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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.
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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.

In a Sequined Christmas Blouse

We took down our trees today. I know it’s a bit late, but we were waiting for snow. The snow came down early this morning…

and the trees followed.

While we tried to not be nostalgic, I couldn’t help but think of the season when the most delightful part of each day will be choosing from the manor’s menu–boiled ham sandwich or beef goulash.

The holidays will arrive and my children will draw from a hat to see who will feed me and the unlucky grand-kids will cry, “Do we have to?!”

I will sit in the manor lobby in my sequined Christmas blouse and wait. I imagine I’ll wait for at least forty-five minutes before I see an angry-looking relative.

All year long I’ve been looking forward to a festive dinner and I’m given an hour or so to choke down my rations while no one even attempts to talk to me. I don’t even get a peek at the Christmas tree.

I’m back in my room again before I know it and it’s time to choose breakfast–honey bun or runny eggs. Neither. Thanks.

To lighten the mood, I went with something terribly easy for someone in such a mental state–chocolate chip bars. And chocolate can be so comforting.

The recipe comes from Jim Fobel’s Old-Fashioned Baking Book. These chocolate chip bars are just right.

Jim Fobel’s Chocolate Chip Bars

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour                                            1 large egg

1/2 teaspoon baking soda                                                 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

1/2 teaspoon salt                                                1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened                     6 ounces of chocolate chips

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Butter and flour an 11 3/4-by-7 1/2-inch pan.

2. Stir together the flour, baking soda, and salt.

3. Beat together the butter, sugars, egg, and vanilla.

4. Combine the wet with the dry and fold in the chips and nuts ( I omitted the nuts).

5. Spoon the mix in to the pan and spread it out evenly.

6. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes (I baked for 18).

7. Place the hot pan on a wire rack and allow to cool to room temperature.

8. Cut the bars and eat them.

Happy Winter. Enjoy the soft centers and the chewy edges.

Stress

I’ve noticed a trend. When I become stressed I often do one of two things: I cut my hair or I bake.

Maybe three things. I’ve been eating a lot of frozen gingerbread lately.

There’s not much more chopping that can be done to my hair (I did my last “trim” using a fingernail clipper), so I turned the oven to 375.

The spring semester is beginning next week, so I made raisin bread, a large pan of sandwich bread, and some whole-grain apple walnut bread thinking that I would freeze it so we wouldn’t starve before commencement in May. But we ate all of that before I could take any pictures and…I don’t know. I didn’t feel like making a post about it. Maybe I don’t have a good attitude. Maybe it’s all of that gingerbread getting back at me or maybe I need more vitamin D. Maybe I need to get more sleep.

I’ve decided to share a cookie experiment with you. I’m calling it an experiment because I like the results, but I wonder if something else could be done to it. Dip it in chocolate? Make it a thumbprint cookie and add a caramel center?

Well, I’ll tell you what I did. I think it makes a nice cookie. My taster said that it tastes old fashioned and modern. He said that he doesn’t really have a grid for it.

Praline Nut Cookies

1 1/2 cups of pecans

1/4 cup walnuts or almonds

1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar, plus more for sprinkling

8 tablespoons of butter, softened

1 egg

2 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla

1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour

Preheat the oven to 375. Take a couple of cookie sheets and line them with parchment. Throw the nuts in a food processor and pulse until you get nut crumbs, but not nut powder. Combine the nuts, sugar, butter, and egg in a mixer and beat for a minute. With the mixer on low, slowly add the flour to the mixture. When the mixture is fully combined, use a small ice cream scoop to spoon out the dough and roll into small spheres. Place the spheres on the sheets and lightly press them down. Sprinkle the dough lightly with brown sugar. Bake the cookies for 12 minutes.

What do you think?

Enough is Enough

Enough is enough. You have enough cookie recipes.

I don’t mean to sound harsh, but you know it’s true.

And that’s coming from the cookie monster.

I don’t know about you, but I need to fast from cookies.

It’s sounds terribly harsh and I don’t mean to be harsh, but perhaps that’s what it’s going to take.

I don’t mean I’ll never eat a cookie again, but I really need to cut back. The other day began with a cookie and I justified it by telling myself that the caffeine and antioxidants in a sour cream chocolate chip cookie make it a wholesome breakfast choice. From there, I moved on to the mid-morning molasses cookie that I had with tea, thinking of it as a comforting, transitional type of snack. (We’re transitioning to lunch.) I was making soft spice biscotti during the lunch hour, so guess what kind of cookie I had for lunch. Yep. There I was crunching on biscotti ends while my toddler finished up her applesauce and the baby downed his spinach and pumpkin. Eek.

The kids wore me out and there was no time for napping so at 3 o’clock  rocky road biscotti and a cup of coffee came to the rescue.

I feel like I’m at confession.

You’d think it would end there.

You’d think.

But no. I was straightening up in the kitchen and spotted an iced lemon cookie that had a crack running through its center. We can’t have that. So, I had it.

I love cookies, but after a day of them I felt rather dry. I needed something sweet and refreshing and I found it.

The following is an adaptation of a recipe I found in How to Eat Supper by Rosetta Lynn Kaspar and Sally Swift. These ladies are fantastic, fantastic, fantastic. Every Saturday at noon I tune in to public radio to hear Lynn talk about food on her program The Splendid Table. Ah. Fantastic. Her books are just as delightful. I highly recommend them.

Homemade Fruit Sorbet

Get the food processor running! And keep it running through the entire process.

Run 16 ounces of frozen fruit (strawberries, peaches, pineapple, etc.) through the processor.  Add 1/4 teaspoon of almond extract, a pinch of salt, 5 tablespoons of sugar (to taste), the juice of 1/2 of a large lemon, and 3 tablespoons of water. Puree this combo until you have a smooth sorbet. You’ll need to scrape down the bowl of the processor a few times.

So, get out the frozen fruit tonight!

We can eat cookies tomorrow.