Friday, August 22, 2014

My Mama's Cookies

Have you ever just had one of those days? Or maybe one of those weeks? A bunch of small-ish things just tick you off - bats, tendinitis, the summer finally deciding to get ridiculously hot - and man, by Friday you are just a grumpy bumble. (Excuse my strong language.) Well, I happen to find baking very therapeutic, and my mama's cookies were some of my favorite things growing up, so today I decided to whip up a double batch of my mama's chocolate chip oatmeal cookies.

Now, I need you to realize something. I like these cookies so much that when I went off to college I brought this recipe with me. I wrote it down. On paper. No digital shenanigans. That's how good they are.

You need flour, baking soda, salt, shortening, sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, eggs, chocolate chips, and oatmeal. 

The recipe says sift flour, baking soda, and salt together, but I don't have time for that. I threw them into the mixer and used the whisk for a minute. It seemed to work just fine. 

Ooh, mixy. 

Next (put the dry ingredients aside really quick) add shortening,

white sugar, 

brown sugar,

vanilla and water to the mixer. Put the paddle attachment on. Mix that baby up. 

So creamy. So delightful. 

 Stop the mixer, scrape the sides, and then beat in the eggs. 

The dough gets much wetter now, but that's exactly how it's supposed to be. 

Stop and scrape the sides again. 

Next, add in the flour mixture. I mix about 1/3rd of the flour mixture in at a time. 

It should be dry enough to cling to the paddle, but not completely. I took a couple minutes to scrape the sides again, and tried to get as much dough off the paddle as I could. 

Add in the oatmeal and the chocolate chips. The original recipe calls for the whole 12 oz package, but that's always seemed a little crazy to me. I usually add 1/4 to 1/2 of a package, and I haven't been disappointed yet.

Well now this is where I realized that I don't have nearly the amount of oatmeal that I would typically add. The recipe usually calls for 2-3 cups, and I only had about one. That changes the overall look, but they still taste amazing. Don't be scared if you're short on oatmeal. 

Mix all that goodness together until the chocolate chips and oatmeal are thoroughly incorporated. 

At this point, do not eat the dough. Eating raw cookie dough has never, ever helped someone's crabby day.

 Just kidding!

I will not tell you to eat raw cookie dough as it has uncooked eggs in it. I will tell you, however, that I did. And it was delicious. If you choose to eat raw cookie dough, do so at your own risk. 

Po was helping. 

Kira wanted to help, but it was too hot. 

Because I didn't know how these would bake with as little oatmeal as was in them, I lined my pan with parchment paper. Greasing the pan or using parchment paper will ensure that your cookies don't stick while baking.

I tend to roll my cookie dough balls by hand, but it was very hot, and the dough was stickier than normal. To save myself some time, I just used two spoons to plot the dough onto the pan and then to shape the dough into a cookie-ish shape. 

Bake at 325 degrees for 10-12 minutes, or until the edges of the cookie start to turn golden brown. 

Again, because of my lack of oatmeal, these cookies spread out waaaaay more than they typically would. I clearly put the dough too close together this time. 

These ones are a slightly better shape. Who really cares about shape though? They're delicious. That's what matters. Allow the cookies to cool on the pan for a minute or two. When they're firm enough to take off without falling apart, transfer them to a cooling rack until they are the desired nomming temperature.

Oh my goodness. 

These cookies. 

You do not have to dunk your cookie into milk. You also don't love to like happiness. It's your choice. 

I can feel my day getting better already.

Recipe: Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies
Prep Time: 30-45 Minutes | Cook Time: 10-12 Minutes | Difficulty: Easy | Servings: 2.5 Dozen

Ingredients (Note: the pictures above represent a doubled batch)
  • 2 1/4 cups Flour
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 cup Shortening
  • 3/4 cup Sugar
  • 3/4 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp Water
  • 2 Eggs
  • 12 oz package Chocolate Chips
  • 2-3 cups Oatmeal

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F
  2. Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt.
  3. Cream together shortening, sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, and water.
  4. Beat two eggs into the shortening mixture.
  5. Add flour mixture, about 1/3rd of the mixture at a time. Mix well.
  6. Mix in chocolate chips and oatmeal.
  7. Spoon dough into cookie shaped blobs into a cookie sheet. It can be greased or lined with parchment paper. 
  8. Bake 10-12 minutes, until the edges are golden brown.
  9. Allow cookies to cool for a minute before transferring to cooling rack.
  10. Om nom nom.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Applesauce Raspberry Orange Muffins

This week I've been thinking muffins. We've been really lucky with the oranges we've been buying from the store lately, so I really wanted to do something that incorporated orange zest. We've also been trying to eat healthy lately, so I wanted to do something that used applesauce as a sweetener, rather than cups and cups of sugar. Finally, I had some of those raspberry preserves leftover, and I thought that would be tasty.

