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Posts tagged ‘cookies’

Labeled bars

Every year in February something amazing happens. Little girls in brown and green (sorry it’s blue now) start showing up at my door and in front of supermarkets all over the country selling some of my favorite cookies in existence. That’s right, I’m talking about Girl Scout Cookies. Every February I stock up on Thin Mints and Samoas because they’re only here for a short time and I love me some Thin Mints… especially if they’re frozen.

You can understand then, why I was super excited when my friends over at Melissa’s asked me to create a recipe using their fresh produce in combination with those awesome cookies from the Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles Council.  See, now I could get my favorite flavors and try some new ones, all in the name of recipe testing.  How did I choose which flavors? Easy. It all came down to what recipe I wanted to make.

lemons

Meyer lemons are in season and if there’s one thing I love to make with Meyers it’s lemon bars. But recently I was thinking about that other popular lemon recipe, lemonade. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but a lot of restaurants aren’t just serving plain old lemonade anymore. They’re serving flavored lemonade, the most common of which is strawberry. So, I thought, instead of making the same old lemon bars, I’d make strawberry lemonade bars. And because I just can’t get enough of that lemon flavor, I knew the Girl Scouts’ Savanah Smiles would make the perfect crust. Not only are they crunchy and buttery, they’re also super lemony which means you’re going to have that awesome tart citrus flavor from the first bite all the way to the last.

box of cookies

If you’re anything like me, you’ve been buying (and selling) Girl Scout cookies since you were little. But I was by no means the first Girl Scout to sell cookies to my friends and neighbors. This business has been going since 1917 when the first Girl Scout cookie was created. Believe it or not the first cookie wasn’t today’s popular Thin Mint. Instead it was a sugar cookie similar to the Trefoil. That simple sugar cookie was the beginning of the Girls Scout Cookie Program which is the largest girl-run business in the world. By selling these cookies, girls all over learn about business, improve their people and business entrepreneurial skills, and gain leadership experience. As a matter of fact, more than half the women out there who are in business today, say that the Girl Scout Cookie Program was big part of developing those skills.

So, it turns out February isn’t just about satisfying your cookie craving. Buying a box (or two), set girls all over on a path toward success; and the good news is you still have another week to stock up, as they’re available through March 6th.  Want to find a troop selling them? Just go to girlscoutcookies.org, type in your zip code and you too can buy as many Thin Mints, Samoas or Savannah Smiles you want. Enjoy them straight or do what I did and convert them into something else entirely. Either way, you’re not only benefitting yourself, you’re helping the little girl who sold them to you make her way in the world.

close up

Strawberry Lemonade Bars

Ingredients:

Crust

  • 1 box of Savannah Smiles
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 egg, divided

Filling

  • 1 cup lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest
  • 2-1/4 cups sugar, divided
  • 1 cup flour
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 pint strawberries, juiced

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9 X 13 pan and set aside.
  2. Grind up all the Savannah Smiles in a food processor until it resembles fine bread crumbs.
  3. Add the butter, flour and egg yolk and pulse until well combined. Toss the dough in a resealable bag and chill in the fridge for 20 minutes.
  4. Spread the crust in the pan and up the sides. Pour the egg white over the dough and spill off the excess. Put in the fridge to chill for another 20 minutes.
  5. While the crust chills, whisk together the the lemon juice, lemon zest, 2 cups of sugar, flour and eggs until well combined.
  6. Pour the lemon mixture over the chilled crust.
  7. In another bowl whisk together the strawberry juice and remaining sugar. Pour the strawberry mixture over the lemon mixture. Then take a butter knife and swirl the strawberry mixture into the lemon mixture to make whatever pretty design you like.
  8. Place in the oven and bake for 45 minutes or until the edges are golden brown and a toothpick when inserted comes out clean.  Let cool and serve.

Labeled cookies

If you follow this blog, you know that I’m a huge cookie fan. But more than that, I’m a chocolate fan. Combining the two make me the happiest pinup in the world.

