Archive for April, 2010


dinner schminner, sometimes you just need to make cookies NOW

April 27, 2010

Several weeks ago, before cookie month even started, I was trying to decide what to bake when a blog post from King Arthur Flour appeared on my Facebook wall.  The recipe was for their Kids’ Choice Chip & Fruit Oatmeal Cookies.  The name was a little unwieldy, but the recipe itself looked delicious (as most KAF recipes do), and the feedback from bakers across the country was coming in at warp speed – they ARE delicious!  I was intrigued by the fact that they used oatmeal and white whole wheat flour, making them vaguely healthy, and also that they encouraged you to use whatever add-in combination you desired.  Mrslovey and I started throwing out combination ideas for when I’d make these at some point in the future.  After several minutes of back and forth, I mentioned that we had some dried sour cherries left over from another recipe.  Oooh, you know what would go good with those?  Dark chocolate chips!  Yep, we’ve got those, too.  But what about the nuts?  And then it hit us both at the same time – PISTACHIOS – and we nearly fell over each other racing for the kitchen.  Who cares about dinner, we have to make these cookies NOW!!!!! Read the rest of this entry ?


serious cookies for serious people, seriously

April 21, 2010

The other day we were hit with a serious chocolate craving.  I’m talking capital “S” Serious.  Chew-your-own-face-off serious.  So serious that serious recipe consideration would be needed.  This wouldn’t be satisfied by any half-assed wannabe somewhat thinking about chocolate recipe.  We needed something overwhelmingly chocolate.  The chocolatelyest chocolate cookie that could be found, no holds barred.

I think the results were successful.  These cookies are deeply, darkly chocolate.  They’re a little crisp around the edges, but have a fudgy, chewy interior.  I used one of my new favorite ingredients, Bensdorp Dutch-Process Cocoa.  Between the Dutch-processing  and the full-fat, it gives it a darker, more chocolate flavor, with a beautiful mouthfeel (you can use regular non-Dutched cocoa, but you’ll lose some of the extreme chocolate flavor). Next, chocolate chunks were added.  If you stole a cookie moments after they came out of the oven (not that we would ever do that), then the chunks were hot pockets of molten chocolate goo.  If you waited until they were fully cooled (of course we did), then you’d chomp into a big nugget of pure chocolate.  I also added toffee pieces to give a little more depth of flavor, and the ones on the bottom of the cookies were a little caramelized and crunchy.  Yum.

Altogether, an exquisite cookie, and just what was needed to chase away the chocolate fiend that had taken up temporary residence.  Another benefit is that since the recipe made so many (5 dozen) we were able to send samples to both workplaces, avoiding potential rioting.  I knew I had a good thing when one of my coworkers, who normally doesn’t praise beyond ‘good cookies, thanks,’ stopped at my desk, and tried to tell me how much she liked them, but wasn’t able to finish her sentences due to the groaning and twitching and eye rolling (all in a good way) that accompanied each bite.  Seriously.  You’ve been warned.   Read the rest of this entry ?


the first step is to admit that you have a problem

April 18, 2010

Mrslovey has an addiction issue that not everyone may be aware of.  She is addicted to maple.  You might think I’m kidding, or that’s it’s funny, but it’s completely true.  A recent trip to Vermont had us returning with maple of every imaginable variety: two different grades of maple syrup, maple cream, granulated maple sugar, maple pepper, maple barbeque sauce, maple candy, maple mustard, chocolates filled with maple, and cheddar cheese rubbed with maple and sage (I feel a little like Forrest Gump after sharing that list).  She’s also a fan of maple cotton candy and maple ice cream, and on days that she’s gotten overly enthusiastic with the maple and consumed far more than any normal human needs, she enters a state we which we call simply ‘maple coma’.

Knowing how much she loves maple, I knew I’d have to come up with a maple cookie this month.  Looking around at all of the mapleness in our cupboards, I started to formulate a plan.  Hmmmm.  I myself was thinking of snickerdoodles, so how could I incorporate both of these things together?  Then it occurred to me – maple snickerdoodles!  I took a regular sugar cookie dough and added some grade B maple syrup (grade B has a stronger flavor, so is excellent for baking.  If you don’t have B, A is fine).  Then instead of rolling in the traditional cinnamon-sugar blend, I rolled them in granulated maple sugar.  The result is a chewy cookie with a strong maple flavor, crusted with crunchy maple goodness that melts on your tongue.  I must admit I tortured her a bit.  I only gave her three of the finished cookies, then I packed the rest of them off to the monthly shelter dinner.  I think I’m doing the right thing, though – I don’t want her to resent me too much for contributing to her addiction.

