Food is quite the memory jogger. A trigger of sorts. Much like music. Or certain smells.
I don’t know if everyone is like this, but I want to think that a warm chocolate chip cookie takes everyone back to their childhood – I think my first memory of a chocolate chip cookie and looking back, probably the first time I took comfort from food or felt love through its simple preparation, was when our first childhood dog – ‘Puppy’ – original, I know…died.
I was curled up on dad’s lap in our old gray (it wasn’t old yet) recliner and I was sobbing and mom, from the kitchen, offered to make cookies – ‘maybe that will make us feel better’. I don’t remember the taste of the cookies or if we even ate them that night – I am sure we did, with large glasses of milk and spoons to fish out soggy lost bits and pieces. What I remember, as dad sat reassuring us that Puppy was in heaven causing ruckus up there, was that mom, while also mourning the loss of her beloved dog (even though she would holler and throw spoons in his direction from the back door when he would bark and howl), took time to bake us cookies – hoping they would ease our tears and cheer us up a bit. Which, I am sure they did.
Cookies have that sort of power. Especially if mom is making them.
Oatmeal Scotchies … guess what..you got it, comes with a memory. Like any cookie, they remind me of my grandma. As most things I bake do, but these are most definitely a Shirley memory. On Wednesday evenings, grandma had church choir practice or perhaps it was the Women’s Society meeting…all I know, is that she was at church on Wednesday nights and the church was just 2 blocks from our house. Therefore, Wednesday nights always guaranteed a visit from grandma and she normally brought a bake good ( and I wonder where I get this habit from). Cookies or pie. And if it was cookies…4 out of 5 times, they would be chewy oatmeal scotchies.
As grandma and mom sat and chit chatted and gossiped … we 3 kids scarfed down cookies, leaving just crumbs behind. Sore jaws and crumbs.
I hadn’t had an oatmeal scotchie in years. Years! Quite devastating, seeing how the recipe for these magic little guys are on the back of the bag of Nestle butterscotch chips. And when something is this good, there is really no need to tinker with the recipe. Well, I kinda did…I added roasted pecans, because pecans kind of rock in cookies. No?
Of all the cakes, cookies, and pies I have taken into work…I believe these cookies received the most hubbub. The container was returned with a pleading of it being refilled with more. People were hiding and stowing away cookies in lockers. They were being eaten 2 and 3 at a time. I wanna believe it was because these cookies were not only chewy and delicious, but because their flavor and texture and slight hint of cinnamon took them back.
Back to grandmas, school lunches, after school snacks, Wednesday nights.
- 1 Cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
- ¾ Cup white sugar
- ¾ Cup, light brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1¼ Cup flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ Cup Roasted Pecans, roughly chopped
- 3 Cup Old Fashioned Oats
- One 11-oz bag butterscotch chip
- Preheat oven to 375F.
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.
- In a mixing bowl, cream together softened butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, until incorporated. Beat in vanilla.
- With mixer on low, add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and mix until incorporated – the dough will be tacky.
- With a wooden spoon, stir in the oats, pecans, and butterscotch chips.
- Drop rounded spoonfuls of dough onto parchment lined (optional) baking sheets and bake for 7-8 minutes for chewy cookies or 9-10 minutes for crisp cookies.
- Remove from oven and let sit on cookie sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to wire rack to cool.
Adapted from Nestle TollHouseRead More
And here we go again. I haven’t posted much in the month of January. I blame Disney and Tim Riggins.
Ok, fine, just Tim Riggins.
I am not bragging, but I just finished the entire series of Friday Night Lights (thank you Netflix) in 1 week…and I am rounding up to 7 days, because it may have been closer to 6. 5 years of TV in a week. Yikes.
For one week, I worked, ran, and watched FNL (friday night lights). In that order. I watched fake football instead of the real games. I missed the entire Australian Open. Congrats, Djokovic. News? You mean the world was still spinning this past week? World news doesn’t really make it all the way to the make believe town of Dillon, Texas. Sorry.
I am pretty sure I went to work last Monday with a Texas drawl from my weekend binder. I said y’all at least twice. And I fell in LOVE with Connie Britton’s hair. Seriously.
