Category Archives: cookies

Carb Lovers Unite!

They say man cannot live on bread alone, but what about woman?

Can she live on chocolate cake with peanut butter cream cheese icing?

Or chewy pretzels with sea salt?

Hmmm….what about 4-cheese butternut squash and cauliflower pasta?

No? Then surely puff pastry appetizers will do!

Ahh…coconut cake.  Just what I’ve been missing my whole life!

Check back in soon; we’ll talk about fish…or eggs…or spinach…or quinoa.

But for now, can someone please pass the peanut butter and bacon chocolate chunk cookies? I’m going through withdrawal.

Thanks.

See you on the StairMaster,

Jaclyn

Cookies Without A Name

My friends, the power of suggestion is strong –  sometimes all it takes is the mere mentioning of a word and a craving strikes.   When someone casually suggested making cookies, that was all the motivation I needed to realize that I did, in fact, NEED to bake me some cookies ASAP.  Since it’s almost Cookie Friday, I figured I could justify it.

However, never one to make just a basic chocolate chip cookie, I decided to whip up a batch using oil instead of butter (I know! I like to keep you on your toes), oatmeal, wheat germ, flaxseed, pecans, pumpkin seeds, coconut, chocolate chips, cinnamon, and craisins.  They turned out fabulous, and – dare I say it? – healthy(ier).

Here’s the problem – these cookies need a name.  This is where you come in – I will bake something fabulous for the person who comes up with the most creative name for these babies.   Feel free to come up with as many names as you can think of…let the bidding begin!

Peanut Butter Cookies

When I was younger, it didn’t take much for my Dad to convince my Mom to whip up a batch of peanut butter cookies – they were one of his favourites, and she was always happy to oblige. I always thought she was crazy – all it took was a mere mention a slight hankering for them, and 15 minutes later she’d have a fresh batch coming out of the oven.

Goodness me, I miss living at their house sometimes. You would too if you tried my Mom’s baking.

As a sidenote, it is purely coincidental that I live in elastic-waist yoga pants while at their house.  Their dryer seems to shrink jeans, so what choice do I have?!?! Bizarre, I know.

Unfortunately, since I live exactly 2733.14 miles away from my parents, I don’t have the luxury of having my Mom bake me cookies whenever I feel like them.  Thankfully, she agreed to write out some of her closely guarded  family favourites with the understanding that we wouldn’t give away her trade secrets under any conditions.

Oops.

Anyways, Mom’s cookies are delicious, but I wanted to modernize them a bit since it’s no longer 1987 and since it’s just what I do.

Sorry Mom, nothing personal! Please don’t go on strike anytime soon.

So here ya go – from Momma C’s kitchen to mine to yours – bon appetit my loves!

The cast of characters:

Butter, Peanut Butter, Brown Sugar, White Sugar, Vanilla, Egg, Barley Flour, Quinoa Flour, Baking Powder, Baking Soda, Salt, Dark Chocolate Chips, Fleur de Sel.

Sift or whisk the dry ingredients together:

You’re looking at ½ c barley flour, ¾ c quinoa flour, ½ t baking powder, ¾ t baking soda, and ¼ t salt.

Let’s talk about different flours for a moment, shall we? I grew up with (as most of us did) with good ol’ all-purpose flour with the occasional sprinkling of whole-wheat.  I still use AP flour, but like to experiment with different options that aren’t as heavily refined and processed, and that have higher nutritional value.  I chose quinoa and barley flours for these cookies because both have stronger flavours that the PB could stand up to.  In other words, if you had “eat less wheat” on your New Years Resolutions list, you should make these cookies. They are basically health food.

In case you hadn’t noticed by now, I can justify anything.  I’m thinking about becoming a lawyer when I grow up.

In a separate bowl, cream together the following:

That would be ½ c butter, ½ c all-natural PB* (I like crunchy), ½ c brown sugar, ½ c white sugar, and 1 tsp vanilla extract.

*Yes, you can use regular PB if that’s what you have, I just typically prefer to drink my hydrogenated oils in the form of French Vanilla Coffee Creamer instead of eating them in my PB.

