Erica Lea on Jan 13th 2012
Can you believe it? A new year is upon us. In fact, we’re almost two weeks into 2012.
I’m usually not one to reflect on the past year and make resolutions for the new one. I hate making resolutions that I’m bound to break. But sometimes listing goals is a good way to give you some perspective and push you forward. Last year I started a Project 365, but only got to 146 photos. I’m not sorry at all that I started that project; even though I didn’t finish, I still have many moments preserved and I feel that I learned so much from the experience.
So I’ve decided to write down some food goals for myself for 2012; goals I know that I’ll break. But they’ll give me something to works toward.
My Five Food Goals for 2012:
1. Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables and whole foods.
2. Eat less processed, prepacked baked goods.
3. Make new recipes; don’t get stuck in a rut of making only the recipes you know.
4. Try to overcome your fear of sharing your food creations with others. You can’t always please everyone, and sometimes you’ll make something that just isn’t that great. Get over it.
5. Try something new, even if you think you won’t like it. You never know!
On to the cookies!
I believe that these cookies are a good representation of a few of my food goals. They’re made with natural ingredients (whole wheat flour, demerara sugar, rolled oats, etc.), they contain an ingredient that I was a bit afraid of (carob chips), and I had to overcome my fear of sharing them with others.
You see, Reuben loves carob, but, I must admit, I’m not the world’s biggest fan. Give me a choice between 70% cacao chocolate and carob and I’ll take the chocolate 9 times out of 10. But I wanted to make something that he loved. And I found that the carob chips added a lovely malty flavor that fit these cookies very well.
However, I was so scared that everyone would think they were gross and too “healthy” tasting that I always put a caveat before them: “They’re healthy,” or “They’re made with Carob chips.” To my surprise, no one hated them, and a gentleman even asked for the recipe. Just goes to show that you should get over your ego and share your work.
- These cookies are none too sweet: just the way Reuben and I like them. If you prefer something a little sweeter, simply add some extra demerara.
- If you can’t find any carob or you can’t stand it, you can easily substitute it with chocolate chips.
Peanut Butter Carob Chip Cookies | Printable Page | Makes approximately 2 dozen cookies
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1 cup demerara sugar or sucanat or rapadura
- 3/4 cup natural peanut butter (I really like this kind)
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup (4 ounces) whole wheat pastry flour (aka soft white wheat)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup regular rolled oats
- 1 cup semisweet carob chips (we really like this kind), or chocolate chips
1) Preheat the oven to 375 ° F.
2) In a large bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer), cream together the butter, sugar, and peanut butter until smooth. Beat in the egg and vanilla.
3) In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Stir into the butter and sugar mixture. Add the oats and chocolate chips.
4) Form the dough into balls the size of golf balls and place on an ungreased or parchment lined baking sheet. Flatten the balls slightly.
5) Bake in the preheated oven for 8-12 minutes, or until the edges begin to brown. Remove from oven and let the cookies to cool on the pan for 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before storing.
Erica Lea on Dec 22nd 2011
My Dad hates citrus in baked goods. Thus, I have always been leery of cooking with lemons, oranges, limes, etc.
Reuben loves lemon bars. When he informed me of this, I promised to make him some. I searched the internet over for the perfect recipe, and settled one entitled “Lemon Curd Squares.” When I saw that the ingredient list included cream, I knew I needed to make them.
And I wasn’t disappointed in my choice. Reuben loves them. He requested I send several bars in his lunch so he could share them with the other guys. That day he posted on my Facebook wall: “Best lemon bars ever. :)” <— Proudest. Moment. Ever.
These lemon bars are the perfect medium between overpoweringly sweet and mouth-puckering sour. The crust is wonderfully tasty, enhanced by a smidgen of cinnamon. Dust with a little powdered sugar, and you have an elegant, scrumptious dessert.
Lemon Curd Squares
Adapted from Willams-Sanoma | Printable Recipe | Makes 12 Bars
For the crust:
- 1 cup all-purpose flour (I used half white, half whole wheat)
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar (I used demerara)
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 8 Tbs. (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
For the lemon filling:
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar (I used ground demerara)
- 2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
- Pinch of salt
- 1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest (optional)
- 3 eggs, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
- 3 Tbs. heavy cream
- Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting (optional)
To make the crust:
In a food processor, combine the flour, granulated sugar, salt and cinnamon. Pulse briefly until blended. Add the butter and pulse until the dough forms moist crumbs and sticks together when pinched, about 1 minute. There should be no trace of dryness. Press the dough into the bottom and 1 inch up the sides of the prepared baking dish, lightly flouring your fingertips if necessary to prevent them from sticking. Bake the crust until pale golden, 20 to 22 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the crust cool completely. Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F.
To make the filling:
1.) In a bowl, whisk together the granulated sugar, flour, salt and lemon zest. Add the eggs, lemon juice and cream and whisk until just blended. Carefully pour the mixture over the baked crust.
Bake until the filling is set but still jiggles slightly when the dish is gently shaken, about 20 minutes, or longer if using a metal pan. Transfer the pan to the wire rack and let cool for about 30 minutes. Run the tip of a small knife along the inside of the dish to loosen the crust from the sides, then let cool completely.
Cut into 12 small rectangles (fewer if you want larger bars). Grab the sides of parchment paper that stick out from the pan and carefully remove the bars from the dish. Just before serving, sift a dusting of confectioners sugar over the bars.
