Monday, June 30, 2008

So today I decided to do an experiment because yesterday as Anna, from Cookie Madness, and I were emailing back and forth she made me think of my mom's (and therefore my grandma's) chocolate chip cookies that I grew up making at home.  After thinking about the recipe, which I have not made for a long time, I decided to do a test.  You see Grandma Farnsworth's cookies are made with shortening.  I have recently only been baking with real butter.  And Anna recently posted a chocolate chip cookie made with oil (to use when you're in a pinch and don't have any butter).  That gave me three recipes to consider and try out.  Since tonight is family night (every Monday night we do things together as a family--each taking turns with a little gospel lesson, an activity/game, and refreshments--or treats!).  Tonight is Taylor's turn for treats so I asked him if he wanted to help me make three different cookies.  He loves to help me (and I realize now I should take pictures of him doing so, and not just pictures of my baked goods).   I measured everything and Taylor dumped them all into the bowls at the right times.  He really is a good helper--when he isn't in the mood to eat all the chocolate chips! ;)

We started by making the Chocolate Chip Cookies made with oil.  The recipe can be found here.  I thought Anna's cookies looked decent, but mine for some reason are strange.  The dough was VERY crumbly and just wouldn't come together.  I added a bit more oil to see if that would do it and nope, just made it more oily.  I had to take a handful of crumbles and really squeeze it together to get it to say in a ball.  Then after they baked, which I didn't check on, they never really flattened out, so we have baked balls of chocolate chips dough.  I wanted to like these, but they are very oily.  I think any cookie is better with nuts, but my son does not, so today we left the nuts out.  (Kinda glad I didn't use nuts in these anyway.)

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I would probably only make these cookies again if I was REALLY needing a chocolate chip cookie and had no butter-or shortening.  The recipe called for 3/4 cup of rice krispies, which I would not worry about next time.  The baked cookies are just about as crumbly as the dough was. 

Next up we made Grandma Farnsworth's Chocolate Chip Cookies.  These cookies use shortening for the fat.  I try not to use shortening in baking anymore, even though I know the trans fat has been removed, I still just like using butter better.  But having made these cookies many, many times growing up, I wanted to see if they were still as yummy as I'd always thought and to pay respects to my grandma.  I don't know where she got the recipe from.  I had exactly 1/2 cup butter flavored Crisco shortening left, so I divided the recipe by four.  It is a huge recipe and if you're wanting to make a bunch of cookies for a crowd, this is great.  The recipe is:

2 cups shortening

1 3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 3/4 cup brown sugar

4 large eggs

4 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 cup hot water

5 rounded heaping cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking soda

3 cups chocolate chips (or more)

Cream together the shortening and both sugars.  Add the eggs and mix well.  Then add the hot water and vanilla extract and mix well.  In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients, then add to the wet mixture until combined.  Add chocolate chips (nuts also optional).  Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls on parchment paper lined baking sheets.  Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.  Makes 6-8 dozen.  *Note--the recipe is large and if you use a Kitchen Aid type mixer, it is pretty full, but does the job!)

Again--I quartered the recipe today and it made just under 2 dozen.

The cookies are good, crisp on the outside, soft on the inside, not really chewy, and not cakey.  It was what I remembered it to be--BUT I do love a cookie made with butter instead.  Hey Dad, I made the two on the right just for you--a little well-done and crispy.  You're welcome.      

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And finally I made a cookie that used butter for the fat.  As I was looking through my old recipe box (which still has some recipes in it that I wrote from my seventh grade home ec class--I don't think I've ever made any of those recipes since then--they just weren't that good!), but as I was looking through it, I found a recipe for Koi's (that's me) Chocolate Chip Cookies that I had written when I was a teenager.  I also found one that I'd written for brownies, hmmm, maybe I'll have to thy those, too.  I don't know where I got the amounts from or what, I probably just revamped a recipe I'd used or something.  So the third one we made today was this one.  While I have decided that I like a cookie made with butter the best, this one is just okay.  I'll even admit my own cookie is just okay! ;)  We baked some with just chocolate chips, but that was getting old, so I then added some mini m&m's and some of those Hershey's Kissables I'd bought earlier last week.  The cookie really isn't too much different from Grandma Farnsworth's, slightly crisp on the outside, slightly chewy with a soft inside.  But it does have more flavor with the butter and I definitely like it better.  So the recipe is:

1 cup butter

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup brown sugar

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

3-4 cups flour (not sure why I decided to make it so vague)  When I made them today I used about 3 cups.  I was probably just used to Grandma's recipe that used rounded heaping cupfuls and sometimes it really does vary a bit.

