Bribery in Cookie Form

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For the past two weekends, my parents’ house has turned into an art gallery, because my mother is a member of the West End Studio Tour (this is also why the posts this week aren’t particularly complicated — hard to bake up a storm when your house is an art gallery).

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Because Gren is the expert watchdog that he is (he barks at everything), it behove us to remove him from the house for the duration of the show.  That’s four days of being gone from 10AM to 5PM.  You can definitely overstay your welcome if you camp out at someone’s house for that long … with your dog.  Accordingly, when we ended up at the Pie’s parents’ house for the second time, we brought baked goods.

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The Pie had found a recipe for a giant chocolate chip cookie baked in a cast iron skillet in the most recent issue of Martha Stewart’s Every Day Food and he thought we should give it a try.  This time around I followed the recipe but I definitely plan to play around with this easy dish in the future. We brought our skillet and ingredients with us, to further ingratiate ourselves with our hosts.

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Start by preheating your oven to 350°F and buttering the interior of a 10″ cast iron skillet.  The one I used was probably 8 or 9 inches so my cookie ended up a bit thicker and had to cook for a bit longer.  Just keep that in mind.  In a large bowl, with a wooden spoon, mix together 6 tablespoons room temperature butter with 1/3 cup packed brown sugar and 1/2 cup granulated sugar, until the butter is thoroughly mixed through the sugar.

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Crack in 1 egg and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract and give that a good stir.

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Stir in as well 1 cup all purpose flour and 1/2 teaspoon baking soda.

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When that’s fully combined you can stir in 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips.  These ones were actually a little bit blue in hue — that’s not just the lighting.  I may have added a cup and a half.  I like my chocolate chips.

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Smooth your dough into the bottom of the skillet and bake for 18-20 minutes, until the cookie is just set in the centre and golden-brown on the edges.

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Let it sit for 5 minutes before serving.

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Alternately, cut it into wedges before it cools and reheat it later.

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We served ours with ice cream and it was delightfully chewy.  Bribe successful!

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Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

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So my washing machine has been broken for about a month now.  My landlord didn’t like the first repair quote we got so we had to get a second opinion and now it turns out that the part we need is pretty much not available anymore.  While we wait, I do some laundry by hand in the bathtub (so not as fun as it sounds) and some I do downstairs in Fussellette’s machine (which is identical to and yet works so much better than ours).  So in recompense for being a pain in her butt while I wash my unmentionables in her house, I made her some cookies yesterday.  These puppies (adapted from this recipe) are soft and chewy and you can’t even tell that they are gluten-free.  I asked the Pie how many cookies he wanted and all he did was extend his arms to their fullest, which I took to mean “this many,” so I doubled my batch, but a single batch here makes 18-24 large cookies.

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

If you can find oat flour for this then you’re gold.  If you can’t, take a heaping cup of rolled oats and plop it in your food processor.  Give that a go for a few minutes until you have fine crumbs.

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Plop that in a bowl together with 1 cup brown rice flour, 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon corn starch, 1 teaspoon xanthan gum, 1 teaspoon fine salt, and 1 teaspoon baking soda and stir that up.

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In the bowl of a mixer, add together 1/4 cup granulated sugar and 3/4 cup brown sugar.  Pour 1 cup melted butter on top and mix it up.

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While that’s on the go, add in 2 eggs and 2 teaspoons vanilla.

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Now slowly add in your bowl’s worth of dry ingredients and mix until fully incorporated.  Looks kind of runny but don’t fret.

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Now slowly mix in 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips.  That looks more like it, eh?

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I used a soup spoon to scoop plops of dough onto the baking sheets.

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Bake for 10-13 minutes, rotating your sheets halfway through, until the edges of the cookie turn a nice brown.  The centre will not look set, but again, don’t fret.  Let the cookies set on the pan for another 2-3 minutes after removing them from the oven.

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Then you can put them on a rack to cool completely.  Or you can eat them right away.  I think the choice is obvious.

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You can see how well my lettuce is doing, too.

Slutty Brownies for My Birthday

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It’s my birthday.  Hooray!  Happy birthday to ME!

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As such, it means I can do whatever the eff I want to do today.  And I choose to be totally lazy and completely unhealthy and make these brownies*.  I’ve been hearing amazing things about this thing called a “slutty brownie,” and after looking them up on the interwebz I decided to go to the source, which, apparently, is a lady known as The Londoner.  Seems legit.  I could definitely get behind this sort of recipe.

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Normally I’m not one to make stuff out of pre-packaged food.  It’s just not my style.  For the most part, if you make something from scratch it tastes way better and is far more satisfying to make.  In this particular case, however, I think I can make an exception.

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It IS my birthday, you know.  But I have to say that the word “chocolatey” versus “chocolate” is always worrisome, though these did include real chocolate after all.

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Preheat your oven to 350°F and line a baking dish with parchment.  I figured that seeing as some of the contents of my dish would fit normally into a square pan, and because I had extra ingredients on top of that, I should use a bigger pan.

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So you take a some chocolate chip cookie dough. In the British version, cookie dough comes in a box like cake and brownie mix, but here, unless you want it in bulk, it generally comes pre-made in refrigerated rolls.  The Londoner recommends using a teaspoon extra oil and water than recommended for the dry mix, because the cookie dough will be baking longer than usual and might dry out.  And you want this baby to be moister than moist.  So mix that up according to directions and add a bit more liquid. Smoosh the cookie dough into the bottom of the pan.  Use your fingers to make it all even and stuff. I decided I needed an extra roll of cookie dough.

