that I’m being over dramatic, and that I’m not the only one with issues. Having a boyfriend or husband won’t necessarily make me happy, and there are people out there dealing with issues a lot bigger than a guy not returning their text messages. I know all of this, I really do.

So, I give myself a reality check and focus on my next project or craft and psych myself up for the next engagement, wedding, or baby announcement. Because I’m happy. I really, really am happy. But I’m also really lonely. And for now, that’ll just have to do.

 

SCRABBLE TILE SUGAR COOKIES

I’m new to the whole royal icing decorating cookie thing (in case you can’t tell by the picture, my hand is just a wee bit unsteady!) so I didn’t actually modify the recipes I used at all. Usually, I change things up a bit and give you my version, but since I went very step by step on these, I’ll just send you to one of favorite blogs where I got the inspiration.

For the sugar cookies, I used this recipe from Brown Eyed Baker: Soft and Chewy Sugar Cookies

The decorating is pretty complicated, and I didn’t really know what I was doing, but she explains it all very well here: How to Decorate Cookies with Royal Icing

Tips from my kitchen:

If you want to make the scrabble tile cookies specifically, here’s what I did:

First, good luck trying to find a square cookie cutter. I ended buying a small plastic square container that was meant for favors at a baby shower, I think? My cookies were a little bigger than an inch tall and wide – larger than an actual scrabble tile. I would just use whatever you can find to cut the cookies into a square shape.

To outline and fill the cookies, I used ivory colored icing and a #2 tip

To do the letters, I used black colored icing and a #2 tip

To to the points in the corner, I used black colored icing and a #1 tip

I also procrastinated and got these done in the last couple hours before the party. I highly recommend not doing that, and giving yourself plenty of time. Don’t be like me – make the cookies the night before! Trust me, it will really help.

 

scrabble themed bachelorette party

 

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Peanut Butter Graham Cracker Cookies with Marshmallow

I have something seriously embarrassing to admit.

I thought marshmallow was spelled marshmellow.  Seriously, up until just now when spell check told me I was wrong.

I am 31 years old, and I have no idea how to spell marshmallow.

I’m also now questioning my pronunciation.

 

In other news, I do know how to spell embarrassing (and Mississippi) because I memorized them both in 3rd grade.

I also made these cookies the other day, and they are seriously adorable.

These cookies are the cutest cookies I’ve ever made. I clapped my hands and giggled when I finished them.

They are cute, delicious, and they don’t judge me for not being able to spell.

Make these cookies, take a picture of their cuteness, and then eat them.

peanut butter graham cracker cookies with marshmellow

 

 

Peanut Butter Graham Cracker Cookies with Marshmallow

(Barely) Adapted from Bakergirl’s Fluffernutter Chocolate Gobs

Ingredients:

Cookies:
1 2/4 cups flour
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1 stick unsalted butter (at room temperature)
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 t. vanilla extract
1 t. molasses
mini marshmallows
Teddy grahams or pieces of graham cracker

Chocolate Glaze:
1 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 t. vanilla extract
1-2 Tbsp milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl – whisk and set aside.

In the bowl of your mixer, beat the butter, peanut butter, and both sugars on medium speed for 2 minutes until light and fluffy.  Add in the egg, vanilla, and molasses and beat for another minute.

Gradually add in the flour mixture and mix on the lowest speed.  Chill dough for at least 15 minutes.

Roll into quarter inch balls and place on parchment paper lined baking sheets.  Bake for about 7 minutes until just very lightly browned. Remove from the oven and lightly flatten with a spatula. Then place 3 mini marshmallows in the center of each cookie and bake for 2-3 more minutes.

Let cool on the baking sheet for 3 or 4 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

While your cookies are cooling, go ahead and make the glaze. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Stir in the cocoa powder until smooth. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, whisking continuously. Add in the milk as needed to get the desired consistency.

