First of all

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

5 Days Left, I Recommend Eating More Cookies

We have reached the point where you can count the number of days until Christmas on one hand. This is when random people will start asking you "So are you ready for Christmas?"

Most people who ask me this are surprised when I say no. I always say no. I'm never ready for Christmas. There are always a couple more gifts I could have bought, a DIY decoration I was meaning to try to make, or a new cookie recipe to bake. 

My philosophy is to be one with the not doneness of the season. I'll do what I can, and we'll see how much I manage to pull off between now and 12/26.

Christmas: It is what it is. And just to clarify, I'm not one who has gone crazy burdening myself with expectations and complicated traditions for the holidays.  I've always thought Elf on the Shelf was creepy, I don't make handmade cards, and my decorations are a pittance of Clark Griswald's.  However, this time of year there is so much one can want to do,and I find I always have too many to-dos. Thankfully, today is the day this year that I give up on my self-imposed holiday expectations and go with the flow.

I recommend giving up as the best self-care from this point forward.  I also recommend homemade chocolate covered Oreo cookies.  Sugary satisfaction at its best!

All you need to do is melt almond bark--taking care not to  liquify the bark--if it is too hot the Oreo's will separate-- and coat the Oreo in bark, sprinkle some sprinkles and let the cookies cool. 

Merry do less Christmas!

Monday, December 17, 2018

Avoid E. Coli! Eat More Cookies!

There is a recall on cauliflower!  Oldest sons favorite vegetable is not safe?  Ack! More cookies are needed!

When I was very small I remember having a chocolate crinkle cookie and breaking a tooth.  I think what really happened was that I had a crinkle cookie and I had a loose baby tooth, memories can be misleading. In any case, this all happened decades ago and yet, I have harbored a grudge toward  chocolate crinkle cookies.

Until now! These are a great cookie to make. You can make the balls and then refrigerate or freeze them until you are ready to bake. When ready to bake just roll in powder sugar and bake in the oven.  If you want to shortcut the heck out of the cookie making, start with this cake mix. Then you only need to add one stick of butter and an egg. Or use this recipe from all recipes to make the cookies from scratch.

This weekend I got a chance to see Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse with the boys. Pro Tip: if you go to the earliest showing at an AMC theater, the cost is just over $5 per ticket. This movie was fantastic, an engaging story, fun one-liners, and visually stunning.  It is an incredible looking movie. The movie has lots of action and chase scenes, but I did not get motion sick, so that was an added bonus.  Really, go see the movie at the theater it's wonderful.  The rating is PG so you can take younger kids and the bad guys shouldn't be too scary.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Mom, What's Different About These Cookies?

Adventures in Cookie Baking Day 11 reporting for duty.

BMO has been surprisingly enthused about my cookie baking.  In the past he has had a strong preference for only two types of cookies.  He only cared for the eating of chocolate chip cookies and those Keebler cookies--the shortbread ones with the stripes.  Outside of that he's been patently disinterested in cookie consumption.

However, this holiday season he has embraced all that cookies has to offer and has tried--and dare I say, enjoyed every type of cookie I have made.  He has expanded his cookie horizons and now appreciates how much better homemade cookies with plenty of butter are compared to their factory-made counterparts. I mean those factory cookies don't even have a smidgen of trans-fats anymore!

On this the 11th day of Cookie making, I made small monster cookies.  Technically monster cookies are supposed to be rather large. So it's probably an oxymoron to call these 1 1/2 inch diameter cookies- 'monster.'

There are lots and lots of variations on monster cookies, you can make them with or without flour, with butter or with margarine (why though?).

I found and like this recipe.  It has a nice cheat, you use a boxed cake mix as the base.  Obviously I used butter instead of margarine--and because I believe peanut butter is an essential part of the monster cookie experience--I used 1/2 cup of butter and 1/2 a cup of creamy peanut butter.  I also used 1 cup of oats vrs 1/2 a cup.  Also, I substituted 1 cup of red and green chocolate candies instead of walnuts.  Basically, I really altered the recipe.  In any case.  The results were satisfactory for BMO and now the freezer is overflowing with cookies.

I still have a pound of butter, chocolate chips, mint chocolate candies, dried cranberries, and chopped hazelnuts, on hand- so more cookies to come!  I'm thinking I've got to make some more Spritz cookies since Youngest Child took all those to a bake sale and a shortbread cookie?  Decisions, Decisions.


Tuesday, December 11, 2018

How many cookies is too many cookies? Let's find out!

