Tag Archives: cookies

Something sweet

13 Jun

My sweet tooth has acted up in unexpected ways so far during my pregnancy. I expected to want nothing but ice cream and candy bars, but instead it’s green apples, smoothies, cherries and all the seasonal fruits. That isn’t to say I haven’t been indulging a little, but (so far unfounded) fears of gestational diabetes have kept me from going overboard. Still, here are a few fun indulgences of late.

A coworker spent two weeks in Okinawa and brought us goodies. Mine was this incredibly fun Matcha Kit Kat:

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And the candy inside:

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I really enjoyed this treat! The aftertaste was like buttercream frosting — that’s the best comparison I can make. I didn’t notice a green tea flavor at all, thanks to all the sugar, but I would definitely sample one again.

She brought a beautiful tin box of these little guys to my boss, who has been generous enough to share with all of us:

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I forgot to take a picture out of the package, but they are little butter cookies filled with white chocolate. They are so rich and pack the perfect pick-me-up amount of sugar for the afternoon slump.

And last night, I had a rare burst of energy (thanks in part to Mr. X making dinner — details to come!) so I decided to make cookies. I had a pretty specific craving for chocolate and peanut butter cookies. I found this recipe and knew I had to adapt them immediately. Avocado as a secret ingredient was too much fun to pass up! Didn’t they turn out cute?

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I actually de-veganized them to work with what I had on hand. I also cut the recipe in half. Here’s what I came up with:

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies with Avocado
Adapted from Veggie and the Beast

  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • scant 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 small ripe avocado
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup salted peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • Preheat your oven to 350, and grease or line a cookie sheet. Mix your dry ingredients in a bowl and set aside. Cut your avocado in half, remove the pit, and scrape it into a small bowl. Mash until it isn’t lumpy. In the base of your mixer or another bowl, beat the butter until it gets creamy. Add the avocado and beat together until they become uniform. Beat in the sugar and peanut butter, and then the egg and vanilla, until combined. Now slowly add your dry ingredients until all mixed together. Roll down into walnut-sized balls, flattening slightly into fat discs. Bake for 10 minutes on prepared cookie sheet. Let cool, as they will be very soft fresh from the oven.

    Makes about 20 little cookies.

    These are lightly sweet with great chocolate/peanut butter flavor. The avocado adds creaminess without a distinct taste, which is perfect for these little cookies. I will definitely experiment with avocado as a butter substitute again!

    Chocolate Orange Sables

    29 Jan

    Ever since I abandoned my Google Reader and its hundreds of bloggy contents, there are a few of my past daily reads that have fallen by the wayside. One of them was Smitten Kitchen for some reason, even though I adore her content and writing style. This weekend, I reignited my regular reading of the site and made not just the pumpernickel bread but — gasp — cookies!

    CookiesDeb posted her recipe for Intensely Chocolate Sables on Friday, and as soon as I saw the post on Saturday, I knew I had to make them. Looking through my kitchen stuff drawer, I found only two cookie cutters: the heart above (which is really large) and a plastic novelty cutter of the leg lamp from A Christmas Story. The latter did not work at all for this dough, hence you will not see any in that absurd shape. Instead, I used a tiny tea/sake cup I rarely pull out of the cupboard.

    Little cookieAnyway, to make these cookies vegan, I made the following alterations:

    • Used regular cocoa instead of Dutch processed, since that’s what I had
    • Used unsweetened baking chocolate instead of bittersweet and went with the full 2/3 cup of sugar to compensate
    • Subbed Earth Balance for regular butter
    • Instead of the egg yolk and vanilla, I used 1.5 tablespoons of fresh cara cara orange juice

    I followed all of the original directions and was very, very pleased with the result. The orange flavor isn’t terribly pronounced, but it adds a little subtlety. I think adding a teaspoon of zest would be good if you want to intensify it. In all, I made out 32 cookies — four large hearts and 28 little rounds — and baked each pan for 10 minutes. I also found it necessary to re-roll and re-refrigerate twice, since the presence of baking chocolate quickly softens at room temperature/exposure to your hands.

