December 6, 2010 § 1 Comment
It’s official: all over (the world?), ovens are being fired up, aprons dug out from closets, parchment paper and other supplies purchased en masse. Baking season is upon us, finally. And because Pumpkin Week was so much fun last month, I thought I’d use the same concept this month with cookies because December = Cookies. So, today commences a series of five cookie posts (today-Friday). I really thought about which cookies I wanted to share, and decided it was best to go with cookies that are tried-and-true; cookies that my family looks forward to every year. The Greatest Hits of holiday baking, if you will.
What better place to start than ginger snaps? This is my third year making them, and I have a feeling I’ll be making them every year for the rest of my life. These cookies are the ones that I set out for us to eat while we decorate the Christmas tree, and they greet Santa with a big glass of milk when he comes to drop his loot. They are the best, if I do say so myself (though I’m afraid I might be saying that about every cookie this week; sorry).
October 27, 2010 § 9 Comments
Hi, my name is Janae and I might have a problem*:
One would think two, maybe three bags at the most would suffice. One would think. But they don’t.
The other day, Beau, who was looking through the grocery store ads, said “hey, chocolate chips are on sale. Want me to pick up a bag?” Knowing full well that I had three four five bags hidden behind my other baking supplies on a low pantry shelf, and half a bag in the fridge, I replied, “that would be great, thanks!” And when he got back, I stashed it with the other ones, out of (his) sight.**
I’m torn between deciding if it’s just a simple little ha-ha, Janae loves chocolate chips thing, or if I’m a hoarder. But if I were hoarding chocolate, wouldn’t it be all over the house? Wouldn’t it be piled to the ceiling, and wouldn’t we have to climb over it to get to the couch and other places?
No, this is definitely not hoarding. This is ‘stashing’. Yes, that’s it. Stashing, definitely.
Besides, what are chocolate chips for, if not baking? And I definitely bake. Hoarding is when you keep stuff that has no use; chocolate, on the other hand, is very useful. Especially when you want cookies.
September 29, 2010 § 1 Comment
Earlier today, as I drove around running errands, I found myself marveling at the weather. It was warm, with a clear blue sky dotted by a few big puffy clouds. What more could a person ask for, right? And then I looked down at the temperature display on my car dashboard and saw 96°. So, it’s obvious how badly my head has been messed with after the record-breaking ridiculousness earlier this week. I now find 96° a week into autumn completely acceptable. In fact, compared to a few days ago, it felt enjoyable outside today. It’s a travesty, I tell ya. Though, I will admit, I knew this would happen; I knew it.
Living in southern California, I should know better than to expect golden leaves or the privilege of wearing, oh I don’t know, socks (let alone a scarf) when September and October roll around, but every year I get my hopes up nonetheless, and every year I’m let down. How magical it would be to live somewhere that has real seasons! The hot cold hard fact is, however, that autumn just doesn’t exist here. And that is so depressing.*
September 9, 2010 § 8 Comments
If you’ve never made coconut macaroons before, consider this a warning. They’re quite a pain in the you-know-what. However, I’m happy to say that after, oh I don’t know, three or four years, I finally got it. Isn’t that sad? Don’t feel too sorry for me though, it’s not like I’ve been at it constantly, toiling every week in my kitchen with bags of coconut. I’d say on average I’ve attempted to master the elusive macaroon about once per year since 2006, and each time I got frustrated and gave up until the burning desire to conquer came back.
The problem with macaroons was the spreading. It was like the liquid part would try to run away from the coconut the minute I put them in the oven. I would literally find myself with lumps of coconut sitting in pools of condensed milk. And I would get angry. And if Jade wasn’t present, I would curse. I would curse the coconut, the milk and the egg whites, my oven, and the person who wrote the recipe. I would throw it all in the trash (just kidding, I would still eat the little piles of toasted coconut off the baking sheet), and I would call it a year.
August 21, 2010 § 6 Comments
I’ve been sick for the past few days, and since Beau is the Sick Police and won’t let me do anything except go to bed, I’ve been totally out of commission. Last night I really wanted to bake something homey like muffins or bread (though I could hardly stand up), which I think speaks to how soothing and comforting I find baking, but Beau had me wrapped up in bed with Jade and the Shrek DVDs by 6 pm. It was just as well I suppose, as I really didn’t have an appetite anyway.
When I was finally in the mood to eat again, I found myself with a mean craving for chocolate chip cookies. It had been so long since I’d had one, I can’t even remember the last time. Honestly, chocolate chip cookies are never my first choice; I’d rather try something new, or better yet, bake a cookie with spices, like oatmeal or gingersnaps. But today it seemed that only chocolate chip would do. I thought of the rich, buttery dough, the oozing chocolate and the crunch of almonds, and the deal was sealed.
So, I set out to find a recipe. I typed ‘chocolate chip cookie recipe’ into Google and was a bit, um, overwhelmed by the 365,000 results. So I checked a few of my favorite food blogs, thinking I would definitely find a suitable recipe or two, something fresh and innovative and different. And I did.
But then this crossed my mind: Janae, what are you thinking? Do we really need another ‘new’ version of the chocolate chip cookie? Can we not leave well enough alone?
Good question, self.
August 6, 2010 § 2 Comments
I love when food tries to teach me a lesson. This time, it was one of patience. The recipe clearly states that you must toast the oats and then let them cool completely before combining with the other ingredients. Did I do that? Why, of course not. I had somewhere to be, and no time to wait for oats to cool. Who does?
If I’m forced to answer, however, then I guess I’d have to say that people who plan ahead have time to wait for oats to cool, and I am clearly not a part of that group. I just want cookies.
July 14, 2010 § 3 Comments
In one of the very first posts on this blog (about brownies), I went on and on about how I’m not so much a chocolate person. Now here we are a month later, and this is the third chocolate post (psst…two more coming soon!). Huh. I know how this looks. It looks like I’m a bit of a fibber — but I’m not, I promise. It’s, er, a coincidence.
It just goes to show that the minute you make a bold statement, all bets are off. Before you know it, you’ve labeled yourself a certain way, and then suddenly you can’t stop the constant shoving of chocolate into your mouth. Typical.
But really, when you are innocently flipping through a book and come across a recipe for a cookie like these, can you help it? These aren’t just any old chocolate cookies. These are chocolate cookies with the volume turned way up. They’re decidedly grown up, with the kid-averse additions of cranberries and walnuts. They’re deep and chocolatey and toasty and tart and chewy and not too sweet. A good excuse to eat chocolate when chocolate usually isn’t your thing.
May 29, 2010 § Leave a Comment
You bake, slice, and bake again. Done and done. It really is that simple. For the longest time though, biscotti gave me trouble (overdone, underdone, crumbly, etc.) so I shied away from it for quite some time. Silly me, always over-complicating things.