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Tag Archives: Cookies

Momofuku Milk Bar Compost Cookies

I have not been to Milk Bar. I’ve been to New York several times, but that was before I spent my vacation time seeking out awesome, local food. Therefore, I have no idea if this recipe is completely accurate, or if the resultant cookies could be mistaken for the original. But regardless, these are some damn good cookies.

We’re lucky I managed to bake any of these cookies. I had a flashback to my childhood and ate so much dough I thought I was going to make myself sick. I’m not exaggerating. I have no shame and that dough was the best I’ve ever had.

Let’s talk about all the junk in these cookies. I wanted a ton of mix-ins for maximum composty-ness, so I used semi-sweet chocolate chips, butterscotch chips (OMG, why did I not know how freaking awesome these are?!), pretzels, and classic potato chips. A note on the mix-ins: the butterscotch flavor was super strong in the cookies, which was fine with me, and the potato chips got lost, maybe because they were so thin. I love the idea of chips in cookies, but I think next time I would used kettle chips or something a bit more substantial.

The compost cookies are actually less salty than I was anticipating. Considering the fact two full teaspoons of kosher salt went into the dough, I was surprised how solidly sweet the actually dough seemed. The bursts of saltiness came from bites with the pretzels and chips, but the butterscotch chips really amped up the overall sweetness.

These cookies really melt down quickly and each of mine ended up being about 4 inches in diameter. I’m not sure if I used a 6oz portion because I do not have an ice cream scoop, so I just did a big scoop, maybe slightly bigger than a golf ball. I was surprised how flat they became in the 10 minutes they spent in the oven.

The best thing about these cookies is that Brent loved them! I actually try really hard to make things that Brent will love. That’s not to say he’s picky. Quite the opposite actually. He’ll eat everything and usually says things are “fine” or “pretty good” so it takes a lot to get him excited about food. While he didn’t start jumping up and down and doing backflips over these cookies, he did eat 3 in the space of 10 minutes and said they were really good. That’s definitely a win in my book.

Cookies Make Everything Better… except our laptop

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I’ve been making some new friends in nursing school, which of course is a good thing, but that inevitably leads to “sharing things” about yourself. And most people, including my own husband and family, think really “loving to cook from scratch and then writing a blog about the stuff you make” is a bit of an oddball hobby. I get that. I really do, which is why I always expect a healthy amount of skepticism in response. My new friends did not let me down. I’ve gotten quite a bit of “Really? That’s amazing. I could never do that,” and “How do you have the time to do all that?”

More recently, I’ve started receiving requests like, “So do you make banana bread?” and “Can you make some cookies for our study group on Saturday?” While driving myself crazy studying for two huge exams and psyching myself up for a half-marathon, I could think of no better distraction than making cookies for said study group. My friends in the study group were in favor of sugar cookies or snickerdoodles, and cinnamon always reminds me of fall so I went with snickerdoodles. I used this recipe and added an additional teaspoon of cinnamon to the dough itself.

IMG_0386These cookies were freakishly amazing. That, combined with the stress-eating brought about by my exams, was a dangerous combination. I gave as many away as possible… to classmates, neighbors, and of course the husband. Brent, who is normally not a cookie fan, seemed to love these.

The were crackled and crisp on the outside, but so chewy on the inside. I hate crumbly cookies, and greasy cookies, but these were just that perfect level of “these must have come from a real bakery” chewiness. I can’t wait to make them again, but this time I think I’ll try to freeze some of the dough. 🙂

Speaking of my husband, look what I just caught him doing:

IMG_0390Yes, that is Brent surrounded by parts of one of our laptops. The monitor has been awful and unviewable for quite some time now. The problem started when it was under warranty but Brent didn’t really care enough to take it in to get fixed. However, for some reason, after some of this…

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… he decided he would “investigate” the problem. Brent wanted me to inform you all that he can do this sort of thing because he’s “an embedded software engineer,” whatever that means.

The computer is now unusable and Brent is scheming ways to raise money to buy a new one. However, he “cleaned the kitchen” so I “can’t be mad at him.” This is the problem with my husband: He’s just smart enough to be dangerous.