When everything has gotten acquainted, add an egg…

And then the dry ingredients.

Stir everything together, and then add 1/2 c chocolate chips/chunks.  I used dark, but milk would also be good.

My Mom never added chocolate to her cookies, much to my chagrin.  However, one cannot go wrong with peanut butter and chocolate.  This I know for sure.

Stir the dough to incorporate the chocolate, and then roll into balls and place on a cookie sheet.

Use the tines of a fork or the bottom of a potato masher to flatten the cookies slightly.  This is KEY to successful peanut butter cookies.

But wait!

You all know how much I love swalty things, so before I flattened the cookies I sprinkled some fleur de sel on top of each one.

After 7 minutes @ 375-degrees, cookies were born!

Let the cookies cool on the cookie sheet for a few minutes to set a little more, and then transfer to a cooling rack.

Or eat directly off the cookie sheet; I won’t judge.

In fact, I might even join you…if I can find my yoga pants that is.

 

Pumpkin Spice Whoopie Pies

Have I told you about my cousin Michael yet? No? Well, we must remedy this situation immediately!

Michael and I go way back…you know, 27 years or so.  Aside from being only 8 months apart in age, we spent a lot of time together growing up. Whether it was running away from home exploring the feed mill behind his house, jumping off mattresses that were stacked way too high, or going to see Little Rascals in the theatre we always had fun.  In fact, the summer we were 11 Michael and I baby-sat for a family so he could have hardwood floors installed in his room.

Yes, I’m being serious.

Yes, it made total sense at the time.

Why, what were YOU doing when you were 11?!?!

I think that was also the summer that we pored over Martha Stewart Living…the one with the fruit popsicles on the cover.  I don’t think we ever made the popsicles…I seem to remember us being very confused by what type of cream to buy for them.  This was before the days of AllRecipes.com and Google, you see.

Gosh, I sound old, don’t I?

Let’s move on.

Anyways, Michael and I soon graduated from just reading MSL to branching off into our respective areas of interest: Michael is now a style editor at House & Home magazine, and continues to impress and inspire people with his savvy design skills.  As for me…well, ya’ll know enough about me so I’ll save your eyes from reading more.

Anyways…to make a long story short, Michael emailed me several months asked me if I would like to submit any recipes for his magazine’s special Christmas issue.  I told him thanks but no thanks, I was too busy.  Or maybe I didn’t even respond – it was that long ago that I can’t even remember.

However…Michael is persistent. He emailed again, and suggested that if I didn’t want to submit anything perhaps my mother would.  Since we all know my mother checks her email once every 4 months, I knew that if I didn’t email him back with a recipe attached Michael wouldn’t have any recipes to include in the family and friends special.  I couldn’t bear the thought, so I quickly attached a recipe for some pumpkin cookies I make every year and that was the end of that.

Problem solved. He stopped emailing.

New problem – I never heard from my favourite cousin.

Fast forward a few months…I got ANOTHER email from Michael saying that it looked like the cookies made the cut! Of course, anything could change before the magazine actually goes to print but I guess all of that finger-crossing worked because sure enough, they were included in the November 2010 issue (on newsstands NOW!!!).

For those of you who are wondering, I can be found at Chapters every Wednesday night from 7 – 9:30 if you’d like your copy signed.  Please don’t be shy – I’ll be the brunette with the latte at Starbucks right next to the magazine section.

Please celebrate Cookie Friday by making these cookies.  I bet you have everything you need already.  Besides, they’re delicious. I promise.

If you disagree, please bring your cookies to my house for disposal.

Thank you for your cooperation.

Butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla, flour, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda, salt, canned pumpkin, icing sugar, pumpkin pie spice, and (gasp!) shortening.

These babies are super easy to throw together at a moments notice.

First, either whisk or sift together the following dry ingredients:

  • 2 ½ c. flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg
  • ½ tsp. cloves
  • ½ tsp. ginger
  • ½ tsp. salt

Now that that’s out of the way, cream together 1 c butter + 1.5 c sugar.

