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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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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.

“Tandoori” Naan

Okay, so I don’t have a Tandoor oven in my house, nor am I hiding one anywhere else on my property. I am just a big fan of naan and hummus, and I thought I would search for a recipe that gave me that same flavor without the same price tag (I calculate these will cost about .30 cents for a batch of four, which is a savings of $1.70 versus even the cheapest store bought varieties!!!).  Unashamedly I saved the Trader Joe’s “Tandoori Naan” freezer safe bag, and yes I will be storing the home made version in it.  This post should really be called “bread maker” naan, because that’s what it is.  I’m VERY into fast and easy recipes, so if you don’t have a bread maker….. I don’t know what to tell you. That’s Kelsey’s department and maybe she can come up with some great alternative for you. Note: If you have a 15 month old with an egg allergy, it isn’t advisable to let them sample this bread or to eat a whole piece. And that’s coming from personal experience. Oh well, here’s the recipe. While you’re testing it out I’m going to grab the Benadryl.

Ingredients:

Directions:
  1. Add ingredients to the bread pan according to the manufacturer’s directions. (Typically they want you to add the wet ingredients first, dry on top, finishing with the yeast)
  2. Set Cycle: dough; Loaf size: 2 lb.
  3. After about 5 minutes, check the dough; add a tablespoon of water at a time if too dry, or a tablespoon of flour at a time if too wet.
  4. Preheat oven to 450F, put 2 baking sheets in to heat for 10 minutes (this will help the naan to puff up and brown).
  5. When dough cycle is done, turn dough onto a floured surface and punch down; Divide into 8 pieces.
  6. Working one at a time, with the other pieces covered, roll dough out to a thickness of about 1/4 inch.
  7. Bake for about 4 minutes, until puffed up.
  8. These freeze very well.

Read more: http://www.food.com/recipe/easy-naan-bread-machine-41503#ixzz1lhvM9G2B

Bars it is

Bars are as good as it gets these days. And probably will be as good as it gets for a few more months. It could be worse, of course. What if I left it all entirely? So, bars it is. Bars are as far as my brain can go.

I should have done lemon bars. Ha. That’s quite a way of beginning an entry. I made a coconutty-type of bar, but while they baked I thought of how terribly refreshing lemon bars would be and the winter seems like the time to be dehydrated and not know it. When else do you eat iceberg lettuce? Why does it taste so good in the winter? You’re dehydrated.

No, I shouldn’t write these blog posts late at night.

I’ll keep this brief.

So, when you are in the throes of everyday life, think of the humble goodness of the bar. Today, we’re featuring Jim Fobel’s Coconut Bars from the cookbook Jim Fobel’s Old-Fashioned Baking Book.  Dress up the recipe by drizzling the bars with chocolate ganache. There’s a good idea for you.

Coconut Bars

Bottom Layer

1 stick of butter, softened

1 cup all-purpose flour                                  1 tablespoon packed light brown sugar

Top Layer

2 large eggs                                                           1 cup slivered almonds

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 cup packed light brown sugar

1/2 cup lightly packed sweetened shredded coconut

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder                                     1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 325 F and butter an 8-inch square pan.

2. In a medium bowl, combine butter, flour, and brown sugar and mix well with a spoon. Turn the dough over into the pan and spread it out evenly. Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.

3. Meanwhile, beat together the eggs, vanilla, and brown sugar for 1 to 2 minutes. With a spoon, stir in the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, almonds and coconut.

4. Spread coconut mixture over the bottom layer once it has baked. Return the pan to the oven for about 30 minutes more.

5. Cool on a wire rack before cutting into bars.

Jessica’s Rustic Apple Pie

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Rustic apple pie.

What makes something “rustic?” Is it unfinished looking? Usually. That’s the case with this apple pie. There are no crimped edges, no perfectly pressed crust. There’s not even a stitch of butter in the crust, which is normally a no-no for me [Jessica]. This pie takes about 15 minutes to throw together, and that’s what’s so beautiful about it. Maddy Lu has an eye for the “rustic” in dessert. It might not be pretty, but I bet it’s one of the best things you’ve ever eaten! Here is my recipe for rustic apple pie. I highly recommend it… and your husband will thank you when he walks in from work and smells the cinnamon. Maybe a back rub is in order?

Preheat Oven to 375…

Ingredients:

FILLING

  • 8 Medium Sized Apples, cored and sliced
  • 1/2 Cup Butter
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • A generous sprinkling of cinnamon
  • 3 TBS Flour

CRUST

  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup water
  1. To begin, slice and core your apples. This is the time when an apple peeler/corer comes in handy.
  2. Melt a stick of butter on medium heat, once melted, add the flour.
  3. Add the white/brown sugars and the cinnamon.
  4. Let the mixture simmer for a few minutes. That’s it.
  5. Get that crust prepared- using a pastry cutter or a big fork, cut the flour/salt into the shortening.  Mix in the water with your hands until the dough comes together.
  6. Roll out the dough on a floured surface- you want a big huge pancake.
  7. Lift the dough onto your baking sheet, and dump the apples into the center.
  8. Pull up the edges so they come in about halfway towards the center.
  9. Bake on center rack at 375 or until you can see the apples are bubbling and the crust is browned.