2 cups chocolate chips

Cream butter and sugars together well.  Add eggs and vanilla, mix well.  Mix in dry ingredients then chocolate chips.  Drop by teaspoonfuls on parchment paper lined baking sheets.  Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes. 

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After everyone tasted each of the cookies tonight, it was almost unanimous that the butter ones were the better of the three.  The only odd man out was Taylor and he strangely said he liked the oil based cookie the best!  Silly boy!  I would just like to say that as I also made the great Chock Full of Chocolate Chip Cookies again recently, I think they are still my running favorite.  You can find the recipe on my blog here.  I love these and will have to say the Levain's are right up there, which are also on this link. 



Again, happy baking!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Mini=Many Cookies


Little Mini's (What's up with the colored one?  Hmm.  I got a bag of Hershey's Kissables Candy Coated Chocolate Chips on sale at Target for like a buck twenty, so thought I'd try it.  Although, I don't really care for the Kissables, so I didn't do more than one.)

Lately I've been making cookies small, it's just kind of fun to see how many a batch will make and I don't feel as bad having a little cookie as opposed to eating big ones.  So on Monday I made these Peanut Butter Cookies I found on which is yet another baking/foodie blog I love and check daily.  Baking Blonde says these are the best peanut butter cookies ever, so I had to try them.  They ARE really good!  The only change I made to the recipe is it called for 1 1/3 cups flour and I thought the dough was too soft and moist to roll into balls, even after its suggested 15 minute chilling, so I added another 1/3 cup and they turned out perfect.  For fun, I also made another batch today and made little mini cookies, (the ones from Monday were quickly eaten up!)  I ended up with 72 cookies!  With half of the cookies, I pressed them with a fork like traditional peanut butter cookies and with the other half, after five minutes baking time, I added a chocolate chip to the center like you would the Peanut Butter Kisses Cookies which use Hershey Kisses (my mom's recipe growing up was called Peanut Butter Blossoms) and then baked them another three minutes.  I used Guittard Milk Chocolate Chips as they are bigger than the usual ones, so they were perfect size.  I think I prefer the ones with the little chocolate addition.  Oh, and the recipe calls for some chocolate chips and peanut butter chips, which I did do with the big ones I'd made on Monday, but for today's batch, I left those out.  I also used Smucker's All Natural Peanut Butter for the first batch and Jif Creamy PB for today's.  So, minor changes from the recipe, but still close and all worked great.  Ya gotta love a peanut butter cookie!


The Big Ones


I still have so many baked goods I'd like to get posted--someday.  Little Sammie's fingers are doing well healing.  But the poor little guy is not having fun wearing bandages constantly and I'll just say I'm not having much fun changing the bandages--especially after incidents like yesterday.  He ate breakfast, then I bathed him (he's supposed to take two baths a day without the bandages, so his fingers will get some hydrotherapy, which will help in the healing.  Anyway, after the bath and putting on new clean bandages, which is no fun by myself--it's really a two person job--one to hold his hand still and the other to put on the bandages--anyway, within that very first hour of clean bandages, Sam had made his way downstairs, where the boys have been instructed to ALWAYS keep the bathroom door shut, and next thing I know Scott brought him upstairs with dripping wet hands and told me he was playing in the toilet.   Uugghhh!  I think that is one of the yuckiest things!  We had to, obviously, do the bandages all over again.  BUT Sam is doing well, even at the doctor's office today, the nurse was very impressed with how still he was holding his hands for her to bandage him up.  I think he's just decided he knows it has to be done and that it actually feels better that way.  Ya gotta love this little guy!  (He's figured out how to climb up on the furniture and is so proud of himself!)


Monday, June 23, 2008

An Anniversary to Remember!

Friday was our 11th anniversary.  Or should I say the one that wasn't?  Kevin made special plans for us to go to Kansas City (one hour away) to dinner at The Melting Pot where he had a few nice things waiting for me, like flowers and some special gifts.  I was excited for out little evening getaway.  We usually take turns planning the dates as a "surprise" where the other doesn't know what we're doing or where we're going.  So I actually didn't know the plan until after the incident that canceled the evening's events.