More Surprises

Today was so much better than yesterday! I feel so much calmer, and even a bit chipper! I got so much done today: post office, run, work, seeing old friends, finished anatomy lab, baking. Just an awesome feeling! 🙂

I had plans to go to a Valentine’s party at my old job, which I was happy to do because I do miss the people there. Because they view me (often times incorrectly so) as a baking goddess, I felt it necessary to oblige them and whip something up. That something was a particular cookie recipe I’ve had my eye on since it was posted: Toasted Coconut Shortbread. I have mentioned so often how much I love coconut, and it is most perfect to me when toasted (and put on ice cream), so I’ve been looking for a reason to make these.

hpim2859These came out thin, crispy, buttery and delicious. I made Deb’s recipe, substituting almond extract for the vanilla because that’s what I had, and I think almond and coconut go together like peas and carrots. I wish I had cute heart shaped cookie cutters, but for right now, as long as we have something in the house that does the job close enough, purchases such as that are unnecessary and thus, not happening. These circles, while not as festive as Deb’s are, I’m sure, equally delicious. I really love the slight saltiness that comes through on these. It breaks up the richness of the butter really well.

In the middle of all this baking excitement, my doorbell rang, sending the dogs into fits of frenzy. Another package for me!! How lucky can one girl be? A few weeks ago, when I raved about the Zhena’s Tea I fell in love with, Ann from Zhena’s contacted me to tell me they appreciated my support, and they want to send me a sample of the Chocolate Chai I had been drooling over.

hpim28561I am so excited! I did not get a chance to try it yet, but I will let you all know when I do. After the UPS man dropped this surprise off, I checked the mail and saw a got my portion of the Sleigh Ride Sugar Cookie Tea from Sarah for participating in the BSI contest! You can see why I’m feeling so jovial today! 🙂

I did have class tonight, which was actually really interesting. We went over the body’s homeostatic mechanisms, and one thing we talked about was how if they fail, and the body endures something like a high fever for a long time, proteins can denature causing serious problems including deafness. This happens most often in children because their bodies’ mechanisms are not fully developed yet. As those of you who actually know me outside the blog know, this happened to my mother when she was about 8 years old and she suffered permanent hearing loss, resulting in near total deafness, so I thought it was really fascinating to learn the exact reasons behind it.. (I’m sure my whole class was like “Why is this crazy chick asking so many questions about this?”)

Tomorrow is FRIDAY!!! There is no such thing as a bad Friday in my opinion. 🙂

“Christmas” Dinner 2008, Part 2: Dinner, Dessert and Games

Preparing a huge amount of food isn’t really difficult, and it is certainly made easier when you plan ahead, but everytime I feel completely calm, it seems like the last half hour before the food is to be served is when the shit really starts to hit the fan. I was flying around the kitchen pot-holders in hand and 4 pots on the stove and another 3 in the oven, while my mom started drinking some wine and remarked, “I’m surprised she doesn’t injure herself more.” My sister Sarah took most of the photographs, since I was otherwise occupied.

Up first, we have the turkey, made using Alton Brown’s Roast Turkey recipe and method. We did this same thing last Thanksgiving, and it received generally good reviews, so we thought it was worth repeating. The turkey was probably far larger than we actually needed, but there was a sale and coupon deal combined, so it cost us less than $9 and Brent can enjoy leftovers all week. Brent would like me to acknowledge his superior turkey carving skills that he has honed over the past few holidays, Even my mother, who loves to critique, praised his slicing skills. Sarah seems to really enjoy the slanted camera angle.

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Along with dinner, we had a TON of side dishes: Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto, Creamed Spinach, Noodles, Mashed Potatoes, Roasted Green Beans, and French Bread, made using the Artisan Bread recipe. There was also a little bit of gravy made from the pan juices for Brent. The creamed spinach was the only new recipe I tried out for the side dishes, but I think it’s something I’ll make again. I always struggle with cooked greens, but I know they provide such a boost to my iron levels. I tried to get my mom to eat more of them, and she just said “Vic, I know you’re trying to get me to eat this spinach, but I’m just not into it.” Can’t win ’em all I guess. The green beans are a favorite for Brent and I. I just drizzle them with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, pepper and minced garlic and roast in the oven at 400 for about 18 minutes. So easy and delicious. I think everyone knows how to make mashed potatoes. I just make sure to add a lot of sauteed garlic to mine for Sarah and I. Here is everything all lined up and ready to be devoured, and that is me in the background, covered in something I spilled.

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And a shot of the bread before slicing. I am loving this recipe. I really need to go buy myself the book.

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Too bad I didn’t get a photo of my whole plate. It was a pretty colorful meal. Everyone seemed to enjoy it, but once again I over-prepared and we have so many leftovers! It doesn’t look like we’ll even need a grocery trip this week.