I found a recipe here that seemed easy enough to start with, and not difficult to alter. However, when I started making these I didn't realize that I didn't exactly have all the ingredients.

In theory, these are all the ingredients you need. It really helps to check how much applesauce you actually have. The original recipe calls for a cup and a half of applesauce, and I could just barely scrape out a whole cup. Other ingredients you may realize you really should add are brown sugar, powdered sugar, and milk.

Combine egg, applesauce, and oil. Whisk lightly until combined.

Realize that this would be a really good time to add the raspberry preserves. Add them too. 

 Realize that you've forgotten the orange zest, and add that too.

Mix up white powders, and be in awe of obligatory white-powder photo.


Mix dry ingredients into wet ingredients.

Realize that, whoa, maybe that extra half cup of applesauce would have made a big difference because, man, that batter is way too dry. Frantically squeeze the juice of the orange that you zested into the batter. Breathe a sigh of relief as the batter starts to act more like muffin batters you've seen before. Taste a little of the batter. Realize that the juice from the orange has made the batter tangy, but also a little bitter.


 Come to terms with the fact that, yes, a tablespoon of brown sugar would really make the whole thing taste better.

Spoon the batter into muffin pan. Realize you forgot to preheat the oven to 375. Turn the oven on and bake the muffins for about 20-25 minutes.

Give the muffins a minute to cool down, and taste a piece. Realize that, yes, these taste healthy, and if you wanted muffins that taste healthy then these are perfect for you. But oh my goodness, you're just not in the mood for healthy tasting muffins right now. Whip up a quick glaze with about a quarter cup of powdered sugar and a splash of milk. Dunk the tops of the muffins in the glaze, and think happy thoughts.


 Oh, now really, doesn't that look better?

These are pretty good while they're still warm, so don't hesitate to eat while they're still a little steamy.

Goodness knows I didn't.

Recipe: Applesauce Raspberry Orange Muffins
Prep Time: 30-45 Minutes | Cook Time: 20-25 Minutes | Difficulty: Easy | Servings: 6



  • 1 Egg
  • 1 cup Applesauce
  • 2 tbsp Vegetable Oil
  • 3 1/2 tbsp Raspberry Preserves
  • Zest of 1 Orange
  • Juice of 1 Orange
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 cups Flour
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 3/4 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/4 cup Powered Sugar
  • 1 tsp (a splash) Milk


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F, and grease your muffin pan. (Or use muffin cups.)
  2. Whisk together egg, applesauce, oil, preserves, zest, juice, and brown sugar.
  3. Add mixture of flour, baking powder, and baking soda.
  4. Spoon batter into muffin pan.
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until cake tester comes out clean. Cool muffins on a rack until cool enough to pick up. (Less than five minutes.)
  6. Mix powdered sugar and milk for glaze. Dunk muffins into glaze and allow a minute for glaze to set.
  7. Eat while still warm. Or don't. I can't make you.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Baked Raspberry Nutella Swirl Doughnuts

Kristin here again! With Valentine's Day coming up, I've been giving a lot of thought about trying new fruit and chocolate pairings. With it being another Saturday morning, I was also giving a lot of thought to doughnuts. These Raspberry Nutella doughnuts are the results. Well, they were. Before we ate them. The nice thing about these doughnuts is that even though there are a number of ingredients, they're all things that are commonly already in the pantry, and this is pretty much a mix-and-bake recipe. 

For the doughnuts you need flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, a little salt, butter, an egg, milk, preserves, and Nutella. I decided to use raspberry preserves because raspberries and chocolate make me happy, but I bet these would be great with almost any fruit. The glaze needs powdered sugar, vanilla, a dash of salt, milk, and I threw some leftover preserves in there too. 

First things first, the obligatory mixed powders shot. Whisk all the dry ingredients together in a bowl. 

Once it's fairly homogenous, create a well in the middle of the powder. 