    HeartThese cookies are delicate and rich at the same time. They are very easy to prepare if you have an electric mixer, and even though I typically shy away from any baked good that needs to be rolled out, the flavor and light crispness were well worth the effort.

    What’s your favorite cookie flavor combination? I love chocolate and orange, but cinnamon and pumpkin is pretty great, too.

    Empty pantry scramble

    8 Jan

    My bank account is so close to empty right now that every In N Out order – and, heck, dollar in the parking meter – stings. So I decided to spend no money yesterday (which addresses my financial goal) and cook using only what we had in the fridge and cabinets (touching on my dairy-free one, since we have very little in the apartment). Here’s what I was working with:

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    Food cabinet. This is where I keep my beans, grains, peanut butter, oils, vinegar, and such. Eventually this will go in the pantry . . . once it has shelves.

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    Grapefruit and tomato (that ended up being rotten – blech) on the counter.

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    Spice cabinet. I also keep tea and a few random things in here. This, incidentally, is my favorite thing about the kitchen.

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    Fridge scariness. Normal things, plus really old takeout.

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    Freezer. Apparently it only contains, flours, sugar, vodka, and ice.

    For breakfast, I decided to go with a classic bowl of oats:

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    Ugly but delicious. In the mix: Trader Joe’s hot breakfast mix (oats, barley, rye, and wheat) with peanut butter, homemade pumpkin pie spice, vanilla, a splash of coconut milk, six (yes, six) chocolate chips, and a pinch of raw sugar. ‘Twas delicious. A couple of hours later, I made Mr. X a slightly different oat combo (jam instead of PB) and we split the grapefruit.

    For lunch, I was excited to use up two little zucchini (and the tomato and partial onion, but both ended up being deceased). I decided to give farinata a new twist:

    It was incredible. I know I said the last one I made was the best, but this one was even better. It contained: garbanzo flour, water, garlic, nooch, oregano, zucchini, crushed red pepper, salt, and pepper. I sauteed the zucchini and topped the farinata with it after about a minute on the stove.

    I dusted off the slow cooker (literally — the thing was pretty dirty inside) to make dinner:

    Weirdly glowing barbecued lentils and rice with steamed Swiss chard. The meal contained: dry brown lentils, dry brown rice, water, garlic, a tad of zucchini, barbecue sauce, chard, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. For the entree, I added half a cup of lentils, a cup of brown rice, three cloves of chopped garlic, and three cups of water to the slow cooker and set it on high for about three hours. When everything is cooked, I added a small amount of zucchini (what was left over from lunch) and about a half cup of barbecue sauce. I didn’t measure, just pouring and mixing until it coated everything well. Then I put the lid on and set it to low for another three-ish hours, when we were ready to eat. It made a lot! Probably four servings.

    Just before eating, I prepared the chard: set a pan over medium-low, washed the chard, tore it, and tossed it in the pan without drying it. About a minute later, it was lightly wilted. I plated it and squeezed a little lemon juice on top, as well as salt and pepper. Yum!

    While dinner simmered in the slow cooker, I decided to throw together some dessert:

    PB&J Cookies! These contained: unbleached white flour, whole wheat flour, oats, raw sugar, peanut butter, canola oil, water, salt, vanilla, and jam. I’ll share the whole recipe tomorrow, but I will tell you now that they are awesome!

    All in all, I was really excited about the success of my experiment and plan to try the challenge again soon. Not next Saturday, though, since we’ll be celebrating our anniversary. 🙂

    More tea?

    12 Sep

    (I apologize in advance if you see this post on my craft blog, too, but I wanted to share it both places.)

    Wow. My tea party birthday was such a huge, amazing pile of fun that I’m not even sure where to start. I guess I’ll go chronologically. Beware: this is a long, photo-heavy post. And there’s a lot of sugar and caffeine to go around, too.

