Loaded Oatmeal Cookies

The summer weather cooled a bit and baking is now able to be done without making the house unbearable. Hubby and I did heave and ho (we have scrapes and bruises to prove that we are getting too old for this sort of thing) the too big AC unit into the sewing room window and put up curtains to partition the living room from the rest of the house but prefer to not have to use it if possible. So technically I could have heated the oven (ugh!) and then go sit in the cooled living room but I did not. Baking is not a past-time I have the urge to indulge in summer. I will confess that I have at least once succumbed to chocolate urges and baked a box of brownie mix. Then we ate that in two sittings. Not good for the waist line!

The idea that I would cook through the Betty Crocker cookbook was a bust. I may do some baking from it but the meat and vegetable recipes were too plain and uninteresting to me this year. I did not even bother to look in that book when deciding to make oatmeal cookies. Deciding to make oatmeal cookies delighted Hubby. Alas, I did not put M&Ms in them so technically they are not “Daddy Holiday Oatmeal Cookies”.

I found this cookbook while looking for a recipe to use. Actually it is the first book I looked at and since there was a recipe I did not look further.

The oatmeal cookie recipe is on page 33 and calls for 3 cups of goodies added to the batter. The only item I added to the original recipe was 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and then I mixed up the 3 cups of goodies for variety.

  • 1 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed (doesn’t every baker know to pack brown sugar by now?)
  • 2 eggs (also at room temperature if one remembers to put them out on the counter with the butter,or is this just for bread?)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 cups oatmeal (I don’t think it matters if this is instant, quick, or regular? I used quick-cooking.)
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate morsels + 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries + 1/2 cup dried blueberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. This recipe goes together in the usual way: cream butter and sugars then add eggs, beating well after each, then add the vanilla. Whisk the dry ingredients together (flour through cinnamon in above list) and add to the creamed mixture. Then add the oatmeal and goodies. I combined these in a separate bowl first as well.

Scoop batter in heaping tablespoons onto ungreased cookie sheets and bake 10-12 minutes until lightly golden. Let sit on baking pan 1-2 minutes before removing to cooling racks. This step is very important or the cookies will fall apart. This made exactly 4 dozen cookies.

Hubby is having a few for breakfast with his coffee right now. I had thought I would take a plate of these to work but Hubby is enjoying them too much to deprive him of his treat. I did sneak a dozen of them into a freezer bag for later, maybe?

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Ginger snaps and waffles: part one, the cookies

This week’s Betty Crocker’s Cookbook makes are Crisp Ginger Cookies (page 276) and Crisp Waffles (page 196).

I was reading about how to reduce the sugar in cookies and got inspired by this to make ginger snaps. Hubby likes the crisp ones and I like the chewy ones. These are crisp. The recipe says one can roll them out 1/8-inch thick or paper-thin. I rolled them into a log and cut them into 1/8-inch-ish rounds. The majority of the sugar in these is the molasses and I did not reduce that at all. And the original recipe calls for shortening so I use butter instead.

  • 1/3 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • dash of ground nutmeg
  • dash of ground allspice

Mix the molasses, butter, and brown sugar. I whisk together the dry ingredients in a separate bowl and then add this to the butter mixture. Beat until combined. This makes a smaller amount of cookie dough than I expected. The recipe said it would make 1 1/2 dozen 1/8-inch thick cookies or 3 dozen paper-thin. Once the dough is mixed, put in refrigerator for 4 hours. I left mine in the fridge for almost 24 hours.

Instructions say to roll out and cut in 3 inch rounds. As I was preparing to do this, I found the the dough was just as easy to shape into a log. I figured this would be just as good, so that is what I did. I carefully sliced the dough and put it on parchment paper and baked these in 375 degree F oven for 8 minutes. I was not sure if that was enough time, they looked soft, so I left them in the oven for one more minute. I slid them off the parchment onto the cooling rack. As they cooled they became crisp.

Yummy with a cup of hot cocoa!

Cook’s Cookies: Gingered Sugar

I have forsaken Sister’s tried and true sugar cookie recipe for the magazine’s. Cook’s Illustrated Holiday 2007 boasts The Best Sugar Cookies. Well, I thought I would see about that. They had a gingered option and because I love all things ginger, I made that version. I always have fresh ginger root in my freezer.