I was about to fix my hair for the date and had my curling iron and my straightening iron on and I was in the bathroom about to use them.  Let me preface this by saying that Sam is often in the bathroom with me while I am getting myself ready and he has in the past tried to reach the cords to the irons.  This time, he was in our bedroom with Kevin and I was about to work on my hair when Kevin called me in to the bedroom for a second.  I swear not even ten seconds went by and Sam had made his way into the bathroom and first thing grabbed my straight iron.  We heard a blood curdling scream and ran in to see him on the floor with the iron dangling off the counter.  My poor baby had (obviously) grabbed the straight iron and burned both his hands (fingers) pretty badly.  He burned pretty much 2-4 fingers on each hand.  Kevin immediately picked him up and held his hands under the cold running water.  I filled a bowl with ice and water and while he screamed we soaked his hands, called Kevin's sister Cindy (a nurse and our savior when it comes to medical things) and decided we should take him to a doctor.  SO, the evening was canceled for anniversary plans and our babysitter (friends) got to the house as quickly as they could and Kevin and I got Sam in the car with the bowl of ice water and took him to a prompt care place.  They were fairly quick to get him in, but he was hysterical while the nurse tried to bandage up his fingers.  While she was a nice lady, she just didn't seem to have a clue how to bandage up his little fingers.  Kevin and I took turns holding him down while she made several attempts and while he screamed.  It's so sad to see your child hurt and pretty much feel to blame about how it happened.  I know, most kids have their turns at burns and injuries such as this, but I just want to take away his pain! 

Sam is a little trooper though!  We had to go get a couple prescriptions filled and I could really extend this story by telling you all about how the Dr. prescribed Codeine for Sam and how NO pharmacies keep that in stock (probably for safety reasons) and why didn't the Dr. know that.  And I could tell you about how while I ran in to the pharmacy to quickly get the prescriptions filled, Kevin sat in the car comforting Sam.  And then I could tell you how a good half hour later after me pleading with the pharmacy several times to hurry if they could and then find out after they made me think it would be done shortly that they don't even have it and called every pharmacy in town to find out no one did.  I could tell you that we couldn't understand why the Dr. just didn't prescribe Tylenol with codeine (that they all keep in stock).  I could quickly explain that after a number of phone calls to the Prompt Care and talking to the nurse that she finally helped us get that prescription for Tylenol with Codeine.  I could leave out the part about how frustrated we were and how we just wanted to get some pain medicine in our poor little baby. 

We returned home, chatted with our friends who had been babysitting and comforted Sam some more.  This kind of thing really frustrates Kevin and he no longer wanted to even worry about feeding the kids or about any kind of dinner for our anniversary.  So we spent some time deciding to quickly make the kids some frozen pizza, then on my way to fill the prescriptions (that's right we didn't actually HAVE the medicine in hand yet), I went and got Kevin a Chipotle burrito and some salad for our friends and I at Applebees and THEN to the pharmacy.  The person at the counter got me the meds in a nice timely manner, but had to have the pharmacist talk to me (why do they do that, really?) and I swear I stood their waiting while the pharmacist looked like she was just reading some stuff on a computer (I'm sure it was important).  I was getting more and more agitated because I had food in the car to get home so we could eat some kind of dinner with our friends.  The pharmacist finally came up and looked at the prescription I was picking up for Tylenol with Codeine (minus the alcohol-for babies) and said, "Okay, it says here you should give him 1.2 ml every six hours.  Any questions?"   Oh my goodness!  Yes, my question is IS it really necessary that I had to wait for THAT?  I can read a prescription label people.

Okay, enough complaining.  You know how something like this happens and just every little thing seems to really add up and make it seem like everything was about as annoying as it could get, and then another little thing happens.  Sigh!  Well, anyway, at 8:00 we finally sat down and ate our wonderful anniversary dinner, friends included.  (No offense Berghouts, we were happy you were there and so thankful you could baby sit!)

I will say one quick positive thing--have you ever been to Chipotle?  I actually have not ever been to one until this night and for ordering two burritos, as Kevin likes to say, "the size of your head", I don't even think I was in the restaurant for one whole minute.  They got that burrito making thing down there!  Great service, my kind of dinner--FAST, but good.  Kevin LOVES their burritos.  I have never had one and well, probably won't because that would be like at least three days worth of food for me. 