    I started drinking tea a lot more often in the past few months. I was interested in learning to dry my own mint leaves and such to make tisanes, and my research led me to look for a particular book on tea that my local library didn’t have. Instead, they had Victoria magazine’s The Essential Tea Companion, which is full of information on steeping tea, using fancy dishes, and throwing tea parties. My brain went, “click.” This was May or June, I believe, and I quickly started searching my mind for a good reason to throw a tea party. I decided my birthday was a good choice. It was far enough away to plan, and I knew people would indulge me in honor of my ability not to die before I could ring in another year.

    I spent a couple of months hitting up estate sales and thrift stores here and there in search of a hodgepodge of tea cups, cloth napkins, and other accoutrements. I had some early successes, but my search lagged towards the end. Luckily, the day before I had a great score at CMCA Thrift Shop (I would link you, but their website may be compromise at the moment — the store is on Utica, right by Hillcrest). I ended up with 18 beautiful tea cups all within the basic color palette I had chosen (pink, blue, purple, and gold).

    Taking a much-needed, pre-party bath.

    That’s enough background. On with the party!

    My taller half and my mother helped me set up an hour before guests were due to arrive. We held the party at Chandler Park‘s gorgeous new community center. The room was perfect!

    My major task the day before and the morning of was cooking and assembling food. Here’s the result:

    The rundown (from left to right): paper plates (more on those below); plastic cutlery, a stack of vintage cloth napkins; tea sandwiches: white bean (with chives, basil, garlic and onion) on top, herbed cream cheese (with chives, garlic, onion, paprika, and chili powder) below, and peanut butter and banana on gluten-free bread on the silver platter; two veggie trays, one with hummus in the middle and the other with ranch dip; berries; two boxes of cookies brought by my cousin; sugar cookies; pumpkin chocolate chip cupcakes; tea cups; lemonade; assorted tea bags; honey; creamer; and the electric kettle (well, and the boom box).

    Here’s a close-up of the dessert/tea area:

    I want to take a moment here to talk about the lemonade — yes, the brown stuff in the pitcher is lemonade. Why is it brown?, you may wonder. Did you serve your guests rotten juice? Yes, we did! No, wait, no, we didn’t. Here’s how you take freshly squeezed lemonade (or any other lightly colored, homemade juice) and make it look like tea: when creating the sugar syrup, use raw turbinado sugar instead of the processed white stuff. Isn’t that ingenious? No matter what everyone was sipping at the party, we all looked like we were enjoying tea. I dislike lemonade, but I heard tons of “yum!”s from the crowd, so I will let you know that the recipe came from The Joy of Cooking. The raw sugar was entirely our idea, however. The lemonade was lovingly squeezed by my gorgeous taller half.

    Both of the desserts I baked were entirely vegan. The sugar cookie recipe is from the Joy of Vegan Baking, and the cupcakes are my favorite still from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World.

    Beside the desserts, I placed the tea cups so guests could choose their own. Then they could either enjoy the brown lemonade or one of the varieties of tea:

    The electric kettle on the far right, barely visible, supplied the hot water. I also placed (coconut milk) creamer and honey for flavoring, but I apparently forgot to photo them. Here are the adorable containers:

    In front of all the food, I placed little signs denoting what was available. I also placed an informational piece on how to make tea. Here is that and one of my favorite food labels:

    My love set out three eight-top tables, at which we seated five each, and cushy chairs, all of which were included in our incredible reasonable facility rental. I didn’t have appropriately sized tablecloths, but we made do. My mother did three gorgeous, springy flower arrangements. I know it’s nearly fall, but tea party just doesn’t scream deep oranges and reds to me.

    When guests arrived, I asked everyone to wear a name tag since I had a variety of people there who didn’t know each other: my family, my love’s sister, high-school friends, and Tulsa Craft Mafia gals. After about 30 minutes of mingling, I unleashed everyone on the food. We ate and sipped our tea for about an hour.