Did anyone else just feel their jeans get tighter?

Add 1.25 c canned pure pumpkin, 1 egg, and 1 t of vanilla to the butter/sugar mixture.

Oooh la la!

Add the dry ingredients back in, and mix gently until everything has gotten acquainted.

Scoop the dough out onto parchment-lined baking sheets:

In the spirit of total honesty and disclosure, I must tell you that this is where I deviated from my own recipe.  You see, most of the time when I make these cookies, I bake them off just like this and then dip them in a maple glaze.  In fact, if you pick up a copy of the magazine that’s what you’ll find.  Or, I throw a few handfuls of chocolate chips in the batter, depending on the day.  However, when Michael emailed me the proof version of the recipe before it was published the food editor had taken upon herself to alter the recipe by telling the readers to slightly flatten each cookie before baking.

Naturally, I wrote Michael back and told him that no, the cookies were in fact designed to be puffy and cake-like and there was no need to flatten them.

Then what did I do? I decided to make whoopie pies so naturally, I had to slightly flatten each cookie by dipping the bottom of a water glass into water and gently pressing down.

I know, I’m so difficult sometimes.

After 9 minutes at 350-degrees…

Instead of glazing the cookies, I decided to try my hand at a spiced buttercream to sandwich in-between.  Variety IS the spice of life, after all.

Sift together 2 c of icing sugar (or powdered sugar, for all of you American’s out there) with about 2t of pumpkin pie spice.

Please make a royal mess on your counters and floors with your overzealous sifting, and then set the whole bowl aside while you gather your thoughts and pad your hips.

Cream together 1/4 c each of butter and shortening, along with a splash of vanilla for good measure.

I’m sorry, arteries.  Please don’t quit on me before I’m 30.

Gradually add the icing sugar to the creamed mixture, adding a few tablespoons of water along the way until you reach a spreadable consistency.

And now, the REAL fun begins!

Flip the cookies upside down and pipe on a dollop of buttercream onto every other cookie.

Little sandwiches!

These cookies have been brought to you by Casper, the friendly yet pasty ghost.

Dust with icing/powdered sugar if you feel so inclined…

I did, because the sieve was already dirty.

I’m practical like that.

Enjoy my loves!

I know I sure did 🙂

Culinary Play Date

Lunchtime planning session: $14.29

Money spent on cookies and candy Groceries: $19.28

Quality control and internal consumption: 43.25 recorded incidents

Time spent playing instead of packing: 5 hours

Remedial session in the gym to counteract sugar consumption: 1 hr

Having a date with an incredible 8 -year-old? Priceless.

Clean-out-the-Pantry Cookies

I don’t know about you, but I love holidays.  I like that they’re an excuse to get together with friends and family, I like that no one feels guilty about lingering for hours over an indulgent meal, and I like that people are usually happy (probably due to the time off work).  What I don’t like, however, is that there can be months that pass between holiday celebrations.  I thought it was time for a new holiday – one where people stop what they’re doing and take a moment to pause, one where people are reminded of the simple pleasures in life, and one where people can do something they enjoy.

And one where people eat cookies, because cookies are delicious and should be eaten regularly for maximum enjoyment in life.

All in favour of Cookie Friday’s please raise your hand!

(Do you have your hand up yet? We’re on the honour system here but you better!)

Good! Now that we have a unanimous vote we can proceed with the festivities.

For our first Cookie Friday, I was originally going to try to re-create those decadent little over-priced morsels that are sold by 6 year olds all across Canada (aka Chocolate-Mint Girl Guide Cookies aka the reason I can’t live sugar-free).  However, when I opened up the pantry doors and saw several bags of nuts I was more inspired to do something using them…and so I did.

I’m not sorry.  They were delicious.

Allow me to introduce you to our guests du jour:

AP flour, spelt flour, baking powder, salt, butter, brown sugar, white sugar, maple syrup, maple extract, eggs, almonds, pecans, walnuts, oats, craisins, pumpkin seeds, chocolate chips.

Time to get the party started!

