Cookies as Therapy

I’m a fan of The Stranger, Seattle’s alternative news weekly. They do great stuff. I read most of what the Stranger writers have to say through their blog, Slog. Through my recent cookie-mania I was reminded of a piece by Megan Seling that I first became aware of last year, an entire year after it was originally published. It’s still great. It’s called The Long Winter. Her piece tells a familiar (to me, and I’m sure others) story of winter depression and her resolve to bake every cookie in Martha Stewart Holiday Cookies Special Issue. This wasn’t a Julie & Julia stunt, this was real in a way that didn’t have “book deal” written all over it.

Interestingly, she posted that she has recently found a blog (Every Last Cookie) “in which a college sophomore (a “studio art major”) is promising to make all the cookies in Martha Stewart’s Cookies cookbook by the time she graduates.”.

It’s been done, Ms. Seling points out.

I recommend checking out The Long Winter. It’s a piece that still rings true, years later.

Mint Chocolate Refrigerator Cookies

I made these cookies yesterday, and even calculated the Weight Watchers points for them! As before, let me know if you try them and how they worked out for you! I’m working on figuring out how to best present my recipes, so bear with me as I try different formats!

POINTS® Value: 2
Servings: 36

Preparation Time: 20 min
Cooking Time: 12 min
Level of Difficulty: Easy

1/2 pound unsalted butter
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 egg
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon mint extract
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/8 teaspoon table salt, pinch
2 Tablespoon milk

Cream the butter and sugar together with an electric mixer, then add the egg. Beat until combined thoroughly, scraping the sides of the bowl.

In another bowl, mix the flour, salt, cocoa, and baking powder. Slowly add the dry mix to the butter mixture, adding the milk so it can be well combined.

Roll out into 1/8-1/4 in sheets or into a log to refrigerate. Refrigerate for 2 hours or up to 2 days.

Use a cookie cutter or knife to cut cookies. Cookies should be between 1/8 in to 1/4 in thick. Place on a cookie sheet (preferably on parchment paper) evenly spaced, and bake for 10-12 minutes. Let cool on the sheet for 2 minutes, then place on a cooling rack.

Brandied Cherry Chocolate Chunk Cookies

While I wait for butter to soften for my next cookie experiment, I thought I’d share one of my recent experiments. My recipe was adapted from Mark Bittman’s Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies in How to Cook Everything.

1/2 pound unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
2 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups extra bittersweet chocolate chips (I used Ghirardelli’s 72% for Baking, which are large chips)
1 oz baker’s chocolate
1 oz extra bittersweet chocolate chips
about 1 cup of brandy to cover cherries (reserve liquid after soaking)
1 cup dried cherries

Oven 375?F

Put dried cherries in a bowl, add brandy enough to cover, set aside to soak.

Cream butter and sugar with an electric mixer, then add the eggs one at a time and beat until well blended

Mix flour, baking soda and salt in a separate bowl. Melt the bakers chocolate and 1 oz of the extra bittersweet chocolate. Next add the dry ingredients to the eggs, butter and sugar, beating a bit, then adding the vanilla and the melted chocolate. After everything has been well beaten together, strain the cherries and reserve the brandy liquid. Add the cherries to the mixture with two tablespoons of the brandy that they soaked in. Finally, stir in the chips.

Use two spoons to scoop out about a table spoon of cookie dough on a baking sheet. I highly recommend parchment paper if you have it! Bake for 10 minutes until lightly brown. Cool on racks for 2-3 minutes and store in a cookie tin or plastic sealed container for no more than 2 days.

Let me know if you try this and if it works for you!

Sex and the City is almost Retro…

…does that make the Cosmopolitan a retro cocktail?

Last night I got to play mix-mistress at a Sex and the City themed evening hosted by my always fashionable friend Heather and made a rather large amount of Cosmos for everyone to enjoy. My recipe had all the main ingredients, but I tweaked them based on ease of mix and taste. Here’s what I did:

2 part vodka
1 part triple sec
1 part cranberry juice cocktail
1/2 part lime juice

Also needed: lemon wedges (at least one per drink for garnish), a small dish of sugar or fancy rimming sugar), chilled martini glasses

Rim a chilled martini glass with a lemon wedge and dip in sugar. Combine the ingredients in a shaker filled with ice, shake vigorously, strain and serve in the martini glass, garnishing with a lemon wedge.

I like using “part” instead of ounces or other defined measures because that’s just easier for me to manage when I’m mixing a drink. Another note for this recipe is that I went with R.W. Knudsen’s Cranberry Nectar (100% juice) instead of your usual cranberry juice cocktail because I loathe high fructose corn syrup. Heather had a fancy Cosmo rimmer that added a nice touch, though I don’t know what the brand was! I cheaped out on the triple sec, going for a domestic triple sec instead of Cointreau. The vodka was a reasonable mid-grade, and I probably could have made the drinks perfectly reasonable using even a cheaper one, but it worked just fine.

All in all, great fun and well worth it!