Once everyone had slightly digested, I made some coffee and took out a bunch of desserts. First up I made some Oatmeal and Apple Butter Bars, which were so easy and delicious, as well as a wonderful way to use up some of my apple butter. This recipe was recommended to me by my friend Tessa, and I would like to recommend it to all of you as well.

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In addition to the bars, I used some leftover coconut and took inspiration from the Macaroons that I made in order to make Coconut Almond Pound Cake. I used to love pound cake, but I only ever remember eating the Sarah Lee frozen kind. I thought it might be even better home-made and I was right. It is extremely butter-packed and definitely belongs in the “Very Rare Super-Indulgent Splurge” category, which is unfortunate since it is very addicting and leftovers are sitting in my fridge as I type.

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COCONUT ALMOND POUND CAKE

  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1.5 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1.5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2-3/4 cup sweetened flaked coconut
  1. Cream together butter and sugar.
  2. Add in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each one.
  3. Add in sour cream and extracts, mixing thoroughly.
  4. Add in flour and baking soda and mix until incorporated.
  5. Fold in flaked coconut.
  6. Preheat oven to 350 and grease a 9×5″ loaf pan.
  7. Bake for approximately 75 minutes.
  8. Cool completely and serve.

My mom and I were completely in love with this cake. I cannot say enough good things about it. It’s really easy and a definite crowd-pleaser, assuming your crowd likes coconut. To round out the dessert table (we didn’t need any more, but oh well), my mother in law brought a pumpkin cream cheese roll/loaf thing that was a big hit at Thanksgiving last year, and I put out a plate of leftover Christmas cookies that I had frozen and thawed.

After dessert and some further digestion, and at the insistence of my brother Zack, we played a round of Cranium, which is hilarious. Some captions: the board, my parents scrutinizing a word problem, Brent’s brother Jonathan pretending to “bloom” and Brent’s dad sculpting a giraffe.

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After cranium, Brent’s family had to get going, and the rest of us played a round of Trivial Pursuit: Pop Culture Edition, which disgusted my father. He wanted the “real” version. He was unable to answer any questions correctly, save for one question about the soundtrack of Flashdance, which I found so funny. My mother, however, knew that Mickey Rouke is a former boxer and Paul Newman loved race-car driving. She’s always full of surprises. We finally made it to bed late Saturday night, so that my parents could be on the road as soon as possible this morning in order to get home in time to see Da Bears!

I’m not sure what we’re doing for New Year’s, so it looks like the holiday season is pretty much wound-down here at the Monroe household, which is probably good for our sanity and wallet, but I always get a little sad because I really love all the traditions and family-time this time of year. Luckily Brent still has all of this coming week off work, so we’re just bumming around watching a ton of “watch instantly” movies on Netflix.

Family, Friends, Food & Fun

Bear with me. This will be a long post. It was a BUSY, but very fun weekend. We ended up getting into town around 8:30PM Friday night. We stopped by a friend’s house to drop off their goodie box, and then headed over to my cousin Liz’s house to see my brother and some of my cousins. Matt looks so different! It was such a shock. He’s lost like 25 pounds and had a freshly shaved head. He kept challenging my husband and cousins to physical contests, like jumping jacks and push ups. Brent actually dropped and gave him 20 after Matt insisted he thought Brent couldn’t do even 10. Of course because Matt is a member of my family, he had to be contrary, so his response was, “Those last 5 wouldn’t have been up to regulation.”

hpim2122Please note his ultra serious army face.

Saturday morning I woke up very early to drive my sister and I to my aunt’s house to meet the rest of our family members for cookie baking. En route, while I was just about to turn on to my aunt’s street, I got pulled over. Luckily it was not a big deal, and I just got a small warning. A ticket would have put a damper on the weekend for sure. Cookie baking day was, as usual, a total blur of whirlwind activity.

hpim2126My mom, sister and I.

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Sarah, helping roll out the fatimins and cutting them. It was later discovered the dough was a bit too thick, and the cookies were too “doughy.” However, after a loud screaming match careful discussion, it was decided my mother was responsible for the cookies that weren’t up to par, although she did try to throw Sarah under the bus. 🙂

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Mom, frying the above mentioned fatimins. We had some oil issues this year. It was discovered that all the cookies were turning out flat, and the fatimin oil was bubbling too much. Mom decided that the flour was the culprit because “it was the only common ingredient” and we used a new brand this year, so next year they will be returning to Pillsbury. I personally did not think any of this was a big deal. All the cookies still tasted the same, but the family is happiest when they have something to argue about.

hpim2146Me making the cookie part for the peanut butter blossoms. After the cookies flattened out too much in the oven, my mom ran out to the living room yelling “The cookies are too flat! The blossoms aren’t blossoming!” which I found pretty amusing.