Since it’s a holiday and all, I thought we would give our tired overworked and underpaid biceps a break and use the food processor and mixer.

Alright, it’s not JUST because it’s a holiday – it’s because I don’t want my appliances to feel like I love my knives and spoons more than them.

I can assure you that it has nothing to do with the fact that I’m lazy, and everything to do with the fact that I’m an equal-opportunity chef.  It’s preparing me for parenting.

(Please note – this does NOT mean you can ask me when I’m going to have kids)

Measure out about 1/3 c of almonds for the cookies…

…and another 10 for your mouth. Ten almonds a day keep the doctors away.

If you believe in quality control, please raise your hand.

Good – I just love it when we’re on the same page.

Pulse the almonds until they’re finely ground, but not so much that they turn into almond butter.  That’s another project for another day, folks.

Add the ground almonds to a bowl along with the rest of the dry ingredients:

You’re looking at 1/2 c of AP flour, 1/2 c + 1/3c of spelt flour, 1 t baking powder, 1/2 t salt.

I’m loving the spelt flour these days.  If you haven’t tried it yet you should. It is MDM approved and endorsed.

I have a confession to make: I have no idea how much 1/2 c + 1/3 c is.  I used 2 measuring cups.  Then I remembered why I like using a scale when I bake.

Don’t believe me?

1/2c + 1/3c = 5/6c

Then I got out my calculator.

Since 1c = 16T, I used approximately 13.3333 T of spelt flour.

13.3333T = 3/4 c + 1T + 1t

Are you as confused as I am?!?!

Good. Now you understand why I just used 2 measuring cups.

If you are unable to suck it up and just use 2 separate measuring cups, just buy a scale.  It’ll keep people that come to your kitchen guessing, especially if you leave some strategically-placed white powder nearby.

Moving on…I’ve had enough mental gymnastics for one day.

Since the food processor is already out, I figured I’d just add the other nuts to it.  I do enough dishes as it is, so why dirty a knife and cutting board if I don’t have to?!?!

I just heard you say amen.  No need to be shy; virtual or not we’re all friends here.

Pulse 1/2 c each of walnuts and pecans a few times until they’re a size you can live with.

Then toast em up.

Nuts taste better toasted.

It’s been scientifically proven.

Just don’t walk away or they’ll burn. Thou shalt not neglect the nuts.

That has also been scientifically proven…but not by me, obviously.

I’m way too responsible and attentive to do something like that.

While the nuts are doing their things, cream 1 c of softened butter.

Next, add the good stuff.

1 c of white sugar, 1 c of brown sugar, 2T of pure maple syrup, and 2 (ish) t of maple extract.  I know this drives some of you nuts, but I didn’t measure. I just splashed in what was left in the bottle.  These are called “clean-out-the-pantry” cookies for a reason, you know.

After getting to know each other, here’s what happened:

Get a spoon and dig in, kids!

Just kidding.  You didn’t think I was serious, did you?

Add 2 eggs, and beat again.

Now, I know that some of you are recoiling in horror that I didn’t add the eggs one at a time, and beat after each one.

I am living proof that no one was harmed through my lack of attention in making these cookies.

I hereby give you permission to live on the edge and add both eggs at once, if that’s what makes your skirt fly up.

So close, I can almost taste these babies!

Oh wait, I did.

You should too, since quality control is of the utmost importance when baking cookies.

Introduce the dry ingredients to the butter and sugar mixture, along with 3 c of rolled oats.

All together now!

Now technically we could stop now and have oatmeal cookies…

But why?

It’s time for the (lightly toasted) nuts, 1/2 c each of pumpkin seeds and craisins to crash the party, along with 1c of chocolate chips.

Mix everything up and scoop onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet:

And bake at 350-degrees for 17 minutes.

Et voila!

Up close and personal:

Yummmmm……

Have I mentioned yet that I love holidays? I suggest you embrace this one too; your life (or hips) will never be the same.

Happy Cookie Friday everyone! Please celebrate responsibly 🙂

Uh-oh…

I baked.

It was good.

The end.