So after all that, we had already previously given Sam some regular Tylenol, so we couldn't even give him the prescription stuff until he woke up later in the middle of the night--like 2 a.m.  And I've always thought codeine makes you drowsy?  Well, our little Sammie was WIDE awake from about 2 a.m. to 5 a.m.  That stuff wired him like crazy.  Kevin and I were SO tired.  Sigh!  And well, anyway, that's my quick (not), little, condensed story about our anniversary.

And what do you do for fun on your anniversaries?   (We are grateful Sam's burns weren't worse as we think about how he could have grabbed the curling iron which is hot all the way around the barrel and instead got the straight iron which isn't quite as bad!)  We have to keep bandaging his wounds as they don't stay on his hands very well for too long and to keep putting a burn ointment on them.  Sam is a little trooper through it all and just goes about his life adapting to whatever he needs to.  He has a hard time picking up things, especially little things like the food on his plate, so I gave him a fork and darn it all if it isn't the cutest thing to see him try with all his might to pick up sliced grapes with a fork.  He's done so well and never got mad or complained.  You gotta love that about kids.  They just do what they have to do.  As adults I think we complain way too much.  At least I know I do.  I need to work on that!

Here's a few pictures we've captured of little Samma!  First off, how stinkin' cute is this little skateboarder!  (taken before the accident)


And this little slicked back hair combed babe!



Here he is bandaged fingers and all trying to finish writing his dissertation.  ;)  Such a trooper!


A man's gotta eat--no matter what!


It was hard to get a decent shot, not that this is pleasant to look at anyway.  Also can't see that his thumb had it on this hand, too.  Tomorrow I take him to the doctor to have her pop the blisters and remove the skin.  Ouch!  I'm sure Sam won't be very happy with that and for the next couple days.  He's a little trooper though!  Gotta get to bed, it's after midnight.  Will try to post some of this week's baking soon!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Haircuts! And of course, some baked stuff!

So the boys hair has needed to be cut for a while now and we finally did it.  We went all the way and had our friend, Tes, shave their heads.  She first did Taylor's and we all thought it was a bit TOO short.  I guess we could have taken a little more off the top left!  Really, none of the boys wanted their pictures taken, but I snapped a few before they finished.  After Taylor, it was Parker's turn.  We did Parker's and Scott's a bit longer--but they are still short!

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So I don't have a good picture of any of them with the full haircut, but they look SO much better and are happy that I don't have to comb their hair for a while. 

Still just can't bring myself to cut these lovely locks though!------


Totally looks like a cute little girl from the back.  This was after I had sprayed it with water and just combed out the curl.  As it dries it just curls right back up.  I FINALLY went and got Sam's one year picture taken (now that he's 15 months old!).  I kept telling Tes I won't even consider letting her cut it until we did the pictures.  Got some darn cute ones of him.  Still don't think I can let it be cut yet.  I just know that once we cut it, he won't be curly anymore.  Scott's hair was the same way.  Speaking of Scott, he wouldn't even let me take his picture while getting the haircut.  I snapped a few shots of him with his hands covering his face, but they didn't turn out well at all.  We'll have to try for a nice shot of all the boys together.

The other day I made more cookies.  Can you believe it?  I haven't had time to post them, so we'll see if I can get it done now.  I found these cookies here at  Though they are called Big Oatmeal Raisin Chews I have been trying to make smaller cookies lately.  So, these little guys are really good.  This is a good, flat, chewy and nicely spiced oatmeal cookie.  Even Kevin was eating them up and he doesn't like raisins.  I did not make any changes to the recipe besides making small cookies (I did make some big ones too, but for the most part made little ones.)  These in the picture are probably only about the size of a silver dollar.