More Adventures in Cookie Baking- Day 10! My freezer is getting very full. Youngest Daughter says what are you going to do with all these cookies?  I say for the 44th time, I'm going to give them away. This time she answers "Ok."  Apparently she wasn't listening the many other times I said I was making cookies to give away for Christmas.


As my life has been quite busy with work, and picking up and dropping off kids and attending Holiday events; I decided if I wanted to continue baking, I needed to  chill some balls.  to that end, I rolled these lemon cookies and then let them chill in the fridge overnight before glazing and baking them.

Katie C. recommended this recipe from Martha Stewart.  She likes to make these cookies into Christmas Wreathes.  I took a cue from Katie and decided to put some festive sprinkles on mine.

Let's say you are sitting around wrapping presents and would like to indulge, I recommend these cookies with a nice prosecco. How delightful! You could even, take it to the next level by adding some fresh raspberries to your plate or to your glass.  Lemon- raspberry is such a lovely flavor combination.

And while I'm here just 4 days left to enroll in the ACA ! Get Covered!

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

What about Gluten Free?

Happy Adventures in Cookie Baking Day 9. I didn't bake for today's post because I didn't have time.  I almost had some time, but I was very tired and took a pass on cookie baking or cookie prep. 

Of course, I remain in a cookie state of mind.  To that end, I found a recipe from Food & Wine for a gluten free cookie that is probably super difficult to make.

Smores Linzer Cookies

And if that wasn't good enough, I found a recipe at Food & Wine  to make a gluten and dairy free Chocolate Crinkle Cookie!  This recipe starts with a bag of gluten free pretzels!  You can see the video below:

I think I may try making the Chocolate Crinkle Cookie recipe in the upcoming days. So many kinds of cookies, so little free time!

Tomorrow is St. Nicholas Day!  Don't forget to leave a shoe out tonight!


Tuesday, December 4, 2018

It's Finally Here! The Day We've Been Waiting for All Year!

Happy #NationalCookieDay!  It's Adventures in Cookie Baking Day 8!

Today's cookie isn't really a cookie, although you do bake it, so it's almost a cookie.  Cookie adjacent we can call it.  What is it?  A cookie bar that loads of people enjoy!

7 Layer Magic Cookie Bars!

Here is an up close picture of the 7-layer bars cooling.  You can't see it here, but several family members have already helped themselves to a piece.  A very gooey piece of the bars because the recipe hadn't cooled off and set yet.

If you like these you can make them as directed or swap out ingredients as you wish.

7 Layer Magic Cookie Bars (See cookies is in the title; ergo, these are a perfect fit for #NationalCookieDay)

Step 1: Preheat Oven to 350

2 1/2 cups of crushed graham crackers. (I couldn't find crushed graham crackers at the store and got tired of looking so I bought graham crackers and used a cheese grater to crush them.  It worked.

1 1/2 sticks melted butter

Mix above 2 ingredients and then press evenly in a 9x13 inch pan.

Pour 1 can of sweetened condensed milk over the cracker mix evenly-don't try to smooth out, just pour it over and leave it.

Next layer each of these in order:

1 1/2 cups of butterscotch morsels

1 1/2 cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 1/2 cups of coconut flakes

1 cup of  walnuts

Place in a 350 degree oven for 23 minutes and then try to let cool completely before sampling.

You could swap the butterscotch for white chocolate chips  or peanut butter chips--you could add dried cherries or cranberries. You could use pecans or hazelnuts.  It's a very flexible recipe.

Happy #NationalCookieDay!


Monday, December 3, 2018

Do you have FOTO? Fear of the Oven? Here's a cookie recipe for you!

After my Oatmeal Scotchies debacle, I needed a few days to recover and a couple more trips to the grocery store, and now I'm ready for another butterscotch morsel-centric cookie recipe. 

Not much is simpler than a 3-ingredient recipe and only using a microwave.  Note: you can melt the butterscotch chips on the stove if you don't use a microwave. Of course if you don't use a microwave, you probably don't eat processed items chock-full  of  sugar.

Butterscotch Haystacks

You can find many variations of this recipe on Google, Pinterest, etc.  This is what I did:

1/2 a bag of La Choy Chow Mein Noodles.
1 bag of Butterscotch Morsels
2/3 ish a cup of dry roasted peanuts.