And oh, did you know that 3/4th of the cast from FNL (I just acronymed a TV show…sigh) has been on Grey’s Anatomy? Coach Taylor was part of the bomb squad and was blown to smitherings. Landry had a disfigured face and ended up dying on the table, whomp whomp.. Jess had a brain tumor and Dr McDreamy saved her life. Smash is now a lowly intern. And Saracan was a soldier who opted to have his leg amputated. I am just hoping and a wishing that Tim Riggins will wander onto the set…
I was able to whip up a batch of cookies during this period of time – mainly because I promised/owed a co-worker cookies and I couldn’t procrastinate any longer – Texas football or no Texas football…cookies full of pistachios and coconut needed to be pumped out of my kitchen. Good thing I can see the TV from my kitchen
- 2+1/4 Cup of All-Purpose Flour
- 1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
- ½ Teaspoon Salt
- 1 Cup Unsalted Butter, room temperature
- 1 Cup Light Brown Sugar, tightly packed
- 1 Box (3.4 ounce) Pistachio Pudding (not the sugar free version)
- 2 Eggs
- 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 1 Cup Sweetened Shredded Coconut
- 1 Cup Chocolate Chips
- ½ Cup Pistachios, shelled and roughly chopped
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar.
- Beat in pistachio pudding mix, eggs, and vanilla. Mix until combined.
- With mixer on low, slowly add dry ingredients and mix until combined.
- Fold in coconut, chocolate chips, and chopped pistachios.
- Drop by rounded tablespoonful onto prepared baking sheet (parchment paper lined or UNgreased) and bake for 8-10 minutes.
- Remove from oven and let cool for about 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.
Is your tree up? Lights strung and garland draped? Candy canes hooked and ornaments placed just so? The angel tree topper straight or is there a red bow with its red tails cascading down your tree? Do you string popcorn and cranberries or perhaps marshmallows? Have you named it? It is a thing…people naming their trees.
Are you a family that pulls on wool socks and boots, layers coats and scarves, and traipse out to the evergreen forest (ok, fine, tree farm) with axe in hand and a thermos of hot chocolate thrown over your shoulder and chops down a yearly Christmas tree? My mental image of this is a tad skewed…a tad too Norman Rockwell. Because in my head Christmas carols are being sung and the kids are happy and rosy-cheeked and walking hand in hand merrily with their siblings – ha! Maybe I have seen too many Bing Crosby Christmas Specials or watched one too many ABC Family Christmas movies…because I also picture snow lightly falling ever so carelessly from the frosty night ski. Twirling to the ground, carefully so. Perfectly white and fluffy snow that gently coats the trees and ground and the ever so cheerful family. The snow being a crucial part of the magic…Read More
I made these two weeks ago. Ya know, when I was supposed to be packing for my trip to Seattle (pics to come soon, promise), but was putting it off because I hate packing. I figured baking from a new cookbook, that I picked up at the used book store for more than half off, was much more essential to life than packing for a trip that was taking flight in less than 24 hours. A trip to a used book store when I should have been picking up travel size toothpastes and a new toothbrush carrier…but wasn’t because used book stores are way more fun than the bathroom isle at Target. Just sayin’.
I procrastinate with packing from start to finish. And unpacking…don’t even get me started. I am staring at the suitcase right now. Right where I left it 3 days ago and honestly where it will remain for days/weeks to come. I need help.
Am I the only one that hates to stuff, and yes I mean stuff in literal terms, clothes and toiletrettes into a piece of luggage that will be your dresser for the next few days/weeks/months? I seriously dread this part of vacation. How am I supposed to know what I will need? I can’t see into the future. I don’t know the exact weather – the 10 day forecast is only so accurate. I don’t know the dress code to all the restaurants we will dine in. And shoes. How many pairs is too many? And I have to keep it under 50lbs or I will be charged what? Seriously? Therefore, I tend to overpack if I am heading to a place for the first time. And I will always forget something…generally a hairbrush or socks or mascara. It is just annoying…and not fun. And a whole lot of decision making. And I am Miss Indecisive. Just ask anyone who has asked me to pick a place for dinner…
Is there a help group for indecisive people?
Baking and used book stores are way more fun. These are two places where decisions are easy to make. Bake the cookies, buy the book. Done. Easy.
- 1 + ½ Sticks Unsalted Butter, room temperature
- 1 + ¼ Cup + 1 Tablespoon All Purpose Flour
- 3 Tablespoons Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
- ¼ Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
- ¼ Teaspoon Salt
- ⅛ Teaspoon Baking Soda
- ½ Cup Granulated Sugar, plus extra for dusting.
- Preheat oven to 325F. Line a 8 x 8inch baking dish with parchment paper, leaving a bit overhang the edges. Set aside.
- Whisk together flour, cocoa, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and 1 Cup sugar until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes), remembering to scraped down the sides of the bowl as you go along.