I then made another Canyon Ranch Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe that I'd also found on  It was totally different from the one I'd made before that has whole wheat flour and cream cheese in it.  I knew this one was made low fat and after baking off a few very cakey, soft cookies--though they tasted good, I decided to do something else with the cookie dough.  So I added 3 small ripe mashed bananas to it and baked them in a mini muffin tin.  I love banana muffins, so I liked these better as a muffin than just a soft cookie.  I'm sure I really bumped up the nutrition by adding banana anyway, right!  So, here's the link to the recipe.  For the nonfat yogurt, I used Dannon Light & Fit Vanilla and instead of all-purpose flour, I used unbleached flour.  This is quite similar to the recipe I already use most often for my banana muffins, except I usually use a whole grain flour.   Not at bad way to reuse a dough I wasn't liking!  The chocolate chip cookies as they were, looked pretty much like the tops of these muffins, very soft and cakey.



Today it's been 11 years since we got married.  Can't believe it!  Hope you're enjoying the journey as much as I am.  I love you--Katrina

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day!

First of all, I want to tell my Dad, Happy Father's Day.  I already called him, but it doesn't hurt to tell people again.  So, Dad, thank you for all you've done for me and the family all these years and I love you--You Goofball!  (Taylor still brings that up from time to time that Grandpa Scott calls him Goofball.  I always have to explain to him that you are silly and just kidding!)


Next I just gotta tell my amazing husband, Kevin, Happy Father's Day and that I love you tons!  Thank you for all you do for our family and most of all for putting up with me!


What a man!  (I love this picture!)  Our 11th anniversary is in five days.  Thanks, Hon!  You're the best!  I love you!

Tonight for Father's Day dinner I made Pasta Jambalaya, something that Kevin really loves.  I found this recipe on at  The recipe link is here.  I did not use shrimp, but cooked about 1 1/2 pounds of cut up chicken breast.  This pasta was quite good, although Kevin likes his pretty spicy and though I followed the recipe pretty exactly (minus the onion, of course, for those who know me--I hate onions and do not ever buy them or cook anything with them--I do, however, allow Kevin to eat them whenever we go out as he does love them.  Nonetheless, I am a pretty darn good cook even though to some it is unthinkable to not cook with onions!)  Anyway, sorry, got a bit off track there.  I used one green bell pepper and one red pepper, instead of the onion.  I also added about 2 cups chopped baby bella mushrooms, just for kicks.  I didn't take the greatest of pictures, but this made a boat-load of pasta.  Kevin will be eating this for his lunches all week!  (I also used a whole wheat pasta.)  Since it wasn't hot enough, as I put it into containers for Kevin to take to work, I added a bit of hot sauce and hot pepper flakes.  He usually sprinkles hot pepper flakes on everything!


I also asked Kevin last week what he wanted for a Father's Day dessert.  He asked if it was possible to have cake with a layer of cheesecake.  I searched and found this recipe.  It was okay, but there was too much cake and the cake was not as chocolatey as I would have liked and it was a bit dry.  I would totally make this again with a great chocolate cake recipe and just use the cream cheese part of the recipe.  This would be fun to try with maybe a brownie layer or something.  I think the cake just wasn't that great.   Actually, we decided that if you really want something cheesecakey, to just stick with a cheesecake.  (Kevin doesn't really like cake anyway, so not sure why that was what he wanted.)  It was still fun to try something totally new.  The edges were also a little overdone and I only cooked the cake for 35 minutes (the recipes says 40-45).

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And real quickly, Taylor sometimes will not touch a single bite of his dinner.  Tonight he did it again.  Although he was not very happy because he knows if he doesn't eat his dinner then he doesn't get a treat or snack  later.  As we all finished eating, he sat somberly in his chair.  Next thing we knew, he had fallen asleep at the table--again. 

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Saturday, June 14, 2008

Been Busy With Lots of Things, But Still Baking

So it's been a really busy week!  We actually had some friends from Arizona visit us for a few days while they were traveling out this way.  It was so fun to see the Petersons!  (Thanks guys, we loved having you here.)  Unfortunately, we are not very good at remembering to take pictures--of people--when we are doing things--so we didn't even take any while they were here.  They had a camera and took a few pictures, so hopefully they'll send us copies.  Silly that I never forget to take pictures of all my baking adventures!  I think it is easier because they--the baked goods-- just sit there still and don't move.  People are constantly moving.  Get it.  We'll try harder.

This post may end up looking like all I do is bake, but really, there are quite a few days when I don't bake anything, I just have a hard time posting more often.  So, once again, we'll see what I can get done here.