I’ve been making chocolate chip and oatmeal cookies since I could hold a spatula but I’ve never combined the two. Sure, I’ve tasted chocolate chip oatmeal cookies, I’ve just never made them. Then about a month ago Liz Berg of That Skinny Chick Can Bake posted a recipe for Loaded Oatmeal Cookies. Her recipe wasn’t just loaded with oats and chocolate chips, but nuts and fruit as well. They sounded amazing and she said they were a big hit. So, I decided to try them. But before I did, I needed to make a few changes.

top view

First, I live in a nut-free house since Hubs is deathly allergic to any and all nuts. Second, while I love cherries, we’re right in the middle of cranberry season. I love chocolate and fruit together so I thought rather than dried cherries, I’d go with dried cranberries. They’re a little more tart and would give the cookies a more festive, holiday feel. Sure these cookies will be great all year long, but they’re perfect for your holiday party.

So, thanks, Liz for a great recipe that inspired this holiday twist. They were yummy and I can’t wait to make them for my holiday party and many parties to come.

coffee and cookies

Cranberry Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 cups old fashioned oats

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl combine the butter and sugars, and mix until well combined, about 4 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until well combined.  Add the vanilla and beat for another minute.
  4. Chop the bittersweet chocolate into bite-sized pieces and set aside.
  5. Slowly add the flour mixture, mixing well. Add the rolled oats, followed by the chopped chocolate. Mix well. Stir in the cranberries and chocolate chips. Chill for about 15 minutes before scooping onto the baking sheet.
  6. Spoon the cookie dough onto the prepared baking sheet, and bake 12 minutes or until the cookies have set and are just starting to brown. Allow to cool completely on the baking sheet and serve.

I look forward to Mother’s Day every year because it’s always fun to see what my boys have made me in class. These days, A’s presents are always a surprise because he makes them in his classes. But T is still too young to go to school. His classes are Mommy & Me classes. So the Mother’s Day presents or cards he makes are really cards that I make. Since I’m the one cutting, drawing and gluing while T plays, I pick whichever poem, colors or designs I like. Then I sign his name, date it and give it to Hubs to give to me on the big day. That way years later when my memory starts to fade, I’ll be able to remember what “T” made me.

This year was no different. And when I discovered one of the poem choices was a cookie recipe, I knew that was the one “T” was going to glue inside his card. I didn’t take a close look at the recipe, I just knew that as a mother who loves to cook, that was the one I wanted. It was only as I glued the recipe inside the card that I actually read it. This wasn’t your average cookie recipe. Then again, Mommy’s Cookies are never going to be average.

While the ingredients definitely make this a super yummy cookie choice, it’s actually the directions that make it “Mommy’s Cookies”. No, I’m not going to reveal the directions here. You’ll have to read the recipe below and make the cookies with your kiddies. I know at first glance the directions seem long and involved, but trust me they’re not. And please make sure you read each and every step. If you do, I guarantee a fun way to spend Mother’s Day that will bring quite a few giggles during the baking process.

Mommy’s Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2-1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup oatmeal
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 cup coconut

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over low heat.
  2. Tie daughter’s shoes.
  3. Mix sugar into the butter.
  4. Answer the phone.
  5. Get out two eggs while fixing a bottle of juice.
  6. Add the eggs one a time to the butter and sugar.
  7. Change the baby’s diaper, put your son on the counter to watch and give him some Cheerios to snack on. Wash your hands.
  8. Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt in a separate bowl.
  9. Answer the door.
  10. Mix together the egg mixture with the flour mixture.
  11. Measure out the oatmeal.
  12. Clean up the broken egg that fell on the floor. Find the recipe and tape it back together. Take son off the counter and give him some crayons and paper.
  13. Measure out the chocolate chips and the coconut.
  14. Take a minute or two to find your son by following the trail of crushed Cheerios. Set him in the pack & play with his favorite toys.
  15. Fold the oatmeal, chocolate chips and coconut into the dough. Chill the dough for 10-15 minutes.
  16. Clean the counters and the floor.
  17. Take the crayons out of the baby’s mouth. Tape the crayon drawing to the fridge. Wash your hands.
  18. Drop cookies by the spoonful on a ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Make sure you set the timer!
  19. Smile and pour the milk. Serve the cookies.
  20. Go take a nap with the kids and never forget how important all those “extra ingredients” were to make these very special cookies.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the wonderful mothers out there.

