Entries in cookie (16)

Saturday
Aug022014

Salted Dark Chocolate Cookies with Ginger and Coconut

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Emily had a yoga circle for her 40th birthday last week. It was such a gift to be there in that room, celebrating her and the love that wound its way around the studio.

One of the things the teacher (from Seattle Yoga Arts) said was, "Think of a strength of yours that you have in spades--something you've got extra of! Put that into the circle, and freely take from the circle what it is that you lack or want. I think of it as a 'give-a-penny-take-a-penny bucket'."

This morning, my mom and her best friends had a vintage sale (beautiful and beautifully arranged treasures) and I wanted to bring something. What I have in spades is SPEED in the kitchen and a mind and heart that's always wondering, "What can I bring? What can I give?" So I made this dough last night (almost all cookies benefit from a long time in dough form), baked them this morning, and brought them warm on a cookie sheet. All of us have gifts to give. Mine often happen to be cookies.

We are leaving for our annual Ross Lake trip tomorrow. I am loaded up on novels, bags of pulled pork for the dinner I'm in charge of, and an almost desperate readiness to get out of town, away from email, and away from laundry. As I do, I'm putting some gives and gets out into the world.

I want to give:

  • My love and attention to whoever is in front of me
  • Hospitality, warmth, and food to friends, family, and strangers
  • Good questions and intent listening (instead of advice--I'm working on that) 
  • Beauty and fresh perspective
  • Humor

 I want to receive:

  • Healing for my dog, who was diagnosed with a probable neurological disorder today. I cried at the vet's office and I'm sure it won't be the last time.
  • Guidance and energy for my consulting practice so I can keep giving my gifts in the world
  • Wisdom for the groups I'm leading at church and at Loretta's school, that I can provide good leadership and a non-anxious presence
  • A heart that still breaks for violence in Gaza, ebola in Liberia, and refugee children on the border

Thank you for being here with me. xo

Salted Dark Chocolate Cookies with Ginger and Coconut
Many of you will recognize the base of these cookies as my mom's famous chocolate chip cookies. I make them so many different ways, and this is one of them. Plan ahead, as an hour or two in the fridge will give your cookies the right consistency and more depth of flavor.

1 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. whole wheat pastry flour
1 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 c. (2 cubes) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 egg + 1 egg yolk
1 pkg. 60% cacao chocolate chips
1 c. unsweetened big flake coconut
1/4 c. coarsely chopped candied ginger
flaked salt for topping 

In a medium bowl, combine flours, sugars, salt, and soda. 

Add melted butter, egg and egg yolk, and stir until almost combined. Add chocolate chips, coconut, and ginger and stir until just combined. Cover with platsic wrap and refrigerate for 1-2 hours or overnight. If overnight, let it sit out for awhile so it's easier to scoop.

Preheat oven to 350 and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Form dough into balls, press a bit of flaked salt onto each one, and bake about 10 minutes until firmed up and slightly golden on top but still a little underdone. Let cool completely.

Sunday
Jan192014

Softest Molasses Cookies

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Wyatt has a book nook under the stairs. Lately, I've had fantasies of holing up in there. With People magazine, episodes of The Good Wife, and these cookies. Lots of them.

It's been a roller coaster beginning to 2014 in my neighborhood. A beautiful, bright, loving high schooler died in a car accident between her house and the grocery store where she worked. Last week, a single mother opened her door for a teenager in distress and was beaten within an inch of her life. I didn't know them, but lots of folks in my world did, and I can't stop being sad.

Of course I'm not going to stop driving, and I can't do anything about being home alone at night while Yancey's working. I don't feel scared, but I'm on notice--aware of mortality, alert to the very thin line between life and death, between happiness and extreme suffering. A wise teacher said to me lately, "We know we're close to the holy when we bump up against paradox--the both/and."

So this town has been been mourning and I've been praying, but still there have been moments of beauty, grace, deliciousness.

Jordan came up and we went to an Enneagram retreat together at Stillpoint. The best part was the 36 hours afterward when we consulted all our books and analyzed one another. Is that friendship or what?

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Loretta, as usual, had several make-out sessions with our dog Padré, made me lots of love notes, and reminds me every day of all the love in the world that's waiting to be shared.

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My clients asked if they could appreciate me at the end of a retreat I facilitated. They said the kind of things you might hear at a retirement party, the kind of things you might wait your whole life to hear. I soaked it up and I'm still soaking it up.

