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Jessica’s Vegan Breakfast Cookies

These cookies were good and gave me a ton of energy when I ate them, so I figured I’d share the recipe. Originally they come from here. Check it out—here’s my take on them:

1 1/2 cups regular rolled oats
1 cup coconut flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/4 cup of almond meal
1/2 cup mixed nuts, finely chopped
1 cup dried fruit (I used 1/2 chopped dried dates, and 1/2 choc chips. You can omit the choc chips, but why would you want to :)???)                                                                      3 ripe bananas, mashed
1/4 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

1. In a large bowl combine dry ingredients.

2. Combine wet ingredients in a smaller bowl.

3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry, and form into golf ball sized cookies.

4. Place on baking sheet, and flatten slightly.

5. Bake for 20 minutes, until brown around edges.

Yes, you can sub 2 eggs and butter for the bananas and oil. Yes, you can freeze these. Yes, you can substitute flax meal if you have a nut allergy. Yes, I took this terrible picture on my webcam. Enjoy! jb

Baking Organization 101 and Caramel Apple Bread

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For this post, I want to share about how I keep all of my baking supplies organized. I have one of those husbands who might be called unique. He needs things around him to be organized or he can’t sit still. I realize this is kind of a strange quality in a man, but I do love it most of the time. My baking supplies used to be in two overhead cabinets above the stove, crammed in with no space and no way to find anything. When Maddy Lu started, things were getting even messier. That’s when I decided I needed to do something- for my marriage and cabinets. My baking life after organizing has been so much easier! I will share how I keep my supplies and where I got the ideas along with some pictures:

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All of my baking supplies are organized in a large basket from Target. It was around $20 for the basket. It just so happened that everything fits perfectly!
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If you notice inside of my basket I have homemade vanilla. You can use any container, but I find that one with a spout is best. Use 4 vanilla beans for every one cup of alcohol you use (I used cheap Vodka that I bought at a liquor store when I was almost 8 months pregnant. No, the cashier did not bat an eye to sell it to me). Shake the bottle a couple of times a week and in a few months you will have your own vanilla. (Package it in smaller bottles for great gifts!) If you peek behind the vanilla in this picture you can see a bit of my container garden I have growing on the back deck. It got a little swamped with the rain we had this weekend.
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You can make a mason jar into anything (just look up ‘mason jars’ on pinterest… it will prove my theory.) I fitted the lid of a salt container under the ring of the mason jar and it pours just like normal, but can be filled with anything. I have several of these in my pantry. They’re great for grains like rice or couscous. They also keep humidity out of salt in the summer.

Since today was a cool, rainy day, I felt like it would be a great day to bake something delicious. I saw a recipe for apple bread a while back, and it caught my eye so I figured I’d give it a try and then share with our Maddy Lu readers (do we have those?). Here are some pictures of the journey, and the recipe below.

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Start with some good apples. We buy organic through Suburban Organics and it saves us some money on good food. You only need two medium sized for this recipe.
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Here’s my apple peeler! It isn’t an ancient torture device, though it may look like it. Yard sale find last year for $2, but it’s saved me tons of time and energy peeling and slicing apples.
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There goes that apple peeler working it’s magic. Anyone have an good ideas for what to do with the long strings of apple skin you get? Maybe a pretty pie topper.
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Oh yes. And it is so good, not to mention good looking. And this recipe makes two loaves which is nice for freezer cooking!

Recipe comes from Passthesushi.com (http://passthesushi.com/caramel-glazed-apple-bread)

Bread:

  • 1 1/2 cups shredded peeled baking apples (2 large)
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3 cups AP flour
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Glaze:

  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar, sifted

Preparation:

Heat oven to 350°F. Grease bottoms only of 2 (8×4-inch) loaf pans with cooking spray or shortening.

In large bowl, stir together apples, 1 cup brown sugar, the buttermilk, oil and eggs. Stir in remaining bread ingredients just until dry ingredients are moistened. Pour into pans.

Bake 45 to 55 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes on cooling rack. Loosen sides of loaves from pans; remove from pans and place top sides up on cooling rack. Cool completely, about 1 hour.

In 1-quart saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in 1/4 cup brown sugar. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly; reduce heat to low. Boil and stir 2 minutes. Stir in milk. Heat to boiling; remove from heat. Cool to lukewarm, about 30 minutes.

Gradually stir powdered sugar into glaze mixture. Place saucepan of glaze in bowl of cold water. Beat with spoon until smooth and thin enough to drizzle. If glaze becomes too stiff, stir in additional milk, 1/2 teaspoon at a time, or heat over low heat, stirring constantly. Drizzle glaze over loaves. Wrap tightly and store at room temperature up to 4 days, or refrigerate up to 10 days.

Martha’s Cookie of the Month

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I’m a Martha person. Are you? Her recipes are usually simple enough, well tested, and tasty. She only makes me feel like the most disorganized person on the planet some of the time. What a woman. When I get too discouraged I just remember she spent time behind bars and it makes me like her again.