Okay, I’m not gonna deny it. I didn’t make a Valentine’s-Day-specific dessert this year. Bad Kitchy Cooker. Bad. But while I was hanging my head in shame I realized I’ve made plenty of desserts for the blog and some of them have even been chocolate. (Who am I kidding? Most of them have been chocolate.) And since I’ve seen plenty of Valentine’s Day roundups this year, I thought why not do one of my own? I mean, I’ve always been a big fan of Valentine’s Day. And no, it’s not because of the cards… although getting cards and presents are always nice. It’s because of all the chocolate.

Yes, my name is Jennifer Richmond and I’m a chocoholic. So of course I live for the one holiday a year where it’s all about chocolate. The only thing that makes chocolate better? Why adding fruit to it of course. And if you can combine those two things while adding a splash of pink… oh my god, I’ll do whatever you say.

But if you’re not the chocolate fan that I am, I won’t hold it against you. There are plenty of Valentine dessert options out there that don’t have one ounce of chocolate in them.  (I’ve even made a few. Please don’t tell anyone.) Below is a list of some of my favorite sweet treats perfect for the upcoming heart-shaped holiday. I even included one that isn’t chocolate but is just as tasty because I am trying to venture outside my comfort zone. Really… I swear.

  1. Maraschino Whoopie Pies
  2. Black Forest Brownies
  3. Chocolate-Port Cake
  4. Chocolate Potato Cake with Raspberry Frosting
  5. Blood Orange Valentines
  6. Strawberry Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

If your curling your lip in disgust, don’t worry, you’re not alone. I did the exact same thing when my trainer told me about them. I mean why in the world would you put avocado and chocolate chips in the same cookie? One’s great for salads, dips and baby food and the other is the perfect dessert ingredient. They don’t seem to have anything in common and yet they make one of the best cookies I’ve ever tasted.

Not only are these chocolate chip cookies super yummy, they’re rich, chewy and super healthy. You may think avocados are fattening but it turns out that the fat in them is the good kind of fat that’s easily burned for energy. Wouldn’t it be great to have cookies that add energy rather than suck it like so many of the desserts we usually ingest?  I think so.

Now you may be wondering how a whole avocado fits into a cookie.  That’s easy.  Since the avocado lacks a lot flavor it makes the ideal ingredient when it comes to desserts. This creamy fruit (yes, it’s a fruit because of its pit) actually makes the perfect substitute for butter or cream. And that’s exactly what I used it for. Instead of the standard cup of butter that usually goes into my chocolate chip cookies, I only used five tablespoons. Five tablespoons! That’s not even a whole stick.  And you know what? I didn’t miss the butter in the cookies at all.  They were still just as rich as they were when I made them the regular way with all butter and no avocados.

The one thing I wasn’t expecting with these cookies though, was that they didn’t expand while cooking. They maintained their spoon-like shape from when I put them on the cookie sheet.  So, yes, the cookies were smaller than expected but they were still just as yummy. And since they were smaller and healthier, I could have three or four and not feel guilty.  And isn’t that what we’ve all been searching for for decades anyway: a way to eat numerous cookies without the guilt?  I know it’s something I’ve wanted for as long as I can remember.

These avocado cookies got me thinking: what other vegetables could I use to make tasty desserts healthier?  Kale inside brownies? Ancho chilis inside a chocolate cake? Why not? I mean, we already have carrot cake and zucchini bread. Who knows how many possibilities there are. I can tell you one thing for sure. I’m now on a mission to find out.  Any suggestions?

Avocado Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 2-1/4 cups of flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 of a large ripe avocado
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 (12 oz.) package chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Sift the flour, baking soda and salt together in a medium bowl and set aside.
  3. Mix together the butter, avocado, sugar and brown sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time.  Add in the vanilla and mix until combined.
  4. Gradually add in the flour mixture until just combined.
  5. Fold in the chocolate chips, oats and nuts.
  6. Using a large spoon, drop rounds onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack and serve.