Today, MLK Day, I feel a tsunami of gratitude for MLK, Ghandi, Dorothy Day, Jesus, Oscar Romero, Desmond Tutu, Nelson Mandela, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and countless others who have turned the paradigm of domination on its head and paid dearly for it. I know I fail mightily some days, but I hope I can honor their prophetic voices, living in love instead of fear.

Our family went for a hike today and we were treated to brilliant sunshine and breathtaking views of Puget Sound at the summit. I'll feast off it for a long time. Despite all the evidence to the contrary, the message I heard was, "The universe is good. It's supporting you, supporting life, rooting for you. Breathe it in." So I am.

Molasses Cookies
Good old Bon Appetit comes through again. My aim is to have the cookie jar full during the week since my kids have come to expect a treat in their lunch and I prefer to know what's in the treat and be able to pronounce it. I made a double batch of these (enough for some after-school snacks, too) and enjoyed Wyatt's groans of pleasure. He's fun to cook for. One big difference between the recipe and my method: REFRIGERATE YOUR DOUGH FOR A COUPLE HOURS. This means a little planning ahead, but it's worth it.

Recipe

 

Sunday
Dec082013

Advent 2013: Russian Teacakes

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Or Mexican Wedding Cookies. Or Viennese Cresecents. Whatever the international moniker, they will melt in your mouth.

They are the first Christmas cookies I make every year. My cooking magazines are full of tantalizing and novel options, but I get overwhelmed. And don't want to go to the store. And Loretta is very proficient at rolling things in powdered sugar. Like many favorite cookies of mine, they are not fragile and will not go stale quickly. Packed in a Chinese takeout container, who wouldn't want to find these on their porch or desk with a note from you?

Russian Teacakes
This recipe calls for hazelnuts, which would be delicious. I used toasted pecans. Pecans or walnuts are my favorite in these cookies. You can also use almonds. Just make sure you toast them. Makes a huge difference.

Recipe

Monday
Aug262013

Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Chocolate Chunk Cookies

I'm checking in here tonight feeling so FULL.

My family is doing the dishes around me, and I'm enjoying seeing my new maxim of "The Cook Doesn't Do Dishes" in action. Wyatt is listening to Jack White (loudly), Loretta is swiffering, and Yancey is supervising. We had clam chowder for dinner, and you would have thought I gave Wyatt a trip to Universal Studios. After mountain biking with Yancey, he ate two huge bowls and thanked me three times. 

And I'm full of other things, too. I have a friend who's really sad and suffering. I was able to be with her over the weekend, and I'm thinking about her every second. I have clients whose jobs are demanding more of them than I could ever imagine. I'm thinking about Egypt and Syria and indeed, all the conflict and scarcity in the world and my seeming helplessness in the face of it. In much more incosnquential news, I feel overwhelmed by my inbox, things that didn't get crossed off my summer to-do list, a new car payment, finding time to be still, procuring soccer gear, and the unearthly amount of laundry that insists on torturing me.

Fall is always a time of goal-setting for me. I think there are lots of us, parents or not, who are still on the academic calendar. After I've dug myself out from summer off-the-radar-ness, I usually have a burst of energy and optimism that helps reset things a bit. Among my intentions this fall:

  • Hand off more work and responsibility to the kids. For instance, tell them what time we're leaving and expect them to be ready by that time instead of micro managing everyone to death just so I don't look like a loser mom by being late. Hello, enabling behavior!
  • View my responsibilities as opportunities for engagement, relationship, and connection. We have Soccer Mania around the corner and I find myself resenting the space it's taking up on my calendar. But they'll be outside, getting exercise and great lessons in collaboration. And I will be outside (drenched!), hopefully making new friends and seeing old ones.
  • Get up earlier than my kids to exercise and meditate. That happened this morning, and I've been drafting on it all day.
  • Hold myself accountable--in health, relationships, spirituality, work, parenting--but don't compare myself to others! I'm really noticing lately how damaging and defeating that is. Continue to cultivate the discipline of gratitude, which is the best antidote I know of for the trap of comparison.