This month the special cookie in her magazine is the “Nutty Butter.” This really isn’t a “throw it in the mixer and forget it” type of recipe. There are a few steps involved, so make sure you have about 45 minutes. You can find the recipe for these cookies after the pictures.

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Recipe can be found on page 56 of Martha Stewart Living Magazine, April 2012.
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Mix Mix Mixing up the butter and sugars.
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Thank you to my back yard chickens for making this egg and these cookies possible!
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Highly recommend investing in a full sized sheet pan. It takes up the entire oven and you can bake all of your cookies in one huge batch. Cuts a lot of time and energy…
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Here they are! And they were awesome. Not just because I’m pregnant.

Ingredients:

  • I 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temp.
  • 1 cup plus 2 T. all-purpose flour
  • 1 t. baking soda
  • 1 t. coarse salt
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup nut butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts (If that sounds too healthy, substitute chocolate chips. That’s what I did.)
  1. Melt 1/2 stick of butter in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Add oats and cook, stirring, until toasted, 5-7 minutes. Spread oat mixture on a parchment lined baking sheet; let cool.
  2. Meanwhile preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. Beat together the remaining stick of butter and the sugars with a mixer on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy. Add egg, and beat until combined. Add nut butter (I used peanut butter but you can also use almond or cashew), and beat until combined on medium speed.
  3. Add oat mixture and chopped nuts (or chocolate chips), and beat on low speed until combined. Add flour mixture, beat until combined.
  4. Roll dough into 1 1/2 inch balls. Place cookies 1 inch apart on baking sheet. Bake until golden, 12-15 minutes. Let cool completely on baking sheets, can be stored in an airtight container for up to one week. But they won’t last that long.

Liverpool Leading Lady

I’m not as English as I once thought.

My father and I were talking about having corned beef and cabbage for Saint Patrick’s Day and I said that it would be worth the effort, “Even though there’s not an ounce of Irish blood in us,” to which my father replied, “I’m half Irish.”

Oh. Really?

Well, then we certainly should have some corned beef and cabbage and throw in a loaf Irish soda bread while we’re at it.

Now, I was perfectly justified in thinking that I was English. My great-grandparent and company were all born in Liverpool. Well, there’s a story behind that.

It just so happens that I am not the first actress in my family. My grandmother Kathleen was certainly one of the most dramatic people I knew, but her grandmother certainly takes the gold.

For many, many years being Irish was not nearly as grand as being English and my great-great grandmother thought she could do something about that. When the time came to give birth to each baby in her brood, she would go to Liverpool, have her child, and then go back to her homestead in Ireland. Doing this made her English (In her mind, of course). She did the baby act a few times and it was not easy, but the performance must have been worth it.

So, in honor of her and her wild antics, I adapted Nick Malgieri’s recipe for Irish Soda Bread Muffins. Don that green apron of yours and bake some up this weekend.

Irish Soda Bread Muffins

Makes 12 standard muffins

2 cups all-purpose flour     1 ½ teaspoons baking powder    ½ teaspoon salt

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted    ¼ cup sugar    1 large egg    1 ¼ cups buttermilk

¾ cup raisins, currants, or cranberries tossed with 1 tablespoon flour

confectioner’s sugar    vanilla extract    half-n-half

  1. Set a rack in the middle of your oven and preheat to 350 F.
  2. Line your muffin tin with paper liners.
  3. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk together the butter and sugar. Whisk in the egg and ½ of the buttermilk. Gently stir in ½ of the flour mixture and then add the remaining buttermilk.
  5. Stir in the dried fruit and then the rest of the flour mixture.
  6. Spoon the batter in to the muffin cups and bake for about 30 minutes or until the muffins have a touch of gold and are firm to the touch.
  7. Allow the muffins to cool on a wire rack.
  8. Mix together a cup of confectioner’s sugar, two tablespoons of half-n-half, and one tablespoon of vanilla. Add liquid or sugar until you get a nice consistency. Drip the icing over cooled muffins and allow the icing to harden. The muffins should look glazed.

Superhero Scones

Remind me if I’m repeating myself, but I’m super multi-tasker lady. I refrain from capitalizing the title because I am certainly not at superhero status. My multi-tasking is not always super productive and it is rarely graceful and never, ever glamorous. Just the other day I found myself ironing my clothes, putting on socks, brushing my teeth with an electric toothbrush, and spitting out the words to “The Wheels on the Bus” (along-with some toothpaste) all at the same time.

(I don’t sing “The Wheels on the Bus” for my own enjoyment, by the way.)

Possibly the worst multi-tasking idea was when I took a twelve-pound roast out of the oven with one hand while I fed my infant son with the other. Not a good idea. Everyone survived, but it was still a very bad idea.

So, this infant son grew up in to a very large infant son and began cutting teeth. And cutting teeth. And cutting teeth. His mama did not grow bigger arms but still had to pick up and hold this very large infant son, especially when it was tooth time. One day, Mama wanted to make something special, but her very large infant son needed a hold. What a dilemma.