- Slowly add dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
- Empty dough into middle of prepared pan and with a spoon/spatula/fingers, evenly spread dough out into prepared pan. Place in freezer for 15 minutes to firm.
- Remove from freezer and with a fork, prick holes all over dough. Place in preheated oven and bake for 20 to 22 minutes until just firm to touch.
- Remove from oven and while still hot, cut cookies into squares or rectangles, and liberally sprinkle with extra granulated sugar.
- Let cookies cool completely.
adapted from Martha Stewart’s Baking HandbookRead More
I am in a funk, a rut. Having a serious lazy bout. A bit blasé. Even a touch melancholy. Whatever you call it, I am in it. My get up and go is gone. This happens from time to time ( to everyone, I think. I hope.) and this time around it is because I am tired of summer. There, I said it. I am a girl with 4 seasons burned into her soul…and I am ready for a bit of change. A seasonal change.
I am craving layers of clothing that need no explanation and I find myself longing for boots and thick socks. Hearty meals full of comfort and nourishment are tempting my tastebuds. My need for quiet evenings absorbed in a book or a classic flick outweight my drive to be doing anything else, besides maybe a bonfire with quiet conversation and random outburst of laughter. My craving for change is rearing its head before the calendar says it is time for change. Therefore, I am stuck. Or just a tad sticky. And boy do I hate being sticky. ( Stickiness is my one aversion to small children. Why are they always so sticky? Like, literally, sticky. Tacky to the touch. I will handle my children with rubber gloves. )
The final weeks of winter and summer bring about these feelings. I can feel it coming on and there is no stopping it. Late February, the stirring enters and leaves me feeling anxious and squirmy. Ready for the warmth of the sun on my skin and the sweet smell of spring rains. Ready for the longer days and warm evenings. Come August, I am prepared for the opposite. God forbid I ever move somewhere with no distinct seasons. Would I ever be able to shake the funk? Where would the reliable and predictable change come from?
It doesn’t help to see promotions for upcoming Oktoberfest celebrations in the paper and pumpkin ales in the grocery. Boot sales at Nordstroms and ‘Back to School’ sales at Staples. My eyes and mind see and recognize change….however, they are premature and they, too, are jumping the gun.
Now don’t get me wrong. I am not trying to rush summer or toss it to the wayside. Consider this like the week or two before vacation. That is how I feel. Where the anticipation is maxed out and the urge to drop whatever is on your plate and leave early is so strong that the tiniest temptataion will have you buckling under its pressure. You are just pleading with the clock to tick a little faster for the next two weeks. And then halt. Because when you find yourself where you want to be, you kinda want that to last as long as possible.
While I love your heat and tanktops. Pool parties and freckles. I am sorry to say that I am over you. Over you until next year. So, I apologize in advance for any angry words or complaining comments aimed in your direction or my lack of motivation to enjoy what is left of your time with us. I am, however, rather digging the hint of fall in your night air. What does it feel like to be pushed out of the spotlight? See, snarky. I can’t help it. Sorry. Again.
So since pot roast and chili. Apple crisp and spiced cider must wait their turn, I am having a bit of trouble in the kitchen. My cravings are not matching the season. Thank goodness for cookies! They are always in season. Especially chocolate ones. And if there is one thing that will drag me out of a funk, it is chocolate cookie dough (not that I recommend eating raw cookie dough, bbbuuutttt it kind of is the best stuff on Earth, just sayin’.) And after a good dose of cookie dough and then in rapid succession, hot from the oven coconut chocolate chocolate chip cookies…I can feel that blasé feeling evaporating. The cool evening air drifting in through the wide open windows kind of helps too.
Come on fall…hurry up!
- 2 Sticks Unsalted Butter, room temperature
- ¾ Cup Granulated White Sugar
- ¾ Cup Dark Brown Sugar, tightly packed
- 1 + ½ Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 2 Eggs
- 2 + ¼ Cup All-Purpose Flour
- ½ Cup Unsweetened Dark Cocoa Powder
- 1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
- ½ Teaspoon Salt
- 1 Cup Mini Chocolate Chips
- 1 Cup Sweetened Shredded Coconut
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
- in a medium sized bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside
- In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and both sugars. Beat in eggs and vanilla.
- With mixer speed on low, slowly add dry ingredients and beat until well combined.
- With a wooden spoon or spatula, fold in chocolate chips and coconut.
- Scoop dough by heaping tablespoonfuls onto parchment lined baking sheets and bake in preheated oven for 8 to 10 minutes. (do not over bake!)
- Remove from oven and let sit on tray for about 5 minutes before removing and transferring to a wire cooling rack.