I Made You Oatmeal Love Cookies…

I made you oatmeal cookies today. I left out the raisins, because you don’t like raisins. Instead I added extra walnuts, because I know those are your favorite.

I made you oatmeal cookies today, because I’ve had to sit at my computer a lot as I push to get my projects done. You came all the way to see me, and even though you knew I would have a lot of work to do, it’s still no fun when the one you love is so close, yet so far.

I made you oatmeal cookies today, because it was gray and drizzly outside and you were feeling a little blue. You had hoped to walk the streets of my big noisy city, and the day turned out to be the worst day for it. You went out anyway and braved the chilly wetness- which made it a long and unpleasant day.

I made you oatmeal cookies today, because I wanted you to come home to sweetness, and warm kitchen smells, and your favorite treat-

I made you oatmeal love cookies today, because I want you to feel cared for, and for me, one of the ways I show you that, is with the movements of my hands, and my steady pace in my kitchen, and the laying out treats onto plates- because one of my greatest expressions of my heart is food.

And because,

I love you.

Oatmeal Love Cookies
 
I make my cookies with canola oil, rather than butter. Aside from the convenience, I find the cookies aren’t much different, and I appreciate the lower saturated fat. They are a crispy cookie when cooked to the fullest. If you like a little cake-y-ness, bake until juuuust golden. Also feel free to add in traditional raisins if you like. My love does not like raisins, no she do not, but yours might.
 
makes approximately 30 cookies
 
1.5 c all purpose flour
.5 t salt
.5 t baking powder
1 t ground cinnamon
16 T canola oil
1.75 c sugar
2 T molasses
2 large eggs
3 c rolled oats (not instant)
1 c chopped walnuts
 
 
 
Preheat oven to 350˚
In a large mixing bowl combine thoroughly the flour, salt, baking powder and cinnamon.
 
In a separate bowl, combine the oil, sugar, molasses and eggs and mix thoroughly to a thick slurry.
 
Add the egg mixture into the flour mixture and stir until mostly incorporated, then add in the oats  and walnuts, and stir smooth.
 
Scoop out enough dough to pat into a 2″ disk and place on a lined baking sheet at least 1.5″ apart. The cookies do not spread.
 
Bake in the middle of the oven until golden and crisp, about 15 minutes.
 
 

Ganache Filled Espresso Cookies

It turns out this year that my immediate family will be split apart for Christmas. It’s a familiar scenario in the modern world of blended families and adult children. This is not a bad thing for us- we were all together for Thanksgiving, so no one feels deprived- and we have love all around the world to share. It really is a blessing in a lot of ways. But we will still celebrate together before we board planes and put miles and continents between us.

Tomorrow we will have little Christmas here at my place. My children will draw together from the corners of the city, and my Mother will drive in from the country. I can’t wait. There is a relaxed energy when doing it this way, sort of like “Hooky Christmas”. Extra celebrations are also always welcome.

I’ll start working on our dinner menu today. Not a Turkey or Roast in sight, but a request for salmon and more relaxed eating. I love it. I’m still working on the desserts. Yes there will be a couple (few), that is how we roll in my house. The first of which will be these cookies.

They are beautiful cookie that consists of a delicate layer of rich chocolate ganache that nestles between the two layers of crispy butter thins. A tablespoon of ground espresso beans added to the dough provides a depth of flavor that compliments the chocolate, you don’t get much coffee flavor, rather a bass note of richness.

Ganache Filled Espresso Cookies
makes approx 30 cookies
 
The cookie rounds can be baked in advance and stored in the freezer until ready to fill and sugar dust.
 
 
.75c sweet butter, softened
1c sugar
2 eggs
.5t vanilla
2.5c ap flour
1t baking powder
.5t salt
1T ground espresso beans
 
Ganache
 
.5c heavy cream
3.5oz semi-sweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces
1T sweet butter
pinch of salt
 
1c powdered confectioners sugar for decoration
 
 
 
In a stand mixer cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. About 4 mins on medium speed.
 
Carefully add the eggs and vanilla and beat smooth.
 
In a large bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, espresso beans and salt.
 
Transfer the wet ingredients into the dry. Gently and thoroughly mix the dough until fully incorporated.
 
Divide the dough into two pieces. Flatten them into .5″ thick disks, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 30 mins.
 
Preheat oven to 350˚ and prepare baking sheets with parchment or grease.
 
On a flour dusted work surface, roll out the dough to an even .25″ thickness. Cut rounds using a 2″ biscuit cutter. Place the cookies on the sheet with even spaces between.
 