Put the milk, egg, and melted butter in the well. 

Mix until all ingredients are incorporated. The dough will be sticky. 

Now it's time for the preserves. I started with a couple tablespoons, mixed it up, and then decided that I wanted a little more of the flavor. It's not an exact science so just add more until you like how it tastes. 

Once it's all mixed in the dough will be considerably wetter, but that's okay. 

Now here's a step where I tried getting a little fancy. I've tried just using a spoon to fill up the doughnut pan, and it makes a gigantic mess. It can also make it really difficult to fill the pan evenly. Piping is definitely the way to go. Because I wanted ribbons of Nutella swirled throughout the doughnuts, I didn't just mix it into the dough. Instead what I did was smear two spoonfuls of Nutella along the side seem of my Ziplock/piping bag. 

Then I filled the rest of the bag with the dough. When you cut off the corner and start piping, the dough pulls a ribbon of Nutella out with it and creates beautiful swirls.  Before you start piping, make sure you grease your doughnut pan!

Although some of them looked more like beautiful globs. 

I filled my pan all the way the top, and it was enough dough for six fairly large doughnuts. You could fill them less full and make more doughnuts that are smaller. 

Because the consistency of the dough and the consistency of the Nutella are so different, it came out of the piping bag a little unevenly. When I saw this, I thought I'd give my tasty ribbons a little swirly help by running a toothpick around center of the doughnut. While this step is probably unnecessary, it certainly made the swirl a lot more pronounced, and it seemed to help distribute the Nutella throughout the entire doughnut.

These doughnuts are post toothpick-swirl. 

 Isn't that pretty? Now these are ready for the oven! Oh, did I mention that you should preheat the oven to 425 degrees? If you haven't done that yet, go do that now. They bake quickly, so they should be done in just about 8 to 10 minutes.

While the doughnuts are baking, you can whip up the glaze. Just mix the powdered sugar, vanilla, salt, and milk with the whisk. Because I felt daring I threw in a couple teaspoons of the raspberry preserves, and it really worked.

The edges of the doughnuts are light brown, and the tops of the doughnuts are springy to the touch. Time to take them out of the oven and let them cool. You should be able to get the doughnuts out of the pan just by turning the pan over above the cooling rack. If a little Nutella got stuck on the bottom of the pan they might require a little more convincing.

After about five minutes, dunk the doughnut into the glaze and then return to the cooling rack so the glaze can set. 

It is a beautiful sight. 

I will be honest with you. These doughnuts didn't last long enough for the glaze to set.  That meant that they were very sticky but oh, so worth it.

Beautiful swirl action. 

The raspberry added to the glaze is delicious and it adds a nice pop of color. 

 Po was really hoping for a recipe that involved pork. Or beef. Or chicken. Or bacon. 

I hope you enjoy these as much as we did!

Recipe: Baked Raspberry Nutella Swirl Doughnuts
Prep Time: 45-60 Minutes | Cook Time: 8-10 Minutes | Difficulty: Easy | Servings: 2-3



  • 1 cup Flour
  • 1/3 cup Sugar
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Cinnamon 
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/3 cup Milk
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 tbsp melted Butter
  • 3-4 tbsp Raspberry Preserves
  • 3 tbsp Nutella
  • 2 cups Powered Sugar
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Vanilla
  • 1/3 cup Milk
  • Optional: 1-2 tbsp Raspberry Preserves


  1. Preheat oven to 425°F, and grease your doughnut pan.
  2. Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Create a well in the middle of the mixture.
  3. Add milk, egg, and butter to the well and mix into the dry ingredients. Mix in 3-4 tablespoons of raspberry preserves, depending on how you want it to taste.
  4. Smear two spoonfuls of Nutella on the inside of a pastry bag. (I used a Ziplock bag.)  Fill the rest of the bag with dough. Cut the corner off the bag and pipe the dough into the doughnut pan.
  5. Optional Step: Swirl the Nutella in the dough with a toothpick.
  6. Bake doughnuts for 8-10 minutes, until the doughnuts spring back when you touch them. Allow to cool on a rack for about five minutes.
  7. To make the glaze combine powdered sugar, salt, vanilla, milk, and raspberry preserves. When doughnuts had cooled, dunk them in the glaze. Put the doughnuts back on the rack to let the glaze set. 
  8. Devour. Be happy.