Mocha-maca-mel Monsters

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The first job I ever had that I got without the aid of nepotism was as a Subway Sandwich Artist at the local mall. Now, this was way back in the day, and by back in the day I mean so long ago that we only had two kinds of bread, one type of cheese, and we still cut the loaves in U-shapes (which, I maintain to this day, is still the better way to do it). My favourite Subway cookie was (and still is) the double chocolate macadamia nut, with a cocoa base, white chocolate chips, and a handful of crushed macadamia nuts.  So good.  And I don’t even like macadamia nuts. I don’t know how they were made (they came in little frozen dough pucks) but this recipe is an homage to my memory of burning myself on ovens for minimum wage. Enjoy!

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Preheat your oven to 375°F and line some baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a bowl, mix together 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, and 1/4 cup instant espresso (for the mocha- part).

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I tried to line this up all cool and edgy but my kitchen door was open and kept blowing the flour around and the grains of instant coffee were too coarse to stay still. Turns out I suck at being cool. And at planning ahead.

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In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together 1 cup butter, 1 cup brown sugar, and 1 cup granulated sugar until super fluffy and glorious.  I know some of you don’t use refined sugars but you simply cannot beat the smell of butter and sugar getting to know each other.

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Add in 2 large eggs, beating them up individually – just like any kung fu movie involving one hero and multiple opponents.

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Slowly tip in your flour mixture and mix until totally combined (I used the shield, sorry Eli).

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Then smash up some macadamia nuts (for the -maca- part).

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I have no idea how many I have here, but I think I ended up with just over 2 cups after I smashed them with the end of my rolling pin.  Good times.

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I also added in about 2 cups butterscotch chips.  For the -mel (caramel) part.

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Drop in heaping tablespoons onto your baking sheet and bake, rotating halfway through for 8-10 minutes.

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Allow to cool for at least 5 minutes on the pan before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

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So tasty with a cold glass of milk.

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Oatmeal Scotchies

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Every two weeks we have a team meeting that requires me to actually shower and change into real clothes physically attend at the office.  More often than not, when I do, I bring baked goods.  Obviously it’s a nasty habit I picked up as a law librarian.

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I hauled a package of butterscotch chips out of a box a few weeks back, so this formed the inspiration.  The recipe comes from Hershey’s Kitchens and might be a new favourite around the office.

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Preheat your oven to 375°F and line a couple baking sheets with parchment paper.

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Look! I have a kitchen table for the first time in EONS!

Start with 3/4 cup softened butter, 3/4 cup granulated sugar, and 3/4 cup brown sugar and chuck all that in a bowl.

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Beat the crap out of it until it’s fluffy, then add in 2 eggs and 2 teaspoons vanilla.

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In another bowl, whisk together 1 1/4 cups flour, 1 teaspoon baking soda, and 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon.

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Gradually add the flour to the butter mixture and beat until well-combined.

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Stir in 3 cups rolled oats, and then a whole package (or about 1 3/4 cups) butterscotch chips.

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Drop tablespoons of the dough onto your baking sheet (I ended up with just over three dozen cookies) and bake for 8-10 minutes, rotating halfway through, until the centres of the cookies are just set the edges are starting to brown.  My oven seems to cook a little hotter so I ended up baking mine for only 6 minutes.

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Let those rest on the sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a rack to cool completely.  I may have enjoyed a few with my morning coffee (after a complete and nutritious breakfast, of course).

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Salted Caramel, Peanut Butter, and Chocolate Squares

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Um.  So.  I made these, with thanks to Midwest Living, and then suddenly they were all gone.  A heavily pregnant Atlas had a bunch of them, as did her recently-delivered sister (I guess babies need chocolate?), and then we took them to a Thanksgiving potluck and the cousins discovered them.  And then Rusty ate the rest.  I can’t even remember what they tasted like, they disappeared so fast.  So if you’ve got a Hallowe’en party on the go tomorrow night, this is a good way to incorporate candy into your cookery.  Go for it.

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Now, it’s best to get everything ready ahead of time for this because timing is key.  So.

Take 12 peanut butter cups (that’s four packs of three of the Reese ones) and chop them up.

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And a huge bar of chocolate, such that when you cut it up you get 1 1/2 cups chopped chocolate.  You’ll need as well 1/3 cup butterscotch chips.

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Grab 1/2 cup Skor bits (these were my own addition, and I liked them).

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Measure out 2 cups peanuts (salted or unsalted, your choice).

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You’ll also need 2 cups crushed graham crumbs.

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Okay, here we go.

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Line a 9″ x 13″ pan with aluminum foil such that the foil comes over the long edges (and you can use it as a handle later.  Then grab some large flat crackers (the recipe calls for “club crackers,” so I used Sky Flakes) and line the bottom of the dish with enough to cover the whole thing.

