Tag Archives: cookies

Cookie Therapy

I don’t know what feels better: eating homemade cookies myself or baking cookies and giving them away. I need to do both more often.

I made these a couple of weeks ago, maybe more. It was one of my first weekdays off from work after a brief full time stint. Observation from that experiment: when I’m at work, all I want to to do is go home and bake. When I’m home, I don’t often pause my day to do something fun or relaxing, like bake and eat cookies.

These cookies, rather large pumpkin cut-outs if you can’t tell that from the picture, went to Lee’s work. Doc and I walked them down there ourselves. It’s kind of an unpleasant walk down a very busy street. The sidewalk is usually studded with trash and homeless encampments. I take a different, prettier route on the way back and I suppose I could take it both ways.

There was already a lot of food laying around the office when I got there. That made me sad, of course. My poor cookies would be lost in the jumble of pan dulce and pizza, unappreciated. Oh well. It’s funny, I like bringing food to people but I don’t actually like being thanked for it. It embarrasses me to hang around while people sample my baked goods. I mistrust their praises and think they must be choking down bites of cookie just because I’m there, so I leave. I drop my cookies and run.

I don’t normally ice cookies unless they’re Christmas cut-out cookies. These soft, lightly spiced, Swedish ginger cookies would be perfectly fine without icing. I mostly slathered it on there because I was worried about what other people would think of unfrosted cookies. I don’t want to be known as that crazy woman who only makes healthy food so I got out the powdered sugar and butter and made a frosting/icing of sorts. It turned out remarkably well considering I didn’t follow a recipe and just blindly added powdered sugar to butter, a splash of milk and a little vanilla extract in my food processor. At first it was lumpy but a little more sugar did the trick. I wish I had written down the ratio of ingredients I ended up with. Oh well. Next time.

As for the cookies, I followed this recipe almost exactly. I did use all brown sugar, no white, and half whole wheat flour. I also used Earth Balance instead of butter, making my cookies vegan. This recipe is very similar to my grandmother’s Ginger Cookies but I think I prefer the old family recipe. I’ve never tried to roll out that dough, however, and this dough was pretty easy to roll out and cut.

Before I forget again, the winner of the Nature Box giveaway is Christina! A box full of healthy snacks is on it’s way to her as we speak! Thank you to everyone who entered. I hope to host some more delicious giveaways soon.

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My Ideal Chocolate Chip Cookies

I think I’m suffering from a blog identity crisis. Scratch that, it’s more like a general life identity crisis coupled with the feeling that I want to do more but I’m already doing too much. Is that even possible?

I want to cook and bake every day, to swim, run, practice yoga, and lift weights. I want to take the dog for a long walk every day. I want to bring mountaineering back into my life but I love sailing multiple days a week. My job is awesome but I wish I could work more and do different things around the museum.

Lee and I should really take that honeymoon we never had (one that does not involve the boat).  We’re also excitedly planning our next trip to Pirat and where we might sail next. Until then, we really want to get somewhere on all our house projects! At some point, we want to have a family.

I want to grow by blogs and share all my recipes, thoughts, and experiences with more people. I don’t really know how to accomplish this, though, and I don’t think I can do everything on my list.

In an ideal world, I’d strategize and plan. Everything would fall into place. In an ideal world, I would bake these chocolate chip cookies every week until Lee and I were sick of them.

This recipe came on a card in my Foodzie box from months ago. A small bag of Red Winter Wheat flour from Community Grains accompanied the recipe. I knew as soon as I looked through the box that I would be making these cookies. Somehow, though, the flour sat in my cupboard for months while I made other recipes. The time just wasn’t right for this one.

Finally, last week, it was time for cookies. I needed that therapeutic routine of softening butter on the counter, getting out ingredients, measuring them into my grandmother’s mixer, and scooping dough into little balls. Watching that dough transform into perfect cookies in the oven was really just a bonus. I had already eaten enough of it off the mixer paddle to be satisfied.

The dough was grainy – in a good way. The cookies are just the right kind of chewy – not that kind that feels like a bite of mostly sugar and butter but the kind where you know you’re really sinking your teeth into something good. It’s almost like each little grain of winter wheat is in there crying out to be savored as a whole food and not just some vehicle for sweet-tooth satisfaction.

I only make a couple of minute modifications to the original Community Grains recipe. I cut down the sugar a little bit and refrigerated the dough for a while before baking. I’ve read that this is a good thing to do (BraveTart know’s all about making a good chocolate chip cookie). I love having perfectly round, thick cookies and chilling the dough makes a big difference!

Make these. They will not disappoint. If you live in California and need some local winter wheat flour, I encourage you to check out Community Grains (or maybe you’re not local but you still want to try some of this fabulous flour).

 

Whole Grain Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yield: About 2 dozen

Adapted from Community Grains

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups red winter wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 oz soft unsalted butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 12 oz chocolate chunks
  • 1 cup toasted chopped walnuts (optional)

Instructions

  1. In an electric mixer, mix butter, sugars, and vanilla extract on medium-high speed until completely blended.
  2. Switch speed to low, add eggs, and mix until smooth
  3. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt.
  4. Add dry ingredients to the mixer and mix until just incorporated.
  5. Add chocolate chunks, and, if using, toasted chopped walnuts. You can stir these in with a spatula or using the mixer on slow.
  6. If you have time, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place it in the fridge for at least half an hour (but the longer the better).
  7. When you're ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  8. Line a cookie sheet or two with parchment or a Silpat.
  9. Spoon walnut-sized portions of dough onto the cookie sheets, about 2 inches apart.
  10. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the edges of the cookies are golden.
  11. Remove cookies from the oven and let them cool for a minute on the pan before transferring them to a wire rack.
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Roasted Banana Breakfast Cookies

I was lolling around the house this afternoon, trying to talk myself into productivity, when I realized it was time for a cookie. True, I call these gems “Breakfast Cookies” in the title of this post but what’s to keep me from eating them at all hours of the day? It’s not like I respect food-related social norms when it comes to regular breakfast (I like toast for lunch and pancakes for dinner).