Moving on, I left my aunt’s house, ran to my parent’s to shower, and then headed over to my friend Tessa’s to hang out with all our friends from college. Brent and I brought the food (which was way too much). I made some pizzas with pre-made dough from Whole Foods. First up, we had caramelized onion, pear, and Gorgonzola, with toasted walnuts:

hpim2161The crust for this one was too doughy. It was meant to make a much larger pizza than the pan size, so we made the next 2 large rectangles on baking sheets. Up next was I think the night’s favorite, pesto with sliced tomatoes. Delicious!!

hpim2165Our final pizza was Brent’s inspiration and it turned out really good. It was a Mexican themed pizza. The base “sauce” was pico de gallo, topped with some black beans and sweet corn and cheese. Really tasty!

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The food was rounded out with some chips, and dip, including my favorite, guacamole. We also had some festive drinks, one of which was a shot served in shot glasses made of ice. First up was a “Red Nosed Reindeer” shot, but I have no idea what was in it. Not a great picture I know, but the glass was melting!

hpim2153There was also a lot of rock band playing. Man, I have absolutely zero rhythm. Brent, however, may have missed his calling. hpim2164

I also received some kitchen-related gifts: some kitchen towels and an oven mitt, along with an apron.

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The apron was really wonderful, because it was sewn by my friend Tessa, and I love the pattern.

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Sunday morning I went out to breakfast with my friends, and then once again went back to my parents house, where they were having a party for the entire extended family as sort of a welcome home for my brother. The results from the cookie boxes are in and they’re a hit for the most part. My mom has a little trouble with things that aren’t familiar, but she did like the chocolate peppermint pinwheels. My father loved everything and in fact decided that “the kids wouldn’t fully appreciate these kind of cookies” and hid the box in his bedroom, away from my brother and sister. Today I’m just bumming around the house. I may bake some bread and clean a bit, but I’m exhausted. I’m glad it’s a short week for Brent. He only has to work today and tomorrow, and then he’s off until January 5th!

Macaroons

I am so excited about these cookies. I love them. I knew I would. They contain two of my favorite ingredients: coconut and almond. They were really, ridiculously easy to make too. I know some recipes call for whipped egg whites, but this one just requires dumping all the ingredients into a bowl and mixing. I doubled the recipe with no problems. Here is the actual recipe I used: Soft Coconut Macaroons.

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These are delicious. Of course, I had to have 1 or 2 to taste test. They’re slightly crisp outside but really soft and chewy inside. Yum. I love coconut. and the chopped almonds break up the texture nicely. They’re going to make a great addition to my gift packages. Brent’s review: “The macaroons are pretty good. I wasn’t sure if I would like it, but I was pleasantly surprised.”

This storm stinks. My brother is stranded after his flight got cancelled in Philadelphia and there is a good possibility that my friend flying from New England home for our reunion tomorrow will not make it in on time either. I hope everyone who is dealing with this weather stays safe and warm.

Spicy

I’m making progress. This morning, I put together the dough for another type of cookie for the holiday packages: Spicy Triple Ginger Cookies! These are really good. The texture is slightly crisp, but still chewy, with a kind of faint spiciness that lingers on the tongue for a bit after you eat them. I just made the dough, and then baked a mini batch to test them. I’m very happy with how they turned out.

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This makes a huge amount of cookies, so feel free to halve it. Also, It would easily be veganized if you used a non dairy butter replacement.

SPICY TRIPLE GINGER COOKIES

  • 1.5 cups butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 5 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons shredded fresh ginger
  • 6oz chopped crystallized ginger
  • additional white sugar for rolling (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Cream together butter and sugar.
  3. Add molasses and water and stir.
  4. Combine flour, baking soda, salt and spices.
  5. Slowly add flour mixture to wet ingredients and stir to combine.
  6. Fold in fresh ginger and crystallized ginger to fully incorporate.
  7. Roll dough into approximately 1/2 tablespoon size balls.
  8. Roll in white sugar if using.
  9. Bake for approximately 10 minutes.
  10. NOTE: I did not use the white sugar for my test batch, but I’m planning on using it for the rest of them to spruce up the appearance of the cookies.
  11. Makes about 6-7 dozen cookies.

This afternoon, I’m going to try to make a double batch of the Pistachio Cranberry Biscotti dough as well. And to make you laugh, I present to you a Monroe holiday photo guaranteed to bring cheer:

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