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In a medium saucepan, combine 3/4 cup butter, 3/4 cup honey, 1 cup brown sugar, and 1/3 cup whipping cream.

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Bring that to a boil, stirring the whole time.

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Add the graham crumbs and reduce the heat to a simmer, stirring constantly, and cook for a full 5 minutes.

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Remove that from the heat and pour in 2 teaspoons vanilla.

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Spread half this thick caramel stuff onto your cracker base in the baking dish.

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Sprinkle on the peanuts and the Skor bits.

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And then the peanut butter cup bits.

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Spread on the other half of the caramel stuff and press enough crackers onto the top to cover it.

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So then it looks like this and you can leave that for a little bit.

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In the bowl of a double boiler or in the microwave, melt together the milk chocolate pieces and the butterscotch chips.

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Add in as well 1/3 cup smooth peanut butter.

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Spread that gloriousness over the cracker top.

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Shake and tap the pan to get the bubbles out, then chuck it in the fridge for at least 2 hours.

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When it’s all set, take it out and use the foil handles to remove it from the pan.  Carefully remove the foil.

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Cut these babies into squares and watch them disappear before your eyes!

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Cocoa-Caramel-Pecan Cookies

At the end of October I dog-sat for one of my neighbours, KDB.  She has two Scottie dogs, Hamish and Flora.

I wanted to leave her something nice to come home to, and to take advantage of the fun that is her kitchen.  It’s blue.  All of it.  And whatever isn’t blue tends to have the image of a Scottie on it.

Kristopf came over to help me make cookies (but in reality to use my computer).This is a recipe that I kind of invented myself, adapted from the basic Tollhouse Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe.  I hope you like it.

Preheat your oven to 375°F.

Soften 2 cups butter and plop it in a large bowl.Cream it together with 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar and 1 1/2 cups brown sugar.Crack 4 eggs into a bowl and whisk them silly.

Add the eggs to the butter stuff and mix well.

In a separate bowl, mix together 4 1/2 cups flour, 1 teaspoon baking soda, and 6 to 8 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa.  Add this to the goo mixture a little at a time and stir well.

Now, stirring the whole time (you may need to use your hands at this point as the dough gets hard to handle), add in 2 1/2 cups pecan pieces, 2 cups butterscotch chips, and 2 cups chocolate chips.Drop spoonfuls of the dough on ungreased baking sheets.

Bake for 9 to 11 minutes, rotating halfway through for even baking.  After removing them from the oven, leave the cookies on the sheets for a few minutes, then remove them to a rack to cool completely.

They are super good with your afternoon tea.

Try not to eat them all at once.

 

Gooey Bars

This recipe comes from my favourite book, Baked: New Frontiers in Baking.  In this particular book, the authors call their bar the Baked Bar, after their establishment in New York, but my cousin’s wife told me that her grandmother used to make her what she called Hello Dolly Bars.  I call them Gooey Bars, because that’s what they truly are.  Many of the wedding guests described them as “life-altering experiences”, but I’ll leave you to determine that for yourself.

The ingredients are simple, but the crust is a little fussy, so the recipe from start to finish takes quite a while.

Preheat your oven to 300°F.

Line a 9 x 13″ pan with aluminum foil and butter it.  The foil makes it much easier to remove everything from the pan after you’ve baked it.

Put a piece of parchment on a baking sheet and spread 2 cups shredded coconut across it.  Bake for 5 or so minutes until the coconut begins to turn golden brown.  Toss the coconut and bake for another 3 minutes or so.

Toss the coconut in a bowl with 2 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs.

Melt 1 cup butter and pour it in.

Mix it all up with your hands or a fork, and then use your hands to press the crust mixture into the pan.  Smooth the surface and level it.

Refrigerate the crust for 15 minutes, then bake for 10 minutes, or until golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack and let the crust cool completely.

Now for the rest.

Raise the oven temperature to 325°F.

Spread 1 1/3 cups pecans over a sheet pan and toast them for a little while until brown.

Spread those over the bottom of the cooled crust and add 1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips as well.

Coarsely chop up about 9 oz white baking chocolate (that’s 9 squares).

Spread those on top, as well as 3/4 cup butterscotch chips.

The fun part here is when you pour two cans of sweetened condensed milk over top the whole thing.  Just drizzle that on there.

Shake the pan gently to evenly distribute the milk.  Of course, if you have really thick milk you might want to use a spatula to spread it out.

Bake the whole thing for 30-40 minutes, making sure to rotate the pan every ten minutes.  When it’s all brown and bubbly it’s all done.  Transfer it to a wire rack and let it cool completely before cutting into squares and serving.

Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and keep them in the fridge for up to four days.