Monday Madness

So I wanted to add some flavor to this space, besides just food. Not that food isn’t amazing, (I love it soooo much), but there are other sides to me than that of food and baking.

I wanted to show you what I do on my time off, and when I’m not dreaming up Oscar the Oven Mitt drawings and cleaning my kitchen, this is what you can typically find me doing.

I volunteer with a sports organization which takes up a lot of my spare time in the winter. Yay sports!

Also I am happy to say that I am a nerd/geek/science fiction enthusiast (whichever way you want to mention it.) For example you will find an entire bookshelf decked out with Star Wars/Mario and other franchise gear. Also I have a small obsession with tiny robots. I think they’re cute! Which is why, if you check out my Pinterest boards, you will find an entire board dedicated to cute little robots.

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See what I’m talking about? It’s so cute!

Also in light of the new Sailor Moon Crystal coming out, I have watched that, as well as gone back and watched the anime version from the beginning. Which at first always seems a little ridiculous, because you’re watching Sailor Moon, but I’m on episode 33 at the moment and it’s really drawing me in. Damn you Tuxedo Mask and your suaveness!

If you’re interested you can find episodes from the very beginning here.

But I love how it is classically animated (tear drops and cartoon animation alike). So find cute little Luna and Artemis earrings here.

 

Currant Sugar Cookies

So I know its been a while. But there are a few things going on from behind the scenes that I am happy to report about.

I will have a mascot soon! I am so excited :D He is going to be the most adorable little thing on the planet and he’s already made my week. That being said, I am hoping that with a little time I can have a better web design and also the little guy to show you. Props to my friend Toni and her awesome drawing skills.

In the meantime, I’m doing my best to make sure you guys get more content and more tasty things to make. I made some cookies. And these cookies were unexpectedly good. Like I made them because I had the things in my pantry, but I wasn’t thinking that these were going to be the most amazing things in the world.

These cookies surprised me big time. The little currants in the sugar cookie add a special little sweetness to them, that they are just a powerhouse of tasty flavor.

IMG_0329Sorry for the potato of a photo, but these were going in a container to be brought to work. And they were GONE!

Current Sugar Cookies
 
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup butter or vegan margarine
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • pich salt
  • ¼ dried currants
Instructions
  1. In large bowl, beat butter with sugar until light and fluffy, beat in egg and vanilla.
  2. Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt; stir into butter mixture in 3 additions.
  3. Stir in currants,
  4. Divide dough in half; shape into discs. Wrap each in plastic wrap; refrigerate for at least 1 hour (or 24 hours make-ahead).
  5. Let stand at room temperature until soft enough to roll out (about 15 mins).
  6. Between waxed paper, roll out dough to ¼ inch thickness. With a medium cookie cutter of choice (I chose a scone cutter because it was cute and round.) Place about 1 inch apart on cookie sheet.
  7. Bake one sheet at a time at 375 degrees until the bottoms are a pale golden (about 8 mins).
  8. Let cool on baking sheet for 1 min, then transfer to cooling rack to cool completely.

 

If you’re feeling like the sweetness of the cookies themselves isn’t enough, they could also work nicely with some brown butter frosting. Be albeit me to tell you what to do with your cookies. ;)

Walnut Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Hey Strangers!

I realize that it’s been a while since I’ve posted. I’ve had to clean out my kitchen due to a small pest problem (Joys of living in a place not of your own ownership), and have slowly been putting it back together. Good news is, I made cookies!

These cookies were a favor to a co-worker who helped me with some heavy boxes. They were actually a nice marriage of flavors of chocolate and walnuts. Typically nuts can just go away from all of my baking, but this time I didn’t mind it. I don’t think I am completely convinced that nuts will wander back into my life of baking though. I think we have some more ground to cover there, more trust needs to be made.

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When you read the recipe, please don’t shun me. I added a majority of the dry and wet ingredients together (I know, how could I?). But it totally worked for these cookies, and when you get home from the gym and eat supper and it’s 8:30 and you realize that you still have to make cookies before going to bed, it’s pretty easy just to whip them up.

Walnut Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Cookies
 
Ingredients
  • 6 tbsp vegan margarine (or regular butter) melted
  • ¾ cup packed light brown sugar
  • ⅔ cups non-bleached flour (or all-purpose)
  • ¾ cup baking soda
  • 1½ cup old fashioned oats
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts
  • one bag of semi-sweet chocolate chunks
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. But vegan margarine in a bowl and throw in the microwave to melt for 30 seconds. Mix in brown sugar, and combine until smooth. In same bowl add flour, oatmeal, baking soda, salt, egg and almond extract. Mix until completely combined and consistent. Fold in walnuts and chocolate chunks until you're happy with it. Drop by tablespoon, giving room in between for spreading. Bake for 10 mins, until top of cookies look dry.
Nutrition Information
Calories: 92

Recipe adapted from Health.com.

Hazelnut Thumbprint Cookies

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Hey! You childish people! Thats Nutella! And it’s tasty!