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (someday I am going to make everything with whole wheat pastry flour but not today)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 16 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened (I always use unsalted butter; I suppose if you use salted butter you could leave out the salt, but I am not certain of that.)
  • 1 cup sugar, plus 1/2 cup for rolling dough
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

And for the gingered version:

  • in food processor, process 1 teaspoon (I used 1 inch fresh ginger root, peeled and minced) with the 1/2 cup sugar for rolling the dough for about 10-20 seconds. place this in a shallow bowl
  • add 2 tablespoons chopped crystallized ginger to the sugar along with the eggs and vanilla

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Whisk dry ingredients together in medium bowl, set aside. In bowl of electric mixer, beat butter, 1 cup sugar and brown sugar until light and fluffy about 3 minutes. Add egg, vanilla, and crystallized ginger and beet about 30 seconds until combined. Add dry ingredients and mix until just combined; scrape down sides of bowl as needed.

Form dough into 1 to 1 1/2 inch balls and roll in the ginger sugar. The sugar was moist probably because my ginger was from the freezer. This actually helped it stick to the dough nicely. Place 2 inches apart on lined baking pans. Now butter a bottom of a drinking glass and dip in the gingered sugar and flatten each cookie to 3/4 inch thick.

Bake 15 minutes. Edges will be lightly browned. These spread some in the baking. My second pan kind of spread together but not too much. That doesn’t affect the taste.

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These have a nice sugary crunch on the outside and are slightly chewy on the inside. The ginger is very subtle. I like them and so does Hubby. And we tend to think of sugar cookies as rather bland, but not these.

Cook’s Cookies: chocolate chip

This is the absolute best chocolate chip cookie ever! Cook’s Illustrated May/June 2009 calls it “The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie.” I must agree. The only adaptation I make is using dark chocolate chips and not making them as big. The Cook’s way makes 16; I make 36.

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 14 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 1/4 cups dark chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts

I baked these at 350 degrees F. I just reviewed the recipe and it said for 375. Oh well!

This is the secret: heat and lightly brown 10 tablespoons of the butter being careful not to burn. This will take 3-5 minutes. Swirl pan during this time, or stir. Pour this into the mixer bowl and add the rest of the butter; stir until it is melted.

Add both sugars to the bowl along with the salt and vanilla. Whisk (I am using a beater here) until fully incorporated. Then add the egg and egg yolk and mix for 30 seconds. Let rest for 3 minutes. This is a bit fussy but is worth it. Do this 30 second/3 minute rest two more times. Stir in flour mixture and then chips and nuts.

I spooned heaping tablespoons of dough onto parchment lined baking pans. And baked them for 9 minutes. Let them set on the pan for one minute before removing to wire racks to cool.

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I have tried the browning of the butter in other chocolate chip cookie recipes but it does not come out the same. When I first made these my son enjoyed the batter so much he wanted me to make some of the cookies without the chocolate chips!

Cook’s Cookies: chocolate

It’s cookie baking time and being the season of the year that it is one would think that I would be making Christmas cookies, but no. I have found the most wonderful chocolate cookie from Cook’s Illustrated January/February 2009 edition. I was in awe of this cookie when I first made them. This is a cookie that I could have one or two with a cup of tea and be satisfied. Now that is unusual; with homemade cookies I can eat and eat and eat them, especially fresh out of the oven. But these are so rich and satisfying of that chocolate craving that one can be enough! This is my adaptation; I am not so fussy as the magazine.

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup cocoa; I use Hershey’s, don’t know if that is Dutch processed or not?
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • scant 1/2 teaspoon salt

Whisk all the dry ingredients together in a bowl.

  • 1/2 cup molasses; the original recipe calls for dark corn syrup
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Whisk these together in a small bowl.

  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup sugar

Cream these together until light and fluffy about 3 minutes. Beat in egg mixture until fully incorporated and then the flour.

  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips; I used Hershey’s special dark since the original recipe calls for 4 ounces of bittersweet chocolate chopped into 1/2 inch pieces.

Stir in the chocolate chips. Chill in fridge if desired; I did not bother. I had read that using wet hands to shape the dough into balls prevents the dough from sticking to the hands. It does work, somewhat. Roll the dough into balls. Make these uniform in size and adjust baking time accordingly. I used heaping tablespoons. Then roll in the sugar and place 2 inches apart on the parchment lines baking pans.  Bake for 10 minutes. Let rest on the pan for at least one minute before removing to a wire rack for cooling.

