Our family's journey to the heart of a handmade life

Tag: Dessert

Salted Peanut Butter Cookies

Salted Peanut Butter Cookies

If I could eat only one kind of cookie for the rest of my life, this would be it. These cookies have no pretense, and they are not shy. First and foremost, it’s about the peanut butter. Not in a subtle, ‘hmm, what is that?” […]

Accentuate the positive

Accentuate the positive

Do you know what happened two days ago? It rained. A lot. And do you know what that means? Too warm to snow. It also means some serious flooding, but let’s focus on the positive here. It’s March and it rained, just like it’s supposed […]

Brown Butter Oatmeal Cookies

Brown Butter Oatmeal Cookies

Have I mentioned lately that I have the best mom ever? She’s kind, generous, and intuitive. I feel guilty that not everyone can have her in their life.
This current rush of appreciation is mostly selfish, I must admit, and motivated by the recent acquisition of Christmas presents. Not just any presents, mind you, I’m talkin’ cream of the crop here. I’m talking about The Bread Bible. Yessirree Bob, I have been coveting this compendium by the prolific Rose Levy Berenbaum for more than a year now. I have to pinch myself every time I see it sitting pretty on my kitchen table, emitting a grand heavenly glow.
She also bestowed Martha Stewart’s Homekeeping Handbook upon me. I knelt solemnly and received this tome graciously, like a peasant being knighted.
There were other wonderful gifts, too, like six two-quart mason jars that I’ve been wanting for my granola and assorted baking mixes, and Fallout: New Vegas (okay, so that was intended for my husband, but fortunately I’m a huge geek too…)
So essentially, my mom is awesome.
Speaking of awesome, I made a batch of Food Network’s Brown Butter Oatmeal Cookies, and Oh. My. Gosh. Sure, the ingredients may speak of your average oatmeal raisin cookie, but they sing a far better scale. Notes of caramel and chocolate ring loud and true, and the salty kick lingers as a gentle reminder that you want to eat another one. The Food Network, though celebrity driven and lacking soul, still manages to dish out some decent recipes. These cookies almost make me forgive them for Sandra Lee…almost.
Brown Butter Oatmeal Cookies
adapted from Food Network
1 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup white granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup rolled oats
1 cup golden raisins
Preheat over to 350 degrees.
Melt the butter over medium heat, cooking until it turns a deep golden brown. Cool. (You may refrigerate the butter to quicken this process, but be sure to bring it to room temperature for the next step.)
Combine the butter and both sugars, and beat until fluffy. Mix in the vanilla and both eggs until fully incorporated.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and oats. Slowly add this to the butter mixture. When batter is almost fully mixed, still with thick streaks of flour throughout, carefully fold in the raisins.
Chill the batter for 30 minutes to 1 hour, to help prevent spreading.
Roll the dough into 1 inch balls and place on the baking sheet, about two inches apart.
Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until lightly browned on the edges.
“There are some people who have the quality of richness and joy in them and they communicate it to everything they touch. It is first of all a physical quality; then it is quality of the spirit.” Thomas Clayton Wolfe
Some like it hot

Some like it hot

Heat doesn’t really bother me; as they say, it’s the humidity that gets you. And gee whiz, the past week has certainly proved the old adage true. There are only three things that can aid survival in these tropical climates: 1. a good, old-school action movie (a […]

Icebox Cookies

Icebox Cookies

About a month ago, the other half and I thought it was time to begin looking to buy a house; a fairly impulsive decision at best, as it was essentially made in one night over a glass (or two) of bourbon. We’ve been throwing the […]

Chocolate Peppermint Drop Cookies

Chocolate Peppermint Drop Cookies

Overnight, the autumn leaves fell from the old oak trees.

Halloween is over. Time to undrape the cobwebs, unstick the fake blood, and tuck away the eyeball candles and bat wings. I make it a little easier for myself, though, by decorating for autumn more than just Halloween, so there’s not too much to undo.

Now the countdown to Thanksgiving begins. Let’s be honest, though. It’s really a countdown to the moment when we can begin counting down the days to Christmas. So take a moment to relax; savor your candy corn and gummy worms. Pretty soon, snow will fall and giant turkeys will invade your every thought. The bucket of chocolate will be replaced by unwieldy serving platters, the jiggly gummy worms with gelatinous, can-shaped cranberry sauce. As Black Friday looms dangerously near, the bells will be a-ringing and the relatives a-knockin’. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
Speaking of getting ahead of myself, I trotted out one of my favorite Christmas cookie recipes a bit early this year. Okay, make that really early. But I just couldn’t resist.
These chocolate peppermint drop cookies have a dense, brownie-like center, and mini chocolate chips that add texture with their wonderful gooey goodness. They taste very much like thin mints, or good quality mint chocolate chip ice cream. Aside from the peppermint extract, the ingredients are simple and can be found in most pantries. But be warned, this recipe makes a lot of cookies, so make sure you have friends and family on standby (or room in your freezer) to help ease the load.
Chocolate Peppermint Drop Cookies
adapted from food network
2 c all-purpose flour
3/4 c unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 c (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 c packed light brown sugar
3/4 granulated white sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 c mini chocolate chips
Glaze:
3/4 c confectioners’ sugar, sifted
about 1/4 tsp pure peppermint extract, or to taste
3 1/2 tsp water, or until desired texture
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
Cream together the butter and sugars until fluffy, about 3 minutes.
Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.
Add vanilla. 
Slowly beat in the flour mixture.
Gently fold in the chocolate chips.
Cover dough and refridgerate about 1 hour, or until firm.
Drop teaspoonfuls of the dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet, spacing about two inches apart. I use a mini ice scream scoop, which produces slightly larger cookies but makes the process much easier.
Bake until tops are dry and slightly cracked, about 10 minutes. Remove from oven and transfer to cooling rack. Let cool completely.
Glaze:
In a small bowl, mix together the sugar, mint extract and wat until smooth, adding more sugar or water until desired consistency is reached.
Pour the glaze into a small-tipped pastry bag, or a resealable plastic bag and snip off a tiny corner.
Working in batches, lay cookies in a single layer and drizzle the glaze in straight lines. Turn the cookies 180 degrees and repeat. Or, drizzle however you like and create your own design.
Let the cookies dry for about 10 minutes, or until glaze has set.
“Three may keep a secret, if two of them are dead.” Benjamin Franklin
Chocolate Cake with Ganache and Praline Topping

Chocolate Cake with Ganache and Praline Topping

My husband, Patrick, and I are heading down to Connecticut this weekend to visit his family. We have decided to come back Sunday night, though, and enjoy Labor Day at home, unshowered and delightfully lazy. That’s one stipulation about marriage that no one tells you; […]