Drizzle glaze over the cookies (it will harden as it cools). Garnish with a teddy graham or a piece of graham cracker.

graham cracker cookies with marshmallow

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Cynicism, Sarcasm, Desperation and Blueberry Cookies

Full disclosure: I am writing this from my bed while drinking a beer.

I realize I have not been the most consistent blogger.  I’m not sure if it’s laziness or writer’s block or a combination of both. Or, maybe it was that I had no recipes to share as I’ve been baking the same chocolate chip cookies over and over again.

Well, I’m back. The laziness problem has been solved by doing this from my bed, the writers block cured with some alcohol, and now that summer is finally here I’ve been inspired to make something other than chocolate chip cookies.

Speaking of summer… it’s finally here! After 8 months of Cleveland winter, it’s finally warm (ish) out! This means it’s time for flip flops, margaritas, evenings on my balcony, long walks to the beach, and the hope that comes with the beginning of summer that my life will turn into a romantic comedy and I will find love. Hope springs eternal (well, let’s be honest – hope curls up and dies in the winter, but right now I remain optimistic.)

So, this past weekend, I joined two other vaguely optimistic single girl friends, sundressed up, and we hit the town.

We hit our first roadblock pretty quickly when we realized we had no idea where to go. We knew where all the 21 year-old sequined tube top wearing girls would be, but there’s no way we could begin to compete with that at 31.  So we set off to find where the chubby, funny, slightly desperate older guys hang out.

Although we had a lot of fun, ladies nights aren’t exactly what they once were back in our 20s. Youthful exuberance has been replaced with a lethal mixture of cynicism, sarcasm, and desperation.

The night started out hopeful with this gem from one of my friends:

“Sorry I’m late, I had to clean up the empty wine bottles and underwear lying around my apartment just in case I fall in love tonight and he ends up at my place.”

Then, it turned a little bitter with this quote from the same friend, “I swear, if another one of my friends in their 20s gets engaged, I’m blowing up a Jared’s.”

There was a middle period where things looked hopeful. We had a fun guy and his friends join us for dinner, there was witty banter, flirting, and the exchanging of numbers. At the second bar, I beat a guy in darts and got his number (win, win!). But by the end of the night, we somehow found ourselves at our neighborhood bar, with our married friends, playing pinball. It actually was a nice ending to a fun night, and I called it quits at about midnight.

Then, around 3am, I got a text from my friend that said: “I took him home, but told him we weren’t hooking up. He fell asleep on my couch, and is now puking in my bathroom. Do I know how to pick them or what?!”

Well. At least she didn’t have any empty wine bottles or underwear lying around.

Also perfect for summer?

These Blueberry Lemon cookies with Almonds and White Chocolate

(Loosely adapted from The Spiced Life)

Blueberry Lemon cookies with Almonds and White Chocolate

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cups All-Purpose flour
1 1/4 cups cake flour
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. baking powder
zest of 1 lemon
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 c. unsalted butter
1 egg
1 t. vanilla
the juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/2 c. fresh blueberries
1/2 c. dried blueberries
1/4 c. white chocolate
1/4 c. chopped almonds

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, whisk together both flours, baking soda and powder, and salt. Set aside.

Place your butter in a large mixing bowl and add half of the zest. Mix on medium speed for about 3 minutes until light and creamy. Take the remaining zest and rub it into the granulated sugar. Add the sugar/zest mixture to your butter mixture and mix for another minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the brown sugar. Beat another minute and scrape down the sides again. Add the egg, vanilla and lemon juice and beat another minute.

Add the flour mixture all at once, and stir at the lowest speed possible until just barely combined. Stir in both kinds of blueberries, the white chocolate and almonds until combined.

Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper and scoop the dough in tablespoon sized balls.  Bake for 10-14 minutes. The cookies should barely be browned on the outside (golden really) and still soft in the center. Remove from the oven and let cool on the baking sheet 3-5 minutes. Remove to a wire rack and let cool completely.