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I should have taken a picture of one with a bite out of it so you can see the darkness of the soft interior with a crispy outside. But I put them away so I would not feast on them over the course of the week, before packaging them to send to my favorite airman!

 

Millionaire’s Shortbread and Citrus Salad

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For this weekend’s dessert bake I made Millionaire’s Shortbread from the Cook’s Illustrated magazine. I had never really heard of these. They are apparently a rich British cookie.

I selected this recipe because I actually had all the ingredients called for exactly. This is a rare thing for Cook’s recipes and my pantry. I also followed the recipe verbatim. This is very unusual for me. When cutting the bars I did get cracked chocolate so I am not sure what happened there.

This recipe is from the November & December 2016 magazine. I tried to get the link but one has to subscribe to get this recipe. I have the magazine and it is on page 14-15. It’s a possibility that I can subscribe on-line because I have a subscription to the magazine but I have no clue as to how. Oh well! That being said, I don’t know if I should actually share the recipe? It’s not really mine to share!

A tray of these will go with Hubby to work to share with his co-workers, and I will take a plate as well to share with mine. The rest we will keep to nibble on for a bit of sweet during our week.

Speaking of Cook’s Illustrated, I did make their Citrus Salad with Arugula, Golden Raisins and Walnuts. The link is here, Citrus Salad. This was labor intensive to prepare the 2 grapefruits and 3 oranges. One had to peel, take all the pith off, remove seeds and slice. I used regular raisins because that is what I had on hand. It looks really nice.

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I used green onions in the dressing instead of scallions. I dressed the fruit and then spooned it on the greens. I thought then that I could have a nice citrus fruit salad to serve with cottage cheese for lunch or breakfast on the following day. But noooo…

Ingredients for the dressing:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • several green onions, white and green parts
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup toasted, chopped walnuts
  • a pinch of salt

The dressing was very nice. The salad was refreshing the evening I served it.But the next day the fruit tasted odd. Not good. Odd, as in maybe it went bad, odd? Next time I will keep all three parts separate and mix together only when ready to serve and only what will be eaten at that particular meal. I will make the dressing alone and use that for salads.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Daddy” cookies

The second batch of cookies I made this year was the last batch. I was going to make a chocolate chip cookie with dark chocolate and dried cherries but never got around to it. Maybe next year…which is right around the corner!

The fully loaded oatmeal cookie was a request of Hubby several years ago. Last year I did not make any so I thought I should make them this year. Cook’s Illustrated magazine (September&October 2016) published an Oatmeal Cookie recipe claiming it was chewier, moister, and easier to make than the standard from the Quaker canister. So I decide to give it a try.

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 large egg plus 1 large yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup raisins (optional); okay, so I put in one cup M&Ms, 1/2 cup dried cranberries, and 1/2 cup peanut butter chips! This may have affected the outcome…

375 degrees F. Line pans with parchment paper.

Whisk the first three ingredients together and set aside. Melt butter in a skillet over medium high heat until foaming subsides and scrape and continue cooking for 1-2 minutes. Immediately transfer to a large heatproof bowl. Stir in cinnamon. Add the sugars until combined. Add the egg, the yolk, and the vanilla. Stir in flour mixture, then oats and raisins. Stir until evenly distributed. Mixture will be stiff.

Divide dough into 20 pieces. Flatten them slightly with a flat bottomed glass. At this point I made a dozen cookies with the intent of making more later. So I put the remaining dough in the refrigerator. Bake the cookies one sheet at a time for 8-10 minutes. They do not spread out much during baking.

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These tasted great and were perfect per Hubby. I baked another batch a few days later and had to mash the dough between my palms to get it to form balls. The dough seemed more like an oatmeal cookie granola. They baked up pretty well with a few cracks. It is possible, in all fairness to Cook’s Illustrated, that the triple amount of additives (chips, fruit, etc) was the cause of the granola effect. The melting of the butter made the mixing possible without a mixer and added a butterscotch-y taste to the batter, what batter there was. Will I use this recipe again? Probably, but not as a favorite. I find the Quaker canister recipe perfectly good and simple enough.

The second batch was sent to my favorite Airman, fresh out of Basic Training!

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