    This is Kayla, my friend since 9th grade. She is beautiful. She has a 17-month-old daughter who will one day be named the most drop-dead gorgeous creature that has ever lived on this planet. Kayla also knows how to pretty up some tea. Also, don’t let that “Miss” on her name tag fool you. She’s a married lady, so hands off.

    This is my love with his sister. Check out her amazing hat. Can you believe my dark Greek man shares so much DNA with this fair redhead? Totally. Just look at their matching smiles and gorgeous faces.

    Another reason I asked everyone to wear name tags is because I held a best-dressed contest. Everyone voted for their favorite outfitted party attendee or attendees, and I added up the votes. The winners were:

    Holly, the crafty hottie behind Hollyrocks, in second place, and my little cousin Diana in first place. How amazing do they both look? For their efforts, Diana went home with a rubber ducky tea infuser, and Holly got a gift certificate to Tulsa’s Dragonmoon Tea Company (which I’ll have to review someday).

    Let’s check out Diana’s full ensemble once more:

    No wonder she won with 50% of the votes.

    After I announced those winners, we briefly did some birthday things. My taller half kicked it off with a game called, Do You Know Brigid? Ten trivia questions separated the knows from the know nots. My mother won. I meant to exclude her, but my love didn’t want to. She took home a prize she brought to give out to a winner. Speaking of Mom, here I am with her and her mother, too:

    We don’t look alike or anything. Afterward, everyone sang to me and I opened a few gifts, which included:

    An amazing Alice in Wonderland teapot from my friend Nichole and these way-too-awesome cupcake baking molds from my cousin Charity. Yes, I put them to good use this morning and enjoyed a leftover cupcake and Earl Grey Lavender tea in one of my tea cups for breakfast. My love’s sister also gave me a subscription to the awesome Ready Made magazine. My dad’s girlfriend gave me a gift basket of homemade apple butter, peach melba jam, and a gluten-free, vegan pancake mix. So thoughtful. Holly gifted me one of her terrariums for my desk at work, which I’ve been dying to have. Uber-crafty Tara gave me Loop-d-Loop Crochet. Speaking of my Mafia gals, check us out:

    Yes, it is hard work being this hot AND crafty.

    And after two hours of eating, sipping, chatting, and playing, it was all over. Mom and my love helped me clean and pack up. We ended up with some leftovers, which is fine by me. We ran out of plastic containers after I threw a bunch away, so Mom took the rest of the baby carrots and broccoli home in a vase:

    Clever and weird.

    It runs in the family.

    I want to thank all of my 14 guests, including my two super-duper helpers, for making this party a reality. I couldn’t have had more fun dressing up and just hanging out with some of my favorite people ever.

    Now, for a little honesty: I had planned to include a few things that I had to scrap after running out of time and money. First, I intended to use real plates instead of Chinet. However, not all of the tea cups came with saucers, and eventually I had to give up on finding enough that matched my color scheme and vision. I hate to be wasteful, but it saved my sanity. At least I bought plates made from recycled materials. I also intended to make flavored honeys and put out sugar cubes. These things didn’t happen, and it was OK. I ended up with a nearly vegan tea party that fit my fancy fantasies without breaking the bank.

    Speaking of nearly vegan, of the things I made, only the cream cheese sandwiches were not dairy-free. The cookies my cousin brought and the ranch dressing that came with the veggie trays weren’t either, but I ate vegan during the party (with the exception of the honey, but I don’t exclude that from my diet). I’m pretty proud!

    And though this concludes the food portion of my food blog, I will now parade a few more vanity shots:

    Me with Kayla and Nichole, two of my oldest friends and favorite gals. (I was wearing really tall shoes. In real life, I’m only about 1.5″ taller than both of them.)

    Cousins! That’s us in age and height order. Notice that Charity is not wearing heels and towers over us anyway.

    Me with my stepsister Kaity, my little sister Sarah (who is an 11-year-old giant), and Dad’s girlfriend Jo.