Bake until the edges just turn golden, approx 12-15 mins. Allow to fully cool before filling.
 
To make the ganache: place the chocolate into a small bowl. Warm the cream over medium heat just to the boiling. Immediately pour the hot cream over the chocolate and stir smooth. Add a pinch of salt and the butter.
 
Allow the ganache to cool until a thick icing consistency.
 
Place the ganache into a pastry bag, or plastic bag with hole cut in the corner. Squeeze a dollop of ganache into the center of each cookie, topping with another and pressing down to distribute the ganache.
 
Place powdered sugar into a fine sieve and evenly dust the tops of the cookies.
 
If not to be eaten right away, store in the fridge.
 
 

Molasses Crisp Cookies and Some Holiday Baking Tips

Sugared Molasses Crisps, full of Winter spiciness.

I spent some time with my neighbors yesterday decking the halls of my apartment building. This family is renowned for the over-the-top decor. It took them the best part of yesterday- about 8 hours- to tack up lights, glistening glittered candy canes, tinsel and hanging snowflakes. The transformation is so staggering that when I came home last night after being out I had trouble finding my door!

Before I headed out to assist in untangling miles and miles of colored lights, I made up a couple of batches of cookies. The first being these molasses crisps.

I love these spicy cookies, and I love the way they make the house smell when they’re baking too. The best part is they have a ring of crunchy goodness on the outside and a chewy soft interior. LOVE that in a spice cookie.

As I was making these I started to think about some words of wisdom I might share about holiday baking. I know for some baking is not a regular thing, and even if it is, the high volume and intensity of cookie swapping and gift giving can be a major undertaking. So let me offer you a few words of advice that may make things go a little better for you.

7 Tips to Make Holiday Cookie Making a Success
 
  • Take a moment to write up an action plan and pin it up for you to see. The recipes that call for chilling the dough should be made first. The same goes for cookies that need to be filled. Put them at the beginning of the preparation order.
  • As with the action plan, write up all your recipes and post them on up where you can see them easily. Chefs keep their orders at eye level and it’s for a good reason. If you have to keep retrieving greasy slips of paper from under the flour sack it will start to make you crazy.
  • Before baking the entire batch try a test cookie or three. This may feel like a waste of time but it is SO worth it. The test batch will let you know if your oven is too hot, if the racks are too high/low, if your dough is too warm/cold, etc.
  • Don’t try to make doughs and bake at the same time. It’s hard to keep too many plates spinning at once. Dedicate dough preparation time and then baking time. Utilize the time that the cookies are in the oven to clean or just pull together the ingredients for the next batch.
  • If time runs out you can set unbaked cookies on a baking sheet, cover and store in the fridge until you have the time to bake them off. Just be sure that the dough is at the correct temperature before baking- and still do that test run.
  • Update your baking soda and baking powder. They lose their potency over time, so start with a fresh box if it’s been awhile since you’ve used them.
  • Lastly, keep notes. We all tweak here and there, and we all learn to nuance our kitchens and work methods. Update your recipes with what worked and what didn’t- this information will be invaluable the next time you bake, and it’s the legacy that you can pass on to your family.

 

 
 
 
 
 
There will be more baking to come over the next few days, so stay tuned!
Spicy Molasses Crisp Cookies
makes approx 4 doz cookies
 
2c all purpose flour
1t baking soda
1t ground cinnamon
.5t ground cloves
.25t ground nutmeg
.25t salt
1 generous T fresh minced ginger
1.5 sticks unsalted butter, softened
.5 c sugar
.5c dark brown sugar
.25 c molasses
1 egg, room temp
1c demerara sugar
 
Preheat oven to 350˚ and line cookie sheets with parchment or cut brown paper bags- or you can simply grease a cookie sheet.
 
In a large bowl sift together four, baking soda, salt and dried spices.
 
In a stand mixer, beat the butter, the sugars, the molasses and the ginger until creamy and fluffy. About 5 mins. Add the egg and beat smooth.
 
Pour the wet mixture into the dry and stir until evenly incorporated.
 
If the dough is too soft to handle you can pop this into the fridge for awhile, or even overnight. Just let the dough come to room temp before baking.
 
Pinch off enough dough to make a 1″ ball and roll in the demerara sugar, or another course sugar you may have.
 
Place on the cookie sheet allowing at least 2″ between. Using a flat bottomed glass, mash down the balls to a 1/8″ thickness.
 
Bake in the middle of the oven for ~15 minutes. Since the color is dark you can’t use that as a baking guide. I press on mine to test for doneness. They should feel fully cooked but still give.
 
Cool on racks.
 
 
Happy Baking!!!