I don't just bake goodies.  I actually make meals for the family now and then!  Last Sunday I wanted to make something using my fresh basil as I have bought a few plants of it and it was ready to pick.  I made this chicken and all I really did was make a basil pesto and used walnuts instead of pine nuts.  I baked the Pesto Chicken in the oven.  These were just chicken breast tenders and they baked in only about 15 minutes.  I think I baked them for ten minutes (350 degrees) with just salt and pepper.  Then I put the basil on top just using a spoon.  I added a triple Italian blend of grated cheese on top and let it bake another five minutes or so.  It was pretty yummy! 

For the pesto I used:

1 1/2 cups fresh basil

2-4 cloves garlic

1/2 cup toasted walnuts

1/4-1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese

I did this in a food processor.  I first blended the walnuts and garlic, then added the basil and cheese.  I then added about 1/3 cup olive oil while the processor was on.  I also added a little salt and pepper to taste.  So easy and yummy.  (Try not to notice that the other two things on the plate are boxed Rice-A-Roni and frozen mixed vegetables ; )


Next up, I made some really good chocolate chocolate chip cookies.  I followed the recipe posted here at Cookie Madness pretty much exactly.  These are called Mrs. Baron's Double Chocolate Cookies you can link to her web site from Cookie Madness.  They were quite good, even though I don't usually like the chocolate cookie dough cookies--seems too rich or something, but these were not.  The cookies are crisp on the outside and soft on the inside.  After baking a few dozen, I then added peanut butter chips to the rest.  They were YUMMY with the peanut butter!

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I have recently made some oatmeal cookies using tahini, a butter made from sesame seeds.  They were good.  Right out of the oven, they had a pretty strong sesame taste, but by the next day you almost can't even tell it's there.  I first made a sheet without the chocolate chips and actually preferred them this was rather than with the chocolate.   I got this recipe (again) from Cookie Madness (Anna has so many great cookies she shares!)  These are called Oatmeal Chocolate Chips Cookies with Tahini.  The recipe is from Eating Well Magazine.  Here is my adapted version:

2 cups rolled oats (I used quick oats)

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup tahini

4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces

2/3 cup granulated sugar

2/3 cup packed light brown sugar

1/2 cup Egg Beaters With a Touch of Yolk

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract (recipe calls for 1 T., but I ran out)

1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

1/2 cup toasted chopped walnuts

1/2 cup sweetened coconut (I added this just for kicks-it is not in the recipe)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment.

Whisk oats, all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Beat tahini and butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer until blended into a paste. Add granulated sugar and brown sugar; continue beating until well combined-the mixture will still be a little grainy. Beat in egg, then egg white, then vanilla. Stir in the oat mixture with a wooden spoon until just moistened. Stir in chocolate chips and walnuts.

With damp hands, roll 1 tablespoon of the batter into a ball, place it on a prepared baking sheet and flatten slightly, but don’t let the sides crack. Continue with the remaining batter, spacing the flattened balls 2 inches apart.

Bake the cookies one sheet at a time on the center rack until golden brown, about 13-16 minutes. Cool on the pans for 2 minutes, then transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Let the pans cool for a few minutes before baking another batch.  Makes about 36 cookies.

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In search for the BEST brownie, Anna at Cookie Madness thinks she has finally found it (until the next great one comes around?)  This recipe is from America's Test Kitchen.  Here is the link to Anna's version of Chewy Fudgy Brownies.  Our friends, the Peterson's, who visited and my family ate these brownies.  The kids devoured them and made a nice crumby mess at the table.  Cori and I both agreed that they were good, but still not quite our most favorite ever.  They seemed a little too dense and dry (maybe I overbaked them a minute or two).  Anna (and the ATK team)insist you use a very good quality chocolate and maybe my choice just wasn't quite good enough.  While Scharffen Berger 70% Cacao Bittersweet (5 oz.) was used over at Cookie Madness, I used 4 oz. Ghirardelli Semi Sweet Baking Bar and 1 oz. Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Baking Bar for mine.   Still, this was a really good brownie!


These were all recipes I'd baked last week and I hadn't baked anything since Monday.  I redeemed myself and was a baking beast today!  I started with Chocolate Hazelnut Brownie Bites.  This is a recipe in the June/July 2008 issue of Taste of Home Magazine.  Here is my adapted version.  I made one minor boo-boo and thought I'd ruined the whole thing, but baked them anyway and they are just great!