 

 

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Snowed in With Cookies – Brown Butter Chocolate Chip

There’s approximately 800 feet of snow outside right now. It’s also somewhere around -49 degrees.

I had to park 9 miles (more or less) away from my apartment because there was a parking ban on the street I live on due to the snow.*

Normally, this would bother me.  But the snow and cold have passed so far beyond the point of annoyance that I feel i have no other choice but to embrace it.  You want to mess with me snow? I have 3 blankets on my bed (one of them made out of llama wool!), Netflix streaming on my tv, a dog to cuddle with, and a full bottle of wine. Bring it on.

This afternoon, I ordered Chinese food for dinner. I ordered two appetizers and two full entrees. Just for me.

After stuffing myself, reading my fortune cookie (ok, fine, fortune cookies – the restaurant apparently thought my meal was meant for 3 people), and watching two episodes of Dexter on Netflix (season 4 finale – I don’t even have words…), I decided it was time to go to bed.  Then, as I was changing into my pjs, I realized it was 7:30 pm.

It’s been a fantastic weekend.

Oh, and did I mention that I had cookies for breakfast? Don’t judge me. You would too if you had these hanging around:

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

* While the figures at the beginning of this post might be moderately exaggerated, my comments regarding the amount of Chinese food I ordered/ate are unfortunately entirely accurate. 

 

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
From Joy the Baker

Ingredients:

2 1/4 c. Flour
1 tsp. Kosher salt
1 tsp. baking soda
2 sticks plus 1 Tbsp unsalted butter – at room temperature
1 c. white sugar
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. molasses
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 1/4 c. bittersweet chocolate discs

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and baking soda and set aside

In a medium, heavy bottomed sauce pan, melt 1 stick plus 1 Tbsp butter until browned. Just let it melt over medium heat stirring occasionally until it begins to turn an amber-brown color and brown bits begin to form. It will also start to smell rich and nutty. Transfer to a glass bowl and let cool.

In the bowl of your stand mixer, mix the other stick of butter and the white sugar on medium speed for 3-5 minutes until light and fluffy.

Add the vanilla and the molasses until just combined. Once the brown butter has cooled, combine with the other butter mixture and mix for another 2 minutes.  Add the egg and the egg yolk and beat for another minute.

Add the flour mixture – all at once and beat on low until just combined. Use a wooden spoon to mix in the chocolate pieces.

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Scoop dough by tablespoons onto prepared baking sheets and bake for 12 minutes or until just lightly browned around the edges.  Let cool for 3-5 minutes on the baking sheet and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.  Store in an airtight container for 3-5 days.

 

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

 

 

 

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Cookies

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I’m trying to get in the holiday spirit, but I’m having a tough time.

I am wearing an ugly Christmas sweater, but that’s the only bit of festivity happening in my apartment right now. My Christmas tree and other decorations are still in storage, my holiday cookie list is sitting untouched on my coffee table, I haven’t bought a single present yet, and it looks like no one is going to be getting a Christmas card from me yet again this year.

I do feel a little bit like Santa Claus though. As in I feel really fat.  My belly is definitely shaking like a bowl full of jelly. I have gained at least 1 million pounds* in the last couple weeks, so I could certainly use a team of reindeer to pull me around in a fancy sleigh (covered and heated of course).

Writing this blog post is step one in Operation Do Something Today. I’ve been especially lazy this week, and although all I want to do today (ok, everyday) is sit on my couch, I know I will feel better with a clean house, a Christmas tree in the corner, and cookies in the oven.

Speaking of cookies, I made these Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Cookies for Friendsgiving this year, and I’m really excited about them. They started out last year as my attempt at making an “apple pie” cookie.  Then, I decided that with the oatmeal, they were really more like an apple crisp cookie, but now I’ve decided that it’s silly to compare them to any other kind of dessert. They are just a really good apple oatmeal cookie.

These cookies do take a little bit more preparation than most drop cookies, but it’s definitely worth it. You’ll need to brown the butter, chop and toast the walnuts, and of course peel and slice the apple.

Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Cookies

Ingredients
2 sticks unsalted butter (you will be melting them, so they can be cold)
1 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. white sugar
2 eggs
1 t. vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1 t. salt
1 1/2 t. baking soda
1 t. cinnamon
1 c. toasted chopped walnuts
1 large granny smith apple, peeled and chopped
3 c. old fashioned oats

Preparation
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

Brown butter in a sauce pan. The brown butter really enhances the flavor of these cookies. Use a heavy bottomed sauce pan or skillet with a light colored bottom. Melt the butter on medium heat. The butter will start to foam and then it will start to turn an amber color.  The fatty bits will start to separate and go to the bottom of the pan. As the butter browns, these will brown too. Watch it carefully at this point, because it can go from brown to burnt pretty fast. Once the butter is a nice honey brown color, remove it from the heat and let it cool in a glass bowl.

While that is cooling, you can work on the apple and nuts. Turn the oven up to 425 degrees F.  Rinse, peel and chop 1 medium to large Granny Smith apple. Granny Smith apples are tart, so if you use a sweet apple, you’re going to have a much sweeter cookie. Place the walnuts on a cookie sheet and put on the top rack of the oven for about 5-10 minutes until nice an toasty. Let the nuts cool, chop them up and set aside. Make sure to turn the oven back down to 350 degrees.

In the bowl of your stand mixer (or you can use a hand mixer), combine the brown butter and white and brown sugars.  Mix on high for 3 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla and beat for 3 more minutes.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, nutmeg, and cinnamon.

Use a wooden spoon to fold the flour mixture into the wet ingredients.  Stir in walnuts and apples. Stir in oatmeal.

Drop rounded tablespoons of dough on to prepared cookie sheets and bake for 10-12 minutes. Let rest on the baking sheet for 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool the rest of the way.

Store in an air tight container – they’ll stay good for about 4 days.

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*  more or less, depending on if you count the bag of combos I am currently snacking on…

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Espresso Chocolate Chip Cookies

It snowed today. I hate snow. I hate the cold. I hate the winter. But I live in Cleveland, where it seems like it is winter most of the year, so I’ve had to develop some coping mechanisms.

Ways I deal with snowy, cold, dreary days:

  • Flannel pajamas
  • Beef stew
  • Thick blankets
  • Red Wine
  • Cuddle time (99% of the time this is with my dog)
  • Bad reality TV
  • A good book
  • Bacon
  • John Legend (his voice is just so warm and cozy…)

And nothing pairs better with a cold, dark day than a big, hot cup of coffee. And nothing pairs better with a cup of coffee, than a cookie made with coffee!

Seriously. Pour yourself a cup and make these right now.

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ESPRESSO CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES
Adapted (barely) from Joy The Baker’s Cappuccino Cookies with Espresso and White Chocolate

INGREDIENTS

1 c. (2 sticks) unsalted butter (at room temperature)
3/4 c. brown sugar
3/4 c. white sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. coffee extract
2 and 1/4 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. instant espresso powder
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips or chunks (I used bittersweet chocolate – 60% cacao)
1/2 cup white chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS

In a medium bowl, mix together your dry ingredients: Whisk together flour, baking soda, salt and espresso powder. Set aside.

In the bowl of your mixer, beat together butter and sugars at medium speed for about 3-5 minutes until light and fluffy. Add in the egg and egg yolk, and beat on medium speed for another minute or so. Beat in the vanilla and coffee extracts. Stop mixer and scrape down sides.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients all at once. Mix on low until combined. Stir in the dark chocolate and white chocolate.

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 35-45 minutes (or over night).