I made these cookies yesterday and was disappointed in them as soon as I started mixing the batter…or rather dough. Truthfully, this started as a banana bread recipe. I’ve made the recipe before and remember it being on the bready side for my banana bread taste. It was good, though, and I like the recipe’s simplicity. It seemed like a good testing around for my roasted bananas.

Did I say bananas? I meant apple bananas. You can see from the picture that these short, stubby fruit don’t look like normal bananas. That’s because they came from a little grocery store down the street that sells Latin American products. I used to buy bananas like these when we were sailing in the Bahamas. Apparently they’re called apple bananas and their flavor can resemble that of apple or strawberries when they are very ripe, which they pretty much have to be to be sweet enough.

I thought some roasting might do these three some good and I was right! It was all I could do to keep from eating the hot, gooey banana goodness before baking the bread, er, I mean cookies.

Back to my disappointment upon mixing my ingredients. The intended bread batter was more like a dough – thick and threatening to dry out upon baking. I thought I struck out with yet another recipe (I’ve been doing that a lot lately) but I decided to shape the dough into giant cookies and bake it anyway. The smell while the cookies baked alone was worth it and the result was a huge surprise.

These babies stayed moist and soft after baking and the roasted banana flavor did not disappoint. Even with only a scant amount of honey these cookies, as I’ve become more and more comfortable calling them, are perfectly sweet. The nuts seem to have roasted as the cookies baked and taste better than any nut I’ve ever had in a cookie before.

Since yesterday I’ve staved off evening munchies with a cookie, refueled after a run with yet another cookie, and will probably quell my dessert cravings with another cookie tonight.

This recipe is adapted from the Banana Bread in The Yoga Cookbook

Roasted Banana Breakfast Cookies

Ingredients

  • 3 very ripe apple bananas or regular bananas
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup barley flour (or another flour of your choice)
  • 1/2 cup oat bran
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/ teaspoon each nutmeg and cardamom
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted, or oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts (I used walnuts and pecans)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line a baking sheet with foil (this could get messy) and place bananas, peel on, onto the foil.
  3. Prick peels with a knife to avoid explosions.
  4. Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes.
  5. Remove bananas from oven and allow to cool.
  6. Meanwhile, combine flours, oat bran, salt, baking soda, and spices in medium bowl.
  7. Place butter in a heatproof dish and put it in the oven to melt.
  8. When bananas are cool, peel them and mash them in a large bowl.
  9. Add honey and mash thoroughly to combine.
  10. Add dry ingredients and butter, mixing completely.
  11. Divide mixture into 8-12 equal pieces, depending on how large you would like your cookies to be.
  12. Arrange them on an oiled or otherwise nonstick baking sheet and bake at 350 for 20 minutes, or until golden brown
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Two Left

My kitchen was full of food when I left town last week. I had spent Friday grocery shopping, baking bread, and making cookies. I wanted to make sure Lee would have enough to eat while I was gone without subsisting on chips+salsa.

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Look at those crunchy, buttery edges and chewy, oaty mountains of cookie!

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He ate pretty well on his own. Most of the sourdough loaf I’d baked was gone when I got home last night and Lee had left me a few cookies (four to be exact). Given the deliciousness of the cookies, I’m surprised he was able to restrain himself. These particular cookies came from the Foodzie Cookies & Confections Cooking Box that my mom sent me a few weeks ago. We ordered boxes for each other when they went on sale post-Christmas. I’ve had my eye on Foodzie’s extravagant Tasting and Cooking Boxes for a while but couldn’t justify buying one for myself. Isn’t that what moms are for? It was a perfect gift exchange.

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I photographed the goods as soon as they arrived.

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Only the recipe and one of the ingredients were really in the box. The rest came from my pantry.

After Lee and I each ate one for dessert last night, only two cookies remained. I have a feeling they’ll be gone by tomorrow!

I can’t decide which I love more: the cute recipe cards with cookies recipes from fantastic bloggers or the mouth-watering selection of special ingredients for those cookies. The edibles are ample supply for cookie baking and then some. The cards will add some heft to the cookie section of my recipe box and will probably be butter-stained in no time.

The recipe for Oatmeal Cookies with Dried Cherries and Pistachios from The Vintage Mixer caught my eye first. I’m just an oatmeal cookie kind of girl. Every chewy, sweet bite of oats brings me complete dessert happiness and satisfaction, no milk dunking necessary. Rather than a vehicle for chocolate, sugar, or frosting, an oatmeal cookie is a real food all by itself. It’s what’s inside that counts. In this case, the Benjamin Twiggs Michigan Dried Red Cherries went a long way towards making an excellent cookie.

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I must confess, I used the walnuts and pecans that were already in my pantry rather than buying pistachios for this recipe. It’s hard to find shelled pistachios that aren’t already roasted and coated in salt! The nuts I used were great but I’m determined to have green hunks of goodness in my next batch of Oatmeal Cookies with Dried Cherries and Pistachios.

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