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seasonally incorrect, and I’m okay with that

April 11, 2010

These cookies were born a couple of years back, when I was trying to figure out what to do with the boatload of pumpkin I had put up.  After spending an entire day processing and freezing beautiful Long Island Cheese pumpkins, I wanted to make sure I used every last morsel.  These pumpkins are phenomenal.  I had never heard of them until they were part of our CSA distribution one week, so I asked the farmer what his recommendation was for using them.  He told us that these pumpkins were a heritage variety that were just starting to make a comeback.  Apparently they’re one of the best pumpkins out there for baking.  Yay!  We took our share, and headed home.

Several weeks later, on the day we were planning on processing these pumpkins, in fact, we dropped by our favorite local orchard.  In addition to their amazingly delicious heirloom apples, they also offer local honey, homemade fudge and baked goods, and several varieties of pumpkins (mostly for decoration).  On this particular day, I noticed a wheelbarrow filled with pumpkins, gourds, and squash sitting near the back of the barn.  Some of the pumpkins looked familiar, so I asked if they were Long Island Cheese.  Yes indeed, they were, and did we want them?  They each had one or two tiny soft spots, so they had been heading towards the compost heap.  We could have them for free if we wanted them!  There was no way I could resist that opportunity, so we went from having two pumpkins to six pumpkins in the space of about five minutes.

After all the processing was done, I wanted to make something that would be easy to take back to the orchard, to thank them for their generosity.  Something sweet, but not bread or pie.  An internet search for pumpkin cookies delivered a wide range of recipes, and I pieced together a few of them to make my own.  Something about the combination of the pumpkin and the chocolate chips just sounded very appealing.  And it was, oh yes it was.  These two different kinds of sweet seem to have been made for each other.  Not overly cloying, simply a gorgeous blend of flavors.  The cookies are very moist, kind of puffy fluffy, with a cake-like texture.  The moistness makes them sticky, so I’d suggest separating the layers with parchment paper when you store them.

These cookies have become a bit of a tradition – now every fall they save the unsold pumpkins for us, and a week or so later we bring cookies.  Both households look forward to it, and everyone involved thinks that they are getting the best end of the deal, so it seems to be a win/win situation.  I know for a fact that I enjoy it, as I get a year’s worth of delicious organic pumpkin, in exchange for cookies that I’d have been happy to share anyway. Read the rest of this entry ?


a tip of the hat

April 6, 2010

Several Christmases ago, mrslovey gave me Betty Crocker’s Cooky Book.  Her mom had the original 1963 edition, and they baked out of it frequently.  The book had been out of print for quite a while, but there was such a demand from people wanting the book of their childhood that in 2002 Betty Crocker decided to bring it back.  I must admit, I’ve been at bit intimidated by the new version.  The cover art, photos, and illustrations are all authentic to the original, which means some pretty retro-looking images (not always a positive thing).  How to know which recipes held their own over the last fifty-odd years, and which were just a flash in the pan?  When in doubt, just pick a page number and make whatever’s on that page!

One of the things that amuses me about this book is the little notes that precede each recipe.  I’m especially fond of the blurb from page 72, Lemon Crinkles – From Mrs. Alfred T. Neilsen of Council Bluffs, Iowa, who prefers simple and easy recipes that leave her time for her hobby of making hats. Seriously, how could you not want to make these cookies after reading that?!?  Lemon Crinkles it was.  I did make a couple of adjustments to the recipe, as I was missing ground ginger, and wanted to boost the lemon flavor.  These had a great chewy texture, packed a nice zing of lemon, and a little crunch from the sugar.  I want to give full credit to Mrs. Nielsen, so I’ll be giving you a twofer – her recipe, followed by my version.  Whichever one you make, I hope you enjoy.  And also that you’re then suddenly struck with the desire to craft a bonnet or two.    Read the rest of this entry ?