1 1/4 cups ground hazelnuts, toasted

1/2 cup all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 package milk chocolate chips, divided (I used Guittard)

5 tablespoons butter, cubed

2 eggs, beaten

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract


3/4 cup chocolate hazelnut spread (Nutella)

a handful of toasted roughly chopped hazelnuts

In the bowl of a food processor, grind the hazelnuts (I left mine just a tad not too finely ground, wish I would have pulsed a few more times).  Add the flour, baking powder and salt to the processor.  Pulse it for about three seconds just to combine.  Set aside.

In a microwave-safe bowl, melt 1 cup chocolate chips and butter; (here is where I boo-booed--I did not even notice the word divided and I melted the whole 11.5 oz. bag of chips with the butter).   Stir until smooth.  Since I'd melted the whole 11.5 oz., mine was pretty thick, but I went ahead and finished the recipe and it worked fine!  Stir in the egss, brown sugar and vanilla.  Add the dry ingredients.  (If you follow the recipe, then add the remaining chips and fold in.)

Fill paper-lined mini muffin cups three-fourths full.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20-22 minutes (I baked mine 18 minutes), or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool completely.  Spread with hazelnut spread, top each with a piece of hazelnut.  Makes 3 dozen. 

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Today I also whipped up some really yummy blondie/brownies.  I got this recipe here at The Recipe Girl's blog.  These are called Butterfinger Brownies although they are more of a blondie type bar.  Delicious!  But I must stay away.  I've already given some away and Scott LOVES Butterfinger Candy Bars, so he is enjoying these!  With plenty of butter and tons of brown sugar in the recipe, not to mention four Butterfinger Candy Bars, this recipe is a splurge, but SO worth a try sometime.  I wanted a little bit more chocolate flavor to come out, so I topped the bars with melted milk chocolate chips (about 1/2 cup).  Did I say these were delicious?!  The recipe is made in a 9x13 pan, but I used two 8 inch pans.  Thanks for sharing, Recipe Girl-Lori!



And finally today I made some Paradise Pineapple Cookies that Anna recently posted at Cookie Madness.  These were a nice change from a chocolate overload!  Anna adapted this recipe from Mrs. Field's Cookie Book.  Click here for the recipe.  I only made one change and instead of three cups all purpose flour, I used 1 cup all purpose flour and 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour. 


I then made some of the cookies with Anna's cream cheese addition.  They were even better this way. 


Then I finished off by adding some toasted chopped pecans and coconut to the dough and baked them without the cream cheese filling.  All of the versions of the cookie were good and fun to "play around with".  I froze a good amount of ready-to-bake dough balls. 


I am going to attempt to make Kevin some Pasta Jambalaya for Father's Day tomorrow.  He LOVES it, especially from a restaurant we love and don't get to very often, Mimi's Cafe.  We'll see how it goes (minus some shrimp--I just couldn't bring myself to even buy shrimp because I just don't even like looking at seafood like shrimp, crab, lobster, let alone touching it to cook with it.  Ewwweeee!)   Catch ya later! 

Friday, June 06, 2008

Okay, So I Am A Baking Fool!

Today I made four different kinds of chocolate chip cookies!  Why?  I don't know, because I like it, it's easy and well, yummy.  To start with I made some chocolate chip cookies with malt in them.  I've been wanting to try them for a while.  The recipe I used is here.  It is from Gale Gand found on Food Network (  The cookies are called Malted Chocolate Chip Cookies.  They are okay, but I don't like a flat cookie as much as one with some bulk and these were pretty flat.  The boys are eating them up though!  I only made a half batch of the recipe.


Next I whipped up a batch of some other cookies I'd found a while back which are cookies from Canyon Ranch Spa in Tucson, AZ.  I also found these on the Food  Network.  They are simply called Chocolate Chip Cookie.  I thought they sounded interesting because there was  1/3 less fat cream cheese and whole wheat flour in the recipe.  You can find the recipe here at the Food Network.  The only change I made to the recipe was instead of 1 cup of all purpose flour I used whole wheat pastry flour and the 1/2 cup whole wheat flour called for in the recipe.  They cookie is good and with the whole wheat flour has a nice nutty texture.  I wish I'd have baked them a bit longer for more crunch.  You cannot taste the cream cheese, so it probably just saves on fat by using less butter.