Yes the above cookies do look like a little elf dropped a stylish bowel movement on them, however once they have been refrigerated, and the nutella gets cold, they enter into an amazing taste haven. The cookie itself aren’t all that sweet, they have a distinct coffee taste to them, to the close to bitter end. But once you add the nutella center, they are perfectly balanced.

Sadly they did not make my list for Christmas Cookies because of the messiness of the nutella. But they are super duper tasty.

Hazelnut Thumbprint Cookies
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup butter (or vegan margarine)
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup finely ground skilled toasted hazelnuts
  • 1 tbsp instant coffee
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 cup Nutella
Instructions
  1. In a bowl, beat together butter, sugar, and brown sugar until fluffy, stir in vanilla
  2. Whisk together flour, hazelnuts, coffee and salt. Stir into butter mixture in 2 additions. Form into ball; knead 1 or 2 times until smooth.
  3. Roll by heaping 1 tsp into balls.
  4. Place 1 inch apart on cookie sheet, and using your pinky finger, smash each ball in the middle to create a deep well in each cookie.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees until pale golden, 15-18 mins.
  6. Once cooled, put nutella in piping bag, and pipe into wells in the cookies.
  7. For best taste, refrigerate after piping, and consume once cookies are cold.

 

So the sad part about this recipe, is that for those who cannot eat milk, Nutella has milk ingredients in it, so this is not a milk-free recipe. Speaking of which, still looking for a milk-free alternate… Anyways still tasty tiny cookies.

Spiced Snickerdoodles

 

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Maybe these are the cookies to leave for santa? I mean that guy must be getting sick of royal icing and M&M’s.

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I’m on the amazing cookie quest to see which cookies will be present during the holidays, and will be present during co-worker food eatin’ time. So far I have my favorites, however I am looking for a few new entries to spice some things up. The most puzzling spot to fill is the biscotti position. I want something that isn’t too nutty and that isn’t just fruit, which seems to be a majority of the biscotti population. So…. I’m working on it.

About these cookies, I was super amazed that there are no eggs in this recipe! And that it also seems a little healthier with the maple syrup and almond milk. So yay official no dairy recipe!

Spiced Snickerdoodles
 
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • pinch cloves
  • ½ cup canola oil
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 3 tbsp non-dairy milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Preheat over to 350 degrees
  2. Mix first four ingredients together as sugar coating on a dinner plate.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, use fork to vigorously mix oil, sugar, syrup & milk. Mix for at least a minute to resemble applesauce. Then mix in vanilla
  4. Sift in remaining ingredients, stirring as you add them. Mix until pliable
  5. Roll into walnut sized balls, flatten into sugar mixure.
  6. Transfer sugar side up to cookie sheet. Bake for 10-12 mins. Should be slightly brown on bottom.

 

I did absolutely no alterations to the recipe above because it was already awesome all around. Seriously tasty cookies!

Pumpkin Loaf

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And we’re back to pumpkins. I think it’s still appropriate to post things with pumpkins in it. I find that once February rolls around, pumpkin is tiring and I’m kinda tired of seeing it. I mean, pumpkin is awesome because you only get to have it one certain time of year. So when I see recipes in February that say “Most Awesome Pumpkin recipe ever!” I turn my head because at that point I’m done. Right now though, I’m all about the squash.

They need a better way to peel the butternut squash though. At least I do. Lets work on this people.

Anyways, I brought this recipe into work and it was a hit. I’m still asked if it will ever return to the office again. Which it might, but that will be after I open my next can of pumpkin.

Pumpkin Loaf
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup pumpkin
  • 1⅓ cup sugar
  • ⅓ cup water
  • 2 eggs
  • ⅓ cup oil
  • ½ cup nuts (optional) (not included in the above picture)
  • 1⅔ cups flour
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp cloves
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Mix first six ingredients well
  2. Mix together and add remaining ingredients and bake in regular loaf pan for 1¼ hours at 325 degrees.

Adapted from Bethany’s Best Church Cookbook.

Lemon Scented Rosemary Walnut Shortbread

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I don’t know about all of you, but I’m starting to think about Christmas baking. Its making me a little sad, but excited at the same time. On one hand, I have to make a whole crap ton of cookies, which means lots of oven time and dirty bowls. But I’m excited that I get to make them, and get to share them with you!

Speaking about the holidays, we didn’t hand out candy this year, because we live in an apartment building. So I went Christmas shopping and wrapped gifts. That’s right. I wrapped Christmas gifts on Halloween. I told some friends and I was ridiculed and was looked at with a little disgust. I don’t really blame them.

But back to baking! I’m trying out some cookie recipes to see if I want to change up the roster that I already have. These have not made the cut, however they were pretty tasty and different. The one thing I did find is that with the vegan margarine they didn’t act as they would have with butter. It was a little more difficult to get them to stay firm, instead of crumbly. However in the end worth all of the trouble.