When you are ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Scoop dough by the spoonful onto baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 12-14 minutes. Let cool on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Store in an air tight container. Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

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Brown Butter Oatmeal Toffee Cookies

About a week ago, I saw a picture of myself where I was sitting in the background. I had no idea the picture was being taken, so I couldn’t do the hand on my hip, stand to the side, stick my chin out and up, and think skinny thoughts thing. Instead, I was slouching, and eating. I’m also pretty sure I had 8 chins.  I just stared at the photo with an expression that was part shock, part denial, and part disgust. Really? I look like that?!  Now, I know that I’m not fat. I know that I’m not ugly. I realize this was just a bad picture. But could I stand to lose a few pounds? Sure.  And maybe, if I do that, I wont look so ridiculous the next time someone catches me in the background of a photo.

I’ll also most likely grow a couple inches, get really tan, have impossibly long legs, perfect, straight hair, and all of a sudden be super stylish and sophisticated.

That’s how it works, right?

The day after this picture sent me into panic mode, there was cake in my office.  I ate an apple instead.  Strangely, It did not taste like cake.

Today, I wanted soup and a sandwich – which sounds like it would be fine –  but after looking at the calories, I ate a salad instead.  There was no bacon in my salad.  It was sad.

Yesterday, I cheated a little bit because it was a good friend’s birthday. We had a couple margaritas and I ordered some sort of chorizo tamale thing that tasted like heaven.  My dinner was huge, so I had a ton leftover, and decided that I really shouldn’t eat any more of it if I were going to meet my super model potential.

Not wanting to be wasteful and throw it away, I gave it to my brother (who is currently staying with me).  He wasn’t home yet, so I left him a nice little note on top of my to-go box that said, “Please eat this. It was delicious, but I’m on a diet.”

About 10 minutes later, I walked past the food, re-read my note, did a double take, and realized that in my handwriting, “I’m on a diet” looked a lot like “I’m an idiot.”

And Let’s face it, they basically are the same thing.

So, don’t be an idiot.  Eat these cookies.

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Brown Butter Oatmeal Toffee Cookies

Ingredients:

2 sticks unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups flour
1 t. salt
1 1/2 t. baking soda
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup white sugar
2 large eggs
1 t. molasses
1 t. vanilla extract
3 c. Old Fashioned Oats
2/3 c. chocolate chips or chunks
1/2 c. toffee bits
sea salt (optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a heavy bottomed sauce pan, brown one stick of butter.  You do this by melting the butter until it starts to brown. It will start to smell nutty and have brown bits in it. Make sure it doesn’t burn. As soon as it starts to brown, remove from heat and pour into a glass bowl. Make sure to scrape all the bits out of the pan. Let cool.

In your stand mixer, cream (on medium speed) the other stick of butter with the white sugar until fluffy about 3-4 minutes.  Add vanilla and molasses, beat to combine. Once cool, add the brown butter. Then add the brown sugar. Cream for about 2 minutes. Add the eggs, and beat for another minute.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.

Add flour mixture to the wet ingredients and mix on low until incorporated. Stir in oats, chocolate chips and toffee pieces.

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Drop rounded tablespoons about 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheet, and sprinkle with sea salt.  Bake for 11-13 minutes until lightly browned, but still soft.

Let them rest on the baking sheet for 3-5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

 

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Baking Under the Influence: Granola Bar Cookies

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This probably wasn’t the greatest idea.

If I thought blow drying my hair was hard, I probably shouldn’t have attempted baking cookies 9 days after major surgery.

My adventure required a few extra ingredients in addition to the normal butter, flour, sugar and eggs. These included:

1 prescription pain killer (for me, not in the cookies)
1 cane (no lion handle, but it really does help)
1 office chair on wheels to roll around the kitchen (my mom’s idea, and it was genius)
2 worried parents who found me sitting the floor trying to get the hand mixer out of the cabinet
1 nap after thoroughly exhausting myself

Not my best work, but I got off the couch and made cookies. I’m pumped.

Recipe adapted from Sugar Plum Blog’s Peanut Butter-Honey Oatmeal Cookies

Oat and Honey Granola Bar Cookies

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup creamy natural peanut butter
1/2 cup lightly packed light brown sugar
not quite 1/4 cup honey
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
1/2 cup cashew pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Toast oats in the oven by placing them on a cookie sheet in the oven for about 10-12 minutes or until lightly toasted.