Kevin surprised me today and had a friend of ours come baby sit and he took me to lunch.  I had jokingly complained to him recently that he never takes me to lunch, but is often taking others and talking about it, like our friend, Bob.  It was a nice surprise and we went downtown and tried out a Mexican restaurant, Cielito Lindo, that we had never been to.  Pretty good food!  I recently read an article in a Lawrence magazine about all the places to eat downtown and decided we hadn't tried enough of them.  We usually find the few places we like and just always go there.  I have made a list of places I'd like to try now.  (Thanks for lunch, Hon!)

Later in the afternoon I decided I need to make some low fat cookies, especially because I've been taste testing too many of the kind I shouldn't be eating!  So I did some searching and found two recipes that I quickly made.  First I made some Banana Oatmeal Cookies.  I found this recipe on one of the trusty baking sites that I visit daily called Baking Bites.  Lots of yummy treats by a fellow baker/foodie, Nicole.  This recipe can be found on her site here.  These cookies are low fat, aid in using up a ripe banana and taste great!  I really liked these.  Of the four recipes I made today, I liked this one the best.  The only change I made to her recipe is instead of all purpose flour I used whole wheat pastry flour.  Worked great!  I also used 1/4 cup Egg Beaters With a Touch of Yolk instead of one egg.  I like that there is also chocolate chips in these, although you could leave them out and/or add walnuts or pecans instead.  These were a little bit crunchy, but after storing them in an airtight container have softened up a bit.  I like the crunch, so I'm glad I only baked about eight of these and froze the rest in ready-to-bake dough balls.


And just for kicks, I also made a quick batch of some other cookies from Nicole at Baking Bites.  I actually just did a search online for "low fat chocolate chip cookies" and this recipe is one of the first that comes up.  I was happy to see that it was from someone's blog that I've already been checking daily and saving lots of recipes from.   These cookies are found here by clicking on the title Low Fat Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies.  They are almost exactly the same as the banana ones, but use applesauce as some fat replacement and have a bit more oatmeal.  The only changes I made to the recipe is again I used whole wheat pastry flour instead of all purpose flour.  I also used 1/4 cup Egg Beaters With a Touch of Yolk instead of one egg.   You cannot taste the applesauce in this cookie, but it is also a great chocolate chip cookie when you've got a craving and are trying to save some fat and calories in your diet.  I also just baked one sheet of these and froze the rest.   After all of today's baking, and eating out for lunch I'm not sure I really "saved" on fat or calories, but I'm really glad I tried these recipes.  (By the way, I still was pretty good at lunch.  I had some chips and salsa, but didn't eat nearly as much as I would have in the past and just had a grilled chicken breast salad.  All it had besides the chicken was lettuce, green and yellow peppers and tomatoes.  I put a little fat free ranch dressing on it.  See--I'm still trying to be good!   ; )

Here's the photo of the Low Fat Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies:


To end on a "dang my kids are cute" note, here's my little Sammie today as he is being stopped from going down the stairs.  I still just cannot tell you how much I love his curly hair!  He's getting to be quite the character, climber (not just on stairs) and a funny little guy.  He says "hat" and "hot" really cute in a soft kind of whisper now.  He gets SO mad when the boys go in and outside all day long and he doesn't get to.  I do take him outside at least once a day, usually when it has cooled down a bit in the evening and he LOVES being outside.  If he even hears the word "outside", he goes straight for the door.  Love this little man!


And just so you don't think I only have one guy, the other day, Taylor got upset about something and was pouting at the table.  Within a few minutes Kevin and I realized that he was asleep.  He went from sitting up to laying down on the bench after awhile.  The worst thing about this was that it was about 5:30 at night and we couldn't get him to wake up until after 7:00.  He eventually woke up enough to go lay down on the couch.  Guess who didn't want to go to bed that night!   

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I will have to take more pictures of Parker.  I just posted about Scott's birthday so he's covered and tried to find a good current one of Parker, but could not.  He might be our most active, busy kid these days.  He ALWAYS wants to be at friend's and neighbor's houses playing or outside or downstairs or pretty much just not here--you know, we're really boring.  "This is boring." can often be heard coming from Parker.  Okay, it's late and I have to get up early (when do I not?)  Have a good one and go bake you a cookie or something!