Being the dependable, efficient person she is, Martha Stewart made a recipe for such times as this: Apple and Oat Scones with Cinnamon and Nutmeg.

With the exception of the chopping, Mama was able make Martha’s delicious, fairly healthy breakfast scones using just one hand and one arm. The chopping bit had to be a solo endeavor, though.

Apple and Oat Scones with Cinnamon and Nutmeg

  • 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
  • 1 1/3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats, plus more for topping
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons light-brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups diced Granny Smith apple (2 apples cut into generous 1/4-inch cubes)
  • 2/3 cup cold buttermilk, plus more for brushing
  • Raw turbinado sugar, for sprinkling

1.       Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Whisk together flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender or rub it in with your fingers. Flatten the small pieces into disks. Add the apples and buttermilk and mix until it comes together.

2.       Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and roll into a 6-by-8-inch rectangle and cut into twelve squares with a floured knife. Place on parchment lined baking sheets. Brush the tops with buttermilk and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes or until golden brown. Be sure to rotate the sheets half-way through the baking process. Allow to cool for 15 minutes on the pans and then place them on racks.

*From Martha Stewart Living, February 2012

The scones are especially tasty on the first day, but they’ll keep for a day or two if they’re individually wrapped in plastic.

An Acceptable Chocolate Chip Cookie

The Koslicks (Koslick is my maiden name) are notorious cookie snobs. Your cookie better not be too hard, too lemony, too crumbly, too chocolatey, or not brown-sugary enough. I have never been able to make a cookie that is worth their caloric intake…until now.

I believe I have found the holy grail of ingredients… Cornstarch. Cornstarch?! In a cookie?! I finally found the recipe to appease even the most sensitive Koslick cookie palate. And today, I will share it with you. See below.

Ingredients: 
3/4 c. unsalted butter, softened
3/4 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. granulated sugar
1 egg
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 c. all purpose flour
2 tsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. bittersweet chocolate chips (or whichever you prefer)
Directions:
1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2.  Cream together butter and sugars until fluffy. I use my stand mixer for this… and one of the reasons why I love this recipe so much is that you can make the dough using only one bowl! So next you want to…..
3.  Mix in flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt. Then add the chocolate chips.
4.  I roll my cookies into one inch balls and place them close together on a baking sheet. You can fit quite a few on one baking sheet since they puff up rather than spread out when they are cooked. Bake for 8-10 minutes, depending on how large of a pan you use. I used a sheet-cake size, so I can literally fit this entire batch in my oven all at once. Which is amazing. Start to finish the cookies take me about 20 minutes. Makes approximately 36 cookies.

*Recipe comes from http://kelseysappleaday.blogspot.com/, which she adapted from Anna Olsen, Food Network Canada.

Biscotti Bricks and Daydreaming

I used to write plays.

“Used to” sounds so final.

Perhaps I should say that I used to be in constant playwriting mode and always had a notebook with me. Today, I got the urge to write and the only thing I had to write on was a pocket-size monthly planner from the local credit union.

January’s inspirational thought was “character consists of what you do on the third and fourth tries.” Ah. Very deep and strangely true.

No author mentioned, though. They didn’t even bother to write “Anonymous.” Terrible. But good quote.

I had coffee with my friend Celess, a person I find to be quite hilarious in that she doesn’t know that she’s funny, which makes her all the more funny.

I ordered a cappuccino–skim, no sweetener–and biscotti. Biscotti is near and dear to my heart. Some way, some how, I have fallen for making regular batches of biscotti and ordering biscotti from whichever coffeshop I find myself in. I’ve become a biscotti analyst without having a drop of Italian in me.

The overall flavor was acceptable, but the texture…there was no texture. These biscotti were closer to little bricks than little cookies. And the little bricks needed a good two minute soaking before any bites were possible. Had I bit down without dunking, I surely would have chipped a tooth. I understand that the cookie needs to be twice-baked in order to call itself biscotti, but is the dental damage really necessary?

The biscotti made me think of my biscotti (which I really love), which made me think of Maddy Lu, which made me think of this blog. This post is experimental in nature. It is recipe-less. Thoughts? Reactions? Comments?

Instead of baking, I’d like you to spend some time day-dreaming.

When I think of myself cooking or baking, roughly the same image comes to mind. I’m at my island, wearing my tangerine paisley apron, mixing flour and whatever else in a big bowl with a large wooden spoon.

Cookies?

No, I also have a peppercorn grinder.

Hm. Gingerbread?

I don’t know. There’s a red sauce simmering in a small saucepan on the stovetop.

A raspberry compote?

I don’t think so. I just added Tabasco to it. What am I making? Can anyone tell me?

Now, it’s your turn. When you imagine yourself cooking or baking, what are you making? Write in with your dish.

Maybe it’s something normal like chocolate chip cookies or a stir fry, but I really want to know if someone else sees a simmering red sauce.