C is for The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap!

I’m late.

I’m always late with things like this.

To be fair though, this lateness could not have been prevented.  It is not because I’m so messy I could build an excellent fort out of all the crap on my desk, or my general forgetfulness, or…no wait that’s exactly what’s going on here.

To tell this story completely we need to rewind a month:

It’s mid-November, and I’m checking in with some of the food blogs I follow when I see this picture:

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It had the word cookie in it.  Clearly this could only be good.

I nudge Ashok (who was conveniently sitting next to me at the time) and take a look at the site.

The game was simple:

  1. Donate money to charity
  2. Bake 3 Dozen cookies
  3. Send these cookies to three fellow food bloggers
  4. Receive 1 Dozen cookies from three different food bloggers
  5. Profit

Ashok was as keen on this idea as I was, so we signed up, received the people who we would be sending cookies to, and learned cookies needed to be postmarked and in the mail by December 5th.

Time passes….

Suddenly it’s the week of December 5th, I’m in the very middle of a very stressful Finals period and now cookies must be baked.

Can I have a show of hands as to who saw this coming?  Everyone but me?  Thought so.

Ashok’ managed to have his own adventures with cookie baking.  Delicious, slightly troubling adventures.

The following is my recipe for Vanilla Cardamom cookies:

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Wait. Not this bit. This is not a recipe. It’s a picture of me measuring flour.

Ingredients:

  • 2 sticks butter
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • Guts of 1 vanilla bean
  • Cardamom (how much is up to you.  If you like cardamom, use it!  If you don’t, use less.  I will not police your usage of this spice)

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees
  2. Place 1 stick of butter in a frying pan and keep over medium heat until it turns dark brown and gives off a nutty smell.  This will involve standing over the pan and keeping the butter in motion for much of the 3-5 minutes it takes to achieve this.  Otherwise you’ll end up with burnt butter…gross
  3. Put other stick of butter and brown sugar in a bowl.  If the bowl is plastic, I also recommend a fork.  Why?  Because then you’ll add the browned butter (the stuff in the frying pan) to this bowl.  If you use a plastic bowl here it has a chance of melting, but a metal fork will soak up a lot of that heat. SCIENCE!  WOO!
  4. Give the mix a minute or two to cool before combining it with the egg beaters of your choice.
  5. Add in flour, egg, salt, baking soda, vanilla guts, and combine.  You should be left with something that looks suspiciously like cookie dough.  Do not be afraid.  In fact, you have created cookie dough.
  6. Add as much ground cardamom as your heart desires and ensure that it is stirred in
  7. Bake for about 10 minutes (depending on your oven) and enjoy.

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I baked up three batches of these, packaged them (a harder process than you might expect when your local post office agent gives you sass) and got them in by the deadline to three fantastic blogs.  Still, this is the first minute I’ve had to make a post, as well as to say thank you to the three bloggers who took time out of their lives to bake me cookies, so my recipe hasn’t been posted with all the other amazing participants.

Since I have access to a camera again, I took it upon myself to take artsy pictures of these cookies as well.

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Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

I'd love to share pictures of more than two of these coconut salted caramel thumb prints, but they have all been eaten!

I’d love to share pictures of more than two of these coconut salted caramel thumb prints, but they have all been eaten!

And finally the cookies that kept me company every night at 4:00am.  Lemon Ginger Molasses Cookies.

And finally the cookies that kept me company every night at 4:00am. Lemon Ginger Molasses Cookies.

This is really a great event, and does some pretty cool things in the world.  If you have your own cooking blog, I’d strongly suggest joining in next year.  Just make sure you either get around to building your desk-crap-fort or actually getting organized before you do.

That’s all for now!

~Molly

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Oatmeal, Chocolate Chip, Pumpkin Pie cookies and other cautionary tales

Simply after reading the title of this post, I imagine most people are going to have a few questions.  So, before the recipe, some FAQs (and a picture):

Vegan Pumpkin Pie Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

This is like two dozen cookies. In a picture below, there are the dozen that I took to Thanksgiving dinner. I ate the difference.

Q: Is it even safe to combine that much delicious all into a single cookie?
A: I had a near burning-myself experience, as I was taking the 19th batch I made out of the oven (seriously, I baked no fewer than 12 batches of these cookies intending to send each off for the food blogger cookie swap.  The first 9 dozen all got eaten by me/family/friends, the final three barely survived into the boxes I mailed them in).

Q: What is the cautionary tale?
A: So I was like “la la la I’m a food blogger I do what I want” and I decided to recreationally make up a recipe from scratch.  And that original recipe involved not having flour, not so much because I was as hubris as to think that my food blogger ness would make chemistry irrelevant, but because I just kind of forgot and I didn’t have a recipe to remind me because I was making the recipe up.  The cautionary tale: put flour in your cookies.

Q: Who likes these cookies?
A: These cookies were like the first time that I had made up food and then been asked for the recipe.  So, uh, everyone I know likes these cookies.

Q: How do you make cookies without butter? (but actually, this was a question I got at my family Thanksgiving dinner when I said I had brought vegan cookies.)
A: There are a bunch of different fats you can use.  In this case, I used earth balance because I had it on hand and it’s solid at decently high temperatures, which adds substance to the batter.  You could also use crisco (though, uh, gross) or coconut oil.  Alternatively, you could use something like canola oil (which I do for most of my cookies, but not these…).

Ingredients for vegan chocolate chip pumpkin oatmeal cookies

All of the ingredients. Also some coconut milk because I was thirsty.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup earth balance
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup pumpkin
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup chocolate chips
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp each: cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg
1 cup quickoats
1/2 cup flour

Instructions:

1. Preheat the oven to 400
2. Cream the brown sugar and the earth balance
3. Mix in the all the other ingredients, in the order they’re on the ingredients list in.
4. Drop ~3/2 inch globs of batter onto greased baking sheets.  You don’t have to worry too much about them spreading out.
5. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until they start to brown.
6. Let ’em cool and enjoy!

An action shot (oh my god fancy!) of the oatmeal being added to the batter.

An action shot (oh my god fancy!) of the oatmeal being added to the batter.

batter for easy vegan pumpkin pie cookies

Delicious, delicious batter that I ate waaay to much of.

The cookies that managed to survive me being around them long enough to make it to my family Thanksgiving.

The cookies that managed to survive me being around them long enough to make it to my family Thanksgiving.