Put the noodles and the peanuts in a bowl.  Put the Butterscotch Morsels in a microwaveable bowl. Microwave the morsels for about 90 seconds, until they are melted.  Pour over the noodles and peanuts. Mix until all is covered; then put bunches of the mix onto a tray. My tip is to use some plastic gloves to mix everything and  to put the little bunches of mix --i.e. haystacks onto a tray or cookie sheet. Next chill in the fridge or freezer.  Once the haystacks are solid you can store in Tupperware or in a plastic bag in the freezer etc.

You can put the haystacks on waxed or parchment paper and let it cool on your counter tops as well--whatever works for you.

I think Butterscotch Haystacks date back to the 1970s, so it's a nostalgic treat!

Happy Day 7 of Adventures in Cookie Baking (making)!


Sunday, December 2, 2018

A Twist on Brownies, Tastes Great, Looks Very Homemade!

Hello!  Well here I am, Adventures in Cookie Baking day number ah, 6. The other day a random dessert thought popped into my head.  What if I melted dark chocolate orange slices on top of brownies.  How good would that be?

Today my mission was to find out how good that would be.

This is the chocolate I melted and put on top of the finished brownies. I used a brownie mix to make the brownies. I don't think I've ever made brownies from scratch.

Turns out I don't currently own any square baking dishes. I should really buy at least one 8x8 pan.  Or maybe someone could get me one for Christmas.

After I baked the brownies, Tom and I ran up to the High School for the annual A Christmas Carol dinner and show. Before the show the actors in character serve the diners dinner and then the Madrigals and Jazz Band perform and then the final show of the year takes place.  Youngest child did a great job in her part as a scoundrel.

When we arrived home much later, BMO had helped himself to some of the brownies. Frankly, I was surprised at how small a piece he took.

I cut up half of the brownies and left them plain for BMO and the Man.  The rest I frosted with dark chocolate orange.  Once the top had hardened, I attempted to cut the brownies.  It didn't go well.  But, they do taste delicious!

This afternoon I need to run out and get more butter and the adventure shall continue!


Friday, November 30, 2018

Ever Have a Day When You Just Need a Cookie?

The odds are pretty good that you have the 3 key ingredients for this cookie.  There are loads and loads of variations on this cookie recipe, but in a pinch, you can make a couple dozen tasty gluten-free cookies with just one egg, one cup of sugar and one cup of peanut butter (crunchy or creamy-you pick)

 Today I took a tip from Summar E. and added one teaspoon of baking powder to my dough and this made my cookies look like very traditional peanut butter cookies.  If you skip the baking powder, the cookies will only spread just a little.  Either way, they hit the spot when you need a cookie and you need it now.

Here is my official recipe:

Preheat oven to 350:

1 cup of Natural creamy peanut butter
1 cup of sugar
1 tsp of baking powder
1 egg

Mix in a bowl, roll or plop about 1 tbsp of dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet.  Us a fork to make a criss-cross on top.  Bake the cookies for 10-12 mins. 

If you want the cookies to last more than 15 minutes, I suggest putting a dozen or so into the freezer, preferably in a Country Crock container that has KALE written across the top to throw children, significant others and roommates off the scent of your cookie stash.

Happy Day 5 of Adventures in Cookie Baking!

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Taking the Guesswork Out of Cookie Baking

Welcome to day four of my adventures in cookie baking!  Today I started with a mix and whipped up a batch of delicious thumbprint cookies.  This is a mix and a recipe I've used before so I was 99.5% certain these cookies would turn out *chefs kiss* perfect.

On to the cookies,

I used the my favorite cookie sheet, which was purchased by the Man, so I'll give him credit for finding a quality cookie sheet at a good price. I don't know what he paid for it, but he loves to shop for a good deal.

The mix I used was the Absolutely Almond Pound Cake Mix from Tastefully Simple I got my box from my good friend Becky McNeill.

All you need is the mix, 1 stick of butter, an egg, a wee bit of water and the jam of your choice. I had a jar of the Tastefully Simple's Rhubarb Strawberry Fruit Spread so I used that, but in the past I have used apricot jam and the best of all jams: Currant Jelly.

You mix the ingredients and then bake for 10 minutes after which you remove the cookies from the over, make the thumbprints, add your jelly of choice and cook for another 4-6 minutes.  What sets these cookies apart is the almond flavor in the mix. 

Here is my finished product.  I ate a couple and the kids had a couple and now the rest are in my garage freezer--safe from easy consumption and ready to be added to holiday cookie trays.

What cookies will I make next?  Stay tuned!