Once oats are toasted, remove from oven and turn oven up to 375 degrees.

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat until it starts to brown and foam. Be careful not to burn it; stir frequently.

In a small to medium sized bowl, whisk together flour and baking soda

In a large bowl, beat together (on medium speed) the butter, peanut butter, brown sugar, and honey. Mix just until creamy, then beat in egg and vanilla until well combined. Beat in flour mixture slowly and then add oats. The mixture will be very thick, just take your time.  Stir in cashews.

When placing cookies on baking sheet, form into balls and then slightly flatten them. The cookies wont spread much while baking, and should basically hold their shape. Bake for 8-10 minutes at 375 degrees.

 

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I Choose Chocolate

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I am horrible at making decisions. To call me indecisive doesn’t even begin to cover it.

Eanie Meanie Miney Mo is a common decision making tool in my arsenal; so is closing my eyes and pointing.  If I have a date, I spend most of my time beforehand praying that he’ll just make all the plans so that I don’t have a panic attack.

My favorite places to eat are places that have a limited menu.   Raising Canes in Columbus, Ohio – you’re getting chicken fingers, just tell them how many. Happy Dog in Cleveland – they give you a check sheet. All you have to do is put a check mark next to the toppings you want. This still takes me forever, by the way, the list is really long, but it keeps things pretty simple, comparatively.

My latest way to combat my inability to make decisions is to just have someone else decide for me. It started with “surprise beer.” One of my friends one night told the bartender just to pour him a surprise beer, and I couldn’t believe I hadn’t thought of that before. I don’t feel bad doing this because I  really am the least picky person you will ever meet (when it comes to food and booze at least). I always let the bartender or server know up front that I like everything and they can’t possibly disappoint me. I’m so ridiculous that I’d actually rather drink a beer I only sort of like that someone else chose for me than pick one out myself. I know. I have issues.

Lately, I’ve extended the surprise beer idea to the ordering of the whole meal. I try not to do it too often, but if the server seems like they’d be up for it, I’ll often just tell them to pick something for me.  Again, there’s usually almost nothing I won’t like, and they probably know better than me what the best dishes on the menu are anyway. So far, it’s worked out great.

But, when it comes to choosing what I’m going to bake, I don’t normally have the same problems as I do at bars and restaurants. Probably because I’m at home and there’s no pressure (real or imaginary) for me to pick the right thing. I just make whatever I feel like. Lately, I’ve felt like chocolate. Lots and lots of chocolate.

Triple Chocolate Cookies

1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 squares semisweet chocolate, chopped (or 8 ounces semisweet chocolate chips)
6 tablespoons butter, cut up
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon coffee extract*
2 large eggs
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup butterscotch chips
1/3 cup cacao nibs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl.

In a medium saucepan, melt chocolate and butter over low heat. Pour into a large bowl and let cool.
Stir in sugar, vanilla extract, coffee extract until blended.  Stir in eggs, 1 at a time, until blended.  Add the dry ingredients and stir until combined. Don’t worry if the batter is a bit thin. Stir in the nuts, chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, and cacao nibs.

Drop tablespoons of batter and inch(ish) apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake 14 minutes. Cool on cookie sheet a couple minutes and then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

Makes about 2 dozen cookies

*Instead of coffee extract, you can just use 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract. I had to get creative when I ran out of vanilla mid-pour

Note:  Feel free to get creative with the chips. You can use pecans instead of walnuts, or along with, and you can substitute regular chocolate chips, white chocolate, peanut butter chips, or whatever else you happen to have on hand. As long as you use the same proportions, it should be fine. I just used what I had hanging out in my pantry.

(recipe adapted from “Triple Chocolate Chubbies” from Good Housekeeping’s Great Baking)

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