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Take a package of Oreo cookies (double-stuffed is better, apparently), and line them up in the tray.  She says not to use the broken ones, but how else would one fill the gaps?  It’s thrifty.  However, I didn’t have any broken ones.  Way to go, modern packaging.

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And I didn’t have enough Oreos, actually.  So I moved everything to a smaller pan, which just involved some re-smooshing, and was very easy.

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Still didn’t have enough Oreos, though, and I couldn’t justify going out for another package when I was only a few short.

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So I just moved them over a bit.

THEN.  Then.  You take a box of brownie mix.  And you mix that up according to its directions. Mine had chocolate chunks in it!

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No need to add anything extra.  Just do it.  Giv’er.

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Pour that loveliness over top of the Oreos.  I’m serious.  Do it.  If you used a bigger pan like me you will need to spread it carefully so everything is covered.

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Bake that sucker for 40-50 whole minutes, then remove from the oven and put on a wire rack to cool.  Mine was big, so it actually took an hour.  A smaller pan would probably take you about 30 minutes. Look at that lovely shiny/crackly top!

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When it’s still a little warm, use the parchment as handles to remove the gloriousness from the confines of the pan, set it on a cutting board, and cut it up.  I recommend smallish cubes, as larger cubes of the stuff might result in DEATH.  And nobody likes death.

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Serve it up with a dollop of ice cream on top, or whipped cream, or caramel sauce, or fudge sauce, or all four in combination.  With a cherry on top.  And sprinkles.  Okay maybe I’m getting ahead of myself.

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And I’m not going to give you storage instructions because if you have any sense, there won’t be any left to store.

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* This is actually a lie.  I don’t do ANYTHING on my birthday.  It’s a rule.  I made these a week BEFORE my birthday (because despite what you may believe I don’t get up at the crack of dawn and bake in time for a 7AM NST post).  The Pie is creating a magical birthday cake for me as we speak.  There may be a post on it.  Who knows.

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What Can You Do with Leftover Ganache?

I have more ganache leftover from the Red Velvet Comeback Cupcakes than is really good for my sanity.  There are/is/are about 3 cups of ganache sitting in my fridge.

The good thing is that you can freeze ganache.  Did you know that?  While it’s frozen you can figure out what the heck to do with it.

This particular ganache is just cream and chocolate, and has a consistency of chocolate pudding. Mmm, pudding …

So what can you do with ganache that’s lying around?

If it’s thicker,  you can make truffles.  If it’s thinner, you can make fondue.

If it’s as it is, you can ice cakes and brownies with it.

You can pour it into hot milk for hot chocolate.

Add it to your coffee for a mocha latte.

Today, however, we are going to make ourselves some cookies, then make ganache sandwiches with them, then FREEZE them.  It’ll be like ice cream sandwiches, but wayyyy better.

I picked our recipe for margarine chocolate chip cookies, because they’re the biggest and fluffiest.  But I made them twice as big.  I ended up with 28 cookies.

Make sure your ganache is super chilly.  To be on the safe side, chuck the mixing bowl you’re using in the freezer for a while as well.

Whip that ganache up to a frothy amazingness.

Spoon fluffy ganache in-between your cooled cookies.  Sandwich them together.  Otherwise they ain’t sammiches.

Wrap them in waxed paper, seal them in a plastic bag, and chuck them in the freezer.

The Pie and I each ate one before freezing.  The sweetness was sweeeeeeeeeet.

Also there was a wee bit of ganache leftover, but neither of us could pluck up the nerve to eat any more.  These babies are pretty intense.

Espresso Cookies

Miss Awesome and P-with-an-E served these to us with tea after one of those long Sunday lunches that you don’t think about leaving until it’s nearly dark and you have to figure out how you’re going to eat dinner.

Yes, I know, we’ve done the whole espresso deal with our espresso brownies, but who says you can’t make a cookie out of everything?  I had to modify the recipe a bit as it involved using a pre-mixed chocolate chip cookie dough as a base, but I think the result is quite good.  And I will pass on Miss Awesome’s warning: DO NOT EAT AT BEDTIME!

Preheat your oven to 375°F and cover a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Whisk together in a medium-sized bowl:

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

3 tablespoons instant espresso powder

1 tablespoon ground coffee

What I like about mixing dark powders with light powders is that I can easily see how well I’ve mixed the coffee in, so the logic is that if the coffee is well blended then so is the stuff I can’t see, like the baking soda.  Of course, if you shoot it in macro, you can see EVERYTHING.

In a large bowl, cream together

1/2 cup butter, softened (That divot is because I stuck my finger in it to check if it was soft.  It was.)

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

Crack in and blend well

1 large egg

Stir into that

1/4 cup Kahlua

Stir the flour mixture into the butter mixture and blend well.

Add in

3/4 cup chopped pecans

1 cup chocolate chips

And because we need a chocolate chip extreme closeup:

Use a tablespoon to plop your dough onto the baking sheet.  Space them out as best you can because they will spread quite a bit.

Bake the cookies for 9-12 minutes and leave them on the pan for another five minutes before removing them to a wire rack to cool completely.Then you can eat them.  Or just look at them.  Or whatever.