And lastly, involve my kids more in cooking. I'm pretty bad about this, actually, because a) I'm in a hurry and b) I really like to be alone in the kitchen. It's meditative for me. That won't go away, but once or twice a week, it's good for us to do things together. Loretta helped me make these cookies, and she was in heaven. She's so stinking careful with her measurements and so eager to help with every little thing. I want to bawl when I think about all those kids in Syria, camping outside, fleeing from their homes, who'd give anything for a quiet and safe afternoon. Creator, surround them with love, goodness, and plenty even in the midst of their horror. Help us work to end that war and all wars, which only create suffering and loss. Amen.

And Happy Back-to-School. These cookies are divine, and perfect for those never-ending lunches.

Chocolate Chunk Cookies
If you've been following this blog for any length of time, you will notice that I am cheating with this "new" recipe. These are my tried and true cookies with three differences--chocolate chunks instead of chips, no oatmeal, and refrigerated overnight instead of 1-2 hours. That's a really important part. I tried them with just a couple hours in the fridge, and the difference was huge. And in favor of the overnight method.

 2 c. flour
1 c. dark or light brown sugar
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 c. (2 cubes) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 egg + 1 egg yolk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 pkg. (12 oz.) dark chocolate chunks
Flaked salt for top (optional) 

Combine first five ingredients in a medium bowl. Add melted butter, egg and egg yolk, and vanilla and stir until just combined. Add chocolate chunks and refrigerate dough for 8 hours, or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350. Grease 2 cookie sheets or line with parchment paper. Form dough into balls (the dough will be hard! Persist!) and sprinkle with salt, if using. Bake on two racks in the oven for about 9 minutes, switching them halfway through. Let cool. 

Monday
May272013

Everything an Oatmeal Cookie Should Be

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I have finally found it--the perfect, crave-it oatmeal raisin cookie. Chewy, moist, crispy around the edges. Thanks to Alice (Medrich), of course. And thanks to the continuing inspiration of my big, fat cookie jar from the antique mall. It really looks forlorn when it's empty.

For his birthday, I gave my father-in-law a jar of these and told him I'd refill the jar indefinitely with whatever he wanted. I gave him lots of choices this time around--brown butter snickerdoodles, molasses, salted chocolate. But he said he wanted oatmeal raisin again. This time, I was smart and made a double batch.

Emily was supposed to come up last weekend. We've been planning it for a long time and had characteristically assembled little collections of gifts and hand-me-downs to exchange. We'd been sending anticipation texts, and Loretta spruced up her room. (That's where Emily sleeps when she comes.) But it didn't work out. We are both sad, but it was the right thing. And the silver lining, as I told her, was that I still felt like she was here and that my regular life was on hold. I didn't check email. I played lots of card games with Wyatt. We went to the farmers market, the Ski to Sea parade, and the street fair. I made pancakes twice for the kids and am halfway through two new books. I sorted my craft supplies, slept in, made and photographed these cookies, and put off folding the laundry. Yancey and I managed a last-minute afternoon date and I exercised every day. In short, just what the doctor ordered.

I hope you're able to find some time like that soon. You might even find yourself reaching for your mixing bowls.

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
As with many of Alice's recipes, you've got to think ahead with these so you can refrigerate the dough. It helps the oats soak up the butter and makes all the difference. I doubled the batch and did half dark raisins and half golden raisins. You could also add nuts, other dried fruit, or a bit of flaked salt on top. Yum.

2 c. rolled oats
1/4 c. water
1 1/4 c. flour
1/2 tsp. soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
2 sticks unsalted butter
3/4 c. packed brown sugar
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanila
1/2 tsp. salt
1 large egg
1 c. raisins

Place the oats in a small bowl and sprinkle with water. Combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a medium bowl and mix together thoroughly with a whisk or fork.

Cut the butter into chunks and melt in a large saucepan over medium heat. Remove from the heat and stir in the sugars, vanilla, and salt. Add the egg and stir briskly. Stir in the flour mixture just until all the dry ingredients are moistened. Stir in the raisins and oats. Let the dough sit in the fridge for at least 2 hours or preferably overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and position oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven.

For large cookies, scoop about 2 level tablespoons of dough and place the cookies about 3" apart on the lined pans. For small cookies scoop 1 level tablespoon of dough. Bake for 12-15 minutes for large cookies and 10-12 minutes for small ones, or until the cookies are just barely golden on top and they still look a tad undone. Rotate the pans from top to bottom and from front to back halfway through the baking time.

Cool the cookies completely before storing or stacking.