Lemon Scented Rosemary Walnut Shortbread
Author: 
Recipe type: Cookies
 
Ingredients
  • ½ cup vegan margarine
  • ¼ cup dark brown sugar
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp grated lemon zest
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1¼ cups whole wheat flour
  • ¾ cup walnuts ground
  • 2 tsp finely chopped rosemary
  • ¼ tsp salt
Instructions
  1. In bowl, beat together butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar and lemon zest until fluffy; beat in vanilla. Stir in flour, walnuts, rosemary and salt until combined. Knead 5 times to make smooth dough. Divide in half and shape into discs; wrap each in plastic wrap. Chill until firm but not hard, about 45 mins.
  2. Between waxed or parchment paper, roll out dough to ¼ inch thickness. Using 2 inch cookie cutters, cut out shapes. Place, about 1½ inch apart. on parchment paper-line baking sheets; refrigerate for 30 mins.
  3. Bake, 1 sheet at a time, in 325 degree oven until golden, 10-12 mins. Let cool on pans on rack for 5 mins; transfer to racks and let cool completely.

If you are planning to make these ahead, they will store in the fridge for up to one week, and in the freezer for a month.

Adapted from Canadian Living Holiday.

Halloween Oreo Brownie

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I don’t know about you guys, but I’ve been all about chocolate the last couple weeks. Not only chocolate but brownies, all about the brownies.

So here is my submission for Halloween and also to appease my taste buds of rich, gooey, a little chewy brownies.

Now I will tell you my secret here. It’s not really a secret, its more laziness than anything. I have made my share of brownies. While I was in college I spent a lot of time at my parents making baked goods for bake sales, for giving away, and for many other charitable events. I’ve used every type of chocolate, I’ve used Martha’s recipes, I’ve even took a stab at creating my own. Nothing tastes as good as the mix from Quaker. Not the box, but the paper container with the white background. Although every time I make them I feel like I’m selling out a little, then I eat them and that thought flutters away since they also have no milk.

So I won’t even post a recipe since I didn’t even use one. The only other thing I did was crush two sleeves of Halloween Oreos saving about 5 for decoration on the top. So have fun with the mashing of the oreos, makes for some good frustration release.

So enjoy the tastiness that is your favorite brownie recipe and Oreos.

 

Cinnamon Zucchini Muffins

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Long time no post.

So I’ve slowly been working on content and with having my hard drive replace in my laptop, there were certain things that had to be delayed. I have pictures ready to go, I also have more content just waiting to be posted and all I needed was a fully functioning computer!

But it all seems to be functioning now that I’ve re-installed everything. The worst part is that there is always something missing. You think that you remembered to install all of the other things, but you always forget one thing when you go to use YouTube and volume doesn’t work.

Anyways, these muffins I made a few weeks ago. I had some zucchini in the fridge and I didn’t want to eat it with dinner. So I decided that it would be more fun to make muffins!

I used a favorite muffin recipe, I usually use it with blueberries or raspberries. So I took the plunge and added squash instead.

Cinnamon Zucchini Muffins
Author: 
Serves: 48
 
Ingredients
  • White muffin mix, or bran muffin mix
  • 2 cups grated zucchini
Instructions
  1. Prepare muffin mix as per instructions, or prepare your plain muffin recipe as per your instructions.
  2. Grate zucchini, and put into muffin mix
  3. Spoon out into muffin tin with muffin cups. Make sure to put spritz baking spray into the muffin cups so that the muffin cups don't stick to the muffin.
  4. Bake for the time specified in your recipe or on the package.

 

Double Chocolate Icebox Cookies

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There is nothing like a little bit of rich chocolate nibbles on a night when you know you can’t have wine.

So I decided to take my time to make something crisp and a little soft and full of chocolate since as I mentioned above, I really shouldn’t have wine tonight.

In this recipe I did substitute the butter for the lactose free margarine, and again I’m finding that the oil is just not the same as butter, I might start making up for it with putting some Sunflower oil or olive oil in the mixture just so it has the same oiliness. Also after the chilling process, I did have it in a nice log and it would have sliced up quite nicely if the chunks of chocolate weren’t so big. So I do advise that you don’t use chucks of chocolate that are all ready to go in a bag (so convenient!). If you were to use small chocolate chips, it would also work. I guess I’m just not a fan on cutting up squares of chocolate because I always have to clean my floors the same night (Thank you ants! How you manage to survive in our 10th floor apartment I’ll never know).

Double Chocolate Icebox Cookies
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
  • 9 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
  • ⅔ cups white sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ⅓ cup cocoa
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp kosher salt
  • 3 oz good-quality bittersweet chocolate cut into small chunks
Instructions
  1. In bowl, beat butter with sugar; stir in vanilla.
  2. Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt.
  3. Stir into butter mixture in 2 additions
  4. Stir in chocolate to make crumbly dough.
  5. On plastic wrap, form dough into a 1½ inch diameter log; wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 1½ hours.
  6. Using a sharp knife, slice log into ½ inch thick rounds. Place, 1 inch apart, on parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
  7. Bake 1 sheet at a time, in 325 degree oven until edges are dry but centre is still a bit moist, about 12 mins.
  8. Let cool on pan on rack for 5 minutes, transfer to rack, let cool completely.

 

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This recipe was taken from Canadian Living Special Baking Edition Holiday Fall 2012.