    And me and my love, AKA the best tea party co-host in the world.

    I wish you a Sunday filled with peace, love, and half the amount of sugar and caffeine on which I ran yesterday.

    Daily eats: September 8, 2010

    9 Sep

    Here is what I ate today.

    Maybe it’s the weather, or maybe it’s the comedown from a long, lovely weekend, but I have not wanted to get out of bed this week. The dark outside my window isn’t helping, either. This morning, I actually thought about changing my schedule so I could sleep longer. Sad. Anyway, when I finally rose and showered, I was too lazy to put forth much effort. A quickie breakfast came to the rescue.

    Whole-wheat toast topped with about 1.5 tablespoons of Justin’s Maple Almond Butter and orange juice (about 1.5 cups).

    Somehow that tided me over until noon. I don’t know how since I’m usually ravenous by 9:30. Even so, I enjoyed my usual morning tea at work:

    Choice Organic Irish Breakfast Tea with about a tablespoon of raw, local honey. The sweet stuff has made a huge difference in me managing my seasonal allergies.

    When the lunch hour rolled around, I ate something incredibly tasty:

    A spinach salad topped with doctured-up dressing and two yamburgers on the side. Yes, yamburgers. They are based heavily on Gena’s Sweet Potato Chickpea Burgers. The biggest difference is that I used yams from the farmers market, attempted to double the recipe but really just made the proportions off, and possibly undercooked them. Even so, I loved them. They are delicious! I promise I’m not a paid spokesperson for Choosing Raw. She just happens to have posted some very interesting recipes lately, and I gotta eat, ya know.

    The salad itself was 2.5 ounces of organic baby spinach, and I made the dressing from about a tablespoon of tahini, two tablespoons of Newman’s Own Low Fat Sesame Ginger Dressing, and 1.5 teaspoons of the most flavorful, nasal-intruding Dijon mustard ever. Yum! The yamburgers were delicious enjoyed in concert with the salad and dressing.

    I never did manage to wake up today, which didn’t make me a very useful employee. Don’t tell. During a quick jaunt to return some library books, I stopped at QuikTrip to get some coffee. I figured it had to taste better than the Java Dave’s executive crap sludge coffee service at the office.

    Yeah, not so much. QT, I love your gas prices, your commitment to the community, your efficiency, and your fee-free ATMs, but I prefer my coffee a little less bitter, burnt, and acidic. I had maybe half a dozen sips before throwing it out.

    I was feeling a blood sugar crash approaching when I got home, but instead of finding something too naughty, I had an unpictured banana. It was yellow. You can imagine it.

    In the evening, my love and I enjoyed dinner:

    That’s baked brown rice with mushrooms and white bean dip, both from the Joy of Cooking, as well as some baby carrots (Bunny Luv! Flashbacks to my childhood). I topped the dip with some nutritional yeast and both dishes with plenty of black pepper. The rice especially was incredible. We used shiitake mushrooms from Mushroom Planet, a vendor at the Cherry Street Farmers Market. If you’re local, you have to try some of her fungi. I am especially enamored of the maitakes. So, so good.

    Have I mentioned my birthday is Friday? That I’ll soon finish my climb over the hill that is 25? I hope 26 treats me well. Anyway, I decided to bring cookies to work tomorrow in celebration. Other people bake on their own birthdays, right?

    Mexican Hot Chocolate Snickerdoodles. Oh mama. This is one of my favorite quick, easy, and unbelievably delicious cookie recipes. Snickerdoodle is a bit of a misnomer since they do not have the crunch or the cream of tartar bite that the name usually implies. Instead, these are pure, chocolatey heaven. I had two. Ok, three. And the batter equivalent of at least one more.

    Also, look at how differently my two cookie sheets bake these things:

    They don’t even look like the same kind of cookie.

    So that was my Wednesday in food. It was a fairly balanced day, if you ignore all the cookies, but who would want to do that?