Now for the Shabby Apple Giveaway Winner!
Erica Lea on Mar 14th 2011
Why is that something as ordinary as chocolate chip cookies is one of the most delicious treats? Perhaps its very familiarity is what makes it so scrumptious. They bring back days spent at Grandma’s as a child; afternoons spent mixing up cookies with my sisters; sneaking spoonfuls of dough.
Here’s the recipe that we have used for years. Just within the past months my sister & I have modified the recipe to our tastes: reducing the sugar and adding some toasty pecans. They were a splendid hit, even with our critical Dad. He informed us that they were the best cookies he ever ate. He freaks out if we suggest changing the recipe slightly.
Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from Mrs. Fields’ recipe
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/2 twelve-ounce bags bittersweet chocolate chips
- 1 cup toasted pecans, chopped coarse
1) Preheat oven to 350° F.
2) Cream the butter and sugar in a stand mixer set to medium-high. Mix in the eggs and vanilla.
3) In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Stir in the chocolate chips & nuts.
4) Place golf ball sized pieces of dough 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake in preheated oven for 8-12 minutes, or just until the edges and bottoms begin to brown.
5) Allow to cool on the cookie sheets a few minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
Makes approximately 30 cookies
Erica Lea on Dec 24th 2010
…a very Merry Christmas!
“This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.
This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”
1 John 4: 9-11
Here’s what we’re serving this evening:
What are ya’ll fixing/eating this weekend?
Erica Lea on Dec 10th 2010
Overall I was quite impressed with the quality of their products. Let me share with you what I found:
The cookies arrived in this lovely box.
Inside are three beautiful boxes of cookies: Macadamia Nut, Oatmeal Raisin, and Chocolate Chip. I love how festive the packaging is.
Inside each box are two sealed packages of cookies. Which brings me to my only quibble with the packaging: there were at least one broken cookie in each top package. However, the taste completely makes up for this:
I must admit that I generally avoid pre-packaged cookies. These are an exception to that rule. There was no strange, chemically taste as there usually is in “store-bought” cookies.
I was pleasantly surprised that I enjoyed all the flavors of cookies, even though I usually steer clear of oatmeal raisin. The macadamia nut were perhaps a bit sweet for my taste, but they had a lovely flavor. And the chocolate chip faintly reminded me of cookies my grandma makes.
The list of ingredients is also impressive. No weird ingredients that I wouldn’t add to a batch of my homemade cookies.
The texture of all the cookies is crispy. I enjoy both chewy and crisp cookies, so if you’re a chewy fan, keep this in mind.
I also had the privilege of testing out the Tate’s Bake Shop Cookbook.
There are some really fun recipes that I’d like to try.
There’s a pretty photo section.
And a section on healthy alternatives!
I have generously been allowed to share a recipe from Tate’s Bake Shop Cookbook with ya’ll! I baked these chocolate biscotti as written in the recipe. Another time I would add a pinch of salt and a splash of vanilla. But they were overall very easy and had a good texture. They have a not-too-sweet, grownup flavor. My little brother really enjoyed them.
- 1/2 cup salted butter, softened to room temperature
- 1/3 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-processes cocoa powder
- 2 large eggs
- 1 3/4cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 3/4 cup chopped milk chocolate
- 3/4 cup chopped bittersweet chocolate (I used all bittersweet)
- 1/2 cup almonds, chopped small, blanched or unblanched
1) Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease two cookie sheets or line them with Silpat.
2) In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugars till the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the cocoa powder and beat it in for 2 more minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition
3) Stir in the flour and baking powder until they are just combined. Stir in the chocolates and almonds. Chill the dough for 30 minutes.
4) Divide the dough into two equal parts and roll each piece into a 10-inch log. Place the logs on the prepared cookie sheets and flatten them to 1-inch thick by pressing them gently with your fingertips.
5) Bake them for 25 minutes. Then cool them for one hour on the cookie sheet.
6) Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Cut each log into 1/2-inch-wide diagonal slices. Place the slices on an ungreased cookie sheet, cut side up, and bake them for 10 minutes. Turn the cookies over and bake them for another 10 minutes. Cool them on the cookie sheets.
Makes approximately 40 biscotti
And now for the giveaway!
The folks at Tate’s Bake Shop are allowing me to host a giveaway!
You’ll have the chance to win the delicious package of cookies pictured above, plus the Tate’s Bake Shop Cookbook.
Here’s how you can enter to win:
- [Mandatory] Leave a comment on this post, telling me about your favorite kind of cookie.
- For extra entries, become a fan of Tate’s on Facebook. Come back and leave a separate comment saying you became a fan.
- For more entries, tweet, blog, or post on Facebook about this giveaway. Make sure to leave a separate comment for each extra entry.
- For more entries, subscribe to my RSS feed, follow me on Twitter, or become a fan on Facebook. Make sure to leave a separate comment for each extra entry.
Only U.S. residents are allowed to enter.
Giveaway ends Friday, December 17, at 11:00 p.m. Central Time. No comments will be considered after that time.
I will select one (1) winner using random.org.
Even if you are not so fortune as to win this giveaway, you can still purchase some cookies of your own at a 15 % discount by using coupon code cookie valid through December 31st. They would make a lovely Christmas present for a foodie friend, or anyone who enjoys cookies!
THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED. No further comments will be considered.